Each legislative season corporate executives and lobbyists secretly draft hundreds of bills to suspend tariffs. This costs taxpayers billions of dollars and gives excessive profits to internationalist corporations. It is a gravy train, and there is little work to it. Lawmakers usually introduce the provisions at the behest of companies in their districts in exchange for large campaign contributions, known as payoffs. Removing these tariffs profits the transnational corporations, usually cuts the cost to consumers, but also costs American jobs and puts American workers on the street. Wal-Mart is one of the biggest beneficiaries due to their access to Chinese slave labor. They have cost American taxpayers millions in lost revenue.
The last time Congress passed an omnibus tariffs bill, in 2004, it cost us $172 million in lost tariff revenue. This is a subsidy for foreign workers. The one presently is going to cost us $278 million. When Congressmen and women are questioned on these issues they refuse to answer like Rep.. Sue Myrick (R-NC), who has introduced 34 such bills. South Carolina’s Brown submitted 32 bills. Others who are big in this area are Pennsylvania’s Republican Tim Murphy and Phil English, each with 23 and Emanuel Cleaner (D-MO) with 21. Each tariff suspension costs taxpayers $500,000 or less. Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) put in several bills for basketballs and volleyballs that cost $3.7 million annually. That was in behalf of Spaulding or its parent Russell Corp. Wal- Mart has 41 pending. All these tariff suspensions cost thousands of US jobs. This is another part of our system of government that has to be changed. Our high standard of living doesn’t allow us to compete with slave labor and unless more tariffs are enacted, our country will be destroyed.
The core CPI was minus 0.4% last month. That is because car prices fell 2.6% and light truck prices fell 3.4%. We cannot for a second believe drugs fell 0.9%, and home electronic products fell 1%. Besides core intermediate prices increased 0.4% m/m and 8.5% y-o-y and core crude PPI fell 12.8%, but the y-o-y rate is plus 25%.
The market for credit derivatives, which investors use to speculate on the health of companies and countries, has more than doubled in size in the past year to cover $26 trillion of securities.
The Republican-controlled Congress heads into the 11/7 elections having increased federal spending this year by 9%, the most since 1990, to about $2.7 trillion, according to projections from the White House Office of Management and Budget.
As of Wednesday, Amaranth Advisors was losing $5 billion of its $9.5 billion in assets, the remainder of their natural gas investments were sold to Goldman Sachs. Its European portfolio of $2 billion has been sold, including its investment in Manchester United. It is only a matter of time before the hedge fund is dead. Bids for Amaranth’s fund were for $0.15 on the dollar. This is what happens when you have no regulation.
The US Government has the same problem as Enron, WorldCom, Global Crossing, Adelphia, Kaiser Aluminum, K-Mart, McLeod USA, National Steel and many other major financial entities, they are all bankrupt. This is why our government, not unlike the Hungarian government, lies about everything regarding statistics, finances, economy and anything else that really matters. Our debt is close to $70 trillion, yet the public is told it is $8.4 trillion. Anything that obfuscates the facts is acceptable. When our country goes bankrupt, it won’t just affect a few million people, it will affect 300 million.
For the first time since the latest housing boom started six years ago, home price appreciation for each of the six Southern California counties has fallen to single-digits or worse. In August, the median price for all Southland single-family houses and condos rose 2.7% y-o-y to $549,000, the smallest increase since July 1999. Five months ago that rate was 10.7%. In May 2004, appreciation peaked at 27%. Sales fell 25.3% to 25,628, the ninth consecutive month of declines and the worst August since 1997.
Already past this point is San Diego County, where prices grew at a single-digit rate for more than a year before turning negative three months ago. The median price fell 2.2% in August to $482,000, and sales fell 31.8%, the 26th month of sales declines.
Used home sales in August were: Orange County -32%; San Diego -31.8%; Ventura -31.8%; Riverside -24.4%; L.A. -21.1%; San Bernardino -20.1% and all of Southern California -25.3%.
Used home appreciation: Riverside +7.0%; San Bernardino +6.1%; Los Angeles +4.7%; Orange +2.6%; Ventura +1.0%; San Diego -2.2% and all of Southern California +2.7%.
The MBA total mortgage applications for the week rose 2%. The component index of home purchases declined 3%. The 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 6.36%, up 4 bps from 6.32%. The one-year ARM fell 1 bps to 5.95%.
Our Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says that Congress should require Internet service providers to preserve customer records, asserting that prosecutors need them to fight child pornography. This is a weak excuse to pry into our lives.
The US is in the process of setting up an Africa Command, which we’ll name the Afrika Corp. to supposedly secure the rear flank of its global war on terrorism, with eyes trained on vital oil reserves and lawless areas where terrorists have sought refuge to regroup and strike against its interests. We are sure Caesar had equally sufficient reasons.
Washington has committed itself to spend $500 million on a Trans-Saharan Counter-Terrorism Initiative, an expanded program headed by EUCOM that provides military and development aid to nine Saharan countries that are supposed to be fertile ground for groups such as Algeria-based Salafist looking to establish Afghanistan-style training grounds and carry out other illicit activities.
As they have in Afghanistan and Iraq our foreign forces will feed radicalism where it hardly exists. As usual we will sustain despotic regimes that usurp funding and military hardware to tighten their grip on power. The neocons are using the war on terror to extend their suppression worldwide and in areas where no problems currently exist. The exception in the region is Somalia and we need not rehash Mogadishu.
We believe pacification is not the intention. The plan is to retain oil flow if something goes wrong in the Middle East. The Gulf of Guinea will supply 25% of US crude by 2010. That is more than what is presently supplied by Saudi Arabia. Nigeria is our fifth-largest oil supplier. In the region other suppliers are Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Gabon and Congo. West Africa is a strategic national interest so don’t be surprised when troops start occupying parts of North Africa. It seems presently the choice of location for an installation is Sao Tome & Principe, one of Africa’s smallest countries consisting of two islands at the western bend of the continent. They would serve in a matter similar to Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean and Guam in the Pacific. The present Sao Tome government likes the idea. They want the US presence to bring stability to their country. These are the things your media refuses to report.