From Volume 38, Issue 25 of EIR Online, Published June 24, 2011

U.S. Economic/Financial News

Official Inflation More Than Tripled Over Past Six Months

June 16 (EIRNS)—Official U.S. price inflation, based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics' consumer price index (CPI), was 3.5% in May, compared with the same month a year ago, well above the Fed's informal inflation target of 1.5% to 2%.

Although these figures are heavily doctored to cover up the economic and financial failure of the Obama Administration, what they cannot hide is that the official rate of inflation has more than tripled over the past six months. May's year-over-year increase in the CPI of 3.57% was up from 3.16% in April, 2.68% in March, 2.11% in February, 1.63% in January, 1.5% in December, and 1.1% in November.

The National Inflation Association (NIA), an independent body, provides its own highly conservative estimate, that inflation currently is 7.5% on a year-over-year basis.

Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist for the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi in New York, called the new data unsettling and predicted that they would increase pressure on the Fed to start raising the near-zero interest rates. "A couple of months ago, they said, 'Don't worry about food and energy,' focus on the core. Now some of the food and energy cost is affecting the price of other goods," Rupkey said.

LaRouche: Cuts in CFTC Budget Will Destroy Economy

June 14 (EIRNS)—Lyndon LaRouche warned today that, if the budget cuts planned for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and other Wall Street regulatory agencies go through, "this will break down the entire U.S. economy." At the very moment that the CFTC and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are responsible for writing and administering the new regulations demanded under the Dodd-Frank budget bill, their own budgets are under assault from Wall Street-owned Republicans like Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.).

In the Ryan budget bill, passed by the House recently, the CFTC budget would be slashed by one-third, from $168 million to $111 million. Similar deep cuts were imposed on the SEC. Even the Obama White House pressed for a budget increase for the regulatory agencies, although Democratic Party sources confirmed that Obama would readily make deep concessions in the course of the budget negotiations.

Michael Dunn, a Democrat and a member of the CFTC, told Bloomberg news service that, even with the added budget, actually administering the regulation of the $600 trillion derivatives market "would be a Herculean task." Another Democrat on the Commission, Bart Chilton, warned that without a sizeable budget increase to adequately staff CFTC, the new regulations "will mean nothing—squat—diddly—if we don't get the resources to do the job. If we get cut, we're going to be in a world of hurt."

Another Wall Street Republican who pushed hard to decimate the CFTC budget is Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), chairman of the subcommittee overseeing CFTC's operations.

While it is admirable that some of the CFTC commissioners are fighting to expand the manpower and resources of their agency to effectively regulate the derivatives markets, at least one Congressional Democrat warned today that with the Commission hopelessly underfunded and understaffed, there would be a dramatic boost in the size of the derivatives market—perhaps as much as a five-fold increase!

Life Expectancy Slips for U.S. Women

June 15 (EIRNS)—A page-one article in today's Los Angeles Times reports that census figures show that "women in large swaths of the U.S. are dying younger than they were a generation ago, reversing nearly a generation of progress in public health...."

The article continues: "In some parts of the United States, men and women are dying younger on average than their counterparts in nations such as Syria, Panama, and Vietnam. Overall, the U.S. is falling further behind other industrialized nations, many of which have also made greater strides in cutting child mortality and reducing preventable deaths." This trend began before 1997, but has accelerated in the last decade.

While the authors attribute this largely to smoking and obesity, they also point to poverty as a factor. "The widening gulf between the healthiest and least healthy population is partly due to wealth.... In general, men and women die youngest in poor, mostly rural parts of the South and in struggling urban centers like Philadelphia and St. Louis. In Baltimore, men on average live only 66.7 years."

Preemptive Pink Slips to All 36,000 Minnesota Public Employees

June 14 (EIRNS)—The state of Minnesota faces a shutdown deadline on June 30, as the Democratic governor and the newly elected Republican legislature are in a face-off on the budget. Gov. Mark Dayton sent out layoff notices to the entire public work force, effective July 1, just in case. At issue is whether to close a $3.6 billion budget shortfall by increasing taxes or making spending cuts, which appear to be the only alternatives to those who haven't woken up to the surge in support for Glass-Steagall—yet.

If there is no agreement, and no Glass-Steagall passed in Washington, all state agencies will shut down just before the July 4 holiday.

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