Fatal Flaws Of The Wall Street Bailout Bill

The Dems are at it again and this time they have to complicity of several Republicans. The current financial reform bill before the Senate (S. 3217) is supposed to make bailouts and financial crises a thing of the past. Unfortunately, it will do the exact opposite.

Writing for the Heritage Foundation, James L. Gattuso notes the following flaws:

  1. Creates a protected class of “too big to fail” firms. Section 113 of the bill establishes a “Financial Stability Oversight Council,” charged with identifying firms that would “pose a threat to the financial security of the United States if they encounter “material financial distress.” These firms would be subject to enhanced regulation. However, such a designation would also signal to the marketplace that these firms are too important to be allowed to fail and, perversely, allow them to take on undue risk. As American Enterprise Institute scholar Peter Wallison wrote, “Designating large non-bank financial companies as too big to fail will be like creating Fannies and Freddies in every area of the economy.”[1]
  2. Provides for seizure of private property without meaningful judicial review. The bill, in Section 203(b), authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to order the seizure of any financial firm that he finds is “in danger of default” and whose failure would have “serious adverse effects on financial stability.” This determination is subject to review in the courts only on a “substantial evidence” standard of review, meaning that the seizure must be upheld if the government produces any evidence in favor of its action. This makes reversal extremely difficult.
  3. Creates permanent bailout authority. Section 204 of the bill authorizes the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to “make available … funds for the orderly liquidation of [a] covered financial institution.” Although no funds could be provided to compensate a firm’s shareholders, the firm’s other creditors would be eligible for a cash bailout. The situation is much like the scheme implemented for AIG in 2008, in which the largest beneficiaries were not stockholders but rather other creditors, such as Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs[2]—hardly a model to be emulated.
  4. Establishes a $50 billion fund to pay for bailouts. Funding for bailouts is to come from a $50 billion “Orderly Resolution Fund” created within the U.S. Treasury in Section 210(n)(1), funded by taxes on financial firms. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the ultimate cost of bank taxes will fall on the customers, employees, and investors of each firm.[3]
  5. Opens a “line of credit” to the Treasury for additional government funding. Under Section 210(n)(9), the FDIC is effectively granted a line of credit to the Treasury Department that is secured by the value of failing firms in its control, providing another taxpayer financial support.
  6. Authorizes regulators to guarantee the debt of solvent banks. Bailout authority is not limited to debt of failing institutions. Under Section 1155, the FDIC is authorized to guarantee the debt of “solvent depository institutions” if regulators declare that a liquidity crisis (“event”) exists.
  7. Limits financial choices of American consumers. The bill contains a new “Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection” with broad powers to limit what financial products and services can be offered to consumers. The intended purpose is to protect consumers from unfair practices. But the effect would be to reduce available choices, even in cases where a consumer fully understands and accepts the costs and risks. For many consumers, this will make credit more expensive and harder to get.[4]
  8. Undermines safety and soundness regulation. The proposed Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection would nominally be part of the Federal Reserve System, but it would have substantial autonomy. Decisions of the new bureau would not be subject to approval by the Fed. New rules could be stopped only through a cumbersome, after-the-fact review process involving a council of all the major regulatory agencies. This could impede efforts of economic (or “safety and soundness”) regulators to ensure the financial stability of regulated firms, as the new, independent “consumer” regulator would establish rules that conflict with that goal.
  9. Enriches trial lawyers by authorizing consumer regulators to ban arbitration agreements. Section 1028 specifically authorizes the new consumer regulatory agency to ban arbitration agreements between consumers and financial firms. By reducing the use of streamlined dispute resolution procedures, more consumers and businesses would be forced to pay the costs of litigation—to the benefit of trial lawyers.
  10. Subjects firms to hundreds of varying state and local rules. Section 1044 limits pre-emption of state and local rules, subjecting banks and their customers to confusing, costly, and inconsistent red tape imposed by regulators in jurisdictions across the country.
  11. Subjects non-financial firms to financial regulation. Regulation under this legislation would extend far beyond banks. Many firms largely outside the financial industry would find themselves caught in the regulatory net. Section 102(B)(ii) of the bill defines a “nonbank financial company”” as a company “substantially engaged in activities … that are financial in nature.” The phrase “financial in nature” is defined in existing law quite broadly. According to former Treasury official Gregory Zerzan, it includes things such as “holding assets of others in trust, investing in securities … or even leasing real estate and offering certain consulting services.”[5] As a result, a broad swath of private industry may find itself ensnared in the financial regulatory net. As Zerzan explains: “An airplane manufacturer that holds customer down payments for future delivery, a large home improvement chain that invests its profits as part of a plan to increase revenues, and an energy firm that makes markets in derivatives are all engaged in ‘financial activities’ and potentially subject to systemic risk regulation.”
  12. Imposes one-size-fits-all reform in derivative markets. The bill would subject derivatives now traded over-the-counter by banks and other financial institutions to regulation by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and/or the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). It would require most derivative contracts to be settled through a clearinghouse rather than directly between the parties. Yet derivatives are already increasingly being traded on clearinghouses thanks to private efforts coordinated by the New York Fed.[6] The Senate’s bill, however, would require virtually all derivatives to be so traded. Applying such ill-designed blanket regulation would make financial derivatives more costly, more difficult to customize, and, consequently, less widely used—which would increase overall risk in the economy.[7]
  13. Allows activist groups to use the corporate governance process for issues unrelated to the corporation or its shareholders. Section 972 of the bill authorizes the SEC to require firms to allow shareholders to nominate directors in proxy statement. Such proxy access turns corporate board elections from a process designed to ensure that each board has a good mix of skills and experience into a popularity contest where the long-term interests of the stockholders become secondary to political agendas or corporate raiders. The process can also be used by labor unions, politicians who manage public pension funds, and others to force corporations to respond to pet social or political causes.
  14. Does nothing to address problems at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These two government-sponsored housing giants helped fuel the housing bubble. When it popped, taxpayers—because of an implicit guarantee by the U.S. Treasury—found themselves on the hook for some $125 billion in bailout money. Not only has little of this amount been paid back, but the Treasury Department recently eliminated the cap on how much more Fannie and Freddie can receive. Yet the bill does nothing to resolve the problem or reform these government-run enterprises.

