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    France Administrator Hervé's Avatar
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    Default The Big Squeeze:

    Wal-Mart's Shutdown Creates New Food Deserts

    By phillip lucas and mike schneider, associated press
    FAIRFIELD, Ala. — Jan 27, 2016, 5:30 PM ET


    © Unknown

    Wal-Mart's decision to shutter 154 stores across the country means that, starting Thursday, residents without cars in a neighborhood near a historically black college outside Birmingham, Alabama, will have to cross dangerous roadways on foot to get fresh produce and meat. Come Friday, folks in Coal Hill, Arkansas, will need to drive 15 miles to get to the nearest supermarket and pharmacy. Low-income neighbors of Wichita State University in Kansas, too, will be losing quick access to fresh groceries.

    The store closings by the world's largest retailer are creating three new food deserts in these neighborhoods with nearly 15,000 residents combined, according to an Associated Press analysis.

    One of them is in Fairfield, Alabama, a hard-luck suburb of 11,000 about 8 miles west of Birmingham. The Wal-Mart there sits on a highway marked by dreary swaths of abandoned commercial buildings, fast-food restaurants, payday lending businesses and gas stations. By late last week it was already out of fresh food, and shoppers who picked over the remaining items also worried that the store's shutdown could affect competitive prices nearby.

    "That gives the stores the opportunity to raise their prices because you don't have anywhere else to go," 66-year-old Diane Jones said as she loaded bags into the trunk of her older sedan.

    Besides the three new food deserts, another 31 neighborhoods in 15 states will lack any place that sells fresh produce and meat once the last of the Wal-Mart stores slated for closure turns off the lights Feb. 5. However, poverty is not so pervasive in those neighborhoods that they would qualify as food deserts, as defined by the federal government.

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture considers a neighborhood a food desert if at least a fifth of residents live in poverty and a third live more than a mile from a supermarket in urban areas, or more than 10 miles in rural areas, where residents are more likely to have cars. Nearly 9,000 neighborhoods are considered food deserts by that definition, according to the USDA's most recent review.

    Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has been at the forefront of efforts by national food retailers to end food deserts.

    Almost five years ago, several major food retail companies pledged to build or renovate more stores in or near food deserts by mid-2016 as part of Michelle Obama's campaign to reduce childhood obesity. Only Wal-Mart and an independent store that is part of a cooperative had met their goals for the first lady's group, Partnership for a Healthier America, as of last year. Wal-Mart had pledged to build or renovate up to 300 such stores, and by last year the company had built or renovated 392 stores, with the majority of those being new stores.

    A Wal-Mart spokesman said the company is still committed to ending food deserts. It is making donations to food banks in communities where stores are closing, increasing the budgets of stores in neighboring locations and also working with potential buyers of its stores' properties to bring other supermarkets to the affected neighborhoods, said spokesman Brian Nick.

    The company also said it is sticking with its plans to open nearly as many stores over the coming year as it is closing now, although not necessarily near the locations it is leaving.

    "We are working with the communities on how we can be helpful," Nick said.

    In Fairfield, where a U.S. Steel Corp. plant laid off about 1,100 workers last year, the closure of the Wal-Mart supercenter will eliminate 300 more jobs, said U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, who called it another blow to the city whose biggest private employer now is historically black Miles College.

    To get to the next-closest grocery stores, a Piggly Wiggly and a Save-A-Lot, residents who don't drive will have to cross highways with up to six lanes of traffic, medians and no sidewalks.

    Buses run through Fairfield about once an hour on weekdays, less frequently on Saturdays, and there is no service on Sundays, when many people do their shopping. Other nearby stores are harder to reach without a car and offer less variety, although some complained the Wal-Mart never seemed to be fully stocked anyway.

    "If you don't have your own transportation it's gonna be a problem," said Ron Hood, who works in customer service for the Birmingham-area public transit agency. "When Thanksgiving comes, Piggly Wiggly can't handle it. You know they only have so many bunches of greens."

    In Wichita, the Wal-Mart that opened four years ago became a community hub in a shopping plaza that previously had been a haven for prostitution and gang shootings, said Pastor Kevass Harding, whose Dellrose United Methodist Church is right by the store.

    The store hired workers from the neighborhood. Residents — many who are elderly — could walk just blocks to get their medicines at Wal-Mart's pharmacy, as well as fresh produce and meat.

    "We had a place that used to be an eyesore, but then we had a first-class shopping center in this urban neighborhood," Harding said. "So last week we get the news, my heart just broke. I was disgusted that it's about money. It's not about the people."

    In Coal Hill, Arkansas, just a 2-hour drive from Wal-Mart's Bentonville headquarters, the Wal-Mart was the biggest employer in the soybean-country town of more than 1,000. Once it closes, residents will have to drive 15 miles to the nearest supermarket and pharmacy, said Coal Hill Mayor Ronnie Garner.

    "It's devastating for the town," Garner said. "It's our only pharmacy, our only grocery store."
    ———
    =======================

    ... what was that scenario about FEMA camps... "Calais Jungle" might give an idea of what the future in the USA might be like...
    Last edited by Hervé; 28th January 2016 at 15:14.
    "La réalité est un rêve que l'on fait atterrir" San Antonio AKA F. Dard

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    Default Re: The Big Squeeze:

    Walmart broke law by firing on-strike workers, must offer to re-hire them

    https://www.rt.com/usa/329860-walmar...illegal-judge/
    22 Jan, 2016

    Quote Walmart broke the law when it fired 16 employees for going on strike in 2013 and must now offer to re-hire them, a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) judge has ruled. The retail giant has indicated it will appeal the decision.
    The mega-retailer fired and disciplined workers at 29 stores for unexcused absences after they took part in a strike for better pay and working conditions in 2013.

    But Administrative Law Judge Geoffrey Carter ruled on Thursday that Walmart violated labor law by "disciplining or discharging several associates because they were absent from work while on strike,” adding that the strike was protected under the National Labor Relations Act.

    Carter also ruled that the chain must give the employees back-pay for lost wages. Workers must be made “whole for any loss of earnings and other benefits suffered as a result of the discrimination against them,” he said.

    In addition, Walmart must hold a meeting in the 29 stores where workers were fired or disciplined in order to inform employees of their rights to organize under US labor law, and vow not to retaliate or threaten them for doing so.

