Daily Digest

Daily Digest 10/12 - Millions To Lose Unemployment In 2012, State Income Hit Hard By Wall St. Losses, Suburban Welfare Surge

Wednesday, October 12, 2011, 9:42 AM
  • Palm Coast cashing in on red-light citations
  • Spain health service chokes as austerity tightens
  • Nearly 1 million in state long-term jobless
  • Millions To Lose Unemployment Benefits In 2012
  • Florida: Tax collections expected to fall sharply
  • Mayor delivers State of the City address
  • Wash. Budget Cuts Could Lift Parolee Supervision
  • Bailed-out Portugal braces for more spending cuts
  • State Revenue Hit Hard By Wall Street Losses, DiNapoli Says
  • Reward offered in theft of 700-pound pelican statue stolen in Novato
  • ECB balance sheet hits record high on bond buys
  • Kirk report diagnoses Illinois' 'unsustainable' debt
  • Juncker: Greek debt haircut may exceed 60 percent
  • China's debt pileup raises risk of hard landing
  • Economists demand curbs on food speculators
  • More Seeking Food Assistance
  • Foreclosures over 40% of capital home sales
  • Central Iowa food pantry asks for help to meet demand
  • Homelessness and hunger on the rise in Toledo area
  • Tent cities grow as homelessness rises in U.S.
  • Study estimates 3 million British children in poverty by 2013
  • Montreal food bank sees increasing demand
  • Suburban Welfare Surge
  • 2012 Projections Anticipate Health Premium Hikes
  • Biofuel fuels food price
  • High gold price triggers rainforest devastation in Peru

Our 'What Should I Do?' guide has steps to cook, see & stay warm in times of power outage

Economy

Palm Coast cashing in on red-light citations

Red-light camera citations have angered motorists around Florida and the country. Critics say cities are simply using cameras to fatten their coffers. While city officials respond the cameras are for safety. Palm Coast has collected $1.35 million for its streets improvement fund since the cameras were switched on in July 2008. On top of that, American Traffic Solutions, the vendor that supplies the cameras, has collected about $562,280. The city has sent $235,720 to the state for its cut.

Spain health service chokes as austerity tightens

Medical suppliers haven't been paid for as much as two years, emergency rooms have been shut down and doctors in Catalonia have been told to accept a pay cut or 1,500 medical residents will lose their jobs. Spain's treasured public health care system has become the latest victim of the euro zone debt crisis. "We haven't been paid, but there's nothing we can do about it. We need the contracts, so we're just going to have to wait it out," said a representative for a cleaning company who did not want his or the firm's name used for fear of a backlash. The company, which says it is owed hundreds of millions of euros by the government of the Castilla-La Mancha region south of Madrid, is one of dozens of providers of everything from surgical swabs to disinfectants struggling to pay workers as Spain's regions delay payments to meet tight deficit targets.

Nearly 1 million in state long-term jobless (California)

That six-month mark is critical because the unemployed typically receive benefits for only 26 weeks. However, because of the depth of this downturn Congress has extended benefits for up to 99 weeks.

Even with those extensions, more than 533,000 people in California have become so-called 99ers, people who have exhausted their benefits and no longer are receiving unemployment. It is not known how many of them subsequently found work.

In August, the most recent data available, 45.5 percent of California's 2.2 million unemployed had been out of work over six months and 33.2 percent of those had been out over a year.

Millions To Lose Unemployment Benefits In 2012

If lawmakers don't act soon, the jobless see their unemployment checks start to disappear come January.

More than 6 million Americans are set to lose federal unemployment benefits in 2012, with 1.8 million running out in January alone, according to new figures from the National Employment Law Project.

Florida: Tax collections expected to fall sharply

State economists are predicting that Florida's tax collections will fall short by $1.3 billion to $1.7 billion over the next two years.

Economists began meeting Tuesday to draw up a new forecast on state tax collections amid signs that Florida's economy has been stalling over the last few months.Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders will rely on these forecasts to determine whether more cuts will be needed in 2012 to schools, health care and other state programs.

Mayor delivers State of the City address (Pittsburg)

The address began by noting the city's finance department and the 8.14 percent decrease in the city's assessed valuation since fiscal year 2010. She also noted the 7.93 percent drop in ad valorem tax levy, as well as other cuts in state revenues.

"It is difficult for cities when the state balances its budget on our back," she said. Furthermore, the delinquency rate of people paying their property taxes increased 2.2 percent to 8.8 percent overall, the equivalent of more than 4 mills in unpaid taxes. She ended the discussion of the finance department by noting how difficult it will be to keep the city's mill levy flat.

