Rich Galen

And, in the building behind them - the Capitol - eight years earlier House Minority Leader, Dick Gephardt said of the Bush tax cuts: "Well, I think it's fiscally irresponsible; it really has a lot of similarities to what we did in 1981, when we passed a $750 billion dollar tax cut 20 years ago and caused some of the highest deficits, increased the national debt by about $4 trillion dollars, and I think caused the economy to have lots of problems that we don't need to do again - high interest rates, high inflation, high unemployment."

Pretty much what the GOP leadership in the Congress is saying about the Obama/Pelosi/Reid budget. Amazing how circular this all is, huh?

In Saturday's Washington Post a front-pager by Amit R. Paley and David Cho said that the Obama Administration was planning to "sidestep the rules" about limiting pay and bonuses for financial companies which take government funds.

The Obamas have

"set up special entities that act as middlemen, channeling the bailout funds to the firms and, via this two-step process, stripping away the requirement that the restrictions be imposed."

The amusing thing about this use of "off-the-books" entities is, that is exactly what the financial institutions did to keep Credit Default Swaps and other really excellent investments off their balance sheets.

In the accounting world these are called "Special Purpose Vehicles" which are specifically designed to keep the riskiest investments off the books of the parent company, so when they need $170-or-so BILLION dollars to keep from having the Earth's economies blow up like the planet Krypton it can be a big surprise.

If the phrase "special purpose vehicle" sounds familiar, it should. It's the same accounting iceberg that the geniuses at Enron used to sink that corporate Titanic.

In Sunday's Wash Post, Reuters reporter Doina Chiacu wrote Treasury Secretary Timothy Geither said on CBS' "Face the Nation,"

"No, that's not true. Our obligation is to apply the laws that Congress just passed on executive compensation and we're going to do that."

This is what happens when the President goes off on a Magical Michelle Tour of Europe: The Right hand at Treasury doesn't know what the Left Hand across the ally in the White House is doing.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at