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Getbig Main Boards => Politics and Political Issues Board => Topic started by: Soul Crusher on March 21, 2011, 08:20:55 AM



Title: Misery Index: The Obama Depression - "Private sector doing just Fine"
Post by: Soul Crusher on March 21, 2011, 08:20:55 AM
Home sales fell 9.6 pct. in February (Median home price hit 9-year low)
AP via Yahoo Finance ^ | 3/21/2011 | Derek Kravitz




WASHINGTON (AP) -- Fewer Americans bought previously occupied homes in February and those who did purchased them at steep discounts. The weak sales and rise in foreclosures pushed home prices down to their lowest level in nearly 9 years.

The National Association of Realtors said Monday that sales of previously occupied homes fell last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million. That's down 9.6 percent from 5.4 million in January. The pace is far below the 6 million homes a year that economists say represents a healthy market.

Nearly 40 percent of the sales last month were either foreclosures or short sales, when the seller accepts less than they owe on the mortgage.


(Excerpt) Read more at finance.yahoo.com ...


Title: Re: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery" & other great economic news.
Post by: Soul Crusher on March 21, 2011, 11:12:53 AM
General Motors lays off workers at NY plant
ap ^ | Mar 21, 2011 | DEE-ANN DURBIN





General Motors Co. on Monday is halting some production and temporarily laying off workers at a Buffalo, N.Y., engine plant.

...

GM spokeswoman Kim Carpenter Carpenter said Tonawanda has the parts it needs to make the engines, but it's not producing the engines because Shreveport doesn't need them.

She said GM doesn't know when production will resume at either plant.


(Excerpt) Read more at breitbart.com ...


Title: Re: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery" & other great economic news.
Post by: Soul Crusher on March 22, 2011, 07:17:25 AM
Running for the Exits. Hedge funds are dumping US Treasury bonds. Do they know something?
National Review ^ | 03/22/2011 | Jim Lacey





The wisest and most successful bond investor of all time, Bill Gross, has dumped his bond fund’s $150 billion investment in U.S. bonds. One should not ignore the importance of this event. The largest bond fund in America no longer believes that Treasury bonds are a good investment. Moreover, Gross is not alone. Blackrock, the world’s largest money manager, is now underweighting Treasuries overall and reducing the duration of the bonds it still holds. That means they are dumping their long-term bonds, which are the most sensitive to interest-rate changes, in favor of Treasury instruments that mature in a year or less. Other bond funds, such as the $20 billion Loomis Sayles funds, are also forgoing Treasuries in favor of high-yield corporate bonds. Virtually everywhere you look, from great investors such as Warren Buffett to insurance companies such as Allstate, everyone is dumping their long-term U.S. debt and either buying debt that matures in less than a year or moving their money elsewhere.

So who is still buying U.S. debt? According to Bill Gross, the “old reliables” — China, Japan, and OPEC — are still in the market for 30 percent of all new debt. The rest, however, is being purchased by the Federal Reserve. There is no one in else in the market. For the first time ever, Americans are refusing to purchase their own country’s debt.

Gross estimates that the “old reliables” are still good for $500 billion a year in purchases, and will be for some time in the future. This is pretty much the amount they’ve had to buy in the past to rebalance capital flows distorted by the U.S. trade deficit. Gross, however, may be wrong this time. Japan, needing to finance its reconstruction, is much likelier to be a net seller of U.S. debt, while China’s economy is slowing and actually ran a trade deficit in the last quarter. That leaves only one buyer of consequence — the Federal Reserve.

Researchers at Gross’s firm, PIMCO, estimate that in the last quarter, the Fed purchased 70 percent of all new Treasury debt. This is a disaster in the making. By printing new money to buy debt, the Fed is both holding interest rates artificially low and flooding the world with dollars. Fed purchases have lowered rates to the point where there was no room for further decreases. With no more upside potential to holding debt, investors are fleeing on the assumption that the Fed will soon exit the market, causing rates to rise dramatically. Such a rate rise lowers the value of all current U.S. debt: Who will pay $1,000 for a bond paying 3 percent when she can get one paying 5 percent? Anyone who wants to sell a $1,000 bond they already own is therefore forced to lower the price if they wish to attract buyers. No one holding any of the almost $10 trillion in U.S. public debt is getting much sleep these days.

When the Fed’s $600 billion QE2 buying spree ends, there will not be enough buyers left to purchase the $1.4 trillion in debt the administration has built into this year’s budget, at least not at current interest rates. Gross believes interest rates have to rise approximately 1.5 percent (150 basis points) to attract sufficient buyers. This may be optimistic.

The Fed is not only looking to stop buying new debt, it also wants to get rid of the nearly $1.3 trillion currently on its balance sheet. Absorbing $1.4 trillion in new debt, rolling over maturing debt, and simultaneously purchasing debt the Fed bought during its quantitative-easing forays is a lot to ask of the market.

Moreover, there is a real risk that bondholders who see the value of their assets fall will stampede for the doors. There are already signs that the smart money is looking for just such an event. Short sellers — those betting on a bond sell-off — pumped over three-quarters of a billion dollars into short positions in just the last quarter. This compares with a negative flow of short funds in the same period last year. If the short sellers are right, and there is a stampede, all bets are off. The bond-market bubble that the Fed’s purchases created will explode, likely setting off a renewed financial crisis.

Come June, the Fed will be in a bind of its own making. If it stops pumping money into the system, interest rates will increase, and not just on Treasury bonds. Mortgage rates will rise and business credit will become more costly. The recovery could be strangled in its infancy. If it keeps on buying bonds, however, it risks never being able to wean the markets off the equivalent of monetary crack. Worse, the flood of dollars will continue to drive down the value of the dollar, raise commodity prices, and propel global inflation.

There are already signs that inflation, while still subdued in the United States, is looking to break out. It has begun wrecking havoc through many areas of the globe, for example providing the catalyst for much of the upheaval in the Middle East. And when it strikes here, the Fed will be out of options. It will have to turn off the money pumps, raise interest rates, and batten down the financial hatches. The resulting recession will be long and nasty.

It is time to face facts. Spending is so out of control that Treasuries are no longer a safe haven for investors. The markets are saturated with U.S. debt and increasingly unwilling to absorb more. There is only one way out of this mess — cut spending, fast and deep.

Given that the Congressional Budget Office last week stated that the administration’s budget would raise the debt by $2.3 trillion more than the White House Budget Office claims, these cuts are going to hurt. They will probably hurt a lot. That is the cost of fending off a true catastrophe.

— Jim Lacey is the professor of strategic studies at the Marine Corps War College and the author of the forthcoming book The First Clash. The views in this article are the author’s own and do not in any way represent the views or positions of the Department of Defense or any of its members.



Title: Re: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery" & other great economic news.
Post by: Soul Crusher on March 22, 2011, 10:07:04 AM
Economic Fears Spike as Gas, Food Prices Rise: All-America Survey
The Financial ^ | March 22, 2011





Deep pessimism about future economic growth is weighing on Americans as they hunker down from the effects of higher gas and food prices and fear that those prices could remain elevated for years, a poll from CNBC has found.

Results of Survey was published on late Friday on CNBC website. It reveals that Americans’ attitudes toward home ownership and expectations for housing prices are both deteriorating sharply. An astonishing one out of every two Americans knows someone who is being foreclosed upon or facing the threat of foreclosure, writes Steve Liesman, Senior Economics Reporter of CNBC.

The survey of 800 Americans, from across the nation, income groups and ages, finds the percentage of Americans who believe the economy will get worse in the next year spiking to 37 percent, a 15 point gain from December. It’s now just five points below the all-time high in the series of 43 percent in June 2008, which came in the midst of a surge in gasoline prices.

Those negative attitudes were registered just before the disaster in Japan and, if anything, could have worsened since then.

Americans see inflation as widespread and are cutting back on non-essentials to make ends meet. On average, respondents see prices rising 6.6 percent over the next 12 months, up from 3 percent in December and the second highest median gain in the survey’s four-year history. Three-quarters of Americans says they have seen food prices rise over the past six months, and 61 percent believe the increases will last longer than a year. A similar percentage believes that higher gas prices are here to stay.

When it comes to coping with those higher prices, more than 60 percent of Americans say they are either saving, traveling or driving less. More than 70 percent say they are spending fewer dollars on restaurants, movies and concerts, making leisure cutbacks the number one way the nation is economizing in the face of higher gas and food prices.

In one of the most dramatic responses to the survey, Americans also do not believe that their wages will keep up with rising prices. Americans see their wages falling by 1.1 percent in the next 12 months, the biggest expected decline in the survey’s history. Less than a third of the nation expects wage gains in the next year, and most of these see only a modest 1 percent to 3 percent boost to their paychecks.

Americans expect their home values to fall along with their wages. After a brief blip upwards in December, expectations for housing price declines resumed in the latest survey, with Americans looking for a 1.2 percent mean decline, compared with the 0.3 percent increase they expected in the December survey. It’s the biggest drop in the mean in the survey’s history.

The survey also found that attitudes toward owning a home have gotten more negative. Just 63 percent of Americans believe it is better to own than rent, which compares with 89 percent registered in a 1996 survey by Fannie Mae. And 48 percent of the nation know someone who has been foreclosed upon or is facing the threat of foreclosure, up from 33 percent in September 2008, wrote Steve Liesman, Senior Economics Reporter of CNBC.

Still, 73 percent of Americans believe that owning a home is an essential part of the American dream, compared with 25 percent who say it is not.



Title: Re: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery" & other great economic news.
Post by: Soul Crusher on March 22, 2011, 10:11:42 AM
Fed's Fisher: U.S. debt situation at tipping point
Reuters via Yahoo Finance ^ | 3/22/2011 | Marc Jones and Sakari Suoninen




FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The U.S. debt situation is at a "tipping point," Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher said on Tuesday, and urged the U.S. central bank to refrain from any further stimulus measures.

"If we continue down on the path on which the fiscal authorities put us, we will become insolvent. The question is when," Fisher said in a speech at the University of Frankfurt.

Fisher, seen by economists as one of the most hawkish policymakers within the Fed, said that although debt-cutting measures would be painful, he expected the U.S. to take the necessary actions.

"The short-term negotiations are very important. I look at this as a tipping point."

[Snip]

Fisher warned there were signs that the speculative style of trading that had helped fuel the financial crisis was beginning to resurface.

"We are seeing speculative activity that may be exacerbating (price rises in ) key commodities such as oil."


(Excerpt) Read more at finance.yahoo.com ...


Title: Re: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery" & other great economic news.
Post by: Soul Crusher on March 22, 2011, 10:31:09 AM
Insolvency Looms as States (and Puerto Rico) Drain U.S. Disability Fund
Wall Street Journal ^ | March 22, 2011 | DAMIAN PALETTA




CAGUAS, Puerto Rico—This mountainside town is home to a picturesque cathedral, a tobacco museum and a Wal-Mart Supercenter. Another defining feature: Caguas's 00725 zip code has more people who receive a disability check than any other in the U.S.

Puerto Rico has emerged in recent years as one of the easiest places in the U.S. to get payments from the Social Security Disability Insurance program, created during the Eisenhower administration to help people who can't work because of a health problem. In 2010, 63% of applicants there won approval, four percentage points higher than New Jersey and Wyoming, the most-generous U.S. states. In fact, nine of the top 10 U.S. zip codes for disabled workers receiving benefits can be found on Puerto Rico.

The SSDI is set to soon become the first big federal benefit program to run out of cash—and one of the main reasons is U.S. states and territories have a large say in who qualifies for the federally funded program. Without changes, the Social Security retirement fund can survive intact through about 2040 and Medicare through 2029. The disability fund, however, will run dry in four to seven years without federal intervention, government auditors say.

In addition to the uneven selection process, SSDI has been pushed to the brink of insolvency by the sour economy. A huge wave of applicants joined the program over the past decade, boosting it from 6.6 million beneficiaries in 2000 to 10.2 million in 2010. New recipients have come from across the country, with an 85% increase in Texas over 10 years and a 69% increase in New Hampshire.

Over the years, Puerto Rico's dependence on SSDI has grown particularly stark, exacerbated by the closure of factories and U.S. military installations, an exodus of skilled workers and a number of corruption scandals.


(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


Title: Re: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery" & other great economic news.
Post by: Soul Crusher on March 22, 2011, 11:12:24 AM
GARY SHILLING: And Now House Prices Will Drop Another 20%
TBI ^ | 3-22-2011 | Gary Shilling


GARY SHILLING: And Now House Prices Will Drop Another 20%

Gary Shilling, A. Gary Shilling & Co.
Mar. 22, 2011, 12:46 PM



Image: A Gary Shilling & Co.


Last October, when everyone was jubilant about the housing "recovery," Gary Shilling of A. Gary Shilling & Co., predicted that house prices would fall another 20%.

In the five months since, house prices have resumed their decline.

In his most recent research note, Gary sticks by his "20%" decline prediction. We've included a summary and updated charts from his argument below.

(Gary is offering a special discount on his research service for Business Insider readers. To learn more, please visit Gary's web site or call 1-888-346-7444. Please mention Business Insider.)

Housing: Great Expectations vs. Reality

Last spring, many believed that not only was the housing collapse over but that a robust rebound was underway. Investors were crowding into foreclosed house sales and bidding up prices in California, often the bellwether state for new trends.

The tax credit of up to $8,000 for new homebuyers that expired in April spurred buyers and promised to kick-start housing activity nationwide. TheHomeAffordable Modification Program was trumpeted by the Administration to help 3 million to 4 million homeowners with underwater mortgages by paying lenders to reduce monthly payments to manageable size and then paying homeowners to continue to make those payments.

But then a funny—or not so funny—thing happened on the way to housing recovery...


(Excerpt) Read more at businessinsider.com ...


Title: Re: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery" & other great economic news.
Post by: Soul Crusher on March 22, 2011, 11:30:48 AM
US Approaching Insolvency, Fix To Be 'Painful': Fisher
Published: Tuesday, 22 Mar 2011 | 10:10 AM ET Text Size By: Reuters

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Jean Ayissi | AFP | Getty Images
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The United States is on a fiscal path towards insolvency and policymakers are at a "tipping point," a Federal Reserve official said on Tuesday.

"If we continue down on the path on which the fiscal authorities put us, we will become insolvent, the question is when," Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher said in a question and answer session after delivering a speech at the University of Frankfurt.

"The short-term negotiations are very important, I look at this as a tipping point."

But he added he was confident in the Americans' ability to take the right decisions and said the country would avoid insolvency.

"I think we are at the beginning of the process and it's going to be very painful," he added.

Fisher earlier said the US economic recovery is gathering momentum, adding that he personally was extremely vigilant on inflation pressures.


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Fisher added that the U.S. Federal Reserve had ways to tighten its monetary policy other than interest rates, including by selling treasuries, changing reserves levels and using time deposits.

Copyright 2011 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.


Title: Re: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery" & other great economic news.
Post by: Soul Crusher on March 23, 2011, 07:33:59 AM
Sales of new U.S. homes tumble 16.9% to record low
CBS Marketwatch ^ | March 23, 2011 | by Steve Goldstein




~ EXCERPT ~

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Sales of new single-family homes collapsed in February, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday, as a combination of high unemployment, tumbling prices and a glut of cheaper alternatives brought activity to a near-standstill.

New-home sales fell 16.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 250,000 in February, though January’s figures were revised higher to 301,000 from 284,000. Compared to February 2010, sales collapsed by 28%.

Every region but the West saw record lows, and in the Northeast, sales dropped by 50% compared to year-earlier levels.


(Excerpt) Read more at marketwatch.com ...


Title: Re: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery" & other great economic news.
Post by: Soul Crusher on March 23, 2011, 08:10:14 PM
Illinois teacher pension system nearly $40 billion in the hole
Chicago Tribune ^ | 9:24 p.m. CDT, March 22, 2011 | By Diane Rado
Posted on Wednesday, March 23, 2011 10:27:26


The Teachers' Retirement System, the largest and costliest Illinois pension program, is almost $40 billion short to cover future benefits — the deepest financial hole in 20 years of state records.

And with lawmakers looking to rein in the massive costs of public retirement programs, teachers worry that the nest egg they've always considered a sure thing might shrink, while school district officials fear local taxpayers might pick up more of the tab.

At 28, social studies teacher Patrick Sheridan is only in his fourth year of teaching, but he's already on edge about retirement, wondering if he'll ever get the pension checks he was promised.

"It's very scary and very frustrating being a younger teacher, and not having any certainty," said Sheridan, who teaches and coaches at Cook County's Elmwood Park High School.

More than 350,000 suburban Chicago and downstate educators, retirees and other members eligible for benefits make up the TRS system, whose assets and liabilities dwarf the other four state pension systems. But the pension plan is only 48.4 percent funded, slipping from 52.1 percent the prior year, according to the most recent financial report.

Fixing the pension mess won't be easy, and proposals in Springfield that cut future benefits to save on pension costs aren't popular with educators who've been paying into their pensions all these years.

They blame their retirement system's financial hole on the state, for failing to make all payments into government pension systems.

"The state has not met its obligation, yet teachers are being blamed for bankrupting the state. The reality is, we paid our dues, we paid what we owe," said Richard Lesniak, president-elect of the Illinois Association of School Business Officials and director of business services in Lockport Township High School District 205.


(Excerpt) Read more at chicagotribune.com ...


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Title: Re: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery" & other great economic news.
Post by: Soul Crusher on March 25, 2011, 06:29:24 PM
Mass. job fair canceled because of lack of jobs (Hope & Change)
Boston.com ^ | 3-25-2011 | AP



TAUNTON -- A Massachusetts employment organization has canceled its annual job fair because not enough companies have come forward to offer jobs.


(Excerpt) Read more at boston.com ...


Title: Re: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery" & other great economic news.
Post by: Soul Crusher on March 26, 2011, 07:30:29 AM
Home / News / Local News
Caterpillar CEO's letter talks of leaving Illinois
StoryDiscussionCaterpill ar CEO's letter talks of leaving Illinois
By Kurt Erickson | Lee Springfield Bureau pantagraph.com | Posted: Friday, March 25, 2011 4:47 pm | Loading

http://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/article_3c23590c-572a-11e0-afc0-001cc4c002e0.html

SPRINGFIELD -- The chairman and CEO of Peoria-based Caterpillar Inc. is raising the specter of moving the heavy equipment maker out of Illinois.

In a letter sent March 21 to Gov. Pat Quinn, Caterpillar chief executive officer Doug Oberhelman said officials in at least four other states have approached the company about relocating since Illinois raised its income tax in January.

"I want to stay here. But as the leader of this business, I have to do what's right for Caterpillar when making decisions about where to invest," Oberhelman wrote in the letter obtained Friday by the Lee Enterprises Springfield bureau. "The direction that this state is headed in is not favorable to business and I'd like to work with you to change that."

Oberhelman said he's being actively courted to move.

"I have been called, 'cornered' in meetings and 'wined and dined' -- the heat is on," Oberhelman wrote. "Before, I never really considered living anywhere else and certainly never considered the possibility of Caterpillar relocating. But I have to admit, the policymakers in Springfield seem to make it harder by the day."

Cat spokesman Jim Dugan said the letter was designed to show Quinn that Oberhelman wants to be involved in finding solutions that benefit the company, which employs 23,000 people in Illinois.

"I view it as an olive branch to offer our help," Dugan said.

Quinn plans on discussing the letter with Oberhelman April 5 when the two meet at a conference in Peoria. The governor also plans on touring Caterpillar facilities at that time, spokeswoman Brie Callahan said Friday.

"The governor welcomes frank and open exchanges between the business community and government, and we are always open to new ideas that can help our businesses grow, innovate and create jobs," Callahan said.

Oberhelman didn't single out any specific problem with the state's policies in his one-page letter, but Dugan said the recent income tax increase -- signed into law by Quinn in January -- played a significant role in triggering the note.

The tax hike has led to attempts by other states, including Wisconsin, Indiana and New Jersey, to try and poach companies that don't want to stay in the Land of Lincoln.

Oberhelman also sent along correspondence Cat has received from other states.

"I stand ready to help convince you to relocate or expand in the fiscally conservative, low-tax Lone Star State," wrote Texas Gov. Rick Perry in a Jan. 24 letter.

"I encourage you to consider South Dakota as a place for your business to grow and prosper," noted J. Pat Costello, secretary of the South Dakota governor's economic development office.

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman wrote in February to say, "In Nebraska, we balance our budget by controlling spending, not by raising taxes."

Republican leaders, who unsuccessfully fought Quinn on the tax hike, say the letter confirms why they were opposed to the increase.

"These are the kinds of letters we fear," said Patty Schuh, spokeswoman for Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont. "Even more worrisome are the hundreds of businesses being wooed that we don't know about."

Schuh said the tax hike and the state's worker compensation costs on businesses "make Illinois a hostile environment, prime for the picking."


Title: Re: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery" & other great economic news.
Post by: Soul Crusher on March 26, 2011, 01:18:22 PM
Unpaid jobs: The new normal? (HopeyChangey...)
CNN Money ^ | 03/26/2011 | CNN Money




FORTUNE -- With nearly 14 million unemployed workers in America, many have gotten sodesperate that they're willing to work for free. While some businesses are wary of the legal risks and supervision such an arrangement might require, companies that have used free workers say it can pay off when done right.

"People who work for free are far hungrier than anybody who has a salary, so they're going to outperform, they're going to try to please, they're going to be creative," says Kelly Fallis, chief executive of Remote Stylist, a Toronto and New York-based startup that provides Web-based interior design services. "From a cost savings perspective, to get something off the ground, it's huge. Especially if you're a small business."

In the last three years, Fallis has used about 50 unpaid interns for duties in marketing, editorial, advertising, sales, account management and public relations. She's convinced it's the wave of the future in human resources. "Ten years from now, this is going to be the norm," she says.


(Excerpt) Read more at management.fortune.cnn.c om ...


Title: Re: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery" & other great economic news.
Post by: 240 is Back on March 26, 2011, 01:31:55 PM
some of that news is understandable.

if you don't believe house prices were overvalued in the last decade, you're NUTS.

They charged insane prices cause everyone was approved. 

I'd be pissed if there was NOT a correction of house prices going on right now.


Title: Re: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery" & other great economic news.
Post by: Soul Crusher on March 26, 2011, 01:36:30 PM
Cost of Living in U.S. Reaches New Record High
Wisconsin Ag Connection ^ | March 24, 2011






The cost of living in the United States is as high as ever, even worse than before the financial meltdown during the past few years. A Labor Department index measuring the actual cost of living, known as the chained consumer price index, hit 127.4 in February, beating a previous record high 126.9 in July 2008, just as the housing crisis began to tighten its grip, CNBC reports.

That's bad news for most Americans, especially considering the record comes at a time of weak economic activity and high unemployment rates.

"The Federal Reserve continues to focus on the rate of change in inflation," says Peter Bookvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak, according to CNBC.

Food prices continue to rise. The regular inflation rate, known as the consumer price index, increased 0.5 percent last month, the fastest pace in 18 months, although the Federal Reserve tends to set interest rates at inflation rates stripped of food and energy, which rose by just 0.2 percent.

Some say a new methodology is needed and needed now.

"This speaks to the need for the Fed to include food and energy when they look at inflation rather than regard them as transient costs," says Stephen Weiss of Short Hills Capital.

"Perhaps the best way to look at this is to calculate a moving average over a certain period of time in order to smooth out the peaks and valleys."

Even though headline inflation rates may have been nominally much higher in the past, most notably in the early eighties, rising consumer prices hurt just as bad today with incomes remaining flat, if not worse.

Thirty years ago, people earned raises to cope with higher prices and investments returned more: banks would pay nearly 16 percent on a six-month CD. Today, however, money market rates are a fraction of what they were, wages are essentially frozen if not dipping and Social Security recipients have gone two straight years with no increase in benefits.



Title: Re: Obama Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on March 28, 2011, 08:01:36 AM
Disposable income falls as prices jump, data show
Marketwatch ^ | 3.28.11 | Greg Robb




U.S. PCE inflation up 0.4%, most since July 2008; spending up 0.3%


Real disposable income declined in February as consumer prices jumped by the largest amount in 2 1/2 years, the Commerce Department reported Monday.


Economists said the data show that higher prices for gasoline is starting to take some of the steam out of the economy.


The personal consumption expenditure index, which Federal Reserve officials say is a more accurate gauge of inflation than the better-known consumer price index, increased 0.4% on the month, the largest monthly gain since July 2008.


(Excerpt) Read more at marketwatch.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on March 28, 2011, 11:19:43 AM
13% of all U.S. homes are vacant
CNN Money ^ | 3/28/11 | Les Christie





New York - High residential vacancies are killing many housing markets, as foreclosed homes sit on the market and depress sale prices and property values. And it's only getting worse: The national vacancy rate crept up to just over 13% according to last week's decennial census report. That's up from 12.1% in 2007. "More vacant homes equal more downward pressure on home prices," (Snip) Maine had the highest proportion of empty housing stock, at 22.8%. Other states with gluts of empty houses included Vermont (20.5%), Florida (17.5%), Arizona (16.3%) and Alaska (15.9%).


(Excerpt) Read more at money.cnn.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on March 29, 2011, 10:24:47 AM
More housing hell
By STEPHEN B. MEISTER



http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/more_housing_hell_Yx3o5ibqPKHQGfnO7KOfyH



Last Updated: 7:35 AM, March 29, 2011

Posted: 11:52 PM, March 28, 2011

The latest home-sales data paint a bleak picture: The housing market is in a double dip and still years away from a true recovery. The Obama administration's policies have only prolonged the agony.

Sales of existing homes dropped 9.6 percent in February to their lowest level since 2002 -- 4.88 million per year. And that's the good news.

Sales of new homes have collapsed. In February, they dropped 16.9 percent to an all-time-record low -- 250,000 a year, down from 900,000 in early 2007. As the nearby chart shows, these fell off a cliff at the end of last year, because the first-time homebuyer's tax credit only "borrowed" future sales, and now the future is here.

Home prices are following suit. The median price of an existing home dropped 5.2 percent to $156,100, while the median new-home price is down 13.9 percent, to $202,100. Indeed, a look at the Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index shows that housing entered a double dip in the middle of last year.

This mess was years in the building. Nearly two decades of massive federal housing subsidies -- cheap low-downpayment loans by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac plus Federal Housing Administration loan guarantees, along with the longstanding tax deductiblity of mortgage interest -- resulted in a huge overbuilding.

That is, homebuilders built millions of homes we didn't need as people who couldn't really afford them -- and should have remained renters -- bought with low or no downpayments. Now these folks are becoming renters again, as they lose their homes (and savings) to foreclosure -- leaving a gigantic glut of inventory on the market.

The official statistics show an inventory of 3.67 million new and existing homes -- 8.6 months' worth at the present anemic sales rate. But the real inventory is likely double that, once you count the homes now in the foreclosure pipeline.

Making matters worse, more defaults will come: Nearly one in four borrowers -- more than 11 million households -- owes more than the house is worth. Another 2.4 million homeowners have less than 5 percent equity, putting them right on the edge. And those numbers will all soar as prices slide further.

Not all underwater homeowners will default, but it's a sure bet millions more eventually will.

All this means there's a backlog of some 10 million homes that must get sold before housing can truly recover. But fewer than 5 million homes now trade hands in a year -- and that's mostly sales of nondistressed homes, which aren't even part of the glut. So it's clear that home prices are bound to go down further and remain down for years.

Every economist knows you get more of what you subsidize. Due to all the overbuilding from years of federal housing subsidies, today a staggering 18.4 million homes are empty year-round. (That's down from 18.9 million a year ago, as lower prices have lured investors who've rented out homes bought at foreclosure.)

Given that there are 112.5 million occupied housing units (including rentals) in America, that means that there's one vacant home for every six occupied ones.

Short of bulldozing the millions of unneeded homes, it will take years of population growth and household formations to absorb the excess.

The good news (such as it is) is that free-market clearing processes are working. Today, one in five homebuyers is an investor, and one of every three sales is all-cash. Distressed sales account for 40 percent of the market.

Since the mid-'90s, when liberal activists really started pushing "affordable homeownership," banks have poured trillions of dollars into mortgage loans (now defaulted and mostly government guaranteed) instead of loans to businesses -- the proceeds of which would have gone into plants, equipment and software, all engines of job growth.

So now, nearly two years after the recession "ended," we're stuck with millions of unneeded homes, and millions of unemployed people. The feds have finally realized that stricter lending policies are necessary, but it will still take several more years for housing (and probably everything else) to recover.

What should we do? More federal subsidies are no answer. Hastening the foreclosure process (rather than slowing it, as our leaders mostly seem to be trying to do) is a good place to start. Keeping in place borrowers who haven't made a mortgage payment in over a year will only further delay the housing recovery.

We might even want to import buyers: Economist Gary Shilling has suggested granting permanent residency to any immigrant who buys a home.


NEW YORK POST is a registered trademark of NYP Holdings, Inc.



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on March 29, 2011, 07:16:49 PM
Unmanipulated US "Misery Index" Hits All Time High
Zero Hedge ^ | 03/29/2011 18:08 -0400 | Submitted by Tyler Durden



www.zerohedge.com



While everyone knows that the CPI in the US is manipulated beyond repair (a topic far too broad to be discussed here suffice to say that as disclosed previously true inflation in the US is currently runrating at over 8%), inflation as actually represented by US consumers and reported by Zero Hedge earlier, in the form of the 1 year inflation expectation index of the Conference Board lack of confidence index, is near all time highs.

So if one takes this data series and adds to it the narrow unemployment definition (U3) one would get an adjusted Misery Index for US citizens (using inflation expectations instead of manipulated CPI). As the chart below shows, the Misery Index, which is merely inflation plus unemployment, constructed as such, would now be at an all time high. Hardly in keeping with Bernanke's wealth effect prerogative, but surely in line with record food stamp usage reported month after month.

That said, the silver lining to that particular mushroom cloud is our confidence that as the bulk of Americans live in record "misery", they will be comforted to know that their 20 shares of NFLX are trading at a four digit EPS multiple. And the other good news is that we have the Brits beat again: whereas the US is at a record, the UK is merely at a 20 year high, proving once again that only the US never does anything half-assed.



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on March 30, 2011, 03:03:10 PM
America is Burning
Townhall.com ^ | March 30, 2011 | Ben Shapiro




Two weeks ago, I visited New York City with my wife, who was interviewing at a local medical school located in the Bronx. I dropped her at the school. Since I was lacking a car, I hopped on a public bus, intending to take it to the local subway station.

I have never been so frightened for my country in my life.

The bus itself was fine; all the people on it had places to be. It was the subway station that was truly scary. The station itself looked like a bomb had hit it. Debris covered the shattered tile floor. The stench of vomit and urine permeated the place. Rust layered the tracks; wooden boards between the tracks moldered into dust. The station had clearly been beautiful at one point, but now it looked like a leftover set from "The Omega Man."

Elderly people sat holding their cheap knockoff bags, quietly avoiding eye contact with the younger crowd. Young people gathered in small groups, speaking in broken English into their expensive cell phones. I saw a couple of young men pass small plastic bags to one another.

Then I got on the train. As the Bronx rushed past, shattered images stuck to the smeared windows like flies to a windshield: buildings with graffiti on every air conditioner, on every window, on every door; empty lots covered in garbage; apartments with hundreds of broken windows; the Bronx River, pieces of wreckage sticking at obtuse angles from the muddy water. The landscape of hopelessness.

This isn't how the Bronx used to be. Two generations ago, the Bronx was a diverse and thriving lower- to middle-class enclave, full of upwardly mobile people. The area was largely immigrant and hummed with the excitement of a population looking to take advantage of the American dream. Myriads of intellectuals grew up in the Bronx, ranging from Don DeLillo to E.L. Doctorow to Harold Bloom to David Halberstam to Chaim Potok to William Safire, entertainers like Woody Allen, Paddy Chayefsky and Stanley Kubrick, and entrepreneurs ranging from Ralph Lauren to Eli Broad to Calvin Klein.

Then the government got involved.

Over the course of the 1960s and 1970s, in an attempt to fight poverty, the New York City government instituted higher property taxes and rent control. The idea behind the property taxes was simple redistributionism -- tenants should be given more money from the pockets of landlords. The same held true for rent control -- the unspoken idea was that landlords had been gypping their tenants.

The unintended consequences were disastrous. Poorer and poorer populations began moving to the Bronx, driving out the aspiring lower middle class. Landlords who had already been operating at profit minimums began losing money. It became simpler for them to burn down their buildings than to fix them up. Similarly, tenants began torching buildings in the hope that the government would build new public housing at the sites. The result became a national catch phrase when Howard Cosell, during the 1977 World Series, commented on an aerial shot of the city: "There it is, ladies and gentlemen: the Bronx is burning."

Today, the Bronx is barren. All the talk of urban renewal is papier-mache pomposity. Even as the elite crowd celebrates the "diversity" and "artistic regrowth" of the Bronx, the Bronx remains a crime and poverty center. In the South Bronx, nearly 50 percent of residents live below the poverty line. Rap and art nouveau will not heal an area destroyed by government interventionism and the substitution of top-down economics for bottom-up entrepreneurialism. The culture of dependency has poisoned the groundwater. The Bronx River is infected with it.

Today, when Americans look at places like Detroit and South Central Los Angeles and the Bronx, they see outliers, locations thrown by fortune or luck to the bottom of the heap. They do not see the policies that led to these areas' fall from grace. And so we continue to elect the same politicians who made the Bronx of literature and jazz into the Bronx of graffiti and hip-hop and prostitution and drugs. Politics and culture had consequences for the Bronx, and they have consequences for America more broadly.


________________________ ________________________ ________________


"I have never been so frightened for my country in my life."




________________________ _____-


Hey Ben - the Bronx is no place for a little nerdy Jewish account type you putz. 


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on March 30, 2011, 07:43:16 PM
Going Broke: Treasury Down to $58.6B in Cash, $130.5B Borrowing Authority
CNSNews ^


Posted on Wednesday, March 30, 2011 7:35:59

Going Broke: Treasury Down to $58.6B in Cash, $130.5B Borrowing Authority Wednesday, March 30, 2011 By Terence P. Jeffrey

(CNSNews.com) - Imagine that you had an average monthly income of about $170 balanced against average monthly expenses of about $940--and that you were more than $14,000 in debt.

Then imagine that as of today, you had only $58.60 in cash left in your bank account and $130.50 left on your line of credit.

Now multiply these numbers by 1 billion and you will have the up-to-date financial situation of the U.S. government.

According to the Daily Treasury Statement released by the U.S. Treasury Department today at 4:00 p.m., the Treasury had $58.6 billion in cash in its accounts as of the close of business on Tuesday. That was down from $190.6 billion at the beginning of March and $309.8 billion at the beginning of this fiscal year on Oct. 1, 2010.


(Excerpt) Read more at cnsnews.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on March 31, 2011, 06:55:10 AM
Bill Gross calls U.S. budget a Greek tragedy (worse than Greece)
fortune ^ | March 31, 2011 5:40 am | Colin Barr


Posted on Thursday, March 31, 2011

Gross runs Pimco, the $1.2 trillion investment manager that has spent recent months selling Treasury bonds, citing their low yields and poor prospects. He explains in his monthly investment outlook posted Wednesday evening that U.S. government bonds "have little value" in a world of bloated budgets.

While outstanding federal debt totals $9.1 trillion, he estimates the government's actual liability at $75 trillion, counting promises made under Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

"The incredible reality is that the $9.1 trillion federal debt that constitutes the next-to-tiniest ball in our chart is nothing compared to unfunded Medicaid and Medicare. It is like comparing Pluto to Saturn and Jupiter," Gross writes.

That starry-eyed talk is only the latest warning out of Gross. He predicted a bond market turkey shoot in October, while calling the borrow-from-the-future mindset of our elected leaders a "Sammy scheme."

He has since warned that the U.S. is losing its competitive edge thanks to a political failure to confront our structural problems, such as declining education standards and eroding infrastructure, and predicted the end of Fed bond buying will wrack markets of all kinds.

But now the gloves are off. To drive his latest point home, Gross compares the U.S. to Europe's least solvent nation, and not favorably.

"This country appears to have an off-balance-sheet, unrecorded debt burden of close to 500% of GDP!" Gross exclaims. "We are out-Greeking the Greeks, dear reader."


(Excerpt) Read more at finance.fortune.cnn.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on March 31, 2011, 07:01:58 AM
Grassley Warns of Bailed-out Banks’ Repaying Bail-outs With Government Funds
Chuck Grassley Senate site ^ | 03/29/2011 | Chuck Grassley




WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley is asking the Treasury secretary for assurances that banks bailed out with government funds will not be allowed to use another government program to pay back their bailouts.

“The reports that banks from New York to Nashville are using federal dollars from the so-called Small Business Lending Fund to increase profits and ‘pay back’ TARP make this look like another TARP-style money shuffle,” Grassley said. “Replacing one form of government subsidy with another wasn’t a repayment when GM did it and it still isn’t. The Treasury Department has an obligation to put the brakes on any tricky bookkeeping that misleads the American taxpayer and subverts what this program was supposed to do.”

Grassley wrote to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, citing media reports and a bank earnings statement to investors that banks in Pennsylvania, Nashville and New York that received money through the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) are considering paying back that bailout with money received through the federal Small Business Lending Fund. One bank touted increased “profitability” in converting TARP funds to Small Business Lending Funds in its quarterly earnings report.

Grassley asked Geithner for assurances that a repayment shuffle will not take place. He asked for a description of Treasury’s oversight plans to prevent such a shuffle and for information including a list of banks that have applied for loans under the small business program.

Last year, Grassley exposed the misleading nature of claims from the Treasury Department and General Motors that the company repaid a TARP loan through a business turn-around. In fact, its repayment was via federal money held by the government.

The text of Grassley’s letter to the Treasury secretary is available here:

http://grassley.senate.gov/about/upload/3-22-2011-Geithner-Letter-SBLF.pdf





Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on March 31, 2011, 07:14:37 AM
Wal-Mart CEO Bill Simon expects inflation
By Jayne O'Donnell, USA TODAY
Updated
10h 34m ago |







 

U.S. consumers face "serious" inflation in the months ahead for clothing, food and other products, the head of Wal-Mart's U.S. operations warned Wednesday.


By Spencer Platt, Getty Images

The nation's largest retailer needs to get back to its roots as the lowest priced one-stop shop for consumers, Walmart CEO Bill SImon said.

The world's largest retailer is working with suppliers to minimize the effect of cost increases and believes its low-cost business model will position it better than its competitors.

Still, inflation is "going to be serious," Wal-Mart U.S. CEO Bill Simon said during a meeting with USA TODAY's editorial board. "We're seeing cost increases starting to come through at a pretty rapid rate."

CEO: Says Wal-Mart to go back to low prices, broad-based inventory

VIDEO: Wal-Mart CEO answers five questions about the future of the retailer

ECONOMY: Inflation worries push consumer confidence lower in March

Along with steep increases in raw material costs, John Long, a retail strategist at Kurt Salmon, says labor costs in China and fuel costs
for transportation are weighing heavily on retailers. He predicts prices will start increasing at all retailers in June.

"Every single retailer has and is paying more for the items they sell, and retailers will be passing some of these costs along," Long says. "Except for fuel costs, U.S. consumers haven't seen much in the way of inflation for almost a decade, so a broad-based increase in prices will be unprecedented in recent memory."

Consumer prices — or the consumer price index — rose 0.5% in February, the most since mid-2009, largely because of surging food and gasoline prices. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, rose a more modest 0.2%, though that still exceeded estimates.

The scenario hits Wal-Mart as it is trying to return to the low across-the-board prices it became famous for. Some prices rose as the company paid for costly store renovations.

"We're in a position to use scale to hold prices lower longer ... even in an inflationary environment," Simon says. "We will have the lowest prices in the market."

Major retailers such as Wal-Mart are the best positioned to mitigate some cost increases, Long says. Wal-Mart, for example, could have "access to any factory in any country around the globe" to mitigate the effect of inflation in the U.S., Long says.

Still, "it's certainly going to have an impact," Long says. "No retailer is going to be able to wish this new cost reality away. They're not going to be able to insulate the consumer 100%."


http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/retail/2011-03-30-wal-mart-ceo-expects-inflation_N.htm#



Title: Doom & Gloom Thread
Post by: Soul Crusher on March 31, 2011, 09:05:07 AM
Skip to comments.

The Truth About The Economy: We're Heading Back Toward A Double Dip
TBI ^ | 3-31-2011 | Robert Reich

Posted on Thursday, March 31, 2011 12:09:11 PM by blam

The Truth About The Economy: We're Heading Back Toward A Double Dip

Robert Reich
Mar. 31, 2011, 10:31 AM


Why aren’t Americans being told the truth about the economy? We’re heading in the direction of a double dip – but you’d never know it if you listened to the upbeat messages coming out of Wall Street and Washington.

Consumers are 70 percent of the American economy, and consumer confidence is plummeting. It’s weaker today on average than at the low point of the Great Recession.

The Reuters/University of Michigan survey shows a 10 point decline in March – the tenth largest drop on record. Part of that drop is attributable to rising fuel and food prices. A separate Conference Board’s index of consumer confidence, just released, shows consumer confidence at a five-month low — and a large part is due to expectations of fewer jobs and lower wages in the months ahead.

Pessimistic consumers don’t buy as much. And fewer sales spells big economic trouble ahead.

What about the 192,000 jobs added in February? (We’ll know more Friday about how many jobs were added in March.) It’s peanuts compared to what’s needed. Remember, 125,000 new jobs are necessary just to keep up with a growing number of Americans eligible for employment. And the nation has lost so many jobs over the last three years that even at a rate of 200,000 a month we wouldn’t get back to 6 percent unemployment until 2016.

But isn’t the economy growing again – by an estimated 2.5 to 2.9 percent this year? Yes, but that’s even less than peanuts. The deeper the economic hole, the faster the growth needed to get back on track. By this point we’d expect growth of 4 to 6 percent. In 1934, emerging from

[snip]


(Excerpt) Read more at www.businessinsider.com



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on March 31, 2011, 06:46:52 PM
Sbarro Pizza Preparing Chapter 11 Filing
Wall Street Journal ^ | 04/01/2011 | MIKE SPECTOR



Sbarro Inc., the fast-food pizza chain that dots shopping-mall food courts, is preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as soon as next week, said people familiar with the matter...

"Sbarro continues to work constructively with our key stakeholders to restructure our debt and position the company for long-term success," the company said. "Throughout this restructuring process, the company expects to continue to operate in the normal course and without interruption."

The company has been battered during the recession amid lower consumer confidence. Several months ago it warned of substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern...

Sbarro, based in Melville, N.Y., employs about 5,000 people and started cutting jobs and closing stores in the wake of the global financial crisis...

The eatery was founded in the late 1950s when the Sbarro family opened a grocery store in Brooklyn, N.Y., offering homemade mozzarella, imported cheese, sausage and salami. Sbarro opened its first mall location in 1967 in Brooklyn's King Plaza Shopping Center, which marked its transition to fast-food service. It grew to operate more than 1,000 stores in some 40 countries, becoming a staple in malls and airports from Egypt and Israel to Japan and New Zealand.

Battered by the recession, however, the company closed more than 150 restaurants in the past two years. It showed a loss of about $29.3 million during the first nine months of last year on sales of roughly $239 million. For 2009 it reported a loss of $ 37.2 million. It had about $12.67 million cash and cash equivalents at the end of September.

The losses prompted the company in December to raise salaries and hand out bonuses for top executives and managers to keep them from leaving. Meantime, Sbarro's lackluster earnings caused it to violate debt terms.


(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


________________________ ________________________ ________


The losses prompted the company in December to raise salaries and hand out bonuses for top executives and managers to keep them from leaving. Meantime, Sbarro's lackluster earnings caused it to violate debt terms.



Ha ha ha ha ha - freaking brilliant,. 


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on March 31, 2011, 06:50:32 PM
Beef prices soar
http://money.cnn.com/2011/03/31/markets/beef_price_increasing/index.htm ^ | 3/31/11 | Parija Kavilanz

Posted on Thursday, March 31, 201



NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- If you're already shocked by how much your favorite cut of beef costs at the supermarket, brace yourself because prices will keep going up.

Surging commodity prices already have consumers paying more for groceries such as eggs, milk, cereal and meat. The price of beef in particular has shot through the roof

In February, the average retail price per pound for beef was $3.87, up 12.4% versus a year ago, according to market research firm FreshLook Data.

The average retail price for a pound of chicken was up 3.9% in February versus a year ago, turkey was up 5.4%, veal up 6.7% and pork up 10%.


(Excerpt) Read more at money.cnn.com ...


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 01, 2011, 06:17:46 AM
We've Become a Nation of Takers, Not Makers
More Americans work for the government than in manufacturing, farming, fishing, forestry, mining and utilities combined..Article
By STEPHEN MOORE
www.wsj.com





If you want to understand better why so many states—from New York to Wisconsin to California—are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, consider this depressing statistic: Today in America there are nearly twice as many people working for the government (22.5 million) than in all of manufacturing (11.5 million). This is an almost exact reversal of the situation in 1960, when there were 15 million workers in manufacturing and 8.7 million collecting a paycheck from the government.

It gets worse. More Americans work for the government than work in construction, farming, fishing, forestry, manufacturing, mining and utilities combined. We have moved decisively from a nation of makers to a nation of takers. Nearly half of the $2.2 trillion cost of state and local governments is the $1 trillion-a-year tab for pay and benefits of state and local employees. Is it any wonder that so many states and cities cannot pay their bills?

Every state in America today except for two—Indiana and Wisconsin—has more government workers on the payroll than people manufacturing industrial goods. Consider California, which has the highest budget deficit in the history of the states. The not-so Golden State now has an incredible 2.4 million government employees—twice as many as people at work in manufacturing. New Jersey has just under two-and-a-half as many government employees as manufacturers. Florida's ratio is more than 3 to 1. So is New York's.

Even Michigan, at one time the auto capital of the world, and Pennsylvania, once the steel capital, have more government bureaucrats than people making things. The leaders in government hiring are Wyoming and New Mexico, which have hired more than six government workers for every manufacturing worker.

Now it is certainly true that many states have not typically been home to traditional manufacturing operations. Iowa and Nebraska are farm states, for example. But in those states, there are at least five times more government workers than farmers. West Virginia is the mining capital of the world, yet it has at least three times more government workers than miners. New York is the financial capital of the world—at least for now. That sector employs roughly 670,000 New Yorkers. That's less than half of the state's 1.48 million government employees.

View Full Image

ImageZoo/Corbis
 .Don't expect a reversal of this trend anytime soon. Surveys of college graduates are finding that more and more of our top minds want to work for the government. Why? Because in recent years only government agencies have been hiring, and because the offer of near lifetime security is highly valued in these times of economic turbulence. When 23-year-olds aren't willing to take career risks, we have a real problem on our hands. Sadly, we could end up with a generation of Americans who want to work at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The employment trends described here are explained in part by hugely beneficial productivity improvements in such traditional industries as farming, manufacturing, financial services and telecommunications. These produce far more output per worker than in the past. The typical farmer, for example, is today at least three times more productive than in 1950.

Where are the productivity gains in government? Consider a core function of state and local governments: schools. Over the period 1970-2005, school spending per pupil, adjusted for inflation, doubled, while standardized achievement test scores were flat. Over roughly that same time period, public-school employment doubled per student, according to a study by researchers at the University of Washington. That is what economists call negative productivity.

But education is an industry where we measure performance backwards: We gauge school performance not by outputs, but by inputs. If quality falls, we say we didn't pay teachers enough or we need smaller class sizes or newer schools. If education had undergone the same productivity revolution that manufacturing has, we would have half as many educators, smaller school budgets, and higher graduation rates and test scores.

The same is true of almost all other government services. Mass transit spends more and more every year and yet a much smaller share of Americans use trains and buses today than in past decades. One way that private companies spur productivity is by firing underperforming employees and rewarding excellence. In government employment, tenure for teachers and near lifetime employment for other civil servants shields workers from this basic system of reward and punishment. It is a system that breeds mediocrity, which is what we've gotten.

Most reasonable steps to restrain public-sector employment costs are smothered by the unions. Study after study has shown that states and cities could shave 20% to 40% off the cost of many services—fire fighting, public transportation, garbage collection, administrative functions, even prison operations—through competitive contracting to private providers. But unions have blocked many of those efforts. Public employees maintain that they are underpaid relative to equally qualified private-sector workers, yet they are deathly afraid of competitive bidding for government services.

President Obama says we have to retool our economy to "win the future." The only way to do that is to grow the economy that makes things, not the sector that takes things.

Mr. Moore is senior economics writer for The Wall Street Journal editorial page.


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Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 03, 2011, 02:19:56 PM
February Construction Activity Drops 1.4%, Lowest in More Than a Decade
ENR/AP ^ | 04/01/2011 | MARTIN CRUTSINGER




February Construction Activity Drops 1.4%, Lowest in More Than a Decade 04/01/2011 Associated Press/AP Online

By MARTIN CRUTSINGER

WASHINGTON - Builders started work on fewer homes, apartments and government projects in February, pushing construction activity down to the lowest level in more than a decade.

Construction spending tumbled for a third straight month, dropping 1.4 percent in February, the Commerce Department said Friday. The weakness pushed total activity down to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $760.6 billion, the smallest total since October 1999. That was below the previous recession low set back in August.


(Excerpt) Read more at enr.construction.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 03, 2011, 02:35:41 PM
Hi, here’s a food stamp graph that will ruin your day.
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2698970/posts

Posted by Moe Lane (Profile)

Sunday, April 3rd at 8:00AM EDT

23 Comments
Because why have a nice, sunny morning? We probably can’t afford those anymore, anyhow.

H/T AoSHQ Headlines:



Primed by the financial meltdown; took off like a rocket in January 2009, and is now reaching for the stars. Over 44 million on the rolls (somewhere around 14.3% of the population), which is about 14 million or so more than when this administration took office. The graph is sufficiently grim and depressing on its own to make further commentary largely unnecessary, but I will add one sardonic comment. If current conditions are what the White House considers to be “our economic recovery,” then let me be clear: You’re Doing It Wrong.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: Benefits are down, too. A little counter-intuitive, given that the time frame is the Democratic party’s control of the government… no, wait, in that case it’s not counter-intuitive at all.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: 225for70 on April 03, 2011, 03:10:18 PM
Hi, here’s a food stamp graph that will ruin your day.
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2698970/posts

Posted by Moe Lane (Profile)

Sunday, April 3rd at 8:00AM EDT




Hahah, that can't be..Andreistheman says the economy is getting better.  However, the food stamp gauge seems to suggest otherwise.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 03, 2011, 03:15:39 PM
Hahah, that can't be..Andreistheman says the economy is getting better.

The graph is horrble but it its in png format.   Copy at the link.   Its horrible.   

And dont listen to andre - he is in heat like a rabid dog for Obama's reelection. 


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 04, 2011, 08:05:59 AM
Weekly Indicators: Economy Slowing Due to Choke Collar of High Oil Prices
Seeking Alpha ^ | 4-4-2011 | Hale Stewart




Weekly Indicators: Economy Slowing Due to Choke Collar of High Oil Prices

Hale Stewart
April 04, 2011

Last week's headline numbers were the 216,000 jobs added in March and the continued decline in the unemployment rate to 8.8%. As usual, I'll have more to say in the coming week, including at least one finding that contradicts the conventional wisdom. For now, we can just note that it was a good number - just not good enough for all the ground we have to make up.

Other monthly numbers continued to show an economy that is slowing due to the choke collar of high Oil prices. The manufacturing workweek declined (-.1), as did new factory orders. There are two more of the 10 leading indicators that have turned down. Residential and non-residential spending also declined. New cars sold in March also declined slightly from February, although at 13.1 million vehicles, this is still the second best showing in over two years. On the plus side, manufacturing as measured by the Chicago PMI and the ISM continued on a tear. BUT the leading components of that index - new orders and vendor deliveries - declined. Vendor deliveries declined sharply - the third of the 10 leading indicators to show a decline this week.

Did I mention that Oil was like a choke collar constricting economic growth?

Turning now to the high-frequency weekly indicators:

The BLS reported that Initial jobless claims last week were 388,000. The 4 week average is 394,250. This is the sixth week in a row that this number has been initially reported below 400,000. On the other hand, this series has not made a new low in the last month. Will the downward momentum continue or has it stalled?


(Excerpt) Read more at seekingalpha.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 04, 2011, 08:18:41 AM
27 Depressing Statistics About The U.S. Economy That Will Make You Feel Even Worse
TEC ^ | 4-4-2011


Via FR

Feeling Depessed? 27 Depressing Statistics About The U.S. Economy That Will Make You Feel Even Worse

April 4, 2011

If you know someone that believes that the U.S. economy is in great shape, just show that person the following statistics. But please don't show these statistics to anyone that is feeling depressed or that has just lost a job - it might push such a person over the edge. The sad truth is that the U.S. economy is in the midst of a long-term decline and it is coming apart at the seams. Right now the Obama administration and the Federal Reserve are attempting to "paper over" our economic problems with massive amounts of government debt and paper currency, but in the end it is not going to work. When you analyze the numbers objectively, it leads to the inescapable conclusion that we are headed for another Great Depression. That is a very depressing thought, but there is no denying that decades of debt and incredibly bad decisions are starting to catch up with us. The economic pain that is coming is going to be absolutely mind blowing.

It would be nice if our politicians and our business leaders suddenly started making incredibly wise decisions so that we could bring the U.S. economy in for a "soft landing", but the chance of that happening is so small that it is not even worth mentioning.

It is time for all of us to face up to the truth. In this day and age it is really easy to get caught up in the trap of feeling depressed, but once we understand exactly how bad our problems are it can be empowering because then we can start focusing on solutions.

The following are 27 depressing statistics about the U.S. economy that are almost too crazy to believe....

#1 The Obama administration projects that the federal budget deficit will be approximately $1,600,000,000,000 this year. Right now the Republicans and the Democrats are fighting tooth and nail over budget cuts. The Republicans are proposing to cut the budget deficit by 3.8%. The Democrats only want to cut it by 2.1%.

#2 The U.S. economy actually grew more between 1930 and 1940 than it did during the decade that recently ended.

#3 Over the last decade, the number of Americans without health insurance has risen from about 38 million to about 52 million.

#4 Agricultural commodities are absolutely soaring. The price of corn has more than doubled over the last 12 months. Considering the fact that corn is in literally thousands of our food products, that is a very frightening statistic.

#5 Between 1999 and 2009, real median household income in the United States declined by 5.0%.

#6 It is being estimated that total U.S. government debt will grow by 42 percent by the year 2015.

#7 According to the Pentagon, the cost of the first week of attacks on Libya was 600 million dollars.

#8 The average American now spends approximately 23 percent of his or her income on food and gas.

#9 According to the U.S. Energy Department, the average U.S. household will spend approximately $700 more on gasoline in 2011 than it did during 2010.

#10 It is being projected that for the first time ever, the OPEC nations are going to bring in over a trillion dollars from exporting oil this year. Their biggest customer is the United States.

#11 According to the Economic Policy Institute, almost 25 percent of U.S. households now have zero net worth or negative net worth. Back in 2007, that number was just 18.6 percent.

#12 China produced 19.8 percent of all the goods consumed in the world last year. The United States only produced 19.4 percent.

#13 The United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

#14 The U.S. trade deficit with China in 2010 was 27 times larger than it was back in 1990.

#15 U.S. home values have fallen an astounding 6.3 trillion dollars since the peak of the real estate market in 2005.

#16 According to RealtyTrac, one out of every 45 U.S. households was hit with a foreclosure filing in 2010.

#17 The number of homes that were actually repossessed reached the 1 million mark for the first time ever during 2010.

#18 New home sales in the United States set a brand new all-time record low in the month of February.

#19 Now home sales in the United States are now down 80% from the peak in July 2005.

#20 The financial condition of American families continues to deteriorate rapidly. In 2010, one out of every eight American families had at least one family member that was unemployed. That number was the highest it has been since the U.S. Labor Department began keeping track of that statistic back in 1994.

#21 There are now more than 6 million Americans that the government says have given up looking for work completely.

#22 According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average length of unemployment in the U.S. is now an all-time record 39 weeks.

#23 Americans now owe more than $900 billion on student loans, which is also an all-time record high.

#24 Average household debt in the United States has now reached a level of 136% of average household income.

#25 According to the Federal Reserve, between 2007 and 2009 median household net worth in the United States fell by 23 percent.

#26 The Federal Reserve also says that median household debt in the United States has risen to $75,600.

#27 According to a recent article posted on the website of the American Institute of Economic Research, the purchasing power of a U.S. dollar declined from $1.00 in 1913 to 4.6 cents in 2009. Sadly, the Federal Reserve is working very hard to get rid of the little bit of purchasing power that the U.S. dollar has left.



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 04, 2011, 11:38:48 AM
Here Come The Increases In Coffee Prices
Economic Policy Journal ^ | 4-4-2011 | Robert Wenzel

Here Come The Increases In Coffee Prices

Robert Wenzel
April 4, 2011




Price inflation is about to hit from every angle. Since the financial crisis, Bernanke has printed too much money for it not to have a major impact. All indications are that it will hit hard in the second half of this year.

The only persons who appear not to be concerned about price inflation are NYT columnist Paul Krugman and his former Princeton colleague, Ben Bernanke, and other members of the Fed.

But keep in mind, just a few months ago Krugman wrote this:

There’s really nothing here to shake my view that deflation, not inflation, is the threat. Bernanke, who famously said the subprime crisis is no big deal, has been in lock step with Krugman in his lack of concern about price inflation. This is really scary since Bernanke is the captain of the money printing boat, known as the Federal Reserve.

And New York Fed president William Dudley doesn't think there is an inflation problem because as he put it: "Today you can buy an iPad 2 that costs the same as an iPad 1 that is twice as powerful. You have to look at the prices of all things." A member of the audience quite correctly shouted to Dudley, ""You can't eat an iPad."

Anyway, here's something more to contemplate while you drink your morning coffee. SFC, again, this time on coffee prices:

If it hasn't already, your local coffee shop is probably about to raise the cost of your morning latte.

Global coffee prices have doubled over the past year, recently reaching a 14-year high and leading national companies like Starbucks to increase prices in recent weeks. Peet's and some smaller Bay Area specialty coffee roasters raised prices in the fall, while others are just now announcing increases. And it doesn't look as if it will stop there... Coffee prices generally fluctuate with the C market, a global commodity futures market that establishes benchmark prices for green arabica beans, the highest-grade coffee. Last spring.



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 04, 2011, 01:19:40 PM
IMF economists see dire future for US taxpayers
AFP ^ | 04/04/2011




Americans will need to pay much heavier taxes and accept less from public healthcare to put state finances on a sustainable track, according to an IMF study published Monday.

"The United States is facing an untenable fiscal situation due to the combination of high fiscal deficits, an aging population and rapid growth in government-provided healthcare benefits," three International Monetary Fund economists said in a report.


(Excerpt) Read more at breitbart.com ...



________________________ ________________________ _______



Can someone please reind mewhy Obama ditched th recommendations of his own debt panel? 


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 06, 2011, 05:04:11 AM
Rising oil prices beginning to hurt US economy
AP/YahooNews ^ | 4/6/11 | PAUL WISEMAN


________________________ ________________________ __



Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of the economy. After adjusting for inflation and for seasonal factors, consumers spent 0.3 percent more in February than in January.

But that's unlikely to last. Gasoline prices are surging just as inflation-adjusted incomes are falling. More expensive gas is draining much of the cash Americans are receiving from a cut in Social Security taxes this year.

Zandi estimates that higher oil prices shaved 0.5 percentage point from growth in the January-March quarter. He predicts the economy grew 2.6 percent during the quarter.

If oil prices average $100 a barrel for the year, Zandi says, growth will be 0.3 percentage point lower than if prices had stayed at last year's level — an average of less than $80 a barrel. A few months of $125-a-barrel oil would slash economic growth by a full percentage point, Zandi says. And a few months at $150 a barrel could push the economy back into recession.


(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 06, 2011, 05:31:01 AM
Fed Staff Increases Its Inflation Forecast
Economic Policy Journal ^ | 4-5-2011 | Robert Wenzel




Fed Staff Increases Its Inflation Forecast

Robert Wenzel
April 5, 2011

The the Federal Open Market Committee has just released the minutes of the Committee meeting held on March 15, 2011.

The minutes indicate that the Fed staff is increasing its near-term inflation expectations. According to the minutes:

The [Fed] staff revised up its projection for consumer price inflation in the near term, largely because of the recent increases in the prices of energy and food. However, in light of the projected persistence of slack in labor and product markets and the anticipated stability in long-term inflation expectations, the increase in inflation was expected to be mostly transitory if oil and other commodity prices did not rise significantly further. As a result, the forecast for consumer price inflation over the medium run was little changed relative to that prepared for the January meeting.

Translation of this Fed Speak:

We (The Fed) see the price inflation that is just ahead. We hope it is just "transitory" but have no basis for believing it is. In any event, we are going to only raise the price inflation forecast for the near term and hope the inflation goes away after that, which it won't if oil and other commodity prices keep climbing. It should also be noted that this raising of Fed inflation levels is being done at the "staff" level, the clever Bernanke being sure not to spook markets into thinking Fed members are concerned about inflation and are about ready to cut the inflationary money printing party.



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 06, 2011, 06:10:09 AM
BofA the Gloomiest of Them All: GDP at 1.5%
CNBC ^ | Monday, 4 Apr 2011 11:33 AM ET | Jeff Cox




The race to the bottom for first-quarter GDP projections has a new leader: Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

With a succession of mild unemployment drops unable to ease concerns about the larger slow-growth story for the US economy, BofAML now sees the quarter’s growth prospects at just 1.5 percent.

The firm’s forecast, in a research note Monday from economist Ethan S. Harris, makes JPMorgan Chase’s [JPM 46.58 0.24 (+0.52%) ] outlook of 2.5 percent seem downright rosy and jibes with a recent warning from Capital Economics that the economy is at a crawl and unlikely to do better than 2 percent in growth.

“A lot of the recent ‘strong economy’ talk ignores the events of recent weeks. While payrolls were solid, we now expect just 1.5% Q1 GDP growth,” Harris wrote in a note to clients. “This weak patch is happening before the impact of rising energy prices is felt.”


(Excerpt) Read more at cnbc.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 06, 2011, 08:31:33 AM
Consequences of the M1 Money Supply
http://ncrenegade.com/editorial/consequences-of-the-m1-money-supply

 | 4/5/2011 | David DeGerolamo


________________________ ________________________ ________________________ _



What are the consequences of the Federal Reserve's policy to expand the M1 money supply? The following chart from the St. Louis Federal Reserve shows how fast the money supply has exploded under the Obama administration:



Art Laffer wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal on June 11th, 2009 which outlined some of the consequences of the Federal Reserve’s policy to increase the money supply. Two years later and we see that his analysis was correct for his short time frame predictions:

The expansion of money, given an increase in the monetary base, is inevitable, and will ultimately result in higher inflation and interest rates. In shorter time frames, the expansion of money can also result in higher stock prices, a weaker currency, and increases in commodity prices such as oil and gold. January 2009 to present price increases:

Stock Market 8500 => 12,400 USD vs.Swiss Franc 1.0727 CHF => 0.922051 CHF (USD down 14%) Oil $45.87 => $108 (per barrel) Gold $800=>$1435 $1453.70


What is the M1 Money Supply?
M1 includes funds that are readily accessible for spending:

(1) currency outside the U.S. Treasury, Federal Reserve Banks, and the vaults of depository institutions (2) traveler's checks of nonbank issuers (3) demand deposits (4) other checkable deposits (OCDs), which consist primarily of negotiable order of withdrawal (NOW) accounts at depository institutions and credit union share draft accounts.

Seasonally adjusted M1 is calculated by summing currency, traveler's checks, demand deposits, and OCDs, each seasonally adjusted separately. So where are we headed according to one of North Carolina's rising Democrat stars: Erskinse Bowles.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjAg8Sx1fi4

“I'm really concerned,” Bowles told the committee last month. “I think we face the most predictable economic crisis in history. A lot of us sitting in this room didn't see this last crisis as it came upon us. But this one is really easy to see. The fiscal path we are on today is simply not sustainable.

“This debt and these deficits that we are incurring on an annual basis are like a cancer and they are truly going to destroy this country from within unless we have the common sense to do something about it,” said Bowles.

“I used to say that I got into this thing for my grandchildren,” Bowles said. “I have eight grandchildren under five years old. I'll have one more in a week. And my life is wonderful and it is wild. But this problem is going to happen long before my grandchildren grow up.

“This problem is going to happen, like the former chairman of the Fed said, or the Moody's said, this is a problem we're going to have to face up,” he said. “It may be two years, you know, maybe a little less, maybe a little more. But if our bankers over there in Asia begin to believe that we're not going to be solid on our debt, that we're not going to be able to meet our obligations, just stop and think for a minute what happens if they just stop buying our debt.

“What happens to interest rates?” asked Bowles. “And what happens to the U.S. economy? The markets will absolutely devastate us if we don't step up to this problem. The problem is real, the solutions are painful, and we have to act.” I would not recommend that you wait for the government to act as Mr. Bowles suggests. Ask yourself why the government is printing money and then protect your assets before the dollar evaporates.

See these related articles on the consequences of interest rate increase coming in the near future:

Get Ready to Pay for the Federal Reserve’s Mistakes

Another Brick in the Wall



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 06, 2011, 08:39:32 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_TjBNjc9Bo


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 06, 2011, 11:35:21 AM
Ryan: Debt on Track to Hit 800 Percent of GDP; 'CBO Can't Conceive of Anyway' Economy Can Continue Past 2037
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
By Nicholas Ballasy



(CNSNews.com) – House Budget Chairman Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said President Barack Obama’s budget strategy is to “do nothing, punt, duck, kick the can down the road” while the debt remains on track to eventually hit 800 percent of GDP and the CBO is saying it "can't conceive of any way" that the economy can continue past 2037 given its current trajectory.

Ryan also said that the House Republicans’ FY2012 budget, which he unveiled yesterday, would save Medicare and help the United States avoid a debt crisis.

“It all comes down to this: Either you fix this problem now where we, you can guarantee people who’ve already organized their lives around these programs get what they have coming to them, or you pick the president’s path, which is do nothing, punt, duck, kick the can down the road, and then we have a debt crisis and then its pain for everybody,” said Ryan.


“Then, you do start cutting seniors,” he said in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.  “So, the question here is not if we reform Medicare. The question is when and how we reform Medicare and by reforming Medicare now, you save Medicare.” Ryan said during

He continued, “So the question is, do we save these programs now by engaging in budget reform that preempts a debt crisis that gets this situation under control and gets this economy growing or do we worry about politics, do we worry about the next election and then by doing so, kick the can down the road, only to wake one day and see a real problem where you have to do indiscriminate cuts to everybody including senior citizens? We don’t want to have European austerity in this country, which is a debt-crisis-fueled cut to current seniors, tax increases on the current economy to slow us down.”

Ryan’s proposal, which cuts $5.8 trillion in government spending over the next decade, would provide Medicare beneficiaries with subsidies to purchase private insurance starting in 2022.  The proposal would also end taxpayer support of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and provide no funding for the implementation of the health care reform law passed by Congress last March.




<i><i>House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R.-Wis. (AP photo)</i></i>

“We’re on a debt crisis path. We are on a path where the government goes from 20 percent of GDP, to 40 percent then 60 percent of GDP. We’re on a path where our debt goes from about 68 percent of GDP to 800 percent of GDP over the three-generation window,” Ryan said.

“I asked CBO to run the model going out and they told me that their computer simulation crashes in 2037 because CBO can’t conceive of any way in which the economy can continue past the year 2037 because of debt burdens,” said Ryan.

“So, we have to go out and give the country a choice,” he said. “We know the path the president’s put the country on. It’s a path that I fundamentally believe transforms this country into something it was never designed to be – into a cradle-to-grave social welfare state and economic stagnation.”

“We are offering a country that is true to this country’s founding principles that is prosperous, that is pro-growth, that lives within its means, that is an opportunity society with a sound, resilable safety net,” said Ryan.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 08, 2011, 03:35:52 PM
US corn reserves expected to fall to 15-year low
Associated Press ^ | 4/8/11 | Staff




St. Louis - Rising demand for corn from ethanol producers is pushing U.S. reserves to the lowest point in 15 years, a trend that could lead to higher grain and food prices this year. The Agriculture Department on Friday left its estimate for corn reserves unchanged from the previous month. The reserves are projected to fall to 675 million bushels in late August, when the harvest begins, or roughly 5 percent of all corn consumed in the United States. That would be the lowest surplus level since 1996.The limited supply is chiefly because of increasing demand from ethanol makers, which


(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 09, 2011, 07:03:43 AM
9% Rate Economy Good or Excellent, 56% Say Poor
Rasmussen Reports ^ | 4/9/11 | by Scott Rasmussen




~ EXCERPT ~

The Rasmussen Consumer Index, which measures the economic confidence of consumers on a daily basis, fell for the fifth straight day on Saturday. At 76.5, the Consumer Index has fallen five points since Monday’s recent peak. Confidence is down one point from a month ago and thirteen points from three months ago.

Currently, just 9% of American adults rate the U.S. economy as good or excellent while 56% rate the economy as poor. Most (54%) say the economy is still getting worse while two-thirds (66%) say the country is still in a recession.

The Consumer Index reached a two-year high of 93.3 on January 7 and has been trending lower ever since. Consumer confidence for the full month of March was the lowest since last September.



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 11, 2011, 05:11:38 AM
America's Inflationary Depression
TMO ^ | 4-10-2011 | Bob Chapman

Posted on Saturday, April 09, 2011 5:10:07 PM by blam

America's Inflationary Depression

Economics / Great Depression II
Apr 09, 2011 - 02:24 PM
By: Bob Chapman


We see signs that American workers are getting worn out. Management may have squeezed the last drops of extra work that they can out of them. That has been reflected in the latest worker productivity. Since WWII the average increase has been 2-1/2% year after year, but last week’s numbers were terrible, up only 0.2% per year. Europe and the US have been able in part to offset advantages of foreign producers by consistently getting better productivity results.

For those of you that are new to these statistics, they are a reflection of labor productivity, or advances in the way work is done. Such previous success have allowed companies to get the job done with fewer employees and in instances to offshore some work to take advantage of cheap foreign labor. If you use a combination of labor and investment funds, recent results are only up 0.1% for 2009. Those numbers are usually about half of regular productivity numbers. What low overall numbers mean is that throwing money at manufacturing problems is not working as well as it has in the past.

Recessions tend to supply lower figures and that is understandable. We are currently in an inflationary depression and have been since February of 2009, just over two years ago. Few economists agree with us, but that is normal. A few catch up in 8 to 12 months, the rest take two or more years.

Higher interest rates tend to be a factor, a negative factor. The higher the rates the larger the impact on the use of investible funds and productivity. The negative side coming from the cost of funds. During our recent depression the cost of funds has not been a factor, because interest rates are very low. As rates eventually move higher they will negatively impact employment at the worst possible time. Those higher rates will as well inhibit the level of capital investment and will contribute to corporate insolvencies. During the beginnings of this depression employment has paid a very heavy price, as corporate profits have boomed. Unemployment rates are about half of what they were during the “Great Depression.” Current long-term unemployment is terrible and many over 40 years old caught in that web will never work again.

It is very discouraging and disconcerting when workers train foreigners to do their jobs and are then fired. The jobs go to some foreign land and the new worker is paid 20% or 30% of what the terminated worker was paid. In addition companies, especially large corporations, are taking advantage of the breaks government is offering and buying labor saving equipment so that they do not have to hire or re-hire personnel. The result as we have seen is long-term unemployment, which in many cases means permanent unemployment, particularly for those over 40 years old.

Using invested capital, interest rates and manufacturing productivity, along with monetary policy gives one a possible overview of where the economy is eventually heading. They also give you a solid view of where gold and silver and commodities are headed. In 2000 after 20 years of being in the doldrums these factors, especially monetary policy, told us that we were embarking on a long-term bull market in gold and silver. The dreadful monetary policy of the 1990s had set the stage for what we have seen since June of 2000, almost 11 years. At this juncture we are as yet anywhere near where the top is, but it certainly is not here.
We are in the process of stage 2, which should take us to $2,400 to $3,000 and then stage 3 to $6,000 to $8,000, based on real inflation since 1980. Obviously that figure will be higher three to five years from now. One of the good aspects of all this is that once devaluation, revaluation and multilateral default come. There will be no further reason for the Treasury, the Fed and other central banks to manipulate gold and silver prices, if the new world reserve currency is 25% gold backed and we believe that will become reality. The elitists want another fiat currency, but nations will not stand for a repeat of what they have seen during the tenure of the US dollar. You had all better hope we are right, because a fiat alternative would create another world monetary disaster.

As we have explained many times in the past, since February 2009 the US has been in an inflationary depression. It has taken a while to get underway, but it is moving relentlessly forward.

We currently have real inflation in the vicinity of 8%, not less than 2%, which our government tells us. By the end of the year we will have 14% plus, matching 14-3/8% of 2-1/2 years ago, which was caused by an 18% increase in money and credit. Current inflation is mainly caused by a switch to quantitative easing, QE1 and $850 billion in stimulus from Congress, which will play itself out into next year. Fast on the heels of that monetary policy we will be exposed to the affects of QE2 and the $862 billion injected into the system by QE2 and stimulus 2. That will carry us into 2013.

The big question is will we have QE3 and the answer is yes, officially or unofficially. Getting stimulus 3 will prove very difficult, if not impossible. That means the Fed will have to take up the slack in funding to keep the financial system afloat. Thus, next year or perhaps by the fall, the Fed will have to feed $2.5 trillion into the system just to keep it going sideways to slightly lower. Establishment economists are calling for 4% to 4-1/2% GDP growth for 2011. Remember without these monetary and fiscal crutches GDP would be minus 1% or more. Such performance will put ever-higher pressure on inflation taking 2012 to 25% or perhaps 30% in 2014. It is already in the pipeline.



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: GigantorX on April 11, 2011, 05:19:38 AM
America's Inflationary Depression
TMO ^ | 4-10-2011 | Bob Chapman

Posted on Saturday, April 09, 2011 5:10:07 PM by blam

America's Inflationary Depression

Economics / Great Depression II
Apr 09, 2011 - 02:24 PM
By: Bob Chapman


We see signs that American workers are getting worn out. Management may have squeezed the last drops of extra work that they can out of them. That has been reflected in the latest worker productivity. Since WWII the average increase has been 2-1/2% year after year, but last week’s numbers were terrible, up only 0.2% per year. Europe and the US have been able in part to offset advantages of foreign producers by consistently getting better productivity results.

For those of you that are new to these statistics, they are a reflection of labor productivity, or advances in the way work is done. Such previous success have allowed companies to get the job done with fewer employees and in instances to offshore some work to take advantage of cheap foreign labor. If you use a combination of labor and investment funds, recent results are only up 0.1% for 2009. Those numbers are usually about half of regular productivity numbers. What low overall numbers mean is that throwing money at manufacturing problems is not working as well as it has in the past.

Recessions tend to supply lower figures and that is understandable. We are currently in an inflationary depression and have been since February of 2009, just over two years ago. Few economists agree with us, but that is normal. A few catch up in 8 to 12 months, the rest take two or more years.

Higher interest rates tend to be a factor, a negative factor. The higher the rates the larger the impact on the use of investible funds and productivity. The negative side coming from the cost of funds. During our recent depression the cost of funds has not been a factor, because interest rates are very low. As rates eventually move higher they will negatively impact employment at the worst possible time. Those higher rates will as well inhibit the level of capital investment and will contribute to corporate insolvencies. During the beginnings of this depression employment has paid a very heavy price, as corporate profits have boomed. Unemployment rates are about half of what they were during the “Great Depression.” Current long-term unemployment is terrible and many over 40 years old caught in that web will never work again.

It is very discouraging and disconcerting when workers train foreigners to do their jobs and are then fired. The jobs go to some foreign land and the new worker is paid 20% or 30% of what the terminated worker was paid. In addition companies, especially large corporations, are taking advantage of the breaks government is offering and buying labor saving equipment so that they do not have to hire or re-hire personnel. The result as we have seen is long-term unemployment, which in many cases means permanent unemployment, particularly for those over 40 years old.

Using invested capital, interest rates and manufacturing productivity, along with monetary policy gives one a possible overview of where the economy is eventually heading. They also give you a solid view of where gold and silver and commodities are headed. In 2000 after 20 years of being in the doldrums these factors, especially monetary policy, told us that we were embarking on a long-term bull market in gold and silver. The dreadful monetary policy of the 1990s had set the stage for what we have seen since June of 2000, almost 11 years. At this juncture we are as yet anywhere near where the top is, but it certainly is not here.
We are in the process of stage 2, which should take us to $2,400 to $3,000 and then stage 3 to $6,000 to $8,000, based on real inflation since 1980. Obviously that figure will be higher three to five years from now. One of the good aspects of all this is that once devaluation, revaluation and multilateral default come. There will be no further reason for the Treasury, the Fed and other central banks to manipulate gold and silver prices, if the new world reserve currency is 25% gold backed and we believe that will become reality. The elitists want another fiat currency, but nations will not stand for a repeat of what they have seen during the tenure of the US dollar. You had all better hope we are right, because a fiat alternative would create another world monetary disaster.

As we have explained many times in the past, since February 2009 the US has been in an inflationary depression. It has taken a while to get underway, but it is moving relentlessly forward.

We currently have real inflation in the vicinity of 8%, not less than 2%, which our government tells us. By the end of the year we will have 14% plus, matching 14-3/8% of 2-1/2 years ago, which was caused by an 18% increase in money and credit. Current inflation is mainly caused by a switch to quantitative easing, QE1 and $850 billion in stimulus from Congress, which will play itself out into next year. Fast on the heels of that monetary policy we will be exposed to the affects of QE2 and the $862 billion injected into the system by QE2 and stimulus 2. That will carry us into 2013.

The big question is will we have QE3 and the answer is yes, officially or unofficially. Getting stimulus 3 will prove very difficult, if not impossible. That means the Fed will have to take up the slack in funding to keep the financial system afloat. Thus, next year or perhaps by the fall, the Fed will have to feed $2.5 trillion into the system just to keep it going sideways to slightly lower. Establishment economists are calling for 4% to 4-1/2% GDP growth for 2011. Remember without these monetary and fiscal crutches GDP would be minus 1% or more. Such performance will put ever-higher pressure on inflation taking 2012 to 25% or perhaps 30% in 2014. It is already in the pipeline.



A worse version of Japans Lost Decade, that's where we are headed.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 11, 2011, 01:51:50 PM
IMF cuts economic forecasts for U.S.
CNN ^ | April 11, 2011: 10:02 AM ET | Annalyn Censky, staff reporter



...Citing weak real estate markets and high unemployment, the IMF cut its forecast for U.S. economic growth to 2.8% this year, down from the 3% rate it predicted just three months ago. The IMF also lowered forecasts for the United Kingdom and Japan...


(Excerpt) Read more at money.cnn.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 12, 2011, 05:19:25 PM
Inflation Actually Near 10% Using Older Measure
CNBC ^ | 04/12/2011 | CNBC



After former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker was appointed in 1979, the consumer price index surged into the double digits, causing the now revered Fed Chief to double the benchmark interest rate in order to break the back of inflation. Using the methodology in place at that time puts the CPI back near those levels.

Getty Images Inflation, using the reporting methodologies in place before 1980, hit an annual rate of 9.6 percent in February, according to the Shadow Government Statistics newsletter.

Since 1980, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has changed the way it calculates the CPI in order to account for the substitution of products, improvements in quality (i.e. iPad 2 costing the same as original iPad) and other things. Backing out more methods implemented in 1990 by the BLS still puts inflation at a 5.5 percent rate and getting worse, according to the calculations by the newsletter’s web site, Shadowstats.com.


(Excerpt) Read more at cnbc.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 12, 2011, 05:20:18 PM
Cotton prices heat up this summer
CnnMoney.com ^ | April 12, 2011 | Parija Kavilanz




If you can't wait to shed that scratchy wool sweater for a cool new cotton T-shirt this summer, prepare yourself. The price hikes on cotton goods that are coming your way will be decidedly uncool.

This summer, shoppers will be paying 10% to 15% more on all cotton products, according to a new industry survey.

"I can't recall a time when we've seen this type of retail price [increase] on cotton products," said Andrew Tananbaum, CEO of Capital Business Credit, which provides financing to clothing and home furnishing suppliers.

For years, raw cotton prices had been falling, keeping a lid on retail prices for shirts, socks, dresses, home furnishings and other cotton merchandise.

But that trend dramatically changed over the past year, as cotton prices soared to record highs following a global supply shortage.

As raw cotton prices surged, manufacturers and sellers have fought to insulate shoppers from paying more for cotton products.

But that's ending, with producers and sellers saying they're no longer able to eat up the additional costs to their business.


(Excerpt) Read more at money.cnn.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 12, 2011, 05:32:03 PM
US lacks credibility on debt, says IMF
By Chris Giles and James Politi in Washington


Published: April 12 2011 19:15

The US lacks a “credible strategy” to stabilise its mounting public debt posing a small but significant risk of a new global economic crisis, says the International Monetary Fund.

In an unusually stern rebuke to its largest shareholder, the IMF said the US was the only advanced economy to be increasing its underlying budget deficit in 2011 at a time when its economy was growing fast enough to reduce borrowing.

EDITOR’S CHOICE
Obama to set out alternative fiscal vision - Apr-12.Clive Crook: Obama on deficits and debt - Apr-12.In depth: US budget - Mar-15.Stage set for US debt limit fight - Apr-12.Tackling the deficit is next fiscal battle - Apr-10.Lex: US budget - Apr-11..The latest warning on the deficit was delivered as Barack Obama, the US president, is becoming increasingly engaged in the debate over ways to curb America’s mounting debt.

To meet the 2010 pledge by the Group of 20 countries for all advanced economies – except Japan – to halve their deficits by 2013, the US would need to implement tougher austerity measures than in any two-year period since records began in 1960, the IMF said. In its twice-yearly Fiscal Monitor, the IMF added that on its current plans the US would join Japan as the only country with rising public debt in 2016, creating a risk for the global economy.

Carlo Cottarelli, head of fiscal affairs at the Fund, said: “It is a risk that if it materialises would have very important consequences ... for the rest of the world. So it is important that the US undertakes fiscal adjustment in a way sooner rather than later.”

At the moment, the US has outlined less than half of the tax increases and spending cuts necessary to bring its public debt down in the medium term, the IMF calculated. “More sizeable reductions in medium-term deficits are needed and will require broader reforms, including to social security and taxation,” the IMF said.

The IMF said the US economy “appears sufficiently strong” to withstand greater austerity measures and tax increases, adding that the benefit of last year’s stimulus package “is likely to be low relative to its costs”.

Having narrowly averted a government shutdown last week through a deal with congressional Republicans to cut $38.5bn in spending from this year’s budget, Mr Obama will today unveil his plans to rein in America’s long-term deficits, which are driven by popular programmes like Medicare,Medicaid and social security.

The debate over US fiscal policy is expected to intensify in the coming weeks and months as the US hits its congressionally mandated debt limit of $14,300bn. Without approval by lawmakers to increase it, the US could face potential default as early as July, and so far Republicans and Democrats remain some distance from reaching a deal.

.Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2011. You may share using our article tools. Please don't cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/dc1aadea-652e-11e0-b150-00144feab49a.html



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: GigantorX on April 12, 2011, 07:49:19 PM
Inflation Actually Near 10% Using Older Measure
CNBC ^ | 04/12/2011 | CNBC



After former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker was appointed in 1979, the consumer price index surged into the double digits, causing the now revered Fed Chief to double the benchmark interest rate in order to break the back of inflation. Using the methodology in place at that time puts the CPI back near those levels.

Getty Images Inflation, using the reporting methodologies in place before 1980, hit an annual rate of 9.6 percent in February, according to the Shadow Government Statistics newsletter.

Since 1980, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has changed the way it calculates the CPI in order to account for the substitution of products, improvements in quality (i.e. iPad 2 costing the same as original iPad) and other things. Backing out more methods implemented in 1990 by the BLS still puts inflation at a 5.5 percent rate and getting worse, according to the calculations by the newsletter’s web site, Shadowstats.com.


(Excerpt) Read more at cnbc.com ...


This is the biggest joke of them all.

You can't feed your family with an Ipad2, you can't fill your tank with a new Blackberry and you can't pay your mortgage with a new LED-LCD TV. The govt. has always tried to to fiddle and change the CPI nad other measures of inflation to keep the actual reported inflation artificially low. To lie to us as well as to keep the S.S. payments to a minimum.

The fact that the current fraudulent formula is showing inflation and how bad it is getting means that inflation must be REALLY bad. It's the same with how the govt. calculates GDP or even U.E. levels.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 14, 2011, 06:08:29 AM
Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Rise; Inflation Pressure Grows (+400,000 claims)
CNBC ^ | Thursday April 14, 2011




New claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, bouncing back above the key 400,000 level, while core producer prices clumbed faster than expected in March, government reports showed on Thursday.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 27,000 to a seasonally adjusted 412,000, the Labor Department said.


(Excerpt) Read more at m.cnbc.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 14, 2011, 06:49:09 AM
More Americans leaving workforce
By Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY
Updated 8h 37m ago |
Roll over each state to see the share of the population working in 2010:
http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/employment/2011-04-13-more-americans-leave-labor-force.htm?loc=interstitialskip#




Sources: USA TODAY, Census, Bureau of Labor StatisticsThe share of the population that is working fell to its lowest level last year since women started entering the workforce in large numbers three decades ago, a USA TODAY analysis finds.

Only 45.4% of Americans had jobs in 2010, the lowest rate since 1983 and down from a peak of 49.3% in 2000. Last year, just 66.8% of men had jobs, the lowest on record.

The bad economy, an aging population and a plateau in women working are contributing to changes that pose serious challenges for financing the nation's social programs.

MORE: American workforce growing grayer

"What's wrong with the economy may be speeding up trends that are already happening," says Marc Goldwein, policy director of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a non-partisan group favoring smaller deficits.

For example, job troubles appear to have slowed a trend of people working later in life, putting more pressure on Social Security, he says.

Another change: the bulk of those not working has shifted from children to adults.

In 2000, the nation had roughly the same number of children and non-working adults. Since then, the population of non-working adults has grown 27 million while the nation added just 3 million children under 18.

