There is no good news anymore. Unless you watch the nightly news who keep crowing about this nonexistent recovery the world is experiencing. If you are in the one percent, things are going swimmingly. Stocks are up, salaries and bonuses continue to climb and houses can be bought at a steal. For the rest of us, things are getting worse. News is happening so fast lately, I can hardly keep up.
Take for example this tidbit which I was going to write about anyway and broke wide today. Info received yesterday show a dramatic increase in unemployment, rising to a whopping nine percent (mind you this is government stats so way below what it really is but still a significant jump). Before I even had a chance to verify it, Gallop released their info today which showed an identical rise, confirming what we already know: The recovery is an illusion. No new jobs are being created to replace the ones we lost. I used to work making fifty grand a year writing for a major newspaper. I now squeak by on fifty a story, if I'm lucky. There are no more sales jobs either as none of them pay anything anymore. It's depressing.
A depression looms and one need only drive down the street in most areas to see it's effects. Two more businesses have failed on Main St. here, both restaurants mind you, but still jarring considering one had been here for years. The real unemployment rate is now somewhere between 22 and 25%, Depression Era levels, and only by rigging the game has our government convinced us that things are on the rise. The only thing rising out of me is my lunch.
Meanwhile, Greece has been forced a crap sandwich from which it is unlikely to recover. First, Greece is in a Depression, not a recession as is being commonly reported. In no scenario, no matter how you fix the numbers, does Greece appear to be in even the most severe of recessions. Niall Ferguson, the Harvard historian, recently wrote that Europe was determined to recreate the Great Depression with their austerity measures. Why? Because they are doing the exact kind of things that cause depressions, including every depression ever recorded world wide. Please explain to me how this will be different from the dozens of other failures. Oh that's right, it won't.
The new measures make a sure fire Greek collapse all but inevitable. In return for the blood money sacrifice, Greece has agreed to cuts in pensions, the minimum wage, health-care and defense spending, as well as layoffs of state employees and asset sales. As unemployment there is about the same as our unofficial amount of over twenty percent, this is going to decimate them. But wait, there's more. Within two months, Greece will have pass a new law saying debts will be paid before government services. So things like teachers, firefighters, cops and soldiers may not got paid for quite a while as debt is paid off first. Anarchy anyone?
While all this occurs, Wall Street is getting ready for all of this to fail and with good reason. If Greece passes this law, the rioting going on now may look like a picnic. What happens if the cops not only don't show up for riot control but join in because they're not being paid? I expect guillotines to start propping up everywhere. Word is the world rating agencies are going to declare Greece in default on March 23rd. When this happens, Greek banks are going to close, money accounts frozen and Greek stock market placed on hold for at least a day, if not longer. While the veracity of this above statement cannot be verified, it is something I thought people should know about. If this does come to pass, the echo of this catastrophe will be felt across the planet.
But all of this may be moot, if war with Iran and Israel come to pass. I'll write more about this in days to come, including an excellent article by Niall Ferguson about why we SHOULD attack Iran. It is a compelling case and one that I've been making for some time. I don't want war, but contrary to the peaceniks out there, a nuclear armed Iran may spell the doom of mankind. A billion dead now or seven billion in a few years, your call. Iran has said they may attack first, a certain death sentence if they do. But we are not dealing with rational beings, but power mad religious nutbags, and so is Iran (Ha Ha). We're getting an up close and personal view of what having someone like Rick Santorum would be like for President and it's kind of scary. Women's rights would be propelled back a hundred years as would personal choice and freedom. That's exactly what living in Iran is like right now. An attack on Iran is all but imminent. Israel can only be constrained for so long, and all indications are they are getting real tired of our "let's wait," speech. Considering that everything points to an economic Armageddon soon, will WW3 be close behind?