Despite Superficial Gains, US Economy Heads Steadily Downward

CNN Money: "A leading index of the U.S. economy dipped in the latest week, and a continued lack of growth in the data shows no end in sight to the current slowdown, a report showed on Friday. The weekly leading index of independent forecasting group The Economic Cycle Research Institute index slipped to 131.4 in the week to Sept. 17 from a downwardly revised 131.6 the prior week, ECRI said in a press release. ECRI said higher jobless claims and slightly slower growth in industrial commodity prices were offset in part by marginally higher mortgage applications. The index's annualized growth rate, which smoothes out weekly fluctuations, was unchanged at -0.3 percent. 'The index and its growth rate have been essentially flat for a couple of months, after falling sharply starting in the spring,' said Anirvan Banerji, ECRI's director of research. 'That suggests that the economic slowdown we are now seeing is real and there is no end in sight,' Banerji told Reuters."

US Dollar Falls to 8-Month Low as 'Soft Patch' is gets Softer

Bloomberberg: "The dollar fell below $1.26 per euro for the first time since February as concern about slowing international investment in the U.S. pushed a widely watched dollar gauge past a key technical level. The Dollar Index, a basket of six currencies, fell below 87 yesterday for the first time in eight months and weakened again today. The trade gap, exports minus imports, widened in August to the second largest ever while foreign investors slowed their purchases of U.S. financial assets, reports this month showed. ``The dollar breaking below 87 on the broad index hasn't helped,'' said Chris Melendez, president of Tempest Asset Management, a currency hedge fund in Newport Beach, California. ``We think the soft patch in the U.S. economy is getting softer.'' "

BushMedia Tries to Spin Normal Back-to-School Sales as 'Surprise Boost' to Economy!

Here's the real story: Americans pushed their spending on back-to-school stuff and fall items ahead a bit into September because they had been forced to spend more on their AC bills and summer vacation trips due to inflated energy prices. Now check out the BushMedia spin: "American shoppers splurged in malls and car showrooms in September, boosting retail sales by an unexpectedly strong 1.5 per cent.. The sizeable gain came after shoppers took a a bit of a breather in August, causing sales to dip by 0.2 per cent. The "buying spree" seen in September offered a fresh sign that consumers - the lifeblood of the economy - still have inclination to spend despite soaring energy prices and a questionable jobs outlook. " We can't wait to hear how Propaganda Central spins depressed pre-Christmas sales!

Bush Mouthpiece 'Tinkerbelle' Greenspan Spreads more Economic Fables

American families are paying (per household) about $1,100 more per year now in energy costs than in 2000. Small businesses are being forced under by their energy bills. Truckers are being driven out of business across the nation. Families are being forced out of apartments by fuel-price-driven rent hikes. But Alan 'Tinkerbelle' Greenspan says it's all good: "The impact of the current surge in oil prices, though noticeable, is likely to prove less consequential to economic growth and inflation than in the 1970s," Greenspan said. NOTICEABLE? Talk about out of touch with most of America! Maybe millionaire Greenspan and his Bushmedia toady wife Andrea Mitchell don't consider $55/gal oil a big deal - but we in the real world certainly do.

Bush Raids Federal Retirement Pension Fund to Prevent Hitting Debt Limit

To keep from admitting that the federal debt limit has been - or within days will be- reached, Bush has, in essence, raided a federal retirement fund. AFP: "US Treasury Secretary John Snow said he would suspend payments immediately to the federal employees' Government Securities Investment Fund (G-Fund) in order to keep the government running." Once the looming 7.38 TRILLION debt is hit, the government will have to shut down. THAT'S HOW BAD THINGS HAVE GOTTEN! "The missing money would be repaid in full later [yeah - God willin' and the creek don't rise!], with no net effect on the fund or retirees, the US economic policy chief said in a letter to the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist. Any move by Congress to raise the debt limit could be politically damaging ahead of the November 2 presidential elections."

US Census Figures Show Income and Poverty Now Worse - Despite Bush Fantasies

Business Times: "THE US Census Bureau's annual figures on family incomes and poverty were bound to become familiar factoids in the Bush-Kerry combat. The numbers seem to confirm what many people feel: the middle class is squeezed; poverty is worsening. In 2003, the median household income dropped for the fourth consecutive year, to US$43,318; the official poverty rate rose for the third year, to 12.5 per cent of the population; and the number of people without health insurance increased for the third year to 45 million, or 16 per cent of the population. But the debate you're hearing is not the real deal." But don't worry - Bush assures us that all is well, job loss is just a myth, and he really DOES have a plan!

Indicators for the Only Sector in the US Economy to Make Real Job Gains Drops to 16-Mo Low

For the past few years, the highest percentage of new jobs were being created in the service sector - as pitiful as that is ($7-8/hr jobs) - it was something. Now " An index of the U.S. services economy dropped to a 16-month low in September, suggesting the rise in energy prices may limit the expansion. The Institute for Supply Management's measure of services, including banking and retail trade, fell to 56.7 for the month, the lowest reading since May 2003, from August's 58.2. Higher oil prices are an ``undesirable headwind'' for U.S. consumer spending, White House economist Gregory Mankiw said in a speech. ``Most signs suggest that the economy will expand solidly in the remainder of 2004,'' he said. ``The unemployment rate is expected to continue its decline.'' Spoken like a true White House fantasy-spinner!

Economists Say Alan 'Tinkerbelle' Greenspan is Hiding the Real State of the Economy to Help Bush

Business Report: "The upbeat outlook from Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan has failed to convince many economists, who argue that the US is likely to see tepid growth at best in the near future. Some experts say Greenspan may be putting the best possible spin on an economy that is just muddling through. 'With still-fragile confidence and less than full employment, the Fed does not want to undercut the recovery with pessimistic talk,' Harris said. 'The problem with the soft-patch theory is that it puts too much emphasis on the run-up in oil prices. A series of factors are weighing on growth.' Avery Shenfeld, a senior economist at CIBC World Markets, said Greenspan's comments to law makers were more upbeat than the central bank's Beige Book report on the same day. Shenfeld said there might be some political reasons for Greenspan's outlook, with George W Bush facing a tough re-election challenge. 'The Fed chairman is not above politics,' said Shenfeld."

American Workers' Reality Cannot be Changed by any Amount of Bush Spin

Thomas Oliphant writes: "For the elites, numbers are what economists call coincident indicators -- stuff that informs on current developments. For ordinary Americans, numbers are lagging indicators, the factual detail about an already experienced trend; like Bob Dylan, they understand you don't need a weatherman to tell which way the wind's blowing. They are already living the reality.For politicians that means that spinning is not only mostly silly, it can be dangerous because the reality check doesn't just come from the commentariat; it comes from reality itself. Last month's jobs data, so manicly anticipated and pre-hyped, is the perfect case in point. In their first issues tussle of the postconvention, predebates period, President Bush opted for hype, John Kerry for non-Chicken Little sobriety."

Consumer Confidence Tumbles in August -Bushie Media Blames Itself!

The media is so subservient to Busb that it's rolling over and exposing its belly like a kicked dog in response to bad economic news. Bloomberg: "Consumer confidence in the U.S. economy fell in August from a two-year high as job growth slowed and oil prices reached a record, a private survey found. The Conference Board's index of consumer confidence fell to 98.2 this month, from a revised 105.7 in July. Americans reported less confidence in the labor market and scaled back their buying plans." Jobs are gone, oil's hit nearly $50/barrel- but who does the article blame -- the MEDIA: "A steady diet of news articles on rising oil prices and the threat of permanent shortages is also probably exerting a negative impact...'' This is like saying Americans are so brainwashed they go by the media, not their own bank accounts! And that if they are "protected" from the truth, they will somehow have more money and decent jobs. Welcome to the Tinkerbelle world of Bush economics!

Poverty Rate Has Climbed Every Year Bush Has Been in Office

Xinhuanet: "One out of every eight Americans now lives below the poverty line, as the percentage of the US population living in poverty rose for the third consecutive year in 2003, the US Census Bureau reported Thursday. The number of Americans living in poverty last year increased by 1.3 million to 35.8 million, accounting for about 12.5 percent of the nation's population. The rise is particularly noticeable among children, with 12.9 million living in poverty last year, or 17.6 percent of the under-18 population. That represented an increase of about 800,000 from 2002, when 16.7 percent of children lived in poverty. Meanwhile, nearly 45 million people lacked health insurance --or 15.6 percent of the population -- up from 43.5 million in 2002,or 15.2 percent of the population, the Bureau said. The number of those who lacked health insurance also rose for three consecutive years." Bush has brought us to a sad pass - having China report pityingly on the plight of the US poor!

Leading US Economic Indicators Drop for Second Month, Boding Ill for Coming Month

Funny, we didn't find this in a US news source! All we heard was Bush-spiel. The Age: "A closely watched measure of future economic activity fell in July for the second consecutive month, reinforcing evidence that the U.S. financial recovery is slackening. The Conference Board said Thursday its Composite Index of Leading Economic Indicators dropped by 0.3 per cent in July to 116.0, following a revised decline of 0.1 per cent in June. Last month was the first time in more than a year that the index had lost ground. 'The latest decline in the Leading Index reflects a loss of forward momentum,' said Ken Goldstein, economist for the Conference Board. 'There are growing concerns about the high cost of gasoline and milk, as well as worries about where economic growth will come from now that tax refunds have been spent and short-term interest rates are rising.' " The index is closely followed because it is designed to forecast the economy's health over the coming three to six months.

REALITY CHECK: US Economy Started a Marked Decline in June that Will Continue Well into Winter

Ottawa Business Journal (of course! You won't find the US corporate media reporting this!): "A key forward-looking gauge of the U.S. economy fell for the second month in a row in July, suggesting the nation's recovery still faces a bumpy road. The U.S Conference Board said its Composite Index of Leading Economic Indicators fell in July by 0.3 per cent to 116. That followed a revised decline of 0.1 per cent in June. June's decline was THE FIRST TIME IN MORE THAN A YEAR.. Analysts polled by Bloomberg news expected a smaller decline in July of 0.1 per cent, on average. The index is designed to forecast where the U.S. economy will be in the next three to six months." In short, a composite of ALL the economic factors shows that the US economy began a marked decline in June that will continue into the winter. No wonder Bush and his media minions are cherry picking individual factors that give the illusion of "economic improvement!"

Americans Don't Believe Bush Sales Pitch about 'Improving Economy'

The feverish efforts this ABC Bushie propagandist makes to spin these poll results are truly comical! "In the latest ABC News/Money magazine survey... fewer than four in 10 say the economy's in good shape, and fewer still, 24%, say it's improving. Those views are not necessarily awful for the president: Confidence is average, not worse. It was far weaker in the summer of 1992...and indeed remains better than it was in mid-June. But it's not as rosy as the president's comments would suggest, indicating he's got some convincing to do. ..38% of Americans now say the economy's getting worse... A bit of pessimism, however, is the norm for such views: The numbers today are very near their long-term average in nearly 250 ABC News and ABC/Money polls since 1981: Twenty-one percent optimistic, 38 percent pessimistic. And optimists today are double their number in August 1992." LOL!!

The Bush Administration Predicted 270,000 Jobs for July, But Only 32,000 materialize

NYT: "Job growth ground nearly to a halt last month, the Labor Department reported Friday, raising new concerns about the economy's strength [not to mention the Labor Dept's competence and honesty] and reshaping the political debate over its performance less than three months before Election Day. Employers added just 32,000 jobs in July, a small fraction of [the 270,000 forecast by the Bush Administration] and far below the robust gains in employment earlier this year. The government also announced that job growth in May and June was less than initially estimated [ah - so now we're doing 'retroactive forecasting' hoping no one will notice that the promised upturn didn't appear?]." Meanwhile, Bush continues to promote his 'Tinkerbelle economics," babbling city to city about a great "economic upturn."

Bush Economics: If We All Clap Our Hands, Tinkerbelle Will Come Back to Life!

AP: " The federal deficit is at a record high and economic growth has slowed, but Bush is insisting on the campaign trail that the U.S. economy is on a "rising path." In his weekly radio address today, which he taped Friday while on a stop in Michigan, Bush worked to convince voters that the economic rebound is not stalling. His optimistic forecast came a day after the White House projected that the deficit for the budget year ending Sept. 30 will soar to $445 billion -- the highest in history." Yet Bush bragged about the "rebound" and the "great opportunities" out there right now! Yep, and if we all clap our hands, Tinkerbelle will come back to life, too!

Spring Figures Show US Economy Has Taken a Dive

AP: "The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of just 3 percent in the spring, a dramatic slowdown from the rapid pace of the past year, as consumer spending fell to the weakest rate since the slowdown of 2001, the government reported Friday. The Commerce Department said that the gross domestic product, the country's total output of goods and services, slowed sharply in the April-June quarter from a 4.5 percent growth rate in the first three months of the year. The size of the slowdown caught economists by surprise. Many had been looking for GDP growth to come in around 3.8 percent in the second quarter. Even that would have been a sharp deceleration for an economy that had been growing at a 5.4 percent annual rate through the year ending in March."

US Economic Growth Rate Hits Lowest Point in 59 Weeks

Reuters: "The pace of U.S. economic growth in the latest week fell to the lowest level in nearly 15 months, a report said on Friday. The Economic Cycle Research Institute, an independent forecasting group, said its weekly leading index declined to 132.3 in the week ended June 18 compared with a reading of 132.7 in the previous week. The index's annualized growth rate, which smooths out weekly fluctuations, dropped for the sixth consecutive week to 3.1 percent from 3.6 percent in the previous period. The growth rate stood at its lowest level since the first week of May 2003. 'It is a significant decline,' said the group's director of research Anirvan Banerji, who described the drop in the growth rate as pronounced, persistent and pervasive."

Rich Man's Recovery: US Working Folk's Wages Lagging Way behind Rising Prices

Bloomberg: "Companies...have begun to raise prices as demand for their products strengthens. U.S. workers aren't enjoying the same ability to win pay increases. A 2.2% rise in wages in the 12 months through May has been more than offset by a 3.1% gain in consumer prices. It's unlikely that employees will get raises that outpace inflation over the next five to 10 years, said William A. Niskanen, former acting chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisors during the Ronald Reagan administration. ``I don't see any substantial increase in average real wages for some time,'' said Niskanen, who is now chairman of the Cato Institute [you know its bad when even the rightwingers admit it!]. ``The stagnation in wages leaves open a big target'' for John Kerry, Mann said. In terms of pay, ``a lot of Americans have been left behind,'' he said. ``Kerry now has an opportunity to ask, `Are you better off now than you were four years ago?'''

Economically, Americans Are Worse Off than Four Years Ago

"UNEMPLOYMENT: There are more people unable to find work than four years ago. The current unemployment rate is 5.6%. Four years ago, the national unemployment average was 4.0%. Since the recession began in March 2001, '1.3 million jobs have disappeared, representing a 1.0% contraction.' WAGES: The growth in wages fell dramatically over the past four years. In 2000, median weekly wages grew by 4.9%. This fell to a mere 2.0% in 2003. Adjusted for inflation that means 'that wages fell slightly in real terms in 2003 for the first time since 1996.' DEFICITS: For the fiscal year 2000, the U.S. government had a surplus of $23 billion, which brought the total budget surplus to $176 billion. The government will be $477 billion in the red this year. POVERTY: For the first time in 13 years, the poverty rate grew two years in a row, jumping nearly a percentage point from 2000 to 2002 (from 11.3% to 12.1%). The number of poor grew to 34.6 million people in 2002, including 12.1 million children."

'Consumer Confidence Index': Trumping up a 'False Positive' to Aid Bush

In the fantasyland of Bush and his cohorts at the "Conference Board" (which releases those regular "consumer confidence" reports), reality is anything expedient to your needs. Did you know that having fewer than 1 in 4 people say business conditions have improved constitutes a "favorable rating" of the economy? Or that having nearly 1 in 3 people state that jobs are "hard to get" while only 1 in 7 believe they are "plentiful" is a sign of confidence in the job outlook? Or that having barely more than 1 in 5 people say they expect a future upturn means "consumers' outlook for the next 6 months remains positive"? If this is "confidence," then we'd sure hate to see what a negative index looks like! But one look at the board's trustees - execs of big corporations, nearly all - makes it clear who the Consumer confidence game (er, index) folks are working for.

Bush's Smoke n' Mirrors 'Recovery': Creation of New Jobs Completely Canceled Out by Lack of Work

Check out this FOX News Headline: "Job Growth Strong in May; Unemployment Rate Steady." The article gushes for several paragraphs about how the "jobless recovery is behind us." But even if you never took Logic 101, you can probably figure out that if the jobless rate is STILL 5.6% with almost no change, and that more people in April had been unemployed longer than the numbers in Feb or Mar. that the number of people being canned is equal to the number being hired. Why aren't the job losses showing up on "paper"? Because a high percentage of the new jobs being created are with temp agencies. When these workers are without assignments, they don't show up as "unemployed" - even if they are without work for weeks. Pretty nifty accounting trick, eh?

New Home Sales Tumble 11.8% as Interest Rates Rise - More Bad News for Bush

"Sales of new U.S. homes sagged well below expectations in April to post their biggest monthly drop in more than ten years as rising mortgage interest rates cooled the busy housing market, a government report showed on Wednesday... April's rate was the lowest level of new home sales since November in what is normally the peak season for real estate sales. The decline -- the largest monthly drop since January 1994 -- could signal the end of a housing boom fueled by the lowest mortgage interest rates since the early 1960s... The number of new homes available for sale at the end of the month was at its highest level since January 1980." There goes Bush's hope of winning on a booming economy...

Bush's Phony Recovery: Untold Number of 'New Jobs' Depend on War and Tax Dollars

"It is impossible to know how many of the 708,000 jobs created in the past three months are defense-related, since the Labor Department does not track defense contractor employment." reports Jonathan Weisman of the Post. "But anecdotal evidence suggests the contribution is significant. In the first three months of this year, defense work accounted for nearly 16 percent of the nation's economic growth, according to the Commerce Department. Economists have long argued that war is an inefficient use of government revenue." It amounts, in essence, to robbing Peter (the government) to pay Paul (the economy). Meanwhile, "The families of thousands of National Guard members and reservists have been dealt severe financial blows by the extended deployments of breadwinners."

US Salary Increases the Slowest in Decades and Losing Ground against Cost of Living

COX news: "In this year's first quarter, salaries rose just 0.6 percent. Meanwhile, the Commerce Department...showed inflation running an annual rate of 3.2 percent. " I.e.,the cost of living is now rising over five times faster than worker pay. "Wages have been just barely keeping up with inflation," said Lawrence Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute. "That is the slowest wage growth we have had in decades." Few see relief on the way. "This deep labor slump affects those who are employed, not just those who are unemployed or afraid they will lose their jobs," Mishel said. Because employees realize how readily they can be replaced, "they are less able to push for higher wages." This effect has also artificially bumped productivity up - the sweatshop-scared-of-being-fired effect.

Good Economic News: There's a New Job at McDonald's with your Name on It!

The so-called good news: More jobs opened up last month. The bad news: the biggest gains were in the service sector (as in clerking at Walmart, fastfood joints and malls), followed by so-called " Professional and business services." Into this category the Bush folks have lumped janitorial jobs, grounds maintenance, temp positions (job-for-a-month club), and other "great career opportunities." Meanwhile, no new manufacturing jobs opened up - tho Bush is bragging that no NEW jobs were lost there. Dept. of Labor Statistics have been turned into a corporate smokescreen of gobbledygook and "technical notes." But one fact emerges in reviewing them: Americans are working harder, putting in longer hours, and for less money (taking benefits, raises, cost of living etc into account) now than they were in 2000. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/prod2.pdf

The Rich Man's Recovery: Bush and His Pals Clueless on Economic Reality for Majority

When the Bush administration thinks about the average America at all - which is rarely - it is to assume that we are all gullible boobs. Thus we have Treasury Secretary Snow assuring us that a record-breaking deficit is no big deal. And, 'It's pretty clear we have a good, strong, steady recovery underway . . . a recovery that is creating lots of jobs.' Snow and co. will also point to the stock market as "proof" of recovery. But that is because this is a rich man's recovery. People rich enough to play the global stock market are making a killing - they can afford some interim losses. The incomes as CEO's and top management keep going up, while millions of average American workers keep making less for more hours worked or, having lost their $50,000 per year job to outsourcing, are supposed to be thrilled that thousands of $7/hr service jobs are being "created."

More Bush-Style 'Recovery': Unemployment Claims Hit 2-Year High

Gee, we don't know how much more of this "recovery" and "good economic news" we can take! "The number of Americans filing initial claims for jobless benefits rose to 360,000 last week, a 30,000 increase that was the biggest in more than a year...claims have averaged 351,000 this year, down from 402,100 for all of 2003.profits." Conspicuously absent from this article -- most new jobs opening up are service sector, mostly part-time, benefitless positions. A high percentage of lost manufacturing and white collar jobs are gone for good. Also, increased factory productivity represents fewer workers putting in more hours and driving themselves to avoid losing their jobs. And the number of people too discouraged to keep looking for work is at an all-time high.

Kerry's 'Middle Class Misery Index' Shows Why Americans Don't Buy Bush's 'Recovery' Spiel

"Middle-class families are increasingly being squeezed by the rising cost of health care, college tuition and gasoline - at the same time that wages and incomes are stagnating and personal bankruptcies are at record levels. This report describes and analyzes a new measure of the pressures faced by American families -- the Middle-class Misery Index. The Middle-class Misery Index combines seven different indicators: median family income, college tuition, health costs, gasoline cost, bankruptcies, the homeownership rate, and private-sector job growth. The data used to compute the Middle-class Misery Index are available from 1976 through 2003." From a gain of 23 points under Clinton, the Misery Index under Bush has plummeted to an abysmal negative 13 - a net loss of 36 index points!

Building Record Profits on the Backs of the U.S. Jobless and Underpaid, Overworked Workers Abroad

Why is it a "jobless recovery?" Because corporate execs are pocketing all the profits made from outsourcing work to countries where workers put in 14 hour days for pennies an hour rather than using the money to create new US jobs. Fewer US workers and higher output (thanks to foreign sweatshops) are also artificially inflating "productivity." It is a slap in the face to US workers that Bush touts corporate profits and productivity as "great economic news." For WHO? "Corporate profits posted a second straight double-digit annual gain in 2003. For all of 2003, the department said after-tax profits were up a hefty 19.2 percent. That was down, however, from 2002's 24.6 percent increase. It was the first time since 1996 and 1997 that U.S. companies have enjoyed back-to-back double-digit annual profits, the department said." The big difference being, of course, that in 96-97, profits actually translated into US JOBS.

George Bush and the Gilded Age

Prof. Yoshi Tsurumi, of the City University of NY, writes: "Something really strange has happened to the U.S. under the Bush Administration. With her ever bulging budget deficits and foreign debts, America's skewed income distribution is rapidly making the U.S. resemble Argentina or Mexico. The 'Jobless Recovery' is not a political mirage, but a serious problem. America's GDP is increasing at an annual rate of about 4.0% this year. But, only those Wall Street 'money gamers' and self-dealing 'management aristocrats' of Corporate America are dizzy with their huge bonuses, padded salaries, and self-dealt stock options. The remaining hard working Americans cannot eat 'GDP.' The U.S. has widening income gap between a few 'haves' and many 'have-nots.'"

Greenspan Fears Huge Mortgage Debt Could Create National Fiscal Crisis

To help prop up the Bush administration's claim that the economy isn't doing too badly, Alan Greenspan has kept interest rates artificially depressed. This has led to a mass stampede to buy and refinance homes, creating a huge mortgage debt with the biggest lenders. Now Greenspan says giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could pose a threat to the country's financial system if they don't limit their intake of new debts. Because the debt is underwritten by the government, if the jobless recovery continues and homeowners default on their loans, the US Gov. could face a financial crisis. In short, now that he has let the horse out of the barn, Greenspan is scrambling to close the door.

States Face Third Year of Awful Fiscal Crisis

AFL-CIO: "State governments are facing the third year of their worst fiscal crisis since the Great Depression, according to a new AFT report. The primary cause is George W. Bush's economic policies, the report says. While workers struggle to find jobs, states are slashing government programs, increasing taxes and laying off workers... AFT's findings echo those of the National Governors Association (NGA), which found state spending in the past two years has risen only 0.6 percent - the smallest increase since 1979. Fully 32 states cut spending across the board, and 16 percent laid off employees, the NGA reported in its December 2003 Fiscal Survey of States... States' budget woes mean at least 175,000 public-sector jobs have been eliminated since February 2003, according to the Labor Research Association. Such cuts could imperil public safety. In just one example, Pittsburgh has laid off 103 police officers, forcing the city to disband its SWAT and mounted units."

Americans with Advanced Education Are Taking Biggest Hit In Bush 'Recovery'

The Economic Policy Institute reports that the unemployment trend under Bush is unlike that for any previous recession. This time, the best educated are the hardest hit. "Both the increase in overall unemployment and the increase in the number of long-term unemployed have differed by education level. Total unemployment has increased 40%, 74%, and 95%, respectively, for workers with a high school degree or less, some college education, and a bachelor's degree or more. But long-term unemployment has increased at much greater rates -- 156%, 259%, and 299% for each educational group, respectively. In all recessions, the least educated have suffered disproportionately. However, the current recession and weak recovery are unique in the extent to which workers with substantial education are also economic victims." In short, the only jobs being created are low paying, requiring little or no education.

Unemployment Fell to 5.6% Because Job Seekers are Dropping Out of Labor Force

"The President on Sunday boasted that job growth is improving because the unemployment rate has dropped to 5.6%. But how is this possible without significant job growth? USA Today provides the explanation: discouraged job seekers are dropping out of the labor force. According to the Department of Labor, more than 400,000 people want a job but have stopped looking. Many job seekers have become discouraged after long job searches. The average job search is now nearly 20 weeks long - nearly one-quarter of the unemployed have been looking for 27 weeks or more."

Record Number to Run Out of Unemployment Benefits

WashPost: "A record-high 375,000 jobless workers will exhaust their unemployment insurance this month and an estimated 2 million workers will find themselves in the same predicament during the first half of the year, according to an analysis of Labor Department statistics by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The report from the center, a liberal research and policy group, found that in the first six months of the year, about 5,800 jobless workers in the District of Columbia, 20,200 in Maryland and 29,600 in Virginia will run out of unemployment benefits unless they find new jobs or get additional government help. The jobless recovery has become an issue in this presidential election year, and the report shows the jobless benefits will run out for large numbers of workers in several key states, including Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana, North Carolina and South Carolina."

African Americans, College Graduates Hit Hardest By Recession

"'The National Urban League's Jobs Report,' by the League's Institute of Opportunity and Equality found that the African- American unemployment rate is double that of whites, and that they are more likely than whites to endure long-term unemployment." Shockingly, race had more to do with this crisis than education and skill: college-degreed, skilled blacks were just as hard hit as their blue-collar counterparts. In addition, blacks were far more likely than whites to be cut out of desirable manufacturing jobs. In Dec. 2003, the unemployment rate for African-Americans was 10.3%. The sustained double-digit rate for the past 14 months, makes the current recession the worst turnabout in the labor market faced by African Americans in more than 25 years.

Cold Snap Sends Oil Prices Soaring Due to Bush-Induced Shortage and Bush-Induced Dollar Crash

The recent cold snap in the Northeastern US - the biggest single regional consumer of oil on Earth - has driven oil prices in the US up to $35 per barrel delivery price for February. Is it the "evil Arabs" fault? Is it because we didn't drill in ANWR? Nope. It is 1. because Bush has allowed US oil stocks to plunge to their lowest point since 1975 - all at a time when OPEC oil is plentiful and OPEC prices are running $22-28 per barrel, and 2. Because Bush policy madness has contributed to the steady descent of the dollar, which has encouraged speculation by investors. "Speculative investment funds, whose heavy bets that prices will rise have led the oil price rally, have been looking closely at the value of the U.S. dollar, whose slump has attracted hedge fund cash to oil and other commodities." So now you also know how the stock market can be UP while the common people's economy and dollar are down.

Arab Oil Producers Worry about Dollar's Relentless Plunge, May Go to Euro

"The economy is rebounding!!" That's Bush's story and he's sticking too it, even as everything but the stock market crashes. But what will happen to this "recovery" if OPEC and other oil producers shift to the euro -- a huge and historic step that will knock America out of its position as the world's reserve dollar "baron" since WWII? "Producers are concerned about the weakness in the price of the dollar and the current price of oil is not due to a shortage in supply," says Qatari Oil Minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah. "Attiyah spoke of the unease certain oil states, including some in the OEPC cartel, at the historic weakness of the dollar against the euro. Changing from one currency to another is a difficult decision to take within OPEC," said the minister." Hinting, of course, at what many are now saying is an inevitable change from the dollar to euro.

Job Loss, Hunger, Homelessness All Up - To Dubya, 'Things Look Pretty Good'

From the Progress Report: "Despite all the talk from the Administration that the economy is booming, severe problems are still plaguing America. The economy has lost 2.9 private sector jobs since President Bush took office. Poverty has increased two years in a row, the first time that has happened in at least a decade. Twenty-five major American cities saw a 19% increase in demand for emergency food for the hungry. Health care costs are skyrocketing, with a new study showing more and more employers forcing workers to pick up the tab. And a new study by the U.S. Conference of Mayors shows 'Hunger and homelessness both increased this year in U.S. cities to the point that social services agencies were often unable to meet emergency demands for food and shelter.' In other words, while the President says 'things look pretty good' for the economy -- for millions of hard-working Americans, things still look pretty lousy."

More Bush 'Recovery': Corporate Profits are Up, Income is Down

From the Progress Report: "Corporate profits are up, income is down, and the economic recovery isn't being felt equally among rich and poor Americans. The NYT writes, for example, while newspapers report on Morgan Stanley CEO Philip Purcell's very merry $12 million Christmas bonus, that financial largesse isn't extending to the lower tiers. 'This is revealed in figures from the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis, indicating that corporate profits were substantially up for 2002, while personal income fell.' According to Robert Frank, an economics professor at Cornell: 'The people in the middle are stagnating in terms of their earnings, the people at the top are gaining ground and the people at the bottom are losing.' One reason for this unequal result is 'that workers have lost bargaining power as growth and productivity have remained strong while employment faltered.'"

Consumer Confidence Drops to 'Ugly' Level, Dampening Holiday Shopping Hopes

"The University of Michigan's preliminary reading of consumer sentiment fell to 89.6 in December from 93.7 in November, according to the report. Economists had forecast a rise to 96.0. 'It's pretty ugly,' said Cary Leahey, senior United States economist at Deutsche Bank Securities in New York. The unexpected decline cast doubt on the strength of consumer spending during the holiday season, although in recent years there has not been a strong connection between measures of confidence and actual retail sales... A report Friday from the Commerce Department said the trade deficit grew to $41.77 billion in October as an import surge overcame the effect of rising exports, which hit their highest level in 31 months. The trade gap, on track to hit a record this year, was close to what Wall Street had expected. Reflecting stronger demand, imports climbed 2.1% in October, to a record $129.7 billion, as imports from China, the European Union and Latin America hit new highs."

Dollar Headed for a Meltdown, Warns Economist

Bush, his corporate figure masseuses, and a band of bulti-billionaires dedicated to propping up this corrupt administration have managed to manipulate interest rates, employment figures, and the stock market to an astounding degree. But one thing they can't manipulate, thus making it the most reliable proxy of the US economy is the dollar. And the news ain't good! The dollar has headed down, down, down against nearly every other major world currency." Hedge fund economist Neil Mackinnon, said the dollar's fall could turn into meltdown, unless action was taken by the authorities." reports the BBC. How ya' gonna spin the first international meltdown of the dollar in US history, Georgie? And when do you suppose the "public spirited" media will bother to warn anyone?

ECONOMIC REALITY DOSE: Bush Employment Statistics Comes with Disclaimer

Here's a page from the the Dept. of Labor's employment statistics data that the general public will not be shown: Entitled an "Explanation of Employment Figures," it is, in essence, a disclaimer for the figures released by the administration. Scroll down about 18 paragraphs to the section entitled 'Reliability of the Estimates' - you will discover that the data has a HUGE error margin - plus/minus 10%!! (they slickly reverse this to read 'a 90% confidence level'). But, as the paragraph admits, this 10% error margin translates into plus/minus nearly 300,000 jobs!

Bush's Job 'Growth' is Based on Number of Jobs, Not Number of People Employed

If Bush told the truth, he'd admit that while the number of jobs is increasing, the number of people working 40-hour jobs HAS NOT INCREASED. Why? Because the number of people holding more than one job, especially those working more than one part-time job has grown, while the number of people with one sufficient full-time job has declined. In addition, the number of eligible workers who have dropped out of the labor force has increased by 1.6 million. In short, if Bush went by NUMBER OF PEOPLE WORKING - not the number of jobs - the truth about the economy would be frightening.

Despite W's Bushit, Unemployment is Deeper and Longer

Bush is claiming that new unemployment claims are down. But he fails to mention that the number of people who have become unemployed in the past year and have stayed that way has steadily GROWN. So, while the number of people who have been unemployed for just five weeks is down from Nov. 2002, the number of those who have been unemployed more than 27 weeks has grown by a stunning 268,000, while the average number of weeks unemployed has gone from 18 to 20. How many tens of thousands of unemployed have fallen off the records because they are no longer seeking work is not being reported by Bush? It is estimated to be high...and growing.

