Sunday, January 17, 2010

As Reagan Said: "There They Go Again"

The leftists at the Democratic Party are getting better at disguising their hypocrisy, incompetence and dirty-dealings under protestations of helplessness. The ever-charming Barney Frank is a fine example of Democrat newspeak. When asked about why certain business executives are being singled out for tax hits, but not others, Frank has the answer. "It's too late to do anything about it."

Barack Obama, savior of the little people, announced on Thursday that he is going to "get our money back" by imposing huge tax consequences on financial institutions which have paid back their TARP money but are now giving their executives outrageous bonuses. Those dirty rats. The problem is that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are doing the same thing, and they are the chief villains in the mess that created the housing/mortgage crisis in the first place. The administration approved $900,000 base salaries, $3 million in deferred payments and $2 million in bonuses for the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac CEOs. Barney Frank was sleeping with those present and past CEOs (in one case, literally) so it was logical to ask him why those bloodsuckers are being exempted from the punitive taxes. And good ole Barney had the answer: "Those bonuses are too high, but there's nothing that can be done about it--it's too late."

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac received their TARP funds in exactly the same way and in the same proportions as, say, Bank of America. It's not too late to punish the BofA execs, according to Obama, but far too late to punish the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac execs according to Frank. Since the funds were distributed at exactly the same time, it is entirely incomprehensible that one is timely and the other too late. But then Barney Frank is frequently incomprehensible. He was also unable to explain (or comprehend) that all those punishments will be passed right on to the customer/taxpayers who provided the TARP funds in the first place. But those evil bankers who lent the poorly-secured funds to people who couldn't pay for the loans must be punished. Never mind that Frank and his buddies were the ones who forced the banks to do exactly that via threats to withhold Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac backing and government sanctions for "red-lining."

So in his inimitable fashion, when pressed to give a reasonable distinction between the bankers and the more friendly CEOs at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Frank merely started shouting. "Nothing can be done now. The Senate should have passed the bill that we passed [in the House]. We passed a bill. Look, we're the legislators. We passed a bill in the House in 2009 with regard to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that would have prevented these from being done." Loudly done, Mr. Frank, but you still haven't explained the distinction. He then went into a discussion of retroactivity of the possible punitive measures, still failing to draw the distinction.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not alone in being exempted from any CEO punitive taxation. General Motors and Chrysler, owned now by the federal government and their fellow-travelers in the United Auto Workers union, are likewise exempt. Since Frank wasn't asked about GM or Chrysler, it became the task of other Democrats to find a distinction. So far, several have been asked, and like Frank, none of them can find any logical reason for the distinction. Likewise, all the Democrats are either clueless or disingenuous about who will ultimately pay for those pseudo-penalties. After all, "rich people" will suffer the most, and all's fair in love and class-warfare. Consumers? Consumers! We don't need no stinking consumers.

Meanwhile, seventy Republican Congressmen (aka "the voices crying in the wilderness") have called on tax-dodging Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to cancel the bonuses for the government-owned/government-controlled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives. They are not running as late on this action as you might think. When the whole brouhaha began, it appeared that all financial CEOs would be equally punished. Obama had even proposed a 90% tax on the bonuses, but that went a bit farther than even his fellow leftists could swallow. So instead, the Democrats left the actual penalties hanging and waited until Christmas Eve, already a focal point for a Senate vote on health care, and stealthily passed exemptions for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (with GM, Chrysler, and possibly AIG left for later exemption).

Geithner's response to the Republican objections has been to find ways to pour even more money into Fannie and Freddie than was allowed by the original Congressional cap. Geithner simply circumvented the $400 billion cap on "emergency transfers" by handling it as routine business not requiring Congressional approval. To his weasel credit, however, Geithner at least explained that the GM and Chrysler bonuses resulted from "unforeseen circumstances." It's nonsense, of course, but it's better than what Rep. Frank was able to come up with.

22 comments:

AndrewPrice said...

This sounds exactly like the new Democratic Party -- it's become like the old, old Democratic Party of the 1800s, a spoils system party that raids the treasury to help it's contributors, hands out plum contracts and jobs to supporters, and uses the power of government to attack "those who oppose" them.

It's banana republic BS. They should be proud.

Writer X said...

Barney Frank is such a crook. And doesn't seem to have any problem flaunting it. How he continues to remain in office (and not in jail) is mind-boggling. Geithner is Frank, only quieter with more hair.

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: And don't forget, "creates new legions of Democrats beholden to the government for their sustenance."

LawHawkSF said...

WriterX: I don't know if he's the best crook in Congress, but he's definitely among the slipperiest. I love the puffed-up indignation he can muster when charged with misappropriation of the taxpayers' money. He gets louder, and sounds more like an angry Elmer Fudd than normal (if anything about Frank can be described as "normal").

