U.S. Lawmakers Reach Accord on New Finance Rules

Sen. Christopher Dodd, left, and Sen. Richard Shelby.

By DAMIAN PALETTA

WASHINGTON—After more than 20 hours of continuous wrangling, congressional Democrats and White House officials reached agreement on the final shape of legislation that would transform financial regulation, avoiding last-minute defections among New York lawmakers that had threatened to upend the bill.
Reshaping the Rules of Wall Street

After 20 hours of wrangling, Congressional Democrats and White House officials agreed on the final shape of legislation to transform financial regulation and make dramatic changes to the industry.

After months of uncertainty about how the U.S. would craft new rules, the agreement offers the clearest picture since the financial crisis of how markets and the government will interact for decades to come. The common thread: large financial companies are facing a tougher leash.

The bill is expected to have enough support to become law. Both chambers plan to vote next week. The margin in the House and Senate will likely be close because most Republicans are expected to oppose the measure.

If the bill passes, President Barack Obama is expected to sign the package into law by July 4. Thursday’s agreement also gives the president leverage going into a weekend summit of world leaders in Canada, where he will prod other nations to rewrite their rules.

“This is about as important as it gets, because it deals with every single aspect of our lives,” said Sen. Christopher Dodd (D., Conn.), a chief architect of the compromise.

In two important ways, the agreement is tougher on the banking industry than officials in the Treasury Department anticipated when they first drafted their version of the bill 12 months ago.

Lawmakers agreed to a provision known as the “Volcker” rule, named after former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, which prohibits banks from making risky bets with their own funds. To win support from Sen. Scott Brown (R., Mass.), Democrats agreed to allow financial companies to make limited investments in areas such as hedge funds and private-equity funds.

The move could require some big banks to spin off divisions, known as proprietary-trading desks, which make bets with the firms’ money.

The bill also includes a provision, authored by Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D., Ark), which would limit the ability of federally insured banks to trade derivatives. This provision almost derailed the bill following vehement objections from New York Democrats. Ms. Lincoln worked out a deal in the early hours of Friday morning that would allow banks to trade interest-rate swaps, certain credit derivatives and others—in other words the kind of standard safeguards a bank would take to hedge its own risk.

Banks, however, would have to set up separately capitalized affiliates to trade derivatives in areas lawmakers perceived as riskier, including metals, energy swaps, and agriculture commodities, among other things.

A panel of 43 lawmakers spent two weeks reconciling differences between a bill that passed the House in December and the Senate in May. They concluded their negotiations along party lines at a little after 5 a.m. ET in a Capitol Hill conference room marked by tension, levity and exhaustion. Senior administration officials, including Treasury Department Deputy Secretary Neal Wolin, arrived late in the afternoon to try and quell the feud between the New York delegation and Ms. Lincoln.

Major components of the bill, including the derivatives provisions, were negotiated in the hallway of the Dirksen Senate Office Building as the clock neared midnight. At one point, after hearing of an offer from Senate Democrats, Rep. Melissa Bean (D., Ill.) exclaimed: “Are you flipping kidding me? Are you flipping kidding me?”

Democrats hailed the agreement as a tool to prevent the kind of taxpayer-funded bailouts that stabilized the economy in 2008 but left divisive scars. Many Republicans said the bill could have unintended consequences, crimping financial markets and access to credit.

“My guess is there are three unintended consequences on every page of this bill,” Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R., Texas) said of the nearly 2,000-page bill.

The deal comes as the banking industry is still struggling to regain its footing. Hundreds of banks have been dragged down by bad loans and investments. The violent restructuring of the U.S. banking sector two years ago has left just a few companies controlling a vast amount of the deposits, assets and financial plumbing of the country.

Government-controlled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac remain a multibillion dollar drain on the U.S. Treasury, and largely untouched by this proposal. And the banking sector in parts of Europe remains fragile.

The legislation would redraw how money flows through the U.S. economy, from the way people borrow money to the way banks structure complicated products like derivatives. It could touch every person who has a bank account or uses a credit card.

