Local Stories, Events
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07.11 7,000+ Colleges and Universities Declare Climate Emergency and Unveil Three-Point Plan to Combat It [Fox News and Betsy DeVos never talk about this stuff so it must be Bull Shit, right?]
Ref. : Letters to the editor
Health Care & Environment
07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]
07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]
07.13 'Climate Despair' Is Making People Give Up on Life [Willfully ignorant governments—having fired many of their best scientists—have made themselves too stupid to despair]
07.13 Trump administration to approve pesticide that may harm bees [The worst government money can buy!]
07.10 Plastic Has A Big Carbon Footprint — But That Isn't The Whole Story [Fixing our world begins by educating your consciousness with the best truth from trustworthy news sources—so you'll then insist truly bad things will get fixed. But if instead you are educated by untrustworthy news sources—then your consciousness could be warped to where you are hating and fighting with your best friends. Clue: untrustworthy news sources never seriously report news about the world's most critical emergency—Global warming.]
07.09 Judge reinstates Madrid's low emissions zone [Yeh!]
07.07 How Solar Panels Work (And Why They're Taking Over the World) [Hope they leave space between panels for wild flowers to grow so birds and butterflies can flourish!]
07.04 US produces far more waste and recycles far less of it than other developed countries [As expected—and made worse by Trump—the U.S. is best at being the worst]07.03 Booming LNG industry could be as bad for climate as coal, experts warn
07.03 Caravan of Americans battling diabetes heads to Canada for affordable insulin [3:36 video; Like Central Americans flee for their lives from criminal drug gangs, Americans flee for their lives for affordable pharmaceutical drugs]
06.30 The US military is a bigger polluter than more than 140 countries combined [Could a world-wide moratorium of military activity dramatically slow the climate crises?]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
07.16 Turnstile teaching [The problem is NOT the color of students skin, as our fake President reflexively thinks. The problem is the lax attitude and deficient funding by government to always do a much better job for a better future.]
07.15 Sanders Accuses Biden of Parroting Pharma and Insurance Industry Script With Attacks on Medicare for All [Like Trump, Biden explains why he's unelectable every day.]
07.15 Trump Takes Pelosi's Side Against AOC and The Squad as Intraparty Fight Over Immigration Continues [Its about much more than immigration, its about the Corporate Dominance—by many of the same companies, even—over both major Political Parties. With too few exceptions, neither party has represented The Public since Nixon generously raised the minimum wage (Part D Medicare and ACA both became Frankenstein legislation due to excessive corporate price-fixing influence), and that has to change!]
07.14 Trump: People like Paul Ryan almost killed the Republican Party [Then it's too bad he didn't stay to finish the job!]
07.13 Trump's POS Labor Secretary, Acosta, Out. POS Number 2, Linked to Abramoff, to Fill Role [A willingness to perform criminal behavior seems the only competency required...]
07.15 Australia 'deeply concerned' about China's treatment of Uighur people [What are the reasons, exactly, that justify harsh imprisonment of a million people?]
07.15 Zuma tells South Africa corruption inquiry he is victim of foreign plot [Unaccountable corrupt governments are so in fashion these days...]
07.14 Warren vows to probe U.S. crimes on immigrants if elected [Can you imagine living in a nation with a working Justice System? How far we've fallen!]
Economics & Corrupt Capitalism
International & Futurism
07.15 Australia now has the highest minimum wage in the world [From 1960 to 2018 – the U.S. has fallen from 1st place to below the tenth place and off the chart]
07.14 At least 24 Yellow Vests lost eyes in violent protests. Now they're more determined than ever [Protests of all kinds will continue until systemic inequality loses political dominance]
07.13 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning [Since so-called modern humans evolved there have been 10,000 generations of people. It is extremely far-fetched to think anyone is racially pure. SO ALL THIS HATE IS INCREDIBLY STUPID.]
