Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: TARP

Sen. Hatch’s Retirement Paves Way for Romney: One RINO Replacing Another

, member of the United States Senate.

Utah RINO Orrin Hatch

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, January 3, 2018:

If Mitt Romney ends up in Orrin Hatch’s Senate seat, that would mean one RINO (Republican In Name Only) replacing another.

A boxer in his youth, Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah announced on Tuesday that he was hanging up his gloves for good. After 40 years in the Senate, he said that he had been fighting the good fight but that it was time for him to make his exit:

When the president visited Utah last month, he said I was a fighter. I’ve always been a fighter. I was an amateur boxer in my youth, and I brought that fighting spirit with me to Washington.

But every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves.

He said he will leave the Senate when his current term ends at the end of this year.

It was unclear exactly what “fight” the 83-year-old senator was referring to.

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Bank of America Fined Again; Board Likely to Laugh It Off

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, March 29, 2017:

Photo of Bank of America ATM Machine by Brian ...

Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Klein fined Bank of America $45 million on Thursday for deliberately and intentionally harming a young couple who got caught up the real estate collapse and had to downsize. Erik and Renee Sundquist made a down payment on a smaller home and borrowed the balance from Countrywide Home Loans. When they couldn’t make the payments on that loan, the couple was advised by Bank of America, which owned Countrywide, to default as a precondition for a loan modification in order to lower their payments.

Klein described what happened next in his ruling in Sundquist v. Bank of America as a series of events so fantastic and bizarre as to be nearly incomprehensible:

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Trump Names Jay Clayton, Quintessential Wall Street Lawyer and Goldman Sachs Advisor, to Head SEC

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, January 4, 2017:

English: Logo of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc....

In announcing Jay Clayton as his pick to run the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), President-elect Donald Trump issued a statement that was both laudatory and a thinly veiled warning to Clayton: “Jay Clayton is a highly talented expert on many aspects of financial and regulatory law, and he will ensure our financial institutions can thrive and create jobs while playing by the rules at the same time.”

And then, as if quoting from the job description Trump no doubt created as he was sorting through prospective picks for the position:

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Could a Professional Wrestler be the next Senator from Tennessee?

This article first appeared at McAlvany Intelligence Advisor:

 

In gearing up for the 2014 Senate election in Tennessee, the Tennessee Alliance Tea Party & Liberty Groups announced in its newsletter last week that current Senator Lamar Alexander was ripe for extinction:

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Refreshing Clarity on Raising the Debt Ceiling

English: Chart of the United States' debt ceil...

Chart of the United States’ debt ceiling from 1981 to 2010 in $ trillion. This chart tracks the debt ceiling at the end of each calendar year. Years are color coded by congressional control and presidential terms highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Once in a while I run across someone with such uncanny ability with words to describe the essence of an issue that it takes my breath away. Star Parker did just that:

Why do we have to keep raising the debt ceiling? Because politicians are afraid to be honest with the American people and immediately raise taxes to pay for all their new spending. So instead of raising taxes and paying for our new bills when we incur them, they just borrow the money.

They do it without our permission, and then expect us – force us – to pay those bills when they come due. Says Parker:

They could be honest. When they have their wonderful ideas about what they want to spend our money on, they could go right to taxpayers and say we are going to spend X for Y so we will raise your taxes Z to pay for it. OK?

They discovered years ago that they couldn’t do this. That’s why they had to create the money machine – the Fed – in order to spend money they don’t have and can’t raise in taxes – and then

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Bankrupt California Really IS Fantasyland!

John Ransom: The Bankrupt Leading the Bankrupt

The Golden State, which once represented the promise of America, is mired in swampland of broken promises, graft, political stupidity and liberal fantasy.

English: Maxine Waters (D-CA), Member of the U...

It isn’t that John Ransom hates bankrupt California so much as he hates how it manages to lead the field in financial fantasies, bankruptcies, and political corruption. Other than that, I’m sure he thinks it’s a very nice place.

I’ve written about bankruptcies in places like Stockton and elsewhere, but Ransom goes me one better: it’s inculcated in its culture. Make promises you can’t keep and then arrange for someone else to pay for them!

