Daily Digest

Daily Digest 8/25 - Economy In Depression Not Recession, Commercial Property Owners Default, E.U. In Same Boat As U.S.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010, 9:52 AM
  • Economy Caught in Depression, Not Recession: Rosenberg
  • Nortel Pensioners Say They Face Destitution
  • Organization Helps Homeless Children Prepare For School
  • Commercial Property Owners Choose to Default
  • Ireland Downgraded On Concern About Bank Bailouts
  • Pennsylvania County Gets $34.7 Million Bill for Harrisburg Debt
  • Putin to Offer Shortest-Term Debt in Seven Years: Russia Credit
  • U.S., Europe in ‘Same Boat’ on Recession Risks, EU’s Rehn Says
  • 9,111 Retired California Government Workers Receive Pensions In Excess Of $100,000 from CalPERS
  • 3,090 Retired Teachers And Administrators Receive Pensions In Excess of $100,000 from CalSTRS
  • Intel CEO: U.S. Faces Looming Tech Decline
  • College Savings Take A Hit

Crash Course DVDThe next twenty years will be completely unlike the last twenty. Watch the DVD to find out why. (NTSC or PAL)

Economy

Economy Caught in Depression, Not Recession: Rosenberg

Positive gross domestic product readings and other mildly hopeful signs are masking an ugly truth: The US economy is in a 1930s-style Depression, Gluskin Sheff economist David Rosenberg said Tuesday....But then as now, those signs of recovery were unsustainable and only provided a false sense of stability, said Rosenberg.

Nortel Pensioners Say They Face Destitution (Canada)

No one would want to see their monthly pension chopped by a third but that’s exactly what’s facing some former employees at the bankrupt, scandal-ridden telecom firm Nortel. The Toronto-based communications company will liquidate its pension accounts at the end of next month and the plan is only about 64% funded.

The Ontario government stepped in this year to guarantee the first $1,000 of monthly payouts for each of the 11,000 employees who worked in that province. About 12,000 others in Alberta, Quebec and Nova Scotia are out in the cold and could find themselves facing poverty, says former Nortel employee Ken Lyons.

Organization Helps Homeless Children Prepare For School (Charlotte)

Organizers say this school year alone, there are more than 3,200 homeless students enrolled in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. That number's risen about 20 percent each year, for the past five years.

"Almost virtually every school in the district has homeless children and then we have schools that combine a large number of homeless children with a high poverty rate," said executive director Annabelle Suddreth.

Commercial Property Owners Choose to Default

Like homeowners walking away from mortgaged houses that plummeted in value, some of the largest commercial-property owners are defaulting on debts and surrendering buildings worth less than their loans...

"We don't do this lightly," said Robert Taubman, chief executive of Taubman Centers Inc. The luxury-mall owner, with upscale properties such as the Beverly Center in Los Angeles, decided earlier this year to stop covering interest payments on its $135 million mortgage on the Pier Shops at Caesars in Atlantic City, N.J. Taubman, which estimates the mall is now worth only $52 million, gave it back to its mortgage holder.

    Crash Course DVDThe next twenty years will be completely unlike the last twenty. Watch the DVD to find out why. (NTSC or PAL)

Ireland Downgraded On Concern About Bank Bailouts

S&P lowered Ireland's long-term sovereign credit rating to AA- from AA and kept its outlook on negative, suggesting the ratings agency could cut again.... The total cost of Ireland's support for its banking sector may now reach 90 billion euros ($114 billion), or 58% of GDP, S&P estimated. That's up from a previous forecast of 80 billion euros.

Pennsylvania County Gets $34.7 Million Bill for Harrisburg Debt

Dauphin County, home to Pennsylvania’s capital of Harrisburg, may have to pay $34.7 million by Dec. 1 on notes issued in 2007 to cover costs tied to a municipal incinerator, if it can’t refinance the debt.

