The Age Of Austerity

Very little of the $8 trillion plus that the Government has committed to the economy seems to be trickling down to the average consumer.

One in five U.S. households was behind on its utility bills

One in five U.S. households was behind on its utility bills coming out of last winter, a new survey concludes, raising fears that the current heating season could be even worse. One in 20 households had its utility service terminated in 2007.

The survey, expected to be released on Wednesday, was conducted by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, or Naruc, an organization of state utility regulators that has become increasingly concerned about a worsening trend of payment delinquencies and service shutoffs.

“We know the economy is in worse shape than when the numbers were taken, and we know people are struggling,” said Rob Thormeyer, spokesman for Naruc in Washington, D.C.

Sign of the times: about 1,000 apply to burger joint

Some wore ties. Some wore their pants too low. Some were balding. Some owed two months of mortgage payments. Some spoke openly of suicide. Some asked this reporter for a job. Some asked the manager at the hotel hosting the event for a job.

Ahead of a new In-N-Out restaurant opening in Las Vegas, close to 1,000 applied for a $10-an-hour job flipping or serving burgers. There are 50 available jobs, at most.

There was 42-year-old Freda Beckwith, who Wednesday observes three months of joblessness. Her resume ends at the Bellagio, where she was a cashier until Sept. 17, when she and 14 others in her department were stripped of their jobs.

Her husband is disabled and brings in only $700 a month in Social Security disability payments. They are now two months behind on payments on their house, she said.

She has applied for jobs at every hotel and casino on the Strip; she has filled out dozens of applications. She thinks younger people are getting the jobs.

As noted in The Illusion Of Prosperity Ends, many are facing very hard times.  Those without jobs can’t spend and those with jobs don’t want to spend.

As conditions continue to deteriorate at a rapid pace, there is one question that no one wants to address.  Can the Fed backstop the entire US economy?

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