The Case For Hillary

Michael Ramirez Cartoon

1) After being accused of racism every time they disagree with the President, Americans will enjoy the change of pace by being accused of sexism every time they disagree with the President.

At least we’d get rid of “race relations” being the problem. We’d replace it with “gender relations” and White Males would STILL be the ultimate enemy!! 🙂

2) America’s military would be unstoppable because of three little words that Hillary would bring to the White House, “Flying Monkey Legions!”

Vast Right Wing Conspiracies would be true. 🙂

3) It would be terrible for our first black President to be the worst POTUS of all time and Hillary can take care of that problem.

4) Americans LOVE dynasties! Next it’s Jeb Bush’s turn. Then Chelsea Clinton. THEN Michelle Obama. Then Jenna Bush. Then Malia Obama and so on and so on into infinity. If Americans didn’t like being ruled by royal families, then you’d think there would have been some small indication of it in our history by now, right? 😉

5) We Americans take pride in giving good value for the money that’s paid to us and all those foreign governments that paid off Hillary when she was Secretary of State would REALLY hit the jackpot if she became President.

You wouldn’t have to worry about whether the President was corrupt because you’d already know she is BEFORE you elected her so nothing would be a surprise. The media wouldn’t would have to cover it as a “scandal” because that would just be Hillary being Hillary so nothing out of the ordinary there.

6) She’ll be a fantastic role model for young women who’ll learn that as long as you marry the right man and ride his coattails at every opportunity – you, too, can succeed!

7) Well, if she could handle being Secretary of State with no problems, then obviously…oh wait, she didn’t, did she?

8) Eight more years of complete and utter servile capitulation to a President of the United States should be enough to destroy the whole liberal mainstream media’s reputation for good.

9) If Hillary were to win, then all the people who tell America how incompetent she’ll be will be able to enjoy being proven right about her over and over again just as they have been about Barack Obama.

10) It’s long since time that small children were shown The Vagina Monologues before the White House Easter Egg Roll.

11) Everybody THINKS he can be President, but for hundreds of years, Americans have insisted on choosing Presidents based on “merit” and “accomplishments.” If both Obama and Hillary can be President, then that proves any undeserving idiot can do the job as long as he or she checks the right diversity box.

12) Despite the many credible claims that the money she made was part of a shady bribe, obviously parlaying $1,000 into $100,000 in highly speculative commodity market trading proves that Hillary Clinton really is…THE SMARTEST WOMAN ON EARTH!

13) Who could possibly be a better role model for young women in America than a politician who has been endorsed by Larry Flynt AND Hookers for Hillary?

14) Replacing Air Force One with a broomstick would mean tens of millions in savings for the taxpayers!

15) Like duh, she’s an incompetent lying socialist who will drive the final nails in America’s coffin after 8 years of Barack Obama and…oh wait, the goal here IS to destroy America, right? Oh, wow…it’s not? Then maybe she’s NOT the right candidate. (John Hawkins)

Naw, she the only one LEFT according to the Media… 🙂

And imagine how how annoyed the Jihadists will be with a Woman in charge! How dare we do something so vulgar and such a heresy! Maybe we can get her to wear a Burka. 🙂

Imagine what Bill could do for fundraiser for her re-election in 2020! The Hookers For Hillary could become his extended family, especially with Bill around to “entertain” them.

Imagine his School Lunch program. Wieners for everyone!

Think of the possibilities! Maybe even get Monica Lewinsky for a Cabinet “position”.

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne

Access to the Good Life

Today is the deadline to tithe your loyalty and devotion to the Great Entitlers in Washington.

All hail the Great Entitlers! 🙂

Last year, almost 1,800 people renounced their U.S. citizenship or handing in their Green Cards. That’s a record number since the Internal Revenue Service began publishing a list of those who renounced in 1998. It’s also almost eight times more than the number of citizens who renounced in 2008, and more than the total for 2007, 2008 and 2009 combined.

Many say they parted ways with America for tax reasons.

The United States is one of the only countries to tax its citizens on income earned while they’re living abroad. (KFYI)

And the Highest Corporate Taxes in the World also helps greatly.

“I don’t want to pit Red America against Blue America. I want to be President of the United States of America.”-BARACK OBAMA, speech, Nov. 10, 2007

And the latest from the great “uniter”:

“We now have a Republican nominee who said that the Arizona laws are a model for the country, that — and these are laws that potentially would allow someone to be stopped and picked up and asked where their citizenship papers are based on an assumption,” President Obama said in an interview with Univision that aired over the weekend.

