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In his Christmas address to the nation broadcast on the radio yesterday, the new president of the USA promised better times to his fellow-citizens.
Ironically, new figures concerning the US economy were released almost simultaneously showing that once again, Mister O. is nothing but "words, words, words."
To promise better days while his country is sinking deeper into a recession is easy to do :
but economic experts all agree : a recovery is impossible, and the situation is probably going to become worse in coming months.
A graphic showing the trends in US GDP growth rate since 2006. The US economy shrank by 0.5 percent in the third quarter, official data showed on Tuesday as Britain edged ever closer to a recession and the IMF's top economist warned of a second Great Depression.(AFP/Graphic/Jfs/Jw)
Here are the statistics released yesterday, all showing a weakening U.S. economy.
University of Maryland economist Peter Morici says the worsening employment picture foreshadows even tougher economic times in the New Year.
"Unemployment claims rose again, enough to take unemployment up to seven percent in December and eight percent in 2009," he said. "The economy is quickly slipping into the worst phase of the recession. Home values, income are down. 2009 will begin on a dark note."
Unemployed people wait in line at the California Employment Development Department in San Jose, California (file photo)
With more people out of work, Americans continue to cut back on purchases. The Commerce Department reports consumer spending fell for the fifth consecutive month in November, the longest decline recorded in the United States in more than four decades. Americans' overall incomes were also down 0.2 percent for the month.
Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of GDP, decreased by 3.8 percent in the third quarter, the Commerce Department said. Corporate earnings declined as well, with profits after tax falling by 3.2 percent.
The U.S. economy shrank by 0.5 percent in the third quarter — the worst contraction since the recession of 2001, according to federal data show.
Data released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Commerce match previous estimates of the quarterly fall in gross domestic product. Analysts expect a major economic contraction of as much as 6 percent in the current quarter, which ends Dec. 31.
Job seeker Christopher Tan (R) gives a resume to a potential employer during the "Put Your Talent to Work" job and resource expo December 17, 2008 in Concord, California. New weekly jobless rates in the United States showed a slight drop, according to the Labor Department Thursday, but were still consistent with a painful recession.(AFP/Getty Images/File/Justin Sullivan)
But what the MSM is not revealing is the possible consequences of this terrible economic crisis.
The MSM has not said anything about a report published on November 4th (yes, on the very day Obama was elected) by the the War College's Strategic Studies Institute (which is the US Army War College).
The report was about the difficult times that the country might be facing and the social disturbances that it could provoke. In brief, in future months, America (and other countries around the world) could face severe social unrest because of the economy's failure.
The report has a snappy title, "Known Unknowns: Unconventional 'Strategic Shocks' in Defense Strategy Development," and was written by Nathan Freier, a visiting professor at the college. The foreword was written by Col. John A. Kardos, director of the Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute.
The report discusses the use of American troops to quell civil unrest brought about by a worsening economic crisis !
It warns that the U.S. military must prepare for a “violent, strategic dislocation inside the United States” that could be provoked by “unforeseen economic collapse” or “loss of functioning political and legal order.”
The War College says "widespread civil violence inside the US would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extrems to defend basic domestic order and human security."
So instructions are being given to the US Army in order to prepare itself to retaliate !
The problem is that this report is only one alarming sign among many others :
For example, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn warned last week of riots and unrest in global markets if the ongoing financial crisis is not addressed and lower-income households are beset with credit constraints and rising unemployment, the Phoenix Business Journal reported.
Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma and Rep. Brad Sherman of California disclosed that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson discussed a worst-case scenario as he pushed the Wall Street bailout in September, and said that scenario might even require a declaration of martial law.
To conclude, Obama may promise "better times" for Christmas and make people believe he is going to save the world.
If this is the only Christmas present he has to offer, I'm afraid it won't do much to prevent the predicted disaster...
Oh, and by the way, have a Merry Christmas !
And don't worry : Mister O. is here to protect you !