Patrick J. Michaels and Paul C. "Chip" Knappenberger
The Current Wisdom is a series of monthly articles in which Patrick J. Michaels, director of the Center for the Study of Science, reviews interesting items on global warming in the scientific literature that may not have received the media attention that they deserved, or have been misinterpreted in the popular press.
In its 2007 Fourth Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projected that as a result of warming primarily caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, global mean sea level would rise from 1990 through 2100 from 0.18 to 0.59 meters (7 to 23 in.) with perhaps another 0.1 to 0.2 meters (4 to 8 in.) on top of that if the rates of ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica continued to grow linearly (from their 1993-2002 rates).
Some of our colleagues who are of a particularly “concerned” persuasion accused the IPCC of being far too conservative in these estimates; it’s true that the IPCC’s central estimate of 15 inches is hardly alarming. NASA’s Jim Hansen went as far as to accuse the IPCC and others of “scientific reticence” (Hansen claims that scientists are generally reluctant to announce bad news. Judge that one for yourself.) with regard to sea level rise. For his part, Hansen shares no such reticence, and doesn’t mind telling anyone who asks (and many who don’t) that we should be expecting upwards of 6 meters (236 in.) of sea level rise in a hundred years. He has even stated that the majority of this could occur by 2100. Clearly, there is a world of difference (and a different world) between the IPCC central estimate of 15 inches and Hansen’s 20 feet.
As if on cue, a bunch of apparently non-“reticent” scientists suddenly emerged, trying to show that the IPCC was wrong and of course, that things are “worse than we thought”.
They developed a technique that, to the non-perseverators in the crowd, seems quite reasonable, a “semi-empirical” method which ties historical sea level rise to the rate of global mean temperature change. They used this relationship rather than the computer-generated rises in sea level that come out of climate models, which is what backs the IPCC projections. Instead they only used the global temperature change projections from the same climate models, and then coupled those with their semi-empirical relationship between temperature and sea level to make their projections. Such a technique almost invariably yields greater rates of sea level rise, with the upper end of the range of projected values often exceeding 1 meter (39 in.) by the year 2100.
One potential problem is that the empirical relationship between sea level and global temperature may not be valid—even though it seems simple and straightforward. A new multi-authored study argues cogently that indeed the semi-empiricists have fallen into this simple trap.
The new paper’s lead author is Jonathan Gregory of the U.K.’s University of Reading, and the other authors are a who’s who of sea level researchers (repeating my professions nauseating belief that putting a large number of authors (most of whom have—at best—just read the manuscript) somehow makes it more persuasive). The paper concludes that the causes of sea level rise, and its temporal variations, across the 20th century were many, and that a link to anthropogenic global climate changes has been weak or absent over this period. Basing future sea level rise projections on a presumed historical relationship between anthropogenic global warming and corresponding sea level rise turns out to be a bad idea.
Here is how Gregory et al., 2012 put it:
The implication of our closure of the [global mean sea level rise, GMSLR] budget is that a relationship between global climate change and the rate of GMSLR is weak or absent in the past. The lack of a strong relationship is consistent with the evidence from the tide-gauge datasets, whose authors find acceleration of GMSLR during the 20th century to be either insignificant or small. It also calls into question the basis of the semi-empirical methods for projecting GMSLR, which depend on calibrating a relationship between global climate change or radiative forcing and the rate of GMSLR from observational data (Rahmstorf, 2007; Vermeer and Rahmstorf, 2009; Jevrejeva et al., 2010).
And here are the main conclusions, now seriously questioned, from the semi-empiricical citations included in the above quote:
When applied to future warming scenarios of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, this relationship results in a projected sea-level rise in 2100 of 0.5 to 1.4 meters above the 1990 level [by 2100].
Vermeer and Rahmstorf (2009):
For future global temperature scenarios of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report, the relationship projects a sea-level rise ranging from 75 to 190 cm for the period 1990–2100.
Jevrejeva et al. (2010):
With six IPCC radiative forcing scenarios we estimate sea level rise of 0.6–1.6 m, with confidence limits of 0.59 m and 1.8 m.
Seems like three strikes against projecting those high rates of sea level rise.
For a little reality check, the current rate of rise is somewhere in the range of 1.8 to 3.5 mm/yr (0.07 to 0 .14 in/yr) depending on the time period over which you calculate the trend.
Further, as we have previously written, it doesn’t look as if the recent increased rates of ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica are sustainable—much less going to linearly increase to the end of the century. All of this strongly argues that the 21st century sea level rise is not a problem that we can’t keep up with.
Gregory, J., et al., 2012. Twentieth-century global-mean sea-level rise: is the whole greater than the sum of the parts? Journal of Climate, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00319.1, in press.
Hansen, J.E., 2007. Scientific reticence and sea level rise. Environmental Research Letters, 2, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/2/2/024002
Jevrejeva, S., et al., 2010. How will sea level respond to 1019 changes in natural and anthropogenic forcings by 2100? Geophysical Research Letters, 37, L07703, doi:10.1029/2010GL042947.
Rahmstorf, S., 2007. A semi-empirical approach to projecting future sea-level rise. Science, 315, 368–370, doi:10.1126/science.1135456.
Vermeer, M. and S. Rahmstorf, 2009. Global sea level linked to global temperature. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106, 51, 21527–21532, doi:10.1073/pnas.0907765106.
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By Chip Knappenberger
Global Science Report is a weekly feature from the Center for the Study of Science, where we highlight one or two important new items in the scientific literature or the popular media. For broader and more technical perspectives, consult our monthly “Current Wisdom.”
The good news keeps coming in about sea level rise—or more precisely, Antarctica’s (minimal) contribution to it. Last time, we reviewed recent scientific findings indicating Antarctica was on the verge of gaining ice mass (and thus acting to draw down global sea level) as a slightly warmer Southern Ocean results in increasing snow accumulation which acts to offset ice loss from its peripheral (marine-terminating) glaciers. Without a contribution from Antarctica, alarming visions of a large and rapid sea level rise this century—upwards of a meter (and by some reckoning up to 6 meters)—are pretty much out the door. Sans Antarctica, we are looking at a foot to foot-and-a-half of rise, give or take a few inches. Such an amount will undoubtedly require some adjustment and adaptation, but will not involve a wrenching transformation of society. Most of us probably wouldn’t even notice. Consider that, due to a combination of geology and oceanic warming, this same amount (or more) has been experienced in many East Coast locations in the last 100 years.
The good science news may be one reason why global warming has been so absent in the election debates. In response, last week, the Union of Concerned Scientists helped a collection of local government officials and scientists from Florida pen an open letter to the candidates imploring them to address the issue of sea level rise during their third and final debate (held in Boca Raton). They didn’t.
It is a good thing that they left the issue alone, for in this week’s Nature magazine comes more evidence that Antarctica is perhaps not going to be the great sea level rise contributor that other research as made it out to be (e.g. Velicogna et al., 2009; Rignot et al., 2011).
Matt King, from Newcastle University, and colleagues set out to refine the Antarctic ice mass change calculations that have been performed using data collected by the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite. GRACE determines how the mass is changing underneath the satellite by measuring temporal variations in the pull of gravity. If the strength of the local gravitational attraction increases over time, then it is inferred that the local mass must be increasing (and vice versa). This is a handy tool for assessing trends in dynamic ice/snow mass in places like Greenland and Antarctica.
But, variations in the ice/snow burden are not the only thing that can change the gravitational pull observed by the GRACE satellite. The ground underlying the ice and snow may be changing as well. And, in fact, it is. The ground in many places around the world is still adjusting to the burdening and subsequent unburdening from the coming and going of the massive amount of snow and ice from the last ice age (and its termination). This process is known as glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA).
The problem is that while we understand that GIA is taking place, we really don’t precisely know the details, like where, when, and how fast—especially over sparsely monitored and studied places like Antarctica.
Two years ago, a study was published that showed that the GIA model used in most GRACE-based studies was in error, and that when it was corrected, the rate of calculated ice mass loss from across Antarctica declined by some 40 percent (from ~150 gigatons/yr to ~87 Gt/yr). Since it takes about 374 Gt of melted ice to produce 1 millimeter of global sea level rise, these findings indicated that Antarctica was contributing to sea level rise at a rate of about one-quarter of a millimeter per year (or about 1 hundredth of an inch per year). We detailed that finding, by Xiaoping Wu and colleagues, in a Cato Current Wisdom article in October of 2010.
Now along comes the new study Matt King et al. (2012) that further refines the local GIA over Antarctica. Here is how they did it:
Here we applied a new GIA model (W12a) to GRACE data to estimate the ice-mass balance for 26 independent Antarctic drainage basins from August 2002 to December 2010. The W12a model comprises a glaciologically self-consistent ice history constrained to fit data that delimit past ice extent and elevation, and an Earth viscosity model chosen such that GIA predictions from W12a best fit a suite of relative sea-level records around Antarctica. The advance of W12a on previous models applied to GRACE data is illustrated by the misfit to GPS uplift rates being halved. Our use of W12a addresses the dominant GRACE-related error in previous Antarctic analyses.
With this new model in hand, they were able to produce a new estimate of the rate of ice mass change over Antarctica from 2002 through 2010. That estimate is a loss of only 69 Gt/yr (+/- 18Gt/yr). And further, they found no statistically significant change in this rate when averaged over the whole continent—in contrast to other prominent studies (e.g. Rignot et al., 2011) which claimed a significant acceleration was taking place.
So King and colleagues’ latest refinement puts the Antarctic contribution to global sea level rise at a rate of about one-fifth of a millimeter per year (or in English units, 0.71 inches per century).
Without a significantly large acceleration—and recall the King et al. found none—this is something that we can all live with for along time to come.
King, M., et al., 2012. Lower satellite-gravimetry estimates of Antarctic sea-level contribution. Nature, doi:10.1038/nature, http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature11621.html
Rignot, E., et al., 2011. Acceleration of the contribution of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to sea level rise. Geophysical Research Letters, 38, L05503, http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2011/2011GL046583.shtml
Velicogna, I., 2009. Increasing rates of ice mass loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets revealed by GRACE. Geophysical Research Letters, 36, L19503, http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009GL040222.shtml
View full post on Cato @ Liberty
The global debt crisis has reached a dangerous new phase. Unfortunately, most Americans are not taking notice of it yet because most of the action is taking place overseas, and because U.S. financial markets are riding high. But just because the global economic crisis is unfolding at the pace of a “slow-motion train wreck” right now does not mean that it isn’t incredibly dangerous. As I have written about previously, the economic collapse is not going to be a single event. Yes, there will be days when the Dow drops by more than 500 points. Yes, there will be days when the reporters on CNBC appear to be hyperventilating. But mostly there will be days of quiet despair as the global economic system slides even further toward oblivion. And right now things are clearly getting worse. Things in Greece are much worse than they were six months ago. Things in Spain are much worse than they were six months ago. The same thing could be said for Italy, France, Japan, Argentina and a whole bunch of other nations. The entire global economy is slowing down, and we are entering a time period that is going to be incredibly painful for everyone. At the moment, the U.S. is still experiencing a “sugar high” from unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus, but when that “sugar high” wears off the hangover will be excruciating. Reckless borrowing, spending and money printing has bought us a brief period of “economic stability”, but our foolish financial decisions will also make our eventual collapse far worse than it might have been. So don’t think for a second that the U.S. will somehow escape the coming global economic crisis. The truth is that before this is all over we will be seen as one of the primary causes of the crisis.
The following are 21 signs that the global economic crisis is about to go to a whole new level….
#1 Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer says that the global economy is “awfully close” to recession.
#2 It was announced last week that the unemployment rate in Greece has reached an all-time high of 25.1 percent. Unemployment among those 24 years old or younger is now more than 54 percent. Back in April 2010, the unemployment rate in Greece was only sitting at 11.8 percent.
#3 The IMF is warning that Greek debt may have to be “restructured” yet again.
#4 Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg says that it is “probable” that Greece will leave the euro, and that it might happen within the next six months.
#5 An angry crowd of approximately 40,000 angry Greeks recently descended on Athens to protest a visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel…
From high-school students to pensioners, tens of thousands of Greek demonstrators swarmed into Athens yesterday to show the visiting German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, their indignation at their country’s continued austerity measures.
Flouting the government’s ban on protests, an estimated 40,000 people – many carrying posters depicting Ms Merkel as a Nazi – descended on Syntagma Square near the parliament building. Masked youths pelted riot police with rocks as the officers responded with tear gas.
The authorities had deployed 7,000 police, water cannon and a helicopter. Snipers were placed on rooftops to ensure the German leader’s safety.
#6 The debt crisis is Argentina is becoming increasingly troublesome.
#8 Standard & Poor’s has slashed the credit rating on Spanish government debt to BBB-, which is just one level above junk status.
#9 Back in the year 2000, the ratio of total debt to GDP in Spain was 192 percent. By 2011, it had reached 363 percent.
