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AIG Bonuses – Who Got AIG Lobbyist Money?

Both Chris Dodd (D-Conn) and Democrat President Obama have voiced righteous indignation about the AIG bonus payouts. But when you look a bit deeper, you wonder why both men are complaining — after all, they each had a major part in allowing the payouts to go forward. First, the President, in a press conference, stating they knew where AIG spent all the money (that would include the bonus).

From White House press secretary Robert Gibbs’ briefing two weeks ago, when $30 billion in additional funds were announced for AIG. AIG had at this point designated $165 million in retention bonuses for officers of the Financial Products subsidiary, as well as an additional $121.5 million in executive bonuses.

TAPPER: AIG, is the administration confident that it, that it knows what happened to the tens of billions of dollars previously given to AIG?

GIBBS: Is it confident — I’m sorry?

TAPPER: That they know — that you guys know what happened to the previous billions before you hand over this next $30 billion.

GIBBS: Yes — yes, the — I mean, I don’t think it’s a — well, obviously, you’ve got a huge insurance company that is losing money, not the least of which because of its sheer size and sheer size and decrease in the growth in our economy. It experiences a far bigger drop, largely because of its size. But, again, the steps that — that Treasury and — and others took were to ensure a larger systemic problem wasn’t one that we had to deal with here today in letting something just die.

TAPPER: But in terms of specifically the — I guess it’s like $150 billion before, you guys are confident…

GIBBS: Yes.

So the President says he knew where the money went — and that includes the bonus money. Gee, wonder why he never complained about it until now? We’ll see why after examining Chris Dodd’s role.

While the Senate constructed the $787 billion stimulus last month, Dodd unexpectedly added an executive-compensation restriction to the bill. That amendment provides an “exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before Feb. 11, 2009,” which exempts the very AIG bonuses Dodd and others are seeking to tax. The amendment is in the final version and is law.

So why is Chris Dodd (D-Conn) upset? He added law exempting bonuses to the stimulus bill. And now he feigns indignation?

So what do Mr. Obama and Mr. Dodd have in common, besides both men knowing those bonuses were to be paid out from the bailout money (one stated he knew where the money was spent, the other specifically exempted bonuses). They’re both number 1-2 in political contributions from AIG, Mr Dodd first at $103,000 and Mr. Obama second at $101,000 (third place was less than $60,000, and then fourth place on drops to $35,000 and less – so Obama/Dodd fed the most at the lobbyist trough. Data from Opensecrets.org).

Citigroup and AIG were top contributors to Dodd, while Goldman Sachs was a top contributor to Obama.

And that’s how they can both encourage and know those bonuses would be paid, and then (for political reasons) feign being upset about it, when they knew it all along. Same old politics in play — do one thing behind closed doors for lobbyist $$$, do another for the public.

That’s change we can’t believe in, just more of the same old-school Washington garbage.

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Those who Don’t Know History …

… are doomed to repeat it.

Recall when the Patriot act passed Congress, and the Democrats complained it was rammed through Congress so fast nobody could read it (and we know how well that worked out)? It’s Deja Vu, all over again, only this time, it’s Democrats ramming a spendulous political payback bill thorough Congress so fast nobody can read it (with special “stimulus” spending for Reid’s and Pelosi’s districts — like train lines and mice). What happened to transparency? What happened to 48 hours of public notice? What happened to debate? Just like PAYGO, Democrats abandoned all their campaign promises — after all, they don’t need votes (right now), so why bother with those pesky little promises? Doesn’t everyone know those only applied to campaign season?

The bill just came out of conference committee, and at over 1,000 pages, it must be voted on today? Why the rush? Why no debate? Why can’t they even (gasp!) read the bill — is it too much to ask for Congress to actually read what they’re voting on? (Hint: It’s reported Pelosi wants to jet out of town today — maybe true or not, but even if true, it’s no excuse for a rush on spending trillions).

Would you put your name on a contract without reading it? If not, you’re smarter than the entire Congress, who can’t be bothered to actually read the bill — after all, they’ve got pork to distribute!

Unfortunately, they’re not putting their name on the credit card — it’s ours.

Fear used by President to pass Pork Stimulus

“A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe.”

— President Obama, Feb. 4.

Catastrophe, mind you. So much for the president who in his inaugural address two weeks earlier declared “we have chosen hope over fear.” Until, that is, you need fear to pass a bill.

Why the rush to pass a bill which won’t have any stimulus for years? Because it’s filled with billions for ACORN and other non-stimulus pork. That’s why it has to be pased NOW NOW NOW. If you don’t give in to the pork, the world will end, or so says Mr. hope-n-change. Besides, if you really find out what’s in it, nobody will want it.

$50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts

$380 million in the Senate bill for the Women, Infants and Children program

$300 million for grants to combat violence against women

$2 billion for federal child-care block grants

$6 billion for university building projects

$15 billion for boosting Pell Grant college scholarships

$4 billion for job-training programs, including $1.2 billion for “youths” up to the age of 24

$1 billion for community-development block grants

$4.2 billion for “neighborhood stabilization activities”

$650 million for digital-TV coupons; $90 million to educate “vulnerable populations”

Best ammendment offered so far: $2 billion to encourage low-income housing. Gee, isn’t subprime mortgages how we got in this mess to begin with? So let’s do more!

The more people find out about the “stimulus”, the more resistance will come. That’s why Mr. hope-n-change switched tactics to fear-fear-fear the-sky-will-fall without all the pork! He knows if you really know where your taxes will end up, nobody will want this pork-fest.

So tell me, how will the country pay back the trillions going to special interest groups? Is that the legacy hope-n-change leaves to the next generation – trillions for special interest groups? After all, following the example of his own cabinet, nobody will bother paying taxes anyway.

