Tag Archive: Economic growth


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American Hunger-Related Healthcare Costs Exceeded $160 Billion in 2014, According to New Study

Food insecurity, especially for children, remains near record high despite the Great Recession’s official end.

BY Elizabeth Grossman

Currently about 50 million Americans meet the USDA criteria for food insecurity. About 15 million of them are children.

While the official end of the Great Recession is a full five years behind us, there are now nearly 12 million more Americans who lack enough resources to access adequate food than there were in 2007, a number that has only improved slightly since United States food insecurity peaked at over 21 percent in 2009. These statistics alone are disturbing. But as detailed in a new study released today as part of Bread for the World Institute’s 2016 Hunger Report, absence of food security in the U.S. carries enormous healthcare costs, more than $160 billion in 2014.

Using data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Census Bureau and research on food security published in peer-reviewed academic journals between 2005 and 2015, a team of researchers led by Boston University School of Medicine associate professor of pediatrics John Cook, estimated these health care costs by looking at the costs of treating diseases and health conditions associated with household food insecurity plus earnings lost when people took time off work because of these illnesses or to care for family members with illnesses related to food insecurity.

As Cook, who is also research scientist and principal investigator with Children’s Health Watch, explained to In These Times, lack of access to adequate food does not necessarily directly cause a particular illness but “plays a role in that disease occurring.” Years of research consistently shows food insecurity increases the risk for a range of health problems. These risks are particularly great for children but poor and inadequate nutrition also increases risk for adult health problems, including obesity and chronic diseases, among them diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. It also exacerbates illness duration and severity–in some cases simply because people lack money for medication–and therefore treatment costs.

Putting this in a broader economic context, Bread for the World Institute points out that the U.S. “spends more per capita on health care than any other high-income country but compares poorly with these others on key population health indicators such as life expectancy and child survival. This is due,” report authors, “in part to our tolerance as a nation, for higher levels of poverty and hunger.”

Currently about 50 million Americans meet the USDA criteria for food insecurity. About 15 million of them are children. In 2014, 19.2 percent of U.S. households with children were food insecure–about a third higher than households without. The Boston University research team found if the costs of special education for children whose learning abilities are adversely affected by food insecurity are factored in along with related education impacts for high-schoolers, the $160 billion rose by an additional  nearly $18 billion. This brings a total estimate of direct and indirect health care costs of U.S. food insecurity in 2014 to $178.93 billion.

 

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Slashing government spending now is just going to make our nation poorer

With the Friday the 13th December deadline for a federal budget deal, the cries of “we’re broke,” and “we can’t afford to keep spending,” are ringing again. But we’re not broke and acting like we are is making us poorer.Attack of the Budget Slashers, an OtherWords cartoon by Khalil Bendib

One of the biggest common misunderstandings is that governments are like households, which need to tighten their spending when times are tough. Actually, governments and households work in opposite ways.

Governments can and should spend more when times are tough. Government spending makes up for lack of spending by families and businesses, and it helps get the economy moving by getting people back to work, putting money in their pockets, and contracting with businesses.

If we needed a reminder of that, the recent government shutdown gave us one. Journalists reported story after story about how business was down, as federal workers were laid off and national parks closed. The estimates are that even though the shut down only lasted 16 days, it cost the economy $24 billion.

We need government spending and investment to get the entire economy moving forward. When families are back at work with decent wages, government tax revenues will rise and spending on social supports will fall. That’s when government can reduce spending without slowing down the economy.

During the past two years we’ve reduced the deficit by half, close to 2008 levels. That may sound like it’s a good thing, but it’s really the biggest reason the economy is so lackluster for the vast majority of Americans with a near-record-high in unemployment, stagnant wages, and a smaller proportion of Americans working than any time in the past 30 years.

We’ve also cut all the wrong things: spending that puts money in people’s pockets today and investments in our economic future. We’ve cut spending on education, unemployment insurance, environmental protection, and scientific research. Our public investment, which includes annual government programs and spending on roads, bridges, transit, research, and development is actually the lowest it’s been as a share of the economy in 60 years.

 

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 Business Insider

The Real Economic Growth Killer? Government Spending Cuts…

Barry Ritholtz of Ritholtz Wealth Management just tweeted this chart, which is from Moody’s.

