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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-31-2008, 10:21 PM
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I've read several articles lately regarding the US, UK and other nations working to develop new global banking regulations.

Did you happen to catch this one...................


USA 2008: The Great Depression

Food stamps are the symbol of poverty in the US. In the era of the credit crunch, a record 28 million Americans are now relying on them to survive – a sure sign the world's richest country faces economic crisis.

We knew things were bad on Wall Street, but on Main Street it may be worse. Startling official statistics show that as a new economic recession stalks the United States, a record number of Americans will shortly be depending on food stamps just to feed themselves and their families.


Dismal projections by the Congressional Budget Office in Washington suggest that in the fiscal year starting in October, 28 million people in the US will be using government food stamps to buy essential groceries, the highest level since the food assistance programme was introduced in the 1960s.

The increase – from 26.5 million in 2007 – is due partly to recent efforts to increase public awareness of the programme and also a switch from paper coupons to electronic debit cards. But above all it is the pressures being exerted on ordinary Americans by an economy that is suddenly beset by troubles. Housing foreclosures, accelerating jobs losses and fast-rising prices all add to the squeeze.

Emblematic of the downturn until now has been the parades of houses seized in foreclosure all across the country, and myriad families separated from their homes. But now the crisis is starting to hit the country in its gut. Getting food on the table is a challenge many Americans are finding harder to meet. As a barometer of the country's economic health, food stamp usage may not be perfect, but can certainly tell a story.

Michigan has been in its own mini-recession for years as its collapsing industrial base, particularly in the car industry, has cast more and more out of work. Now, one in eight residents of the state is on food stamps, double the level in 2000. "We have seen a dramatic increase in recent years, but we have also seen it climbing more in recent months," Maureen Sorbet, a spokeswoman for Michigan's programme, said. "It's been increasing steadily. Without the programme, some families and kids would be going without."

But the trend is not restricted to the rust-belt regions. Forty states are reporting increases in applications for the stamps, actually electronic cards that are filled automatically once a month by the government and are swiped by shoppers at the till, in the 12 months from December 2006. At least six states, including Florida, Arizona and Maryland, have had a 10 per cent increase in the past year.

In Rhode Island, the segment of the population on food stamps has risen by 18 per cent in two years. The food programme started 40 years ago when hunger was still a daily fact of life for many Americans. The recent switch from paper coupons to the plastic card system has helped remove some of the stigma associated with the food stamp programme. The card can be swiped as easily as a bank debit card. To qualify for the cards, Americans do not have to be exactly on the breadline. The programme is available to people whose earnings are just above the official poverty line. For Hubert Liepnieks, the card is a lifeline he could never afford to lose. Just out of prison, he sleeps in overnight shelters in Manhattan and uses the card at a Morgan Williams supermarket on East 23rd Street. Yesterday, he and his fiancée, Christine Schultz, who is in a wheelchair, shared one banana and a cup of coffee bought with the 82 cents left on it.

"They should be refilling it in the next three or four days," Liepnieks says. At times, he admits, he and friends bargain with owners of the smaller grocery shops to trade the value of their cards for cash, although it is illegal. "It can be done. I get $7 back on $10."

Richard Enright, the manager at this Morgan Williams, says the numbers of customers on food stamps has been steady but he expects that to rise soon. "In this location, it's still mostly old people and people who have retired from city jobs on stamps," he says. Food stamp money was designed to supplement what people could buy rather than covering all the costs of a family's groceries. But the problem now, Mr Enright says, is that soaring prices are squeezing the value of the benefits.

"Last St Patrick's Day, we were selling Irish soda bread for $1.99. This year it was $2.99. Prices are just spiralling up, because of the cost of gas trucking the food into the city and because of commodity prices. People complain, but I tell them it's not my fault everything is more expensive."

The US Department of Agriculture says the cost of feeding a low-income family of four has risen 6 per cent in 12 months. "The amount of food stamps per household hasn't gone up with the food costs," says Dayna Ballantyne, who runs a food bank in Des Moines, Iowa. "Our clients are finding they aren't able to purchase food like they used to."

And the next monthly job numbers, to be released this Friday, are likely to show 50,000 more jobs were lost nationwide in March, and the unemployment rate is up to perhaps 5 per cent.

USA 2008: The Great Depression - Americas, World - The Independent
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-31-2008, 10:28 PM
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I've read several articles lately regarding the US, UK and other nations working to develop new global banking regulations.
I think the UK, Australia and EU will be pretty easy. Once you add in Russia, the Middle Eastern countries [Saudi Arabia and UAE specifically] and the Pacific Rim countries [China and Japan are the top dogs there] that is where the hard part is going to be. They are not used to dealing with the same set of structures.

Add in Brazil/Argentina/Mexico and it will be a really busy discussion.

McBear,
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Being smart is knowing the difference, in a sticky situation between a well delivered anecdote and a well delivered antidote - bear.
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-01-2008, 09:07 AM Thread Starter
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I think the UK, Australia and EU will be pretty easy. Once you add in Russia, the Middle Eastern countries [Saudi Arabia and UAE specifically] and the Pacific Rim countries [China and Japan are the top dogs there] that is where the hard part is going to be. They are not used to dealing with the same set of structures.

Add in Brazil/Argentina/Mexico and it will be a really busy discussion.
As long as the issue is approached as a cooperative global effort w/ real consequences for cooperating and not cooperating it may be easier than expected--not easy but easier. The biggest and probably most difficult aspect of negotiations will be getting individual nations to view the process globally and not through their individual, parochial, nationalistic, interests.

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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-01-2008, 09:19 AM Thread Starter
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Stocks' first quarter was a real downer, but...

Investors looking back at the first quarter that ended Monday won't have any trouble locating the lowlights. It's the highlights that are harder to find.

Hammered by the failure of Bear Stearns, oil skyrocketing to more than $110 a barrel, historic weakening of the U.S. dollar and rising inflation, the market by most accounts had a terrible first three months of 2008. The Standard & Poor's 500 fell 9.9%, marking its worst quarter in 5½ years. It has fallen five consecutive months for the first time since 1990, says S&P.

"We ended up with a steady diet of bad news," says Noel Lamb, chief investment officer at Russell Investments. "Any highlights were overcome."

Still, as few highlights as there were, they provided some potentially encouraging signs, including...

Stocks' first quarter was a real downer - USATODAY.com

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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-01-2008, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
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Kudlow has an interesting take...

Bailout Rally [Larry Kudlow]


The market is rallying big on news reports that Bush will support some kind of Dodd–Frank bill to bailout as much as $400 billion in sub-prime mortgages. CNBC is talking about the ISM, but I doubt that’s much of a factor. The economy is basically flat right now. Profits are soft. Exports and foreign earnings are bright spots.

The bigger theme is the Fed’s move to reduce risk through its earlier actions with investment-bank discount-window operations. And now comes the likely FHA move to guarantee refinanced mortgages on a grand, unprecedented scale. It was in the Washington Post over the weekend and it’s front-page IBD this morning. My contacts confirm the White House movement.

Stocks and the dollar are up; Treasury prices and gold are down. There’s a slight improvement in risk-taking. Swap spreads are narrowing. Treasury man Henry Paulson’s regulatory stuff is not a factor, except to highlight that the Fed is operating on its own judgment to backstop the financial system and take bad collateral.

Wall Street wants this government assistance. They want the bailout. I prefer markets to bailouts, but there’s no stopping the Frank–Dodd locomotive. However, the GOP should demand a partial or full repeal of the Community Redevelopment Act (CRA) that was responsible for the substandard sub-prime loan creation in the first place, going back ten years ago. So far, however, no one wants to touch this hot potato.


04/01 12:23 PM

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post #16 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-01-2008, 01:33 PM
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Who is Kudlow ?

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Bailout Rally [Larry Kudlow]
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post #17 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-01-2008, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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Who is Kudlow ?


Lawrence Kudlow is the founder and CEO of Kudlow and Company, LLC, an economic research and consulting firm with offices in New York City and Connecticut.

Larry is also the host of CNBC’s “Kudlow & Company”, which airs weeknights at 7pm EST.
The show is also broadcast live on Sirius Radio (ch.129) and XM Radio, (ch.127).

On Saturday mornings he hosts WABC radio’s “The Larry Kudlow Show” from 10am to 1pm.

Mr. Kudlow is a familiar face in Washington and on Wall Street -- a renowned free market, supply-side economist armed with knowledge, vision, and integrity acquired over a storied career spanning three decades.

Lawrence Kudlow & Company

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post #18 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-01-2008, 02:14 PM
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Jay,
Thanks for the info below. But that's not my question.
In your opinion, who is Kudlow and where does he stand etc. ?

BTW I will not steal your thunder as to the other NOTD is concerned.

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...
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post #19 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-01-2008, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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Jay,
Thanks for the info below. But that's not my question.
In your opinion, who is Kudlow and where does he stand etc. ?

BTW I will not steal your thunder as to the other NOTD is concerned.
He is who I said he is above: "Lawrence Kudlow is the founder and CEO of Kudlow and Company, LLC, an economic research and consulting firm with offices in New York City and Connecticut.

Larry is also the host of CNBC’s “Kudlow & Company”, which airs weeknights at 7pm EST. The show is also broadcast live on Sirius Radio (ch.129) and XM Radio, (ch.127).

On Saturday mornings he hosts WABC radio’s “The Larry Kudlow Show” from 10am to 1pm.

Mr. Kudlow is a familiar face in Washington and on Wall Street -- a renowned free market, supply-side economist armed with knowledge, vision, and integrity acquired over a storied career spanning three decades."

What is it you're not going to steal my thunder on...?

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post #20 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-01-2008, 02:24 PM
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He is who I said he is above: ...

What is it you're not going to steal my thunder on...?

OK never mind then. I will put him in my ignore-for-now mental category.

This
http://www.benzworld.org/forums/off-...bears-run.html
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