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Obama's War on Free Markets
Post Date: 2012-04-22 14:46:02 by We The People
President Obama's recent proposal to rein in market speculation is a dangerous and unwise step toward government control of oil prices. By giving a government agency the power to control margin requirements for speculators and declaring them to blame for rising gasoline prices, it seems that this administration wants to try to use the force of the government to influence prices by dictating who should or should not participate in the marketplace. This proposal to give the Commodity Futures Trading Commission the power to control margin requirements would make the markets less reflective of the real market fundamentals for hedgers and speculators and would damage the credibility of the ...

Swing-State Unemployment Down, Obama's Chances Up
Post Date: 2012-04-22 13:25:38 by Brian S
(04-22) 07:07 PDT WASHINGTON (AP) -- The improving economy is swinging the pendulum in President Barack Obama's favor in the 14 states where the presidential election will likely be decided. Recent polls show Obama gaining an edge over his likely Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, in several so-called swing states — those that are considered up for grabs. What's made the difference is that unemployment has dropped more sharply in several swing states than in the nation as a whole. A resurgence in manufacturing is helping the economy — and Obama's chances — in the industrial states of Ohio and Michigan. And Arizona, Nevada and Florida are getting some relief ...

Major Manufacturers Abandoning China For U.S.?
Post Date: 2012-04-20 19:32:03 by Brian S
April 20, 2012, 2:35 p.m. China may no longer be the go-to place for American manufacturers looking for cheap labor and favorable policies. A new report shows many large companies are looking to move their production facilities back to the States. Of the 106 executives surveyed by Boston Consulting Group, 37% said they were planning to or actively considering “reshoring” their factories in the U.S. And that’s just for U.S.-based companies with annual sales of more than $1 billion. Among manufacturers who make $10 billion or more a year, 48% of executives said they want to relocate operations back home. The urge is especially pronounced among leaders of companies working ...

Five Reasons Why The Very Rich Have Not Earned Their Money
Post Date: 2012-04-18 12:54:38 by mininggold
Five Reasons Why The Very Rich Have Not Earned Their Money The wealthiest Americans believe they've earned their money through hard work and innovation, and that they're the most productive members of society. For the most part they're wrong. As the facts below will show, they're not nearly as productive as middle-class workers. Yet they've taken almost all the new income over the past 30 years. Any one of these five reasons should reinforce the belief that the rich should be paying a LOT more in taxes: 1. They've Taken All the Middle Class Wage Increases In 1980 the richest 1% of America took one of every fifteen post-tax income dollars. Now, according to IRS ...

Citigroup Shareholders Reject Executive Pay Plan
Post Date: 2012-04-17 18:18:04 by Anthem
Citigroup shareholders voted to reject the company's executive compensation plan during an annual stockholders meeting in Dallas on Tuesday after critics complained that top officials including CEO Vikram Pandit collect rewards all too easily. The proposal received just 45 percent of votes cast and followed Citigroup's announcement on Monday it made $2.9 billion in earnings, or net income, during the first quarter, down 2 percent from a year ago, missing analyst expectations. "This is a very historic action on the part of shareholders, and I think it's a rebuke of what has gone on in terms of the leadership at Citigroup," Eleanor Bloxham, chief executive officer of ...

Allure of city itself a factor in S.F.'s tech boom
Post Date: 2012-04-16 12:41:14 by lucysmom
Here's one way San Francisco's current tech boom differs from the dot-com era: This one is creating many more jobs. The city will have 28 percent more technology positions by the end of this year than it had at its 2000 peak, according to a new analysis of state employment data by real estate consultant Jones Lang LaSalle. Technology is San Francisco's fastest-growing sector, and now occupies more office space in the city than any other industry. The city will have 44,305 tech jobs by the end of the year, up from 36,921 last year and 34,442 in 2000, according to the analysis. The estimates are based on data from the California Employment Development Department, Moody's ...

