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Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

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Hullabaloo


Thursday, October 22, 2009

 
Watching The Show

by digby

Ron Brownstein just said on Hardball that we all have a tremendous ambivalent relationship with Wall Street because we are all dependent on the stock market for our retirement savings, to which Chris Matthews replied:

Matthews: We all are. I watch it every night on this show, I watch the market reports and I want it to go up. And by the way, back when I didn't have any money, I wanted it to go down. Screw those guys. They're making money.

Brownstein: people feel better that the DOW's at 10,000


Chris let his fancy Irish lace slip show a little bit there, didn't he?

Most people are happy that the Dow is rising again because it's considered a leading indicator. But for middle class people in their 50s and 60s who managed to save for retirement, it's a rueful and wary eye they are keeping on the market right now. Between their house losing half of its value and their retirement accounts taking a stomach churning nosedive, they would love to enjoy this stock market rally, but they have a long way to go before they are back to where they expected to be at this point in their lives. They're watching, but I don't think there's all that much pleasure in it quite yet.

Guys like Matthews, who makes five million dollars a year, love to watch the market. I'm sure he has an account that he "plays with." But he isn't all that personally affected since people like him have so much money they invest in safe and secure bonds. He's set for life. He doesn't need those equity returns. For him the market is fun, kind of like going to Vegas.

But most people in the country are dealing with something far more immediate. They have an average of about 10 Grand in their 401ks if they have anything at all and their mortgages are crashing all around them. They are far more interested in whether there are any jobs, right now, since they need money to pay their immediate expenses. Watching the market is about as relevant to their problems as watching the space shuttle.

This, on the other hand, is like watching a train wreck for millions of people who are desperate for a check:


More Americans than forecast filed claims for unemployment benefits last week, a reminder that the labor market will be slow to recover.

Initial jobless applications rose by 11,000 to 531,000 in the week ended Oct. 17, from a revised 520,000 the prior week that were the fewest in nine months, the Labor Department said today in Washington. The number of people collecting benefits fell, while those receiving extended benefits increased.

Economists project the unemployment rate will reach 10 percent by the first quarter of 2010, underscoring the risk to consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy. Companies cutting costs remain reluctant to hire, even as they’ve eased dismissals from levels seen earlier this year.

“Until demand turns around, businesses have to continue to cut costs,” said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at Maria Fiorini Ramirez Inc., a New York forecasting firm. “We remain pessimistic on consumer spending.”


Meanwhile, back at the palace:


Legislation to extend unemployment benefits is stalled in the U.S. Senate amid a partisan dispute over how to finance the plan, among other issues.

Republicans are blocking the measure that would extend benefits by as much as 20 weeks because they want votes on several amendments, including on how to pay for the $2.4 billion measure so it doesn’t add to the federal budget deficit. Democrats plan to finance the aid by extending an employer payroll surtax due to expire at the end of this year.

“We have wanted to do this for weeks and they won’t let us,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, told reporters yesterday. “We talk about doing something for economic recovery to stimulate the economy -- who is going to spend the money more quickly than somebody who is out of a job, doesn’t have income? That’s what the unemployment check’s about.”

Reid late today took the first procedural steps aimed at forcing a vote on the unemployment bill.


The Republicans are evil to be doing this. There's no other way to look at it. Reid's going to have to break their filibuster and apparently he's taking steps to do that.

Too bad about the more than five million unemployed workers who are literally out of money and are waiting for their benefits to be extended. I wonder how many of them are sitting at home watching Chris Matthews for the first time in their lives and wondering what planet these people on their TV are from.



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