I see the media pumping the wire with warnings of a fiscal cliff we all know very well will be legislated away. I ask, what of the unemployment cliff and the forgotten folks falling off of it every single day?
Weekly Jobless Claims was reported effectively unchanged for the latest covered period, but unchanged is synonymous with stagnant, which will lead to a spoiling, as I just reported. The total number of Americans receiving a benefit of some sort, including through the extension program, rose 71,724 to 5.89 million. I wish to remind my loyal readers that this figure has been improving over recent months by attrition as much as economic growth. I expect that a great number of long-term unemployed Americans are simply falling off the unemployment cliff when their benefits run out.
Where do these people go for help after they stop receiving benefits, and what of the 4%+ of Americans who were unemployed before the crisis began? Those people couldn't find work any better than the people qualifying for the extension program, but they were left to fend for themselves. Those people were the first to foreclosure by Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) and friends, and the first to be sued for their debt defaults against our later bailed out banks. Why weren't they rescued like Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) and Merrill Lynch, or J.P. Morgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) and Bear Stearns. When AIG (NYSE: AIG) and General Motors (NYSE: GM) got handouts, those folks had their cars repossessed and their lives lost without insurance to even cover the cost of their funerals. Instead of sending them checks big enough to cover their trouble, the Bush Administration blindly sent insignificant gifts out to all Americans, rich or poor.
And today, while no longer wanted by most peddlers of Visa (NYSE: V) and MasterCard (NYSE: MA), the likes of Capital One Financial (NYSE: COF) are luring them back in with 0% interest rates that convert to 23% a few months later. Warren Buffet, of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-B, NYSE: BRK-A), says he's not sure what he would do if he were poor and had a family to feed. He does not judge those less fortunate than himself, or less gifted in business. So when they rob Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) for lack of better sense to sack Saks (NYSE: SKS), they get arrested. As they survive on welfare, the crooks at the rating agencies (based on Representative Kucinich's description), who rated mortgage-backed securities investment grade deep into the real estate bubble, the bumblers at those firms who effectively ruined millions of lives through that aforementioned negligence, suffered not one arrest. Instead, our jails will fill further with the customers of their business partners, as the assets of Citigroup (NYSE: C), Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) and the rest of the banks that are even bigger now than they were when they were too big to fail fill with the shadow inventory of what use to be homes filled with families.
It's getting worse dear friends, not better. Kicking the can down the road is more like pushing the snowball up the hill. It will roll back down and smother us all. Please follow me as I seek to do more to level the playing field, and to serve justice and the true American way, the one our forefathers envisioned.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.