Archive for the ‘Rahm’ Category

There’s More Room For Rahm In AIG Bonus Abomination

March 23, 2009

With the nation in what the president has called a financial “crisis” and even a “catastrophe,” Obama is moving away from his top financial advisors at least on some issues, and sticking close to the advice of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and policy advisor David Axelrod.

“Those guys know politics.  They are listening to the Hill and watching the media and the polls.  That’s driving Obama’s policy right now,” a top political analyst told us.

From The American Spectator:

Over the past ten days, as the furor over AIG retention plan bonuses has focused on Sen. Chris Dodd and Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, the White House has undertaken a PR offensive to protect the highest ranking Obama Administration official who was involved in the House and Senate negotiations over the stimulus bill, in which the AIG waiver language was inserted.

“Right now, you get the feeling this is all about protecting [White House Chief of Staff] Rahm Emanuel,” says a former Treasury Department lawyer, who worked in that department’s counsel’s office on the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) before joining a D.C.-based law firm in February. “At the time, we were led to believe there were basically three or four people from the Administration at the table when the final deals were cut and one of them was Emanuel.”

Informal advisers to Geithner are growing increasingly frustrated, they say, that Geithner is being held up as the straw man for the public anger over the bonuses. “Just over the weekend you saw a new guy added to the target list, [White House economics adviser Larry] Summers,” says a longtime Geithner colleague at the New York Fed. “You have Dodd, Geithner, Summers, but there were other, more senior political people involved in this mess, and their names aren’t being mentioned. Why isn’t anyone asking Rahm Emanuel, ‘What meetings were you in?’ ‘What did you and the President know and when did you know it?’ Tim has some culpability, but he’s not the guy who signed off on the Dodd language. He wasn’t that empowered to do something like that.”

Yesterday, Obama supporter and New York Times columnist Frank Rich fingered Summers as a key player in the AIG bonus mess. “Summers is so tone-deaf that he makes Geithner seem like Bobby Kennedy,” Rich wrote.

Summers currently serves as head of the National Economic Council in the White House, and has been mentioned as someone who might be forced to return to the Secretary of the Treasury post he once held in the Clinton Administration should Geithner not survive the political storm he finds himself in.

It isn’t just Rich, though, who has placed Summers in the center of the controversy. Last week, Sen. Ron Wyden, who was led to believe that language he was inserting into the stimulus bill, which would have heavily taxed such payouts as the retention bonuses, told reporters that it was the “Obama economic team” that stripped his and Sen. Olympia Snowe‘s provision from the bill. When he was asked about who he dealt with during the February negotiations over his language, he said, “Secretary Geithner, Larry Summers, and I’ll leave it at that.” He declined to name other names, though he indicated to reporters present that he was aware of others in the negotiations.

Senior Democrat leadership aides in both the House and Senate, however, insist that both Emanuel and Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag were present at the meetings where the decision was made to strip out the bonus taxation language and insert the Dodd waiver.

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Politicians Who Took AIG Money Should Give It Back

Two-out-of-three Americans (67%) believe that politicians who received campaign contributions from American International Group (AIG) should return the money. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that just 21% disagree and 13% are not sure.

The belief that the politicians should give back the money is shared by a solid majority of every measured demographic group except one – America’s Political Class. In that elite group, just 29% think the contributions should be returned while 63% reject that idea.

Among America’s Populists, 77% believe the campaign cash should be returned, and only 14% disagree. Most Americans have Populist attitudes. and their perspective can reasonably be considered the perspective of Mainstream America.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn. ...
Dodd took more AIG money than anyone.  Obama was second. 

Obama threw Dodd under the bus:

Did Obama White House Fuel AIG Bonus Mess To Enact Tougher Rules With Public Support, “Outrage”?

Financial Advice, Recovery, Trumped by Obama, Congress, Media, Polls


Obama’s Stimulus: Smart Economists are Opposed; Dems In Congress Want To “Rahm It Home”

December 30, 2008

A senior aide to a Senate Democrat told us that Democrats want to give Barack Obama a spending stimulus package early in his preidency, perhaps on inauguration day, by “ramming it home.”

And that coincides exactly with quotes we’ve heard from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

But a senior U.S. Senate staffer said jokingly the new administration wants to “Rahm it home” — a reference to Barack Obama’s Chief of staff.

In this June 6, 2008, file photo Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., ... 
In this June 6, 2008, file photo Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., left, huddles with then-Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. in Chicago. Emanuel, the hard-charging No. 3 Democrat in the House, accepted the job of White House chief of staff.(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

Our question is: if proposed legislation is smart, why not hold hearings, deliberate and show all the American peiople the good ideas of the stimulus plan?

Because it is probably not a good idea. Or it might not be a good idea.

Harvard economist Jeffrey A. Miron says, “According to the textbooks, government spending raises the demand for goods and services. Tax cuts also spur demand by putting more income in the hands of consumers or more after-tax profits in the hands of businesses.  Is a fiscal stimulus good policy? The answer is no if the stimulus consists of increased spending. The stimulus may be good policy, though, if it consists of lower taxes.”

So we think it may be wise to discuss the stimulus some more before “ramming” it into anybody….

“The state of our economy demands swift approval by both the House and Senate of an economic recovery and job creation package. While the House process is still being determined, the House has already laid the groundwork for this package with numerous hearings and the bipartisan package passed in September,” said Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s spokesman.

And we also needed swift action to bailout wall Street and then the auto makers.  And can Paulsen or anybody tell us that the money was well spent.

No, we are starting to think that more government spending just now, called bailout, stimulus or anything else, needs some careful deliberation….

Republican leader in the Senate Mitch McConnell wants to slow the stimulus train down to talk it over and think it over some….

“As of right now, Americans are left with more questions than answers about this unprecedented government spending, and I believe the taxpayers deserve to know a lot more about where it will be spent before we consider passing it,” McConnell said in a statement.

What’s the rush again?

By John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. speaks during a news conference ... 
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Dec. 15, 2008.(AP Photo)

Related from CNN:

Obama’s $850B + Stimulus: Go Fast Or Deliberate?

Republican Chasm: RNC Will Condemn Bush Bailouts

Pelosi lays down the law with Rahm

December 16, 2008

In a recent conversation with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rahm Emanuel offered some advice on a Democratic House leadership race. Pelosi’s response, according to several Democratic sources: It is “an internal House Democratic Caucus matter, and we’ll handle it.”

By John Breshnahan

But the speaker is laying down the law nonetheless.

In talks with Emanuel and others, sources say, Pelosi has “set parameters” for what she wants from Barack Obama and his White House staff — no surprises, and no backdoor efforts to go around her and other Democratic leaders by cutting deals with moderate New Democrats or conservative Blue Dogs.

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