Saturday, June 07, 2008

Hillary Clinton Concedes

She may have lost but she has forever changed the role of women in politics. I didn't always agree with her tactics but I did feel something wonderful was lost today when she ended her historic run for the Presidency. Unfortunately only one could win but both made history. Hillary Clinton will remain a force to be reckoned with and will forever be known as the woman who broke through so many boundaries. Love her or hate her it is hard not to feel some sense of pride in her accomplishments and some sadness that someone had to lose..

Unemployment Rate Sees Largest Monthly Jump Since 1986

The national unemployment rate increased by a half percentage point in May, the largest monthly jump since 1986, and employers cut 49,000 jobs.
There are about 1.5 million more unemployed job hunters now than at this time a year ago, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday. An estimated 8.5 million unemployed people are looking for work.

Joblessness in May soared to 5.5 percent, up from 5 percent in April, reaching its highest rate since October 2004.
Every time you turn around the economic news worsens. Families across the country are afraid of what tomorrow holds.
"The numbers are consistent with an economy on the edge of recession, if not in one," said Frank Lenk, chief economist at the Mid-America Regional Council in Kansas City. "Since payroll employment data tends to get revised downward once all the data is collected, it might be worse than the current data suggests."

The statistics bureau's report did, indeed, issue revised employment counts for March and April, indicating that employers had 15,000 fewer workers on their payrolls in April and 15,000 fewer on their March payrolls than initially estimated for those months.

The jobs report indicated that the January-May period this year represents the first time since February-June 2003 that national payrolls declined for five consecutive months.
John McCain will be having some sleepless nights digesting this report. Remember he recently said people were better off now then they were seven years ago. Sure they are John for your rich lobbyist friends. The rest of us are screwed.

Oil Surges To A Record $138.00

When will world governments do something about the rampant speculation that is driving prices through the roof?
Oil prices shot up nearly $11 a barrel and settled Friday at a record $138.54 on geopolitical jitters, a dollar decline and a forecast that oil would hit $150 by July 4.

Friday's spike in the July contract for light crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange marks the largest single-day increase in oil prices on record. The contract hit an intraday record of $139.12, breaking the previous trading record of $135.09.

"The bulls are running rampant and the bears have panicked," said oil industry analyst Stephen Schork, editor of the Schork Report. "It's pure hysteria, absolute panic," he added.

The rally highlighted concerns that retail gas prices, which have surged near a nationwide average of $4 a gallon, will continue to crimp consumer spending and fuel inflation.
I know many people who have no choice but to drive to work since Public transportation is not an option and they are suffering.

I remember when they said oil would not hit $100.00 per barrel. That now seems like a bargain. This will have a devastating effect on the economy and will push us into a deep and lasting recession. Our standard of living is already on the decline. When will we finally recognize that these insane conservative economic policies are destroying this country and its people? Will we let them fool us again in 2008 and vote against our own best interests?

The economic situation in this country and I am sure soon around the world is frightening. The rich have made their millions and the rest of us can now all go to hell.

Consumer Debt Jumps $8.9 Billion

Americans' personal debt jumped to a more-than-expected $2.6 trillion in April, according to a report from the Federal Reserve released Friday.

The largest debtor nation on earth has a population also addicted to debt. When will we reverse this trend and start living within our means? The answer to that could be frightening. I beleive the rise in this number is the result of Americans trying to get fixed income loans to pay off ridiculpusly high interest rates on revolving credit. The American middle class is now the working poor with a credit line. A line that most are near the end of.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Homes In Foreclosure Top 1 Million

Mortgage bankers report hits a grim benchmark in first quarter, showing a record number of homes in jeopardy.
More than one million homes are now in foreclosure, the highest rate ever recorded, according to a trade group which warned Thursday that number will continue to climb.

The Mortgage Bankers Association's first quarter report showed that a record 2.5% of all loans being serviced by its members are now in foreclosure, which works out to about 1.1 million homes. That's up from the 2% of loans, or about 938,000 homes, that were in foreclosure at the end of 2007.

The report also showed that 448,000 homes, or about 1% of loans being serviced, began the foreclosure process during the first quarter. That's up from about 382,000 homes, or 0.83%, that entered foreclosure in the last three months of 2007.

The seasonally-adjusted rate of homeowners behind on their mortgage payments also hit a record high. Nearly 3 million home loans, or 6.4%, have missed at least one payment, while about 737,000 are at least three months past due, but not yet in foreclosure.
Have you noticed that Wall Street just keeps going higher with executives at top firms earning hunderds of millions of dollars. It shows the complete disconnect between the rich and the rest of us struggling to get by.

