More “bailout” money – and even more caveats …

“WASHINGTON (CBS) – Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress Tuesday that the economy should pull out of a recession and start growing again later this year …

“The unemployment rate ‘could remain high for a time, even after economic growth resumes,’ Bernanke said …

“‘An important caveat is that our forecast assumes continuing repair of the financial system,’ Bernanke said. ‘A relapse in financial conditions would be a significant drag on the economic activity and could cause the incipient recovery to stall’…

“On the financial front, Bernanke said there have been signs of improvements in easing some credit stresses. However, financial markets remain under considerable strain.

“Bernanke didn’t provide details about how 19 large banks fared on ‘stress tests.’ Results, to be released Thursday, should shed light on which banks may need government support if the recession were to worsen …”

Note: If you really want to know what this gibberish is all about, you need to read between the lines. We’re being set up for further “bailouts” with taxpayer money. That’s what’s meant by “continuing repair of the financial system”… “financial markets remain under considerable strain” … and “which banks may need government support if the recession were to worsen”.

This economic catastrophe is no longer a recession. It’s a depression, and those who say otherwise are lying. Hundreds of U.S. economic icons have failed in the last two years – icons that were not toppled by the “Great Depression”. We – all of us – need to get our heads out of the sand.

Pontiac, for example, had no trouble getting through the “Great Depression”, but is a casualty of today’s so-called “recession”. Doesn’t that tell you something?

• And speaking of icons, what about this announcement:

“SEATTLE – Microsoft Corp. said Tuesday it is pulling the trigger on thousands of the 5,000 job cuts it announced earlier this year, and in an e-mail to employees Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer left the door open to even more cuts.

“‘As we move forward, we will continue to closely monitor the impact of the economic downturn on the company and if necessary, take further actions on our cost structure including additional job eliminations,’ he wrote.”

Reading between the lines again, it’s clear that Chairman Ballmer is resorting to business jargon. What that e-mail really means is that Microsoft is going broke. Microsoft, mind you!

• The Journal of Commerce reported that the toy business isn’t faring too well, either. The adult toy business, that is:

“Mobile Phone Shipments Decline 15.8 Percent”, the report began. “The global recession and its consequences pushed mobile phone shipments to a sharp decline in the first quarter, according to an industry research firm.

“Vendors shipped a total of 244.8 million units in the first quarter, down 15.8 percent from a year earlier, according to IDC’s worldwide quarterly mobile phone tracker …

“‘That the worldwide mobile phone market started off 2009 with a year-over-year decline highlights just how much the economic recession has affected all industries, including the wireless market,’ said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC’s mobile devices and trends team.”

• The Journal published even more sad stories today. Here are some headlines:

“Prince Rupert Tonnage Falls 24.5 Percent”

“U.S. Shipping Partners Files Chapter 11”

“Matson Parent Profit Sinks 93 Percent”

“Kirby Profit Falls 23 Percent”

“BAA Loss Widens Nearly Six Fold”

• And in The American Shipper we read that:

“COSCO loses $ 490 million in 1st quarter”

“Panalpina reports sharp drop in earnings”

In spite of Mr. Bernanke’s pretended optimism that the “economy should pull out of a recession and start growing again later this year,” more companies will certainly suffer Pontiac’s sad fate. Those companies can be saved, however, if more “bailout” money is directed to … no, not to those troubled firms, but to the “financial system” and to the “stressed” banks. If hundreds of billions of taxpayers’ dollars could be given to “Wall Street” and to the banking system, Mr. Bernanke told Congress, “production would pick up later this year to replenish supplies of goods that have been slashed.” What those “goods” would be though, he didn’t say. Nor did he say where unemployed Americans would find the money to purchase those “goods”. Mr. Bernanke added, however, that he saw “tentative signs that the declines in other countries’ economic activity may be moderating”.

[Apparently, such “tentative signs” were not brought to the attention of those filing reports to The Journal of Commerce or to The American Shipper.]