07.13 Brazil’s President May Appoint Son, Friend to the Trumps, as Ambassador to U.S. [Friend of the Trumps, so we know they're all brain-dead except about near-term profits. They are clear-cutting the Amazon Rain Forest to feed-then-butcher millions of methane farting cows, over and over. Yep, that's there business plan. So therefore the rest of the world will hopefully plant billions of trees elsewhere to sequester CO2 to offset what the Bolsonaro family and investors are destroying. What's wrong with this picture?]
07.13 Trump’s Cruelty and Mexico’s Duty [Our president is immoral to his core and reacts to things like a child, not understanding that his actions are often crueler than they should be. And that cruelty will never completely be excused or forgotten—the people's hatred of Trump is growing, like the Texan's hatred when President General Santa Anna laid seige to the Alamo, which was Mexico's territory at the time...]
New Study Shows Ten States Face Fiscal Crisis
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Don't expect this recovery to last very long. A second recession could come quickly on its heels. Leg one of the downturn may be over, but America's "long-term depression" continues.
The Pew Center on the States (PCS) "works to advance state policies that serve the public interest," through "credible research (to) advance nonpartisan, pragmatic solutions for pressing problems affecting Americans." Its new report titled, "Beyond California: States in Fiscal Peril," says the following:
California is worst off, but hardly alone. Others include Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island and Wisconsin. Pew's Managing Director on the States, Susan Urahn, says:
Economic, money-management, and political factors "pushed California to the brink of insolvency," but other states face the same pressures. As a result, their residents can expect higher taxes, more layoffs, reduced social services, longer waits for them, over-crowded classrooms, fewer teachers, higher tuitions, and less help for the unemployed and most needy.
The above 10 states account for over one-third of the nation's population and output. Pressures on them portend new ones nationwide. Pew scored all 50 by six factors:
Excluded were issues of long-term debt and public employee pension liabilities that darken the outlook further.
The 10 worst off states are examined, but close behind are Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, New York and Hawaii. Only two, Montana and North Dakota, are fiscally solvent and expect to meet their 2010 budgets, the latter because it alone has what the others don't - its own bank able to create credit for state businesses and residents at an affordable cost. As a result, with the lowest unemployment rate in the country at 4%, it's created jobs at a time they're vanishing in the other 49 and the District of Columbia.
According to financial writer Ellen Brown, "In this dark firmament....one bright star shines" - in terms of GDP and personal income growth and the state's largest ever $1.3 billion budget surplus when other states face deficits.
For fiscal year 2010, some of them are coping with their largest ever budget shortfalls. Nationwide it's about $162 billion because of rising unemployment and lower tax revenues. More recently another $16 billion was added, but the numbers keep rising. Pew's data is based on the best available through July 31, 2009.
It's reeling from its biggest ever budget shortfall, in part from the housing bust. As it imploded, unemployment surged. Nationally it's 10.2%, the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) headline U-3 figure. The broader U-6 one is 17.5%.
BLS's September California U-6 measure is 19.6%, which includes:
U-6 calculations way understate the true picture because of BLS's so-called Birth/Death Model. In good or bad times, it regularly adds tens of thousands more small company phantom jobs, supposedly missed by monthly surveys. In the current environment, the National Federation of Independent Business reports these firms are actively cutting them. More on this below.
According to California Employment Development Department estimates through September, unemployment is 21.9% and rising. The true figure is likely higher given the gravity of current conditions.
The economic crisis took its toll on state revenues, falling by nearly one-sixth from Q 1 2008 - Q 2 2009. "California topped all states for the magnitude of its budget shortfall in fiscal year 2010...." Despite plugging a $45.5 billion hole in July, another $1.1 billion gap emerged, exacerbated by voter-imposed restrictions, including requiring all budgets be passed by two-thirds legislative majorities.
