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The weather may have sizzled in July, but it wasn't such a hot month for the U.S. economy. Private employers added 71,000 jobs during the month, about half what had been expected, keeping the unemployment rate at a nagging 9.5 percent.

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Following in the footsteps of 2008's dismal economic news, global manufacturing has fallen to low levels unseen for decades. In the U.S., factory activity has dropped to a 28-year low, marking a slump that further adds to the bad economic trends as we enter 2009.

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Following the string of economic crises across the globe, financial elites are planning to meet in Washington this weekend to address how to resolve the problems of global capitalism. Notably missing from the proceedings is any representative from the developing world.

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The International Monetary Fund, the darling lending institution of neoliberal capitalists, believes that the US's current mortgage crisis is dragging down the world economy The IMF is predicting at least a two-year global economic downturn, led by the U credit crunch, that also has a gambling chance of turning into a "global recession".

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How could the $720 million the U.S. is currently spending on the Iraq war each day be put to better use? Well, how about paying for the health care costs of 423,529 children? Or giving 34,904 college students four-year scholarships, or providing 6,482 families with homes?

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Molly Ivins is on vacation. In this column from 2001, she argues that in a country where CEOs make 475 times the salary of their employees, most people's "economic freedom" is limited to a choice between cinnamon- and mint-flavored toothpaste.

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The director of the Education Leadership Program at UCLA forcefully argues that public education funds must be diverted from bloated bureaucracies and redirected into the schools, where principals, teachers and parents can meaningfully influence what is being taught.

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