It would erect a new consumer-protection regulator within the Federal Reserve, give the government new powers to break up failing companies and assign a council of regulators to monitor risks to the financial system. It would also set up strict new rules on big banks, limiting their risk and increasing the costs.

The legislation gives the Securities and Exchange Commission new powers to regulate Wall Street and monitor hedge funds, increasing the agency’s access to funding. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission would also have new powers under the bill, which would try and force most derivatives to face more scrutiny from regulators and other market participants.

To pay for some of the new government programs, the bill would allow the government to charge fees to large banks and hedge funds to raise up to $19 billion spread over five years. The assessment is designed to eventually pay down a part of the national debt.

The broad contours had been set for weeks and mostly mirror a proposal the White House has pushed since last summer. But the last few days represented a mad dash of political maneuvering to iron out final details.

Negotiations went into Friday morning, with New York Democrats and White House officials meeting to address the bill’s potential impact on New York, which relies on the financial industry for employment and tax revenue.

To win broader support, Democrats softened the bill’s impact on community banks, auto dealers, and small payday lenders and check cashers.

From the beginning, lawmakers opted against a dramatic reshaping of the country’s financial architecture. Instead, they moved to create new layers of regulation to prevent companies from taking on too much risk.

For example, regulators decided not to order a sweeping consolidation of the regulatory agencies policing finance. They also decided not to bust up large financial companies, despite pressure from liberal groups.

But they did create a process for seizing and dismantling faltering companies, tools the government lacked in 2008 during the seemingly chaotic events surrounding Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, and American International Group Inc.

Democrats are banking on stronger government regulators to constrain risk in the financial system and prevent a future banking crisis—or at least blunt its impact.

Stock Markets and BP

First I want to say I am proud to be part of the U.S.Constitutional Free Press they are doing a great job keeping the American people informed about anything that the are not getting fom other media sources keep up the great work everyone

News Free Press Of Kooskia Idaho Logo 2 June 17,2010 

Hello Everyone,

                               First I want to say I am proud to be part of the The U.S. Constittional Free Press, they are doing a great job. Keeping the American people informed about anything that they are not getting from other media sources. Keep up the great work everyone.

                               Lets start with BP British Petroluim it has come out in the last couple of days, that a new estimated amount of oil being poured into the waters of the Gulf. They are saying 30 to 60 thousand Gallons a day is spilling in the ocean,  which equels making an Exxon Valdes every 5 days. We are now on day 59 of this massive leak of oil,   

                               BP is an 80 Billion dollar company, and this spill could exceed the value of the company. In Europe they are saying that BP could have to file for Bankruptcy before the well is capped.  just this week they are saying that BP could spend 81 Billion dollars to just clean up this oil in the Gulf. Thats not even touching on the amount of money that will make the people of the affected area of the Gulf made whole. The Macondo well is spilling about 2.50 Million Gallons per day into the Gulf.  

                            Today it came out the President of the USA gave Mr George Soro’s own oil company the one he owns 80 percent of in Brazil 2 Million Dollars, Mr Soro’s has 80 Billion dollars in an oil company so whats the 2 Million Dollars for well its for drilling in the Deep waters of of Brazil for oil.   Mr Soro’s has been one of President Obama’s advisors on this oil spill.   

                              This week an new Fund was started for the people affected by the oil spill in the Gulf, and its being headed up by Kenneth Feinberg. Yes the same Gentleman that headed up the 911 fund, money was miss handled Mr Obama chose Mr Feinberg he said for his fine work with 911 fund. more to come about BP .

                               Now onto Information about the stock Market this last 2 weeks. This week California that they have a zero cash flow, just by saying that they are saying they are broke. What will happen next is that we have to bail them out, so here is what I say to CA inadvance  of their request for a loan. Tighten your wallets, pay off your bills, use the tenth Admendment of the state Constitution. Alot of the state spending is their fault, the rest of it is the federal Governments Fault. So CA get some guts to tell the Federal Government to keep their Mandates, next go through all of your monthy bills, pick all the important ones pay for those. And get rid of all of the waste and fruad and abbuse. There are at least 16 other states in the same boat, and that boat is about to sink into an never ending sea of constant. Debt I say that you need a realistic  Budget. There are 22 other states that are in so bad a shape that they will be cutting back on retirement benifits for their state employees, not suprised that Idaho is one of those 22 States in Dire straits.

