Posts filed under “Taxes and Policy”

WSJ: States Slammed by Tax Shortfalls

Nice interactive chart on the Beige Book accompanies this realistic article on the precarious conditions of State finances:

"The stumbling U.S. economy is forcing states to slash spending and cut jobs in order to close a projected $40 billion shortfall in the current fiscal year.

That gap — identified Wednesday in a survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures — is more than triple the size of the previous year’s. It is the result of broad economic weakness at the state and local levels that could cause pain throughout this year and into 2010. Sales-tax collections, for example, have been hurt by the housing slump and high gasoline prices, which are prompting cutbacks in consumer spending. Personal income-tax collections have been hit by rising unemployment, while corporate income-tax collections have been eroded by falling profits…

Several state-university systems are being forced to raise tuition and tighten their belts…States are also reducing their payrolls and programs. Vermont is cutting about 400 jobs through attrition, while Tennessee is using buyouts and possibly layoffs to eliminate about 3,000 government jobs. Social services have been hit hard. Ten states have made targeted cuts in Medicaid, while three have cut contributions to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program."

Of course, it all comes back to Real Estate. Declining housing sales cuts into transfer taxes, Construction spending is down, and employment is way off. The cascading effect of less sales means fewer durable goods sales, home improvement expenditures, etc. As virtuous as the cycle was no the way up, its now that vicious on the way down.

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Click for interactive chart
Beige_book

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Source:
States Slammed by Tax Shortfalls
CONOR DOUGHERTY, AMY MERRICK and ANTON TROIANOVSKI
WSJ, July 24, 2008
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121682740001077489.html

Category: Consumer Spending, Economy, Real Estate, Taxes and Policy

End of Illusions for GSEs

Category: Bailouts, Credit, Real Estate, Taxes and Policy

Economic Witch Hunt

Interesting discussion:


"The political establishment is embracing a time-honored response to the nation’s economic turmoil. It’s going on a witch hunt.Politicians of all stripes worry that improper trading by short sellers has contributed to turmoil in the stock markets. And "excessive" oil traders have replaced oil-company executives — themselves twice keelhauled by congressional committees this year — as the bogeymen behind the run-up in gas prices.  For Washington veterans, the sharpened attacks are the incarnation of a standard political trope, one found especially in election years"



Source:
Economic Woes Get a Fix: Witch Hunt
GREG HITT
WSJ, July 19, 2008; Page A3
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121642556479566791.html

Category: Markets, Taxes and Policy, Video

Bailout Nation: Treasury, SEC on Bailouts

I did three segments Tuesday on Yahoo Tech Ticker at the Nasdaq: 

Here is the last, on Bailouts, Fannie & Freddie:

Click for video



Source:
Bailout Nation: Paulson, Cox, Shorts Weigh in On Fannie, Freddie
Aaron Task
Yahoo Tech Ticker, Jul 15, 2008 07:00am EDT
http://finance.yahoo.com/tech-ticker/article/39342/Bailout-Nation-Paulson-Cox-Shorts-Weigh-in-On-Fannie-Freddie?tickers=FNM,FRE,GM,TM,%5EDJI,%5ESPX,XLF

Category: Bailout Nation, Books, Credit, Federal Reserve, Taxes and Policy, Video

Ethanol DeathWatch Map

Category: Commodities, Energy, Taxes and Policy

A Nation of Whiners? No, Just Wall Street Beggars

Category: Bailouts, Credit, Derivatives, Markets, Taxes and Policy

Idiots Fiddle While Rome Burns

Category: Credit, Derivatives, Federal Reserve, Politics, Taxes and Policy

Quote of the Day: Bailouts

Category: Politics, Taxes and Policy

Whining US CEOs: Economy is “Dismal”

Category: Economy, Employment, Psychology, Taxes and Policy

CEO Sees Dismal Economy (Bunch of Whiners!)

CEOs portray a gloomy forecast for the US Economy, according to a new survey by Chief Executive Magazine:

Category: Credit, Economy, Taxes and Policy, Video