    Walmart “took swift action against associates after they returned from strike,” the ruling said, adding that it “sent a message to all associates at the store that similar protected activity would lead to disciplinary action.”

    Carter was ruling on a complaint filed in 2014 by the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of the union-backed worker group OUR Walmart. Most of the allegations against the mega-retailer related to a set of strikes referred to as the “Ride for Respect,” because they involved traveling by bus to the company's headquarters in Arkansas for protests at its shareholders’ meeting in June 2013.

    Labor advocates at “Making Change at Walmart,” which is backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), called the decision a “huge victory.”

    "Today's decision proves beyond doubt that Walmart unlawfully fired, threatened, and disciplined hard-working employees simply for speaking out," Jess Levin, the group's spokesperson, said in a statement. "It sends a message to Walmart that its workers cannot be silenced."

    However, Walmart insists it did nothing wrong and has indicated it will appeal the ruling.

    "We disagree with the Administrative Law Judge's recommended findings and we will pursue all of our options to defend the company because we believe our actions were legal and justified," Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg said, as quoted by Reuters.

    The ruling comes just one day after Walmart announced it was raising wages for 1.2 million US workers in 2016 as part of a $2.7 billion investment over two years in wages and training.

    807
    Each breath a gift...
    _____________

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    Default Re: The Big Squeeze:

    Retail Apocalypse: 2016 Brings Empty Shelves And Store Closings All Across America

    By Michael Snyder, on January 31st, 2016



    Major retailers in the United States are shutting down hundreds of stores, and shoppers are reporting alarmingly bare shelves in many retail locations that are still open all over the country. It appears that the retail apocalypse that made so many headlines in 2015 has gone to an entirely new level as we enter 2016. As economic activity slows down and Internet retailers capture more of the market, brick and mortar retailers are cutting their losses. This is especially true in areas that are on the lower portion of the income scale. In impoverished urban centers all over the nation, it is not uncommon to find entire malls that have now been completely abandoned. It has been estimated that there is about a billion square feet of retail space sitting empty in this country, and this crisis is only going to get worse as the retail apocalypse accelerates.

    We always get a wave of store closings after the holiday shopping season, but this year has been particularly active. The following are just a few of the big retailers that have already made major announcements…
    -Wal-Mart is closing 269 stores, including 154 inside the United States.

    -K-Mart is closing down more than two dozen stores over the next several months.

    -J.C. Penney will be permanently shutting down 47 more stores after closing a total of 40 stores in 2015.

    -Macy’s has decided that it needs to shutter 36 stores and lay off approximately 2,500 employees.

    -The Gap is in the process of closing 175 stores in North America.

    -Aeropostale is in the process of closing 84 stores all across America.

    -Finish Line has announced that 150 stores will be shutting down over the next few years.

    -Sears has shut down about 600 stores over the past year or so, but sales at the stores that remain open continue to fall precipitously.
    But these store closings are only part of the story.

    All over the country, shoppers are noticing bare shelves and alarmingly low inventory levels. This is happening even at the largest and most prominent retailers.

    I want to share with you an excerpt from a recent article by Jeremiah Johnson. The anecdotes that he shares definitely set off alarm bells with me. Read them for yourself and see what you think…

    *****

    I came across two excellent comments upon Steve Quayle’s website that bear reading, as these are two people with experience in retail marketing, inventory, ordering, and purchases. Take a look at these:
    #1 (From DJ, January 24, 2016)
    “Steve-
    [Regarding the] alerts about the current state of the RR industry. This is in line with what I’ve been noticing as I visited our local/regional grocery store, Walmart, and Target this week in WI. I worked in big box retail for 20 years specializing in Inventory Management. These stores are all using computerized inventory management systems that monitor and automatically replenish inventory when levels/shelf stock get low. This prevents “out of stocks” and lost sales. These companies rely on the ability to replenish inventory quickly from regional warehouses.

    As I shopped this week and looked at inventory levels I was shocked. There were numerous (above and beyond acceptable levels) out of stocks across category lines at all three retailers. And even where inventory was on the shelf, the overall levels were noticeably reduced. Based on my experience, working for two of these three organizations in store management, they have drastically/intentionally reduced their inventory levels. This is either due to financial stresses/poor sales effecting their ability to acquire new inventory, or it could be the result of what was mentioned earlier regarding the transporting of goods to these regional warehouses. Either way this doesn’t bode well for the what’s to come. Stock up now while you can!”
    #2 (From a Commenter following up #1 who didn’t provide a name, January 26, 2016)
    “I’d like to tailgate on the SQ Alert “based on my experience…” regarding stock levels in big box stores. This weekend we were in two such stores, each in fairly isolated communities which are easily the communities’ best source for acquiring grocery items in quantity.

    I myself worked in retail (meat) for thirty years so I know exactly what a well-stocked store looks like, understand the key categories and category drivers, and how shelves are stocked and displays are built to drive sales and profits. I also understand supply chain and distribution methodologies quite well.

    Each of the stores we were in were woefully under-stocked. This time of year-the few weeks following the holidays-is usually big business in groceries and low stock levels suggest either poor ordering at the store level, poor purchasing at the distribution level or a purposeful desire to be under-stocked.

    Anyone familiar with the retail grocery industry is also familiar with how highly touted “the big box store’s” infrastructure is. They know exactly when demand is high and for what items and in what quantities. It is very unlikely that both stores somehow got “surprised” by unusually high demand. It is reasonable then to imagine that low stock levels in rural areas with few options is a purposed endeavor to assure that both the budget conscious and the folks in more remote areas are not fully able to load up their pantries.

    Simply put I believe the major retailer in question is doing their part to limit the ability of rural America to be sufficiently prepared. Nevertheless, we are wise to do our best to keep ahead of the curve. God bless your efforts, Steve.”
    *****

    Yes, this is just anecdotal evidence, but it lines up perfectly with hard numbers that I have been discussing on The Economic Collapse Blog.

    Exports are plummeting all over the globe, and the Baltic Dry Index just plunged to another new all-time record low. The amount of stuff being shipped around by air, truck and rail inside this country has been dropping significantly, and this tells us that real economic activity is really slowing down.

    If you currently work in the retail industry, your job is not secure, and you may want to start evaluating your options.

