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Finance: Deficit Cutting: Myths, Facts and Politics-Updated: 12/20/13
By Lonnie Hicks
Posted: Monday, November 29, 2010
Last edited: Tuesday, February 25, 2014
This short story is rated "G" by the Author.
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           >> View all 436
A look at the facts and myths about:
Social Security-is the fund going broke?
Medicare: Will Its Cost Bankrupt Us?
The Military Budget: Is It Really 60% of the Total Budget?
Social Programs: How Much Do They Really Cost?
Deficit: What Is To Be Done?

Updated: 12/20/13 Deficit: Up or Down? The Facts. What the press doesn't tell you.
Updated: 9/11/12 What will be the triggers and events which can cause a financial crisis-world wide?
Updated: 9/8/12 Jobs, why are there no jobs and what to do?
Updated: 9/4/12 Who has looted America and how?
Updated: 9/2/12 What are the details of the current debt and who really caused it?
Updated 11-30-10-So Where Is The Money?
Updated 12-1-10 "If You Want Money for the Deficit, You Have To Go Where the Money Is."
Dec 3, 2010 "Now Let me get this straight: My pension will help fund the European Bailout of Ireland, Greece, Spain?
Dec 10 ,2010 So who is going to be taxed again?

In this blog I was just trying to find out the facts about these items in a period where "deficit-cutting" and "big government" blare out of my tv, the pages in the press, and among friends who opine right and left on these matters.

So I thought I would do a little investigation myself. In the coming few days I will share with you what I found out.

MYTH: Social Security is causing part of our deficit and is going broke.

FACTS: First a quote from a New York Times article from the chief actuary manager of the fund (Mr. Goss) and a second quote  from  the  Director of the Congressional Office of the Budget. 

Mr. Goss is talking about the state of fund based on 2009 figures and projections and the proceeds from the funds investments in treasury securities.

"In a year like this, the paper gains from the interest earned on the securities will more than cover the difference between what it takes in and pays out." 

 'Mr. Goss, the actuary, emphasized that even the $29 billion shortfall projected for this year was small, relative to the roughly $700 billion that would flow in and out of the system. The system, he added, has a balance of about $2.5 trillion that will take decades to deplete. Mr. Goss said that large cushion could start to grow again if the economy recovers briskly.' 

'Indeed, the Congressional Budget Office’s projection shows the ravages of the recession easing in the next few years, with small surpluses reappearing briefly in 2014 and 2015.'

See the link below for the full article.

For those who are numbers junkies, like myself, should also take a look an article which details the Federal Budget for 2010, and for 2011. See link below:

The Deficit Commission Plan comes out December 1, 2010 and is not likely to have the 14 votes necessary for a vote in the House of Representatives. Meantime, many groups have their own ideas for deficit management. Here is a link detailing some of those plans. We will then evaluate the whole lot afterward. Meantime a link:

Home work.

Come back tomorrow and we will begin to sort all of this out.

Nov 30, 2010

Truth Telling About Social Security

First the question is does Social Security contribute to the deficit?

Answer no.

The program has a 2.5 trillion dollar surplus at the present time. So why would the Deficit commission target one of the few programs which has a surplus and money available to operate out to 2037?

It makes no sense. So why is it on the chopping block?

Well, first let us have a look at where this tremendous surplus money comes from. 


It comes from you and I. Every pay check a sum is deducted from our paychecks for our social security retirement and those funds are placed in the social security trust fund and much of it is invested with the idea of increasing its total amount so that it will be there when we are ready to retire. That is the story put out there. But it is true ?

So, like good investigators we want to know the truth and to find out the truth in America you have to follow the prime rule of thumb:

Follow the money because there lies the truth.

The truth is that the 2.5 trillion has been raided by the federal government, mainly to pay for wars the country could not afford (remember Iraq and Afghanistan?) for bank bailouts, ( remember instituting the Bush Tax Cuts which we could not afford?) Remember the lost jobs, the lost manufacturing base, the Wall-Street bail outs? 

How can a country afford all of this in a little less than a decade? 

Answer: We, the people, could afford it because we saved up each month.

But the money was taken from yours and my retirement funds, social security monies, yours and my pension funds (remember we are also putting money in that pot too, yours and my taxes, yours and my daily deposits in the banks, yours and my medicare taxes, yours and my unemployment funds, at an actual taxation rate of 53%--all this ultimately ending up in the hands of the banks, the corporations, and wall street who were taxed at 16% and was used by them to generate obscene profits overseas and/or obscene losses which ended up having to be paid for by raiding our retirement funds to cover such losses and monies wasted in endless and permanent wars and other boondoggles.

