Poll shows Americans' pessimism on economy growing - AP through WRAL.com (Raleigh) - By JENNIFER AGIESTA, Associated Press; TOM RAUM, Associated Press - May 10, 2012 - Americans are growing more pessimistic about the economy and handling it remains President Barack Obama's weak spot and biggest challenge in his bid for a second term, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. And the gloomier outlook extends across party lines, including a steep decline in the share of Democrats who call the economy "good," down from 48 percent in February to just 31 percent now. Almost two-thirds of Americans — 65 percent — disapprove of Obama's handling of gas prices, up from 58 percent in February. Nearly half, 44 percent, "strongly disapprove." And just 30 percent said they approve, down from 39 percent in February. These findings come despite a steady decline in gas prices in recent weeks after a surge earlier in the year. The national average for a gallon of gasoline stood at $3.75, down from a 2012 peak of $3.94 on April 1. U.S. presidents have limited ability to affect gas prices, which are determined in international markets. However, the party out of power always blames whoever is president at the time for high gas prices, as Republican Mitt Romney is doing now and as Democrat Obama did in 2008 when George W. Bush sat in the Oval Office. Of all the issues covered by the poll, Obama's ratings on gas prices were his worst. The public's views tilt negative on his handling of the overall economy, 52 percent disapprove while 46 percent approve. In February, Americans were about evenly divided on his handling of the issue. The economy is the No. 1 issue in the presidential race, thanks to the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression and one of the shallowest-ever recoveries. While the recession officially ended in summer 2009, unemployment remains stubbornly high, at 8.1 percent in April. Some 12.5 million Americans are out of work. The increasing skepticism toward the recovery tracks a weakening overall economy as measured by the gross domestic product, and matches economic growth downgrades by many economic forecasters. Against this background, the weak economy looms as a huge liability for Obama, and any drop in public confidence in his ability to deal with it can threaten his re-election prospects. Although Obama held broad advantages over Romney on handling social issues and protecting the country, when it came to the economy about the same percentage said they trust Romney to handle it as trust Obama.
Ridiculous Claim: Fed Policy Not To Blame For Rising Food and Gas Prices; The Dollar Hasn’t Gone Down - SHTFplan.com - Mac Slavo - May 7th, 2012 - Government mouthpiece and well known Keynesian economist Paul Krugman makes the case for monetary easing and Fed intervention by claiming that the rising cost of food and gas has nothing to do with the Federal Reserve or the free money they’ve dished out to banks, both foreign and domestic, to the tunes of not billions, but tens of trillions of dollars. The latest economic theory from the Nobel Prize winning economist suggests that the Fed and government intervention couldn’t possibly have anything to do with US dollar depreciation – not for the last hundred years, and certainly not today.
The Hound: Paul Krugman should be fired for Economic malpractice. The dude just does not understand economics. Paper does only represents value. The actual (real) value lies in the actual commodities. Sure paper versus paper is maintaining its price parity, but the paper versus the commodities (Fuel, Sugar, Beef, Corn, Precious Metals, etc.) is falling drastically. What we are seeing is inflation is Necessities and deflation in discretionary items. The problem relates to dollars flushed into banks using that money to invest through speculation in commodity markets. The amount of commodities is finite, but the amount of fiat money chasing them is potentially infinite. Until we put a control mechanism on currencies, since the people running monetary policy throughout the world apparently lack self-restraint, we are going to see rampant inflation worsening until ultimate collapse, because this game cannot go on forever. If market mechanisms are not reliable, they eventually collapse.
