noworldsystem.com


One quarter of US grain crops fed to cars – not people

One quarter of US grain crops fed to cars – not people


A grain elevator in Illinois, US. In 2009, 107m tonnes of grain was grown by US farmers to be blended with petrol. Photograph: AP

London Guardian
January 22, 2010

One-quarter of all the maize and other grain crops grown in the US now ends up as biofuel in cars rather than being used to feed people, according to new analysis which suggests that the biofuel revolution launched by former President George Bush in 2007 is impacting on world food supplies.

The 2009 figures from the US Department of Agriculture shows ethanol production rising to record levels driven by farm subsidies and laws which require vehicles to use increasing amounts of biofuels.

“The grain grown to produce fuel in the US [in 2009] was enough to feed 330 million people for one year at average world consumption levels,” said Lester Brown, the director of the Earth Policy Institute, a Washington thinktank ithat conducted the analysis.

Last year 107m tonnes of grain, mostly corn, was grown by US farmers to be blended with petrol. This was nearly twice as much as in 2007, when Bush challenged farmers to increase production by 500% by 2017 to save cut oil imports and reduce carbon emissions.

More than 80 new ethanol plants have been built since then, with more expected by 2015, by which time the US will need to produce a further 5bn gallons of ethanol if it is to meet its renewable fuel standard.

According to Brown, the growing demand for US ethanol derived from grains helped to push world grain prices to record highs between late 2006 and 2008. In 2008, the Guardian revealed a secret World Bank report that concluded that the drive for biofuels by American and European governments had pushed up food prices by 75%, in stark contrast to US claims that prices had risen only 2-3% as a result.

Since then, the number of hungry people in the world has increased to over 1 billion people, according to the UN’s World Food programme.

“Continuing to divert more food to fuel, as is now mandated by the US federal government in its renewable fuel standard, will likely only reinforce the disturbing rise in world hunger. By subsidising the production of ethanol to the tune of some $6bn each year, US taxpayers are in effect subsidising rising food bills at home and around the world,” said Brown.

“The worst economic crisis since the great depression has recently brought food prices down from their peak, but they still remain well above their long-term average levels.”

The US is by far the world’s leading grain exporter, exporting more than Argentina, Australia, Canada, and Russia combined. In 2008, the UN called for a comprehensive review of biofuel production from food crops.

“There is a direct link between biofuels and food prices. The needs of the hungry must come before the needs of cars,” said Meredith Alexander, biofuels campaigner at ActionAid in London. As well as the effect on food, campaigners also argue that many scientists question whether biofuels made from food crops actually save any greenhouse gas emissions.

But ethanol producers deny that their record production means less food. “Continued innovation in ethanol production and agricultural technology means that we don’t have to make a false choice between food and fuel. We can more than meet the demand for food and livestock feed while reducing our dependence on foreign oil through the production of homegrown renewable ethanol,” said Tom Buis, the chief executive of industry group Growth Energy.

Kissinger’s Plan For Food Control Genocide

Food Shortages in 2010

Biofuel Industry Destroying Amazon Rainforest

 



Climate Change Policy Killing Third World Nations

Genocidal Climate Change Policy is Killing Third World Nations
Millions dying from starvation as a direct consequence of global warming fraud

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
December 10, 2009

The implementation of policies arising out of fraudulent fearmongering and biased studies on global warming is already devastating the third world, with a doubling in food prices causing mass starvation and death – a primary reason why the climategate crooks and their allies should be criminally investigated and hit with the strongest charges possible.

As Lord Monckton outlined in his recent Alex Jones Show appearance, climate change alarmism and implementation of global warming policies is a crime of the highest nature, because it is already having a genocidal impact in countries like Haiti, where the doubling of food prices is resulting in a substantial increase in starvation, poverty and death.

Poor people around the world, “Are being killed in large numbers by starvation as a result of (climate change) policy,” said Monckton, due to huge areas of agricultural land being turned over to the growth of biofuels.

“Take Haiti where they live on mud pie with real mud costing 3 cents each….that’s what they’re living or rather what they’re dying on,” said Monckton, relating how when he gave a speech on this subject, a lady in the front row burst into tears and told him, “I’ve just come back from Haiti – now because of the doubling in world food prices, they can’t even afford the price of a mud pie and they’re dying of starvation all over the place.”

