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Jan. 12 2010 - 12:00 pm | 3,501 views | 7 recommendations | 62 comments

Counterparty On, Garth!

WASHINGTON — Targeting an industry whose political deafness has vexed his administration, President Barack Obama is weighing recovering tax dollars from government-rescued financial institutions with a levy.

The proposed levy could put Obama on the popular side of public opinion that is decidedly against Wall Street and angry over shortfalls in a $700 billion bank bailout fund.

A senior administration official said Monday that Obama would seek modifications to the law that sent billions in bailout money in 2008 and 2009 to a flailing Wall Street that was approaching collapse. The government official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the president's thinking.

via FOXNews.com – Source: Obama Considering Tax on Rescued Banks.

One has to wonder whether Goldman Sachs and Lloyd Blankfein are finally having their come-to-Jesus moment today. It seems an awful lot like the Obama administration is seriously considering going after bailout monies given out last year, almost certainly involving counterparty payments made to banks like Goldman via the AIG bailout.

I have more on this coming out later, but from where I sit this wouldn’t be happening if Blankfein and people like him hadn’t put Obama on the spot politically by babbling to reporters about how they’re doing “God’s work” and that sort of thing. Instead of acting contrite, these guys asked us all to take a big bite of blow-me sandwich. How’s that working out now, fellas?

One wonders sometimes what goes through the mind of people like this.


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  1. collapse expand

    Matt,

    Come on, don’t be fooled!

    Any levy rendered would just be smoke and mirrors. Until the Fed is audited any taxes levied would get repaid back to the levied parasites via the Fed.

    The ultimate payer again for these levies would be the tax payer.

    Obama is just saying this crap to appease the peasants and if a levy comes down it will be a pass through and nothing more.

    • collapse expand

      Exactly, this is nothing more than a show for the little people. This is Obama’s attempt at least in some small measure to turn the tide on the incredible pounding he has been taking over all his broken promises.

      Has ever a President been exposed as such a fraud in the first year of his Administration?

      I’m stunned at how brazenly he casts aside everything he said he would do. I voted for him to make change, the change he promised. I couldn’t be more disappointed in him.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        i dont know enough about this current situation to make a comment on it, but i do know that obama is taking an awful lot of heat some of which is undeserved.

        he has half of congress against everything he does and several “conservative” dems who are acting like republicans.

        i know that politifact.com is a liberal site, but it does show a list of his campaign promises kept,broken, not rated etc. it would be good for people like you to check this out and weigh it against all the talking heads before you throw him to the wolves.

        just a thought.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          Oh please, what does the House or Senate have to do with his refusal to curb lobbyists? Or his lack of transparency. Or the fact that he never wanted the public option that he promised. Or his pathetic deal with big pharma not to bring drugs in from Canada. You know, like he promised he would during his campaign.

          I can go on and on and on and on but I think I’ve made my point. I wanted him to succeed too so I understand your denial but at some point you have to see the light.

          He sold us a bill of goods. As Pete Townsend wrote “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss”.

          I’m done voting for both major parties. We need some form of revolution, without it nothing will ever change.

          Have you ever wondered why neither party will pass any meaningful campaign finance reform? The system and our politicians are corrupt to the core. I’m sickened by it.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        +1000
        I ditto your take, every word. I can’t believe what a joke this president is.
        A people’s candidate? What a crock that was!!
        As for the tax, it is nothing more than a show and the burden will be passed on to the average Americans.
        I’ve learned the hard way, president’s are selected not elected.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
  2. collapse expand

    Yves Smith had this to say about this issue:

    This “we need to appease the peasants” logic tells all. It says the Administration is so profoundly captured by the banksters that it sees nothing wrong with what is happening, save the political fallout. It’s perfectly OK for banks to go right back to status quo ante, looting their firms by paying themselves too much in bonuses and not retaining enough in the way of risk buffers. And why should they change behavior, now that it has been conclusively demonstrated that if they screw up in a big way, the government will run in, and they make even more money as a result? These are the worst imaginable incentives; intervention is the only solution, with the only question what form it should take.

