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Posts Tagged ‘bailout’

Fed audit bill backed by 222

Posted by Richard on June 14, 2009

H.R. 1207, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009, has attracted 222 co-sponsors, a majority of the House. The bill, introduced by Rep. Ron Paul, requires the Comptroller General to audit the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and Reserve Bank operations. The co-sponsors include 59 Democrats.

A majority of Financial Services Committee members, including 7 Democrats, have signed onto the bill. Committee chair Barney Frank has so far blocked it. Bill Wilson, President of Americans for Limited Government, asked Rep. Paul to circulate a discharge petition if the bill hasn't been voted out of committee by the end of the month:

Wilson says the legislation is necessary “to account for more than $7.76 trillion committed by the Fed in just the past two years. The American people have a right to know why the nation’s central bank is moving trillions of dollars to foreign governments and banks, killing markets, and crashing the economy.”

“If the will of the majority of the Financial Services Committee, and now a majority of the members of the House is to be heard, HR 1207 must be sent to the floor,” Wilson said.

According to Bloomberg News, the Federal Reserve has committed over $7.76 trillion in the past 20 months, $1,67 trillion of which has already been disbursed. However, it is unclear who received these loans, or who will receive the remainder of the committed funds.

Wilson added, “Nobody can account for where nearly $2 trillion of loans made by the Fed is going—all because the Fed has consistently stonewalled the press, Congress, and anyone else. And because law exempts most of the institution from being audited by the GAO.”

According to Bloomberg, “The Federal Reserve so far is refusing to disclose loan recipients or reveal the collateral they are taking in return.” The Fed has argued it is actually allowed to withhold “internal” memos as well as commercial and trade secrets information. Bloomberg, on the other hand, has actively filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, demanding the information.

Thus far, the Fed’s Board of Governors has refused to comply with Bloomberg’s FOIA requests. In addition, the Fed’s regional Reserve Banks are arguing that they are private institutions beyond the reach of the Freedom of Information Act.

Yeah, they're public when it suits them and private when it suits them. That seems to be an increasingly popular modus operandi, unfortunately. There are good reasons why Fed operations shouldn't all be made public immediately, but releasing the information well after the fact would seem to address those (the audit would be due by the end of 2010). If there is zero accountability for these massive sums, the potential for waste, fraud, and abuse is huge. 

The $7.76 trillion amounts to over $25,000 for every man, woman, and child in America. But it's the children (and grandchildren… and great-grandchildren…) who are really on the hook for it. 

You can see the list of co-sponsors (plus the text and other information about the bill) at Thomas.gov. Only 16 Republicans haven't signed on, and Colorado's Mike Coffman (6th CD) is one of them. If you're a constituent of Coffman's (or one of the other non-supporters), how about asking his office what's up with that?   

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Nationalization

Posted by Richard on April 29, 2009

GM = Government Motors.

I thought the Obama administration was going to recreate the bad old days of the Carter administration in the 70s. But now I'm beginning to suspect they have grander ambitions — maybe emulating the British Labour Party governments of the 50s, nationalizing major industries. They've certainly started down that road.

Like his pal, Hugo Chavez, President Obama doesn't mind screwing the existing owners and creditors of the firms he nationalizes. Especially if he can redistribute their wealth in the process.

Of course, without a government takeover, GM faces bankruptcy, so the stockholders would almost certainly get nothing in any case. But bondholders are supposed to be near the front of the line in a bankruptcy and are supposed to be treated equally, aren't they? 

Not in the Obama Plan. The numbers differ a bit from one source to another, but broadly speaking, the Obama Plan apparently divides up GM as follows: 

  • The United Auto Workers union, in exchange for its $10 billion in GM bonds, gets almost 40% of the company.
  • The U.S. government, in exchange for about $15 billion it loaned to GM, gets 50% of the company.
  • The remaining bondholders, in exchange for the $24-27 billion they loaned to GM, get just 10% of the company.

Outrageous. So will there be a public outcry from the victims? I suspect not much. Most of the people getting screwed may never realize it. They don't own GM bonds directly, they own mutual funds (probably via their 401k) that hold GM debt. The value of those mutual funds will go down without the investors really being aware of the reason, unless they pore over the annual report. 

And don't expect the media to do their usual heart-wrenching human interest stories profiling the poor pensioners, widows, and orphans who are being robbed of their savings. Most members of the media are completely infatuated with Obama, and their sympathies lie with the perpetrators of this crime, not the victims.

