bailouts

Apparently, GM CEO hates poor people?

Jason has already mentioned this, but in case you missed it; GMs CEO Dan Akerson thinks that Americans aren’t buying enough fuel efficient cars.  His answer isn’t surprising from the head of General Government Motors either.  He thinks that the United States tax code is the place to make people do something they don’t really want to do in the first place.  His suggestion, as told to the Detroit News (emphasis mine):

“You know what I’d rather have them do — this will make my Republican friends puke — as gas is going to go down here now, we ought to just slap a 50-cent or a dollar tax on a gallon of gas,” Akerson said.

“People will start buying more Cruzes and they will start buying less Suburbans.”

That’s right, Akerson wants upwards of a dollar tax on gas to push a government approved agenda down people’s throats.  Of course, outside of CEO-Land, there are millions of Americans who can’t actually afford to buy new cars.  They’re called poor people.

Greece to get another bailout

Even though we’re facing another trillion dollar budget deficit, a $14.3 trillion national debt and $61.6 trillion in unfunded liabilities, President Barack Obama is pushing for another bailout for Greece:

President Barack Obama on Tuesday urged European countries and bondholders to prevent a “disastrous” default by Greece and pledged U.S. support to help tackle the country’s debt crisis.
[…]
After a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, he stressed the importance of German “leadership” on the issue - a hint that he expects Berlin to help - while expressing sympathy for the political difficulties European Union countries face in helping a struggling member state.

“I’m confident that Germany’s leadership, along with other key actors in Europe, will help us arrive at a path for Greece to return to growth, for this debt to become more manageable,” Obama said.

“But it’s going to require some patience and some time. And we have pledged to cooperate fully in working through these issues, both on a bilateral basis but also through international and financial institutions like the IMF.”

A proposal for a second Greek bailout package worth 80 billion to 100 billion euros over three years was taking shape, euro zone sources said.

Dick Armey and Mitt Kibbe of FreedomWorks are, needless to say, disappointed that the Obama Administration and the International Monetary Fund are again setting up Americans taxpayers to be hit with the burden of more bailouts:

Herman Cain should read the Constitution

During his official announcement for the Republican nomination for president, Herman Cain said that we don’t need to re-write the Constitution, rather re-read it. I tend to agree, but he made an embarrassing gaffe on the Constitution, citing language that was actually from the Declaration of Independence. And recent comments he has made, including his contempt for the Fourth Amendment and basic civil liberties, leave one with the impression that Cain may need to do some reading of his own.

While appearing on Glen Beck’s show on Wednesday, Cain again expressed caution in appointing a Muslim to a position of power if he were president, noting that he would do so if they took a loyalty oath:

BECK: So wait a minute, are you saying that Muslims have to prove, there has to be a loyalty proof?

CAIN: Yes, to the Constitution of the United States of America.

BECK: Well, would you do that to a Catholic or a Mormon?

CAIN: No, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t because there is a greater dangerous part of the Muslim faith than there is in these other religions. I know there are some Muslims who talk about but we’re a peaceful religion. I’m sure that there are some peace-loving.

Cain once again demonstrates a lack of knowledge of the Constitution, which explicitly states in Article VI, Clause 3 that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

Another fact check on Obama’s auto bailout claims

I noted yesterday that FactCheck.org had found President Barack Obama’s claim that Chrysler has paid back its bailout to be completely untrue. Well, the Washington Post’s fact checker has also called out President Obama for lying to the public:

We take no view on whether the administration’s efforts on behalf of the automobile industry were a good or bad thing; that’s a matter for the editorial pages and eventually the historians. But we are interested in the facts the president cited to make his case.

What we found is one of the most misleading collections of assertions we have seen in a short presidential speech. Virtually every claim by the president regarding the auto industry needs an asterisk, just like the fine print in that too-good-to-be-true car loan.
[…]
According to the White House, Obama is counting only the $8.5 billion loan that he made to Chrysler, not the $4 billion that President George W. Bush extended in his last month in office. However, Obama was not a disinterested observer at the time. According to The Washington Post article on the Bush loan, the incoming president called Bush’s action a “necessary step . . . to help avoid a collapse of our auto industry that would have had devastating consequences for our economy and our workers.”

