Infamous for political corruption, the city of Chicago rehired for one day former union leader Dennis Gannon, who as a result netted $158,000 in a public pension, according to the Chicago Tribune. Rehired by the city in 1994, Gannon was accorded an indefinite leave of absence after working a single shift. Raking in about five times greater than the average retired city worker, Gannon’s lavish pension is a product of corrupt political massaging among Chicago union leaders and government officials.
After gaining high stature in labor politics, Gannon sought to gain from the city’s skewed law that would allow him to remain in the municipal pension fund. So he was rehired and the next day granted a leave of absence to work for Local 150. Illinois law permitted Gannon to retire in 2004, at 50-years-old, and since then he has incurred approximately $1 million in pension benefits, and is expected to pocket about $5 million during his lifetime.
Despite the government's increased creation of money, new federal regulations that stifle companies and cause additional costs, and proposed new taxes, some businesses are pushing ahead with business-as-usual, leading to an uptick in the economy — at least in the short term. The shipping of materials used in industrial production by rail in the United States grew last month to the highest level since October 2008, with Union Pacific enjoying its strongest weekly volume so far this year. UP Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Robert Knight said he continues to see “solid demand” across most business segments, with shipments of industrial products increasing by eight percent annually.
Norfolk Southern’s CFO, James Squires is also positive, maintaining an outlook “which is still upbeat," with expected growth of three percent annually through September. And CSX noted that its industrial shipping volumes are growing at about five percent a year as well. CSX’s CFO said he isn’t concerned about “any kind of overarching sort of dire circumstances around the corner,” as his customers and suppliers are both showing a “general level of optimism.” He added, “Sure, things have moderated, but there is no one in that near state of panic that we saw certainly in late ’08 and ’09.”
Tim Hawkins is a very funny guy. He sings a great song, “The Government Can,” with body movements that tell the story in a truly hilarious way. I watched it the other day on a website with an incredibly simple but potent message: that 545 people in Washington are responsible for all of America’s woes. Charley Reese, the writer, explained in an essay posted at LewRockwell.com:
One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president and nine Supreme Court justices — 545 human beings out of 235 million — are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.
He explains further:
Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.
Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, we have deficits? Have you ever wondered why, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, we have inflation and high taxes?
Some of America’s most diligent Leftists have planned a series of events along the West Coast, targeting banks and the homes of bankers in much the same way that SEIU protested outside the home of Bank of America executive Greg Baer — intimidating Baer’s 13-year old son who was trapped in the house alone. The “Days of Rage” will be taking place at a host of spots in greater Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area.
The groups have circulated a flier that reads “Make Banks Pay” indicates that from Monday September 26 to Thursday September 29, the demonstrators will be doing the following:
While America's President shrinks from facing the demographic catastrophe lurking a decade or two down the road for Social Security, Medicare, and public pensions, there is evidence in Germany that such a debacle might be avoided — and a glimmer of hope in France. Last year French President Nicolas Sarkozy raised the retirement age in his country from 60 to 62 — for which he endured weeks of demonstrations and a lessening of his popularity.
Now his Prime Minister, François Fillon, has suggested that France should place its retirement policy in line with that of Germany, which has voted to increase the retirement age to 67. (That is a year higher than the full Social Security retirement age for Americans born from 1943-1954.) Fillon touched on that subject during a September 22 speech to business leaders in Paris, stressing that in areas of fiscal impact such as retirement age, France needed to dovetail its policies with Germany, the largest economy in the European Union.
Observers who surmised that President Barack Obama’s American Jobs Act was a gimmick designed to make the employment situation look better just long enough for Obama to be reelected — never mind the long-term consequences — have been vindicated.
A recent Associated Press report states that Obama’s plan would at best reduce the unemployment rate by a single percentage point in time for the November 2012 election, after which it would become “a drag on the economy” to the point that “by 2015, the economy [will be] in the same place as now, as if there were no jobs package.” Taxes, meanwhile, will have permanently increased by some $1.6 trillion.
Obama has been careful not to make his own prediction about how many jobs his bill would create, fearing that he would only be sealing his own fate if reality failed to live up to his forecast. Instead, he turned to Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, who estimated that the bill would generate about 1.9 million new jobs in 2012, or 158,000 a month, leading to a one-percentage-point reduction in the unemployment rate and a two-percentage-point increase in the gross domestic product. The AP notes that Zandi’s jobs estimate “is somewhat higher than private analyses that suggest the plan would create 100,000 to 150,000 jobs a month.”
The Texas Miracle of Texas Gov. Rick Perry is little more than a Texas-sized myth. That’s the upshot of reports across the political spectrum, Right to Left, that have evaluated Perry’s claims. Chief among the tall tales is that Texas has become a jobs machine. That’s true, but Texans aren’t getting the jobs. Immigrants are. More than 80 percent of the new jobs in Texas went to foreigners, the Center for Immigration Studies reported last week, and 40 percent of those jobs went to illegal aliens.
That is no surprise, given that Perry is an open-borders, leftist Republican, but in any event, other reports show that most of the job growth in Texas came in one sector: government.
Border Jumpers Get the Jobs
Perry’s claim to fame is this:
The announcement by Kaspar Villiger, Board Chairman of UBS (Union Bank of Switzerland), that CEO Oswald Grübel had resigned on Saturday caught many by surprise, partly because just the day before he had said he had the board’s complete support. According to Villiger, “The Board regrets Oswald Grübel’s decision. Oswald Grübel feels that it is his duty to assume responsibility for the recent unauthorized trading incident.” He added:
The Board is deeply disappointed by the recent loss arising from unauthorized trading. It will fully support the independent investigation and will ensure that mitigating measures are implemented to prevent such an incident from recurring.
This wasn’t supposed to happen. On Wednesday, Villiger told reporters that the board was planning on having a “normal meeting,” despite severe criticism by the bank’s largest shareholder, the Government of Singapore, and the stock market’s negative reaction which drove the bank’s stock price to half what it was back in April. Instead, the meeting ran for two full days and continued via conference calls when several of the board members had to leave Friday afternoon.
Thanks to an unnoticed provision legislators slipped into state law 20 years ago, almost two dozen union leaders in Chicago stand to walk off with a cool $56 million in pension money, the Chicago Tribune reported last week. But only if the Illinois legislature does not repeal the provision, detailed in a lengthy report the Tribune conducted with WGN-TV. Three of the union leaders may earn as much as $5 million.
No one seems to know, the Tribune reported, who tweaked state pension law to permit the looting. Or at least no one will accept responsibility.
With the U.S. debt having surpassed 100 percent of gross domestic product August 3, to $14.58 trillion, it’s crudely entertaining to see how multimillionaire lawmakers in Congress and administrations both past and present find “compassionate” ways to spend ever-more of taxpayers’ money. The following is just the most recent example of a “compassionate” expenditure taxpayers don’t need.
On September 10, one day before the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, a piece was published that set out conditions under which the U.S. should (and should not) provide humanitarian aid at taxpayers’ expense, humanitarian projects being by their nature philanthropic.
Just three days later, the Washington Times (one among several other newspapers), ran a story describing how a compassionate George W. Bush was using his namesake institution to jumpstart an initiative combating women’s cancers (cervical and breast) in developing countries, primarily Africa, Vietnam, and Haiti, where such diseases are more rampant than usual due to the high levels of AIDS/HIV. The project is part of the “Pink Ribbon, Red Ribbon,” program, the goal of which is to “expand the services of clinics created under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR),” while the cancers are presumably still treatable.