Tag Archives | Economy

Now That The Elections Are Over, What Kind of Economy Did Americans Vote For?

Photo: Chris Phan (Clipdude) (CC)

Photo: Chris Phan (Clipdude) (CC)

The Election is over. The Dems were thumped. They lost the House, even if they still have the Senate by a hair.  Barney Frank will be back but not Alan Grayson or Russ Feingold. WSWS offered the key reason: “intractable and deepening economic crisis and the evident inability of the Obama administration to develop any policies to overcome it.”

Is that crisis likely to go away after an emboldened army of the righteous (and well-financed claque of  self-styled “economically responsible” free market boosters) won more nominal power?

Will the deficits disappear?

Will the government shrink to what to what was in the era of the “founders?”

Will the economy breathe a sign of relief and bounce back?

Unlikely on all counts!

What that means is that the dire problems we face will likely get worse, as the Republicans try to stop any and all government intervention, focused as they are, for political purposes and ideological convictions, on being deficit busters.… Read the rest

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It’s Dark As A Dungeon Deep Down In The Mine

Report from the Epicenter of Fraudclosures: Can There be A Rescue of US Workers Facing Foreclosure & Unemployment?

WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA: In all of the economic issues we are dealing with, there is always a “back story, a deeper context” that is usually missing, “disappeared” like those Allende supporters in Chile in the 1970s who wanted to empower workers, not just rescue them when they get buried in a deep hole.

Most deeper issues go uncovered. Luis Campos, Director of the School of Anthropology at Chile’s Universidad Academia de Humanismo Cristiano, points out, “more buried than the miners themselves, the demands and the rights of the indigenous population continue to be flouted and unrecognized in our country.”

Many unsafe mines worldwide are still at risk from China to Zambia.

Who woulda thunk—certainly not the 1300 “journalists” on the scene–that this mine disaster had its origins in the era when Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger helped snuff out an emerging popular democracy in the name of protecting what West Palm Beach-based writer and former economic “hit man,” John Perkins, calls the corporatocracy.… Read the rest

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Democrats Actually SHRANK Spending & the Deficit

Despite a lot of intentional misinformation put out by the GOP and their propaganda ministry at Fox or partisan radio shows like Rush Limbaugh, it seems the actual numbers say something completely different about the nature of the economy. On the subject of both the deficit and government spending, they are similarly incorrect/deluded in part because they listen to a relentless droning of rightwing media nearly exclusively.

The actual RAW DATA from the non-partisan OMB communicates something completely different however.

Per AFP via Raw Story:

  • The U.S. deficit actually SHRANK 9% in the last fiscal year, down 122 billion dollars over the previous year.
  • Democrats also brought down the cost of the financial “rescue” of the banks by $240 billion.
  • 2010 marked the largest DECLINE in government spending since 1984.
  • And thanks to cutting corporate loopholes, revenue increased by 3%.

Of interest in the article as well, is this statement by Republican Judd Gregg, who said, “Just a few years ago, the deficit was under 500 billion dollars.”

That’s quite correct Judd.… Read the rest

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Bank Failures Show No Sign Of Stopping – Taxpayers Pick Up The Tab

The Wall Street Journal attracted a lot of attention yesterday with the headline “Banks Keep Failing, No End in Sight.” If you’ve been reading Danny Schechter’s posts about the never-ending recession and financial crisis, it may not come as a surprise, but if you drank the “Recession’s Over” Kool Aid being dispensed in Washington, it might surprise you to learn that since big fish Washington Mutual went bust, 279 more lenders have collapsed, and counting:

The largest number of bank failures in nearly 20 years has eliminated jobs, accelerated a drought in lending and left the industry’s survivors with more power to squeeze customers.

Some 279 banks have collapsed since Sept. 25, 2008, when Washington Mutual Inc. became the biggest bank failure on record. That dwarfed the 1984 demise of Continental Illinois, which had only one-seventh of WaMu’s assets. The failures of the past two years shattered the pace of the prior six-year period, when only three dozen banks died.

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How BP Could Trigger Another Economic Meltdown

bpMatt Taibbi says the worst may yet be to come from BP’s unacceptable antics in the Gulf, in Rolling Stone:

It was sickening enough when British oil giant BP set new standards for corporate scumbaggery in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, turning the Gulf of Mexico into its own personal toilet and imperiling entire species of wildlife in an attempt to save a few nickels. But with the Gulf geyser finally capped, there’s still a way for BP to cause an even more unthinkable disaster: an AIG-style, derivative-fueled financial shitstorm. If the company decides to declare bankruptcy — a very real possibility with these bastards — it could trigger chaos in our casino system of finance, underscoring the insane levels of leverage and systemic risk we have left in place, even after the global economic crash of 2008.

The first serious whiff of trouble came on June 15th, when Barack Obama manned up and went on national TV to tell the nation that he wasn’t going to let BP worm its way out of this one.

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$800,000 of Economic Stimulus Money Spent On African Genital-Washing Program

From the “you can’t make this stuff up” department, via CNS News (yes, I know it comes with a deliberately right-wing spin, but still!):

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), spent $823,200 of economic stimulus funds in 2009 on a study by a UCLA research team to teach uncircumcised African men how to wash their genitals after having sex.

The genitalia-washing program is part of a larger $12-million UCLA study examining how to better encourage Africans to undergo voluntary HIV testing and counseling – however, only the penis-washing study received money from the 2009 economic stimulus law. The washing portion of the study is set to end in 2011.

“NIH Announces the Availability of Recovery Act Funds for Competitive Revision Applications,” the grant abstract states. “We propose to evaluate the feasibility of a post-coital genital hygiene study among men unwilling to be circumcised in Orange Farm, South Africa.”

Because AIDS researchers have been unsuccessful in convincing most adult African men to undergo circumcision, the UCLA study proposes to determine whether researchers can develop an after-sex genitalia-washing regimen that they can then convince uncircumcised African men to follow…

[continues at CNS News]… Read the rest

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London Calling As The Economy Hovers On The Edge And Scholars Debate War And Terrorism

LONDON: The British capital pretty much looked like it did the last time I was here except for all the closed stores and businesses I passed on the way to the War and Media Conference that brought me here.

I am not sure what it will look like the next time I come because the new Tory government is preparing to slash 40% of public funding in an austerity move which is certain to destroy thousands of jobs and inflict pain on the poor and middle class.

My friend Bill Bowles is afraid his pension might be trimmed along with his “freedom card” which gives folks over 65 free access to local transportation. (Seniors in New York only get half-fare cards). Given that the government is the country’s number one employer, a 40% cut will be devastating to the economy as well, mimicking that famous Vietnam War saying, “we destroyed the village in order to save it.”

He writes:

“By proposing cuts as high as 40% of our social infrastructure, the government might just as well hand out free vials of cyanide to millions of public service workers and then to the thousands of small, medium-sized businesses that get fifty per cent of their business from government according to the BBC.

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Suicides In Japan Cost Economy $32bn

I would think the number one problem is that Japan has the highest suicide rate in the world, not the fact that it’s hurting the economy. BBC reports:

The government in Japan says suicides and depression cost its economy almost 2.7tn yen ($32bn; £21bn) last year.

The figures refer to lost incomes and the cost of treatment. It is the first time Japan has released such figures.

Japan has one of the world’s highest suicide rates, with more than 32,000 people killing themselves last year. PM Naoto Kan sees it as proof of an economic and emotional downturn.

The government is setting up a task force to try to reduce the rate.

From Friday, it will run a video clip of a footballer from the J-league on its website, urging people to be more aware of the problem.

Continues at BBC News …… Read the rest

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Hard Times

Aren’t job losses and foreclosures as important as a “Ground Zero Mosque” (that isn’t a mosque, hasn’t been built or even at ground zero)?

We know we live in hard times that are on the verge of getting harder with 500,000 new claims for unemployment last week, a recent record.

The stock market may be over for now as fear and panic drives small investors out. Big corporations hoard stashes of cash rather then hire workers. The D-Word (depression) is back in play.

Foreclosures are up, and the Administration’s programs to stop them are down, well below their stated goals, only helping 1/6th of those promised assistance.

And here’s a statistic for you: 300,000. That’s the number of foreclosure filings every month for the past 17 months. This year, 1.9 million homes will be lost, down from 2 million last year. Is that progress? In July alone, 92, 858 homes were repossessed.… Read the rest

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China’s Economy Moves Up To Second Place

China has been growing in the past decade, which as allowed it to surpass Japan’s economy, and reintroduce itself as a large player in the global economy of commercial and political powers. The Associated Press reports:

China has eclipsed Japan as the world’s second-biggest economy after three decades of blistering growth that put overtaking the U.S. in reach within 10 years.

Japan is still far richer per person after confirming Monday that economic output fell behind its giant neighbor for the three months ending June 30. However, the news is more proof of China’s arrival as a force that is altering the global balance of commercial, political and military power.

Analysts are already looking ahead to when China might match the United States in total output — which the World Bank and others say could be no more than a decade away.

“This means the world will pay more attention to China, especially when most Western countries are mired in the bog of debt problems,” said economist Lu Zhengwei at Industrial Bank in Shanghai.

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