Retail Sales in U.S. Climb More Than Forecast on Jobs
Post Date: 2012-04-16 11:59:18 by Brian S
Retail sales in the U.S. rose more than forecast in March as Americans snapped up everything from cars and furniture to clothes and electronics. The 0.8 percent gain was almost three times as large as projected and followed a 1 percent advance in February, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 81 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for an increase of 0.3 percent. An improving job market is giving households confidence to sustain spending in the face of higher gasoline costs, boosting sales at chains such as Gap Inc. (GPS) and Target Corp. (TGT) Strengthening consumer demand raises the odds that the world’s largest economy will weather ...

U.S. Homebuilder Confidence Fell in April to Three-Month Low
Post Date: 2012-04-16 11:58:14 by Brian S
Confidence among U.S. homebuilders fell in April to a three-month low, a sign the industry is still trying to gain its footing. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo index of builder confidence decreased to 25 this month from 28 in March, the Washington-based group said today. Economists projected no change in the index, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey. Readings below 50 mean more respondents said conditions were poor. Borrowing costs close to all-time lows, population growth that may spur more demand for homes and cheaper properties are helping stabilize residential real estate. At the same time, the recovery may take time as the prospect of ...

No Double-Dip Deja Vu Seen for U.S. Economy
Post Date: 2012-04-16 11:56:14 by Brian S
Deja vu it ain’t. The U.S. looks unlikely to suffer the same sort of swoon this year as the one in 2011: Household, bank and company balance sheets are stronger, and the shocks hitting the economy so far are weaker, with retail sales rising more than forecast as gasoline prices show signs of slipping from an early-year increase. Consumer-loan delinquencies fell across the board in the fourth quarter, the first time that’s happened in eight years, according to the American Bankers Association in Washington. Banks have reduced leverage, with financial-institution debt as share of the economy at its lowest level in a decade. And corporations are flush with cash: The ratio of liquid ...

Infosys Accused of Visa and Tax Fraud to Avoid Hiring Americans
Post Date: 2012-04-13 21:19:54 by CZ82
Infosys Accused of Visa and Tax Fraud to Avoid Hiring Americans April 13, 2012 by Giacomo In February, Infosys Technologies Ltd employee Jay Palmer filed a lawsuit against his employer for willfully violating US visa and tax laws. He claims that the company had instructed him to help them defraud visa laws so as they could bring foreign nationals into the US to work for them at a much lower rate of pay than what the company would pay Americans to perform the same jobs. Additionally, since the workers were foreign nationals, they were paid by an overseas company in order for the company to avoid paying US income taxes. The lawsuit, filed in the Circuit Court in Alabama, resulted in an ...

Fed’s Bullard Sees Jobless Rate at 7.8% by End of 2012
Post Date: 2012-04-12 15:51:39 by Brian S
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said an improving U.S. economy may push the unemployment rate down to 7.8 percent by year’s end, and the central bank will probably keep policy unchanged while it waits for more evidence of expansion. “For right now we’ll stick with the idea that the economy will generally be better in 2012 than 2011,” Bullard said on Bloomberg Radio’s “The Hays Advantage” with Kathleen Hays today. “So far in 2012 the economy has surprised on the upside” and usually when that happens Fed policy makers “will want to get confirmation of that by waiting for more data.” U.S. job growth slowed in ...

Jobless Claims in U.S. Rose Last Week to Two-Month High
Post Date: 2012-04-12 11:53:42 by Brian S
More Americans than forecast filed applications for jobless benefits last week, reinforcing concern among Federal Reserve policy makers that the labor-market recovery will be slow to develop. Unemployment claims increased 13,000 in the week ended April 7 to 380,000, the highest since Jan. 28, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey called for 355,000 claims. Other reports showed consumer confidence held near a four-year high and the trade gap narrowed more than projected. The claims data, coming on the heels of last week’s weaker- than-forecast payroll number, raise the possibility that the job gains that drove unemployment ...

Signs of Gasoline Price Drop May Thwart Case Against Obama
Post Date: 2012-04-11 16:02:21 by Brian S
Signs that gasoline prices may have peaked signal relief to both American drivers and President Barack Obama, who Republicans have tried to tie to a climb in the costs. Average prices at the pump have hovered at $3.92 a gallon this month, after an almost uninterrupted rise since mid- January. Some analysts now believe they’ll start to recede, as oil fell to an eight-week trading low on forecasts U.S. supplies would rise to their highest level for this time of year. That may be good news for Obama, because gasoline costs had risen to among the top concerns for Americans and voters tend to blame incumbents for their economic anxieties, says Bruce Oppenheimer, a Vanderbilt University ...

Fed Says Economy Grew at ‘Modest to Moderate’ Pace in March
Post Date: 2012-04-11 14:53:40 by Brian S
The Federal Reserve said the economy maintained its expansion in all 12 of its regions as manufacturing, hiring and retail sales showed signs of strength in the face of higher fuel prices. “The economy continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace from mid-February through late March,” the Fed said today in its Beige Book business survey, published two weeks before the Federal Open Market Committee meets to set monetary policy. “Hiring was steady or showed a modest increase across many districts.” The Beige Book offers anecdotal evidence helping policy makers assess an economy that added 120,000 jobs in March, the fewest since October. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke ...

We Are Nearing the End Game of Central Bank Intervention
Post Date: 2012-04-11 14:14:46 by Capitalist Eric
Because of a lack of foreign interest in long-term Treasuries, the Fed decided to step in to pick up the slack. As a result of this, the US Federal Reserve has accounted for 91% of all new debt issuance in the 20+years bracket. Put another way, the US Federal Reserve is now effectively the long-end of the US debt market. Operations Twist 2 has also allowed US commercial banks to unload their long-term Treasury holdings in exchange for new capital: something most of the Primary Dealers are in dire need of. This in turn helps to explain why the US stock market has advanced despite the fact that retail investors have been pulling out of the market in droves. Put another way, the markets have ...

Why Gasoline Isn't $4 Per Gallon Nationally
Post Date: 2012-04-11 10:50:24 by Brian S
The recent surge in U.S. gasoline prices may be stalling thanks to a growing supply of crude oil and a retreat by speculators in the futures market. After weeks of consecutive increases, the average price of a gallon of gas in the U.S. fell more than a penny this week, from $3.94 on April 2, to $3.93 on April 9. In California, the state with the highest gas prices in the lower 48, prices fell to an average of $4.28 a gallon on April 9, down from $4.35 three weeks ago.“I think we’re seeing the gas and diesel markets start to run out of steam,” says Ben Brockwell, director of data and pricing at Oil Price Information Service (OPIS), a New Jersey-based energy research firm. Two ...

Job Openings in U.S. Increased in February as Hiring Hit Three-Year High
Post Date: 2012-04-10 11:46:14 by Brian S
Job openings in the U.S. increased in February and hiring climbed to the highest level in more than three years, signaling employers are optimistic about the economic outlook. The number of positions waiting to be filled totaled 3.5 million in February, up from a revised 3.48 million the prior month that was higher than previously estimated, the Labor Department said today in a statement posted on its website. More people were taken on to private payrolls than at any time since October 2008, while the pace of firings was little changed, the report showed. Better employment prospects may mean the setback in hiring in March will be short-lived, helping restore some of the 5 million jobs yet ...

U.S. Employment Growth Seen Rebounding From Slump
Post Date: 2012-04-09 11:32:48 by Brian S
The March setback in hiring will prove temporary as the U.S. economy, in its third year of expansion, now is better equipped to overcome a slowdown in Europe and rising fuel costs, economists said. Growing sales and profits may give business leaders the confidence to take on staff at a faster clip than last month’s 120,000 gain in payrolls, according to analysts at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. They say the data don’t signal a repeat of 2010 and 2011 -- when hiring was derailed after promising starts by concern about government debt, energy costs and natural disasters -- even though the total was weaker than all the estimates from 80 economists ...

How to Start Your Own Power Company, Stop Coal and Nukes, and Transform Your City
Post Date: 2012-04-07 12:06:45 by lucysmom
Ursula Sladek, a 2011 Goldman Environmental Prize recipient, is the co-founder and president of EWS, one of Europe’s largest cooperatively owned green energy companies. Motivated by the nuclear fallout from Chernobyl in 1986, the schoolteacher and mother of five from the small town of Schönau (population 2,382) in Germany’s Black Forest region — along with her husband Michael and a group of concerned parents — unsuccessfully lobbied her regional power company to adopt conservation measures, to no avail. After over 10 years of citizen activism and two referendums, Sladek and her small-town energy rebels were able to take over the local grid and start a community-run ...

