“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Blago Keeps The Heat On Obama

As a conservative, you have to love Illinois Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich.

Rather than simply appoint an unremarkable, loyal party member to the First Rookie's now-vacant seat, the governor engaged in antics which may put him in jail for attempting to sell the seat.

But that wasn't all.

No, after calls by the President-elect for Blago to resign, and hold a special general election for the seat, he does neither. Instead, he vows to fight for his office and freedom, then went ahead and appointed a black- naturally- Illinois Democrat, former AG Roland Burris, to fill the vacant Senate seat.

Senate Democrats have already promised not to seat the newly-appointed Senator.

But the best part of this circus, for conservatives, is that it keeps the entire mess alive and visible to the voting public. A constant reminder of how the Chicago Machine does business. Corruptly, and in express and explicit indifference to the people's wishes.

This pay-to-play scandal now hangs like a foul stench over the First Rookie's inaugural and honeymoon with Congress.

There's another facet that is difficult to capture analytically, but makes the mess have greater impact. That is, Blago is such a buffoonish character. It's a reminder, like the hapless Florida Secretary of State during the 2000 recount, that state-level officials who are fine in their role can become awful liabilities when exposed to the harsh glare of national media.

Blago makes Illinois look like a backward, third-world country. He's boyish-looking, goofy, and behaves like the class clown from fourth grade.

Just what the President-elect needs America to realize. This is the caliber of "leadership" that the Cook County Democratic machine turns out.

Buckle up, folks. It's going to be a rough, but funny ride for the next four- and only four- years.

Monday, December 29, 2008

More Drivel From Peggy Noonan

Last week, Peggy Noonan's weekend column in the Wall Street Journal reached a new low. Marked by her now-typical uneasy segue between various topics like stream of consciousness writing, she alleged that Americans now want a 'non-empty suit' to lead them out of their current troubles.

Citing Bernie Madoff and other failed 'leaders' who were just empty suits, Noonan believes Americans now look to a real leader.

Forgive me for being true to my roots, but I think she's wrong. Americans function best when the leader, as in the style of Ronald Reagan, motivates us to be our own best selves and perform, rather than, as FDR, seizing control and forcibly using government to act.

It's a rare situation in which a single person can omnisciently perform all the tasks necessary to rescue America from some problem. Even JFK simply pointed the country toward the moon, rather than provided the detail of how we would achieve the goal.

That's why I think Noonan is so terribly off base in her rant. Last of all among people Americans should trust is the newly-elected First Rookie Senator from Illinois. With absolutely no experience managing or leading anything, his only hope would be to lead like Reagan.

Instead, he's already messing with details as he tries to re-order economic priorities by government fiat, rather than more-efficient market forces.

In any case, it's a sad day when a former Reagan speechwriter begins calling for more government-detailed actions to rescue a society of 300 million people.

Milestones of 2008

Last on Fox News, as the year drew to a close, Brit Hume's program featured his panel, chaired by Bret Baier, pontificating on the most good and bad political/economic developments of the year.

Among several middling replies was one that, just by the nonchalance of its ennunciator, chilled me.

The panelist said, in reaction to another guests's remark on the historic nature of the First Rookie's election, to paraphrase,

'Well, that's true. And we've also never before in our history had a President-elect already being investigated by a Federal prosecutor before he even takes the oath of office.'

Think about that one.

We've reached a new low. The winner of this year's Presidential election is being questioned in conjunction with a major political scandal, born of the Chicago Democratic machine from which he was spawned.

It's going to be all downhill from here, folks.

At least the silver lining will be those nice GOP seat gains in the mid-term elections now less than 24 months away!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Gathering Blago-Messiah Scandal

You have to love what's going on with the continuing investigation into Illinois Governor Blagojevich's pay-to-play scandal.

Our newly-elected First Rookie from Illinois is already swimming in troubled waters of his own making. Far from being forthcoming and transparent about his campaign's involvement with Blago, the President-elect has: incorrectly claimed no contact by his campaign staff with Blago on the issue; promised information that didn't materialize; stonewalled a reporter's question; and embarrassedly watched as his chief of staff has had many more contacts with Blago than the New Messiah's campaign initially admitted.

Now, he and two aides are being deposed by the Federal prosecutor.

Nobody is alleging that the First Rookie has involved himself in paying to have his favorite, Valerie Jarrett, appointed to his Senate seat. But it is clear that he has already lost control of both his staff's activities, and then the information being disseminated about his staff's involvement in the scandal.

Plus, no reasonable person can understand how the New Messiah's campaign staff could have possibly not understood what Blago was doing. The Governor spoke with Jarrett and Emanuel. We have heard the Federal prosecutor repeat Blago's comments after talking to, presumably, the chief of staff, saying he wasn't satisfied with just appreciation. Does anyone believe that Emanuel was not asked to cough up something more than thanks?

It's hard to believe that someone on that campaign staff wasn't aware or highly suspicious of Blago's game. Yet none of them, from the President-elect down to the his favored replacement, kept quiet.

It makes you wonder....are they all complicit in having covered up the scheme, or just too stupid to realize what was happening.

Either way, who would want this team of amateurs heading to Washington to repeat their ineptitude for four years with the Federal budget and other important matters?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Hopeful Thought From The Clinton Years

While the impeachment of Bubba Clinton did not take place until 1998, his first sexual encounters with Monica Lewinsky occurred as early as 1995. The timeline from the Wikipedia page asserts the following dates:

"Monica Lewinsky alleged nine sexual encounters with Bill Clinton:
November 15, 1995, in the private study of the Oval office
November 17, 1995, while Bill Clinton was on the phone with a member of Congress
December 31, 1995, in a White House study
January 7, 1996, in the Oval Office
January 21, 1996, in the hallway by the private study next to the Oval Office
February 4, 1996, while Clinton was meeting in Oval Office
March 31, 1996
February 28, 1997, near the Oval Office; this is when the blue dress stains were created
March 29, 1997 (Clinton denied that this day's encounter actually happened)"

While, in talking with friends, I mistakenly placed the impeachment in his first term, I'm gratified to see the inappropriate actions took place then.

That's because I believe the First Rookie's administration will similarly be plagued by scandal by the third year of his term. I don't necessarily believe the incoming President will knowingly behave in a scandalous manner, and certainly not like Clinton.

I do, however, think that his total lack of any meaningful life experience, including running anything even as minor as a lemonade stand, suggests that his underlings are going to run rampant in the Federal government.

Coming, as he does, from the corruption of the Chicago Machine, the Rookie is used to looking the other way, while his minions are used to, well, being corrupt.

What makes you think they will all suddenly change their stripes in Washington? Jimmy Carter's aides certainly couldn't behave properly.

