Item: Writing in the online Newsweek for June 2, Daniel Gross observed: “It’s been a long time since American devotees of Marx … have had much to cheer about. But with the bankruptcy filings of General Motors and Chrysler, and the transfer of stock ownership from the firms’ long-suffering shareholders to the government and unions, communists of the world can rejoice. The workers are now, finally, significant owners of the means of production. The United Auto Workers control about 65 percent of Chrysler and 17.5 percent of General Motors.”
The ADP National Employment Report estimated that the national economy shed some 473,000 jobs in June, which may be enough to bring the national unemployment rate to the 10-percent threshold once official figures are tallied later in the month.
"Today's razor-thin vote in the House spells doom in the Senate," Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) predicted to the Associated Press of the American Clean Energy and Security Act ( a.k.a. “cap and trade”) immediately after the narrow 219-212 vote.
Ford Motor Company was supposed to be the only major U.S. automaker not in need of a bailout, but this week Ford accepted a $5.9 billion loan subsidy under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). The EISA loan is designed to help the auto industry by supporting “capital investments in facilities designed to produce vehicles with greater fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.”
Many factors have enabled the United States to become the wealthiest nation on Earth: limited government, secure property rights, a free-market capitalist economic system, a relatively stable currency, and an abundance of available energy. One might note that all of these elements are increasingly under attack from politicians, but a successful assault on the access we have to the energy that powers our economy would devastate our country — even if we did everything else right.
Monday, June 1, was the end of an era for the American automotive industry. As nearly everyone not living in the jungles of Borneo knows by now, once-mighty General Motors, the flagship corporation of American automobile manufacturing and one of the most potent symbols worldwide of American industrial might, slid into Chapter 11 bankruptcy after the Great Recession dealt the long-foundering giant the coup de grace. In what is being billed as the fourth-largest bankruptcy in American history and the largest ever for an industrial manufacturer, GM claims $82.29 billion in assets against almost $173 billion in debt — this, be it duly noted, after billions in federal government bailout monies have been shoveled GM’s way.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) made public on April 8 several alternative plans under consideration for regulating the activities of short sellers. Short selling, the inverse of purchasing stock shares in the hope that share prices will rise, consists of borrowing shares, selling them, and then repurchasing them at a later date and returning them to their owner. Short selling is undertaken when a stock is expected to decline in value; a short seller who borrows a thousand dollars worth of stock, sells them, and then repurchases them and returns them to their owner when the stock's value has declined to $500, pockets a profit of $500.00.
“Is Barack Obama More Pro-Business Than Ron Paul?” led the headline on the popular blog at LewRockwell.com. “Yes,” Rockwell sarcastically answered his own question in a concise one-liner, “according to the Beltway's National Chamber of Commerce, which measures willingness to build the corporate state.”
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s remark that he was “worried” about the $1 trillion in U.S. debt he was holding caused such a chill down the spine of world financial analysts that even the White House felt forced to respond immediately. “There’s no safer investment in the world than in the United States,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs shot back that same day.
Down, down, down goes the Dow (and all the other stock indexes), and how much further the markets are likely to fall before the recession bottoms out is becoming an increasingly vexed question. The Dow is now well below 7,000 for the first time in 12 years, and bearish market analysts are now wondering: is Dow 5,000 a reasonable expectation? 4,000? Or lower still?
On Tuesday, February 18, President Barack Obama achieved one of his first major goals in office by making his $787 billion stimulus plan a reality. TheWashington Post reported: "President Barack Obama ... signed into law a plan meant to create jobs, encourage people to spend money and in general feel better about the economy." Is it the economy Obama wants the people to feel better about or is it the president himself?