Archive for the ‘Entitlement’ Category

Liberated “Almost Commerce Sec” Gregg: Obama’s Harshest Budget, Debt Critic

March 24, 2009

Now that he’s not joining them, Judd Gregg has made no bones about criticizing the Obama administration.

The New Hampshire senator and formerly almost-commerce-secretary has become one of President Obama’s sharpest and most prominent congressional critics of late, saying this weekend on CNN that “this country will go bankrupt” under Obama’s budget and denouncing the administration’s consideration of rolling big energy and health care policies into the un-filibuster-able budget, telling the Washington Post that that’s the “Chicago approach to governing” (akin to “running over the minority, putting them in cement and throwing them in the Chicago River”).

Gregg cuts a unique path: He stands by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and told CNN’s John King that while he has problems with the budget and stimulus package, when it comes to the administration’s efforts to stabilize the financial system, “I think they’re taking the right course of action.”

In an interview yesterday, Gregg praised Obama on a personal level as a “pretty effective guy” and a “great personality” and gave preliminary kudos to Geithner’s new bailout plan (though he wanted to read the fine print), saying that public guarantees plus private dollars could equal the right formula to get toxic assets off of banks’ books.

Meanwhile, Gregg has also emerged as one of the sharper critics of the effort to impose a supertax on AIG bonuses, calling that “an abuse of the tax laws” (though he says that the bonuses themselves are “despicable” and that more should have been done to rein in American International Group earlier).

The tax-AIG-at-90-percent effort, Gregg said yesterday, “sets a horrific precedent for our nation. This is something Venezuela might do.” He adds: “As a practical matter, the opportunity to discipline this was flubbed by us. The Treasury Department had every opportunity to limit these bonuses,” including making the $30 billion in additional funds released this month contingent on curbing bonuses.

Read the rest:
http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/
pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090324/OPIN
ION/903240310

Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H. speaks during a news conference on Capitol ...

Gregg said President Obama proposes to amass more debt than all other U.S. presidents — combined.  Here Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, March 23, 2009.(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Daschle Symbol Of What’s Wrong With Washington

February 4, 2009

The withdrawal of former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle from consideration as secretary of health and human services follows a long tradition of “blood in the water” politics in a city infested with bipartisan sharks. But it isn’t the sharks’ fault. Politicians keep tossing them food.

The sense of entitlement among the powerful and privileged in both parties makes some people think they can live in an exclusive political neighborhood whose access is denied to others.

It was the late hotel magnate Leona Helmsley who uttered the immortal words, “We don’t pay taxes; only the little people pay taxes.” Mrs. Helmsley apparently has been reincarnated in the persons of now Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Mr. Daschle.

By Cal Thomas
The Washington Times

Mr. Geithner “forgot” to pay “only” $43,000 in back taxes and penalties. He paid the Internal Revenue Service shortly before his confirmation hearings when the “oversight” was brought to his attention.

Mr. Daschle stiffed the IRS for $128,000 (plus $12,000 interest and penalties), paying up just six days before his first Senate confirmation hearing. (He agreed to a Senate Finance Committee request to pay another $6,000 in Medicare on additional income related to a car and driver. More about that in a moment.) According to The Washington Post, Mr. Daschle waited nearly a month after his nomination before telling Barack Obama of his tax tardiness.

Mr. Daschle’s rationale again exposes what is wrong with Washington. Recall President Obama’s vow to “change the culture of Washington.” With Mr. Geithner and Mr. Daschle (and prior to them, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who withdrew his nomination for commerce secretary under pressure of a federal investigation into how his political donors landed a lucrative transportation contract), we are still waiting for “change we can believe in.”

When Mr. Daschle was Senate majority leader, one of his perks was a car and driver paid for by taxpayers. When he lost his re-election bid in 2004, Mr. Daschle was given a car and driver by the head of a private equity firm headed by entrepreneur and longtime Democratic Party donor, Leo J. Hindery Jr., according to The Post, which cites a confidential draft report prepared by Senate Finance Committee staff.

