Howard Buffet's blog
John Solomon reports that federal investigators have opened up 1900 investigations into fraud associated with the president's economic stimulis plans. You can make that 1901.
SolarCity, a multiple recipient of "green energy" grants, loans and contracts, is being received a subpoena in July from the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Treasury to determine whether the company was part of a scam to inaccurately stated the fair-market value of their PV systems when applying for funds under the Treasury's Section 1603 cash-grant program.
"The Department of Justice could decide to bring a civil action to recover amounts it believes were improperly paid to us," SolarCity writes in its SEC filing. "If it were successful it asserting this action, we could then be required to pay damages and penalties for any funds received based on such misrepresentations."
SolarCity's CEO is Elon Musk. Musk has made a career of making political contributions to the Obama campaign and, in exchange, getting cash back from the taxpayers.
Musk's electric car company Tesla received millions from the Department of Energy and his futuristic space company SpaceX is getting contracts from NASA. read more »
The Marketplace Fairness Act, legislation introduced by Rep. Steve Womack (R-AK), would allow states to collect sales taxes from purchases made on the Internet.
Supporters of this bill believe that is unfair that a small bookstore on Main Street has to collect sales taxes while a multi-billion dollar bookstore like Amazon does not.
The end result of the disparity is that the government is encouraging shoppers to do their purchases online -- creating an incentive to not support local neighborhood stores.
Some conservatives oppose the legislation, most notably the Heritage Foundation and Sen. Jim DeMint. (R-SC). DeMint, a Tea Party champion, argues that the legislation constitutes "taxation without representation," allowing states to apply their tax codes to non-residents with mere economic presence in the state. read more »
As their efforts to get the super-regulatory agency known as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) off the ground are stifled by Senate Republicans, Democrats are continuing to seek new avenues to pressure the Republican Leadership to capitulate. The latest scheme is a hearing on “Consumer Protection and the Middle Class Wealth Building in an age of Growing Household Debt” whose purpose is the highlight the “need” for more regulation on the economy governed by the CFPB.
The hearing will feature a variety of guests who will predictably call for more regulations that the unaccountable CFPB could provide. But perhaps the most curious witness is Douglas Fecher, head of the Wright-Patterson Federal Credit Union (WPFCU).
Mr. Fecher is expected to testify in favor of more regulation of the much-maligned short term lending industry widely known as “payday” lenders. Based in Dayton, Ohio where traditional payday loans were effectively banned, the WPFCU offers loans called “Stretch Pay” loans that they market as alternatives to pay day loans. But what makes his selection, as a witness so curious is that the products that WPFCU offers are actually more expensive than the payday loans they are supposed to replace.
Where the average payday loan costs about $15 for every $100 loan, Stretch Pay customers are charged a minimum application fee of $35 in addition to being charged 18% interest on the loan. A customer taking two loans in a year under these terms would pay an effective annual interest rate of more than 100 percent as opposed to an effective rate of 15% on a traditional pay day loan. And the kicker is that the WPFU is classified as a non-profit. So, while their products are costing consumers more, unlike the payday lenders they are supposed to replace, they pay no taxes. read more »