Tuesday, April 13, 2010

DOW Breaks 11,000

Judging our economic health by looking at the Dow Jones is like judging your personal health by feeling your forehead with the back of your hand. It really doesn’t tell much, but if you’ve been doing it long enough that it becomes habit.

Actually, looking around, I am still not so certain about inevitable recovery from the Great Intercession. The "flash used car lots" that were at most traffic lights have gone away, but now I am seeing the interchange homeless moving up Petrovitsky into the more rural areas. Used to be you had to be at major off-ramp to qualify a homeless person standing politely with a sign, now you have them increasingly in deepest suburbia. The most embarrassed one I saw was surrounded by people dressed like the plush-headed Statues of Liberty, pushing a tax preparation service. They were much more enthusiastic than he was.

In addition, gas out here was kissing 3 bucks a gallon out here even before the Anacortes explosion, and the superheated price seems to have become the "new normal". So look for it to continue to go up further.

On the other hand, the economy may be improving, because my commute is starting to suck again. It may have been hard times over the past two years, but the effect on the I-405 corridor traffic have been beneficial. Microsoft is hiring again, so traffic should clot up once more in the more affordable neighborhoods.

I suppose that looking at Wall Street for our general or personal economic health shows the lie in "trickle-down' theories - that if you help the bigs, then the improved economic conditions will help the smalls. In reality, the bigs have to be healthy for a while before stuff starts leaking down to the small fry. And at the first sign of economic adversity, the smaller and weaker members of the economy get thrown off the bus first. So the amount of time that the lower classes benefit from a rising economy tends to be shorter than that of the upper classes.

Still, I was enheartened by the snippet that the stocks leading this particular charge were companies like Alcoa and Caterpillar. You know, companies that actually make things, as opposed to just move around money. So we may be seeing a recovery after all.

But not you, at least not until after the bigs have finished their feeding.

More later,