The most recent recession and the slow recovery have “left lasting scars on the economy,” the Labor Department concluded late last year in a report that declared slower growth “the new normal” for the American economy. The Federal Reserve, persistently optimistic in its previous forecasts, said in March that it no longer expected a full recovery in the foreseeable future.
Who Is Middle Class? (jdargis)
Not surprisingly, you can get a very different picture of the world depending on which definition of middle class you use. A 2009 analysis by economist Martin Ravallion, then at the World Bank, now at Georgetown, found that between 1990 and 2002, 1.2 billion people in the developing world became middle class as defined by the $2-a-day threshold, while only 80 million, or 7 percent, became “Western middle class,” meaning they would not be considered poor by U.S. standards. (The current U.S. poverty line is $11,490 per year for a single person.)
When Americans think about the financial crisis that we are facing, the largest number that they usually can think of is the size of the U.S. national debt. And at over 17 trillion dollars, it truly is massive. But it is actually the 2nd-smallest number on the list below. The following are 12 numbers about the global financial Ponzi scheme that should be burned into your brain…
Easy Money (jdargis)
Just as the Fed has slowly begun a shift from very easy money to just easy money, other spigots around the world have opened. At the end of last week, the European Central Bank, led by its president Mario Draghi, announced its own version of quantitative easing, focusing less on the Fed’s approach of asset purchases and more on incentives to get banks to lend more. The central bank of China then unveiled a program designed to boost lending to small businesses. While the exact dollar amount of these measures is unclear, they represent a new injection of liquidity into a global system that has hardly lacked for it.
Speaking at a media conference on Tuesday from the Canadian capital Ottawa along-side the anti-carbon tax prime minister Stephen Harper, Mr Abbott said the he was encouraged at the new US approach of requiring coal-fired power stations to cut emissions by 30 per cent by 2030, because it did not place a price on carbon but used regulation to cut pollution.
“We think that climate change is a significant problem, it’s not the only or even the most important problem the world faces but it is a significant problem and its important every country should take the action that it thinks is best to address emissions,” he said.
By contrast, beliefs about the prevalence of fraud by election officials show far less of a partisan skew, with 16 percent of Republicans, 21 percent of independents and 14 percent of Democrats (and 17 percent of Wisconsin voters over all) thinking that this affects a few thousand votes or more each election.
Developing The Elusive Home-based Fuel Cell (James S.)
Fuel cells have been generating energy cleanly and efficiently for about 75 years, but not so efficiently that they’ve been appropriate for use in a home. Now that’s about to change. Two German companies, the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems (IKTS) in Dresden and the Vaillant Group in Remscheid, have joined forces to develop a fuel cell system that uses gas to generate household heating and electricity.
“I thought I was going to die,” said Vuthy, a former monk from Cambodia who was sold from captain to captain. “They kept me chained up, they didn’t care about me or give me any food … They sold us like animals, but we are not animals – we are human beings.”
Gold & Silver
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