Monday, May 04, 2009

The Moderate Voice: A Roundup of Encouraging Economic News

Read It And Weep, Wingnuts, while the people who want to see the country succeed start feeling cautiously hopeful.

Some highlights:

Consumer confidence soared in April to its highest level since the September failure of Lehman Brothers.

The Dow soared 214 points, or 2.6%, to end at 8426.74, the highest close since Jan. 13. The blue-chip benchmark has risen 29% since closing at a 12-year low of 6547.05 on March 9.

The benchmark S&P 500 rose above 900 for the first time since early January, on bets that banks won’t have to raise as much capital as previously thought, and housing data fueled hopes that the recession is ebbing.

Hey, Joey! Didn't you say below that the S & P was "the better gauge?" Heh.

Pending sales of previously owned homes rose for a second straight month in March, while construction spending edged higher, according to reports on Monday that suggested moderation in the long housing slump.

Tangible signs of revival in the global equity capital markets took place in April, with the amount of money raised through initial public offerings, follow-on offerings and, most noticeably, convertible bonds, reaching levels not seen since mid-way through last year.

Bill Frejlich, a futures broker at Fox Investments in Chicago, said that there has been a marked change in investor sentiment.

“We’ve reached a point where the selloffs are short-lived,” he said. “Even if you get a downdraft, it lasts a week or so, then you get a new high because people are looking for entry points to the market.”

We're not out of the woods yet, of course. But the people who were hoping and praying for four years of continued economic failure because it would make their party look better must be having a rough time of it.


Charlie Stella said...

Let's assume this momentary uptick in the stock market means something real (and I very much hope it does), you do realize that many (if not most) workers (those still with jobs) have already lost benefits, taken pay cuts, lost work hours and seniority all while the fat cats who ran this economy into the ground lost comparatively nothing and some have even gained.

Some of those setbacks (in the form of benefits) for workers (again, the ones who still have a job--many have lost their jobs and their homes), took decades to achieve and were wiped out with one piece of legislation (because although Dems talk tough about regulation, the money they so willingly gave away to those who caused the mess was given with very few strings attached--certainly no strings that protected workers).

I know, it's a broken record. So is some of this absurd cheerleading. You didn't even have to ask? Are you kidding? Tell me you're kidding.

That bit of Encouraging Economic "news" comes the same day as Chrysler announced (after it filed for bankruptcy) it's 14 billion dollar loss debacle will last through 2011 (if they're still around) ... you know Chrysler, the bankruptcy the white house was trying to spin as the greatest thing since sliced bread ... the same company you thought was doing something positive by granting the UAW 55% of its ownership. Again, 55% of a failed company is 55% of nothing.

I know Goldman Sachs posted big earnings last week, too, JD ... and jobs in New York (especially at Goldman Sachs where my son works reduced hours for an outsourcer) continue to disappear ... glad Goldman is doing so well at our expense.

Warms my heart as much as that stock market one-day surge probably warms the hearts of all those who lost their jobs at 4 Chrysler plants this week.

Something tells me big money is moving the market to its advantage only. I don't know many middle or lower class people invested in the market. Most of the middle and lower class people I know are sweating one day to the next whether or not they still have a job.

Anonymous said...

Rosy: Anyone can go on the internet and grab quotes:

"The initial enthusiasm over profit improvements was also dampened by a closer look at where they came from. To slow the slide in profits, companies have slashed costs largely by shedding workers and cutting back hours for those still on the payroll.

Last week, the Labor Department reported that its Employment Cost Index, a broad measure of wages and benefits, bumped up by just 0.3 percent in the first quarter. That was the weakest gain since records began in June 1982. Cuts in worker benefits, including pensions, also helped bolstered profits; the Labor Dept reported that benefit costs rose by just 0.5 percent.

But with consumers still hunkered down, sales continued to fall. Overall, companies in the S&P 500 have posted a 12.5 drop in revenues compared to a year ago — just 89 of the 341 reporting by the end of last week posted a gain in sales."