He quotes Mark Twain about the myths surrounding credit:

Beautiful credit! The foundation of modern society. Who shall say that this is not the golden age of mutual trust, of unlimited reliance upon human promises? That is a peculiar condition of society which enables a whole nation to instantly recognize point and meaning in the familiar newspaper anecdote, which puts into the mouth of a distinguished speculator in lands and mines this remark: “I wasn’t worth a cent two years ago, and now I owe two millions of dollars.”

What about corruption in California? He mentions Maxine Watters, one of the most corrupt members of Congress, who used her influence to redirect TARP funds to family members, stole taxpayer and campaign funds for personal use, and directed government business to members of her family as well.

Even Wikipedia agrees with this:

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) named Waters to its list of corrupt members of Congress in its 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2011 reports. Citizens Against Government Waste named her the June 2009 Porker of the Month due to her intention to obtain an earmark for the Maxine Waters Employment Preparation Center.

And then there’s Congressperson Laura Richardson who suffered a reprimand from Congress for pressuring her office staff to work on her political campaigns and then cover up violations by “coaching her staffers [how] to lie to investigators.”

And of course there is the governor, Jerry Brown, who refuses to face the reality of a $16 billion budget shortfall and goes ahead with the “bullet train to nowhere” which is estimated to cost $68 billion, which taxpayers voted for back in 2008 but who would vote against it if asked today.

Ransom puts it well:

Bankruptcy doesn’t seem to be so much of a possibility as it is a feature of California’s government, economy and public ethics.

What are your thoughts on California’s spending and corruption? Sound off in the comments section below!

John Stossel Coddles Paul Ryan

John Stossel: Who Is Paul Ryan?

I wanted to like Paul Ryan.

Before he was nationally known, Rep. Ryan visited me at ABC, and we went to lunch. He was terrific. He was a rare politician, one who actually cared about America’s coming debt crisis and the unfairness of entitlements. He even talked about F.A. Hayek‘s “The Road to Serfdom“! If only more politicians thought that way.

But then the housing bubble burst. Ryan voted for TARP. Then he voted for the auto bailout. Who is this guy? I thought he believed in markets!

John Stossel

John Stossel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s easy for me to throw grenades, especially because my voice is so small and my opinion often discounted. And Stossel is one of my favorite libertarians. In fact I often question why Fox allows him on the network at all, given their statist mindset.

But Stossel has done the libertarian movement a disservice here, I think. He expresses admiration for Paul Ryan as an economic conservative: “He [Ryan] even talked about F.A. Hayek’s ‘The Road to Serfdom’”!

But it didn’t take. I read it in the sixth grade, and it took. Especially the chapter “Why the Worst Get On Top.” And I am in distinguished company. Gerald O’Driscoll of the Cato Institute wrote this:

In perhaps the best chapter of The Road to Serfdom, Hayek details “Why the Worst Get on Top” in totalitarian societies. The chapter begins with a quotation from Lord Acton: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Hayek then elaborates the Actonian insight.

From that chapter which has informed my outlook on government and politicians ever since I have nothing but contempt for those who try to “fix things,” and interfere with our lives as a result. Many of them are, in the words of Mr. Welch—the founder of the John Birch Society—just “useful idiots” in the employ of darker forces bent on establishing a totalitarian dictatorship. I put Paul Ryan into that camp.

And now, unfortunately, so do I put John Stossel.

Ryan voted for TARP and the auto company bailouts and now regrets it. Stossel thinks that’s OK: Ryan has changed his mind: “I wish he had voted against those bills, but the political class was in near panic, and Ryan is a politician.”

That’s little comfort to me. Paul Ryan is an enemy of freedom. And any enemy of freedom is an enemy of mine. To have Stossel coddle Ryan and say, well, he meant well, all is forgiven, is treacherous.

Color me disappointed.

Arithmetic, not Paul Ryan, is Medicare’s True Enemy

Steve Chapman: Ryan and the Real Enemy of Medicare

President Barack Obama’s campaign has a new ad accusing Ryan and Mitt Romney of a scheme “ending Medicare as we know it.” But the real enemy of Medicare “as we know it” is not Ryan. It’s arithmetic.

