LAS VEGAS, Nevada — US President Barack Obama said Friday his policies had pulled America out of the most vicious economic dive since the 1930s, setting battle lines for mid-term elections in November.
Obama put the Republicans on notice he will vigorously defend his record, despite the fact many Americans do not yet feel the recovery he is touting, while economic data hints that the rebound may be slowing.
"Our first mission was to break the momentum of the deepest and most vicious recession since the Great Depression," Obama said in the gambling hub of Las Vegas, wrapping up a two-day campaign-style trip.
"We had to stop the freefall and get the economy and jobs growing again."
Obama used his appearance at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, to call on Congress to invest five billion dollars more in tax credits for green energy manufacturing firms, part of his plan for an alternative energy revolution.
After a brutal year featuring prolonged high unemployment and bitter political battles, Democrats had hoped to be reaping the benefits by now of Obama's rescue policies.
But while the economy is posting solid growth and creating jobs again, the party has seen negligible political gains, with the jobless rate still at 9.5 percent, and confidence in the rebound ebbing.
If the economy dictates the course of elections, as usual, Obama and the Democrats could be in for trouble come November when all of the House of Representatives is up for grabs, along with a third of the Senate.
So Obama is engaged on a mission to convince voters he understands things are still tough, while insisting the economy is healthier than it seems.
He also argues that his policies will secure future growth and that had he not acted, things would have been much worse.
"It took years to dig this hole, and it's going to take more time than any of us would like to climb out of it.
"The question is number one, are we on the right track, and number two is how do we accelerate that process?"
Obama's Republican foes are lambasting Obama over slower-than-hoped-for employment growth, the high deficit and debt levels.
On Thursday, in midwestern Missouri and Nevada -- which are often political bellwether states, Obama also took the sword to his Republican foes.
Republicans "spent nearly a decade driving the economy into the ditch, and are now asking for the car keys back," he said, in a hard-hitting political speech in Kansas City.
"They can't have them back. They don't know how to drive."
In a refrain sure to be repeated over and over before November, Obama warns Americans want to keep on going "forwards, not backwards."
Obama may have little more than rhetoric left in his political armory to improve the economy in the short term.
There is little appetite for another stimulus package -- with the public still divided on the last year's massive recovery bill as fears mount over the size of government debt.
Efforts to boost exports and frame a jobs-rich green energy revolution meanwhile will take years. Democrats also dispute Republican claims that simply slashing taxes will unleash fast growth.
Barring a swift economic improvement, it may not matter in November that Obama has passed big-time bills like health care reform, and likely the most sweeping changes to Wall Street regulation since the 1930s.
First-term presidents often get a bloody nose in mid-terms during their first term -- at which a third of the Senate and the whole House of Representatives are up for grabs.
Democrats are braced for especially heavy losses this time and may even see their control of the House overturned and their Senate majority trimmed.
The recession may have started on the Republican watch, but it is getting harder and harder to pin it on ex-president George W. Bush.
Obama's fate may be traced in polling data, as well as latest economic indicators, which have disappointed markets as well as Democratic leaders.
In a recent Quinnipiac University poll, 44 percent of those asked approved of Obama's economic management -- compared to 50 percent who disapproved.
A Wall Street Journal survey last month showed 33 percent of voters think the economy is the top political issue -- well ahead of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and other issues including terrorism.
Though the jobless rate fell to 9.5 percent in June, the private sector created only 83,000 jobs in the month.
US consumer confidence has also tumbled, the housing market is mostly slumbering and stocks, in which many Americans invest retirement savings, have been reeling for weeks.
Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved. More »
Posted by Admin | Posted in Economy | Posted on 20-07-2010
Most Americans still appear to be operating under the delusion that the "recession" will soon pass and that things will get back to "normal" very soon. Unfortunately, that is not anywhere close to the truth. What we are now witnessing are the early stages of the complete and total breakdown of the U.S. economic system. The U.S. government, state governments, local governments, businesses and American consumers have collectively piled up debt that is equivalent to approximately 360 percent of GDP. At no point during the Great Depression (or at any other time during our history) did we ever come close to such a figure. We have piled up the biggest mountain of debt that the world has ever seen, and now that gigantic debt bubble is beginning to pop. As this house of cards comes crashing down, the economic pain is going to become almost unimaginable.
Already, things are really, really, really bad out there. Unemployment is at shockingly high levels. Foreclosures and personal bankruptcies continue to set new all-time records. Businesses are being shut down at a staggering rate, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. government continues to pile up debt at blinding speed.
There is no use sugar-coating it.
The U.S. economy is collapsing.
The following are 40 bizarre statistics that reveal the truth about the collapse of the U.S. economy....
1 - According to one shocking new survey, 28% of U.S. households have at least one member that is looking for a full-time job.
2 - A recent Pew Research survey found that 55 percent of the U.S. labor force has experienced either unemployment, a pay decrease, a reduction in hours or an involuntary move to part-time work since the recession began.
3 - There are 9.2 million Americans that are unemployed but that are not receiving an unemployment insurance check.
4 - In America today, the average time needed to find a job has risen to a record 35.2 weeks.
5 - According to one analysis, the United States has lost 10.5 million jobs since 2007.
6 - China's trade surplus (much of it with the United States) climbed 140 percent in June compared to a year earlier.
7 - This is what American workers now must compete against: in China a garment worker makes approximately 86 cents an hour and in Cambodia a garment worker makes approximately 22 cents an hour.
8 - According to a poll taken in 2009, 61 percent of Americans "always or usually" live paycheck to paycheck. That was up significantly from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.
9 - According to a recent poll conducted by Bloomberg, 71% of Americans say that it still feels like the economy is in a recession.
