Boom Crunch Crash

The classical Marxist blog about the crisis

Archive for the ‘Crisis’ Category

Half New York’s population suffer hunger

Posted by Steve Palmer on May 12, 2009

NYC Hunger Experience 2008 Update: Food Poverty Soars as Recession Hits Home shows that the number of city residents experiencing difficulty affording needed food has surged over the past five years — doubling from approximately 2 million to approximately 4 million from 2003 to 2008, representing almost half of all city residents (48 percent). The number having difficulty increased by almost 1 million (26 percent) within the past year alone, the highest increase in the history of the poll. Findings also show that 3.5 million city residents are concerned about needing food assistance (food from soup kitchens, food pantries and/or food stamps) during the next year, including 2.1 million (59 percent) who have never accessed food assistance in the past.


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Male death rates rise after privatization

Posted by Steve Palmer on January 23, 2009

LONDON, Jan. 22 (UPI) — Male mortality rose 42 percent between 1989 and 2002 in Russia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, London researchers said.Researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge analyzed mortality rates of men ages 15-69 in post-communist countries in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union between 1989 and 2002.

The researchers found that mass privatization programs were associated with a rise of 12.8 percent in short-term adult male mortality rates. They suggest unemployment, which rose by 56 percent during the period, was probably a key factor.

The five countries implemented “shock” rapid privatization, but other countries which adopted slower rates of change fared much better. The five best-performing countries were Albania, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovenia, which saw a 10 percent fall in male mortality and a 2 percent rise in unemployment.

In addition to unemployment, other factors found to be associated with a rise in male mortality rates were stress, a decrease in the quality of healthcare, rising social inequalities, social disorganization and increased corruption, the study said.

The findings are published in the Lancet.

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“Shoot the bankers, nationalise the banks”

Posted by Steve Palmer on January 20, 2009

From the Financial Times, mouthpiece of finance capital:

“Shoot the bankers, nationalise the banks

By Philip Stephens

Financial Times : January 19 2009 19:40

For once, Gordon Brown is guilty of understatement. The other day the prime minister remarked on the rising public anger at the behaviour of Britain’s banks. Unbridled rage would have been a more accurate description of the national mood.

On a recent visit to Washington I heard several people say that when the reckoning is finally made some big Wall Street figures are going to end up in jail. My impression is that many on this side of the Atlantic would like to see one or two British bankers join them.

For the moment, though, I cannot think of a more popular policy than shooting the bankers and nationalising the banks. It might even win Mr Brown an election. Come to think of it, it could also be the way to get us out of this mess.”

And I thought left-wing extremists were bad …

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Tax dodger to run Treasury?

Posted by Steve Palmer on January 14, 2009

The US Department of the Treasury is run by the Secretary of the Treasury. It operates the Mint, which prints and coins currency and manages the government’s borrowing. It also manages the Internal Revenue Service – IRS – which collects taxes. Now a tax cheat is about to take charge there.

Timothy Geithner short paid his new employer by $17,230 in 2003 and 2004 according to the IRS, which he will be running. The Obama transition team learned that he also owed a further $25,970 for 2001 and 2002, but claimed it was common mistake. Republicans quickly pointed out that the IMF – his then employer – repeatedly emphasized the need for employees to cough up their taxes. He also dodged on penalties for early withdrawal from a retirement plan, small-business, charitable deductions, personal expenses and child deductions. In addition, he employed an immigrant housekeeper while her work authorization papers were expired.

Of course everyone is making excuses – ‘just a mistake’, ‘all is now in order’, blah blah. These are the same people who virtually incinerate ‘Welfare cheats’. Capitalism’s hypocrisy and cynicism knows no bounds!

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Recession messing up recycling.

Posted by Steve Palmer on December 8, 2008

There’s a story in Sunday’s New York Times :

“The economic downturn has decimated the market for recycled materials like cardboard, plastic, newspaper and metals. Across the country, this junk is accumulating by the ton in the yards and warehouses of recycling contractors, which are unable to find buyers or are unwilling to sell at rock-bottom prices.

Ordinarily the material would be turned into products like car parts, book covers and boxes for electronics. But with the slump in the scrap market, a trickle is starting to head for landfills instead of a second life.”

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Fed encouraging banks not to lend

Posted by Steve Palmer on December 6, 2008

There is no shortage of money to keep business going.

There is, right now, $1,171bn of idle funds just sitting in the banking system which could be loaned out – OVER ONE TRILLION DOLLARS.

This is enough to bail out the auto industry 34 times over.

This is enough to pay for a whole month’s production from the entire US economy or a year’s output from the Canadian economy, or the Brazilian, or the Spanish, or the WHOLE of South Asia or the WHOLE of Africa and the non-oil middle eastern economies (World Development Report, 2008).

Last night’s statistics from the Fed show that yesterday Commercial Banks had $843.7bn in cash and $633.8bn in reserves on deposit at the Fed. In August the respective figures were $297.8bn and $8.7bn. So this is far more cash than is needed for daily operations and these are excess reserves above the statutory requirements. (Releases H.8 and H.4.1)

Hundreds of millions of these dollars are from the handout program. They’ve been sitting there for weeks. Why? Because the monetarist morons who control this have decided to pay interest on those reserves. That rate is currently 1%. But the effective Fed Funds rate – that’s the rate at which banks lend to each other – was 0.2% last night. So, by taking handout money and stashing it at the Fed, banks are making money risk free with a 0.8% interest rate.

And people are wondering why the banks aren’t lending!!! The banks don’t want to lend to each other, because they’re dubious about each other’s creditworthiness. And Bernanke and company are making the problem worse by paying the banks not to lend!!!

This is why so many people lost jobs in the last month. Finance Capital is just sitting on the money. THIS is ‘systemic risk’: risk to the livelihood of tens of millions of working people and their families, who are losing their homes and jobs and who see prices for food and basics rising month after month.

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