So I think conservatives will have the satisfaction of seeing a major seam burst in the incoming administration well before the term is up. Imagine the mess he'll have when the Illinois Rookie has to manage damage control on the corruption of some of his chosen underlings, while simultaneously trying to convince American voters that he has wrought positive change, and cleaned up the Federal government.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Bush Disappoints

Well, I was wrong. This recent post was prematurely optimistic.

According to Bush's remarks at 9am on Friday, he was influenced by his own advisers, who felt that GM CEO Rick Wagoner would spitefully push his own company into Chapter 7 liquidation, rather than Chapter 11 reorganization, if he was not lent the billions he wanted.

Bush blinked. There's not way around it. Between his honest desire not to hand his successor an in-liquidation auto sector, and his desire to foster a better legacy, he let his advisers talk him off of his innate conservative principles.

To me, this simply illustrates even more clearly what a contemptuous person Rick Wagoner is. His threat to destroy his own company, in order to cover up his mismanagement, is too egregious to describe.

But, that said, George Bush faltered and took the threat seriously. Sure, he limited the amount of the loan, and made it clear that he would leave any further assistance to the next president.

However, he missed the chance to force GM and Chrysler into a merger via Chapter 11, of their own volition.

The good news, though, is that Senate Republicans hung tough, and will be able to continue burnishing their conservative credentials in the months ahead.

Friday, December 19, 2008

President Bush On Detroit Bailout: Thank God for Small Favors

We can thank God for small favors.

In two interviews this week, President Bush has enumerated several concerns about whether or not to release TARP funds as loans to GM or Chrysler.

Far from rushing to release the funds, the President said he doesn't want to 'throw good money after bad,' and prefers an 'orderly bankruptcy' to a total, immediate liquidation.

Maybe we're not seeing him cave in to the UAW's Gettelfinger just yet, as Paul Ingrassia wrote on Monday in the Wall Street Journal.

Bush went further, stating that he is trying to minimize the size of problems left to his successor, and is putting himself in that position, to consider what would be best to do from that perspective.

He also went on record as requiring the UAW to give on some contract aspects in order to make any loan worthwhile, rather than useless in the long term.

Maybe there's still hope that GM will be pushed into a normal Chapter 11 filing after all.

We may know later this morning.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

New York's Newest Carpet-Bagger: Caroline Kennedy

This is just unbelievable, isn't it?

It's not enough that her uncle was New York's first carpetbagger Senator. Or that the state is just getting rid of its next one.

Now, a person with nothing to recommend her but her last name is desiring not to run, but simply be appointed as the US Senator from New York for the seat being vacated by Hillary Clinton.

With a biography devoid of any significant accomplishments, aside from those accorded her because of her maiden name, it's a sad commentary on the US political landscape, and the Democratic party, in particular, that Kennedy is even seriously being considered for this seat.

As a commentator on Fox News noted, it sends a signal to the rest of the world that US politics is a plutocracy, more than a meritocracy.

Of course, in a country where 'Bo' Biden is expected to inherit his hapless father's Delaware Senate seat, after having been given prior political offices along the way, it's hard to argue that the perception is true.

At least among Democrats.

I suppose the only silver lining in the Caroline Kennedy Senate seat quest is that it clearly demonstrates, once again, how hopelessly corrupt and bereft of new ideas the Democratic party is, that it must bow to the unaccomplished daughter of a dead President, rather than consider candidates for the seat on merit.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Spreading Blagojevich Mess: Rahm Emanuel

As the Senate seat-selling mess surrounding Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich continues to make news, the New Messiah is being swept up in it to an increasing degree.

For example, he initially denied that either he, or his campaign staff had 'any contact' with Blago. Next, the Illinois Rookie somewhat backtracked, saying he would have to await a thorough analysis of his campaign staff's activities, in order to publicize any communications between Blago and the Rookie's staff.

Then we learned that Rahm Emanuel, the incoming President's chief of staff, had, in fact, been contacted Blago 21 times- all caught on the wiretap tapes. But, we are assured, these were all legitimate.

Rather than discussing the sale of the New Messiah's seat, we are told these were, in all probability, perfectly reasonable discussions, wherein Emanuel was dictating to the Governor which candidate his boss wants to replace him in the Senate seat.

Of course, liberals like Fox News' Alan Colmes keep parroting the 'fact' that, at present, there is no evidence of the Rookie being involved in his Senate seat's sale by the Governor of Illinois. Then they claim that conservatives are simply smearing the First Rookie, with no evidence.

In the worst example of egregious logic, of course, presented by Colmes, they claim that his distance from this mess merely confirms the incredible ethical superiority with which the New Messiah will preside in his new job, come January 20.

What's more likely, as conservative commentators note, is that the growing public disgust with, and notable stench of this entire affair will hang over the Rookie's transition and inauguration like a black cloud.

That he did not know of Blago's intent, given the small, inter-connected world of Illinois state Democratic party bigwigs, is, of course, unbelievable.

If the First Rookie didn't know of this, he's incredibly naive and incompetent. If he did, he turned a blind eye, once more, to Cook County corruption within his own party.

Yes, it's true, either way, he's committed a terrible blunder. Liberal Democrats chafe at this obvious fact, and claim it's unfair.

But what hasn't occurred is that which would have exonerated their New Messiah. That is, as various conservative pundits have suggested, a stirring, passionate speech by the incoming President on the evils of such unethical behavior, the need to root it out in its entirety, and his own explanation as to either why he did nothing about it, or how he was shielded from knowledge thereof.

Oh, by the way, notice how ineffectual our incoming President's words have been with the Governor of his own state. Blago won't step down, and the Illinois Democrats in the legislature, having had five days to clip his wings, have failed to either: pass legislation removing the Governor's power to appoint the temporary Senator, or remove him via impeachment.

Is this the change we needed? One would think not.

Monday, December 15, 2008

McConnell's Brilliant Maneuvering on the Senate Auto Maker Bailout Bill

A little over a week ago, I wrote this post regarding the politics of the then-evolving Congressional bailout of the US-owned auto industry.

In it, I predicted,

"Look for Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan to brace House Minority Leader John Boehner, forcing him to withhold support for any Democratic bailout of the Detroit auto makers which does not first require their filing Chapter 11. Look for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to do the same, while President Bush cites Republican Congressional preference for a bill that includes that requirement.

Bush, Boehner and McConnell, standing in front of the White House, will make an effective team as the President gives his full support to the Republican leaders' version of a bill to help auto workers, via a DIP loan to those auto makers which file for bankruptcy, while steadfastly refusing to engage in corporate welfare and government picking winners and losers in the free market."