    We have entered the initial phases of a major economic downturn, and it is going to be especially cruel to those on the low end of the income spectrum. Do what you can to get prepared now, because the economy is not going to be getting better any time soon.
    "La réalité est un rêve que l'on fait atterrir" San Antonio AKA F. Dard

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    Default Re: The Big Squeeze:

    Baltic Dry Index has dropped to 310!!! http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/BDIY:IND

    This is a slow-motion demolition of the global economy...go ahead and debate the 'whys' if you like, but the current economic system is coming down NOW.
    Last edited by Hervé; 14th September 2016 at 15:47. Reason: restored post

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    Default Re: The Big Squeeze:

    Quote Posted by Redstar Kachina (here)
    Baltic Dry Index has dropped to 310!!!

    http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/BDIY:IND

    This is a slow-motion demolition of the global economy...go ahead and debate the 'whys' if you like, but the current economic system is coming down NOW.

    Now 298 — the lowest it's ever been.

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    Default Re: The Big Squeeze:

    Saw this somewhere and found it amusing... in a worrying sort of way!

    Take the name Walmart....reverse 'Wal' to 'Law' and expand 'Mart' to 'Martial'...reverse the order to get.....Martial Law

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    Default Re: The Big Squeeze:

    The squeeze is not just happening with retail goods. I was listening to a show on NPR yesterday. They were discussing unaffordable rents in cities with tech industries such as Seattle and Austin. People not employed in tech companies having to move out of the cities due to not being able to afford rents. The only building going on is for high end housing market. Government is not stepping in to help like it did post WWII.

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    Default Re: The Big Squeeze:

    Quote Posted by Bill Ryan (here)
    Quote Posted by Redstar Kachina (here)
    Baltic Dry Index has dropped to 310!!!

    http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/BDIY:IND

    This is a slow-motion demolition of the global economy...go ahead and debate the 'whys' if you like, but the current economic system is coming down NOW.
    Now 298 — the lowest it's ever been.

    293 today. Dropping steadily, all the time. Here's the graph for the last month:


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    Default Re: The Big Squeeze:

    Bill didn't realize you were a market technician running charts to forecast futures. lol
    When in doubt, do the next right thing.
    My blog: http://grayseconomy.com

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    Default Re: The Big Squeeze:

    The largest shipping company confirms what we already know.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-0...-sinking-crude
    When in doubt, do the next right thing.
    My blog: http://grayseconomy.com

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    Default Re: The Big Squeeze:

    Perspective:

    "La réalité est un rêve que l'on fait atterrir" San Antonio AKA F. Dard

    Troll-hood motto: Never, ever, however, whatsoever, to anyone, a point concede.

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    Default Re: The Big Squeeze:

    So... what's really happening with that "Big Squeeze"?

    Nothing short of ultimate world wide fascism!

    How it works:
    • first get rid of all small businesses by boosting large commercial centers
    • second start undermining these large "too-big-to-fail" corporations with outsourcing
    • third, force these large corporations to use slave labor from privatized prison systems
    In other words, history repeating itself on a larger, planetary wide scale than the one that occurred during WW II:


    An excerpt from this larger post:
    Quote Posted by Hervé (here)
    Labor camps, definitely!

    But... to whose profit?

    Read on...

    Quote Posted by Amzer Zo (here)
    For an idea on the “big” picture…

    Below are excerpts from the work of whistle blower Sue Ann Arrigo.

    These give the blue print for what’s happening currently to this planet on the 3D level

    Here is how the implemented strategy has worked in the past:

    Rothschilds/John D. Rockefeller, Sr. funded the Bolshevik Revolution

    Per his writings in the Archives, John D. Rockefeller helped fund the Bolshevik Revolution to get the wealth of the Czars, the labor of the Russian people, and much the Southern Oil fields in Russia....
    Quote [...]

    Stalin got the order and wrote back saying that he could not meet those deadlines in 2 months time. Rockefeller wrote back saying he had to ‘or else’.

    I wanted to know what the “or else” was.

    Later I came across invoices for the guards of Stalin which Rockefeller was paying. They were not just regulars, they were a special outfit chosen by Rockefeller. They were not ethnically the same as Stalin. It appeared that they had been chosen by Rockefeller to have no qualms about killing Stalin, if ordered to do so. The head of them was writing reports on Stalin’s activities to John D. more often than Stalin was writing to John D. After looking into it even further than I have said, I concluded that John D.’s threat to kill Stalin was a credible one.

    Stalin was humiliated in more ways that one by trying to fill that order in time. He did not succeed, as hard and as desperately as he tried. He was a week late. Furthermore, this was during the height of the German attack on Russia, about a month before the battle of Stalingrad when the order was completed. It meant that steel and railway transport that would have gone into making of rifles did not. Russian soldiers went into the battle of Stalingrad, Stalin’s namesake, with only about 35% of them carrying a rifle! They had to rush forward into battle defenselessly or be shot in the back. Only after one of their buddies got killed could they pick up a fallen weapon to defend themselves. That caused a huge rift among them which they could not solve. It was designed to destroy their team spirit and turned them against each other.

    The Battle of Stalingard was almost a defeat for the Russia people because of what John D. [Rockefeller] did. His journal showed that he intended for the battle to be a Russian defeat and allow him to spread the war all across Russia. He agonized on the pages of his journal about whether his timing was right and the order big enough. He wanted the fighting to continue all across Russia and not just lead to a Russian capitulation. He wanted to destroy all the shop keepers and small enterprises that had not yet been nationalized and brought under his control. His journal said that he cried at his loses when the Russians bravely managed to force the Germans to retreat. But he did not call them brave in his journal and I will not repeat the derogatory phrases. Skull and Bones calls people - not in it - Barbarians, will they help the Rockefellers plan and execute mass murders, such as at Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps. It is clear that they have some problems in their thinking.

    […]
    ... in short, get rid of any and all competition... that's pure, genuine psychopathic thunk!