USA TODAY analyzed employment numbers and 2010 Census data to see how the ratio of workers to non-workers has changed.

Other key findings:

•Men leave. Working-age men have been dropping out of the labor force for decades. The disappearance quickened when construction and manufacturing jobs vanished in the recession from December 2007 through June 2009. Until the 1960s, more than 80% of men worked.

•Women stay. The trend of women getting jobs offset the loss of working men until the late 1990s. The share of women holding jobs rose from 36% in 1960 to 57% in 1995, then leveled off. The rate was 56% in 2010.

The aging of 77 million Baby Boomers born from 1946 through 1964 from children to workers to retirees is changing the relationship between workers and dependents.

Retirees generally are more costly to support than children.

The average public school education costs $10,000 a year. The average retiree gets $25,000 a year in benefits — $13,000 in Social Security and Medicare benefits of $12,000.

In all, taxpayers will spend about $125,000 educating a child and $500,000 caring for a senior, in today's dollars at current life expectancies, according to federal education and retirement program data. The costs are paid differently, too. State and local governments, through sales and property taxes, pay most education expenses. The federal government, though income taxes, pays most retiree costs.

"No matter how wealthy you are, you have a problem if half the population is not working and depending on those who are," says John Goodman, president of the conservative National Center for Policy Analysis. "Wherever you look, we've overpromised."

Economist Eileen Applebaum of the liberal Center for Economics and Policy Research says the real problem is a lack of jobs. Another 25 million people would work in a healthy economy, and incentives such as child care assistance could help, she says: "We're getting richer. We can afford things. We just need to fix what needs to be fixed."


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 14, 2011, 08:34:37 AM
House Prices in Free Fall. Homes likely to lose 1/4 of their real value in next 4 years.
American Thinker ^ | 04/14/2011 | Howard Richman, Raymond Richman, and Jesse Richman




The latest house price data (the S&P Case-Shiller index) shows a clear downward trend for the most recent six months, as shown in the graph below:


The next graph shows how this year's data fits in with the long-term trend.  It is clear that the house price bubble, which began in 1997 and peaked in 2006, has not yet finished popping:

How We Got Here

The black stars in the above graph highlight 1951 and 1997, the two years when Congress changed how the capital gains tax applies to home sales.  The first change produced 46 years of wealth accumulation.  The second change produced 9 years of rising house prices and living beyond our means to be followed by about 9 years of belt tightening and economic stagnation.


In 1951, Congress, at the urging of President Truman, instituted the roll-over treatment for taxation of capital gains from home sales, an economically sound treatment of capital gains.  As a result, from 1951 through 1997, whenever a homeowner sold his or her primary residence to buy another residence, the capital gains tax was deferred, not forgiven.  In technical parlance the gain was rolled-over until the new home was sold.  Homeowners would typically build up their equity in one home, sell that home, and then use their savings to make a down payment on a larger home. During that period, there were large changes in interest rates, yet real home prices were quite stable.

In 1997, a foolish Congress, at the urging of a foolish President Bill Clinton, eliminated the capital gain tax on homes sold by most homeowners.  This change immediately stimulated the housing price bubble.  It told speculators that the capital gain that they would earn would be tax free if they bought a house in the expectation of a rise in its market value and sold it at a higher price.  Under the new provision, almost anyone who had lived in a house for 2 years of the past 5 years could sell the house free from capital gains tax.  The new policy encouraged people to gamble on real estate.  They saw that houses were going up in price year after year.  What an easy way to make money! 

Here is how Kenneth Harney (2008) described how the 1997 tax treatment encouraged speculation in a Washington Post article about Congress's 2008 attempt to tighten its provisions:


[Property owners] can claim the exclusion [from capital gains taxation] even if they convert an investment property or vacation house into their principal residence and live there for at least two years. This flexibility has been a boon to many tax-wise owners of multiple houses -- particularly during the bubble years when values doubled in some parts of the country.

Property owners in markets with high appreciation rates could sell their principal residences for hefty profits -- pocketing the first $250,000 or $500,000 tax-free -- and then move into their rental condo or vacation property for a couple of years and repeat the process.

In effect, it was a form of financial alchemy where taxable profits could be magically transmuted into tax-free gains -- at least up to the $250,000 and $500,000 limits.


The housing price bubble had other contributing factors, but Vernon L. Smith, a Nobel Prize winning economist largely due to his study of economic bubbles, held that it was primarily caused by the 1997 legislation.  He pointed out that, at the time it was enacted, the 1997 legislation was quite popular among the industries that were most severely hurt when the bubble burst.  He wrote, sarcastically:


Thank you President Bill Clinton for your 1997 action, applauded by the banks, the realtors and all citizens in search of half-millionaire status from an investment they could understand and self deceptively believe to be low risk; thank you for fueling the mother of all housing bubbles; thank you for enabling so many of us who bought second or third homes, and homes before construction began, which we then sold to someone else who dreamed of riches from owning homes long enough to sell to another fool.


Smith argued that, instead, Congress should have kept the rollover treatment for house sales while switching all other capital gains taxes to the rollover treatment.  Specifically:


More daring than the action to exempt real estate from the capital gains tax -- and in lasting service to the poor -- would have been actions allowing capital gains on all assets to go tax free, provided that the capital was reinvested -- i.e., not consumed, and yes, good citizens, housing counts as consumption.


While house prices were rising, homeowners depleted their savings, leaving them with less money for a future down payment.  Tyler Cowen (2008) described this psychology in a New York Times commentary:


The fundamental problem in the American economy is that, for years, people treated rising asset prices as a substitute for personal savings. The thinking went something like this: As long as your home's value rose every year, you didn't have to set aside so much from your paycheck....


In fact, people did more than stop adding to their personal savings.  They began subtracting from their personal savings.  As documented by Louise Story in the New York Times, bank advertising campaigns encouraged people to consider the rising value of their homes to be income, to be consumed in the present.  They urged homeowners to take out second mortgages on their homes so that they could increase their current consumption and coined the new term "equity access" to replace "second mortgage."  Borrowing on home equity increased steadily.

Where We are Going


In June 2006, house prices peaked as supply increased faster than demand and the housing price bubble stopped expanding.  Starting early in 2009, the Federal Reserve, Congress, and the Obama Administration spent hundreds of billions of dollars trying to keep house prices from falling.  They subsidized first time home buyers, bought mortgage-backed securities, subsidized mortgage buyers, and took other measures.  Apparently, these subsidies only slowed the fall in house prices.


If current trends continue, real house prices (house prices after subtracting inflation) will likely lose about a quarter of their real value over the next 4 years.  If inflation continues at about 2%, this would produce a four year fall in actual house prices of about 4% per year.


It may soon become clear that the Federal Reserve and the federal government wasted hundreds of billions of dollars simply to delay an inevitable fall in housing prices.  Economic historians may compare their policies to the pervasive price subsidies that eventually bankrupted the Soviet government.


What We Need to Learn


You'd think that economists would understand what was happening at the time, but as recently as September 2005, Charles Himmelburg, a senior economist at the New York Federal Reserve, co-authored a NY Fed staff report and an NBER working paper which claimed that there was no housing bubble.  (You really have to read this to believe it.)


The truth is that the expected profit from selling an asset only plays a temporary role in the pricing of an asset.  In the long-run, the value of any asset is the value that the market places on the expected return that it will provide over its life.  As far as stocks and bonds are concerned, the expected return is the expected after-tax dividend or interest.  As far as houses are concerned, the return is the rental value of the home after subtracting real estate taxes.  (See our book, Trading Away Our Future [Ideal Taxes Assn, 2008].)



When President Clinton proposed exempting capital gains taxes on sales of houses, Gene Sperling was the Director of his National Economic Council.  On January 7, President Obama picked him for the same position in his administration.


But the Democrats are not the only ones who seem never to learn from their mistakes.  Back in 1997, congressional Republicans thought that lowering capital gains taxes encourages investment.  They still think so.


The truth is that lowering capital gains tax rates or exempting capital gains from income taxation encourages speculation and capital consumption, not investment.  On the other hand, switching to the roll-over treatment for capital gains on sales of houses, or stocks and other securities for that matter, encourages wealth accumulation.


The authors maintain a blog at www.idealtaxes.com and co-authored the 2008 book Trading Away Our Future: How to Fix Our Government-Driven Trade Deficits and Faulty Tax System Before it's Too Late, published by Ideal Taxes Association.



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: 225for70 on April 14, 2011, 09:22:44 AM
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-04-14/suicide-rates-rise-in-u-s-as-economy-declines-cdc-study-finds.html

Suicide Rates in U.S. Increase as Economy Declines, CDC Researchers Find
By Molly Peterson - Apr 14, 2011 12:01 AM ET

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Suicide rates in the U.S. tend to rise during recessions and fall amid economic booms, according to study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Suicides reached a record high of 22 people per 100,000 in 1932 during the Great Depression, CDC officials said in a report published online today in the American Journal of Public Health. That was double the rates seen in 2000, when 10 people per 100,000 took their lives as the economy prospered, the study found.

The study is the first to link business cycles and suicide rates among specific age groups, according to the Atlanta-based CDC. People in their “prime working ages” of 25 to 64 years old are the most likely to commit suicide during recessions, the study found.

“Economic problems can impact how people feel about themselves and their futures as well as their relationships with family and friends,” Feijun Luo, an economist in CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention and the study’s lead author, said today in a statement. “Prevention strategies can focus on individuals, families, neighborhoods or entire communities to reduce risk factors.”

The researchers examined economic data and suicide rates for the 80 years ending in 2007. They didn’t evaluate suicide rates during the recession that ended in June 2009.

To contact the reporter on this story: Molly Peterson in Washington at mpeterson9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Adriel Bettelheim at abettelheim@bloomberg.net


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 14, 2011, 09:24:23 AM
 ;)


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 15, 2011, 12:43:26 PM
Real Wages Fall For 5th Straight Month, Bad News For Obama
IBD's Capital Hill ^ | 4/15/2011 | Ed Carson




Real earnings fell for a fifth straight month as wages fail to keep up with soaring gasoline prices and other costs. Inflation-adjusted earnings for all private workers dropped 0.5% in March, the worst monthly drop since July 2008, according to Labor Department data. Nominal wages were flat while consumer prices climbed more than 0.5% for a second straight month.

Year over year, inflation-adjusted weekly pay sank 0.4% That’s the first drop in a year and down from a 2.2% gain in October.

Since October, real weekly wages have dropped at a 3.8% annual rate — matching the decline set in July 2008, when oil prices peaked above $147 a barrel.


(Excerpt) Read more at blogs.investors.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 18, 2011, 04:53:20 AM
The Average American Family Has Been Broke Down, Beat Down, Busted And Disgusted By This Economy
The American Dream ^ | 4-17-2011 | TAD




35 Statistics That Show The Average American Family Has Been Broke Down, Tore Down, Beat Down, Busted And Disgusted By This Economy

April 17, 2011

The economic statistics that you are about to read are incredibly shocking, but they are also very, very real. Tonight there are going to be millions of men and women all across America that cannot sleep because they are consumed with anxiety about their financial problems.
Even as you read this, there are a lot of parents out there that are trying to figure out how to explain to their children why their homes are being taken away. There are also hordes of very hard working Americans that are incredibly frustrated because they have sent out thousands of resumes and yet they can't seem to get a job interview. Have you ever been at a point where you couldn't pay the mortgage or put food on the table for your family? It can be an absolutely soul-crushing experience. In fact, there are some cities in the U.S. that have been so utterly devastated by this economy that it seems as though virtually everyone has had the hope sucked right out of them.
The mainstream media is trying to convince all of us that we are in an economic recovery, but that is a lie. The truth is that we are in the middle of a long-term economic decline and the greatest economy in the history of the world is dying right in front of our eyes.

The average American family is under more economic stress right now than at any other time since the Great Depression. Just check out the following statistics....

#1 Only 45.4% of Americans had a job during 2010. The last time the employment level was that low was back in 1983.

#2 Only 66.8% of American men had a job last year. That was the lowest level that has ever been recorded in U.S. history.

#3 In the United States, one-fourth of all the income is brought in by 1 percent of the people.

#4 Rising prices are putting an incredible amount of stress on American family budgets. According to John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics, if the U.S. government measured inflation the way that it did before 1980 the inflation rate would be much different. For example, Williams says that inflation rose at a 9.6 annual rate during the month of February using the old measurement.

#5 In a recent survey conducted by Deloitte Consulting, 74 percent of Americans said that they planned to slow down their spending in coming months due to rising prices.

#6 The price of U.S. crude oil has risen $20 a barrel over the last two months, and the average price of a gallon of gasoline in America is now about $3.79. At this point, the average price of gasoline is about one dollar higher than it was one year ago. Since the average American household goes through about 750 gallons of gas a year, that means that in 2011 American families will spend somewhere around $750 more for gas. So just what is the average American family supposed to do if a gallon of gasoline soon costs 4 or even 5 dollars a gallon?

#7 The average American now spends approximately 23 percent of his or her income on food and gas.

#8 Incredibly, 60 percent of all the students attending California public schools now qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches.

#9 The number of people on food stamps in the state of North Carolina has almost doubled over the past four years.

#10 Thanks to the globalization of the economy, U.S. workers now must directly compete for jobs with workers in places such as Indonesia. In Indonesia, full-time workers make as little as two dollars a day. So how are American workers supposed to compete with that?

#11 U.S. home values have fallen an astounding 6.3 trillion dollars since the peak of the real estate market in 2005.

#12 Back in 2005 at the peak of the housing bubble, the median property tax on a home in the United States was $1614. Today, even though home values have sunk like a rock, that figure has risen to $1917.

#13 According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, at least 8 million Americans are at least one month behind on their mortgage payments at this point.

#14 31 percent of the homeowners that responded to a recent Rasmussen Reports survey indicated that they are "underwater" on their mortgages.

#15 Two years ago, the average U.S. homeowner that was being foreclosed upon had not made a mortgage payment in 11 months. Today, the average U.S. homeowner that is being foreclosed upon has not made a mortgage payment in 17 months.

#16 The number of homes that were actually repossessed reached the 1 million mark for the first time ever during 2010.

#17 According to a recent census report, 13% of all the homes in the United States are sitting empty.

#18 According to the U.S. Census, the number of children living in poverty has gone up by about 2 million in just the past 2 years.

#19 According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average length of unemployment in the U.S. is now an all-time record 39 weeks.

#20 There are 10% fewer "middle class jobs" in the United States today than there were a decade ago.

#21 The United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

#22 Half of all American workers now earn $505 or less per week.

#23 Total U.S. credit card debt is more than 8 times larger than it was just 30 years ago.

#24 Americans now owe more than $904 billion on student loans, which is a new all-time record high.

#25 Average household debt in the United States has now reached a level of 136% of average household income. In China, average household debt is only 17% of average household income.

#26 A staggering 25 percent of all American adults now have a credit score below 599.

#27 1.5 million Americans filed for bankruptcy in 2010. That represented the fourth yearly increase in bankruptcy filings in a row.

#28 Over the last decade, the number of Americans without health insurance has risen from about 38 million to about 52 million.

#29 One study found that approximately 41 percent of working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt.

#30 According to a report published in The American Journal of Medicine, medical bills are a major factor in more than 60 percent of all personal bankruptcies in the United States. Of those bankruptcies that were caused by medical bills, approximately 75 percent of them involved individuals that actually did have health insurance.

#31 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid. Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.

#32 According to the Federal Reserve, between 2007 and 2009 median household net worth in the United States fell by 23 percent.

#33 The Federal Reserve also says that median household debt in the United States has risen to $75,600.

#34 According to the Economic Policy Institute, almost 25 percent of all U.S. households now have zero net worth or negative net worth. Back in 2007, that number was just 18.6 percent.

#35 During this most recent economic downturn, employee compensation in the United States has been the lowest that it has been relative to gross domestic product in over 50 years.



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 18, 2011, 06:52:23 AM
STUNNER: S&P REVISES US OUTLOOK TO NEGATIVE (U.S. may lose AAA credit rating)
Zero Hedge ^ | April 18, 2011 | Tyler Durden




You read that right: S&P just revised its US outlook to negative. EURUSD surges on what can be seen as revolutionary news...

From S&P:

Overview

We have affirmed our 'AAA/A-1+' sovereign credit rating on the United States of America.


The economy of the U.S. is flexible and highly diversified, the country's effective monetary policies have supported output growth while containing inflationary pressures, and a consistent global preference for the U.S. dollar over all other currencies gives the country unique external liquidity.
Because the U.S. has, relative to its 'AAA' peers, what we consider to be very large budget deficits and rising government indebtedness and the path to addressing these is not clear to us, we have revised our outlook on the long-term rating to negative from stable.
We believe there is a material risk that U.S. policymakers might not reach an agreement on how to address medium- and long-term budgetary challenges by 2013; if an agreement is not reached and meaningful implementation does not begin by then, this would in our view render the U.S. fiscal profile meaningfully weaker than that of peer 'AAA' sovereigns.

[Snip]


Outlook

The negative outlook on our rating on the U.S. sovereign signals that we believe there is at least a one-in-three likelihood that we could lower our long-term rating on the U.S. within two years. The outlook reflects our view of the increased risk that the political negotiations over when and how to address both the medium- and long-term fiscal challenges will persist until at least after national elections in 2012.

Some compromise that achieves agreement on a comprehensive budgetary consolidation program--containing deficit reduction measures in amounts near those recently proposed, and combined with meaningful steps toward implementation by 2013--is our baseline assumption and could lead us to revise the outlook back to stable. Alternatively, the lack of such an agreement or a significant further fiscal deterioration for any reason could lead us to lower the rating.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Bindare_Dundat on April 18, 2011, 07:02:06 AM
wow, surprise surprise.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 18, 2011, 07:23:08 AM
S&P Cuts U.S. Ratings Outlook to Negative
Market Watch ^ | April 18, 2011 | Steve Goldstein




Standard & Poor's cut its ratings outlook on the U.S. to negative from stable while keeping its Triple-A rating on the world's largest economy.

"More than two years after the beginning of the recent crisis, U.S. policymakers have still not agreed on how to reverse recent fiscal deterioration or address longer-term fiscal pressures," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Nikola G. Swann....


(Excerpt) Read more at marketwatch.com ...



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 18, 2011, 12:18:53 PM
5 Economic Issues That Doom Obama to 1 Term
InvestorPlace.com ^ | Apr. 18, 2011 | Jeff Reeves




Though 18 months out, narrative for 2012 elections is already created

As the old phrase about voter sentiment goes, “it’s the economy, stupid.” And like it or lump it, one of the reasons President Obama rode to victory in 2008 was a foot-in-mouth moment from opponent Sen. John McCain during the height of the market meltdown.

That famous gaffe was a quote from McCain that “the fundamentals of our economy are strong” while the Dow Jones tanked 500-plus points or over 4% in a single day on Sept. 15, 2008.

Whether McCain’s words were taken out of context – the senator claimed he was waxing philosophical about the fundamental strength of the American economy and its workers – is irrelevant. In politics, it’s less about reality and more about what the America people believe and what the media chooses to focus on.

I don’t pretend to know what will happen with the economy or the stock market between now and November 2012. But as a former opinion page editor for a daily newspaper, I’d like to think I have a pretty good sense for the behavior of politicos and the mainstream press. And based on current trends, here are 5 issues I think that are going to be front and center in the coming months as the presidential contest comes into focus.

And as you’ll see, all five of these issues could work decidedly against Obama’s re-election.

The Fed

Personally, I believe that criticism of the Federal Reserve is overdone. Every sane economist agrees that an independent central bank is crucial to a functional economy, though intelligent people can and will disagree about the level of oversight necessary for such an important institution.

But people like to blame someone in hard times, and with the dual mandate of both fighting inflation and fighting unemployment the Fed is the perfect whipping boy. Gasoline prices are soaring and unemployment remains stubbornly high as the sheer enormity of the unemployed means the recent jobs added to payrolls is just a drop in the bucket.

What’s more, voters don’t appreciate nuanced positions. As a friend of mine says, “ The chicken in the middle of the road gets run over.” Ron Paul and his tea party buddies have decisively staked out a position against the Fed – and as long as rhetoric doesn’t spin out of control with promises of a gold standard or legislation demanding the Fed chairman be subject to popular vote, Obama’s opponents have the high ground on this issue.

Unemployment

As I just mentioned, payrolls just can’t grow fast enough to erode the high unemployment rate. Consider that in March, about 216,000 nonfarm jobs were added – and that didn’t even move the needle from an 8.8% jobless rate. If the economy needs to add a million jobs a month to significantly draw down that glaring percentage that so easily fits into headlines and news teasers, Obama is in big trouble.

Logically, it’s not Obama’s fault. From December 2007 to October 2010, a total of 7.5 million jobs were lost in the U.S. The unemployment rate peaked in the summer of 2009 at about 10.6%, the highest since 1983, and the average unemployment rate across that brutal year was the highest average since 1948. That’s a heck of a deck to be playing with.

But we are a nation of fast food, short attention spans and instant gratification. Heck, four years ago the iPhone didn’t even exist! One presidential term is a lifetime to an electorate, and a lack of progress will be seen as a failure no matter how rough the situation was when the incumbent took office.

Family Finances

The average American consumer is poorer because of the financial crisis, according to a survey released by the Federal Reserve. How can this be, considering the market is off only about -13% from its 2007 peak?

Well, because housing values have fallen off a cliff – and if you’ve seen a 20% decline in the value of your $300,000 loan, that’s a cool sixty grand you’re in the hole on paper. Also, many folks had to tap 401k plans or savings to get through lean times due to a job loss. Lastly, while many savvy investors bought the bottom of the market in 2009 many others panicked and headed for the hills – or were left holding the bag on Lehman Brothers, Fannie Mae, AIG, Citigroup, GM or a host of other investments that could have crippled even a diversified portfolio.

Like the unemployment picture, a family’s rainy day fund or retirement nest egg can’t be replaced overnight. But unfortunately for Obama there is no wiggle room in the question, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” Considering that the worst of the financial crisis came to roost in 2009 via staggering unemployment and foreclosure trends, the answer for many voters will be a decided “no.”

U.S. Debt

If you look at any line graph representing U.S. debts, you’ll notice that the gut-wrenching climb started about 30 years ago – and aside from a tiny dip in the early 2000s, the trend has been steadily upwards year after year.

This is not President Obama’s fault. But it is now his problem.

However well-meaning the healthcare legislation was and however effective it would be in reducing costs over the next several years, it was poorly timed. Expanding government’s reach at the very moment America acknowledged how bloated federal spending has become was unwise. The immediate $787 stimulus can at least be defended with estimates of jobs and platitudes about how it was an immediate reaction to an emergency. No such luck with the slow-starting healthcare legislation.

What’s more, while I fully believe that tax increases will be a necessary part of balancing the budget and tackling our enormous debt, Obama’s suggestion of taxing higher earners alongside his spending efforts conveniently paints him as that old cliché of a tax-and-spend liberal.

Unfair? Incomplete? Sure. But that’s how elections are decided.

Gas Prices

Inflation could very well move from boring economic theory to serious campaign issue in the coming months. Most Americans don’t need an MBA to understand that food is costing more and coming in smaller packages , TVs and electronics aren’t as affordable as several months ago — but wages have remained pretty stagnant. In fact, in the last consumer price index report the real hourly wage was reported at November 2009 levels — despite a headline inflation number of about 2%.

Oil, and more specifically gasoline, is the biggest inflation story right now and could be even bigger in the run-up to Election Day.

Picture this TV ad in September of 2012 – first, signs of $4 gas prices in 2008 and soundbites of citizens complaining on the local news. Then, fade in video of $4 gas prices in 2012 and similar comments from select voters who take shots at the president.

Powerful stuff, eh? Anyone who needs strategists or campaign advisors for the upcoming election, contact me via information below.

Jeff Reeves is editor of InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the stocks or funds named here. Write him at editor@investorplace.com, follow him on Twitter via @JeffReevesIP and become a fan of InvestorPlace on Facebook.



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Dos Equis on April 18, 2011, 12:21:43 PM
Mons Venus has been banished to the Alpha Board.   :)


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 18, 2011, 01:08:42 PM
HERE COMES INFLATION
DickMorris.com ^ | 4/18/2011 | Dick Morris and Eileen McGann




In our book Revolt!, we warn that inflation may well be the dominant legacy of the Obama presidency. While he had Bush’s help in creating high unemployment, he has driven us into inflation all on his own.

The latest data indicates that prices soared in March at an annual rate of 6.5 percent, by far the highest increase in decades. Half of the increase was in energy prices and one half point in higher food costs. While the Federal Reserve Board focuses on the “core” inflation rate, that excludes these volatile items, American consumers dip into the same pocketbook to pay for food and fuel that they use to pay other prices.

And there is little likelihood of any leveling off of the prices of either food or fuel. The former is driven by the use of food for energy, diverting corn and other food crops from nutritional use. The later is animated by the instability in the Middle East and North Africa, an international crisis that is likely to worsen in the coming year. Indeed, should the disease that has brought down regimes in Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen and is fighting to topple them in Bahrain, Syria, and Libya spreads further into Saudi Arabia, we could face huge increases in energy costs.

And don’t forget the likely upward pressure on interest rates. The Fed is likely to end its QE-2 (quantitative easing 2) program in June. No longer will it buy mortgage backed and Treasury securities from banks into order to pump more money into the system. Once the printing press stops, the Treasury will have to start borrowing real money from real lenders and pay real interest. It will no longer be able to borrow back the money the Fed prints at nominal interest rates. With Washington needing to borrow $40 billion a week to finance its deficit, the upward pressure on interest rates will be severe.

Then, there are health insurance costs. With the onset of the requirements of Obamacare, the increase in premiums has averaged twenty percent, further raising costs of business.

Faced with these increases in fixed costs, businesses will have to raise prices. But nobody will be able to pay them because the economy is terrible. That will trigger a loss of customers and ever higher prices to make up the gap. This stagflation cycle is now upon us and will wipe out any gains that the so-called recovery may offer.

Annual inflation of 6.5% is just the beginning, just like $5 gas is just the beginning. The inflationary forces Obama has unleashed by his record deficits and his virtual tripling of the money supply will batter the economy with a violence that will make his re-election impossible.

The storm is just starting.




Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 19, 2011, 05:19:43 AM

April 19, 2011
It's All Coming Apart
By Monty Pelerin



________________________ _________________



Despite Government propaganda and manipulated statistics to the contrary, our economy continues to deteriorate.  For every "green shoot" highlighted by the Government and its lackey media, multiple contra-examples are cited by independent analysts.


To continue to deny reality risks credibility.  Perhaps that is why S&P, arguably a sock-puppet of Wall Street, on Monday made its announcement regarding the financial condition of the US.  As reported by the Wall Street Journal:


Standard & Poor's Ratings Services Inc. cut its outlook on the U.S. to negative, increasing the likelihood of a potential downgrade from its triple-A rating, as the path from large budget deficits and rising government debt remains unclear.


Fitch and Moody's have not yet seen fit to change their ratings.  Preservation of the little credibility the ratings agencies have left will force them to follow in the course of time.


The S&P judgment was as unexpected as a terminally-diagnosed patient finally reaching his final destination.  Reaction by the political class to the "death" is likely to be characterized by the Claude Rains gambit: "I'm shocked, shocked!"  How could anyone have seen this coming?  Actually, the only surprise is why S&P waited so long to report on the obvious and why it didn't also remove the Triple A credit-rating of US debt.  That downgrade of debt will follow eventually.  Apparently S&P doesn't want to pronounce a corpse dead until it is put into the ground.


Some believe the timing of the S&P announcement was related to the upcoming political battle over the US debt ceiling.  Monday's Dow was crashing, at one point down over 240 points.  If markets are so easily rattled, the thought is one must raise the debt ceiling.  Perhaps that played into the timing of the announcement, yet in a rational world this announcement should make it harder to raise the debt limit.  After all, it is debt that is causing the grief.  Why would more of it be considered prudent? 


Economic damage over the last several decades is structural, yet decision-makers continue to treat the problem as a normal, albeit severe, economic cycle.  The US economy and many other world economies are in a debt death spiral.  That is showing up in numerous places.  On Monday, yields on two-year Greek bonds exceeded 20%.  Greece and Ireland reiterated that they want no bailout.  Changes in the Finnish government may make it harder to push through a Portugal bailout.


European "bailouts" are charades of the first order.  They merely move problems from sick countries to healthy ones, jeopardizing the survival of the Eurozone.


Academic economists fiddle with models and assumptions, looking desperately for something that will enable them to rationalize the situation.  Ironically, it was John Maynard Keynes himself who said:


The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.


The irony is that it is Keynes' ideas that are responsible for the economic mess.  He is the defunct economist he warned about.  The average man in the street understands clearly the problem -- It's the debt, Stupid!  He has an advantage over most economists who have been educated beyond their level of competence.


Academic economic nostrums are ill-equipped to deal with this problem.  Structural debt problems are not part of their model.  As a result Keynesians prescribe more spending (and more debt), further poisoning the economic patient.  These economic charlatans know no other medicine.


In the meantime we spiral downward as life slowly ebbs from the economy.  There is no way out except to recognize the level of debt is not supportable.  Excess debt must be liquidated in order for the economy to recover.  That requires pay-downs and defaults, not bailouts.  There will be lots and lots of defaults.  There is no other way.


Instead, the political class and their economic epigones insist on treating the problem as just another cyclical event.  Easy money, stimulus and all the other Keynesian nostrums are useless.  They are what brought us to this point.


Massive amounts of debt must be liquidated.  But confidence also must be restored.  Doug Casey characterizes our economic climate thusly:


We are in a financial no-man's land.  "Investing" is problematic because of a deteriorating economy, unpredictable and increasing regulation, rising interest rates and wildly fluctuating prices.


Mr. Casey's negatives are enough to stop business investing, hiring, and growth dead in their tracks.


Contrary to the way that economics is taught, there is no such thing as an economic machine where a "pump can be primed" or the economy can be "stimulated."  All there are millions of individuals all making decisions designed to enable them to navigate through life. For most, their primary objective is the financial and physical security of themselves and their families.  In scary economic times, these decisions are affected.


In order to right the economy, the fear and uncertainty imposed by existing and future government mandates and actions alluded to by Mr. Casey must be removed.  Doing so will not be easy, for more is in play than Mr. Casey's short quote suggests.  There are at least five considerations that should be of concern to all of us:


1. An Incompetent President - The President is inexperienced and incompetent.  He is likely a fraud, as evidenced by his guarded and unknown past.  He is incapable of leadership, honesty, or management.  Virtually every one of his policy initiatives has been harmful to the economy and country.  His intentions are clear; the degree to which he will be able to drive us further down the Road to Serfdom is not.

2. An Incompetent Political Class - The political class attained power via Santa Claus economics, providing gifts to constituents in return for votes.  Both parties are guilty.  Politicians have conditioned themselves and their constituents to "free-lunch" governance.  Few know how to govern in any other fashion.  Most are indistinguishable from prostitutes -- vote for me and I will do "that" for you.  Both parties want to preserve the welfare-warfare State, disagreeing merely on the means of doing so.


3. An Incorrect Paradigm - The Keynesian model of spend and spend has been good for politicians but disastrous for the economy.  Over time, it has encouraged loose credit, overspending, and living beyond our means.  The failures are obvious to all but Statists and so-called Keynesian economists.  The political class cannot stop "free lunches" without suffering severe political consequences.  Hence, the abuses will continue until resources are exhausted.  Like Rome of old, we will soon run out of bread and circuses.


4. An Unhappy Ending - Current economic problems cannot be mitigated or solved without incurring another Great Depression.  Whether it is preceded by a deflationary collapse or a hyperinflationary blow-off is moot.  The ending is inevitable and as more people understand this ending, they take more extreme steps to protect themselves -- spending ratchets back, savings increases, and businesses refuse to engage in new investment or hiring.


5. A Dangerous Prelude to the Ending - Government is insolvent.  It would be bankrupt without Federal Reserve Quantitative Easing.  As a cornered, wounded animal will do anything to survive, so will Government.  Does that mean confiscatory tax rates, capital controls, IRA investments forced into Treasury Bonds, "excess profits" taxes, a national sales tax, etc., etc.?  It could mean any or all of these and more.  Government will not roll over.  It will do whatever it can to continue, regardless of how illegal, immoral, unethical, or harmful it may be for the country.


John Maynard Keynes referred to "animal spirits."  Alan Greenspan used the term "irrational exuberance."  Both expressions acknowledged the importance of expectations and anticipations.  The five factors listed above are not universally known or accepted.  As they become more evident, the dismal level of animal spirits and exuberance will sink even lower.  There can be no recovery under such conditions.


The charade that government can solve this problem may continue for a while.  So might the notion that the government cannot go bankrupt.  Yet both beliefs are false and will be seen to be so.  Spending, hiring, and investment will be unresponsive to anything the government may or can do.


The myth of government is breaking down around the world.  For those with 20-20 vision, the Emperor is already seen sans clothes.


Monty Pelerin blogs at www.economicnoise.com.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/04/its_all_coming_apart.html

 at April 19, 2011 - 07:17:57 AM CDT


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 21, 2011, 08:34:32 AM
403K Initial Claims WorseThan Consensus Again, Down From As Always Upwardly Revised 416K
ZeroHedge ^




As always happens, the BLS revised last week's non-credible mega miss even worse, from 412K to 416K. As for this week, the number will end up being worse than 403K, which is what was reported for this week, to be revised upward to 406K or so next week. This is (and will be) much higher than the expected 390K.

And so Tim Geithner has to start his latest "Welcome to the Recovery - edition 2011" draft from scratch. Continuing claims also were well above expectations, printing 20K over consensus at 3,695K. Last week's number of 3,680K was revised, gee, higher to 3,702K.

And just as importantly those hitting the 99 week cliff seem to be accelerating: those on EUCs dropped 24K, while people on extended benefits declined by 47K. Total number of persons claiming benefits across all programs dropped by 217K in the week ended April 2.

And so the Yen carry trade unwinds once again: the USDJPY just plunged to 81.72.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 21, 2011, 11:39:56 AM
Spike in fuel prices erasing airline profits
Breitbart ^ | 4/21/11 | DAVID KOENIG and JOSHUA FREED




Soaring jet fuel prices are wiping out profits at the nation's biggest airlines.

The world's biggest airline company, United Continental Holdings Inc., said Thursday that it lost $213 million in the first three months of the year after it paid nearly $600 million more for fuel than in the year-ago quarter.

American Airlines posted a $436 million loss. Like other airlines, American uses complex financial transactions to hedge against rising fuel prices. But these hedges only do so much to control the airlines' single biggest cost. Hedging saved American Airlines $100 million in the first quarter, but its fuel bill still rose by $351 million.

Even a profit machine like Southwest Airlines Co., and rival low-cost carrier JetBlue Airways Corp., barely rose above break-even after paying to fuel their planes.

The rising costs offset revenue gains that ranged from 9 percent at American to 18 percent at Southwest.


(Excerpt) Read more at breitbart.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: kcballer on April 21, 2011, 11:51:31 AM
5 Economic Issues That Doom Obama to 1 Term
InvestorPlace.com ^ | Apr. 18, 2011 | Jeff Reeves




Though 18 months out, narrative for 2012 elections is already created

As the old phrase about voter sentiment goes, “it’s the economy, stupid.” And like it or lump it, one of the reasons President Obama rode to victory in 2008 was a foot-in-mouth moment from opponent Sen. John McCain during the height of the market meltdown.

That famous gaffe was a quote from McCain that “the fundamentals of our economy are strong” while the Dow Jones tanked 500-plus points or over 4% in a single day on Sept. 15, 2008.

Whether McCain’s words were taken out of context – the senator claimed he was waxing philosophical about the fundamental strength of the American economy and its workers – is irrelevant. In politics, it’s less about reality and more about what the America people believe and what the media chooses to focus on.

I don’t pretend to know what will happen with the economy or the stock market between now and November 2012. But as a former opinion page editor for a daily newspaper, I’d like to think I have a pretty good sense for the behavior of politicos and the mainstream press. And based on current trends, here are 5 issues I think that are going to be front and center in the coming months as the presidential contest comes into focus.

And as you’ll see, all five of these issues could work decidedly against Obama’s re-election.

The Fed

Personally, I believe that criticism of the Federal Reserve is overdone. Every sane economist agrees that an independent central bank is crucial to a functional economy, though intelligent people can and will disagree about the level of oversight necessary for such an important institution.

But people like to blame someone in hard times, and with the dual mandate of both fighting inflation and fighting unemployment the Fed is the perfect whipping boy. Gasoline prices are soaring and unemployment remains stubbornly high as the sheer enormity of the unemployed means the recent jobs added to payrolls is just a drop in the bucket.

What’s more, voters don’t appreciate nuanced positions. As a friend of mine says, “ The chicken in the middle of the road gets run over.” Ron Paul and his tea party buddies have decisively staked out a position against the Fed – and as long as rhetoric doesn’t spin out of control with promises of a gold standard or legislation demanding the Fed chairman be subject to popular vote, Obama’s opponents have the high ground on this issue.

Unemployment

As I just mentioned, payrolls just can’t grow fast enough to erode the high unemployment rate. Consider that in March, about 216,000 nonfarm jobs were added – and that didn’t even move the needle from an 8.8% jobless rate. If the economy needs to add a million jobs a month to significantly draw down that glaring percentage that so easily fits into headlines and news teasers, Obama is in big trouble.

Logically, it’s not Obama’s fault. From December 2007 to October 2010, a total of 7.5 million jobs were lost in the U.S. The unemployment rate peaked in the summer of 2009 at about 10.6%, the highest since 1983, and the average unemployment rate across that brutal year was the highest average since 1948. That’s a heck of a deck to be playing with.

But we are a nation of fast food, short attention spans and instant gratification. Heck, four years ago the iPhone didn’t even exist! One presidential term is a lifetime to an electorate, and a lack of progress will be seen as a failure no matter how rough the situation was when the incumbent took office.

Family Finances

The average American consumer is poorer because of the financial crisis, according to a survey released by the Federal Reserve. How can this be, considering the market is off only about -13% from its 2007 peak?

Well, because housing values have fallen off a cliff – and if you’ve seen a 20% decline in the value of your $300,000 loan, that’s a cool sixty grand you’re in the hole on paper. Also, many folks had to tap 401k plans or savings to get through lean times due to a job loss. Lastly, while many savvy investors bought the bottom of the market in 2009 many others panicked and headed for the hills – or were left holding the bag on Lehman Brothers, Fannie Mae, AIG, Citigroup, GM or a host of other investments that could have crippled even a diversified portfolio.

Like the unemployment picture, a family’s rainy day fund or retirement nest egg can’t be replaced overnight. But unfortunately for Obama there is no wiggle room in the question, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” Considering that the worst of the financial crisis came to roost in 2009 via staggering unemployment and foreclosure trends, the answer for many voters will be a decided “no.”

U.S. Debt

If you look at any line graph representing U.S. debts, you’ll notice that the gut-wrenching climb started about 30 years ago – and aside from a tiny dip in the early 2000s, the trend has been steadily upwards year after year.

This is not President Obama’s fault. But it is now his problem.

However well-meaning the healthcare legislation was and however effective it would be in reducing costs over the next several years, it was poorly timed. Expanding government’s reach at the very moment America acknowledged how bloated federal spending has become was unwise. The immediate $787 stimulus can at least be defended with estimates of jobs and platitudes about how it was an immediate reaction to an emergency. No such luck with the slow-starting healthcare legislation.

What’s more, while I fully believe that tax increases will be a necessary part of balancing the budget and tackling our enormous debt, Obama’s suggestion of taxing higher earners alongside his spending efforts conveniently paints him as that old cliché of a tax-and-spend liberal.

Unfair? Incomplete? Sure. But that’s how elections are decided.

Gas Prices

Inflation could very well move from boring economic theory to serious campaign issue in the coming months. Most Americans don’t need an MBA to understand that food is costing more and coming in smaller packages , TVs and electronics aren’t as affordable as several months ago — but wages have remained pretty stagnant. In fact, in the last consumer price index report the real hourly wage was reported at November 2009 levels — despite a headline inflation number of about 2%.

Oil, and more specifically gasoline, is the biggest inflation story right now and could be even bigger in the run-up to Election Day.

Picture this TV ad in September of 2012 – first, signs of $4 gas prices in 2008 and soundbites of citizens complaining on the local news. Then, fade in video of $4 gas prices in 2012 and similar comments from select voters who take shots at the president.

Powerful stuff, eh? Anyone who needs strategists or campaign advisors for the upcoming election, contact me via information below.

Jeff Reeves is editor of InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the stocks or funds named here. Write him at editor@investorplace.com, follow him on Twitter via @JeffReevesIP and become a fan of InvestorPlace on Facebook.



Nice you posted an Obama apologist as you would call it


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 22, 2011, 05:03:26 AM
Nation’s Mood at Lowest Level in Two Years, Poll Shows
New York Times ^ | 4/21/11 | JIM RUTENBERG and MEGAN THEE-BRENAN




Americans are more pessimistic about the nation’s economic outlook and overall direction than they have been at any time since President Obama’s first two months in office, when the country was still officially ensnared in the Great Recession, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. At a time of rising gas prices, stubborn unemployment and a cacophonous debate in Washington over the federal government’s ability to meet its future obligations, the poll presents stark evidence that the slow, if unsteady, gains in public confidence earlier this year that a recovery was under way are now all but gone. Capturing what appears to be an abrupt change in attitude, the survey shows that the number of Americans who think the economy is getting worse has jumped 13 percentage points in just one month. Though there have been encouraging signs of renewed growth since last fall, many economists are having second thoughts, warning that the pace of expansion might not be fast enough to create significant numbers of new jobs. The dour public mood is dragging down ratings for both parties in Congress and for President Obama, the poll found.


(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 22, 2011, 05:20:59 AM
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9a977da0-6bfd-11e0-b36e-00144feab49a.html#ixzz1KFnIr8aR



Dollar plunges to 2½-year low
By Peter Garnham


Published: April 21 2011 12:30 | Last updated: April 21 2011 12:30

The dollar dropped to its lowest level in more than two-and-a-half years on Thursday as buoyant risk appetite prompted investors to sell the currency to fund carry trades.

Analysts said robust corporate earnings figures had boosted hopes over global growth, while the prospect that US interest rates would remain at ultra-low levels was fuelling demand for carry trades, in which low-yielding currencies such as the dollar are sold to finance the purchase of riskier, higher-yielding assets elsewhere.

Market rumour that the People’s Bank of China was poised to implement of substantial, one-off revaluation of the renminbi also weighed on the US currency.

The dollar index, which tracks its progress against a basket of six leading currencies, fell 0.8 per cent to 73.785, its weakest level since August 2008. Traders said the stage could now be set for the index to target the record low of 70.698 it hit in March 2008.

The dollar also dropped 0.9 per cent to a 16-month low of $1.4641 against the euro, fell 1 per cent to a 16-month trough of $1.6560 against the pound, lost 0.8 per cent to a record low of SFr0.8817 against the Swiss franc and plunged 0.7 per cent lower to Y81.93 against the yen.

The Australian dollar, which with its relatively high yield and commodity-linked status has been a favourite target for carry trade investors, surged to a fresh 29-year high against the dollar, rising 0.6 per cent to $1.0758.

Lee Hardman at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ said dollar weakness continued to be mainly driven by widening expectations of monetary policy divergence between the Federal Reserve and other major central banks.

He said the downgrade of the outlook of US sovereign debt by rating agency Standard & Poor’s on Monday had reinforced this dynamic by increasing expectations that the Fed would have to keep interest rates at ultra-low levels for longer to offset the negative impact from the expected fiscal tightening.

Mr Hardman added, however, that while near-term concerns over monetary policy divergence and heightened US fiscal concerns were genuine, he believed there was a strong case that current dollar weakness was overextending.

“With market liquidity thinning heading into the Easter holidays, it provides the ideal conditions for a dollar undershoot relative to fundamentals,” he said.

“Indeed, while there is a notable risk that the near-term dollar sell-off extends further, it appears only a matter before a correction takes place.”
.Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2011. You may share using our article tools. Please don't cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 25, 2011, 06:26:36 AM

April 25, 2011, 8:57 a.m. EDT
IMF bombshell: Age of America nears end
Commentary: China’s economy will surpass the U.S. in 2016
By Brett Arends, MarketWatch

http://www.marketwatch.com/Story/story/print?guid=25965F12-6D1A-11E0-8CAB-00212804637C





BOSTON (MarketWatch) — The International Monetary Fund has just dropped a bombshell, and nobody noticed.

For the first time, the international organization has set a date for the moment when the “Age of America” will end and the U.S. economy will be overtaken by that of China.


The Obama deficit tour

The Wall Street Journal’s Steve Moore critiques the president's speeches attacking Republican budget plans.
And it’s a lot closer than you may think.

According to the latest IMF official forecasts, China’s economy will surpass that of America in real terms in 2016 — just five years from now.

Put that in your calendar.

It provides a painful context for the budget wrangling taking place in Washington, D.C., right now. It raises enormous questions about what the international security system is going to look like in just a handful of years. And it casts a deepening cloud over both the U.S. dollar and the giant Treasury market, which have been propped up for decades by their privileged status as the liabilities of the world’s hegemonic power.

According to the IMF forecast, whoever is elected U.S. president next year — Obama? Mitt Romney? Donald Trump? — will be the last to preside over the world’s largest economy.

Most people aren’t prepared for this. They aren’t even aware it’s that close. Listen to experts of various stripes and they will tell you this moment is decades away. The most bearish will put the figure in the mid-2020s.



 
China’s economy will be the world’s largest within five years or so.

But they’re miscounting. They’re only comparing the gross domestic products of the two countries using current exchange rates.

That’s a largely meaningless comparison in real terms. Exchange rates change quickly. And China’s exchange rates are phony. China artificially undervalues its currency, the renminbi, through massive intervention in the markets.

The comparison that really matters
The IMF in its analysis looks beyond exchange rates to the true, real terms picture of the economies using “purchasing power parities.” That compares what people earn and spend in real terms in their domestic economies.

Under PPP, the Chinese economy will expand from $11.2 trillion this year to $19 trillion in 2016. Meanwhile the U.S. economy will rise from $15.2 trillion to $18.8 trillion. That would take America’s share of the world output down to 17.7%, the lowest in modern times. China’s would reach 18%, and is rising.

Just 10 years ago, the U.S. economy was three times the size of China’s.

Naturally, all forecasts are fallible. Time and chance happen to them all. The actual date when China surpasses the U.S. might come even earlier than the IMF predicts, or somewhat later. If the great Chinese juggernaut blows a tire, as a growing number fear it might, it could even delay things by several years. But the outcome is scarcely in doubt.

This is more than a statistical story. It is the end of the Age of America. As a bond strategist in Europe told me two weeks ago, “We are witnessing the end of America’s economic hegemony.”

We have lived in a world dominated by the U.S. for so long that there is no longer anyone alive who remembers anything else. America overtook Great Britain as the world’s leading economic power in the 1890s and never looked back.

And both those countries live under very similar rules of constitutional government, respect for civil liberties and the rights of property. China has none of those. The Age of China will feel very different.

Victor Cha, senior advisor on Asian affairs at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies, told me China’s neighbors in Asia are already waking up to the dangers. “The region is overwhelmingly looking to the U.S. in a way that it hasn’t done in the past,” he said. “They see the U.S. as a counterweight to China. They also see American hegemony over the last half century as fairly benign. In China they see the rise of an economic power that is not benevolent, that can be predatory. They don’t see it as a benign hegemony.”

The rise of China, and the relative decline of America, is the biggest story of our time. You can see its implications everywhere, from shuttered factories in the Midwest to soaring costs of oil and other commodities. Last fall, when I attended a conference in London about agricultural investment, I was struck by the number of people there who told stories about Chinese interests snapping up farmland and food stuff supplies — from South America to China and elsewhere.

This is the result of decades during which China has successfully pursued economic policies aimed at national expansion and power, while the U.S. has embraced either free trade or, for want of a better term, economic appeasement.

“There are two systems in collision,” said Ralph Gomory, research professor at NYU’s Stern business school. “They have a state-guided form of capitalism, and we have a much freer former of capitalism.” What we have seen, he said, is “a massive shift in capability from the U.S. to China. What we have done is traded jobs for profit. The jobs have moved to China. The capability erodes in the US and grows in China. That’s very destructive. That is a big reason why the U.S. is becoming more and more polarized between a small, very rich class and an eroding middle class. The people who get the profits are very different from the people who lost the wages.”

The next chapter of the story is just beginning.

U.S. spending spree won’t work
What the rise of China means for defense, and international affairs, has barely been touched on. The U.S. is now spending gigantic sums — from a beleaguered economy — to try to maintain its place in the sun. Pentagon spending is budget blind spot .

It’s a lesson we could learn more cheaply from the sad story of the British, Spanish and other empires. It doesn’t work. You can’t stay on top if your economy doesn’t.

Equally to the point here is what this means economically, and for investors.

Some years ago I was having lunch with the smartest investor I know, London-based hedge fund manager Crispin Odey. He made the argument that markets are reasonably efficient, most of the time, at setting prices. Where they are most likely to fail, though, is in correctly anticipating and pricing big, revolutionary, “paradigm” shifts — whether that be the rise of disruptive technologies or revolutionary changes in geopolitics. We are living through one now.

The U.S. Treasury market continues to operate on the assumption that it will always remain the global benchmark of money. Business schools still teach students, for example, that the interest rate on the 10 Year Treasury bond is the “risk-free rate” on money. And so it has been for more than a century. But that’s all based on the Age of America.

No wonder so many have been buying gold. If the U.S. dollar ceases to be the world’s sole reserve currency, what will be? The euro would be fine if it acts like the old deutschemark. If it’s just the Greek drachma in drag ... not so much.

The last time the world’s dominant hegemon lost its ability to run things single-handed was early in the past century. That’s when the U.S. and Germany surpassed Great Britain. It didn’t turn out well.

Brett Arends is a senior columnist for MarketWatch and a personal-finance columnist for The Wall Street Journal


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 25, 2011, 10:03:02 AM
Those Confident That America’s Best Days Lie Ahead Down to 31% (lowest level ever)
Rasmussen Reports ^ | April 25, 2011 | by Scott Rasmussen




~ EXCERPT ~

Voter confidence that the nation’s best days are still to come has fallen to its lowest level ever.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Voters shows that just 31% believe America’s best days are in the future. That’s down three points from last month and is the lowest result found in polling since late 2006.

Fifty-three percent (53%) believe America’s best days are in the past, also the highest measurement in over four years. Sixteen percent (16%) are undecided.

Separate polling finds that only 22% of Likely Voters believe the United States is now heading in the right direction. That ties the lowest level found during Barack Obama’s presidency.


(Excerpt) Read more at rasmussenreports.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: headhuntersix on April 25, 2011, 10:21:48 AM
Hey lefties....exactly when can we blame Obama...when is this mess officially his? See u silly little libs want it both ways...but...either we still all blame Bush and Barry has UTTERLY FAILED at his job or Barry has made things worse and he has UTTERLY FAILED at his job. But ol Barry has had a large margin of error with all his prior "jobs". He sorta showed up while teaching school..he sorta showed up in both the IL and US Congress..but he never did anything. He worked harder to be ingratiate himslef with marxists and anti-americans then he ever has as president. He has failed America. I blame u and I blame him.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 25, 2011, 10:24:20 AM
Ha ha ha ha ha - true dat.   


The only thing is that he is not failing - he is winning and succeeding since his goal is to collapse the nation and make us no different than Kenya, piss, shit, puke, vomit, be upon him and his disgusting wife.   



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: headhuntersix on April 25, 2011, 10:28:38 AM
I couldn't resist.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 25, 2011, 10:34:53 AM
Obama and his disgusting pofs wife and nothing more than two Katrina/92 LA RIOTS/Crown Heights/ Watts looters and grifters. 



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 25, 2011, 01:48:08 PM
The end of the American era? Only another Reagan revolution can save the US superpower
By Nile Gardiner World Last updated: April 25th, 2011

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/nilegardiner/100084965/the-end-of-the-american-era-only-another-reagan-revolution-can-save-the-us-superpower




 

The Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch column this morning has attracted a great deal of attention in the United States, with its report on a bombshell forecast by the IMF (not yet publicly available) that “China’s economy will surpass that of America’s in real terms in 2016 – just five years from now.” The Journal’s Brett Arends notes:

For the first time, the international organization has set a date for the moment when the “Age of America” will end and the U.S. economy will be overtaken by that of China.

… It provides a painful context for the budget wrangling taking place in Washington, D.C., right now. It raises enormous questions about what the international security system is going to look like in just a handful of years. And it casts a deepening cloud over both the U.S. dollar and the giant Treasury market, which have been propped up for decades by their privileged status as the liabilities of the world’s hegemonic power.

According to the IMF forecast, whomever is elected U.S. president next year — Obama? Mitt Romney? Donald Trump? — will be the last to preside over the world’s largest economy.

Coming just a few days after the warning shot from Standard and Poor’s over America’s debt status, the IMF prediction will be deeply unsettling for many Americans who fear their country is about to be eclipsed in the near term by China, and later this century by India, with their combined population of 2.5 billion people, dwarfing the 300 million who live in the United States. And who can blame them, with the United States facing, as Liam Halligan notes in a terrific piece for The Telegraph today, a federal deficit close to 10 percent of gross domestic product, and entitlement liabilities (including Medicare and Medicaid) of $75,000 billion – five times annual GDP.

And while America’s towering federal debt reaches its highest level since World War Two, the White House appears to be stuck in a state of paralysis and denial, unwilling to confront the biggest economic crisis facing America in the post-war era. As a series of recent polls have shown, there is widespread disillusionment with the Obama administration’s handling of the economy, with a New York Times survey last week showing 70 percent of Americans believing the country is moving down the wrong track.

America has clearly lost its way in recent years, not because the government hasn’t done enough, but because there is too much government interference in the economy, with a significant decline in economic freedom. The big government mentality which has dominated the White House for the better part of the last two decades has acted as a huge brake on American economic growth and competitiveness, stifling job creation and frightening away foreign investment. The United States today has the highest corporate tax rates in the developed world, a surefire recipe for killing economic creativity. US businesses and entrepreneurs require lower taxes, less red tape, and greater freedom to kickstart a moribund economy, not the deadening hand of government.

The US needs a Reagan-style revolution to reverse a poisonous big government mentality that is literally killing a superpower. Fortunately, there are fortunately signs that another political revolution is on its way, with the rise of a new wave of lawmakers on Capitol Hill who are serious about dealing with the deficit, reining in government spending, and placing the vision of the Founding Fathers at the heart of policymaking, from Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. And the extraordinary success of the Tea Party movement in the past 18 months has helped ensure that America’s debt crisis has been placed at the centre of the political debate.

Ultimately, the prosperity and success of the United States as an exceptional nation over the past 230 years has rested upon an undying belief in individual liberty and economic freedom, both of which are denied to the people of China, whose current economic growth rests largely on foundations of sand. It is premature to write off America as the world’s dominant superpower, for this is a nation that possesses an extraordinary ability to rebuild itself after periods of decline. It remains a beacon of hope to billions across the world, a “shining city upon a hill” built on the ideals of liberty and freedom, as Reagan reminded the American people before he left office. In the words of the greatest US president of the 20th Century in his farewell address:

The past few days when I’ve been at that window upstairs, I’ve thought a bit of the “shining city upon a hill.” The phrase comes from John Winthrop, who wrote it to describe the America he imagined. What he imagined was important because he was an early Pilgrim, an early freedom man. He journeyed here on what today we’d call a little wooden boat; and like the other Pilgrims, he was looking for a home that would be free.

I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.

… After 200 years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm. And she’s still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 26, 2011, 10:54:45 AM
Consumer Price Inflation On A Diet Of Gold And Wheaties
The Daily Reckoning ^ | 4-26-2011 | Bill Bonner





Consumer Price Inflation On A Diet Of Gold And Wheaties

By Bill Bonner


04/26/11 Baltimore, Maryland – We’ve always wondered why there is so much debate about the rate of inflation. It seems like such a simple thing to track. You go in the store. You buy a box of Wheaties. You write down the price. Next month, you do the same thing. What’s so hard about that?

But what if the box is smaller next month? What if the Wheaties are twice as good? What if you can get the same enjoyment from a box of Wheatie-Puffs at half the price?

What’s the real rate of inflation? It depends on how you figure it. The Labor Department shows consumer price inflation at barely over 2%. John Williams’ ShadowStats puts the figure close to 8%.

We say “close to” and “about” because the numbers are never more than approximations; no point in dressing them up with decimals as though they were precise and reliable.

But comes now MIT University with a project to track prices by monitoring them on the worldwide web. Instead of creating a small sample of prices and checking them periodically, the Billion Prices Project looks at a huge number of prices from all over the web, in real time.

The resulting numbers may not be perfect, but there sure are a lot of them. Using such a huge volume of price information, the Billion Prices Project is probably the most reliable measure of consumer price inflation developed so far.

So, you’re probably wondering… Well, what’s the story? How much consumer price inflation is there?

Over the last 12 months, prices have gone up 3.2%, say professors Alberto Cavallo and Roberto Rigobon, who developed the index.

But get this, the rate of consumer price inflation is speeding up. Annualize the data from the last 3 months and you get 7.4%.

We don’t need to tell you, Dear Reader. If that rate sticks, today’s financial world comes unglued.

By the most recent calculation by the Billion Prices Project, US government bond yields measure only half the rate of consumer price inflation. How could that be? Why would investors buy a bond yielding only half the inflation rate? Are they idiots?

Maybe they are betting that the latest inflation numbers are a fluke. Ben Bernanke said so himself.

“I think the increase in inflation will be transitory,” said the man more responsible for the price hikes than any other living human being.

Mr. Bernanke says gasoline at $4 a gallon…and a box of Wheaties at $5…are features of “global supply and demand conditions.”

Fair enough. Perhaps they are. But what about $1,500 gold? The supply of the yellow metal is barely any greater than it was when it was priced at $1,000 an ounce.

You may say that demand has increased by 50%…but that only introduces a string of other questions. Gold has no uses – other than ornament and money. What happened that would increase demand for it so suddenly? And if something has increased the demand for gold, perhaps that same thing might have affected oil and wheat too.

The feds are insincerely trying to figure it out. They’ve been asked by President Obama himself to look into price increases and report any funny business. Of course, the real funny business is right in plain sight. The Fed has tripled its holdings of private and public debt – and added nearly $2 trillion in extra cash to do it. Most of that money is still frozen in the banking system. But what will happen when things heat up…and it’s multiplied, maybe ten times over? Won’t that cause prices to rise even faster?

Maybe that’s what people are worried about. And to protect themselves, they’re buying tried and true money, traditional money. Because they’re afraid the more modern variety won’t hold up.

“Dollar’s Slide Accelerates,” reports The Wall Street Journal.

As predicted in this space, the feds have failed. Pouring more liquidity onto a saturated marketplace did not work. The economy already had more than enough debt; it didn’t need more.

More debt and dollars did not create a genuine recovery. Instead, they merely drowned millions of ordinary households…

The New York Times has the story:

WASHINGTON – The Federal Reserve ’s experimental effort to spur a recovery by purchasing vast quantities of federal debt has pumped up the stock market, reduced the cost of American exports and allowed companies to borrow money at lower interest rates.


But most Americans are not feeling the difference, in part because those benefits have been surprisingly small. The latest estimates from economists, in fact, suggest that the pace of recovery from the global financial crisis has flagged since November, when the Fed started buying $600 billion in Treasury securities to push private dollars into investments that create jobs.


Mr. Bernanke and his supporters say that the purchases have improved economic conditions, all but erasing fears of deflation, a pattern of falling prices that can delay purchases and stall growth. Inflation, which is beneficial in moderation, has climbed closer to healthy levels since the Fed started buying bonds.


“These actions had the expected effects on markets and are thereby providing significant support to job creation and the economy,” Mr. Bernanke said in a February speech, an argument he has repeated frequently.


But growth remains slow, jobs remain scarce, and with the debt purchases scheduled to end in June, the Fed must now decide what comes next.

And now, we’ll make another bold prediction. What happens when the QE2 program expires? Probably nothing…at first. But just wait. The Japanese, as usual, are setting the pace. In the two weeks following the tsunami/nuke crisis, they expanded their central bank balance sheet by two and a half times – adding huge new stockpiles of money for the banking system to draw upon.

The US feds won’t be left behind for long.




Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 26, 2011, 01:25:07 PM
Obamaflation Arrives
the american spectator ^ | 4-26-11 | Jeffrey Lord


________________________ ________________________ ______________


President Obama will not be re-elected. Period.

Why?

Obamaflation has arrived, and this is what it looks like.

Milk. A gallon of skim. At the local Giant in Central Pennsylvania:

January 11, 2011: $3.20 February 28, 2011: $3.24 March 6, 2011: $3.34 April 23. 2011: $3.48

That would be a 28 cent rise in a mere 102 days, from January to April of this year. The third year of the Obama misadventure.

Then there's the celery. Same sized bag. Same store.

January 11, 2011: $1.99 a bag. March 6, 2011: $2.49 a bag.

A rise of 50 cents in 54 days.

And the gas price during the administration filled with those who think "drill baby drill" is so yesterday? As one Internet photo had it, the numbers for regular, premium. and diesel were replaced with "LOL," "OMG," and "WTF!" Thus be it to governments who seem not to understand that energy is what makes the economic engine -- and your car -- hum.

What does this mean? It means Barack Obama is not going to be re-elected president of the United States. Period.

[snip]

You can get away with a lot of things as president and blame them on other people. For Obama its George Bush or now the oil companies or also now those evil corporations or… well… yada yada yada. But when average Americans begin to understand that Obamanomics is directly responsible for a 28 cent rise in the price of milk (with over a year and a half to go to the 2012 elections), there is going to be political hell to pay. And the buck, so to speak, stops, as it always does, with the president of the United States.


(Excerpt) Read more at spectator.org ...



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 27, 2011, 08:18:10 PM
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Wal-Mart: Our shoppers are 'running out of money'
CNNMoney ^ | 4/27/2011
Posted on April 27, 2011 9:58:06 PM EDT by Altura Ct.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Wal-Mart's core shoppers are running out of money much faster than a year ago due to rising gasoline prices, and the retail giant is worried, CEO Mike Duke said Wednesday.

"We're seeing core consumers under a lot of pressure," Duke said at an event in New York. "There's no doubt that rising fuel prices are having an impact."

Wal-Mart shoppers, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck, typically shop in bulk at the beginning of the month when their paychecks come in.

Lately, they're "running out of money" at a faster clip, he said.

Wal-Mart's ready to do battle on prices

"Purchases are really dropping off by the end of the month even more than last year," Duke said. "This end-of-month [purchases] cycle is growing to be a concern.

Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500), which averages 140 million shoppers weekly to its stores in the United States, is considered a barometer of the health of the consumer and the economy.

To that end, Duke said he's not seeing signs of a recovery yet.

With food prices rising, Duke said Wal-Mart is charging customers more for some fresh groceries while reducing prices on other merchandise such as electronics.

Wal-Mart has struggled with seven straight quarters of sales declines in its stores.

(Excerpt) Read more at money.cnn.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Bindare_Dundat on April 28, 2011, 06:50:54 AM
First-time unemployment filings head the wrong way



NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- First-time filings for unemployment claims jumped last week, coming in above the key 400,000 level for the third straight week, according to a government report Thursday.

The number of initial claims rose to to 429,000 in the week ended Apr. 23, up 25,000 from the week before. It was the highest level in three months, and surprised economists, who were expecting initial claims to drop to 390,000 in the latest report.




hahahaha surprise!  ::)



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Bindare_Dundat on April 28, 2011, 06:52:27 AM
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Wal-Mart: Our shoppers are 'running out of money'
CNNMoney ^ | 4/27/2011
Posted on April 27, 2011 9:58:06 PM EDT by Altura Ct.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Wal-Mart's core shoppers are running out of money much faster than a year ago due to rising gasoline prices, and the retail giant is worried, CEO Mike Duke said Wednesday.

"We're seeing core consumers under a lot of pressure," Duke said at an event in New York. "There's no doubt that rising fuel prices are having an impact."

Wal-Mart shoppers, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck, typically shop in bulk at the beginning of the month when their paychecks come in.

Lately, they're "running out of money" at a faster clip, he said.

Wal-Mart's ready to do battle on prices

"Purchases are really dropping off by the end of the month even more than last year," Duke said. "This end-of-month [purchases] cycle is growing to be a concern.

Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500), which averages 140 million shoppers weekly to its stores in the United States, is considered a barometer of the health of the consumer and the economy.

To that end, Duke said he's not seeing signs of a recovery yet.

With food prices rising, Duke said Wal-Mart is charging customers more for some fresh groceries while reducing prices on other merchandise such as electronics.

Wal-Mart has struggled with seven straight quarters of sales declines in its stores.

(Excerpt) Read more at money.cnn.com ...



Don't worry, the Fed has it's finger on the pulse of the economy. They are on top of it.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 28, 2011, 10:33:35 AM
April 28, 2011, 12:09 p.m. EDT

The 9 places where inflation is crushing us
Commentary: Meat, gas, even diapers are costing regular folks
By Jeff Reeves



This update corrects the city that has the nation’s highest gas prices, which is Chicago.

ROCKVILLE, Md. — Inflation is far from under control and it’s time that Americans demand our government officials do something about it.

The Federal Reserve would have you believe that everything is fine, focusing on core inflation rates and ignoring broader measures of inflation as they affect food and energy. These commodity-driven prices, as our central banking overlords would have you believe, are naturally more volatile and shouldn’t be overstated.


High gas prices could hurt ObamaNeil King looks at whether soaring gas prices will hurt President Obama's chances for reelection in 2012 and how Republicans in Congress are trying to put the blame on Obama for consumers' pain at the pump.
You would think after Fed bureaucrat William Dudley was castigated for talking up the affordability of iPads while ignoring real family expenses, our Federal Reserve officials would have woken up to reality. But after the publicity stunt by Chairman Ben Bernanke on Wednesday, it’s clear that the Fed — and perhaps many Americans as a result — is in denial when it comes to the inflationary trends crippling U.S. households. Read about how the Fed’s reckless policy has created a catastrophic bubble on InvestorPlace.com.

While it’s all well and good for investors to focus on surging precious metals and the profit opportunities there, let’s not overlook the dark side of inflation that is eating away at family budgets. Here are nine crushing costs of inflation that are breaking many American households:

1. Beef
In a revised forecast Monday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said consumers will see higher price tags on ground beef and steak, projecting 6% to 7% increases year over year. That’s up from a previous forecast of just 4.5% to 5.5% inflation for beef prices. Beef prices have surged in the last several months as supplies shrink, exports boom and grain costs soar.

2. Pork
Don’t think you can just switch from cow to pig to avoid this trend — pork could see retail price increases of as much as 7.5% over 2010 levels according to the USDA.

3. Grains
Even going vegetarian is more expensive than it was a year ago. Corn prices have doubled, from $3.49 a bushel in July to well over $7.70 currently. Wheat prices have rolled back a bit in recent weeks, but topped 2008 highs in February to set a new record and remain very high currently.

4. Gasoline
The average U.S. price of a gallon of gasoline has jumped about 12 cents over the last two weeks to $3.88, with the highest average price for gas tallying $4.27 in Chicago. This is with oil at $112 a barrel — if crude prices reach 2008 peak levels of $145, four bucks for gas may seem cheap.

5. Copper
The price of copper at the end of 2008 was just $1.30 per pound. Currently, copper is trading around $4.30 after setting a record of $4.60 in February. Unlike gold and silver, which are largely used in luxury goods or as investments, copper is used in a wide range of household items — from electrical wiring to air conditioners to water pipes. Read about how gold could hit $5,000 soon on InvestorPlace.com.

6. Diapers
Consumer-products company Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG)  said this week that list prices for Pampers are up 7% on average over last year, with even Pampers wipes up 3%. To be clear, that’s not a retail price hike, just a cost increase to stores. Retailers will decide how much of those price increases to pass along to shoppers. Kimberly-Clark (NYSE:KMB) , maker of Huggies, said Monday it plans to raise prices for similar reasons — rising costs for the petroleum products and paper pulp that go into the diapers. It will be the third such announcement for Kimberly-Clark since the middle of March.

7. Paper towels and toilet paper
If you don’t have infants, you’re not off the hook. P&G also said that Charmin toilet paper and Bounty paper towels are both listing for 5% more now with retailers and distributors than they were a year ago. KMB’s diaper price update will also be accompanied by a boost for its flagship Kleenex tissues.

8. Shipping surcharges
Freight shipper United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS)   will be hiking its fuel surcharges from 7.5% to 8.5% as of May 2 for ground freight and from 13% to 15% for air freight. That really hurts small businesses. If you are a storekeeper simply trying to keep your shelves stocked, you have no choice but to pay more and endure smaller margins — or hike prices yourself and add to this inflationary mess.

9. Wages
Perhaps the most insidious factor of our current inflationary spiral is the fact that while all these other items are costing more, household purchasing power is shrinking because wages and salaries aren’t keeping up. While the consumer price index rose 2.7% in March to clock the fastest 12-month pace since December 2009, a staggering 18.3% of personal income is now made up of food stamps while wages account for just 50.5%. That’s the lowest since the government started keeping records in 1929. Read about how inflation has helped doomed Obama to just one term on InvestorPlace.com.

Jeff Reeves is editor of InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he owned a long position in Bank of America stock. Follow him on Twitter via @JeffReevesIP and become a fan of InvestorPlace on Facebook.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 28, 2011, 11:49:08 AM
Most Americans say U.S. in recession despite data: poll
By David Morgan
WASHINGTON | Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:47am EDT




WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than half of Americans say the U.S. economy is in a recession or a depression despite official data that show a moderate recovery, according to a poll released on Thursday.

The April 20-23 Gallup survey of 1,013 U.S. adults found that only 27 percent said the economy is growing. Twenty-nine percent said the economy is in a depression and 26 percent said it is in a recession, with another 16 percent saying it is "slowing down," Gallup said.

The poll findings have a 4 percentage point margin of error, according to Gallup.

The health of the U.S. economy is expected to be a major issue as President Barack Obama, a Democrat, seeks re-election in 2012.

The government reported on Thursday that U.S. economic growth slowed more than expected to 1.8 percent in the first quarter of the year, as soaring food and gasoline prices drained consumer spending power.

A slowdown in first-quarter growth was acknowledged on Wednesday by the Federal Reserve, which described the U.S. economic recovery as proceeding at a "moderate pace." That was a step back from the "firmer footing" that Fed officials cited for the recovery in March.

The Gallup poll found that Democrats are the most likely to say the economy is growing. Forty-three percent of Democrats said the economy is in a recession or depression, 13 percent said it is slowing down and 42 percent said it is growing.

Sixty-eight percent of Republicans and supporters of the conservative Tea Party movement said the economy is in a recession or a depression. Fourteen percent of Republicans and 13 percent of Tea Party supporters said the economy is growing.

Fifty-seven percent of independent voters -- a crucial segment of the electorate for Obama's re-election bid -- said the economy is in a recession or depression and 24 percent said it is growing


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 28, 2011, 11:52:04 AM
Economic growth slows, inflation surges
By Lucia Mutikani Lucia Mutikani – 1 hr 12 mins ago



WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Economic growth braked sharply in the first quarter as higher food and gasoline prices dampened consumer spending and sent inflation rising at its fastest pace in 2-1/2 years.

Another report on Thursday showed a surprise jump in the number of Americans claiming unemployment benefits last week, which could cast a shadow on expectations for a significant pick-up in output in the second quarter.

Growth in gross domestic product slowed to a 1.8 percent annual rate after a 3.1 percent fourth-quarter pace, the Commerce Department said. Economists had expected a 2 percent pace.

With much of the pull back traced back to sharp cuts in defense spending and harsh winter weather, analysts were hopeful the economy would regain speed in the second quarter. The drop in defense spending was seen as temporary.

"Growth was disappointing given the momentum of the economy heading into the year. We are still of the belief that the economy will improve out of the soft patch through this quarter into the second half of the year," said Brian Levitt, an economist at OppenheimerFunds in New York.

Economists were encouraged that details of the report, in particular consumer spending and business outlays on software and equipment, were not as weak as they had feared and said this suggested a foundation for stronger growth was in place.

Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.

LABOR MARKET WEAKNESS?

While a 25,000 rise in claims for state jobless benefits to 429,000 last week hinted at some weakening in the labor market, analysts cautioned against reading too much into gain. They said severe weather in some parts of the country and the Easter holiday could have distorted the figure.

Still, the data suggested improvements in the labor market were still only coming grudgingly.

"The underlying downtrend in initial claims that had been in place since late last year has flattened out," said Omair Sharif, an economist at RBS in Stamford, Connecticut. But he added: "It seems a little too early to suggest that the underlying pace of layoffs has picked up."

Hiring accelerated in March and a report next week is expected to show job creation remained relatively robust in April.

MODERATE PACE

Prices for U.S. government debt rose after the data, while stocks edged lower. The weak GDP report and the Federal Reserve's stated commitment to a loose monetary policy stance after a two-day meeting on Wednesday kept the dollar near a three-year low against a basket of currencies.

The Fed on Wednesday trimmed its growth estimate for 2011 to between 3.1 and 3.3 percent from a 3.4 to 3.9 percent January projection.

Some economists felt the U.S. central bank's estimates might be a little optimistic, given the poor start to the year even though most agreed growth would soon strengthen.

Optimism the economy would find a firmer footing in the second quarter was bolstered by a report showing pending sales of previously owned homes rose 5.1 percent in March. Housing is struggling to recover and is one of the headwinds facing the economy.

Growth in the first quarter was curtailed by a sharp pull back in consumer spending, which expanded at a rate of 2.7 percent after a strong 4 percent rise in the fourth quarter.

Rising commodity prices meant consumers had less money to spend on other items. Gasoline prices remain a concern, even though they are expected to stabilize somewhat.

INFLATION RISING

The GDP report underscored the pain that strong food and gasoline prices are inflicting on households.

A inflation gauge contained in the report rose at a 3.8 percent rate -- the fastest pace since the third quarter of 2008 -- after increasing 1.7 percent in the fourth quarter.

A core price gauge, which excludes food and energy costs, accelerated to a 1.5 percent rate -- the fastest since the fourth quarter of 2009 -- from 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter. The core gauge is closely watched by Fed officials, who would like to see it closer to 2 percent.

In the first quarter, restocking by businesses picked up, with inventories increasing $43.8 billion after a $16.2 billion rise in the fourth quarter. However, the buildup was less than economists had expected and some said they looked for further inventory building to bolster growth in the second quarter.

Inventories added 0.93 percentage point to first-quarter GDP growth. Excluding inventories, the economy grew at a pedestrian 0.8 percent pace after a brisk 6.7 percent rate in the fourth quarter.

Business spending on equipment and software gained pace, but government spending suffered its deepest contraction since the fourth quarter of 1983.

Home building made no contribution, while investment in nonresidential structures dropped at its quickest pace since the fourth quarter of 2009, likely the result of bad weather.

(Additional reporting by Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Neil Stempleman)

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Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: MCWAY on April 28, 2011, 12:03:06 PM
Hmmm....mmmm....mmmmmm!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LA4xEDw7mY


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 28, 2011, 12:07:15 PM
Those poor idiot kids have no clue the damage being done to them with this crazy spenduing and WTF monetary/currency policy. 


FFFFUUUUBBBOOOOO, piss and shit be upon you!   


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 28, 2011, 12:26:13 PM
Obama Inflation OVER 15% Annual Rate, Gasoline On Way to $5/gallon: Wagging the Birth Certificate
Bloggers & Personal ^ | 28 Apr 11 | Xzins





If you think prices are rising all around you on everything, then you are correct.

Inflation rose in the first quarter at the fastest pace in over two years.

The personal consumption expenditure index rose 3.8% in the first quarter, the fastest pace since the third quarter of 2008. Over the past year, the index is up 1.6%.


The core personal consumption index, excluding volatile energy and food prices, rose 1.5% in the first quarter, the fastest since the fourth quarter of 2009. Wall Street Journal Market Watch, 28 Apr 11


Driving to, and walking through the aisles of the grocery store last week, I saw it everywhere. Meat, bread, milk, snacks...and definitely Gasoline…everything up higher.

And while Obamanomics tries to hide behind their "core" rate that excludes everything real people live on, even that was at a much higher rate of 6% annual inflation. So, the best face that can be placed on this is that everything else is soaring at 6% inflation, the everyday consumption of Americans is in the stratospheric Jimmy Carter level of 15%+.

That's why it seems that even the fewest of items placed in a shopping cart anymore total to $100+ dollars.

Who is the culprit?

1. The government is printing money faster than the NY Times produces newsprint. When playing Monopoly, if you bring in five extra games' worth of money to the board, then everyone starts bidding higher and higher on houses and hotels. Why? Because there's so much more cash and that makes each play money dollar worth less in purchasing power. America is playing with play money. Part of the price increase is caused by sellers not wanting to get stuck selling something for a dollar that’s been getting worth less and less for a couple years now.

2. Oil. Everything runs on oil and this administration refuses to let anyone drill for more. With the inflation mentioned at #1, the insistence that there be no drilling drives the price of fuel through the roof. Everyone has to account for this huge new expense. Who can fault truckers, chemical companies, and industry for passing on their costs? I can't. Already over $4 a gallon, Obama gas prices are being manipulated to $5+ by summer's end. (And manipulated back down by election time?)

3. Manipulation. Barack Obama has an incoherent foreign policy that encourages speculation. He has an incoherent economic policy that encourages financial hesitation, and thereby, joblessness. He has an incomprehensible drilling, mining, and manufacturing policy that discourages development.

One can only assume that there's some reason that Barack Obama's so-called incompetence, whether through a drilling moratorium or through a haphazard foreign policy, always benefits OPEC, China, internationalist interests, or the Muslim Brotherhood.

Obama might rail against speculators, but he has created a boom time for them with all the uncertainty he has brought about. It’s almost as if he has the interests of speculators (or just a certain group of them?) at heart. Even though he blames them, they, and their financial partners, or their handlers, keep laughing all the way to the bank.


The bottom line: if common folk can see this as crazy, that this manipulation tends to benefit certain entities and penalize others, then the pattern begins to look like the truth after a while. The statistical pattern says that OPEC, primarily Arab Oil, has benefitted tremendously. It’s almost as if he really did bow toward Abdullah.


Is Obama manipulating on purpose?


Does he really WANT higher prices?


The track record says YES.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: garebear on April 28, 2011, 12:28:43 PM
Home sales fell 9.6 pct. in February (Median home price hit 9-year low)
AP via Yahoo Finance ^ | 3/21/2011 | Derek Kravitz




WASHINGTON (AP) -- Fewer Americans bought previously occupied homes in February and those who did purchased them at steep discounts. The weak sales and rise in foreclosures pushed home prices down to their lowest level in nearly 9 years.

The National Association of Realtors said Monday that sales of previously occupied homes fell last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million. That's down 9.6 percent from 5.4 million in January. The pace is far below the 6 million homes a year that economists say represents a healthy market.

Nearly 40 percent of the sales last month were either foreclosures or short sales, when the seller accepts less than they owe on the mortgage.


(Excerpt) Read more at finance.yahoo.com ...

Have you ever considered using your law expertise as a platform to run for office?


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 28, 2011, 12:29:51 PM
I live in the Bronx.   Unless you are a communist leftist maggot like obama - you dont get elected here.   


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 28, 2011, 12:38:17 PM
By David Lightman | McClatchy Newspapers


WASHINGTON — Public disapproval of President Barack Obama's handling of the economy reached a new high in mid-April, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll, as gasoline prices neared $4 a gallon and Washington lawmakers fought a bitter battle over the federal budget.

Some 57 percent of registered voters said they disapproved of Obama's economic management, while only 40 percent approved. That's the lowest score of his presidency.

"These numbers spell political trouble," said Lee Miringoff, the director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion in New York, which conducted the survey. "To get re-elected with a 57 percent disapproval rating would be a very tall order."

Meanwhile, public pessimism is growing: Fifty-seven percent of U.S. adults said they thought the worst was yet to come for the U.S economy, up sharply from 39 percent in January. And 71 percent said the nation was still in a recession, even though the slump, which began in December 2007, officially ended in June 2009.

The survey asked 1,084 registered voters about Obama on April 10-14. The error margin is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

"Gasoline prices were taking off, and while people weren't blaming Obama or Congress for that, it certainly put people in a sour mood," Miringoff said.

Obama gave a major speech April 13 in which he laid out his economic and budget agenda in general terms. But his speech didn't change many voters' attitudes. Before the address, 58 percent disapproved of his handling of the economy; after the speech, the negative number dropped to 56 percent. Approval was 40 percent before the address, 41 percent after.

Political analysts generally regard economic conditions as a predictor of upcoming elections. Troubling signs abound. The nation's unemployment rate last month was 8.8 percent, down 1 percentage point from November but still high. The Consumer Price Index, which measures the prices of goods and services, climbed 0.5 percent last month, as gasoline prices rose for the ninth straight month.

Obama could take solace from one finding: Sixty-three percent of those surveyed said the current economic conditions were mostly something the president had inherited, while 30 percent said they were mostly the result of his policies.

Miringoff called that data "a silver lining," but added, "It's hard to paint a rosy picture" of the public's attitude toward Obama on the economy.

ON THE WEB


Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/04/27/112900/poll-obama-is-losing-publics-confidence.html#ixzz1KqfFpn7N



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 28, 2011, 12:43:07 PM
Dollar Loses More Ground [Don't look now, but.....Dollar Death Accelerating]
The Wall Street Journal ^ | 04/28/2011 | STEPHEN L. BERNARD




Dollar Loses More Ground. NEW YORK—The dollar dropped after economic indicators pointed to a dismal employment picture and slowing economic growth. The dollar has been hammered recently, losing out on interest-rate differentials and regularly hitting multiyear lows against other major currencies. Losses were especially bad Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke indicated the central bank is far from tightening monetary policy as economic growth remains slow and unemployment remains high.


(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 28, 2011, 01:00:18 PM
Pa.-based Acme to lay off 900 workers in 4 states
Lebanon (PA) Daily News ^ | April 28, 2011 | AP Staff




Acme Markets says it's laying off 900 workers at its stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. The company, which has about 14,000 employees at its 117 stores, says the layoffs will take effect May 7 and affect part-time workers, mostly those who work 12 to 16 hours a week.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports the decision comes two weeks after Acme's parent company, Minnesota-based Supervalu, reported that sales in the last quarter fell once again at its supermarket chains in the Northeast.

Dan Sanders, president of Malvern-based Acme, said in a statement that the company needed to take the action because it has more associates than it needs for the current level of sales.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 28, 2011, 01:04:27 PM
Don't Mean To Be Rude, But The Economy Sucks
Henry Blodget | Apr. 28, 2011, 11:11 AM
www.businessinsider.com




The past couple of months, a disconnect has developed between the perception of the US economy and the reality.

The perception is that everything's just fine: The continuation of a solid if unspectacular recovery that began in the summer of 2009. Stocks continue to rise. Corporate profits continue to boom. The unemployment rate continues to tick down. Wall Street continues to coin money.

But the reality is that the recovery has never been strong and that many key metrics have recently turned south--despite the fact that the government still has its foot stomped on the stimulus gas.

What metrics have turned south?

Well, first and foremost, GDP growth.

We learned this morning that the economy grew at a pathetic 1.8% in Q1. That's way below the 3%-4% rate that most economists consider normal. And it's miles below the 5%-7% growth that normally follows a recession as sharp and severe as the one we just had.

Meanwhile, the Fed still has interest rates parked at zero, and is still conducting emergency stimulus measures like QE2. And the government's huge stimulus package from 2009 is still driving spending. And we're still spending an absolutely mind-boggling ~$1.5 trillion per year more than we take in (federal deficit)--and piling up humongous debts in the process. And, needless to say, none of this spending--"stimulus" or just normal spending we can't afford--has produced the desired private-sector growth.

1.8% GDP growth in the face of massive stimulus is the equivalent of your car sputtering down the highway at 45 miles per hour while you have the gas pedal floored. You might be glad that the car hasn't broken down completely, but you certainly won't conclude that all is well. And you also might conclude--wisely--that if 45 is the best you can do with the gas pedal floored, things may be about to get a whole lot worse.

And it's not just growth that blows.

In the past few weeks, initial jobless claims have ticked back above 400,000 per week, considerably higher than economists expected. Jobless claims above 400,000 are generally considered a sign of a contracting job market, not a growing one. If the recent jobless claims trends continue, the monthly jobs figures may soon go from "okay, not great" to downright lousy again.

And then there's the unemployment rate. It's still almost 9%! Imagine if, back in 2007, someone had told you that in 2011 the unemployment rate would be 9% and that some folks would consider that encouraging. You'd have dismissed them as a flat-earther or Armageddonist. But here we are.

What else?

House prices are falling again--so quickly that, in many parts of the country, they're now setting new post-bubble lows.  Remember all the hand-wringing two years ago about how the economy would never really recover until we got a floor in house prices--and, therefore, how the government had to do everything possible to put a floor under house prices? Well, now the government appears to have given up. (And that's actually a good thing, because there's no government price intervention in history that we know of that has permanently prevented prices from reverting to the level the market will support. Governments can delay the inevitable, but they can't prevent it. And house prices are still "expensive" on a historical basis.)

Inflation is taking hold. As anyone who actually buys things knows, things cost a lot more than they did a little while ago. Things like gas (double the price of a couple of years ago, up nearly 40% this year alone), food, rent, healthcare, insurance premiums, and so on.  (Yes, houses are getting cheaper, but most people don't have to buy houses.) Ben Bernanke can talk until he's blue in the face about how there's no inflation, or shouldn't be because of the "slack" in the system, but people who actually buy things know better.  A rise in inflation means that you'll start hearing the word "stagflation" quite frequently. The word "stagflation" is not a happy word. It's the word that characterized the 1970s: Crappy economic growth combined with wild inflation.  Stagflation destroys savers and those who lived on fixed incomes (many retirees). It also punishes anyone trying to run a business. And it's hell on stock prices.

Corporate profit margins are at near-record highs, but this party may finally be over.  This morning, Procter & Gamble said that their margins are getting slammed by rising commodity prices. Like most companies, P&G will presumably try to pass these costs through to the rest of us, but given high unemployment, huge debt burdens, and crappy wage growth, it's unlikely that consumers will swallow them. So corporate profit margins, which have helped levitate the stock market for the past two years, may finally begin to compress. (Which, by the way, they always do--despite all the great arguments about why it's "different this time.")

