Michele Bachmann's Outside Business Savvy

John Ransom
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Posted: Jun 15, 2011 12:01 AM
Michele Bachmann's Outside Business Savvy

If either the GOP contenders or President Obama plan on dismissing Michele Bachmann’s candidacy out of hand because she represents the Tea Party, they ought to think twice.

In the war of economics and business, where these campaigns will likely be won or lost, Bachmann has shown the strongest practical grasp on issues of the American economy vs. any of the candidates in the race.

Certainly she has the academic and business experience for her views on the economy to be taken seriously. "After high school, meanwhile, the disciplined Bachmann spent time on a Kibbutz in Israel, graduated from Winona State University with a bachelor's of arts, got her law degree at Oral Roberts University, and followed up with a tax law degree from the exclusive William & Mary Law School," says USNews, calling her a "smart version of Sarah Palin."

Bachmann then worked as a tax attorney for the IRS.    

While Mitt Romney can tout his experience on Wall Street, that experience is becoming more and more problematic as Republican voters become disenchanted with too-big-to-fail institutions that control the markets in the U.S.

GOP voters, who used to cozy up to Wall Street, suddenly understand that, at least at the top, Wall Street executives are often for sale to whichever side is in power.

That’s part of the reason why Obamneycare presents such a potent challenge to Romney.

Government-crafted schemes like Obamacare and Romneycare are looking more and more to voters like Big Government, Big Labor and Big Business sitting down in a smoke-filled room to decide the winners and losers, because that’s what happens.   

And since the rest of us don’t have a seat at the table, guess who buys the cigars? 

Michele Bachmann on the other hand, as a member of the House Committee on Financial Services, has shown a great deal of insight into where the economy has gone wrong. And it’s the insight of an outsider looking in.  

On the first day of the new Republican majority, Bachmann introduced legislation to repeal Barney Frank’s so-called reform of Wall Street, called Dodd-Frank, one of those Big Government, Big Business, Big Labor joint ventures.

Bachmann was blasted at the time by her Democrat critics as being a stooge for Wall Street. But as time goes on, it’s becoming clearer that Bachmann was standing up for the health of the economy, while Chris Dodd and Barney Frank were in the pockets of the banks and Wall Street.   

Bachmann proved to be way out in front of her colleagues on both sides of the aisle. At the time, a Dodd-Frank repeal was considered a loser for the GOP. Time, however, has a funny way of revealing facts.

Given the recent disclosures regarding Dodd-Frank author Barney Frank’s love interest with a top executive at Fannie Mae, Bachmann practically called out the ménage à trois of Big Government, Big Labor and Big Business by name:

“Dodd-Frank also failed to address the taxpayer-funded liabilities of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” says Bachmann calling for repeal of Dodd-Frank. “Real financial regulatory reform must deal with these lenders who were a leading cause of our economic recession. True reform must also end the bailout mindset that was perpetuated by the last Congress. I am proud to work towards repeal of Dodd-Frank because Congress must protect the taxpayers, instead of handing out favors to Wall Street.”

As the housing markets threaten to make new lows, Bachmann’s words may not just be empty rhetoric on the pages of a congressional archive, either. There is growing concern that if the housing market doesn’t start to reverse trend that we could have a second wave of too-big-to-fail mortgage failures, necessitating bailouts of more big banks.

Far from insulating the U.S. economy from the failures of the housing sector, Dodd-Frank has further solidified the grip housing has on the economy.

“The villains?  An unholy alliance between Wall Street, the Democratic establishment, community organizing groups like ACORN and La Raza, and politicians like Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi and Henry Cisneros” says Fanniegate Is Really Bad News For Democrats at BusinessInsider.com.

"We're not seeing a very forceful step on the too-big-to-fail problem," said Carmen Reinhart, an economist at the University of Maryland according to NPR regarding Dodd-Frank. "If there's any doubt that the crisis may be systemic, we will bail out again."

Already, the Congressional Budget Office is saying that Obama’s estimate of $130 billion to bail out Fannie and Freddie will be closer to $317 billion.

Obama and Barney Frank have gone from calling for the dismantling of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to turning over the whole U.S. housing sector to it. 

That’s because the White House never had any intention of reforming the mortgage market any more than Chris Dodd or Barney Frank intended to reform Wall Street’s too-big-to-fail problem.

“Check out page 11 of the White House's recent proposal to Congress for ‘reforming’ the toxic twins,” writes Investors Business Daily. “It insists Fannie and Freddie's role in financing affordable-housing is ‘vital.’ And that ‘any changes should occur at a measured pace that preserves widespread access to affordable mortgages for lower-income Americans.’"

A “measured pace” is Obamaspeak for no reform at all. 

In fact, the U.S. has strengthened its guarantees to bail out the housing market through Fannie and Freddie and the final tab may be over $1 trillion to the U.S taxpayers, not including loss of home value.  

“Before their 2008 collapse, that guarantee was implicit; now it is more straightforward. Fannie and Freddie are fully controlled (and mostly owned) by Washington,” reports the National Review, “their mortgage activities are sustained by U.S. taxpayers; and their bonds are widely considered to be as safe (or nearly as safe) as Treasury bills.”

For 2012, the subtext of the campaigns will likely be the intended consequences of legislation, like Dodd-Frank, that doesn’t even attempt to address the problems that they are supposed to ameliorate.

Dodd-Frank is the textbook example of what’s wrong with Washington since it harms the economy without addressing many of the systemic problems in the economy as it was hailed to. It also lies at the heart of the economic debate on the direction of the country. It’s the ultimate insider remedy, authored by insiders for insiders.

By positioning herself against Dodd-Frank, Michele Bachmann could end up parlaying her outside appeal into a contending campaign for the presidency.


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