Daily Digest

Daily Digest 3/21 - Cal State Freezes Spring Enrollment, India Inc Stressed, IMF Seeks $140 Oil Risk Despite Libyan Boost

Wednesday, March 21, 2012, 2:16 PM
  • Fed’s Bond Portfolio Generates $75.4 Billion for U.S. Treasury
  • Cal State Freezes Spring Enrollment
  • Austerity budgets in Ottawa, Ontario raise risk of labour unrest
  • Gas prices may impact county budgets
  • Enterprising thieves steal X-ray film to extract silver
  • Portugal Municipal Debts May Total 12 Billion Euros, Lusa Says
  • India Inc stressed: Debt recast zooms to Rs 76,251 cr in 2011-12
  • Junction City asks state help on debt load
  • Sen. Franken presses for crackdown on oil speculators
  • Baby boomer joblessness lasts longer, hits harder
  • IMF sees $160 oil risk despite Libyan boost
  • States' Tax Revenue Growth Softened in 4th Quarter
  • Students, Your Loan Interest Rate Is About to Double
  • Texas Has Highest Percentage Of Uninsured
  • Fort Lauderdale considers adding more red-light cameras
  • Bernanke: Gold Standard A 'Waste Of Resources'

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Economy

Fed’s Bond Portfolio Generates $75.4 Billion for U.S. Treasury

The Federal Reserve paid $75.4 billion to the U.S. Treasury as an expanded bond portfolio generated $83.6 billion in interest income from its open-market operations last year.

The Fed’s total assets stood at $2.92 trillion at the end of 2011, up from $2.43 trillion at the end the previous year and about $894 billion in 2007, according to financial statements released by the central bank today.

Cal State Freezes Spring Enrollment

The problems could get worse for the CSU system if the tax measured is not approved. In addition to automatically enacting a $200 million state cut, it would also put in jeopardy the admission of another 20,000 to 25,000 qualified students for the 2013-2014 year. This all comes as student anger continues to rise as quick as their tuition. Tuition will jump to $7,017 a year, not including room, board and books next year.

Austerity budgets in Ottawa, Ontario raise risk of labour unrest

A coast-to-coast spring of labour unrest is poised to escalate next week as Ontario and Ottawa deliver budgets that aim to save billions by shedding thousands of government jobs.

Mr. Poirier’s union has estimated that federal cuts at the high end of Ottawa’s $4-billion-to-$8-billion target range would translate into more than 50,000 lost federal jobs and over 100,000 lost jobs economy-wide.

Mr. Flaherty has dismissed those estimates but has not hinted at how many jobs will be lost. The minister’s claims that he is not preparing an “austerity” budget is being met with skepticism by federal unions.

Gas prices may impact county budgets (Grand Rapids)

Many public leaders didn't figure this sort of price jump into their 2012 budgets, and they have hundreds of vehicles that need to be fueled up every week.

Dozens of the trucks in the Kent County Road Commission's fleet only get about four miles to the gallon, and they run all day. The trucks will be traveling all over the county at the peak of construction season this summer, just as gas prices are projected to climb to $4.50 and possibly $5 a gallon.

Enterprising thieves steal X-ray film to extract silver

Posing as an employee of a recycling company, a man is alleged to have walked into hospitals in the Toronto, London and Ottawa areas and made away with barrels of X-ray film. He was caught with 30,000 X-rays and now faces fraud charges. The film contains a small amount of silver, a commodity whose price has been soaring in recent years, hitting $35 an ounce last week, up from $17 in 2010. That’s prompting enterprising thieves to find increasingly creative methods (or scams) to extract the precious metal. There have also been cases of X-ray film theft at hospitals across the United States, most recently in Philadelphia and Delaware.

Portugal Municipal Debts May Total 12 Billion Euros, Lusa Says

Portuguese local governments may hold as much as 12 billion euros ($16 billion) in debts, news agency Lusa reported, citing Fernando Ruas, president of the country’s association of municipalities.

India Inc stressed: Debt recast zooms to Rs 76,251 cr in 2011-12 (Chart)

“Corporate sickness seems to be spreading. Earlier, our bank used to have not more than 3-4 corporate debt restructuring cases at a time. But now we are dealing with about 30 cases,” said a senior official with a mid-size public sector bank.

S&P has said that the asset quality of Indian banks is likely to remain weak due to the moderation in economic activity, high inflation, and high interest rates. “We expect a sharp rise in restructured loans in fiscal years 2012 and 2013. Small and mid-size companies are particularly vulnerable. Stress is also mounting on some highly leveraged large companies,” S&P said.

Junction City asks state help on debt load

Junction City officials responsible for pulling the military town away from clutches of bankruptcy are depending on Gov. Sam Brownback to sign a bill delivering a five-year extension of elevated municipal debt limits.

Sen. Franken presses for crackdown on oil speculators

Sen. Franken said Minnesotans now pay an average of $3.68 a gallon for gasoline, up a full 10 cents more per gallon in two weeks. He pointed to a recent report in Forbes magazine that found that oil market speculators drive the market price of oil up and add 56 cents to a gallon of gas.

The legislation would direct Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Gary Gensler – whom Sen. Franken met with last Thursday to urge him to take immediate action – to utilize all his authority, including emergency powers, to eliminate excessive oil speculation. The emergency directive is identical to bi-partisan legislation that passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 402-19 during a similar crisis on June 26, 2008.

