Posts Tagged ‘economy’

I just love these pictures like this!

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Too funny! And yes, my thoughts on Obama have recently well, not being what they were.

Little less conversation little more action please Mr. Prez.

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Oh, I would be so fucking mad if I lived in California and counted on my tax return to help pay property taxes or other bills due this time of year.  This is just wrong!  How can the state withhold money that they owe you?  I hope that most people were smart enough to file their tax returns already with the hope of getting the money before February 1st!  I think that Californians should take to the streets again in protest, because it is painfully clear that the fucking government cannot manage taxpayer money worth a shit!

California controller to suspend tax refunds, welfare checks, student grants

John Chiang announces that his office will suspend $3.7 billion in payments owed to Californians starting Feb. 1, because with no budget in place the state lacks sufficient cash to pay its bills.
By Evan Halper and Patrick McGreevy
January 17, 2009
Reporting from Sacramento — The state will suspend tax refunds, welfare checks, student grants and other payments owed to Californians starting Feb. 1, Controller John Chiang announced Friday.

Chiang said he had no choice but to stop making some $3.7 billion in payments in the absence of action by the governor and lawmakers to close the state’s nearly $42-billion budget deficit. More than half of those payments are tax refunds.

The controller said the suspended payments could be rolled into IOUs if California still lacks sufficient cash to pay its bills come March or April.

“It pains me to pull this trigger,” Chiang said at a news conference in his office. “But it is an action that is critically necessary.”

The payments to be frozen include nearly $2 billion in tax refunds; $300 million in cash grants for needy families and the elderly, blind and disabled; and $13 million in grants for college students.

Even if a budget agreement is reached by the end of this month, tax refunds and other payments could remain temporarily frozen. Chiang said a budget deal may not generate cash quickly enough to resume them immediately.

Not all payments will stop Feb. 1. Most school and healthcare programs will be paid, as required by state and federal law. The state will continue to pay more than $6.6 billion in such bills.

And Los Angeles County officials said they would cover welfare payments to more than 500,000 local recipients — for now.

But California is projected to be $346 million short of the funds it needs to pay all its bills in February. By March, the state would be so far in the red that even continuing to suspend payments would not cover the shortfall. California would be insolvent, making the issuance of IOUs likely.

State officials have already designed an IOU template, Chiang said, and have been negotiating with banks over whether taxpayers could cash or deposit them if they are issued. The state could be forced to pay as much as 5% interest on delayed tax refunds if they are not paid by the end of May, Chiang said.

The last time the state issued such IOUs — the only time since the Great Depression — was in 1992.

The suspension of payments is the latest radical move by officials to help keep the state from running out of cash as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature battle over how to avoid insolvency.

Schwarzenegger, who hopes to speed up public-works projects to stimulate the economy, wants tax increases, spending cuts and legislation to relax some environmental rules and allow private companies to do some government construction.

Democrats are seeking tax increases as well, but fewer spending cuts. Republican lawmakers would only pare spending and have been blocking any tax hikes.

Meanwhile, Schwarzenegger has ordered that most state workers take two days off per month without pay — equivalent to about a 10% pay cut. The governor also ordered most state offices — including all DMV field offices — to close on those two days. The order is being challenged in court by labor unions.

The state has also halted payments of bond money for more than 5,300 public-works projects.

On Friday, the state Department of Finance temporarily exempted 276 of the projects from the freeze, reasoning that because they are nearly complete, it could cost the state more to shut them down than to finish them.

The exemption, through Feb. 1, will allow the continuation of school construction by the Inglewood Unified School District and the construction of a new Court of Appeal facility in Santa Ana. Work on new rail tracks at L.A.’s Union Station and road projects involving Irwindale Avenue, Martin Luther King Boulevard and Imperial Highway in Los Angeles County will also be able to continue.

Some projects were exempted because the state is under court order to do the jobs. Others would threaten public safety if left uncompleted, according to Mike Genest, Schwarzenegger’s finance director.

“We’re going to take the risk of allowing them to continue a little longer because we are very hopeful will have a budget by Feb. 1,” Genest said.

Contractors lined up at a meeting of state finance officials to warn of the consequences of stopping the bulk of the public-works money. They said shutting down projects already underway would ultimately cost the state significantly. According to Caltrans Director Will Kempton, the state would have to pay $350 million in legal costs, claims for contract breaches and expenses for securing sites that go dormant.

“The bulk of those dollars are lost . . . to the taxpayers,” Kempton said. “You can’t just walk away from a construction project. You have to make sure it is buttoned up.”

It is not just the state that would take a hit. Some school districts relying on state funds do not have the reserves in place to cover the payments they will owe builders if work stops.

Counties are also feeling the pinch. They process the welfare payments scheduled to be halted by the controller’s office Feb. 1. The state is freezing those payments, along with millions of dollars in salaries to county workers who run the programs.

Some county officials say they don’t have reserves in place to cover the state until the budget crisis is resolved.

“We simply don’t have the cash,” said Pat Leary, assistant administrator for Yolo County. “We are in critically bad times.”

About a third of all state welfare payments go to Los Angeles County, where officials said they can shift money around to keep the payments flowing in the short term.

“The million-dollar question is how long this will last,” said L.A. County Chief Executive William T Fujioka. “We cannot sustain a huge and very long hit.”




Times staff writer Molly Hennessy-Fiske contributed to this report from Los Angeles.

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I’m glad that I live in the upper Midwest! I could finally have the right to marry by 2010 by being a part of Canada!

Need a Real Sponsor here

As if Things Weren’t Bad Enough, Russian Professor Predicts End of U.S.

In Moscow, Igor Panarin’s Forecasts Are All the Rage; America ‘Disintegrates’ in 2010

MOSCOW — For a decade, Russian academic Igor Panarin has been predicting the U.S. will fall apart in 2010. For most of that time, he admits, few took his argument — that an economic and moral collapse will trigger a civil war and the eventual breakup of the U.S. — very seriously. Now he’s found an eager audience: Russian state media.

[Prof. Panarin]

Igor Panarin

In recent weeks, he’s been interviewed as much as twice a day about his predictions. “It’s a record,” says Prof. Panarin. “But I think the attention is going to grow even stronger.”

Prof. Panarin, 50 years old, is not a fringe figure. A former KGB analyst, he is dean of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s academy for future diplomats. He is invited to Kremlin receptions, lectures students, publishes books, and appears in the media as an expert on U.S.-Russia relations.

But it’s his bleak forecast for the U.S. that is music to the ears of the Kremlin, which in recent years has blamed Washington for everything from instability in the Middle East to the global financial crisis. Mr. Panarin’s views also fit neatly with the Kremlin’s narrative that Russia is returning to its rightful place on the world stage after the weakness of the 1990s, when many feared that the country would go economically and politically bankrupt and break into separate territories.

A polite and cheerful man with a buzz cut, Mr. Panarin insists he does not dislike Americans. But he warns that the outlook for them is dire.

“There’s a 55-45% chance right now that disintegration will occur,” he says. “One could rejoice in that process,” he adds, poker-faced. “But if we’re talking reasonably, it’s not the best scenario — for Russia.” Though Russia would become more powerful on the global stage, he says, its economy would suffer because it currently depends heavily on the dollar and on trade with the U.S.

Mr. Panarin posits, in brief, that mass immigration, economic decline, and moral degradation will trigger a civil war next fall and the collapse of the dollar. Around the end of June 2010, or early July, he says, the U.S. will break into six pieces — with Alaska reverting to Russian control.

In addition to increasing coverage in state media, which are tightly controlled by the Kremlin, Mr. Panarin’s ideas are now being widely discussed among local experts. He presented his theory at a recent roundtable discussion at the Foreign Ministry. The country’s top international relations school has hosted him as a keynote speaker. During an appearance on the state TV channel Rossiya, the station cut between his comments and TV footage of lines at soup kitchens and crowds of homeless people in the U.S. The professor has also been featured on the Kremlin’s English-language propaganda channel, Russia Today.

Mr. Panarin’s apocalyptic vision “reflects a very pronounced degree of anti-Americanism in Russia today,” says Vladimir Pozner, a prominent TV journalist in Russia. “It’s much stronger than it was in the Soviet Union.”

Mr. Pozner and other Russian commentators and experts on the U.S. dismiss Mr. Panarin’s predictions. “Crazy ideas are not usually discussed by serious people,” says Sergei Rogov, director of the government-run Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies, who thinks Mr. Panarin’s theories don’t hold water.

Mr. Panarin’s résumé includes many years in the Soviet KGB, an experience shared by other top Russian officials. His office, in downtown Moscow, shows his national pride, with pennants on the wall bearing the emblem of the FSB, the KGB’s successor agency. It is also full of statuettes of eagles; a double-headed eagle was the symbol of czarist Russia.