Paul Ryan Caricature

Paul Ryan Caricature (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

This is an interesting point of view. It’s not very sexy and not eye-catching like the Obama story: ending Medicare as we know it. But it’s true: left alone, Medicare will end itself, all by itself.

Says Chapman:

Medicare is the second biggest item in the entire federal budget and one of the fastest growing. Over the past 30 years, its cost has doubled as a share of our gross domestic product, and over the next 30, it’s on track to double again.

At the rate we’re going, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and interest payments will consume the entire federal budget by 2025.

That’s called unsustainable.

And Ryan’s approach does two things: it protects those already in the system, and gives those not in the system time to adjust:

His chief reform is to shift from a defined-benefit program, which obligates the government to cover all costs, to a defined-contribution approach, which commits the government to provide a fixed amount of money for each recipient.

Chapman is honest about Ryan:

Not that he has a stellar record in this or other areas of the budget. In the past, he’s been the fiscal equivalent of a chicken hawk: tough until it’s time to put his own survival on the line.

He voted for President George W. Bush’s plan to furnish prescription drug coverage to seniors, adding $8 trillion to the government’s unfunded obligations. He voted to bail out General Motors. He voted for TARP.

He did more than his share to help Bush add $5 trillion to the national debt.

All that aside, I think the real enemy of Medicare is that it violates the Constitution. The fact that it is unsustainable helps point out its fatal flaws. But to me the biggest flaw is getting the government involved where it doesn’t belong. And you can’t fix that through reform.

Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Looms

electrical tape

Image by Julia Manzerova via Flickr

Tuesday’s hearing of the House Oversight Committee gave Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) a chance to vent, and witness Elizabeth Warren, President Obama’s Special Advisor for the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP), a chance to defend, and for the entire hearing to accomplish nothing. The BCFP was the brainchild of Warren, and the centerpiece of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act which was signed into law last July. Its Orwellian title hides the fact that the new agency will do little to reform Wall Street and nothing at all to protect the consumer.

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Senator Orrin Hatch: This Pitchfork’s for You!

Senator Orrin Hatch, R-UT

Image by Be the Change, Inc. via Flickr

Last Wednesday Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utahverbally polished his “fiscal conservative” spectacles for the benefit of non-believers in Utah who are threatening to support opposition to his run for re-election to his seventh term in 2012. He told the Senate Finance Committee that if fiscal reforms “fall prey to gimmicks, are waived or otherwise undermined…my sense is that the people will come to this Capitol with pitchforks and torches they will be so upset. And they’d be right to do so.”

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Government to Sell GM Stock Before It Declines Further

2011 Chevrolet Volt exhibited at the 2010 Wash...

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When the federal government took over General Motors in July of 2009, it was “the only way to avoid an economic calamity,” according to President Obama.

Stuffed full of $50 billion of taxpayers’ money, GM began to revive, a little. It had lost an amazing $103 billion over the previous five years, partly by acceding to union demands for generous compensation packages (including payments to workers even when the plants where they worked weren’t even running!), and partly by

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$4 Trillion in Cuts Proposed by GOP Rep. Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr

During an interview on “Fox News Sunday”, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), chairman of the House Budget Committeeoutlined many of the details of the GOP‘s 2012 budget proposal that will officially be announced on Tuesday. He said, “We can’t keep kicking this can down the road. The President has punted. We’re not going to follow suit. ” Implying that the proposal would cut the deficit by “much more than” $4 trillion over the next decade, he offered a synopsis of what to expect on Tuesday:

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Super Bowl Ads: Watch for Chrysler

Pentastar Chrysler Dodge

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Tomorrow, millions of Super Bowl fans will most likely ignore the huge investment Chrysler is making in television ads in promoting its new 2011 models. Those ads are part of the vehicle manufacturer’s efforts to revive the company and start making some money.

Despite ending 2010 with a $652 million net loss, Sergio Marchionne, Chrysler’s chief executive officer, was determinedly optimistic, even though the company didn’t meet its net revenue objectives, and had to shut down some of its factories in December, despite providing more than $3,600 in vehicle incentives to move its older models off the showroom floors.

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GM’s IPO: Where’s the Weevil in the Hardtack?

Logo of General Motors Corporation. Source: 20...

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Steven Rattner, former counselor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, celebrated in Huffington Post, “In the end, it was a blow out!” With the old General Motors successfully selling shares in its new General Motors at $33 per share, taxpayers will allegedly be getting back part of the $50 billion in bailout money used to rescue the company 17 months ago.

As Rattner exulted:

The mother of all initial public offerings—that of the refreshed, revitalized and revamped General Motors—went off better than almost anyone expected….

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Bank Failures: 127 Down, 800 to Go

FDIC placard from when the deposit insurance l...

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When Zacks Equity Research announced on Monday the failure of two more banks in the current recession, the silence was deafening. The report blamed the usual suspects: “tumbling home prices, soaring loan defaults, and a high unemployment rate continue to take their toll on such institutions.”

But buried in the report was the much more ominous forecast of the “increasing … possibility of more bank failures.” Zacks said that any bank which makes the FDIC’s problem bank list is essentially doomed. “As of now, only 13 percent of banks on [that list] have actually failed.” The number on that list? 829, up from 775 in the last quarter.

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How Relevant Is Ayn Rand Today?

Atlas sculpture, New York City, by sculptor Le...

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It was news to many when Scott Powell announced that an obscure novel published in 1957, Atlas Shrugged, “may be second to the Bible as the most influential book read in America.” His statement that BB&T, the 12th largest bank in America, which resisted taking TARP bailout funds, requires reading of that same book as part of its management training program astonished many more.

American Conservative Magazine noted that “a week before the President’s inauguration, more people were buying it than Obama’s Audacity of Hope.

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Geithner: Welcome to Reality

Official portrait of United States Secretary o...

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Claims that “we are on a path back to growth” by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in an op-ed in the New York Times entitled “Welcome to Recovery” appeared to be based on facts, proof, and hard evidence.

“A review of recent data on the American economy…show that large parts of the private sector continue to strengthen,” he said. “Business investment and consumption…are getting stronger, better than last year and better than last quarter.” According to Geithner, evidence of growth can be seen because

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TARP Criticism Misses the Point

PaulsonHenry

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When TARP Inspector General Neil Barofsky criticized the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) as being ineffective, he blamed the Treasury Department for not setting clearer goals for that part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

Only 390,000 homeowners “have seen their mortgage terms permanently modified since the $50 billion program was announced in March 2009. That is a small fraction of the three to four million borrowers who were supposed to receive assistance under the program.”

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Citigroup Bailout Retrospective

Citigroup

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In the announcement that the U.S.Treasury was likely to make a profit selling its stock in Citigroup, much was made about the great returns that sale would generate, and very little was said about how it all happened in the first place.

The potential profit was estimated to be about $7.5 billion assuming that the price of Citigroup’s stock stays at its current level through the end of the year. The article joyfully announced that “it’s a 14 percent rate of return on the $165 billion invested in the biggest banks. Hundreds of smaller banks also received [TARP] money and have been paying the government a steady stream of dividends and interest.” Banking analyst Bert Ely said, “Overall, TARP may cost taxpayers money. But the banking part of it is going to be a moneymaker.”

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Bernanke’s Kudos, Criticisms Miss the Point

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A preliminary vote today for Ben Bernanke’s reappointment to a second four-year term as chairman of the Federal Reserve is expected to clear the way for a final favorable vote by the Senate.

Bernanke’s first term record was subjected to criticism and praise during confirmation hearings in December, and  he was selected as Time magazine’s Person of the YearTime magazine’s Michael Grunwald was kind to a fault, calling Bernanke “our mild-mannered economic overlord” (a reference, no doubt to Superman’s mild-mannered Clark Kent), and “the most powerful nerd on the planet.”  In that lengthy tribute, Grunwald summarized the Fed’s role:

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.