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Tea party photo update

Posted by Richard on April 17, 2009

David Aitken took some terrific photos of the Denver Tea Party. He just has links at his blog, Life's Better Ideas, and I can see why. The photos are 2048 x 1536 pixels. On my 22" monitor (1680 x 1250), using Firefox, I had to zoom out to see the whole image at once. But he got right in the thick of things, they're sharp as a tack, and they really give you a great sense of being in the middle of the crowd. They're well worth a look. Just be patient if you don't have a very high-speed connection.

Michelle Malkin has a large collection of photos from around the country that shows, as she put it, "the full breadth and scope of the protests — not just the size, but the reach, a true sense of which is missing from the MSM coverage." And Instapundit posted several collections of pix, links to video, and commentary — here and here and here and here and here

As you look at the photos, and especially Aitken's photos, notice that virtually every sign is handmade. The few printed ones look like people printed them on their inkjet — they probably downloaded the files from one of the think tanks or pro-freedom non-profits that jumped onto the tea party bandwagon. Contrary to what Nancy Pelosi and her PR firm, CNN, claimed, this wasn't an "astroturf" event — it was true grass roots, and it grew from the ground up. The national organizations and (relatively few) politicians who jumped aboard were following the people, not leading them. 

At the Denver event, the only signs that were obviously professionally printed were the ones a handful of ProgressColorado and union counter-demonstrators had (with slogans like "Shut up and pay your taxes" and "We're cleaning up Bush's mess"). The printing was probably paid for by ACORN, using federal tax dollars. Or George Soros, the king of astroturf politics. Or the cadre of Colorado millionaire leftists who've bought the state for the Democratic Party in the last few years.

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A terrific tea party

Posted by Richard on April 16, 2009

What a great day we had in Denver today. Sunny and in the 70s. A perfect day to gather at the State Capitol and voice opposition to tax increases, massive new spending, wealth redistribution, bailouts, pork, and the headlong rush toward socialism. And, boy, did people gather!

The police estimated 5000, and I think that's pretty conservative. I remember the gun rights rally that the police estimated at 3000, and this one was at least twice as big and probably quite a bit more. Quite a diverse crowd, too. Lots of families with children, and lots of strollers. More young adults than I expected, but lots of retirees, too. Men in suits, and men in biker jackets. Mostly middle-class working people.

I heard virtually nothing of the speakers, and I think most of the people there were in the same boat. The crowd spilled down the steps and grassy slope all the way to Lincoln St., and the sound system was really only adequate for the two to three thousand up on the drive around the Capitol and maybe a little beyond. But no one seemed to mind, and when those who were close cheered and chanted, everyone else joined in. 

On Lincoln St. and Colfax, where traffic was heavy, the honking and waving never let up. I noticed that quite a few of the vehicles expressing support were work vehicles (panel vans and trucks with business names on them, etc.). 

There were lots of Gadsden flags (I wore my Gadsden t-shirt) and lots of signs with references to Galt and Atlas Shrugged. Some of my favorite signs: 

I am not your ATM

Don't spread the wealth, spread my work ethic!

Atlas Shrugged has come to pass

I left a socialist country for this??

Don't spend my money, I haven't made it yet (carried by a 10-year-old)

We are John Galt

Don't tell Obama what comes after a trillion

I was running late and forgot my camera, so all I got was some crummy shots from my ancient cell phone. You can see them here. But the Peoples Press Collective has much better pictures here and here. Heck, just go to the home page and keep scrolling. Drop by Slapstick Politics, too, for lots of coverage — pix, video, and links. 

If you attended a tea party somewhere, how did it go?

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Tea Party time!

Posted by Richard on April 15, 2009

Tomorrow, April 15, is Tax Day, but this year it's something more — Tea Party Day! The Tea Party movement was inspired by CNBC's Rick Santelli, who back in February delivered a terrific rant against bailouts, stimulus packages, pork, and taxing responsible, hard-working people to subsidize bad behavior. Santelli said it was time for another Tea Party, and he inspired thousands.

There have been many tea party events since, but nothing like what's scheduled for April 15. Over 600 Tea Party rallies all across the country are confirmed for tomorrow. I'm going to the one at the State Capitol in Denver (11:00 – 1:30).

