by Kevin Ganster
Ahead of the Chamber’s release today of a groundbreaking new study on the economic impact of stalled or cancelled energy projects nationwide, USA Today’s website is running an editorial by U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue on the issue.
Donohue notes in his column that re
by Kevin GansterHaving run with unsubstantiated accusations that the U.S. Chamber used foreign money to fund political ads, the mainstream media is now finding those accusations a little hard to swallow. Examining facts often has that effect. Somewhat surprisingly, the New York Times was first out o
If you haven’t checked the weather lately, you might want to look outside. Hell has frozen over and pigs are flying. In the biggest upset since David beat Goliath, Republican Scott Brown has defeated Democrat Martha Coakley in the bluest of blue states, in the safest of safe Senate seats, one that
It could be the biggest political upset since Truman beat Dewey in 1948. The polls seem to be indicating a win for Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts. In what might be the last round of polls, surveys show Brown anywhere from tied to up 10 points.
Famed political handicapper Stuart Rothenberg
There's somewhat of a revolt brewing among the states over the pending health care bill. Yesterday California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sharply criticized the legislation for the financial burdens it poses on his state -- and he's not alone. Time magazine reports there are four reasons why many st
One of the few prominent Republican supporters of the health care reform effort -- California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger -- unequivocally withdrew his support for the measure yesterday, calling it "health care to nowhere" that's infected with "bribes, deals, and loopholes." The governator said he w
As members of Congress try to merge their divergent health care bills (more than 50 “topline differences”), they can do so with the latest read on health care spending and the economy. According to new government figures, health care spending rose at the lowest rate on record in 2008 – just 4.4% --
As the House and Senate struggle to merge their respective health care bills, taxes are taking center stage, as they might throughout this year in a number of different ways. The House version calls for a 5.4% surtax on the rich, not adjusted for inflation, while the Senate bill would impose higher
Senate Democrats will drop their plan to include an expansion of Medicare in the health care bill, helping to clear a major hurdle to its passage. Politico reported last night that the White House instructed Harry Reid to cut a deal with Sen. Lieberman, no matter what it takes.
Activists are appar
Like the joke about the weather in Chicago, if you don't like a certain aspect of the health care bill just wait 15 minutes and it will probably change. For example, the Senate legislation will now allow caps on annual insurance benefits where it didn’t before. That move drew condemnations from the
First the news, key group of Senate Democrats reached an agreement to abandon the public option in favor of a new national plan administered by the Office of Personnel Management, run by nonprofit entities set up by the private sector, and available to the public on new insurance exchanges. If the
One of the media narratives in the health care debate is that the battle is between astroturfing special interest groups and benevolent activists only interested in the public good. Enter Stephen Spruiell writing in the National Review:
The Friday before Halloween, in response to requests from the
It's D-Day minus 1 and counting! A vote has been set for tomorrow for the House health care bill, endorsements are coming in, moderates are being whipped (perhaps literally!), questions are being raised, promises are being broken, protests are erupting, and victory is being predicted. The negotiati
Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich says Obama made a fundamental mistake by trying to pass health care reform during the worst recession since the Great Depression. He writes:
Obama's focus on health care when the economy is still so fragile and unemployment moving toward double digits co
Robert Samuelson on the public option:
The promise of the public plan is a mirage. Its political brilliance is to use free-market rhetoric (more "choice" and "competition") to expand government power. But why would a plan tied to Medicare control health spending, when Medicare hasn't? From 1970 to
As I attended the launch of our American Free Enterprise campaign yesterday, I remembered this article of a few weeks ago in Forbes:
Let's set the record straight: Far from having failed, democratic capitalism is the world's greatest success story. No other system has improved the lives of so many
Poltico's Mike Allen has a curtain-raiser on the Chamber's launch of its free enterprise campaign. He writes: "After months of research and groundwork, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will launch its Campaign for Free Enterprise on Wednesday, with the goal of spurring the creation of 20 million jobs i
Former Missouri Governor Matt Blunt shows Congress how to do malpractice reform in the Wall Street Journal:
I took office in January 2005 at a time when runaway lawsuits were driving up the cost of doing business in my state and forcing doctors and other business owners to close their doors...This
The Washington Post has an editorial today explaining why regulation of greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act by EPA would be an unmitigated disaster. The paper writes:
"The Clean Air Act is breathtakingly unsuited to the great task of battling global warming. It would provide no econom
With the unrelenting focus on health care, the equally monumental cap-and-trade bill has been lost in the shuffle, and many centrist Democrats would like to keep it that way. Several Senate Democrats, including majority leader Dick Durbin, questioned whether it would be possible to vote on a climat
Warning that more Americans would die if Washington does nothing to reform health care, President Obama tried to sell his ideas for reform last night before a joint session of Congress.
Politico's Playbook reports:
Bruce Josten, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Comm
This holiday weekend the American people will be celebrating workers, just not Big Labor. Although Labor Day is supposed to be a celebratory time for unions, Gallup delivered a big dose of bad news this year – its latest poll shows that fewer than half of Americans (48%) approve of labor unions. Wh
Politico reports the White House is ready to change its approach to health care – it says Obama will now get more heavily involved and more specific about the confines of a compromise. The most interesting part:
And although House leaders have said their members will demand the inclusion of a publ
A new poll suggests why a radical overhaul of the health care system may not be in the cards…a Thomson Reuters survey found that fewer Americans are afraid that they will be unable to pay for health care services and fewer expect to postpone medical treatments due to costs.
Meanwhile, top Democrat
Prospects for a bipartisan compromise in the Senate on health care reform suffered yet another setback, this time when "Gang of Six" member Sen. Mike Enzi trashed Democratic proposals which he said would "make our nation's finances sicker." In the GOP's weekly radio and address, Enzi s
He's being called the greatest senator of our time, the "Lion of the Senate," and the last of an extraordinary generation of Kennedy's who transfixed the public and changed the world. The end of Camelot -- Sen. Ted Kennedy, dead at 77.
Said President Obama: "An important chapter in our history has
The president’s effort to pass health care reform legislation has fallen into a familiar pattern – one step back, then two more steps back. Yesterday Gang of Six member Chuck Grassley made his most definitive statements yet against a public option, saying, "Government is not a competitor, it's a pr
Jonathan Martin talks to Rep. Allen Boyd (D-Fla.) about the depth of the unease spurred by the health care debate:
"They may be in a minority, but they are a larger minority than we’ve seen in the 20-plus years that I’ve been doing this,” said Boyd of the standing-room-only crowds who have been sh
Yesterday House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made her most explicit statement yet about a public option in the health care reform bill – drop it and kiss any chance of comprehensive reform goodbye. Said the speaker to a San Francisco audience: "There is no way I can pass a bill in the House of Representati
Although Harry Reid, Sen. Chuck Grassley, and others say the Gang of Six continues to make progress on reaching a bipartisan agreement on health care, the major media are saying it ain’t so. The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, CNN, and others all report negotiations are deadlocked and Democrat
Columnists Robert Tracinski and Tom Minchin take note of an important vote in the Australian Senate that sent that country’s version of cap-and-trade legislation down to defeat. They say opposition wasn’t based solely on what such a scheme might do to the economy, but more on fundamental questions
First, the question at the heart of protests around the country remains unanswered. The Hill reports "The White House refused Thursday to say whether President Barack Obama would sign a healthcare bill that doesn't include the public option plan the president supports." Press Secretary Robert Gibbs
Tomorrow marks President Obama's 200th day in office and now is as good a time as any to take stock. Fortune magazine did just that asking 7 prominent economists, including the Chamber's Marty Regalia, to assess the administration's performance on the economy. Regalia gives the President a "C" for
After more than six hours of negotiations with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, House Democratic leaders and key Blue Dog Democrats ended discussions last night without a deal on health-care reform.
President Obama tried to alleviate senior citizens' concerns about health care reform, sayi
It appears no one can agree on health care reform legislation – not Democrats amongst themselves, not Congress and the White House, not the White House and the CBO, and certainly not Republicans and Democrats.
The major fault line among Democrats is in the House, particularly the House Energy and
It's official – the full Senate will not be voting on a health care reform before the August recess. At a town hall meeting, President Obama said it was "OK" if the Senate missed that deadline, but he added that he still wants to sign a bill into law this fall.
The ratings for the President's fourt
President Obama made an urgent case for health care reform last night, saying the remarkable thing wasn’t how far negotiators have yet to go, but how far they have come. He is confident a bill will be passed this year. He repeatedly cited support for the current legislation from the drug makers, do
Democratic divisions on health care were on clear display yesterday as the wheels of President Obama's runaway health care freight train starting slipping off the tracks. First, the House Energy and Commerce Committee postponed its vote on the tri-committee bill so its members could visit the White
India said thanks, but no thanks, to Secretary Clinton's invitation for them to essentially impose caps on their greenhouse gas emissions. Jairam Ramesh, India's environment minister said: "There is simply no case for the pressure that we face to actually reduce emissions. And as if this pressure
Health care. Just as Democrats began building up a head of steam toward passage of their health care plans, the Congressional Budget Office is letting some of the air out. CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf said the legislation would not rein in spiraling health care costs and, at least initially, isn'
Sen. Kent Conrad said his fellow members of the Finance Committee are having second thoughts on imposing a tax on high-end insurance coverage that workers receive on the job. Apparently they were spooked by polling data from a number of sources showing Americans didn’t fancy that idea. It’s unclear
So says one small business owner, Kevin Kelly. He explains in Newsweek:
Union campaigns are exhausting, deeply distracting events, and even though EFCA, as it has come to be known, promises to do away with campaigns, I'm willing to bet that the likely compromise will keep some sort of campaign in
In a column yesterday, George Will said Americans are rapidly coming to the conclusion that health care reform envisioned by Congress and the president isn’t worth it. He cites three reasons: 1) As societies become richer, it’s natural they spend more on health care – as well as symphonies, univers
In an op-ed in The New York Times today, Richard Posner calls the administration’s financial overhaul plan "premature, overambitious, obsessed with reorganization, [and] afflicted by Roosevelt envy." He says regulators failed to prevent the financial collapse not because they lacked adequate powers
by Kevin GansterPresident Obama was warmly received by members of the AMA yesterday in a speech focused squarely on health care reform. The president blamed some of the spiraling costs of health care on a reimbursement system that he said pays for the number of tests and services provided, regardles
The Wall Street Journal examines just how deeply government has embedded itself into the private sector:
"The massive intervention has shifted the way companies do business in a host of ways -- not all of them intended by the government. Increasingly, companies big and small are competing on the b
In a decision that shocked the Obama administration and other court observers, Justice Ginsberg ordered a stay of the sale of Chrysler to Fiat, saying she wanted the full court to examine the merits of the arguments made by some Indiana pension funds that call the expedited bankruptcy unconstitutio
It’s been 16 years since legislation has been introduced to fundamentally reform the nation’s troubled health care system. Now, a new bill spearheaded by Sen. Kennedy is beginning to take shape, with the ultimate goal of passing it in a bipartisan fashion in a lightning-fast timeframe of just a few
Today is the 65th anniversary of the bloody D-Day landings in France. Hudson Institute President Herbert London took a recent trip to Omaha Beach and wrote in The Wall Street Journal about the importance of never forgetting the sacrifices made there:
There is simply no way to describe the sacrific
Bloomberg has an article about how the Chamber has begun court action to challenge state cap-and-trade programs that sell pollution rights at auction even as Congress works on a national plan that gives most permits to industry for free. The article says the Chamber is urging a New York judge to st
by Kevin Ganster
As GM enters bankruptcy and Chrysler emerges, domestic automakers got some good sales news – or, at least, less bad. GM’s light vehicle sales in May fell much less than anticipated – just 29%. Ford’s sales were the highest since July 2008, even as they fell 24% from last year. Toyot
by Kevin Ganster
Now that the once mighty GM has fallen, people are starting to assess the damage from the fourth largest bankruptcy in U.S. history. In addition to job cuts, plant closings, eliminated brands, and shuttered dealerships, more than 650,000 retirees and their family members who depend
Congratulations, gentle readers, you own a car company! Today is the big day for GM…the once impregnable bastion of American capitalism is headed for bankruptcy this morning. The storied enterprise will be split into two, with its good assets sailing through a pre-packaged, government-backed bankru
"Blinding Arbitration" an editorial today in The Wall Street Journal urges business leaders and Senators to stay alert on card check compromises. The paper calls both elimination of the secret ballot and binding arbitration "unacceptable job killers."
To wit, the problem with the Employee Free Cho
There’s a lot happening on the energy front … The Obama administration plans to order auto makers to increase CAFÉ standards to 35 miles per gallon by 2016, four years faster than current federal law requires. The move is part of a broader overhaul of fuel economy rules aimed at cutting greenhouse-
Those looking for signs of loosening credit need look no further than the nation’s big banks. Their lending perked up in March. The total number of new loans at the 21 biggest recipients of TARP funds grew 27% over February. In other TARP news, many of the six large insurers recently made eligible
Promoting wellness in the workplace is an important step toward addressing our health care challenges and building a better health care system. It should be a health care reform we can all agree on. From the NY Times:
In its effort to overhaul health care, Congress is planning to give employers sw
U.S. Chamber Chief Economist Marty Regalia was all over the media yesterday explaining the business community's opposition to the double taxation of profits by multinational companies.
"The United States is the only major industrialized country which double-taxes the overseas earnings of our comp
The American Enterprise Institute's Arthur Brooks has an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal today saying the real cultural schism in American today is not over abortion or same-sex marriages, but instead centers on free enterprise. He writes:
Social Democrats are working to create a society where th
The Washington Post has an article this morning acknowledging Obama’s tax policies will hurt small businesses that file as individuals, and businesses. Three quotes and a profile, from the article:
"For the vast majority of people who earn less than $200,000, raising taxes on higher earners might
In an essay in Fortune magazine, J.P. Morgan Chase's Jamie Dimon makes the following predictions about the U.S. economy and the financial system:
In five years time, most banks will be fine overall. This crisis will be a memory, and the traditional strengths of America will show through.
President Obama responded to written questions from Fortune magazine’s Nina Easton in which he struck a decidedly conciliatory tone. On if he believes corporate America alone is at fault for the recession, Obama said:
"Addressing this crisis will require change across the spectrum, not just from c
Tonight CBS will air "The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler," the true story of a Polish social worker who, along with members of a secret organization, spirited 2,500 Jewish children out the ghettos of Poland and safety from the Nazis. She risked her life to save the lives of thousands of children
President Obama touted the benefits of stimulus spending yesterday, announcing that 2,000 new projects to rebuild U.S. highways and bridges have already been approved under the stimulus plan.
As well as spending money quickly, Obama emphasized, the government is saving more money than it thought i
Columnist Victor Davis Hanson says it’s hard to decide who is more at fault for the financial crisis, Democrats or Republicans. After recounting how each party made fatal mistakes, he ultimately decides the fault lies in us. He writes:
So, take your pick whom to blame: not-so liberal Democrats, no
The administration is taking some flack over the president's new science adviser characterizing global warming as so severe a problem we should consider geoengineering the climate – perhaps shooting pollution particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect the sun's rays. “It's got to be looked at,"
In a surprise visit to Baghdad yesterday, President Obama praised the performance of U.S. troops and told them it was time for them to step aside and let Iraqis do things for themselves.
Back at home, the Congressional Oversight Panel gave its report on the TARP program yesterday, calling it a "re
Yesterday Wall Street Journal columnist Daniel Henninger notes that Congressional Democrats have bid adieu to the business community, they have become entirely disconnected from any understanding of how the private sector works. He wrote:
"Put it this way: Imagine any of this generation's Democrat
Reaction to Secretary Geithner's ambitious plans to reform financial regulations got mixed reactions among members of Congress and the business community. Republican Rep. Spencer Bachus had a very lukewarm response, saying it was "unacceptable" to have the government subsidize the cost of "resolvin
President Obama's $3.6 trillion budget continues to take heat from both sides of the aisle. House budget leaders on the Democratic side have unveiled their own version of an FY2010 budget blueprint that slices off more than $100 billion from Obama's proposal. They may seek further cuts in light of
A few highlights from the President’s news conference last night … Obama said:
Getting the economy back on track will take a long time and a lot of patience, but he is beginning to see signs of progress
His budget, as proposed, was "inseparable" from the overall strategy for economic recovery
Reaction to Secretary Geithner's plan to rid banks of toxic assets is getting mixed reviews. The stock market rendered its verdict in a big way, with a huge rally that sent the Dow up almost 500 points, or 7%. Bank stocks were among the big winners, with Citigroup alone posting a 20% gain.
Treasury Secretary Geithner will announce today his plan to rid banks of toxic assets, and it sounds an awful like what he previewed a few weeks ago that was panned by many experts. The plan will have three major prongs. In one part, it will create public-private partnership to back private invest
Political analysts are having a field day debating the administration's response to the AIG bonuses, which has veered from blaming someone else to accepting responsibility; from saying it was no big deal to saying Americans are right to be really angry about it; from saying their hands were tied to
As the tide of outrage over AIG bonuses continued unabated yesterday, President Obama disavowed responsibility for the situation and then said he owned it. "Nobody here drafted those contracts; nobody here was responsible for supervising AIG and allowing themselves to put the economy at risk by som
The AIG bonuses story continues to have legs in the media, with New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announcing yesterday that AIG paid bonuses of $1 million or more to 73 employees, including 11 who no longer work for the company. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats were preparing legislation that would
The AIG bonuses continue to make headlines. Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley and Senate Democrat Chris Dodd suggested some novel ways of dealing with the bonuses. Dodd floated the idea of imposing a very limited tax aimed narrowly at the recipients of the bonuses to get some of the money back. Grassl
AIG’s announcement that it would honor its contracts and award $450 million in bonuses, including to employees in its financial products unit, dominated the headlines and Sunday talk shows yesterday, sparking outrage and an exchange of letters between AIG CEO Ed Liddy and Treasury Secretary Geithne
Two former NLRB officials have an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal today criticizing the binding mandatory arbitration clause of card check legislation.
