cash for clunkersThe U.S. House of Representatives passed a $4 billion “Cash for Clunkers” bill on June 9 that is aimed at both increasing fuel economy of cars and bailing out the beleaguered U.S. auto industry.  Of course, there’s no guarantee the subsidy would help U.S. automakers, who have generally specialized in larger, gas-guzzling sport-utility vehicles and luxury automobiles in recent years. The $4 billion subsidy, which is expected to be drawn from February's $787 billion federal economic stimulus package, may end up subsidizing purchases from Toyota, Honda and other foreign manufacturers that specialize in fuel economy.

GeithnerOn June 10, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner announced several ways that the Obama administration intends to change corporate practices for determining executive compensation. The administration will support “say on pay” legislation, so named because it is supposed to give shareholders a say on how top executives are compensated, and other legislation granting the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) power to make sure that compensation committees “are more independent.” Additionally, famous Washington lawyer Kenneth R. Feinberg was named as an overseer of executive compensation packages for companies bailed out by the government.

Sonia SotomayorSoon America will move, in all likelihood, from a Supreme Court with a Justice David Souter as a member to a court with a Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Neither the alphabetical order of the justices nor the constitutional disorder will change. Little will change but gender and ethnicity, which the major news media would have us believe are the most important considerations.

paperworkOn May 28, the Competitive Enterprise Institute released the 2009 edition of their report on the impact of federal regulation. Entitled Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State, the 51-page PDF delves into the morass of regulation oozing out of Washington. The Executive Summary of the report is posted at the institute’s website and gives a quick overview of the report’s findings.

D'EscotoUnited Nations General Assembly President Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann intends to leave his mark on the United Nations and the global economic-political picture before his one-year term ends in September. D'Escoto, a longtime top official in the communist Sandinista government of Nicaragua, has chosen as his primary vehicle for making this mark the UN Conference on the World's Financial and Economic Crisis to be held June 24-26 at the UN headquarters in New York.