Tagged: Politics

Shiller sees double-dip if jobs aren’t created – MarketWatch

Sounds like we’re in for another downturn:

The U.S. economy has a “significant likelihood” of entering a double-dip recession if the government doesn’t step in to help the unemployed, economist Robert Shiller told MarketWatch News Break on Wednesday. Read more…

More than a few economists are suggesting a return to a recession due to bleak jobs outlook. From Huff Post:

the noted bear Nouriel Roubini, the president of RGE Monitor and a professor at New York University, delivered a grim prognostication via Twitter: “Risk of a double dip recession in advanced economies (US, Japan, Eurozone) has now risen to 40%.”

Roubini is not alone in his concern. Last week, David Rosenberg, the Gluskin Sheff economist (formerly of Merrill Lynch), whose words have become must-read barometers of bear-ishness, said that the chances of a double-dip recession in the U.S. are now “higher than 50-50.” Read more…

We’re in a Catch-22 situation. The outlook is bleak, because there are no jobs. Companies are holding their money and are not hiring because the outlook is bleak. The quickest way to break this cycle is to provide businesses with incentives to hire. The best thing the government can do at this point to spur job growth is to cut business taxes across the board, even if it’s for the short term. Provide tax reduction for companies that hire a minimum number of workers and keep them on for at least a 8 months. At the same time, the federal budget needs to be reduced. How about a 5% pay cut for federal workers, 10% for everyone in Congress?

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Forced To Buy Health Insurance

Under Sen. Ron Wyden’s the proposed Senate Bill, people who refuse to buy health insurance will be fined over $1000/year.

Called “shared responsibility payments,” the fines would be set at least half the cost of basic medical coverage, according to the legislation.

I’m sorry, I didn’t vote Democratic so they can fine me for not choosing health insurance. As I have said before, I shouldn’t be forced to foot the bill for folks who choose to eat fast food three times a day. The cost for these programs will only go up. And they continue to take more money out of my paycheck to pay for these programs. Yet my pay isn’t going up that fast, which means I’m making less.

According to research done by the Kaiser Family Foundation, National Public Radio, and the Harvard School of Health, health insurance costs individuals an average of $4,800 annually. The cost for families to get insurance is even higher, at around $12,000 annually. These kinds of costs would push many people over the edge financially. How does Sen. Wyden propose that we pay for more people who will be unable to afford food, housing and education if they have to pay for health insurance? Effective health-care reform would be better accomplished by other means. Sen. Wyden’s own proposals to switch America from employer-based to individual health-insurance markets, for example, would do a great amount of good by encouraging competition and innovation without making life harder for the people having the most difficult time getting insurance.

Why not have individual health insurance markets? I can choose my car insurance, life insurance, cell phone provider, internet provider, cable tv provider, etc? Competition would create lower prices.

In Europe, where health care is free and state run, many experts say we may be going down a slippery slope.

Europeans have some of the world’s best hospitals and have made great strides in fighting problems like obesity and heart disease. But the system is far from perfect.

“What we can be proud of in Europe is the ground rules, that everyone has the right to health care,” said Jose Martin-Moreno, a health expert at the University of Valencia in Spain. “But the implementation has been difficult and one size does not fit all.”

Critics say the policies are often driven more by politics than science. Last week, Prime Minister Gordon Brown promised that patients unable to see cancer experts within two weeks would get cash to pay for private care. Brown had previously argued against paying for private providers and some say the reversal may be a gimmick to boost his sagging popularity.

A World Health Organization survey in 2000 found that France had the world’s best health system. But that has come at a high price; health budgets have been in the red since 1988.

“I would warn Americans that once the government gets its nose into health care, it’s hard to stop the dangerous effects later,” said Valentin Petkantchin, of the Institut Economique Molinari in France. He said many private providers have been pushed out, forcing a dependence on an overstretched public system.

“The minute you make health insurance mandatory, people start overusing it,” said Dr. Alphonse Crespo, an orthopedic surgeon and research director at Switzerland’s Institut Constant de Rebecque. “If I have a cold, I might go see a doctor because I am already paying a health insurance premium.”