Naturally, one who had been squired around when he was a senator and public servant shouldn’t be expected to drive himself and search for his own parking spot, or worse, take public transportation. Once someone has enjoyed the power and perks of the Senate, it is difficult to come down to where the “little people” live. Perhaps some counseling would have helped.

Mr. Daschle supposedly didn’t know a luxury car service is considered income if provided by someone else. How could he not know since for many years he participated in writing – or at least voting on – tax laws the rest of us must abide by or face fines and possibly prison. Mr. Daschle also made “questionable” charitable contributions totaling $15,000, according to the Finance Committee report, which additionally lists unreported consulting fees. Not reporting income raises red flags with the IRS.

It’s not that Mr. Daschle couldn’t afford the taxes. Since leaving office, according to documents filed with the Office of Government Ethics (now there’s a contradiction), Mr. Daschle earned $2.1 million from the law firm of Alston and Bird and, since he left the Senate in 2005, $1 million a year from Mr. Hindery’s private equity firm, InterMedia Advisors. He also made money speaking to and serving on the boards of health-care organizations he would have regulated as HHS secretary.

Does anyone else see a potential conflict of interest?

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/200
9/feb/04/our-patience-taxed/

Caroline Kennedy Registered in 1988, “Hasn’t Voted a Lot”

December 19, 2008

Many seem overjoyed at the notion that a woman who doesn’t vote much may become the next U.S. Senator from New York by gaining only one vote herself: the vote of the Governor of New York David Paterson ….

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Caroline Kennedy wants to be the next senator from New York,  but her voting record is already spotty, the Daily News has found.

City Board of Elections records show Kennedy has failed to vote in many elections since she registered in the city in 1988 – including votes for the Senate seat she hopes to fill and numerous Democratic faceoffs for mayor.

ByErin Einhorn and David Saltonstall  
New York Daily News

Caroline Kennedy lacks political experience but she brings the ... 
Caroline Kennedy, daughter of former President John F. Kennedy, listens to a reporter’s question.  Kennedy is campaigning for the open Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton.
(AP Photo/Don Heupel)

“It doesn’t speak to a deep-felt commitment to the electoral process,” Baruch College political scientist Doug Muzzio said when told of Kennedy’s ballot breakdowns.

Records show Kennedy did not pull the lever for any of her fellow Democrats in city primary races for mayor in 1989, 1993 and 1997 and 2005, which Republicans went on to win three out of four times in the general election.

She was also AWOL for the primary and general elections in 1994, when Sen. Daniel Moynihan was running for reelection to the seat Kennedy hopes to hold.

Read the rest:
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2008/1
2/18/2008-12-18_records_show_caroline
_kennedy_failed_to_.html

New York Gov. David Paterson speaks during a news conference ... 
New York Gov. David Paterson speaks during a news conference in Albany, N.Y., Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2008. Caroline Kennedy has told Paterson that she’s interested in the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Hillary Rodham Clinton, making her the highest-profile candidate to express a desire for the job.(AP Photo)

It’s Caroline Kennedy’s Sense of Entitlement or U.S. House of Lords?

December 19, 2008

idea, wrong argument. The problem with Caroline Kennedy’s presumption to Hillary Clinton‘s soon-to-be-vacated Senate seat is not lack of qualification or experience. The Senate houses lots of inexperienced rookies — wealthy businessmen, sports stars, even the occasional actor.

The problem is Kennedy’s sense of entitlement. Given her rather modest achievements, she is trading entirely on pedigree.

By Charles Krauthammer

I hate to be a good-government scold, but wasn’t the American experiment a rather firm renunciation of government by pedigree?

Yes, the Founders were not democrats. They believed in aristocracy. But their idea was government by natural — not inherited — aristocracy, an aristocracy of “virtue and talents,” as Jefferson put it.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/ar
ticle/2008/12/18/AR2008121803175.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

The Rev. Al Sharpton, left, and Caroline Kennedy have lunch ... 
The Rev. Al Sharpton, left, and Caroline Kennedy have lunch at famed soul food restaurant Sylvia’s in Harlem, New York, Thursday Dec. 18, 2008. The late President John F. Kennedy’s daughter acknowledged Thursday that she is seeking to be appointed to the U.S. Senate seat held by Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has been nominated by President-elect Barack Obama to be secretary of state.(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

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“I don’t know what Caroline Kennedy‘s qualifications are. Except that she has name recognition, but so does J-Lo.”

Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.)

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Caroline Kennedy Not A Regular Voter

ByErin Einhorn and David Saltonstall  
New York Daily News

Caroline Kennedy wants to be the next senator from New York, but her voting record is already spotty, the Daily News has found.

City Board of Elections records show Kennedy has failed to vote in many elections since she registered in the city in 1988 – including votes for the Senate seat she hopes to fill and numerous Democratic faceoffs for mayor.

“It doesn’t speak to a deep-felt commitment to the electoral process,” Baruch College political scientist Doug Muzzio said when told of Kennedy’s ballot breakdowns.

Records show Kennedy did not pull the lever for any of her fellow Democrats in city primary races for mayor in 1989, 1993 and 1997 and 2005, which Republicans went on to win three out of four times in the general election.

She was also AWOL for the primary and general elections in 1994, when Sen. Daniel Moynihan was running for reelection to the seat Kennedy hopes to hold.

Read the rest:
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2008/1
2/18/2008-12-18_records_show_caroline
_kennedy_failed_to_.html

Caroline Kennedy, daughter of former President John F. Kennedy, ... 
Caroline Kennedy, daughter of former President John F. Kennedy, listens to a reporter’s question during a news conference at City Hall in Buffalo, N.Y. on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008. Kennedy is campaigning for the open Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton.(AP Photo/Don Heupel)

Corruption, Nepotism and Entitlement: Illinois Politics

December 17, 2008

Illinois politics, it seems, is where corruption, nepotism and politics meet.

He was married to one of the state’s top legislators.  That connection and his blue-collar reputation and charm catapaulted him into the Governor’s job.  Then he figured he was “owed” more: a cabinet position, money for campaigns and maybe even money for himself and his wife.

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
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That belief that I am  “owed” runs deep in Illinois politics.

Jesse Jackson Jr.,  the son of a prominent minister and civil rights activists thought he was owed too.  From the House of Representatives he had his eye on the Senate and perhaps bigger jobs and money for his wife.

I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine is common in Illinois: and it has been for years.

What makes the itch go away and then crave more is money and favors….
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“As much as politicians in Illinois have had a tradition of corruption, the people of Illinois have had a tradition of accepting it, even expecting it — and long before Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich was accused of trying to put a Senate seat up to the highest bidder,” wrote Kate Zernike of the New York Times.

“Otto Kerner, who served as governor in the 1960s, was found to have accepted bribes in the form of racetrack stock only after the track owner deducted it on her taxes as the cost of doing business.”

And there are many more examples of corruption in Illinois politics and acceptance by the Illinois voters…

Former Gov. Otto Kerner, right, was convicted in 1973 on bribery, tax evasion and perjury charges; and former Representative Dan Rostenkowski pleaded guilty to two charges of mail fraud in 1996.
Above, left, Dan Rostenkowski. Right, Otto Kerner, Jr.

Related:
In Illinois, Corruption Often Expected, Accepted


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 In this Aug. 17, 2005, file photo Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, ... 
In this Aug. 17, 2005, file photo Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, left, laughs with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich during Governor’s Day at the Illinois State Fair  in Springfield, Ill. Blagojevich was roused from bed and arrested Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2008, after prosecutors said he was caught on wiretaps audaciously scheming to sell now President-elect Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat for cash or a plum job for himself in the new administration.

Related:
Ill. gov. says ready to tell his side of scandal

(AP Photo/Randy Squires, File)