Less publicized and arguably even worse, the EFCA injects government into collective bargaining. If a union and an employer cannot agree to thei
On Capitol Hill yesterday, lawmakers appeared to wring a concession from FASB’s Robert Herz that his agency would issue guidance in three weeks loosening mark-to-market accounting requirements. A regional banker who testified at the hearing said FASB should allow banks to add credit analysis to the
President Obama is turning his attention to the upcoming G-20 summit this weekend. He said he'd like to advance two objectives: better coordinated actions to resuscitate global economic growth (i.e. getting the Europeans to spend more) and forming a new financial regulatory framework.
There was a big rally on Wall Street yesterday with the Dow surging nearly 380 points. Investors were pleasantly surprised by Citigroup’s announcement that it was profitable so far this year. They were also buoyed by a suggestion from House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank that th
In a speech to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce today, President Obama will lay out his "cradle to career" plan for education, which will include: extending a merit pay program for teachers to an additional 150 school districts; new incentives for states to boost quality in their preschool pro
Obama is getting it from all sides for signing off on a $410 billion spending bill to fund the government for the rest of the year. Two prominent Democrats in the Senate – Evan Bayh and Russ Feingold – oppose the measure. Of course no good deed goes unpunished.
With many claiming the empty halls at
At the White House summit on health care yesterday, President Obama reiterated his call for a comprehensive overhaul of the U.S. health care system, warning that soaring medical costs present "one of the greatest threats not just to the well-being of our families…but to the very foundation of our e
As the administration hosts a health care summit today, The Washington Post reports that industry is surprisingly sanguine about Obama's health care plans so far, especially drug makers who feared price controls.
Apparently the public is less sanguine about Obama's housing plan -- a new Quinnipiac
One aspect of President Obama's plan that has been heavily criticized by some are his new taxes on the so-called rich and on investors. The administration added another tax target to its list yesterday when Secretary Geithner said he will unveil a series of rules in the coming months to limit the a
The market apparently has not yet hit bottom – the Dow shed a huge 300 points to a 12-year low, under 6,800. The Dow is down 17% since Feb. 10 and is 7,400 points off its all-time high. Some are calling the market drop a vote of "no confidence" in Obama's economic policies. Meanwhile, U.S. consumer
President Obama on Saturday said he expects special interest groups and others to move heaven and earth to oppose his sweeping budget plan. To paraphrase another president, his response was, essentially, "bring it on."
One of those big fights will be over health care, and Obama finally has someone
There was plenty of reaction to President Obama’s proposed budget as interested parties dug deeper into the details yesterday. We’ll begin with some numbers -- $3.6 trillion for FY 2010 and an increase to $3.9 trillion for the current fiscal year. That’s nearly $12,000 in spending for every single
According to numerous news organizations, the administration’s budget – to be unveiled today -- will propose the following: Further tax increases on the so-called rich to fund a $634 billion health care "reserve fund," including a cap on itemized tax deductions for high-income people and higher Med
President Barack Obama made his first official foreign trip yesterday to long-time ally Canada ("He had us at merci"). Obama sought to reassure Canadian officials on trade, saying he wanted to expand that relationship, not contract it, and that there was nothing in his stimulus bill that would run
President Obama’s housing plan to help 9 million borrowers has three main elements.
The first part would allow mortgage holders who owe between 80% and 105% of the value of their home and are current on their payments to refinance at a lower interest rate with a guarantee from Fannie and Freddie. T
The stimulus package is now signed into law, so the Obama administration is turning its focus to the housing crisis.
The president is expected to unveil a $50 billion housing plan today in Phoenix. One likely component will be interest-rate subsidies for at-risk borrowers, with the government match
The New York Times ran a good article today on education spending in the stimulus package and the challenges faced by Arne Duncan:
The $100 billion in emergency aid for public schools and colleges in the economic stimulus bill could transform Arne Duncan into an exceptional figure in the history o
Time’s up for GM and Chrysler – they are required to submit their plans today to ensure their long-term viability and return to profitability. The auto makers will not be handing in their plans into a new car czar, but instead a new government-wide task force. In addition, Ron Bloom – a special ass
In a statement announcing his withdrawal as Commerce Secretary nominee, Sen. Judd Gregg wrote:"It has become apparent during this process that this will not work for me as I have found that on issues such as the stimulus package and the Census there are irresolvable conflicts for me...I greatly admi
The Wall Street Journal concluded that big business was the big loser in the compromise bill. It said the nation would be paying for this bad legislation in many ways over many years. Columnist George Will is appalled at how quickly the bill moved through Congress, saying the institution was built f
Tim Geithner's comprehensive plan to revive financial markets bombed on Wall Street, Capitol Hill, and among industry experts. His proposals were described as vague, incomplete, and lacking details. Observers said the administration's plan is neither well-funded enough to recapitalize troubled banks
In his first televised press conference as president last night, Mr. Obama said his stimulus bill has attracted diverse support:"It is a plan that is already supported by businesses representing almost every industry in America; by both the Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO."As expected, he unders
The Senate's $827 billion compromise measure will be debated today, with a final vote coming sometime tomorrow. It's passage is all a but assured, with all Democrats supporting it along with three Republican (Snowe, Collins, Specter) for a total of 61 votes. The bill contains the cancellation of ind
President Obama notched another legislative victory yesterday when he signed into law a $35 billion expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program. The increase will be financed with a 62-cent-per-pack increase in the federal cigarette tax.
Mr. Obama is having a harder time with his sti
President Obama might be softening his stance on the "Buy American" provisions, according to the London Times and several U.S. newspapers. The EU threatened to retaliate if the U.S. Congress approved the provisions. Obama said on Fox News:
I agree that we can’t send a protectionist message. I want
Tax and ethical problems killed two nominations with one stone yesterday – first Nancy Killefer’s nomination as "chief performance officer" and then Tom Daschle’s nomination as HHS Secretary. The latter came as a major surprise to many as Daschle seemed to have the ironclad support of President Oba
by Kevin Ganster The Fed said most U.S. banks tightened lending to consumers and businesses in recent months, an ominous sign for economic recovery. Some articles put a more positive spin on the Fed report, saying credit remained tight, but a smaller percentage of institutions toughened their lendin
After the withdrawal of Bill Richardson’s nomination and Tim Geithner’s tax issues, another potential scandal has emerged – HHS Secretary nominee Tom Daschle just recently paid $140,000 in back taxes. There are questionable charitable contributions, $220,000 in speaking fees from health care-relate
It’s being called "Bloody Monday" – in a single day companies announced plans to cut 71,000 jobs. Yesterday, Caterpillar said it would cut 20,000 jobs, Sprint 8,000, Home Depot 7,000, and the list goes on. More than 200,000 job cuts have been announced so far this year.
OPEC’s steep cuts in produc
The New York Times reported that the Obama administration plans to move quickly to tighten the nation’s financial regulatory system. Among the expected changes: eliminating conflicts of interest at credit rating agencies; new federal standards for mortgage brokers who issued many unsuitable loans a
The USS Post-Partisan is already hitting some stormy seas as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters yesterday regarding stimulus: "Yes, we wrote the bill. Yes, we won the election," adding that Republicans were not being realistic in their expectations.
Speaker Pelosi also says she
Promising "a new era of openness," President Obama signed executive orders yesterday freezing salaries of White House staff that make more than $100,000 a year and imposing strict new lobbying rules.
After flubbing the oath of office, Obama and Chief Justice Roberts tried it again, just to make sur
Millions crowded the National Mall to witness the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States.
At the Hill luncheon, Teddy Kennedy suffered a seizure and had to be taken to the hospital – his doctors said it was brought on by simple fatigue.
In the Senate, lawmakers app
House Democrats unveiled the single most expensive piece of legislation in history – an $825 billion stimulus package. One aspect that is no longer supersized is the tax cuts, which have shrunk from about $310 billion to just $275 billion. The loss carryback provision and bonus depreciation survive
Bernanke: "It's good advice in general if there's a fire burning, you try to put it out first, and then think about the fire code…What we've learned in this case is not necessarily that we need a lot more regulation. We need to think what went wrong ...We need to think very hard about how to fix it
The White House has notified Congressional Democrats that it may ask for the remaining $350 billion of TARP funds before leaving office, but said it would not seek to allocate the money. Some speculate that Obama may endorse that move to help make the money more readily available to his administrat
From the Heavy Hitters Donor list on OpenSecrets.org
The Wall Street Journal has an editorial today saying it hasn’t taken Congress long to pay back the trial bar with two litigation-producing bonanzas – the Lilly Ledbetter Equal Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act. The paper calls the former:
The Washington Post reports that Obama's economic team is overhauling the $700 billion financial rescue package to broaden its scope beyond Wall Street to include aid to municipalities, small businesses, homeowners, and other consumers. Experts say Geithner has little hope of winning congressional
Our State of American Business release was widely reported on yesterday, you can read the report here. Over 80 reporters covered Tom Donohue and Bruce Josten’s press conference. Just a taste:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said on Wednesday that it expects the recession to hit its bottom by the midd
A dire economic forecast from the Federal Reserve didn’t prevent a small rally on Wall Street, where the Dow added 62 points. It was the fourth gain in the last five sessions. Minutes from the last Fed meeting three weeks ago show governors believe the recession could drag well into the new year, w
The Wall Street Journal has a story today about how blurred the battle lines could be over major issues in the new Congress because neither the Democratic caucus nor the business community are unified. There are many fault lines on energy, for example, where some industries strongly favor cap-and-t
Tensions are mounting between Russia and the Ukraine after Gazprom cut off the Ukraine’s gas supply on Thursday, saying it was owed money and its gas was being siphoned on its way to Eastern Europe. One Ukrainian official warned of serious fuel disruptions across the continent in as little as 10 da
There are abundant signs of an economy very much on the ropes…Chrysler announced it’s shutting down production at all of its U.S. plants for at least 30 days, saying there’s no credit available for consumers wanting to buy cars. They also have a huge backlog of inventory. Chrysler's financing arm w
Dan Christman, head the Chamber's International Division, hosted a press briefing yesterday on our trade agenda for next year. About a dozen reporters and C-Span covered the event. The Wall Street Journal's Real Time Economics blog wrote:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has injected a dose of realis
Madoff reliability a red flag, not a red cape?
