William F. Jasper
After a meeting with his economic team and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on June 29, President Obama announced "the economy is strengthening" and "we are into recovery." The recovery mantra, however, seems to be falling on more and more deaf ears these days.
The one thing that economists seem to agree on is that any economic recovery will be an uphill battle for some time to come. But if you’ve ever pulled a heavy wagon up a hill, you know what happens if your fellow pullers decide to become riders instead and jump on the wagon.
The timing of the sellout by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) could not have been more politically auspicious — or more suspicious. For months the Senator had been denouncing the secrecy of the Federal Reserve’s bailout operations, which have exceeded two trillion dollars. For months he had been pledging that he would push for a genuine audit of the Fed. He authored an amendment in the Senate identical to “Audit the Fed” legislation in the House (H.R. 1207) authored by Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas).
The Obama administration is calling its proposed $90 billion bank tax the Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee, and its salesman is Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
The United Nations summit on global warming in Copenhagen is less than a week away, and UN agencies are trying to pre-set the dials with calls for massive funding of various UN projects and programs. Speaking at a conference in Nairobi, Kenya, UN Development Program (UNDP) administrator Helen Clark said the developed nations need to provide between $75 billion and $100 billion a year to help poor nations cope with climate change.
News stories on August 19 reported that Neil Barofsky, Special Inspector General (SIG) of the U.S. treasury Department’s $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), had agreed to audit the $301 billion of federal asset guarantees extended to Citigroup Inc. since last November.
Back in February, California politicians and taxpayers received a wake-up call, but, apparently, the alarm wasn't loud enough to wake them.
California, the "Golden State," is not golden anymore. It has the biggest debt, the biggest budget deficit, the lowest bond rating, and (arguably) the highest taxes of any state in the union.
A hundred and eight billion dollars — $108,000,000,000. Not exactly an eye-popping sum anymore, in an era of multi-trillion-dollar annual budgets and multi-trillion-dollar annual deficits. Still, even with government spending streaking into the stratosphere, $108 billion is not mere chump change, especially when it’s leveraged as seed money.
Suppose we had conducted a national opinion poll a few months ago to canvass Americans on their opinions of the G20. Most respondents, it is probably safe to say, would not have had the slightest idea whether you were asking them about a new smart phone, the trendiest fashion footwear, or the latest fat-burner diet drink.