Friday, January 04, 2008

Jobs Weak, Unemployment Soars

Can we all say recession? This is the result of failed economic policy.
The nation's labor market worsened in December to the weakest level since the shock that followed Hurricane Katrina, as the problems in housing and mortgages took a bite out of job opportunities.

Employers added far fewer jobs in the month than had been forecast, while the unemployment rate shot up to 5 percent, which was a two-year high, according to a government report Friday.

Stocks sold off sharply on rising fears of a possible recession and there was a widespread belief in the markets that the Federal Reserve would have to respond to this report with a sharp drop in interest rates.
The problem with a Federal Reserve rate cut is that the lower interest rates will mean it is harder to finance our growing national debt and it will also weaken an already low dollar. What is the right choice? The answer is that the failed economic policies of this administration have left no good choices. Much like the Iraq War, all choices are bad but which will cause the least pain? Making the wrong choice could mean devastating financial hardship for those least able to afford it.

The financial sector has already been in a tailspin over the mounting subprime losses and this jobs report will only make people stop spending even more. This report could not have come at a worse time for the Republican party. They will be looked at as the party of the rich that destroyed our economy to make their friends rich. That will be a fatal blow to any chances they may have had in the 2008 Presidential election.

The fact is that they were left with a huge budget surplus that has grown into record deficits. Real wages for average Americans are down while record numbers of our jobs are being outsourced to allow ever greater corporate profits but who has benefited from this economic disaster? That would be the wealthiest among us who need it the least. The reverse Robin Hood effect has left our nation on the verge of economic ruin. Our dollar is worth less each day as our deficit grows. We must rely on nations such as China and Saudi Arabia to finance our debt while turning a blind eye to the massive human rights violations present in those nations.

If you are a middle class American and still vote for this idiocy then you deserve what you get. You saw an intellectual midget but still elected him President and this is the result.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Oil Tops $100.00

Violence in Nigeria, supply disruption in Mexico and the prospect of another drop in U.S. inventories and more rate cuts drive crude to triple digits.
Oil prices kicked off 2008 by hitting $100 a barrel for the first time Wednesday, with violence in oil-rich Nigeria, the prospect of more interest rate cuts, a halt in Mexican imports and talk of yet another drop in U.S. crude supplies contributing to the milestone.

U.S. crude for February delivery hit $100 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange just after noon ET. It slipped to settle up $3.64 at $99.62, a new end-of-day record. The previous trading record was $99.29, set Nov. 20, while the previous settlement record was $98.18, set Nov. 23.
The perfect storm economically is upon us. We have skyrocketing energy prices, an exceptionally weak dollar, huge budget deficits and a slowing economy. It is going to be a long year.

The Successful Surge?

The surge is working at least thats what I was told.
Iraq's government released statistics on the number of civilians and security force members it said were killed in 2007.

According to figures released Monday by the Iraqi government, 16,232 civilians, 432 soldiers and about 1,300 Iraqi policeman died in 2007. The previous year, according to the figures compiled by the health, defense and interior ministries, 12,371 civilians, 603 soldiers and 1,224 policeman were killed.

The government's figures were roughly in line with a count kept by The Associated Press, which found that 18,610 Iraqis were killed in 2007. In 2006, the only other full year an AP count has been tallied, 13,813 died.
If you still believe the corner has been turned in Iraq you are fooling yourself. Even if the surge was successful it would be just a temporary stopping of the violence. Until there is political reconciliation, there will be no peace. It's like putting 10 cops on the street corner where drugs are sold. Sure they will stop selling drugs but as soon as you leave they dealers will be right back UNLESS you have done some education or outreach which may change the underlying reasons that people turn to selling drugs. That type of political outreach has been absent from the situation in Iraq. We are an occupying force not an agent for change.