Congressional Conservatives’ Legislation Blockade

February 10, 2010

By Padmini Arhant

In the preceding article “Progressive Policy for National Progress and Prosperity,” I emphasized on the need to intercept the Congress gridlock by electing the ‘Progressives,’ in the Democratic Party.

Following news articles reaffirm such recommendation.

1. Congress trying to have it both ways on spending

Lawmakers lament rising deficits but fight for pet projects

By Carl Hulse – New York Times – February 7, 2010 – Thank you.

Washington – While Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., said he was all for slowing federal spending , he has no appetite for the substantial cuts in farm programs proposed in President Barack Obama’s new budget.

Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo, issued a news release simultaneously lamenting the deficit spending outlined in the new budget and protesting cuts in Pentagon projects important to his state.

And Sen. Jeff Sessions, R- Ala., a fiscal conservative and a senior Republican on the Budget Committee, vowed to resist reductions in space program spending that would flow back home.

The positions of these Republicans – and similar stances by dozens of other lawmakers of both parties – are a telling illustration of why it is so hard to control federal spending.

Every federal program has a constituency, and even lawmakers who profess to be alarmed by rising deficits will go to the mat to preserve money that provides jobs and benefits to their constituents.

“I am not a hypocrite,” Sessions said in reconciling his fiscally conservative credentials with his outrage over the administration’s proposal to essentially end the human space flight program and allow private enterprise to take on some of the load – an approach that Republicans typically favor.

Sessions said money taken from NASA would not be saved but would instead be directed to other Obama administration priorities that he did not support.

Others said that the annual tableau in which members of Congress criticize the spread of red ink even as they reassure voters back home of protection for popular subsidies and Pentagon projects exposed the high degree of cynicism and lack of conviction that colors the fight over congressional spending.

“It shows that in Washington, you can be firm on your opinions; it is your principles you can be flexible on,” said Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff.

The Republican juggling act on spending comes after a legislative proposal for an independent commission to study ways to cut the deficit stalled in the Senate, partly because some Republicans who had originally backed the idea balked.

“There are not enough statesmen who will stand up and say, “Cut it even when it is in my district,” said Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who has crusaded against spending by both parties on pet projects known as earmarks.

It is not only Republicans who are trying to have it both ways.

Conservative and moderate Democrats who have pushed against deficit spending also quickly protested the cuts in NASA, military and farm spending.

2. GOP hammers Obama over jobs

Republicans oppose giving leftover bailout money to small banks

By Phillip Elliott – Associated Press, February 7, 2010 – Thank you.

Republicans sparred with President Barack Obama in their Saturday media addresses over proposals to create jobs, further evidence of the difficulty of bipartisan solutions to the nation’s pressing problems.

Obama pushed Congress to use $30 billion that had been set aside to bail out Wall Street to start a new program that provides loans to small businesses, which the White House calls the engine for job growth.

Republicans, meanwhile, taunted Obama with a familiar refrain:

Where are the jobs the president promised in exchange for the billions of dollars already spent?

The barb came a day after the government reported an unexpected decline in the unemployment rate, from 10 percent to 9.7 percent.

It was the first drop in seven months but offered little consolation for the 8.4 million jobs that have vanished since the recessions began.

“Even though our economy is growing again, these are still tough times for America,” Obama said.

“Too many businesses are still shuttered. Too many families can’t make ends meet.

And while yesterday, we learned that the unemployment rate has dropped below 10 percent for the first time since summer, it is still unacceptably high – and too many Americans still can’t find work.”

To help the recovery, Obama asked Congress to use leftover money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, to provide to small banks so they can make more loans to small businesses.

Republicans have criticized the move, arguing any money left over from the bailout should be used to reduce the budget deficit.

In the weekly GOP address, Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas chided Obama for proposing a 2011 budget last week that would increase spending, taxes and the national debt.

“Americans are still asking, ‘Where are the jobs?’ but all they are getting from Washington is more spending, more taxes, more debt and more bailouts,” Hensarling said.

The Republicans attack came even as key Democrats and Republicans in the Senate are working on a bipartisan jobs bill.

The senators hope to unveil legislation as early as Monday.”


3. Obama seeks boost in business lending

Proposals draw fire from Democratic leader in House

By Christine Simmons and Marcy Gordon – Associated Press – February 6, 2010

Seeking to create more jobs, President Barack Obama on Friday asked Congress to temporarily expand two lending programs for the owners of small businesses.

But a Democratic House leader slammed the president’s proposals, saying they’re the wrong approach to creating jobs.

Obama said Friday he wants to bolster the impact of the businesses that are the chief creators of new jobs in a struggling economy.

Just hours before he spoke, the nation’s jobless rate finally dipped below 10 percent – to a stubborn high 9.7 percent – in the latest government figures.

The president said he wants businesses to be able to refinance their commercial real estate loans under the Small Business Administration and he wants that government agency to increase loans used for lines of credit and capital.

The truth is, the economy can be growing like gangbusters for years on end and it’s still not easy to run a small business,” Obama said as he visited a heating and air conditioning company in a Maryland suburb of the capital.

The White House said Obama’s plan would temporarily raise the cap on Small Business Administration Express loans from the current maximum of $350,000 to $1 million.

Obama’s plan would also expand the SBA’s program to support refinancing for owner-occupied commercial real-estate loans.

But even the Democratic head of a House committee wasn’t pleased about the plan to expand SBA lending.

Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez, D-N.Y., chair of the House Small Business Committee, said the SBA Express program has been criticized for underwriting loans that banks would have made without government backing and for carrying the highest default rate of any SBA program.

“With loan defaults on the rise, we should not base our strategy on increasing the size of the least stable SBA lending program,” Velazquez said.

The initiative to refinance commercial real estate debt may dilute it and draw away too many resources, she said.

Food for Thought – By Padmini Arhant Feburary 10, 2010

It’s clear from the listed articles that, the priorities for the congressional conservatives’ on both sides are not the people i.e. the working class, the middle class and the small businesses.

If they were, they would not try to have it both ways as suggested in the article.

Evidently, the national interest is not the primary concern for the Congressional conservatives and moderates in both parties.

They are preoccupied in their faultfinding against President Barack Obama, instead of cooperating with the rest of the Congress in passing legislations especially,

The health care and health insurance reform where a staggering 46 million Americans are reportedly dying due to these lawmakers’ unwillingness to pass the much-required legislations to heal every American.

Notwithstanding, the credit crunch experienced by the small businesses from the ‘bailed out’ banks’ reluctance to facilitate lending.

Again the finance sector’s default in containing the worsening real estate crisis in both residential and commercial markets calls for immediate action through finance reform – conveniently rejected by the conservatives’ and moderates on both sides.

These legislators positioning them to be ‘fiscal conservatives’ and rebuking President Obama on the rising national debt that, they are contributing with their ambitious pet projects over the ‘average’ American plight, speaks volume on their lack of commitment to the people electing them to the office.

With respect to President Obama’s strategy on SBA lending to the small businesses, the Democrat House Committee response is irrational and confirms the legislator’s ‘out-of-touch’ with reality.

The President’s justification on this issue is right on target.

Since the bailed out finance sector is back in the game with “business as usual,” motto and focused on self-promotion with multi-million dollar bonuses culminated by their Washington representatives’ successful blocking of the finance reform,

The President’s proposal is the only viable option to stimulate the job growth in the most desperate segment of the economy – the small business.

Besides, in the absence of the banking industry long overdue lending activity, the investment risks in the small business is blown out of proportion compared to the risk exposure in the multi-trillion dollar bailouts to the banks still withholding credit to their creditors-cum-taxpayers and consequently restraining the economic recovery.

Time is running out for the conservatives on both sides in correlation with patience among the suffering millions in the economy.

If the Republican members are counting on their rebellious attitude towards the democrat President and the Congress to win elections in November 2010,

They are in for a serious disappointment for the American electorate would not reward the party with a victory in the face of their deteriorating economic conditions resulting from the Republican members’ blockade.

Somehow, if this were to happen, then it would be at the democracy’s peril.

Perhaps, it’s something, the American electorate ought to think about because they are responsible for the stalemate in Washington.

Having elected the ideological representatives for whom the people seem irrelevant – transparent in their obstinacy on legislative matter, the people are the ones who can undo the wrongdoing by voting the redundant representations out of power this November or even sooner.

Democracy is held hostage by the recalcitrant congress members defying the constitutional responsibility to serve the people and the nation as an elected official.

Washington hue shines through in these issues.

How can any President possibly achieve anything in such a hostile environment?

You decide.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant

Financial Crisis Inquiry

January 14, 2010

By Padmini Arhant

Today, the financial crisis inquiry commission summoned the financial sector executives to investigate the activities that primarily contributed to the financial market’s downward spiraling and led the economy to the brink of collapse. The inquiry is a step in the right direction to convey a strong message that no one is above the law and democracy cannot be undermined.