I wasn't exactly on target. Bush, sadly, has begun to listen to the wrong people, fail to shame Wagoner for waiting too long to file for bankruptcy, and worry too much about his economic legacy.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, performed brilliantly. As this weekend's Wall Street Journal noted,

"In the Senate's Thursday night automobile showdown, the United Auto Workers said "No thanks" to a bailout with strings attached. Most Senate Republicans took them at their word and voted to block the bill. But within hours, President Bush blinked and Treasury is now scrambling to use money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Who'd have thought Mr. Bush would want to join the long line of Detroit executives in caving to the UAW?

Senate Republicans had more gumption. Led by Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, they asked the auto workers to show they were serious about making Detroit competitive again. In exchange for a lifeline from Washington, Mr. Corker wanted the union to set a "date certain" in 2009 for lowering the Detroit Three's hourly labor costs to the average of foreign-owned auto makers in the U.S. He also wanted creditors to bring down Detroit's total debt by two-thirds through an equity swap, making sure debtholders share the cost of restructuring.

The union's counteroffer was that it would bring down labor costs in 2011, when its current contracts run out. Maybe we missed something, but we thought GM and Chrysler were facing bankruptcy now, not in three years. As Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor, that sounds like "taxpayer money today for reforms that may or may not come tomorrow."

Thursday's showdown marked an important political moment for the Republican Party. By refusing to write a blank check to Detroit, Senate Republicans have started to reclaim some credibility on fiscal policy and the role of government in the economy. They did so standing up to a Republican President who doesn't want any more bad headlines, as well as to Democrats who will blame the GOP if the auto makers collapse."

By tapping Corker to lead a spirited, well-intentioned effort to save American taxpayers from a hopeless attempt to 'rescue' already-failed companies, McConnell has positioned his party in the Senate to reclaim the mantle of fiscal rectitude, and regain serious numbers of seats, come 2010.

Americans, by a wide margin, have been polling in opposition to this bailout, because they understand that they are being asked to pay for the excessive pension benefits of union retirees, as well as the excessive current wages of union employees of GM, Ford and Chrysler.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Democrats Set To Fund A New Socialism With Huge Deficits

Something odd seems to be in the air.

Last week, on Fox News' Hannity & Colmes program, former Clinton aid Dick Morris predicted that the Illinois Rookie will be using the current economic recession to boost Federal spending- and debt- to unheard of levels.

In the meantime, he'll enact the liberals' cherished social programs which have been too expensive to have passed Congressional muster in the past.

Even Peggy Noonan, the now-irrelevant, largely brain-dead former Reagan speechwriter, was crowing about the benefits of FDR-like spending programs to make Americans 'feel better,' in this weekend's edition of the Wall Street Journal.

Like some doped-up zombie, she celebrated WPA-style programs as sure to make Americans see, feel and touch something 'real,' as opposed to cyber-based economic progress, like, oh, say, the internet!

According to Noonan, an entire decade or two was wasted in increasing American productivity using electronics, networking and e-based commerce and communication.

In Peggy's new world, roadwork and other tangible social-spending goodies trump real, market-tested goods and services.

We're in for a bad time, as market-based notions of value, job-creation, and spending are tossed out, to be replaced by B-team civil servants ladling out cash by the tens of billions to their friends and other supplicants.

Why anyone believes a lawyer with no governmental experience worth a dime can 'create jobs' where private capital saw no opportunity is anybody's guess.

But you don't have to guess who will pay for the borrowed money being pumped into all these idiotic programs, do you?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tennessee Senator Bob Corker Redeems Himself In The Detroit Bailout

Back in early October, I wrote this post excoriating Tennessee Republican Senator Bob Corker.

Fair is fair. I believe Senator Corker's statements and efforts to stop the bailout of GM, Ford, Chrysler and the UAW have earned him a reprieve, and, even more, recognition as a standup, standout Washington legislator.

I was extremely impressed when, on Monday, Corker stated in an interview on CNBC that, while he believed the bailout plan would pass Congress, he would not be voting for it.

Last week, he challenged the viability of GM, and condemned the entire notion of allowing any of the auto makers to short cut to Washington without stopping in bankruptcy court first.

As I write this on Thursday night, December 11, the following information was available on Corker's version of the bailout plan, which even Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, named as the 'only plan being considered now' in the Senate,

"He got busy before dawn today, working multiple angles, in hopes of convincing Senators the current auto bailout bill won't help the industry. "I mean you couldn't make it almost more ineffective and more complicated," said Corker about the White House plan.

Corker favors an alternative plan that focuses on debt reduction, and bringing the wages and benefits of U-S auto workers in line with foreign competitors.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says "if the Republicans have an alternative, let them offer that." So, this afternoon, Corker filed an amendment to the bailout bill, with his ideas. "

And this article noted,

"In one meeting, Republican Sen. Bob Corker, who has proposed his own alternative to solve the auto industry's problems, spoke briefly with Reid and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd.

Republicans, as well as some Democrats, are requesting that amendments be made to the legislation. Corker's proposal calls for the federal government to give loans to the auto companies with a provision that General Motors' and Chrysler's debt must be cut by two-thirds by March 15 or they must file for bankruptcy.

Corker also proposed making bondholders and unions take stock in the Big Three in place of some cash payments they're owed. Plus he wanted autoworkers to renegotiate their contracts and adjust their pay and benefits to match what foreign automakers pay their workers in the U.S."

These are the details I heard discussed on Fox News this evening. While I'm disappointed President Bush backed the House version, rather than standing with Republican members of both Chambers to back a Corker-style bill, it is very similar to what I hoped for when I wrote this recent post just a week ago today. I think Corker's ideas concerning forcing existing stakeholders, until now along for a free ride on the taxpayer's nickel, including bondholders and the UAW, must take equity instead of some cash payments, as well as forcing the latter to lower their compensation to that of Detroit's onshore competitors.

Very shrewd, because, eventually, to survive, all three Detroit auto companies will need to do that.

Regarding the House version, the article states,

"The House approved the plan late Wednesday on a vote of 237-170. It would infuse money within days into cash-starved General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC. Ford Motor Co., which has said it has enough cash to make it through 2009, would also be eligible for federal aid.

The plan would also create a government "car czar," to be named by President Bush to dole out loans, with the power to force the carmaker into bankruptcy next spring if they didn't cut quick deals with labor unions, creditors and others to restructure their businesses and become viable.

But the legislation has met strong opposition from many Republicans -- including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell -- who claim it does not require enough accountability from auto makers. The Republicans have plans to filibuster the legislation to prevent its passage in the U.S. Senate.

McConnell said on Thursday that the measure "isn't nearly tough enough" on struggling automakers, which employ thousands in Ohio. He said a primary weakness in the measure is with the so-called "car czar." He added that the post wouldn't have the power to force the car companies to make the tough concessions needed to ensure their survival.

On Thursday, Republican senator Tom Coburn told FOX News that he expects the bill will be defeated in the Senate. Coburn said the legislation is "only a short term fix." "

So, I'm happy to report that Corker has already begun to help lead the long Republican march out of this November's defeat, with a positive, realistic bill to temporarily aid GM, Ford, Chrysler and the UAW.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Illinois' Latest Governmental Shame: Governor Rod Blagojevich

Current Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is following a long and rich history of corruption in the Land of Lincoln.

As this newstory recounts, Blagojevich is the fourth governor of the state to be on the way to the Big House in less than forty years.

The Illinois Democratic governor of my youth, known back then- no kidding- as 'Honest Otto' Kerner, was convicted while on the Federal bench.

"Walkin'" Dan Walker, another Democrat who emulated Jimmy Carter and walked across the state, and into the governor's mansion in Springfield, was imprisoned for S&L-related fraud.

George Ryan, a Republican, left office for a jail term on account of selling licenses and leases while Secretary of State. In that, he continued the proud tradition of his predecessor in the 1970s, Paul Powell.

In those days, I recall that Illinois residents wrote their drivers license payments not to "Secretary of State of Illinois," nor "Illinois DMV," but directly to "Paul Powell."

Upon Powell's death, hundreds of shoe boxes full of uncashed checks were found in his home.

Nice work if you can get it.

There are so many interesting angles to the Blowdryovitch (that's what they call him back home) scandal.

For example, why did Federal DA Patrick Fitzpatrick wait until after the November election to move on the Illinois Governor? You have to suspect political calculation on the part of the Illinois Democratic mafia.

Clearly, with only a 6% point margin of victory, the New Messiah would have probably lost the November election, had Blagojevich been arrested a few days before that first Tuesday.

Doesn't this illustrate how corrupt and rotten is the nest of Cook County, Illinois Democratic vipers from which our President-elect was spawned? It is unimaginable that all of the key Democratic party players didn't know this was going on.

So, why didn't our New Messiah work to change any of this? Instead, he willingly turned a blind eye to it, while scrambling up his own political ladder, knifing old mentors in the process.

Will Illinois voters choose a Republican replacement, the better to punish the deeply-corrupt Democrats? One can only hope. It would be a fitting reaction, should the downstate Republicans finally mobilize and manage to regain at least one seat.

Is the Anointed One complicit in any of this? Well....that is the $64,000 question, is it not?

As William Bennett noted on Hannity & Colmes last night, we just don't know yet. The denials haven't yet been sufficiently sweeping from the Illinois rookie's camp. We don't know whether any of his underlings did him a 'favor' that will come back to haunt him.

Remember, Nixon didn't initially know of the plumbers' activities. His crime was obstruction of justice, not planning the original crime.

Oh....and Jesse, Jr? What about Candidate #5? The Feds explicitly state that somebody representing Jackson approached Blagojevich. Jackson's denial was carefully wordsmithed to avoid denial of responding to requests for bribes to get that Senate seat. He only denied initiating the process- not participating.

Should be interesting to watch this unfold. Of course, the stench of the mess will hang heavy over the Rookie's inauguration.

Wasn't this how Carter's era began? Bert Lance and "Ham" Jordan causing embarrassment from virtually the get-go?

Yes, it's Carter-time again, folks. Only, I predict that this next administration will look Carter look moderate and competent by comparison.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Obama's Birth Controversy

I know I haven't written about this topic yet. In fact, I only became aware of it a few weeks ago, well after the election.

But, if you Google the topic, as I did, you'll find there are several suits filed to force the newly-elected Illinois rookie to release his birth certificate for verification.

His own grandmother has sworn she saw him born in Africa. Hawaii won't release his birth certificate. And neither will the incoming President.

How can you not smell a rat on this one? The Democratic party is fearful of losing the election if it is shown their candidate didn't meet the basic requirements for office.

How can we sit still for this?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Democrats Plan To Piss Your Tax Dollars Away

All this talk by Democrats about 'infrastructure' spending and, along with it, 'green jobs,' is nonsensical.

You'd laugh, if you didn't want to cry, instead, at the hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars about to be wasted by our New New Deal.

One of the basic lessons of even Keynesian economics one learns in the introductory macroeconomics course in college is that government fiscal policy rarely, if ever, counteracts a recession. Instead, it typically stokes inflation as, just when the natural cycle of the economy moves into expansion, all of the government-induced use of resources for infrastructure projects hit home, causing cost-push inflation.

I wrote here recently about how current evidence clearly shows the FDR New Deal programs to have failed at providing long term, meaningful jobs, or economic expansion, in the 1930s.

So, whether it's long term economic change, recessionary offset spending, or honest replacement of bridges and roads- the last, by the way, already the subject of large, recent years' outlays by Congress- this coming orgy of Obamanomics won't help the current natural economic recessionary cycle end any sooner.

But it will add to the deficit which, only a year ago, was the primary tool with which Democrats fought against Republican-sponsored tax cuts.

Oh, well. I guess fiscal responsibility was only desirable for Democrats when it kept Republicans from cutting taxes. Now that fiscal rectitude might impair the Democrats' newly-elected Messiah's plans to single-handledly save the Western economies, it'll have to go.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Politics of The Auto Maker Bailout

The politics of the multi-billion dollar bailout that US auto maker CEOs Wagoner, Mulally and Nardelli are requesting on their return visit to Capitol Hill today are getting quite interesting.

This morning's festivities began with doddering Chris Dodd's (D-CT) inaccurate, myopic and generally stupid opening remarks. I know that Dodd is a grafter and totally corrupt, since he took special favors in the form of sweetheart loans from now-defunct Countrywide Finance. He was a 'friend of Angelo,' calling each day to shepherd his and his wife's special loan through processing, then claiming to never have known about the special deal he received.

Mind you, he chaired the panel that regulated this failed institution.

It remains to be seen what kind of graft Comrade Chris expects from the US auto makers. Maybe a free Volt from GM, or hybrid Eclipse from Ford? How about a special share of Cerebrus' profits if he directs a fire hose of cash toward Chrysler?

But until this morning, I don't think I fully realized how dumb Dodd is. He actually began his remarks by attempting to portray Bernanke's and Paulson's rescue of the US banking system as favoritism. Announcing that he had invited both financial mavens to testify this morning, Dodd actually thinks everyone else is as stupid as he is about what Paulson and Bernanke would have to say about the auto maker case.

