Here is an update on the growing battle for gay marriage in Maine. Things are heating up for sure. This could get messy.
Wells Fargo thought what happened in Vegas would stay in Vegas. Not this time. After receiving $25 billion last year in bailout money Wells Fargo decided to go through with their annual employee conference.
“Recognition events are still part of our culture,” spokeswoman Melissa Murray said Tuesday afternoon. “It’s really important that our team members are still valued and recognized.” Corporate retreats have attracted criticism since the bank bailout last fall. Congress scolded insurance giant American International Group Inc. for spending $440,000 on spa treatments for executives just days after the company took $85 billion from taxpayers. AIG has since canceled all such outings. The weekend of Feb. 25, Wells Fargo’s insurance division is scheduled to host a 40-person team for a two-day meeting at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Kevin Waetke, another spokesman for Wells Fargo, defended the trip. He said the company, which recently acquired Wachovia Corp., had a long-standing tradition of recognizing top employees. “This year, we have the unique opportunity to bring together our Wells Fargo and new Wachovia mortgage consultants to focus on continuing to do all we can for U.S. homeowners,” Waetke said.
Congress was watching. They had a slightly different view on the necessity of the Vegas conference.
“Let’s get this straight: These guys are going to Vegas to roll the dice on the taxpayer dime?” said Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, a West Virginia Republican who sits on the House Financial Services Committee. “They’re tone deaf. It’s outrageous.”
Wells Fargo attempted to defend their decision to spend our money. Their shaky defense crumbled against a veritable siege of blogger and journalist attacks. Wells Fargo has since canceled their Vegas vacation.
I’m not sure why they thought they would get away with this. After AIG and Citigroup got busted for similar things everyone has been on the lookout for bailout abuses. The balls of these companies just surprises the Hell out of me. Wells Fargo was one of the major players in the whole sub-prime mortgage fiasco that got this recession ball rolling. Now they want to spend taxpayer money on frivolities and Cher? Can we bring back the stockades?
The EU sent out a stern warning to the US today over part of the proposed stimulus package. Protectionist measures in the package worry many nations of the European Union and Canada. Last week the House moved to require that only US iron and steel be used in the infrastructure projects in the $825 billion stimulus package.
Concerns of a trade war had been voiced by members of the House and Senate. “I don’t think we ought to use a measure that is supposed to be timely, temporary and targeted to set off trade wars when the entire world is experiencing a downturn in the economy,” McConnell said. “It’s a bad idea to put it in a bill like this, which is supposed to be about jump-starting the economy.”
The CEO of Fed-Ex stated, “If the Congress passes this Buy American provision, I can assure you – and we operate in 220-some-odd countries around the world and are a huge part of the import-export infrastructure of the United States – we will get retaliation, and it will be American jobs at risk.”
The EU isn’t just spouting hot air. They mean business.
EU Ambassador to Washington John Bruton said that, if passed, the measure could erode global leadership on free trade. “We regard this legislation as setting a very dangerous precedent at a time when the world is facing a global economic crisis.” Canada’s ambassador to Washington warned Senate leaders that if Buy American was in the final legislation, it would set a negative precedent with global repercussions. “The United States will lose the moral authority to pressure others not to introduce protectionist policies,” Michael Wilson wrote in a letter to the senators. Canada was hoping to be exempted from any Buy American measures, said International Trade Minister Stockwell Day. “These protectionist measures, in a time of recession, only make things worse,” he told broadcaster CBC. “It can only trigger retaliatory action and we don’t want to go there.”
I hope Congress realizes this wont protect our businesses. We aren’t the only one’s suffering. The whole world is. In this recession we need to be promoting trade, not hindering it. “Trade is the best economic stimulus,” said Doris Leuthard, the Swiss economics minister. If trade is the best stimulus, then protectionism would be the worst.