CNBC: Flaherty Rips Congressional Calls to End BP Dividend

Today I discussed the increasing pressure on BP to suspend its dividend with Matt Miller of Wealth-X, along with CNBC co-hosts Amada Drury and Larry Kudlow. Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) has organized a letter signed by 50 members of Congress demanding such a suspension. Here’s a transcript:

Amanda (Mandy) Drury: Well, BP is of course facing a lot of heat about its dividend. Lawmakers are saying the oil giant should halt its payments to shareholders until it stops the leak and has a clear idea about the total costs for the spill. So, should BP be keeping its dividend or should it suspend it? Let’s ask Peter Flaherty from the National Legal and Policy Center and Matt Miller, chief research officer at Wealth-X and also former Forbes editor. Gentlemen, thanks for your time. Peter, why do you say, keep it?

Peter Flaherty: Having these Congressmen get involved strikes … Read More ➡

Suspending BP Dividend Dumb Idea

Demanding that BP suspend its dividend is an idea completely without merit. The dividend has nothing to do with BP’s ability to clean up from the disaster or pay damages. Even in a worst-case scenario, BP now has the ability to pay all claims.

Dividends go to shareholders, who include just about anyone who has a pension or owns mutual funds. Dividends are a share of earnings to which all shareholders are entitled.

BP’s management is responsible for the disaster. Although executives own stock, the vast majority of shares are held by people who had nothing to do with this mess.

The only way BP can run out of money is if politicians continue trying to destroy the company. The stock is now going lower than fundamentals would suggest, lopping off billions in capitalization. Investors now recognize that BP faces the danger of dismemberment by politicians

BP pays a fat Read More ➡

Flaherty Warns of Entitlement Crisis on CNBC; Blasts Obama’s $250 Checks for Elderly

Today I debated Julie Roginsky of the Comprehensive Communications Group on CNBC’s The Call on how we will ever pay for benefits now being promised the elderly. Our exchange begins at about 2:45 of the clip. Co-hosts were Trish Regan and Larry Kudlow.

Here’s a transcipt:

Trish Regan: So at a time when the Administration is looking to cut health care costs. Fears here over health care costs, we were just talking about all of that. Can the government really afford big benefits for the elderly? It is our Call of the Wild debate. We want to bring in Peter Flaherty, President of the National Legal and Policy Center and Julie Roginsky, Democratic strategist at the Comprehensive Communications Group and a CNBC contributor. Great to see both of you. Peter, I will begin with you. Can we really afford this and do you see this as essentially a case … Read More ➡

Flaherty Blasts Wal-Mart on Fox News Channel

On Friday afternoon, I discussed Wal-Mart’s support for ObamaCare and Cap and Trade with guest host Connell McShane on Your World With Neil Cavuto on Fox News Channel. That morning, I spoke in favor of our shareholder proposal asking for a report on Wal-Mart’s lobbying priorities at the company’s annual meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Here’s a transcript of the interview:

Connell McShane (guest host): Wal-Mart today having its annual shareholders meeting, getting an earful from one group on the retail giant’s support of the new healthcare law also the cap and trade legislation. To the guy who is leading this charge, Peter Flaherty of the National Legal and Policy Center. So Wal-Mart supports cap and trade and supports health care Peter. What’s the big deal? Who cares? Why are you so angry about that?

Peter Flaherty (President, National Legal and Policy Center): Well Connell, I think it is … Read More ➡

Wal-Mart Support for ObamaCare, Cap and Trade Ripped at Annual Meeting

Here is a video of my remarks at the Wal-Mart annual meeting at the Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, Arkansas in support of our shareholder proposal asking Wal-Mart for a report on its lobbying priorities. Here is the text of my remarks:I was here three years ago. I warned that Lee Scott, our CEO, was betraying the legacy of Wal-Mart. I warned that he was embracing controversial political causes to appease Left-wing activists and corrupt unions.

Looks like I was right. And Mike Duke is even worse.

Wal-Mart endorsed ObamaCare and its employer mandate. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, and the National Retail Federation all opposed this mandate.

More importantly, the American people don’t want ObamaCare. It will raise costs, kill jobs, reduce accessibility, and explode the number of uninsured.