The answer is, nothing. Ah, that would be Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez, Chris. Do you have his phone number? I thought not.

In any case, Dodd went on to excoriate the Fed and Treasury over saving the nation's banking system, which is a hybrid of the Federal government and various chartered, heavily regulated national banks, while not jumping in to rescue a totally different type of company- industrial firms engaged in the manufacture of cars and trucks.

It's almost comical to see Dodd struggle to force his completely incorrect views on a sceptical nation. If he really can't understand why the nation's banking system is a qualitatively different case than a few already-failed vehicle producers, he needs to find another line of 'work.'

Immediately after doddering Dodd's remarks, Republican Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama provided a stunning contrast with his introductory comments. Shelby noted that the auto makers had already been failing prior to the financial crisis of this year, and, even now, are touting excessively optimistic sales and profit targets. Shelby observed that they have no Plan B if those plans are wrong, other than to return to Washington for more money.

However, this isn't the entire story on the auto maker's desired bailout. I've alluded to this in these posts here and here. In the former linked post, written in mid-November, within a day of the last visit of the auto makers' CEOs to the Hill, I noted,

""It's official. The Democratic Congress and its new partner, the inexperienced President-elect from Illinois, are going to ram a GM rescue bill through Congress ASAP.

This may be a record for the shortest time period in which a newly-elected President ran away from his most prominent campaign promises and morphed into someone else entirely.

"Trouble is, current President, George W. Bush, and the Congressional GOP members, aren't playing ball.

Boo Hoo!

Looks like GM is going to actually have to try to run its business until January 21st, 2009, without Federal aid. How shocking!Treasury Secretary Paulson has announced, long and loud, that the TARP will not be used to lend to GM for ordinary operations. President Bush isn't budging on the issue, either. No executive orders or special spending actions will be coming from him.

It seems, too, that most business press and a groundswell of ordinary American opinion is against selective aid to GM without a bankruptcy filing and, probably, the head of Rick Wagoner as the price for any Federal help."

Yes, that's the rub. Anything that Frisco Nan and Harry Reid pass can, and likely will be vetoed by the President....that is, the current, sitting President. The one who currently sits in the Oval Office. Not the one doing all the photo ops from Chicago.

And today's Congressional Republicans are already smarter and more positively disposed than their brethren of just a few months ago.

Look for Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan to brace House Minority Leader John Boehner, forcing him to withhold support for any Democratic bailout of the Detroit auto makers which does not first require their filing Chapter 11. Look for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to do the same, while President Bush cites Republican Congressional preference for a bill that includes that requirement.

Bush, Boehner and McConnell, standing in front of the White House, will make an effective team as the President gives his full support to the Republican leaders' version of a bill to help auto workers, via a DIP loan to those auto makers which file for bankruptcy, while steadfastly refusing to engage in corporate welfare and government picking winners and losers in the free market.

Citing the banking system as a vital national interest which had to be protected, Bush will draw a distinction between prior aid to the financial sector, and the Democrats' attempt to ladle out billions to failed US companies.

That veto is key. The Illinois rookie, regardless of what he has the press believing, is powerless until 12:01PM on January 20, 2009. Until that moment, anything Congress passes must be signed by President Bush.

GM's Wagoner has shot himself in the foot by insisting that, without Federal aid, his company will go bankrupt by the end of this month.

If that is not an invitation for the Republicans to push him into Chapter 11 to get access to a DIP loan, what is?

Moreover, public sentiment is broadly against a straight bailout of Detroit, sans bankruptcy filings.

This is one case in which American-style government comes to our rescue. Between 47 and 48 states don't rely on unionized labor working in GM, Ford or Chrysler factories to sustain their economies. This mass of American voters and workers realize that they are being asked to pay tax dollars to fund UAW benefits for current and retired workers which far exceed what they, themselves, enjoy.

That's why Frisco Nan, Harry Reid and even the New Messiah from Illinois have seriously miscalculated this issue. Americans are against a non-bankruptcy bailout of GM, Ford or Chrysler.

I believe that, if somehow, a bailout is effected without the bankruptcy requirement, you could see the President-elect's honeymoon cut to only a few months, and the Democrats lose either or both the House and Senate in 2010.

This is becoming a highly visible issue. And one on which most Americans' gut instincts are correct- that UAW members do not deserve a bailout, via GM, Ford and Chrysler, in order to preserve benefits that few others in the country enjoy.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Frisco Nan Backs Her Union Pals

It's official. I saw a brief appearance by House Speaker Frisco Nan yesterday in which she stated that bankruptcy for the Detroit auto makers 'is not an option.'

Gee, does she share Rick Wagoner's speech writer?

Seriously, what else would you expect? First, Nan is hardly someone who would have any idea of how business is really managed in America. She's a pol.

Second, to entertain the notion that an American industrial failure should naturally consider bankruptcy is to cheat her union backers out of their lush benefits.

Isn't it ironic that the normally business-hating, antagonistic Nan has finally found a private corporation she can love?

But only one from whom her union pals at the UAW have a huge outstanding tab for promised pensions, benefits and 'job bank' payments. She can't afford to let those be unilaterally reduced in a Chapter 11 filing by Ford, GM or Chrysler, now, can she?

My, what it takes to make bedfellows of an ultra-liberal Democratic Speaker and the CEO of the nation's formerly 'first company,' GM.

Sad and disgusting, really.

Too bad these two knuckleheads can't just let natural forces play out and put GM into a Chapter 11 filing, ending this ridiculous, nightmarish spectacle.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Coming Democratic Spending Orgy

I wrote this post yesterday on my business blog to highlight liberal Democratic economist and recent Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman's nasty attacks on the current administration, as well as his attempt to deny Amity Schlaes' fact-based revelations on the failure of FDR's New Deal to lift America out of the Great Depression.

On this blog, I want to highlight the post because it is so relevant to the coming Democratic spending orgy.

On a similar note, here's a UCLA article concerning research done there which found FDR to be, not the cure for, but the source of the Great Depression.

"FDR's policies prolonged Depression by 7 years, UCLA economists calculate
By Meg Sullivan
8/10/2004 12:23:12 PM

Two UCLA economists say they have figured out why the Great Depression dragged on for almost 15 years, and they blame a suspect previously thought to be beyond reproach: President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

After scrutinizing Roosevelt's record for four years, Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian conclude in a new study that New Deal policies signed into law 71 years ago thwarted economic recovery for seven long years.

"Why the Great Depression lasted so long has always been a great mystery, and because we never really knew the reason, we have always worried whether we would have another 10- to 15-year economic slump," said Ohanian, vice chair of UCLA's Department of Economics. "We found that a relapse isn't likely unless lawmakers gum up a recovery with ill-conceived stimulus policies."

