Posts Tagged ‘loans’

Obama Corrupt With YOUR Money: 80% Of DOE Boondoggle Loans Went To Obama Donors

November 15, 2011

This is what political corruption looks like:

Report: 80% of DOE Green Energy Loans Went to Obama Backers
Lachlan Markay
November 14, 2011 at 10:43 am

A new book by Hoover Institution fellow Peter Schweizer details the startling extent of the cronyism that has pervaded President Obama’s “green jobs” push. According to Schweizer, 4 out of every 5 renewable energy companies backed by the Energy Department was “run by or primarily owned by Obama financial backers.”

Those companies’ “political largesse is probably the best investment they ever made in alternative energy,” Schweizer explains. “It brought them returns many times over.”

Such is the inevitable consequence of large government interventions in private markets. Leaving aside the losses associated with transfers of funds from self-sustaining industries to ones that rely on government support, such interventions also encourage unproductive business activities by making “subsidy suckling” far more profitable than run-of-the-mill business expansions or product improvements.

Doug Ross spotted the relevant excerpt of Schweizer’s book (h/t Ben Domenech’s Transom):

When President-elect Obama came to Washington in late 2008, he was outspoken about the need for an economic stimulus to revive a struggling economy… After he was sworn in as president, he proclaimed that taxpayer money would assuredly not be doled out to political friends…

…But an examination of grants and guaranteed loans offered by just one stimulus program run by the Department of Energy, for alternative-energy projects, is stunning. The so-called 1705 Loan Guarantee Program and the 1603 Grant Program channeled billions of dollars to all sorts of energy companies…

…In the 1705 government-backed-loan program [alone], for example, $16.4 billion of the $20.5 billion in loans granted as of Sept. 15 went to companies either run by or primarily owned by Obama financial backers—individuals who were bundlers, members of Obama’s National Finance Committee, or large donors to the Democratic Party. The grant and guaranteed-loan recipients were early backers of Obama before he ran for president, people who continued to give to his campaigns and exclusively to the Democratic Party in the years leading up to 2008. Their political largesse is probably the best investment they ever made in alternative energy. It brought them returns many times over.

…The Government Accountability Office has been highly critical of the way guaranteed loans and grants were doled out by the Department of Energy, complaining that the process appears “arbitrary” and lacks transparency. In March 2011, for example, the GAO examined the first 18 loans that were approved and found that none were properly documented. It also noted that officials “did not always record the results of analysis” of these applications. A loan program for electric cars, for example, “lacks performance measures.” No notes were kept during the review process, so it is difficult to determine how loan decisions were made. The GAO further declared that the Department of Energy “had treated applicants inconsistently in the application review process, favoring some applicants and disadvantaging others.” The Department of Energy’s inspector general, Gregory Friedman, … has testified that contracts have been steered to “friends and family.”

…These programs might be the greatest—and most expensive—example of crony capitalism in American history. Tens of billions of dollars went to firms controlled or owned by fundraisers, bundlers, and political allies, many of whom—surprise!—are now raising money for Obama again.

Keep in mind, Obama was actually WARNED that his Solyndra loan that cost the American people more than HALF A BILLION DOLLARS was illegal.  And the disgrace to the White House pushed it through anyways.  From the Washington Post:

The e-mails show that Mary Miller, an assistant Treasury secretary, wrote to Jeffrey D. Zients, deputy OMB director, expressing concern. She said that the deal could violate federal law because it put investors’ interests ahead of taxpayers’ and that she had advised that it should be reviewed by the Justice Department.

“To our knowledge that never happened,” Miller wrote in a Aug. 17, 2011, memo to the OMB.

In February, the restructuring was approved by Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

Obama is all over the Solyndra debacle.  Just as is the wealthy donor who gave Obama thousands so he could get HALF A BILLION DOLLARS.

Obama is a corrupt thug who is using fascist crony capitalism to bleed America dry before it collapses.

[Update, 11/16/2011]: The examples of Obama’s liberal corruption and fascist crony capitalism never end.  Here’s another story about Robert Kennedy Jr.’s company scoring a $1.4 billion taxpayer bailout.  It must be nice to be a liberal fascist when a liberal fascist thug is in power.

[Update, a little bit later on 11/16]: And when I say there’s no end to this Obama thug crony capitalist fascist crap, I MEAN THERE’S NO END.

Democrats Continue Their Dirty Dealing Corrupt Crony Capitalist Boondoggles

October 3, 2011

Add this to the incredibly corrupt and incredibly partisan Obama boondoggle of Solyndra – that cost the American people well over half a billion dollars.

Add this to the fact that Obama is recklessly continuing to add another four more Solyndras and another five billion dollars to the crony capitalist corruption tab of the Obama administration.

AP Investigation: NC plant deal may enrich donors
GARY D. ROBERTSON, Associated Press, MICHAEL BIESECKER, Associated Press
Updated 08:52 p.m., Friday, September 30, 2011

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A state lawmaker and a group of Democratic political donors with ties to Gov. Beverly Perdue are poised to sell land at a handsome profit should a tire plant be lured to North Carolina with $100 million in state and local incentives, according to public records reviewed by The Associated Press.

As North Carolina’s chief executive, the governor is a key decision maker in large incentives deals involving state money. She also helps appoint the board members of a foundation that’s been asked to provide part of the tire plant’s package. Perdue’s campaign has received more than $52,000 from five men with an ownership stake in the Brunswick County industrial park proposed for the new plant.

The governor’s son, Garrett Perdue, is also a lawyer and site-selection consultant for an influential law firm that a county official said was advising the tire company. The firm, Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, does not disclose which projects the younger Perdue works on, citing attorney-client privilege.

Perdue’s spokesman stressed Thursday that the company seeking the incentives, not the governor’s aides, chose the site. The North Carolina site is competing with sites in two other states.

“Gov. Perdue is focused on bringing 1,300 jobs to North Carolina,” said Mark Johnson, Perdue’s spokesman. “She doesn’t care where in the state the plant goes, who owns the land or who the company hires as its lawyer. She just wants the jobs.”

The fate of the project remained uncertain Friday night. Eugene Baten, chairman of the Sumter County Council in South Carolina, said the German company Continental Tire would locate a plant there, and that the deal would be formally announced next week. Company spokeswoman Kathryn Blackwell, though, said the company has not yet decided where it will put its new plant.

Although North Carolina officials didn’t identify Continental as the company looking at the N.C. site, Democratic Rep. Dewey Hill, who said he’s spoken to Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco about Project Soccer, described the company seeking the incentives deal as a “tire manufacturer and distribution company from Germany.” Hill’s district includes part of Brunswick County.

The proposed location, the Mid-Atlantic Logistics Center, is owned by a group of investors that includes state Sen. Michael P. Walters, a Democrat from Proctorville.

A development company owned by David T. Stephenson III, a Lumberton tobacco farmer, is also listed as having a stake in the center. Stephenson is a major Democratic contributor appointed to the board of Golden LEAF, a foundation created by the state legislature to dole out hundreds of millions of dollars paid by cigarette manufacturers through a legal settlement.

Brunswick County officials have asked Golden LEAF for a grant to help fund an incentives package for the plant, according to the county’s top economic development official.

The deal is expected to include tax breaks, infrastructure improvements, cash grants and a forgivable loan. It’s not clear how much money the foundation might put in. The new facility, code-named “Project Soccer” by economic development officials, has been touted as creating up to 1,500 new jobs.

A confidential document outlining the terms of the proposed deal reviewed by The Associated Press indicates that money from the incentives package would be used to buy a large portion of the 1,129-acre site for the tire plant at a price of $6,000 an acre.

Records show the investors bought the site in 2007 for $4.3 million, or about $3,800 an acre.

Stephenson, a tobacco farmer and investor, did not return a message seeking comment Thursday.

Golden LEAF president Dan Gerlach wouldn’t say whether the foundation is involved in Project Soccer. But Gerlach said Stephenson came to him at a board meeting months ago and said he may have a conflict of interest if the foundation were to provide a grant for the project.

Gerlach said Stephenson asked that he not be provided any materials provided to the foundation related to Project Soccer because of his potential financial interest in the deal.

Gerlach said Stephenson has gone beyond the foundation’s conflict-of-interest policy by alerting the foundation to potential problems well before they could have reached the board. A board member isn’t required to put the potential conflict in writing, but Gerlach said he made a note affirming Stephenson’s request.

