Thursday, January 13, 2011

Excuse me, do you have a minute? I just read an article, pretty standard fare for any Thursday, about today's latest release on various economic activity: initial jobless claims up for the week, more than expected, but overall continuing claims fell sharply; food prices up, with more increases possible; December factory output revised downward from initial estimates; trade deficit at an exciting low; corporate profits being squeezed by producer prices; the standard sort of fare. Then, at the very end of the two-page article, a line that seemed disconnected, nearly extraneous,"the total number of Americans on benefit rolls, including those receiving extended benefits under emergency government programs, jumped to 9.19 million from 8.77 million." Over nine million people? Out of a total of 307,006,550? That's nearly three in every hundred [2.99%]. Of every hundred people, regardless of age, in the entire country. Craziness.