The Liberal Meme that is STILL inaccurate on purpose. Gee what a shocker…

“Racial profiling?” Univision reporter Enrique Acevedo asked.

“Very troublesome. And this is something that the Republican nominee has said should be a model for the country,” Obama said.

“So what we need is a change, either of Congress or we need Republicans to change their mind. And I think that this has to be an important debate throughout the country,” he said.

“What I have said to Latinos across the United States is that my compassion for this issue is undiminished. That, for example, when it comes for the DREAM kids, who have been raised as Americans and see themselves as Americans and want to serve their country or are willing to work hard in school, start businesses or working hard in laboratories or businesses, it is shameful that we cannot get that done. And so I am going to keep on pushing as hard as I can. And what I am going to do is encourage the Latino community to continue to ask every member of Congress where they stand on these issues,” Obama said.

“I will do everything that I can to try to get it done, but ultimately I’m going to need Congress to help me” Obama said of the DREAM Act.

Did he say the same thing was a ‘priority’ in 2007-8?? 🙂

After all, anyone who is not Pro-Illegal, Pro-Pandering, must therefore be a racist!

But if you pony up the cash, you can spend time personally with the Man himself though.

Barack Obama, November 3, 2007:

“One year from now, we have the chance to tell all those corporate lobbyists that the days of them setting the agenda in Washington are over. I have done more to take on lobbyists than any other candidate in this race – and I’ve won. I don’t take a dime of their money, and when I am President, they won’t find a job in my White House.”

But plenty of access. As a matter of fact it seems to be a requirement.

But we also know from experience that Liberals are famously “Don’t Do as I do, Do as I say” hypocrites from the word go. Every second of every day.

An analysis of White House access by the New York Times suggests that hope and change has changed nothing except maybe you don’t get to sleep in the Lincoln Bedroom. But in exchange for enriching the president’s campaign coffers, you do get to bend the president’s ear with a frequency greater than heads of state and Cabinet members.

“Among donors who gave $30,000 or less, about 20% visited the White House,” according to the Times analysis written by Mike McIntire and Michael Luo in the paper’s April 15 edition. The analysis matched names in the visitor logs with donor records. “But among those who donated $100,000 or more, the figure rises to 75%,” write McIntire and Luo.

Clearly, President Obama’s much ballyhooed ban on lobbyist contributions has not prevented lobbyists and other representatives of special interests from visiting the White House frequently. Some of those who sought access, and quid for their quo, were quite open about it.

Patrick J. Kennedy, the former representative from Rhode Island, who donated $35,800 to an Obama re-election fund last fall while seeking administration support for a nonprofit venture, said contributions were simply a part of “how this business works.”

“If you want to call it ‘quid pro quo,’ fine,” Kennedy told the Times. “At the end of the day, I want to make sure I do my part.”

One of the more famous White House visitors we already know about is billionaire investor George Kaiser of Solyndra fame. Kaiser himself donated $53,000 to Obama’s 2008 election campaign, divided between Obama for America and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. A world-class bundler, Kaiser also raised between $50,000 and $100,000 from others for the president’s campaign.

According to White House visitor logs, between March 12, 2009, and April 14, 2011, Solyndra officials and visitors made no fewer than 20 trips to the White House.

In the week before the administration awarded Solyndra the first-ever green stimulus loan on March 20, 2009, in spite of numerous warnings of the company’s instability, Kaiser made three visits to the White House on March 12, 2009, and one on March 13.

We have documented how many of the administration’s economy-damaging policies can be traced to a system of crony capitalism. The administration has adopted an industrial policy of picking winners and losers, but too often the only winners are also campaign donors.

In announcing his candidacy in Springfield, Ill., on Feb. 10, 2007, Obama railed against the “cynics, the lobbyists, the special interests who’ve turned our government into a game only they can afford to play.”

“They write the checks and you get stuck with the bills, they get the access while you get to write a letter, they think they own this government, but we’re here today to take it back. The time for that kind of politics is over.”

Apparently not. Hypocrite, heal thyself.(IBD)

Naw, he needs the money to try and buy this election too.

Politico 2009: “It would be more honest if they admitted they made a mistake and came up with a narrower rule,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “Obviously, they can’t live with the rule, which is why they keep waving the magic wand and making exceptions. They’re saying one thing and doing another. It’s why the public is skeptical about politicians.”

