Thoughts on Obama’s Comparison of Tim Geithner to Alexander Hamilton

Since making that comparison several days ago, I’ve heard several news commentators hail Barack Obama as a scholarly historian. Duhhh!!!!

Other than exhibiting what should be a high school senior’s knowledge of American History, I don’t see any indication that Barack Obama’s knowledge of American History has any depth.

Sure, Geithner and Hamilton are/were the Secretary of the Treasury … Hamilton being the first and Geithner … hopefully not being the last.

And, yes, they both appear to have a propensity to piss people off. I don’t know of any single detractor of Tim Geithner that stands out among the growing crowd, so I suspect that his “Aaron Burr” is more a reflection in the mirror than any one individual. Right … I think Geitner’s own worst enemy is himself.

Beyond that, there is really no comparison in spite of Barack Obama’s claims.

Timothy Geithner has literally bounced from one government job to another receiving accolades for, at best, dubious performance.

Alexander Hamilton was, on the other hand, a person with considerable experience in the private sector, had considerable military experience, and actually performed services to the country that increased it’s financial stability.

That appears to be in marked contrast to Tim Geitner’s bunglings from failure to pay taxes to failure to perform due diligence regarding AIG and other financial institutions and actually recommending the wording of the Dodd Amendment to the recent stimulus bill.

So, why are there 17 high level vacancies at the Treasury Department? It’s not due to a Congress that’s willing to approve any pet Orangutan that Barack Obama might nominate. I’ve heard it suggested that it might be because of the propensity for many of Obama’s “tax evading” nominees receiving too much scrutiny. To the contrary, that seems to be more of a prerequisite and badge of honor rather than a hindrance. So, I don’t buy that argument.

I think it has to do with Tim Geithner. I don’t think anyone wants to work for him. Chew on that thought for a while.

So, is Barack Obama sticking by this bonehead because he’s such a great financial expert?

Or is it due to some plain ole’ cronyism. You know. Geithner’s father provided Obama’s mother with a job, so Obama is providing his son, Tim, with a job.

Let’s look at Geithner’s record.

As governor of the New York Federal Reserve, he oversaw the collapse of several major banks based in New York, Bank of America and Citibank. He even encouraged or strongarmed BOA into buying Merrill Lynch … the last straw that has practically broken BOA’s back.

He’s been an ardent supporter of  “Mark-to-market” accounting, a stand that I believe will eventually prove to be the single most important cause of the collapse of the banking industry.

He was the single most important person in orchestrating the initial $700 billion plus stimulus package. Time and numerous Monday morning quarterbacks will eventually discern the wisdom of that move. My personal opinion is that if “mark to market” had been suspended or amendeda year ago, the initial $700 billion wouldn’t have been necessary for any reason.

Then we find he doesn’t think, because of his exhalted position, that he has to pay income taxes. And when he finally does pay them, the IRS gives him preferential treatment by not applying penalties like they would to 300 million other people. Hell, they’ve tried to hit me with penalties for taxes that I paid on time. I suppose you and I are supposed to make up the deficits in collections caused by people like Mr. Geithner and former senator Tom Daschle who think they’re too important to bother with paying taxes.

Then he adds wording to the recent stimulus bill to exempt the bonuses paid to the financial division of AIG, and hides in the closet about the issue until Senator Chris Dodd, tired of taking all the heat for his (the Dodd) amendment, finally rats Geithner out.

So, we now find Barack Obama adroitly blowing smoke up our derrieres by comparing Geithner to Alexander Hamilton. And we find numerous news commentators hailing Obama as an adroit historian while they, too, have a proctoscope rather than a megaphone firmly pressed to their lips.

Break out the jar of Vaseline, we’re going to get at least 3 plus more years of this treatment so we may as well try to ease some of the pain of being repeatedly buggered.

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Linda Ketner, Liberal Democrat, on the Economy and Deregulation: Part II

One of Linda Ketner’s recent ads during the campaign is to rail against the Republicans for deregulation. In her ad she states that eight years ago the Republicans passed into law legislation that overturned laws from the 1930’s which were designed to protect Americans from Wall Street … or something pretty close to that.