State lawmakers, who would have to approve the incentives package, have been briefed on the possibility of a special legislative session to be held in the coming weeks to vote on it.

Walters filed a letter with the Senate clerk on Aug. 25 recusing himself from any deliberations on the deal “to avoid any potential conflict of interests or the appearance of impropriety.”

He declined to comment further Thursday.

“I’ve recused myself from that project and that’s all I have to say,” Walters said.

In addition to Crisco, Womble Carlyle lobbyist Laura DeVivo has been talking with key lawmakers. A legislator described a meeting in which DeVivo and other Womble lobbyists worked with state officials to gain support for the proposed incentives package. The legislator asked not to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the negotiations.

DeVivo works on Womble’s government affairs team, which also includes Perdue’s son. In an interview last year, Garrett Perdue described his role with the firm as identifying companies seeking to relocate to the state and helping them find sites to meet their needs.

The firm’s government affairs team is led by two attorneys, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Burley Mitchell and former Democratic Gov. Jim Hunt.

Mitchell declined to comment Friday, and Hunt did not return a phone call from The Associated Press.

Gov. Perdue has said she doesn’t talk to her son about which companies he represents, though she has recused herself from making decisions in at least two economic incentives projects in recent years after her aides became concerned he was working on behalf of the companies involved.

Johnson, the governor’s spokesman, said he didn’t know whether Womble Carlyle played any role in advising the tire company in considering the proposed Project Soccer site.

Jim Bradshaw, director of the Brunswick County Economic Development Commission, said he was the one who first recommended the Mid-Atlantic site for Project Soccer last winter. He said the land was one of 53 sites originally under consideration. That list has now been whittled down to three: the Mid-Atlantic land and sites in South Carolina and Louisiana.

Bradshaw said some pieces of North Carolina’s proposed package are already in place. The state Department of Transportation has pledged $150,000 to extend a rail spur to the site and the state-supported N.C. Rural Center has awarded the county about $1.5 million toward water and sewer installation.

He said Gov. Perdue did not personally become involved in the negotiations until after the Mid-Atlantic site was in the running. He said August was the first contact he had with anyone from Womble Carlyle about the county’s proposed contributions to the incentives package. He declined to identify the person he spoke to.

Bradshaw also said he had no idea the owners of the proposed Project Soccer site have been frequent contributors to the Democratic Party or Gov. Perdue.

Campaign finance records show Stephenson and members of his family have donated more than $85,000 to Democratic candidates over the last 20 years, including $14,000 to Perdue since 2004. Records show $8,000 in contributions to former Senate President Pro Tempore Marc Basnight, the Manteo Democrat who appointed Stephenson to the Golden LEAF board.

Walters and his wife have donated more than $34,000 to elected Democrats other than himself, including $14,000 to Perdue.

William E. Musselwhite, a Lumberton lawyer who owns a share of the land, has given more than $22,000 to state Democrats, including $14,500 to Perdue.

Dennis T. Worley, a Tabor City attorney and another of the owners, has given more than $28,000 to Democrats, including $7,700 to Perdue.

Kyle A. Cox, another Tabor City lawyer and part property owner, gave more than $11,000 to Democrats, including $2,000 to Perdue.

Bradshaw, the economic developer, said he doesn’t care who owns the land.

“I don’t know who these people are,” Bradshaw said. “I don’t know who contributes to who. I just want to bring these jobs to Brunswick County.”

Note: Now we have a slightly better idea why Democrat Governor Beverly Perdue said we should suspend our democracy so that the same Democrats could continue to pursue the same policies.

Obama and the Democrat Party machine that spawned him have to go.  While there is still some piece of America left to rebuild.

Media Hypes Obama’s Giving $12 Billion To Small Businesses, Ignores Fact That He TAKES $300 Billion Away

September 6, 2010

First, a typical mainstream media dose of pure horsecrap from the AP:

Republicans block small business lending bill
By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER; Associated Press Writer
Published: 07/29/10 2:13 pm | Updated: 07/29/10 4:14 pm

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama’s election-year jobs agenda suffered a new setback Thursday when Senate Republicans blocked a bill creating a $30 billion government fund to help open up lending for credit-starved small businesses.

The fund would be available to community banks with less than $10 billion in assets to help them increase lending to small businesses. The bill would combine the fund with about $12 billion in tax breaks aimed at small businesses.

Democrats say banks should be able to use the lending fund to leverage up to $300 billion in loans, helping to loosen tight credit markets. Some Republicans, however, likened it to the unpopular bailout of the financial industry.

Democrats had wanted to pass the bill before Congress leaves town for summer vacation, but that won’t happen with the House scheduled to adjourn Friday. The Senate is in session for another week, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said there would be no more votes until Monday.

And whose to blame for this despicable refusal to help small businesses, you ask?  Republicans, out to cynically manipulate the issue and undermine the economy in order to score cheap political points for the November election.

How dare they?  What kind of minions on evil are these Republicans?

Do the Republicans have a reason for their evilness?  Not really.  All they have, according to the Associated Press, is an ad hominem comparison to the financial bailout.

The only problem is, day in and day out, the mainstream media only gives the part of the story that contributes to its ideological agenda.

The Wall Street Journal manages to find the reasoning behind the Republican position that the Associated Press simply didn’t think you to know:

The bill authorizes Treasury to purchase up to $30 billion of stock in small, community banks across the country. The banks in turn would agree to issue as much as $300 billion in loans to small businesses that they wouldn’t otherwise lend to. You can bet that many businesses that get the loans will be engaged in not very profitable, but politically correct activities, such as diversity investing and renewable energy. Sound at all like subprime mortgage loans?

Here’s the best part: The whiz kids at the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation estimate that this program will raise $1.1 billion for the federal government. So there really is a free lunch.

The assumption is that these banks will make such wise loans that they’ll make a bundle and the Treasury will get its money back in dividends on its preferred stock. But then why not have Treasury invest $100 billion to leverage $1 trillion in new loans? Or why not $2 trillion? If government-directed investment and lending can conjure such returns, the deficit should vanish in no time.

The false assumption here is that banks are reluctant to lend because they lack the capital. This ignores that small business lending is also down because the business demand for loans is weak. Businesses don’t typically expand when Washington is raising dividend, capital gains and personal income tax rates while piling on the new costs of ObamaCare and other regulations.

The tax cut in this bill will provide $12 billion in relief over 10 years. The tax increase that Mr. Obama favors for 2011 would raise what the Joint Committee on Taxation figures will be $600 billion of revenues, about half of which comes from the coffers of small business. So the tax hikes, which are permanent, are about 50 times larger than the tax cuts, which are temporary. And the Obama Administration wonders why some people think this President is antibusiness.

The title of that WSJ article is “Son of Tarp.”  As in, the evil child of the evil and justifiably unpopular financial bailout.

So, yeah, Republicans liken this bill to the financial bailout.  Because it pursues the exact same rationale that the financial bailout followed.  Because it does the exact same things.  And because it will lead to the exact same result.

But it wasn’t important for you to know why the Republicans might be right.  All you needed to know, in the minds of the Associated Press, is that Obama and the Democrats are the party bringing “change,” “change” is clearly good (including, apparently, such “change” as shoving a nuclear bomb into your ear and then detonating it), and Republicans are cynically blocking “change.”

The biggest bottom line of all is the bottom line of the WSJ piece.  The mainstream media wants to shout from the rooftops that Obama is giving $12 billion to help small businesses.  But when they ought to be pointing out that Obama is actually taking away $300 billion from small businesses in the form of the giant tax increase when Obamacrats allow the tax cuts “for the rich” to expire, all you can hear is crickets chirping.

Obama is going to take fifty times more from small businesses in permanent taxes than he’s going to give them in temporary relief.  And the mainstream propaganda is treating this rape of businesses like its some kind of gift from heaven.

That’s just the way the rodent media rolls.

The Truth About Obama’s Bogus Claim Of Inheriting A $1.3 Trillion Deficit

February 3, 2010

Here’s Dick Morris setting the record straight on Obama’s fallacious claim that he “inherited” a $1.3 trillion deficit from George Bush:

BEHIND OBAMA’S PHONY DEFICIT NUMBERS
By Dick Morris
02.1.2010

President Obama was disingenuous today when he said that the budget deficit he faced “when I walked in the door” of the White House was $1.3 trillion. He went on to say that he only increased it to $1.4 trillion in 2009 and was raising it to $1.6 trillion in 2010.

