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BREAKING NEWS: Hundreds of Iowans thrown out of public hearing
More than 500 people who are upset with a plan to change Iowa's tax laws were cleared from a hearing tonight at the Iowa House after they interrupted multiple times.
House Speaker Pat Murphy, D-Dubuque, cleared the crowd at about 8:30 p.m. The decision brought about loud protests as the crowd was escorted from the chambers by Iowa State Patrol officers.
“This is the most atrocious thing I’ve seen in the history of the 15 years I’ve been a lobbyist. Pat Murphy has acted like a jack-booted Nazi,” said Ed Failor Jr., president of Iowans for Tax Relief, a conservative taxpayers’ rights group from Muscatine with 50,000 members..
Failor Jr. was escorted from the House chambers after Murphy overheard him speak with the media.
House rules say that no protesting or advocating can be done in the House.
Murphy said he should have ordered the chambers cleared much sooner than he did, since several of the speakers were booed.
“The idea behind the public hearing is to give people public input and allow people the ability to speak for and against the bill. This is not an athletic event,” Murphy said.
After the majority of the public was removed, the scheduled speakers were allowed to continue. The hearing is scheduled to last until about 9:45 p.m.
The proposal, House File 807 and Senate Study Bill 1317, would end a practice known as federal deductibility. That means Iowans could no longer subtract what they pay in federal income taxes from their income when figuring their state taxes.
Ending federal deductibility without changing anything else would mean Iowans would pay an estimated $595 million more in taxes. However, Democrats have proposed a plan that would instead lower the state income tax rates and increase certain tax credits to offset the increase.
Democrats have maintained that two-thirds of Iowans would either see a tax savings or no change at all in their taxes due to the proposal.
Specific numbers show that 49 percent of Iowans who file taxes would get a break in the current tax year, while about 18 percent would see no change.
The remainder – 450,292 people – would see a tax increase, according to the Iowa department of Revenue and Finance.
U.S. plans to ease GM into bankruptcy - NY Times
WASHINGTON, April 1 (Reuters) - The Obama administration is seeking to ease General Motors Corp (GM.N) into a "controlled" bankruptcy by persuading some creditors to agree to a plan that would divide the company into two pieces, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.
Citing people briefed on the matter, the Times said the plan is to push GM into a structured bankruptcy "somewhere between a prepackaged bankruptcy and court chaos," using taxpayer financing for leverage.
The administration is drawing in part from its experience with troubled banks, seeking to create a new, healthier GM, but leaving behind its liabilities and less valuable assets, possibly for liquidation, the Times said on its website.
Under the plan, GM would file for prearranged bankruptcy, the report said, and would then use a sale authorized under Section 363 of the U.S. bankruptcy code to sell off desirable assets to a new company financed by the government.
These more valuable assets might include Cadillac and Chevrolet, as well as assets the company needs to run its business, the Times said.
Plans are still under discussion and details are subject to change, the report said.
GM officials warned on Tuesday there was a rising chance it could file for bankruptcy by June.
One plan under discussion would be to form a new company of the automaker's best assets, while laggard brands and money-losing assets would remain under bankruptcy protection, a person familiar with that strategy told Reuters. [ID:nN31436886]
President Barack Obama's thinking on the crisis facing GM has not changed since Monday, a senior administration official told Reuters on Tuesday.
"Nothing has changed on this," the official said when asked about a Bloomberg report that the president has determined that a prepackaged bankruptcy is the best way for GM to restructure and become competitive. "This report is not accurate."
The White House wants the 60-day period for GM and a 30-day period for Chrysler [CCMLPD.UL] to play out, as announced by the president on Monday, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
...Great...they won't have the problems like last time, when we cut the Trans-Atlantic Internet Cables...they'll be in the Banks already...
About 300 Satyam staff join Bank of America -paper
MUMBAI, April 1 (Reuters) - About 250-300 employees at fraud-hit Indian outsourcer Satyam Computer Services (SATY.BO) are joining Bank of America (BAC.N), the Business Standard newspaper said on Wednesday.
The employees were working on a Satyam project for Merrill Lynch, which was taken over by the U.S. bank after it was hit by the subprime crisis last year, it said.
The project was not renewed by Merrill after Satyam was caught in India's biggest corporate scandal and the work of managing its database and providing infrastructure support would now be done inhouse, the paper said.
The first of these employees will join Bank of America between April 2 and 8, it said, adding they have been given salary increases of around 10 percent and joining bonuses.
A spokeswoman for Satyam said: "The report is speculative." An official at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch in India said she could not immediately comment.
Satyam, whose market value has slid to $505.6 million from $7 billion last May, is in the midst of a bidding process to find a new buyer. It plunged into a crisis in January after its founder quit as chairman revealing profits had been falsified for years.
