Welcome to Socialist Capitalism and Palin Parts the Red Sea

[picapp src=”f/3/f/6/Kenneth_R_Feinberg_1c88.jpg?adImageId=6469843&imageId=6403592″ width=”234″ height=”330″ /] This week, the Obama “pay czar”, Kenneth Feinberg announced that he would be cutting the cash salaries of TARP company executives by 90% and total compensation by 50%. My first reaction to this was utter elation. The part of me that is fed up with arrogant corporate CEO’s who are oblivious to the economic suffering of this country, and their contribution to it, raised his fist in a defiant “screw the fat cats!” It’s about damn time!

Then I paused a moment and thought, wow, I’m no expert on socialism but isn’t this the government controlling the detailed operations of what used to be free enterprise? Well, yes it is. So should we all be wringing our hands saying that Limbaugh, Beck and Malkin were all correct? Is it socialism today and communism tomorrow?

No, I don’t think so. What we’ve got here is an odd mix of socialism and capitalism tossed together and only for the time being. The government doesn’t own a huge stake in these TARP companies, we do! We, the taxpayers own a large chunk of these companies and we should be very pleased that the government, our proxy, is making these companies accountable for their behavior. Once these companies (AIG, Bank of America, Citigroup, GM, Chrysler and the two car company financing divisions) pay us back our money, then we will get out of their business. Until then, they should at least partially answer to us.

I call this socialist capitalism. It’s a free market system which when it breaks down based on abuses, stops being totally free and gets a good government slap on the wrist. It’s the answer to capitalism on steroids, which is what I believe got us into our current mess. As long as the government knows when to back off, I see no problem with this approach.

Let’s see what you think:

Republican Schism and the Palin Factor (or How Sarah Parted the Red Sea)

In a recent post, I warned of the imminent demise of the Republican party but I was wrong about how Sarah Palin could be instrumental in it. I’ve always seen Palin as pulling the party so far to the right that they fall off the edge of the Earth. What I didn’t count on was that our darling maverick would go completely rogue on the GOP and back a candidate opposing the Republican Party. But yes friends, that is indeed what has happened. In the 23rd congressional district House race in New York, Sarah Palin has endorsed Conservative Party candidate, Doug Hoffman over Republican Party candidate Deirde “Dede” Scozzafava. By helping to dilute the conservative vote, Sarah may hand the traditionally Republican district over to Democrat Bill Owens on a silver platter.

Wonder how much the GOP loves Sarah now?


WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

One Price of a Bailout and the Conservative Cure

Take my Boss … Please

When the CEO of General Motors was essentially fired by the US government today, I must confess that it took me aback a bit. Is this the price of bailouts that our government now has the power to force leaders of industry into resignation? If we buy the premise that we all now own GM and that GM must be accountable to the tax payer, then I suppose Rick Wagoner’s ouster is completely legit. Still, I get a bit of unease in my stomach when I see the government intervening in the affairs of a corporation like this. I’m not ready to call it socialism but it sure feels strange.

Then again, when I was laid off by a Fortune 500 company back in 2007, I sure would have loved to call up the President of the United States and say, “hey could you fire the CEO of the dumb-ass company that let me go?” Who knows, there could be a number of former (or even current) employees of GM who are dancing the jig right about now.

America Don’t Need No Republicans! We need British Conservatives!

Last week, in another attempt to prove just how brain dead they are, the Republicans released their 19 page alternative budget. Here was Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’  assessment:

That this is the opposition party, should make American Conservatives despondent to the point of near suicide. They are being led by clowns. As he was exiting the announcement of this important Republican initiative, Representative John Boehner was asked if the alternative budget would have more bailouts. His response: “Uhhhh, we’ll see.”

The conservative cure my friends is to toss the entire Republican party and import the British Conservative party! As you watch this speech by European Parliament member Dan Hannan, think about doofus Boehner and contrast the two in your mind:

Now this fellow has bollocks, or balls as we would say. Direct, intellectual and incredibly articulate. Heck, maybe I’m just in love with the British accent? In any case, as I’ve been saying for some time now, the Republican party desperately needs an intellectual to take hold of the steering wheel. Watching Hannan only further drives home this point.

I ask my Republican friends, aren’t you tired of being led by Beavis and Butthead?


WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

Obama Video Address: December 13, 2008

In this week’s address, the President-elect oddly ignores the elephant in the room. What is on most people’s minds right now is the recently defeated effort to rescue the Big 3 automakers. The sticking point appeared to be the UAW’s refusal to take immediate pay cuts in order to get the 14 billion bailout. The Republicans in the Senate have been accused of union busting. At first, I was disappointed that the UAW stuck to its guns on this until I was reminded that no where in the proposed bailout plan is an immediate requirement for executive pay cuts or even better, executive resignations.

As I have said before, no matter how this goes down, the blue collar worker is the one who will get shafted. If the GM and Chrysler (Ford finally said “we don’t need your money”) don’t get the money heads will roll. If they get the money and re-tool their business, heads will roll. It really does not matter. I still stick to the principle that in a capitalist society, companies that cannot succeed, deserve to fail.

Here is the solution that I have not heard from anyone. The Fed and the Governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm should sit down with Toyota, and Volkwagen, to name two good companies, and work out a plan where these companies would receive government subsidies to purchase and operate all of the GM and Chrysler plants. They would agree, at least for a period of time, to take over the brands made famous by GM and Chrysler (Cheverolet, etc.). Essentially, GM and Chrysler would sell themselves to these companies who are doing quite nicely, thank you, down in Alabama and other Southern states.

Many have said “America cannot afford to not have an auto industry.” Nonsense. America cannot afford to have millions unemployed. The notion of an American company is passe. We live in a global market and where a particular company’s headquarters resides has little relevance to international economic health. What we are talking about here is nationalistic pride and in this case, pride goeth before the fall. We need to save jobs not companies.

As for Barack Obama’s address, while he did not discuss our most pressing problem, he did discuss his plans for one of our other very distressing problems, namely the housing crisis. He announced today the appointment of the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Shaun Donovan, a former HUD employee from the Clinton administration who has most recently done outstanding work under Mike Bloomberg in New York City.

And now, the President-elect:


WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance