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Bank Of America Throws Up All Over Friday's Jobs Number

Tyler Durden's picture


There was a time when Bank of America's archoptimist David Bianco would take any economic data point, no matter how fecal mattery, and convert it into 24-carat gold. Then, in late 2011 Bianco was fired because the bank realized that its only chance to persevere was if the Fed proceeded with another round of QE, (and another, and another, ad inf) and as such economic reporting would have to lose its upward bias and be reporting in its natural ugly habitat. And while many other banks have in recent days become content with every other central bank in the world easing but not the Fed in an election year due to the risks of record gas prices, BAC's push for QE has not abated and in fact has gotten louder and louder. So exposes us to some oddities. Such as the firm's 29 year old senior economist Michelle Meyer literally demolishing any myth that yesterday's job number was "good." Needless to say, this will not come as a surprise to Zero Hedge readers. Nor to TrimTabs, whose opinion on the BLS BS we have attached as exhibit B as to the sheer economic data propaganda happening in an election year. Yet it is quite shocking that such former stalwarts of the bullish doctrine are now finally exposing the truth for what it is. Presenting Bank of America as we have never seen it before - throwing up all over the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Booming or treading water?


The funny thing about economists is that they can look at the same set of data and draw completely different conclusions. This is partly because of different models and assumptions but also because of the wide range of data to analyze. Nowhere is this more true than in the labor market. There are a number of different indicators, including the unemployment rate, non-farm payrolls, initial jobless claims, the employment-to-population ratio, the diffusion index, and the list goes on.


In this piece, we examine the most popular indicators and summarize their message about the labor market and the overall economy. We focus on the February employment report, which showed a solid gain of 227,000 payrolls but an unchanged unemployment rate of 8.3%. Looking across the range of recent data, we argue that there are signs of true healing in the labor market. However, challenges persist which will make a more robust recovery difficult.


The magic rate

The most popularly cited labor market indicator is the unemployment rate. Normally, the level of the unemployment rate is a good measure of slack in the economy and the change in the unemployment rate is a good gauge of the speed of growth. Today, we see three reasons for caution in interpreting the unemployment statistics.


First, and most commonly observed, the unemployment rate is not only capturing changes in employment, but it is also measuring changes in labor force participation (Chart 5). The labor force participation rate measures the percent of the working-age population that is either working or searching for employment. There are two factors which determine the labor force participation rate:


demographics (such as baby boomers entering the early retirement years) and the health of the economy (perceptions of whether it is possible to find a job).

Since the recession began in December 2007, the labor force participation rate has declined over 2.0pp to 63.9%, of which 1.2pp was due to population shifts into age groups that tend to work less (Table 3). Since we cannot fight the aging process, the downward pressure from the aging population will continue.


But, we should expect at least part of the cyclical drop in the participation rate to reverse as the labor market heals. If the current pace of job creation persists and people start to perceive that there are greater job opportunities, discouraged workers will return to the labor force. This includes many young adults who went back to school rather than face a very tough job market. This means that as job growth picks up, so will the participation rate. That in turn means the drop in the unemployment rate will slow even when job growth accelerates.


Second, not all unemployment is the same. Most of the gain in unemployment comes from record high “long-term” unemployment. As Chart 6 shows, there are a record number of people who are unemployed for greater than six months. In contrast, the short-term unemployment rate has fallen sharply and returned to normal levels. This suggests labor misallocation – those with certain skill sets can find employment in short order while others can struggle with unemployment for some time.


Finally, the unemployment rate does not capture the quality of jobs. For example, it does not distinguish between full-time and part-time jobs. During the recession there was a big increase in part-time workers, which has remained high. These workers are counted as “employed” even though in reality they are half unemployed. In addition, it does not provide information about the quality of jobs in regards to compensation or skill set. This all matters because the standard inflation models use the unemployment rate as a way to determine the amount of slack in the economy, and hence wage pressure. It is therefore useful to control for these other factors when using slack models for inflation.


Bottom line: Don’t be surprised if the unemployment rate remains sticky even once job growth accelerates.


Warm payrolls


Also receiving the top billing among labor market statistics are non-farm payrolls. This measures net job creation: the number of jobs created less destroyed. It tends to be a volatile number and difficult to forecast. Nonetheless, it is one of the most influential indicators for the markets. There are two main problems with nonfarm payrolls.


First, there are significant revisions, both in the subsequent two months and also with annual benchmarks. To put this into context, the initial estimates showed job growth of 1.38 million least year; after revisions this was up to 1.82 million. This means that simply from monthly revisions, there were another 440,000 jobs created. Remember the September report which showed a payroll print of zero? That has since been revised to 85,000 job growth.


Second, there are often seasonal distortions. Poor weather conditions during the survey week, such as a snow storm, will make it difficult for people to report to work. If a non-salary worker does not receive compensation during the survey week, it will count as a job loss. The BLS attempts to control for normal seasonal swings, but sometimes that creates distortions by over-adjusting the data. This may be playing a role in the recent data given the abnormally mild winter. As Chart 7 shows, there were considerably fewer reports of people not reporting to work as a result of the weather this winter. The average from December through February this year was 170,000 workers compared to the historical average of 290,000 and clearly well below the last two years.


There are also quirks in the data unrelated to seasonal factors. For example, December payrolls were boosted by a spike in hiring of couriers and messengers as a result of online shopping during the holiday season. However, the BLS retroactively adjusted the seasonal factors and that spike has since been revised away. But, on the day of the release, this made it more challenging to interpret the report. Also, changes in hiring schedules in the public schools can create volatility in the data.

