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[26 May 2016 | No Comment | ]

Should we believe the James Bullard, President and CEO – Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis when he tweets
Bullard: By nearly any metric, U.S. labor markets are at or beyond full employment https://t.co/f8py7wnCIT pic.twitter.com/wFuopZ42Un

— St. Louis Fed (@stlouisfed) May 26, 2016
 

Or the St. Louis Fed showing 9 million people leaving the workforce since 2016?

What would we do without the experts at the Fed making economic policy for the United States?

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[26 May 2016 | No Comment | ]

* We’re gonna skip over some of the stuff we discussed yesterday. Let’s start with Finke…
Illinois House Democrats Wednesday night rammed through a spending plan for the next state fiscal year, even though there’s no agreement on any of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s “turnaround agenda.”
The House voted […]

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[26 May 2016 | No Comment | ]

The Washington Examiner

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[26 May 2016 | No Comment | ]

The L.A. Times reports:

The latest auction in California’s cap-and-trade market for greenhouse gases fell sharply below expectations, as buyers purchased just 2% of the carbon credits whose sale funds a variety of state programs — notably, the proposed high-speed rail project.

The quarterly auction, conducted May 18 and announced Wednesday, will provide just $10 million for state programs, including $2.5 million for the bullet train. The rail authority had been expecting about $150 million.

The reason is unclear, but state officials and outside experts pointed to several possible causes: less need for the credits, pending litigation that may overturn the entire system and volatility spawned by speculators in a secondary trading market.

Whatever prompted the lack of buyers, the auction is a stark example of the uncertainty and risk of relying on actively-traded carbon credits to build the bullet train, a problem highlighted in recent legislative testimony by the Legislative Analyst’s Office and a peer-review panel for the $64-billion high-speed rail.

The state rail authority is counting on the greenhouse gas fees to fulfill its legal obligation of matching about $3.5 billion in federal grants. The Federal Railroad Administration just last week modified one of its two grants to allow the state to spend all the federal money by next year but not match it with state funds until 2022.

The grant modification also allows the federal agency to extend a cash advance, needed by the rail authority to cover a cash-flow problem it has experienced. It is unclear whether the auction shortfall will exacerbate that cash-flow problem or worse, undermine the state’s already-stretched financial plan.

Imagine that.

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[24 May 2016 | No Comment | ]

Let us stipulate that the Democratic nominating process is rigged in favor of the Establishment candidate–whomever he or she might be. The super-delegate system is the main instrument, as I have written before, and the choice of the highly partisan Congresswoman Deborah Wasserman Schultz (D,FL) as chair of the Democratic National Committee locked it tighter for Hillary Clinton this year. (Wasserman Schultz was a co-chair of the Clinton campaign against Obama in 2008.)

Nothing personal against Bernie Sanders–the Establishment would have worked equally hard against any upstart contender, though Sanders and …

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[23 May 2016 | No Comment | ]

* Greg Hinz…
A new report (scroll down to read) I’ve obtained exclusively from the Illinois Partners for Human Services says agencies serving the disabled, elderly, poor and others collectively are responsible for $3.1 billion a year in direct spending and $1.4 billion in secondary spending. They employ 3.5 percent of the state’s workforce, roughly 169,000 […]