U.S. home repossessions spiked in August to highest level since the start of the U.S. mortgage crisis. The increase in home repossessions came even as the number of properties entering the foreclosure process slowed for the seventh month in a row, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday Sept. 16, 2010.

In a not-so-stunning report, RealtyTrac has reported tht banks repossessed 95,364 properties in August, which is up 3% from July. August 2010 numbers are an increase of 25% from August 2009. August makes the ninth month in a row that the pace of homes lost to foreclosure has increased on an annual basis. Banks have been stepping up repossessions to clear out their backlog of bad loans.

With such growing numbers of foreclosure, the housing market recovery could stumble given the continuing high rate of unemployment, the sluggish economy and lack of consumer confidence. Additionally, home sales nationwide have collapsed since the federal homebuyer tax credits expired in April.

More than 2.3 million homes have been repossessed by lenders since the recession began in December 2007, according to RealtyTrac. The firm estimates more than 1 million American households are likely to lose their homes to foreclosure this year.

Economic woes, such as unemployment or reduced income, are now the main catalysts for foreclosures. Lenders are offering a variety of programs to help homeowners modify their loans, but their success rates vary. Hundreds of thousands of homeowners can’t qualify or fall back into default.

The Obama administration has rolled out numerous attempts to tackle the foreclosure crisis but has made only a small dent in the problem. Nearly half of the 1.3 million homeowners who enrolled in the Obama administration’s mortgage-relief program have fallen out.
The program, known as Making Home Affordable, has provided permanent help to about 422,000 homeowners since March 2009.

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New claims for unemployment aid reach 484K

 AP

WASHINGTON — New applications for unemployment insurance rose last week to their highest level in almost six months, the latest evidence that some employers are still cutting their staffs.

First-time claims for jobless benefits edged up by 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 484,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. Analysts had expected a drop. That’s the highest total since February.

Initial claims have now risen in three of the last four weeks and are close to their high point for the year of 490,000, reached in late January. The four-week average, which smooths volatility, soared by 14,250 to 473,500, also the highest since late February.

The prospects of more layoffs added to this week’s grim outlook for the economy, which began Tuesday when the Federal Reserve lowered its assessment of the recovery.

Economists closely watch weekly claims, which are considered a gauge of the pace of layoffs and an indication of employers’ willingness to hire.

Other recent reports indicate that private employers are hesitant to add new workers. The government’s July jobs report, released Friday, showed that the economy lost a net total of 131,000 jobs last month. Excluding the impact of the elimination of 143,000 temporary census jobs, the economy added a meager 12,000 positions, as layoffs by state and local governments almost canceled out weak hiring by businesses.

Thursday’s report on jobless claims indicates that trend may not change soon. Claims fell steadily last year from their peak of 651,000, reached in March 2009. But they have mostly leveled out this year at or above 450,000. In a healthy economy with rapid hiring, claims usually drop below 400,000.

Still, layoffs in the private sector have fallen back to pre-recession levels, at least as of June, according to a separate government report released Wednesday. Some economists speculate that many census workers whose jobs are finished are requesting unemployment benefits.

Claims could also be rising because of large job cuts by state and local governments, which are struggling with unprecedented budget gaps. State and local governments cut 48,000 jobs in July.

Another possibility is that small companies, facing tight credit, are still reducing their staffs, even as larger corporations slowly resume hiring.

The total number of people receiving benefits dropped to 4.45 million, the department said. But that doesn’t include another 5.3 million people receiving extended benefits paid for by the federal government, as of the week ending July 24, the latest data available.

Some companies are still cutting workers. Medical products manufacturer CareFusion Corp. (California)  said Wednesday it plans to eliminate 700 jobs, saving the company up to $120 million a year.

 

   By Jared A. Favole    Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES 

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–President Barack Obama on Monday urged Congress to extend unemployment insurance and lambasted Republicans for blocking the legislation three times.

