Finally, Our Economy is Moving!

By Flatus, a Trail Mix Contributor

My trip to Cleveland was revelatory. Not for the fact that many, many people loved and respected my Aunt Eleanor, I already knew that. The revelation was that the upside economy is finally hitting the grassroots. Let me tell you how I know.

When traveling up I-77 I always expect delays going through Charlotte early in the morning; that’s the way it is. The surprise was in leaving town.

construction-laws-1Five miles north of the city they were digging up the substantial median between the north and south bound lanes. In the space being stripped of trees and excess soil were dozens of new pieces of construction equipment. Bulldozers, scrapers, back-hoes, maintenance trucks, you name-it. Each piece was working to beat the band.

The most significant thing about the construction equipment was that most of what I observed was made by Caterpillar. Korean and Japanese machines were also-rans. Did (I didn’t) say that the length of the construction area approached ten miles in length. My guesstimate is that there was at least 200 machines total involved and probably closer to 350.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the ratio of people to machine isn’t 3:1. So, new jobs in that ten-mile stretch equals about 1,000 on the ground. Then we must add in all the manufacturing jobs as well. And later we must add gravel and sand and concrete and new landscaping. Such a deal!

Did it stop there? Of course not. In West Virginia I saw dozens of semi-loads of virgin timbers cut to length for fabrication projects. That was in addition to hundreds of pallets of planks made for the housing market. Each piece of wood was grown in farmed-timber areas; it is renewable. And the products made from it are labor intensive. It sounds to me like a no-brainer for people who are expelled from the mines.

Well, enough for now. If this is interesting to others, there is still Virginia and Ohio that I drove through. Suffice to say, I was vastly encouraged by what I saw.


Author: Flatus

Just an Ohlfahrt getting older--80ish widower living in northeast Columbia, SC adjacent to a beautiful nature preserve. Mind my own business--never go out nor entertain outsiders.

58 thoughts on “Finally, Our Economy is Moving!”

  1. flatus, thanks for such a constructive start to the morn.  I too see a lot more home building, new hire signs going on.

    however, i expect a few responses to your “Finally, Our Economy is Moving!” will be “yeah, to mexico and points west”

  2. Holy Road Trip!  Big construction projects for a crumbling infrastructure…why build a wall when we have so many other projects to attend to? I have noticed another industry growing in this country…more to the western states — cannabis!  When the DEA finally declassifies the product?  You will see a huge growth in the industry.  Seeds!    The biggest roadblock to marijuana legitimization?  Seeds!  I understand Monsanto is poised to unleash the seeds unto the country.  The cannabis industry is creating many jobs.  Maristas!  Once the government lets the plant thrive as nature intended it, we will see huge growth.  A truly great job creator.  Although many are against the big companies in the business?  We need the seed money to get the industry started.   There is plenty of room for entrepreneurs and business start-ups.  Employs a lot more than big construction projects which we also need.

  3. “Once the government lets the plant thrive as nature intended it, we will see huge growth.”

    bw, especially in the industrial hemp business. here’s a bit from a recent article from playboy “Everything You Know About Hemp Is Wrong” you might find interesting:

    …that it is legal, even easy, to consume hemp products in the U.S. but illegal to grow the crop on American soil—spurred a movement to have hemp removed from Schedule 1 so it can be treated like any other agricultural crop. The Industrial Hemp Farming Act, which would legalize domestic cultivation of hemp, has been introduced in both the Senate and House. To drive awareness about the bill and help get it passed, Patagonia recently released the short film Harvesting Liberty. The film tells the story of Mike Lewis, a farmer in Kentucky who worked with his state’s agricultural commissioner to obtain hemp seeds to grow. Lewis is now headed into his fourth season growing the crop, following in a tradition that dates back to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson (Betsy Ross’s first American flag was made of hemp), and has created the Kentucky Cloth Project to create fabrics and textiles from hemp.

