US employment down – a serious sign of slowdown

US employers cut 17,000 jobs from their payrolls in January, US Labor Department figures showed. Economists had been expecting a rise of 80,000.  If this figure proves to be in line with actual events (after adjustments), it shows severe declines in economic activity in the US.  There has been modest wage inflation over the past …
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The Economic Consequences of Mr. Bush

The Economic Consequences of Mr. Bush by Joseph Stiglitz When we look back someday at the catastrophe that was the Bush administration, we will think of many things: the tragedy of the Iraq war, the shame of Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib, the erosion of civil liberties. The damage done to the American economy does not …
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Iraq war costing twice as much as we were told

The US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are costing nearly double the amount previously thought, according to a report, War At Any Price?, by the Joint Economic Committee of the US Congress.  (Press release here – pdf)  It says “hidden costs” have pushed the total to about $1.5 trillion – nearly twice the requested $804 …
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The real sub-prime losses – $ 150 – 450 billion. Now, can you say recession?

The real extent of the credit delusion in the US is now beginning to be recognised. The hidden losses among financial houses are being uncovered. While a few banks, like Goldman Sachs, might try to defer recognition of the losses till 2008 so that the news doesn’t hit their share price, analysts from Bernanke to …
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US housing depression, wealth erosion and consumption recession

This linked economic review by Van Hoisington and Lacy Hunt (shared by John Mauldin) makes for another very sobering analysis of the outlook for the US economy. Some of the choice passages include: In the last twelve months, real U.S. imports of goods rose a minuscule 0.5 %, down from the 8.5% growth rate in …
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As the US slows, will Asia and the world follow?

While I expect China and India to weather the slow down in US consumption reasonably well, perhaps even benefiting from a relief of inflationary pressure, others are more sanguine about the central role the US economy still plays in the global economy. This linked article, A Subprime Outlook for the Global Economy, by Stephen Roach …
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Consumers enforce organics in US, because the government won’t

Acting on behalf of organic food consumers in 27 states, class action lawsuits are being filed in U.S. federal courts in St. Louis and Denver, against Aurora Dairy Corporation. The suits charge Aurora, one of the nation’s largest organic dairies, with consumer fraud, negligence, and unjust enrichment concerning the sale of organic milk by the …
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A quick solution to climate change from the US: stop fighting

This linked article by Daniel Kammen at GreenBiz offers simple options to change the US energy consumption profile. His six point plan is: A national commitment to saving money and energy through energy efficiency measures at every step of the economic value chain (some states, including California are fully 40 percent more efficient than the …
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Let poor children suffer

Despite the rhetoric being bandied about by Presidential candidates Bush has threatened to veto additional federal funding for a the State Children’s Health Insurance Program which insures children from low-income families.  Another sad sign of where the current administration’s priorities are.  Our hope for enlightened leadership from the global superpower dims a bit more.

Baghdad dividing wall counters peace

Construction of another dividing wall in Baghdad between Shula and Ghazaliya districts causes more division than unity. It is another sign of the primitive knee-jerk thinking of an administration resorting to primitive policy. The wall is an attempt to separate Sunni and Shia districts. But of course it also separates families, neighbours and communities, it …
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