Tag Archive: Fiscal Irresponsibility


TR:  Have the Sheeple been so sodomized by the ravaging Porkulus Demoncatus that they are going to fall for this?  Folks, they’re now ‘strapping-on’ boosters which are rocketing us straight into Socialism.  Are we so dumb as to let Big Daddy and Frank’n’Beans Barney exercise some despotic authority to take over any company, set its salaries, and run it straight into the ground, IF they accept $1 in aid or subsidy from this beast?  Really?  Please, THINK ABOUT THIS PHONY OUTRAGE BIG DADDY HAS SUCKED YOU INTO – and the power you are about to relinquish to never be seen again!!  From what part, exactly, of the U.S. Constitution is this power-grab authorized?  That’s right – from nowhere!   Prepare to bend over for Big Daddy..

By Byron York

Behold, Happiness.

Behold, Happiness.

It was nearly two weeks ago that the House of Representatives, acting in a near-frenzy after the disclosure of bonuses paid to executives of AIG, passed a bill that would impose a 90 percent retroactive tax on those bonuses. Despite the overwhelming 328-93 vote, support for the measure began to collapse almost immediately. Within days, the Obama White House backed away from it, as did the Senate Democratic leadership. The bill stalled, and the populist storm that spawned it seemed to pass.

But now, in a little-noticed move, the House Financial Services Committee, led by chairman Barney Frank, has approved a measure that would, in some key ways, go beyond the most draconian features of the original AIG bill. The new legislation, the “Pay for Performance Act of 2009,” would impose government controls on the pay of all employees — not just top executives — of companies that have received a capital investment from the U.S. government. It would, like the tax measure, be retroactive, changing the terms of compensation agreements already in place. And it would give Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner extraordinary power to determine the pay of thousands of employees of American companies.

The purpose of the legislation is to “prohibit unreasonable and excessive compensation and compensation not based on performance standards,” according to the bill’s language. That includes regular pay, bonuses — everything — paid to employees of companies in whom the government has a capital stake, including those that have received funds through the Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP, as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The measure is not limited just to those firms that received the largest sums of money, or just to the top 25 or 50 executives of those companies. It applies to all employees of all companies involved, for as long as the government is invested. And it would not only apply going forward, but also retroactively to existing contracts and pay arrangements of institutions that have already received funds.

In addition, the bill gives Geithner the authority to decide what pay is “unreasonable” or “excessive.” And it directs the Treasury Department to come up with a method to evaluate “the performance of the individual executive or employee to whom the payment relates.”

The bill passed the Financial Services Committee last week, 38 to 22, on a nearly party-line vote. (All Democrats voted for it, and all Republicans, with the exception of Reps. Ed Royce of California and Walter Jones of North Carolina, voted against it.)

Banking Queen - starring Barney Frank!

Banking Queen - starring Barney Frank!

The legislation is expected to come before the full House for a vote this week, and, just like the AIG bill, its scope and retroactivity trouble a number of Republicans. “It’s just a bad reaction to what has been going on with AIG,” Rep. Scott Garrett of New Jersey, a committee member, told me. Garrett is particularly concerned with the new powers that would be given to the Treasury Secretary, who just last week proposed giving the government extensive new regulatory authority. “This is a growing concern, that the powers of the Treasury in this area, along with what Geithner was looking for last week, are mind boggling,” Garrett said.

Rep. Alan Grayson, the Florida Democrat who wrote the bill, told me its basic message is “you should not get rich off public money, and you should not get rich off of abject failure.” Grayson expects the bill to pass the House, and as we talked, he framed the issue in a way to suggest that virtuous lawmakers will vote for it, while corrupt lawmakers will vote against it.

“This bill will show which Republicans are so much on the take from the financial services industry that they’re willing to actually bless compensation that has no bearing on performance and is excessive and unreasonable,” Grayson said. “We’ll find out who are the people who understand that the public’s money needs to be protected, and who are the people who simply want to suck up to their patrons on Wall Street.”

After the AIG bonus tax bill was passed, some members of the House privately expressed regret for having supported it and were quietly relieved when the White House and Senate leadership sent it to an unceremonious death. But populist rage did not die with it, and now the House is preparing to do it all again.

TR:  But, that’s not all folks, they’re working hard to extend this goodness to ALL companies – From a recent article in Financial Week:

Congress will consider legislation to extend some of the curbs on executive pay that now apply only to those banks receiving federal assistance, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank said.

“There’s deeply rooted anger on the part of the average American,” the Massachusetts Democrat said at a Washington news conference today.

He said the compensation restrictions would apply to all financial institutions and might be extended to include all U.S. companies.

Rorschach Test.

Rorschach Test.

