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Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Envy of Every Industrial, Capitalist Democracy

It's amazing how people - given the particular job duties that they are required to perform, how much money they make at said job, and how their willingness to perform these tasks increases their job security - will justify a bad situation. And they do it all with no verifiable facts and are rarely, if ever, questioned.

H/T to Newshounds for the video grab:

So let's examine what a 'great' economic state we are in.

As I've said before, I'm not an economist, but I know when I'm being fed a load of horse excrament. So, here are some facts for this chap that thinks the American economy is just spot-on fantastic as droves of people from the UK and Europe 'flee' to America to take a bite out of what we've got.

1- Unemployment:


The unemployment rate rose from 5.0 to 5.5 percent in May, and nonfarm
payroll employment continued to trend down (-49,000), the Bureau of Labor
Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. In May, employ-
ment continued to fall in construction, manufacturing, retail trade, and
temporary help services, while health care continued to add jobs. Average
hourly earnings rose by 5 cents, or 0.3 percent, over the month.

Unemployment (Household Survey Data)

The number of unemployed persons increased by 861,000 to 8.5 million in
May, after seasonal adjustment, and the unemployment rate rose by 0.5 per-
centage point to 5.5 percent. A year earlier, the number of unemployed per-
sons was 6.9 million, and the jobless rate was 4.5 percent. (See table A-1.)

The unemployment rates for adult men (4.9 percent), adult women (4.8 per-
cent), teenagers (18.7 percent), whites (4.9 percent), and blacks (9.7 per-
cent) rose in May. The jobless rate for Hispanics (6.9 percent) was unchanged.
The unemployment rate for Asians was 3.8 percent, not seasonally adjusted.
(See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

2 - An Economic Recession Started in March 2001

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - The world's largest economy sank into a recession in March, ending 10 years of growth that was the longest expansion on record in the United States, a group of economists that dates U.S. business cycles said Monday.

The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), composed of academic economists from Harvard, Stanford and other universities, joined a chorus of economists and investors who were saying that a recession had already begun. The group posted its decision on its Web site.

It ruled that the long expansion ended in March and the nation's tenth recession since the end of World War II began at the same time. The declaration means the longest expansion lasted exactly 10 years. The previous record for uninterrupted economic growth was set in the 1960s, a period of eight years and 10 months lasting from February 1961 to December 1969.

3 - Bush's Tax Cuts Benefit A Small Percentage Of Americans

...Economists and tax analysts have long known that the biggest dollar value of Mr. Bush’s tax cuts goes to people at the very top income levels. One reason is that two of his signature measures, tax cuts on investment income and a steady reduction of estate taxes, overwhelmingly benefit the wealthiest households.

But the Congressional study offers additional insight because it incorporates information about what people paid in 2004, the first year in which taxpayers could take full advantage of the cuts on stock dividends and capital gains.

The study estimates that the effective federal income tax rate, which excludes payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare, declined modestly for people in the middle- and lower-income categories.

Families in the middle fifth of annual earnings, who had average incomes of $56,200 in 2004, saw their average effective tax rate edge down to 2.9 percent in 2004 from 5 percent in 2000. That translated to an average tax cut of $1,180 per household, but the tax rate actually increased slightly from 2003....

4 - The Dollar is the New Peso

It’s no secret that the dollar is on a downward spiral. Its value is dropping, and the Fed isn’t doing a whole lot to change that. As a result, a number of countries are considering a shift away from the dollar to preserve their assets. These are seven of the countries currently considering a move from the dollar, and how they’ll have an effect on its value and the US economy....

Countries are growing weary of losing money on the falling dollar. Many of them want to protect their financial interests, and a number of them want to end the US oversight that comes with using the dollar. Although it’s not clear how many of these countries will actually follow through on an abandonment of the dollar, it is clear that its status as a world currency is in trouble.

Obviously, an abandonment of the dollar is bad news for the currency. Simply put, as demand lessens, its value drops. Additionally, the revenue generated from the use of the dollar will be sorely missed if it’s lost. The dollar’s status as a cheaply-produced US export is a vital part of our economy. Losing this status could rock the financial lives of both Americans and the worldwide economy.

In the interest of fairness, it should be noted that the above statement appeared in November of last year.

And as far as the statement of people fleeing to come to America because of the economy.....

With a wheezing economy that’s struggling with housing and credit problems - as well as a weak dollar - it’s clear the United States won’t be in the investment spotlight this year.

But don’t despair. Because a trend that has long been talked about - economic decoupling - is finally starting to manifest itself as other world economies, particularly the so-called “BRIC” markets of Brazil, Russia, China and India, have continued to grow even as the U.S. economy has slowed. That means profit opportunities abound for U.S. investors, despite myriad messes on the home front that include a collapsed housing market, a mortgage crisis that turned into a five-alarm credit conflagration, and a plunging greenback that seems to have left its parachute on the airplane that it jumped from.

Some of the profit pathways to play:

- Investors can eschew the U.S. market completely, and pursue profits abroad.

- They can latch onto the U.S.-based members of the “Global Titans” club, companies with their headquarters in America that derive a hefty chunk of their profits from overseas markets.

- Or investors can ferret out U.S. investments that are either immune to some of this country’s current economic afflictions, or that are problem-plagued now, but a good bet for a turnaround later.

You're more often to hear that a fair tax system only "punishes" the successful. Well, that's a nice talking-point to stir-up your base with, but it's really nothing more than that. Sure, people that have worked hard their lives to get where they are deserve to have nice things. But, who's doing the talking here? Who(m) is truly afraid of being 'punished'? Are they talking about the man that struggled as a child in a poor neighborhood in Detroit, managed to go to a great college, became an award-winning chemist, and is now working on a cure for AIDs? Or, are they talking about a man who dropped-out of college, made sure they didn't have to be drafted to fight in Vietnam, and ended up hosting talk-radio show where they continually tell their audience that a fair tax punishes the successful?

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