Posts Tagged ‘tax payers’

Government for Sale: How Lobbyists Shaped the Financial Reform Bill

Government for Sale: How Lobbyists Shaped the Financial Reform Bill

By Steven Brill, courtesy of TIME 

government for sale, time

The following is an abridged version of an article that appears in the July 12, 2010, print and iPad editions of TIME.

Two weeks ago, along a marble corridor in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, I watched about 40 well-dressed men (and two women) delivering huge value for their employers. Except that we, the taxpayers, weren’t employing them. The nation’s banks, mortgage lenders, stockbrokers, private-equity funds and derivatives traders were.

They were lobbyists — the best bargain in Washington. Capitol Tax Partners, for example, is one of 1,900 firms that house more than 11,000 lobbyists registered to operate in Washington. Last year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), firms like Capitol Tax were paid a total of $3.49 billion for unraveling the mysteries of the tax code for a variety of businesses. According to Capitol Tax co-founder Lindsay Hooper, his firm provided "input and technical advice on various tax matters" to such clients as Morgan Stanley, 3M, Goldman Sachs, Chanel, Ford and the Private Equity Council, which is a trade group trying to head off a plan to increase taxes on what’s called carried interest, a form of income enjoyed by the heavy hitters who run venture-capital and other types of private-equity funds. (Time Warner, the parent company of TIME magazine, is also a client of Capitol Tax Partners.)

Since 2009, the Private Equity Council has paid Capitol Tax, which has eight partners, a $30,000-a-month retainer to keep its members’ taxes low. Counting fees paid to four other firms and the cost of its in-house lobbying staff, the council reported spending $4.2 million on lobbying from the beginning of 2009 through March of this year. Now let’s assume it spent an additional $600,000 since the beginning of April, for a total of $4.8 million. With other groups lobbying on the same issue, the overall spending to protect the favorable carried-interest tax treatment was maybe $15 million. Which seems like a lot — except that this is a debate over how some $100 billion will be taxed, or not, over the next 10 years.

And what did the money managers get for their $15 million investment? While lawmakers did manage to boost the taxes of hedge-fund managers and other folks who collect carried interest as part of their work,…
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Senator Jim DeMint: “U.S. Taxpayers Are Helping Finance Greek Bailout”

Senator Jim DeMint: "U.S. Taxpayers Are Helping Finance Greek Bailout"

Republican Senators Hold News Conference On "Senate Transparency"

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

From Senator Jim DeMint

The International Monetary Fund board has approved a $40 billion bailout for Greece, almost one year after the Senate rejected my amendment to prohibit the IMF from using U.S. taxpayer money to bailout foreign countries.

Congress didn’t learn their lesson after the $700 billion failed bank bailout and let world leaders shake down U.S taxpayers for international bailout money at the G-20 conference in April 2009. G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors asked the United States, the IMF’s largest contributor, for a whopping $108 billion to rescue bankers around the world and the Obama Administration quickly obliged.

Rather than pass it as stand-alone legislation, President Obama asked Congress to fold the $108 billion into a war-spending bill to send money to our troops.

It was clear such an approach would simply repeat the expensive mistake of the failed Wall Street bailouts with banks in other nations. Think of it as an international TARP plan, another massive rescue package rushed through with little planning or debate. That’s why I objected and offered an amendment to take it out of the war bill. But the Democrat Senate voted to keep the IMF bailout in the war spending bill. 64 senators voted for the bailout, 30 senators voted against it.

Only one year later, the IMF is sending nearly $40 billion to bailout Greece, the biggest bailout the IMF has ever enacted.

Right now, 17 percent of the IMF funding pool that the $40 billion bailout is being drawn from comes from U.S. taxpayers. If that ratio holds true, that means American taxpayers are paying for $6.8 billion of the Greek bailout. Although the $108 billion extra that Congress approved for the IMF in 2009 hasn’t yet gone into effect, you can bet that once it does Greek bankers will come to the IMF again with their hat in hand. And, if other European Union countries see free money up for grabs they could ask the IMF for bailouts when they get into trouble, too. If we’ve learned anything from the Wall Street bailouts it’s that just one bailout is never enough.