Other Colorado rallies are scheduled in Craig, Delta, Durango, Fort Collins, Grand Junction, Loveland, Montrose, Pueblo, Steamboat Springs, Walsenburg, and Woodland Park.

I hope you'll go to a rally near you (go here and click your state to find the closest one). Many are scheduled around noon, so take a long lunch and bring your sandwich. And maybe a sign or an American flag.

If you can't make it (or even if you can), sign the Stop Spending Our Future petition. And if you've got a few bucks to spare, join the Go Galt movement — buy some copies of Atlas Shrugged and send them to politicians. 

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Faux outrage, part 2

Posted by Richard on March 19, 2009

The evidence of what I referred to as hokum and hypocrisy regarding bailouts and bonuses is piling up, and Investor's Business Daily has again focused attention on some of the worst. For example, Rep. Barney Frank's grilling at a committee hearing of the new AIG CEO, Edward Liddy (emphasis added):

Liddy, brought in for a dollar a year after the market meltdown Frank had a hand in creating, wasn't the one who should have been in the dock. Frank should have been grilling his Senate colleague Chris Dodd, who now admits writing the language in the stimulus that made these bonuses exempt from any government restrictions.

Sitting next to Dodd should have been Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, late of the Federal Reserve in New York and the architect of the original AIG bailout. After saying he didn't know who wrote the stimulus language exempting AIG bonuses, he now says he did it at the request of Treasury and administration officials.

[After first denying it, Dodd] told a different story, acknowledging that he and his staff did in fact change the language in the stimulus bill to include a loophole for AIG executive bonuses. "As many know, the administration was, among others, not happy with the language. They wanted some modifications in it.

"They came to us, our staff, and asked for changes, and the changes at the time did not seem obnoxious or onerous," Dodd added.

Say what? Exempting AIG bonuses to be paid out with taxpayer dollars seemed harmless to the No. 1 recipient of AIG campaign cash? Some have called this a "reversal" of position. We call it a lie admitted to.

Now we learn that Fannie Mae, a bailout beneficiary and the ignition source of the mortgage meltdown, plans to pay its own retention bonuses of at least $1 million to four executives as part of a plan to keep hundreds of employees from leaving. Let them work for a buck too.

Just as was the case with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Congress and the administration had a chance to stop this. Instead they protected AIG with a bill written in the middle of the night, sliced and diced by a handful of Democrats in a closed conference room, that those voting on it had not read.

Frank et al. have forgotten how Franklin Raines, who headed Fannie from 1998 to 2004, the years of its worst excesses, pocketed nearly $100 million in pay and bonuses from Fannie. He later became an adviser to Obama, the No. 2 recipient of AIG campaign funds behind Dodd.

This is the administration and Congress that promised to be the most transparent ever. They're transparent all right. We can see right through them.

Amen.

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Faux outrage

Posted by Richard on March 19, 2009

The posturing, demagoguery, and expressions of outrage about the AIG bonuses continue unabated. Where was all this concern over self-serving and wasteful expenditure of tax dollars when Congress passed and the President signed the $410 billion omnibus spending bill containing over 8000 earmarks?

The President claimed even back during the campaign that he opposed earmarks, but he signed the bill anyway, promising earmark reform in the future. The administration argued that this bill was "inherited" from the previous administration, so why bother to try to clean it up? 

Well, the AIG bailout and AIG bonus agreements are "leftovers" from last year, too. The bonuses amount to less than 0.1% of AIG's bailout money, far less than the earmarks in the omnibus bill. Why so much concern over the former and so little over the latter? 

It's all hokum for the rubes and sheer hypocrisy. Investor's Business Daily outlined the true story behind the AIG bonuses, namely that the Obama Adminstration approved them and Congress authorized them: 

"In the last six months AIG has received substantial sums from the U.S. Treasury," Obama said after allegedly hearing about it for the first time. "How do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat?"

Well, they justify it by saying they had the administration's permission. The New York Times reports that AIG executives said they never would have proceeded with the bonus payments before getting approval from the Treasury and the Federal Reserve.

"We would never make any important business decisions without discussing them with our government managers and owners," one AIG executive is quoted as saying.

As Larry Kudlow notes in his column on the next page, "the Obama administration — including the president, Treasury man Tim Geithner and economic adviser Larry Summers — knew all about them many months ago. They were undoubtedly informed of this during the White House transition."