    Edit:
    see this thread: What are FEMA camps for ?
    Last edited by Hervé; 28th March 2017 at 00:19.
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    Default Re: The Big Squeeze:

    Indiana workers react with outrage after being told their jobs are moving to Mexico

    By Tom Boggioni 12 Feb 2016 at 13:30 ET


    Carrier Air Conditioner employees being told they are losing their jobs - (YouTube screen grab)

    In a video uploaded to YouTube, a gathering of workers at an Indianapolis air conditioning manufacturing plant are stunned and enraged when told they’ll soon be out of work because the company is moving their jobs to Mexico.

    The large crowd of employees of a Carrier Air Conditioner manufacturing plant in Indianapolis can be seen milling around as a speaker — dressed in a suit and standing on a stage — addresses them and gives them the bad news.

    “The best way to stay competitive and protect the business for long-term is to move production from our facility in Indianapolis to Monterrey, Mexico,” the man can be heard explaining.

    The crowd reacts with shouts of outrage, including one man who can be heard yelling, “F*ck you.”

    Following that bombshell, he adds that the local distribution center will also be closed, putting more people out of work.

    After attempting to calm the crowd down saying he had important information that employees will want to know for the future he explains that the move is being made to “ensure high levels of [manufacturing] quality.”

    He goes on to provide them with the cold comfort that “It is important that you understand that there will be no impact on jobs today.”

    According to Fox News, the closures will put over 1,400 people out of work.

    Watch the video below via YouTube:



    =========================================

    Yep... "business" as usual...
    "La réalité est un rêve que l'on fait atterrir" San Antonio AKA F. Dard

    Troll-hood motto: Never, ever, however, whatsoever, to anyone, a point concede.

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    Default Re: The Big Squeeze:

    Venezuela Is Out of Food: Here’s What an Economic Collapse Really Looks Like

    February 13, 2016



    Venezuela is out of food.
    After several years of long lines, rationing, and shortages, the socialist country does not have enough food to feed its population, and the opposition government has declared a “nutritional emergency.” This is just the most recent nail in the beleaguered country’s slow, painful economic collapse.

    Many people expect an economic collapse to be shocking, instant, and dramatic, but really, it’s far more gradual than that. It looks like empty shelves, long lines, desperate government officials trying to cover their tushes, and hungry people. For the past two years, I’ve been following the situation in Venezuela as each shocking event has unfolded. Americans who feel that our country would be better served by a socialist government would be wise to take note of this timeline of the collapse.


    A quick review: Why Venezuela Is Out of Food
    In 2013, many began to suspect that the outlook for Venezuela was grim when prepping became illegal. The Attorney General of Venezuela, Luisa Ortega Díaz, called on prosecutors to target people who are “hoarding” basic staples with serious sanctions.

    Shortly thereafter, grocery stores instituted a fingerprint registry to purchase food and supplies. Families had to register and were allotted a certain amount of supplies to prevent “hoarding.”

    Then, just over a year ago, it became even more apparent that the country was falling. when long lines for basic necessities such as laundry soap, diapers, and food became the norm rather than the exception. Thousands of people were standing in line for 5-6 hours in the hopes that they would be able to purchase a few much-needed items.

    Shortly after the story broke to the rest of the world, the propaganda machine shifted into high gear. As the government began to ration electricity, it was announced that this was not due to economic reasons at all, but instead was a measure of their great concern for the environment.

    As the situation continued to devolve, farmers in Venezuela were forced to hand over their crops last summer. They assumed control of essential goods like food, and began putting retail outlets out of business. Then, once they had control of the sales outlets, they began forcing farmers and food manufacturers to sell anywhere from 30-100% of their products to the state at the price the state opted to pay, as opposed to stores and supermarkets.

    But that wasn’t enough to keep the population fed. (Isn’t it astonishing how much less motivated people are to produce food and supplies when they are no longer allowed to benefit from their hard work? Historically, collectivism and farming have never gone successfully hand in hand.) This January, the government told citizens that they would need to produce their own food. The Ministry of Urban Farming was created to oversee this. While self-reliance sounds great, it isn’t so great in Venezuela. Just so the urban farmers don’t get too self-reliant, a registry of the crops and livestock will be required. (And obviously, they’ve already proven that they have no issue forcing farmers to hand over what they’ve produced.)

    Now, it looks like all of the socialist measures and forced food production haven’t been enough to keep the people of Venezuela fed. The country is in so much trouble now that it isn’t possible to cover it up with propaganda.

    According to Breitbart.com, lawmakers have learned nothing.
    Quote Socialist legislators are hoping to manipulate the initiative in the other direction, and use it to expand government control of private food enterprises. Legislator Héctor Rodríguez has insisted that the economic emergency “does absolutely nothing,” and the government should impose itself on private enterprises. Another socialist legislator, Ricardo Molina, iscalling for the government to expropriate Polar, Venezuela’s largest private food corporation: “we have to intervene on private sector enterprises.”

    Venezuela previously forced a Polar food distribution center in Caracas to shut down in July, putting 12,000 tons of food, six million liters of soft drinks, and 2,000 jobs at risk.
    And now, the announcement of the “nutritional emergency” makes it official. Venezuela is out of food, and it’s only a matter of time before Venezuelans are quite literally starving due to a long series of terrible decisions by their leaders.


    Prep before it happens
    It’s essential to note as this all plays out that there is little people can do now to rectify their situations. If they aren’t already quietly prepared, they are completely at the mercy of their socialist government. It is absolutely vital to put back supplies well before the general public is aware that a crisis is pending.

    As well, consider the fact that many folks here believe that a socialist government is exactly what our country needs. They eagerly lap up the promises of “free education” and “free healthcare.” They warmly embrace a presidential candidate who is an unabashed socialist. It absolutely astonishes me. They’d be well-advised to pay attention to how well the freebies have worked out in Venezuela. Socialism is not a sustainable economic model, something that has been proven time and time again, much to the detriment of the victims of the misguided notions.

    The game pieces here are already lined up to control the American people should our economic situation continue to worsen. For example, there are already laws in place to “prevent hoarding.” Remember a few years ago when President Obama signed an executive order that gives the federal government authority over every resource and infrastructure element in the United States?

