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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

July 23, 2009 at 10:00 AM

Are big investors betting that Obama has been ‘broken’?

Top of the News: It’s tempting to say that the Dow has crossed 9,000 in anticipation of the failure of President Obama on healthcare reform. South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint has said healthcare reform’s defeat will “break” Obama, be “his Waterloo.”

Financial reform has already been turned back, things are getting back to “normal” at Goldman Sachs and AIG chugs along with our tax dollars, privatizing profit and socializing losses.

According to a Bloomberg poll, only 49 percent of the U.S. “investing class” approves of the president, compared with 87 percent abroad. FDR “welcomed their hatred,” but the cautious centrist in the White House today has taken note and retreated from even modest reform. A tax on the richest to pay for healthcare will be the next to go.

Of course the market commentators will cite earnings reports and economic news to justify the rally.

Yet the Dow remains strikingly disconnected from the real economy, just as the concerns diverge between those who primarily make their money from investing and those who work for wages.

The Dow shrugged off the scary news embedded in Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley’s earnings, which disappointed because of the huge overhang in commercial real estate loans. And then there’s joblessness…

The Back Story: A total of 279,231 workers were let go in June as part of 2,763 mass layoffs, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. These are the big job cuts (more than 50 from a single employer) that must be reported, and although they don’t represent the entire layoff picture they are a bellwether of sorts.

The pace of mass layoffs moderated very slightly from May’s record — down 170. Manufacturing saw 27 percent of all mass layoff actions. Some 2 million American manufacturing jobs have been lost since the beginning of the recession, and the U.S. now has fewer workers employed in this sector than any other industrialized nation except France.

Today’s Econ Haiku:

Housing sales are up.

Does that mean recovery?

That’s a lot to buy

Comments | More in Jobs/Unemployment, Politics and the economy, Stock market

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