Who said it?

“Solar power actually is doubling every two years and has been for 20 years. Regardless of all the political debates, the actual output in watts has been doubling every two years. It’s eight doublings away from meeting 100 percent of our energy needs. So when I presented this to the Prime Minister of Israel, he said, ‘But do we have enough sunlight to do this with?’ I said, ‘Actually, we have 10,000 times more than we need.’ After we double eight more times and can meet all of our energy needs with solar, we’ll be using one part in 10,000 of the sunlight that falls on the earth. So, we’re actually awash in resources. If you look at how these exponentially growing technologies are being applied, there’s a lot more resources and opportunity to overcome these problems.”

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Are airports the cities of the future?

A new book “Areotropolis:  The Way We’ll Live Next” makes the case that airports indeed will be the cities of the future. Seems natural in the 21st century.  Speed, high tech,global connections, glamorous – airports have them all. (Well US airports are not glamorous….but they should be the author’s say.)

Here’s a glowing review of the book from Bloomberg Businessweek: the book is a “….fascinating and important work. An evangelist of sorts, Kasarda travels the world preaching to companies, cities, and countries that they must embrace the new rules of commerce or risk getting left behind. These rules center around the “aerotropolis”—some combination of an enormous airport, planned city, shipping hub, and futuristic office park.”

But….this idea is really 30 years too late.

Peak oil will decimate the airline industry. Peak oil will mean less flying, not more.  Building anything around an airport is guaranteedto be doomed to failure.

It’s not sexy folks, but the city of the future will look a whole lot like a city from the past.  That doesnt have to be a bad thing, as we disconnect from the global world and turn our focus to improving our local one.

Here’s the diagram.  This is nothing but a high energy sprawl burb.  We’ve got enough of those.  This is a really ridiculous idea.

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All is well: “huge” new oil find off African coast

It was reported last week that an oil company has found a large new oil deposit.

Call off peak oil.  Yep.  False Alarm.

What’s that?  How many barrels of oil are estimated to be taken from this huge find?  Why 700 MILLION barrels! (pinky to side of mouth)

What’s that you ask?  How long would that last us?  Who cares! It’s 700 MILLION barrels!  (pinky to side of mouth)

But if you must know…..700 million barrels would supply the world’s current consumption for….8 days.

Feel better killjoy?

In reality, the exploiter of this “bonanza” has this to say about such a small find:  “It’s remarkable to try to open up a new basin in 2011. There aren’t many opportunities left in the world.”

When an 8 day supply of oil is discovered and the people drilling say there aren’t many opportunities like this left, that’s not a good sign for low gas prices.  Ever again.   We simply cannot replace what’s coming OFF LINE as these supplies are added.  Remember that:  We’re losing more to depletion than we are finding.  It’s not like all we are doing is piling these new finds on top of everything.

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Here’s the chart that proves Saudi Arabia’s oil exports have entered decline

More people every year.  Less oil every year.  The Saudi’s will use more and more of their own oil to provide for their own population.  That means less for the the rest of the world. It is simple, really.  Higher prices on the way.  Stagflation is here.

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Do Time Magazine editors even read their own stuff?

Somehow I ended up getting a subscription to Time. Maybe because the magazine gods know I subscribe to dozens already, they thought I would like Time.  I do, but not for good reasons.  It’s an insipid rag that is turning hard right in an effort to keep up with the rabid teabaggers of flyover land.  Reading it thus gives me a chance to see how the fancy pants editors in New York view the rest of the country.

Here’s an example.  Below, this one page of info graphs gives one the impression that all is well and in fact it’s getting better. (Click for high rez version)

The main story says that the country’s unpayable debt might not be so bad if we could just crank up the economic growth engine again.  Why growth can even exceed estimates and that would just be dandy.  That nasty old deficit will be thing of the past with 3.9% growth over the next 10 years.  (Just for the record, the law of exponential numbers says that growth rate would mean that the US economy would double in 17.9 years.  So, if we grow at 3.9% a year, as Time says “if we’re lucky”, then by the year 2029, our economy will be twice as large as it is today.  Does anyone really believe this?)

I digress.

The next largest story has to do with the raging stock market” Up, Up and Away.  The bull market you didnt know you were in.”  Wake up boobs! Why, its up 97% in the last two years! Its time to invest again!

But the blurb does mention that all the fun may end if inflation “starts to bite.”

Ah….here’s where it all comes together.  See, on this one page we’ve been told that growth will solve all our problems and that you should be getting into the stock market so you dont miss out. Bu the tiny little piece in the bottom corner is like the proverbial turd in the fruit salad.  It says “Gas on the Rise.  Presummer prices are spiking.”

This one little note, tucked away, gives the lie to the BS on the rest of the page.   Rising energy prices kill growth and spur inflation.  We’re not going to grow our way out of our debt problems.  We’re not going to have a never ending rally in stocks.  You can thank peak oil for that.

But it sure seems to me that the folks at Time should have been a little more thoughtful than to put such incongruous messages on the same page.  Had they bothered to read it they would have seen that the little piece on spiking oil prices contradicted everything else on the entire page.  But I guess we can’t expect too much from our elite media over-lords.  After all, they are the products of the American educational system too.

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Fortune Magazine -“Let’s get real”: the poor must suffer because the rich cannot

I shit you not, brother and sisters.  We’ve finally seen it in a MSM publication:  taxing the rich is unfair and if the poor have to suffer, so be it.

As CSN&Y once said;  “We’re finally on our own.”

Our friend Allan Sloan at Fortune has this to say about the fiscal issues of both New York and New Jersey:

 “But both governors — liberal New York Democrat Andrew Cuomo and conservative New Jersey Republican Chris Christie — are cutting social services to fill the gap and won’t even consider raising state income tax rates on the wealthy. What’s more, they’re even talking about cutting business taxes.

It’s a really cruel message, if you think about it. It’s telling people who are needy, many of whom are suffering the toxic after-effects of the Great Recession rather than having done anything wrong, that their needs are less important than those of upper-income types or businesses.

But you know what? It’s the rational way — and probably the right way — for Cuomo and Christie to behave.”

I. Shit. You . Not.

Oh, it gets better:   “I think that governors like Cuomo, Christie (whom I voted for), and Scott Walker of Wisconsin are behaving rationally by not wanting to raise income taxes.”

See, we dont live in an ideal world where it would be fair to actually assess people fairly : “In an ideal world, we’d handle state and local problems in a rational way, spreading pain among public employees, taxpayers, and services recipients. That isn’t going to happen. Rationality seems to have vanished from public life — or at least from political life.

