Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Rhetorical questions...

1. Amongst other indicators of the sad state of the economy the stock market keeps on losing value, thereby reducing the wealth of many, and putting a severe dent in the retirement nest eggs of almost everyone e.g. those with a 401(k), 403(b), etc., etc. This being the case, this blogger has to wonder re all the calls that folks are making to give the shareholders of companies that have received or may receive government assistance a "haircut." For the momentary, fleeting pleasure of 'sticking it' to a few bank CEOs with big stock holdings, they seem to be oblivious to the harm being done to the tens of thousands of taxpayers (on whose behalf this ostensibly is being done!) who have stock in these institutions (either directly, or though pension or mutual fund holdings, etc.) Is this a good idea? Does this make sense?

2. One of candidate Obama's promises designed to increase government transparency was that all legislation passed would be put on a web site for five days, so that people could review and comment prior to the President signing the legislation (with an exception carved out for "emergency" legislation). Now that President Obama is in office folks are moaning because this has not happened e.g. the Lilly Ledbetter Act was signed two days after passage and was not posted; the SCHIP bill also was not posted for the requisite five days...

OK, so this blogger doesn't quite understand the purpose here. Supposedly this will be done because "Too often bills are rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them. As president, Obama will not sign any nonemergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House Web site for five days." Hmm, isn't the legislation already passed by Congress at this point? So the only choices are that the President signs the legislation if in agreement, or he vetoes it if in disagreement. (Note: yes, yes, this blogger knows that the President can fail to sign a bill and it will become law automatically ten working days after passage; or he can also do a "pocket veto").

Exactly what are the chances that President Obama will veto a bill he favors just because sentiment and comments run against it? Or that he will sign a bill that he is against, this time because comments and sentiment run in its favor? Answer: nil! If the President favors a bill he can quote approving comments, and when he disfavors a bill he can ignore the feedback. What exactly has anyone gained here other than an opportunity for some "feel-goodism?"

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