March Unemployment Falls to 8.2 Percent as 120,000 Jobs Added
Post Date: 2012-04-06 08:46:16 by Brian S
US employers added 120,000 jobs in March as the unemployment rate fell to 8.2 percent, the Labor Department reported Friday. The stock markets in the U.S. are closed today for the Good Friday holiday, so investors won't get a chance to act on the jobs news until Monday. But the job additions may disappoint some people. Economists expected 210,000 jobs to be added in March and the unemployment rate to stay at 8.3 percent as more discouraged workers reentered the job market. In February employers added 227,000 jobs which was slightly more than expected and capped the best six-month streak for job additions since the depths of the financial crisis in 2008. The unemployment rate for ...

Industrial poultry about to get even crappier — literally
Post Date: 2012-04-05 11:43:02 by lucysmom
One of the most quoted lines from Eric Schlosser’s now famous book, Fast Food Nation, comes from the chapter about pathogens in ground beef. Without mincing words, he wrote: “There is shit in the meat.” Well, that phrase may be relevant again if the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) moves forward with plans to privatize part of its meat and poultry inspection program. Under the current rules, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is responsible for inspecting all chicken and turkey carcasses for things like bruises, bile, and yes, shit, before they’re sent for further processing. The proposed HACCP-Based Inspection Models Project (HIMP) ...

Canada Adds Most Jobs Since September 2008 as Full-time Employment Soars
Post Date: 2012-04-05 11:08:52 by Brian S
Canada added the most jobs since 2008 last month, a gain that was dominated by full-time positions and revived what had been a stalling labor market in the world’s 10th largest economy. Employment rose by 82,300 following a decline of 2,800 in February, Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa, lowering the jobless rate to 7.2 percent from 7.4 percent. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News projected a 10,500 gain in jobs and 7.4 percent unemployment, according to the median forecasts. Employment growth should add to household spending that the Bank of Canada said last month has been rising faster than expected. Governor Mark Carney said in an April 2 speech that high household debt ...

Consumer Comfort in U.S. Climbed to Four-Year High U.S. Consumer Confidence Rises to a Four-Year High, Bloomberg Index Shows
Post Date: 2012-04-05 11:07:31 by Brian S
Consumer confidence climbed last week to the highest level in four years as brighter job prospects and an advancing stock market bolstered Americans’ view of the economy. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index (COMFCOMF) rose to minus 31.4 in the period ended April 1, the best reading since March 2008, from minus 34.7 the prior week. All three of its components, the economy, personal finances and buying plans, advanced. Employers probably took on more than 700,000 workers in the first three months of this year, the best quarter for job growth since 2006, a report tomorrow may show, while equities rallied the most since 1998. The improvements may support consumer spending in the face of ...

Jobs First-Time Jobless Claims in U.S. Decrease to Lowest Level in Four Years
Post Date: 2012-04-05 11:06:00 by Brian S
Claims (INJCJC) for U.S. unemployment benefits dropped last week to the lowest level in four years, adding to recent reports showing signs of health in the economy. Jobless claims fell 6,000 to 357,000 in the week ended March 31, the fewest since April 2008, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. The median forecast of 43 economists in a Bloomberg News survey estimated a decrease to 355,000. The number of people on unemployment benefit rolls also dropped, while those getting extended payments increased. The improved labor market, rising stock prices and easier credit are lifting U.S. consumer confidence and spending, which accounts for 70 percent of the economy. A report ...

US Service Firms Grow At Steady Pace, Boost Hiring
Post Date: 2012-04-04 11:59:42 by Brian S
(04-04) 07:18 PDT WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. service companies expanded at a healthy pace last month and stepped up hiring, though growth slowed a bit from the previous month. The Institute for Supply Management, a private trade group, said Wednesday that its index of non-manufacturing activity dropped to 56 in March, down from February's 57.3. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion. The trade group of purchasing managers surveys roughly 90 percent of U.S. companies in all sectors outside of manufacturing. That includes retail, construction, financial services, health care, and hotels. A measure of employment rose as more companies said they plan to add workers. Separately, payroll ...

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