Italian Bank Stress Test Results

On July 29th I spoke with David Asman on Fox Business concerning the results of the Italian Bank stress tests along with Adam Shapiro, Charles Payne and Steve Forbes. The recent vote in the UK to leave the European Union put a good deal of pressure on the banks in the remaining European Union, with the banks in Italy struggling the most.  Like any good Italian drama, this is likely to be a tight ride until the very end… at which point tutti bene, at least for the next few months!

On November 28th Power and Money Discusses the Christmas Shopping Season

Lenore Hawkins joins David Asman and the Power and Money team to discuss Christmas shopping trends.  A few things to keep in mind:

• Shoppers spent an average of $398 over the weekend, up 9.1% from $365 last year.
• This year it wasn’t so much Black Friday as Freebie Friday, so I’m cautious about extrapolating a few days into the Christmas shopping season.
• A Deloitte survey found that the number of households looking to cut their holiday shopping budget this year rose to 42% from 38% last year.
• We just had a rather large revision for Q3 GDP from 2.5% to 2.0%. At this stage of the business cycle, growth is usually much closer to 5% than 2%.
• The income side of the national accounts shows an economy in distress. Real disposable personal income is now estimated to have decline 0.5% in Q2 (initially reported as a 0.6% gain) and dropped by 0.8%. If we look at personal after-tax income, the recession has arrived.
• More American’s 25 to 34 are living with their parents than ever before – almost 6 million. 26% increase since 2007.

November 7th, Lenore joins Power and Money to discuss the Ohio Union Vote

On November 7th, Lenore Hawkins, Gary B Smith and Carl Jeffers join Freedom Watch to discuss Ohio’s vote on public sector unions.  Lenore’s perspective:

In the private sector, companies have to take care of their employees or they will unionize.  If the employees do unionize, the union is limited by the pressure of competing companies.  If the union pushes too hard, making labor costs too high relative to the competition, the company will fail.  We’ve seen plenty of examples of how this happens.  Thus competitive pressure serves to counterbalance the union’s push for increased wages and benefits.

In public sector, there is no such competition to keep the unions in check thus they are able to endlessly expand wages and benefits, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill.

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, in 2009, State and Local workers total compensation was 45% above that of private sector workers, when both wages and benefits are taken into account.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics public sector benefits already grossly outweigh those of the private sector:

  • Health care benefits are available to 71% of private sector employees but 88% of public sector employees.
  • Retirement plans (defined-benefit or defined-contribution) are available to 67% of private sector employees but 90% of public sector employees. Among full-time employees, the shares rise to 76% and 99%, respectively.
  • Life insurance benefits are available to 59% of private sector employees but 80% of public sector employees.
  • Paid sick leave is available to 61% of private sector employees but 89% of public sector employees.

Additionally, during normal economic conditions, BLS data shows that layoffs and discharges in the public sector occur at just one-third the rate that is seen in the private sector.  Similarly, the quit rate in the public sector is just one third of that in the private sector.

We’ve also seen a dramatic rise in the level of public sector unions.  In 2008, 38.5% of all state and local workers were members o f unions, which is 5x the union share in the private sector of 7.6%.

Lenore Hawkins talks Solyndra and regulations on America's Nightly Scoreboard

On October 10th, Lenore Hawkins joined America’s Nightly Scorecard with David Asman to discuss outrage over Solyndra and proposed bans on tanning beds in California – a state with clearly nothing else on its plate!

Our government has become so expansive, that there are ample opportunities for abuse, whether it be using taxpayer dollars to fund a crony’s venture or bailing out banks that help government continue its wild spending spree.