As a general rule, diagnosis should precede treatment. But last week, we saw in both the legislative and executive branches examples of the "treatment before diagnosis" mentality. In Congress, the first hearings of the congressionally created Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission was held under the chairmanship of Phil Angelides, former California treasurer and former chairman of the California Democratic Party. The commission was "mandated" by law with reporting back to Congress by December 2010, "with a series of conclusions about what occurred, and recommendations as to how to avoid future market breakdowns. (Disclosure: I provide professional advice to some financial institutions.)
Chairman Angelides led off his first hearing, at which he had called the CEOs of some of the leading New York banks with a demand that they accept blame for the financial crisis, saying he was "troubled by their inability to take responsibility." With the chairman having decided on the first day that the bankers were responsible for the financial meltdown, what is the point of the commission? Can't they even bother to fake an intent to carry out their responsibilities as the law requires?
Even weirder, the Democratic leadership has made it clear that they plan to pass their financial re-regulation act before the November elections -- even though they legally call for recommended changes from the Commission to be reported back to them after the election, in December.
Sadly, Angelides' kangaroo-court attitude does not seem to be an aberration. On Saturday, the president, in the words of the Washington Post, "unleashed a verbal barrage against the nation's largest banks, accusing them of wanton selfishness by refusing to accept new regulations he and his party are proposing, and for fighting a new tax that Obama wants to impose."
The president proposes enacting "The Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee," which is a $90-billion tax leveled against the 50 largest banks that, according to the Post, "Obama called responsible for pushing the nation into economic crisis. By paying the tax, the nation's largest banks would settle their debt to taxpayers." That the bank paid back, with interest, the money loaned to them by the taxpayers does not excuse them from this new tax.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.