November 22, 2010

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David Harsanyi casts a gimlet eye towards the GM IPO.

Oh, good, the Obama administration has another imaginary victory for taxpayers to celebrate.

As you’ve probably heard, there’s quite a bit of hubbub surrounding the news that the administration’s car company is going public.

President Barack Obama tells us that General Motors’ IPO is proof that one of the toughest tales of recession “took another step to becoming a success story.” Not “survival,” but success. Taxpayers are going to make a profit, even!

Now, admittedly, success is a malleable concept. If by success we mean that General Motors still owes the government $43 billion — not including that piddling $15 billion it borrowed to fund its financial arm — with many analysts uncertain that it can ever flourish, we’re home free.

Success will mean temporarily setting aside the fact that the Treasury actually lost billions on the IPO as it “bought” GM stock at inflated prices. To break even on the freshly printed money taxpayers are “getting back” will probably mean GM needs to double in value over the next year to make us whole.

Do you feel whole? …

… But when we undermine the rule of law, ignore property rights, create moral hazards and destroy organic job growth to save a company that had been terribly managed long before the recession, no one should be bragging about success.


The Daily Caller has more.

If the federal government wanted to recoup its investment in GM, then the GM stock price should be much higher than the $33 initial price. In order to break even, as the Deal Journal reports, the stock price would have to rise to around $50 per share. So why is the Treasury Department selling off the company at a loss?

First, the government is what is known as a “motivated seller.” By offering such a low stock price, the administration is essentially admitting that it has no place in running an auto company. While GM’s financial position is much better than it was when it should have gone bankrupt, the company’s finances are not great. A quick crunch of any of the numbers in the GM prospectus shows the company is not the healthy organization the politicos would have you believe. They have done a poor job running the company, even if they did save it from going under by ignoring the law and throwing billions of dollars at it. The sale prospectus even admits “our (that is, the government’s) disclosure controls and procedures and our internal control over financial reporting are currently not effective.” Hardly a ringing endorsement!

Second, they’re not the only ones in the game. The unusual bankruptcy settlement for GM granted a significant portion of the company to the United Auto Workers. The union is in this game too, even though it has no investment to recoup. The UAW is selling around 18 million shares, so it stands to gain about $500 million for its pension fund — at taxpayers’ expense.


John Fund interviews Dick Armey who is in DC doing God’s work, fighting people like Trent Lott. 

An old Washington story goes that when Martians land near the White House, everyone inside the Beltway flees in terror. Everyone, that is, except for the folks at the favor-factories known as Congress’s Appropriations Committees, who rush to greet the spaceship and say, “We’re here to help with the transition.”

There is always a danger that this election’s invading aliens—aka, tea partiers—will gradually succumb to Beltway mores. Former GOP Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, now a big-time Washington lobbyist, has already told the Washington Post that it’s imperative for his tribe to “co-opt” the tea partiers arriving in D.C.

But Dick Armey—Republican House majority leader for eight years following the GOP landslide of 1994 and now chairman of the influential advocacy group, FreedomWorks—is pointing them in the opposite direction. Mr. Armey’s organization has nurtured and mentored tea party candidates for the past 18 months. He helped promote the “Contract from America,” a 10-point, grass-roots inspired program to “re-limit” government that more than 70 new Senate and House members signed. And he’s sent each new member of Congress a seven-page memo on how not to be co-opted. …


With people like Joe Biden around him, Obama has no chance. Peter Wehner explains.

In an interview with GQ magazine, Vice President Biden, when asked about Barack Obama’s problem in being perceived as aloof, provided us with this answer: “I think what it is, is he’s so brilliant. He is an intellectual.”


Michael Gerson sums up Holder’s efforts as attorney general.

The closing of the Guantanamo Bay prison and civilian trials for terrorists were more than policy changes proposed by Barack Obama as a presidential candidate. They were presented as a return to constitutional government – a dividing line from an uncivilized past.

The indefinite detention of terrorists, according to Obama, had “destroyed our credibility when it comes to the rule of law all around the world, and given a huge boost to terrorist recruitment.” Testifying last year before Congress, Attorney General Eric Holder not only defended a New York trial for lead Sept. 11 plotter Khalid Sheik Mohammed, he lectured, he taunted, he preened. Unlike others, he was not “scared” of what Mohammed would say at trial. Failure was “not an option.” This case, he told a reporter, would be “the defining event of my time as attorney general.”

Which it certainly has been. Under Holder’s influence, American detainee policy is a botched, hypocritical, politicized mess.


Jennifer Rubin and Linda Chavez try to warn off the GOP. Here’s Chavez;

Jen is right on both the substance and politics of a GOP move to revoke birthright citizenship from children born to illegal aliens. As I’ve written here and here, the 14th Amendment was carefully drawn and debated to exclude only two categories of persons: the children of diplomats and children born on Indian reservations that were deemed sovereign territories at the time.

But the political objections are even greater. Republicans lost two Senate seats — in Nevada and Colorado — that they should have won on Election Day, largely because of the nasty tenor of debate on illegal immigration. …


Shikhia Dalmia in “Whose Sari Now?” explains why the garment is rooted in Indian culture.

… Part of the Indian woman’s attachment to the sari no doubt stems from her cultural conditioning. Indian girls grow up wearing a mix of Indian garments (choli/lehnga, salwar/kamiz) and Western clothes (frocks, skirts, long dresses and jeans) — not saris. Saris are meant only for grown women who have fully come into their own. When a girl first wears one – typically at her school’s graduation or farewell party, the equivalent of prom night – it marks a rite of passage. The sari and all its resplendent accessories – glass bangles, chunky hand-crafted silver or gold jewelry, the bindi on the forehead – are their first full encounter with their femininity and, like a first love, it leaves an indelible impression.

But an Indian woman’s acculturation in the sari begins much before she actually wears one. Saris are an essential part of a bride’s trousseau that mothers sometimes start planning from the day a daughter is born. My mother had barely left the maternity ward when she decided that she would give me at least 21 silk saris when I got married. And, over the years, I witnessed her painstakingly assemble my collection with pieces from all over the country: rich, double-shaded benaresis; sumptuous tanchoies woven with strands of real gold; South Indian kanchiwarams whose bright magentas and fuchsias with contrasting borders are sadly out of fashion now; diaphanous, delicate chanderis; simple, weightless French chiffons in soothing pastels; Bengali kanthas whose elaborate embroidery depicts stories from ancient Hindu epics; and gorgeous, sumptuous tassars – my personal favorite – whose shine seems to come from an inner glow like the brides they often adorn. …

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