The professor says he began his career in the KGB in 1976. In post-Soviet Russia, he got a doctorate in political science, studied U.S. economics, and worked for FAPSI, then the Russian equivalent of the U.S. National Security Agency. He says he did strategy forecasts for then-President Boris Yeltsin, adding that the details are “classified.”

In September 1998, he attended a conference in Linz, Austria, devoted to information warfare, the use of data to get an edge over a rival. It was there, in front of 400 fellow delegates, that he first presented his theory about the collapse of the U.S. in 2010.

“When I pushed the button on my computer and the map of the United States disintegrated, hundreds of people cried out in surprise,” he remembers. He says most in the audience were skeptical. “They didn’t believe me.”

At the end of the presentation, he says many delegates asked him to autograph copies of the map showing a dismembered U.S.

He based the forecast on classified data supplied to him by FAPSI analysts, he says. He predicts that economic, financial and demographic trends will provoke a political and social crisis in the U.S. When the going gets tough, he says, wealthier states will withhold funds from the federal government and effectively secede from the union. Social unrest up to and including a civil war will follow. The U.S. will then split along ethnic lines, and foreign powers will move in.

California will form the nucleus of what he calls “The Californian Republic,” and will be part of China or under Chinese influence. Texas will be the heart of “The Texas Republic,” a cluster of states that will go to Mexico or fall under Mexican influence. Washington, D.C., and New York will be part of an “Atlantic America” that may join the European Union. Canada will grab a group of Northern states Prof. Panarin calls “The Central North American Republic.” Hawaii, he suggests, will be a protectorate of Japan or China, and Alaska will be subsumed into Russia.

“It would be reasonable for Russia to lay claim to Alaska; it was part of the Russian Empire for a long time.” A framed satellite image of the Bering Strait that separates Alaska from Russia like a thread hangs from his office wall. “It’s not there for no reason,” he says with a sly grin.

Interest in his forecast revived this fall when he published an article in Izvestia, one of Russia’s biggest national dailies. In it, he reiterated his theory, called U.S. foreign debt “a pyramid scheme,” and predicted China and Russia would usurp Washington’s role as a global financial regulator.

Americans hope President-elect Barack Obama “can work miracles,” he wrote. “But when spring comes, it will be clear that there are no miracles.”

The article prompted a question about the White House’s reaction to Prof. Panarin’s forecast at a December news conference. “I’ll have to decline to comment,” spokeswoman Dana Perino said amid much laughter.

For Prof. Panarin, Ms. Perino’s response was significant. “The way the answer was phrased was an indication that my views are being listened to very carefully,” he says.

The professor says he’s convinced that people are taking his theory more seriously. People like him have forecast similar cataclysms before, he says, and been right. He cites French political scientist Emmanuel Todd. Mr. Todd is famous for having rightly forecast the demise of the Soviet Union — 15 years beforehand. “When he forecast the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1976, people laughed at him,” says Prof. Panarin.

[Igor Panarin]

Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A1

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I went to my first rally last night. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were in Kissimmee, Florida and luckily they held the rally at 11pm or I wouldn’t have been able to go.

35,000 strong is how many people the Orlando Sentinel reports were there.

They came out like old pals. They laughed at each other’s jokes and whispered to each other like new lovers. I heard Obama’s speech was going to be the same – parts of it were, of course, but the rest really wasn’t.

We all remember how great and prosperous our country was under Bill Clinton – what a guy, what a President! It just so happens he needed his dick sucked a little too badly. Unfortunately, he gave the Republicans ammunition against him. He lied under oath.

As a side note, a funny comparison…have you noticed that Bush won’t speak under oath? He lies so much that the Republicans would fall over themselves having to try and defend him from impeachment – that’s why the fucker’s still in office.

We all know how great Clinton was for our economy with each family earning $7,000 more than they were before him. He had some great lines and he’s definitely a looker so that helps. But it was the relationships that struck me. Sure, I loved when Barack said, “Bush has dug us a hole and now he just wants to hand the shovel to McCain” because it’s a great visual and oh, so true, but it was nothing to the looks Barack and Billy gave each other.

I know, I know, Republicans hate Bill Clinton. But no one can deny that our country prospered under his executive leadership. He made this country a glowing example to the rest of the world and he was an economic genius – exactly the type of guy I want to see Barack palling around with, especially at a time like this. It was a gorgeous site:

The man is everywhere – as someone once said, he really is like Visa, everywhere you want to be. Last night, I count 3 places: 1) his infomercial

Doesn’t it look like he was already sitting in the oval office? There should be no question now about what this man would do as President.

2) the rally

(“Who makes less than $250,000 per year? We do!”)

