RETIREMENT PLANS HAVE LOST $2 TRILLION - Americans Fearing Another "Great Depression," Help Is On The Way

(10/09/2008)

COMMENT by Bob Weaver

With golden parachutes already opened with taxpayer money, Wall Street financiers have accepted little if any responsibility for the current crash and Washington politicos are just blaming each other.

Free market advocates have now become socialists with the trillion dollar bail-out.

Presidential candidate John McCain, until a few weeks ago, was calling for less and less government control and oversight of the mega-financial corporations.

Now, he declares it must be done.

Nearly six out of ten Americans believe another economic depression is likely, according to a poll released Monday.

Americans' retirement plans have lost as much as $2 trillion in the past 15 months, according to Peter Orszag, the head of the Congressional Budget Office.

This is happening in a climate of high gasoline and food prices, stagnant wages, fewer healthcare benefits, and a projected loss of one million jobs by years end.

The jobs that haven't gone to global markets will be lost to the crashing economy.

The upheaval that has engulfed the financial industry and sent the stock market plummeting is devastating workers' savings, forcing people to hold off on major purchases and consider delaying their retirement.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll, which surveyed more than 1,000 Americans over the weekend, cited common measures of the economic pain of the 1930s: 25% unemployment rate; widespread bank failures; and millions of Americans homeless and unable to feed their families.

In response, 21% of those polled say that a depression is very likely and another 38% say it is somewhat likely.

The poll also said that 29% feel a depression is not very likely, while 13% believe it is not likely at all.

Some economists, don't believe another depression is likely.

"We've been in a recession all year and it's going to get worse," said Anirvan Banerji, director of research for the Economic Cycle Research Institute.

The government has yet to declare a recession, although this is the worst financial crisis since the 1929 collapse of the stock market.

Perhaps most disgusting, while crafting the $700 billion bill intended to rescue the U.S. economy, lawmakers couldn't stop themselves from adding billions of dollars in tax breaks (earmarks) that have little to do with restoring confidence in financial markets.

The excuse? The earmarks were already on the map for renewal.

Could it be what we really have here is a constitutional crisis, those in charge failing to lead and stand up for the citizens of the USA? At least those of us who make less than $250,000 and pay most of the taxes.


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