The county received notice it has to make the payments on the notes, which the county co-guaranteed, after the city said it couldn’t cover the cost.

Putin to Offer Shortest-Term Debt in Seven Years: Russia Credit

Russia plans to sell 10-month debt, the shortest-maturity federal bonds in seven years, as investors shun longer-term securities on concern inflation will pick up...The government is turning to shorter maturities after selling 6 percent of the 20 billion rubles of four-year bonds offered Aug. 18. Investors demanded higher yields than the government was willing to pay for the 2014 notes after the worst drought in 50 years boosted food prices. Inflation may jump to more than 7 percent from 5.5 percent in July

U.S., Europe in ‘Same Boat’ on Recession Risks, EU’s Rehn Says

Europe and the U.S. are in the “same boat” when facing the risk of a double-dip recession, European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said. “Any double-dip recession in the U.S. would have a negative impact on the economic recovery in Europe and vice versa,” Rehn told a news conference in New York today.

9,111 Retired California Government Workers Receive Pensions In Excess Of $100,000 from CalPERS

Top person on the list makes over $500,000

3,090 Retired Teachers And Administrators Receive Pensions In Excess of $100,000 from CalSTRS

Top person on the list makes over $285,000

Intel CEO: U.S. Faces Looming Tech Decline

Unless government policies are altered, he predicted, "the next big thing will not be invented here. Jobs will not be created here." The U.S. legal environment has become so hostile to business, Otellini said, that there is likely to be "an inevitable erosion and shift of wealth, much like we're seeing today in Europe--this is the bitter truth."

Not long ago, Otellini said, "our research centers were without peer. No country was more attractive for start-up capital... We seemed a generation ahead of the rest of the world in information technology. That simply is no longer the case."

College Savings Take A Hit (CNN Money video)

Higher unemployment is one of the reasons why parents are saving less for college, Fortune's Colin Barr says.

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."

18 Comments

saxplayer00o1's picture
saxplayer00o1
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Re: Daily Digest 8/25 - Economy In Depression Not ...

 

"Spain is putting all its eggs into one basket, and if it carries on like this, we may start to see a lot of Basques and Catalans crowding into one exit.

The state pension fund – the €64bn Fondo de Reserva, known as the ‘hucha de las pensiones‘ – is buying Spanish sovereign debt at a vertiginous pace.

The financial daily Cinco Dias reports that the share of the Fondo’s total portfolio invested in Spanish government bonds rose from below 50pc in 2007 to 76pc in 2009.

The Social Security minister Octavio Granado said it will rise to 90pc by the end of this year.

It is clear from an analysis of the data that the Fondo is not just investing fresh revenues in Spanish bonds, but also rotating out of Dutch, French, and German bonds into Spanish debt. The Spanish government is also funnelling 90pc of its sickness fund into state bonds.

Evidently, Spanish savers are underpinning Madrid’s Treasury auctions, whether they like or not. It is they who are mopping up the debt along with the European Central Bank as foreign creditors stay away."

"Aug. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Gold demand rose 36 percent in the second quarter as investors boosted purchases of bullion-backed funds and sent prices surging during Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis, the producer-funded World Gold Council said.

Global demand rose to 1,050.3 metric tons from 769.6 tons a year earlier, the London-based industry group said today in a report. Investors purchased 291.3 metric tons of gold in exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, the second-highest quarter on record, and central banks were net buyers for a fifth straight period."

"Aug. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Illinois’s Teachers Retirement System may sell $3 billion of investments to pay for benefits this year because the state can’t make its contributions to the fund, a spokesman said.

The pension plan sold $200 million of assets in July and $290 million in August, Dave Urbanek, spokesman for the $33 billion fund, said in a phone interview.

“We understand from the comptroller that there is no money to pay us,” said Urbanek. “If we don’t get a state contribution, we will have to sell more.”

