President Obama declared to an impassioned crowd of students at North Carolina State University Wednesday, "If you love me, you got to help me pass this bill!" In an auditorium holding more than 9,000 people, the President rehashed the supposed economic benefits of his new $447 billion American Jobs Act, as he pleaded with the audience to help him win congressional support. But do the merits of the President’s latest legislative attempt at reviving the U.S. economy have any relation to the American citizenry’s emotional feelings for their country’s political "leadership?"
Using a copy of the bill as a stage prop, Obama ordered students: "For those of you who did skip class today, I’ve got a homework assignment for you.... Tell your Congressperson that the time for partisanship and politics is over.... The time for action is now.... Yes, we can," Obama clamored, evoking loud cheers from the crowd.
To the list of mega-corporations bailed out by the United States government, we now must add — Europe. In an announcement that rocked financial markets worldwide, the European Central Bank announced today a concerted effort in combination with four other major central banks — the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the Bank of Switzerland, and yes, the United States Federal Reserve — to use dollars rather than euros in an attempt to paper over the European Union’s economic woes.
Starting in October, the Federal Reserve and other major central banks will begin auctioning allotments of dollars to the European Central Bank, which will then use the new money to shore up shaky European megabanks. The allotments, which will have three-month maturities and will be structured like typical repurchase operations (“repos”), will be issued against euro-denominated collateral and repaid, with interest, in dollars. That, at least, is the theory.
Currency swaps involving the Federal Reserve and other central banks are nothing new, and have been a focal concern of Fed opponents like Congressman Ron Paul, who has long suggested that much of the Fed’s financial chicanery has been carried out in the form of such currency deals with foreign central banks, in total secrecy.
A U.S. House committee reported that President Obama’s aides pressed White House budget officials to review a $535 million federal loan guarantee to Solyndra, a failed solar-maker manufacturer that recently filed for bankruptcy protection. Republicans on a House Energy subcommittee released internal administration documents Wednesday revealing an attempt to expedite completion of the loan package so that Vice President Joe Biden could publicly announce the plan at a company event two years ago.
The report, which included findings of a seven-month investigation, was released before two administration officials were grilled about White House support to risk hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money for a speculative investment in energy technology. The Department of Energy and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) "did not take adequate steps to protect taxpayer dollars," read the report. "This was a half-billion-dollar mistake," asserted Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.).
Shortly after Solyndra shut down its operations, which resulted in 1,100 immediate layoffs, the FBI raided the company’s headquarters, because of allegations that executives knowingly misled the government to swindle more than $500 million in federal loan guarantees.
New regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have many people up in arms, including some unions. Aware that the regulations will be job-killers, the unions and small government advocate have actually discovered some common ground.
The Blaze reports:
A Texas company is suing to block new EPA “cross-state air pollution” rules. If the regulations are not changed, Luminant Energy claims it will be forced to close two plants and fire 500 people. Texas was not initially included in the new EPA rules that target sulphur-dioxin emissions with a mandate requiring a 64% reduction from 2010 levels, but in July the Lone Star state was added to the list.
According to the Titus County Chamber of Commerce Director Faustine Curry, the regulations would have a detrimental impact on the Texas economy.
“This would be devastating to the Northeast Texas economy — not just Titus County. In Titus County, we have the power plant, the mines,” Curry explained.
On September 13, 2011, Ron Paul chaired a hearing entitled "Road Map to Sound Money."
The dispute between Boeing and the National Labor Relations Board was addressed today by a vote in the House of Representatives. The measure in question is one that would minimize the NLRB’s enforcement power. It passed by a vote of 239-176. Six Democrats crossed party lines to vote in favor of the bill.
The bill, called “The Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act,” prohibits the labor board from “ordering any employer to close, relocate or transfer employment under any circumstances.”
The battle between Boeing and the NLRB erupted when the NLRB attempted to block Boeing’s plan to open a production facility in South Carolina, a right to work state. The disagreement between the NLRB and Boeing has prompted Congress to introduce the measure.
One of the expert witnesses testifying before Ron Paul’s Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology Subcommittee on Tuesday was Dr. Lawrence H. White, professor of Economics at George Mason University. His testimony reinforced the case for Paul’s bill, HR 1098, the “Free Competition in Currency Act of 2011” by outlining its benefits in introducing freedom of choice into the realm of currencies.
White compared competition in currencies to competition in package delivery services among Federal Express, United Parcel Service, and the U.S. Postal Service. That competition has lowered costs, accelerated delivery, increased reliability, and in general allowed better overall services to be provided for their customers. It also weeds out weak competition and rewards the most successful. He went further to explain that financial consumers today rely on banks to provide other services such as checking accounts, credit cards, and travelers checks — why not choices in currency? He noted, “Although Federal Reserve Notes … should of course be protected from counterfeiting, there is no good case for them to enjoy monopoly privileges in the market for currency.”
Taking a notably different tack from fellow Republicans in the House of Representatives, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) “fiercely attacked President Barack Obama’s new jobs plan Tuesday,” according to Politico. While House Republicans have taken what Rutgers University political science professor Ross Baker, in an interview with Congressional Quarterly, called a “tactically polite” approach to Obama’s $447 billion bill, McConnell came out swinging against it.
Making his first public comments on the bill, McConnell said, “The first thing to say about this plan is it’s now obvious why the president left out the specifics last week. Not only does it reveal the political nature of this bill, it also reinforces the growing perception that this administration isn’t all that interested in economic policies that will actually work.”
Anyone who doubts the bill is a political exercise need only consult a calendar and the latest opinion polls. With roughly 14 months to go until voters select the next President, Obama knows that unless he is perceived to be doing something about the stubbornly high unemployment rate, his already less-than-certain bid for reelection is almost surely doomed.
Ninety years ago — in 1921 — federal income tax policies reached an absurdity that many people today seem to want to repeat. Those who believe in high taxes on "the rich" got their way. The tax rate on people in the top income bracket was 73 percent in 1921. On the other hand, the rich also got their way: They didn't actually pay those taxes.
The number of people with taxable incomes of $300,000 a year and up — equivalent to far more than a million dollars in today's money — declined from more than a thousand people in 1916 to less than three hundred in 1921. Were the rich all going broke?
It might look that way. More than four-fifths of the total taxable income earned by people making $300,000 a year and up vanished into thin air. So did the tax revenues that the government hoped to collect with high tax rates on the top incomes.
Released on Tuesday, the Census Bureau’s annual report flashed a dismal economic outlook, showing that U.S. poverty has exceeded 46 million people — nearly 1 in 6 Americans — and the number without health insurance spiking from 49 million to almost 50 million. As unemployment continues to hover around 9 percent, many Americans are financially exhausted, as the overall poverty rate reached 15.1 percent, up from the 14.3 percent recorded the previous year. The number of Americans now below the poverty line is the highest number recorded since 1959, when the Census first started analyzing such data.
Bruce Meyer, a public policy professor at the University of Chicago, warns that poverty levels may further escalate, as the demand for food stamps rises and a "staggeringly high" number of Americans are becoming unemployed for more than 26 weeks. Professor Meyer notes that more than 6 million people are categorized as "long-term unemployed," and are more susceptible to falling into poverty.
Last year’s median household income was $49,445, a 2.3 percent decrease from 2009.