After a record $192.3 billion federal budget deficit for March, the U.S. Treasury Department reported a $956.8 billion federal deficit for the first half of fiscal 2009 — already nearly $1 trillion. As the Treasury published the news of the deficit, President Obama told the press on April 10, “What we’re starting to see is glimmers of hope across the economy.”
There's something fundamentally wrong with the world when a country known for being the very embodiment of Old World socialism — Sweden — serves up an object lesson in capitalism to the United States. Amid all the global furor surrounding government bailouts, rescue packages for corporations deemed "too large to fail," and scandalous executive bonuses shelled out with taxpayer dollars, tiny Sweden has been quietly doing the right thing where its own pivotal domestic automaker, Saab, is concerned.
It's official: the Obama administration intends to nationalize the entire financial sector. If there were any lingering doubts as to the intentions of President Barack Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, they were dispelled by an announcement on March 26 detailing the Treasury Department's new "framework for regulatory reform."
The Obama administration is now in the business of subsidizing the auto parts industry. In yet another slug of taxpayer money intended to prevent the collapse of GM and Chrysler, the Treasury announced on April 8 it was making available $5 billion in short-term financing for auto parts suppliers. The money is intended to keep manufacturers and suppliers of parts to GM and Chrysler afloat while the beleaguered automotive giants struggle for survival.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 8 it has received enough H-1B applications to meet the congressionally mandated cap of 85,000 H-1B visas for fiscal year 2009. The H-1B visas are given to foreign workers in “specialty occupations” (science, engineering, law, medicine, computer programming, etc.) where U.S. employers have filed petitions claiming there are not qualified U.S. applicants to fill the jobs.
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.”
“The U.S. may suffer further job losses in the coming months” began the April 3 Bloomberg.com story on federal government reports that the U.S. economy shed an estimated 633,000 jobs in March. The same federal report also revised upward the estimate of job losses for January by nearly 100,000, to 741,000 (the earlier estimate for January was 655,000 jobs lost). The unemployment rate now stands at 8.5 percent, the highest in more than 25 years.
Sometimes one wonders what it will take to wake people up and shake people up. It can become tiresome being labeled a kook, a nutjob, a conspiracy whacko — by both Democrats and Republicans, “liberals” and “conservatives” — all for merely pointing out what is obvious and easily verifiable. Thus, there is a certain satisfying sense of vindication when the labelers finally admit that maybe you weren’t really crazy after all. Maybe your warnings about the dangers of the steady transfers of power and money to an ever-proliferating international bureaucracy weren’t so far out. Maybe the United Nations really is being built into an all-powerful world government. And … maybe we should finally get concerned about all of that!
The much-ballyhooed G20 London lollapalooza is over, and things are going to change, according to world leaders. “A new world order is emerging, and with it we are entering into a new era of international cooperation,” British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said after the meeting. Brown has for months been pushing vocally for major new institutions for global government and for stronger powers for existing global authorities like the International Monetary Fund (IMF). And at this G20 summit, Brown and his fellow internationalists got what they wanted.
When the Federal Reserve announced on March 19 its latest offensive against the financial crisis — to purchase more than $1 trillion in government debt ranging from mortgage-backed securities to long-term Treasury bonds — Wall Street, the financial media, and the political classes had a conniption. Even the most diehard defenders of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and his monetary policies were aghast: surely this latest move would unleash long-latent inflationary forces that would cripple any prospects for a robust recovery. Even the New York Times made note of the danger, worrying that "the Fed was taking risks that could dilute the value of the dollar and set the stage for future inflation." The Times pointed as evidence to the sharp rise in gold prices and a drop in the dollar's value against both the yen and the euro that followed the Fed's announcement.