What the President Should, But Won’t, Say in his State of the Union Address

When it comes down to it, there are really only five first-tier issues facing America:

1. We need jobs, and fast. The policies enacted by Presidents Bush and Obama have failed to stimulate the economy.

2. We need to eliminate the deficit in the next 2.5 years.

3. We have too many abortions committed every year.

4. We have two conflicts overseas being run ineffectively and inefficiently.

5. Corruption and transparency in government are at unacceptably high and low, respectively, levels. Additionally, Big Government and Big Business collusion is at a level that is entirely unethical.

President Obama should, but won’t, admit that the State of our Union is precarious, and should do the following:

1. He will push for a flat tax or a national sales tax, as well as the concurrent elimination of all other federal taxes in America on our citiWzens.

2. He will push to eliminate or lower the minimum wage.

3. The Federal Reserve will be audited annually, and will have less power.

4. He will follow through on his recent op-ed to eliminate some regulations.

5. He will repeal the Affordable Care Act, and push to institute tort reform and Dartmouth Atlas-style payment reform. He will also increase the size of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) so it can begin to cut down on the $100 billion, give or take, of fraud in Medicare and Medicaid.

6. He will convince his fellow Democrats to make the individual health insurance market less government-influenced.

7. He will try to raise the Social Security retirement age to 70 in the next two decades, and wall off Congress’ ability to take from the Social Security Administration (SSA) trust fund. Means-testing of Social Security will also take place.

8. He will eliminate or cut down the size of the Departments of Education and Agriculture, and eliminate all $90+ billion in private-sector subsidies to various energy, agriculture and other industries.

9. While the President should ban abortions, the fact is that he supports them. Given this reality, he should support H.R. 3, which bans all federal funding of abortions. He should also work to enact more welfare reforms and proper sexual education so that young people don’t think of abortion as a) necessary, and b) birth control.

10. He should get out of Iraq and Afghanistan by the end of this year, or at the latest by the end of 2012. We’ve spent more lives and dollars in those nations than ever expected, and there is no end in sight. Sending more troops to protect one’s political rear end does not count as a “strategy.”

11. He should push for term limits, and complete transparency for all Members of Congress. As an example: All donors to campaigns and Members will be recorded and posted on A Member’s wall and official website. The amount donated will be posted as well, and the issue(s) this person related their funding to. This will be done within 24 hours of the donations.)

12. Cap-and-trade should be off the table, and the lightbulb ban should be ditched.

13. Members should stop receiving pay the day they leave Congress. The idea of a lifetime pension is ridiculous for a public servant.

14. There should never be another TARP-style bailout ever again.

Obviously, I am a rather conservative individual, and President Obama is not. However, I think many of the above suggestions are not extreme, and in fact are things that could be supported on a bipartisan basis. Unfortunately, the event is more about political partisanship than actual results, which is symptomatic of why our nation is headed into deep, deep trouble in the next few years.

Update: Silly me- I forgot to mention in the “jobs” portion of this post that he should allow more opportunities for nuclear power, and in the budget section that he should push for reform of our defense contracting policies.

Comparing Bush Spending to Clinton Spending

Yesterday, Jed Lewison of Daily Kos put up a post comparing Clinton’s eight years of spending to Bush’s eight years of spending. The post- which cited the very reputable Tax Policy Center for its budget claims- showed just how badly Bush spent compared to Clinton. According to Lewison, Clinton saved over $100 billion in his final budget, Fiscal Year 2001.

I found the post interesting- not the least because Lewison cited the TPC, a partnership of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution- but also because TPC’s (and, thus, Lewison’s) claims are in direct contrast to what the Treasury itself shows in the 2000-2001 Fiscal Year, which is an increase in the federal debt of over $100 billion. I decided to contact Lewison about his claims. Below are the questions I sent, and his responses:

1. According to the Treasury, the debt increased from 9/30/2000 to 9/30/2001. What are the differences between the numbers you used and the numbers from the Treasury?

2. How much of the Bush debt you cited can be attributed to the growth in entitlements started pre-Clinton and pre-Bush years (i.e. not including the Medicare Drug Bill, etc. that added to the debt) and that obviously grew during both presidencies?

Lewison’s response:

1) The increase in total debt is basically an increase in the Social Security Trust Fund (i.e., intragovernmental debt, money that the government owes itself, which accounts for a bit over a third of all debt). I’m not an expert on all the accounting rules, but if you look at the non-intragovernmental debt, it decreased. But how Social Security is accounted for is a separate issue from the overall fiscal well being of the Federal government under Bush and Clinton.

2) Outside of new programs like the Medicare drug plan, the rate of growth in entitlements should be a wash; since they are proscribed by law, both administrations would have experienced growth in them. The underlying demographics would have had to have been huge to explain the difference in overall spending growth rates.

Regarding #1, Clinton almost balanced the annual budget, but never took care of the long-term entitlement issues America was (and still is) expected to face. So while he (and his Republican Congresses) should get credit for almost balancing the budget, they should also get blame for not touching the Third Rail of politics that is Social Security. I think Lewison is mostly right on this one, though I disagree with his last sentence. (Note: the 2000-2001 recession cut into the revenues in FY2001, which Clinton could not have accounted for in his FY2001 budget, since the recession started one month after the start of FY2001.)

Lewison is a bit more inaccurate in his second point. The rate of entitlements can’t be a wash, as they continue to annually increase as a percentage of the national budget. This in no way excuses Bush and the Republicans for their spending spree(s), nor the Democrats who were in charge for two fiscal years during the Bush presidency, but it does clarify things a bit, I think.

Lewison’s post does point out that a Democratic president spent much better than a Republican president, and rightly so. He did, however, miss that that Bush was opposed by most Republicans on TARP (which Democrats mostly supported, as well as much of the Republican leadership), and while he acknowledged the drop in revenues from the recession at one point in the post, he neglected to do the final math. Using Lewison’s numbers:

  • The FY2009 deficit was $1.4 trillion;
  • the stimulus accounted for $200 billion of that deficit;
  • and the recession accounted for $400 billion losses in revenue for FY2009.

So, while the deficit was an atrocious $800 billion, what Bush was directly responsible for in FY2009 deficit was not nearly as bad as Lewison would like to think. It certainly was not as bad as the FY2010 or proposed FY2011 budgets under President Obama (who, admittedly, has to deal with a terrible recession and seven decades of entitlements and many years of war he is not responsible for).

Overall, as I have been saying for some time, both parties need to grow up. The Debt-Paying Generation is here, as a previous post pointed out, and unless we get a batch of politicians willing to reform how much we spend on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and defense, the situation is only going to get worse. (And no, the new health care law won’t help prevent that financial worsening.)

Full disclosure: I informed Lewison I would likely be using his comments in a post. I am not pulling a bait-and-switch by asking him for his thoughts without disclosing I would use them.

Resurgent Republicans in the Northeast

Over the last several years, the common mantra among the left (as well as some on the right), has been that New England and the Northeast are doomsday regions for Republicans. There are no Republican Representatives in New England, for example, and only three Republican Senators in the entire NorthEast.

Unfortunately for liberals, this mantra has been proven premature. While the Republican resurgence- begun by Senator Brown (R-MA) and New Jersey governor Chris Christie- isn’t necessarily conservative (Christie is a moderate on social issues, and Brown recently voiced support for the financial regulation bill working its way through Congress), it certainly is Republican. One allegedly blue state in particular, New Hampshire- which has kicked out two Republican Representatives; a Republican Senator; and a Republican governor in the last six years- has now competitive races in its four Senate, Representative, and gubernatorial races this year. Another “blue” state, Connecticut, may elect a Republican to replace the corrupt Democratic Senator Chris Dodd.

As a conservative, I find this pretty optimistic. While few of the candidates are as conservative as I would like, they are at least less liberal than those Democrats currently holding offices or running for open seats, and in some cases they are very conservative. Admittedly, this is happening in a strong anti-Democratic year, but it’s still happening, and that’s the important thing.

One race in particular that I think is being overlooked in the national scheme of political races is the 4th District race in Connecticut. Held by Republicans for decades, it was the last Republican Representative seat in New England until 2008- and Chris Shays only lost by slightly over 2,000 votes that year. The current Representative, Jim Himes, has voted with the Democratic Party line on the big votes- including, but not limited to, cap-and-trade, health care and financial regulations- and is being opposed by several Republicans.

One of the Republicans, Rob Merkle, is a very conservative candidate who has term limits; limited government; tax reform; effective job growth; and pro-life platforms. He opposes the stimulus and TARP, and wants Too Big To Fail to end through the free market- the best anti-TBTF policy in existence. Best of all, though, unlike his major primary opponent, Dan Debicella, Merkle has never run for political office before. He is a businessman who actually knows what works, unlike both Debicella (who, for example, wants a cap on increases in federal spending, instead of reversing the deficits, which is what Merkle wants) and Himes (who worked for crony capitalist Goldman Sachs for years).

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I work for Rob Merkle as the campaign blogger and online media specialist. (Check out the blog here.) I was brought onto the campaign a) on the recommendation of a mutual acquaintance whose conservative credentials are unchallengeable, and b) after a lot of talking with Merkle about his view of government; its limits; and how best to apply changes to bring the government within those limits. According to Merkle, the biggest issue facing America is the national debt, and he wants to lead the charge against the unwillingness of Members of Congress to risk re-election in order to implement appropriate changes.

All in all, the Northeast is not yet strong Democratic territory. It may not be conservative central, but given the gifts of bad bills; arrogance; and the inability to create jobs the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress have given the Republican Party, perhaps conservatives like Rob Merkle can bring a strong Republican resurgence to the Northeast.

An Indication of Seriousness, or More D.C. Manipulation?

H/T to Hot Air for linking to the deficit reduction plan by Republicans on the House Budget Committee. The plan would, according to Republican estimates, cut $1.3 trillion over ten years.

This is nowhere close to enough to even be a solid dent in the national debt (it averages out to $130 billion in annual savings- which is less than 1/10 of the deficit for this year alone), but at least it’s a start. The plan also, as Ed Morrissey pointed out, takes care of some of the major issues with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which are sucking tens of billions of dollars annually from the American taxpayer, and continue to be damaging to the economy and the possibility of an economic recovery.

Of course, Social Security, Medicare, defense cuts, Medicaid and subsidies to private companies (outside of TARP and the stimulus) are not addressed. This is disappointing, and may show a lack of reform seriousness on the part of Republicans. However, this plan is a start. Considering that House Democrats can’t even pass a budget, this is a great public relations step for Republicans, and a small bit of hope for those of us who want to see a functioning America 10 years.

The Republican press release can be seen here, and the specific cuts are outlined below, as posted by Morrissey:

  • Cancel Unused TARP Funds. Prohibit the Treasury Secretary from entering into new commitments under the Troubled Asset Relief Program [TARP]. Ending TARP would prevent up to $396 billion in additional disbursements; CBO estimates savings of $16 billion. H.R. 3140 introduced by Rep. Tom Price of Georgia.
  • Cancel Unspent ‘Stimulus’ Funds. Rescind all unobligated budget authority authorized under the “stimulus” bill and dedicate to deficit reduction. Saves up to $266 billion. H.R. 3140 introduced by Rep. Tom Price of Georgia.
  • Cut and Cap Discretionary Spending. Return non-defense discretionary spending to pre-Obama (fiscal year 2008) baseline levels. Saves up to $925 billion. Legislation introduced by Reps. Ryan and Hensarling (H.R. 3964) and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio (H.R 3298) include caps on discretionary spending.
  • Reduce Government Employment. Hire one person for every two who leaves civilian government service until the workforce is reduced to pre-Obama levels (exempting the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs). Saves an estimated $35 billion. H.R. 5348 introduced by Rep. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming.
  • Freeze Government Pay. Freeze Federal civilian pay for 1 year. Saves an estimated $30 billion.
  • Adopt the Legislative Line-Item Veto. Enact a constitutional line-item veto law. The President’s FY 2011 budget included terminations, reductions, and savings that would achieve $23 billion in one year. While Congress may not accept all these savings, the Line Item Veto can help reduce spending. H.R. 1294 introduced by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
  • Reform and Bring Transparency to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Reform these companies by ending conservatorship, shrinking their portfolios, establishing minimum capital standards, reducing conforming loan limits, and bringing transparency to taxpayer exposure. According to CBO, the cost to taxpayers of putting government in control of Fannie and Freddie is $373 billion through 2020. Saves an estimated $30 billion. H.R. 4889 introduced by Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas. H.R. 4653 introduced by Rep. Scott Garrett of New Jersey.
  • Create a Sunset Commission. Establish a commission to conduct systematic reviews of Federal programs and agencies, and make recommendations for those that should be terminated; and provide for automatic sunset of programs unless expressly reauthorized by the Congress. H.R. 393 introduced by Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas.

The Chamber of Commerce & Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX)

According to its website, the Chamber of Commerce’s mission statement is as follows:

“To advance human progress through an economic, political and social system based on individual freedom, incentive, initiative, opportunity, and responsibility.”

As such, you can understand my confusion when I read this by The Washington Examiner’s Timothy Carney:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has issued its 2009 congressional scorecard, and once again, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tex. — certainly one of the two most free-market politicians in Washington — gets the lowest score of any Republican.

Paul was one of a handful of GOP lawmakers not to win the Chamber’s “Spirit of Enterprise Award.” He scored only a 67%, bucking the Chamber on five votes, including:

  • Paul opposed the “Solar Technology Roadmap Act,” which boosted subsidies for unprofitable solar energy technology.
  • Paul opposed the “Travel Promotion Act,” which subsidizes the tourism industry with a new fee on international visitors.
  • Paul opposed the largest spending bill in history, Obama’s $787 billion stimulus bill.

(Rep John Duncan, R-Tenn., tied Ron Paul with 67%. John McHugh, R-N.Y., scored a 40%, but he missed most of the year because he went off to the Obama administration.)

Growing up, I kept hearing about the great and powerful Chamber of Commerce, and how it was the defender of business. Being a naive conservative, I assumed “free market” and “pro-business” went together. Fortunately, the Chamber’s support of the bailout started my education, and Carney’s column last year about insurance companies- and, as such, the separation between “pro-business” and “pro-free markets” was the icing on the cake.

Going back to the Chamber’s mission statement, I would argue its ratings (and, related, some of its policy positions) violate the following portion of the statement: “advance human progress…based on individual freedom, incentive, initiative, opportunity, and responsibility.” Since when does supporting government bailouts, subsidies and other intrusions in the market increase human progress, individual freedom, initiative, opportunity and responsibility? (Hint: NEVER) One could argue incentive is helped by government intrusion, though obviously the Chamber and I disagree on where incentivizing should stop. Certainly, these sort of incentives violate the rest of the statement, and thus invalidate any defense of perverse government incentives.

Secondly, I would argue the Chamber is invalidating its very existence, which is to help businesses. Its site claims over 96% of the Chamber’s members are small businesses, with less than 100 employees. Since when does supporting items for big businesses (such as TARP) help those 96% of businesses that are too small to save?

Unfortunately, this is not the first time the Chamber has invalidated its mission or existence with its ratings. Last year, according to Carney (emphasis mine),

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., had the most conservative voting record in 2008 according to the American Conservative Union (ACU), and was a “taxpayer hero” according to the National Taxpayer’s Union (NTU), but the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says his 2008 record was less pro-business than Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton.
This year’s picture was less glaring, but it’s still more evidence that “pro-business” is not the same as “pro-freedom.” The U.S. Chamber is the former. Ron Paul, and the libertarian position, is the latter.

David Boaz at CATO says it best, in response to the rating (emphasis mine):

But to suggest that Paul is wrong to vote against business subsidies — or that DeMint was wrong to vote against Bush’s 2008 stimulus package and the $700 billion TARP bailout – certainly does illustrate how much difference there can be between “pro-business” and “pro-market.” Instead of “Spirit of Enterprise,” the Chamber should call these the “Spirit of Subsidy Awards.”

For what they’re worth, the Chamber’s House ratings can be seen here.

Punishing the Guilty- Unless We Don’t

The Heritage Foundation nailed it in their Morning Bell yesterday:

The TARP program has so far distributed $247 billion to more than 700 banks. Of that, $162 billion in principal and $11 billion in interest and dividends have already been repaid. Except for AIG, almost all banks that received taxpayer money are expected to pay back the American taxpayers in full. As The New York Times reports: “The losses from the bailout fund are expected from money paid to rescue Chrysler and General Motors and the insurance giant American International Group, and from a program to help homeowners avert foreclosures.”

So the real deadbeats that are not giving us “our money back” are not the banks, but the union-backed car companies and failed government mortgage modification programs. But guess what? The White House has chosen not to include the car companies among the institutions that will pay this so called “Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee.” Also exempted are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored entities that helped create the crisis.

It’s time we told our elected officials to stop picking winners and losers, and voted in people who are in favor of term limits and in favor of a separation of business from government. Beyond liberal or conservative, these are the issues that are so important to America. After all, when Howard Dean, Markos Moulitas and Arianna Huffington agree with The Heritage Foundation…perhaps it’s time for- and I dislike using this word- change to how our system works. Of course, it’s up to us, the voters and citizens of America, to make said change.

Big News of the day or BIGGEST News of the day?

Read the article below and let me know what you think in the comments section:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. taxpayer profits from bank bailout investments are being offset by estimated losses from American International Group and automakers and mortgage payment cuts for struggling homeowners, a U.S. Treasury report showed on Monday.

The Treasury estimated net losses on its $700 billion bailout program at $68.5 billion for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2009.

The December report for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, showed that the fiscal 2009 net loss included estimated losses of $30.4 billion for AIG and $30.4 billion for automakers, with $27.1 billion in losses from the Home Affordable Modification Program.

These were much larger than a $15 billion profit registered from the Capital Purchase Program for banks and $4.4 billion in profits from other bank investments, asset guarantee and lending programs.

A senior Treasury official said the bank investments will ultimately produce a positive return for taxpayers. But the department was not yet ready to update its estimate of the final taxpayer costs for the bailouts.

The official said the Treasury would update its cost estimates on a quarterly basis as the bailout program shifts its focus toward small business lending and housing relief in its final 10 months of operation.

The Treasury in November said TARP’s ultimate cost estimate had been reduced to about $141 billion from $341 billion earlier in the year. Further reductions in the final cost estimate could aid the Obama administration as it faces pressure to produce a new budget that starts to show deficit reductions.

(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Dan Grebler)

Unfortunately, this story was not the lead anywhere today, though Fox did have  a related one on their top three stories. Drudge’s lead story today is about Scott Brown, the candidate for former Senator Kennedy’s seat (okay, that one’s fairly important). Yesterday, he had an accusation that Senator Reid (D-NV) had a facelift or something. Drudge did have this story, but buried several stories down. Meanwhile, cable news is failing as badly as usual to provide important news. Fox has the “tell-all” story about Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) as their lead story, and CNN has David Frum’s newest column as theirs. MSNBC actually has the most important lead story of the three, with an article about the death of an Iranian opposition leader. ABC is also not doing their job, with a massive lead story about President Obama allegedly playing favorites regarding the race card. 

Once again, I’ll ask Americans to look at the important news. Who really cares if Sarah Palin is on Fox? Is anyone surprised? Reid has said two racial statements in recent weeks. Why are we letting our elected officials waste our taxpayer money over his comments? (Note- every time they go after or defend Reid instead of doing their job they are wasting taxpayer money.) We are losing billions of dollars to corrupt government, business and other officials and executives…and we care about something stupid Reid said or the common-sense career move of Sarah Palin? Give me a break. Let’s worry about the troops dying overseas, our sovereignty, the education of our youth and the other critical issues facing this country. Our mainstream/professional media certainly won’t do it, obviously, but in the age of the Internet and other technologies, we the people have no excuse.

Congressional Favors Keep On Coming

The Heritage Foundation cites two professors at?the University of Michigan who showed that Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds were allocated in amounts related, at least in part, to lobbying efforts and political contributions. However, the strongest?evidence regarding political?favors was?that the study found?”banks with headquarters located in the district of a member of the House Financial Services Committee were 26 percent more likely to receive TARP funds than those not so geographically favored.”

As taxpayers, we should be outraged by this. Yes, lobbying and political contributions are designed to gain favors, and of course Members of Congress are always concerned about re-election, particularly in the House. Furthermore, this is all legal. However, one would have hoped- obviously in vain- that in order to pull the economy back from the so-called precipice that we were at last year our elected officials would act in the public interest instead of their own.

To clarify: I don’t think we should have negative feelings toward the constituent banks; after all, they probably figured the money was going out and they deserve it as much as the next bank. However, this should be yet another sign that more transparency is needed in government programs.

The Congressional Black Caucus Is Out Of Touch

The New York Daily News’ S.E. Cupp said it best: the Congressional Black Caucus “…practically every month seems to find new ways to demonstrate how irrelevant and out of touch it is.” This year alone, the CBC seems to be trying really hard to throw itself on the proverbial ash heap of history.

First it was the visit to Cuba and praising of Fidel Castro’s brother, Raul Castro. Then there was the investigation of one of the caucus’ more prominent members, Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) for a conflict of interest for steering bailout money to a bank she and her husband had a financial interest in. And who can forget efforts by members of the CBC– and ally Barney Frank (D-MA), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee- to get a bailout for minority-owned radio stations? The original effort, which happened in May, carried into December when members said they would not support certain financial regulations if minority-owned broadcasters were not given specific attention.

Obviously, the name of the Congressional Black Caucus highlights their support for a particular group of Americans. Were their goal to assist what Waters called “most vulnerable of our population,” I would disagree with their avenue and tactics to help black Americans but still hold great respect for their goal. However, it is clear that is not their intent.

According to Cupp, President Obama’s Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, said, “I don’t think the President believes that we should address only one part of the unemployment rate.” The president and Gibbs have it exactly right. It is grievous fact that black Americans have an unemployment rate of over 15%, versus 10% for all of America, but the president has to worry about 100% of over 300 million Americans, not just the approximately 13% of black Americans in the country. (Of course, he seems to be trying to help the less-than-one percent of Americans who are CEOs of insurance companies…)

Unfortunately, Frank caved to the CBC, and is using part of last year’s bailout funds for the caucus’ pet projects, something that is actually illegal, as Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) pointed out recently. TARP, officially known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program, was stipulated in last year’s bill to “be used automatically to pay down the federal budget deficit,” according to Gregg. Given this fact, it appears the CBC, Frank and the majority of Congress might be on the path to continuing to break the very financial laws they passed only 14 months ago.

Passing laws and getting money for constituents and special interest groups is nothing new, of course, though generally they follow the law. Unfortunately, the CBC and others in Congress are sidestepping the law and using billions of dollars for their interests- note, not for America’s- against the very laws they passed to “save” our economy. I think we should hold them and every other Congressman who supports using the TARP funds for more than its initial intent(s) accountable both at the voter’s booth and in every media possible until we reach the voter’s booth.

Of course, there is always impeachment, if some feel that is the best venue to hold our representatives accountable. I’m not certain that would work en masse, or be necessary or appropriate, though I support it in specific circumstances.

GMAC “Needs” More Taxpayer Help

American taxpayers, who have already bailed out GMAC (a consumer finance company partially owned by General Motors) twice, may be hocking over more money very soon. The company is in talks with the government to get the money without letting the government have too much control of the company. According to The Wall Street Journal, at least $2.8 billion is likely to be injected. GMAC is formerly the financial holdings arm of General Motors, and is currently a bank holding company.

As a libertarian-leaning conservative, I’m all for government not having control of much. However, this stance by GMAC is going too far. If they wants another bailout, the executives will have to eat some humble pie and stop pretending they have a leg to stand on with negotiations. Despite what Michigan Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow said last year, the $25 billion that slipped under the radar during the TARP debate wasn’t small, nor was the bailout GMAC received last December from the Bush adminstration. GMAC should have two choices: government control or bankruptcy.

I say this for two reasons; first, the board members and executive leaders of the company would be in serious danger of losing their jobs if the government took over. Thus, they would be hesitant to let the government step in. Additionally, since the government has (hopefully) learned its lesson about specifying payments in contracts with companies being bailed out, after the AIG bonus debacle this past spring, their pay cuts and bonus cuts would be absolutely substantial IF they were allowed to stay on. As George Will said in a speech I saw last year, executives should sign a contract stating they make no more money than the President of The United States during the time they are using American taxpayer money.

The second reason only two choices should be offered is that if the executives and board members cannot push their egos down enough to accept full government takeover and readjustment, bankruptcy would allow specialization of resources to kick in. At that point, Toyota, Honda, Ford and the other auto companies (and their respective loan organizations) that have actually done a market-satisfactory job of making vehicles would immediately receive the market share opened by a GMAC bankruptcy, given the influence the company has on the automobile industry. This would decrease the amount of resources- including taxpayer money- used to make cars in this country substantially, and allow greater economic growth to take place as the unused resources are used elsewhere. In what is being called “The Great Recession,” this could be a great boon to hard-working Americans as well as Americans who want to be hard-working but can’t due to the recessionary times.

Personally, I prefer bankruptcy for businesses that can’t succeed. Let’s put the pressure on our legislators to do the same.

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