“I’ll have what they’re havin’ …”

“The actual cause of our economic tailspin is widespread joblessness, and unless jobs can be found – real jobs – the economy will never recover.” That’s how we ended Article 7.

And here’s what the Associated Press came up with the next day:

“Survey: Most economists see recovery beginning”.

“New York — More than 80 percent of economists believe the recession is over and an expansion has begun, but they expect the recovery will be slow as worries over unemployment and high federal debt persist.

“That consensus comes from leading forecasters in a survey by the National Association for Business Economics released Monday.

“‘The survey found that the vast majority of business economists believe that the recession has ended but that the economic recovery is likely to be more moderate than those typically experienced following steep declines,’ said NABE President-elect Lynn Reaser …

“‘The good news is that this deep and long recession appears to be over, and with improving credit markets, the U.S. economy can return top solid growth next year without worry about rising inflation, said Reaser.”

According to the Associated Press, the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) panelists consists of 44 economists surveyed between September 2nd and September 24th. “More than 80 percent” of them – that’s about 36 of their number – believe “that the recession has ended”. But don’t take it to the bank.

In order for these panelists to “see” such nonsense, they must have been looking through the bottoms of their whiskey glasses. What they surely didn’t “see” were the following headlines:

• The headline: “California Hotel Foreclosures Triple in Travel Slump”
• The story — “(Bloomberg) — Hotel foreclosures in California more than tripled in the first nine months of this year as business travelers and vacationers cut spending … Loans secured by more than 1,500 hotels with a total outstanding balance of $ 24.5 billion may be in danger of default … The survey didn’t include states other than California.”

• The headline: “Detroit News — Thousands hoping to get applications for federal help on rent and utility bills turned Cobo Center into a chaotic scene today”
• The story — “It was difficult to estimate the crowd because lines snaked all through the convention center and outside along the building and down the parking ramp along Cobo Arena to the river. One police officer estimated the crowd at 50,000.”

• The headline: “Charlotte, NC — B of A loses more than $ 2.2 billion”
• The story: — “Bank of America Corp. lost more than $ 2.2 billion in the third quarter as loan losses kept rising, providing further evidence that consumers are still struggling to pay their bills … Bank of America is considered particularly vulnerable to unemployment.”

• The headline: “India News — Maersk Line to cut capacity on Atlantic Services”
• The story: — “‘This has never been done before,’ said Maersk Atlantic Trade Director, Mr. Soren Castbak. ‘This is new on the Atlantic because when you look years back, when has anyone taken out of the transatlantic?’ he asked.”

• The headline: “Business Times — S’pore Sept. container traffic falls 5.8% from August”
• The story: — “Traffic was 16 percent lower than a year earlier, government data showed … The world trade downturn battered shipping firms such as Singapore’s Neptune Orient Lines and pushed Singapore into its deepest ever economic contraction.”

• The headline: “Shipping in ‘desperate’ need of Chinese financing”
• The story: — “Chinese banks should play a bigger role in helping the world’s shipping industry, in desperate need of capital, said an executive at Nordea Bank AB, the biggest loan coordinator … Banks have curbed lending because of increased risk as shipowners struggle to obtain funding for new vessels.”

• The headline: “Dubai World Cuts Global Workforce by 15%”
• The story: — “State-controlled investment group Dubai World said on Oct. 15 it has to cut back its worldwide workforce by 15% to below 70,000 because of the global financial crisis. One of the largest marine operators, DP World announced that, faced with a slowdown in the container terminal industry, it was reviewing expansion plans and freezing recruitment.”

If Will Rogers could be here today he’d (with tongue-in-cheek) take those NABE “panelists” off the hook by reminding us that “ … they only know what they read in the newspapers”. And what’s presented by this country’s government-controlled media, of course, is only what the “economic experts” in our current administration want us to believe.

Those economist/panelists in the NABE should be ashamed of themselves. Assuming that they’re accredited in their chosen field, it’s fair to ask why they haven’t bothered to look into the events of the 1930s and the steps that were taken to put an end to that period of unemployment – that they themselves call the “Great Depression”.

How can they fail to see and understand the connection between the joblessness of the 1930s and the very term economists use to describe those hopeless years? How can they fail to see and understand the connection between those jobless years and today’s unemployment numbers? How can they fail to see and understand that another Emergency Shipbuilding Program, like the ones called for by FDR in the 1930s, is the only way to save our skins?

How can they fail to see and understand?