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Posts from the ‘Economy’ Category

Working on the road: Remote possibilities

THE advance in remote working is a subject that has been well covered on this blog and many others. When I began my career, using a DOS word processor was the height of technology, and filing copy on a three-and-a-half inch floppy was a sure way to…

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Have you seen the missing workers? There’s 3.4 million of them

If you really want to know what the employment situation is like currently, I think this excerpt from an EPI piece is right for you.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that if we were at full employment, the labor force would now number about 159.2 million, but the actual labor force is just 155.8 million. That means there are 3.4 million “missing workers” – jobless workers who would be in the labor force if job opportunities were stronger, but in the current environment are not actively seeking work and are therefore not counted. If those missing workers were in the labor force looking for work, the unemployment rate would be 9.4 percent instead of 7.4 percent. In other words, more than five-and-a-half years since the start of the Great Recession, the labor market remains extremely weak by historical standards.

How bad will the student loan collapse be?

Only in America is an education so untenable for the masses within the 99 percent. In fact when Occupy Wall Street was still manifested in its physical form down in Manhattan, many of the activists there were galvanized by the amount of debt they had incurred in order to have a shot at a middle class lifestyle. The sad thing is with recent employment numbers, and the U.S. House cancelling long term unemployment for 1.3 million Americans, many of these former students have still not found work. They’ve been hit with a double-whammy of incurring enormous debt for a degree and now not being able to find employment despite earning that degree.

The college and university system in the United States of America is a racket. If I were an officer of the court, I’d want to slap the presidents of these fine institutions with RICO statutes. The only thing I can compare this glorified racket to is the U.S. healthcare system and the housing bubble. I’m starting to really think that pursuing a specialized certificate in a career like information technology or nursing is the most advisable thing these days. Of course learning a trade will also keep food on the table.  It’s a shame because in order for a democracy to function a state needs an educated citizenry, but if one cannot afford an education nor get a job after attaining that education we will have neither.

So now we come to the doom and gloom as central bankers are starting to realize that the I.O.U.’s may never be paid.

The federal government is the source and backer of most of the loans. “I’m always made very nervous by a credit market that benefits from government guarantees and is expanding very rapidly,” Jeffrey Lacker, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, said on Jan. 10 at a Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce event in North Carolina. “That’s what we’re seeing with student loans, and it’s what we saw with housing.” As the New York Fed’s Dudley explained in November, “to the extent that student loan burdens become very, very high, there are presumably going to be losses” to the federal government.

Yes, the federal government which means the American people are going to end up hurting once again. This time there’s no need to even vote on a bailout as the federal government is already the safety net for the banks who made these student loans in the first place.

So how bad will the fallout be if people can’t afford to make their monthly loan payments and go into default? For individuals it will probably be cataclysmic. Their credit will be shot and riddled with holes like swiss cheese. They will lose the chance to get a mortgage or a car loan. Renting an apartment will become difficult as they pull credit scores for that too. Even looking for employment will be affected. The federal government may also attempt to garnish their future wages.

The American people will suffer most likely because the fallout would result in government spending on steroids, as they begin the bailout of the banks once again. We’d see more budget cuts and the sequester would look like a drop in the bucket. Of course this crisis would not be as bad as the housing bubble collapse as we’re dealing with a smaller subset of people with loans. The economic impact should not be as great but it will be painful nonetheless.

photo by: LendingMemo

650 Employees at Citi Bank Mortgage to Lose Their Jobs

650 Employees at Citi Bank Mortgage to Lose Their Jobs

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What is quantitative easing?

AMERICA'S Federal Reserve surprised markets in December by starting to "taper" its programme of monthly purchases of government and mortgage bonds—a process known as "quantitative easing", or QE—from $85 billion a month to $75 billion. Some worry…

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What people don’t understand is that the 1 percent has already “gone Galt”

I don’t give a damn who John Galt is so there’s that. But something came to mind when I started thinking about the cult of Ayn Rand conservatives and their cockroach like existence–always around scattering in the sunlight, but ever present. Ever so often I am made aware of the existence of their high priestess’s tome Atlas Shrugged, whether in print or failed movie form, it too is ever present.

From this book arises the term of going Galt, but what does that mean exactly? To me going Galt also means that the well-to-do withdraw from the state financially. They stop paying taxes and close down their businesses in protest of the government its perceived injustices towards their income bracket. It’s the conservative version of leaving the sandbox and taking your ball home with you.

