Market cools down: Could be a day for profit-taking, though the Dow is up modestly in early trading.
Governor to address legislature: He'll be explaining the need for $24 billion in cuts. Speech is at 10 a.m.
Something else to worry about: The state is paying out too much for jobless benefits and collecting too little in payroll taxes. The result is an unemployment insurance fund that could be $17.8 billion in debt by the end of 2010. From the SF Chronicle:
This latest fiscal crisis won't immediately affect the 1.1 million Californians now collecting benefits because the state is using an interest-free federal loan to cover their checks. But the state is supposed to repay that loan and restore its unemployment fund to solvency by 2011 - and right now, policymakers aren't sure exactly how to do that, or at what cost.
Gas prices peaking out?: Demand remains sluggish because the economy is still staggering along, so maybe we'll start to see a slide in pump prices. The government's latest report, however, show that an average gallon in the L.A. area is $2.743, up more than a dime from last week.
Americans are saving: They're holding onto more of their paychecks than at any time since early 1995 - an obvious reflection of the terrible economy (especially the job losses). From the WSJ:
Americans' thrift puts the Obama administration in a quandary. On the one hand, it is preaching the need for Americans to live within their means and exercise more fiscal responsibility. But on the other, to get the economy back on firm footing, Americans need to return to spending, from large-ticket items such as cars to smaller impulse buys like perfume and chocolate.
Michael Moore on GM bankruptcy: The director of "Roger and Me" says he's happy about the automaker going under and says President Obama should "immediately convert our auto factories to factories that build mass transit vehicles and alternative energy devices." From HuffPost:
It is with sad irony that the company which invented "planned obsolescence" -- the decision to build cars that would fall apart after a few years so that the customer would then have to buy a new one -- has now made itself obsolete. It refused to build automobiles that the public wanted, cars that got great gas mileage, were as safe as they could be, and were exceedingly comfortable to drive. Oh -- and that wouldn't start falling apart after two years. GM stubbornly fought environmental and safety regulations. Its executives arrogantly ignored the "inferior" Japanese and German cars, cars which would become the gold standard for automobile buyers. And it was hell-bent on punishing its unionized workforce, lopping off thousands of workers for no good reason other than to "improve" the short-term bottom line of the corporation.
Ford sells OC property: The automaker is unloading its 270,000-square-foot West Coast headquarters buildings in Irvine to Transpacific Development for $73 million. Ford had already agreed to lease about two-thirds of the complex to the parent company of Taco Bell. (LAT)
Changes for big money manager: TCW Group's CEO, Robert Beyer, will be stepping down at the end of June. TCW, parent of Trust Co. of the West, will be spun off in the next few years. (LAT)
Lacter on radio: This morning's business chat with KPCC's Kari Moran (Steve Julian is away) covers the E3 gaming show downtown and the possible closing of Hollywood Park. Also on kpcc.org and on podcast.