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Hope and change are turning into fear and loathing

I am going to have to admit that when Obama first took office I was cautiously optimistic. Like many others, the implanted notions of hope and change started to shine through the skepticism. After all he seems like a well spoken, educated, pleasant man.

My original skepticism was well founded and a month into this presidency it has become inherently obvious that these people have no idea what they are doing. I don’t mean that they are incompetent in executing a plan, I mean that they literally have no idea what they are doing. Here are just a few reasons hope and change are turning into fear and loathing.

At Obama’s first press conference, the young President won’t take questions about the “economic rescue plan” deferring to Tim Geithner’s announcement the next day. But the next day Tim Geithner’s plan is short on details, to be kind. He essentially delivers no content whatsoever, and even says “we are soliciting public feedback on how to solve this problem.” This supposedly “uniquely qualified” tax cheat has been at the helm of this crisis since the fall of last year and now he wants the public to give him ideas? How can anyone have confidence in this clown. The answer of course is, many don’t and he should be sacked immediately.

Second example… This housing plan that Obama presented.  Read about it here.

$75 billion will go to banks participating in new programs that will restructure the borrowers’ loans, lowering their interest rates and extending the length of their mortgage.

The cost? $75 Billion to the tax payers. Ridiculous, not to mention government interference in valid and binding business contracts between two parties in the private market place.

Third Example… What happened to hope and change in the White House itself, in particular Obama’s promise not to hire lobbyists. Obama lied. Sorry, that may be hard for many of you to hear.  Here is Obama talking about his executive order on ethics. “If you are a lobbyist you will not be able to lobby for the issue that you lobbied”

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0D3IWl37ng

Below is a list of lobbyists that are now working in the Obama administration. Thanks to Adam Curry for sourcing up this information.

Administration Employee Position Lobbbyist Position
Eric Holder attorney general lobby until 2004 on behalf of clients including Global Crossing, a bankrupt telecommunications firm.
Tom Vilsack secretary of agriculture was registered to lobby as recently as last year on behalf of the National Education Association
William Lynn deputy defense secretary was registered to lobby as recently as last year for defense contractor Raytheon, where he was a top executive.
William Corr deputy health and human services secretary was registered to lobby until last year for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a non-profit that pushes to limit tobacco use.
David Hayes deputy interior secretary was registered to lobby until 2006 for clients, including the regional utility San Diego Gas & Electric.
Mark Patterson chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was registered to lobby as recently as last year for financial giant Goldman Sachs.
Ron Klain chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden was registered to lobby until 2005 for clients, including the Coalition for Asbestos Resolution, U.S. Airways, Airborne Express and drug-maker ImClone.
Mona Sutphen deputy White House chief of staff was registered to lobby for clients, including Angliss International in 2003.
Melody Barnes domestic policy council director lobbied in 2003 and 2004 for liberal advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the American Constitution Society and the Center for Reproductive Rights.
Cecilia Munoz White House director of intergovernmental affairs was a lobbyist as recently as last year for the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy group.
Patrick Gaspard White House political affairs director was a lobbyist for the Service Employees International Union.
Michael Strautmanis chief of staff to the president’s assistant for intergovernmental relations lobbied for the American Association of Justice from 2001 until 2005.

Audit Congress

Well you knew it had to happen sooner or later. Some of you have already suggested it and I can’t say its a bad idea.

Have you paid your taxes lately? If you said
“yes” then you are in good company.  Millions of Americans not only
struggle with the duty of following a convoluted tax code, but they
sweat out the approaching tax deadline.  We live in fear of the IRS,
bringing in experts to ensure we comply with federal law and do it in a
way that won’t come back to haunt us.

But we’re not seeing the same concern from our leaders.  In fact, it
seems all too common that national leaders are not only tax scofflaws,
but even when their tax evasion is exposed, there are few
consequences.  They certainly appear to cheat, yet still get plum jobs
and perks of high office.

Click here to learn more.

