Pierre left for the office today, and 4 hours later, he walks back in through the door. Why did Pierre return early?

“I got laid off today” he says, walking through the hall, going about his busyness.

That’s just great news. Pierre, the guy who only 3 months ago moved from San Francisco to Sebastopol in order to be close to his job, no longer has a job.

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We moved for the stability, and because it’s a good place to raise kids. But most of all, we moved here because Pierre had been guaranteed one year of job security by his company. It wasn’t like we were on tenterhooks taking precautions should Pierre get the axe (like so many are these days). Then a mere three months and $12,000 in relocation expenses later, Pierre is told to pack up and leave. Bye Pierre, you’re on your own, dood!

 

“Can we buy organic with food stamps?”
“Can we buy organic with food stamps?”

 
The lay off itself does not upset me — economy changes — things happen. The one thing that does is that Pierre was laid off with only 2 weeks notice. No vacation pay. No severance package. No more insurance. Not even the computer that was given to him while on the job (not standard in the industry).

Manu & I dressed for the Women’s Shelter
Manu & I dressed for the Women’s Shelter

Okay, so we panic a little the first day and Pierre jumps on-line to research his options in creating time for us to live while he gets another job. He finds several possibilities. Yay!

 

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So, 2 weeks to find another job, insurance & doctors for the kiddos in another county, 2 weeks to move, lose $3500 in deposit, find a place to live, come up with another $6000 of move in cost out of our fairy dust butt holes.

 

On an aside and calmer note, Pierre and I aren’t too worried because we realize that we’re fortunate enough to have all the advantages that our age, education, resources and our continual good luck bring us.

Pierre is getting responses from good companies, and I’m trying to get my work in galleries. I like Sebastopol. I like being a stereotype family in a quaint little town with a little nanny, a house cleaner, babies, dog parks, and a main street that really is called “Main St”. How fucking awesome is all that? Now we might be homeless in a month.

Well then, as Kurt Vonnegut says, “Hi, Ho”.

As Edith Piaf says, “La Vie en Rose”

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My friend Daniel pointed to that chart from Time Magazine showing the unemployment figures from the past 6 recessions in the US. The current recession is in blue (click for a larger image).

Scary, eh?
Scary, eh?

 

Just today, forecasters announced that they expect the unemployment rate, currently at 7.6%, to hit a peak of 9% this year. “Even in the best-case scenario, with the recession ending sometime in the second half of this year, employment conditions will be tough.” By simply extrapolating the curve, here is what it gives.

It hurts, eh?
It hurts, eh?

 

Now, continue to read the same article and towards the bottom, they say that they expect the unemployment rate to hit 10% next year. This time, we are completely out of the charts!

Everybody for himself!
Everybody for himself!

 

My comments on Daniel’s blog to the first chart were:

If you draw the tangents to the curves, you can see how the declines (and in a large degree the recoveries also) became less and less steep over time in each one of the 5 last recessions. The growing size of the US economy and the interconnections with the rest of the world may have played a role to damp down the crises (a corollary being that modern morasses might not be as deep as they used to but we stay in it longer).

Now I find it worrisome that the current recession is plunging as steeply as the steepest one from the 1970’s, knowing that we (the US) are taking the rest of the world down with us and there isn’t anybody else to cushion the fall. We might very well still be in it in 5 years from now. Or 10. Thank you, George Bush!

After looking at the last chart, I can smell at least 5 more years of merde.
Or maybe, it’s just time to change the kids…
We’ll still be in it when they outgrow their diapers, for sure!
 

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It’s becoming worse by the day! A particularly bleak report from the San Francisco Chronicle, under such titles as “A global calamity” and “Banks are in denial“, now quotes economists warning that “Americans can expect unemployment to reach 11 or 12 percent“. 12 percent!? Let’s extrapolate some more! Here is what 12% looks like:

Journey to the Center of the Earth
Journey to the Center of the Earth

 

As a note to my European friends, you have to consider that an unemployment rate of 12% in America isn’t at all like the same rate in France or elsewhere. Here, it really is catastrophic! The unemployment benefits are extremely meager and expire after 4 months. In the San Francisco Bay Area, you can’t even pay the rent with what you get, plus you don’t have health coverage when you are jobless (or you have to pay for your own: $1000/month for a family of four + $50 per doctor visit).

A severe recession in America means that entire families are thrown to the street. It’s one of the things that still baffles me about the country and I don’t know what their God and their Jesus think about that. Sometimes I ask a Republican but their response is always the same. They sigh and say with a deeply empathetic voice: “I know… It breaks my heart so much to see these poor people… I pray to God they’ll find a solution… I’m sure they will…” but then they turn around and go vote for the same guys who maintain that the country needs to give more money to the rich in order for it to trickle down to the poor. Dupes. Heartless dupes.

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