    There are a lot of uncomfortable parallels that can be drawn between America’s financial situation and the disaster in Venezuela, and one thing is clear: self-sufficiency is the only way to protect your family. Even if you haven’t really begun to prepare, there’s still time to become more self-reliant. Here are some steps you should consider:
    • Build your pantry: Start purchasing a few extra things every week to build up a food supply to see you through some rough spots. Create a pantry full of healthful, nutritious foods for your family, even if you’re on a budget. (Click HERE to learn how.)
    It is vital to practice OPSEC (Operational Security) by keeping your preparedness related activities on the down low. Preparedness and self-sufficiency author Tess Pennington warns that in a crisis situation, things you said months or years ago could come back to haunt you.
    Quote A person should think twice about telling others about any prepping investments they have made. If a SHTF scenario occurred, anything said previously can be used against that prepper. For example, if you tell your neighbor you have silver coins stashed away, if times were desperate enough, that neighbor could turn on you. Keeping quiet about what one does is second nature to some. But for others that are new to the idea of prepping, they do not see the whole SHTF picture. If one person tells another about their preps, one person could tell another person about what preps their neighbor has. Then, the word spreads throughout; especially when a severe situation occurs. People will remember what you have told them, and come to you for help (if they are unprepared). Helping a neighbor or family member in need is a noble deed. However, those preparedness items are an investment for you and your family; and therefore, no one outside of the family should know what you have (unless you want that person to know). (source)
    As people become more desperate, they behave far differently than they would in normal circumstances. You have to be prepared for the day when you might have to defend your home, family and supplies. When an economic disaster strikes, the one thing you can count on from the government is that they will not be prioritizing you and your family. In a situation like the one in Venezuela, you will be completely on your own at best. At worst, your supplies will be targeted “for the greater good.”

    Maintain your freedom by becoming quietly self-sufficient.
    "La réalité est un rêve que l'on fait atterrir" San Antonio AKA F. Dard

    Troll-hood motto: Never, ever, however, whatsoever, to anyone, a point concede.

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    Default Re: The Big Squeeze:

    Quote Posted by Hervé (here)
    Indiana workers react with outrage after being told their jobs are moving to Mexico

    By Tom Boggioni 12 Feb 2016 at 13:30 ET


    Carrier Air Conditioner employees being told they are losing their jobs - (YouTube screen grab)

    In a video uploaded to YouTube, a gathering of workers at an Indianapolis air conditioning manufacturing plant are stunned and enraged when told they’ll soon be out of work because the company is moving their jobs to Mexico.

    The large crowd of employees of a Carrier Air Conditioner manufacturing plant in Indianapolis can be seen milling around as a speaker — dressed in a suit and standing on a stage — addresses them and gives them the bad news.

    “The best way to stay competitive and protect the business for long-term is to move production from our facility in Indianapolis to Monterrey, Mexico,” the man can be heard explaining.

    The crowd reacts with shouts of outrage, including one man who can be heard yelling, “F*ck you.”

    Following that bombshell, he adds that the local distribution center will also be closed, putting more people out of work.

    After attempting to calm the crowd down saying he had important information that employees will want to know for the future he explains that the move is being made to “ensure high levels of [manufacturing] quality.”

    He goes on to provide them with the cold comfort that “It is important that you understand that there will be no impact on jobs today.”

    According to Fox News, the closures will put over 1,400 people out of work.

    Watch the video below via YouTube:



    =========================================

    Yep... "business" as usual...

    Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PQrz8F0dBI - Sir James Goldsmith on GATT- General agreements on tariffs and trade warning of just the effects we are seeing and feeling now.

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    Default Re: The Big Squeeze:

    Recession 2016: In Some States, A Very Deep Economic Downturn Has Already Arrived

    By Michael Snyder, on February 22nd, 2016



    Did you know that there are some U.S. states that have already officially fallen into recession? Economic activity all over the planet is in the process of slowing down, and there are some areas of the country that are really starting to feel the pain. In particular, any state that is heavily dependent on the energy industry is hurting right now. During the years immediately following the last recession, the energy industry was the primary engine for the growth of good paying jobs in America, but now that process is completely reversing. All over the U.S. energy companies are going under, and thousands upon thousands of good jobs are being lost.

    On Sunday evening, Bloomberg published an article entitled “The U.S. States Where Recession Is Already a Reality“. The following is an excerpt from that article…
    Quote As economists size up the chances of the first nationwide slump since 2009, pockets of the country are already contracting. Four states — Alaska, North Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming — are in a recession, and three others are at risk of prolonged declines, according to indexes of state economic performance tracked by Moody’s Analytics.
    The three additional states that are “at risk of prolonged declines” are Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma. What all of those seven states have in common is a strong dependence on the energy industry. Last year, 67 oil and gas companies in the United States filed for bankruptcy, and approximately 130,000 good paying energy jobs were lost.

    If the price of oil does not go back up, this could be just the beginning. It is being reported that a whopping 35 percent of all oil and gas companies around the planet are at risk of falling into bankruptcy, and the financial institutions that have been backing these energy companies are getting very nervous.

    Of course things could shift dramatically for oil and gas companies if World War 3 suddenly erupts in the Middle East, and that could literally happen at any time. But for the moment the outlook for the energy industry continues to be quite dreary.
    Let us also keep in mind that the problems for the U.S. economy are not limited to the energy industry. According to CNBC, corporate profits in the United States have now declined for three straight quarters, and this is the very first time this has happened since the last recession…
    Quote With 87 percent of the S&P 500 reporting, total blended fourth-quarter earnings have shown a decline of 3.6 percent, according to FactSet. Assuming the trend holds up, it will mark the first time profits have fallen for three straight quarters since 2009.

    But the road ahead doesn’t get any easier.

    FactSet is now projecting that earnings will decline 6.9 percent in the first quarter, a stunning move lower over time considering that in September the expectation was for 4.8 percent growth.
    As corporate profits fall, layoffs are starting to increase. Just the other day we learned that the number of job cuts in this country shot up 218 percent during the month of January according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

    It is starting to look very much like 2008 all over again, and I am convinced that it will soon be much, much harder to find work in America.

    Here are some more numbers that indicate that the U.S. is heading into a major economic slowdown…
    U.S. exports were down 7 percent on a year over year basis in December.

    U.S. manufacturing activity has been in contraction for four months in a row.

    U.S. factory orders have fallen for 14 months in a row.

    The Restaurant Performance Index in the United States has dropped to the lowest level that we have seen since 2008.