I don't mind government spending, at least you get something back for that money after the monied classes have deducted their deductions, loop holes and subsidies benefits which, while only a pittance, is better than the alternatives of no benefits at all.

But what did we get back for the purloining of our money by the corporations--jobs and profits exported overseas. What did we get back for the purloining of our money by wall street--economic collapse and bank gambling, lost values in our homes, in our 401k.s, almost permanent unemployment, and now a threat to our pension funds (remember this is our money too, deducted every paycheck,) low or no pensions, foreclosures, impossible credit card debt and to boot, in all this, we are told it is our fault and we have to learn to tighten our belts.

I don't know about you but this doesn't seem right.

Well that is because it isn't.

More tomorrow.

But first a glance at borrowing from the Social Security Fund since 2002. This borrowing was clearly seen coming and predicted. Here is one prediction. After we will see if the prediction came true . But first the prediction:

1998:Testimony by Alan Greenspan with Senator Hollings saying:
"We owe Social Security 736 billion right this minute."

In 2002 actual borrowing from the fund: 165.4 billion
2003-projected--164 billion
2004-projected--180.6 billion
2005-projected--203.8 billion
2006-projected--226.1 billion
2007-projected--247.9 billion
2008-projected--268. billion

Total projected borrowing: 1.11 trillion from the fund. 


Now how much did we actually borrow and how much exactly is left in the fund in cash. (Actual income for the social security trust fund in 2009 was about 700 billion and outlays are about 520 billion.)

And what about the unemployment trust fund. What is the story there?

That tomorrow.

But the point is that someone here loses big, because the banks, the government, the corporations got the money and can't or won't pay it back to us and therefore all of the talk about cutting social security. Why: because the funds on paper are 2.5 trillion but some of that the cash is long gone and what is left in the fund is a lot of IOU's-to us and the banks and wall street can't or don't want to pay it back.

But exactly, again, how much real cash is left for the boomers you and I?

It difficult to find out this piece of information.

What does all this mean and what is to be done?

Hint: There are solutions.

Hint: You can't look at a government debt and a government budget like the family budget. It is not like the family budget. Don't fall for that false analogy.
In our family budget we cannot print money in the basement--the government can (or more accurately, the Federal Reserve, the banks can;) we cannot raid our neighbors for resources, the government and our banks can.

We can't create taxes. The government can.

Well, you get the idea. There is no real analogy between one's home budget and the processes which underlie the budget of an entire country. So ignore politicians we try to tell you they are the same. They are not.

So what then you ask is to be done?


December 1, 2010

Busy day today so lets cut to the chase and identify what will really cure the deficit. We will post here an outline and in the coming days go to detail on some of them.

But first what will not work:

1-Cutting down the middle class and driving it to poverty will not work obviously and will likely in a year or two create a huge rebellion once people realize what has happened to them. A likely trigger will be the Republican discussion of eliminating the home mortgage deduction. This will do it. Not only have Americans seen their homes lose 40% value but the elimination of that deduction will increase their taxes by thousands of dollars, and put even old ladies in the streets in outrage.

Moreover, the consequences of this kind of action will be:

Lower revenues (taxes) for states, cities and localities, lower purchasing power for an economy which is 70% middle class consumer driven; higher defaults, foreclosures, rising health care costs because people will drop health insurance and flood the emergency rooms for health care.
Impoverishing the middle class,therefore, is not a good idea and helps no one.

2-Cutting back government spending or attacking the deficit in dollar amounts large enough to make a difference, is a pipe dream.

You might as well shut down the entire government, and move us all to third world status. Government spending is the one area that the middle class gets something back for its taxes.
We get nothing back from the banks and wall street,. We, not them, fuel the economy of this country. 70% of the GNP comes from the middle classes and we pay the taxes--yet the profits go to the banks and wall street and the corporations.  The middle class provides the only real money in the entire system.

The rest of the institutions in the United States suck on that teat. 

3-Cutting the military budget substantially, while desirable and possible since we spend 60% of the government's budget on the military, the fact is that will take years to accomplish and since the military is so entwined in our economy it has become yet another institution too big to fail and so many Americans depend upon military largess to survive--but that budget has to be cut anyway, but it has to be done gradually and with perhaps an initial 10% cut to start things off. (This has already been proposed by Gates, but he wants to "re-invest" those savings back into the military, therefore, it is not a real cuts. I say lets take a real cut.)

4-Economic growth as a way of reducing or eliminating the deficit, (jobs and exports) is too slow to avoid disaster. We will all be in rags before the jobs return and that will take at least five years.

