The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics just released its employment figures for the month of May, and they would appear to be very encouraging indeed: 431,000 new jobs were created, and the unemployment rate fell to 9.7 percent. President Obama hailed this as proof that his economic policies are succeeding, saying, “This report is a sign that our economy is getting stronger by the day.”
Bank closures throughout the United States continue to be telling of the state of the economy. Friday witnessed the closing of three more banks in Florida and one in Nevada and California, totaling 78 failed banks in this year alone.
The Senate Thursday night passed its long-awaited financial reform bill, another critical plank in President Obama’s New Deal-esque agenda to bring the private sector under more comprehensive and stifling control by the federal government and Federal Reserve. Touted as the biggest piece of financial reform since the Great Depression, the bill, crafted primarily by retiring Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd (D), faces only reconciliation with a similar bill passed by the House last December before being sent to the President for his signature.
With a congressional battle brewing over what is being touted as the biggest attempt at financial regulatory reform since the Great Depression, most pundits are predicting that, despite token Republican opposition, some version of the bill that originated with Senator Chris Dodd’s Finance Committee will soon pass. Senate Republicans blocked the first attempt to bring the matter to a vote on April 19, but Democrats and the Obama administration vowed to continue to press wavering Republicans to support the bill.
Senate Democrats beat back a Republican alternative amendment to Connecticut Democrat Christopher Dodd's Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 (S. 3217) and will soon consider an amendment to audit the Federal Reserve Bank authored by Louisiana Republican David Vitter. The GOP substitute amendment failed in a 38-61 vote May 6.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission on May 4, saying that General Motors is misleadingly claiming in a TV advertisement that it has already paid back its government loan in full.
Newspapers are dying. That is the message from the latest Audit Bureau of Circulations, an independent firm that checks the average circulation of various print periodicals. The average drop of newspaper circulation nationally was 8.7 percent. This was somewhat smaller than the last quarterly audit, which showed an average circulation drop of 10.6 percent, but the circulation figures were bad enough.
The International Monetary Fund proposed a draft of two global taxes — a bank tax, and a “FAT” tax against what politicians deem to be excessive salaries or bonuses in the financial sector — at the Washington G-20 meeting last weekend. The final version of the proposal to create what the IMF calls a “stable global financial system” will be discussed by G-20 nations at the Toronto summit in June.
Some of the opponents of the recently enacted health care legislation may have been premature with their warnings about "death panels." A death panel of sorts can be found in the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010, the financial regulation bill that has Congress divided once again along partisan lines. The bill would establish in the U.S Bankruptcy Court in Delaware an ominous-sounding Orderly Liquidation Authority Panel to preside over the (presumably) orderly process of putting out of business a large bank or non-banking financial firm whose "financial distress or failure" could create "risks to the financial stability of the United States..."