Google Groups
Join To Get Blog Update Notices
Visit the Hickory Hound Group

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Economic Stories of Relevance in Today's World -- April 28, 2013

Volkswagen layoffs (500) in Chattanooga marked by surprise, regret - - Mike Pare - April 19th, 2013 - Jason Hamilton, a contract worker at Volkswagen's Chattanooga plant for the past 20 months, said Thursday he had quit a higher-paying job so he could assemble cars at the factory.                   "I thought it was going to be a better opportunity," said Hamilton, who learned he is one of about 500 VW plant employees being laid off.                  The automaker told contract employees supplied by Aerotek that it is cutting 15 percent of the workforce. VW uses the staffing agency to screen, hire and provide temporary production jobs in the plant.                 VW executives blamed slower-than-expected growth in Passat sales and said they're doing away with a third production shift at the factory.                "We had too high expectations," said Frank Fischer, who heads VW in Chattanooga.                  The layoffs are set to start at the end of May.                      Fischer said the Passat exceeded sales targets for eight to 12 months after the factory started assembly in 2011. A little more than a year ago, plant officials said they planned to add 800 employees to keep up with demand for the Passat.                He said that projecting sales and production is "always like looking in a crystal ball."                   Still, he said, the company expects 2013 Passat sales to exceed last year's by about 5 percent. The company sold more than 117,000 Chattanooga-made Passats last year, and it set an all-time record for the vehicle in the U.S. The plant produced 150,000 cars in 2012.                   But, Fischer said, officials saw a trend of slowing growth in Passat sales late in 2012 and tried to avoid layoffs by reducing the number of production days.                    In the end, though, it wasn't enough.                     "We were very hesitant to lay off anyone," he said. But, "we have to adjust."

America The Fallen: 24 Signs That Our Once Proud Cities Are Turning Into Poverty-Stricken Hellholes - The Economic Collapse Blog - Michael - April 23rd, 2013 - What is happening to you America?  Once upon a time, the United States was a place where free enterprise thrived and the greatest cities that the world had ever seen sprouted up from coast to coast.  Good jobs were plentiful and a manufacturing boom helped fuel the rise of the largest and most vibrant middle class in the history of the planet.  Cities such as Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Baltimore were all teeming with economic activity and the rest of the globe looked on our economic miracle with a mixture of wonder and envy.  But now look at us.  Our once proud cities are being transformed into poverty-stricken hellholes.  Did you know that the city of Detroit once actually had the highest per-capita income in the United States?  Looking at Detroit today, it is hard to imagine that it was once one of the most prosperous cities in the world.  In fact, as you will read about later in this article, tourists now travel to Detroit from all over the globe just to see the ruins of Detroit.  Sadly, the exact same thing that is happening to Detroit is happening to cities all over America.  Detroit is just ahead of the curve.  We are in the midst of a long-term economic collapse that is eating away at us like cancer, and things are going to get a lot worse than this.  So if you still live in a prosperous area of the country, don't laugh at what is happening to others.  What is happening to them will be coming to your area soon enough.                The following are 24 signs that our once proud cities are turning into poverty-stricken hellholes...

America: #1 In Fear, Stress, Anger, Divorce, Obesity, Anti-Depressants, Etc. - The Economic Collapse Blog - Michael, on April 22nd, 2013 - The United States is a deeply unhappy place.  We are a nation that is absolutely consumed by fear, stress, anger and depression.  It isn't just our economy that is falling apart - the very fabric of society is starting to come apart at the seams and it is because of what is happening to us on the inside.  The facts and statistics that I am going to share with you in this article are quite startling.  They are clear evidence that America is a nation that is an advanced state of decline.  We are overwhelmed by fear, stress and anxiety, and much of the time the ways that we choose to deal with those emotions lead to some very self-destructive behaviors.  Americans have experienced a standard of living far beyond the wildest dreams of most societies throughout human history, and yet we are an absolutely miserable people.  Why is this?  Why is America #1 in so many negative categories?  Why are we constantly looking for ways to escape the pain of our own lives?  Why are our families falling apart?  There is vast material wealth all around us.  So why can't we be happy?                  Just look around you.  Are most of the people around you teeming with happiness and joy?  Sadly, the truth is that most Americans are terribly stressed out.  Yeah, many of them may be able to manage to come up with a smile when they greet you, but most of the time they are consumed by internal struggles that are eating away at them like cancer.                    So why is this happening?  Is modern life structured in a way that is fundamentally unhealthy?                Below I have posted a short excerpt from a message that one of Charles Hugh Smith's readers named Kenneth Daigle recently sent to him.  I think that it does a good job of describing the incredible stress that many people contend with on a daily basis...

Doctor: 'I gave up on health care in America' - CNN Money - Parija Kavilanz - April 26, 2013 - ...   "Primary care is highly respected here. That's not the case anymore in America," said Snyder. "In the United States, health care has become more about the business of making money. The personal side of medicine is going away."                     In fact, Snyder said he wouldn't be surprised if more primary care doctors in the U.S. look for opportunities elsewhere. His own contract expires at the end of June but he's renewing it for another two years..

Rich got richer during the recovery, and rest got poorer, study says - Life Inc. on Today - Allison Linn - April 24, 2013 - The nation’s richest American households generally gained wealth during the first two years of the economic recovery, a new research report finds, while most American households saw their net worth drop.                The report, released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center, found that the mean net worth for the 7 percent of American households at the top of the wealth distribution rose by 28 percent between 2009 and 2011, the most recent data available.                    Meanwhile, the mean net worth for the other 93 percent of American households fell by 4 percent during that period, according to Pew’s analysis of Census data.           Overall, the aggregate net worth for all American households rose between 2009 and 2011. But Pew’s more detailed analysis showed that the gains were concentrated among the wealthiest Americans, and the wealth gap increased during that time.

Everything Is Rigged: The Biggest Price-Fixing Scandal Ever - The Illuminati were amateurs. The second huge financial scandal of the year reveals the real international conspiracy: There's no price the big banks can't fix - Rolling Stone - Matt Taibbi - APRIL 25, 2013 -
Conspiracy theorists of the world, believers in the hidden hands of the Rothschilds and the Masons and the Illuminati, we skeptics owe you an apology. You were right. The players may be a little different, but your basic premise is correct: The world is a rigged game. We found this out in recent months, when a series of related corruption stories spilled out of the financial sector, suggesting the world's largest banks may be fixing the prices of, well, just about everything.               You may have heard of the Libor scandal, in which at least three – and perhaps as many as 16 – of the name-brand too-big-to-fail banks have been manipulating global interest rates, in the process messing around with the prices of upward of $500 trillion (that's trillion, with a "t") worth of financial instruments. When that sprawling con burst into public view last year, it was easily the biggest financial scandal in history – MIT professor Andrew Lo even said it "dwarfs by orders of magnitude any financial scam in the history of markets."                           That was bad enough, but now Libor may have a twin brother. Word has leaked out that the London-based firm ICAP, the world's largest broker of interest-rate swaps, is being investigated by American authorities for behavior that sounds eerily reminiscent of the Libor mess. Regulators are looking into whether or not a small group of brokers at ICAP may have worked with up to 15 of the world's largest banks to manipulate ISDAfix, a benchmark number used around the world to calculate the prices of interest-rate swaps.                Interest-rate swaps are a tool used by big cities, major corporations and sovereign governments to manage their debt, and the scale of their use is almost unimaginably massive. It's about a $379 trillion market, meaning that any manipulation would affect a pile of assets about 100 times the size of the United States federal budget.                       It should surprise no one that among the players implicated in this scheme to fix the prices of interest-rate swaps are the same megabanks – including Barclays, UBS, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and the Royal Bank of Scotland – that serve on the Libor panel that sets global interest rates. In fact, in recent years many of these banks have already paid multimillion-dollar settlements for anti-competitive manipulation of one form or another (in addition to Libor, some were caught up in an anti-competitive scheme, detailed in Rolling Stone last year, to rig municipal-debt service auctions). Though the jumble of financial acronyms sounds like gibberish to the layperson, the fact that there may now be price-fixing scandals involving both Libor and ISDAfix suggests a single, giant mushrooming conspiracy of collusion and price-fixing hovering under the ostensibly competitive veneer of Wall Street culture....

JPMorgan Accounts For 99.3% Of The COMEX Gold Sales In The Last Three Months - Zero Hedge - Tyler Durden - April 26, 2013 - Submitted by Mark McHugh from Across The Street  - Jamie Dimon Has Issues - When just one firm accounts for 99.3% of the physical gold sales at the COMEX in the last three months it’s not what most of us on this side of the rainbow would consider “broad-based” selling.  Of course discovering this kind of relevant information requires an internet connection, 2nd grade math and reading skills, and the desire to do a teeny-weeny bit of reporting.  Sadly they’ve wandered so far down the rabbit hole that the concept of “physical demand” (i.e. people actually wanting to take possession of the stuff) is puzzling to them because the vast majority of the world’s so-called “gold-trading” takes place in the realm of make believe (which is their natural habitat).  It’s all fun and games until somebody loses their metal and “somebody” has lost one hell of a lot of metal in the last 90 days.                        This is the CME Group’s COMEX metals issues and stops year-to-date report, which can be found here everyday for free.  It chronicles the physical delivery notices of various metals, including gold.  Let’s have a look:




No comments: