Economy | - Part 10

Latest U.S. Growth Sector – Poverty

The staff of GOP Presidential hopeful Herman Cain must be having a hard time shielding him from all the tales of woe here in the U.S. this week, what with reports of increasing poverty on the part of those who, somehow, haven’t been able to work hard enough and grow rich enough as every American should.

A Gallup poll showing that, as a percentage of the population, families in the U.S. are having more trouble putting food on the table than in China tops this week’s list of stories on the latest U.S. growth sector – poverty. Details are provide in this story at the Huffington Post.

Millions of Americans are currently weathering the effects of a slow economic recovery. Many Chinese, meanwhile, find themselves struggling less to keep their families fed, according to a recent Gallup report.

Nearly 20 percent of Americans say they’ve had trouble putting food on the table in the past 12 months, up from nine percent in 2008, the Gallup report found. That’s compared to six percent of Chinese respondents, down from 16 percent in 2008.

And while the Chinese middle class is growing, the ranks of the U.S. poor are swelling. The nation’s poverty rate jumped to 15.1 percent in 2010, the Cenus Bureau announced last month, as the total number of Americans in poverty grew to 46.2 million.

This similar report has been atop the main page at Yahoo! for the last hour or so, one more in a series of stories on this subject that make it hard for anyone to avoid.

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Whatever Happened to the Bernanke Put?

It would appear that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is doing all that he can to ensure that conditions for both the U.S. economy and financial markets get worse not better. At least, that’s the conclusion that can be drawn from his statement before the Joint Economic Committee today in Washington on the central bank’s outlook for the economy.

Monetary policy can be a powerful tool, but it is not a panacea for the problems currently faced by the U.S. economy. Fostering healthy growth and job creation is a shared responsibility of all economic policymakers, in close cooperation with the private sector. Fiscal policy is of critical importance, as I have noted today, but a wide range of other policies–pertaining to labor markets, housing, trade, taxation, and regulation, for example–also have important roles to play. For our part, we at the Federal Reserve will continue to work to help create an environment that provides the greatest possible economic opportunity for all Americans.

Unless he says something in the Question & Answer session to contradict this dismal view of our current condition and an expressed  unwillingness for the Fed to act, it would seem that the helicopter fleet is permanently grounded and markets shouldn’t expect the printing press to again be summoned for the greater good.

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Couple Steals Copper to Pay for Wedding

The Beaver County Times in Western Pennsylvania reports that a couple pilfered copper wire from utility poles in order to pay for their upcoming wedding, beating the sharp price decline last week but failing to escape the law.

Preparing for a weekend wedding, an Eastvale couple cut copper wire valued at $7,146 from 18 utility poles, according to a North Sewickley Township police report.

April C. Cater, 24, and Joseph Russell, 23, both of 700 2nd Ave., were charged with theft, criminal conspiracy and criminal mischief after the incidents on Aug. 9, according to police.

Russell told police they planned to be married on Aug. 13 and he had lost his job at an auto parts store, according to the report.

Cater was the driver and, accompanied by Russell, used her name to sell the copper wire at Allegheny Raw Materials in Franklin Township, according to police. Company officials gave police video of Cater and Russell and their vehicle from Aug. 10.

And I thought stories about stripping the copper plumbing out of foreclosed homes in Detroit were about as bad as it would get for the down economy/high commodity prices period we’re going through. Perhaps we’ve entered a whole new phase…

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The “R-word” Index

The Economist’s Daily Chart provides confirmation of what most people already seem to  understand – that another recession is, if not already here, on its way.

In case you hadn’t noticed, never before in the last two decades has the index been this high outside of a recession. In fact, it is now higher than it ever was back in 2001.

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