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Union Scandal in California, Alternative Energy Promises and Short-Selling on Wall Street

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Union Scandal in California, Alternative Energy Promises and Short-Selling on Wall Street

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) finalizes a controversial merger of its California locals into one state-wide “superlocal”.

President-Elect Obama promises to double the nation’s use of alternative energy in just three years.

Congress investigates the Bernard Madoff investment scandal and the role of “short-sellers” on Wall Street.

More headlines: listen to the LibertyWeek podcast.

1. LABOR 

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) finalizes a controversial merger of its California locals into one state-wide “superlocal”.

CEI Expert Available to Comment: Editorial Director Ivan Osorio on SEIU’s legal troubles

“This mega-merger of California local unions comes at what should be an awkward time for SEIU, considering its recent high-profile scandal in that state — and nationally. The head of a Los Angeles SEIU local was recently forced to resign after the Los Angeles Times broke the story on a corruption scandal there. And [SEIU national president Andy] Stern himself may soon face some embarrassing questions regarding his relationship with disgraced Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.” 

 

2. ENERGY

President-Elect Obama promises to double the nation’s use of alternative energy in just three years.

CEI Expert Available to Comment: Senior Fellow Iain Murray examines the feasibility of the proposal

“So it seems likely that the target of doubling the use of renewable energy does not actually refer to the full range of renewables at all, but just to those ‘acceptable’ alternatives. This would imply that the target is only 1 extra quad of renewable energy by 2011, which, while it would represent a significant expansion of those industries, would amount to just a ‘drop in the bucket’ of total US energy use. And, as we hear in the debate over ANWR every time it comes up, a ‘drop in the bucket’ is just not worth doing…It appears that this part of the stimulus package is, at most, a shibboleth.” 

 

3. BUSINESS

Congress investigates the Bernard Madoff investment scandal and the role of “short-sellers” on Wall Street.

CEI Expert Available to Comment: President Fred L. Smith on how increased short-selling could have mitigated the impact of the mortgage bubble: 

“…short-sellers knew the subprime crisis in general was coming and profited from that fact. Had short-selling rules been liberalized for vehicles such as mutual funds as well as hedge funds, many more retail investors could have profited as well, and the bubble may not have grown nearly as big if more shorts had balanced out the bullish longs.” 

 

Listen to LibertyWeek, the CEI weekly podcast, here.