Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The American Way?

Ed- American capitalism is working more efficiently than ever. What does that mean for the future of our country?

Corporate Profits Were the Highest on Record Last Quarter

Published: November 23, 2010

The nation’s workers may be struggling, but American companies just had their best quarter ever.

American businesses earned profits at an annual rate of $1.66 trillion in the third quarter, according to a Commerce Department report released Tuesday. That is the highest figure recorded since the government began keeping track over 60 years ago, at least in nominal or non-inflation-adjusted terms.

Corporate profits have been going gangbusters for a while. Since their cyclical low in the fourth quarter of 2008, profits have grown for seven consecutive quarters, at some of the fastest rates in history.

This breakneck pace can be partly attributed to strong productivity growth — which means companies have been able to make more with less — as well as the fact that some of the profits of American companies come from abroad. Economic conditions in the United States may still be sluggish, but many emerging markets like India and China are expanding rapidly.

Tuesday’s Commerce Department report also showed that the nation’s output grew at a slightly faster pace than originally estimated last quarter. Its growth rate, of 2.5 percent a year in inflation-adjusted terms, is higher than the initial estimate of 2 percent. The economy grew at 1.7 percent annual rate in the second quarter.

Still, most economists say the current growth rate is far too slow to recover the considerable ground lost during the recession.

“The economy is not growing fast enough to reduce significantly the unemployment rate or to prevent a slide into deflation,” Paul Dales, a United States economist for Capital Economics, wrote in a note to clients. “This is unlikely to change in 2011 or 2012.”

The increase in output in the third quarter was driven primarily by stronger consumer spending. Wages and salaries also rose in the third quarter, which might help bolster holiday spending in the final months of 2010.

Private inventory investment, nonresidential fixed investment, exports and federal government also contributed to higher output. These sources of growth were partially offset by a rise in imports, which are subtracted from the total output numbers the government calculates, and a decline in housing and other residential fixed investments.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Want Sane Politics? Start Here:

  Editors note:   This is how the Mother of Parliaments deals with candidates or campaigns run on lies and half-truths. At a stroke. Can we learn? (reprinted from The Telegraph of London  (11/5).

 Labour minister barred from Commons for three years

Phil Woolas loses seat after knowingly making false statements about opponent in May's general election.

The Labour MP could be barred from the Commons for three years, with the election contest for his Oldham East and Saddleworth seat set to be re-run. 

But Mr Woolas said he would fight the ruling - the first of its kind in 99 years - and was seeking a judicial review.

"The court has decided that an election should be overturned and an MP should lose his seat and be incapable of being elected to the House of Commons for three years because statements which attacked a candidate's 'political conduct' were also attacks on his 'honour' and 'purity'."

The court decided that the Oldham election should be be re-run, and that Mr Woolas should lose his seat and be barred from being elected to the House of Commons for three years.
It is now up to Commons Speaker John Bercow to decide whether to impose the three year ban, initiate a by-election for Oldham East and Saddleworth immediately or wait for further legal proceedings.

The Speaker's office said Mr Bercow would make a statement to the Commons on Monday.
Lord Falconer, the former Lord Chancellor, had earlier conceded that Mr Woolas would be forced out, saying he will not be Labour's candidate in the by-election that must now be held.

He said: "If there is to be a by-election, which it sounds like there is going to be, then Labour will have a new candidate."

Mr Woolas, who won May's general election with a majority of just 103 votes, is the first MP for 99 years to face a successful challenge to his election victory on the basis of publishing false statements about an opponent.

The specially convened election court had heard that the Labour MP stirred up racial tensions in a desperate bid to retain his seat in Oldham East and Saddleworth.

Giving their judgment, Mr Justice Nigel Teare and Mr Justice Griffith Williams said Mr Woolas was guilty of illegal practices under election law.

Mr Woolas was also found to have knowingly made a false statement that Mr Watkins had reneged on a promise to live within the constituency prior to the election.

That suggested Mr Watkins was "untrustworthy".