Monday, December 29, 2008

Predictions for 2009 don't just sound like doom and gloom, unfortunately they are doom and gloom - reality has come home to roost

Kunstler: Jobs will vanish by the millions and companies will go bankrupt by the thousands, especially in the so-called service sector, and in all the suppliers of such, along with the landlords in all the malls and strip malls. The desolation will mount quickly and will be obvious in the empty storefronts and trash-filled parking lagoons. In the event, two things will become increasingly clear to the nation: that the consumer economy is dead, and that there is no more available credit of the kind that Americans are in the habit of enjoying.

NVDL: The reason for our tragic state of affairs is a situation, a cultural inertia based on indulgence and self deception. This is inculcated via all our entertainments and distractions - from infotainment, to soapies, to movies, to trips to the mall.

Everything we do is a grand circus of empty, useless activity bent on tickling fickless consumers, but which now requires the daily burning of a lot of natural resources. This could never continue indefinitely, in fact, it will only have run its course for around1 hundred years, with the worst excesses less than half that period. To think we thought we'd be living in this digsting overfed manner shows the extent of our hubris and self-deception.
Households, like businesses, will have to pay as they go from earned income. The house as ATM is over. Credit cards are maxed out and credit ceilings are lowering like the ceiling in "The Pit and the Pendulum," preparing to slice-and-dice the old "normal" of family life in America. Bankruptcy will be the new Nascar. A lot of families will lose everything. They will sift and disperse into the housing owned by other family members -- parents, siblings -- and a strange new not-altogether comfortable kind of togetherness will become common.
Counties, municipalities, and states will join in the bankruptcy fiesta. It would be reasonable to expect collapsing services as a result. This would be a situation fraught with danger -- of rising crime, of public health emergencies as water systems are not kept up and sewage treatment becomes unaffordable.
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