Millions dollar apartments are selling like hot cakes in Manhattan while the middle class, forced to live in the suburbs because they can't afford even a simple one bedroom in the city, are seeing the value of their homes declining and their ability to pay their mortgages in serious doubt.
"The figures aren't surprising, but they're pretty ugly nonetheless," said Michael Larson, real estate analyst with Weiss Research. "We're talking higher delinquencies and foreclosures pretty much across the board."

And he doubts that there's much reason to expect the foreclosure crisis to abate until next year at the earliest, adding that it could be a couple of years or more before foreclosure rates retreat to more normal historical averages.

"It's the same story we've been seeing for a while now - we had too much reckless lending, and buyers who got over-extended," he said. "We've had an unprecedented decline in home prices on a nationwide basis, which is public enemy number one for mortgage loans. And now you've got an overall economy that has slowed adding to this toxic stew."
Where are those who participated in this reckless lending? They are counting their millions while those they swindled are close to homelessness. Does this sound like America to you?

Americans $1.7 Trillion Poorer

The Bush years continue to decimate the American Middle class.
Americans saw their net worth decline by $1.7 trillion in the first quarter - the biggest drop since 2002 - as declines in home values and the stock market ravaged their holdings.

Meanwhile, the amount of equity people have in their homes fell to 46.2%, the lowest level on record.

The net worth of U.S. households fell 3% to $56 trillion at the end of March, according to the Federal Reserve's flow of funds report, which was released Thursday.

The value of real estate assets owned by households and non-profits declined by $305 billion, while financial assets fell by $1.3 trillion, led mainly by a $556 billion drop in stocks and a $400 billion decline in mutual funds.

The first quarter's decline follows a $530 billion drop in wealth in the fourth quarter of 2007.
The economic damage done to the middle class has been so pronounced that those who were solidly middle class are now just scraping by and those in the lower middle class are now the working poor. Unfortunately that group is growing by the day while the rich are getting richer.

We have the oportunity to start to rebuild the American middle class but it will take participation by all voting age Americans to effect the change that is necessary to restore sane fiscal policies that move people from poverty to middle class. Ignorance could literally mean death.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Private-Sector Unexpectedly Adds 40,000 Jobs in May

While reading this remember it takes 150,000 new jobs per month to keep up with a growing population.

U.S. private-sector employers added 40,000 jobs in May, according to a private report on Wednesday by ADP Employer Services that defied Wall Street's expectations of a fall.
The ADP data release comes ahead of the government's monthly jobs report due on Friday, one of the biggest events on the monthly economic calendar. A Reuters poll shows analysts expect that to show non-farm payrolls fell by 58,000 in May.

Economists' median expectation for the May ADP jobs figure was for a drop of 30,000 jobs, according to a Reuters poll.

However, a separate survey showed U.S. companies' planned layoffs rose 15 percent in May from April to the highest monthly total since December 2005.
What this report does not tell us is if these 40,000 jobs are more service sector jobs which pay less and offer less benefits or are these decent middle class jobs? My guess is that they are not since those jobs seem to be a thing of the past.

I know many people who are suffering financially. They work long hours with awful commutes and can still not make ends meet. Where are the family values people, who like to tell us all how to live, on this issue? They are too worried about gay marriage and abortion to do anything remotely resembling advocacy work for the middle class. The middle class is fast disappearing and no one seems to be doing anything about that. How many parents do you know that hardly see their children? Its kind of hard to see them when you are working two jobs and still struggling to get by.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Stocks Fumble On Bank Woes

Wall Street slides after a pair of financial firms announce management shakeups, and S&P cuts debt rating for Merrill, Lehman and others.
Stocks tumbled Monday on new worries about the financial sector after S&P cut its debt rating on a number of banks, and Wachovia and Washington Mutual announced management shakeups.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost about 135 points, or 1%. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 1% and the Nasdaq composite lost 1.2%.

Both Wachovia and Washington Mutual announced management changes in the morning, sparking early stock declines despite a pair of better-than-expected economic reports.

The broad stock declines accelerated in the afternoon after S&P said it was cutting its debt rating on Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley to "negative" from "stable" and cut its long-term outlook on JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America. The changes followed S&P's conclusion of its review of the securities industry.
It is very worrisome that some of the biggest names in the banking and brokerage industry are having their debt rating lowered. What S7P is saying is that they have doubts about these large institutions ability to pay their long term debts. Those who think this financial crisis are over are sadly mistaken.

Only time will tell how bad this crisis will become but for now I would pay close attention to the financial news and have a plan in case of the worst happening. This crisis could have been averted with strict oversight and regulation but the Republican Congress felt it was best to let industry police itself. We all can see how successful that strategy has been.