Sometimes it takes several days of events to unfold in order for me to put my thoughts in order and develop a coherent article. Such has been the case this week.
I’m a pretty disciplined reader of the Wall Street Journal. It’s not that I don’t want to read other newspapers, but I only have so much time, need to read it for my profession anyway, and can get a liberal prospective from any other media outlet at any time. Sometimes, it helps to read the Journal editorials just so that I know I’m not crazy.
I’ve been following the interesting events lately surrounding the current economic pounding the country is getting. I’ve commented quite frequently on this site about my disappointment with Congress and how they’ve handled themselves during this crisis. I’ve focused my disappointment on the poster children of political hubris–particularly Congressman Barney Frank, and Senators Chris Dodd and Charles Schumer. I am especially disappointed with Sen. Schumer.
Here’s why. Schumer replaced Alphonse D’Amato in 1999 because of allegations of political impropriety on Senator D’Amato’s part. Apparently, Al hung out with some disreputable people and, ever the opportunist, Chuck made hay with it.
Imagine my surprise when I read the following headline in the Saturday, October 18 2009 edition of the Wall Street Journal (p. 3): “Schumer Ripped IndyMac as Democratic Donors Probed Books”. The article goes on to say: “Sen. Schumer…was criticized at the time for publicly raising questions about the bank’s solvency and regulators’ oversight of it. What wasn’t known then was that a group of political investors…had been inside the bank looking over its books”. When IndyMac failed, Chuck claimed it was the regulators’ fault and that he had nothing to do with it. Hmmm…. The potential investors, Oaktree Capital Management LP, eventually walked away and IndyMac failed. Bad form, Chuck, bad form. The next time taxpayer dollars are on the line, keep your lip zipped. Unless, of course, your intent was to assist a Democratic donor…
Next item: Yesterday, Alan Greenspan, the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, appeared before the House Oversight Committee, chaired by Henry Waxman (D-California). Never mind the fact that “House Oversight” is an oxymoron and could be more appropriately named “House Monday Morning Quarterbacking Committee”, and has never actually overseen anything. Here’s Waxman’s question to Dr. Greenspan on page 1 of today’s (October 24) Wall Street Journal: “‘You had the authority to prevent irresponsible lending practices that led to the subprime-mortgage crisis. You were advised to do so by many others. And now our whole economy is paying the price””.
Hold on, Congressman! While Fed Chairman, Greenspan did warn Congress about an out-of-control Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, that he was concerned about how fast they were growing and, as it turns out, that they may be cooking their books. Three years ago, as Greenspan was about to retire, Congress was praising him. And yesterday, they piled on, because now he’s a convenient scapegoat. Now they can blame him because it’s popular and really don’t have to do the introspection necessary for healthy adults.
Finally, back to Senator Schumer. In Kimberly Strassel’s column in today’s Journal (p. A17), she reports that Chuck is incensed that the US Chamber of Commerce is lobbying anti-business congressional races, targeting those campaigns that may very well prove to be contentious. Here’s what Ms. Strassel says: “Chuck Schumer, who is leading the Senate efforts to turn Democrats into masters of the universe, is livid. All the more so, given he’s spent the past year threatening the business communitey with dire retribution if it doesn’t support his party. (Weren’t they listening?) He recently ripped the groups as nothing more than a ‘wing’ of the GOP, and has made clear he’ll remember the slights.”
At this point, I have to point out that in the most recent poll I saw, Congress has a whopping 12% approval rating. 12%! Senator Schumer and Congressman Waxman, don’t you get it? People don’t trust you! You and your cronies have done more to destroy our economy than all of the Alan Greenspans ever could. He actually tried to do the right thing. You, on the other hand, seem incapable of distinguishing between right and wrong.
In order for the Congressional approval rating to ever climb at all, our representatives need to be above reproach. That means none of this IndyMac hanky-panky. No disingenousness. Truth, if you’re capable of it. And if you’re not, perhaps it’s time to find some politicians who are.
Update: Added image.