House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is the subject of a report on the stock investments of members of Congress that is to air Sunday on CBS’ “60 Minutes.”
[…]Kroft asked Pelosi why she and her investor husband, Paul Pelosi, bought an initial public offering of stock in Visa, the San Francisco-based credit card company, in March of 2008.
The same month, former House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., introduced the Credit Card Fair Fee Act, which would have given merchants the power to negotiate lower fees with credit card companies. The bill, hostile to the credit card industry, was passed by the committee but never brought to the floor. Pelosi was speaker at the time, and controlled which legislation came to a vote.
The Pelosis bought the Visa stock in three transactions totaling $1 million to $5 million, according to financial disclosure reports. The first was the IPO, followed by two other purchases of the stock at higher prices, Pelosi said.
It certainly seems suspicious to me. She owns millions of dollars of stock in a credit card company, and then proposed legislation to regulate that industry is not allowed a vote on the floor of the House.
But what about that 99%? What responsibility do they bear for the situation the world finds itself in? The answer is: plenty. Greed doesn’t just live on Wall Street: it finds a home on Main Street too. And when people think it’s perfectly OK to take out mortgages they can’t afford, or rack up credit card debt to buy flat screen TVs, clothes and appliances, or draw on their home’s equity to finance cars and vacations, well, as they say, you reap what you sow.
[…]But you only have to crack open the business pages, or watch a reality TV show like Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s “Princesses” (about heavily indebted young women) to start questioning the moral purity of the 99%. Many of these people are the authors of their own misery: they consider credit to be cheap, if not free, money. The result is that even here in Canada, the ratio of household debt to personal income has hit a whopping 150%, up 78% in real terms in the past twenty years.
I have no pity for those heavily indebted people, in part because I was once one of them. My love affair with credit started in university. While the limit on that first card was low – $1500 – it allowed a student with a part-time job to buy things she couldn’t otherwise afford (and mostly didn’t need). After getting married, I kept spending, even cashing in my meagre RRSP to help finance the wedding. Post-divorce, I racked up consumer debt, over $15,000 at its peak, at which point I took a harsh look at myself and said: enough. At the time, I was selling my condo: I took the proceeds, paid off the debt, invested the balance, and vowed to both save and pay monthly bills in full, promises I have kept ever since.
Luckily, I got religion well before the meltdown of 2008. But many people didn’t. And this makes them responsible not only for their own problems, but those of their neighbours.
Sure, it’s easy to blame the Wall Street CEOs for bundling rotten mortgages and contriving arcane debt instruments that weren’t worth the paper they were written on. But someone took out those mortgages. Millions of people, actually, who bought more house than they could afford. Did someone hold a gun to their head? No. They were just as greedy as the 1%, only on a smaller scale.
Governments are also just as guilty. In the U.S., Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac granted mortgages to people deemed disadvantaged – minorities, the poor – in the hopes of increasing home ownership. This spurred the private sector to compete and fuelled the infamous subprime mortgage market.
The Canadians have special tax-free savings accounts that encourage them to save money instead of spending it. That’s something that we should do – provide people with tax-free savings accounts. Give people the incentive to save their money instead of spending it.
Ha! That looks like Obama giving that speech. Oh, it is Obama. Ha ha.
In that clip, Obama says:
The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents – #43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.
Obama liked to talk about the credit card from the bank of China during the campaign. And many people who watch Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and Rachel Maddow believed him. They believed him because the comedians told them to believe him. They did not want to stop laughing long enough to look at Obama’s voting record to see that he was consistently getting F ratings on spending and government waste and pork in all of his years as a legislator.
So Obama said that spending 4 trillion is “unpatriotic”. But then Obama did a funny thing. CBS News reports.
The latest posting by the Treasury Department shows the national debt has now increased $4 trillion on President Obama’s watch.
The debt was $10.626 trillion on the day Mr. Obama took office. The latest calculation from Treasury shows the debt has now hit $14.639 trillion.
It’s the most rapid increase in the debt under any U.S. president.
The national debt increased $4.9 trillion during the eight-year presidency of George W. Bush. The debt now is rising at a pace to surpass that amount during Mr. Obama’s four-year term.
Mr. Obama blames policies inherited from his predecessor’s administration for the soaring debt. He singles out:
“two wars we didn’t pay for”
“a prescription drug program for seniors…we didn’t pay for.”
“tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 that were not paid for.”
He goes on to blame the recession, and its resulting decrease in tax revenue on businesses, for making fewer sales, and more employees being laid off. He says the recession also resulted in more government spending due to increased unemployment insurance payments, subsidies to farms and funding of infrastructure programs that were part of his stimulus program.
Obama’s explanation for the deficits doesn’t wash, since the deficit was only $162 billion in 2007, the last year the Republicans had control of the House and Senate.
A favorite liberal narrative is that President George W. Bush squan- dered the Clinton-era budget surpluses and piled up deficits with expensive wars and tax cuts for the rich. Candidate Barack Obama used this tale to great effect, and President Obama tells it still. Take his State of the Union address last week, when Mr. Obama attributed the Bush-era deficits to “paying for two wars, two tax cuts, and an expensive prescription drug program.”
The truth is that Mr. Bush’s deficits were the product of spending, not tax cuts. In fact, Mr. Obama could learn an important lesson for his own economic plan by studying Mr. Bush’s two very different attempts at tax-cutting.
As the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore illuminates in his 2008 book “The End of Prosperity” (Threshold Editions), Mr. Bush’s 2001 tax cuts failed to revive an economy still staggering from the bursting of the dot-com bubble. Mr. Bush’s strategy had been to adopt a demand-side, Keynesian stimulus, hoping that putting a few extra dollars in Americans’ pockets would jump-start the economy through increased consumption. This approach faltered, not just because Americans opted to save their rebates, but because it neglected the importance of business investment to overall growth. Predictably, the economy lagged and government revenues stagnated. What the United States needed then (and needs now) was to stimulate investment, not consumption.
By 2003, Mr. Bush grasped this lesson. In that year, he cut the dividend and capital gains rates to 15 percent each, and the economy responded. In two years, stocks rose 20 percent. In three years, $15 trillion of new wealth was created. The U.S. economy added 8 million new jobs from mid-2003 to early 2007, and the median household increased its wealth by $20,000 in real terms.
But the real jolt for tax-cutting opponents was that the 03 Bush tax cuts also generated a massive increase in federal tax receipts. From 2004 to 2007, federal tax revenues increased by $785 billion, the largest four-year increase in American history. According to the Treasury Department, individual and corporate income tax receipts were up 40 percent in the three years following the Bush tax cuts. And (bonus) the rich paid an even higher percentage of the total tax burden than they had at any time in at least the previous 40 years. This was news to theNew York Times, whose astonished editorial board could only describe the gains as a “surprise windfall.”
Unfortunately, Mr. Bush allowed Congress to spend away those additional tax revenues. The fact is that the increase in tax revenues that flowed from the ‘03 tax cuts could have paid for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and then some but for rampant discretionary domestic spending.
So, Bush passed his tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, but revenue went up:
And the deficits went down from 2004 to 2007:
Bush was on track to balance the budget, then Nancy Pelosi came along and added 5.34 trillion to the debt in her 4 years as Speaker.
It is the kind of impunity that has been highlighted on the world stage this week by Michelle Obama’s hugely costly trip to Spain, which has prompted a New York Post columnist Andrea Tantaros to dub the First Lady a contemporary Marie Antoinette. As The Telegraph reports, while the Obamas are covering their own vacation expenses such as accommodation, the trip may cost US taxpayers as much as $375,000 in terms of secret service security and flight costs on Air Force Two.
[…]While the liberal-dominated US mainstream media have largely ignored the story, it is all over the blogosphere and talk radio, and will undoubtedly add to the President’s free falling poll ratings. As much as the media establishment turn a blind eye to stories like this, which are major news in the international media, the American public is increasingly turning to alternative news sources, including the British press, which has a far less deferential approach towards the White House.
The First Lady’s ill-conceived trip to Marbella and the complete disregard for public opinion and concerns over excessive government spending is symbolic of a far wider problem with the Obama presidency – the overarching disdain for the principles of limited government, individual liberty and free enterprise that have built the United States over the course of nearly two and a half centuries into the most powerful and free nation on earth.
These British news sources understand what America is supposed to be better than we understand it ourselves, apparently. They know something is wrong.
First, the billion-dollar bailouts for all of Obama’s suporters, and now this extravagance. Your children will be paying for this, eventually. Every dollar has to be paid back.