October 25, 2010 Racial and Gender Quotas Imposed on 50,000 Companies The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is supposed to shield consumers from problems in the financial services sector that many believe led to the financial meltdown. Section 342 of the Act introduces social engineering masquerading as consumer protection and imposed gender and racial employment quotas on the financial services industry, which comprises over 10% of our economy, over 50,000 firms. In order to do business with the federal government, 40,000 financial services firms and 10,000 additional businesses including accounting and law firms, will be subject to new diversity oversight of their hiring. For some reason, the Obama administration believes that hiring based upon gender, skin color and ethnic origin rather than based upon merit will help the country. The law was written even after four out of the eight members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights wrote a letter to Congress stating that this section of the Act would likely promote discrimination and urged its removal from the bill. I am against quotas of any sort. As a Jew, I am offended. Hillary Clinton did not succeed in obtaining quotas to reduce the amount of Jews in the medical profession. But, Obama in concert with Barney “Torquemada” Frank has succeeded with obtaining quotas against Jewish lawyers, accountants and investment bankers. Watch out! Your industry could be next! Forbes 9/27/10 p.18. Overlooked Election Trend The 2008 election was noted for the Democrat Presidential primary where a white female lost to a black male. The white female, Hillary Clinton, had she won the primary and then went on to win the Presidency, would also have made history as the first elected female US President. But that was not to be. However, the press was agog with speculation of the possibilities and reminded us how far women had come. This election cycle has focused on the Tea Party phenomenon at the expense of the rise of the conservative woman. While Sarah Palin’s influence has been written about and the press has absolutely fixated on Christina O’Donnell not being a witch; the bigger story is the coming of age of a whole generation of smart aggressive Republican women, from the staunchly conservative Nikki Haley in South Carolina and Sharron Angle in Nevada to the more moderate Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman in California. They represent an immense constituency that established feminism disdained or ignored. Asbury Park Press p. A21 10/15/10. Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 does not benefit small businesses. How many small businesses care that the IRC §179 expense limit was raised to $500,000? A small benefit for self-employeds is that health insurance costs for the taxpayer and family will be deductible in computing 2010 self-employment tax. Cellular telephones will no longer be “listed property” subject to strict substantiation rules for tax years beginning after 2009. They are now subject to regular substantiation rules. A dubious boon to owners of rental property is that for rental income of $600 or more from a tenant, information returns will have to be filed for income received after 2010. This Act has a big name with a failure to deliver. P.L. 111-240. Do Not Trust NYC Part II Earlier this year, Mayor Bloomberg vowed to wipe out tickets by motorists at hundreds of decommissioned bus stops but instead drivers are being asked by the NYC Finance Department to settle the fines for lesser amounts, even though the violations ARE NOT VALID! NYC is trying to get money out of people who unwittingly think that’s the best offer Finance will put on the table (other than going to court and having the judge dismiss the violation). Wall Street Journal p. A23 9/21/10. Good News For Investors Robert Herz stepped down as chairman of the Financial Accountant Standards Board. Herz was the driver behind the disastrous 2007 FASB ruling concerning mark-to-market accounting for banks and insurance companies. The ruling unnecessarily destroyed $500,000,000,000 in regulatory capital of these institutions in 2008-2009, thereby triggering the financial panic. Once congress forced FASB and the SEC to amend the ruling in April 2009, the devastated financial markets began a big rally that lasted until this summer. Smarting from that humiliation, Herz and his supporters were readying a new ruling that would have put mark-to-market on steroids. Banks would have had to write down the value of virtually every small business loan they had made. The flow of capital to small businesses (none too robust anyway) would have suddenly stopped, the economy would have been sent into a tailspin and another financial crisis would have erupted. Gone None too soon. Forbes p. 11 9/27/10. Family Counts At least that’s what is shown in the newest book by Thomas Fleming, the Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers. While the title portends titillating revelations, it avoids the salacious and instead focuses on the effect the female spouses, children, parents and paramours had on the maturation of our founders, Washington, Franklin, Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton and Madison. What I found most interesting was discovering the role that Dolley Madison had in creating the role of the First Lady. This is a great summer read! As always, if you have any questions about these or any other matters, do not hesitate to call me. Remember, We’re Here For You!!