The announcement by the Federal Reserve of an “enforcement action” against Goldman Sachs for engaging in “a pattern of misconduct and negligence” in its handling of home mortgage loans was entirely predictable. Charges of such misconduct go back for months when it was first discovered that mortgages and other mortgage-related documents had been “robo-signed” and foreclosure documents hadn’t been properly reviewed and that Goldman’s Litton Loan Servicing unit took actions “without always confirming that documentation of ownership was in order.”
The ruling requires Goldman to write down some mortgages that it holds, pay an unstated restitution, and provide “remediation” to homeowners who were hurt in the collapse. The ruling doesn’t preclude other enforcement actions from state banking regulators who are continuing their investigations into the matter, either, so additional sanctions may reasonably be expected soon.
Wisconsin public employees unions were not able to stop Governor Walker’s plan to remove benefits from the items subject to collective bargaining. The unions first persuaded Wisconsin state senators to flee to Illinois, so that a quorum could not be formed to conduct business on that issue in the Wisconsin legislature. Then these unions thronged Madison, trying to intimidate Republican state legislators; these legislators, however, refused to be intimidated. State Supreme Court elections, which once were pro forma referenda on the ethics and competence of justices, was transformed into an ideological policy issue in which Judge Prosser was targeted for elimination because it was felt that he would uphold the constitutionality of Walker’s reforms; that failed too. Finally, public employees unions tried to recall enough Republican state senators to tip control of the state senate back to Democrats; that failed too.
President Obama has nominated Princeton University’s Alan Krueger for Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), and if approved by the Senate, Krueger, a labor economist and the Treasury Department’s former chief economist, will replace Austan Goolsbee. "I am very pleased to appoint Alan and I look forward to working with him," Obama stated, shifting his eyes between two flat-screen teleprompters during a statement on Monday. "I have nothing but confidence in Alan as he takes on this important role as one of the leaders of my economic team."
In some of the most incendiary, irrational rhetoric yet from the Congressional Black Caucus, Democratic Rep. Andre Carson (left) of Indiana has said members of the conservative Tea Party want to murder blacks.
After collecting $535 million in loan guarantees from the federal government, solar technology manufacturer Solyndra is shutting down its operations, as hundreds of employees were turned away Wednesday morning. Just last year, the Silicon Valley solar panel maker drew valiant praise from President Obama for being an "innovator" in solar technology, while the President touted the economic opportunity for thousands of "green" jobs.
Solyndra’s grievous acknowledgement resulted in immediate layoffs for 1,100 workers. "We are incredibly proud of our employees, and we would like to thank our investors, channel partners, customers and suppliers for the years of support that allowed us to bring our innovative technology to market," said Chief Executive Officer Brian Harrison. "This was an unexpected outcome and is most unfortunate."
The other night I was watching interviewer Piers Morgan, CNN’s replacement for Larry King, who retired from TV in December 2010. Morgan was interviewing Arianna Huffington, the Greek-American political commentator-activist, whose Internet journal, the Huffington Post, or HuffPo, is comprised of daily comments from liberal bloggers and columnists. The subject was the American Dream and what’s happened to it.
They both agreed that the great entrepreneurial spirit that drove the American economy to heights of ingenious productivity was somewhat lacking. They blamed it on all sorts of factors, but neither Morgan nor Huffington was willing to acknowledge that socialist societies generally kill entrepreneurial freedom and enterprise. Neither did they acknowledge that the American government had become too big and too intrusive in the lives of its citizens. Of course, Morgan had been born in 1965 in socialist England and came to socialist America just a few years ago. So he simply doesn’t know what it was like to live in an America where true economic freedom once existed.
Nor was Ms. Huffington any more enlightening. She came from socialist Greece, which has now reached the end of its rope, married a rich Californian and has no idea how a free economy works.
Seattle reaped the benefit of a $20 million federal grant to weatherize homes in one of America’s "greenest" cities, and 16 months later, a whopping 14 jobs were created — making the cost per job a wondrous $1,428,571. "The jobs are not there," Todd Myers, author of the book Eco Fads, told Fox News. "So we’re training people for jobs that don’t exist." (In his famous October 27, 1964 speech in behalf of presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan noted that Lyndon Johnson's "War on Poverty" proposed job training camps "that we're going to spend each year just on room and board for each young person we help 4,700 dollars a year. We can send them to Harvard for 2,700!")
Last year, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn skipped to Washington to blazon the new "green jobs" initiative that is supposed to create at least 2,000 jobs and shrink Seattle’s carbon footprint by insulating attics and crawl spaces in thousands of homes. But the project has fallen way short of its goals.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported on the federal government’s latest environmental hoax:
Across the fruited plain, the average price of a gallon of gasoline is $3.62, a full dollar higher than it was just one year ago. Of that $3.62, 18.4 cents go directly to the federal government, which then disburses most of it to states for road construction and repair.
One might conclude that reducing or eliminating the federal gas tax would help stimulate the economy by leaving more money in the hands of individual Americans. President Barack Obama, on the other hand, thinks that the way to stimulate economic growth is to continue taking that money out of the private sector and spending it on projects that benefit labor unions and other politically favored entities. Therefore, he is sounding the alarm that if Congress fails to pass a transportation spending bill whose “key component is the federal gas tax,” according to FoxNews.com, the federal government will be deprived of billions of dollars in revenue, and as many as one million jobs could be lost. (Revenue and jobs denied to politically powerless Americans because of the ongoing levy don’t count in Obama’s world.)
President Obama sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) Tuesday detailing seven new regulations that would each cost the U.S. economy more than $1 billion annually. With regulatory costs for American businesses of at least $38 billion per year and compliance costs of $100 billion per year, the seven proposed regulations would target transportation and the environment.
Boehner wrote the President last Friday, "The economy cannot withstand the barrage of major new federal regulations planned by the administration." He noted that the Obama Administration’s regulatory agenda counters Obama’s proclaimed motive to reduce burdens on American businesses. Boehner further noted that during the President’s tenure 219 rules have been proposed, each projected to cost at least $100 million.
Obama’s regulatory proposal includes four rules from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and three from the Department of Transportation (DOT). An air-quality standards rule alone could cost between $19 billion and $90 billion per year for the U.S. economy.
According to Laura Chanthalath, manager at High’s Chimney Service, business is booming. Located in Gaithersburg, Maryland, her company might rebuild one chimney a day during the summer when business is slow. But now, thanks to Irene, “We’re completely booked. This has been a big boost to our business because the summer is extremely slow, especially in the chimney business. So it’s been good for us.”
Not counting lost man-hours and production, Irene is estimated to have cost at least $20 billion but, as the Washington Times wrote, “Economists say much of the rebuilding of roads, bridges and buildings, along with retail purchases … will recoup virtually all of the losses in the coming years.”