The recession’s aftershocks, five years later
It’s been five years since the financial meltdown that spurred the Great Recession, and the effects of the downturn are still rampant. Students are saddled with debt while unable to find work, adult workers are seeing their wages stagnate while older workers who lose their jobs may not have a chance at attaining another.
Reporters Walter Hamilton and Shan Li recently looked at the economic status of a middle class family from Redondo Beach. Janet Barker, an eighth-grade teacher, thought her life was completely in order just a few years ago:
Then the financial crisis struck in 2008. She has abandoned her dreams, and these days, she’s just trying to hold her family together. Five people squeeze into her 1,000-square-foot house because they can’t afford to live anywhere else. She’s supporting her ex-husband, their daughter, an unemployed son-in-law and a grandchild.
As Carl Van Horn, labor economist and director of the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, puts it:
"American workers are between two uncomfortable realities: Either they are working and terrified about the future or they are not working at all."
Read the full story from reporters Walter Hamilton and Shan Li here.
Photos: Bethany Mollenkof / Los Angeles Times
Returning from combat to find their jobs are gone
Troops returning home often have a litany of problems on their plate - one of the most prominent being joblessness. Though employers are forbidden from penalizing service members for performing their military duties, that doesn’t mean soldiers don’t end up losing their jobs or benefits.
So who’s holding back on their obligations to troops coming home?
Government agencies are among the most frequent offenders, accounting for about a third of the more than 15,000 complaints filed with federal authorities since the end of September 2001, records show. Others named in the cases include some of the biggest names in American business, such as Wal-Mart and United Parcel Service.
Find out more about the crisis, with a particular focus on the large veteran community in California, in reporter Alexandra Zavis’ story here.
Photos: Tomas Ovalle / Los Angeles Times
Why not start your own seaborne colony?
Two Silicon valley entrepreneurs, fed up with U.S. regulations on visas granted to highly-educated workers, have turned to the sea to solve their difficulty in hiring new workers.
Currently, just 65,000 temporary work visas are granted yearly, hence the so-called project “Blueseed.” Hosted on a cruise ship 12 miles off of the coast of northern California, the goal is to create a start-up culture, workspace and living quarters independent of visa restrictions.
Keep an eye out for the spring of 2014, the planned launch time-frame for Blueseed, and hope it doesn’t turn out like another (fictional) aquatic attempt to leave governmental restrictions.
The Dow hit at an all-time high - so who’s benefiting?
Amid all of the excitement about the Dow’s record-setting numbers yesterday, there’s a lingering question: If the Dow’s doing so well, why aren’t most Americans?
L.A. Times columnist Michael Hilzik tackled that question today. He points to the divergence of corporate earnings and workers’ wages as an indication of the strong disconnect between stock market success and the wealth of average Americans.
From 1950 through the 1970s, corporate profits hovered in the range of 5% to 7% of GDP. They dipped as low as 3% in 1986, but since then have staged a long-term ascent that has brought them to 11% today, their highest level since World War II.
The average worker’s share of those profits, in the meantime, peaked at 53% of GDP in 1970, and have been on the decline ever since, hitting 44% last year.
And then there’s this finding:
From 1993 through 2010, according to UC Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez, the top 1% of income earners captured 52% of all real income growth.
Read more on the gap between Wall Street earnings and your own pocketbook here.
Photo: Richard Drew / Associated Press
$3.2 billion: That’s how much California stands to lose should sequestration cuts take hold Friday. Amid warnings of slowed economic growth, cutbacks in meals for seniors and airport security, the brunt of the effects will be felt by specific sectors.
San Diego, with a defense-heavy economy, as well as those dependent on federal programs have the most to lose in California. And as the cuts loom ever closer, the debate on whether they’re a net positive continues.
The arguments from either side:
"We need stimulus, not premature austerity," Gov. Jerry Brownsaid during a break at the National Governors Assn. meeting in Washington.
Rep. John Campbell (R-Irvine) contends that critics of the cuts are exaggerating the effects.
"If we can’t do this, what can we do" to reduce Washington’s red ink, he asked. "We ought to be panicked about the day when people won’t buy our debt anymore because we borrowed too much."
If you thought your boss was harsh: Check out what tire magnate Maurice “Morry” Taylor Jr. of Titan International said about French workers, when asked by the French government to take over a tire production plant about to be shut down.
Sir, your letter suggests you would like to open discussions with Titan. How stupid do you think we are? Titan has money and the know-how to produce tires. What does the crazy union have? It has the French government.