To hide the bailout from Americans already angry with the $700 billion bank bailout, Congress classified it as an “expanded credit line.” The Congressional Budget Office only…
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Swiss Cheese Recovery, More Holes Than Cheese

Swiss Cheese Recovery, More Holes Than Cheese

Courtesy of Mish

Slice of Swiss Cheese

Inquiring minds are reading the "Good News" from the Fed’s Beige Book today.

Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts indicated that while economic activity remains at a low level, conditions have improved modestly further, and those improvements are broader geographically than in the last report.

Highlights

  • Consumer spending: The recent 2009 holiday season was modestly greater than in 2008 for eight Districts, although as retailers in the Philadelphia and San Francisco Districts noted, 2008 sales were so low compared with 2007, that the relatively small 2009 gains did not represent a significant shift in trend.
     
  • Nonfinancial Services: Districts reporting on nonfinancial services generally indicated an upward trend in activity, although in some areas reports were mixed.
     
  • Manufacturing: Manufacturing activity has improved since the last report in six Districts.
     
  • Residential: Homes sales increased toward the end of 2009 in most Federal Reserve Districts, except San Francisco, where demand for housing has been steady, and Kansas City, where residential real estate activity has eased since the last Beige Book. In New York, Richmond, and Atlanta, residential real estate activity was described as mixed across areas of the District. In the Atlanta District, existing home sales increased, but new home sales decreased. In all Districts, sales of lower-priced homes tended to increase proportionately more than sales of higher-priced homes, due at least in part to the first-time buyer federal tax credit, according to real estate contacts. In several Districts real estate contacts reported that the original expiration date for the credit boosted sales in November and led to a more than usual slowdown in sales in December.
     
  • Nonresidential: Nonresidential real estate conditions remained soft in nearly all Districts. New York, Philadelphia, Kansas City, and San Francisco reported further weakening in demand for commercial and industrial space.
     
  • Employment, Wages, and Prices: Labor market conditions remained soft in most Federal Reserve Districts, although New York reported a modest pickup in hiring and St. Louis reported that several service-sector firms in that District recently announced plans to hire new workers.
     
  • Loan Demand: Loan demand continued to decline or remained weak in most Districts. St. Louis, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco noted general declines or soft


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California Asks Rest of Nation’s Taxpayers to Help Pay for Its Unbalanced Budget

California Asks Rest of Nation’s Taxpayers to Help Pay for Its Unbalanced Budget

Courtesy of Trader Mark at Fund My Mutual Fund

I have not had time to post some recent data on the growing chasm between public and private worker pay in the US, but I still plan to do it as this is a theme we’ve been pounding the table on since blog inception in 07… [Dec 16, 2007: California in a State of Fiscal Emergency - Coming to a Theater Near You]  Much like many of its people who have spent far more than they take in, the politicos at the state level act no different than the politicos at the federal level.  Spend what you have today, and never assume a rainy day in the future.  Since the state and city level budgets cannot be solved by more and more borrowing, there is only one ultimate solution.  Full subsidization by the federal government, who not only is running massive deficits of its own – but in the end game, will be the vessel for states to run deficits.  [May 5, 2009: Federal Aid Surpasses Sales Tax as Top Revenue Generator for States]  We are now officially at that point as some of the states have run out of accounting gimmicks to paper over deficits.

I tried to be generous in the title of this specific piece since it’s the holiday season, but it really should be something akin to "private workers of country asked for bailout to subsidize early retirement and generous benefit packages for public workers of California."  Or "taxpayers in Idaho asked to pay for imbalances in California."  In LA alone, pension payment will be sucking up 1 in 3 (yes, you heard that right) of all revenues in half a decade.  Leaving the other 2/3rds for minor things like… running the 2nd largest city in the nation.  [Aug 11, 2009: LA Times - Amid Cost Cutting, Los Angeles City Pensions Continue to Soar]  These are the type of things the nation is being asked to subsidize via these "stimulus plans" and whatever the Governor is asking for now.

