U.S. Economic/Financial News
Why Nobody Believes the Cheney-Bush 'Recovery' Fraud
Behind the heavily doctored Bureau of Labor Statistics "consumer price inflation" report for January, was the additional report that the real hourly wages of American workers have now fallen for three consecutive years.
Even by the completely fraudulent Consumer Price Index (CPI), from which most potential sources of inflation have been progressively edited and removed over the past 20 years of government statistical practice, prices rose 0.7% in January, and were 4.4% above a year ago. Even by this measure, American workers' real wages fell by 0.7% from January 2005 to January 2006, the third straight yearly decline. Private-sector workers' real wages fell by 0.9%, and those of government employees by 0.3%.
For the three years 2003-05, private-sector workers' real wages have fallen 2.1% relative to the pathetic CPI, and those of government workers have fallen by 1.7%.
Hyperinflationary Bubble Hidden by Producer Price Index
Economists clucked over the "unexpected" January rise of 0.4% in what the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls the "core rate" of inflation in producer prices. For an overview of how blatantly false this index is, relative to the ongoing actual hyperinflation in producer prices, see EIR's Feb. 24 issue. Here's one example:
There is an across-the-board hyperinflation in industrial plastics prices, generally up about 45% in the past six months. One very important plastic feedstock, low-density polyethylene (LDPE), used for films, industrial molds, etc., has temporarily priced itself off the market in Europe, "with [industrial] buyers unable to pay the 1,200 euro/tonne price, only producers and speculators are making purchases, for inventory and hedge purposes," reported the Feb. 23-29 ICIS Chemical Business. And a new plastic, linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), considered a superior replacement for LDPE for many purposes, has zoomed up 45% price since June 2005, from 900 to 1,300 euro/ton. The big speculators driving the bubbles are so-called commodity price index funds, and hedge funds.
New Foreclosures Soar in January, Hitting Minorities and Poor
New urban foreclosures nationwide in January jumped 27% from December, and up a whopping 45% from January 2005, according to RealtyTrac. More than 100,000 residential properties entered some stage of foreclosure during the month. The national foreclosure rate continues its upward trend, after rising in every quarter of 2005, now at rate of one new foreclosure for every 1,117 households.
According to a front-page New York Times story Feb. 22, minorities and poor in places like Cleveland, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Atlanta, are experiencing a sharp rise in foreclosures on their homes. A few months ago, stories were written about increasing ownership of homes by blacks and minorities in the United States. The percentage of home ownership was cited as being as high as 50% in 2004. Now, this article says, ownership has begun to drop this year and has already gone below the ownership rate in 2005.
U.S. Farmers Launch Suit Against Monsanto
On Feb. 16, in Federal District Court in San Francisco, South Dakota farmer Pat Trask, along with other farm and environmentalist groups, filed suit against Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, and other top Federal officials, for their action in June 2005, of granting the right to Monsanto Co., to sell its patented alfalfa seed, bioengineering to withstand Monsanto's patented Round-Up herbicide, glyphosphate.
Alfalfa is called the "king of all forages," explained Trask, who outlined the "number of serious issues" involved in the USDA having wrongly given Monsanto the green light (EIR interview, March 3 issue). Keep in mind, alfalfa is the fourth-largest crop grown in the USA, after wheat, corn, and soybeans; and is a key link in both the feed and food chain. Alfalfa is a nitrogen-fixing plant, which builds up the soil; and is grown over 83% with no fertilizers or herbicides required.
* Bees cross-pollinate, and wind carries alfalfa seed far afield, so that the bioengineering chromosome will show up on other farms, where Monsanto will sue for patent infringement. The company has gotten settlements from 90 farmers to date, over corn and soybean claims, ranging from $3 million down to $5,000; and tied up 500 other farm families with seed police investigations.
* Secondly, there is the threat of new, "super weeds" that can be expected from weeds adapting to Round-Up, resulting in new, noxious weed varieties.
* There is no difference at all in the yields from Monsanto's Round-Up Ready alfalfa seed, and conventional seed.
Trask stresses that Monsanto is part of a world food-control apparatus, including Cargill, Tysons, and others, which in recent years have consolidated their grip. Monsanto is not just a regular company, any more than "Al Capone was just a kind of Robin Hood...." (See InDepth for "Argentina: 'When We Speak of Greed, We Speak of Monsanto,'" by Cynthia R. Rush.)