Although, the executives are perceptive in self-defense and evading responsibility for the financial meltdown, the fact of the matter is, these financial moguls capitalized on the economic vulnerabilities during the Bush administration. It’s generated from the deregulations and substantial prime rate reduction alluring average citizens with a political slogan that linked patriotism to home ownership.

More concessions were offered by the Bush-Cheney Presidency through massive tax cuts for corporations, financial institutions and the wealthy individuals boosting the investment banks’ portfolio, thereby driving them from equity markets to speculative trading.

It created an enormous capital infusion with investment banks competing with the commercial banks in the absence of Glass Steagall Act. Followed by AIG collaborating in the insurance deals on the credit borrowings invested in derivatives and hedge funds with risky assets as collateral and underlying value further exacerbated the risk management.

When the bubble burst, so did their balance sheets. It went disarray with the majority lead players burdened with toxic assets that transformed into dead weight liabilities in the form of large risk exposure eroding their capital and solvency, consequently relying on the taxpayer bailout to salvage the financial market and the economy.

Apart from the financial institutions, the architects behind the policies since the early nineties are equally responsible for the debacle.

For instance, the former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan,

The former treasury secretary Henry Paulson and the current treasury secretary Timothy Geithner,

The present Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke along with the financial team under the Obama administration represent the convenient exchanges between the Wall Street and Washington through the revolving door of Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and the Lehman Brothers prior to being acquired by Barclays…to name a few.

As found in other national issues such as health care, communication and energy, the prevalent culture between Washington and Wall Street is a huge conflict of interest leaving the average taxpayers and consumers at the mercy of the “corporate owned government” enterprise.

Investigation is necessary to determine the cause of the status quo. However, it’s significant to have the financial sector pledge to revive the credit market through liquidity flow to small businesses and corporations. It would jumpstart the economy, since financing businesses and corporations positively impact the job market. Meanwhile, the manufacturing sector could be resurrected pervasively, producing the desirable drastic unemployment contraction.

Simultaneously, the finance industry is required to stimulate the real estate and construction areas of the economy. Considering the dismal job growth accompanied by the plummeting residential and commercial real estate values due to the sub-prime mortgage fiasco,

The financial institutions should invigorate the financing and refinancing options to homeowners and commercial estate holders by offering reasonable, incentivized programs that would allow the property owners to comply with the payments and retain the values respectively. The viable strategy would ease the burden on the lender and the mortgagee leading to the property value appreciation.

President Obama’s proposal to levy taxes against the financial institutions that have benefited from the taxpayer bailout is right on target. Not surprisingly, the financial industry is resisting the tax, estimated to yield $120 billion in revenue for the ailing economy. Taxpayers from bottom up shared the trillions of dollars finance industry bailout.

Having stabilized the balance sheets from the massive interjection of funds, the institutions are now challenging the government against the tax proposal by warning that any such levies in the form of fees and taxes would be hurting the consumers, claiming that the customer will ultimately bear the charges through bank fee hikes.

Alternatively, the banks are threatening to move jobs overseas upon any tax or fee imposition.
Despite the pre-existing exorbitant fee and charges applied to banking transactions, the banks’ retaliation to tax proposal via potential fee increase or job export is not only outrageous but also audacious.

Financial sector being the economy’s engine, the credit flow across the spectrum is pertinent to the swift economic recovery including the financial market gains.

The financial institutions’ lack of concern for ethics and the excessive greed triggered the financial market crisis ultimately affecting the global economy. Therefore, there is an urgent requirement for aggressive financial reform to prevent history repeating itself in the near future.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant

Rescue Plan – Big 3 Auto Makers

December 8, 2008


The Federal Reserve and the Treasury department secured a $700 billion jackpot for the finance industry bailout.

Major beneficiaries –

The financial institutions comprising investment banks for bad decisions in the subprime mortgage debacle with a prominent mismanagement by Hedge Fund managers.

The insurance industry for navigating unchartered waters in search of profit from risky ventures with no guaranteed returns.

During the financial sector bailout bankrolled by the taxpayers, there were supposed to be preconditions to the bailout of the financial institutions.

Other than oversight and warranted regulations, they were,

The immediate recovery plan for the housing market – predominantly the stopgap measures on foreclosures.

Latest news articles and reports confirm otherwise.

That the foreclosures have been record high subsequent to the financial bailout.

As for other issues…

Treasury role in easing the burden on financial institutions with liabilities in the form of bad loans and securities were the reasons presented to secure the huge sum of $700 billion at that time.