10 - Banks repossessed 269,962 U.S. homes during the second quarter of 2010, which was a new all-time record.
11 - Banks repossessed an average of 4,000 South Florida properties a month in the first half of 2010, up 83 percent from the first half of 2009.
12 - According to RealtyTrac, a total of 1.65 million U.S. properties received foreclosure filings during the first half of 2010.
13 - The Mortgage Bankers Association recently announced that demand for loans to purchase U.S. homes has sunk to a 13-year low.
14 - Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.
15 - 1.41 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009 - a 32 percent increase over 2008.
16 - Back in 1950 each retiree's Social Security benefit was paid for by 16 workers. Today, each retiree's Social Security benefit is paid for by approximately 3.3 workers. By 2025 it is projected that there will be approximately two workers for each retiree.
17 - According to a new poll, six of 10 non-retirees believe that Social Security won't be able to pay them benefits when they stop working.
18 - 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement.
19 - According to one survey, 36 percent of Americans say that they don't contribute anything to retirement savings.
20 - According to one recent survey, 24% of American workers say that they have postponed their planned retirement age in the past year.
21 - The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index declined sharply to 52.9 in June. Most economists had expected that the figure for June would be somewhere around 62.
22 - Retail sales in the U.S. fell in June for a second month in a row.
23 - Vacancies and lease rates at U.S. shopping centers continued to get worse during the second quarter of 2010.
24 - Consumer credit in the United States has contracted during 15 of the past 16 months.
25 - During the first quarter of 2010, the total number of loans that are at least three months past due in the United States increased for the 16th consecutive quarter.
26 - Things are now so bad in California that in the region around the state capital, Sacramento, there is now one closed business for every six that are still open.
27 - The state of Illinois now ranks eighth in the worldin possible bond-holder default. The state of California is ninth.
28 - More than 25 percent of Americans now have a credit score below 599, which means that they are a very bad credit risk.
29 - On Friday, U.S. regulators closed down three banks in Florida, two in South Carolina and one in Michigan, bringing to 96 the number of U.S. banks to be shut down so far in 2010.
30 - The FDIC's deposit insurance fund now has negative 20.7 billion dollars in it, which represents a slight improvement from the end of 2009.
31 - The U.S. federal budget deficit has topped $1 trillion with three months still to go in the current budget year.
32 - According to a U.S. Treasury Department report to Congress, the U.S. national debt will top $13.6 trillion this year and climb to an estimated $19.6 trillion by 2015.
33 - The M3 money supply plunged at a 9.6 percent annual rate during the first quarter of 2010.
34 - According to a new poll of Americans between the ages of 44 and 75, 61% said that running out money was their biggest fear. The remaining 39% thought death was scarier.
35 - One study found that as of 2007, the bottom 80 percent of American households held about 7% of the liquid financial assets.
36 - The bottom 40 percent of all income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.
37 - The number of Americans with incomes below the official poverty line rose by about 15% between 2000 and 2006, and by 2008 over 30 million U.S. workers were earning less than $10 per hour.
38 - According to one recent study, approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010 - the highest rate in 20 years.
39 - For the first time in U.S. history, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that number will go up to 43 million Americans in 2011.
40 - A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey has found that just 23% of American voters nationwide believe the federal government today has the consent of the governed.
Yet Technology is advancing faster than ever, making me wonder-- what are they pushing us towards? Internet 2 connectivity based business, Google wants to be the future.
What’s the difference between the new version of YouTube’s mobile Web site and the Apple-created YouTube application that is installed on every iPhone? The Web site is a lot better. At least that’s the subtext of a video that YouTube released as it announced the overhaul of the mobile site on Wednesday.
The site (in English only for now) has a number of new features that match those found on the normal YouTube site and are devised to cater to the growing number of mobile YouTube users. Andrey Doronichev, a product manager on the YouTube mobile team, wrote on the company’s blog that the mobile site, which was introduced in 2007, serves up 100 million video plays a day.
But there’s more to the company’s promotional video than meets the eye. Here’s a dissection of its subliminal messages, with images from the video.
0:09 A finger reaches from below an iPhone’s screen and, instead of pressing a clearly visible icon for the preinstalled YouTube application, heads straight to the Safari Web browser for what the video’s introduction calls “the full YouTube experience.” (This iPhone owner has, of course, set Google as his home page.)
0:24 The video flashes through some images of the site’s slick design, and then pushes the point that there really isn’t a difference between the YouTube application and the Web version by showing a video shifting to horizontal mode as the phone is turned.
0:30 Hold on to your popcorn. The phone suddenly turns into a Nexus One running the Android software from Google. It’s magical. What is Google trying to say here? “We’re trying to show that our end goal is to provide consistency, no matter which device you’re using,” Mr. Doronichev said in an interview. In other words, the mobile site looks the same no matter what smartphone you’re using.
Then the video runs through a number of new features offered by the mobile site that are more limited in the iPhone app. Mr. Doronichev points out that on the Web site you can see the “like” or “dislike” buttons that YouTube now uses for video ratings. The iPhone application still uses the old star ratings. It’s Apple’s job to update the application. Did Google get tired of waiting?
0:58 Another new feature is introduced: suggested search results when you start typing in the YouTube search box. This feature is not available in the YouTube application. (The video also shows that it’s possible to find a video showing you “how to kiss” on YouTube. Good to know.)
1:16 Who needs phone apps anyway? The video demonstrates how easily you can put an icon/bookmark for the Web site on the home screen of the iPhone with a couple of quick clicks.
YouTube says in its blog post, “We think this is a great improvement for users who want a more consistent YouTube across many devices, no matter where they are.” In other words, Google wants you to ditch that app.