(hat tip: The Jawa Report)
You remember the 1970s, don’t you? Nixon, Ford, and Carter? Disco and pet rocks? For some strange reason, some people look with nostalgia on those times. Barney Frank (D-Fannie Mae) must be one of them, since he wants to bring back wage controls:
…in a little-noticed move, the House Financial Services Committee, led by chairman Barney Frank, has approved a measure that would, in some key ways, go beyond the most draconian features of the original AIG bill. The new legislation, the "Pay for Performance Act of 2009," would impose government controls on the pay of all employees — not just top executives — of companies that have received a capital investment from the U.S. government. It would, like the tax measure, be retroactive, changing the terms of compensation agreements already in place. And it would give Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner extraordinary power to determine the pay of thousands of employees of American companies.
The purpose of the legislation is to "prohibit unreasonable and excessive compensation and compensation not based on performance standards," according to the bill’s language. That includes regular pay, bonuses — everything — paid to employees of companies in whom the government has a capital stake, including those that have received funds through the Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP, as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The measure is not limited just to those firms that received the largest sums of money, or just to the top 25 or 50 executives of those companies. It applies to all employees of all companies involved, for as long as the government is invested. And it would not only apply going forward, but also retroactively to existing contracts and pay arrangements of institutions that have already received funds.
In addition, the bill gives Geithner the authority to decide what pay is "unreasonable" or "excessive." And it directs the Treasury Department to come up with a method to evaluate "the performance of the individual executive or employee to whom the payment relates."
The bill passed through the committee on a party-line vote (How will Blue Dog Democrats on the committee explain this to their constituents?), and there had better be no defectors among House Republicans during the floor vote. Governments have tried price controls (and wages are the price of labor) since the time of Emperor Diocletian, and they have never worked, only hiding inflation, not eliminating it. And with the US government now following a borrow-and-spend policy guaranteed to ramp up inflation, this House bill promises us the worst of both worlds: government control over wages while the real cost of goods and services spirals out of reach.
The audacity of the government’s grab for power over the economy is breathtaking. Far beyond any reasonable measure to stimulate the economy or cure the banking crisis, this bill and the effective takeovers of AIG, General Motors, and Chrysler are just the first stages in a radical transformation of our nation from a free-market republic with a government of limited powers as defined by the Constitution to social-democratic and statist regime that manages everything — including your car’s warranty. It makes a mockery of the law of contracts –one of the foundations of our
banana republic– and further crushes any reason to invest in American businesses or America itself.
This bill will likely pass the House, but the Republicans in the Senate had better fight it tooth and nail if they want to have any hope of regaining their reputation as the party of free markets and limited government.
For now, however, it’s back to the 70s, folks! Break out those leisure suits!
LINKS: Sister Toldjah
Did the New York Times kill a game-breaking story about the corrupt relationship between the Obama campaign and ACORN last year? Flopping Aces thinks so.
Me? I wouldn’t be surprised.
UPDATE: The original Philadelphia Bulletin story is here.
In the wake of the "requested" resignation of the head of General Motors and the government’s pressure on GM to restructure and merge if it wants more Federal
crack money, not to mention Turbo-Tax Tim’s request for power to seize non-banking financial firms, I thought this snippet from Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism would be appropriate:
The fascist bargain goes something like this. The state says to the industrialist, “You may stay in business and own your factories. In the spirit of cooperation and unity, we will even guarantee you profits and a lack of serious competition. In exchange, we expect you to agree with—and help implement—our political agenda.” The moral and economic content of the agenda depends on the nature of the regime. The left looked at German business’s support for the Nazi war machine and leaped to the conclusion that business always supports war. They did the same with American business after World War I, arguing that because arms manufacturers benefited from the war, the armaments industry was therefore responsible for it.
It’s fine to say that incestuous relationships between corporations and governments are fascistic. The problem comes when you claim that such arrangements are inherently right-wing. If the collusion of big business and government is right-wing, then FDR was a rightwinger. If corporatism and propagandistic militarism are fascist, then Woodrow Wilson was a fascist and so were the New Dealers. If you understand the right-wing or conservative position to be that of those who argue for free markets, competition, property rights, and the other political values inscribed in the original intent of the American founding fathers, then big business in Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, and New Deal America was not right-wing; it was left-wing, and it was fascistic. What’s more, it still is.
