Last week, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney made a bold assertion: President Obama’s 2009 economic stimulus law is “widely recognized to have broken the back of the recession.” The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which was signed into law on February 17, 2009, had an original cost estimate of $787 billion, but has since been revised by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to an elevated tune of $831 billion.
Monday's report from the California Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) contained two numbers that are spelling out the death spiral of that plan: too little money making too little returns. How bad are the returns? According to the report, the plan made a paltry one percent in the past year (July 2011 - June 2012), far below what's needed for the plan to be able to keep its promises to its beneficiaries
The U.S. Treasury Department announced on Thursday that the federal government’s deficit for the first nine months of its 2012 fiscal year exceeded $900 billion and that the country is on target for another $1 trillion annual deficit for the fourth year in a row. And this was despite the fact that revenues for the same period actually increased by five percent.
Looking behind the numbers Thursday's ADP report reveals an economy that is flat-lined, heading into recession.
When June’s numbers are compared to January’s, ADP’s total nonfarm private jobs growth has increased from 110 million to 110.9 million, a gain of 77-100ths of one percent, or about 142,000 new jobs each month. A closer look reveals that most of those jobs were in the highly volatile service sector, in small businesses, usually fast-food or similar businesses, known for their high turnover. In fact, the goods-producing sector gained just one half of one percent employment since January, translating into less than 16,000 job gains each month. These numbers are hardly a “hopeful sign,” but more reflective of an economy that has flat lined.
The recent public-employee union controversy in Wisconsin is part of a global phenomenon, and every U.S. government unit will face the same crisis. Governor Walker stood up to the teachers' union in his state by saying that he wouldn't back automatic pay increases for teachers and other public workers that had increased state costs.
The Wisconsin controversy is only a taste of what is to come, especially if this nation continues to pile on debt and pay ever-more in interest on that debt.