On Whitehouse.gov today there’s a post declaring that the government has a stupidly large amount of real estate that taxpayers are paying to maintain — but that it doesn’t really need.
Our leaders were up late hashing out a version of the new financial reform bill and yes, apparently they have come to some agreement. But what’s in there?
The United States is $10.2 trillion in debt. Like countless Americans, our government has spent beyond its means and needs help getting back on its feet. We recently received a panicked email from White House Budget Director Jim Nussle…
Here’s an informative slideshow that breaks down how your tax dollars are spent (spoiler alert: nearly half goes to the military). [CNBC]
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson wants to consolidate the nation’s financial regulators into a tripartite gang that can save the economy from distress and doom. The plan to give the Federal Reserve broad new regulatory powers and streamline the regulatory community has been in the works since last March, before the start of the subprime meltdown. Paulson is worried that the U.S. markets are no longer competitive with maturing world markets, some of which aren’t hampered by nuisances like regulation. After the jump we’ll explain the consumer impact of the plan and introduce you to your three new regulators.
We recently received our “Economic Stimulus Payment Notice,” and it seems worth far less than the $41.8 million the Treasury spent on printing and mailing. The letter contained no surprises, but did extend the tantalizing possibility that we would receive “a notice and additional information shortly before the payment is made.” Check out the full letter and a handy eligibility chart, after the jump.
Wondering where the tax money you pay into the NYC public school system is going? Well, part of it goes to pay the salaries of about 700 teachers who are forced to sit in special rooms that are located all over the city. All day. And do nothing. Sometimes for years at a time. [Rubber Room via BuzzFeed]
A CBS investigation has revealed that parking tickets stemming from 85% of the parking meters in Philadelphia are invalid. Pennsylvania law requires inspectors to certify each parking meter for accuracy once every three years, but the single inspector working for Philly’s Licenses and Inspections Department, the city agency in change of certification, has visited less than 15% of all parking meters—but he has found the time to certify some meters 8 times while others go completely unchecked. As a result, thousands of parking tickets are invalid under state law.
The Senate finally voted last week to send the ailing Consumer Product Safety Commission desperately needed funds, staff, and powers. The overdue reform bill passed with bipartisan support on a 79-13 vote.
Nobody likes the compromise reached by Senators to reform the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Industry thinks the revised plan goes too far, while consumer groups want more. For now, the compromise would allow the CPSC to operate without a quorum, inject needed cash into the Commission, and provide for several other nifty provisions.
Howdy there partner, are you one of them DTV Deputies? No? The FCC thinks it’s high time you take the transition to digital television into your own hands. Because why pay for test trials in select communities when you can use early-90’s sound effects and cutting edge graphics to bait consumers into studying for a 13-question quiz?
The federal government continues to bungle the transition to digital television, this time by making it difficult for consumers to redeem subsidy coupons for DTV converter boxes.
Meet The Singing Regulators. Regular FCC employees by day, these mellifluous regulators spend their nights performing humorous sendups inspired by the Commission’s work. Their latest song pokes fun at the FCC‘s utter failure to prepare the nation for the planned February 2009 transition to digital television.
The Glendale Fire Department sent Ann and Mike Collard a notice informing them that the branches on some of their trees were too close to their home. The notice ordered the couple to maintain 5 feet of “vertical clearance between roof surfaces and overhanging portions of trees.”
Bill Moyers produced an excellent segment on media consolidation and its disproportionate impact on minorities. African Americans and Hispanics account for over a quarter of the population, but own just 33 of the nation’s 1,350 television stations, and only 6% of radio stations. According to Melody Spann-Cooper, owner of Chicago’s only black-owned radio station:
Radio has moved from being in the business of empowering and educating people to Wall Street, to making money. And that’s not the big corporate conglomerates, you know, that’s not their fault. They were allowed to do this.