3) the Daily Show with Jon Stewart

A man who surrounds himself with people like Bill Clinton, Warren Buffett and the always great Joe Biden is a man who wants to do great things and wants to get the right answers before jumping into something like the economic crisis head-first.

A man who surrounds himself with someone who called us a nation of whiners and said that we are in a mental recession is not the type of person I want working on our economy.

Bring us back to the days of prosperity and leadership in the world. It is time to heal and put someone in office who has the judgment to lead.

I may still be a little pumped from the rally so for the first and only time I will ever say it outright on here – OBAMA ’08!

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This has been pissing me off for some time now. We all know that California has no money left, DMV’s are closing left right and center, 1000’s of teachers have been “let go”…and NOW people want to vote AGAINST gay marriage.

Here are some facts, if the opposers would actually read this shit, they might change their mind.

Same-sex marriage could potentially boost California’s deflating economy by $683.6 million over the next three years, an analysis by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law has claimed.

$55million will be generated in sales and occupancy tax revenues and $8.8 million in marriage license fees for California’s counties.

The Institute based their predictions on the experiences of Massachusetts, which legalised gay marriage in 2004.

“In a tough economic climate, California businesses are in a unique position to reap the wedding windfall, bringing millions of additional dollars in revenue to state businesses,” explains economist M.V. Lee Badgett, co-author of the study and research director of The Williams Institute.

So heres my advice to you Californians, vote against it if you like, just don’t you fucking dare about your taxes been increased, and your state been worth shit.

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Who’s bailing out? Well, conservative columnist Kathleen Parker thinks Sarah Palin should. And just in case she’s not entirely clear about her thoughts on Sarah, she wrote “If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself”. Either way, Palin will be ok. The rich will be just fine…they can bail themselves out!

But where’s my bailout? Seriously! AIG gets $85 billion, the rest of the market gets $700 billion and I have to pay for it? Fuck that! I didn’t vote to give Bush more executive power, nor did I tell him it was ok to suspend habeus corpus. I didn’t ask for a check from China or to start a war that costs over $500 billion.

If you’re using my tax dollars for this shit, I should get to vote on it before your stupid ass decides I should pay for your mistakes.

This week we heard that everything should be put on hold in order to take care of the crisis in Washington. It’s like when you’re a little kid and an important decision has to be made, your parents go into a room and close the door so you don’t know what they’re saying. Only after they’ve decided who you’re going to live with until you’re 18, do they tell you they’re getting a divorce. It affects your life more than it does theirs, but you have no say. None. No matter how fucked up the decision they have made will make your future.

I want to hear debates. Open that goddamned door and let us eavesdrop on what you’re going to do with OUR lives. And now, we have heard the debates…

According to this website.

Wait, what? Haven’t we seen something like this before?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spoke of McCain’s time in Washington working on the bailout this way: “All he has done is stand in front of the cameras, we still don’t know where he stands on the issue.” Wow, sounds like a guy who’s too busy to debate to me!

You have to proclaim victory anywhere you can when your poll numbers are on a constant downslide, right? Especially when the reason you “suspend” your campaign and your participation in the debate in the first place is to be in a place where you apparently “just stand there”.

But now, we know that McCain is going to go ahead with tonight’s debate. We have yet to hear whether he’s unsuspending the suspension of Palin’s participation in the VP debates, but I’m sure we’ll find out soon. I don’t understand how he can go to the debates since he promised not to leave Washington until a decision was reached about the economy. There’s no decision, but he’s still leaving. Whatever happened to sticking to your guns, John??? But I’m willing to overlook that to hear some answers, some ideas, and to have someone involve me on decisions that affect MY life.

Everyone judges the decision that McCain made in suspending his campaign. Mike Huckabee said McCain made a huge mistake. “You can’t just say, ‘World stop for a moment. I’m going to cancel everything,” Huckabee told the Associated Press.

But this is just him being a MAVERICK! It’s what we all want – BUCK THE SYSTEM!

And as long as no one blinks, we’re ok. The one thing you CAN NOT do is blink!

That’s RIGHT!

Unfortunately, Republican consultant Craig Shirley, believes “(McCain) will been seen as blinking first, since it was he who said he wasn’t going until the crisis is averted. Hobson’s choice, painted in a corner, bollixed — pick your poison, or pick your cliche.”

I happen to think we already picked our poison. He was elected 8 years ago and he’s been destroying our country ever since.

The question is, can anyone fix what has been fucked up so badly? Well, not if you just stand around waiting for cameras to film you and certainly not if you blink.

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