Bush Replaces Full-Time Jobs with Benefits with Low-Paying Jobs Without Benefits

Bush's economic boom is based on several cruel deceptions: increased number of people on payrolls (without specifying whether a net increase in income is involved), productivity (without indicating how this is measured in terms of workers) and stock market (which seems to have no relationship to jobs anymore). "The new jobs added [in Oct] mostly were in lower-paying industries such as retail and temporary employment firms. Average weekly earnings in those sectors are $366 and $318/wk respectively, while the national average is $521/wk. 1.4 million workers seeking full-time jobs were in part-time jobs, up 27% from a year ago. To make ends meet, 7.5 million Americans worked two or more jobs last month, up from 7.3 million a year ago. And, there are still areas of the economy and sections of the country where job growth is slim at best."

Pro-Bush Media Lauds Fact that Only 44% of All Americans Feel Economically Secure as 'Progress'! Pathetic!

Talk about scraping the bottom of the barrel to try to pump Bush up! This takes the cake: an AP (All Propaganda) poll points to the fact that 44% of Americans feel they have some job security (an alleged improvement of about 8 points since October) as "great progress" and a "positive economic trend!" This means that in our great nation, more than half of all workers do NOT feel they have job security - an outrageous and inexcusable state of affairs. In addition, the "economic boom" now being touted is all smoke and mirrors. There is no real job growth - for every two new part-time jobs without benefits being created, one full-time job with benefits is lost - yet Bush is proudly claiming credit for this phony surge in "number of new jobs."

Worker Productivity is the Highest in 20 Years, But Wage Growth is the Slowest in 16

"Another side to the slow increase in employment despite the upturn in output has been the extraordinary growth in labor productivity, i.e., the extent to which US firms are driving their employees to work harder. The Labor Dept. announced Dec 3 that employee production per hour during the 3rd quarter rose at an annualized rate of 9.4%, the highest in two decades... Sullivan of Morgan Stanley commented, 'The downside of the productivity miracle is that there is less pressure on employers to hire.' Employers are making every effort to increase production without engaging new workers, resulting in a 14-month high in the average workweek. The increase in hours, according to Lehman Brothers analyst Drew Matus, is 'the equivalent of adding 350,000 additional jobs.' As productivity soars, workers' wages are seeing next to no improvement. Average hourly earnings rose 0.1% in November to $15.46. Hourly earnings over the last 12 months are up only 2.1%, the slowest annual growth in 16 years."

Our Booming Economy- FAO Schwarz Declares Bankruptcy for Second Time This Year

Reuters writes, "FAO Inc., parent of the legendary upscale FAO Schwarz toy stores, said on Tuesday it would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the second time in less than a year. The 141-year-old retailer, best known for luxury gifts such as six-foot-tall teddy bears, said it still hoped to sell its FAO Schwarz and Right Start business, but would liquidate the Zany Brainy chain. FAO emerged from bankruptcy protection in April, three months after filing for Chapter 11 in the wake of last year's dismal holiday season. The retailer said last month that early holiday sales were much worse than expected and if sales did not pick up, it would not have enough liquidity to operate its business normally."

UK Experiencing the Grim Economic Reality Bush and His Spin Machine May Not Let Americans See - Until too Late

The American economy is being held together by Bush "duct tape" and media spin. There is no increase in real jobs - most of these "new jobs" are part time, barely above minimum wage. The big-ticket item sales Bush touts are due to the artificially low interest rates - rates which are now threatening to cause the dollar to collapse internationally. Britain is already feeling the reality Bush and his media try to block from America for his own advantage: Things are getting worse, not better and need REAL solutions. Ironically, the one hope of easing the UK financial crisis - a good start to the Xmas season - received a huge blow thanks to the Bush visit. The Bush trip not only cost millions, but ruined the season's start for hundreds of businesses in London.

Dollar May be in Danger of Collapse - Thanks to the Bush Cartel's Artificially Low Interest Rates

"The dollar tumbled across the board yesterday, hitting an all-time low against the euro amid fears that Wall Street was betting against the US currency The dollar slid to new multi-year lows against sterling and the Canadian dollar and a six-month low against the Swiss franc. Yesterday's fall added to the massive selling of the world's largest currency, which has tumbled by 14 per cent against the euro so far this year. The financial markets are growing increasingly concerned that the US will not be able to attract enough investment to fund its burgeoning current account deficit, which is running at record levels." Some Wall Street Banks are now warning their clients that as long as the Bush Federal Reserve insists on keeping interest levels at artificial lows (to give the false impression that the economy is in better shape than it is), the dollar is in serious danger of collapse.

Fourteen States Still Languishing in the Bush Recession

Detroit Free Press: "The U.S. economy is perking up, but not all states are benefiting equally, and some that aren't -- including Michigan -- could make or break Resident George W. Bush's drive for re-election next year. Fourteen states remain in recession, even as the Commerce Department on Tuesday revised its calculation of U.S. economic growth this summer to an unusually strong 8.2-percent annual rate. Revised figures released Tuesday increased the latest gross domestic product measurement by a point from its previous 7.2 percent. And 15 states lost jobs in October... While a national economic recovery almost surely would help Bush, that might not be enough to secure his re-election unless the recovery is strong enough to create jobs in those states, political analysts say."

Which Party in the White House Means Good Times for Investors?

Hal Varian writes in the New York Times: "Does the stock market do better when a Republican is president or when a Democrat is? The answer is: It's not even close. The stock market does far better under Democrats." That's the conclusion explained in an article in the October issue of The Journal of Finance. As Harry Truman said, "If you want to live like a Republican, you'd better vote for the Democrats." Remember that on November 2, 2004.

Dollar Plunges to Record Lows against Euro, Pound, and Yen thanks to Bush's Disastrous Policies

"At its lowest point at 0100 GMT on Wednesday, one euro bought $1.1978. The dollar also neared a new three-year low against the yen, with one dollar worth just 107.94 yen. The dollar's fall against most leading currencies - including the pound - started when data showed a huge slump in foreign money coming into the US... News that the US Government was planning to introduce more punitive tariffs, this time on a range of textiles and lingerie products manufactured in China, triggered fears about a return to protectionism and the impact that this might have on the recent recovery in the US economy." Bush's protectionist policies for the sake of his Corporate cronies continue to wreak havoc.

Don't Be Fooled -- the 'Bush Boom' is Bushit with a Pretty Bow

On campaign stops, Bush has "neglected to mention that his most recent budget proposed cutting $179m out of job training programs. And while the Administration touted the recent jobs numbers, the short-term growth does not necessarily mean long-term success. Many Americans have yet to feel any effect, with wages still stagnating and the manufacturing sector still bleeding. The Boston Globe writes that 'even if the 'Bush boom' hailed by pundits temporarily takes hold, the administration's policies will weaken the economy over time, fall particularly harshly on its working middle- and low-income citizens, and fail to prepare the nation for a century of far more intense global competition.' The Arizona Republic warns of some upcoming dangers: The towering deficit; hidden costs connected to the roll-backs of environmental protection; Baby Boomers jetting towards retirement with little savings; sluggish response due to crony capitalism; and the issues surrounding labor and global trade."

Bush's 'Recovery' Pushes Most of America Further Towards Poverty

"The new jobs added last month mostly were in lower-paying industries such as retail and temporary employment firms. Average weekly earnings in those sectors are $366 and $318 respectively... The national average is $521 per week. Also, 1.4m workers were only able to find part-time work, up 27% from a year ago. To make ends meet, 7.5m Americans worked two or more jobs last month, up from 7.3m a year ago. One of four people out of work were unemployed for 27 weeks or longer last month. Nearly half of those were white-collar workers in management, professional, sales and office jobs... For blacks, the jobless rate climbed last month to 11.5 percent. The rate fell for whites, Hispanics, Asians, men and women. 'It's quite alarming that the Bush administration is celebrating...a very, very minuscule decrease in the overall unemployment rate while African-Americans are still standing in the unemployment line,' said Rep. Cummings, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus."

Wage Income Drop During Bush Recession Worst Since 1959

"The American employment situation may be tough even if you're one of the lucky employed. Overall, wage income is down. The Economic Policy Institute reports 'Real wage and salary income declined by 1.2% between the start of the last recession (March, 2001) and the most recent months of data (August, 2003). That decline is the worst performance at this stage since 1959.' And Lou Dobbs reports that, as workers continue their 'long, hard slog back into the workforce,' it's not to the same standard of living they remember from before. 'The people who have jobs are simply working more...Since companies began shedding jobs during the recent economic downturn, employees who remained behind are working more in order to avoid being the next victims of a cutback.'"

Recovery Or Snow Job?

TomPaine.com writes, "Treasury Secretary John Snow says the economy is turning around. The question is, 'Which economy?' While the GDP grew 7.2% last quarter, 146,000 jobs were lost. Profits are up, but jobs are down. The CEO economy is doing better, but on Main Street the news is grim. More than 34 million Americans, including 12 million kids, live below the poverty line. Nine million people are unemployed. Just since Bush took office, 2.5 million manufacturing jobs have been cut or sent overseas. Meanwhile, displaced workers aren't being trained for new jobs. Health care and college tuitions have seen double-digit increases since 2000. And according to the Federal Reserve, household debt, when compared to disposable income, is at a 20-year peak." Hey TomPaine - thanks for putting our "Snow Job" slogan onto the nation's editorial pages!

Economic Boomlet: It's Deja Voodoo All Over Again

Paul Krugman: "The Commerce Department announces very good growth during the previous quarter. Many observers declare the economy's troubles over. And the administration's supporters claim that the economy's turnaround validates its policies. That's what happened 18 months ago, when a preliminary estimate put Q1 2002 growth at 5.8%. That was later revised down to 5.0%. More important, growth in the next quarter slumped to 1.3%, and we now know that the economy wasn't really on the mend: after that brief spurt, the nation proceeded to lose another 600,000 jobs. The same story unfolded in the Q3 2002, when growth rose to 4%, and the economy actually gained 200,000 jobs. But growth slipped back down to 1.4%, and job losses resumed... It would be quite a trick to run the biggest budget deficit in the history of the planet, and still end a term with fewer jobs than when you started. And despite yesterday's good news, that's a trick Bush still seems likely to pull off."

Economist Joe Stiglitz Blows the Whistle on Dubyanomics

"Indeed his new book, Roaring Nineties, sets out what he sees as the multiple policy errors that sowed the 'seeds of destruction' in the American economy... 'Dealing with the deficit will absorb the US political economy for years to come. We're back to the Reagan era. The trade deficit has the underlying problem of what will happen when foreigners decide to stop funding the US deficit. On the private side there is a huge gap in private pension funds. Any other economy would be under water.' The scandals over conflicts of interest in accounting and banking were predictable fruits of 'market fundamentalism', he says. 'The image is Adam Smith. The reality is Enron.' But the really bad news is to come, he argues. 'What is likely to happen is more of a languishing malaise, with very weak job recovery. China has joined the WTO and is now the manufacturing engine of the world. Manufacturing is now down to 14 per cent of the economy. Those last few per cent are going to be very painful.'"

'Bush Boom Rests on a Pretty Weak Definition of a Boom'

Daniel Gross writes: "But thus far, the Bush boom rests more on hope than hard data--and on a pretty weak definition of a boom. Some of the Bush boom is a matter of defining performance. We have yet to see two consecutive quarters of impressive growth. And even if John Snow's prediction of 2 million new jobs in the next 12 months materializes, that is still poor by historical standards. That breaks down to only 166,000 new jobs per month--which barely covers the 150,000 new job-market entrants each month and leaves a mere handful of positions for the millions of jobless who are currently seeking work. Between October 1993 and October 2000, the economy created an average of 2.88 million jobs per year. That's a boom."

Russia May Abandon Dollars for Euro and Sink the US Economy - Thanks to G. W. Bush

"Russia, the world's second largest oil exporter, is giving serious consideration to trading its black gold in euros, a switch that would surely set dominos in motion among other oil producing nations and, ultimately, knock the dollar off its global throne. Americans can thank George Bush and his Pirates ...Iraq - the invasion and resistance - has worked a sea change in global relations. History is galloping ahead of every scenario that could have been envisioned before the Bush Pirates set out on their hegemonic mission. However, the scheming fools at the Project for a New American Century must be given their due; only the most monumental stupidity, arrogance and willful ignorance could have set the reigning superpower on such a calamitous course toward political isolation, economic instability, and shrinking relevance to the designs of mankind."

Dollar Hits Three-Year Low against Yen

"The dollar plunged to fresh three-year lows against the yen Tuesday before managing to claw back some of these losses. In the absence of hard economic data, dealers aggressively resumed the heavy dollar selling of recent weeks and pushed the currency lower across the board. Apart from the slide against the yen, which broke the psychological support threshold of 110.00 yen, the dollar sunk to seven-year lows against the Canadian dollar and six-year lows against the Australian dollar as well as three-and-a-half-year lows against the South African rand."

Bush's Phony Claims about an Improving Job Market are Based on Fudged Statistics

As the economy nosedives, Bush is doing what he always does: lie. And take credit for something that does not exist. By not considering the workers who have exhausted benefits, Bush has been able to cut the true jobless statistic by at least 45%. In July, according to research by Anthony Chan, chief economist at Banc One Investment Advisors, 43.2% of all unemployed workers were those who had exhausted their benefits -- the highest rate in more than three decades. These folks do not show up in the jobless stats. Now, three months later, this percentage may be as high as 50%. In addition, Bush falsely reported September jobless claims as LOWER than predicted. (http://www.newsday.com/business/ny-biz-economy1002,0,516198.story). When claims delayed by Hurricane Isabel are considered, Sept. claims are found to be HIGHER than predicted - esp. the last two weeks! Too bad the unemployed can't eat Bush's lies! See also http://la.indymedia.org/news/2003/09/81340.php

New Unemployment Claims Soar as Backlog Delayed by Isabel are Filed

This week, White House "economists" were fielding a spin story that there really aren't more jobless claims - it's just that there are no new jobs being created. That's not just spin - it's a lie. The U.S. is now losing jobs at the rate of tens of thousands per month. There was a 10-day period in September in which jobless claims seemed to flatten a bit. Turns out this was not due to any change in the job situation - it was merely a delay caused by Hurricane Isabel. September jobless claims were HIGHER than predicted.

Bush Economic Policy: Richest Continue to Get Richer at Everyone Else's Expense

"After two years of declines, the total net worth of America's richest people has risen 10 percent to $955 billion this year from 2002, according to Forbes magazine's annual ranking of the nation's 400 wealthiest individuals. Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates, who remained in the top spot, personified the trend toward increasing wealth. His fortune increased by $3 billion to $46 billion this year. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen held third place, with his net worth rising $1 billion to $22 billion. Investor Warren Buffett kept the No. 2 position, although his wealth was unchanged at $36 billion." The print edition of this story displayed images of the mega-wealthy: The top ten were all white males, and in a representative sampling of 30, only 2 were women and 1 was black. None were Hispanic. Meanwhile, during the same time period as these staggering gains in wealth, about 93,000 Americans have been losing their jobs EVERY MONTH. Guess we know the secret to their wealth!

US Middle Class Barely Treading Water

"Millions of middle-class families can no longer afford to live on two incomes. A generation ago, a typical American middle-class family lived on the income of a single breadwinner. In recent years it has taken two working spouses to live the modern middle-class dream. Now, it seems even that is not enough to survive the skyrocketing cost of housing, health care and college while saving for retirement and shouldering growing debt loads.... With personal bankruptcy at an all-time high, it's mostly the middle class that gets trapped: 92% of the record 1.6 million filers in the year ended June 30 were middle class, according to a Harvard University study.... Credit card debt for middle-income families is soaring up 75% to $5,031 between 1989 and 2001, according to a new report by Demos, a non-partisan public policy organization. As consumers shoulder more debt, bankruptcy filings have exploded.... About one-third of the families owed an entire year's salary on their credit cards."

GAO Chief Will Bash Bush's Fiscal Policies in Wednesday Speech

"Driven by concern about the fiscal future -- and the administration's and Congress's failure to address it -- the usually low-profile head of the General Accounting Office, Comptroller General David Walker, sets a speech for Wednesday at the National Press Building. Crisis looms, he'll say, yet policies in place and planned only will worsen it: 'It's time to admit that we are in a fiscal hole and to stop digging.'"

Rents Rise Over 1/3 Since '99--Minimum Wage Covers Barely 1/3 of the Cost

AP reports: "The cost of rent and utilities for a typical two-bedroom apartment has increased more than a third since 1999, making such housing unaffordable for anyone earning minimum wage, according to a study by an advocacy group for low-income housing. A worker must earn at least $15.21 an hour to afford the average cost of $791 per month and have enough left for food and other necessities, the National Low Income Housing Coalition said Monday. Five years ago the average cost for housing and utilities was $576. The federal minimum wage of $5.15 an hour, which has not increased since 1997, barely covers one-third of the housing cost, the study said... With the nation's economy still struggling, coalition president Sheila Crowley...criticized the Bush administration and Congress for not spending more on affordable housing... There are about 36 million renters in the United States, comprising about one-third of all households."

93,000 More Jobs Lost in August

CBS reports: "The U.S. economy lost payroll jobs in August for the seventh month in a row even as the unemployment rate dipped to 6.1 percent. Non-farm payrolls shrank by 93,000, bringing the total job losses to 595,000 since January-the largest since March. The number of unemployed Americans fell to 8.9 million from 9.06 million. About 1/5 of the unemployed have been out of work more than 6 months. About a quarter million dropped out of the labor market in August. The jobless rate is based on the ratio of those seeking work to those in the labor pool. A smaller pool reduces the unemployment rate. Economist Sung Won Sohn says the biggest concerns now are focused on long-term structural problems in the economy, such as a flood of U.S. jobs going overseas. 'We have simply seen the tip of the iceberg,' Sohn said. 'I think it will get worse, not better.'"

World Bankers Say Bush Deficit Threatens Global Stability and Tax Cuts Alone Cannot Offset Potential Crisis

BBC reports: "The International Monetary Fund has warned the United States that while speedy economic recovery there would benefit the whole world economy, the Bush administration should pay more attention to the instability threatened by its huge budget deficit. The Fund warns that while fiscal stimulus - Resident Bush's tax cuts - has helped the US and global economies to recover [Really??? We'd like to see the evidence], the Bush administration is too optimistic about its budget deficit. The Fund thinks it could balloon to $550bn - that would be more than 5% of economic output, significantly greater than the 3% limit that eurozone countries are required to aim for."

The Dollar Suffers a Major Blow - This Time from China

Bush's irresponsible economic and foreign relations moves indicate he has absolutely no clue how much the US economy relies on foreign investors. But he's about to find out as countries switch their investment currencies from dollars to Euros and now, in Shanghai, to yuan. This week, Chinese investors dumped $5 billion in dollars, converting the investments to the yuan. But with Bush at the helm, alienating old allies and intensifying old enmities, who could expect "brand loyalty"?

The Soul of Capitalism

In "The Soul of Capitalism," William Greider writes, "Changing the standard arrangements is most difficult, but as people examine the possibilities they discover that collectively the broad ranks of working Americans actually have enormous assets on their side. Indeed, despite vast inequalities in personal wealth, the broad stock market - 60% of the 1,000 largest corporations - belongs to the ordinary Americans, through their pension funds and the other institutions holding their savings. The greatest names in industry and finance draw upon this 'collectivized wealth' for their capital. Why, we may ask, is this capital passively aligned with the business values that regularly do great damage to the very people who own the wealth?... People have the potential to exercise decisive influence within the system in behalf of deep reforms, once they learn to recognize where their pressure points are located. Some dream expansively of transforming American capitalism from the bottom up."

Democrats' 'Gloomy' Assessment of Economy Shared by Most Americans

While Bush claims the economy is on the upswing, the grim reality is being confronted squarely by Democrats. In their weekly radio address, Dems "pointed to the net loss of 3.1 million jobs since 2001 and a budget deficit expected to soar to $455 billion this year... Dem Gov. Mark Warner of VA blamed Bush's 'massive tax cuts' for the rising federal deficits and for forcing states to cut vital services. 'Right now, this nation is on track for the worst job-creation record since the Great Depression.' While the unemployment rate dropped to 6.2 percent from a nine-year high of 6.4 percent, the decline was due almost entirely to an exodus from the job market of discouraged workers.'" Meanwhile, an AOL main page survey reveals that only 38% of 1.2 million respondents thought the economy was improving, while 48% said it is getting worse (as of 8/3 at 10:00 EDT).

While Bush & Co. Spin Rosy Picture of the Economy, the Dollar Plummets

Bush & Co. were trying this past week to sell America the song and dance that the economy really is getting better, after all. What did they base that on? A few transient gains in the stock market and one week in which the new jobless claims were down slightly. Yet real (non-Alan Greenspan) economists say the last few weeks of July are always volatile and can't be used as economic predictors for the future. Here's a solid predictor: the U.S. dollar. And guess what, as of Friday (July 25), the dollar had weakened broadly against all major currencies.

Bush's Data Dump: The Administration is Hiding Bad Economic News

Russ Baker writes: "The administration muzzles routine economic information that's unfavorable. Last year, for example, the administration stopped issuing a monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics report, known as the Mass Layoff Statistics program, that tracked factory closings throughout the country. The cancellation was made known on Christmas Eve in a footnote to the department's final report -- a document that revealed 2,150 mass layoffs in November, cashiering nearly a quarter-million workers. The administration claimed the report was a victim of budget cuts. After the Washington Post happened to catch this bit of data suppression, the BLS report was reinstated. (Interestingly, President George H.W. Bush buried these same statistics in '92, also during a period of job losses. They were revived by President Clinton.)"

Teen Job Drought - the Worst Since WWII

The unemployment rate among teens 16-19 has soared to nearly 64% - the highest rate since 1948! 'At a time when the wealthiest Americans are enjoying unprecedented prosperity, how can we allow the job market for our young adults to unravel before our eyes?' said Charlie Lyons VP of the National League of Cities. Black and/or inner city teens are hardest hit, with black teen unemployment twice as high as that for white teens. Unemployed teens are teens at risk. Expect the teen crime and drug use rate to rise. Also, many low-income families depend on the extra money brought by teens, so expect an increase in the number of families dropping below the poverty line. And, with college costs under Bush rising while teen employment drops, expect a huge drop in college enrollment, not just for low-income teens, but middle-income teens who, lacking sufficient financial aid, rely on earning cash for school. The effects will be felt big time in the coming year.

