Category Archives: economy

Democrats help cause financial crisis, voters blame Republicans?

From today’s Washington Post:

Turmoil in the financial industry and growing pessimism about the economy have altered the shape of the presidential race, giving Democratic nominee Barack Obama the first clear lead of the general-election campaign over Republican John McCain, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News national poll.

….

More voters trust Obama to deal with the economy, and he currently has a big edge as the candidate who is more in tune with the economic problems Americans now face. He also has a double-digit advantage on handling the current problems on Wall Street, and as a result, there has been a rise in his overall support.

From The NY Times – September 11, 2003:

The Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.

….

”These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis,” said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ”The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.”

So let’s get this straight:

The Democrats push to loosen the requirements to obtain mortgages so people with lower incomes and poor credit ratings can buy houses.

Leading Democrats in Congress take huge donations from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and oppose new regulations on those companies.

Back in 2003, the Bush Administration warns of problems at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and proposes legislation to improve regulation of those companies, and is thwarted by the Democrats.

Back in 2006, Senator McCain warns of problems at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and proposes legislation to improve regulation of those companies.

Now, after these efforts, the Democrats accuse the Republicans, including John McCain, of being “anti-regulation”.

As a Senator, Obama takes large donations from Freddie and Fannie, and does nothing whatsoever to address the problems.

As an Illinois state legislator, Obama was in bed with corrupt real estate developers like Tony Rezko, shoveling millions of taxpayer dollars to political allies to build, then neglect, Chicago slums.

Democrats promise to improve the economy with higher taxes and more regulations on America’s employers.

And this leads voters to trust Obama and the Democrats more to handle the economy? It’s just bizarre. There seems to be a lot of irrational emotional reaction going on out there.

The McCain campaign really needs to stop with the generic populist talk and work to clarify these facts. Perhaps Friday’s debate will provide a good opportunity. Update: perhaps not.

The Democrats, Obama, and the Fannie Mae scandal

So after prominent Democrats like former Clinton administration officials Franklin Raines and Jamie Gorelick clean up (for themselves) at Fannie Mae, we learn today that Barack Obama is a big recipient of campaign money from the failed mortgage company. It seems like this would be pretty good fodder for a journalistic investigation and a McCain ad:

NEW YORK (CNN) — When it came to buying influence in Washington, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were among Corporate America’s biggest spenders.

The two mortgage giants paid $174 million to lobbyists over the past ten years to ensure the political climate would remain friendly to growing the mortgage business – even as the housing bubble began showing signs of bursting, according to a report by the Center for Responsive Politics, a watchdog group.

….

Sen. Barack Obama is the No. 3 recipient of Fannie and Freddie campaign dollars, having collected $123,000 from the companies since he first ran for the Senate in 2004, according to the Federal Election Commission and the Center for Responsive Politics.

It’s not difficult to imagine how the DeMSM and the rest of the Obama campaign would react if John McCain were the number three recipient of campaign dollars from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, especially given what’s happening today on Wall Street.

But Obama today responded to this serious crisis with some meaningless boilerplate:

In a statement issued shortly after 6 a.m. on the U.S. east coast, Obama said he did not blame McCain, but “I do fault the economic philosophy he subscribes to. It’s a philosophy we’ve had for the last eight years – one that says we should give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else.”

Obama: Tax increases he favors would hurt the economy

Is Barack Obama working for the McCain campaign now? He’s certainly making their argument here, and rejecting a fundamental doctrine of his party – favoring tax increases.

Democrat Barack Obama says he would delay rescinding President Bush’s tax cuts on wealthy Americans if he becomes the next president and the economy is in a recession, suggesting such an increase would further hurt the economy.

This is a huge admission from a Democrat, that increasing tax rates would hurt the economy. It is a direct contradiction of Obama’s own campaign thus far, and an embrace of the argument the McCain campaign has been making all along. It is rather odd though, that Obama would go ahead with economy-damaging tax increases (as he has now agreed they would be) if the economy is not technically in a recession. So if we manage to climb our way to a better economic situation, he’ll then choose to soak America’s employers with a tax hike, endangering the recovery?

And wouldn’t a corollary to Obama’s argument be that President Bush’s tax cuts helped the economy?

McCain-Palin and ANWR

This gives McCain a big opportunity on two fronts –

First, and most important, it gives him a chance to change his mind on drilling in ANWR, moving to a more consistent and reasonable position on the merits.

Second, he can say he changed his mind after consultation with his running mate, Sarah Palin. This will provide cover for the “flip-flop” and help to establish her policy bona fides – he can say something to the effect of “my choice for vice-presidential nominee was not selected for merely political considerations; she is a smart, knowledgeable woman, who as president I will listen to and seek her good advice on the important issues facing America’s families. As a governor, she knows a strong energy policy will make our economy grow. As a mother, she knows about taking care of a family in these challenging economic times…”

Obama: From each according to his windfall, to each according to his need

Wasn’t it Barack Obama who said that John McCain’s proposal to suspend the federal tax on gasoline was only a “gimmick”? From the AP:

Obama proposes $1,000 energy rebates for consumers

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Friday called for a $1,000 “emergency” rebate to consumers to offset soaring energy costs amid fresh signs of a struggling economy with the nation’s unemployment rate climbing to a four-year high.

Obama told a town-hall meeting the rebate would be financed with a windfall profits tax on the oil industry.

“This rebate will be enough to offset the increased cost of gas for a working family over the next four months,” Obama said in the crucial swing state of Florida.

But would it be enough to offset the increased cost due to the stupid “windfall profits tax”?

