The BBC reported on April 14 that one city in Egypt, Damietta, still has zero unemployment in these difficult economic times. That’s surprising, but what makes this even more surprising is that the city specializes in manufacturing furniture, often high-end furniture, for export. This isn’t just micro-manufacturing in a small town either. It is estimated that there are over 60,000 furniture shops in the city.
Suppose we had conducted a national opinion poll a few months ago to canvass Americans on their opinions of the G20. Most respondents, it is probably safe to say, would not have had the slightest idea whether you were asking them about a new smart phone, the trendiest fashion footwear, or the latest fat-burner diet drink.
ITEM: An editorial entitled "The Federal Reserve acts boldly to ease credit conditions" in the Seattle Times for March 20 commented: "The Federal Reserve decision to pump another trillion dollars [more precisely: $1.15 trillion] into the economy still has the capacity to raise eyebrows."
President Barack Obama’s statement last Friday that we’re “starting to see ... glimmers of hope across the economy” has gotten quite a bit of publicity. What has gotten less coverage is the president’s rationale for being so optimistic in the face of bad economic news such as the unemployment rate, which rose to 8.5 percent last month, the highest unemployment rate in over a quarter of a century. (This figure does not take into account long-term unemployed who have given up looking for jobs.)
After a record $192.3 billion federal budget deficit for March, the U.S. Treasury Department reported a $956.8 billion federal deficit for the first half of fiscal 2009 — already nearly $1 trillion. As the Treasury published the news of the deficit, President Obama told the press on April 10, “What we’re starting to see is glimmers of hope across the economy.”
Sometimes one wonders what it will take to wake people up and shake people up. It can become tiresome being labeled a kook, a nutjob, a conspiracy whacko — by both Democrats and Republicans, “liberals” and “conservatives” — all for merely pointing out what is obvious and easily verifiable. Thus, there is a certain satisfying sense of vindication when the labelers finally admit that maybe you weren’t really crazy after all. Maybe your warnings about the dangers of the steady transfers of power and money to an ever-proliferating international bureaucracy weren’t so far out. Maybe the United Nations really is being built into an all-powerful world government. And … maybe we should finally get concerned about all of that!
The much-ballyhooed G20 London lollapalooza is over, and things are going to change, according to world leaders. “A new world order is emerging, and with it we are entering into a new era of international cooperation,” British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said after the meeting. Brown has for months been pushing vocally for major new institutions for global government and for stronger powers for existing global authorities like the International Monetary Fund (IMF). And at this G20 summit, Brown and his fellow internationalists got what they wanted.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has given a nod of approval to China’s call for a global currency to replace the dollar, joining a chorus of international voices that include Russia, a United Nations panel, billionaire investor George Soros, and Kazakhstan — among others. Geithner’s remarks favoring the China proposal, delivered at a meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) on March 25, surprised many, as the previous day both he and President Obama gave statements disapproving of any move away from the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency.
It’s official: the Obama administration intends to nationalize the entire financial sector. If there were any lingering doubts as to the intentions of President Barack Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, they were dispelled by today’s announcement detailing the Treasury Department’s new “framework for regulatory reform.”
President Barack Obama is in the middle of his national tour to convince the American public that “we’re doing everything we can to reduce that deficit.” President Obama has been on The Tonight Show, 60 Minutes, held town meetings in California and conducted the March 24 prime-time press conference on the economy. The problem is, he revealed in that March 24 press conference, that “everything” now means the same as “nothing.”
The American people are understandably outraged to learn that the American International Group (AIG), a corporate giant that has received almost $200 billion in total TARP/TALF funding, has recently paid $165 million in retention bonuses to its top executives. The fact that these payments were made to fulfill already-existing contractual obligations and that most of the recipients have reportedly indicated a willingness to return the money has not done much to quell the public anger. After all, a company in such dire financial straits to require vast infusions of federal bailout funds should not be giving its employees millions of dollars in bonuses, period.