(hat tip: the Liberal Fascism blog)
RELATED: J.G. Thayer on Don Barack.
RELATED: It looks like Biden was practicing his vaunted foreign-policy chops in Spain at the same time. Hey, at least we're keeping to a Latin theme with our latest embarrassing moments.
LINKS: More from Sister Toldjah.
Just testing to see if polldaddy's code plays well with Typepad. The first test was a failure: the poll appeared twice. To test to see if the problem is with MS Live Writer, I'm putting this in directly through the Typepad editor:
UPDATE: Yep. The problem was with Live Writer.
I started these reviews long ago with the best of intentions, but we all know what happens all to often to those. I don't have the time to do a lengthy review, but I do want to post some thoughts on a book I recently finished:
Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change represents an attempt at a serious revision of 20th century American political/intellectual history, arguing that US liberalism, a descendant of Progressivism, shares ideological roots in the American Pragmatist movement and Bismarck's social welfare state with Italian fascism, German Nazism, and other totalitarian movements. The author, Jonah Goldberg, even traces fascism back to the French Revolution and its attempt under Robespierre to create an all-encompassing state and replace Christianity with a Cult of Reason. Goldberg challenges the history of the 20th century as we are taught it in high school and college. Particularly striking are his discussions of the liberal fascist tendencies of the administrations of Wilson (the crackdown on dissent, for one) and FDR (the first head of the NRA, for example, was a great admirer of Mussolini), and the close ties between progressivism/liberalism and the eugenics movement, something that echoes to this day.
Goldberg also asserts that our common definition of Right and Left in politics (fascism on the Far Right, communism on the Far Left) is wrong. To the author, both fascism and communism are of the Left, because both reject classical liberalism with its emphasis on free markets, limited government, and individual liberty; the real difference between fascism and communism being that the former emphasized national (and, in Germany, racial) identity, while the latter was internationalist and stressed class identity.
On the other hand, Goldberg argues that the Right in the United States, what we call "conservatism," is really classical liberalism, which stands opposed to both totalitarianisms on the Left — and to those tendencies in modern American liberalism that would take us in that direction. This distinction, which I think is correct, is important to bear in mind when reading Liberal Fascism.
Having defined both fascism and American conservatism for the reader, Goldberg sometimes overstates his case and applies the fascist label too broadly, but, in reaching too far, he forces us to rethink "common knowledge" and admit there is some reason and justification for what he says about modern liberalism: its elevation of the collective above the individual; the role of the State as speaking for a romanticized "People;" and the emphasis on unity and feelings over reason and reasoned dissent. Cognizant of the controversial, even inflammatory nature of his thesis, Goldberg is careful to point out repeatedly that he is not calling modern liberals "fascists," but that he is taking an honest look at the intellectual heritage American liberalism shares with European fascism. Regardless of whether one agrees with his arguments, it's easy to check the author's sources, for the book is copiously footnoted.
Liberal Fascism is not an easy read, forcing one to remember long forgotten lessons in political theory (or to learn them for the first time), but it is fascinating, challenging, and eye-opening.
More eloquent yet straight-shooting goodness from MEP Daniel Hannan, who this time excoriates the European Union for political hypocrisy for refusing democratic referenda over a treaty creating an ever closer political union among member states:
I wish more of our politicians were this eloquent and sharp –there are a few, such as Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI)– but our modern political culture doesn't allow for it. More's the pity. It would certainly make the evening news shows more entertaining.
(hat tip: The Jawa Report)
Following up on this item, I ran across an article by Ron Radosh at Pajamas Media that discusses Oliphant’s disgusting anti-Semitic cartoon and links to example showing how it could have come straight from Nazi literature. Radosh mentions other examples of how supposedly liberal publications have published anti-Semitic cartoons in the name of "criticism" or "satire."