As Joe Wilson said “you lie.”

Here are the facts:

In 2008, Bush ran a deficit of $485 billion. By the time the fiscal year started on October 1, 2008, it had gone up by another $100 billion due to increased recession-related spending and depressed revenues. So it was $600 billion. That was the real Bush deficit.

But when the fiscal crisis hit, Bush had to pass TARP in the final months of his presidency which cost $700 billion. Under the federal budget rules, a loan and a grant are treated the same. So the $700 billion pushed the deficit — officially — up to $1.3 trillion. But not really. The $700 billion was a short term loan. $500 billion of it has already been repaid.

So what was the real deficit Obama inherited? The $600 billion deficit Bush was running plus the $200 billion of TARP money that probably won’t be repaid (mainly AIG and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). That totals $800 billion. That was the real deficit Obama inherited.

Then…he added $300 billion in his stimulus package, bringing the deficit to $1.1 trillion. And falling revenues and other increased welfare spending pushed it up to $1.4 trillion.

So, effectively, Obama came close to doubling the deficit.

His program of fiscal austerity in this new budget is a joke. If he wanted to lower the deficit, here’s what he could do:

1. Cancel the remaining $500 billion of stimulus spending and

2. Cancel the $300 billion of spending in stimulus II.

Presto! The deficit is cut in half.

Those are the real numbers.

And for the record, it becomes impossible to blame Bush OR Republicans for the 2008 fiscal year spending that occurred in 2009 for the simple fact that Republicans OPPOSED that spending virtually unanimously.

This is part of the slimey lies that characterize Barry Hussein.

But there’s more.  While blaming Bush for that $500 billion of TARP money that has been repaid, Obama wants to take it and use it for more of his own projects.

That money has been repaid.  You can’t put it on Bush’s tab, demonize him for it, and then break the law by refusing to put it back into the Treasury and pay down the debt.

So Obama is – once again – a liar.  He doesn’t WANT to return that TARP money which should legally be used to pay down the deficit because then he 1) couldn’t demonize Bush for the “$1.3 trillion dollar deficit” that he really didn’t inherit from Bush; and 2) couldn’t use that money – that BUSH money – for his own political ends.  While continuing to blame Bush for it.

That’s just dishonest.

I might point out that Bush’s TARP bank bailout plan failed the first vote as REPUBLICANS voted against it.

But there’s more to it than that.  A discussion on Sayanythingblog begins to reveal more than Obama wants you to know:

The last budget approved by a Republican Congress and a Republican President was the 2007 one.  That turned in a deficit of about 160 Billion dollars.

The the Democrats took over Congress.  Obama and his cohorts tripled the deficit.

Then they tripled the deficit again for the 2009 (current year budget.)

In no way did Obama oppose these higher budget deficits.

I’m not giving Bush a free pass, but these deficits are Obama’s fault as much as anyone.

Here’s a dirty secret: Bush didn’t increase the deficit – the Democrats running Congress did that.  Under the separation of powers, Bush couldn’t spend a single dime unless Congress authorized him to spend it.  (Hint: that also explains why Clinton was able to provide a surplus: Republicans were in charge of Congress and FORCED him to be spendthrifty).

And so we come to the words of Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the senior Republican on the House Budget Committee.  He pointed out this little factoid that Democrats and their mainstream media allies don’t want you to know:

The old annual deficits under Republicans have now become the monthly deficits under Democrats:

In the 12 years that Republicans controlled the House, the average deficit was $104 billion (average of final deficit/surplus FY1996-FY2007 data taken from Table F-1 below).  In just 3 years under Democrats, the average deficit is now almost $1.1 trillion (average of final deficit/surplus FY2008 and 2009 data taken from Table F-1; FY2010 data taken from Table 1-3).  Source: CBO January 2010 Budget and Economic Outlook

In reality, Obama didn’t “inherit” anything: he personally voted for virtually all the spending under the Bush presidency that he is now whining about.  While he may have “inherited” it as president, he voted for it as senator.

So Obama is literally saying, “All that stuff that I voted for was all Bush’s fault.”

Liberals Say Recession Behind Us While Small Businesses Go Belly Up

December 28, 2009

This is from the Liberal Angle Times, a.ka. the Los Angeles Times.  Hence, one needs to have a constant angle-straightener as one reads.

Small-business bankruptcies rise 81% in California
With credit tight and consumers still pinching their pennies, many business owners find they can’t go on. More prime mortgages default in 3rd quarter

By Nathan Olivarez-Giles
December 22, 2009

The Obama administration’s new plan to give a boost to small businesses reflects continued trouble in that sector, which is facing new failures even as much of the nation’s economy is stabilizing. [If you want to tak about a new failure, talk about Barack Obama, then everything else pretty much falls into place.  The problem with the "much of the economy is stabilizing" thesis is that 3/4ths of all jobs in this country come from small businesses, which are obviously getting hammered.  The liberal rationale that we are recovering is part of the reason that we will have a double-dip recession and a jobless recovery.  You can't fix a problem if you don't first acknowledge you genuinely have one].

As credit lines have shrunk and consumers have cut back on spending, thousands of small businesses have closed their doors over the last year. The plight of struggling firms has been aggravated by the reluctance of banks to lend money, said Brian Headd, an economist at the Small Business Administration’s office of advocacy
. [Obama demonizes banks even as he claims they have a responsibility.  Well, which is it?  Are they demons selfishly doing their own thing, or are they legitimate and important institutions that have performed an important role in society?  Furthermore, banks say they aren't lending because Obama has tightened up on them way too much, such that they CAN'T lend.  Bottom line: Obama - through demonizing and regulating - has done nothing but make a bad situation far worse].

“While bankruptcies are up, overall, small-business closures are up even more,” Headd said. [Small businesses have been crying out in agony about everything Obama has done.  ObamaCare will punish them; raising taxes "on the rich" will punish them; cap-and-trade and various other energy taxes and measures will punish them; card check will punish them; hiking up the inheritance tax in 2011 will punish them.  Obama has done nothing to help these businesses and everything to hurt them.  And then we wonder why they're going extinct].

California has been particularly hard hit. The latest data show small-business bankruptcies up 81% in the state for the 12 months ended Sept. 30, compared with the previous year. Filings nationwide were up 44%, according to the credit analysis firm Equifax Inc. [We were told last year by Obama that this was the worst economy since the Great Depression.  And now small businesses bankruptcies have nearly DOUBLED under his management?  If we were facing the Great Depression last year when small business bankruptcies were up 44%, what are we facing now, when they are 81%].

The actual number of small businesses in trouble is probably higher, experts said, because many owners file for personal bankruptcy rather than seek protection for the business. [Well, that's just great.  The actual numbers are even worse than twice as bad as they were last year.  Sounds to me like the economy must be doing fine].

Dennis McGoldrick, a bankruptcy lawyer in Torrance, said his clients are all stuck in similar situations — capital is hard to come by, customers are tough to attract and debt is piling up.  [Clearly, Obama's first full year in office has been a rousing success.  But least these small businesses owners are becoming more like the federal government, with massive debt piling up.  It's good to be more like the wonderful and marvelous Barack Obama, isn't it?].

“We can’t keep up,” McGoldrick said. “There’s more people that want to come in every day than I can see.”
[Bankruptcy lawyers: jobs Obama has "created or saved."].

Cecily McAlpine, who filed for bankruptcy protection for her Cold Stone Creamery franchise this spring, said the experience was humiliating but she had no choice.  [Plan to come back in 2012, Cecily.  Someone who isn't just a clueless community organizer, and who has an actual idea how a functioning economy works, will be president then].

Receipts at the fledgling Compton ice cream shop plunged dramatically during the recession, and by late 2008 she was paying her employees out of her pocket.

“When the refrigerator died, that was it; I’d just had it,” McAlpine said. “That was the day I broke. I just started throwing stuff away.”

McAlpine recently withdrew her bankruptcy filing after selling all the store equipment and paying off her creditors. She is slowly paying off some back-rent and utility debt, and will officially dissolve her business in the next couple of weeks, she said.

“I still feel scarred and like a loser,” she said. “Even though I’m not in it anymore, it’s still there.” [Yes, but the liquidation companies have jobs that Obama "created or saved."  And that's the important thing].

