Category: Tim Geithner


President Obama gets tough on Republicans concerning Debt Limit …by Roger Caldwell.

Last week President Obama decided to take his battle with the Republicans to the street and the public. He held a press conference and he sharply chastised Republicans as supporting tax breaks for jet-setting corporate executives, at the expense of college scholarships or medical research. The president also criticized members of the Republicans of not being prepared with their facts on the debt ceiling, and more concerned with taking a vacation.

Representative Raul Labrador (R-Idaho)

This press conference did not sit well with the Republicans and they immediately began to fire back at the president. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called on Obama to drop what he’s doing and come to the Capitol for a meeting.

Representative Raul Labrador said, “House Republicans acted, and now we await your spending reduction plan – perhaps not with open arms, but we have open minds.”

The Democrats and the Republicans have been debating for the last month over raising the nation’s borrowing limit. Both parties agree that in order for the country to continue to pay its bills, it is necessary to raise the debt ceiling. Since 2001 the credit limit has been raised 10 times, so every time the lawmakers vote for spending hikes essentially they have raised the ceiling.

Nevertheless, it is necessary to formally vote on the size of the increase, and some lawmakers want a bigger increase and others want a smaller increase. The first limit was set in 1917 at $11.5 billion, and the current debt limit is set at $14.2 trillion. The country’s accrued debt hit that number on May 16, 2011.

Either party or the president is not happy with our country being $14.2 trillion in debt, and the president at his news conference laid out his reason why it is necessary to raise the debt limit. “These are bills that Congress ran up,” Obama said, in explaining why the U.S. must not default on its debt obligations. “They took the vacation. They bought the car. Now they’re saying, maybe we don’t have to pay.”

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

Treasury Secretary Geithner has set the date August 2, 2011 as the day when the debt limit must be raised for the country to continue to pay its bills. At this moment both parties are busy playing politics, but at some time soon every one will have to agree. Politics is a nerve racking business and our lawmakers tend to wait till the last days to strike a compromise.

Following President Obama’s press conference, White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley had strong words for the Republicans. Many political pundits and experts are concerned with the bluntness of the Obama’s administration and are afraid that their tough position will drive the two sides further apart.

Bill Daley said, “I find that at times people who continually attack the president, beat him up on not only on

White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley

policy, personality, and a whole bunch of things. The minute he takes a tone that is a little more direct, and it was not personal. It was direct in that the leaders of Congress in both parties and especially those who are saying that revenue are off the table period in trying to solve this problem, that somehow that’s going to hurt feelings of people. This is not a time to worry about feelings; this is a time to get results.”

Maybe the president is now putting on his boxing gloves, and he is going toe to toe with the Republican Party. It is too early to make that assumption, but in his last news conference, the president was aggressive and assertive. The president was elected to lead and sometime to lead, it is necessary to hurt feelings to get the job done.

Parliament building for the Canadian government

The jury is still out, if the $80 billion bailout from the federal government for General Motors and Chrysler saved the auto industry. Chrysler is repaying $5.9 billion in U.S. loans, and a $1.7 billion loan to the Canadian government. The company has been bought by Fiat, the Italian company, and the U.S. government will lose around $1.4 billion in the bankruptcy deal.

 

 

General Motors who also went through bankruptcy, received $49 billion from the federal government. The vast bulk of the bailout money was $6.7 billion in pure loan, and 60% equity stake in the company. The Canadian government gave GM $1.4 billion as pure loan, and another $8.1 billion for an 11.7 percent in equity holding. The U.S. and Canadian government initially together owned 72% of the company.

In the last weeks, the Obama administration has announced that GM and Chrysler have paid back their loans to the federal government and they will loss only $14 billion. It is very strange that these two companies are able to pay back a loan and either company has broken even or made a profit.

It is obvious that the federal government and the two automobile companies are doing some creative accounting to make the numbers work. Without a company making a profit, it is very difficult for it to pay back a loan, unless they were given more money in another deal.

GM was able to pay a loan off ahead of schedule, because the Obama administration gave the company and additional $13.4 billion as “working capital.” There were no stipulations on how they could spend the money. GM used the money to pay back the U.S. and the Canadian government with “working capital” money.

In other words, GM is using government money to pay back government money to get more government money. President Obama and his administration is celebrating the auto companies for doing a good job with the bailout loans, but the government is giving them more bailout money.

The government is not being transparent with its information, when they tell the public that the two auto companies are paying back their loans. Both of the companies were bankrupted and the government is using taxpayer’s tax money to prop and financially support the companies. The government is digging a deep hole, and they are only telling half of the story.

The government has sold Chrysler to Fiat and the Italian automaker now controls 52% of the stock. The rest of the stock is owned by United Auto Workers, and there are no guarantees that this partnership will be successful. But at this point the U.S. can wash its hands of this financial nightmare.

GM is a bigger headache because the government still owns about 23% of the stock, and the loan was paid

U.S. Secretary of Treasury Tim Geithner

by other government money. U.S. Secretary of Treasury Tim Geithner says, “Today, America automakers are mounting one of the most improbable turnarounds in recent history – creating new jobs and making investments in communities across our country.”

This is a great statement, but either one of the auto companies have broke even up to this point. Paying off government loans with more government money is deceitful and eventually there will be a major financial problem.

Losing $14 billion on any loan is a terrible deal. Knowing that the loan was paid with more government money makes the auto bailout a worst deal, which could put our economy back into a recession. Without any earning or profits, there should be no celebration and announcement of a historic turnaround in the auto industry.