Economists polled by Reuters predicted that the recession in Europe that began late last year would continue into the new year and they weren’t disappointed. Reuters announced that economic output in the 17-member Euro zone declined by 0.3 percent in the last quarter of 2011, the sharpest since the second quarter of 2009 at the start of the recession. Those same economists are now predicting that European GDP growth will stay negative at least for the rest of the year with only modest chances of improvement in 2013.
Speaking in Milwaukee on February 15, President Obama, re-ignited a controversy on "global taxation" set off by his top economic adviser during comments on the administration’s budget on Monday. Gene Sperling, Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Director of President Obama’s National Economic Council (NEC), caused a commotion this week with his statement that the Obama administration favors “a global minimum tax.”
Adding to the growing list of failed "green" energy companies, another solar firm filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Tuesday in hopes of selling off its solar power subsidiaries and other assets. Energy Conversion Devices Inc. (ECD), a Michigan-based manufacturer of thin-film solar laminates (product shown at left), said it will continue to operate through the bankruptcy and sale process.
A shave and a haircut will cost you more than two bits just about anywhere, but it’ll run you over two Hamiltons at the U.S. Senate barbershop — more than double what barbers in some parts of the country charge. Yet despite these high prices, the shop, which is supposed to be self-sustaining, ended up $300,000 in the hole last year and got its own taxpayer bailout, proving once again that government is incapable of performing even the smallest tasks cheaply and competently.
Although Barack Obama is the first black President of the United States, he is by no means unique, except for his complexion. He follows in the footsteps of other presidents with a similar vision, the vision at the heart of the Progressive movement that flourished a hundred years ago.
The deadline for comments on the proposed Volcker Rule was Monday night and hundreds, if not thousands, of letters arrived at the last minute to rail against the rule, mostly from Wall Street. The Volcker Rule — which would prohibit banks from trading with their own money — was proposed last summer by former chairman of the Federal Reserve Paul Volcker, who said in a letter to President Obama that they shouldn’t be gambling with money guaranteed by the taxpayers. Big losses by government-backed banks that were trading in risky securities such as mortgage-backed assets precipitated the financial crisis in 2008 and set up the need for federal bailouts of those banks.
Following the approval of fresh austerity measures in Greece demanded by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund to qualify for the next round of bailouts, furious rioters clashed with police and set dozens of buildings on fire in Athens. But despite the ongoing conflicts between law enforcement and protesters, the Greek police union has threatened to arrest senior EU and IMF officials, too.
The numbers posted at Investors Business Daily over the weekend by John Merline were impressive: U.S. manufacturing profits last year exceeded $600 billion, almost tripling since the bottom of the recession, while jobs in manufacturing have increased by 400,000 in the past two years. Unemployment in manufacturing has been below the national average for eight straight months, and the industry itself has been growing at three times the rate of the overall economy.
For weeks now politicians in New York have debated ad nauseum Assemblyman Sheldon Silver’s proposal to increase the minimum wage in New York State by $1.25. The argument — whether to maintain the status quo or strive for $8.50 per hour — is wasteful political rhetoric in itself, for the determination of the wage scale is best left to the free markets.
The debt chickens are coming home to roost in Greece, and the hen house is collapsing. As the hard-pressed Greek parliament convened to vote on an enormously unpopular austerity measure insisted upon by international bankers with the power to prolong Greece’s agony with another bailout, furious mobs set Athens ablaze and fought pitched battles with police. On Monday morning, Greeks surveyed with horror the smoldering rubble of more than 90 buildings across the capital. The popular consensus: this is just the beginning.