Nasty, brutish and long-term?

It’s just a blip, things will be like before any day now.

Last month, Oregon’s jobless rate was 12.4 percent, second highest in the nation. Washington saw its rate climb to 9.4 percent, which mirrors the U.S. average. Employment trends in the metro area mirror statewide trends in Oregon and Washington.

In the 12 months through May, construction employment in the Portland-Vancouver metro region has declined by 10,800 jobs, the professional and business services sector is down 11,900 and manufacturing has given up 11,700 jobs, according to the Oregon employment agency. Manufacturing has been particularly hard hit, with losses in primary metal, down 300 jobs, and machinery manufacturing, off 200.

What we should do is lower interest rates about five points, that’ll work.

Huh? Why can’t we have negative interest rates, you some kind of fancy pants professor or something? If we paid people to borrow money to buy things they can’t afford, what could possibly go wrong? We’ll just recast the terms. Er, um, I’ll get back to you on the exact terminology, I don’t want to appear derivative.

Don’t you understand that neo-liberalism requires a steadfast, hands-off government approach that involves The Greenspanian suppression of interest rates at artificially low levels? What could be more hands off than Fed-created negative interest rates?

We also need a steadfast, hands-off attack on unionization, the root of all evil, and a steadfast, hands-off set of trade deals that steadfastly prevents any other governments from being nice to communists unions. And if anyone wants to see a doctor, that little issue must steadfastly be obfuscated (in a hands-off sort of way) in order to keep people healthy because WE’RE NUMBER ONE! WE’RE NUMBER ONE! USA! USA! JON AND KATE! JON AND KATE!

Here’s a sobering graph:

“Unemployment won’t peak until this time next year, and then it will remain very high through next year,” Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s, told the Post. “It won’t get back to full employment until 2013 or 2014. This really speaks to the severity of the job losses that have been absorbed by the economy. They were massive.”

So we’ve hollowed out our manufacturing sector even more, our financial sector is a basket case and the cost of higher education is skyrocketing. But if people would just buy more houses and cheap plastic crap to put in their houses it would all be over!

Jobs continue to be the biggest single concern for regular folks, but not for the jet-setting Wall Street thieves who ruined the economy in the first place. In their world nothing has really changed all that much. Forty years of dogma is hard to shake. Trust the invisible hand, my friends, even if it’s reaching into your pocket.


  1. 4

    Michael spews:

    Here’s a nifty little graph that shows why all that sprawl housing outside Vancouver wont be filling up any time soon.

    Thanks to its growth management policies Oregon is going to be in a better place as/when the recession ends than most states.

  2. 5

    Evergreen Railfan spews:

    Unemployment percentages are about to drop in Central Puget Sound. That wonderful news comes courtesy of ST.

    Sound Transit is creating over 50,000 new jobs just in the 2009-2010 biennium. Dollars spent on transportation infrastructure multiply like bunnies, and create good-paying, family wage jobs. ST is spending a billion dollars every year and that translates into beaucoup new jobs.

    Unemployed? Able-bodied? Go down to the union hall! There are great jobs begging to be filled NOW.

    The PI Editorial Board knew this would happen:

    Last updated October 17, 2008 2:16 p.m. PT

    The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that 47,500 jobs are created for every billion dollars invested in transportation projects. [Note: Phase I and Phase II are $25 billion worth of spending!]

    An accurate tally of how many jobs would start with the project-related tasks, those in management, design or the construction itself. Add to that entry-level apprenticeship programs — especially those designed for young people or minority groups.

    Or you could measure the direct contracts that will be made with local businesses. “A $10 million investment yields $30 million in sales,” the study says.

    Let’s be clear about this: These are jobs that will not come to the region if we do not expand mass transit.

    Rail, unlike bus systems, opens up all sorts of additional development opportunities (that’s another way of saying, “Yes, even more jobs”). Portland’s experience is that $6 billion in development occurred within walking distance of MAX light rail stations since 1980. There are similar findings in Dallas and San Diego, where property values around the light rail stations jumped by double-digits.

    Sound Transit is a critical public works project. A one-half cent boost in the sales tax seems a reasonable price to pay for so many new jobs. [/i]


    Oregon doesn’t have this! Neener, neener.

  3. 6

    Michael spews:

    From Twitter.

    faramarzhashemiWell done Mr. President. #iranelection

    At least one person in Iran liked what Obama had to say.

  4. 7

    Michael spews:


    I suppose folks from Oregon could reply “Been there, done that.”

