Robert Johnson, business magnate and founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), has joined the mounting list of CEOs and business leaders who are questioning President Obama’s incessant demagoguing of America’s wealthy. On "Fox News Sunday," Johnson suggested that the President "recalibrate his message," so as not to "demean" or "attack" the achievements of so many hardworking Americans. "I’ve earned my right to fly private if I choose to do so," he declared, "and by attacking me, [Obama] is not going to convince me that I should take a bigger hit because I happen to be wealthy."
Although Johnson did not directly address President Obama’s "Buffett Rule" (a proposal that would allow millionaires to pay a lesser share of their income in taxes than middle-income earners pay, such as Warren Buffett's secretary), he grimaced at the notion of raising taxes on the wealthy, as he described how he joined the business world to "create jobs and opportunity [and] create value for myself and my investors." Raising taxes and alienating America’s job producers would only suppress such ambition, he implied.
According to Harvey Rosenblum, a top economist at the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank, the American economy is at the “knife edge” between growth and contraction. He spoke at a forum sponsored by the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce on September 27. “We are in the midst of the Second Great Contraction,” he observed, adding that he didn’t think that “monetary policy tweaks” would help much. “The patient isn’t responding well to the medicine,” he said.
And so, the Fed’s inflationary policy is not creating job growth. But, according to Bernanke, it may be preventing deflation, which led to the Great Depression. But while the private sector has formidable assets which could become the basis for future prosperity, unfortunately we are stuck in the mire of uncertainty that socialist Obama and his leftist colleagues have driven us into.
And there are good reasons why this economy is treading water. First, we have a horrendous national debt which Obama refuses to reduce. Indeed, he and his socialist buddies want more debt in order to destroy our capitalist system. In fact, he has engineered the largest expansion of government in U.S. history by enacting ObamaCare, which will increase the national debt even more.
The 12-member congressional supercommittee created by the August debt-ceiling deal is tasked with finding $1.5 trillion in cuts to the federal budget over the next decade. With that kind of money on the line, was there ever any doubt that lobbyists would come knocking on the committee’s door?
In fact, says the Washington Post, “nearly 100 registered lobbyists who used to work for members of the supercommittee are now representing defense companies, health-care conglomerates, Wall Street banks and others with a vested interest in the outcome of the panel’s work.” In addition, writes the paper, half the members of the committee — three Democrats and three Republicans — “also employ former lobbyists on their staffs.”
Furthermore, notes Poltico, while the supercommittee “has met more frequently in secret than publicly and has rejected calls to disclose its donors and post its documents online,” lobbyists are having relatively little difficulty finding out what’s going on behind closed doors.
Last Friday Laksman Achuthan, co-founder of Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI), announced that not only has the economy entered a new recession, but that “it’s going to get a lot worse. The vicious cycle is starting where lower sales, lower production, lower employment and lower income [leads] back to lower sales … you haven’t seen anything yet.” Despite some evidence that the economy is growing in places, it’s not enough to overcome the significant array of indicators that Achuthan has used successfully for years to predict the economy. According to The Economist, ECRI has never issued a “false alarm,” and this time should be no different.
On his website, Achuthan stated:
Early last week, ECRI notified clients that the U.S. economy is indeed tipping into a new recession. And there’s nothing that policy makers can do to head it off.
ECRI’s recession call isn’t based on just one or two leading indexes, but on dozens of specialized leading indexes, including the U.S. Long Leading Index, which was the first to turn down — before the Arab Spring and Japanese earthquake — to be followed by downturns in the Weekly Leading Index and other shorter-leading indexes…
The stock market in Europe took another hard hit when the Greek Finance Minister announced that his nation’s government will not meet its deficit reduction goals.
After the cabinet meeting, the Finance Minister said that the Greek national deficit would be $25.2 billion or 8.5 percent of the nation’s GDP, compared with the target goal of $22.8 billion or 7.6 percent of GDP. Even this projection was issued with caution. In an official statement the Finance Ministry said: "Three critical months remain to finish 2011, and the final estimate of 8.5 percent of GDP deficit can be achieved if the state mechanism and citizens respond accordingly."
In that cabinet meeting on Sunday, a draft budget for 2012 was approved. It was this meeting that produced the projected deficit of 8.5 percent. It issued more bad news: The Greek economy will shrink even faster than was previously stated. A 5.5 percent reduction in GDP is now projected for this year. The government tried to sound steady and sure. Minister George Papandreou told an extraordinary Cabinet meeting Sunday to approve a 2012 draft budget: "I want to repeat that we will be unswerving in our goal — to fulfill all that we have promised to ensure the credibility of our country.”We have a single and steady goal — to meet our commitments so that we guarantee our credibility." Papandreou’s budget called for reducing the pay, firing, or forcing into early retirement 30,000 government workers.
The name John Gorrie is little known today, though a sculpture commemorating his contributions to the lives of every American stands in National Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C. He is the father of refrigeration and air conditioning, and by virtue of that title can also be considered one of the founding fathers of our modern industrial economy.
Gorrie was born 208 years ago today on an island in the Caribbean and grew up in South Carolina. He went on to earn a medical degree in New York. But it was on the Gulf Coast of Florida where he settled in 1833 that his medical research evolved into a life-long quest to combat the effects of temperature and climate on disease. He saw his patients at the U.S. Marine hospital in Apalachicola suffering from malaria and yellow fever. Popular thought at the time attributed such tropical diseases to bad air. (The word malaria means "bad air disease.")
He set up a primitive cooling system in the sickroom with ice-filled basins suspended from the ceiling. When his supply of ice was interrupted by regional trade disputes, he concocted the first patented ice-making machine in history. Gorrie also had the foresight to drain area swamps and use mosquito netting in the hospital long before the protozoan source of malaria was discovered.
As the “Occupy Wall Street” protests in New York and global “solidarity” demonstrations continue gaining support — especially among labor unions and socialist groups — reports of alleged police brutality and mass arrests are helping to propel the purportedly “leaderless” movement into the media spotlight around the world.
Before the events officially got underway on September 17, organizations affiliated with the movement insisted the so-called “occupation” and “Day of Rage” would be non-violent. At the same time, however, organizers were disseminating instructions on how to engage in civil disobedience, resist arrest, and even disrupt court proceedings.
While the protests — far smaller than the 20,000 hoped for by activists — began relatively unnoticed in terms of media coverage, that is quickly changing. Recent police actions have helped garner unprecedented publicity and even some sympathy for the largely anti-capitalist agitators.
Over the weekend, for example, hundreds of protesters were arrested and released after repeatedly disobeying orders not to block traffic across the Brooklyn Bridge. Dozens more were handcuffed and taken away on buses. And the press dutifully descended upon the scene.
On Thursday, Bank of America announced that, starting the first of the year, they would be charging debit card users $5 a month for the privilege as a way to recoup lost income under new rules from the Federal Reserve. The rules, which took effect on Saturday, October 1, limit the amount banks may charge merchants accepting debit cards to 21 cents per transaction, down from 44 cents previously. Under the Dodd-Frank bill passed in 2010 — initially proposed by former Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Representative Barney Frank (D-Mass.) — banks processing the transactions will see their income from those fees drop by about $10 billion a year, all in the name of fairness and equity, according to the Federal Reserve, which determined that the new fees are “reasonable and proportional.” According to industry sources, the real cost of handling each debit card transaction amounts to “a penny or two,” and so politicians decided this called for action.
One of those was liberal interventionist Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who sponsored the swipe fee amendment, saying,
Referring to his jobs bill in his weekly address to the nation, President Barack Obama stated, “I want it back.” No, the President is not having second thoughts about the $447 billion bill; he just wants Congress to pass the bill so he can sign it.
Obama submitted his American Jobs Act to Capitol Hill nearly three weeks ago, having preceded it with a speech to a joint session of Congress in which he repeatedly urged that body to “pass this bill right away.” Since that time the bill has been subjected to much scrutiny and criticism, but no action has been taken on it. Fed up with legislators’ stalling, Obama said, “It is time for Congress to get its act together and pass this jobs bill so I can sign it into law.”
Obama’s latest shot across Congress’s bow differed little from his previous remarks on the bill. He asserted that the “bill would boost the economy and spur hiring” and that it “is fully paid for.” “Why,” the President asked, “would you be against that?”
There are a number of good reasons to oppose it.
Claiming that the United States “can’t afford” to lose the race to develop the technologies necessary for a transition to a green economy, Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank defended the dispersal of millions of dollars in federal funds to the winners of the government’s i6 Green Challenge.
The i6 Green Challenge is undeniably a very small program; the challenge website acknowledges that approximately $12 million was available for “proof of concept” models. Under business-as-usual in Washington, D.C., the expenditure of $12 million would look like a departmental rounding error. In part, the i6 Green Challenge awards will receive a measure of public scrutiny because of the scandal surrounding President Obama’s favorite (at least until recently) example of a corporation of the new “green economy” — Solyndra — which recently found itself under investigation in connection with $535 million in loan guarantees that it had received from the federal government. The image of Solyndra being raided by FBI agents may continue to linger for a time — much to the chagrin of the President and his standard bearers in government and the media.
An article for CNSNews (“Acting Commerce Secretary: Despite Failures, ‘U.S. Can’t Afford’ Not to Subsidize Green Tech”) highlights the “good money after bad” strategy being employed by the White House: In short, pay no attention to the scandals and lack of success — the “green economy” must be pursued at any cost.