As a National Geographic Report confirmed, “With food prices rising, Haiti’s poorest can’t afford even a daily plate of rice, and some must take desperate measures to fill their bellies,” by “eating mud,” partly as a consequence of “increasing global demand for biofuels.”

In April last year, World Bank President Robert Zoellick admitted that biofuels were a “significant contributor” to soaring food prices that have led to riots in countries such as Haiti, Egypt, the Philippines, and even Italy.

“We estimate that a doubling of food prices over the last three years could potentially push 100 million people in low-income countries deeper into poverty,” he stated.

“That’s how serious this is, these people, by their scientific fraud and financial fraud, they’re profiting enormously….while people die of starvation in a dozen regions of the world….it is a scandal of the worst proportion – our own fellow creatures are being killed by starvation because these people have lied and made up the science and hidden it so nobody else could check,” said Monckton.

If the measures currently being debated at the Copenhagen summit in the name of fighting global warming are passed, we can only expect a further assault on the already horrifying plight of the population of the third world.

In the leaked Copenhagen text that emerged earlier this week, leaders of third world countries were horrified to discover that developed nations would take on less of a burden than anticipated and that more would be demanded of poorer countries despite the fact that any further cuts in CO2 emissions would further cripple their flimsy economies and poverty-stricken people.

In addition, the leaked paper revealed that funds from climate financing, originally allocated to go to the UN and then be doled out piecemeal to third world nations, would instead be paid directly into the coffers of the World Bank and IMF, organizations that have made a habit out of looting poorer countries with crippling loans that cannot be paid back, forcing such countries to hand over their entire infrastructure to globalist loan sharks.

The fact that policies arising out of the contrived science of global warming are already killing people in vast numbers in the third world further illustrates the fact that the entire climate change movement is a Malthusian offshoot of the profusely stated goal on behalf of the global elite to eliminate a huge chunk of the global population via modern-day eugenics.

This agenda was vehemently argued for by President Obama’s top science advisor and one of the pre-eminent climate change ringleaders, John P. Holdren, in his 1977 book Ecoscience, in which he called for installing a “planetary regime” to enforce draconian population control measures such as forced abortion and mandatory sterilization through the water supply.

Watch the segment from the interview below where Monckton discusses how the climate crooks are deliberately devastating the third world with their lies about global warming.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6bXxC1d_rE

UK Group Proposes Using Carbon Offsets to Stop Third World From Breeding

 



Ted Turner Confronted on Population Control


Ted Turner: World Needs a ’Voluntary’ One-Child Policy for the Next Hundred Years
Philly 9/11 Truth Confronts Eugenicist on Calls for 95% Population Reduction

Aaron Dykes
Jones Report
April 29, 2008

http://youtube.com/watch?v=1G72Sd6AqjE

Okay, so Ted Turner’s not a people person. But, he has a plan to bring the world’s population down to 2 billion– a figure substantially less than current numbers– that he says would allow for a better standard of living… for everyone.

Though it might be trying for the world to adopt the brutal one-child policy of China, it would, ideally, help humanity to avoid the nightmare cannibalism scenario Turner claims we otherwise face in the wake of global warming.

Ted Turner used his Southern charm to calm worries that he longed for 95% decline from current population levels during a question and answer session– as the billionaire eugenicist was quoted in Audubon magazine more than a decade ago.

“That’s not really true,” Turner told members of Philly 9/11 Truth. He instead cited 2 billion as the target– a mere 2/3 reduction of the human population — which he claims would allow ’everyone’ to have a decent standard of living, including a “refrigerator and air conditioner.”

The 9/11 Truth activists probed the billionaire on how he would achieve these population goals– citing policymakers like Henry Kissinger who advocate using ’food as weapon.’

Turner commented, “The way I think we should get there is have a voluntary one child per family for the next hundred years… like they do in China now.”

Despite the fact that Turner himself has 5 children, he has put forward this view a number of times before. “We’re too many people; that’s why we have global warming,” he told PBS’s Charlie Rose in April. “Too many people are using too much stuff.”

“On a voluntary basis, everybody in the world’s got to pledge to themselves that one or two children is it,” Turner added during the April 2008 interview.

