Patterico's Pontifications


Obama’s Plan to Save the Economy: Raise Taxes

Filed under: Obama — Patterico @ 6:01 pm

No, I’m not kidding:

President Obama is putting the finishing touches on an ambitious first budget that seeks to cut the federal deficit in half over the next four years, primarily by raising taxes on business and the wealthy and by slashing spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, administration officials said.

I’m pretty sure raising taxes is generally accepted as a great way to jump-start an ailing economy.

Just ask our legislators here in California.

And I’m pleased to see Obama’s big commitment to turning Afghanistan around includes slashing spending on that war.

Warm up your chucklin’ muscles before you read further:

In his weekly radio and Internet address today, Obama expressed determination to “get exploding deficits under control” and described his budget request as “sober in its assessments, honest in its accounting, and lays out in detail my strategy for investing in what we need, cutting what we don’t, and restoring fiscal discipline.”

Hey, I know a good way to do that. A trillion-dollar stimulus package packed to the gills with pork spending!

Will Illinois’s Next Senator Be a Pal of Obama and Rezko with Mob Ties?

Filed under: Obama,Politics — Patterico @ 5:04 pm

Chicago Sun Times columnist Michael Sneed tells us:

Hoop scoop: Sneed hears rumbles that state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, 32, a basketball buddy and political protege of President Obama, is gonna make himself official.

• • Translation: Watch for Giannoulias to announce the formation this week of an exploratory committee to run for beleaguered Sen. Roland Burris’ seat.

• • Pssst! Dem insiders say Giannoulias was invited to accompany Sen. Dick Durbin — who is “sickened” by the Burris brouhaha — on a congressional delegation to Greece, Turkey and Cyprus last week to give Giannoulias some international exposure.

Great! Hey, you know, in addition to being Obama’s basketball buddy, Giannoulias also hosted a September 2007 fund-raiser for Obama, pledging to raise $100,000. And he donated $7000 to Obama personally, despite other contributions to the National Committee.

[Turns, Columbo-style, scratches head, and says:] Oh . . . there’s just one more thing.

What about Giannoulias’s business dealings with members of the mob? And Tony Rezko?

Reader jimboster provides some links with useful background. Let’s start with this, from the local ABC TV station:

New questions were raised Thursday about a political candidate’s alleged connections to organized crime. Alexi Giannoulias is a Democrat running for Illinois state treasurer. His Republican opponent, Christine Radogno, is asking these questions. But she isn’t the only one.

Political newcomer Alexi Giannoulias is not only facing Republican Christine Ragogno in the state treasurer’s race, he is also battling with the chairman of his own Democratic party, House Speaker Michael Madigan, who agrees with Radogno that Giannoulias hasn’t provided the right answers to questions abut loans from his family bank to unsavory characters.

The Democratic candidate for state treasurer, Chicago banker Alexi Giannoulias, is still facing the same questions he has been answering for months about multi-million dollar loans from his family-owned Broadway Bank to convicted felons with mob ties. Some of the questions are coming from his Republican opponent, state senator Christine Radogno of southwest suburban LaGrange.

“Clearly, he is the banker for people with mob associations, and, yeah, I don’t think there’s any question about that,” said Christine Radogno, (R)-nominee for state treasurer.

He was also the banker for Tony Rezko:

Rezko allegedly accumulated $450,000 in debts to Caesars Palace and Bally’s Hotel Casino between March and July 2006. He passed nine bad checks and got hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash or gaming chips in return, Roger said. The bad checks, written on Rezko’s Broadway Bank account, were for amounts ranging from $15,000 to $120,000. Bellagio LLC won a civil judgment against Rezko for failing to repay $331,000 in gambling markers.

This link has more details about the loans to mobsters:

According to a Chicago Tribune article from 2006, Giannoulias “has faced questions about the bank’s multi-million dollar loans to Michael Gioranago, a convicted bookmaker and prostitution ring promoter.” Barack Obama was quoted in the article as saying that he “is concerned by revelations that the bank owned by Illinois Democratic treasurer nominee Alexi Giannoulias’ family gave loans to a Chicago crime figure and said the candidate owes him and the public a full accounting.”

And while Giannoulias claimed that the loans to Gioranago were made “before he became a full-time bank employee”, “newly discovered public records show Broadway Bank made $11.8 million in additional mortgage loans to Giorango just last year. Giannoulias said he oversaw the servicing of those loans.”

Apparently Giannoulias didn’t give the “full acounting” demanded by Obama, according to the Illinois Democrat who is the House Speaker:

Rodogno is getting unexpected help in fueling the controversy from the chairman of Giannoulias’s own Democratic party, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, who refuses to endorse Giannoulias and won’t even put his picture on the party’s campaign web site.

“I want some answers. The allegations are there,” Madigan said earlier this week. “My history in politics, if you were alleged to be connected to the mob, you were done. But life seems to go on.”

Not only is this guy not “done” — he may have far to go. Life goes on . . . and so do Chicago-style politics.

Who is to Blame for the Financial Crisis?

Filed under: Current Events,Economics,Media Bias — Jack Dunphy @ 12:21 am

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

This week Time magazine published its list of the “25 People to Blame for the Financial Crisis.” It’s an interesting list, as much for who is included as for who is not. George W. Bush is there, as one might expect, as are Phil Gramm, Christopher Cox, and Alan Greenspan. Bernard Madoff is there, too, and there was even a spot reserved for “the American consumer,” who for 40 years, in Time’s view, spent too much and saved too little.

In placing President Bush on the list, Time allows that he “did push early on for tighter controls over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” but notes that he “failed to move Congress.” Conspicuously absent from the list, though, are Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. Recall that in 2003 Mr. Frank, at that time the ranking Democrat on the committee, claimed that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were “not facing any kind of financial crisis.” Recall also that as late as the summer of 2008, Mr. Dodd assessed these institutions as being “fundamentally strong.” Subsequent events would seem to have proved otherwise, and you know the rest.

I marvel at the intellectual contortions required to exclude these men from the list. In Time’s view, President Bush is more worthy of blame for his failure to “move” Messrs. Frank and Dodd than they are for “moving” themselves. I was a Time subscriber for more than twenty years, and every so often, as in this instance, I am reminded of why I am no longer.

–Jack Dunphy

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