The Inconveinent Truth

With all the “stimulus” (read political paybacks) floating around few talk of the incredible inflation these policies will create. And yet Obama wants to add yet trillions more in “stimulus”? The only result of the pork-filled stimulus package will be …. massive inflation.

From the St. Louis Federal Reserve:

St Louis Federal Reserve Money Supply

St Louis Federal Reserve Money Supply

You can’t create trillions of dollars without causing inflation and devaluing the currency. What’s worse, the “stimulus” won’t accomplish anything positive for the economy, it’s only goal is to spend pork — most of the spending doesn’t even happen this year. So why rush it? Only so the political operatives can pay back campaign people quickly.

Thanks to Glenn Beck for finding this chart.

Stimulus Pork – Amtrak, NEA, TV, and Subsidies

The WSJ examined the stimulus bill and what did they find? Mostly pork spending, with very little of what could optimistically called “stimulus”. We’re shocked — it’s no wonder Obama wants Congress to pass this quick so nobody can read it. The more you read, the more pork you find crammed in.

“Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you couldn’t do before.”

So said White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in November, and Democrats in Congress are certainly taking his advice to heart. The 647-page, $825 billion House legislation is being sold as an economic “stimulus,” but now that Democrats have finally released the details we understand Rahm’s point much better. This is a political wonder that manages to spend money on just about every pent-up Democratic proposal of the last 40 years.

We’ve looked it over, and even we can’t quite believe it. There’s $1 billion for Amtrak, the federal railroad that hasn’t turned a profit in 40 years; $2 billion for child-care subsidies; $50 million for that great engine of job creation, the National Endowment for the Arts; $400 million for global-warming research and another $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects. There’s even $650 million on top of the billions already doled out to pay for digital TV conversion coupons.

In selling the plan, President Obama has said this bill will make “dramatic investments to revive our flagging economy.” Well, you be the judge. Some $30 billion, or less than 5% of the spending in the bill, is for fixing bridges or other highway projects. There’s another $40 billion for broadband and electric grid development, airports and clean water projects that are arguably worthwhile priorities.

The National Endowment for the arts qualifies as stimulus? Digital TV? Is that what you had in mind? Oink Oink as everyone in Washington either rushes in to feed at the trough, or uses the bill to payoff political favors. Either way, the little guy gets stuck with a bill while the “stimulus” accomplishes nothing — except saddle the country with yet more debt (and payback political favors).

Of course, that’s one promise Obama will keep — running trillion dollar deficits for his entire term — and he’s off on a good start on that one.

Keeping in mind what the CBO has already stated —- most of the “stimulus” comes after two years — why the rush to pass this pork-fest? Even if it’s needed for economic relief, since the benefits come after two years no rush exists to pass it. Why not send the time and do it right? Perhaps could it be Team RePO (Reid/Pelosi/Obama) know what’s in the bill, and know if the citizens find out it’s not really stimulus but pork and returned political favors, the phones in Washington will melt down?

Nah, hope-n-change promised transparent accountability, so nobody’s trying to pull a fast one, right?

Obama launches recovery.gov

In an attempt to get people to support the biggest pork giveaway ever, Obama launched recovery.org, which will show where (some) of the money disappears to. If enough people support parts of the pork, the rest of the pork slides through and all the political favors incurred during the campaign can begin to be repaid in one massive spending bill.

But with a name like recovery.gov, we thought of the following (but don’t expect to see it):

  1. We admitted we were powerless over government spending pork – that the federal budget has become unmanageable pork-fests.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity (the Free Market).
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of free enterprise.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to the country the exact nature of our pork spending.
  6. Were entirely ready to have free enterprise remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked to remove our budget pork.
  8. Became willing to make amends to the entire country for our excessive and wanton spending.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with the free market, praying only for knowledge of economics and the power to carry responsible budgeting without pork spending.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, to carry this message to Congress, the Presidency, and the states, and to practice these principles in all budgets.

Notice the bill is now called “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” — since the “Community Reinvestment Act” caused the meltdown, why not do it again? Deficit spending and credit expansion caused the problem, surely more deficit spending and credit expansion will solve it.

Yeah, right.

Stimulus Arrives too late According to the CBO

The trillion dollar pork-fest is being sold to citizens as important to get the economy going, but according to the CBO, the pork spending comes too late to do any good.

Less than half the money dedicated to highways, school construction and other infrastructure projects in a massive economic stimulus package unveiled by House Democrats is likely to be spent within the next two years, according to congressional budget analysts, meaning most of the spending would come too late to lift the nation out of recession.

A report by the Congressional Budget Office found that only about $136 billion of the $355 billion that House leaders want to allocate to infrastructure and other so-called discretionary programs would be spent by Oct. 1, 2010. The rest would come in future years, long after the CBO and other economists predict the recession will have ended.

The “stimulus” will be the greatest pork-fest of all time, as each member of Congress (and the President) attempts to return political favors (Acorn, Planned Parenthood, etc), and little of it will actually help. And it’s not to go to “high-skilled people who are already professionals or to white male construction workers”.

The trillion dollar stimulus arrives too late if the goal is the economy. Since the people pushing trillion dollar stimulus packages must surely already know this, what alternative reasons do they have to push the pork-fest, while publicly telling citizens it’s to stimulate the economy? Why are they hiding their real motives for this pork-fest?

The Stimulus will be the greatest pork-fest since TARP — and we all know how well that worked out, as the Rebublicrats fumbled the ball.

Where is presidential leadership on this? Where is change? The new boss is the same as the old boss — different people may sit in different chairs in Washington, but nothing changed — perhaps the greatest hoax of all time (after Piltdown Man) has been the “change” theme.