China’s policies have been heavily criticized not only for the gross human rights violations against its dehumanized population, but also for its peer-pressure affect on the rest of the world to adopt similar polices. China, too, started with a so-called ’voluntary’ policy which then led to fines and only later to more extreme punishments for having more than one child.

In the name of global warming and environmentalism, children have now been blamed as ’part of the problem’ and calls to limit children have now saturated the Western World.

In the third world, Turner has contributed literally billions to population reduction, namely through United Nations programs , leading the way for the likes of Bill & Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett (Gates father, for one, has long been a leading board member of Planned Parenthood and a top eugenicist).

These same figures have also donated vast sums of money for vaccination programs that many have identified as part of the problem.

Members of Philly 9/11 Truth also asked Turner about being the largest land owner in North America. Turner suggested that his vast acreage– estimated at more than 2 million acres— was being put to good use, deflecting claims of hypocrisy.

Turner has also been criticized recently for advocating the production of corn-based ethanol, which has now been blamed by the U.N. and others for causing food shortages and increased poverty, particularly in the 3rd World.

Philly 9/11 Truth also confronted the unrepentant Turner after the event to further criticize his involvement with globalist agendas that continue to pursue drastic population reduction at the cost of dignity and respect for the masses of humanity.

In 1996, Turner stated in an interview with Audubon Magazine that a 95% population reduction would be ideal. Below is his quote.

“A total population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal.”


Ted Turner Repeats Call For Population Curb

Says diminishing farmland will lead to food riots, despite being behind corn-based ethanol push

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet
April 28, 2008

Billionaire Globalist Ted Turner, who earlier this month predicted that global warming would eventually lead to cannibalism, has repeated his call to curb population growth, claiming that disappearing farmland will cause food riots, despite the fact that Turner himself is behind the push to grow corn-based ethanol, an industry the UN has blamed for food shortages and increased poverty.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=3jgKodUUeTU

“There are a lot of different problems being caused by an ever-increasing number of people in a finite-sized world,” Turner told CNBC’s Bob Pisani. “The resources of the planet just can’t keep up with the demand and I’m afraid this going to be more commonplace. I’m afraid we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg. It’s very complicated I do want to say.”

“We’ve had warnings for a number of years,” Turner said. “Grain stocks have been dropping every year for the last 10 years or pretty close to that – the reserves. And, the environment in so many different areas is being – the pressure being put on it by the ever-increasing number of people and the number of people using more stuff and more energy – that’s what ‘s leading to global climate change and the over-fishing of the oceans,” he added.

Turner cited increased vehicle usage as a reason for disappearing farmland.

“Agriculture is complicated anyway. For instance – China adds more cars, they need more roads and the only place to put more roads in China is over farmland. So you lose farmland as you increase development. We’re doing it even here in the United States.”

However, Turner failed to acknowledge the fact that one of the main reasons behind food shortages is global demand for biofuels, an industry that Turner has vigorously promoted and publicly supported in a 2006 WTO speech.

As the UN warned last year, “The global rush to switch from oil to energy derived from plants will drive deforestation, push small farmers off the land and lead to serious food shortages and increased poverty unless carefully managed”.

Earlier this month, Turner caused shockwaves when he stated that inaction on global warming “will be catastrophic” and those who don’t die “will be cannibals.”

“We’re too many people; that’s why we have global warming,” he said. “Too many people are using too much stuff,” adding that “on a voluntary basis, everybody in the world’s got to pledge to themselves that one or two children is it.”

Turner himself failed to live up to such a pledge, having fathered five children, but continues to lecture the rest of us on how we should limit our procreation.

Some would find Turner’s zeal to “thin” the human population hard to reconcile with his leadership of a UN initiative to combat malaria.

When one considers Turner’s past comments about the supposed need to drastically cut world population levels by up to 95%, his involvement in any kind of program run under the guise of “improving health” in third world countries should be examined with severe caution.

“A total population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal,” Turner stated in 1996.

As the Baltimore Sun reported, “Most of [Ted Turner’s first donation to the United Nations Foundation of] $22 million went to programs that seek to stall population growth.”