You may not like the idea of closing state budget gaps without asking for more money from high-income people (including me) who benefited directly or indirectly from the federal bailout. Some days I don’t like that idea either. But let’s get real. Raising income taxes in a world in which people and capital are ultra-mobile is a dangerous game for any state. Cuomo and Christie are wise not to be playing it.”

According to this guy, if you tax someone for their fair share, they’ll just move out of your state.  And then where would you be?  So take it losers, and be glad it isn’t worse.  Fortune magazine doesnt deal with you.

Dont believe me?  Read the hatred here

This is about the worst I’ve ever read. A man who comes across as well meaning….but he is doing the evil work of making it seem acceptable to diminsh real human beings for the sake of money.   Read his own words.

He is not a Nazi.  But this stuff did happen in the 1930s.  The “press” was empressed to state a point of view that benefited the regime.  I’m just saying that’s how shit happens.

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Random thoughts as things spin on

  • Our economic world is fundamentally changing
    • we cant vote to stop it
    • we cant pay money to stop it
    • we cant ignore it

Yet I wonder how many of our fellow citizens think they can do one or more of the above?  And when they do, that all will be well?

To me the meltdown is nothing but a spark that shows what has been happening for at least the last three years:  the end of the global industrial economy is upon us.

That will mean less consumer goods, less “good jobs” working for the global corporations or those that serve them.

But it will mean more of the things that are really important.

More time with family and friends.

More time for ourselves.

More health and more community.

Less will be more, if we don’t kill ourselves trying to get back to the just have more days.

  • We have a post industrial economy with an industrial sized population.  How do make the transition? How do we keep everyone employed meaningfully at the expectation that it will result in the conventional American dream?

I don’t think we do.

Instead, a New American Dream needs to be envisioned.  One where everyone has meaningful employment, good health, a strong community, and quality time for just living.  Now I realize that sounds like sacrilege to those who think that the real purpose of America is materialism.   That owning a big house and new car are the things that give life purpose.

  • The American dream grew up with the rise of industrial society – it wasn’t foretold by God. As growth increased, the ability for more people to share in the idea increased. Now that we’ve reached the end of growth – and we have, choose any measure you want – the same dream doesn’t apply.
  • What are we willing to accept for staying tied to the global economy as the price to be paid to keep the conventional dream?
    • Declining wages?
    • Mindless work?
    • Destruction of our environment?
    • End of health?
    • A rootless society?
  • We need scenario planning for certain things – a week ago no one in Japan would have imagined these – we must:

o   What if the atms stopped working and the banks close for days?

o   What if the power goes out at the source (power plant)?

o   What if the food shelves look like this?

o   What if there were some…bad shit in the air….Nerve Gas in Richmond, for example?

  • There are several scenarios that need planning – these are economic, environmental, or deliberately caused:
    • Immediate change
    • Prolonged situation
    • Catastrophic event

And then

  • Adapting to the new world

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Japan meltdown almost ensures that we will cook the planet with carbon.

New nuclear power is dead for a generation at least.  And existing plants are likely to be inspected and found wanting and perhaps taken off-line. But we won’t give up our demand.  Now its all coal and natural gas and oil.  Those have nowhere to go but up in use.  See, there is no short or mid-term substitute. 

The problem is that we have already unhinged our climate.  We need to be using dramatically less carbon rather than dramatically more. 

If we had just listened, we could have had a solar economy by now. And none of this would ever have happened.  Now, we’re in completely uncharted territory.

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All is well: Lex is THE top job market nationally

I  feel so dumb, arguing that we need to relocalize our economy. I thought job growth here was really a fleeting thing.  But damn!  We numero uno baybay!  All those jobs at Hamburg and the hospital help are really adding up.  Good for us.  I’m sure there’s even a bunch of call center jobs too.  Don’t matter, its all good.

I’m guessing that Mayor Gray is just jumping for joy as this will no doubt help close that little ole $25million budget gap.  Well, if not this year, probably next. Yeah, its gonna all be better soon.  I just wonder which politician is gonna fall all over hiself claiming credit – Gray or Newberry?

And the Commerce Lex?  They gotta be glorified at the thought that we are the number one job market!  Congrats to them!  They have done so much to make us number 1.  Who needed that fake report after all?  They were succeeding anyway.

So, we dont need to do nothin different than we have been.  Damn LEX is a great city.   

—— 

Lexington ranked as top job market nationally

By Scott Sloan — ssloan@herald-leader.com

The Lexington area’s job market is expected to be the strongest in the nation in the second quarter, says a recently released report by Manpower employment agency.

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey found that 28 percent of companies surveyed locally expect to hire more employees in the quarter. Only 4 percent expect to have layoffs.

That yielded a “net employment outlook,” as Manpower calls it, of 24 percent, which was tops for U.S. metropolitan areas.

An additional 65 percent of local firms expected to maintain current staffing levels, and 3 percent were not sure of their plans.

“Employers are significantly more confident about hiring plans for the second quarter … compared to the (first quarter) when the Net Employment Outlook was 4 percent” Manpower spokeswoman Maggie Coats said in a statement.

At that time, 15 percent expected to hire and 11 percent expected layoffs.

A year ago, the survey showed that 14 percent of Lexington-area firms planned to hire while 7 percent expected cuts.

Almost all sectors of the regional economy were bullish on hiring, the report said.

The report is based on surveys of more than 18,000 employers nationwide. At the national level, 16 percent expected staff increases, while 6 percent anticipated cuts. The survey’s margin of error is 3.9 percent.

  • Top job markets in second quarter

According to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.

1. Lexington

2. Greenville-Mauldin-Easley, S.C., and Tulsa, Okla. (tie)

4. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn., and El Paso, Texas (tie)

6. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y.; Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass.; Columbus, Ohio; Madison, Wis.; and Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Va. (tie)


Read more:
http://www.kentucky.com/2011/03/16/1673155/lexington-ranked-as-top-job-market.html#ixzz1GpDoLbWZ


 

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Want to understand why we must get disconnected from the global economy as Japan melts down?

The words below are from Chris Martenson – he clearly gives reasons why we must begin the disconnect from the global economy if we are going to have any chance at stabilizing our communities.   We should just not be this much at the mercy of forces (or feces) beyond our control.   Who really thinks that this is good anymore?  Is it greed?   An inability to face change?  Ignorance?

