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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Economic Stories of Relevance in Today's World -- October 21, 2012

U.S. News: Middle-Class Decline Saps the Future - Newsmax - John Morgan - October 18, 2012 -  The decline of the middle class is fundamentally reshaping the U.S. economy, with unwanted repercussions for higher education, government and the future, according to an analysis by U.S. News & World Report.                     Even the middle class’s health has suffered, U.S. News said.             “Their economic future isn’t very bright,” said Timothy Smeeding, director of a poverty research center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “Wages and income are flat. Transportation, childcare costs and healthcare costs are going up, and your income isn’t.”                   The definition of “middle class” varies. The New York Times reported that the Tax Policy Center placed the median household income at $42,000 in 2011, while the Census Bureau tagged it at $50,000.                  “These people live on earnings,” Smeeding said. “They’re working on not great wages and their jobs are threatened. They don’t see any hope in the future of things getting better.”                      A recent survey of self-described middle-class adults by the Pew Research Center found 85 percent of them believed it was more difficult now than a decade ago to maintain their standard of living. Most of them (62 percent) said “a lot” of the blame lies with Congress, while 54 percent said banks and financial institutions were to blame, 47 percent blamed large corporations and 34 percent blamed the Obama administration.                          The middle class shrank from 61 percent of the population in 1971 to 51 percent by 2011, the Pew report said. U.S. News said the income declines have led to higher levels of household debt from expenditures such as college.

Ahead of Election, Obama Stops Releasing ‘Stimulus’ Reports
- The Weekly Standard - JEFFREY H. ANDERSON - October 19, 2012
- The $831,000,000,000 economic “stimulus” that President Obama spearheaded and signed into law requires his administration to release quarterly reports on its effects. But “the most transparent administration in the history of our country” is now four reports behind schedule and has so far not released any reports whatsoever in 2012. Its most recent quarterly report is for the quarter than ended on June 30, 2011....                     Section 1513 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the “stimulus”) explicitly states, “In consultation with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and the Secretary of the Treasury, the Chairperson of the Council of Economic Advisers shall submit quarterly reports to the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and House of Representatives that detail the impact of programs funded through covered funds on employment, estimated economic growth, and other key economic indicators.”...                 In other words, the Obama administration is required by law to submit quarterly reports on the “stimulus” through the third quarter of 2013.  Yet the administration has apparently found it more convenient to stop after the second quarter of 2011 — more than two years early.  Or perhaps it has just decided to put the release of these reports on hold until after the election.  Either way, the Obama administration is now in violation of the president’s most prominent piece of legislation this side of Obamacare.

Obama: ‘We Got Back Every Dime’ of Bailout; CBO: Bailout Will Lose $24 Billion - CNS News - Matt Cover - October 15, 2012 - President Barack Obama said on Thursday that “we got back every dime we used to rescue the financial system."                    According to the Congressional Budget Office, however, the government will lose about $24 billion on the bailout.                    “We got back every dime we used to rescue the financial system, but we also passed a historic law to end taxpayer-funded Wall Street bailouts for good,” Obama said in Miami Thursday.                 The Congressional Budget Office--based on figures from Obama’s own Office of Management and Budget---gives a different assessment.                  "The cost to the federal government of the TARP’s transactions (also referred to as the subsidy cost), including grants for mortgage programs that have not yet been made, will amount to $24 billion,” said the CBO report, which was released on the same day Obama spoke.

Report: Welfare government’s single largest budget item in FY 2011 at approx. $1.03 trillion  - The Daily Caller - Caroline May - October 18, 2012 - The government spent approximately $1.03 trillion on 83 means-tested federal welfare programs in fiscal year 2011 alone — a price tag that makes welfare that year the government’s largest expenditure, according to new data released by the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee.                      The total sum taxpayers spent on federal welfare programs was derived from a new Congressional Research Service (CRS) report on federal welfare spending — which topped out at $745.84 billion for fiscal year 2011 — combined with an analysis from the Republican Senate Budget Committee staff of state spending on federal welfare programs (based on “The Oxford Handbook of State and Local Government Finance”), which reached $282.7 billion in fiscal year 2011.                     The data excludes spending on Social Security, Medicare, means-tested health care for veterans without service-connected disabilities, and the means-tested veterans pension program.               According to the CRS report, which focused solely on federal spending for federal welfare programs, spending on federal welfare programs increased $563.413 billion in fiscal year 2008 to $745.84 billion in fiscal year 2011 — a 32 percent increase.

55 Facts About The Debt And U.S. Government Finances That Every American Voter Should Know -  The Economic Collapse Blog - The future of the United States of America is being systematically destroyed by our politicians, but unfortunately most Americans don't really grasp exactly what is happening. 30 years ago, our national debt had just crossed the one trillion dollar mark. Just recently, it crossed the 16 trillion dollar mark. Prior to every election, politicians from both parties swear up and down that they will do something about our exploding debt, but it never happens. Once again this year, our politicians are making all kinds of grand promises about getting U.S. government finances under control. But they are also promising all kinds of new plans and programs which are going to cost a lot more money on top of what we are already spending. For the average American, all of this can be incredibly confusing. That is why I have put together a list of facts about the debt and U.S. government finances below. These are things that every voter should know. The federal government is stealing more than a trillion dollars a year from our children and our grandchildren, and they are spending that money in some of the most foolish ways that you could ever imagine. We have accumulated the largest mountain of debt in the history of the world, but our politicians just can't help themselves - they appear to be absolutely addicted to spending money. If we continue on the path that we are currently on, our entire financial system and our entire economy will be destroyed by all of this debt. Time is running out and urgent action is needed to address this crisis...

There Is A Staggering Amount Of Feces In Our Food - The End of the American Dream Blog - Michael Snyder - October 15th, 2012 - Most Americans are eating significant amounts of feces on a regular basis without even realizing it.  You might not mind this, but most people out there would not willingly eat feces if they could avoid it.  Not only is it disgusting, but feces is also a breeding ground for all kinds of dangerous diseases.  Unfortunately, as a result of the never ending quest to cut prices even lower more of our food is being imported from overseas than ever before.  Many of those countries do not have the same health standards that we do in the United States.  In fact, many farmers in those countries actually feed feces to their fish and to their animals since it is so inexpensive.  If you are eating seafood that was imported from Asia, there is a very good chance that it was raised on pig feces.  Not only that, the truth is that a lot of the poultry that comes from Southeast Asia is also raised on pig feces.  The FDA has rejected thousands of food shipments from Asia in recent years due to fecal contamination, but the FDA inspects less than 3 percent of all imported food.  So what are we to conclude about the other 97 percent of all food imports that the FDA did not inspect?                   A recent Bloomberg article entitled "Asian Seafood Raised on Pig Feces Approved for U.S. Consumers" explained that much of the seafood that is imported to the United States from Asia is actually raised on pig feces.               A lot of people were grossed out by that article, but there have been no calls for a congressional investigation.  There have been no calls to cut off food imports from Asia.  Most people will forget about all of this in a few weeks and will continue to consume large amounts of imported crap.                    The Bloomberg article also talked about the fact that less than 3 percent of all imported food is inspected by the FDA...

Brookings Institute - Brookings Institute On Looming Fiscal Cliff: Little Room for Optimism
- Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis - October 18, 2012


Jim Rogers: Watch out for 2013-14 - We can't avoid Recession - October 20, 2012        

Ron Paul: The Real Bear Market Started in 2000


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