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Destroying the Rainforest to Fight Global Warming

Destroying the Amazon Rainforest to Fight Global Warming
Biofuel industry to destroy valuble wetlands, grasslands and forests to cash-in on the global warming trend

Time
March 30, 2008

From his Cessna a mile above the southern Amazon, John Carter looks down on the destruction of the world’s greatest ecological jewel. He watches men converting rain forest into cattle pastures and soybean fields with bulldozers and chains. He sees fires wiping out such gigantic swaths of jungle that scientists now debate the “savannization” of the Amazon. Brazil just announced that deforestation is on track to double this year; Carter, a Texas cowboy with all the subtlety of a chainsaw, says it’s going to get worse fast. “It gives me goose bumps,” says Carter, who founded a nonprofit to promote sustainable ranching on the Amazon frontier. “It’s like witnessing a rape.”

The Amazon was the chic eco-cause of the 1990s, revered as an incomparable storehouse of biodiversity. It’s been overshadowed lately by global warming, but the Amazon rain forest happens also to be an incomparable storehouse of carbon, the very carbon that heats up the planet when it’s released into the atmosphere. Brazil now ranks fourth in the world in carbon emissions, and most of its emissions come from deforestation. Carter is not a man who gets easily spooked–he led a reconnaissance unit in Desert Storm, and I watched him grab a small anaconda with his bare hands in Brazil–but he can sound downright panicky about the future of the forest. “You can’t protect it. There’s too much money to be made tearing it down,” he says. “Out here on the frontier, you really see the market at work.”

This land rush is being accelerated by an unlikely source: biofuels. An explosion in demand for farm-grown fuels has raised global crop prices to record highs, which is spurring a dramatic expansion of Brazilian agriculture, which is invading the Amazon at an increasingly alarming rate.

Propelled by mounting anxieties over soaring oil costs and climate change, biofuels have become the vanguard of the green-tech revolution, the trendy way for politicians and corporations to show they’re serious about finding alternative sources of energy and in the process slowing global warming. The U.S. quintupled its production of ethanol–ethyl alcohol, a fuel distilled from plant matter–in the past decade, and Washington has just mandated another fivefold increase in renewable fuels over the next decade. Europe has similarly aggressive biofuel mandates and subsidies, and Brazil’s filling stations no longer even offer plain gasoline. Worldwide investment in biofuels rose from $5 billion in 1995 to $38 billion in 2005 and is expected to top $100 billion by 2010, thanks to investors like Richard Branson and George Soros, GE and BP, Ford and Shell, Cargill and the Carlyle Group. Renewable fuels has become one of those motherhood-and-apple-pie catchphrases, as unobjectionable as the troops or the middle class.

But several new studies show the biofuel boom is doing exactly the opposite of what its proponents intended: it’s dramatically accelerating global warming, imperiling the planet in the name of saving it. Corn ethanol, always environmentally suspect, turns out to be environmentally disastrous. Even cellulosic ethanol made from switchgrass, which has been promoted by eco-activists and eco-investors as well as by President Bush as the fuel of the future, looks less green than oil-derived gasoline.

Meanwhile, by diverting grain and oilseed crops from dinner plates to fuel tanks, biofuels are jacking up world food prices and endangering the hungry. The grain it takes to fill an SUV tank with ethanol could feed a person for a year. Harvests are being plucked to fuel our cars instead of ourselves. The U.N.’s World Food Program says it needs $500 million in additional funding and supplies, calling the rising costs for food nothing less than a global emergency. Soaring corn prices have sparked tortilla riots in Mexico City, and skyrocketing flour prices have destabilized Pakistan, which wasn’t exactly tranquil when flour was affordable.

Biofuels do slightly reduce dependence on imported oil, and the ethanol boom has created rural jobs while enriching some farmers and agribusinesses. But the basic problem with most biofuels is amazingly simple, given that researchers have ignored it until now: using land to grow fuel leads to the destruction of forests, wetlands and grasslands that store enormous amounts of carbon.