And for those of you really interested in what is going to happen – read this – Chris Martenson is a very sober person – not at all a doomer – but damn if he isn’t saying some very scary things right now about the need to get prepared.  

——

A Global Meltdown

For decades, the world has been running its own nuclear-style reaction, only in the currency and debt markets, where exponentially-accelerating piles of debt and money have spun about faster and faster in a gigantic, complex, coordinated reaction, the core of which is, and always has been, the United States.

At the very center of this ungainly money reactor is the main fuel pile itself, the US Treasury market. With any interruption to smooth flow of money through this pile, it will immediately become unstable.

The threat I see goes like this:

Stage 1:  The world watches, riveted, as Japan suffers a tragic and horrible earthquake and tsunami, but as horrifying as these are, they are localized phenomenon affecting a relatively small percentage of the country. The real trouble lurks within damaged nuclear plants, which are now ruined and will never again produce electricity for Japan, creating instant shortages that will take years to remedy. Worse, a dangerous plume of radioactivity is carried south by winds. Tokyo partially empties and shuts down for all practical purposes.

Stage 2:  The abrupt slow down of the world’s third largest economy alters the smooth flow of cash around the globe, and even causes reversals of some other long-standing flows. Chaotic eddies emerge in a decades-old pattern of ever-increasing flows of money into and out of the money centers, and various carry-trade and other interest-rate-sensitive strategies blow up. Manufacturing in Japan screeches to a halt, disrupting just-in-time manufacturing strategies both internally and across the globe.

Stage 3:  In order to fund the rebuilding effort, Japan has to buy a lot of items from foreign suppliers at the same time that its exports plunge precipitously. At first Japan simply does not participate in US Treasury auctions, leading to a shortage of buyers. But eventually Japan has to sell some of its vast hoard of US bonds in order to pay for external items needed for its reconstruction. Further, insurance companies, huge holders of US bonds, face stiff liability claims in the wake of the worst natural disaster to hit a heavily industrialized center and are forced to redeem enormous amounts of Treasury paper. US Treasury yields begin to climb.

Stage 4:  Continuing unrest in the MENA region serves to keep oil elevated and local funding needs high, while Europe’s weaker players (the PIIGS) continue to slip under the waves. Money continues to ebb away from the US Treasury market. Forced by circumstance, the Federal Reserve reverses its linguistic course and opens the monetary floodgates once again. There’s nothing like a crisis to justify more money printing, especially to a one-trick pony (the Fed) that only knows how to stamp its hoof on the ‘print’ button.

Stage 5:  An increasingly chaotic monetary and fiscal situation spills over into the derivatives arena, creating a number of financial accidents. Stressed governments find themselves in more of an arguing mood than a pull-together-and-sing-Kumbaya mood, and agreements are hard to come by. Banks begin to fail again, global trade falls off, unrest continues to build, and then it happens – a currency crisis.

Stage 6:  Everything changes. Faster than you think.

I wish I could completely quantify and justify the reason for this assessment, but I cannot at this time. Yes, we’ve got some very serious market turbulence to point to:

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US Energy Chief Says Partial Meltdown Has Occurred At Fukushima, Urges All Us Citizens Within 80 KM To Evacuate

Zero Hedge again – just reported

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/16/2011 13:38 -0400

Update: Britain follows US in recommending all nationals in Tokyo and north of Tokyo evacuate

More on the earlier news that Steven Chu “thought” a partial meltdown may have occurred, the just released news escalates the verbiage, which is now a definitive: “US Energy Chief says ‘partial meltdown’ occurred at the Fukushima Plant.” The next step is his urgent recommendation for all US citizens who live within 80 kilometers of Fukushima to evacuate or take shelter indoors. Oddly enough, for the Japanese the evacuation radius is a fraction of this, but it is probably due to the government’s recent arbitrary decision to pick a number of 250 millisieverts as the maximum safe threshold for NPP workers. Somehow we assume this means Japanese DNA is about 2.5 times more resilient to damaging alpha, beta and gamma radiation, than that extracted from the US and all other countries.

We urge Japanese readers who have not already done so, to follow Chu’s advice and to get the hell away from Dodge, and evacuate to a minimum 50 mile safe distance.

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Food and energy costs spiking; wages declining

This from the associated press:

“Higher energy costs and the steepest rise in food prices in nearly four decades drove wholesale prices up last month by the most in nearly two years. Excluding those categories, inflation was tame.”

“And otherwise, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?”

Other stats:

“Food prices soared 3.9 percent last month, the biggest gain since November 1974. Harsh winter freezes in Florida, Texas and other southern states sent fresh vegetable prices soaring, representing 70 percent of the increase. Tomatoes, green peppers and lettuce all more than doubled in price.

Meat and dairy costs also rose, reflecting higher prices for corn and soybean that are used in animal feed. Economists expect food prices to keep increasing for the rest of this year. Earlier this month, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization said world food prices have risen to their highest point since 1990, when the agency first began tracking them.

Gas prices also spiked in February and are even higher now. The national average price was $3.55 a gallon Wednesday, up 42 cents from a month earlier, according to the AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge.”

read more here

Meanwhile, a new study by the Brookings Institution shows that real wages have actually declined since 1969.

This is stagflation taking hold.

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Here We Go Again: IAEA Says Fuel Rods Exposed In Units 4, 5 And 6, Total Of 4 Units Have Core Damage, Situation “Very Serious”

Zero Hedge seems to have a pretty good track on this

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/16/2011 11:49 -0400

IAEA SAYS CORE DAMAGE AT UNITS 1-3 CONFIRMED, SITUATION “VERY SERIOUS”
IAEA SAYS FUEL RODS EXPOSED IN UNITS 4, 5 AND 6
IAEA SAYS HIGHER RADIATION LEVELS FROM DAMAGED JAPAN REACTORS
IAEA SAYS TOTAL OF 4 JAPAN UNITS HAVE CORE DAMAGE

5

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Japan meltdown – the most recent chart

Here’s a chart issued at 7am this morning – it really explains what is happening – all that red stuff doesnt look good -click chart for high rez version

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Who said it?

“As for those who continue to insist that there’s something fundamentally wrong with a democracy that doesn’t address the ever-growing income inequality the sheer madness of our open-ended military ventures in Afghanistan, the miseries of the sick and unemployed, the suffering of the near destitute and of the children and the old, they’ll be dismissed as being unrealistic in present circumstances and reminded that with the other party in power things would be even worse. The reason pessimists are multiplying is that we dishonor the intellect and the knowledge of history in this country by refusing to admit that corruption is the source of our ills. It takes no great mental effort to realize that there’s no effective political forces either in Washington or locally that are able to do anything serious to correct our self-delusions about being the world’s policeman, because any sensible solution would seriously cut into profits of this or that interest group.”