The fact is, these bonuses were made legal by the $787 billion stimulus bill that President Obama promoted and signed. A provision, now known as the "Dodd Amendment," was inserted into the bill by the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Chris Dodd, D-Conn. It exempts from any restrictions bonuses contractually obligated before Feb. 11 of this year.

Coincidentally, Sen. Dodd was AIG's largest single recipient of campaign donations during the 2008 election cycle with $103,000, according to opensecrets.org. Also coincidentally, one of the largest offices of AIG Financial Products, the division that concocted the goofy financial instruments that doomed AIG, is situated in Connecticut.

The second-largest AIG recipient, at $101,232, was the "choked up with anger" President Obama. If AIG gives back the bonuses, will the president give back these and other campaign contributions from troubled institutions?

Don't hold your breath, folks. The Democrats' dirty little secret is that most of the overpaid big shots who ran various insurance, banking, mortgage, and financial institutions into the ground are liberal Democrats and among the party's most generous contributors.

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Bumper sticker of the year

Posted by Richard on March 17, 2009

The American Future Fund has a new bumper sticker available, and I am so going to get one! In fact, I may order five or ten of them.

If you're working hard, paying your taxes and your bills, not taking any bailout money, not getting a stimulus check, and not having the government reduce the interest or principal on your home loan, you should get some too. Click the bumper sticker to place your order.

 

 Honk if I'm paying your mortgage

 

I think it looks really good. I love what they've done with the "O" — wonder where they got the idea. 

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Bailouts and Bull

Posted by Richard on March 13, 2009

ABC is airing a new John Stossel special on 20/20 tonight, "Bailots and Bull," featuring Drew Carey and Reason.tv. Now that's must-see TV!

From Reason's David Nott (via email):

During this hour-long special, which was inspired by Reason.tv's Drew Carey Project, Drew and John will discuss the bailout fiasco, medical marijuana, universal preschool, toll roads, and the myth of the struggling middle class. You can watch a really great preview of "Bailouts and Bull" here:

http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=7067358

20/20 is on Friday night, March 13 at 10 p.m. ET, but please check your local listings for exact times. You won't want to miss this!

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Tea Party phenomenon taking off

Posted by Richard on February 23, 2009

My market research indicates that somewhere between 9 and 23 people reading this post will not have already read Instapundit. Since I think this is very, very important, I'm urging all 9 to 23 of you to go read this.

Yes, it's anecdotal evidence. But it suggests that significant numbers of people in a precinct that voted 254-37 for Obama — including state workers, college professors, and other reliably liberal types — think the stimulus bill and mortgage bailout are "crap." Various news reports and other anecdotes suggest this sentiment is remarkably widespread, and that it crosses party and ideological lines.

This cheers me greatly. Maybe the socialists salivating over the prospect of "remaking" this country, of moving toward the Marxist dictum "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need," have misjudged the American people's commitment to freedom, personal responsibility, and good old-fashioned fair play. I certainly hope so. 

President Obama may be a hard-left ideologue (his history, friendships, and associations certainly suggest so), but I suspect he's also, like all Chicago pols, more interested in political power than anything else. So he may back away quickly from the extreme leftward shift he'd planned if it looks like a big loser in the court of public opinion. 

You can help make that happen. Check out the American Tea Party site and the schedule of upcoming American Tea Party protests. If you're near Washington, DC, Chicago, Kansas City, or Vancouver, WA, plan to attend the event scheduled for your area. If you're near Atlanta, Omaha, San Diego, Fayetteville, Dallas, or Los Angeles, keep checking back for details regarding your local event.

If you're somewhere else, how about helping to organize an American Tea Party event in your area? Get in touch with the local taxpayer organizations and Americans for Prosperity. There's a nice 10-step recipe for organizing your own event here. And some very good suggestions from a media-savvy Instapundit reader here.

We can really make a difference, folks, but we have to act now. If you're not the event-organizing type, talk to friends and neighbors, write a letter to the editor, encourage event-organizing types you know — whatever you can do.

We're at a critical juncture in our nation's history, a pivotal time when seemingly small actions by ordinary people can nudge us in one direction or another. Make sure that a few years from now, you're not regretting your failure to get involved. 