    Seeing the problem merely as “the public is angry” implies that the collective reaction is simply emotional, and by implication, unjustified. That is 180 degrees wrong. To use an expression I heard in Venezuela, Team Obama may have changed its mind on where it stands relative to the banksters, but it has not changed its heart. And it hearts bankers, big time.

    Whole article here:
    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2010/01/administration-bank-tax-plan-an-empty-populist-gesture-by-design.html

  3. collapse expand

    Arrogance. The one human failing from which all others flow.

    When someone is used to being fellated both literally and figuratively on a daily basis by everyone for a very long time, it follows that the individual will adopt a God complex.

    There’s nothing the Universe is better at than knocking down such individuals.

    • collapse expand

      Oh Goddess I hope so; generally speaking, I don’t hold out a great deal of hope that there really is an omnipotent being keeping track so when some egomaniac (like Blankfein, et al) commits that final sin S/he reaches down and shows the idiot who has real power, but like most peons thru the ages, it has a satisfying element to it :-) .

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  4. collapse expand

    This is all about reversing Obama’s slide from his initial electoral popularity by his spin doctors. Trying to fool the public and taxpayers.

    Check out Philip Atticus’s excellent exposition of the Citigroup tax exemption scam. It is well worth the read and great to see some real, accessible, honest analysis of the financial crises that cuts the usual arrogant crap which analysts so often reek of when they say oh-it’s-too-complicated-for-ordinary-people-without-expertise-to understand-why-we-are-in-a-financial-crisis.

    http://www.philip-atticus.com/2009/12/incredible-citigroup-tax-exemption.html
    The Incredible Citigroup Tax Exemption by PHILIP ATTICUS
    Yet more good news out of Washington this week (I speak ironically, of course). The Washington Post reports today (U.S. gave up billions in tax money in deal for Citigroup’s bailout repayment) that Citigroup will retain its tax exemption on losses carried forward once the government exits the company.

    Binyamin Appelbaum writes:

    The Internal Revenue Service on Friday issued an exception to long-standing tax rules for the benefit of Citigroup and a few other companies partially owned by the government. As a result, Citigroup will be allowed to retain billions of dollars worth of tax breaks that otherwise would decline in value when the government sells its stake to private investors.

    While the Obama administration has said taxpayers are likely to profit from the sale of the Citigroup shares, accounting experts said the lost tax revenue could easily outstrip those profits.

    The news gets better: a photo caption in the same article reads that Citigroup incurred $ 38 billion in losses. The change in the IRS ruling allows Citigroup to claim $ 38 billion as a tax exemption against future profits.

    So let’s get this straight:

    • Citigroup was saved thanks to a $ 45 billion government bail-out, of which $ 25 billion was converted to equity (which is now being sold);

    • Citigroup additionally received a $ 306 billion government asset guarantee;

    • Citigroup has been making obscene profits from the $ 1 trillion in low-interest “quantitative easing” credit window from the Fed at an interest rate between 0.25%-0.50%, as well as the Fed’s purchased of mortgage-backed securities;

    • Citigroup now get a further $ 38 billion tax exemption from losses carried forward.

    The irony is why this should be happening. There is no objective hurry for the government to exit Citigroup and thus forsake a fair compensation for its role in saving the company. The reason is buried a little further down in Appelbaum’s article:

    The banks say the strings attached to the bailout, including limits on executive compensation, have restricted their ability to compete and return to health. Executives also have chafed under the stigma of living on the federal dole. President Obama chided bankers at the White House on Monday for not trying hard enough to make small-business loans.

    The Obama administration also is eager to wind down a program that has become one of its largest political liabilities. Officials defend the program as necessary and effective, but the president has acknowledged that the bailout is “wildly unpopular” and officials have been at pains to say they do not enjoy helping banks.

