February 27, 2012
By Rowena Mason
In a stark warning ahead of next month’s Budget, the Chancellor said there was little the Coalition could do to stimulate the economy.
Mr Osborne made it clear that due to the parlous state of the public finances the best hope for economic growth was to encourage businesses to flourish and hire more workers.
“The British Government has run out of money because all the money was spent in the good years,” the Chancellor said. “The money and the investment and the jobs need to come from the private sector.”
Mr Osborne’s bleak assessment echoes that of Liam Byrne, the former chief secretary to the Treasury, who bluntly joked that Labour had left Britain broke when he exited the Government in 2010.
He left David Laws, his successor, a one-line note saying: “Dear Chief Secretary, I’m afraid to tell you there’s no money left”.
Mr Osborne is under severe pressure to boost growth, amid signs the economy is slipping back into a recession.
The Institute of Fiscal Studies has urged him to consider emergency tax cuts in the Budget to reduce the risk of a prolonged economic slump.
But the Chancellor yesterday said he would stand firm on his effort to balance the books by refusing to borrow money. “Any tax cut would have to be paid for,” Mr Osborne told Sky News. “In other words there would have to be a tax rise somewhere else or a spending reduction.
“In other words what we are not going to do in this Budget is borrow more money to either increase spending or cut taxes.”
The strongest suggestion of help for squeezed family budgets came from the Chancellor’s claim that he was “very seriously and carefully” considering plans to help lower earners by raising the personal allowance for income tax, a proposal that has been championed by Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister.
But he implied there would be no more help for motorists struggling with record petrol prices this spring. “I have taken action already this year to avoid increases in fuel duty which were planned by the last Labour government,” he said.
The Chancellor’s tough words were echoed by Liberal Democrat Jeremy Browne, the foreign minister, who warned that Britain faced “accelerated decline” without measures to tackle its debt and increase competitiveness.
In an article published today in The Daily Telegraph, he writes that Britain’s market share in the world used to be “dominant” but was now “in freefall” compared with the soaring economies of Asia and South America. “This situation has been becoming more acute for years,” he adds. “It is now staring us in the face. So we need to take action.”
October 20, 2011
By Pete Kasperowicz
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Wednesday indicated Congress needs to worry about government jobs more than private-sector jobs, and that this is why Senate Democrats are pushing a bill aimed at shoring up teachers and first-responders.
“It’s very clear that private-sector jobs have been doing just fine; it’s the public-sector jobs where we’ve lost huge numbers, and that’s what this legislation is all about,” Reid said on the Senate floor.
Reid was responding to recent comments from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who accused Democrats of purposefully pursuing higher taxes as part of the teacher/first-responder bill, S. 1723, so that Republicans would oppose it. McConnell said the bill was meant to fail in order to give Democrats an issue to run on in the 2012 election, but Reid said the Republicans are simply trying to defeat President Obama any way they can.
The legislation Reid is defending is part of Obama’s jobs package. Vice President Biden was in Pennsylvania, an important election state, on Tuesday to push for the administration’s plan on increasing the number of teachers.
Reid reiterated his emphasis on creating government jobs by saying Democrats are looking to “put hundreds of thousands of people back to work teaching children, have more police patrolling our streets, firefighters fighting our fires, doing the rescue work that they do so well … that’s our priority.” He said Republicans are calling the bill a “failure” because they are “using a different benchmark for success than we are.”
Private-sector jobs have increased over the last 19 months, while government jobs have lagged. They’ve also seen cuts in several states that are struggling to balanced their books.
Despite these comments, a spokesman for Reid pointed out that Senate Democrats have tried to pass several bills aimed at spurring private sector job growth, but have been blocked by Republicans. Among other things, Democrats have proposed tax cuts to help companies hire workers and write off expenses, as well as infrastructure jobs that would add to private construction payrolls.
“Senator Reid believes that Congress must work to spur job-creation in the private sector, which is why he’s working to pass tax cuts for small businesses to hire new workers, tax cuts for small businesses to write off business expenses, and investments to create private-sector construction jobs,” Spokesman Adam Jentleson said. “Republicans are blocking all of these proposals to create jobs in the private sector because they care more about defeating President Obama than putting Americans back to work.”
Reid also said a majority of people polled support the bill, and that the tax hike needed to fund the $35 billion spending program is minimal.
“My friend, the Republican leader … is complaining about a tax of one-half of 1 percent … on people who make more than $1 million a year to pay for a program that would stop teachers from being laid off and rehire some of the teachers that have been laid off,” Reid said.
Democrats who support the bill have said it would help save 400,000 teacher jobs and thousands of first-responder jobs that have either been cut or could soon be cut. Reid said Wednesday that these layoffs are “rooted in the last administration,” but did not explain further.
Senate Democrats are hoping to pass S. 1723 as early as this week, although votes could be delayed until early November, depending on the progress made on passing a 2012 spending bill.
Reid also dismissed efforts by the Republican House to ease environmental regulations as a way to create jobs.
“The Republican response has been cutting back environmental health safeguards, I guess hoping that a sicker, more polluted country is a better place to create jobs, and it’s not,” Reid said.
October 5, 2011
Los Angeles Times
U.S. employers announced plans in September to shed more than 115,000 workers — the highest total in more than two years, according to a new jobs report.
That’s more than double the 51,000 cuts announced in August and more than three times the 37,000 cuts planned a year earlier. The previous record was in April 2009, when employers planned to slash nearly 133,000 jobs, according to employment consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.
According to another report, from payrolls processor ADP, private-sector employment rose by 91,000 jobs in September. The “modest” increase was led by 60,000 additional positions in small businesses, which have been averaging 73,000 new jobs a month for the last year.
Medium-sized companies also did well, tacking on 36,000 more employees, while large businesses shed 5,000 workers, according to ADP.
Layoffs in the bank and military sector spiked, according to the Challenger report.
Government employers attempting to slash spending were responsible for a third of the job losses. The U.S. Army revealed a five-year goal to thin its troops by 50,000.
The financial industry also said it needed to scale back jobs, with Bank of America attempting to save $5 billion a year by cutting 30,000 workers over several years.
“Bank of America is not the only bank still struggling in the wake of the housing collapse,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive of the consultancy. “And, the military cutbacks are probably just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to federal spending cuts and layoffs.”
But the reductions were tempered by retailers’ seasonal hiring plans, Challenger said. Toys R Us said it would hire 40,000 people to handle the holiday shopping rush, while Halloween City and Party City said they would hire a combined 26,000 workers.
September 14, 2011
A study conducted by the Project for Government Oversight (POGO) found that on average the U.S. government pays private contractors more than twice what it pays federal workers for a number of public services. The disparity amounts to billions of dollars in overpayment each year.
“Our findings were shocking,” researchers wrote. “POGO estimates the government pays billions more annually in taxpayer dollars to hire contractors than it would to hire federal employees to perform comparable services.” In one instance, contractor billing rates were nearly five times the compensation paid to federal employees doing comparable work. Additionally, the government has no program for determining how much money it saves or wastes by either using its own employees or outsourcing.
The findings seem to refute an argument dear to political conservatives: that commissioning the private sector to perform essential public work saves taxpayer money.
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July 15th, 2011
The Washington Post
By: Zachary A. Goldfarb
A congressional committee yesterday pushed for stronger curbs to prevent financial trading based on confidential information by lawmakers, their staff or other government officials.
Lawmakers and market experts said stronger limits are needed now that the government is playing a much bigger role in the private sector as a result of the financial crisis. They said it is much more likely that policymakers will know market-sensitive information about public companies.
“Congress and the federal government are now so enmeshed in the operations of our financial markets that the potential for abuse by members of Congress, congressional staff and federal employees is staggering,” Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) said at a hearing of the oversight and investigations subcommittee of the House Committee on Financial Services.
Slaughter and Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.) have introduced legislation that would prohibit lawmakers and their staffs from trading stocks or engaging in other financial transactions based on information they learn in their jobs that is not also available to the public.
Currently, there is no prohibition.
Under the proposal, lawmakers and their staff would have to disclose any stock, bond or commodity trades exceeding $1,000 within 90 days. They also would not be able to pass confidential information to outsiders.
A vote on the legislation has not been scheduled.
There has been no specific evidence of insider trading by lawmakers or their aides. But suspicions surface from time to time. A 2004 study by a Georgia State University professor said senators got returns on investments 25 percent higher than ordinary investors.
And recent disclosures showed that many lawmakers have sizeable investments in the financial firms that have been bailed out over the past year.
Executive-branch employees are supposed to follow government ethics rules that prohibit trading based on nonpublic information. However, the conduct of two Securities and Exchange Commission employees came into question recently in an inspector general’s report raising concerns about the timing and appropriateness of trades by the employees.
Inspector General David Kotz said this was indicative of a broken system at the SEC for ensuring that workers don’t abuse their positions.
“The SEC had essentially no compliance system in place to ensure that its own employees, with tremendous amounts of nonpublic information at their disposal, did not engage in insider trading themselves,” Kotz said yesterday.
The SEC issued a statement describing what it is doing to try to improve internal safeguards. “The employees at the SEC have a well-deserved reputation for integrity and professionalism,” the statement says. “When fully implemented, these measures will further bolster our standing by helping to prevent not only an actual impropriety, but the appearance of one as well.”
Kotz said the steps the SEC outlined would meet or exceed his recommendations.
June 1st, 2011
By: Margo D. Beller
Wall Street is having a hard time figuring out what to do now that the U.S. economy appears to be sputtering and yields are so low, Peter Yastrow, market strategist for Yastrow Origer, told CNBC.
“What we’ve got right now is almost near panic going on with money managers and people who are responsible for money,” he said. “They can not find a yield and you just don’t want to be putting your money into commodities or things that are punts that might work out or they might not depending on what happens with the economy.
“We need to find real yield and real returns on these assets. You see bad data, you see Treasurys rally, you see all bonds and all fixed-income rally and then the people who are betting against the U.S. economy start getting bearish on stocks. That’s a huge mistake.”
Stocks extended losses after the manufacturing fell below expectations in May and the private sector added only 38,000 jobs during the month.
“Interest rates are amazingly low and that, thanks to Ben Bernanke, is driving everything,” Yastrow said. “We’re on the verge of a great, great depression. The [Federal Reserve] knows it.
“We have many, many homeowners that are totally underwater here and cannot get out from under. The technology frontier is limited right now. We definitely have an innovation slowdown and the economy’s gonna suffer.”
However, he said he wouldn’t sell stocks.
“Any bears out there better be careful because the dividend yields on these stocks look awesome relative to all the other investment vehicles out there,” Yastrow said. “So bears are going to have to find a new way to express their discontent with the U.S. economy.”
November 19th, 2010
The Associated Press
In a climate of Internet campaigns to shun airport pat-downs and veteran pilots suing over their treatment by government screeners, some airports are considering another way to show dissatisfaction: Ditching TSA agents altogether.
Federal law allows airports to opt for screeners from the private sector instead. The push is being led by a powerful Florida congressman who’s a longtime critic of the Transportation Security Administration and counts among his campaign contributors some of the companies who might take the TSA’s place.
Furor over airline passenger checks has grown as more airports have installed scanners that produce digital images of the body’s contours, and the anger intensified when TSA added a more intrusive style of pat-down recently for those who opt out of the full-body scans. Some travelers are using the Internet to organize protests aimed at the busy travel days next week surrounding Thanksgiving.
For Republican Rep. John Mica of Florida, the way to make travelers feel more comfortable would be to kick TSA employees out of their posts at the ends of the snaking security lines. This month, he wrote letters to nation’s 100 busiest airports asking that they request private security guards instead.
“I think we could use half the personnel and streamline the system,” Mica said Wednesday, calling the TSA a bloated bureaucracy.
Mica is the ranking Republican on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Once the new Congress convenes in January, the lawmaker is expected lead the committee.
Companies that could gain business if airports heed Mica’s call have helped fill his campaign coffers. In the past 13 years, Mica has received almost $81,000 in campaign donations from political action committees and executives connected to some of the private contractors already at 16 U.S. airports.
Private contractors are not a cure-all for passengers aggrieved about taking off their shoes for security checks, passing through full-body scanners or getting hand-frisked. For example, contractors must follow all TSA-mandated security procedures, including hand patdowns when necessary.
Still, the top executive at the Orlando-area’s second-largest airport, Orlando Sanford International Airport, said he plans to begin the process of switching to private screeners in January as long as a few remaining concerns can be met. The airport is within Mica’s district, and the congressman wrote his letter after hearing about its experiences.
CEO Larry Dale said members of the board that runs Sanford were impressed after watching private screeners at airports in Rochester, N.Y., and Jackson Hole, Wyo. He said TSA agents could do better at customer service.
“Some of them are a little testy,” said Dale, whose airport handles 2 million passengers a year. “And we work hard to get passengers and airlines. And to have it undone by a personality problem?”
