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It's the Economy, Stupid!
Author: BobR    Date: 01/11/2008 13:17:45

I know it's Friday, and I know we all want happy fun time, and for a lot of people it's payday, but for a lot of people... it's not anymore. Most of you have already heard that the jobless rate rose to the 5% mark last month. According to Merrill-Lynch (not exactly a bastion of liberal thought), that was the final straw. They have finally declared that Yes, we are in a recession:
The feared recession in the US economy has already arrived, according to a report from Merrill Lynch.
It said that Friday's employment report, which sent shares tumbling worldwide, confirmed that the US is in the first month of a recession.
Merrill Lynch said that the figures showing the jobless rate hitting 5% in December were the final piece in that puzzle.

"According to our analysis, this isn't even a forecast any more but is a present day reality," the report said.

Along with the jobless rate, the sales of existing homes fell as well:
Jan. 8 (Bloomberg) -- The number of Americans signing contracts to buy previously owned homes fell more than forecast in November, signaling further deterioration in housing.

The National Association of Realtors' index of pending home sales decreased 2.6 percent to 87.6, following a 3.7 percent gain in October that was larger than previously estimated, the group said today in Washington.

The figures underscore Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's forecast that the housing recession will continue, posing the biggest risk to economic expansion. Economists said more stringent lending practices following the collapse in subprime mortgages and prospects that home prices will keep falling are deterring buyers.

Of course, these are the big stories. There are thousands of smaller stories all across the country, although they're always big to those in the middle of it. One that's big in Atlanta is finally getting some press nationwide. Grady Hospital, which is a teaching hospital, provides indigent care, and has the best trauma center in the state, is perilously close to closing it's doors:
Pamela Vaughn is a Grady baby. Like tens of thousands of Atlantans over the last 115 years — like Gladys Knight, the soul singer, and Vernon Jordan Jr., the presidential confidante; like more than one in three babies born here in the last decade — Ms. Vaughn entered the world at Grady Memorial Hospital, one of the nation’s largest safety-net hospitals.

Ms. Vaughn was not only born at Grady, she also works there, as a senior nurse in the diabetes clinic, where many of her patients are Grady babies, too. And now, like thousands of other Atlantans, she is hoping to save the teeming charity hospital that has provided her with both life and livelihood.

To generations of Georgians, this city is unimaginable without Grady. Yet that has been the prospect facing the region for the last year, the result of a multimillion-dollar shortfall in the cost of providing charity and emergency care that no one — not the counties, the state nor the federal government — has been willing to cover, though Grady provides vital services to the entire region.

Once admired for its skill in treating a population afflicted by both social and physical ills, Grady, a teaching hospital, now faces the prospect of losing its accreditation. Only short-term financial transfusions have kept it from closing its doors, as Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital in Los Angeles County did last year. That scenario would flood the region’s other hospitals with uninsured patients and eliminate the training ground for one of every four Georgia doctors.

It seems some real leadership is required to handle this mess. But wait!! Our pResident is on the job, and his big plan is to... ummm... say it's not that bad, and keep taxes low:
President George W. Bush said the U.S. economy is sending contradictory signals, and Congress must keep taxes low to avoid creating further economic turmoil.

"Recent economic indicators have become increasingly mixed," Bush said today after lunch with Mayor Richard Daley and city business leaders at the Union League Club of Chicago. "In a time of economic uncertainty, we don't need to be taking money out of your pocket."

Government reports in the past two weeks showed new home sales fell to the lowest in 12 years, job creation slowed and the jobless rate rose to 5 percent in December from 4.7 percent. The reports spurred concern the economy will fall into recession, and U.S. stocks last week had their worst start to a year since 2000.

"When you cut taxes, it means people have more money to save, spend or invest," Bush said. "I will strongly urge that Congress keep taxes low," he said, while pressing Congress to make permanent tax cuts enacted early in his administration.

Those income tax cuts sure are a boon to the unemployed! :rolleyes2:

The face of an honest man that knows what he's doing:

... or not.

Actually, it may take some pressure from his rich buddies - and that might finally occur, since they are feeling the pinch too.

As the credit crisis drags on, not even the world's millionaire investors are immune from its effects, and the private banks that manage their money could be the next to feel the pain.

Rich investors are reducing leverage on their portfolios, depriving wealth managers of a lucrative income stream just as difficult financial markets cast a shadow over their results.

As the credit crisis eats away the value of their assets, millionaires are paying back cash they borrowed for investment purposes to reduce risk, private bankers say. "We've seen leverage vanish completely almost overnight from the beginning of November," said Nicolas Sarkis of Alphaone Partners.

Or both he and Cheney could just resign and let the adults take over. :pray:

Hey - it's Friday, ya bastahds! A guy can dream, right?


204 comments (Latest Comment: 01/12/2008 06:47:01 by shelaghc)
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