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, That's why I make the point in my article today that we should start taxing their people the same way they want to go after others. That's the only way to keep them from playing this game of spoils. . . if they have something to lose by playing.

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: Not to worry. I didn't miss it, but figured it was well worth repeating in the comments. The more freeloaders on the taxpayers, the faster we go from banana republic to banana peel democracy, to no democracy at all.

DCAlleyKat said...

We should start referring to them as the "Madeoff" party...

LawHawkSF said...

DCAlleyKat: That's perfect. Let's send the suggestion to the Obama White House e-mail.

HamiltonsGhost said...

Lawhawk--Unfortunately, Frank's seat in Massachusetts is as safe as Pelosi's seat in California. The only sure things are death, taxes, Frank and Pelosi. Sheesh! What a thought.

LawHawkSF said...

HamiltonsGhost: Sad, but true. Corrupt cities produce corrupt politicians who demagogue to the masses and win eternal re-election.

LawHawkSF said...

ADDENDUM: Barney was at the Coakley rally with Obama. He let loose with another Barneyism: "Earlier, as dignitaries arrived at the Cabot Center, U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, when asked whether Coakley’s recent dip in the polls was related to sentiments about President Obama, quipped, 'President Obama is not Martha Coakley in drag.'" Courtesy of the Boston Herald.

Another upbeat note: Three protesters interrupted Obama's paean of praise to Coakley. And I am proud to say, all three were from California.

Individualist said...

Andrew

Obama states that the bankers of whom the US government now own enough stock to place members on their Board are paying themselves to much and so he must tax the entire banking industry except the wholly government owned entities Fannie and Freddie and the other companies owned jointly by the government and the Unions.

My question is how long until the banks and financiers decide they cannot trust their money to institutions that are subject to the dictates of politics and find elsewhere to invest their money.

Individualist said...

Outside the US I mean.

Joel Farnham said...

LawHawk,

Part of the reason the economy sucks is because of people like Barney Frank. Their anti-business rhetoric is causing the people who do invest to keep their money in safer places. Far away from the greedy politicians who eye them as cash cows.

Can you blame them? They don't want what they have built up over the years to go to socialist experiments.

And, if Obama and crew start talking for capitalism, well..... how many times has Obama lied? It won't get any better until Obama has been neutralized. It might make him popular enough for a second term, but he has angered quite a few people, including his base.

StanH said...

Cronyism is rampant in Washington and always has been, the only difference is by degree. As we begin to purge the politicians from Washington we must address K-Street, and close the revolving door that bilks America of it’s competitive edge. Lobbying is an important part of our process, but it has been institutionalized to the point that it amounts to cronyism, insider trading, thievery. Fannie & Freddie are prime examples of special interest that need to stand or fail on their own, but neither party will deal with it, artificially setting up institutions that are to large to fail, meaning we the taxpayer get to catch the tab. I wonder how Bawney Frwank would look in tar-n-feathers?

LawHawkSF said...

Joel: You have a good handle on Obama and his rhetoric. The parallel for me was my last vote for a Democrat. In 1992, I saw Bill Clinton's promises as the chance to bring the party back to its senses. Like Obama's cynical rhetoric, it was all a lie. Within a year, Hillarycare was on the table, and I had re-registered as a Republican. I've never looked back.

LawHawkSF said...

StanH: Barney would look very good in tar and feathers drag (tee-hee). I'd be glad to provide the rail to ride him and his feathers out of town.

ArmChairGeneral said...

This is fraud. The banks have paid back the money plus interest. What Obama and company is doing is outright lying to the people. Frank is a crook and the Democratic Party needs an overhaul.

LawHawkSF said...

Individualist: It's a quandary, that's for sure. As much of a mess as the banking situation is in the US right now, I don't see anything that would drive the investors to other institutions. Swiss banks are safe, but they're not where investors look for growth. That leaves pretty much everyone else, and compared to most of those other nations, America is a model of stability. France, Germany and England have a lengthy history of mixing banking and politics, and I don't think big-time financiers and investors are going to rush to place their trust in Chinese banks.

Moreover, I think that foreign financial bigwigs see the handwriting on the wall--the Obama socialists have been weighed in the balance, and found wanting.

LawHawkSF said...

ACG: The Obama coalition has made the very socialist decision that only the government is capable of deciding who is doing the right thing and how much people should make for doing it. The amateurs in the Obama administration, staring with the messiah himself, are indeed lying and committing massive fraud. The worst part is that their total misunderstanding of simple economics is trumped by their social welfare agenda, so I'm not sure they even understand the lies they're telling.

LawHawkSF said...

ACG: " . . . staring with the messiah himself" should obviously read " starting with the messiah himself."

Individualist said...

Lawhawk

I apologize, I misread who placed the post. I have found the "we're bad but all others arew worse to be an eventual losing proposition. Sooner or later someone will find somehting better.

Maybe that's why everyone is going to Gold who knows.

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