Anything else? Yes, there are other things, too.

But the bottom line is, the economic recovery is not going well. It's going badly. And the recent signs suggest that it may be about to get worse--just as the Fed's latest emergency stimulus measure (QE2) begins to run out.

See Also: 10 Signs The Economy Is Slowing >


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 29, 2011, 05:35:40 AM
IBD Editorials Sponsored by:
. Editorial: A Tale Of Two Recessions And Two Presidents
 
Posted 04/28/2011 07:10 PM ET
 




Growth: It's been nearly two full years since the recession officially ended, and the economy is still struggling to get off the ground. It didn't have to be this way.

When the Commerce Department released its estimate for first-quarter growth — a meager 1.8% — President Obama's chief economic adviser, Austan Goolsbee, at least conceded that "faster growth is needed to replace the jobs lost in the downturn."

And granted, the economy needs to expand by at least 2.5% just to keep up with growth in the labor force. So at 1.8%, we're essentially losing ground, a fact that last week's 429,000 initial jobless claims underscores. But what Goolsbee didn't acknowledge is that the economy could be growing at a much faster rate, and would be if it weren't saddled with Obama's reckless policies.

How do we know this? Compare the two worst post-World War II recessions. Both the 1981-82 and the 2007-09 downturns were long (16 months and 18 months, respectively) and painful (unemployment peaked at 10.8% in 1981-82 and 10.1% in the last one).

What's dramatically different, however, is how each president responded.

Obama massively increased spending, vastly expanded the regulatory state, and pushed through a government takeover of health care. What's more, he constantly browbeats industry leaders, talks about the failings of the marketplace and endlessly advocates higher taxes on the most productive parts of the economy.

In contrast, Reagan pushed spending restraint, deregulated entire industries, massively cut taxes and waxed poetic about the wonders of a free economy.

The result? While the Reagan recovery saw turbocharged growth and a tumbling unemployment rate, Obama's has produced neither. Consider:

• GDP. In the seven quarters after the 1981-82 recession ended, the economy cranked out quarterly growth rates that averaged 7.1%. Under Obama, GDP growth has averaged a mere 2.8%. (See chart at right.)

• Unemployment. Under Reagan, the unemployment rate had fallen to 7.5% by this point in the recovery. Under Obama, it's still stuck at 8.8%.

• Long-term unemployment. There were far fewer long-term unemployed by this point in the Reagan recovery; just 18% of the unemployed had been without a job 27 weeks or more. Under Obama, that figure is an astonishing 45%.

• Consumer confidence. By this point in the Reagan recovery, the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index had hit 100. Today, the index stands at just 65.4.

• Deficits. Under Reagan, the federal deficit was trimmed to 4.8% of GDP by 1984. Under Obama, the deficit is expected to climb to 10.9% of GDP this year.

Obama and his defenders like to say he inherited the worst downturn since the Great Depression and that things would have been worse still had he not acted. But the recession was almost over by the time he took office — and officially over just six months after that.

So while Obama's policies had little to do with bringing an end to the Great Recession, they've had everything to do with producing what is by far the worst economic recovery in the past 70 years.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 29, 2011, 05:36:19 AM
 :D


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 29, 2011, 06:11:49 AM
Losing Faith (In The U.S. Economy)
TEC ^ | 4-29-2011



Losing Faith (In The U.S. Economy)


April 29,2011

Are the American people losing faith in the U.S. economy? The statistics that you are about to read might surprise you. Not everyone believes that the U.S. economy is dying (there are still millions out there that will swallow anything that the mainstream media tells them), but the reality is that there is a growing chunk of the population that has completely lost faith in our leaders and in our economic system.

A brand new Gallup poll has found that the number of Americans that believe that we are in a "depression" is actually larger than the number of Americans that believe that the economy is "growing". That is absolutely shocking because according to official government figures, the U.S. economy is growing right now and virtually nobody in the mainstream media or the government has used the term "depression" to describe the economic downturn that we went through recently.

In fact, according to Gallup a total of 55% of the American people believe that we are either in a recession or a depression right now. This is clear evidence that the American people are losing faith in U.S. government economic statistics and instead they are basing their opinions on what they see in their own communities.

Despite the pablum about an "economic recovery" constantly being spewed by Ben Bernanke and Barack Obama, faith in our economic system continues to decline. The truth is that the American people are not stupid. They can see what is happening to the economy.

Back when I was a teenager, one day I walked over to the local McDonald's and filled out an application and was immediately hired.

But that is not how it works today.

Recently, McDonald's made headlines when they held a National Hiring Day. Some commentators pointed to that event as evidence that the economy was recovering.

Well, you know what? McDonald's ended up receiving approximately one million applications.

So how many of those people did McDonald's hire?

They hired about 62,000 people.

That means that somewhere around 938,000 eager job applicants were turned away.

Just think about that.

Only about 6.2 percent of those that applied for a job at McDonald's were accepted.

As Joe Weisenthal of Business Insider recently pointed out, that means that Harvard now has a higher acceptance rate than McDonald's does.

Harvard accepts about 7% of those that apply to go to school there.

Who ever thought we would see the day when a higher percentage of applicants get accepted into Harvard than get hired at McDonald's?

Sadly, the number of jobs continues to shrink. The competition for good jobs has become absolutely crazy.

Only 66.8% of American men had a job last year. That was the lowest level that has ever been recorded in all of U.S. history.

So why is this happening? Well, there are a lot of reasons, but as I have written about previously, the fact that millions of our jobs are being shipped overseas is a huge factor.

Without good jobs, an increasing number of Americans are being forced to turn to government assistance in order to survive.

Today, more than 44 million Americans are on food stamps. In addition, government transfer payments now make up 18 percent of all personal income in the United States.

That is frightening.

Things have gotten so bad that now even Wal-Mart is warning that their customers are running out of money.

A large percentage of Wal-Mart customers are just surviving month to month and Wal-Mart has been noticing a huge drop off in sales towards the end of the month when their customers run out of cash. The following is what the CEO of Wal-Mart had to say about this phenomenon recently....

"Purchases are really dropping off by the end of the month even more than last year."

People are starting to get desperate. When economic times get tough, crime tends to increase. Sadly, as a report in USA Today recently noted, thefts of gasoline are increasing all over the nation.

We never had this kind of a problem back when a gallon of gas only was about a dollar a gallon.

Do you remember those days?

They weren't that long ago.

Now it takes some people over a hundred dollars to fill up their gas tanks.

Our leaders keep promising that they know what is happening and that they are going to fix things, but most Americans are not buying it. Many Americans are completely losing faith in the system altogether.

Our economic decline has been one of the things that has fueled the growth of the prepper movement. Millions of Americans have decided that they want to start becoming independent of the system. One recent article described what some residents of Colorado are doing to prepare, but the truth is that this phenomenon is happening all over the nation....

A Black Forest resident has erected a geodesic dome on her 5-acre spread to grow vegetables, keeps horses for emergency transportation, in case she can't get gasoline for her car, and plans to acquire chickens and goats as food sources.


A husband and wife who have a cabin on 100 acres of secluded land in Park County have weaned their property from the electric grid, acquired a three-year food supply and taken other measures to become self-sufficient.

Of course the mainstream media loves to portray preppers as "crazies", but as the U.S. economy continues to die it would be a bit crazy not to prepare.

No job is completely safe today. Millions of Americans that assumed that their "good jobs" would always be there have had their lives shattered over the past couple of years.

There is nothing wrong with trying to become more self-sufficient.

Everyone should be thinking about either starting up a business or developing alternative sources of income. Yes, it can be exhausting to work on a side business during evening and weekends, but the time for loafing is over. Those that are going to make it through the times ahead are those that are going to be willing to work really hard.

People need to start thinking about becoming less dependent on "the system" however they can. One way to insulate yourself against rising food prices is to learn how to grow your own food.

Even if you only have a very small amount of room you can still grow your own food. For example, there is one family that is actually producing 6000 pounds of produce on just 1/10th of an acre right in the middle of Pasadena, California.

Just because we have lost some of the basic skills that previous generations possessed doesn't mean that we can't get them back. Back during World War II, "victory gardens" enabled Americans to grow 40 percent of all the vegetables that they needed. Those gardens greatly contributed to the war effort and helped Americans get through some very difficult times.

There are a lot of preppers out there that are totally out of debt, that own their own land, that are entirely off the electrical grid and that grow most of their own food. Many Americans would look at such people as "crazies" but those preppers will be in a much better position than most people when the economy totally collapses.

Don't wait until it is too late to prepare. Millions of Americans are completely losing faith in our economic system. People are smart. They can see that we are living in the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world. They can see that the guts of our economic infrastructure are being ripped out and shredded. They can see that the number of people living in poverty continues to increase year after year. They can see the the number of good jobs continues to decrease year after year.

When you see a horrible storm coming the rational thing to do is to prepare. Just think about all of those tornadoes that ravaged the southeast U.S. the other day. Most of the people directly in the path of those tornadoes did whatever they could to survive when they realized the twisters were about to hit.

Well, a horrific economic storm is coming. Every American will be affected by this economic storm at least to some extent. We all need to prepare while we still can.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 29, 2011, 07:04:48 AM
Remember Stagflation? Well, It’s Back.
CNBC Money and Politics ^ | 04/29/2011 | Larry Kudlow




Stagflation officially returned today with a nasty GDP report that showed only 1.8 percent real growth, but 3.8 percent for the consumer spending deflator. It’s a mini version of the 1970s: low growth, higher inflation.

Looked at another way, rising inflation is coexisting with high, near-9 percent unemployment. Keynesians argue this can’t happen. They believe strong growth and too many people working leads to high inflation. But they were blown out of the water way back in the ’70s. And their view is hitting another pothole right now.

Supply-siders know that inflation is a monetary problem. Growth is caused by low tax-rate incentives. And the combination of flat tax rates and sound money could produce strong growth with no inflation. Think 1980s and 1990s.

But that’s not what we have now.

The dollar is falling relentlessly and gold is soaring. These market indicators are correctly predicting higher inflation as the Fed creates more excess money than anybody knows what to do with.

Fed head Ben Bernanke yesterday told us that low Q1 growth and high inflation will be “transitory.” How does he know this? Gold has gone up $40 since he started talking at his Wednesday press conference. It’s now at $1,536 an ounce. And the greenback keeps falling. Transitory? Actually, it looks like the whole QE2 pump-priming hasn’t stimulated economic growth, but has stimulated inflation.

And while the Bush tax cuts were extended last December, the sharp dollar decline and the resulting inflation have neutralized the positive effects of continued lower tax rates.

Once again I note the supply-side model is low tax rates and a stable dollar (backed by gold). But low tax rates and collapsing dollar is no good. Neither is overspending and over-borrowing. Nor is the new round of Obama-based tax-hike threats.


(Excerpt) Read more at cnbc.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 29, 2011, 02:40:13 PM
U.S. Treasury: China Has Decreased Its Holdings of U.S. Debt
Friday, April 29, 2011
By Terence P. Jeffrey


Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner testifying in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in 2010. (AP photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(CNSNews.com) - Mainland China has decreased its holdings of U.S. Treasury securities since last October, according to a report updated today by the U.S. Treasury Department.

Since September 2008, when they eclipsed Japan, entities in mainland China have been the largest foreign owners of U.S. government debt. But, as indicated by the Treasury Department chart linked here, Chinese ownership of U.S. Treasury securities peaked in October 2010 and has declined in each of the four most recent months reported by the Treasury Department.

At the end of October 2010, China owned 1.1753 trillion in U.S. Treasury securities. That dropped to $1.1641 trillion by the end of November, $1.1601 trillion by the end of December, $1.1547 trillion by the end of January, and $1.1541 trillion by the end of February 2011.

February is the latest month for which the Treasury has estimated foreign holdings of U.S. debt.

Back in February 2001, according to historical data reported by the Treasury, the mainland Chinese owned only $63.7 billion in U.S. debt. In the ensuing decade, the Chinese massively increased their holdings of U.S. Treasury securities, and especially in the past five years. In February 2006, China owned $318.4 billion in U.S. debt and Japan owned $656.4 billion.

In September 2008, the Chinese moved ahead of the Japanese in their U.S. debt holdings. At the end of that month, the mainland Chinese owned $618.2 billion in U.S. government debt and the Japanese owned $617.5 billion.

In the two years between September 2008 and September 2010, China increased its U.S. government debt holdings by $533.7 billion—from $618.2 billion to 1.1519 trillion. By the end of October 2010, China’s holdings of U.S. government debt had increased to their peak of 1.1753 trillion.

After that, mainland Chinese holding of U.S. government debt declined for four straight months.

Entities in Hong Kong have also been decreasing their ownership of U.S. government debt.  Hong Kong ownership of U.S. Treasury securities peaked at $152.4 billion in February 2010. By the end of February 2011, that had dropped to $124.6 billion.

In fiscal 2010—which ended on Sept. 30, 2010—the U.S. Treasury needed to redeem $7.206965 trillion in maturing U.S. Treasury securities. In order to cover the principle on those securities and borrow the money needed to cover government expenses that exceeded government revenues, the Treasury needed to turn around and sell $8.649171 trillion in U.S. Treasury securities during that fiscal year.

So far in fiscal 2011—which began on Oct. 1, 2010—the U.S. Treasury has needed to redeem $4.176308 trillion in maturing Treasury securities and sell $4.769522 in new Treasury securities.

At the end of February, according to the Treasury, the total U.S. debt was $14.194764 trillion of which $9.565541 trillion was publicly traded Treasury securities. Of those $9.565541 in public Treasury securities, foreigners owned $4.4743 trillion—or almost 47 percent.

The $1.1541 trillion in U.S. debt owned by the mainland Chinese as of the end of February equaled about 12 percent of the publicly held portion of the U.S. debt and almost 26 percent of the publicly held portion of the U.S. debt that was owned by foreign interests.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 29, 2011, 02:44:06 PM
MARKETS
APRIL 29, 2011, 5:22 P.M. ET.
Dollar Hits Weakest Level Since July 2008

BY JAVIER E. DAVID

www.wsj.com



NEW YORK—Suffering its worst monthly performance since September 2010, the dollar weakened to a new 2½-year low Friday as investors turned increasingly pessimistic about the U.S. economy and the policy prescriptions designed to improve it.

Longstanding worries among market participants about the Federal Reserve's ultra-loose monetary policy have converged with growing concerns about the widening U.S. fiscal imbalance. Both are considered legacies of crisis-era stimulus policy that has kept U.S. interest rates at rock bottom, but sent the federal debt soaring to unsustainable levels.

As a result, the dollar is hunkered at multiyear lows against most of its major counterparts, ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 29, 2011, 02:50:14 PM
Related News:Canada  · Currencies .Canadian Dollar Heads for a Third Monthly Advance on Interest-Rate Outlook
By John Detrixhe and Catarina Saraiva - Apr 29, 2011 5:16 PM ET


Canada’s dollar gained for a third straight month on speculation the Bank of Canada will raise interest rates to contain inflation before the Federal Reserve.

The loonie, as the currency is nicknamed, reached the strongest level in more than three years against its U.S. counterpart, which fell this week after Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said he was unsure when stimulus would unwind. The Canadian currency weakened earlier against most of its major counterparts as the nation’s economy unexpectedly shrank in February after four months of expansion.

“The Canadian dollar, while lagging certainly commodity peers and lagging Europe, is still outperforming the U.S dollar,” said Jack Spitz, managing director of foreign exchange at National Bank of Canada in Toronto. “The dollar continues to be a sell into the Fed, past the Fed, and much of that is driven by Bernanke’s dovish comments.”

The loonie appreciated 0.6 percent to 94.51 cents versus the greenback at 5:11 p.m. in Toronto, from 95.06 cents yesterday. It touched 94.46 cents, the strongest since Nov. 12, 2007. One Canadian dollar buys $1.0581.

The yield on June 2011 bankers’ acceptances, a barometer of short-term rate expectations, fell to 1.35 percent, from 1.36 percent yesterday, indicating investors may have tempered their anticipation for higher Canadian policy rates.

Bond Yields
Canadian government bonds advanced, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year security down two basis points, or 0.02 percentage point, to 3.2 percent. The price of the 3.5 percent security maturing in June 2020 increased 19 cents to C$102.33.

The BOC has held its target rate for overnight loans between commercial banks at 1 percent since September, when the rate increased for a third time last year. The central bank will keep its benchmark at that level during the second quarter and boost it to 1.50 percent during the third quarter, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey.

The Fed left its benchmark interest rate in a range of zero to 0.25 percent on April 27, where it’s been since December 2008, and said it will likely continue reinvesting maturing debt after its $600 billion program of bond buying expires in June.

Output in Canada’s economy fell 0.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of C$1.26 trillion ($1.32 trillion) in February, Statistics Canada said. The result was weaker than estimates of all 22 economists in a Bloomberg News survey, which had a median forecast of no change.

Annual Growth Rate
The economy grew 2.9 percent in February from the same month a year earlier, the slowest annual pace of expansion in a year, according to Statistics Canada.

“GDP was a little weaker than expected,” said Blake Jespersen, director of foreign exchange at Bank of Montreal in Toronto. “It’s looking more like September if not later for a rate hike by the Bank of Canada.”

The loonie has fallen 1.5 percent this year, according to Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted Currency Indexes, a measure of the 10 developed-nation currencies. The U.S. currency has lost 7.3 percent.

To contact the reporters for this story: John Detrixhe in New York at jdetrixhe1@bloomberg.net; Catarina Saraiva in New York at asaraiva5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dave Liedtka at dliedtka@bloomberg.net


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: garebear on April 29, 2011, 03:34:33 PM
Related News:Canada  · Currencies .Canadian Dollar Heads for a Third Monthly Advance on Interest-Rate Outlook
By John Detrixhe and Catarina Saraiva - Apr 29, 2011 5:16 PM ET


Canada’s dollar gained for a third straight month on speculation the Bank of Canada will raise interest rates to contain inflation before the Federal Reserve.

The loonie, as the currency is nicknamed, reached the strongest level in more than three years against its U.S. counterpart, which fell this week after Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said he was unsure when stimulus would unwind. The Canadian currency weakened earlier against most of its major counterparts as the nation’s economy unexpectedly shrank in February after four months of expansion.

“The Canadian dollar, while lagging certainly commodity peers and lagging Europe, is still outperforming the U.S dollar,” said Jack Spitz, managing director of foreign exchange at National Bank of Canada in Toronto. “The dollar continues to be a sell into the Fed, past the Fed, and much of that is driven by Bernanke’s dovish comments.”

The loonie appreciated 0.6 percent to 94.51 cents versus the greenback at 5:11 p.m. in Toronto, from 95.06 cents yesterday. It touched 94.46 cents, the strongest since Nov. 12, 2007. One Canadian dollar buys $1.0581.

The yield on June 2011 bankers’ acceptances, a barometer of short-term rate expectations, fell to 1.35 percent, from 1.36 percent yesterday, indicating investors may have tempered their anticipation for higher Canadian policy rates.

Bond Yields
Canadian government bonds advanced, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year security down two basis points, or 0.02 percentage point, to 3.2 percent. The price of the 3.5 percent security maturing in June 2020 increased 19 cents to C$102.33.

The BOC has held its target rate for overnight loans between commercial banks at 1 percent since September, when the rate increased for a third time last year. The central bank will keep its benchmark at that level during the second quarter and boost it to 1.50 percent during the third quarter, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey.

The Fed left its benchmark interest rate in a range of zero to 0.25 percent on April 27, where it’s been since December 2008, and said it will likely continue reinvesting maturing debt after its $600 billion program of bond buying expires in June.

Output in Canada’s economy fell 0.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of C$1.26 trillion ($1.32 trillion) in February, Statistics Canada said. The result was weaker than estimates of all 22 economists in a Bloomberg News survey, which had a median forecast of no change.

Annual Growth Rate
The economy grew 2.9 percent in February from the same month a year earlier, the slowest annual pace of expansion in a year, according to Statistics Canada.

“GDP was a little weaker than expected,” said Blake Jespersen, director of foreign exchange at Bank of Montreal in Toronto. “It’s looking more like September if not later for a rate hike by the Bank of Canada.”

The loonie has fallen 1.5 percent this year, according to Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted Currency Indexes, a measure of the 10 developed-nation currencies. The U.S. currency has lost 7.3 percent.

To contact the reporters for this story: John Detrixhe in New York at jdetrixhe1@bloomberg.net; Catarina Saraiva in New York at asaraiva5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dave Liedtka at dliedtka@bloomberg.net

What are you wearing?


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Bindare_Dundat on April 29, 2011, 05:48:11 PM
I would be very surprised if they raised interest rates any time soon. If they did it would something very insignificant.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: GigantorX on April 30, 2011, 06:49:40 AM
I would be very surprised if they raised interest rates any time soon. If they did it would something very insignificant.

Raising interest rates would cause the cost of borrowing money to skyrocket. Mortgage rates are based off of Treasury rates so those would skyrocket. Banks would probably go bankrupt....the U.S. then couldn't afford to borrow and the cost of existing debt would....well you get the point.

The Fed and the Govt. have completely boxed themselves into a corner with no way out now. They had a chance to do the right thing at the beginning but took the easy and wrong way out. Now they/we are fucked.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on April 30, 2011, 06:51:42 AM
Raising interest rates would cause the cost of borrowing money to skyrocket. Mortgage rates are based off of Treasury rates so those would skyrocket. Banks would probably go bankrupt....the U.S. then couldn't afford to borrow and the cost of existing debt would....well you get the point.

The Fed and the Govt. have completely boxed themselves into a corner with no way out now. They had a chance to do the right thing at the beginning but took the easy and wrong way out. Now they/we are fucked.

BINGO.    This is exactly what Schiff was talking about in that debate with that Columbia Econ professor debate and it went right over his head.   


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 01, 2011, 07:03:06 PM
St. Louis Fed Stunner: Admits QE May Lead To Rise Rather Than Drop In Unemployment
Zero Hedge ^ | 04/30/2011 | Tyler Durden
Posted on May 1, 2011 9:49:23 PM EDT by Qbert

It's one thing for bloggers and even various non-mainstream economists to charge the Fed with pandering exclusively to Wall Street's interests, and accuse Ben Bernanke of hypocrisy when he says that the Fed's ultimate goal is the strengthening of the economy through a decrease in unemployment (recall that one of the original two mandates of the Fed is "maximum employment"... that is until it was supplanted by the third and only one: "Russell 2000 to 2000") and caring for "lower-income households." It is something far more serious when the one doing the accusing is... the Federal Reserve. In a seminal paper which we are convinced will make the rounds the next time the puppetmaster is undergoing his periodic grilling by Congressional and Senate critters, Yi Wen of the St. Louis Fed indicates that the entire experiment in increasing the adjusted monetary base by $2 trillion in 2 years is not only not benefiting the economy, but is in fact having an adverse impact on such key economic drivers as unemployment. To wit: "permanent increases in the monetary base foreshadow eventual increases in inflation that can increase, rather than reduce, unemployment over the long term." We wonder if Bernanke knew in advance that LSAP (aka QE2) had a statistically greater chance of resulting in greater unemployment, and thus more pain for the working class, and if the only offset, a doubling in the stock market when ever more capital is diverted from organic economic growth to pursuing speculative risk, was important enough for the Fed to effective replace its employment mandate with one of stock market manipulation?

Here is how the St. Louis Fed confirms that the Chairman is nothing but a puppet in the hands of Wall Street:

The impact of LSAP programs on economic activity depends on the programs’ effects on longer-term interest rates and the responsiveness of aggregate demand to such changes. The St. Louis-based consulting and forecasting firm Macroeconomic Advisers recently estimated that the Federal Open Market Committee’s current $600 billion LSAP program likely will reduce the 10-year Treasury yield by 20 basis points, increase the eight-quarter-ahead level of real gross domestic product by 0.4 percentage points, reduce the unemployment rate by 0.2 percentage points, and increase employment by 350,000 jobs. Although analyses conducted by other institutions (such as the Boston and San Francisco Feds) have suggested slightly higher figures, the overall effect of the LSAP programs on unemployment is modest.

A less-recognized risk in LSAP programs is that permanent increases in the monetary base foreshadow eventual increases in inflation that can increase, rather than reduce, unemployment over the long term. David Ranson of Wainwright Economics has analyzed the U.S. data over the period of 1950 through 2007. Ranson divided the 57-year period into two categories: years when the monetary base grew at an above-average rate (8.1 percent) and years when it grew at a below-average rate (3.5 percent).

And the stunners:

Ironically, economic growth was higher in the years of slow money growth (3.7 percent) than it was in the years of rapid growth (3.2 percent). The same was true for industrial production. Meanwhile, the consumer price index rose 5.1 percent in years of above-average monetary growth and just 2.6 per- cent in below-average years. It is, in fact, as we have always expected: QE not only does not result in relative economic outperformence (the opposite), it simply leads to higher inflation, and subdued economic growth. And the Chairman of the Federal Reserve was not aware of this data?

And while this too is more than obvious, anyone could have foreseen the impact QE/LSAP would have on precious metals:

The gold price showed an even bigger differential, rising 12.5 percent in above-average years and just 0.6 percent in below-average years.

Perhaps the above explains why we have been bullish on the precious metals complex since March 18, 2009 (official start of QE1). Alternatively it may just be our long-running bet that Bernanke will fail in his attempt at instituting central planning effectively, and the outcome will be the end of the monetary system in its current iteration.

And before skeptics accuse the St Louis Fed, which has sometimes been defined as hawkish (although we have yet to see James Bullard vote in the "against" column during an FOMC decision), this is a finding that has been replicated elsewhere on not just one occasion.

Other recent analyses, using different tools, have reached similar conclusions. In my current research, I have esti- mated models for the period 1948:Q1 to 2008:Q2 that sug- gest that a sustained increase of 1 percentage point in the growth rate of the monetary base has almost no impact on unemployment during the initial 20 quarters but can significantly increase the unemployment rate in the longer run (say, during the subsequent 20 quarters). Extrapolated to the very long run, my analysis suggests that a sustained 1-percent-per-year faster growth of the monetary base might increase the unemployment rate by between 1.0 and 2.2 percentage points. The reason is that expected long-term inflation is bad for growth and employment.

A recent article in the American Economic Review docu- mented a similar positive relationship between longer-term inflation and the unemployment rate (Berentsen, Menzio, and Wright, 2011). These authors use a search-and-matching model to explain why longer-term inflation can increase, rather than decrease, the unemployment rate. That is, inflation reduces the demand for money and, hence, hinders trade and the probability of matches in both the goods and labor markets.

The conclusion is obvious:

In summary, the near-term effects of LSAP programs on unemployment remain uncertain. Further, caution must be exercised such that long-term inflation does not increase. More and more economic research suggests that the long- run costs of inflation, measured in welfare terms, are likely higher than previously estimated (see Wen, 2010). Fortunately, at least one recent cross-country study (Anderson, Gascon, and Liu, 2010) suggests that this long-run lesson is well understood by policymakers.

Alas, unfortunately, the author is wrong. Policymakers, neither of the fiscal nor monetary variety have any care for what the long-term costs of inflation are for the general population. The only determinant is how far is the S&P has risen in any given electoral cycle. After all it is so much easier to manipulate the stock market than the economy. Which is why Bernanke is nothing more than an enabler of market manipulative political posturing... and Wall Street greed naturally: the one certain side effect of the R2K@2K is another year of record bonuses on Wall Street.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 02, 2011, 02:04:19 PM
TREASURY TO IMPLEMENT EMERGENCY DEBT MEASURES THIS WEEK, CEILING TO BE HIT MAY 16
TBI ^ | 5-2-2011 | Joe Weisenthal



What Me Worry

Just out from the Treasury, in letter sent to Harry Reid...

The emergency measures to avoid a debt ceiling crisis begin this week.

We will hit the debt ceiling May 16.

Then, following that, emergency moves will get the country to be able to borrow until August 2.

The good news: Projected net borrowing needs for the April-June period has been reduced somewhat to $142 billion.

In the letters, says Bloomberg, Geithner writes: "Protecting America's creditwiorthiness and our economic leadership position in the world is a duty to our country that is shared by policy makers in both parties, in the legislative Branch as well as the Executive Brench... Therefore any attempt by either party to use the full faith and credit of the United States as a baraining chip to advance partisan policy agendas would be irresponsible."


(Excerpt) Read more at businessinsider.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: garebear on May 02, 2011, 02:18:01 PM
TREASURY TO IMPLEMENT EMERGENCY DEBT MEASURES THIS WEEK, CEILING TO BE HIT MAY 16
TBI ^ | 5-2-2011 | Joe Weisenthal



What Me Worry

Just out from the Treasury, in letter sent to Harry Reid...

The emergency measures to avoid a debt ceiling crisis begin this week.

We will hit the debt ceiling May 16.

Then, following that, emergency moves will get the country to be able to borrow until August 2.

The good news: Projected net borrowing needs for the April-June period has been reduced somewhat to $142 billion.

In the letters, says Bloomberg, Geithner writes: "Protecting America's creditwiorthiness and our economic leadership position in the world is a duty to our country that is shared by policy makers in both parties, in the legislative Branch as well as the Executive Brench... Therefore any attempt by either party to use the full faith and credit of the United States as a baraining chip to advance partisan policy agendas would be irresponsible."


(Excerpt) Read more at businessinsider.com ...

I can't believe you're posting while the Obamas are on Oprah.

I guess you're just DVRing it.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 03, 2011, 05:05:24 AM
US Debt Rating Should Be 'C': Independent Agency
Published: Tuesday, 3 May 2011 | 3:09 AM ET Text Size By: CNBC.com

http://www.cnbc.com/id/42871647




There have been increasing concerns about the fate of United States' prized triple-A sovereign debt rating. While Standard and Poor's recently downgraded its U.S. debt outlook to negative from stable, implying that a ratings cut could happen in two years, one independent ratings agency has given the U.S. sovereign rating a "C".



"A 'C' is equivalent to approximately a triple-B on the S&P, Moody's and Fitch scales. It's two notches above junk and one notch above the equivalent of a single A," Martin Weiss, President of Weiss Ratings, told CNBC Tuesday.

Weiss was quick to add that while the rating seems weak, the debt situation is not in a danger zone that would trigger panic, noting that there was still broad market acceptance for Treasurys.

The grade reflects the U.S. massive debt burden, low international reserves and the volatility in the American economy, he said.

The U.S. government debt is fast approaching the $14.3 trillion ceiling, with the debt-to-GDP ratio close to 100 percent. And a downgrade of U.S. Treasurys - one of the most widely held assets - could theoretically raise borrowing costs and in a worst case scenario, trigger a default on the government's debt obligations.

America's rating was ranked 33rd out of 47 nations, according to Weiss, which began tracking sovereign debt last year. France and Japan also got a "C" rating, while Only China and Thailand received an "A" rating.

Weiss Ratings based its score purely on statistics, and does not take into account qualitative factors such as political stability.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Deicide on May 03, 2011, 05:07:59 AM
US Debt Rating Should Be 'C': Independent Agency
Published: Tuesday, 3 May 2011 | 3:09 AM ET Text Size By: CNBC.com

http://www.cnbc.com/id/42871647




There have been increasing concerns about the fate of United States' prized triple-A sovereign debt rating. While Standard and Poor's recently downgraded its U.S. debt outlook to negative from stable, implying that a ratings cut could happen in two years, one independent ratings agency has given the U.S. sovereign rating a "C".



"A 'C' is equivalent to approximately a triple-B on the S&P, Moody's and Fitch scales. It's two notches above junk and one notch above the equivalent of a single A," Martin Weiss, President of Weiss Ratings, told CNBC Tuesday.

Weiss was quick to add that while the rating seems weak, the debt situation is not in a danger zone that would trigger panic, noting that there was still broad market acceptance for Treasurys.

The grade reflects the U.S. massive debt burden, low international reserves and the volatility in the American economy, he said.

The U.S. government debt is fast approaching the $14.3 trillion ceiling, with the debt-to-GDP ratio close to 100 percent. And a downgrade of U.S. Treasurys - one of the most widely held assets - could theoretically raise borrowing costs and in a worst case scenario, trigger a default on the government's debt obligations.

America's rating was ranked 33rd out of 47 nations, according to Weiss, which began tracking sovereign debt last year. France and Japan also got a "C" rating, while Only China and Thailand received an "A" rating.

Weiss Ratings based its score purely on statistics, and does not take into account qualitative factors such as political stability.


But we got Osama, all out problems have been solved.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 04, 2011, 09:44:39 AM
..FOREX-U.S. economic data pushes dollar down vs euro, yen

By Steven C. Johnson | Reuters – 25 minutes ago




EmailPrint......* Weak U.S. jobs, services data adds to dollar's woes

* Euro hits 17-month high but fades ahead of ECB meeting

* Dollar at 6-week low vs yen; high-yield FX struggles

* ECB still seen outpacing Fed on rate hikes (Recasts, updates prices, adds U.S. data, comment)

NEW YORK, May 4 (Reuters) - The dollar fell to a fresh three-year low on Wednesday and the euro briefly rose above $1.49 as weaker-than-expected U.S. employment data convinced investors that U.S. interest rates would remain low this year.

The yen also hit a six-week high against the dollar after data showed the pace of growth in the dominant U.S. services sector also slowed unexpectedly in April, another sign the U.S. economy may be hitting a soft patch. See [ID:nN04186623]

With markets worried about a yawning U.S. budget deficit, traders said signs of slower growth will only add to trouble for the dollar, which fell to a three-year low against major currencies Wednesday. It has lost 7.7 percent in 2011. <.DXY>

"The dollar got beat up pretty badly against the euro," said Firas Askari, head of foreign exchange trading at BMO Capital Markets. "The U.S. fiscal situation is a concern. Now it seems the U.S. economy isn't just tepid but actually cooling off again. That's not encouraging."

But Askari and others said concerns about slower U.S. growth also dulled appetite for commodities and higher-yield assets for fear a U.S. slump would reverberate globally.

That sent the safe-haven Swiss franc to a record high against the greenback and drove the U.S. currency up against the Canadian dollar . Canada's economy is heavily depend on exports to its southern neighbor.

EURO SUPPORT

The euro remained fairly well supported in anticipation of higher euro zone interest rates and strong sovereign demand. Investors brushed off news that Portugal had become the third euro zone country in the last year to need a bailout and drove the euro to $1.4939, a 17-month high. It later eased to $1.4860 , up 0.3 percent and about a cent above the day's low.

Traders said a move above $1.50 was likely but would probably have to wait until after Thursday's European Central Bank meeting, which should offer clues on future rate hikes.

The ECB raised rates in April for the first time since 2008 and is expected to do so again this year to tame inflation, even as higher rates make it more difficult for countries such as Portugal to service their debts. [ID:nLDE7422CB]

"The currency market seems to have learnt to live with the struggles of the peripheral euro zone nations." said Audrey Childe-Freeman, currency strategist at JP Morgan Private Bank.

Markets do not expect the Fed to raise rates from near zero until the middle of 2012. <0#FF:>

YEN STRENGTHENS

The dollar fell 0.3 percent to 80.68 yen . If it falls further, analysts said it could put markets on alert for official intervention to slow the pace of yen gains.

Major central banks actively sold the yen earlier this year after it hit a record high against the dollar. A strong yen could hurt Japan's export-led economy as it struggles with slow growth and the aftermath of March's earthquake and tsunami.

"People are watching that 80 level, which isn't very far away," said BNY Mellon strategist Michael Woolfolk.

The Australian dollar fell 0.8 percent to $1.0754, retreating from a post-float high above $1.10 as a decline in silver weakened demand for commodity-sensitive currencies.

Some gauges of market positioning suggest speculators and hedge funds are heavily short the dollar, leaving open the possibility of more position unwinding.

But the U.S. dollar has been unable to build on short-covering support seen in past days, and investors are likely to look for fresh selling opportunities.

"There are still no big incentives to go short euros," said Roberto Mialich, strategist at Unicredit in Milan. "At the end of the day, the dollar will be sold again, and it's just a matter of time for a test of $1.50." (Additional reporting by Naomi Tajitsu in London; Editing by Andrea Ricci)
..


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 04, 2011, 10:36:35 AM
US Treasury Tells Lawmakers It Needs $2 Trillion In Debt Capacity (to fund the US to end of 2011)
Zero Hedge ^ | May 4, 2011 | Tyler Durden





Reuters reports that the US Treasury has informed lawmakers it needs a $2 trillion debt limit increase to operate... until the end of 2012. Better stated, this is 112% of US GDP (which will soon be declining). This is precisely as Zero Hedge speculated. We hope PIMCO will be swayed soon enough to buy all this extra debt about to start coming down Geithner's conveyor chute. But yes, the Fed will most certainly not be needed to monetize this extra debt: Japan, Europe and Libya have it covered. That said, we don't know if Libyan rebels will have the capacity to monetize the $3 trillion in debt in 2013, $4 trillion in 2014, and so forth. The pattern is clear.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 04, 2011, 06:49:18 PM
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Smithfield CEO: Higher Food Prices Are Here To Stay
TWS ^ | Phoenix Capital Research
Posted on May 4, 2011 9:47:32 PM EDT by blam

Smithfield CEO: Higher Food Prices Are Here To Stay

Phoenix Capital Research
April 4, 2011

Here’s a zinger of a news story that most commentators haven’t bothered to take note of…

The CEO of Smithfield Farms, the largest pork producer in the US. Among other things he said:

“Maybe to someone in the upper incomes it doesn’t matter what the price of a pound of bacon is, or what the price of a ham, or the price of a pound of pork chops is,” he says. “But for many of the customers we sell to, it really does matter.” Workers can share cars when the price of oil rises, he quips, but “you can’t share your food.”

Mr. Pope also worries about the impact on farmers, who are leveraging up operations to afford the ever-rising price of land and fertilizer that has resulted from the increased corn demand. “There are record prices for livestock but farmers are exiting the business!” he exclaims. “Why? Farmers know they won’t make money.”

Weather is a factor, too. “We’ve had the luxury for the last three years of extremely good corn crops, with high yields and good growing conditions. We are just one bad weather event away from potentially $10 corn, which once again is another 50% increase in the input cost to our live production.”

…Not all companies will survive this economic whirlwind. Mr. Pope recalls what happened the last time there was a surge in corn prices, in 2008: “The largest chicken processor in the United States, Pilgrim’s Pride, filed for bankruptcy.” They “couldn’t raise prices, so their cost of production went up dramatically.” Could it happen again? “It darn well could!” Mr. Pope exclaims.

…Mr. Pope says the “losers” here “are the consumer, who’s going to have to pay more for the product, and the livestock farmer who’s going to have to buy high-priced grain that he can’t afford because he’s stretching his own lines of credit. The hog farmer . . . is in jeopardy of simply going out of business ’cause he doesn’t have the cash liquidity to even pay for the corn to pay for the input to raise the hog. It’s a dynamic that we can’t sustain.”

So here’s a CEO, someone with actual business experience (not some moron academic who’s never run a business a day in his life) telling us the following:

* Food prices are up a lot and going higher in the future.

* Despite high food prices, farmers are quitting farming (lower supplies are coming).

* Food companies will be going bankrupt (even lower supplies are coming).

In other words, we are rapidly heading into a food crisis. Food prices are NOT going to be coming down. And we’re going to be seeing food shortages in the US in the coming months.

Smart folks are already preparing their families and portfolios for what’s to come.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Click to Add Topic
KEYWORDS: food; inflation; prices; shortages; Click to Add Keyword
 
Woo hoo!! We need your help to keep the lights on!!


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: GigantorX on May 05, 2011, 05:31:45 AM
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stocks-stung-by-economic-reports-2011-05-04?dist=afterbell


Data disappoints

The Institute for Supply Management said its services index declined to 52.8 last month from 57.3 in March, missing analysts’ expectations. Read more about ISM data.

“Generally speaking, data such as this corroborate our more cautious stance entering the year and should further push to the sidelines those expecting 4% growth or more this year,” said Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak & Co.

The ISM report was the day’s second disappointment for economic data. The first was a 179,000 increase in private-sector payrolls estimated by Automated Data Processing Inc. ADP -0.04%  . Economists were expecting a gain closer to 200,000. Read about ADP report.

Decliners outpaced gainers more than 2 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange, where 1.1 billion shares traded.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ouch, not good.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: GigantorX on May 05, 2011, 05:52:42 AM
http://www.zerohedge.com/article/initial-claims-474k-bring-out-qe3[/b]]http://www.zerohedge.com/article/initial-claims-474k-bring-out-qe3 (http://[b)

Not good, not good at all.

-Previous revised upward to 431k
-Current report well above expectations at 471k


Not good.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 05, 2011, 06:18:05 AM
Hyperinflation And Double-Dip Recession Ahead
TMO ^ | 4-3-2011 | TGR/John Williams


Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011 9:25:25 AM by blam

Hyperinflation And Double-Dip Recession Ahead

Economics / HyperInflation
May 03, 2011 - 04:22 AM
By: The Gold Report


Economic recovery? What economic recovery? Contrary to popular media reports, government economic reporting specialist and ShadowStats Editor John Williams reads between the government-economic-data lines. "The U.S. is really in the worst condition of any major economy or country in the world," he says. In this exclusive interview with The Gold Report, John concludes the nation is in the midst of a multiple-dip recession and headed for hyperinflation.

The Gold Report: Standard & Poor's (S&P) has given a warning to the U.S. government that it may downgrade its rating by 2013 if nothing is done to address the debt and deficit. What's the real impact of this announcement?

John Williams: S&P is noting the U.S. government's long-range fiscal problems. Generally, you'll find that the accounting for unfunded liabilities for Social Security, Medicare and other programs on a net-present-value (NPV) basis indicates total federal debt and obligations of about $75 trillion. That's 15 times the gross domestic product (GDP). The debt and obligations are increasing at a pace of about $5 trillion a year, which is neither sustainable nor containable. If the U.S. was a corporation on a parallel basis, it would be headed into bankruptcy rather quickly.

There's good reason for fear about the debt, but it would be a tremendous shock if either S&P or Moody's Investor Service actually downgraded the U.S. sovereign-debt rating. The AAA rating on U.S. Treasuries is the benchmark for AAA, the highest rating, meaning the lowest risk of default. With U.S. Treasuries denominated in U.S. dollars and the benchmark AAA security, how can you downgrade your benchmark security? That's a very awkward situation for rating agencies. As long as the U.S. dollar retains its reserve currency status and is able to issue debt in U.S. dollars, you'll continue to see a triple-A rating for U.S. Treasuries. Having the U.S. Treasuries denominated in U.S. dollars means the government always can print the money it needs to pay off the securities, which means no default.

TGR: With the U.S. Treasury rated AAA, everything else is rated against that. But what if another AAA-rated entity is about to default?

JW: That's the problem that rating agencies will have if they start playing around with the U.S. rating. But there's virtually no risk of the U.S. defaulting on its debt as long as the debt's denominated in dollars. Let's say the U.S. wants to sell debt to Japan, but Japan doesn't like the way the U.S. is running fiscal operations. It can say, "We don't trust the U.S. dollar. We'll lend you money, but we'll lend it in yen." Then, the U.S. has a real problem because it no longer has the ability to print the currency needed to pay off the debt. And if you're looking at U.S. debt denominated in yen, most likely you would have a very different and much lower rating.

TGR: Is there a possibility that people would not buy U.S. debt unless it's in their currency?

JW: It is possible lenders would not buy the Treasuries unless denominated in a strong and stable currency. As the USD loses its value and becomes less attractive, people will increasingly dump dollar-denominated assets and move into currencies they consider safer. And you'll see other things; OPEC might decide it no longer wants to have oil denominated in U.S. dollars. There's been some talk about moving it to some kind of basket of currencies—something other than the U.S. dollar, possibly including gold. This would be devastating to the U.S. consumer. You'd get a double whammy from an inflation standpoint on oil prices in the U.S. because the dollar would be shrinking in value against that basket of currencies.

TGR: Different countries are starting to discuss the creation of an alternative to the USD as reserve currency. How rapidly could an alternative currency appear?

JW: That would involve a consensus of major global trading countries; but just how that would break remains to be seen. Let's say OPEC decides it no longer wants to accept dollars for oil. Instead, it wants to be paid in yen. It's done. It's not a matter of creating a new currency—it's a matter of how things get shifted around.

TGR: What other commodities or monetary issues would that create?

JW: Again, the dollar's weakness is doubly inflationary. It is the biggest factor behind the ongoing rise in oil prices. Let's say you're a Japanese oil purchaser. Oil, effectively, is purchased at a discount in a yen-based environment due to the dollar's weakness. Usually, the market doesn't let such advantages last very long. As the dollar weakens, you see upside pressure on oil prices. If, hypothetically, you're pricing oil in yen, there's no reason for anybody to hold the USD. The dollar would sell off more rapidly against the yen and oil inflation would be even higher in a dollar-denominated environment.

TGR: You've mentioned that hyperinflation will happen as soon as 2014. If that is true, wouldn't OPEC want to shift off dollar pricing as quickly as possible?

JW: From a purely financial standpoint, that would make sense. Other factors are at play, though, including political, military and unstable times in both North Africa and the Middle East. Those who are able to get out of dollars, I think, will do so rapidly and as smoothly as possible.

TGR: And how will they do that?

JW: They will sell their dollar-denominated assets. They will convert dollars to other currencies. They will buy gold. Generally, they will dump whatever they hold in dollars and sell the dollar-denominated assets they don't want. There's a market for them; it's just a matter of pricing. As the pressure mounts to get out of the USD, the pricing of dollar-denominated assets will fall, which in turn would intensify that selling. The dollar selling will intensify domestic U.S. inflation, which is one factor that picks up and feeds off itself and will help to trigger the hyperinflation.

TGR: The U.S., even in recession, is still the largest consuming economy. If the U.S. continues in, or goes into a deeper, recession, doesn't that impact the rest of the world?

JW: If the U.S. is in a severe recession, it will have a significant negative economic impact on the global economy. That doesn't necessarily affect the relative values of other currencies to the USD. If you look at the dollar against the stronger currencies, a wide variety of factors are in effect—including relative economic strength. The U.S. is probably going to have an economy as bad as any major country will have, with higher relative inflation. The weaker the relative economy and the stronger the relative inflation, the weaker will be the dollar. Relative to fiscal stability, the worse the fiscal circumstance in the U.S., the weaker is the dollar. Relative to trade balance, the bigger the trade deficit is, the weaker the currency. As to interest rates, the lower the relative interest rates in the U.S., the weaker will be the dollar.

Part of the weakness in the dollar now is due to the way the world views what's happening in Washington and the ability of the government to control itself. That's a factor that may have forced S&P to make a comment. So, even having a weaker economy in Europe would not necessarily lead to relative dollar strength.

TGR: If the U.S. experiences a continued, or even greater, recession, doesn't that impact spill over into Canada?

JW: The Canadian economy is closely tied to the U.S. economy, and bad times here will be reflected in bad times in Canada. However, I'm not looking for a hyperinflation in Canada. Its currency will tend to remain relatively stronger than the U.S. dollar. Canada is more fiscally sound; it generally has a better trade picture and has a lot of natural resources. Keep in mind that economic times tend to get addressed by private industry's creativity and, thus, new markets can be developed. For instance, you're already seeing significant shifts of lumber sales to China instead of to the U.S.

TGR: What about the effect on other countries?

JW: The world economy is going to have a difficult time. You do have ups and downs in the domestic, as well as the global, economy. People survive that. They find ways of getting around problems if a market is cut off or suffers. I view most of the factors in Canada, Australia and Switzerland as being much stronger than in the U.S. Even when you look at the euro and the pound, they're generally stronger than in the U.S. Japan is dealing with the financial impacts of the earthquake. There's going to be a lot of rebuilding there. But, generally, it's a more stable economy with better fiscal and trade pictures. I would look for the yen to continue to be stronger. Shy of any short-term gyrations, the U.S. is really in the worst condition of any major economy and any major country in the world and, therefore, in a weaker currency circumstance.

TGR: Then why are media analysts talking about the U.S. being in a recovery?

JW: You're not getting a fair analysis. There's nothing new about that. No one in the popular media predicted the recession that was clearly coming upon us, and the downturn wasn't even recognized until well after the average guy on Main Street knew things were getting bad. We have some particularly poor-quality economic reporting right now. The economy has not been as strong as it advertised. Yes, there has been some upside bouncing in certain areas, but it's largely tied to short-lived stimulus factors.

Let's look at payroll numbers and the way those are estimated. In normal economic times, seasonal factors and seasonal adjustments are stable and meaningful. What's happened is that the downturn has been so severe and protracted it has completely skewed the seasonal-adjustment process. It's no longer meaningful, nor are estimates of monthly changes in many series. The markets are flying blind—it's unprecedented, in terms of modern reporting.

Are we really seeing a surge in retail sales? If so, you should be seeing growth in consumer income or consumer borrowing—but we're not seeing that. The consumer is strapped. An average consumer's income cannot keep up with inflation. The recent credit crisis also constrained consumer credit. Without significant growth in credit or a big pick-up in consumer income, there's no way the consumer can sustain positive economic growth or personal consumption, which is more than 70% of the GDP. So, you haven't started to see a shift in the underlying fundamentals that would support stronger economic activity. That's why you're not going to have a recovery; in fact, it's beginning to turn down again as shown in the housing sales volume numbers, which are down 75% from where it was in normal times.

TGR: But we were in a housing boom. Doesn't that make those numbers reasonable?

JW: Housing starts have never been this low. Right now, they are running around 500,000 a year. We're at the lowest levels since World War II—down 75% from 2006—and it's getting worse. I mean the bottom bouncing has turned down again. We're already seeing a second dip in the housing industry. There's been no recovery there.

In March, all the gain in retail sales was in inflation. Retail sales are turning down. You're going to see a weaker GDP number for Q111. The GDP number is probably the most valueless of the major series put out; but, as the press will have to report, growth will drop from 3.1% in Q410 to something like 1.7% in Q111.

TGR: You've stated that the most significant factors driving the inflation rate are currency- and commodity-price distortions—not economic recovery. Why is that distinction important?

JW: The popular media have stated that the only time you have to worry about inflation is when you have a strong economy, and that a strong economy drives inflation. There's such a thing as healthy inflation when it comes from a strong economy. I would much rather be in an economy that's overheating with too much demand and prices that rise. That's a relatively healthy inflation. Today, the weak dollar has spiked oil prices. Higher oil prices are driving gasoline prices higher—the average person is paying a lot more per gallon of gas. For those who can't make ends meet, they cut back in other areas. The inflation of Q410, which is now running at an annualized pace of 6%, was mostly tied to the prices of gasoline and food.

You also have higher food prices. It's not due to stronger food or gasoline demand—it's due to monetary distortions. Unemployment is still high, even if you believe the numbers. I'll contend the economy really isn't recovering. At the same time, you're seeing a big increase in inflation that's killing the average guy.

TGR: Why isn't there more pressure on the U.S. government to reduce the debt deficit?

JW: When you get into areas like debt and deficit, it's a little difficult to understand. The average person, though, should be feeling enough financial pain that political pressure will tend to mount before the 2012 election; but whether or not the average person will take political action remains to be seen. I don't think you have until 2012 before this gets out of control and there's hyperinflation. It could go past that to 2014, but we're seeing all sorts of things happening now that are accelerating the inflation process.

TGR: Like the dollar at an all-time low.

JW: If you compare the U.S. dollar against the stronger currencies, such as the Australian dollar, Canadian dollar and Swiss franc, you're looking at historic lows. You're not far from historic lows in the broader dollar measure.

TGR: In your April 19 newsletter, you stated, "Though not yet commonly recognized, there is both an intensifying double-dip recession and a rapidly escalating inflation problem. Until such time as financial market expectations catch up with the underlying reality, reporting generally will continue to show higher-than-expected inflation and weaker-than-expected economic results." What do you mean by "until such time as financial market expectations catch up with the underlying reality?"

JW: A lot of people look closely at and follow the consensus of economists, which is looking at (or at least still touting) an economic recovery with contained inflation. I'm contending that the underlying reality is a weaker economy and rising inflation. I think the expectation of rising inflation is beginning to sink in. Given another month or two, I think you'll find all of a sudden the economists making projections will start lowering their economic forecasts. Instead of looking at half-percent growth in industrial production, they'll be expecting it to be flat; if it comes in flat, it will be a consensus—and the markets will be pleased it wasn't worse in consensus. But the consensus outlook will have shifted toward a more negative economic outlook.

TGR: Do you think economists will shift their outlooks before we get into hyperinflation or a depression?

JW: In terms of economists who have to answer to Wall Street, work for the government or hold an office like the Federal chairman, by and large, they'll err on the side of being overly optimistic. People prefer good news to bad news. If Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said we were headed into a deeper recession, it would rattle the market. People on Wall Street want to have a happy sales pitch. What results may have little to do with underlying reality.

TGR: In your April 15 newsletter, you mentioned that a signal of an unfolding double-dip recession is based on the annual contraction of the M3, which was the Fed's broadest measure of money supply until it ceased publishing it in 2006. Recent estimates show that the annual contraction of M3 went down from 4.3 in February to 3.6 in March. Is this good news?

JW: No. It doesn't have any particular significance as a signal for the economy. You do have recessions that start without M3 going negative year over year. In the last several decades, every time the M3 went negative, there followed a recession—or an intensifying downturn—if a recession was already underway. If you tighten up liquidity, you tend to tighten up business conditions. Again, though, you've had recessions without those signals. When it goes positive, it does not signal an upturn in the economy. It doesn't make any difference if it continues negative for a year or two, or if it's negative for three months. The point is—when it turns negative, that's the signal for the recession.

We had a signal back in December 2009, which would have indicated a downturn sometime in roughly Q310. We already were in a recession at that point. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the defining authority in timing of the U.S. business cycle, the last recession ended in June 2009. So, this current recession will be recognized as a double-dip recession. The Bureau doesn't change its timing periods.

I'll contend that we're really seeing reintensification of the downturn that began in 2007. Although it's not obvious in the headline numbers of the popular media, you'll find that September/October 2010 is when the housing market started to turn down again. That is beginning to intensify. We'll see how the retail sales look when they're revised. When all the dust settles, I think you'll see that the economy did start to turn down again in latter 2010. Somewhere in that timeframe, they’ll start counting the second or next leg of a multiple-dip recession.

TGR: Does M3 have anything to do with calculating potential inflation or hyperinflation?

JW: It does; but when you start looking at the inflation picture, you also have to consider that we are dealing with the world's reserve currency and the volume of dollars both outside and inside the U.S. system. Right now, M3 is estimated at somewhat shy of $14 trillion. You have another $7 trillion outside the U.S., which is available for overnight liquidation and dumping into the U.S. markets. It's not easy to measure how much is out there, but that has to be taken into account to assess the money supply related to inflation. Again, that's where the Fed chairman's policies come into play.

Efforts have been afoot to weaken the U.S. dollar. Usually with the weakening of the U.S. dollar, you see increased repatriation of dollars from outside the system. If everyone is happy holding the dollars, the flows can be static; but when they start shifting and the dollars are repatriated, you begin to have currency problems. That's when you have the money supply and the inflation problems we're beginning to see.

TGR: This has been very informative, John. Thank you for your time.



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 05, 2011, 06:29:50 AM
Jobless claims hit 8-month high, rises 43,000 to a seasonally adjusted 474,000!
Reuters ^ | 05/05/2011 | Lucia Mutikani





(Reuters) - The number of Americans filing for jobless benefits rose to an eight-month high last week and productivity growth slowed in the first quarter, clouding the outlook for an economy that is struggling to gain speed.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 43,000 to a seasonally adjusted 474,000, the highest since mid-August, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

Claims were pushed up by factors ranging from spring break layoffs to the introduction of an emergency benefits program.

Economists had expected claims to fall to 410,000.

A second report from the department showed nonfarm productivity increased at a 1.6 percent annual rate, braking from a 2.9 percent pace in the fourth quarter. The growth pace was above economists' expectations for 1 percent.

"I think we're in a situation where the markets and the Fed have been too optimistic," said Bob Andres, chief investment strategist and economist at Merion Wealth Partners in Berwyn, Pennsylvania.

"I don't think we're going to fall off a cliff but the road to real recovery and full unemployment is going to take a long time, and people ought to get back into that mode."

U.S. stock index futures extended losses after the jobless claims data, while government debt prices touched session highs the data. The dollar extended losses against the yen, but rose against the euro.

EMPLOYMENT GROWTH SEEN SLOWING

The claims data falls outside the survey period for the government's closely watched employment report for April, which will be released on Friday. Nonfarm payrolls increased 186,000 last month, according to a Reuters survey, after rising by 216,000 in March -- which was the most in 10 months.


(Excerpt) Read more at reuters.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 05, 2011, 08:31:50 AM
.World Food Prices Rise to Near-Record High as Inflation Speeds Up, UN Says
By Rudy Ruitenberg - May 5, 2011 6:44 AM ET





Corn has almost doubled in the past 12 months. Photographer: Nadine Hutton/Bloomberg

 
 Play VideoMay 4 (Bloomberg) –- Peter Hickson, a commodities strategist at UBS Ltd., talks about the outlook for metal and energy prices. He speaks with Maryam Nemazee on Bloomberg Television’s “The Pulse.” (Source: Bloomberg)

World food prices rose to near a record in April as grain costs advanced, adding pressure to inflation that is accelerating from Beijing to Brasilia and spurring central banks to raise interest rates.

An index of 55 commodities rose to 232.1 points from 231 points in March, the United Nations’ Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization said in a report on its website today. The gauge climbed to an all-time high of 237.2 in February before dropping 2.6 percent in March.

The cost of living in the U.S. rose at its fastest pace since December 2009 in the 12 months ended in March, the same month in which Chinese consumer prices rose by the most since 2008. The European Central Bank raised interest rates on April 7, joining China, India, Poland and Sweden in a bid to control inflation partly blamed on food costs. Costlier food also contributed to riots across northern Africa and the Middle East that toppled leaders in Egypt and Tunisia this year.

“There seems to be some easing for a lot of commodities, but whether this is demand rationing, we have to wait and see,” Abdolreza Abbassian, a senior economist at the FAO, said before the report. “If the weather is good, if plantings expand, I think we could see some relief in food prices.”

Sugar prices slumped 18 percent in New York last month, while milk futures fell 1.8 percent in Chicago, U.S. wholesale beef prices dropped 3.4 percent and pork declined 2.2 percent. Wheat prices rose 5 percent in Chicago after falling the previous two months and corn jumped 9.1 percent.

Corn Planting

Corn has almost doubled in the past 12 months on speculation that more planting in the U.S., the world’s largest grower, won’t be sufficient to rebuild global stocks. Wheat surged 57 percent over the same period and soybeans gained 39 percent as flooding ruined crops in Canada and Australia and drought reduced harvests in Russia and Europe.

Of the grains, corn “is the most worrisome,” Abbassian said in a statement. “We would need above-average, if not record, yields in the U.S.,” however, “plantings so far have been delayed considerably due to cool and wet conditions on the ground,” he said.

The FAO’s gauge of grain prices, which account for 27 percent of the overall index, jumped to its highest level since June 2008, advancing to 265.1 points in April from 251.2 the previous month.

Dry Weather

World grain stocks will probably slide for a second year in the 12 months through June 2012 as corn consumption outpaces production and dry weather hurts wheat prospects in the U.S. and the European Union, the International Grains Council said in a report April 20.

“With demand continuing strongly, prospects for a return to more normal prices hinge largely on how much production will increase and how much grain reserves are replenished in the new season,” David Hallam, the director of FAO’s Trade and Market division, said in a statement.

The FAO’s food-price index fell for eight months in a row after reaching its previous peak in June 2008, a situation that probably won’t be repeated this year, Concepcion Calpe, an economist at the UN agency, said last month. “Very strong” demand for food, feed and biofuel may mean prices will climb in coming months, she said.

Meat Prices

The index of meat prices, which make up 35 percent of the overall index, was little changed at 172.8, up 0.5 percentage point from the March level.

The FAO index of sugar prices fell to 347.8 points, the lowest level in seven months, from 372.3 in March. Cooking-oil prices slipped to 259.1 points in April from 259.9, while the dairy index fell to 228.7 from 234.4 in March.

Food output will have to climb by 70 percent from 2010 to 2050 as the world population swells to 9 billion and rising incomes boost meat and dairy consumption, the FAO forecasts. Producing 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of pork can take 3.5 kilograms of feed, U.S. Department of Agriculture data shows.

About 44 million people have been pushed into poverty since June by the “dangerous levels” of food prices, World Bank President Robert Zoellick said in February. Another 10 million may join them should the UN food index rise another 10 percent, the World Bank said April 16. The number of hungry people in the world globally declined last year to 925 million from more than 1 billion in 2009, according to the FAO.

“A sliding dollar and increased oil prices are contributing to high food-commodity prices,” Hallam said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at rruitenberg@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 06, 2011, 07:23:43 AM
Why the weak dollar isn't fixing the economy
Business Insider ^ | 05/06/2011 | Joe Weisenthal




A disappointment in Q1 was the relatively modest growth of US exports, confounding economists who might have assumed that the weak dollar would rectify that problem.

As explained in his latest FX Focus, Citi's Steven Englander points out that the connection between a weak currency and strong exports is dicey at best.

Here are the three main reasons why:

1) It may be small beer in the big picture. Productivity changes and the regulatory environment among other factors may in practice matter more than measured shifts. EM countries climbing up the quality ladder may matter more for growth in export markets than moves in the exchange rates.

2) How fast your exports grow also depends on how fast your export markets grow and how sensitive your export destinations are to price moves in your exports

3) Causality is uncertain. Sometimes the causal channel is that capital inflows will make a currency stronger and weaken exports. Sometimes the causal channel is that improved competitiveness will increase exports and simultaneously put upward pressure on the currency. Sometimes a combination of both forces is at play.

This chart is the killer. There's just no correlation between US "competitiveness" (blue) and export performance.


(Excerpt) Read more at businessinsider.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 06, 2011, 07:27:36 AM
As for the so called great jobs number today - 62,000 of those jobs were a result of the mcdonalds hiring.   


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: GigantorX on May 06, 2011, 07:34:36 AM
As for the so called great jobs number today - 62,000 of those jobs were a result of the mcdonalds hiring.   

175,000 of the 244k were from the "Birth/Death Adjustment"

So that leaves around....oh 7k actual jobs?

And the number of people not considered in the labor pool also increased to another historic high.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 06, 2011, 07:37:59 AM
The top five states for business in 2011, according to the magazine:


1) Texas

2) North Carolina

3) Florida

4) Tennessee

5) Georgia

The five worst states:

46) Michigan

47) New Jersey

48) Illinois

49) New York

50) California


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 06, 2011, 07:50:12 AM
As People Not In Labor Force Hit New Record, Those Who "Want A Job Now" Jump By 232,000 In One Month
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/06/2011 09:21 -0400
www.zerohedge.com
BLSBureau of Labor Statistics




Another observation from today's BLS data: while the labor participation rate may have remained flat, the total number of persons not in the labor force as an absolute number just hit a new all time record of 86.248 million, higher than the previous record hit in February of 86.216 million. And just as relevantly, the total number of "people who want a job now" jumped by 232,000 from March to April to 6.482 million, just short of the previous record of 6.643 million. Can someone please redirect all these people to the minimum wage, part time jobs that just opened up at US fast food retailers please?


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 06, 2011, 09:41:08 AM
Morning Jay: If Our 'Food Stamp Recovery' Persists, Obama Will Lose Big
Jay Cost
May 6, 2011 6:00 AM


I have noticed something unsettling in my own life lately: I know a lot of people who are on food stamps or some kind of extraordinary government assistance. The count right now stands around 10 people, which is a lot for a small town denizen such as myself.

That is a personal reminder of a very serious, yet rarely discussed economic, social, and indeed political problem: the fact that better than one out of seven Americans today requires government help to put food on the table.

The following graph is only for the hale and hearty:



The start date of this heartbreaking graph is important – June, 2009 is the point at which, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the economy hit bottom and began to recover.

What we see in this graph is one example of a persistent feature of the recovery to date. On the top-line of the economic data, it often appears as though we have filled in the hole that was dug by the Great Recession. Check out this graph of personal income per capita to appreciate that. However, it is largely an illusion, a product of deficit-financed government spending – in the form of things like food stamps, extraordinary unemployment benefits, and the relatively stable federal employment situation.

Call it the American "food stamp recovery:" take away the government supports, and the economic picture looks very bleak indeed. Two sobering features stand out.

First, the ability of the private sector to provide people with a stable standard of living is in a long-term decline, one that has only eased, not reversed, in recent months. The following graph captures this phenomenon by tracking real wages per capita derived from the private sector.



What we see here is that the private sector wages and salaries are actually at a thirteen-year low point when measured on a per capita basis, and the most recent reading (from Quarter I of 2011) showed a continued decline. The only “good” news is that the slope of the descent has eased.

Second, the empty spot in the national wallet generated by the breakdown of private wealth has been filled by a socialization of personal income directed by the government. The following graph tracks the share of personal income that comes from either government transfer payments or government salaries.



Yikes.

All of this leads to the next point. This has been the worst economic recovery in generations, at least as it is felt by the average American. Let’s be precise in our language here: we’re not talking about the recession itself; we’re talking about the recovery, which has entirely been on Barack Obama’s watch.

This is not rhetorical bluster, but empirical fact. The following graph demonstrates that by comparing employment in this recovery against every recovery since 1960. What I did was take the percentage of the adult population that was employed when NBER says a recovery began, set that as a baseline (100 percent) and tracked how this recovery stacks up against previous ones.





As we can see, this one is worse than any other in 50 years.           

Unsurprisingly, we also see weakness in terms of real per capita income, as the next graph demonstrates. I did something similar with this one – taking real income per capita (minus government transfer payments) at the point that NBER says a recovery began, setting that at 100 percent, and tracking how the current recovery stacks up against previous ones.





Taking the last two graphs together, the ultimate point is validated: this is the worst recovery in generations. The 2001 recovery saw similar weakness in terms of real income, but jobs bounced back better that time. What's more, the 2001 recession was substantially milder, so we should have expected a greater snap-back this time around.

On a cause-and-effect level, it’s hard to assign much blame to this president, or any president for that matter. As we can see from the last two graphs, the recoveries from the 1990, 2001, and 2007 recessions were all slow and unimpressive, suggesting that there are greater forces at play than the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Indeed, the transition to a post-industrial economy might be the single biggest factor. The once-great anchors of the American economy – steel, automotive, rubber, and other industries – used to be able to lay workers off temporarily during a slowdown, then bring them back when demand picked up, as can be seen in this graph. But the industrial sector of the economy is today just a fraction of what it used to be, meaning that such a brisk rebound is no longer possible.

Obama does deserve some of the cause-and-effect blame for this recovery, mostly due to the terribly inefficient stimulus. I was recently in Washington and was able to snap this photograph, which should go down in the annals of history as a testament to Keynesianism run amok.



It goes without saying that there were better ways to generate a recovery than this, so Obama and congressional Democrats deserve some cause-and-effect blame for the pace of the rebound. (Side note: Two years after Congress appropriated the money for this project, it is still not completed.)

On a political level, the blame for the recovery goes entirely to President Obama. Indeed, looking at the polls on his handling of the economy, you can see that he is already taking the heat.

And so, we can lay down the following marker: if the economic recovery does not begin to show substantial improvement, the likes of which we have not really seen in the last two years, and if the GOP nominates a reasonably acceptable alternative, this president is going to lose in 2012, and the final result will not be close. Nobody gets reelected with employment way down, real income way down, and 14 percent of his fellow citizens on food stamps. Nobody.

And the president needs something more than a “recovery” in the sense that we’ve seen to date. When you start controlling for inflation, population growth, and government intervention, the recovery we’ve seen has only been, at best, a treading of water for average people. This president needs to see a significant improvement in real, per capita, and private metrics of personal economic vitality. Put simply, he needs something more than this "food stamp recovery" to win next year.

People who are giving such a heavy advantage to the president next year must be making at least one of two assumptions: (a) the economy is suddenly going to do better than it has done in the last two years; (b) the GOP nominates a dud.

On the Republican nomination front, Democrats and their friends in the mainstream media shouldn't count on that, for the reasons I elaborated here. And when it comes to the economic growth front, no more peeing on my leg while telling me it's raining: After two years of this disappointing, anemic, worst-in-several-generations, quote unquote recovery, I just don’t believe that the big, long-promised rebound is coming any time soon.

Instead, what I believe nowadays is that this president is in a huge amount of trouble, as we all are.


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Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 09, 2011, 05:19:45 AM
Check out these graphs.


http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2716564/posts



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 09, 2011, 05:55:39 AM


May 9, 2011, 12:01 a.m. EDT

Housing crash is getting worse: report
Commentary: But all this bearish news makes me bullish
By Brett Arends, MarketWatch
BOSTON (MarketWatch) — If you thought the housing crisis was bad, think again.

It’s worse.

New data just out from Zillow, the real-estate information company, show house prices are falling at their fastest rate since the Lehman collapse.
• Pado: Summer stock pullback in the cards 144706 Average home prices are down 8% from a year ago, 3% over the quarter, and are falling at about 1% every month, according to Zillow.

And the percentage of homeowners in negative-equity positions — with a home worth less than its mortgage — has rocketed to 28%, a new crisis high.

Zillow now predicts prices will fall about 8% this year and says it no longer expects the market to bottom before 2012.

“There’s no way we can get to flat, from these depreciation levels, in the last nine months of the year,” says Zillow economist Stan Humphries. “Demand is a lot more anemic than we had previously thought.”

When in 2012 does Zillow see the market bottoming out? Humphries won’t say.

What a foolish boondoggle those tax breaks for home buyers have turned out to be. The government spent an estimated $22 billion between 2008 and 2010 on tax breaks to prop up the housing market. All it achieved was a brief suckers’ rally that ended last summer.

Click to Play  Zillow plots IPOOnline real-estate listings firm Zillow seeks to go public, looking to run with consumer-oriented Internet companies headed for IPOs like Facebook, Groupon and Pandora.
“As we said at the time, it was a giant waste of money,” says Mark Calabria, economist at the conservative Cato Institute. “None of these things really turned the housing market around. They just put off the adjustment for awhile.”

It’s hard to overestimate the scale of the carnage in the housing market. Zillow found prices fell in all but four U.S. metro areas.

Falling real-estate prices mean spiraling hidden losses throughout the economy, from banks to homeowners.

Remember Japan’s “zombie banks”? These were the financial institutions that haunted that country’s economic recovery after the 1990 crash. They staggered on with huge losses they could never repay — the walking dead.

Here in America we have “zombie homeowners.” Millions of them. According to Zillow, a record 16.3 million families are upside-down on their home loans. Sixteen million! And many are a long way upside-down. Their homes may never be worth as much as their mortgage. But they are hemorrhaging cash to pay the nut every month.



‘Demand is a lot more anemic than we had previously thought.’





Stan Humphries, Zillow


Recovery? What recovery? This looks a bit like a depression to me.

What does this mean?

All the misery makes me think of a great French general, Ferdinand Foch. He’s the one who defended Paris at the Battle of the Marne in World War I. During the darkest hour of the fighting, he is supposed to have looked around him and said:

“Hard pressed on my right. My center is yielding. Impossible to maneuver. Situation excellent — I attack!”

In other words, when it comes to distressed housing, I’m finding it hard not to be a contrarian bull.

Why? Am I crazy?

Well, maybe. But I’m a medium-bull for all the reasons everyone else is gloomy.

First, prices in many areas are now cheap. They have corrected a long way since the bubble began to burst five years ago. Of course, it depends on where you are. I’m still skeptical of the real-estate markets that have held up best — prime stuff like Manhattan, San Francisco or Beverly Hills. It’s hard to get a deal there.

But in the places that have fallen the furthest, there are deals aplenty. Zillow found only four metro areas in America that have leveled out, or risen, lately. Notably, two of those are in stricken Florida — Fort Myers and Sarasota. Have they fallen so far they’ve hit bottom? Maybe.



 

Look at this chart. It shows Miami real-estate prices, adjusted for inflation, over the past quarter-century, using Case-Shiller data. The picture is pretty remarkable. The gigantic bubble has been completely wiped out. We’re back to prices seen in the 1980s — when “Miami Vice” was on the air.

The second reason: There are tons of foreclosures and short sales on the market. And there are plenty more sitting in the wings. Banks are holding back big shadow inventories of homes. And that means you can get a great deal. They have to sell. You don’t have to buy. You hold all the cards. Remember, the name of the game isn’t “let’s make a deal.” It’s “take it or leave it.”

Third, in many places rental yields are terrific. It’s cheaper to own than to rent. There have been some forced sales in my building in Miami. Based on my math, the latest buyers have bought condominium units for six times gross annual rents, and maybe 12 times net rents. We’re talking net yields of 7% or more. And rents are rising, because so many former owners are now renters.

The fourth reason I’m bullish is that you can get a very cheap mortgage. Thirty-year conforming loans are going as low as 4.3%. Throw in the tax break on the interest, and you are talking cheap finance. See latest weekly mortgage-rate update.

The fifth reason is that, as painful as this collapse has been, real estate has historically proven to offer very good long-term protection against inflation. Returns have typically averaged about 1% or 2% above inflation. At a time when everyone has been piling into gold, commodities and TIPS bonds to protect themselves against the possibility of inflation, it seems odd that the most popular and successful hedge, namely real estate, goes a-begging.



TRADING STRATEGIES: MAY
Stay to play in May

While the temptation to sell in May is strong, there are reasons to stick around: from stocks that ignore the summer doldrums, to those that benefit from America's sports obsessions.


Not so fast. Steve Quirk, head of the Trader Group at TD Ameritrade, says large-cap stocks hold appeal, and suggests buying portfolio insurance while it's cheap.143702 Thirty-year TIPS bonds are yielding just 1.6% over inflation, and shorter-term bonds offer even lower returns. Short-term TIPS are actually offering negative real yields. How holding TIPS may actually make you poorer.

The sixth reason I’m bullish is perverse, but I’m sticking by it. Everyone else is bearish. You cannot find a real-estate bull anywhere. No one wants to own this asset. No one wants to talk about it. No one wants to hear about it. Everyone seems to agree it’s just going down, down, down — forever.

They said much the same about stocks in 1987, 2002 and 2009; Treasury bonds in 1982; and gold in 2000. I cannot prove this is capitulation, but it sure smells something like it.

As ever, if you aren’t disciplined and patient, this probably isn’t for you.

I have absolutely no idea when real estate is going to hit rock bottom. It may take several years. I suspect it will do so in different markets at different times. But there are good homes out there going really cheap. If you hunt down the bargains, you’re disciplined about price, you get the right financing, and you hold on for five years or more, you’ll probably do pretty well from here.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 09, 2011, 01:40:58 PM
Almost half of Detroit unable to read
Russia Today ^ | May 6, 2011 | Russia Today




A study by the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund found that 47 percent of adults in the city are ‘functionally illiterate’.

‘Functionally illiterate’ means they struggle with day-to-day tasks, like reading job applications, following a bus schedule or understanding product labels.

Those deemed illiterate however have been educated. The report indicated that the same group found to be ‘functionally illiterate’ had completed element education, where reading is taught and half of the group had either a high school diploma or a GED.

Nearly half of the city’s population lacks the necessary skills to work in even the most entry level and remedial jobs.

“Increasing adult educational attainment is critical to connecting the one in two city residents who are currently unemployed and underemployed to good jobs in our new economy,” said Karen Tyler-Ruiz, director of the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund. “This is a critical opportunity for Detroit, where we know that access to services to improve basic skills like reading and math are extremely limited in and around the city.”

Detroit however is not Michigan’s only problem spot. Surrounding cities and suburbs also show many residents are unable to adequately read. With a number of areas showing 24 percent to 34 percent of the area’s population is ‘functionally illiterate’.

The city, already in shambles due to the recession, experienced a major decline in population according to the 2010 US Census. The population fell by 25 percent, the city’s lowest numbers since 1910. Around one third of the city sits vacant and deteriorating.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: 225for70 on May 09, 2011, 02:14:13 PM
Them peoplez ain't be readin in Detroit ain't Obama's fault.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 09, 2011, 02:18:20 PM
Those people not being able to read in Detroit isn't Obama's fault.

Ha ha ha ha - its still a symbol of misery.    and considerin gobama promised to split the oceans and "we are the ones we have been waiting for", yes I blame him.    ;D  ;D


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 10, 2011, 08:45:03 AM
Guest Post: $6.5 Trillion Lost, One House At A Time
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/10/2011 09:57 -0400
www.zerohedge.com




BLSBureau of Labor StatisticsFailGuest PostHousing BubblePurchasing PowerReal estateRealityToo Big To Fail


Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

$6.5 Trillion Lost, One House At A Time

The $6.5 trillion lost in the bursting of the housing bubble is not a "paper loss," it is tragically real.

Is anyone surprised that housing continues to slide? According to this report, Home Market Takes a Tumble: Turnaround More Distant After 3% Drop, Steepest Quarterly Decline Since 2008, housing has declined in value for 57 straight months, almost 5 years.

Since the housing bubble topped in most areas in 2006, and it's now 2011, that makes sense: 2006 + 5 = 2011.

American homeowners have lost $6.5 trillion in equity in those 57 months. Here is the data from the Fed Flow of Funds household balance sheet:

Homeowner's equity:
2006: $12.8 trillion
2011: $6.3 trillion

Net decline: $6.5 trillion

That is a big number, and the analysis I presented in The Housing Bubble Broke the Middle Class (April 27, 2011) suggested that this $6.5 trillion was roughly half of the middle class's total net assets.

It's difficult to grasp such large numbers, so let's look at some actual houses. The sales price of houses is public record, and more or less at random, here is a selection of recent home sales here in Northern California. I purposefully selected sales from a spectrum of neighborhoods ranging from working-class to very desirable, exclusive suburbs (the price will telegraph the property's desirability).

The key point here is that these catastrophic losses are taken by someone: either the homeowner, the lender, or the taxpayer. The gains were paper, but the losses are real. That is the ongoing tragedy of the housing bubble.

1. Recent sale: $820,000
Last sold 2007: $1.172 million
Nominal loss: $355,000
(does not include transaction costs or losses due to inflation)

Even if owner put down 30%, their equity was wiped out.

2. Recent sale: $110,000
Last sold 2005: $370,000
Nominal loss: $260,000

3. Recent sale: $160,000
Last sold 2004: $455,000
Nominal loss: $295,000

4 Recent sale: $175,000
Last sold 1999: $205,000
Nominal loss: $30,000

Nationally, prices have round-tripped to 2003, but that masks the reality that in many locales, prices have returned to 1998 or even lower.

This is a home in a very desirable suburb:

5. Recent sale: $650,000
Last sold 2005: $1.25 million
Nominal loss: $600,000

If you add up the losses from just these four homes purchased in the bubble era, the loss exceeds $1.5 million. That is a staggering loss from only four homes. Now multiple that by hundreds of thousands of homes.

Here are two homes in less desirable ("rough") neighborhoods:

6. Recent sale: $85,000
Last sold 2004: $295,000
Nominal loss: $210,000

7. Recent sale: $135,000
Last sold 2005: $419,000
Nominal loss: $284,000

Sadly, the subprime mortgage fraud enabled the "dream" of effortless profits from owning and churning real estate to filter down to even marginal areas. The bubble put real estate out of reach of qualified moderate-income buyers, and yet it was touted as a wonderful "innovation." It was certainly wonderful for Wall Street and those who originated the embezzlement-special mortgages, but less so for the taxpayers who were handed the bill to save the "too big to fail" banks and investment banks.

8. Recent sale: $255,000
Last sold 1996: $189,500
Nominal gain: $65,500

This is interesting because it offers an example of the pernicious effects of even "low" inflation. As we are constantly reminded, the U.S. has been in a "low inflation" environment for decades. This is of course a key part of the propaganda campaign to mask the severe erosion in wages' purchasing power.

On the face of it, the home seller pocketed a hefty profit of $65,500. But let's factor in commission and inflation. The transaction costs (commission, closing, transfer fees, etc.) are typically around 7%, so the actual net capital gains would be around $47,500, not $65,500.

According to the BLS inflation calculator, which likely underestimates "real" inflation, it now takes $270,000 to buy what $190,000 bought in 1996.

So the owner actually lost purchasing power in owning this house for 15 years. Minus commission and closing costs, the proceeds were around $237,000, which is about $33,000 less than the inflation-adjusted break-even point of $270,000.

Yes, there is the mortgage deduction and tax breaks to factor in, but considered strictly as an investment, the nominal and real gains in real estate still matter.

Put another way: a house purchased in 1996 for $100,000 has to be worth $142,000 today just to keep up with inflation. Factoring in transactions costs, then the house would have to be sold for roughly $152,000 for the owner to extract $142,000--the sum needed to simply maintain purchasing power.

In other words, a house that rose 50% over the past 15 years has simply kept pace with inflation. The nominal "gain" is utterly illusory.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 11, 2011, 07:07:22 PM
Free Republic
Browse · Search   Pings · Mail   News/Activism
Topics · Post Article
Skip to comments.

Dollar in graver danger than the euro
Financial Times ^ | Axel Merk
Posted on May 11, 2011 9:58:10 PM EDT by cornfedcowboy

Imagine a country that spends and prints trillions to patch up any problem.

Now imagine another country where there is no central Treasury, meaning that bail-outs are less easy, and which has a central bank that has mopped up liquidity over the past year, rather than engage in quantitative easing.

Why does it surprise anyone that the latter, the eurozone, has a stronger currency than the former, the US? Because of peripheral countries’ debt refinancing issues? And the potential for contagion? These are real and serious issues, but in our assessment, they should be primarily priced into the spreads of eurozone bonds, not the euro itself.

(Excerpt) Read more at ft.com ...

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events; Click to Add Topic


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Bindare_Dundat on May 11, 2011, 07:45:13 PM
Some of the losses for the homes in less desirable neighborhoods is incredible. wow...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 11, 2011, 07:52:13 PM
Some of the losses for the homes in less desirable neighborhoods is incredible. wow...

I have been holding out forever buying a house.  Prices are still way too high. 


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 12, 2011, 09:34:59 AM
Related News:Markets Magazine  · Science .Desperate Americans Buy Kidneys From Peru Poor in Fatal Trade
By Michael Smith - May 12, 2011 12:01 AM ET Bloomberg Markets Magazine
(Bloomberg) --



Francis Delmonico, a Harvard Medical School professor and surgeon, talks with Bloomberg's Michael Smith about the illicit market for organ transplants. Affluent, often desperately ill patients travel to countries such as Egypt, Peru and the Philippines, where poor people sell them their organs. Elisabeth Tercero, whose son died after having a kidney removed in Nicaragua, and Vilma Bramon, a victim of botched surgery in Peru, also speak through translation. (Source: Bloomberg)


Luis Picado’s mother remembers the day her son thought he had won the lottery. He came home to their tin-roofed cinder-block house in a Managua, Nicaragua, slum and said he’d found a way to escape poverty and start a new life in the United States.

An American man had promised to give Picado, a 23-year-old high school dropout who worked as a construction laborer, a job and an apartment in New York if he’d donate one of his kidneys. He jumped at the deal, his mother says.

Three weeks later, in May 2009, Picado came out of surgery at Managua’s Military Hospital, bleeding internally from the artery doctors had severed to remove his kidney, according to medical records. His mother, Elizabeth Tercero, got on her knees next to her son’s bed in the recovery room and prayed, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its June issue.

“I told my boy not to worry, that I would take care of him,” Tercero, 49, says. “But it was too late.” Picado bled to death as doctors tried to save him, according to a coroner’s report. “He was always chasing the American dream, and finally, it cost him his life,” she says.

Matthew Ryan, the American man, suffered a similar fate. Ryan, a 68-year-old retired bus company supervisor in New York, died two months after receiving Picado’s kidney in the same hospital.

Nicaraguan postmortem reports cited the transplant as a cause of death for both men. Prosecutors in Managua are now investigating whether anyone broke a Nicaraguan law that prohibits paying a donor for an organ.

Illicit Market
The two men were participants in a growing and illicit market for organ transplants that spans the globe. Every year, about 5,000 gravely ill people from countries including the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia pay others to donate an organ, says Francis Delmonico, a Harvard Medical School professor and surgeon. The practice is illegal in every country except Iran, Delmonico says.

Affluent, often desperately ill patients travel to countries such as Egypt, Peru and the Philippines, where poor people sell them their organs. In Latin America, the transplants are usually arranged by unlicensed brokers. They’re performed -- for fees -- by accredited surgeons, some of whom have trained at the world’s leading medical schools.

The global demand for organs far exceeds the available supply. In the U.S., 110,693 people are on waiting lists for organs, and fewer than 15,000 donors are found annually.

Americans who go abroad for illicit transplants can contract infections or HIV from unhealthy donors, posing a public health threat when they return, Delmonico says.

‘Exploit the Patient’
“With all the anxiety in getting a transplant, they exploit the patient,” says Delmonico, who is president-elect of the Montreal-based Transplantation Society, which lobbies governments to crack down on trafficking. “It’s big money.”

The illegal organ trade is the ugly side of the otherwise legal medical tourism industry, in which people travel to other countries for cut-rate hip replacements, tummy tucks and gastric bypasses. The legitimate medical procedures generated about $100 billion in revenue in 2010, according to a report by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd.

For decades, wealthy Brazilians, Mexicans and Saudis have gone to U.S. and European hospitals for medical care they couldn’t get at home. In the past decade, that pattern has changed. Hospitals from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, to Medellin, Colombia, now lure middle-class Americans with promises of high- quality care at a fraction of what it would cost them at home.

Medical tourism company MedToGo LLC, based in Tempe, Arizona, says it will offer kidney transplants in Mexico and Costa Rica for about $50,000, a fifth of the cost in the U.S.

Preying on the Poor
In the illegal organ trade, brokers scour the world’s slums, preying on the poor with promises of easy money and little risk in exchange for a kidney. Inside hospitals, people are injured or killed by botched surgery as doctors place money above ethics, criminal investigators say.

In Colombia, 321 foreigners got transplants from 2005 to 2010, according to the country’s National Health Institute. Juan Lopez, a doctor who oversees Colombia’s organ transplant system as director of the NHI, says many of these surgeries are driven by profit for hospitals, doctors and brokers.

“I don’t want my country to be a Mecca for transplant tourism,” Lopez says. He’s gone to court to try to stop 23 organ transplants for foreigners since 2010, he says.

In Peru, Rafael Peraldo, a taxi driver who’s under investigation for being an organ broker, has plied Lima’s dusty slums since at least 2005, according to five people who say in interviews that they sold kidneys to him.

‘Spare-Parts Bank’
Peraldo paid as little as $5,000, the five people say.

Patients who bought these organs paid as much as $150,000, prosecutors have found.

“The poor have become a spare-parts bank for the well-to- do,” says University of California, Berkeley, anthropologist Nancy Scheper-Hughes, who specializes in organ trafficking.

The Peruvian National Prosecutor’s Office is investigating 61 transplants in seven of Lima’s top hospitals since 2004, documents in the case show. Peraldo is one of 150 brokers, doctors, nurses and others under investigation, says Jesus Asencios, the prosecutor leading the probe.

Peraldo says in a telephone interview that he’s done nothing wrong; he says he won’t say more until the investigation is completed.

Because people with kidney failure are always in poor health, a transplant is never a guaranteed cure. Still, legal transplants have a high probability of success. More than 75 percent of the recipients of kidney transplants in the U.S. live for more than 10 years, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Perils Abound
Donors usually do fine; they can live a normal life span with just one of their two kidneys. In the illicit trade, by contrast, perils abound for all participants.

Organs removed by surgeons in Peru from 2004 to 2010 went to ill men and women from the U.S., Chile, Mexico, Spain and Venezuela, according to hospital records and prosecutors’ interviews with donors and doctors.

One of those patients was Oscar Soberon, the wealthy founder of a Mexico City computer systems company. After about a year of enduring dialysis sessions to survive kidney failure, Soberon negotiated a transplant at a Lima hospital with Peruvian doctor Christian Miranda, for $125,000, Soberon told prosecutors before he died.

On Nov. 1, 2009, doctors transplanted a kidney from a baker into Soberon. Eleven weeks after surgery, Soberon was dead, his body ravaged by infection, his medical records show.

Waiting Lists
The kidney is a fist-sized organ that continuously filters blood to clear waste from the body. Toxins are flushed into the bladder, which removes them. When a kidney fails, doctors use a machine system called dialysis to circulate and clean blood. A patient with kidney failure will die quickly without dialysis or a transplant.

In legal transplants, a kidney patient typically turns to relatives willing to donate one of their kidneys, or goes onto a waiting list if no one volunteers. A hospital screens potential donors, reviewing their health records, blood type and body tissue to ensure they’re medically compatible.

The illicit organ trade is dangerous for the donor and patient because criminals take shortcuts, such as accepting organs from people who are sick and wouldn’t be approved by hospitals in the U.S., says Gabriel Danovitch, medical director of the kidney and pancreas transplant program at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“It’s a filthy business in the same subcategory as the sex trade and child pornography,” Danovitch says. “That is why it has to be stopped.”

It’s hard to stop critically ill people who are in a race against death from seeking solutions outside the official transplant system, especially if they have the money and connections to do something about it.

Ryan, the retired New York bus line supervisor, used his son-in-law in Managua to set up a deal for a kidney, says Picado’s boss, who overheard the offer. The chain of events that brought Ryan together with the 23-year-old Picado began in 2009.

Ryan, known by relatives as a quiet, levelheaded man who rarely got angry, had been living a grueling existence since his kidneys failed in 2007. He lived in Cedarhurst, New York, near John F. Kennedy International Airport, with his wife, Lily Molina, an immigrant from Nicaragua, and underwent four-hour dialysis sessions three times a week.

Welts covered his arms, where medical workers inserted tubes into his veins. Like many kidney patients, Ryan was seeking a transplant.

“He was on a waiting list but was suffering a lot,” says Molina, 53, who first met Ryan when she worked at a Wendy’s restaurant in 2001. They married in 2005.

In March 2009, Ryan traveled to Nicaragua for vacation. He stayed with his stepdaughter, Julissa Molina, and her husband, Elvis Hernandez, in their two-bedroom home near Managua’s Augusto C. Sandino International Airport.

The house was being remodeled by Picado and his boss, Erick Bermudez, who remembers how the subject of transplants came up.

“Elvis said Ryan’s kidneys were bad and he needed a transplant,” says Bermudez, sitting in the windowless, dirt- floored room he rents in Managua.

Two months later, in May 2009, Ryan offered Picado a deal, says Bermudez. He says he heard the entire conversation as he stood a few feet away. Using his stepson as an interpreter, Ryan said he would arrange for a coyote, or human smuggler, to transport Picado illegally to New York if he donated a kidney, Bermudez says.

Picado went over the details of the offer several times, he says.

“Luis said they would give him a $5,000 gift for his kidney,” Bermudez says. “They told him everything he wanted to hear.”

For years, Picado, who had a round face and thick, curly black hair, had talked about going to the U.S. to escape the poverty that plagued just about everyone he knew, says his mother, Elizabeth Tercero.

“Luis said the gringo would take him to New York and he’d never have to worry about anything else,” Tercero says. “I begged him not to do it. It could be dangerous. But he wouldn’t listen.”

Hernandez says there wasn’t any promise of compensation for Picado.

“Luis did it altruistically,” he says. “Maybe Matthew said he would try to help him out, but there was no offer of any money.”

Ryan’s widow, Lily Molina, says her husband told her Picado had donated voluntarily and he never gave him any cash.



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 12, 2011, 09:35:52 AM
So much for obamacare -  ha ha ha ha - you fucking assholes.   


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 13, 2011, 08:49:10 AM
New Yorkers under 30 plan to flee city, says new poll; cite high taxes, few jobs as reasons
New York Daily News.com ^ | May 13,2011 | Kenneth Lovett




Escape from New York is not just a movie - it's also a state of mind.

A new Marist College poll shows that 36% of New Yorkers under the age of 30 are planning to leave New York within the next five years - and more than a quarter of all adults are planning to bolt the Empire State.

The New York City suburbs, with their high property values and taxes, are leading the exodus, the poll found.

Of those preparing to leave, 62% cite economic reasons like cost of living, taxes - and a lack of jobs.

"A lot of people are questioning the affordability of the state," said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.

An additional 38% cite climate, quality of life, overcrowding, a desire to be closer to family, retirement or schools.

The latest census showed New York's overall population actually increased, though parts of upstate shed population and jobs.

A full 53% think the worst is yet to come for the state's economy, while 44% say things should start improving.

"As the state of the economy fails to recover, New Yorkers see this not as a sluggish rebound, but as a sluggish economy," Miringoff said.

During a visit to Buffalo yesterday, Gov. Cuomo yesterday said attracting and retaining jobs is a priority for his administration.

"We have to keep jobs here and we have to develop new jobs," he said. "And we want to start bringing back jobs from other parts of the country."


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 13, 2011, 10:11:07 AM
Medicare Financing to Run Out in 2024 Without Fix
By Drew Armstrong - May 13, 2011 12:08 PM ET


http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-05-13/medicare-financing-to-run-out-in-2024-without-fix.html



Medicare, the U.S. health insurance program for the elderly and disabled, won’t have sufficient money to pay full benefits starting in 2024, five years earlier than last year’s estimate.

Social Security, the federal program that provides income to retirees, will run out of funds for paying full benefits in 2036, one year sooner than projected last year, the U.S. government said today in an annual report on the program.

Both projections have been affected by a slower-than- anticipated economic recovery, according to the report. The estimates for funding add urgency to negotiations between Democrats and Republicans on ways to cut spending to reduce the U.S. budget deficit.

“Projected long-run program costs for both Medicare and Social Security are sustainable under currently scheduled financing, and will require legislative corrections if disruptive consequences for beneficiaries and taxpayers are to be avoided,” according to the report summary.

The 2010 health-care overhaul backed by Democrats extended the life of Medicare, though more must be done to shore up the program’s long-term funding, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in a statement distributed with the report.

“If action is taken sooner rather than later, more options and more time will be available to phase in changes so that those affected can adequately prepare,” he said in the statement. “If we do not do more to contain health-care costs, our commitments will become unsustainable.”

Republicans demanding that the U.S. cut its budget deficit have proposed privatizing Medicare by giving individuals a subsidy to buy coverage from private insurers.

To contact the reporter on this story: Drew Armstrong in Washington at darmstrong17@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Adriel Bettelheim at abettelheim@bloomberg.net


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 13, 2011, 01:39:46 PM
Social Security deficits now ‘permanent’
By Stephen Dinan
The Washington Times
12:55 p.m., Friday, May 13, 2011



Social Security will run a permanent yearly deficit when looking at the program's tax revenues compared to what it must pay out in benefits, the program's trustees said Friday in a report that found both the outlook for Social Security and Medicare, the two major federal social safety-net programs, have worsened over the last year.

Medicare's hospital insurance trust fund is now slated to run out of money in 2024, or five years earlier than last year's projection, while Social Security's trust fund will be exhausted by 2036, a year earlier than the prior projection.

The trustees stressed that exhaustion of the trust funds doesn't mean the programs will stop paying all benefits. Social Security could fund about three-fourths of benefits past 2036, and Medicare could pay 90 percent of benefits past 2024 under current trends.

The figures come as Congress and President Obama are wrestling over whether to make major changes to the entitlement spending, and Republicans said the new projections should force the debate to turn in their direction.

"Today's report makes it clearer than ever that doing nothing is not an option. The failure to act means current as well as future beneficiaries, will face significant cuts even sooner than previously estimated," said three top House Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee, which oversees both programs.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the managing trustee of the boards of trustees for the two programs, said the report shows the need to act "sooner rather than later," but said Mr. Obama has actually put forward an outline calling for changes to stabilize the finances for the major entitlements programs.

And Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius argued that Medicare would have been in worse shape without the new health care law Democrats passed last year, which reduced billions of dollars of Medicare payments.

Social Security began running an annual deficit in 2010 when looking at tax income and benefit payments. The gap right now is made up by payments from the trust fund, which in theory has built up over the years when the program ran an annual surplus.

Charles Blahous, one of the trustees, said the gap between tax revenues and benefit payments is now "a permanent feature of the program's finances going forward."

Still, Michael Astrue, the Social Security Administration's commissioner, said the gap was not a major issue compared with the broad size and scope of Social Security.

"It is a rounding error in terms of its significance, in my opinion," he said.

© Copyright 2011 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
 


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 15, 2011, 07:09:15 PM
ExtraPundit 5/15/2011
Shadow Stat: Misery Index Highest on Record

John Williams, over at Shadow Stats, compiles economic data for inflation and unemployment the way it used to be calculated pre-1990. Based on that data, the CPI inflation rate is over 10%, and the unemployment rate is over 15% (see charts). The Misery Index is the sum of the current inflation rate and the unemployment rate. If it were to be calculated using the older methods, the Index would now be over 25, a record high. It surpasses the old index high of 21.98, which occurred in June 1980, when Jimmy Carter was president. Most believe the height of the Index along with the Iranian hostage crisis is what caused Carter to lose his re-election bid.







Using current calculation methods, April unemployment came in at 9.0% and the annualized April CPI number came in at 4.8%, for a Misery Index reading of 13.8.

The last time the Index came in with a higher reading with this index reading was in March 1983, with a reading of 13.90.
EconomicPolicyJournal.co m: Shadow Stat Misery Index Highest on Record

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Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 15, 2011, 07:42:42 PM
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Geithner Admits: There Are NO Trust Funds
Market Ticker ^ | May 15, 2011 | Karl Denninger
Posted on May 15, 2011 10:45:26 PM EDT by MulberryDraw

Note this one well folks:

"Medicare, the government health plan for seniors, will exhaust its principal trust fund five years sooner than previously thought, which could heighten pressure on the White House and Congress to change the program as part of deficit-reduction negotiations."

Wait a second.... didn't we just hear this from Timmy about the need to borrow more money?

"If the United States were forced to stop, limit or delay payment on obligations to which the Nation has already committed - such as military salaries, Social Security and Medicare, tax refunds, contractual payments to businesses for goods and services, and payments to our investors...."

Busted jackass.

Tim Geithner just admitted in writing that there is no trust fund - there is no money - the Government in fact blew every last penny of it.

You, America, have been serially lied to about these so-called "trust funds."

THEY DO NOT EXIST.

(Excerpt) Read more at market-ticker.org ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 15, 2011, 08:15:42 PM
James Pethokoukis
Politics and policy from inside Washington

» SEE ALL ANALYSIS AND OPINION
The Obama Misery Index
APR 29, 2011 15:45 EDT
     
inShare
   
2012 ELECTION | US POLITICS
The Misery Index (inflation plus unemployment) through March was 11.48 percent (2.68 percent, 8.8 percent). By comparison, it was 10.52 percent in 1992 when Bill Clinton handily beat George Bush.  (It was nearly 21 percent in 1980 when Ronald Reagan crushed Jimmy Carter.) In fact, it has not been double digits for an entire year since Bush I’s first term. This goes along way in explaining why trust in Obama’s handling of the economy has collapsed. And a new Gallup Poll finds that Americans prefer the GOP budget approach to that of Democrats by 48 percent to 36 percent.

Also keep in mind how rising gas and food prices are eating into incomes. Real disposable income (personal income after taxes and adjusted for inflation) increased only 0.1% after being flat in February.

 


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 16, 2011, 05:01:41 AM
Source: Washington Post

The Obama administration will begin to tap federal retiree programs to help fund operations after the government loses its ability Monday to borrow more money from the public, adding urgency to efforts in Washington to fashion a compromise over the debt.

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner has warned for months that the government would soon hit the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling — a legal limit on how much it can borrow. With the government poised to reach that limit Monday, Geithner is undertaking special measures in an effort to postpone the day when he will no longer have enough funds to pay all of the government’s bills.

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/treasury...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 16, 2011, 06:16:55 AM
Why the Job Market Feels So Dismal
The number of hires is the same today as it was when we were shedding jobs at record rates.
By EDWARD P. LAZEAR
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703730804576317142210698436.html#articleTabs%3Dcomments






Why don't American workers feel that the labor market is on the mend? After all, the May 6 jobs report could suggest that the labor market is improving. Nonfarm employment rose by 244,000 and employment growth over the last three months is averaging over 200,000 per month. With unemployment at 9%, employment is still down many millions from where it should be, but up from its recession lows.

The fact is the jobs numbers that create so much anticipation from the business press and so many pundit pronouncements do not give a clear picture of the labor market's health. A better understanding requires an examination of hires and separations, or what the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) data. Here are some surprising facts:

First, the increase in job growth that occurred over the past two years results from a decline in the number of layoffs, not from increased hiring. In February 2009, a month during which the labor market lost more than 700,000 jobs, employers hired four million workers. In March 2011, employers hired four million workers. The number of hires is the same today as it was when we were shedding jobs at record rates.

We added jobs because hires exceeded separations, not because hiring increased. There were 4.7 million separations in February 2009. In March 2011 that number had fallen to 3.8 million. The fall in separations reflects a decline in layoffs, which went from 2.5 million per month in February 2009 to 1.6 million per month in March 2011. One small piece of good news is that the just-released April data showed hires up about 2% over last year's average and 12% above the low reached in January 2010.

The decline in layoffs is not unexpected and does not necessarily reflect labor-market health. Layoffs tend to occur early in a recession. When an economy has reached bottom and has already shed much of its labor, layoffs slow. But that doesn't mean that the labor force is recovering. We could have high unemployment and a stagnant labor force even when layoffs are low. Isn't the fact that hires exceed separations indicative of a healthy labor market? Unfortunately, no.

At any point in the business cycle, even during a recession, American firms still hire a huge number of workers. That's because most of the action in the labor market reflects "churn," the continual process of replacing workers, not net expansion or contraction of employment. The lowest number hired in any month of the current recession was 3.6 million workers. Even during the dismal year of 2009 there were more than 45 million hires.

Bear in mind that the U.S. labor force has more than 150 million workers or job seekers. In a typical year, about one-third or more of the work force turns over, leaving their old jobs to take new ones. When the labor market creates 200,000 jobs, it is because five million are hired and 4.8 million are separated, not because there were 200,000 hires and no job losses. When we're talking about numbers as large as five million, the net of 200,000 is small and may reflect minor, month-to-month variations in the number of hires or separations.

The third fact puts this in perspective. In a healthy labor market like the one that prevailed in 2006 and early 2007, American firms hire about 5.5 million workers per month. Recall that the current number of hires is four million and it has not moved much from where it was two years ago. The labor market does not feel like it is expanding if hiring is not occurring at a recovery-level pace—and that means at least a half million more hires per month than we are seeing now.

The combination of low hiring and a large stock of unemployed workers, now 13.7 million, means that the competition for jobs is fierce. Because there are now many more unemployed workers, and because hiring is only about 70% of 2006 levels, a worker is about one-third as likely to find a job today as he or she was in 2006. It is no wonder that workers do not feel that the labor market has recovered.

One final fact is worth noting. Healthy labor markets are characterized not only by high levels of hiring, but also by high levels of separations. Although it is true that the importance of quits relative to layoffs rises during good times, even the number of layoffs was greater in the strong labor market of 2006-07 than it is now. No one would suggest that layoffs are good for workers, but what is good is a fluid labor market, where workers and firms constantly seek to produce better products and to find more efficient ways to produce them. High labor market churn is a characteristic of a strong economy. It generally means that workers are moving to better jobs in growing sectors that pay higher wages and away from declining sectors that pay lower wages.

Allowing maximum flexibility encourages fluidity and means that employers are willing to hire workers who lose their jobs elsewhere. Many European countries have restricted mobility by imposing severance pay penalties on employers that lay workers off. More than reducing layoffs, these rigidities make employers reluctant to hire because of the penalties that they will later incur if a layoff is necessary. Such restrictions are in large part responsible for the chronically high rates of unemployment that have been prevalent in many European countries.

The prescription for the American labor market is simple: low taxes on capital investment, avoidance of excessively burdensome regulation, and open markets here and abroad. We must create a climate in which investment is profitable, productivity is rising, and employers find it profitable to increase their hiring rate. These are the mantras that economists have chanted in the past. But they are our best bet for ensuring a dynamic and growing labor market.

Mr. Lazear, chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers from 2006-2009, is a professor at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business and a Hoover Institution fellow.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: GigantorX on May 16, 2011, 06:47:50 AM
http://www.zerohedge.com/article/empire-state-manufacturing-index-plunges-comes-119-down-217-and-big-miss-expectations-1955[/b]]http://www.zerohedge.com/article/empire-state-manufacturing-index-plunges-comes-119-down-217-and-big-miss-expectations-1955 (http://[b)

Empire State Manufacturing Index Plunges, Comes At 11.9 Down From 21.7, And Big Miss To Expectations Of 19.55
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/16/2011 08:37 -0400

Empire Manufacturing Index Empire State Manufacturing Gross Domestic Product Stagflation

And the US stagflation continues. The just released Empire Manufacturing index has plunged nearly by half from 21.7 to 11.9 in May. The general business conditions index fell ten points to 11.9. The new orders index declined fi ve points to 17.2, and the shipments index slipped three points to 25.8. The inventories index climbed to 10.8, its highest level in a year. The prices paid index rose to  69.9, its highest level since mid-2008, and the second highest ever, while the prices received index held firm at 28.0. And more on the stagflation as defined by the ongoing surge in Prices Paid: "The prices paid index rose sharply, indicating that price increases accelerated over the month. The index advanced twelve points to 69.9, its highest level since mid- 2008, with roughly 70 percent of respondents reporting price increases, and none reporting price declines. This index has moved up a cumulative fifty points over thepast six months." Downward GDP revisions are a-coming.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

More bad news.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 16, 2011, 06:54:43 AM
Obama's high energy price policies are coming home to roost.   Like in 2007-2008 when $4 gas prices were the spark that collapsed the economy, so it will be again. 

Everything this govt has been doing has made every existing problem worse.   

1.  Energy prices - check
2.  Health care inflation - check
3.  Weak dollar policy - check
4.  Out of control regulatory agencies - check
5.  Regulatory and tax uncertainty - check 


If someone paid me millions of dollars to come up with a better way to collapse the nation, I don't think I could do better than Obama Admn and the horrible policies we have been following could do.     


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 16, 2011, 09:36:02 AM
In bad economy, drivers buckling under traffic tickets
St. Pete Times ^ | Monday, May 16, 2011 | By Michael Van Sickler, Times Staff Writer






Rosemary Smith saw the motorcycle cop's flashing lights behind her, and her eyes immediately started to well up.

She was going 17 mph over the speed limit and faced a $256 fine, the officer told her after she pulled into a parking lot off Fourth Street N.

As she fought back tears, her life story spilled out. She was a full-time college student, her only income from part-time work as a bank teller. She had a wedding coming up in November.

"I've got house bills to pay," said Smith, 21, visibly shaken as she clutched the wheel of her blue Saturn. "I'm freaking out."

Motorists complaining about tickets is nothing new for traffic cops. But officers say they are sensing growing distress.

"A day doesn't go by when I don't see someone cry," said Officer Mauricio Steffek. "They can't believe how much the ticket costs. They'll tell me, 'Give me a break. I don't have a job now. I'm falling behind the mortgage or car payments.' "

Once a minor, if stressful, inconvenience, the everyday traffic citation is becoming a life altering breaking point for many.

And more and more, drivers aren't paying them — creating a ripple effect in city and county budgets across Tampa Bay.

In St. Petersburg, the money collected from traffic tickets has dropped from $681,000 in 2008 to $494,214 in 2010. It's projected to dwindle even further this year — despite the fact that police handed out 1,500 more tickets last year than they did in 2008.

"It's a drastic drop that means we have to find revenue from other places," said Tim Finch, St. Petersburg's director of budget and management. "It makes it tougher on other departments."

Pinellas County has seen its ticket revenue fall by $700,000 in two years. In Tampa, police estimate they will bring in $900,000 less than they did in 2008. In Hillsborough, fine collections are down nearly $3 million since 2008.

"It's directly related to the economy," said Hillsborough Clerk of Courts Pat Frank. "People are being more cautious because they can't afford it. And police officers are more reluctant to give out tickets when the fines are more costly."

In recent years, Florida's tax adverse politicians have raised fees to generate new revenue. Traffic law-flouting motorists are a tempting target because they don't garner public sympathy.

State lawmakers in 2009 approved new measures to produce more than $63 million, all from the pockets of wayward motorists. Included: a new $10 charge on all traffic infractions, cutting an 18 percent discount for attending traffic school, and a $25 increase for exceeding the speed limit by 15 to 29 mph.

Local governments tack on more charges. In Pinellas County, for instance, each citation can get assessed an extra $30 for court costs; $3 for driver education safety programs; $3 for teen court; and $2 to pay for public safety applicant screenings.

Tickets range from $62 for a bicycle infraction to $456 for traveling 20 to 29 mph over the limit in a school or construction zone. If a driver is hit with multiple violations, such as speeding, not wearing a seat belt and having an expired tag, fines can climb to nearly $700.

In times like these, a ticket can be a severe blow to those living paycheck to paycheck.

Officers have the discretion to waive the ticket if they think the driver would be better served with a warning. Traffic cops like to say it's about public safety, not the money.

On a recent Tuesday morning, Steffek listened to Smith's tale of woe. He called up her driving history. Clean. He decided to waive the fine.

"It would have been hard for me to pay," said Smith, grateful and smiling.

As she drove away, Steffek said he had imagined himself in her predicament.

"She was shaking really bad," he said. "She was scared."

• • •

Pain felt by drivers is so evident their biggest supporters are often the cops who stop them.

"Our deputies feel that because of the way the economy is, they give out a lot more warnings," said Detective Larry McKinnon, Hillsborough sheriff's spokesman.

Same with Pinellas.

"We're very aware of some of the cost," said spokeswoman Marianne Pasha. "If there is an opportunity to write a warning, rather than write a citation, that's what we'll do."

In many cases, deputies won't write multiple citations like they did in the past. If someone with a clean driving record is caught speeding without wearing a seat belt, McKinnon said, they'll be cited for a seat belt violation.

"We're more tolerant," he said. "People have lost their jobs and are struggling. A lot of times you'll see families in the car. How do you write someone a $700 ticket when they have a carload of kids?"

Empathy comes with a price.

Pinellas is on track to write 2,000 fewer tickets than it did two years ago. Hillsborough tickets dropped by 40,000 from 2008 to 2010. Not all of that stemmed from deputies waiving tickets, McKinnon said.

The other reason also is economic: There are fewer deputies out there writing tickets.

In St. Petersburg, police are handing out more tickets than ever, but fewer people are paying, said Lt. William Korinek, who oversees traffic enforcement.

"People are saying that the tickets are too expensive," Korinek said. "For the most part, they're not criminals. They're people like you and me, average people going about their day. "

On a recent Tuesday, Chris Robinson, a retired 64-year-old, was running errands when he was stopped for speeding.

He was going 48 mph in a 35 mph zone. The fine: $206.

"I can't pay it," Robinson said as his shoulders sagged and he cradled his face in his hand. "I'm on a fixed income. It's going to kill me."

Fined drivers can pay the full sum within 30 days, or spread the fine out in six monthly installments.

An increasingly popular option: People can work off the debt with community service.

"Economic conditions are driving that," said Hazel Bure, director of the court and operational services at the Pinellas County Clerk of Court. "The traffic fines are very high."

Drivers calculate the hours they need to work for a nonprofit by dividing the fine by the $7.25 hourly minimum wage. A $206 fine would be almost 29 hours. The fine isn't waived until the courts get a verification letter from the nonprofit.

The option is a boon to groups like Habitat for Humanity. Since 2008, the nonprofit has seen the number of people volunteering to pay off tickets double to about 12 a week, said Kevin Klucas, the group's volunteer coordinator.

"It works well for us, and hopefully becomes a good experience for them, too," Klucas said.

While some turn the experience into a productive one, officials say others let a ticket disrupt their lives. If a fine isn't paid, a motorist's driver's license is suspended, a misdemeanor that can mean going to jail. The state doesn't track the number of suspended licenses, but some law enforcement officers say there has been a rise.

A look at Pinellas County jail records show that more than 7,000 people were processed for that charge since 2005.

The majority of those were people arrested on the charge for the second or third time.

• • •

During rush hour last week, Steffek and fellow St. Petersburg Officer Chris Dort stopped more than a dozen drivers in two hours. Nearly everyone fretted about the fine.

"I work hard and make just enough to pay my bills," said Bob Samples, a 47-year-old restaurant worker facing a $206 speeding ticket. John Zurek was looking at $256 for going 17 mph over the limit. A 20-year-old St. Petersburg College student who recently quit his job at a sandwich shop, Zurek said he didn't know where he'd get the money.

Whatever strain motorists are feeling, it may only get worse.

St. Petersburg officials are installing red light cameras to catch offenders and will likely start handing out $158 tickets this summer. Hillsborough County already does. Tampa soon will.

"I feel bad for some of these drivers," Dort said. "People are busy. They're running around, trying to make ends meet. It's real rough out there."




Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 16, 2011, 11:32:26 AM
Double Digit Inflation has Arrived
USAWatchdog ^ | 16 May 2011 | Greg Hunter




New inflation figures were released by the government last week, and the news was not good. The headline inflation number was 3.2% in the 12 months that ended in April. That is more than a percent above the Federal Reserve’s “target” rate of 2% and the first time it has been more than 3% in over than 2 ½ years. Of course, the accounting gimmicks used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) understate true inflation, so things look better than reality. Nonetheless, in the latest report from economist John Williams of Shadowstats.com, even the government’s own “official” numbers will likely show double digit inflation in the next three months or so. The reason is continued money printing in the form of another round of Quantitative Easing (QE) by the Fed to prop up the struggling economy. Williams said, “The underlying pace of official inflation is accelerating, and could move into double-digits in third-quarter 2011. Preceding or coincident with that likely will have been some move to QE3 by the Fed and intense—if not panicked—selling of the U.S. dollar and dollar-denominated assets. Such a circumstance could be a base from which a hyperinflation might begin to unfold with some rapidity.”

And get this, inflation is already in double digits, according to Williams, if it was calculated the way BLS did it more than 30 years ago. Williams said, “. . . based on reporting of 1980, the April 2011 annual inflation rate would have been about 10.7%.” But, the double digit inflation story is not the one the mainstream media likes to tell. Instead, it usually focuses on what the government calls “core” inflation that excludes food and energy. The “core” inflation rate is .2%. Who lives in a world where the core of existence is not food and energy?


(Excerpt) Read more at usawatchdog.com ...



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 16, 2011, 01:45:41 PM
Poll shows Americans getting more pessimistic on economy, want spending cuts
Hotair ^ | May 16,2011 | Edward Morrissey




And in other news, water is wet. Anyone paying attention to the polls will not see any significant change over the last few months. Voters don’t want new taxes, and they are more worried now than last year about economic retreat:

Forty-six percent of voters say they feel worse off than they did a year ago, almost three times as many as the 16 percent who feel more affluent. Around one-third of voters — 36 percent — say their economic situation has remained essentially unchanged from 12 months ago. …

Voters don’t want to see taxes increased in response to the growing fiscal pressures facing the nation, the poll also indicated. Instead, they prefer significant cuts to government spending as a remedy.

Presented with a menu of choices to help curb the national debt and federal deficit, almost half of voters — 45 percent — support spending cuts alone, the poll indicates. By contrast, only 13 percent favor an even split between cutting spending and raising revenue through tax increases.

By a margin of two-to-one, respondents also said they would be unwilling to see any increase in their own tax rates even if this helped reduce the debt and deficits. Only 28 percent said they would be prepared to pay higher taxes, while 56 percent said they would not.

In fact, respondents narrowly support lowering taxes as a stimulus, 45/39. The poll splits evenly between Democrats and Republicans on which party gets more trust on economic policy, but that won’t last long if Democrats put forth a tax-hike budget plan, especially along the lines of the Senate’s notion of 50/50 deficit reduction between spending cuts and tax hikes. Only 13% of respondents backed that notion, with another 11% supporting a 2/1 split for spending cuts to tax hikes, and 15% for a 3/1 split.

Boehner declaring tax hikes “off the table” is a politically strong position for Republicans to take. In the fight over the debt limit, the national mood for spending cuts will force Democrats to give a lot of ground to the GOP if they want a raise in the debt ceiling. That will still depend on GOP courage to fight for the best deal they can cut. Having declared tax hikes off the table, Boehner has to be careful to avoid a “read my lips” moment in the weeks ahead.

Meanwhile, Gallup’s latest poll shows that economic pessimism is accelerating:

Three in four Americans name some type of economic issue as the “most important problem” facing the country today — the highest net mentions of the economy in two years. …

General economic concerns (35%) and unemployment (22%) are the specific issues currently at the forefront of Americans’ minds. The percentage mentioning the economy in general is up significantly from 26% in April, while unemployment is up just slightly from 19%.

Twelve percent of Americans mention the federal budget deficit or federal debt as the nation’s most important problem, down from 17% in April, although still high on a historical basis. The April reading was the highest Gallup found since 1996.

The highest non-economic concern garnered all of 8%, tied for second-to-last among economic concerns, and that was dissatisfaction with the current political class — which is likely to have been aggravated by the poor economic performance. The next one down was health care at 5%, tied for dead last among economic concerns with “lack of money.” Interestingly but not surprisingly, there isn’t a single environmental concern on the list, and the wars are tied for last at 4%.

When America goes to the polls in 2012, the economy will decide the election — and right now, that’s very bad news for Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 16, 2011, 07:01:05 PM
Lurker please feel free to refute any post in this thread.   


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 17, 2011, 06:54:29 AM
U.S. Housing Starts Unexpectedly Fell in April 
 
(Bloomberg) Housings starts in the U.S. unexpectedly fell in April as home builders continued to struggle almost two years into an economic recovery.

Work began on 523,000 houses at an annual pace, down 11 percent from the prior month and less than the 569,000 median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, figures from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. Building permits, a sign of future construction, also decreased.

Falling home values and the prospect of more foreclosures entering the market mean home construction will be slow to gain traction. Unemployment at 9 percent and stagnant wages indicate any recovery in housing may take years to unfold.

“Job growth is essential to household formation and to keep home prices from falling further,” said Eric Green, chief market economist at TD Securities Inc. in New York, who forecast permits at 550,000. “I don’t see home sales doing much of anything” for the foreseeable future. .............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-05-17/u-s-housing-st...
 


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 17, 2011, 05:55:52 PM
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Gallup Finds U.S. Unemployment at 9.2% in Mid-May
Gallup.com ^ | May 17, 2011 | by Dennis Jacobe, Chief Economist
Posted on May 17, 2011 11:45:15 AM EDT by Oldeconomybuyer

Underemployment is 19.1% -- essentially the same as a year ago.

PRINCETON, NJ -- Unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, is at 9.2% in mid-May -- down slightly from 9.4% at the end of April. It is also slightly lower than the 9.4% of mid-May last year.

The percentage of part-time workers who want full-time work is at 9.9% in mid-May -- the same as at the end of April. Just as many Americans are now working part time but seeking full-time work as was the case a year ago.

Underemployment, a measure that combines the percentage of unemployed with the percentage working part time but wanting full-time work, was at 19.1% in mid-May -- down from 19.3% at the end of April. Underemployment remains as high as it was in mid-May 2010.

(Excerpt) Read more at gallup.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 18, 2011, 12:33:02 PM
So 2 of the 3 things making health care costs skyrocket are made worse by CommieCare?  Nice, just like what obama wants, collapse the nation.  Same with energy prices.   


http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/health-insurance/161867-report-medical-costs-to-rise-85-percent-in-2012-in-small-part-due-to-healthcare-law?page=4#comments





Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 18, 2011, 08:37:17 PM
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Underemployment at 19 Percent, Unchanged in a Year
Townhall.com ^ | May 18. 2011 | Mike Shedlock
Posted on May 18, 2011 7:47:34 PM EDT by Kaslin

The most recent Gallup survey pegs US unemployment at 9.2%. That is not significantly different from the BLS report at 9.0%. However, the Gallup numbers are not seasonally adjusted the BLS unemployment rate is.

Comparing not seasonally adjusted numbers, Gallup shows a .2 percentage point drop in the last year while the BLS reports an improvement of .8 percentage points. Month after month the BLS is consistently lower. Counting part-time workers the Gallup results are even worse.

Gallup Pegs Underemployment at 19.1%, Same as 1 Year Ago

Please consider Gallup Finds U.S. Unemployment at 9.2% in Mid-May

Unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, is at 9.2% in mid-May -- down slightly from 9.4% at the end of April. It is also slightly lower than the 9.4% of mid-May last year.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 19, 2011, 06:02:32 AM
Weekly Claims See Fall, (409k) But Jobs Picture Remains Weak
CNBC ^ | 05-19-2011 | Staff




New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, but a rise in the four-week moving average to a six-month high indicated the labor market recovery will remain painfully slow.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 29,000 to a seasonally adjusted 409,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday, continuing to unwind the prior weeks spike.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims dropping to 420,000. The prior weeks figure was revised up to 438,000 from the previously reported 434,000.  The four-week moving average of unemployment claims, a better measure of underlying trends, rose 1,250 to 439,000 - the highest level since mid-November.  

The data covers the survey period for the governments closely watched employment report for May, which will be released early next month.

The recent jump in claims, blamed on auto layoffs because of supply chain disruptions from March's Japanese earthquake and problems with adjusting data for seasonal variations, had raised fears of a pull back in the pace of job creation.


(Excerpt) Read more at cnbc.com ...



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 19, 2011, 06:04:50 AM
O-pocalypse Now
Townhall.com ^ | May 19, 2011 | John Ransom


________________________ ________________________ _____


Reuters reports that the markets fell below their 50-day moving averages this week on news that housing is softer than expected and there's a slump in factory output.

Hewlett Packard disappointed too and that's hurting tech stocks.

"HP, the world's largest technology company, cut its financial forecasts because of problems stemming from Japan's earthquake," says Reuters, "soft PC sales and lowered expectations for its service business. HP's stock was down 6.5 percent at $37.21."

The lesson is that the stock market is all about earnings. Forget Japan, Libya, et al.
 
More from Reuters: "This shows that we are kind of losing momentum ... and it is certainly disturbing considering that we are nearing the end of QE2," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank in Chicago, referring to the U.S. monetary stimulus program known as QE2.


With talk like that can QE3 be far behind?

The market has done well during earnings season generally.

It's gone from a low of 1294 on the S&P to 1370 before starting this latest round of consolidation.

Much of the movement was based on strong earnings. As a backward glance, earnings are great. Certainly they are indicative of what the economy has done in the past.

Going forward however, there are indications that earnings could be a bit softer.

"We have had some data that has been softening so I guess we are going to experience a bit of a slowdown," said Frank Lesh, an analyst and broker at FuturePath Trading in Chicago according to Reuters.

Manufacturing data hit a five-month low in the recent NY survey. Europe and China have raised interest rates to combat inflation, which would imply a slowdown. Unemployment continues to be persistent. And the end of QE2 will dry up a source of liquidity that markets have counted on.

Our friend Mike Shedlock continues to think that China is headed for a bust. And so do I. 


On the plus side, the end of QE2 should take pressure off of commodity markets. If commodity prices come down in reponse to slowing global growth, and a tigher monetary policy, it could help create conditions for the mythical "soft-landing" the Fed is supposed to manufacture.

Of course a "soft landing" scenario should apply only to a recovery, which we haven't had.

How we got to the end of the business cycle where we are combating inflation without going through the middle of the business cycle- you know the part that creates wealth and jobs?-  is the story of the O-pocalypse. 

To be fair to Obama, the trend started before he was president. But his policies have certainly accelerated the process. Again, we've gone through a whole boom-and-bust business cycle (almost) without the nastiness of, um, jobs and wealth creation.

If he wants to tax the rich, he better do so while we have a few rich left.   

(Source: Barry Ritholtz)

 


 
The trendline on the S&P would suggest that the market is in a period not unlike that from 1971 to 1973 when the market attempted to break above the trend, but instead traded sideways for the next 9 years.

Interestingly, even after the market enjoyed an historic bull run in the 1980s, the S&P didn't break well above the trend until 1994.

The chart above puts in perspective the long-range nature of how markets react to events. Rather than being drivers of events, the markets are just reflections of things that are going on in society at large.

The period from 1966 to 1982 is a good exmaple of that. It looks like the economy was on drugs during that period, until the recovery began when it just said "no."

The drug of choice back then, of course, was dollars and government spending. 

Looking at a longer term perspective, it's a very good time to be investing in stocks if your investment horizon is 10-20 years or more.


Of course investing in stocks would give you extra incentive to give Obama the boot too.

For more on money and markets, take a look at our commentary every day at the Ticker.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: GigantorX on May 19, 2011, 12:34:44 PM
A member of the Fed (Evans) came out today ands said that (paraphrasing here)....

--- "QE2 is justified because of the stalling "recovery", poor employment and bad economic data"

I'd like to punch this asshole in the face. They can't accept that they have failed and doomed this nation to 20 years of the abyss. So, your plans of utterly failed and accomplished nothing (except making the rich richer and everyone else poorer) so that justifies your plans?

This fucksheads should be hanging from lamp posts.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 19, 2011, 12:39:47 PM
I especially like how these communists/leftists are trying to sping 400k weekly jobless claims considering we have the lowest labor particpation rate in decades. 


Do these communist pofs not understand the concept of "scale"?


400k weekly claims at this point is a disaster of mega-magnitude, but not to the obots of course.       


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 20, 2011, 07:01:10 AM
Unions Panic as Reality Sets In: Obama’s EPA Will Kill ‘Tens of Thousands’ of Jobs
Posted by LaborUnionReport (Profile)
Friday, May 20th at 7:00AM EDT

http://www.redstate.com/laborunionreport/2011/05/20/unions-panic-as-reality-sets-in-obamas-epa-will-kill-tens-of-thousands-of-jobs






Union bosses dumped hundreds of millions of dollars of their members’ dues into getting Barack Obama elected. They chastised the racists in their ranks, downplayed his socialist rhetoric, and they thought he would be their union savior. Worse, union bosses put both their members’ money and their livelihoods in his hands. Apparently, union bosses could have their cake and eat it too (or so they thought).



In their rush to promote those so-called “green jobs” union bosses convinced themselves (and their members) that there would be no displacement, no job losses, no casualties or no pain in Obama’s plan of hope and change. They were wrong.

This would be the “hope” and “change” part of moving the American economy to a “green economy“:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed the first-ever national standards for mercury, arsenic and other emissions from power plants. The new power plant mercury and air toxics standards would require many power plants to install emissions control technologies to cut mercury, arsenic, chromium, nickel and acid gases emissions.

The updated standards will attempt to provide a level playing field for power plants across the country. The proposed rule provides up to four years for facilities to meet the standards and, once fully implemented, will prevent 91 percent of mercury in coal from being released into the air. EPA expects the new rule will support 31,000 short-term construction jobs and 9,000 long-term utility jobs.

This would be reality smacking the union bosses at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers squarely in the face…

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) said it believes a three-year timeframe for reducing emissions of carbon, mercury and other pollutants through the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Mercury and Air Toxics Standard is not realistic. The union is backing a bill calling for Congress to delay new rules on emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Union official said they have met with the EPA to discuss concerns and recognize the agency has limited discretion and flexibility in addressing compliance timelines because it is bound by federal court mandates.

The union said 50,000 jobs are at stake if power plants cannot get an extra five or six years to either clean up or shut down their oldest coal-fired power plants. Under the Clean Air Act, plants get three years with a possible one-year extension after that to install emissions control equipment.

And this would be reality hitting the United Mine Workers’ President Cecil Roberts in the face as well…

The Clean Air Act’s deadline for meeting the new regulations is just 36 months after the rules are finalized in November. EPA can grant a one-year extension on a case-by-case basis. While some generating units will be retrofitted with additional pollution controls to meet the standards, hundreds of smaller and older units will simply be closed.

Tens of thousands of jobs will be lost in the utility, coal and transportation sectors. Hundreds of communities will suffer as their tax bases shrink with the closure of nearby utility plants. Industrial states that were hit hard by the recession and still suffering from high unemployment will take another, needless hit.

To make matters worse, the new source limits EPA is proposing are so stringent that no new state-of-the-art power plant equipped with highly efficient scrubbers and other pollution controls could meet each of the multiple standards. Some of the new source standards are below the detection limits of current monitoring and testing equipment.

Unfortunately, union bosses either ignored Barack Obama (or were just plain ignorant) when he warned America of his plans back in 2008:



It didn’t take a rocket scientist to know that Obama’s plans would cost jobs—many of those jobs occupied by union members. Beyond the hype of ‘hope’ and ‘change,’ it’s become all too clear that union bosses sold their members a bill of goods.

It’s a good thing union bosses don’t build rockets.

_________________

“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

X-posted.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: GigantorX on May 20, 2011, 08:01:03 AM
Unions Panic as Reality Sets In: Obama’s EPA Will Kill ‘Tens of Thousands’ of Jobs
Posted by LaborUnionReport (Profile)
Friday, May 20th at 7:00AM EDT

http://www.redstate.com/laborunionreport/2011/05/20/unions-panic-as-reality-sets-in-obamas-epa-will-kill-tens-of-thousands-of-jobs






Union bosses dumped hundreds of millions of dollars of their members’ dues into getting Barack Obama elected. They chastised the racists in their ranks, downplayed his socialist rhetoric, and they thought he would be their union savior. Worse, union bosses put both their members’ money and their livelihoods in his hands. Apparently, union bosses could have their cake and eat it too (or so they thought).



In their rush to promote those so-called “green jobs” union bosses convinced themselves (and their members) that there would be no displacement, no job losses, no casualties or no pain in Obama’s plan of hope and change. They were wrong.

This would be the “hope” and “change” part of moving the American economy to a “green economy“:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed the first-ever national standards for mercury, arsenic and other emissions from power plants. The new power plant mercury and air toxics standards would require many power plants to install emissions control technologies to cut mercury, arsenic, chromium, nickel and acid gases emissions.

The updated standards will attempt to provide a level playing field for power plants across the country. The proposed rule provides up to four years for facilities to meet the standards and, once fully implemented, will prevent 91 percent of mercury in coal from being released into the air. EPA expects the new rule will support 31,000 short-term construction jobs and 9,000 long-term utility jobs.

This would be reality smacking the union bosses at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers squarely in the face…

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) said it believes a three-year timeframe for reducing emissions of carbon, mercury and other pollutants through the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Mercury and Air Toxics Standard is not realistic. The union is backing a bill calling for Congress to delay new rules on emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Union official said they have met with the EPA to discuss concerns and recognize the agency has limited discretion and flexibility in addressing compliance timelines because it is bound by federal court mandates.

The union said 50,000 jobs are at stake if power plants cannot get an extra five or six years to either clean up or shut down their oldest coal-fired power plants. Under the Clean Air Act, plants get three years with a possible one-year extension after that to install emissions control equipment.

And this would be reality hitting the United Mine Workers’ President Cecil Roberts in the face as well…

The Clean Air Act’s deadline for meeting the new regulations is just 36 months after the rules are finalized in November. EPA can grant a one-year extension on a case-by-case basis. While some generating units will be retrofitted with additional pollution controls to meet the standards, hundreds of smaller and older units will simply be closed.

Tens of thousands of jobs will be lost in the utility, coal and transportation sectors. Hundreds of communities will suffer as their tax bases shrink with the closure of nearby utility plants. Industrial states that were hit hard by the recession and still suffering from high unemployment will take another, needless hit.

To make matters worse, the new source limits EPA is proposing are so stringent that no new state-of-the-art power plant equipped with highly efficient scrubbers and other pollution controls could meet each of the multiple standards. Some of the new source standards are below the detection limits of current monitoring and testing equipment.

Unfortunately, union bosses either ignored Barack Obama (or were just plain ignorant) when he warned America of his plans back in 2008:



It didn’t take a rocket scientist to know that Obama’s plans would cost jobs—many of those jobs occupied by union members. Beyond the hype of ‘hope’ and ‘change,’ it’s become all too clear that union bosses sold their members a bill of goods.

It’s a good thing union bosses don’t build rockets.

_________________

“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

X-posted.


I'm glad you posted this. He can't his dumbass, radical and stupid eco-agenda pushed through by using the law, congress and voting so he will go and use the unelected nut job EPA (who he's staffed with "his guys") to push through royal mandates.

What an idiot and what a joke.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 21, 2011, 02:24:41 PM
Geithner Says New Financial Crisis Coming
TBI/The Daily Beast ^ | 5-19-2011 | Lloyd Grove




Geithner Says New Financial Crisis Coming

Lloyd Grove, The Daily Beast
May 19, 2011, 2:12 PM

At a New York screening of the new HBO adaptation of Andrew Ross Sorkin’s Too Big to Fail, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that not only is our financial system not too large to go bust—but we’re headed for another crisis.

The Wall Street meltdown of late 2008 was, in real life, a harrowing event, triggering a terrible recession from which we’re still recovering. In the HBO movie Too Big to Fail, it’s also a surprisingly gripping melodrama—a clash of greedheads and egomaniacs desperate to escape the consequences of their own bad behavior.

At various moments of high tension, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson (played by a bedraggled, unshaven William Hurt) flees an important meeting to stress-vomit in his private bathroom, and New York Federal Reserve President Timothy Geithner (a perfectly turned-out Billy Crudup) continually curses into his cell phone.

It's an alarming entertainment (premiering May 23 at 9 p.m.), and an even more disturbing memory. So having the real Geithner predict the coming of another big crisis was the last thing the well-heeled screening crowd at the Time Warner Center wanted to hear Tuesday night.

“It will come again. There will be another storm,” warned Geithner, who in early 2009 succeeded Paulson as treasury secretary. “But it’s not going to come for a while.”


(snip)


(Excerpt) Read more at businessinsider.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 23, 2011, 06:17:54 AM
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Economic Slowdown Is Already Here

http://www.comstockfunds.com/default.aspx?act=Newsletter.aspx&category=MarketCommentary&newsletterid=1585&menugroup=Home&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupp ort=1


 
 
Today's somewhat weak economic releases add to a pattern of recent tepid results from a number of economic indicators, and suggest that an economic slowdown is gathering steam even before the end of QE2.   We cite the following as evidence.

1)  Existing home sales for April were down 0.5% to 5.05 million as compared to 7.2 million at the peak.  Inventories of homes for sale increased to a 9.2 months, the highest since December while prices were down 5% from a year earlier.

2)  April housing starts dropped 10.2% to 523,000, barely above the recession lows, and below any level prior to 2008.  According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) traffic of potential buyers was still extremely low.  Keep in mind that this is an organization that usually puts a positive spin on any results.

3)  While weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance declined to 409,000 from the prior week, the number has now been over 400,000 for six straight weeks after a period of coming in below that level.

4)  The Philadelphia Fed Index for May fell sharply to 3.9, losing 39.5 points in the last two months.  This is also well below the 1st quarter average of 32.9.  Both new and unfilled orders dropped significantly while inventories also declined, indicating that the inventory buildup that helped support the recovery may be moving back in line with demand, which has been growing less than production.

5)  Consistent with the above, April industrial production was flat.  It is likely that production, which had consistently been running ahead of demand, is being reduced as inventories that were depleted during the recession have now caught up.  This also may explain the higher level of initial claims.

6)  The Empire State Manufacturing Survey was also down 9.8 points to 11.9, the lowest level since December.  This index therefore confirms the Philly index and suggests similar lower results from the ISM manufacturing index.

7)  The April index of leading indicators declined 0.3%.  While one month does not make a trend it was the first monthly drop since last June, and fits in with what other indicators seem to be telling us.

8)  Similarly, the ECRI Weekly leading indictor has been down for three of the last five weeks and has been about flat since mid-December after rising steadily from the recession lows.  This is indicative of at least a pause in coming economic growth, and perhaps something worse.

9)  April core retail sales increased only 0.2%, and were probably flat to slightly down when adjusted for inflation.  Higher income from reduced social  security withholding was more than offset by higher gasoline prices, tepid wage increases, high unemployment, lower home prices and recessionary levels of consumer confidence.  And this is happening even before the end of QE2, which has been keeping the economy afloat since November.   

10)  The April Small Business Survey, after rising weakly from recession lows, has now dropped 3.1 points in the last two months.  Even at its most recent high it was below any level in its history prior to 2008.  Key segments that declined were plans to increase employment and capital expenditures.  In addition the number expecting sales to rise also dropped.

11)  In addition to the domestic concerns cited above, the global picture is also not looking too rosy.  ECRI's long leading indicator of global industrial growth peaked last August at 0.7 and stood at 0.1 in March.  ECRI managing director Lakshman Achuthan stated "There's a downturn in global industrial growth in clear sight".  EU production fell in March and retail sales have been flat for six months.  In the UK there's been no GDP growth for six months.  Japanese GDP dropped 3.7% annualized in the 1st quarter and 3.0% in the 4th.   Note that the earthquake occurred on March 11th, toward the end of the quarter, so cannot be fully blamed for the 1st quarter and not at all for the 4th.   Industrial output in all of the BRIC nations seems to be slowing, and current monetary and fiscal policies suggest more to come.

All in all it seems to us that the odds are high that a domestic and global economic slowdown is already in place.  In the U.S. the slowdown is happening with only six weeks to go before the end of QE2, a program that has been a major prop for even the tepid recovery we've undergone so far.  For the stock market nothing seems to matter until, suddenly, it does.  Recall 1999 and 2007 when the market stayed high despite the obvious problems that were there for all to see.  The S&P closed today at virtually the same level it first reached on February 9th, and is most likely in the process of forming a top.  In our view the potential breakdown is close at hand.
 

 


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 23, 2011, 10:18:25 AM
The Coming Deflationary Contraction
American Thinker ^ | May 22, 2011 | Peter Raymond




Determining when the next great liquidation will occur is impossible to predict with any degree of certainty; nevertheless it is fair to say the sooner the better.  Economic liquidation is a restorative process that corrects the harm done by inflationary policies.  If accepting of this premise, then liquidations or deflationary depressions cannot be considered the disease in need of cure which unfortunately has been the position of economic interventionists since the early 1920's.


Instead, they are a necessary and unavoidable adjustment after years of excessive credit expansions have destabilized the economy.  Efforts to further delay these self-corrections by instituting a series of escalating inflationary policies only needlessly extends and deepens economic woes and increases the size and scope of the inevitable adjustment.  With the increasingly aggressive actions of the world's central banks and governments over the last decade to inflate the monetary supply, it seems a safe bet the next liquidation phase, when it does finally take place, will be a very large and abrupt correction.



Already, the ominous signs of economic stress caused by historic intervention measures are becoming evident.  Despite the extraordinary monetary and fiscal policies to ward off deflationary pressures and economic contraction, prices are once again signaling that certain sectors of the economy would quickly liquidate if the stabilization programs in place were lifted.  Home and auto prices for example have been pushing through a series of price support schemes and headed to lower levels in spite of a rapidly depreciating dollar.  Also, the recent increase in volatility in both the commodity and currency markets is suggestive of price distortions generated by the Federal Reserve's ongoing quantitative easing programs.


The combined initiatives of policymakers and central bankers to suspend economic forces to create the impression of a recovery and price stability can go on for only so long before the building wave of deflation can no longer be contained.  Not even the most ambitious plans to flood the economy with easy money can prevent the eventual contraction of the economy and a general fall in prices.  It has been tried before and it does not work. There is of course a cost for such heavy-handed intervention.  The longer and more aggressively a market correction is delayed by predictably ad hoc measures of panicking policymakers, the greater the size and duration of the liquidation.


Perhaps most concerning is the continued arrogance of the present day interventionists.  They are never in want of self-confidence or devotion to their policies.  Unfortunately, their conventional wisdom continues to justify radical inflationary measures as a means to indefinitely hold off a liquidation cycle and miraculously jumpstart another period of economic expansion.  Nearly four years after the first indications of looming economic trouble appeared in the second half of 2007, these tinkering central planners now seem willing to sacrifice the dollar in order to defeat the deflationary pressures their previous inflationary policies fostered in the first place.  Needless to say, it will be utterly demoralizing to witness the expected ramp up of desperate actions by these frustrated interventionists utterly dumbfounded by their repeated failures to stimulate economic growth.  Of course, they will never acknowledge their actions prolonged and aggravated economic decline.


So what happens when the liquidation process of a depression begins in spite of the slew of much touted countermeasures that are soon followed by heated accusations of interventionists looking to assign fault to hapless scapegoats?  It entails a dramatic fall in prices and production of nearly every non-essential good and service until price and production reach levels supported by market conditions.  Wages, durables, equities, and real estate will plunge at an alarming rate.  Labor unions and major industrialists will unsuccessfully try to shield themselves from deflation and job losses by demanding the government implement price and production controls.  But government can do nothing long term to bolster artificially high price levels and will only further decimate the economy by trying.  In fact, stabilization efforts during a liquidation period often cause prices to sink far below where they would otherwise have been under a passive policy.  Sadly, unemployment does spike, especially in high order industries until wages adjust much lower.  This is truly an unpleasant affair, but completely necessary and usually short lived.


Although it is counterintuitive and obviously controversial, it is imperative to allow the monetary supply to contract and interest rates to rise while simultaneously reducing public spending.  Without such action or, in many instances, inaction, the economy will only be further disrupted and recovery delayed.  Even something as innocuous and seemingly compassionate as extending unemployment income has the unintended consequence of delaying reemployment and economic recovery.  It is interesting to note that prior to the New Deal, private charitable organizations strongly opposed government funding of humanitarian efforts including unemployment income.  They correctly argued charity was best left in the private sector.


Such austerity and money tightening measures employ exactly the opposite philosophy cooked up by Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, and later expanded upon while president, to "counter attack" depressions and supposedly avert economic ruin.  Amazingly, Hoover's basic premise that government action is the "better option" has not lost any of its appeal to this day.


By the way, do not believe the revisionists' false portrayal of Hoover as ever favoring a laissez faire approach with the economy before or during the depression.  Hoover was an enthusiastic central planner who frequently boasted of his intervention successes in 1931 when it was thought government stopped the depression with its numerous command and control programs.  And records prove the Federal Reserve was pouring cash into the reserves of national banks trying in vain to expand credit.  The shrinking of bank reserves was the result of a justifiable loss of faith in the banking industry leading to abnormally high demand for physical possession of legal tender.


To his credit, Hoover ignored the rather stunning proposals put forth by leading industrialists and labor leaders to institute full blown national planning, much of which was supposed to emulate the then en vogue Soviet model.  Many of their ideas would emerge later under the disastrous New Deal policies of the FDR administration.  Had he complied with their requests, Hoover would have joined the ranks of other prominent Marxist leaders of that period and not just another failed interventionist who spent the remainder of his life vigorously defending his actions to the very end.


Some unexpected developments can occur as a result of liquidation, barring any massive government intervention.  First, there is normally a strengthening of the currency as the monetary base contracts.  So in our case, the dollar's current downward trajectory would conceivably reverse course, causing the price of dollar-based commodities to fall as a result. Surprisingly, gold and silver prices fall as well in response to rising interest rates on savings and the strengthening currency.  There recent selling of gold holdings by George Soros and other large hedge funds may presage a reversal of gold prices and dollar valuation.  Second, falling wages do not automatically translate into a loss of purchasing power.  This is because the drop in prices for most goods and services will normally outpace wages declines.  Those lucky enough to remain employed throughout a depression will enjoy an increase in purchasing power even when adjusting for wage reductions.  This phenomenon is just the opposite of what occurs in an inflationary environment where wage earners experience an erosion of purchasing power over time.  Allowed to run its course, liquidation is very rapid and the majority of unemployed return to work in less than a year, albeit at much lower wages and mercifully without much change to the average standard of living.


It is the affluent investors that bear both the immediate and long term brunt of the losses since the price of equities, hard assets, and real estate collapse and remain suppressed for quite some time.  This outcome seems rather fitting since the wealthy are the primary beneficiaries and supporters of inflationary policies.


The all-important point is that the disruptive oscillations of the economy are the unfortunate consequence of interventionism and inflationary monetary policies generating boom and bust cycles.  The policymakers and central bankers deserve the total blame for these swings of the entire economy and not speculators, consumers, or producers.  These cycles are certainly not attributable to some ludicrous theory citing mysterious shifts in overall consumption causing over or under consumption.  Until such time government is prevented from manipulating the economy and the monetary supply, inflationary expansions followed by deflationary contractions, along with the misery they produce, will be a permanent and inescapable part of our future.


Admittedly, nearly a century of indoctrination has created the expectation and confidence governments can and must take action in every economic crisis.  It would be politically untenable for all but the staunchest non-interventionists to maintain a passive stance during a depression.  By far the majority of policymakers succumb to the demands of hard pressed constituents, even if it is known such actions would ultimately hurt the people they are meant to assist.


This brings me to the recent remarks made by the economist Joseph Stiglitz where he declared austerity measures are essentially a failed "experiment that has been tried before" which destroys jobs and undermines economic recovery.  Naturally, the first question that comes to mind is: Where and when have austerity measures been proven to be ineffective in dealing with economic contractions?  During the last depression, government actions incorporating most of Stiglitz's preferred spending policies yielded an unmitigated humanitarian disaster that dragged on for nearly a decade.  Surely, it would seem unreasonable for Stiglitz to consider the New Deal "experiment" as even remotely effective in ending or even shortening the depression, let alone creating or saving jobs.  Then again, nothing about the public intellectuals from the left shocks me anymore.


The conspicuous flaw with the interventionist logic is the fundamental belief wealth is created by consumption; the more that is consumed, the greater the wealth creation.  Therefore, economic interventionism is centered on maintaining wage and price levels in order to maintain a targeted rate of consumption.  In reality, it is production that creates wealth.  And the wealth created by production is what results in greater consumption.  Interventionists have the cart before the horse.


It is this nonsensical reversal in the order of wealth creation that leads to the erroneous conclusion that net prosperity is increased by more evenly redistributing wealth and expanding public spending.  Since both are thought to increase overall consumption, interventionists reason the national prosperity will grow as a result of their economic and social engineering schemes.  Interventionists are so beholden to the idea of wealth being created by consumption that they have derived out of thin air a formula to calculate how much government "investments" will grow the GNP.  Somehow a dollar confiscated from the private sector through taxation magically produces more than a dollar in economic activity when spent by government. 


In practice, such government spending sprees have a highly corrosive effect on the economy and employment by removing much-needed funds normally set aside for productive purposes, and instead using them for consumption.   Since government, by and large, is a massive consumer of goods and services that uses the funds taken from the private sector, it contributes relatively little to production or investment no matter the level of spending.


The idea that government spending acts as an additional factor in the economy, and thus a productive investment, most likely comes from its odd inclusion in the GNP numbers.  This undoubtedly obscures the negative impact public spending has on economic growth and prosperity.   That fact that GNP was first introduced in 1934 in the midst of the New Deal era should arouse the suspicion of critical thinkers, however.


Because government spending is largely representative of consumption and not production, the coerced private sector contributions funding public spending is in fact a burden on the private sector that actually reduces overall production and wealth creation.  This is why during any economic downturn it is best to reduce and not increase government spending in order to lessen the drain on private sector capital.  Otherwise, there is less private capital available to invest in production and aid in the recovery process.  Advocates of consumption-oriented economic policies are unwilling to accept that no manner or amount of government spending, whether or not it is referred to as an investment, can duplicate let alone outperform the positive return of voluntary private sector investment in production.


The overriding issue that will complicate our economic recovery is the massive national debt.  A drop in tax revenues and any increase in the value of the dollar that normally accompanies a liquidation cycle will push the nation closer to insolvency as the economy works its way through monetary excesses.  Also, the interest on the national debt will become an inescapable and growing drag on the private sector as interest rates rise from historic lows.  These are the unfortunate consequences of a fiscally reckless government continuously accruing debt for over a generation. There is little doubt the Federal Reserve will continue their crusade to depreciate the dollar in order to facilitate deficit spending and lower the cost burden of the national debt.  However, these inflationary efforts will likely fail to hold off a deflationary contraction for much longer.


Contrary to the predictions for the complete ruination of the dollar, I anticipate quite the opposite.  In the near term, inflationary pressures will certainly continue to build and may surge for a short time, just before a sudden reversal occurs marking the beginning of a liquidation cycle and rapid deflation.  Strange as it may sound, I believe the onset of a deflationary depression offers the best hope of salvaging the dollar and ending the reign of the inflationists.  Growing public awareness and displeasure over the harm done by inflationary policies and runaway government spending may leave no option available to policymakers other than returning to the gold standard thereby forcing fiscal and monetary restraint.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 24, 2011, 05:22:44 AM
A Sign of Desperation at the Fed
Economic Policy Journal ^ | 05/23/2011 | Economic Policy Journal




Thanks to Ben Bernanke's new monetary "tools", the Federal Reserve continues to operate in panic mode. Specifically, because the Fed now pays interest on reserves held by banks at the Federal Reserve, excess reserves are piling up at the Fed at a remarkable rate.

There are now $1.5 trillion in excess reserves just sitting there that could explode and hit the economy at anytime and cause huge price inflation. There has never, ever, before Bernanke started paying interest on reserves so much of an overhang in excess reserves. In the month before the Fed started paying interest on excess reserves, September 2008, excess reserves stood at only $27 billion.

Here's the difference between then and now:

THEN: 27,000,000,000

NOW: 1,500,000,000,000

Here's a graph of the situation:


(Excerpt) Read more at economicpolicyjournal.co m ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Bindare_Dundat on May 24, 2011, 05:50:15 PM
Gold is back to 1520/oz, silver is at 35/oz. Both making nice moves upwards. I think they are going to blow past the recent highs as things start to get worse again.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 24, 2011, 05:59:01 PM
Gold is back to 1520/oz, silver is at 35/oz. Both making nice moves upwards. I think they are going to blow past the recent highs as things start to get worse again.

Hey - life is grand - bama sipping $1,000 wine, galavanting all over the globe, starting wars all over the place, things are great. 


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 25, 2011, 05:43:13 AM
This is What Stagflation Looks Like
Townhall.com ^ | May 24, 2011 | John Ransom





Even as world equity markets move down with signs pointing to slowing global economic growth, a European Central Bank member is warning about inflation.

"We have to take seriously the April rise in long-term inflation expectations and take it as a sign of increasing price perspectives when monetary policy is expansive," said Jens Weidmann, the head of Germany's Bundesbank.

Translation: We need to tighten up money to combat inflation.

Tighter money supply means slower growth.

Of course, with protestors gathered all over the world asking for more handouts, it's possible that we could see governments loosen monetary policy to give out even more handouts.


In that case, inflation would, of course, quicken its pace.

There is one alternative between raising interest rates and pumping more money into the system.     

The government should consider slashing government regulations and taxes so as to create more friendly free market economies that produce more tax revenues.

The central problem that economies worldwide face is not a lack of money.

The central problem is a lack of confidence by the business community to make plans for investment. Banks still have lots of cash and assets on their balance sheets, but not enough of it is making its way into the economy.

In short, there is a lot of money, but not enough of it is yours or mine. This is what stagflation looks like. Concentrated pools of money chase the price of goods up; and you and I pay. 

A couple things can be done to change the confidence level for American businesses and get money back to Main Street.

The president should grant a blanket waiver for everyone on the implementation of Obamacare. It was a misconceived idea that is hanging around the neck of the economy. That’s why we are seeing so many waivers granted.


But more importantly, the House and Senate should repeal Frank-Dodd, the so-called financial reform legislation.

Frank-Dodd doesn’t actually accomplish anything but add an extra level of regulation that’s killing the loan business by distorting business decisions.

For example, Dodd-Frank asks the too-big-to-fail institutions (called SIFIs) to come up with extra capital to insure against failure. That’s a reasonable expectation.

But some of these institutions are rather loosely defined. It should come as no surprise that those falling in the loosely defined category of SIFI are lobbying to be waived out of the extra capital requirements.

And some will be waived out.

Those that can’t get waived will change their business model to avoid the extra burdens that comes with being an SIFI.

In the meantime, they are holding on to cash as a prudent business decision.

That’s the problem with these types of federal laws. It leads to business decisions made for the sake of complying with laws, not business realities.


For example, Hartford Financial Services Group Inc said today that it would sell a small bank it purchased to take advantage of bailout laws passed in response to the financial meltdown of 2008.

“Hartford said it will record a second-quarter charge of about $70 million after taxes on its agreement to sell the bank, Federal Trust Corp., to CenterState Banks Inc.,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “Buying the lender allowed Hartford to get $3.4 billion from the federal bailout program; it repaid the bailout last year.”

What was the purchase price for $3.4 billion in government loans? $10 million.

Clearly Hartford took advantage of a law to help their shareholders. That’s what businesses do. The moment we ask them to stop doing that, the economy will collapse completely. 

Right now, banks, especially small banks- the one that make loans on Main Street- are in regulatory limbo. The American Bankers Association estimates that over 1,000 small banks will close as a result of Dodd-Frank.

Instead of forcing those banks with perfectly sound balance sheets to close, we should be figuring out how to get them to loan money again.

That’s social engineering we can all agree on.

That's really our only hope.


We're out of money. And every minute, the money that you and I have is worth a little -or a lot- less.

This is what stagflation looks like. 


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 25, 2011, 11:55:58 AM
Nearly Half of Americans Are ‘Financially Fragile’
Wall Street Journal Blogs ^ | May 25, 2011 | Phil Izzo


________________________ ________________________ __________


Nearly half of Americans say that they definitely or probably couldn’t come up with $2,000 in 30 days, according to new research, raising concerns about the financial fragility of many households.  

In a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Annamaria Lusardi of the George Washington School of Business, Daniel J. Schneider of Princeton University and Peter Tufano of Harvard Business School used data from the 2009 TNS Global Economic Crisis survey to document widespread financial weakness in the U.S. and other countries.

The survey asked a simple question, “If you were to face a $2,000 unexpected expense in the next month, how would you get the funds you need?” In the U.S., 24.9% of respondents reported being certainly able, 25.1% probably able, 22.2% probably unable and 27.9% certainly unable. The $2,000 figure “reflects the order of magnitude of the cost of an unanticipated major car repair, a large copayment on a medical expense, legal expenses, or a home repair,” the authors write. On a more concrete basis, the authors cite $2,000 as the cost of an auto transmission replacement and research that reported low-income families claim to need about $1500 in savings for emergencies.

Financial fragility isn’t limited to low-income groups. “Households with socioeconomic markers of vulnerability (income, wealth, wealth losses, education, women, families with children) are more likely to be financially fragile, and substantially more so,” the authors write. “The more surprising finding is that a material fraction of seemingly ‘middle class’ Americans also judge themselves to be financially fragile, reflecting either a substantially weaker financial position than one would expect, or a very high level of anxiety or pessimism. Both are important in terms of behavior and for public policy.”


(Excerpt) Read more at blogs.wsj.com ...


________________________ ________________________ ____-


Wow.   




Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 25, 2011, 03:05:09 PM
Shadow Stat Misery Index Highest on Record
www.EconomicPolicyJourna l.com ^ | May 13, 2011




John Williams, over at Shadow Stats, compiles economic data for inflation and unemployment the way it used to be calculated pre-1990. Based on that data, the CPI inflation rate is over 10%, and the unemployment rate is over 15% (see charts). The Misery Index is the sum of the current inflation rate and the unemployment rate. If it were to be calculated using the older methods, the Index would now be over 25, a record high.  It surpasses the old index high of 21.98, which occurred in June 1980, when Jimmy Carter was president. Most believe the height of the Index along with the Iranian hostage crisis is what caused Carter to lose his re-election bid.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: GigantorX on May 25, 2011, 05:44:08 PM
BIG miss on Durable Goods Orders today as well...

Plus there were more downward future GDP revisions.

Not good.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Bindare_Dundat on May 25, 2011, 05:59:16 PM
BIG miss on Durable Goods Orders today as well...

Plus there were more downward future GDP revisions.

Not good.

 Grab yer surfboard dude, the next crisis wave is building up.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: GigantorX on May 25, 2011, 06:36:10 PM
Grab yer surfboard dude, the next crisis wave is building up.

The only wave here, bro, is the giant wave of recovery!

Surfs Up!


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 25, 2011, 06:38:11 PM
Yeah recovery summer alright.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Fury on May 25, 2011, 06:40:37 PM
How fucking dare you guys insult this "recovery". In-fact, it could have been even better if Obama had done like Straw Man advocates and spent MORE on the stimulus!


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 25, 2011, 06:45:01 PM
Things have goTten so bad in my nabe my car got broken in to and they stole my gym bag w dirty underwear, swim goggles anf fins, and deodarant in it.  All in broad daylight.  Cop at the scene said crime is spiking again in nyc bouroughs. 


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 26, 2011, 06:05:40 AM
Stubborn Jobless Claims Still Keep On Climbing Higher
Published: Thursday, 26 May 2011 | 8:36 AM ET Text Size By: Reuters



New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly climbed to 424,000 last week from a revised 414,000 in the prior week, pointing to a painfully slow improvement in the nation's job markets.
 

The Labor Department on Thursday revised the prior week's claims number up from an originally reported 409,000.
 

Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast that claims last week would decline to 400,000, rather than rise.

The four-week moving average of unemployment claims, considered a better measure of trends since it smoothes out weekly variations, eased slightly to 438,500 from a revised 440,250.

Last week marked the seventh straight week in which claims topped the 400,000 level, indicating that payroll growth is soft and may continue to be so for some time. A department official said there were no exceptional factors to account for the rise in last week's claims.


________________________ ________________________ __________


HOPE & CHANGE BITCHES WHILE PADDY O'BAMA DRINKS IT UP


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 26, 2011, 10:03:30 AM
Foreclosure sales slow, but remain very high

Huge backlog of distressed properties means any housing recovery is a long way away
Below:

By ALEX VEIGA

The Associated Press 




LOS ANGELES — Sales of homes in some stage of foreclosure declined in the first three months of the year, but they still accounted for 28 percent of all home sales — a share nearly six times higher than what it would be in a healthy housing market.

Foreclosure sales, which include homes purchased after they received a notice of default or were repossessed by lenders, hit the highest share of overall sales in a year during the first quarter, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday.

"It's an astronomically high number," said Rick Sharga, a senior vice president at RealtyTrac. "In a normal market, you're looking at the percentage of homes sold in foreclosure to be below 5 percent."

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..The pace at which homes are entering the foreclosure process has slowed in recent months amid bank and court delays. But distressed properties remain a fixture of a housing market still searching for a sustained recovery. The properties, often in need of repair, typically sell at a discount, weakening prices for other types of homes.

Story: No end in sight to foreclosure quagmire

As a slice of all home purchases, foreclosure sales peaked two years ago at 37.4 percent. In the first quarter, they rose from 27 percent in prior quarter, but fell from 29 percent a year earlier, according to RealtyTrac.

Sales of foreclosure properties didn't fare much better than other types of homes, however.

   
Major Market IndicesIn all, 158,434 homes in some stage of foreclosure were sold in the first quarter, down 16 percent from the last three months of 2010 and down 36 percent versus a year ago. Sales of all other types of homes also declined sharply, according to RealtyTrac's figures, which differ from other home-sales estimates.

While the number of bank-owned properties sold declined, they grew as a share of all home sales. Bank-owned homes accounted for nearly 19 percent of all sales, up from 17 percent in the fourth quarter and up from 18 percent a year ago, the firm said.

That's not good news for the housing market.

Story: Bill would let appraisers 'round up' home values

RealtyTrac estimates there are 872,000 homes that have been repossessed by lenders, but have yet to be sold. At the first-quarter's sales pace, it will take three years to clear the inventory of 1.9 million properties already in some stage of foreclosure.

Advertise | AdChoicesFor bank-owned properties alone, that amounts to a 2-year supply.

"Clearly, the housing market is not out of the woods," Sharga said.

Homebuyers who purchased a bank-owned home in the first quarter saved an average of 35 percent versus the average price of other types of homes, RealtyTrac said.

That discount is unchanged from the previous quarter, but up from an average of 33 percent a year ago.

Buyers who snapped up other homes in the foreclosure process, including short sales, got an average discount of 9 percent, the firm said. That's down from an average of 13 percent in the fourth quarter and an average of 14 percent a year ago. In a short sale, the seller and their lender agree to sell the home for less than what is owned on the mortgage.

The biggest foreclosure discounts were to be had in Ohio, where foreclosure properties sold for an average of 41 percent less than other types of homes, RealtyTrac said.

The average sales price of a foreclosure property was $168,321, down 1.9 percent from the fourth quarter and 1.5 percent from the first quarter last year, the firm said.

At a state level, Nevada led the nation with foreclosure sales accounting for 53 percent of all home sales, RealtyTrac said. That was down from 59 percent the year before.

The state has the highest foreclosure rate in the nation and an inventory of nearly 28,000 bank-owned properties on bank's books. Buyers scooping up foreclosure properties there in the first quarter got an average discount of nearly 18 percent compared to the average sales price of other types of homes, RealtyTrac said.

In California, foreclosure sales accounted for 45 percent of all home sales in the first quarter, down from nearly 48 percent a year earlier. The average foreclosure property sold for nearly 34 percent less than the average sales price of homes not in foreclosure.

In Arizona, foreclosure sales represented 45 percent of all home sales for the quarter, down from 47 percent a year earlier.

Several other states had foreclosure sales that accounted for at least one quarter of all home sales in the first quarter: Idaho, Florida, Michigan, Oregon, Virginia, Colorado, Illinois, Georgia and Ohio.


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43175612/ns/business-personal_finance



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 26, 2011, 10:28:21 AM
Foreclosure Homes Account for 28 Percent of Q1 2011 Sales
May 25, 2011
By RealtyTrac Staff

 


Average REO Discount 35 Percent; Foreclosure Discount Drops to 9 Percent

Average Time to Sell at 176 Days for REOs; 228 Days for Pre-Foreclosures

IRVINE, Calif. – May 26, 2011 — RealtyTrac® (http://www.realtytrac.com/gateway_co.asp?accnt=137300), the leading online marketplace for foreclosure properties, today released its Q1 2011 U.S. Foreclosure Sales Report™, which shows that sales of bank-owned homes and those in some stage of foreclosure accounted for 28 percent of all U.S. residential sales in the first quarter of 2011, up slightly from 27 percent of all sales in the fourth quarter of 2010 and the highest percentage of sales since the first quarter of 2010, when 29 percent of all sales were foreclosure sales.

The average sales price of properties in some stage of foreclosure — default, scheduled for auction or bank-owned (REO) — was $168,321, down 1.89 percent from the fourth quarter of 2010 and down 1.46 percent from the first quarter of 2010.

The average sales price of foreclosure properties was nearly 27 percent below the average sales price of properties not in foreclosure, unchanged from the 27 percent foreclosure discount in the fourth quarter and up slightly from the 26 percent foreclosure discount in the first quarter of 2010.

Third parties purchased a total of 158,434 U.S. bank-owned homes and those in some stage of foreclosure during the first quarter, a decrease of 16 percent from a revised fourth quarter total and down 36 percent from a revised Q1 2010 total. Bank-owned properties that sold in the first quarter had been repossessed by the bank an average of 176 days prior to the sale, while properties that sold in the earlier stages of foreclosure in the first quarter were in foreclosure an average of 228 days before selling.

“While foreclosure sales continue to account for an unusually high percentage of all residential home sales, sales volume is well off the peak we saw in the first quarter of 2009, when nearly 350,000 foreclosure properties sold to third parties,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “While this is probably helping to keep home prices relatively stable, it is also delaying the housing recovery. At the first quarter foreclosure sales pace, it would take exactly three years to clear the current inventory of 1.9 million properties already on the banks’ books, or in foreclosure.”

Foreclosure sales by type
A total of 107,143 bank-owned (REO) residential properties sold to third parties in the first quarter, down 11 percent from the previous quarter and down nearly 30 percent from the first quarter of 2010. REO sales accounted for nearly 19 percent of all sales in the first quarter, up from 17 percent of all sales in the previous quarter and up from 18 percent of all sales in the first quarter of 2010. REOs sold for an average discount of 35 percent, the same discount as in the previous quarter and up from an average discount of 33 percent in the first quarter of 2010.

A total of 51,291 pre-foreclosure properties — in default or scheduled for auction — sold to third parties in the first quarter, down nearly 26 percent from the previous quarter and down 45 percent from the first quarter of 2010. Pre-foreclosure sales accounted for nearly 9 percent of all sales, down from 10 percent of all sales in the fourth quarter of 2010 and down from 11 percent of all sales in the first quarter of 2010. Pre-foreclosure sales, which are often short sales, sold for an average discount of 9 percent, down from an average discount of 13 percent in the fourth quarter and an average discount of 14 percent in the first quarter of 2010.

Nevada, California, Arizona post highest percentage of foreclosure sales
Foreclosure sales accounted for 53 percent of all residential sales in Nevada during the first quarter, the highest percentage of any state but down from nearly 54 percent of all sales in the previous quarter and down from 59 percent of all sales in the first quarter of 2010. The average foreclosure sales price in Nevada during the first quarter was nearly 18 percent below the average sales price of homes not in foreclosure. Bank-owned properties that sold in the first quarter had been repossessed by the bank an average of 130 days prior to sale, while properties that sold in the earlier stages of foreclosure were in foreclosure an average of 135 days before selling.

California foreclosure sales accounted for 45 percent of all residential sales in the state during the first quarter, up from 43 percent of all sales in the fourth quarter but down from nearly 48 percent of all sales in the first quarter of 2010. The average foreclosure sales price in California was nearly 34 percent below the average sales price of homes not in foreclosure. California bank-owned properties that sold in the first quarter had been repossessed by the bank an average of 164 days prior to sale, while properties that sold in the earlier stages of foreclosure were in foreclosure an average of 156 days before selling.

Foreclosure sales also accounted for 45 percent of all residential sales in Arizona during the first quarter, down from 50 percent of all sales in the previous quarter and down from nearly 47 percent of all sales in the first quarter of 2010. Arizona bank-owned properties that sold in the first quarter had been repossessed by the bank an average of 129 days prior to the sale, while properties that sold in the earlier stages of foreclosure were in foreclosure an average of 176 days before selling.

Other states where foreclosure sales accounted for at least one-quarter of all sales were Idaho (33 percent), Florida (32 percent), Michigan (32 percent), Oregon (32 percent), Virginia (30 percent), Colorado (30 percent), Illinois (29 percent), Georgia (27 percent) and Ohio (25 percent).

Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky post highest foreclosure discounts
Ohio foreclosures sold for an average discount of 41 percent in the first quarter, the biggest discount percentage of any state. Ohio’s average foreclosure discount was down slightly from 42 percent in the previous quarter but up slightly from 40 percent in the first quarter of 2010.

The average foreclosure discount in Illinois was nearly 41 percent in the first quarter, up from an average discount of 38 percent in both the previous quarter and the first quarter of 2010.

Kentucky foreclosures sold for an average discount of 39 percent, down from an average discount of 42 percent in the fourth quarter but up from an average discount of 37 percent in the first quarter of 2010.

Other states with average foreclosure discounts of more than 35 percent were Maryland, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and Louisiana.

Report methodology
The RealtyTrac U.S. Foreclosure Sales Report is produced by matching national address-level sales deed data against RealtyTrac’s foreclosure database of pre-foreclosure (NOD, LIS), auction (NTS, NFS) and bank-owned (REO) properties. A property is considered a foreclosure sale if a sales deed is recorded for the property while it was actively in some stage of foreclosure or bank-owned. The foreclosure discount is calculated by comparing the percentage difference between the average sales price of properties not in foreclosure to the average sales price of properties in some stage of foreclosure or bank-owned. States without sufficient foreclosure sales data to calculate average prices are not included in the report.

Glossary of Terms
Foreclosure (FC) sale: a sale of a property that occurs while the property is actively in some stage of foreclosure (NOD, LIS, NTS, NFS or REO). This includes only sales to third-party buyers or investors not involved in the foreclosure process. It does not include property transfers from the owner in default to the foreclosing bank or lender.

REO sale: a sale of a property that occurs while the property is actively bank owned (REO).

Pre-foreclosure sale: a sale of a property that occurs while the property is actively in default (NOD, LIS) or scheduled for foreclosure auction (NTS, NFS).

Pct. of all sales: total number of Foreclosure Sales (or Pre-Foreclosure Sales or REO Sales) as a percentage of all residential sales during the quarter or year.

Avg. FC sales price: the average sales price of Foreclosure Sales (or Pre-Foreclosure Sales or REO Sales) during the quarter or year, excluding sales with no sales price.

Avg. FC discount: the percentage difference between the average sales price of foreclosure sales and the average sales price of non-foreclosure sales during the quarter or year.

Avg. REO discount: the percentage difference between the average sales price of REO sales and the average sales price of non-foreclosure sales during the quarter or year.

Avg. pre-foreclosure discount: the percentage difference between the average sales price of pre-foreclosure sales and the average sales price of non-foreclosure sales during the quarter or year.


http://www.realtytrac.com/content/news-and-opinion/foreclosure-homes-account-for-28-percent-of-q1-2011-sales-6586



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 27, 2011, 07:40:23 AM
Pending Home Sales Plunge, Reaching Seven-Month Low
Published: Friday, 27 May 2011 | 10:06 AM ET Text Size By: Reuters

http://www.cnbc.com/id/43193255





Pending sales of existing U.S. homes dropped far more than expected in April to touch a seven-month low, a trade group said on Friday, dealing a blow to hopes of a recovery in the housing market.

The National Association of Realtors Pending Home Sales Index dropped 11.6 percent to 81.9 in April, the lowest since September.

Pending home sales lead existing home sales by a month or two.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected pending home sales to fall 1.0 percent.



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 27, 2011, 08:04:48 AM
Editorial: Will 'Obamalaise' Create Another Downturn?
 
Posted 05/26/2011 06:52 PM ET

 

Economic Policy: Today's choppy economic growth conjures up memories of the '70s, when another Democrat presidency reigned over a similar period of stagnation, dubbed the era of "malaise."

Like the Carter years, the Obama years so far are marked by anti-business policies and anemic business activity. This week's raft of gloomy economic reports confirm the zombie Obama recovery has hit another dangerous soft patch.

Among the bad news:

• Businesses last month slashed orders for autos and other durable goods by the largest amount in six months.

• Industrial output dropped the most in April for any month since the start of the recovery, indicating the manufacturing sector may be rolling over.

• Jobless claims last week unexpectedly shot up and topped 400,000 for the seventh straight week, signaling that payroll growth remains soft — in fact, the pace of hiring may be slowing.

• April housing starts plunged 11%, confirming the housing industry remains moribund.

• Foreclosures last quarter accounted for 28% of all home sales — the highest share in a year and nearly six times above the normal rate.

Listen to the Podcast
Subscribe through iTunes• Consumer spending last quarter expanded just 2% after rising at a 4% clip in the fourth quarter.

• Net corporate profits last quarter fell 1% after rising 3% in the fourth quarter, and weaker earnings continue to act as a drag on stocks.

• The overall economy last quarter grew a lower-than-expected 1.8% vs. 3.1% in the fourth, showing gross domestic product growth is braking hard.

Yes, Japanese disasters slowed auto supplies, and record tornadoes hurt building in the South. But these one-off events don't explain the broader downtrend.

Manufacturing weakness was widespread across a number of industries. Excluding transportation, durable orders would have been down 1.5% in April after rising 2.5% in March. And reports from the Philly Fed, Richmond Fed and Chicago Fed all show slowing.

While higher pump prices have hurt spending, foreclosures have dampened consumer confidence. And it will take three years to clear the inventory of 2 million properties already in some stage of foreclosure.

Technically speaking, if the economy declines again, we'd have a triple dip. The last time we saw such choppiness was in the '70s.

Then as now, Washington held back economic growth. Heavy-handed government policies are breeding uncertainty in boardrooms across the country.

Businesses are bracing for a double tsunami of government red tape and massive new costs in the form of ObamaCare and sweeping financial industry changes.

They're also looking at a massive tax increase in two years. Obama extended Bush's small-business tax cuts, but last month said, "I refuse to renew them again."

Businesses are hard-pressed to expand in such an environment. It's just too risky.

"We've got a lot more to do to get businesses to invest and to hire," Obama recently lamented.

No, you've done quite enough already, Mr. President.

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/573536/201105261852/Obamalaise.htm


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 27, 2011, 08:41:01 AM
Unemployment: The New Norm
Yahoo Finance ^ | 26 May 2011 | Jeremy Greenfield





Even as the economy recovers, the days of 5% unemployment may be gone for good.

A chorus of economists and labor market observers say that the "natural" or "structural" rate of unemployment has shifted up, meaning that Americans looking for work should get used to having a harder time finding it. The unemployment rate is currently 9% and could take until 2016 to reach the natural rate.


