“The U.S. Department of Agriculture today released its annual report on household food security in the United States in 2011. The study found that 14.9% of American households “had difficulty at some time during the year providing food for all their members due to a lack of resources.” The percentage is slightly higher than the 14.5% reported in 2010, but the USDA says the change is statistically insignificant and may be due to variations in sampling.”Comments »
“Following a brief period in which it seemed that US foodstamp recipients may have peaked, with those living in poverty maxing out at 46.514 million in December 2011, and then declining modestly for the next few months, June saw a new surge in those Americans living in poverty and thus eligible for foodstamps, with 173,600 new entrants into the system, bringing the total to a new all time high of 46.670 million and once again rising fast. Furthermore, with subsequent emergency events affecting the heartland due to the drought, the administration has made sure even more Americans will be eligible going forward.”Comments »
“(Reuters) – Central Falls, in Rhode Island, is close to emerging from bankruptcy with a plan that hammers its retired municipal employees but leaves bondholders unscathed, in a contrast with other recent U.S. municipal bankruptcies.
On Thursday, a state-appointed receiver overseeing the finances of the tiny, impoverished city is expected to win court approval for a plan that rescues Central Falls from financial collapse and should balance its budget for at least the next five years.
Unlike the approach of some other U.S. states such as California, which left struggling cities to try to fix their finances on their own, the plan for Central Falls reassured the credit markets, but scarred the city.
The smallest city in Rhode Island and the only one ever to file for bankruptcy will emerge with powerless elected officials, property owners facing tax hikes every year and retired public employees irate about having their pensions slashed.”Comments »
“After experiencing drastic changes in my environment, I looked for other experiences that might profoundly affect my perception of the self. So I devised another experiment where everyday I took a different drug and drew myself under the influence. Within weeks I became lethargic and suffered mild brain damage. I am still conducting this experiment but over greater lapses of time. I only take drugs that are given to me.”
Read the rest, and see the art, here.
Consumer indebtedness fell by $60 billion from the end of June to $11.66 trillion on Sept. 30, according to a quarterly report on household debt and credit released today by the district bank. Mortgage balances declined by about $114 billion, or 1.3 percent.”Comments »
“The Fed could, on that view, simply buy all the outstanding debt in the country and then tear it all up. Wouldn’t that be a bonanza? “
So how could this work? First, the reason why QE has been failing to a large degree is because monetary policy is about setting prices. When the Fed sets the Fed Funds Rate target they name a price and essentially challenge the market to compete with them over that price. The Fed could do the exact same thing at the long end of the curve. They could come out and challenge the market to try to move the 30 year bond above 1% for instance. ”Comments »
” Federal Reserve policy makers signaled readiness to boost record stimulus unless they are convinced the economy is poised to rebound. Recent signs of strength may not be enough to satisfy them.
Many members of the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee said further action would probably be needed “fairly soon” without evidence of “substantial and sustainable” improvement in the recovery, according to minutes of the July 31-Aug. 1 meeting released yesterday in Washington.
“The burden of proof is to see a sustained pickup in growth and I don’t think we’re going to get that,” said Eric Green, a former economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York who is now global head of rates and foreign exchange research at TD Securities Inc. in New York.”Comments »
“The U.S. Treasury Department today announced plans to accelerate its winddown of its backing of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Treasury amended its terms as conservator of the government-sponsored-enterprises. Treasury said the plan also includes a “full income sweep” for Fannie and Freddie.
The GSEs have been under conservatorship since 2008. Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reported second quarter profits earlier this month.
Republicans in Congress have called for an end to the two taxpayer-owned companies, which now own or guarantee about 60 percent of U.S. home loans. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner has said he will propose a plan to overhaul housing finance that could include dismantling or altering Fannie Mae and McLean, Virginia-based Freddie Mac.”Comments »
In our recent post on the state and local sector, we argued that structural problems in state and local budgets were exacerbated by the recession and would likely restrain the sector’s growth for years to come. The last couple of years have witnessed threatened or actual defaults in a diversity of places, ranging from Jefferson County, Alabama, to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to Stockton, California. But do these events point to a wave of future defaults by municipal borrowers? ”
An exhaustive investigation conducted by the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity found that the two competing firms together have received or are promised more than $2.2 billion from American taxpayers over the past 15 years.
Read the rest here.Comments »