Under the administration’s math, the U.S. government will receive $11.2 billion back from Chrysler, far more than the $8.5 billion Obama extended.

Chrysler didn’t pay back its bailout

Remember when President Barack Obama told the nation that Chrysler had paid back bailout financed through taxpayer money? Suprise! It’s not true, says FactCheck.org:

President Barack Obama visited a Chrysler plant in Toledo, Ohio, on June 3 to discuss the recent announcement that the Chrysler Group LLC repaid $5.1 billion in outstanding loans. That brought the total repayment, as of May 24, to $10.6 billion — about $1.9 billion less than the $12.5 billion the company borrowed under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.

In his speech, the president said:

Obama, June 3: And today, I’m proud to announce the government has been completely repaid for the investments we made under my watch by Chrysler because of the outstanding work that you guys did. Because of you. Chrysler has repaid every dime and more of what it owes the American taxpayer from the investment we made during my watch. And by the way, you guys repaid it six years ahead of schedule.

Notice the president — sounding very much like a used-car salesman — used the phrases “during my watch” and “under my watch” when describing the TARP loans as being “completely repaid.” That’s because Chrysler received $4 billion on Jan. 2, 2009, (18 days before Obama took office) and $8.5 billion on April 30 (when Obama was president), according to this Government Accountability Office report (page 9) on TARP.
[…]
In its May 24 announcement touting Chrysler’s final repayment, Treasury acknowledged that it is “unlikely to fully recover” about $1.9 billion.

Club for Growth on Herman Cain

Just like in 2008, the Club for Growth is putting together a series of white papers on candidates running for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. They’ve already looked into the records of Newt Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty. Next up is Herman Cain, a businessman turned talk show host.

The Club notes that Cain supports the FairTax, a plan that comes with a built-in constituency that would eliminate the federal income tax through repealing the 16th Amendment and replace it with an inclusive national retail sales tax. After opting against his own bid for president in 2000, Cain, then a flat tax supporter, backed Steve Forbes candidacy.

On spending, the Club finds Cain’s record to be thin, and carries a notable negative, in backing TARP, making claims that government ownership of financial institutions “is not a bad thing” and slamming that “free market purists” that opposed the bailouts, which Cain called a “rescue plan”:

Cain supported TARP, the government bailout of the financial industry, and even chastised people who opposed it in a condescending op-ed: “Earth to taxpayers! Owning stocks in banks is not nationalization of the banking industry. It’s trying to solve a problem,” Cain wrote.  “Owning a part of the major banks in America is not a bad thing. We could make a profit while solving a problem.”

UT Senate: Chaffetz to run against Hatch in the GOP primary?

We may have our first high-profile primary against an incumbent for next year’s election. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican currently serving in his second term, has indicated that he will run against Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) next year:

Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz has told several Utah political insiders that he plans to run against Sen. Orrin Hatch next year, setting up a major intraparty Republican 2012 battle.

All eyes have been on the second-term congressman for months. But five Utah politicos, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Chaffetz has told them directly in recent weeks that he will contend for the Republican nomination.

Chaffetz said Tuesday that he’s not making any official announcement yet, but he is moving toward a Hatch challenge.

“I have an increasing clarity,” Chaffetz said. “Until I walk up to the microphone to make an announcement, it’s not official. But it’s no secret I’ve been thinking about this and I’ve been gravitating in that direction.”

Hatch’s campaign manager, Dave Hansen, said he has heard that Chaffetz has made some calls to tell people he would get in, but hasn’t heard anything definitive.

While Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who was elected last year with tea party support, has not endorsed Hatch for re-election, the Club for Growth made it very clear yesterday that they would get behind Chaffetz; noting Hatch’s inconsistent record on economic issues:

Paul Ryan’s big government tendencies

While Rep. Paul Ryan has seen his star rise and has heard plenty of calls to enter the Republican presidential race, conservatives should look deeper into his record rather than just the last year or so:

The Wisconsin lawmaker is a fierce opponent of Obama administration spending and any suggestion of higher taxes, but he also voted for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which conservatives like to say “bailed out the banks,” the “auto bailout,” No Child Left Behind, the 2006 highway bill (with its “Bridge to Nowhere”) and the prescription drug benefit.

