Facebook screws the pooch: Is Wendy E Aylworth a troll? (Update)
Two Steves with a difference of opinion on immigration ...

Self-entitlements: the invisible business of politics and special interests ...

It has become increasingly popular for politicians and others to scream about the increasing costs associated with running the government.

With the proximate cause being the profligate union contracts which were apparently negotiated with a “wink-wink, nod, nod” between the union negotiators and the politicians who relied on the unions for campaign funding and voter support; not to mention the implicit threat of running and funding an opposition candidate if the politician-negotiators didn’t roll over on the taxpayers who were not being represented at the bargaining table.

While there is little or no doubt in my mind that public employee unions represent the worst possible scenario for the taxpayer …

  • rewarding seniority over merit;
  • rewarding mediocrity over innovation;
  • demanding onerous work rules to increase the employment of unionized personnel; and, in general,
  • insuring that costs continue to rise while productivity continues to fall

there is also the issue of a large and growing bureaucracy that serves only to serve, not the taxpayers, but those who are eligible for entitlements. With bureaucrats going so far as mounting mainstream media campaigns to advertise for more people eligible for entitlements.

These are the bureaucrats who create complex rules and regulations to insure that everything requires the maximum amount of paper-shuffling and administrivia. Overlooking their sworn duties to purge the entitlement roles of those ineligible for benefits or ferreting out costly fraud which is, in many cases, blatantly obvious.

Immigration as a big business …

Even without the bureaucratic and law enforcement components, immigration is big business to any number of lawyers and activists who purport to help the downtrodden illegal alien who has absolutely no legal right to be in this country.

Fraud is rampant and the government declines to take affirmative (no pun intended) action against those who knowingly violate the law.

IRS knows which employers hire illegal aliens and which illegal aliens are using forged or stolen Social Security Numbers. A simple computer matching program would tell you who the suspects for further investigation are.

But government as a whole appears to be incompetent in order to serve the bureaucracy …

Medicare knows which medical providers are cheating the system and declines to hire additional investigators or put automated systems in place to limit the amount of fraud.

From a data processing standpoint, one notes that a new provider appears in the system and then monitors the activity for that provider; not so much for coding accuracy, but for the timing and volume of reimbursement claims. Pattern analysis, such as that routinely used by credit card companies to ferret out fraud, could detect and deter much of the fraudulent activities by itinerant fraudsters and scam artists and the doctors and providers involved.

Likewise, hospitals are perpetrating a scam which is costing us all significant amounts of money. How does the government allow a two-day usage of a CPAP machine used for treating sleep apnea to be billed at $3800 when that it the cost of owning four top-of-the-line machines? But that’s not the real scam. The real scam is to allow the insurance companies to pay $400 dollars of the bill and allowing the hospitals to write off $3400 as an unrecoverable loss – thus insuring their overwhelming losses will offset any possible profits in other areas.

America is being screwed …

The politicians, the special interests, the unions and the bureaucrats are all feeding at the public trough. And there is no end in sight with the progressive democrats who want to enlarge the size of government, insert the government into every aspect of your personal life, raise your taxes, and curtail your ability to protest. Not that the republicans are much better as they fight for power and the right to carve up the taxpayer’s pie for their own benefit.

We are now finding that Members of Congress are exempt from insider trading regulations. That they can hide their ill-gotten gains in their offices and reduce the possibility of discovery or law enforcement access. They can say anything during the course of their official duties and not be held responsible.

We are now learning that former Treasury Secretary Henry “Hank” Paulson apparently was telling the investing public one thing about the Government Sponsored Entitites Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and telling a group of high-powered hedge fund managers and financial types quite another thing.

“Paulson had been pushing a plan in Congress to open lines of credit to the two struggling firms and to grant authority for the Treasury Department to buy equity in them. Yet he had told reporters on July 13 that the firms must remain shareholder owned and had testified at a Senate hearing two days later that giving the government new power to intervene made actual intervention improbable.”

“On the morning of July 21, before the Eton Park meeting, Paulson had spoken to New York Times reporters and editors, according to his Treasury Department schedule. A Times article the next day said the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency were inspecting Fannie and Freddie’s books and cited Paulson as saying he expected their examination would give a signal of confidence to the markets.”

“At the Eton Park meeting, he sent a different message, according to a fund manager who attended. Over sandwiches and pasta salad, he delivered that information to a group of men capable of profiting from any disclosure.”