Recognizing the problems of business owners like McAlpine, the Obama administration has proposed using federal stimulus money to help funnel more loans to small businesses. The White House has also asked Congress to eliminate capital gains taxes for one year on new investments in small-business stock, and called for a new tax incentive to encourage small businesses to hire more employees.  [I don't know if Obama recognizes the problem or not.  What I do know is that funneling more money to the federal government in the form of the Small Business Administration is far from a solution to the problem.  Most small businesses avoid the SBA like a plague, due the political correctness, red tape, byzantine regulations, and DMV atmosphere of the place].

On Dec. 14, Obama called a meeting of executives of Wells Fargo & Co., Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp. and nine other large banks, and told them that they owed it to the nation to make more loans to small businesses and help rebuild the economy.  [Obama owes it to the nation to resign and allow the economy to recover by itself.    Aside from that, a) calling in executives to stand hat-in-hand while Obama partly demonizes and partly lectures them is not going to solve anything, particularly when b)  it's the small community banks that do most of the loaning to small business].

In California, the need is great.  [But the other 49 states are doing just dandy].

Over the last year, the Los Angeles, Riverside/San Bernardino and Sacramento metropolitan areas have led the nation in small-business bankruptcy filings, said Tim Klein, a spokesman for Equifax.  [And what's really scary about that is that California generally leads the nation as the trendsetter.  And this isn't a very good trend, is it?].

About 19,000 small businesses filed for bankruptcy in California during the 12 months ended Sept. 2009, up from 10,500 the previous year.  [Like I said, pretty much double under Obama.  I remember Obama promising that unemployment wouldn't go over 8% if we passed his stimulus that had all these "shovel ready projects."  But that's done and gone; now I'm ready to buy Obama's next lie].

During September alone, 2,229 small businesses filed for protection, up from 1,503 filings in September 2008, the firm reported.  [Well, that's good.  At least the trend is getting worse.  You can look at the upward sloping bankruptcy graph and convince yourself that it means progress.  Or maybe you can look at it and pretend you're a mountain climber].

Kathleen March, a bankruptcy lawyer in Los Angeles, said she often pushes her clients to file for personal bankruptcy instead of a business filing because it’s easier
.  [Oh, yeah.  I’d forgot that earlier part about, “The actual number of small businesses in trouble is probably higher, experts said, because many owners file for personal bankruptcy rather than seek protection for the business.”  Scratch that part about “pretty much double.”  It’s actually far worse than “pretty much double,” but we just don’t know how much worse it actually is.

Many people also close down their businesses thinking that will solve their problems, only to find their companies’ debt lives on, March said. [Obamanomics: the gift that keeps on giving and giving].

“The norm is if you’re running a small business, you will have to either cosign or personally guarantee the significant debts,” she said. “The business itself can shut down, but the people cosigned all the debts. So, the individuals are then saddled with these huge debts.” [Yes, but loan collectors count as jobs that have been "saved or created."].

A client who owned a surf shop was paying for business expenses from the client’s own funds long before filing for personal bankruptcy, she said.

“In this economy, anything that isn’t a necessity is a tough business to be in,” March said. “And the majority of my clients have waited too long to file for bankruptcy and in the process made things worse on themselves financially as a result.” [Well, that's just great, because we can count on a whole lot more small businesses going belly up as all those other clients who've waited start floating with their bellies up.  That's change you can believe in].

What these business owners really need is a nice sharp tax increase to make them even more profitable.

There.  If the LA Times article comes preset with a sharp leftward angle, a good hard pull to the right ought to straighten it out.

Who REALLY Exploded Your Economy, Liberals Or Conservatives?

August 3, 2009

From Mark Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny, pages 67-71:

From where does the Statist acquire his clairvoyance in determining what is good for the public?  From his ideology.  The Statist is constantly manipulating public sentiment in a steady effort to disestablish the free market, as he pushes the nation down tyranny’s road.  He has built an enormous maze of government agencies and programs, which grow inexorably from year to year, and which intervene in and interfere with the free market.  And when the Statist’s central planners create economic perversions that are seriously detrimental to the public, he blames the free market and insists on seizing additional authority to correct the failures created at his own direction.

Consider the four basic events that led to the housing bust of 2008, which spread to the financial markets and beyond:

EVENT 1: In 1977, Congress passed the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) to address alleged discrimination by banks in making loans to poor people and minorities in the inner cities (redlining).  The act provided that banks have “an affirmative obligation” to meet the credit needs of the communities in which they are chartered.1 In 1989, Congress amended the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act requiring banks to collect racial data on mortgage applications.2 University of Texas economics professor Stan Liebowitz has written that “minority mortgage applications were rejected more frequently than other applications, but the overwhelming reason wasn’t racial discrimination, but simply that minorities tend to have weaker finances.”3 Liebowitz also condemns a 1992 study conducted by the Boston Federal Reserve Bank that alleged systemic discrimination.  “That study was tremendously flawed.  A colleague and I … showed that the data it had used contained thousands of egregious typos, such as loans with negative interest rates.  Our study found no evidence of discrimination.”4 However, the study became the standard on which government policy was based.

In 1995, the Clinton administration’s Treasury Department issued regulations tracking loans by neighborhoods, income groups, and races to rate the performance of banks.  The ratings were used by regulators to determine whether the government would approve bank mergers, acquisitions, and new branches.5 The regulations also encouraged Statist-aligned groups, such as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, to file petitions with regulators, or threaten to, to slow or even prevent banks from conducting their business by challenging the extent to which banks were issuing these loans.  With such powerful leverage over banks, some groups were able, in effect, to legally extort banks to make huge pools of money available to the groups, money they in turn used to make loans.  The banks and community groups issued loans to low-income individuals who often had bad credit or insufficient income.  And these loans, which became known as “subprime” loans, made available 100 percent financing, did not always require the use of credit scores, and were even made without documenting income.6 Therefore, the government insisted that banks, particularly those that wanted to expand, abandon traditional underwriting standards.  One estimate puts the figure of CRA-eligible loans at $4.5 trillion.7

EVENT 2: In 1992, the Department of Housing and Urban Development pressured two government-chartered corporations – known as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae – to purchase (or “securitize”) large bundles of these loans for the conflicting purposes of diversifying the risks and making even more money available to banks to make further risky loans.  Congress also passed the Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act, eventually mandating that these companies buy 45% of all loans from people of low and moderate incomes.8 Consequently, a SECONDARY MARKET was created for these loans.  And in 1995, the Treasury Department established the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, which provided banks with tax dollars to encourage even more risky loans.

For the Statist, however, this was still not enough.  Top congressional Democrats, including Representative Barney Frank (Massachusetts), Senator Christopher Dodd (Connecticut), and Senator Charles Schumer (New York), among others, repeatedly ignored warnings of pending disaster, insisting that they were overstated, and opposed efforts to force Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to comply with usual business and oversight practices.9 And the top executives of these corporations, most of whom had worked in or with Democratic administrations, resisted reform while they were actively cooking the books in order to award themselves tens of millions of dollars in bonuses.10

EVENT 3: A by-product of this government intervention and social engineering was a financial instrument called the “derivative,” which turned the subprime mortgage market into a ticking time bomb that could magnify the housing bust by orders of magnitude.  A derivative is a contract where one party sells the risk associated with the mortgage to another party in exchange for payments to that company based on the value of the mortgage.  In some cases, investors who did not even make the loans would bet on whether the loans would be subject to default.  Although imprecise, perhaps derivatives in this context can best be understood as a form of insurance.  Derivatives allowed commercial and investment banks, individual companies, and private investors to further spread – and ultimately multiply – the risk associated with their mortgages.  Certain financial and insurance institutions invested heavily in derivatives, such as American International Group (AIG).11

EVENT 4:  The Federal Reserve Board’s role in the housing boom-and-bust cannot be overstated.  The Pacific Research Institute’s Robert P. Murphy explains that “[the Federal Reserve] slashed rates repeatedly starting in January 2001, from 6.5 percent until they reached a low in June 2003 of 1.0 percent.  (In nominal terms, this was the lowest the target rate had been in the entire data series maintained by the St. Louis Federal Reserve, going back to 1982)….  When the easy-money policy became too inflationary for comfort, the Fed (under [Alan] Greenspan and the then new Chairman Ben Bernanke at the end) began a steady process of raising interest rates back up, from 1.0 percent in June 2004 to 5.25 percent in June 2006….”12 Therefore, when the Federal Reserve abandoned its role as steward of the monetary system and used interest rates to artificially and inappropriately manipulate the housing market, it interfered with normal market conditions and contributed to destabilizing the economy.

