The Morning Grumpy 4/17/12

17 Apr

All the news, views, and filtered excellence fit to consume during your morning grumpy.


1. American wages have plummeted so low that a two-income family is now (on average) 15% poorer than a one-income family of 40 years ago.

Real wages peaked in 1970 at around $20/hour. Today the average worker makes $8.50/hour — more than 57% less than in 1970. And since the average wage directly determines the standard of living of our society, we can see that the average standard of living in the U.S. has plummeted by over 57% over a span of 40 years.

The Republicans suggest fixing this shocking number by continuing record low tax rates for millionaires and billionaires.

2. For every soldier killed on the battlefield this year, about 25 veterans are dying by their own hands.

An American soldier dies every day and a half, on average, in Iraq or Afghanistan. Veterans kill themselves at a rate of one every 80 minutes. More than 6,500 veteran suicides are logged every year — more than the total number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined since those wars began.

A shameful and sorrowful outcome of our lost decade at war.

3. TARP, a profitable investment by the U.S. Government and Federal Reserve? It would appear so.

The bank bailouts may result in a return of $2bn, the Treasury said in its latest projections for the government’s response to the crisis.  And the recovering auto industry has added 230,000 jobs as a result.

The recession was the worst since the Great Depression and $19.2tn of wealth was wiped out, it said.

In the end, the Treasury expects to make $22bn from Tarp’s bank bailouts and $2bn on Tarp’s loans to restart the credit markets, offsetting the auto bailouts.

Next time you hear about the “Obama Recession”, remember that $19,200,000,000,000 worth of wealth was wiped out as a result of the systemic meltdown at the end of the Bush administration. If Republicans were allowed to blame Jimmy Carter for nearly twenty years, I think we can legitimately blame Bush for four.

4. Is Facebook making us lonely?

We know intuitively that loneliness and being alone are not the same thing. Solitude can be lovely. Crowded parties can be agony. We also know, thanks to a growing body of research on the topic, that loneliness is not a matter of external conditions; it is a psychological state.

Loneliness and being alone are not the same thing, but both are on the rise. We meet fewer people. We gather less. And when we gather, our bonds are less meaningful and less easy. The decrease in confidants—that is, in quality social connections—has been dramatic over the past 25 years.

The researchers found that lonely people are inclined to spend more time on Facebook: “One of the most noteworthy findings,” they wrote, “was the tendency for neurotic and lonely individuals to spend greater amounts of time on Facebook per day than non-lonely individuals.” And they found that neurotics are more likely to prefer to use the wall, while extroverts tend to use chat features in addition to the wall.

Very interesting…

5. Gridlock is a not a result of bipartisan efforts. Turns out, Republicans are assholes.

Republicans have moved further to the right than Democrats have to the left, and that goes a long way toward explaining the gridlock of the last three years, during which time Republicans have refused to play ball on everything from economic recovery—they opposed the stimulus plan, even after signing on to George W. Bush’s plan for boosting the economy in 2008—to financial regulation and a health-care-reform bill built on conservative ideas.

These last four years have changed government forever. Brinksmanship is now the name of the game.

Fact Of The Day: Dan Rather once shot heroin and described it as a “special kind of hell“.

Quote Of The Day: “For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.” – Carl Sagan

Video Of the Day: “Safe Sex For Seniors” – Yes, this is happening.

Cartoon Of The Day: “Lonesome Lenny” – Tex Avery

Song Of The Day: “Feel So Bad” – Foghat, yes…Foghat, bitches.


Follow me on Twitter: @ChrisSmithAV

Email me links, tips, story ideas:

5 Responses to “The Morning Grumpy 4/17/12”

  1. BufChester April 17, 2012 at 8:14 am #

    With respect to the quote in #5 above:  I see no evidence anywhere the “Democrats have [moved] to the left.”  Can someone point out how today’s Democratic US Senators and Representatives are more liberal than the recent predecessors?  

    I’ve seen this “argument” made elsewhere, but it seems to me to be just another piece of conventional wisdom that is completely divorced from reality.

    • Christopher Smith April 17, 2012 at 11:11 am #

      This issue was covered in the Grumpy last month.

      While the progressive wing of the Democratic Party has moved to the left, slowly, the conservative right has moved so drastically to the right that it has pulled the center along with them.

      • Drew Ludwig April 17, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

         If I was a moderate republican (ideologically speaking), I would register, vote, and campaign for democrats.   When it is this easy to get dems on board for republican versions of regulation, health care, civil liberties, war, gun control and–well–everything, why go through all the hassle of trying to reign in the far right?

        I think in not too many years, the GOP will be the libertarian party of today, and the Democratic Party will be the GOP of the Reagan era.  The only question as I see is if  progressive people will celebrate “winning,” (because Dems got elected) or organize to support people who will represent their actual interests.

        My guess is that there will be one party DINO rule, until the whole thing falls apart.

  2. Jesse Griffis April 17, 2012 at 10:44 am #

    On #2, that just makes me sad. Enough that I don’t feel any need to get snarky about the other points.

    When are you pathetic progressives going to hold your guy’s feet to the fire and STOP FIGHTING POINTLESS WARS?

  3. Michael Rebmann April 17, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

    1. Perhaps the proliferation of two-income households has produced a depressive affect on wages due to the large increase in size of the labor pool.  The hourly wage issue is much to complicated to be blamed on “not” taxing the rich at a higher rate.  After all, a billionaire today is probably no better off, maybe even worse, that a multi-millionaire from 40 hears ago.   Fiat money (and its devaluing of the dollar), taxation, government spending, the expansion of entitlement programs, etc., are all at play here.

    2.  Indefensible foreign policy from both major parties is a crime.

    3.  Figures don’t like, but liars do figure, that pretty much sums of my belief in the spin presented here.  What isn’t mentioned is the possibility that without the bailouts, dead wood would have been allowed to die and perhaps we would be well on the way to a truly vibrant economy.

Contribute To The Conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: