The Next Bailout: $165B for Unions?

This will probably go through with no problems. After all Obama can’t afford to offend his voter base.

From Fox News:

A Democratic senator is introducing legislation for a bailout of troubled union pension funds.  If passed, the bill could put another $165 billion in liabilities on the shoulders of American taxpayers.

The bill, which would put the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation behind struggling pensions for union workers, is being introduced by Senator Bob Casey, (D-Pa.), who says it will save jobs and help people.

As FOX Business Network’s Gerri Willis reported Monday, these pensions are in bad shape; as of 2006, well before the market dropped and recession began, only 6% of these funds were doing well.

Although right now taxpayers could possibly be on the hook for $165 billion, the liability could essentially be unlimited because these pensions have to be paid out until the workers die.

It’s hard to say at the moment what the chances are that the bill will pass. A hearing is scheduled Thursday, which will give the public a sense of where political leaders sit on the topic, said Willis.

Just last week President Obama said there would be no more bailouts. (That was then, this is a whole new week, with all new rules- pinroot)

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Leaked Doc Proves Spain’s Green Policies an Economic Disaster

The Obama Administration doesn’t care how much of a disaster this has been for the Spanish economy. He’ll ram the same thing down our throats regardless of the consequences. They’re already doing damage control trying to find ways to spin this news, and as with most things, this will never be covered by the MSM.

From WattsUpWithThat:

Christopher Horner reports that Pajamas Media has received a leaked internal document confirming Spain realizes its green failures, just as Obama pushes the American Power Act based on Spain’s program.

Pajamas Media has received a leaked internal assessment produced by Spain’s Zapatero administration. The assessment confirms the key charges previously made by non-governmental Spanish experts in a damning report exposing the catastrophic economic failure of Spain’s “green economy” initiatives.

On eight separate occasions, President Barack Obama has referred to the “green economy” policies enacted by Spain as being the model for what he envisioned for America.

Later came the revelation that Obama administration senior Energy Department official Cathy Zoi — someone with serious publicized conflict of interest issues — demanded an urgent U.S. response to the damaging report from the non-governmental Spanish experts so as to protect the Obama administration’s plans.

Most recently, U.S. senators have introduced the vehicle for replicating Spain’s unfolding economic meltdown here, in the form of the “American Power Act.”

But today’s leaked document reveals that even the socialist Spanish government now acknowledges the ruinous effects of green economic policy.

Full story here:

http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/breaking-leaked-doc-proves-spains-green-policies-%E2%80%94-the-basis-for-obamas-%E2%80%94-an-economic-disaster-pjm-exclusive/

An Updated List of Goldman Sachs Ties to the Obama Government Including Elena Kagan

With Bush, it was mostly big oil. With Obama, it appears to be mostly Goldman Sachs. The faces change, but the corruption doesn’t. Anyway, this article and the previous article by the author (which he links to in this article) are eye-opening and well worth reading.

From FireDogLake:

I. Introduction.

This essay shows the pervasive influence of Goldman Sachs and its units (like the Goldman-Robert Rubin-funded Hamilton Project embedded in the Brookings Institution) in the Obama government. These names are in addition to those compiled on an older such list and published here at FDL. In the future, I will combine the names here and those on the earlier article but I urge readers to look at the earlier list too (links below). Combined, this is the largest and most comprehensive list of such ties yet published.

For readability and clarity, I have NOT included many of the details and links that are found in the earlier article so as to make this one less repetitive and easier to read. So, if you want more documentation, please look at my earlier diary here at Firedoglake called “A List of Goldman Sachs People in the Obama Government: Names Attached To The Giant Squid’s Tentacles” published on April 27, 2010.

Note too that I have intentionally used the words, “Obama government” rather than “Obama administration” because some of these connections are not technically within his administration. These would include ambassadorial appointments and Supreme Court appointments (like that anticipated for Elena Kagan). This also includes lobbyists like Dick Gephardt who has multiple connections/input to Obama and to Goldman Sachs and the Hamilton Project.

