May 8, 2009

IL Treasurer’s Intimidation of National Bank, and Union’s Invocation of TARP, Is Not National News

ObamaHartmax0509.jpgShoot, he’s only talking about pulling $8 billion in state-controlled money because a bank won’t go easy on a business borrower who can’t pay. What’s the big deal?

Well, the story involves the company that makes suits for President Barack Obama (pictured at right). Beyond that, the union at that company is citing the US Treasury Department’s Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) as a reason that company’s bank should in essence bail it out.

You might think that these two factors, combined with what I’m characterizing as a loyalty oath all financial institutions who do business with the State of Illinois must soon agree to (covered later), might make the Treasurer’s and union’s threats a national story. You would be wrong.

Here is most of the very short AP item, carried at the Springfield (IL) State Journal-Register, and referred to me by a NewsBusters commenter:

Giannoulias threatens bank over Obama suit-maker

Posted May 08, 2009 @ 06:06 AM

Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is threatening to pull state business from Wells Fargo & Co. unless the bank stops trying to liquidate a company that makes suits for President Barack Obama.

….. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Jan. 23. It employs about 3,000 workers represented by the Service Employees International Union.

Giannoulias spokesman Scott Burnham says Wells Fargo is custodian of an $8 billion state portfolio. Bank spokeswoman Jessica Walstrom says Wells Fargo empathizes with Hartmarx’s employees.

Union officials say the bank should help since it received a $25 billion federal bailout.

In a free media bias bonus, the AP item did not name the Illinois Treasurer’s party.

This would appear to be a replay of sorts of the Republic Window company situation last December, when union workers occupied their employer’s closed plant and demanded that the company’s lenders make them whole for lost vacation pay and other items. Under considerable public pressure, including that of a grandstanding, soon to be indicted, impeached, and removed Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich, Bank of America and Chase Bank did just that, though they were under no legal obligation to do so, after Republic filed for bankruptcy. The banks’ decisions were surely influenced by President-elect Obama’s statement supporting the occupiers: “they’re absolutely right and understand that what’s happening to them is reflective of what’s happening across this economy.”

In a free media bias bonus, the AP item did not name the Illinois Treasurer’s party.

In related underplayed news yesterday, Giannoulias also introduced the near-equivalent to a loyalty oath that he expects banks to agree to if they expect to continue to do business with the State of Illinois (excerpt is from the Treasurer’s press release; bolds are mine):

State to deny banks that refuse community investment pledge

Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is demanding that Illinois financial institutions reinvest in the communities they serve if they expect future state money.

Beginning June 1, Giannoulias will require all financial institutions to sign a three-point community reinvestment pledge before receiving or renewing state deposits.

Currently, Illinois has deposits worth $1.4 billion in 205 banks, 26 credit unions and 20 savings and loans. The new pledge goes further than what’s required under current state and federal laws.

“This is the anti bailout,” Giannoulias said. “We are going to hold financial institutions” ‘feet to the fire” and ensure that state deposits go to good corporate citizens.”

Giannoulias worked in conjunction with the Monroe Foundation to develop the pledge that will specifically benefit traditionally underserved, low- to moderate-income and rural areas.

A Google News search on Giannoulias’s unique last name, with a grand total of 51 results (a very low number for almost any story of significance) shows that The Giannoulias-Wells Fargo story has not gained significant national coverage outside of Illinois, and that his “community investment pledge” intimidation campaign is virtually invisible.

As of 10:10 a.m. this morning, this preserved copy of AP’s raw national news feed containing stories that go back to early Thursday evening does not have a story related to either item listed, meaning that local readers ordinarily be the ones to catch wind of what Giannoulias is up to. The raw national feed as of 3:25 p.m. (also preserved is similarly barren.

It would appear that we’re beginning to get a handle on the real reasons why the Treasury Department won’t accept TARP repayments. They want to give a club to any and every activist and politician who wishes to use it to impose their will on any financial institution that might get in their way.

And this isn’t of interest to anyone outside of Illinois?

Cross-posted at

WSJ Publishes BizzyBlog/NB Post About Non-TARP Lenders and White House Pressure

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,General,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:03 am

(Yes, this was carried to the top for a bit in an act of shameless self-promotion. :–>)

The Wall Street Journal published the NewsBusters version of this BizzyBlog post (“The Non-TARP Lenders Aren’t Making Stories of White House Pressure Up; That Means Establishment Media Will Investigate, Right? Not So Far”) in its Opinion Journal Federation (OJF) section.