————————————————————————————————

1 Howard Husock, “The Trillion-Dollar Shakedown that Bodes Ill for Cities,” City Journal, Winter 2000.

2 Stan Liebowitz, “The Real Scandal,” New York Post, Feb. 5, 2008.

3 Ibid.

4 Ibid.

5 Howard Husock, “The Financial Crisis and the CRA,” City Journal, Oct. 30, 2008.

6 Liebowitz, “The Real Scandal.”

7 Husock, “The Financial Crisis and the CRA.”

8 Ibid.

9 Editorial, “Fannie Mae’s Patron Saint,” Wall Street Journal, Sept. 10, 2008; Joseph Goldstein, “Pro-Deregulation Schumer Scores Bush For Lack of Regulation,” New York Sun, Sept. 22, 2008; Robert Novack, “Crony Image Dogs Paulson’s Rescue Effort,” Chicago-Sun Times, July 17, 2008.

10 Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, “Report of the Special Examination of Freddie Mac,” Dec. 2003; Office of Federal Housing Oversight, “Report of the Special Examination of Fannie Mae,” May 2006.

11 Lynnley Browning, “AIG’s House of Cards,” Portfolio.com, Sept. 28, 2008.

12 Robert P. Murphy, “The Fed’s Role in the Housing Bubble,” Pacific Research Institute blog.

The government links from footnote 10 have been purged (and I COUNT on left-leaning “news” sources to purge stories that reveal the left for what it is), but there is plenty of evidence that a) Fannie and Freddie were firmly in the hands of Democrats; b) that Democrats and Fannie/Freddie at least twice resisted reforms by President Bush and Republicans; and c) that Fannie and Freddie executives – who were deeply involved with Democrat activismactively cooked the books to obtain huge bonuses prior to the disastrous crash.  We can also demonstrate d) that Barack Obama and Chris Dodd were involved with corrupt Fannie and Freddie (and Obama and Dodd were also receiving large contributions from corrupt Lehman Bros. even as Obama was getting a sweetheart mortgage deal from corrupt Tony Rezko while Chris Dodd was getting sweetheart mortgage deasl from corrupt Countrywide) right up to the tops of their pointy little heads.

When one examines the actual factors that led to the housing mortgage meltdown (as Mark Levin documents), when one examines the Democrat’s patent refusal to even accept that there was even a problem with Fannie and Freddie – much less allow any regulation – prior to the ensuing disaster, and when one examines the record to see which politicians were receiving money from the parties most responsible for the disaster, there is clearly only one party to blame: the Democrat Party.

And they are right back to all their old tricks.  It was rampant and insane spending that got us into this financial black hole – and they want MORE on top of MORE spending.  Meanwhile, Democrats such as Barney Frank are hard at work trying to create the NEXT massively destructive housing bubble, ACORN is trying to seize houses from rightful owners in the name of the “poor,” liberals are making moral hazard that rewards recklessness and irresponsibility and punishes frugality and responsibility official government policy , even as the Obama administration is creating “solutions” to the foreclosure issue that have abjectly failed.

Rampant Democrat Corruption Extends To Most Powerful Leaders

July 29, 2009

Right now, three of the most powerful Democrats are documented corrupt scumbags.

Charles Rangel, Chairman of the powerful tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee is a tax cheat.  Chris Dodd, the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, took corrupt mortgage loans from a corrupt mortgage lender at the epicenter of the mortgage meltdown crisis.  Kent Conrad, the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, also took such loans.

These men are incredibly influential in the writing of laws and legislation that will absorb most of the economy under their power.  And they are corrupt.

We were entertained at the beginning of the Obama administration as it became painfully obvious that it was hard to find an honest Democrat who actually paid the taxes that they hypocritically wanted everyone else to pay.  Many fell by the wayside, but “Turbo Tax” Tim Geithner’s personal dishonesty in paying his taxes didn’t stand in the way of his being Obama’s choice to become the Treasury Secretary in charge of enforcing tax laws.

Let’s start with the man who writes your tax laws but doesn’t want to follow his own laws and pay his own taxes: Charles Rangel.

The man has all kinds of issues, such as selfishly and greedily taking rent-controlled property meant for poor people.  It’s hard to say which is worse, but don’t forget to consider what he did in buying pricey beachfront rental property and then refusing to pay taxes on his substantial income:

JULY 27, 2009, 4:28 P.M. ET

Morality and Charlie Rangel’s Taxes
It’s much easier to raise taxes if you don’t pay them.

Ever notice that those who endorse high taxes and those who actually pay them aren’t the same people? Consider the curious case of Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel, who is leading the charge for a new 5.4-percentage point income tax surcharge and recently called it “the moral thing to do.” About his own tax liability he seems less, well, fervent.

Exhibit A concerns a rental property Mr. Rangel purchased in 1987 at the Punta Cana Yacht Club in the Dominican Republic. The rental income from that property ought to be substantial since it is a luxury beach-front villa and is more often than not rented out. But when the National Legal and Policy Center looked at Mr. Rangel’s House financial disclosure forms in August, it noted that his reported income looked suspiciously low. In 2004 and 2005, he reported no more than $5,000, and in 2006 and 2007 no income at all from the property.

The Congressman initially denied there was any unreported income. But reporters quickly showed that the villa is among the most desirable at Punta Cana and that it rents for $500 a night in the low season, and as much as $1,100 a night in peak season. Last year it was fully booked between December 15 and April 15.

Mr. Rangel soon admitted having failed to report rental income of $75,000 over the years. First he blamed his wife for the oversight because he said she was supposed to be managing the property. Then he blamed the language barrier. “Every time I thought I was getting somewhere, they’d start speaking Spanish,” Mr. Rangel explained.

Mr. Rangel promised last fall to amend his tax returns, pay what is due and correct the information on his annual financial disclosure form. But the deadline for the 2008 filing was May 15 and as of last week he still had not filed. His press spokesman declined to answer questions about anything related to his ethics problems.

Besides not paying those pesky taxes, Mr. Rangel had other reasons for wanting to hide income. As the tenant of four rent-stabilized apartments in Harlem, the Congressman needed to keep his annual reported income below $175,000, lest he be ineligible as a hardship case for rent control. (He also used one of the apartments as an office in violation of rent-control rules, but that’s another story.)

Mr. Rangel said last fall that “I never had any idea that I got any income’’ from the villa. Try using that one the next time the IRS comes after you. Equally interesting is his claim that he didn’t know that the developer of the Dominican Republic villa had converted his $52,000 mortgage to an interest-free loan in 1990. That would seem to violate House rules on gifts, which say Members may only accept loans on “terms that are generally available to the public.” Try getting an interest-free loan from your banker.

The National Legal and Policy Center also says it has confirmed that Mr. Rangel owned a home in Washington from 1971-2000 and during that time claimed a “homestead” exemption that allowed him to save on his District of Columbia property taxes. However, the homestead exemption only applies to a principal residence, and the Washington home could not have qualified as such since Mr. Rangel’s rent-stabilized apartments in New York have the same requirement.

The House Ethics Committee is investigating Mr. Rangel on no fewer than six separate issues, including his failure to report the no-interest loan on his Punta Cana villa and his use of rent-stabilized apartments. It is also investigating his fund raising for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at City College of New York. New York labor attorney Theodore Kheel, one of the principal owners of the Punta Cana resort, is an important donor to the Rangel Center.

All of this has previously appeared in print in one place or another, and we salute the reporters who did the leg work. We thought we’d summarize it now for readers who are confronted with the prospect of much higher tax bills, and who might like to know how a leading Democrat defines “moral” behavior when the taxes hit close to his homes.

Charlie Rangel is a man who has been patently dishonest for his entire public life.  Not that it matters to Democrats.  If you’re a Democrat, you can be caught red-handed with $90,000 of FBI bribe money in your freezer like William Jefferson and actually get re-elected the following year.

That leaves Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad (at least, for me today).

AP IMPACT: Dodd, Conrad told deals were sweetened

By LARRY MARGASAK, Associated Press Writer Larry Margasak, Associated Press Writer – Mon Jul 27, 9:52 pm ET

WASHINGTON – Despite their denials, influential Democratic Sens. Kent Conrad and Chris Dodd were told from the start they were getting VIP mortgage discounts from one of the nation’s largest lenders, the official who handled their loans has told Congress in secret testimony.