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The real reason we’ll sacrifice our future for oil: “We want more millionaires”

This really exposes the minds of those who would have us despoil our land and keep us addicted to oil until the end.  It’s all about making a few people richer. But hey baby, live for today!

——-

“We Want More Millionaires In America”: With Gas Prices Soaring, Lawmakers Call For President Obama To Stop Picking On Oil Industry

ABCNews.com

ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe reports:

With Americans feeling pain at the pump due to soaring gas prices, House Republicans today announced a plan to try to expand American energy production and end Obama administration policies that they contend are harmful both to prices and job growth.

The GOP’s effort, dubbed the American Energy Initiative, was unveiled today by House Speaker John Boehner.

“Just as with jobs, the American people recognize that Washington has been a big part of the problem when it comes to the price of energy,” Boehner said at his weekly press conference on Capitol Hill.

“If you watch what this administration has done for the last two years in their regulatory process, they’ve stopped drilling in the Gulf, they’ve slowed the number of leases coming out of the government, and they’re imposing these EPA regulations on American businesses that are going to sharply increase the cost of energy in America,” he added.

Across the Hill the Senate’s top Republican Mitch McConnell argued that the Obama administration is “actively working to prevent us from increasing our own oil production here at home.”

“Now is the time to be asking what we can do to increase domestic energy production, not proposing ways to squeeze American families even more,” he said. “And that’s why all of these actions by the administration, along with a tax hike on energy production some have proposed that will only be passed on to consumers in the form of even higher gas prices, is the last thing Americans need right now.”

Republicans are not alone in their arguments that the White House should do more to help boost domestic energy production. Some Democrats such as Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu have voiced frustration with the administration’s treatment of the oil industry in the Gulf of Mexico.

On Wednesday Landrieu beat back questions about why Congress continues to grant billions of dollars in tax subsidies to oil companies that are currently raking in massive profits, all at a time when Americans are spending more at the pump and the government is running up record deficits.

“Every time the companies start making money people want to tax what they get, but when they’re losing money no one wants to help them because of this sort of bias against oil and gas companies which comes from some sector, you know, of our democracy,” Landrieu said.

“We want to create more millionaires in America. We want to create more wealth in America, so we’ve got to be careful about continuing to pick on this industry every time somebody is looking for a dime around Washington, DC,” she added.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-TX, echoed that argument.

“In a bad economic climate with the thousands of jobs that are supported by the oil industry, it’s not the time to raise prices on the consumer and certainly not to penalize oil companies in a different way from every other industry if we hope to promote job growth,” Hutchison said.

“It’s the turmoil in the Middle East that has driven up the cost. The answer to that is more supply – it is to get these rigs drilling, get these rigs producing, have more capability for refinery capacity and then the price will come down.”

Hutchison and Landrieu have introduced a bill that would extend the time lost on oil leases due to the administration’s drilling moratorium in the Gulf.

Across the aisle Rep. Ed Markey, the top Democrat on the House National Resources Committee, today joined a growing chorus of Democrats who have called on the White House to open the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an effort to bring down the price of oil.

“Whether higher prices or disrupted supply happen from an act of God or an act of Gaddafi, the United States should respond by deploying the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to protect us from slipping back into recession once again,” Markey said at a press conference on the Hill.

“I believe that the emergency is right now,” he added.

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Does Anyone Seriously Believe the Global Recovery Is Still Intact?

Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

A global recovery dependent on a spiraling addiction to debt and sovereign spending/intervention has been undermined on numerous fronts.

Today’s exercise: design a semi-plausible scenario guaranteed to halt a global recovery that is entirely dependent on massive money printing, credit creation, Central Bank intervention and Central State spending.

I don’t know about your answer, but here’s my scenario for kicking out the rotten posts holding up a fragile, debt-fueled global recovery:

1. A natural disaster which disrupts production in one of the top four exporting nations, preferably one that is essential to the global manufacturing and high-tech supply chain. Once those supply chains are disrupted, then so are product cycles and profits.

2. An event that triggers a financial crisis in one of the four largest economies. The ideal setup for falling dominoes is to take a financially vulnerable major economy and topple it with an unexpected disaster.

3. Ignite a chain reaction of volatile mass movements in the major oil-exporting region of the world,
i.e. the Mideast. I don’t mean the disruptions caused by small terrorist cells, I mean the unleashing of mass movements of ordinary people who have suddenly decided to renounce the delegitimized autocracies they have accepted for decades.

By their very nature, such movements are unpredictable, and the situation is thus intriniscally unstable–just what global markets fear.

4. A long-wave increase in global demand for essential materials and grains which are suffering drawdowns of inventory due to inadequate supply.
Throw in a few oil-rig disasters and failed crops in key regions of the world, and what might have been modest supply-demand imbalances balloon into shortages which trigger massive leaps in price.

5. Central banks and governments which have become addicted to radical increases in money supply, sovereign debt and spending to keep their economies afloat. As the banks can’t control where these stupendous injections of “free money” will go, they are helpless spectators as the money seeks fat speculative returns somewhere, anywhere–a dynamic that leads to asset bubbles and commodity inflation.

An addiction to money and credit creation is an ideal setup for implosion: high inflation in tangible essentials generates social and political turmoil, while the stimulus acts as a “must-have” drug for the global economy: any slackening in the stimulus will trigger Cold Turkey: a rapid descent into illness and tremors.

6. A failed Status Quo which seeks to mask its own greed, incompetence and servitude to Financial Elites and fiefdoms via propaganda,
i.e. manipulating statistics, misrepresenting risk and obscuring the symbiotic relationship between the Central State and crony-cartel monopolies.

OK, let’s run through the list:

1. Natural disaster dusrupts production in a key global exporter: check.

2. An event which nudges a major economy into financial crisis: check. (If you don’t think Japan’s economy and finances will be pushed over a threshold by the quake, please be patient.)

3. Ignite a chain reaction of mass movements in a key oil exporting region: check.

4. Supply-demand imbalances in critical materials and grains: check.

5. Central banks and sovereign states addicted to vast quantities of printing-money and credit creation stimulus which trigger rampant inflation in essentials: check.

6. Massaged statistics, channel-stuffing, misrepresentation of risk and unlimited propaganda by a failed Status Quo: check.

Does anyone seriously think the global recovery is still intact? Based on what? Does anyone think that stagnant/declining wages, falling real estate values, skyrocketing prices for materials and energy, and belt-tightening by bankrupt States are ideal foundations for higher profits?

Anyone who doesn’t realize the quake in Japan is a tragic load dumped on a fragile addict’s quivering back (i.e. the global recovery) will undoubtedly be surprised by how fast the global economy will start unraveling. Anyone who kept their eyes open is only wondering how a debt and propaganda-fueled recovery lasted this long.

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Education alone isn’t the answer to fixing our economy

The post below by a Nobel Prize winner to me confirms that relocalizing our economy is the right path.

Pumping more young people – and now even older ones – through diploma mills (like a certain institution in these parts has become) isn’t the answer for improving our economy.  If it was, we’d be seeing the proof. 

Instead, the only way to improve our economy is to localize.  A local economy needs a huge array of skills and talents. And all those require education, but just not the vacuous crap that passes for education at most diploma mills. We can re-engage our entire population by relearning the skills it takes to truly run a community on our own.  This is what Krugman is getting at, even if he doesnt realize it yet.

——-

Degrees and Dollars

By PAUL KRUGMAN NYTimes

It is a truth universally acknowledged that education is the key to economic success. Everyone knows that the jobs of the future will require ever higher levels of skill. That’s why, in an appearance Friday with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, President Obama declared that “If we want more good news on the jobs front then we’ve got to make more investments in education.”

But what everyone knows is wrong.

The day after the Obama-Bush event, The Times published an article about the growing use of software to perform legal research. Computers, it turns out, can quickly analyze millions of documents, cheaply performing a task that used to require armies of lawyers and paralegals. In this case, then, technological progress is actually reducing the demand for highly educated workers.

And legal research isn’t an isolated example. As the article points out, software has also been replacing engineers in such tasks as chip design. More broadly, the idea that modern technology eliminates only menial jobs, that well-educated workers are clear winners, may dominate popular discussion, but it’s actually decades out of date.

The fact is that since 1990 or so the U.S. job market has been characterized not by a general rise in the demand for skill, but by “hollowing out”: both high-wage and low-wage employment have grown rapidly, but medium-wage jobs — the kinds of jobs we count on to support a strong middle class — have lagged behind. And the hole in the middle has been getting wider: many of the high-wage occupations that grew rapidly in the 1990s have seen much slower growth recently, even as growth in low-wage employment has accelerated.

Why is this happening? The belief that education is becoming ever more important rests on the plausible-sounding notion that advances in technology increase job opportunities for those who work with information — loosely speaking, that computers help those who work with their minds, while hurting those who work with their hands.

Some years ago, however, the economists David Autor, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane argued that this was the wrong way to think about it. Computers, they pointed out, excel at routine tasks, “cognitive and manual tasks that can be accomplished by following explicit rules.” Therefore, any routine task — a category that includes many white-collar, nonmanual jobs — is in the firing line. Conversely, jobs that can’t be carried out by following explicit rules — a category that includes many kinds of manual labor, from truck drivers to janitors — will tend to grow even in the face of technological progress.

And here’s the thing: Most of the manual labor still being done in our economy seems to be of the kind that’s hard to automate. Notably, with production workers in manufacturing down to about 6 percent of U.S. employment, there aren’t many assembly-line jobs left to lose. Meanwhile, quite a lot of white-collar work currently carried out by well-educated, relatively well-paid workers may soon be computerized. Roombas are cute, but robot janitors are a long way off; computerized legal research and computer-aided medical diagnosis are already here.

And then there’s globalization. Once, only manufacturing workers needed to worry about competition from overseas, but the combination of computers and telecommunications has made it possible to provide many services at long range. And research by my Princeton colleagues Alan Blinder and Alan Krueger suggests that high-wage jobs performed by highly educated workers are, if anything, more “offshorable” than jobs done by low-paid, less-educated workers. If they’re right, growing international trade in services will further hollow out the U.S. job market.

So what does all this say about policy?

Yes, we need to fix American education. In particular, the inequalities Americans face at the starting line — bright children from poor families are less likely to finish college than much less able children of the affluent — aren’t just an outrage; they represent a huge waste of the nation’s human potential.

But there are things education can’t do. In particular, the notion that putting more kids through college can restore the middle-class society we used to have is wishful thinking. It’s no longer true that having a college degree guarantees that you’ll get a good job, and it’s becoming less true with each passing decade.

So if we want a society of broadly shared prosperity, education isn’t the answer — we’ll have to go about building that society directly. We need to restore the bargaining power that labor has lost over the last 30 years, so that ordinary workers as well as superstars have the power to bargain for good wages. We need to guarantee the essentials, above all health care, to every citizen.

What we can’t do is get where we need to go just by giving workers college degrees, which may be no more than tickets to jobs that don’t exist or don’t pay middle-class wages.

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9 steps to rescue LEX from the trench warfare of “economic development”

I’ve been thinking about economic development in Lexington and Kentucky cities. I always come back to the positive effects (!) that both peak oil and climate change could have on our local economies.

My key points are: that soon, distance will cost a great deal of money, and that a global price on carbon will penalize polluters and reward efficiency.  Both of these will return jobs to the U.S.

Both spell the end of economic globalization as we’ve known it and a return to the importance of local communities as economic drivers.

There’s been much hand wringing here over the last couple of weeks about generic economic development strategies. And there’s been some commentary on other local blogging sites about the supposed wisdom of local people versus outsiders on the subject of economic development.

While I don’t doubt the sincerity, I do doubt the validity of the thrust of much local economic development discussions.

I think the economic development discussion in Lexington still focuses, wrongly, on our place in the global economy. All that does is place us at the mercy of global corporations and the economic forces that do not have our best interests in mind. Most of our local econ dev “experts” see Lexingtonians only as fodder for the global corporate workforce, rather than humans. Kinda like the British and German generals of World War 1.

Many of the “leaders” of the economic development process in Lex are nothing more than agents for the economic-colonial powers that have taken root here; banks, corporations, law firms, coal operators, consumer companies, etc. They only think of what they can do to please the corporations, with the hope of gaining some return that benefits our citizens, I guess.

I think they do this, most of them, with the best intentions of helping local people.

But it doesn’t help.

