Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

Roundup of news from across the nation…

In “liberal” Maryland, the House of Delegates voted 120-13 on HB 739 which cuts taxes for the wealthiest 3% in the state. Not only is this ironic because it’s a move that Democrats typically bash Republicans for but the previous day the state revealed that it’s in a massive budget predicament and is looking to cut $300 million from teacher’s and state employee’s pensions.

Arkansas judge states “Sluts are just whores in training” and other ‘nice’ pearls of wisdom: http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/03/07/3376181/sluts-are-just-whores-in-training-and-other-wisdom-offered-by-a-sitting-arkansas-judge/

A woman’s actions to live “off the grid” declared illegal by judge: http://naturalsociety.com/women-fights-sovereignty-judge-declares-living-grid-illegal/

Since American Live Wire started as a part of Enigma Underground Radio… posting a bit of music. Give this one a listen and support the message!

 

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Congressional Democrats are exploring the possibility of extending a number of benefits and credits that would total nearly $200 billion, but these costs would come in addition to the current $787 billion stimulus package. This proposal would include unemployment and health benefits, extending a tax credit for first-time homebuyers, and creating a new credit for employers who add jobs. Also under consideration is a Republican proposal that would allow companies operating in the red to receive tax refunds from the previous five years instead of the two currently allowed by law.

The costs add up quickly. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, extending unemployment benefits through next year would cost about $100 billion. Economists estimate that if the homebuyer tax credit were to be extended to summer 2010, the costs would add up to the tune of about $16.7 billion. An employer tax credit proposal that had been removed from the stimulus plan was calculated to cost $19.5 billion. Unknown is what an extended tax refund would look like or how much it would cost to extend subsidies for laid-off employees who are having to utilize the very expensive COBRA health plan, but the current program that runs until the end of 2009 costs about $25 billion. Toss into the mix that President Obama would like to spend an additional $13 to $14 billion on $250 payments to Social Security recipients, and the proposals could quickly add up to nearly $200 billion.

More information: Proposed economic relief not part of stimulus

With more than three quarters of the $787 billion stimulus money still available, a number of lawmakers have suggested that President Obama’s proposal to give a one-time $250 Social Security payment to recipients should come from those funds. It could be viewed as a kind gesture toward a segment of the population the President has polarized, but have the ramifications been thought out?

For the first time in 34 years, there will be no cost-of-living adjustment to Social Security benefits since consumer prices fell last quarter. The announcement was made by the Labor Department Thursday morning, but in anticipation of that news, the White House announced Wednesday night that the president would support a one-time $250 payment to help support seniors who are used to receiving a boost in their monthly checks each January.

Republican leaders, however, believe these checks, which would surmount to a total of $13 billion, should come from the stimulus plan and should not be added to the nation’s mounting deficit. Said House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), “The stimulus bill is not working. The American people are asking, ‘Where are the jobs?’ And if we’re going to provide this benefit to our seniors, why don’t we take it from stimulus funds that clearly aren’t getting the job done?”

Clearly. Numbers released earlier this month showed that unemployment in September had risen to 9.8 percent with total job losses tallying up to 263,000, more than 80,000 higher than what Wall Street had expected. According to Recovery.gov, only 30,383 jobs have been created from roughly $16 billion, which amounts to about $533,000 per job “saved or created.”

A number of lawmakers view Obama’s proposal as a politically motivated giveaway to seniors since polls show that very few senior citizens support the current health care bill.

More information: The Examiner

So much for that stimulus package creating more jobs. The unemployment numbers for September were released on Friday and they had risen to 9.8 percent. Wall Street had expected 180,000 job losses, but the total came in at 263,000. President Obama, if one recalls, had promised that unemployment would not exceed 8 percent because the “emergency” stimulus plan that was rammed through was supposed to be so fantastic. But hey, at least we’ll have all those shiny propaganda signs out on the roads letting us know that the money is being spent somewhere… at more than $1000 a clip for a piece of painted sheet metal.

Vice President Joe Biden tried to ease concerns by saying that the rate of unemployment has slowed and he’s confident we’re going to recover. Of course we’ll eventually recover if capitalism is left to do its thing. The Obama administration likes to point back at the policies of Roosevelt during the Great Depression, but FDR’s policies did more to muddle the situation for twelve years than actually help, and it took World War II with its military enlistment and need for new industry to break us out.

To be fair, Roosevelt did create some jobs with programs like the Tennessee Valley Authority which involved dam construction to bring electricity to southern farms. Other programs built schools and roads. Workers also flocked to such projects like the construction of the Hoover Dam and the Empire State Building. These jobs provided a temporary boost to families to help them get through the times. Could our government be doing anything like this? Sure, we can point to those road construction zones that are sporting those outrageously overpriced signs (hint: give the sign money to the workers!). How about that gaping hole in New York City known as Ground Zero that should have new buildings on it eight years after they were brought down. You mean to tell me you can’t round up all those unemployed right now to reconstruct the towers? Americans would be damn proud to work on that project.

Instead, we’re fed a load of rhetoric and are taxed to pay for that failing stimulus package. Somehow this is supposed to make us feel better about the possibility of government-run health care? The government needs to prove it can handle its own business first before it even thinks about trying to handle ours.

On September 8, we posted an article about Ron Bloom, our new manufacturing czar, and his involvement with the sale of steel manufacturer Wheeling-Pitt to Esmark which was subsequently sold to OAO Severstal, the largest steel producer in Russia. The deal placed more than half of the U.S. steel industry in the hands of foreign powers. With last week’s controversy over the abandoned missile shield in Poland, a shield which Moscow criticized but was to thwart Iranian missiles, it’s becoming clearer that many roads are leading to Russia. After all, at the end of the week President Obama had set up a business meeting with General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

GE has been looking to further expand its Russian interests. The meeting with Putin was an effort to prioritize Asian resources since Immelt believes Russia can be a great leader in energy and technology. This is not GE’s first foray into Russia. GE Energy’s Sales, Service and Technology Center in Moscow was established in March and GE owns DeltaBank, a Russian financial leader and that country’s largest issuer of credit cards. Incidentally, GE Money also owns Bank BPH, Poland’s third largest bank.

Additionally, GE manages Russian interests in the United States, in particular with Severstal. GE Corporate Lending backed the financing for Severstal steel mill construction in Columbus, Mississippi, and also provided $200 million to Severstal Warren (OH). However, GE isn’t the only major U.S. company cutting deals with Russia. In a deal orchestrated by the U.S. government, GM has sold off its European unit Opel to Canadian auto parts maker Magna and its partner, the Kremlin-controlled bank Sberbank.

With all these Russian financial deals, missile stand-downs, and our president setting up meetings between Immelt and Putin, does this mean that Russia is now our ally? Hardly.

Since July, Russia has:

More concerning is Russia’s relationship with Iran. We’ve been led to believe that Russia will help us negotiate sanctions with Iran, but why would they? Russia has been Iran’s leading supplier of weapons for years and in 2005 they cut a deal with Iran to supply them with nuclear fuel. Now Iran is on the verge of developing nuclear weapons. Just recently, Russia and Iran operated a joint military exercise in the Caspian Sea. And remember that abandoning the Polish missile shield against Iran made Russia happy.

Will the real America please stand up? We elected our officials into office in order to represent the will of the people. Is this our will? Letting Russian companies take over and cuts deals with American industry while they sell weapons to Iran, Venezuela, and Syria? Whatever game the administration is playing with the Russians, they’re losing.

Sales,Sales, Seri
Services and Technology Center in Moscow

President Obama spoke on Wall Street today about today’s economy a year after the Lehman Brothers collapse, crediting his $787 billion stimulus package for saving America from a second Great Depression. While natural market behavior has stabilized the economy, unemployment has continued to increase (in fact, only $90 billion of the $787 billion was supposed to potentially go toward job creation), the president’s 10-year budget deficit estimate has increased from $7 trillion to $9 trillion, and the housing market remains depressed. Obama’s only defense seems to be a claim that the economy would be worse without the stimulus, because it’s certainly not better.

Still, Obama is urging “the most ambitious overhaul of the financial regulatory system since the Great Depression.” Part of his proposed plan is to create a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency and the put regulations in place that would discourage companies from getting too big. Oh, good… let’s spend money on yet another government organization and then put rules in place to discourage capitalism. Obama also repeated in his speech that he believes in the free market system, yet he keeps encouraging the increased intrusion of the government into the market.

The president also decided to tick off China today by raising tariffs on imported tires by 35%. While he did this in the name of saving American jobs (namely, United Steelworkers jobs which will please new manufacturing czar Ron Bloom who came from USW), many experts predict this will cost America 20,000 tire-related jobs and, as expected, will create a tense relationship with China from whom we’re borrowing money. China subsequently filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization against the U.S.

Back to the Obama health care plan, for those that seem to have bought into the president’s rhetoric that abortion isn’t included, think again. You can argue about whether or not “preventative care” refers to abortion or not since the same statutes in Medicare about prenatal care that have already been interpreted by the courts as “abortion services” is also included in this health care bill (Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel, American Center for Law and Justice), but this slick little move seems clear enough. The package calls for medical clinics to be placed in or very near schools, which sounds nice, but guess who’s going to run those clinics? Planned Parenthood — which will also be funded by this bill. In a 2007 speech to Planned Parenthood, Obama stated that “reproductive care” is at the center of his health care plan.

Oh… and $10 billion is going to the AFL-CIO in his plan… the same AFL-CIO that helped him get elected and where he’s speaking at tomorrow on his current campaign tour.

Quick tort reform comment… Texas and California have alrady been doing it for years. Insurance premiums in Texas have dropped 30% and in California 40%.

ACORN Update: Mike Johann’s amendment to cut off current ACORN housing funds has passed 83-7.

Everyone is writing about health care tonight, so I’ll try to remain as brief and pointed as possible, but I won’t be late to my own party like Barack Obama.

1. I can’t believe that Obama actually thinks we’re gullible enough to believe that his plan isn’t going to cost us a dime. He essentially told us in the same breath that he wasn’t going to get the money from Medicare, but we were going to get the money from Medicare. Yes, he said that… with a few words in between. Where is he going to get the money out of Medicare? He says it’s in waste that if we ran it right then we could get the money. Um… ok. Well, if he’s known that this waste exists then why hasn’t he already done something to get rid of it? You don’t need to pass a health care plan to clean up extra expenditure in Medicare. Just do it.

2. At one point it seemed like Obama was going to introduce interstate health care competition and he gave a great example with the state of Alabama in which 90% of its population is using only one health insurance company. Instead he proposed that this would be an opportunity for people to use the government plan. Isn’t that just swell? Instead of only having one choice, now you have a whole two! Interstate competition would go far in dropping the prices of health insurance.

3. Obama kept claiming that those that already have insurance aren’t required to start using the government-run plan, and that is essentially true at the outset. But if your employer decides to drop your private health insurance for the government plan then you now have government-run health insurance anyway. By not opening up interstate health insurance and competition, the government is practically guaranteeing that they’re going to provide the lower-cost plan and eventually bring in most everyone into the system anyway, (especially with all the new rules he’s proposing to set against insurance companies that, while I do agree with a few, will raise premiums). There’s also the neat trick of slapping employers with a fine for not providing health insurance, but since the fine would be lower than providing it they’d simply drop their coverage and let their employees get on the government plan.

4. Obama was pretty slick on the double-talk throughout the speech. I already mentioned the Medicare contradiction. He sounded firm that he wanted the public option which brought a standing ovation from the left, but then went on to say that he’d be willing to listen to alternate plans from the right. For a moment it seemed be was going to address tort reform when he brought up malpractice suits which drive up costs of health care, drawing a loud ovation from Republicans, but when it came to offering a solution he only said that it’s something he’d look into.

What the speech came down to was that Barack Obama again proved he’s a slick-talking salesman in long-winded fashion. However, his content was essentially the same yet again – full of double-talk and of more empty promises than legitimate solutions.

As far as Joe Wilson’s outburst…

…the critics on the left apparently have a double standard:

Of course, neither even came close to Congressman Preston Brooks’ (D-SC) beating of Senator Charles Sumner (R-MA) in the Senate chamber on May 22, 1856, an act which helped fuel the beginning of the Civil War:

Our new manufacturing czar, Ron Bloom, has a background as a special assistant to the president of the United Steelworkers union and is known as a “savvy negotiator — with a tendency to spout profanities.” He has also been described by the Wall Street Journal as someone people in the USW thought was “too cozy with the moneymen.” These descriptions, however, are just a quick glimpse into what is an American tragedy.

In 2006, the Brazillian steel giant CSN attempted to merge with the Wheeling-Pittsburgh, Corp., a leading U.S. Steel manufacturer. The USW and Ron Bloom, however, fought a proxy battle in which they found an alternate bidder in Chicago-based Esmark Inc. in 2007. At the time it seemed like a great win for U.S. interests, but the story doesn’t end there.

