From Keith Hennessey. He groups the questions into 4 categories, so I’ll excerpt one from each category below. The press conference is scheduled for Wednesday at 8 PM Eastern time.
You proposed spending money from the TARP to prevent foreclosures, help small businesses, and to buy toxic assets from banks. In June CBO said they had found no evidence that any money has been spent for any of these programs. How many foreclosures have been prevented, how many small businesses have received loans from, and how many toxic assets have been purchased?
Your Administration has said that health care reform is the key to addressing our long-term budget problem. Yet you have adopted a lower standard, that health care reform legislation simply does not make our deficit problems worse. If health care reform leaves the unsustainable budget situation unchanged, and since CBO says your budget would result in nine trillion dollars of new debt over the next decade, then how else do you propose to deal with the projected explosion of government debt over the long run?
Does it make sense for the U.S. to impose higher energy costs on American workers and manufacturers if the two largest developing economies [India and China] are unwilling to slow their emissions growth? Won’t that just disadvantage American workers with little reduction in future global temperatures?
The top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Finance Committee have called for you to submit to Congress for their approval the signed Free Trade Agreements with U.S. allies Colombia, Panama and South Korea. Why have you not submitted them to Congress? When will you do so?
These questions really expose how things have gone awry with the Obama presidency.
The Heritage Foundation is my favorite think tank, just like the Investors Business Daily podcast is my favorite podcast. These two news sources are heads and shoulders over anything else. Except for Commenter ECM, but that goes without saying.
Let’s see what they have for us today!
First, let’s get an answer to the question of who cut spending more, Bush (in his last year budget) or Obama (in his first budget)?
Oh, that reminds me of a video I saw on the Maritime Sentry of the lovely Michele Bachmann trying desperately to persuade the silly people in Congress not to give more money to organizations like ACORN who are facing charges of voter fraud. But there’s only one Michele and so many other unqualified people.
I don’t know why they won’t listen to her and do what she wants. When I see Michele speaking, I just want to give her whatever she wants. She seems so passionate, moral and competent, much more so than the other people who haven’t actually run a business or home-schooled 5 children and 23 foster children.
She had a post on her blog about her amendment to block giving money to ACORN, too.
On Monday of this week, charges were brought in Nevada against ACORN and two of its former employees for voter registration violations, and today, the Allegheny County District Attorney in Pennsylvania charged seven employees of ACORN with forgery and election law violations, saying they filed hundreds of fraudulent voter registrations during last year’s general election.
It really could not be more timely as Chairman Barney Frank was just on the House floor trying to justify his amendment to the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act that will allow groups such as ACORN that have been indicted, or have employees who have been indicted, of voter fraud to receive millions in taxpayer funding.
Last week, the House Financial Services Committee unanimously passed my amendment to prohibit the flow of your money to such groups, but Chairman Frank feels it necessary to take back his support for that commonsense language and raise the bar so that organizations would have to be convicted before their access to tax dollars would be cut off.
While I realize that we are all innocent until proven guilty, ACORN has established a pattern of voter registration violations that seems to pop up election after election and in state after state. The courts are the appropriate place to try guilt and innocence. Congress has a fiduciary obligation to spend tax dollars wisely.
Your taxpayer money must be held to the highest standard, and not used to engage in a proven pattern of voter registration violations.
Here’s another story from the Heritage Foundation about Obama’s interventions into the free market. The more he meddles, the fewer people will want to run businesses in the USA, and the more unemployment there will be. You’ll remember that Obama tried to force the banks to stiff creditors for pennies on the dollar, while giving his union supporters a much better bankruptcy deal than they deserved.
Why did the President have to resort to such enhanced techniques of intimidation? Mainly because he was asking financial lenders to engage in the same unscrupulous acts his administration has been engaging in since January, i.e. picking winners and losers without concern for free market principles. The President wanted hedge funds to force a loss on investment onto their unknowing clients, so he could reward supportive union bosses in a “controlled” (i.e. Obama controlled) bankruptcy.
The rest of the post documents the ways in which government intervention and intimidation of private business hurts the economy. And they summarize Tom Lauria’s testimony that I blogged about before:
Tom Lauria, a prominent bankruptcy judge, and Democratic Party contributor, recently told WJR in Detroit: “One of my clients was directly threatened by the White House and in essence compelled to withdraw its opposition to the deal under threat that the full force of the White House press corps would destroy its reputation if it continued to fight.” Certainly the White House press corps considers themselves independent of any revenge scheme the President may cook up, but then why has their silence on these issues been so loud?
And here is the big picture lesson:
While the left and the right can agree to disagree on certain matters of this bailout, every American should be on one side of this intimidation debate, against what Michael Barone labeled “Gangster Government“. Whether trying to strong arm the dissolution of a company to benefit its union bosses, or trying to use selective declassification of national security memos to prove a policy point, the White House needs to be held to the highest (not higher) standard. The best way to end this cycle of government intimidation is to get government out of these businesses to begin with. Without an end, there shall be no means.
Attack the free market and you attack all of our liberties, especially our precious freedom of religious expression. If I cannot earn an income and make purchases without government approval, then I am not free. We have to keep talking about this story until Obama understands.
My next story is from Victor Davis Hanson, writing in Investor’s Business Daily. He makes the case that America is strong, secure and prosperous for specific reasons. Mess with the design of the country and we will lose our liberty, security and prosperity.
His first example is environmental regulation in California:
Now in California — the nation’s richest farm state — the population is skyrocketing toward 40 million. Yet hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland this year are going out of production, and with them thousands of jobs.
Why? In times of chronic water shortages, environmentalists have sued to stop irrigation deliveries in order to save threatened two-inch-long delta fish that need infusions of fresh water diverted from agricultural use. And for environmental and financial reasons, we long ago stopped building canals and dams in the Sierra Nevada to find sources of replacement irrigation water.
And what about domestic energy production?
Developing such traditional sources of energy responsibly would save us trillions of dollars in imported fuels, keep jobs at home and allow the nation a precious window of energy autonomy as we steadily transfer to more wind, solar and renewable energy.
If we exploit our own energy carefully offshore and in Alaska, it will mean less sloppy foreign drilling off places like Nigeria or in the fragile Russian tundra to feed American cars and trucks.
And what about being able to project military power abroad?
Democrats and Republicans have also taken for granted having enough military power to intervene overseas to remove tyrants like Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic, Manuel Noriega and the Taliban — and to stop atrocities whenever we can. But such power takes hundreds of billions of dollars in expensive hardware and military personnel.
He also wants to keep the defense budget static, or even cut it in some places.
In our have-it-both-ways generation, we want to keep our involvements abroad while not worrying as much about the practical means to meet them.
And his last example, massive deficits… and expanded entitlement programs?
Then there is the question of national debt. We are projected to run a record $1.7 trillion deficit — and may add $9 trillion to our existing $11 trillion in aggregate debt over the next eight years.
Meanwhile, the president has outlined vast new entitlement programs in health care, education, environmental programs and infrastructure.
It’s like we think that the USA is a magic place that will somehow keep running smoothly if we stop believing everything that got us the top spot in the first place. Shouldn’t we send Obama to North Korea or something where his policies might actually be welcomed? Democrats can’t handle any of these issues. Let’s put Michele Bachmann in charge in 2012.