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Libercontrarian on the housing crisis

Posted by Richard on February 19, 2009

After about a ten-month hiatus, Libercontrarian started posting again last week, and I encourage you to drop by there from time to time. In particular, you may want to peruse his post about the housing crisis. Off the top of my head, I'd quibble with some of his numbers and recollections, but I think he's basically right.

Except for that "60% over-valued" thing. The real estate bubble got that bad only in a few places like California. Certainly not here in Denver. … I hope.

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Santelli for Senator

Posted by Richard on February 19, 2009

It's possible that a Senate seat from Illinois may be vacant soon. If so, CNBC's Rick Santelli would be a great choice to fill it (although he said he'd never move to Washington, D.C., because he doesn't "want to take a shower every hour"). Speaking from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Santelli delivered what's billed as the "Rant of the Year" on YouTube. Here it is:

(YouTube link. And CNBC link in case it gets pulled from YouTube.)  

Watching it is more fun, but here's a semi-accurate transcript excerpt (from Right Pundits):

Mr. Ross has nailed it. The government is promoting bad behavior. We certainly don't want to put stimulus pork and give people a whopping $8 or $10 in their check and think that they ought to save it.

And in terms of modifications, I tell you what. I have an idea. The new administration is big on computers and technology. How about this, Mr. President and new administration. Why don't you put up a website to have people vote on the internet as a referendum to see if we really want to subsidize the losers mortgages? Or would they like to at least buy buy cars, buy a house that is in foreclosure … give it to people who might have a chance to actually prosper down the road and reward people that can carry the water instead of drink the water?

This is America!

How many people want to pay for your neighbor's mortgages that has an extra bathroom and can't pay their bills?
Raise their hand!

This morning, I heard another sob story about someone in danger of losing their house. This was a computer technician in some New York suburb. Three years ago, on an $80k income, he bought a $550k house with no money down, and then spent an undisclosed amount remodeling it. Now, he's not getting as much overtime as he used to, has run up $30k in credit card debt, and is borrowing from family and friends to make the mortgage payments. He was portrayed in a sympathetic light as the quintessential "victim of the crisis" whom the Obama bailout is intended to help. 

You know what? I'm not one whit sympathetic. I resent the fact that I and millions of others who behaved more responsibly are going to get socked to bail this fool out of the mess he got himself into. Not to mention the added debt burden being passed on to future generations of responsible people. 

Of course, there'll be fewer responsible people in the future because, as Santelli noted, these bailouts are "promoting bad behavior," so that's what we'll get more and more of. 

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Congressional junket paid for by bailout recipients

Posted by Richard on January 30, 2009

The National Legal and Policy Center, which is dedicated to "promoting ethics in public life," has asked the TARP Inspector General to look into a November Caribbean junket by Rep. Charles Rangel and five other members of Congress. The corporate sponsorship of this Congressional getaway clearly violated House rules and appears to be yet another example of "pay to play" (emphasis added):

The purported purpose of the Congressional trip was to attend the Caribbean Multi-Cultural Business Conference. The event took place November 6-9, 2008 on the sunny Caribbean island of St. Maarten at the Sonesta Maho Bay Resort & Casino, after Congress had approved the $700 billion bailout package in October.

The “lead sponsor” was Citigroup which contributed $100,000. Citigroup was certainly aware that it would be a major recipient of bailout funds. It was also aware that its fortunes had become increasingly reliant on Congressional actions. Citigroup should have also been aware that corporate sponsorship of such an event was banned by House Rules adopted on March 1, 2007, in response to the Abramoff scandal and the infamous golf trip to Scotland.

Taxpayers are now Citigroup’s largest shareholder after infusions of $45 billion.

NLPC President Peter Flaherty attended the St. Maarten’s event in order to document potential violations of law and House Rules. The sessions were lightly attended. The primary purpose of attending for most participants appeared to be to take a vacation.

In addition to Rangel, the other members of Congress who attended were Donald Payne (D-NJ), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI), Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Donna Christensen (D-VI).

NLPC’s Complaint reads, in part:

“When the TARP was presented to Congress, it was argued that the situation was dire, and that the failure of major financial institutions posed a systemic risk to our economy. The stated goal was to unfreeze credit so that banks can make loans to businesses and individuals. It was never contemplated that banks use their capital to buy influence on Capitol Hill by funding vacations for members of Congress.”

 Call me cynical, but I bet notorious tax-scofflaw Charlie Rangel and his cohorts contemplated exactly that.

