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Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said today that the U.S. economic downturn is much worse than political leaders admit and predicted the recovery will take three to five years.

The financial meltdown points to “a much more profound problem than people think” as American industries and education have lost ground to China and India, Gingrich said.

The former Georgia lawmaker told a reporters’ breakfast that the one upside to the crisis is that it might prod reform.

“This is frightening enough that you could have a genuine national conversation about fundamental change,” he said.

Source. If I’ve learned one thing following the GOP, it’s that we should answer any mention of “China,” “India,” “reform” or “national conversation” with one hand on our wallets and the other hand on the Constitution. It boggles the mind to imagine the sort of “fundamental change” Gingrich might be calling for. His comments were just vague enough to be frightening.

The article goes on to describe Gingrich’s evolving view of Sarah Palin, hence the category.

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Money quote:

There is a lot of stimulus and growth in this bill – that is, of government. Nothing in this bill stimulates the freedom and prosperity of the American people. Politician-directed spending is never as successful as market-driven investment. Instead of passing this bill, Congress should get out of the way by cutting taxes, cutting spending, and reining in the reckless monetary policy of the Federal Reserve.

Read it all here. I disregarded Ron Paul during his 2008 presidential bid, because for the first time in decades a libertarian had a microphone … and the American people were listening. Yet he squandered his time (“squandered,” or so I thought) talking about closing down the Federal Reserve. Closing down the Department of Education. Closing down the Department of Energy. If anyone does, a then 10-term Republican representative knows the value of principled baby steps.

But as it turns out, the Federal Reserve has arranged for our worst recession in decades.  Inverted interest rates have led us from one asset bubble to the next for nine years now.  No Child Left Behind is its own punch line.  Oh, and, by the way?  How is that Department of Energy treating you now?  Revolutionary monetary policy, far-reaching shift in government operations are starting to smell pretty good right now.

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Wednesday, a group of House Republicans will argue that Obama’s Hill colleagues haven’t embraced his vision of shared sacrifice, arguing that Democratic leaders cut the GOP out of negotiations over the new administration’s first big bill.

Some members of the group, organized by Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia and Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, the top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee, are upset that Democrats abruptly canceled a meeting last week with Republicans before unveiling the $800 billion stimulus. The GOP group has requested to meet with Obama later this week.

Source.

Pretty slim pickings, huh? I can tell you first hand that bloggers had hoped for a bit more. This certainly hasn’t been the hyper-partisan The Reds Attack! transition that some conservatives had warned about, and others had hoped for. Indeed — and maybe the word only comes to me in light of President Obama’s appointments — it all seems a bit, I don’t know. Clintonesque?

Stay tuned. We have four (eight?) years to go. His hair may turn to snakes just yet.

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This article:

The purchase of a piece of property in America, a single-family house, a PUD (planned unit development) or a condo (flat within a condominium) will guarantee you and your family a green card. This is one of the extreme measures implemented to help stall the meteoric fall of the United States economy in light of the economic crisis, Bulgarian weekly Stroitelstvo Gradut reported on January 15.

Thirty-five accredited investors will have the opportunity to acquire real estate in the south-eastern state of Florida – by purchasing a house – they will be granted a green card for permanent residence and right of employment for the buyer himself and his/her entire family.

Additional conditions are that the prospective buyer must have a clean criminal record, a good credit record, the ability to present and prove a decent monthly income, and no outstanding financial obligations or credit liabilities. The purchase itself can be done either with cash, bank transfer or monthly instalments, but the financial resource must be proven legitimate.

The US government has allocated 10 000 such visas nation-wide for potential investors in real esate, under a programme approved by the US Congress. Florida’s is the first such programme that has actively been given the green light to commence.

is tying Michelle Malkin’s stomach in knots. Most of her commenters are suffering indigestion as well. I must be missing something.

A question for those of you who are doubled over at the waist after reading this piece:

  1. Do you not think that 10 months of housing inventory is a bad thing?  Would you not like to dump some of that inventory on “accredited investors?”
  2. Does the specter of, God forbid, another terrorist attack preclude you from agreeing to 10,000 visas for “potential investors in real estate?”  If so, does the “clean criminal record” requirement not ease your mind?  Recall our stock answer any time the left complained of executive overreach: “No one expected that after seven years we would not have been attacked again, so the administration is getting something right.”
  3. Or is your concern one of lost jobs?  Because throwing 10,000 real estate investors into an economy of 303 million does not seem statistically relevant.
  4. Or is your concern something else?

Relevance statement: I’m filing this one under Florida governor Charlie Crist.

Disclosure: I’m not 100% sold on this green-for-green policy either. But for much different reasons, apparently.

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Considering that the subject of this dispatch is government funding by way of casino tax revenue, that joke was so bad it almost doesn’t read as a joke. Sorry. It’s early yet. But let’s move along:

The Governor of Hawaii is considering bringing gambling to the state, one of only two in the US that doesn’t allow some form of wagering. Linda Lingle was quoted by the Associated Press as saying nothing should be excluded from discussion of how to address the state”s budget problems.

[…]

Economic projections are that Hawaii will receive as much as $1.8 billion less over the next two years than its current budget requires. While cost-cutting measures may improve things slightly, a large new revenue stream such as could be derived from gaming would make sense.

State politicians have said legalized gambling might be explored before considering tax raises. Casinos combined with Hawaii’s natural beauty and beach resorts seem like a natural draw to increase tourism.

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Let’s be frank, here. The elephant in the room, at least this room, is the historically unpopular sitting GOP president. (“Sitting” for a few more hours, at least. And the present correspondent is more than ready to hear about a Democrat president for a while, in whatever light, favorable or otherwise.)

I’ve always thought the GOP’s famous message discipline ultimately worked against them. An exchange of ideas is always better than an echo chamber, no? Read Newt Gingrich’s comments on Bushonomics with that in mind:

Gingrich said what Bush has done over the last six months to respond to the economic crisis has been “exactly the wrong thing.”

In a telephone interview, Gingrich said it makes little sense to give out billions of dollars in bailout money to prop up obsolete business bureaucracies like General Motors and big banks.

He likened the bailout to a doctor giving a patient painkillers rather than healing him.

The government should instead help small businesses and start-up companies that can do far more to stimulate the economy, he said.

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Viva la Capitalisme!

Opinions that come from the French don’t hold much water in the USA these days, but French media consultant Philippe Ratelle has this (and more) to offer:

American investors should ask, ‘What is all this fiscal stimulus protecting? Is it, like Sweden, protecting its large socialist state? No. Is it then protecting the life of France? Or as we say in France, le bon vie? No.”

No, the fiscal stimulus is designed to protect the American economic system, which is corporate capitalism and its benefits.

That makes sense to me. Which makes me wonder: are some Republicans simply playing McCarthyist politics in describing these fiscal stimuli as “moving our free-market based economy another dangerous step closer toward socialism”?

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