Oil down and up?
Auto aid is close?
The beginning of the end of quarterly guidance?
Blagojevich for Christmas?
In the midst of the worst economic crisis most Americans have ever experienced, Georgetown University Professor James Moore sets the record straight about the economy with 5 key facts:
The United States has not lost its competitive edge – the World Economic Forum says we are still the most compet
Prospects of a bill to help ailing automakers and Obama’s proposed stimulus plans sent the Dow higher by about 300 points yesterday. That advance came on the heels of a 259-point pick-up on Friday. GM’s stock surged 19%.
Now, about the troubled auto industry…
The bridge loans for the Big Three are
Calling him "undeniably sharp, innovative, and successful," The Wall Street Journal editorial board sat down with SEIU chief Andy Stern recently to talk about the elections and the union's agenda going forward. Stern says big labor "won the election – it's not a secret" and said he expected Obama a
Former IBM CEO Louis Gerstner says it’s time for our political leaders to acknowledge that after thousands of reports and billions of dollars spent, our K-12 public schools system is failing and only four things can turn it around:
Set high academic standards for all of our kids, supported by a ri
Bloomberg's Caroline Baum recounts the true story of Thanksgiving and suggests what the pilgrims learned centuries ago still hold lessons for us today. Baum recalls the harsh winters and low crop yields in the Plymouth Bay Colony in Massachusetts during the settlers' first few years. Half the Pilgr
The Obama administration intends to start with a "big bang" in January by issuing a series of Executive Orders to overturn hundreds of Bush policies on everything from climate change to stem cell research, reproductive rights, drilling leases in Utah, and other issues. A team of four dozen advisers
Intrigue in Alaska
The Employee Free Choice Act is our No. 1 legislative priority for next year and we are going to be pushing very hard," said Thea Lee, chief economist for the AFL-CIO. "It was the centerpiece of our electoral efforts ... we are ve
by Kevin Ganster
Signs that credit markets are starting to thaw a little bit, Bernanke’s endorsement of another stimulus package, and a surprising uptick in the leading economic indicators led to a major rally on Wall Street yesterday. The Dow was up 413 points, or 4.7%.
In Congressional testimony
The Washington Post had one, two, three plus articles about the presidential transition over the weekend, although they focused mostly on an Obama transition. The paper predicted Obama might ask Defense Secretary Gates to stay for a period of time. For Secretary of State, Republicans Dick Lugar and
A dismal reading from the Fed’s Beige Book, a prediction of a long, deep recession from Bernanke, and poor retail sales numbers sent the Dow into a tailspin yesterday – it posted its second worst showing ever, a 733 point drop. However, J.P. Morgan, Well Fargo, Intel, and Coca-Cola all reported str
The Treasury Department’s plan to use part of the $700 billion rescue package to buy shares in U.S. banks is receiving rave reviews from all quarters – left, right, and center. Sen. Chuck Schumer said it had the potential to reassure not only the equity markets, but also the broader credit markets,
There’s absolutely no good news on the economic front in any direction. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s prediction that the global financial markets crisis is likely to restrain the economy well into next year helped send the market down 508 points yesterday to about 9450. The Dow is down 1
After a tumultuous week on Wall Street and Capitol Hill folks are waking up this morning trying to sort it all out. The financial contagion that caused the financial crash in the United States is spreading like wildfire through Europe as EU countries seek to stem massive bank failures across the co
The Senate accomplished what the House on Monday could not by passing, 74-25, a $700 billion Wall Street rescue plan last night (the Troubled Assets Relief Program). The bill passed last night would extend an array of tax breaks worth $108 billion to businesses and families next year. It would also
The Senate will vote on a slightly modified rescue plan at sundown tonight. The bill adds new provisions -- including raising the FDIC insurance cap from $100,000 to $250,000 -- and will be attached to existing legislation extending tax cuts and providing AMT relief. McCain and Obama are expected t
Yesterday, the Dow reached new depths, finger pointing on Capitol Hill reached new heights, and the economy teetered on a precipice.
The Dow fell a record 777 points yesterday, it’s single worst point drop on record. It’s not much consolation, but that 7% decline does not rank among the top 10 decl
Here’s the broad outline of the agreement reached between Congress and the White House:
A total of $700 billion will be made available in increments -- $250 billion immediately and another $100 billion at the discretion of the president. The final $250 billion, if needed, would be subject to a con
by Kevin GansterIt is imperative that the United States act quickly to restore confidence and the flow of credit. The longer action is delayed, the more costly rescue is likely to be. Rescuing the financial system is in the interests of all Americans: Failure to do so would result in rising unemploy
Paulson and Senate Democrats made real progress on a compromise bill, President Bush addressed the nation and invited the presidential candidates to meet with him in Washington, McCain suspended his campaign and won’t participate in a debate until legislation addressing the crisis is passed, and co
Five links, five notes.
The other bailout: Main Street
How Main Street Will Profit
The Bailout: Public Anger, Private Talks
Bailout plan under fire
Give Paulson a Clean Bill
Candidates Push for Bailout Legislation
White House officials are highlighting a Pew Research Center poll showing 57% of Amer
The Bush administration has apparently made several concessions on its rescue plan, including agreeing to compensation limits for bank CEOs taking part in the plan and the need for more help for homeowners facing foreclosure. According to Barney Frank, the Treasury also agreed to Democrats' idea th
Today is the first day of Fall, but not the first day of the fallout. Many, many articles -- here’s what we know and don’t know about the administration’s proposed legislation to buy distressed assets:
We know the federal government would be authorized to buy up as much as $700 billion of illiquid
Sampling David Brooks (New York Times) who samples Megan McArdle (The Atlantic):Now another herd is on the march. We’re in a paradigm shift, its members say. The current financial turmoil marks the end of the era of wide-open global capitalism. Today’s gigantic government acquisitions signal a new
The crisis on Wall Street sent stocks through the floor yesterday. The Dow was down 504 points, the largest drop since 9/11 – shareholders lost about $700 billion in value. Asian markets are following suit this morning with Japan’s, Hong Kong’s, and South Korea’s exchanges all losing 5% or more.
The Los Angeles Times had an editorial yesterday comparing the vastly different responses to the 9/11 attacks and the collapse of that Minneapolis bridge last year. While the two are not exactly comparable, the paper suggests our apathy regarding infrastructure could hurt in ways comparable to 9/11
Many disasters to report on today – natural, manmade, and especially financial!
Here’s the impact of Hurricane Ike in a nutshell:
28 people are dead, 2.6 million people are without power, 10,000 homes have been destroyed, and 40,000 people are in shelters.
Damages are estimated at between $8 bil
It's not just us saying the U.S. India Nuclear Agreement is a good deal, the Washington Post had an editorial today urging its approval: "It would be strange, indeed, if a Congress controlled by Democrats, who usually favor diplomacy and multilateralism, were to scuttle the deal now."
Some visibility of the benefits of trade, courtesy the Wall Street Journal:Much of the world may be struggling with the economic downturn, but life has been getting better in Columbus, Ind., Kingsport, Tenn., and Waterloo, Iowa. These out-of-the-way places have become trade hot spots as U.S. export
Here’s the latest on Hurricane Ike – forecasters are now predicting it will make landfall as a Category 3 storm somewhere near Galveston, Texas. The surrounding area is weighing evacuation plans.
It looks like Democrats are coalescing around an energy bill, but it will be entirely unacceptable to
After destroying nearly 80% of the homes on Grand Turk Island and battering Cuba with 105 mph winds, forecasters are trying to predict the path of Hurricane Ike, recently downgraded to a Category 2. One scenario would have it hitting Texas on Saturday. Experts also believe conditions in the Gulf ar
Vowing to shake up Washington and to fight to make life better for all Americans, John McCain accepted the Republican party’s nomination for president last night. McCain made an extended argument that he’s the right one to bring change to politics as usual, saying he’s taken on the special interest
Eight people are dead and about 800,000 are without electricity after Hurricane Gustav delivered what’s being described as a “glancing blow” to New Orleans. All the levees appeared to hold. Nonetheless, experts are predicting as much as $8 billion in damage, making it one of the more costlier storm
History was made yesterday as Barack Obama became the first African American to be nominated as a major party’s presidential candidate. Obama made a surprise appearance on the convention floor following Joe Biden’s acceptance speech as VP, in which he stressed his experience in foreign policy. Earl
The Wall Street Journal has an editorial today saying; "One of the most underreported stories at this week's Democratic National Convention is that Big Labor is making a big comeback." It's not our fault. The U.S. Chamber has been beating the drum loudly about the union's anti-growth agenda, and w
Two good editorials on unions today, different subjects, but a common competitiveness theme:
First, in the Wall Street Journal, retired founder and first CEO of Home Depot, Bernie Marcus, says that American executives better wake up to the threat of the Employee Free Choice Act. He says most CEOs h
The big news this weekend was Obama’s pick of Joe Biden as his running mate. Here’s a synopsis of what the conventional wisdom is saying about Biden:
on the positive side, he can appeal to Catholics and working class folks; he has strong foreign policy experience to offset Obama’s lack thereof; and
Russia moved closer to recognizing the independence of breakaway republics South Ossetia and Abkhazia yesterday by outlining plans for a major military presence in and around the contested territories. Both houses of Russia's parliament are likely to hold special sessions early next week recognizin
The emergency meeting of NATO foreign ministers underscored the group’s lack of options to punish Russia for occupying Georgia. The ministers agreed to "freeze" relations with Russia until they have withdrawn their troops. There are some signs of a pullback, but the Russians are taking their time.