Bush Creating Jobs - But Not for Americans

"The U.S. economy is growing and creating jobs; it's just not Americans filling those jobs," said the panel's chairman, Rep. Donald Manzullo (R-Ill.). "They have been moved overseas, where foreigners will work for a lot less."

Economy Bombs: Retail Sales Category Posts Biggest Drop Since 911

Reuters reports: "Retail sales fell unexpectedly in April and import prices set a record decline, the government said on Wednesday in reports that underscored worries about the economy's health. The Commerce Department said total retail purchases slid 0.1 percent in April in contrast to the predictions of economists in a Reuters poll who expected a rise of 0.4 percent. 'This report is a major disappointment related to the prospects for economic growth this year. The consumer has downshifted to a much more cautious mood,' said Bob Gay, a fixed-income strategist at Commerzbank Securities in New York... Within the retail sales report, the closely watched category of sales excluding automobiles slumped 0.9 percent. That was the biggest monthly drop since a 1.2 percent fall when the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks dealt a sudden and harsh blow to retail sales."

National Study Reveals Teachers, Police, Firefighters Cannot Afford to Buy Homes

Guess the public servants Bush is so fond of having in his PR shots will just have to be content with Bush lip service -- and permanent apartment living. According to a study by the National Housing Conference: "None of America's elementary school teachers, police officers, licensed practical nurses, retail salespersons or janitors would qualify to purchase a median priced home based on median income...findings for the nation as a whole reveal that the median annual salaries for each of these five occupations fall short of the nearly $50,000 necessary to qualify for the median priced home of $156,000. Of particular concern, families dependent solely on the salary of a janitor or retail salesperson pay in excess of what is considered affordable for a two-bedroom apartment in all of the 60 individual metropolitan areas studied."

Victory Tour? Bush Should Tour a Soup Kitchen

Rob Morse writes: "As part of his post-Iraq victory tour, Resident Bush will be at a defense plant in Santa Clara on Friday to argue for $550 billion in proposed tax cuts. Never mind the 10 Nobel laureate economists who say those cuts won't help the economy, it's the photo op in front of spectacular tools of war that counts. Bush won't be speaking at a soup kitchen the way he did in Santa Clara County during the 2000 campaign. The days of compassionate conservatism and a humble foreign policy are over... Bush also won't be speaking at the Veterans One-Stop Center, a small office on North Winchester Boulevard that blends in with the surrounding funeral homes and modest apartment buildings. Too bad. It would be great to hear the resident explain to patriotic vets why he's cutting their benefits while giving tax benefits to the rich."

Bush Aides Downplay Hope for Postwar Economic Surge

"Bush's advisers are playing down prospects for a postwar economic rebound, and some Republicans fear time is running out for a broad-based recovery ahead of his 2004 re-election bid. The cautious outlook may be political posturing as Bush shifts focus from the war to reviving his beleaguered tax cut plan -- the centerpiece of his economic program -- before campaigning begins in earnest later this year... Democrats blame Bush's last round of sweeping tax cuts for turning budget surpluses into record deficits and for costing the private sector more than 2.6 million jobs. They say new tax cuts proposed by Bush will only make matters worse... [Bush/GOP] efforts to lower economic expectations could help the White House step up pressure on lawmakers to revive the bulk of Bush's $726 billion tax cut plan... 'That's smart politics,' said Scott Reed, a Republican consultant. 'This White House has made a political career of lowering expectations and exceeding them over and over again.'"

'People Are Not Dancing On Wall Street'

Reuters reports, "Asian stocks and the dollar fell on Thursday due to worries over the U.S. economy as financial markets, obsessed by war for weeks, looked beyond Iraq and found little to cheer. Gold prices rose on uncertainties in post-war Iraq and oil was lower in scant trade after clocking up overnight gains on reports that OPEC could attempt to restrain production. Bond prices also rose, mainly because of stock losses. As television flashed scenes of crowds [of looters] dancing in the streets of Baghdad and toppling a statue of Saddam Hussein, markets were already looking ahead, having priced in the Iraq win [over many dead bodies] earlier in the week. The view, brokers said, was not comforting. 'People are not dancing on Wall Street,' said Al Kugel, senior investment strategist at Stein Roe Investment Counsel. 'There are people saying now that the war is over, we need to look at the economy and it looks pretty sick.'"

Why Do BushRove Want War, War, and MORE War? It's The Economy, Stupid!

Reuters reports: "The U.S. economy seems to have all but stalled out in recent months -- or perhaps even contracted -- and a raft of gloomy data have economists worried a revival may be difficult even if the Iraq war ends swiftly. Nervous that the war would hurt their sales, many businesses froze hiring and cut their investment budgets in the run-up to the U.S.-led attack on Iraq, now in its third week. Consumers, stalwart even in the depths of the recession that began in 2001, pulled back in the first two months of 2003... an increasingly bleak jobs picture might keep them wary of spending too freely, which in turn would deprive the economy of a strong engine for growth. 'The recovery, which is very fragile, may have actually turned into a downturn a few months ago' said Rajeev Dhawan, director of the Economic Forecasting Center at Georgia State University."

Jobs Lost Under Bush Climbs to 2.6 MILLION

Reuters reports, "The U.S. economy suffered a worse-than-expected 108,000 decline in payrolls in March as the start of the war with Iraq and profit uncertainties took a toll on hiring... Fed officials have linked the economy's recent woes to war concerns, which are making firms cautious.... The March jobs drop was more than triple the 29,000 decrease projected by economists in a Reuters poll. The February data were revised to show a 357,000 job loss, more severe than the previously reported 308,000 decline... Administration officials cited the data as a reason for Congress to pass Bush 's proposed $726 billion tax-cut package. However, opposition Democrats said the downbeat report was a sign that Bush's economic program was not working. 'In the two years that Bush has been in office, his administration has lost an astounding '2.6 million private sector jobs, the worst record on job creation of any president in nearly 60 years,' Nancy Pelosi said."

In the Grip of a Permanent War Economy

Seymour Melman writes, "Now, at the start of the twenty-first century, every major aspect of American life is being shaped by our Permanent War Economy. Civilian manufacturing industries are being swept away as a war-focused White House and a compliant Congress sponsor deindustrialization of the U.S. They favor production in Mexico and China, where government powers bar independent unions. As production of both consumer goods and capital goods is moved out of America, unions and whole communities are decimated. Ghost towns are created across the country. That process is far along in industries that once invented machine tools, radios, and even TV's. Now the decay proceeds in 'new economy' industries like computers and 'Palm' type devices. The U.S. firms that sell such equipment typically assemble components that are manufactured elsewhere."

Did Bush Scrub the Unemployment Figures?

Unemployment Drops to 5.7% Or did it? "Another factor contributing to the positive report was a change in the way the Labor Department compiles its survey of households, which is used to calculate the unemployment rate. Analysts included new questions about race and Hispanic ethnicity, added new job classifications and made other changes. Labor Department officials said the changes likely had a small impact on compilation of the overall unemployment rate." (Yeah Right!!!) Notwithstanding the improvement from December to January, economists expect the unemployment rate to rise to as high as 6.5% during the summer...

U.S. in Worst Hiring Slump in 20 Years - Is That the Reason for W-ar?

NY Times reports, "The economy has fallen into its worst hiring slump in almost 20 years, and many business executives say they remain unsure when it will end. The employment decline has become even worse than it was at a comparable point in the so-called jobless recovery of the early 1990's, according to recently revised statistics from the Labor Department. The economy has lost more than two million jobs, a drop of 1.5%, since the most recent recession began in March 2001, as layoffs have continued despite the resumption of economic growth more than a year ago. The decline was 1.3% at the same point in the business cycle a decade ago. About one million people appear to have dropped out of the labor force since last summer, neither working nor looking for a job... In December, the number of help-wanted advertisements in newspapers across the country fell to the lowest level in almost 40 years." Is Bush starting a "wag the dog" W-ar so Americans won't notice their jobs disappearing?

Dow Jones Ends 2002 With Worst Annual Loss in 25 Years

NY Times reports, "Stocks in the United States plunged in 2002 amid fears of war and terrorism, a weak economy, rising oil prices and dozens of corporate scandals. It was the third consecutive annual decline, the first time that has happened in 60 years. Making matters worse, the average stock fell further in 2002 than it had in either of the previous two years. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index posted its worst year since 1974; many big technology stocks slipped into the single digits, and some dropped to prices below $1. And Wall Street's mood is bleak. At the end of 2000, most investors were optimistic that a return to quick gains could not be far off. A year ago, many remained resolute, feeling that stocks and the United States economy had withstood the Sept. 11 attacks and were poised for recovery. Now that optimism has disappeared almost entirely." Hey George - it's STILL the Economy, stupid!

Recession Started with Bush

Daniel Gross writes for Slate: "Bush concluded 2002 with the same dishonesty that defined his economic policy throughout the year...In fact, there is no evidence that the economy was in recession when President Bush took the oath of office on Jan. 20, 2001. Yes, growth was slowing, and the longest expansion in American history was running out of steam. But the U.S. economy did not go into recession until Bush's presidency, according to both of the most accepted definitions." And we remember Bush and Dick jawboning the economy down as soon as the Supreme Court appointed them - to set the stage for their tax cut to the rich. "So according to NBER, the most recent recession did not start during the Clinton administration. (Nor did the expansion begin under Clinton; rather, it launched during President Bush the Father's term.)" But Clinton-Gore sustained the expansion for 8 YEARS, something that was unlikely to happen with the Bush Midas-in-Reverse touch!

Israel: Worst Recession in 50 years, Bank of America Dumps $1.6 Billion in Mexican Bank, OPEC to Cut Oil Production by 2 Million Barrels per Day

Here's a global update from STRATFOR.com - an independent news service focused on U.S. business interests abroad. Fisherman block Northern European Ports to protest EU fish quota cuts..... Chavez says he is now in control of the military and can hold out against strikes for two months if necessary.... Israel, its economy trashed by Sharon, wants the U.S. to bail it out from the worst recession in 50 years.... Bush threatens to nuke enemies....Bank of America dumps $1.6 billion down to purchase one-quarter interest in Mexican bank...OPEC to cut oil production by 2 million barrels a day as winter in U.S. sets in.

Mortgage Foreclosures Skyrocket to over 40,000 per Month under Disastrous Bush Economy

"According to statistics published by the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, foreclosure rates are at their highest level in 30 years. For the three months ending June 30, lenders initiated 134,885 new mortgage foreclosures. That represented close to 4 of every 1,000 mortgaged homes. The number of conventional loans that have been foreclosed has increased 45 percent, to 76,526, the highest level in 11 years. The rate of home foreclosures dipped slightly in the late 1990s, but has surged with the collapse of the stock market bubble and growing layoffs. Foreclosures are over 25 percent higher today than 2000. The foreclosure rate for FHA financed loans is 37 percent higher." So writes Shannon Jones for the World Socialist Web Site.

Unemployment Skyrockets to 8.5 Million, with Blacks Hardest Hit

"Many analysts had expected a small rise from October's 5.7 percent unemployment rate, but few, if any, expected so large a jump. The increase boosted the number of workers looking for a job but unable to find one to 8.5 million, up 300,000 from the month before. Blacks were the group hardest hit by the rise in unemployment. Their jobless rate rose to 11 percent, a 1.2 percentage point increase from October. In contrast, the rate for whites only inched up a tenth of a point, to 5.2 percent. Meanwhile, there was also a similarly surprising decline of 40,000 in the number of workers on private and government payrolls last month, instead of an increase of about that size that had been predicted by many economists. A gain rather than a loss was anticipated."

How Important is Homeland Security to Bush?

Here's how high a priority "homeland security" is for George W. Bush: he is delaying disbursement of more than $1.5 billion in law enforcement and antiterrorism assistance allocated by Congress to local police departments and emergency agencies. The New York Times reports that "the decision means that cash-starved police and fire departments, many of which have received no promised federal assistance since the fiscal year began in October, will have to wait until at least January or February to get the money." The Busheviks are claiming that they're withholding the funding to help local agencies avoid the paperwork of applying for funds this year and then again next year. But in the Bush Economy, with many local and state budgets already in crisis, the agencies cannot afford to wait. So when it gets down to the bottom line, your safety can wait but tax cuts to his cronies can't!

W's 'Recovery' - Bankruptcy Filings Hit New Record

Reports Reuters: "There were nearly 1.55 million bankruptcy filings in the 12 months ended Sept. 30, a new record, up 7.7 percent...The rise in filings comes as the U.S. economy is undergoing a slow recovery from last year's recession, albeit without new jobs." The spin machine is already using the news to call for a reintroduction of the failed Bankruptcy Reform bill in the next (Republican controlled) Congress. "It's more of the hangover of the debt binge of the 1990s and possibly could help spark renewed interest to do something in the area of bankruptcy reform when Congress gets back," said Sam Gerdano, executive director of the American Bankruptcy Institute." The reason the Bankruptcy Reform bill failed to move through the last Congress? "Conservative Republicans objected to a provision that would have prevented anti-abortion protesters from avoiding court-ordered fines by declaring bankruptcy."

Foreclosures Skyrocket as Bush's MBA Rocks the Economy

NYTimes.com reports: "More mortgages than ever are being foreclosed, and more homes repossessed....The home ownership rate here has slipped to 72 percent from 74 percent. All states are affected. In the three months that ended in June, the association (Mortgage Bankers Association of America) reports, creditors across the country began foreclosing on 134,885 mortgaged homes, or about 4 in every 1,000 -- the highest rate in the 30 years that the association has been monitoring mortgages....With the rise in foreclosures, record numbers of families have applied to hold on to their homes under Chapter 13 of the federal bankruptcy code. At midyear, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts reports, Chapter 13 covered 220,720 homeowners, 8 percent more than a year earlier and the most ever....Families fall behind because of lost jobs in the sour economy, medical emergencies and divorce. They trip on credit cards and inflated expectations for their incomes."

Fiscal Crises Gripping States and Cities: Public Unaware of the Impending Pain and Carnage

"'States now face a gigantic revenue problem. Total state tax revenue in fiscal year 2002 was some $38 billion lower than in the previous year after adjusting for inflation. Some 45 states lost revenue. Official forecasts released to date suggest that state revenues at best will hold steady after adjusting for inflation in fiscal year 2003, meaning that none of that $38 billion is likely to be recouped this year. Indeed the revenue hole could get even deeper.' While the national economy remains stagnant, state budget obligations continue to grow. And during the boom years of the mid- to late 90's, many states enacted permanent tax cuts that shut off revenue streams that are desperately needed now....There are those who have long dreamed of the day when governments would be so drained of revenues they would have no choice but to call a halt to many of their functions. The realization of that dream is getting closer,...tragic implications remain obscure to vast segments of the public..."

Record Shows Nearly All Bear Markets and Worst Stock Crashes Have Been Under GOP Administrations

"Democrats, it turns out, are much better for the stock market than Republicans. Since 1900, Democratic presidents have produced a 12.3 percent annual total return on the S&P 500, but Republicans only an 8 percent return. In 2000, the Stock Trader's Almanac, which slices and dices Wall Street performance figures like baseball stats, came up with nearly the same numbers (13.4 percent versus 8.1 percent) by measuring Dow price appreciation. (Most of the 20th century's bear markets, incidentally, have been Republican bear markets: the Crash of '29, the early '70s oil shock, the '87 correction, and the current stall occurred under GOP presidents.) So why does the myth of GOP economic competence come from? One of the big reasons that the markets are spooked right now is that no one can trust corporate numbers anymore." So reports the Daily Kos.

Consumer Confidence Crashes

Thank you Bush. This morning, October Consumer Confidence was released at a devastating 79.4, down from 93.7 just last month and down from a stellar 144.3 just before Clinton left office. The Dow immediately plunged 170 points as the dollar was getting crushed. This is the lowest level of confidence since 1993 - so what is the Bush team doing to offer relief? Why, campaigning at the taxpayers' expense of course. Nevertheless, we should look next toward Friday's unemployment rate announcement. Expectations are for a worse rate (between 5.8% to 6.0% from the current level of 5.6%). Any higher number would go far toward removing the incompetent Republicans from office next Tuesday.

Iraqi War Is Bad for Market

Sheldon M. Bell writes: "The stock market continues to be a trader's paradise, as it remains very volatile as compared to its past history. Most major stock market indexes however, are still significantly in negative territory for 2002....Bush announced...the United States would have no option but to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq through the use of force....The financial cost of a war in Iraq for the US economy would be: higher income taxes that will have to be paid by US citizens to finance the direct cost of waging this war, the inflationary cost of goods and services due to of the escalated cost of security to try to thwart any potential retaliation by terrorists, and the higher cost of borrowing by corporations and consumers as a result of the US government borrowing to finance this war. All three of these costs are not going to help bolster the ailing U.S. economy or the stock market."

Bush's Failed Economic Record

Read the indicators of Bush's record of economic failure:
*Two million Americans have lost their jobs since Bush was installed, as the unemployment rate rose from 4.2% to 5.6% now.
*Long term unemployment (those unemployed more than 26 weeks) has gone up 145% since Bush took office.
*The Bush administration is the ONLY administration in 50 years to lose private sector jobs (so Bush's much-touted M.B.A. is a bust, too!) He was busy partying.
*The US has seen the weakest economic growth under GWBush than during any other administration, a paltry 1.1%.
*Investors have lost almost $6 TRILLION in value since Bush took office and the stock market has lost more than 35% of its value.
The Democratic Economic Vision offers: short-term stimulus; long-term fiscal responsibility plan; corporate responsibility measures; pension reform; and minimum wage increases and extension of unemployment insurance.

About the Economy...Bush's Senior Economic Advisor Admits to Wishful Budget Planning

David S. Broder writes: "Suppose, for a moment, that Iraq and the war on terrorism were not occupying the headlines...What would the campaign debate look like?...Democrats would be saying:
*Two million jobs lost in the private sector since George W. Bush became president.
*Some 1.3 million more Americans below the poverty line.
*An additional 1.4 million people without health insurance.
*Unemployment up 2 percent and long-term unemployment almost doubled.
*Overall economic growth at 1 percent, the lowest for any administration in 50 years.
*The value of Americans' stock holdings down $4.5 trillion and a 30 percent drop in the value of IRAs and 401(k) plans.
*A projected budget surplus of $5.6 trillion converted into a deficit of $400 billion.
*Some $2 trillion transferred from Social Security taxes to the non-Social Security budget.
*And 45 of the 50 states struggling with budget problems that are forcing program cuts or higher taxes."

Nobel Prize-Winning Economist Says Bush's Mismanaged U.S. Economy and War Could Cause Global Recession

From the New Straits Times: "A recipient of the 2001 Nobel Prize for Economics, Joseph Stiglitz, warned today that a US war against Iraq would have a 'very negative' impact on the global economy. He also accused President George W. Bush of 'mismanagement' of the US economy and forcing a global downturn on the rest of the world. Speaking at the World Knowledge Forum in Malaysia, Stiglitz said many people hoping for an economic boom from a war on Iraq would be disappointed. 'This is a very different kind of situation from World War II. Therefore, (there are) much more downside effects in terms of the global economy.' He criticised the Bush administration for opting for tax cuts over stimulus packages. 'Now I believe quite strongly that the Bush administration has mismanaged economic policy for the past two years.' He said tax cuts benefited a few rich people while people who really needed the money, including the unemployed, got very little."

Bush Pushes Dow to 5-Year Low

NY Times reports, "Stocks fell sharply Friday, dragging the Dow Jones industrial average to its lowest point in almost five years and pushing the Nasdaq composite index to its lowest point in six years. The sell-off came after a mixed report about the job market and more corporate earnings disappointments... The prospects for the economy are being undermined by the sluggishness of job growth, the threat of a war with Iraq and the fall in the stock market itself, which may lead consumers to curtail spending." Al Gore called on George W. Bush to focus on the economy - and the White House told Gore to stuff it. Impeach Bush Now!

Stocks Close 'Abysmal' 3rd Quarter - with Worse to Come under Bush

CBS reports, "Stocks closed out one of the worst third quarters in over 50 years with more gruesome losses on Monday. Weaker-than-expected economic news on spending and manufacturing re-ignited fears that the economy may be falling back into recession and sparked a wave of selling. Investors remain worried about the same issues that troubled them at the start of the quarter: sluggish economic growth, company profits that just can't seem to gain momentum and the distinct possibility of a war against Iraq. The Dow and S&P 500 both declined about 18-percent in the third quarter while the Nasdaq registered a 20-percent loss." If Congress lets Bush start his war, the very first casualty will be what's left of YOUR portfolio. Call your Senators at 202-224-3121!

Stock Strategists Say W-ar is Bad for Market

ABCNews.com reports: "The growing specter of a second Gulf War has helped push the US stock market to multiyear lows, but actual hostilities may prove even more frightening to Wall Street, stock strategists said this week. Major market gauges have suffered four straight weeks of declines as fears of a US strike against Iraq, coupled with concerns over the sluggish pace of the US economy, have driven investors to the sidelines. History shows that the stock market often rallies shortly after a war, but this conflict may just add to Wall Street's woes, strategists speaking at a stock market round-table sponsored by Reuters Group Plc... Laurence Smith, global chief investment officer at Credit Suisse Asset Management... said 'The tone of the market is very, very bad - very negative - and I don't think the market can take any more uncertainty,'" Bush's inheritance increases by making war because Bush I's profits increase from the Carlyle Group. Conflict of interest - his vs. yours?

Bush's Census Bureau Admits the Rich are Getting Richer and the Poor are Getting Poorer Under Bush

Jackson Thoreau writes, "Under the illegitimate Bush regime, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. That didn't come from a liberal think tank; it came straight from the horse's mouth, the Republican-controlled U.S. Census Bureau. It only took Bush-Cheney one year to erase what Clinton-Gore had done. Under Clinton-Gore, the U.S. poverty rate dropped to 11.3% in 2000, tying the record low set in 1974. In the initial year of the Bush regime, the poverty rate climbed for the first time in eight years - since Poppy's - administration - to 11.7%. Moreover, the share of income going to the poorest fifth of households declined, while the richest fifth's take increased last year. As the 2002 elections approach, we have to hammer people with these wealth trends. Under Bush, the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, the poverty rate is rising, and household income is falling. Keep repeating that to whomever you come across."

