Item: “European Union foreign ministers are debating a tax on financial institutions that could raise money for the EU as well as make banks share the burden of bailout,” reported the Associated Press for September 17.

On Monday morning Sentier Research announced the results of its new study showing changes in household income since the year 2000 and how those incomes have fared both during the recent recession and since the recovery that began in June, 2009. Not only did household income (which counts all incomes of all members of the household, including wages, Social Security payments, interest, dividends, welfare checks, retirement income, unemployment benefits, and veterans’ benefits, all adjusted for inflation) decline during the recession by 3.2 percent, it fell another 6.7 percent during the recovery.

America at the end of WWII produced 60 percent of all the petroleum in the world. In fact, its status as the chief exporter of oil (the United States produced much more than the consumer and war economies needed) was a salient factor in the American victory. Interestingly, at one point the nation produced so much oil and gas that natural gas was “flared” or burned away because it was not economical to transport it. Once, in the lifetime of many Americans, filling stations engaged in “price wars” and sold gas at or near cost to consumers.

lakshman achuthanLast Friday Laksman Achuthan (left), co-founder of Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI), announced that not only has the economy entered a new recession, but that “it’s going to get a lot worse. The vicious cycle is starting where lower sales, lower production, lower employment and lower income [leads] back to lower sales … you haven’t seen anything yet.” Despite some evidence that the economy is growing in places, it’s not enough to overcome the significant array of indicators that Achuthan has used successfully for years to predict the economy. According to The Economist, ECRI has never issued a “false alarm,” and this time should be no different.

On Thursday, Bank of America announced that, starting the first of the year, they would be charging debit card users $5 a month for the privilege as a way to recoup lost income under new rules from the Federal Reserve.