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The Economy Is Getting Worse and Worse -- And No One's Doing a Thing About It

The economy is already down, and it can go lower. And no one seems willing to fix it.

We know we live in hard times that are on the verge of getting harder, with 500,000 new claims for unemployment last week, a recent record.

The stock market may be over for now as fear and panic drives small investors out. Big corporations hoard stashes of cash rather then hire workers. The D word (depression) is back in play.

Foreclosures are up, and the administration’s programs to stop them are down, well below their stated goals, only helping a sixth of those promised assistance.

And here’s a statistic for you: 300,000. That’s the number of foreclosure filings every month for the past 17 months. This year, 1.9 million homes will be lost, down from 2 million last year. Is that progress? In July alone, 92,858 homes were repossessed.

At the same time, the number of canceled mortgage modifications exceeded the number of successful ones. According to, last month, “the number of trial modification cancellations surged to 616,839, greatly outnumbering the 421,804 active permanent modifications."

And don’t think this problem only affects those homeowners about to go homeless. According to the New York Times, Michael Feder, the chief executive of the real estate data firm Radar Logic, says we are all at risk.

“My concern is that if we have another protracted housing dip, it’s going to bring the economy down,” Mr. Feder said. “If consumers don’t think their houses are worth what they were six months ago, they’re not going to go out and spend money. I’m concerned this problem isn’t being addressed.”

The larger point is that even if you believe the economy is already down, it can go lower. No one knows how to “fix" it either, just as BP couldn’t plug the “leak” that, truth be told, is still oozing oil.

So what are we doing about it? Are we demanding debt relief or a moratorium on foreclosures? Are we shutting down the foreclosure factories? Nope.

Progressives are spending time and wasting passion this August debating the construction of an Islamic Cultural Center near Ground Zero, invariably responding to the provocations and agenda of adversaries. They are always on the defense, never taking the offense.

Who is beating the drum for job creation and a new economic policy? Maybe the unions, but their voices are muted and ignored in the electronic noise machine.  Marches are planned for August 28in Detroit and October 2 in Washington. But the expected war of words between Rev. Al Sharpton and Glenn Beck over the legacy of the March on Washington is expected to generate more heat.

Meanwhile, even as the administration seems to be finding signs of a “recovery,” a parade of failures march on from the discovery that there is an oil slick the size of Manhattan in the Gulf to the persistence of frauds in finance from state pension funds in New Jersey to the case against the head of the Bank of America. Even worse, ShoreBank, one of the banks that community activists considered a national model of social responsibility has gone down in Chicago, the 104th bank to fail this year, with 15 branches including some in Detroit and Cleveland. It was also active in 40 countries. In June, it reported over $2 billion in deposits. By August, it was gone.

In all, 349 U.S. banks have disappeared since 2007.

ShoreBank promoted itself as a community development and environmental bank. Based in Michelle Obama’s old neighborhood, it boasted the slogan “Let's Change the World.” Now the world of Wall Street has changed the bank with a partnership of investors, including American Express, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs, taking over under the name United Partnership.

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