When Congress established the $700 billion bailout fund, it promised strict and thorough oversight. Over a month later, with $290 billion already committed, we have our answer: There isn't any.
The legislation called for a special inspector general within the Treasury to audit and investigate the bailout, reporting on what assets the government is acquiring, its reasons for doing so and their value. The special inspector has yet to be named, although the Bush administration is said to have a candidate lined up, but there's a question whether the Senate can confirm him in a timely fashion.
The nation's 21 Republican governors are in defense mode. They know they're the best and the brightest but fear the rest of the world doesn't understand that.
Meeting in Miami after the election, now solidly the minority party, the governors embraced Haley Barbour's statement: "When I became chairman of the Republican National Committee after Bill Clinton's election, I quickly found out that our governors were the most popular, influential people in the party. When the other party has the White House and both houses of Congress, as it did then and will now, the only place people can actually see Republican ideas being implemented is in the states."
Barbour, of course, is now governor of Mississippi.
It wasn't too long ago that most Americans accepted the adage that what is good for General Motors is good for the nation. That symbolic concept of U.S. industrial might certainly has slipped dramatically over the last four decades, but at this moment it just may be truer than it ever was.
For those of us of a certain age, the possible demise of the nation's auto building giant and its remaining competitors in Detroit, Ford and Chrysler, is inconceivable. The loss of national pride alone is almost as devastating as the impact on jobs, GDP, taxes and personal income and those figures are enormous. American entrepreneurship and ingenuity so long admired around the globe would lose what credibility it has left. No longer would we be the geniuses of industrial development as evidenced by our remaining brands still represented on the world's highways.
MSNBC was the victim of a hoax when it reported that an adviser to John McCain had identified himself as the source of an embarrassing story about former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, the network said Wednesday.
David Shuster, an anchor for the cable news network, said on air Monday that Martin Eisenstadt, a McCain policy adviser, had come forth and identified himself as the source of a Fox News Channel story saying Palin had mistakenly believed Africa was a country instead of a continent.
The air is crisp, the sky bright blue, the leaves have passed their red-orange peak and are falling around the headstones of those who gave our nation their lives.
As I am writing this column on Veterans Day 2008, the sacrifices of our fallen military heroes are being remembered, briefly but respectfully, on the morning television news. But as you are reading this column, the sacrifices of our military veterans will already have been pushed back to their traditional place on the lowest rung of your government's agenda ladder. Our nation's leaders will have moved on to their own urgent priorities: The closing of one presidency, the opening of another; the convening of the new Congress.
For better or worse, or whether it's throwing good money after bad, momentum is building in Washington for an auto industry bailout, much larger than the $25 billion already promised.
Congressional Democratic leaders Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are in favor. President-elect Barack Obama has indicated that he is inclined to support some sort of rescue. And Bush administration opposition seems to be weakening.
On the day before the election, this letter to the editor was published in my local newspaper under the headline "Share the wealth:"
"All this talk of redistribution of the wealth reminds me of the story of Huey Long running for governor of Louisiana years ago. A man shining shoes in the barbershop was asked whom he was going to vote for.
"'Mr. Huey P. Long' was his reply. When asked why, he said, 'Cause Mr. Huey is going to take money from the rich and give it to all the poor folks.'
Conservative Republicans regularly accuse liberal Democrats to trying to solve problems by throwing money at them. The Federal Reserve has been throwing billions into the banking system to stabilize the credit markets and no one has been complaining about it.
This week the Fed participated in an unprecedented global rate cut: An orchestrated cut in interest rates with 20 other nations in an attempt to encourage financial institutions to borrow from their central banks and begin making loans to credit-starved businesses.Read More
Maybe it was necessary, this establishment-endorsed, fear-driven, hastily constructed $700 billion bailout gamble meant to avoid a devastating credit crunch. But whether it was or wasn't, it is towing something politically perilous in its train.
Again and again, this Wall Street package will be used as an excuse to try to take freedom out of our markets, to throttle them with excessive regulation and leave them shorn of the innovation and energy that add up to prosperity. It will be used as an excuse for something else, too -- the creation of a European-style welfare state.Read More
The Europeans watched bemusedly while the storms swept through the U.S. financial markets and the supposedly laissez faire Bush administration pleaded with Congress for a $700 billion government intervention in the marketplace.Read More