The fund was forced to sell assets last year, too, as it awaited a state contribution. That payment came after Illinois issued $3.47 billion of taxable bonds to fund its pension contribution in January. The plan to sell assets was reported earlier by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Lawmakers failed to pass a pension bond issue this year, though they may take up a proposal to issue $3.7 billion worth of the debt after the November election.

The state’s unresolved $13 billion deficit and $4.7 billion in unpaid bills have caused the cost of insuring five-year Illinois bonds against default to more than double."

.....................3A) State pensions systems selling assets

"Due to a lack of state funding, Illinois pension systems disclosed Tuesday they are planning to sell a significant portion of their assets to pay benefits.

The Illinois Teachers' Retirement System plans to sell $3 billion, or 10 percent, of its $33 billion in assets this fiscal year if the state does not come through with funding, TRS spokesman Dave Urbanek said. The sales are ongoing each month.

The State Universities Retirement System of Illinois also will have to sell $1.2 billion of its $12.2 billion in assets to pay pensions if the state does not pay up, Executive Director William Mabe said."

 

"(Reuters) - Dubai World DBWLD.UL plans to sell its prized assets over a period of eight years to generate as much as $19.4 billion to pay off creditors burned by its overambitious expansion, according to a restructuring document obtained by Reuters on Wednesday.

The state-owned conglomerate told creditors at a July 22 meeting, held at Dubai's lavish Atlantis Hotel, that its capital structure was inappropriate and needed "urgent" restructuring, according to the document handed out at the meeting.

Dubai World, the conglomerate with investments in global luxury hotels to theme parks, said in the document asset disposals over an eight-year period will help generate up to a maximum of $19.4 billion, while similar sales based on current prices would be worth a maximum of $10.4 billion."

"The state's budget impasse is forcing some schools to seek loans to pay their bills as they start the school year.

To help the state meet debt and pension obligations, state officials decided Monday to start delaying school payments of $2.5 billion a month in September instead of October, as originally planned.

"It's not good news," said Bill Clark, associate superintendent for business in the Contra Costa County Office of Education. "With the deferral and extended delay of the state budget, there are heightened concerns with districts for cash flow."

Business officials from county districts will discuss their financial needs Friday, he said.

Some districts will likely seek short-term loans to pay their expenses and the county may establish its own loan pool for those with poor credit ratings, he said. The money would be repaid when districts get their state money."

Amarillo, TX--The state of Texas faces an $18 billion budget deficit, and as state lawmakers struggle to balance that budget, one agency argues the most recently proposed cuts will directly impact public safety.

Every state agency has been asked to come up with a plan to cut 10 to 15% of their budget if necessary. For the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, that would mean laying off more than 7,300 workers - including many in Amarillo.

"Anytime we look at scaling back on our programs, the impact that we start to see is that risidivism is affected. We have inmates that start coming back to prison in greater numbers, which means they are committing more crimes," Michelle Lyons, TDCJ spokeswoman said.

The bulk of layoffs would be guards and parole officers - over 5,000 of them in total.

Lawmakers say the 15% cuts are a worse-case scenario, but some slashes are certain unless taxes are raised.

"We have to make those cuts everywhere else and they are very, very painful because they are coming from programs that do a lot of good, that are absolutely essential to the state of Texas," State Senator Kel Seliger said.

In neighborhoods near the prisons, many are worried about the cuts.

Some even say they'd be afraid to let their children play outside with the risks of escaped convicts from an understaffed prison.

"I've dug into Mendocino County's debt for several years. But a month ago I saw something I'd never seen before, the specific path that will probably take it over the financial cliff. Ours is the most indebted county government per resident in California. That makes it very vulnerable to financial "shocks" such as the County Pension Fund's recent drastic losses in the stock market.

Mendocino County's Pension Fund was supposed to have $400 million in June 2009. But it only had $270 million, $130 million short on a "real" cash-value basis. The county is legally obligated to eliminate that deficit. It began making additional payments this year to do so.