Geithner’s financial stability plan – cryptic and incomplete

I took a look at Geithner’s financial stability plan. There is an aspect that I think is interesting. A creation of a fund that will hold these bad bank assets. The fund would seek private investment as well as government money. That is an interesting idea. The rest of the speech was basically telling us that they have not finished the plan.

Enjoy
Erik

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AbWgv4APqo

Outrage? Really?

President Obama expresses sudden outrage at bonuses paid to Wall Street executives during what is arguably one of the worst years evah on the Street. Here’s the outrage bite.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXtaClHCG2k

But wait … his Treasury Secretary …. well he got a nice little bonus even though he presided over the banking collapse.

Newly minted Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s finances got a recent boost, thanks to a plump $435,000 severance payment from his old employer – the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

In addition, Geithner last year earned $411,000 as president of the New York Fed and got another $50,000 to $100,000 for unused vacation and comp time, according to a mandatory financial disclosure statement released by the Office of Government Ethics.

Oops. Then there’s Robert Rubin … Clinton’s Treasury Secretary.

He received more than $126 million in cash and stock during his eight years at Citigroup.[4] In January 2009, Rubin was named by Marketwatch as one of the “10 most unethical people in business”[5]

The outrage is deserved and it can’t be spun. Wall Street execs are out of touch. But the hypocrisy is thick. And may I say to you Wall Street folk … the minute you turn to the government for help … expect the government to cuff you.

Other than Taxes … Uniquely Qualified. Update: Vote Monday

Update: The Senate Finance Committee has approved the Tim Geithner nomination and now the Senate expects to vote on the nomination on Monday … it is a done deal.

The committee approved the nomination on an 18-5 vote, sending it to the full Senate. President Barack Obama is hoping for quick approval so that the point man for the administration’s economic rescue effort can begin work.

The committee vote came a day after Geithner appeared before the panel to apologize for what he called “careless mistakes” in failing to pay $34,000 in taxes earlier in the decade, when he worked at the International Monetary Fund.

He failed to pay his self employment taxes … repeatedly, despite being warned by his employer, the IMF, and receiving compensatory payment for them. In addition he was caught taking deductions for items that are not deductible. Today … Tim Geithner told folks … hey sorry. But, at least for me, the words rang hollow.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVYyYhp8ov8

Still … is this the best we can do? I am not the only one asking.

Uniquely qualified? Meaning that Geithner’s the only person in America who can run the Treasury?  Somehow, I find that extraordinarily difficult to believe. If for some reason Geithner withdrew, would Obama not fill the role with someone else? It’s more difficult to believe that a man who couldn’t figure out his own taxes is the best-qualified man for the job.

It’s a good post … read it all.

Just in time to buy the banks – Video Added

It looks like the man so smart he couldn’t figure out his taxes will be confirmed as Treasury Secretary. Too bad. Tim Geithner also happens to be one of the “brain trusts” behind the current financial TARP program. You know, the one that’s been trying to bolster bank balance sheets. Soon … he will be asking for more money … and for what?

bank-mkt-cap-200901You might find the following chart posted by Cody Willard at Fox Business interesting. It shows what banks were worth in 2007 when they were riding high on the real estate wave and credit swap craze … it also shows what they are worth now. And begs the question … why did they stick with the smoke and mirror balance sheet so long? Why not shed some of those assets when they still had value? Click the graphic to see the full size chart.

Update: (Steve) Posted is a new version of the same original chart from the Neil Hume at Financial Times. It still shows bank market capitalization comparison between the second quarter of 2007 and Jan. 20, but this version includes a normalized view, so it is easier for readers to compare relative shrinkage, as Hume calls it. In other words, Citibank = massive hit, JP Morgan = not as bad.  /steve

Chat room and Blog contributor Dave suggested it might be time to post that shocking revelation from Fox News … you know … the one that says the Feds have actually pumped more money into the banks (specifically BOA) than its worth.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeJJuMYX5B0

Not sure what the next move is … but my guess is complete government control of America’s capital system. Doomed I tell you. We lose our free market system because of the recklessness of others … and we end up paying for it.

Update: BTW … the podcast with Cody Willard is up on the WTIC site … great interview today.

There’s Nothing In The Treasury Anyway

Classic Shep Smith. His comments come on the heals of the Obama press conference on Treasury Secretary Nominee Timothy Geithner’s now well documented tax problems. You can watch Obama first here but essentially he dismisses the whole affair as “a mistake.” Well that’s about all Shep Smith can take and if you listen closely it really brings out the Mississippi in him.

But the best comes at the very end when Democrat Party talking head Mary Anne Marsh tries to justify the whole, as Michelle Malkin would say, “crap sandwich” … by saying Geithner is just too smart to lose … the close is sooo Shep.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPzyrWrpsQU

The man toooooo smaaaaat tooooooo lose … the only one who can save us from our looming economic disaster … figured he didn’t have to file self employment tax. Man, have I been wasting my time at tax time. Clearly Shep agrees.

Memo To IRS: I forgot! Update: Graham

When the IRS comes a knock’n in the spring just tell those agents you forgot … you forgot to file. It was a mistake … and besides … the “Dear Leader” himself says that’s reason enough to get a pass. Go on … try it. Here’s “Mr. President-Elect” (man that ticks me off … it’s not a title) on Treasury Secretary Nominee Timothy Geithner’s now well documented tax problems. “Hey, sure the Treasury nominee failed to understand the tax code … but he’s so damn smart we need him.”

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YOVrdMcIos

Two additional points. I love the way Lindsey Graham provides cover simply because he thinks Geithner is the only guy smart enough to save us from ourselves. I expect more but he obviously has been co-opted.

UPDATE: Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks Senator Graham has been co-opted. So much for the loyal opposition.

“I cannot tell you how much enthusiasm we saw in Pakistan for the new president,” he added.

Obama soaked up the remarks, afterwards saying that he had chosen Biden to assist him with these challenges, but “Lindsey Graham I’m drafting in as one of our counselors.”

It was expected that Obama would defend Tim Geithner, calling his reported employment of a housekeeper whose work permit had expired and his failure to pay $42,000 in taxes “an innocent mistake” that was corrected. But Graham, who described himself as having been “one of the chief opponents” of Obama and Biden, didn’t have to jump in.

“I think he’s the right guy,” Graham said of Geithner, adding that Republicans were unlikely to “play gotcha” with the nomination.

Point two … if you read the Wall Street Journal you find this guy’s taxes are a mess. It’s not just one mistake … it’s multiple mistakes.

In 2006, the IRS audited Mr. Geithner’s 2003 and 2004 taxes and concluded he owed taxes and interest totaling $17,230, according to documents released by the Senate Finance Committee. The IRS waived the related penalties. At the time, Mr. Geithner was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

During the vetting of Mr. Geithner late last year, the Obama transition team discovered the nominee had failed to pay the same taxes for 2001 and 2002. “Upon learning of this error on Nov. 21, 2008, Mr. Geithner immediately submitted payment for tax that would have been due in those years, plus interest,” a transition aide said. The sum totaled $25,970.

As to why Mr. Geithner didn’t pay all his back taxes after the 2006 audit, an Obama aide said the nominee was advised by his accountant he had no further liability. Senate Finance aides said they were concerned either Mr. Geithner or his accountant used the IRS’s statute of limitations to avoid further back-tax payments at the time of the audit.

Other tax issues also surfaced during the vetting, including the fact Mr. Geithner used his child’s time at overnight camps in 2001, 2004 and 2005 to calculate dependent-care tax deductions. Sleepaway camps don’t qualify.

Amended tax returns that Mr. Geithner filed recently include $4,334 in additional taxes, and $1,232 in interest for infractions, such as an early-withdrawal penalty from a retirement plan, an improper small-business deduction, a charitable-contribution deduction for ineligible items, and the expensing of utility costs that went for personal use.

But this guy’s too smart to lose. No … this is once again the double standard the folks live by in Washington.