Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Oh, Ma...When is my bailout coming?

Congressman Eric Cantor voted for the bank bailout bill, advocated it, as Congress gave the Bush Administration permission to essentially drove its limos past the banks with Hank Paulson hanging out the window throwing money.

Now he is saying that we have a "culture of bailout" and he wonders, apparently but not really ironically, when his bailout is coming.

His wife is a managing director of a bank. That bank has been reported as changing its tax status so that it would qualify for a bailout and received one. So, his wife--his family--has already received its bail out.

I can see him in political black-face (after a verse or two or "Barack the Magic Negro?), on his knees for the big finish...

"I'd cast a million votes,
For (some of those bank) notes,
My (wife's) baiiiiiiiilllllll outttttt!"

More remarkable, however, is that the good Congressman did not tell anyone as he cast his vote for the bailouts that he would benefit from it.

OK. A Lily to the good Congressman. It has been said that he recognizes that there is a vacuum right now in Republican leadership and he intends to flow into it. Can a vacuum, however, fill a vacuum? I guess it can, in the party of "No."

"No matter how cynical I get, it's hard to keep up."

Lily Tomlin

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

They will take it but do the bankers need our bailout money?

An interesting comment from Secretary Paulson some months back when suggestions were made to limit the compensation of the people who run the banks. He said that if Congress did that these bankers would refuse to participate in the bailout scheme.

Would not participate?

It was "common sense" at the time that if the bailout money was not given to the banks the banks would go down and along with it the whole economy.

They would not participate?

Could it be that the people who control the banking industry don't care if there is no more bailout money for them?

Would they--wealthy far beyond our commonplace dreams of avarice--be willing to let their banks go out of business to retain the power they have over the government?

Do they care so little for the middle and bottom level employees of their banks, and for the middle bottom and lower level stockholders in the country, to destroy their lives utterly while they sit, in comfort, on their personal wealth in order to bring President Obama and the Democrats to heel?

Will they just refuse to participate in the "recovery" if the terms do not continue to please them, perfectly willing, if the terms do not continue to please them, to retreat into the compounds of wealth until the rest of the country burns down?

Richard Wolfe, a commentator, says that the banks are going to need more bailout money and, while the banks might, do the people who run them? Can they just let the current banking system go down and then move into control of the system that replaces it?

Is it true that banks come and go but there will always be the bankers?

Will they sit on their hands and hire enough Congressmen and think-tank pundits to convince enough people that their behavior is reasonable and necessary to restore prosperity, while the attempts to change "business as usual" in the financial system are misguided fantasy, socialism and, yes, "class warfare?"

These people are wealthy.

They don't need our bailout money.

We need them to need our bailout money. But they don't.

The Lily, today, to me.

Monday, February 02, 2009

bi-partisanship is a four letter word

The Republican Guru Grover Norquist was recently quoted to the effect that "bi partisanship is the equivalent of date rape."

There's an image!

I see his point, though, and I see his point of view. I don't agree with him, but I understand where he is coming from.

He sees the world as black and white, us versus them, we are right and they are wrong. Politics is a zero sum game. If someone else is in power that's unacceptable. They have no right to govern because they are wrong. He is smart, anyone who disagrees with him is not only wrong but criminal or crazy.

Makes complete sense that there can be no reconciliation or cooperation, if that's how one sees the world.

That is not, however, the way the world really is.

It is true, though, that the last eight years were dominated by a continuing "date rape" perpetrated by the Republican Party--even when the Democrats were in the majority, toward the end. A president with the slimmest margin of victory in history (if, indeed, he had any such margin) governed as though he received 80% of the vote and he got away with it.

There was no give and take, during the Bush administration. It was all take--unless you worked for a living and received wages, then you gave, and gave, and gave.

Mr. Norquist seems to be projecting, then. What his "side" did is what he thinks will be done to him because that is what he thinks reality is.

It would be nice if it could be shown that he is wrong--that compromise is possible in which everyone gives a little to get a little.

I don't know if that will happen, but there is a danger even if it does.

It is entirely possible that so many compromises can be made that what is done is ineffective and then the doer will be made to look wrong in the future when the compromise turns out to have sabotaged the mission the legislation set out to accomplish.

The income tax, for example, was so watered down by concessions made to get it implemented that it's not really progressive and there are plenty of ways that middle class tax payers have had the burden of funding government shifted to them (can you say capital gains income versus income on salaries--including social security).

And asking for compromise after compromise after compromise can become a tactic to blunt the effort and so ensure Democratic failure that Republicans can run on in two years.

Date rape. Yeah. If Norquist continues to use that phrase then, like "class warfare," those I hear use it the most will be, in my mind, the most likely to engage in it.

So, a Lily to Mr. Norquist.