And for a secondary perspective, here is TrimTabs:

TrimTabs’ Says Payrolls Grew So-So 149,000 in February, while BLS Reports Robust 227,000 New Jobs
Real-Time Withholding Tax Data Does Not Support Big Growth Estimates 
BLS’ Huge February Seasonal Adjustments (+1.53 Million Jobs) Likely Inflate Results


TrimTabs estimated that U.S. payrolls grew 149,000 in February, down from its revised January estimate of 181,000.  Meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the U.S. economy added a better than expected 227,000 jobs.  In addition, the BLS revised its January total up from 243,000 to a whopping 284,000 While TrimTabs’ results point to an economy stuck in slow growth mode, the BLS results point towards healthy acceleration of economic growth.


Obviously, the huge differences between the two estimates have us re-evaluating our model inputs. We did discover a problem with our January 2012 results due to the delay in implementation of the 2% payroll tax reduction in January 2011.  The delay resulted in an overwithholding of payroll taxes in January 2011 and a subsequent correction in withholding tax collections in February 2011.  In addition, we believe our November and December results were challenged by a larger than expected decline in seasonal bonuses.   We are in the process of revising our employment estimates from November 2011 through January 2012 and will report our results this coming Tuesday, March 13, 2011.


Despite the many challenges confronting the TrimTabs’ estimate, the BLS estimate also faces numerous difficulties this time of year.  Given these difficulties, we believe the BLS is likely overstating February job growth due faulty seasonal adjustments. 


The BLS’ February seasonal adjustment is the second largest of the year totaling +1.53 million jobs while the January seasonal adjustment is the largest of the year totaling +2.16 million jobs. To put these huge seasonal adjustments into perspective, labor turnover during any given month is about 4 million people hired or fired.  The size of the seasonal adjustments in January and February relative to the number of people hired or fired is a whopping 53% and 39%, respectively.


Looking forward, withholding tax data during the month of March will be much cleaner providing better view of growth in wages and salaries and employment because the volatility from the 2% payroll tax change in January and February 2011 will disappear from the data. Similarly, the BLS seasonal adjustments decline significantly in March and April reducing this source of error to their survey based results.


TrimTabs’ believes the anemic wage and salary and job growth results in February support the view that the economy remains stuck in slow growth mode due to numerous economic headwinds confronting the economy.  Those headwinds are sluggish real wage and salary growth barely higher than inflation, elevated unemployment, waning government support, reduced and expiring tax incentives, contracting state and local governments, elevated fuel prices, and a sluggish housing market.


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Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:02 | 2243146 sIewie the pi-rat
sIewie the pi-rat's picture

I posted this off topic link yesterday of the yachting class where we are sure there are numerous postiions available for the right kind of crew members


dedicated to the  0.1% (live stream cam of St. Barts Gustavia Harbor) (live cam don't work with internet explorer) (live yacht positions in Gustavia)


compare and contrast

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:14 | 2243165 a growing concern
a growing concern's picture

You're gonna have to break this one down for me.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:43 | 2243218 Harlequin001
Harlequin001's picture

basically the jobs number sucks...

But I think we already knew that...

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 16:09 | 2243520 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

Over here in europe we take all those numbers with a bucket of salt because people who have been unemployed something get a job which they actually pay for to get their unemployment benefits back up to 100% and are fired 2 months later with all the needed paperwork. And if they don't want to pay for it, they take a job which they hate and will quit on a few months later also for the paperwork.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 19:32 | 2243858 Michael
Michael's picture

The only way to create jobs in the US is to default on the national debt.

How does this work you ask?

When we default on the debt and become a deadbeat nation nobody will trade with us, so we have to make everything we want in our own country again, thus creating jobs for everyone.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 22:13 | 2244086 Joseph Jones
Joseph Jones's picture

Michael, you're a crazy son of a biscuit eater, and I kinda of love ya! 

Sun, 03/11/2012 - 16:17 | 2245431 absente reo
absente reo's picture

You've obviously never heard of the Theory of Comparative Advantage.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:43 | 2243220 spiral_eyes
spiral_eyes's picture

If they're looking for more QE, all they need to know is that the U6 and employment-ratio numbers are stubbornly where they were in 2009. The +/- 27 week numbers are interesting, though. Still, I don't think more QE will make any difference whatever to these fundamental indicators. Why would it? The last 2 rounds didn't. 

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:18 | 2243173 I think I need ...
I think I need to buy a gun's picture

i saw somewhere that harrisburg pa is now skipping payments, zero hedge anything on that? No one is paying their shit back,,,,we have new stadiums, new houses, granite countertops, suvs and the little guy who just wants to eat and save is getting crushed,,,,,,FUCK it all

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:28 | 2243192 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

I don't read Mish much any more but I think he has covered the Harrisburg thing.  It is so funny that back in Minnesota they are now finalizing talks to fund a $950 million stadium for The Vikings. 

Hey, at least we have our priorities straight.  I'm sure the owners will never want to leave the stadium, in 10 years or so. 

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:41 | 2243214 Harlequin001
Harlequin001's picture

I'm sure the owners will never be able to maintain it...

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:42 | 2243215 Bam_Man
Bam_Man's picture

And according to the latest figures in 2011 Minnesota recorded a year-over-year jump of OVER 10% in Food Stamp usage. Glad to see that they are building a new $950 million football stadium too.

Panem et Circenses

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:52 | 2243250 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

It's a good thing the more-nutritional iPad 4 will soon be coming to stores.  That should fix everything.  "Go team!"

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 14:38 | 2243337 Central Bankster
Central Bankster's picture

We've got a shitload of useless welfare queens in Minneapolis.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 15:13 | 2243410 SilverCoinLover
SilverCoinLover's picture

Yes, I'll bet you do, and how many of them were needlessly imported from Somalia?

If we really want to reduce the unemployment rate, we need to do it by not just only increasing the number of jobs, but also by reducing the number of people looking for jobs, and the only way that can be done is with an immigration moratorium.

