Budget Battle or Class-Warfare?


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As the budget stalemate in Washington continues, Democrats are ratcheting up their class-warfare caterwauling. Time to bring out your earplugs and hypocrisy meters:

Liberal political strategist Donna Brazile took to Twitter to assail fiscal conservatives for “taking medicine from seniors” and cutting taxes for “the rich and their corporate donors.”

Do-nothing House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi attacked Republicans for paving a “path to poverty for America’s seniors and children and a road to riches for big oil.”

The left-wing activist group Campaign for America’s Future bemoaned GOP Rep. Paul Ryan’s “corrupt” budget plan for catering to “the wealthiest Americans that finance campaigns, the powerful corporate lobbies that have deep pockets for politicians in and out of office.”

But as I’ve said many times, people who live in fat cat-infested houses shouldn’t throw stones. The left’s overheated rhetoric about pandering to overpaid executives comes just as an independent inspector general has exposed the lavish, out-of-control compensation packages for politically connected Fannie Mae and Freddie Macmortgage finance bureaucrats.

According to government watchdogs at the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the chief executives of Fannie and Freddie raked in a combined $17 million in 2009-2010 — the period when the government-sponsored entities were handed over completely to federal conservators. The top six executives at the two institutions pulled in a combined $35 million over the past two years.

In a little-noticed report released late last week, FHFA Inspector General Steve Linick wrote: “F.H.F.A. has a responsibility to Congress and taxpayers to efficiently, consistently and reliably ensure that the compensation paid to Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s senior executives is reasonable. This is especially true when you realize that the U.S. Treasury has invested close to $154 billion to stabilize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”

The “U.S. Treasury” equals taxpayers, of course. And the “investment” has been a futile bailout that may reach nearly $400 billion if the plug isn’t pulled. Linick found an appalling “lack of standardized evaluation criteria, documentation of management procedures and internal controls” over the Fannie/Freddie fat cats’ salaries.

In other words: crony government business as usual.

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  • USMCSniper

    George Will has it right. Promoting dependency is the Democratic Party's vocation. It knows that almost all entitlements are forever, and those that are not — e.g., the lifetime eligibility for welfare, repealed in 1996 — are not for the middle class. Democrats believe, plausibly, that middle-class entitlements are instantly addictive and, because there is no known detoxification, that class, when facing future choices between trimming entitlements or increasing taxes, will choose the latter. The taxes will disproportionately burden high earners, thereby tightening the noose of society's dependency on government for investments and job-creation

  • StephenD

    They all piss in the same pot and expect us to swallow it. I can't stand any of them. Reid last night went on to say the Repubs shouldn't hide from the "tough choices" it has to make to pass a budget. Where were the Dems who had the House and Senate and W.H. for the last 2 years? Why couldn't they have already passed a budget. It's always the same; we're going to hurt seniors or Police and Fire and Teachers (on a local level). The vast wasteland of pork barrels is never mentioned.
    Time to clean house…and Senate!

    • Jim_C

      The reason those pork barrels aren't mentioned is simple: "I'm all for cuts–as long as it's not to MY pork!"

  • Jim_C

    Politically, arguing against a return to pre-New Deal days is a no-brainer.

    I don't envy Republican strategists right now. "Do you think we can insert something about gay sharia abortions, maybe?"

    • coyote3

      Yeah, I don't envy them either, they are winning. It will just take a little, just a little more education regarding the illegal exercise of power by Congress, and it might just happen. At least they won't be passing any more illegal legislation than they have already.

  • tanstaafl

    You can't solve the problem if you're part of it.

  • tagalog

    How, exactly, does Rand Paul's budget proposal for cutting the maximum tax rate to 25% for ALL TAXPAYERS favor the rich? In allowing a larger per capita income break (John Paul Getty gets a multi-million dollar advantage while Joe Six Pack gets a thousand-dollar break)? How exactly is that unjust or corrupt?

  • BLJ

    I play pick-up basketball at a public school one night per week. In the restroom they had a notice posted about a government workers rally scheduled for this weekend. In it they equated today's climate with what faced MLK Jr during the Sanitation Workers strike in Memphis back in April 1968.

    I almost tore it down to use as toliet paper (the best use for it actually) but left it alone. These ingrates are doing all they can to keep their free lunch.

  • john34

    There is a lot of bitterness and divisiveness in this blog and comments. As a progressive, I find corporate bonuses appalling. But I dont discriminate between where they came from -Freddie and Fannie, AIG, Bank of America they are all repulsive. And I think most liberals agree, despite from what you hear from pundits (I suspect this may be the case for conservative pundits as well who do not represent all of you) I think these are cases where Americans can come together and fight against corruption by corporate exes either in the government or being paid by government contracts, privatized no bid contracts, etc. This siphons off billions of taxpayers money. Tax loopholes that allow giant corporations like GM to get away with paying zero taxes – this also appalls me. But let us not confuse the small battles with the large ones. Public sector unions rights to collectively bargain – you may not agree with, but financially is a fraction of the money spent through corporate fraud and subsidies, or fannie and freddie exec payouts. Its smoke and mirrors, driving to divide Americans so they are yelling at each other over a fraction of the budget and once again forgetting who is stealing the biggest portion of the pie. Conservatives and Liberals united against corruption.

    • Guest

      Yes. It's part of the plan to have us fighting against each other so we won't see the real enemy. Keep us at each others' throats while they pass legislation we'll never even be aware of, the ones of us that aren't too busy watching 'American Idol' or playing with our cranberries. On Christ the solid Rock I stand all else, all other ground is sinking sand. I thank God the Bible tells us about these days we're living in and we can know the One who hold the future in His hands.

    • patriot077

      Remember the collective bargaining by public sector unions are with the politicians they pay – with the taxpayer's money. The taxpayer is also footing the bill for their salary and benefits while they fund the politicians' next election campaign.

      • Johs34

        This is my point exactly. We have different ideologies have whether workers have collective bargaining rights or not. I believe they do. But when you look at it from a different angle this is such a small fraction of where the vast amount of money is going – then maybe we should concentrate on the bigger issues. Its about priorities – and actually making a difference. Conquer and divide has been at work for decades and it works.

  • Brian Peterson

    It's a fact that the working class/middle class have suffered through flat wages for over thirty years despite worker productivity of 86% since 1978 and economic growth of the US by 90%.
    Yet in Department of Labor report, 1982 constant dollars and in Real Dollars, the average weekly worker was making 281.27 per week in 1980 and in 2004 the average weekly worker was 277.57 per week.
    Now who is holding down wages, it's the same group who's wealth increased greatly during the same time period. Tell me there is no class warfare,