Dwight D. Eisenhower on the true magnitude of our follie when we spend on war:

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, from those who are cold and are not clothed.  The world in arms is not spending money alone.  It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.”

–Dwight D. Eisenhower, President and five-star general (1890-1969), April 16, 1953

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Jobless rate jumps to 7.2%, average work week sinks to lowest ever on record.

From Washingtonpost.com today:

“The fine print of yesterday’s report from the Labor Department showed that a broader measure of joblessness — which includes people who are working part-time but would prefer a full-time job and people who want work but have given up looking — rose by nearly a full percentage point, to 13.5 percent.

The overall unemployment rate jumped from 6.8 percent in November, the Labor Department said. Employers cut 524,000 jobs last month, 2.6 million over the course of 2008. Companies not only slashed workers, but also cut back on hours for their remaining employees, to the shortest average workweek on record….”

US to spend 27 pct more on food stamps in ’09

From reuters today:

Some 31 million Americans receive food stamps at latest count, down slightly from the record 31.6 million in September 2008. The average benefit was $119 a month per person and $266 per household.

“The cost really has gone up because more people are out of work,” said Senate Agriculture Committee chairman Tom Harkin, Iowa Democrat, whose panel oversees food stamps.

The U.S. unemployment was 6.7 percent at latest count. Analysts expect the December rate, to be released on Friday, to hit 7 percent.

“The faltering economy has increased outlays for unemployment compensation and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program,” CBO said, using the new, formal name for food stamps.

It forecast outlays would rise to $50 billion for food stamps this year from $39 billion last year, due to higher enrollment and rising food prices. Jobless benefits would total $79 billion, up from $43 billion.

U.S. economic depression of 2008 update: manufacturing orders dropped to lowest levels since 1948.

U.S. depression update, Jan. 2, 2008, found here, at Bloomberg.com:

Jan. 2 (Bloomberg) — The decline in U.S. manufacturing deepened in December as demand for such products as cars, appliances and furniture reached the lowest level since at least 1948, signaling further cutbacks in factory jobs and production this year.

The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index fell to 32.4, below economists’ forecasts and the lowest level since 1980, from 36.2 the prior month. Readings less than 50 signal contraction. The group’s new-orders measure reached the lowest level on record and prices slid the most since 1949.

“Every component suggests that the weakness is going to carry over into 2009,” Mark Vitner, a senior economist at Wachovia Corp. in Charlotte, North Carolina, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “There’s just not a whole lot of new business coming in,” and companies will have a “painful adjustment” as consumers shun spending.

Today’s figures underscore that, with private demand collapsing, manufacturers’ best hope for new business this year may be President-elect Barack Obama’s plans for an unprecedented stimulus package. Obama has pledged an investment program in roads, schools and the U.S. energy network akin to the 1950s- era interstate highway construction boom….”