But that's a PC thoughtcrime to the power elite, as well as to many average Joe's, we can't do that because it would be racist! So we better get used to high unemployment rates for many years to come.


Sat, 03/10/2012 - 15:34 | 2243446 Central Bankster
Central Bankster's picture

Wait, so you're saying the supply and demand for labor affect labor wages?  ;) 

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 16:04 | 2243508 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture


Oh fuck off! Instead of blaming immigrants, who mainly take shitty jobs no one else wants ( It isn't like you are bitching about Canadian actors taking all the good highpaying entertainment jobs is it?), the reality is assholes like you allowed the selling of the US and its jobs.

No one paid attention when the farmers were suffering. No one paid attention when the factory workers were losing jobs. Now that it hits the white collar workers everyone is up in arms.

Well boo fucking hoo. I watched all that happen and it wasn't the goddamned Mexicans or Somalis who caused the problem. It was rich white fuckers screwing the people they considered lesser all for a fucking buck!

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 16:10 | 2243522 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

Actually, Minnesota has long seen an influx of welfare recipients coming from Milwaukee and Chicago for the better benefits that were availble. 

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 16:59 | 2243622 SilverCoinLover
SilverCoinLover's picture

Whoa! Calm down there Gully, I actually agree with you somewhat. I have never been in favor of outsourcing, if that's what you meant by the selling of the US and it's jobs. I'm aware that the farmers and factory workers have suffered. I am not rich. I agree that immigrants didn't cause the problem.

But I'm also worried about the numbers, for decades about 70% of US population growth has been due to immigration, and now we can't seem to create enough jobs to keep up with this oversupply. I've read that we need to create 250,000 new jobs every month, forever, just to keep up with working age population growth and to keep the unemployment rate steady at 8%! Like everyone else I want that rate to fall, so I just want all options to be considered, even the politically incorrect ones.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 19:09 | 2243830 rancher from So...
rancher from South Dakota's picture

hows about we try that goll darned capitalism....???  you know quit paying people to do nothing ....(entitlements, foodstamps, et-al)  and all the doo gooding central planning and save our currency and let the productive in our society start allocating assets>???  ie hiring people for the necassary bucks it whould then take to eat......Its healthy societies you must work to eat.....when you don't have to eventually everyone starves


Sat, 03/10/2012 - 17:32 | 2243683 Dr.Engineer
Dr.Engineer's picture

I am an immigrant. I have a Ph.D.  I create jobs. I know of many other non-Americans who have advanced education that are creating jobs.

It is the quality of the immigrant.

Shut up.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 22:19 | 2244087 j0nx
j0nx's picture

To all you assholes who espouse immigrants/immigration (legal or illegal) in the middle of a depression when Americans are out of work: go FUCK yourselves. Traitors. That is all.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 23:52 | 2244218 kekekekekekeke
kekekekekekeke's picture


Sun, 03/11/2012 - 16:19 | 2245440 absente reo
absente reo's picture

LOL, Fact is, the US is a nation of immigrants.  You conveniently choose to overlook this.

Mon, 03/12/2012 - 17:22 | 2248542 Questan1913
Questan1913's picture

Gully Foyle

The language is rather colorful, but of course he IS right.  Fourteen down arrows?........ all from the "it doesn't affect me" crowd?  It affects you, now, and the major downturn hasn't even started yet. 

"IT DOESN'T AFFECT ME" is the establishment inculcated neurosis that will insure the destruction of the ignorant, befuddled individuals who are its victims and have no understanding that when one group is under economic attack from another, one that is highly organized and obsesively driven to accrue MORE at the other groups expense, that other group better start to form into something cohesive and organized or it is inviting its own destruction.  That is where we are today.  The middle class has been brilliantly atomized while the tiny "elite" class is tightly organized and promoting its agenda, as one.  Televisions main purpose is to atomize the watchers and at the same time confer omnipotence on those behind the screen.  Simply brilliant.  It IS a conspiracy, but only of mutual self interest.  And for many of those who are plugged in, just seeing the word CONSPIRACY triggers a deeply implanted aversion response, as intended by those who control the media, education, the culture, and above all else THE MONEY.   

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 15:21 | 2243425 Troll Magnet
Troll Magnet's picture

yeah but that pales in comparison to all the useless welfare queens on capitol hill and wall street.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 17:12 | 2243651 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

Is that new stadium called the Circus Maximus by any chance?  is it going to compete with the gambling casinos for customers?

Sun, 03/11/2012 - 11:40 | 2244791 dhengineer
dhengineer's picture

That's how they want to pay for it, at least in part. Seriously.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 14:51 | 2243366 Dermasolarapate...
Dermasolarapaterraphatrima's picture

I am happy to report on my new part time 'shovel-ready' job:

That's me in the blue slicker......

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 14:52 | 2243370 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture


Mutiny on the Bounty! (Bounties?)

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:02 | 2243147 Future Tense
Future Tense's picture

At 2.5% running CPI and an 8.3% unemployment rate, the Fed is losing both battles.  I'm thinking they would rather have 4% inflation and try and lower the real unemployment rate, which is closer to 20%, as reported by Tyler and Gallup earlier in the week.  Bring on QE3.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:09 | 2243153 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

I was at the grocery store earlier today.  Holy cow.  I know grocery prices are higher here but the rate at which prices are going up is just incredible.  I went to buy a pound of sharp cheddar and gave the cashier a Krugerrand.  I waited for my change.  He interrupted my daydream by saying, "I need another Krugerrand". 

The little guy has to be getting killed right now.  Between food and gas prices it must feel like a pincer movement.  Of course it is time for the little guy to pull his head out of his a$$ and face reality. 

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 14:00 | 2243268 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

Between food and gas prices it must feel like a pincer movement.

The fascists are in charge

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 17:32 | 2243682 Withdrawn Sanction
Withdrawn Sanction's picture

Filled up today, $4.01/gallon for regular.  Hasn't been over $4 here since Aug 2008 (hmmm, is that a correlation that might be useful???).  Didn't notice until I was done, the pump had been rejected by the state inspector from the Dept of Weights and Measures (and yet the station was still operating...).  So not only did I pay a high price, I probably got hosed on quantity too...nice.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 19:57 | 2243898 Iwanttoknow
Iwanttoknow's picture

WS,The pump owner learnt capitalism from wall street.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:04 | 2243151 Wakanda
Wakanda's picture

B of A is shitting bricks as they find that the folks they shafted the last few years are spending their money on guns.  Better get Ben to hit cntrl-p and get those hungry mobs employed or fed or something!

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:11 | 2243155 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

Anybody else notice that this Michelle Meyer has a face that belongs on radio?  It is scary that this is a professional photograph and she still looks like that.  How many guys will chew off an arm when they wake up next to that? 

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:16 | 2243169 i-dog
i-dog's picture

Yep. Beaten senseless with the ugly stick.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:26 | 2243187 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

She was beaten with the ugly stick and they batted around the order. 

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:56 | 2243260 I am Jobe
I am Jobe's picture

Is there an IAPP for that is what sheeples want to know, The IAPP econ bitchezz.z Fuck the inbred POS sheeples

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 20:23 | 2243939 steve from virginia
steve from virginia's picture


My man, you need to get off the sheep farm more often ...

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:16 | 2243170 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

i am sure there is a hooknose out there that will have no problem overlooking that

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:20 | 2243178 Goldtoothchimp09
Goldtoothchimp09's picture

SENIOR Economist - age 29 - pure and utter bullshit propaganda -- so... Rookie Propagandist is more like it

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:45 | 2243227 spiral_eyes
spiral_eyes's picture

Bleh, age don't mean shit. Older age often means more time vegetated away in front of junk TV. Good work is good work, though the truth about Michelle Meyer's work is, as you rightly say, that it's just bloated propaganda.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:50 | 2243239 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

I agree on both of your points.  Age is not a good indicator.  Look at Greenspan.  Look at Summers, Geithner, Bernanke, Rubin, etc..  They are older.  That doesn't mean much.  It just means that the system has had longer to strip away any semblance of common sense or humanity from them.  Age is not a virtue when your profession is lying. 

A four year old would be a better analyst than 99.9% of those we see on CNBC.  A child sees through this bullshit better than anything we see on Squawk Box. 

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 14:08 | 2243284 DavidC
DavidC's picture

That's more like it.

Yes, I agree with you - I work alongside a twenty-odd year old physics graduate who is wise well beyond his years. He now looks at Zero Hedge all the time as well!


Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:39 | 2243210 DavidC
DavidC's picture

Speaking as someone who has a face for radio,

1 - she does NOT have a face that belongs on radio and

2 - if that REALLY is the best you can offer as a comment on ZeroHedge, where there are more serious things to discuss, then it's time for you to leave.

David(hit with the ugly stick)C

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:46 | 2243230 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

Would you please post all of your rules for posting on Zero Hedge?  It would make things simpler. 

You should really change your name to Comment Nazi. 

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 14:04 | 2243275 DavidC
DavidC's picture

One, I did not post a rule, I expressed an opinion on what I thought was an irrelevant and unnecessary comment by you.

Two, you made me smile by suggesting I should change my name to Comment Nazi. Why? On what evidence? Because I find your commenting on a person's appearance over what they have to say to be childish?

I stand by my previous comment/opinion - if you really can't think of better things to discuss than a person's appearance then you shouldn't be posting comments on Zero Hedge.


Sat, 03/10/2012 - 14:51 | 2243365 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

So the appearance of the fluffers on CNBC, MSNBC, CNN or Fox News is no longer fodder for ZHers?  You get to decree that?

I saw the context of this person's position and could assure you that her appearance was of more relevance than her thoughts.  Just like when I hear that Bernanke or Obama has said something.  I do not listen to a word they say.  The same can be said of this Michelle Meyer.  I don't care what she has to say but man is she ugly. 

"Marry a pretty girl and you will have trouble."  Not a problem with Michelle. 


Have a good day, David.  By the way, Michelle Cabrera has a beard and Becky Quick has a face like a bird. 

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 15:00 | 2243385 DavidC
DavidC's picture

If you really want the last word on this then carry on, I won't reply any more. Appearance is what it is - I should know, which is why I find your comments offensive.

I made a mistake recently when I first came across Capital Account with Lauren Lyster, initially thinking she was just another stupidly pretty airhead. My opinion's been revised watching the programme regularly, i.e. she's a smart cookie. In other words, appearance is irrelevant to what someone says.

By the way, see my response to one of your responses above - when you make good points (and I know you do), I will respond agreeably. Over and out - last word to you if you want it.


Sat, 03/10/2012 - 15:19 | 2243420 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

Bernanke blows goats.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 15:51 | 2243476 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture

For a group of people who piss and moan about the vacuity of television viewers, you all sure know a shitload of obscure women enough to critique their looks.


Sat, 03/10/2012 - 15:43 | 2243467 earleflorida
earleflorida's picture

i'll take the 'becky bird' for $1000, alex


double jeopardy for nesting

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:49 | 2243238 unununium
unununium's picture

Michelle Meyer = HOT.  But maybe I just can't see past the BLS debunking.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 15:32 | 2243442 Central Bankster
Central Bankster's picture

Hot from far, but far from hot as they say.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 16:14 | 2243530 r00t61
r00t61's picture

The age-old question: better to be beautiful and vapid, or ugly and thoughtful?

'Cause unless you're watching something out of Hollywood, "gorgeous and intelligent" rarely occur together. 

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 21:30 | 2244031 Virginian
Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:16 | 2243157 DormRoom
DormRoom's picture

ppl are working.  But most with jobs are socially immobile, and have become 'working poor'. This explains the rise in foodstamp application.

A middle class that has become the working poor class cannot support a consumer based economy in the long run.


google insight search: foodstamp


If you click the 'view over time' button you'll see more & more states are  including by the search index, and how over time the search becomes entrenched.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:16 | 2243171 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

Every person that I know that is in serious financial trouble is in serious financial trouble of their own making.  I would consider my circle to be solidly middle-class.  It is a harsh truth but the middle-class has to do some soul searching and look at their own involvement in this mess.  HELOC'ing the shit out of your house, and buying tons of stuff you don't need, is not a cause for a lot of sympathy. 

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:25 | 2243185 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

I knew I would get negged for that one.  Any time you point out the culpability of the middle-class in this disaster it pisses people off.  They are not innocent bystanders.  I can give one example after another after another.  The government and central bankers needed a lot of accomplices to pull off this heist.  Your friends, family and neighbors are amongst the accomplices.  Just talk to them and it will be clear. 

Freedom for all.  Responsibility from all.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:55 | 2243257 Bam_Man
Bam_Man's picture

I myself had often wondered "what was the point of relentlessly dumbing down the US population and degrading the culture for the past 50 years?"

I don't wonder anymore. The answer is there for all to see.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 14:05 | 2243280 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

I'm sorry, Bam Man, I didn't understand your comment.  I was too busy updating my FaceBook page with what I had for lunch.  Could you repeat that, please?

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 14:05 | 2243279 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

you were just complaining about the price of cheese......whose fault is that !!

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 14:09 | 2243288 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

The blame is almost universal.  That is my point.  It is not just the creditors, although their blame is huge.  It is time for everybody to take inventory of their actions.  We need to be accountable as individuals. 

You and I are paying for the sins of the credit junkies all around us. 

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 14:17 | 2243307 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

yeah i hear you, but i still despise the drug dealer on the corner much more than the pathetic junkie

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 15:28 | 2243437 Clycntct
Clycntct's picture

Now if we could just have War on Banks we could cure that drug problem.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 14:36 | 2243333 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

I'm pretty much with you on the SPENDING side of things--yes, many (maybe even most) people have spent way more money on crap than they should have.

However, when you look at many people who have seen their *revenues* drop suddenly and unexpectedly, it's pretty obvious that they didn't all do that to themselves.

If a corporation of 150 employees is run by 4 greedy bastards who completely sink the business and run off with heaps of "bonus" cash, you can't place too much of the blame on the $60K mid-level employees when they're trying to readjust to a $25K salary from the debt-collection gig they managed to get after the layoff.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 14:53 | 2243374 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

All "middle-class" people should always assume that their income could be cut at any time.  Failing to plan is planning to fail.  I had a chemistry teacher that used to tell us that.


Sat, 03/10/2012 - 14:47 | 2243348 i-dog
i-dog's picture

+1. The only way out of this mess is for each individual to disengage from the ponzi, clear up all debt, stop paying taxes, and develop local self-supporting communities. From there, we can rebuild.

Of course, I don't see it happening. All I see is 300 million Americans telling their government to go steal a few tens of trillions more dollars in useless goods on "credit" (ie. which cannot and will not be repaid) from foreign lands and labourers ... and more of the same by Europe and other "developed" countries.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 16:42 | 2243587 brettd
brettd's picture

And the good news is that on the state and local level, ~80% of America knows how to run their communities in the black and in a civilized way.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 15:13 | 2243411 Errol
Errol's picture

True dat, but I would like to point out that one of the main arguments the elite offer for clinging to power is that they know much better than us mere rabble what is best for the population as a whole.  Did the Fed 'take away the punchbowl' in a timely manner?  If not, let's do away with them and see if the 99% get along any worse withuout them...

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 14:22 | 2243314 Snapperton
Snapperton's picture

I can agree that everyone needs to be responsible.  But why are the middle class as culpable as you claim?  We all rely on market forces to set the tone for when it is right to leverage or deleverage.  Most people don't have economics or finance degrees.  Understanding the consequences of borrowing can be tricky.  It is the policies that allowed such unchecked borrowing that should be the center of blame and rightfully so.  So, responsible, but don't judge average people too harshly for interpreting market signals that have been manipulated by an elite class that have little or no care for anyone but themselves.  Artificially low interest rates and fiat money are the real culprits here.  Liberty is only available to us so long as we all live by the same rules.  It is increasingly clear that bankers and instutional associates are above the law (or at least are beginning to write laws in their favor).  Blaming people who are held down by a changing standard after the fact is not productive.  Look to why the standard is changed and who benefits and a scary picture emerges.  We are quickly losing freedom and without freedom there can be limited or no personal accountability.  You seem to falsely believe in the continuing existence of the American Dream.  It might have been true at some point, but it is now a lie that allows people to be trampled, believing that if they hold on they might obtain something that is most likely beyond their reach.  Unless of course they can obtain credit...

I am an Alien.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 17:41 | 2243696 KickIce
KickIce's picture

No kidding, MF is a blatent example because most of the raping has been done behind closed doors, but a lot of people I know have never had the means to develope a cusion.  NAFTA, school loans, auto, medical, housing - the government has gotten involved in each of these major purchase items and in turn has made them more expensive.

Sun, 03/11/2012 - 03:45 | 2244417 FinsterMonster
FinsterMonster's picture

Everyone is responsible for their own actions. Absolutely.

But life serfdom because the society you live in did not bother to teach you basic economics in school? I find the punishment for trusting a bank and their expertice perhaps a bit too high, considering that the financial IQ of Joe 6P is quite limited, if even registering on the scale.