Such a strategy does nothing to ensure that our community is truly sustainable over the long-term. And these discussions never mention the elephants in the room: peak energy and an imperative to reduce carbon use dramatically and quickly.

The answer to both challenges is the same thing: a locally scaled economy. Our commerce must be at the scale of neighborhoods rather than that of the globe. Our food system must be designed to provide for us first. Our educational system needs to respond to what type of learning is really needed in the coming years. Our transportation system must be re-imagined to place transit and human power at the forefront of planning. This is the rational response to the new realities. Please feel free to share your thoughts.

  1. Put local first in every decision made in our communities by supporting locally produced food, energy, products and services, businesses, investments, arts and local media
  2. Build a place based economy. Work to only create jobs that cant be outsourced and that use local materials and talents to create an economy that will last
  3. Reskill our workforce . We need technology training suitable for 21st century manufacturing certainly, but in our lower energy future, other skills will be vital as well. All things food related will be vital – food, growing, storing, preparing. We need to support energy engineers and entrepreneurs – from biofuel makers to battery testers to efficiency experts. We must value round timber builders and potters and chimney sweeps. Education will to change; the notion of everyone going off to college to get a liberal arts degree will disappear.
  4. Foster local markets. Create places and networks for local people to sell the things they’ve added value to
  5. Increase local self-reliance and resilience. Safeguard local food and water supply, protect floodways, create local energy, increase energy efficiency, husband local resources of soil, timber, minerals.
  6. Improve our places. Plant trees and flowers, create parks, put art on display, fix neglected infrastructure, clean up – give people proof that we are planning to stay
  7. Encourage alternative transportation – make it easy and safe for people to get around our cities on foot and bike. Encourage local shared transportation.
  8. Let land use happen. Houses are more than that these days. They are factories, home offices, mail rooms, warehouses, communications centers. Small businesses should not be segregated by zoning from where people live to encourage walking and biking; we shouldn’t have to use a gallon of gas to get a gallon of milk.
  9. Strengthen our communities. Host more fun communal events. This doesn’t have to be expensive – people love gathering together! And cherish one another – EVERYONE in your community has a stake in making it the best it can be – everyone.

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Coming apart at the seams…

I had a weird feeling of dissonance on a peaceful Friday evening as a calm late winter sunset settled over my backwater town. For a minute or two it sure seemed like the world was coming apart.
 
Yeah, yeah, I know, American’s brightest days are ahead, as Warren Buffet recently said. Yeah, yeah, I know that acknowledging reality gets one labeled as a pessimist in this country these days.
 
But still I couldn’t help it. For just a little bit.
 
  •  So many natural disasters so close upon each other’s heels:, the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, Haiti, Chile, New Zealand, and now Japan.
  • So many climate related disasters so close upon each other’s heels: Katrina, Russia, Australia, Pakistan.
  • Revolutions and civil wars in the Middle East and North Africa.
  • Financial corruption continues globally.
  • Peak oil has arrived, ensuring more desperation over a dwindling resource.
  • Food is being priced out of reach for hundreds of millions of human beings as a consequence of climate change, peak oil, and rich-world financial speculation
  • Here in the US, there is an all out assault on the weakest among us at the same time there is an all out push to help the richest. And our president is standing on the sidelines.
  • We’ve been at war for nearly 10 years, with no end in sight. Imagine the good all the trillions of dollars we’ve spent destroying two countries could have done in this one.
  • Poverty in the US is at an all time high. 43 million of our fellow citizens are on food stamps.
  • Wages in the US are declining, leaving ever more people struggling to hang on, and getting angrier by the day.
  • US citizens are in personal debt to the tune of $13.4 trillion.  How does that ever get paid back?
  • The US government is in debt to the tune of $14.9 trillion.  How does that ever get paid back?
  • The city of Lexington is facing a $25 million shortfall between what it needs to run the city as we’ve come to know it and what we can afford – or are willing – to pay. 
  • Senseless violence has become one of the defining characteristics of our country.  I still keep thinking about the people in Tuscon, especially the young girl, who simply wanted to meet their Congress person.

I’m sure it gets better from here. I sometimes just don’t know how.

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29 hours in Kentucky weather – a typical difference

One morning, snow upon the ground and a frozen, gloomy sky.

The next afternoon, sun and lightness all around.

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Conservatives rush to defend nuclear power in the face of meltdowns

Gotta give the live-for-today crowd credit:  they know how to position their messages.   See, they want to live forever  like we live today.  To do that will take ever-increasing amounts of energy.  To get that energy, it appears that no amount of harm to the earth and its inhabitants will stand in their way.  For example, the Heritage Foundation has rushed to explain the emerging nuclear disaster in Japan as “It could have been significant; it likely was not.” The author is the piece below was on MSNBC yesterday explaining that things will be ok.  He said this while video of the nuclear plant explosion was playing in the background.

So there is nothing to worry about people.  Japan can deal with this.  And we should never be frightened by nuclear power.  Nuclear power is our friend.  (sarcasm)

Meanwhile it appears that the situation is not getting better.  Let’s hope for the best. 

 ————-

Understanding Japan’s Response to Its Nuclear Reactor Emergency

Posted By Jack Spencer On March 12, 2011

The impact of the Japanese earthquake on its nuclear reactors continues to capture the world’s attention. Reports of radioactive releases, elevated radiation levels, and malfunctioning power systems all strike fear into the public as memories of Three Mile Island and Chernobyl quickly enter the national and global conscious. It is important, however, to understand what these terms mean and how different actions taken by Japanese nuclear officials actually impact human health and safety.

One area where this is particularly important is regarding the potential release of radioactive steam. According to the most recent news, Japanese officials are planning a managed release of radioactive steam from reactor number one at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The purpose of this action is to release rising pressure from the reactor’s core. Though such releases are not unusual, under these circumstances, one can assume that it is the result of inadequate coolant delivery to the core. Even though the nuclear reaction in the reactor has stopped, it will continue to generate heat for some time. Therefore it is essential to remove that heat from the reactor, which is normally done with water. If that becomes either inefficient or impossible, the heat can cause a buildup of steam and pressure that must be released to protect the integrity of the core. Such a managed steam release is an important tool in managing abnormal situations at nuclear power plants. Continue reading

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My name is Steve. I’m an oil addict

Well, ok, Johann Hari actually wrote this, but it could certainly pass for most of us.

—–

Johann Hari: Demanding cheaper oil is disastrous

The most popular cry in politics today is a pledge to deny reality and cut petrol prices. Give us our fix! Make it cheap! Make it now!

