Welcome to the weekly roundup of great articles, facts and figures. These are the weekly finds that made our eyes pop.
RealtyTrac's foreclosure report for September is grim. While over the year foreclosures are down, they just picked up 6% from August 2011.
Foreclosures being down from a year ago, is an artificial statistic. What happened was banks were busted for robo-signing and committing fraud when foreclosing on people. Of course our government is doing little and now banks have a green light to ramp up their foreclosure mills once again. RealtyTrac:
U.S. foreclosure activity has been mired down since October of last year, when the robo-signing controversy sparked a flurry of investigations into lender foreclosure procedures and paperwork,” said James Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “While foreclosure activity in September and the third quarter continued to register well below levels from a year ago, there is evidence that this temporary downward trend is about to change direction, with foreclosure activity slowly beginning to ramp back up.
More Chinese Than Americans Can Put Food on Their Table
Here's a prime example of how America has offshore outsourced their economy to other countries. more Americans are going hungry than Chinese:
The number of Americans who lack access to basic necessities like food and health care is now higher than it was at the peak of the Great Recession, a survey released Thursday found. And in a finding that could worsen fears of U.S. decline, the share of Americans struggling to put food on the table is now three times as large as the share of the Chinese population in the same position.
American's Household Income Plummets
In the two years after the recession officially ended in June 2009, the median household income continued to plummet, dropping by more than $3,500 to $49,909. That represents a decline of 6.7% in the first two years of the recovery, more than twice the rate of decline experienced during the recession.
2 Million More Unemployed to Stop Receiving Unemployment Benefits
The Wall Street Journal's number of the week shows:
2,153,700: The number of jobless people currently receiving unemployment benefits who will lose them by Feb. 11, 2012 if an extension isn’t enacted by Congress by the end of the year.
A Lost Decade for the U.S. Middle Class
It's rare to hear focus on main street in the evening news. This CBS article does a round up of U.S. citizens are suffering facts after it dawned on CBS that their audience is now poor.
Food pantries picked over. Incomes drying up. Shelters bursting with the homeless. Job seekers spilling out the doors of employment centers. College grads moving back in with their parents. The angry and disillusioned filling the streets.
Pan your camera from one coast to the other, from city to suburb to farm and back again, and you'll witness scenes like these. They are the legacy of the Great Recession, the Lesser Depression, or whatever you choose to call it.
In recent months, a blizzard of new data, the hardest of hard numbers, has laid bare the dilapidated condition of the American economy, and particularly of the once-mighty American middle class. Each report sparks a flurry of news stories and pundit chatter, but never much reflection on what it all means now that we have just enough distance to look back on the first decade of the twenty-first century and see how Americans fared in that turbulent period.
And yet the verdict couldn’t be more clear-cut. For the American middle class, long the pride of this country and the envy of the world, the past 10 years were a bust. A washout. A decade from hell.
Nearly Half of America on the Government Dole
This is no surprise. With the blood sucked out of the middle class by financial companies, offshore outsourcing, bad trade deals and bringing in foreign guest workers, illegal immigrants to take American jobs, half of the country is getting some sort of government hand out to keep them afloat:
Nearly half, 48.5%, of the population lived in a household that received some type of government benefit in the first quarter of 2010, according to Census data. Those numbers have risen since the middle of the recession when 44.4% lived households receiving benefits in the third quarter of 2008.
No Long-Term Health Care Insurance for You
If you have ever gotten a quote for long term health care, you know it's out of reach for most Americans. Now the Obama administration has abandoned any help for it in the new health care law going into effect 2014. Guess what, the premiums cost more than the benefits anyway.
A long-term disability care program shepherded into the U.S. health overhaul by Senator Edward Kennedy before his death was canceled as financially unsustainable by health secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
The Congressional Budget Office subtracted $70 billion from the cost of the law thanks to Class -- which stands for Community Living Assistance Services and Supports -- contributing to $143 billion in total savings, because the program’s premiums would exceed benefits over its first decade.
Tax Cuts for the Wealthy Cost America $11.6 million Every Hour
This is a nice study, from the National Priorities Project. This is what giving tax cuts to the rich does:
Tax cuts for the wealthiest five percent of Americans cost the U.S. Treasury $11.6 million every hour, according to the National Priorities Project. America’s top earners will get an average tax cut of $66,384 in 2011, while the bottom 20 percent will get an average cut of $107.