Michael Tennant

Is President Barack Obama working on a proposal to keep Uncle Sam deeply involved in the mortgage business and taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars in home loans? The White House says no, the President is merely examining his options. Meanwhile, the Washington Post, based on leaks from anonymous officials, reports that he is indeed looking to maintain the federal government’s outsized role in guaranteeing mortgages.

Residents of the Windy City may have to do without their favorite ice cream for a while, and possibly for good; and they have government to thank for it. According to the Chicago Tribune, Kris Swanberg, a laid-off Chicago public school teacher who chased the American Dream by starting her own business making artisanal ice cream, was recently told by the Illinois Department of Public Health that she will have to stop selling her product, Nice Cream, until she obtains a dairy license.

If the Obama administration gets its way, you can kiss your next SUV — and possibly your life, if you're involved in an automobile accident — goodbye. The administration is proposing a doubling of current federal gas mileage standards by 2025. New cars manufactured in that year would be required to meet a Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) standard of 56.2 miles per gallon, which the New York Times calculates “would require increases in fuel efficiency of nearly 5 percent a year from 2017 to 2025.”

General Motors and Chrysler, so the story goes, have repaid the dollars the federal government loaned them to keep them from going belly up. Therefore, it is said, every American should ignore the nagging constitutional and ethical questions and applaud the government’s efforts to turn these companies around. After all, what is more important: some yellowed piece of parchment or, as President Barack Obama put it, “millions of jobs [that] wouldn’t have been around anymore” if Uncle Sam hadn’t stepped in?

President Barack Obama has lately been touting the government’s takeover of two of the Big Three automakers as an unqualified success. This is not surprising considering the large hand he had in it; nor is it surprising that his statements on the subject have been less than forthright.

Fannie MaeNeed more proof — besides the staggering national debt — that the federal government is totally incompetent in fiscal matters? Three years after the feds took over their already failing “government-sponsored enterprises” Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two mortgage companies are still bilking taxpayers in order to stay afloat — and Fannie’s rescue is now slated to become “the most expensive bailout of a single company” in history, the Associated Press reports.

On February 4, 2009, President Barack Obama signed legislation establishing a $500,000 limit on executive compensation at firms receiving federal aid through the Troubled Asset Relief Program. “In order to restore trust” to our financial system, Obama said during the signing ceremony, “we’ve got to make certain that taxpayer funds are not subsidizing excessive compensation packages on Wall Street. He referred to these “lavish bonuses” for executives at failing firms as “the height of irresponsibility” and “shameful” — “exactly the kind of disregard for the costs and consequences of their actions that brought about this crisis.”

While average Americans have seen their wages and benefits stagnate, decrease, or even vanish altogether in recent years, federal workers have been doing very well for themselves. In August USA Today reported that “federal employees’ average compensation has grown to more than double what private sector workers earn” and that these same “workers have been awarded bigger average pay and benefit increases than private employees for nine years in a row.

Back in June, Republican Senate candidates Sharron Angle of Nevada and Rand Paul of Kentucky endured criticism from the mainstream media for their comments suggesting that government-run unemployment insurance was, perhaps, not the greatest idea in the world.

Thursday, 07 October 2010 00:00

Washington Could Learn From Havana and Moscow

Once upon a time the United States had some standing to lecture communist countries on the virtues of free markets. Today, however, our government is growing larger by the minute, while Cuba and Russia — once the most communist of communist nations — are heading in the opposite direction, at least in economic terms.