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Bailout Schemes Approach Entire U.S. GDP

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Faux-bama’s False Choice

A “chaotic and unforgiving capitalism” is exactly what we need right now.

By Mark Steyn, National Review columnist, author of America Alone

Imported Treasure

Imported Treasure

Writing in the Chicago Tribune last week, President Obama fell back on one of his favorite rhetorical tics: “But I also know,” he wrote, “that we need not choose between a chaotic and unforgiving capitalism and an oppressive government-run economy. That is a false choice that will not serve our people or any people.”

Really? For the moment, it’s a “false choice” mainly in the sense that he’s not offering it: “a chaotic and unforgiving capitalism” is not on the menu, which leaves “an oppressive government-run economy” as pretty much the only game in town. How oppressive is yet to be determined: To be sure, the official position remains that only “the richest five percent” will have taxes increased. But you’ll be surprised at the percentage of Americans who wind up in the richest five percent. This year federal government spending will rise to 28.5 per cent of GDP, the highest level ever, with the exception of the peak of the Second World War. The 44th president is proposing to add more to the national debt than the first 43 presidents combined, doubling it in the next six years, and tripling it within the decade. But to talk about it in percentages of this and trillions of that misses the point. It’s not about bookkeeping, it’s about government annexation of the economy, and thus of life: government supervision, government regulation, government control. No matter how small your small business is – plumbing, hairdressing, maple sugaring – the state will be burdening you with more permits, more paperwork, more bureaucracy.

And don’t plan on moving. Ahead of this week’s G20 summit in London, Timothy Geithner, America’s beloved Toxic Asset, called for “global regulation.” “Our hope,” said Toxic Tim, “is that we can work with Europe on a global framework, a global infrastructure which has appropriate global oversight . . . ”

“Global oversight:” Hmm. There’s a phrase to savor.

“We can’t,” he continued, “allow institutions to cherry pick among competing regulators and ship risk to where it faces the lowest standards and weakest constraints . . . ”

Just as a matter of interest, why not? If you don’t want to be subject to the punitive “oversight” of economically illiterate, demagogic legislators-for-life like Barney Frank, why shouldn’t you be “allowed” to move your business to some jurisdiction with a lighter regulatory touch?

Borders give you choices. Your town has a crummy grade school? Move ten miles north and there’s a better one. Sick of Massachusetts taxes? Move to New Hampshire, as thousands do. To modify the abortionists’ bumper sticker: “I’m Pro-Choice And I Vote With My Feet.” That’s part of the self-correcting dynamism of capitalism: For example, Bono, the global do-gooder who was last in Washington to play at the Obama inauguration, recently moved much of his business from Ireland to the Netherlands, in order to pay less tax. And good for him. To be sure, he’s always calling on governments to give more money to Africa and whatnot, but it’s heartening to know that, when it comes to his wallet as opposed to yours, Bono – like Secretary Geithner – has no desire to toss any more of his money into the great sucking maw of the government treasury than the absolute minimum he can get away with. I’m with Bono and Tim: They can spend their money more effectively than hack bureaucrats can. We should do as they do, not as they say.

If you listen to the principal spokesmen for U.S. economic policy – Obama and Geithner – they grow daily ever more explicitly hostile to the private sector and ever more comfortable with the language of micro-managed government-approved capitalism – which, of course, isn’t capitalism at all. They’ll have an easier time getting away with it in a world of “global oversight” where there’s nowhere to move to. Unfortunately, even then it won’t work. Think about it: It takes extraordinary skill to create and manage a billion-dollar company; there are very few human beings on the planet who can do it. Now look at Obama and Geithner, the two men currently “managing” more money than any individuals in human history: not billions, but trillions.

Notwithstanding the Treasury secretary’s protestations that the Yes/No prompt buttons of Turbo Tax were too complex for a simple soul such as himself, it’s no reflection on the hapless Geithner that he’s unable to fix the planet. When the Bolsheviks chose to introduce Russians to the blessings of a “command economy” 90 years ago, they were dealing with a relatively simple agricultural society largely contained within national borders. Obama and Geithner are trying to do it with a sophisticated global economy in which North American consumers, European bankers, Asian suppliers, Saudi investors, and Chinese debt-holders are more tangled than an octopuses’ orgy. Even with “global oversight” – with the Toxic Tims of Germany, Argentina, and India all agreeing on how to fix the game – it can’t be done.

Nation Destroyer

Nation Destroyer

Barack Obama, even when he’s not yukking it up on 60 Minutes, barely disguises his indifference to economic matters. He is not an economist, a political philosopher, a geopolitical strategist. He is the president as social engineer, the Community-Organizer-in-Chief. His plan to reduce tax deductions for charitable giving, for example, is not intended primarily to raise revenue, but to advance government as the distributor of largesse and diminish alternative sources of societal organization, such as civic groups. Likewise, his big plans for socialized health care, a green economy, universal college education: They’re about extending the reach of the state.

Unfortunately, all of it costs money he doesn’t have. So he has to borrow it, in your name. Where does the world’s hyperpower go to borrow more dough than anyone’s ever borrowed in human history? More to the point, given that, partly at the behest of Obama and Geithner, almost every other western government is ramping up national debt to cover massive bank bailouts and other phony-baloney “stimuli,” is there enough money out there to buy up the debt that’s already been run up? Last week, at the official British Treasury auction, investors failed to buy the full complement of so-called “gilt-edged” 40-year bonds. Two such auctions have already failed in Germany. The U.S. Treasury, facing similar investor reluctance to snap up $34 billion of five-year notes, was forced to increase the interest it will pay on them. The Chinese and the Saudis have long taken the view that it’s to their advantage to own as much of the western world as they can snaffle up, but it’s unclear whether even they have pockets deep enough for what America and the many Bailoutistans of Europe are proposing to spend.

In their first two months, Obama and Geithner have done nothing but vaporize your wealth, and your children’s future. What began as an economic crisis is now principally a political usurpation. And, to return to the president’s “false choice,” that “chaotic and unforgiving capitalism” is exactly what we need right now. It’s the quickest, cheapest, fairest, most-efficient route to economic stabilization and renewal. A regimented and eternally forgiving global command economy with no moral hazard will destroy us all.

The Outrage Kabuki

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The Outrage Kabuki

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Obot Judge Unleashes U.S. Marshals upon Critic

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Faux-bama – Too Clever by Half

By David Warren

It is now spring; the vernal equinox was reached Friday morning. To celebrate, Barack Obama sent a video of himself to Iran.

Look Ma, No Executive Experience!

Look Ma, No Executive Experience!

This was one of several end-of-week media performances, as Mr. Obama went back into “campaign mode” after a break of several months. The message of the polls is that he had better start selling his policies harder, because they are showing signs of not going over very well. Moreover, the unpolled elites, including those within the Democratic Party, have started to ask questions aloud about whether their man is competent; and as we know from painful history, such uncertainties from an elite tend to “trickle down.”

What the polls can’t say directly, and thus perhaps the White House can’t yet hear, is that the policies themselves are diminishing Mr. Obama’s appeal. There are indications of this in the polls themselves, but they are subtle. On one issue after another, from bail-outs to the environment, Medicare, life issues, foreign policy, the polls now tend to confirm what this pundit and a few other incorrigible reactionaries knew from the outset: that a plurality of American voters had embraced Mr. Obama not because of, but despite the policies he was signalling. They most certainly liked the man and his “temperament,” and they most certainly wanted the Republicans out. But it did not follow that they wanted their government to lurch to the left.

To my analytical mind, such as it is, they wanted Obama the man, but not Obama the agenda, except for the uplifting rhetorical bits about “hope,” “change,” and so forth. The idea that the man could not be separated from the agenda never fully fixed; John McCain and company actually avoided riding home on this point, once the media made clear it would be reported as “scare tactics.”

Lost Hope, No Change.

Lost Hope, No Change.

Again, to my mind — and it is the only one I have with which to write this column — we would be wrong to think of Mr. Obama as an ideologue. I think he was perfectly sincere in denying that he was anything of the sort, and in claiming that he would be looking for bipartisan consensus. I also think he is sincere in proceeding with an agenda — on bail-outs, the environment, Medicare, life issues, foreign policy, etc. — that leaves most Republicans, and quite a few of the more conservative Democrats, utterly aghast.

How to explain this apparent contradiction? I’m afraid it is easy. As I mentioned during the presidential campaign, Mr. Obama was seriously unqualified for the job of president. He had no practical experience in running anything, except political campaigns; but worse, his background was one-dimensional.

All his life, from childhood through university through “community organizing” and Chicago wardheel politics, through Sunday mornings listening to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, to the left side of Democrat caucuses in Springfield and Washington, he has been surrounded almost exclusively by extremely liberal people, and moreover, by people who are quick and clever but intellectually narrow.

He is a free soul, but he is also the product of environments in which even moderately conservative ideas are never considered; but where people on the further reaches of the left are automatically welcomed as “avant-garde.” His whole idea of where the middle might be, is well to the left of where the average American might think it is. To a man like Obama, as he has let slip on too many occasions when away from his teleprompter, “Middle America” is not something to be compromised with, but rather, something that must be manipulated, because it is stupid. And the proof that it can be manipulated, is that he is the president today.

May I Have Some More Gruel, Please, Sir?

May I Have Some More Gruel, Please, Sir?

It is at this point that the phenomenon known as “too clever by half” sets in. Technically, it is indistinguishable from arrogance and hubris, but it is unnecessary to stress the point. Sixty days into his first term (and I begin to doubt there’ll be a second), he would seem already to have dug a hole from which no rhetorical skill can lift him.

The video to Iran is the latest catastrophe. Mr. Obama simply does not understand how his “olive branch” will be received, not only by the mullahs in Iran itself, but wherever else on the surface of the planet the United States has enemies. It “reads” — to people who do not share anything like America’s aspirations — as an unambiguous confession of weakness. He has moved the American position towards Iran from offensive to defensive, for no defensible reason.

Beyond the Bogus Bonus Smokescreen

By Michelle Malkin

Nancy "Stretch" Pelosi

Nancy "Stretch" Pelosi

“We will hunt you down!” thundered Colorado Democrat Rep. Jared Polis during the AIG bonus demagogue-a-thon on the House floor Thursday. “If they’re not going to give [the bonuses] back, we’re going to take them back!” growled Alabama Dem. Artur Davis, who vowed to recover the taxpayers’ “ill-gotten gains” from rogue corporate executives. House Republicans pressed the Democrats on who knew what and when regarding the AIG bonus protections included in Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd’s now-infamous amendment to the stimulus bill. Rep. Barney Frank shrieked about the Bush administration’s culpability. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi smugly patted Democrats on the back for “protecting the national interest.”

I ask you now to turn away from the bogus bonus smokescreen over $165 million in taxpayer-backed compensation packages for AIG employees. It is a pittance compared to the gargantuan spending spree happening right under our noses. The AIG bonus price tag amounts to one-tenth of one percent of the total AIG giveaway ($85 billion in September, $37.8 billion in October; $40 billion in November; $30 billion in early March, which took place with the assent of a Republican administration, a Democrat administration, and the congressional leadership of both parties.

Taxpayers might be less skeptical of the born-again guardians of fiscal responsibility if these evangelists were actually practicing what they preached. While the Obama administration now issues impassioned calls to stop rewarding failure, they moved Thursday to dump another $5 billion into the failing auto industry. That’s on top of the Thursday announcement by the Federal Reserve to print up $1 trillion to buy up Treasury bonds and mortgage securities sold by the government – that no one else wants to buy.

It's For My Own Goodness

It's For My Own Goodness

Financial blogger Barry Ritholtz tallied up $8.5 trillion in bailout costs by December 2008 between the Federal Reserve, FDIC, Treasury, and Federal Housing Administration rescues (not including the $5.2 trillion in Fannie/Freddie portfolios that the US taxpayer is now also explicitly responsible for.) Then there’s the (at least) $50 billion proposed by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner in February to bail out home owners and lenders who made bad home loan decisions, which would be just a small sliver of the $2.5 trillion he wants to spend on the next big banking bailout, which would draw on the second $350 billion of the TARP package over which an increasing number of Chicken Little lawmakers are having buyer’s remorse.

Phew. We’re not done yet. Also on Thursday: As AIG-bashing lawmakers inveighed against wasted taxpayer funds and lamented the lack of accountability and rush to judgment that led to passage of the porkulus bill that mysteriously protected the bonuses, the Senate quietly passed a $10 billion lands bill stuffed with earmarks and immunized from amendments. GOP Sen. Tom Coburn, fiscal conservative loner, pointed out that none of the provisions for special-interest pork projects – including $3.5 million in spending for a birthday bash celebrating the city of St. Augustine, Florida – were subject to public hearings. That’s on top of the pork-stuffed $410 billion spending bill passed two weeks ago.

Oh, and did I mention that the House passed a $6 billion volunteerism bill (the “GIVE Act”) on Wednesday to provide yet another pipeline to left-wing advocacy groups under the guise of encouraging national service? Also coming down the pike: The Obama administration’s “cap-and-trade” global warming plan, which Hill staffers learned this week could cost close to $2 trillion (nearly three times the White House’s initial estimate.) and the administration’s universal health care scheme, which health policy experts reported this week could cost about $1.5 trillion over the next decade.

"Smirky" The Clown

"Smirky" The Clown

It is no wonder that when earlier this week Vice President Joe Biden told local officials in Washington this week that he was “serious, absolutely serious” about policing wasteful porkulus spending in Washington (price tag: $800 billion not including interest), he was met with the only rational response his audience could muster:

Laughter.

Bailouts and Bullshit

By John Stossel, ABC

C’mon, just this little mint – it’s wafer-thin… (pronounced:  waffah-theen)

You’d better get a bucket..

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National Movement Grows: Tea Party U.S.A.

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