Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Congress Declares Contracts Null and Void

Hello nationalization, good bye rule of law! Barney Frank (D-MA) has done it again. Byron York reports in the Washington Examiner that:

"...the House Financial Services Committee, led by chairman Barney Frank, has approved a measure that would go beyond the most draconian features of the original AIG bill... the "Pay for Performance Act of 2009," would impose government controls on the pay of all employees ... of companies that have received a capital investment from the U.S. government. It would be retroactive, changing the terms of compensation agreements already in place. And it would give Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner extraordinary power to determine the pay of thousands of employees of American companies."

In case any of you missed my post, "The Unconstitutional Congress," I spelled out how this type of ex-post-facto law is unconstitutional. The Constitution of the United States, Article I, Section 9, paragraph 3 provides that: "No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law will be passed." Additionally, here is a lovely quote from James Madison:

Bills of attainder, ex-post-facto laws, and laws impairing the obligation of contracts, are contrary to the first principles of the social compact, and to every principle of sound legislation. James Madison, Federalist 44.

Whether Congressman Frank is attempting to cover up his and fellow Democrats unbelievably incompetence relative to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, or they truly believe that Congress can arbitrarily revoke contracts is yet to be seen. In either case, what they are doing is a violation of the basic principals of the founding of this country! Further, if allowed to pass, it will destroy the financial foundation of the United States. Nitro-Pak.com

The United States is economically successful because of its transparency, its commitment to contracts, as well as its protection of private property and the rule of law. However, what we are seeing of this Congress and President Teleprompter is a wanton attempt to destroy the economy of this country. Special Sign Up Bonus: FREE rollover minutes. Order Today!

Allow me to issue this warning today:

Citizens of the United States, if you wish your country to remain the bastion of liberty and prosperity, act now to reign in the blatant, unconstitutional action of this Congress and President. Contact your elected representatives and regularly demand accountability, constitutional action, and an end to destruction of the rule of law. Failure to act will lead to cataclysmic consequences and the absolute destruction of liberty! Pray for our leaders and our country that this Republic will not become the home of tyranny! Great fares to India on Air France!

In case you don't think this behavior is serious, allow me to refer you to the CEO of GM, who, according to President Teleprompter, was fired by the government. Since when did the government have the authority to fire anybody from a private company?? This gross abuse of government authority must stop!

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Tata Releases the Nano, No Thanks to Mamata Banerjee

Hooray for Tata Motors! The BBC reports that the Nano, known as the world's least expensive car, will go on sale in India within the next 10 days (As of 23 March 2009).

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Additionally, "A slightly bigger European version, the Nano Europa is due to follow in 2011, and is expected to cost nearer to £4,000. " All of this, no thanks to petty politician and poverty pimp Mamata Banerjee.

In my previous writings about the Nano saga, (here, here, and here) Banerjee and her ilk agitated destitute dirt farmers to protest against Tata to keep them from building the Nano plant in Singur. In addition to killing a supplier factory head, the goons also ran off what could have been over 4000 new factory jobs. Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress Party have forced the road to prosperity to detour to Gujarat. Compare Auto Insurance Quotes and Save!

In the end, the market prevailed. Tata built its car in Gujarat and now a whole generation of people will be able to own their own cars and the freedom of movement that entails. Additionally, people with the Nano will be able to increase their businesses that were previously relegated to scooters or animal-drawn carts. People's lives have been improved not by poverty pimps like Mamata Banerjee, but by a big corporation, Tata Motors.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Unconstitutional Congress

Bills of attainder, ex-post-facto laws, and laws impairing the obligation of contracts, are contrary to the first principles of the social compact, and to every principle of sound legislation. James Madison, Federalist 44.

The US Congress has written and is debating legislation, today 19 March 2009, to "claw back" the bonuses that AIG awarded to certain employees in the amount of $165 million. Cheap? No. 100% Free. Trade stocks for free on Zecco.com. The Free Trading Community. www.zecco.com

It turns out that Sen. Chris "Sweetheart Countrywide Mortgage" Dodd (D-CT) admitted to writing the legislation that allowed the bonuses in $787 billion stimulus package.

Dodd, D-Conn., told FOX News that Treasury officials forced him to make the change.

"As many know, the administration was, among others, not happy with the language. They wanted some modifications to it," he said. "They came to us, our staff, and asked for changes, and the changes at the time did not seem that obnoxious or onerous."

In a brazen attempt to cover their political backsides, Congress has written legislation "...that would levy a 90 percent tax on bonuses paid to employees with family incomes above $250,000 at companies that have received at least $5 billion in government bailout money." Guess who wrote this gem, none other than tax cheat Charlie Rangel (D-NY). Become a Decision Maker. Search Director, VP, & Manager level Jobs.

The legislation is clearly unconstitutional, as it specifically targets AIG who lawfully paid bonuses, that were approved by Congress. Congress approved the bonuses as part of the last $30 billion in aid that AIG received. In short, it is a Bill of Attainder. According to techlawjournal.com a Bill of Attainder is:

A legislative act that singles out an individual or group for punishment without a trial.

The Constitution of the United States, Article I, Section 9, paragraph 3 provides that: "No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law will be passed."

As I wrote in my previous post, "Bonus Indignation" Congress is trying to make political hay and create cover, by using AIG as a scapegoat. This is all a big distraction from the disastrous spending they have written and President Teleprompter has signed.

Americans are finally beginning to clue in to the enormity of the bailouts and fiscal irresponsibility of Congress and President Teleprompter. As America's future generations have been sold down the river of debt, and the current generations are getting ready to face hyper inflation, Congress fiddles with manufactured outrage over $165 million. Protect your Medical Identity with TrustedID. $1,000,000 Warranty & Great Customer Service

Too bad they don't have President Bush to kick around any more.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bonus Indignation

** Check out the follow up article, "The Unconstitutional Congress. **

Congress is shocked, shocked, to see that AIG awarded bonuses to employees! Gasp, contracts existed where if employees met certain conditions they would get bonuses. How dare they!?! Cheap? No. 100% Free. Trade stocks for free on Zecco.com. The Free Trading Community. www.zecco.com

How much are these bonuses? $787 billion, nope? How about $401 billion, try again? What about $178 billion? Not even close, the bonuses are $156 million. So why am I so sarcastic? Simple, these indignant Congressmen are hypocrites! Hey Grassley, have you clowns considered resigning in shame at your reckless abandon in spending, which is far less than Seppuku that you are calling the AIG folks to perform? I didn't think so.

After spending like drunken sailors and setting up any number of bailout programs, these goofballs are angry because employee contracts were fulfilled? I guess that's what skilled politicians do, feign anger at insignificant events all the while smiling and laughing while creating the conditions for hyper inflation.

Consider, as stated in the Wall Street Journal, that, "He (Obama) and the rest of the political class thus neatly deflected attention from the larger outrage, which is the five-month Beltway cover-up over who benefited most from the AIG bailout."

Shocked? Don't be, considering the likes of Sen. Chris "Sweetheart Mortgage" Dodd (D-CT) and Rep. Barney "I had a sexual relationship with a Fannie Mae executive Herb Moses" Frank (D-MA) who are on the case. Protect your Medical Identity with TrustedID. $1,000,000 Warranty & Great Customer Service

Congress has had its hands in the financial crisis since the very beginning and bear a significant amount of blame. For them to start criticizing private employment contracts is absurd, much like everything else Congress and Obama have been doing since his inauguration. It is time to face the facts that government has overstepped and our country is in danger of losing its foundation in the rule of law.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Boards of Directors Finally Taking Responsibility - At Least Some of Them

While I haven't written about the topic on this blog, I have been a very strong critic of Boards of Directors and their general lack of accountability over time.

While that statement is very broad and full of exceptions, my personal opinion of boards, in general, is skeptical at best. Although most large, publicly traded corporations' directors are very successful and well regarded, there is appearance of a lack of accountability. CEOs are fired, managers are fired, but directors are rarely put out, except by activist investors, like Carl Ichan. Find Premium Finance Jobs on Doostang. Start Now! www.Doostang.com

While working about 223 hours a year, directors usually make about $30,000+ in retainers and much more in stock, as well as "meeting fees" for an average of $119,164. Not bad work, if you can get it. RingCentral Online - Free Trial plus 10% Off

However, according to the Wall Street Journal, in an article titled, "More Directors are Cutting Their Own Pay," some boards seem to have gotten the egalitarian bug!

According to the article, GM, Ford, Eddie Bauer, and Herman Miller, to name a few (out of 43), have agreed to reduce their compensation. While this is a good start, it may be a false comparison, as:

"The pay cuts follow recent increases in overall compensation for individual directors...total median director compensation rose 12% to $119,164...It was the third straight year of double digit increases."

Seems like these folks have been doing pretty well, despite the disastrous years the major automakers have seen. However, I must give credit where credit is due. The directors at GM: "...recently cut their pay for the third time in four years...," but, "...revived their full retainer in 2008." However, with the bailout money, they reduced their retainers to $1.

Ford seems to have done a little better: "...directors gave up the $40,000 cash portion of their annual retainer, as well as payments for committee chairmen." So maybe, maybe, boards are beginning to see that even they, the ones who are supposed to supervising the executives, are part of the rise and fall of the company. Perhaps reducing director compensation is a pointless exercise for companies that are billions in the hole, but it does demonstrate accountability.

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Although I would like to end this on a high note, the Journal article speaks of an unnamed company and an unnamed director, who, on being asked to reduce his compensation, demurred, as his compensation for 223 hours of work is "...an important part of my income."

I guess if you make the US gross median income of $50,740 and lose your only job, its not as important as that director's income. How's that for accountability?!

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Falling Commodities Crush Recyclers

The end of 2008 through March of 2009 has seen a precipitous drop in the price of commodities, particularly aluminum, steel, and iron, though copper is improving in China. This drop has caused a similar drop in the price of recycled, or scrap materials from recyclers.

As I have written previously in, "Your Garbage, My Money," recyclers were seeing a real boost in the price for their metals, etc. However, the cratering of commodities and the global economy as a whole, has seen the demand for scrap drop accordingly. eFax Annual Subscription

For all my readers who love charts, I have included charts from metalprices.com, who kindly allows the reproduction of their charts. Below, you will find charts for scrap iron, which includes steel, and scrap aluminum.

What does this spell for recyclers? Simple, the gray old mare ain't what she used to be. Like every business in the industrial supply chain, from oil to scrap to finished products, demand has fallen and everyone is pinched. Some recyclers are refusing new items, as their yards are filled to capacity. Cheap? No. 100% Free. Trade stocks for free on Zecco.com. The Free Trading Community. www.zecco.com

Some of the largest recyclers are US municipalities. Solid waste fees were paid in part by the sale of recycled local waste. Now, according to americancityandcounty.com, municipalities are seeing drops of 50% in their recycling revenue and now are considering additional user "fees" to cover the short fall. In other words, taxes. Compare Auto Insurance Quotes and Save!

However, some localities are fighting the decline in prices with an increase in supply, "Others, like the Philadelphia suburb of Cherry Hill, N.J., are even paying residents with retail vouchers to recycle through a program from New York-based Recycle Bank."

Even when it comes to trash, the market sorts itself out. As long as steel and aluminum are being produced, there will be a market for scrap, though watch for many of the smaller players to get consolidated as the demand for continues to drop.

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