I don’t know whether to laugh, or cry. This Guardian piece on the attempt to crowdfund paying off a mere 1.5 billion portion of the debt that the Greek government has wracked up has it all: bad logic, worse economic theory, a smoking case of We have to do something. This is something; therefore, this is what we have to do, and of course the lingering suspicion that the guy who set up the crowdfunder has just the slightest bit of trouble seeing the Greeks as people, rather than amusingly ethnic animate cardboard cutouts that just can’t help but screw up in a wacky fashion. Indeed, this is probably the most significant line in the piece:
But just think of the party!
…Yeah, that’s pretty much how the Greek government got into this mess. More accurately: it forgot to think of anything else. Even if you gave them the money, what’s going to happen when they need more? And more? And more? And more? – Since it appears that the European Left wants to enable this behavior, and everything. In fact, there’s a certain ring to it: since the Left loves spending Other People’s Money so much, they should be the first ones to do that.
Via Hot Air Headlines.
I keep lowering my expectations about Obamacare, and the administration keeps not meeting them:
A supposedly temporary “fix” that President Obama announced in November to address the problem of the millions of Americans who lost coverage as a result of his health care law has now been extended through Oct. 1, 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday.
This is, of course, an attempt to minimize the damage done to Democrats over the next four years. Won’t work, though. You know why?
In an attempt to limit the disruption to the insurance industry that would be caused by the move, HHS also announced that the “risk corridor” program (which has been described as a “bailout” to insurers) would be further modified to funnel more money to insurers in states affected by the change.
Because it’s not just described as a bailout; it is a bailout, and that is a dirty word to precisely the people that I need to show up at the polls in 2014 and 2016.
I would have let you collapse, GM. So there’s no need to thank me for your government seizure. My no doubt naive belief in basic capitalism precludes me from fully appreciating said thanks; or, indeed, appreciating them at all. How much of MY tax money went into making this self-congratulatory paean to Italian-style fascism, by the way?
Whatever it was, it was too much.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
Continue reading GM thanks taxpayers for forced bailout.
You know, sometimes Paul doesn’t want to be paid, if it means robbing Peter.
Today’s hot rumor comes from James Pethokoukis: essentially, the White House (which is becoming increasingly frantic about the way that their Super Magical Unicorn Genius economic plans aren’t working) is scheming to partially bail out people with underwater mortgages. I know, I know: the government was not supposed to acquire Fannie/Freddie just to completely rewrite their balance sheets, but the existing scheme to let the mortgage industry gradually repair itself was apparently… a Super Magical Unicorn Genius economic plan. This new plan won’t do a thing for F/F’s value as companies, but then this wouldn’t be an economic strategy. It’s pretty blatantly a political one.
The mortgage Hail Mary would be a last-gasp effort to prevent this from happening and to save the Obama agenda. The political calculation is that the number of grateful Americans would be greater than those offended that they — and their children and their grandchildren — would be paying for someone else’s mortgage woes.
You know, I happen to have an underwater mortgage: we bought our house at exactly the wrong moment in time. Do you know what we’re doing about it? WE’RE MAKING OUR MORTGAGE PAYMENTS, that’s what we’re doing about it. Because we sat down and worked out how much we could afford to spend beforehand, then we stuck to that number like glue. In other words, I don’t need a handout to pay my bills, and I really don’t need to spend another insanely large sum of money (Hot Air thinks that it could reach 100 billion, which is a large sum of money, even today) that my kids are just going to have to repay later, after the President retires to the global cocktail circuit. And I know that people are going to argue that the majority of Americans can be short-termed bribed in this fashion, but you know something? I don’t think it’ll work. Particularly when it comes to people who have kids. Continue reading White House to bailout underwater mortgages?
(H/T: Instapundit) I am honestly surprised to find that there are people surprised by this.
Among those clamoring for attention and payouts from Motors Liquidation Co., the company that assumed General Motors’ unwanted assets after its Chapter 11 filing, are the environmental and economic redevelopment departments of state governments. According to reports, when GM exited bankruptcy, its polluted factory and land sites were consumed by the Motor Liquidation, allowing the automaker to avoid the responsibility of cleaning up its mess, and state leaders fear there won’t be any money to clean the locations.
After all, this was the original point of the exercise. GM was an unsustainable, debt-ridden mess; the government takeover and bankruptcy was designed to let it cut out the most diseased portions of its operations and reorganize as something more… ‘untainted,’ as it were. Or possibly even just ‘less tainted.’ That this ends up with individual state governments left holding the bag on the cleanup* is either an unintended consequence, or just a previously-obscure detail, of the bailout/bankruptcy; it all depends on whether you see the administration as a collection of dangerous idiots, or as a collection of dangerous idiots. A federal bailout of the state governments’ obligations to clean up a private industry’s ecological mess would certainly be a useful weapon in the federal government’s ongoing quest for ever-more power and oversight.
On the other hand, the White House can’t even spell “Barack Obama” reliably on official state documents, so it’s entirely possible that they stuck already-struggling states with the cleanup bill by the sheerest accident. Continue reading GM’s environmental quid pro quo.
Good thing that he cleared that up:
AIG’s $100G donation to Democrats was unknown to Gov. Paterson, he says
Gov. Paterson stuck to his guns Saturday, insisting he knew nothing about a $100,000 donation from AIG to the state Democratic Party days before his office helped save the insurance giant.
State Republicans charged the Democrats with stonewalling an investigation into the Aug. 29 donation, uncovered last week by The Associated Press.
In the first week of September, Paterson launched negotiations to save the financially strapped company. GOP officials questioned whether there was a quid pro quo.
Otherwise suspicious individuals might ask whether September’s relief efforts were perhaps lubricated by such a transaction. Paterson’s intervention stopped the company’s financial free-fall back then, and it took place two weeks after AIG made a donation to the state Democratic party that was ten times higher than previous contributions. But Paterson, the Democrats, and AIG are all swearing that there was no quid pro quo. Or pay-for-play. Continue reading Gov. Paterson (D, NY): AIG Contribution not related to AIG rescue.
(Via AoSHQ) I have a suggestion for the Federal government. Find whoever it is that made this decision:
In Twist, AIG Sues Its Benefactor Over Taxes
In the midst of its negotiation with the federal government over revised terms of its bailout, American International Group Inc. sued the U.S. on Friday over a disputed $306 million in taxes, interest and penalties.
The suit steps up a battle with the Internal Revenue Service largely over AIG’s use of a controversial type of “tax arbitrage” transaction that authorities are challenging across the world.
With the company essentially suing its owner, the suit highlights the awkwardness of national control of AIG, which the government rescued from potential bankruptcy in September. If through litigation “you’re moving money from one pocket to another, why should we be paying lawyers to do that?” says David Weisbach, a tax law professor at the University of Chicago.
“AIG is taking this action to ensure that it is not required to pay more than its fair share of taxes,” said a company spokeswoman. An IRS spokesman declined to comment.
Continue reading AIG To Sue Federal Government.