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Posts Tagged ‘Economics

(ECONOMICS) READ: Cash-strapped States Are Hoping You’ll Sin, But There’s Not Enough Sinners!…

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Source: ESQUIRE

las-vegas-strip-1009-lg-2694219

The Las Vegas of 2009 has become much more reliant on high-end customers looking to splurge.

It’s never quite accurate to describe Las Vegas as a ghost town. Even at five in the morning on a Tuesday, it’s liable to be more lively than your average main street or shopping mall. But when I arrived there for a brief getaway last November, it was not the same bustling town I’d been used to. My flight from Houston was barely a third full. There was no line at the taxi stand, and my cabbie told me that several of his friends had recently been laid off from construction work on a variety of new developments, many of which had been halted in midstream after financing dried up. And when I arrived at Las Vegas Boulevard in the heart of the Strip, I found as many locals handing out postcards for dodgy escort services as tourists.

None of this, I suppose, should have been surprising: November was the nadir of the worst recession since the Second World War. Nevertheless, conventional wisdom has long held that gambling is recession-proof. In Las Vegas, it’s been anything but. Gaming revenues received by local casinos were down 12 percent in 2008 as compared with a year earlier. (This figure and all others in this article are reported on an inflation-adjusted basis.) And 2009 will be even worse: So far, revenues are off almost 15 percent from 2008’s already depressed figures. The recession, then, appears set to cost Las Vegas more than a quarter of its business.

This is sobering news not just for those who have purchased property in Las Vegas — economist Tyler Cowen recently stated that the real estate market would not recover there for another twenty years — but also for cash-strapped state legislatures that are turning to casino gambling as a way to raise revenue. Delaware, which already offers horse racing and slot machines, now plans to extend its law to permit table games like blackjack and, more controversially, sports betting. In July, Ohio governor Ted Strickland signed an executive order to permit slot machines at horse tracks, while California began to allow offtrack betting on horse races for the first time. Philadelphia will soon become the largest American city to permit casino gambling within city limits, although play will initially be limited to slot machines. And in Texas — where, ironically, no legal game of Texas hold ’em is available — gaming advocates are hoping that Kay Bailey Hutchison will defeat gambling-averse incumbent Rick Perry in next year’s governor’s race, which would empower the state legislature to consider casino gambling there.

But desperate state governments looking to casinos to bail them out of their budget nightmares are likely to be disappointed. The same may be the case with trying to tap other “sins” for revenue. Nationally, sales of alcohol for off-premises consumption were down significantly last year, an unprecedented 9.3 percent in the fourth quarter, according to the Commerce Department. The largest previous drop had been just 3.7 percent, between the third and fourth quarters of 1991.

Alcohol consumption can at least be expected to bounce back a bit — right? — but a lot of the potential customers of the new casinos may be tapped out. The year 2008 was the first time in history that total casino gaming revenues declined throughout the United States (by about 5 percent according to industry estimates). In most jurisdictions, gambling revenues max out quickly. In Atlantic City, for example, which opened for business in 1978, gaming revenues were no higher in 2008 than they were in 1986, and 2009 is on pace to be the slowest year since 1983. Gambling revenues peaked in 2002 in Illinois, in 2000 in Mississippi, and in 2006 in Detroit, which had only begun to permit gambling ten years earlier. The boom years in Vegas, when revenues nearly doubled, between 1989 and 2006, might have led states to misread casino gambling’s upside potential.

What we’ve witnessed, indeed, is something of a race to the bottom. Shortly after President Reagan signed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988, which expressly permitted Indian tribes to open casinos under tribal-state compacts, states like Mississippi, Illinois, and Colorado — seeing no reason to split their profits with the Seminoles or the Cherokee — decided to permit their own state-run facilities. Neighboring states, worried about losing their customers across state lines, then followed suit: Louisiana a year after Mississippi, Indiana and Missouri three years after Illinois, Michigan two years after Ontario, Canada. Meanwhile, the Indian tribes continued to up the ante, their casino revenuesapproximately tripling from 1997 to 2006.

Read more: http://www.esquire.com/features/data/nate-silver-sin-tax-1009?src=rss#ixzz0Rm0Qi3Kb

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Written by dnnnewshound

September 21, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Posted in Economics

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(ECONOMY) READ: USDA: 35 Million Americans on Food Stamps…

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uwkc.files.wordpress.com__food-stampSource: Time

More Americans than ever before received food stamps in June, the Department of Agriculture said on Thursday, with more than 35 million Americans receiving assistance.

The numbers are 22 percent higher than in June 2008. The number of Americans receiving food stamps rose by more than 700,000 people compared to May.
Read “How to Know When the Economy Is Turning Up.”

The USDA administers the food stamp program, which was renamed in October as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, through its Food and Nutrition Service. The program helps to cover grocery costs for poor Americans.

The food stamp program was established by Congress in 1964, which was then revised by the Food Stamp Act of 1977.