In an article in the August issue of the Journal of Political Economy, Ohanian and Cole blame specific anti-competition and pro-labor measures that Roosevelt promoted and signed into law June 16, 1933.

"President Roosevelt believed that excessive competition was responsible for the Depression by reducing prices and wages, and by extension reducing employment and demand for goods and services," said Cole, also a UCLA professor of economics. "So he came up with a recovery package that would be unimaginable today, allowing businesses in every industry to collude without the threat of antitrust prosecution and workers to demand salaries about 25 percent above where they ought to have been, given market forces. The economy was poised for a beautiful recovery, but that recovery was stalled by these misguided policies."

Using data collected in 1929 by the Conference Board and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Cole and Ohanian were able to establish average wages and prices across a range of industries just prior to the Depression. By adjusting for annual increases in productivity, they were able to use the 1929 benchmark to figure out what prices and wages would have been during every year of the Depression had Roosevelt's policies not gone into effect. They then compared those figures with actual prices and wages as reflected in the Conference Board data.

In the three years following the implementation of Roosevelt's policies, wages in 11 key industries averaged 25 percent higher than they otherwise would have done, the economists calculate. But unemployment was also 25 percent higher than it should have been, given gains in productivity.

Meanwhile, prices across 19 industries averaged 23 percent above where they should have been, given the state of the economy. With goods and services that much harder for consumers to afford, demand stalled and the gross national product floundered at 27 percent below where it otherwise might have been.

"High wages and high prices in an economic slump run contrary to everything we know about market forces in economic downturns," Ohanian said. "As we've seen in the past several years, salaries and prices fall when unemployment is high. By artificially inflating both, the New Deal policies short-circuited the market's self-correcting forces."

The policies were contained in the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), which exempted industries from antitrust prosecution if they agreed to enter into collective bargaining agreements that significantly raised wages. Because protection from antitrust prosecution all but ensured higher prices for goods and services, a wide range of industries took the bait, Cole and Ohanian found. By 1934 more than 500 industries, which accounted for nearly 80 percent of private, non-agricultural employment, had entered into the collective bargaining agreements called for under NIRA.

Cole and Ohanian calculate that NIRA and its aftermath account for 60 percent of the weak recovery. Without the policies, they contend that the Depression would have ended in 1936 instead of the year when they believe the slump actually ended: 1943.

Roosevelt's role in lifting the nation out of the Great Depression has been so revered that Time magazine readers cited it in 1999 when naming him the 20th century's second-most influential figure.

"This is exciting and valuable research," said Robert E. Lucas Jr., the 1995 Nobel Laureate in economics, and the John Dewey Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago. "The prevention and cure of depressions is a central mission of macroeconomics, and if we can't understand what happened in the 1930s, how can we be sure it won't happen again?"

NIRA's role in prolonging the Depression has not been more closely scrutinized because the Supreme Court declared the act unconstitutional within two years of its passage.
"Historians have assumed that the policies didn't have an impact because they were too short-lived, but the proof is in the pudding," Ohanian said. "We show that they really did artificially inflate wages and prices."

Even after being deemed unconstitutional, Roosevelt's anti-competition policies persisted — albeit under a different guise, the scholars found. Ohanian and Cole painstakingly documented the extent to which the Roosevelt administration looked the other way as industries once protected by NIRA continued to engage in price-fixing practices for four more years.
The number of antitrust cases brought by the Department of Justice fell from an average of 12.5 cases per year during the 1920s to an average of 6.5 cases per year from 1935 to 1938, the scholars found. Collusion had become so widespread that one Department of Interior official complained of receiving identical bids from a protected industry (steel) on 257 different occasions between mid-1935 and mid-1936. The bids were not only identical but also 50 percent higher than foreign steel prices. Without competition, wholesale prices remained inflated, averaging 14 percent higher than they would have been without the troublesome practices, the UCLA economists calculate.

NIRA's labor provisions, meanwhile, were strengthened in the National Relations Act, signed into law in 1935. As union membership doubled, so did labor's bargaining power, rising from 14 million strike days in 1936 to about 28 million in 1937. By 1939 wages in protected industries remained 24 percent to 33 percent above where they should have been, based on 1929 figures, Cole and Ohanian calculate. Unemployment persisted. By 1939 the U.S. unemployment rate was 17.2 percent, down somewhat from its 1933 peak of 24.9 percent but still remarkably high. By comparison, in May 2003, the unemployment rate of 6.1 percent was the highest in nine years.

Recovery came only after the Department of Justice dramatically stepped enforcement of antitrust cases nearly four-fold and organized labor suffered a string of setbacks, the economists found.

"The fact that the Depression dragged on for years convinced generations of economists and policy-makers that capitalism could not be trusted to recover from depressions and that significant government intervention was required to achieve good outcomes," Cole said. "Ironically, our work shows that the recovery would have been very rapid had the government not intervened." "

This is chilling reading, considering the bone-headed President-elect's insistence that he must spend hundreds of billions to 'create green jobs' and other nonsense.

When has the US Federal government ever created long term jobs which the private sector hadn't already determined were worthwhile?

Who says 'green jobs' are needed, or profitable? Why should anyone believe the Illinois rookie knows the first thing about how to, and which, jobs to create? With your money?

I guess there's a silver lining. If, and as, the rookie does this, he's simply going to grease his own way out of office, since his and his party's Congressional majority's grandiose spending plans won't work.

And, as they rack up huge deficits to no effect, Republican Congressmen Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan will be chortling and commenting from the sidelines.

2010 and 2012 may well yet be GOP years for making Congressional and, then, Presidential hay.

The Camera-Happy New President-Elect

Watching CNBC this afternoon, I learned that the Illinois rookie has made five televised appearances in the past week.

As the liberal-leaning on-air-heads jumped all over our actual, sitting President, one of them finally noted why George Bush has not been appearing frequently.

Simply put, Bush has made it clear that his conservative principles dictate that the Federal government not serve as everybody's- and I mean everybody's- personal printing press/bailout machine.

Take today's overwrought Obama appearance. Speaking to a gathering of the nation's governors, the Illinois freshman actually had the unmitigated gall to recall, misty-eyed, his start in politics in the Illinois legislature. Mind you, he didn't waste much time there. Just enough to prepare to run for the US Senate.

But, never the less, we now know that his heart remains in state government.

Thus, the newly-elected rookie was in Philadelphia to promise Federal handouts to profligate states that didn't properly save and manage their budgets in lush times.

No worries. The Messiah will merely turn on the printing presses and vanquish all budget deficits.