    So if I read this correctly, the reason the government is granting the tax loss is due to two reasons:

    a. So Citigroup can pay higher bonuses to its incompetent bankers, who caused this mess in the first place, and

    b. So Barack Obama’s popularity ratings can improve?

    I’m amazed there has been no further reaction from the American public. Although I would like to express on this blog exactly how I, personally, feel about this, my professional obligations and basic courtesy preclude me from doing so.

    All I can safely say is that this appears to be an obscene give-away. What US individual taxpayer has ever been allowed to carry forward a $ 38 billion tax exemption for losses?

    The only way this transaction will make Obama more popular is if people don’t understand what’s going on, or forget what happened by mid-term elections next year. I don’t believe either of these events is going to happen: people do understand what is going on, even if they don’t understand all the details, and people will react in the next elections.

    Some questions to consider:

    • Do we now really believe there has been no quid quo pro for the massive amounts of electoral contributions the financial sector gave the Obama campaign last summer?

    • Do we now really believe that financial sector regulation is going to work?

    • Should we claim to be surprised if the “average American” outside the Beltway is furious with the Obama Administration and Wall Street?

    A while ago, I wrote about how much money I could make running a customer-focussed bank in Greece. I think I’m going to work at Citigroup instead. Communism never had it this good.

  5. collapse expand

    Have to agree with the other commentators on here. I’m no expert, but this sounds like populist bullshit and not actual reform or real change.

    Also:

    http://rawstory.com/2010/01/obama-received-20-million-healthcare-industry-money-2008/

  6. collapse expand

    Sounds all well and good , but with so many foxes in the Obama henhouse I will remain skeptical till they, “Show me the money!” I voted wholehearted for Obama but immediately became disillusioned with his appointments and their increasingly apparent ties to the whole financial mess and the firms that were bailed out directly and indirectly.

  7. collapse expand

    LOL! Blow-me sandwich. How true. I can’t wait to see how much kicking and screaming the likes of Goldmine Sachs start up with to prevent this.

  8. collapse expand

    I’ll believe it when it happens, and not a moment before; and I’ll believe it’s actually good for the rest of us when I hear Blankfein, et. al. squeal and emerge from a meeting (not a phone in) at the White House ashen and crestfallen.
    Until then, you’ll excuse me for assuming that the as yet completely undefined tax is no more than a PR stunt meant to quell us proles and, if eventually enacted at all, will actually benefit Goldmine and screw us all deeper and harder.
    And whatever happened to the transactions tax? Too simple and elegant to camouflage?

  9. collapse expand

    It’s feudalism ’round here these days. You might as well forget all that Representative Democracy stuff you’ve been fed. The bankers run this place, they’re the feudal lords. Below them on the power tree is whatever weak-ass yes-man who happens to be camped out on the 1600 Pennsylvania Ave throne. Below the feudal lords and the royalty analogue centered in DC? There we are. The American people. Overtaxed and underpaid ignorant serfs. Get used to it. It’ll get worse (much much worse) before it gets better.

  10. collapse expand

    One of the taxes being considered, a transaction tax called a “Tobin tax,” has been supported by liberal economists for a generation. It would generate serious cash flow, virtually elimate the statistcal arbitrage business, and put a serious dent into high-frequency trading. It would render the banks less profitable, and that’s just a good thing. It won’t solve all of our ills, but it’s a very solid first step.

    The next thing to to effectively cap the amount of leverage a bank can use. If we (and England) can swing that, we’ll have gone a long way to turningt investment banking into a safe, dull industry which can’t hurt anybody — as the FDIC/OCC has don with retail banking.

  11. collapse expand

    Being away from work over the holidays with time to catch up on reading and thinking has brought me to even more cynical conclusions about the state of government and the cause of this “financial crisis”. Everything that has transpired in the last 2 years almost appears scripted by a hidden malevolent entity emanating from Wallstreet/government. Like the ultimate Ponzi scheme, wealth, productivity, and livelihoods have been extorted to serve those who move big piles of money around. It is nice to see the stock market recover, but I can’t help to think how much all of this was orchestrated by the “best and brightest” to take advantage of all the volatility.