Our predecessors understood that government could not, and should not, solve every problem. They understood that there are instances when the gains in security from government action are not worth the added constraints on our freedom. But they also understood that the danger of too much government is matched by the perils of too little; that without the leavening hand of wise policy, markets can crash, monopolies can stifle competition, the vulnerable can be exploited. And they knew that when any government measure, no matter how carefully crafted or beneficial, is subject to scorn; when any efforts to help people in need are attacked as un-American; when facts and reason are thrown overboard and only timidity passes for wisdom, and we can no longer even engage in a civil conversation with each other over the things that truly matter — that at that point we don’t merely lose our capacity to solve big challenges. We lose something essential about ourselves.
BARACK OBAMA, speech to joint session of Congress, sep. 9, 2009

“I have studied the Constitution as a student; I have taught it as a teacher; I have been bound by it as a lawyer and legislator. I took an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution as Commander-in-Chief, and as a citizen, I know that we must never – ever – turn our back on its enduring principles for expedience sake.“-BARACK OBAMA, speech, May 21, 2009

I added that one for comic irony. 🙂

Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

Moral Hazard

Ineptocracy (in-ep-toc-ra-cy)- a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing,and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed,are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

THE $7 Trillion Dollar Secret

The Federal Reserve and the big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S. history a secret. Now, the rest of the world can see what it was missing.

The Fed didn’t tell anyone which banks were in trouble so deep they required a combined $1.2 trillion on Dec. 5, 2008, their single neediest day. Bankers didn’t mention that they took tens of billions of dollars in emergency loans at the same time they were assuring investors their firms were healthy. And no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its January issue.

Saved by the bailout, bankers lobbied against government regulations, a job made easier by the Fed, which never disclosed the details of the rescue to lawmakers even as Congress doled out more money and debated new rules aimed at preventing the next collapse.

A fresh narrative of the financial crisis of 2007 to 2009 emerges from 29,000 pages of Fed documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and central bank records of more than 21,000 transactions. While Fed officials say that almost all of the loans were repaid and there have been no losses, details suggest taxpayers paid a price beyond dollars as the secret funding helped preserve a broken status quo and enabled the biggest banks to grow even bigger.
‘Change Their Votes’

“When you see the dollars the banks got, it’s hard to make the case these were successful institutions,” says Sherrod Brown, a Democratic Senator from Ohio who in 2010 introduced an unsuccessful bill to limit bank size. “This is an issue that can unite the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street. There are lawmakers in both parties who would change their votes now.”

The size of the bailout came to light after Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, won a court case against the Fed and a group of the biggest U.S. banks called Clearing House Association LLC to force lending details into the open.

The Fed, headed by Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, argued that revealing borrower details would create a stigma — investors and counterparties would shun firms that used the central bank as lender of last resort — and that needy institutions would be reluctant to borrow in the next crisis. Clearing House Association fought Bloomberg’s lawsuit up to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to hear the banks’ appeal in March 2011.

$7.77 Trillion

The amount of money the central bank parceled out was surprising even to Gary H. Stern, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis from 1985 to 2009, who says he “wasn’t aware of the magnitude.” It dwarfed the Treasury Department’s better-known $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Add up guarantees and lending limits, and the Fed had committed $7.77 trillion as of March 2009 to rescuing the financial system, more than half the value of everything produced in the U.S. that year.

“TARP at least had some strings attached,” says Brad Miller, a North Carolina Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, referring to the program’s executive-pay ceiling. “With the Fed programs, there was nothing.”

Bankers didn’t disclose the extent of their borrowing. On Nov. 26, 2008, then-Bank of America (BAC) Corp. Chief Executive Officer Kenneth D. Lewis wrote to shareholders that he headed “one of the strongest and most stable major banks in the world.” He didn’t say that his Charlotte, North Carolina-based firm owed the central bank $86 billion that day.
‘Motivate Others’

JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon told shareholders in a March 26, 2010, letter that his bank used the Fed’s Term Auction Facility “at the request of the Federal Reserve to help motivate others to use the system.” He didn’t say that the New York-based bank’s total TAF borrowings were almost twice its cash holdings or that its peak borrowing of $48 billion on Feb. 26, 2009, came more than a year after the program’s creation.

Howard Opinsky, a spokesman for JPMorgan (JPM), declined to comment about Dimon’s statement or the company’s Fed borrowings. Jerry Dubrowski, a spokesman for Bank of America, also declined to comment.

