Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Tag: Welcome To The Third World

Welcome To The Third World, Part 32: Texas, Really??

by John Rubino, Dollar Collapse:

California and Texas were, until very recently, the two best US states. The former is the richest and highest-profile, and home to Silicon Valley and Hollywood, while the latter is both huge and the place to which millions of Californians want to move.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that as these two go, so goes the country. Which is why the past few years have been such a blow to America’s “leader of the free world” self-image.

First, California fell into a fiery abyss where its ludicrous car-centric, stupidity-tolerant culture was exposed as an epic mistake. See Welcome To The Third World, Part 30: California Burning In The Dark.  Also this and this. 

Welcome To The Third World, Part 31: Cities And States Are Bankrupt Without A Bailout

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by John Rubino, Dollar Collapse:

Lacking monetary printing presses, US cities and states tend to behave more like normal economic entities than do most nations. That is, they’re always balanced on the knife-edge of insolvency as taxes fail to cover the promises, legitimate and otherwise, that mayors and governors have made to voters.

Toss in the covid-19 lockdowns and – in a few especially badly-run places, continuing riots – and many if not most American cities and states are looking at functional bankruptcy, featuring mass layoffs of teachers, cops, librarians and pretty much every other kind of employee. Trash won’t be collected, libraries won’t open, 911 calls won’t be taken.

Welcome To The Third World, Part 31: California Makes Its Case For A Bailout

by John Rubino, Dollar Collapse:

Just a few months ago, California was running surpluses and spreading the wealth around — at least to its affluent voters and public sector employees — as if the good times were here to stay.

Fast forward to the present and it’s all over. Tech stock IPOs – a huge source of capital gains tax revenue for the home of Silicon Valley – have evaporated. Those “unicorn” companies – not yet public but worth over a billion dollars each – are doing “down rounds” that value them as the risky start-ups most of them are. The formerly booming housing market has ground to a halt. And millions of service industry businesses like restaurants and nightclubs have closed permanently.

Welcome To The Third World, Part 30: California Burning In The Dark

by John Rubino, Dollar Collapse:

Venezuela has suffered through recurring power outages this year, as money for routine maintenance dries up and power plant employees flee the country (and, okay, as the US practices its cyberwar skills on a vulnerable target).

Some of the blackouts have lasted as long as a week. Here’s an aerial photo comparing Caracas on a normal night with a “new normal” blackout night.

Welcome To The Third World, Part 28: Medieval Diseases “Flare”

by John Rubino, Dollar Collapse:

A driving trip down the Pacific Coast normally involves prioritizing a long list of great views and spectacular hiking/biking trails to fit the allotted (never sufficient) time.

But now there’s a new element to consider: Homelessness. Go to, say, Trip Advisor, and read the reviews of California attractions and you’ll find a disturbing number along the lines of “It’s gorgeous, but don’t go alone because of all the homeless people” or “The homeless outnumber the tourists!”

This obviously changes the nature of such a trip – and no doubt the nature of everyday life for locals. But apparently it’s just the beginning of the changes taking place out here. With homelessness is coming a new crop of exotic diseases. From Scientific American:

Welcome To The Third World, Part 28: The “Bottom Half” “Bolsters” The Economy By Going Into Debt

by John Rubino, Dollar Collapse:

For maybe the best example of how financial trends are diverging at the opposite ends of the wealth spectrum, contrast the cash flowing into the accounts of the already-rich with the debt accumulating in the accounts of the “bottom half”:

Mortgage, Groupon and card debt: how the bottom half bolsters U.S. economy

(Reuters) – By almost every measure, the U.S. economy is booming. But a look behind the headlines of roaring job growth and consumer spending reveals how the boom continues in large part by the poorer half of Americans fleecing their savings and piling up debt.

Welcome To The Third World, Part 25: Losing Faith In College

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by John Rubino, Dollar Collapse:

One of the hallmarks of a successful society is the widespread belief that education is a key to success. For that to be true there have to be 1) enough jobs farther up the food chain to make four more years of studying worthwhile, and 2) schools that are good and cheap enough to make the equation work financially.

The US is losing both:

Americans Losing Faith in College Degrees, Poll Finds

(Wall Street Journal) – Americans are losing faith in the value of a college degree, with majorities of young adults, men and rural residents saying college isn’t worth the cost, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey shows.

The findings reflect an increase in public skepticism of higher education from just four years ago and highlight a growing divide in opinion falling along gender, educational, regional and partisan lines. They also carry political implications for universities, already under public pressure to rein in their costs and adjust curricula after decades of sharp tuition increases.

Overall, a slim plurality of Americans, 49{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}, believes earning a four-year degree will lead to a good job and higher lifetime earnings, compared with 47{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} who don’t, according to the poll of 1,200 people taken Aug. 5-9. That two-point margin narrowed from 13 points when the same question was asked four years earlier.

The shift was almost entirely due to growing skepticism among Americans without four-year degrees—those who never enrolled in college, who took only some classes or who earned a two-year degree. Four years ago, that group used to split almost evenly on the question of whether college was worth the cost. Now, skeptics outnumber believers by a double-digit margin.

Conversely, opinion among college graduates is almost identical to that of four years ago, with 63{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} saying college is worth the cost versus 31{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} who say it isn’t.

Big shifts occurred within several groups. While women by a large margin still have faith in a four-year degree, opinion among men swung significantly. Four years ago, men by a 12-point margin saw college as worth the cost. Now, they say it is not worth it, by a 10-point margin.

Likewise, among Americans 18 to 34 years old, skeptics outnumber believers 57{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} to 39{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}, almost a mirror image from four years earlier.

Today, Democrats, urban residents and Americans who consider themselves middle- and upper-class generally believe college is worth it; Republicans, rural residents and people who identify themselves as poor or working-class Americans don’t.

Research shows that college graduates, on average, fare far better economically than those without a degree. For example, the unemployment rate is 2.7{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} among college graduates, compared with 5.1{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} among high school graduates who never attended college, and Labor Department research shows that bachelor’s degree recipients earn higher salaries than those who never went to college. But the wage premium of getting a degree has flattened in recent years, Federal Reserve research shows.

Student debt has surged to $1.3 trillion, and millions of Americans have fallen behind on student-loan payments.

“Costs have gone up considerably to the point that I think there are a number of people who maybe rightfully say, ‘I’m not in the league of Harvard and maybe not even in the league of really good state schools,’” said Doug Webber, a Temple University econimics professor. Many of those Americans are concluding that paying high tuition at less-prestigious schools isn’t worth it.

College is clearly still a good thing, just not at current prices. Put another way, higher ed has been in a bubble fueled by government loans and deceptive marketing, and now that bubble is bursting. The old model of extended adolescence in which mom/dad/Uncle Sam cover five or more years of partying and sampling various majors is now beyond the means of more than half the population.

Read More @ DollarCollapse.com