As usual, the Great One is pandering to whomever happens to be sitting in front of him.

No wonder George Bush is remaining silent. At this late date in his administration, his position is moot anyway. And with a Democratic-controlled Congress about to bailout the Detroit-based US auto makers, and who knows who else lines up at the Capitol, why should Bush waste his breath counseling prudence, self-reliance and a need for the states to just tighten belts and do a better job managing their own finances in the future?

It's not a failure of Bush to communicate to the nation during this time of economic recession and financial crisis. Rather, he knows his limits, and won't demean himself by offering counsel that voters apparently don't want to hear.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Voter Eligibility- An Old Idea Whose Time Has Come

America's constitution originally limited voters to those who held property. As such, we have been taught, our Founding Fathers were needlessly restrictive and undemocratic.

Now, over two hundred years later, newly-minted drivers register to vote at shopping malls, or via ACORN, without even compelling proof of residence.

Thus, this post's subject should have given you chills. On election day, I wrote this post, which included the passage,

"In prior election years for the past decade, I recall the Wall Street Journal publishing, close to each quadrennial election date in November, an editorial written by one particular high school teacher. His point was always the same, regardless of in which year he wrote his piece: there are some Americans whom you really don't want in that polling booth.

By describing the incredibly bad sense of both American history and current world events among his charges, the editorialist reminded us of the danger of too many ill-informed and bad-thinking people voting for our governing officials.

It almost certainly puts me in a minority, but I'd actually prefer a lighter voter turnout. Both this year, and in most election years. Give me a thoughtful, if smaller core of voters determining the direction of my country, rather than a shotgun blast of newly-registered, uninformed and illogical voters swamping those who actually pay attention to the national agenda month in, month out, every year."

Back in late summer, when ACORN's involvement in multi-state voter registration fraud, and their ties to the newly-elected President's campaign were big news, my business partner and I discussed the idea of more restrictive voting laws.

I now believe it would be better for our country if two important changes were made regarding voter eligibility.

First, a set of questions be taken directly from exams by which people become naturalized US citizens, and used as a qualifier for voting. Each voter would be required to answer all 10 questions correctly, or s/he could not vote that day. Period.

If a citizen and registered voter can't pass part of the exam to become a US citizen, why, in God's name, do we want them voting in our elections?

Second, I would recommend that only people who can prove that they paid taxes to the federal government, state and/or local jurisdictions may vote in those elections.

This makes a lot of sense, and was the only restriction the Constitution ever placed on voters. Simply put, it insures that only Americans with 'skin in the game,' those who actually pay for the government, have a say in its operation.

All others, especially those who only take from, but do not pay for government services, are excluded.

It's not hard to understand why this would be a healthy thing. What's to prevent every welfare recipient for voting for whomever will give them more benefits? Nothing.

Gradually, the fewer working voters will be held hostage to those who vote without contributing economically to our society.

I know my recommendations won't make it into law. Probably ever. But they should.

I'm convinced we'd be a better, healthier Republic for these restrictions on voter eligibility.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Obama As The New Lincoln, FDR & JFK ???

Of all the political nonsense floating about recently, the most nonsensical is the Illinois rookie being compared to: Abraham Lincoln, FDR, and JFK.

I saw one article in the Wall Street Journal claiming that the President-elect fancies Lincoln as his role model.

As if.

Apparently, the big connection here is that....are you sitting down for this?......they both began their lives in poverty.

Wow. You know, they are the only two Presidents to have begun life in other than highly-privileged surroundings. Reagan, Nixon, Grant, to name a few, actually did, as well.

But for purposes of glorifying the New Messiah, let's just focus on ol' Abe, shall we?

Then we come to FDR. I've seen a picture of the magazine cover which places the Illinois freshman Senator in the chauffeured sedan, drawn and posed as FDR, complete with cigarette holder, hat and grin.


FDR had actual work experience prior to running for President. He was Secretary of the Navy, then Governor of New York.

And, no, this is not the worst economic period in American history since the Great Depression. The recession we are just entering may be as bad as the one in 1982, or even 1974, the latter fanned by the first Arab oil embargo. But we are nowhere near 25% unemployment and a drop in money supply as most of the country's banks fail.

The only way the incoming President will become like FDR is if, as promised, he rams his socialistic programs through a willing, Democratic Congress.

Court packing, anyone?

And, of course, JFK. The newly-elected President is on the younger side, attended Harvard (but not as an undergraduate- only law school), is intelligent and articulate.

But, again, he has far less experience than JFK. Kennedy had combat experience in WWII and served a few terms as a US Representative and at least one Senate term. And, even then, his legislative failures were notable. As were his foreign policy gaffes.

All of which simply goes to show how desperate Democrats and other liberals are to project their hopes onto this empty slate who's just been elected as our next President.

One thing is certain. He's not going to measure up to any of these predecessors, even if you liked what they did.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Obama By Another Name?

Have you ever known a person of Indian extraction, in America or England, with one of those long, unpronounceable names?

Long ago, one of the people working for me joked about an auto salesman whose business card read:

(Unpronounceable first name) 'Al' Gupta.

Perhaps our newly-elected President has the same issue. I mean, he, himself, introduced racism into the campaign when he charged that, to paraphrase,

'They'll try to scare you into voting for their guy. They'll say he has a funny name. And that he looks different than all those guys on our paper money.'

Thus, when a commenter on my blog mentioned "Barry O," I got a flash.

Perhaps someone should start a contest to provide the incoming President with a new, properly western first name.

Sure, Barry is okay. But, why stop there?

Why limit it to names beginning with B? Perhaps the Illinois rookie has always craved a different first name.

Mike? Sam? Alex?

That's a good one. Alex...like Alexander...the Great? Perfect for the Messianic One, isn't it?

Or maybe he should tackle all this comparison nonsense with Lincoln, and just assume his first name-


Abraham "Abe" Barack Obama.

Abe Obama. Not lilting, but it could work.

Or, perhaps another comparison, Frank(lin)?

"Frank" Obama.

Well, you get the idea. Maybe someone will suggest dropping pretense, and go for the big one....


"Jesus" Barack Obama.

God help us, it could happen.

The Incredible Naivete of Obama Voters

Fox News aired a disturbing piece last week on its Hannity & Colmes program.

I can't recall the name of the producer/videographer, but the story was essentially this.

A filmmaker had selected for him, without his involvement, a group of people who had voted for the Democratic candidate for President earlier this month. This was, effectively, an exit survey.

He then provided them with a 10-question, multiple choice quiz to complete.

Among the astonishing and troubling results were that every respondent, as verified by the video clip on H&C, thought that both Congressional Houses were controlled by the Republicans!