    Sure it’s an easy populist position to talk about taking the money away from the bastards. I just don’t see it happening.

  12. collapse expand

    There is no substitute for breaking up the big banks. If the government can collect a levy from the banks before they break them up, which would be my advice, fine. But the levy or tax on the banks, no matter how painful it may be to them, or how painful they may pretend it is, is no substitute for breaking up these dangerously large and inappropriately influential institutions. Whatever the levy or tax, they will end up making payments, and they will go back to doing business as usual. Nobody should fall for this latest diversionary ploy from the Obama Administration.

  13. collapse expand

    Having a “come -to-Jesus moment”? More than likely: “Oooooo, I’m so scared, Mr. President. What are you going to do? Berate us over the phone? Ask us nicely? Guilt us? Tax us? Break us up? Bwahahahaha! Yeah, right. Whatever. Phbbbt.”

    I’m sure those banksters are probably shaking in their diamond-encrusted boots at this latest threat. A threat, which, when the payoff finally comes, will amount to nothing more than the puff of a gnat’s fart and will be just as effective in putting the greedmeisters in their place. These economic vampires are probably coming up with all sorts of creative fees and charges to pass on to their customers to offset any pathetic little bit of theater President Obama has planned for them.

    Bottom line: Nothing of import will come of this kabuki theater. President Status Quo isn’t the boat rocker he likes to pretend he is. That’s the pity.

  14. collapse expand

    If the sped up tax collection on TARP happens, great. If not, let’s hope it is actually enforced as scheduled (4 years). Until then I shan’t hold my breath. Let us know with what’s coming out later.

  15. collapse expand

    Obama strikes me as the kind of guy who never forgets when it comes to deal-making. Think Blankfein might be regretting blowing off the in-person meeting with the POTUS on December 14? Hmmmm….

  16. collapse expand

    panem et circenses — Pure and simple. I had a feeling this was going to start soon, seeing as how the natives are growing restless. The scales are falling from many eyes and the administration is taking heat for their posterior osculations of Wall Street and the Bankers. I’m sure we’ll see a few more crumbs and sops between now and the mid-terms. What a cynical, farcical game.

  17. collapse expand

    sounds like political pandering for the upcoming elections. obama inc. has already shown its cards – and ass – with regards to protecting wall street.

    i’m really pleased with myself for not voting. obama is a fraud; the damage has been done; no going back from here.

  18. collapse expand

    Are we sure that Obama is serious and not just floating another empty proposal to add cover for the industry during bonus season?

  19. collapse expand

    Matt.. About the only thing you and I have in common was playing the post when it was actually a position in basketball. Where you and I exist on the political continuum matters not in the least. You are doing the best and most important work that I can find in the entire field of journalism. I pray for your longevity and continued good work that might serve to save our great nation from our current state of “feudalism” as described by another poster. Run for office. I will donate to your campaign. 1 more thing: Blow me sandwich – Hilarious!

  20. collapse expand

    Q:
    “One wonders sometimes what goes through the mind of people like this.”???

    A:
    “Off the chart” levels of arrogance, thoughtlessness, self-entitlement, and zero fear of retributive justice.

  21. collapse expand

    Matt, after everything you’ve learned and written about over the past year you’re actually falling for this public relations BS from Emmanuel/Axelrod?!

  22. collapse expand

    There is a terrifying epidemic of myopia.

    This will not end well.

  23. collapse expand

    One wonders sometimes what goes through the mind of people like this

    Kinda sounds like “Let them eat cake,” doesn’t it?
    The guillotine! The guillotine!

    It was the worst of times … and now it’s even worse than the worst of times.