I don’t know what she’s referring to that was passed eight years ago … but in 1999 President Clinton signed into law the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act which overturned the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933.

According to an article on MoneyNews.com, MoneyNews – Clinton: Deregulation Not to Blame for Crisis, the Glass-Steagall Act, among other things, separated commercial and investment banking.  Former President Bill Clinton stated in an interview with Business Week that the legislation he signed didn’t completely deregulate the banking industry. In fact he said in answer to a question about this,

“No, because it wasn’t a complete deregulation at all. We still have
heavy regulations and insurance on bank deposits, requirements on banks
for capital and for disclosure.”

Former President Clinton went on to add,

“I thought at the time that it might lead to more stable investments
and a reduced pressure on Wall Street to produce quarterly profits that
were always bigger than the previous quarter,”

and,

“I have really thought about this a lot. I don’t see that signing that
bill had anything to do with the current crisis. Indeed, one of the
things that has helped stabilize the current situation as much as it
has is the purchase of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America, which was much
smoother than it would have been if I hadn’t signed that bill.”

Maybe Ms. Ketner needs to check her dates … or she was talking about something else, but … this sounds suspiciously like what she was referring to. She was talking about deregulation and the current financial crisis, wasn’t she? Well, so was former President Clinton on Oct. 1, 2008.

I suppose Ms. Ketner is more of an expert on the economy than President Clinton. After all, she has been advocating low interest loans in South Carolina since 1991 of the type that got Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into trouble in the first place.

I also thought it was noteworthy that such great Democratic minds as Senators Chuck Schumer, Chris Dodd,  Dick Durbin, Tom Daschle, John Edwards, John Kerry and Joe Biden all also voted for this bill. That quite a list of current Democratic economic and financial experts as well as presidential and vice-presidential hopefuls. And don’t forget about former Democratic President Bill Clinton.

But then, Ms. Ketner knows more about the economy than any of them. After all, she grew up in a town of 500, taught high school and college, runs a business and is a member of a struggling middle class family …right? I wonder if she taught History … or Economics … a lot of dates to remember, facts to get straight ( or make politically correct ) and theory to understand.

Linda Ketner is the Democratic candidate for the South Carolina First Congressional District.

Ms. Ketner, you need to take this issue up with Bill Clinton, because he says what you’re saying “just ain’t so”.

Ms. Ketner needs to come up for air and check her facts.

Linda Ketner, A Different Kind of Democrat? Part I

Being a resident of South Carolina’s First Congressional District, I am curious whether Linda Ketner is actually a different kind of Democrat. Is she actually going to bring change or is she just going to be another rubber stamp for Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank?

So, I decided to start out by reading her biography which she seems to be so proud of. I can see why she is running on the Democratic ticket.

Much of her efforts seem to be related to housing issues which on a national scale are the basis of our current financial crisis. Anyone who has missed the fact that the disintegration of the housing market was caused by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac operating in an essentially unregulated manner, falsifying their accounting books to provide their senior management with increased bonuses and either encouraging or coercing lending institutions to write risky home loans and then being the agents to pass these high risk loans into the investment sector which in turn caused numerous commercial and investment banks to fail when the portfolios put together by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were deemed to be either worthless or of an indeterminate value …, well, anyone who has missed that has been either in suspended animation, hibernating or lost in space for the past 11 months.

To quote Ms. Ketner’s bio, Biography | Linda Ketner For Congress, “Linda formed South Carolina Citizens for Housing in 1991… . Some of Linda’s leadership positions include: Chair of the Mayor’s Council On Homelessness and Affordable Housing, Chair of the S.C. Housing Trust Fund, Founder of South Carolina Citizens For Housing, Founder of Charleston Affordable Housing and South Carolina Equality Coalition.”

Ms. Ketner’s efforts, since 1991, have been right in line with the major Democratic supporters of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. My question is,  “Was she competing with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac … or colluding with them?” Also, have her efforts had anything to do with ACORN, an organization some consider a radical left wing operation which, among other things deals with housing issues a as well as other activities like its union affiliates and voter registration efforts which have led to a number of its operatives receiving felony convictions for voter fraud?