Contact your Senators today and oppose what is turning out to be yet another piece of ignorant legislation that the idiots in Washington are imagining will somehow be good for us.

You can access the complete article on-line here:

Senator Dodd’s Regulation Plan: 14 Fatal Flaws
James Gattuso
Heritage.org
April 22, 2010

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Letter To America’s “Leadership”

This is long, but read it all the way through. It was written by Janet Contreras of Arizona.

I put the word “Leadership” in quatation marks in the title because I do not really consider those idiots in Washington to be leaders.

The words are truer than most people even know:

I’m a home grown American citizen, 53, registered Democrat all my life. Before the last presidential election I registered as a Republican because I no longer felt the Democratic Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. Now I no longer feel the Republican Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. The fact is I no longer feel any political party or representative in Washington represents my views or works to pursue the issues important to me. There must be someone. Please tell me who you are. Please stand up and tell me that you are there and that you’re willing to fight for our Constitution as it was written. Please stand up now. You might ask yourself what my views and issues are that I would horribly feel so disenfranchised by both major political parties. What kind of nut job am I? Will you please tell me?

Well, these are briefly my views and issues for which I seek representation:

One, illegal immigration. I want you to stop coddling illegal immigrants and secure our borders. Close the underground tunnels. Stop the violence and the trafficking in drugs and people. No amnesty, not again. Been there, done that, no resolution. P.S., I’m not a racist. This isn’t to be confused with legal immigration.

Two, the TARP bill, I want it repealed and I want no further funding supplied to it. We told you no, but you did it anyway. I want the remaining unfunded 95% repealed. Freeze, repeal.

Three: Czars, I want the circumvention of our checks and balances stopped immediately. Fire the czars. No more czars. Government officials answer to the process, not to the president. Stop trampling on our Constitution and honor it.

Four, cap and trade. The debate on global warming is not over. There is more to say.

Five, universal healthcare. I will not be rushed into another expensive decision. Don’t you dare try to pass this in the middle of the night and then go on break. Slow down!

Six, growing government control. I want states rights and sovereignty fully restored. I want less government in my life, not more. Shrink it down. Mind your own business. You have enough to take care of with your real obligations. Why don’t you start there.

Seven, ACORN. I do not want ACORN and its affiliates in charge of our 2010 census. I want them investigated. I also do not want mandatory escrow fees contributed to them every time on every real estate deal that closes. Stop the funding to ACORN and its affiliates pending impartial audits and investigations. I do not trust them with taking the census over with our taxpayer money. I don’t trust them with our taxpayer money. Face up to the allegations against them and get it resolved before taxpayers get any more involved with them. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, hello. Stop protecting your political buddies. You work for us, the people. Investigate.

Eight, redistribution of wealth. No, no, no. I work for my money. It is mine. I have always worked for people with more money than I have because they gave me jobs. That is the only redistribution of wealth that I will support. I never got a job from a poor person. Why do you want me to hate my employers? Why ‑‑ what do you have against shareholders making a profit?

Nine, charitable contributions. Although I never got a job from a poor person, I have helped many in need. Charity belongs in our local communities, where we know our needs best and can use our local talent and our local resources. Butt out, please. We want to do it ourselves.