  24. collapse expand

    Wall Street is Never “Too Big to Flail”: Banks Continue to Throw Molotov Cocktails of “Poo” on America’s Doorstep (Next Up – “Crap and Trade”)

    Remember the old “flaming bag of poo” prank. For all of you sheltered youngsters, city-dwellers and goody-goody’s in America, here is the recipe:

    1. Find a hulking, steaming pile of doo-doo. Any animal feces will do: dog, goat, cow, horse, etc… and for the really sick and twisted – human.
    2. Scoop up the fresh, gooey pile of dung and put it in a fragile container called the “paper sack.”
    3. Place the seeping brown bag of stool on a neighbor’s doorstep (preferably, someone you do not like or could care less about).
    4. Set fire to the ticking time bomb of excrement.
    5. Ring the doorbell.
    6. Run like Hades.
    7. Watch the panic and predictable chain of events.
    8. Leave the scene full of pride in the ability to fool the unsuspecting victim without getting caught.
    9. Continue to exact childish mischief on other gullible targets in the neighborhood.

    As you can imagine, an unsuspecting homeowner finds fire on his doorstep threatening his entire homestead and lifetime of possessions. Instinctively, he immediately stomps out the flame in order to protect everything near and dear to him. Only after it is too late, does the homeowner realize that his shoe is now covered in a sticky, hard-to-remove layer of “meadow muffin.” Once the realization sets in, the duped homeowner is left alone to experience the 5 phases of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and, ultimately, acceptance. Meanwhile, the pranksters move on down the street before the unsuspecting victim can even have a chance to recover.

    Like the pranksters, Wall Street banks (the “Banksters”) have been playing the “flaming bag of poo” trick for years. Here is their recipe:

    1. Hulking, steaming pile of doo-doo: stocks, bonds, commodities, mortgages, debt of any kind (credit card, auto, consumer), insurance, etc…
    2. Put stool in a fragile container: AAA-rated derivatives, structured investment vehicles, “reform” legislation (deregulation, repeal of Glass-Steagall, CFMA of 2000, next up “Crap and Trade”), modern accounting practices, lack of regulatory enforcement, etc…
    3. Place the fragile container on a neighbor’s doorstep: use hard-sell tactics and conduct predatory lending to everyone and anyone who will buy the bag-o-guano and are happy to even pay the Banksters a fee for the privilege.
    4. Set the fire: hype the media and initiate irrational exuberance (i.e.; dot-com bubble, housing bubble, oil/gold speculation).
    5. Ring the Doorbell: entice the American investor to jump on the bandwagon of prosperity.
    6. Run like Hades: short sell, dump overvalued assets, trade on inside information, utilize credit default swaps, etc…
    7. Watch the panic: witness the crash, recession, unemployment and now a depression – due to Wall Street’s biggest and stinkiest “flaming bag of poo” produced by the housing crisis.
    8. Leave the scene: collect a pocketful of cash made before, during and after the poo is removed (commissions, trading profits, bonuses, bailouts, TARP, foreclosure, prepackaged bankruptcy, distressed asset sales, government funded Chapter 11, etc…).
    9. Continue to exact their childish mischief on other gullible targets: start over and move on to the next scheme (“Crap and Trade”) before the American public realizes what hit them.

    In a nutshell, the Wall Street banking system is nothing more than a spastic, hyperactive colon spewing out huge amounts of manure for unsuspecting American investors to step in. It gives new meaning to the term “Pump and DUMP.”

  25. collapse expand

    “Administration officials told the Huffington Post Tuesday that the administration will propose assessing a tax over the next 10 years to recoup about $120 million owed taxpayers from the bailout and other public subsidies.”

    C’mon man, that’s pretty fucking weak…

  26. collapse expand

    Matt Obama turns out to be a tool….He takes his marching orders from the real power. The same power that gave GW his. GW was a moron of course and O is bright. Nevertheless the public has no choice. Awareness is not going to happen as long as the mainstream media is infected and controlled by the power. It is simple how it has occurred. You know exactly what I refer to…GL

  27. collapse expand

    “What if I told you that the Republic is now under the control of the Dark Lords of the Sith?”

