The word “troubled” doesn’t even begin to describe the Teamsters’ Central States Pension Fund. “Desperate” is more like it. Last Friday, May 6, the Treasury Department announced that it had rejected a restructuring proposal submitted by plan trustees last September to avert collapse. The proposal, which would have cut benefits on average by 22 percent for about two-thirds of all participants, did not go over well with Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa and other union officials. Yet they are cornered by reality. As of last fall, liabilities exceeded assets by $17.5 billion, a gap widening by $2 billion a year. The plan is projected to go bankrupt in 10 years. A federal bailout likely would make things worse. Central States Executive Director Thomas Nyhan is reviewing alternatives.
Those who favored the extension of corporate welfare for alternative energy-fueled automobiles justified their decision with the same phony claims they made ten years ago when the ATVM program was established.
A coalition of good government groups has sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) urging him to appoint a co-chair of the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), which should not be confused with the House Ethics Committee. The groups also encouraged Ryan to support OCE, which enjoyed lukewarm support, at best, from his predecessor John Boehner.
OCE was established in 2008 and is somewhat more independent that the Ethics Committee because its board is comprised of former members of Congress and private citizens, rather than sitting members. OCE cannot sanction members but can only make referrals to the Ethics Committee.
Tesla Motors recently reported that it has received close to 400,000 orders for its yet to be released, $35,000 Model 3. Most of the pre-ordered vehicles are not even expected to be delivered until after 2018. While congratulations may be in order to Tesla for seemingly developing a mainstream electric vehicle (EV) that has so much consumer interest that demand is far outpacing supply, one question must be asked. Why the hell is the vehicle being subsidized to the tune of $1.5 billion in future tax credits?
Labor unions in this country are engines of egalitarian policy and its most potent political vehicle, the Democratic Party. As the party platform heavily overlaps with that of demagogic black identity politicians, most of all, Al Sharpton, labor leaders have become prominent supporters of Sharpton and his New York-based nonprofit, National Action Network (NAN). The bond was very much in evidence at Manhattan’s Sheraton Times Square Hotel last Friday afternoon on a discussion panel, “The State of American Labor Unions Today,” one of nearly 30 held during the NAN annual convention of April 13-16. Despite a couple of key no-shows, the speakers gave the mostly black crowd what it wanted: a rousing call for union organizing, welfare state expansion and "anti-racist" activism.
As it continues to defy common sense and the laws of economics with its lofty stock price, Tesla has again shown it has little corporate competence in the ability to deliver a consistently functional product that satisfies customers.
The latest evidence comes in the recently rolled out Model X, which is allegedly an SUV, but looks like just another car. Retailing at a price only the extremely wealthy can afford ($138,000), the all-electric follow-up to the similarly troubled Model S automobile has stumbled out of the gate. The problems were outlined in a Consumer Reports article posted online Tuesday, which spurred a number of similar follow-up stories in other media, and temporarily caused Tesla’s stock to dip. Long-time followers of the company know that is only a temporary condition, however.
Al Sharpton, shakedown artist extraordinaire, never has lacked energy in advancing the profile of his New York-based nonprofit, National Action Network (NAN). Thanks to corporations and unions, he isn’t lacking cash either. Last week, during April 13-16, NAN held its annual convention at the Sheraton Times Square Hotel in Manhattan. The fundraising event, featuring speeches by Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, plus nearly 30 panel discussions, gave attendees what they came for: a mix of black grievance politics and socialist economics. If Sharpton’s corporate donors ever take time off from Celebrating Diversity, they might reconsider this odd partnership.
If there is anything Black Lives Matter activists might enjoy even more than a downtown rally, it’s a campus rally. The social media-driven network of incendiary racial politicians is now a presence at colleges and universities across the U.S., conducting “anti-racist” campaigns against chosen targets. Case in point: the University of Kansas. Since November, black students at Kansas, inspired by BLM, have intimidated people they deem racist, aware that the feckless administration will do next to nothing to discourage them. The catalyst for all this was a claim by a black co-ed that several white males assaulted her at an off-campus Halloween party and that local police brushed off her complaint. Evidence suggests this was a hoax. The larger issue is academic freedom – and not just at KU.
Another Clinton Foundation donor with ethics problems received a loan from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. This time, the dollar amounts are gargantuan, and the recipient is at the center of a corruption scandal in Pakistan.
According to a report in the Washington Free Beacon by Alana Goodman, a Middle Eastern investment firm called The Abraaj Group has contributed $500,000 to $1 million to the Clinton Foundation. Abraaj owns and manages a utility company named K-Electric in Pakistan. That country’s former oil minister, Asim Hussain, has been arrested for providing illegal favors for K-Electric and harboring Islamic terrorists in hospitals he owns. From the article:
General Motors recently reported lackluster sales results for the month of March. GM share price took a hit on the news, but there is one fast-growing area of sales for the company that is outperforming other segments. Government sales for GM rose 55% in March and capped off a first quarter that saw government sales increase 23% over the prior year.