Saturday, January 16, 2010

Gary Bauer: Hypocritical Outrage

Yesterday (1/14/10), President Obama went on the attack against two favorite enemies – corporate greed and Wall Street. Obama stepped up his rhetoric against banks and financial firms, attacking large salaries and bonuses yet again and proposing a new bank fee. The president’s revisionist history regarding the cause of the financial crisis was astonishing. It was matched only by his over-the-top pitchfork populism. Here’s a sample:

“We want our money back, and we’re going to get it. And that’s why I’m proposing a Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee to be imposed on major financial firms until the American people are fully compensated for the extraordinary assistance they provided to Wall Street. If these companies are in good enough shape to afford massive bonuses, they are surely in good enough shape to afford paying back every penny to taxpayers.”

The deception is breathtaking! Sure a number of big banks got bailouts, but most have repaid those loans with interest. And those still in debt to Uncle Sam are answering to the “pay czar,” who is capping salaries and bonuses. Most of the money owed to the American people is owed by the unions for the takeover of General Motors and Chrysler. But instead the president wants to pick winners and losers. The winners are his union buddies, and the losers are now-profitable banks.

But if the president is so upset about extravagant pay and bonuses and so committed to protecting the taxpayer, where is his outrage at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? The president is so concerned about the $120 billion shortfall in the TARP program, but Fannie and Freddie have put the taxpayers on the hook for $2 trillion. Meanwhile, the top executives at these government-run outfits are getting $42 million in compensation, with bonuses of $2 million!

I’m pleased to report that 70 conservative members of Congress are demanding that the administration hold executives at Fannie and Freddie to the same standard to which they hold other private firms. But don’t hold your breath. Over the years, Fannie and Freddie executives have been major donors to liberal candidates (with Barack Obama being one of their top beneficiaries), and they have been run by well-connected liberals like Rahm Emanuel and Franklin Raines.

Rather than intimidating and investigating Big Business, we need to stop punishing success, stop picking winners and losers and start investigating Big Government!

The Injustice Of ObamaCare -- Update

Speaking of picking winners and losers, yesterday we reported that the White House and congressional liberals had struck a deal with Big Labor to exempt union health insurance benefits from the excessive 40% excise tax on so-called Cadillac health plans. This exemption will theoretically expire in 2018, but if union allies happen to be in power in eight years, they’ll just renew the exemption. This is a brazen effort to increase pressure on workers to join unions so they will pay less taxes.

This may have solved a political problem in terms of getting liberal votes, but it has created another big budget problem. The exemption reportedly creates a $60 billion funding gap, and that money will have to come from somewhere. Big Labor is the clear winner in this backroom deal. But who are the losers – those who will have to pay higher taxes so the unions don’t? That’s yet to be determined.

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