To the south, the city’s main airport, Orlando International, said it’s reviewing Mica’s proposal, although it has some questions about how the system would work with the 34 million passengers it handles each year. In Georgia, Macon City Councilor Erick Erickson, whose committee oversees the city’s small airport, wants private screeners there.
Erickson called it a protest move in an interview.
“I am a frequent air traveler and I have experienced … TSA agents who have let the power go to their head,” Erickson said. “You can complain about those people, but very rarely does the bureaucracy work quickly enough to remove those people from their positions.”
TSA officials would select and pay the contractors who run airport security. But Dale thinks a private contractor would be more responsive since the contractor would need local support to continue its business with the airport.
“Competition drives accountability, it drives efficiency, it drives a particular approach to your airport,” Dale said. “That company is just going to be looking at you. They’re not going to be driven out of Washington, they will be driven out of here.”
San Francisco International Airport has used private screeners since the formation of the TSA and remains the largest to do so.
The airport believed a private contractor would have more flexibility to supplement staff during busy periods with part-time employees, airport spokesman Mike McCarron said. Also, the city’s high cost of living had made it difficult in the past to recruit federal employees to run immigration and customs stations — a problem the airport didn’t want at security checkpoints.
“You get longer lines,” McCarron said.
TSA spokesman Greg Soule would not respond directly Mica’s letter, but reiterated the nation’s roughly 460 commercial airports have the option of applying to use private contractors.
Companies that provide airport security are contributors to Mica’s campaigns, although some donations came before those companies won government contracts. The Lockheed Martin Corp. Employees’ Political Action Committee has given $36,500 to Mica since 1997. A Lockheed firm won the security contract in Sioux Falls, S.D. in 2005 and the contract for San Francisco the following year.
Raytheon Company’s PAC has given Mica $33,500 since 1999. A Raytheon subsidiary began providing checkpoint screenings at Key West International Airport in 2007.
Firstline Transportation Security Inc.’s PAC has donated $4,500 to the Florida congressman since 2004. FirstLine has been screening baggage and has been responsible for passenger checkpoints at the Kansas City International Airport since 2006, as well as the Gallup Municipal Airport and the Roswell Industrial Air Center in New Mexico, operating at both since 2007.
Since 2006, Mica has received $2,000 from FirstLine President Keith Wolken and $1,700 from Gerald Berry, president of Covenant Aviation Security. Covenant works with Lockheed to provide security at airports in Sioux Falls and San Francisco.
Mica spokesman Justin Harclerode said the contributions never improperly influenced the congressman, who said he was unaware Raytheon or Lockheed were in the screening business.
“They certainly never contacted him about providing screening,” Harclerode said.
Anger over the screenings hasn’t just come from passengers. Two veteran commercial airline pilots asked a federal judge this week to stop the whole-body scans and the new pat-down procedures, saying it violates their civil rights.
The pilots, Michael S. Roberts of Memphis and Ann Poe of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., have refused to participate in either screening method and, as a result, will not fly out of airports that use these methods, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Washington.
Roberts is a pilot with ExpressJet Airlines and is on unpaid administrative leave because of his refusal to enter the whole-body scanners. Poe flies for Continental Airlines and will continue to take off work as long as the existing regulations are in place.
“In her eyes, the pat-down is a physical molestation and the WBI scanner is not only intrusive, degrading and potentially dangerous, but poses a real and substantial threat to medical privacy,” the lawsuit states.
Today, Kevin explains how government corruption goes beyond your comprehension! Plus, David Icke reveals the real man in the moon and calls for humanity to rise from its knees and take back the world from the sinister network of non-human entities that covertly control us! AND Fred Van Liew stops by to dispute The World Health Organization’s claims that cell phones do not cause cancer!
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October 8, 2010
A wave of government layoffs last month outpaced weak hiring in the private sector, pushing down the nation’s payrolls by a net total of 95,000 jobs.
The Labor Department says the unemployment rate held at 9.6 percent. The jobless rate has now topped 9.5 percent for 14 straight months, the longest stretch since the 1930s.
The private sector added 64,000 jobs, the weakest showing since June.
Local governments cut 76,000 jobs last month, most of them in education. That’s the largest cut by local governments in 28 years. And, 77,000 temporary census jobs ended in September.
Nearly 14.8 million people were unemployed last month. That’s almost 100,000 fewer than in August.