It is bad enough that Wal-Mart endorsed something so ruinous, but it is … Read More ➡

NLPC to Challenge Wal-Mart for Support of ObamaCare, Cap and Trade at Annual Meeting

Wal-Mart logoI will speak in favor of our shareholder proposal that asks for a report on Wal-Mart’s lobbying priorities at the company’s annual meeting on Friday, June 4 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. It will take place in the Bud Walton Arena at the University of Arkansas from 7a.m. Central Time to about 11a.m. A live webcast of the meeting will be available on the company’s website at www.walmartstores.com/investors.

NLPC is a critic of Wal-Mart’s embrace of Left-wing political and social causes, a trend initiated by former CEO H. Lee Scott and accelerated under CEO Mike Duke.

Our statement of support for the resolution appearing in the proxy reads:

The Company’s public policy positions and related advocacy activities should be developed and prioritized based on market and fact-based analyses and not on pressure from politicians, union bosses, or anti-business activists who are hostile to Wal-Mart and its business model.

In a June 30,

Read More ➡

Holder Condemns Bribery But What About Sestak?

Holder/Obama photoEven as Attorney General Eric Holder has defanged the Public Integrity section of the Justice Department, and snuffed out prosecutions of members of Congress, he claimed today in Paris that “combating corruption is one of the highest priorities of the Department of Justice.”

Ironically, Holder’s remarks were delivered in support of international efforts to combat bribery. Holder bragged:

U.S. law enforcement has pursued bribe payers of all stripes: large corporations and small companies; powerful CEOs and low-level sales agents; U.S. companies and foreign issuers; citizens and foreign nationals; direct payers and intermediaries.

If Holder can go after “low-level sales agents,” surely he can see the legal and moral imperative of probing White House staff members and a former President who sought to get Rep. Joseph Sestak (D-PA) to drop his primary challenge to Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) in return for a high administration position.

Of course, it was Sestak himself … Read More ➡

Beyond Pathetic

BP logoIt’s revealing that the “greenest” of the big international oil companies is now responsible for one of the worst ecological disasters in history. Maybe BP should have concentrated on its core mission of efficiently and safely producing oil instead of trying to make us believe that BP stands for “Beyond Petroleum.”

Most big companies zealously guard their brand names. British Petroleum seems embarrassed by theirs. Even as the Deepwater Horizon gushes into its 42nd day, the BP website proclaims:

Our brand is summed up by the phrase ‘beyond petroleum’. BP recognises that meeting the energy challenges of today and tomorrow requires both traditional hydrocarbons and a growing range of alternatives. We are at the forefront of delivering diverse, material and real solutions to meet the world’s needs for more and secure, cleaner and affordable energy.

The ubiquitous and annoying Beyond Petroleum TV ads always feature windmills, a tiny corner of … Read More ➡

Crony Capitalism, Carnahan Style

Tom CarnahanWind power is not economically feasible. It is only a reality because of tax breaks and government subsidies, which are often the seed corn for political favoritism and cozy dealings.

In Missouri, a company called Wind Capital Group (WCG) is more than well connected. In the photo to the right is the firm’s CEO is Tom Carnahan. His brother is Congressman Russ Carnahan (D-MO), and his sister is Robin Carnahan, the Missouri Secretary of State. His father was governor and his mother a U.S. Senator.

WCG applied for a whopping $90 million in Obama’s stimulus package. In addition, WCG has successfully sought property tax exemptions where it is putting up windmills.

According to no-lesser light than Vice-President Biden, the stimulus made the difference in allowing CEO Carnahan to proceed with a project that the free market had deemed unviable. According to Alyson E. Raletz, a columnist for the St. Joseph … Read More ➡

Is Rangel Detached From Reality?

Rangel photoSteven T. Dennis of CQ-Roll Call interviewed former House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY) last week and reports:

The veteran New York Democrat still wants his Ways and Means chairmanship back, but he doesn’t want reporters to write that he’s planning to fight for it. He wants and needs the ethics committee to clear his name, but he feels it already sandbagged him with an unjustified admonishment that appears nowhere in House rules and gave him no chance to challenge the finding.

Rangel “temporarily” stepped down from his Chairmanship on March 3, the same way that Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) “temporarily” resigned as ranking member on the Ethics Committee in 2006. Mollohan did not come back and neither will Rangel.

It is hard to see how the Ethics Committee can “clear his name” after it has already admonished him. And the matters being investigated now, particularly his admitted … Read More ➡

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