Archive

Posts Tagged ‘economics’

Obama Stands up for Tire Workers

September 12th, 2009 1 comment

President Barack Obama took a stand on Friday night by imposing an import tax on tires imported from China.  This has been an issue I have been involved with since 2004 with the “Export Tires not Jobs” campaign. And, I am proud to say that this is a step in the right direction for salvaging what is left of the US Tire Manufacturing Industry.

China may appeal the Tariff to the World Trade Organization according to the Wall Street Journal and according to the New York Times China denounced the new 3 year declining tariffs within hours of its announcement.  Appeals and denouncing the tariffs are probably on the horizon as it is in China’s best interest since the USA is likely the largest importer of Chinese exports.

Tariff’s will begin September 26th at 35% for one year with 30% the second year and 25% the third in the form of an Ad Valorem tax in addition to the duties and taxes in place prior to the announcement. The Ad Valorem tax, often called VAT, will only cover tires for cars, light trucks, vans, and sport utility vehicles.

The timing of Obama’s announcement is particularly suspicious as the meeting of the top 20 economic countries, known as the Group of 20,  is in 2 weeks.  This will come off to many, and me, as a political move to pay back union members for their support and financing his election and will be used as a trading card in the Pittsburgh meeting.  The opposition argument will be protectionism, like Daniel Ikenson of the Cato Institute, or international obligations. This bold and perhaps controversial move by the Obama Administration will be put on the chopping block for other political gain in the international politics marketplace.  My early prediction is that Obama’s stand for Tire Workers is short lived or best case scenario will be scaled back.

My biased opinion is we have to take care of ourselves first.  As a friend of several tire workers I have seen the impact of globalization of tire manufacturing.  With plants closing, hours cut, and jobs lost the illegal flood of Chinese made tires has impacted domestic tire workers and most importantly my family and friends. If the tariff does stand it sets a precedent for other Ad Valorem tariffs to come.  I hope it will be a Tariff on Steel Products particularly Tubular as it is cleaner than steel pipe made in China.

Michelle Obama’s Walking Shoes cost $540

May 5th, 2009 No comments

Lanvin Mens Shoes - Fall-Winter 2008/09

What do you think of First Lady Obama’s sporty new shoes?

Michelle Obama was caught sporting her new pair of casual tennis shoes with a hefty price tag of $540.  I have never heard of the French Fashion company Lanvin – but can tell you $540 for a pair of dog walking shoes is expensive.

My New Balance 574’s usually do the trick for comfort and reliability.  But if you really want a pair of shoes like First Lady Michelle Obama you can for a nice price tag.

Check out the NY Daily News article below or live on their site, here.

First Lady Michelle Obama steps out in Lanvin sneakers and they’re only $540!

BY Amy Diluna
DAILY NEWS FASHION EDITOR

Friday, May 1st 2009, 3:22 PM
They’re in poor taste. That’s way too much to spend on sneakers, especially in a recession.

Michelle Obama has taken casual to a haute new level.

While volunteering Wednesday at a D.C. food bank, the First Lady sported her usual J.Crew cardigan, a pair of utilitarian capri pants and, on her feet, a sneaky splurge: trainers that go for $540.

That’s right: These sneakers – suede, with grosgrain ribbon laces and metallic pink toe caps – are made by French design house Lanvin, one of fashion’s hottest labels. They come in denim and satin versions, and have been a brisk seller all spring.

They’re out of stock at posh Meatpacking District boutique Jeffrey, and Barneys New York boasts a limited selection of the sneaks, which are a cult favorite among fashionistas.

It’s likely Michelle got hers through Ikram, the Chicago retailer that often outfits her.

“They’re shoes,” the First Lady’s reps sniffed when curious reporters inquired about the fancy footwear.

Michelle has stepped out in Lanvin before while getting down to business. A week ago, she shoveled dirt at a tree planting while wearing the line’s chiffon tank.

Dresses and strappy pumps cost upward of $1,500, while tops go for $400 to $1,000.

Other celebrity fans of Lanvin’s costly kicks include Ellen DeGeneres and Kanye West, who has blogged about his faves.

As the family’s primary dog walker, Michelle clearly requires comfortable footwear.

“I got up at 5:15 in the morning to walk my puppy,” she joked Thursday. “That’s how my day starts. Even though the kids are supposed to do a lot of the work, I’m still up at 5:15 a.m. taking my dog out.”

She’ll be trodding on New York’s sidewalks Tuesday for the first time as First Lady. Michelle will meet with staff at the U.S. mission to the United Nations. Later, she headlines Time magazine’s “100 most influential people” gala.

[email protected]

With Kenneth R. Bazinet

$1 Gallon Gas by 2009

December 6th, 2008 No comments

Oil Executive Joe Petrowski, CEO of Gulf Oil is predicting $1 a gallon gas in early 2009.  In an article at TheBostonChannel.com shares a perspective on the oil & gas industry.  Petrowski stated that the industry often overreacts.  Read more about the Gulf Oil wholesaler’s statements.

Though my pocket will certainly enjoy the break in fuel prices, but gas prices this low will effect American Crude oil prices.  Oil and Gas producers likely can’t afford to produce at rates that low long-term.  I don’t want to give out any ideas – some company’s may not be able to weather the cost of production – thus creating another gap.  With prices so low the “Drill-Baby-Drill” days of Sarah Palin wont be feasible.

