Daily Digest

Daily Digest 9/18 - Europe's Advice For U.S. Debt, Sorting Out The Postal Service, States Struggle To Maintain Roads

Sunday, September 18, 2011, 9:41 AM
  • Advice on Debt? Europe Suggests U.S. Can Keep It
  • For U.S. workers, the lost decade of opportunity
  • Greece under pressure as finance ministers put brakes on bailout
  • Silvercorp’s defence left questions unanswered
  • Benefits cap 'could make 80,000 children homeless'
  • Sorting out the Postal Service
  • States struggle for financing to meet road needs
  • Work longer: new pension bombshell for under-50s
  • Protesters Converge on Lower Manhattan, Plan ‘Occupation'
  • Crude Oil Market Outlook

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Advice on Debt? Europe Suggests U.S. Can Keep It (In Calgary)

Financial officials from the United States, once called “the committee to save the world” after the Asian crisis in the 1990s, now find themselves uttering apologies for the harm caused to the world by the 2008 financial crisis and coating their advice to European nations with the knowing nod of the battle-hardened.

The change in tone was on display here on Friday when Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner made an unusual appearance at a meeting of euro zone finance ministries. Mr. Geithner had been invited to offer some advice on fixing Europe’s sovereign debt and banking problems.

For U.S. workers, the lost decade of opportunity (In Calgary)

Obscured by the housing bubble and cheap credit, the well-being of working Americans was already threatened by powerful structural forces when the Great Recession hit. Technology supplanted routine work of all kinds, leaving millions with skills that employers no longer need. Offshoring of work to China and India destroyed millions of labour-intensive factory jobs. Low interest rates artificially pumped up wealth and consumption, but didn’t steer enough investment into the roots of the economy.

Greece under pressure as finance ministers put brakes on bailout (In Calgary)

US secretary of state Tim Geithner, who flew to Poland on Friday to emphasise Washington's fears of a second financial meltdown, urged eurozone countries to expand their bailout fund to better tackle the debt crisis. He warned the debt crisis posed a "catastrophic risk" to financial markets and added "What is very damaging [in Europe] from the outside is not the divisiveness about the broader debate, about strategy, but about the ongoing conflict … You need … to work together to do what is essential to the resolution of any crisis."

Silvercorp’s defence left questions unanswered (In Calgary)

There's no doubt that Silvercorp (SVM-T6.81-0.09-1.30%) chief executive officer Rui Feng understands its first press release can't exonerate his company of all allegations. That's why the independent directors have hired forensic accountants at KPMG to look into Silvercorp’s business dealings. But because that review will take some time, it’s worth noting what big issues remain unclear.

Benefits cap 'could make 80,000 children homeless' (In Calgary)

The welfare reform bill, which proposes a £500 a week cap on the amount families can claim for housing, childcare and sustenance, is set to return to parliament in the House of Lords on Tuesday after making unsteady progress through the Commons earlier this year.

The society says 200,000 children will have their lives affected by the changes to the amount their parents can claim and 27,600 adults and 82,400 children could be made homeless.

Sorting out the Postal Service (In Calgary)

The Postal Service has been heading toward insolvency for years, largely because people increasingly use computers to communicate and pay bills, and partly because of unsustainable labor agreements. But neither politicians nor postal managers have acted as though there was any rush to address the problem. Now that the service faces a $5.5-billion bill for retiree health benefits, due at the end of this month, it's planning drastic cutbacks and seeking relief on a variety of fronts.

States struggle for financing to meet road needs (In Calgary)

Two congressionally mandated commissions and a slew of experts and committees have said the nation needs to double, even quadruple, what it spends each year to maintain and repair its aging transportation infrastructure and expand to accommodate population growth.

So there's the rub. No one likes traffic jams and potholes. No one wants people to die because an unsafe bridge has collapsed. But raising federal gas and diesel taxes or boosting tolls and fees isn't popular, either.

Work longer: new pension bombshell for under-50s (In Calgary)

Steve Webb, the pensions minister, has told the Observer that further moves are necessary and the coalition government will rip up the former administration's timetable, under which the pension age was to be increased to 67 in 2036 and 68 by 2046. Webb, a Liberal Democrat, indicated that he was not seeking merely to tinker with the timescales. He said: "The timescales for 67 and 68 are too slow. If it is 67 in the mid-2030s we will be going backwards in terms of share of your life in retirement. I mean the problem would be worse than 20 years before."

