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Saving General Motors . . . For China?

What to know what happened to all of that General Motors bailout money?


On the Road to Greece: U.S. Fiscal Crisis 101

I believe most Americans don’t care much about what’s going on in Europe. They see the riots in Greece, and they hear the “America is heading the way of Greece,” and if they pay any attention to that comment at all, I believe they consider it to be hyperbole . . . something that really has no meaning in their lives.

If you’re as concerned about the American Fiscal Crisis as I am, watch this video, and pass on the link to everyone on your email list.

Here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EW5IdwltaAc&feature=youtu.be

Private Businesses Fight Federal Prisons for Contracts

Don’t believe me . . . check out the entire text of this New York Times March 14 article on how Federal prisoners are now taking contracts for creating U.S. military uniforms from private companies. This is a direct quote for the article:

As chief financial officer of a military clothing manufacturer, Steven W. Eisen was accustomed to winning contracts to make garments for the Defense Department. But in December, Mr. Eisen received surprising news. His company, Tennier Industries, which is in a depressed corner of Tennessee, would not receive a new $45 million contract.

Tennier lost the deal not to a private sector competitor, but to a corporation owned by the federal government, Federal Prison Industries.

Federal Prison Industries, also known as Unicor, does not have to worry much about its overhead. It uses prisoners for labor, paying them 23 cents to $1.15 an hour. Although the company is not allowed to sell to the private sector, the law generally requires federal agencies to buy its products, even if they are not the cheapest.

Photo by Christian Hansen for The New York Times: Workers at Campbellsville Apparel.
Read the entire article here.

Are Electric Rates Hurting Your Business?

As a business owner, I’m alarmed by rising electrical rates. We have shut down rooms in our admittedly too-large studio, and we’ve organized our sessions and sales meetings to only several days a week so that we can turn off the heat or airconditioning for several days at a time. We use oil space heaters in the office when the heat is off, and we have installed the most energy-efficient heat pump we can buy. Still, our electric bills have doubled in the last year. Are we surprised? Heck no! We took the President at his word when he said that EPA rules would make electric rates “necessarily skyrocket.” Nothing like a politician who keeps him promises when the economy is on the rocks!

Those rules just began kicking in this year, and there’s lot more to come, so when the lights go out, pull out your flashlight and read this piece from the
National Center for Policy Research.

It’s the Environmental Protection Agency, Stupid - The EPA is Causing Job Losses and Blocking Economic Development

President Obama's New Economic Plan Must Reign in the EPA, says National Center for Public Policy Research
August 24, 2011

Washington, D.C. - Due to the severe negative impact regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency are having on jobs and economic growth, policy experts from the National Center for Public Policy Research today are urging President Obama to reign in the EPA as the fastest and cheapest way to stimulate the economy.

"If President Obama is really serious about stimulating economic growth he must get control over the EPA bureaucracy, which is operating as a job killing machine. The EPA is infecting the business environment with a plague of new regulations and is compounding its affliction on the economy by denying permits for job creating projects," sai said Tom Borelli, Ph.D., director of the National Center's Free Enterprise Project.

"In addition to harming today's economy, the actions taken by the EPA will reduce our competitiveness and our national security," added Tom Borelli.

As a result of new EPA regulations, several utilities including American Electric Power, Duke Energy, and Southern Company recently announced they are closing coal-fired power plants because of the excessive costs to meet the agency's new standards. Layoffs, increases in electricity prices and possible power shortages from the power plant closings will exacerbate the negative economic landscape.

States such as Ohio that are dependent on coal for energy would be preferentially harmed by the EPA. A study by National Economic Research Associates reported that EPA's Cross-State Air Rule and the Utility MACT Rule would result in a loss of 53,500 job-years in Ohio by 2020. The report also estimated that these new regulations could increase the average price for electricity in Ohio as high as 12.9 percent by 2016.

"The economic impact of EPA's actions in Ohio alone is staggering; just imagine what the damage will be for the entire country," said Tom Borelli.

The EPA is also blocking development of important projects such as the Keystone XL pipeline that would pump oil from Canadian oil sands to refineries in Texas. It's estimated that construction of the 2,000-mile pipeline would produce billions of dollars in tax revenue from thousands of construction jobs. The added 900,000 barrels a day would contribute to our energy security.

"In the wake of our current economic crisis, President Obama must surrender his war on fossil fuels by calling off the EPA's harassment of the industry. Obama needs to examine his options to stop EPA's regulatory madness. Jobs are desperately needed in our country, especially among blacks who are being disproportionately harmed by the high unemployment rate," said Deneen Borelli, full-time fellow of Project 21.

"Halting the EPA is an economic emergency. Obama's homework while on vacation in Martha's Vineyard should be to find a way to control the EPA that does not require Congressional action. All Obama needs is the will to do the right thing for the American people," added Deneen Borelli.

The National Center For Public Policy Research is a conservative, free-market non-profit think-tank established in 1982. It is supported by the voluntary gifts of over 100,000 individual recent supporters. Its 2010 revenue was over $12 million. It receives less than one percent of its revenue from corporate sources. Contributions are welcome and appreciated.

Giving Thanks . . .