#10 Record amounts of money are being pulled out of Spanish banks, and many large Spanish banks are rapidly heading toward insolvency.
#11 Manufacturing activity in Spain has contracted for 17 months in a row.
#12 It is being projected that home prices in Spain will fall by another 15 percent by the end of 2013.
#13 The unemployment rate in France is now above 10 percent, and it has risen for 16 months in a row.
#14 There are signs that Switzerland may be preparing for “major civil unrest” throughout Europe.
#15 The former top economist at the European Central Bank says that the ECB has fallen into a state of “panic” as it desperately tries to solve the European debt crisis.
#16 According to a recent IMF report, European banks may need to sell off 4.5 trillion dollars in assets over the next 14 months in order to meet strict new capital requirements.
#17 In August, U.S. exports dropped to the lowest level that we have seen since last February.
#18 Economics Professor Barry Eichengreen is very concerned about what is coming next for stocks in the United States…
“I’m worried that stock markets in the United States in particular have gotten ahead of economic growth”
#19 During the week ending October 3rd, investors pulled more than 10 billion dollars out of U.S. mutual funds. Overall, a total of more than 100 billion dollars has been pulled out of U.S. mutual funds so far this year.
#21 When shipping companies start laying off workers, that is one of the best signs that economic activity is slowing down. That is why it was so troubling when it was announced that FedEx is planning to get rid of “several thousand” workers over the coming months. According to AFP, “its business is being hit by the global economic slowdown”.
For even more signs that the global economy is rapidly crumbling, please see my previous article entitled “The Largest Economy In The World Is Imploding Right In Front Of Our Eyes“.
So is anyone doing well right now?
Yes, it turns out that QE3 is padding the profits of the big banks in the United States and making the wealthy even wealthier just like I warned that it would.
According to the Washington Post, QE3 is helping the big banks much more than it is helping consumers. Is this what the Fed intended all along?…
JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, the nation’s largest mortgage lenders, said Friday they won’t make home loans much cheaper for consumers, even as they reported booming profits from that business.
Those bottom lines have been padded by federal initiatives to stimulate the economy. The Federal Reserve is spending $40 billion a month to reduce mortgage rates to encourage Americans to buy homes. Instead, its policies may be generating more benefits for banks than borrowers.
So exactly how much has QE3 helped out the big banks? Just check out these numbers…
Revenue from mortgages was up 57 percent in the third quarter compared with the same period last year at JPMorgan and more than 50 percent up at Wells Fargo.
But should we expect anything else from the Federal Reserve?
The American people are trusting the Fed to protect our economy, and yet they cannot even protect their own shipments of money. In fact, the Fed recently lost a large shipment of new $100 bills.
Or perhaps could letting people steal money from their own trucks be another way that the Fed is trying to “stimulate the economy”?
Stranger things have happened.
In any event, the truth is that the U.S. economy and the U.S. financial system are unsustainable from any angle that you want to look at things.
We are drowning in government debt, we are drowning in consumer debt, Wall Street has been transformed into a high risk casino where our largest financial institutions are putting it all on the line on a daily basis, we are consuming far more than we are producing, there are more than 100 million Americans on welfare and we are stealing more than 100 million dollars an hour from future generations to pay for it all.
Anyone that believes that we are in “good shape” does not know the first thing about economics.
Sadly, the U.S. is not alone. Nations all over the globe are experiencing similar problems.
The global economic crisis is just beginning and it is going to get much, much worse.
I hope that you ready.
View full post on The Economic Collapse
For those waiting for our economic problems to be solved, you can quit holding your breath. There is simply not going to be a solution to our economic problems on the national level. So why is that the case? Well, it is because the economic policies of both major political parties are very, very similar when you take a close look at them. Yes, that statement may sound downright bizarre to many Americans, but it is true. Both major political parties supported the Wall Street bailouts, both of them fully support the job-killing “free trade” globalization agenda, both of them have dramatically increased the national debt when in power, both of them fully support the currency-killing policies of the Federal Reserve, and neither major political party would get rid of the income tax and the IRS. And that is just for starters. Yes, there are some minor differences when it comes to taxing and spending between the two parties, but the truth is that they are a lot more similar on economic issues than they are different. What we desperately need on the national level is a fundamental change in direction when it comes to economic policy, but we simply are not going to get that from either the Democrats or the Republicans. That means that there is no hope that the economic storm that is coming will be averted.
