One hardly knows what to say. Dares one hope that some form of reality, however weak and watered down, is finally forcing its way through the gated, security-guarded, and electrified fences of the corporate aristocracy? Or not? On the one hand Goldman got away with its illegal stock-maneuvering-to-destroy-the-global-economy ploy by settling for a pittance of its ill-gotten gains.
Up and down Wall Street, the government's $550 million legal settlement with Goldman - to some, a slap in the face, to others, a slap on the wrist - has banking executives running the odds.
After two months of strident claims and equally strident denials, the matter was finally settled, and for a price Goldman could easily afford. The penalty amounted to about 15 days of profits. On Friday, as other banking shares tumbled along with the broad market, Goldman's share price rose again.
This is the Wall Street equivalent of fining a rapist $10 for the panties he ruined, or ordering the mugger who shot you for your shoes to turn in one of his bullets. It is beyond insulting, proving once again if more be needed that America has been corposmacked so completely that it can no longer tell the difference between justice and a keg party.
On the other hand, the women who belong to the corporate aristocracy - and through them their owners (maybe) - are beginning to notice a disturbing trend: it seems that stealing so much $$$ from those losers in the middle and lower classes means that the companies the women's owners invest in so they can pay for all the goodies their playthings go shopping for, aren't doing very well because the losers don't have any money to spend to keep them going. Put it another way:
The economic recovery has been helped in large part by the spending of the most affluent. Now, even the rich appear to be tightening their belts.
Late last year, the highest-income households started spending more confidently, while other consumers held back. But their confidence has since ebbed, according to retail sales reports and some economic analysis.
"One of the reasons that the recovery has lost momentum is that high-end consumers have become more jittery and more cautious," said Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Analytics.
That cautious attitude stems in part from concerns about global instability, especially in Europe, and in part from the volatility of the stock market in recent months. Major stock indexes fell sharply on Friday, after several big companies announced disappointing earnings.
Turns out it's all us losers that keep everything running, not the Few Fabulously Rich, and there is a certain consequence when you steal all our money and then invest it in stocks which require us to keep buying things to keep the stock price going up and make the investment profitable. If we don't got it, we can't spend it. If we don't spend it, the stocks crumble. See how that works?
We're back to the same ominous trend as before the Great Recession: a larger and larger share of total income going to the very top while the vast middle class continues to lose ground.
And as long as this trend continues, we can't get out of the shadow of the Great Recession. When most of the gains from economic growth go to a small sliver of Americans at the top, the rest don't have enough purchasing power to buy what the economy is capable of producing.
The bimbos do, and let's face it, it's the bimbos who do most of the personal spending (if her owner wants a toy, like a jet or a yacht or the deed to Darien, CT, why he just charges it off to his company expense account). They, unlike their owners apparently, can see the writing on the wall. They're starting to hoard.
[T]he Top 5 percent in income earners - those households earning $210,000 or more - account for about one-third of consumer outlays, including spending on goods and services, interest payments on consumer debt and cash gifts, according to an analysis of Federal Reserve data by Moody's Analytics. That means the purchasing decisions of the rich have an outsize effect on economic data. According to Gallup, spending by upper-income consumers - defined as those earning $90,000 or more - surged to an average of $145 a day in May, up 33 percent from a year earlier.
Then in June, that daily average slid to $119. "I think a lot of that feeling that the worst was over has sort of abated," said Dennis J. Jacobe, Gallup's chief economist.
It's dawning on the bimbos that the Golden Goose has made itself impotent and they'd better start planning for an afterlife 'cause the glow of 14K eggs sliding down the Wall Street poop chute may not be what it was once the s hits the f. And the bimbos know it will.
Missing from almost all discussion of America's dizzying rate of unemployment is the brute fact that hourly wages of people with jobs have been dropping, adjusted for inflation. Average weekly earnings rose a bit this spring only because the typical worker put in more hours, but June's decline in average hours pushed weekly paychecks down at an annualized rate of 4.5 percent.
In other words, Americans are keeping their jobs or finding new ones only by accepting lower wages.
Thanks, Bob. We knew that but lots of people who read you don't. The bimbos, tho, have figured it out and they're taking steps to make sure they don't end up where their owners have left us.
In the soup.
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