Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: October 27, 2010


Quote of the day– Lisa Murkowski unconstitutional edition

I’m sure we’ll be told that this was just “badly phrased”:

"That somehow or other these are unconstitutional because they’re not enumerated within the powers of the constitution, that somehow or other we should just be eliminating these, I think that is out of the mainstream," Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said on MSNBC.

Got that folks?  It is out of the mainstream to think that something not enumerated within the powers granted by the Constitution is … unconstitutional.

Lord save us all from our “leaders”.

~McQ


TARP IG blasts program

So much for administration spin about the effectiveness of TARP. Neil Barofsky, TARP’s special inspector general, deals the administration narrative a shot to the head. In effect, he tells Americans angry about the program they have a right to be:

…[M]any Americans to continue to view TARP with anger, cynicism, and mistrust. While some of that hostility may be misplaced, much of it is based on entirely legitimate concerns about the lack of transparency, program mismanagement and flawed decision-making processes that continue to plague the program.

Some specifics:

“When Treasury refuses for more than a year to require TARP recipients to account for the use of TARP funds, or claims that Capital Purchase Program participants were “healthy, viable” institutions knowing full well that some are not, or when it provides hundreds of billions of dollars in TARP assistance to institutions, and then relies on those same institutions to self-report any violations of their obligations to TARP, it damages the public’s trust to a degree that is difficult to repair.”

Ya think? And you remember all the rhetoric about forestalling foreclosure? Uh, FAIL:

[T]he most specific of TARP’s Main Street goals, “preserving homeownership,” has so far fallen woefully short, with TARP’s portion of the Administration’s mortgage modification program yielding only approximately 207,000 (out of a total of 467,000) ongoing permanent modifications since TARP’s inception, a number that stands in stark contrast to the 5.5 million homes receiving foreclosure filings and more than 1.7 million homes that have been lost to foreclosure since January 2009.

Now, I’m not agreeing that any of that should have been done – this is about claims the administration and Democrats made for spending the money.

Question: where has the money really gone?

Oh, and you remember “spurring lending” as a key reason for TARP? Not so much.  In fact, not much at all:

“TARP has failed to ‘increase lending,’ with small businesses in particular unable to secure badly needed credit. Indeed, even now, overall lending continues to contract, despite the hundreds of billions of TARP dollars provided to banks with the express purpose to increase lending.”

Meanwhile in the "moral hazard" department – success:

“…[I]ncreased moral hazard and concentration in the financial industry continue to be a TARP legacy. The biggest banks are bigger than ever, fueled by Government support and taxpayer-assisted mergers and acquisitions. And the repeated statements that the Government would stand by these banks during the financial crisis has given a significant advantage to the larger “too big to fail” banks, as reflected in their enhanced credit ratings borne from a market perception that the Government will still not let these institutions fail, although the impact of this cost may be blunted by recently enacted regulatory reform.”

Almost a trillion dollars and they really don’t know where it has gone. Additionally, they’ve not at all achieved the goals for which they tried to tell the public this money was so damned important.

Lack of transparency?  Mismanagement?  Flawed decision-making?  Why weren’t those things included in the administration’s spin. 

And we just let them take health care from us as well.

Nice.

~McQ


Where are the independents?

There has been a lot written lately about putting too much credence in “early voting” percentages. The CW seems to be that while the numbers may indicate one thing there’s a possibility they mean something else that may, just may, favor Democrats. Seems to me they’re trying their best to make a horse race out of this coming wave election. For instance, POLITICO attempts to make the point with California:

California provides an illustrative example of the complexities of interpreting early returns. According to data gathered by the Atlas Project, a private Democratic consulting firm, 43 percent of California early voters have been Democrats, while 39 percent have been Republicans. Considering the Democrats’ current 44-31 registration advantage in the state, the GOP appears to be outpacing its share of the electorate, while Democrats appear to be staying home. Then again, in the 2006 early vote — a great year for Democratic candidates — each party drew 41 percent, a performance that was below Democratic registration and well above the Republican share.

And what about the indies? By my count that’s 82% of the electorate self-identifying as either Republican or Democrat. That means a huge 18% have identified themselves as neither and will decide the election. It was what made the difference in 2006 when independents on the whole supported Democrats.

Of course California isn’t the easiest state to analyze because of its proposition system and, well, the fact it is California. But the point holds. Many of those analyzing the early vote counts have to limit themselves to percentage turn outs from the 2 major parties because they are mostly assured that those voters voted for their party’s candidates.

So when you see these sorts of numbers, take them with a bit of grain of salt until you factor in this:

One of the most striking findings from The Hill’s polling is that voter opinions have remained rock-solid over four weeks, particularly among independents. In the overwhelming majority of districts, independent voters are breaking for Republican challengers while expressing widespread disapproval of Obama and the Democratic leadership in Congress.

About all early voting numbers indicate is the level of enthusiasm among base voters. It is the indies who will decide the elections. ~McQ