#1 During the 23 months of the “Obama recovery”, an average of about23,000 jobs a month have been created. It takes somewhere in the neighborhood of 150,000 jobs a month just to keep up with population growth. So shouldn’t we hold off a bit before we declare the economic crisis to be over?
#2 During the “recession”, somewhere between 6.3 million and 7.5 million jobs were lost. During the “Obama recovery”, approximately 535,000 jobs have been added. When will the rest of the jobs finally come back?
#3 Of the 535,000 jobs that have been created during the “Obama recovery”,only about 35,000 of them are permanent full-time jobs. Today, “low income jobs” account for 41 percent of all jobs in the United States. If our economy is recovering, then why can’t it produce large numbers of good jobs that will enable people to provide for their families?
#4 Agricultural commodities have been absolutely soaring this decade. The combined price of cotton, wheat, gasoline and hogs is now more than 3 times higher than it was back in 2002. So how in the world can the Federal Reserve claim that inflation has been at minimal levels all this time?
#5 Back in 2008, banks had a total of 27 billion dollars in excess reserves at the Fed. Today, banks have a total of approximately 1.5 trillion dollars in excess reserves at the Fed. So what is going to happen when all of this money eventually hits the economy?….
#6 If the U.S. economy is recovering, then why are shipments by U.S. factories still substantially below 2008 levels?
#7 Why are imports of goods from overseas growing much more rapidlythan shipments of goods from U.S. factories?
#8 According to Zillow, the average price of a home in the U.S. is about 8 percent lower than it was a year ago and that it continues to fall about 1 percent a month. During the first quarter of 2011, home values declined at the fastest rate since late 2008. So can we really talk about a “recovery” when the real estate crisis continues to get worse?
#9 According to a shocking new survey, 54 percent of Americans believe that a housing recovery is “unlikely” until at least 2014. So how is the housing industry supposed to improve if so many people are convinced that it will not?
#10 The latest GDP numbers out of Japan are a complete and total disaster. During the first quarter GDP declined by a stunning 3.7 percent. Of course I have been saying for months that the Japanese economy is collapsing, but most mainstream economists were absolutely stunned by the latest figures. So will the rest of the world be able to avoid slipping into a recession as well?
#11 Next week, Republicans in the House of Representatives are going to allow a vote on raising the debt ceiling. Everyone knows that this is an opportunity for Republican lawmakers to “look tough” to their constituents (the vast majority of which do not want the debt ceiling raised). Everyone also knows that eventually the Republicans are almost certainly going to cave on the debt ceiling after minimal concessions by the Democrats. The truth is that neither “establishment Republicans” nor “establishment Democrats” are actually serious about significantly cutting government debt. So why do we need all of this political theater?
#12 Why are so many of our once great manufacturing cities being transformed into hellholes? In the city of Detroit today, there are over 33,000 abandoned houses, 70 schools are being permanently closed down, the mayor wants to bulldoze one-fourth of the city and you can literally buy a house forone dollar in the worst areas.
#13 According to one new survey, about half of all Baby Boomers fear that when they retire they are going to end up living in poverty. So who is going to take care of them all when the money runs out?
#14 According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average of about 5 million Americans were being hired every single month during 2006. Today, an average of about 3.5 million Americans are being hired every single month. So why are our politicians talking about “economic recovery” instead of “the collapse of the economy” when hiring remains about 50 percent below normal?
#15 Since August, 2 million more Americans have left the labor force. But the entire period from August to today was supposed to have been a time of economic growth and recovery. So why are so many Americans giving up on looking for a job?
#16 According to Gallup, 41 percent of Americans believed that the economy was “getting better” at this time last year. Today, that number is at just 27 percent. Are Americans losing faith in the U.S. economy?
#17 According to the U.S. Census, the number of children living in poverty has gone up by about 2 million in just the past 2 years, and one out of every four American children is currently on food stamps. During this same time period, Barack Obama and Ben Bernanke have told us over and over that the U.S. economy has been getting better. So what is the truth?
#18 America has become absolutely addicted to government money. 59 percent of all Americans now receive money from the federal government in one form or another. U.S. households are now receiving more income from the U.S. government than they are paying to the government in taxes. Americans hate having their taxes raised and they hate having their government benefits cut. So is there any hope that this will ever be turned around before disaster strikes?
#19 The combined debt of the major GSEs (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Sallie Mae) has increased from 3.2 trillion in 2008 to 6.4 trillion in 2011. How in the world is the U.S. government going to be able to afford to guarantee all of that debt on top of everything else?
#20 If the U.S. national debt (more than 14 trillion dollars) was reduced to a stack of 5 dollar bills, it would reach three quarters of the way to the moon. The U.S. government borrows about 168 million dollars every single hour. If Bill Gates gave every penny of his fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for 15 days. So how in the world can our politicians tell us that everything is going to be okay?
Good interview with a somewhat bearish Celente;
When oil prices surged to a ridiculous $147 a barrel in the summer of 2008, conventional wisdom held that normal supply and demand issues were the cause. Both the Bush administration (in the form of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission) and most of Wall Street (through both media figures and market analysts) blamed such factors as increases in oil demand from the Chinese industrial machine, and the failure of Americans to conserve, for the surge in crude prices.
Goldman Sachs, while outrageously predicting a “super spike” that might cause oil to reach as high as $200 a barrel, blamed piggish American consumers and preached conservation as a bulwark against oil supply disruptions. The bank’s “Oracle of Oil,” Arjun Murti, even broadcast the fact that he owned two hybrid cars.
Well, thanks to Wikileaks, we now know that when the Bush administration reached out to the Saudis in the summer of ’08 to ask them to increase oil production to lower prices, the Saudis responded by saying they were having a hard time finding buyers for their oil as it was, and instead asked the Bush administration to rein in Wall Street speculators.