I'm not saying people who are underwater, in debt etc get a free card. All I'm saying is that knowing basic economy is like knowing how to breath. It's all encompassing and dictates everything in modern life, whether you want it or not.

It's a shame that the only time people learn is after the fact. I see it too often, governments and people reacting instead of acting.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 14:04 | 2243277 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

Perhaps your circle of friends is filled with village idiots. Millions of people lost their jobs and are in financial trouble. Millions of new college grads can't find a job. The same thing happened back in 2001 when the dotcon economy crashed. Not every foreclosure or bankruptcy was due to HELOCs, running up credit cards, or people buying more home than they could afford.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 14:07 | 2243283 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

Okay, give me all the stories of the people you know that are "middle-class" and have serious financial problems.  We will then review them case-by-case to determine how many were self-inflicted.  I bet you won't like the results. 

I look forward to seeing your list. 

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 14:32 | 2243326 Piranhanoia
Piranhanoia's picture

The 1% making comment on the lesser 99?   Your ability to figure things out is well beyond science.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 14:55 | 2243378 chunga
chunga's picture

I don't know if that list will fit on a comment.

A big SQL box will do the trick.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 15:37 | 2243452 SilverDosed
SilverDosed's picture

I kept thinking this same thing, sounds like WVI is surrounded by scumbags.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 15:59 | 2243495 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

Or I am just surrounded by the same type of people that every other ZHer is surrounded by.

Please give us your list of victim stories and let us decide who surrounds you.  Thanks. 

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 16:36 | 2243575 chunga
chunga's picture

I suppose we could start with wait...that might not be accurate.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 15:08 | 2243391 _ConanTheLibert...
_ConanTheLibertarian_'s picture

I'm surprised at the number of down votes you got. Looks like some bitchez here are in denial. Note that I say *some*. Some were prepared but were layed off. They have more time to find a new job but if that doesn't succeed, you're in trouble anyway.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 15:57 | 2243487 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture



I'm in debt, I entered that debt eyes open. I only assumed as much as we could safely afford.

The only one too blame is me.

I'm so fucking sick of everyone refusing to accept responsibility for their actions. For their own idiot chioces where greed and status overwhelm common sense.


I don't vote. Two reasons. First of all it's meaningless; this country was bought and sold a long time ago. The shit they shovel around every 4 years *pfff* doesn't mean a fucking thing. Secondly, I believe if you vote, you have no right to complain. People like to twist that around – they say, 'If you don't vote, you have no right to complain', but where's the logic in that? If you vote and you elect dishonest, incompetent people into office who screw everything up, you are responsible for what they have done. You caused the problem; you voted them in; you have no right to complain. I, on the other hand, who did not vote, who in fact did not even leave the house on election day, am in no way responsible for what these people have done and have every right to complain about the mess you created that I had nothing to do with.”

“The next time they give you all that civic bullshit about voting, keep in mind that Hitler was elected in a full, free democratic election”"Now, there's one thing you might have noticed I don't complain about: politicians. Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don't fall out of the sky. They don't pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens. This is the best we can do folks. This is what we have to offer. It's what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you're going to get selfish, ignorant leaders. Term limits ain't going to do any good; you're just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans. So, maybe, maybe, maybe, it's not the politicians who suck. Maybe something else sucks around here... like, the public. Yeah, the public sucks. There's a nice campaign slogan for somebody: 'The Public Sucks. Fuck Hope.'"

"I have solved this political dilemma in a very direct way: I don't vote. On Election Day, I stay home. I firmly believe that if you vote, you have no right to complain. Now, some people like to twist that around. They say, 'If you don't vote, you have no right to complain,' but where's the logic in that? If you vote, and you elect dishonest, incompetent politicians, and they get into office and screw everything up, you are responsible for what they have done. You voted them in. You caused the problem. You have no right to complain. I, on the other hand, who did not vote -- who did not even leave the house on Election Day -- am in no way responsible for that these politicians have done and have every right to complain about the mess that you created."

George Carlin

Sun, 03/11/2012 - 13:15 | 2245043 therearetoomany...
therearetoomanyidiots's picture

This is exactly what the government needs to keep themselves in power...period.   When 51% is dependent on the government - the giveaways will not end.  Just ask Greece. 

We're through...caput...finito...UNLESS we get smart now and vote all these bastards out.   Voting to keep any of them in...with the exception of the Pauls, Demint and maybe a few just selfish bullshit.  

Vote all incumbents out.   Send the messagea nd they will follow. 

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:12 | 2243158 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

i cant keep up with all the bullshitters

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:21 | 2243180 Moneyswirth
Moneyswirth's picture

the economy remains stuck in slow growth mode due to numerous economic headwinds confronting the economy.  Those headwinds are sluggish real wage and salary growth barely higher than inflation, elevated unemployment, waning government support, reduced and expiring tax incentives, contracting state and local governments, elevated fuel prices, and a sluggish housing market.

In other words, expect continuing erosion in American employment and wages, despite the stream of jubilant propaganda from the Ministry of Truth.  Obamao wants a nation of dependents--lazy slobs not making a living, but merely living--having healthcare, credits for your electirc (non-working) car, sustenance, employment "training", etc.--at the behest of transfer payments from government coffers.  Nothing is asked of you of course, except that you go out and vote for them every 2-4 years to keep them in office, lest another party is evil enough to rob you of your "livelihood"

There's nothing positive here folks.  Nothing.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:28 | 2243191 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

And the government support would be waning?

Bear with it, working requires resources. Production is consumption.

Sure, when you have a long history (compary to your own history of course) of stealing the environment of other people so you can stash your own people, well, you might grow oblivious to that fact.

The great days of theft are gone because so little is left to rob.

