Obama has been out to lunch lately with his unbelievable statement that the administration has no plans for Ukraine or Isis, which seems stupid beyond words. Yes, there are no good options, but you better have some sort of plan because fate will intervene if you won't. Think JFK here, not W. Just a suggestion.
I have been telling my regular readers that there are three cities currently falling behind on the housing market, Phoenix, Las Vegas and San Francisco. Well all three are red lining right now as even the highest priced houses are slowing down, with an almost total collapse occurring in SF. The Northeast, Mid-west and Western states all saw double digit declines with only the South rising by about 8%, most likely due to lower cost of living expenses in these states. If housing starts to sink soon, and all indicators are that it will, the stock market will follow.
Atlantic City sure isn't seeing that so-called economic recovery as their newest casino, Revel, is closing after two years of operations. That's $2.4 billion wasted and thousands of jobs lost. Awesome. It joins Showboat in extinction, which closed earlier this year, and Trump Casino that closes in a few weeks. What happened?
Well first off, casino revenue is down everywhere, from Vegas to CT. Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun both dropped nearly 10% from last year, suggesting that the "recovery" is an illusion as people have cut back immensely on entertainment this past year. Movies died in the box office, golf is down as much as 74% in some places, restaurants are seeing huge declines and gambling now is dropping as well. If people do not have disposable money, and we don't as salaries are dropping, things like this go first. America needs a raise and no one seems to be fighting for it, unless you are Market Basket employees who deserve a big round of applause for being the first US citizens to finally take a stand against corporate greed. Where are the rest of you?
As for Revel, they made every idiotic decision one can make. They started building during the Great Recession, ran out of money and had to borrow a billion dollars to finish it. Then they banned smoking, had NO buffet, offered no bus trips from other cities to the venue, stunningly had no Players Club to establish loyal return customers and had sky high prices on rooms and food. Shockingly, they never made a profit. Even the design of the place was confusing and not well planned. This was ineptitude at its finest.
Atlantic City itself has struggled for years as the only thing worthwhile is the Boardwalk but step one block off the strip and its crack whores, pimps and other lowlifes. The fact that no one ever tried to clean this area up, like San Antonio or Baltimore did much better, cemented this city to failure. I've been to AC and to casinos like Showboat, which were very nice. But when no one has any money, gambling becomes a luxury no one can afford.
Slightly more than one American household with children in every 25 is surviving on less than $2 per day of income from all sources. One quarter of that 4.3% (that’s 1% of all Americans with children) receive less than $1.25 per day. One third (that’s about 1.33% of all Americans) receive between $1.25 and $2. Another third of that 4.3% receive enough government benefits to be living on between $1.25 and $2 a day. A tiny 0.1% of that 4.3% are even surviving somehow on “Negative income & benefits.”
It would be wrong to conclude that the U.S. safety net is strong, or even adequate, when the number and proportion of households with children surviving on less than $2 per day has risen so dramatically over the past 15 years, even after accounting for means-tested transfers.