So why are the Democrats and the Republicans so similar on these issues? Well, a big reason is because of who they are trying to please.
The reality of the matter is that most politicians do not really care about what you or I have to say. Instead, what they are really concerned about is getting as much money for their campaigns as possible so that they can keep getting elected.
When you take a close look at the results of federal elections over the past several decades, it quickly becomes apparent that the candidate that raises the most money almost always wins.
So most politicians have learned to please those that fund their campaigns so that the money will keep rolling in.
Yes, there are a few candidates that are willing to rebel against “the system”, but they are few and far between and the major parties tend to marginalize them.
Once again in 2012, political races will overwhelmingly be won by those that raise the most cash. The following is from Politifact….
In congressional races in 2010, the candidate who spent the most won 85 percent of the House races and 83 percent of the Senate races, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That’s a large percentage, but it’s lower than what the sign indicated.
Indeed, the percentage for 2010 was lower than it had been in recent election cycles. The center found that in 2008, the biggest spenders won 93 percent of House races and 86 percent of Senate races. In 2006, the top spenders won 94 percent of House races and 73 percent of Senate races. And in 2004, 98 percent of House seats went to candidates who spent the most, as did 88 percent of Senate seats.
Once you understand how Washington works, it becomes easier to understand why our politicians do such stupid things.
For example, big corporations tend to donate large amounts of money to political campaigns and they love the “free trade” globalization agenda.
They love to import massive quantities of super cheap foreign goods so that they can undercut the prices of goods made in the United States.
They love to set up manufacturing facilities on the other side of the globe where it is legal to pay slave labor wages to workers.
The “free trade” agenda is great for the largest corporations, but it is horrible for the average American worker.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, the U.S. economy loses approximately 9,000 jobs for every $1 billion of goods that are imported from overseas.
Trade with other countries can be good as long as it is balanced. Unfortunately, the U.S. trading relationship with the rest of the world is tremendously imbalanced.
In 2011, the United States bought more than 550 billion dollars more stuff from the rest of the world than they bought from us.
This trade deficit has enormous consequences that most Americans simply do not understand.
Over the past decade, tens of thousands of businesses, millions of jobs and trillions of dollars have left our country.
Our industrial base is being dismantled and we are rapidly becoming poorer as a nation.
According to U.S. Representative Betty Sutton, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities a day closed down in the United States during 2010.
Just think about that.
Every single day we lost 23 more.
Overall, America has lost a total of more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001.
Why do you think cities like Detroit are dying?
The truth is that we killed them with our idiotic policies.
America has a trade imbalance that is more than 5 times larger than any other nation on earth has. We are losing wealth, jobs and businesses at a pace that is absolutely astounding.
It is neither “conservative” nor “liberal” to commit national economic suicide.
Our trade imbalance with China is particularly bad. The U.S. spends about 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that China spends on goods and services from the United States.
Does that sound fair to you?
China slaps huge tariffs on many of our products, they deeply subsidize their own national industries, the brazenly steal technology from us, and they manipulate currency rates so that their products end up being significantly cheaper than ours.
Our trade deficit with China in 2011 was nearly 300 billion dollars. That was the largest trade deficit that one country has had with another country in the history of the world.
Yet both major political parties refuse to do anything about it.
Back in 1985, the U.S. trade deficit with China was only 6 million dollars for the entire year.
In 2011, our trade deficit with China was more than 49,000 times larger.
The consequences of this trade deficit with China are being felt all over the United States every single day.
For example, the United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.
Do you support losing more than half a million manufacturing jobs a year?
If not, then you should be for “fair trade” instead of “free trade” where other nations can cheat us blind as often as they want.
The Economic Policy Institute says that since 2001 America has lost approximately 2.8 million jobs due to our trade deficit with China alone.
Do you think that the U.S. economy could use an extra 2.8 million jobs right now?
Sadly, if current trends continue things are going to get a lot worse.
According to Professor Alan Blinder of Princeton University, 40 million more U.S. jobs could be sent offshore over the next two decades.
So why won’t our politicians do something?
The United States has run a trade deficit every single year since 1976.
During that time, America has had a total trade imbalance of more than 7.5 trillion dollars with the rest of the world.
That 7.5 trillion dollars could have gone to support U.S. jobs and U.S. businesses.
Taxes could have been paid on that 7.5 trillion dollars.
Instead, it went out of the country and made foreigners wealthier.