US Poverty Increases While Incomes Fall - No Wonder Bush Wants to Invade Iraq

David Stout of the NY Times writes: "The number of poor people in the United States rose by about 1.3 million last year, while household income declined significantly as the country struggled through a recession, the Census Bureau said today. The ranks of the poor increased to 32.9 million in 2001, up from 31.6 million in 2000. And median household income fell 2.2 percent, to $42,228, meaning half the households had income above that figure and half below, the bureau said. In percentage terms, the nation's poverty rate rose to 11.7% in 2001 from 11.3 the year before. Before rising last year, the poverty rate fell for four straight years." Not to mention the stock market has dropped 3000 points since Bush has been in office. Are YOU better off than you were 2 years ago?

Economic News is Dismal - Bush's MBA is a Bust!

Comstock Partners reports: "Recently released second quarter flow-of-funds data indicate that the ratio of household debt to net worth has soared to record heights... Homeowners' equity in their homes as a percent of price has sunk to 56.3%, barely above the historic low recorded in 1999... The Mortgage Bankers Association recently reported that foreclosures hit a record high since the start of the series in 1972 and that mortgage delinquencies were the highest since 1985. At the same time household net worth declined 3.4%, bringing the cumulative drop to 7.7% since the stock market peaked in early 2000. This is the first time that household net worth has ever declined in the postwar period. To make matters worse, personal bankruptcy filings have also risen to record highs. Economists keep insisting that consumers are in great shape and will support the economy until business spending comes back, but these facts indicate otherwise."

Daschle to Bush: It's Still the Economy, Moron!

"Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle launched a pre-election attack on... Bush's economic record on Wednesday... Among the statistics Daschle cited for the current Bush administration were 2 million lost jobs, a low 1% economic growth, a $4.5 trillion loss in stock market values, and drops in the value of workers' retirement savings and in consumer confidence. At the same time, health care costs and foreclosures have increased, huge projected federal surpluses have all but vanished and the government is once again spending Social Security surpluses to pay for other programs... He also contrasted the lucrative compensation paid to many corporate executives with that of minimum wage earners. 'They have one economic all-purpose antidote for everything, and that is tax cuts, tax cuts largely dedicated to those at the very top,' he said." Candidate Bush was touted for his MBA - More Bush Accounting. Are you better off than you were under Clinton-Gore? No way!

Bush's MBA Economic Policies Payback: Bankruptcies Hit Highest Level EVER

ABCNews.com reports: "The total number of bankruptcies in the year ended June 30 hit over 1.5 million-the largest number of cases ever filed in any 12-month period and the first time they have ever totaled more than 1.5 million, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, which handles federal bankruptcy filings. Of that total, some 1.47 million were personal bankruptcies, up 8.6 percent from the same period the previous year. Bankruptcy experts say the jump in bankruptcies is not a shock given the slumping economy, rising unemployment and lackluster stock market, along with a steadily increasing diet of debt indulged in by many Americans…The record bankruptcy levels come (as) the government is considering controversial new laws making it more difficult for consumers to file for bankruptcy. When Congress convenes in September, it is expected to consider a bill that…would impose a means test on debtors and possibly require them to pay back some or all of their debts..."

Corporate Corruption Will Cost the U.S. Economy Up to $42 BILLION

Thanks to the relentless and aggressive efforts of the GOP-led Congress to block serious corporate accounting reform, the U.S. is going to pay - and pay through the nose. A new report from the Brookings Institution estimates that the Enron and WorldCom scandals alone will gobble up approximately $37 to $42 billion of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the first year - assuming the market does not recover from its July 19 level or drop substantially below it. The impact of blatant corporate greed and arrogance will be staggeringly far-reaching, says the Institute and will drive up unemployment and inflation, discourage foreign investment in the United States and spill well beyond US borders. Between March 19 and July 19, for starters, the trade-weighted value of the dollar fell by 5.2%. Is this what the Bush folks mean by "trickle down economics?"

Bush's Economy: Desperation and Suspect Corporate Governance

Paul Krugman writes: " A good first step would be to stop trying to talk up the market by extolling the economy's fundamental strength. For one thing, it reeks of desperation. For another, stocks are still richly valued compared with earnings. Most important, the fundamentals aren't actually all that great. Doubts about corporate governance are growing, not fading away. State and local governments are in a desperate fiscal crisis. And even before the sudden plunge in the markets, the data were pointing not to a boom but to a 'jobless recovery,' in which the economy grows too slowly to make much if any dent in the unemployment rate...The obvious answer to this seeming dilemma is to loosen the reins now, but prepare to tighten them once the economy has fully recovered... And after the administration takes these responsible steps, thousands of pigs will fill the skies over Washington."

Bush's Wall Street Happy Talk Makes Herbert Hoover Look Good

"Some Wall Street veterans reacted to [Bush's] remarks with scorn. 'Sweet nothings like 'The economy is fundamentally sound' or 'It's time to buy' are just empty talk' ... 'Those are the kind of remarks that reverberate down through history' -- such as Herbert Hoover's rosy assessments when the country was on the verge of the Great Depression... Bush rose to the defense of [Paul O'Neill] who has spent much of the last few months traveling overseas. (He's recently been to Africa and Asia.) 'He's doing a fine job,' [Bush] said. 'I have all the confidence in the world' in him... Administration officials have fumed in recent days about what they view as unfair coverage of the White House amid the steep market declines. They suggested that press accounts misrepresented O'Neill as being overseas during the worst of the tumble, when in fact he was in the country for many of the markets' worst days." The Do-Nothing Bushies can wreck the economy, even when they're overseas.

Difficulties for Bush -- Disasters for America

Floyd Norris writes "Bush, who marked his 18th month in office this weekend, is off to the worst start of any [resident] in the last 75 years. At least, that is, as measured by the performance of the Standard & Poor's index of 500 stocks. With the plunge in stock prices over the last nine weeks, the S & P 500 has now fallen 36.9 percent since Mr. Bush was sworn in on Jan. 20, 2001. That is the worst record for any [resident], as measured by the S & P, which dates back to 1927, and is nearly twice as bad as the record compiled over the first 18 months of Herbert Hoover's administration."

Market Tanks With $8 Trillion Lost under MBA Bush While Corporate Scandals Erode Investors' Confidence

"Since their peak in March 2000, stocks have lost about $8 trillion in value, an amount equal to the annual economic output of Japan, Germany, and Canada combined. The past two weeks in particular have been the financial equivalent of a train wreck. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has shed more than 1,200 points, ending just above 8000 after a 390-point drop Friday…And even the millions who have no stake in the market – direct or indirect – are being affected. That's because everything from jobs to government tax revenues is impacted somewhat by changes in stock market wealth. Wall Street's slide has made some economists start to worry about a 'double dip' – a return to recession – as battered share prices prevent a recovery of business spending and cause consumer confidence to weaken. A decline in capital-gains tax revenues, meanwhile, is hitting many state governments."

Bush Creates Record Wave of Corporate Bankruptcies

Fortune reports, "Besides Global, we have FLAG, Century, Clariti, Metrocall, Metrofiber, Mpower, Network Plus, NTL, Pinnacle, Rhythms NetConnections, Star, Teleglobe, Western Integrated, Williams Communications, World Access, XO... But it's not just phone companies... 'The numbers are really big, and there's no end in sight,' [Wilbur] Ross says. 'We keep track of companies with $100 million or more of liabilities when they file. Last year was the all-time world's record. Companies worth $230 billion filed for bankruptcy. That's up 80% from 2000, and up 11.5 times from the last peak, in 1990.' Last year some 172 large companies filed for bankruptcy, says Ross. That's one every two days! And the beat goes on. 'If we don't break the record this year, we'll be within spitting distance of it,' says Ross. 'If you add up the two years cumulatively, there will be some $500 billion of liabilities in bankruptcies by the end of the year. That's 5% of GDP.'"

When Bush Speaks, Wall Street Sells

CNN/Money reports, "Bush's comments, attempting to reassure an audience in Birmingham, Ala., that the U.S. economy remains sound, seemed to have a contrary effect. The major indexes fell further as Bush spoke. 'It's amazing. It just seems that Bush and the administration did not really get the message,' [Charles Payne, CEO of Wall Street Strategies] said. 'We know that Republicans are the get-tough party, and they're going to ask for longer prison terms, but he hasn't addressed the problems of the (accounting issues) game itself.'"

After Bush's Speech, NASDAQ and S&P Hit 5-Year Lows

One day after Bush's corporate fraud speech, "The Dow Jones industrials [fell] more than 280 points to close below 9,000 for the first time since October. The Dow also suffered its biggest one-day point loss since September. The Nasdaq composite and Standard & Poor's 500 indexes hit new five-year lows as the stock market endured a third straight day of heavy selling fed by bookkeeping scandals and poor prospects for earnings growth. Analysts said investors simply are too downtrodden to buy stocks, even after nearly eight weeks of selling have driven prices lower. 'This market has completely broken the spirit of investors,' said Al Mirman, strategist at V Finance in Sarasota, Fla. 'It is going to take a good year for investors' confidence to be reinstated.'" With Bush squatting in the White House? Fuggedaboutit! We have a simple question for America's voters: are you better off than you were 2 years ago?

King George's Budget Deficit: Fuzzy Math Puts Us Back in the Red

Jeff Bliss from Bloomberg.com writes "The U.S. government's budget deficit may as high as $150 billion in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 because of lower tax revenue, more spending and higher interest, according to the Congressional Budget Office." Of course we could add to this higher unemployment, higher interest rates, a collapsing stock market and what do you get? The Bush Economy!!! He always said he wanted to run the country like a business... too bad his models are Halliburton and Enron!

After the Drunken Financial Excesses of the 1990's, It's Hangover Time

David Leonhardt writes, "Say goodbye to the victimless economy. As the 1990's boom stretched on and on, many otherwise sober market watchers decided that the United States had repealed the laws of economics. Not only could the expansion go on forever, but this time, nobody's prosperity need come at the expense of others... [But] many investors, thinking that the earnings statements approved by Andersen and other major accounting firms were truthful, lost money buying stocks. Others bought stocks on the bullish advice of Wall Street analysts, whose research reports may have been written more to win the investment-banking business of the corporations being analyzed than to make an objective assessment of the future prospects of its stock."

Don't You Love Bush Economies? Worst Two-Month Job Loss Period Since 1980

"The U.S. economy shed jobs at a searing pace for a second straight month in November, the government said on Friday in a report that analysts said almost assured further interest-rate cuts to try to combat recession. The economy lost 331,000 nonfarm jobs last month, the Labor Department said, far worse than the 189,000 that Wall Street economists had anticipated. November's losses came on top of a revised 468,000-jobs payroll plunge in October -- a total 799,000 jobs scrubbed from payrolls in a two-month period. The last time job markets suffered a similarly devastating back-to-back blow was in May and June 1980 when 806,000 jobs were lost."