The French workers are paid high wages but only work three hours. They have one hour for their lunch, they talk for three hours and they work for three hours. I told this to their union leaders directly; they replied, that is the way it is in France.
Photo: Philippe Huguen / AFP/Getty Images
We posted this chart (with a h/t to explore-blog) yesterday, looking to spread some tips for job hunters. Turns out, there was some good advice spread around! Here are just some of the tips Times readers shared:
Sunfell: Two words: Trade. School.
Badeggfitzgerald: Go back to school and hope someone fixes the problem in the next couple years. If not, repeat and get your doctorate.
Beardie: Key is experience, experience, and experience.
If you’re willing to relocate… maybe even location. LA is a tough, mega-competitive market filled with highly qualified candidates at every level.
My job sucks and I’m severely underpaid—but I can at least pay loan minimums and get to have a title on the resume.
Becca Express: Treat looking for a full-time job as a full-time job! Rejection happens daily, keep trying and remember, any job is better than no job. You can get picky later. Just get experience now.
Evetsy: Government jobs, especially at the state and federal level, are usually the best place to look for a job. The things I’ve read and stories I’ve heard make this for a most frugal option.
Also, I’ve come to learn that one should be the business. Freelance, I guess you can say— become your own boss. No one hires you? Fine. You are the expert in your field; you have your credentials. (more in the link)
Thanks to everyone who shared, and just in case the font at the top of the page is too small to notice, here’s a link to some info for L.A. Times internships!
“On Aug. 5, I was among those who witnessed the rover Curiosity landing on Mars in real time at NASA’s Caltech-managed Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The excitement was overwhelming: The one-ton Mars Science Laboratory broke through the Red Planet’s atmosphere, slowed its speed from 13,000 mph to almost zero and touched down. One glimpse of those first images from more than 100 million miles away demonstrated America’s leadership in innovation.
Curiosity — the rover and the concept — is what science is all about: the quest to reveal the unknown. America’s past investment in basic science and engineering, and its skill at nurturing the quest, is what led to the Mars triumph, and it is what undergirds U.S. leadership in today’s world. But now, decreases in science funding and increases in its bureaucracy threaten that leadership position.
After World War II, scientific research in the U.S. was well supported. In the 1960s, when I came to America, the sky was the limit, and this conducive atmosphere enabled many of us to pursue esoteric research that resulted in breakthroughs and Nobel prizes. American universities were magnets to young scientists and engineers from around the globe. The truth is that no one knew then what the effect of that research would be; no one could have predicted and promised all that resulted. After all, it is unpredictability that is the fabric of discovery.
In much of academia today, however, curiosity-driven research is no longer looked on favorably. Research proposals must specifically address the work’s “broad relevance to society” and provide “transformative solutions” even before research begins. Professors are writing more proposals chasing less research money, which reduces the time available for creative thinking. And with universities facing rising costs generally, professors are more and more involved in commercial enterprises, which may not always push basic research forward. Even faculty tenure may be driven less by how good one is at science than how good one is at fundraising.
These constraints and practices raise the question: Would a young Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman or Linus Pauling be attracted to science today? Would they be able to pursue their inquiries into fundamental questions?”
test reblogged from kateoplis
America’s prosperity requires a level playing field: To fix the economy, we must boost demand. To do that, we have to address inequality.
Illustration credit: Wes Bausmith / For The Times
The debt-ridden city’s council is expected to approve bankruptcy today, making Stockton the largest U.S. city to ever file for protection from creditors.
Student loan blues: Americans of all ages are on the hook for student loans that in some cases were taken out decades earlier. And many middle-aged people are taking out new loans as they go back to school.
Illustration credit: Christopher Serra / For The Times
Several factors are behind the relative complacency now compared with the price surge of 2008, analysts say.
A tale of two California tax plans: In a state where the GOP has all but disappeared from decision-making, this is what constitutes a debate today — two leading liberals arguing over how best to raise taxes.
Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown talks to reporters about his tax initiative on March 20. Molly Munger, right, is pursuing a rival initiative for the November ballot seeking to raise taxes. credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Pres
Making art into a full-time job—indie or industry—can require years of scraping with no guaranteed payoff. It becomes a much smoother path if you’ve got a phone full of friends from whatever art school, enough spare time to hone and promote your work, and family who can support you and who don’t need to be supported. Social capital is still capital, and in our economic system, an art career is a luxury purchase.
test reblogged from californiapoliticking