Economic Alert: If You’re Not Worried Yet…You Should Be - Alt-Market.com - Brandon Smith - May 8, 2012 - ...At the end of January, I covered the incredible nosedive of the Baltic Dry Index (a measure of global shipping rates that signals a fall in global demand) to historic lows. I pointed out the tendency of stocks and the general economy to crash around 8 months (sometimes a little longer) after the BDI makes such a dramatic downturn. Mainstream analysts, of course, attributed the fall to an “overproduction of ships”, which is the same exact excuse they used when the BDI collapsed back in 2008 just before the derivatives bubble burst. It would seem that the cable TV talking heads were wrong yet again, as the international market facade quickly evaporates right in line with the BDI’s almost prophetic knack for calling an economic derailment in advance... Former officials like Nicolas Sarkozy may have claimed to be distanced from the socialist ideal, but, as with all globalist puppets, their actions did not match their rhetoric, and they have always supported policies of centralization and big government. The French and the Greeks have essentially replaced closet collectivists with outspoken collectivists, and will see NO relief from the crisis in the Euro-zone as a result of the political reordering. In fact, the stage has now been set for a volatile chain of dominos. Germany, which is the only economy left holding the EU together, has been unyielding on austerity cuts. A conflict between France and Germany is now inevitable. Neither will compromise their position, and I can see no other eventual result than a reexamination and perhaps abandonment of the EU charter. How does this affect America? Being that international banks and corporations have forced our countries into interdependency through the engineered chicanery of globalization, any collapse in Europe is going to strike hard around the world, but the worst will hit the U.S. and China. Which is probably why China is disengaging trade away from the U.S. and the EU and focusing on other developing nations:
Spain is next in line, with a 25% official unemployment rate and a massive black market economy forming. As I have been saying for years now, when governments disrupt the financial survival of the people, they WILL form their own alternatives, including black markets and barter markets. It is about survival. The Spanish government does not care much for these alternatives, though, and has now banned cash transactions over 2500 euros in a futile attempt to squeeze taxes out of the populace through digitally tracked payment methods:
Here is the bottom line; U.S. growth is a theater of shadows. There has been no progress, no recovery, only the misrepresentation of statistics. Millions of Americans have fallen off unemployment rolls because they have been jobless for too long, which lowers the unemployment rate, but does not change the fact that they are still without work. Durable goods orders are dropping like an avalanche. U.S. credit has been lowered yet again by ratings agency Egan-Jones. With China making bilateral trade deals in numerous countries on the condition that the dollar be dropped as the primary purchasing mechanism, and with the EU turning to economic mulch, the currency’s safety is nonexistent. Traditional investors who cling to the idea that a falling Euro spells dollar strength will be sorely disappointed when the currency is suddenly being rejected in international currency markets. The Federal Reserve has already stated that any signs of “relapse” into recession (the recession that we never left) will be met with all options on the table, including QE3:
The real beginning of today’s collapse is tied to the events of 2008. The pace of it has been deceptive, but also, in a way, it is a gift. Over the past four years, I have personally seen the awakening of thousands of people that may have never had the chance if the system had gone into full spectrum breakdown right away. The question now is, how much longer can the U.S. wobble along on one wheel? In my view, and from the evidence I see in markets at the moment, not much longer. It is hard to set aside any expectations that the next leg down will be easy to digest for the populace. The reality of our predicament is starting to hit home. All the tax return checks have been spent. The credit cards have been maxed. The new cars have been sold off and traded in for ghetto-mobiles. The good jobs have been replaced with Taco Bell slavery. A trip to see The Avengers is now the family vacation. And, the distractions of reality TV just aren’t buttering our bread anymore. It’s the little things at first that really signal the financial mood of a society, as well as reveal the more vital and looming issues just over the horizon. All indicators suggest that this year will be unlike any other before. In 2008, we saw the first trigger events for the collapse. In 2008/2009, we saw the creation of the bailout culture, setting the stage for inflation and dollar disintegration. In 2010, we saw the first bilateral trade deal cutting out the dollar between China and Russia, which is now the template for trade deals all over the globe. In 2011, we saw the first downgrade of the U.S. credit rating and the crisis in the EU become epidemic. In 2012, I see not just another difficulty to add to the mountain, but a culmination of all these detriments to produce something entirely new; a vast and subversive realignment forcing many of us to take a more aggressive stance in the fight for an economically and socially free America...