Indian engineering conglomerate Larsen & Toubro (LART.BO) and mid-sized outsourcer Tech Mahindra (TEML.BO) are among the suitors, and local media have said U.S. private equity WL Ross & Co was also among the bidders.
LONDON, April 1 (Reuters) - European shares were set to fall on Wednesday,
the first day of the second quarter, after gaining strongly in the previous
session. Financial spreadbetters expected Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE to open up to 25
points lower, or as much as 0.6 percent, Germany's DAX .GDAXI to open up to 41
points lower, or as much as 1 percent and France's CAC .FCHI to open up to 34
points lower, or as much as 1.2 percent.
With a very thin corporate diary on April Fools' Day, investors' focus will
be on macroeconomic matters, such as the euro zone unemployment figures, due at
What Does Fiat Money Mean?
Currency that a government has declared to be legal tender, despite the fact that it has no intrinsic value and is not backed by reserves. Historically, most currencies were based on physical commodities such as gold or silver, but fiat money is based solely on faith.
Obama said No. 3 Chrysler can’t survive on its own and gave it 30 days to complete a partnership with Italy’s Fiat SpA.
U.S. private sector job losses accelerated in March, more than economists' expectations, according to a report by ADP Employer Services on Wednesday.
ADP said private employers cut 742,000 jobs in March versus a 706,000 revised cut in February that was originally reported at 697,000 jobs.
Economists had expected 655,000 private-sector job cuts in March, according to a recent Reuters poll.
Protesters have smashed windows of the RBS building in the City of London as tensions continue to rise.
CNBC has come up with a new word: "Great Recession".
Nobody, of course, wants to use the "D" word, but the "D" word is exactly what we should be using, because its what we're entering - and in fact are likely already in.
All the commentators like to talk about "monetary policy" and how it "isn't working because the credit markets are dysfunctional."
Nobody mentions that the reason the credit markets are dysfunctional is that credit has been abused by consumers, industry and government alike.
1/3rd of all homes now have mortgages that exceed the value of the house. This didn't happen by accident, it happened due to the collapse in traditional underwriting standards, which once again are:
* 20% down payment, in saved cash (not additional credit)
* 28% maximum "front end" ratio, that is, the entirety of your housing expenses to gross income
* 36% "back end" ratio maximum, that is, the entirety of your debt service, including housing and all other debt service such as credit cards and car payments + student loans, to gross income.
Nobody wants to go back to reasonable lending standards. Why? Because if you do, you exclude most buyers - not because of the housing price or the "front end" ratio, but because consumers have levered up everywhere else too, including student loans, credit cards and buying a new car every three years.
The hue and cry for such silliness as seller-financed down-payment "assistance" (which ought to be outlawed as intentionally misleading, as it serves to improperly prop up the reported sale price of the house, effectively "laundering" a seller concession) FHA 3.5% "down payments" (1/5th the reasonable requirement) along with other expressions of idiocy such as allowing AUS/TOTAL automated approvals that stretch debt-to-income ratios is proof positive that we're a nation that is stuck in debt up to our necks.
There is no durable and reasonable recovery that can happen until that debt is either paid down or defaulted. Since we continue to refuse to tighten up standards for major capital purchases (including houses and cars) we will continue to march over the cliff, one step at a time, until the transfer of the defaulting and to-be-defaulted debt is transferred to a "government guarantee" reaches a critical mass.
At that point government funding evaporates from external sources and the "job cuts" all happen there, along with forced cuts in government largess programs - whether the administration wants them to or not.
President Obama and Congress simply refuse to deal with reality and his so-called "advisers" are in fact up to their necks in the policies that got us here. As a consequence people like Larry Summers cannot be counted on to provide impartial or even honest analysis, as it is their very policy structures and suggestions from more than ten years ago that got us here in the first place!
Obama is now said to be favoring a "prepackaged" bankruptcy for GM, allowing Chrysler to go under. It would be nice if we would see our President realize that this same mess exists in virtually every corner of our economy, but doing that requires skewering people who he considers "trusted advisers."
It is rather amusing to hear Senators like Mr. Shelby come out and tell us how bankruptcy is "best for the taxpayer" when it comes to GM (true) but they won't say the same thing about Bank America and Citibank. Why not? Fact is, a bankruptcy is the correct solution to too much debt and excess capacity no matter where it is, as it is the formal structure under our capitalist system by which excessive debt (supporting capacity that is in excess of requirements and thus unproductive) is cleared through debt-to-equity cramdowns, real concessions by all stakeholders (forced by a judge) and/or outright defaults.
These same Congressfolk also don't want to repeal the so-called "bankruptcy reform" law of a few years ago that made it nearly-impossible for income-earning Americans to discharge their debts over that same Constitutionally-provided process. Indeed over the years Congress has extended the net of "impossible to discharge" debt ever further like a creeping prickerbush; child support awards, IRS debt and more recently privately-written student loans. More recently for those with above-median incomes all debt became effectively non-dischargable.
This of course is what the bankers want, but it is precisely backward in relationship to what America needs. If we are to see our debt levels contract from 370% of GDP (up from 350% last year) and not provoke a GDP collapse (which will rocket that ratio higher) we must instead:
* Reverse the "bankruptcy reform" act.
* Repeal all restrictions on debt that can be discharged in bankruptcy.
* Force all firms and individuals who are unable to pay through bankruptcy.
In short the solution to insoluble debt is bankruptcy. It is through bankruptcy that we clear that debt from the books, which is a necessary precondition to a re-balancing of the economic output of this nation to its ability to fund consumption with production, not "pulled forward" credit-driven false demand.
The UAW and organized labor in general, long though to be the "favored" among President Obama and the Democrats through their speeches and claims, in fact were thrown under the bus. It is simply remarkable that the UAW hasn't literally mobilized every labor union in the United States and coalesced their memberships into a march on Washington DC, laying (peaceful!) siege to the city and demanding that the same sort of "tough love" meted out for GM and Chrysler be applied to all the financial concerns that have instead received well north of a trillion dollars of largesse, forcing the rescission of all previously-allocated "bailouts" and refusing to leave until a level playing field is achieved. One must wonder if Gettlefinger and the union "brothers" really are brothers at all, or whether the last 20 years has made them, once the most-feared political constituency in America, yet another neutered political has-been incapable of anything beyond a bad parody of carnival barking.
Real economic growth and the stabilization of the job base, along with normalization of the credit markets will not and in fact cannot happen until this takes place.
We must as a nation choose - we can either choose a continued descent into chaos that literally threatens our way of life and political system, or we can choose to force those who made bad bets, whether they be improperly-underwritten loans, naked CDS written without capital or those who speculated in the purchase of their house to go through the bankruptcy process and thus remove from the system insoluble debt via the process of bankruptcy and default.
The latter choice is politically unpalatable but it beats the loss of social order, the collapse of our economy and credit markets and ultimately the collapse in government funding that can (and will, if allowed to descend to that level) result in the loss of our government and way of life.
Protesters have smashed windows of the RBS building in the City of London as tensions continue to rise.
With their racing budgets deemed “unnecessary expenditures,” GM and Chrysler are ordered to cease racing operations at the end of the season.
BY JARED GALL, ILLUSTRATION BY ERIC WOODWARD
In a move sure to spark outrage, the White House announced today that GM and Chrysler must cease participation in NASCAR at the end of the 2009 season if they hope to receive any additional financial aid from the government. Companies around the globe—Honda and Audi, to name two—have drawn down racing operations, and NASCAR itself has already felt the pinch in the form of reduced team spending. A complete withdrawal from America’s premier racing series is expected to save more than $250 million between GM and Chrysler, a substantial amount considering the drastic measures being implemented elsewhere.
“Automakers used to operate on the principle of ‘win on Sunday, sell on Monday,’ but the Auto Task Force’s research just doesn’t validate that as true,” said the statement from President Obama. While fans have decried the Car of Tomorrow for heavily limiting what little personalization the cookie-cutter series had previously allowed to participating manufacturers, and drivers have slammed its brick-like aerodynamics and unpredictable handling, even the governmental oversight committee sees that the full-scale regulation of the cars leaves the manufacturers very little space for research and development. “NASCAR is a racing series that regulates down to the smallest detail of the cars, where a car badged a Chevrolet or Dodge differs only marginally from a Ford or a Toyota. There’s no technological development to speak of.”
The statement goes on further to say the same demand will be made of Ford if it asks for government assistance. “In order to receive this money, corporations must demonstrate they will spend it wisely. Racing has been said to improve on-road technology, but frankly, NASCAR almost flaunts its standing among the lowest-tech forms of motorsport. NASCAR is not proven to drive advancements that transfer from the racetrack to the road, and this nation’s way forward does not hinge on decades-old technology. We need new, and we need innovation.”
The President realizes this will be an unpopular call, but stands behind the decision, saying, “This is an obvious cut to make, but it is not an easy one. This administration is not ignoring the tremendous sentimental value and emotional appeal NASCAR holds for so many Americans. But now is not the time for sentiment and nostalgia; now is a time for decisive financial action. If our automotive industry is to emerge from this recession intact, then these difficult decisions must be made.”