Archive for September 25th, 2008

September 25, 2008

Porking up the bailout bill

From corporate welfare to mortgage welfare:

The cost of the $700 billion bailout bill . . . is rising. . . . Now, there will be foreclosure “relief” at taxpayer expense. The government is going to use its role “as the biggest mortgage holder in town” to give special breaks to borrowers who are behind on their mortgage payments, rather than to stem the financial crisis.

(Via Michelle Malkin.) John Berlau describes a free-market alternative to the Paulson plan:

The RSC plan is chock-full of measures to remove barriers to economic growth and market-distorting subsidies. It would suspend capital gains taxes to put trillions of dollars of capital in the economy, and set Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which as CEI has documented were at the root of this crisis, on the road to full privatization.
Most importantly for the crisis at hand, the RSC plan would make regulatory agencies suspend the mark-to-market accounting rules that a range of experts agree are spreading the contagion by forcing solvent banks’ to “write down” their assets, based on the last fire sale of a highly leveraged bank. As Gary Gorton, finance professor at Yale and member of the National Bureau of Economic Research has written, “With no liquidity and no market prices, the accounting practice of ‘marking-to-market’ became highly problematic and resulted in massive write-downs based on fire-sale prices and estimates.”

Liberals would scream about cutting capital-gains taxes to free up private capital to ease the crisis, and yet don’t hesitate to stick taxpayers with a $700 billion tab for a bailout that may not even work.

September 25, 2008

How about a bunny bailout?

Clearly, Congress needs to act now:

Tycoon Hugh Hefner has been advised to cut back on staff at his multi-million dollar glamour empire as it struggles to cope during the global economic turmoil.
The 83-year-old has been told to lay off some of his staff at his Los Angeles and New York offices as soon as this month or go bankrupt. . . .
The news will be another blow to Hefner who recently discovered that two of his “bunnies” may have been cheating on him.

Homeless hotties? Plummeting sales of silicone implants and satin lingerie? A complete meltdown of the global bimbo market? Hef needs to get in touch with Henry Paulson immediately.
September 25, 2008

NATALIE PORTMAN: AVAILABLE!

Forget about the eminent collapse of the worldwide economy. Forget about the troubling poll numbers for Republicans. There is good news, America:

Natalie Portman and her folk-rocker boyfriend Devendra Banhart have broken up, a source confirms to PEOPLE.
Portman, 27, began dating Banhart, also 27, after starring in his “Carmensita” video, which was shot last March. A short time later, they took their romance public when they were spott[ed] kissing on the streets of New York and over a sushi dinner at Jewel Bako.

This is important news because The Other McCain has gotten a good bit of traffic in recent months from the “Natalie Portman on a slim pretext” post. Like many other social conservatives, I am profoundly outraged by Hollywood hotties with wardrobe malfunctions. I’m also outraged that she would associate with a scummy folk-rocker dude. He doesn’t deserve you, Natalie.

September 25, 2008

The diversity bailout

More on the role of “equal opportunity” lending practices in the current crisis:

If the bank gave loans to white people like my wife with no credit, or bad credit, the bank would later look bad if it was sued for discrimination, even if it was innocent. If a “fair-housing” group later sued the bank accusing it of discrimination . . . the bank could end up having to explain, at great expense, why it loaned money to my wife, but not to many minority borrowers who also had no credit or bad credit. . . .

(Via Michelle Malkin.) Which is to say that “equality” requires inequality. Achieving equality of outcomes means that different applicants are judged by different standards.

It’s affirmative-action economics. Because it is justified under a “civil rights” rationale, no one in the banking industry could complain about it without creating evidence of bad faith that might later be used as evidence of discriminatory intent. If a bank were sued for discrimination by one of these (taxpayer subsidized) activist groups, and if it were then discovered that the bank’s executives had complained about being forced to make high-risk mortgages to minorities, those complaints would constitute evidence of bias.

Enthusiastic cheerleading for “diversity” practices is now a basic qualification for management positions in corporate America, because companies are so vulnerable to discrimination complaints. The same principle is true, for example, within academia. Yes, a tenured professor is free to complain about the “diversity” charade, but that means he’s never going to become department chairman or dean or university president. Larry Summers discovered this the hard way.

This is one of the reasons that so many people who aren’t prejudiced against gay people nevertheless oppose measures that would make “sexual orientation” a protected civil-rights category. Having seen how civil-rights protection has so often become a weapon unfairly wielded to hurt and harm others — and to silence criticism — many Americans can easily imagine what abuses would arise under a gay-rights regime.

September 25, 2008

How to blow a scoop

Media bias against real news:

Scandal, crime, politics — the story had nearly all the makings of a blockbuster, a surefire Drudge link, no less. So why did it seem that nobody in big-time journalism wanted to report it? . . .
The initial flood of coverage of the Palin email saga soon slowed to a trickle, however, even as new and shocking information about the case was revealed. Why? Instead of revelations about a Republican scandal, the story’s focus quickly shifted to a federal crime investigation with a Democratic suspect. The major media’s interest evaporated just as quickly.

That’s from my article at Russ Smith’s SpliceToday, and you should read the whole thing.

PREVIOUSLY:

September 25, 2008

How not to solve the problem

Hillary Rodham Clinton:

We should also put in place a temporary moratorium on foreclosures and freeze rate hikes in adjustable-rate mortgages. We’ve got to stem the tide of failing mortgages and give the markets time to recover. . . .
If we do not take action to address the crisis facing borrowers, we’ll never solve the crisis facing lenders.

Moron. Let’s go through this, shall we?