  4. Bernie Sanders poised to endorse Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire

    by Sophia Tatum

    The Sanders campaign confirmed Monday that the Vermont senator will appear with Clinton at a Portsmouth High School rally. In a statement, the campaign does not use the term endorsement but bills the event as an opportunity “to discuss their commitment to building an America that is stronger together and an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top.”
    The move comes after the Democratic Platform Committee, meeting in Orlando, adopted some of the Vermont senator’s key positions.

  5. wapo editorial board:

    “This election,” a spokesman for Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said Thursday, “remains a dumpster fire.” Well, yes, the two major-party candidates for president are historically unpopular. But if this election is unusually bad, it is not because both parties chose bad candidates. There is no equivalence between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton — as even responsible Republicans should be able to recognize.

    Mr. Sasse has proved to be a rare Republican official with the moral courage to speak as honestly about Mr. Trump after he clinched the nomination as he did before. It’s not surprising that the senator would want to dismiss the whole campaign as a mess, and we don’t doubt that he genuinely fears the direction in which Ms. Clinton would lead the nation.
    But to equate the two candidates as indistinguishably unqualified products of a rigged or failed system only feeds public cynicism while blurring distinctions that should not be blurred. Ms. Clinton is a politician, long in the arena, whom you may or may not support. Mr. Trump is a danger to the republic.

  6. relevant to nothing this morning but a funny (and serious) take on science studies in case you missed it when aired


  7. Flatus – my condolences.

    But to the thread topic – and Cleveland won the NBA title and the Indians are atop the AL Central Division.  There’s a boom in t-shirt and cap sales (at least in the Pogo family).  Yes, road construction is everywhere – it’s the annual asphalt, road cone and concrete boom.  Hard for me to gauge whether it’s any more substantial than in years past.  Here’s a link to a list of economic indicators – they are a mixed bag.

  8. tony. thanks for linking that ezra klein piece.  too bad it’s so long that few will read it.  his idea about the system rewards the male pols who are better speakers than listeners was fascinating. also liked this insight:
    At another point, I asked her why trust in so many major institutions in public life — politicians, the business, the media — had fallen in recent decades. She turned immediately to the media. “I really believe that none of us have done what we should have done in being really straightforward about what we know and what we don’t know,” she said, “in being willing to say, ‘We reported that story last week; it turns out we were wrong.’”
    I think Clinton’s understanding of her problems and the political system’s problems are tied together. She sees the loss of public trust in her as caused by the same force that has led to the loss of public trust in everything else: a press corps obsessed with controversy, uninterested in substance, and incapable of or uninterested in policing the boundaries of decency and truthfulness.

  9. Flatus, in my two hometowns, DC and Orlando, I’ve never seen so much construction. So much so that you don’t know what route to take out driving, snarls everywhere. Annoying, but I’ll take it.

  10. Tony, that Klein article was a good catch for understanding how she might govern — definitely will try harder than Obama at behind-the-scenes coalition building in Congress. But that could mean Republicans get even more of what they want.

  11. The building crane has long been the state bird of TX.  What gets me about road construction here is that they will put up signs and orange barrels…then nothing happens for weeks.

    We could use a jobs program to rebuild infrastructure.  Sure, that takes tax dollars. But some of those dollars are paid back in as income tax, local businesses are supported, everybody wins.

    My business has nothing to do with oil/gas, but the small businesses that are our customers along the gulf are starting to struggle because of the drop in the price of fossil fuel.  The folks who are in the gas/oil industry are losing their jobs and the stores in those areas are, in turn, struggling.

    We need to help them to transition to new industries, too.  Renewables? Something.

  12. Pogo

    “Here’s a link to a list of economic indicators – they are a mixed bag.” I’m a Keynesian. Two figures on the list show we are on the right track to get out of this mundane morass. First, the pct of government debt to GDP is rising; we are starting to buy/invest our way out this mess. Second, GDP is actually inching up. In other words, the proof is in the pudding.

