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Now Is The Time For America To Get Angry
Are we sheep or men? The next year might reveal the true metal of modern Americans. The challenge is described in this except by Matt Taibbi: “The Big Takeover“, Rolling Stone, 19 March 2009 – ”The global economic crisis isn’t about money - it’s about power. How Wall Street insiders are using the bailout to stage a revolution.”I strongly recommend reading the full article, one of Taibbi’s finest. At the end are other posts about these things.Before you read it, read Paul Krugman’s brilliant but mild analysis of the latest Obama plan for the banks. Then consider the following words.
“Anger is easy. Anger at the right person, at the right time, for the right reason, is difficult.” — Aristotle, in the Nicomachean Ethics, book IV, chapter 5 (lightly paraphrased)
“Telemachus, now is the time to be angry.” — Odysseus, when the time came to deal with the Suitors. From the movie The Odessey (1997)
Originally posted by theWCH
reply to post by DangerDeath
And how, exactly, do they propose to cut the UK population in half?
If these loony-toon extremists are taken seriously by anybody in power, God help us all.
[edit on 24-3-2009 by theWCH]
The Obama administration will ask Congress to give the Treasury secretary unprecedented powers to initiate the seizure of non-bank financial companies, such as large insurers, investment firms and hedge funds, whose collapse would damage the broader economy, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said this morning.
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner is set to argue for the new powers at a hearing today on Capitol Hill that was scheduled to address the furor over bonuses paid to executives at American International Group, which the government has propped up with about $180 billion in federal aid. Administration officials say the proposed authority would have allowed them to seize AIG last fall and wind down its operations at less cost to taxpayers.
The government at present has the authority to seize only banks.
Originally posted by Hastobemoretolife
Bwaney Fwank was just scolding somebody playing with a sign in hearing telling them to grow up. This is after he called a supreme court justice a homophobe the other day.
I just don't see how we can get out of this with fruit loops like Timmy the Tax Cheat, BB, and our inept congress critters.
With the braying of 328 yahoos — members of the House of Representatives who voted for retroactive and punitive use of the tax code to confiscate the legal earnings of a small, unpopular group — still reverberating, the Obama administration yesterday invited private-sector investors to become business partners with the capricious and increasingly anti-constitutional government. This latest plan to unfreeze the financial system came almost half a year after Congress shoveled $700 billion into the Troubled Assets Relief Program, $325 billion of which has been spent without purchasing any toxic assets.
TARP funds have, however, semi-purchased, among many other things, two automobile companies (and, last week, some of their parts suppliers), which must amaze Sweden. That unlikely tutor of America regarding capitalist common sense has said, through a Cabinet minister, that the ailing Saab automobile company is on its own: "The Swedish state is not prepared to own car factories."
Another embarrassing auditor of American misgovernment is China, whose premier has rightly noted the unsustainable trajectory of America's high-consumption, low-savings economy. He has also decorously but clearly expressed sensible fears that his country's $1 trillion-plus of dollar-denominated assets might be devalued by America choosing, as banana republics have done, to use inflation for partial repudiation of improvidently incurred debts.
From Mexico, America is receiving needed instruction about fundamental rights and the rule of law. A leading Democrat trying to abolish the right of workers to secret ballots in unionization elections is California's Rep. George Miller who, with 15 other Democrats, in 2001 admonished Mexico: "The secret ballot is absolutely necessary in order to ensure that workers are not intimidated into voting for a union they might not otherwise choose." Last year, Mexico's highest court unanimously affirmed for Mexicans the right that Democrats want to strip from Americans.
Congress, with the approval of a president who has waxed censorious about his predecessor's imperious unilateralism in dealing with other nations, has shredded the North American Free Trade Agreement. Congress used the omnibus spending bill to abolish a program that was created as part of a protracted U.S. stall regarding compliance with its obligation to allow Mexican long-haul trucks on U.S. roads. The program, testing the safety of Mexican trucking, became an embarrassment because it found Mexican trucking at least as safe as U.S. trucking. Mexico has resorted to protectionism — tariffs on many U.S. goods — in retaliation for Democrats' protection of the Teamsters union.
NAFTA, like all treaties, is the "supreme law of the land." So says the Constitution. It is, however, a cobweb constraint on a Congress that, ignoring the document's unambiguous stipulations that the House shall be composed of members chosen "by the people of the several states," is voting to pretend that the District of Columbia is a state. Hence it supposedly can have a Democratic member of the House and, down the descending road, two Democratic senators. Congress rationalizes this anti-constitutional willfulness by citing the Constitution's language that each house shall be the judge of the "qualifications" of its members and that Congress can "exercise exclusive legislation" over the District. What, then, prevents Congress from giving House and Senate seats to Yellowstone National Park, over which Congress exercises exclusive legislation? Only Congress's capacity for embarrassment. So, not much.
The Federal Reserve, by long practice rather than law, has been insulated from politics in performing its fundamental function of preserving the currency as a store of value — preventing inflation. Now, however, by undertaking hitherto uncontemplated functions, it has become an appendage of the executive branch. The coming costs, in political manipulation of the money supply, of this forfeiture of independence could be steep.
Jefferson warned that "great innovations should not be forced on slender majorities." But Democrats, who trace their party's pedigree to Jefferson, are contemplating using "reconciliation" — a legislative maneuver abused by both parties to severely truncate debate and limit the minority's right to resist — to impose vast and controversial changes on the 17 percent of the economy that is health care. When the Congressional Budget Office announced that the president's budget underestimates by $2.3 trillion the likely deficits over the next decade, his budget director, Peter Orszag, said: All long-range budget forecasts are notoriously unreliable — so rely on ours.
This is but a partial list of recent lawlessness, situational constitutionalism and institutional derangement. Such political malfeasance is pertinent to the financial meltdown as the administration, desperately seeking confidence, tries to stabilize the economy by vastly enlarging government's role in it
The amount by which U.S. pensions are underfunded has almost doubled since October to $373 billion, increasing pressure on companies to give more to retirement plans as the global recession saps earnings.
U.S. retirement plans are able to meet 74 percent of their future obligations, down from 89 percent five months ago, after global stocks fell and contributions were delayed, according to Mercer’s Financial Strategy Group, a Marsh & McLennan Cos. unit. DuPont Co., Caterpillar Inc. and Lockheed Martin Corp. are among the companies that say they expect higher pension costs in 2009.
Last year’s drop in U.S. stock prices, the deepest in seven decades, will saddle the 53 percent of companies in the Standard & Poor’s 1500 Index with defined-benefit plans with about $70 billion in pension expenses this year, a sevenfold increase from 2008, as they seek to close the funding gap, Mercer analyst Adrian Hartshorn said yesterday in an interview.
“Everybody is facing the same problem: big companies, charities, non-profits,” said Judy Schub, managing director of the Bethesda, Maryland-based Committee on Investments of Employee Benefit Assets, whose members’ plans are responsible for more than 11 million workers and retirees. “The call on their cash is going to be significantly higher, two or three times higher, than they had planned.”
Legislation passed last year requires the companies to pay down the shortfalls in seven years, Mercer’s Hartshorn said. Watson Wyatt Worldwide Inc., an Arlington, Virginia-based consulting firm, has analyzed the 100 largest U.S. pension plan sponsors and said some companies are making contributions in advance, anticipating larger future commitments.
DuPont’s pension expenses may rise 40 cents to 50 cents a share this year after the plan’s assets fell 28 percent to $16.2 billion, the company said in a Feb. 12 filing. The pension is underfunded by $5.3 billion, compared with a $412 million surplus a year earlier, DuPont said.
The $5.14 billion decline in the value of the plan’s holdings last year won’t change the company’s investment strategy, Valerie Sills, DuPont Capital Management president, said in an interview.
“Equities are very attractive at this point in time,” Sills said. “We’ve always had a healthy equity weighting.”
DuPont, the world’s third-largest chemical maker, plans to increase the amount of equities in its plan to 52 percent this year from 49 percent in 2008, according to its filing. About a third of its portfolio will remain in fixed income, with the remainder divided between real estate and other investments. Equities made up 55 percent of DuPont’s assets in 2007.
Wilmington, Delaware-based DuPont said in a filing it hasn’t determined how much it may contribute to its pensions this year and it isn’t required to add funding to the plan at this time.
Loss, Job Cuts
DuPont in January reported a fourth-quarter loss of $629 million as global demand for materials used in cars and homes deteriorated. The company has cut 2,500 jobs and 8,000 contractor positions.
Lockheed Martin, the nation’s largest defense contractor, slashed its 2009 earnings forecast by more than 60 cents a share after falling stocks eroded pension assets.
The negative return on plan assets in 2008 and the change in the discount rate will increase 2009 pension expenses to about $1.04 billion, more than double the $462 million in 2008, Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed said in its annual report filed in February. About 85 percent of the increase was driven by the drop in plan assets, Lockheed said.
Dow Chemical, the largest U.S. chemical maker, expects to more than double pension contributions to $376 million from $185 million last year, according to a Feb. 20 filing. Midland, Michigan-based Dow’s pension was underfunded by $4 billion at year-end after posting a $526 million surplus a year earlier.
Sears Holdings Corp., the largest U.S. department-store chain, may need to almost triple its pension contributions to $500 million in 2010 from $170 million this year if pension reforms aren’t enacted and the markets fail to recover, the Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based company said in a filing.
Caterpillar, the largest construction-equipment maker, said Jan. 26 that it had a $3.4 billion year-end charge because of lower returns on pension assets. The company plans to put $1 billion into the pension fund this year, Chief Executive Officer Jim Owens said on a Jan. 26 conference call with analysts.
“Hopefully, the equity markets will return to some semblance of normal multiples and therefore recover,” Owens said.
Caterpillar’s pension obligations were $5.8 billion underfunded at the end of 2008, according to a Jan. 26 filing. The Peoria, Illinois-based company said in the filing it aims to keep its portfolio 70 percent invested in equities.
Originally posted by 44soulslayer
Geithner's plan (though really it should be named Paulson's Option A) has just fixed some of the holes in the bucket.