Don't try to be a Warren Buffett, you're coming out more like Rachel Maddow.

JD Rhoades said...

Yesterday, you touted the S & P as the "better gauge" of the health of the stock market and on March 7th cited a 22% drop in the S & P as evidence that "investors aren't buying it" (between repeating the same lame insult about me eating paint chips). Nothing then about the Labor Dept or ECI, it was all about the almighty S & P. Your words, Joey. Do you disown them now that the S & P is up?

As for going on the Internet and grabbing quotes, read the article at the link. It uses multiple sources and multiple signs that things are trending up. But you're so eager to see your country in pain so you can continue to promote your own failed political agenda that you'll just ignore or downplay ANY good news, even if it comes from indices you yourself have cited as authoritative.

At least Charlie has the good grace to say he hopes it means something real.

charlie stella said...

Good grace and genuine nervousness ... if I lose my job and my wife loses hers, inside a year or so the bank gets our house.

I can't tell you how much I hate feeling so vulnerable to this bullshit. You bet I'm hoping.

charlie stella said...

This in today's NY Times about Bernake, et al ...and credit card regulations. Look at how hard we're all protected. Look at the expediency this gov't (both sides) is at work to protect all of us.

What a joke.

“The Federal Reserve’s failure to protect consumers from these outrageous rate increases is unconscionable,” Mr. Schumer said. Noting that the Fed had swiftly used its emergency powers to rescue “teetering financial institutions,” he attacked the Fed chairman for refusing to act more quickly to protect credit card customers.

“What about the the family that has a $10,000 balance and had its rate jump from 7 to 23 percent?” Mr. Bernanke said he was “very concerned” about such practices, but said that cutting short the normal process for approving new regulations might simply provoke banks to raise their rates even more quickly or to cut many customers off entirely.

“It’s a quandary,” he told Mr. Schumer.

“I’m very frustrated,” the senator responded. “You could have figured out a better way than the one you have chosen.”

What Mr. Schummer forgot to mention was that he couldn't sign that fucking legislation fast enough to ... "swiftly used its emergency powers to rescue 'teetering financial institutions'" ...

Tom said...

Charlie, no one has yet shown me any credible proof that letting the banking and credit systems collapse would have been to our benefit.

I get your outrage. I've worked six part-time jobs at a time to keep us afloat when my wife was ill and we had no insurance. And I have grandkids who will inherit The Big Bill.

But I can't see that allowing Wall Street to collapse would have been anything but a long-reaching, long-lasting disaster.

You just can't eat a Pyrrhic victory.

Tom Panek said...

Look, it's ALL noise. The people who didn't see the downturn coming when the rest of us were already feeling it are the ones cheering for every little improvement now. I think when it actually does turn around, we'll know it before all the prognosticators do. What are their indicators? The same ones they swore had us in a growth period (the Stock Market, buyer confidence, etc.) in the last year of the Bush administration? None of them is down here in the trenches with us little guys. None of them is struggling to keep their homes, feed their kids or put gas in the car. They stand from afar and look at their peers (corporations, banks, etc.) and tell us how bad it is, but there are signs that it's improving. Who's out there buying homes right now? The people who've just lost a home to foreclosure, or the ones who have enough money to buy at bargain prices, or snap up homes out of foreclosure? Who's buying stocks, the poor guy whose 401K is nearly wiped out, or the fatcat who has enough extra cash on hand to swoop in and scoop up stocks that are grossly undervalued?

Don't get me wrong. I'm not decrying Obama's initiatives one bit. I'm looking for all the signs that say this is turning, too. But until I hear about the little people turning around, it's still pretty grim. The people able to invest now never really got hurt like the little people. They just pulled back and waited for their time to come.

When the cheap seats fill up again, that's when the ballgame will really start.

charles stella said...