Wash. Budget Cuts Could Lift Parolee Supervision

As it faces budget cuts, the Washington Department of Corrections is considering ending supervision for about 12,000 felons on parole in the state.The Seattle Times reports the union leaders for prison guards and the state employees who monitor released inmates say ending the supervision will endanger the public.

Bailed-out Portugal braces for more spending cuts

Portugal's budget for next year will be the toughest in living memory as the government slashes spending to drive down the country's stubbornly high debt level, Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho said Monday.

Portugal took a euro78 billion ($106 billion) bailout in May as its huge debt burden threatened national bankruptcy and investors fled. The four-month-old government has already hiked taxes and cut welfare benefits. But despite a raft of measures, including a one-off 50 percent tax on Christmas bonuses due in December, it remains far off its financial targets.

State Revenue Hit Hard By Wall Street Losses, DiNapoli Says (New York)

"The concern obviously is New York City and New York State budget because of this cooling down on profitability on Wall Street. Still gonna be a good year, still gonna be a profitable year but not as strong as anticipated at the end of the year," DiNapoli said. So far, the industry has lost about 4,100 jobs since April of this year and DiNapoli's office predicts the industry could lose an additional 10,000 jobs by the end of next year.

Reward offered in theft of 700-pound pelican statue stolen in Novato

Novato police are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the identification of whoever was responsible for the theft of a 700-pound bronze pelican statue from a city park.

The nine-foot tall sculpture named "Omay," the Miwok word for "pelican," was taken from Scottsdale Pond park sometime last week. Novato police say the thief or thieves may have thought the sculpture was made of valuable copper.

ECB balance sheet hits record high on bond buys

The Eurosystem's balance sheet expanded further in the week ending Oct. 7, the European Central Bank said Tuesday, hitting the highest level on record as the central bank continued to buy government bonds.

The balance sheet rose to EUR2.296 trillion by the end of last week, up about EUR7 billion from EUR2.289 trillion the previous Friday. It was about EUR428 billion larger than a year earlier.

Kirk report diagnoses Illinois' 'unsustainable' debt

It cites a May report from Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford. Rutherford's report said Illinois borrowed $3.7 billion earlier this year to help fund a pension payment, and because of the state's low credit rating, taxpayers are saddled with $1.28 billion of interest. That's 17 percent more than Kentucky, 34 percent more than Michigan, and 41 percent more than Washington have to pay on similar bonds issued this year, Rutherford's report said.

Kirk also cites an August 2010 report from the Civic Federation. The Chicago-based government research group said Illinois will spend $550 million in additional interest on its debt beyond what comparable issuers might have been charged for the Build America Bond program, which the state used to fund a capital program.

Juncker: Greek debt haircut may exceed 60 percent

The head of the eurozone's finance ministers says the Greek creditors may have to settle for a cut of more than 60 percent in what Athens owes them. Jean-Claude Juncker, who is also prime minister of Luxembourg, says the group is "talking about more" than a 60 percent haircut for Greece.

China's debt pileup raises risk of hard landing

China's local governments have piled up a mountain of bad debt, some of it to finance bridges to nowhere and other white elephant projects, which now threatens to constrict growth at a time when the global economy is sputtering. It is adding to other systemic risks in China, including a sharp downturn in the property market and a rapid rise in problematic loans.

Local governments had amassed 10.7 trillion yuan in debt at the end of 2010. The government expects 2.5 to 3 trillion yuan of that will turn sour, while Standard and Chartered reckons as much as 8 to 9 trillion yuan will not be repaid -- or about $1.2 trillion to $1.4 trillion.

In other words, the potential debt defaults could be even larger than the $700 billion U.S. bail-out programme during the 2008 crisis.

Economists demand curbs on food speculators

Leading nations have come under renewed pressure to curb speculation in agricultural commodities - even as data showed fast money exiting the industry faster than during the 2008 crash.

More than 450 economists from some 40 countries, and at institutions including Berkeley, Cambridge and Oxford universities, urged this week's meeting of finance ministers from the G20 group of leading industrialised countries to "curb excessive speculation" in agriculture futures.

The letter, which blamed speculators for "contributing to increasing volatility and record high food prices", and so "exacerbating global hunger", demand caps on their positions.

More Seeking Food Assistance (Oregon)

A spokesman for the Department Health and Human Services says it's a sign that the recession is not over. Southern Oregon already has a high unemployment rate and more folks are losing their jobs or getting their hours cut.

ACCESS, a local food bank, says about 3,700 families needed help in the month of August. That's the highest number they've ever seen.

