Posts tagged news
Posts tagged news
By Ian Millhiser on Jan 11, 2012
One of the few remaining limits on corporations’ power to buy and sell American elections is that corporations are not allowed to give money directly to federal candidates. Citizens United frees them to spend billions of dollars running ads or otherwise trying to change the result of an election to suit their interests, but corporations cutting checks directly to candidates or to political committees such as the Republican National Committee is one of the few things the Supreme Court’s conservatives have not yet imposed upon the country.
If the RNC gets its way, however, that will soon change. In a brief filed yesterday in the Fourth Circuit, the RNC argues that the federal ban on corporate donations is unconstitutional in large part because it applies across the board to all corporations:
Financial tax backed by Germany and France
Published on Jan 9, 2012 by Euronews
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy appeared relaxed when they faced the press following their first crisis meeting of 2012.
The leaders discussed new rules for budget discipline, how to stimulate growth and plans to introduce a financial transaction tax which the UK government has already said it will only consider if there is global agreement.
This does not bode well for the global economic climate. When economies are stable interest is paid, not charged, on money loaned. Our times are out of whack and getting ever worse. European countries have elected to save the banks and the banking system and let the citizenry and investors go to hell. Unfortunately the system will still eventually fall apart one way or another.
Published on Jan 9, 2012 by Euronews
Germany is the latest country that investors are paying to lend it money.
As it sold 3.9 billion euros worth of short term government bonds, Berlin paid a negative return for the first time.
Investors are so worried about other countries defaulting and not repaying what they have borrowed that they are prepared to accept not getting any interest in return for their money being in a safe place.
“A new wave of startups is working on algorithms gathering data for banks from the web of associations on the internet known as “the social graph,” in which people are “nodes” connected to each other by “edges.” Banks are already using social media to befriend their customers, and increasingly, their customers’ friends. The specifics are still shaking out, but the gist is that eventually, social media will account for at least the tippy-top of the mountain of data banks keep on their customers.”
China, Japan make currency deal
The Purple Heart was established by General George Washington at Newburgh, New York, on 7 August 1782, during the Revolutionary War.
How Much Is That Purple Heart In The Window?
by Scott Simon December 24, 2011
There’s a Purple Heart in the window of the A-Z Outlet pawnshop in Holland, Mich., right between a silver necklace and an inexpensive watch.
Bryan VandenBosch says a young man walked into his shop just before Thanksgiving to pawn a medal that the U.S. government awards to soldiers who have been “wounded or killed in any action” while serving.
He says that he doesn’t know why the young man needed or wanted to pawn his medal.
“He did say a couple of things — like he won two of these in Afghanistan — but I didn’t ask, ‘Doing what or how?’ It’s not for me to ask,” Mr. VandenBosch told us.
He also won’t say how much he paid him for the Purple Heart.
“I don’t talk about that,” he says. “He needed a little to get by, so I helped him.”
Bryan VandenBosch says he will not sell that Purple Heart. He put the medal in his window to honor men and women in the military.
People in Holland, Mich., noticed — and started calling.
“They didn’t want to buy it,” says Mr. VandenBosch. “They just wanted to help the guy. I said, ‘Don’t worry, I’m not selling it to anyone.’”
There is much that’s unknown in this story. What would lead a man to pawn a Purple Heart? Was he down on his luck? Sickened by war? Do we even really know that the Purple Heart was his, or something that he inherited, found or even filched?
But Bryan VandenBosch knows that pawn shops are lenders of the last resort. He says that people come in to pawn things they have loved because they are short of cash and need to see a doctor, buy shoes or pay for a funeral.
There is a story behind each item in his store: the hocked wedding ring or set of earrings; the toy held by a child who has gone away; or the watch inscribed, “Love forever,” that’s sold when love, or money, have run out.
“People who come in here aren’t having a good day,” he says. “They are often having problems and are a little embarrassed. I don’t add to that.”
The story of the Purple Heart in the pawnshop window reminds us that to truly help people, you don’t need to do worthy things like go to Bangladesh or set up 501-3C corporation.
“Look at your neighbors,” says Bryan VandenBosch. “Look at people all around you. You’ve got friends, I’ll bet, who can use some help paying for food or gas to get to their job. … If you really want to help people, you don’t have to look very far.”
The gap between rich and poor in OECD countries has reached its highest level for over 30 years, and governments must act quickly to tackle inequality, according to a new OECD report, “Divided We Stand”.
Yesterday Fed chairman Ben Bernanke attacked Bloomberg claiming that its reporting was misleading. It looks like the Fed missed the mark on just about every issue.
Perhaps the most important issue is the Fed’s claim that it did not lend at a below market rate to banks, thereby effectively giving them a subsidy. In fact, it is almost definitional that the rate did provide a subsidy.
No one forced the banks to borrow from the Fed. If they had better options, they would have borrowed elsewhere. Instead the Fed made large amounts of money available to banks at a time when liquidity carried an enormous premium. This meant that the banks could relend the government’s money to others and earn a substantial profit.
This lending may have been justified to stem the financial crisis, but in principle the government could have imposed conditions (e.g. real caps on executive pay, downsizing the too big to fail banks, modifying mortgages) on the banks as the price of getting access to credit at below market rates. Bernanke and Congress did not seek to impose such conditions.
Given Bernanke’s strenuous opposition to the release of data on the bailout programs it would be interesting to know if he now feels that it is more difficult for the Fed to conduct monetary policy.