The oft-repeated line that “I have good news, and I have bad news” applies to the U.S. Labor Department’s latest figures on unemployment and job losses, though the first part should perhaps be modified to “I have relatively good news.”
More information about GM’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy is beginning to emerge. The Kansas City Star reported on June 2 that this is “the biggest such filing by an industrial manufacturer and the fourth-biggest in U.S. history. It will also be one of the largest peacetime nationalizations of private enterprise.” In addition to the $20 billion the federal government has already pumped into the company, President Barack Obama has announced that another $30 billion in taxpayer money will be committed. This will bring the government’s ownership stake in GM to 60 percent.
The Obama administration’s efforts to borrow the U.S. economy into prosperity are meeting more and more skepticism on Wall Street as investors in the bond market are fleeing the U.S. debt market for greener investment pastures. The understandable skepticism of bond investors has forced the U.S. Treasury to increase the interest yields on 10-year Treasury notes, increasing the interest burden of new debt on taxpayers by more than 60 percent since December.
After years of suspense, the bankruptcy that surprises nobody is finally official. One of America’s largest and proudest corporations, GM, has filed for Chapter 11 protection in what is being billed as the fourth-largest bankruptcy in American history and the largest ever for an industrial corporation. The failing auto company claims $82.29 billion in assets against almost $173 billion in debt — this, be it duly noted, after billions in federal government bailout monies were shoveled GM’s way.
A hundred and eight billion dollars — $108,000,000,000. Not exactly an eye-popping sum anymore, in an era of multi-trillion-dollar annual budgets and multi-trillion-dollar annual deficits. Still, even with government spending streaking into the stratosphere, $108 billion is not mere chump change, especially when it’s leveraged as seed money.
Will the Obama spend-a-rama finish off the dollar as the world's reserve currency? It well may, and sooner than most people think. Any day now we may wake up to headlines announcing that the International Monetary Fund's SDR (Special Drawing Rights) is being adopted as the new global currency.
Next up for ailing mega-banks: a credit card meltdown. No surprise here, really; Americans have overused credit cards for years, trusting always in unending economic expansion and plentiful employment to guarantee their ability to service consumer debt.
Social Security and Medicare, Big Government’s two most cherished social-welfare programs, are running out of money far faster than expected, thanks to the persistent economic downturn. Medicare, which is already running a deficit, will run out of money by 2017, while Social Security will be broke 20 years after that, according to new estimates from the Obama Administration.
It’s official: this year’s budget deficit will be one for the record books. The latest figures released by the Obama Administration contemplate a $1.8 trillion deficit for fiscal 2009 as the United States economy continues to significantly underperform relative to earlier forecasts. This year’s record-setting deficit is now reckoned to be four times last year’s — the previous record-setter. Next year, the deficit is expected to decline but still to exceed $1.3 trillion — and that’s only if everything goes according to plan.
President Barack Obama, speaking from the White House's State Dining Room on May 11, hailed the healthcare industry's promise to cut $2 trillion in costs over 10 years as "a watershed event." The president hosted a meeting attended by health insurance, medical device, pharmaceutical, and hospital CEOs, three physicians (all officers of the American Medical Association), representatives of the Service Employees International Union, and administration officials.
You know the economy is in the tank when officials hail the loss of 539,000 non-farm jobs in the U.S. economy during the month of April as good news. President Barack Obama termed the latest unemployment figures "somewhat encouraging," despite the fact that unemployment rose from 8.5 to 8.9 percent nationally. Obama was somewhat encouraged in part because most economists had expected April job losses to be higher than 600,000, as had happened in each of the first three months of 2009.