                           There is someone that could teach you how to stay within your means. I have no debt other then my land, which will be paid of in about the next 1 year and half. My house is not finished, why becuase I have not gotten a loan to pay for the supplies to finish it but it is getting done.

                                        this next couple of weeks I will finaly have a closet, to put clothes in. I have been living out of a suitcase for the 12 years, I have lived here. Now before all of you yell at my husband, for me not having closets. Dave is a hard working man, he does a lot of honey do’s arround here. He tried to get the closets done while I was on my Mothersday vacation. I just got back before they were done lol. Anyways back to what I was saying about being Debt free. We dont spend money we dont have. We save up for everything we want, I am putting a business together piece by piece. I save up for awhile spend some on the things I need for my business, then I save up some more. I am not like the Government can’t borrow money, or print my own money. So I have to live within my means.  I feel its way past the time the  States get there act together.

                               This week Greece has been downgraded to BA1 statice which is junk Bond statice , and next week france will have their rating lowered to AA statice from AAA the rating.  Are done by Moody’s and this week I found out whom owns most of Moody’s.  This week I Found out that Moody’s is owned by Halliburtan and they are owned by Warren Buffett owns stock in both Halliburtan and Moody’s. well I will end this blog for today and will write my next blog on http://NewsFreePress.wordpress.com I should have a blog there in about 24 hours from now have a great day.

                             Tonight I will co host News Free Kooskia Idaho at this link http://www.blogtalkradio.com/News-Free-Kooskia-ID   tonights show airs at 9pm Pacific and 10pm Mountain and 11pm Central and 12am Eastern time zones Tonight is our Thrsday night Ham Radio show with Dave Brainerd wb6dhw

Obama Risks a Domestic Military Intervention

Here is the full text of John L. Perry’s column on Newsmax which suggests that a military coup to “resolve the Obama problem” is becoming more possible and is not “unrealistic.” Perry also writes that a coup, while not “ideal,” may be preferable to “Obama’s radical ideal” — and would “restore and defend the Constitution.” Newsmax has since removed the column from its website.

Obama Risks a Domestic Military Intervention

By: John L. Perry

There is a remote, although gaining, possibility America’s military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the “Obama problem.” Don’t dismiss it as unrealistic.

America isn’t the Third World. If a military coup does occur here it will be civilized. That it has never happened doesn’t mean it wont. Describing what may be afoot is not to advocate it. So, view the following through military eyes:

# Officers swear to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Unlike enlisted personnel, they do not swear to “obey the orders of the president of the United States.”

# Top military officers can see the Constitution they are sworn to defend being trampled as American institutions and enterprises are nationalized.

# They can see that Americans are increasingly alarmed that this nation, under President Barack Obama, may not even be recognizable as America by the 2012 election, in which he will surely seek continuation in office.

# They can see that the economy — ravaged by deficits, taxes, unemployment, and impending inflation — is financially reliant on foreign lender governments.

# They can see this president waging undeclared war on the intelligence community, without whose rigorous and independent functions the armed services are rendered blind in an ever-more hostile world overseas and at home.

# They can see the dismantling of defenses against missiles targeted at this nation by avowed enemies, even as America’s troop strength is allowed to sag.

# They can see the horror of major warfare erupting simultaneously in two, and possibly three, far-flung theaters before America can react in time.

# They can see the nation’s safety and their own military establishments and honor placed in jeopardy as never before.

So, if you are one of those observant military professionals, what do you do?

Wait until this president bungles into losing the war in Afghanistan, and Pakistan’s arsenal of nuclear bombs falls into the hands of militant Islam?

Wait until Israel is forced to launch air strikes on Iran’s nuclear-bomb plants, and the Middle East explodes, destabilizing or subjugating the Free World?

What happens if the generals Obama sent to win the Afghan war are told by this president (who now says, “I’m not interested in victory”) that they will be denied troops they must have to win? Do they follow orders they cannot carry out, consistent with their oath of duty? Do they resign en masse?

Or do they soldier on, hoping the 2010 congressional elections will reverse the situation? Do they dare gamble the national survival on such political whims?

Anyone who imagines that those thoughts are not weighing heavily on the intellect and conscience of America’s military leadership is lost in a fool’s fog.

Will the day come when patriotic general and flag officers sit down with the president, or with those who control him, and work out the national equivalent of a “family intervention,” with some form of limited, shared responsibility?

Imagine a bloodless coup to restore and defend the Constitution through an interim administration that would do the serious business of governing and defending the nation. Skilled, military-trained, nation-builders would replace accountability-challenged, radical-left commissars. Having bonded with his twin teleprompters, the president would be detailed for ceremonial speech-making.

Military intervention is what Obama’s exponentially accelerating agenda for “fundamental change” toward a Marxist state is inviting upon America. A coup is not an ideal option, but Obama’s radical ideal is not acceptable or reversible.

Unthinkable? Then think up an alternative, non-violent solution to the Obama problem. Just don’t shrug and say, “We can always worry about that later.”

In the 2008 election, that was the wistful, self-indulgent, indifferent reliance on abnegation of personal responsibility that has sunk the nation into this morass.

America: Going Broke

(Reuters) – The U.S. debt will top $13.6 trillion this year and climb to an estimated $19.6 trillion by 2015, according to a Treasury Department report to Congress.

The report that was sent to lawmakers Friday night with no fanfare said the ratio of debt to the gross domestic product would rise to 102 percent by 2015 from 93 percent this year.

“The president’s economic experts say a 1 percent increase in GDP can create almost 1 million jobs, and that 1 percent is what experts think we are losing because of the debt’s massive drag on our economy,” said Republican Representative Dave Camp, who publicized the report.

He was referring to recent testimony by University of Maryland Professor Carmen Reinhart to the bipartisan fiscal commission, which was created by President Barack Obama to recommend ways to reduce the deficit, which said debt topping 90 percent of GDP could slow economic growth.

The U.S. debt has grown rapidly with the economic downturn and government spending for the Wall Street bailout, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the economic stimulus. The rising debt is contributing to voter unrest ahead of the November congressional elections in which Republicans hope to regain control of Congress.

The total U.S. debt includes obligations to the Social Security retirement program and other government trust funds. The amount of debt held by investors, which include China and other countries as well as individuals and pension funds, will rise to an estimated $9.1 trillion this year from $7.5 trillion last year.

By 2015 the net public debt will rise to an estimated $14 trillion, with a ratio to GDP of 73 percent, the Treasury report said. (Reporting by Donna Smith; Editing by Kenneth Barry)

Tarp Jr.

by Brian Darling

Remember all of those bold statements that the so called “Troubled Assets Relief Program” (TARP), the Bailout of Wall Street Bill, was a one time deal and our federal government should and will never do it again. Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner testified in January of this year before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform:

Many Americans look at what happened with AIG, and the rest of the financial rescue, and simply ask: Why was it necessary? Why was it fair for the government to take taxpayer money and put it into an institution that had mismanaged itself to the edge of collapse? The answer is that it was not fair, and it was not something our government should ever have to do. But those Americans, those families and business owners who played by the rules and played no role in giving rise to this recession, should understand that if the government had failed to act, that failure would have unleashed substantially greater damage upon them.

If TARP “was not fair” and not “something our government should ever have to do,” then why is Congress trying to impose the TARP model on small business? Congress will consider legislation this week to establish TARP, Jr. for small businesses to be administered and run by none other than Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner. The House is considering H.R. 5297, the Small Business Lending Fund Act that provides “temporary authority to the Secretary of the Treasury to make capital investments to eligible institutions in order to increase the availability of credit for small businesses.”

