Signs of the Times

More “signs” of an economic recovery:

– August 21st, (New York Times) – “The Obama administration’s mortgage relief program, originally intended to shield 3 million households from foreclosure, now looks as if it will permanently help about one-sixth of that number … The number of canceled trials now exceeds 616,000 … ‘These borrowers are still up to their eyeballs in debt even after the modification, and many will default again,’ a financial commentator said after reviewing the new data.”

– August 21st, (The Boston Globe) – “American workers, many in their prime earning years, are raiding their retirement savings in record numbers to either stave off eviction or foreclosure, pay for college, or buy a home.”

– August 27th, (Associated Press) – “One in 10 American households with a mortgage is at risk of losing its home, and the foreclosure crisis could worsen if jobs remain scarce … ‘Ultimately, the housing story, whether it is delinquencies, home sales, or housing starts, is an employment story,’ the Mortgage Bankers Association’s top economist said.”

– September 3rd, (Huffington Post) – “The August unemployment numbers are ugly, yet again. Nearly 30 million Americans are still jobless or forced into part-time jobs … We’ll need more than 22 million new jobs to bring us back to full employment.”

– September 17th, (Associated Press) – “Lenders took back more homes in August than in any month since the start of the U.S. mortgage crisis. In all, banks repossessed 95,364 properties last month … California alone accounted for 20 percent of the national foreclosure total in August, according to a report from Realty Trac”

– September 19th, (Economic Collapse Blog) – “For most Americans, the economic collapse is something that’s happening to someone else … and most don’t really care because it has not affected them yet. But this year, millions more Americans will discover that the music has stopped playing and they are left without a seat at the table. Meanwhile, neither political party has a workable solution. They just like to point fingers and blame each other.”

– And finally, on October 5th, (The Journal of Commerce) – The number of idled container ships is set to increase sharply again because diminishing cargo volumes are forcing carriers to cut back capacity on key routes. –

“Diminishing cargo volumes” means there’s a reduction in demand because we’ve lost our buying power … and we’ve lost our buying power because we’ve lost our jobs. The unrecognized “workable solution” was introduced by FDR in the 1930s, and a similar emergency shipbuilding program would provide jobs for the “nearly 30 million” jobless mentioned above. Nothing else will.