Thomas R. Eddlem
The price of gold as measured against the U.S. dollar hit a record $1,341 per ounce at the close of commodities market day October 5, just after the Bank of Japan announced plans to lower interest rates to zero and create $60 billion in new currency. Silver, copper, platinum, palladium, and most other commodities also measured recent highs in trading on the same day.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the unemployment rate in the United States increased to 9.6 percent during the month of August. The BLS press release may have been tweaked by politicians, as it read that the “unemployment rate was about unchanged at 9.6 percent.” By “about unchanged,” the bureaucrats at the BLS should have written “increased from 9.5 to 9.6 percent.”
Senate Democrats beat back a Republican alternative amendment to Connecticut Democrat Christopher Dodd's Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 (S. 3217) and will soon consider an amendment to audit the Federal Reserve Bank authored by Louisiana Republican David Vitter. The GOP substitute amendment failed in a 38-61 vote May 6.
The International Monetary Fund proposed a draft of two global taxes — a bank tax, and a “FAT” tax against what politicians deem to be excessive salaries or bonuses in the financial sector — at the Washington G-20 meeting last weekend. The final version of the proposal to create what the IMF calls a “stable global financial system” will be discussed by G-20 nations at the Toronto summit in June.
The March 15 Associated Press story was blunt: "For more than two decades, Social Security collected more money in payroll taxes than it paid out in benefits — billions more each year. Not anymore. This year, for the first time since the 1980s, when Congress last overhauled Social Security, the retirement program is projected to pay out more in benefits than it collects in taxes — nearly $29 billion more."
The federal $3 billion “Cash for Clunkers” program promoted by the Obama White House last summer cost an average of $24,000 per additional car sold, according to an analysis by automotive consumer researcher Edmunds.com. The White House has responded with a blistering attack disputing the finding.
The Washington Post reported September 7 that the federal government is now guaranteeing 86 percent of all new home mortgages, as default rates continue to increase and threaten to require a bailout of federal loan guarantors such as the Federal Housing Administration.
The U.S. Labor Department reported unemployment rose to 9.7 percent during the month of August from 9.4 percent, the highest unemployment rate in 26 years. “Nonfarm payroll employment continued to decline in August (-216,000),” the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported September 4, making a total of 6.9 million jobs lost in the recession since December 2007.
Unemployment numbers ticked upward during July at a much slower pace than past months, leading many establishment forecasters to conclude that an economic recovery had already begun. The official unemployment rate actually shrunk from 9.5 percent to 9.4 percent, even though the U.S. economy lost an additional 247,000 jobs in July.