The Big B: Bankruptcy

Just when I thought things were finally turning around for us, a report comes out that more huge companies might be filing for bankruptcy in 2010.

  • Hertz Rental Car
  • Sprint/Nextel
  • Macy’s
  • Goodyear
  • CBS Television

Last weekend at the movies (I saw The Informant! with Matt Damon.  He was fantastic.  Overall, the movie was better than Burn After Reading, but not as good as The Good Shepherd.) they screened a preview of Michael Moore’s new movie, Capitalism.  Controversial as always, Moore walks up and down Wall Street with a huge bag yelling, “The American people want their money back!”  As of August, the United States Bureau of Labor sites 14.9 million people unemployed, a 9.7% raise.  This does not include any workers who have had their hours cut and have consequently gone from full-time to part-time.  The rest of the statistics are equally as bleak.  (Employment Situation Summary)

So what happens if more businesses declare bankruptcy?  Well it’s obvious isn’t it?  If they declare Chapter 7, they liquidate everything and more people are out of work.  If they file Chapter 11, then they’re allowed to reorganize, which on the one hand might save jobs, but on the other hand just means more loans and more bailouts.  Like suing, declaring bankruptcy has become the legal act du jour.  It’s awful.

  • Hertz can’t pay back the financing it used to buy its cars.
  • Sprint/Nextel is losing all of its customers to Verizon and AT&T; 4.4 million just this year.
  • Nobody’s shopping a Macy’s.
  • The demand for Goodyear tires is down and the United Steelworkers union won’t allow them to close factories.
  • And CBS needs more advertisers or less expensive shows.  They’ve got 3.2 billion dollars in debt. (Article)lombard-street

So why did I think things were getting better?  Because the housing market was starting to come back?  Because shop owners I know are starting to see some foot traffic?  I don’t know.   Seems to me like maybe we’re in a patterned rut that looks a little like Lombard Street in San Francisco; a little bit left, a little bit right, but on the whole, still downwards.

And just in case you missed it:

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