The weakest states are stronger than U.S. banks

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

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.

Who are the “job creators?”

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:

Municipals are a small part of the American Jobs Act

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

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:

Obama proposes direct aid to local governments

September 9, 2011

Obama proposes direct aid to local governments

Among the proposals made by President Obama in his jobs speech last night was his call for the federal government to fund the costs of public school teachers, firemen, policemen and first responders fully. This appears to be the only direct cash subsidy for jobs in his plan.

The President’s argonaut

September 9, 2011

The FBI conducted a dramatic raid today on a California solar company, Solyndra, that received a loan of $527 million from the Federal Financing Bank (FFB), a subsidiary of the U.S. Treasury. The FBI raid followed the filing of Solyndra’s bankruptcy yesterday.

Jobs or infrastructure?

June 15, 2011

America is a high-energy society — that is, we consume a lot of energy. According to Wikipedia the United States has long been the world’s largest producer and consumer of electricity, with a global share in 2005 of at least 25%. This consumption is a primary driver of growth. Energy is our economic blood.