Further, he documented the extremely toxic environment the media had created for the GOP ticket by asking the voters who, among the four candidates on the two major tickets, had an unmarried teenaged daughter.

Again, every one of the respondents appearing on the video replied the same, and that was, correctly, Sarah Palin.

It reminds me of a discussion which my business partner and I had earlier this year regarding the Constitution's original requirements for voting. Given this horrifying story, I'm going to write a post about that conversation, and what could be done to improve electoral outcomes going forward.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The End of Hillary's Political Career

I wrote recently concerning the President-elect's failure to 'change' anything with his cabinet selections.

As I write this, Fox News has been covering Hillary's likely assumption of the State position. They mused, and I had already discussed this with friends, that doing so will conveniently, for the Illinois rookie, take her out of politics for good.

First, giving up a totally safe Senate seat, which she bought, carpetbagger style, will leave her with no base. As Secretary of State, she'll be worse off than those perennially-defeated chairmen of the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee. Instead of ever addressing any domestic issues, she will have a virtual gag order on any topic within the confines of the 50 states.

Next, she'll have to take orders from the Illinois rookie. Besides being tough, temperamentally, it will make it harder for her, psychologically, to challenge him. It's even debatable if she can make it through the entire single term of the Senate freshman.

Third, this is good for the New Messiah. With Hillary shorn of a power base and media-oriented perch, handling difficult-to-understand foreign affairs issues, it will be tough for Hillary to run for the Democratic party's Presidential nomination in 2012, as the new President founders.

If she resigned early in the term of the about-to-fail Obama administration, she'll be viewed as stabbing him in the back and bailing. Damaging party unity. If she doesn't, she's strapped in on a one-way ride to political Palookaville. Waiting another four years, or more, will likely do for Hillary what it did for John McCain, and that's not a good thing.

Either way, Hillary taking the job at State pretty much ends her political career.

Maybe it is a good thing, after all!

Friday, November 21, 2008

More Clintonistas & Old Democrats In The New Messiah's Cabinet

I wrote earlier this week of the Illinois rookie's staffing his putative administration with ex-Bubba Clinton people at very senior levels.

Now, more names are coming out into public view.

Chief co-Bubba, Hillary Clinton, is now reputed to have the Secretary of State position, if she wishes it. And her hapless, pump-headed husband can manage to behave sufficiently well to let her be confirmed by the Senate.

Eric Holder, the Clinton-era pardoner of fugitive Marc Rich and the Puerto Rican terrorists who killed New Yorkers with bombs, is being put forth for AG.

Tom Daschle, the mean, spiteful and vindictive former Senate Majority and Minority leader for the Democrats, is being touted for HHS. Apparently because he wrote some dopey book about healthcare. God save us from small minds.

As I noted in the prior post, so much for 'change you can believe in,' eh? Or any change at all, for that matter.

No, it'll be liberal business as usual in this new US government, come January 21, 2009.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

More Stupidity From Barney Frank

Amidst today's House session in which the four pigs came to beg for Federal trough privileges, Barney Frank uttered one of his stupidest comments yet.

Of course, with Frank's annoying speech impediment, you never know precisely what he said. However, what it sounded like was this,

'It would seem that the basis for helping white collar workers is different than that for helping middle-class workers. I'm not saying anything against white collar workers. But we passed a bill spending $700 billion to help big banks and we saved the jobs of the white collar workers of AIG. Now that we are discussing helping middle class workers in the auto sector, the standards for that help seem to be higher.'

If Barney Frank really can't understand the difference between AIG and GM, he needs to remove himself from any House Committee involving finance or economics.

As the nearby, Yahoo-sourced price chart for AIG, GM and Ford, from 1985 until the present, demonstrates, AIG was never in the same shareholder-value destroying shape that the two auto makers (and, presumably, Chrysler, too) until the past two years.

GM barely cleared stasis for most of the 23-year period, and has ended it with a significant loss. Ford did somewhat better, nearly matching AIG for ten years. But both GM and Ford have been in decline, in terms of sharehold value, for nearly a decade.

Not so AIG. At its peak, it had created three times the value for its shareholders that Ford had for its owners. GM isn't even in the same ballpark.

The giant, complex insurer flattened for most of this decade, prior to plunging in value as the markets for exotic structured finance instruments began to unravel last year.

But it's clear from this simple display that the auto sector has been in trouble for far longer than AIG.

Barney Frank should be ashamed of his lack of knowledge and faulty comparisons. No wonder his viewpoints and actions in the House have had such catastrophic effects on the US economy. Beginning with his 'rolling the dice' on loading up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with too much subprime, low-income mortgages.

We can't afford much more of this idiot's 'work' on Capitol Hill.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Obama Steps Further Into Detroit Troubles

As I observed here, a week ago, the President-elect is already breaking promises on the economic front. I wrote,

"It's official. The Democratic Congress and its new partner, the inexperienced President-elect from Illinois, are going to ram a GM rescue bill through Congress ASAP.

This may be a record for the shortest time period in which a newly-elected President ran away from his most prominent campaign promises and morphed into someone else entirely."

Trouble is, current President, George W. Bush, and the Congressional GOP members, aren't playing ball.

Boo Hoo!

Looks like GM is going to actually have to try to run its business until January 21st, 2009, without Federal aid. How shocking!

Treasury Secretary Paulson has announced, long and loud, that the TARP will not be used to lend to GM for ordinary operations. President Bush isn't budging on the issue, either. No executive orders or special spending actions will be coming from him.

It seems, too, that most business press and a groundswell of ordinary American opinion is against selective aid to GM without a bankruptcy filing and, probably, the head of Rick Wagoner as the price for any Federal help.

Democratic Senator Carl Levin, no less, replied, in answer to a question yesterday, that he would have no problem with requiring Wagoner to resign as a condition of any Federal aid to GM.

But the important points which are now clearly shaping up are these. The current Republican administration is not going to take the fall for bailing out a GM which does not file Chapter 11. And many Americans are wondering just why a poorly run, for decades, auto maker deserves to be saved, rather than simply letting shareholders take the loss, sell off the good parts, and provide direct aid to the affected workers, as citizens, not UAW members.

This means that Frisco Nan has a problem- as does her colleague, the rookie Senator from Illinois. Both decry corporate welfare. But GM is largely a vehicle through which UAW members get their loot.

This means the Democrats are caught between a rock and a hard place. No Republicans in sight to take the fall. Nan will have to swallow, hold her nose and personally vote to ladle cash to GM in order to save union jobs. This won't be lost on anyone. Her partner in crime, Obama, will be signing the bill. Literally and figuratively.

Don't think independent voters will not wonder what in God's name is going on here.