    ‘Nuff said.

  28. collapse expand

    As bad as things look after the first year of the Obama Administration, the only thing I feel about years two, three, and four is…….dread. “Dread” is an interesting word; it’s not just fear, apprehension, nor even panic. Dread is what people feel when horrible things that may be coming their way become a certainty. Think “the last mile,” getting off the transport at Buchenwald, hearing the door clang shut, spinning around and meeting Hannibal Lecter up close and personal.

    I believe Mr. Obama is a disturbed individual, not merely inexperienced, egotistical, or overly ambition.

    He is a megalomaniac; we ain’t seen nothing yet.

    • collapse expand

      Lighten up there, Francis. You could be living in Haiti. Why don’t you go fix something, any thing and stop griping?

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      NY – I totally agree. Though I quibble with your assessment of Obama as ‘megalomaniac’. IMHO, the guy is really a narcissist.

      Bertrand Russell described the difference between the two thusly: “The megalomaniac differs from the narcissist by the fact that he wishes to be powerful rather than charming, and seeks to be feared rather than loved.” Yeah, Obama is the narcissist – he just wants for people to applaud him, go all weepy when he strides on stage, buy his books and tell him how wonderful he is.

      Of course, Obama’s narcissism does have something in common with megalomania. Neither of those types give a damn about anyone but themselves.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  29. collapse expand

    This tain’t fair, all the banks that received bailout have dutifully paid them back this is just the expansion of Obama’s socialist agenda least that is what Glenn Beck told me to think this morning…I find this to be just another little trial balloon that Obama floats across the airways hoping the wrath of Mammon dutifully shoots it down….so he can once again turn to his liberal base and shrug his shoulders and look crestfallen…so his followers at cocktail parties can talk amongst themselves about how hard he tried but the forces of evil… Sara Palin and Glenn Beck were to much for any man to contend with. Then Obama can collect his checks from Goldman and the boys for his reelection.

    I would like to see the Tobian Tax on all speculation at a starting point of 1% with the knowledge it could and should go higher if the little reindeer games continued, I agree with old socialist Bernie Sanders if the banks or whatever institution is “to big to fail” than it is “to big to exist”. But we are owned by these people, we are little indentured debt surfs, who are too weak in mind to see our condition and to impotent in will to do anything about it.

    George Carlin was/is right

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acLW1vFO-2Q

  30. collapse expand

    Probably the worst line of Obama’s presidency was his saying that he didn’t get elected so a lot of fat cat bankers can get rich.

    So now he is proposing some tax on the banks, and that’s supposed to make us believers? Please. That proposal is never gone to get through Congress.

    If Obama wants to send a message, he should fire the guy who ordered the government to cover up the AIG mess, Timmy Boy Geitner. Until Obama does that, the AIG stink stays on him and not W.

  31. collapse expand

    Probably nothing illustrates more vividly that the Financial Services Sector provides little of any benefit to the ‘real’ economy than the state of play today.

    Millions of people out of work while Wall Street Banksters dole out billions of dollars in bonuses from their ‘record profits’ this year.

    What happened to the theory of rising tides raise all boats large and small?

    Clearly the Financial Sector swims in its own private gold plated Olympic Sized sanitized pool while the rest of us cling to the last of the water in muddy bacteria infested squalid mud puddles like a batch of alligators trying to survive a drought.