The Fed has been lending money to banks through its so- called discount window since just after its founding in 1913. Starting in August 2007, when confidence in banks began to wane, it created a variety of ways to bolster the financial system with cash or easily traded securities. By the end of 2008, the central bank had established or expanded 11 lending facilities catering to banks, securities firms and corporations that couldn’t get short-term loans from their usual sources.
‘Core Function’

“Supporting financial-market stability in times of extreme market stress is a core function of central banks,” says William B. English, director of the Fed’s Division of Monetary Affairs. “Our lending programs served to prevent a collapse of the financial system and to keep credit flowing to American families and businesses.”

The Fed has said that all loans were backed by appropriate collateral. That the central bank didn’t lose money should “lead to praise of the Fed, that they took this extraordinary step and they got it right,” says Phillip Swagel, a former assistant Treasury secretary under Henry M. Paulson and now a professor of international economic policy at the University of Maryland.

The Fed initially released lending data in aggregate form only. Information on which banks borrowed, when, how much and at what interest rate was kept from public view.

The secrecy extended even to members of President George W. Bush’s administration who managed TARP. Top aides to Paulson weren’t privy to Fed lending details during the creation of the program that provided crisis funding to more than 700 banks, say two former senior Treasury officials who requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak.
Big Six

The Treasury Department relied on the recommendations of the Fed to decide which banks were healthy enough to get TARP money and how much, the former officials say. The six biggest U.S. banks, which received $160 billion of TARP funds, borrowed as much as $460 billion from the Fed, measured by peak daily debt calculated by Bloomberg using data obtained from the central bank. Paulson didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The six — JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citigroup Inc. (C), Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and Morgan Stanley — accounted for 63 percent of the average daily debt to the Fed by all publicly traded U.S. banks, money managers and investment- services firms, the data show. By comparison, they had about half of the industry’s assets before the bailout, which lasted from August 2007 through April 2010. The daily debt figure excludes cash that banks passed along to money-market funds.
Bank Supervision

While the emergency response prevented financial collapse, the Fed shouldn’t have allowed conditions to get to that point, says Joshua Rosner, a banking analyst with Graham Fisher & Co. in New York who predicted problems from lax mortgage underwriting as far back as 2001. The Fed, the primary supervisor for large financial companies, should have been more vigilant as the housing bubble formed, and the scale of its lending shows the “supervision of the banks prior to the crisis was far worse than we had imagined,” Rosner says.

Bernanke in an April 2009 speech said that the Fed provided emergency loans only to “sound institutions,” even though its internal assessments described at least one of the biggest borrowers, Citigroup, as “marginal.”

On Jan. 14, 2009, six days before the company’s central bank loans peaked, the New York Fed gave CEO Vikram Pandit a report declaring Citigroup’s financial strength to be “superficial,” bolstered largely by its $45 billion of Treasury funds. The document was released in early 2011 by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, a panel empowered by Congress to probe the causes of the crisis.
‘Need Transparency’

Andrea Priest, a spokeswoman for the New York Fed, declined to comment, as did Jon Diat, a spokesman for Citigroup.

“I believe that the Fed should have independence in conducting highly technical monetary policy, but when they are putting taxpayer resources at risk, we need transparency and accountability,” says Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee.

Judd Gregg, a former New Hampshire senator who was a lead Republican negotiator on TARP, and Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat who chaired the House Financial Services Committee, both say they were kept in the dark.

“We didn’t know the specifics,” says Gregg, who’s now an adviser to Goldman Sachs.

“We were aware emergency efforts were going on,” Frank says. “We didn’t know the specifics.”
Disclose Lending

Frank co-sponsored the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, billed as a fix for financial-industry excesses. Congress debated that legislation in 2010 without a full understanding of how deeply the banks had depended on the Fed for survival.

It would have been “totally appropriate” to disclose the lending data by mid-2009, says David Jones, a former economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York who has written four books about the central bank.

“The Fed is the second-most-important appointed body in the U.S., next to the Supreme Court, and we’re dealing with a democracy,” Jones says. “Our representatives in Congress deserve to have this kind of information so they can oversee the Fed.”

The Dodd-Frank law required the Fed to release details of some emergency-lending programs in December 2010. It also mandated disclosure of discount-window borrowers after a two- year lag.
Protecting TARP

TARP and the Fed lending programs went “hand in hand,” says Sherrill Shaffer, a banking professor at the University of Wyoming in Laramie and a former chief economist at the New York Fed. While the TARP money helped insulate the central bank from losses, the Fed’s willingness to supply seemingly unlimited financing to the banks assured they wouldn’t collapse, protecting the Treasury’s TARP investments, he says.

“Even though the Treasury was in the headlines, the Fed was really behind the scenes engineering it,” Shaffer says.

