Global Economic Growth in Low Gear Says IMF

The IMF has released their World Economic Outlook report and projects unemployment will remain unacceptably high in advanced economies as well as the Middle East and North Africa, an area of unrest.  The IMF also warns if the U.S. debt ceiling is not promptly raised, serious damage to the global economy would probably result.

Government Shut Down Kabuki Theatre

The crisis loams, the doors close shut, people dependent on government paychecks whirl like dervishes in panic wondering how they will pay for food and shelter. An hour before the clock strikes twelve, when all turn into pumpkins, a deal is struck to not shut down the government.

A deal has been reached between U.S. President Barack Obama and congressional leaders on a budget plan for the rest of this fiscal year that would avert a government shutdown, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Friday.

What was thrown to the lobbyists to make it at the last hour? It appears part of the agenda to destroy the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, now known as the Consumer Financial Bureau, was added as a rider to the 2011 budget.

Trust a financial sector lobbyist to bring both sides together. We all know the banks don't want any agency whatsoever trying to enact consumer protections.

Just today Elizabeth Warren said the Republican agenda against the Consumer Financial Bureau was all about benefiting the banks:

Republican lawmakers are doing Wall Street’s bidding by trying to restructure the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s funding and leadership, Obama administration adviser Elizabeth Warren said today.

Budget Fight Preview

The President's budget proposal will not be released until February 14, 2011, yet the leaks and politics are spewing into the Internet beltway.

The budget proposal will recommend ending Bush-era tax cuts for the highest earners when they are set to expire at the end of 2012, though the White House didn't include the projected revenue from this in its budget forecasts. The budget projections are based on the administration's economic forecast which shows a recovering economy, but it was made before the December tax-cut compromise which, most private forecasters say, has boosted the near-term growth outlook. Faster growth could mean higher government tax revenues and a smaller deficit.

Many of the spending cuts or reductions in the budget are already known. It would, for example, freeze levels of domestic non-defense spending for five years, something the White House believes will save $400 billion.

The White House will also propose reductions to a number of federal programs, from the U.S. Forest Service to a program that provides heating assistance for low-income families. It will adopt previously recommended reductions in military spending that would reduce costs by $78 billion over several years. The budget proposal will also recommend targeted spending increases, particularly in education and infrastructure programs.

We have a cut off for heat to the poor, charging interest on student loans while that person is still in school, a comment that maybe we should tax the rich, after just giving the rich a massive tax break.

We Love War! - Farrell, CBS MarketWatch

From CBS MarketWatch, Paul B. Farrell says America loves war! Contained within he makes the points:

  • Why else are Americans so eager and willing to surrender 54% of their tax dollars to a war machine, which consumes 47% of the world's total military budgets?
  • Why are there more civilian mercenaries working for no-bid private war contractors than the total number of enlisted military in Iraq (180,000 to 160,000), at an added cost to taxpayers in excess of $200 billion and climbing daily?
  • Why have Washington's 537 elected leaders turned the governance of the American economy over to 42,000 greedy self-interest lobbyists?

Is anyone else noticing that on major financial sites more and more we are reading facts that are implying they too want to see some real policy change?