    • collapse expand

      Sinestar – I hear you. This country is going to hell in a handbasket – yet when I glanced at the Dow Jones this morning, my jaw dropped to see that it was over 10,700. My state of California is bankrupt, they’re closing shops every month where I live, and my 401-K has tanked – yet the Dow is going UP? That ‘rising tide’ hasn’t done a damned thing for MY boat.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        I always thought the 401K was a scam so I never bought into one. Turns out I was right all these. But I am sorry to hear you got thumped. I mostly avoided the stock market at all, the one time I did I got thumped hard. I am fortunate to have a good paying job but when I read reports of people dying of exposure because they are homeless and there are no shelter spaces available while G$ et al are shoveling money to their employees like they are cleaning up after a blizzard it really pisses me off. Man I hate these motherfuckers and I want them in jail.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
  32. collapse expand

    You don’t seriously believe this is any more than a populist stunt. You can raise taxes on these guys all day long but they can circumvent that in a milisecond. After all that is their specialty. Besides Matt….you really think TARP is where the REAL money went…..hehehe…TARP was nothing more than the old magician’s trick…look at this hand while the other hand is putting over 12 TRILLION in the back door in multiple programs and swap bailouts. Its all a sham and people are wising up………a little. hehehhehehe

    • collapse expand

      I don’t think Matt really believes what he said in this post. I fear he may have been kidnapped by the bank cartels and forced to make this statement against his will. If so, he will have to try find a way to get a message through to us. If he has been kidnapped, he should lay low for a minute and try to make a break for it when the opportunity presents itself. All of his followers really care for him, but as far has contributing to ransom fund for his release, he will have to contact his people at Rolling Stone for that.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  33. collapse expand

    Read the above posts and tell me that a revolution is not coming. People will not indefinitely take being lied to, cheated, robbed, pandered to, raped, and pillaged–while they can look over the fence and see a whole class of people living the good life–without tearing down the fence and shattering the good life.

    • collapse expand

      You would think so, yet, so far at least, we’re still very far from the flash point; still a long way from reaching “critical mass.”

      This is a topic that has befuddled many experts, and many more have made some attempt at psycho-analyzing why this is so. The Republicans have figured out that all they need do is flash a picture of two gays kissing in San Francisco to get parents to deny their children health care. If “They” are on the side of gays, I’m gonna be on the “other” side, regardless of whether it serves my personal interests, or not.

      It’s pretty much analogous to regulatory capture, Stockholm Syndrome, or just the Bloods vs. the Crips.

      The Repubs “get it,” we don’t. They don’t pay a fat slob, disc jockey $400,000,000 to “report” the news so that we can “decide.”

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  34. collapse expand

    Taxing the big banks makes a great sound bite but does anyone seriously believe that such a tax has a dog’s chance in hell of being passed through Congress, particularly the corporate Senate? Sounds like more PR BS to me and if such a bill ever comes under consideration, Rahm and Barack will have already made a deal with Jamie and Lloyd to insure they have nothing to worry about.

  35. collapse expand

    We are still giving the banks free money by letting them borrow from the Fed at 0% and buy Treasuries at 4%.

    That’s a money printing machine. Any little Obama tax on the banks is a sideshow to distract the public from what Fed/Treasury is still giving the banks.

  36. collapse expand

    And all the money Obama is blowing on FHA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, homebuyer tax credits, etc., to prop up the housing bubble is also a bank bailout because it is preventing the banks from losing money on bad mortgages.

    Life in prison is too lenient for the bankster scum.

  37. collapse expand

    This is the first time I heard of this blog. I was surprised when I discovered that Matt Taibbi is a contributor for True/Slant. The fact that Matt writes here makes me think the blog name should be False/Slant because in my opinion that’s what Matt Taibbi represent.

    The reason I’ve come to that conclusion is because of the lie he has been perpetuating about the President. Calling Obama a sell out which is what Matt has been running around as if his hair was on fire saying to anybody that’s willing to put him on the air to criticize the President. That sell out lie is so repulsive to me along with many other bloggers.

    Matt Tiabbi has been so disrespectful to the leader of the free world by calling him a sell out. Unfortunately Matt is trying to play on Americans vulnerability by playing the class war card. Matt knows dam well Obama hasn’t sold Americans out for the sake of helping the banks.

    I understand exactly why there was a need to lift the banks. Unfortunetly the banks didn’t loan money to the community or small businesses as they should have. It’s so much details to that entire situation that I will not get into it.