Both senators have said that at the time the mortgages were being written they didn’t know they were getting unique deals from Countrywide Financial Corp., the company that went on to lose billions of dollars on home loans to credit-strapped borrowers. Dodd still maintains he got no preferential treatment.

Dodd got two Countrywide mortgages in 2003, refinancing his home in Connecticut and another residence in Washington. Conrad’s two Countrywide mortgages in 2004 were for a beach house in Delaware and an eight-unit apartment building in Bismarck in his home state of North Dakota.

Robert Feinberg, who worked in Countrywide’s VIP section, told congressional investigators last month that the two senators were made aware that “who you know is basically how you’re coming in here.”

“You don’t say ‘no’ to the VIP,” Feinberg told Republican investigators for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, according to a transcript obtained by The Associated Press.

The next day, Feinberg testified before the Senate Ethics Committee, an indication the panel is actively investigating two of the chamber’s more powerful members:

Dodd heads the Banking Committee and is a major player in two big areas: solving the housing foreclosure and financial crises and putting together an overhaul of the U.S. health care system. A five-term senator, he is in a tough fight for re-election in 2010, partly because of the controversy over his mortgages.

Conrad chairs the Budget Committee. He, too, shares an important role in the health care debate, as well as on legislation to curb global warming.

Both senators were VIP borrowers in the program known as “friends of Angelo.” Angelo Mozilo was chief executive of Countrywide, which played a big part in the foreclosure crisis triggered by defaults on subprime loans. The Calabasas, Calif.-based company was bought last July by Bank of America Corp. for about $2.5 billion.

Mozilo has been charged with civil fraud and illegal insider trading by the Securities and Exchange Commission. He denies any wrongdoing.

Asked by a House Oversight investigator if Conrad, the North Dakota senator, “was aware that he was getting preferential treatment?” Feinberg answered: “Yes, he was aware.”

Referring to Dodd, the investigator asked:

“And do you know if during the course of your communications” with the senator or his wife “that you ever had an opportunity to share with them if they were getting special VIP treatment?”

“Yes, yes,” Feinberg replied. [...]

Countrywide VIPs, Feinberg told the committees, received discounts on rates, fees and points. Dodd received a break when Countrywide counted both his Connecticut and Washington homes as primary owner-occupied residences — a fiction, according to Feinberg. Conrad received a type of commercial loan that he was told Countrywide didn’t offer.

“The simple fact that Angelo Mozilo and other high-ranking executives at Countrywide were personally making sure Mr. Feinberg handled their loans right, is proof in itself that the senators knew they were getting sweetheart deals,” said Feinberg’s principal attorney, Anthony Salerno.

Two internal Countrywide documents in Dodd’s case and one in Conrad’s appear to contradict their statements about what they knew about their VIP loans.

At his Feb. 2 news conference, Dodd said he knew he was in a VIP program but insisted he was told by Countrywide, “It was nothing more than enhanced customer service … being able to get a person on the phone instead of an automated operator.”

He insisted he didn’t receive special treatment. However, the assertion was at odds with two Countrywide documents entitled “Loan Policy Analysis” that Dodd allowed reporters to review the same day.

The documents had separate columns: one showing points “actl chrgd” Dodd — zero; and a second column showing “policy” was to charge .250 points on one loan and .375 points on the other. Another heading on the documents said “reasons for override.” A notation under that heading identified a Countrywide section that approved the policy change for Dodd.

Mortgage points, sometimes called loan origination fees, are upfront fees based on a percentage of the loan. Each point is equal to 1 percent of the loan. The higher the points the lower the interest rate.

Dodd said he obtained the Countrywide documents in 2008, to learn details of his mortgages.

In Conrad’s case, an e-mail from Feinberg to Mozilo indicates Feinberg informed Conrad that Countrywide had a residential loan limit of a four-unit building. Conrad sought to finance an eight-unit apartment building in Bismarck that he had bought from his brothers.

“I did advise him I would check with you first since our maximum is 4 units,” Feinberg said in an April 23, 2004, internal e-mail to Mozilo.

Mozilo responded the same day that Feinberg should speak to another Countrywide executive and “see if he can make an exception due to the fact that the borrower is a senator.”

Feinberg said in his deposition with House Oversight investigators last month that exceptions for the type of loan Conrad received were not allowed for borrowers outside the VIP system.

“If there was a regular customer calling, and of course you say, ‘No, we’re a residential lender. We cannot provide you with that service,'” Feinberg said.

Feinberg also told House investigators that Countrywide counted both of Dodd’s homes as primary residences.

“He was allowed to do both of those as owner-occupied, which is not allowed. You can only have one owner-occupied property. You can’t live in two properties at the same time,” he said.

Normally, Feinberg said, a second home could require more equity and could have a higher mortgage rate.

Rep. Darrell Issa of California, the senior Republican on the House Oversight Committee, had his investigators question Feinberg as part of a broader investigation into Countrywide’s VIP program.

Other names that have surfaced as “friends” of Mozilo include James Johnson, a former head of Fannie Mae who later stepped down as an adviser to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, and Franklin Raines, who also headed Fannie Mae. Still other “friends” included retired athletes, a judge, a congressional aide and a newspaper executive.

Conrad initially said in June 2008, “If they did me a favor, they did it without my knowledge and without my requesting it.”

The next day, Conrad changed course after reviewing documents showing he got special treatment, and said he was donating $10,500 to charity and refinancing the loan on the apartment building with another lender. He also said then it appeared Countrywide had waived 1 point at closing on the beach house.

Gaddie said Feinberg has previously made statements to the news media that Countrywide waived 1 point without the senator’s knowledge.

Feinberg testified that VIPs usually were not told exactly how many points were being waived, but it was made clear to them that they were getting discounts.

And, of course, Barack Obama has his own sweetheart mortgage deal with his own scumbag, Tony Rezko.  Not to mention all kinds of other skeletons in his “Chicago Way” closet that were never investigated by a clearly biased press.  A lot of the most obvious corruption occurs through his wife Michelle Obama, who kept getting paid more and more on hospital boards as Obama advanced politically.  On hospitals that did some really nasty things, such as patient dumping which she might have participated in.

Democrats cry day after day that what the world needs is more government.

But consider something: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

No entity wields more absolute power, or is more corrupt, than government.

Democrats tell us every day that they are out to save us from evil big businesses.  But there is no one to save us from Democrats, or the intrusive giant octopus federal government behemoth they are seeking to create and empower to rule over virtually every aspect of our lives.

Bizarro Obama’s Credit Bill Subsidizes Stupidity By Penalizing Prudence

May 23, 2009

Elaine and Jerry have the following dialogue in a famous Seinfeld episode titled, “Bizarro Jerry”:

“He’s reliable. He’s considerate. He’s like your exact opposite.”
“So he’s Bizarro Jerry.”
“Bizarro Jerry?”
“Yeah, like Bizarro Superman, Superman’s exact opposite, who lives in the backwards Bizarro world. Up is down, down is up, he says hello when he leaves, goodbye when he arrives.”
“Shouldn’t he say badbye? Isn’t that the opposite of goodbye?”
“No, it’s still goodbye.”
“Does he live underwater?”
“No.”
“Is he black?”
“Look, just forget the whole thing.”
- Elaine and Jerry, in “The Bizarro Jerry”

Well, let’s not forget the whole thing, Jerry.  Because Bizarro Superman is now among us.  Art, imitation, and boob-tube television have come to life: Barack Obama is our Bizarro Superman.

Bizarro Superman is the sort of Superman who saves the guilty by beating the snot out of the innocent.

Did you buy a house you could afford?  Bizzaro Superman flew in and established a system whereby you subsidized those who foolishly overextended themselves.  After bailing out these fools who received assistance primarily by belonging to traditional liberal voting blocs, three out of five of them are already defaulting again (necessitating yet another bailout from you).

Do you have an account with a bank that took (in many cases was forced to take) TARP money?  Bizarro Superman wants to impose his political agenda on banks, so he won’t allow them to repay their loans.

Did you hope to be able to improve your lot in life with the gigantic stimulus package?  Sorry, Bizarro Superman’s stimulus turned out to be the porkulus that conservatives said it would be, with far more money going to 40 years’ worth of liberal pet projects than to job creation.  We’ve also recently learned that due to massive structural flaws the stimulus is bypassing all of the counties that most desperately needed help.  It might have helped if someone had actually been allowed to read the bill first, but Bizarro Superman didn’t want to take any chances that someone would see what a socialist power grab it truly was.

Did you invest in secured debt from Chrysler and GM?  Sorry, buddy: Superman has flown in and given your safe and secured investment dollars to his UAW cronies.  When the secured investors – who by law were entitled to be at the head of the line in any bankruptcy – balked at being paid pennies on the dollar while the UAW was given the farm – Bizarro Superman demonized them as “greedy hedge funds” and threatened them with public propaganda attacks.

Bizarro Superman has flown in and promised that 95% of Americans will get a tax cut under his plan (which actually just means more welfare for the 43.4 percent who already don’t pay any federal income tax at all even as our small business owners who employ most American workers are increasingly taxed into oblivion).  Will people pay less in taxes under Bizarro Superman?  Just for your information, the average 30 year old will pay $136,932.75 just for the interest of just Obama’s 2010 budget over the course of his or her working lifetime. Americans will be paying FAR more of their money to the government – and they will have Bizarro Superman to thank for it.

Only in Bizarro world does an administration say it’s “the patriotic duty” for some to pay a an even more massive tax burden imposed on them even as it promises that the other 95% should be LESS patriotic by paying less in taxes.

Are you one of the 100% of Americans who use energy?  Get ready for the price of it to skyrocket (“necessarily skyrocket,” to quote Bizarro Superman).  Even the Obama administration admits that Bizarro Superman’s energy plan will increase the average American’s electric bill by $1,800 a year.  Which means it will very likely be a hell of a lot worse than that.

Only in Bizarro world does Congress actually hire a speed reader to read really fast a terrible energy bill that Representatives and Senators won’t bother to read at normal speed.

Now Bizarro Superman has flown in and saved risky credit-card borrowers by establishing a system that will penalize those who have always paid their bills on time and in full.  From the New York Times:

Credit cards have long been a very good deal for people who pay their bills on time and in full. Even as card companies imposed punitive fees and penalties on those late with their payments, the best customers racked up cash-back rewards, frequent-flier miles and other perks in recent years.

Now Congress is moving to limit the penalties on riskier borrowers, who have become a prime source of billions of dollars in fee revenue for the industry. And to make up for lost income, the card companies are going after those people with sterling credit.

Banks are expected to look at reviving annual fees, curtailing cash-back and other rewards programs and charging interest immediately on a purchase instead of allowing a grace period of weeks, according to bank officials and trade groups.

“It will be a different business,” said Edward L. Yingling, the chief executive of the American Bankers Association, which has been lobbying Congress for more lenient legislation on behalf of the nation’s biggest banks. “Those that manage their credit well will in some degree subsidize those that have credit problems.”

Again and again, on issue after issue, our Bizarro Superman, Barack Hussein Obama, has come to the rescue of the irresponsible by punishing the responsible.

Our economy became the greatest in the history of the world by policies that rewarded sound and prudent investment while punishing foolish behaviors.  Those days are long gone.  We’re in Bizarro world now.

I pulled out of the stock market following the Democratic National Convention when I had that first moment of genuine fear that Obama would probably win, and put my nest egg into gold and silver.  Betting that Obama would be a disaster for the economy has been the best financial move I’ve ever made: I’ve made a 15% return on precious metals even as investors in the stock market lost about 30%.

I still remember the day I came across the following poll results from the September/October issue of CEO Magazine:

According to the poll, which is featured on the cover of Chief Executive’s most recent issue, by a four-to-one margin, CEOs support Senator John McCain over Senator Barack Obama. Moreover, 74 percent of the executives say they fear that an Obama presidency would be disastrous for the country.[...]

In expressing their rejection of Senator Obama, some CEOs who responded to the survey went as far as to say that “some of his programs would bankrupt the country within three years, if implemented.” In fact, the poll highlights that Obama’s tax policies, which scored the lowest grade in the poll, are particularly unpopular among CEOs.

I’ve pulled out of the US economy due to Bizzaro Superman and his Bizarro economic policies.  No investments in stocks, no purchases of US bonds.  Not with Obama’s mind-boggling deficit spending acting like a 10 ton anvil hovering over the economy due to debt as a percentage of GDP rising like a rocket ship.  I’m making as few purchases as possible.  And I’m not coming back to investment in America as long as Bizarro Superman is our president.

And I’m going to pull out of credit cards now, too.  If I see one fee, or if I see my interest rate go up so much as 1 point due to my cards’ charging interest from the moment of purchase, I’m cutting them up and going back to the tried and true checkbook.

The only question I have is this: at some point Obama’s and the Democrat’s policies of subsidizing stupidity by penalizing prudence are going to implode the economy.  In the aftermath of that disaster, will there even BE a U.S. economy worthy of investing in?

I’m not betting on it.

Obama Abusing Stimulus To Intimidate All Opposition

May 14, 2009

If you don’t live under a rock (and frankly a rock wouldn’t be a bad place to live under these days), you’ve no doubt heard that Obama has fired CEOs, picked board members, altered bankruptcy proceedings, and has refused to allow banks to repay their loans without ridiculous conditions being imposed.  He is also moving toward regulating the pay of executives even if their companies didn’t take bailout money.  You might have heard how Obama has bullied and threatened hedge funds that demanded that their legal rights as secured Chrysler debtholders be recognized and respected as their money is given to unions in a clear case of political payback.

And if you have any understanding of American history at all, you should realize what a massive abuse of power all of this is.

Obama can say whatever he wants about not wanting to control the economy.  But actions in this case scream far louder than words.  On front after front (e.g., industry, banking, health care, energy, education) his administration is engaging in a naked grab for unprecedented power and control.

FDR doesn’t even come close: the New Deal in inflation adjusted dollars cost an estimated $500 billion; Obama has spent or committed $12.8 TRILLION so far.

There is so much federal government money going to who-only-knows that it boggles the mind.

And Obama – who has already demonstrated that he is perfectly willing to abuse his power – is at it again.

The People’s Republic of California – like many other failed liberal utopias – is on the fast track to insolvency.  And you can bet that that outcome is going to be significantly expedited if the Obama administration follows through on its threat to cut off stimulus funding unless California does things the way Obama wants.

The state of California enacted measures in order to save $74 million, but state governments have apparently forfeited all sovereignty under Obama rule.

Reporting from Sacramento — The Obama administration is threatening to rescind billions of dollars in federal stimulus money if Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state lawmakers do not restore wage cuts to unionized home healthcare workers approved in February as part of the budget.

Schwarzenegger’s office was advised this week by federal health officials that the wage reduction, which will save California $74 million, violates provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Failure to revoke the scheduled wage cut before it takes effect July 1 could cost California $6.8 billion in stimulus money, according to state officials.

The news comes as state lawmakers are already facing a severe cash crisis, with the state at risk of running out of money in July.

The wages at issue involve workers who care for some 440,000 low-income disabled and elderly Californians. The workers, who collectively contribute millions of dollars in dues each month to the influential Service Employees International Union and the United Domestic Workers, will see the state’s contribution to their wages cut from a maximum of $12.10 per hour to a maximum of $10.10.

The SEIU said in a statement that it had asked the Obama administration for the ruling.

Now, the person with brain wave patterns above those of a corpse have to recognize that Obama – who has already literally given the previously privately-owned farm to UAW union members is imposing his will on California in order to reward the big labor movement that so rabidly supported him.

As a Senator Obama got on his moral high horse and preached one sermon after another about how Bush had violated executive power, and how he would be a president who “respected the law.” And he has already revealed that he is cut from the same cloth as Stalin: all he needed to show his true colors was the opportunity to seize control.

I’ve written about this before.  Just over one year ago I wrote on the subject of how postmodernism leads to fascism.  I said in part:

Already some postmodernist sects explicitly advocate and demand such measures; all they lack is the power to impose their will.

And now they are accumulating that power.

Democrats and liberals are postmodernists; and postmodernism contains all the underlying philosophical presuppositions essential for fascism to rear its monstrous head yet again.

Liberals are becoming flat-out fascists now, and that is “change” that you should always have “believed” would come if they accumulated enough power.

Just keep sitting around doing nothing, and keep watching your boob tube while your new Fuhrer takes away one thing after another that this nation always intended for the people to be able to choose for themselves.

