Friday, August 23, 2013

San Francisco Fed President John Williams Says Timing of Start for Taper Depends on Data




San Francisco Fed President John Williams told CNBC the timing of the taper must depend on the economic data. He added that tapering should begin later this year, if the economy progresses.

He refused to say when, but added: "Any tapering ... we do would be in gradual steps over time ... assuming our forecast comes true."

Read more here.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

China Wants Grown Children To Help Care for Elderly Retirees



They call themselves "orphan grandparents" -- elderly people whose grown children have left for jobs in other cities, putting stresses on China's traditional three generation households. Here, a group of elderly women meet for a game of mahjong at the Xintu Center for Health Promotions in Shanghai. Photo: Mike Hricik/Penn State University/MCT

By Mike Hricik
McClatchy Tribune Newspapers
July 24, 2013

SHANGHAI — Yan Meiyue, 90, said her 72-year-old daughter rarely visits. She doesn't even come home at the annual Spring Festival when families traditionally get together. Yan has been a widow since her husband died nearly 10 years ago. She now spends every weekday at a modest community center near her home. There she plays the Chinese board game mahjong and eats meals prepared by a volunteer staff.

“The volunteers keep us company,” Yan said with a smile. She is one of a rapidly growing number of “orphan grandparents” who say they feel abandoned by their younger relatives, leaving them both lonely and struggling to make ends meet.

For centuries, elder citizens were traditionally treated with great respect in Chinese society. Younger relatives would usually look after their grandparents as they got older.

Yet in the modern world, families are being split up by China's growing wealth. Children and grandchildren are now moving to distant cities or countries. And the elderly feel like they have been left behind.

Read more here.


Note: Published in Los Angeles Times, Charleston Gazette, and elsewhere.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Lakhsman Achuthan Tells Bloomberg TV "We Believe a [U.S.] Recession Began Last Year"



From the Zero Hedge, July 31, 2013:

Lakshman Achuthan of the Economic Cycle Research Institute is interviewed on Bloomberg TV

"Tyler Durden" at Zero Hedge reports how Achuthan challenges the conventional wisdom that the economy is doing well and how the anchors of the show, especially Tom Keene, defend their view.
At 1:05, Achuthan stuns the Bloomberg anchors - "We believe that a recession began last year. Time will tell if that call is correct."
 To which they retort...
 "The jobs situation is great"
[LA] ...the job market is not doing well, all headlines aside. When you – I think the core thing here, and something that concerns us quite a bit, is the types of jobs that make money. So if you happen to be between the age of 35 and 54, since this so-called jobs recovery began three-and-a-half years ago, you’ve actually seen job losses, not gains, okay?

Job losses for 35 to 54 year-olds approaching a million jobs lost. Now that happens to be, that 20-year span of your life, happens to be where you make the most money, and where you spend the most money. And so I think that is at the core of why, when you say, “Hey, jobs are great,” people say, “Eh, you know, it doesn't feel that way.” And they're right.
Read more here.