In addition the county still owes $85 million it borrowed by selling Pension Obligation Bonds to eliminate earlier pension deficits. Therefore our county (which really means us) owes $215 million for pensions that should have already been paid for. If the county's pension funding plans had "worked," it wouldn't owe a dime. The county achieved less than half its pension funding goal.

As a result of this failure a number of financial time bombs are embedded in the pension fund that will explode over the next five years. Total debt payments will roughly double from $10 million last year to around $20 million in 2015. The official value of the pension fund's deficit will triple from $67 million to around $200 million.

You can get a six page explanation of these time bombs on my website, www.YourPublicMoney.Com. "

"Aug. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Sales of U.S. new homes unexpectedly dropped in July to the lowest level on record, signaling that even with cheaper prices and reduced borrowing costs the housing market is retreating.

Purchases fell 12 percent from June to an annual pace of 276,000, the weakest since data began in 1963, figures from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. The median price of $204,000 was the lowest since late 2003.

A lack of jobs is hurting American’s confidence, leading to a plunge in home demand that threatens to undermine the economic recovery that began a year ago. Builders are also competing with mounting foreclosures that is forcing down property values.

“Home sales are going to remain in the dumps until probably pretty much the end of next year,” Ken Mayland, president of ClearView Economics LLC in Pepper Pike, Ohio, said before the report. “We’re going to be talking about the foreclosure overhang for more than a year.”"

  • Other news and headlines:

For America's Middle Class, the Hits Just Keep on Coming (Tech Ticker video)

Japan keeps intervention option open to curb yen

Property values in LA County drop $18 billion from 2009

Oil spill has cost BP $6 billion so far, claims manager says

3000 postal workers march to protest cost-cutting moves

Golf clubs in the rough as members drop away

Chrysler Warns It Will Be 'Difficult' to Make Net Profit in 2010

Portuguese, Irish CDS rise after supply, downgrade

More than 3M seniors may have to switch drug plans

Oklahoma's top court calls bill on Medicaid unconstitutional

Money running out in Sauk Village: Mayor ("We can make Friday's payroll and that's it")

Chinese drivers stuck in epic traffic jam for nine days

COSATU warns of a total shutdown (Breaking News) (South Africa)

Durable Goods Orders in U.S. Rise Less Than Forecast (0.3 percent, compared with the 3 percent median estimate)

Nearly Two-Thirds of Delinquent Mortgages Untouched: Study

Firm faces civil charges for U.S. oil trading mayhem (high-frequency trading)

Morgan Stanley Says Governments Will Default, Only Question Is How

TNdancer's picture
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Re: Daily Digest 8/25 - Economy In Depression Not ...

Organizers say this school year alone, there are more than 3,200 homeless students enrolled in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. That number's risen about 20 percent each year, for the past five years.

 

A good part of that results from HOW you define homeless. 

 

That doesn't mean 3200 children are living with mom and dad in a car or under a bridge.....what it means for most is they AREN'T living with mom or dad.......probably because some never lived with, nor knew dad, and mom is now in rehab......so granny took them into her household and that makes them "homeless"....or mom split from dad, and moved in with granny, but since it isn't her own place, the kids are "homeless".

The definitions keep changing to increase the number of 'clients' the social servants can service.

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LogansRun
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There is no Bond Bubble.

And I'm Peter Pan.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/38848272

The Tulip Bulb Mania struck Holland around 1637, and it got so out of hand that some tulip bulbs cost ten times the annual salary of a skilled craftsman. Records show twelve acres of land were once offered for one bulb. Some recent historical reinterpretation has taken a calmer look at the period, but the point is that many investors were wiped out.

We all know about the dot.com bubble. Companies with no revenues and no earnings were being valued on "eyeballs" and the "new economy" was going to rule and the "old economy" was done for. And millions got wiped out. And more millions got steamrollered and lost their homes in the real estate bubble. That one really hurt because we all knew you couldn't lose money in real estate.

