Freddie Mac asks for fresh 10.6 billion dollar bailout

Freddie Mac asks for fresh 10.6 billion dollar bailout

AFP – Thursday, May 6
Troubled US government-backed mortgage firm Freddie Mac on Wednesday asked for an additional 10.6 billion dollars from the Treasury Department to cover losses.

WASHINGTON (AFP) – – Troubled US government-backed mortgage firm Freddie Mac on Wednesday asked for an additional 10.6 billion dollars from the Treasury Department to cover losses.

Announcing a 6.7 billion dollar loss in the first quarter, Freddie Mac said it would need the new funding by June 30 this year.

The Washington-area company has already received more than 50 billion dollars in taxpayers cash to cover losses from toxic assets.

It warned that further demands would be on the way: “Freddie Mac expects to request additional draws,” the firm said in a statement.

“The size and timing of such draws will be determined by a variety of factors that could adversely affect the company’s net worth.”

In 2008, the government pledged to ensure that Freddie Mac, and its larger sister organization Fannie Mae, kept a “positive net worth.”

The deal was designed to prop up the vital US housing market from collapsing totally and pushing the economy over the precipice.

But in a sign that the US housing sector is still in difficulty, Freddie said the percentage of its loans not paid on time or in full rose to 4.13 percent in the first three months of the year.

In the final three months of last year the rate stood at 3.98 percent.

The future of Fannie and Freddie has become the latest bone of contention between Democrats who argue they must remain government-backed to aid low-income housing and Republicans who advocate their privatization.

In March, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner swatted aside pressure for a swift reform of the mortgage giants as data pointed to a still struggling real estate market.

Geithner told Congress any restructuring of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which received a 100-billion-dollar-plus government bailout at the height of the housing crisis, “must be done as part of a reform of the wider housing finance system.”

Geithner argued reforms would “take several months” to develop and should only be “enacted and executed at a time of greater market stability.”

Boehner: ‘At least 100 seats’ are in play…

Boehner: GOP Will Repeal Health Care Law

by NPR Staff

House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH)

Enlarge Haraz N. Ghanbari/APHouse Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) says his party will enact common-sense steps to lower the cost of health care if his party wins the majority in November’s midterm election.

House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH)

Haraz N. Ghanbari/APHouse Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) says his party will enact common-sense steps to lower the cost of health care if his party wins the majority in November’s midterm election.

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April 30, 2010

House Republican Leader John Boehner has said that his party will repeal the new health care law if the GOP gains a congressional majority in November.

“I think that we need to repeal the health care law and replace it with common-sense steps that will lower the cost of health insurance in America,” Boehner (R-OH) tells NPR’s Steve Inskeep.

Boehner and the Republicans are hoping for a repeat of 1994, when the GOP swept the midterm elections. He says the party is engaging with the public to develop the agenda it will enact if it secures a majority in November.

The party that controls the White House typically loses House seats during midterm elections, and Democrats are bracing for losses: 37 governorships, 36 Senate seats and the entire 435-member House are at stake.

Boehner says he’s optimistic about his party’s prospects, citing public anger over spending and debt. He says he believes “at least 100 seats” are in play.

“If [Republican Sen.] Scott Brown can win in Massachusetts, there isn’t a seat in America the Republicans can’t win,” Boehner says. “What we’re seeing every day is the playing field widen, widen beyond anything we’ve seen around here during my 20 years.”

But Republicans face criticism that much of their time in the minority has been spent opposing Democratic proposals. Boehner rejects that charge, saying his party offered ideas on the stimulus bill, the budget and health care.

“If you look over the course of the last 16 months, every time we’ve had to oppose our Democrat colleagues, we’ve offered what we thought was a better solution,” he says.

Obama: “I Do Think, At Some Point, You’ve Made Enough Money”

Republicans Threatening Congressional Seats Long Held by Democrats

Republicans Threatening Congressional Seats Long Held by Democrats

Winds of change seen not only in places where posts often change hands.