Congress, at the urging of Bernanke and Paulson, created TARP in October 2008 after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. made it difficult for financial institutions to get loans. Bank of America and New York-based Citigroup each received $45 billion from TARP. At the time, both were tapping the Fed. Citigroup hit its peak borrowing of $99.5 billion in January 2009, while Bank of America topped out in February 2009 at $91.4 billion.
No Clue

Lawmakers knew none of this.

They had no clue that one bank, New York-based Morgan Stanley (MS), took $107 billion in Fed loans in September 2008, enough to pay off one-tenth of the country’s delinquent mortgages. The firm’s peak borrowing occurred the same day Congress rejected the proposed TARP bill, triggering the biggest point drop ever in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. (INDU) The bill later passed, and Morgan Stanley got $10 billion of TARP funds, though Paulson said only “healthy institutions” were eligible.

Mark Lake, a spokesman for Morgan Stanley, declined to comment, as did spokesmen for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.

Had lawmakers known, it “could have changed the whole approach to reform legislation,” says Ted Kaufman, a former Democratic Senator from Delaware who, with Brown, introduced the bill to limit bank size.
Moral Hazard

Kaufman says some banks are so big that their failure could trigger a chain reaction in the financial system. The cost of borrowing for so-called too-big-to-fail banks is lower than that of smaller firms because lenders believe the government won’t let them go under. The perceived safety net creates what economists call moral hazard — the belief that bankers will take greater risks because they’ll enjoy any profits while shifting losses to taxpayers.

Moral hazard arises because an individual or institution does not take the full consequences and responsibilities of its actions, and therefore has a tendency to act less carefully than it otherwise would, leaving another party to hold some responsibility for the consequences of those actions. For example, a person with insurance against automobile theft may be less cautious about locking his or her car, because the negative consequences of vehicle theft are (partially) the responsibility of the insurance company.

If Congress had been aware of the extent of the Fed rescue, Kaufman says, he would have been able to line up more support for breaking up the biggest banks.

Byron L. Dorgan, a former Democratic senator from North Dakota, says the knowledge might have helped pass legislation to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, which for most of the last century separated customer deposits from the riskier practices of investment banking.

“Had people known about the hundreds of billions in loans to the biggest financial institutions, they would have demanded Congress take much more courageous actions to stop the practices that caused this near financial collapse,” says Dorgan, who retired in January.
Getting Bigger

Instead, the Fed and its secret financing helped America’s biggest financial firms get bigger and go on to pay employees as much as they did at the height of the housing bubble.

Total assets held by the six biggest U.S. banks increased 39 percent to $9.5 trillion on Sept. 30, 2011, from $6.8 trillion on the same day in 2006, according to Fed data.

For so few banks to hold so many assets is “un-American,” says Richard W. Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. “All of these gargantuan institutions are too big to regulate. I’m in favor of breaking them up and slimming them down.”

Employees at the six biggest banks made twice the average for all U.S. workers in 2010, based on Bureau of Labor Statistics hourly compensation cost data. The banks spent $146.3 billion on compensation in 2010, or an average of $126,342 per worker, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s up almost 20 percent from five years earlier compared with less than 15 percent for the average worker. Average pay at the banks in 2010 was about the same as in 2007, before the bailouts.
‘Wanted to Pretend’

“The pay levels came back so fast at some of these firms that it appeared they really wanted to pretend they hadn’t been bailed out,” says Anil Kashyap, a former Fed economist who’s now a professor of economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. “They shouldn’t be surprised that a lot of people find some of the stuff that happened totally outrageous.”

Bank of America took over Merrill Lynch & Co. at the urging of then-Treasury Secretary Paulson after buying the biggest U.S. home lender, Countrywide Financial Corp. When the Merrill Lynch purchase was announced on Sept. 15, 2008, Bank of America had $14.4 billion in emergency Fed loans and Merrill Lynch had $8.1 billion. By the end of the month, Bank of America’s loans had reached $25 billion and Merrill Lynch’s had exceeded $60 billion, helping both firms keep the deal on track.
Prevent Collapse

Wells Fargo bought Wachovia Corp., the fourth-largest U.S. bank by deposits before the 2008 acquisition. Because depositors were pulling their money from Wachovia, the Fed channeled $50 billion in secret loans to the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank through two emergency-financing programs to prevent collapse before Wells Fargo could complete the purchase.

“These programs proved to be very successful at providing financial markets the additional liquidity and confidence they needed at a time of unprecedented uncertainty,” says Ancel Martinez, a spokesman for Wells Fargo.