The following year Esmark was bought by OAO Severstal, Russia’s largest steel producer, a deal which placed over 50 percent of the U.S. steel industry under the control of foreign powers. Who was behind that bid from Severstal? “The Steelworkers have been behind a $17-per-share offer from Russia’s OAO Severstal.”

http://www.hsconnect.com/page/content.detail/id/504773.html?nav=5010&showlayout=0

http://www.forbes.com/2008/06/17/severstal-esmark-update-markets-equity-cx_ra_0617markets38.html

Later this month, Esmark CEO Craig T. Bouchard is releasing a book titled America for Sale: How the Foreign Pack Circled and Devoured Esmark. It is described as:

America for Sale recaps the amazing, sometimes incredible events leading up to the sale of Esmark, including intense pressure from the United Steelworkers and the company’s major public shareholder to make a decision not in the best interest of all shareholders. It also analyzes the efforts by the Esmark board of directors to observe its fiduciary duty, details the company’s “poison pill” effort to raise its sales price, and describes the actions of Leo Gerard and Ron Bloom of the United Steelworkers Union—which led to some surprising alliances.”

Bouchard’s concern is that transactions that place control of so much of U.S. manufacturing in the hands of foreign companies is dangerous for America’s economic future. Yet, our new manufacturing czar supported selling our steel interests to Russia.

Questions:

With Ron Bloom now in a position of power in the new administration, what other U.S. industries will come under control of foreign interests? Is what we’re seeing the foundation of establishing a global economy by blurring the lines between U.S. and foreign companies and bringing so many more U.S. workers under the umbrella of foreign employers?

Other information:

Michelle Malkin » Out: Commie Truther green jobs czar. In: Union hack “manufacturing” czar

AYFS » Oh, yeah. That’s what will help the manufacturing sector. A union boss, raised as a socialist, as a “manufacturing czar”.

Hold your breath. Seriously.

In a move that would bypass legislation, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is on the verge of declaring carbon dioxide and five other emissions dangerous pollutants. Should this happen, the federal government would then be required to impose regulations on those emissions per the Clean Air Act.

Trapped under the umbrella of climate change, the current administration would be free to impose the emission regulations they want without legislation, but they are faced with a challenging dilemma. Humans expel carbon dioxide when they breathe. How does a government regulate that? Furthermore, methane, another emission on the dangerous pollutant list, is expelled by gassy cows. How is the government supposed to regulate that?

While those kinds of regulations may seem a bit far-fetched, what this EPA decision does do is free up the administration from having to pass “cap-and-trade” legislation and can implement it directly by using the Clean Air Act loophole. With cap-and-trade, President Obama has already promised that energy bills would sky-rocket.

Sort of makes me want to expel like a gassy cow.

Questions: How does a government regulate emissions of its own people and livestock? Is this just a loophole to get cap-and-trade passed via the Clean Air Act?

Petrobas: Major Brazillian oil company interested in offshore drilling.

George Soros: Major contributor to the Obama campaign with a financial interest in Petrobas.

Barack Obama: In the midst of U.S. financial turmoil agrees to give $2 billion dollars to Petrobas to explore offshore drilling after denouncing the practice.

The obvious: Conflict of interest. It’s a blatant payback to a campaign financial backer.

The questions: How does investing in Brazillian offshore oil break our country of oil dependency from other countries? If the administration spent so much time selling us on how “bad” offshore drilling is to our environment, why are they throwing $2 billion dollars at it? In our current economy, aren’t there so many other things for which we ought to consider spending $2 billion?

From the world of private investigator Chase Michael DeBarlo:

“Did you really think you were going to fool everyone, Hack?”

Hack Tucker, a gang leader in Fallsbury, slumped in front of me and spat at the ground. “I needed to pay him back, man. He’s the one that set me up with the hall to begin with. I owed hin.”

I shook my head. “But you didn’t really have the money to begin with. So you took whatever cash you had in your gambling den and gave it to Colino hoping no one else would notice? No wonder they tried to kill you when the money dried up.”

Hack shrugged. “I’m still alive and Colino will probably set me up again. It ain’t really that bad.”

I shook my head yet again. “Good luck regaining everyone’s trust.”