Monday, July 9, 2012

Back So Soon?

After a long holiday break, where thankfully not much happened, we're back and ready to begin the long run towards the fall election, cooler autumn temps, and this year's "lame duck" session of Congress - which looks to be more like an ugly duck session.

What we're not ready for is something we began seeing while we were on vacation last week - even before the Independence Day holiday in the U.S.

That something we saw is Back-to-School sales. In late June and July.

With the exception of those places where year-around K-12 sessions are already in place, most of the United States still begins the school year for primary and secondary students in August. On the retail calendar, that means "Back-to-school" season usually falls after the "Fourth of July" sales theme, but before the "We have to start selling Halloween stuff while the temps are still in the 90s, because we'll be selling Christmas junk by October 1st" theme.

This year, U.S. retailers seem more desperate than they're willing to let on - and the insanely early "Back-to-school" sales are simply another symptom of the continuing slow economy.

As the BLS - the Bureau of Labor Statistics - does on the first Friday of each month, they released the June jobs numbers last Friday. For the third consecutive month, there were still a few positive signs - including continued positive job growth in the U.S. private sector.

Sadly, the public sector problem also remains the same. Republicans and their austerity policies at the state and local levels continue to cost the economy jobs. Thanks to the GOP's short-sighted positions, at least 627,000 government jobs have been lost since June 2009.

This idiotic fight between forward-looking Keynesian policies like those President Obama and progressive Democrats have supported, and the regressive European-style austerity views of Republicans continues to keep the U.S. economy from going anywhere. As Ezra Klein noted last week, economically things are basically unchanged over the last three months.

In other words, the U.S. economy isn't losing jobs - but we're not gaining them fast enough to fix the problem. Continued meager demand and slow labor recovery, coupled with more rumblings about the further gambling problems of the Wall Street "wonders", mean that most consumer-dependent U.S. businesses are now more worried than ever about the future.

For you and for us, in the stores we go to, this means retailers are already beginning to beat you over the head with "Back-to-school" sales. As the Wall Street Journal noted last week, "Back-to-school" is one of the top periods for consumers to shop in the U.S. - right behind the annual pre-December holiday shopping season. Retailers also know many Americans may be unwilling to spend money on themselves. On their kids, however? No problem.

Sadly, while American consumers and businesses are still being dragged down by the obstructionist policies of the GOP, what Republicans in Congress are trying to sell you isn't a new Trapper Keeper or a fancy new school outfit.

They're still attempting to sell the same lie they've been pushing since they took over the House of Representatives in 2010 and basically did next to nothing since. Congressional Republicans are still desperately claiming that President Obama hasn't done anything about jobs. Meanwhile, the American Jobs Act - the plan President Obama presented LAST YEAR, the plan that even independent estimates say would create 1.9 million new jobs in America - still sits on the side table of the Congress, as Congressional Republicans do exactly what they're accusing Congressional Democrats of, ignoring their respobsibilities.

If it seems like we're already back to beating you over the head with some of the same facts we did before our break...?

Let's just say we picked up some inspiration while shopping during our vacation.

No comments:

Post a Comment