NATO foreign ministers are set to meet today in an emergency session over Russia’s occupation of Georgia as Russia’s latest promise to withdraw appears to be another ruse. In fact, Russian forces have seized the port city of Poti and some reports say it has installed short-range, nuclear-capable SS
Russia (again) says it will begin pulling back forces into South Ossetia today as part of a new ceasefire agreement. Secretary Rice said: "Yet again, the Russian president has given his word. This time, let’s hope he keeps it." Sources on the ground see no signs of withdrawal, and some Russian tank
Russia’s foreign minister said yesterday that Georgia could "forget about" getting back the breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russian forces are still occupying Gori and appear on the move toward the port city of Poti. The conflict has uprooted about 115,000 people, according to th
President Bush has authorized a massive effort to provide humanitarian relief to Georgians, 30,000 of whom have been displaced by the Russian invasion. Two C-17 cargo aircraft are already in route loaded with medical relief. Bush is also dispatching Secretary of State Rice to the Georgian capital o
Russia yesterday agreed to a six-point cease-fire plan brokered by the French, but Georgian officials are already accusing Russian forces of breaking it. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili says Russian troops were “rampaging and marauding” through the appropriately named city of Gori, birthplac
After five days of intense fighting, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered an end to military operations in Georgia, leaving many analysts to wonder just what Russia was trying to accomplish. Medvedev said: "The aggressor has been punished and has incurred very significant losses. Its armed
Russia’s incursions into Georgia spread from the breakaway republic of South Ossetia -- whose capital lies in ruins following a massive Russian strike, with as many as 2,000 people dead and 22,000 displaced, according to some reports -- into another secessionist province, Abkhazia, even though Geor
All eyes are on Beijing today as the Olympics kick off with the opening ceremonies. Security is extremely tight – yesterday a Muslim separatist group released a 6-minute video showing flames consuming an Olympics logo and an explosion over a venue for the competition. This same group bombed a bus i
It what’s becoming a familiar pattern, oil was down yesterday and stocks were up. Oil fell another 59 cents a barrel and the Dow rose 40 points. Investors were pleased by improved earnings by Cisco Systems and talk of a mega share buyback plan at Microsoft.
AIG lost more than $5 billion in the sec
Although widely expected, the Fed’s decision to leave short-term interest rates unchanged produced a massive rally on Wall Street – the Dow was up 331 points. The Fed’s decision was 10-1, with Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher casting his fifth dissent of the year, preferring a rate increase.
A 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck China's Sichuan province this morning, but there are no immediate reports of damage or injuries. The region is still recovering from a huge quake in May, which killed almost 70,000 people and left 5 million homeless.
Tropical Storm Edouard changed course yesterday
Louisiana and Texas are bracing for Tropical Storm Edouard, which could reach hurricane strength before making landfall tomorrow. The storm is on path to hit offshore drilling facilities, which may need to be evacuated, and oil prices are already rising in early morning trading.
It could be anothe
President Bush said yesterday that he's using his last six months in office to push new energy plans that includes electricity from coal. Bush said reliable sources of electricity must be part of a strong economy, and "there is no more reliable source of electricity than coal."
From the Charleston
The Senate adjourned last night much the same way it started – with a lot of bickering. For the first time since the 1950s, members will skip town for the August recess without either chamber having passed a single appropriations bill.
House Democrats did manage to pass a pay-equity measure that w
The Washington Times has an article today about the presidential candidates’ position on card check legislation, noting Obama is for it and McCain against. The article quotes Obama:"We're ready to play offense for organized labor. It's time we had a president who didn't choke saying the word 'unio
A moderate 5.4-magnitude earthquake shook Los Angeles yesterday, giving people a fright but not resulting in any significant damage. The epicenter was about 30 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.
Shareholder class-action filings are up, thanks largely to the subprime-mortgage and credit crisis, ac
India, Turkey, and Iraq were rocked by terrorist attacks this weekend. Thirteen people were killed and 100 injured in Istanbul by two bombs. Kurdish rebels are suspected. A wave of synchronized bombs hit the western Indian city of Ahmedabad and killed at least 49 people and wounded more than 114. I
As expected, the House passed the huge housing bill yesterday and it is headed for the Senate, where approval is likely despite a filibuster threat from some Republicans. President Bush said he will sign the bill.
Also yesterday the House approved an $8 billion infusion from the general Treasury i
The House is expected to vote today on the massive housing bill, and it could become law as early as this week. The legislation would do the following: allow the government to insure up to $300 billion in refinanced mortgages; allocate $3.9 billion to neighborhoods hit hardest by the housing crisis
Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson made the rounds of the Sunday morning talk shows yesterday reassuring the public that the banking system is sound, but to expect further difficulties ahead. Paulson said it's going to take months to work through this tough period. He also reminded the public that no
Senate Republicans want to offer an amendment expanding offshore drilling to a bill that would tighten regulation of speculation in energy futures. The Senate could consider such legislation as early as today.
There was a decent rally on Wall Street yesterday as the Dow jumped 277 points. Investor
Yesterday both houses of Congress overrode President Bush’s veto of a Medicare bill that would prevent a cut in reimbursements for physicians of Medicare patients at the expense of the Medicare Advantage program.
Speaker Pelosi says she is working on a second stimulus package and hopes to attract
After an early morning rally based on the government’s backing of Fannie and Freddie, stocks turned lower on concerns over lenders’ earnings and the capacity for the feds to help them. The Dow was down 45 points. One senior equities trader said: "We're trading purely on emotion right now. There is
All the big news this morning involves the mortgage industry. IndyMac, after being taken over by the Fed’s on Friday in one of the biggest bank failures ever, is set to reopen this morning under control of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The Office of Thrift Supervision squarely blamed S
Rising oil prices and the resulting demand for fuel efficient vehicles has led Toyota to decide to build a plant in Mississippi to build its popular Prius hybrid, the first time that model has been built outside Asia.
Why Mississippi and not, for instance, California? The San Francisco Chronicle
In an editorial today, "Kyoto's Long Goodbye", the Wall Street Journal says you wouldn’t know it from press reports, but the world is beginning to adhere to George W. Bush’s approach to climate change. The recent G-8 agreement reflects the principles that:
all major emitters must be included in an
The Bush administration has decided not to take any new steps to regulate greenhouse gas emissions before the president leaves office, despite pressure from the Supreme Court and broad accord among senior officials that new regulation is appropriate now. EPA plans to announce today that it will see
Yesterday the Senate passed legislation updating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The vote was 69-28. The bill would renew the legal backing for the federal government's warrantless surveillance program and protect from civil lawsuits telecom companies that helped the government wiretap A
In response to mounting pressure from voters to respond to record gasoline prices, some senior Democratic lawmakers Tuesday opened the door to a compromise with Republicans that would open more land on and offshore to oil and gas exploration and production. We need to get our lawmakers back to thei
The New York Times had a major article yesterday on how the business community is aggressively pushing back against restrictive state and local immigration laws in state legislatures, the federal courts, and city halls. The piece says business groups have resisted measures that would revoke the lic
In observance of the fourth of July, here are two passages from Calvin Coolidge on the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence:
It is not so much, then, for the purpose of undertaking to proclaim new theories and principles that this annual celebration is maintained, bu
It sounds like a broken record, but yesterday oil was up and the stock market was down. The Dow shed 167 points and officially entered bear territory. Meanwhile, oil has soared to a new high this morning, $145 a barrel, on fears U.S. stockpiles may have dropped more than expected and tensions surro
The Rhode Island Supreme Court overturned a landmark verdict against three former lead paint producers yesterday. In a 4-0 decision, the court said the state's lawsuit, based on a centuries-old public nuisance theory, should have been dismissed at the outset. It said that while lead paint was a pub
In a column today, The Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens marks the "20th anniversary of the mass hysteria phenomenon known as global warming." He says much of the science has since been discredited, and now it's time for political scientists, theologians, and psychiatrists to weigh in. Writes S
Gas prices hit a new high yesterday, with a national average of $4.09 a gallon. Gas prices are up 3% in the last month and almost 38% from a year ago. Oil is selling for about $140 a barrel, off $3 from its recent high.
Speaking of oil, the International Energy Agency issued a report yesterday sa
The Chamber's Bruce Josten was quoted in an article in The Washington Post yesterday on paralysis in the Senate and its failure to address big issues. Said Josten: "It's a delay-of-game Congress. This Congress isn't addressing the issues that are foremost in the public's mind such as gasoline price
On Monday, Tom Donohue, Chamber President and CEO, asked (and positively answered) the question "Can America Compete?".
Victor Davis Hanson doesn't seem so sure. In his column, “Living in America's can't-do society”, he says building things is a good indication of the relative confidence of a socie
It was a horrendous day on Wall Street yesterday, with the Dow plunging 358 points. The day got off on the wrong foot when Goldman Sachs downgraded Citigroup and GM – GM’s stock closed at a 53-year low and Citigroup’s at an all-time low. Oil shot up $5.09 a barrel on news Libya might cut production
SEC Chairman Christopher Cox is under fire in a front page story in today’s WSJ for his handling of the Bear Stearns situation. According to the story, Cox missed several conference calls concerning the bailout negotiations.
Saudi Arabia promised the world a little more oil now and possibly a lo
The Wall Street Journal has two opinion pieces on oil today. In "Drill! Drill! Drill!" Columnist Dan Henninger compares Brazil’s quick action to embrace and exploit recently discovered oil fields off its coast with how the United States has banned drilling on federal lands and offshore for decades,
The White House and key senators are close to a deal on expanding the trade adjustment assistance program, according to Sen. Max Baucus. The bill would expand assistance to service workers whose jobs have moved overseas, double annual retraining funding to $440 million, and increase a tax credit to
A major energy and tax bill couldn’t overcome a filibuster yesterday. The huge piece of legislation had something for everyone to both love and hate. Among other things, it would have: renewed for one year expiring business tax cuts; extended production tax credits for wind energy, biomass, hydropo
Many are questioning now whether predictions that the economy can avoid a recession and pick up in the second half of the year – as widely expected – will come to pass. Seventy-eight percent of Americans think the economy is in the dumpster, but a majority think things will be better by this time n
Barack Obama is moving to take control of the Democratic Party, installing one of his top field lieutenants at the DNC and decreeing a ban on special interest money from federal lobbyists and PACs for both the DNC and his campaign. However, he has decided not to remove Howard Dean at this time.
Here are a few quick updates on developments in the Chamber’s key issues areas, with two stories on immigration:
Unions: The New York Times reports that the SEIU is learning to play nicer with Wal-Mart. After waging an aggressive public relations campaign against the retail chain for three years,
The SEIU is calling on people to attend rallies on July 17 in 100 cities in 25 countries to protest tactics used by private equity firms. The union argues that buyout executives like David Rubenstein of Carlyle and Henry Kravis of Kohlberg Kravis have gamed the tax code, reaping huge gains by pilin
A small, but vocal, group of protestors have not prevented SEIU’s Andy Stern from getting his way at the union’s convention. His slate of candidates for the executive board is virtually unchallenged, and he rammed through provisions shifting further power from the local unions to the national, incl
The London Telegraph reports that the Obama camp is trying to ease Clinton out of the race by promising her a chance to pilot health care reforms through the Senate, a cabinet post if she wants, and the retiring of her campaign debts totaling $12 million.
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal notes t
Oil prices fell sharply yesterday -- $4.41 a barrel -- after the government said a decline in crude supply was due to temporary import issues, and a sign of a stronger U.S. economy that could shore up the weak dollar.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission yesterday disclosed a broad nationwide
As has often been the case lately, stocks moved though much of the session in the opposite direction of oil. Crude futures opened lower, but a forecast from Morgan Stanley that prices could climb to $150 a barrel sent oil higher. After a choppy day of trading, investors did mount a late rally, send
In a pair of rulings yesterday, the Supreme Court made it easier for both private-sector and public employees to sue their employers for retaliating against them after filing discrimination claims. In the first ruling, decided by a vote of 7-2, the Court determined that employees have the right to
The Department of Transportation reports that record-high gas prices have led to the steepest decline in driving in recorded history in March, a 4.3% drop, or 11 billion fewer miles. Records have been kept since 1942. A Wall Street Journal writer says this proves Americans are motivated to acts of
Oil turned lower yesterday, losing more than $2 a barrel to close at $131, but the high price continues to reverberate throughout the economy. Sales for the Big Three automakers, for example, could be the worst in decades this year. Ford announced yesterday that the surging cost of oil would derail
News that U.S. stockpiles unexpectedly dropped last week sent crude oil prices through the roof yesterday. The price spiked $4.19 to $133 a barrel. The price continues to rise in Asian markets this morning.
Congress' answer to rising prices is to haul oil company executives up to Capitol Hill and
Author Michael Malone delivered a speech to Santa Clara University recently, saying Americans have gone from conquering the frontier of the Old West two centuries ago to the new frontier of entrepreneurism today. Malone notes that half of all new college graduates now believe that self-employment i
The latest polls show Obama ahead by about 12 points in Oregon, and Clinton up by about 30 points in Kentucky. There is an uncertainty factor in the Oregon predictions as Oregonians are voting by mail and started casting ballots May 1. Obama is headed to Iowa this evening for a major rally to celeb
The government said Friday that it would halt deliveries to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve beginning in July and ending in December. Many lawmakers had been calling for such a move, but most experts say it will make very little difference in gas prices.
Meanwhile, President Bush said Saturday tha
by Kevin Ganster
Congress has sent President Bush a veto-proof $290 billion farm bill that includes a boost in farm subsidies and more money for food stamps. Bush still plans to veto the legislation, arguing it is fiscally irresponsible and too generous to wealthy farmers in a time of record crop p
Former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker suggested the failures in the credit markets were widespread, ranging from regulation to basic economic problems such as the rising U.S. trade gap. He endorsed the idea of the Fed becoming the principal financial regulator, although he cautioned that the central ban
Hillary Clinton got the huge win in West Virginia she wanted – thumping Obama by 41 points – but most analysts are calling it a symbolic victory. The Clinton camp is disputing that, saying Obama ran an aggressive campaign in the Mountain state, outspending her on advertising, staff, and campaign of
In his climate change speech yesterday, John McCain proposed capping carbon emissions incrementally, with the goal of returning to 1990 emission levels by the year 2020 using a cap-and-trade program. He also sets a goal that by 2050, the country will reduce carbon emissions to a level 60% below tha
The Supreme Court yesterday refused to hear an appeal by 33 major companies trying to stop $400 billion worth of lawsuits in an Alien Tort Statute case involving the apartheid era in South Africa. The Court said the case presented too many conflicts of interest to too many justices who hold stock i
The global outcry over oil prices might be causing a rift in OPEC. Libya's senior oil official thinks it might be time to increase output to try to bring down prices. Some OPEC members reportedly fear if they let prices stay too high too long it might lead to serious efforts by some countries to re
Here's an update on the presidential race … In the latest sign the mainstream media views the Democratic primary all but over, the cover of next week’s Time magazine will feature a cover photo of Barack Obama with the caption "And the winner is …" In an interview yesterday, Obama sounded more and m
The cyclone that struck Myanmar last Saturday could reach "disaster of biblical proportions" stage - a U.S. diplomat there said the death toll could rise to more than 100,000. Relief efforts continue to be frustrated by the military junta, who many are accusing of crimes against humanity for their
Well, it was a split decision last night as expected, with Obama winning in North Carolina and Clinton squeaking by in Indiana, but a few things stood out. First, Obama outperformed the polls, winning North Carolina by 14 points, and Clinton underperformed by winning Indiana by just two points. Sec
Fed Chief Ben Bernanke says Congress and the private sector need to do more to alleviate mortgage problems. Bernanke called on Congress to give the Federal Housing Administration flexibility to help distressed borrowers at risk of losing their homes. He also urged lawmakers to move ahead on legisla
Thomas Friedman had a column in The New York Times yesterday saying there is a real hunger in America for nation building – but nation-building for this country, not others. Writes Friedman:[Americans] sense something deeper — that we’re just not that strong anymore. We’re borrowing money to shore
The job numbers out on Friday were better than expected. Employers cut only 20,000 jobs in April – not the expected 75,000 – and the unemployment rate actually dropped 0.1% to 5.0%.
Warren Buffett believes the global credit crunch has eased for bankers, and the Federal Reserve probably averted mor
Sen. Harry Reid is set to unveil a proposal today to reduce gas prices, but the details are sketchy. He says to expect something new, but many think it will be a rehash of old Democratic proposals: making price gouging a federal crime; allowing the United States to sue OPEC for manipulating crude oi
A new study conducted by a German research institute published in the highly respected journal Nature concludes that parts of North America and Europe may cool naturally over the next decade, due to shifting ocean currents. Average temperatures in areas such as California and France may drop over t
Columnist Robert Samuelson in the Washington Post posited an idea today that the Chamber has been pushing for a long time – start drilling, now!
