15 Signs of the (Depressing) Times

Depression soup line

I stumbled upon a new blog that’s appropriate for a chronicler of downfalls like yours truly: The Economic Collapse. It’s written by an Idahoan with a finance degree and a law degree, Michael Snyder, who isn’t a doomsayer in any immediate sense, but focuses on a sort-of rolling, momentum-building doom that will play out over “a number of  years.”

Snyder came up with a list of 15 signs that the American economy is “going downhill really fast.” As I read the post last night, a well-worn phrase kept jumping into my mind: “As California goes, so goes the nation.”  It seems many of these U.S. stats have a solid foundation in California, a state that can really lead – as long as the direction is downward.

Here are Snyder’s 15 points:

#1 The number of part-time workers in the United States has just hit a brand new all-time high, but the number of full-time workers is still nearly 6 million below the old record that was set back in 2007.

#2 In America today, only 47 percent of adults have a full-time job.

#3 Even though the U.S. economy created nearly 200,000 jobs in June, the number of full-time jobs actually decreased.

#4 There are now 2.7 million temp workers in the United States – a new all-time high.

#5 One out of every ten jobs in the United States is now filled through a temp agency.

#6 The U.S. economy has actually lost manufacturing jobs for four consecutive months.

#7 The official unemployment rate has been at 7.5 percent or higher for 54 months in a row.  That is the longest stretch in U.S. history.

#8 According to one recent survey, 76 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.

#9 At this point, one out of every four American workers has a job that pays $10 an hour or less.

#10 High paying manufacturing jobs continue to be shipped overseas.  Sadly, there are fewer Americans employed in manufacturing now than there was in 1950 even though the population of the country has more than doubled since then.

#11 Today, the United States actually has a higher percentage of workers doing low wage work than any other major industrialized nation does.

#12 The U.S. economy continues to trade good paying jobs for low paying jobs.  60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were mid-wage jobs, but 58 percent of the jobs created since then have been low wage jobs.

#13 Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs.  Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.

#14 At this point, an astounding 53 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year.

#15 According to a study that was released by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, only 24.6 percent of all jobs in the United States qualify as “good jobs” at this point. (In this definition, a good job pays at least $18.50 an hour, provides access to health insurance that’s partially employer-funded, and access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan.)

Progressives don’t take this kind of thing lying down. You can find – if you’re so inclined – a response for each of these points and a companion list of 15 signs that everything just keeps getting better and better under the California/Obama model. Maybe if they spent less time rebutting and more time getting their heads out of their butts, we could avoid an economic collapse.

“… And Why It Matters To America”

I added “and Why It Matters to America” to the subtitle of Crazifornia because California’s self-destruction does indeed matter to the rest of the country. As I note in the book’s first chapter, the state has a very big fan in an oval office 3,000 miles to the east:

President Obama certainly thinks [“As California goes, so goes the nation” ] is true. In a speech given shortly after his election, he warned America what he had in mind, saying, “Consistently, California has hit the bar and then the rest of the country has followed.” In other speeches, the president has held up California’s environmental regulations and its approach to providing healthcare to the poor as models for the rest of the nation. But he holds his highest praise for California’s aggressive push to save the planet from global warming, and he makes no bones about how much he wants other states to follow California into the happy green economy. In a campaign speech, he said, “In states like New Hampshire and California, people are taking the lead on producing fuels that use less carbon. It’s time we made this a national commitment ….”

His commitment to following California’s lead is one of the rare campaign promises he has kept. Shortly after his [2008] election, the new Obama EPA announced an about-face from the position it held during the Bush years and dropped its opposition to California’s efforts to impose automotive fuel economy standards that are much more stringent than their federal counterparts. In return, California agreed to adhere to the national standard – as long as the national standard was basically its standard. This change in policy allowed California to go ahead with its technocrats’ demand that new cars and trucks in the state must achieve 40 percent better fuel economy by 2016 – a fleet average of 35.5 mpg. When the announcement was made, 13 other states and the District of Columbia were cued up to follow – even though the standards are predicted to raise the price of a car by $1,300 and, in the opinion of many experts, would lead to more highway driving deaths because cars would be lighter, and therefore less safe. [Emphasis added]

Imagine how much better the president will feel about California now that it gave him a 20 percent margin over Mitt Romney – 10  times his margin elsewhere!

California critic and ace demographer Joel Kotkin sees just that, writing that the 2012 election will lead to “a massive bear hug” with Obama and California’s Progressive super-majority wrapped tightly in each others arms:

These results assure that California will serve as the prime testing ground for President Obama’s form of post-economic liberalism. Every dream program that the Administration embraces — cap and trade, massive taxes on the rich, high-speed rail — is either in place or on the drawing boards. In Sacramento, blue staters don’t even have to worry about over-reach because the Republicans here have dried into a withered husk. They have about as much influence on what happens here as our family’s dog Roxy, and she’s much cuter.

Read the whole piece. It’s a beaut.

What happens in love affairs when the suitor is loaded and the suitee is hurting for money? A shower of gifts, of course. Obama will see to it that federal money pours into California for the next four years, which may sound good, but it’s not.  Federal largesse will only help to solidify even further the Democrats’ hold on the state, and will make California more dependent on the federal government.

As California follows the path Progressives want all to follow – towards an ever more complete dependence on the central government – California will be transformed from the Golden State to the unwed teenage mother state. She will be dependent on government for sustenance, and she will know another baby – another costly program Obama will jump to support – will bring more money. So the “babies,” crying for government’s comforting nipple, will come, and come, and come.

It’s not a pretty picture for such a pretty place.