So simply lowering the per-gallon price at the pump by suspending the tax is a gimmick, but raising the cost at the producer level with a higher tax, then offsetting the higher price that will cause at the pump by sending checks to people, is not a gimmick? Obama must really believe all those bitter Americans are suckers.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has another good point: “…the rebates will only give us a one-time relief for the high gas prices, while the new tax will raise the cost of production and delivery for years.”

President Bush lowers oil prices dramatically

The AP reports:

NEW YORK (AP) Oil prices have settled sharply lower for the second straight day, capping a dizzying drop that has left crude more than $10 cheaper in just two days of frenzied trading.

Let’s see, what happened two days ago? Oh yeah, the president revoked the executive order banning off-shore drilling, making future increases in production marginally more likely. Of course they don’t give President Bush any credit, they don’t even mention the president. He must never be mentioned in the context of any good news, according to unofficial DeMSM rules.

Republicans need to press for an end to the ban on off-shore drilling every day from now until the November election. Let Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and all their comrades step up to the podium and stand in the way of less expensive gasoline every day. Simply, voters have a clear choice – Republicans and cheaper gas or Democrats and more expensive gas.

Congressional Democrats Join OPEC Cartel

Here was a great point from Mark Steyn at NRO on the Democrats’ complicity in limiting the supply of energy for Americans:

“It shall be illegal and a violation of this Act,” declared the House of Representatives, “to limit the production or distribution of oil, natural gas, or any other petroleum product… or to otherwise take any action in restraint of trade for oil, natural gas, or any petroleum product when such action, combination, or collective action has a direct, substantial, and reasonably foreseeable effect on the market, supply, price, or distribution of oil, natural gas, or other petroleum product in the United States.”

Er, okay. But, before we start suing distant sheikhs in exotic lands for violating the NOPEC act, why don’t we start by suing Congress? After all, who “limits the production or distribution of oil” right here in the United States by declaring that there’ll be no drilling in the Gulf of Florida or the Arctic National Mosquito Refuge? …

Yep, the Democrats in Congress are in effect joining in with the OPEC oil cartel to drive up the price we pay for gasoline, by purposely limiting domestic energy production. But it’s the Republicans who are down in the polls because the economy isn’t quite as strong as it once was. Crazy. Unfortunately, John McCain takes this issue off the table because he also opposes drilling in the desolate, bug-infested ANWR.

Democratic senator calls voters fools

Ok, so the actual AP headline is “Democratic senator calls for GOP to alter energy policy”. But if Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow really believes increasing taxes and regulations on energy producers will lower energy prices to the consumer, then she is either a fool or she thinks voters are fools. Given the polls that suggest a majority of voters may be falling for this nonsense, she may have a point.

Senator Stabenow said, “Republicans want more drilling, more consumption and more tax giveaways for the big oil companies … Democrats say that those are exactly the policies that got us into this mess to begin with.”

This raises several questions –

Which Republican is promoting more energy consumption? Can Stabenow provide an example?

How does drilling for more oil – increasing supply – increases prices? Doesn’t her assertion contradict the basic rule of supply and demand?

How does raising costs for energy companies, by raising their taxes and piling on regulations and mandates, lower the consumer price of energy?

But of course her fellow Democrats in the press aren’t going to ask any questions.

Obama: People won’t buy fuel efficient cars unless the government makes them

Senator Barack Obama sure does have a low opinion of his fellow citizens, and we don’t just mean the ones he thinks are bitter, Bible-thumping gun nuts.

Via Yahoo News:

Democrat Barack Obama on Friday blamed high gasoline prices on Washington and a political establishment, including his rivals for the presidency, that he says hasn’t stood up to oil companies. Hillary Rodham Clinton highlighted his vote for an energy bill she opposed and his campaign contributions from oil company executives.

“The candidates with the Washington experience – my opponents – are good people. They mean well, but they’ve been in Washington for a long time and even with all that experience they talk about, nothing has happened,” Obama said at a local gas station. “This country didn’t raise fuel efficiency standards for over 30 years.”

The result, the Illinois senator said, is that consumers are suffering.

See? Vehicles have been available for all of those 30 years that get high miles per gallon of gasoline, but Senator Obama apparently thinks Americans are too stupid to choose them if the government doesn’t step in and force them to. The fact other vehicles are also available that get lower miles per gallon is beside the point. If people want better fuel efficiency, they have the ability to get it right now. When American consumers choose more fuel efficient cars, the average fuel efficiency of cars actually on the roads will go up, without any government intervention whatsoever. It’s a sort of direct democracy – people vote for the fuel efficiency they want when they choose to buy a vehicle. But that kind of liberty is not what socialists like Obama want. They want to deny Americans free choice. (Whatever happened to a woman’s right to choose – an SUV?)

It tells us a lot about Senator Obama’s mindset that he seems to think everything is, or should be, controlled by politicians and bureaucrats in Washington. But then this is they same guy that said in the last debate that he thinks the capital gains tax rate should be raised, even if it will result in lower revenues, in the name of “fairness”. So economics is obviously not his strong suit.

House Democrats vote to raise gasoline price

The Democrats in the House of Representatives have apparently voted to raise the cost of energy as a way to lower the cost of energy:

WASHINGTON – The House approved $18 billion in new taxes on the largest oil companies Wednesday as Democrats cited record oil prices and rising gasoline costs in a time of economic troubles.

They cited rising costs as a reason to raise costs more? Super genius House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer acknowledged “this legislation alone will not bring down gas prices.” Ya think? The House Democrats are either economically illiterate, or they count on gullible voters being so.