I’m not saying raise prices of fuel – I am pointing out the cost of inflation.  Also I would like to point out the obvious that when Wall-Street and the Auto Industry get bailed out the Oil and Gas industry will be next.  Just when hope is insight the real work has just begun.  I am no economist but throwing money at Wall-Street and the Auto Industry is only part of the solution – some fundamental change has to be made. When in times of peril we turn to the Government to solve the problem – to paraphrase Sharat (@ravehead) – “recovery will not come from expensive/shiny titles, but from the ranks”.

Big 3 Likely to Get bailout

December 6th, 2008 2 comments

It seems that bailout money is a allocated over the weekend without the watchful eyes of most elected officials.  I figure that much of history has been created in the backroom like the pending Automaker Bailout.  Sure I agree that some form of bailout is needed and we shouldn’t be borrowing funds from any account that will improve environmental impact or stands to be defaulted on in repayment like in the CNN.com article below.

Deadlock over Detroit bailout may soon end

  • Story Highlights
  • Pelosi open to idea of tapping advanced technology fund for bailout
  • November job loss news led to change in thinking, official says
  • Talks on potential help for auto industry to continue through weekend
  • Many options remain on the table, officials caution

From Dana Bash – CNN Congressional Correspondent

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Help may soon be on the way to the struggling U.S. auto industry after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi backed off her opposition to using funds from a fuel-efficiency research program for a bailout, two congressional officials said Friday.

News of November job losses "changed everything" for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, an official said.News of November job losses “changed everything” for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, an official said.

The significant move from Pelosi signals that the deadlock over rescuing Detroit may be over.

Congressional Republicans and President Bush support the idea of tapping the $25 billion advanced technology fund. Two officials familiar with compromise talks told CNN that the working target is $15 billion to $17 billion in bridge loans, intended to fund the struggling Big Three automakers through March.

However, one senior Democratic congressional source told CNN that House and Senate committee staff will meet over the weekend to write a bill to provide $20 billion to $25 billion in assistance to the U.S. auto companies.

This aide said the “mathematicians were working” at how to reprogram the money by reducing a subsidy to come up with a figure that would be available for loans, despite an earlier report that only $7.5 billion was available from the fund passed last year for fuel efficiency research.

This aide said the bill could be on the House floor as early as Tuesday, but thought it was more likely that the Senate would vote on the bill first.

“They need to get Republicans on board and send an important signal for House members to vote for this,” the aide said.

The officials cautioned that talks are still very fluid and that there are still other options on the table and many details to discuss.

Pelosi released a statement saying that Congress was “considering various short-term funding options” but added that no funds would be released from the research program “unless there is a guarantee that those funds will be replenished in a matter of weeks.”

Pelosi reversed herself because November’s devastating jobs report — more than a half-million jobs lost — “changed everything,” one official said.

The California Democrat spoke by phone with White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten on Friday afternoon to tell him of her change of heart, hours after Bush issued a fresh warning that without help, the automakers may not survive the economic crisis.

A senior administration official had no comment on Pelosi’s move.

A House Democratic leadership aide also said Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was on Capitol Hill Friday, speaking with House and Senate Democratic leaders. He discussed the automaker bailout among other things, the aide said.

Both Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid issued statements Friday saying they hope to have legislation ready by next week to pass and send to the White House for the president’s signature, another sign of sudden determination to bridge the deep divide over bailing out Detroit.

“It should never have come to this. The auto companies dug themselves into this hole and for years did nothing to climb out of it,” Reid said in a statement. “But we are not acting for executives’ sake; we are acting on behalf of the workers and their families. This week’s hearings have made clear that we cannot let these companies fail.”

Talks on all sides will continue throughout the weekend.

News of the jobs loss broke just before auto executives testified once again on Capitol Hill to plead for $34 billion from taxpayers.

At the start of the hearing, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank called the unemployment report evidence that Washington can’t let Detroit collapse.

“In the midst of the worst economic situation since the Great Depression, it would be an unmitigated disaster,” Frank said.

General Motors has warned that it will run out of money needed to stay in business this month without federal help. It says it needs at least $4 billion by the end of the month and another $6 billion in the first quarter as part of up to $16 billion of help it says it will need to survive until 2010.

Chrysler says it is also on the verge of running out of money and needs $4 billion by the end of March, part of $7 billion it is requesting in total.

Ford, which has more cash on hand, said it hopes to avoid borrowing money but wants access to up to $9 billion in loans as a backstop in case problems get worse than expected.

The auto industry CEOs ran into harsh criticism the last time they appeared before the House Committee in November, as lawmakers hammered them on their lack of details on how they would spend the $25 billion then being requested and their decision to each fly to Washington on their own private jets.

This time, the auto industry leaders came with detailed plans submitted this week on how they would return to profitability if they get the federal loans. They also drove hybrid vehicles to Washington and promised to work for $1 a year.

The hearing started an hour after the Labor Department reported the loss of 533,000 jobs in November, the biggest loss in nearly 34 years.

By the end of more than six hours of testimony, it was clear that the panel was far more open to the idea of a bailout than it had been just two weeks ago, even if a solution still seemed elusive.

“I think it’s fair to say the disastrous job report today has heightened the interest in doing something,” Frank said at the conclusion of the hearing. “If we are lucky, we’ll come out with a bill next week that nobody likes. Because any bill that any individual might like won’t pass. But there is a sufficient consensus that we need to so something acceptable to enough members of both houses so that we avert disaster.”

The CEOs’ appearance followed testimony they gave before the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday.

Despite the apparent breakthrough, several House Republicans said they remained reluctant to sign on to any bailout. Some suggested that a bankruptcy filing would be a better way for the companies to become competitive, and others said they were concerned about other industries and businesses that might seek help if the automakers get aid.