  13. flatus, your positive outlook also seen the other day at forbes: America’s Bizarre Job Numbers – 287,000 New Jobs But Unemployment Rate Rises

    What? The economy creates lots of jobs and yet the unemployment rate goes up? How can this happen? Well, after we discount the idea that the various uncertainties of the numbers make those two different surveys tell us different things (no, I do not think this is the cause) what we’ve really got is a confirmation that things are getting very much better in the American economy.

  14. craig, “coalition building in Congress” ?  she might build it but will they come… from politico’s interview with paul ryan:

    On whether he can work with Clinton: “I think she is actually a liberal progressive. I don’t think she’s faking it. I think she is a liberal progressive. And I think she’s sitting atop a party that’s now run by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. This is not the Erskine Bowles 1996 Democratic Party. This is not Alice Rivlin, Erskine Bowles, or Bill Clinton in 1996. This is a Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders party. Our party has moved right, their party has moved really left. I think the common ground, say that you had in the early 90s when I was here as a staffer is nothing like the common ground you have right now.”

  15. Forbes top cities for job growth: Topping the list is San Jose, California with 5.5% growth –more than twice the nationwide average. Orlando, Riverside, Dallas, and Seattle round out the top five, all with job growth of 3.5% or above.

  16. new joke. how many british lawyers does it take to break a brexit?  1000 so says skynews
    Hundreds of barristers have warned Prime Minister David Cameron that last month’s vote to leave the European Union is not legally binding.

    The result of the 23 June referendum is only “advisory” and the Government should launch an independent investigation into the benefits, risks and costs of Brexit before making plans.

  17. Some the job growth for Dallas are thanks to poaching companies from California, and, a big Toyota facility moving to the metroplex. Jerry Jones is moving the Cowboys facility to Frisco and he’s building a Disney-type complex; Cowboys-themed hotels, shops, restaurants in addition to the new training facility which will be much further away from the stadium. They’re trying to get the go-ahead for a new ballpark for the Rangers, too.

    The Dallas police chief just gave a presser.  I really like that guy.  He did scold the reporter (unnamed) who reported shots fired on Saturday.

    Arlington PD will help with Obama’s visit tomorrow. He didn’t want his force to have to deal with more stuff now.

  18. Flatus…  really nice post.

    BlueinD…  I know some people in the gas/oil industry are losing jobs because of lower gasoline prices.  But it has put a big dent in the fracking industry.  IMO, that’s a big win.

    It’s not so much construction around here that says the economy is gaining steam…   it’s the real estate market.  Houses languished on the market for quite awhile with the down turn.  Now I’m hearing it’s a seller’s market again.

    Bink…  I be an older person.  I’m in bed way before midnight nowadays.

  19. Strumpetta has gone natural I guess his nod to being presidential is a new hairdo

  20. Flatus, agreed. I guess i have to look outside WV to get any sense of the economy improving.  I don’t see it here, but then again, our economic base isn’t exactly going gangbusters these days and WV state government isn’t spending – it’s upside down from the loss of energy extraction industry tax revenue.

  21. Pogo, I don’t recall seeing the level of mature timber activity when I last made the journey four years ago. Nor the amount of heavy truck traffic thru WVa. Charleston was sparkling. The attendants at the toll booths hated their jobs, except for one woman. I didn’t stop for gas in either WVa or Va so no vibes from those places. If nothing else those massive hunks of wood the semis were transporting could be carved into totems for the Asian market where they would be viewed by Western visitors as remarkably well preserved pieces of temple art. Great tourist attractions.

  22. rr – I agree.   No such thing as safe fracking.   Just saying that not all areas of the country are seeing improvement; some are in decline and it effects more than those directly employed by the oil/gas industry.  Definitely, need to help those folks do something new.