  • •"We should never, ever design a pension formula that provides more for a person when they


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Tale of Two Economies

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Tale of Two Economies

Courtesy of Mish

How well corporations have fared in the recovery depends largely on two factors.

1) How much cash on hand they had and how conservative there were heading into the recession

2) How much Uncle Sam (taxpayers) bailed them out

The Wall Street Journal has the story in Halting Recovery Divides America in Two.

The U.S. recovery is a tale of two economies.

At one extreme of Corporate America is a cadre of companies and banks, mostly big, united by an enviable access to credit. At the other end are firms, chiefly small, with slumping sales that can’t borrow or are facing stiff terms to do so.

On Main Street, there are consumers with rock-solid jobs — but also legions of debt-strapped individuals struggling to keep their noses above water.

This split helps explain the patchiness of the recovery that appears to be taking hold after the worst recession in a half-century.

The split between companies that can borrow and those that can’t shows the extent to which any recovery depends on reviving the nation’s ailing banks and squeamish credit markets. Until that happens, the vigor of the economy will remain in doubt.

"If you’re not making money, you need to borrow money," says John Graham, a finance professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. But "you need to be creditworthy in order to borrow, and if you’re not making money, you’re creditworthiness isn’t very strong."

Mr. Graham, who oversees a quarterly survey of CFOs, says more companies are doing better than they were a few months ago. Still, he estimates, one in four is in "dire straights due to lack of profits combined with not being able to borrow."

Companies big enough to bypass banks and go directly to capital markets are finding a warmer reception. That’s because the markets are showing more willingness to make risky loans: In January, only eight of the 56 companies that sold bonds were rated below-investment-grade, or "junk," according to Dealogic. In August, by contrast, 24 of the 60 deals had junk ratings.

Since the start of the year, companies have been increasingly turning to the bond markets to raise money. Through August thus far, companies have issued $395.4 billion in bonds over 512 deals, according to


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Zero Hedge

Italian Cases Soar Past 300 As EU Stubbornly Refuses To Close Borders; 10 Dead: Live Updates

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Summary:

  • WHO warns the rest of the world "is not ready for the virus to spread..."

  • CDC warns Americans "should prepare for possible community spread" of virus.

  • Italy cases spike to 322; deaths hit 10

  • HHS Sec. Azar warns US lacks stockpiles of masks

  • Italy Hotel in Lockdown ...



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Phil's Favorites

World economy flashes red over coronavirus - with strange echoes of 1880s Yellow Peril hysteria

 

World economy flashes red over coronavirus – with strange echoes of 1880s Yellow Peril hysteria

Courtesy of John Weeks, SOAS, University of London

As the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold, travel restrictions are being imposed around the world. China is the main target, with various countries including Australia, Canada and the US placing different restrictions on people who have travelled through the country ...



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Biotech & Health

World economy flashes red over coronavirus - with strange echoes of 1880s Yellow Peril hysteria

 

World economy flashes red over coronavirus – with strange echoes of 1880s Yellow Peril hysteria

Courtesy of John Weeks, SOAS, University of London

As the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold, travel restrictions are being imposed around the world. China is the main target, with various countries including Australia, Canada and the US placing different restrictions on people who have travelled through the country ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Dow Industrials Reversal Lower Could Be Double Whammy for Stock Bulls!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Dow Jones Industrial Average “monthly” Chart

The Dow Industrials have spent the past 70 years in a wide rising price channel marked by each (1). And the past 25 years have seen prices test and pull back from the upper end of that channel.

The current bull market cycle has seen stocks rise sharply off the 2009 lows toward the upper end of that channel once more.

In fact, the Dow has been hovering near the topside of that price channel for several months.