Q. “Failing mortgages” are caused by . . . what?
A. People not making their payments.

So Hillary’s answer is to let people stay in “their” houses, even though they’re not making the payments? What she is actually saying is that the federal government should give people houses.

By Hillary’s reckoning, people who swindled banks by signing mortgages they couldn’t pay are victims. The moral calculus of liberalism therefore justifies fraud.
September 25, 2008

Frozen assets

Ace of Spades:

Currently these assets are temporarily worthless as no one will buy them.

Except Uncle Sam. How come when I’m temporarily worthless, I can’t get the government to bail me out?

“Hello, Mr. President? We’re in the midst of a crisis that threatens the collapse of the market economy as we know it. I’m behind on my car payment, as well as my cable bill, and if I don’t pay up … well, sir, obviously this could be the first domino that tips the entire global financial structure into a complete meltdown. So what I need is about $700 billion . . . Hello? hello?”

Some institutions are “too big to fail.” On the other hand, I’m “too small to succeed.”

September 25, 2008

Bush’s speech

UPDATED & BUMPED: From the text:

“. . . anxiety . . . worry . . . frustration. . . . uncertainty . . .”

America sounds like a 19-year-old girl trying to decide whether to break up with her two-timing boyfriend. We’re all going to eat a quart of Hagen-Daas and listen to emo.

“First, how did our economy reach this point?”

Ann Coulter explains this pretty well. See, there was this guy named Bill Clinton and this other guy named Barney Frank. Also, Andrew Cuomo, Jim Johnson and Franklin Raines — none of whose names were mentioned in last night’s speech.

Optimism about housing values also led to a boom in home construction. Eventually the number of new houses exceeded the number of people willing to buy them. And with supply exceeding demand, housing prices fell.

Yeah, well, not every illegal alien could arrange a home loan. Michelle Malkin explains that part. Then we come to the part that Malkin dubbed the “laugh line of the day”:

I’m a strong believer in free enterprise.

Really, he means “free” as in, “Let’s give free houses to people who can’t afford them.”

The government’s top economic experts warn that without immediate action by Congress, America could slip into a financial panic, and a distressing scenario would unfold.

Is there anybody you trust less than “the government’s top economic experts”? Me neither. Well, so much for shooting fish in a barrel. We’re totally screwed, however this turns out.

PREVIOUSLY: I’m not persuaded. I am reminded of Calvin Coolidge’s response when France and England complained about repaying their World War I debts: “They hired the money, didn’t they?”

A correction is long overdue. When governments attempt to outsmart the market, the “solution” is always worse than the problem. Why should we, the people, become the buyer of last resort because people took out mortgages they couldn’t pay? Why should we bail out banks that loaned money to shady “flippers”?

UPDATE: One commenter at Hot Air: “Stock up on Vaseline.” Also, there’s word that the Democrats are already on board for this gang rape of the American taxpayer.

UPDATED II: Chump:

The senator’s top aides said planning for the announcement began late Tuesday night, as McCain began to receive word that Bush’s rescue plan was faltering in Congress, and as Democrats began to demand leadership from McCain.
“We got a good sense last night, even more so this morning,” one top aide said. “Got in a position where Democrats were warily circling McCain — not going to commit to a deal unless McCain does. It was just a time for leadership. So he just stepped up.”

Doesn’t he understand? As soon as McCain endorses the plan, Harry Reid will find some excuse to oppose the plan, Obama will then come out against the plan, and then all the liberal media will jump McCain for supporting the “Bush big-business bailout.” It’s a trap, Maverick.

September 25, 2008

Astroturfing for Maverick?

A Dutch writer infiltrates Maverick HQ and returns to tell how she was hired to ghost-write bogus letters-to-the-editor for the McCain campaign.

September 25, 2008

Holy crap!

UPDATED & BUMPED: W & O:

ABC News has learned that President Bush called Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., this evening and invited him to participate in a meeting about the Wall Street bailout bill tomorrow afternoon in Washington, DC, with other congressional leaders, including Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
Obama accepted the president’s invitation, a source tells ABC News.

Via Michelle Malkin.

This is insane:

Republican John McCain says he’s directing his staff to work with Barack Obama’s campaign and the debate commission to delay Friday’s debate because of the economic crisis.
In a statement, McCain says he will stop campaigning after addressing former President Bill Clinton’s Global Initiative session on Thursday and return to Washington to focus on the nation’s financial problems.

Now you know why I call him Crazy Cousin John.

UPDATE: Michelle’s got a poll, but this “latest bizarre move in a really erratic week” (to quote Philip Klein) has sure made me happy I called dibs on the franchise for those “Don’t Blame Me, I Voted for Bob Barr” T-shirts.

UPDATE II: Obama says no to canceling the debate. I’m checking the reaction at Hot Air and Ace and seeing some are spinning this as a call-Obama’s-bluff move. But the MSM will spin it as “REPUBLICAN DESPERATION MOVE,” and I can’t see the benefit, either in terms of policy or politics. And since Maverick is pro-bailout — which is the un-conservative position — there’s no way this move serves to rally the base against the Democrats.

So, what’s the idea? Two options:

  • McCain sincerely (and wrongly) believes the bailout is a necessary measure; or
  • Steve Schmidt suspects Team Obama will inevitably blunder when presented with a real curveball, just as the Sarah Palin pick threw Team Obama off-stride for two weeks.

Maybe it’s a little bit of both. Up until last week, Schmidt had done a very good job of keeping Hope HQ off-stride, and this is kind of like Flounder in “Animal House” rolling a box of marbles under the Faber College ROTC.

It’s a stunt, and I’m having a hard time seeing how it works to the GOP’s advantage, but maybe I’m reading this all wrong.