Beyond the Pew study timeline, a November 18 Los Angeles Times Shane Goldmacher article headlined, "California faces a projected deficit of $21 billion." After closing the earlier gap, new figures threaten "to send Sacramento back into budgetary gridlock and force more across-the-board cuts," but when does the process end, and what does it suggest for the other strapped states.
In 2008, Pew's Government Performance Project (GPP) rated California's money-management practices D+, lowest among the 50 states.
Hard hit by the economic crisis, state lawmakers relied on one-time budget fixes over long-term solutions. They still haven't closed a $1 billion FY 2009 gap.
With one of the nation's weakest unemployment picture, its 2008 home foreclosure rate was worst in New England. It's a problem-plague state hampered by high tax rates, chronic budget deficits, and few high-tech jobs.
Heavily dependent on auto production, it never recovered from the 2001 recession. By Q 4 2010, it's on track to lose one-fourth of its jobs this decade, a shocking situation for its residents. The accelerated revenue shortfall forces the government to manage today with a 1960s-sized budget.
Gambling and sales taxes provide 60% of its revenue. The economic crisis hampers both.
Its timber, computer-chip manufacturing, and other key industries are hurting, resulting in state revenues dropping 19% from Q 1 2008 - Q 1 2009, a reflection of a heavy reliance on personal and corporate income taxes. Voters in January 2010 will decide whether to accept a $733 million tax increase.
For the first time since WW II, its population is shrinking, complicating a long-term budget strategy based on increases. In 2009, lawmakers raised $2 billion in new revenue, but face a similar shortfall in FY 2010.
For years, it's fiscally mismanaged what it collects and spends. "Growing debt payments and perennially underfunded pension systems will make (its) road to recovery even rougher."
As a resident, it's a sore issue for this writer because of bipartisan irresponsible government. Notoriously corrupt politics complicates things at both state and local levels, especially in Chicago.
The result - the FY 2010 shortfall tops $13.2 billion, among the worst in the nation and unsustainable. But it's financial woes began long before the downturn. Most important is its lack of fiscal discipline, showing up in budget deficits every year since 2001. It's solutions - delay paying bills, skimp on state pension payments, borrow when other alternatives run out, and amass billions in deficits with no plan to reduce them.
It's been hit harder than most states by revenue shortfalls and rising unemployment because it's dependent on manufacturing.
Other states are also in trouble because of four common vulnerabilities:
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) Paints An Even Gloomier Picture
The CBPP conducts research and analysis on numerous vital issues, including state budget and tax policies. Its October 20 report titled, "Recession Continues to Batter State Budgets; State Responses Could Slow Recovery," says the following:
Besides current shortfalls in 48 of the 50 states, CBPP estimates the combined 2010 and 2011 gaps will be an additional $350 billion at a time of inadequate federal aid that will likely end before state budget crises are resolved. Worse still, tax hikes and spending cuts are undermining recovery when precisely the opposite policies are needed:
Given projected huge new shortfalls and reduced federal aid, even greater tax hikes and budget cuts are coming. They'll likely "trim nearly a full percentage point off GDP that), in turn, could cost the economy 900,000 jobs next year." According to the CBPP:
Since Q 4 2008, state tax receipts have been declining. In the latest "critical April - June quarter, when a major portion of (their) tax revenues are collected, (they) dropped 16.6 percent in 2009 compared to the previous year."
In the current fiscal year, federal stimulus money made up 30 - 40% of the shortfall. When its reduced or ended, states will have to compensate with new cuts and tax hikes, stressing an already structurally weak economy even more. As a result, expect growing unemployment, lower incomes, fewer benefits, and less consumption, a prescription for long-term economic deterioration at a time militarism and Wall Street bailouts take precedence.
Structurally High Unemployment Impedes Recovery
David Rosenberg produces some of the best economic analysis around. On November 11, he addressed the "serious structural issues undermining the US labour market as companies continue to adjust their order books, production schedules and staffing requirements to a semi-permanently impaired credit backdrop."