    The President is someone that’s been poor out of choice. He could have been making big bucks when he graduated from college, instead he decided to give back to society by becoming a community organizer which paid around 13 thousand dollars a year. The man drove a care and wore shoes that had a hole in the bottom of them.

    Obama absolutely understand what many people are going through and would never sell out the people. Just keeping it basic by saying if the economy crashed completely than would we be better off now!the answer is no.

  38. collapse expand

    This has become way too emtionally charged an issue, which is understandable, but does not help anyone look at it with any sense of logic. So lets just start with facts and Mr Taibbi can comment on them. I will respond with only facts. No epitaphs or assumptions. I know this is dull, but it is much more effective in actually evaluating what has occurred and what is needed.

    1. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have over $110 bn of TARP money.
    2. Goldman has zero of TARP money. It was given $10bn and returned more than given such that the taxpayer made money on his Goldman TARP.
    3. Ditto for JP Morgan.
    4. The auto industry has over $70bn of TARP money thus dwarfing what Goldman and JP Morgan ever had.
    5. AIG, a now defunct insurance company has less than the auto industry.
    6. The next largest TARP funds to a financial company is $7.5bn to PNC financial serivces.

  39. collapse expand

    Keepingitreal, your idolatry of our President is touching but dangerous. Your statement that:

    “Matt Tiabbi has been so disrespectful to the leader of the free world by calling him a sell out. Unfortunately Matt is trying to play on Americans vulnerability by playing the class war card. Matt knows dam well Obama hasn’t sold Americans out for the sake of helping the banks.”
    is silly on its face and illogical. Criticism of our political leaders is NOT disrespectful. Indeed, many believe it is patriotic. Perhaps you should read our Constitution or read anything Thomas Jefferson wrote as it may change your opinion or at least show the shallowness of your thinking.
    Matt, and others, that criticize the President, are doing so because his actions demand it. Do you hear that his “actions?” Not his words or his smile of the fact that he had a hole in his shoe when he was fifteen – those things are irrelevant to his actions today.

    President Obama is a sellout because he is willing to give away billions to corporations, ranging from healthcare to financial services without getting anything in return for the people.

    America needs someone who is willing to fight for them, each and every single day, someone who is willing to fight against the corruption in DC, even when that corruption is within his own party. Unfortunately, Obama is not that person. He is content to take the corporate donations and build the DNC war chest.

  40. collapse expand

    don’t you people understand that Obama is the only thing standing in the way of a Palin/Beck ticket in 2012…don’t you know what that would mean!!!! expansion of the wars into Pakistan, Yemen hell we would probably be sending mercs like Blackwater/Xe back into Somalia, Gitmo would be humming along, rendition, black sights, not to mention what would be happening on the homefront….rolling back basic civil rights domestically truthfully I wouldn’t put it pass them to have electronic strip searches at your local Starbucks, and we would continue subsidizing financial shenanigans… I mean come on the conservatives’ idea of health care reform would be nothing more than cutting Medicare/Medicaid and mandating the purchasing of insurance upon penalty of law as a means to continue to subsidize their cronies

    please forgive my failure to purchase the proper punctuation to mark this post as sarcasm but due to the continuing Obama economic recovery I don’t have sufficient funds to do so

  41. collapse expand

    I emailed David Brooks after reading his column. Said essentially the same as did Matt.

    I added two questions: when will white, middle-class America cease to BELIEVE that they can “paper over” history does not count; when will whites cease to BELIEVE that when black folk become “chocolate versions” of whites, the problems will be solved?

  42. collapse expand

    How can Kindler cleverly fit ‘tooarroganttonotgetstabbed’ on his license plate in 7 letters or less?
    (not inciting violence)

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    About Me

    I'm a political reporter for Rolling Stone magazine, a sports columnist for Men's Journal, and I also write books for a Random House imprint called Spiegel and Grau.

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