“It’s easy to vote against all of the Obama big spending items, but he voted for all the Bush-era big spending items,” said one conservative who wonders what all the hoopla over Ryan is about.

Ryan also has voted repeatedly against repealing Davis-Bacon, with its “prevailing wage” provision that is strongly supported by organized labor and is heresy to most free-market Republicans.

The article I’ve excerpted also mentions that Ryan’s budget plan has become a rallying cry for Democrats. That’s true, but that’s not the point I want to get across here.

Ryan has done more than just talk about the problems facing the nation, he has stuck his neck out there and presented a budget plan; although it doesn’t go nearly far enough because it doesn’t touch Social Security and defense spending. Yes, he deserves credit for that for offering a solution, but he has voted for many of the big ticket items that have brough us to the point; all of which are not popular with the grassroots and tea party groups.

For all of the talk he has given in the recent year of shrinking government, his past doesn’t match the rhetoric. It’s something to think about before he is canonized as a limited government conservative.

Return of TARP funds doesn’t make the auto bailout better

Word on the street has it that Chrysler has returned the vast majority of the money the United States government gave it as part of a federal bailout.  For many, this is evidence that the bailout worked and now things can go along just fine.  While most understand that the government hasn’t gotten all of its money back, they expect that to come with the IPO of the 8.6% of the company’s stock that Uncle Sam owns.

What gets missed by these folks is that this was still wrong.

Federal bailouts aren’t new.  They weren’t even new for Chrysler since they received one thirty years previously.  They’ve been around for a while now and are all examples of Uncle Sam picking winners and losers.  Federal bailouts, ostensibly a method of preventing job loss, are hardly universal.  They go towards large corporations who are now struggling, but ignore newer companies that may be struggling due to all kinds of factors that aren’t mismanagement.

So Uncle Sam writes a check to Chrysler or GM, and then tells the new start-up that they’re just flat out of luck.  I don’t have a problem with telling the little guy he’s out of luck, the problem is in not telling giant corporations the same bloody thing.

Business is risky.  Anyone starting a business stands to lose.  However, with that risk comes the potentially great rewards.  Bill Gates risked everything on Microsoft, and it worked out just fine.  For others, not so much.  That’s natural.  Everyone can’t win, despite our hopes and wishes.  If so, there wouldn’t be the opportunity for a few hardy souls to venture beyond what you and I know and forge a new frontier.

Nothing will get better without personal responsibility

We all have a vision of how to get this nation out of this funk we’ve been in for a while now.  It’s clear that despite various ideological paths, many of us believe that the current path is wrong.  As a libertarian, I’m a firm believer that the correct path is pretty clear.  However, nothing will improve until we start making personal responsibility a key factor in the lives of Americans.

With the housing crisis, we all heard horror stories about people who were losing their homes.  We were told that these people were the victims of predatory lending practices, which may or may not be true.  What got missed was that these people still bought homes they couldn’t afford and took on loans with adjustable rate mortgages, not knowing what they were in store for.

The truth of the matter is that many of these people were simply refusing to accept responsibility for their own mistakes.  They weren’t alone either.

TARP was all about bailing out bankers who didn’t want to accept their part in giving loans to people who couldn’t actually pay them back.  They danced around the issue and begged for government money to cover their mistakes.

The truth of the matter is that fewer and fewer people are being made to accept resonsibility for their own actions.  A police officer once said to a friend who’s business partner was murdered in a hold up that he needed to keep in mind the man coming from an disadvantaged upbringing.  The officer didn’t seem to grasp that Oprah Winfrey did too.  One of them isn’t knocking over bars in their spare time.

The reality is that the lack of people being held accountable for all of their actions is a key reason this nation is in the state it’s in today.  Maybe if we can change that, we can actually make this nation what it once was, only better.

 


The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.