Thursday, January 08, 2009

Visual Evidence of Washington State's Great Depression

Nate Silver said both that I had to use the picture above and that rats will eat our corpses during the coming Greater Depression, but pay him no mind--he's only right about everything, always.

Here in Washington State we've given the Magic 8 Ball a good shake; it has come back with "All Signs Point to You Are Going To Die." For a representative sample:

  • Unprecedented flooding closed I-5 and prompted officials to urge nearly 40,000 to evacuate as swollen rivers inundate Western Washington. (Seattle Times)
  • "We have totally stopped commerce in this state," state Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond said this morning. "That's the problem we face now." and "The closed freeway stretch is normally used by 55,000 vehicles a day, including 10,000 trucks. Closing that highway alone means a loss to freight movement of about $4 million a day, Hammond said." (Seattle Times)
  • Helicopter Rescues Resume in Morton and Randle (The Centralia Chronicle)
  • Orting Evacuated, Aberdeen and Hoquiam cut off from rest of state, Spokane flooded.
I can't blame Governor Gregoire for making a trip to Iraq. Who'd want to stay here right now? Besides the environment, there's the economy:

  • The state Employement Security Department says more than 90,000 people applied for regular unemployment benefits in December. That’s a 75 percent increase over December 2007. (the Spokesman-Review)

  • Hundreds of truckers pulled their rigs off onto the shoulders or packed truck stops as the bad weather bottled up nearly all freight in and around Seattle, costing the economy untold millions of dollars of day.

    “You can’t go north, you can’t go east, you can’t go south. What are my options?” said Jon Amerman, a trucker from White Hall, Mont., who had planned to head east to Yakima to pick up apples after delivering a load of goods to Seattle. He figured his company was losing more than $1,000 a day every day that he was idle. (Spokesman-Review)

  • Canadian mining company Teck Cominco has filed paperwork with Washington state that makes official the permanent layoff of 165 workers at its Pend Oreille zinc mining and milling operations near Metaline Falls. (Sadism-Review)

  • Severe weather events can dramatically affect the entire state economy. The December 2007 and January 2008 storms cost almost $75 million in lost economic output and cut state tax revenue by about $3.8 million, according to a study by the state Department of Transportation. Those closures cost about 460 jobs and reduced state residents’ combined personal income by more than $23 million, according to the study. (Puget Sound Business Journal)
The next economic indicator to watch: when the citizens of Okanogan County (we'll call them Okies for short) begin to load up their beaten-down pickup trucks and move west in search of work, it's a bad time. I've embedded a reporter in Loup Loup to keep me appris apprais apris up on any developments.

It may be time to start planting a Victory Garden.

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Blogger Twigs said...

Loup Loup? Yes, there once was a mining town called Loup Loup. Not much left now and it actually not that close to the Loup Loup Ski bowl ( No chance of Okies moving west...everyone alway moves here when the economy gets bad elsewhere. I guess welfare is easy to get here. Anyway, you've piqued my interest...not many out-of-county people know about the Loup.

6:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Okanogies hope that their little section of Washington State, including Paradise Beach, Paradise Island and Honeymoon Island remain pristine and untouched, a little bit of heaven on earth where one can live very well on $2,000 a month income with his or her beat-up pickup truck touring through the beautiful pine trees, crystal clear lakes, and miles and miles of aqua flowing streams and rivers all full of rainbow trout and large mouth bass. Don't expect to hear from your embedded sleeper very soon, he or she will be having too much fun living in paradise to be able to send out messages every day to those, east, west, north and south who go to bed each night praying that they will, one day soon, move to and live in The Beautiful Okanogan.

Joseph Conrad

8:22 PM  

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