Obama Administration posts
Leave it to our representatives in Washington to make a compromise that ignores most of their previously stated beliefs -- of only a few days ago. This just reinforces again the old joke "How do you know when a politician is lying?..."
Monday the Obama administration and congressional Republicans came to an agreement to extend both unemployment benefits by 13 months, and the Bush-era tax cuts for all by two years. What happened to the Republican and Democratic noise about fiscal responsibility and reducing the debt?
A few days ago Republicans were not going to vote for an extension of the unemployment funding if there was not an associated revenue offset to pay for it. That's gone, so the deficit is going up. The Democrats claimed they would not back an extension of the tax cuts for people that earned over $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for joint returns claiming this would add $900 billion toward debt reduction. That's gone so the deficit is going up.
Continue reading Serious Money: Washington Compromise Stinks, but Here Are Some Stocks to Look At
The only question is -- how soon can the Congress get this deal done?
The potential 'deal' being $30 billion in new capital for community banks, who would then use it as a base to increase lending to small-sized/medium-sized businesses by up to $300 billion -- credit that's urgently needed and may prove to be a pivotal factor concerning the U.S. economic expansion's sustainability.
"If we can help the big banks, then we should certainly be able to help small-business lending," President Barack Obama said June 30, Bloomberg News reported
. The Senate may consider the bill as early as this week; the program, called the Small Business Lending Fund, passed the U.S. House last month
Continue reading Senate May Vote This Week on $30 Billion Community Bank Capital Bill
A year into the U.S.'s record $787 billion fiscal stimulus,
which will in fact total an $862 billion stimulus package, here's where the nation stands:
- The free-fall in employment rolls has stopped. While the U.S. unemployment rate has risen to an unacceptable 9.7%, the unemployment rate would have been much higher without the roughly $800 billion in economic activity generated by the stimulus.
- Tens of thousands of local police officers, fire fighters, teachers, and other public service personnel have retained their jobs -- helping to stabilize the local economies where these civil servants work and live.
Continue reading Fiscal Stimulus Helped Stabilize U.S. Economy
The Obama administration is said-to-be considering a new fee on banks, as part of an effort to re-coup the cost of the federal bank bailout, The Wall Street Journal
reported Monday (subscription required
The proposal is still under discussion and is expected to be included in President Barack Obama's proposed fiscal 2011 budget, to be announced in February, The Journal
reported. One bank fee option involves a fee on a bank's liabilities, as it, in theory, represents the level of risk a bank assumes; an alternate fee option would be based on a bank's earnings.
Continue reading Obama Administration Weighing New Fee on Banks to Pay for Bailout
If mortgage companies start to feel like they're losing elbow room, it's probably because they're starting to get nudged by the Obama administration. The folks in the White House are planning to kick off a campaign to squeeze mortgage companies to lower payments for even more borrowers who are in trouble. The $75 billion program, financed by taxpayers, to keep homeowners from falling into default appears to be in trouble.
Mortgage lenders have increased their efforts to modify borrowers' mortgages, but most of them are still in a trial stage, which will last up to five months. Only a handful have been made permanent, which isn't good enough for Washington. The Treasury Department's assistant secretary for financial institutions, Michael S. Barr, told the New York Times, "The banks are not doing a good enough job," continuing, "Some of the firms ought to be embarrassed, and they will be."
Continue reading White House, lenders, lawyers and borrowers: Nobody can agree on mortgage relief
When you spend $787 billion, there's a lot of pressure to show results. So, there's no surprise that success is being proclaimed across the country. States are saying that they've used the federal stimulus package money to create or save more than 388,000 jobs this year. Teachers, construction workers and other professions have realized the upside of stimulus cash according to reports from 33 states and Puerto Rico, with the remainder of the results being released on Friday.
Of course, the numbers "should be taken with a grain of salt," says Ethan Pollack of the Economic Policy Institute. The states were tasked to count the jobs created or protected, but the results have been of dubious accuracy. This doesn't mean the stats can't provide fodder to people on both sides of the aisle.
