Economic News Round-Up

images of thousands of marching protesters, flanked by police
Protesters march on November 30, 2011 in London, United Kingdom. More than 2 million public sector workers are staging a nationwide strike over cuts to their public sector pensions. The strike began at midnight leading to the closure of most state schools, disruption to rail and tunnel services, delays at border areas inside airports and ferry terminals and the postponement of thousands of non-emergency hospital operations. The TUC has said it is the biggest stoppage in more than 30 years, with hundreds of marches and rallies due to take place in cities and towns across the UK. [Getty Images]
Here's some of what I've been reading this morning...

Politicker NYMayor Bloomberg: 'I Have My Own Army': "In a speech at MIT last night to discuss the packed sweepstakes to build a tech campus in New York City, Mayor Bloomberg said he prefers City Hall to the White House. ... 'I have my own army in the NYPD, which is the seventh biggest army in the world. I have my own State Department, much to Foggy Bottom's annoyance. We have the United Nations in New York, and so we have an entree into the diplomatic world that Washington does not have,' Mayor Bloomberg said." Yikes.

On the other side of the country, Fox's local affiliate hits a new low as its reporter implies exiled Occupy LA protesters left behind jars of human waste and were keeping mysterious jars of white liquid—which Tina at Crooks & Liars notes is likely an antacid of some sort, which helps to neutralize the effects of pepper spray and teargas. Of course, not identifying what it is and ominously saying a protestor reportedly kicked a bottle of the white stuff at police is not only a great way to discredit the protesters, but also to imply that they're the violent ones, as opposed to the government representatives using chemical weaponry on them that necessitates the existence of the bottles of white stuff in the first place.

Nicholas Kristof speaks to a regretful banker for his latest column, and reports on the inherent unfairness that it was the irresponsible banks who were bailed out by the Federal Reserve to the tune of "$7.8 trillion, equivalent to more than $25,000 per American," instead of the people on whom those banks preyed to reap the rewards of high-risk mortgages.

Meanwhile, in Washington, the GOP will "support extending the payroll-tax cut," but only if it's "paid for." Funny how the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy never seem to generate such intense interest in budgeting.

Also in the Beltway: Congressional incumbents start attracting 'super PACs:' The Influence Industry.
Each of the top presidential candidates already has at least one super PAC raising unlimited funds to support his or her campaign. Now some members of Congress are getting in on the action, too.

Several new super PACs have sprung up in recent months with the explicit aim of helping a particular lawmaker... But the boldest proposal comes from Sen. Mike Lee (Utah), a freshman Republican who wants to add a super PAC component to his leadership PAC, the Constitutional Conservatives Fund. The Federal Election Commission is set to consider the request during a meeting Thursday.

The idea would allow Lee to raise unlimited funds from corporations and wealthy individuals as head of the super PAC, then spend the funds to help other Republicans. It would mark another step toward unraveling campaign-finance restrictions that generally require outside groups to act independently of candidates.
Perfect. If there's one thing that we needed in this country, it was a way to make it easier for corporations to own members of Congress. Democracy is so messy. This will be much easier for all of us.

I can't wait until Congressmembers get their matching jumpsuits and start attaching the sponsorship patches. Hey, if it's good enough for NASCAR, it's good enough for Congress! USA! USA! USA!

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