In a similar vein, I use a broader definition than just Goldman Sachs (GS) because GS has funded, along with its ex-leader Robert Rubin, a right-leaning think tank called the Hamilton Project and embedded it within the Brookings Institution. Some of its activities thus also spill over into Brookings Institution projects which doubtlessly was one of the clever reasons Rubin and GS did this, along with providing their essentially neo-con/neo-liberal think tank with camouflage. This has worked beautifully for GS and Rubin as most writers–even critical ones like Matt Taibbi–seem unaware of the important doings of the Hamilton Project. The Hamilton Project has 32 people sitting on its Advisory Council and many have ties to Goldman Sachs, Rubin and the Obama government. Of the first four Directors of the Hamilton Project, three work in the Obama administration. Meanwhile, the most recent Director of the Hamilton Project came from academia and from a position as economic adviser to the Obama administration to Hamilton in the sort of “revolving door” that Washington is famous for.

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Spain jobless rate tops 20%, adds to debt worries

Spain is sometimes held up as the poster-child for the green economy. The reality seems to be a bit different.

From Yahoo! News:

Spain’s jobless rate topped 20 percent in the first quarter, national statistics institute INE said Friday, fueling fears over the country’s public finances which have rattled global financial markets.

The number of unemployed jumped by 280,200 to 4.61 million, more than in Germany which has nearly twice Spain’s population, for a jobless rate of 20.05 percent. The unemployment rate rose from 18.83 percent in the fourth quarter.

The last time the unemployment rate topped 20 percent in Spain was in the fourth quarter of 1997 when it hit 20.11 percent.

Spain’s jobless rate has soared since the global credit crisis hastened the collapse of its labour-intensive construction industry at the end of 2008.

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Failure Is the Only Reform We Need

From USAWatchdog.com:

By Greg Hunter

There was lots of talk this week about financial reform for Wall Street.  The President gave a speech yesterday on the legislation that is making its way through the Senate.  Obama said, “It is essential that we learn from the lessons of this crisis so we don’t doom ourselves to repeat it and, make no mistake, that is exactly what will happen if we allow this moment to pass – and that’s an outcome that is unacceptable to me and it’s unacceptable to you, the American people.” On this reform, I am squarely behind the President because it was unregulated, reckless Wall Street bankers that caused the lion’s share of the crisis.  They should not be allowed to fail and bail again.

I think the biggest problem this reform will address is the murky waters of the $600 trillion derivatives market. (Some say the derivatives market is more than a quadrillion bucks.)  This is a dark unregulated pool of all sorts of exotic complicated securities with no standards, regulation or public market.  No public market means there is no real way to set a value, such as in the oil market, the stock market or the bond market.  That’s why you hear Wall Street big wigs say “derivatives are hard to price.”  (It is hard to put a value on junk.)  If there was a public market, you would find out what traders would be willing to pay for it.  This is the same as putting a house on the market.  It is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.

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Goldman’s White House connections raise eyebrows

From McClatchydc.com:

While Goldman Sachs’ lawyers negotiated with the Securities and Exchange Commission over potentially explosive civil fraud charges, Goldman’s chief executive visited the White House at least four times.

White House logs show that Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein traveled to Washington for at least two events with President Barack Obama, whose 2008 presidential campaign received $994,795 in donations from Goldman’s employees and their relatives. He also met twice with Obama’s top economic adviser, Larry Summers.

No evidence has surfaced to suggest that Blankfein or any other Goldman executive raised the SEC case with the president or his aides. SEC Chairwoman Mary Schapiro said in a statement Wednesday that the SEC doesn’t coordinate enforcement actions with the White House or other political bodies.

Meanwhile, however, Goldman is retaining former Obama White House counsel Gregory Craig as a member of its legal team. In addition, when he worked as an investment banker in Chicago a decade ago, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel advised one client who also retained Goldman as an adviser on the same $8.2 billion deal.

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One-Fourth of Nonprofits Are to Lose Tax Breaks

From The New York Times:

As many as 400,000 nonprofit organizations are weeks away from a doomsday.

At midnight on May 15, an estimated one-fifth to one-quarter of some 1.6 million charities, trade associations and membership groups will lose their tax exemptions, thanks to a provision buried in a 2006 federal bill aimed at pension reform.

“It’s going to be an unholy mess once these organizations realize what’s happened to them,” said Diana Aviv, president of the Independent Sector, a nonprofit trade group.

The federal legislation passed in 2006 required all nonprofits to file tax forms the following year. Previously, only organizations with revenues of $25,000 or more — or the vast majority of nonprofit groups — had to file.

The new law, embedded in the 393 pages of the Pension Protection Act of 2006, also directed the Internal Revenue Service to revoke the tax exemptions of groups that failed to file for three consecutive years. Three years have passed, and thus the deadline looms.

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