“Green shoots”, according to prognosticators and economic experts, are now visible throughout the country and, indeed, throughout the world, so why worry? Tell that to the folks in Las Vegas, Boise and Salt Lake City.

Bloomberg News has just released data compiled by RealtyTrac Inc., the company that keeps tabs on U.S. housing foreclosures, and the news doesn’t even hint at any kind of an economic recovery.

“Because unemployment left more borrowers unable to make their mortgage payments,” RealtyTrac Inc. said, Las Vegas had the highest U.S. foreclosure rate in the third quarter. With more than 5% of households receiving a foreclosure filing, the foreclosure rate was almost seven times the national average.

Foreclosure rates remained high in cities in California and in Florida but the real surprise came when it was revealed that the largest increase in defaults came in areas where foreclosures hadn’t previously been a “focal point”. According to the data, the sharpest increases among the 50 metropolitan areas with high rates were in Boise, ID, and in Salt Lake City and Provo-Orem, UT. Foreclosure filings more than doubled in those three areas – “because unemployment left more borrowers unable to make their mortgage payments”.

This “green shoots” nonsense is just another smoke screen being laid down by hapless government officials trying to cover up the fact that increasing unemployment is causing this country to come apart at the seams, and that they don’t have the foggiest notion about how to stop the resulting economic tailspin. Except to lie to gullible Americans.

Yes. Lie. A few weeks ago the administration touted a report from a government oversight board that claimed that its recovery plan had already generated more than 30,000 new jobs. The administration hailed this as evidence that the “stimulus program” had exceeded early expectations, but the 30,000 figure was overstated. According to a follow up Associated Press review of the released data, it turns out that some federal agencies and recipients of the money provided “incorrect” job results.

A Colorado company, for example, was reported to have created 4,231 jobs with the help of President Obama’s recovery plan. But the real number was less than 1,000.

And a child care center in Florida said it saved 129 jobs with the “stimulus” money – but it didn’t. It gave pay raises to existing employees, instead.

In other instances, some jobs credited to the “stimulus program” were counted two, three, four, or even more times. The government, in fact, overstated by thousands the number of jobs it has created under the president’s $ 787 billion recovery program. And Americans believe all this, along with the “green shoots” nonsense.

Some airlines personnel aren’t likely to be so gullible, however. On October 28th, US Airways revealed its intention to cut 1,000 more jobs. The airline lost $ 800 million in 2008 and is expecting another large loss in 2009, according to a letter the chief executive sent to employees.

“By focusing on our strengths and eliminating unprofitable flying, we will increase the likelihood of returning US Airways to long-term profitability,” the letter said – as if the 1,000 departed employees would ever give a hoot.

The principal airline analyst of Forrester Research, Inc., concluded that US Airways has suffered from “inefficiencies”, and stated that, “This is the effect of running a bad airline in a bad way.”

Neither the airline analyst or the CEO of US Airways seem to be aware of the smokescreens being laid down by administration officials. Someone needs to point out to them that prior to widespread unemployment, folks with weekly paychecks were stepping on each other’s toes to get airline seats. US Airways, we recall, was a nonentity just a few years ago, but thanks to employed Americans, the airline blossomed into one of the nation’s leading carriers. “Inefficiencies”, therefore, have nothing to do with the failures of US Airways. Like someone once said, “It’s the economy, stupid!”

And “the likelihood of returning US Airways to long-term profitability”? Forget about it. If America’s consumers go in the tank, so will US Airways.

And they’ll probably have company. Also on the 28th, American Airlines said that it will cut 700 jobs when it closes its maintenance base in Kansas City, MO next fall. Maintenance operations will also be discontinued or downsized in San Francisco, San Jose, Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and in St. Louis. The airline’s fleet has shrunk from a high of 900 airplanes to about 600. More “inefficiencies”, no doubt.

The U.S. consumer – the master link in the international supply chain – is on life support. Job losses, bankruptcies and foreclosures have drained the lifeblood from the patient and the end is rapidly approaching. The “patient”, by the way, should more properly be called a “victim”. Highly placed (and elected) officials sealed the doom of this victim when a scheme was devised to ship manufacturing capacity to more profitable (for them) overseas locations – and sorely needed jobs naturally followed the exodus of this manufacturing capacity.

We now have more than 24 million unemployed and no job opportunities. The administration keeps talking about “infrastructure repairs and upgrading” – as though another WPA-type program could be the answer. It wasn’t in the 1930s and it wouldn’t be today. Make-work programs have no “multiplier-effect”. All construction jobs inevitably end. Ask any construction worker.

The Great Depression was terminated when FDR promulgated the Emergency Shipbuilding Programs. The WPA gave us stone walls, bridges and roads, and that was the end of it. Cargo ships, on the other hand, provided this country with enormous, worldwide, commercial opportunities and a bulging economy – until the above-mentioned stalwarts gave away the store.

Remember. “He who builds ships, builds worlds.”