The chart shows the impact of government spending cuts on economic growth over the past few years.

As you can see, these cuts have created a severe drag that has slowed down the growth of the economy.

 

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18 Signs That Massive Economic Problems Are Erupting All Over The Planet

Volcano Eruption - Mount Redoubt

In fact, a whole bunch of recent polls and surveys show that the American people are starting to feel much better about how the U.S. economy is performing.  Unfortunately, the false prosperity that we are currently enjoying is not going to last much longer.  Just look at what is happening in Europe.  The eurozone is now in the midst of the longest recession that it has ever experienced.  Just look at what is happening over in Asia.  Economic growth in India is the lowest that it has been in a decade and the Japanese financial system is beginning to spin wildly out of control.  One of the only places on the entire planet where serious economic problems have not already erupted is in the United States, and that is only because we have “kicked the can down the road” by recklessly printing money and by borrowing money at an unprecedented rate.  Unfortunately, the “sugar high” produced by those foolish measures is starting to wear off.  We are going to experience a massive amount of economic pain along with the rest of the world – it is just a matter of time.

But for the moment, there are a lot of skeptics out there.

For the moment, there are a lot of people that are declaring that the problems of the past have been fixed and that we are heading for incredibly bright economic times ahead.

Unfortunately, those people appear to be purposely ignoring the economic horror that is breaking out all over the globe.

The following are 18 signs that massive economic problems are erupting all over the planet…

#1 The eurozone is now in the midst of its longest recession ever.  Economic activity in the eurozone has declined for six quarters in a row.

#2 Italy’s economy has now been contracting for seven quarters in a row.

#3 Industrial production in Italy has fallen for 15 months in a row.  It has now fallen to its lowest level in about 25 years.

#4 The number of people that are considered to be “seriously deprived” in Italy has doubled over the past two years.

#5 Consumer confidence in France has just hit a new all-time low.

#6 The number of unemployed workers seeking a job in France has hit a brand new all-time record high.  Many unemployed workers in France are utterly frustrated at this point…

“I’ve sent CVs everywhere, I come to the unemployment agency every day, for 3 or 4 hours to look for work as a truck driver and there’s never anything,” said 42-year old Djamel Sami, who has been unemployed for a year, leaving a job agency in Paris.

#7 Unemployment in the eurozone as a whole has just hit a brand new all-time record high of 12.2 percent.

#8 Youth unemployment continues to soar to unprecedented heights in Europe.  The following is from an article that was recently posted on the website of the Guardian that detailed how bad things are getting in some of the worst countries…

In Greece, 62.5% of young people are out of work, in Spain it’s 56.4%, then Portugal with 42.5%, and then Italy with 40.5%.

#9 Youth unemployment is being partially blamed for the worst rioting that Sweden has seen in many years.  The following is how the Daily Mail described the riots…

Sweden is reeling after a third night of rioting in largely run-down immigrant areas of the capital Stockholm.

In the last 48 hours violence has spread to at least ten suburbs with mobs of youths torching hundreds of cars and clashing with police.

It is Sweden’s worst disorder in years and has shocked the country and provoked a debate on how Sweden is coping with youth unemployment and an influx of immigrants.

#10 An astounding 10 percent of all banking deposits were pulled out of banks in Cyprus during the month of April alone.

#11 Economic growth in India is the slowest that it has been in an entire decade.

#12 Suddenly Australia is experiencing some tremendous economic challenges.  The following quotes are from a recent Zero Hedge article

Read Full Article Here

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Eurozone unemployment reaches new record high in April

The BBC’s Jamie Robertson says the employment figures show “disparity across Europe”

Unemployment in the eurozone has reached another record high, according to official figures.

The seasonally-adjusted rate for April was 12.2%, up from 12.1% the month before.

An extra 95,000 people were out of work in the 17 countries that use the euro, taking the total to 19.38 million.

Both Greece and Spain have jobless rates above 25%. The lowest unemployment rate is in Austria at 4.9%.

The European Commission’s statistics office, Eurostat, said Germany had an unemployment rate of 5.4% while Luxembourg’s was 5.6%.

