Posts Tagged: The Recession

Americans Win Black Friday Contest With Billion-Dollar Buying Orgy

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 [...]


Internet Writer Has Opinion On Value Of Internet Website

Before the entire economy of Earth collapsed, online reporters who covered the exciting world of "blogs with banner ads" enjoyed speculating on the value of various websites run by a couple of clever weirdos here and there. Was Gawker Media worth more than General Electric? Had eclipsed Disney in valuation? Etc. Well, the economy must finally be "great again," because there's a new Business Insider post claiming Matt Drudge's web page is worth "$150 million to $375 million."


Top Three Fun Facts About America Tossing People Overboard from '07 to '09

The IRS did an analysis of the 2009 tax year, and some interesting and not surprising things happened!

• More than 3% of households that had job income in 2007 had none in 2009.

• America's average household income fell 13.7% from 2007 to 2009.

• Two million fewer people filed tax returns from 2007 to 2009.

Goodbye! America doesn't need you.


Rich Man Buys Expensive House

Jack Meyer, who managed Harvard's endowment until 2005, at which point some people tried to run it into the ground, with a little help from pals from Goldman Sachs, while Meyer went off to run a hedge fund, just spent $15 million on a house in Dutchess County, so all's well that ends well.


Understanding the Difference Between Being Unemployed and Being Unemployable

The worst kind of job interview is over the phone. Who calls whom? Is my phone working? What if a creditor calls at the same moment the interviewer tries? Will the call be bounced? Will the recruiter leave a message? If they don’t call right away, how long should I wait until I call them? Do I even understand how my phone works? Do I even understand how interviews work? Should I shave?

In-person interviews, at least, have rules. Brush your teeth. Don't swear. But phone interviews? Once, a recruiter called me five minutes before the time we had set the interview. This really rattled me: I hadn’t [...]


What Fiona Did to Get Her Dream Job

A friend of mine recently graduated with a degree in public relations, minor in journalism. It was a pragmatic concentration balance on its face: one of these fields represented at least a modicum of investment toward gainful employment, the other did not. In a different time, my friend, we’ll call her Fiona, may have given herself over to the romantic notion of the well-traveled journalist, marrying her wanderlust and literary inclinations to a desire to do something in the interest of the public good. But she believed in realism and clear-eyed ambition. Cautious that the budgets to buoy any latent journalistic aspirations had gone the way of the dodo, [...]


How To Get A Bad Job That You Really Need

Here's advice on how to get jobs for which you may be wildly overqualified in case you have a useless college degree-jobs as diverse as running salad bars and stamping envelopes. The watchword is: Dress For the Job You Need, Not the Job You Totally Don't Have Right Now and Oh Man You Are So Screwed. Also don't tell them that you've had good jobs, in case you ever actually have. Pretend you've been at home taking care of some kids, in case you haven't been.


What Will Tina Brown Do With the Last Newsweek Covers?

With only 10 issues remaining, the print edition of Newsweek will now serve as Tina Brown's updated résumé. What will she do with these final covers, now that "everyone" (in New York media circles) is watching again?

You can help Tina decide how to make these last issues really shine! We've got the editorial calendar through the final issue, December 31, and can already see some interesting cover possibilities. "Smartest Families: How to Raise a Brilliant Child," holds promise, maybe with Einstein's head on a "regular baby" in a BOB double stroller in Prospect Park, with maybe Steve Jobs' head on the other baby? And "The Hero [...]


Today's Groupon: Helping People with HIV for Half Off

Today's New York City Groupon offering is a 50% discount at Housing Works' nonprofit thrift stores, which raise money to assist people living with HIV. For $20, you can receive $40 worth of things! Oh, just FYI: "A pair of designer shoes that sells for $40 in one of our stores provides ten days worth of hot meals for a homeless HIV+ mother and her child." Enjoy your discount. :(


"My family is eating stir-fried dandelions out of yards to keep from starving."

What are we to do about the disgusting plan to keep America's unemployment high? Since we're not marching on Washington, the right and the left aren't unifying on this issue on which we both agree and basically no one in the business world cares in the slightest, all we can do is create a few jobs ourselves and also keep putting out there what's really happening, which Yahoo!'s The Lookout is doing admirably. They've created a Tumblr where people tell their stories—lots of people. They got thousands of letters when they asked people to tell them what's really going on. You could just start here at the [...]


On Being Laid Off from Harper's

"Life at a publication such as Harper’s is far from easy. The pay is bad, chances for advancement are almost nonexistent (during my tenure at the magazine, only two people on the editorial staff received a promotion due to merit rather than attrition; I was one them), and with each day, the sense that the magazine and the nation’s readers hold less and less in common only seems to increase." —Theodore Ross on having just been laid off from Harper's after six years.


40 Million People Lived Off Unemployment? Everyone Start Hoarding!

"The White House made the case on Thursday that cutting off unemployment benefits would actually result in hundreds of thousands of more unemployed Americans." Ooh, hundreds of thousands? That's all you've got to scare Republicans into extending unemployment? Nice try! I mean, only 40 million people benefitted from unemployment since December 2007. (That's 14 million recipients, plus their households.) Besides, last week 436,000 applied for unemployment. Which is actually not far off from the two-year low! So what's a few hundred thousand more unemployed people?


The End of Prison as Rehabilitation

"Washington State Penitentiary will be one the state's eight major prisons locked down today as part of a budget-cutting exercise." [Related: the Walla Walla Union Bulletin's own budget-cutting exercises include omitting words such as "of."] But yes, going forward, the state prisons will lock down once a month to save money—though good news, prisoners "will be allowed out for meals"! Though they "will not be able to attend education classes, participate in treatment programs or go to work assignments." So it begins! Now with staff furloughs and full-on shut-downs, we can stop pretending that even America's non-privatized prisons are about reforming, when they're really just about incarceration.


Small Businesses Now More Worried About Poor Sales Than Taxes

That's unsurprising! The number of small business owners who cite "poor sales" as their "number one problem" has tripled in the last four years. Poor sales now beats "taxes" on the complaint list. When will Obama and those fatcats in Washington stop making people not buy things, etc.?


Liveblogging Joe Biden And Paul Ryan Debating Without Sound

Tonight! Two men enter, one man leaves as Vice President. (That would be Joe Biden. Who is the Vice President.) But now a new man wants to be a Vice President next time!

Here they settle that grudge when, at 9 p.m., Old Amtrak Joe and Paul Iron Ryan take the stage at Centre College in delightful Danville, Kentucky, for the Debate of the Vice Presidents Who Would Be Vice President. Did you know that Centre College has the highest graduation rate of any college in Kentucky, at 81%!?

Please join us in your living rooms and cafes and offices at 9 p.m. when the festivities begin. But [...]


UK Prime Minister Cancels Tuscan Holiday :(

One thing you don't want to do probably is go a-thieving in a total surveillance society. The Metropolitan Police have set up a Flickr account with pretty pictures of a few people who have apparently gone robbing in North London at some point before or after these images were captured. It's the modern version of the "WANTED" poster, but en masse. Of course, some people have taken to Tumblr to do this vigilante style. In less dramatic imagery of the day, people have apparently taken to the streets with brooms to tidy up. Awww! And more to be found here.

In other, totally unrelated [...]


Gaddafi Sachs: When Bad Things Happen to Bad People

It's the feel-good story of the morning: Goldman Sachs took $1.3 billion of Libya's money in 2008 and promptly turned it into no money at all, according to the WSJ: "The $1.3 billion of option investments were hit especially hard. The underlying securities plunged in value and all of the trades lost money, according to an internal Goldman memo reviewed by the Journal. The memo said the investments were worth just $25.1 million as of February 2010—a decline of 98%." That is particularly delightful. And then, the panicked firm offered the foul government a number of chances to make their money back, but nothing ever came of it. [...]


The Education Bubble

I have not always been a Peter Thiel fan—the PayPal founder and Facebook investor's politics and ideas are complicated and sometimes they stem from what I would consider psychological projections (see: affirmative action, although even in that case I totally agree with his embracing a larger concept of "diversity"!)—but honestly, I am on board with about 75% of this extended interview with him in the National Review. One idea in particular is extremely valuable, and we will all be talking about this a lot in the next decade: that America has group-hallucinated itself into an education bubble.


A Q&A With A Vacuum Cleaner Salesman

Darrell did not cry when the mortgage crisis killed new home construction, putting him out of work. Instead, he packed up his bags and joined his girlfriend in South Florida, where he found a new job as an in-home salesman, pushing expensive vacuum cleaners and air purifiers to snowbirds and other crazy Floridians. While Darrell is but one of hundreds of such salesman in the South Florida area, we have obscured the city in which he works and changed his name to protect his identity.

The Awl: Every day, you go into peoples’ homes and pitch them really expensive shit. How did you break into the in-home sales industry?


The Rain in Spain Something Something on the Debt-Ridded Homeless

I'm not quite sure what the Times means by "personal liability mortgages" in their fascinating story today on the insanity of foreclosures in Spain, because that phrase doesn't really exist in English. But, yow, I did have no idea that repossession wasn't the end of owing money on loans and mortgages, and that mortgage debt was excluded from bankruptcies in Spain. Maybe there are actually ways in which the U.S. looks out for individuals that is better for people than they way it is done in Europe! Huh. Still, it is hilarious to look back at this BusinessWeek article from 2007, which declares Europe's mortgage and housing and [...]