Friday’s Business News

Energy

For the second time in a week the Senate GOP and oil industry-aligned MediaCrat Mary Landrieu blocked the Democrats’ attempt to pass a liberal energy bill laden with tax hikes. Here’s a link to that vote.

Thereafter Senate MediaCrats allowed passage of a D-plus (as opposed to an F-minus) energy bill, the worst provision of which is a massive increase in fuel-economy mandates. That measure passed overwhelmingly — only seven hard-core GOP conservatives and one Motor City-aligned Democrat deigned to vote no.

Unfortunately that bill will clear the House and then be signed into law.

Farm Subsidies

Democrats and a few farm-state Republicans defeated this week a joint attempt by the Senate’s fiscally-conservative bloc and Northeastern Republicans to strike certain products from public-money farm subsidies. Here’s a link to the roll call vote on that item.

Thereafter Republicans and a few Democrats defeated an attempt to shift corporate farm subsidy payments to other unnecessary sorts of farm spending programs. Here’s a link to the roll call on that vote. (By agreement 60 votes were necessary for that second item to pass).

Ultimately, and not surprisingly, the Senate passed by a large margin a pork-laden farm bill.

Moral of the story:

Farm subsidies are akin to Democrats and termites — once they’re entrenched it’s very hard and quite costly to get rid of them.

Terrorism Insurance

Here’s an agenda-driven but acceptable media piece on House-Senate-White House machinations regarding that 9/11-inspired gov’t terrorism insurance program. It’s worth a pretty close read.

Incidentally, the House roll call vote to which that article makes reference:

225 / 228 – 99% – Democrats in favor of gov’t-sponsored terror insurance
78 / 191 – 41% – Republicans in favor

3 / 228 – 1% – Democrats opposed to gov’t-sponsored terror insurance
113 / 191 – 59% – Republicans opposed

FHA Loans

The Senate on Friday cleared nearly unanimously a bill to expand FHA loan programs.

That’s a bad idea.

FHA does not lend money directly, but it’s a public-money loan insurance program. The less of that the better.

The House has an entire slate of socialized mortgage lending and real estate bills on its docket. Right now the House’s version of the FHA bill is much worse than the Senate’s version. Hopefully the Lower Chamber will overreach and nothing will get passed. But I wouldn’t hold my breath on that front.

Inflation

Consumer inflation in November was substantial — 0.8%. That was above expections and more than twice the price gain recorded in October.

Markets

Stocks this week were volatile and generally down.

Hopefully the Dow will fall all the way back down to 12,000. That would provide a nice base for long-term buying — en masse. But if that doesn’t happen, however, it’ll be okay. There are plenty of cheap individual stocks out there for the taking, e.g., Washington Mutual.

Buy low.
Sell high.
Not vice-versa.

Seventeen Ten times and counting
Michael Vick: Star Athlete, Dog Killer, Now Selfish Whiner