The legislation creates a federally run new bureaucracy called the “Small Business Lending Fund. ” To qualify a financial institution has to have less than $10 billion in assets and the new creation would have up to $30 billion in new investment authority. This allegedly temporary program is set up “without further appropriation of fiscal year limitation,” i.e. not temporary, to purchase “preferred stock and other financial instruments” from small business as a means to infuse money into local banks with the condition that they lend to failing small business. Local banks will be lending in exchange for equity small business, therefore these banks will be using federal monies to buy equity in companies. This is an idea born from socialism and one that will harm the free market for small business, because failure will be rewarded by federal subsidies while success will be punished.

The bill also creates a “Small Business Credit Initiative” with $2 billion of your tax dollars to be given to states that have created programs to provide funds to banks to bailout small businesses in trouble. This would provide an incentive for states to adopt the crony capitalism programs of the federal government exemplified by the federal takeover of General Motors and the activities of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Setting up a system with private profits, yet socialized losses, will diminish capitalism and the American free market system. This legislation, TARP, Jr., extends the failed and free market offensive TARP model to small business. Considering that the original TARP program was “not fair, and it was not something our government should ever have to do,” Congress might want to heed the advice of Secretary Geithner of January 2010 and pause before creeping a few more steps toward American socialism.

Is America Now A Welfare Nation?

In this photo taken Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010, Tina Tennyson sits with her grandson, Jamari, 3, while waiting to apply for food stamps at the Sacramento County Economic Development Department in Sacramento, Calif. (AP)

U.S. Spending on Food Stamps at All-Time High, Sparking Debate Over Welfare

By Jim Angle

The U.S. is now spending more on food assistance than at any time in its history
, sparking a debate over whether the roughly 40 million people now receiving the latest version of food stamps at a cost of $73 billion a year are a symptom of a weak economy or are part of a long-term expansion in welfare and related programs.

Food stamp supporters say the record-high spending is simply a reflection of the economic downturn over the last two years.

“The program is expanding because we are realizing a significant downturn in the economy,” said Ambassador Eric Bost, who ran the food stamps program in the first years under President George W. Bush. “The food stamp or the SNAP program, as it’s referred to now, responds to the changing economic conditions of the country.”

“Unemployment is the worst it’s been in over 30 years,” added Sheila Zedlewski, an expert on poverty policy at the left-leaning Urban Institute. “The poverty rate is rising. Some people project it will be 15 percent. That would be the highest it has been since the 1960’s.”

But critics say this and other welfare programs were growing long before the recession and that food stamp usage has exploded over the last decade.

“The number of food stamp recipients has more than doubled since 2000, and the cost of the program has more than tripled,” said Chris Edwards, an expert on federal and state tax issues at the libertarian Cato Institute.

Though no one quibbles about the need for more forms of assistance during times of high unemployment, Edwards fears there is more going on here, that there is an effort to just keep expanding such programs.

Some government figures show that only 10 million people have a serious problem with hunger, Edwards said.

“The number of people on food stamps is four times higher than the number of people with a serious hunger problem,” he said.

But Bost defended the food stamp program, saying it helps the most vulnerable.

“Forty nine percent of the people that are participating in this program are children,” he said. “Ten percent are elderly and a vast majority of the other persons that are participating in the program do work. They just don’t earn enough money to meet all of their nutritional needs.”

Melissa Boteach, a poverty policy expert at the liberal Center for American Progress, said that last year, nearly 1 in 4 children were in a household struggling against hunger.

“And nearly 50 million Americans overall lived in households struggling against hunger so this is a serious problem in this recession,” she said.

Bost, the food stamp administrator during the Bush administration, said the numbers should fall as the economy gets better.

“When there’s a significant downturn you see an increase in the number of people participating and enrolled in the program when the economy is strong and doing well you see fewer people,” he said.

But some critics are not so sure.

“You certainly expect the food stamp program to go up during a recession, that’s not a bad thing,” said Robert Rector, a poverty expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation. “What we should be concerned about is even before the recession the food stamp program was increasing dramatically, because the government was reaching out to bring people into the program and then make them dependent.”

If the program were to return to the levels of the early 2000’s, he said, that would be ok, but he fears that is not what’s going to happen.

Looking beyond just food assistance, Rector looks at some 70 programs aimed at assisting the poor and points to President Obama’s spending projections for them in the years to come.