    Orders for Class 8 trucks in the United States dropped by 48 percent on a year over year basis in January.
    But the mainstream media continues to try to convince all of us that everything is going to be just fine. Earlier today, CNN ran an article entitled “U.S. recession fears fade after market rally“, and the Wall Street Journal published an article entitled “The U.S. Economy Is in Good Shape” that got a tremendous amount of attention.

    Well, if the U.S. economy is in such great shape, then why are some of the biggest retailers in the entire nation shutting down stores at a frightening pace. The following list of store closures comes from one of my previous articles
    -Wal-Mart is closing 269 stores, including 154 inside the United States.

    -K-Mart is closing down more than two dozen stores over the next several months.

    -J.C. Penney will be permanently shutting down 47 more stores after closing a total of 40 stores in 2015.

    -Macy’s has decided that it needs to shutter 36 stores and lay off approximately 2,500 employees.

    -The Gap is in the process of closing 175 stores in North America.

    -Aeropostale is in the process of closing 84 stores all across America.

    -Finish Line has announced that 150 stores will be shutting down over the next few years.

    -Sears has shut down about 600 stores over the past year or so, but sales at the stores that remain open continue to fall precipitously.
    Perhaps things look fine for the moment in New York City or Washington D.C. or San Francisco or wherever it is that these “reporters” write their articles.

    But for ordinary Americans that operate in the real world, the pain of this new economic downturn is already exceedingly apparent. Here is more from Bloomberg
    Quote Dale Oxley doesn’t need to hear about rising odds of a U.S. recession to dread the future. For the West Virginia homebuilder, the downturn has already arrived.

    Everyone is going to have to tighten their belts,” said Oxley, the 48-year-old owner of a Charleston-area construction company. “The next couple of years are going to be difficult.”
    Unfortunately for hard working Americans like Oxley, what we have seen so far is just the tip of the iceberg.

    We have entered a long downturn that is ultimately going to be even more painful than the last recession was.

    And everything changes if Saudi Arabia and Turkey get trigger happy and decide to invade Syria. If that happens, it could very well be the spark that sets off World War 3 and a full-blown meltdown of the global financial system.
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    Default Re: The Big Squeeze:

    The New Global Financial Cold War

    By Michael Hudson February 19, 2016



    The Guns and Butter Interview

    Suppose a country owes money to another nation’s government or official agency. How can creditors collect, unless there’s an international court and an enforcement system? The IMF and the World Bank were part of that enforcement system and now they’re saying: ‘We’re not going to be part of that anymore. We’re only working for the U.S. State Department and Pentagon. If the Pentagon tells the IMF it’s okay that a country doesn’t have to pay Russia or China, then now they don’t have to pay, as far as the IMF is concerned.’ That breaks up the global order that was created after World War II. The world is being split into two halves: the U.S. dollar orbit, and countries that the U.S. cannot control and whose officials are not on the U.S. payroll, so to speak.

    Dr. Michael Hudson. is a financial economist and historian. He is President of the Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends, a Wall Street financial analyst and Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. His 1972 book, Super Imperialism is a critique of how the United States exploited foreign economies through the IMF and World Bank. His latest book is Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Destroy the Global Economy. Today we discuss his article, “The IMF Changes Its Rules to Isolate China and Russia.”

    Bonnie Faulkner: Michael Hudson, welcome. It’s been far too long since we’ve last spoken.

    Michael Hudson: Well, it’s good to be back. Last time we were together was in Italy.

    Bonnie Faulkner: That’s right, Rimini, Italy. What year was that?

    Michael Hudson: It must have been four years ago because we were there with Stephanie Kelton from UMKC, whom Bernie Sanders has appointed chief economist for the Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee. Bill Black of UMKC was also there. I used some of my lectures there in my book Finance Capitalism and Its Discontents, published in 2012.

    Bonnie Faulkner: Michael, I produced actually seven shows from the presentations in Rimini on Modern Money Theory with you, with Marshall Auerback, William K. Black, Stephanie Kelton, and they were blockbuster shows, I must say.

    Michael Hudson: That’s great. That was a wonderful presentation. When we walked in, it was in this big soccer stadium and we felt like we were the Beatles, walking down the middle aisle. People were cheering us and calling out our names and it was as if we were pop heroes.

    Bonnie Faulkner: The Italians turned out to be so warm and so enthusiastic for an alternative economic theory. I was amazed, too.

    Michael Hudson: Yep. And people came there from Spain and from all over. That was one of the best presentations any of us had ever been at.

    Bonnie Faulkner: I’m so happy I was able to be there. That is a conference to remember, for sure. Well, I’ve been reading your article, “The IMF Changes Its Rules to Isolate China and Russia.” It rings an alarming bell about the implications of rule changes at the International Monetary Fund, the IMF, which makes loans to governments. Before we discuss these IMF rule changes specifically, what precipitated these drastic policy shifts at the IMF?

    Michael Hudson: There are a number of policy shifts. The first shift was that – In the past the IMF has not made loans to countries that are in default to governments. That’s because in the past, the government in question was the U.S. Government. Since World War II almost all international financial bailout or stabilization loans by the IMF and World Bank have involved the U.S. Government, in conjunction with consortia of U.S. banks.

    For the first time, now that China and the BRICs are growing, countries are borrowing not only from the United States subject to U.S. lobbying forces, but can now borrow from China and other countries as well.

    The United States has responded by changing the IMF rules. It said, ‘Wait a minute. It’s okay for the IMF to make loans to countries that don’t pay China and Russia or the BRICs, because we’re in a new Cold War. The IMF really is working for us.’ As long as the U.S. has veto power in the IMF, its delegate can veto any loan to a country that owes money to the United States that the United States doesn’t wish to support. But it has no objection for the IMF making loans to U.S. satellites such as Ukraine, that official debts to Russia.

    Ukraine last December owed $3 billion to Russia on a loan that is coming due from the Russian state investment fund. The United States is doing everything it can to hurt Russia economically, thinking that if it hurts it enough, Russia will capitulate to the U.S. strategy. The New Cold War strategy is basically an attempt to force other countries to privatize their economies to follow neoliberal policy. The aim is to open their economies to U.S. corporations and U.S. banks.

    The IMF rules change was to mobilize the IMF basically as an agent of the U.S. Defense Department, with a side office on Wall Street. All of a sudden it’s become clear that the IMF is not an international institution for global economic performance. It’s an arm of U.S. Cold War diplomacy, one that’s moving far to the right very quickly under the Obama Administration.

    Bonnie Faulkner: We now have the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the SCO as an alternative military alliance to NATO and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the AIIB, which threatens to replace the IMF and World Bank. How successful do you think these new alternatives to the Western banking system will be?

    Michael Hudson: The big point is that the Western banking system, the World Bank and the IMF are unsuccessful. The IMF follows a junk economics that says if you owe money to foreign bondholders or banks, you have to impose austerity on the country to pay whatever is owed. The junk economics at work claims that austerity will enable debtors to squeeze enough tax money out of their economy to pay foreign bankers and bondholders. This is the same disastrous theory that the British and the Americans and the French used in the 1920s to insist that Germany could pay any amount of reparations if it only would tax the economy enough.

    This theory was shown to be false by John Maynard Keynes and also by the American, Harold Moulton, at the Brookings Institution. But the lessons of the 1920s were rejected by the IMF, because they know very well – and the staff has made it very clear – that austerity doesn’t enable a country to pay its foreign debts. Austerity makes countries less able to pay. That means they will need to borrow even more.

    Then the IMF comes in with its number-two punch: The number one punch is austerity. The number two punch is to say: ‘Well, I guess our program didn’t work. What a disappointment. [But it shouldn’t really be a surprise, happening again and again.] You now have to begin privatizing your industry and natural resources. Sell off your land.’ They tell other debtor countries essentially what they told Greece over the last year.

    When the austerity plan demanded by the IMF since 2010 didn’t help Greece, they joined with the rest of the Troika (the European Central Bank and European Union) in 2015 to demand that Greece agree to sell off its islands, sell off its ports, sell its water systems, sell everything in the public domain. After that demand demand had been made on Greece in the summer of 2015, it was Ukraine’s turn.

    The number one punch against the Ukraine by the IMF was to impose austerity on the pretense (its junk economics) that Ukraine could pay its foreign bondholders with income taxed out of its domestic economy. When this made things worse, the World Bank and USAID came in. The U.S.-appointed finance minister fingered the agricultural land, gas rights and other natural resources that Ukraine could sell off to American and European investors – but not to Russians.

    The idea is that if American investors can buy the key infrastructure and commanding heights of the Ukrainian economy, it can pry Ukraine apart from Russia. Ukraine played a key role in the Russian economy. Much Russian military and space industrial output was produced in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine.

    So the idea was that separating Ukraine from Russia is the first step in trying to carve up Russia, and then to carve up China, breaking them into little pieces. The aim is to treat China and Russia like the Mideast, like Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria – as smash-and-grab exercises to take their natural resources and enterprises.

    [...]

    Continue reading interview transcript: http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/02/...cial-cold-war/
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    Default Re: The Big Squeeze:

    This could be the start of something nasty in Australia/NZ. 360+ stores of one of largest electrical retailers shut down yesterday.

    http://www.news.com.au/finance/busin...04ddf40880037c

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    Default Re: The Big Squeeze:

    Economic Recovery? 13 Of The Biggest Retailers In America Are Closing Down Stores

    By Michael Snyder, on February 25th, 2016



    Barack Obama recently stated that anyone that is claiming that America’s economy is in decline is “peddling fiction“. Well, if the economy is in such great shape, why are major retailers shutting down hundreds of stores all over the country? Last month, I wrote about the “retail apocalypse” that is sweeping the nation, but since then it has gotten even worse. Closing stores has become the “hot new trend” in the retail world, and “space available” signs are going up in mall windows all over the United States. Barack Obama can continue huffing and puffing about how well the middle class is doing all he wants, but the truth is that the cold, hard numbers that retailers are reporting tell an entirely different story.

    Earlier today, Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert released a letter to shareholders that was filled with all kinds of bad news. In this letter, he blamed the horrible results that Sears has been experiencing lately on “tectonic shifts” in consumer spending
    Quote In a letter to shareholders on Thursday, Lampert said the impact of “tectonic shifts” in consumer spending has spread more broadly in the last year to retailers “that had previously proven to be relatively immune to such shifts.”

    “Walmart, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Staples, Whole Foods and many others have felt the impact of disruptive changes from online competition and new business models,” Lampert wrote.
    And it is very true – Sears is doing horribly, but they are far from alone. The following are 13 major retailers that are closing down stores…
    #1 Sears lost 580 million dollars in the fourth quarter of 2015 alone, and they are scheduled to close at least 50 more “unprofitable stores” by the end of this year.

    #2 It is being reported that Sports Authority will file for bankruptcy in March. Some news reports have indicated that around 200 stores may close, but at this point it is not known how many of their 450 stores will be able to stay open.

    #3 For decades, Kohl’s has been growing aggressively, but now it plans to shutter 18 stores in 2016.

    #4 Target has just finished closing 13 stores in the United States.

    #5 Best Buy closed 30 stores last year, and it says that more store closings are likely in the months to come.

    #6 Office Depot plans to close a total of 400 stores by the end of 2016.
    The next seven examples come from one of my previous articles
    #7 Wal-Mart is closing 269 stores, including 154 inside the United States.

    #8 K-Mart is closing down more than two dozen stores over the next several months.

    #9 J.C. Penney will be permanently shutting down 47 more stores after closing a total of 40 stores in 2015.

    #10 Macy’s has decided that it needs to shutter 36 stores and lay off approximately 2,500 employees.

    #11 The Gap is in the process of closing 175 stores in North America.

    #12 Aeropostale is in the process of closing 84 stores all across America.

    #13 Finish Line has announced that 150 stores will be shutting down over the next few years.
    These store closings can be particularly cruel for small towns. Just consider the impact that Wal-Mart has had on the little town of Oriental, North Carolina
    Quote The Town’n Country grocery in Oriental, North Carolina, a local fixture for 44 years, closed its doors in October after a Wal-Mart store opened for business. Now, three months later — and less than two years after Wal-Mart arrived — the retail giant is pulling up stakes, leaving the community with no grocery store and no pharmacy.

    Though mom-and-pop stores have steadily disappeared across the American landscape over the past three decades as the mega chain methodically expanded, there was at least always a Wal-Mart left behind to replace them. Now the Wal-Marts are disappearing, too.
    Of course there are many factors involved in this ongoing retail apocalypse. Competition from online retailers is becoming more intense, and consumer spending patterns are rapidly changing.

    But in the end, the truth is that you can’t get blood out of a rock. The middle class in America is shrinking, and there just isn’t as much discretionary spending going on as there used to be.

    And now that we have entered a new economic downturn, many retailers are finding that there are some local communities that can no longer support their stores. The following comes from CNBC
    Quote Though the shift to online shopping is no doubt playing a role in lighter foot traffic at malls, there’s more to their changing economics than the rise of Amazon. Changing demographics in a town are another reason a shopping center could struggle or fail — for example, if massive layoffs in a particular industry cause people to move away to find employment.

    “A lot of people want to try and tie it to the Internet or ‘that’s not cool,’ or teens don’t like it,” Jesse Tron, a spokesman for industry trade group International Council of Shopping Centers, told CNBC last year. “It’s hard to support large-format retail in those suburban areas when people are trying to just pay their mortgage.”
    In order to have a thriving middle class, we need good paying middle class jobs. Unfortunately, our economy has been bleeding those kinds of jobs quite rapidly. For example, Halliburton just announced that it is eliminating 5,000 more jobs after getting rid of 4,000 workers at the end of last year.

    During the Obama years, good paying middle class jobs have been getting replaced by low paying service jobs. At this point, 51 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year.

    And there is no way that you can support a middle class family with children on $30,000 a year.

    We have an economy that is in the process of failing. We can see it in the explosion of subprime auto loans that are going bad, we can see it in the hundreds of retail stores that are shutting down, and we can see it in the tens of thousands of good paying energy jobs that are being lost.

    During the Obama years, interest rates have been pushed to the floor, the Federal Reserve has created trillions of dollars out of thin air, and the size of our national debt is getting close to doubling. Despite all of those desperate measures, our economy continues to crumble.

    We stole from the future to try to paper over our failures and it didn’t work. Now an economic downturn that will ultimately turn out to be even worse than the “Great Recession” of 2008 and 2009 has begun, and our leaders have absolutely no idea how to fix things.

    I wish I had better news to report, but I don’t. Get prepared now, because very rough times are ahead.
    "La réalité est un rêve que l'on fait atterrir" San Antonio AKA F. Dard

    Troll-hood motto: Never, ever, however, whatsoever, to anyone, a point concede.

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    Default Re: The Big Squeeze:

    Exclusive: China to lay off five to six million workers, earmarks at least $23 billion

    BEIJING | By Benjamin Kang Lim, Matthew Miller and David Stanway


    Smoke billows from chimneys at a chemical factory in Hefei, Anhui province in this March 10, 2010 file photo.
    Reuters/Stringer/Files


    China aims to lay off 5-6 million state workers over the next two to three years as part of efforts to curb industrial overcapacity and pollution, two reliable sources said, Beijing's boldest retrenchment program in almost two decades.

    China's leadership, obsessed with maintaining stability and making sure redundancies do not lead to unrest, will spend nearly 150 billion yuan ($23 billion) to cover layoffs in just the coal and steel sectors in the next 2-3 years.

    The overall figure is likely to rise as closures spread to other industries and even more funding will be required to handle the debt left behind by "zombie" state firms.

    The term refers to companies that have shut down some of their operations but keep staff on their rolls since local governments are worried about the social and economic impact of bankruptcies and unemployment.

    Shutting down "zombie firms" has been identified as one of the government's priorities this year, with China's Premier Li Keqiang promising in December that they would soon "go under the knife"..

    The government plans to lay off five million workers in industries suffering from a supply glut, one source with ties to the leadership said.

    A second source with leadership ties put the number of layoffs at six million. Both sources requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to media about the politically sensitive subject for fear of sparking social unrest.

    The ministry of industry did not immediately respond when asked for comment on the reports.

    The hugely inefficient state sector employed around 37 million people in 2013 and accounts for about 40 percent of the country's industrial output and nearly half of its bank lending.

    It is China's most significant nationwide retrenchment since the restructuring of state-owned enterprises from 1998 to 2003 led to around 28 million redundancies and cost the central government about 73.1 billion yuan ($11.2 billion) in resettlement funds.

    On Monday, Yin Weimin, the minister for human resources and social security, said China expects to lay off 1.8 million workers in the coal and steel industries, but he did not give a timeframe.

    China aims to cut capacity gluts in as many as seven sectors, including cement, glassmaking and shipbuilding, but the oversupplied solar power industry is likely to be spared any large-scale restructuring because it still has growth potential, the first source said.

    DEBT OVERHANG
    The government has already drawn up plans to cut as much as 150 million tonnes of crude steel capacity and 500 million tonnes of surplus coal production in the next three to five years.

    It has earmarked 100 billion yuan in central government funds to deal directly with the layoffs from steel and coal over the next two years, vice-industry minister Feng Fei said last week.

    The Ministry of Finance said in January it would also collect 46 billion yuan from surcharges on coal-fired power over the coming three years in order to resettle workers. In addition, an assortment of local government matching funds will also be made available.

    However, the funds currently being offered will do little to resolve the problems of debts held by zombie firms, which could overwhelm local banks if they are not handled correctly.

    "They have proposed this dedicated fund only to pay the workers, but there is no money for the bad debts, and if the bad debts are too big the banks will have problems and there will be panic," said Xu Zhongbo, head of Beijing Metal Consulting, who advises Chinese steel mills.

    Factories shut down would have to repay bank loans to avoid saddling state banks with a mountain of non-performing loans, the sources said. "Triangular debt", or money owed by firms to other enterprises, would also have to be resolved, they added.

    Although China has promised to help local banks transfer the bad debts of zombie steel mills to asset management firms, local governments are not expected to gain access to the worker lay-off funds until the zombie firms have actually been shut down and debt issues settled.


    ($1 = 6.5476 Chinese yuan)

    (Additional reporting by Ruby Lian in Shanghai; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)


    Related Video"
    EXCLUSIVE: China to lay off 5-6 mln workers
    "La réalité est un rêve que l'on fait atterrir" San Antonio AKA F. Dard

    Troll-hood motto: Never, ever, however, whatsoever, to anyone, a point concede.

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