So what is Barack Obama doing about all of this?
Well, Obama has been aggressively pushing for even more “free trade” agreements. The Obama administration has inked deals with Panama, South Korea and Colombia and the Obama administration is making the Trans-Pacific Partnership (“the NAFTA of the Pacific“) a very high priority.
Well, Mitt Romney must be criticizing these moves, right?
No, Romney has actually criticized Obama for not pushing for more “free trade” fast enough.
Mitt Romney wants to make it even easier for jobs to go out of the country and for other countries to drain our wealth. The following quote comes directly from the Romney campaign website….
Access to foreign markets is crucial to growing our economy. We must reassert American leadership in international negotiations, follow through on commitments we have already made, and push aggressively for advantageous new agreements.
So we are not going to see a change in direction in trade policy no matter who wins the next election.
Well, what about the national debt?
Are there differences between the two parties on this issue?
Sadly, there are only minor differences.
Both major political parties are packed with big spenders that have been spending us into oblivion.
Since Barack Obama entered the White House, the U.S. national debt has increased by $5,027,761,476,484.56.
That comes to $16,043.39 for every man, woman and child living in the United States.
What the Obama administration and the Democrats are doing to future generations is absolutely criminal.
So what about the Republicans?
Well, when the Republicans have had control of the White House they have run up debt “like a drunken sailor” as well.
If the Republican Party wants to have any credibility when it comes to fiscal issues, it needs to publicly admit that George W. Bush was a horrible failure when it came to the federal budget.
George W. Bush was a “big government” politician that dramatically increased the size of the federal government and spent money like it was going out of style.
He was not a conservative when it came to fiscal issues, and that is the truth.
Sadly, neither political party is proposing to balance the federal budget any time soon. There are a few politicians that have suggested doing this, but they have been marginalized.
So why don’t our politicians support living within our means?
Well, the truth is that if the federal government balanced the budget today, it would result in a catastrophic drop in living standards inside the United States. We are currently living in an era of debt-fueled “false prosperity”, and if that false prosperity were to disappear there would be riots in the streets of our major cities within months.
It is much easier for our politicians to continue to pile up more debt and to continue to kick the can down the road.
But this party cannot go on too much longer. Already, the United States has more government debt per capita than Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland or Spain.
As you can see from the chart below, we are in a whole lot of trouble….
Our foolishness will catch up to us in a big way eventually.
Another area where the two major political parties agree is that they both fully support the Federal Reserve.
The Federal Reserve is supposed to keep inflation low, but the truth is that the Fed has absolutely killed the value of the U.S. dollar. Just check out the chart below which was produced by the Fed itself. It shows how dramatically the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar has declined over the years….
Keep in mind that the chart above is using official government numbers which actually downplay how much the U.S. dollar has been debased.
If inflation was measured the exact same way that it was back in 1980, the annual rate of inflation would be more than 10 percent right now.
By any measure, the Federal Reserve has been a colossal failure for the American people. Since the Fed was created, our currency has lost more than 95 percent of its value and our national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger.
But Barack Obama just loves Bernanke. He nominated him for another term as Fed Chairman and he never criticizes anything that he does.
So will things be any different under Mitt Romney?
Of course not.
During one Republican debate, Mitt Romney actually had the gall to try to explain to all of us why “we need to have a Fed“.
Mitt Romney says that he is “not going to take my effort and focus on the Federal Reserve“.
But the Federal Reserve is at the very heart of our economic problems.
Doesn’t Mitt Romney understand that?
The mainstream media is already telling us not to expect any significant changes at the Fed if Romney wins. A recent Reuters article had the following headline….
Are you starting to understand why I am saying that there is not going to be a solution to our economic problems at the national level?
A great economic cataclysm is coming, and there is very little hope that it can be averted.
So what does that mean?
It means that we all need to start preparing to weather the coming storm on an individual level.
The nation as a whole may not change course, but as individuals and as families we can change course.
All of us can work to reduce our expenses, get out of debt, build up a six month financial cushion, learn to grow a garden and slowly become more independent of the system.
Both political parties are leading us down a road that will only end in economic disaster.
Instead of waiting for a “national solution” that is never going to come, you need to focus on being your own solution.
Time is short, so you better get ready.
View full post on The Economic Collapse
A total of 1.45m new cars were sold in March in the European Union, 7pc down on the same month last year and the sixth successive monthly decline.