    Great to hear about the jobs ‘acoming.

  5. 8

    ArtFart spews:

    It seems that a lot of the “mainstream” news sources, especially the ones that are finance-oriented like the WSJ and Reuters, manage to dredge up at least one “recovery-is-just-around-the-corner” story, but the desperation underneath the veneer in these is getting more apparent. One recent one was about a real-estate investor who tried to claim that he was being “discriminating” in putting his properties on the market. Translation: if he offers too many of them and starts getting low-ball offers, he’ll have to write down his suppposed net worth by some horrendous amount.

  6. 9

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    “Jobs continue to be the biggest single concern for regular folks”

    Jobs, shmobs! This is where regular folks got it wrong. Congress doesn’t want them to work! That’s why Congress taxes the shit out of wages and gives capitalists, managers, big investors, and wealthy heirs a free ride. If everyone quit working, worries about the unemployment rate would be over, because no one would care!

    Since our political system is already devoted to screwing workings and coddling the Owner Class, why not go whole hog? Why hold back? What this country really needs is government incentives to invest in declining stocks of lousy companies. Why should I buy such stocks unless someone pays me to take them off their hands?

    A reverse-interest loan program would be perfect. What a great idea! I’m surprised I didn’t think of it myself. Here’s how it would work: The government would pay me to borrow money to buy crappy stocks. Of course, there has to be a walk-away clause, so if these stocks go even farther south I don’t get stock with the losses — I just hand them over to the taxpayers.

    Wait a minute, don’t we already have a system like this in place? I think it’s called “bailout.” Yes, that’s it, we have “bailouts” for rich investors who make bad bets on bad companies. It’s also sometimes called “socialism for the rich,” which is an accurate description of American-variation capitalism. All that’s left for Congress to do is extend this system to include the little guys.

    In other words, since we already have socialism for the rich, why sholdn’t we also have a little socialism for the poor? Seems fair to me.

    In any case, I don’t see why anyone should work under this system. The rich don’t, so why should regular folks work?

  7. 10

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    If you listen to enough talk radio, one of the things you’ll hear rightwing hate-talkers ranting about is pit bulls. Needless to say, they’re on the wrong side of this issue — did you need to ask? They’re on the wrong side of every issue. Wingers are against restrictions on dogs. They not only think city dwellers should be allowed to own any dog they want (and lions, and crocodiles, and poisonous snakes?), but also should be allowed to run free. And, of course, righties also want “tort reform” so you can’t sue if some wingnut asshole’s pit bull bites you in the crotch and rips your balls off.

    Here’s an example of what righties are willing to defend:


    This is why we need laws against dangerous dogs and criminal and civil liability for their owners.

    Frankly, I think dogs should be banned. Dogs are good for nothing. All they do is bark, crap in public parks, and chase rabbits. All dogs should be shot!

    By the way, have you ever noticed that some humans roam in packs? Maybe some of them should be shot, too.*

    * Just kidding! Ann Coulter joke. Righties laugh at lines like this, so I’m audience-testing it to find out if this style of humor has universal appeal or is limited to certain demographics.

  8. 11

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @5 “The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that 47,500 jobs are created for every billion dollars invested in transportation projects.”

    $1 billion / 47,500 = $21,052.63

    So either these jobs are of short duration or they don’t pay very well.

  9. 12

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I have nothing against mass transit in general or light rail in particular, but I do notice that proponents tend to understate costs and overstate benefits to make their case. As I’ve said before, Seattle’s light rail doesn’t pass the common sense test. Light rail may, on average, be a good deal in an average city, but it costs 10 times as much here as the U.S. average per-mile cost. Which is like paying $300,000 for a $30,000 car. Who in their right mind would agree to a deal like that? Yet, that’s exactly what Puget Sound voters did a year ago.

  10. 13

    Daddy Love spews:

    Everyone should keep in mind that option ARM resets are scheduled to peak in mid-summer 2010, when we will presumably see a new, probably higher spike in foreclosures and accompanying stress on the lending institutions and others who hold the now-worthless mortgages and their deriviative financial products, who are apparently EVERYONE.

    Don’t get all optimistic yet.

  11. 14

    ArtFart spews:

    13 That’s likely to come on the heels of the delayed impact on the financial industry of this year’s job losses. The smarter of those losing their jobs will tighten their belts and cancel their credit cards. The dumber ones will max theirs out or get behind in their payments, get hit with 40% “punitive” rates (since the new law limiting such practices doesn’t go into effect for a while) and be forced into bankruptcy. The net effect will be that all the credit-card based derivatives floating around in the system will become as toxic as the mortgage-backed ones.

  12. 15

    Puddybud is shocked SHOCKED spews:

    With invitations such as these, Puddy can see the Whackminojob Administration being nasty and brutish in the long-term.

    But what can you expect from an administration that postures and goes against it’s own policies?

  13. 17

    Puddybud is shocked SHOCKED spews:

    Maybe the Lawrence, Kansas School System will stop being nasty and brutish in the long-term. Looks like if your politics don’t agree with the ass’t principal they can try and terminate you. Golly where is the checks and balances on the ass’t principal’s political biases?

  14. 18

    Marvin Stamn spews:

    16. Puddybud is shocked SHOCKED spews:
    Of course the City of San Francisco doesn’t want to be nasty and brutish in the long-term

    Nothing like spendiing tax dollars on job training for “undocumented immigrants” that can’t even legally work in this country.
    At least they decided to make

    changes in the program that would prevent a recurrence of instances in which illegal immigrants got their criminal records cleared by going through the Back on Track jobs program, which trains offenders for jobs that undocumented immigrants legally would be prevented from holding.

  15. 19

    Puddybud is shocked SHOCKED spews:

    We wouldn’t want our military to be nasty and brutish in the long term.

    “In the spirit of full disclosure I have to say that I find pretty much anything Senator Boxer says irritating. However, her recent disrespectful and condescending request to a Brigadier General — who had respectfully called her “Ma’am” — to call her “Senator,” made me laugh.

    Generally speaking, I will call someone whatever they want to be called as long as they are willing to return the courtesy. My given name is Jeffrey but you can call me just about any variation of that you want as long as you do it in friendly manner. However, if your name is Charles and you insist on me calling you “Charles” and not “Charlie” or “Chuck” then you will only call me Jeffrey. If you are a Doctor or a Professor and insist I use your title when addressing you then you must address me as Mister.

    I also have a few nicknames and if you know me well enough and long enough you can call me by one of those. My golf buddies can call me any number of names that are not printable here as long as they are also marveling at my shot-making ability at the same time. I also try to treat everyone I meet in daily life with respect. I address everyone I do not know with the title “Sir” or “Ma’am.” The cop who pulls me over for speeding or the person who takes my money at the grocery store get the same treatment.

    I recently did a show at a military base where the commanding officer was a woman. I was unsure how to address this much decorated military person so I asked a tough-looking guy with a bunch of stripes on his arm to guide me. He told me that “Ma’am” was the proper term of address, just as I would say “Sir” if the commander were a man. Then he added some information for which I had not asked.

    “Don’t address her only by her rank.” He said, “That would tell her you think she is a substandard officer.” In the military it seems that insulting an officer to his or her face isn’t tolerated very well. Military people, being a resourceful bunch, have developed a system for letting an officer know that they don’t think too much of them. They use the term of address which least fulfills the requirement of military respect which is using only the person’s title.

    Imagine, for example, you are an enlisted man and you are under the command of a Lieutenant Smith. If Lt. Smith is a competent leader you would address him as “Sir,” “LT” or “Lt. Smith.” If Lt. Smith is an arrogant moron you would always address him simply as “Lieutenant.”

    So when General Walsh quickly came back with “Senator” and not “Senator Boxer” I laughed because I knew what he meant; this is a substandard person for whom I have no respect!

    Let’s all address her as “Senator” from now on.” – Jeffrey Jena

    That was TDF!

  16. 20

    perry peanut spews:

    but it costs 10 times as much here as the U.S. average per-mile cost. Which is like paying $300,000 for a $30,000 car. Who in their right mind would [put] a deal like that [on the ballot]?

    The cocksucking appointees on ST’s board, that’s who. The lousy shitstains who want to slam the poor people they are supposed to be serving with taxes to benefit their capitalist pigfuck friends: the bond lawyers and real estate developers in Seattle’s and Bellevue’s downtowns.

    Gotta love how the political leaders in this state and city think! They fuck poor families financially, and overtax people with regressive sales taxes that are levied at high rates way too long.

    If voters had been told the truth about what an abusive taxing plan was on the table it would have been rejected. The proponents lied by omission.

  17. 21

    Marvin Stamn spews:


    jon & kate viewers from their latest cable show – 10.6 million
    obama infomercial viewers on national teev – 4.703 million
    I remember not too long ago when people would flock to hear the obama read off his teleprompter. Not so much anymore.