Tom: I never said we should've let them collapse. I said there should have been stipulations written into the bailouts that precluded the banks from setting the terms: a) you borrow our money, you don't lay us off; b) you borrow our money, you kill the outsourcing you've already done and best never do it again until you pay off the loans; c) some form of gov't 401K bailout for all of us who were crushed by the banks irresponsibility whether it was in the form of rebates, deferred interest and penalities should we need it and/or how about the fact that if you borrowed (as we had to to pay extra taxes this year) should either of us get laid off from the jobs where our 401K's reside, we have to pay them back instantly? Then you could start on the absurd golden parachutes, etc.

And if they couldn't agree to at least that, then let them fail.

This gov't didn't give a fucking thought to workers. Not for a fucking second. Some of the assholes didn't even read the legislation.

My outrage has to do with giving away our money to the absolute benefit of Wall Street and detriment to the rest of us.

charlie stella said...

And then you can add this from Ralph Nader:

Yesterday morning, eight doctors, lawyers and other activists stood up to Senator Max Baucus.

And the private health insurance industry.

And the corporate liberals in Congress.

The eight activists demanded that single payer - everybody in, nobody out, free choice of doctor and hospital - be put on the table.

And as a result they were arrested.

And charged with a so-called "disruption of Congress."

The Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, Politico, Democracy Now and National Public Radio all carried stories about the protest.

C-Span carried it live.

And it was widely disseminated on the Internet.

Baucus crafted a hearing to kick off the health care debate in the Senate yesterday where 15 witnesses would be at the table to discuss health care reform.

The insurance industry was at the table.

The Business Roundtable was at the table.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was at the table.

Blue Cross Blue Shield was at the table.

The Heritage Foundation was at the table.

And corporate liberals like Andy Stern, Ron Pollack, and AARP were at the table.

But not one person who stood for what the majority of Americans, doctors, nurses, and health economists want - single payer - was at the table.

Not one.

When I heard about this corporate line-up last week, I called the office of Senator Baucus.

And politely asked that, as a matter of fairness, a single payer doctor be allowed to testify.

I was told - no way, Ralph.

The deal is done.

So, yesterday, at 10 a.m., the Baucus Eight, led by Single Payer Action and other single payer groups, took to the Senate Finance Committee.

And directly and respectfully confronted a room full of corporate lobbyists.

And corporate controlled Senators.

And again asked that a group of doctors who were in the room to support Medicare for all be allowed to testify.

The answer again - no, no, and no.

Remember what Senator Richard Durbin said last week?

Durbin said that the banks "own" the Congress.

To which we might add - the health insurance industry and the drug industry own the Senate.

Faxing, writing, and e-mailing is not getting it done.

Enough is enough.

Time for action.

This is a winnable issue.

But the American people need to focus on 535 members of Congress.

And get mobilized.

Single Payer Action is at your service to get the job done.

So, donate now -- $8, $18, $80, or $800.

To honor the Baucus Eight - who all wore black yesterday in memory of the more than 20,000 Americans who - according to the Institute of Medicine - die every year from lack of health insurance.

And to fuel a citizen action movement that will deliver single payer to the American people - sooner not later.

Together, we can break the corporate stranglehold on Congress.

And deliver health care for all.

Single payer.

More comprehensive. More efficient. More humane. More peace of mind.

Let's get it done.

Onward to single payer,

Ralph Nader

And I still say the difference between the Reps and the Dems is a very thin pubic hair.

John McFetridge said...

Wow, Charlie, you almost sound Canadian, or maybe even European. Single payer health care, everyone in? protectionism? Regulations? We always understood that most Americans would hate to be like Europe or Canada.

charlie stella said...

John: When my beloved new york state buffalo bills move to Toronto, I may have to become Canadian.

Then, my friend, you guys have problems.

John McFetridge said...

And when you get here to see your beloved Bills, Charlie, we'll introduce you to three-down football.

You'll love it.