So with that term in mind I started thinking and realized that basically the 1 percent has already gone Galt and they actually have gotten help from the state to do so. Our tax code allows them to spirit away profits to other countries and to pay a lower tax rate than the average working American. They own half of the nation’s stocks, bonds and mutual funds and  enjoy a low capital gains tax rate on those investments. They’re spending little to nothing, depriving the state of desperately needed revenue which then ushers in austerity policies for the rest of us.

With income inequality at the highest levels in decades, the concentration of wealth lies in the 1 percent’s laps and it basically stays there. People in the middle class and the poor naturally spend their earnings and that money goes back into the economy. While those in the 1 percent they put more of that money into investments and etc. As business executive Nick Haneur says in the documentary Inequality for All, there’s only so many things you can buy.

So conservative 1 percenters like Kenneth Langone can threaten going Galt all he wants. The truth is he and the rest of his ilk have already done so.

What Friday’s really weird US jobs report means for the rest of the world

BOSTON — There's one odd moment every month when the suits on Wall Street, policymakers in Washington and around the world, business journalists and (presumably) normal people everywhere pause — and then pore over — a number. I'm talking about…

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Amazon: What price convenience?

"AMAZON" is a four-letter word to many booksellers. The omnipotent online retailer has been accused of killing the bookselling industry. It certainly has unsettled high street chains: Waterstones, Britain’s largest bookseller, has just gone through…

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Wells Fargo statement on Target data breach

Since many people I know are customers of Wells Fargo, I thought that this information would be useful to know. I’ve been a customer of First Fidelity > First Union > Wachovia > Wells Fargo since 1997. I even worked there for a four year stint last decade. In light of the security breach over at Target, many banks are limiting the daily transaction amounts for debit/credit cards or are outright cancelling them.

This is what Wells Fargo is doing -

The security of your accounts is our top priority

We are aware of the reported data breach of some credit and debit cards used at Target stores between November 27 and December 15. Protecting our customers’ accounts and personal information is a top priority that we take very seriously.

What we’re doing to protect your accounts

  • In an effort to prevent fraud, we continually monitor customers’ accounts for unusual patterns and activity and are in regular contact with our Visa, MasterCard and American Express network partners to understand and respond to these dynamic events. As always, if we believe the security of a debit or credit card is at risk, Wells Fargo will take action to safeguard our customers’ accounts.
  • Wells Fargo Credit Cards and Debit Cards are protected by Zero Liability. This means that if a Wells Fargo Credit Card or Debit Card is ever lost, stolen or used without cardholder authorization and the cardholder provides us with prompt notification, the cardholder is protected against any unauthorized transactions made at merchants, over the phone, on the Internet or at an ATM.

What you can do to protect your accounts

  • Customers should monitor their accounts at or via Mobile Banking. You can also enroll in account alerts to receive timely notifications about activity on your credit or debit card. To set up alerts, sign on to Online Banking and click the Messages & Alerts tab. For more tips on protecting your personal and account information, visit our Fraud Information Center.

If customers suspect that their card or card number may have been used without their authorization they should contact Wells Fargo immediately.

photo by: swanksalot

Arrest Republicans for not extending unemployment benefits

What they’re doing is criminal. People should be protesting in front of their houses. Just look at what families are going to have to resort to just to survive.

They’ve exhausted their state unemployment benefits and now that the federal extensions are gone, unless they find jobs the couple plan to take their children out of their high school in January and relocate 50 miles east where a relative owns property so they can save on rent.

These people are unemployed through no fault of their own. Furthermore, the invisible hand of the marketplace has failed them.

Richard Mattos, 59, of Salem, Ore., has been out of work since March, when he was laid off as a case manager at a social services organization. Without the unemployment income, Mattos said he and his wife will have enough money for one month’s worth of bills. Almost every day, he visits employment centers run by the state of Oregon or Goodwill Industries International.

Mr. Mattos continued to say: “I don’t know what we’re going to do.” “We could end up homeless because of this.”

So if you’re one of the 1.3 million people that are now without unemployment benefits. I would try to find the home address of your nearest Republican Member of Congress and stage a sit-in wherever they live. Wall Street got bailed out and they’re still up to no good, yet people who are having a hard time finding work should suffer? That’s conservative logic for you.

photo by: mariopiperni

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