U.S. Employment Numbers Worst Since 1983; Social Security Takes A Hit From Discouraged Early Retirees; FDIC Seeks To Recapitalize In Wake Of Nearly 100 Bank Failures In 2009
When the AdViewGlobal (AVG) autosurf — now failed — was in prelaunch phase in December 2008, it positioned itself as an offshore cure for what ails the U.S. and world economies.
Less than two years earlier, promoters of the AdSurfDaily autosurf — which has close ties to AVG — implied that the individual surf accounts of ASD members were insured by the FDIC and that ASD provided “shelter” from the FTC and the SEC.
ASD’s assets were seized by the U.S. Secret Service in August 2008, amid allegations of wire-fraud, money-laundering and selling unregistered securities via a Ponzi scheme. Only months later AVG began its ignoble task of encouraging members to move cash offshore and permit it to be managed by unknowns, thus separating participants from even more wealth.
The result was a colossal failure AVG announced in June, before it disabled its forum to prevent members from asking uncomfortable questions. AVG even threatened members who shared the news with copyright-infringement lawsuits. Indeed, AVG went from a much ballyhooed cure to a thuggish disease that attacked its own participants in only weeks.
Neither ASD nor AVG created any new wealth or cured anything. About the only thing the surfs managed to do was siphon wealth from one group and transfer it to another, all during a time a global recession was rearing its ugly head and putting jobs and lifetimes of hard work in harm’s way.
The U.S. economy shed 263,000 jobs in September, and the unemployment rate edged up to 9.8 percent, the Labor Department said yesterday.
Unemployment virtually has doubled since December 2007. The number of persons looking for work now totals 15.1 million, and the unemployment rate is the highest since June 1983.
When discouraged workers and workers who’ve accepted part-time jobs in the absence of full-time employment are factored into the numbers, the so-called “real” unemployment rate is 17 percent. The number could be distorted — meaning the true employment numbers could be masked to a degree — because older workers separated from their jobs have been applying for Social Security, rather than continuing their struggle to find work when the odds are against them.
The Social Security Administration told Bloomberg News that it had expected an increase of 315,000 applications for the one-year period ending Sept 30, but instead received 465,000, an increase of 150,000 applications.
Meanwhile, regulators seized three more U.S. banks yesterday, bringing the year-to-date total to 98. Because the FDICÂ is close to operating in the red, the agency is in the process of recapitalizing and has proposed a plan that would force banks to pay insurance premiums early to protect customer deposits, rather than pass along the cost of the recapitalization to taxpayers.
“First and foremost, bank customers should know that their insured deposits have and always will be 100 percent safe, no matter what,” said FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair. “This commitment to depositors is absolute. The decision today (Sept. 29) is really about how and when the industry fulfills its obligation to the insurance fund. It’s clear that the American people would prefer to see an end to policies that look to the federal balance sheet as a remedy for every problem. In choosing this path, it should be clear to the public that the industry will not simply tap the shoulder of the increasingly weary taxpayer.”
At risk, however, are banking profits when the industry already is struggling, but the FDIC insists that “banks overall have enough liquid assets to make the proposed prepayment.”
U.S. regulators have not confronted a challenge of this magnitude since the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the savings and loan industry recorded 745 failures, in no small part due to fraud, mismanagement and regulatory laxity.
Here is the bank-failure list so far in 2009: