Maybe not lying, but certainly misleading

September 5, 2010

With the Democrats looking to take a shellacking in the upcoming midterms, Democrat politicians trying to save their jobs have more and more been scurrying as fast as they can away from Democratic policies that are largely unpopular: ObamaCare, the stimulus package, massive deficit spending, and the big bank bailouts of 2008-09. That last is a little unfair, since the TARP program was a bipartisan bailout, but it’s become conflated in the public’s mind with everything else the Democrats have done since Obama was inaugurated. And those bailouts have become so unpopular that some Democratic congresscritters are proudly claiming they voted against them – before they were even in office:

At least five freshman Democratic House members are running ads claiming they voted against the bank “bailout,” when in fact none was in Congress when the bill setting up the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, was enacted.

  • Mary Jo Kilroy says she “voted against the bank bailout.”
  • Kathy Dahlkemper says she voted “against a bailout that helped Wall Street.”
  • Frank Kratovil claims to have cast his vote in opposition to “the big bank bailout.”
  • Dina Titus’ ad maintains she “even voted against the bank bailout.”
  • Glenn Nye’s ad tells viewers he went “against his own party” and “voted against the Wall Street bailout.”

The final House vote on the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 took place on Oct. 3, 2008. The bill passed, 263-171. None of the five lawmakers who are running these ads is listed in the roll call vote. That’s because none of them had taken office yet – in fact, none of them would even be elected for another month.

So what are they talking about?

Read the rest to get the full explanation. In summary, these five voted against the expenditure of the second batch of bailout money in 2009, money the outgoing Bush Administration had asked for at the request of President-elect Obama. Under the law, the money would be disbursed unless both houses of Congress voted to block the disbursal. At the time the House voted, the Senate had already failed an attempt to block, and therefore the money would be released. The House vote was wholly symbolic, and, far from taking a principled and risky stand, the five Democrats above had nothing on the line in their votes.

In other words, while they did vote against the final release of TARP money, it was for show, only, and it bends the truth almost to the breaking point to call it “voting against the bailouts.”

And these five now have less than 60 days to explain why they treated their voters like idiots.

Via Jimmie Bise on Twitter.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

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David Brooks has a problem with democracy

May 9, 2010

Really, now. How dare those peasants in Utah refuse to renominate Senator Bob Bennett, just because he didn’t vote the way they liked? Don’t they know their place?

This is a damn outrage, to be honest. This is a guy who was a good Senator and he was a good Senator and a good conservative, but a good conservative who was trying to get things done. The Wyden-Bennett bill, which he co-sponsored — if you took the health care economists in the country, they would probably be for that bill, ideally. It was a substantive, serious bill, a bipartisan bill, with strong conservative and some liberal support. So he did something sort of brave by working with Democrats which more Senators should do and now they’ve been sent a message to him don’t do that.

The second thing is the TARP. Nobody liked the TARP. But we were in a complete economic meltdown and sometimes you have to do terrible things. And we’re in a much better economic place because of the TARP. So he bravely cast a vote that nobody wanted to really cast and now he’s losing his career over that. And it’s just a damn outrage.

Uh, David, old boy? Brooks is a senator from Utah. That means he’s supposed to represent the interests and desires of the people of Utah while tending to national matters. He was also seeking the Republican nomination; to do so generally means you have to convince the party faithful you represent their beliefs and interests. (And in Utah, Republicans and general-election voters largely overlap.) He failed to do the latter, so he was dropped from consideration for the nomination. How is that anti-democratic? How is it a coup? How is it an outrage?

The essence of what you’re saying is “Bennett knows better than you what is good for the nation, you flyover-country bumpkins! So sit down, shut up, and vote as your superiors tell you!

David Brooks is nothing but an effete pseudo-intellectual and cocktail conservative who spends his time getting felt up by senators and contemplating Obama’s pant-crease. And now we know he doesn’t much like democracy, either.

Somehow, I sense an Iowahawk essay by T. Coddington van Voorhees VII coming soon….

(via Allah Pundit)

PS: I would have voted reluctantly for TARP, too, as it was originally presented: a plan to buy the toxic mortgages off the market, because the government helped create them (and the problem) in the first place. But, after passage, the money seemed to be used for anything but. Unlike Brooks, apparently, I would expect the voters to hold me responsible for my vote.

LINKS: More from Hot Air.


How GM did not pay back its loan

May 1, 2010

At Reason.TV, Nick Gillespie explains just how big a lie GM Chairman Ed Whitacre has been telling in those recent commercials in which he brags of paying off the company’s government loans early and in full:

Yes, GM and the Obama administration really do think we’re that stupid.


They really do think we’re that stupid

April 26, 2010

Late last week, I started seeing commercials from General Government Motors announcing to the world that GM had paid off its government loan – early and with interest. I thought that was good news, a sign that the company was recovering, jobs would be saved, and the government could unwind the majority ownership stake it had taken in the company.

Then the other shoe dropped and I realized we were being played for suckers:

Uncle Sam gave GM $49.5 billion last summer in aid to finance its bankruptcy. (If it hadn’t, the company, which couldn’t raise this kind of money from private lenders, would have been forced into liquidation, its assets sold for scrap.) So when Mr. Whitacre publishes a column with the headline, “The GM Bailout: Paid Back in Full,” most ordinary mortals unfamiliar with bailout minutia would assume that he is alluding to the entire $49.5 billion. That, however, is far from the case.

Because a loan of such a huge amount would have been politically controversial, the Obama administration handed GM only $6.7 billion as a pure loan. (It asked for only a 7% interest rate–a very sweet deal considering that GM bonds at that time were trading below junk level.) The vast bulk of the bailout money was transferred to GM through the purchase of 60.8% equity stake in the company–arguably an even worse deal for taxpayers than the loan, given that the equity position requires them to bear the risk of the investment without any guaranteed return. (The Canadian government likewise gave GM $1.4 billion as a pure loan, and another $8.1 billion for an 11.7% equity stake. The U.S. and Canadian government together own 72.5% of the company.)

But when Mr. Whitacre says GM has paid back the bailout money in full, he means not the entire $49.5 billion–the loan and the equity. In fact, he avoids all mention of that figure in his column. He means only the $6.7 billion loan amount.

But wait! Even that’s not the full story given that GM, which has not yet broken even, much less turned a profit, can’t pay even this puny amount from its own earnings.

So how is it paying it?

As it turns out, the Obama administration put $13.4 billion of the aid money as “working capital” in an escrow account when the company was in bankruptcy. The company is using this escrow money–government money–to pay back the government loan.

In other words, they used their Visa to pay off their American (Taxpayer) Express. Pardon my language, but this is bullshit.

The American people are still bailing out a company that should have been allowed to go bankrupt, the US and Canada still own nearly three-fourths of the company, and not a dime has been repaid. All they did was move money from one pocket to the other.

And the worst part is that Treasury and their lackeys at GM think we’re such gullible children that we wouldn’t see this for the insulting con game it is.

Congratulations, guys, you’ve given us something else to remember in November.

LINKS: Sister Toldjah, Dan Mitchell, Hot Air, Fausta, Power Line (and here).

RELATED: Senator Grassley is not amused.