Friday, March 23, 2012

News of the Day

First, there's the debate over gas prices. While Obama recently agreed to putting a rush on the southern portion of the Keystone XL pipeline, the deal would still leave most of the line unconfirmed at this point. Obama noted that the reasons for this were good: the line could disrupt wildlife and people's homes, and there needs to be more discussion about the route of the pipeline. Obama also pointed out, again, that he has no control over gas prices, and that the new pipeline would have little impact as well. That's not enough for most of the President's opponents, who continue to maintain that Obama is not doing enough to help the gas prices or open up for more domestic drilling (just as a note, domestic oil production is the highest it's been since the early 2000's. Just saying).

Then there's the Israel/Iran issue. Well, Iran is continuing to do whatever it is they're doing according to some sources, while Israel is saying that it's the threat of military violence and not the imposed sanctions that are having the most effect in deterring Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons. Funnily enough, Iran didn't slow its work until after sanctions came into place, so you figure it out. While Iran is still able to finish out its current contracts, it is not allowed to renew them, which means that in the next few months they are going to run out of places to do business with.

Congress has been busy as well with all manner of things, like the JOBS Act. Of course, not everyone is happy with the bill, particularly the parts that would allow for major abuses on Wall Street. Despite these concerns, and a large body of evidence to support Wall St. restrictions, the bill easily passed both houses of Congress, and is facing little opposition from either party.

Obama is setting up to nominate Dartmouth President Jim Yong Kim to be head of the World Bank. It's a big move and will likely have support from many of the developing nations that are part of the WB. While those smaller countries have been looking to gain more influence, Kim's background in health and particularly his work on AIDS and tuberculosis will probably make him an appealing choice for those groups.

Santorum made some interesting comments about who he would rather have as President. Santorum claims he would rather have Obama serve a second term than see Romney elected. Santorum claims there's little difference between the two. Backlash from other candidates, as well as conservative media, has been swift and brutal. Santorum, who has been considered the second-place candidate to this point, is probably going to see further reactions from the conservative community with decreased contributions, and probably falling poll numbers.

Finally, Bank of America has come up with a new program. They say that when a qualified person is foreclosed on, the bank will rent the property to that family at a lower rate than their more former mortgage. That way, the family can stay in their home, and they can afford it. Win-win, right? Yeah, not so much. See, if the bank owns the property, the renter gains no equity on it. They simply live there and continue to pay the bank. In other words, instead of the bank sitting on a bunch of empty properties that generate no income, the bank now makes money from the people they foreclosed on by renting their property back to them. They will make a more steady flow of money from a lot more people, and won't have to worry so much when their clients can't pay. Oh, and there's no rent-to-own feature, so people can't earn their old homes back, they can only rent them.

1 comment:

samp said...

One thing re: your Keystone pipeline comment regarding production being more than in the past. This can be attributed to the Bush administration NOT Obamas as it takes 4 to 6 years AFTER the permits are issued to begin drilling and production. But I must admit Obama is a master at taking credit for others achievements and finding blame for failures everywhere but in the White House....