URLs du Jour


  • At Cato, Michael F. Cannon is unimpressed with the honesty of the New! Improved! Public Option in the latest version of Obamacare. The idea is to allow states to "opt out" of the public option. This will (in theory) make the pill go down a little easier for some legislators. But:
    … the state opt-out proposal is a ruse within a ruse.

    Taxpayers in every state will have to subsidize Fannie Med, either implicitly or explicitly. What state official will say, “I don’t care if my constituents are subsidizing Fannie Med, I’m not going to let my constituents get their money back”? State officials are obsessed with maximizing their share of federal dollars. Voters will crucify officials who opt out. Fannie Med supporters know that. They’re counting on it.

    "Fannie Med" was, as near as I can tell, coined by the WSJ editorialists a few months back to describe another stealth public option, the "co-op" gimmick. But it's the same story: a trojan horse to get the US to a single player plan.

  • Remember the "Troubled Assets Relief Program", aka TARP? It's been making the news lately:

    • For example, you might remember that in last year's hysteria to pass TARP, noises were made about repayment—don't worry, we'll get all that money back for you, Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer!. Well
      Inspector General Neil Barofsky said in an interview with CBS’s “The Early Show” that it was “unrealistic” to believe that the entire $700 billion supplied by the government during the height of the banking crisis will be repaid.

    • But that was an honest mistake, right? They weren't lying, were they? Well
      The inspector general who oversees the government’s bailout of the banking system is criticizing the Treasury Department for some misleading public statements last fall and raising the possibility that it had unfairly disbursed money to the biggest banks.

    • But we can't just let it die:
      The Obama administration appears to want to keep an inherited $700 billion financial rescue fund going past its scheduled expiry at year-end, but is retooling the program to focus on more than just banks.

    • More than just banks? Why yes, for example
      The U.S. Treasury Department is considering ways to provide support through its bailout program to community development loan funds, a senior Treasury official said on Friday.

      Gene Sperling, counselor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, said loan fund support could be developed as an extension to efforts unveiled this week to provide more capital to small banks and other community lenders through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

      Yes, Your Federal Government is tired of pesky private lenders risking their own capital on enterprises they deem worthy; they plan on directing hundreds of billions of Other People's Money (specifically: yours) to "community development" and "community lenders", no doubt chosen through the auspices of various "community organizers". Yay, good idea!

    Summary: A bad idea, badly executed, and about to be re-mutated into a continuing suckage out of your wallet. We're all just travellers on the Road to Serfdom.