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

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The New Imperial President

Have you noticed how, now that a Democrat has been elected President, all those prior accusations against President George W. Bush of being 'imperial' have faded?

Instead, the newly-elected First Rookie is uttering conciliatory phrases like,

'I won, so we'll do it my way.'

He and his party's Congressional members have stiff-armed Republicans on the 'stimulus' bill, completely turning on its head Wonderboy's promises of 'unity' and 'post-partisanship.'

Yes, when President Bush stood firm on his principles, Democrats labelled him intransigent and unbending. Now that they are doing the same thing, it's simply a matter of,

'We won, so now, we rule.'

Fortunately, Americans don't tend to favor extremism at either pole, so the Democrats' pathological habit of going too far when in power is now fully engaged.

The imperiousness of this newly-elected, inexperienced empty suit is about to help the GOP take at least one of the Houses of Congress back in less than two years.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Pity Michigan Its Hapless Politicians

I live in New Jersey.

I'm far from proud of that fact. I fervently wish I lived in another state. I wasn't born here, and, God willing, will move when circumstances allow, to a more conservative state.

But at least I don't live in Michigan.

Tuesday's Wall Street Journal ran a piece discussing the hilarious efforts of the state's Democratic governor, Jennifer Granholm, to attract the film industry.

Usually, states capitalize on one, or more, of three things which they possess: desirable geographical location, or; a unique or prized benefit to a particular industry, such as academic or craft talent, or; a significantly lower cost of doing business.

Silicon Valley is where it is because of the combination of fine universities and an area in which many talented engineers wished to remain. Boston's Route 128 technology belt shared this, with its dependence upon MIT and Harvard. Southern states provided lower labor costs to many industries.

What does Michigan offer the film industry? Empty old auto plants, for one. And tax breaks, for another.

Neither of which is even remotely unique among states.

The Journal article notes how the effort has failed, so far, to create meaningful, lasting jobs in the state. Apparently expectations were for as many as 3,600 new jobs from the film industry in the state.

Instead, a few films simply took advantage of narrow tax incentives for a specific movie, then left the state with no lasting benefit.

Maybe it's the result of too many years of reliance on three aging US industrial titans. It would appear that the state's politicians are as bereft of ideas for adding value with the state's population and resources, as well as an ability to face reality, as its once-vibrant auto makers are.

Then again, maybe bad ideas like Granholm's will eventually lead to a cleaning out of the state's old, tired Democrats and an infusion of more entrepreneurial governmental officials.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Chris Dodd's Lies On Countrywide Loan Disclosures

Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd half-heartedly came forth with information about his sweetheart loans from failed mortgage originator Countrywide a few days ago.

As I mentioned in this post last October, Dodd had been told he was a 'friend of Angelo' Mozilla, and accorded special, favorable treatment on two mortgage loans. Dodd was, and is, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and, as such, holds sway over matters important to Countrywide.

When the whistle blew on his shameful bribe-taking, Dodd promised to make public documents pertaining to the affair.

He lied.

What Dodd did, since mid-summer, is to have stalled the process. He hid behind a Senate ethics panel for a while. Then claimed to be conferring with his attorney.

Earlier this week, Dodd's minions laid out some papers involving the Countrywide matter in a single room in the Senator's offices in Hartford, CT. Selected reporters were allowed to read, but not copy, nor take, the material.

That's it. That is Dodd's version of full disclosure.

The man should be strung up in the public square in Hartford and pelted with rotten fruit, then forbidden to hold public office ever again.

Coming in a week when Wonderboy's cabinet was being stuffed with tax cheats, Dodd seems of a piece with this approach of the Democratic party.

Basically, if you can get power, you can rise above the law and violate it with impunity.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

More Cabinet Shame For Wonderboy: Eric Holder Confirmed As AG

I noticed yesterday that Democratic bag man Eric Holder was confirmed as Attorney General.

It sure does seem that there is a mounting sense of shame at the checkered gang being assembled as cabinet officers by Wonderboy.

In Holder's case, of course, he is responsible for two heinous pardons.

In the last weeks of the Clinton era, he maneuvered around Justice Department units meant to vet pardons, and allowed fugitive Marc Rich to be issued a Clinton pardon. Of course, Rich also was the source of a substantial donation to Clinton.

How convenient.

Further, and much more disgustingly, Holder arranged the unrequested pardon of Puerto Rican FALN terrorists, the conditions with which they didn't even comply, in expressing regret for their actions, which killed NYC police officers and citizens several decades ago.