It seems that Ms. Ketner, like all of the rest of the Democrats, wants to blame the Republicans for deregulating Wall Street and, in some delusional, mystical or magical way, to try to insinuate that all of the current financial crisis is not related to corruption and fraud in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the Democrats’ efforts to block increased  or basically any regulation of those two out of control institutions but to some undefined deregulation on Wall Street which has nothing to do with what happened at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In fact, early in his first administration, even President Clinton tried to reign in these two corrupt giants but was blocked by his own party.  Did you just see Ms. Ketner pull a quarter out of your ear?

The Republicans contribution to this entire mess was the failure of SEC chairman Chris Cox, a Bush appointee, to adequately oversee the functions of the SEC which basically ignored what was going on even though it knew about it as reported in a recent Inspector General’s report and, then Chairman Cox failed to exercise a power he had to change the “mark to market rule”. He was finally reminded of this authority last week by the Senate and has subsequently acted … after 11 months … hopefully not too late.

To the contrary, President Bush, since 2001, has been trying unsuccessfully to increase the regulation on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and has been opposed and obstructed every step of the way by such prominent Democrats as Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and Chuck Schumer. President Bush sent Treasury Secretary John Snow to Congress with warnings about irregular accounting practices and increasing risks of continuing the high risk policies of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He sent Alan Greenspan who warned of the potential of a financial crisis if the practices of Fannie Mae and Freddi mac continued to go unchecked. They were ridiculed by Democrats like Barnie Franks, Maxine Waters and Chris Dodd. John McCain warned of a pending financial crisis two years ago as the Republicans tried to get a bill passed to increase regulation on these two entities which was voted down by the Democrats.

Think about it? If there were Republicans actually responsible for this crisis, don’t you think there would be several hundred special investigations going on right now with the current Democratic majority And, with the Democrats maintaining a majority in Congress, do you think that there is going to be any sort of investigation or commission to study the crisis? Barack Obama has already said that notion, an investigation or commission, which has been suggested by John McCain was “ridiculous”.  I imagine he does think the idea of investigating the cause of the current financial crisis is ridiculous. What could John McCain be thinking? No sane Democrat would want that.

Now everyone will argue that the Republicans have controlled Congress for six of the past eight years. Actually, some will argue that the Republicans have controlled Congress for the past eight years. I’ve actually heard that one frequently. Based on that, I understand why the Democrats think they can win. There’s nothing like appealing to and feeding on people’s ignorance. Ms. Ketner knows that it takes a majority of 60 in the Senate to override the possibility of a filibuster. The Republicans have never had more than 55 members in the Senate in the past eight years … or past twelve years.  The Democrats last had that kind of majority in the 1960’s. Without a majority of 60, the minority party can, in effect, veto any bill it doesn’t want passed. That’s why the Democrats are trying real hard to get 60 Senate seats. Simple majority rules in the House … not so in the Senate. The Founding Fathers were very smart … although many Democrats would resentfully disagree.

But, somehow, the Republicans are responsible for the current meltdown of the housing markets and the resultant financial crisis. Even though you can hear and see the words coming from the Democratic Congressmens’ and Senators’ mouths on video tapes of the events, the Democrats …. like Ms. Ketner … are in complete denial of the obvious truth. President Bush can justifiably be held responsible for a lot of things … but this isn’t one of them. The evidence is in plain view for anyone to see.

Now, all of these things that Linda Ketner has done, … well, they’re very admirable. There’s nothing wrong with trying to get people affordable housing and trying to help people own homes … unless and until it starts hurting other people. Can anyone deny that the current financial crisis has the capability of hurting a lot of people.

Now … I don’t know if the things that Linda Ketner has been doing for the past 17 years has anything to do with the meltdown of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but … it all sounds an awful lot like a lot of what many of the rest of the Democrats like Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and Chuck Schumer have been up to for a long time.

So, my question is, “How much have Linda Ketner’s efforts been tied to risky loans handled through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which are the cause of the meltdown of the housing market?