  23. Keep thise posts coming folks. Just as with Flatus today I don’t mind doing them but much prefer reading what’s on your minds.

  24. Hartford courant A Connecticut soft drink company is hoping to add a little pop to this year’s presidential election by releasing two specialty sodas named for the presumptive nominees.

    Avery’s Beverages, a 112-year-old soda maker in New Britain, is offering Trump Tonic and Hillary Hooch — named, of course, for Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.




  25. Get your thread posts to me anytime before my bedtime 10pm-ish ET, earlier if possible, and I can set for 6am publish next morning. For info or help about posting email

  26. Flatus,


    Hardwood has been one fairly constant industry here – WV is 2nd only to PA. Overall, WV is the 3rd most harvested state (behind NH & ME).  I don’t get the sense that it’s picked up, but who knows?  The data is hard to get to. But I can say that the state is laying off 37 loggers – about 1/3 of the state forestry workforce.

  27. Flatus – good post and report.  It is very good to know where things are happening.

    Although rather dated, remember the first step of the Obama recovery was to get road work funded in 2009 to start jobs and money flowing in the U.S. after the Bush Great Recession/Depression.  The Republicans fought it and made it small.  If it had been larger the recovery would have been more robust.

    First day at work in two weeks.  I miss the mid-morning nap, the mid-day nap, the afternoon nap, etc.

    What is interesting is how “controlled” the DT is  right now.  Maybe a double is standing in for him while his handlers have him confined in an undisclosed location. Some have noted the dead orange squirrel is looking shaved.

  28. Hello, all.

    Am I alone in thinking all the relevant government agencies and branches should drop whatever it is their doing and formulate some sort of productive response to monthly mass murder in our streets?  Just curious.

  29. BB,

    My lightning trip to Cleveland and back–1,261-mi in two days, left me completely drained. The traffic was horrendous both days. Thank goodness I needn’t go to work 🙂

  30. Bink

    The Dallas police chief says the cure sure isn’t the responsibility of local law enforcement; that it must be government policy makers/leaders that analyze the causes and formulate the route out of our predicament. I agree with him. And that’s why Messrs Obama, Bush and Biden are going to Dallas tomorrow.  With their collective years of experience in government and in listening to the hearts of those in Dallas whose lives are in tatters, they may gain knowledge that will be insightful. That’s the next logical step in doing something meaningful.

  31. Trump trying to be presidential is worse than regular Trump
    He is really creepy

  32. Police need to enforce their own prcedures and take complaints seriously and an outside civilian review board is also helpful.
    Also continued emphasis on demilitarization of the Public Safety Services


  33. Construction here on the island is thru the roof…..from big subdivisions of tract houses made of ticky-tacky to really large multi-story apartment bldgs to huge mega-million houses on the two beach islands……

    there is gangbusters work for service trades…….plumbing, electrical, alarm systems, cabinetry, carpentry, roofing, landscaping, interior design, lighting, irrigation, architects, sound systems, builders, etc

    has gone from bust to boom

  34. A few more months of this and I might be able to work my way back up to Zero……

  35. I don’t think congress can accomplish anything at all until one party or the other wins unassailable control……


    Bink is an unknown species from Earth who is covered in yellow fur with blue spots, and cloth wraps around his forearms, and lower legs. He also wears an amulet around his neck which looks like a compass of some sort….according to wiki

  37. not a good idea for both Obama and Biden to do dallas tomorrow…. if anything untoward happened we would be left with paul ryan at the helm.   what with the weirdness of the times, too many radical nutballs are tempted to do mischief.   please, joe, don’t go.

  38. kudos to Richard cohen:

    …..Clinton has become a human Rorschach: Some people, particularly Republicans, look at her and see the Devil. Their denunciations of her are so at variance with even the contested facts that it suggests a psychosis — congressional panel after congressional panel, investigation after investigation, all of them of the kind once familiar to the good people of Salem, Mass., who knew what it is like to have the purported criminal but not, alas, the crime.