“If you look at Obama’s own projections, he’s projecting to spend over $10 trillion on assistance to the poor over the next decade and that’s without the cost of Obamacare, the new health care program that he’s created,” he said. “This is something that the United States simply cannot afford.”

He argues that Obama has no intention of letting assistance to the poor shrink even when the economy is healthy again and says he intends to expand such spending by more than a third over usual levels.

“He’s creating a permanent spread-the-wealth-state funded through deficits and borrowing from the Chinese,” Rector said.

Does This Regime Want America To Become Like Greece?

by Brad Schaeffer

General strikes in Greece have brought much of the country to a halt as trade unions and government workers stage more protests over austerity measures. A 24-hour work stoppage last week closed much of the country’s public sector and shut down ferries, trains and public transport.

So here is one unfunded social utopia’s score card so far: Three have died already this month in massive riots in the streets of Athens which are in danger of re-erupting anew. Paralyzing strikes from civil servants, so used to getting so much largess for doing so little for so long. A $145 billion bailout is in jeopardy with the big dogs of the EU, Germany chief among them, expressing serious concerns that the austerity measures demanded of Greece as a condition to merit the loans will ever come to fruition. Given the revised deficit projections and a public that seems unwilling to admit that their free ride brand of socialism as expressed in a financially unsustainable pension structure is collapsing, who can blame Europe?

Greece is bankrupt. Their debt is 108% of GDP and will climb to almost 150% by 2013 when the bailout loans would come due. 25% of Greek taxes will go to service its debt — to mostly foreign investors. Currently that nation’s government spending amounts to 50% of its GDP.

Consider then that in 2009 US debt was 86% of GDP and climbing. It will go past 100% by 2012. 20% of U.S. federal taxes go to service the interest on the national debt. That number too will rise. Our major social entitlement programs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, are bankrupt. We are waging foreign wars almost entirely on our own—so that Europe doesn’t have to. And now we have just enacted the mother of all entitlements in Obamacare that only the most wishful of thinkers (or a cynical Democratic Congress and White House) would argue is anything but a multi-trillion dollar debt dog pile on top of an already strained budget.

Of course our gargantuan economy is much more vibrant, diverse and robust than Greece’s. But we are already seeing within our borders mini-Greeces popping up at the state level. 41 states currently face budget shortfalls and the effects are already being felt. Here in New Jersey, school districts have suffered state aid cuts of 95%. (And in a little taste of the new entitlement mentality, our teachers’ union insisted on ramming through a contractually obligated pay raise anyway that would benefit the union bosses most of all; Trenton’s financial woes be damned. So to make the numbers work, several teachers and other staff got the axe—fortunately without any rioting.)

What is currently unfolding on the chaotic streets of Athens is an immovable force of a deep-seeded entitlement culture unwilling to give up its government goodies standing up to the irresistible force of simple mathematics. Care to bet on what side will ultimately prevail?

I am not saying that the United States is making the exact mistakes as the Greeks. But we are on a parallel course in that we are spending more on government programs than we are taking in in revenue. So whereas Greece is collapsing under the weight of unfunded pensions and ridiculously generous retirement packages and entitlements, while at the same time suffering a shrinking tax base, we have our own issues as I said before with Social Security (bankrupt seven years earlier than predicted just two years ago), Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare.

Edwin LeFevre once wrote that:

“A man, if he is both wise and lucky, will not make the same mistake twice. But he will make any one of the ten thousand brothers and cousins of the original mistake.”

As we watch the inevitable fissures in European style socialism breaking wide open for all to see, this is a most propitious time to turn inward and ask ourselves if the model that American left seems so stubbornly intent on replicating here even works, let alone is best for our nation? The Tea Partiers are but one expression of this necessary dialog — shameful left-wing race-baiting notwithstanding. Ponzi schemes always come to the same dismal end, leaving some poor unfortunates to pay the bill.

I would just like to know what makes liberal Democrats think that the inevitable reality of a seriously flawed socio-economic dogma now violently on display in the streets of Athens (and poised to spread throughout Europe) will somehow pass us by if we follow the same path? And if we continue down their road who do they believe will bail us out when the bill comes?