AIG Bonuses Prompt Punitive Legislation

March 19, 2009 07:00 PM

Snapshot of news and events for today

Quick links

* Financial markets

* Ag futures

* USDA reports this week

* NWS forecast

* Major media

* Ag media

* Political humorists

Financial markets Major world indicators

Japanese trading...

  • Closed for holiday.

Thursday's U.S. Markets...

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 85.78, or 1.2 percent, to 7,400.80. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 7.74, or 0.5 percent, to 1,483.48.
  • The 10-year Treasury note jumped to 2.60 percent from 2.50 percent late Wednesday.

  • The dollar slumped 1.3% against the euro and 1.7% against the Japanese yen from a day earlier.

Ag futures Yesterday's action and
overnight indicators

What happened the prior trading day...

  • Corn: Futures gapped higher on the open, extended gains, but closed near opening levels.
  • Soybeans: Futures closed 20-plus cents higher, which was a mid-range close.

  • Wheat: Futures closed mostly 20-plus cents higher at all three exchanges, supported by outside markets.
  • Cotton: Futures saw sharp gains through the day thanks to widespread commodity buying.
  • Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures favored gains through the day amid mixed trade.
  • Live Cattle: Live cattle futures closed $1.20 to $1.72 higher, with feeders up 90 cents to $1.67.

Scheduled USDA Reports & Summaries This Week

Agricultural Marketing Service = (A)
Census Bureau = (CB)
Economic Research Service = (E)

Farm Service Agency (FSA)

Foreign Ag Service = (F)

National Agricultural Statistics Service = (N)

World Agricultural Outlook Board = (W)






March 16

Grain Inspections (A)
Livestock and Meat Trade Data (E)
Turkey Hatchery (N)
Aquaculture Data (E)
U.S. Agricultural Trade Data Update (E)


Weather - Crop Summary (N)


Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook (E)
Meat Price Spreads (E)
Catfish Processing
Broiler Hatchery
Milk Production (N)


U.S. Export Sales (F)
Oil Crops Yearbook Data tables(E)


Dairy Products Prices (N)
Catfish Feed Deliveries (N)
Livestock Slaughter (N) Hop Stocks (N)
Cattle on Feed (N)
Cold Storage (N)
Wheat Data
Peanut Prices (N)

Overview Other reports affecting agriculture
Major media Links to top news reports
with potential U.S. ag impact

Wall Street Journal (subscription to site required for access)

  • House Passes Bonus Tax Bill 90% Hit Would Affect Major Banks; Senate Mulls Similar Action Amid AIG Furor The package would impose a 90% surtax on bonuses granted to employees who earn more than $250,000 at companies that have received at least $5 billion from the government's financial rescue program. It would be retroactive to Dec. 31, 2008. The Senate's version would impose a 70% surtax on most bonuses -- half paid by employees and half by firms.
    Related item:
    Lost in the AIG Hullabaloo Are Long-Term Lessons for U.S.
    U.S. Offers $5 Billion to Car Suppliers

  • What Goes Down Must Come Up: The Case for a Strengthened Dollar Sure, the Fed's Printing Billions, but Buck's Merits Endure. The article notes that while the downdraft in the dollar was predictable after the Fed's action this week, it eventually will help the greenback as investment dollars should flow back once signs the economy is picking up.
  • Argentine Leader Seeks Provincial Support Argentina's president said the federal government would now share revenue from the soybean export tax with localities -- provinces would receive 30% of the tax revenue and the federal government would keep 70%.
  • Raters See Windfall in Bailout Program Bond rating firms are expected to see benefits as they would have to rate any of new issuances. But it will also come with responsibilities -- if ratings companies are wrong, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury -- and therefore taxpayers -- will be on the hook for some losses.
  • IMF Tweaks Loan Program in Bid to Attract Borrowers . The IMF shifted the plan as no one tapped the program. The primary changes from its predecessor facility -- informally dubbed E-Z loan -- are that loans come with far fewer strings and borrowers have access to much more money.
  • Obama Is No Socialist. Opinion item by Alan Blinder, professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University and a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. The writer disputes charges that President Obama is basically leading the country down the path of socialism, noting the changes proposed on taxes, health care and more aren't akin to socialism.

New York Times (registration to site required)

Washington Post

Ag media Monitoring the countryside

Des Moines Register (Iowa)

  • USDA gains access to tax records of farmers Farmers will now have to sign a form to grant FSA access to income data from the IRS as they seek to make sure that only those who are eligible for farm program payments receive them. This comes in the wake of a report last fall showing that USDA paid out nearly $50 million to those whose incomes should have denied them access to program benefits.
Laughing with, not at From political humorists

Jay Leno: "Hey," a "little quiz" for you. What is "the difference between an AIG executive and a drunken Irishman? A drunken Irishman spends his own money."

Jay Leno: "The Republicans are on board in this, too. Iowa Senator Charles Grassley told AIG executives -- this is what he actually said -- he said they should either quit or commit suicide." But "I think that's plain wrong. I mean, why give them the option of quitting?"

Jay Leno: "I like" Grassley's "idea, but here's my question: where was Congress when everything was falling apart, you know? They're supposed to be looking out for us. Here's a better idea. How about AIG and Congress making a giant suicide pact?"

David Letterman: "By the way, while you were laughing, AIG just handed out another $100 million in bonuses." yes ACRE for sure

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