(Excerpt) Read more at finance.yahoo.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 29, 2011, 06:30:02 PM
Point of No Return | National Debt Tops Personal Income
Natural Born Conservative ^ | May 29, 2011 | Larry Walker, Jr.






~ By: Larry Walker, Jr. ~

For the first time since World War II, the National Debt of the United States has exceeded personal income, on a per capita basis. The point of no return was breached in 2010, during Barack Obama’s second year in office, and the derangement continues to spin hopelessly out of control. This means that every dollar earned by an American citizen is now owned by the federal government, and then some. That’s right, the average annual income of most working-class Americans now belongs to the federal government. The warning of Thomas Jefferson has come to pass, “A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have.”

Meanwhile, no senators voted for Barack Obama's 2012 budget when it came up for a vote in the Senate on Wednesday. A procedural vote to move forward on the president's plan failed 0 - 97, proving that Obama is basically a lame duck president, with no viable plan for resolving the government-manufactured fiscal crisis.

Historical Per Capita National Debt, Personal Income and GDP

In the year 1929, per capita personal income was $697, while each citizen’s portion of the national debt was $139. The federal government’s debt represented just 16.3% of gross domestic product, and 19.9% of personal income. Although not incurring any national debt at all would have been ideal, the percentage of debt to personal income was at least somewhat bearable back in the day; but this was about to change for the worse.



The point where a citizen’s per capita share of the national debt exceeded personal income first occurred at the height of World War II. In 1944, per capita personal income was $1,199, while each citizen’s share of the national debt reached $1,452. At the time, the national debt represented 91.5% of gross domestic product and 121.1% of personal income, on a per capita basis. Per capita national debt would continue to exceed personal income through the end of 1950, five years after the end of the war.



The point of no return was decisively breached in the year 2010 (see chart above). Although per capita personal income had grown to $40,441, each citizen’s portion of the national debt soared to $43,732. The national debt represented 92.5% of gross domestic product and 108.1% of personal income, on a per capita basis. The situation has worsened through the end of the first quarter of 2011 with per capita personal income of $41,486, versus per capita national debt of $45,782. Through March of 2011, the national debt now represents 95.1% of gross domestic product and 110.4% of personal income, on a per capita basis.

[In contrast, at the end of 2008 per capita personal income stood at $40,469, while each citizen’s share of the national debt was $32,886. In 2008, the national debt represented 69.8% of GDP and 80.9% of personal income, on a per capita basis. Although the United States government was dangerously close in 2008, it had not yet surpassed the point of no return.]

This might not be as big of a deal if the United States ever paid down its debt, but I can only find six years since 1929 where this actually occurred – 1930, 1947, 1948, 1951, 1956, and 1957. There is no chance of fiscal recovery with a president who, in the face of financial disaster, dares to submit a budget containing multi-trillion dollar per year deficits into the future. Until the right leadership is in place, you, I, our children and our grandchildren can look forward to living in a nation which basically owns us. Is this the same Republic that we inherited from our forefathers? I think, not.

Barack Obama has taken this nation in precisely the wrong direction; he has taken us beyond the point of no return. Yet there is still hope, but such hope, of necessity, lies beyond the realm of partisan politicians. Faith without works is dead. This isn’t World War II. It’s time to dramatically reduce the federal government’s footprint. It’s time to cut government spending. It’s time to lower (not raise) the debt ceiling. Tomorrow will be too late.

References:

Rejected! Senate Votes Unanimously To Ignore Obama's Budget

Treasury Direct: Historical Debt Outstanding – Annual

Treasury Direct: Debt to the Penny through 3/31/11

Bureau of Economic Analysis: Table 7.1. Selected Per Capita Product and Income Series in Current Dollars (A)

Data Tables:



Click here to view all data tables as a slideshow

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/2726868/posts



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 29, 2011, 06:46:59 PM
Why Is The Economy So Bad?
The American Dream ^ | May 28 2011


http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2726707/posts






Why Is The Economy So Bad?






Millions of Americans have lost their homes, tens of millions of Americans can't find a decent job and 44 million Americans are on food stamps. This is causing an increasing number of Americans to ask this question: "Why is the economy so bad?" There are some Americans that are old enough to remember the Great Depression, but the vast majority of us have never known hard times. All our lives we were told that America was the greatest economy on the planet and that we would always experience endless prosperity in this nation. That was easy to believe because even though we had a recession once in a while, things always bounced back and got even better than ever. But now something seems different. The current economic downturn began back in 2007 and yet here we are in 2011 and there seems to be no end in sight for this economic crisis. So what in the world is going on? Can anyone explain why the economy is so bad?

The following are some of the kinds of questions that the American people are asking about the economy these days....

Why does it seem like it is harder to get a job today than it used to be?

Well, it is because there are far fewer jobs available and far fewer people are getting hired. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average of about 5 million Americans were being hired every single month during 2006. Today, an average of about 3.5 million Americans are being hired every single month.

Is there much hope that the unemployment rate will start to decline significantly?

Unfortunately there does not appear to be much reason for optimism. Initial weekly unemployment claims have been above 400,000 for 7 weeks in a row. The "jobs recovery" we have been promised simply is not materializing. Only 66.8% of American men had a job last year. That was the lowest level that has ever been recorded. At the rate we are going things are going to be about the same this year.

So where did all of the jobs go?

They are being sent overseas at a blistering pace. The United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, and the U.S. trade deficit with China is now 27 times larger than it was back in 1990. Amazingly, the United States has lost a staggering 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.

Why does it seem like nearly all of the jobs that are available right now are crappy, low paying jobs?

Well, because most of the jobs that are available are crappy, low paying jobs. The following is a brief excerpt from a recent article posted on Tomdispatch.com.....


According to a recent analysis by the National Employment Law Project (NELP), the biggest growth in private-sector job creation in the past year occurred in positions in the low-wage retail, administrative, and food service sectors of the economy. While 23% of the jobs lost in the Great Recession that followed the economic meltdown of 2008 were “low-wage” (those paying $9-$13 an hour), 49% of new jobs added in the sluggish “recovery” are in those same low-wage industries. On the other end of the spectrum, 40% of the jobs lost paid high wages ($19-$31 an hour), while a mere 14% of new jobs pay similarly high wages.

Why are so many Americans afraid to start businesses?

Maybe it is because the overregulation of business in this country has now reached extreme levels. For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently slapped a fine of $90,000 on one family from Missouri because they sold more than $500 worth of rabbits in a single year. The $4,600 in rabbits that they sold ended up netting the family only $200 in profits.

If people are not able to make a decent living, then how are they providing for their families?

Sadly, an increasing number of Americans are simply not able to put food on the table anymore. Today, one out of every eight Americans is on food stamps and one out of every four American children is on food stamps.

For the first time ever, more than a million American homes were repossessed during 2010. So is there any sign that this will turn around in the years ahead?

Sadly, things could get even worse. Today, there are 6.4 million homeowners that are delinquent on their mortgages or in foreclosure. Of those, 675,000 have not made a payment in at least two years.

Will the U.S. housing market ever recover?

Hopefully we will see some sort of a recovery at some point, but right now things don't look good. In April, signed contracts to buy homes fell to a 7-month low. There are 120 million more people in the U.S. than there were in 1963, but home purchases are currently at about half the level they were back then. The truth is that there are dozens of indications that the U.S. real estate crisis may get even worse before things start getting better.

Why does it seem like health care costs so much these days?

Sadly, it is because the entire U.S. health care industry has become a giant money making scam. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, health care costs accounted for just 9.5% of all personal consumption back in 1980. Today they account for approximately 16.3%. One study found that approximately 41 percent of working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt. Health care costs continue to increase far faster than the general rate of inflation and so this crisis is going to continue to get worse.

Is "retirement" rapidly becoming a luxury that only the wealthy can enjoy?

According to stunning new research, 54 percent of all American workers plan to keep working after they retire. A different study found that American workers are $6.6 trillion short of what they need to retire comfortably.

Why does it seem like U.S. companies are hiring so many temporary workers?

It is because American businesses are hiring them by the bushel. A whopping 26 percent of all the workers hired in 2010 were temporary workers. That is way, way above historical norms. Temporary workers are far cheaper and much easier to get rid of.

Is the gap between the rich and the poor growing in America?

Yes, it most certainly is. Between 1979 and and 2007, the average household income of the top 1% of Americans soared from $346,600 to $1.3 million. During that same time period the average household income for middle class Americans increased only slightly. At this point, the poorest 50% of all Americans collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.

Does how much money you make tend to alter your view of how well the economy is doing?

Well, according to recent Gallup polling, 46% of those Americans that make less than $30,000 a year believe that we are in a depression right now, while only 23% of those making $75,000 or more believe that we are currently in a depression.

Why do members of Congress seem to care so little about average American workers?

Perhaps it is because 58 percent of the members of Congress are millionaires while only about 1 percent of the general population is made up of millionaires.

So if the economy is in such bad shape why do we still have such a high standard of living?

Sadly, the truth is that we have only been able to maintain our incredibly high standard of living by going into massive amounts of debt. The U.S. national debt is now more than 14 times larger than it was when Ronald Reagan took office. America has become absolutely addicted to government money. Any politician that threatens to reduce government payouts usually gets voted out of office fairly quickly. 59 percent of all Americans now receive money from the federal government in one form or another. U.S. households are now actually receiving more income from the U.S. government than they are paying to the government in taxes. In 1980, government transfer payments accounted for just 11.7% of all income. Today, government transfer payments account for 18.4% of all income. As long as the American people continue to be addicted to receiving government payouts the federal government will continue to be drowning in debt.

But it is not just the federal government with a debt problem. State and local government debt has reached an all-time high of 22 percent of U.S. GDP. Many state and local governments are even closer to going broke than the federal government is.

U.S. households have been on a debt binge for decades as well. Average household debt in the United States has now reached a level of 136% of average household income.

The truth is that we are a nation that is addicted to debt. We are living in the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world and it was really fun while it lasted.

Unfortunately, the bills are starting to come due and nobody is quite sure how we can possibly pay for all of our mistakes.

We are drowning in debt at the same time that our economic infrastructure is being ripped to shreds. Tens of thousands of factories have closed over the last decade. There is a never ending parade of companies leaving the United States. U.S. workers are having a really tough time competing against slave labor on the other side of the globe. Thanks to "globalization", multinational corporations can hire workers for slave labor wages on the other side of the planet and nobody can stop them.

But if U.S. workers lose their jobs, they go from paying taxes into the system to being a drain on the system. This makes our government debt situation even worse.

Let there be no mistake - America is in economic decline.

So why is the economy so bad?

The truth is that decades of debt and really, really bad decisions are starting to catch up with us.

The economy is a mess right now and things are going to get a whole lot worse.

You better get ready.



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 30, 2011, 06:02:43 PM
US Economy Hits Soft Patch But Some See It as 'Temporary'
 CNBC ^ | 05.30.11




The economy has struck a soft patch that is likely temporary, and the second half of the year should be better, some economists say.

Supply chain disruptions form the Japanese earthquake and tsunami have had a direct impact on manufacturing and the auto industry in particular. Additionally, the spike in oil and gasoline prices has hit consumer and business spending.


(Excerpt) Read more at cnbc.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 31, 2011, 05:32:48 AM
Pro-Obama Media Always Shocked by Bad Economic News
By Michael Barone

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2011/05/30/pro-obama_media_always_shocked_by_bad_economic_news_110028.html





Unexpectedly!

As megablogger Glenn Reynolds, aka Instapundit, has noted with amusement, the word "unexpectedly" or variants thereon keep cropping up in mainstream media stories about the economy.

"New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly climbed," reported cnbc.com May 25.

"Personal consumption fell," Business Insider reported the same day, "when it was expected to rise."

"Durable goods declined 3.6 percent last month," Reuters reported May 25, "worse than economists' expectations."

"Previously owned home sales unexpectedly fall," headlined Bloomberg News May 19.

"U.S. home construction fell unexpectedly in April," wrote The Wall Street Journal May 18.

Those examples are all from the last two weeks. Reynolds has been linking to similar items since October 2009.

Mainstream media may finally be catching up. "The latest economic numbers have not been good," David Leonhardt wrote in the May 26 New York Times. "Another report showed that economic growth at the start of the year was no faster than the Commerce Department initially reported -- 'a real surprise,' said Ian Shepherdson of High Frequency Economics."

Which raises some questions. As Instapundit reader Gordon Stewart, quoted by Reynolds on May 17, put it: "How many times in a row can something happen unexpectedly before the experts start to, you know, expect it? At some point, shouldn't they be required to state the foundation for their expectations?"

One answer is that many in the mainstream media have been cheerleading for Barack Obama.  They and he both naturally hope for a strong economic recovery. After all, Obama can't keep blaming the economic doldrums on George W. Bush forever.

I'm confident that any comparison of economic coverage in the Bush years and the coverage now would show far fewer variants of the word "unexpectedly" in stories suggesting economic doldrums.

It's obviously going to be hard to achieve the unacknowledged goal of many mainstream journalists -- the president's re-election -- if the economic slump continues. So they characterize economic setbacks as unexpected, with the implication that there's still every reason to believe that, in Herbert Hoover's phrase, prosperity is just around the corner.

A less cynical explanation is that many journalists really believe that the Obama administration's policies are likely to improve the economy. Certainly that has been the expectation as well as the hope of administration policymakers.

Obama's first Council of Economics Adviser Chairman Christina Romer, whose scholarly work is widely respected, famously predicted that the February 2009 stimulus package would hold unemployment below 8 percent. She undoubtedly believed that at the time; she is too smart to have made a prediction whose failure to come true would prove politically embarrassing.

But unemployment zoomed to 10 percent instead and is still at 9 percent. Political pundits sympathetic to the administration have been speculating whether the president can win re-election if it stays above the 8 percent mark it was never supposed to reach.

Administration economists are now making the point that it takes longer to recover from a recession caused by a financial crisis than from a recession that occurs in the more or less ordinary operation of the business cycle. There's some basis in history for this claim.

But it comes a little late in the game. Obama and his policymakers told the country that we would recover from the deep recession by vastly increasing government spending and borrowing. We did that with the stimulus package, with the budget passed in 2009 back when congressional Democrats actually voted on budgets, and with the vast increases scheduled to come (despite the administration's gaming of the Congressional Budget Office scoring process) from Obamacare.

All of this has inspired something like a hiring strike among entrepreneurs and small businessmen. Employers aren't creating any more new jobs than they were during the darkest days of the recession; unemployment has dropped slowly because they just aren't laying off as many employees as they did then.

In the meantime many potential job seekers have left the labor market. If they re-enter and look for jobs, the unemployment rate will stay steady or ebb only slowly.

We tend to hire presidents who we think can foresee the future effect of their policies. No one does so perfectly. But if the best sympathetic observers can say about the results is that they are "unexpected," voters may decide someone else can do better.

Copyright 2011, Creators Syndicate Inc.



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 31, 2011, 05:35:59 AM
Where's the Recovery? Hopes For Economic Rebound Fade
Published: Friday, 27 May 2011 | 1:09 PM ET Text Size By: Jeff Cox
CNBC.com Staff Writer

http://www.cnbc.com/id/43194727





A year that was supposed to mark a turning point both for the US and global economy is rapidly turning into the recovery that wasn't.

 
CNBC.com
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
At a time when things were supposed to be getting better they are instead turning worse: Commodity prices are eating into consumer spending, historically low interest rates haven't done a thing to help housing, and, most worrisome, the job market rebound has been stopped in its tracks.

Is it too early, then, to talk about a double dip? Probably.

Economists busy ratcheting down their forecasts for gross domestic product, unemployment and other metrics still think growth will resume later in the year. But GDP gains, both in the US and around the world, are likely to be considerably slower than anticipated.

"The economy appeared to have everything going for it as we entered the New Year," London-based Capital Economics said this week in an updated analysis of its 2011 outlook. "GDP growth had picked up over the closing months of last year, the activity surveys hit multi-year highs and yet another round of fiscal and monetary stimulus was being put in place."

But that was before inflation pressures—considered by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and other central banks to be muted this year—escalated and changed the recovery's dynamics.

"Unfortunately, the surge in commodity prices ended up constraining real incomes, which largely offset the potentially positive impact of the payroll tax cut," Capital said, referencing last year's tax deal between congressional Republicans and President Obama. "Growth slowed and the activity indices dropped back."

That has had cascading effects across the economy.

Government data released Friday showed consumer spending remains weak, pressured by food and gas prices that Bernanke has famously described as "transitory." That has come on the heels of a miserable week for economic news in manufacturing and jobs.

At the same time, the Fed's zero interest rate policies and quantitative easing programs may have spurred the stock market to a stunning recovery but have done virtually nothing for housing, which has become the elephant in the recovery's living room.

"The ongoing decline in house prices is only causing further damage to households' balance sheets, offsetting any benefits from rising stock markets for many people," Capital wrote. "House prices are on course to fall by at least 5% this year and we don't anticipate any rebound until the second half of 2012."

So even if Bernanke's position in "transitory" inflation holds true and the consumer gets relief—such as in the recent fall in gasoline prices—there are other problems with which the economy must contend.

For instance, the Goldman Sachs Analyst Index—a measure of business activity similar to the Institute for Supply Management's report—showed its fifth-largest drop ever in May.

"May’s GSAI result is not encouraging, but it is consistent with other recent surveys of economic activity," Goldman economist David Kelley wrote in a research note. "The general business conditions or composite indices of all of the major Fed surveys released so far in May have declined."

As such, that has resulted in more pessimistic revisions for economic growth.

Goldman Sachs already has moved its second-quarter GDP projections down for the US to 3.0 percent and its global outlook from 4.8 percent to 4.3 percent.

Deutsche Bank also has pared down its 2Q expectations, putting domestic GDP at 3.2 percent from earlier expectations of 3.7 percent.

Moreover, Deutsche also has backed off its rosy hopes for the May nonfarm payrolls number. Earlier the firm projected the month to show jobs growth of more than 300,000 and a drop in the unemployment rate to 8.7 percent from the current 9.0 percent.

But a continued slowdown in Japan and worsening weekly jobless claims numbers have sent the firm's economists in the other direction, now predicting employment growth of 225,000 and just one tick lower in the unemployment rate, to 8.9 percent.

But Deutsche is far from backing off in terms of its broader economic views.



"The overarching theme remains that productivity is broadly slowing as the economic expansion continues, which means the pace of hiring should accelerate—as is typical at this stage of an economic expansion," Deutsche economist Carl Riccadonna wrote in a note. "Our May employment forecast alterations merely reflect a slightly softer pace at which this is occurring."

But pessimism remains the overarching theme, even if an outright return to recession is not part of the consensus forecast.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch has cut its quarterly—2.0 percent GDP gain from 2.8 percent—and yearly growth forecast—3.0 percent for the second half—aggressively as headwinds continue to build.

"The weakness reflects both the temporary impact of disruptions to global supply chains and more lasting shocks from higher oil prices, fiscal tightening and slower growth overseas," BofAML economist Ethan Harris said in research. "Hence we continue to expect a disappointing bounce back to just 3% growth in the second half of the year. The slowdown feels very similar to last year's soft patch."

The good news, and what likely will prevent a technical double-dip, is that corporate America is faring well.

Aggressive cost-cutting through layoffs and production efficiency has resulted in healthy bottom lines, with about 68 percent of Standard & Poor's 500 companies beating first-quarter profit and revenue estimates.

And most market pros expect the stock market to endure a bumpy summer but then regain traction and end the year on a stronger note.

"There are positive signs in the underlying data in the major economies, even if some of the short-term data have disappointed." Nomura Securities economist Owen Job told clients. "We do not expect risk to be repriced lower, and think equities are likely to enter a range."

The downside remains, though, as companies use their excess profits not to hire but to do deals and issue debt at historically low interest rates.

As such, a year that began with great promise could end with recovery hopes that will have to be delayed a while.

Of projections that economic growth could still reach 4 percent this year, Capital Economics' experts simply say, "We are not convinced."

© 2011 CNBC.com


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 31, 2011, 07:28:55 AM
Source: Reuters

U.S. single-family home prices dropped into double-dip territory in March as the housing market remained bogged down by inventory and weak demand, a closely watched survey said Tuesday.

The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas declined 0.2 percent in March from February on a seasonally adjusted basis, in line with economists' expectations.

The price index was below the low seen in April 2009 during the financial crisis. The glut of houses for sale, foreclosures, tight credit and weak demand have kept the housing market on the ropes even as other areas of the economy start to recover.

The 20-city composite index was at 138.16, falling below the 2009 low of 139.26.

Read more: http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chibrkb...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: GigantorX on May 31, 2011, 07:45:57 AM
Food Stamp usage has also hit a fresh record!

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/time-celebrate-recovery-food-stamp-usage-hits-fresh-record (http://www.zerohedge.com/article/time-celebrate-recovery-food-stamp-usage-hits-fresh-record)

(http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/images/Food%20Stamps_0.png)



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 31, 2011, 08:05:27 AM
Source: Bloomberg

By Shobhana Chandra

May 31 (Bloomberg) -- Confidence among U.S. consumers unexpectedly  declined in May to a six-month low as Americans’ outlook for business conditions and the labor market soured.

The Conference Board’s index dropped to 60.8 from a revised 66 reading in April, figures from the New York-based private research group showed today. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a rise to 66.6. Other data today showed a drop in home prices and weakening manufacturing.

Americans became more pessimistic about their incomes, which are getting squeezed by higher grocery bills and gasoline that’s exceeded $3.50 a gallon since early March. The lack of faster job and wage growth means consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy, may remain restrained and keep the expansion from quickening.

“Consumer spending could be quite stagnant because of the elevated fuel prices,” Lindsey Piegza, an economist at FTN Financial in New York, said before the report. “Lower fuel costs would lead to a somewhat more favorable pace of consumer spending. It comes back to the need for faster job creation and income growth.”

MORE...

Read more: http://noir.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aJ...


________________________ ______________________


Ha ha ha ha - the msm kneepadders always use that word "unexpected".  Wonder why? 


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 31, 2011, 08:18:15 AM
'Double-Dip' in Housing Prices Even Worse Than Expected
Published: Tuesday, 31 May 2011 | 9:05 AM ET Text Size By: Reuters

http://www.cnbc.com/id/43222783




U.S. single-family home prices dropped in March, dipping below their 2009 low, as the housing market remained bogged down by inventory and weak demand, a closely watched survey said Tuesday.

 
AP
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 

The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas declined 0.2 percent in March from February on a seasonally adjusted basis, in line with economists' expectations.

The price index was below the low seen in April 2009 during the financial crisis. The glut of houses for sale, foreclosures, tight credit and weak demand have kept the housing market on the ropes even as other areas of the economy start to recover.

The 20-city composite index was at 138.16, falling below the 2009 low of 139.26.


"This month's report is marked by the confirmation of a double-dip in home prices across much of the nation," David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Indices, said in a statement. "Home prices continue on their downward spiral with no relief in sight."  
 
Eight cities fell 1 percent or more in March, while Washington was the only city where prices increased on both a monthly and yearly basis. Prices in the 20 cities fell 3.6 percent year over year, topping expectations for a decline of 3.3 percent.

"The declines sustained in the last 12 months have almost erased the gains of the previous 12 months. The housing market is treading backward, but not drowning," said Cary Leahey, economist and managing director at Decision Economics in New York.

In the first quarter, the national index fell 1.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, compared to a decline of 1.8 percent in the previous quarter. On a non-adjusted basis, they fell by 4.2 percent in the quarter. Nationally, home prices are back to their mid-2002 levels, the report said.

Blitzer told CNBC that the decline in prices, though fairly widespread, has become more prevalent in geographic pockets—the Southwest and Southeast as well as the Michigan and Ohio manufacturing regions.

"What we've seen over the last few months despite the decline in prices is we've gone back to the old 'location, location, location' story instead of everything going down at once," he said. "California has clearly broken out of the pattern it was in, which is a big plus."

Though there had been hopes in the industry that prices were troughing and ready to turn higher, the latest trends show little hope in sight until later this year or early in 2012, he added.

"Everybody's now keeping their fingers crossed for 2012 and wondering whether people just don't want to own homes anymore," he said.

On a non-adjusted basis, they fell by 4.2 percent in the quarter.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 31, 2011, 09:36:19 AM
Chicago manufacturing gauge nosedives: Largest drop in two-and-a-half years
Marketwatch ^ | 5.31.11 | Steve Goldstein





WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — A Chicago-area manufacturing gauge dropped by the largest amount in nearly two-and-half years in May, in a further sign that the rise in oil prices and the Japanese earthquake have affected activity.

The Chicago PMI fell to a reading of 56.6% in May, the lowest reading since Nov. 2009, from 67.6% in April.

While that reading is still significantly above the 50-line indicating growth, the eleven-point drop is the biggest one-month deceleration since Oct. 2008 and was worst than the 60% reading that economists polled by MarketWatch anticipated.


(Excerpt) Read more at marketwatch.com ...



________________________ ________________________ _____________________


Is this summer of recovery yet?   


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 31, 2011, 10:01:09 AM
Michael Pento: Central Bankruptcy – Why QE3 is Inevitable (why we're ruined by Obamanomics alert)
Yahoo Finance ^ | May 31, 2011 | Michael Pento






As the U.S. economy seemingly limps out of the Great Recession most analysts now assume that the Federal Reserve will soon join the tide of other central banks and bring an end to the current era of unprecedented monetary expansion. Markets expect that Fed will begin withdrawing liquidity this summer, not too long after this latest round of the quantitative easing comes to an end. But this is simply a delusion.

[Snip]

In order to withdraw liquidity the Fed must sell most, if not all, of the assets on its balance sheet. The questions are: what types of assets will it sell, how fast will they sell them, who will buy, and what price will the market bear?

[Snip]

But as the size of the Fed's balance sheet ballooned, the dollar amount of capital held at the Fed has remained fairly constant. Today, the Fed has $52.5 billion of capital backing a $2.7 trillion balance sheet. While the size of the portfolio expanded three fold (and the quality of its assets diminished), the Fed's equity ratio plunged from 6% to just 2%. Prior to the bursting of the credit bubble, the public was shocked to learn that our biggest investment banks were levered 30 to 1. When asset values fell, those banks were quickly wiped out. But now the Fed is holding many of the same types of assets and is levered 51 to 1! If the value of their portfolio were to fall by just 2% the Fed itself would be wiped out.

[Snip]

In the end, any meaningful attempt to withdraw liquidity will not only bankrupt the institution but also zero out their remaining credibility. That's why they'll never even make an honest attempt.


(Excerpt) Read more at finance.yahoo.com ...



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 31, 2011, 10:20:40 AM
May 30, 2011
The Numbers Are Grim



A month ago, when an initial gauge of first-quarter economic growth came in surprisingly weak, many policy makers and economists expected the bad news to prove fleeting. But when revised data were released last week, the growth estimate remained stuck at an annual rate of 1.8 percent, compared with 3.1 percent at the end of last year.

More troubling in the latest figures, consumer spending — the largest component of the economy — was especially slow. Stagnant wages and higher prices for gas and food are squeezing family budgets, while falling home equity hurts consumer confidence. That suggests more bad news to come.

When consumers are constrained, so is hiring, because without customers, employers are hard pressed to retain workers or make new hires. A recent Labor Department report showed a greater-than-expected rise in the number of people claiming jobless benefits even as private-sector economic forecasts are being revised downward — both very bad omens for continued job growth.

Republican lawmakers have responded to renewed signs of weakness with a jobs plan that prescribes more of the same “fixes” that Republicans always recommend no matter the problem: mainly high-end tax cuts, deregulation, more domestic oil drilling and federal spending cuts.

The White House has offered sounder ideas, including job retraining, plans to boost educational achievement and tax increases to help cover needed spending. But its economic team is mainly focused on negotiations to raise the debt limit, presumably parrying Republican demands for deep spending cuts that could weaken the economy further while still reaching an agreement on the necessary increase.

The grim numbers tell an unavoidable truth: The economy is not growing nearly fast enough to dent unemployment. Unfortunately, no one in Washington is pushing policies to promote stronger growth now.

The sinkholes in the economy should be obvious. Most prominently, the housing market is still awful, and state and local government budgets are still a mess. Conditions apparently have to get worse before deficit-obsessed policy makers will be ready to address them, including with bolstered foreclosure relief and more fiscal aid to states. More delay would only imperil the recovery, such as it is. And without a strong recovery, it will be even harder to repair the budget. Continued hard times means low tax revenues and high safety-net spending.

If Washington won’t do what is needed to make things better, there are still things that can be done to try to keep the economy from getting worse.

The administration could work to ease the rules for refinancing mortgages owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-run mortgage giants. Easier refinancings would lower monthly payments for potentially hundreds of thousands of borrowers in good standing, and in that way, free up spending money to boost the economy.

The Federal Reserve, for its part, must be prepared to continue measures to bolster the economy as needed, even if that means looser policy for longer than it originally planned. Democrats in Congress must lay the groundwork for an inevitable fight over extending federal unemployment benefits, which expire at the end of this year.

There’s a long way to go before the economy will thrive without government help.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/31/opinion/31tue1.html?_r=1&ref=opinion&pagewanted=print



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 31, 2011, 10:48:50 AM
Newt was right - Obama is the Food Stamp POTUS - up 40% since he took office. 



http://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/34SNAPmonthly.htmhttp://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/34SNAPmonthly.htm





Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on May 31, 2011, 08:36:19 PM
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How's all this "Change" working out for you??!!!

Posted on May 31, 2011 11:03:57 PM EDT by Mier

How's all this "Change" working out for you??!!!

this is NOT new news! + some of these numbers have gotten worse!

Here is the "change" promised 2 years later after Obama took office-----

 January 2009 TODAY % chg. Source

Avg. retail price/gallon gas in U.S. $1.79 $4.59 100.6% 1

Crude oil, European Brent (barrel) $43.48 $113.02 127.7% 2

Crude oil, West TX Inter. (barrel) $38.70 $108.38 180.0% 2

Gold: London (per troy oz.) $853.25 $1,514.50 65.5% 2

Corn, No.2 yellow, Central IL $3.56 $6.33 78.1% 2

Soybeans, No. 1 yellow, IL $9.66 $13.75 42.3% 2

Sugar, cane, raw, world, lb. fob $13.37 $35.39 164.7% 2

Unemployment rate, non-farm, overall 7.6% 9.4% 23.7% 3

Unemployment rate, blacks 12.6% 15.8% 25.4% 3

Number of unemployed 11,616,000 14,485,000 24.7% 3

Number of fed.. employees, ex. military (curr = 12/10 prelim) 2,779,000 2,840,000 2.2% 3

Real median household income (2008 v 2009) $50,112 $49,777 -0.7% 4

Number of food stamp recipients (curr = 10/10) 31,983,716 43,200,878 35.1% 5

Number of unemployment benefit recipients (curr = 12/10) 7,526,598 9,193,838 22.2% 6

Number of long-term unemployed 2,600,000 6,400,000 146.2% 3

Poverty rate, individuals (2008 v 2009) 13.2% 14.3% 8.3% 4

People in poverty in U.S. (2008 v 2009) 39,800,000 43,600,000 9.5% 4

U.S. rank in Economic Freedom World Rankings 5 9 n/a 10

Present Situation Index (curr = 12/10) 29.9 23.5 -21.4% 11

Failed banks (curr = 2010 + 2011 to date) 140 164 17.1% 12

U.S. dollar versus Japanese yen exchange rate (This is even after the earthquake.) 89.76 85.03 -5.6% 2

U.S. money supply, M1, in billions (curr = 12/10 prelim) 1,575.1 1,865.7 18.4% 13

U.S. money supply, M2, in billions (curr = 12/10 prelim) 8,310.9 8,871.3 6.7% 13

National debt, in trillions $10.627 $14.278 34.4% 14

Just take this last item: In the last two years we have accumulated national debt at a rate more than 27 times as fast as during the rest of our entire nation's history. Over 27 times as fast! Metaphorically, speaking, if you are driving in the right lane doing 65 MPH and a car rockets past you in the left lane 27 times faster . . . it would be doing 1,755 MPH! This is a disaster! Sources: (1) U.S. Energy Information Administration; (2) Wall Street Journal; (3) Bureau of Labor Statistics; (4) Census Bureau; (5) USDA; (6) U.S. Dept. of Labor; (7) FHFA; (8) Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller; (9) RealtyTrac; (10) Heritage Foundation and WSJ; (11) The Conference Board; (12) FDIC; (13) Federal Reserve; (14) U.S. Treasury


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 01, 2011, 04:23:50 AM
40 Signs The Chinese Economy Is Beating The Living Daylights Out Of The U.S. Economy
American Dream ^ | May 31 2011




40 Signs The Chinese Economy Is Beating The Living Daylights Out Of The U.S. Economy


It is time to face the truth. The Chinese economy is simply beating the living daylights out of the U.S. economy. Whether you want to call it a rout, a slaughter or a thrashing, the reality is that the Chinese are absolutely embarrassing America on the global economic stage. At this point, the Chinese are playing economic chess while the Americans are playing economic checkers. China is poised to blow past the United States and become the largest economy in the world. Not only that, some economists are projecting that the Chinese economy could be three times larger than the U.S. economy by mid-century. The age of U.S. economic dominance is ending, and most Americans still don't even understand what is happening.

Several decades ago, big corporations started figuring out that they could make a lot more money if they sold goods that were made overseas. At the time the United States was so dominant economically that it didn't even matter who was in second place. We started shipping in lots of products that were made somewhere else and the American people loved it because the prices were lower and they could buy more stuff. U.S. corporations loved it because profit margins were higher. Foreign nations loved it because we were helping to develop their economies and they were getting richer. Everyone seemed to be winning and it was a lot of fun while it lasted.

But then the trickle of jobs and factories leaving the country started to become a flood. Then it became an overwhelming torrent. The number of "middle class jobs" in the United States began to shrink continually. Suddenly it seemed like most of the jobs that were available were low paying "service jobs". The prices of the goods in the stores were still low, but average American families were feeling increasingly squeezed so they started to borrow massive amounts of money in order to maintain the same standard of living.

Most Americans were willing to go into constantly increasing amounts of debt in order to buy cheap products that were made overseas. This seemed to work well for everyone involved and so the consumer debt bubble just kept growing and growing and growing.

As businesses and jobs fled the country, the U.S. tax base just wasn't as robust as it was before either. The federal government, state governments and local governments all started borrowing gigantic amounts of cash from the countries we were sending all of our money to.

In particular, China really started to emerge as an economic powerhouse over the last couple of decades. Once China joined the WTO they aggressively started to flood our shores with really cheap products. When you have hundreds of millions of workers willing to work for about a dollar an hour that is not that hard to do.

Most Americans didn't care where all of the cheap products were being made. They just kept running out to the retail giants and filling up their carts. Of course this was largely done with borrowed money, but at the time nobody really seemed to really care.

It is a lot of fun to run up huge amounts of debt, but eventually bills have to be paid. All of this borrowing has enabled the U.S. to enjoy the greatest standard of living in the history of the world, but it has been a false prosperity. The American Dream was purchased with borrowed money.

Now the United States is drowning in consumer debt and government debt from sea to shining sea. We sent gigantic amounts of wealth over to China and other foreign nations and they sent us gigantic amounts of cheaply made products.

It was supposed to be a good deal for both sides.

In the end, it turns out it was a great deal for them and a crappy deal for us.

The following are 40 signs that the Chinese economy is beating the living daylights out of the U.S. economy....

#1 The Chinese economy has grown 7 times faster than the U.S. economy has over the past decade.

#2 According to the IMF, China will pass the United States and will become the largest economy in the world in 2016.

#3 According to one prominent economist, the Chinese economy already has roughly the same amount of purchasing power as the U.S. economy does.

#4 At the turn of this century the United States accounted for well over 20 percent of global GDP and China accounted for significantly less than 10 percent of global GDP. But since that time America's share of global GDP has been steadily declining and China's share has been steadily rising.

#5 Nobel economist Robert W. Fogel of the University of Chicago is projecting that the Chinese economy will be three times larger than the U.S. economy by the year 2040 if current trends continue.

#6 According to Stanford University economics professor Ed Lazear, if the U.S. economy and the Chinese economy continue to grow at current rates, the average Chinese citizen will be wealthier than the average American citizen in just 30 years.

#7 During 2010, we spent $365 billion on goods and services from China while they only spent $92 billion on goods and services from us.

#8 Since 2005, Americans have gobbled up Chinese products and services totaling $1.1 trillion, but the Chinese have only spent $272 billion on American goods and services.

#9 The United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, and the U.S. trade deficit with China is now 27 times larger than it was back in 1990.

#10 Back in 1985, the U.S. trade deficit with China was 6 million dollars for the entire year. For the month of April 2011 alone, the U.S. trade deficit with China was 18.8 billion dollars.

#11 Since China entered the WTO in 2001, the U.S. trade deficit with China has grown by an average of 18% per year.

#12 According to a recent report from the Economic Policy Institute, between 2001 and 2008 the U.S. lost approximately 2.4 million jobs due to the growing trade deficit with China. Every single state in America experienced a net job loss due to our trade deficit with China during this time period.

#13 The United States had been the leading consumer of energy on the globe for about 100 years, but last summer China took over the number one spot.

#14 China produced 19.8 percent of all the goods consumed in the world last year. The United States only produced 19.4 percent.

#15 China now consumes 53 percent of the world's cement.

#16 Last year, China produced 11 times as much steel as the United States did.

#17 Since China joined the WTO, approximately 46,000 factories have been transferred from the United States to Asia.

#18 China now has the world’s fastest train and the world’s largest high-speed rail network.

#19 Is alternative energy the future? If so, the Chinese economy is positioned well. China is now the number one producer in the world of wind and solar power.

#20 Chinese solar panel production was about 50 times larger in 2010 than it was in 2005.

#21 Today, China controls over 90 percent of the total global supply of rare earth elements.

#22 85 percent of all artificial Christmas trees are made in China.

#23 Back in 1970, 25 percent of all jobs in the United States were manufacturing jobs. Today, only 9 percent of the jobs in the United States are manufacturing jobs.

#24 The United States has lost a staggering 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.

#25 Between December 2000 and December 2010, 38 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Ohio were lost, 42 percent of the manufacturing jobs in North Carolina were lost and 48 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Michigan were lost.

#26 There are more pigs in China than in the next 43 pork producing nations combined.

#27 China now possesses the fastest supercomputer on the entire globe.

#28 Back in 1998, the United States had 25 percent of the world’s high-tech export market and China had just 10 percent. Ten years later, the United States had less than 15 percent and China’s share had soared to 20 percent.

#29 Manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry was actually lower in 2010 than it was in 1975.

#30 In 2002, the United States had a trade deficit in "advanced technology products" of $16 billion with the rest of the world. In 2010, that number skyrocketed to $82 billion.

#31 Over the past 15 years, China has moved up from 14th place to 2nd place in the world in published scientific research articles.

#32 According to one recent study, China could become the global leader in patent filings by next year.

#33 Do you remember when the United States was the dominant manufacturer of automobiles and trucks on the globe? Well, in 2010 the U.S. ran a trade deficit in automobiles, trucks and parts of $110 billion.

#34 According to author Clyde Prestowitz, China's number one export to the U.S. is computer equipment.

#35 In 2010, the number one U.S. export to China was "scrap and trash".

#36 In 2009, the United States ranked dead last of the 40 nations examined by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation when it came to "change" in "global innovation-based competitiveness" over the previous ten years.

#37 Russia and China have announced that they have decided to quit using the U.S. dollar and instead start using their own national currencies when trading with each other.

#38 A Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted a while back found that 61 percent of Americans consider China to be a threat to our jobs and economic security.

#39 The average household debt load in the United States is 136% of average household income. In China, the average household debt load is 17% of average household income.

#40 China has accumulated the largest stockpile of foreign currency reserves on the entire globe - $3.04 trillion as of the end of March. That figure was an astounding 24.4 percent higher than it was exactly one year earlier.

So where in the world did China get all that money?

That is an easy question to answer.

They got it from us.

We are the wealthy rube sitting at the poker table getting bled dry by all of the sharks.

We gave trillions to the Chinese instead of giving it to U.S. businesses and U.S. workers.

Now our economic infrastructure is in shambles and tens of millions of Americans can't find decent jobs.

Our government officials are wondering where all of the tax revenue went, but the reality is that you can't tax workers that don't have jobs.

Sacrificing jobs and economic infrastructure for "cheap stuff" is kind of like using pieces of your house to keep your fire going. In the end, you won't have any house left at all and your fire will go out.

The greatest economy on earth is being ripped to shreds right in front of our eyes and most of our politicians do not seem to care.

This has been a slow-motion disaster that has taken decades to play out. This is not something that happened overnight.

Sadly, the vast majority of the American people are still clueless about all of this. That is one reason why I write so fervently about economic news. My hope is that the American people will wake up before it is too late.

Unless fundamental changes are made, the current trends we are witnessing are only going to continue to accelerate. The Chinese economy is going to continue to beat the living daylights out of the U.S. economy.

So what do all of you think about the dominance of the Chinese economy? Feel free to leave a comment with your opinion below....


________________________ _____________________


Hey, I have an idea - lets double the amount of people on food stamps, keep borrowing like there is no tommorow, refuse to cut spending by any meaningful way, and think Hope & Change will get us through. 


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 01, 2011, 04:42:36 AM
Editorial: Obama Recovery Still Feeble After Two Years
 http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/573836/201105311856/Feeling-Better-.htm

Posted 05/31/2011 06:56 PM ET



________________________ ________________________ ___

 

Economy: Without a lot of fanfare, the Obama economic recovery officially turned 2 this month. Anyone think we're better off than we were two years ago?

On Tuesday, a trio of reports gave fresh evidence that the answer to this question is no.

Single family home prices dropped in March to their lowest level since April 2009; the consumer Confidence Index tumbled to a six-month low of 60.8; and regional manufacturing is slowing. In the Chicago area, it fell to its lowest level since November 2009.

Yet if you listened to President Obama and his cheerleaders in the press over the past two years, the answer should have been a resounding yes.

Obama promised way back in February 2009 that his $830 billion stimulus plan would unleash "a new wave of innovation, activity and construction" and "ignite spending by businesses and consumers."

In June 2010, he announced that the recovery was "well under way" and that it "is getting stronger by the day." A couple months later, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner penned a New York Times op-ed headlined "Welcome to the Recovery."

And all along, media simply parroted the White House line, extolling every "green shoot" they could find, celebrating every time a handful of jobs got created, while constantly acting surprised by the ongoing "unexpected" bad economic news.

But the fact is that the Obama recovery is one of the worst ever. Certainly the worst since the Great Depression. It's so bad, in fact, that even 24 months after the recession officially ended there are few places beyond the stock market and corporate profits that have shown much, if any, improvement. A few examples:

Listen to the Podcast
Subscribe through iTunes• Jobs: The number of people with jobs has barely changed since June 2009 — up just 0.4%.

• Unemployment: While the unemployment rate has dropped a bit, the number of long-term unemployed is up by a third, and the average length of unemployment is now a staggering 38 weeks.

• Earnings: Median weekly earnings are down slightly between Q3 2009 and Q1 2011, after adjusting for inflation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

• Housing prices: The National Association of Realtors reports that median price for existing home sales dropped 10% since June 2009.

• Gas prices: Pump prices climbed 52% over the past two years, according to the Department of Energy.

Yet, incredibly, Obama continues to escape blame for this sorry state of affairs. A Rasmussen survey in May found 54% of the public still blames President Bush, while just 39% blame Obama's policies.

The disconnect is stunning, but it nevertheless offers Republicans a huge opportunity, if they will seize it, to decisively claim the pro-growth label.

To do that, they first need to hammer home the fact that Obama's growth-smothering policies are solely to blame for the economy's two-year rut. Then they must focus on clearly needed pro-growth tax cuts and regulatory relief to turbocharge the private sector.

Sure, spending cuts and Medicare reform are important issues. But the millions of families still worried about keeping their jobs and their homes also need to hear how the GOP can get the economy moving again.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 01, 2011, 05:34:01 AM
Check out the ADP jobs report today.  Damn - talk about epic fail X 100. 

Hope and Change - you fools voted for this. 


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: GigantorX on June 01, 2011, 07:26:11 AM
Check out the ADP jobs report today.  Damn - talk about epic fail X 100. 

Hope and Change - you fools voted for this. 

Numbers were horrible.

Jobs Created - 38k

Expectations - 190k

Not good.

NFP numbers will be revised massively downgraded and GDP numbers will continue to be downgraded.

Yep, that Stimulus Plan sure worked well, didn't it!


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 01, 2011, 07:48:20 AM
If only we had done cap and trade, spent trillions more, massively raised taxes, surely things would be even better! 

Staw, mal, benny, blacken, andre told me so. 


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: GigantorX on June 01, 2011, 07:54:20 AM
Who gives a shit, right?

With all the other super important stuff going on in the world like, oh, Palin riding a motorcylce, Palin writing nots on her hand, Fox News saying stuff and things and all the other related stuff.


That is the real news and the real stuff we need to be concerned about! Silly things like jobs reports, GDP downgrades and record high food stamp usage have no bearing here! Sarah Palin said some stuff, be concerned and post about that!

Get your head in the the game, Capt. SillyPants!




Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 01, 2011, 07:58:36 AM
The best part is now you have people saying we have to emulate germany and denmark when some of us have been warning for over two years now that these crazy unsound policies were destined to failure.

Another thing, obamacare alone and the massive uncertainty it brought to the economy is also a big factor in this.   


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 01, 2011, 09:14:39 AM
Labor Market Worries Rise on Weak Private Sector Job Growth
Published: Wednesday, 1 Jun 2011 | 10:07 AM ET Text Size By: Reuters


U.S. private-sector payroll growth slowed sharply in May, falling to the lowest level in eight months and prompting some economists to lower forecasts for job growth in Friday's U.S. government report.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 

The ADP Employment Services report is the latest in a string of data suggesting economic growth remained sluggish early in the second quarter after hitting a soft patch in the first months of the year. The economy grew at a tepid 1.8 percent annual rate in the first three months of the year, softer than analysts originally anticipated.

"This only adds fuel to the argument that the slowdown story is here in the U.S.," said Tom Porcelli, chief U.S. economist at RBC Capital Markets in New York.

"This is exactly what we do not want when other significant data shows things are slowing down as well."

The ADP report showed private employers added a scant 38,000 jobs last month, falling from a downwardly revised 177,000 in April and well short of expectations for 175,000. It was the lowest level since September 2010.

The report boded poorly for the key U.S. non-farm payrolls report at the end of the week. Credit Suisse lowered its estimate for Friday's employment number to 120,000 from its previous forecast of 185,000 and its private payroll estimate to 135,000 from 200,000.

ADP's number has been weaker than the government's private payrolls figure for 12 of the last 14 months, making Friday's government numbers likely to come in above ADP's report, Credit Suisse said.

The Labor Department report is expected to show a rise in overall non-farm payrolls of 180,000 in May, slowing down from a gain of 244,000 the month before, according a Reuters poll.

Private payrolls are expected to come in at 205,000.

The ADP report is jointly developed with Macroeconomic Advisers LLC, whose chairman said he expects Friday's figure to disappoint.

U.S. stock indexes opened lower open following the ADP report.

A separate report showed the number of planned layoffs at U.S. firms rose modestly in May with the government and non-profit sectors making up a large portion of the cuts.

Employers announced 37,135 planned job cuts last month, up 1.8 percent from 36,490 in April, according to a report from consultants Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

"Most employers realise that these types of ups and downs are typical during recoveries. So, it is unlikely that we will see a sudden resurgence in corporate downsizing in the months ahead, unless there is a major shock to the economy," John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas said.

The housing market, meanwhile, continued to struggle as a report from an industry group showed applications for U.S. home mortgages fell last week, pulled lower by a decline in refinancing demand.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, fell 4 percent in the week ended May 27.


http://www.cnbc.com/id/43234521



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: dario73 on June 01, 2011, 09:17:45 AM
WOW. The economy is doing a lot worse than I thought. 


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 01, 2011, 09:18:03 AM
US Manufacturing Growth Slowest Since Sept 2009
Published: Wednesday, 1 Jun 2011 | 10:13 AM ET Text Size By: Reuters



http://www.cnbc.com/id/43236208

________________________ _____________

 
The pace of growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector tumbled in May, slackening more than expected to its slowest since September 2009, according to an industry report released Wednesday.


The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its index of national factory activity fell to 53.5 in May from 60.4 the month before. The reading missed economists' expectations for 57.7.

A reading below 50 indicates contraction in the manufacturing sector, while a number above 50 means expansion.

New orders fell to 51.0 from 61.7 in April, the lowest since June 2009. The index for prices paid fell to 76.5 from 85.5, below expectations of 82.0.

The data echoed earlier regional reports that showed softer manufacturing growth last month.



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 01, 2011, 09:21:52 AM
Mortgage Applications Fell Last Week
Published: Wednesday, 1 Jun 2011 | 7:10 AM ET Text Size By: Reuters



Applications for U.S. home mortgages fell last week, pulled lower by a decline in refinancing demand, an industry group said Wednesday.

 
CNBC.com
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, fell nearly 4 percent in the week ended May 27.

The MBA's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications lost 5.7 percent, even as interest rates tumbled.

"The last time mortgage rates were this low, refinance volume was more than twenty percent higher," Mike Fratantoni, MBA's vice president of research and economics, said in a statement. "It is likely that many borrowers still cannot qualify to refinance given the lack of equity in their homes."

Slideshow: Double-Dip Real Estate MarketsIs Your Home an Asset?Even Short-Term FHA Shutdown Will Hit Housing
The refinance share of mortgage activity fell to 65.7 percent of total applications from 66.8 percent the week before. The gauge of loan requests for home purchases was essentially unchanged.

Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 4.58 percent in the week, down from 4.69 percent the week before.

Copyright 2011 Thomson


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 01, 2011, 09:54:55 AM
'Shockingly Weak' Job Growth In May
CNN Money via WTAE ^ | June 1, 2011 | Laurie Segall and Annalyn Censky




NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Growth in the job market weakened in May, surprising economists and spurring them to call a report on private payrolls "shockingly weak," "grim," and even a "hairball."

"The ADP Employment report coughed up a hairball in May," Robert Dye, senior economist with the PNC Financial Services Group, said in a research note, referring to a report by payroll processing company ADP released Wednesday.

That report showed private sector employers added only 38,000 workers in May, far lower than the revised 177,000 jobs added in April and much weaker than economists had expected.

That level of job growth is the weakest number since September. According to ADP, the private sector had added 100,000 jobs in each of the prior six months leading to May.

"No matter what, this is obviously a very, very weak result," said Jennifer Lee, senior economist with BMO Capital Markets. "Employers are still hiring but they're reluctant to pick up the pace until they're convinced the recovery is self-sustaining."


(Excerpt) Read more at wtae.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 01, 2011, 03:07:56 PM
Bump.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 01, 2011, 06:42:10 PM
Batchelor reporting that car sales headed back in to the tank. 


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 01, 2011, 08:28:29 PM
Global Financial Markets Tremble As Bad Economic News Continues To Pour In
Benzinga ^ | 6/1/11 | Michael Snyder
Posted on June 1, 2011 10:46:17 PM EDT by Kartographer

Douglas Borthwick, a managing director with Faros Trading in Stamford, Connecticut is not optimistic....

"The sugar high that has buoyed the U.S. economy over the past six months is wearing out, and there is little in economic growth or foundation to show for it."

Well, just check out what Peter Yastrow, a market strategist for Yastrow Origer, recently told CNBC....

"Interest rates are amazingly low and that, thanks to Ben Bernanke, is driving everything," Yastrow said. "We're on the verge of a great, great depression. The [Federal Reserve] knows it."

(Excerpt) Read more at benzinga.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 02, 2011, 05:58:24 AM
More job seekers give up, reducing unemployment
AP/YahooNews ^ | 6/2/11 | PAUL WISEMAN




The labor force — those who have a job or are looking for one — is getting smaller, even though the economy is growing and steadily adding jobs. That trend defies the rules of a normal economic recovery.

Nobody is sure why it's happening. Economists think some of the missing workers have retired, have entered college or are getting by on government disability checks. Others have probably just given up looking for work.

"A small work force means millions of discouraged workers, lower output in the future and a weak recovery," says Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, the ranking Republican on the Congress' Joint Economic Committee. "Those are unhealthy signs."

By the government's definition, if you quit looking, you're no longer counted as unemployed. And you're no longer part of the labor force


(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 02, 2011, 06:02:11 AM
Why New York City Home Prices Are Headed for Collapse
Minyanville ^ | 06/02/2011 | Keith Jurrow





Editor's Note: Keith Jurow is the author of the MVP Housing Market Report.

Readers of mine know that I have written two articles about why a collapse in Queens home prices was almost certain (see A Housing Price Collapse in Queens New York Is Almost Certain and Queens Housing Market, Like Much of NYC, Is Headed for a Crash). Yet no collapse has occurred. Was I wrong?

I never stated that the collapse was imminent. I said I had no way of knowing when the banks would start foreclosing on all those delinquent borrowers. But they will. Now is a good time to take a look at why the entire New York City (NYC) market is headed for collapse.

First, let’s see what’s happened to home prices around the country since the expiration of the first-time buyer tax credit. The best source for this is Clear Capital and its excellent Home Data Index (HDI) Market Report.



Since the end of last summer, home prices nationwide have plunged by an average of 11.5% through April 2011. Some of the worst major metros have fallen even more. Talk of home prices bottoming has stopped. For a year, I’ve been saying that there is no housing recovery in sight.

Yet NYC median home prices have held up pretty well during this period. Why?

In my two articles about Queens, I pointed out that the servicing banks are simply not foreclosing on delinquent homeowners. They aren’t even putting them into default (NOD). Take a look at this chart from the first article showing the rise in serious delinquencies in that borough.



A year ago, 11.2% of all Queens homeowners with a mortgage were delinquent by 60 days or more. I obtained these figures from TransUnion, the credit-reporting firm which puts out a quarterly mortgage delinquency report based on its database of 27 million anonymous credit reports. In the first quarter of 2008, that figure was only 3.9%.

That 11.2% figure equaled roughly 25,000 seriously delinquent homeowners. This number was confirmed by a fairly recent NY Federal Reserve Bank report which stated that 10% of all first liens in Queens were delinquent by 90 days or more. Remember, these figures are for only one of five boroughs in NYC. The NY Fed’s report also showed a 90+ day delinquency rate of 11.8% for the Bronx and 9.5% for a Brooklyn.

Are the banks making any attempt to foreclose on all these delinquent homeowners who are living rent-free? You judge.



Let’s take a good look at this amazing graph. New York City has roughly 8 million residents, easily the largest city in the nation. The graph from PropertyShark breaks down the new foreclosure auctions (actually sheriff sales) scheduled by borough. You can see that the vast majority scheduled are for Queens. None of the other four boroughs exceeded 150 scheduled auctions in any month since the end of 2008.

Notice carefully that the peak number for Queens starts to decline well before the robo-signing mess occurred last fall. Sorry, that problem had nothing to do with the bank’s refusing to foreclose on delinquent homeowners. It did provide some cover for the banks, though.

The plain truth is that for more than two years, the servicing banks have made no effort to foreclose on these seriously delinquent borrowers throughout the Big Apple. Take a look at these incredible figures for the number of NYC REOs for sale on foreclosure.com on May 30.

Repossessed Properties on the Market in NYC -- May 30
 

Queens: 232
Brooklyn: 95
Bronx: 76
Staten Island: 75
Manhattan: 27

I’m not making these numbers up. Go to foreclosure.com and check for yourself.

So what does all this mean for the NYC housing markets? Homeowners in any of the five boroughs do not have to compete with foreclosures for sale as they do in every other major metro. So can they list their property for anything they want. And they do. Every once in a while, like the Venus flytrap, a seller is fortunate enough to catch a buyer.

Sellers don’t catch many, though. In Jonathan Miller’s thorough quarterly report on the Queens market put out by Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate, he counted a total of 2,483 1-3 family houses, coops, and condo units sold during the fourth quarter of 2010. That is roughly 830 per month. This is for a borough with roughly 2.2 million residents. These buyers paid a median price of $363,000. If you weren’t aware of what I’ve explained, you would think that the Queens market has held up fairly well. No way. The overwhelming majority of properties on the market in all five boroughs just sit … and sit … and sit.

Where All Five Boroughs Are Headed

At some point, the banks will be under tremendous pressure to foreclose on the huge number of seriously delinquent properties that are now either vacant or occupied by “walkaways” who have been enjoying the free ride longer than anywhere else. Look at this shocking chart from Lender Processing Services.



It shows that In New York State, homeowners with a notice of default (NOD) on their property have not made a mortgage payment for an average of 644 days. That is more than 21 months. Nice deal, isn’t it?

When the banks begin to foreclose and dump the REOs on the market, prices in all five boroughs will completely collapse. This is almost as certain as night follows day. Ignore it at your own risk.

Keith will be focusing on the entire NYC housing market and the suburbs in the seventh issue of his Housing Market Report due out in mid-July.

For much more from Keith Jurow, see his Housing Market Report. Keith provides actionable data, charts, in-depth analysis and specific advice to help investors and sellers make better property decisions. Learn more.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 02, 2011, 06:05:55 AM
Up and Down Wall Street | THURSDAY, JUNE 2, 2011  Expect More 'Unexpectedly' Weak Economic Data
By RANDALL W. FORSYTH |


A continued skein of downbeat numbers implies rates will stay low.

When should we start to expect the "unexpected"?

Every economic datum released in the last month has been dutifully reported as "worse than expected," from the various Federal Reserve regional economic surveys, initial claims for unemployment, plus every measure of housing activity, just to mention a few.

But forget the nitty-gritty of the economic reports. The increasing enervation of the U.S. economy can be seen most clearly in one discrete data point: the yield of the 10-year Treasury note, which crashed through the 3% mark Wednesday following yet more "worse-than-expected" reports on ADP's count of private payrolls and the Institute ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 02, 2011, 06:45:25 AM
Jobless claims fall as labor costs tepid (slipped 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 422,000)
Reuters ^ | 06/02/2011




New claims for unemployment benefits fell last week, but not enough to assuage fears the labor market recovery has taken a step back.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 422,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday, less than economists' expectations for a fall to 415,000.

The claims report falls outside the survey period for the government's closely watched data on nonfarm payrolls for May.

The government is expected to report on Friday that employers hired 150,000 last month, according to a Reuters survey, after increasing payrolls by 244,000 in April.

"Every indication we have had so far points to a slightly softer labor market in the U.S.," said Camilla Sutton, chief currency strategist at Scotia Capital in Toronto.

U.S. stock index futures held gains after the data, while U.S. bond prices extended losses. The dollar also extended losses against the euro.

There is a risk that May payrolls could come in below consensus after ADP, a payroll service company, reported private employers added only 38,000 last month, the smallest number since September.

However ADP has a poor track record at predicting nonfarm payrolls.

In a second report, the Labor Department said nonfarm productivity grew at a slightly faster 1.8 percent annual rate in the first quarter, rather than the 1.6 percent previously reported. Productivity was still slower than the 2.9 percent pace set in the fourth quarter.

Wage growth remained muted, with unit labor costs rising at a 0.7 percent rate rather than the previously estimated 1 percent rate. Unit labor costs dropped at a 2.8 percent rate in the fourth quarter.


(Excerpt) Read more at reuters.com ...


________________________ _____________________

Tommorows numberis going to be a real doozy.


HOPE & CHANGE ASSHOLES - YOU VOTED FOR THIS   


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 02, 2011, 07:21:05 AM
Obama's Nuclear Option on Economy
Townhall.com ^ | June 2, 2011 | John Ransom

Posted on Thursday, June 02, 2011 9:47:10 AM by Kaslin

In the latest surpirse regarding the economy, Wednesday's job report from ADP showed that private employers added only 38,000 jobs in May.

Surprise!

Economist expected private companies to add about 175,000 jobs for the month.

The report is the next in a series of disappointments on the economic front.


Home sales have continued to lag, GDP has been revised sharply downward, and inflation has taken a larger bite out of corporate and family budgets.

When economists are this far off, one has to start looking at their underlying assumptions.

Perhaps it's because they all went to the same schools and continue to use the same stimulus-addled math. 

On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its nonfarm payroll report which includes government jobs in addition to private job data. With state and local governments juggling to balance their budgets, government employment is expected to shrink as they lay off workers.

The public has become increasingly skeptical of public stimulus spending, which means that the government is, mercifully, running out of its preferred policy means of spurring the economy.

From here on out, Obama has only two options left to address the job creation crisis:

Cut taxes across the board
Suspended regulations that stifle business

Of course Obama will do neither of those things. His party would go nuclear if he did. So, instead he'll go play golf. 

The most relevant question you can ask the president today is: "How's that back swing?"   

As I observed last week in This is What Stagflation Looks Like, even as world equity markets move down with signs pointing to slowing global economic growth, a European Central Bank member is warning about inflation, caused in large part by monetary policy in the US .


"We have to take seriously the April rise in long-term inflation expectations and take it as a sign of increasing price perspectives when monetary policy is expansive," said Jens Weidmann, the head of Germany's Bundesbank.

Translation: We need to tighten up money to combat inflation because the Americans won't face their own fiscal crisis.

Tighter money supply means slower growth, fewer jobs.

This really is what stagflation looks like: No growth, no jobs, rising prices.   

In the markets we've become slightly immune to such disappointments because the markets are always just a measure of expectations; economists expectations, analysts expectations; shareholder expectations.

But the difference between 179,000 and 38,000 is stil pretty big even with diminished expectations that the market has been rationalizing.

By that measure, however, there is nothing truly unexpected about any of the bad news on the economic front.

Politicians, progressive wonks and J-school business writers seem to be the only ones who are really surprised.


For the rest of us, we can take grim satisfaction in saying that we told you so.

In Europe, by contrast, they seem to have gotten religion about how to jump start an ailing economy.

Greece has been loosening regulatory burdens on business and even agreed to cut taxes.   

International lenders known as "the troika" have agreed to another bailout of Greece as long as Greece's socialist government agrees to...wait for it...cut taxes to stimulate economic growth.

It's amazing the lengths socialist will go when pressed. 

We now know empirically that Socialist Greece and Communist China are both more dedicated to capitalist-based reforms than our current adminstration in Washington, DC. 

Cut taxes? What a novel idea. Wonder if anyone has thought of that before?


"ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece appears to have agreed a tax cut with its international lenders, aimed at forging a broad consensus for more austerity to avoid a debt default, but the opposition said on Tuesday this would still not win its support."

With Greece teetering on the brink of financial ruin, the socialist government has agreed to cut the VAT according to reports by Reuters. The VAT cut comes in an effort to restart the Greek economy, which has been in a free fall, burdened by entitlement debts it can not pay.

"Greece's conservative opposition leader Antonis Samaras," reports Reuters, "has demanded tax cuts -- including a 15 percent flat rate for corporate tax -- as the price for a deal with the government, which the EU has insisted on as a condition for more funds."

In the U.S., which has one of the highest corporate taxes in the world, Republicans have proposed a corporate tax cut to 25 percent from 35 percent. 25 percent is the current standard corporate tax in Greece  today.

"If correct, it is a good step but not good enough, not sufficient to restart the economy," an official at the [Greek conservative] New Democracy party said on condition of anonymity.

The Greek version of SEIU still has the "Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho" crowd out in force however:

"Meanwhile, about 50,000 people gathered in central Athens, in a seventh consecutive day of anti-austerity protests. Banging cooking pots, protesters held a banner in front of parliament reading: 'We won't go away until the government, the troika and the debt leave.'"


This really is what stagflation looks like: People fighting over shrinking public revenues, while politicians figure out how to promise more revenues, thereby again shrinking public revenues .

And it will be a long hot summer of stagflation until November of 2012.   


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 02, 2011, 08:31:12 AM
Back towards a US double-dip
By Robert Reich

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/aa81cf92-8c3f-11e0-b1c8-00144feab49a.html
Published: June 1 2011 12:51 | Last updated: June 1 2011 12:51




The US economy was supposed to be in bloom by late spring, but it is hardly growing at all. Expectations for second-quarter growth are not much better than the measly 1.8 per cent annualised rate of the first quarter. That is not nearly fast enough to reduce America’s ferociously high level of unemployment. The labour department will tell us on Friday whether the jobs situation improved in May, but there has been no sign of a surge in hiring. Nor in wages. Average hourly earnings of production and non-supervisory employees – who make up 80 per cent of non-government workers – dropped to $8.76 in April. Adjusted for inflation, that’s lower than they were in the depths of the recession.

Meanwhile, housing prices continue to fall. They are now 33 per cent below their 2006 peak. That is a bigger drop than recorded in the Great Depression. Homes are the largest single asset of the American middle class, so as housing prices drop many Americans feel poorer. All of this is contributing to a general gloominess. Not surprisingly, consumer confidence is also down.

The recovery has stalled. It is unlikely that America will find itself back in recession but the possibility of a double dip cannot be dismissed. The problem is not on the supply side of the ledger. Corporate profits are still healthy. Big companies continue to sit on a cash hoard. Large and middle-sized companies can easily borrow more, at low rates. The problem is on the demand side. American consumers, who constitute 70 per cent of the total economy, cannot and will not buy enough to get it moving. They justifiably worry that they will not be able to pay their bills, or afford to send their children to college, or to retire. Banks, with equal justification, are reluctant to lend to them. But as long as consumers hold back, companies remain reluctant to hire new workers or raise the wages of current ones, feeding the vicious cycle.

The timing is unfortunate. Foreign consumers will not help much even if the dollar continues to slide. Europe’s debt crisis and embrace of austerity, Japan’s tragedy and China’s fiscal tightening have reduced global demand. At the same time, the federal stimulus in the US has almost run its course. The Federal Reserve is about to end its $600bn of purchases of Treasury bills, designed to bring down long-term interest rates and make it easier for homeowners to refinance. Worse yet, state governments – starved for revenue and constitutionally barred from running deficits – continue to cut programmes. Local governments are now in worse shape, laying off platoons of teachers and firefighters.

Under normal circumstances, this would be the time for the federal government to take bold action to ward off a double dip. For example, it could put more cash in peoples’ pockets while giving employers an extra incentive to hire by exempting the first $20,000 of earnings from payroll taxes, for a year or two. It could lend money to state and local governments. It could launch a new Work Projects Administration (modelled after its antecedent during the Great Depression) to put the long-term unemployed to work on public projects. It could amend the bankruptcy law to allow people to include their prime residences in personal bankruptcy, thereby giving homeowners more leverage to get mortgage lenders to mitigate the terms of their loans.

But these are not normal circumstances. America has been through a devastating recession that poked a giant hole in the federal budget. And with a presidential election coming up next year, both parties are already manoeuvring for tactical advantage. Since taking over the House of Representatives in January, Republicans have focused on cutting government spending and paring back regulations. Their colleagues in the Senate, whose leader has proclaimed his major goal to unseat President Barack Obama, are almost as single-minded. Cynics might suspect Republicans of quietly hoping the economy stays rotten up until election day.

Democrats, meanwhile, are behaving as if they are powerless to affect the economy, even though a Democrat occupies the White House and his appointees run the federal government. They would rather not dwell on the slowdown because they do not want to spook the bond market or add to the prevailing gloom (Jimmy Carter’s ill-fated comment about the nation’s “malaise” during the stagflation of the late 1970s has served as a permanent admonition for presidents to stay upbeat). Democrats are staking their electoral hopes on continuing disarray among Republican presidential aspirants, as well as the Republicans’ suicidal plan to turn Medicare, the popular health insurance system for seniors, into vouchers that would funnel money to private, for-profit insurance companies.

The result is as if Washington were on another planet from the rest of the country (many Americans would argue this is hardly a new phenomenon). The noisiest battle in the nation’s capital is over raising the statutory debt limit – a game of chicken in which Republicans are demanding, in return for their votes, caps on future federal spending while Democrats insist on preserving the possibility of tax increases on the wealthy. Countless budget analysts are combing through endless projections of government revenues and expenditures in five or 10 years. Think tanks and blue-ribbon panels are issuing voluminous reports on how to tame the budget deficit in decades to come. The president, meanwhile, is trying to appear as fiscally austere as possible – keeping a lid on non-defence discretionary spending, freezing the wages of civil servants and offering his own deficit-reduction plans.

Washington’s paralysis in the face of a stalled recovery is bad news – not just for average Americans but for the world. Ironically, it also worsens America’s future budget crisis because it postpones the day when the debt begins to shrink as a proportion of GDP. Yet as the 2012 campaign season looms, the prospects for sensible policy seem to decrease by the day.

The author is chancellor’s professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley, and former US secretary of labour under President Bill Clinton. His latest book is “Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future”

.Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2011. You may share using our article tools. Please don't cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.


________________________ ________________________ _

Even RR sees the writing on the wall.   


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 02, 2011, 10:12:22 AM
Has the Greatest Depression Already Begun?
Big Government ^ | June 2, 2011 | Wayne Allen Root





I am a successful small businessman and a patriot who loves America and always sees its greatness. I am also an optimistic, positive thinker who always sees the glass half full.

But not this time.

I predicted doom if Obama was elected. Sadly the results are far worse than imagined. The economy is in shambles. America is staring at economic disaster — Armageddon. Even me, the eternal optimist is scared at what the future holds. We are the Titanic, headed straight for the iceberg.

America has always been a land of boom and bust. It’s just part of business cycle. But Obama and his socialist cabal have channeled Hoover and FDR, who turned an ordinary bust into The Great Depression with a toxic strategy of more government, more spending, more debt, more rules and regulations strangling business, higher minimum wages, more power to unions, more entitlements, higher taxes, more printing of money by Fed, and trade tariffs. This is the Obama blueprint squared.

The question this time is, is Obama doing it because he understands nothing about business? Or does he understand exactly what he’s doing? Is Obama’s goal to overwhelm the system, incite crisis, sow doubt about capitalism, and force the citizens to beg for government to save them, thereby opening the door to Socialism? Is Obama’s plan to redistribute the wealth, and at the same time to bankrupt the people with wealth and power, thereby crippling his political opposition?

Does it really matter?

Here’s where the story gets downright frightening. This time the results are going to be dramatically worse than 1929. This time we are facing The Greatest Depression ever.

Why? Because The Great Depression had NONE of problems and obligations we are now facing:

In 1929 America was not $100 trillion in debt and unfunded liabilities.

In 1929, most of our states were not bankrupt, insolvent and dependent on the federal government to survive.

In 1929, we had far fewer government employees living off taxpayers. Today 1 out of 5 federal employees earn over $100,000. California lifeguards and Las Vegas firemen earn $200,000. 77,000 federal employees earn more than the Governors of their states. Government employees retire at age 50 with $100,000 pensions for life. The postal service – without competition- loses $8 billion annually. Protected by their unions and the politicians they elect, government employees are bankrupting America. Even FDR said he could not imagine allowing public employees to unionize.

In 1929, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid didn’t exist. The federal government had no such obligations threatening to consume the entire federal budget within a few years.

In 1929, there was no such thing as welfare, food stamps, aid to dependent children, or English as a second language programs. American’s didn’t consider it the responsibility of government to pay for breakfast and lunch for school students – let alone illegal immigrants.

In 1929, we didn’t have millions of illegal immigrants and their children collecting billions of dollars in entitlements from U.S. taxpayers.

In 1929, legal immigrants wanted only to work. My grandparents from Russia and Germany received no government benefits. They worked day and night to provide for their family and become American citizens. It was sink or swim.

In 1929, we had 150 million citizens with a strong work ethic- all motivated to earn the American Dream for their children and grandchildren. Americans were hungry in 1929. Today the hungry, motivated citizens and entrepreneurs are in China and India.

In 1929, we had an education system that was the envy of the world. Today our public schools are in shambles. We spend the most in the world, and get among the worst results. The difference today? Teachers unions are in charge, instead of parents

Our students are taught socialism and the great benefits of big government. They graduate with few skills, qualified only for low paying manufacturing jobs that no longer exist- they’ve been shipped to China and India. What will this workforce do for the rest of their lives? Live off the government dole? Who will pay for it?

In 1929 children had hope for the future. Today they are hopeless, helpless, and clueless – an entire generation that only knows drugs, gangs, rappers, government handouts, teen pregnancy- and it goes downhill from there.

In 1929 taxes were much lower. Forget the tax rates- they were meaningless. In those days we had a cash economy, so most businesses paid little or no taxes. Sales and FICA taxes didn’t exist. Today the combined local, state, property, gas, sales, FICA and federal taxes are the highest burden in history. This stifles entrepreneurship and hinders the financial risk-taking necessary to create jobs and get out of a Great Depression.

Do you get the picture? Disaster looms. We are staring at the Greatest Depression ever.

Still doubt me? Did you read the recent news report of 80 teen girls all pregnant in one Memphis high school? That’s 80…eighty…in one high school. This is happening all over the USA. Who will pay the bills?

We are in deep, deep trouble. There is no easy way out. The noose is tightening. The economy is crumbling. The situation is turning more hopeless by the hour. The more government gets involved, the worse it gets. Coincidence?

The solution is simple- cut government, cut spending, cut entitlements, cut taxes, stop the wars, end the Fed, term limit politicians, and back the dollar with a gold standard. Or, like so many other great empires of history, America may never recover from this Greatest of All Depressions that Obama is driving us directly toward.



________________________ _____________________-


Fuck you pieces of trash still supporting obama!   


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 02, 2011, 10:21:54 AM
Editorial: U.S. Is Already In A Growth Recession
 
Posted 06/01/2011 06:47 PM ET

 

Economy: As the president works on his golf game, the economy is coming apart again. Housing is taking another leg down, job gains seem to be tailing off and a fiscal iceberg lies just ahead. Will someone sound the alarm?

President Obama has busied himself with many things lately — angering longtime allies such as Israel, plunging us into an open-ended conflict in Libya without congressional approval, spending quality face-time with the British royals, golfing on Memorial Day.

On Wednesday, he even found time to declare June "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Month."

We know the president is busy, but maybe it's time he returned to thinking about our foundering, job-challenged economy.

Recent data show a shocking turn south. While some worry we might soon experience a double-dip recession, we're already in a kind of recession — a growth recession. That's where the economy is barely eking out enough growth to create jobs. And the number of jobs being created isn't enough to sop up the unemployed and new entrants to the workforce.

Consider these data, all from one day:

• ADP reported that, based on its payroll tally, 38,000 private jobs were created in May — 100,000 short of the minimum needed for healthy growth.

• Employment consultant Challenger, Gray & Christmas said businesses cut 37,135 jobs last month, up nearly 2% from April.

Listen to the Podcast
Subscribe through iTunes• Housing prices in the U.S. plunged 4.2% in the first quarter, the lowest since the financial crisis began.

• The Mortgage Bankers Association's mortgage application index fell 4% in the final week of May.

• The Institute for Supply Management reported its factory activity index tumbled from 60.4 in April to 53.5 in May — the lowest since September 2009.

Faced with such "unexpected" news, economists are returning to their spreadsheets to revise their growth estimates downward.

The most recent survey of top economists by Blue Chip Economic Indicators shows the average forecast for GDP growth in 2011 fell from 2.9% in April to 2.7% in May. Based on recent data, it will head even lower.

Most economists agree that GDP growth below 3% isn't enough to create sufficient jobs in the private sector to keep unemployment from rising.

Economists also widely believe that our extraordinarily reckless fiscal profligacy is hurting our recovery. From 2008 to 2010, the U.S. borrowed over $3.1 trillion. It will borrow another $1.5 trillion this year.

At the same time, the Fed has added $2 trillion to its balance sheet, mostly to buy all that new debt.

As Michael Pento, senior economist at Euro Pacific Capital, noted Wednesday, "genuine government stimulus comes from low taxes, stable prices, reduced regulation and low debt. Our economic policymakers have scrupulously avoided such remedies." Bingo.

A good start for the president would be to heed the letter sent to him by 150 economists — including some Nobel Prize winners — saying that any increase in our government's debt limit must be offset by even bigger spending cuts in the future.

That's great advice, but by no means enough. It would be a start, a minimal first step. We'll see how serious this president is — and how competent — based on how he responds.


http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/573972/201106011847/President-Plays-Economy-Lists.htm



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: GigantorX on June 02, 2011, 02:50:46 PM
Comrade Reich is a fucking lunatic and should be sharing a padded cell with Capt. Crazy himself, Paul Krugman.

His admission about the U.S. economy getting worse is spot on....his remedies are not.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 02, 2011, 03:23:08 PM
DEBT CEILING: Moody's Just Threatened To Slash The US Credit Rating
Joe Weisenthal | Jun. 2, 2011, 1:33 PM | 36,239 |  92



Image: Beverly & Pack via flickr
Finally, a logical warning on US credit.

Moody's is out with a comment saying that if there's no imminent progress on the debt ceiling fight, the US credit rating will be cut.

This makes total sense, and we applaud Moody's for doing their job: Identifying an imminent (real) issue, and sensibly advising (ahead of time) about what could be a threat to US debt holders.

This should help put an end to this idea that a technical default would be just fine, and that somehow all this brinksmanship would be good for US credit somehow.

Back in January, we called on Moody's to do exactly this: Threaten a ratings cut as a way of warning about the harmful effects of this fight


http://www.businessinsider.com/moodys-warns-on-us-debt-rating-2011-6



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 03, 2011, 04:18:05 AM
Source: Associated Press

The labor force — those who have a job or are looking for one — is getting smaller, even though the economy is growing and steadily adding jobs. That trend defies the rules of a normal economic recovery.

Nobody is sure why it’s happening. Economists think some of the missing workers have retired, have entered college or are getting by on government disability checks. Others have probably just given up looking for work.

“A small work force means millions of discouraged workers, lower output in the future and a weak recovery,” says Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, the ranking Republican on the Congress’ Joint Economic Committee.

By the government’s definition, if you quit looking, you’re no longer counted as unemployed. And you’re no longer part of the labor force.

Since November, the number of Americans counted as employed has grown by 765,000, to just shy of 139 million. The nation has been creating jobs every month as the economy recovers. The economy added 244,000 jobs in April. But the number of Americans counted as unemployed has shrunk by much more — almost 1.3 million — during this time. That means the labor force has dropped by 529,000 workers.



Read more: http://www.gadsdentimes.com/article/20110602/WIRE/11060...



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 03, 2011, 05:42:27 AM
Bump for team dildo.

9.1 percent ue - real good.  And with birth death model - that means we actually lost jobs.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 03, 2011, 05:55:24 AM
I guess we are going to have to wait till next summer for the recovery to happen cause sure as hell its not this one. 

Kenyanomics - fail.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 03, 2011, 08:22:34 AM
Bump for andre - does any of this show a positive trend? 


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 03, 2011, 10:43:04 AM
Unemployment rate much worse than 9.1% (Arguably, 11.5%)
American Thinker ^ | 6/3/2011 | Steve McCann




Just how dire is the unemployment situation?  The May employment situation has just been released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics  showing an unemployment rate of 9.1%.  But what are the actual statistics that reveal the true depth of employment misery?

In the month of May the BLS claimed that 139.8 million people were employed out of a civilian noninstitutional population [those who live in the US, older than 16 and not in an institution or active military] of 239.3 million or an effective rate of 58.4%.  The civilian labor force which takes into account those the BLS consider employed and actively looking for work (not those who have dropped out of the labor force) stood at 153.7 million or 64.2% of the civilian noninstitutional population.

The last time there were 139.8 million employed (prior to the Obama years) was in October of 2004.  At that time the civilian noninstitutional population was 224.2 million for an effective rate of 62.4%.  The civilian labor force was estimated to be 147.8 million or 66% of the civilian noninstitutional population.  The published unemployment rate was 5.5%.

The most arbitrary of all factors the BLS uses is their calculation of the civilian labor force as that includes those actively looking for work but eliminates those who the BLS estimates have dropped out of the labor force. Yet it is the most important as it can skew the unemployment rate considerably.   Therefore using the October 2004 figures as a base the calculations would actually be as follows: the civilian labor force for May of 2011 should be 157.9 million not 153.7 million.   As there were 139.8 million people employed, it follows that the unemployment rate would then be 11.5% not 9.1%.

However arbitrary rates aside, the bottom line is that since October of 2004 the overall civilian noninstutional population has increased by 15.1 million people yet there has not been any net new jobs created per the report of May 2011 as the number of those employed is the same.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 03, 2011, 10:47:32 AM
[youtube]Out Of Nowhere, The NFIB Just Sent Out This Warning: "Job Creation On Main Street Has Collapsed"
TBI ^ | 6-3-2011 | Joe Weisenthal


Posted on Friday, June 03, 2011 8:15:01 AM by blam

Out Of Nowhere, The NFIB Just Sent Out This Warning: "Job Creation On Main Street Has Collapsed"

Joe Weisenthal
Jun. 3, 2011, 7:42 AM



Here's a pre-NFP shocker.

The NFIB -- the small business organization that regularly measures the pulse of small business economic activity -- just sent out a warning on the jobs situation (via @edwardnh).

It's awful.

----------------

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 2, 2011 — Chief economist for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) William C. Dunkelberg, issued the following statement on May job numbers, based on NFIB’s monthly economic survey that will be released on Tuesday, June 7, 2011. The survey was conducted in May and reflects 733 randomly-sampled small-business owner respondents:

“After solid job gains early in the year, progress has slowed to a trickle. The two NFIB indicators—job openings and hiring plans—that predict the unemployment rate both fell, suggesting that the rate itself will rise.

“May’s job numbers will disappoint; meaningful job creation on Main Street has collapsed.

“Twelve percent (seasonally adjusted) of small-business owners reported unfilled job openings (down 2 points). Further indications of minimal future growth include the fact that in the next three months, 13 percent plan to increase employment (down 3 points), and 8 percent plan to reduce their workforce (up 2 points). That yields a seasonally adjusted net negative 1 percent of owners planning to create new jobs, a 3 point loss from April.

“Overall, reports of job reductions have returned to historically normal levels. However, the percent of owners hiring has not recovered to levels historically observed after two years of expansion. With one in four owners still reporting ‘weak sales’ as their No. 1 business problem, there is little need to add employees, especially with the uncertainty about future labor costs arising from new regulation

(snip)


(Excerpt) Read more at businessinsider.com ...



________________________ ________________________ _______________

Yeah - obama - how about you fix the economy as promised! 


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 03, 2011, 11:39:57 AM
More Americans Think Economy Will Never Recover
Published: Friday, 3 Jun 2011 | 1:26 PM ET Text Size By: Christina Cheddar Berk
News Editor


The mixed signals regarding the economy's health are taking a toll.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/43268037

About 10 percent of Americans say they never expect their spending to return to pre-recession levels.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 

Americans are growing increasingly doubtful about direction of the US economy, according to the latest survey from business-advisory firm AlixPartners.

In fact, an increasing number, some 61 percent, say they don't expect to return to their respective pre-recession lifestyles until the spring of 2014, if ever.

What's worse, a full 10 percent said they expect they will never return to pre-recession spending.

That's a more pessimistic view than last year, when those surveyed expected that they could be back to pre-recession spending levels by the middle of 2013.

"Americans continue to push their expectations for return to a pre-recession 'normal' further and further into the future—close enough for comfort, but far enough away to seem realistic," said Fred Crawford, CEO of AlixPartners. "But as that happens, more and more it seems normal is actually where we are right now."

The latest employment report, which showed that U.S. employers hired far few workers than expected in May, only serves to reinforce these attitudes.

"It's a vicious cycle," Crawford said. "Americans need to see a significant decrease in unemployment to feel confident in the economic recovery, but companies are waiting to see increased demand for their products and services before they begin hiring and making job-creating capital expenditures."

In the latest survey, some 63 percent of Americans said they feel "not good" or "bad" about the state of the US economy, representing a significant increase from May 2010 when only about 49 percent of those polled felt this gloomy.

The survey also found that Americans overwhelmingly expect to delay by at least 12 months major purchases and expenditures such as spending on new cars, home repairs and vacations.

There have already been signs of this in the latest retail sales reports that came out earlier this week from a handful of major retailers.

Overall, sales at stores open at least a year rose 5.0 percent in May, which is below the 5.4 percent increase that Wall Street expected, according to Thomson Reuters data.

While some analysts used a number of excuses, including high gasoline prices, poor weather, and lackluster merchandise, to explain away the disappointing results, the findings of the survey may suggest that consumers are hunkering down amid the uncertainty.

The view was expressed Thursday by Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel, who said that traffic at Target stores slowed in the second half of the month.

"Our guests continue to shop cautiously in light of higher energy costs and inflationary pressures on their household budgets," Steinhafel said, in the company's monthly sales press release.

AlixPartners is by no means the first organization to recognize this growing pessimism.

Goldman Sachs economist Jan Hatzius said the number of consumers who believe they have a chance to bring home more money one year from now is at its lowest level in 25 years, based on his analysis of the University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters consumer sentiment poll.


________________________ _____________

Hope & Change! 


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 03, 2011, 12:32:56 PM
Bad Housing Data: It's Worse Than You Think
www.joytiz.com ^ | 6/3/11 | Joy Tiz





Yesterday’s Case Shiller housing data was scary enough all by itself–housing prices have dropped a whopping 5% just in the past year. What nobody is factoring into the equation yet is one of the government’s favorite weapons of mass destruction–FHA loans.

Taxpayer insured mortgages are all the rage as conventional loans have become harder to come by. Now that all of the cows have escaped and been run over by semi trucks, lenders have sealed the barn door shut and requiring borrowers to prove they can actually repay their loans as well as put up some kind of down payment.

FHA borrowers, however, can get away with shaky credit and 3% down. Too often, that 3% and closing costs are rolled right into the loan. FHA loans are what keeps many mortgage brokers and appraisers in business these days.

If that doesn’t scare you, consider that in my market, I’ve noticed that FHA loans are often closing with significantly higher sales prices than comparable units sold via conventional financing. Something is very wrong with this picture.

As prices continue to drop, these food stamp backed mortgages are going to go very bad.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 04, 2011, 04:12:15 AM
Half of Last Month's New Jobs Came from a Single Employer — McDonald's
11:13 AM, JUN 3, 2011    • BY MARK HEMINGWAYSingle PagePrintLarger TextSmaller Text       
According to the unemployment data released this morning, the economy added only 54,000 jobs, pushing the unemployment rate up to 9.1 percent. However, this report from MarketWatch suggests the data is much worse than that:

McDonald’s ran a big hiring day on April 19 — after the Labor Department’s April survey for the payrolls report was conducted — in which 62,000 jobs were added. That’s not a net number, of course, and seasonal adjustment will reduce the Hamburglar impact on payrolls. (In simpler terms — restaurants always staff up for the summer; the Labor Department makes allowance for this effect.) Morgan Stanley estimates McDonald’s hiring will boost the overall number by 25,000 to 30,000. The Labor Department won’t detail an exact McDonald’s figure — they won’t identify any company they survey — but there will be data in the report to give a rough estimate.