JPMorgan absorbed the country’s largest savings and loan, Seattle-based Washington Mutual Inc., and investment bank Bear Stearns Cos. The New York Fed, then headed by Timothy F. Geithner, who’s now Treasury secretary, helped JPMorgan complete the Bear Stearns deal by providing $29 billion of financing, which was disclosed at the time. The Fed also supplied Bear Stearns with $30 billion of secret loans to keep the company from failing before the acquisition closed, central bank data show. The loans were made through a program set up to provide emergency funding to brokerage firms.
‘Regulatory Discretion’

“Some might claim that the Fed was picking winners and losers, but what the Fed was doing was exercising its professional regulatory discretion,” says John Dearie, a former speechwriter at the New York Fed who’s now executive vice president for policy at the Financial Services Forum, a Washington-based group consisting of the CEOs of 20 of the world’s biggest financial firms. “The Fed clearly felt it had what it needed within the requirements of the law to continue to lend to Bear and Wachovia.”

The bill introduced by Brown and Kaufman in April 2010 would have mandated shrinking the six largest firms.

“When a few banks have advantages, the little guys get squeezed,” Brown says. “That, to me, is not what capitalism should be.”

Kaufman says he’s passionate about curbing too-big-to-fail banks because he fears another crisis.

‘Can We Survive?’

“The amount of pain that people, through no fault of their own, had to endure — and the prospect of putting them through it again — is appalling,” Kaufman says. “The public has no more appetite for bailouts. What would happen tomorrow if one of these big banks got in trouble? Can we survive that?”

Lobbying expenditures by the six banks that would have been affected by the legislation rose to $29.4 million in 2010 compared with $22.1 million in 2006, the last full year before credit markets seized up — a gain of 33 percent, according to OpenSecrets.org, a research group that tracks money in U.S. politics. Lobbying by the American Bankers Association, a trade organization, increased at about the same rate, OpenSecrets.org reported.

Lobbyists argued the virtues of bigger banks. They’re more stable, better able to serve large companies and more competitive internationally, and breaking them up would cost jobs and cause “long-term damage to the U.S. economy,” according to a Nov. 13, 2009, letter to members of Congress from the FSF.

The group’s website cites Nobel Prize-winning economist Oliver E. Williamson, a professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, for demonstrating the greater efficiency of large companies.
‘Serious Burden’

In an interview, Williamson says that the organization took his research out of context and that efficiency is only one factor in deciding whether to preserve too-big-to-fail banks.

“The banks that were too big got even bigger, and the problems that we had to begin with are magnified in the process,” Williamson says. “The big banks have incentives to take risks they wouldn’t take if they didn’t have government support. It’s a serious burden on the rest of the economy.”

The Moral Hazard.

Dearie says his group didn’t mean to imply that Williamson endorsed big banks.

Top officials in President Barack Obama’s administration sided with the FSF in arguing against legislative curbs on the size of banks.
Geithner, Kaufman

On May 4, 2010, Geithner visited Kaufman in his Capitol Hill office. As president of the New York Fed in 2007 and 2008, Geithner helped design and run the central bank’s lending programs. The New York Fed supervised four of the six biggest U.S. banks and, during the credit crunch, put together a daily confidential report on Wall Street’s financial condition. Geithner was copied on these reports, based on a sampling of e- mails released by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.

At the meeting with Kaufman, Geithner argued that the issue of limiting bank size was too complex for Congress and that people who know the markets should handle these decisions, Kaufman says. According to Kaufman, Geithner said he preferred that bank supervisors from around the world, meeting in Basel, Switzerland, make rules increasing the amount of money banks need to hold in reserve. Passing laws in the U.S. would undercut his efforts in Basel, Geithner said, according to Kaufman.

Anthony Coley, a spokesman for Geithner, declined to comment.
‘Punishing Success’

Lobbyists for the big banks made the winning case that forcing them to break up was “punishing success,” Brown says. Now that they can see how much the banks were borrowing from the Fed, senators might think differently, he says.

The Fed supported curbing too-big-to-fail banks, including giving regulators the power to close large financial firms and implementing tougher supervision for big banks, says Fed General Counsel Scott G. Alvarez. The Fed didn’t take a position on whether large banks should be dismantled before they get into trouble.

Dodd-Frank does provide a mechanism for regulators to break up the biggest banks. It established the Financial Stability Oversight Council that could order teetering banks to shut down in an orderly way. The council is headed by Geithner.