The highest jobless rates are in Greece (27.0% in February 2013), Spain (26.8%) and Portugal (17.8%).

In France, Europe’s second largest economy, the number of jobless people rose to a new record high in April.

“We do not see a stabilisation in unemployment before the middle of next year,” said Frederik Ducrozet, an economist at Credit Agricole in Paris. “The picture in France is still deteriorating.”

‘Social crisis’

Youth unemployment remains a particular concern. In April, 3.6 million people under the age of 25 were out of work in the eurozone, which translated to an unemployment rate of 24.4%.

Figures from the Italian government showed 40.5% of young people in Italy are unemployed.

Europe’s already dismal jobs situation has deteriorated further. If we needed a reminder of the lingering effects of the eurozone financial crisis, it is to be seen in the jobs data.

The general pattern is that the largest increases in unemployment over the last year were in countries at the centre of the crisis – Greece, Cyprus, Spain and Portugal. There was also a sharp increase in Slovenia, a country seen as a possible future candidate for a financial rescue.

The main exception to the pattern was Ireland, another country receiving a bailout, where unemployment nonetheless fell by almost one and half percentage points in twelve months.

The figures also highlight the “lost generation” concern that is, or should be, causing some lost sleep for political leaders. Unemployment among young people is approaching one in four across the eurozone and it is 40% or higher in a few countries – Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy.

“We have to deal with the social crisis, which is expressed particularly in spreading youth unemployment, and place it at the centre of political action,” said Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano.

In the 12 months to April, 1.6 million people lost their jobs in the eurozone.

While the jobless figure in the eurozone climbed for the 24th consecutive month, the unemployment rate for the full 27-member European Union remained at 11%.

The eurozone is in its longest recession since it was created in 1999. At 1.4%, inflation is far below the 2% target set by the European Central Bank (ECB).

Consumer spending remains subdued. Figures released on Friday showed that retail sales in Germany fell 0.4% in April compared with the previous month.

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Greece’s young: Dreams on hold as fight for jobs looms

Mark Lowen looks at the toughest equation Greece has to solve

Greece’s school exam season has arrived. But for many now facing the final-year tests known as the Panhellenics, the stress is twofold: last-minute cramming and the knowledge that they’ll soon enter the worst jobs climate in Europe.

At 64.2%, youth unemployment in Greece is the highest in the continent. Those between the ages of 16 and 25 are now the crisis generation.

At the Spoudi school in Athens, dreams have been put on hold. The school leavers longed for a stable job, for a future full of opportunity. But instead, unemployment and uncertainty beckon.

 

The economy won’t recover because the educated ones will go abroad and only the older people will stay here”

Christina Zahagou Law graduate, 23

In a final maths class, students pore over complex algebra problems. But how to stay positive in today’s Greece might just be the most difficult equation to solve.

“I’m not sure about my future,” says Nathalie Scholden, an 18-year-old who hopes to study economics. “I think I won’t stay in Greece because there’s high unemployment and bad salaries. A lot of kids my age feel the same. If we’re here and nobody gets the life they want, why should we stay?”

Among the other students, few are optimistic. One thinks of leaving Athens for the countryside, another of going into farming because of a lack of opportunities.

“In Greece today you can’t do what you want,” says Alexandros Delakouras, 17. “It will be very difficult to get a job in my country but I will try hard.” He adds with a smile: “Maybe, with God’s help, I’ll succeed.”

Before Greece’s first bailout three years ago – and the spending cuts that ensued – unemployment in the country was under 12%. Now it’s at 27%.

And among the youth, it’s more than doubled from around 31% in May 2010. Recession has hit hard but it’s the austerity demanded by the country’s international lenders that has had such a devastating impact.

Brain drain

Doing the sums

Student studies maths

In Greece, 64.2% of 16 to 25-year olds are out of work

This has risen from 31.2% three years ago when Greece received its first international bailout

The economy is expected to stay in recession for the sixth consecutive year in 2013

Unemployment continues to rise and is not expected to start falling until 2015, the Greek central bank says

And so the brightest, like 23-year-old law graduate Christina Zahagou, are leaving. Greek emigration to Germany jumped by more than 40% last year. She is now following suit after failing to find work.

