What if the U.S. Debt Were Your Household Debt?

(Hat tip to Graham Martin.)

Banks at Risk of Failure: 702

According to the FDIC, over 700 banks are currently at risk of going under, a huge jump over the last three years, and a bit of a shocker given the size of the federal stimulus. The FDIC has already shuttered 20 banks this year, and there is no sign that things will improve in the coming months.

Banks at risk of going bust tops 700 | CNN Money

Support the Small Businesses You Love

When the economy goes sour, big businesses get all the attention and government money. But I am far more concerned with keep my favorite coffee shop and restaurant open, and making sure my handyman stays in business. I could care less whether Bank of America goes bankrupt.

So I have made an effort to support those businesses during the economic downturn. Like most Americans, my family has cut back on spending, but we cut back less at the local businesses we love. You should, too. Wal-Mart and the Home Depot will be fine. Your favorite bar or bookstore may not.

According to The 3/50 Project, for every $100 you spend at independently-owned businesses, $68 stays in the community. If you spend that at a national chain like Wal-Mart or Target, only $43 stays home. If you spend it online, none of it does.

You should always support your favorite local, independently-owned businesses, but they need it now, especially.

The 3/50 Project

Bankruptcy lawyers succumb to economy-induced stress

In its monthly newsletter, the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys mentioned that several bankruptcy attorneys recently committed suicide, had heart attacks, or gave up on bankruptcy practice entirely to get away from the stress.

Consumer rights lawyers, including bankruptcy attorneys, see some of the worst effects of the recession. But until now, I did not consider that the increase in our clients’ distress might affect our mental health, as well.

If you are a lawyer experiencing an increase in your stress level, find someone to talk to who can help you deal with your stress.

(photo: richardmasoner)

2 million jobs lost in 2009

This is for 2009. As in three months. Oof. 2 million jobs lost in 2009 | CNN

1 In 10 Americans Are On Food Stamps

Student Loan Nightmare: Help Wanted

“[W]hy aren’t student loans receiving the same attention, same care and forgiveness as every other loan in America?” Student Loan Nightmare: Help Wanted | AC360

Senate votes to re-inflate the housing bubble

The Senate has approved an addition to the economic stimulus package that would give a $15,000 tax credit to anyone who buys a home within two years of the bill’s passage. The credit only applies to a principal residence, and would have to be repaid if the buyer sells the home within two years..

On the one hand, a bill that makes it easier for people to afford homes is a great idea. On the other hand, giving home buyers more money to buy a home means home sellers can keep prices artificially higher. I am not sure a continuation of artificially-inflated home values is what the economy needs right now.

Unlike Dean Baker’s alarmist comments at The Huffington Post suggest, the amendment to the stimulus package does not seem like it will ignite a flipping frenzy, but it does seem like it will cost far more than Senator Isakson’s (R-Ga.) estimate of $19 billion.

Senators Go Wild!, Approve House Flipping Subsidy, Media Doesn’t Notice | The Huffington Post (thanks to MajorKong for the clever title)
Isakson amendment gives $15K tax credit to homebuyers | Atlanta Business Chronicle

(photo: Wikimedia Commons)

(thanks, Darielle!)

Sears upsells plasma television “recharging” service (Hint: no such thing)

Imaginary products have infinite margins: a sure way out of the recession. Sears upsells plasma television “recharging” service (Hint: no such thing) | BoingBoing Gadgets

It’s official: The economy is in a recession