From Volume 7, Issue 16 of EIR Online, Published Apr. 15, 2008

U.S. Economic/Financial News

Loudoun 'Ground Zero' Crash Comes to China Daily

April 7 (EIRNS)—"Foreclosures come to McMansion country" is the headline of an article published in China Daily today, featuring the collapse of the insane real estate bubble in Loudoun County, Virginia, which Lyndon LaRouche has described as "Ground Zero" for the housing bubble. The article shows a photo of two Loudoun realtors in an empty, cavernous McMansion, with a caption explaining that the house had been foreclosed and "winterized," since no one is expected to buy it any time soon.

"The U.S. housing crisis has come to McMansion country," the article states. "Just as the foreclosure crisis has hollowed out poorer neighborhoods, 'for sale' signs are sprouting in upscale developments so new they don't show up on GPS navigation screens. The crisis has hit especially hard here in Loudoun County, Virginia, where upscale developments have supplanted horse farms over the past fifteen years." The article describes Loudoun's alleged affluence, and gives details on the "McMansion" monsters, and how many people took out risky high-interest loans to fund them. While the first foreclosures were in poorer areas, now they are beginning to affect properties worth more than $800,000, China Daily reports.

California Budget Crisis: Arnie Pushes 'Volunteerism'

April 8 (EIRNS)—California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger came under fire from union officials, for his promotion of "volunteerism" as part of his "green" agenda. Following last year's fires and a Bay Area oil spill, the governator established a cabinet-level Secretary of Volunteerism. This week, he launched a drive to bring more volunteers into work, cleaning and greening parks, which a spokesman extolled as a budget-balancing measure, as volunteer work is done "at no additional cost to the state." Schwarzenegger added that government "should welcome these dedicated volunteers with open arms rather than getting them all tied up in red tape."

This push comes at a time when Schwarzenegger has axed funds from state parks, calling for closing 48 of them, as he attempts to cut another $10 billion from next year's budget. Officials from the AFCSME union have correctly tied this push for "volunteerism" to the assault on public works in general, sending out a letter saying that public works "should be performed by full-time trained employees," adding that the governor's actions undercut the state's "need for economic stability and an individual's need for gainful employment." One legislative insider said that this drive by Schwarzenegger is "adding to LaRouche's credibility," as it shows that the much-hyped public-private partnership concept is "nothing more than a front for busting the wage scale, to establish a new precedent for cheap labor," replacing jobs previously paying union-scale wages. He added that there is also talk from the governor's office, of using "volunteers" to replace those who will be laid off when almost $5 billion is cut from the education budget.

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