Backed by billions in investment capital, this alarming phenomenon is replicating itself around the world. Indonesia has bulldozed and burned so much wilderness to grow palm oil trees for biodiesel that its ranking among the world’s top carbon emitters has surged from 21st to third according to a report by Wetlands International. Malaysia is converting forests into palm oil farms so rapidly that it’s running out of uncultivated land. But most of the damage created by biofuels will be less direct and less obvious. In Brazil, for instance, only a tiny portion of the Amazon is being torn down to grow the sugarcane that fuels most Brazilian cars. More deforestation results from a chain reaction so vast it’s subtle: U.S. farmers are selling one-fifth of their corn to ethanol production, so U.S. soybean farmers are switching to corn, so Brazilian soybean farmers are expanding into cattle pastures, so Brazilian cattlemen are displaced to the Amazon. It’s the remorseless economics of commodities markets. “The price of soybeans goes up,” laments Sandro Menezes, a biologist with Conservation International in Brazil, “and the forest comes down.”

Deforestation accounts for 20% of all current carbon emissions. So unless the world can eliminate emissions from all other sources–cars, power plants, factories, even flatulent cows–it needs to reduce deforestation or risk an environmental catastrophe. That means limiting the expansion of agriculture, a daunting task as the world’s population keeps expanding. And saving forests is probably an impossibility so long as vast expanses of cropland are used to grow modest amounts of fuel. The biofuels boom, in short, is one that could haunt the planet for generations–and it’s only getting started.

Read Full Article Here

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EU threatens sanctions on CO2 rebels

EU threatens sanctions on CO2 rebels

Press TV
March 13, 2008

The European Union threatens to impose trade sanctions on nations which fail to join a global climate deal to replace the Kyoto Protocol.

Nations that refuse to curb greenhouse gases will be told that they face trade sanctions if they try to gain a competitive advantage by continuing to allow cheap, high-pollution production.

The bloc mainly seeks ways to stop big companies relocating from Europe to countries that refuse to join a post-2012 climate change agreement in order to avoid the EU’s CO2 targets.

The European Commission President José Manuel Barroso told The Time that the EU could take protective measures sector by sector to safeguard European energy-intensive industries.

“We want a binding decision now that we will take measures to protect these industries in 2012 in case there is not agreement. It would be completely foolish for the Europe Union to export the pollution and the jobs because globally the effects on climate change will be just the same, only we lose the jobs and our industry,” Barroso said.

Barroso gave his strong support for the EU target for 10 percent of all fuel to be biofuels by 2020, rejecting ’exaggerated’ arguments that it had contributed to food price rises and shortages.

Barroso urged an international agreement on the types of biofuels that should be allowed but insisted that the EU targets would increase their sustainability.



Middle Class May Be Subject To Food Rations, Warns UN


Middle Class May Be Subject To Food Rations, Warns UN
Experts warn of food riots as foreign troops cleared to patrol American cities

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet
February 25, 2008

The UN is warning of a food shortage crisis and drawing up plans for food rations which will hit even middle-class suburban populations as inflation and economic uncertainty causes the prices of staple food commodities to skyrocket.

The United Nation’s World Food Programme cautions today that if it doesn’t receive more funding, it will have to halt food aid to developing countries like Mexico and China.

“The WFP crisis talks come as the body sees the emergence of a “new area of hunger” in developing countries where even middle-class, urban people are being “priced out of the food market” because of rising food prices,”reports the Financial Times.

The warning coincides with a speech by William Lapp, of US-based consultancy Advanced Economic Solutions, who cautioned that rising agricultural raw material prices would translate this year into sharply higher food inflation.

It also parallels a prediction by Don Coxe, a Chicago-based global portfolio strategist for BMO Financial Group who correctly forecast the fall of the dollar and the rise in price of gold and oil years in advance, who last week spoke of a “global food crisis” which will cause the world to enter into, “A period of food shortages and swiftly rising prices,” leading to government embargoes.

With the U.S. on the verge of a recession and, as many analysts have warned, a potential second great depression, those long scoffed at for hoarding vast quantities of storable food may unfortunately be able to say “I told you so” if the dollar continues to deteriorate and people begin to be priced out of the food market.

Global food prices have skyrocketed by as much as 60 per cent in the past year, while UN officials warn of the likelihood of food riots.

“If prices continue to rise, I would not be surprised if we began to see food riots,” said Jacques Diouf, director-general of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, last October.

Many see the food shortages, whether real or manufactured, as simply another pretext for the implementation of martial law and the introduction of foreign troops to patrol major U.S. cities.

A recent announcement by Northcom confirmed that U.S. and Canadian troops will be allowed to patrol each other’s countries in the event of a national emergency.