Fake AIG Outrage

And I thought “Change” was coming. Sounds like it’s the same ‘ol situation. Obama and pals are “outraged” at the bonuses AIG execs received while at the same time they’ve taken the company to the crapper. However, Senator Dodd, as well as Treasury Secretary Tim Geitner knew about the bonus payouts, new they were going out, and even approved of it.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, who originally proposed the executive compensation provision, said he did not include the exemption clause, which said new rules “shall not be construed to prohibit any bonus payment required to be paid pursuant to a written employment contract executed on or before February 11, 2009.” In an interview with CNN, Dodd denied inserting that exemption at the 11th hour, and insisted he doesn’t know how it got there. “When I wrote the language there was no such language like that,” Dodd told CNN Tuesday. Multiple Senate Democratic leadership sources also deny knowing how the exemption got into the bill. The mystery isn’t just how what was effectively a protection for AIG was put into the stimulus bill — it’s also how a provision intended to prevent AIG from giving executive bonuses, was taken out. The Senate passed a bipartisan amendment proposed by Sen. Olympia Snowe, R- Maine, and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, that would have taxed bonuses on any company getting federal bailout dollars, if the company didn’t pay back the bonus money to the government. But the idea was stripped from the stimulus bill during hurried, closed-door negotiations with the White House and House of Representatives.

And yet now they’re “Outraged”. Senator Grassley even suggested that the AIG execs to commit suicide.

Look, AIG shouldn’t have given out bonuses after claiming that they needed a bailout. But at the same time, we have a bunch of charlatans in Washington who are feigning outrage just because the American people who elected these jokers are outraged. They are reactive instead of being proactive.

These Are Sad Times

Violence is no solution to any problem. And stories like this makes me feel depressed and helpless:

Members of the Samouni family said that they were rounded up late Sunday night by Israeli soldiers and ordered to gather for their own safety in a single dwelling in the impoverished Zeitoun district of Gaza city, a Hamas stronghold. The next morning, they said, the building was shelled.

In it’s report on Friday, the United Nations agency confirmed the family’s account, saying that 110 people had been forced into the house on Sunday. “The next day the house was shelled,” Allegra Pacheco, an agency spokeswoman, told BBC television, quoting unidentified witnesses.

Reading about innocent victims being killed, and especially seeing pictures of dead or injured young children makes me sick to my stomache.

This needs to stop, and stop NOW! I’m no fan of either side of this conflict. I think there is enough blame to go around. I understand Israel wants the rocket fire from Hamas to stop. But this is not the way.  The UN is reporting that 33% of the Gaza dead are children. I can’t understand why other countries haven’t stepped in to stop this horrer. Even more mind boggling is that our own government passed resolutions supporting this incursion into Gaza.

More Bailouts: Auto Industry

This is getting ridiculous. I ranted about the bailouts before, I’ll do it again. SAY NO TO THE BAILOUTS! Now, Pelosi and Co. want to bailout the auto industry. ARE THEY FREAKIN’ NUTS!?! The most sensible comment on this actually came out of the White House:

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said the companies had made business decisions “over the years that have led to this situation, but we have gone as far as we can with the authority Congress has given in order to help industries.”

While companies like Toyota and Honda were spending money on R&D for efficient, hybrid cars, Detroit was spending money on Hummers and gas guzzling trucks.

Now they want help because they made some stupid choices over the years. And to top it off, the freakin Dems are pushing for this bailout. This, on top of the news that the Wallstreet companies that received bailout money continue to spend on huge bonuses. In fact, news came out that AIG, which recently asked for more bailout money, spent $343,000 for a two day “sales meeting” at luxury resort in Arizona:

The company had already been under criticism for spending $440,000 for a weeklong retreat in California for top-performing insurance agents, just days after the U.S. government stepped in to save the company with a $85 billion taxpayer-funded loan.

But on Monday, ABC News reported on an AIG sales meeting at a luxury resort in Phoenix last week that cost $343,000.

“AIG made significant efforts to disguise the conference, making sure there were no AIG logos or signs anywhere on the property.

“An AIG spokesperson said there were no AIG markers in order to minimize signage costs and to lower the company’s profile.

“A hotel employee told (ABC), ‘We can’t even say the word (AIG).'”

Write to your representive in Congress and tell them NO MORE TAXPAYER FUNDED BAILOUTS!

Krugman: Not About The Financial Crisis

Nobel Prize Winners, Republican Conservatives Oppose Bailout

And rightly so. From ABC News:

Some Chicago economists are leading an opposition movement to get lawmakers to consider other options.

Two economists lead the opposition movement, one from the University of Chicago, the other from Northwestern University. And Thursday their concerns were brought into the White House meeting.

Senator Richard Shelby went to the White House armed with a letter. The letter is signed by 200 economists, including three Nobel Prize winners, and warns Congress not to back the bailout.

Why:

The Democrats should be right along with this as well. I understand something must be done to keep credit flowing within the banking system. But people should also be held accountable for their mistakes. Why should we as taxpayers, who pay their mortgages, bills, and taxes on time be forced to bail out folks who gambled?