Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 11/14 - Most Americans Won't Escape 'Fiscal Cliff', Italy Police Clash With Protesters

Wednesday, November 14, 2012, 10:20 AM


United States: Two Million Jobless People will not be Getting Unemployment Benefits

If the deadline to file for extended benefits does not get extended by the Congress then it is feared that more than two million American jobless citizens will lose their federal unemployment insurance during the holidays. According to an advocacy group, the National Employment Law Project, besides these jobless, another one million people whose state benefits will be exhausted will not be eligible for the federal program in the first quarter of 2013. Now after the presidential elections, the biggest issue facing the analysts is the economy and in that fiscal cliff remains the biggest challenge

Canada pushes back date for wiping out budget deficit

Canada pushed back the target to eliminate its federal budget deficit by a year on Tuesday, citing the impact of a weak global economy that has dampened commodity prices.

The finance department projected bigger-than-expected federal budget deficits for this year and the following three years. It now sees a return to a small surplus in 2016-17, a year later than previously planned.

China Strains to Satisfy Growing Demand for Meat

The growing demand for meat has put a strain on China's land and water resources. Agriculture runoff, mostly manure from large-scale farms, is causing water pollution within the country. Because of water shortages, China imports 70 percent of its soybeans and increasing amounts of its corn from the United States, Brazil and Argentina to feed its cows and pigs, Magistad reports.

School districts slash employee benefits, study says (Wisconsin)

The report by the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance shows school districts across Wisconsin collectively cut spending on health, pension and other benefits by about $366 million in the 2011-12 academic year as the result of cuts to public worker benefits and limits on collective bargaining. Total school spending dropped $584 million. The study takes an in-depth look at school district spending after the passage of Act 10 and the 2011-13 state budget.

Police budget cuts mean layoffs, Chief Blair warns (Toronto)

For more than a year, the service has made reductions to various spending, including overtime pay and travel expenses. In a report to the board, which will be debated Wednesday, Chief Blair says the only way to make significant futher cuts is to lay off 137 officers and 52 civilian staff.

But such a move might not even make a difference in next year’s budget. The province must review layoffs first and the officers’ union can file grievances. It could take years to hand police pink slips.

Most in US won't be able to escape 'fiscal cliff'

Collectively, the tax increases would be the steepest to hit Americans in 60 years when measured as a percentage of the economy.

"There would be a huge shock effect to the U.S. economy," says Mark Vitner, an economist at Wells Fargo.

Lawmaker asks to be paid in gold and silver

A legislator from Columbia Falls is asking the state to pay him in gold and silver coins because he is skeptical about the future of the dollar. Republican Rep. Jerry O'Neil justified his request in his letter to Montana Legislative Services this week by saying a clause in the U.S. Constitution says no state shall "make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts."

O'Neil writes that he believes the high national debt makes it possible the bottom will fall out from under the U.S. dollar.

Pa. auditor general blasts rising turnpike debt

Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner on Tuesday sounded an alarm over the rising debt piling onto the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, warning lawmakers that state taxpayers will be called on to bail out debts that benefit Wall Street......But the commission's debt has risen from $2.5 billion in 2007 to $7.8 billion, even as the fourth-straight annual toll increase took effect Jan. 1. The other part of the 2007 law backfired, as well. It allowed the turnpike commission to install toll booths on Interstate 80 to raise additional revenue, but the Federal Highway Administration rejected that plan.

A German City With Debt Problems Of Its Own

Jobs are scarce, and the number of people who live in this city, once known for its mining and steel operations, is dwindling.

But what Oberhausen lacks in employment, it makes up for in debt: the equivalent of $11,000 per capita — higher than anywhere else in Germany. Each day, the city borrows the equivalent of approximately $500,000 to stay afloat.

Robert B. Reich: Republicans, Democrats playing game of economic chicken

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office warned last week that the automatic tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to start in January amount to too much deficit reduction, too soon. They'd put the economy back into recession and push unemployment to about 9 percent. But the CBO also warned of an economic crisis ahead if the United States doesn't stem the growth of the nation's exploding deficit.

That's the bind we're in. Reduce the budget deficit too quickly, and we're in trouble. But fail to address the deficit, and we're also in trouble.

Fiscal Cliff Would Only Dent The Deficit

The Congressional Budget Office projects a $641 billion budget deficit for the the fiscal year that started Oct. 1 -- and that's assuming the fiscal cliff actually happens and is in effect for three-fourths of the fiscal year. "It's "a big, big, big, big, big number," says Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

But here's the thing -- you'd be hard pressed to find a politician or economist or even deficit hawk like MacGuineas who thinks letting the nation go over the fiscal cliff is a good idea.

