Baloney a la mode

According to what’s being fed to the Associated Press for the benefit of those “who only know what they read in the newspapers”, here’s what’s on today’s menu:

“Hopeful Signs for Economy Emerge in Latest Data”

“WASHINGTON (AP) – Fresh signs emerged Monday that the recession is letting up.

“Manufacturing’s slide is slowing. Builders are boosting spending on construction projects – including homes. And consumers aren’t cutting back as much as some feared.

“A trio of reports gave Wall Street a big lift on the same day that industrial icon General Motors Corp. filed for bankruptcy protection. The federal government is taking a majority ownership stake in the company, which announced new plant closings.

“Investors and economists focused instead on the encouraging news about the economy.”

[Do those charlatans really believe that the public is swallowing this hokum? After 108 years of unparalleled business successes, General Motors, is filing for bankruptcy. “New plant closings”? – and we’re supposed to believe that this is “encouraging news about the economy”?]

That AP report was teeming with misleading wishful thinking:
• “A recovery may be just a few months away.” [“may”?]
• “… business inventories shrank, suggesting supplies will soon need to be replenished.” [“suggesting”?]
• “… companies could start to rebuild razor-thin inventories.” [“could”?]
• “Ben Bernanke has said he’s hopeful the recession will end later this year.” [“hopeful”?]

“Encouraging news about the economy”? Baloney is still baloney, no matter how you slice it. Here’s what our illustrious shepherds should have told the flock:

• “Unemployment in U.S. Probably Surpassed 9% in May” (Bloomberg) – Unemployment in the U.S. probably surpassed 9 percent in May for the first time in more than 25 years, underscoring forecasts that the economy will be slow to pull out of the worst recession in half a century, economists said before a report this week.”

• “BALTIMORE – Container ships are lined up off Annapolis, waiting for work. The Port of Baltimore had to buy 15 acres of land to park 57,000 unsold cars. Business is slow these days for Baltimore Longshoremen. ‘We used to be economy-proof,’ said a labor coordinator for the International Longshoreman’s Association. ‘When the dollar was down we imported more. When it was up we exported more. Now imports and exports are down everywhere.’”

• “WASHINGTON, DC – Freight traffic on U.S. railroads continued to reflect a weak economy as traffic remained down in comparison with last year during the week ended May 16, the Association of American Railroads reports. [But weren’t we well into a severe recession “last year” at this time? How would today’s figures compare with May 2007? You don’t want to know.]

• “WASHINGTON, DC – Trade using surface transportation between the United States and its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico was 27.9 percent lower in March 2009 than in March 2008, dropping to $ 51.1 billion, according to the Bureaus of Transportation Statistics (BTS) of the U.S. Department of Transportation. March was the third consecutive month with a yearly decline of greater than 27 percent. [Further “encouraging news about the economy”, no doubt. Note how the report is careful to omit a comparison with the month of March 2007.]

• “LONDON – Box Ship Charter Rates Fall in Peak Season. Container ship charter rates are still falling despite the onset of the peak shipping season, as ocean carriers continue to trim capacity amid stagnant cargo volume on key deep-sea liner trade routes. Pressure on rates has intensified after a group of leading German shipowners last week agreed to offer discounts for approximately 70 ships on charter to struggling Chilean ocean carrier CSAV. The decline in rates has slowed, but there are no signs that the market is bottoming out as the number of idled ships has remained steady over the past month … Brokers fear the market faces a rout in September-October when cargo starts to fall just as carriers take delivery of an armada of ships of 8,000 TEUs and more, ordered at the height of the boom two to three years ago.” [Those deluded carriers should be asking maritime consultants for a return of the fees they were paid.]

• “Seattle Box Volume Dropped 32.5 Percent. April imports and exports kept falling, but port dedicated new terminal in May. The Port of Seattle joined other U.S. ports in posting sub-par volumes for April. Seattle’s international container volume dropped 32.5 percent compared to April 2008. Imports declined 36.1 percent and exports were down 27 percent. At the weekend, however, the port dedicated its newest container terminal, a 70-acre facility with two vessel berths.” [ … and an ideal spot to park about 57,000 unsold cars.]

Regardless of how the material is presented by the devious media, this much is obvious. The unthinkable has happened. General Motors is bankrupt because folks have no money to buy their vehicles … Unemployment has reached 9%, which means folks aren’t getting a spendable income … Container ships are empty and idled, which means goods are not being supplied because the unemployed, the buyers, are no longer demanding goods … Freight traffic continues to fall because the unemployed are not able to demand, and purchase, supplies from manufacturers.

It all goes back to the 9% unemployment figure, doesn’t it? But remember, we cannot compete with overseas labor rates, so our factories will be forever shuttered. So how do we produce the buyers – the employed consumers – needed to turn around our depressed economy? How can we create 50 million new jobs? By doing what we did to end the first Great Depression. Initiate an emergency shipbuilding program again and build patented container ships – with no overseas competition.