“Dodd-Frank does not solve the problem of too big to fail,” says Shelby, the Alabama Republican. “Moral hazard and taxpayer exposure still very much exist.”
Below Market

Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, says banks “were either in bad shape or taking advantage of the Fed giving them a good deal. The former contradicts their public statements. The latter — getting loans at below-market rates during a financial crisis — is quite a gift.”

The Fed says it typically makes emergency loans more expensive than those available in the marketplace to discourage banks from abusing the privilege. During the crisis, Fed loans were among the cheapest around, with funding available for as low as 0.01 percent in December 2008, according to data from the central bank and money-market rates tracked by Bloomberg.

The Fed funds also benefited firms by allowing them to avoid selling assets to pay investors and depositors who pulled their money. So the assets stayed on the banks’ books, earning interest.

Banks report the difference between what they earn on loans and investments and their borrowing expenses. The figure, known as net interest margin, provides a clue to how much profit the firms turned on their Fed loans, the costs of which were included in those expenses. To calculate how much banks stood to make, Bloomberg multiplied their tax-adjusted net interest margins by their average Fed debt during reporting periods in which they took emergency loans.
Added Income

The 190 firms for which data were available would have produced income of $13 billion, assuming all of the bailout funds were invested at the margins reported, the data show.

The six biggest U.S. banks’ share of the estimated subsidy was $4.8 billion, or 23 percent of their combined net income during the time they were borrowing from the Fed. Citigroup would have taken in the most, with $1.8 billion.

“The net interest margin is an effective way of getting at the benefits that these large banks received from the Fed,” says Gerald A. Hanweck, a former Fed economist who’s now a finance professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

While the method isn’t perfect, it’s impossible to state the banks’ exact profits or savings from their Fed loans because the numbers aren’t disclosed and there isn’t enough publicly available data to figure it out.

Opinsky, the JPMorgan spokesman, says he doesn’t think the calculation is fair because “in all likelihood, such funds were likely invested in very short-term investments,” which typically bring lower returns.
Standing Access

Even without tapping the Fed, the banks get a subsidy by having standing access to the central bank’s money, says Viral Acharya, a New York University economics professor who has worked as an academic adviser to the New York Fed.

“Banks don’t give lines of credit to corporations for free,” he says. “Why should all these government guarantees and liquidity facilities be for free?”

In the September 2008 meeting at which Paulson and Bernanke briefed lawmakers on the need for TARP, Bernanke said that if nothing was done, “unemployment would rise — to 8 or 9 percent from the prevailing 6.1 percent,” Paulson wrote in “On the Brink” (Business Plus, 2010).
Occupy Wall Street

The U.S. jobless rate hasn’t dipped below 8.8 percent since March 2009, 3.6 million homes have been foreclosed since August 2007, according to data provider RealtyTrac Inc., and police have clashed with Occupy Wall Street protesters, who say government policies favor the wealthiest citizens, in New York, Boston, Seattle and Oakland, California.

The Tea Party, which supports a more limited role for government, has its roots in anger over the Wall Street bailouts, says Neil M. Barofsky, former TARP special inspector general and a Bloomberg Television contributing editor.

“The lack of transparency is not just frustrating; it really blocked accountability,” Barofsky says. “When people don’t know the details, they fill in the blanks. They believe in conspiracies.”

In the end, Geithner had his way. The Brown-Kaufman proposal to limit the size of banks was defeated, 60 to 31. Bank supervisors meeting in Switzerland did mandate minimum reserves that institutions will have to hold, with higher levels for the world’s largest banks, including the six biggest in the U.S. Those rules can be changed by individual countries.

They take full effect in 2019.

Meanwhile, Kaufman says, “we’re absolutely, totally, 100 percent not prepared for another financial crisis.”(Bloomberg)

Feel better now? 🙂

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne

Political Cartoons by Jerry Holbert

 Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

The Genius of Barack Hussein Obama

The Economics Genius of Barack Hussein Obama:

[T[here are some structural issues with our economy, where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient, with a lot fewer workers. You see it when you go to the bank and use an ATM — you don’t go to a bank teller. Or you go to the airport, and you’re using a kiosk, instead of checking in at the gate.

Hmm. I guess when unemployment is at 9.1 percent, and you’re trying to figure out why your economic policies aren’t working, it probably makes sense to try out every conceivable (and inconceivable) explanation. Who knows what will stick? The problem is obvious, though. It eventually begins to make you look like you don’t really know what you’re talking about. As Allahpundit sarcastically commented, “ATMs are standing on the side of the road, sipping a Slurpee.” 

