Signs that the economy is improving?

I've got to admit that I was initially attracted to Jake Frankel's recent article “Getting Back on Track: Signs that the Economy is Improving in WNC” [Aug. 4, Xpress] due to the bar graph (sourced from Parsec Financial Services). [It reminded me] of something I thought I had seen in USA Today or the like… or maybe it was from a Ross Perot campaign. Upon further scrutiny, I'm pretty sure it appeared in a Dilbert cartoon — perhaps one of the countless and arbitrarily pointless charts that “pointy-haired boss” would employ to confuse and distract his minions in a pathetic effort to appear authoritative.

When I read the quote from James Smith, chief economist for Parsec, "Things are better than you see, hear and read," I had to Google the original Asheville Citizen-Times article to see if he really said that. He apparently did. It's a line that rivals "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain" in its obvious asininity. Then, when one's curriculum vitae includes intimate financial experience with Sears Roebuck, Union Carbide and even the Federal Reserve, he must be pretty adept at keeping that curtain shut — better yet, dead bolted.

Tom Tveidt of Syneva Economics (a firm that “consults” for regional governments and agencies for the questionably promised eventual benefit of the taxpayer/stakeholder) joined Smith in attempting to paint our current economic disaster in a rosy shade of wrong. Forwarding a sentiment like Asheville “is 600 jobs away from experiencing positive growth” is just a verse straight from the gospel of lies, damned lies and statistics.

Jamie Blue, president of Asheville Board of Realtors, was nearly a voice of reason in this article, saying that it's too soon to start raising asking prices on homes. He only missed by one conflict-of-interest inch! He means that he'd rather have 6 percent of a quarter-million dollars than 0 percent of $300,000.

I should mention that while I was working toward my master's degree in business, I became militantly cynical of the programmatic methodologies employed by financial parasites. I discovered that there is an ever-thickening echelon of persons who really produce nothing for the tribe. These are the people we are Pavlovian-trained to admire: the lawyers, corporate managers and politicians.

If there's any truth to these deceptive indications of economic improvement, it's due to the fact that the super-wealthy are coming to Asheville to scoop up real-estate bargains after suffering huge losses in Florida and other locales. This doesn't help the working class at all, outside of the crumbs-from-the-master's-table, trickle-down financial benefits. Great! We get to mow their lawns and burp their babies for fifteen grand a year.

My financial advice: Invest in semi-precious metals. I specifically suggest [the following]: shotgun shells; carbureted, V-8-powered, domestic four-wheel drive vehicles; and canned food.

— Sidney Oscar

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