Sun, 03/11/2012 - 01:18 | 2244314 shuckster
shuckster's picture

Indeed, the day the world as a whole started hating America was the day the pillage economy that drove America ended. With no where left to go, the country began to languish. Life is a constant struggle for limited resources. At this point, America is simply losing that struggle

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:35 | 2243198 DormRoom
DormRoom's picture

The Fed cannot solve the problem of labour mismatch with current policies or tools. The policy options are not well suited to solve this, and are blunt.


The best way to solve the labour mismatch are government programs.  Also easy credit ($1Trillion student loan market) may accentuate the mismatch, as students get into HUGE debt for skill sets that don't match current market demand, or future market demand.


So we exit school, and enter the labour force, without proper skills or training.  Our debt will be a huge drag on the economy, as baby boomers retire (baby boomers tend to consume alot less after retiring), and my demographic are restrained in our consumption by our debt load at the same time baby boomers are retiring.



Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:36 | 2243206 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

When your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 20:22 | 2243938 sethstorm
sethstorm's picture

Or make it significantly harder(or impossible) for companies to do something other than complain about skillsets or time separated from employment - and train people as long-term investments. 

Skillsets aren't the problem, companies just won't put their money where their mouth is. 


Sat, 03/10/2012 - 20:42 | 2243966 steve from virginia
steve from virginia's picture


I hate to break it to you guys but there are no productive industrial enterprises. Zero, zilch, nada, nein, zippo. All are the children of debt. They are born in debt, they die b/c some competitor can take on more debt than they can. There are more industrial enterprises in this world so there is more debt. Because it appears there is 'too much debt' it is likely there are also too many industrial enterprises, they are crowding each other out.

Industrial enterprises never pay off or service their own debts. It is impossible, they never try. Instead, debt dies with the company or becomes part of the debt of the company that cannibalizes them. Eventually debt becomes the 'peoples' debt' and winds up on public balance sheets. When both lender and borrower are on the same balance sheet that particular item can be collapsed. B/c governments outlive firms and individuals, this is what is supposed to take place.

Debt taken on for zero return: we have a capital rather than a solvency issue.  A large component of debt is directed toward the acquisition of resources (capital) that is destroyed. There is nothing to show for this destruction. Yes, there are (were) a lot of resources, but surely there are better uses than to simply burn them up?

Resources now cost more than use returns, this weighs on finance capital (as resources are what finance capital acts as proxy for). Short version: we're flat broke, we've burned up all our money!

Another problem: focusing on productivity which is substituting resource waste for human labor. Only in the fantasy economics of industrial capitalism. More 'investments' in industry means more robots. See Walmart automated checkout 'systems'. Coming to a McDonald's near you.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 20:48 | 2243971 dolph9
dolph9's picture

With all due respect, do you think the Republican cunts are any different?

I'm not a fan of Obama but this "Obama wants this, Obama wants that" gets tiring.  None of the big politicians are any different, they're all slime.

It's like all the nutsos who think "Obama wants to take my guns away."  And then they go out and buy more and the gun industry booms.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:30 | 2243194 devo
devo's picture

B of A's point about part-time work and quality of the job versus inflation models is spot on. Can't believe they just admitted that, though.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 14:00 | 2243269 TheSilverJournal
TheSilverJournal's picture

I'm confused. So people at these big banks that can understand the data do exist?

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 14:10 | 2243291 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

"the surgery was successful but the patient died" recovery...also known as "the illusion of control." since the value of cash money is at the whim and whimsy of "the control department" instead of something we all can trust (Gold, 40 percent unemployment, anarchy) i really do understand the "BofA Lament." what can you do? we cannot simply "create out of thin air" a financial system that meets the voracious demands of our Federal Government and all its..."lobby-isms"--let alone try and do so in which the most fundamental protections granted under the US Constitution are simply laughed away. Appropriate risk metrics are restored slowly at best after a collapse such as this. With slow to anemic growth and the fundamentally "gamed system" on display for all property owners/taxpayers to see i really fail to see how "failure" is avoided in a climate of "the problem was the failure of Lehman Brothers." This is why..."Greece"...matters. "it didn't fail." and as such has put at risk the entire EU edifice. The same ethos has applied here since 2008 as well. "Throw in Japan" and you have a real mess on tap for a long, long, long time. in order for our system to continue to move the ball forward here "kick the can" must be "swing and a miss, strike three, you're out" as well.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 14:14 | 2243298 Tsar Pointless
Tsar Pointless's picture

Well, if you believe the BLS, the non-seasonally adjusted number of people who are gainfully employed in this country rose by about 700,000 in February. (Consider, each January, the BLS usually subtracts a cool million or so from the ranks of the employed, so grab a grain of salt and take it with this data point.)

So, by my estimation, in order for the USofA to reach what the Fed calls "full employment" - which is said to be when the U-3 rate is at 5% - we'd need another 26 months like the past one.

Totally doable! And bullish!

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 14:37 | 2243336 lolmao500
lolmao500's picture

The democrats believe it... and if you doubt it, they'll say you're racist.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 15:07 | 2243398 Problem Is
Problem Is's picture

yur racist

Because you're implying Obama Bin Lyin' is a Useful Idiot, just like Shrub, regardless of his skin color...

See the logic now?


Sat, 03/10/2012 - 14:46 | 2243345 espirit
espirit's picture

It's all hokey pokey.  Friday the dollah was up and the rest of FX fell out bed, yet the market ramped on a non-MSM announced Greasy Deal and fake labor numbers.

Crash and burn waiting to happen.  First one out the door starts the stampede.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 14:46 | 2243351 Dermasolarapate...
Dermasolarapaterraphatrima's picture

Solid” is a word that should prick up your ears. When the BLS spouts their anodynes, "solid employment numbers" think carefully and analyze….

 Like when a lawyer shakes your hand and tells you, ”my word is as ‘solid’ as my handshake” as he pumps your hand….