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Auto bailout bill fails

Posted by Richard on December 11, 2008

The $14 billion bailout for the auto industry died in the Senate tonight (hooray!) despite marathon negotiations late into the night:

The Senate rejected the bailout 52-35 on a procedural vote — well short of the 60 required — after the talks fell apart.

The implosion followed an unprecedented marathon negotiations at the Capitol among labor, the auto industry and lawmakers who bargained into the night in efforts to salvage the auto bailout at a time of soaring job losses and widespread economic turmoil.

The group came close to agreement, but it stalled over the UAW's refusal to agree to wage cuts before their current contract expires in 2011. Republicans, in turn, balked at giving the automakers federal aid.

On its 10 PM newscast, CBS4Denver quoted Colorado Sen. Wayne Allard as saying that all sides agreed to give up something except the union.*

In keeping with my obscure Rand reference in last night's post, I'm compelled to speculate that the UAW negotiator must have been Fred Kinnan.

Atlas PukedI'm not the only person who's been reminded of Atlas Shrugged in recent weeks. A friend of mine brought it up back in October when Joe the Plumber hit the news. Today, Rush Limbaugh brought it up (link will only work for a short time for non-subscribers). He suggested that we're living through a sequel to Rand's novel, this one called Atlas Puked — or maybe Atlas Laughed His Butt Off.

But as Limbaugh noted, the consequences won't be amusing.

* Allard's statement is not yet available on the CBS4Denver web site or on his web site, which is apparently updated only every three weeks. I guess at times TV news still has a significant immediacy advantage over the "new media."

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Stop the auto bailout

Posted by Richard on December 10, 2008

The House passed a $14 billion bailout bill for the "Big Three" automakers tonight. And what a steaming pile of crap it is. Fortunately, it may not get the 60 votes it needs in the Senate. ALG put the whole thing into perspective: 

December 10th, 2008, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson praised Senators John Ensign (R-NV), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Jim DeMint (R-SC), David Vitter (R-LA) and Richard Shelby (R-AL) for their efforts to oppose the $15 billion bailout package for the Big Three automakers.


“The American taxpayer cannot and must not be forced to perpetuate the mismanagement of the Big Three by financing failure. There is no excuse for putting taxpayers on the hook for keeping failed companies afloat that could much better be reorganized under normal Chapter 11 bankruptcy,” Wilson added.

Under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, companies have the ability to broadly restructure the scope of operations, redo labor contracts, and otherwise scale back in order to emerge from bankruptcy with a profitable business model.

“Everything that Congress says it is attempting to do, to create a deal to reorganize these companies, to return them to profitability, is precisely the purpose of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The $15 billion bailout is just a reason not to go into Chapter 11. In fact, the real intention is to perpetuate bad management and Big Labor excesses at taxpayer expense,” said Wilson.

Mark Perry posted a succinct illustration of just why GM is circling the drain:

GM sales in 2007: 9,370,000 vehicles
Toyota sales in 2007: 9,366,418 vehicles

GM profit/loss in 2007: -$38,730,000,000 (-$4,055 per car)
Toyota profit in 2007: +$17,146,000,000 (+$1,874 per car)

So on average, it costs GM about $5,900 more to make a car than it does Toyota. The solution, according to the President and Congressional Democrats, is to give them enough money so they can continue losing four grand per car for a few more months.

Adding to the lunacy, Democrats have insisted that these money-losing, teetering-on-the-brink companies need to spend hundreds of millions, maybe billions, to completely retool so they can make more fuel-efficient and "greener" cars — as gas prices continue to plummet. Sure, let's force GM's cost of making a car up even higher! That'll help!

And don't forget the bill includes a "car czar" to tell the automakers how to make cars, what kind of cars to make, and how to run their businesses. "Car czar" is the media's name, not the formal title of the post. I suggest they call it Director of Economic Planning and Natural Resources and appoint Wesley Mouch to the job.

Contact your senators and tell them to oppose this disgusting, stupid, and costly corporate welfare scheme.

UPDATE: Earlier this evening, Instapundit said, "The bailout is unpopular with the public. I’m surprised that more GOP politicians aren’t taking an anti-bailout stance, since it’s an opportunity to align action with both public sentiment and small-govermnent principles." In case you haven't noticed, Glenn, a significant number of GOP politicians are clueless about both public sentiment and small-government principles!

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