As part of the backroom deal to extend the Bush tax cuts for another two years, the GOP gave the progressives an extension of one of their favorite welfare-state building blocks: unemployment insurance — which will undoubtedly add to the long lines of suffering Americans in our country.
More and more people in affluent societies are turning to gold as a hedge against irresponsible government financial policies. It cannot make these people more comfortable that, in Europe, there has been discussion about trying to keep the teetering government financial systems stable — for awhile, in any event — by having the European Union issue “joint sovereign bonds.” Germany and France have rejected that approach, but if nations like Italy and Spain begin to unravel, then the pressure on France and especially Germany to help shore up neighboring financial systems will grow more insistent.
With all the attention being focused on extending the “Bush tax cuts,” granting additional unemployment benefits, and the arrival in Washington of newly minted congressional Representatives and Senators, a major piece of the fiscal puzzle has been ignored altogether: states’ increasingly pressured budgets for next year. As noted by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), the Great Recession “has caused the steepest decline in state tax receipts on record.”
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s recent 60 Minutes interview raised more questions than it answered. Some even questioned the questions. Gary North explained that the Fed chair was being pushed to defend his decision to purchase more government securities in order to stimulate the economy. Interviewer Scott Pelley was at an admitted disadvantage, and failed to ask Bernanke exactly why he thought additional stimulating would work when past stimulations haven’t.
National Review, the putative voice of political conservatism, continues to flack for the Federal Reserve and Fed chief Ben Bernanke's latest round of money magic known as "quantitative easing," or QE2.
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, chairman emeritus of the Hoover Institution, Kurt Hauser, strongly disagreed with the Obama administration’s claim that by raising taxes on just the top two percent of all taxpayers there would be a significant increase in tax revenues to the government. He claimed that Hauser’s Law would limit any anticipated increase in revenues, and it might even reduce them.
White House deficit commission co-chairman Alan Simpson spoke at a Christian Science Monitor roundtable on Friday morning saying, “I can’t wait for the blood bath in April. It won’t matter whether two of us [on the commission] have signed this or 14 or 18. When debt limit time comes, they’re going to look around and say, ‘What … do we do now? We’ve got guys [House freshmen] who will not approve the debt limit increase unless we give 'em a piece of meat, real meat, off of this package.’ And boy the blood bath will be extraordinary.”
When Anthony Mason, CBS News' senior business correspondent, visited the Treasury Room, he called it the location of “essentially the American credit card machine.” It’s where traders buy and sell United States’ treasury bills, notes, and bonds in order to finance government operations. Mason’s revelation was profound: "I found that room kind of spooky. If we can’t [sell] those IOUs — which keep the government running on a day-to-day basis — then we can’t run the country anymore. We [won’t] have the money."
With all the commotion over the invasiveness of the naked-body scanners used by the United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA), one question that has been ignored is who is profiting from TSA’s use of the body scanners? Mark Hemingway and Tim Carney at The Examiner discovered the shameful answer: George Soros, Michael Chertoff, and a number of lobbyists.
William C. Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, defended the Fed’s recent announcement to print more money (called Quantitative Easing) to stimulate the moribund economy. Dudley, who is also the vice chairman of the Fed’s FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee), and former chief United States economist for Goldman Sachs, said that the decision to increase the supply of money was only to reduce interest rates further and not to devalue the dollar. He said, “We have no goal of pushing the dollar up or down. Our goal is to ease financial conditions and to stimulate a stronger economic expansion and more rapid employment growth.”