From Volume 38, Issue 21 of EIR Online, Published May 27, 2011

U.S. Economic/Financial News

Bill Would Allow Unemployment Benefits To Go to States' Debt Payment

May 16 (EIRNS)—In a party-line vote last week, the House Ways and Means Committee approved a Republican bill (outlandishly named the Jobs, Opportunity, Benefits and Services Act—JOBS Act, for short) that would allow states to divert $31 billion worth of Federal money for the long-term unemployed, and use it to pay down state debt instead.

The Federal government currently provides up to 73 weeks' worth of benefits for people who exhaust the initial 26 weeks of unemployment checks that states offer. The bill would let states trim or even eliminate those "extra" weeks of benefits, which currently support more 4.1 million laid-off workers. The bill now heads to the full House of Representatives.

Huffington Post reported that federally funded extended unemployment benefits will expire at the beginning of 2012. For the rest of 2011, states could use that Federal money to pay for the first 26 weeks of benefits, or to repay the Federal government for loans to fund those benefits, or for things like reemployment services or wage subsidies. The bill would also set a national minimum standard for work-search requirements for laid-off workers who apply for benefits.

Goldman Sachs Expects DOJ Subpoenas on Mortgage Scams

May 20 (EIRNS)—Goldman Sachs executives expect to receive Department of Justice subpoenas demanding more information about Goldman's mortgage scams, the Wall Street Journal reports today.

Goldman turned over hundreds of millions of pages of documents to the Angelides Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, and tens of millions of documents to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which issued a 635-page report laying out Goldman's mortgage fraud last month. The report was endorsed by both Committee chair Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and ranking member Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).

The Subcommittee referred its findings to the Justice Department in April, and Goldman Sachs officials anticipate that it may receive subpoenas within days in response to the information now in the hands of the Federal prosecutors. The Subcommittee's report was completed after a two-year probe of the mortgage securitization machine built by Wall Street firms before the crisis.

As part of last year's civil settlement with the SEC on the its civil action, Goldman admitted "making mistakes," but denied "wrongdoing." Goldman paid a $550 million fine (about an executive bonus-worth). Goldman's latest quarterly report filed with the SEC includes a 7,800-word "legal proceedings" section. In 2007's first quarter, just before the crisis erupted, the same section was 400 words long.

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