So, the Dow and the S&P 500 yesterday both closed with the highest numbers in their separate histories. The Dow hit 16,695.47 and the S&P topped out at 1896.65.
CNN Money offers this explanation: “Investors poured money into the perceived safety of blue chip companies and seem to believe the economy is improving….”
Well, isn’t that dandy? So goddamned what.
Here’s my alternative to the smoke-and-mirrors financial and economic reportage offered by our esteemed corporate media outlets such as CNN, MSNBC, Fox, the Wall Street Journal and all the rest of those shit shovelers. Let’s establish a brand new pair of indexes, call them the How? and the Wretched & Poors. They’ll be designed to give us a picture of the economy, not as it affects big shot moneybags investors but you and me.
The How? (as in, how can we afford…?) will be comprised of 30 families who can reasonably be described as Middle Class. They will come from all corners of this holy land and be selected to represent as many family set-ups as possible, including two-parent families, those with no kids, single parent units, gay parents, blacks, whites, reds, yellows and browns, immigrant families, and even single-person households.
A Blue Chip Investment
This new financial and economic index will measure those families in terms of their daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly economic buying power. If, say, one of the wage-earners in the family loses her job, that would profoundly negatively affect its standing within the index. Conversely, whenever that family finishes any measuring period, say a week, with a few bucks left over after paying all its bills, why they’ll be hailed as great successes, the hot stock family.
The Wretched & Poors index would be populated by 500 families and individuals who live below a given poverty line, all of whom are as demographically diverse as those in the How? and measured the same way their Middle Class counterparts are.
Member, Wretched & Poors 500 (Photo/Mary Ellen Marks)
See, the 30 corporate giants followed by the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the 500 common stock companies of the S&P supposedly give us a picture of our nation’s economic health. Problem is, even if, say, McDonald’s is doing fabulously well, its employees just might not be so flush. Wait, let me amend that: they positively won’t be so flush.
Saint Ronald Reagan told us a rising tide raises all boats back some 35 years ago. That’s a pretty image, but it’s inherently full of horseshit. It depends, first off, on the wealthy of America sprinkling their dollars all around the country so that the rest of us thirsty for them can lap the cash up. I know I’m not at all happy about a miniscule elite controlling America’s dough and bestowing it upon me in whatever drips and drops they wish. Second off, those drips and drops, by the time they get to the poorest of us, have pretty much been collected by other wealthy folk, because that’s who the wealthy do business with.
When George H. W. Bush ran against Reagan for the presidency in 1980, he called Dutch’s money plans “voodoo economics.” That’s a nice start. I’d go with “fuck you economics.” As in, we’ve got all the money and we’ll give the rest of you what we want, if you’re lucky and if we make piles and piles of it more than the obscene amounts we already have, and if you don’t like it, fuck you.
In fact, let’s call the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Standard & Poors 500 the Fuck You indices. My proposed How? and Wretched & Poors indices would be the real economic barometers of America.
The great city o’Bloomington has been ranked the 15th best burgh in Indiana in which to live by some outfit called Movoto.
Movoto sez a bunch of Indianapolis suburbs as well as Columbus and West Lafayette are better places to live than our town.
The Herald Times ran an editorial on the rankings today. It was a hand-wringing, dear-us screed that asked “How in the world could a ranking of the 10 best cities of Indiana not include Bloomington?”
Not The Best?
How indeed? How about a city whose newspaper howls about the tragic unfairness of not recognizing Bloomington as heaven on Earth but neglects even to mention who did the ranking, when it was done, or why.
Yes, your Electron Pencil had to do the digging to find out about Movoto. It’s an online real estate listing service that also runs a blog offering a humorous take on real estate news and trends (wow ⎼ talk about setting a near-impossible goal for yourself!) It’s the blog that did the ranking that so insulted the H-T editorialists. The Movoto blog’s tagline is “The lighter side of real estate.”
The Herald Times brain trust, presumably, was so miffed about the slight that they won’t even mention Movoto’s name.
I’m willing to bet West Lafayette’s paper did, though, and most likely added what a fine and sophisticated bunch of arbiters Movoto employs.
With a VENGEANCE! Welcome back big guy. I don’t agree with what I think is your premise. The poor are not poor because the rich are rich. The economy is not a zero sum game. In my view
the wealth gap is due to the evolution of the economy from manufacturing to tech and services. We are in a very painful transition period but it cannot be avoided.
“Welcome Back! Your dreams were your ticket out.”
Yes indeedy, we’ve been had. From a market economy to a service economy to a consumer economy to today’s fully faith-based one. We fully entered Opposite World under St. Ronnie’s scripted fictions when he harnessed the pig ignorant and Jerry Falwell’s God. As it was re-written, so shall it be. I still contend that RWR, frustrated that his 20-Mule Team delusions would never be realized, he opted for a course he was told would hasten the death and resurrection of his fictional America. Instead he only succeeded in closing the perpetual wealth loop.
There is the “Misery Index” http://www.miseryindex.us/, but one could argue that its components are compromised by the 1% , through unfettered, untethered manipulation.
I would also contend that there is an adequate paper trail for the eventual return of ill-gotten gains. It would require that an independent populism/progressiveness take hold to turn the tide, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
Hey, a boy can dream…
When it comes to ratings, rankings, recognition and awards, they’ve been rendered meaningless. Every rib place in Chicago, every Chili place in Ohio, every winery/brewery…
can claim itself the “World’s Best” or Award winning on the merit of some “contest” of comparison. Ribbons, rings, medals, plaques, certificates… anybody who’s been on this planet long enough gathers a recycling bin’s worth. Few are worthy of mention. Many that were once worthy have been degraded. When it comes to places worth living, (or NOT living), you get out what you put in.
I guess I’m just a habitual “outsider” who finds the “cool kid’s” need to brag and compare their junk kinda silly? Different strokes for different strokes?