The Washington Post reported September 7 that the federal government is now guaranteeing 86 percent of all new home mortgages, as default rates continue to increase and threaten to require a bailout of federal loan guarantors such as the Federal Housing Administration.
The U.S. Labor Department reported unemployment rose to 9.7 percent during the month of August from 9.4 percent, the highest unemployment rate in 26 years. “Nonfarm payroll employment continued to decline in August (-216,000),” the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported September 4, making a total of 6.9 million jobs lost in the recession since December 2007.
The real number of unemployed in the United States is far more than the federal government’s official count and the recovery could be long and tenuous, a Federal Reserve official told the Chattanooga, Tennessee, Area Chamber of Commerce last week in a speech that received some media attention.
The Federal Communications Commission is launching an investigation of the nation’s wireless industry to root out any anti-competitive practices and to decide what regulations should be imposed for the supposed benefit of consumers, Wired reported on August 27.
Like one of the old jalopies it is supposed to remove from the road, the $3-billion cash-for-clunkers program sputtered to a close on August 24. The allegedly successful boost to the economy left in its wake “a nightmare of red tape and computer glitches for dealers who are owed millions of dollars by the government,” the Los Angeles Times reported on August 25.
Last week, the Obama administration revealed the 48 recipients of $2.4 billion in federal grant money supposedly designed to stimulate domestic production of batteries and other "green" car components while saving or creating jobs. But critics are already blasting the handouts, calling them politically biased, useless, and even unconstitutional.
Unemployment numbers ticked upward during July at a much slower pace than past months, leading many establishment forecasters to conclude that an economic recovery had already begun. The official unemployment rate actually shrunk from 9.5 percent to 9.4 percent, even though the U.S. economy lost an additional 247,000 jobs in July.
First-time unemployment claims continue to increase at a faster pace than expected. “The Labor Department said the number of claims in the week ending July 25 rose by 25,000 from an upwardly revised figure the previous week,” the Agence France Press reported July 30.
In another example of turning lemonade into lemons in economically troubled times, the federal minimum wage increased yesterday from $6.55 an hour to $7.25 an hour. It's certainly a fashionable measure, but will it actually improve the lot of low-income workers?
Even the mass media is starting to take notice of the longtime cozy relationship that both the U.S. Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve Bank have with Goldman Sachs, a major Wall Street bank holding company and Democratic Party donor.