 …or when the NAR writes, “the RE market is ‘solid’ …never a better time to buy”…

 …or when MF Global told its clients, “our company is sound and ‘solid’ as a rock”…


be suspicious…do you due diligence, as BAC is finally doing here and ZH always does.



Sat, 03/10/2012 - 14:53 | 2243375 espirit
espirit's picture

iThink in this game of Musical Chairs the music has stopped, and daBoyz have that instantaneous look of bewilderment before pouncing on the first available chair.

Retail already noticed the building is on fire and headed out the exits.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 15:05 | 2243390 Problem Is
Problem Is's picture

Sarcastic Tyler(s) is still the best...

"take any economic data point, no matter how fecal mattery, and convert it into 24-carat gold."

"the bank realized that its only chance to persevere was if the Fed proceeded with another round of QE, (and another, and another, ad inf)..."

"economic reporting would have to lose its upward bias and be reporting in its natural ugly habitat."

Speaking of fecal mattery... How's the incompetent Moron-i-han and BofAssholes doing these days?

BTW: Michelle Meyer... that broad looks like Jamie Dimon's daughter.... fugly...

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 15:08 | 2243402 besnook
besnook's picture

a coupla things not accounted for is the disparity between part time jobs being counted as one person employed when many of those part time jobs are held by the same person working 2 or 3 part time jobs to make ends meet. the other disparity regards the inflation model. if the cpi is a fictitious number purposely under counted then labor wages are losing significant ground and will continue to lose ground for a significant time into the future. wages lagging inflation with poor demographics(growing retirees with less disposable income) says the current stagnation is a lasting situation better planned for as normal rather than just the bottom of a cycle. this is the beginning of a new cycle model altogether.


Sat, 03/10/2012 - 15:38 | 2243455 espirit
espirit's picture

Yep, it's called jobs re-hypothecation.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 15:40 | 2243460 Nonamedemon
Nonamedemon's picture

No surprise there.  Here is a segment on FOX news which addresses the same issue of BS labor numbers and proposes a solution.  In this segment Cliff Rossi, professor at the University of Maryland - Robert H Smith School of Business discusses the February employment numbers from BLS as well as issues in measuring unemployment.  Quoting him: "Specifically, a bill recently introduced in Congress, the Real Unemployment Calculation Act is intended to replace the U3 official measure of unemployment with U5, one of a set of unemployment rate measures reported by BLS.  U5 includes discouraged workers plus a subset of marginally attached unemployed workers that have searched for work sometime in the last year but not recently.  Measured against each other, the official U3 measure shows an 8.3% unemployment rate against a 9.8% U5 measure.  This difference has significant implications for policies aimed at reducing chronically high levels of unemployment.  The merits of such changes to the unemployment rate have been debated over the years with BLS external reviews maintaining the U3 measure.  While today's nonfarm payroll employment of 227,000 exceeded most economic forecasts and is a continuation of steady employment growth, the numbers do underestimate this "shadow" unemployment that isn't reflected by the U5 measure.  Using the Atlanta Fed's employment calculator to illustrate this point, it would take another 26 months of employment numbers like we saw this month to bring the unemployment rate down to levels seen right before the financial crisis"


Sat, 03/10/2012 - 16:07 | 2243515 besnook
besnook's picture

it will take a lot longer than 26 months. for round numbers sake there are 127000 new people entering the job market each month so this report is a net 100000 jobs. today's employment is 5 mil less than the beginning of the depression.  so adjusted for new workers it will take 50 months. when you adjust for real full time jobs it will take a lot longer.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 16:09 | 2243518 papaswamp
papaswamp's picture

Fridays numbers weren't bad...they were ok all things considered, BUT the larger problem is if the participation rate and employment to poulation ratio will continue their +10 yr down trend. The other issue (as if by design) is the 20 yr down trend of higher end/higher educated workers vs those with less than a HS diploma. As on can see, there is typically a month or 2 up swing, followed by a 3-4 month down swing (for higher educated). Lower educated/skilled has basically stabilized.

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 17:32 | 2243686 Mary Wilbur
Mary Wilbur's picture

Gallup reports February unemployment rate of 9.1%. The link is at

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 18:10 | 2243741 Westcoastliberal
Westcoastliberal's picture

I'm sure the hardworking bureaucrats at the BLS are under the same pressure as their counterparts at the NAR to paint a "happy face" on the numbers each spin of the dial, but check this 2004 about 140 million were employed in the U.S. and the BLS % was 10%.  Now, an additional 6 milliion are workforce-age in the U.S., we still have about 140 million employed, but the BLS says the number is 8.3%.  You can run the numbers however you want, but unless a few cities-worth of working age adults were teleported off the planet, the math doesn't work out.

Another facet to ponder is in 2004 the jobs among those 140 million were full-time, paid benefits it's 10-20 hours a week part-time with zero benefits.

Conditions in the U.S. are NOT IMPROVING!

Sun, 03/11/2012 - 10:05 | 2244689 El Hosel
El Hosel's picture

"Real wage and salary growth barely above inflation"....... ONLY if you remove all the stuff we use daily, you know, the "volatile" stuff. Real wages have been in decline for many years.

Mon, 03/12/2012 - 03:04 | 2246533 AnnaShchur
AnnaShchur's picture

In fact, the same banks whose speculation delivered a financial crisis that has destroyed millions of jobs have figured out how to turn widespread unemployment into a profit center. The larger the number of people who are out of work and dependent upon the state for sustenance, the greater the potential gains through administering their benefits…. It should not cost you any more to use a debit card or cash advance than if they had issued you a check. I am personally afraid to switch to direct deposit, fearing a resulting gap in my weekly benefits. My family's finances are so tight that any delay could put me behind on the bills…

Mon, 03/12/2012 - 22:49 | 2249425 cnhedge
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