Obama Backlash Beginning: Montana Defies Administration With In-Your-Face Gun Law

May 7, 2009

The state of Montana has drawn a line in the sand by passing a new gun law that virtually thumbs its nose at the federal government’s encroachment on state and individual rights.  If the tea parties were the first shot across the bow of liberal fascism, this is surely the second – and it’s being done with heavy artillery.

Liberals have been employing “sanctuary cities” across the nation that flouted federal immigration laws.  Now conservatives are taking that same idea to have “sanctuary states” to protect their citizens’ 2nd Amendment rights against liberal tyranny.  And Montana, Utah, and Texas are leading the nation in standing up to the federal government’s unconstitutional laws in direct violation of states’ rights.

Montana Governor Brian D. Schweitzer, for what it’s worth, is a Democrat.

Montana fires a warning shot over states’ rights
State is trying to trigger a battle over gun control — and make a point

updated 4:54 p.m. ET April 29, 2009

HELENA, Mont. – Montana is trying to trigger a battle over gun control — and perhaps make a larger point about what many folks in this ruggedly independent state regard as a meddlesome federal government.

In a bill passed by the Legislature earlier this month, the state is asserting that guns manufactured in Montana and sold in Montana to people who intend to keep their weapons in Montana are exempt from federal gun registration, background check and dealer-licensing rules because no state lines are crossed.

That notion is all but certain to be tested in court.

The immediate effect of the law could be limited, since Montana is home to just a few specialty gun makers, known for high-end hunting rifles and replicas of Old West weapons, and because their out-of-state sales would automatically trigger federal control.

Legal showdown
Still, much bigger prey lies in Montana’s sights: a legal showdown over how far the federal government’s regulatory authority extends.

“It’s a gun bill, but it’s another way of demonstrating the sovereignty of the state of Montana,” said Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who signed the bill.

Carrie DiPirro, a spokeswoman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, had no comment on the legislation. But the federal government has generally argued that it has authority under the interstate commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution to regulate guns because they can so easily be transported across state lines.

Guns and states’ rights both play well in Montana, the birthplace of the right-wing Freemen militia and a participant in the Sagebrush Rebellion of the 1970s and ’80s, during which Western states clashed with Washington over grazing and mineral extraction on federal land.

Montana’s leading gun rights organization, more hardcore than the National Rifle Association, boasts it has moved 50 bills through the Legislature over the past 25 years. And lawmakers in the Big Sky State have rebelled against federal control of everything from wetland protection to the national Real ID system.

‘Made in Montana’
Under the new law, guns intended only for Montana would be stamped “Made in Montana.” The drafters of the law hope to set off a legal battle with a simple Montana-made youth-model single-shot, bolt-action .22 rifle. They plan to find a “squeaky clean” Montanan who wants to send a note to the ATF threatening to build and sell about 20 such rifles without federal dealership licensing.

If the ATF tells them it’s illegal, they will sue and take the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, if they can.

Similar measures have also been introduced in Texas and Alaska.

“I think states have got to stand up or else most of their rights are going to be buffaloed by the administration and by Congress,” said Texas state Rep. Leo Berman.

Critics say exempting guns from federal laws anywhere would undermine efforts to stem gun violence everywhere.

Hot Air has the text of the law, titled:

AN ACT EXEMPTING FROM FEDERAL REGULATION UNDER THE COMMERCE CLAUSE OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES A FIREARM, A FIREARM ACCESSORY, OR AMMUNITION MANUFACTURED AND RETAINED IN MONTANA; AND PROVIDING AN APPLICABILITY DATE. BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:

This is defiance as a thing of art:

defiance_mouse_eagle

It is a determination to keep fighting for one’s freedom no matter how hopeless things might look:

defiance_frog_stork2

And why is this level of defiance necessary? An image worth a thousand curses suffices by way of explanation:

obama_yes-we-can_1st-amendment

Don’t think this isn’t a direct response to Barack Hussein.

Gun and ammunition sales have soared out of naked fear of Obama.

And for good reason: Obama is pushing a treaty to ban reloading. Liberals are trying to regulate the components of ammunition as explosives and thus restrict ammunition. Liberals in California are nakedly attempting to circumvent the 2nd Amendment by regulating ammunition, hence making guns useless.

And the liberal campaign to deprive Americans of their 2nd Amendment guarantees (even as they discover “penumbras and emanations” in the Constitution that let them kill babies) is only a distant side issue in the massive government takeover of American society. Obama’s massive spending – more than every president from George Washington to George W. Bush COMBINED – will leave this country with an insurmountable national debt that would exceed 82 percent of the overall economy by 2019 and threaten this country’s very survival. We are now on the hook for $12.8 TRILLION dollars in government spending and commitments in the brave new world of the Obama economy.

We’ve got a president who is firing CEOs, stacking boards of directors, changing the rules for the auto manufacturers’ bankruptcy filings in order to favor the unions that supported him over the secured creditors. And if they don’t like it, they are met with frightening threats from the administration and death threats from union members. If that isn’t bad enough, we’ve also got card check on the horizon, which would allow union thugs to intimidate workers into unionizing with the union allowed to know exactly how each worker voted.

We’ve got a president who won’t let banks repay bailout loans (which in many cases were literally forced on them in the first place) so he can continue to impose onerous terms and conditions on them and control what they do and how they do it.

We’ve got a president who is planning to nationalize health care – and the one-sixth of our economy that it represents – even as he moves to impose costly and burdensome cap-and-trade regulations that would (in Obama’s own words) necessarily cause energy prices to soar.

And we’ve got a president who is attempting to nationalize student loans such that private lenders are phased out altogether. If Obama gets his way, the government will loan directly to families and students, making them directly indebted to the federal government. The government will necessarily get to decide which students, which schools, and which academic programs get loans.  An option for students is to repay their loans by means of “national service,” which already precludes any type of religious service whatsoever. The potential of liberal big government harnessing student labor to staff liberal organizations such as ACORN is becoming all-too real.

We have a new administration that moved to criminalize political differences by targeting Bush officials as war criminals, even as returning veterans and pro-life Americans are labeled as “rightwing extremists” in a DHS report sent out to the nation’s law enforcement agencies and police departments.

not-fascism-when-we-do-it3

I’ve been saying something over and over in different ways. What the liberals are doing now will ultimately result in a “rightwing” backlash. What is true in physics is true in politics: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Liberals are pushing and pushing and pushing through one new massive spending program and one new policy after another that will change and undermine this country forever afterward.

Under Obama, terrorism is now called an “overseas contingency operation” and terror attacks are now nothing more than “man-caused disasters.”  In attacking the CIA as a means to attack Bush, Obama has created a depressed, sullen, and angry morale which promises to transfer into “cover your ass” caution and bureaucratic gamesmanship.  He has undermined our security to a shocking degree.  If we are attacked, this country will swing so far to the right so fast it will be absolutely unreal.

But even if we are not attacked, our country will likely implode under its own weight: trillions of dollars of reckless spending will have that effect as our dollar devalues and our interest payments on the debt begin to soar when inflation begins to take its toll.  Ultimately our taxes will skyrocket due to all of this spending.  CBS News has an article from March entitled, “If China Stops Lending Us Money, Look Out.”  Well, guess what?  They’re doing exactly that.  They’re canceling our credit card.

In a poll of chief executive officers taken prior to the election, 74 percent of the executives said they feared “that an Obama presidency would be disastrous for the country.”  And some of the CEOs predicted that “some of his programs would bankrupt the country within three years, if implemented.”  And with the Congress in nearly total Democratic control, they ARE being implemented.

When Obama and the Democrats bankrupt the country and undermine our entire social structure with massive spending programs and massive bureaucracies that cannot be undone, which direction will the country turn?  And how complete will that turnaround be?

Liberals are ignoring one ominous warning of popular outrage after another, claiming that conservatism and the Republican Party are dead.  And they will likely ignore what is going on in Montana – which is led by a Democrat governor – as well.  They are doing so to both their party’s and their country’s peril.

Montana, you’ve done a great thing for liberty, which is freedom from the growing tyranny of the smiley-face-fascist nanny state.

The backlash against big government liberal tyranny is beginning.  And it will become larger and hotter as Obama’s policies take their toll.  Let us hope that the spark turns into a fire before – rather than after – Obama has done too much damage to recover from.


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