Whatever has happened to accountability?

Where is the oversight?

Why foreclosures are soaring nationwide despite taxpayers’ investment in the financial sector to cure symptoms of this nature in the housing market that has contributed to the current economic recession?

It is apparent from the struggling and still volatile stock market that the financial sector has not met the requirements and honored the agreements with the taxpayer on all of the issues ranging from –

Reviving the housing market by temporarily freezing foreclosures and reassessment of payment plan programs with default homeowners.

Providing liquidity to commercial sectors to jumpstart the economy.

Last but not the least, transparency to the American public with their current lending practices.


As per

Street Talk – Thank you.

Who Got Bailout Money So Far?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008 9:09 AM

"The Treasury Department’s $700 billion bailout plan, also known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), is one of the main U.S. tools to address the financial crisis.

The Treasury Department on October 14 set aside $250 billion of the program to buy senior preferred shares and warrants in banks, thrifts and other financial institutions.

Half that money was allocated to nine big banks, the Treasury Department has said.

Another $38 billion has since been earmarked for regional or small banks, according to statements from individual banks.

On Monday, the department announced its single-biggest TARP investment — $40 billion in American International Group — which the government said would not come from the $250 billion bank capital program.


The TARP has so far committed the following funding:

AIG $40 billion

JPMorgan $25 billion

Citigroup $25 billion

Wells Fargo $25 billion

Bank of America $15 billion

Merrill Lynch $10 billion

Goldman Sachs $10 billion

Morgan Stanley $10 billion

PNC Financial Services $7.7 billion

Bank of New York Mellon $3 billion

State Street Corp $2 billion

Capital One Financial $3.55 billion

Fifth Third Bancorp $3.45 billion

Regions Financial $3.5 billion

SunTrust Banks $3.5 billion

BB&T Corp $3.1 billion

KeyCorp $2.5 billion

Comerica $2.25 billion

Marshall & Ilsley Corp $1.7 billion

Northern Trust Corp $1.5 billion

Huntington Bancshares $1.4 billion

Zions Bancorp $1.4 billion

First Horizon National $866 million

City National Corp $395 million

Valley National Bancorp $330 million

UCBH Holdings Inc $298 million

Umpqua Holdings Corp $214 million

Washington Federal $200 million

First Niagara Financial $186 million

HF Financial Corp $25 million

Bank of Commerce $17 million

TOTAL: $203.08 billion



In addition to the TARP program’s $40 billion capital injection into AIG, the Federal Reserve is providing the company with up to $112.5 billion in separate loans and funds for asset purchases.

Aid to the huge insurance company came after counterparties and rating downgrades forced AIG to post large amounts of collateral for its credit derivatives positions.

Some other insurers are interested in cash infusions, but must own a thrift or bank in order to qualify under the terms of Treasury’s current capital injection program.



The TARP program set a November 14 deadline for smaller banks to apply for capital injection funds remaining in the pool of $250 billion. The deadline will be extended for non-publicly traded banks.

The government’s preferred shares will pay dividends of 5 percent annually for the first five years and 9 percent after that until the institution repurchases them. Participating banks must comply with Treasury restrictions on executive compensation, which limit tax deductibility of senior executive pay to $500,000.

They require bonuses to be "clawed back" if earnings statements or gains are later proven to be materially inaccurate and prohibit "golden parachute" payments to senior executives.


Struggling automakers General Motors Corp, Ford Motor Co and Chrysler LLC have requested tens of billions of dollars in Treasury aid under TARP. However, the Bush administration says the TARP program was designed by Congress to help the financial service sector, not the auto industry.



The remaining $350 billion in TARP funding can be accessed only after the White House formally notifies Congress. U.S. House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank has said that if the initial banks participating in the program do not use the money for lending, Congress could block authorization of the final funding."


Reality Check:

Despite the sizeable cash infusion in the financial sector to revive the stagnant economy, the results confirm the dismal performance in all quarters of the economy.

It is imperative for treasury and the Federal Reserve as the guarantors of the financial industry bail out to provide legitimate explanation to the American taxpayers in their failure to achieve the TARP purpose, prior to even contemplating to secure the remaining and final $350 billion amount.

Auto Industry – Crisis

Meanwhile, to focus on the pending national issue concerning the American workforce in the manufacturing sector of the auto industry,

It is important to shed light on the current unemployment status of our nation.

As per the recent reports…

Source: – Thank you.

