politics

If you care about this issue, you’ve probably heard that the US Senate voted 60-40 to keep emergency unemployment benefits going. Long story short: Good for jobless peeps, bad for the deficit.

Millions of people stopped getting checks in June when the program expired in June. According to the Washington Post: 8.7 million people were receiving jobless benefits at the end of June. A little more than half received state benefits, which are typically available for 26 weeks. The rest were receiving extended benefits financed by the federal government, which are due to run out soon unless the bill before the Senate passes. The Labor Department estimates that 2.5 million people had been cut off by the end of last week.

The House is expected to okay the bill this week…

ronald-mcdonald 200McDonald’s is adding more dollar items to its breakfast menu, in an effort to jump-start sales that have been hit by the high jobless rate. (Reuters)

The Obama administration is proposing creating a new TARP program that gives banks access to government money without restrictions—as long as they use it to make loans to small businesses. (Washington Post)

Some businesses have been forced to close in Lake Oswego, Ore., but there has also been a small boom in new businesses thanks to the downturn. (The Oregonian)…

Aren’t treasury bills hilarious? And what about that national debt? Bwahahaha..

Well, Saturday Night Live hasn’t been this funny in years, as it sends up Washington’s attempt to ignore the fact that China kind of owns us…

taking back money 150A laid-off lawyer’s personal blog, which brought her a total of $238.75 over the course of months, prompted the geniuses at the New York State Department of Labor to cut off her benefits.

Seems the DOL had conflicting opinions over whether the money she “made” from her blog about meal deals constituted residual income (money made from past work, like royalties from a book) or self-employment income. So they put her checks on hold while they investigate her “business,” according to a story at Forbes.com.

Blogging isn’t the only hazard the unemployed face. A friend of mine who was laid off in November is fighting the DOL over her charity work…

onion video money hole 200The Onion’s video about America’s money hole (the place where we like to throw all our money, sometimes adding gasoline and a light) is funny, but dated.

Or is it?

This week on Slate’s The Big Money, Heidi Moore argues that the next entity the government needs to bail out is the government itself.

cash4gold onion video 150The geniuses who brought us the $2 trillion bailout have a new plan for raising cash. Check out the video after the jump.

fed-financial-crsisi-timeline-150A certain cinematic truant once said, “Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Or, to put it in the language of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, “Over the past two years, and particularly since the intensification of the global financial crisis in the fall of 2008, new information has been released at a stunning pace.”

If you, like us, have been longing for a roadmap to the downturn, something that lays out what’s happened at recession speed, check out the global financial crisis timelines from the Fed. You can reminisce with your friends about the day the Asset-Backed Commercial Paper Money Market Fund Liquidity Facility was born, get teary over that time the Office of Thrift Supervision shut down WaMu. Ah, those were the days…

money-pile-dollars-150So extravagant pay packages are a thing of the past? The political rhetoric suggests so. Last week the Obama administration started to work on curbing “excesses” on Wall Street. The compensation structure for all financial services firms—even those who didn’t accept TARP money—is under review. The private sector is also rethinking pay big time. Earlier this year, JP Morgan C.E.O. Jamie Dimon told employees at a town hall meeting that many should be prepared to have zero bonus payments in 2009. “Get over it,” was his message.

So you can imagine my surprise when I heard the other day that a trader had been offered several million dollars to jump to another bank guaranteed for a couple of years. That’s right: several million dollars. At first I thought I’d heard wrong. It’s 2009, not 2006…

miami-wind-and-palm-trees-150
As I write this, a gleaming, blue-hulled yacht about 100 feet long is gliding by on Biscayne Bay. Speakers on an empty rear deck blast the Gipsy Kings.

If Miami were a person, it would be well-toned and tanned, somewhat imperious and, of course, superficial to the Nth degree. It’s an image that goes a long way toward describing the city’s condition in the midst of national economic doldrums.

Sure, we’re hurting—with foreclosure rates among the nation’s highest, a building boom stopped dead in its tracks and tourism down—but the business and political elite tend to ignore flaws or alter them cosmetically. Think of it as a boob job for a sagging economy…

Recession Briefing 4.10

by Sara Clemence on April 10, 2009 in News

What you need to know today to survive and thrive in the recession.

chart-down 150The economy appears to be leveling off, with retail sales slowing their decline, the stock market up, and credit markets loosening. But the recession’s not over yet… (AP)

Slowly but surely, the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act—better known as the economic stimulus package—is beginning to percolate nationwide, six weeks after President Obama signed the legislation.(Washington Post)

It’s a renter’s market around the country, which means landlords are getting more creative (and desperate) to hold down vacancies and prevent turnover. (BusinessWeek)

President Barack Obama yesterday touted the economic benefits of refinancing, but he should keep the 30-year mortgage on his Chicago spread, a broker says. (Chicago Tribune)