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Underneath the Happy Talk, Is This As Bad as the Great Depression?

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1/1/2011

How could that possibly be

, when the stock market has largely recovered? (Let's forget for a moment that the stock market rallied after 1929, but then crashed in a double dip). To find out, we'll look at a couple comparisons to get an idea of what is going on in the rest of the economy. And then we'll compare the government's efforts in the 1930s to today. During the Great Depression, home prices fell 25.9 percent in five years. The U.S. housing market is now down around 25 percent from its peak in 2006. As housing price expert Robert Shiller pointed out in September 2008:

Home price declines are already approaching those in the Great Depression, when they plunged 30% during the 1930s [i.e. over a 10-year period]. With prices already down almost 20%, it's not a stretch to think we might exceed that drop this time around.
        
There are a great many things wrong with Obamacare, but the biggest is perhaps one that neither party is paying any attention to: It is one huge entrapment scheme that will turn patients and providers into criminals. When the government hands out subsidies, it will use a household’s income in the previous year as the basis for guessing what the household is qualified to get in the current year. But if the household’s income grows midyear, the subsidy recapture provision will require it to repay anywhere from $600 to $3,500, compared to the $450 that the law originally called for.
    
(WASHINGTON) A global economic power shift is being accelerated by population growth in Asia's emerging markets, while the US will be buoyed by a relatively youthful populace, according to analyses of international figures.Changes in population help determine a country's economic prospects. Slowing growth rates, and even contracting populations, in advanced economies had been offset by migrating workers in the past decade. That trend has fallen off in recent years as a result of the global recession.
       
Perpetual motion--a machine which produces more than it consumes indefinitely, without any visible energy source--is impossible. So too is an economy which consumes more than it produces and fills the gap with debt. Yet Japan has maintained the illusion of a perpetual motion debt machine for 20 years. So Japan has borrowed almost half its government expenditures for a decade or so. Even at super-low bond yields of around 1%, it now costs 21 trillion yen to service that ever-growing mountain of debt. So 23% of the government's budget is spent on servicing debt. Roughly half of all tax revenues (51%) are devoted to paying interest on public debt.
 
  

  

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Underneath the Happy Talk, Is This As Bad as the Great Depression?

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