The bottom line - "the level of credit per unit of GDP is going to be much, much lower in the future" than over the past two decades. Expect much higher rates of unemployment because of the following:
As mentioned above, so-called U-6 unemployment is 17.5%. For economist John Williams, it's, in fact, 22.1%, a shockingly high number and rising.
"Think about it," says Rosenberg. When economic recovery begins, what will employers do first? "Well, naturally they will begin to boost the workweek, and just getting back to pre-recession levels would be the" equivalent of adding two million jobs. Overall, business has a "vast pool of resources to draw from before" hiring again. As a result, unemployment will hit new highs "long after the recession is over - perhaps even years," and may stay structurally high like never before experienced.
Economist Jeffrey Sachs on Jobs and the Economy
"The US economy needs structural change that requires a new set of economic tools."
How well is the administration handling the problem? According to economist Jeffrey Sachs in a Financial Times November 10 op-ed, "Obama has lost his way on jobs." Its "stimulus policies are not well-targeted. The Republican alternatives are even worse. Both sides" miss the key point - "the US economy needs structural change that requires a new set of economic tools."
Boosting consumer spending by near-zero interest rates and temporary incentives won't work. "During the previous bubble, (consumers were) encouraged to over-borrow. Recreating a new bubble is like offering one more drink, on the government's account, to overcome a mass hangover. With budget deficits of about 10 per cent of (GDP), government spending needs to be far more consequential than temporary boosts to consumer spending."
Republican strategy is even worse - tax cuts like they always propose for all problems and mostly where they're not needed. Sachs cites critical underfunded areas:
"roads, rail, clean energy, science and technology, diplomacy, international disease control, space, education, job training, water, transport, courts, poverty relief, homeland security, conservation, (and) climate adaptation." His long-term solution is three-fold:
Obama "has lost the economic initiative....Move now, Mr. President, or we will spend our time digging out of the next consumer bust and (end up) buying our technology from China."
Obama "has lost the economic initiative....Move now, Mr. President, or we will spend our time digging out of the next consumer bust and (end up) buying our technology from China."
Insights from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Optimism Index in Its November Small Business Economic Trends Report
An accompanying press release stated:
Martin Weiss Warns of "Massive Revolutionary Changes" Ahead
Financial expert and investor safety advocate Martin Weiss explains that the global economic crisis brought the entire financial industry to its knees and caused the largest firms in commercial, investment and consumer banking, brokerage, mortgage lending, and insurance to fail or come close.
Now we're led to believe:
Think again. The derivatives time bomb is still there. So are enormous bad debts on major banks' books. Most important, bad government and Fed policies responsible for the crisis persist and have accelerated. As a result, Wall Street's debt crisis is now Washington's. The crisis that bankrupted giant financial firms is doing it to America and other sovereign states.
"Worst of all," the debt crisis is now a dollar one because the Bernanke Fed "doubled the US monetary base in 112 days. Not in 5,012 days" under his predecessors. It's caused "a massive, revolutionary change in the entire structure of the US economy."
With the new millennium approaching and a potential Y2K bug, the Fed increased the monetary base by $73 billion in three months. After 9/11, it added $40 billion in less than two weeks. Bernanke created over $1 trillion in less than four months. Most important, after the Y2K and 9/11 crises passed, "the Fed promptly reversed its money infusions" (by withdrawing) the extra liquidity. Today, Bernanke has done the opposite by "throw(ing) still more money into the pot," so that in late October "the monetary base surged to new, all-time highs."
As a result, "Don't expect this recovery to last very long. A second recession could come quickly on its heels." Leg one of the downturn may be over, but America's "long-term depression" continues.
Bottom line - today's state fiscal crises promise extended hard times for America, but don't expect media pundits to explain it.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Global Research News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Mondays from 11AM to 1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national topics. All programs are archived for easy listening.
Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on November 25, 2009.
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