The number of cars sold was the lowest in March – a key month because of the introduction of new registration plates in some countries – since 1998.
Sales slumped by 26.7pc in Italy, 23.2pc in France and 4.5pc in Spain.
The decline in sales highlights the challenges facing European car manufacturers. General Motors is understood to be considering the closure of at least one European plant, potentially Ellesmere Port in the UK, to stem the losses of its Opel and Vauxhall arm.
The sales figures from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) reveal GM sales fell 10.4pc in March. However, there were heavier declines for the struggling French car makers. PSA Peugeot Citroen fell by 19.4pc last month, while Renault sales fell 20.6pc. Italian car maker Fiat also endured a difficult March, with sales down 26.1pc as it was affected by a strike by lorry drivers.
Just two of Europe’s largest 10 national markets recorded growth in sales in March – the UK and Germany, which grew by 1.8pc and 3.4pc respectively.
The UK is benefiting from an improvement in consumer confidence in 2012 after a sharp dip last year, when the new car market was propped up by demand from businesses.
Jaguar Land Rover, the biggest employer in the UK car industry, enjoyed a 24.9pc increase in European sales in March.
The increase in JLR sales was by far the strongest performance by a leading car maker. Volkswagen, BMW, Daimler, Nissan, Kia and Hyundai also reported a rise in sale
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/news … years.html
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Wed Apr 18, 2012 12:01 am
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Three in 10 young adults live with parents, highest level since 1950s
A weak economy and high debt levels are prompting more young adults to return to the family nest, a new survey shows. Perhaps surprisingly, most are happy with their living arrangements.
By Husna Haq, Correspondent / March 15, 2012
3 and 0 After graduating from Brown University in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature and completing a Fulbright scholarship in Brazil, Cassie Owens was left with a few dollars on her stipend and no job in sight. So, Ms. Owens returned home to her mother in Philadelphia.
.“I moved back home pretty much for lack of money and prospects,” she says. Owens’s cousin, Evon Burton, who also returned home after graduating from Morehouse College in 2009, adds, “The choice is to go out and be in debt or to pursue your dreams and save up money at home, in a safe, stable environment.”
Owens and Burton are among the scores of so-called “boomerang kids,” young adults who move out of the family home for school or work and then return home. Unable to find well-paying work in a weak economy, escalating numbers of young adults – as many as 3 in 10 – are returning home to the family nest, resulting in the highest share of young adults living in multigenerational households since the 1950s, according to a Pew Research Center report released Thursday.
“The rise in the boomerang phenomenon illustrates the effect the recession and the weak economy are having on young adults,” says Kim Parker, a senior researcher at Pew and the author of the study. “Young adults were hit particularly hard in the job market and are having to delay reaching some basic financial milestones of adulthood because of this.”
In 1980, some 11 percent of young adults lived in multigenerational households, suggesting that a strong economy helped youngsters gain independence more quickly. Today, some 29 percent of 25- to 34-year olds either never moved out of their parents’ home or say they returned home in recent years because of the economy, according to the Pew report. Among 18- to 24-year olds, that figure is even higher – 53 percent of young adults in that age group live at home.
“These statistics show that the recession has exacerbated a trend that was already under way since the 1980s … living at home longer and boomeranging back more frequently,” says Barbara Ray, coauthor of “Not Quite Adults: Why 20-Somethings Are Choosing a Slower Path to Adulthood and Why It’s Good for Everyone.” The recession has hit this age group particularly hard, says Ms. Ray, and high unemployment among young adults, combined with growing college debt, means more youngsters are returning home.
Surprisingly, most “boomerang kids” don’t mind living with mom and dad. If ever there were a stigma about living with parents through one’s late twenties and thirties, the recession and, along with it, a practical dollars-and-cents outlook on life have all but erased that perception.
Of those living at home, some 78 percent say they’re upbeat about their living arrangements, according to the Pew study, and 24 percent say it’s been good for their relationships with their parents (48 percent say it hasn’t changed their relationship).
Owens says she’s happy to have an opportunity to look after her mother, who isn’t in good health.
“My parents love it and if they could keep me here forever they would,” says Erika Brunner, who moved back home to Lafayette, N.Y., in 2010 after completing her bachelor’s degree, working, and traveling in Europe for five months.
.What’s more, says Parker, the trend of young adults returning home, and with it, the increasing number of multigenerational households in the US, suggest family is once again becoming an important social safety net.
