From Volume 37, Issue 3 of EIR Online, Published Jan. 22, 2010

U.S. Economic/Financial News

Brutal Winter Cold, Obamavilles Bring Rise in Homeless Deaths

Jan. 12 (EIRNS)—Certainly not foremost in the headlines, but still a result of the Obama genocide policies, is the plight of the homeless—and the "new homeless," the recently foreclosed—in this brutally cold Winter. As "Obamaville" tent cities rise across the nation, the areas most vulnerable seem to be surprisingly in the South, not only since the social safety net is thinner, but also because extremely cold temperatures are so rare. If a report from Santa Cruz, Calif. is any indication, the problem is indeed severe.

Santa Cruz reported 47 deaths in 2009, "the highest number of homeless deaths" since the city began keeping records ten years ago. Over that decade, more than 400 homeless people died. In New York City, with significantly more infrastructure for the homeless, not two days went by in the New Year, before a homeless person's death was reported. The average life-span of a homeless male is 51, twenty years less than the national average. The leading cause of death is alchohol-related, because drinking alcohol helps to numb the cold.

Senate Debate on Deficit Commission To Begin

Jan. 17 (EIRNS)—Under an agreement worked out between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Senators last December, the Senate will take up raising the Federal debt limit on Jan. 20; it will also take up the Judd Gregg (R-N.H.)-Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) proposal for Peter Peterson's fascist budget-cutting commission on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—whose powers would supersede those of Congress. A similar proposal is also likely to be part of Obama's State of the Union address Jan. 27.

The Washington Post Jan. 16 reported that talks have been going on for weeks between the White House and fiscal hawks in the Senate, typified by Conrad, who are refusing to support an increase in the debt limit without the creation of a budget commission. One issue is whether such a slash-and-burn commission would be created by law, or by Presidential appointment; a Presidentially appointed commission would have less power to compel Congress to accept its recommendations. The Post reports that many interest groups are lining up against the creation of such a commission, including the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), and others opposed to cuts in Medicare and Social Security.

David Walker, the former U.S. Comptroller who now heads the Peterson Foundation, was interviewed on National Public Radio last week, where he pushed his commission proposal and repeated his mantra that the "regular order" (i.e., the Constitutional framework of our government) is broken, and that if we don't cut spending quickly, we will "lose the confidence of foreign investors."

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