December 18th, 2008

mr money bags

Obama stimulus plan nears $1 trillion

President-elect Barack Obama is considering a stimulus package that could reach $1 trillion.   In Washington on Wednesday, Obama’s aides said incentives to get the country out of its financial malaise would likely dwarf last spring’s tax rebates and could rival drastic government actions used to fight the Great Depression.  On Wednesday, the Obama transition team confirmed an Associated Press report that the president-elect is contemplating, but has not settled on, an economic-recovery plan that could cost as much as $1 trillion over two years.

Included could be programs similar to those of the Works Progress Administration, an agency created during Franklin Roosevelt’s administration that put millions back to work during the Depression. 

Obama, who has proposed a massive economic recovery plan aimed at creating 2.5 million jobs, said in a news conference on Monday his administration would work on creating long-term solutions for sustained economic growth. 

"Here's what I'm confident about, that our economic recovery plan, our 21st-century investments will create jobs immediately that would not otherwise be created," Obama told reporters.

"We've got shovel-ready projects all across the country that governors and mayors are pleading to fund. And the minute we can get those investments to the state level, jobs are going to be created."


Obama picks new head of SEC

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama was set on Thursday to name seasoned regulator Mary Schapiro to head the Securities and Exchange Commission as he considers a major overhaul of the heavily criticized agency.

The SEC, created after the 1929 stock market crash to police markets and restore investor confidence, has come under fire after the Wall Street meltdown and financial scandals exposed lapses in its oversight.

The collapses of investment firms Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers prompted scathing criticism from lawmakers who said the agency, charged with monitoring publicly traded firms, should have flagged the problems earlier.

Criticism has intensified with the $50 billion (32 billion pound) investment fraud -- one of the biggest in history -- allegedly carried out over many years by Bernard Madoff.

Schapiro is now chief executive of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, a self-regulatory body for the securities industry. She served as an SEC commissioner for six years, then became chairwoman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in 1994 during the Clinton administration.

Two Democrats familiar with the selection process said Obama was ready to name Schapiro as SEC chairwoman. An announcement was expected at an Obama press conference in Chicago planned for 9:45 a.m.      

Las Vegas gets 3.6 inches

A rare pre-winter storm brought Las Vegas its heaviest snowfall in nearly three decades, closing the airport and freeways as several inches coated marquees on the Las Vegas Strip and weighed down palm trees.

The storm Wednesday and early Thursday also dumped snow on rain on much of southern California and parts of Nevada outside Las Vegas.

The National Weather Service measured 3.6 inches of snow overnight at Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport, and meteorologist Jerome Jacques said about 2 inches was left before dawn on the ground near the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign.

"Snow is not unknown in the Las Vegas valley. On average we get 1/2 inch of snow a year," Jacques said. "But this amount made it a significant storm. We haven't had this amount of snow since 1979."

The weather service recorded 7.5 inches of snow at McCarran on Jan. 30-31, 1979.

The snow Wednesday prompted the cancellation of all flights in and out of Vegas. Visitors parked and posed for pictures wearing hooded jackets.

Other parts of Nevada were forecast to receive as much as 8 inches of snow in the second winter storm this week to drop snow on the desert city. Snowfall is common in nearby mountains hills, but not on the Strip or surrounding neighborhoods.

                                       December 17, 2008

                                             January 1979                                                                       Las Vegas Valley