Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Obama Refuses to Follow the Law of the Land

With the U.S. set to shrink by half-a-trillion dollars or so come January 2013 because of the sequestration budget deal between Democrats and Republicans, there's no way to achieve such a drastic reduction without massive layoffs.

However, there's an election coming up just two months before these no-doubter layoffs, and Obama doesn't want layoff warnings going out to thousands and thousands of federal employees days before the presidential election.

Which is exactly what the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice (WARN) Act requires: 60 days' advance warning of mass layoffs.

Curiously (or more tellingly, not curiously), the Department of Labor (DOL), which in the past has said it has no authority to offer opinions on the WARN Act, now proffers the prescription that WARN doesn't apply to sequestration layoffs.

Opining that "even the occurrence of sequestration is not necessarily foreseeable," the DOL — suddenly with the power to interpret WARN — has ruled that:
[Any] WARN Act notice to employees of Federal contractors, including in the defense industry, is not required 60 days in advance of January 2, 2013, and would be inappropriate, given the lack of certainty about how the budget cuts will be implemented and the possibility that the sequester will be avoided before January.
Senator John McCain was quick to point out the hypocrisy in the government's stand and of course in the DOL's sudden new powers:
At a time when our economy continues to suffer from staggeringly high unemployment, the Obama administration today took away an important planning tool for Americans who may lose their jobs as a result of the failure of Congress and the White House to address the looming and entirely predictable threat of budget sequestration. Sequestration is currently the law of the land, and our nation’s workers have a right to know how these sequestration cuts which begin in January may impact them.
Just another example of Obama's commitment to transparency in governing, right?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Legal Tab for Lehman Bros. Bankruptcy: $1 Billion+

Just 19 or so months after filing for bankruptcy, the failed Lehman Bros. investment house has been hit with $730 million in attorneys' charges. And these are fees due the attorneys working for Lehman, not against.

It's estimated that the total legal tab for the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history may well top $1 billion.

It's not hard to figure out why: In one month, a single attorney charged $2,100 for limo services. Another $263,000 was billed for photocopies over a four-month period. Leaving a message came in at a mere $48.

At least one segment of the American economy--bankruptcy lawyers--seems to be making out like bandits in the Great Recession.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The SEC: Surfing Porn While Rome Burns

An inspector general has submitted a report to Congress highlighting senior staffers at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) surfing their work computers for porn while the economy and financial markets were crashing all around them.

They even got so desperate ingenious as to figure out ways (by using Google images, for instance) around the computer's firewall designed to block pornographic material.

The inspector conducted 33 probes of individuals, 16 of whom were senior staff earning as much as $222,418 a year.

A senior attorney, who agreed to resign when confronted, often spent eight hours downloading porn. Once his hard drive was full, he burned the material to DVDs and CDs.

An accountant who used Google images amassed a huge collection of porn on his hard drive despite the firewall. When discovered, he was slapped on the wrist and given a 14-day suspension (with pay? I wonder).

Interestingly, the number of violators grew from two to 16 from 2007 to mid-2008, just as the financial markets were collapsing.

At least the SEC wasn't asleep at the wheel. Instead, its staff was distracted by more pleasurable pursuits than cracking down on fraud.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Gee, Surprise! Majority Favors Health Care Repeal

A whopping 58 percent of Americans favors repeal of the recent health care (so-called) reform package, but at the same time 59 percent of those favoring repeal thinks the public option is essential and 51 percent of the same repealees wants to see Congress continue to work on reform efforts.

Most opposed to the health reform measure signed March 23 are those in the oh-so-healthy group of 18- to 34-year-olds.

The results were obtained from a survey taken April 6-10 by the Indiana University's Center for Health Policy and Professionalism Research in Indianapolis.

Overall, just 10 percent of Democrats favor repeal while 96 percent of Republicans and 56 percent of independents are in favor.

"Many have assumed that those advocating for repeal in polls wanted Congress to take no action on healthcare reform until the law was abolished. However, we find that 48 percent of Americans actually are supportive of Congress continuing to work on the healthcare system reforms as opposed to focusing on any other topic," notes Dr. Aaron Carroll, director of the center.

Translation: Most people still want Congress to come up with "free health care," courtesy of the deep pockets of Uncle Sam and of every voter other than themselves.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tax Rates to Pay Off the National Debt

Here's what you and I would have to pay if the government decided to tax at the rates necessary to pay off the national debt:

Current Tax Rate (left)
New Rate Required (right)

10% 24.3%
15% 36.4%
25% 60.6%
28% 67.9%
33% 80.0%
35% 84.9%

Nuff said.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

You Can't Kill It: EFCA Reintroduced in Congress

Despite the fact that there simply aren't enough votes in the Senate to end a filibuster on it, the Employee Forced Free Choice Act (EFCA) was reintroduced in both the House and the Senate on March 10.

The original corporate destroyers sponsors did the dirty work reintroductions: Representative George Miller of The People's Republic of California and Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa.

In case you've been in slumberland for a few years, the EFCA does away with organizing elections and forces unions on companies once more than 50 percent of their employees are forced to sign organizing cards. Then, it sics an arbitrator on the company to impose a collective bargaining agreement once the owners reject the outlandish demands of the union thugs bosses.

Might all be moot now anyway, what with Craig Becker on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Though he denied it during confirmation hearings, Becker believes the NLRB can simply impose EFCA-like provisions without congressional action.

One way or another, look for this monster to keep rearing its ugly head. (No, I wasn't referring to Becker, but....)

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Constitution Under Obama = Non-Existent

This graphic pretty much sums up how dictators rule as president: