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I once had great faith that the world was run by people who were far smarter than I—and that their superior intelligence, work ethic, and virtue could be relied upon to steer us through when the glassy seas blew into high swells and maelstroms. While nothing has yet convinced me that my meager perspective is not routinely exceeded — both in quality and degree—I have lost my faith in my betters.
Here's a thumbnail sketch of why.
It's easy to be a rugged individualist when things are going great. You just got your bonus. The hot girl you met when volunteering is totally into you. You found the perfect pair of jeans. Nothing can stop you.
But then something does. Maybe it's just a sudden moment of clarity that tears through the veil of success and makes you wonder for a moment about the value of anything. Why work so hard? Why keep getting up in the morning? Why bother at all when none of it really seems to matter?
Or maybe it is something more physical than metaphysical. In my case, it was a car that sped around a corner on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Fortunately, I was thrown clear of the wheels by the impact. Unfortunately, I broke my leg in nine places. Everything in my life came to a halt.
President Obama laid out his agenda on aggressively cutting spending and measures on to grow the economy in his State of the Union Tuesday night.
The President praised the American worker and delivered these encouraging words," We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time. We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world." But what's price tag attached to this?
I decided to ask that question to Pete Sepp, Executive Vice President of the moderate, conservative group, the National Taxpayers Union who did a line by line cost analysis on how much the proposals included in this address would cost the American Taxpayer.
The National Taxpayers Union Foundation, \(NTUF\) the research affiliate of the National Taxpayers Union, broke down the numbers exclusively for C-Suite Insider. The NTUF uses the accounting database called BillTally, which reports the “net annual agenda cost” for each Member of Congress based on sponsorships and cosponsorships of pending legislation. The NTUF matched Obama’s State of the Union proposals with those in the BillTally system in White House documents and other third-party sources.
So the other day, a door on a Metro North train randomly opened somewhere between 125th Street and Grand Central Terminal. The morning commuters, terrifyingly, were unphased.
Global Competitiveness at Center of State of the Union [Wall Street Journal] "President Barack Obama used his State of the Union address Tuesday to ask the nation to meet the challenges of a global economy, framing what he called a competitiveness agenda that includes traditional Democratic proposals like increased education spending, alongside gestures to Republicans seeking deep budget cuts. Mr. Obama said the nation needs to address its rising budget deficit but couldn't afford to back away from new spending on programs that he said would allow the U.S. to compete with rising powers like China and India—an approach Republicans were quick to reject as unaffordable. Mr. Obama also laid out areas of potential cooperation between the parties, such as a call to rewrite the corporate tax code."
President Talks Jobs, Recovery, and Deficits [NY Times] "President Obama challenged Americans on Tuesday night to unleash their creative spirit, set aside their partisan differences and come together around a common goal of outcompeting other nations in a rapidly shifting global economy. In a State of the Union address to a newly divided Congress, Mr. Obama outlined what he called a plan to “win the future” — a blueprint for spending in critical areas like education, high-speed rail, clean-energy technology and high-speed Internet to help the United States weather the unsettling impact of globalization and the challenge from emerging powers like China and India. 'The rules have changed,' he said. But at the same time he proposed budget-cutting measures, including a five-year freeze in spending on some domestic programs that he said would reduce the deficit by $400 billion over 10 years."
No more waiting for Wednesday, you Lisa Loeb fan you. Here's what you may have missed while you were out celebrating the first SOTU of 2011 into the wee morning hours:
Blackrock Profits Double on Rising Asset Prices [Financial Times] "BlackRock, the world's largest money manager, more than doubled earnings in the fourth quarter as rallying markets lifted assets under management. Boosted by the $13.5bn takeover of Barclays Global Investors in late 2009, BlackRock reported earnings well ahead of Wall Street expectations. Net income jumped from $256m in the fourth quarter of 2009 to $657m in the last three months of 2010 as revenues rose from $1.54bn to $2.49bn."
SEC Votes for Shareholder's 'Say on Pay' [Business Week via Bloomberg] "The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission gave shareholders the right to weigh in on pay packages for top executives to increase scrutiny of compensation practices blamed for fueling Wall Street risk-taking. SEC commissioners voted 3-2 today to enact the say-on-pay measure that will subject compensation plans to non-binding shareholder votes as often as once a year. The proposal is part of the agency's rulemaking under the Dodd-Frank Act."
Among those sitting in the box with First Lady, Michelle Obama, for the President’s State of the Union speech tonight will be Wendell Weeks, chief executive of glass maker Corning , an iconic American exporter that garners nearly three-fourths of its sales overseas. A mention by the President of a temporary holiday on the 35 percent repatriation tax for multinationals surely would get Weeks on his feet.
It might also add give reason for Ursula Burns, CEO of another classic American company, Xerox , to cheer because her company gets nearly half of its profits from overseas. GE CEO Jeff Immelt, who was just named chair of the President’s council on jobs, runs a company which has 54 percent in foreign sales, according to data gathered by Strategas Research.
While the President certainly won’t lead his speech with a corporate tax break proposal, investors and pundits ready to read between the lines tonight believe Obama may hint at some sort of corporate tax “reform.” An obvious first step in that direction would be a relaxation of this repatriation tax because the President could spin it as a way to bring more cash home for companies to build plants and hire workers. » Read more on Behind The Money
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