Citigroup has agreed to pay $285 million to settle civil fraud charges that it misled buyers of complex mortgage investments just as the housing market was starting to collapse. The Securities and Exchange Commission brought forth the civil action against Citigroup, claiming that investors who bought into the deal (which involved, essentially, stuffing portfolios with risky mortgage — related investments, selling it to unsuspecting customers, and then betting against those investments) had been defrauded. The transaction involved a one-billion dollar portfolio of mortgage-related investments, many of which were handpicked for the portfolio by Citigroup without telling investors of its role or that it had made bets that the investments would fall in value. The SEC says that as investors lost millions, Citigroup made $160 million in fees and profits.
With all the talk of budget cuts in Washington, the average American could be forgiven for thinking that federal spending is, in fact, being reduced. Certainly the chattering classes are pushing the notion hard, arguing that the dawning age of austerity is responsible for the nation’s slow-to-nonexistent economic recovery.
For the so-called “old media,” it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
Last week the Pew Research Center for The People and The Press released a survey whose results indicate that 43 percent of Americans now claim to get most of their news from Internet sources.
The Obama administration is proposing new automobile regulations, including a doubling of fuel economy requirements, that will make cars more expensive and less safe while costing thousands of jobs, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA). Meeting in Washington, D.C., to lobby against the proposed regulations, NADA circulated a handout called “A Flawed Fuel Economy Structure Produces a Flawed Result” that describes the expected outcomes of those rules. A copy was provided to CNSNews.com, which also interviewed NADA’s director of legislative affairs and communications, Bailey Wood.
Even as the dollar is crashing and inflation in the United States is rampant, Federal Reserve officials have announced plans to flow dollars into banks in the European Union. The European Central Bank, which is to receive the largest amount, will in turn will extend the money to other major banks in EU member states, which are finding it increasingly difficult to raise funds from investors deeply concerned by the massive regional government's unstable economic climate.
To the list of mega-corporations bailed out by the U.S. government, we now must add — Europe. In an announcement that rocked financial markets worldwide, the European Central Bank revealed yesterday a concerted effort in combination with four other major central banks — the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the Bank of Switzerland, and yes, the U.S. Federal Reserve — to use dollars rather than euros in an attempt to paper over the European Union’s economic woes.
By erasing burdensome regulations, the oil industry could create one million jobs by 2018 and more than 1.4 million by 2030, according to an analysis released by the American Petroleum Institute (API). The report, prepared by Wood Mackenzie Research and Consulting and funded by API, also projects that oil production could grow by 10.4 million barrels a day and increase government revenue by $803 billion by 2030.
Burdened with economic uncertainty, high unemployment, and a volatile investors’ market, young Americans are desperately seeking job security — while anxiously chasing the "American Dream." The economy simply isn’t what it was when they first entered the job market, or when they were finishing high school or working for their college degrees. The entire economic, financial, and social class system has changed. Indeed, the entire country has changed.
Is President Barack Obama working on a proposal to keep Uncle Sam deeply involved in the mortgage business and taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars in home loans? The White House says no, the President is merely examining his options. Meanwhile, the Washington Post, based on leaks from anonymous officials, reports that he is indeed looking to maintain the federal government’s outsized role in guaranteeing mortgages.
At a time when each day seems to bring more dire news regarding the economy, Americans have one silver lining: the price at the pump is going down. According to energy experts, gas prices should fall anywhere from 30 to 50 cents per gallon over the next several weeks.
Residents of the Windy City may have to do without their favorite ice cream for a while, and possibly for good; and they have government to thank for it. According to the Chicago Tribune, Kris Swanberg, a laid-off Chicago public school teacher who chased the American Dream by starting her own business making artisanal ice cream, was recently told by the Illinois Department of Public Health that she will have to stop selling her product, Nice Cream, until she obtains a dairy license.