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Random Observations by Pat Ostrye

From 'Slow Growth' to 'Depression' in Nine Months?!

Admittedly, I sound like a broken record, this being my fourth column on the disastrous economy. It is uncanny that last January the President could blithely announce that there was no sign of a recession, only slow growth!  Today he took one minute and twenty seconds to re-evaluate his take on the situation: dangerous and immediately the taxpayers must cough up $700 billion with no strings attached for the money barons who managed to drag the country into this abysmal mire.

I predicted at that time that, comparatively speaking, the 'slow growth' could have a more devastating impact on the nation than the Depression of 1929 because we're dealing with billions and trillions of dollars this time around.  Here we are, nine months later, in the biggest financial meltdown in eighty years and getting worse, by the day, according to Wall Street.

Just ten days ago on a Sunday morning talk show, Alan Greenspan, the former Federal authority on such things, casually mentioned that there had been no recession after all.  Within 24 hours the sky fell out completely.  In August U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's worst dilemma had been how to organize the $30 billion Federal Reserve loan to bail out JP Morgan's purchase of Bear Stearns, how to handle Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and whether or not to endorse Bush's determination to extend the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 for the wealthy.  The bottom line to the Bear-Stearns/JP Morgan saga made headlines this morning (Sept. 26th) in bold capital letters: JP Morgan Buys Out Washington Mutual.  What kind of merry-go-round is that?!

In the past two weeks, besides all of the above, the DOW lost 504 points, Lehman Brothers closed their doors, leaving 25,000 employees out of work,  Merrill-Lynch was bought out by Bank of America, also leaving thousands in the unemployment lines and this latest bomb shell of $700 billion is supposed to keep AIG, the largest Insurance Agency in the nation, afloat to cure very problem there is from housing to healthcare!  With, as I said, no strings attached, costing every man, woman and child $2500 through taxes.  At this writing, no one knows where the ball will land by Sunday.

So far, there are no bread lines as such, but more than just the homeless, the working poor and their families are showing up at community kitchens around the nation for their 'one good meal a day'.  One more time, the worst is yet to come.

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