The derivatives bubble has been estimated to exceed one quadrillion dollars (a quadrillion is 1,000 trillion). The entire GDP of the world is estimated at $105 trillion, or 10% of one quadrillion; and the collective wealth of the world is an estimated $360 trillion. Clearly, there is not enough collateral anywhere to satisfy all the derivative claims. The majority of derivatives now involve interest rate swaps, and interest rates have shot up. The bubble looks ready to pop. Who were the intrepid counterparties signing up to take the other side of these risky derivative bets? Initially, it seems, they were banks –led by four mega-banks, JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America.
During the 1700’s, American colonists- including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Robert Morris, and others- were being treated horribly under debt- typically to British banks, trading companies, and other investors. In fact, the issue of debt was so concerning to the nation’s Founders, that that in Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, they call for uniform bankruptcy laws ahead of the power to raise an army, declare war, and coin currency. Congress, however, began chipping this protection away, uniquely, from student loans beginning in 1976 and continuing through 2005. Today, both federal and private student loans are essentially impossible to discharge in bankruptcy.
Thousands of farmers in India are braving cold winter temperatures in the outskirts of New Delhi, their tractors and tents blocking traffic along three main roads leading to the capital city, in protest of new agricultural laws that farmers say leave them at the mercy of multinational corporations. The protests, which began in August, morphed into a general strike of 250 million workers on November 26, which has been called the largest-ever global demonstration. The ongoing demonstrations have struck a chord with agricultural communities in North America, where solidarity protests were held throughout December, including a march to the Indian Consulate in Toronto and a protest outside of Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California.
There were 27 farm bankruptcies in Iowa in 2019 — more than double the 13 bankruptcies in 2018, the American Farm Bureau Federation reported. This was despite the $1.58 billion the federal government paid Iowa farmers in Market Facilitation Program payments to ease losses because of the trade dispute with China. Later this month, we’ll know how many Iowa farms went bankrupt in 2020, but Iowa State University economics professor and crop markets specialist Chad Hart said to expect another increase. “The government has provided a lot of short-term funding to help farmers get through the year,” Hart said, referring to market facilitation and coronavirus food assistance programs, which funneled two rounds of aid to farmers in 2020.
Washington, DC - Evidence was abundant in the November jobs report that the U.S. economy’s tentative recovery is sputtering as coronavirus cases accelerate and federal aid runs out. Hiring slowed sharply. Hundreds of thousands of people gave up looking for work. The proportion of the unemployed who have been jobless for at least six months rose. All told, the Labor Department said Friday, employers added 245,000 jobs in November — the fewest since April, the fifth straight monthly slowdown and well short of the gain economists had been expecting.
As postal workers strain to meet demand for deliveries of medicine, food, and other essentials, the U.S. Postal Service is facing potential financial collapse due to plummeting mail revenue. Without a major cash infusion, the USPS is on track to run out of money before the end of September, according to the Postmaster General. A USPS shutdown would be devastating for the entire country, but especially for the rural communities that rely most on a public service with a universal mandate to serve every address, no matter how remote. A new Institute for Policy Studies report finds that the 15 most rural U.S. states would face heavy blows to jobs, revenue, mail and package deliveries, and voting rights.
The global pandemic of COVID-19 has spread to almost every country on the planet earth. The virus will take many lives, disrupt communities and institutions, and leave behind trauma and a devastated world economy. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) estimates that by the end of 2020, global income will collapse by between $1 trillion and $2 trillion; the latter figure is a worst-case scenario, with falling oil prices making the problem even more acute for oil-exporting countries. Already over-inflated stock markets are now seeing deep drops. Central banks are using all their monetary resources to shore up the financial markets and to try to bail out as many sectors of the economy as possible.
Charlottesville, Va. — Under pressure after Kaiser Health News reported Monday that it sues thousands of patients a year and sends many into bankruptcy, University of Virginia Health System suspended about a dozen patient lawsuits Thursday and said it will announce changes to its billing and collections policy Friday. Over six years, the state institution filed 36,000 lawsuits against patients seeking a total of more than $106 million in unpaid bills, a KHN analysis finds. At a weekly session at the Albemarle County Courthouse often dominated by UVA hospital litigation, UVA lawyer Melissa Riley said cases due to be heard Thursday would be withdrawn while the system takes a broader look at its long-standing practice of aggressive debt collection.