If Morgan Stanley is correct, about half of last month's job growth came from the venerable fast-food chain. That is hardly the sign of a healthy economy.

(Via @Jimmiebjr)


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 04, 2011, 09:38:02 AM
US house price fall 'beats Great Depression slide'
By Stephen Foley
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The ailing US housing market passed a grim milestone in the first quarter of this year, posting a further deterioration that means the fall in house prices is now greater than that suffered during the Great Depression.

The brief recovery in prices in 2009, spurred by government aid to first-time buyers, has now been entirely snuffed out, and the average American home now costs 33 per cent less than it did at the peak of the housing bubble in 2007. The peak-to-trough fall in house prices in the 1930s Depression was 31 per cent – and prices took 19 years to recover after that downturn.

The latest Case-Shiller house price index was just one of a slew of disappointing economic data from the US yesterday, which suggested ebbing confidence in the recovery of the world's largest economy. The Chicago PMI manufacturing index showed a sharp slowdown in the pace of expansion in May, missing Wall Street forecasts and sending the index to its lowest since November 2009.

And in the latest Conference Board consumer confidence survey more people expressed uncertainty over their future economic prospects. The confidence index fell unexpectedly to 60.8 from a revised 66.0, when economists had expected it to rise to 67.0. Falling house prices and negative equity combined with high petrol and food prices and a still-weak jobs market to raise consumers' fears for the future.

Thomas Di Galoma, the managing director of government securities at Oppenheimer & Co, said: "Based on the weakness in housing prices, Chicago PMI and consumer confidence, it appears as though the economy could be headed for a double dip, especially as federal and state spending slows rapidly over the next six months."

Economists warned not to expect any immediate relief to the gloom from the housing market. Banks continue to demand high deposits from potential buyers and are pressing on with foreclosures against those who have fallen behind on mortgages, adding to the glut of unsold homes on the market.

Prices are back to their 2002 levels, according to the Case-Shiller National House Price Index out yesterday. "The national index fell 4.2 per cent over the first quarter alone, and is down 5.1 per cent compared to its year-ago level," David Blitzer, the chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices, said. "Home prices continue on their downward spiral with no relief in sight."


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 04, 2011, 11:37:02 AM
Obamanomics in action
As a member of the MSM business press, Business Insider is actually optimistic in their assessment of the current employment situation.

John Williams, Shadow Government Statistics makes a decent living converting economic statistics back to their original definitions (the Fed cooks the books mercilessly by frequently changing definitions) and by explaining the "numbers behind the numbers." According to John:

The Feds assume a "birth death adjustment," i.e. someone, somewhere, creates a new job every time an existing job is lost. As explained here, using a more realistic measurement reduces yesterday's reported gain of 54,000 jobs to a loss of more than 200,000.

The U-3 unemployment rate is the monthly headline number. The U-6 unemployment rate is the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) broadest unemployment measure, including short-term discouraged and other marginally-attached workers as well as those forced to work part-time because they cannot find full-time employment. Both of those are shown in the chart prepared by Williams shown immediately above.
The seasonally-adjusted SGS Alternate Unemployment Rate (also in the above chart) reflects current unemployment reporting methodology adjusted for SGS-estimated long-term discouraged workers, who were defined out of official existence in 1994. That estimate is added to the BLS estimate of U-6 unemployment, which includes short-term discouraged workers.

Finally, according to John, yesterday's reported U-3 unemployment rate was 9.1 percent. The reported U-6 unemployment rate was 15.8 percent. The adjusted (to the historic definition) unemployment rate was 22.3 percent. This means that, using the original definition, the Business Insider chart is in reality roughly two and a half times worse than portrayed in the article.

1 posted on June 4, 2011 2:44:10 PM EDT by Zakeet


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 04, 2011, 11:40:08 AM
Check out this graph. 

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2729896/posts



Damn.   


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 05, 2011, 02:53:12 PM
Poll finds Americans angry about pretty much everything

http://news.yahoo.com/s/dailycaller/20110605/pl_dailycaller/pollfindsamericansangryaboutprettymucheverything;_ylt=AscMjk5phAFYi9MVO0m__fpH2ocA;_ylu=X3oDMTRqb2NkNmE4BGFzc2V0A2RhaWx5Y2FsbGVyLzIwMTEwNjA1L3BvbGxmaW5kc2FtZXJpY2Fuc2FuZ3J5YWJvdXRwcmV0dHltdWNoZXZlcnl0aGluZwRjY29kZQN0b3BnbXB0b3AyMDBwb29sBGNwb3MDOARwb3MDOARzZWMDeW5fdG9wX3N0b3JpZXMEc2xrA3BvbGxmaW5kc2FtZQ--



No wonder David Bowie was afraid of Americans.

A new Newsweek/Daily Beast poll finds that Americans are angry about…pretty much everything. From President Obama to congressional Republicans to even God (who has a 33 percent approval rating), everyone needs to watch out for an angry mob coming their way.

Unemployment is at 9.1 percent, gas and grocery prices are skyrocketing, the housing market is in the dumps, and people aren’t happy. Three quarters of Americans think the country is on the wrong track, and 81 percent say the job market is not where it needs to be. Half of respondents don’t think Obama has a plan to balance the budget, and 58 percent think Republicans aren’t doing their part to balance the budget either.

The poll finds that Americans are being affected by their anger in other parts of life as well. Fifty-six percent are so angry that they can’t even sleep and 13 percent say the anxiety has affected their sex life. Twenty-six percent of married respondents claim the country’s economic problems have affected their marriage, with more than half of those people saying it has made their marriage worse.

Read more stories from The Daily Caller



________________________ ________________________ _______________--


HOPE & CHANGE! ! ! ! !  !



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: George Whorewell on June 05, 2011, 02:57:55 PM
Jocelyn Elders is going to reappointed as the Surgeon General for the Obama administration. Reportedly, she will suggest that Americans should masturbate more often to cure their anger.



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 06, 2011, 03:27:36 AM
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Keep The Change: 20 Ways That The U.S. Economy Has Gotten Worse Since .. Obama Became President
American Dream ^ | June 5th, 2011 | ?
Posted on June 6, 2011 6:23:45 AM EDT by GonzoII

Keep The Change: 20 Ways That The U.S. Economy Has Gotten Worse Since Barack Obama Became President



By almost any measure that you can think of, the U.S. economy has gotten worse since Barack Obama became president. Unemployment is higher, the cost of food and gas are skyrocketing, the number of Americans living in poverty has spiked dramatically, the housing market is in nightmarish shape and our national debt has absolutely exploded. Meanwhile, Barack Obama continues to prance around the country declaring that "we can live out the American dream again" and that what we are experiencing right now are simply "bumps on the road to recovery". But such mindless platitudes are of little comfort to the millions of American families that are slowly descending into poverty or the tens of millions of American families that are already there. If this is the "change" that Barack Obama was promising then he can just keep the change.

Barack Obama is proving to be one of the worst presidents in all of U.S. history. Perhaps when it is all said and done he will be recognized as the absolute worst. Not that George W. Bush was much different. In fact, the Republican Party will not regain much credibility with the American people until it admits that George W. Bush was an absolutely horrible president. Sadly, the truth is that we have not had a decent president in decades. This statement is going to upset almost everyone that is still trapped inside the false left/right political paradigm in this country, but I am not here to pander to the political establishment.

Barack Obama is a horrific president.

So was George W. Bush.

That is the truth.

Not that it is our presidents that actually run our economy. As far as the economy is concerned, the U.S. Congress deserves as much (or more) of the blame as the executive branch does.

However, if you really want to point fingers at someone, then you should place the most blame on the Federal Reserve. As I have written about previously, the Federal Reserve has more power over our economy that any other single institution....

So exactly what is the Federal Reserve? Most people would say that it is an agency of the federal government. But that is absolutely not true. In fact, the Federal Reserve itself has argued in court that it is not an agency of the federal government. Rather, the Federal Reserve is a privately-owned banking cartel that has been given a perpetual monopoly over our monetary system by the U.S. Congress. This privately-owned central bank has been destroying the value of the U.S. dollar for decades, it has run our economy into the ground and it has driven the U.S. government to the brink of bankruptcy. The Federal Reserve operates in great secrecy, it has never been subjected to a comprehensive audit and it is not accountable to the American people. Yet the decisions that the Federal Reserve makes have a dramatic impact on the lives of every single American citizen.

But the mainstream media rarely points fingers at the Fed, and the truth is that when election 2012 arrives, the American people are going to judge Barack Obama primarily on how the U.S. economy is performing.

By just about any measure you can name, the U.S. economy has gotten much worse since Barack Obama became president. Of course it is glaringly obvious by now that Barack Obama is completely clueless when it comes to economics. In fact, Obama surrounded himself with economic advisers such as Larry Summers who actually were highly instrumental in getting us into this mess.

So should Barack Obama be held accountable for this economic disaster?

Yes.

But so should Bush, Clinton, Bush Sr., the entire U.S. Congress and the Federal Reserve.

The economic decline we are experiencing now has taken decades to build, and what we are experiencing now is simply an acceleration of the long-term economic trends that are destroying this country.

The following are 20 ways that the U.S. economy has gotten even worse since Barack Obama became president....

#1 In January 2009, the official U.S. unemployment rate was 7.6 percent. Today it is 9.1 percent.

#2 When Barack Obama took office, the number of "long-term unemployed" in the United States was approximately 2.6 million. Today, that number is up to 6.2 million.

#3 When Barack Obama first became president, the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States was $1.83. Today it is $3.79. This also affects the price of almost everything else that we buy.

#4 In April 2009, the average U.S. household spent approximately $201 on gasoline. In April 2011, the average U.S. household spent approximately $369 on gasoline.

#5 According to an article in the Daily Mail, the cost of a Memorial Day cookout was 29 percent higher this year than it was last year.

#6 When Barack Obama was sworn in, there were nearly 32 million Americans on food stamps. Today, there are more than 44 million on food stamps.

#7 According to the U.S. Census, the number of children living in poverty has gone up by about 2 million in just the past 2 years.

#8 When Barack Obama took office, the U.S. national debt was 10.6 trillion dollars. Today it is 14.3 trillion dollars.

#9 The federal government has borrowed 29,660 more dollars per household since Barack Obama signed the economic stimulus law two years ago.

#10 During Barack Obama's first two years in office, the U.S. government added more to the U.S. national debt than the first 100 U.S. Congresses combined.

#11 The combined debt of the major GSEs (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Sallie Mae) has increased from 3.2 trillion in 2008 to 6.4 trillion in 2011. Thanks to George W. Bush, Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress, U.S. taxpayers are standing behind that debt.

#12 Under Obama, the U.S. trade deficit continues to grow. The trade deficit was about 33 percent larger in 2010 than it was in 2009, and the 2011 trade deficit is expected to be even bigger.

#13 Only 66.8% of American men had a job last year. That was the lowest level that has ever been recorded in all of U.S. history.

#14 Just since August, 2 million more Americans have left the labor force.

#15 In 2010, more than a million U.S. families lost their homes to foreclosure for the first time ever, and that number is expected to go even higher in 2011.

#16 The U.S. real estate crisis just continues to get worse. During the first three months of this year, less new homes were sold in the U.S. than in any three month period ever recorded.

#17 The U.S. dollar has fallen by 17 percent compared to other major national currencies since 2009.

#18 Faith in the U.S. dollar and in U.S. Treasuries is rapidly declining. The mainstream news is not reporting on it much, but right now the Chinese are rapidly dumping U.S. government debt. That is not a good sign.

#19 When Barack Obama first took office, an ounce of gold was going for about $850. Today an ounce of gold costs about $1500.

#20 Americans seem to be more pessimistic about the economy than ever. According to a brand new poll, 61 percent of Americans believe that they will not return to their "pre-recession" lifestyles until at least 2014.



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 06, 2011, 03:49:39 AM
Obama 2012 and the May jobs report
JUN 3, 2011 16:26 EDT
 
inShare
   
2012 ELECTION | JOBS | UNEMPLOYMENT
I don’t think the terrible May jobs report means the Obama presidency is doomed anymore than I thought the killing of OBL meant re-election was in the bag. But another 18 months of economic muddling through – high unemployment, stagnant wages, dead housing, slow GDP growth – would certainly make the GOP nomination one worth winning. Like REALLY worth winning – let’s put it that way. And the history of economies after bank crises show the “muddling though” scenario is a common one.

But it is also interesting to note that White House economists told me previously that they didn’t think the U.S. economy would fall prey to that trap. No wonder the administration used so much political capital on health and financial reform rather than on job creation in 2009 and 2010. My chats with folks from the White House always showed them to be eternally  optimistic — eternally and overly optimistic is turns out. They were as surprised as anyone that Recovery Summer 2010 was a bust. And Summer 2011 is looking to be about the same. Yet there’s no sign the administration will change course and adopt some common-sense growth policies such as cutting taxes on corporations and capital, slashing regulation and offering a big downpayment on debt reduction.


http://blogs.reuters.com/james-pethokoukis/2011/06/03/obama-2012-and-the-may-jobs-report



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Deicide on June 06, 2011, 04:00:57 AM
Obama 2012 and the May jobs report
JUN 3, 2011 16:26 EDT
 
inShare
   
2012 ELECTION | JOBS | UNEMPLOYMENT
I don’t think the terrible May jobs report means the Obama presidency is doomed anymore than I thought the killing of OBL meant re-election was in the bag. But another 18 months of economic muddling through – high unemployment, stagnant wages, dead housing, slow GDP growth – would certainly make the GOP nomination one worth winning. Like REALLY worth winning – let’s put it that way. And the history of economies after bank crises show the “muddling though” scenario is a common one.

But it is also interesting to note that White House economists told me previously that they didn’t think the U.S. economy would fall prey to that trap. No wonder the administration used so much political capital on health and financial reform rather than on job creation in 2009 and 2010. My chats with folks from the White House always showed them to be eternally  optimistic — eternally and overly optimistic is turns out. They were as surprised as anyone that Recovery Summer 2010 was a bust. And Summer 2011 is looking to be about the same. Yet there’s no sign the administration will change course and adopt some common-sense growth policies such as cutting taxes on corporations and capital, slashing regulation and offering a big downpayment on debt reduction.


http://blogs.reuters.com/james-pethokoukis/2011/06/03/obama-2012-and-the-may-jobs-report



As I said I am looking forward to you putting the same amount of energy into the next failed president when the economy doesn't recover because it is monetary policy and criminal Wallstreet not the president that are largely responsible for the economic mess.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 06, 2011, 04:16:57 AM
Government policy played an equal part in the mess w the cra, fannie freddy, repeal of glass steagal, changing lending standards etc.

And my beed with obama admn is that they took a bad situatuion and completely exploded it. 

No one is going to hire anyone until obamacare is repealed, the epa is kneecapped, taxes and regulation left alone, and the govt backs the fuck off with all these crazy schemes. 

And if the next potus pursues a suicidal agenda like this admn has, I will be all over it. 


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 06, 2011, 05:17:07 AM
Young Americans Face A Brutal Summer
www.Townhall.com ^ | June 6, 2011 | Lurita Doan





Young Americans graduating from colleges across the United States are facing limited job prospects, high debt and the likely necessity of returning home to live with parents in order to survive, a bitter harvest from the Obama Economy.

Our current economic policies that continue to find new and even more inventive ways to punish the prudent, destroy the entrepreneurial , reward the most irresponsible, all while burdening future generations with trillions in new debt.  Commencement speeches traditionally focus on bright futures and change and “oh–the-places-you’ll-go” in an optimistic, nationwide, rah-rah as graduates turn their tassels and launch forth to conquer new worlds. Good luck with that.

Closer to the truth would be a stark admission that Obama’s economic policies have failed and the evidence is all around us.   The most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report shows that the jobless rate (despite repeated manipulations of the data by the Obama Administration) has climbed to 9.1%, with decreases in both private and public sector jobs. 

Gas prices remain high, averaging almost $4 per gallon across the United States.  The Consumer Confidence Index fell to a six-month low, coming in at 60.8 (a rating of 90 shows a healthy economy).  The housing market has hit a new low, according to the S&P Case/Schiller Home Price Index, and confirms the existence of a double dip in housing prices across the United States.

Even the United States’ comprehensive scorecard for the economy, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report shows that growth is slow.  All of these indicators, on top of the recent BLS jobless report, provide proof that the economy is not growing, the recovery has not happened and that the over $1 trillion dollars that the Obama Administration spent in Stimulus did not stimulate the economy.

Is it any wonder that across the country the morale is low and that Americans think, increasingly, that the federal government is out of touch with the concerns of the average working American?

For minorities, the prospects of a good job are especially bleak; unemployment for white Americans averaged 8.9%, but African Americans averaged 17.5%, just a little more than double the rate of white unemployment.   Hispanic Americans reported 11.9% unemployment. 

Still, despite the grim outlook for newly minted college grads, these college grads are better off than high school grads.  Young teens looking to gain work experience are finding that even low-skilled, part-time, jobs aren’t there.  Unions don’t seem to want young people competing for jobs that their adult union members might perform.  And, with a high minimum wage, small business owners are hesitant to bring on inexperienced labor in this uncertain economic climate.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ report shows that the hardest hit among all of the unemployed are America’s teens.  African Americans, ages 16-19, of both sexes, show a mind-boggling 40.7% unemployed; white teens show 20.7% unemployment and Hispanic teens report 26.1% unemployment.  The long-term repercussions of these unemployment numbers are troubling, yet the Obama Administration is curiously silent.

Team Obama has spent trillions of dollars and enormous political capital advancing stimulus plans and other empty calorie policies that have failed to spark employment, especially among America’s young.  Instead, Obama’s policies have only further eroded American competitiveness, hindered job creation. 

Young men and women with no job, and little hope of finding a job, represent a strain on the social fabric of the nation as they become angry and resentful over the lack of employment opportunities.  They will need, and demand, additional aid and support from the government, so social spending is likely to grow.

The consequences of a growing and prolonged unemployment within the minority and teen work community, combined with preferential legislation, create a dangerous racial cocktail of time, idleness and increased expectation of entitlements.  With the high tax structure and the ever-increasing hostility towards wealth creation, entrepreneurial energies aren’t there and Americans should expect that the jobless situation will only get worse.

Young Americans will likely face the worst summer in recent history.  After over two years of “fixes”, the Obama Administration has shown that they are bankrupt of ideas and incapable of providing solutions to the country’s growing problems. The White House seems aware of this and is likely to launch a “charm offense”, fire up social-media savvy Obama accolades and talk about how hip they are rather than providing solutions.

How sad is that?
 

________________________ ______________

Hope & Change - these idiots voted for this, most likely with their first vote.    I guess they have to learn the hard way.         


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Bindare_Dundat on June 06, 2011, 07:04:08 AM
In Chicago the youths have resorted to mob theft and assaults.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 06, 2011, 08:16:03 AM
Chronic unemployment worse than Great Depression
The unemployed have, on average, remained unemployed longer than in the 1930s; Employers wary of job gaps in resumes
By Ben Tracy .
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/06/05/eveningnews/main20069136.shtml



Nearly 14 million Americans are looking for work



Summer job bummer: Teen unemployment 24 percent
(CBS News)  There is an unfortunate adage for the unemployed: The longer folks are out of a job, the longer it takes them to find a new one.


CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy reports that the chronically unemployed face the hardest road back to recovery, and that while the jobs picture may be improving statistically on a national level, it is not for them.


Tinong Nwachan, for example, has far too much time on his hands. When CBS News met the former truck driver he had been out of work for two years.


"I don't really tell too many people this but I'm not ashamed or nothing, I'm homeless," Nwachan said.


Summer job bummer: Teen unemployment 24 percent
Nearly 14 million Americans are looking for work

His day job is looking for work at a jobs center in Hollywood. He has plenty of company, including Fabian Lambrecht, who wonders when the economy's improvement will affect them.


"They're saying there are more jobs. I'm just wondering where those jobs are," Lambrecht said.


About 6.2 million Americans, 45.1 percent of all unemployed workers in this country, have been jobless for more than six months - a higher percentage than during the Great Depression.


The bigger the gap on someone's resume, the more questions employers have.


"(Employers) think: 'Oh, well, there must be something really wrong with them because they haven't gotten a job in 6 months, a year, 2 years.' But that's not necessarily the case," said Marjorie Gardner-Cruse with the Hollywood Worksource Center.


The problem of course is the economy, but some industries, especially certain manufacturing jobs, are not ever expected to come back. Experts say unemployed workers need to be prepared to change careers.


"That person has to realize that, discover what field they want to work in, become trained and find a job in that field," said Jerry Nickelsburg, Sr., an economist at UCLA.


Here's another problem: more than 1 million of the long-term unemployed have run out of unemployment benefits, leaving them without the money to get new training, buy new clothes, or even get to job interviews.


"If you have been unemployed for 6 months or more, it takes a much deeper toll - not just on your personal finances and your career prospects - but on your emotional well-being," said Paul Taylor, an executive vice president with the Pew Research Center.


Tinong Nwachan said no matter how hard it's been, he isn't giving up on his search.


"I'm taking everything one day at a time. Eventually I know I'm gonna find something," Nwachan said.


All he says he's hoping for is a job that will take more of his time, and take him off the streets.


________________________ ________________________ ____-



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 07, 2011, 04:27:30 AM
The 10 Signs That The Double-Dip Recession Has Begun (So long to recovery)
Wall Street 24X7 ^ | 06/06/2011 | Douglas McIntyre
Posted on June 6, 2011 1:03:54 PM EDT by SeekAndFind

The US has entered a second recession. It may not be as bad as the first. Economists say that the Great Recession began in December 2007 and lasted until July 2009. That may be the way that the economy was seen through the eyes of experts, but many Americans do not believe that the 2008-2009 downturn ever ended. A Gallup poll released in April found that 29% of those queried thought the economy was in a “depression” and 26% said that the original recession had persisted into 2011.

It is any wonder that many Americans believe that the economic downturn is still in progress? Home prices have fallen to 2002 levels. Values have dropped nearly 50% in parts of Florida, California, Nevada, and Arizona. Property values are also down that much in parts of troubled big cities like Detroit. Estimates are that as many as 11 million homes have underwater mortgages. Banks have inventories of as many as 2 million foreclosed homes which have not even been released to the market. Home prices could fall another 10% if current trends persist.

Perhaps the most powerful argument that the recession never ended or that a new one has begun is the persistence of unemployment. Fourteen million people are out of work. A third of those have been jobless for more than a year. May employment data showed the jobless rate rose unexpectedly and that the economy added only 58,000 jobs. Experts believe that the unemployment rate will not improve significantly until the monthly gain in jobs is consistently 300,000 jobs or more. And, at that rate the gains would have to go one for more than two years to bring the economy back to what is traditionally considered a reasonable unemployment figure.

There are several signs that a recession is firmly in place again and that the downturn could last for several quarters. Most are already easy for the average American to see.

1. Inflation

There is almost nothing that damages consumer confidence as badly as a rapid rise in prices. Starbucks recently increased the price of a bag of coffee by 17% because wholesale prices have risen by almost twice that rate in the last year. Cotton prices nearly doubled in 2010 but has fallen this year. But, apparel is made months in advance of when they reach store shelves. Summer clothing prices are up as much as 20%. That may change in the fall, but for the time being, the consumer’s ability to buy even the most basic clothing has been undermined. Consumers today pay more for sugar, meat, and corn-based products as well.

2. Investments have begun to yield less

Part of the recovery was driven by the stock market surge which began when the DJIA bottomed below 7,000 in March 2009. The index has risen above 12,000 and the prices of many stocks have doubled from their lows. As result, American household nest eggs that were decimated by the collapse of the market have rebounded and enabled people to splurge on themselves. However, the market has stumbled in the last quarter. The DJIA is up only 1% during the last three months and the S&P 500 is down slightly. Americans, though, have have few other places to put their money.. Ten-year Treasuries yield about 3%. Gold was a good investment over the last year, but it has begun to falter as well. The market may not be a friend to investors for quite some time.

3. The auto industry

The auto industry has staged an impressive comeback, although its profitability is based as much on the layoffs it has made over the last five years as generating new sales. GM and Chrysler have emerged from bankruptcy. Year-over-year monthly sales improved late last year and through April. May sales stalled. GM’s revenue dropped by 1% compared to May of 2010. Ford’s sales were down about as much. There are many reasons for this trend including high gas prices and the constrained manufacturing capacity of the Japanese automakers because of the earthquake. Consumers also may be deferring big purchases because they are worried about their economic prospects. Slow car sales are not just a sign of lagging consumer confidence. They also may be a harbinger of tougher times ahead. These companies shed several hundreds thousand jobs before and during the last recession. Car firms have only just begun to hire again, but that trend will die with a plateau in sales.

4. Oil prices

Oil prices are supposed to drop as the economy slows as they did in 2008 and early 2009 when crude fell from over $140 to under $50. That drop at least allowed consumers and businesses like airlines to more easily afford fuel. Recently, crude has moved back above $100 and appears to be stuck there regardless of the economic situation. American budgets have been hurt by the rising cost of gas. Americans of more modest means have been particularly affected. A slowdown in driving usually also leads to a decline in the retail sector as consumers reduce unnecessary travel to stores. The impact on other businesses is just as great. Airlines suffer and so do firms which rely on petrochemicals. OPEC, for now, has signaled it will not increase production.

5. The federal budget

The federal budget deficit has decimated any chance for another economic stimulus package which many prominent economists like Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman say is essential to create a full recovery. His theory has become more of an issue as GDP growth slows to a rate of 2%. The first $787 billion Obama stimulus package may have saved some American jobs, but it is long over and did not work if a drop in unemployment and a sharp improvement in GDP were its primary goals. The deficit has caused a call for severe austerity measures which have already become part of the economics policies of countries from Greece to the UK to Japan. Job cuts in the U.S. will not be restricted to the federal level. A recent UBS Investment Research analysis predicted that state and local governments will cut 450,000 jobs this year and next. That process is already well underway. States like California and New York currently run massive deficits and the rates they must pay on bonds has risen accordingly. Newspaper headlines almost daily report on battles between state unions and governors over employment and benefits.

6. China Economy Slows

A slowdown in the Chinese economy is usually seen as a cause of global commodity price inflation, but the effects cut two ways. China’s appetite for energy and raw materials may fall. But, the demand for goods and services by its very large and growing middle class drops as well. Chinese purchaser manufacturing and export numbers have fallen as the central government has tightened the ability to borrow money. US exports to China are key to the health of many American businesses. John Frisbie, the president of The US-China Business Council, recently said, “Over the last decade we have seen exports to China rise from $16.2 billion to $91.9 billion – a 468 percent increase.” As that rate slows, it has a profound effect on tens of thousands of American companies and their employees. US firms with large operations in China are also effected. GM is one of the two largest car firms in China along with VW. Large US corporations like Wal-mart and Yum! Brands rely significantly on China to boost global sales. Without vibrant consumer spending in China, American companies will suffer.

7. Unemployment

Unemployment creates two immediate problems. People without jobs drastically curtail their spending, which will ultimately affect GDP growth. The second is the need for tens of billions of dollars every year in government aid to keep the unemployed from becoming destitute. That support has increased deficits and the domino effect is that cash-strapped governments need to make more spending cuts. It may be the biggest challenge the economy faces. Unemployment has worsened because people over 65 to continue to work because the values of their homes–which they once counted on as the financial basis of their retirements–have dropped so sharply. Older Americans also fear that cuts in Medicare and perhaps Social Security are inevitable which increases the cost of their golden years. The jobs that older Americans have taken are often ones that younger Americans might have. People in their 20s must accept low wages to enter the workforce. This has delayed their prime consuming years well into their 30s which will damage GDP recovery now and for another decade. The worst of the unemployment problem is the roughly 5 million Americans who have been unemployed for over a year. Their unemployment benefits have run out in many cases. The burden of their care falls to their families, friends, community organizations, and non-profits. A family which has to support an unemployed person may be a family which cannot spend beyond its basic needs. To the extent that the federal or state governments can support the unemployed, the cost to run support programs increases.

8. Debt Ceiling

The United States debt ceiling,currently at $14.294 trillion, will probably be raised before the government has to cut back essential services on August 2. It might seem that the economic and employment effects of the debt cap are the same as the deficit, but they are actually more insidious and longer term. The first by-product of debt reduction, or at least a slowdown in its growth, is a combination of higher taxes and a lower level of government services. Higher taxes usually slow economic improvements, particularly when they are not couple with stimulus measures. A number of economists have pointed out the expense reduction alone will not sharply improve the United States balance sheet. The increase in Medicare and Social Securities costs, brought on by an aging population, are also likely to trigger a need for higher taxes. Tax increases could keep the economic growth of the US on hold for years. The taxation of companies decreases and often eliminates profits, particularly during an already troubled economic period. Profits which disappear usually cause cuts in purchasing and jobs. Taxes on wages and inheritance undermines consumer spending. And, a growth in national debt from already all-time highs will increase the borrowing costs of the US. That, in turn, drives up interest rates for everything from mortgages to credit cards.

9. Access To Credit

The lack of access to credit has hurt the economic activity or both individuals and small businesses. Many very large companies can borrow money at rates as low as 2% because of their strong cash flows and balance sheets. Banks have been much less willing to loan money to companies with under 100 workers because these firms often rely on a few customers for revenue and usually have very little money on hand. Early in June, the House Small Business Committee held hearings and among its findings were that concerns about risk and a slow economy has made financial institutions reluctant to lend to small businesses, the main driver of economic growth. Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) said Congress will need to “bridge the gap” between the two sides. There is no plan to accomplish that. Individual borrowers find themselves in a similar position. The cost of credit cards debt is still above 20% in many cases although the Federal Reserve loans money to large financial firms for interest rates close to zero. Potential home buyers, who might help break the gridlock of slow house sales, often find that banks want down payments as high as 20%. The median down payment in nine major U.S. cities rose to 22% last year on properties purchased through conventional mortgages, according to an analysis done for The Wall Street Journal by real-estate portal Zillow.com. That percentage doubled in three years and represents the highest median down payment since the data were first tracked in 1997. Home which are not sold often put such great burdens on owners that they are barely consumers of the goods and services that drive GDP. Home builders have continued to struggle. Construction jobs, which were a huge amount of the employment base in states like Florida, have not returned.

10. Housing

Housing is considered by many economists to be the single largest drag on the American economy, and the housing market has gotten much worse in the last two months. A report from The New York Federal Reserve published early this year said that “When home prices began to fall in 2007, owners’ equity in household real estate began to fall rapidly from almost $13.5 trillion in 1Q 2006 to a little under $5.3 trillion in 1Q 2009, a decline in total home equity of over 60%.” Real estate research firm Zillow reported on more recent developments. “Negative equity in the first quarter reached new highs with 28.4 percent of all single-family homes with mortgages underwater, from 27 percent in Q4.” Many homeowners who want to sell their homes cannot do so because they cannot afford to pay their banks at closing. Whether for good or ill, the American home was the primary source for money used for retirements, college educations, and the purchases of many expensive items such as cars. Economists point out the this leverage helped contribute to the credit crisis as people could not cover the costs of home equity loans as real estate values collapsed. This may be true, but the drop in value happened so quickly that the balance sheets of millions of Americans were destroyed. Their ability to consume was severely damaged, further harming GDP. High mortgage payments bankrupted or nearly bankrupted people who have lost jobs or have found that their incomes had stagnated. The building industry became a shambles overnight. And, whatever the effects have been over the last three years, they are getting progressively worse as home values drop to decade lows. There is no relief in sight because potential buyers worry that price erosion has not ended.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 07, 2011, 08:24:18 AM
U.S. funding for future promises lags by trillions
By Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY
 http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2011-06-06-us-owes-62-trillion-in-debt_n.htm?loc=interstitialskip





The federal government's financial condition deteriorated rapidly last year, far beyond the $1.5 trillion in new debt taken on to finance the budget deficit, a USA TODAY analysis shows.




The government added $5.3 trillion in new financial obligations in 2010, largely for retirement programs such as Medicare and Social Security. That brings to a record $61.6 trillion the total of financial promises not paid for.

This gap between spending commitments and revenue last year equals more than one-third of the nation's gross domestic product.

Medicare alone took on $1.8 trillion in new liabilities, more than the record deficit prompting heated debate between Congress and the White House over lifting the debt ceiling.

STORY: Government's mountain of debt

Social Security added $1.4 trillion in obligations, partly reflecting longer life expectancies. Federal and military retirement programs added more to the financial hole, too.

Corporations would be required to count these new liabilities when they are taken on — and report a big loss to shareholders. Unlike businesses, however, Congress postpones recording spending commitments until it writes a check.

The $61.6 trillion in unfunded obligations amounts to $534,000 per household. That's more than five times what Americans have borrowed for everything else — mortgages, car loans and other debt. It reflects the challenge as the number of retirees soars over the next 20 years and seniors try to collect on those spending promises.

"The (federal) debt only tells us what the government owes to the public. It doesn't take into account what's owed to seniors, veterans and retired employees," says accountant Sheila Weinberg, founder of the Institute for Truth in Accounting, a Chicago-based group that advocates better financial reporting. "Without accurate accounting, we can't make good decisions."

Michael Lind, policy director at the liberal New America Foundation's economic growth program, says there is no near-term crisis for federal retirement programs and that economic growth will make these programs more affordable.

"The false claim that Social Security and Medicare are about to bankrupt the United States has been repeated for decades by conservatives and libertarians who pretend that their ideological opposition to these successful and cost-effective programs is based on worries about the deficit," he says.

USA TODAY has calculated federal finances based on standard accounting rules since 2004 using data from the Medicare and Social Security annual reports and the little-known audited financial report of the federal government.

The government has promised pension and health benefits worth more than $700,000 per retired civil servant. The pension fund's key asset: federal IOUs


________________________ ________________________ ______________

According to the far left idiots there is no problem with this at all.   


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 08, 2011, 03:05:57 AM
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The Coming Economic Hell For American Families
Benzinga ^ | June 8, 2011 | Michael Snyder
Posted on June 8, 2011 2:51:03 AM EDT by 2ndDivisionVet

Tens of millions of American families are about to go through economic hell and most of them don't even realize it. Most Americans don't spend a whole lot of time thinking about things like "monetary policy" or "economic cycles". The vast majority of people just want to be able to get up in the morning, go to work and provide for their families. Most Americans realize that things seem "harder" these days, but most of them also have faith that things will eventually get better. Unfortunately, things aren't going to get any better. The number of good jobs continues to decline, the number of Americans losing their homes continues to go up, people are having a much more difficult time paying their bills and our federal government is drowning in debt. Sadly, this is only just the beginning.

Since the financial collapse of 2008, the Federal Reserve and the U.S. government have taken unprecedented steps to stimulate the economy. But even with all of those efforts, we are still living in an economic wasteland.

So what is going to happen when the next wave of the economic crisis hits?

During one recent interview, Peter Schiff made the following statement....

If you look at the economic relapse that's going on right now, look at Friday's abysmal job numbers, look at the housing numbers, understand that all of this is taking place with record monetary and fiscal stimulus. What happens if we remove those supports?

At the end of June, the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing program is slated to end. The U.S. Congress and state legislatures from coast to coast are talking about budget cuts. The amount of borrowing and spending that has been going on is clearly unsustainable, but will the U.S. economy start shrinking again once the current "financial sugar high" has worn off?

Already, all sorts of bad economic news has been coming out and all kinds of economic indicators are turning south. The American people are becoming increasingly restless. One new poll has found that 59 percent of the American people disapprove of Barack Obama's handling of the economy (which is a new high). According to another recent poll, 63% of Americans say that they feel "not good" or "bad" about how the U.S. economy is performing.

If most Americans had good jobs, could afford their mortgages and could pay their bills, the economy would not be such a big issue.

Unfortunately, times are really tough for American families right now and they are about to get a lot tougher.

*Jobs*

The official unemployment rate just went up to 9.1 percent, but that figure only tells part of the picture.

There are some areas of the country where it seems nearly impossible to find a decent job. Millions of Americans have fallen into depression as they find themselves unable to provide for their families.

According to CBS News, 45.1 percent of all unemployed Americans have been out of work for at least six months. That is a higher percentage than at any point during the Great Depression.

Just two years ago, the number of "long-term unemployed" in the United States was only 2.6 million. Today, that number is up to 6.2 million.

Can you imagine being out of work for 6 months or more?

How would you survive?

Just look at the chart below. What we are going through now is really unprecedented. The average duration of unemployment in this country is now close to 40 weeks....



So will things get any better soon? Well, there were only about 3 million job openings in the United States during the month of April. Normally there should be about 4.5 million job openings. The economy is slowing down once again. Good jobs are going to become even more rare.

There are millions of other Americans that are "underemployed". All over the United States you will find hard working Americans that are flipping burgers or working in retail stores because that is all they can get right now.

Most temp jobs and most part-time jobs don't pay enough to be able to provide for a family. But there are not nearly enough full-time jobs for everyone.

Sadly, the number of "middle class jobs" is about 10 percent lower than a decade ago. There are simply less tickets to the "good life" than there used to be.

*Homes*

But without good jobs, the American people cannot afford to buy homes.

Without good jobs, the American people cannot even afford the homes that they are in now.

U.S. home prices have fallen 33 percent since the peak of the housing bubble. That is more than they fell during the Great Depression.

This decline in housing prices has caused a lot of problems.

28 percent of all homes with a mortgage in the United States are in negative equity at this point. There are millions of American families that are now paying on mortgages that are for far more than their homes are worth.

Millions of American families literally feel trapped in their homes. They can't afford to sell their homes, and if they simply walk away nobody will approve them for new home loans for many years to come.

Many Americans are sticking it out and are staying in their homes until they simply can't pay for them anymore.

As the number of good jobs continues to decline, the number of Americans that are losing their homes continues to rise.

For the first time ever, more than a million U.S. families lost their homes to foreclosure in a single year during 2010.

If the economy slows down once again and millions more Americans lose their jobs this problem is going to get a lot worse.

*Bills*

Even if they aren't losing their homes yet, millions of other Americans families are finding it increasingly difficult to pay the bills.

Wages have been very flat over the past few years and yet the cost of most of the basics just seems to keep going up and up.

According to Brent Meyer, a senior economic analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, the cost of food and the cost of energy have risen at an annualized rate of 17 percent over the past six months.

Have your wages gone up by 17 percent over the past six months?

As 2009 began, the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States was $1.83. Today it is $3.77.

American families are finding that their paychecks are going a lot less farther than they used to, but Ben Bernanke keeps insisting that we have very little inflation in 2011.

Most Americans don't care much about economic statistics - they just want to be able to do basic things like take their children to the doctor.

According to one recent survey, 26 percent of Americans have put off doctor visits because of the economy.

Sadly, soon a lot more American families will not be able to afford to go to the doctor.

According to one recent survey, 30 percent of all U.S. employers will "definitely or probably" quit offering employer-sponsored health coverage once Obamacare is fully implemented in 2014.

As the economic situation has unraveled, an increasing number of people are being forced to turn to the federal government for assistance.

One out of every six Americans is now enrolled in at least one anti-poverty program run by the federal government.

Some of the hardest hit members of our society have been our children. Today, one out of every four American children is on food stamps.

Back in the old days, a large percentage of American families were self-sufficient, but that is no longer the case.

Back in 1850, approximately 50 percent of all Americans worked on farms.

Today, less than 2 percent of Americans do.

So these days when American families can't feed themselves what do they do?

They turn to the federal government of course.

At the moment, approximately 44 million Americans are on food stamps.

But our federal government cannot afford to spend money like this forever.

According to a recent USA Today analysis, the U.S. federal government took on $5.3 trillion in new financial obligations during 2010. USA Today says that the U.S. government now has $61.6 trillion in financial obligations that have not been paid for yet.

Wow!

Who is going to end up paying that bill?

So with so much bad news, are our leaders alarmed?

Not really.

According to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, "growth seems likely to pick up somewhat in the second half of the year."

Yeah, we'll see how that prediction works out.

Others are not so sure that everything is going to turn out okay.

Recently, James Carville warned that we could literally see rioting in the streets if the economic situation does not turn around soon. Just check out the last part of the video below....

(VIDEO AT LINK)

The truth is that America is in decline. Just like with all of the great empires of the past, our empire is starting to crumble too.

A recent article in the Guardian touched on some of the reasons for America's decline....

The experience of both Rome and Britain suggests that it is hard to stop the rot once it has set in, so here are the a few of the warning signs of trouble ahead: military overstretch, a widening gulf between rich and poor, a hollowed-out economy, citizens using debt to live beyond their means, and once-effective policies no longer working. The high levels of violent crime, epidemic of obesity, addiction to pornography and excessive use of energy may be telling us something: the US is in an advanced state of cultural decadence.

The economic news is only part of the puzzle. This country has rejected the ancient wisdom that was passed down to us and we have rejected the principles of our founding fathers.

We have piled up the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world and yet somehow we expected that everything would turn out okay.

Well, everything is not going to turn out okay.

All of this debt is going to come down on us like a ton of bricks and the U.S. economy is going to continue to fall apart. Millions of American families are going to lose their jobs and their homes.

Economic hell is coming.

You better get ready.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 08, 2011, 04:51:35 PM
Average Job Seeker Gives Up After 5 Months
The Wall Street Journal ^ | June 8, 2011 | June 8, 2011


________________________ ________________________ ______________


Job seekers look for work.

Jobless Americans who dropped out of the work force typically searched for work for five months before ultimately giving up last year.

The amount of time the unemployed spent hunting for jobs rose sharply last year. Those out of work tended to search for about 20 weeks before quitting in 2010, compared to 8.5 weeks in 2007, according to a recent Labor Department report. The report studied how long unemployed workers took to either find a new job or quit looking.

Labor-force participation, the share of Americans who are working or looking for jobs, has fallen to its lowest percentage since the mid-1980s. That’s partly because people have grown discouraged about their ability to find jobs and have given up looking. With those workers on the sidelines, the unemployment rate has been lower than it otherwise would be.

The official unemployment rate hit 9.1% in May. Including all of those who had part-time jobs but wanted to work full-time as well as those who want to work but had given up searching, the rate was 15.8%.

While sidelined workers can keep the jobless rate lower, they weigh on the economy in other ways. The nation loses their output — from the goods or services they would provide in their jobs as well as the spending that would come from their paychecks. And, if they move onto programs such as Social Security disability, the government could end up supporting them for the rest of their lives.

Those lucky enough to finally land a job last year found they had to spend more time searching. Job seekers took a median of more than 10 weeks to find new positions last year. That’s up from five weeks in 2007 before the recession began.


(Excerpt) Read more at blogs.wsj.com ...



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 08, 2011, 08:10:52 PM
Poll: Record-high number think country headed into depression
Politico ^
Posted on June 8, 2011 1:06:03 PM EDT by Sub-Driver

Poll: Record-high number think country headed into depression

By: Jennifer Epstein June 8, 2011 12:06 PM EDT

A record-high of nearly half the country fears the economy is careening toward a depression, helping push President Barack Obama’s approval rating down by six points in just the last two weeks, according to a new poll.

The president’s approval rating stands at 48 percent in the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Tuesday, down from 54 percent in late May in the same poll. His disapproval rate rose three points to 48 percent.

Obama’s approval among Democrats has dropped three percent to 82 percent and is dipped five percent among independents to 42 percent.

Obama’s dropping numbers come as Americans’ fears that the country is headed into another Great Depression are higher than they’ve ever been in the CNN poll. In all, 48 percent of those surveyed said another great depression is likely in the next 12 months, while 41 percent said the same in 2009 and 38 percent said so in 2008. A slight majority – 51 percent – said they don’t think the economy will plunge into a deep depression.

But while Americans are voicing concern that the economy is getting worse and plunging toward a depression, Obama said Tuesday that he’s “not concerned about a double-dip recession.” Job growth in May totaled 54,000 jobs, far fewer than the economy has create for several consecutive months, but Obama said it’s not yet clear if last month was “a one-month episode or a longer trend.”

If it turns out to be a longer trend, it could be detrimental to Obama’s hopes of reelection.

(Excerpt) Read more at politico.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 08, 2011, 08:20:44 PM
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Deflationary Depression In America: The Double Dip Economic Recession
TMO ^ | 6-8-2011 | Bob Chapman
Posted on June 8, 2011 11:24:18 PM EDT by blam

Deflationary Depression In America: The Double Dip Economic Recession

Economics / Deflation
Jun 08, 2011 - 07:33 AM
By: Bob Chapman

Wall Street seems to believe the waning recovery in the economy is only temporary and that further recovery is on the way. Such thinking can get you in serious trouble, unless QE3, or its equivalent, is on the way. It is on the way, as we pointed out 13 months ago. The economy cannot live and survive without it otherwise we could be looking at a minus 5% GDP for openers. Incidentally, there are those that believe that unemployment already is as bad as it was during the “Great Depression” years of the 1930s. They may be correct, but we believe it was much higher than today’s 22.4% level. If government hadn’t created food stamps, Medicaid, extended unemployment benefits and other benefits, perhaps we could be close to 1930’s levels.

The first quarter of 2011 saw GDP gain 1.8% as a result of at least $1.8 trillion in spending by the Fed and by government. If the economy grows 2% in the second quarter that would be substantial. The big question is what will the last half of the year be like? Government is cutting back, so we cannot expect stimulus 3.
That means the Fed has to create $1.6 trillion to purchase Treasury and Agency bonds, notes and bills, because presently only about 20% is being purchased by others. Assumably the Fed will again accomplish that, but what about the remainder of the economy? If the GDP growth rate is to maintain say at plus 1% to 2%, the Fed will have to create money and credit for the economy of an additional $850 billion. Without that the economy would slide to a minus 5% GDP.
The flipside is that if the Fed were to perform these feats what would inflation be? John Williams tells us inflation, using previous standards, is 10.2%. Last May 2010 we predicted real inflation by the end of 2011 of 14%. That could turn out to be conservative. That projection was based on the results of QE1 and stimulus 1. Next year we will see inflation caused by QE2 and stimulus 2, which we believe could carry inflation to 25% to 30%, if official interest rates remain the same and we believe they will do just that at the Fed.
If we get a version of QE3 for about $2.5 trillion then we believe inflation could rise to 50% creating hyperinflation in 2013. Of course, no one knows for sure what the Fed will do, but this is a likely scenario.
If these events do not unfold as presented the economy will spiral into the worst depression in modern history. It is as simple as that. If we get QE3 what can the Fed do for an encore? We won’t attempt an answer for that now, but the prospects are certainly frightening.

All of the insiders who create the inside information, own the Fed, or are connected to those who own the Fed, know exactly what is going on. These are the people who make all the decisions. How do you think the market rallies upward when it should be going down? They know there will be a QE3, because these insiders are making those decisions, and say the market, bonds and the economy are dependent on massive amounts of money and credit is a vast understatement. These elitists tell us the slowdown in economic growth is just temporary. That is true, they know, they planned it that way, although growth will only be 1% to 2%, even with additional spending of $2.5 trillion.
If we are correct that means a Fed balance sheet of $5.5 trillion plus. This time if QE3 did not develop the stock market could fall 20% to 30%. That means from the top of 11,800 we could see 9,400 to 8,300. The market is the last visage of wealth along with bonds. If it falls it could send everything tumbling. It should also be noted that this recent so-called recovery has been weakest since WWII, or for 65 years.

If there is to be QE3 it had best be implemented immediately. Recent data shows a struggling job market with unemployment, again headed higher. As a result of this and climbing inflation, people are buying gold and silver related assets.
Sales of American Silver Eagle coins reached almost 19 million ounces in the first five months of the year, the highest since 1986. This is not surprising considering initial unemployment claims just won’t fall below 400,000 and only 38,000 new jobs were created in the private sector in May.
Most all indexes are pointed downward as production and retail slow. In addition the housing index is at its lowest since 2003, as housing prices continue to plunge 3.6% in the 20 largest US cities in March year-on-year. Countrywide prices fell 5.1%. These are 2002 prices.
This continual real estate wipeout has people who have been foreclosed on and some who sold to get what equity out of their homes that they had left. That means more renters and higher rents, which means the CPI inflation index should start heading upward.
If you throw in higher food and gas prices it gets very expensive. As this transpires the dollar falls versus other currencies and gold and silver. Consumer confidence is dreadful.

The payroll data from last week was nothing short of awful. On the U3 we are back up to 9.1%. The increase in non-farm payrolls was the worst in nine months. Manufacturing lost another 5,000 jobs in May, as free trade, globalization, offshoring and outsourcing did its nasty work. Congress does absolutely nothing to stop the carnage by imposing tariffs on goods and services.
In 11 years we have lost 11 million good paying jobs, and 445,000 companies, all of which can keep their profits offshore tax-free. Everyone in Congress is aware of what is going on, but not one member has proposed legislation to put a stop to this tragedy that is destroying America.
That is what happens when you have campaign contributions and lobbying. It ends up with 95% of both chamber members being bought and paid for. We are losing more than one million jobs a year and about 240,000 jobs have been created. The other million went to some foreign country. Over 11 years manufacturing has lost some 7 million jobs.
As you can see, service job losses are catching up. Can you imagine what these figures would look like without the $4.2 trillion spent on QE1 & QE2, and stimulus 1 & 2? Unfortunately, all this money has been spent to bailout the financial sector and government, and little has been added to wealth-producing infrastructure. All government and the Fed have done is create an inflationary bubble that in due time will collapse. It can end up no other way.

Optimism is waning and rightly so. Has anyone stopped to think where we would be without all this artificial stimulus and that it can last indefinitely unless, of course, people desire hyperinflation? As the dollar remains weak in the USDX, exports rise, which is a Punic victory.
That same weak dollar reflects 10.2% inflation, hardly an equitable trade-off. No matter how much money is thrown at the problem it is protracted and any real possible recovery will be a difficult process. We do not believe there can be any kind of lasting recovery without a purging of the system, which would result in massive bankruptcies and a deflationary depression.
We just completed a radio discussion on the air at Northeastern University. All present wanted solutions for jobs and recovery, but none understood that in order for that to happen and be lasting the system has to be purged first. No one simply wants to accept this.
This is why we have these stimulus programs – to put off the inevitable. This could have been accomplished in 1990-1992, and again in 2001 to 2003, but adjustment never happened. Wall Street and banking befouled by greed and the quest for world government, bypassed these simple solutions.

Yes, we are already into double dip and if the Fed doesn’t act quickly and continue into QE3 and add $850 billion into the economy we will be looking at big minuses in GDP and fast rising unemployment. In order to explain this result government and Wall Street euphemistically call this a soft patch.
Obviously malinvestment and speculation continue unabated and will so as long as the creation of money and credit continues. We guess eventually everyone practically will work for the federal government or subsist on their handouts. How can the Fed and government spend at least $4.2 trillion and get such dreadful results?
It is easy; just take care of the financial sector and government, and let the economy and job creation swing in the breeze.

In respect to all this, the Fed and government are silent – no response, as Wall Street, banking and government, in their own particular ways, suck the lifeblood out of the system.

Washington and Wall Street are bastions of systemic excesses. Americans are getting what they asked for. They allowed their Congressmen to become prostitutes for big business and they have allowed the Fed, banking and Wall Street to run amok and in that process to destroy the economy. Profligacy is everywhere, but few seem to care. That has left us in supreme vulnerability and falling confidence as a people and as a nation.
Ignoring the problems does not make them go away. There is bias all over the mainline media, which tells us everything is going to be ok, when it isn’t going to be ok. Just ask the long-term unemployed, which stretch back to 1990. We are in trouble and it is time we recognized that.

As we have said repeatedly, quantitative easing, the creation of money and credit, and the stimulus plans, as policies have been a failure, as have zero interest rates. We believe QE3 will be implemented, but as you have seen effectiveness is on the wane and QE3 could be the end of the road.

We wonder if research departments at the big banks and brokerage houses understand that unemployment is 22.4%, that without the birth/death model, about 152,000 jobs were lost in May and that the government is lying, again?
These analysts and economists cannot be that dumb. We have been writing about these bogus figures for 15 years. Whatever Washington needs to create, it does so. For those who were unaware, that struggling food purveyor McDonald’s received billions in TARP funds and we have no explanation as to why. This is one of the most successful corporations in the history of the world. It just so happens that McDonald’s added 62,000 new jobs in May, which made up a good part of newly created jobs.
This indicates to us cooking the numbers and leads us to believe there will be more severe unemployment problems in the near future. That means, coupled with the falling GDP growth figures, that QE3 has to become reality, or the economy will fall into deflationary depression and there will be a massive liquidation of bad debt and bankruptcies as far as the eye can see.
That will include many major banks and brokerage houses worldwide. It will be a sight to behold. This is why you have no more than three month’s operating expenses on deposit at the bank, and no CDs. The government doesn’t have money to cover the FDIC insurance and as a result they will have to print it exacerbating inflation. The general stock market will head downward with the exception of gold and silver shares, which will appreciate as they did in the 1930s and late 1970s.
If the market falls to Dow 3,000 all the value in pension funds, cash value life insurance policies and annuities will fall as well. Get out of these investment vehicles now while you still can and switch to gold and silver shares, coins and bullion. For those of you who do not understand, this is what happens in a depression. The only place that is safe is in gold and silver related assets.

Government tells us inflation is 2% when it is 10.2%. Food and gas prices have increased over the past almost two years by more than 50%. Inflation as we predicted in May 2010 will be 14% by the end of the year, and the result of QE2 will put inflation close to 30% by the end of 2012.
If more than $2 trillion is spent on QE3 inflation will probably be 50% in 2013, or hyperinflation. Prices for almost everything are higher and they’ll get higher yet. Inflation is 15% in China and wages are rising. That means export prices to the US and Europe are going to increase as well.

The Fed has to continue to create money and credit out of thin air to fund the needs of the US Treasury. China and Japan have been sellers and will continue to be. Between the two they have about $2 trillion in US bills, notes and bonds. What part of that the Fed will have to buy remains to be seen, but it has to be recognized as an overhang on the market.
Japan’s problems will force it to sell $200 billion to $500 billion worth of US Treasuries to fund their nuclear cleanup. Our guess is that conservatively the Fed will have to buy some $500 billion in Treasuries over the next year from China and Japan alone, plus 80% of what the Treasury has to issue. The supply of money and credit will go through the roof as it has for the past three years.

We see Congress arguing about the cash debt extension. As we expressed earlier the legislation will probably be passed and we see little in the way of meaningful cuts. Any cuts that come will come in the form of cuts in proposed budget increases. Cutting Social Security and Medicare are still out of the question, although Medicaid, food stamps and extended unemployment benefits could be cut.
We find it laughable that they continue to increase defense spending at the same time. People paid for Social Security and Medicare, so they should not be cut. All the other programs should be cut.

The actions dealt with above will all contribute to the collapse of the dollar not only versus other currencies, but also more importantly versus gold and silver. If you do not understand the foregoing and do not act now, you won’t financially survive. This is going to be one nasty affair and you have to be prepared.



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 09, 2011, 05:56:50 AM
New jobless claims unexpectedly rise
Reuters ^ | 06-09-2011 | Staff




The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose by 1,000 last week, according to a report on Thursday that could stoke fears the labor market recovery has stalled.

Initial claims for state jobless benefits increased to 427,000, the Labor Department said. A department official added the slim rise meant the level was "essentially unchanged."

But economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims dropping to 415,000 from a previously reported count of 422,00


(Excerpt) Read more at reuters.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 09, 2011, 05:58:41 AM
Help Wanted. The Latest US Economic Numbers are Alarming.
Naitonal Review ^ | 06/09/2011 | The Editors




The latest numbers on the economy are alarming. The unemployment rate ticked up to 9.1 percent. Housing prices have dropped to a new low. Consumer confidence is down. The manufacturing index has taken a hit. GDP projections are being revised downward. Most people are dreading higher gas prices.

Some analysts make a case for optimism. The labor market, they say, is suffering from the crisis in Japan, and the numbers look worse because the labor force is growing. Hours worked in the private sector are up, and so are wages.

We’re not persuaded. Even at its best, this recovery has been weak. We have had a persistently high level of long-term unemployment: a social catastrophe with no end in sight. The higher taxes and increased regulation that Democrats in Washington are promising will, on the margin, further weaken the economy. But the spending cuts that Republicans are finally getting serious about, while welcome, will not by themselves return us to prosperity, either.

The country needs short-term measures to accelerate the recovery and long-term measures to increase our trend rate of economic growth. Yet even that will not be enough. During the last decade we have had periods of economic growth without wage growth. Middle-class prosperity — a big part of the American dream that Republicans rightly say they want to restore — requires more than growth, as important as it is.

We cannot claim to have a ready-made agenda to achieve these goals. Our hope is to stimulate conservative thought about how to reach them. But it seems clear that the tax code as currently structured is an obstacle to them.

The bipartisan tax deal enacted this winter temporarily cuts the payroll tax for employees. To assist job growth during the recovery, there should also be a temporary reduction in the employer side of the tax. Companies would then have a way of reducing labor costs per worker without cutting wages.

Reducing tax rates and eliminating tax breaks, as Republican candidates are increasingly proposing, would help the government raise whatever revenue is considered appropriate while doing less damage to the economy. Reform is especially needed in the corporate tax code, as members of both parties are coming to appreciate. Both our statutory and our effective marginal rates are higher than those of other developed countries, and the difference is starting to hurt.

To moderate the rise in health-care costs, the existing tax break for employer-provided health insurance should be altered so that its value stays the same regardless of the price of the insurance policy selected. Cheaper policies should yield savings for the insured. As Yuval Levin and Ramesh Ponnuru have argued, people who do not work for companies that offer health insurance should be able to use the credit to purchase insurance for themselves.

Middle-class parents pay too large a share of the tax burden because the tax code fails to recognize that the expenses involved in raising children are, in part, contributions to the future health of entitlement programs. Tax reform should remedy this defect of the code as well.

Doubtless there are other policies that could be changed to promote a widely shared prosperity. A substantial reduction in illegal immigration should relieve the wage pressure on the low end of the labor market, and a reform that increased the skill level of legal immigrants should promote growth. Monetary policy could provide better macroeconomic stability were the Federal Reserve to be guided by a clear and sound rule, preferably encoded in statute.

But again, the goals are more important than the precise means used to achieve them. Conservatives should offer policies that help the middle class thrive for its own sake. We are also unlikely to achieve lasting spending restraint until we do.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 09, 2011, 06:28:43 AM
The Obama Watch
The Coming Crash of 2013
By Peter Ferrara on 6.8.11 @ 6:09AM

http://spectator.org/archives/2011/06/08/the-coming-crash-of-2013/print



On Inauguration Day, 2009, President Obama seemed so politically blessed by the timing of developing economic trends. I expected that based on American economic history, recovery from the recession should have occurred some time during 2009. Even the longest previous recession since the Great Depression would have resulted in a recovery in summer 2009, as the recession began in December 2007.

Moreover, prior American history had shown that the deeper the recession the stronger the recovery. So I was expecting President Obama to pass his economic recovery plan, as foolhardy and ineffective as I believed it would be, and then to ride a wave of adulation as the economy roared back later in the year, which it should have done just on its own according to long established rhythms of the business cycle.

So even I have been surprised by the reality that President Obama's economic policies have been so disastrous that they have prevented any real recovery from getting off the ground, at what is now three and a half years since the recession began.

In America, the economy does not fall into stagnation and just lie there for years, which is the narrative of the Obama Administration, thinking the American people are too stupid to know their own country. Our economy has periodically fallen into recessions, but recovers to show robust economic growth within a year or two. That is why chief White House economist Austan Goolsbee, who does know better, is playing with us when he says as he did last Friday in response to the May jobs report, "there are always bumps on the road to recovery, but the overall trajectory of the economy has improved dramatically over the past two years."

The Worst Recovery Since the Great Depression

How much time do Obama and Goolsbee think they have to do their job right for the American people? In every other recession since the Great Depression, the overall trajectory of the economy has been dramatically better after two years. But not this time. Since the Great Depression, recessions have lasted an average of 10 months, with the longest previously being 16 months. Yet, in May, 41 months after the recession began, unemployment rose yet again, to 9.1%. America has now suffered the longest period with unemployment that high since the Great Depression.

The depression for African Americans continued, as unemployment among them rose again to 16.2%. Hispanics continued with unemployment at double digit depression levels as well, with unemployment among them also rising again to nearly 12%. For teenagers, the depression level unemployment persisted at 24.2%; for black teenagers, over 40%. The U6 unemployment rate, counting those marginally attached to the labor force who have given up looking in the Obama "recovery," and those stuck in part time unemployment for economic reasons, continued at nearly 16%.

While the Reagan recovery, a real recovery from a similarly deep recession, averaged 7.1% real economic growth over the first 7 quarters, the Obama recovery has produced less than half that at 2.8%, with the last quarter at a dismal 1.8%. While the Reagan recovery produced nearly 20 million new jobs, and civilian employment rose by almost 20%, today America still suffers 6.8 million fewer jobs than when the recession started over 3 years ago. The labor force participation rate has fallen to its lowest level almost since the Reagan recovery started over 25 years ago. As the Wall Street Journal explained on Monday:

This is an important economic measure because it reflects the opportunities that Americans perceive in the marketplace. In the long boom from the Reagan years through 2000 or so, the labor force participation rate took a historic leap upward as women, immigrants and others entered the job market…. It has now fallen off a cliff, and we doubt that is what Mr. Goolsbee means when he hails the "trajectory of the economy."

I have previously discussed why this happened. Obamanomics doggedly followed the opposite of Reaganomics in every detail. The centerpiece of Obamanomics was the old-fashioned Keynesianism that was a proven failure and left for dead 30 years ago. That was reflected most of all in Obama's February 2009 trillion dollar stimulus package. That didn't work because borrowing a trillion dollars out of the economy to spend a trillion dollars back into the economy does not add anything to the economy on net.

And borrowing two trillion for the stimulus instead still wouldn't have done it, for the same reason. Those calling for still more of the same Keynesian snake oil are just self-identifying themselves as hopelessly deluded fools who must not be taken seriously ever again. Worse than not working, Obama's trillion dollar stimulus already drove us to the brink of bankruptcy. Going for still more now as advocated by the mentally blinded would be walking off the cliff with our eyes closed.

Great Depression 2.0

Hard as it may be to imagine, where we are headed under Obamanomics will be worse than where we have been. The economic indicators are increasingly flashing economic decline already. Once the Bush tax cuts were extended to 2013, I didn't expect to see that until then, for all of the reasons below. But Obamanomics keeps deteriorating faster than even I expected.

Already scheduled now under current law in 2013 is the expiration of those Bush tax cuts, which President Obama has refused to renew for single workers making over $200,000 a year, and couples making over $250,000. Also scheduled to go into effect in 2013 under current law are all the tax increases of Obamacare. Together, these job killing tax policies would result in a sharp increase in the tax rates on the nation's small businesses, job creators, and investors for virtually every major federal tax.

These taxpayers would see their income tax rates jump by nearly 20%, the capital gains tax rate increase by nearly 60%, the total tax rate on corporate dividends increase by nearly three times, their Medicare payroll tax rate increase by 62%, and the death tax rise from the grave with a 55% rate. This would go way beyond the outdated Obama talking point about returning to the Clinton tax rates, adding up to a top federal tax rate of 44.8% on wage income alone, besides all the tax increases on capital income, on the way up to a 62% top federal tax rate.

Yet President Obama continues to propose still more tax increases on these small businesses, job creators, and investors. Besides proposing a further $321 billion tax increase on them in his 2012 budget, by limiting or phasing out their tax deductions for mortgage interest, charitable contributions, property taxes, sales taxes, state and local income taxes, and medical expenses, he proposed in his April 13 national budget address an additional trillion dollar increase on them through further deduction limitations. Then he called as well for an automatic tax increase trigger that would raise taxes still further on them if "our debt is not projected to fall as a share of the economy." Senate Democrats have discussed adding a 3% surtax on incomes over $1 million.

Meanwhile, American businesses continue to suffer from virtually the highest corporate tax rates in the industrialized world, leaving American companies uncompetitive in the global economy. Yet under President Obama there is no relief in sight. Instead he continually proposes still further tax increases on American business.

President Obama and the Democrats doggedly pursue these tax policies because they believe ideologically in socialist wealth redistribution. But openly raiding small businesses, job creators, investors, and American companies is crippling for the economy, particularly this weak economy. This ends up hurting working people and their families the most, as they lose the jobs, wages, and opportunity they need for a decent life.

Besides this tax tsunami, President Obama is implementing another trillion dollar plus cost burden on the economy through the EPA's cap and trade tax policy. That is one central feature of President Obama's war on production of traditional, low cost, energy, shutting down drilling, extraction and pipelines from the northern tip of Alaska, down through Canada, to the energy rich Western states, through Texas, to the Gulf of Mexico. Obama keeps issuing statements that he is opening drilling or permitting or exploration here and there, only to have it shut down by his bureaucracy soon thereafter. All of this will only raise energy prices higher and higher through to 2013, squelching the economy still further.

President Obama doggedly pursues this because he and his advisers believe ideologically that higher energy prices and less energy production and use are good for the environment. But this extremist view of what is good for the environment is a catastrophe for the economy, jobs, and working people.

This is just the beginning, however, of President Obama's reregulation burden on the economy, which is estimated to be rapidly rising towards $2 trillion, or over $8,000 per employee, in annual costs even before EPA's calamitous cap and trade really begins. That is close to 10 times the corporate tax burden, and double the individual income tax burden. With another 4,225 federal regulations already in the pipeline, and the new regulatory burdens from Obama and the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill still to come, how high will that burden be by 2013?

Then there is the Fed and the effects of its monetary policy. The Obama Administration has cheered on the Fed's loose-as-a-bordello monetary policy, with near zero interest rates for years now, and the printing presses cranking out reams of cheap money. But once the Fed ends this monetary crack, the artificial pump up for the economy ends as well, and the underlying weakness of the economy is revealed. That appears to be what is happening now, as QE2 ends.

If the Fed stands pat, the downturn will feed on itself, fueled further by all of the above contractionary policies. If the Fed is spooked into resorting to QE3 and the return to easy money, that will cause the inflation started by QE2 to surge. Indeed, once the Fed goes down that road, it surely will not try to cut back again until the 2012 election is past, to avoid a nasty downturn in the middle of President Obama's planned reelection victory tour. Inflation would consequently surge all through next year, cutting the real wages of working people and their families further.

Right after the election, the Fed will stop the merry go round to finally pull the plug on burgeoning inflation. But that extended monetary malpractice will only make the downturn withdrawal from the monetary crack high all the more nasty.

From the comprehensive tax rate increases, to the soaring energy costs, to the costly regulatory burdens, to the monetary policy mindlessness, all of this adds up to one whopping double-dip downturn in 2013. The extended unemployment exploding into double digits will be effectively another depression. Once it starts feeding on itself, there is no telling just how far it will go.

But with the deficit already at $1.6 trillion or so this year, America cannot handle another recession, let alone effectively another depression that will cause the deficit to soar well beyond any possibly manageable levels. World financial markets cannot bear that load, and will not even try. Indeed, it is the Fed's monetary policy working the printing presses overtime for QE2 that has financed the purchase of the debt for the current all-time record deficit.

Our Choice in 2012

Because of the willfully mindless irresponsibility and ideological self-indulgence of Obamanomics, America is mortally vulnerable to another recession at any time soon. The result would be precisely the national bankruptcy of Greece, where we cannot raise in the world credit markets the further debt to finance what will be well over half of our budgeted federal spending. We are already borrowing and adding to the debt to finance 43% of our federal spending today.

That is bad enough for a puny, insignificant nation like Greece, where riots increasingly leave the government dysfunctional, with the EU likely to take over the country effectively. But what is the effect when that happens to the world's supposed superpower? America financed World War II by running up our national debt to its all-time record as a percent of GDP (for now). But that won't be possible when we have already run ourselves into national bankruptcy.

Our potential military enemies will be quite aware of this historic vulnerability of America. Just as Reagan brought us Peace through Strength, Obamanomics will be inviting War through Weakness. With a 2013 American economic collapse that will also disable the entire West, the world's uncivilized rogues from Russia, to China, to North Korea, to the Middle East Islamists dreaming of renewed world conquest, will all be tempted probably beyond resistance and reason to strike. They don't need even to attack the homeland to deal America a decisive defeat. They can just decimate our suddenly overwhelmed allies, from Israel to South Korea to Taiwan to our allies in the Middle East, let alone some even in Europe.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 09, 2011, 06:54:45 AM
US Is Nearing Even Worse Financial Crisis: Jim Rogers
Posted By: Margo D. Beller | Special to CNBC.com
CNBC.com | 08 Jun 2011 | 05:16 PM ET

 
The U.S. is approaching a financial crisis worse than 2008, Jim Rogers, chief executive, Rogers Holdings, warned CNBC Wednesday.

"The debts that are in this country are skyrocketing," he said. "In the last three years the government has spent staggering amounts of money and the Federal Reserve is taking on staggering amounts of debt.

"When the problems arise  next time…what are they going to do? They can’t quadruple the debt again. They cannot print that much more money. It’s gonna be worse the next time around."

The well-known investor believes the government won't shut down in August if agreement isn't reached on raising the debt ceiling, but he did say "draconian cuts" are needed in taxes and spending, especially military spending.

"We’ve got troops in 150 countries around the world. They’re not doing us any good, they’re making enemies. They’re costing us a fortune," he said.

Rogers said he is "not long anything in the U.S." and short on American tech stocks. He owns Chinese stocks as well as commodities and would love the world price of silver and gold to come down so he could "pick up the phone and buy more."

He said he owns Chinese stocks, currencies and commodities, adding the Chinese yuan will be a safer currency than the dollar.


"The U.S. is the largest debtor nation in the history of the world," he said. "The debts are going through the roof. Would you keep lending money to somebody who's spending money and not doing anything about it? No you wouldn't."

The pound sterling lost 90% of its value when it was no longer the world's reserve currency, he said, and the dollar will, too. In keeping with his philosophy he said he owns the U.S. dollar and is waiting for a rally. "If it doesn't happen I'll have to sell and take my losses."


He called Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke a "disaster" who has "never been right about anything" since he's been in Washington. "I hope he doesn't come back with QE3 but that's all he knows. The only thing he knows is to print money."

He predicted that after the Fed ends its quantitative easing program, known as QE2, this month, it may come back under another name.

"They're gonna bring it back because [Bernanke will] be terrified and Washington will be terrified," he said. "There's an election coming in November 2012. Washington's gonna print more money."

© 2011 CNBC.com
URL: http://www.cnbc.com/id/43328325/


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

.
© 2011 CNBC.com


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 09, 2011, 08:24:57 AM
Price of Field Corn at an All-Time High
WHAG-TV via MSNBC ^ | 6/8/2011 | WHAG-TV


________________________ ________________________ _______



FREDERICK, MD - One local industry that is peaking during this down economy is field corn. According to the Maryland Office of Economic Development, the price of a bushel of the cash crop is the highest its ever been.

Eddie Mercer's 4,500 acre farm has been his livelihood for nearly 45 years and he says he has never seen the price of corn reach this level.

"This is the ultimate high," says Eddie Mercer, President and Owner of Eddie Mercer Agri-Services Inc. "The most time we've ever sold corn is maybe in the $5, but never in the $8 range."

A local agriculture expert says there are a few reasons for this never-seen-before boom. Most striking is the grain industry's globalization. There's a demand for corn all over the country and the world, and Frederick County is a major exporter.

[Snip]

The corn and livestock industries are linked. As corn goes up, so will the price of meats, and ultimately, that cost is passed on to the consumer.

"The livestock people, whether is poultry, hogs, or beef, cannot sustain a loss, you know, for an indefinite periods," says Mercer.

Mercer may be enjoying being in the green right now, but he's concerned for his friends in the business of raising livestock.


(Excerpt) Read more at msnbc.msn.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 09, 2011, 09:55:29 AM
HOLY COW: Robert Shiller Could Easily See Another 25% Drop In Home Prices
TBI ^ | 6-9-2011 | Gregory White




HOLY COW: Robert Shiller Could Easily See Another 25% Drop In Home Prices

Gregory White
Jun. 9, 2011, 12:24 PM



If home prices fall another 10 to 25%, that "wouldn't surprise me at all," Robert Shiller told Reuters Insider today.

Shiller says that the recovery is at risk right now, and a further rise in unemployment would hint that another recession was imminent.

Today, initial jobless claims rose again, coming in higher than analyst expectations.

Shiller says he doesn't see "any evidence" that real estate is coming out of its bearish cycle, that began in 2006.

The latest Case-Shiller data indicating that a housing double-dip was already in place.


(Excerpt) Read more at businessinsider.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 10, 2011, 03:30:53 AM
Bailout Costs Double as Taxpayers Pick Up the Bill [Your Wallet and Your Life]
Center for Fiscal Accountability ^ | 2011-06-07 | Soren Kreider
Posted on June 9, 2011 4:54:09 PM EDT by 92nina

When the federal government stepped in to prevent Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from collapsing in 2008, it stuck the taxpayers with a hefty bill. Since 2008, the federal government has sunk $162.4 billion into these government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) without any form of taxpayer protection. But the true magnitude of the cost this bailout has foisted upon the taxpayer is actually far greater, according to a report released by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) last week.

By putting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship, the federal government effectively became the owner of both entities. Yet the government’s accounting practices still treat these mortgage giants as outside entities and thus their liabilities do not appear in the government’s ledger. When the CBO eliminated the accounting gimmicks and treated the costs of these GSEs just as they would other government agencies, the true cost of this taxpayer funded bailout rose to $317 billion.

After playing a prominent role in the financial collapse of 2008, Fannie and Freddie continue to benefit from the public largesse. When the government acts as an insurer of last resort, it eventually falls to the taxpayer to foot the bill. The 2008 bailout cost taxpayers $317 billion and the continued operation of Fannie and Freddie is only compounding this cost by adding another $4 billion to that tally every year. Should the housing market decline below the CBO’s rather optimistic baseline, the true cost will continue to increase...

(Excerpt) Read more at fiscalaccountability.org ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 10, 2011, 03:37:34 AM
30% Of People With A 401(k) Have Taken Out A Loan Against It: New All Time Record
zero hedge ^ | 6/7/11 | Tyler Durden
Posted on June 10, 2011 3:31:19 AM EDT by Nachum

About a year ago Zero Hedge posted an article titled: "Record Number Of Americans Using Retirement Funds As Source Of Immediate Cash" after a report by Fidelity uncovered that "plan participants with loans outstanding against their 401(k) accounts had reached 22 percent versus 20 percent a year earlier." It is now time to revisit this very important topic because if recent press reports are true, last year's record number has just increased by another 50%. "On "The Early Show" Thursday, financial journalist and Newsweek columnist Joanne Lipman said, "Right now we have 30 percent of people who have 401(k)s have loans against their 401(k)s, which is a historic high. And the problem is, it's growing like crazy: By 2014, we're expecting to see 30 million people take loans against their 401(k)s." The raiding of the last ditch piggybank is on, and who can blame them? With banks setting the example of always reverting to the Discount Window (or the Excess Reserve stash as is now trendy) when in trouble, ordinary working Americans are merely following in the footsteps of their financially more "literate" betters. Unfortunately, unlike the "depositor" institutions, nobody will replenish these funds should they not be repaid and the retirement money is gone for good.

CBS News explains why raiding your 401(k) is so easy a caveman can do it:

Sheri Chaney Jones, of Columbus, Ohio, started a consulting business in October and borrowed from her 401(k) to help pay her bills.

"It was extremely easy,' she told CBS News, adding that her financial planner told her "she was seeing more and more people" do it, "because the banks were not giving loans out traditionally to small businesses anymore."

"It's not right for everyone," Jones noted, " but it is your money, you can borrow from it tax-free, you do pay yourself back at interest, but a very low interest, much lower than maybe a traditional bank."

Just like Wall Street sellside research, delusions are rampant:

"What I feel optimistic about," Jones says, "is that I will be able to grow this business to not only pay myself back at the current interest, but continue to contribute more toward the 401K than I would have if I would have stayed where I was."

And for those wondering why doing a 401(k) raid is the worst possible idea:

"It's a big, big problem," she remarked to co-anchor Chris Wragge, "and it's one that's really been under the radar. And the big problem is that, if you lose your job, you have to pay that loan back within 60 days. So suddenly, you have no income, you owe all this money back, and the fact is that most people are unable to pay it back.

"There was a survey recently that found that 70 percent of people who lose their jobs are unable to pay back the loan and go into default. And the number is even higher ... for young people -- it's closer to 80 percent."

It gets worse: "If you go into default," Lipman pointed out, "you've just raided as a piggybank your 401(k), you don't have retirement funds and you owe taxes and penalties."

Step aside HELOCs, here comes the pension money for iPad exchange:

Still says Lipman, "There are certain times when it makes sense. If you're secure in your job, if there is a one-time expense -- let's say you need money for a down payment on a home, that's fine. You know, that makes sense. Or for education, for medical expenses. You know, that can make a lot of sense. Because you are paying yourself back. And if you can stay on track, you're fine with that.

"But the problem is, when you use it as a piggybank. When people are using this to pay for a vacation, to pay for a home that's perhaps larger than they can afford - that's where we really get into trouble."

Luckily, Americans have demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that when it comes to abusing rainy day capital to satisfy trivial material needs, there is nothing to worry about. Nothing at all.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 10, 2011, 03:46:39 AM
Home  > Business  > Chicago Breaking Business
CME Group eyes Illinois exit; Emanuel confident it will stay
    Share428(305)

A sign in front of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. (AP file photo/M. Spencer Green, file)

By Kathy Bergen and John Byrne
Tribune reporters
3:46 p.m. CDT, June 9, 2011

The company that owns Chicago's two leading futures exchanges is weighing whether to move some operations from Illinois, citing the state's corporate tax rate increase.

"We're investigating what would be in the best interests of our shareholders," Terrence Duffy, executive chairman of CME Group Inc., said at the firm's annual meeting Wednesday, noting that such a move would not mean CME would abandon its presence in Chicago, home to its markets for more than a century.

Related
PHOTOS: Illinois companies eyeing an exit

PHOTO: Terry Duffy

STORY: CME cites regulatory uncertainty for weak stock

STORY: CME Group expands product offerings in UK

STORY: CME Group on the offensive in challenge to Liffe's rates
See more stories »
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Shareholders
State Income Tax
Companies and Corporations
See more topics »

The state in January raised the corporate income tax rate temporarily to 7 percent from 4.8. Corporations also pay a 2.5 percent tax on income, called the personal property replacement tax, which is collected by the state and flows to local governments. The two rates taken together come to 9.5 percent, the third-highest rate in the U.S., according to the Tax Foundation, a non-partisan Washington-based research group.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he talked to Duffy and other company officials Thursday morning, and he's confident CME Group will remain in Chicago. "I know their frustration. They acknowledged the city has been great to them, and the city is a place that they've prospered," he said.

"I'm confident they will see that what has been a successful relationship will continue to be a successful relationship," Emanuel said at a news conference at Harold Washington College's downtown campus to announce new presidents for five City Colleges of Chicago campuses.

"CME has grown and been successful in Chicago, and it has grown and been successful while Chicago has grown and been successful," Emanuel said. "And I believe we have many years ahead of both of us, as a city and the financial institution the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, growing ahead. And I'm confident they will see what has been a successful relationship will continue to be a successful relationship."

Emanuel added it's too soon to say whether he will head to Springfield to try to persuade lawmakers to make changes in the tax rate. "We're not at that point," he said. "I understand their frustration, we're not at that point."

The company estimates the hike will cost it about $50 million a year. At the meeting, Duffy said he has spoken with Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn about the tax increase.

Gov. Quinn was unclear if he has meet with Duffy on the issue, calling him a "good friend" and saying they engage in an "ongoing conversation and dialogue."

"I really believe that the best place for these markets is right here in Illinois, in Chicago," Quinn said. "I am sure we can work together. I do that with all kinds of businesses, large and small...If somebody has a particular issue or concern or interest in something, we sit down with them and work it out."

Quinn said he is willing to discuss incentives to keep the company here, but warned that it must be a "two way street."

"The taxpayers of Illinois are just not going to subsidize private companies unless they give something back to the people of Illinois," Quinn said. "Jobs and economic growth (are) very important. A commitment to new investments and doing new things...it really is a negotiation where companies agree that they will do things for the people of Illinois."

CME's threat comes at a time when other Illinois companies, including Caterpillar and Sears Holdings Corp., have raised the possibility of leaving Illinois. Other states have tried to dangle lucrative incentive packages to lure companies, and Illinois has offered up many incentives  to successfully retain big companies including Motorola Mobility. The result has resembled a national bidding war for some of Illinois' top companies.

"We want to be in Chicago but are concerned about the corporate tax increases," a CME spokesman said Thursday morning. The CME owns the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the Chicago Board of Trade and theNew York Mercantile Exchange.

A CME move would send shockwaves through the local economy. Of the company's 2,600 employees, about 2,000 work in Illinois. But the presence of the exchanges has a broad ripple effect, with some estimating it's the source of another 60,000 to 100,000 jobs in law, accounting, trading and banking companies.

CME Group has four facilities in Illinois, including its corporate headquarters at 20 S. Wacker Drive; the Board of Trade building, which has a consolidated trading floor for the two Chicago exchanges; back offices at 550 W. Washington St.; and a data center in Aurora.

The company has received $15 million in city assistance to help with the renovation of its Board of Trade building.

CME Group reported $951 million in profits last year on about $3 billion in revenue.

Dow Jones Newswires contributed.zvyc8571

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Comments (305)Add / View comments | Discussion FAQ
RufusVonDufus at 2:12 AM June 10, 2011
The welfare crowd and the thieving politicians are bringing all of the big cities down.    Chicago will, in the near future, resemble Detroit today!    There is no getting around it as long as such a large percentage of tax revenue goes to welfare and theft by those elected scum.    Count on it.    Let them keep plopping out 10 kids and coming from Mexico and there is no solution.
ejhickey1 at 1:48 AM June 10, 2011
In spite of the fact that Illinois has a high percentage of college graduates and five major universities in the down area, our state is still $200 billion in debt and we have at least an $8 billion deficit for this fiscal year. we are still way behind in a paying vendors that provided services to the State.  Our electoral turnout is disgracefully low and the people who do vote elect bums. (remember Todd Stroger)  if that wasn't bad enough, chicago is now suffering a plague of recreation mob muggings.   Somehow all that intellectual firepower has not made this city and state a better place to live.  
Another_Passerby at 12:12 AM June 10, 2011
Now you're treading on sacred ground! Even Rice has a football team! (Sort of...) :)
Actually, 60,000 to 100,000 jobs in law, accounting, trading and banking would fit pretty smoothly into Houston or Dallas/Fort Worth. Because of the population difference, Texas already has almost twice as many lawyers as Illinois. We're also a major port, commodities and trading region -- though our trading industries are generally more physical commodity trading than electronic. Because of the port and energy industries, Houston is an extremely international commodities trading city with businesses from all over the world having local offices. Moving the exchange here would only supplement what we already have.

Chicago became the center of commodities trading in the US because of the beef industry, the surrounding farm states, the centralized location around railroads and access to the Great Lakes shipping lanes. Those reasons are far less compelling in a global economy. Houston or New York are both better fits in modern times. New York would be ideal because of the other exchanges and because the port there is so large, though New York's taxes are so high that Houston is a better option for any for-profit company.
Maybe after we get the CME we can go after the NYSE... :)


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 10, 2011, 03:48:56 AM
The Handling of the Economic Crisis May Lead to Civil Unrest
ZeroHedge.com ^ | 6/9/11 | George Washington
Posted on June 10, 2011 1:09:15 AM EDT by Kartographer

Reality is beginning to break through. Gas and grocery prices are on the rise, home values are down, and vast majorities think the country is on the wrong track. The result is sadness and frustration, but also an inchoate rage more profound than the sign-waving political fury documented during the elections last fall.

-SNIP- •Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair said:

"The global economic crisis ... already looms as the most serious one in decades, if not in centuries ... Economic crises increase the risk of regime-threatening instability if they are prolonged for a one- or two-year period," said Blair. "And instability can loosen the fragile hold that many developing countries have on law and order, which can spill out in dangerous ways into the international community."***

"Statistical modeling shows that economic crises increase the risk of regime-threatening instability if they persist over a one-to-two-year period."***

“The crisis has been ongoing for over a year, and economists are divided over whether and when we could hit bottom. Some even fear that the recession could further deepen and reach the level of the Great Depression. Of course, all of us recall the dramatic political consequences wrought by the economic turmoil of the 1920s and 1930s in Europe, the instability, and high levels of violent extremism.”

Blair made it clear that - while unrest was currently only happening in Europe - he was worried this could happen within the United States.

(Excerpt) Read more at zerohedge.com ..


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 10, 2011, 04:04:14 AM
Weekly jobless claims “unexpectedly” rise again? (Status Quo. figures remain above 400K for 8 Weeks)
Hotair ^ | 06/09/2011 | Ed Morrissey
Posted on June 9, 2011 11:00:08 AM EDT by SeekAndFind

For the eighth week in a row, the number of initial jobless claims remained in the 420K range, according to the Department of Labor’s report today. Last week saw a slight increase of just 1,000 to the number of new claims from the previous week, which got revised upward by 4,000 from the previous week’s initial report:

In the week ending June 4, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 427,000, an increase of 1,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 426,000. The 4-week moving average was 424,000, a decrease of 2,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 426,750.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.9 percent for the week ending May 28, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week’s unrevised rate of 3.0 percent.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending May 28 was 3,676,000, a decrease of 71,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 3,747,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,719,250, a decrease of 29,000 from the preceding week’s revised average of 3,748,250.

This puts the last two weeks at more or less the same level as the weeks before. The 420-430K level appears to be the “new normal” for 2011, a little below the 440-460K level of 2010 but above the 380K range we saw in the first quarter of this year. Whatever initially pushed the claim levels upward in April was not a fluke, but instead a real retreat on job creation in the economy.

The only people surprised by what is essentially a status-quo report are the economists at Reuters, where they break out the U word again … and again … and again (via Steve Eggleston):

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, according to a report on Thursday that could reinforce fears the labor market recovery has stalled.

Initial claims for state jobless benefits increased 1,000 to 427,000, the Labor Department said. However, economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims dropping to 415,000 from a previously reported count of 422,000.

Exactly what drove them to predict a drop in the jobless-claims rate? The only reason I can think that one could have “expected” a drop in claims is because the week in question had a major holiday (Memorial Day), which tends to suppress claims. It’s worth considering that next week may actually be worse for that reason.

However, if Reuters’ Wizengamot expected a drop for economic reasons, I’d really like to know what those were. There hasn’t been a positive economic indicator for weeks, inventories are at record levels, and gas prices are sapping discretionary income. What positive news would have boosted hiring, as Reuters’ economists expected?

Or, for that matter, Bloomberg’s?

U.S. initial jobless claims unexpectedly rose last week, a sign that the labor market is struggling to gain traction.

Jobless claims increased by 1,000 to 427,000 in the week ended June 4, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News projected a drop in claims to 419,000, according to the median forecast. The number of people on unemployment benefit rolls and those receiving extended payments decreased. …

The median forecast was based on a survey of 49 economists. Estimates ranged from 400,000 to 430,000. The Labor Department revised the prior week’s figure to 426,000 from the 422,000 initially reported.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 10, 2011, 05:37:23 AM
German Rating Agency Feri Downgrades US Government Bonds: AAA to AA!
Zero Hedge ^ | June 10, 2011




The first Western downgrade of US government bonds is a fact! The German credit rating agency Feri lowered its rating on US debt by a full notch, from AAA to AA.

Here is the German press release: Feri Downgrades US Gov Debt AAA to AA

The English translation:


Homburg, 8 June 2011 - The Bad Homburg Feri EuroRating & Research AG downgraded the first credit rating agency's credit rating for the United States from AAA to AA. Feri analysts justify the downgrade by the continuing deterioration of the creditworthiness of the country due to high public debt, inadequate fiscal measures, and weaker growth prospects.
"The U.S. government has fought the effects of the financial market crisis primarily by an increase in government debt. We do not see that there is sufficient attention being paid to other measures, "said Dr. Tobias Schmidt, CEO of Feri Rating & Research AG. "Our rating system shows a deterioration in economic health, so the downgrading of the credit ratings of U.S. is warranted."

For the third consecutive year the deficit of the United States is in double digit percentages relative to gross domestic product (GDP). "Deficits of such magnitude are not a sustainable fiscal policy. We would reconsider the rating when the U.S. government creates a long-term sustainable budget," said Schmidt.

Feri Rating is listed on the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) as an EU credit rating agency approved and created with more than 20 years experience in sovereign ratings. Every month, the Feri analysts evaluate sovereign credit ratings from the perspective of a foreign investor based on the ability and willingness of countries to repay their debts. The credit ratings have eleven possible gradations between "AAA" (best credit) and "Default".


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 10, 2011, 05:48:15 AM
An Unemployment Catastrophe
By Rich Lowry

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2011/06/10/an_unemployment_catastrophe_110159.html





Pres. Barack Obama is given to cute vehicular metaphors about the state of the economy. We were "in a ditch," then got out and hit a "bump in the road." This is studiously folksy. It also vastly understates the nature of our situation.

President Obama is presiding over an unspooling social catastrophe in the form of unemployment, and especially long-term unemployment. For all those people who are chronically unemployed, it's as if they have been hit by the proverbial car and then backed over by it again and again.

According to the Wall Street Journal, nearly a third of the unemployed - 4 million people - have been out of work for more than a year. Almost half of the unemployed have been out of a job for more than six months, a figure higher than during the Great Depression. They may wonder when it was exactly that we got out of "the ditch."

The statistics tell a dire, but incomplete, story. We were built to work. When we want to and can't, it is an assault on our very personhood. A Rutgers University study of the unemployed a few years ago found, unsurprisingly, "that they experienced anxiety, helplessness, depression, stress and sleeping problems after losing their jobs."

The insidious thing about long-term unemployment is that it builds on itself - the longer you are without a job, the harder it is to get one. The Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that the chance of someone unemployed for less than five weeks finding a job in the next month is about 30 percent. For someone unemployed 27 weeks or more, it's just 10 percent.

For an economy so famously on the mend that it experienced "recovery summer" last year, the trend has been in the wrong direction. A Pew study notes that the number of people unemployed for a year or more increased by 25 percent from December 2009 to December 2010.

The job market is now segregated by levels of educational attainment, but long-term joblessness disregards schooling. Once they are unemployed, about 30 percent of college graduates, high-school graduates, and high-school dropouts are out of a job for more than a year. It doesn't matter what sector of the economy they come from. "More than 20 percent of unemployed workers in every non-agricultural industry," Pew writes, "have been out of work for a year or more."

So here is a wide-ranging blight that affects not just people's incomes right now, but their sense of self-respect and their futures. Yet it's often been an afterthought for the president. He has repeatedly said he was going to "pivot to jobs." How could he ever have pivoted off of them? To paraphrase Rahm Emanuel, a crisis is a terrible thing not to address.

Given the history of recessions driven by financial meltdowns, it was inevitable we'd have a lingering unemployment problem. All the more reason to gear every possible policy toward augmenting job growth. Once he passed his ramshackle social-spending bill called the "stimulus," though, Obama devoted most of his attention to re-engineering key sectors of the American economy - health care, finance, energy - regardless of the economic consequences.

His economic measures were supposed to be timely and temporary, but they either didn't work or were temporary indeed. We've been left with a fragile economy in the near term, while in the longer term a growing debt, unsustainable entitlements, and a senseless tax code - all of which Obama either hasn't addressed or has made worse - threaten the vitality of the country.

Democrats may want next year's election to be about Medicare; Republicans may have thought it would be about debt. But if current conditions hold, it will instead be about unemployment and the associated economic travails of stagnant wages, falling home values, and rising prices. There is no more natural theme in our politics than "putting America back to work." Next year, Obama could be vulnerable to it. It's the flashing red light of his reelection.

Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 10, 2011, 06:18:25 AM
Federal data shows troubling unemployment, underemployment trends (Hope-change alert!)
Daily Caller ^ | 6/11/11 | Neil Munro



http://dailycaller.com/2011/06/10/federal-data-shows-troubling-unemployment-underemployment-trends


________________________ ________________________ ________________________ __________

Less than half of African-American men now have full-time jobs, and less than half of all white men will have full-time jobs in 2018, according to post-2000 trends hidden in federal population and workforce data.

There are roughly 14 million people formally labeled as unemployed, but “there’s probably 22 million to 23 million people who are unemployed, mal-employed or underemployed,” said Andrew Sum, an economics professor at Northeastern University in Boston.

The hidden data shows that “we’ve got an overwhelming job gap that effects men more than women, less-educated men more then better-educated men, and the group aged 25 to 29 the most,” he said.

One startling result, he said, is that only 43 percent of African-American men aged 18 to 29 have a full-time job.

This trend is obvious to T. Willard Fair, head of the Urban League of Greater Miami. He recently advertised two janitorial jobs via the unemployment office in his local town Liberty City. The city is 85 percent African-American, yet “only 2 of the 33 applicants were African-American,” he said. “The remainder were Hispanics or Haitians.”

“People want to work, and if they can find jobs, they would take those jobs … [but] blacks are no longer even applying for those kinds of jobs, or have concluded they’re not going to get those jobs,” he said.

There’s recently been a run of bad news about unemployment trends. That’s damaged the White House’s poll ratings, but the federal government’s unemployment estimate — now 9.1 percent — counts only a portion of the nation’s non-working population. That’s because the 9.1 percent counts only people who have sought work in the last four weeks, and have failed to find employment of 35 hours or more per week.




Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: dario73 on June 10, 2011, 06:33:53 AM
Regarding the vehicular metaphors used by the failure, he mentioned that the current economy was like getting hit by a truck. Jon Stewart had a field day with that comment.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 10, 2011, 06:50:19 AM
Many of us won’t be able to retire until our 80s
MarketWatch ^ | June 9, 2011 | Robert Powell



________________________ ______________________-



You’ll probably have to work much longer than you anticipated. We all think it’s a panacea. If you don’t have enough money saved for retirement, you’ve got a few ways to close the gap between what you have and what you need in your nest egg: Save more, invest more aggressively, and/or work longer.

Well, it turns out that working longer is indeed an option, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute latest study. The only problem is that the latest research shows that you’ll have to work much longer than you anticipated. In fact, many Americans will have to keep on working well into their 70s and 80s to afford retirement, according to the study, titled “The Impact of Deferring Retirement Age on Retirement Income Adequacy.”

...

The new normal .

Now the reality about EBRI’s findings is that many Americans — who are able to continue working and whose skills are still in demand — are already working past age 65.

...

And the new normal isn’t that people are working past age 65, rather it’s this: They are also hunting for second jobs


(Excerpt) Read more at marketwatch.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 10, 2011, 07:10:29 AM
China ratings house says US defaulting
Yahoo/AFP ^ | June 10, 2011 | AFP


________________________ ______________________



A Chinese ratings house has accused the United States of defaulting on its massive debt, state media said Friday, a day after Beijing urged Washington to put its fiscal house in order.


"In our opinion, the United States has already been defaulting," Guan Jianzhong, president of Dagong Global Credit Rating Co. Ltd., the only Chinese agency that gives sovereign ratings, was quoted by the Global Times saying.


Washington had already defaulted on its loans by allowing the dollar to weaken against other currencies -- eroding the wealth of creditors including China, Guan said.


(Excerpt) Read more at ca.news.yahoo.com ...



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 10, 2011, 02:32:17 PM
US Stocks Routed, DJIA Headed For Longest Slump Since 2002
WJS ^ | 6/10/11 | Brendan Conway


________________________ ____________________-

Another dose of anguish about the global economic recovery sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average below 12000 and put the blue-chip index on track for a sixth straight weekly decline, its longest slump since 2002.

The Dow sank 133 points, or 1.1%, to 11992 heading into the final hour of trading Friday, falling below 12000 for the first time since mid-March. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index shed 12, or 1.1%, to 1277. The broad index has notched six weeks of declines, the longest losing streak since 2008.


(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 12, 2011, 05:30:47 AM
Exclusive: The Fed's $600 Billion Stealth Bailout Of Foreign Banks Continues At The Expense Of The
Zero Hedge ^ | 6/12/11 | Tyler Durden
Posted on June 12, 2011 3:13:59 AM EDT by Nachum

Courtesy of the recently declassified Fed discount window documents, we now know that the biggest beneficiaries of the Fed's generosity during the peak of the credit crisis were foreign banks, among which Belgium's Dexia was the most troubled, and thus most lent to, bank. Having been thus exposed, many speculated that going forward the US central bank would primarily focus its "rescue" efforts on US banks, not US-based (or local branches) of foreign (read European) banks: after all that's what the ECB is for, while the Fed's role is to stimulate US employment and to keep US inflation modest. And furthermore, should the ECB need to bail out its banks, it could simply do what the Fed does, and monetize debt, thus boosting its assets, while concurrently expanding its excess reserves thus generating fungible capital which would go to European banks. Wrong. Below we present that not only has the Fed's bailout of foreign banks not terminated with the drop in discount window borrowings or the unwind of the Primary Dealer Credit Facility, but that the only beneficiary of the reserves generated were US-based branches of foreign banks (which in turn turned around and funnelled the cash back to their domestic branches), a shocking finding which explains not only why US banks have been unwilling and, far more importantly, unable to lend out these reserves, but that anyone retaining hopes that with the end of QE2 the reserves that hypothetically had been accumulated at US banks would be flipped to purchase Treasurys, has been dead wrong, therefore making the case for QE3 a done deal. In summary, instead of doing everything in its power to stimulate reserve, and thus cash, accumulation at domestic (US) banks which would in turn encourage lending to US borrowers,

(Excerpt) Read more at zerohedge.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 13, 2011, 08:21:59 AM
US Is in Even Worse Shape Financially Than Greece: Gross
Published: Monday, 13 Jun 2011 | 10:33 AM ET Text Size By: Jeff Cox
CNBC.com Staff Writer



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When adding in all of the money owed to cover future liabilities in entitlement programs the US is actually in worse financial shape than Greece and other debt-laden European countries, Pimco's Bill Gross told CNBC Monday.

 
Much of the public focus is on the nation's public debt, which is $14.3 trillion. But that doesn't include money guaranteed for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, which comes to close to $50 trillion, according to government figures.

The government also is on the hook for other debts such as the programs related to the bailout of the financial system following the crisis of 2008 and 2009, government figures show.

Taken together, Gross puts the total at "nearly $100 trillion," that while perhaps a bit on the high side, places the country in a highly unenviable fiscal position that he said won't find a solution overnight.

"To think that we can reduce that within the space of a year or two is not a realistic assumption," Gross said in a live interview. "That's much more than Greece, that's much more than almost any other developed country. We've got a problem and we have to get after it quickly."

Gross spoke following a report that US banks were likely to scale back on their use of Treasurys as collateral against derivatives and other transactions. Bank heads say that move is likely to happen in August as Congress dithers over whether to raise the nation's debt ceiling, according to a report in the Financial Times.

The move reflects increasing concern from the financial community over whether the US is capable of a political solution to its burgeoning debt and deficit problems.

"We've always wondered who will buy Treasurys" after the Federal Reserve purchases the last of its $600 billion to end the second leg of its quantitative easing program later this month, Gross said. "It's certainly not Pimco and it's probably not the bond funds of the world."

Pimco, based in Newport Beach, Calif., manages more than $1.2 trillion in assets and runs the largest bond fund in the world.

Gross confirmed a report Friday that Pimco has marginally increased its Treasurys allotment—from 4 percent to 5 percent—but still has little interest in US debt and its low yields that are in place despite an ugly national balance sheet.

"Why wouldn't an investor buy Canada with a better balance sheet or Australia with a better balance sheet with interest rates at 1 or 2 or 3 percent higher?" he said. "It simply doesn't make any sense."

Should the debt problem in Greece explode into a full-blown crisis—an International Monetary Fund bailout has prevented a full-scale meltdown so far—Gross predicted that German debt, not that of the US, would be the safe-haven of choice for global investors.




Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 13, 2011, 11:39:02 AM
Money & Company
Consumer Confidential: Pie chain goes bankrupt, Timberland bought, Arby's sold
 () (5)(8)June 13, 2011 | 10:44 am  Here's your make-my-day Monday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/money_co/2011/06/consumer-confidential-marie-callender-pie-bankrupt-restaurant-perkins-timberland-vf-arbys-wendys.html





--Some bitter-tasting pie: Restaurant owner Perkins & Marie Callender's has filed for bankruptcy protection, brought down by tough competition, the weak economy and rising food costs. The owner of the Perkins Restaurant & Bakery and Marie Callender's chains says it plans to close 65 stores and cut 2,500 jobs, or about 20% of its work force of 12,350. The company cites the weak economic climate, particularly in California and Florida, where many of its restaurants are located, for the bankruptcy filing. Documents filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware indicate the company can't afford to build new restaurants and upgrade existing ones, so it loses traffic to better-funded rivals. The two chains were "adversely affected by the languishing economy, including declines in consumer confidence and sluggish consumer spending and increased commodity costs," CEO J. Trungale said in a statement in November.










________________________ ______


I thought we were in recovery? 


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 13, 2011, 02:47:06 PM
Perkins, Marie Callender restaurants in Chapter 11
Denver Channel 31 ^ | 6/13/2011



________________________ ________________________ __________


The owner of the Perkins and Marie Callender's restaurant chains filed for bankruptcy Monday with plans to close 65 of its 600 locations and cut 2,500 jobs, according to court documents.

Perkins & Marie Callender Inc. became the latest food company to fall victim to a sluggish recovery and soaring food prices. Last week, chicken producer Allen Family Foods tumbled into bankruptcy.  

Perkins Restaurant & Bakery, which offers all-day breakfasts, plans to emerge from bankruptcy by giving ownership of the chain to holders of the company's unsecured debt, led by funds managed by Wayzata Investment Partners.

The bankruptcy will wipe out the investment of private equity firm Castle Harlan Inc., which acquired the Perkins chain in 2005 for $245 million.

The Marie Callender Restaurant & Bakery chain, known for pies and home-style meals, was added a year later for $140 million.

Joseph Trungale, who has been president of Perkins & Marie Callender's Inc. since 2004, said in court documents that the company was hard hit by a weak economy in states that suffered the worst of the U.S. housing crash, particularly Florida and California.

He also blamed competitors able to free up money to invest in new locations in their own bankruptcy filings.

In recent years, Uno Chicago Grill pizza, Fuddruckers, Charlie Brown's Steakhouse and Sbarro's have used bankruptcy to shed debt and revive their businesses.

Perkins was founded in 1958 as a pancake house in Ohio. Marie Callender founded the chain that bears her name in 1948 in Orange County, Calif., as a wholesale pie business. Combined, the two chains employed about 12,000 before Monday's job reduction announcement.

The Memphis-based company listed total assets at $290 million and liabilities at $440.8 million in its Chapter 11 petition. Eleven of its affiliates were included in the bankruptcy filing.

It said it had about $103 million in secured notes debt and $190 million in unsecured notes outstanding. It plans to borrow up to $21 million to fund its operations while in bankruptcy.

Last year's sales were about $507 million.

As part of the bankruptcy, the company sold its Marie Callender trademarks to ConAgra Inc. ConAgra had licensed the name for Marie Callender frozen foods it produced.

The bankrupt company received a license to continue to use the name in connection with its restaurants and baked goods.

The case is in re: Perkins & Marie Callender's Inc., U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware, No. 11-11795.


________________________ __________________--


Obama:  "I have a bigger plane and entourage than in 2008" 


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 14, 2011, 06:36:26 AM
Retail sales fall for first time in 11 months
Marketwatch ^ | 6.14.11 | Greg Robb


________________________ ____________________-



WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Sales at U.S. retailers decreased 0.2% in May to a seasonally adjusted $387.1 billion, the Commerce Department estimated Tuesday, further evidence that the economy has hit a soft patch.

This is the first decline in sales since last June. But details of the report were not all weak. While auto sales were down as expected, there was

some strength in building materials and miscellaneous stores. See full report.

Compared with May 2010, sales are up 7.7%.

Sales rose an downwardly revised 0.3% in April, compared with a 0.5% increase originally reported.


(Excerpt) Read more at marketwatch.com ...



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 14, 2011, 08:56:18 AM
1.9 Million Fewer Americans Have Jobs Today Than When Obama Signed Stimulus
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
By Matt Cover
http://cnsnews.com/news/article/after-28-months-stimulus-spending-19-mil



In this Nov. 4, 2010 photo, a sign turning away potential job-seekers is seen outside of a construction site in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(CNSNews.com) – Twenty-eight months after Congress passed President Obama’s signature economic stimulus law, and nearly one year after he declared the summer of 2010 to be “Recovery Summer,” 1.9 million fewer people are employed.

In February 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 141.7 million people were employed. By the end of May 2011 – the last month for which data are available – that number had fallen to 139.8 million, a difference of 1.9 million.

While the number of people with jobs has increased slightly from its low point during the recession – 137.9 million in December 2009 – those 1.9 million jobs have been lost despite $800 billion in stimulus spending.

This does not mean that the economy is not creating jobs, but rather that it is not creating jobs fast enough to keep up with a combination of layoffs and people entering the job market for the first time.

In a Washington Post op-ed, former White House chief economist Larry Summers noted that the percentage of the population that has a job has not improved, even though the economy is technically in recovery.

“From the first quarter of 2006 to the first quarter of 2011, the U.S. economy’s growth rate averaged less than 1 percent a year,” Summers wrote. “The fraction of the population working remains almost exactly at its recession trough, and recent reports suggest that growth is slowing.”



White House chief economic advisor Larry Summers. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

The fraction of the population with a job has in fact fallen in the 28 months since Congress passed the stimulus – down from 60.3 percent in February 2009 to 58.4 percent in May 2011.

The economy cannot create jobs fast enough to keep pace with layoffs and recent high school and college graduates seeking employment. If the trend continues, as Summers notes may happen, the economy will suffer further in the future as college graduates delay entry into the labor force, reducing their lifetime productivity.

“Beyond the lack of jobs and incomes, an economy producing below its potential for a prolonged interval sacrifices its future,” argued Summers. “Huge numbers of new college graduates are moving back in with their parents this month because they have no job or means of support.”

As both Summers and the BLS data make clear, the economy is not creating new jobs fast enough to make up for layoffs and new graduates, calling into question Obama’s oft-repeated claim that the economy is recovering and creating jobs.

In fact, by citing figures from the first quarter of 2006, Summers is understating the economy’s poor performance. According to BLS data, the number of people with jobs peaked at 146.6 million in November 2007, meaning that over the entire recession – which officially began in December 2007 – the number of people employed has fallen by 6.8 million.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 14, 2011, 11:42:16 AM
Rosenberg Says 99 Percent Chance of Recession
Townhall.com ^ | June 14, 2011 | Mike Shedlock





In a Bloomberg video David Rosenberg, chief economist at Gluskin Sheff & Associates, says there is a 99% Chance of Another Recession by 2012. Rosenberg also talks about the outlook for the U.S. economy.


(Excerpt) Read more at finance.townhall.com ...



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 15, 2011, 07:01:04 AM
NY Fed manufacturing gauge contracts in June [unexpectedly]
Reuters ^ | June 15, 2011 | by Leah Schnurr


________________________ ________________________ _________



A gauge of manufacturing in New York State showed the sector unexpectedly contracted in June, falling below zero for the first time since November 2010 in another sign the economic slowdown could become more protracted, the New York Federal Reserve said in a report on Wednesday.

The New York Fed's "Empire State" general business conditions index fell to minus 7.79 from positive 11.88 the month before. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a gain to 12.50.

The new orders and shipments indexes also deteriorated. New orders tumbled to minus 3.61 from 17.19, while shipments dropped to minus 8.02 from 25.75.

Employment gauges also worsened, with the index for the number of employees falling to 10.20 from 24.73 and the average employee workweek index weakening to minus 2.04 from 23.66.


(Excerpt) Read more at reuters.com ...



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 15, 2011, 08:11:25 AM
Retuers: Data shows troubling mix of weakness, inflation
Reuters ^ | June 15, 2011 | By Lucia Mutikani


________________________ ________________________ _____


A closely watched measure of consumer prices logged its biggest rise in nearly three years in May and a regional factory gauge contracted this month, showing the economy facing a troubling mix of weakness and inflation.

The Labor Department said on Wednesday its Consumer Price Index, excluding food and energy, increased 0.3 percent, the largest gain since July 2008.

"I assume people will look at this as another reason the recovery is stalling, giving more fodder to the double dip (recession) theory," said Paul Radeke, vice president at KDV Wealth Management in Minneapolis.


(Excerpt) Read more at reuters.com ...


________________________ ____________________

 

Hope & Change!   


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 15, 2011, 10:11:32 AM
More small businesses plan to reduce jobs: report
Yahoo Finance ^ | June 15, 2011 | Aaron Smith


________________________ ________________________ ___________



Small business owners have a grim outlook on the economy, with a gathering number planning to reduce jobs over the next three months, according to survey results from an industry group.

The percentage of independent businesses planning to increase employment in the next three months fell to 13% in May, compared to 16% in April and 18% in March, according to the National Federation of Independent Business.

At the same time, the percentage of small businesses planning to reduce their work force has increased to 8% in May, compared to 6% in the month before, the group said.

The group said that, on a seasonally adjusted basis, the businesses see a small net decline in employment.

The survey's index of small business optimism slipped 0.3 point in May to 90.9, the third consecutive monthly decline.

The chief culprit appears to be weak sales. Some 23% of small business owners reported that sales were higher in the last three months, but 36% said that sales were lower, according to the survey.

"Corporate profits may be at a record high, but businesses on Main Street are still scraping by," wrote NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg in the report. "The failure to understand why small business owners are not hiring or investing has resulted in a set of policies that have not been very effective, and Main Street is suffering."

Earlier this month, on June 6, the U.S. Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate ticked up slightly in May to 9.1%, compared to 9% the prior month.

The economy gained 54,000 jobs in May, but that's compared to a gain of 232,000 the month before, indicating that job growth is slowing.


(Excerpt) Read more at finance.yahoo.com ...



________________________ ________________________ ______-


OBAMA = FAIL   


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 16, 2011, 06:14:07 AM
Unemployment applications drop, but remain high
Yahoooooo! ^ | 06-16-2011 | Christopher S. Rugabe






Fewer people applied for unemployment benefits last week, though applications remain elevated

Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, though applications remain above levels consistent with a healthy economy.

The Labor Department said Thursday that unemployment benefit applications fell 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 414,000, the second drop in three weeks. That's a positive sign that layoffs are slowing.

Still, applications have been above 400,000 for 10 straight weeks, evidence that the job market is weak compared to earlier this year.  

Applications had fallen in February to 375,000, a level that signals sustainable job growth. They stayed below 400,000 for seven of nine weeks. But applications surged in April to 478,000 -- an eight-month high -- and they have declined slowly since then.

The four-week average, a less volatile measure, was unchanged.

The elevated level of applications suggests that companies pulled back on hiring in the face of higher gas and food prices, which have cut into consumer spending. Hiring has slowed sharply since applications rose.

Employers added only 54,000 net new jobs in May, much slower than the average gain of 220,000 per month in the previous three months. The unemployment rate rose to 9.1 percent from 9 percent.

The economy needs to generate at least 125,000 jobs per month just to keep up with population growth. At least twice that many are needed to bring down the unemployment rate.

But economists forecast the nation will add only about 1.9 million jobs this year, according to an Associated Press Economy survey earlier this week. That's only about 150,000 per month and is lower than a previous estimate two months ago.


(Excerpt) Read more at finance.yahoo.com ...



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 16, 2011, 07:11:19 PM
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The Economy Is Deteriorating at an Extremely Fast Rate
http://libertarian-neocon.blogspot.com/2011/06/economy-is-deteriorating-at-extremely.html ^ | libertarian neocon
Posted on June 16, 2011 9:56:51 PM EDT by libertarian neocon

In case you missed it, today was the release of the Philly Fed Survey, which was another disastrous economic datapoint. Expectations were for a reading of +7, indicating minor growth, instead it came in at -7.7, indicating contraction.


Looking at this chart, the thing that pops out at me is how fast both the current activity and the future activity indices (expectations for activity in the next 6 months, which as you can see people always think things will either be the same or better) have been collapsing over the last 3 months. So I decided to look at the historical data, that goes back to 1968, to see when were the other times the 3 month change was this bad. The problem is, it's actually never been this bad. Below is the chart for the 3 month change in the Current Activity Index:


The last time the 3 month change even came close to the level of deterioration we've seen (51.1 points) was the 4th quarter of 1974 (50.5 points). This was right after Nixon resigned in disgrace and was a period when we were dealing with the ramifications of our loss in Vietnam, a stock market crash and an oil embargo. Also, we are currently dwarfing the deterioration we saw in the 4th quarter of 2008 (remember how we all felt the world was falling apart then?) which had a 3 month change of 34.7 points. What is even worse is that the current 3 month change is greater than the change we saw in this index between November 2007 and November 2008, which was a decline of 47.4 points. Now let's take a look at the same analysis with the Future Activity Index, which looks 6 months out:


Yup, that chart is correct, since 1968, we've never had a deterioration in this index that even came close to what we are seeing right now. There really is no way to sugar coat this, it is a disastrous reading. Also, the actual absolute reading itself is the lowest since the 4th quarter of 2008 when the world was coming apart at the seams.

It would be nice if we had a President who actually wanted to do something about the economy. After watching the GOP debate the other night, I came to the conclusion that I wouldn't mind if any of them were President. They would all do a better job than the current joker whose idea of stimulus is taking money from the productive members of society and giving it to unskilled labor so they can dig holes.


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 16, 2011, 07:23:55 PM
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Foreclosures might swamp Hawaii courts
Honolulu Star Advertiser ^ | 01:30 a.m. HST, Jun 15, 2011 | By Andrew Gomes
Posted on June 16, 2011 9:10:31 PM EDT by DeaconBenjamin

One of the nation's biggest owners of home mortgages has made a move that could add to an already overburdened Hawaii court system's caseload.

Fannie Mae, a publicly owned company created and overseen by the federal government, recently instructed companies that handle foreclosures for its loans to file all new Hawaii foreclosures in court.

Fannie Mae also told the firms known as loan servicers to cancel any pending nonjudicial Hawaii foreclosures and restart them in court.

Fannie Mae took the steps in response to Hawaii's new foreclosure law enacted last month. Critics are concerned Fannie Mae might be attempting to sidestep the main intent of the law, which was to engage mediators to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.

The vast majority of residential foreclosures in Hawaii in recent years have been conducted out of court through a nonjudicial process because it was quicker and cheaper than going through court.

The law was changed in part because the nonjudicial foreclosures left borrowers with little opportunity to contest repossessions even in cases where they believed a lender was improperly taking their home.

The new law, Act 48, gives qualified owner-occupants of Hawaii homes the option of having a dispute resolution professional assist with foreclosure mitigation in front of a lender representative before a foreclosure sale can proceed.

Fannie Mae's directive, issued Friday, drew criticism from a local homeowner advocacy group that lobbied for Hawaii's new law.

The Rev. Bob Nakata, a member of Faith Action for Community Equity, said Fannie Mae is attempting to bypass the new law. "Just two days ago, 25 churches got together from two islands and celebrated our new foreclosure mediation law, and now Fannie Mae is trying to outmaneuver us," he said. "It stinks. Our government-sponsored enterprises are supposed to help us, not take away everything we have fought for."

Some supporters of Hawaii's new law fear the move by Fannie Mae, which buys U.S. single-family home loans from loan originators, could spur similar moves by giant banks and other big holders of Hawaii home mortgages, shunting aside the revamped nonjudicial foreclosure law and overwhelming the state court system.

Fannie Mae declined to say whether it established its new policy to avoid nonjudicial foreclosures in Hawaii under the new law or whether the policy is only temporary until it's possible to file new nonjudicial foreclosures.

The new law resulted in a de facto moratorium on nonjudicial foreclosures because the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs won't accept any new nonjudicial foreclosure filings until the mediation program is running. The law also prohibits any nonjudicial foreclosure auctions until borrowers have an opportunity to participate in the program.

The program is expected to be running by Oct. 1.

Fannie Mae spokeswoman Amy Bonitatibus said policies are regularly reviewed and adjusted as needed.

"Our announcement is consistent with Hawaii law and was made in response to recent Hawaii legislation," she said. "Currently, nonjudicial foreclosures cannot be pursued in Hawaii. There is not currently an end date listed in the announcement we issued, but again, we regularly make updates and changes to reflect the current law and foreclosure processes in a state."

Kim Harman, Hawaii policy director for Faith Action for Community Equity, questioned whether Fannie Mae is trying to avoid requirements for documenting original and amended mortgage agreements and promissory notes under the new law.

Harman said the documentation requirement is the only substantial difference between Hawaii's law and a Nevada foreclosure mitigation law upon which Hawaii's law was modeled. Fannie Mae hasn't banned nonjudicial foreclosures in Nevada.

State Rep. Bob Herkes, who along with Sen. Rosalyn Baker was a chief architect of the law, said Fannie Mae would be misguided if it intends to avoid better documentation by running foreclosures through Hawaii courts.

Herkes intends to ask the Judiciary to hold mortgage holders to the same documentation standards contained in the nonjudicial foreclosure law.

Some Hawaii foreclosure industry attorneys had warned that lenders might flock to judicial foreclosures, in part because lenders can pursue borrowers for any difference between what a borrower owes and proceeds from selling a foreclosed home. This difference, referred to as a deficiency judgment, could help offset higher expenses of judicial foreclosure.

However, others believe the extra time and expense of judicial foreclosure, especially if Hawaii courts get bogged down, still make judicial foreclosure less attractive than the revamped nonjudicial foreclosure process.

While Fannie Mae seeks to proceed with Hawaii foreclosures in court, it is also offering financial incentives for loan servicers to avoid foreclosure and was instructed by the Federal Housing Finance Agency in April to not start a foreclosure if a borrower and servicer are engaged in a good-faith effort to resolve a mortgage delinquency.

So far, there has not been a huge increase in judicial foreclosures in Hawaii, considering that the new law went into effect May 5.

For all of May, there were 141 judicial foreclosure cases, up from 119 in May 2010, according to Judiciary figures. Nearly all of the increase occurred on the Big Island.

For all of last year, state Circuit Courts handled 1,331 foreclosure cases. That figure is estimated to be around 10 percent of all Hawaii foreclosures.

The Judiciary, in testimony on Senate Bill 651 that became the foreclosure mitigation law, expressed concern that any big increase in judicial foreclosures could dramatically delay cases unless new judges and staff are hired.

According to real estate research firm RealtyTrac, close to 500 new foreclosure cases a month were filed on average this year through April.

The Judiciary estimated it would cost about $4.3 million a year for additional personnel to handle such an increase.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Government; News/Current Events; US: Hawaii; Click to Add Topic
KEYWORDS: default; economy; estate; real; Click to Add Keyword



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 17, 2011, 08:31:42 AM
Source: Bloomberg
By Shobhana Chandra



June 17 (Bloomberg) -- Payrolls dropped in 27 U.S. states in May, indicating the weakening in the job market was broad- based.

California led the nation with a 29,200 decrease followed by New York with 24,700 fewer jobs, figures from the Labor Department showed today in Washington. The jobless rate fell in 24 states and rose in 13.

The report is consistent with nationwide figures released June 3 that showed employers added 54,000 workers in May, the fewest in eight months, and unemployment rose to 9.1 percent, the highest this year. Improvement in hiring across a wider swathe of the U.S. is needed to sustain consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the U.S. economy.

“Hiring is occurring but the job market is definitely not strong,” Jennifer Lee, a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets in Toronto, said before the report. “Corporations are not going to hire in droves until they are certain that the economic recovery is on terra firma.”

Read more: http://noir.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=az...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 17, 2011, 08:51:37 AM
U.S. Consumer Confidence Drops as Rising Prices Squeeze Household Budgets 
 Source: Bloomberg


By Alex Kowalski

June 17 (Bloomberg) -- Confidence among U.S. consumers dropped more than forecast in June as households contended with higher prices that are eating into incomes amid slowing job growth.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment decreased to 71.8 from 74.3 in May. Economists forecast a reading of 74, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey.

While gasoline costs have retreated from the highest levels since July 2008, consumer budgets are being strained by rising prices for other goods and services. Unemployment climbed in May to the highest this year, and employers added the fewest workers in eight months, further stressing the largest part of the economy.

“Things have cooled off after better growth earlier in the year, and people are still worried about the labor market, housing and high gasoline prices,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James & Associates Inc. in St. Petersburg, Florida, who forecast the gauge would drop to 72. “If we get another break in gasoline prices, that will be very helpful for the consumer.”

Read more: http://noir.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=ay...
 


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 17, 2011, 10:02:55 AM
McKinsey Presents: 9 Scary Facts About The Unemployment Crisis
Business Insider ^ | 06/17/2011 | Linette Lopez






The United States will have to create 21 million jobs in the next 9 years to reach full employment, according to a study from the consulting group McKinsey.

The report details how this is going to be a long slog. It will take 60 months at our current growth rate to return to pre-recession employment levels, according to the report. And that doesn't even count all those new employees entering the workforce. More Americans will need to go back to school to get these new jobs, with McKinsey estimating that the market needs 1.5 million more Americans with undergraduate degrees. More worrying: the U.S. could shed 6 million workers without high school diplomas by 2020.

They highlight six sectors ripe for growth: healthcare, manufacturing, retail, construction, leisure and hospitality, and business services. They make up 66% of the labor force now, and will make up 85% of the jobs created this decade.

But while many are trying to get back to work, companies will continue to streamline their teams due technological advances that mean they can do more, with less.


(Excerpt) Read more at businessinsider.com ...



Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 17, 2011, 12:40:24 PM
Kmart lays off 700 appliance workers
AP ^ | 6/17/11 | Staff






NEW YORK — The parent of Kmart stores is laying off 700 employees working in Kmart's appliance departments as it changes how the stores sell refrigerators, ovens and other appliances.

Kmart spokesman Chris Brathwaite says the move will allow customers to check out appliances at any register rather than going to a dedicated register for appliances. But there also won't be any specialized appliance-only staff people on hand near appliances. Instead, all Kmart staffers are being trained to answer questions about appliances.

There will also be a 1-800 number customers can call for help.

The moves affect appliance specialists in 225 stores. Kmart had expanded the number of stores with appliance departments to 1,300 stores from 270 stores in February.


(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 19, 2011, 05:01:54 AM
Goldman Cuts GDP View to 2% as Economy Weakens (less than 2% is the new surprise)
CNBC.com via RCP ^ | Friday, 17 Jun 2011 | Jeff Cox
Posted on June 19, 2011 7:18:24 AM EDT by MontaniSemperLiberi

Faced with the bruising headwinds of high unemployment, weak manufacturing and an otherwise listless economy, Goldman Sachs has slashed its forecast for gross domestic product.

The firm cut its second-quarter GDP outlook to 2 percent from 3 percent, a stunning blow for an economy expected to be well on the path to recovery following the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009.

From a policy standpoint, Goldman said it does not expect the subpar growth to change the Federal Reserve's plans to end quantitative easing later this month. However, Goldman economist Sven Jari Stehn acknowledged that "the deterioration in economic activity, on its own, would call for fresh monetary easing."

The primary thing keeping the Fed from going to another round of easing — or QE3 in market jargon — is that, while the economy languishes, inflation actually is rising more than expected, he said.

"The Federal Open Market Committee is therefore stuck between a rock (slow growth) and a hard place (higher inflation)," Stehn wrote in a research note to clients. "We expect Chairman (Ben) Bernanke to indicate at next Wednesday’s FOMC press conference that there is little prospect of either monetary tightening or monetary easing anytime soon."

(Excerpt) Read more at cnbc.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 19, 2011, 05:50:47 AM
After Dumping 30% Of Its Treasury Holdings In Half A Year, Russia Warns It Will Continue Selling
Zero Hedge ^ | 6/18/11 | Tyler Durden
Posted on June 19, 2011 2:43:34 AM EDT by Nachum

Just in time for the end of QE2, when the US needs every possible foreign buyer of US debt to step up to the plate, we get confirmation that yet another major foreign central bank has decided to not only not add to its US debt holdings, but to actively sell US Treasurys. The WSJ reports that "Russia will likely continue lowering its U.S. debt holdings as Washington struggles to contain a budget deficit and bolster a tepid economic recovery, a top aide to President Dmitry Medvedev said Saturday. "The share of our portfolio in U.S. instruments has gone down and probably will go down further," said Arkady Dvorkovich, chief economic aide to the president, told Dow Jones in an interview on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum." Well, with Russia out, at least we have China and Japan continuing to buy US debt.... Oh wait, China is contemplating dumping two thirds of its debt you say? And the biggest buyer of Japanese bonds is now in the process of selling Japanese bonds in the open market for the first time (so not really in the market of US bonds). Well, surely US households will step up to the plate. After all they all have so much "cash on the sidelines" courtesy of the RecoveryTM ©® that they can't wait to dump it all into paper yielding less than 3% a year, and has negative real rates of return. Wait, what's that: according to the Fed, in Q1 US "households" sold $1.1 trillion annualized in Treasurys to the Fed? So, let's get this straight: China, Japan, and now very much openly Russia, the three countries with the largest financial reserves in the world, are threatening, if not already dumping US bonds,

(Excerpt) Read more at zerohedge.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: "Green Shoots", "Summer of Recovery", & Great Econ News
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 20, 2011, 05:14:11 AM
Misery index hits new high. Highest in Nearly 30 years!
CNN Money ^ | 06/20/2011 | Colin Barr


________________________ ________________________ _______________


Let's face it, probably not. The misery index – the sum of the unemployment and consumer price inflation rates – hit a 28-year high last month, notes Paul Dales of Capital Economics.

Headed higher? At a recent 12.7, the misery index is at its highest level since 1983, when Ronald Reagan was president and the great bull markets in stocks and bonds were in their infancy. Yet as always, it's worth recalling that things can be (and have been) worse.

The 1983 peak was 14.1, which looks terrifyingly high now but at the time was the lowest reading in five years.

This is worth bearing in mind for those who drone on endlessly about "jobless stagflation." Yes, 9.1% joblessness and 3.6% inflation are both bad news. But hey, when Reagan beat Jimmy Carter in the November 1980 election, unemployment was 7.5% and inflation was, um, 12.7%, for a nifty misery score above 20.


(Excerpt) Read more at finance.fortune.cnn.com ...



Title: Re: Misery Index: Just hit new 30 Year high and going higher.
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 21, 2011, 05:33:21 AM
James Verone Robs Bank For Jail Health Care (VIDEO)

Posted: 06/20/11 07:13 PM ET





James Verone said he walked up to a teller at a Gastonia, N.C. bank and handed her a note.

It said "This is a bank robbery, please only give me one dollar." Verone then told the teller he'd be sitting in a nearby chair, waiting for the police.

The 59-year-old said he did everything he could to get caught so he could receive free health care in jail.

Verone has a growth on his chest, two ruptured disks and a problem with his left foot. With no job, Verone thought his desperate plan was the best way to provide for himself.

Verone was charged with larceny.

Courtney Boyd Myers at The Next Web notes Verone's plot provides clear evidence of a flawed medical system.

"As his fellow American, I have to say, our national health care is in a very sad state," Myers writes.

Story continues below
Advertisement
Though Verone said he's receiving good care in jail, Slate previously reported that health care in prison is at best as good as a low-income health plan and at worst, almost nonexistent.

From Slate:

The majority of ailments are treated on-site, but inmates who are gravely ill can be taken to the nearest hospital. Sick prisoners must make a nominal co-payment for each visit to the jailhouse doctor—usually $5 or so, taken from an hourly wage that typically runs between 19 cents and 40 cents an hour. Costs above that are covered by the state.
It's been more then a year since President Obama signed landmark health care reform legislation. The bill was designed to provide health insurance to millions of Americans who currently lack it. But one year later, the number of uninsured remains roughly the same. That's largely because most of the bill's major elements aren't due to be implemented for another three years.

This month, Republican governors fought against federal rules requiring states to maintain current levels of health-care coverage for the poor and disabled.

There is also an effort, spearheaded by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) to change Medicare from a government run program to a voucher system. Critics of the plan said it would mean seniors would have to pay more out of pocket for care.

Late last week, AARP, a powerful lobbying group for older Americans, said it was open to cuts in Social Security benefits.

Verone's plan was to go to jail for three years, then be released in time to start collecting Social Security.

WATCH:



Title: Re: Misery Index: Just hit new 30 Year high and going higher. (Obama Depressio
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 21, 2011, 06:05:10 AM
U.S. News Home
Opinion Washington
Why the Jobs Situation Is Worse Than It Looks
We now have more idle men and women than at any time since the Great Depression
By Mortimer B. Zuckerman

Posted: June 20, 2011

http://www.usnews.com/opinion/mzuckerman/articles/2011/06/20/why-the-jobs-situation-is-worse-than-it-looks_print.html


The Great Recession has now earned the dubious right of being compared to the Great Depression. In the face of the most stimulative fiscal and monetary policies in our history, we have experienced the loss of over 7 million jobs, wiping out every job gained since the year 2000. From the moment the Obama administration came into office, there have been no net increases in full-time jobs, only in part-time jobs. This is contrary to all previous recessions. Employers are not recalling the workers they laid off from full-time employment.

 
The real job losses are greater than the estimate of 7.5 million. They are closer to 10.5 million, as 3 million people have stopped looking for work. Equally troublesome is the lower labor participation rate; some 5 million jobs have vanished from manufacturing, long America's greatest strength. Just think: Total payrolls today amount to 131 million, but this figure is lower than it was at the beginning of the year 2000, even though our population has grown by nearly 30 million.

The most recent statistics are unsettling and dismaying, despite the increase of 54,000 jobs in the May numbers. Nonagricultural full-time employment actually fell by 142,000, on top of the 291,000 decline the preceding month. Half of the new jobs created are in temporary help agencies, as firms resist hiring full-time workers. [Check out a roundup of political cartoons on the economy.]

Today, over 14 million people are unemployed. We now have more idle men and women than at any time since the Great Depression. Nearly seven people in the labor pool compete for every job opening. Hiring announcements have plunged to 10,248 in May, down from 59,648 in April. Hiring is now 17 percent lower than the lowest level in the 2001-02 downturn. One fifth of all men of prime working age are not getting up and going to work. Equally disturbing is that the number of people unemployed for six months or longer grew 361,000 to 6.2 million, increasing their share of the unemployed to 45.1 percent. We face the specter that long-term unemployment is becoming structural and not just cyclical, raising the risk that the jobless will lose their skills and become permanently unemployable.

Don't pay too much attention to the headline unemployment rate of 9.1 percent. It is scary enough, but it is a gloss on the reality. These numbers do not include the millions who have stopped looking for a job or who are working part time but would work full time if a position were available. And they count only those people who have actively applied for a job within the last four weeks.

Include those others and the real number is a nasty 16 percent. The 16 percent includes 8.5 million part-timers who want to work full time (which is double the historical norm) and those who have applied for a job within the last six months, including many of the long-term unemployed. And this 16 percent does not take into account the discouraged workers who have left the labor force. The fact is that the longer duration of six months is the more relevant testing period since the mean duration of unemployment is now 39.7 weeks, an increase from 37.1 weeks in February. [See a slide show of the 10 best cities to find a job.]

The inescapable bottom line is an unprecedented slack in the U.S. labor market. Labor's share of national income has fallen to the lowest level in modern history, down to 57.5 percent in the first quarter as compared to 59.8 percent when the so-called recovery began. This reflects not only the 7 million fewer workers but the fact that wages for part-time workers now average $19,000—less than half the median income.

Just to illustrate how insecure the labor movement is, there is nobody on strike in the United States today, according to David Rosenberg of wealth management firm Gluskin Sheff. Back in the 1970s, it was common in any given month to see as many as 30,000 workers on the picket line, and there were typically 300 work stoppages at any given time. Last year there were a grand total of 11. There are other indirect consequences. The number of people who have applied for permanent disability benefits has soared. Ten years ago, 5 million people were collecting federal disability payments; now 8 million are on the rolls, at a cost to taxpayers of approximately $120 billion a year. The states today owe the federal insurance fund an astonishing $90 billion to cover unemployment benefits.

In past recessions, the economy recovered lost jobs within 13 months, on average, after the trough. Twenty-three months into a recovery, employment typically increases by around 174,000 jobs monthly, compared to 54,000 this time around. In a typical recovery, we would have had several hundred thousand more hires per month than we are seeing now—this despite unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus (including the rescue of the automobile industry, whose collapse would likely have lost a million jobs). Businesses do not seem to have the confidence or the incentive to add staff but prefer to continue the deep cost-cutting they undertook from the onset of the recession.

But hang on. Even to come up with the 54,000 new jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics assumed that 206,000 jobs were created by newly formed companies that its analysts believe—but can't prove—were, in effect, born in May under the so-called birth/death model, which relies primarily on historical extrapolations. Without this generous assumption in the face of a slowing economy, the United States would have lost jobs in May. Last year the bureau assumed that 192,000 jobs were created through new start-ups in the comparable month, but on review most of them eventually had to be taken out, as start-ups have been distressingly weak given the lack of financing from their traditional sources such as bank loans, home equity loans, and credit card lines. [Read more stories on unemployment.]

Where are we today? We have seemingly added jobs, but it is not because hiring has increased. In February 2009 there were 4.7 million separations—that is, jobs lost—but by March 2011 this had fallen to 3.8 million. In other words, the pace of layoffs has diminished, but that is not the same thing as more hiring. The employment numbers look better than they really are because of the aggressive layoffs in the early part of this recession and the reluctance of American business to rehire workers. In fact, the apparent improvement in job numbers has been made up of one part extra hiring and two parts reduced firing.

Even during past recessions, American firms still hired large numbers of workers as part of the continual cycle of replacing employees. Of the 150 million workers or job seekers in America, about one third turn over in a typical year, leaving their old jobs to take new ones. High labor "churn" is characteristic of our economy, reflecting workers moving to better jobs and higher wages and away from declining sectors. As Stanford business professor Edward Lazear explains so clearly in the Wall Street Journal, the increase in job growth over the past two years is attributable to a decline in the number of layoffs, not from increased hiring. Typically, when the labor market creates 200,000 jobs, it has been because 5 million were hired and 4.8 million were separated, not just because there were 200,000 hires and no job losses. But when an economy has bottomed out, it has already shed much of its excess labor, as illustrated by the decline in layoffs—from approximately 2.5 million in February 2009 to 1.5 million this April. In a healthy labor market like the one that prevailed in 2006 and into 2007, American firms hired about 5.5 million workers per month. This is now down to about 4 million a month. Quite simply, businesses have been very disciplined in their hiring practices. [Read Zuckerman: America's Fading Exceptionalism.]

We are nowhere near the old normal. Throughout this fragile recovery, over 90 percent of the growth in output has come from productivity gains. But typically at this stage of the cycle, labor has already taken over from productivity as the major contributor of growth. That is why we generally saw nonfarm payroll gains exceeding 300,000 per month with relative ease. This time we have recouped only 17 percent of the job losses 23 months after the recession began, as compared to 207 percent of the jobs lost from previous recessions (with the exception of 2001). There is no comfort either in two leading indicators of employment, with no growth in the workweek or in factory overtime.

Clearly, the Great American Job Machine is breaking down, and roadside assistance is not on the horizon. In the second half of this year (and thereafter?), we will be without the monetary and fiscal steroids. Nor does anyone know what will happen to long-term interest rates when the Federal Reserve ends its $600 billion quantitative easing support of the capital markets. Inventory levels are at their highest since September 2006; new order bookings are at the lowest levels since September 2009. Since home equity has long been the largest asset on the balance sheet of the average American family, all home­owners are suffering from housing prices that have, on average, declined 33 percent (compare that to the Great Depression drop of 31 percent).

No wonder the general economic mood is one of alarm. The Conference Board measure of U.S. consumer confidence slumped to 60.8 percent in May, down from 66 percent in April and well below the average of 73 in past recessions, never mind the 100-plus numbers in good times. Never before has confidence been this low in the 23rd month of a recovery. Gluskin Sheff's Rosenberg captured it perfectly: We may well be in the midst of a "modern depression."

Our political leadership in both Congress and the White House will surely bear the political costs of a failure to work out short- and long-term programs to fix the job shortage. The stakes are too high to play political games.


Title: Re: Misery Index: Just hit new 30 Year high and going higher. (Obama Depression)
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 21, 2011, 09:07:54 AM
Existing home sales drop 3.8% (Obama's booming economy! /sarc)
cnn ^ | 6/21/2011 | Ben Rooney




Sales of existing homes fell in May, as severe weather and high gas prices weighed on the shaky housing market.

Home sales fell 3.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.81 million, down from a revised rate of 5 million in April, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday.

Sales were more than 15% lower than in May 2010.

Economists had expected a May sales rate of 4.79 million existing homes, according to consensus estimates from Briefing.com.

"Spiking gasoline prices along with widespread severe weather hurt house shopping in April, leading to soft figures for actual closings in May," said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

Gas prices surged earlier this year, pinching household budgets and putting a damper on consumer spending. In addition, sales were hurt by tornados and flooding in May that devastated parts of the South and Midwest.

Sales fell more than 6% in the South and were down over 5% in the Midwest. By contrast, sales fell 2.5% in the Northeast and were flat in the West.


(Excerpt) Read more at money.cnn.com ...



Title: Re: Misery Index: Just hit new 30 Year high and going higher. (Obama Depression)
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 21, 2011, 03:02:02 PM
Gannett laying off 700 more workers amid ad slump
Washington Examiner ^ | June 21, 2011




The nation's largest newspaper publisher is laying off another 700 employees to cope with an unrelenting advertising slump.

Gannett, the owner of USA Today and more than 80 other daily U.S. newspapers, hoped to complete the cuts Tuesday. The layoffs are occurring at most Gannett newspapers but not at USA Today.

The payroll reductions represent 2 percent of Gannett's 32,600 employees. The division targeted in the cutbacks employs 22,400 people at newspapers that include The Indianapolis Star and The Arizona Republic.


(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonexaminer.com ...



Title: Re: Misery Index: Just hit new 30 Year high and going higher. (Obama Depression)
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 22, 2011, 08:00:11 AM
CBO Releases Daunting Long-Term Outlook
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
By Tim Fernholz
Updated: June 22, 2011 | 10:43 a.m.
http://www.nationaljournal.com/budget/cbo-releases-daunting-long-term-outlook-20110622


 


Increasing federal debt will be a growing burden on government action, crowding out lawmakers’ ability to adopt tax and spending priorities in good times and reducing flexibility during recessions, all while making a fiscal crisis more likely and hindering long-term growth, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.

In the annual Long-Term Budget Outlook, the legislature’s budget scorekeepers said that the ratio of debt to GDP this year will be 69 percent, 7 percentage points higher than last year. In 2021, the CBO predicts debt will reach 76 percent of GDP, but under a more dire—and more likely—scenario, the public debt will be 101 percent of GDP 10 years from now, well into the economic danger zone of 90 percent or more.

Last year, that worst-case scenario predicted a debt-to-GDP ratio of 87 percent in 2020, demonstrating that the public debt picture has worsened considerably, in part due to a bipartisan tax deal last year that reduced expected revenue.

While much of the debt is driven by the recession’s drop in tax revenues and government actions taken in response to the economic calamity, CBO highlighted the structural deficit that existed before 2007 and cites growing health care costs and the aging population as a major driver of government spending; federal health spending is set to grow from less than 6 percent of GDP today to more than 9 percent in 2035.

The CBO says that allowing the 2010 tax deal that extended Bush administration tax policies to expire as planned would be helpful in keeping government sustainable, noting  “that significant increase in revenues and decrease in the relative magnitude of other spending would offset much—though not all—of the rise in spending on health care programs and Social Security.”

However, the CBO's more likely scenario assumes that the tax deal is extended, that the alternative minimum tax would continue to be restricted, and that the “doc fix,” Congress’s annual decision to ease limits on Medicare physician pay, will occur as expected. Under this scenario, debt would rise to 187 percent of the economy in 2035.

While CBO does not provide policy recommendations, it urged policymakers to take significant action to reduce the deficit and debt by reducing spending, increasing taxes, or some combination of the two. While those changes will slow economic recovery, the agency warns, the sooner they are made, the more gradual they can be, easing the transition into new policies but likely requiring sacrifices from older Americans.

“CBO’s new long-term budget outlook again highlights the urgency of reaching agreement on a bipartisan and comprehensive long-term deficit and debt reduction plan,” Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said in a statement. “We must address the projected explosion in federal debt. If we fail to act, it will have devastating consequences for our economy and for the future well-being of the American people.”

On Thursday, CBO Director Doug Elmendorf will testify at a House Budget Committee hearing on the long-term outlook.


Title: Re: Misery Index: Just hit new 30 Year high and going higher. (Obama Depression)
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 22, 2011, 11:44:02 AM
CBO: Government faces fiscal crisis over borrowing
From msnbc.com's Tom Curry
http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/06/22/6917441-cbo-government-faces-fiscal-crisis-over-borrowing




In its mid-year long-term budget forecast, the Congressional Budget Office on Wednesday renewed its previous warnings that the government faces an increasing risk of a fiscal crisis due its ever-greater borrowing.

The report comes as Vice President Joe Biden and congressional budget negotiators try to reach an accord that would cut spending enough for Republicans to agree to an increase in the government’s borrowing limit.

August 2 is the date on which the Treasury Department says it will exhaust its means of managing cash to avoid hitting the current debt limit.

As it did in a report last January, the CBO said publicly held debt as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) would reach nearly 70 percent during the current fiscal year which ends on Sept. 30.

The CBO – in its “alternative fiscal scenario” --  predicted that if Congress does not raise taxes to their 2000 level and fails to impose Medicare spending cuts mandated by a 1997 law, by 2035 federal spending would account for more than a third of GDP, up from 24 percent of GDP this year.

Under that same scenario, by 2020 publicly held debt would reach nearly 90 percent of GDP.

CBO director Douglas Elmendorf said many budget analysts think the alternative fiscal scenario “is a more realistic picture of the nation’s underlying fiscal policies” than the “baseline” scenario which by law CBO must use to forecast spending and revenue.

The baseline, for example, assumes that current income tax rates will revert to their 2000 level at the end of 2012.

In Wednesday’s report, the CBO repeated earlier warnings about the risk of a sovereign debt crisis.

A rising level of debt, combined with an excess of spending over revenue “would increase the probability of a fiscal crisis for the United States,” the nonpartisan agency said, repeating a warning it made last July.

“In such a crisis, investors become unwilling to finance all of a government’s borrowing needs unless they are compensated with very high interest rates,” the CBO said, adding that “there is no way to predict with any confidence whether and when such a crisis might occur in the United States.”

But it said, “All else being equal, however, the larger the debt, the greater the risk of such a crisis.”

In his introduction to the report, Elmendorf identified health care costs and demographics as primary causes of the fiscal dilemma.

“Under current law, an aging population and rapidly rising health care costs will sharply increase federal spending for health care programs and Social Security,” he said. “If revenues remained at their historical average share of gross domestic product (GDP), such spending growth would cause federal debt to grow to unsustainable levels.”



________________________ ______________

According to Straw Man and other leftists - we dont spend enough.   ::)  ::)


Title: Re: Misery Index: Just hit new 30 Year high and going higher. (Obama Depression)
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 23, 2011, 06:21:31 AM
CBO says debt will reach 62 percent of GDP by year's end (from 36% for last 40 years)
Hill ^ | 6-23-11 | Michael O'Brien


________________________ ________________________ _


The national debt will reach 62 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by the end of this year, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said Wednesday.

The budget office said the debt will reach its highest percentage of GDP since the end of World War II. The jump is driven by lower tax revenues and higher federal spending in the recent recession.

And while the national debt would stabilize at 67 percent of GDP over the next decade if current law were maintained, extending tax cuts enacted during the administration of President George W. Bush and keeping growth in appropriations in line with inflation would mean that the debt would reach almost 90 percent of GDP by 2020.

By contrast, GDP has averaged "a little above" 36 percent per year over the past 40 years.

Obama got somewhat of a chilly reception from world leaders at the G-20 summit over the past weekend when he pressed them to continue with spending to bolster the global economy. Many nations in Europe and elsewhere have had to grapple with their own debt crises, and have been forced to enact tough austerity measures.

Republicans have been hammering away at the president and Democrats in Congress for their spending over the past year and a half, arguing that the stimulus act, healthcare reform law and other measures have done little more than exacerbate the nation's fiscal situation.


(Excerpt) Read more at thehill.com ...

________________________ ______________________


SPEND SPEND SPEND!!!!!


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 23, 2011, 07:31:25 AM
Federal Reserve Chairman: Economy slowing, outlook worse for 2012.
 http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/fed-says...


Federal Reserve, acknowledging slowdown, reins in forecasts for economic growth
By Neil Irwin
6/22/11

The economic recovery is slowing and the outlook for next year has gotten worse, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said Wednesday, backing away from the view that the slowdown of the past few months was merely temporary.

The central bank released new economic projections that showed weaker growth in both 2011 and 2012 than had been forecast just two months ago. Despite the slowdown, the Fed said it will end a program of buying vast sums of Treasury bonds at the end of June as scheduled and gave no sign it is contemplating new action.

But Bernanke, whom markets turn to as a purveyor of economic wisdom, said the Fed had no solid answers as to why, two years into an economic recovery, growth keeps disappointing.

“We don’t have a precise read on why this slower pace of growth is persisting,” Bernanke said in a news conference Wednesday afternoon. He suggested that problems in the financial sector and the housing market, and with consumers trying to pay down their debt, had been underestimated. “Some of these head winds may be stronger or more persistent than we thought.”

....(more at link)
 


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 24, 2011, 07:14:27 AM
Global Bankruptcy Months Away?
Townhall.com ^ | June 24, 2011 | John Ransom


________________________ ________________________ ______



A former Reagan administration official who worked on trade policy is warning that unless Congress can agree to a significant reduction in spending that the world may run out of money in 6-18 months. When that happens the economy could enter “a death spiral.”

“Based upon world liquidity, the amount of money available to fund sovereign debt in 2011 is between $6-9 trillion,” Marc Nuttle told Townhall Finance. Nuttle runs the site DebtWall.org. “The world’s government projections for deficit financing in 2011 is $8-10 trillion. We are bumping into the ceiling of the world’s ability to fund ongoing sovereign deficits and debt on an annual basis.”

The $2-6 trillion shortfall will have to come from other parts of the economy like small business loans, the stock market, commercial bonds and consumer spending.   

Unless something is done to reign in spending, Nuttle, an attorney from Oklahoma who served on Reagan’s Industrial Policy Advisory Committee, predicts that the financing of government debt will eat into the world’s ability to invest in public and private projects.

Money that would normally be available to capital markets would have to be switched just to finance interest rate increases. 

“Interest rates may well hit double digits,” he said, “forcing businesses to operate without adequate float for inventory, materials, facilities and production. Businesses will fail, jobs will be lost, salaries and wages will be reduced.” 

The Republican in charge of deficit negotiations reported this week that there has been no substantial progress with Democrats on cutting the spending of the federal government and has shutdown talks in frustration.

“Deficit-reduction talks led by Vice President Joe Biden have reached an ‘impasse,’ House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor said on Thursday,” according to Reuters, “adding that he will not participate in the meeting of the bipartisan group that had been scheduled for later in the day.”

An unnamed Senate Democrat aide said that both sides need to continue talking, but Reuters says “an aide to Senator Jon Kyl, a Republican member of the Biden group, declined to comment on whether the senator would attend Thursday's scheduled meeting.”

Nuttle says that in order to avert a short-term crisis the U.S. has to take the lead by cutting $500 billion in spending immediately.

“This will not completely solve the problem but it is an adequate step in the right direction,” Nuttle said. “This is the necessary amount that will alleviate pressure on the funding of 2012 world sovereign debt projections. It is still possible to develop a four-year plan to avert hitting the debt wall, but the plan requires immediate cuts in the deficit.”

A recent Rasmussen poll shows that Americans are concerned about the government’s ability to pay its debts. The survey released June 1st, “finds that 66% of American Adults are at least somewhat worried that the U.S. government will run out of money,” while “separate surveying has found that 50% of Likely U.S. Voters think it’s more likely that the government will go bankrupt and be unable to pay its debt before the federal budget is balanced.”

With the end of the Fed’s policy of quantitative easing, financing U.S. government debt is going to present a challenge almost immediately says Peter Schiff, president of Euro Pacific Capital.

“There’s no real private demand for Treasuries,” says Schiff, pointing out that central banks have been the main buyers. “No one buys them to hold them. They flip them, just like condos in Vegas.”

As a consequence either rates will have to go up to attract real buyers or the governments around the world will have to continue to subsidize U.S. debt, which will lead to a world “awash in inflation.”

Nuttle points out that under current artificially low rates, the interest on the U.S. debt is $187 billion. If interest rates were to go back to the historic norm of 4 percent, interest on the debt would come in at $600 billion. 

In fact, Schiff says the low interest rates are holding back the recovery.

“Rates are going to have to go up, if you want to put people back to work. You can make rates as low as you want, but it does no good. Because if banks can get compensated for the risk,” through higher rates, “they aren’t going to loan money.”

Rates will have to go up or the economy is going to have to change, Schiff says.

“Money will have to come from someplace to finance government debt. Consumer spending, stock market, someplace.”

Nuttle predicts that when that happens, “The economy will enter a death spiral of increasing business failures, fewer jobs, higher prices, higher taxes and stagnant growth. Liberals in government will use the ensuing economic crisis as a pretext for increasing the size and scope of government.”

If that’s what’s going to happen, it sounds kind of like we’re out of money already.

Because, really, we are.




Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 24, 2011, 12:01:14 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqpkrnXcGkg


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 29, 2011, 03:32:24 PM
Posted on June 29, 2011 10:05:08 AM EDT by VA Voter

Let me get this straight . . . ... We're going to be "gifted" with a health care plan we are forced to purchase and fined if we don't, Which purportedly covers at least ten million more people, without adding a single new doctor, but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents, written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn't understand it, passed by a Congress that didn't read it but exempted themselves from it, and signed by a President who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn't pay his taxes, for which we'll be taxed for four years before any benefits take effect, by a government which has already bankrupted Social Security and Medicare, all to be overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that's broke!!!!! 'What the hell could possibly go wrong?'


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 29, 2011, 04:12:39 PM
In 1932, President Hoover received a letter from a man in Illinois that read simply, “Vote for Roosevelt and make it unanimous.” Based on its recent floundering, it seems even the White House recognizes that Obamanomics has been a disaster. It’s nearly unanimous now.

When President Reagan entered office, America faced a deep recession with double-digit unemployment and inflation, plus dishearteningly long gas lines. Rather than wasting time blaming his predecessor, the Gipper went right to work unveiling Reaganomics - an embrace of the free market - which included four simple principles: (1) lower tax burden, (2) lower government spending, (3) lower regulatory burden, and (4) a strong dollar monetary policy.

The top income tax rate was reduced from a stifling 70 percent to a low of 28 percent. Total federal spending was reduced from 23.5 percent of gross domestic product to 21.2 percent. Deregulation ended disastrous price controls and curtailed the government’s micromanaging of private businesses. Disciplined money supply strengthened the dollar.

As Peter Ferrara, policy adviser to Reagan, has described, the results were beyond spectacular. Reaganomics unleashed an explosive growth of wealth and prosperity, the largest in the history of humankind. Some 20 million jobs were created. Unemployment dropped to 5.3 percent. The gross domestic product growth rate hit a high of 6.8 percent, and the total economy grew by nearly a third. Inflation dropped to 3.2 percent. Even the oil shortage was solved almost overnight.

Barack Obama is no Ronald Reagan.

President Obama entered office peddling the false hope that government can “spread the wealth.” This is as foolish as bucketing water from one end of a swimming pool to the other. At best you achieve nothing; in reality, the spilled water along the way leaves everybody worse off.

Obamanomics favors top-down compulsory cooperation over voluntary. It is the anti-Reaganomics. Mr. Obama has done the following: (1) raised taxes, (2) unleashed a wild orgy of spending, including his disastrous so-called “stimulus,” (3) dramatically increased regulations and even nationalized industries and businesses, and (4) printed money out of “quantitative easing” thin air.

The results were predictable. Since the Obama stimulus - a collection of “shovel-ready” projects promised to save the economy - was signed into law, America has lost 1.9 million jobs and unemployment has surpassed 9 percent. GDP growth remains anemic. Consumer confidence has tumbled. Gas prices were at $1.81 per gallon before Mr. Obama put his “boot on the neck” of suppliers, and now it’s more than doubled, to $3.81. We burn our food supply in our gas tanks, and grocery prices have skyrocketed - some staples by as much as 40 percent. Since the president signed his mortgage rescue plan, Americans have seen 3.82 million foreclosures. Most disturbingly, the majority of Americans are receiving some type of welfare.

Want to better understand Obamanomics? Look no further than “cash for clunkers,” Mr. Obama’s laughably misguided idea to use American’s wealth to, quite literally, destroy American’s wealth, to use taxpayers’ money to destroy taxpayers’ working automobiles. Despite the propaganda, these weren’t “clunkers” at all. I continue proudly to drive one myself. Edmonds.com estimated the cost per new car sold at $24,000. Some estimates are much higher. A year later, auto sales were at their worst in 27 years and Americans - low-income Americans in particular - are suffering a government-created shortage of low-priced cars. Still the Democrats claim that the clunkers program “has been successful beyond our wildest dreams.” The truth is, it was motivated by environmentalism, not economics. It reflects Mr. Obama’s arrogant belief that he knows better than you what type of car you should drive. Controlling your behavior is one wild dream, indeed.

Mr. Obama, abandoning any pretense of economic literacy, has placed the blame for unemployment squarely on America’s archenemy: the ATM. The jobless rate remains high, according to the president, because - it’s hard to make this stuff up - “when you go to a bank you use the ATM, you don’t go to a bank teller.” Other Democrats share his ignorance. Recently, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. claimed that Apple’s iPad was “probably responsible for eliminating thousands of American jobs.” Mr. Jackson, an iPad owner himself, adds hypoc-risy to ignorance.

Mr. Obama, meet Ned Ludd. In the early 1800s, the Luddites - named for Ned Ludd, an alias used to conceal their leaders’ true identities - sabotaged factories for fear of new technology. Their mistake was a belief that jobs themselves are prosperity when, in fact, it’s the products and services of those jobs that create prosperity. The government could hire people to dig holes and other people to fill them back in, but America would be poorer for the wasted effort. In reality, new technologies, from the advent of the wheel to today’s nanotechnology - including the ATM and the iPad - increase efficiency, which frees people for more important endeavors. This is the precise mechanism that improves mankind’s standard of living.

And now, as Obamanomics continues to crumble, the president has made a stunning admission: ” ‘Shovel-ready’ was not as shovel-ready as we expected.” The line drew laughter from his friendly audience. This is not the first time his own supporters have been caught laughing at Obamanomics. Last week - before the Democratic National Committee, no less - the president made this wild claim: “Over the last 15 months, we’ve created over 2.1 million private-sector jobs.” That despite the record showing America has 1.9 million fewer jobs today than before his “stimulus.” According to the White House’s own transcript, what followed next was “laughter” (until later, that is, when Orwellian Ministry of Truth officials in the administration scrubbed the record and changed the transcript to read “applause”).

Americans are suffering, Mr. President, and it’s no laughing matter. It’s time to put Obamanomics where it belongs: on the trash heap of history. Got a shovel?

Dr. Milton R. Wolf, a Washington Times columnist, is a board-certified diagnostic radiologist and President Obama’s cousin.

© Copyright 2011 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Ads by Stansberry: There’s been a Stunning Power Shift -- Back to the USA. If this video is any indication, we’re about to see one of the greatest power shifts in geopolitical history. And for investors on the right side of this trend, it could mean a windfall. Click here for the full story.




http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/jun/28/obamanomics-is-shovel-ready



Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 30, 2011, 07:11:29 AM
Jobs Picture Remains Ugly as Weekly Claims Still High
Published: Thursday, 30 Jun 2011 | 8:37 AM ET Text Size By: Reuters


 


The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits barely fell last week, a government report showed on Thursday, suggesting the labor market was struggling to regain momentum.

 
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped just 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 428,000, the Labor Department said. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims dropping to 420,000. The prior week's figure was unrevised at 429,000.

It was the 12th straight week that claims have been above 400,000, a level that is usually associated with a stable labor market. Employment stumbled badly in May, with employers adding just 54,000 jobs—the fewest in eight months.

"Payroll growth is going to be more like last month's rather than first three months of the year," said Troy Davig, senior U.S. economist at Barclays Capital in New York.

Nonfarm payrolls are expected to have increased 90,000 this month, according to a Reuters survey, with the unemployment rate edging down to 9.0 percent. The employment report for June will be released on July 8.

A Labor Department official said one state was estimated, noting there was nothing unusual in the state-level details.

The continued elevation of claims could raise concerns that the economic soft patch in the first half of the year could linger. The economy has been slammed by bad weather, high gasoline prices and supply chain disruptions after the March earthquake in Japan.

However, many economists and the Federal Reserve believe activity will pick-up in the third quarter as these temporary factors ease.

The four-week moving average of unemployment claims, a better measure of underlying trends, nudged up 500 to 426,750.  

The number of people still receiving benefits under regular state programs after an initial week of aid fell 12,000 to 3.70 million in the week ended June 18. So-called continuing claims covered the survey week for the employment report's household survey, from which the unemployment rate is derived.

The number of people on emergency unemployment benefits climbed 1,471 to 3.30 million in the week ended June 11, the latest week for which data is available. A total of 7.51 million people were claiming unemployment benefits during that period under all programs, down 30,701 from the prior week.


http://www.cnbc.com/id/43590162





Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 30, 2011, 11:37:12 AM
Poll: Nearly Two-Thirds of Americans Scaling Back Summer Vacation Plans Due to the Economy
Michelle Malkin .com ^ | June 29, 2011 | Doug Powers





This morning I read a CNBC economic survey which included the following:

60% of the public is reacting to higher food and gas prices by scaling back on summer vacation plans… Timing is everything, because no more than five minutes later I ran across this story:

President Obama, for the third straight year, is planning to return to Martha’s Vineyard for vacation this summer, according to a White House official.

The Obamas are scheduled to spend seven to 10 days on the island in mid- to late August, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of security concerns.

Some have wondered if public “perception” would be taken into greater consideration with 2012 just around the corner. There’s your answer. Now get back to work and up your game, America!


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on June 30, 2011, 01:44:52 PM
Report: Denny's, Wendy's and Domino's among restaurants in danger of bankruptcy (Obama Depression)
WCPO ^ | 06/30/2011 | Pete Kenworthy


________________________ ________________________ ____________



Following bankruptcy filings by Sbarro, Perkins and Marie Callender’s this year, new data suggests that other popular restaurant chains are in danger of following suit.

TheStreet.com recently looked at restaurants based on their Altman Z-Score. The website says the score is based on “several aspects of a company's financial health -- including working capital, total assets, total liabilities, market capitalization, sales, retained earnings and earnings before interest & taxes (EBIT) -- to forecast the probability of it going bankrupt within two years.”

Since it began the scoring system in 1968, TheStreet says the formula has been 72 percent accurate in predicting corporate bankruptcies two years prior to the filing.

The list of restaurant in order of most at risk to file for bankruptcy (limited to those with a market capitalization of $100 million):

1. Denny’s 2. Wendy’s/Arby’s 3. Morton’s Restaurant Group 4. DineEquity (IHOP, Applebee’s) 5. Domino’s Pizza 6. Bravo Brio Restaurant Group 7. McCormick & Schmick’s 8. Ruth’s Hospitality Group (Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Mitchell’s Fish Market) 9. O’Charley’s 10. Einstein Noah Restaurant Group


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: garebear on June 30, 2011, 09:27:28 PM
MLMF = More Links Mother Fucker


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 01, 2011, 05:55:33 AM
The Jobless Summer
Why only one in four teens is employed..Article Comments (142) more in Opinion
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304447804576411903821123330.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop



Perhaps you've already noticed around the neighborhood, but this is a rotten summer for young Americans to find a job. The Department of Labor reported last week that a smaller share of 16-19 year-olds are working than at anytime since records began to be kept in 1948.

Only 24% of teens, one in four, have jobs, compared to 42% as recently as the summer of 2001. The nearby chart chronicles the teen employment percentage over time, including the notable plunge in the last decade. So instead of learning valuable job skills—getting out of bed before noon, showing up on time, being courteous to customers, operating a cash register or fork lift—millions of kids will spend the summer playing computer games or hanging out.

The lousy economic recovery explains much of this decline in teens working, and some is due to increases in teen summer school enrollment. Some is also cultural: Many parents don't put the same demands on teens as they once did to get out and work.



...But Congress has also contributed by passing one of the most ill-timed minimum wage increases in history. One of the first acts of the gone-but-not-forgotten Nancy Pelosi ascendancy was to raise the minimum wage in stages to $7.25 an hour in 2009 from $5.15 in 2007. Even liberals ought to understand that raising the cost of hiring the young and unskilled while employers are slashing payrolls is loopy economics.

Or maybe not. The Center for American Progress, often called the think tank for the Obama White House, recently recommended another increase to $8.25 an hour. Though the U.S. unemployment rate is 9.1%, the thinkers assert that a rising wage would "stimulate economic growth to the tune of 50,000 new jobs." So if the government orders employers to pay more to hire workers when they're already not hiring, they'll somehow hire more workers. By this logic, if we raised the minimum wage to $25 an hour we'd have full employment.

Back on planet Earth, the minimum wage increase has coincided with the plunge in the percentage of working teens. Before the most recent wage hikes, roughly seven million teens were working. Now there are closer to five million with a job and paycheck.

Black teens have had the worst of it, with their unemployment rate rising to 41.6% in April from 29% in 2007, faster than almost any other group. A 2010 study by economists William Even of Miami University of Ohio and David Macpherson of Trinity University found that as a result of the $2.10 increase in minimum wage, "teen employment dropped by 6.9 percent. . . . For the teen population with less than 12 years of education completed, teen employment dropped by 12.4 percent." For teens priced out of the labor market, their wage fell to zero.

The great tragedy is that even discussing the role of the minimum wage in teen unemployment seems to be a political taboo. The other day we saw ABC's George Stephanopoulos baiting Michele Bachmann on the minimum wage, as if refusing to raise it would be some epic political gaffe. Ms. Bachmann didn't back down from saying that the minimum wage has contributed to unemployment, though she didn't explain why.


The great tragedy is that even discussing the role of the minimum wage in teen unemployment seems to be a political taboo.
.What she or another candidate should do is stop playing defense and ask why Mr. Stephanopoulos doesn't seem to mind a black teen jobless rate of 41.6%. Someone truly brave would come out for a teenage sub-minimum wage of, say, $4 an hour. In certain circumstances employers can now pay teens a minimum of $4.25, but only for 90 days. This makes employers reluctant to hire at all. Make the case on moral grounds that a mandated wage that is too high blocks the young and unskilled from grabbing a place on the economic ladder.

Teenagers who work part-time while attending school generally make more money and have more successful careers as adults than kids who never work. As a 2006 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago put it: "The drop in teen labor force participation may also have implications for future productivity growth. In general, labor market experience tends to raise subsequent earnings."

The U.S. has long had a labor market flexible enough that when the economy grows, the jobless rate falls smartly. This time has been different, and the great danger is that Obamanomics has moved the U.S. to a permanently higher jobless rate as in so much of Europe. For America's teenagers this summer, that reality is already here.

   


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 01, 2011, 12:37:20 PM
Wind-Turbine Maker That Obama Praised Files for Bankruptcy
IndustryWeek ^ | July 1, 2011 | Josh Cable


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Company is having trouble obtaining financing for working capital.

Cardinal Fastener & Specialty Co., a Cleveland-based manufacturer of screws and bolts for wind turbines, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Thursday.

Cardinal President John Grabner told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the bankruptcy filing is necessary because the company is having trouble obtaining "working-capital financing" from its primary lender, Wells Fargo.

Grabner also told the Plain Dealer that the company is profitable and its revenues are growing.

President Obama visited Cardinal, which is in Bedford Heights near Cleveland, in January 2009 before his inauguration.

"Renewable energy isn't something pie in the sky," Obama said during a speech at Cardinal. "It's not part of a far-off future. It's happening all across America right now.

" ... It can create millions of new jobs and entire new industries if we act right now."

Jeff Grabner, vice president and head of the company's wind business, told the Plain Dealer earlier in the week that Cardinal had been losing business to European suppliers who had underbid Cardinal, forcing the company to trim its workforce by 15 employees a year ago.


________________________ ___-


FAIL 


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 05, 2011, 06:33:14 AM

Krauthammer: "Middle-Aged May Never Get Employed Again"



"The problem is at the consumer level, confidence is low and that is because, as you showed, showed we had underemployment with one out of every six Americans. The worst element of that is that among the unemployed, against the American history, more than approaching half, have [been] unemployed for over six months. That is historically unprecedented in the United States. That is a phenomenon that is seen often in Europe, rarely seen here. In 2007 the average time to get a new job was five weeks. It's now near six months. And that implies a whole segment of the population, the more elderly or the middle-aged who may never get employed again," Charles Krauthammer said on FOX News this evening.


http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/07/04/krauthammer_middle-aged_may_never_get_employed_again.html




________________________ ________________________ ________________-


FAIL 


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 05, 2011, 08:27:47 AM
Down on the Fourth of July: the United States of gloom
The Telegraph ^ | 07/04/2011 | Toby Harnden




Across America today, people will gather for barbecues in their backyards, parades through their towns and firework displays lighting up the night sky.

They’ll be celebrating Independence Day – the birthday of the United States and the 235th anniversary of shaking off the oppressive yoke of British rule.

On this day in 1776 a group of 13 colonies broke away to found a new nation free to govern itself as it saw fit, pledging that each citizen would have the unalienable right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. A nation, as Americans are apt to declare without equivocation, which became the greatest on the face of the earth.

That’s the good news. On the flip side, however, a country whose hallmark has always been a sense of irrepressible optimism is in the grip of unprecedented uncertainty and self-doubt.

With the United States mired in three foreign wars, beaten down by an economy that shows few signs of emerging from deep recession and deeply disillusioned with President Barack Obama, his Republican challengers and Congress, the mood is dark.

The last comparable Fourth of July was probably in 1980, when there was a recession, skyrocketing petrol prices and an Iranian hostage crisis, with 53 Americans being held in Tehran.

Frank Luntz, perhaps America’s pre-eminent pollster, argues that his countrymen are much more downbeat now than in 1980. “The assumption with the Carter years was that it was a failure of the elites, not the system. We thought the people in charge screwed up. We didn’t blame ourselves.” Remarkably, many Americans think things will only get worse and the good times will never return.


(Excerpt) Read more at blogs.telegraph.co.uk ...

________________________ ________________________ ________________________ _________

FAIL 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0tuAJkbUWU



Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 05, 2011, 10:50:42 AM
www.wsj.com
ECONOMY
JULY 5, 2011.
Inside the Disappointing Comeback 
By JON HILSENRATH And CONOR DOUGHERTY




Two years ago, officials said, the worst recession since the Great Depression ended. The stumbling recovery has also proven to be the worst since the economic disaster of the 1930s.

 The News Hub covers one of the slowest recoveries from economic recession on record. Also, the National Education Association endorses President Obama. Plus, mules put on a show in Missouri. AP Photo/Paul Sancya

.Across a wide range of measures—employment growth, unemployment levels, bank lending, economic output, income growth, home prices and household expectations for financial well-being—the economy's improvement since the recession's end in June 2009 has been the worst, or one of the worst, since the government started tracking these trends after World War II.  

.In some ways the recovery is much like the 1991 and 2001 post-recession periods: All three are marked by gradual output growth rather than sharp snap-backs typical of earlier recoveries. But this recovery may remain lackluster for years, many economists say, because of heavy household debt, a financial system still damaged by the mortgage crisis, fragile confidence and a government with few good options for supporting growth.

There are bright spots. Exports, particularly of manufactured and agricultural goods, are improving, in part because of booming developing-country economies and the weaker dollar. They are expected to pick up in the second half of the year as the temporary shock fades from Japan's earthquake and tsunami. In a hint of this, the Institute of Supply Management on Friday reported an uptick in manufacturing for June. Higher corporate profits, stock prices and business investment also are supporting the expansion.

Disappointing Data

The economy's improvement since the recession's June 2009 end has been the worst, or among the worst, recorded across a wide range of measures since the government started tracking these trends after World War II.

View Interactive
.
.Still, broader problems are holding the economy back.

Banks are less able or willing to lend than before the recession. Since the recovery started, banks have reduced money they make available through credit card lines from $3.04 trillion to $2.69 trillion and have reduced home equity credit lines from $1.33 trillion to $1.15 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Policy makers, meanwhile, are reluctant to do more to stimulate economic growth. The Federal Reserve has already pushed short-term interest rates to near zero. Two rounds of quantitative easing that including purchasing $1.425 trillion in mortgage bonds and $900 billion in Treasury debt helped to stabilize the economy but failed to spur a vigorous recovery.

View Interactive

.Likewise, fiscal stimulus, either in the form of tax cuts favored by Republicans or spending increases favored by Democrats, looks unlikely given large federal deficits and the disappointing results of earlier efforts, including President Obama's $830 billion stimulus program of 2009.

The biggest problem may be household indebtedness. At the peak of the economic boom in the third quarter of 2007, U.S. households collectively had borrowed the equivalent of 127% of their annual incomes to fund purchases of homes, cars and other goods, up from an average of 84% in the 1990s. The money used to pay off that debt means less available for new spending. Households had worked their debt-to-income levels down to 112% by the first quarter, in part because banks have written off some debt as uncollectible.

Jurgen Schulz, owner of K-5, a San Diego area retailer that sells surfboards, skateboards and lifestyle apparel, sees more people living month-to-month. "Our sales trail way off the further it gets from pay period," he said. Mr. Schulz, in turn, didn't hire this year the six to eight seasonal workers his company usually brings on each summer.

Getting rid of debt could be a long and slow process.To get back to a 1990s debt-to-income ratio of 84%, households would either need to pay down another $3.3 trillion of debt, or see their incomes rise $3.9 trillion. That's equivalent to about nine years' worth of income growth in normal times, estimates Credit Suisse economist Dana Saporta.

Debt constraints are especially hard on consumers who before the crisis relied on credit cards or home equity lines to keep spending when they needed money. Now many of those lines have been limited or cut.

With less access to credit, many families are finding the only way to make ends meet is to cut spending.

"Every single month you're struggling, struggling, struggling," said Javier Toro, 49, a father of three. He makes $13 an hour as a customer service representative at a non-profit that administers a program offering free energy efficiency upgrades to homeowners. The program, funded by the 2009 stimulus law, ends in a few months as government funds dry up. He's paying about $100 a month to keep current on $3,000 in credit card debt, but making no headway paying down principal. To make ends meet, he's cut his cable and Internet service, and the fixed telephone line to his rented home.

He said, "You don't see when this is going to stop."

Debt and a dismal job market have hurt consumers' confidence, which further damps their willingness to spend. The University of Michigan finds that 24% of households expect to be better off financially within a year's time. That's the lowest this measure has been at this point in a recovery since World War II.

Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said job growth had been "significantly faster" than the recovery in the 2000s, though there was a long way to go. He added that recovering from a bubble-based expansion driven by consumer spending and housing toward more exports and investment was tough work. "We can't just go back to what we did before," he said.

Write to Jon Hilsenrath at jon.hilsenrath@wsj.com and Conor Dougherty at conor.dougherty@wsj.com


________________________ _____________--

FAIL


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 05, 2011, 10:54:15 AM
 :(


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 06, 2011, 04:10:43 AM
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-06/u-s-job-gains-...

As bad as the U.S. employment picture looks, the official Labor Department figures understate the magnitude of the crisis.

Creating private-sector jobs -- not adding to government payrolls -- is the key to achieving a genuine recovery. But employment statistics define the private sector far too broadly. The numbers include too many industries in which demand, and therefore employment, depends heavily on subsidies.

Health care is responsible for most of the over-count -- which can be estimated with some confidence using Labor Department data -- with social-service providers and private education institutions also contributing to the problem.

