It’s here!  The “slow-motion recession” now expected to last well into next year.  First it was a slow down, then low growth, then to last through 08, then consumer confidence down… Coming up: current economic downturn to run into 2010.     Three months in a row new unemployment claims hit 380,000, and that doesn’t include the “discouraged worker” who has stopped looking… 

Amidst continued reports of food shortages worldwide… and US farmers hit hard by flooding threatening their production… And Argentine farmers up in arms over higher export taxes…  China, Vietnam and other rice producers holding back exports to make certain they can feed themselves…  An announcement that up to $8 billion has been left by Real Estatenik and tax cheat Leona Helmsley to… her dog.  The dog’s name:  Trouble. 

Let’s go to the video tape!  Kings County Hospital ER psych unit caught ignoring a sick patient…  The 49-year old Jamaican woman sat in the ER waiting room for almost 24 hours before dying on the ER floor.  After she died, the psych staff forged notes about attending to her – even looking after her post-mortum —  when video tape showed no attention at all. 

Small regional banks in US bracing bankruptcy:  $45 billion of $631 billion in outstanding construction loans were delinquent as of March 31.  Much more on its way… Of 6,919 local banks that made construction loans, one in three have construction-loan portfolios that exceeded 100% of total risk-based capital.

Swiss cheese… UBS, Swiss bank behemoth, staggering as shares hit 10-year low…some of it  attributed to “Bear Stearns Syndrome” – getting stuck with collateralized debt obligations (aka subprime mortgages) when the music stopped… and being dogged by US investigation of the bank’s dispensing  tax avoidance strategies to clients…

Carl Ginsburg

Carl Ginsburg