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Sweden Riots Put Faces to Statistics as Stockholm Burns

A week of riots in Stockholm has torn a hole in Sweden’s image as a beacon of social harmony.

In Husby, a suburb north of the capital where 60 percent of residents were born outside Sweden and unemployment is twice the national average, youths torched cars, schools and other buildings in a show of anger that has unsettled one of Europe’s richest nations. The riots spread to more than 10 other suburbs in Stockholm.

A burning car set on fire in the Stockholm suburb of Kista after youths rioted in several different suburbs around Stockholm for a third executive night, late May 21, 2013. Photograph: Fredrik Sandberg via AP Photo/Scanipx Sweden

People exit Husby subway station to attend a demonstration against police violence and vandalism in the Stockholm suburb of Husby on May 22, 2013. Sweden’s youth unemployment rate was 23.6 percent last year– about three times the national average — according to the statistics office. Photographer: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images

“Exclusion, poverty and unemployment” are the main causes of the riots, Yves Zenou, a professor at Stockholm University who has done research on urban economics and migration issues, said in a May 24 interview. “They feel excluded from Swedish society. Many are not in employment, many because of discrimination, and many have low education levels.”

The unrest has shocked Sweden, where the economic policies of Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt helped the AAA rated nation emerge as a haven from the debt crisis raging across southern Europe. Yet Sweden’s aggregate wealth has hidden rifts in the economy as polices have failed to catch a demographic now taking to the streets to show its desperation.

Young people need “jobs as well as something to do in their spare time,” Iqra Siddiqui, a 16-year-old living in Hallunda, a suburb in south Stockholm, said yesterday in an interview outside the Skaerholmen subway station. “Another problem is that parents don’t know what their kids are up to.”

Police Detentions

Sweden’s youth unemployment rate was 23.6 percent last year — about three times the national average — according to the statistics office. A report this month by the Public Employment Services showed that about 77,000 people between 16 and 29 years haven’t studied or worked over the past three years, suggesting even larger hidden unemployment. By comparison, youth unemployment was about 153,000 last year, according to the agency.

Police, who as of May 24 had detained 29 people since the riots started on May 19, say most of those involved are about 20 years old. Their plight underscores how Europe’s economic pain is hitting young people hardest. According to Luxembourg-based Eurostat, youth unemployment in the 27-nation European Union reached 23.5 percent in March, versus 16.2 percent in the U.S.

Scenes outside Stockholm this week replayed images of youth unrest across Europe since the global economic crisis started. In 2011, riots that started in north London also spread to Manchester and the Midlands, in the worst youth unrest in the U.K. since the 1980s. Paris has seen similar violence.

‘Ordinary Night’

While unrest also spread to other towns over the weekend, including Oerebro and Linkoeping, violence in the Swedish capital have started to subside.

Last night was like “an ordinary night,” according to police spokesman Kjell Lindgren. Fewer than 10 cars were set on fire and there were no reports of stones being thrown at emergency services and no major vandalism. Between Saturday and Sunday, about 20 cars were set on fire and a school in a southern suburb was vandalized. Rocks were also thrown at police in the Vaarberg neighbourhood.

Reinfeldt, who gained power in 2006 on promises of bringing more people into the labor market, has struggled to carry that pledge over to immigrants and young adults. In Husby, an area dotted by concrete high rises, the number of people relying on state assistance is more than triple the average for Stockholm.

Sweden has suffered similar episodes of violence before, including in the southern city of Malmoe in 2008 as well as Gothenburg.

The Cause

Megafonen, a Husby advocacy group, traces the outbreak of Stockholm’s riots to the police shooting of a local 69-year-old man originally from Portugal. Police brutality and racist slurs have exacerbated tensions, the group says.

Dagens Nyheter, Sweden’s largest daily newspaper, has questioned those claims, as a columnist asked for specific examples of brutality and proof of racial insensitivity. The newspaper reported on May 24 that about half the people arrested on suspicion of rioting in Husby came from outside the neighborhood, and half of them had criminal records.

In response, the advocacy group posted witness accounts of police brutality and racism on its website.

