The Unseen Hand.Not to spread the funny news too thick today, but have you glanced at the business headlines? The stock markets have not reacted too well to the awful lack-of-employment numbers, with the Dow Jones Index plunging 325 points — that’s three-and-a-quarter percent and well under 10,000 and all the other markets looking similarly terrible. And “volumes” are high, meaning Lots of People/Institutions are dumping everything, for cash.

Hungary, a small nation of Magyar People who worship a severed, mummified hand and aren’t even on the Euro currency, is today’s “New Greece,” and oh who even knows. If you still have a job today, high-five to you, don’t spend your money on anything foolish. Might need it next month, for food!

At least we’ve got the Oil Spill to take our mind off the economy, right? Ugh. [Wall Street Journal/Reuters]

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  1. So, like, what is the best way to kill yourself? I’m mulling options right now. A gun seems the quickest way, but I’m also still employed, so I’m thinking about emptying my bank account, buying a couple of bricks of blow, leaving my wife, and winding up dead on the floor of a cheap hotel room between two disinterested hookers. So, I guess my real question is, how much does coke go for these days?

  2. Hungary has a simple way out. Just team back up with the Austrians and revive the Hapsburg dynasty. They were doing pretty good up until then.

  3. It looks like the people of Hungary weren’t listening to our economic geniuses; it’s the invisible hand of the free market that has magic powers to make the economy better, that hand there is very visible.

  4. Even SPAM costs $2.79 a can. I hope the CEO of United Health with his measly $98M bonus this year got a least a little cash out of his ATM before the run.

  5. “…don’t spend your money on anything foolish. Might need it next month, for food!”

    Hey, at least we can look forward to rock-bottom prices on Gulf Coast seafood (in addition to the usual Hobo Beans, should we be that lucky). And as a bonus, we won’t even have to buy oil in which to fry it.

  6. Bah — the Dow’s not reacting to unmeployment numbers, unless it’s because unemployment went down slightly, which pushes the price of labor up. Watch for a few months when the jobs figures come up — if that’s the biggest influence on the stock market, stocks tend to favor unemployment.
    Also, yesterday they (I heard it on Marketplace, but don’t remember who “they” are — the Bureau of Labor Statistics, possibly?) said that productivity levels (amount of work done per worker) are levelling off — which means that in order to get more done, industry has to hire more people. This is bad for business, as it takes away from CEO bonuses, stock dividends, and other fancy shit people like us never see. But it’s good for actual human beings. Who knew?

  7. they’re dumping their equities for high-quality butt-wipe, getting their priorities straight, but there’s no lemming ever needed to use a toilet.

  8. On Wednesday HP’s stock went up 15 % on news that they were shedding 6,000 jobs. Personally, I’m about sick of people comparing the stock market with economic health. It’s a sad statement when the investor class enriches the CEO of Hewlett Packard for putting people out of a job.

  9. [re=591752]JMP[/re]: Actually, they were. They have one of the lowest tax rates in Europe, have a large middle class, and cut spending to the bare minimum (of course, that’s based on the numbers they released these past few years, which were woefully understated).

    So they were practically Going Galt!

  10. [re=591729]actor212[/re]: ¡¿¡Sucker panic!?! You mean I took a dump and Monday morning it’s going come crawling back out of the toilet? Shit.

  11. Today would be a good day to invest in companies that are creating alternative fuel powered vehicles. Does anyone know of any good car companies that power their motors with pelicans or crawfish?

  12. [re=591842]Native of SL UT[/re]: No, but I hear there is big bucks for anyone who can come up with a vinaigrette flavored dispersant.

  13. [re=591880]Jukesgrrl[/re]: I’ll turn 56 in a month and have been unemployed for two years. I have a better chance of doping Rush Limbaugh’s coffee cup with LSD than finding a job.

    But I’m still determined to try for both.

  14. [re=591880]Jukesgrrl[/re]: As someone that has suffered from long time unemployment, it gets even worse when you find out that companies will often time place advertisements for jobs that do not exist, in areas where they aren’t currently at, for no other purpose than to evaluate the quality of the workforce in the area. Or, my personal favorites, will not accept a resume unless it is e-mailed in so they can run it through a program that looks for specific words in the resume. If those words do not exist, the resume is deleted.

  15. Some years ago I left banking to start a nonprofit helping the homeless. I thought I was sacrificing. Now I realize I was securing my economic future. Hooray for homelessness, today’s growth industry!

  16. [re=591911]Dog Trombone[/re]: Man, that’s the saddest, truest bit from a miserable news day. America’s back…hurts.

