Friday, January 27, 2012

As Real Wages Fall In Fourth Quarter, Americans Save Less

What these fools in corporate America don't understand is that a poorly paid workforce cannot buy the products that make profits possible. That is why the minimum wage should be increased. Additionally, most high paying manufacturing jobs have been outsourced. You didn't hear these ideas during the State of the Union:

Over the last three months of last year, income growth stagnated and people across the country dug deeper into their savings than they have in years, according to data released Friday by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. That's despite a pickup in the overall growth of the economy.

[...]On the whole, wages for workers aren't keeping up with the inflation rate, causing them to fork out more just to afford the basics. Median weekly wages rose just 1.6 percent in the fourth quarter over that quarter in 2010. In contrast, prices rose 3.3 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As a result, consumers dipped more into their savings: The annual personal saving rate plunged 29 percent in the fourth quarter (compared with that stretch of 2010), to 3.7 percent. This is the lowest saving rate since 2007's fourth quarter, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Spending failed to keep up with the production of goods at the end of 2011 because most newly created jobs paid close to the minimum wage, Vitner said. Seventy-seven percent of the jobs created since the end of the recession are in the low-paying sectors of retail, leisure and hospitality, home health care and temporary staffing, according to Vitner. With credit still tight and wages falling (once adjusted for inflation), Americans aren't boosting their spending, he said.

The millions of unemployed job seekers have put further downward pressure on low-paying wages.
Full article

Paul Denies Report that he Approved Racist Newsletters

Only a supporter would believe that he didn't know what was in racist newsletters put out under Ron Paul's name:

"It was his newsletter, and it was under his name, so he always got to see the final product," Renae Hathway, a former secretary in Paul's company, told the Post. "He would proof it."

Paul told CNN on Friday: "She's made that story up. ... It's completely false."

The Post reported that Eric Dondero Rittberg, a former longtime Paul aide, said he witnessed Paul proofing, editing and signing off on his newsletters in the mid-1990s.

Ed Crane, the longtime president of the libertarian Cato Institute, told the Post that he and Paul discussed direct-mail solicitations at the time and that they agreed that "people who have extreme views" are more likely than others to respond.
Full article

U.S. knew about Argentina Junta's Abduction of Children

A former U.S. diplomat testified Thursday that American officials knew Argentina's military regime was taking babies from dead or jailed dissidents during its "dirty war" against leftists in the 1970s, and it appeared to be a systematic effort at the time.

Elliot Abrams testified by videoconference from Washington in the trial of former dictators Jorge Videla and Reynaldo Bignone and other military and police figures accused of organizing the theft of babies from women who were detained and then executed in the 1976-1983 junta's torture centers.

Golden Parachutes: 21 CEOs Landed $100M Plus

Rewarded for ruining the economy. The criminal enterprise system (not free enterprise system) is nothing but a looting of the American economy. Record profits are not going towards creating jobs or giving workers a decent wage but rewarding greed and incompetence:

According to the study, 21 CEOs received more than $100 million each in “‘walk away” packages. In all, companies like GE, Exxon Mobil Corp., AT&T and Home Depot Inc., have collectively provided nearly $4 billion in golden parachutes. But according to Hodgeson, those figures could be on the low-side.

‘These numbers don’t include the perks – the use of the corporate jet, the corner offices – a lot of the compensation that doesn’t get listed on the public files.’

But despite the staggering amounts, golden parachutes serve a purpose when it comes to wooing a potential CEO to take the helm.
Full article

GDP Rose 2.8 Percent in Fourth Quarter

That number is a sign of a weak economy that will not create enough employment to get us out of the quagmire we are currently in:

The Commerce Department reported gross domestic product (GDP) grew at a 2.8 percent pace in the last three months of 2011, slightly less than expected but an increase over the prior quarter.

Economists expected a growth rate of about 3.1 percent in the fourth quarter, in part because of strong holiday shopping and car sales.

Real GDP, the output of goods and services produced in the U.S., increased at a revised annual rate of 1.8 percent in the third quarter. The Commerce Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the disappointing figure ahead of the holiday shopping season on Dec. 22. GDP is the value of all goods and services produced in the US, currently about $14 trillion a year in economic activity.
Full article

Video: Jon Stewart Mocks Gingrich's Moon Base Idea

Taxpayers Still Owed $133 Billion from TARP Bailout

That's money that could have been used to bailout the American people:

U.S. taxpayers are still owed nearly $133 billion that companies haven’t repaid from the financial bailout, according to a quarterly Special Inspector General Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) report. The report also states that as of December 31, 2011, the Treasury has “written off $4.2 billion and realized losses of $7.8 billion that the taxpayer will never get back,“ and that it ”predicts losses on other TARP investments.”

But perhaps this shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, some programs were designed as a “Government subsidy with no return to taxpayers,” according to the report.

Of the $700 billion Congress authorized for the bailout of financial companies and automakers, also known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), approximately $413 billion has been lent. Of the $413 billion, the government has allegedly recovered about $318 billion, or about 77 percent of it, according to the Associated Press.