“Megafonen doesn’t start fires, we don’t believe this is the right method for long-term change,” said the group. “But we know that it’s a reaction to deficiencies in society. Unemployment, inadequate schools and structural racism are reasons behind what we are seeing today.”

Small Group

The largest immigrant group in Sweden is from Finland, followed by Iraq and Poland. In Husby, of residents with a foreign background, those who were born abroad or have two non-Swedish parents, 80 percent have heritage from either Asia or Africa, according to city statistics.

Residents are quick to point out that the violence is being carried out by a small group that doesn’t speak for most people living there. Community groups have taken to the streets to help ease tensions and restore calm, which was successful over the weekend.

Read Full Article Here

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ChinaForbiddenNews ChinaForbiddenNews

Published on May 18, 2013

China is a country with extremely serious drought problem.

It is also one of the 13 poorest countries for
water resources per head.
The mistakes in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)
recent strategies and its reckless economic development,
have further exacerbated the water shortage problem.

An article published by British media on this issue wrote that,
water poverty may negatively impact China’s economic growth;
The “China Dream” will become difficult to achieve
if this problem is not solved as quickly as possible.

UK newspaper The Financial Times published
an article which said
in the rapid economic development China seems to be ignoring
the fact it is a huge nation with poor water resources.
It has only one-fourth of the global average amount
of water per person.
The continued decimation of natural resources and polluted
environment has quickly exacerbated the water shortage issue.
Now China’s economic growth is threatened by this issue.

The Financial Times article quoted a report of the World Bank.

This estimated the economic loss due to water poverty
has reached 2.3% of China’s GDP.

Sun Qingwei, head of Climate and Energy Project, Greenpeace:
“A good mode of economic development should
produce short-term GDP growth, and also protect sustainable
development for future generations in the long run.
In my opinion, the (CCP’s) mode of destroying water resources
and environment only for short-term interests is reckless.
Such economic development cannot be viewed as real.”

Dai Qing, observer of China’s political and social affairs:
“The CCP’s GDP is meaningless.
They are simply playing the number game, trying to prove
economic growth and better civil lives with a higher GDP.
However, they don’t care about the environmental cost of
such development, or depriving Chinese people of civil rights ”

According to expert analysis, excluding the changes of natural
environment, the main reason for China’s water shortage is
still the massive emission of industrial and agricultural
water and water pollution.
The policy mistakes made by the CCP one after another
have made the situation even worse.
These mistakes include reclaiming lakes into fields, the
Three Gorges Dam project, south-to-north water diversion,
river diversions and other projects that were highly
controversial and opposed by experts.

Dai Qing: “We have investigated the water
shortage problem of Beijing.
There are two big rivers flowing into Beijing
from the countryside.
One is the Yongding River from the west, and the
other one is the Chaobai River from the east.
A number of dams have been constructed on both
rivers upstream, which block the majority of water flow.
For example, over 200 dams are built on
the upstream of Yongding River.
Therefore the river is completely dry in Beijing.
The situation is the same for Chaobai River.
On the other hand, the rivers originating in Beijing
cannot be used due to pollution.
This is one aspect of the water poverty problem.”

Sun Qingwei: “Now we see that the blockage of rivers with
dams and massively extracting groundwater has led to the
destruction of water resources in local regions.”

Statistics show that, since 2012 no less than 10 reports
have been released on China’s water poverty problem,
by HSBC Bank, KMPG, Greenpeace, Chinese Academy of
Sciences and other famous agencies.
Experts warn that, “No available water resource
will be left in China after 20 years.”

As so many research reports on water poverty were released,
the CCP officials seem to realize how serious the problem is.
Some remedial measures have been presented,
but have yet to be implemented.

Sun Qingwei: “Currently there have been some efforts
aiming at improvement of water resource management.
However, we are still far away from solving the problem, as
we haven’t seen any real implementation of those measures;
Especially in adjusting the mode of economic development.

If the style of over-consumption of natural resources and
destroying environment for economic growth does not
change, we cannot have any optimism about the situation.
Till now there has been no real action to make such a change.”

The Financial Times article further commented on the water
shortage problem has shown impact on China’s social, political, and economic affairs;
Without solving this issue, the CCP would never
achieve the “China Dream” they depicted.