Baby boomer joblessness lasts longer, hits harder

A recent national survey found that job seekers 55 and older had been out of work a numbing 56 weeks, which is 20 weeks longer than the average furlough for younger job seekers. More than half of older job-seekers were considered long-term unemployed, having been out of work six months or more.

Throw in plummeting home values, diminished 401k plans and threats to Medicare and Social Security, and it's no wonder many baby boomers now look warily toward retirement and question what happened to their world.

IMF sees $160 oil risk despite Libyan boost

Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, has warned over recent days that high oil prices risk choking global recovery before a fresh cycle of growth is safely underway.

She told a forum in Delhi that the world outlook is not as "grim or dire" as it had appeared over the winter but dangers abound. "A sudden and brutal rise in the price would have serious consequences on the global economy. If there was for instance a major shortage of export of oil from Iran, it will certainly drive prices up, at least for a period of time. We believe that it will be in the range of 20pc to 30pc," she said. Such a move would push Brent to uncharted levels above $160.

States' Tax Revenue Growth Softened in 4th Quarter

State tax revenue growth weakened in the fourth quarter of 2011 due to weak economic conditions as well as the expiration of temporary tax increases and the stimulus provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Rockefeller Institute said in a report Monday.

The preliminary data show all 50 states’ collections from major tax sources increased by 2.7% in the fourth quarter of 2011 compared to the same quarter of 2010 — the lowest growth rate since mid-2010.

The report said this is a “noticeable slowdown” from the 11.1% and 6.1% year-over-year growth reported in the second and third quarters of 2011 respectively.

Students, Your Loan Interest Rate Is About to Double

Prepare yourself: on July 1, as many as 8 million college students will see their interest rates on federally subsidized student loans double, from 3.4% to 6.8%. According to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, that increase amounts to the average Stafford loan borrower’s paying $2,800 more over a standard 10-year repayment term for loans made after June 30.

Texas Has Highest Percentage Of Uninsured (Audio)

Almost a quarter of people in Texas lack health insurance. We take a look at what that means for a patient struggling to get treatment for a health condition.

Fort Lauderdale considers adding more red-light cameras

In a letter to the city, company officials say the cameras have generated more than 26,000 citations since they were installed in 2011 and have generated a net income of more than $658,000 for the city. An additional $200,000 is expected as the citations make their way through the legal system, wrote company manger Christopher Merdon.

The company, which receives a cut of the income, is seeking a four-year extension to its current contract.

Bernanke: Gold Standard A 'Waste Of Resources'

Later, during a Q&A period after his lecture, Bernanke acknowledged the main arguments for a gold standard, before dismissing them. Proponents, like Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), argue that a gold standard maintains the value of the dollar, under the premise that paper money is inherently inflationary. Bernanke dismissed this, arguing that while the argument may hold for long-run price stability it is not valid on a year-to-year basis. A gold standard, Bernanke said, also stops the central bank from being able to respond to booms and busts through monetary policy.

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to dd@PeakProsperity.com. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."

6 Comments

saxplayer00o1's picture
saxplayer00o1
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 30 2009
Posts: 2594
littlefeatfan's picture
littlefeatfan
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 20 2009
Posts: 141
3E links, cartoons, and resources

new post at  http://3es.weebly.com/

Poet's picture
Poet
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1840
Power Struggle In China Update

Re-post with additional information

Rumours of power struggle in China, as the current generation of leaders is passing power to the new... Some may end up on house arrest, sent to a labor camp, or sent to administer some small town in Tibet or near Mongolia. Probably no executions this time around, though.

The Epoch Times has a section: "Chinese Regime In Crisis" with several articles:
http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/t/chinese-regime-in-crisis

One such article:
The Ouster of Bo Xilai Is Only the Beginning
http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/opinion/the-ouster-of-bo-xilai-is-only-the-beginning-208344.html

Other News

Chinese Coup Rumors Run Wild Online, Then Disappear
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-21/chinese-coup-rumors-run-wild-online-then-disappear-adam-minter.html

CNN: Why Chinese Succession Matters
http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2012/03/14/why-chinese-succession-matters/

Poet

VeganD's picture
VeganD
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 18 2008
Posts: 580
Mexican quake same day as planned earthquake disaster drill

http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fw...

(google translated from spanish to english)

Tuxtla Gutierrez

Megasimulacro tuned for details of earthquake
The megasimulacro be organized from the hypothesis of an earthquake of Richter 7.9 °
BE MARCH 20
El Heraldo de Chiapas
March 2, 2012

PEPE GALLEGOS

As part of preparations for the next megasimulacro March 20, state authorities of Civil Protection (CP) performed exercise tests before a cabinet to simulate the response to a contingency situation, an earthquake measuring 7.9 degrees on the scale Richter. (snip)

strange coincidence

ezlxq1949's picture
ezlxq1949
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 29 2009
Posts: 50
Moody's downgrade of debt may force Detroit to pay etc

Can anybody tell me why anybody takes any notice of the ratings agencies? Weren't most or even all of them caught accepting money in return for issuing favourable ratings to various of the banks?

Woodman's picture
Woodman
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 26 2008
Posts: 1025
Erik on FSN

I don't plan to move from my ittle corner of the US, but Erik Townsend in today's FSN podcast made some key observations that are worth a listen for those like me needing a greater global awareness:

www.financialsense.com/financial-sense-newshour/guest-expert/2012/03/21/erik-townsend/the-search-for-greener-pastures-overseas

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