"The benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average rose to an all-time record Tuesday on news that China was pledging to plow more money into its economy, returning the markets to highs not seen since before the financial crisis. By 10 a.m. Tuesday, the Dow was up nearly 90 points, or 0.74 percent, to 14,216.70, blowing past a record that was set Oct. 11, 2007, during a time when the economy was just peaking and headed toward disaster. [...] The Dow’s record high confirmed that the ongoing political paralysis in Washington has failed to spook the markets much in the last year." —The very rich don't seem to be bothered by [...]
In These Troubled Times, many Americans are seeking financial wisdom from an unlikely source: the Bible.
All sound professional advice, I found, … has its roots someplace in Scripture," said Ron Blue, author of "Surviving Financial Meltdown" and founder of the Kingdom Advisors, which trains Christian financial professionals. Blue uses the Bible for guidance on everything from budgeting to long-term investing and handling an inheritance.
Some experts, however, are unconvinced.
During a casual conversation with a small group of acquaintances this weekend I heard someone express the opinion that we were somewhere near the middle of a double-dip recession and that there was going to be a "white riot" when the second dip hit. This was more than a little troubling, since it certainly was not the first time I've come across that sentiment. I generally try to remind myself that due to the massive volume of political opinion I read, it's very easy to get caught up in whatever disaster scenarios people are trying to promote for political advantage, but I feel like this kind of fear-with its implicit [...]
Apparently the consultants are wrapping up at Conde Nast, with a report due in a few weeks. Through the process, it sounds like some staffers have had some stunning realizations! Here's what one Nastie says: "You don't need to send an entire posse to Joshua Tree for a shot in the desert! Who cares! If the photographer is good, and the clothes are good, the models are good, it's fine-you can shoot downtown." HERESY!
Let's talk money: Everything's going crazy! The White House today announced that "U.S. unemployment would be higher and the budget deficit larger than previously thought," to the tune of $9 trillion, or $2 trillion more than previous estimates. The new numbers are in line with earlier estimates by the Congressional Budget Office, which will give its own revised figures later today. Meanwhile, President Obama indicated that he will give Ben Bernanke another term as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, because he wants to keep intact the team that saved us from another depression and the last thing he needs right now is a tough confirmation battle.
What we've seen in companies that have been successful through the last year-so we're excluding, say, the car companies and most of the media companies oh and real estate and physical goods, etc.-is they've both shed staff and, both independently and relatedly, increased their revenues. Interestingly, this graph from Gawker honcho Nick Denton is pretty darn similar to what it would look like if you graphed Goldman Sachs' expenses and revenues, with even some similar trending during the same quarters! In both these cases, on the micro-scale of Gawker Media, as a small company, and the macro-scale of a big one like Goldman Sachs, there's no decline in revenue [...]
Laid end to end, the 31,400 metric tons of rebar usedÃ‚Â to build the Burj Dubai would stretch more than a quarter of the way around the world. "Moment. Jewel. Icon." The Burj, it is said (by their PR department), will be known by many names. It is already the tallest structure in the world, and it is set to open later this year-well, December. If they make their extended deadline. But the reason we mention this is: they're hiring! Which is pretty much the only way we'll ever get inside.
Congratulations, everybody: Black Friday retail sales topped a billion dollars, which means everybody is rich and happy again. Whether shopping from a laptop in bed with a variety of empty bottles and pie crumbs or "at the actual store" with your fellow shoppers in their sweatpants, you helped make America great again.
How much greater? How about 26% better than Black Friday 2011! That is just a phenomenal amount of spending, for a phenomenal amount of consumer goods, electronics, gifts, and whatever else people buy. Pretty much everything is a Black Friday sales item in 2012. Cars? Oh hell yeah, go buy a car on Black [...]
With so many of us facing financial difficulties during These Troubled Times, "more consumers are turning to processed foods, either prepared, frozen or canned and often filled with fat-generating calories, refined grains and sugars. Experts said that's making more Americans chubbier and prone to obesity-related illnesses such as diabetes in what has been dubbed 'recession fat.'" The obesity rate rose by a full percentage point over the last year, which is, of course, Barack Obama's fault. When we voted for change, we didn't vote for a change in our waistlines, am I right, people? As for the 25% of people who were already obese before the recession, I guess [...]
Yesterday's news that the Versace Group would be cutting 26% of their international workforce-350 jobs-is deeply upsetting especially considering you can't google "Versace" without "Cunanan" coming up and especially considering their porcelain Medusa obelisk that they made in that one Rosenthal collabo was the hot sauce and matches my Medusa ashtray. (YES.) Versace USED to be cool. It was Linda Evangelista and Biggie Smalls and now it's not. Now it's old-timey-melanoma-white-pants-Euro and it's fun on some "look at me I'm smoking Capri's while wearing frosted coral-colored Revlon nail polish because I'm a fucking cut up" but is otherwise just super tragic. I mean, seriously, why isn't there a [...]
What is possibly to say? Shit is so broken. The official jobless rate is now 9.7%, which means it is conservatively 17%. Coupled with the massive surge in stock market profit-taking income among the wealthy over the last eight months, this country is being more, not less, divided into rich and poor during this "oh it's almost over yeah right" bullshit recession. I hate to get all Worker's Weekly on you, but this is disastrous, and I am not sure we will ever recover without, you know, pitchforks and torches and the seizing of the property of the entrenched inbred rich.
"As communities from Buffalo to Milwaukee struggle with shuttered factories and vacant neighborhoods, some have turned abandoned properties into parks, gardens and other open space, even going so far as to plow under entire neighborhoods."
Here's a solution to your recession worries: Japanese poems! "Working on a haiku is the perfect anecdote when life's financial challenges mount. Compose one in your head when you're stuck in traffic or as you're waiting in line at the supermarket to pay with your ever thinner wallet."
By the metrics of things that don't include the staggering rate of unemployment, the recession might be over, said chief Federal Reserve dipstick Ben Bernanke. I laughed! Did you? You should have! Go on, laugh a little. You'll feel better. Then go and try to get a mortgage. Or shop at one of those fine American small business that closed down recently. Or, you know, go shopping in the New York Times cafeteria this week during Employee Appreciation Week! Where everything is "7 -90% off."
General Motors has announced it will remove the GM "Mark of Excellence" logo from its vehicles. The individual brands-Chevrolet, Cadillac, etc.-have been faring better than the corporate name in market testing. "What we're seeing is the GM brand gets dinged big time in terms of considering a GM vehicle," said Mike DiGiovanni, GM's PR marketing brand global honcho for talking. "But when you look at Chevrolet, Cadillac and our other brands, they haven't changed." Except when they have, obviously. "Also," DiGiovanni said "none of the cars are really that 'excellent,'" adding that the company is considering replacing the logo with a new one that says "BMW." (That last [...]
Unemployment doubled in Ireland over the last year, and maybe soon it'll triple, so now the government is doing the obvious: distributing suicide prevention materials. (The suicide rate in Ireland, by the way, has tripled since the 1950s.) This is sad, because it is not at all the Irish who I want to be doing themselves in. There's like eight other countries, at least, higher on my list!
Small New York city real estate brokerage Citi-Spaces told the real estate trade press recently that they were closing one of their four locations. (This office was at the corner of Second Avenue and 11th Street.) Except, you know, when most businesses close down a location, the landlord doesn't have to take them to court to come seize the property. And the premises aren't littered with abandoned garbage and undelivered mail. Hey, but that real estate recovery is happening now, right?