"An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted." - Arthur Miller

Friday, April 03, 2009

Links of the Day

Pay For Performance Bill Passes House - A bill to squash the high bonuses that the bailout Wall Street companies is paying out has passed the House. Republicans, always friends of the rich, are against the bill so it’s an early sign that is probably needed. The gist of the bill is the Treasury Department can veto excessively high bonuses and compensation for companies that received bailout money until that money is repaid. To put it more simply, companies are now extra motivated to pay back those billions they borrowed so that executives can get their excessive bonuses and pay. Considering the bank bailout had come with no strings, it’s nice to see there is now a reason for them to meet their obligations.

House, Senate Pass Obama Budget - Congress has passed the Obama budget with zero vote from the Republicans (gee no votes from the Party of No). The budget still has to go through the reconciliation process to iron out the differences between the two bills but it means it will likely get brought to signature within a week or so. It is a $3.5 trillion dollar budget, extremely high, but then 8 years of neglect of the US in all areas (infrastructure, safety, education, the list is long) in the quest for a Middle East legacy is going to take a lot of money to fix. Hopefully more jobs will increase tax revenue decreasing the overall deficit this budget will create. It is a big gamble, nearly the size of Iraq, but in this case that gamble is going to the American people and not to warmongers.

Credit Card Write-Off Hit Record High - The amount of uncollectable credit card debt hit a record high of 8.82% in February as people lost jobs and placed other bills as a higher priority. The banks are upset but the number that will likely go even higher but I have little sympathy. If the banks charged a more reasonable rate rather than the 18%-30% they do now, more people might consider the credit card debt salvageable. As it stands, it’s a pretty easy choice to write those bills off.

2 million jobs, lost in 09 - The bad news keeps coming as job loss reaches new heights. The stats stand at 8.5% unemployment which doesn't include part-timers that work multiple jobs and is a 25 year high, 663,000 jobs cut in March, and 5.1 million jobs lost total for this recession. If you got by the schizophrenic Dow Jones, bottom might have been reached, but then they go more on feelings of confidence, not reality so that isn't a good standard to go by.

IBM To Buy Sun Microsystems - IBM is about to buy the company to the tune of 7 billion dollars. The goal is to turn IBM into the "dominant supplier of high-profit UNIX servers and related technology." By related that means Java, Solaris OS, MySQL and other assets. The offer is $9.50 a share. What this means for the company is unknown but it wouldn't surprise me if it’s carved up with most of the jobs shifted to oversea sites.

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