Healthcare Reform to Top $1 Trillion

  Government, Politics and the Economy Democrats Offer Mixed Signals on Deficit President Obama may have called for legally binding measures to enforce spending restraint, but both his congressional allies and his own actions are threatening to undermine his effort. WSJ.com Healthcare Bill Raises Taxes by $600 Billion House Democrats have drafted healthcare overhaul legislation that includes $600 billion in tax increases and $400 billion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. According to Ways and Means chairman Charles Rangel, the total cost of healthcare reform will top $1 trillion. Bloomberg.com Management and Operations [Read Full Article]


Merchants May Find Help With Credit Card Costs

  Government, Politics and the Economy Partisan Lines Forming Over Healthcare Reform The top Senate Democrats and President Obama appear aligned in support of a government-run health insurance option, facing off against Senate Republicans who say they refuse to won't back such a measure. WashingtonTimes.com New Bill Could Help Merchants with Credit Card Costs Under a new bill before the House of Representatives, merchants would be able to negotiate with banks to reduce the costs associated with credit card purchases. Reuters.com [Read Full Article]


Federal Confusion Stifling Credit Flow

  Government and Economy Federal Confusion Stifling Credit Flow The federal government wants banks to lend more money to small businesses, but demands from federal regulators for more capital and higher deposit insurance premiums, and fears about what Congress may do next, are choking off the flow of much-needed money. MSNBC.com Small Businesses Need Relief, Too On Main Street, small businesses have been hit hard by the recession. Unable to obtain affordable capital and often in need of technical assistance to help them survive, many small businesses—needing direct help—are closing their doors and laying off workers. Reuters.com [Read Full Article]


SBA Lenders Pulling Back from Small Businesses

  Government and Economy Top SBA Lenders Dropping Small Business Loans As new government programs are poised to inject more liquidity into the credit market, several of the SBA's most active lenders have sharply reduced their loan volume, refusing new applications or lowering volume to a trickle. CNNMoney.com Business Forward: A Liberal Business Group High-powered Democratic consultants, well-connected with the Obama Administration, are recruiting for a new trade group called “Business Forward.” They are doing this to drum-up support for Obama's program... [Read Full Article]


Small Business and the Stimulus Package

  Government and Economy The Stimulus and Small Business Sales are slow, banks are holding tight and many small businesses are strapped for operating capital. The good news is that both the House and Senate versions of the stimulus bill address this issue, to an extent. The bad news is they can't agree on how to handle it. New TALF Plan Wins SBA Approval Newest Version of the Troubled Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) includes Changes Requested By SBA to Help Unclog Secondary Market for Small Business Loans. [Read Full Article]


House Stimulus Bill Hits $825 Billion as Unemployment Hits New Levels As Well

Government and Economy House Democrats Raise the Bailout Ante to $825 billionIn a bid to revive the economy, House Democrats have called for $825 billion in federal spending and tax cuts with strong emphasis on energy, education, health care and highway construction. Unemployment Rises More Than ExpectedThe Labor Department has reported that first-time requests for unemployment insurance jumped to a seasonally adjusted 524,000 in the week ending January 10, higher than the 500,000 new claims they had expected. Congressional Proposal: Cash for ClunkersCongress is mulling over a new proposal to pay people to get rid of all those old gas guzzling cars they... [Read Full Article]


Obama Pleads for the Automakers, Chances for Passage Slim

Government and Economy Obama Calls for Auto Industry AidPresident-elect Barack Obama is appealing for passage of an auto industry rescue package. Obama: “The government can't just stand by and watch the industry collapse.” Murky Future for Auto RescueProspects for the $14 billion auto industry rescue package dimmed amid strong Republican opposition, despite urgent appeals from Congress, President-elect Barack Obama and the Bush White House. New Unemployment Surges UnexpectedlyNew claims for jobless benefits rose more than expected last week, one... [Read Full Article]


Sweating the Recession and Predicting the Next Big Economic Pain

Government and Economy Democrats Must Now Deal With Immigration Issues President-elect Obama has nominated Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as Secretary of Homeland Security. The Washington Post suggests that Napolitano push for broad immigration reform if confirmed. Back on Capitol Hill, Auto Executives Still Find SkepticsSenator Christopher J. Dodd, chair of the Senate Banking Committee, hinted at difficulties for lawmakers in approving a bailout for the Big Three automakers. [Read Full Article]