  17. Wookies, well, hmmmm…No.

    This time they are partly responding to the employment numbers, as low labour costs are good for business but if everyone is screwed not only is there a turnover effect (ie: No money to go run-round the system, nobody buys, overall production drops) but long-cycle business actually does have to meet certain requirements for the market to remain relatively free.

    See, if unemployment stays high the government starts to prioritize job creation (no, right now it doesn’t), rather then market value. Good for small-medium businesses, bad for big businesses and straight trading companies. Worst of all, sometimes the government comes in and flat out regulates shit, or redistributes income!

    People who make money on the market don’t spend it all and often play haven-hider with their taxes, or otherwise abuse tax-exceptions. Mostly that’s minor wonky stuff, but the core thing is that they are really good at hiding their money and if the government decides to say “fuck it” and restructure their economy, it’ll take time to find the new loopholes and gut the new laws.

    Thus, the market really wants unemployment to be about 7-8% as the posted figure, and under 15% for the real terms (which should give you under 25% underutilized in case there are any other asshole economists who read wonkette).

  18. [re=591978]Heq[/re]: Huh? I’m sure this all makes sense to someone but the folks in my part of the world see it like this. if i have a job making shit, then i have money to buy someone else’s shit. then they can buy my shit and i can buy their shit and so forth down the line. it really is THAT simple. end of story. now i’ll go have that beer.

  19. [re=591978]Heq[/re]: I don’t think anyone’s worried about the president restructuring the economy — the jobs President Obama’s recovery act has created basically push money to the lowest tiers of our working class, where it gets spent on useful products, which is a boost to the current economy.
    The other flaw in your argument is that shareholders don’t think beyond the next quarterly dividend — if there are long-term implications to unemployment, the Dow is the last place you’ll see it reflected. To say, therefore, that long-term concerns about government putting money in the hands of people who will spend it first is what’s driving the stock market down is turning our economic model on its head. The Dow is down because companies will have to spend money on people in the next three months. Period.

  20. I_KILL_ZOMBIES_ALSO, don’t kill yourself. Login to and apply for english teaching jobs. Go for public universities in provincial towns you’ve never heard of. One of them is sure to take you. You can leave the wife at home, enjoy the hookers and drugs/booze, and go home when things improve. I’m serious. Just don’t stay too long, because once you’ve danced with the fairies, you can’t go back. I came for a year and I’m on my 12th now.

  21. Reporting from Budapest: the latest collapse of the forint — coin of the realm of the Magyar People — makes for good times and cheap drinks. Pretty much cheap everything.

  22. Wookies, well, the first point is incorrect. Obama’s stim was, uh, not so much. That is why you had folks from Krugman to Stiggles bitching about it, it really was just a way for congress to funnel monies to other rich people.

    Of course, that’s what happens when congress gets a hold of money, and while doubtless some people did benefit, it was lopsided. The recovery act was not designed to get money in the hands of the poor and was generally built along “washington consensus” lines, ie: the key role was to reassure the markets via the indicators the markets like.

    As for long-term thinking and the market, I’m sorry, but dividends are just not how most stock-floggers make thier loot, it’s all about the capital gains and synthetics markets (cap-gain is the rise in stock price and sythetics are dreamed up nonsense, I’ll leave shorting aside for now). Cap gains are driven by people thinking a company will be worth more in the future then right now, which is why good cap-gain players juke the numbers one way or the other.

    ’cause cap-gains are all about future profitability, and necessitate being able to unload the stock on somebody else so you can get money out, you need people to believe that the future is good. Thus cap-gain traders do care, albeit in a messy way.

    Bleh, anyway, Obama’s not hot shit on the jobs front (he is a standard model corporate democrat), and corruption in washington is nothing new. If things get really bad those who exist in the graft and manipulation business (Congress/Major trading houses) often get hung out by presidents who tire of them (FDR/Teddy). There hasn’t been a real populaist shift in 50 years or so, but if the market manipulators keep this shit up they may end up costing politicans more then they’re worth.

    That’s the issue, nothing -has- been turned on it’s head, but there’s a lingering fear that someone might actually do something about it.

  23. More info please, I don’t feel like googling ‘hungarian saint mummified hand’… Ok, ok, done, it’s St. Stephen’s hand but not THAT St. Stephen, this one is the patron saint pornography and cheap wine.

  24. [re=592345]Man Without Qualities[/re]: Is there no lotion or fingernail polish in that cursed country to hook up ‘oh worshipful severed dead hand bearing bling’?

    I mean really. Also.

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