“U.S. Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart, commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, and Canadian Air Force Lt.-Gen. Marc Dumais, commander of Canada Command, have signed a Civil Assistance Plan that allows the military from one nation to support the armed forces of the other nation during a civil emergency,” reads a Northcom press release.

 

Shoppers Warned Food Prices Set To Rise

Financial Times
February 25, 2008

When William Lapp, of US-based consultancy Advanced Economic Solutions, took the podium at the annual US Department of Agriculture conference, the sentiment was already bullish for agricultural commodities boosted by demand from the biofuels industry and emerging countries.

He added a twist – that rising agricultural raw material prices would translate this year into sharply higher food inflation.

“I hope you enjoy your meal,” Mr Lapp told delegates during a luncheon. “It is the cheapest one you are going to have at this forum for a while.”

His warning that a strong wave of food inflation is heading towards the world economy was met by nods from agriculture traders, food industry executives and western’s government officials at the USDA’s annual Agricultural Outlook Forum.

Larry Pope, chief executive of Smithfield Foods, the largest US pork processor, warned delegates of a wave of “real food inflation” just at the time central banks were under pressure to cut interest rates.

“I think we need to tell the American consumer that [prices] are going up,” he said. “We’re seeing cost increases that we’ve never seen in our business.”

The comments highlighted one of the conference’s main concerns – that rising agricultural prices have reached a stage at which the impact will be felt not only on fresh food but will also filter through the supply chain and raise the cost of processed food.

Read Full Article Here

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Fed Lowers Interest Rates 50 Basis Points


Fed Lowers Interest Rates 50 Basis Points

Bloomberg
January 30, 2008

The Federal Reserve lowered its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point to 3 percent, the second cut in as many weeks, to prevent the U.S. economy from sinking into a recession.

“Today’s policy action, combined with those taken earlier, should help to promote moderate growth over time and to mitigate the risks to economic activity,” the Federal Open Market Committee said in a statement after meeting today in Washington. “However, downside risks to growth remain.”

Read Full Article Here

 

Morgan Stanley Strategist: Head For The Hills

Bloomberg
January 30, 2008

Barton Biggs has some offbeat advice for the rich: Insure yourself against war and disaster by buying a remote farm or ranch and stocking it with “seed, fertilizer, canned food, wine, medicine, clothes, etc.”

The “etc.” must mean guns.

“A few rounds over the approaching brigands’ heads would probably be a compelling persuader that there are easier farms to pillage,” he writes in his new book, “Wealth, War and Wisdom.”

Biggs is no paranoid survivalist. He was chief global strategist at Morgan Stanley before leaving in 2003 to form hedge fund Traxis Partners. He doesn’t lock and load until the last page of this smart look at how World War II warped share prices, gutted wealth and remains a warning to investors. His message: Listen to markets, learn from history and prepare for the worst.

Read Full Article Here

 

Chance of recession at least 50 percent: Greenspan

Reuters
January 30, 2008

Fbiiraqisbein_mn

The likelihood of the economy slipping into recession is at least 50 percent, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan was quoted on Wednesday as saying.

“I believe the probability of a recession is at least 50 percent, but up to now there are few signs that we are already in one,” Greenspan said in an interview with weekly newspaper Die Zeit published in German. “In my opinion, it will probably happen but the facts suggest we are not there yet.”

Asked whether central bankers and financial policymakers could head off a U.S. recession, Greenspan said: “Probably not. Global economic influences today are stronger than almost anything that monetary or fiscal policy can counter them with.”

“Long-term real interest rates have significantly more influence on the core of the economy than decisions by national governments,” he added. “And central banks have increasingly lost the ability to influence these long-term rates, whereas 20 or 30 years ago they still dominated there.

“So the more important question today is in which direction long-term real interest rates are heading.”

The Fed is expected to cut interest rates again on Wednesday as part of its effort to offset the effects of a deep housing slump and credit crunch. This cut would follow a 75 basis point reduction last week to 3.5 percent and mark one of the deepest and fastest rate-cutting episodes since the early 1980s.

The U.S. economy grew at a 4.9 percent annual rate in the third quarter of 2007, but gloomy economic data this month — notably a report of weak hiring in December — suggests growth has slowed abruptly.

 

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