Jobless hit with bank fees on benefits

For hundreds of thousands of workers losing their jobs during the recession, there’s a new twist to their financial pain: Even as they’re collecting unemployment benefits, they’re paying bank fees just to get access to their money.Thirty states have struck such deals with banks that include Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase and [...]


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Obama and Brown to meet in March

The White House has confirmed Prime Minister Gordon Brown will be visiting US president Barak Obama on 3 March.It will be the first time the two have met face-to-face since Mr Obama was elected last year.A White House statement said the US and UK had a “special partnership” and the president wanted to work closely [...]


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Financial fraud: Howzat!

Allegations against Stanford Group, among others, suggest this will be a fraud-infested downturn

HOUSTON has not seen anything like it since the collapse of Enron. On Tuesday February 17th federal agents swooped on Sir Allen Stanford’s financial group, seizing mountains of documents, and a judge placed it in the hands of a receiver. The obvious parallel, however, was not the defunct energy firm but Bernard Madoff. Charges filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) portray the flamboyant Sir Allen as the ponzi-master’s offshore equivalent, perpetrating a fraud of “shocking magnitude” based on “false promises” and fabricated performance data, primarily through his Antigua-based bank.

The central allegation is that Stanford International Bank hoodwinked investors over the safety and liquidity of uninsured certificates of deposit (CDs). It took in some $8 billion, consistently offering rates well above those of big banks—sometimes more than twice as high. Despite assurances that the money was going into liquid securities, much of it was apparently ploughed into sticky assets such as property and private equity. ...


[Source: The Economist: News analysis - Posted by FreeAutoBlogger]

U.S. job losses accelerate

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. employers slashed 598,000 jobs in January, the biggest monthly loss in 34 years, and the jobless rate soared to a 16-year peak, putting pressure on lawmakers to act quickly to counter a deepening recession.


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Stimulus Open Thread

Ben Nelson has saved us all!

"We trimmed the fat, fried the bacon and milked the sacred cows," Nelson said as debate began.

According to several senators, the revised version of the plan axed money for school construction and nearly $90 million for fighting pandemic flu, among other things.

Thank God that someone worth $10 million was able to cut "sacred cows" like school construction and flu prevention! Whatever would we do without such guardians of the public interest! More:

In the end, there were $96 billion of cuts - whittling the Senate bill to $780 billion - with about $50 billion of the cuts coming from the Collins-Nelson proposal. Most of the cuts came in school construction, teacher funding and higher education.A $15,000 tax credit for new home purchases, which was proposed by Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), remains in the measure.

All the final details have not yet been released, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said in an evening floor speech that Democrats "had to swallow real hard" to accept many of the cuts.

We don't need no education!

There is a very cute stereotype that bloggers (all one hundred million of us) are rich white kids from the suburbs. However, the truth is that of the four people in my "family unit" (me, Natasha, my brother and my sister-in-law who live n the apartment above me) two of us have lost our jobs in the last three months. Both of the jobs lost were in education related fields--so, yey that there is now virtually no education funding is in the stimulus! Work is spotty, and health insurance is spottier. Unless the COBRA benefits for the unemployed are reinstated in the conference report, we will have multiple people in our family unit without health insurance, too.

I've heard that you are supposed to get more conservative when you get older. The older I get, the more I am convinced that "moderates" like Susan Collins and Ben Nelson--so beloved by the media--are simply rich corporate hacks who seek to destroy the American middle class by subtler means than the likes of Bush.

This is a bill that literally hits home. I have nothing but antipathy for the fudruckers who sought these cuts. When we kick their ass on the electoral field in two, four of six years, the media will undoubtedly call us ideological extremists taking out our psychological frustrations on decent moderates who keep American civility afloat. The good thing is that the voters who get rid of them will know the real reason. People like Susan Collins and Ben Nelosn are destroying lives. At the very least, they deserve to be out of a job as a result.

Let's fix this in the conference. This is an open thread on the stimulus.


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