It’s been a month since the billionaire triumvirate of Tom Steyer (pictured), Henry Paulson and Michael Bloomberg introduced their ballyhooed Risky Business report on the climate, and after all the op-eds, blog posts and public interviews so far, all that can be said about it is that it is already an empty, meaningless PR campaign upon which the financial hot shots have wasted their money.
There is no there, there.
Logical scrutiny of the project, from its genesis to its outcome, would reveal how deeply flawed and biased it is. Given every contributing factor, there is no other verdict that would have been reached other than “we must all do something about global warming!” Yet the legacy media has treated Risky Business as something that was objectively conceived, and which has delivered perfectly reasonable conclusions. That is to be expected from pack journalists who don’t look beyond the climate crystal balls (also known as “models”) spoon-fed to them by big government scientists, but that doesn’t mean (and hasn’t in the past) that the public will swallow it.
The Securities and Exchange Commission recently notified us that it will allow Goldman Sachs to exclude our shareholder proposal that asks for a report on the company's lobbying priorities. The basis for the exclusion was that another shareholder, The Needmoor Fund, had already submitted a similar proposal. We disagree that the proposals duplicate each other. We hope that Needmoor will raise the issues that prompted our proposal, especially Goldman's endorsement of Dodd-Frank, but we doubt they will.
How did a start-up electric car company that raised more than $1 billion suddenly fail to meet government-lending standards, to the point where it can no longer draw on an awarded Department of Energy loan and has therefore halted renovation work on a Delaware plant?
Anybody using the financial services industry puts their faith and trust in a whole lot of people they have never seen or ever will. We all rely on regulators and regulations that are instituted by state and federal governments. In fact, almost anybody who has any savings probably has them parked in one of our financial institutions. To sharpen your focus on this, remember that about 80% of the balance of your checking account is tied up in loans that some strangers have promised to repay.
Are the anti-Wall Street protestors demonstrating against themselves? The richest and most prominent Wall Street executives overwhelmingly supported and bankrolled Barack Obama's presidential campaign in 2008.
And on Wall Street, little distinction is made between liberal Democrats and avowedly socialist activist groups. The big banks financed ACORN. Although ACORN has disbanded in the wake of scandal, the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, formerly headed by White House Chief of Staff William Daley, continues to fund similar groups committed to undermining capitalism and debasing democracy.
Last week's stock market turmoil was a reminder that America continues to struggle to recover from the financial collapse of 2008-2009. Benchmarks of our economic progress, or lack of it, are over 40 million people on food stamps, unemployment rates stuck over 9%, and GDP growth slowing, as it just missed expectations of 1.3% growth. The Obama Administration's massive deficit spending has almost doubled the publicly held debt which was $5.808 trillion on 9/30/08, or 40% of GDP, to an estimated $10.672 trillion as of 9/30/11, or almost 71% of GDP. This is all just in 3 fiscal years. The road to recovery for most people looks longer than anyone expected.
But the American economy, being what it is, there are bright spots for some people. From the March 15, 2011 Wall Street Journal:
The electorate’s repudiation of Barack Obama and his Congressional allies was not only a rejection of Big Government, but also of business elites who were buffeted from the downturn by political dealing at the expense of ordinary people.
Unless Corporate America heeds the election results, it too will risk the wrath of an informed and energized public. Here are CEOs who must pay attention to what happened yesterday:
Pfizer CEO Jeffrey Kindler- Not only did Kindler (above) lead the charge of Big Pharma CEOs for ObamaCare, he actually got a multi-million dollar bonus from Pfizer for doing so. This is not going to look very good once ObamaCare spikes insurance premiums, prompts hospital closures, and explodes the number of uninsured. Of course, Kindler wasn’t naïve or confused, he had reason to help destroy the health system. Big Pharma made a deal that guarantees it customers and insulation from competition. (I assume Kindler plans to retire before the government forces Pfizer to sell its products for less than it costs to produce them.)
It's been a week since the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation swept away ShoreBank's bad assets (cost: $367.7 million), changed its name to Urban Partnership Bank, and left it largely in the hands of the same people (and investors) who ran it before. Since then there have been several articles that called the process and new arrangement "unusual." I guess institutions loved by two presidents call for special treatment.