Last updated: February 16. 2013 2:26AM - 270 Views

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When you read news stories for a living, not a whole lot is surprising. Greed, corruption, crime and incompetence are frequent themes on the business pages, financial websites and Bloomberg television. Sometimes, though, a statement or report jumps out to provide insight into the fundamental causes of fiscal breakdown. Here are a few gems collected in just the past few weeks:

An economist, after an encouraging report on consumer confidence:

"People are back to spending most of the additional income that they get, so as employment increases and you get some meager (italic added) increases in wages, they do feed through to more spending."

You think if the wage increases were more than meager things would get better faster?

From an AP story on economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2011:

"Growth would have been stronger last quarter if not for a steep drop in government spending. Cuts in federal defense spending, along with reduced spending at the state and local levels, shaved nearly a full point off growth."

Still think government isn't a legitimate part of the economy?

From a Bloomberg BusinessWeek story on the plight of the rich:

"People who don't have money don't understand the stress," said Alan Dlugash, a partner at accounting firm Marks Paneth & Shron LLP in New York who specializes in financial planning for the wealthy. "Could you imagine what it's like to say I got three kids in private school, I have to think about pulling them out? How do you do that?"

99 percenters just don't get it.

A March 4 Washington Post story about the foreclosure crisis:

"The eviction from their million-dollar home could come at any moment. Keith and Janet Ritter have been bracing for it — and battling against it — almost from the moment they moved into the five-bedroom, 4,900-square-foot manse along the Potomac River in Fort Washington.

In five years, they have never made a mortgage payment, a fact that amazes even the most seasoned veterans of the foreclosure crisis."

Is anyone not amazed?

From a FEMA press release:

"The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency announced today (Feb. 29) the approval of a grant totaling more than $1 million to elevate 11 residential structures in Gloucester County, VA.

The properties were damaged as a result of repetitive flooding.

These grants are administered through FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. Under the HMGP, FEMA elevates at-risk properties so the owners can reduce risk while without having to leave their community."

Wouldn't it be cheaper to pay them to move away?

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