Ten, corporate bailouts. Knock it off. Sink or swim like the rest of us. If there are hard times ahead, we’ll be better off just getting into it and letting the strong survive. Quick and painful. Have you ever ripped off a Band‑Aid? We will pull together. Great things happen in America under great hardship. Give us the chance to innovate. We cannot disappoint you more than you have disappointed us.

Eleven, transparency and accountability. How about it? No, really, how about it? Let’s have it. Let’s say we give the buzzwords a rest and have some straight honest talk. Please try ‑‑ please stop manipulating and trying to appease me with clever wording. I am not the idiot you obviously take me for. Stop sneaking around and meeting in back rooms making deals with your friends. It will only be a prelude to your criminal investigation. Stop hiding things from me.

Twelve, unprecedented quick spending. Stop it now.

Take a breath. Listen to the people. Let’s just slow down and get some input from some nonpoliticians on the subject. Stop making everything an emergency. Stop speed reading our bills into law. I am not an activist. I am not a community organizer. Nor am I a terrorist, a militant or a violent person. I am a parent and a grandparent. I work. I’m busy. I’m busy. I am busy, and I am tired. I thought we elected competent people to take care of the business of government so that we could work, raise our families, pay our bills, have a little recreation, complain about taxes, endure our hardships, pursue our personal goals, cut our lawn, wash our cars on the weekends and be responsible contributing members of society and teach our children to be the same all while living in the home of the free and land of the brave.

I entrusted you with upholding the Constitution. I believed in the checks and balances to keep from getting far off course. What happened? You are very far off course. Do you really think I find humor in the hiring of a speed reader to unintelligently ramble all through a bill that you signed into law without knowing what it contained? I do not. It is a mockery of the responsibility I have entrusted to you. It is a slap in the face. I am not laughing at your arrogance. Why is it that I feel as if you would not trust me to make a single decision about my own life and how I would live it but you should expect that I should trust you with the debt that you have laid on all of us and our children. We did not want the TARP bill. We said no. We would repeal it if we could. I am sure that we still cannot. There is such urgency and recklessness in all of the recent spending.

From my perspective, it seems that all of you have gone insane. I also know that I am far from alone in these feelings. Do you honestly feel that your current pursuits have merit to patriotic Americans? We want it to stop. We want to put the brakes on everything that is being rushed by us and forced upon us. We want our voice back. You have forced us to put our lives on hold to straighten out the mess that you are making. We will have to give up our vacations, our time spent with our children, any relaxation time we may have had and money we cannot afford to spend on you to bring our concerns to Washington. Our president often knows all the right buzzword is unsustainable. Well, no kidding. How many tens of thousands of dollars did the focus group cost to come up with that word? We don’t want your overpriced words. Stop treating us like we’re morons.

We want all of you to stop focusing on your reelection and do the job we want done, not the job you want done or the job your party wants done. You work for us and at this rate I guarantee you not for long because we are coming. We will be heard and we will be represented. You think we’re so busy with our lives that we will never come for you? We are the formerly silent majority, all of us who quietly work , pay taxes, obey the law, vote, save money, keep our noses to the grindstone and we are now looking up at you. You have awakened us, the patriotic spirit so strong and so powerful that it had been sleeping too long. You have pushed us too far. Our numbers are great. They may surprise you. For every one of us who will be there, there will be hundreds more that could not come. Unlike you, we have their trust. We will represent them honestly, rest assured. They will be at the polls on voting day to usher you out of office. We have cancelled vacations. We will use our last few dollars saved. We will find the representation among us and a grassroots campaign will flourish. We didn’t ask for this fight. But the gloves are coming off. We do not come in violence, but we are angry. You will represent us or you will be replaced with someone who will. There are candidates among us when hewill rise like a Phoenix from the ashes that you have made of our constitution.

Democrat, Republican, independent, libertarian. Understand this. We don’t care. Political parties are meaningless to us. Patriotic Americans are willing to do right by us and our Constitution and that is all that matters to us now. We are going to fire all of you who abuse power and seek more. It is not your power. It is ours and we want it back. We entrusted you with it and you abused it. You are dishonorable. You are dishonest. As Americans we are ashamed of you. You have brought shame to us. If you are not representing the wants and needs of your constituency loudly and consistently, in spite of the objections of your party, you will be fired. Did you hear? We no longer care about your political parties. You need to be loyal to us, not to them. Because we will get you fired and they will not save you. If you do or can represent me, my issues, my views, please stand up. Make your identity known. You need to make some noise about it. Speak up. I need to know who you are. If you do not speak up, you will be herded out with the rest of the sheep and we will replace the whole damn congress if need be one by one. We are coming. Are we coming for you? Who do you represent? What do you represent? Listen. Because we are coming. We the people are coming.