The latest jobs report for May shows just how badly these sectors distort the employment figures. According to the Labor Department, private businesses added 83,000 jobs compared with April levels, falling far short of forecasts. (Figures for both months are still preliminary.) By subtracting the 34,000 jobs added in the health-care, social-service and education sectors, the number of new private-sector positions shrinks to just 49,000.

Since the recession officially ended in June 2009, the disparity has been much wider. Private-sector employment grew by a seasonally adjusted 980,000 in the last two years. That pales beside the 7.7 million private-sector jobs lost during the recession, but at least optimists can call it a start.


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 06, 2011, 09:41:37 AM
Closed Factories Symbolize Obama's Economic Woes
Townhall.com ^ | July 6, 2011 | Donald Lambro


________________________ ________________________ _



WASHINGTON -- The likelihood that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner may resign from his post later this summer is the latest sign that President Obama's team of economic advisers is disintegrating as the economy grows weaker.

With the nation's 9.1 percent unemployment rate worse than it was when Obama took office in 2009, and the economy slowing down to less than 2 percent growth, Geithner's signal that he wants out further diminishes whatever confidence the country still has in Obama's economic policies -- and polls show that isn't much.

The former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is the chief architect of Obama's economic strategy, which is now under fierce attack from Republican presidential contenders and grumbling from Democrats on Capitol Hill who fear their party will suffer deeper losses if the economy doesn't recover this year or early in 2012.


Geithner is the last big-name adviser in Obama's original economic team. One by one, the rest have left in the past year, some of them with parting shots that the economy needs a much stronger stimulus than it got in 2009 if it is to get back on its feet before Election Day.

Gone are Larry Summers, who headed the National Economic Council (NEC); Christina Romer, who chaired the President's Council of Economic Advisers; and longtime Obama adviser Austan Goolsbee, who briefly took her place, only to return recently to the University of Chicago.

Should Geithner leave, as senior officials have intimated he will, that will leave a thin, faceless team of advisers at a time when the economy demands a team of heavy hitters who can command the respect of the business community and Wall Street, and recalibrate Obama's policies for the 2012 campaign.

Gene Sperling, who rose to become Treasury counselor under President Clinton, has moved into the NEC's directorship, but he is not a trained economist and knows less about creating jobs.


Geithner has indicated that he will remain onboard at least until he has wrapped up negotiations with Congress to raise the debt limit and cut spending over the next 10 years.

Few in the party's liberal base will shed tears if he leaves. He was one of the chief architects of the Bush administration's Wall Street bailout in 2008. He fought to protect big bonuses for financial traders. His prescriptions to deal with the tsunami of mortgage foreclosures and pull the housing industry out of its slump have been ineffective at best.

Should he leave by summer's end, that would precipitate a battle royal over his replacement and ignite new debate in Congress over Obama's economic policies just as he turns his full attention to his re-election bid.


"It's going to be an opening for the Republicans to put the Obama economic policies on a big public trial," economist Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute told The Washington Post.

The ongoing dismantlement of Obama's economic team comes at a time when there is little left in the government's shrinking bag of stimulus tricks.

The administration's infrastructure spending stimulus is slowing to a trickle. The Federal Reserve is pulling away from its ineffective QE 2 bond purchasing initiative to inject new capital into the nation's economy. The White House all but admits it's out of ideas to pump up the economy. Indeed, it's still pushing for higher taxation on industries and investors, which would further slow an already tepid growth rate.


In the meantime, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is aggressively stepping up his attacks on the Obama economy in major industrial states hit hard by high unemployment.

Last week, Romney went to the shuttered, barb-wired Allentown Metal Works plant in Pennsylvania that Obama visited with much bravado in 2009, saying it was the kind of factory that his $800 billion spending stimulus bill would keep open. It closed earlier this year, laying off all of its workers.

"Look around you: This is what he called the symbol of hope," a shirt-sleeved Romney said at a news conference in front of the factory's padlocked gates. "There are weeds, boarded-up windows. This was the stop he picked to symbolize the success of the stimulus. And my eyes tell me it ain't working."


Repeatedly calling Obama "a failure," Romney talked about his 25-year career in business investment, building start-up companies into job creators, a process he said Obama knows nothing about.

"He's out of his depth when it comes to getting the economy going. It's just not something he understands," he said.

Out of his depth -- and running out of qualified economic advisers who know what creates more employers and produces jobs.


In politics there is something called "critical mass," when an issue becomes so big within the nation's electorate that it overwhelms the incumbent's prospects. That's what is happening to Obama now.

There are lots of closed factories like the one in Allentown that tell of a failed economic recovery. You'll be seeing Romney speaking in front of them on the evening news.


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 08, 2011, 12:45:52 PM
Zero Hedge ^ | 07/08/2011 | Tyler Durden



Every time we update the projection chart of how many jobs have to be created by the end of Obama's now improbable second term, the number goes up. First it was 245,500 in April, then 250,000 in June, now it is 254,000: it seems to increase by 5,000 each month. As a reminder this chart looks for the breakeven number that has be attained to restore (not surpass) the jobs that the US economy had back in December 2007 as the Depression started, when accounting for the natural increase of 90,000 people/month in the labor force. Needless to say, there is no way in hell the US economy can create a quarter million jobs per month from now for the next 65 months, as long as the president continues to pander to Wall Street's "wealth creation" via asset returns instead of directing capital into actual economically viable projects that focus on wealth creation through labor.









________________________ _____________


240, Blacken, Straw - lets talk about porn.   ::)


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 08, 2011, 07:01:02 PM
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Navy to Cut Jobs Amid Recession-Driven Sailor Surplus
Fox News ^ | July 08, 2011 | Justin Fishel
Posted on July 8, 2011 8:47:31 PM EDT by Doofer

With more sailors staying in the military amid a slumping economic recovery, the U.S. Navy is taking the unprecedented step of firing low-ranking petty officers to help rein in spending. The Navy plans to let go of 3,000 young sailors after economic uncertainty put the service in the unusual position of having a manpower surplus. The move comes as a new government report shows that the unemployment rate ticked up to 9.2 percent -- marking 29 straight months that number has been over 8 percent and a record streak since the Great Depression.

(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 09, 2011, 08:55:20 AM
Real Unemployment Rises to 16.2% in June -- 25.3 Million People
 CNSNews ^




Real Unemployment Rises to 16.2% in June -- 25.3 Million People Friday, July 08, 2011 By Matt Cover

(CNSNews.com) – The real unemployment rate rose to 16.2 percent in June, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on Friday, marking a return to levels not seen since January 2011.

The “real” unemployment rate is technically a combination of three measures of unemployment: the unemployment rate, the number of people working part-time who want full-time work, and the number of people “marginally attached” to the workforce.

Those who have left the workforce but would still like to be employed are considered marginally attached.

This figure is considered a more complete measure of unemployment because it captures a broader spectrum of those affected by the weak economy. Merely counting those who apply for unemployment benefits as “unemployed” does not fully account for everyone who is out of work or underemployed.

This real unemployment rate – known as the U6 rate – has been climbing since February 2011 when it was at 15.9 percent. Real unemployment peaked in October of 2009 at 17.4 percent, before falling into the 16 percent range for much of 2010.

It now appears that the real unemployment rate is returning to its 2010 levels, trending upward after staying slightly below 16 percent from February to May.

The total number of people who were truly unemployed in June was 25.3 million -- the 14.1 million who were unemployed, the 2.7 million who were marginally attached to the workforce and the 8.6 million who were underemployed.



Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 10, 2011, 03:34:24 PM
Geithner says hard times to continue for many (Til your gone)
Yahoo news ^ | July10,2011 | AP
Posted on July 10, 2011 6:42:11 PM EDT by Hojczyk

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (GYT'-nur) says many Americans will face hard times for a long time to come.

He says President Barack Obama rescued the United States from a second Great Depression and will keep working to strengthen the economy. But Geithner says will be some time before many people feel like the country is recovering.

Geithner tells NBC's "Meet the Press" that it's a very tough economy. He says that for a lot of people "it's going to feel very hard, harder than anything they've experienced in their lifetime now, for a long time to come."

(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 10, 2011, 06:36:14 PM
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Rampant Unemployment = The Death Of The Middle Class - The Working Class Is Being Wiped Out
The Economic Collapse ^ | 07/09/2011 | Michael Snyder
Posted on July 10, 2011 9:25:18 PM EDT by SeekAndFind

Without an abundance of good jobs, the middle class in the United States is going to shrivel up and die. Right now, rampant unemployment is absolutely killing communities all over America. Hopelessness and poverty are exploding and many are now wondering if we are actually witnessing the slow death of the middle class. There simply are not nearly enough "good jobs" to go around anymore, and even many in the mainstream media are referring to this as a "long-term structural problem" with the economy. The only thing that most working class Americans have to offer in the marketplace is their labor. If nobody will hire them they do not have any other ways to provide for their families. Well, there is a problem. Today wealth has become incredibly centralized. The big corporations and the big banks dominate everything. Thanks to incredible advances in technology and thanks to the globalization of our economic system, the people with all the money don't have to hire as many ordinary Americans anymore. They can hire all the labor they want on the other side of the globe for a fraction of the cost. So the rich don't really have that much use for the working class in America anymore. The only thing of value that the working class had to offer has now been tremendously devalued. The wealthy don't have to pay a lot for physical labor anymore. Thousands of our factories and millions of our jobs have been shipped overseas and they aren't coming back. The big corporations are thriving while tens of millions of ordinary Americans are deeply suffering. Almost all of the wealth being produced by our economy is going to a very centralized group of people at the very top of the food chain. The rich are getting richer and the working class is being systematically wiped out.

So the fact that we are facing rampant unemployment that never seems to go away should not be a surprise to anyone. Today, the "official" unemployment rate went up to 9.2 percent even though a whopping 272,000 Americans "dropped out of the labor force" in June. The government unemployment figure that includes "discouraged workers" went up from 15.8% to 16.2%. The mainstream media is proclaiming that this was "a horrific report" because most economists were expecting much better news.

Well, guess what?

Things are going to get a whole lot worse.

More job cuts are coming. One recently released report found that the number of job cuts being planned by U.S. employers increased by 11.6% in June.

It is also being projected that state and local governments across the U.S. will slash nearly half a million more jobs by the end of next year.

Needless to say, things don't look good.

Most people that still have jobs are desperately trying to hold on to them.

Employers know that most workers are easily replaceable these days, so wages are not moving up even though the cost of living is.

We are right in the middle of the worst employment downturn since World War 2. Jay-Z recently summed up the situation this way....

"Numbers don't lie. Unemployment is pretty high."

Jay-Z certainly has a way with words, eh?

If something is not done about the rampant unemployment in this nation, the death of the middle class will accelerate.

Most Americans just assume that the United States will always have a large middle class, but there is no guarantee that is going to happen. In fact, there is a whole lot of evidence that the middle class in America is rapidly shrinking.

Take a few moments to read over the facts compiled below. Taken together, they provide compelling evidence that the working class is being systematically wiped out....

#1 Right now, the U.S. government says that 14.1 million Americans are unemployed.

#2 There are fewer payroll jobs in the United States today than there were back in 2000 even though we have added 30 million people to the population since then.

#3 The number of Americans that are "not in the labor force" is at an all-time high.

#4 The United States has never had an employment downturn this deep and this prolonged since World War 2 ended.

#5 There are officially 6.3 million Americans that have been unemployed for more than 6 months. That number has risen by more than 3.5 million in just the past two years.

#6 It now takes the average unemployed worker in America about 40 weeks to find a new job. Just check out this chart....



#7 There are now about 7.25 million fewer jobs in America than when the recession began back in 2007.

#8 Back in 2000, the employment to population ratio was over 64 percent. Today, it is sitting at just 58.2%.

#9 Only 66.8% of American men had a job last year. That was the lowest level that has ever been recorded in all of U.S. history.

#10 During this economic downturn, employee compensation in the United States has been the lowest that it has been relative to gross domestic product in over 50 years.

#11 The number of "low income jobs" in the U.S. has risen steadily over the past 30 years and they now account for 41 percent of all jobs in the United States.

#12 Half of all American workers now earn $505 or less per week.

#13 According to a report released in February from the National Employment Law Project, higher wage industries are accounting for 40 percent of the job losses in America but only 14 percent of the job growth. Lower wage industries are accounting for just 23 percent of the job losses but 49 percent of the job growth.

#14 The United States has lost a staggering 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.

#15 Between December 2000 and December 2010, 38 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Ohio were lost, 42 percent of the manufacturing jobs in North Carolina were lost and 48 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Michigan were lost.

#16 Back in 1970, 25 percent of all jobs in the United States were manufacturing jobs. Today, only 9 percent of the jobs in the United States are manufacturing jobs.

#17 Do you remember when the United States was the dominant manufacturer of automobiles and trucks on the globe? Well, in 2010 the U.S. ran a trade deficit in automobiles, trucks and parts of $110 billion.

#18 In 2010, South Korea exported 12 times as many automobiles, trucks and parts to us as we exported to them.

#19 The United States now spends more than 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that China spends on goods and services from the United States.

#20 Since China entered the WTO in 2001, the U.S. trade deficit with China has grown by an average of 18% per year.

#21 The U.S. trade deficit with China in 2010 was 27 times larger than it was back in 1990.

#22 The United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

#23 In 2002, the United States had a trade deficit in "advanced technology products" of $16 billion with the rest of the world. In 2010, that number skyrocketed to $82 billion.

#24 Manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry was actually lower in 2010 than it was in 1975.

#25 Since 2001, over 42,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have been closed.

#26 There were more manufacturing jobs in the United States in 1950 than there are today.

#27 Since the year 2000, we have lost approximately 10% of our middle class jobs. In the year 2000 there were about 72 million middle class jobs in the United States but today there are only about 65 million middle class jobs. Meanwhile, our population has gotten significantly larger.

#28 When you adjust wages for inflation, middle class workers in the United States make less money today than they did back in 1971.

#29 One recent survey found that 9 out of 10 U.S. workers do not expect their wages to keep up with soaring food prices and soaring gas prices over the next 12 months.

#30 Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.

#31 One out of every six elderly Americans now lives below the federal poverty line.

#32 According to one recent study, approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States were living below the poverty line in 2010.

#33 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid. Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.

#34 As 2007 began, there were 26 million Americans on food stamps. Today, there are more than 44 million Americans on food stamps, which is an all-time record.

#35 Today, one out of every four American children is on food stamps.

#36 59 percent of all Americans now receive money from the federal government in one form or another.

#37 The number of Americans that are going to food pantries and soup kitchens has increased by 46% since 2006.

#38 In the United States today, the richest one percent of all Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90 percent combined.

#39 According to Moody's Analytics, the wealthiest 5% of all households in the United States now account for approximately 37% of all consumer spending.

#40 The poorest 50% of all Americans collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.

The cold, hard reality of the matter is that the United States is experiencing a long-term economic decline.

Every single day, more American families fall out of the middle class and into poverty. There are millions of American families out there tonight that are just barely hanging on by their fingernails.

More Americans than ever are constantly borrowing more money just to stay afloat. Even as rampant unemployment plagues this nation and even as wages remain stagnant, middle class Americans are increasing their use of credit.

A CNBC article noted the increase in consumer borrowing that we have seen recently....

The Federal Reserve says consumer borrowing rose $5.1 billion following a revised gain of $5.7 billion in April. Borrowing in the category that covers credit cards increased, as did borrowing in the category for auto and student loans.

It is very hard to live "the American Dream" without going into huge amounts of debt these days.

But for an increasing number of Americans, "the American Dream" is just a distant memory.

Tonight, there are large numbers of people living in the tunnels under the city of Las Vegas. As the wealthy live the high life in the casinos and hotels above them, an increasing number of desperate "tunnel people" are attempting to carve out an existence in the 200 mile long labyrinth of tunnels that stretches beneath Vegas. It is a nightmarish environment, but it is all those people have left.

Don't look down on them, because you never know who might be next.

If you lost your current job, how long would you be able to survive?

Unfortunately, as bad as things are now, the reality is that this is just the beginning.

You ain't seen nothin' yet.

Do what you can to make sure that you and your family are not totally wiped out by the next wave of the economic collapse.


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 11, 2011, 04:13:16 AM
Skip to comments.

Economy faces a jolt as benefit checks run out (Hey Obama, how's that "stimulus" working out?)
MSNBC ^ | 7/11/2011 | MOTOKO RICH/NY Times
Posted on July 11, 2011 7:07:55 AM EDT by tobyhill

An extraordinary amount of personal income is coming directly from the government.

Close to $2 of every $10 that went into Americans’ wallets last year were payments like jobless benefits, food stamps, Social Security and disability, according to an analysis by Moody’s Analytics. In states hit hard by the downturn, like Arizona, Florida, Michigan and Ohio, residents derived even more of their income from the government.

By the end of this year, however, many of those dollars are going to disappear, with the expiration of extended benefits intended to help people cope with the lingering effects of the recession. Moody’s Analytics estimates $37 billion will be drained from the nation’s pocketbooks this year.

In terms of economic impact, that is slightly less than the spending cuts Congress enacted to keep the government financed through September, averting a shutdown.

Unless hiring picks up sharply to compensate, economists fear that the lost income will further crimp consumer spending and act as a drag on a recovery that is still quite fragile. Among the other supports that are slipping away are federal aid to the states, the Federal Reserve’s program to pump money into the economy and the payroll tax cut, scheduled to expire at the end of the year.

“If we don’t get more job growth and gains in wages and salaries, then consumers just aren’t going to have the firepower to spend, and the economy is going to weaken,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, a macroeconomic consulting firm.

Job growth has remained elusive. There are 4.6 unemployed workers for every opening, according to the Labor Department, and Friday’s unemployment report showed that employers added an anemic 18,000 jobs in June.

(Excerpt) Read more at msnbc.msn.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 11, 2011, 06:50:39 AM
Little Hiring Seen by Small Business. The Nation's Jobs Engine Stalls.
Wall Street Journal ^ | 07/11/2011 | Siobhan Hughes




WASHINGTON—The U.S. labor market could stay sluggish for a while, with small-business executives reluctant to hire amid the murky economic outlook.

Almost two-thirds—64%—of small-business executives surveyed said they weren't expecting to add to their payrolls in the next year and another 12% planned to cut jobs, according to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce report to be released Monday. Just 19% said they would expand their work forces.

This comes after a Labor Department report Friday showed employers added few jobs in June, and unemployment rose to 9.2%. The bleak figures joined other data showing the recovery losing momentum in recent months, which has caused many analysts and policy makers to lower their forecasts for economic growth in the second half of the year.

The Small Business Administration says small businesses, defined as companies with fewer than 500 workers, employ about half of the workers in the private sector. In the Chamber's survey of 1,409 executives, conducted by Harris Interactive, small businesses were defined as firms with revenue of $25 million or less.

More than half of the small-business executives in the June 27-30 survey cited economic uncertainty as the main reason for holding back on hiring. About a third blamed lack of sales, while just 7% pointed to problems getting credit.

"I think it's safer to stay on hold and not hire workers," said Harold Jackson, chief executive of Buffalo Supply, a Lafayette, Colo., distributor of high-tech medical equipment used in operating rooms

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


________________________ ________________________ _____

No kidding.    Like i said, until obama is ousted, things will only get worse and worse.  He is a black plague over the economy.     



Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 11, 2011, 10:37:06 AM
The Food-Stamp Crime Wave
WSJ ^




The number of food-stamp recipients has soared to 44 million from 26 million in 2007. Not surprisingly, fraud and abuse are rampant..Millionaires are now legally entitled to collect food stamps as long as they have little or no monthly income. Thirty-five states have abolished asset tests for most food-stamp recipients. These and similar "paperwork reduction" reforms advocated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are turning the food-stamp program into a magnet for abuses and absurdities.


(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...



Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 11, 2011, 10:50:47 AM
Source: Bloomberg

Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) may begin one of its largest workforce reductions in August by eliminating about 5,000 jobs, Gleacher & Co. said in a research report today.

Cisco Chief Executive Officer John Chambers said he planned to cut more jobs and drop less-profitable businesses after closing the Flip video-camera unit and firing 550 workers in May. The company will give an update “on the cost reductions, including layoffs, on our next earnings call,” Karen Tillman, a spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement today.

--CLIP
Cisco may eliminate positions in the consumer-product unit, which makes Linksys home-networking equipment, Marshall said. Some investors have said the company should exit consumer products entirely to focus on traditional enterprise offerings such as routers and switches. Cisco’s equipment is used by corporate networks and telephone and Internet service providers to direct Web traffic.

The company is also reorganizing management to streamline its business and focus on areas of growth, Cisco said in May. To speed decision making, the company organized field operations into three geographic regions and reformed a council-style management structure.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-11/cisco-may-cut-...


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 11, 2011, 11:02:00 AM
NEED TO KNOW: ECONOMY
The Glum and the Restless
Nearly one in five recent grads is out of work. Could that hurt Obama’s reelection bid?
By Jim Tankersley



http://www.nationaljournal.com/magazine/recent-grads-economic-struggles-could-hurt-obama-20110707





Boehner's Backpedal Moves D.C. Closer to the Brink

Here’s a fact that should give economists—and maybe President Obama’s political team—heartburn: Two years after the Great Recession officially ended, job prospects for young Americans remain historically grim. More than 17 percent of 16-to-24-year-olds who are looking for work can’t find a job, a rate that is close to a 30-year high. The employment-to-population ratio for that demographic—the percentage of young people who are working—has plunged to 45 percent. That’s the lowest level since the Labor Department began tracking the data in 1948. Taken together, the numbers suggest that the U.S. job market is struggling mightily to bring its next generation of workers into the fold.

This is a dangerous proposition, economically (for the United States as a whole) and politically (for the president).

As The Atlantic’s Don Peck wrote last year, citing a litany of research from Yale University’s Lisa Kahn, college graduates who enter the labor force during a recession make significantly less money—in their first year and over the course of their careers—than grads who walk into an economic boom. Workers stuck in the unemployment line for an extended period risk watching their skills atrophy and face increasing difficulty finding new jobs. That’s particularly true, though, for people waiting and waiting and waiting to land their first job. The longer a whole batch of fledgling workers sits waiting to be hired, the more the economy risks losing young employees with valuable, high-end skills at a time when global competition is increasingly fierce.

Snowballing youth unemployment feeds social unrest. Exhibit A is the Middle East. Exhibit B is Europe’s periphery; in such countries as Spain, Greece, and Croatia, more than one in three young people is unemployed, a problem that The Economist magazine warned this week is “as great a challenge for these governments as protecting their tottering banks and slashing their budget deficits.”


Not surprisingly, polls suggest that America’s young people have grown more pessimistic about the economy and their own future fortunes. Generation Opportunity, a nonpartisan, nonprofit youth-outreach group headed by former Bush administration official Paul Conway, compiled polling data this summer showing decayed economic confidence among the so-called millennials: More than half say that the United States is seriously on the wrong track, and a similar number say they are not optimistic about the nation’s economic future. More than half also assert that they’re not confident that the country will be the global economic leader in 10 years. More than three-quarters say that, given the current state of the economy, they have delayed or will delay buying a home, paying down student debt, obtaining more education, saving for retirement, changing jobs or cities, getting married, or making some other major life decision.

Young voters stampeded to the polls for candidate Obama in 2008, topping their 2004 turnout by more than 3 million and breaking, 2-to-1, in his favor. A drop in youth participation, or a shift toward a GOP candidate, could complicate Obama’s reelection dramatically.

Generation Opportunity’s pollster, Kellyanne Conway, who has worked for several national GOP politicians in the past, says that young voters will be tougher on Obama in 2012 than they were in 2008. “The big question for young people [in 2008] was, ‘How am I going to help you make history?’ ” says Conway, who is not related to the group’s president. “The big question from young people today is, ‘How are you going to help me find a good-paying job?’ ” This time, she adds, “they’re looking for tangibles.”

Conway’s polling suggests that young voters could sympathize with a Republican message on cutting federal spending and the budget deficit. Three-quarters of millennials want to see federal spending reduced, she says, and three in five want to reduce the deficit through spending cuts rather than tax increases. Two-thirds say that Social Security dollars are safer “under your pillow” than with the government. Paul Conway, the group’s president, says that’s “fair warning” to Obama about how young voters view his policies.

Other polls suggest more-favorable attitudes toward the president. In a late-June Gallup survey, 56 percent of Americans ages 18 to 29 approved of Obama’s performance, the highest approval rating of any age bracket. Team Obama sounds unconcerned about losing young voters. Campaign officials note that thousands more of them applied to be summer campaign organizers this year than did in 2008. “In addition to what he has already accomplished on issues of importance to them—like establishing a tax credit to provide tuition relief to students and extending health insurance coverage to young adults up to the age of 26—young Americans have seen the president bring the economy back from the brink of depression and secure investments in education, research and development, and clean energy that are creating jobs today that will remain globally competitive in the future,” campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said in an e-mail.

Obama and Republicans alike should pay particular attention to youth optimism about the direction of the economy. In 2008, exit polls showed that 54 percent of young voters believed that the economy would improve over the next year, compared with 47 percent of the rest of the electorate. Obama probably needs millennials to be similarly upbeat in 2012. In other words, it’s all about confidence—like so much else in the economy these days.

Want the news first every morning? Sign up for National Journal's Need-to-Know Memo. Short items to prepare you for the day.

This article appeared in the Saturday, July 9, 2011 edition of National Journal.


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 11, 2011, 11:29:53 AM
Analyst: Even Dollar Stores Struggling In ‘Obama Depression’
July 11, 2011 9:19 AM
http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2011/07/11/analyst-even-dollar-stores-struggling-in-obama-depression





2011 Celebrity DeathsLOS ANGELES (CBS) —  More stores across the U.S. that offer deeply-discounted products are seeing their sales decline after years of growth amid America’s “Great Recession” — and one analyst said on Monday it’s another sign of even deeper downturn.

While the demand at stores like the 99-Cent Store or Dollar Tree is still relatively high, the biggest chains in the nation have fallen short of Wall Street’s expectations for several months, a trend that may prove even more ominous for the economy at large.

“I think what’s going on in those stores is that we are in a depression for 80 percent of Americans,” top retail analyst Howard Davidowitz told KNX 1070.




America’s three largest discount chains — Dollar General Corp., Family Dollar Stores Inc. and Dollar Tree Inc. —  all recently missed their quarterly earnings targets.

Davidowitz pointed to the weakness of the dollar and a gloomy consumer outlook as some of the factors behind the stores’ slump.

“In those stores, somebody comes in with $12 to do all their shopping,” said Davidowitz. “The person who used to come in with $12 now comes in with $8.”

“In other words, the economy is continuing to be worse, the Obama depression continues to explode,” he added.

Analysts say rising food and transportation prices are likely eating into the profit margins of discount stores, which risk driving away price-sensitive customers with any potential price hikes.

Core customers at most U.S. discount chains typically have a household income of $40,000 or less.


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 11, 2011, 08:47:06 PM
Cisco Could Eliminate as Many as 10,000 Jobs: Report [Obama Wants More Taxes from Cisco?]
http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2011/07/11/business/business-us-cisco-jobs.html?_r=1&hp ^ | July 10, 2011
Posted on July 11, 2011 11:59:25 PM EDT by Steelfish

Cisco Could Eliminate as Many as 10,000 Jobs: Report By REUTERS July 11, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Networking equipment company Cisco Systems Inc could eliminate as many as 10,000 jobs, or about 14 percent of its workforce, to revive profit growth, Bloomberg said, citing two people familiar with the matter.

As many as 7,000 jobs would be eliminated by the end of August, the people told the agency. Cisco is also providing early-retirement packages to about 3,000 workers who took buyouts, according to Bloomberg.

Early on Monday, Reuters reported that Cisco may slash about 5,000 jobs to meet Chief Executive John Chambers' goal of slashing costs by $1 billion. Reuters had cited Gleacher & Co analyst Brian Marshall.

A Cisco spokeswoman told Reuters on Monday that the company will provide details on cost reductions, including layoffs, during its earnings call on August 11.

Cisco was not immediately available to comment on the Bloomberg report late on Monday.

Cisco shares closed down about 2 percent at $15.43, in a market that was broadly lower due to concerns about the U.S. budget talks and the euro-zone debt crisis.

REVENUE GROWTH UNDER PRESSURE?

Chambers, who is set to speak at a company event in Las Vegas on Tuesday, is working to turn around the Silicon Valley bellwether. He has said the company's next fiscal year starting in August would not live up to the company's previous growth expectations.

Marshall's estimate for job cuts at Cisco is higher than the previous forecasts of up to 4,000 jobs that are in danger of being eliminated.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 14, 2011, 07:07:22 AM
15 Examples That Show Many Americans Have Become So Desperate That They Will Do Just About Anything For Money

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/15-examples-that-show-many-americans-have-become-so-desperate-that-they-will-do-just-about-anything-for-money




More Americans than ever are desperate for money and many of them will do just about anything to get it.  The crumbling U.S. economy has pushed millions of ordinary Americans to the brink of utter desperation.  When it comes time to choose between being able to survive or breaking the law, many people are choosing to break the law.  These days it seems like Americans will do just about anything for money.  All over the country, there are areas where just about anything that is not bolted down is being stolen.  A lot of people have resorted to making money however they can - selling drugs, selling their bodies, shoplifting, invading homes, taking bribes, running credit card scams and even stealing from their own family members.  You will have a hard time believing some of the things that you are about to read below.  When people have their backs pushed up against the wall, often they find that they are willing to do things that they never imagined that they would do.  Things are getting crazy out there on the streets of America, and as the economy continues to decline things are going to get a lot crazier.

The following are 15 examples that show many Americans have become so desperate that they will do just about anything for money....

#1 In Utah, one unemployed 28 year old man is offering to be "human prey" for hunters for the bargain price of $10,000.  For an additional $2,000, he will let people hunt him down while he is running around naked.

#2 The Huffington Post is reporting that there has been an epidemic of air conditioning thefts all over the United States....

Across the country, in states like Illinois, Texas, Arizona, Georgia and Florida, there have been reports of thieves stealing unsecured air conditioning units weighing as much as 125 pounds.

#3 In Corpus Christi, Texas thieves have actually been breaking into funeral homes in order to steal the embalming fluid.

#4 Even police officers are committing desperate acts these days.  Just check out what one police officer in Chicago is charged with doing....

A Chicago Police officer stole $50,000 from his ailing elderly father to pay off his bills and gambling debts and unsuccessfully attempted to swipe his dad’s retirement savings by impersonating him
#5 Nothing is off limits to thieves these days.  Criminals recently broke into a southwest Atlanta beauty supply store and took off with $30,000 in hair extensions.

#6 In another area of Atlanta, thieves have been breaking down walls and busting bathroom fixtures with sledgehammers in order to get their hands on copper, brass and steel....

Kids in two Atlanta communities won’t have their neighborhood pools to help beat the summer heat, at least for now. Thieves used what is believed to be sledge hammers to bust walls and break fixtures in bathrooms at Adams and South Bend parks to steal copper, brass and steel.
#7 One grandmother in Florida has been accused of trying to sell her newborn grandson for $75,000.

#8 In Antioch, California a total of approximately 300 power poles were recently knocked down by thieves and stripped of their copper wiring.

#9 In Minnesota recently, a mob of teen girls brutally pummeled a mother and her two daughters until they were black and blue.  Apparently the mob of teen girls was enraged over a pair of missing sunglasses.

#10 In Asheville, North Carolina thieves recently took off with 4 metal tables and 16 metal chairs that were sitting outside a pizzeria.

#11 In Florida, thieves have actually been stealing storm drain covers.

#12 In Oregon, thieves recently broke into a Salvation Army community center and stole 3 large air conditioning units.  Now all the people that come to that facility for help and for community programs this summer will be absolutely sweltering.

#13 In the Cleveland area, two young boys that had set up a lemonade stand were robbed in broad daylight.  The crooks got away with approximately 12 dollars.

#14 In Oklahoma, thieves recently broke into a church and stole "arts and crafts supplies meant to help teach bible stories to children".

#15 A 59 year old man from North Carolina named Richard James Verone was so desperate for money that he actually robbed a bank and got caught on purpose so that he could be put in prison and be given free health care.

One day Verone walked into an RBC Bank in North Carolina, handed a clerk a note demanding exactly one dollar and sat down and waited for the police to arrive and arrest him.

Verone has a growth on his chest and two ruptured disks but he does not have any health insurance.  He is hoping that in prison he will get the medical treatment that he needs.

As society continues to unravel, prison is going to look like an appealing option for more and more people.

At least in prison you get fed, you have a roof over your head and they will take care of your medical needs.

For a whole lot of Americans, that would be a major step up.

Have you noticed that the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted is starting to disappear?

America is becoming a cold, cruel place and lawlessness is everywhere.

For many more signs that our society is starting to crumble, please see these two articles....

*"18 Signs The Collapse Of Society Is Accelerating"

*"12 More Signs That Society Is Collapsing"

For ages, Americans have looked down on the crime and the depravity that goes on in other areas of the world.

Well, now America has all of the crime and depravity it can handle and it is going to get a lot worse as millions of formerly middle class Americans descend into poverty.

A regular commenter on my website who identifies himself as "El Pollo de Oro" recently described the kind of chaos that he believes is coming to the streets of America....

I live in Philadelphia, a city that used to have a ton of blue-collar manufacturing jobs as well as a great deal of white-collar employment, but the blue-collar manufacturing jobs have disappeared–and on the white-collar side, a college degree isn’t necessarily the ticket to prosperity it once was. Philly has its share of nasty, dangerous ghetto areas as well as ritzy, upscale areas like Rittenhouse Square. But then, there are parts of Mexico City that look like Beverly Hills except that the signs are en español. A minority of Chilangos are filthy rich, which is what you expect in a Third World country: an uber-rich minority and a poor majority. And when The Banana Republic of America (formerly the USA) signed on for globalism and ignored Ross Perot’s warning, it opted to become a Third World country—which means that you can kiss the American middle class goodbye.

But there will be some growth industries in The Banana Republic of America: kidnapping, drug smuggling, murder for hire, carjacking, armed robbery. And if you want a taste of what life will be like in American cities in the future, just spend a few weeks in Guatemala City, Johannesburg or Caracas—all of which have the type of horrible crime rates that BRA cities can look forward to in the future. Desperate people do desperate things, and hardcore desperation will be in the norm in the BRA. It won’t be fun (unless, of course, being robbed at gunpoint in broad daylight is one’s idea of a good time).

Welcome to life in a rotting, decaying Third World hellhole. Welcome to the collapse of the Roman Empire. Welcome to life in The Banana Republic of America, formerly the USA.
America is changing.  The safe, secure environment that we all used to take for granted is dying.  The number of truly desperate people rises by the day, and many of those desperate people are willing to do just about anything for money.

The United States used to have a thriving middle class, but our economic system has been so manipulated over the decades that now almost all of the economic rewards go to the very top of the food chain.

25 years ago, the wealthiest 12 percent of all Americans controlled 33 percent of all the wealth.  Today, the wealthiest 1 percent of all Americans control 40 percent of all the wealth.

In the United States today, we are actually witnessing the death of the middle class.  Our jobs have been shipped overseas, the banks have enslaved us to debt, the government keeps finding more ways to tax us and the Federal Reserve keeps debasing our currency.

Everywhere you go, despair is in the air.  According to a brand new Reuters/Ipsos poll, 63 percent of Americans believe that the nation is on the wrong track.

Fortunately, many Americans are responding to these signs of trouble by preparing.

One local Oklahoma newspaper recently did an article that profiled a few of the growing number of Americans that are preparing for hard times....

Rod and Lauretta Smith estimate they could survive a year without going to the grocery store.

A large garden on their 5-acre property in south Tulsa produces hundreds of quarts of canned and frozen beans, tomatoes and other vegetables. Chickens provide eggs.

The Smiths are among a small but growing number of people stocking up on food to become more self-reliant in a time marked by natural disasters and economic uncertainty.
The truth is that all of us should try to become less dependent on the system.  The Democrats, the Republicans, the Federal Reserve and the big corporations are not there to help you.  They are not going to come riding to the rescue if you lose your job and your home.

We all need to do what we can to become more independent and to prepare ourselves and our families for the incredibly difficult economic times that are inevitably coming.  Those that have faith that their jobs will always be there or that the government will always take care of them will be deeply disappointed.

The system is dying and society is coming apart.

The only rational thing to do is to prepare for what is coming.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbbIQFcEhcQ


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: dario73 on July 14, 2011, 07:17:17 AM
Cisco Could Eliminate as Many as 10,000 Jobs: Report [Obama Wants More Taxes from Cisco?]
http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2011/07/11/business/business-us-cisco-jobs.html?_r=1&hp ^ | July 10, 2011
Posted on July 11, 2011 11:59:25 PM EDT by Steelfish

Cisco Could Eliminate as Many as 10,000 Jobs: Report By REUTERS July 11, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Networking equipment company Cisco Systems Inc could eliminate as many as 10,000 jobs, or about 14 percent of its workforce, to revive profit growth, Bloomberg said, citing two people familiar with the matter.

As many as 7,000 jobs would be eliminated by the end of August, the people told the agency. Cisco is also providing early-retirement packages to about 3,000 workers who took buyouts, according to Bloomberg.

Early on Monday, Reuters reported that Cisco may slash about 5,000 jobs to meet Chief Executive John Chambers' goal of slashing costs by $1 billion. Reuters had cited Gleacher & Co analyst Brian Marshall.

A Cisco spokeswoman told Reuters on Monday that the company will provide details on cost reductions, including layoffs, during its earnings call on August 11.

Cisco was not immediately available to comment on the Bloomberg report late on Monday.

Cisco shares closed down about 2 percent at $15.43, in a market that was broadly lower due to concerns about the U.S. budget talks and the euro-zone debt crisis.

REVENUE GROWTH UNDER PRESSURE?

Chambers, who is set to speak at a company event in Las Vegas on Tuesday, is working to turn around the Silicon Valley bellwether. He has said the company's next fiscal year starting in August would not live up to the company's previous growth expectations.

Marshall's estimate for job cuts at Cisco is higher than the previous forecasts of up to 4,000 jobs that are in danger of being eliminated.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


Scary. This is scary. And it's happening.


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 14, 2011, 07:19:47 AM
Doesnt matter.   Bachmann made a gaffe. 


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 15, 2011, 07:37:23 AM
Manufacturing weakens in New York in July
Marketwatch ^ | 7.15.11 | Greg Robb



WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Manufacturers in the New York region said business activity had weakened slightly in early July, according to a report released Friday by the New York Federal Reserve Bank.

The Empire State index remained below zero for the second straight month, rising only to negative 3.8 in July from negative 7.8 in June.

The index has fallen dramatically the past three months after hitting a 12-month high of 21.7 in April.

Readings below zero indicate more firms said business was worsening than said it was improving.


(Excerpt) Read more at marketwatch.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 15, 2011, 07:40:35 AM
US Consumer Sentiment Falls To Lowest Level in Two Years
Published: Friday, 15 Jul 2011 | 10:07 AM ET Text Size By: Reuters
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U.S. consumer sentiment deteriorated in early July to the lowest level since March 2009 on increasing pessimism over falling income and rising unemployment, a survey released Friday showed.

 

Confidence in government economic policies also curdled, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey showed.

U.S. lawmakers are wrangling over a budget deal that would allow the government to raise the debt ceiling—needed so the United States can fund its obligations next month.

The preliminary reading for the consumer sentiment index dropped to 63.8 in July from 71.5 the month before, falling far short of expectations of an increase to 72.5, according to a Reuters poll of economists.

The survey's barometer of current economic conditions fell to 76.3, the lowest since November 2009, from 82.0. The gauge of consumer expectations was also at its lowest since March 2009, tumbling to 55.8 from 64.8.

"Whenever the Expectations Index has been this low in the past, the economy has been in recession," survey director Richard Curtin said in a statement. "Nonetheless, one month's data is insufficient to signal a renewed downturn, particularly if a last-minute agreement on the debt ceiling results in a partial restoration of confidence."

Overall, the data suggests real consumer spending in the second half of the year may be barely higher than the first half, the survey said.

The proportion of consumers that rated government economic policies as poor rose to 52 percent in early July, up from 40 percent in June.

The inflation outlook improved with the survey's one-year inflation expectation easing to 3.4 percent from 3.8. The five-to-10-year inflation outlook was at 2.8 percent from 3.0 percent.

The report follows a poll released earlier this week that Americans are deeply pessimistic about the future.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll released Wednesday showed the number of Americans who believe the country is on the wrong track rose to 63 percent this month, up from 60 percent in June, with stubbornly high unemployment and prolonged gridlock in Washington dashing hopes of a swift economic recovery.

But voters do not appear to be holding President Barack Obama responsible for the problems so far. Obama's approval rating held relatively steady at 49 percent, down 1 percentage point from June. His approval rating among independents—a group Obama needs to win re-election—fell to 39 percent from 44 percent.

Obama's standing could deteriorate quickly if the economy does not begin to generate jobs and if Washington cannot show it is capable of solving problems, Ipsos pollster Julie Clark said.

"If those things don't happen, Obama will be in for a real challenge in getting re-elected next year," Clark said.

Obama and Republicans have hit an impasse in negotiations to raise America's borrowing limit before the government runs out of money to pay all of its bills on Aug. 2. That could force the government to try to prioritize its payments.

Asked what bills the government should stop paying if the debt limit is not raised, 36 percent listed international creditors like banks and 12 percent listed government departments like agriculture and education.

The sputtering economy and high unemployment are certain to dominate the race for the White House in 2012, and the Republican candidates for the nomination to challenge Obama repeatedly have criticized his economic leadership.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/43768567



Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 15, 2011, 08:47:36 AM
Manufacturing Gauge Slumps as Core Inflation Gains
Published: Friday, 15 Jul 2011 | 9:40 AM ET Text Size By: Reuters


U.S. consumer prices fell slightly more than expected in June to post their biggest drop in a year on weak gasoline costs, but underlying inflation pressures remain elevated.

 
CNBC.com
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 

The Consumer Price Index fell 0.2 percent, the Labor Department said on Friday, the largest drop since June 2010, after rising 0.2 percent in May. Economists had expected prices to fall 0.1 percent.

But stripping out food and energy, core CPI rose 0.3 percent after a similar gain in May and above economists' expectations for a 0.2 percent increase.

"We are getting a very, very sharp rebound in core inflation and much more than the Fed had bargained for. We will be at price stability and possibly through it before the end of this year," said Eric Green, chief economist at TD Securities in New York.

A separate report showed a gauge of manufacturing in New York State fell again in July. The New York Federal Reserve said its "Empire State" general business conditions index was at minus 3.76 from minus 7.79 in June.

High inflation, driven by strong energy and food prices, undermined economic activity in first quarter, with growth slowing sharply to a 1.9 percent annual rate after a brisk 3.1 percent expansion in the final three months of 2010.


RELATED LINKS
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The economy is believed to have grown by between 1.5 percent and 2 percent in the second quarter.

Hopes of a stronger pick-up in growth during the July-September period have been dented somewhat by a weak labor market and retail sales in June.


But abating commodity inflation pressures as energy prices decline, should put more money in the pockets of consumers who have been stretching to cover rising costs for gasoline and food.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said this week the U.S. central bank was prepared to act if growth falters further, but made it clear that the Fed is not at that point yet.

Bernanke noted that inflation was higher than in late 2010, when the Fed got ready for its $600 billion government bond-buying program, which ended in June.



Gasoline prices dropped 6.8 percent, the largest decline since December 2008, after falling 2.0 percent in May. Food prices rose a moderate 0.2 percent after increasing 0.4 percent in May.

But rising costs for housing, new vehicles, used trucks and apparel pushed up core inflation last month. Shelter costs rose 0.2 percent for a second straight month, while apparel prices jumped 1.4 percent, the largest increase since March 1990.

Prices for new vehicles increased 0.6 percent last month, slowing from May's 1.1 percent surge, likely reflecting an easing of auto shortages related to supply chain disruptions from Japan. Used cars and trucks jumped 1.6 percent, the largest increase since December 2009.

In the 12 months to April, core CPI rose 1.6 percent after increasing 1.5 percent in May. Fed officials, however, would like to see that closer to 2 percent.

Overall consumer prices were up 3.6 percent from a year earlier, after rising 3.6 percent in May.

Copyright 2011 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.



________________________ ________________________ _____


Obamanomics = FAIL! 


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 18, 2011, 08:46:38 AM
Gallup finds employment “deterioration” in July
Hotair ^ | July18,2011 | Ed Morrissey




Gallup’s latest measure of US unemployment shows joblessness rising through the first part of the month, with underemployment remaining at exactly the same level as 2010. The mid-month survey provides a leading indicator for the official jobless report that will come in the next two and a half weeks, and so far it doesn’t look like it will bring much good news to the White House:

Unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, is at 8.9% in the middle of July — up from 8.7% at the end of June. Unemployment was at 9.3% at this same time a year ago.

The percentage of part-time workers who want full-time work is 9.4% in mid-July — down from 9.6% at the end of June. However, more Americans are working part time but seeking full-time work in mid-July 2011 than was the case in mid-July 2010 (9.0%).

Underemployment, a measure that combines the percentage of unemployed with the percentage working part time but wanting full-time work, is at 18.3% in mid-July — precisely the same as at the end of June and in mid-July 2010.

Gallup reports that this represents “an early July deterioration” in employment, but doesn’t offer much beyond speculation for the cause. The pollster suggests that employers might be hedging their bets because of the debt negotiations and the uncertainty of whether the US might default, but initial jobless claims jumped in early April before this issue became acute — a dynamic that Gallup’s survey misses entirely, by the way. The report also posits that a decline in demand might be driving an uptick in unemployment, and for that, there is some new corroboration from the oil markets today:


(Excerpt) Read more at hotair.com ...



Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 18, 2011, 01:02:09 PM
Weiss Ratings Downgrades United States Debt to C-Minus
Weiss Ratings ^ | 15 July 2011 | Unknown



JUPITER, Florida (July 15, 2011) — Weiss Ratings, an independent rating agency of U.S. financial institutions and sovereign debts, has downgraded the debt of the United States government from C to C-minus.

The C-minus rating for the U.S. reflects a continued deterioration in the weaknesses cited in the Weiss Ratings release of April 28, 2011, including heavy debt burdens, shaky international stability, and poor economic health.

Weiss Ratings senior financial analyst Gavin Magor commented: “Our downgrade today is not contingent on the outcome of the debt ceiling debate in Washington. It is driven exclusively by the numbers, which indicate that, in addition to a decline in the long-standing weaknesses we noted three months ago, the U.S. has already lost the golden halo that helped guarantee liquidity and acceptance of its government securities in global markets.”

On the Weiss Ratings scale, which ranges from A (excellent) to E (very weak), a C-minus rating is the approximate equivalent of a triple-B-minus on the scales used by other credit rating agencies, or approximately one notch above speculative grade (junk).

For the Weiss Sovereign Debt Ratings on all 49 countries covered, click here. For more information on the Weiss Ratings approach, refer to our white paper, “Introducing The Weiss Sovereign Debt Ratings.” About Weiss Ratings

Weiss Ratings, the nation’s leading independent provider of financial strength ratings on banks, credit unions, insurance companies as well as sovereign debt ratings on 49 countries, accepts no payments for its ratings from rated entities. By adhering to its independent business model, Weiss outperformed Standard and Poor’s, Moody’s, A.M. Best and Duff & Phelps (now Fitch) in warning of future life and health insurance company failures according to a 1994 study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), while also outperforming its competitors in identifying the safest insurers, according to its follow-up study using the GAO’s research methodology. Similarly, Weiss was the only one to identify, in advance, nearly all major banks that failed or required a federal bailout in the 2008-2009 debt crisis. Contact

Print: Maryellen Murphy, 561-818-8885 mmurphy@weissinc.com

Broadcast: Pam Reimer, 608-727-2600 pam.reimer@wicw.net




Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 18, 2011, 01:30:43 PM
Fitch: 'AAA' rating in jeopardy
Politico ^ | 7/18/11 | JENNIFER EPSTEIN


Another major bond rating firm on Monday reiterated its threat to downgrade the U.S. government to a B-plus rating if the debt ceiling isn’t raised by August 2 and the government defaults on its debts.

The warning from Fitch Ratings comes after Moody’s and S&P warned last week that they would lower the U.S. rating from the top mark of AAA if the country is unable to repay its debts next month.

Fitch said Monday that it will place the U.S. rating in what it calls “ratings watch negative,” a status that can lead to downgrading in three-to-six months.

The ratings agency said it still expects congressional Republicans and President Barack Obama to reach a deal in the next few weeks, but would downgrade the rating if the Treasury Department is unable to pay the $90 billion in Treasury bills that mature on August 4.

“Agreement on a credible fiscal consolidation strategy will secure the U.S. ‘AAA’ status; failure to do so will inevitably weaken the sovereign credit profile and may result in a sovereign rating downgrade,” the agency said in a statement.



Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: 240 is Back on July 18, 2011, 01:33:20 PM
Doesnt matter.   Bachmann made a gaffe. 

great point man.  She wants to unseat obama and save us from the obama depression... but she can't read a simple pledge before signing it?


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Kazan on July 18, 2011, 01:34:38 PM
great point man.  She wants to unseat obama and save us from the obama depression... but she can't read a simple pledge before signing it?

Apparently Obama can't read a simple health care bill before signing it, which has done more damage?

You see what I did there spinmeister? Just when I think you are showing signs of intelligence you back slide.

You see one is a non binding pledge to some group, while the other one is a law, do you get it now?


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 18, 2011, 01:37:28 PM
Apparently Obama can't read a simple health care bill before signing it, which has done more damage?

The fucker does not even know when his own birth day is! 


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 18, 2011, 03:22:47 PM
Goldman Sachs cuts U.S. second-quarter growth estimates (Q2 GDP slashed to 1.5%; Q3 cut to 2.5%)
Reuters via Yahoo Finance ^ | 7/18/2011 | Reuters



WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs has cut its forecast for U.S. second-quarter growth to 1.5 percent from 2 percent, citing weak consumer spending.

The downgrade follows last week's raft of weak reports on retail sales, manufacturing and consumer sentiment, which have raised concerns that some of the factors impeding growth are no longer of a temporary nature, as previously thought.

"Some of this weakness is undoubtedly related to the disruptions to the supply chain -- specifically in the auto sector -- following the east Japan earthquake," said Goldman Sachs Chief Economist Jan Hatzius in a weekly note to clients issued late on Friday.

"But the slowdown of recent months goes well beyond what can be explained with these temporary effects."

The economy grew at a 1.9 percent pace in the first quarter, slowing sharply from a 3.1 percent rate in the final three months of 2010. The government will release its first estimate for second-quarter GDP on July 29.

Goldman Sachs also slashed its third-quarter growth forecast to 2.5 percent 3.25 percent.


(Excerpt) Read more at finance.yahoo.com ...



Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: GigantorX on July 18, 2011, 03:59:31 PM
Goldman Sachs cuts U.S. second-quarter growth estimates (Q2 GDP slashed to 1.5%; Q3 cut to 2.5%)
Reuters via Yahoo Finance ^ | 7/18/2011 | Reuters



WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs has cut its forecast for U.S. second-quarter growth to 1.5 percent from 2 percent, citing weak consumer spending.

The downgrade follows last week's raft of weak reports on retail sales, manufacturing and consumer sentiment, which have raised concerns that some of the factors impeding growth are no longer of a temporary nature, as previously thought.

"Some of this weakness is undoubtedly related to the disruptions to the supply chain -- specifically in the auto sector -- following the east Japan earthquake," said Goldman Sachs Chief Economist Jan Hatzius in a weekly note to clients issued late on Friday.

"But the slowdown of recent months goes well beyond what can be explained with these temporary effects."

The economy grew at a 1.9 percent pace in the first quarter, slowing sharply from a 3.1 percent rate in the final three months of 2010. The government will release its first estimate for second-quarter GDP on July 29.

Goldman Sachs also slashed its third-quarter growth forecast to 2.5 percent 3.25 percent.


(Excerpt) Read more at finance.yahoo.com ...



This has been slowing going on for the past several months, the downgrades keep coming at a nice steady pace. Several trillion dollars in bailouts, stimulus, printed money, deficits etc doesn't buy you quit what it used to, huh?

GDP will continue to decline as the law of diminishing returns makes itself known once again and with the decline in GDP (which if you take out price deflators has been negative for a while) there will be a further decline in tax revenue. It's been stated and sourced before, tax revenue is historically around 20-25% of GDP. You want more revenue then you grow the economy, simple as that. Raising taxes without reform wouldn't do shit for raising any real revenue that would mean anything. Like trying to squeeze water from a rock.


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 18, 2011, 07:02:42 PM
http://www.businessinsider.com/economy-collapsing-michael-snyder-2011-7?op=1



Cool article. 


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 18, 2011, 07:31:37 PM
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Borders liquidates: 10,700 jobs lost
cnn ^ | 7/18/2011 | Ben Rooney
Posted on July 18, 2011 9:58:43 PM EDT by tobyhill

Group will liquidate its remaining assets after efforts to find a buyer fell through, the bookstore chain announced Monday.

The nation's second largest book seller, which filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year, currently operates 399 stores and employs approximately 10,700 workers.

The liquidation process is expected to start as soon as Friday, pending bankruptcy court approval, Borders said in a press release.

Mike Edwards, president of Borders Group, said in a written statement that he was saddened by the development and that the decision came despite "the best efforts" of all parties.

"We were all working hard towards a different outcome, but the headwinds we have been facing for quite some time, including the rapidly changing book industry, eReader revolution, and turbulent economy, have brought us to where we are now," Edwards said.

(Excerpt) Read more at money.cnn.com ...






Hey at least they can get jobs at Micky d's. 


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 18, 2011, 08:02:29 PM
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Cisco to cut workforce by 15 percent, sell factory
Reuters/Yahoo ^ | 7/18/11
Posted on July 18, 2011 8:44:21 PM EDT by markomalley

Cisco Systems plans to cut 15 percent of its jobs and sell a factory as part of a plan to cut annual expenses by $1 billion as the network equipment maker tries to revive its fortunes.

The cuts are deeper than what financial analysts expected. The company said on Monday that it will cut 11,500 jobs, compared with the several thousand that analysts predicted.

The cuts come after Cisco's chief executive John Chambers said in April that the company lost its way.

The company had 73,408 employees as of the end of the last quarter, a spokeswoman said. Cisco will transfer 5,000 to contract manufacturer Foxconn which will buy a Cisco plant in Juarez, Mexico. Of the other 6,500 who are leaving, 2,100 will get early retirement.

"This is a net positive for the company and for investors," said Morningstar analyst Grady Burkett.

It is also one half of a bigger blow dealt to U.S. companies on Monday. The announcement comes on the same day that Borders Group Inc, the second-largest U.S. bookstore chain, canceled its bankruptcy auction plans and said it would close for good. Nearly 11,000 people will lose their jobs.

Cisco said in May that it would reorganize the company, which has been losing ground in the network equipment business.



Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 18, 2011, 08:38:38 PM
Baldwin Hardware closing, laying off 159 (Moving To Mexico)
readingeagle.com ^

Posted on July 18, 2011 11:25:06 PM EDT by freejohn

Baldwin Hardware, the internationally renowned maker of high-end brass fixtures that has been based in Reading for more than a half-century, no longer will make those products locally and 159 employees will lose their jobs by the end of next year.

(Excerpt) Read more at readingeagle.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 18, 2011, 08:50:56 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque police say at least one vandal was likely seriously injured trying to steal copper from an elementary school because the thieves left behind several melted tools and a scorched T-shirt.

They cut into a power line at East San Jose Elementary School over the weekend and triggered a 480-volt electrical shock.

Albuquerque Public Schools officials tell KOB-TV the vandals were on top of the roof, equipped with tools and a plan to rip off copper wire.

Investigators say the thieves likely knew they were cutting into a live hot-wire but did it anyway.
Police have been checking emergency rooms looking for burn victims.
___
Information from: KOB-TV, http://www.kob.com


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 18, 2011, 09:09:22 PM
Rahm Emanuel Lays Off 625+ Chicaco City Employees to Close Budget Gap
TownHall ^ | 7/18/2011 | Nicholas Freiling
Posted on July 19, 2011 12:20:08 AM EDT by Rennes Templar

Does Rahm Emanuel, newly-elected governor of Chicago, finally get it? The Chicago Tribune reports:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is sending pink slips to up to 625 city employees Monday and privatizing many of their jobs to finish closing a $30 million budget hole, but union leaders said the mayor jumped the gun and never gave them time to negotiate. Nearly 130 seasonal transportation workers will be told to leave immediately. That means fewer sidewalks, curbs and gutters will be repaired.

Emanuel said he intends to get private companies to clean the city's airports and libraries, work now done by city employees. Operators at the city's water-bill call center and employee benefit managers also will see their jobs outsourced. Those union workers will receive 30- and 45-day layoff notices.

And not only that, but the Chicago Sun Times reported today that:

Determined to deliver suburban-style curbside recycling to 359,000 Chicago households without it, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Monday he would privatize four of six service areas and allow city employees to compete in the other two. Within four months of the so-called "managed competition," blue-cart recycling will come to 20,000 additional households who live in Wicker Park, Bucktown and Logan Square. Even more homeowners will get the service next year.

Strong-arming unions, laying off public employees in favor of private corporations, closing budget gaps without raising taxes, "managed competition"? Since when has Rahm Emanuel, once President Obama's Chief of Staff, been a conservative?

Mayor Emanuel inherited a disastrous financial situation, as Chicago faces budget deficits over $1 billion per year. Could it be that Rahm Emanuel has finally seen the light? Perhaps he could teach his friends in Washington a thing or two, especially as Congress faces a similar battle over spending cuts and balanced budgets.

(Excerpt) Read more at townhall.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: 240 is Back on July 18, 2011, 09:35:53 PM
Rahm Emanuel Lays Off 625+ Chicaco City Employees to Close Budget Gap

Pretty cool of Rahm to reduce the size of govt like that.  Less taxpayer spending, I like it.


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 19, 2011, 05:45:58 AM
(SC) Chief: Copper Thief Found Dead; 3,000 Lose Power
WYFF TV ^ | 7/19/11



COWPENS, S.C. -- Thousands of people in Cherokee County were left without power overnight Monday after a man was killed trying to steal copper from a Duke Energy substation, according to firefighters at the scene.

Cowpens Fire Chief James Caggiano said the incident happened about 9:40 p.m., and fire crews were at the scene less than five minutes later.

They found the man's body inside the fenced-in power station, Caggiano said.

The man was not authorized to be at the substation and was carrying some very suspicious equipment, Caggiano said.

"They did find some items that would be used in the metal theft industry, cutters and that type thing," Caggiano said.

The fire knocked out the power to more than 3,000 people in the surrounding area, according to the Duke website.

That number included about half of the population of Cowpens, but power to the other half of the city also had to be turned off so crews could safely work on the substation to get it back on line, according to Duke Energy.

Power was restored to the area just before 3 a.m. Tuesday.

The coroner did not immediately release the name of the victim.




________________________ ________________

SIGN OF THE TIMES. 


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 20, 2011, 06:45:05 PM
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Fed Preparing For US Default Says Plosser
Zero Hedge ^ | 7/20/11 | Tyler Durden
Posted on July 20, 2011 8:52:15 PM EDT by Kartographer

That giant whooshing, and humming, sound you hear are all the printers at the basement of Marriner Eccles getting refills and start the warm up process. Because according to the Fed Charles Plosser the Federal Reserve is actively preparing for the possibility that the United States could default. Which can only mean one thing: an immediate paradrop of millions of $100 bricks to every man woman and child in the US since as we all know by know Tim Geithner has repeatedly confirmed the Treasury has absolutely no default plans. None.

(Excerpt) Read more at zerohedge.com ...

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Fed Preparing For US Default Says Plosser
Zero Hedge ^ | 7/20/11 | Tyler Durden
Posted on July 20, 2011 8:52:15 PM EDT by Kartographer

That giant whooshing, and humming, sound you hear are all the printers at the basement of Marriner Eccles getting refills and start the warm up process. Because according to the Fed Charles Plosser the Federal Reserve is actively preparing for the possibility that the United States could default. Which can only mean one thing: an immediate paradrop of millions of $100 bricks to every man woman and child in the US since as we all know by know Tim Geithner has repeatedly confirmed the Treasury has absolutely no default plans. None.

(Excerpt) Read more at zerohedge.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 20, 2011, 06:50:15 PM
Fox News Poll: More Say Obama Administration Making Economy Worse
Fox News ^ | July 20, 2011 | Dana Blanton
Posted on July 20, 2011 10:00:25 PM EDT by Clairity

American voters are divided on Barack Obama's overall performance as president, and by double-digit margins they not only think the economy is getting worse, but also that it’s the Obama administration's fault.

Voters are more than twice as likely to say the economy is getting worse than to say it is getting better. The new poll found 58 percent of voters think the economy is getting worse.

...more voters say the Obama administration has made the economy worse (49 percent) rather than better (34 percent).

...a 58-percent majority thinks it is unfair for President Obama to continue to blame former President George W. Bush for the country's economic problems.

(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 20, 2011, 09:03:54 PM
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Layoffs Deepen Gloom
The Wall Street Journal ^ | JULY 21, 2011 | CONOR DOUGHERTY
Posted on July 20, 2011 10:15:31 PM EDT by MinorityRepublican

Companies are laying off employees at a level not seen in nearly a year, hobbling the job market and intensifying fears about the pace of the economic recovery.

Cisco Systems Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp. and troubled bookstore chain Borders Group Inc. are among those that have recently announced hefty cuts, while recent government numbers underscore how companies have shifted toward cutting jobs.

The increase in layoffs is a key reason why the U.S. recorded an average of only 21,500 new jobs over the past two months, far below the level needed to bring down unemployment, which now stands at 9.2%.

The cuts also reflect the shifting outlook of employers, many of whom had expected the economy to gain speed as the year progressed. Instead, growth has faltered. If the pace continues to disappoint, more companies will feel pressure to pull back. "Layoffs have played a big role [in weak job growth] over the last few months," said Mike Montgomery, an economist at IHS Global Insight. "The soft patch is more layoffs and nothing else to pick up the slack."

The trend is evident across several sectors. On Monday, following two straight quarters of lower profits, Cisco, the San Jose, Calif., networking-equipment giant, revealed plans to lay off 6,500 employees—about 9% of its staff. Goldman Sachs Group Inc., struggling with an unexpectedly steep decline in its trading business, said Tuesday that it is eliminating 1,000 jobs and indicated it may need to cut more.

Also on Tuesday, top Pentagon weapons supplier Lockheed Martin made a voluntary-layoff offer to approximately 6,500 U.S.-based employees. The announcement came not long after the company said it would eliminate positions in its aeronautics and space systems segments. In recent months, around 600 senior Lockheed executives ended up taking a prior buyout offer floated last year.

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 21, 2011, 04:42:31 AM
Edited on Thu Jul-21-11 10:59 AM by marmar
from MarketWatch:


Why we’ll have 10% unemployment soon
Commentary: 3 key sectors show just how weak job market is

By Jeff Reeves


ROCKVILLE, Md. — After the nationwide unemployment rate peaked above 10% in late 2009, we saw a fairly rapid decline in jobless rolls during the next 12 months. By March of this year, the headline jobless number had crept back under 9% and renewed optimism in the economic recovery and equity markets.

Well, we’ve been reading a much different story in the last month or two, with disappointing job creation and a rise in the overall unemployment rate as the meager number of new positions can’t keep up with the sheer volume of folks looking for work.

To make matters worse, we are now seeing a disturbing new spate of layoff announcements — not just a dozen or so workers here and there, but pink slips issued by the thousands at some of the biggest blue chips on Wall Street. Read about 6,500 jobs cut at Cisco.

In short, there aren’t enough jobs to go around now and there will be even fewer jobs a few months down the road. All this points to significantly higher unemployment in the near future, possibly over the 10% mark. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-well-have-10-unemp...
 


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 21, 2011, 05:46:12 AM
Source: Bloomberg


More Americans than forecast filed claims for unemployment benefits last week, reflecting the volatility of applications during the annual auto-plant retooling period.

Applications for jobless benefits increased 10,000 in the week ended July 16 to 418,000, Labor Department figures showed today. Economists forecast 410,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. The data included about 1,750 additional job cuts due to the Minnesota government shutdown, the agency said.

Employers have been reluctant to hire more workers over the past two months on concern the recovery was slowing, and over stalled negotiations to extend the federal debt ceiling and reduce the budget deficit. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke last week said the recovery was “still fragile,” with recent data showing “continuing weakness” in the labor market.

“There is still a lot of uncertainty with businesses about the recovery,” Sean Incremona, a senior economist at 4Cast Inc. in New York, said before the report. “It still looks like there isn’t much progress on the hiring side.”

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-21/first-time-job...


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 21, 2011, 07:37:56 AM
Unemployment Benefits Rise as Job Growth Falters
CNBC ^ | Published: Thursday, 21 Jul 2011 | 8:40 AM ET | Staff




New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week, a government report showed on Thursday, pointing to a labor market that is struggling to regain momentum after job growth faltered in the last two months.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 418,000, the Labor Department said.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 410,000. The prior weeks figure was revised up to 408,000 from the previously reported 405,000.

The claims data covered the survey period for the closely watched nonfarm payrolls count for July. Initial claims dropped 11,000 between the June and July survey periods, suggesting a modest improvement in payrolls after Junes paltry 18,000 gain.

A rise in layoffs held back payroll growth in May, according to the departments latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, which was released last week. Layoffs were probably be hind the downshift in employment growth in June as well.

A government shutdown in Minnesota following a budget impasse resulted in an additional 1,750 state employees filing claims for jobless benefits last week.

Initial claims have now been above the 400,000 mark for 15 straight weeks. That level is usually associated with a stable labor market.

The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends, slipped 2,750 to 421,250.

The number of people still receiving benefits under regular state programs after an initial week of aid dropped 50,000 to 3.70 million in the week ended July 9.

The number of Americans on emergency unemployment benefits declined 80,133 to 3.15 million in the week ended July 2, the latest week for which data is available.

A total of 7.33 million people were claiming unemployment benefits during that period under all programs, down 159,000 from the prior week.




Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 21, 2011, 08:27:34 AM
NASA Layoffs Planned as Space Shuttle Program Ends


NASA TV(HOUSTON) -- Now that space shuttle Atlantis has returned home safely, America's human spaceflight program faces a period of retrenchment and doubt.

Atlantis' landing early Thursday morning marked the end of NASA's 30-year space shuttle program and the beginning of layoffs for the space agency.  On Friday, 1,500 shuttle workers are scheduled to get their pink slips.  By the time all the layoff notices are handed out, a total of 8,000 workers will have been cut.


At its peak, the shuttle program had about 11,000 people working for it.

NASA's space program, however, is hardly over.  Astronauts will continue to live for months at a time on the International Space Station until at least 2020.  Eventually, the Obama administration proposes they go explore a passing asteroid and ultimately land on Mars.

An ambitious probe to orbit Jupiter is on the launch pad, scheduled for an August launch.  A new Mars rover, called Curiosity, is scheduled to leave in November.  NASA says it would announce Friday where on the Martian surface Curiosity would try to land.

But for now, the one way for Americans to reach orbit will be by hitching seats on Russian Soyuz spacecraft, at a cost of $60 million a pop. 

NASA says that in a few years the job will be taken over by private companies such as SpaceX, Sierra Nevada, or Boeing.  Each has a spacecraft and launcher in the works, though so far, only governments have ever launched people into orbit.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


________________________ _______________

8,000 less obama voters. 


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 21, 2011, 01:59:00 PM
Could You Survive Another Great Depression?
Townhall.com ^ | July 21, 2011 | Paul Kengor



I just read two very interesting articles on the U.S. economy, written from historical perspectives. They compelled me to share my own historical perspective. And what I want to say is more about our changing culture than our economy.

One of the articles, by Julie Crawshaw of MoneyNews.com, notes that the "Misery Index"—the combined unemployment and inflation rates—made infamous under President Jimmy Carter, has hit a 28-year high. It's also 62 percent higher than when President Obama took office.


But that's nothing compared to Mort Zuckerman's article in U.S. News & World Report. Zuckerman measures the current situation against the Great Depression. He writes:

jobs, wiping out every job gained since the year 2000. From the moment the Obama administration came into office, there have been no net increases in full-time jobs, only in part-time jobs. This is contrary to all previous recessions. Employers are not recalling the workers they laid off.... We now have more idle men and women than at any time since the Great Depression.
Zuckerman is a perceptive writer who looks at economies from a historical perspective. In my comparative politics course at Grove City College, I use his article on the Russian collapse in the 1990s, which Zuckerman showed was worse than our Great Depression.
I can't say we're teetering on that precipice, but Zuckerman's article got me thinking: Imagine if America today experienced an economic catastrophe similar to the 1930s. How would you survive?

I remember asking that question to my grandparents, Joseph and Philomena. How did they survive the Great Depression?

My grandmother, never at a loss for words, direly described how her family avoided starving. Compensation came via barter. Her father, an Italian immigrant, baked bread and cured meats in an oven in the tiny backyard, among other trades he learned in the old country. My grandmother cleaned the house and babysat and bathed the children of a family who owned a grocery store. They paid her with store products. Her family struggled through by creatively employing everyone’s unique skills.

What about my grandfather? When I asked that question as he sat silently, my grandmother raised her loud Italian voice and snapped: "Ah, he didn't suffer! Don’t even ask him!"


My grandfather, also Italian, returned the shout: "Ah, you shut up! You're a damned fool!"

Grandma: "No, you're a damned fool!"

After the typical several minutes of sustained insults, my grandfather explained that, indeed, his family didn’t suffer during the depression. They noticed no difference whatsoever, even as America came apart at the seams.

Why not? Because they were farmers. They got everything from the land, from crops and animals they raised and hunted to fish they caught. They raised every animal possible, from cattle to rabbits. They ate everything from the pig, from head to feet. There were eggs from chickens and cheese and milk from goats and cows. There were wild plants.

I was captivated as my grandfather explained his family's method of refrigeration: During the winter, they broke ice from the creek and hauled it into the barn, where it was packed in sawdust for use through the summer. They didn’t over-eat. They preserved food, and there was always enough for the family of 12.

When their clothes ripped, they sewed them. When machines broke, they fixed them. They didn't over-spend. Home repairs weren’t contracted out. Heat came from wood they gathered.

And they didn't need 1,000 acres of land to do this.

They were totally self-sufficient—and far from alone. Back then, most Americans farmed, knew how to grow things, or provided for themselves to some significant degree.


That conversation with my grandparents came to mind as I read Zuckerman's piece and considered life under another Great Depression. I realized: The vast majority of Americans today would be incapable of providing for themselves. If you live in the city with no land, you'd be in big trouble. Even most Americans, who have a yard with soil, wouldn’t know what to do.

Isn’t it ironic that with all our scandalously expensive education—far more than our grandparents' schooling—we've learned so little? We can't fix our car let alone shoot, gut, skin, and butcher a deer.

Think about it: If you lacked income for food, or if prices skyrocketed, or your money was valueless, what would you do for yourself and your family?

Americans today are a lifetime from their grandparents and great grandparents. God help us if we ever face a calamity like the one they faced—and survived.




Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 22, 2011, 01:36:15 PM
America’s jobless ask: Where’s the recovery?
By Elaine L. Chao - 07/21/11 06:37 PM ET
   


Students entering college four years ago could reasonably assume that the recession would be a rapidly receding speck in America’s rearview mirror by the time they graduated. After all, in the four deepest previous recessions — those of 1953, 1957, 1973 and 1981— employment three years after those downturns began was on average 4.7 percent higher than the pre-recession peak.

Not so this time around. The recession that officially began in December 2007 officially ended in June 2009. Yet today’s graduates face a dismal job market.


As tough as it is for many college graduates to get their planned careers on track, it could be worse: They could be trying to find a job without a college degree. In April, the unemployment rate for recent college grads was 6.4 percent, compared to 3.5 percent four years ago. For college graduates overall, the rate stands at 4.4 percent. The rate more than doubles — to 10 percent — for those with only a high school degree. It more than triples — to 14.3 percent — for high school dropouts. And teens, now competing more than usual with experienced and educated jobseekers, are experiencing 24.5 percent unemployment.

The most recent unemployment report was chock full of more bad news: Only 18,000 net new jobs in June, an increase in the unemployment rate to 9.2 percent and a downward revision of previous months’ estimates of job creation (meaning even the earlier anemic reports of job creation overstated the recovery). To put it in perspective: Canada created more net new jobs last month (28,400) than we did — and we have nine times their population.

The situation is actually worse than reported. Of the 14 million Americans officially counted as unemployed, 6.3 million — 45 percent, the highest since 1983 — have been out of work for more than half a year. Another 8.6 million workers have had to settle for part-time work, either because their hours have been cut back or that was all they could find. If these 8.6 million underemployed workers were included, the reported unemployment rate would be nearly 15 percent.

This dismal situation won’t improve markedly, as long as weekly initial unemployment claims are running higher than 400,000 — as they have for the last 13 weeks. The weekly initial claims figure must drop to a consistent mid- to low-300,000 range, at most, before significant job growth can occur.

So where’s the recovery?

Since the summer of 2009, the American economy, as measured by gross domestic product, has been expanding, slowly. First-quarter GDP growth was a tepid 1.9 percent. In contrast, coming out of the 1981-82 recession, we had five straight quarters of 7 percent-to-9 percent GDP growth.

Layoffs are down from their peak in early 2009, but job creation is still in the trough — stuck about where it was two years ago. This leaves us short about half a million new jobs each month from what’s expected in a good economic recovery. This jobs deficit reflects the fact that creation of new businesses — the traditional engine of job growth — was down 23 percent in 2010 from 2007.

Why? Confidence, capital and credit fuel entrepreneurship and economic expansion. Confidence is currently the most sorely lacking component, and takes a beating with every headline about high unemployment, higher taxes, expensive government mandates, lawsuit-promoting legislation and federal fiscal recklessness. Diminishing faith in the present and future cripples a recovery. It also damages consumer confidence. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index was down in June, to 58.5. A few years ago, figures in the 90s were the norm.

Washington could hardly have waged a more effective war on private-sector job creation these last two years. To foster entrepreneurship, expansion and job creation, more leaders at all levels of government have to demonstrate some understanding of what it takes to build and grow businesses in the private sector.

Even a healthy economy and labor market would have struggled under the additional expenses enacted and proposed in 2009 and 2010 — from healthcare mandates and higher taxes, to carbon cap-and-trade and delay in extending the last decade’s tax reforms. We’re just 18 months away from a repeat of that latter circus. Unless Washington’s job-killing agenda is reversed, this economy cannot rev up enough to get American back anywhere near full employment.

Chao served as secretary of labor from 2001-2009 and is a Distinguished Fellow at The Heritage Foundation.






Source:
http://thehill.com/opinion/op-ed/172879-americas-jobless-ask-wheres-the-recovery




Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 22, 2011, 07:40:29 PM
Automakers Warn of Huge Job Losses Under Obama Fuel Efficiency Plan (More job-killing regulations)
Fox News ^ | 7/22/2011 | Jim Angle
Posted on July 22, 2011 9:48:02 PM EDT by tobyhill

Automakers are pushing back against an Obama administration proposal that would almost double vehicle fuel-efficiency standards, launching a new ad campaign warning of hundreds of thousands of job losses across the country.

The White House has long been negotiating with automakers and environmentalists over the enormous increase in fuel efficiency standards. But the automakers, who say the standards would stagger the auto industry, appear to be losing faith in the possibility of a compromise.

President Obama was hoping to get automakers to sign off on a nearly 100 percent increase in mileage standards by 2025, aiming for another Rose Garden announcement like the one in May 2009 when he announced they would raise it to 29.5 miles-per-gallon for model year 2012, on their way to 34 miles-per-gallon for 2016.

But now the White House has a much bigger goal in mind.

"They're floating ideas to increase this fuel efficiency standard to 56 miles per gallon fleet-wide by the year 2025, which would be a significant ramp-up, even from the fuel efficiency standards that we have set in place to 2016," said Nick Loris of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington think tank.

(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 24, 2011, 06:01:30 AM
http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/return-mass-layoffs-grim-sign-u-workers-190228219.html



Love this guy.   


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 24, 2011, 08:38:48 AM
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BAX Global to close hub at Toledo Express; 700 jobs lost
Toledo Blade ^ | July 22, 2011 | LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE
Posted on July 24, 2011 11:30:31 AM EDT by Beaten Valve

BAX Global Inc., a division of German transportation giant DB Schenker, announced Friday that it will close its U.S. air hub at Toledo Express Airport and shed its fleet of leased planes as part of what it is calling a “strategic realignment” of its North American business model.

About 700 jobs, mostly part-time, will be affected, the company said. Some employees will be given an opportunity to “redeploy to other parts of our business,” the company said.

Heiner Murmann, chief executive officer of Schenker, said in a statement: “We deeply regret that there will be some layoffs as part of this realignment. However, we are working to redeploy as many employees as possible to other parts of our business.”

The company said the phasing out of the U.S.-dedicated air fleet, which represents less than 10 percent of the company’s business in North and South America, will take place over the next several weeks, and “is in response to changing marketplace conditions and along with the renewed focus on transportation management services is aimed at positioning the company for continued growth and success.”

(Excerpt) Read more at toledoblade.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 25, 2011, 05:16:26 AM
RIM to Cut 2,000 Jobs on BlackBerry Share Decline   


(Bloomberg) Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM), maker of the BlackBerry smartphone, plans to cut about 2,000 jobs, or about a tenth of its workforce, as sales slow amid market share losses to Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone.

The reductions, across all functions, are part of a plan to “focus on areas that offer the highest growth opportunities,” RIM said today in a statement. The company also assigned new responsibilities to senior managers.

RIM predicted last month that quarterly revenue may drop for the first time in nine years. The company is losing market share in the U.S. to Apple’s iPhone and handsets running Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android software, in part because it hasn’t introduced a major new BlackBerry model since August. Cheaper Google phones are also making inroads in Latin America, Asia and Europe, threatening the popularity of less expensive BlackBerry models like the Curve. ............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-25/research-in-mo...

 


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 25, 2011, 05:19:23 AM
Broke! 10 Facts About The Financial Condition Of American Families That Will Blow Your Mind


The crumbling U.S. economy is putting an extraordinary amount of financial stress on American families.  For many Americans, "flat broke" has become a permanent condition.  Today, over half of all American families live paycheck to paycheck.  Unemployment is rampant and those that do actually have jobs are finding that their wages are rising much more slowly than prices are.  The financial condition of average American families continues to decline and this is showing up in all of the recent surveys.  For example, according to a new Gallup poll, "lack of money/low wages" is the number one financial concern for American families.  To make ends meet, many American families are going into even more debt and more American families than ever are turning to government assistance.  Right now, more Americans than at any other point since World War II are flat broke and have lost hope.  Until this changes, the frustration level in this country is going to continue to grow.

The following are 10 facts about the financial condition of American families that will blow your mind.....

#1 Only 58 percent of Americans have a job right now.

#2 Only 56 percent of Americans are currently covered by employer-provided health insurance.

#3 The median yearly wage in the United States is $26,261.

#4 The average American household is carrying $75,600 in debt.

#5 Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.

#6 At this point, American families are approximately 7.7 trillion dollars poorer than they were back in early 2007.

#7 The poorest 50% of all Americans now own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.

#8 According to one study, approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States were living below the poverty line in 2010.

#9 Today, there are more than 44 million Americans on food stamps, and nearly half of them are children.

#10 According to Newsweek, close to 20 percent of all American men between the ages of 25 and 54 do not have a job at the moment.

So what is causing all of this?

Where in the world did all of the good jobs go?

Well, the truth is that millions of them have been shipped overseas.

Our politicians promised us that merging our economy with the economies of other nations where it is legal to pay slave labor wages to workers would not create more unemployment inside America.

They were dead wrong.

Now we are being told that we just need to accept a lower standard of living.

For example, billionaire Howard Marks says that it is time for all of us to just accept that the standard of living of American workers is inevitably going to decline to the level of the rest of the world....

"In addition to balancing the budget and growing the economy, I think we have to accept that the coming decades are likely to see U.S. standards of living decline relative to the rest of the world. Unless our goods offer a better cost/benefit bargain, there’s no reason why American workers should continue to enjoy the same lifestyle advantage over workers in other countries. I just don’t expect to hear many politicians own up to this reality on the stump."
Are you willing to accept that?

Well, most Americans appear to be willing to accept this "new reality" because they keep sending most of the exact same bozos back to Washington D.C.

Meanwhile, the job losses continue to get worse.  As I wrote about the other day, as the U.S. economy has started to slow down again we are starting to see another huge wave of layoffs all over America.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out where all of our jobs are going.  But unfortunately, most Americans don't understand what is happening because neither the mainstream media nor our politicians are telling them the truth.

For much more on how millions of our good jobs are being shipped out of the country, please see another article I recently published entitled "How Globalism Has Destroyed Our Jobs, Businesses And National Wealth In 10 Easy Steps".

But it is not just the globalization of the economy that is destroying our jobs.

The federal government bureaucracy has become so oppressive that it is amazing that anyone is still willing to hire workers in this day and age.

Hiring workers has become so complicated and so expensive that many small business owners want to avoid it at all cost.

For example, a small business owner identified as "007" recently left the following comment on one of my recent articles....

Speaking as a small employer, I would rather have a root canal than another employee. Let’s see. You first have to hire someone you trust without some labor lawyer suing you for some type of discrimination. Then you have OSHA to make sure your work place is safe. Then you have workmans compensation insurance, unemployment taxes, health insurance, liability insurance, now Obamacare. Oh be careful not to be deemed to have a “hostile work environment”. Then you have to negotiate the labor laws. The Department of Labor is constantly cranking out regulation.

Then you get the pleasure of paying payroll taxes both state and federal along with the required filing of a multitude of payroll forms. Miss filing or paying these taxes and you will be crushed with interest and penalties.

Of course, you are competing with businesses that can hire at a fraction of the cost of American Labor and with very little regulations. In this economy, no one in their right mind is hiring into this unstable and declining economy.

If business turns down all you have to worry about is laying off workers. Of course your unemployment insurance tax will go up 200% for years. Then you only have to then worry about a wrongful termination law suit.
The entire system is stacked against American workers.

If you are a blue collar worker, you should give up hope that things are going to get better.  The system has failed you.

You can stop waiting for the "good jobs" to come back.

They aren't coming back.

That is one reason why I try to encourage everyone to become more independent of the system.

As our economic system continues to degenerate, Americans are going to become increasingly desperate.

Sadly, desperate people do desperate things.  Already we are starting to see signs that the fabric of American society is starting to be ripped to shreds.

So what is going to happen if the economy gets even worse?

There is a limit to how many people we can actually put in prison.  The reality is that the number of Americans in prison has nearly tripled since 1987.

Our prisons are already dangerously overcrowded.  As society falls apart, many communities will simply not be able to shove more people behind bars.

Even with our prisons stuffed to the gills, many of our largest cities continue to be transformed into absolute hellholes.

Detroit is now the 3rd most dangerous city on the entire planet and New Orleans is now the 9th most dangerous city on the entire planet.

So what are our leaders doing about all of this?

Well, they appear to be too busy fighting with each other and cheating on their wives to do much about our problems.

According to Politico, U.S. Representative David Wu is the latest member of Congress to be accused of a sex scandal....

Rep. David Wu has been accused of an “unwanted sexual encounter” with the teenage daughter of a longtime friend, the latest scandal to engulf the troubled Oregon Democrat.
This country is a complete and total mess.  Tens of millions of American families are flat broke and are about to slip into poverty.  Meanwhile, our politicians continue to prove that they are some of the most corrupt on the planet.

There are many out there that still believe that America has a bright future ahead.

It is getting really hard to see why anyone could possibly believe that.


http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/broke-10-facts-about-the-financial-condition-of-american-families-that-will-blow-your-mind



Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: garebear on July 25, 2011, 05:21:04 AM
You must be hell on Facebook.


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 25, 2011, 05:24:35 AM
You must be hell on Facebook.



Actually an old girlfriend looked me up on facebook and asked me out.   She looks better now than even when we were in college. 


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: garebear on July 25, 2011, 05:32:51 AM
Copy and past a few articles and message her them.

We'll see if she really likes you.


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 25, 2011, 05:35:11 AM
Copy and past a few articles and message her them.

We'll see if she really likes you.

 ;D  ;D  ;D




Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 26, 2011, 01:51:46 PM
U.S. New Home Sales Show Unexpected Drop In June
RTT News ^ | 7/26/11




Sales of new homes in the U.S. saw a modest decrease in the month of June, according to figures released Tuesday by the Commerce Department, with the drop in sales coming as a surprise to economists.

New single-family home sales came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 312,000 in June, a 1 percent drop from revised figures that showed the May rate at 315,000.

Most economists had predicted a slight rebound to an annual rate of 321,000 new home sales. Additionally, the May figures were revised downward from initial reports that showed an annual rate of 319,000.


(Excerpt) Read more at rttnews.com ...


Title: Re: Misery Index: The Great Obama Depression
Post by: Soul Crusher on July 26, 2011, 01:55:07 PM
Alabama county readies for biggest bankruptcy in US history
drudgereport.com/ ^ | 7/26/2011 | http://drudgereport.com


http://news.yahoo.com/ala-county-readies-possible-record-bankruptcy-155646239.html



BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Alabama's largest county began laying the groundwork Tuesday for what would be largest U.S. municipal bankruptcy

Officials in Jefferson County hope to avoid new layoffs but may have to raise sewer rates or trim public services. On Tuesday, county commissioners approved resolutions to hire prominent bankruptcy lawyers and to sell bonds later in case money is needed to emerge from a Chapter 9 bankruptcy, the type that can be filed by governments.

Jefferson County's bankruptcy filing would be nearly twice as large as the record one filed by Orange County, Calif., in 1994

The county already has laid-off hundreds of workers and reduced services because of problems unrelated to the bankruptcy threat, and commissioners said they did not anticipate additional immediate reductions should the county file for bankruptcy.

The county — the state's historic economic hub with some 658,000 residents — has been trying to avoid filing bankruptcy since 2008.

Loan payments skyrocketed because of increasing interest rates as global credit markets struggled, and the county could no longer afford to repay the money. In the meantime, a string of elected officials, public employees and business people were convicted of rigging the sweetheart deals that helped put the county in dire straits.

As if the sewer debt wasn't enough, the county has another major problem: Jefferson County already has laid off about 550 of its 2,300 workers and scaled ba