Obama, speaking in the White House Rose Garden, said unemployed Americans are being held hostage by Washington politics and aren’t getting the jobless benefits they need.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do to make sure we’re digging ourselves out of this tough economic hole,” he said.

Obama has pushed Congress to extend federal jobless benefits to help the millions of Americans who are still unemployed. The legislation has been blocked in the Senate several times. Republicans said they support extending unemployment insurance, but are concerned about the deficit. The bill would cost an estimated $33 billion.

“The president knows that Republicans support extending unemployment insurance, and doing it in a fiscally-responsible way by cutting spending elsewhere in the $3 trillion federal budget,” said House Republican Leader John Boehner (R., Ohio) in a statement. He added, “The American people are asking ‘where are the jobs?’ and President Obama continues to offer only disingenuous attacks, not answers.”

Another vote on the legislation is expected for Tuesday, and it’s expected to pass with the arrival of Carte Goodwin, who is taking the Senate seat of the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.).

The legislation would increase an earlier extension of unemployment assistance for the hardest-hit states through November. Democrats estimate that since the extension expired June 2, 1.3 million long-term unemployed Americans have exhausted their benefits.


-By Jared A. Favole, Dow Jones Newswires; 202.862.9256; jared.favole@dowjones.com

From the Huffington Post:

Bush Tax Cuts For Wealthy Even If They Add To Deficit♦

Huffington

 

Top Senate Republican Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) insisted on Sunday that Congress should extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans regardless of their impact on the deficit, even as he and other Republicans are blocking unemployment insurance extensions over deficit concerns.

“[Y]ou should never raise taxes in order to cut taxes,” said the Arizona Senator during an appearance on Fox News Sunday. “Surely Congress has the authority, and it would be right to — if we decide we want to cut taxes to spur the economy, not to have to raise taxes in order to offset those costs. You do need to offset the cost of increased spending, and that’s what Republicans object to. But you should never have to offset cost of a deliberate decision to reduce tax rates on Americans.”

White House aides immediately seized on the comments. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs wrote on Twitter, “Kyl says wealthy need big Bush tax cuts while middle class families are on their own to fend for themselves as a result of Bush economy.”

In private, administration officials say that the framing of the argument couldn’t be more advantageous: “It’s cutting taxes for the wealthy and letting the unemployed to fend for themselves,” said one White House ally.

“If all of this has a familiar ring to it, it’s because unpaid for tax cuts for the rich at the expense of working people is the same backward policy Republicans used to put the nation in this hole, and it’s the same policy they promise to return to if put in a position of power again,” added Hari Sevugan, press secretary for the Democratic National Committee.

Asked to expand on his tweets, Gibbs declined comment, save to clarify that “the question [host Chris] Wallace specifically asked Kyl was [about] the upper end of the Bush tax cuts (above $250,000).”

But the politics already are fairly obvious. For the past few months, congressional Republicans have demanded that any additional spending be offset by budget cuts or revenue increases elsewhere. Also on Sunday, White House senior adviser David Axelrod blamed deficit concerns for the difficulty in finding a 60th vote in the Senate for unemployment benefits even though, as of Friday, 2.1 million people have not received checks that they were expecting in June.

And yet, Kyl is now suggesting that the same budget rules shouldn’t apply with respect to tax cuts for the wealthy, which are set to expire unless Congress acts to renew them. As Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly notes:

It’s quite a message to Americans: Republicans believe $30 billion for unemployment benefits don’t even deserve a vote because the money would be added to the deficit, but Republicans also believe that adding the cost of $678 billion in tax cuts for the wealthy to the deficit is just fine.

Kyl is one of the most prominent members of Congress to advance the argument that jobless benefits make people not want to look for work, a position disputed by economists across the political spectrum. Unemployment insurance “doesn’t create new jobs. In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work,” Kyl said last March on the Senate floor.