Referring to the comment our Dear Leader made right after the Republicans kicked his parties ass in November 2010 because he had previously accused them describing the economic crisis by accusing Republicans of driving the nation’s economy into the ditch and then sitting back and watching — “sippin’ on a Slurpee” — while Obama and the Democrats did the dirty, exhausting work of pulling the car out of the ditch.

House Speaker Boehner’s office even sent a joking e-mail out today from an automated teller machine saying “it” isn’t to blame for the sluggish economy.

Only we never got out of the ditch in the first place and the Democrats want to keep digging and throw grandma down the bottomless pit.

Then there was the promise to end Cronyism. Well…

President Obama campaigned on a promise to abolish the practice of rewarding special interest groups. But a new report questions whether that promise has been kept.

iWatch News says nearly 200 of the president’s biggest donors have landed plum assignments, federal contracts worth millions or have attended elite White House events. The investigation found one third of Obama bundlers, those who raised anywhere from $50,000 to more $500,000 in campaign donations or their spouses joined the administration in some role.

iWatch notes the size of donations may have been a factor in bundlers getting a foot in the door — quote — “less than one in five at the $50,000 level got an administration position. Half of $200,000 bundlers were picked for some post; 80 percent of the $500,000 bundlers were appointed.” (FOX)

And what are the 1500+ ObamaCare Waivers put favors for his apparatchiks.

And bailouts for his campaign contributors and union buddies.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:The people who got those positions got them because of their credentials. They also happen to be donors in some cases. There are obviously numerous and far many more cases of people who weren’t donors who were appointed the jobs.

Amazing coincidence! 🙂
Nothing to see here…
Oh, and if you want a burger and fries with the Prez (and be a media propaganda tool):
In return for a $5 donation to his reelection campaign, President Barack Obama is offering supporters a chance to participate in a raffle to win a “casual” dinner with him at an unstated location. (CNS)
We already lost on the lottery back in 2008. And we are still trying to get rid of the foul stench of debt and depression. No Thanks.
Also in that invitation: “Most campaigns fill their dinner guest lists primarily with Washington lobbyists and special interests,” says the e-mail. “We didn’t get here doing that, and we’re not going to start now. We’re running a different kind of campaign. We don’t take money from Washington lobbyists or special-interest PACs–we never have, and we never will.”
<<Barf Bag overload>>
<<Red Alert>>
<<Warp Core Breach in Progress!>>
“We’ll pay for your flight and the dinner–all you need to bring is your story and your ideas about how we can continue to make this a better country for all Americans,” says the raffle e-mail.
Here’s my Idea: Take all your Keynesian Liberal Economics back to Europe and yourself with them and Cram them up your Ass until they come out your nose!
And take all the other idiotic Liberal “economists” with you!
That would make this a much better country!
And finally…
I GUESS IT DEPENDS ON WHAT YOUR DEFINITION OF WAR IS
The White House facing a federal law mandating he either pull out of Libya immediately or seek Congressional Approval (which he won’t get) — a little Think Call the War Powers Act/Resolution.
President Bush got congressional approval for Iraq and Afghanistan. (you know those “illegal wars” the Left parrots all the time).
Now it’s Barack’s turn.
Only, he doesn’t want to.
Reminiscent of President Clinton’s famous defense of his Oral Sex in the Oval Office where he said it depends on the definition of what “is” is we now have the debate of what the definition of  “war” is.
WASHINGTON — The White House, pushing hard against criticism in Congress over the deepening air war in Libya, asserted Wednesday that President Obama had the authority to continue the military campaign without Congressional approval because American involvement fell short of full-blown hostilities.
“U.S. operations do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor do they involve U.S. ground troops.” Still, the White House acknowledged, the operation has cost the Pentagon $716 million in its first two months and will have cost $1.1 billion by September at the current scale of operations.
Gee, only a Billion dollars, my we have that just laying around don’t we. 😦
The War that isn’t a War.
Orwell, would be proud of you my son.
“We are not saying the War Powers Resolution is unconstitutional or should be scrapped or that we can refuse to consult Congress. We are saying the limited nature of this particular mission is not the kind of ‘hostilities’ envisioned by the War Powers Resolution.”
What we are saying is the same old Liberal mantra:
We want to do what we want to do, when we want to do it, because we want to do it, and you can’t stop us from doing it. <<sticking tongue out>>.
The other being: Don’t do as I do, do as I say! 🙂
Now that’s leadership and the economic genius that is our Dear Leader.
Doesn’t it just make you proud! 🙂

Political Cartoons by Eric Allie