“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into”

Jonathan Swift
"The Democrats have moved to the right, and the right has moved into a mental hospital." - Bill Maher
"The city is crowded my friends are away and I'm on my own
It's too hot to handle so I gotta get up and go

It's a cruel ... cruel summer"

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Oh, OK . . . I'll just tell the bank

(Unemployed men vying for jobs at the American Legion Employment Bureau in Los Angeles during the Great Depression.)

Or is it 2009? (25,000 Detroiters converged on Cobo Hall to get one of the 5,000 applications for federal aid to people in poverty.)

Hear the good news? The recession is over! Everything's looking UP! Or so says, bazzillionaire Larry Summers, (now pulling down a taxpayer-funded six digit income.)

(Part of the daily lineup outside the State Employment Service Office. Memphis, Tennessee. June 1938. Photographer: Dorothea Lange.)

BE HAPPY! Your future job is just around the corn . . .uhh . . . next year or two. Don't worry! After all, employment is a lagging indicator, so I guess I can just tell my mortgage holder and credit cards that payment might be lagging . . .

Look at this unemployment chart from calculated risk blog: Look like improvement to you?

Look, you have a job. You worked hard to get to the spot you are in. You are not seeing anything about this stuff on the TeeVee. Yeah, it's bad out there but people should have planned better . . . LOOK! OVER THERE! Letterman was banging a staffer!

It's time for an adult conversation in this country about the economy. I know it is not uplifting, but we need to face up to the fact that millions of people are losing it all, and are sliding rapidly backwards from the middle class lifestyle they once had, and their spending losses made permanent. Fact is, if you have a job you are going to be OK. Those of us out in the rain? A long hard slog. A lost decade.

The kids getting out of school are getting decimated. NYTimes Bob Herbert.
"Only 65 of every 100 men aged 20 through 24 years old were working on any given day in the first six months of this year. In the age group 25 through 34 years old, traditionally a prime age range for getting married and starting a family, just 81 of 100 men were employed."


Myself? Been EIGHT difficult months.

3 months salary in savings. a small severance. GONE. At age 41 I have had to borrow money from my 401k (about 10 years worth of saving and investing with huge penalties), and borrow money from my parents to survive, and I AM LUCKY. Unemployment insurance income represents 9% of what I was making. Do a little math in your head if you had to subsist on 9% of what you are making.

Been busy too. . .

Plan A: Get another gig like I had. Over 150 applications sent regardless of openings. Financial Firms STILL firing business development folks. Career path: GONE

Plan B: acquire existing tax business. SBA needed seller to self finance 30% for a loan. Seller threw up all sorts of requirements. Me and partner had to back away.

Plan C: Start a tax firm from scratch. Partner too reluctant, worried in this economy.

Plan D: Get anything with a paycheck, in or out of sector experience. 300+ applications sent, overqualified, not hiring, job freezes, posted job had internal fill (required to post, not a real opening) A few interviews. Mostly nothing.

Plan E: PLAN F**KING E? Seriously? Going back to school to get the credits I need to sit for the CPA exam. Been at it 1 month already. Old Dogs can learn new CRM systems. LOL

What about income? How long can the family survive on this austerity level? As long as we can. I don't have a date. My wife and I have stopped talking about the future. About kids' college. Kindermusik. Paying off the car early. Future vacations. That ladder rung where we were looks awfully far up . . .

Last point. A friend in the industry I have known and respected for 10 years called me last week. We used to call him "Mr. Clean", and he was. He was the most ethical guy I know. He did so many hard luck cases, we used to tease him. He told me that he was let go 2 months ago, and asked what was out there. He sighed and broke down.

You see, his wife is disabled. A car wreck. He has three kids. He lives in upper state NY just outside Manhattan. He is going to lie on a mortgage app, get a HELOC on his house, pull all of his equity out and let the bank take it. Integrity be damned.

That was his best option. Parents are dead. He can't afford health care for his wife without an employer plan, Safety net? You kidding?

So please congress. . . by all means . . . take your time on health reform. Take your time funding potential job creation. Just wait until the non-existent free market turns things around by itself, so you don't piss off your corporate owners.

After all . . . no one will see us on the TeeVee or Meet The Press . . .

-Prodigal Son