December 6, 2008With much of American finance and industry either on the government dole or desperately trying to get on it, market constraints on political abuses have fallen dramatically. Writes Irwin Steltzer:
Paulson, of course, continues to preside over the billions-going-on-trillions that will be made available to whatever industries make the best case for a hand-out. You might recall that the Treasury Secretary came to Washington after heading up Goldman Sachs, a firm now reporting billions in losses after abandoning its business model in favor of status as a government-sheltered commercial bank.
Nothing more clearly demonstrates the shift of power from Wall Street to Washington than the Paulson saga. Once the man who raised private-sector funds for private-...
December 4, 2008Heck, it's only money, as a friend tells me when he uses his credit card to buy new collectibles which he can't otherwise afford. That seems to be the attitude in Washington. How about a new "stimulus" package of $300 billion? Why not $500 billion? No, let's go for a trillion dollars!
The one thing that isn't shrinking in the U.S. economy these days is the size of the stimulus package that financial experts say is needed to turn it around.
With automobile sales dropping, payrolls plunging and manufacturing contracting, economists from across the political spectrum are raising the ante on how much the government should lay out. Some are now calling for at...
December 3, 2008The "Big Three"--which really should be called the "Broke Three"--have made their pitch for $34 billion in government aid. What's a few (billion) bucks among friends?
Instead of handing over wads of cash to private companies, wouldn't it make more sense to simply nationalize the firms? Heck, could the government have done a worse job of running them?
Actually, it isn't impossible for an American auto company to make money. As the Wall Street Journal points out:
These are the 12 "foreign," or so-called transplant, producers making cars across America's South and Midwest. Toyota, BMW, Kia and others now make 54% of the cars Americans buy. The internationals also employ some 113,000 Americans, compared with 239,000 at U.S.-owned carmakers, and several times that number indirectly.
December 2, 2008Columnist Timothy Carney warns that the massive bail-outs now flowing out of Washington will give the incoming Obama administration an opportunity to impose a regulatory agenda that otherwise would be impossible to promote. It's not so much that the government will be doing anything different than it has been doing under both Republicans and Democrats. Rather, Washington will be doing a lot more of it. Writes Carney:
“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,” incoming White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel recently said. “And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”
What “things” do Emanuel and the Obama administration want to do, and what “opportunities” have been presented them by the current...
December 2, 2008The stock market continues to tank, but have no fear. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson Is considering new bail-outs! Reports the Wall Street Journal:
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Monday reiterated that his department is still aggressively examining new ways to stabilize financial markets, stem foreclosures, and boost the economy.
But the outgoing official also made clear that he plans to discuss any new initiatives with Congress and President-elect Barack Obama's team. (Read the full text of Mr. Paulson's remarks.)
Mr. Paulson's comments come as fears of a severe, protracted global slowdown continue to mount.
"We are actively engaged in developing additional programs to...
November 30, 2008For years observers have noted the phenomenon of public school teachers sending their kids to private schools--especially in cities with the worst and deadliest public facilities. Teachers at government schools might not be able to teach their own kids, but they can send them to safer, better private alternatives. So it appears to be with health care in Great Britain.
Reports the Daily Telegraph:
The money was used to bring in physiotherapists to help workers recover from muscular-skeletal injuries at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds.
Bosses said it prevented them from leapfrogging NHS patients and enabled them to return to work more quickly.
However, the private treatment, which amounted to £12,116 for 271 appointments over the past year, was...
November 29, 2008First the National (Un)Health Service said if you wanted a drug that it wasn't willing to provide--too expensive for the purpose of saving your miserable life!--and decided to buy it yourself, then you would lose ALL medical care under the NHS. That is, if you wanted a potentially life-saving treatment, you might have to bankrupt your family to pay for the rest of your treatment. Just love those bureaucrats. How I want that kind of treatment here, but I digress.
Under fire from just about everyone, NHS reversed itself. Now you can buy the drugs and continue your treatment under NHS. But what about families that did ruin themselves financially under the old rules? Reports the Daily Mail:
The health service is set to face a string of compensation...
November 28, 2008It seems that methane hasn't been behaving as the climate models suggest. Hmmm ... another problem for the alarmists who believe that the world is about to burn up. After they figure out methane, maybe they can get to work explaining why there's been no increase in temperature over the last decade--yet even as the temperature stabilizes global warming is supposedly causing all sorts of dastardedly climate disasters around the world. Something here does not compute.
Before jumping off the policy roof and ruining the economy, maybe we should be sure that catastrophic climate change looms. Observes Rick Hodgin of Trendwatch::
One thing does seem very clear, however; science is only beginning to get a handle on the big picture of global warming. Findings like these tell us it's too early to know for sure...
November 27, 2008Only in Washington could politicians and bureaucrats dump more than $2 trillion into bail-out money holes and then claim that the federal government needs to spend several hundred billion more to "stimulate" the economy. If a little of something fails, goes the mantra in Washington, do a lot of it! Especially if it is money.
But the Japanese government tried the same strategy to bring the country out of its economic slump, with disastrous results. Editorializes Investors Business Daily:
In the marketplace, money naturally gravitates toward real needs, signaled by the willingness of people to pay for goods and services out of their own pockets.
In government spending, money follows power. It is channeled by key officeholders to favored constituencies. So when a national government...
November 27, 2008The Onion explains Washington, D.C. to those Americans who still have a naive civics class view of government. Why is it important to continue filling the great "money hole"? The Onion's top political analysts tell us. And they do a better job than most of the talking heads on TV!