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America Already is Europe

How much farther left can America go?

From the progressivity of our tax code, to the percentage of GDP devoted to government, to the extent of the regulatory burden on business, most of Europe’s got nothing on us.

Indeed, America looks more like Spain than the America of our grandparents.

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RealClearMarkets’ Tamny: US Pursues Weak Dollar Policy at its Peril

“The Treasury and Federal Reserve are pursuing a weak dollar policy, as John Tamny, editor of RealClearMarkets.com sees it.

And the economy will continue to suffer if they don’t change course, he says.

“My view for quite some time has been that when we talk about economic problems in the U.S., we are really talking about symptoms of the weak dollar,” Tamny tells Yahoo.

“If the stated objective of your monetary policy is to devalue dollars, it is going to be true that investment is going to be less such that economic growth is less.”

Some economists say a weak currency is beneficial, because it boosts exports and curbs imports. But Tamny disagrees.

“Imports are beautiful. It is poor countries that don’t import,” he says. “If devaluation were the path to prosperity, then countries like Argentina and Zimbabwe and Turkey would be among the richest in the world.”

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Small Community Banks Find a Tough Time Bridging the Loan Gap

“(Reuters) – Union County Savings Bank in Elizabeth, New Jersey, is profitable with few problem loans and a capital ratio that would make a too-big-to-fail bank drool.

The community bank is also one of the most tight-fisted lenders in the country. The bank invests just 9 percent of its $1.3 billion in deposits in loans. It pours most of the rest into an investment portfolio. That loan-to-deposit ratio puts it near the bottom of 6,000 U.S. community banks, according to a Reuters analysis.

Community banks are often seen as kinder, gentler versions of their big-bank brethren. The Occupy Wall Street movement accused big banks of being greedy and encouraged depositors to move funds to their local community banks.”

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$673 Billion in Investments Needed by 2020 to Keep Power Grid from Failing

Are the latest blackouts a sign of things to come?

Customers chafe at rising utility bills, but the energy industry warns that the alternative is even scarier: Unless $673 billion is invested in the system, it could break down by 2020, according to an American Society of Civil Engineers report released in April.

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Happy Birthday America

[youtube://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7miXneae_0 450 300]

When you are done watching the first part you can continue the series by clicking the next video in the upper left hand corner.


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State of the Union

Underfunded state and local pension liabilities have hit over $2 trillion; will the workers lose benefits ?

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Nasty Heat Wave Grips Parts of the Country

via AccuWeather.com

A dangerous situation is unfolding from Indiana to the mid-Atlantic where millions remain without power and temperatures are once again soaring.

A violent thunderstorm complex, known as a super derecho, left a trail of power outages and destruction from Indiana to southern New Jersey, Virginia and northern North Carolina Friday afternoon and night.

Eleven lives were lost, all due to falling trees…

Indiana: 112,760
Kentucky: 140,461
Ohio: 363,500
West Virginia: 500,000
Virginia: 2.5 million
Maryland: More than 1.3 million
New Jersey: 168,000


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A New American Dream or Just a Pause ?

“Seems like a house with a white fence no longer constitutes the American dream. A new census reveals that, due to the harsh economic conditions, more young adults are choosing to stay in urban areas, rejecting family life with kids in quiet suburbs.

A recently-published 2011 census has documented a historical switch showing that America’s largest cities are now growing faster than their surrounding suburbs. Primary cities in large metropolitan areas with populations of more than 1 million grew by 1.1 per cent last year, compared with 0.9 percent in surrounding suburbs.

New Orleans saw the biggest rebound in city growth relative to suburbs in the last year, with 3.7 percent and 0.6 percent respectively. Atlanta, Denver and Washington DC are among other cities demonstrating significant city growth compared to suburbs.”

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U.S. Consumer and Exports Were Weaker Than Previously Thought to be in Q 1

“U.S. exports and consumer spending were weaker in the first three months of the year than previously thought, but business spending was higher, new data show.

Separately, the number of U.S. workers filing initial applications for unemployment benefits fell just slightly last week but remained high, signaling muted jobs growth.

The Commerce Department confirmed Thursday its previous estimate that the nation’s gross domestic product–the value of all goods and services produced in the U.S.–grew at an annual rate of 1.9% in the first quarter. That was down from a 3.0% rate in the fourth quarter of 2011.”

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Former Obama Adviser Bernstein: US Can’t Avoid Falling Off ‘Fiscal Cliff’

“The U.S. economy won’t avoid falling over the edge of a fast-approaching fiscal cliff, when tax breaks expire at the same time automatic spending cuts kick in at the end of the year, says Jared Bernstein, a former adviser to President Barack Obama.

The outcome of the November presidential elections won’t make any difference at all, Bernstein adds.

“If you actually play out the difference scenarios here, the president wins, Romney wins — it’s hard to see that we don’t go off this fiscal cliff,” Bernstein tells CNBC. “Because I don’t see how this compromise gets made.”

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