“Census data suggest that if it can keep you out of poverty, it is in essence a sort of social safety net,” she says, citing Pew findings that young adults who live in multigenerational homes are less likely to live in poverty than those who don’t. Given an aging population and entitlement programs threatened due to a budget crunch, “it seems like family has to step in and fill a void,” says Parker. “That’s what we’re seeing here.”
But in many cases, it also means young adults are caught in a murky phase between adolescence and adulthood.
“The recession has really accelerated trends of prolonging adolescence and shifting adulthood later. If you can’t find a job, it’s difficult to establish yourself,” says Parker.
In fact, as many as 3 in 10 young adults postponed marriage, starting a family, or both, due to the economy, according to the Pew report. Another third have returned to school and untold numbers have settled for a job simply to make ends meet.
“But in spite of the trials and tribulations this generation is facing, they are extremely optimistic about the future,” says Parker.
Take Owens. Because well-paying jobs are hard to come by, she says, “a lot of people are going where their heart is and trying to have a good experience. In the past, they would have been content settling for a [traditional job]. Now no one’s willing to make pennies at a job they hate, so a lot of people are pursuing the stuff they really love.”
In Owens’s case, that’s journalism and music, which the 24-year-old is exploring with internships at Philadelphia’s CITY newspaper and at R&B Records, a mecca for audiophiles, which stocks one of the country’s largest collections of 45s. Owens says she’s been “blown away” by the experience and is planning to return to graduate school soon for a master’s degree in journalism.
But as Mr. Burton and Ms. Brunner – each of whom juggles three or more part-time jobs or internships – point out, the situation for many young adults is far from ideal. “I don’t think I’d be working 3.5 part-time jobs if I nailed down one that paid well enough and was something I really enjoyed,” says Brunner.
In that, Ray sees a worrisome trend in the boomerang generation.
“If the ‘launch’ feels blocked for too long, will this generation’s optimism curdle into bitterness and skepticism?” she asks, in an e-mail. “Will a ding to their wages at an important juncture haunt them for years? Will a generation that has been told they can be and do anything – without many challenges as of yet – be resilient enough to withstand this setback?” she says. “Only time will tell.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:26 pm
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Number of new mortgages falls to lowest level since 1974 as people renting doubles
By BECKY BARROW
14th February 2012
The number of mortgages handed out for people to buy a home has collapsed to its lowest level since 1974, official figures revealed yesterday.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders said just 509,500 people managed to get a house purchase loan last year, compared to around 1.4million a decade ago.
The dire figures are a sign of Britain’s frozen housing market, with people either unable to get a mortgage or too scared about the future to take the plunge.
Falling: The number of people seeking a mortgage has fallen to its lowest level since 1974 figures have revealed
In a further sign of the housing crisis, the Government’s own figures reveal the number of families forced to rent is rocketing while the number of homeowners is dropping fast.
Latest figures reveal there are 3.6million households in England who are ‘private renters’, a number which has doubled over the last 20 years.
Many do not want to rent but have no choice but to remain as tenants because they cannot afford to buy, or cannot get a mortgage to get them onto the housing ladder.
Risk: Paul Smee said there was a real chance that the lending drought could get worse as the year progressed
Since the credit crunch struck, many lenders insist on a deposit of at least 20 per cent of the property’s price in order to get the cheapest loan deals.
The huge cost of rent, which are close to record levels, also destroy many people’s chances of saving for a deposit because their rent wipes out their take-home pay.
Meanwhile, the number of homeowners, which peaked in 2005 at 14.8million, continues to shrink each year.
It has fallen every year since 2006, reversing a long-established trend of rising every year. There are currently 14.45million homeowners in England.
Paul Smee, director general of the Council of Mortgage Lenders, said the lending drought could get even worse this year.
He said: ‘There is a real risk that this year’s lending levels will be lower than those seen in 2011.’ A recent report, from the Bank of England, said the housing market remains ‘subdued’ with many housing chains falling through.
It said buyers are ‘withdrawing offers’ because they have concerns about ‘the economic outlook.’ Last year, Mr Smee used a keynote speech to warn that many people around Britain will spend far longer renting than they had ever imagined.
He said: ‘Our assumptions of a stable housing market will have to embrace all forms of tenure and not assume that stability can only come with ownership.
‘If we don’t, then we may have to prepare for disappointment and the indefinite postponement of Nirvana.’
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Mon Feb 13, 2012 9:29 pm
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