Happy Facts

On Friday, June 19, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a stealth report. The media hastily buried it. The actuarians of joblessness zeroed in on the regional disparities, with the West showing the highest regional jobless rate (10.1%), and the Northeast with the lowest (8.3%). Both the Old Economy (Michigan is at 14%) and the New Economy (Silicon Valley is at 11.2%) were struck with the global financial flu. The national rate is now 9.4%, 3.9% higher than last year. No vaccine is in sight.

The Geneva-based International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that this year around the world between 210 and 239 million people will be unemployed, making for a global unemployment rate of about 7.4%. These numbers are routinely low, since they are unable to properly capture the unemployment and under-employment in the informal economy, which is now on the rise.

In May 2009, the banks foreclosed on 321,480 homes in the United States. That brings us to about a million homes seized by banks between March and May alone, with several million people joining the ranks of the homeless in the process.

UN official released sobering numbers on Friday, saying that the world’s hungry will top 1.02 billion this year.

during the entire collapse of the world financial system, none of the countries took their red pens to their military budgets. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s 2009 handbook shows that in 2008 the world spent $1.5 trillion in weapons, up 4% since 2007 and 45% since 1999.

the National Priorities Project (www.nationalpriorities.org ), whose analysis shows us that 37.3 cents of every dollar paid in tax for 2008 goes to the military.

around the planet, 9.8 million are in penal institutions, or 145 people are in jail for every 100,000; in the U. S., the world’s largest incarcerator, the rate is 756 per 100,000.

the US spends $214 billion on the police

VIJAY PRASHAD
http://www.counterpunch.com/prashad06222009.html

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