With at least $7 billion in losses expected in 2011 and similar setbacks over the past several years, the United States Postal Service (USPS) announced that it plans to close up to 2,000 post offices across the nation beginning in March 2011.
As many as 98 banks, which took in a total of $4.2 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), may fail anyway, according to a study of third quarter earnings by the Wall Street Journal. Although the federal government originally promised to use TARP funds only to help healthy banks, the Wall Street Journal’s study tells a rather different tale. The banks in question are hamstrung by “eroding capital levels, a pileup of bad loans and warnings from regulators,” much of them stemming from risky commercial real estate loans gone sour.
Twenty-six-year-old Mark Zuckerberg, founder of the social networking website Facebook, has been selected as Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2010. Facebook, which began in 2003 as a small insider website at Harvard University where Zuckerberg was a student, has exploded over the past two years to become arguably the Internet’s most used address, with nearly 600 million individuals having Facebook accounts and projections for a billion members by 2012.
As extended unemployment benefits for two million Americans began to run out this week, the economic news from Washington remains bleak. According to the November Employment Situation Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the expectations of analysts have once again proven wrong, and the depth of the nation’s economic woes are significantly worse than anticipated.
Gold has always been the bane of big government planners. The precious metal has, from time immemorial, constituted real and portable wealth. Diamonds have, too, but expertise is required to judge the value of a small bag of diamonds. Gold is valuable in an utterly predictable and consistent way.
Secret Federal Reserve System data released December 1 reveals that the banking cartel (the Fed and its member banks) bailed itself out to the tune of more than $10 trillion in “emergency” funds, with trillions more going to line the pockets of big European and foreign banks.
Last year, conservative pundit Glenn Beck warned his viewers to stock up on clothing for their kids, as he predicted that the price of cotton would increase dramatically. As usual, he was mocked mercilessly for his assertions. Recently, however, a report from the National Inflation Association announced that the cost of cotton has increased by 54 percent, though the huge commodity price increase hasn't made its way onto the shelves of American stores just yet.
While average Americans have seen their wages and benefits stagnate, decrease, or even vanish altogether in recent years, federal workers have been doing very well for themselves. In August USA Today reported that “federal employees’ average compensation has grown to more than double what private sector workers earn” and that these same “workers have been awarded bigger average pay and benefit increases than private employees for nine years in a row.
Over the recent clamor of approval for the outcome of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), which Beltway insiders are proclaiming a success because of the high rate of repaid funds, a lone voice of comparative sanity reminded Yahoo! Finance’s Aaron Task that the Obama bailout has done far more damage than the government-massaged figures indicate. Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who seems to understand finance and banking better than most celebrity economists, told Task that the monies paid back to TARP are “just a drop in the bucket compared to damage done to the economy.”
The foreclosure crisis continues to threaten the U.S. banking sector with more headaches, admitted Sheila Bair, head of the FDIC, on October 25. According to a Reuters report, the expected wave of litigation stemming from improper or downright fraudulent procedures banks have been using to speed up the foreclosure process could be “very damaging” to the housing market.
Now that the Chevy Volt, General Motors’ electric car, is about to arrive in selected dealers’ showrooms around the country, it has been getting a lot of press. Some are puff pieces, one of which appeared in USA Today, while others are much more critical.