Monday, January 31, 2011

A bank bailout Frank LoBiondo will love?

Like many Republicans, my Representative Frank LoBiondo is proud to support the Middle East wars at the cost of a trillion dollars but opposed loaning money to American banks during a financial crisis. A new story in the New York Times indicates his "principles" are about to collide:

Fraud and mismanagement at Afghanistan’s largest bank have resulted in potential losses of as much as $900 million — three times previous estimates — heightening concerns that the bank could collapse and trigger a broad financial panic in Afghanistan, according to American, European and Afghan officials.

The bank is used by our military to pay Afghans nominally part of their own government payroll. Time's Joe Klein thinks China should bail out the bank, which I'd be happy to bet against. No, this is an expense that is going to be added to the occupation.

I'm looking forward to see if Republicans will vote to bail out these crooks and how they will keep it as quiet as possible.

Cross-posted from Blue Jersey

LoBiondo votes to end public financing of Presidential campaigns

You may remember choosing whether or not to let a few dollars of your tax return -- it used to be $1 -- be used to help finance candidates for President. The system is intended to help reduce corporate influence, and it may help less well known candidates get started. It all works by matching donations -- you and I can't just pick up money by pretending to run -- and limiting spending.

Frank LoBiondo and the new Congressional majority just voted to end public financing.

On the other hand, the truth is that system is collapsing so it's not an entirely bad vote. The public financing system made G. W. Bush President (since it limited Gore's spending, but Bush opted out) while Obama opted out entirely and was therefore able to run campaigns in more states. (He won in Indiana and picked up an electoral vote in Nebraska!) No major candidate will ever be limited by this system again.