US Unemployment Rate Touches 6.7%; Half–Million Jobs Lost in November; EmploymentCrossing Revs Up Efforts

Employers slashed 533,000 jobs in November, the most in 34 years, according to the latest US Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

Mind-boggling figures of job losses reported for the month are statistically the most since December 1974.

The unemployment rate of 6.7% was the worst rate since 1993. It’s only the fourth time in the past 58 years that payrolls have fallen by more than 500,000 in a month.

EmploymentCrossing, the leading job board in the US, agrees that the current job market has been increasingly ruthless on the employees, as widespread cuts attain a new high.



Obviously, it is a dire situation demanding immediate solutions to the burgeoning problems of the job market.

Delayed response in addressing the collapse of the major manufacturing sector will worsen the fragile economy already in recession.

There have been various good proposals from all corners and discipline presented so far for consideration by Congress.

Most proposals target similar aspects of the financial industry bailout like,

Oversight, strict regulations and accountability.

While, others include emphasis on fuel-efficient and/or hybrid cars to deal with potential energy and present environment crisis.

The Union role in the auto industry has been unfairly targeted in the outcry against protecting the manufacturing jobs.

Without Union existence and support, the outrageous trade practices by Corporate America towards the American workforce will be emboldened with an adverse effect on the middle and poor income groups.

Typically, such scenario will widen the pre-existing canyon between the haves and have-nots.

Rescue Plan with Clear Solutions:

First and foremost, the incumbent administration’s refusal to recognize the seriousness of the auto industry problem as an impending job market crisis is no revelation.

It is appalling that the same administration instantaneously reached out to the financial industry with the notoriety for poor judgment that triggered the entire economic crises.

Yet, it holds reservations for a sector seeking assistance with a pledge to comply with all and any legislative requirements to save the manufacturing jobs.

Moreover, unlike the financial sector, in this instance the taxpayer investment is secured with tangible assets upon default by the companies.

Given the grim unemployment status, economic recession and gloomy Retail forecasts for the holiday season, the auto industry jobs must be rescued at all costs.


As highlighted above, the purpose behind TARP to financial industry was to facilitate liquidity in commercial lending to various other sectors of the economy.

Referencing U.S. House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank,

“if the initial banks participating in the program do not use the money for lending, Congress could block authorization of the final funding.”

The comment is fair and valid.

Due to the breach of $700 billion agreement proposal by the financial institutions,

The entire sum of $75 billion requested by all three major automakers will be approved and allocated accordingly:

1. The unused $15 billion from the previously drawn amount of $350 billion financial bailout is to be utilized in the approval of the $75 billion to protect the auto industry jobs.

2. The remaining $60 billion will be derived from the final amount of the $350 billion financial bailout package through an emergency resolution by Congress.

3. The recommendation to tap into the $25 billion energy bill to assist the automakers would derail any progress aimed at clean energy programs in the future.

Therefore, the rescue package for automakers is to be appropriated from the excessive financial bailout fund.


Compliance by Automakers:

A. Besides the standard protocol for oversight, stringent regulations and executive competence, the manufacturing of hybrid models to satisfy the energy efficiency requirement is paramount to this deal.

B. Equally important are the recognition and improvement of labor laws, trade practices to benefit the American workforce and thereby increase productivity yielding expected profits for payoff towards the rescue plan.

C. Transparency and commitment to achieve pledged goals is vital to avert future crisis and maintain credibility with lenders.

D. In addition, exorbitant remuneration perks and bonuses to CEO’s of all three corporations will be eliminated from the package.


Congressional Obligation:

It is incumbent on Congress particularly with members across the aisles to address the serious challenge in the manufacturing sector currently facing the nation by putting partisan politics aside and prioritizing the needs of the American labor.

The nation is grappling with an economy saddled with —

Multi-trillion dollar debt

Financial crisis

Deteriorating housing market

Unpredictable stock market

All of the above factors threatening the stability of every industry and the fabric of the economic infrastructure.

Any more layoffs in any industry particularly the manufacturing companies will debilitate the economic recovery plans in process.

It is time to bid farewell to party bickering, earmarks and Pork Barell spending that have resulted in Washington gridlock on all matter of national interest.

Legislators must act diligently and promptly by approving the entire amount $75 billion from the suggested source for all three companies to protect American jobs and the ailing economy.

It is time for action and not procrastination.

Finally, people in a democracy elect representatives and entrust power to solve problems and safeguard their interests so,

National interest must supersede all other interests.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant