Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What do “pork,” “bailout,” “malfeasance,” and “Barney Frank” have in common?

A piece in the Boston Herald has a good handle on the TARP bailout program:

"Ah, the dirty little secret is out. That $700 billion TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) bill was in part simply a variation on congressional pork -- except this time the recipients were banks with friends in high places. One of those powerful friends was Rep. Barney Frank (D-[MA]), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. And one of the recipients of a $12 million infusion of federal cash was the troubled OneUnited Bank in Boston -- a bank that had already been accused of 'unsafe and unsound banking practices.' Its CEO, Kevin Cohee had also been criticized by regulators for 'excessive' pay that included a Porsche. Frank admits he included language in the TARP legislation specifically designed to bail out OneUnited. He also acknowledges contacting officials at the Treasury Department about the bank's bailout application. 'I believe it would have been a very big mistake to put the only black bank (in Massachusetts) out of business,' Frank said. Besides, he insists, 'It was a case of the federal government causing the problem.' Causing the bad loans OneUnited made? Or would that go back to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which Frank so staunchly defended earlier on? Frank has never failed to amaze us with his ability to defend the indefensible and to staunchly uphold the double standard. It's his special talent."

There’s a lot of truth in those words. Such as, for instance, that the TARP is not much more than typical Congressional pork served up by friends in high places.

Another nugget of truth is that Barney Frank has misused his position for the benefit of friends, and that he is as guilty as anyone for the mortgage bank mess that plagues the nation.

Rep. Frank’s assertion that failing to pump $12 mil into the OneUnited Bank would “put the only black bank out of business” is, of course, absurd. Not giving the bank money might let it go out of business; it would not put it out of business.

The piece mistakenly downplays the federal government’s role in the banking problem, however, because the government’s fingerprints are all over this crisis, from the enactment of the Community Reinvestment Act in the late 70s, to the actions of the Clinton Administration to encourage even more lending to unqualified borrowers in the early 90s, to the relaxing of the regulations that allowed commercial and mortgage banks to merge functions in 1998, to the Fannie and Freddie debacle, and Mr. Frank’s badgering of Bush administration regulators who tried to alert his committee to the looming danger a year or so back.

Mr. Frank is a public dis-servant and should be removed from office.

More evidence of the pork barrel nature of the so-called stimulus legislation is visible in the House Democrats’ trillion dollar spending bill, which could open billions of taxpayer dollars to left-wing groups like the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) which, according to House Republican Leader John Boehner’s Web site, “ has been accused of perpetrating voter registration fraud numerous times in the last several elections; is reportedly under federal investigation; and played a key role in the irresponsible schemes that caused a financial meltdown that has cost American taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars since last fall.”

The stimulus packages are improperly designed and mis-targeted, thus will provide little real stimulus to the economy, even if they had no pork in them.

The Democrat leadership in both houses of the Congress apparently believes the economic crisis is nothing more than another opportunity to take money from the American taxpayer, and give it to their favored constituencies.

In our government such misbehavior is called “politics as usual,” but in the private sector it would be called by another name: “fraud.”

Click Here to Comment

Technorati Tags: , , ,

No comments: