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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Friday, June 14

Gapers Block

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Baldeesh / October 4, 2007 11:48 AM

I think it needs a hug.

Gutsy Girl / October 4, 2007 12:02 PM

What do you think of Peoples Gas insisting to be allowed to enter your home or business to conduct a "federally mandated inspection of our equipment inside customers' homes and businesses" with a threat of disconnection if not allowed in. The Inspector comes in and goes directly to the Meter to (as he told me) freeze the numbers. Why?

pantagrapher / October 4, 2007 12:04 PM

It would be just fine if we could just stop thinking about ourselves and learn to celebrate the accomplishments of the extremely wealthy.

a scientist / October 4, 2007 12:12 PM

as a scientist, i am pro-economy. go money!

Bill V / October 4, 2007 12:26 PM

The economy as a whole needs some help. The US of A definitely has some things to worry about. But individually all that you can do is worry about your own job and spending habits.

skafiend / October 4, 2007 12:59 PM

Personal, national or international?

My personal economy sucks a little but that might be related to the other two, I don't know...

Jake / October 4, 2007 1:08 PM

The Canadian dollar is worth more than the U.S. dollar. Fucking Canada! I say we march up there and inflict some democracy on their cold, white asses.

charlie / October 4, 2007 1:15 PM

Our economy is always a bit like movie reviews. People believe what they read.

printdude / October 4, 2007 1:28 PM

This is a sore spot with me.
That damn president of ours sent the economy on a downward spiral as soon as he was elelcted. I believe his first words as pres-elect were: The economy is headed downways.
That chowder-headed stooge.
He and his cronies had planned to drive the dollar down against world markets, in order to create a greater opportunity for exports. I think that he forgot his father sent exported all of our manufacturing years ago.

editorkid / October 4, 2007 1:34 PM

Is the cup half full when I suggest it's as good as it's going to get in our lifetimes?

JohnnyQ / October 4, 2007 1:39 PM

National: Doomed! If the country were a business, it would have sheepishly declared bankruptcy many moons ago. Can't continue dumping skids of $$$ over to Iraq and cutting vital domestic programs, all the while running huge deficits and having imbalanced trade.

Local: Doomed! State/Cook County/Chicago corruption is rearing its evil head. Bend over and get ready for those tax hikes comrades!!!

I will vote for the next brave politician that imposes HUGE taxes on cigarettes. More tax on gas is in order too...Nation SUV needs a slap in the face, $5/gallons should wake people from their slumber.

That said, I think we weild too much power to let the middle class dissolve and the country has a decent track record of innovation and new job creation. Web 3.0 anyone?

Carrie / October 4, 2007 3:37 PM

Gutsy Girl, I got that notice, too. It's nice of them. It's also nice when ComEd comes, your friend from out of town is home, but doesn't have basement key, so the guy takes out a screw driver and lets himself into the basement by jimmying the lock. (I confirmed with ComEd that their guy was at my house and they're telling his supervisor what he did)

Now, the economy-- pffft.

peta / October 4, 2007 4:10 PM

Still uber-capitalist.

Dan R / October 4, 2007 5:12 PM

Did it lose weight recently? It's looking thin and fabulous.

Chef / October 4, 2007 5:22 PM

While I know most answers will be in the form of passionate words, you can also look at progress in terms of raw numbers.

Dow Jones last 5 years: from around 8,000 to around 14,000.

Unemployment: Nationally is 4.4%. Illinois is at 5.4%. The Macro-goal is to keep it under 6%.

The American GDP is more than the next 7 countries combined.

The dollar “losing value” is kind of what the plan was in the beginning…hear me out on this. The U.S. was instrumental in the creation of the Euro. Now all of these amateurs are talking about how much the dollar is losing. You can’t have it both ways…we helped create it so of course our economists predicted that the dollar would lose some value.

See, in international exchange, everything is through the dollar. The exchange rate of the “Mexican Pesos to the Canadian dollar” actually goes from the Pesos, to the U.S. dollar, then to the Canadian Dollar. The Euro was formed to take some ease of off the dollar. So the dollar losing value was predicted by the experts, and it is help easing off how thin the dollar was being spread.

I thought the question had to do with the economy rather then the government.

Our government has flaws, no doubt. Don’t confuse how unsound our government is with how successful American companies are. American companies are profitable, profitable and profitable. One of the roles of the government is to ensure that other countries do business with American companies. On that note, I think G.W. has done a good job. Cutting the capital gains tax also made it more profitable to invest in the U.S. Stock Market.

I would like to see some stats that support this downfall in the U.S. Economy. All the numbers I see point that the economy is strong, people are working and we are becoming a more skilled society. The middle class is no longer this “go the factory and raise a family” type of worker. The middle class now are skilled workers rather than a “cost of production”, which is essentially what the factory worker was.

C-N ote / October 4, 2007 5:33 PM

Gutsy Girl, Carrie: if you'd do a little research, you might learn a lot. I'm not a huge fan of any of my utility providers, including Peoples Gas, but they're right. The federal government requires them to check their equipment for leaks, which requires access and "freezing the numbers" to determine whether there's any gas unaccounted for. Which might prevent your building from imploding with you in it. Unlikely, yes, but not impossible. Almost happened in the last building I was in, actually. Annoying, yes. Necessary, possibly.

Domestic economy OK, for the time being, which means "hanging by a thread," and you can still make a living if you want to, while living above the global standard.

Bill / October 4, 2007 5:34 PM

Pretty good, all things considered.

Jason / October 4, 2007 7:33 PM

It's wounded. I hope it dies.

Brian / October 4, 2007 9:06 PM

Going quite well thanks. Lots of people wish otherwise, because it justifies their worries an angst, but you are still richer than you parents were at their age.

We are back on the upswing part of the business cycle, growth is fine. If there was a Democrat in the White House, people would be calling these boom times.

paul / October 5, 2007 7:52 AM

Generally, I'm with chef.

People complain that they don't have health care, can't afford child care etc, and everyone seems to be living on huge credit limits, a paycheck away from bankruptcy, but there's enough money for someone to keep building condo towers on every inch of space around here, everyone is carrying a bottle of water costing more than gas, and any ride in the suburbs will be a tour of full parking lots of people shopping for everything from food to mass produced halloween decorations.

I sure sign of a good economy - I took a ride up Rand Rd. last weekend, and in the span of a half hour counted three guys dressed in big black death costumes, holding signs advertising for three halloween/party stores, all within 10 or so miles of each other.

The President of the United States of America / October 5, 2007 8:52 AM

May I say a few things? First, I promise you I will listen to what has been said here, even though I wasn't here.
It's very important for folks to understand that when there's more trade, there's more commerce.
I also know the American people can spend their money better than the government can spend it.
There may be some tough times here in America. But this country has gone through tough times before, and we're going to do it again.
I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe and what I believe - I believe what I believe is right.

Thank you.

Your President

Andrew / October 5, 2007 9:49 AM

Well, lets see, if it's a Democrat in the White House and unemployment is low and the stock market is doing OK and consumer confidence is decent, then it's doing great. Yet with a Republican in the White House and the same conditions exist, then it's, "oooh, the economy sucks."

skafiend / October 5, 2007 10:47 AM

What, no Spookisms? This is right up his proverbial alley.

Must be on vacation... in Cuba

jk... maybe

Dave / October 5, 2007 10:54 AM

Andrew, I don't understand your argument. Are you saying that only democrats complain and only when the republicans are in office? And who exactly are you quoting? In any case, I think one would be hard pressed to find a president who served free from judgment and criticism, especially when warranted. The thing that worries me is the massive debt we're (still) accumulating in Iraq spending. Seems to be at odds with one of the fundamental ideas behind conservatism, no?

editorkid / October 5, 2007 10:58 AM

My understanding is that the Dow is a sign of whether the wealthy are getting wealthier.

The unemployment rate details how many people are collecting unemployment from the government, not how many people are out of work.

Those figures are also not the economy.

pantagrapher / October 5, 2007 11:28 AM

Not only that, editorkid, but Chef's claim that "The American GDP is more than the next 7 countries combined," in addition to being untrue, is a meaningless statistic w/o historical context.

Andrew / October 5, 2007 11:32 AM

note to madachode:
Your homophobic remarks will no longer be posted in this forum. If you can't reply to the topic at hand without filtering it through your hatred, your voice will no longer be heard.

benschomatic / October 5, 2007 12:24 PM

Chef / October 5, 2007 12:30 PM

Editorkid and pantagrapher…fair enough.