But just as the Dow is kissing the top of this channel, it might be creating back-to-back “monthly” bearish ...



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Insider Scoop

Benzinga's Top Upgrades, Downgrades For February 25, 2020

Courtesy of Benzinga

Upgrades
  • Sidoti & Co. changed the rating for FormFactor Inc (NASDAQ: FORM) from Neutral to Buy. For the fourth quarter, FormFactor had an EPS of $0.41, compared to year-ago quarter EPS of $0.31. The stock has a 52-week-high of $28.58 and a 52-week-low of $14.20. FormFactor's stock last closed at $23.16 per share.
Downgrades
  • Dougherty downgraded the stock for Palo Alto Networks Inc (NYSE: PANW) from Buy to Neutral. Palo Alto Networks earned $1.19 in the second quarter. The stock has a...


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The Technical Traders

Yield Curve Patterns - What To Expect In 2020

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Quite a bit of information can be gleaned from the US Treasury Yield Curve charts.  There are two very interesting components that we identified from the Yield Curve charts below.  First, the bottom in late 2018 was a very important price bottom in the US markets.  That low presented a very deep bottom in the Yield Curve 30Y-10Y chart.  We believe this bottom set up a very dynamic shift in the capital markets that present the current risk factor throughout must of the rest of the world.  Second, this same December 2018 price bottom set up a very unique consolidation pattern on the 10Y-3Y Yield Curve chart.  This pattern has been seen before, in late 1997-1998 and late 2005-2008.

...

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Chart School

Oil cycle leads the stock cycle

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Sure correlation is not causation, but this chart should be known by you.

We all know the world economy was waiting for a pin to prick the 'everything bubble', but no one had any idea of what the pin would look like.

Hence this is why the story of the black swan is so relevant.






There is massive debt behind the record high stock markets, there so much debt the political will required to allow central banks to print trillions to cover losses will likely effect elections. The point is printing money to cover billions is unlikely to upset anyone, however printing trillions will. In 2007 it was billions, in 202X it ...

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Members' Corner

Threats to democracy: oligarchy, feudalism, dictatorship

 

Threats to democracy: oligarchy, feudalism, dictatorship

Courtesy of David Brin, Contrary Brin Blog 

Fascinating and important to consider, since it is probably one of the reasons why the world aristocracy is pulling its all-out putsch right now… “Trillions will be inherited over the coming decades, further widening the wealth gap,” reports the Los Angeles Times. The beneficiaries aren’t all that young themselves. From 1989 to 2016, U.S. households inherited more than $8.5 trillion. Over that time, the average age of recipients rose by a decade to 51. More ...



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Digital Currencies

Altcoin season 2.0: why bitcoin has been outgunned by crypto rivals since new year

 

Altcoin season 2.0: why bitcoin has been outgunned by crypto rivals since new year

‘We have you surrounded!’ Wit Olszewski

Courtesy of Gavin Brown, Manchester Metropolitan University and Richard Whittle, Manchester Metropolitan University

When bitcoin was trading at the dizzying heights of almost US$2...



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ValueWalk

What US companies are saying about coronavirus impact

By Aman Jain. Originally published at ValueWalk.

With the coronavirus outbreak coinciding with the U.S. earnings seasons, it is only normal to expect companies to talk about this deadly virus in their earnings conference calls. In fact, many major U.S. companies not only talked about coronavirus, but also warned about its potential impact on their financial numbers.

Q4 2019 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Coronavirus impact: many US companies unclear

According to ...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Why Blaming the Repo Market is Like Blaming the Australian Bush Fires

 

Why Blaming the Repo Market is Like Blaming the Australian Bush Fires

Courtesy of  

The repo market problem isn’t the problem. It’s a sideshow, a diversion, and a joke. It’s a symptom of the problem.

Today, I got a note from Liquidity Trader subscriber David, a professional investor, and it got me to thinking. Here’s what David wrote:

Lee,

The ‘experts’ I hear from keep saying that once 300B more in reserves have ...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

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Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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