In 2009, in the middle of the automobile industry bailout controversy, White House advisor Ron Bloom, then “car czar,” told reporters, “I did this all for the unions.” When asked to clarify that statement recently, Bloom denied ever making it. Unfortunately for Bloom, however, credible sources indicate that the remark was in fact made by him.
On June 22, the Congressional Oversight Committee held a hearing to address a number of concerns regarding the controversial auto bailout. In the process of the bailout, Bloom apparently took “money from bondholders and handed it directly to the unions,” and also elected to cut salaried employee benefits while “giving strangely deferential benefits to the Unions in the middle of a bankruptcy," reports The Blaze.
The city council of tiny Alto, Texas — population 1,200, about 140 miles southeast of Dallas — shuttered its police department on June 15 because of a budget shortfall. In order to make up a $185,000 deficit, the council furloughed the four police officers and Chief Charles Barron for six months.
According to CBS News, Barron said,
They put a bulls-eye target on law enforcement — police department — and police department only. There have been accusations that the police department is not generating enough revenue. Well, police departments are not revenue generators.
President Obama's press conference July 5 reveals his thinking on the statutory debt limit, spending and taxes ... if you can read in between the lines.
The Obama administration continues to take on the food industry, this time pressuring food companies to discontinue advertising junk food for children, while Republicans have come forward in support of the food companies, helping them to resist federal pressures.
The Blaze reports:
Some food companies say the government is going too far with guidelines proposed earlier this year by several government agencies. The voluntary guidelines would attempt to shield children from ads for sugary and fatty foods — think colorful characters on cereal boxes – on television, in stores and on the Internet. Companies would be urged to market foods to children ages 2 through 17 only if they contain specific healthy ingredients and are low in fats, sugars and sodium.
President Obama made a press statement July 5 explaining his position on the budget and the debt limit increase, but that statement needs to be translated into what he really means. So here's my best effort to interpret Obama's words from that press conference:
Obama: Now, I’ve heard reports that there may be some in Congress who want to do just enough to make sure that America avoids defaulting on our debt in the short term, but then wants to kick the can down the road when it comes to solving the larger problem of our deficit.
Obama interpreted: Here, by "the larger problem of our deficit," Obama means that Congress is thinking about passing only a one-year increase of the national debt, or shorter, and not the unlimited increase Obama demands that would take the nation to beyond the next election in 2012. That's what he means by kicking the can down the road: another pesky congressional vote before the 2012 general election.
Wednesday, the financial crisis which is threatening all Europe deepened, as the rates for Portuguese government debt instruments jumped higher based upon a decision by Moody’s rating service to reduce those bonds four levels to "junk" status. The drop was from Baa1 to Ba2 on long-term Portuguese bond ratings.
The effect upon Portugal was immediate — but more ominously, in nearby Spain (the fourth of the so-called "PIGS" nations, the others being Portugal, Italy, and Greece), the stock market dropped 1.5 percent and the amount of interest required by bond purchasers rose. Spain's economy is significantly larger than that of the other PIGS — and only somewhat smaller than the economy of France. Even worse, stocks dropped 2 percent in Italy, affected not only by the ripple of the PIGS but also because spending cuts have not seemed to help its huge national debt.
As the public relations manager for The John Birch Society, the publisher of The New American magazine, I received an e-mail this morning from the senior press secretary for the National Governors Association, in response to my question to her asking why The New American was not going to be able to cover the annual meeting of the National Governors Association. I was told, essentially, that we were biased (as opposed to other "objective" news media):
Problem loans at China’s banks are significantly worse than initially thought, according to Moody’s Investors Service’s news release on July 4th. This raises concerns already expressed about China’s continued ability to grow its economy at annual rates approaching double-digits. The weakness is so pervasive that Moody’s “views the credit outlook for the Chinese banking system as potentially turning to negative. ” It added:
We assume that the majority of loans [by the banks] to local governments are of good quality, but based on our assessment of the loan classifications and risk characteristics, as provided by the NAO [China’s National Audit Office] and other Chinese agencies, we conclude that the banks’ exposure to local government borrowers is greater than we anticipated…
Constitutionally minded members of Congress, Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and Representative Mike Lee of Utah, have introduced federal legislation that would exempt gold and silver coins issued by state governments as legal tender from federal taxation. This bill, called the Sound Money Protection Act, is intended to protect efforts by states to create a stable, inflation-free form of money. In particular, it would protect from federal gains taxation transaction between legal money in states which are species (e.g. gold or silver) and paper.
Utah has already passed a state law that recognizes these gold and silver coins as legal tender in Utah. A dozen other states, Senator DeMint’s South Carolina, are considering similar laws. Senator DeMint expressed the need from such state laws:
It’s a question I’ve been asking many people. And they have no real answer. But the reason why the cost of computers keeps going down is because of the genius, ingenuity, and competence of the private sector. The new computers are not only cheaper but offer so many new features that we can barely keep up with these great innovations.
It used to be very expensive to make a transatlantic call. Now it costs only pennies. Again, the private sector is reality oriented. Private business knows that the lower the cost of a product, the more customers you get. But government officials and the politicians who run Washington are not only incompetent, they are not worth the trillions of dollars needed to keep them in their cushy jobs. Because they believe in a ridiculous doctrine known as political correctness, they’ve created a fantasy world that the public is too mystified and cowed to complain about. And the politicians have been able to buy a compliant electorate by sending them their Social Security checks and making Medicare payments. And that is why so many Americans tolerate wholesale government incompetence and corruption.