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.
Who talked Rick Perry into grabbing the third rail of American politics? In case you don’t recognize the phrase, “the third rail” refers to any criticism of the Social Security system or any suggestions on ways to improve it by anyone running for public office anywhere in the United States.
It’s called the third rail because, just like a subway line, touching it usually proves fatal.
In the book Perry published last year, which he called Fed Up!, the Texas Governor referred to Social Security as “a Ponzi scheme.” Nobody made much of a fuss about it at the time. Outside of Texas, who cares what the Governor there says?
But now that Perry has taken the top spot in the Republican race for the White House, the poor guy is really getting pounded for it — and for a bunch of other “crazy, right-wing” sentiments he expressed there as well. Or at least so saith the New York Times and Washington Post.
A growing number of unions, prominent big-government advocates, and socialist groups are joining the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations in New York and “solidarity” protests nationwide.
The trend has some analysts very concerned — particularly after reports claimed union bosses tied to the Obama administration were plotting to bring about chaos. And while the protests which began on September 17 may be small now, supporters and critics alike say this may be only the beginning of something much bigger.
In just the last week several large labor groups have officially announced their support for the occupation. The NYC Transit Workers Union, with nearly 40,000 members, voted to back the protesters on September 28. And the SEIU’s massive 32BJ union, which claims to represent over 120,000 property service workers, recently decided to use an upcoming rally to show “solidarity” with the Wall Street occupiers.
"The call went out over a month ago, before actually the occupancy of Wall Street took place," 32BJ spokesman Kwame Patterson told the Huffington Post. But now "we're all coming under one cause, even though we have our different initiatives."
House Resolution 2681 would delay the EPA's onerous 2010 regulations for the cement industry.
Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) plans to introduce a controversial bill that would abolish every federal regulation enacted in the past two decades, including restrictions on banking, oil drilling, healthcare, and food and drug safety. "My bill is very simple, I just null and void any regulations passed in the last 20 years," Young announced to a crowd at the Anchorage Downtown Rotary Club. "I picked 20 years ago because it crossed party lines and also we were prosperous at that time. And no new regulations until they can justify them."
Rep. Young’s legislation is still in development, but the premise of the bill is to dissolve burdensome regulations that hamper American businesses from growing and prospering in the sluggish U.S. economy. "The main thing is if an agency can’t justify a regulation, it shouldn’t be on the board," he contended. "The overall idea behind the legislation is to make sure an agency justifies these regulations." The Alaskan congressman did however cede to the likely fate that his proposal would be barricaded by the Democratic-led Senate or stamped with a veto by President Obama.
Today the German parliament voted overwhelmingly, 523-85, to increase the size of the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF) from $335 billion to $600 billion, and to allow it to purchase sovereign bonds, lend to profligate governments, and strengthen banks hurt by holding risky government debt.
Protests over the move came primarily from Wolfgang Bosbach, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s own party and an initial supporter of the European Union. He pointed to the failure of the continuing Greek bailouts, observing, “The first medicine didn’t work, and now we are simply doubling the dose. My fear is that when the big bang happens, it won’t just be us who will have to pay for generations hereafter.” He still favors the union, however: "I don’t want to be co-opted into an anti-euro movement — the EU is an important political project. But what we promised the people was a union of stability, not a union of debt."
Bosbach reflects increasing discontent of German citizens who find themselves forced to give approximately $300 billion to the rescue fund which will then use the money to buy worthless Greek bonds and continue to extend credit to the bankrupt country.
A church I visited recently announced a seminar for “financial professionals” who lament their industry’s “fallen ethics.” In 2009, USA Today reported that “the top Roman Catholic bishop in the United States said … the global economic crisis was caused in part by people abandoning personal ethics, and he's calling for increased morality in business.” And earlier this year, Jewish Week lamented that “financial scandals have become a fixed component of our civilization” after opining, “If current trends [in cheating] continue, the Wall Street gang of 2020 will make the slithery coterie of 2008 look like a Cub Scout pack in comparison.”
I’m just a parishioner, not a cleric. Maybe that’s why I don’t see the inherent evil of business. In fact, when I pick up the phone to hear my father from 500 miles away tell me he loves me, or I send another article to an editor with a click of a mouse, or I feast on fresh spinach and blueberries while a blizzard howls outside, I thank God for the market. The comfort, abundance, convenience, and leisure it provides are enormous blessings.
Indeed, the market is nigh miraculous. Jesus Christ fed 5000 men with a few loaves and two small fish, but we mere mortals must depend on voluntary exchange. Yet that astounding commerce multiplies the earth’s scarce resources to feed, house, and clothe billions of people who would otherwise suffer short, nasty, brutish lives.
The Ford Motor Company’s greatest claim to fame as of late is the fact that it did not participate in the federal government’s bailout of General Motors and Chrysler. Ford was so proud of this that it actually created a commercial touting this truth. Allegedly at the request of the Obama administration, however, the ad will no longer be run on television.
In the commercial, an actual buyer is led to a surprise news conference where he is asked impromptu questions. The buyer responds by saying, “I wasn’t going to buy another car that was bailed out by the government. I was going to buy from a manufacturer that’s standing on their own: win, lose, or draw. That’s what America is about is taking the chance to succeed and understanding when you fail that you gotta’ pick yourself up and go back to work.”
The Detroit News reports:
Ford pulled the ad after individuals inside the White House questioned whether the copy was publicly denigrating the controversial bailout policy CEO Alan Mulally repeatedly supported in the dark days of late 2008, in early ‘09 and again when the ad flap arose. And more.
With the announcement from the Commerce Department that the sale of new homes in August fell by 2.3 percent compared to July, the Los Angeles Times took on a decidedly gloomy tone, concluding, “Sales of newly built homes in the U.S. appear to be stuck at the bottom.” The report noted that the August numbers translated into an annual rate of 295,000 sales, which is close to the low of 278,000 recorded in August last year, and down from the 1.3 million new homes sold in 2005.
Missing was any attention, however, to two important pieces of the economic housing puzzle in that report. First, the trend for new home sales has been flat for the last 16 months, and the 162,000 newly-built homes presently on the market represent a supply of six months and two weeks. A healthy housing market usually has a six months’ supply of new homes. Translation: The housing market in new homes has hit a bottom, and the supply/demand ratio is almost back to normal.
Last week the President introduced his deficit reduction plan by saying that it would start to pay down “the big pile of IOUs” the government has issued in order to pay its bills, through a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. He asserted, “We have to cut out what we can’t afford [in order] to pay for what really matters. We can’t just cut our way out of this hole. It is going to take a balanced approach.” And to make his point clear, he declared,
I will veto any bill that changes benefits for those who rely on Medicare but does not raise serious revenues by asking the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations to pay their fair share. [Emphasis added.]
One piece of his proposal, which has been dubbed the “Buffet rule,” would not allow millionaires to pay a lesser share of their income in taxes than middle-income earners pay, such as Warren Buffet’s secretary. And that is the first of several fallacies underpinning his proposal. When all the taxes that Buffet pays are taken into account, his share is vastly larger than Buffet publicly admitted. As noted by Richard Rahn, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, “Buffet appears to prefer to take much of his compensation in the form of capital gains rather than salary….