The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the unemployment rate in the United States increased to 9.6 percent during the month of August. The BLS press release may have been tweaked by politicians, as it read that the “unemployment rate was about unchanged at 9.6 percent.” By “about unchanged,” the bureaucrats at the BLS should have written “increased from 9.5 to 9.6 percent.”
In a major restructuring of its operations, USA Today, published by Gannet Co., Inc., has announced that it will lay off 130 employees in an effort to reorient itself and publish more content in digital form, as opposed to print.
Government is the only institution whose power and budget grow when it fails. A crisis, real or perceived, is considered an “opportunity” for government to expand, as President Obama’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, reminded Americans shortly after Obama won the 2008 presidential election.
The first warning about the possible bankruptcy of the town of Vallejo, California, was reported by the Associated Press on February 28, 2008, when Councilwoman Stephanie Gomes said, “Our financial situation is getting worse every single day. No city or private person wants to declare bankruptcy, but if you’re facing insolvency, you have no choice but to seek protection.”
On Wednesday, July 21, President Obama triumphantly signed the latest plank in his bid to outdo Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Depression-era radical expansion of federal government powers. While Obama’s overall program has yet to challenge the New Deal as the greatest federal power grab in U.S. history, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is certainly the most massive imposition of federal power ever inflicted on the financial sector.
On August 10 President Barack Obama signed into law a $26 billion spending bill that, proponents claim, will save the jobs of 300,000 teachers, police officers, and other public employees in danger of being laid off.
On the heels of dismal second quarter results, mortgage finance giant Freddie Mac is asking for more taxpayer money to continue operations.
The White House on July 21 extolled the extension of unemployment insurance by the Senate, claiming it was “not only the decent thing to do but one of the most effective ways to boost our economy.” President Obama signed the extension into law immediately, saying that this was “desperately needed assistance to two and a half million Americans who lost their jobs in the recession…Americans who…will finally get the support they need to get back on their feet during these tough economic times.”
Instead of asking for a federal bailout, Maine is considering shifting part of its underfunded pension plan liabilities to Social Security. Without the proposed fix, the pension liability the state currently faces is “going to rip the guts out of our budget,” according to Peter Mills, the state Senator who initially suggested the plan.
Czarist Russia is looking better and better. Once a byword for bureaucratic absolutism, the apparatchiks of pre-revolutionary St. Petersburg and their endless rule-making seem positively enlightened beside some of the pieces of aptly named omnibus legislation emanating from Capitol Hill these days. The newly passed Dodd-Frank Financial Regulation Bill may be the worst yet. At 2,315 pages and 390,000 words, the bill is half the size of the entire King James Bible. It stretches credulity to believe that America’s political leaders now enact single pieces of legislation many times the size of the entire Mosaic code. But they do.