7 setbacks for the middle class - CNN Money - Annalyn Kurtz - January 24, 2014 - Five years into his presidency, Barack Obama is still falling short of his number one goal: to fix the economy for the middle class. Sure, a recovery has been underway for most of his presidency, but it's still slow and uneven. And despite Obama's focus on the middle class, the improvement so far has largely benefited corporations and the ultra-rich. Whether you blame Obama or a dysfunctional Congress, either way the recovery is hardly a middle-class success story.
1. Workers are taking home their smallest slice of U.S. income on record:
2. Inequality has widened:
3. The job market still faces a gaping hole:
4. The poverty rate remains high:
5. Record number of Americans are on food stamps:
6. The manufacturing revival was a mirage:
7. Global trade isn't helping much:
How Economists and Policymakers Murdered Our Economy — Paul Craig Roberts - January 25, 2014 - The economy has been debilitated by the offshoring of middle class jobs for the benefit of corporate profits and by the Federal Reserve’s policy of Quantitative Easing in order to support a few oversized banks that the government protects from market discipline. Not only does QE distort bond and stock markets, it threatens the value of the dollar and has resulted in manipulation of the gold price. See http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/01/17/hows-whys-gold-price-manipulation/
When US corporations send jobs offshore, the GDP, consumer income, tax base, and careers associated with the jobs go abroad with the jobs. Corporations gain the additional profits at large costs to the economy in terms of less employment, less economic growth, reduced state, local and federal tax revenues, wider deficits, and impairments of social services. When policymakers permitted banks to become independent of market discipline, they made the banks an unresolved burden on the economy. Authorities have provided no honest report on the condition of the banks. It remains to be seen if the Federal Reserve can create enough money to monetize enough debt to rescue the banks without collapsing the US dollar. It would have been far cheaper to let the banks fail and be reorganized. US policymakers and their echo chamber in the economics profession have let the country down badly. They claimed that there was a “New Economy” to take the place of the “old economy” jobs that were moved offshore. As I have pointed out for a decade, US jobs statistics show no sign of the promised “New Economy.” The same policymakers and economists who told us that “markets are self-regulating” and that the financial sector could safely be deregulated also confused jobs offshoring with free trade. Hyped “studies” were put together designed to prove that jobs offshoring was good for the US economy. It is difficult to fathom how such destructive errors could consistently be made by policymakers and economists for more than a decade. Were these mistakes or cover for a narrow and selfish agenda? In June, 2009 happy talk appeared about “the recovery,” now 4.5 years old. As John Williams (shadowstats.com) has made clear, “the recovery” is entirely the artifact of the understated measure of inflation used to deflate nominal GDP. By under-measuring inflation, the government can show low, but positive, rates of real GDP growth. No other indicator supports the claim of economic recovery. John Williams writes that consumer inflation, if properly measured, is running around 9%, far above the 2% figure that is the Fed’s target and more in line with what consumers are actually experiencing. We have just had a 6.5% annual increase in the cost of a postage stamp. The Fed’s target inflation rate is said to be low, but Simon Black points out that the result of a lifetime of 2% annual inflation is the loss of 75% of the purchasing power of the currency. He uses the cost of sending a postcard to illustrate the decline in the purchasing power of median household income today compared to 1951. That year it cost one cent to send a post card. As household income was $4,237, the household could send 423,700 postcards. Today the comparable income figure is $51,017. As it costs 34 cents to send one postcard, today’s household can only afford to send 150,050 postcards. Nominal income rose 12 times, and the cost of sending a postcard rose 34 times....
Gerald Celente Interview on King World news - January 25, 2014 - Speaks about current tends including the economy and the Federal Reserve. You Kool-Aid drinkers might want to listen to this reality. (Gerald Celente Listen)
Stocks End Broadly Lower - Weak China Data Sparks Selloff in Riskier Assets - Wall Street Journal - Tomi Kilgore - January 23, 2014 - Stocks suffered broad declines as weak data out of China spooked investors, triggering a flight out of riskier assets. The increase in market volatility, which included sharp selloffs in emerging markets and the biggest tumble in Argentina's currency in over a decade, came as U.S. stocks has struggled in recent weeks to regain the upward momentum seen at the end of 2013.
On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 175.99 points, or 1.1%, to 16197.35, the lowest close since Dec. 19. The S&P 500 index shed 16.40 points, or 0.9%, to 1828.46, and the Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 24.13 points, or 0.6%, to 4218.87. Materials and financials led declines in all 10 of the S&P 500 sectors. The S&P 500 ended the session 1.1% below its Jan. 15 record-high close. Data showing China's manufacturing activity contracted in January sparked worries that the recent slowing momentum in the world's second-largest economy is carrying over into the new year. That triggered a selloff in riskier emerging-market shares and currencies, and helped bolster prices of Treasurys and gold, which are viewed as safe-haven assets.
The $23 Trillion Credit Bubble In China Is Starting To Collapse – Global Financial Crisis Next? - The Economic Collapse Blog - Michael Snyder - January 20th, 2014
“Need Room to Grow?” - Marijuana-friendly real estate agents and other enterprising businesspeople looking to make a bundle from Colorado’s weed industry - Slate.com - Sam Kamin and Joel Warner - hanuary 25, 2014 - Real estate agent Rona Hanson walks around a suburban home west of Denver that was recently put on the market by another realtor, liking what she sees. The 3,000-square-foot midcentury brick bungalow is in fine shape, with a picturesque horse farm across the street and front-porch views of the snow-topped Colorado foothills. But what most excites Hanson about it, why she’s eager to show it to her clients, is the 50-square-foot bedroom in the far corner of the basement, a bland space with small windows near the ceiling and a basic attached bathroom. Not your typical selling point for a house, but to Hanson, it’s perfect—a perfect grow room for a dozen recreational marijuana plants, the maximum Colorado residents are now allowed to cultivate per household. The room offers high enough ceilings to accommodate grow lights, has easy access to water and drainage via the bathroom, and the small windows mean minimal aromas attracting nosy neighbors. This is the sort of stuff Hanson looks for. Since Colorado’s legalized marijuana rules went into effect on Jan. 1, Hanson has advertised her services on Craigslist and in the alt-weekly Westword as a marijuana-friendly realtor, helping people find the perfect property to grow marijuana for personal use, under the tag line “Need room to grow?”...
NFL Commish Makes $29.5 Mil a Year – 15 Times More Than Tax Free Org Gives to Charity, More than CEOs of Ford, Heinz, FedEx - Showbiz 411 - Roger Friedman - January 21, 2014 - As the Super Bowl approaches New York much like a blizzard, here are some things to think about: in 2012, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was paid $29.5 million to run the organization. And that’s not all. The NFL, if you didn’t realize it, exists as a 501 c 6 organization. It’s not for profit! In order to have that status, the NFL must be run as a charitable foundation. In 2012, they gave away a meager $2.3 million. Almost all of it–$2.1 million– went to the NFL Hall of Fame. Goodell made 15 times what the group donated to other charities. More crazy: Goodell’s salary is 1/10th of what the NFL claimed in total assets for 2012– $255 million.
Or even crazier: the NFL only made charitable donations equaling one-one hundredth of their annual income. Here are the stats: The NFL’s most recent Form 990 filed with the IRS ended on March 31, 2012. They claimed revenue of $255 million, up from $240 million in 2011. So, if you were concerned, things are good. The NFL has assets of over $822 million...
After the Collapse: Six Likely Events That Will Follow an Economic Crash - SHTFplan.com - Mac Slavo - January 20th, 2014