Matt Towery

President Barack Obama is rolling the dice early into his presidency with a "stimulus" package that is burdened by the typical "throw everything but the kitchen sink into it" mentality that is the hallmark of the leadership in the U.S. House and Senate.

If Obama's proposal were truly an infrastructure program that could hit the ground running, it would be receiving the bipartisan support that he is seeking. But with friends like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, the new president doesn't need enemies.

They loaded up the bill with money for every possible constituency -- teachers unions, environmental activists, and all sorts of groups whose members receiving cash infusions might not result in the creation of many, if any, new jobs.

So, clearly, the stimulus package will not receive much, if any, Republican support. It may, if it turns out to be the boondoggle it seems, turn out to be a future political disaster for moderate Democratic members of Congress.

But there is a proposed piece of legislation that everyone can support and which should be passed as quickly as possible. Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., have proposed legislation to create a "Financial Markets Commission" charged to investigate every aspect of how our nation's financial institutions ended up losing tens of trillions of dollars. This is legislation that should become law immediately with the commission appointed and put to work in no time flat.

The incredible hubris that we have seen coming from the top leaders of many of these financial institutions -- ranging from jets that were ordered after bailout money was received, to big bonuses paid out at the last minute to employees of institutions that had already been reduced to corporate beggars -- tells us that this is one commission that really needs to get to work.

And it should not simply be a dry report to be presented and forgotten a week later. We need to take names and kick rear ends. And, if in the course of the commission's investigation, they uncover wrongdoing, then their findings should immediately be forwarded to the proper legal authorities. There is little doubt New York's Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who has shown no hesitation to take on those who wrecklessly played games with America's economy, would love to get his hooks into any and all offenders.


Matt Towery

Matt Towery is a former National Republican legislator of the year and author of Powerchicks: How Women Will Dominate America.
 
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