Foreclosures over 40% of capital home sales (California)

More than 40 percent of homes sold in the Sacramento area in August were foreclosure sales, indicating continued weakness in the local real estate market, according to a new report.

Zillow, the Seattle-based real estate website, said its home value index for the capital region – which represents the median value of a home here – dropped 11.3 percent in August to $202,400 from the same month last year.

Central Iowa food pantry asks for help to meet demand

She says the contributions are not keeping up with the need. “The economy still hasn’t improved for the people we serve,” Rice says. “Wall Street may be doing better but the people who lost their jobs or had their hours cut as a result of the recession, that still isn’t coming back yet.”

D-MARC serves 30,000 people a year, about half of whom are under 25. Food requests this year are on pace to be the highest ever, Rice says, seven-percent higher than last year.

Homelessness and hunger on the rise in Toledo area

The Cherry Street Mission is seeing record growth in the number of people in need. In September, 256 people sought shelter which is up nearly 20 percent from 2010.

The Cherry Street Mission served an average of more than 800 meals per day - up 25 percent from last year.

"To get those double digit increases in September is a first for an organization that's more than six decades old. it's a powerful statement," said Dan Rogers, president and CEO of Cherry Street Missions.

Tent cities grow as homelessness rises in U.S.

Five years ago, only a handful of people were looking for shelter in the woods here. Since the recession started in 2008, the camp has grown into a small community. There are now tent cities like this one in almost every U.S. state.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, about 650,000 people experience homelessness on any given night, 250,000 families have lost their homes, 50,000 youths sleep in the streets.

Between 2008 and 2009, the homeless population in the United States increased 3 percent, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness. The problem is especially severe in suburban and rural areas where public shelters run by local authorities simply do not exist.

Study estimates 3 million British children in poverty by 2013

The falling standard of living, coupled with the economic slowdown and government reduction of tax breaks and social benefits, will lead to 3 million children in the United Kingdom living in poverty by 2013, the Institute for Fiscal Studies forecast.

The study, released on Monday, blames two years of continuous decline of incomes for adding an estimated 600,000 more children into a state of poverty. It is the biggest drop in living standards for middle-income British families since the 1970s after median incomes declined 7 percent, inclusive of inflation.

Montreal food bank sees increasing demand

Since the beginning of the global economic meltdown in 2008, volunteers and administrators at the South Shore food bank have seen a drastic rise in the amount of working families who need its services while dealing with a steep decline in donations.

"We're starting to see homelessness off the island of Montreal, which is a new and difficult challenge for us," said general manager Cathy Lepage. "And with the cost of food on the rise, we've had a 30-per-cent spike in demand for our services. "Mostly it's working families who can't make ends meet.

Suburban Welfare Surge

The welfare rolls are swelling in some of the nation's wealthiest suburbs around New York City, highlighting anemic job growth since the 2008 recession and changing demographics.

On Long Island, the number of people receiving welfare surged 67% between July 2007 and July 2011, a far steeper increase than in the rest of New York, according to state records. In the past year, upstate's Rockland and Orange counties experienced double-digit increases, while in Bergen County, N.J., welfare numbers went up 6%. But in New York City, the number of welfare recipients has fallen by 4% since 2007

2012 Projections Anticipate Health Premium Hikes

In concordance with a report published two weeks ago declaring health insurance premiums on the rise, a new pricing survey from Sherlock Company, of 22 percent of plans across the nation anticipates premium rate increases of 8 percent in 2012. This figure is down two percentage points from the 10 percent increase projected for 2011.

Biofuel fuels food price

A steep rise in biofuel production and a highly concentrated export market coupled with export restrictions have contributed to the rising food prices across the world, badly affecting countries like Bangladesh.

Increasing and volatile prices of food left an estimated 80 percent of Bangladeshi households worse off, eroding on average 11 percent of their spending during the food price surge in 2007-08. The poverty rate in the country during that period rose five percent. The Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2011, released yesterday, contains these findings.

High gold price triggers rainforest devastation in Peru

As the price of gold inches upward on international markets, a dead zone is spreading across the southern Peruvian rain forest. Tourists flying to Manu or Tambopata, the crown jewels of the country’s Amazonian parks, get a jarring view of a muddy, cratered moonscape ... and then another ... and another in what the country boasts is its capital of biodiversity.

While alluvial gold mining in the Amazon is probably older than the Incas, miners using motorized suction equipment, huge floating dredges and backhoes are plowing through the landscape on an unprecedented scale, leaving treeless scars visible from outer space.

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. 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."

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Occupy Wall Street Plans Mass Close-Out of Chase Bank Accounts

NIce catch yoshhash.  Good to see your posts!  ... dons

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