RBC Centura survey: Southeast consumer confidence plunges

Only 33 percent of Southeastern residents believe the country is heading in the right direction economically, a percentage that mirrors the national average, according to RBC’s Southeastern Consumer Attitudes and Spending by Household Index. (Story.)

Hunh.

It’s a puzzler, all right. But hey, as long as we make sure queers in Boston can’t get married….

:xpost:

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7 comments

  1. I really don’t understand that either. The leading economic indicators (mainly Dow Jones Transport Index and the price of copper) are bullish as hell for the economy. The economy is growing well, and unemployment is down. Of course, 80% of the people are paying 20% on their plastic and not saving…..but that’s their problem for not living within their means.
    Aloha,
    Jeff

  2. I also think if you get into it closely you’ll see that the big, bull-driving numbers are of the sort that are good by big-picture standards but less so for the masses. Is a billion dollars created good for the economy? Well, if it’s split a million ways you get one answer but if the same rich guy just adds another billion to the ten he already has, that’s a different answer. And the employment numbers look good, except I suspect we’re talking about the creation of lower-paying jobs with worse benefits, so that number means something less encouraging than it did say ten years ago, as well.
    I absolutely hear you on the plastic problem, though. We try to keep our debt as under control as it can be here in the age of eternal student loan payments, but we’re not where we want to be yet. Maybe in a year, I think.

  3. The low paying jobs have a way to lead into higher paying positions. A guy can flip burgers at McDonalds and work his way up to managing a store within 5 years. Stock boys in grocery stores can work their way up to store manager in 5 years. A grocery store manager makes 90-250K per year. People just want entry level jobs that are going to pay $40.00 per hour with full benefits, and the paradigm shift that’s happened in the world’s economy just won’t allow it. Our manufacturing base is eroding because it’s simply cheaper to have some guy in China produce the widget for $1.00/hour.
    The masses benefit when the rich guy benefits. The rich guy still has to sell his products to the masses, and the masses without money certainly aren’t going to help the rich guy. Nobody ever went to a poor person to get a job from him.
    I, myself have absolutely zero debt. Never have, never will. I don’t believe in consumer debt at all. While I have plastic, we pay it off every month and get our 1.5% rebate. I used to have a mortgage, but we paid that off early 5 years ago.
    A neighbor of mine bought his house for $650K. It’s a fixxer upper. He put 30K down and his payments are $1999/month with creative financing. Every month he lives there, the difference is added to the principal and he falls deeper in debt. I imagine (guess) his household income is in the 90K range. They will have nothing after it is all said and done, especially if the real estate market collapses. Our prices here are already off 10% from last year’s highs.
    How long have you been paying those nasty student loans?
    Aloha,
    Jeff

  4. Since late 1999. I’m actually in not such bad shape on that front. I made it all the way to the PhD level before I ever had to take a loan, so I only racked up maybe $35K. My wife had it tougher, though, and I know people who are probably in for over $100K. I guess the only way to make sense of it is to view it not as debt but as an investment.
    I just don’t think our gummit has ever stopped to think about what our ed policy is doing to the economy. I have occasionally wondered, for instance, if the explosion of economic activity that would follow a nationwide, blanket student loan debt write-off wouldn’t generate tax revenues that would damned near cover the cost.
    We’ll have the truck paid off this year. With luck we’ll get those student loans manageable before long. We’re in pretty good shape re: the plastic.

  5. I honestly wonder. I mean, it would represent a HUMONGOUS revenue hit on the front end. That’s a brazillian dollars a month that isn’t coming in anymore. BUT, speaking as a guy whose life is strongly shaped by these kinds of debt, I can tell you that if it happened, we’d go on the spending spree from hell. Imagine if millions of Americans found themselves with a few thousand extra disposable dollars each year. Some would save, which would enable commercial lending, which would be necessary to manage the economic growth resulting from the amnesty, etc.
    I’m not an economist, but it’s an intriguing thought.

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