Chocolate bars shrink as makers cut costs (UK)

Rising food prices were said to be a major factor in the jump in October inflation to 2.7 per cent, up from 2.2 per cent the month before.

But the ONS also said consumers were facing inflation “by the back door” as confectionery products were being reduced in size but still costing the same money.

Shorter, cheaper trips planned this Thanksgiving

The number of travelers forecast to drive, fly or hop on a train or bus is still 26 percent below the peak in 2005 and 14 percent below 2007.

Holiday travel is mostly done by car and a dramatic drop in gas prices could inspire some reluctant travelers to get behind the wheel. The national average has declined 35 cents per gallon in the last month. AAA expects further declines through the holiday, although the price of gas on Thanksgiving Day should be close to last year's record of $3.32 per gallon.

Rising Thanksgiving Costs May Gobble Up Your Paycheck

From flights to food, holiday spending is anything but cheap.....Step one, of course, is simply getting wherever you’re going this Thanksgiving — and that could come at a steep price. Airline industry officials say fares could end up costing as much as 9% more than they did a year ago. An average domestic round-trip ticket should come in at $386.

Vancouver couple eating on food budget of $8 a day

Audrey and Connor Williams are living on a food budget of $8 a day. For both of them. The young couple has accepted the SNAP Challenge, a weeklong exercise in living on food stamps. SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. It pays a little over $4 per person per day for basic groceries. It doesn't cover hot or prepared foods......There were 46.7 million Americans on the SNAP program in July 2012, according to the Food Research & Action Center, and 1.1 million in Washington state.

Number of homeless children soars by 60 per cent in a year (UK)

The number of children and pregnant women forced to live in bed and breakfast accommodation has risen by 60 per cent in a year, according to a new report....It warned that low-income families are now the “new face of England's homeless” and argued that the only solution is to build more affordable homes for sale or rent.

Cal State targets 'super seniors' with hefty fees

After gentler efforts to prod super seniors toward graduation, Cal State officials want to start charging hefty fees that could almost triple the cost for students who have completed five years of full-time undergraduate work. The CSU Board of Trustees is expected to vote on the "graduation incentive fee" when it meets in Long Beach on Tuesday. The board tabled the proposal in September after students complained and trustees raised questions.

Trebling of tuition fees triggers surprise rise in inflation (UK)

Students starting at university this September were faced with a trebling in the maximum fee and the change was reflected in a rise of a fifth in education costs recorded by the Office for National Statistics. Coupled with the rising food costs faced by households, it contributed towards an increase in the Consumer Prices Index from 2.2% to 2.7% between September and October - the largest amount in more than a year.

Italy police clash with jobless youth protesters

Protesters wearing masks of Labour Minister Elsa Fornero and holding aloft banners calling for Premier Mario Monti to step down threw stones at police, who returned fire with tear gas in a skirmish which left 23 people injured. Italy’s youth have been hit hard by the economic crisis. Unemployment among 15 to 24-year-olds was at 35.1 per cent in September, up 4.7 per cent on a year, and government measures to tackle the issue appear to have made little headway.

US government runs $120 billion October deficit

The federal government started the 2013 budget year with a $120 billion deficit, an indication that the nation is on a path to its fifth straight $1 trillion-plus deficit. Another soaring deficit puts added pressure on President Barack Obama and Congress to seek a budget deal in the coming weeks.

The Treasury Department said Tuesday that the October deficit - the gap between the government's tax revenue and its spending - was 22 percent higher than the same month last year.

Greek finance minister warns default risk 'very high'

Greece faces a "very high" risk of default, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras warned Tuesday, urging his EU partners to recognise the limits to which his bailed out country could go in resolving its debt problems.

Federal regulators urge SEC to act on money funds

The council proposed a recommendation that the SEC consider three options including two that Schapiro has advocated for in the past. One option would have the SEC approve rules that would impose capital restrictions on the funds combined with limitations or fees on redemptions by consumers. The council's proposal also offered the option to have the industry abandon what's known as a stable Net-Asset-Value for money-market funds and permit a floating NAV instead. A third option would require money funds to maintain a capital buffer of 3% to absorb losses that could be reduced if the fund has limited risk.

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St. Lawrence Island, no clues to the source of oiled wildlife

Two more oiled animals may have been found on St. Lawrence Island, bringing to seven the number of sea birds and seals discovered with signs of a mystery oil near remote Bering Sea villages. A team of U.S. Coast Guard oil spill experts, villagers and other state and federal investigators searched the island over the weekend but were unable to find the source of the pollution, the Coast Guard said. The searchers left the island Monday, ahead of an approaching storm. http://www.adn.com/2012/11/13/2691777/on-st-lawrence-island-no-clues.html

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FHA close to running out of reserves: report

FHA close to running out of reserves: report

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