Showing posts from January, 2009

Here Comes the BARF?

I got a kick yesterday listening to an angry Senator Claire McCaskill lambaste Wall Street executives for doling out huge bonuses while they accepted TARP handouts: "We have a bunch of idiots on Wall Street that are kicking sand in the face of the American taxpayer," an enraged McCaskill said on the floor of the Senate. "They don't get it. These people are idiots. You can't use taxpayer money to pay out $18 billion in bonuses." Sen. McCaskill, D-Missouri, introduced a bill stating that no employee would be allowed to make more than the president of the United States. Of course, her bill will not pass, but she made her point. The problem is that the bonuses are no luxury for some Wall Street employees . But guys like John Thain, the now disgraced CEO of Merrill Lynch, should be prosecuted for criminal negligence and prosecutors should demand clawbacks on their outrages bonuses. Lock up all these guys for a long time and I will show you how fast Wall Street

Vive la Révolution!

Tonight we begin in France where huge crowds took to the streets to protest over the handling of the economic crisis : Unions said 2.5m workers had rallied to demand action to protect wages and jobs. Police put the total at 1m. President Nicolas Sarkozy said concerns over the crisis were legitimate and the government had to listen and act. He will meet union and business leaders next month to discuss what programme of reforms to follow this year, he said. Overall, the government estimated that a quarter of the country's public sector workers had joined the action, which was called by eight major French unions. The unions put the figure higher. A spokesman for the CGT union told AFP that 2.5m people across the country had taken part in the day's protests. French police put the number at just over 1m. CGT leader Bernard Thibault called on Mr Sarkozy to recognise the gravity of the situation and "reassess his measures" to deal with the economic crisis. In Paris, police s

Nowhere to Hide?

The U.S. House passed President Barack Obama’s $819 billion stimulus package , aimed at lifting the economy out of recession through tax cuts and more than a half-trillion dollars in new spending. For its part, the Federal Reserve left the benchmark interest rate as low as zero, said it’s prepared to purchase Treasury securities to resuscitate lending and warned inflation may recede too quickly. Let me quote the following from the Fed's monetary policy statement : The Federal Open Market Committee decided today to keep its target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent. The Committee continues to anticipate that economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate for some time. Information received since the Committee met in December suggests that the economy has weakened further. Industrial production, housing starts, and employment have continued to decline steeply, as consumers and businesses have cut back spending. Furtherm

Canada's Budget Fails to Address Pension Crisis

After months of speculation, Canada's Finance Minister Jim Flaherty tabled a federal budget that includes $40 billion in economic stimulus over the next two years in the form of infrastructure spending and income tax cuts . Late tonight, there are signs that the budget will not receive support from the opposition parties . Canada's largest union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), strongly condemns the federal budget : Faced with losing power, the Harper government is showcasing dozens of new measures to address the economic crisis. But today’s federal budget still falls short of what is needed to revive the economy, create jobs and protect struggling Canadians. “The budget smacks of short-term political opportunism instead of long-term solutions,” said CUPE National President Paul Moist. “Many of these measures have a shelf-life of only two years. What happens to people after that? The budget must be substantially amended if the government is really concerned abo