By JEFF ZELENY & ADAM NAGOURNEY
THE NEW YORK TIMES

Published: Saturday, April 24, 2010 at 5:06 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, April 24, 2010 at 5:06 p.m.

( page of 3 )

ASHLAND, Wis. | Rep. David Obey has won 21 straight races, easily prevailing through wars and economic crises that have spanned presidencies from Nixon to Obama. Yet the discontent with Washington surging through politics is now threatening not only his seat but Democratic control of Congress.

 

Obey is one of nearly a dozen well-established House Democrats who are bracing for something they rarely face: serious competition. Their predicament is the latest sign of distress for their party and underlines why Republicans are confident of big gains in November, and perhaps even winning back the House.

The fight for the midterm elections is not confined to traditional battlegrounds, where Republicans and Democrats often swap seats every few cycles. In the Senate, Democrats are struggling to hold on to, among others, seats once held by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Democrats are preparing to lose as many as 30 House seats – including a wave of first-term members – and Republicans have expanded their sights to places where political challenges seldom develop.

“It’s not a lifetime appointment,” said Sean Duffy, a Republican district attorney here in the north woods of Wisconsin, where he has established himself as one of the most aggressive challengers to Obey since the Democrat went to Washington in 1969. “There are changes in this country going on and people aren’t happy.”

Obey, who leads the powerful Appropriations Committee, is one of three House Democratic chairmen who have drawn serious opposition. Reps. John Spratt of South Carolina, who oversees the Budget Committee, and Ike Skelton of Missouri, who runs the Armed Services Committee, have been warned by party leaders to step up the intensity of their campaigns to help preserve the Democratic majority.

These established House Democrats find themselves in the same endangered straits as some of their newer colleagues, particularly those who were swept into office in 2008 by Obama as he scored victories in traditionally Republican states like Indiana and Virginia.

Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said he would consider anything short of taking back the House a failure. Republicans say they have not recruited strong candidates in all districts, but both parties agree that Republicans are within reach of capturing the 40 additional seats needed to win control. Republicans also are likely to eat into the Democratic majority in the Senate, though their prospects of taking control remain slim.

Democratic congressional officials – well aware that a president’s party typically loses seats in midterm elections – have long been preparing for a tough year. But that Obey here in Wisconsin, and other veteran lawmakers like Rep. Earl Pomeroy of North Dakota, suddenly find themselves in a fight reflects an increasingly sour mood toward the Democratic Party and incumbents.

“He’s supporting the party line of the Democrats, which is not consistent with North Dakota,” said Rick Berg, a Republican state representative from North Dakota who is challenging Pomeroy. “In the past, we’ve been more conservative at home than the people we send to Washington.” Asked if this was a good time to be a Republican candidate, Berg laughed and said: “I sure think so.”

Pomeroy, who has served for 18 years as the state’s only congressman, won two years ago with 62 percent of the vote. Now, he is among the top targets of House Republicans, and is fighting without the help of one of the state’s incumbent Democratic senators on the ballot, since Byron Dorgan chose to retire.

“Some cycles are more challenging as a candidate than others,” Pomeroy said. “This should be in the range of challenging cycles.”

Democrats worry that some lawmakers who have avoided tough races in the past could be at added risk of defeat because they are out of practice, slow on their feet and often reluctant to acknowledge the threat they are facing. The chairman of the House re-election effort, Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, has called mandatory face-to-face meetings with vulnerable members to monitor their campaigns.

complete article below

America’s Top Business Groups Say Vast Tax Increases Inevitable Under Obama Budget

America’s Top Business Groups Say Vast Tax Increases Inevitable Under Obama Budget

April 23rd, 2010 Posted By Pat Dollard.

Obama Vacation

The Hill:

Vast tax increases will be inevitable under President Barack Obama’s budget blueprint, the nation’s largest business groups complained on Friday.