The 2 Billion Dollar Loss By JP Morgan Is Just A Preview Of The Coming Collapse Of The Derivatives Market - The Economic Collapse Blog - When news broke of a 2 billion dollar trading loss by JP Morgan, much of the financial world was absolutely stunned. But the truth is that this is just the beginning. This is just a very small preview of what is going to happen when we see the collapse of the worldwide derivatives market. When most Americans think of Wall Street, they think of a bunch of stuffy bankers trading stocks and bonds. But over the past couple of decades it has evolved into much more than that. Today, Wall Street is the biggest casino in the entire world. When the "too big to fail" banks make good bets, they can make a lot of money. When they make bad bets, they can lose a lot of money, and that is exactly what just happened to JP Morgan. Their Chief Investment Office made a series of trades which turned out horribly, and it resulted in a loss of over 2 billion dollars over the past 40 days. But 2 billion dollars is small potatoes compared to the vast size of the global derivatives market. It has been estimated that the the notional value of all the derivatives in the world is somewhere between 600 trillion dollars and 1.5 quadrillion dollars. Nobody really knows the real amount, but when this derivatives bubble finally bursts there is not going to be nearly enough money on the entire planet to fix things. Sadly, a lot of mainstream news reports are not even using the word "derivatives" when they discuss what just happened at JP Morgan. This morning I listened carefully as one reporter described the 2 billion dollar loss as simply a "bad bet".
And perhaps that is easier for the American people to understand. JP Morgan made a series of really bad bets and during a conference call last night CEO Jamie Dimon admitted that the strategy was "flawed, complex, poorly reviewed, poorly executed and poorly monitored". The funny thing is that JP Morgan is considered to be much more "risk averse" than most other major Wall Street financial institutions are. So if this kind of stuff is happening at JP Morgan, then what in the world is going on at some of these other places? That is a really good question. For those interested in the technical details of the 2 billion dollar loss, an article posted on CNBC described exactly how this loss happened...
According to the Comptroller of the Currency, the "too big to fail" banks have exposure to derivatives that is absolutely mind blowing. Just check out the following numbers from an official U.S. government report....
JPMorgan Chase - $70.1 Trillion
Citibank - $52.1 Trillion
Bank of America - $50.1 Trillion
Goldman Sachs - $44.2 Trillion
(T. Boone) Pickens: 'I Am Through With Washington' After Gas Fight - CNBC - Jeff Cox - May 10, 2012 - T. Boone Pickens says his effort to convert the government trucking fleet to natural gas is his last go-round with Washington politicians, whom he insists don't care about the country's energy independence. Pickens has been trying — and failing — to get Congress to pass what is now called the Energy Security Act, aimed particularly at the development of natural gas and breaking the country free of its dependence on Middle East oil.
A teen with a job becomes a rarity in US economy - Life Inc. Today MSN & Reuters - Allison Linn - May 3, 2012 - Only about 25 percent of 16- to 19-year-olds currently are working, a drop of 10 percentage points from just five years ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The percentage of teenagers who have jobs, expressed as the ratio of employment to population, hovered between 40 and 50 percent for much of the 1980s and 1990s. The percentage began dropping about a decade ago, but the declines have been especially steep since the beginning of the Great Recession in late 2007. With summer approaching and the job market showing signs of improvement, teens could have a better shot at getting hired than they have had in years. But it could take many more years for teens to resume working at pre-recession levels.
The April employment report, due out Friday, will offer more clues into how things will look in the coming months. Part of the issue is that fewer teens either want to work or think they can get a job. The labor force participation rate, which measures both teens who are working and those actively seeking work, also has fallen sharply since 2000. The White House pledged on Wednesday to help lower-income youth find summer jobs in a move likely to appeal to younger voters crucial to President Barack Obama's re-election campaign. The initiative is in partnership with the cities of Philadelphia, Chicago and San Francisco and is meant to add 110,000 jobs, internships and mentorships to the 180,000 summer work opportunities for 16-24 year olds that Obama has promised to create for 2012. Still, most teens are facing a job market in which there are fewer positions to be had. What’s more, many believe the jobs that are available are increasingly going to adults who are desperate enough to take a job that might once have gone to a teenager.
49% of Americans aren't saving for retirement - CNN Money - Blake Ellis May 10, 2012 - America has a serious problem saving for retirement. About 49% of Americans say they aren't contributing to any retirement plan, according to a new survey conducted by LIMRA, a trade association for the financial services industry. "The findings from this survey were disturbing, given that people will increasingly need to rely on their personal savings to make ends meet in retirement," said Matthew Drinkwater, associate managing director at LIMRA's retirement research division. People ages 18 to 34 are the least likely to be saving, with 56% reporting that they are not currently contributing to a retirement plan like an IRA or a 401(k).
The Evil of Monsanto
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