An army of corporate lobbyists in the halls of Congress

By Cate Long
October 12, 2011

Now that the Senate failed to pass President Obama’s jobs legislation last night, various pieces of his plan and other pet projects are likely to be introduced separately. It’s unclear whether an extension of the payroll tax reduction or additional unemployment benefits — two key planks of the President’s plan — will get floor time. But corporate interests are getting plenty of attention from members of the Senate. In particular, an army of corporate lobbyists has been vigorously promoting a tax holiday for U.S. multinationals.

Injustice fuels the mob

By Cate Long
October 7, 2011

CNN’s Erin Burnett recently made a visit to lower Manhatten to assess the Occupy Wall Street protest. Based on accounts of her visit Ms. Burnett seemed a little dismayed that those protesting didn’t understand the financial crisis very well. Rawstory.com reported:

More Whitney rebuttals

By Cate Long
September 29, 2011

The media is full of municipal bond market participants rehashing Meredith Whitney’s prediction of muni collapse which began last September. From Bloomberg:

The weakest states are stronger than U.S. banks

By Cate Long
September 23, 2011

The weakest states are stronger than US banks

I noticed something very interesting in some research that Markit, a data provider that tracks the credit-default swap market, released yesterday: the worst U.S. municipal credits (California, Illinois and New Jersey) are considered much stronger than all the major U.S. banks save JP Morgan. New York state is considered stronger than Mr. Dimon’s bank!

Solyndra’s funny money flow

By Cate Long
September 23, 2011

Solyndra is the bankrupt solar company that received the first Department of Energy loan under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It also is notorious in that its largest financial backer, George Kaiser, was a substantial supporter of President Barack Obama in 2008 and regularly visited the White House following the election.

Vermont rebuilds while Congress fights

By Cate Long
September 21, 2011

The state of Vermont is struggling to gather funds to repair the flood damage from Hurricane Irene, the state’s worst natural disaster since the floods of 1927. Generally the state would rely on support from the federal government to replace and repair this infrastructure, but the U.S. Congress is locked in a fight over funding the Federal Emergency Management Agency as part of a larger fiscal battle that could shut down the federal government. From CBS News:

Who are the “job creators?”

By Cate Long
September 19, 2011

As the congressional supercommittee begins its budget-cutting efforts, state and local governments are worried about looming cuts to their federal grants. From Bloomberg:

Expanding the force field

By Cate Long
September 16, 2011

After the financial crisis crescendoed with the failure of Lehman Brothers (who filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy three years ago today) many unsound financial arrangements were exposed.

Municipals are a small part of the American Jobs Act

By Cate Long
September 15, 2011

President Obama held a ceremony on Monday in the Rose Garden, complete with a backdrop of teachers and law enforcement officers, to promote his American Jobs Act. The President has insisted that his proposal would be fully paid for by tax increases on the wealthy. What was less reported was that the $447 billion of proposed tax increases, Section 401 in the legislation (page 134), would not occur until 2013 and would stretch over 10 years. So under the President’s proposal there would need to be tax increases of approximately $47 billion a year from 2013 through 2023.

The Infrastructure Privatization Bank

By Cate Long
September 10, 2011

The first time many heard about the United States creating a infrastructure bank was in President Obama’s Thursday speech, but the idea has actually been floating around Congress for a number of years. Former U.S. Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut proposed the idea in 2007 with inauspicious timing. From the American Water Works Association: