August 10, 2012

Posted by orrinj at 11:36 PM


Romney Prepares to Pick Ryan (STEPHEN F. HAYES AND WILLIAM KRISTOL, 8/10/12, Weekly Standard)

THE WEEKLY STANDARD has learned that the Romney campaign has begun to prepare a vigorous effort in support of Paul Ryan if he is selected as Mitt Romney's vice presidential pick--something now likely to happen soon. For example, GOP officials tell THE WEEKLY STANDARD that Wisconsin governor Scott Walker is among a group of Republicans who has been asked to be ready, in terms of his schedule and other practical preparations, to make the case publicly for a Romney-Ryan ticket as early as Saturday. 

...but he can make the reformist argument that Mitt doesn't.

Posted by orrinj at 5:41 AM


How the Treasury is Turning a Profit on TARP : The Treasury is deploying new tactics to make money off TARP's massive bank bailout. Alex Klein reports on how you stand to profit from two lucrative weeks of financial payback. (Alex Klein, 8/10/12, Daily Beast)

July 27, the day that auction closed, rendered a windfall. Shares of Pacific City Financial, Premier Financial Bancorp, CBS Bancorp, Diamond Bancorp, Commonwealth Bancshares, First Western Financial, Market Street Bancshares, Park Bancorporation, Marquette National, Trinity Capital, First Community Financial Partners, and Fidelity went for a total of about $205.7 million (including repurchases), while making the Treasury an extra $31.47 million in warrants.

And some smaller firms have been able to pay back the CPP funds the old-fashioned way. On July 25, Fremont Bancorporation bought back $35 million in shares, plus $1.75 million in subordinated granted to the government instead of warrants. On August 1, VIST Financial Corp of Wyomissing, PA, paid back $25 million, with the government making an additional $1.2 million on its warrants.

The Treasury has even been making billions back from notorious Wall Street bad boy AIG.
In addition to profits through the CPP, money has been flowing in from TARP's public-private investment program (PPIP). In the PPIP, the government made loans to--and made investments in--private-sector investment vehicles that went out and bought up shady mortgages and toxic securities. The theory? As the assets purchased recovered their value and threw off interest payments, the government would get its money back. That capital has been trickling back into government coffers as well.

And on July 31, Blackrock PPIF LP--a fund backed by the world's largest asset manager--paid back $175 million that it had borrowed from the government through the PPIP program. RLJ Western paid back $618.75 million on the same day, and AllianceBernstein kicked in another $450 million on July 27.

The Treasury has even been making billions back from notorious Wall Street bad boy AIG. For example, on Aug. 3 and Aug. 6, the government sold AIG about 164 million of its own shares for a cool $5.75 billion.

All told, this rash of repayments and stock sales has brought in nearly $7.3 billion to federal coffers.

Posted by orrinj at 4:51 AM


Immigrants and 'Comparative Advantage' : They help vitalize the American economy and maintain our traditions of hard work and patriotism. (BEN J. WATTENBERG, 8/09/12, WSJ)

Modern nations that have expanding domestic markets are more likely to be economically healthy. For the most part, European nations do not have that advantage, and it hurts them.

When birth and fertility rates are low, over the decades population shrinks, sometimes rapidly in places such as in Italy, Germany, Spain and Greece. In Japan and South Korea, birth and fertility rates are also perilously low. The result: All of their socialized pension plans and programs to provide health care for the aged are dreadfully underfunded. The only serious remedies are higher deficits, reduced benefits or higher taxes--none of them pleasant.

In the U.S., on the other hand, total fertility rates are higher and population continues to grow. While the numbers are down somewhat due to the recession, immigration remains relatively high--an estimated 1.1 million, legal and illegal, in 2010, according to the Census Bureau. This immigration will lead the country on a path of healthy long-term population growth from (roughly) 300 million people in 2000, up to 400 million in 2050 and to half a billion in 2100. This is good news for the growth of the domestic market.

Moreover, America's immigrant population (median age of roughly 29) is younger than that of the native-born (about a decade older). That means they will have many more years of working life, paying into and helping support our old-age pension and health-care systems for years before they take out a dime.

Survey after survey shows that Americans are the most patriotic people on the planet, and that immigrants to the U.S. are among the most patriotic of all Americans

Posted by orrinj at 4:48 AM


Ignore the prophets of doom - this is a golden age for the world : Despite what politicians say, most people are richer and freer than they have ever been (Fraser Nelson, 09 Aug 2012, The Telegraph)

The so-called Gini index, the standard measure of global inequality, fell steadily during the boom years and has continued to decline during the crash. And little wonder, at a time when the Indian economy is literally growing faster in a week than Britain does in a year. The economic aid that Britain gives to India is now the same size as India's own international aid budget.
India has hideous problems, as does the rest of the world. But each year, even during the crash, the UN Human Development Index has hit new records. We are living in an era where the world's problems are being outweighed by its breakthroughs.

As countries grow richer, they grow healthier. Life expectancy keeps setting new records, for both the rich and the poor world, as developments in medicine advance rapidly. Malaria deaths peaked in 2004 and even Aids deaths peaked five years ago. Anthony Fauci, America's leading authority on the disease, said last month that there could be an "Aids-free generation" in the reasonable future. "We have no excuse, scientifically, to say we cannot do it," he told an Aids conference in Washington. Such a statement would have been unimaginable just a decade ago. Aids remains the world's most lethal contagious disease, responsible for almost two million deaths each year. But medicine is catching up with it. We can now dare to believe that Aids will go the way of smallpox.

A healthier world means a rising population. This, in turn, leads to neo-Malthusians worrying about how the planet won't have enough resources for all of us - but history proves them wrong. The great British economist, William Stanley Jevons, warned in 1865 that the economy was on the brink of collapse because the coal would run out. Oil was used instead, and everything changed. In the last five years a new energy source, shale gas, has halved American electricity prices. The thousands of British wind turbines may be rendered redundant by shale deposits discovered in Lancashire, which could yet turn Blackpool into the Dallas of England.

And might the consumption of all this newly mined fossil fuel doom us anyway, via global warming? The truth is that the world's fossil-fuel consumption is falling, mainly due to more efficient cars and factories. Nor is warming synonymous with doom. Scour the raw data of the Government's climate change "risk assessment" (as I did) and you find that a warmer Britain will mean, on average, 11,000 fewer deaths each year by 2050 because fewer pensioners will die from the cold. But do not expect to find this point made in any official report. The Environment Department is there not to give impartial advice, but to scare us.
Enhanced by Zemanta