If you wish to sign the petition that is this letter, go to the following website:

An Open Letter To Our Nation’s Leadership

Excellent On-Line Essay: Blue-State Bailout Blues

By Jay Henderson over at American Sentinel.

So, which states are the first in line to ask for federal bailouts? Those states with the largest entitlement spending programs. They are New York, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Illinois.

From Jay’s on-line essay:

There is a dangerous tipping point in politics. When 50.1% of the voters pay no taxes but expect and rely on “entitlements” from the government, then they will tax to infinity the remaining 49.9% of the polity. The Blue States now begging for bailouts give us a good look at what happens as that tipping point approaches.

The rush for Federal bailout bucks began in November, led by California and New York. In early January, Democratic governors from Wisconsin, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Ohio pitched their case to the Obama transition team, proposing a $1 trillion bailout of state governments.

The needy Blue States of Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Illinois and California provided 134 Obama electoral votes last November – – more than half of his total. Other states on the bailout list include Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin, 47 more Democratic electoral votes. The political pressure on the Obama administration is obvious.

Your tax dollars, money you need to take care of your own family, are going to go for paying off political allies and propping up socialist entitlement programs that are destined to bankrupt those who fund them, no matter how many ways they are taxed.

But of interesting note here is that those states are also among the wealthiest in terms of per capita income:

Ironically, the governors travelling to Washington with begging bowls represent some of the wealthiest states in the U.S. Measured in terms of per capita income, they include New Jersey (ranked number 2), Massachusetts (ranked number 3), New York (number 4), California (number 7), and Illinois (number 16), as of 2007 statistics. Per Capita Personal Income By State. How can this be? Well, these same states are at the forefront of “entitlement” spending and social engineering projects.

Finally:

While Red State America, sustained by blue collar, working class, and small business taxpayers, is called upon to bail out the wealthy but profligate Blues – – the Congressional Democrats and the Obama Administration are planning to expand or adopt the same kinds of “entitlement” spending programs and social engineering projects that are breaking the backs of Blue State taxpayers. Because they work so well, right? This is a chilling insight into our national future – – if we don’t derail the Obamacrat train.

So, who is going to bailout the small businesses, blue-collar workers and the working class when the U.S. government bankrupts itself by wasting trillions of dollars on the same foolish programs that bankrupted the states that are looking for bailout dollars?

You can access the complete article on-line here:

Blue-State Bailout Blues
Jay Henderson
American Sentinel
February 4, 2009

Other links here:

Next Federal Bailout May Go To States; Democratic Governors Seek $1 Trillion
FoxNews.com
January 3, 2009

Facing Shortfalls, States Seek Emergency Aid From Washington
Keith B. Richburg and Ashley Surdin
Washington Post
November 16, 2008

Local Zeroes: Cities And States Are Facing Big Budget Deficits
The Economist
November 13, 2008

RINO Season Is Now Open

You gotta love The Nuge! He is now making his way into the political arena with periodic columns about this, that and the other thing and he is doing it with his own personal style. Where Ann Coulter uses biting satire, Ted Nugent just throws the subject in your face and says, “Deal with it.”.

His latest column is about RINOs and how we can hunt them down and purge them from the GOP. From Human Events Online:

RINOs are Fedzilla punks who feign support for conservative principles only when it serves their political interest. RINOs are also known for their moderate positions such as supporting tax increases, federal “bailouts”, “comprehensive immigration reform”, advocating more counterproductive gun control that guarantee more innocent victims, opposing the death penalty, and growing and sustaining Fedzilla and all its toxic mongrels by going along with the liberals.

As the Republican Party begins to retool, rebuild and return to the “less government is best government” conservatism that makes America work, the first thing the GOP needs to do is to lock the RINOs out of the discussion.

And this:

John McCain has been a RINO on campaign finance, immigration, global warming and other issues and look what happened to him. He had reached across the aisle so many times to cut deals with the liberals that he had to pick Governor Palin, a true conservative, to try and lure disenfranchised and disgusted conservatives back into the fold. Didn’t work. Senator McCain was the wrong candidate at the right time. RINOs lose elections; conservatives win them.

Should President-elect Obama implement his wrong-headed economic policies, our economy will continue to slide into the abyss and America’s debt will continue to soar to unsustainable levels. Conservatives must hold the line at all costs and call out all RINOs who support President-elect Obama’s economic kamikaze plan.

Make no mistake, conservative values and ideologies are embraced by Americans. The polls all indicate Americans are fed up with the Pelosi-led, do nothing congress, and do not support more government programs and control. Sounds to me like we have a conservative revolution brewing.

I agree.

This whole piece is a gem.

You can access the complete column on-line here:

RINO Season Is Now Open
Ted Nugent
HumanEventsOnline.com
November 12, 2008

And you can DIGG this column on-line here:

Digg It!