Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Measure of American Poverty

New poverty figures to be published in September: More than 15 million Americans are unemployed, homelessness has increased by 50 percent in some cities, and 38 million people are receiving food stamps, more than at any time in the program’s almost 50-year history.
But a number of states have become convinced that the federal figures actually understate poverty, and have begun using different criteria in operating state-based social programs.
According to Richard Bavier, a former analyst for the federal Office of Management and Budget, already available data about employment rates, wages and food stamp enrollment suggest that an additional 5.7 million people were officially poor in 2009. That would bring the total number of people with incomes below the federal poverty threshold to more than 45 million
The poverty rate, Bavier expects, will hit 15 percent — up from 13.2 percent in 2008, when the Great Recession first started to take its toll.

[McClatchy News Service]

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Those who don’t remember history are doomed to repeat it

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is repeating a pattern that appeared just before markets fell during the Great Depression.

And says Robert Reich, former US labor secretary, "The economy is still in the gravitational pull of the Great Recession. All the booster rockets for getting us beyond it are failing."

The US is still trapped in depression a full 18 months into zero interest rates, quantitative easing (QE), and fiscal stimulus that has pushed the budget deficit above 10pc of GDP.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

The longest and deepest Recession since the Great Depression

The recession has directly hit more than half of American working adults, pushing them into unemployment, pay cuts, reduced hours at work or part-time jobs, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
The biggest problem for the recovery remains the number of people who are unemployed. Adding to that is the growing number of people who stand to lose government support while they search for work. More than a million people have lost benefits and more could be cut off now that Congress has failed to extend federal jobless aid.
The economic shock, which destroyed 20 percent of Americans' wealth, has jolted many Americans into a new, more austere reality, which is likely to have lasting consequences for an economy fueled mostly by consumer spending.