 

 

By Bankruptcy Attorney, Kara O’Donnell
857-526-1355
http://www.QuincyLegal.com
Quincy and Hingham, MA

Because my last two blog entries on this have been so frequently viewed, I’ve decided to provide more information about H.R. 5618: Restoration of Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act of 2010.

Within the past two weeks, over a million of long-time unemployed (those over 33 weeks) unexpectedly lost perhaps their only source of income – their unemployment check. With just the quick stroke of a pen, the Republicans defeated the bill that could have extended (once again) the program to allow families to continue to put food on their tables and stay out of foreclosure. Luckily, a second “stand alone” bill was introduced. This stand alone bill was dedicated to the topic of unemployment benefits without being weighed down by the multiple other issues regarding banks, hedge fund manager regulation, etc.

HERE IS THE NEWS AS OF TODAY, JULY 13, 2010.

Senate Debating Unemployment Benefits Extension Now: Call Now
13 Jul 2010 The U.S. Senate reconvened at 1 pm Eastern Time Monday, and H.R.5618, the Restoration of Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act of 2010 is on the list of things to vote on.

The Washington Post says Senate Republicans have said they would not vote for stimulus bills that included unemployment extensions, saying any new spending must be offset by cuts elsewhere. With the extensions expired at least temporarily, more than 2 million Americans have lost their unemployment benefits, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

One site notes, “As of now, about 2.5 million unemployed citizens will be without basic unemployment assistance, which averages just about $300 a week and equates to 74 percent of the poverty level for a family of four people. Congress, in passing H.R. 5618, reiterated the depressing statistics: for every available job, there are five unemployed people who need work. A crisis of this proportion has not been seen in the United States for over 50 years.”

Please keep the pressure on and call the Congressional Switchboard is (202) 224-3121. Please call now and tell your senators to vote YES on the extension! Massachusetts: SCOTT BROWN and JOHN KERRY.

If you are a person who sees no way out of your credit card problems, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy might be right for you.  Call Massachusetts Bankruptcy Attorney Kara O’Donnell for a free consultation at (857)526-1355.

Kara O’Donnell, Esq.
O’DONNELL LAW OFFICES                    (857)526-1355
Quincy, Massachusetts

Help@QuincyLegal.com

Posted by Kara O’Donnell

By MA Bankruptcy Attorney, Kara O’Donnell

O’Donnell Law Offices   (857) 526-1355

Last week, the Senate rejected a jobless aid bill, despite President Obama’s push for more spending to bolster the economy.

Emergency jobless benefits, which provide up to 99 weeks of income support, expired June 2. Since then, more than 1.2 million people have had their checks cut off, according to estimates by the Labor Department. That number is expected to rise to more than 2 million people.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the president would not give up on the measure. “The President will continue to press Congress to pass this bill and bring this relief that’s critical to our economic recovery,” Gibbs said in a statement.

Advocates for the unemployed vowed to continue fighting for an extension, saying it makes no sense to abandon people when the unemployment rate is 9.7 percent — far higher than the cutoff points for emergency unemployment benefits after previous recessions.

“We’ve never come close to doing anything like this in the postwar period,” said Andrew Stettner, deputy director of the National Employment Law Project. “This is going to cut . . . consumer spending. If they want to cut short the recovery, this is the best way to do it.”

“I frankly hope when Republicans go home . . . will scratch their heads and say: ‘What were you thinking?’ ” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), where the jobless rate stands at 12.3 percent, one of the highest in the nation. If Congress fails to extend emergency benefits, Whitehouse said, “It would be pretty bad.”

If you are a person who sees no way out of your credit card problems, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy might be right for you.  Call Massachusetts Bankruptcy Attorney Kara O’Donnell for a free consultation at (857)526-1355.

Kara O’Donnell, Esq.
O’DONNELL LAW OFFICES                    (857)526-1355
Quincy, Massachusetts

Help@QuincyLegal.com

Posted by Kara O’Donnell