Answer me this: If the Left is supposed to be so "humane" and "progressive," how is it they keep wading into one of the filthiest cesspools of Western Civilization? How is it that sainted liberal commentators can mouth Jew-bashing garbage and then play the victim when they’re called on the carpet for it?
I really don’t get it.
A US helicopter went down in Iraq and the crew was rescued by the Army — the Iraqi Army.
One of these days, George W. Bush and the US military will get the credit they deserve for bringing real hope and change to the Middle East.
(via Michael Yon)
I love Japanese anime: it can be weird, hilarious, wonderful, moving, and grotesque — sometimes all in the same film. And if this trailer is any indication, Apocalypse Meow may be near the top of the list:
American Special Forces bun-buns versus evil jihadi camels — and all in Japanese! It doesn’t get better than this.
And in case you’re wondering about the titles, "Apocalypse Meow" is the US title, while "Cat Shit One" is the title of the Japanese manga.
(hat tip: The Jawa Report)
Busy day today, so I’m going to leave you with some links of interest. You lucky people.
From the Department of Stupid Euphemisms, we have a new name for the War on Terror: it’s now the Overseas Contingency Operation! Yay! That’s "OCO," which rhymes with "loco." Personally, I thought "War on Terror" was dumb, since terror is a method and one doesn’t make war on a method, and it’s hard to fight a war when one refuses to clearly define the enemy. For the record, I prefer "The Jihadi War," since that tells us exactly whom we’re fighting, or Roggio’s "The Long War," since it at least recognizes this is likely a multi-generational conflict. More from Sister Toldjah.
According to one of devalued Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s top environmental advisers, to save the Earth the UK population must fall to 30 million. No problem, you only have to get rid of half of Britain. But why stop there? Why not go all the way and sign up with the Human Extinction Movement? You’ll be doing Mother Gaea a favor.
From the Heritage Foundation, a telling graph of the Bush vs. Obama deficits. Now, will the president stop trying to blame the mess he’s creating on the last guy? Well?
Hearing Pat Toomey’s footsteps closing behind him, occasionally-Republican Senator Arlen Specter has come out against stripping workers of the right to a secret ballot. For now.
In the New York Times, a now-former AIG executive quits tells the company and the government to go to Hell. Well, what did they expect, creating phony outrage over the AIG bonuses and directing it at the people who didn’t create the problem (Congress and the administration did), but are needed to fix it or at least control the damage? Great job, Mr. President!
Continuing our march toward socialism, a Maryland senator has proposed a federal takeover of newspapers, bailing out a dying industry in return for control over their editorial voice. Washington, Adams, and Jefferson are all spinning like tops in their graves.
And, for our WTF Moment of the Day, we present former President Jimmy Carter, who thinks it was un-Christian to fight the Civil War. Words fail me.
Finally, Noemie Emery asks "Aren’t we glad we didn’t elect Sarah Palin?" Yes, it is very much tongue in cheek, and very much worth reading.
BONUS LINKS: I haven’t bashed the junk science of Global Warming in a while, so here are a few for your education and entertainment:
See y’all later tonight or tomorrow!
"You are the devalued Prime Minister of a devalued government." Member of the European Parliament Daniel Hannan scores three, nothing but net:
Maybe the Republicans should borrow MEP Hannan for the next response to one of PBO’s speeches.
(hat tip: Fausta)
LINKS: Sister Toldjah
Another Obama nominee to the Treasury withdraws.
Sixty-five days after the President’s inauguration and after telling us repeatedly that we’re in the worst crisis since the Great Depression, Secretary Timothy "Turbo-Tax" Geithner is still the only confirmed high-level official at Treasury, which should be the lead agency in this mess. Seventeen positions are still unfilled. But PBO has shown himself in no great hurry to fulfill his responsibility to staff the department, preferring instead to fill out his NCAA tournament brackets for ESPN. It’s gotten to the point that the British are complaining that there’s no one to answer the phones at Treasury.
Any manager this complacent and lackadaisical about staffing at a troubled corporation would soon be out of a job. But PBO has a guaranteed four-year deal.
Maybe the epic fail is ours.