I have to disagree with the statement “Those figures are also not the economy”. The economy is made up of many different items within a function.

Please excuse my crude use of wikipedia, but it lists three major ingredients…first is natural resources…second is labor…third is manufacturing and investment. We could expand on these to the n'th degree, but the point is these are items included in the "U.S. Economy"...I don't know how you can say the items I listed are simply "not the economy". This is Econ 101.

I agree with you regarding the unemployment rate, it has its limitations. But we can agree that you cannot just throw it out the window because you don’t like the definition of it. There is validity in that regarding the “labor” item. For instance, the unemployment rate is a sign of the leverage that people have who are working.

Yes, the Dow is a measure on how publicly traded corporations are doing…aka the wealthy. That would fall under “investment”. There is a correlation between the “Economy - Investments” and the “U.S. Stock market”. There are many other ways to measure the “investment” aspect as well, but the Dow is one that is easily digestible.

I got a list of countries GDP’s from the IMF. This list is the GDP for countries based on “millions of dollars”. Sorry, I meant around 2-5 or 2-6.

US 13.244,550
Japan 4,367,459
Germany 2,897,362
China 2,630,113
UK 2,231,631
France 1,852,585

“Meaningless statistic w/o historical context”…I see you have learned the textbook definition of Economic Theory.

The Eradicator / October 5, 2007 1:12 PM

"The middle class is no longer this 'go the factory and raise a family' type of worker. The middle class now are skilled workers rather than a 'cost of production', which is essentially what the factory worker was."

This makes neither grammatical nor logical sense. Furthermore you demand data from the gloom and doomers while supplying none of your own. The middle class as skilled worker is a familiar talking point meant to allay fears over the disappearance of high wages for low-skilled workers. Factory gone? No problem! you can become a computer programmer in the new economy. Sounds great but doesn't magically transform a workforce as you would like to imagine.
I fail to understand how any honest person can feel positive about the economy given the costs of Iraq, the housing implosion, and the coming decline in world oil supplies. To me it's like having money in the bank while conveniently ignoring a stack of credit card bills. Reagan did this during our supposed golden age leaving Clinton and Gingrich to clean up the mess.

How's the economy? I suppose it's based on how well off you are personally. Let's hope you have a strong fence around your house though as you turn a blind eye to the millions in your nation who don't share your rosy view of things. Rhetoric can't pacify people indefinitely.

editorkid / October 5, 2007 1:38 PM

Quick correction: The unemployment rate shows how many workers have lost their jobs in the last six months. Many of these people may not, for whatever reason, be collecting unemployment compensation.

carrie / October 5, 2007 1:55 PM

off topic... C-Note, I get why they do it, it's just frustrating when there's 6 people in your building, 4 have called to have someone come out, no one gets a return call, etc and we're still getting notes threatening to get cut off, even though we're paying. If they're going to send those notes, they should at least call people back.

Andrew- yay on not posting homophobic remarks.

Commander Guy / October 5, 2007 2:06 PM

Don't ask me, I think I got a B in Economics 101. I did however get an A in keeping taxes low.

JasonB / October 5, 2007 3:12 PM

just $0.0185 till we can't make fun of Canadians anymore.

Emerson Dameron / October 5, 2007 4:14 PM

Tainted by money.

madachode / October 5, 2007 7:55 PM

Hatred? wow!

ohkelly / October 6, 2007 9:59 AM

Anyone with a pretty minimal amount of money (say, $100) can invest in the stocks that compose the Dow, so I fail to see how it's strictly a measure of the wealthy getting wealthier.

And the great news about the dollar being weak is that it makes American products cheaper to buy overseas. All those manufacturing jobs that we've been outsourcing recently? The pendulum is swinging and American manufacturers are finding more markets internationally for their products, in turn creating more American jobs. Europeans find American vacations incredibly cheap and come over to spend their money here.

Free markets are smarter than we are and usually do a pretty good job at spreading the love around, if we can keep from trying to tinker with things in the short term.

ron santo / October 7, 2007 2:41 AM

i think of nothing but the cubs' failure. :(

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