The groups blasted tax increases on businesses and wealthy individuals and families in the budget in a letter to members of the House and Senate, while warning that escalating public debt threatened the underlying economy.

“If the President’s budget demonstrates the administration’s long-term governing priorities, then it’s hard not to conclude that this spending boom is deliberate,” the letter from the Tax Relief Coalition said.

“It is an effort to put in place programs and spending commitments that will require vast new tax increases going forward, and give the political class a claim on far more private American wealth,” it said.

The chief lobbyists for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers signed the letter, as did Business Roundtable President John Castellani.

Dick Dongen, president of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, and Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist are also signatories.

Obama’s budget proposal would increase marginal tax rates on individuals whose incomes are above $200,000, and families with incomes about $250,000. It would also raise taxes on dividends and capital gains.

On business, Obama’s tax proposals include the elimination of “deferral,” which will increase the taxes U.S. corporations pay on their subsidiaries. The administration also wants to change the way “carried interest” is paid, which would raise taxes on hedge fund managers. Carried interest is now taxed at the 15 percent rate as capital gains, but the administration would like to have it taxed as ordinary income, which would hit the deep-pocketed fund managers.

The business groups warned that imposing those taxes on an economy they said is still struggling “will delay our recovery and slow down both economic and job growth well into the future.

“This budget is a prescription for slower economic growth, prolonging high unemployment levels and making U.S. companies less competitive on world markets,” they wrote.

The Senate Budget Committee on Thursday approved a new spending plan that seeks to reduce the deficit from $1.3 trillion to $545 billion by 2015, but this depends on Congress offsetting the expense of patching the Alternative Minimum Tax that would otherwise hit millions of middle-class taxpayers this year.

The budget committee’s resolution would impose tougher restrictions on spending than Obama’s plan.

Latest IDB/TIPP poll reveals issues and voters swinging to GOP

Latest IDB/TIPP poll reveals issues and voters swinging to GOP

Rick Moran

A new IDB/TIPP poll shows the voters unhappy with the president’s handling of the economy, the health care bill, and the veer to the left the country has taken:

Responses to the latest IBD/TIPP Poll suggest that the economy, one-party rule, the health care bill and the ascendancy of conservatism will be the four defining corners of the square in the political game coming in November.The Economy

This is the No. 1 issue on voters’ minds. The economy is in recovery, but double-digit unemployment is taking a toll. The November vote would likely reflect their frustration with incumbents and the incumbent party.

Nor is the president of much help to congressional Democrats because Americans do not see his economic performance in a favorable light.

Obama gets good grades from only one-third (34%) of those polled for his overall handling of the economy. And even fewer see his performance favorably on specific economic issues such as handling the federal budget (29%) and creating jobs (30%).

With the health care bill still very unpopular, Democrats are in grave danger of losing their majority in Congress:

The poll also asked Americans if they’d rather see Democrats retain control or Republicans regain control of Congress. Responses split evenly at 43%. But key voting blocs such as independents (43% to 32%) and seniors (48% to 38%) favor Republicans gaining control.

And this is one of the few polls that has bothered to measure how people see the president ideologically: 

The conservative tilt of the country has always existed. By steadfastly governing from the left, Obama has helped awaken core conservative values – smaller government, lower taxes and strong national security – in voters’ minds.

Now most Americans (57%) find themselves to right of Obama. On a 10-point ideology scale, where one is “Very Liberal” and 10 is “Very Conservative,” Obama gets a rating of 3.7. Americans give themselves a 6.0.

So much for Obama’s famed “pragmatic centrism.”

There is also a favorable impression of the tea party movement by Americans. The IBD/TIPP Poll of 924 Americans was taken April 5 to 10. The margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points.

Obama and Democrats lose the trust of the American People

Obama and Democrats lose the trust of the American People

April 20th, 2010

AP

 4 out of 5 people distrust the national government

America’s “Great Compromiser” Henry Clay called government “the great trust,” but most Americans today have little faith in Washington’s ability to deal with the nation’s problems.