My name is Johann Hari, and I am an addict. If you restrict the supply of my drug, as has happened over the past month, I become panicky and angry. If you cut it off entirely, my life will fall apart. I want my fix, I want it cheap, and I want it now. My drug is called oil. I eat it: my food is driven to me. I wear it: my clothing is shipped and flown to me. I travel with it: on every bus, train and plane. But if I don’t go to rehab soon, this addiction is going to ruin me. This is the inaugural meeting of Petroleum Anonymous. We’re all going to need it now. There are four major symptoms to my addiction and yours, and in 2011 they are all getting worse.

Symptom one: unpredictable convulsions. There is a revolution happening all around the world’s biggest oil-fields, and it is getting closer to the deepest pools every day. For 60 years our governments have armed, funded and fuelled tyrants in return for them pointing the petrol pump in our direction. Just as junkies will rob their mothers and mug their grannies, we have abandoned the most basic values of our societies in pursuit of cheap oil. Initially, this created the virus of jihadism. Now some of the local populations are finally rising up in a democratic spirit against their tyrants. They are being shot at by soldiers trained at Sandhurst and with weapons stamped Made in America.

Nobody knows where this revolution will stop, but today is a declared “day of rage” in Saudi Arabia. The angriest part of the population, the marginalised and abused Shia, happen to live on top of the biggest oil-fields on Earth, and can stare across a thin patch of water to see their fellow Shia rising up in Bahrain. Sixty per cent of the Saudi population is under the age of 25, yet they are governed by an 86-year-old and half-dead “King” who bans women from driving and has rape victims whipped. It seems unlikely they can be bribed, beaten and shot into submission forever.

Even a small and brief disruption in the oil supply can cause this symptom in us. Since 1973, there have been five oil price shocks – and every single one has been followed rapidly by a global recession. A Saudi uprising would be the biggest disruption yet, triggering $200-a-barrel oil and beyond. It would be like having the 1973 oil price shock just after the 1929 Great Crash – and change all our lives.

Symptom two: fever. In the century-long party since a pair of brothers first struck oil big-time in Texas, human beings have burned up 900 billion barrels of the black gloop. Each one of them has released gases into the atmosphere that have trapped more and more of the sun’s heat here on Earth. The result is that, according to Nasa, 2010 was globally the hottest year ever recorded, tied with 2005. Don’t be fooled by local snow: the last time it was this hot was three million years ago, when the sea level was 25 metres higher. Yes, we have a planetary fever. If we burn up all the oil that remains, we will push it way beyond current levels – or any ever seen by human beings.

Symptom three: hunger. The Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman says food is soaring in price across the world as a result of this man-made fever. Last year Russia’s wheat crop dried out and burned down in wildfires nobody had ever seen before. It caused the global price of wheat to double, and President Dmitri Medvedev to renounce his global warming denialism.

Similarly strange things are happening across the world’s most important agricultural areas. All this, in turn, helped cause the Arab revolutions. These crop failures rendered many of the Arab people unable to meet their food bills – and made them rise up in desperation.

Symptom four: denial. Petrol is finite. It takes millions of years to form under the ground: it can’t be grown, or made in factories. We all know that, sooner or later, it is going to run out. But when? The last year in which humans found more oil than we burned was the year I was born: 1979. Since then, it’s been a downward graph. But it may be plunging much faster than we think. The WikiLeaks cables revealed that the US suspects the Saudis have 40 per cent less oil than they claim, and that the country’s supply could peak as soon as next year.

There is a shrinking pool of oil in the world – and more and more people chasing it. In China, three quarters of city-dwellers understandably say they plan to buy a car in the next five years. There is not enough for everyone.

We are going to have to make the transition to fuelling our societies by the mighty power of the sun, the wind and the waves sooner or later. The technology exists today. It can be done without us regressing to caves, or any of the other ludicrous myths pumped out by the oil lobby. George Monbiot’s book Heat is a detailed roadmap of how to do it, step by step. Far from killing our economies, the work needed to build a new energy infrastructure would be a vast source of new jobs – at precisely the moment when we need a huge economic stimulus.

Every time the oil price spikes, our politicians mouth platitudes about the need to kick oil, but the change never comes. It’s worth going back to the last serious proposal because it offers a tantalising “what if?”.

On 18 April 1977, President Jimmy Carter delivered a televised address from the Oval Office. He said: “Tonight I want to have an unpleasant talk with you about a problem unprecedented in our history. With the exception of preventing war, this is the greatest challenge our country will face during our lifetimes. The energy crisis has not yet overwhelmed us, but it will if we do not act quickly.” He said the West must wean itself off oil or “the alternative may be a national catastrophe… This difficult effort will be the moral equivalent of war – except that we will be uniting our efforts to build and not destroy.”

What would the world be like today if Jimmy Carter had been listened to by the Western world, instead of being booted out of office as a “whiner”? With the US no longer backing Arab petro-tyrannies and occupying Arab territories, there would probably have been no 9/11. There would have been no Iraq war. There would have been no BP oil spill. We would not be facing an oil price shock today that could cripple our economies and leave us backing some of the worst dictators in the world.

The Copenhagen climate summit could well have established a path to dealing with global warming, rather than burying it. If we pursue Drilling As Usual, what unnecessary disasters will they curse us for 30 years from now?

Yet the most popular cry in politics today is a pledge to deny all this reality and cut petrol prices. Give us our fix! Make it cheap! Make it now! In truth we don’t have a choice about whether we join Petroleum Anonymous. Our only choice is: do we do it today, or do we do it 20 or 30 years from now, on a much hotter planet, after squabbling and fighting and killing for the last pathetic dregs of petroleum.

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Who said it?

“The unfolding social and political unrest in the Middle East/North African (MENA) region are emblematic of changes that will be visiting the rest of the developed world in the near future.  Yes, dictators, corruption, and weak justice all play into the MENA situation but underlying those insults is a deeper structural flaw that rests on the relentless math of energy depletion and its relationship to economic growth.  The short version of the story is this: the global economy utterly depends on cheap oil to function. Without cheap oil, the economy will not work quite the same as it did before.

We have irreversibly slipped into a world of ever-increasing energy costs and those, predictably, are dragging down the weaker players first. By failing to appreciate the fundamental and irreplaceable role of energy in fostering economic growth, the world’s high priests and priestesses of monetary and fiscal policy have placed the developed world in the exact same situation as the MENA countries.

No, printing more money and manufacturing more debt to promote more consumption will not help anything. In fact these efforts are harmful because they distract us from what’s really at the heart of the issue; instead we should honestly admit to ourselves that we have a gigantic energy-based economic and monetary predicament on our hands. One that requires a clear-eye diagnosis, and adult-sized conversations about what sorts of intelligent responses make sense here.

Assuming the west fails to heed the warnings and lessons being served up by the MENA region, the predictions are easy enough to make. Fiscal and monetary crises will sweep inwards from the weaker regions towards the center.  Markets will violently gyrate but ultimately destroy wealth. We still have time, but not a lot, especially considering that the leadership of the developed world is, for the most part, operating with the wrong narrative in place. The right one would consider energy and other critical environmental resources equally alongside economic goals. ”

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Lexington’s Financial “Crisis”

I thought growth was good…..I even saw the bumper sticker:  Growth is Good.

Instead, it turns out that having to deal with a lot more people in a low desnity city without a corresponding and large increase in the number and quality of jobs really hurts local government.  (Which is you and me, as a reminder.)  Yeah, growth is good…. for some financially, but for most of us, it’s a total loser…..Now we get a choice of less services, meaning a lower quality and standard of life here, or higher taxes.  And that aint happening.

Yeah growth was good….

Now watch for the pro-growth lobby to crank into high gear and say that the solution to our problems is……wait for it….more growth!

I would bet that is what Bernie Madoff told his clients – “give me more and I’ll make it all back.”

Mayor Gray does make a very interesting statement:  “We have to re-size government to fit the revenue stream,” Gray said.

That’s a very business-like comment.  And it’s technically right.

But what if?

What if we can’t re-size the city at the same time?  What if the city keeps on “growing?”  What does government do then?  We are in uncharted territory.

Here’s a brain teaser just for fun:  What if someone were to say, “We have to re-size the city to fit the amount of government we are able to provide.” What would that mean?

Absent an unlikely huge influx of high paying jobs in the next year, this is just going to get worse.  This is what the peak oil times look like.

——

Officials: Layoffs in Lexington government ‘highly likely’

By Beverly Fortune — bfortune@herald-leader.com

  • While city officials struggle to put together the budget for next fiscal year, the unfinished business of balancing the current-year’s budget remains.

The budget for fiscal 2011, which ends June 30, has a $9.2 million shortfall.

In a budget briefing on Wednesday, Division of Revenue director Bill O’Mara said the city has taken several steps to halt spending and save money. As a result, the shortfall is projected to drop by $6.9 million.

Among the main sources of those savings:

 A “tight” hiring freeze has been imposed. The freeze is expected to save $2 million. Only the chief administrative officer, Richard Moloney, can grant an exception to the freeze.

 All discretionary spending has been cut, including travel, training and office supplies, to save $2.25 million.

“Only things needed for direct services like gasoline for police cars and firetrucks will be allowed,” O’Mara said. “Everything’s on the table, to pinch every penny we can.”

 Another $1.1 million will come from matching money allocated for grants that won’t happen.

 Building maintenance and all capital projects are being reviewed for a possible $750,000 savings.

This still leaves a $2.3 million gap between revenue and spending.

The city has approximately $14 million in its rainy-day fund, which could be tapped as a last resort, budget director Ryan Barrow said.

Lexington faces a somber financial outlook that makes layoffs at city hall “highly likely” in the fiscal year that begins July 1, according to senior officials in Mayor Jim Gray’s administration.

As Gray’s staff and the Urban County Council began working in earnest this week on a new budget, a first round of economic projections showed expenses outpacing revenue by $25 million in fiscal year 2012.

“We have to re-size government to fit the revenue stream,” Gray said Monday at a budget workshop for top staffers and the council.

“We do have a crisis. As much as someone like myself would like to think that it’s not there. It’s here,” said Gray, who will make a formal budget proposal to the council on April 12. “It is going to be hard. It is going to be painful.”

The city’s General Fund revenues are projected to remain flat at $271 million next year, increasing a meager $21,000 from what is expected this year.

Meanwhile, Gray’s administration says spending will need to increase from an expected $280 million this year to $296 million next year, thanks in large part to increasing personnel-related costs, which make up about 65 percent of the city’s total budget.

For example, the city’s collective bargaining agreement guarantees pay raises for many police and fire, health care costs have historically gone up 10 percent a year and the state legislature increased the amount of money the city must contribute to the state pension fund, said Division of Revenue Director Bill O’Mara.

The resulting gap between revenues and expenses is too large to fill with one-time money transfers and temporary spending cuts, said Geoff Reed, senior adviser to Gray.

“So many times the budget, in the past, has been reduced primarily through operating cuts,” Reed said. “This budget is now down to the bone. The only way we are going to get the budget balanced is to make reductions in personnel costs.”

Although Reed say layoffs are “highly likely,” he said timing and number of them “are still to be determined.”

Officials also dismissed the idea of a quick economic recovery.

Total employment in Fayette County stood at 141,984 in June 2010, the latest data available, down nearly 6,000 from June 2007, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

With about 56 percent of city revenue generated by an occupational tax on individual wages, and 11 percent from net profit tax on businesses, job losses have a big impact on how much money the city has to spend, said Kenneth Troske, director for the Center for business and Economic Research at the University of Kentucky.

Troske, who spoke at Monday’s budget workshop, said it is particularly troubling that a majority of the jobs lost in Lexington were in higher-paying professions like accounting, legal services, management and real estate.

There is not a “good, clear answer” why this segment of the job market has taken such a hit, he said.

There’s also concern going forward about two of Lexington’s strongest employment categories — health care and education, which are largely paid for with state and federal funds.

Health care spending has been driven lately by changes in Medicaid, Troske said. The city’s tax revenues will be impacted if the state significantly cuts Medicaid expenditures, as Gov. Steve Beshear has threatened to do if lawmakers can’t agree on how to cover a shortfall in the Medicaid budget, or the federal government is able to rein in the cost of health care, he said.

The same goes for education spending. When the state legislature talks about cuts to higher education, that feeds into the city’s revenue picture because that means UK and other schools don’t hire “or even start laying people off, potentially,” he said.

“So the ongoing debate in Frankfort will have a very real impact on our revenue,” Troske said.

Given the city’s job losses and uncertainty about education and health care spending, “wow, I’m concerned,” he said.

Read more: http://www.kentucky.com/2011/03/10/1665765/officials-layoffs-in-lexington.html#ixzz1GG40bgB6

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