Around the conference room table were a dozen or so hedge-fund managers and other Wall Street executives -- at least five of them alumni of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., of which Paulson was chief executive officer and chairman from 1999 to 2006. In addition to Eton Park founder Eric Mindich, they included such boldface names as Lone Pine Capital LLC founder Stephen Mandel,Dinakar Singh of TPG-Axon Capital Management LP and Daniel Och of Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC.”

“After a perfunctory discussion of the market turmoil, the fund manager says, the discussion turned to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Paulson said he had erred by not punishing Bear Stearns shareholders more severely. The secretary, then 62, went on to describe a possible scenario for placing Fannie and Freddie into ‘conservatorship’ -- a government seizure designed to allow the firms to continue operations despite heavy losses in the mortgage markets.”

Paulson explained that under this scenario, the common stock of the two government-sponsored enterprises, or GSEs, would be effectively wiped out. So too would the various classes of preferred stock, he said.”

“The fund manager says he was shocked that Paulson would furnish such specific information -- to his mind, leaving little doubt that the Treasury Department would carry out the plan. The managers attending the meeting were thus given a choice opportunity to trade on that information.” <Source>

But what irritates me the most, are the comments made by the chattering experts ...

“And law professors say that Paulson himself broke no law by disclosing what amounted to inside information.”

“William Black, associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, can’t understand why Paulson felt impelled to share the Treasury Department’s plan with the fund managers.”

“’You just never ever do that as a government regulator --transmit nonpublic market information to market participants,’says Black, who’s a former general counsel at the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco. ‘There were no legitimate reasons for those disclosures.’”

“’The bottom line is that senior-level people in Washington, in the name of keeping in touch with their stakeholders, are tipping their hands,’ says Adam Zagorin, a senior fellow at the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington watchdog group. ‘You can’t prosecute them for insider trading if they didn’t trade the shares. You may not be able to even reprimand them. What the hell are the rules?’”

An official such as Paulson has no legal obligation to keep material nonpublic information to himself, says Phillip Kaplan, partner for litigation at Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP, where he specializes in securities and class-action cases.”

’I don’t think a government person is liable,’ he says.“’he didn’t profit from the information or trade on it.’” <Source>

Payback?

“Paulson is now a distinguished senior fellow at the University of Chicago, where he’s starting the Paulson Institute, a think tank focused on U.S.-Chinese relations.”

Is Obama’s Chicago the center of the criminal universe? Were normal rules are suspended for all – except those who only serve as a distraction from the greater corruption? Obama buddies Tony Rezko and Rod Blagojevich come to mind.

I wonder if this will be a privately controlled, non-profit, tax-exempt foundation to push public policies favorable to Paulson’s constituency – with significant tax-deductible contributions coming from the big players on Wall Street? Will this sinecure provide Paulson with a handsome salary and the ability to live well as he travels the world doing research and acting as an unregistered lobbyist?

And I am greatly disappointed, mainly because I believed that Paulson was an honest, straight-up technocrat who wanted to reform the Treasury Department and bring about a solution to the economic problems that were induced by his former friends at Goldman Sachs. But then again, he might just be incompetent and propelled by those around him?

While we will need to wait to see how this particular situation plays out in the media and the courts, it does highlight the type of crony capitalism that was and is rampant in the Clinton, Bush and Obama Administrations. Not to forget the states like Illinois, New York and California.

Bottom line …

We are mired in political corruption of historic proportions. Both parties are neck deep in the slime and may be unable to rescue themselves and the taxpayer. We know that the progressive democrats are on the wrong side of history and appear to be rooting for the destruction of capitalism – so that a new coalition government can be formed along the lines of European democratic socialism.

We know that most of the GOP candidates are rather lame and growing lamer with each day of mainstream media exposure.

So who does that leave? Who do you want at the levers of power?

Is it only Newt Gingrich has a sense of historical proportions and may want to be a historical reformer?

But I really don’t know. I don’t trust Romney, another progressive “go along to get along liberal” who is looking more like John Kerry as time goes by. Cain has suffered an enormous blow to his credibility, both in subject matter expertise and, more importantly, to his business credibility when it comes to managing a crisis. Perry is another George Bush. Bachmann is wonky. Rick Santorum, sanctimonious. Jon Huntsman, another progressive RINO like Romney. Ron Paul is, in my opinion, a whack job.

No wonder people give up on politicians and go about their own lives – leaving the beetles to inhabit the dung heap and parasitically infect the body politic.

Anyone with any ideas?

-- steve


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


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