What can be done then? Let's start with a simple idea. There is not a shortage of money to be used to eliminate the deficit. The problem is that 35% of our money is in the hands of 1% of the population-the so-called market.

Solution: Get our money back.

I like Richard Woff's ideas about taking the income of all individuals with more than a million dollars invested in the stock market and apply a additional 15% tax rate. They keep 85% and this will eliminate the deficit over night. Really. It would.
  What is astounding is that the so-called deficit commission has not even brought this up. Why? The two chairs of the commission and most members of that commission represent those same wall-street-banks interests. So no surprise this is not included in possible solutions.
(See Richard Wolff's ideas on this)

The mess wall-street has made we are going to have to pay for while wall street proceeds forward, "fully recovered"  from any of the effects of the recession and notice that every annoucement that the unemployment rate has gone up is greeted by a rise on wall street. Why. Because middle class assets become cheaper and the unemployed default and foreclosures become available cheap. Meantime the big bonus payments have returned.

The American people will catch on sooner or later to all of this and there will be hell to pay.

When you want to reduce or eliminate deficits at home or in government you have to go where the money and the money is in the hands of these monied classes who in the last thirty years have gotten rich off the rest of us and now it is time they pay that money back. They have gotten rich off the American credit card and our loans to them-(yes we loan them our money every time we make a deposit.)

But who are these folks and how much would be really made available if we did this?

More details tomorrow.

Dec 3, 2010

But the problem is not just an American problem. We are a part of the global finance system. Just out is the revelation that during the finance crisis of 2008 and continuing, the Federal Reserve bank loaned over 9 trillion dollars to itself, to banks foreign banks and domestic,  to cover their losses. 

That is 9 trillion dollars, not counting the 600 billion now coming over the horizon!

Where did this money come from, remembering the entire yearly output of the American economy in one year is only 13 trillion.

For comparison a billion seconds is 32 years: a trillion seconds is 32,000 years. So a trillion is a very large burrito.

Why did this happen and where did this 9 trillion dollars come from?

Answer: The banks used partly our funds, our pension monies, our daily deposits and the Fed simply printed the rest. Understand this is how the system works.

But the real news here is that the 9 trillion was essentially used to cover the fraudulent investments wall street had sold to investors foreign and domestic. A good part of it was to pay foreign banks back who might have collapsed once it was known that such investments were worthless. The US essentially had to take our money to cover up that fraud and lost gamble and our their selling fraudulent assets to these foreign banks.

Meantime, companies like Goldman Sachs, had seen this coming and essentially took out re-insurance and took short positions on all of this, even as they sold these worthless assets to others and reaped huge profits in doing so. 

AIG the major re-insurer,  Fanny and Freddie Mac, FDIC, the American tax payer took the losses, and the banks took the profits. This is welfare for the rich.

And the story does not end here.

The domino rolled right across the ocean to the European Common Market where the bail outs of Ireland, Greece, Portugal, and Spain now loom.

Austerity programs will not solve anything there.

In fact, the European Central Bank does not have the money for the bailouts, up to a trillion dollars, and will not have anything like what it will need if Italy goes belly up--which it will.

In fact, the ECM will have to get part of the money it needs, not just from Germany and France or England, but from American taxpayers.

The Germans will give much but there is a limit since their taxpayers will revolt at some point if they are made to suffer to bail out others.

So how you ask will all this get done?  It will get done by borrowing money from the managers of those huge pension funds which exist at the Federal, State and Local Level in the United States and else where and the Federal Reserve buying ECM bonds. This, again, is our pension monies and deposit monies and the accumulated profits wall street has from the so-called recession.

The American taxpayer actually is helping to fund banks all over the world--foreign and domestic--with our pensions, taxes, social security funds, unemployment insurance funds etc. 

This will be the second bubble to hit in 2012. All of this is not sustainable as currently constructed.

But the chief aspect of this which is not sustainable is that the profits cannot continue to be grabbed by the few. The entire system has to be re-constituted to produce prosperity for the many not just the few.

Actually, that is the European Common Market's underlying principle. The strong help the weak. We have to learn that trick here in the United States by ensuring that the strong don't use our money to prevent this bedrock principle of shared prosperity from being implemented, which they have succeeded in doing in the last 30 years.

Ok, now that you are cheered up there is a need for a hot toddy or something.

Tomorrow we go to detail.

December 10, 2010

Forgot to mention that the new tax deal is not so great.
More detail on this next week but the facts are:

1-That the lowest earners have their taxes go up not down, or neutral

2- The longest term unemployed are left out of the deal entirely (the 99 month people)

3- The Estate Tax exempts  those earning five and 10 million per couple, per year, thereby increasing the deficits of every state in the union.