Public confidence in government is at one of the lowest points in a half century, according to a survey from the Pew Research Center. Nearly 8 in 10 Americans say they don’t trust the federal government and have little faith it can solve America’s ills, the survey found.

The survey illustrates the ominous situation President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party face as they struggle to maintain their comfortable congressional majorities in this fall’s elections. Midterm prospects are typically tough for the party in power. Add a toxic environment like this and lots of incumbent Democrats could be out of work.

The survey found that just 22 percent of those questioned say they can trust Washington almost always or most of the time and just 19 percent say they are basically content with it. Nearly half say the government negatively affects their daily lives, a sentiment that’s grown over the past dozen years.

This anti-government feeling has driven the tea party movement, reflected in fierce protests this past week.

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Rush Limbaugh: ‘Thank you, Mr. President!’ Grateful to Obama ‘for arousing the sleeping, silent majority’

Rush Limbaugh: ‘Thank you, Mr. President!’

Grateful to Obama ‘for arousing the sleeping, silent majority’


Posted: April 16, 2010
4:08 pm Eastern

© 2010 WorldNetDaily

Playing off of President Obama’s remark to Democrat donors yesterday that tea-party protesters should be thanking him instead of protesting his policies, talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh on his show today ran off a string of reasons he’s grateful to Obama, culminating with “arousing the sleeping, silent majority” who are prepared to give his party an unprecedented thrashing at the polls in November.

Obama was speaking in Miami at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser.

“Since today happens to be tax day, I should just point out that one-third of the recovery act went to tax cuts. Tax cuts that strengthen the cornerstone of the American dream,” Obama began.

Lowering his tone of voice in an apparent aside, he then shared with the Democrat donors that he had been “a little amused over the last couple of days where people have been having these rallies, about taxes.”

“You would think they would be saying thank you,” Obama said to laughter from the audience. “That’s what you’d think.”

After playing the clip on his show today, Limbaugh commented: “Ladies and gentlemen, this is a classic illustration of authoritarian mocking control. He hasn’t cut anybody’s taxes. The recovery act stimulus bill – it’s more like loaves and fishes. There are no tax cuts in that. There were some tax credits. It’s all bogus.

“But he wants to be thanked,” Limbaugh continued. “OK, I will oblige.”

Watch the video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_d6-Dg_bmYA&feature=player_embedded

       

Limbaugh thanked Obama for more than a dozen moves, including seizing General Motors and Chrysler, appointing a “pervert” as safe-schools czar, the “generational theft” of American wealth through massive borrowing and spending, insulting and endangering Israel, driving up the unemployment rate to double digits and “exploding the annual deficit” to a level at which it can never be repaid.

Limbaugh concluded: “But most of all, Mr. President, thank you for arousing the sleeping, silent majority, because we have been asleep too long.

“November is coming, Mr. President,” Limbaugh warned. “That is when we will really thank you.”