(Reuters) - OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP is preparing to seek bankruptcy protection before the end of the month if it does not reach a settlement with U.S. communities over widespread opioid litigation, three people familiar with the matter said, after some states balked at the company’s $10 billion to $12 billion offer in August to end their lawsuits as part of a negotiated Chapter 11 case. On Friday, Purdue lawyers had documents prepared for a Chapter 11 filing at a moment’s notice, Reuters has learned. A federal judge, who expects plaintiffs to update him on settlement progress this week, wants 35 state attorneys general on board with a deal...
MY LAST SUMMER, Laqueanda Reneau felt like she had finally gotten her life on track. A single mother who had gotten pregnant in high school, she supported her family with a series of jobs at coffee shops, restaurants and clothing stores until she landed a position she loved as a community organizer on Chicago’s West Side. At the same time, she was working her way toward a degree in public health at DePaul University. But one large barrier stood in her way: $6,700 in unpaid tickets, late fines and impound fees.
Dairy farmers were counting on China milk buyers before the trade war. “The problem is both nations have stubborn leaders,” an industry analyst said. Hard times for farmers got tougher with President Donald Trump’s trade war. Now Midwestern farmers are filing the highest number of bankruptcies in a decade, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of federal data. And farmers aren’t hopeful about this year. Twice as many farmers in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin declared bankruptcy last year compared to 2008, according to statistics from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, the Journal reported. Bankruptcies in states from North Dakota to Arkansas leaped 96 percent, according to figures from the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Medical problems contributed to 66.5% of all bankruptcies, a figure that is virtually unchanged since before the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a study published yesterday as an editorial in the American Journal of Public Health. The findings indicate that 530,000 families suffer bankruptcies each year that are linked to illness or medical bills. The study, carried out by a team of two doctors, two lawyers, and a sociologist from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project (CBP), surveyed a random sample of 910 Americans who filed for personal bankruptcy between 2013 and 2016, and abstracted the court records of their bankruptcy filings.
By Matt Townsend, Jenny Surane, Emma Orr and Christopher Cannon for Bloomberg. The so-called retail apocalypse has become so ingrained in the U.S. that it now has the distinction of its own Wikipedia entry. The industry’s response to that kind of doomsday description has included blaming the media for hyping the troubles of a few well-known chains as proof of a systemic meltdown. There is some truth to that. In the U.S., retailers announced more than 3,000 store openings in the first three quarters of this year. But chains also said 6,800 would close. And this comes when there’s sky-high consumer confidence, unemployment is historically low and the U.S. economy keeps growing. Those are normally all ingredients for a retail boom, yet more chains are filing for bankruptcy and rated distressed than during the financial crisis.
By Staff of Green Peace - Toshiba/Westinghouse is responsible for building more nuclear reactors worldwide than any other entity. With the financial meltdown of Westinghouse, Toshiba also recently announced its plans to withdraw from foreign construction projects - a move that has far-reaching implications outside Japan and the US, such as the construction of three reactors in the UK at Moorside. “If we look at how nuclear stacks up against renewables, it’s clearly in freefall. An estimated 147 gigawatts of renewable power was added in 2015, compared to just 11 gigawatts for nuclear power in the same year,” said Ai Kashiwagi, Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace Japan (1).
By Peter Taberner for Naked Capitalism - Creditors from bankrupt oil and gas companies are suffering in the current climate, as loan recovery rates have plummeted while insolvencies have increased, which may even be on a par with the collapse of the telecoms industry in the early 2000s, according to Moody’s Investor Service. The branch of the ratings agency which provides credit assessments, research, and risk analysis in 130 countries, has announced that in 2015 a glut of bankruptcies and defaults in the oil and gas sectors, have been encouraged by the low commodity price conditions.