The average recipient of food stamps in June received more than $133 in assistance. The average household received more than $293. Overall, the USDA distributed more than $4.6 billion in food stamps in June. They went to 35,122,123 recipients.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1920538,…

Written by dnnnewshound

September 4, 2009 at 1:45 pm

(READ): Big Business Wants to Put Global Warming on Trial…

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smogSource: Newser.com/Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Washington – The nation’s largest business lobby wants to put the science of global warming on trial.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, trying to ward off potentially sweeping federal emissions regulations, is pushing the Environmental Protection Agency to hold a rare public hearing on the scientific evidence for man-made climate change.

Chamber officials say it would be “the Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century” — complete with witnesses, cross-examinations and a judge who would rule, essentially, on whether humans are warming the planet to dangerous effect.

“It would be evolution versus creationism,” said William Kovacs, the chamber’s senior vice president for environment, technology and regulatory affairs. “It would be the science of climate change on trial.”

The goal of the chamber, which represents 3 million large and small businesses, is to fend off potential emissions regulations by undercutting the scientific consensus over climate change. If the EPA denies the request, as expected, the chamber plans to take the fight to federal court.

The EPA is having none of it, calling a hearing a “waste of time” and saying that a threatened lawsuit by the chamber would be “frivolous.”

EPA spokesman Brendan Gilfillan said the agency based its proposed finding that global warming is a danger to public health “on the soundest peer-reviewed science available, which overwhelmingly indicates that climate change presents a threat to human health and welfare.”

Environmentalists say the chamber’s strategy is an attempt to sow political discord by challenging settled science — and note that in the famed 1925 Scopes trial, which pitted lawyers Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan in a courtroom battle over a Tennessee science teacher accused of teaching evolution illegally, the scientists won in the end.

The chamber proposal “brings to mind for me the Salem witch trials, based on myth,” said Brenda Ekwurzel, a climate scientist for the environmental group Union of Concerned Scientists. “In this case, it would be ignoring decades of publicly accessible evidence.”

In the coming weeks, the EPA is set to formally declare that the heat-trapping gases scientists blame for climate change endanger human health, and are thus subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act. The so-called endangerment finding will be a cornerstone of the Obama administration’s plan to set strict new emissions standards on cars and trucks. Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 26, 2009 at 12:05 pm

Posted in Economics, Legal System

Tagged with ,

(READ): Broke, California Holds Huge Garage Sale…

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Source: Newser.com/Los Angeles Times

yardsale(Newser Summary) – Just how bad has California’s budget crisis gotten? So bad that it’s holding what it’s calling the “Great California Garage Sale” this weekend, hoping to unload piles of junk and wasteful property that the state’s accrued over the years. Hundreds of items will be available, from BlackBerrys to desks to cars and CHiPs motorcycles,  [Governor] Arnold Schwarzenegger has even signed some of the items to drum up interest.

A few things have already been listed on eBay and Craigslist, because California is hip like that. But what could be the most interesting untold story here, writes Andrew Malcom of the LA Times, is how California got some of this stuff in the first place. Among the weirder items: a surfboard, antique piano, and dentist chairs.

Kevin Spak

Written by dnnnewshound

August 26, 2009 at 9:16 am

(READ): Next Clunkers You Can Cash In On? Appliances…

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Source: Newser.com

appliances(Newser Summary) – If you missed out on cashing in on that clunker in your driveway, your next chance may be no farther than the kitchen, USA Today reports. Stimulus funds that will give consumers rebates as high as $200 for replacing old, inefficient appliances with newer models are due to start flowing Oct. 15. Utilities in many states also offer rebates to customers who’ll recycle old refrigerators and freezers.

The $300 million program has multiple benefits: Consumers will see lower electric bills in addition to whatever they qualify for in rebates; retiring inefficient appliances will leave more power in the grid; manufacturers and retailers look likely to see the kind of boom that accompanied the cash-for-clunkers vehicle program; and old appliances that are often “environmental time bombs” will be disposed of safely or recycled.

W. McCahill

Written by dnnnewshound

August 25, 2009 at 10:51 pm

Posted in Economics

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(READ): ‘Recession Is Over’ In The UK…

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Source: SKY News

money2The UK recession is at an end with business confidence enjoying a record recovery, according to one trade body.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) said optimism among professionals had moved to its highest level for two years.

The Business Confidence Monitor survey found “a remarkable upturn” in confidence in the banking sector while positive signs in the housing market have also helped boost optimism for property firms.

The IT sector was the most optimistic, followed by banking, finance and insurance firms.

Overall, the confidence measure jumped from minus 28.2 to 4.8, the largest quarterly improvement since the survey began in 2003. Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 24, 2009 at 9:40 am

Posted in Economics

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READ: Banks make $38bn from overdraft fees

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moneySource: Financial Times: (Editors Note: This really doesn’t fit into the “Underreported News” Section but I just thought It was interesting and would like to share it with everyone.)

By Saskia Scholtes and Francesco Guerrera in New York

Published: August 9 2009 22:52 | Last updated: August 9 2009 22:52

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US banks stand to collect a record $38.5bn in fees for customer overdrafts this year, with the bulk of the revenue coming from the most financially stretched consumers amid the deepest recession since the 1930s, according to research. The fees are nearly double those reported in 2000. Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 10, 2009 at 2:19 am