Thanks to Doug Ross for alerting me of its existence yesterday (though it carries today’s date).

The list of recent OJF articles indicates that the Journal typically puts up about 6-7 items per month.

That’s pretty cool.

The April Employment Situation Report (050809): The POR Economy Stays Poor

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:58 am

Earlier in the week, my establishment media e-mail alerts were telling me how “positive” it was that ADP’s Employment Report came in showing that “only” 491,000 private-sector jobs were lost in April.

Today’s official news from the Bureau of Labor Statistics must be absolutely thrilling:

Nonfarm payroll employment continued to decline in April (-539,000), and the unemployment rate rose from 8.5 to 8.9 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. …. In April, job losses were large and widespread across nearly all major private-sector industries. Overall, private-sector employment fell by 611,000.

Great. That means government employment grew. That’ll add to GDP (/sarc).

So the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy (aka The POR Recession As Normal People Define It), which Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and Harry Reid initiated last June, marches on. The Terrible Triumvirate has done nothing substantive to deal with their monstrous creation (the stimulus package certainly hasn’t been yet, and likely won’t be for quite a while, if at all). The demoralization of businesspeople, investors, and entrepreneurs that started last summer isn’t letting up.


UPDATE, 1:00 p.m.: Well, there’s good news and bad news.

First, the good news: For the first time since October, the real economy finally added (not seasonally adjusted) jobs on the ground in April. The November 2008-March 2009 time period, which “just happens” to coincide with the first five months following the election of President Prompter, was the first time ever that the real, on-the-ground economy lost jobs for five months in a row.

The bad news? The number of jobs actually added during April is the lowest since 1958, which had an increase of 59,000 jobs:


From a jobs standpoint, The POR Economy, aka the POR Recession As Normal People Define It, is the worst economy since Eishenhower, if not earlier.

Lucid Links (050809, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 9:12 am

Noteworthy Net-worthies:

Hilariously pathetic lefty argument — We should accept Gitmo terrorists into our regular prison systems because if we don’t, we’ll be showing corrections officers across the land that we don’t have confidence that they will do their jobs, thereby disparaging them (the officers, not the terrorists). Michael Goldfarb at the Weekly Standard (HT Red State) has more.

From Francis Cianfrocca at Red State — “Tim Geithner went to market today to sell 30-year bonds, and he got plastered. The interest rate shot up past 4.28%, and it pulled up the rest of the right side of the yield curve. The auction went unexpectedly bad as there were relatively fewer bids than in the past.” I wonder why?

Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey proved once and for all, forever and ever that he is not prolife when he voted to confirm the nomination of radical pro-abort Kathleen Sebelius for Secretary of Health and Human Services. This was a direct vote of support for a person who will have a direct, negative impact on life-related issues. Accordingly (HT Carol McKinley), “Diocese of Scranton Bishop Joseph F. Martino made it clear Wednesday that he might eventually bar U.S. Sen. Bob Casey from receiving communion.” This is one step beyond telling someone they should not receive communion, which the bishop has done a couple of times already; it’s saying that if that person tries, he might be refused. Casey should be refused. We should not be surprised to someday learn that Bishop Martino’s name has been added to the Janet Napolitano’s DHS potential terrorist watch list.

Related — Ted Turner, father of five, believes that China’s one-child policy has not beendraconian” (HT Ken Shepherd at NewsBusters). Why would he? He thinks the world’s population needs to come down to about 3 billion, and that everyone should adopt a one-child policy. That China is not being “draconian” according to Ted shows that he is okay with forcing any woman who resists to go the one-child route. How “pro-choice.”

Econ catch-up — The Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing and Non-Manufacturing April indices came in at 40.1% (up from 36.3%) and 43.7% (up from 40.8%), respectively. Anything above 50% indicates expansion. The news is an improvement, but just think how much better things would be if:
- First, Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and Harry Reid hadn’t inflicted the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy on us beginning in June of last year, and
- Second, if Pelosi, Obama, and Reid had opted for supply-side tax cuts, the much more positive effects of which would have certainly kicked in by now, instead of the (very, very, very, delayed) “stimulus.”

Totally related to the previous item — Unlike Ben Bernanke and others who are predicting a recovery by the end of the year, the ISM’s Semi-Annual Economic Forecast expects “Economic decline to continue in the United States throughout the remainder of 2009. …. an overall revenue decrease of 14.7 percent is expected for manufacturing …. (non-manufacturing) respondents currently expect a 5.1 percent net decrease in overall revenues.” Yikes.