Archive for ‘Business’

December 10, 2008

Signs of the Apocalypse

by thoughtfulconservative

Luck of draw hurts Lottery

An extraordinary lucky streak for Maryland lottery players has meant more bad news for a state budget already hobbled by the recession.

Economy’s Latest Victim: The Holiday Office Party

A record number of companies have dropped holiday parties this year while others are scaling back how much they spend, what they serve and/or how many people they invite.

This would have been the kind of thing I would have expected to read at Dad29 and have him point out another sign of the recession: Wastepaper market in the dumps

Ordinarily, much of the scrap would have been shipped to China, where it would be mashed into pulp and recycled into new cardboard boxes to package many of the goods destined for American store shelves.

But American consumers aren’t buying so many nicely packaged televisions, computers and toys these days. And China’s economy is slowing too.

California fiscal officials try ‘Scared Straight’ approach with Legislature

In the 1970s, hardened felons tried to deter juvenile delinquents from lives of crime through “Scared Straight” presentations in which they portrayed prison life in all its brutal unpleasantness.

On Monday, California’s top fiscal officers attempted to deliver a similar jolt to state legislators who have yet to address a $28-billion projected budget gap.

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September 21, 2008

Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while

by thoughtfulconservative

For example, Andrew Sullivan,

That’s a lot of zeros. But, hey, no one said socialism was cheap, did they?

(A tip of the Tampa Bay Devil Ray baseball cap to Brad V at Letters in Bottles)

While I’m on the subject of the Bailout, I can’t help but point out this multi-link post by Nick and one by this gentleman who notes,

Let’s help the innocent who will be hurt by the failure of the Wall Street giants, but we need to demand that Washington calm down and prove that we really are on the verge of the next Great Depression before their actions put us into one – only to have them look back, retrospectively, and argue, “See, I told you so.”

September 20, 2008

Wall Street bailout – more questions than answers

by thoughtfulconservative

While I don’t agree with everything in this post, he asks a lot of good questions at the beginning.

Why is that every time bad investments made by private institutions go belly up, the U.S. taxpayers are called upon to socialize the financial risk? WHY?

Why is it that suddenly, government isn’t the problem, it’s the solution? [Ed.-My word, even Krugman has some good stuff here. Is the world going to end?]

Democrats and Republican lawmakers are to blame for the current mortgage and investment banking crisis. From a legislative perspective, they saw this coming years ago and did nothing to stop it. This has happened before. Remember when taxpayers were called upon to bailout the Resolution Trust Corporation and the S&L crisis in the 1990s?

I think he gives legislators too much credit. Maybe some saw what was coming. Most just hoped something would happen (like maybe they would get their pensions) before the worst happened.

Fannie and Freddie were worthy of rescue but not Lehman Bros. Then AIG and finally the whole ball of wax is going to get rescued. Will Lehman Bros. get a do over?

Cindy Kilkenny raises the question of financial terrorism. It didn’t originate with her; see her post for more links. I’m still not so sure, but it bears watching.

The Asian Badger (who, let’s say, knows what he’s talking about) had this to say,

In a way, over-regulation was how we got here (goes back to Congress mandating the underwriting of mortgages to non-qualified buyers…so all kinds of lax standards, shady brokers, swaps to manage the new risk, etc. sprang up).

See his post for his remedies. You may not agree with all of them, but many of them are common sense solutions, e.g., #6,

6) In line with #5, above, draw the line in the sand and announce the end of the “Greenspan Put” i.e. no more bailouts…period. I’ve written about the Greenspan Put and how it erases the “stupid penalty”. Put the stupid penalty back into the markets and watch the moronic risk-taking dry up. Risk-taking would still occur…it has to for the economy to move forward…but firms would have to adequately access the risk and price it accordingly. The end of the Greenspan Put would have the added effect of enabling shareholders and potential sharebuyers to realistically evaluate financial firms. [Ed.-Emphasis mine]

McCain told us what his plans were (other than Fire Chris Cox, that is). Obama is keeping his secret (a tip of the conservative hat to Nick). Unless you can get something from this.

Cato gives another result (H/T again to Nick),

In the process of turning US taxpayers into involuntary stockholders in AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, federal bullies shoved the voluntary stockholders into the ditch. Bear Stearns stockholders weren’t treated much better.

If you’re still brave enough to own stock in other financial firms not yet blessed with such enlightened assistance from the feds, those precedents should make you nervous. So how could anyone possibly expect these “bailouts” to improve market confidence. [Ed.-emphasis mine]

I find myself agreeing somewhat with Patrick Buchanon states,

Notice who is managing the crisis. Not our elected leaders. Nancy Pelosi says she had nothing to do with it. Congress is paralyzed and heading home. President Bush is nowhere to be seen.

Hank Paulson of Goldman Sachs and Ben Bernanke of the Fed chose to bail out Bear Sterns but let Lehman go under. They decided to nationalize Fannie and Freddie at a cost to taxpayers of hundreds of billions, putting the U.S. government behind $5 trillion in mortgages. They decided to buy AIG with $85 billion rather than see the insurance giant sink beneath the waves.

An unelected financial elite is now entrusted with the assignment of getting us out of a disaster into which an unelected financial elite plunged the nation. We are just spectators.

Are we?

And what about the CEO’s who got large buyouts from these companies?

In conclusion, I know this post has been long and filled with contradictory statements from different folks. They offer different causes for the problem and propose different solutions. It demonstrates where I’ve been searching for answers.

August 28, 2007

Employment law blog

by thoughtfulconservative

Manpower has established an employment law blog. It’s

is designed to provide you with up-to-the-minute employment law information without putting you to sleep.

How is that possible, you ask? One way is the first-ever attempt to set employment law to music!

We at Manpower believe this site is truly unique. For the first time in recorded history, a lawyer is doing something for free.

This might be useful.

A tip of the ole conservative ball cap to Journal Sentinel’s NewsWatch.