Obama’s World without Giving

Obama’s World without Giving

By Christopher Chantrill

Last week we learned what happens to health care when you impose ObamaCare upon it. For we learned how the prototype ObamaCare health plan is wrecking health care in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Gov. Deval Patrick (D) just rejected 90 percent of proposed health insurance rate increases from the non-profit Massachusetts health insurers. The governor is running for reelection. The insurers responded by shutting down the insurance market.
Why are the health insurers raising rates? It turns out that the good people of Massachusetts have been vigorously responding to the Bay State’s preexisting condition mandate. When they get sick, they sign up for health insurance. When they get better, they cancel it.
No wonder that ObamaCare provides fines and penalties for people who don’t carry health insurance.
Liberal politics is all about rights. For liberals, the ideals of individualism, of life, liberty, mutual benefit, and equality — what Charles Taylor calls the Modern Moral Order — can be achieved only by political will expressed through government programs. That’s because the order of mutual benefit and exchange doesn’t benefit all people equally. Some people benefit a lot, and some people lose out, so the community must help those that miss out.
The great dividing line between liberals and conservatives is: How? How can we help the unfortunate? Liberals say that we must erect a system of distributive justice and equalize outcomes by force, taking from the fortunate to assist the unfortunate. Conservatives say that we should help the unfortunate as much as possible by voluntary giving and help them as little as possible by force.
Are fortunate people too selfish to help other people unless they are forced?
Conservative philosopher Roger Scruton says no, people are not too selfish. They are perfectly capable of giving, and they do. In “Gratitude and Grace” in The American Spectator, he reminds us of our heritage of kindness and gift-giving. It is communicated in the Christian love of “agape” or “caritas.” It “comes down to us from God. It is received as a gift and then distributed by each of us to our neighbors as another gift.”
When I give something I am present in the gift: it comes from me and is a symbol and an out-growth of the free self that is the moral heart of me. The gift comes wrapped in affection, an out-going of me to you that is created by the very act of giving.  Even if the gift belongs to a context of ritual and reciprocity, it is something more than a bargain or a contractual exchange.  It is I, going out to you.
In this society, we have a charitable, gift-giving culture, and it comes from our religious heritage.
If we try to fit all this stuff on the Procrustean bed of Michal Novak’s three sectors of society, we see that the political sector is the sector of force and taking, the economic sector is the sector of trust and exchange, and the moral/cultural sector is the sector of faith and giving.
Conservatives say that the bigger the political sector, the more that people will demand their rights, and the more they will slide into a culture of taking, scamming the system like the good people of Massachusetts.
Suspicious of the power of religion, our liberal friends work to fold the moral/cultural issues into the public sector. Thus their welfare state has taken over the functions traditionally performed by charities — education, health care, and relief of the poor. Liberals say that this is what a compassionate society does for the poor.
Conservatives say that compassion has nothing to do with it. When they expand the welfare state, liberals shrink the giving sector and expand the taking sector.
In The Faith Instinct, Nicholas Wade of The New York Times tries to understand religion from an evolutionary perspective. He finds that religion defines the quality of a society.
The quality of a society — its cohesiveness, its freedom from crime, its members’ willingness to help others, the rarity of lying, cheating and freeloading — is shaped by the nature of its morality and the strength of people’s adherence to community standards.  Both of these … are set or heavily influenced by religion.
But the secular religions of the last two hundred years have not succeeded in getting people “to help others” or to refrain from “lying, cheating and freeloading.” Their leaders have always chosen the path of big government and thousands of pages laws and regulations: a culture of compulsion.
The great challenge facing conservatives is not merely to roll back an ObamaCare abomination that will corrupt all Americans into emulating the freeloading health consumers of Massachusetts.
The great challenge is to reverse the liberal Culture of Taking and build a movement to restore a Culture of Giving.
Guess who will be leading this movement: women.
Christopher Chantrill is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. See his roadtothemiddleclass.com and usgovernmentspending.com. His Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.

Tax hikes forever Despite Obama’s Denial

Tax hikes forever Despite Obama’s Denial

April 14th, 2010

By Rich Lowry, New York Post

 Obama refuses to admit that he raised your taxes

Nearly everyone understands that his taxes just went up.
President Obama won’t admit it, although he must suffer from a guilty conscience. He uncorked a defensive 17-minute-long answer in response to a question at a town-hall meeting about new taxes in the health-care bill, complaining about a lot of misinformation” without citing any.

In his cascade of words, Obama didn’t get around to mentioning the $500 billion in new taxes during the first 10 years of the health bill. And they’re merely a prelude.

It doesn’t take an economist to understand what public debt at Greece-like levels of 90 percent of GDP by 2020 inevitably portends. Nor to realize the effects of the yawning disconnect between federal spending at 24 percent of GDP and revenue at 19 percent of GDP. Nor to understand the most basic of all budgetary concepts — that the bill, after the fizzy party, after all the huzzahs over “making history,” always comes due, and with interest.

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