4-Social security, unemployment, and disabilty incomes remain taxed. (This is double taxation, these earnings are taxed when taken out of our paychecks and taxed again when we use these funds. Note capital gains and dividend income remain taxes only at the 15% percent level while the rest of our income is taxed at the 21% level.

The democrats are right to revolt against job-killing tax breaks for the rich.

But first a closer look at deficit and debt.

World Debt-Who Caused it-Who Got the Money-and Who has to pay it back?

The world we live in is a construction of the banks using phony debt as a means of control.

So let's have a look at the debt leader of the world -the United States. How did this happen? How did this debt happen?

First let's today settle the question of who or what caused the deficit in the United States in the first place such that the government had to borrow all that money and who got rich of the debt we currently have.

First a little history of debt in this country and then we go to the specifics.

Turns out the greatest contributor to the greatest debt in US history was George Bush.

See below:

Debt increased from 133 billion to 1  trillion during his administration. This was the Republican "starve the beast" strategy--create a debt ridden goverment and then under the cover of austerity took back middle class assets, ignoring the fact that two wars made Republican defense contractors, the banks, , the pentagon, the so-called secuity industry and wall street--all rich.

There is no justice  here.

On top of all this is the claim that the middle class overspent and now has to tighen it's belt because the monied classes simultaneously reduced wages forcing the mddile class to put their wives, children and grannies to work and use bank high interest rate credit cards to survive.

Why can't the American public see this scam is beyond me.

But a chart is worth a thousand words.

It is clear that the Republicans ran up the debt with bailouts for banks, two wars, and tax breaks for the rich.

I am suggesting this was and is no accident.

And they are poised to do it again because there are billions in profits in it for their constituents-the banks, the pentagon, the so-called security industry, the prison industrial industry, and the war profiteers.

To be clear:

1. Banks, corporations and wall street love high unemployment- which means people are desperate and work for half wages-this has happened already.
2. They love recession because prices fall down drastically and since they have all of our money, have kicked us out of our homes, they have the cash and buy up these cheap homes themselves at half prices. Most forceclosed properties are bought by the banks themselves, since the down priced homes also now have lower taxes.

3- They love war since war profiteers get rich and to boot they have made many communities in the US dependent upon the local war industries dependent upon them and the Pentagon for jobs.

4. They love privatizing schools and have attacked the public school system, depriving the schools of revenue and tax money and then come in saying the schools are failing and should be privatized into "charter" schools.

5. They love drugs crime and fill up the jails with people of color in a new jim crow system and in addtion provided jobs in rural communities run by private companies. The industrial prison complex is a jobs program for rural constentucies and well as billions for farmers--all republicans.

6. They make billions off school loans and the even the school lunch progams.

Their tentacles are everywhere, using OUR money to do it.

Tomorrow lets go back for more detail and a prognosis on the above which is clearly not sustainable. It will be a re-run of 1929. See the PBS vido special on the 1929  debacle to get a look at how it all worked then.

US companies preparing for Greece to leave the Eurozone. Yes, they are.

"In a survey this summer, the firm found that 80 percent of clients polled expected Greece to leave the euro zone, and a fifth of those expected more countries to follow.

“Fifteen months ago when we started looking at this, we said it was unthinkable,” said Heiner Leisten, a partner with the Boston Consulting Group in Cologne, Germany, who heads up its global insurance practice. “It’s not impossible or unthinkable now.”

Mr. Leisten’s firm, as well as PricewaterhouseCoopers, has already considered the timing of a Greek withdrawal — for example, the news might hit on a Friday night, when global markets are closed.

A bank holiday could quickly follow, with the stock market and most local financial institutions shutting down, while new capital controls make it hard to move money in and out of the country."

Is this a likely scenario  for the United States as well?


 Cal Pers pension fund underfunded by 50%. Pensioners have lost half of their life savings with zero interest rates.

More on the true causes of the deficit:

 Half of the unemployed collect no unemployment benefits which most of them paid into for most of their working lives and have arbitrarily been cut of by Congress-all to provide, cheap, docile and willing labor for the corporations. Terrible.