    Over the years I have detected wee imperfections in Clinton, and I have noted them in many columns. But she is a colossus of integrity and wisdom compared with Trump.

  39. Pat

    Agreed, it was a long piece and probably lost many but it was worth it..


    I also agree, great window into how Hillary will govern.. Probably republican’s will get more of what they want but i’m just hoping Hillary is a good negotiator.. :0)

    Bink, So very good to read you!


  40. The democratic platform includes the legalization of marijuana.  A real job creator…employing many at every level.

    As for the oil?  I have had several friends in Colorado and New Mexico that have recently lost their jobs in the oil and gas industry. Most are older and as with every downsizing…get rid of the excess employees.  The price of oil/gas should really be lower, but those severance packages, etc. have driven the price up higher and higher this summer.  When I lived in Denver in the 70’s, the industry was thriving until the 80’s when Denver’s downtown office vacancy rate was one of the highest in the US (like Dallas).  Canadians owned most of downtown at that time…now the cannabis industry is the new oil field, the gold rush.

  41. I agree with Ms Cracker’s 7:23 post.  However, it is important to note that citizen review boards are usually packed with relatives of the police posing as disinterested civilians.

  42. wapo:

    An international tribunal has ruled that China does not have historic rights to justify its expansive claims to the South China Sea, in a major blow to Beijing.

    China has repeatedly made it clear it will not accept, recognize nor implement Tuesday’s ruling on the South China Sea, the hotly contested waterway that contains some of the world’s busiest shipping routes. [….]

    The tribunal ruled that “there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources … within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line’.”

    In a statement, the Philippines’ secretary of foreign affairs welcomed the ruling, calling it a “milestone,” but urging “restraint and sobriety” among all concerned.


    restraint? sobriety? do such things still exist in this world?

  43. bink, are you by any chance our old trail friend champ, lord of ignex?  if so, welcome home.  we’ve missed your prods and probes of perspicacity.

  44. wall st journal:

    Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, in a letter to Mr. Ryan, wrote, “I do not intend to withhold briefings from any officially nominated, eligible candidate,” according to a copy of the letter reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

    Mrs. Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump are expected to begin receiving intelligence briefings following the Democratic and Republican conventions this month.

    Mr. Clapper’s letter states that the purpose of the briefings is to ensure the next president is “aware of significant issues and national security matters.” Vice presidential candidates are also given the briefings, and the candidates don’t need security clearance to attend.

  45. “Vice presidential candidates are also given the briefings, and the candidates don’t need security clearance to attend.”

    Dear Director Clapper,

    Consistent with existing statutes I expect your briefings to be at the ‘unclassified’ level. The intent of the briefings can be achieved by your staff using open source materials and lots of common sense. Should your briefings, in retrospection, be deemed to have contained material at,or above, the ‘confidential’ level you will be relieved pending further action to be determined by the Attorney General.

    Have a great day!


  46. new York times: Former Senator Evan Bayh, Democrat of Indiana, is expected to announce that he will run to reclaim the job he gave up in 2010, a move that could strengthen the Democrats’ prospects of winning majority control of the Senate in November.
    Mr. Bayh, 60, served two terms as governor of Indiana, from 1989 to 1997, and two terms as senator, from 1999 to 2011. His father, Birch Bayh, served for more than 25 years as a senator and House member, and ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for president in 1976.

  47. x-r

    yes there are ways to subvert civilian review boards but it is the best place to begin


  48. flatus, must be some kind of loop hole.  he doesn’t seem worried from the looks of this statement from the same article:

    Operational and policy matters aren’t discussed, though some of the information is classified, Mr. Clapper wrote. These briefings have been held since 1952

  49. on nbc
    Watch Live: Lynch Testifies at House Hearing

    Attorney General Loretta Lynch testifies at House hearing where she is expected to be grilled about her decision on the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

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