One reads of the crisis in Greece. And the one much closer to home in Puerto Rico. The crisis, that is, that inevitably comes after spending too much and taking on more debt than it is possible even to service, much less pay down. One thinks of how unfortunate it is for the people who will now redeem with pain, the promises made by the politicians of previous generations. And then, gives thanks that it can’t happen here.
Except … remember Detroit which once had the highest per-capita income of any American city and was obliged, not so long ago, to declare bankruptcy. And now, some early signs of distress in Chicago. As Bill Ruthhart and Heather Gillers of the Chicago Tribune report:
Chicago Public Schools officials warned Wednesday that without relief from their next massive pension contribution, they would have to make $500 million in additional cuts in the coming year, on top of looming cuts they say will be caused by this year's pension payment.
The inevitable crisis was deferred as:
The district has more than $1.1 billion in new short-term borrowing authority approved last week by the school board, on top of $500 million in authority it already had. But $700 million of the district's debt must be repaid by early October, with the rest due a year later.
That could lead to the district running out of cash to pay all its bills during the coming school year — unless there are significant education cuts, new revenue or a combination of the two.
As we have witnessed with the situation in Greece, when you hit that wall … you hit hard.
We have been hearing, for so long now, that the end is nigh in the crisis of the Greek economy that it is hard to take another such warning seriously. The problem of Greece, like so many others, seems to have no end, no resolution and, even, no point. Unless, that is, you are a citizen of Greece. Then it is your life.
On Friday we learned that the U.S. economy surprised on the upside by adding 280,000 new jobs in May, and that 32,000 more jobs had been created in March and April than originally reported. The fact that economic growth is still sluggish, while more and more workers are finding jobs, suggests that productivity -- output per man-hour -- is slowing.
The latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the unemployment rate ticking up to 5.5 percent and that the economy added 280,000 jobs:
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 280,000 in May, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 5.5 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and health care. Mining employment continued to decline.
That negative 1st quarter GDP has been widely passed off as the effect of a particularly severe winter. Things, we were assured, were not that bad and would be getting better as the weather warmed. Well, not so fast. The Commerce Department came out this morning with a report on factory orders that was supposed to be in positive territory.
There is an important difference between European and American appetites, in addition to those for fast foods: risk taking. “Investments in Start-Ups Pick Up Pace,” reports the New York Times after surveying the high-tech financing scene here in America. “Europe Struggles to Foster a Startup Culture,” reports the Wall Street Journal. It seems that in contrast with “multiple rounds of fund-raising [in the U.S.] in months, rather than years,” Europeans are “valuing prudence … and leisure time over flamboyant risk-taking.”
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Speaking Tuesday at the 45th Annual Washington Conference of the Council of the Americas, Secretary of State John Kerry said that "countries are far more likely to advance economically and socially when citizens have faith in their governments and are able to rely on them for justice and equal treatment under the law." Kerry said that a "new kind of relationship" with Latin American countries, emphasizing democracy and human rights, will contribute to "our common ag
Bill de Blasio ran Hillary Clinton's New York Senate race in 2000. But he's not yet ready to endorse his former boss for president of the United States. He made the comments this morning in an interview with NBC's Chuck Todd:
Todd asked, "Are you for her now, unequivocally, or do you want to wait to see if she takes your advice on moving to a more progressive agenda?"