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:
AFP reports that General Motors is investing $150 million on a West Java, Indonesia plant. The move is expected to create 800 jobs in the region. GM has about $20 billion left as cash and cash equivalents after having received about $50 billion from taxpayers a little over two years ago. While taxpayers may have reason to be unhappy about the investment overseas, at least GM is making a move that seems not to be based on politics.
"Al Sharpton, anchorman" - the phrase has an undeniably odd ring. Yet on MSNBC it's already a part-time reality. And his close relationship to MSNBC's parent, Comcast Corp., may enable him to become full-time permanent host of the cable network's 6 P.M. news slot. If Sharpton gets promoted - the announcement could come any day - it would be the ultimate coup in his ongoing campaign to obtain respectability to cover a long history of racial incitement.
According to a USA Today report, General Motors has decided to offer a Cadillac version of the Chevy Volt called the Converj. This follows reports that the Obama Administration will continue to hold its stake in GM. That makes sense, since a decision to build a Cadillac version of the Volt could not be based on economic considerations, but political ones.
Carol Leonnig of the Washington Post writes today that the House Ethics Committee is planning to spend $500,000 for an investigation of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), and the Committee's own staff.
Last month, the Committee announced the hiring of Billy Martin to review the actions of the Committee's staff that were cited as a reason to push the Waters trial beyond last November's elections. Martin would then proceed to investigate the Waters matter if he determines that the staff's previous conduct was not sufficiently prejudicial to dismiss the case, as she has requested.
It’s (once again) the law of unintended consequences for Green groups: In order to fulfill a 2007 state mandate that they derive 12.5 percent of electricity from so-called “renewable” sources, a North Carolina appeals court has ruled that Duke Energy – which will soon be more or less the only investor-owned utility in the Tar Heel state – may burn whole trees to comply with the regulation.
According to a WSJ report, "people familiar with the situation" said on Tuesday that the Obama Administration has put on hold its decision to sell the taxpayers' stake in General Motors. The article also states that "Treasury officials had anticipated GM's share price would increase following its public stock offering last November at $33 a share." It would seem that Treasury anticipated wrong.
Duke Energy’s business approach has been to reap favors, tax breaks and advantages by virtue of its cozy relationship with government, with benefits that have redounded to them in the form of subsidies, tax shelters, government grants and mandates for wind farms (despite its failure to provide energy on a broad scale, even though it has been around forever) and other unproven cockamamie ideas.
Richard Trumka, the burly president of the AFL-CIO, believes the climate for an upsurge in union organizing couldn't be better. And just to make sure that the federation and its member unions can take advantage of opportunities to get out the pro-union vote, Trumka (see photo) and top officials are laying the groundwork for their own version of what is fast becoming the ultimate campaign fundraising tool: a political action committee (PAC) which, unlike a standard PAC, faces virtually no limits on individual contributions.
On August 5, the House Ethics Committee announced that it has accepted a recommendation by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) to "further review an allegation that Representative (Gregory) Meeks failed to disclose a payment he received in 2007 in a timely manner."
The payment was an unsecured $40,000 "loan" from Edul Ahmad, a Guyanese businessman who was last month arrested in a massive mortgage-fraud scheme. On July 22, the FBI reportedly removed Ahmad in handcuffs from a Guyana-bound aircraft on the tarmac at JFK International Airport.