This pardon was important in securing the large Puerto Rican vote in New York for Clinton's wife, who ran for Senate in that state.

Boy, am I glad politics as usual are gone from Washington.

Oh, yes. I also noticed a headline from the installation of this latest cabinet clown that he would be 'drilling down' into corporate misbehavior by senior executives.

I'd think Holder would be too ashamed of his own past to be passing judgment on anyone else anymore.

Wonderboy Attempts To Duck Daschle Issue

It's proving to be a very early end to Obama's honeymoon with the voters who elected him President only a few months ago.

First, Wonderboy nominated and pressed for confirmation on cabinet tax cheat #1, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

Next, cabinet tax cheat #2, Tom Daschle, was found to still owe in excess of $200K in taxes.

Then, just yesterday morning, 'chief performance officer' nominee Nancy Killefer withdrew her nomination over a $950 lien on a residence as a result of a tax delinquency.

By 2PM, Daschle had announced his withdrawal for the two positions he was to have in the cabinet- health czar, and HHS.

By way of damage control, when Fox News anchor Chris Wallace interviewed Wonderboy later that afternoon, the latter claimed that his major concern was who would now lead his healthcare initiative. He glossed over Daschle's tax problems and, more importantly, his own insistence, up to the morning before Daschle's withdrawal, on Daschle's confirmation.

Rather than admit to vetting errors, and his own now-consistent choice of tax cheats and, counting Richardson, suspected felons, for his cabinet, the First Rookie instead said he took 'full responsibility,' but not for choosing a tax cheat. Rather, he said it was for failing to have an HHS Secretary ready to confirm.

Meanwhile, in answer to Wallace's questions about Wonderboy's breaking his campaign pledge to hire no lobbyists, he claimed it was 'only 3 out of hundreds of appointments.' So now he's already splitting hairs.

Funny, because he sounded a lot more categorical back on the campaign trail.

In fact, Obama is ducking the entire collapse of his precious transition process. His Treasury Secretary still has no plan for his economic sector. Hillary has no plan for the Mideast. Guess it was a surprise to her and Wonderboy that they'd need one?

Yep. The best transition in history. Oh, yeah!

Three tax cheats, one candidate under investigation for bribes, and loading up on lobbyists.

And he's not finished filling his cabinet yet.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tom Daschle's Shameful Tax Cheating

As the late, revered President Ronald Reagan might say of Wonderboy's most recent broken promise,

"There he goes again!"

This time, the New Messiah has insisted on appointing tax cheat and former Democratic Senator (and Senate Minority Leader) Tom Daschle as Secretary of HHS.

Daschle's tax cheating is not small potatoes. Oh no. He owed over $100,000. And, just like Tim Geithner, Wonderboy's new Treasury Secretary, Daschle didn't think it was important to obey the law and pay the taxes until....he was nominated to a cabinet post.

It seems that some friend of Daschle's gave him a car and driver. You know, normal gifts between friends. Tommy then conveniently "forgot" to pay the tax on this non-cash income.

Oh, and Tommy forgot to pay the medicare taxes on the driver, too. Apparently he just wrote that check to the government this week.

Much has been said by others regarding the punishment you or I would suffer, had we committed this offense.

But, as I noted in the Geithner situation,

"If the first objection is simply ignored, then we have to consider his intent. That is, maybe it was deliberate. Or deliberate dismissal of his needing to observe rules and laws applying to everyone else.

You know. Those little people. The people who aren't Tim Geithner, important financial sector hotshot."

This time, word is that the Democrat Senate majority will vote along party lines to confirm one of their own as a cabinet officer, despite his incredible violation of our nation's tax laws.

Of course, by continuing to back, let alone insist on the confirmation of both Geithner and Daschle, Wonderboy has lost all credibility that he is bringing any sort of meaningful, positive change to Washington.

Or that he has any sort of moral high ground, compared to anyone. Instead, he's degrading the cabinet-level offices of our country by populating them with tax cheats. Tax cheats who are forgiven violations and penalties that you or I would surely suffer, were we to be found guilty of the same offenses.

And make no mistake, neither Geithner nor Daschle have argued they are innocent. They've admitted their guilt by paying the back taxes without protest!

Whatever ethical issues may have existed in the Bush administration, this new President has already outdone Bush 43 in plumbing a new low in Washington ethics, scandal and criminal behavior by insisting on the nomination and confirmation of admitted tax cheaters.