Citing America’s huge reserves of oil and natural gas Samuelson writes:It may surprise Americans to discover that the United States is the third-largest
The New York Times reports that a fight has broken out in Congress over whether drug makers and other companies should be allowed to keep patents they obtained by misrepresentation or cheating. The issue has emerged as part of legislation to overhaul patent laws. In several cases, the courts have v
Energy is once again dominating headlines, this time with dire predictions of $200 a barrel oil and $10 a gallon gasoline. Algeria's energy minister, who serves as president of OPEC, says oil prices could top $200 a barrel and there wouldn’t be a thing the cartel could do about it. He attributed sk
Afghan President Hamid Karzai narrowly escaped an assassination attempt this weekend when Taliban militants opened fire at a military ceremony in Kabul. A lawmaker, a tribal leader, and a 10-year-old child were killed, but Karzai escaped unhurt. The attack wounded more than 12 people, including a m
The Wall street Journal reports that Congress is poised to clear landmark legislation barring insurers and employers from discriminating based on a person's genetic makeup, a move many employers dislike. The Senate voted for the bill 95-0 yesterday, the House is expected to clear it next week, and
The House voted overwhelmingly yesterday to block Medicaid rules that would cut federal health-care spending on the poor and likely shift billions of dollars of costs to states. The vote was large enough to override a threatened White House veto.
Meanwhile, the Senate defeated an attempt to overtu
Hillary Clinton proclaimed "the tide is turning" following her decisive 10-point victory over Barack Obama in Pennsylvania last night. However, analysts point out she still lags in total delegates, the popular vote count, and the number of states won. The Clinton people counter that they have won m
It’s primary day in Pennsylvania. The Drudge Report claimed yesterday that there was jubilation in the Clinton camp after their internal polling showed their candidate with an 11-point lead. The Clinton campaign denied that report and said it is expecting a close race. A poll of polls shows Clinton
Things are heating up again in Iraq. After Iraqi forces took complete control of the last bastions of the cleric Moktada al-Sadr’s militia, al-Sadr delivered what he said is his last warning to stop targeting his people or he will "declare war" on the Iraqi government and allied forces. A Sadr supp
Today President Bush is expected to outline the way he thinks the U.S. can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and challenge lawmakers on climate change legislation up for debate in June. The Wall Street Journal says Bush will propose stopping growth in U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions by 2025 and signal
The Dow was down 23 points on disappointing results from Wachovia and fresh record highs for oil and gas. There was a slight uptick in retail sales – 0.2% -- but it was primarily the result of gas station sales driven by the higher oil prices. Business inventories grew again in February.
There are increasing concerns over rising food costs. The head of the IMF warned that if food prices remain high, there will be dire consequences for people in many developing countries, especially in Africa. He said, "Thousands, hundreds of thousands of people will be starving. Children will be s
President Bush made two major announcements on Iraq yesterday. First, he said he would halt all troop draw downs in July as recommended by Gen. Petraeus so he can assess whether further reductions are advisable after that. Second, he said he would reduce the length of combat tours in Iraq and Afgha
House Democratic leaders have decided not to run out the clock on the Colombia FTA, but simply to ignore it altogether. In an unprecedented move, today the House will vote to change the rules of the game, leaving a vote to the discretion of the Speaker. That announcement drew a fierce rebuke from t
Criminal defense lawyer Harvey Silverglate has an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal today on the routine criminalization of ordinary business activities and statements. The latest example, he says, is the investigation into statements made by Bear Stearns executives that they had sufficient capital
There were no major surprises or fireworks during Gen. Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker’s testimony yesterday. As expected, Petraeus cited "fragile and reversible" gains in security in Iraq, while Crocker said there has also been political progress, but not as much as he would like. Petraeus said th
Testimony by Gen. Petraeus and continued fighting in Basra are thrusting Iraq back onto the national political stage. Petraeus is expected to recommend a pause in the withdrawal of troops from Iraq after July, when the troop levels will be lowered to roughly the number deployed before the “surge.”
The job numbers out Friday morning were not good – the economy lost 80,000 jobs in March. Year-to-date, 232,000 jobs have been lost. Some economists are calling these numbers an unmistakable and irrefutable sign we are in a recession; others say the numbers will have to get a lot worse than this to
Speaker Pelosi is warning the White House not to send the U.S.-Colombia FTA to Congress next week as planned, saying it’s too early and it doesn’t have enough support to pass.
A federal appeals court tossed out an $800 billion class-action lawsuit against tobacco companies yesterday brought by smok
The Dow fell 49 points yesterday in subdued trading. A pessimistic assessment of the economy from Ben Bernanke blunted an early morning rally. In testimony before Congress, Bernanke acknowledged a recession is possible and that he didn’t think the economy would grow at all – and might even contract
Falling oil prices led to a small rally on Wall Street yesterday – the Dow was up 46 points. The gain capped a brutal quarter for the markets, which were down 7.8%.
On the "vast socialist enterprise" front, farmers are expected to plant less corn this year, according to the Department of Agricultu
Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson today will release his long-awaited blueprint for reform of financial regulations. According to press reports, the document will call for the following: granting the Federal Reserve authority to look at the financial status of any institution that could affect market
The Washington Post reports that U.S. forces have now taken the lead in the offensive against Shi’ite militias in Basra as Iraqi army and police units appeared to be largely holding to the outskirts of the area. The Mahdi Army of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, a Shiite rival of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri
Secretary Paulson’s speech to the U.S. Chamber yesterday made all sorts of news. The media focused on two items from his speech: his call for the Federal Reserve to oversee investment banks as well as commercial banks and the administration’s soon-to-be released blueprint for reforming regulations
In an effort to reassert control over Basra, which is ruled primarily by Shi’ite militias, the Iraqi army has launched a major assault on the city. In what could be a defining battle, Prime Minister Maliki has flown to the area to personally direct the operation. The assault, which is only getting
A record plunge in prices of existing homes resulted in a 2.9% increase in home sales in February, although year-over-year sales were down almost 24%. The median price of a home sold during the month fell 8.2%, the largest year-over-year price drop on record.
A strengthening dollar and a weak econ
Victor David Hanson had a piece on RealClearPolitics in which he examines a recent statement made by France's foreign minister, who claimed "the magic is over" for the United States. Hanson says it's never been a great idea to rely on the assessments of French politicians, but the daily news coming
The New York Times had a major story yesterday examining the split between the Bush administration and congressional Democrats over how to strengthen oversight of financial institutions. Both seem to agree that the current system is a tangled web of federal and state regulators, which failed to dea
Up 420 points on Tuesday, down 293 points on Wednesday, up to 261 points yesterday – the rollercoaster ride on Wall Street continues. For the week, though, the Dow was up 3.4%. [Markets are closed today for Good Friday.] Oil prices continued their gradual fall and gold prices continued their plunge
Nothing small seems to happen on Wall Street these days. After rallying 420 points Tuesday, the market gave back most of its gains yesterday, shedding 293 points. Plunging oil and gold prices did little to relieve inflationary worries and instead sparked a big selloff in oil services and metal and
There was a major rally on Wall Street yesterday following a three-quarters-point cut in interest rates by the Fed. The Dow was up 420 points, or 3.5%, to almost 12,400. Financial stocks led the way, with better-than-expected earnings results from Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers.
The Fed's vote
After dire predictions of a massive selloff early in the day, the Dow managed to reverse an initial 200-point decline to finish up 21 points. The other indexes fell. The dollar continued its collapse against other major currencies, plunging to a 13-year low versus the yen and another all-time low a
Financial markets worldwide are roiling over some stunning moves this weekend in U.S. markets. Yesterday, JPMorgan Chase agreed to buy struggling investment bank Bear Stearns for the fire sale-price of just $2 a share, with $30 billion in funding from the Fed. (The new firm will be called "Bear Cha
Senate Democrats yesterday pushed through a plan to selectively preserve $340 billion of President Bush's tax cuts through 2013. The package would extend the 10% tax bracket, the $1,000 per child tax credit, marriage penalty relief, and various tax cuts for people serving in the military and Nation
Saying he was “deeply sorry” he didn’t live up to what was expected of him, Eliot Spitzer resigned as governor of New York yesterday effective Monday. He will be succeeded by Lt. Gov. Jim Paterson, a blind African-American who is well-liked and respected by both sides of the aisle. Spitzer is still
Let’s start with money … There was a huge rally on Wall Street yesterday, with the Dow soaring 416 points, it’s best one day gain in 5 1/2 years. Investors welcomed news that the Fed will lend up to $200 billion to banks and lenders. What’s different about this initiative is that it uses the Fed’s
In their latest “anything she can I do we can better” salvo, no sooner had Hillary Clinton proudly announced she had raised a record $35 million in February, than the Obama camp crowed that they had raised $50 million. Meanwhile, most major polls now show Obama with a slight, but statistically sig
Obama and McCain appear to be skipping the rest of the primary season and moving right to the general election as they tangled over Iraq yesterday. McCain seized on remarks made by Obama in his debate with Hillary Clinton Tuesday night in which he said he would consider sending troops back into Ira
You know the one. The web publication Daily Tech reports that not only has there been vast anecdotal evidence of global cooling in the last year, but now there is hard evidence.
First the anecdotal evidence: over the past year, China has had its coldest winter in 100 years; Baghdad has seen its fi
- Our post from last week "About Those Trial Lawyers" appeared today in the Washington Examiner. Comment here.
Two major polls out last night gave wildly divergent reads on the race between Obama and Clinton. A CBS News/New York Times poll shows Obama opening up a 16-point lead nationally over Cli
The Wall Street Journal has an editorial today about the growing nexus between state attorneys general and private lawyers. It discusses a bill recently passed by the Mississippi Senate requiring Mississippi AG James Hood to pursue competitive bidding before signing contracts of more than $500,000
Hillary Clinton, if not pulling out all the stops, pulled out all of her emotions this weekend, running the gambit from anger to contrition to sarcasm. Clinton angrily accused Barack Obama of distributing false materials and employing tactics “straight out of Karl Rove’s playbook.” Clinton is ups
Most analysts agree Hillary Clinton did nothing to change the dynamic of the presidential race last night at the debate in Austin, Texas, where the candidates practically had to be begged to disagree with each other. Clinton’s sharpest – and only – attack line involved Obama’s using language from D
McCain, Clinton, and the economy all got some bad news yesterday …
John McCain is meeting with reporters today in Ohio to respond to an online story in The New York Times that says McCain’s aides were concerned in 2000 that McCain had become romantically involved with telecommunications lobbyist Vi
The Supreme Court yesterday agreed to hear a case involving a dispute over a labor union's use of fees paid by nonunion employees to finance the labor organization's court battles in other states. Twenty state workers in Maine are challenging the expenditure by the labor union that bargains on thei
In a letter published in a state-run paper this morning, Fidel Castro announced his resignation as president and commander-in-chief of Cuba. His brother Raul is expected to be elected to the position within days.
There will also be a change in power in Pakistan’s parliament. Pakistan's ruling part
by Kevin Ganster
Yesterday, Michael Bloomberg ridiculed the recently passed stimulus package, saying rebate checks were “like giving a drink to an alcoholic." He also said the United States has a “balance sheet that's starting to look more and more like a third-world country." He criticized preside
Trailing in delegates, votes cast, and states won, Hillary Clinton is cranking up her attack machine and launching new broadsides against Barack Obama. Clinton is drawing deeper distinctions between herself and her opponent, saying “There's a big difference between us -- speeches versus solutions,
The race for the Democratic presidential nomination is starting to resemble that old song “Something’s Gotta Give” – the irresistible force (Obama) meeting the immovable object (Clinton). Clinton appears to have decided to contest the Wisconsin primary next week, making a decent sized ad buy and sp
by Kevin Ganster
Leon Wieseltier, editor of The New Republic magazine, has a piece saying Obama’s youthful, hopeful, “yes we can” message is not suitable to today’s dark world.“One of the striking features of Obama's victory speeches is the absence from these exultations of any lasting allusion to
Obama cleaned Hillary’s clock in the Potomac Primaries yesterday, racking up huge margins, extending his winning streak to eight consecutive contests, and taking a slight but undisputed lead in the overall delegate count. Obama beat Clinton by 51 points in the District, 29 points in Virginia, and 2
It was a very good weekend for Barack Obama, who swept three primaries on Saturday – Washington state, Nebraska, and Louisiana – won the Maine caucus yesterday, and even picked up a Grammy last night for best spoken word album. Not only did he win, but he won big in most states, often by more than
by Kevin Ganster
Some are arguing the biggest beneficiary of Romney’s departure from the race won’t be John McCain, but Barak Obama. They say since there won’t be a real contest on the Republican side, Obama can pick up all the independents that might have voted for McCain in open primaries.
by Kevin Ganster
Super Tuesday is now being dubbed “Super Stalemate” for the closeness of the vote on the Democratic side. The final nationwide vote tallies for Clinton and Obama were unbelievably close – they were separated by only 0.4%. In the town of Syracuse, New York, they tied at 6,001 a piec
John McCain is declaring himself the frontrunner in the Republican race after winning nine states last night – including the crown jewels of New York and California – and amassing a big lead in delegates, 615 to 268 for Romney. 1,191 delegates are needed for the nomination. Romney won victories in
K Street columnist Jeffrey Birnbaum was online to discuss lobbying and politics yesterday and was asked this question:District of Columbia: In your view, what is the most powerful part of the business lobby in Washington?
Jeffrey Birnbaum: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has the biggest wallet and th
While the financial news has been pretty bleak lately, Bloomberg columnist Kevin Hassett refutes the contention that America’s economy is on a long downward slope. In terms of world gross domestic product, he says, the U.S. has held steady at 20% for decades. The value of U.S. imports in 2006 was r
It’s Super Tuesday, and Obama and Clinton are still stuck in a dead heat. The conventional wisdom is that Obama has momentum and will do very well, but his folks are downplaying expectations. They say they fully expect Clinton to win more states and more delegates and would like to just stay within
The N.Y. Giants win the Super Bowl. In a related shocker, we link to the N.Y. Post.
The Super Bowl may be over, but Super Tuesday has just begun! Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are running neck-and-neck in California, New Jersey, and Missouri, and Obama appears to be closing in on Clin
There was a marked change in tone last night at the Democratic debate between Clinton and Obama in California. The candidates put the kid gloves back on and repeatedly complimented each other and agreed with the other’s position. CNN’s Bill Schneider summed it up this way: Democrats are happy with
Lots of action on the political front yesterday … John Edwards dropped out of the Democratic race after getting pledges from Obama and Clinton that their campaigns and administrations would focus on poverty. Rudy also dropped out later in the day, endorsing McCain. Schwarzenegger is expected to do
There weren’t too many surprises in President Bush’s State of the Union address last night. As expected, he focused on the economic stimulus package, clamping down on earmarks, the war on terrorism, and other unfinished business. One of the more significant new proposals was a $300 million initiati
Weekend news coverage was dominated by Obama’s rout of Hillary Clinton in the South Carolina Democratic primary. Obama defeated Clinton 55% to 27%. Obama received about 80% of the black vote and about one-quarter of the white vote. He got nearly 50% of the white vote for those under 25.
- The White House and Congress have reportedly reached a deal on a stimulus package that includes tax rebates, tax breaks for businesses, and help for homeowners facing foreclosure. Those who earn up to $75,000 individually or up to $150,000 as a couple will be eligible for the payments -- $600 to
The Fed’s surprise three-quarters point cut in the federal funds rate and discount rate appeared to prevent a major calamity on Wall Street yesterday. After falling more than 450 points within two minutes of opening, the Dow clawed back to a more modest loss of 128 points.
President Bush said yest
- Markets 'round the world stand hand in hand, and the shock of adjustment runs the whole circle 'round. Wall Street is bracing for another brutal day as stocks are expected to take another beating after the opening bell in the wake of a massive global selloff yesterday. Britain's market slumped
A triple whammy of bad news made for a brutal day on Wall Street yesterday, as the Dow plummeted 307 points.
Investors reacted adversely to losses at Merrill Lynch,
new home construction falling to its lowest point since 1991,
and a bleak economic outlook from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.
The Bush administration won't back down on pursuing new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program despite a new report from the Government Accounting Office questioning their usefulness. The administration has unsuccessfully lobbied for the U.N. Security Council to pass a third Iran sanctions
In Michigan last night, former Massachusetts Governor, and Michigan favorite son, Mitt Romney, captured gold for the second time in the Republican presidential race (he won Wyoming two weeks ago), handily beating John McCain 39% to 30%. Huckabee finished a distant third with 16%.
On the Democratic
- The National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Board is urging the government to raise federal gasoline taxes by as much as 40 cents per gallon over five years to ease traffic congestion and repair infrastructure. Under the recommendation, the current tax would be increased annually for f
- The New York Times has an article today saying there’s increasing evidence that consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of the economy, is slowing, perhaps dramatically. The Dow fell 247 points on Friday on reports of weak retail and auto sales and continued trouble in the credit markets. The W
Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said the administration will not give up testing to evaluate schools as part of the No Child Left Behind law, even if that means the law will not be renewed this year.
Remarks from Ben Bernanke, widely interpreted to mean that the Fed will cut interest rates
Top economists from Goldman and Merrill Lynch say a recession is likely already here. The tipping point for both economists was the recent lackluster jobs report. A constant barrage of recession predictions should do wonders for consumer confidence.
The insurance industry is said to be bracing fo
- The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that the White House is considering an economic stimulus package that would give tax rebates for individuals to encourage spending and tax breaks for businesses to encourage investment. Specifically, the administration is considering a $500 rebate for
Busy day at the Chamber, the State of American Business Report is out, and the event is going on right now (webcast here). Tom Donohue's thoughts on America at a Crossroads can be read below.
A few other items of interest.
- Mark Perry examines a Treasury research paper and determines that "Worker
- Teddy Kennedy takes stock of No Child Left Behind on its sixth anniversary. Kennedy says the results of the law are mixed. He praises the emphasis on monitoring achievement, and cites progress in reading and math as measured by the National Assessment of Education Progress. However, he faults the
Huckabee and Obama won larger than expected victories in Iowa last night – Huckabee fueled by a large turnout of evangelicals and Obama powered by the youth vote and strength among women. Obama captured 38% of the vote, Edwards finished second with 30%, followed by Hillary in third with 29%. Dodd a
Today voters finally cast ballots for the first time in what has already been a long presidential contest. The very latest polls show any of the top three Democrats could win, but the momentum seems to be behind Obama. On the Republican side, either Romney or Huckabee will emerge the winner, with o
IPOs around the world raised a record amount of cash for the second year in a row, despite the credit crisis in the United States. There were 1,300 deals in 2007 that raised $291 billion – that’s about 200 more deals than in 2006 and an additional $50 billion. Europe ($100 billion/357 deals) retain