"No matter how paranoid or conspiracy-minded you are, what the government is actually doing is worse than you imagine." - - - William Blum

March 21, 2008

"....In deciding whether or not we are headed toward depression, one needs to look at the substance of economic events, as opposed to the form. Some examples of the substance: 1) A post-war record level of home foreclosures headed to 1930s levels fueled by a similarly record collapse of home prices. 2) Several major “runs on banks” as investors begin to wake up to the fact that a lot of what passes for collateral is in fact worth very little. 3) A panicked Fed trying to head off a financial panic by simultaneously lowering interest rates and injecting money into the system.

"And what’s worse, we are only in the early stages of the crisis. Last year, 2007, was the year that the mortgage market unwound. This year, 2008, will feature the collapse of major financial institutions, starting, but not ending, with Bear Stearns. Next year, 2009, will be the year when the problems make their way to the rest of the U.S. economy, including the still-buoyant industrial sector. By 2010, the recession (or worse) will be global.

"Some take comfort in the fact that we haven’t yet seen soup lines, or 25% unemployment. But soup lines are merely an unnecessary (and hopefully unrepeated) appendage of the above. And anecdotal evidence suggests that many welfare agencies are now stretched to the absolute limit, meaning that new soup lines will appear if the system is tested just a bit more. And unemployment hasn’t risen because companies have so far chosen to cut health care and pension contributions rather than lay off workers. One can easily get to the 1930s 25% unemployment with a 0% headline unemployment rate—by assuming that half the work force will be “temps” working half time without fringe benefits....." - - - Thomas P. Au

That's okay. As threatening as the potentially severe recession/depression may seem, it is miniscule compared to the potentially disastrous consequences of Bush attacking Iran, which is looking increasingly more likey as each day passes.

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