L.A.’s 405 Freeway, Then and now…
To get through this we’re gonna need all our faculties on high alert…
It’s no wonder that the busiest freeway on the planet is nearly empty, with all that’s going on. Sure. But try driving on it if you remember the old normal. To dramatize, take a look at the video above taken during the 5pm rush hour on Tuesday, and the video below, of just what this beast could do on a big traffic day. Even a “normal” day, pre-covid-19 had a similar feeling. Not anymore.
It can be an emotional and somber experience to see, first hand and in-person, what the busiest freeway in the world looks like in the middle (at the beginning?) of a pandemic and with unemployment rate at up to 50% (locally). And then there’s the one bright spot; that the deserted freeway is being impacted even more so by the new “WFH” (work from home) boom as we change our lives and reduce carbon emissions by living a digital life.
“Anecdotal” evidence: raising the feeling that something’s going on other than what you hear from on-high
Sometimes, even if you listen to the voices all around you, take in all the news and noise, you just have to block all of that out and take a good look with your own eyes. If you look beneath the surface of the news you will also find a very different story.
Take for example the recent “positive” jobs reports. Unemployment appears to be dropping and the overall numbers are not as bad as many had feared, right? Or is that just a manufactured impression? The previous official jobs reports were rife with confusion and even errors that were admitted outright by The Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of course by that time the “good news” had already circulated and had created the desired effect (a delay of the stock market pricing-in the real unemployment numbers).
The reports, according to former US secretary of labor, Robert Reich, are not giving an accurate picture, and he points out in a recent piece that the real situation is that the current number of unemployed is the worst in over 70 years.
Naturally the reasons, emanating from the top job at the White House, for wanting to spin these very important numbers, are obvious. Not only is there the the high stakes re-election scenario but, in this special case, the potential prosecutions that could proceed from a loss for Trump in November.
And if you are not a “Robin Hood” day trader and are just trying to get a life?
Although Los Angeles is not currently in an official “lockdown”, there is a surge in new cases and over twelve million active cases worldwide, and over three million in the US alone. Therefore, the streets reflect the real situation that people are experiencing – both economic due to the lack of employment and the caution and self-isolation that is appropriate and the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc in the city.
Donald Trump said Thursday’s jobs report, which showed an uptick in June, proves the US economy is “roaring back”.
Rubbish. The labor department gathered the data during the week of 12 June, when America was reporting 25,000 new cases of Covid-19 a day. By the time the report was issued, that figure was 55,000.Robert Reich, a former US secretary of labor, is professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley and the author of Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few and The Common Good. His new book, The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It, is out now.
Then, just today, the newest jobs report came out. The headline on Marketwatch was that, although 33 million people are unemployed and millions more getting laid off weekly, “many doubt it’s that bad”. Why the caveat? You tell me.
Rather than focusing on the 33 million out of work, with the real number potentially far higher, they question anything that may help to mitigate the negative impression (bad for the stock market). Then they feature an earlier story with the title: “U.S. Regains 4.8 million Jobs in June”, further giving the impression that everything is hunky dory.
Oh, and late last night United Air Lines announced that they would lay off 36,000 which they site as a worst case scenario. Brooks Brothers announced Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Bed, Bath and Beyond are closing 200 stores. And the list goes on.
With the Climate Crisis far from over, A pandemic that has no end in sight and economic repercussions that are beginning to boggle the mind, there is plenty to overwhelm the average or even supra-average human.
Maybe, for now though, with all the doom and gloom, it’s best to just put the pedal-to-the-metal and enjoy the empty road…
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