Bubbles require excessive speculation, extreme leverage, and the possibility of complete loss of investment. Then, to complete the cycle, you need actual loss of capital. If you buy ten-year government bonds, for example, you might lose buying power if inflation were to return. But if you hold them to maturity you will get your principal back. You might have gotten a disappointing inflation-adjusted return, but I suspect a lot of dot.comers wish that were the worst of their experiences. Sorry, no bubble.

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saxplayer00o1
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It's Okay To Walk Away: Let's End The "Morality" Double-Standard

It's Okay To Walk Away: Let's End The "Morality" Double-Standard On Mortgage Defaults (Tech Ticker) Innocent

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Re: Spanish Taking Page From American Social Security Playbook

Interesting, this article brought to our attention from Saxplayer00o1:

Spain uses social security fund to prop up the bond market

"The Social Security minister Octavio Granado said it will rise to 90pc by the end of this year.

"It is clear from an analysis of the data that the Fondo is not just investing fresh revenues in Spanish bonds, but also rotating out of Dutch, French, and German bonds into Spanish debt. The Spanish government is also funnelling 90pc of its sickness fund into state bonds."

If it's alarming for the Spanish government to do that, it makes you wonder why we are doing it in the first place. Especially since in both cases, the government spends it all right away!

Poet

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Or will it be Deflation?

http://www.energybulletin.net/node/50573

This link is to a summary of a presentation by Stoneleigh who writes for http://theautomaticearth.blogspot.com/ .  She make the case for deflation, which Rosenberg, James Rickards and many others agree with.  Stoneleigh is currently on a speaking tour of Europe, Canada and Michigan.

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Re: It's Okay To Walk Away: Let's End The "Morality" ...

Hence the reason why zero percent down mortgages should never, ever exist under any circumstance.  In fact, anything under 5% is unwise.   To bad the morons who pushed through those deals don't feel the pain that both sides now experience.

 

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Re: Daily Digest 8/25 - Economy In Depression Not ...

Corporate optimism datapoint of the day - Randall Forsyth reports on the magical math of corporate defined-benefit pension plans: Fitch’s analysts find the mean assumed return for corporate pension plans in 2008 and 2009 was 8%. That’s with an allocation to fixed-income assets of 34% of the total. Obviously, there’s no way that fixed-income assets can return 8% going forwards from here. There’s also little sign that pension plans are reducing their fixed-income exposure. And I can’t imagine that fund managers genuinely believe that long-term stock returns are going to be somewhere in the teens.

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Re: It's Okay To Walk Away: Let's End The "Morality" ...
alcatwize wrote:

Hence the reason why zero percent down mortgages should never, ever exist under any circumstance.  In fact, anything under 5% is unwise.   To bad the morons who pushed through those deals don't feel the pain that both sides now experience.

 

 

That's bunk. An individual mortgage is no different than a corporate mortgage. If corporations are allowed to walk away from mortgage obligations without feeling shame and guilt, then individuals should be able to do so, too.

+1

I never understood the 'moral' obligation people have so frequently talked about.

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Re: Daily Digest 8/25 - Economy In Depression Not ...

My word.

Its hysterical to watch the CNBC shills squirm in their seats while David talks. They always give that same smirk when someone speaks the truth.

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Re: It's Okay To Walk Away: Let's End The "Morality" ...
Johnny Oxygen wrote:

 

I never understood the 'moral' obligation people have so frequently talked about.

The 2008 definition of moral obligation is this: If you are a bank it is okay to commit fraud. If you are Wall Street it is permissible to sell fraud provided it has a exotic name. If you are a citizen it is not permissible to walk away from debt, in fact you must pay for fraud. If you are a representative you can take bribes from lobbyist and if you create some trash tax call it health care and you can retain a better plan, you can also steel from pension funds provided those funds are named Social Security and provided it is to pay for votes.

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Only So Much Oil In The Ground. Tower of Power!

As a teen in the early 80's my step father always played these guys and I LOVED THEM!  I'd forgotten about them until today while riding home from the gym.  Brought back memories!  Great and appropriate song!  Not only is the funk outstanding, the words hold much meaning.  Enjoy!

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V
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Re: It's Okay To Walk Away: Let's End The "Morality" ...
Davos wrote:
Johnny Oxygen wrote:

 

I never understood the 'moral' obligation people have so frequently talked about.

The 2008 definition of moral obligation is this: If you are a bank it is okay to commit fraud. If you are Wall Street it is permissible to sell fraud provided it has a exotic name. If you are a citizen it is not permissible to walk away from debt, in fact you must pay for fraud. If you are a representative you can take bribes from lobbyist and if you create some trash tax call it health care and you can retain a better plan, you can also steel from pension funds provided those funds are named Social Security and provided it is to pay for votes.

It is very difficult to grow up and find o out there is no Santa Claus , not Tooth Fairie, no Snow White or Prince Charming and Mickey Mouse was a corporate rodent.

We all have to at one time or other face the facts that the myths we grew up with were just that myths. It always makes me hysterical when I hear the phrase " I played by the rules"

Wake up.  There are only two rules in the  world everything else is a derivative of them.

Rule 1 There is no right or wrong there are only consequences for actions .( The Law of Karma)

Rule 2 If you have enough money rule 1 does not apply

These two rules gave birth to lawyers. Which is why we have somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 lawyer for every 250 humans. Humanity was much better off when there were only two professions (it wasn't hunting and gathering)

At one time this country had Presidents and Congress people who were farmers. Now we have presidents who need someone to tell them what is means.

Morality is for suckers and many are born every minute.

V

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Re: It's Okay To Walk Away: Let's End The "Morality" ...

Hmmm... well, very few things get me to post here but this one has to have some sort of retort.

While I believe you are probably voicing the view and character of many people, the only thing that gives me any hope at all is that the resurgence of moral values will eventually heal this festering wound on our country. But it has no chance until all the toxic economic skullduggery has been flushed out of the system. So, while this view may be the norm for now, it is also a testament to how far we have left to go before we can restore our lives and our country to a healthy state again. But don't let this attitude become what you rule your life by. If we do that, we truly are toast.

Pretty sad...

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Re: It's Okay To Walk Away: Let's End The "Morality" ...
targetbuster wrote:

 

Morality is for suckers and many are born every minute.

V

Who was it Spinoza (?Spelling) who said there is no good or evil, it's just how it effects you or how you perceive it?

I suppose the Roman Empire, like the banksters and lunatics on the street who sold their fraud to pension plans as exotic investments thought they had it good for a while. In fact, one moron CEO recently remarked he is doing God's work.

Then the Barbarians came, the peasants welcomed them with open arms because the Romans were taxing them on what they could farm, and they didn't farm because at a 100% tax rate it didn't pay.

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Re: Daily Digest 8/25 - Economy In Depression Not ...

V wrote:

Humanity was much better off when there were only two professions (it wasn't hunting and gathering)

Farmers and prostitutes?

Both admirable professions because they actually work for their money Smile

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Re: Daily Digest 8/25 - Economy In Depression Not ...

What has happened to Nortel and its pension (see above news) is a preview of an option that may become commonplace.

Companies and municipalities and governments and school systems may decide to just cut their responsibilities and obligations by turning over whatever balances there are in the pension to the pensioners and the future-pensioners at today's value.

For some governments and municipalities this will involve legislation and/or the removal of constitutional mandates.

Personally, I do not see any other way.

Perhaps there is a liability owed to the pension that is recorded somewhere,

but when you are bankrupt, how do you pay your liabilities?

 

 

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Re: Daily Digest 8/25 - Economy In Depression Not ...

I'd of said Prostitutes and Soldiers myself......

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