I’d like her to answer that.

No. I’d like someone else to look into that … some entity that doesn’t have a vested interest in winning a political campaign. It’s not that I don’t trust you Ms. Ketner. But, in my opinion, you have a knack for either stretching the truth or completely ignoring it and you haven’t been completely candid in your assessment of what and who has been wrong for the past seven or eight years. If you do consider yourself candid, then I question your ability to accurately assess a financial situation … or anything else.

Thank You, Barney Frank, for the Mess We’re In

Most people haven’t gone so far as to directly blame him, close but not quite, but I will. And we can throw in a few other prominent Democrats like Chris Dodd and Chcuk Schumer as well if you like. If there was ever any one person who deserved to have about 300 million people attend his tar and feathering party, it’s Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts.

If you don’t want to take my word for it, then read the following article by Michael Graham of the Boston Herald.

Better not bank on Barney Frank – BostonHerald.com

Haven’t we been repeatedly hearing how the Republicans and the Bush Administration created this whole mess because they’re in favor of deregulation. And, John McCain is a deregulator so he, in particular is responsible.

Well …

From the standpoint of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, nothing could be farther from the truth. Okay, let me be a little more blunt. They are blatant liars, every one of them … including Barack Obama and all of his puppet like mouths such as Bill Burton and more recently, Stephanie Cutter. These people couldn’t recognize the truth if it hit them in the face.

The truth is …

The Bush Administration as early as 2001 … that’s right … within less than a year in office … recognized that there were serious problems with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and sent John Snow who was the Secretary of the Treasury to Congress to try to get laws passed to increase regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Democrats wouldn’t hear of it. The Bush Administration sent Alan Greenspan to Capitol Hill but, again, the Democrats wouldn’t listen.

I watched a tape yesterday where Barney Frank said in one of those hearings that the warnings of crises that were being presented were only “hypothetical” and would “never happen”. That’s right. that’s exactly what Barney Frank said … what we’ve been going through the past year and right now would not happen.

In 2005, the Republican passed a bill in committee to increase regulations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which was voted against to the man by the Democratic members. The bill wasn’t put on the floor for a vote because the Republicans knew they couldn’t get 60 votes to pass the bill.

Barney Frank has consistently favored Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac forcing banks and other lending institutions to underwrite loans for people who couldn’t afford them.

Now the taxpayers are having to bail out the corporations that bought these bad loans …

and the Democrats wants the American Taxpayer to pay for the same people who shouldn’t have had the loans in the first place to keep the property that they couldn’t afford in the first place.

That’s the real screw job … not the $700 billion bail out. If it were only the $700 billion bail out American Taxpayers could probably wind up making money on the deal in the long run because the property could probably be sold later at a profit. But, no. We have to pay to keep the people who couldn’t afford the houses in the first place in them.

That’s the real shaft that the American public is getting.

Of course, there’s one more card in the deck. All of this property could be sold at a profit later. My bet is that it will be sold for pennies on the dollar to some special friends of a few special people … (Democrats, of course, since they’re counting on controlling both Congress and the White House after November) … and the American taxpayer and public will be shafted anyway.

Thanks, Barney … and Barack and Chris and Chuck. Yeah … thanks.

26 September 2008 …

I’ve read some people trying to debunk my article by saying that the Republicans controlled Congress and could have passed any bill they wanted to. Those people obviously don’t know what they’re talking about or don’t understand how the Senate works.

A look at the following article on the History of the U.S. Senate,

U.S. Senate: Art & History Home > Origins & Development > Party Division

clearly shows that the Republicans never had a veto proof majority of 60 to pass legislation over the threat of a filibuster. There were never more than 55 Republican Senators in a given Congress during this period and then only that many in two Congresses.

A simple majority is not veto proof control.

So, let the critics try to debunk fact.

Addendum (2/21/2009): The Boston Herald article is no longer available for free access as I found out today … but the comments are. I suppose if you want to read the article you’ll have to subscribe … although I did a search of the title and got “0” results. ???  “Earl”