The raising of the state pension age to 67 in 2026, the most likely option according to Whitehall sources, would affect 8.1 million people in their 40s who would otherwise have expected to retire at 66.

Protesters Converge on Lower Manhattan, Plan ‘Occupation’ (VeganD)

Dubbed “#OccupyWallStreet,” the goal of the protest is to get President Barack Obama to establish a commission to end “the influence money has over our representatives in Washington,” according to the website of Adbusters, a group promoting the demonstration. Organizers want participants to “occupy” the area for “a few months,” according to the website.

Crude Oil Market Outlook (Erik T.)

In the videos, then again in my presentations at the ASPO conference and before Walloon Parliament (those talks are also available in free online videos – google my name and ASPO to find them), I set forth a general thesis which can be summarized as:

The bullish case for higher crude oil prices over the long run could not be stronger!

However, I predicted a major sell-off due to economic weakness before peak oil actually “hits the tape”.

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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Troika Seeks 100,000 Greek Public Sector Layoffs By 2015-Report


"Greece's international creditors have told the government to lay off 100,000 public sector workers by 2015--with 50,000 to be shifted to a special labor reserve at reduced pay immediately--as a condition for resuming aid talks, a Greek newspaper reports Sunday.

According to the online edition of To Vima newspaper, the so-called troika of European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank inspectors have laid out 15 austerity measures Greece must take "here and now." "


Most Germans View Greek Insolvency as Inevitable, Focus Reports

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Good article

In Calgary

Thanks for the very good article.  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/for-us-workers...


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The Hospital Gestapo: You May Never See Home Again



American hospitals have devised a scheme to guarantee they never get stuck with an unpaid bill. It’s called guardianship.

Thinking of checking into a hospital? Think again. You may never see home again.

 Ginger Franklin, Hendersonville, Tennessee, fell down the stairs in her condo and suffered a bump on her head. She was declared “temporarily mentally incapacitated” and a guardian was appointed through the courts. Within six weeks, the guardian had soldFranklin’s home, car, furniture, and drained her bank account. Today,Franklin has her freedom back, but she is having to start all over.

The Family is Always Portrayed as the “Devil Incarnate”

What happened to Niedesky is becoming a commonplace occurrence in America. A family member is rushed to the hospital. Surgery occurs and something sometimes goes terribly wrong. However, by quickly petitioning the courts for guardianship, the hospital avoids any kind of lawsuit for negligence or wrongful death.

The Other Scenario

Tom Griffith (not his real name) wonders why an Orlando-based corporate guardian would be interested in his father at all.

“He has no money. All he gets is a small monthly cheque from Social Security of about $800.00.”

I explained to Griffith that his father has been marked for destruction and will mostly likely not be among the living in a very short period of time. “We live in a country that is ruled by corporations, not the U.S. Constitution. If there is not enough money for the nursing home to cover its expenses, there is ‘no reason’ to keep your father alive.” I explained to Milton how Thomas Chada’s father was sent to him as a box of ashes and how other wards seem to always turn up “expired” shortly after a corporate guardian and her attorneys have burned through all of an elderly person’s money.


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Protest dwindles after bid to 'occupy' Wall Street

Protest dwindles after bid to 'occupy' Wall Street


Hundreds of people spent the night sleeping in New York's Wall Street district after failing to occupy the heart of global finance to protest against greed, corruption and budget cuts.

Hundreds of demonstrators who descended on Lower Manhattan on Saturday with the aim of staying at least until the open of the New York Stock Exchange on Monday had planned to turn the area into an "American Tahrir Square".

But they were thwarted when police blocked all the streets near the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall in Lower Manhattan.

By Sunday, only about 200 demonstrators remained, having spent the night at Trinity Place some 300 metres from Wall Street.

Organisers had hoped to see more than 20,000 people "flood" the neighbourhood for a months-long occupation.

The protest came as the United States struggles to overcome an economic crisis marked by a huge budget deficit that has triggered cuts in the public service sector while unemployment hovers stubbornly above 9 per cent.

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Re: Berlin Election Deals Blow to Merkel's Coalition Crisis Hand

while the Pirate Party won its first-ever seats.

Ouch, that must hurt

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