A Maryland commission will be offering a recommendation to increase the state’s gas taxes, raise vehicle registration fees, and employ a catalog of new tax hikes to augment roughly $870 million a year in new transportation revenue. Members of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Maryland Transportation Funding settled on a 15-cents-a-gallon tax hike over three consecutive years, which if approved, would inflate the current 23.5-cents-a-gallon tax to 38.5 cents. Maryland officials plead that the state needs $12 billion to fulfill its transportation needs, and they are predicting a $1 billion shortfall in fiscal 2013.
The commission will make their recommendation to the Democrat-led General Assembly and Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) next month. "I think this is a really balanced and reasonable approach," said Gus Bauman, the commission’s chairman. "It gives the governor and the General Assembly something to start debating."
Mr. Bauman said the assembly will make a formal endorsement of the plan at its next meeting in late October. "We all knew this day was going to come, and we’re going to have to make tough decisions," said Bauman, referencing the group’s onerous charge to rescue the state’s exhausted Transportation Trust Fund.
After losing several dramatic battles this year, Wisconsin Democrats and “Big Labor” announced this week that they are getting ready for the next fight: attempting to recall Republican Governor Scott Walker. The two-month petition drive will start on November 15.
Outraged over Walker’s successful campaign to rein in government-sector unions and balance the state budget, big-government activists have been on the warpath for months. And Democrats, whose political campaigns rely heavily on labor-group contributions, do not plan to give up easily.
"It has become clearer than ever that the people of Wisconsin — the traditions and institutions of our great state — cannot endure any more of Scott Walker's abuses," claimed Wisconsin Democratic Party boss Mike Tate in a statement, noting that there was only a month left to “organize, train and fund an army of volunteers.” He also blasted Gov. Walker’s efforts to curtail public servants’ collective-bargaining privileges.
Announcing the decision on MSNBC's The Ed Show, Tate acknowledged that the campaign would be “tough” — especially because Gov. Walker could raise up to $70 million for the battle. But the Democratic Party and its union allies appear confident.
With the announcement that Greece was going to get another bailout in November and that France and Germany were close to a permanent solution to Greece’s financial problems, stock markets around the world leaped for joy, gaining three percent inside the first 15 minutes on Monday morning.
Reality began to settle in, however, when it became apparent that details of the master plan to save the Eurozone were missing or, as the U.K. Telegraph expressed it, “full of rhetoric but devoid of detail.” And the additional bailout of Greece in the amount of $11 billion will barely be enough to keep that country afloat for another month. The “troika” of internationalists (the European Union, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Central Bank — the EU, the IMF, and the ECB) who have been pressuring Greece to increase its austerity measures in order to “qualify” for the money noted that Greece simply won’t be able to meet its 2011 objectives: Its targets are “no longer within reach” due to “slippages” in the Greek economy, but things ought to be just fine by 2012.
Observers of the Eurozone’s rolling crises have concluded that Greece is insolvent and that default on its nearly $500 billion of sovereign debt is just a matter of time. Inevitable parallels are being drawn to Argentina’s default in December of 2001 on most of its $132 billion sovereign debt, and the question being asked of Greece is, Why delay the inevitable? Why not just admit the reality, declare your solvency, and get on with life? Just like Argentina?
President Obama’s so-called jobs bill may prove to be dead on arrival, prompting Democrats to consider making drastic changes — cutting the bill into its pieces to drive up the chances of piecemeal passages. The proposal was introduced once it became clear that even Democrats are reconsidering their support for the bill, which has thus far failed to attract needed bipartisan support.
The jobs bill is virtually a resurrection of Obama’s $800-billion-plus 2009 stimulus measure as well as a Social Security payroll tax cut that was enacted last year. What separates it from the stimulus, however, is that the jobs bill is said to be financed by a 5.6-percent surcharge on income that exceeds one million dollars.
The legislation, however, has been a hard sell for Democrats, as House Republicans are unlikely to pass it (threatening not to even bring it to the floor for a vote) and those in the Senate can filibuster at will. Obama has launched a campaign-like crusade to stimulate support for the bill. Last week he insisted,
This is not the time for the usual games or political gridlock in Washington. Any senator out there who’s thinking about voting against this jobs bill needs to explain why they would oppose something that we know would improve our economic situation.
For the past three weeks, protestors of various stripes have made their way to New York City’s Financial District as part of the movement known as “Occupy Wall Street,” a self-described “people-powered movement for democracy inspired by the Egyptian Tahrir Square uprisings.” Democratic Party bigwigs such as Al Sharpton, former Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi, and countless other elected officials have lent their support to the cause, which has also merited the participation of numerous labor unions, and a host of socialist, communist, and other radical leftist political parties and groups, including the International ANSWER Coalition (which has demonstrably provided much support and strategic input to the Islamist and communist forces protesting in Cairo).
In addition, however, the Occupy Wall Street movement has also included a fair deal of anti-semitic protesters, who rely on classically leftist and communist anti-semitic arguments associating Jews with capitalism, and who are informed by the anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian rhetoric espoused by those leftist coalitions fueling the Occupy Wall Street movement.
As the protests enter their fourth week, centered around Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park, several videos of protesters spewing anti-semitic rhetoric have surfaced, sparking new concerns about the groups and ideological positions represented at the protests.
President Obama is traveling to Pittsburgh on Tuesday (October 11) to discuss with prominent American business leaders the lingering economic barrier of high unemployment. The gathering will consist of members of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness (Jobs Council), which was established in January to "provide non-partisan advice to the President on continuing to strengthen the Nation’s economy and ensure competitiveness of the United States and on ways to create jobs, opportunity, and prosperity for the American people."
The Jobs Council comprises 27 Obama-appointed business leaders from primarily corporate entities outside the federal government who are responsible for advising the President "on how the Federal Government can best foster growth, competitiveness, innovation, and job creation." The council includes executives from American Express, Boeing, and Citigroup, and is chaired by Obama’s corporate cohort, CEO of General Electric Jeffrey Immelt.
But many of the Jobs Council’s chief executives have rotten track records of creating jobs, as they have axed expansion projects, terminated entire departments, and slashed thousands of American jobs, despite posting record profits.
In response to AT&T’s proposed acquisition of mobile carrier T-Mobile for $39 billion, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it would be bringing suit against AT&T on the grounds the wireless giant is in violation of federal antitrust laws.
In addition to Attorney General Eric Holder bringing suit against the nation’s largest mobile services provider, seven states announced Friday they would be joining efforts to legally halt the merger. Attorneys General from California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington have signed onto the effort to stop the deal that would merge two of the four largest national cellphone carriers.
The Justice Department issued an amended complaint against AT&T last week, as well as T-Mobile and its parent company, Deutsche-Telekom, arguing that the merger of the nation’s second- and fourth-largest wireless carriers would violate antitrust law and “substantially lessen competition.” The DOJ claims that the combination would reduce wireless communication competition in the United States, driving prices higher, making service worse, and offering fewer products for U.S. consumers.
The department said in the statement,
Item: “European Union foreign ministers are debating a tax on financial institutions that could raise money for the EU as well as make banks share the burden of bailout,” reported the Associated Press for September 17.
Correction: Regardless of what happens to Greece, other nations on the brink of default, or the nature of the next presumed fix being dreamed up by financial elitists, the underlying object is to save the euro — which embodies the goal of a united Europe to globalists. This, in itself, is seen as a way station on the road to world government.
Those willing to trade sovereignty for the promise of stability now find themselves on shakier ground than before, yet they continue to lay the foundation for a new world financial order out of the disorder they have caused.
Wall Street and the Fed demonstrations send the wrong message to average Americans.
Developments relating to the Solyndra debacle continue to surface as newly-surfaced internal government emails reveal that an Obama administration appointee at the Department of Energy (DOE) — and major Obama fundraiser — pushed to expedite a $535-million loan guarantee to the now-defunct solar firm. The emails expose "a disturbingly close relationship" among the White House, top campaign donors, and prominent Solyndra investors, according to a senior congressional Republican.
Steve Spinner, an adviser to the Department of Energy, actively endorsed the loan after agreeing to avoid any "active participation" in the application process, because his wife, Allison, was working for Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, a law firm which represented Solyndra. Due to his wife’s association with the company, the DOE had ensured that Spinner would refrain from engaging in "any discussions" relating to the loan details because of a "conflict of interest." In a September 23, 2009 email to a DOE ethics officer, Steve Spinner described active participation as "solicitation, due diligence, [and] negotiations."
Energy Department spokesman Damien LaVera affirmed that Spinner was "authorized [only] to oversee and monitor the progress of applications, ensure that the program met its deadlines and milestones, and coordinate possible public announcements," because of his wife’s relations with Solyndra.