According to the McClatchy report, the Wiki cables show that Saudi ministers repeatedly told Bush administration officials that increasing production might be counterproductive. (Rolling Stones)
Well, it didn’t take long before Greece denied Der Spiegel’s report on Greece having missed all targets. This is now becoming a rather amusing soap opera. Financial targets should be easy to evaluate, just like a p/l, either you have made money, or you have lost. Same logic applies to the targets set out, either you have accomplished the targets, or not, there is no in between. It is black or white. Remember, Spiegels report about the secret Friday meeting in Luxembourg was also at first denied…..
Greece’s hopes of averting default dimmed on Saturday as fears grew the country may have missed fiscal targets set by its lenders whileeuro zone policymakers bickered on how to respond to the deepening crisis.
The country’s finance minister denied a report in Germam weekly magazine Spiegel that international inspectors will report that Greecefailed on all its fiscal targets, a condition for getting a key, fifth tranche of a 110 billion euro bailout.
“Negotiations continue and will be completed in the next few days. We have every reason to believe the report will be positive for the country,” George Papaconstantinou told Greek Mega TV.
Greece has missed all fiscal targets agreed under its bailout plan, a mission from an international inspection team found, putting further funding for Athens at risk, according to a German magazine.
Actually further comments are not needed, but here is some additional colour.
“The reason is that the Greek government still spends more than agreed in the aid programme. On top of that tax income is still lower than demanded.”
The IMF has already said it cannot release its part of a 12 billion euro (10.4 billion pound) aid tranche to Greece next month if fiscal conditions underpinning the bailout are not met and the European Commission’s top economic official was quoted as saying the EU was setting the same conditions.
“We Europeans have the same conditions as the IMF,” EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn was quoted as saying in the same prerelease for Monday’s Spiegel magazine.
“We will decide on the next tranche after the troika’s report. The situation is very serious,” Rehn added.
Let’s see how long before Greece does the inevitable, exit the Euro. Haircuts for the European banks imminent, and we wonder what the ECB will do with all those Greek bonds? Fasten your seat belts, market could rock on Monday, especially when the US market is closed…..
As Spain’s ruling Socialists reeled from a ten-percentage-point defeat at the hands of the conservative People’s Party (PP) in municipal and regional elections on May 22nd—the party’s worst-ever result—some found explanations among the tented demonstrators in Madrid and dozens of other Spanish cities. It is not that the protesters—an ill-assorted mix of anti-capitalists, anarchists and pragmatists bothered about corruption and electoral imbalances—changed voters’ minds. It is that they, and people like them, might normally have voted for left-wing parties. On May 22nd the Socialists lost 1.5m, or one in five, of their votes. Yet the communist-led United Left coalition picked up only 210,000. Likewise, Mariano Rajoy, the PP’s leader, focused his party’s election campaign on the economy and jobs, Spain’s two main concerns, but the PP gathered only 560,000 of the spare votes. Its victory was due chiefly to disillusion with the left, not great advances on the right.
Still, this was an historic drubbing. It is best measured by the record number of regional governments and city halls won by the PP. The party will now run between nine and 11 of Spain’s 17 regional governments, and have an important say in several more. The Socialists are left in control of just Extremadura and two regions that did not vote—Andalusia and the Basque country. But all of Andalusia’s provincial capitals, including traditionally Socialist Seville, are now in PP hands.
Markets did not celebrate the PP’s win. Bond yields rose and stocks fell, stoking fears that Spain’s attempt to “decouple” itself from the problems of other peripheral euro-zone countries may be in trouble. Mr Rajoy has criticised Mr Zapatero’s pension reform without offering an alternative. If he wants to take control of a country that is not in crisis he must become clearer about his plans for government. (The Economist)
but they left out the big Elephant in the room, that no political party is dealing with, namely the great property bonanza, that has stopped abruptly. The leverage, and the valuations of these 1 million plus empty apartments and flats, need a huge remarking in the Bank’s balance sheet.
No deal, so let’s see who wants to take the consequences? ANTI austerity movements will just intensify over the coming weeks. Kathimerini reports;
Following the failure on Friday of Greece’s party leaders to agree on a common strategy to overcome the country’s economic crisis, the European Commission warned that “time is running out” for Athens to adopt a program to overcome its mounting debt problems.
Brussels “regrets the failure of Greek party leaders to reach consensus on economic adjustment to overcome the current debt crisis,” said EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn.
“We expect that the efforts towards a cross party agreement to support the EU-IMF program will continue,” added the Finn. “An agreement has to be found soon. Time is running out.”
After the “coffee house” meeting in Greece yesterday, we have definitely no solution to the crisis. Politicians are looking into the abyss, but nobody has a clue what to do. Plame game next. Kathimerini reports;
Yesterday’s meeting not only tainted the country’s image even further, but it pushed the people further toward desperation and rage. They expected a meeting of leaders. What they got instead was a desperate meeting of politicians who are terrified of a crash but want someone else to blame.
Most people in Greece expected their political leaders to walk out of the Presidential Palace yesterday having achieved consensus on at least a few crucial points. The people, who are becoming increasingly desperate because they believe the leadership to be inadequate and irresponsible, demanded it. Athens’s European partners and creditors also expected an agreement, and now they are wondering why something that can be achieved in other countries is impossible in Greece.
Unfortunately, according to sources, the discussion began well enough, with a sober tone set by President Karolos Papoulias, though it quickly degenerated into a verbal scrap more suited to a coffee house.
Prime Minister George Papandreou talked about everything, but never once did he pose the serious questions, as though a meeting of political leaders can be like a brainstorming session in which all the options are on the table, from a referendum to a government of technocrats.