 Why have we not recovered? Here is a letter to the editor I happen to agree with from a small businessman.
Comment from:

" JOBS REPORT & THE ELECTION: Month after month we all crowd around the TV set awaiting news of the employment trend, i.e., "Up" or "Down," all the while ignoring the most fundamental issue relating to employment numbers. Businesses that do not have access to financing cannot expand operations, and therefore, will not hire workers. The President can't merely wish jobs into existence. Job creation is directly related to the demand for goods/services and to supply of the financing necessary to deliver on this demand, opening new jobs positions. The banks were bailed-out. Period! Instead of doing the "right thing," making loans to entrepreneurs {Small Businesses} they chose, instead, to park the bail-out money in the bond market. While that action may have served to guarantee minimal revenue in the form of the interest payments collected, it does nothing to stimulate activity in the larger economy. I personally have been trying to open a business for the last 4 years. I have incorporated in a tax haven {Nevada} and have religiously filed my paper-work on time, have developed a new product prototype, {or rather an improvement on existing products} but could not get a loan. I have had to rely solely on savings from my job {despite two lay-offs of 18 months and 12 months respectively}. Inspite of the uncertainty engendered by this state-of-affairs, I was able to save enough to cover the cost of my start-up... but it has taken nearly 5 years! Lack of access to capital has been the biggest drag on the economy that we live in. The "Tax Rate" has absolutely NOTHING to do with my decision to go into business, my ability to R & D, nor the reasons why capital cannot be accessed to speed the process along. So much for the BOGUS argument about high taxes causing would-be small businesses not to go into business. That argument is complete and total B.S!!! Neither do regulations have anything to do with my not being able to move at a faster pace. The argument put forth about some future, phantom, regulatory impact serving to discourage the starting of Small Businesses is also pure B.S!!! A guy who can be so easily discouraged was never a "Businessman" in the first place. So, we are back to the jobs report and what it means to the election. Given the fact that 8.5 million jobs were lost under the 8 years of the Bush administration... I honestly don't understand how an argument can be made that since there were "ONLY" 94,000 jobs created last month, that is somehow a signal that we should abandon the path of job creation we are now on, and have been moving on under President Obama, and run back to the path of total job destruction, to the tune of 800,000 jobs a month, 800,000 jobs/month!!! which we are moving away from, can possibly make any sense to anyone who is not completely blinded by bias in favor of a republican agenda, no matter how foolish, impertinent, and destructive. The banks are not lending to business. Therefore business cannot expand. Giving billionaires another tax-cut will not reverse this trend, but will encourage those billionaires to continue investing off-shore, i.e., Singapore, China, Brazil, anywhere but the USA. How long before we admit this and move forward??? This is why the jobs trend is so sluggish."


What will be the triggers for the rest of the year for a possible financial crisis and the consequences in global and US finance?

Well there are several. Lets list a few first and the go back after for the detail.

1. 70% of the trades on Wall Street are by computer. Computer glitches real or manipulated can set off a panic and that can make valuations and pricing difficult if not impossible, including gold, silver and stocks.

2. The Greek default could result in currency to debasement. This would have a domino effect in the west. If not Greece then if Spain asks for a postpone of its austerity programs. Both could trigger in a month or two.

3. The rising price of fuel and food is what actually set off the "Arab Spring" riots. Egypt is at that point again. The most dangerous point for a country as far as bloody revolution is concerned is when seeming gains are followed by severe setbacks.

It was fuel prices and food price increases which set off the Arab spring and it will be rising food and fuel prices that will do it again. How close are they to more increases?


Governments around the world subsidize fuel and food prices already to avoid revolution. These two plus arms purchases are what  they spend their money on.

4. April is the deadline when the US government receipts in taxation come in. If lower than anticipated then expect the US credit rating to drop and interest rates to drop below zero etc., and perhaps a run on US securities and perhaps bonds as well.

5. December 31st. This the "cliff" deadline which I have written about in other places on this site. Up for action are the tax breaks for the rich, taxes on the middle class, tax cuts for the military, and other bread and butter items.

No telling what will happen. Uncertainty can really trigger ancillary events, most unpleasant.

Five more triggers set to fizzle or ignite in the next six days on wall street, th
e banks and JP Morgan--one pundits view.

We will throw these into the mix and get back our analysis tomorrow.

But what should the average citizen do about the above situations? Stay tuned.

Should we be buying gold, go on the gold standard as Ron Paul suggests, allow currency collaspe and start over again, or impeach congress, end fractional banking and wall street gambling on argin, end buying stock buyng on margin on margin-end the Federal Reserve.

Here are some ideas being tossed around and then come back and I will give my suggested solutions/


Deficit-Cutting: What The American Press Doesn't Tell You.

"Current account deficit smallest in four years

WASHINGTON Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:31am EST

People shop at holiday vendors near Central Park in New York December 14, 2013. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

People shop at holiday vendors near Central Park in New York December 14, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Eric Thayer


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. current account deficit was the smallest in four years in the third quarter as exports increased and more income was earned abroad, a government report showed on Tuesday."

See link below:

 But what does it mean?

Other links on whether our deficit is shrinking or growing?

RT Tv show



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