Monday, February 2, 2009

John Conyers' Stupid Mortgage "Reform" Ideas

Liberal House member John Conyers (D-MI) is, to judge from his editorial in last Friday's Wall Street Journal, not a very bright man. Not at all.

His piece, entitled "Loan Modification Can Stop the Foreclosure Crisis," pretty much distills his small-minded, near-term obsession with home foreclosures, rather than the longer term health of the mortgage industry.

Conyers wrote,

"I introduced the Helping Families Save Their Homes In Bankruptcy Act of 2009 to give courts the power to modify mortgages to bring them in line with underlying home values. For families in distress, this is a much-needed reform. And considering the realistic alternatives, it is fair to all concerned.

For more than three decades, the bankruptcy code has permitted the very kind of court modification we are considering today, for every other form of secured debt, including loans secured by second homes, investment properties, luxury yachts, and jets. For over 20 years, this very kind of modification has been available for home mortgages already -- if the home is a family farm. There is no indication that this has in any way increased the cost of credit for any of these kinds of loans.

As for my legislation, we have narrowed it to apply only to existing mortgages. So it will have no effect on new mortgages and cannot impact their cost. This is one reason why Citigroup is now among the many business and consumer groups that support this proposal. It's also one reason why the Obama administration supports my bill.

Finally, to those who argue that this legislation constitutes some form of "moral hazard," which will encourage reckless borrowing in the future, I would simply ask them to come to Detroit, my home town."

There are quite a few things wrong with Conyers' assertions.

First, any reasonable, educated adult voter knows that once you give a small exception to a standing rule to either the courts or Congress, it will be enlarged and distorted as time passes. So this is a classic 'camel's nose under the tent' approach that Conyers advocates. And he knows it.

Conyers focuses, in the second quoted paragraph, on the cost of credit. He gives no evidence, so we really can't believe his contention. It simply has no evidentiary basis in the column. But that's not the whole picture. Often, it's not the price of credit, but its very unavailability that is a problem. The asset classes which Conyers cites are much smaller asset-backed markets than home mortgages. And are generally viewed as riskier loans to buy.

Home mortgages are different because it is presumed that while someone might just let their boat, jet or investment real estate be repossessed, they will want to remain in their home. And home mortgages are just about the most securitized asset on the planet. So allowing some local municipal or district court judge to begin capriciously doling out mortgage relief will chill the market for securitized debt backed by home loans.

Conyers states that Citicorp supports his bill, but fails to mention that the US government effectively owns that bank. And it is generally accepted that Citicorp's management caved on this issue in exchange for continued access to Federal funding in the future.

Nobody with a brain who is not a libeal really believes the current restriction of this bill to existing mortgages will last through the next few years. It will only be a matter of time before the legislation is 'modified' so that more homeowner loans are included, and, in time, will simply become a part of the mortgage market.

This is precisely why limited government is to be preferred in an economic democracy like ours. Once Congress begins to encroach a little bit on some aspect of business, it gradually takes more and more power unto itself.

Make no mistake. If this measure passes, the future of mortgage finance will be far different than the past, and not in a good way. Excepting the past sixteen years of ill-advised Federal pressure on commercial banks to make and securitize risky, low-downpayment mortgages to unqualified borrowers, the US mortgage finance markets have functioned well for decades. This legislation will end that, as investors shy away from assets, the value of which can be arbitrarily reduced by some unknown local court judge.

Conyers' insistence that we all 'come to Detroit' to see the shape its in dodges the question of how it got that way. Probably by poor- read liberal- city management and risky borrowing by its defaulting homeowners.

By the way, didn't the Detroit mayor get bounced out of his job? Yes, surely Detroit is a model case for efficient government in the first place. More to the point, it is not the place you would look to for an example of normal operation of the mortgage markets.

Conyers' then plays on class prejudices with this choice passage near the end of his editorial,

"If we can spend $700 billion to bail out the brokers on Wall Street, the very least we can do is allow working Americans who are willing to repay their debts as best they can, under court supervision, the dignity of staying in their homes. With one in 10 homeowners behind on their mortgages, and 10 million foreclosures expected over the next several years, the time for meaningful action is now."

It's clear Conyers barely understands the financial services sector. The firms which were "bailed out" were investment and commercial banks. His reference to "brokers" is off the mark and refers to a rather small, increasingly unrepresentative and unprofitable part of the financial services business mix. His verbiage is designed to incite class warfare and hatred of one economic class by another.

John Conyers' liberal diatribe about mortgage loan modification by local courts is an example of why Americans rightly worry about Congressional encroachment into their economic lives.