Columbia Business School's Frank Lichtenberg says the data shows a solid economic impact, and the Obama administration's Council of Economic Advisors believes the stimulus spending has taken care of between 600,000 and 1.1 million jobs.
And, there are those who disagree.
Continue reading Race to declare victory for stimulus
We're tired of bubbles, right? Anyone 30 or older has lived through two big ones so far, with a brief period of prosperity separating the decimation of dot-com largesse and mortgage-fueled paper wealth. It could take until 2014 for the jobs lost to be replenished, and there's little reason for optimism.
So, with the economy in the tank, we can focus elsewhere -- maybe on saving the planet. If we can't put green in our wallets, maybe we can add some to our lifestyles. Or, you could do both. Green technology could be the next boom in the United States, even if we do lag some parts of the world, and investing in clean solutions is really nothing other than investing in the next big thing. Even if you don't give a damn about climate change (or don't think it exists at all), the green market could likely become your employer -- or trigger the economic growth that will create your next job.
Some signs are visible already.
Continue reading Five signs that green is the next bubble
Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) wants to get into the game of digitizing medical records for physicians who work with (not at) hospitals. Dell wants to ensure all these physicians and their offices remain compatible with the computer systems used by small and mega hospitals, along with making any current processes less expensive and more efficient.
Just like Hewlett-Packard Corp. (NYSE: HPQ), Dell may be able to expand its services and consulting into areas just waiting for extreme amounts of help and expertise. With consumer and business PC purchases continuing to be slower than in the past -- and with a presidential mandate to digitize all medical records in the U.S. -- Dell's opportunity here is enormous. That is, if it goes bananas and actually takes advantage of it beyond lip service.
Continue reading Dell could win big in the electronic medical records field
Late Wednesday, the EnerDel unit of Ener1 Inc. (NASDAQ: HEV) scored a grant from the Obama administration to make battery parts. The company's $118.5-million handout was part of a $2.4-billion grant package doled out to automakers and related firms by the federal government in order to fund the domestic development of next-generation car batteries.
Indiana-based Ener1 says that the Obama grant, along with $480 million in Department of Energy loans it's applied for, should translate to rapid growth in its staff. The company has 150 employees currently, but said that number could surge to 3,000 workers as soon as 2015.
Continue reading Obama grant draws fresh eyes to Ener1 Inc. ahead of earnings
Christine A. Varney heads up antitrust at the Department of Justice, and she's going hunting. She is the point person for a group consisting of the presidential administration and some Congressional Democrats that is looking to put the breaks on large companies in several industries.
Already, airlines have run into roadblocks when requesting relief from antitrust regulations. Varney & Co. are digging into complaints by AT&T (NYSE: ATT) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) that cable competitors – e.g., Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) – have locked them out of the market for cable company-produced programming.
(Imagine that, a phone company complaining! Usually, they're the objects of derision.)
Continue reading Antitrust orgy coming: Airlines, tech and others in sights
Europeans and Asians have positive views of President Barack Obama, according to the latest Quarterly Bloomberg Global Poll of investors and analysts. Americans, on the other hand, are split down the middle.
According to the study, 87% of respondents in Asia and Europe rate Obama favorably. In the United States, only 49% share this perspective -- a number that drops to around 25% when only his economic policies are considered. Much of this difference comes from an overseas distaste for the previous White House resident, but it seems people in this country are less interested in distinctions: 43% of respondents favored Bush's policies to Obama's (compared to 80% overseas).
Continue reading Bloomberg poll finds Obama popular with non-American investors
In his column last week, New York Times
) columnist and Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman laid waste to those who argue that he's not critically assessing Obama administration programs. He offered a cogent critique of the U.S. Treasury's tardiness regarding the banking system fix.
Either temporarily nationalize those banks that are clogging the system, buy the toxic assets at unsubsidized prices, or announce some other market-valued removal plan to unclog the system, but let's put this train in motion, Krugman said, in so many words, to get to the root of the matter: We need to get credit flowing freely to facilitate commerce.
Continue reading If the U.S. economy strengthens, Fiscal Stimulus II may be shelved
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