Items of Interest:
Nick Bunkley / New York Times:
G.M. Notifying 1,100 Dealers That They Will Be Dropped -- General Motors told more than 1,100 dealers Friday that their franchises would not be renewed next year, bringing the total for the week to nearly 2,000 car dealers that learned they were no longer wanted.
The action, which involved only half of the showrooms that G.M. ultimately hopes to eliminate, was another step toward a probable bankruptcy filing at the end of this month...
discussion:Calculated Risk: Market, GM and TARP RepaymentDaniel Akst / Atlantic Correspondents: The death of newspapers (cont'd)
CNBC: Auto Sector Effectively Bankrupt: AutoNation CEO
Washington Post: Chrysler Pulls Out of Hundreds of Franchises
Prudential Among Insurers Cleared for U.S. Bailout -- Prudential Financial Inc. and Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. are among the insurers granted access to U.S. aid as the government moves to shore up an industry battered by investment losses.
Hartford won preliminary approval for $3.4 billion in capital from the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, the Connecticut-based insurer said yesterday in a statement. Prudential, Allstate Corp. and Principal Financial Group Inc. also are eligible for funds, said Andrew Williams, a spokesman for the Treasury. Lincoln National Corp. said it may receive $2.5 billion...
Barry Ritholtz / Big Picture: Why Are We Bailing Out Insurers?
David Goldman / Inner Workings: Insurance: The Canary in the Coal Mine
CNBC: Some Insurers May Not Accept TARP Money
Fiscal Suicide Ahead -- Barack Obama came to office with a theory. He believed that the country was in desperate need of new investments in education, energy and many other areas. He also saw that the nation faced a long-term fiscal crisis caused by rising health care and entitlement costs. His theory was that he could spend now and save later. He could fund his agenda with debt now and then solve the long-term fiscal crisis by controlling health care and entitlement costs later on.
In essence, health care became the bank out of which he could fund the bulk of his agenda. By squeezing inefficiencies out of the health care system, he could have his New New Deal and also restore the nation to long-term fiscal balance.
This theory justified the tremendous ramp-up of spending we’ve seen over the last several months. Obama inherited a $1.2 trillion deficit and has quickly pushed it up to $1.8 trillion, a whopping 13 percent of G.D.P.
discussion:Conor Clarke / The Atlantic Business Channel: Obama's Deficit ProblemDavid Sirota / San Francisco Chronicle: Health care's enigma in chiefJennifer Rubin / Commentary: And Then the Trillion Dollar Healthcare Plan's Going to Pay for Everthing Else!Alan Stewart Carl / Donklephant: Will Heath Care Reform Actually Save Us Any Money?Susan Duclos / Wake up America: Will The Real Barack Obama Please Stand UpJonathan Alter / Newsweek: Now is not the time to compromise on health care.
The 81% Tax Increase — To pay for government's promises on Social Security and Medicare. -- This week, the federal government published two important reports on long-term budgetary trends. They both show that we are on an unsustainable path that will almost certainly result in massively higher taxes.
The first report is from the trustees of the Social Security system. News reports emphasized that the date when its trust fund will be exhausted is now four years earlier than estimated last year. But in truth, this is an utterly meaningless fact because the trust fund itself is economically meaningless...
Andrew Biggs / The American: The Straw Men of Social Security
Lance Burri / The TrogloPundit: We've known about our entitlement problem for a very long time now.
- The Financial Meltdown's Unhappy Anniversary - Allan Sloan, Fortune
- A Stimulating October Surprise for the Economy? - Josh Zumbrun, Forbes
- The Biggest Stimulus Won't Come from Obama - Randall Forsyth, Barron's
- Happiest Places on Earth Are Heavily Taxed - Todd Harrison, MarketWatch
- A Bank Is Survived by Its Loans - Floyd Norris, New York Times
- Let's Not Forget: Banking Is The Industry That Failed - The Economist
- Nine Things for the Bulls To Ponder - Brett Arends, Wall Street Journal
- China’s Stock Bubble Passes Stiglitz Acid Test - William Pesek, Bloomberg
- Emulating Japan Might Not Be a Bad Thing - Peter Tasker, Financial Times
- 2088: A Look Back At The Panic of 2008 - Caroline Baum, Bloomberg
- Street 'Revolutionairies' Bring Questionable Change - Jeff Faux, Nation
- Birth Pains: A New Global System Is Coming - The Economist
- What Does Main Street Make of Wall Street? - Gillian Tett, Financial Times
- Card Check: The Hidden Agenda - Diana Furchtgott-Roth, RealClearMarkets
- Don't Blame Deregulation For The Housing Mess - Thomas Sowell, IBD
- Derivative Danger In Wall Street's Shadows - Frank Partnoy, NY Times
- Health Costs Are the Real Deficit Threat - Peter Orszag, Wall Street Journal
- Obama's Moment Has Come On Health Care - Jonathan Alter, Newsweek
- A Massive Tax Hike in The Not-Too-Distant Future - Bruce Bartlett, Forbes
- The Congressional Crackdown On Big Plastic - Christopher Beam, Slate
- What If Global Warming Fears Are Overdone? - Jon Birger, Fortune
- Five Reasons Why The Rally Could Fizzle - Laura Mandaro, MarketWatch
- An Open Letter to Warren Buffett - Steven Pearlstein, Washington Post
- Tales From the Hedge Fund Crypt - Mark Gimein, The Big Money
- Gary Shilling: Say Goodbye to the Great Gatsby Era - Seeking Alpha
- Is The Crisis Over? The CBO Weighs In - Simon Johnson, Baseline Scenario
- Should We Put a Carbon Tax on China? - Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution