Print 100 comment(s) - last by therealnickdan.. on Oct 7 at 11:12 AM

That's right Mr. President, keep loaning the money, everything is going GREAT!  (Source: Getty Images)
President says high-risk loan was "felt like... a good bet"

(This article contains editorial commentary, which is the opinion of the author.)

President Barack Obama has endured scathing criticism in recent weeks for loaning $535M USD to failed solar startup Solyndra.  The loan came as part of a $40B USD "green" technology stimulus effort.  But on September 1, 2011 Solyndra filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy, leaving its 1,000+ employees looking for work and leaving the government staring at an un-recoupable loss.

I. Interview: Obama says "No" regrets on wasting $500M USD

In recent weeks Republicans have lashed out at President Obama for the lost money.  They argue it's indicative of the President's overall budget incompetence.  They've launched a probe into the loan and the Department of Energy's overall loan infrastructure.  States Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), a member of the House Energy panel’s investigative subcommittee, "We need to hear from Secretary Chu and [White House Office of Management and Budget Director Jack] Lew to fill in some of the blanks.  The buck has to stop someplace, and presumably it stops with the heads of those agencies."

But the POTUS is holding his ground.  In an interview on ABC News' "Good Morning America", also broadcast online on Yahoo! News Monday, anchor George Stephanopoulos asked President Obama if he regretted the 2009 loan guarantees .  He replies, "No I don't.  Because if you look at the overall portfolio of loan guarantees that had been provided, overall it’s doing well. And what we always understood is that not every single business is going to succeed in clean energy."

President Obama's administration is accused of rushing the loan guarantee in order to allow it to be announced at the September 2009 groundbreaking of the company's new factory.  By February the loan was already under investigation.  Still, the President stood firmly behind Solyndra, visiting their California headquarters in early 2010 and touting them as a green energy "leader".

Some emails that have been released indicate some administration members had expressed concerns about the company's financial health -- concerns that were ultimately overruled.

Obama implied America has to get more China-like when it comes to loans, in order to compete with the Asian rival.  He states. "If we want to compete with China, which is pouring hundreds of billions of dollars in this space, if we want to compete with other countries that are heavily subsidizing industries of the future, we have got to make sure that our guys, here in the United States of America, at least have a shot."

II. Editorial: Business as Usual in Washington, D.C.

To be fair, as bad as the Solyndra loss looks, the previous Bush administration spent many times that essentially paying off the losses of the American International Group (AIG), which it built up from taking on risky investments pre-recession.  AIG received over $127B USD [source] and sent over $100B USD overseas to banks it owed money to.

Thus perhaps the Solyndra debacle is more of a testament to how things are run in Washington no matter which party is in charge, rather than a sign that President Obama is somehow exceptional or different, for better or worse.  Both parties talk about balancing the budget, but it's a matter of public record that in recent years both parties have overspent, committing to risky investments and troubled assets.

That's not to say what the Obama administration did here was right by conservative fiscal standards.  As the old saying goes, two wrongs don't make a right.  But if there's someone who offers an alternative to this kind of spending they're likely not in Washington, D.C. -- or at least likely not very popular there among either party.

These kinds of wastes are particularly sad, as they come at a time when proud American science projects are being shuttered due of lack of funds.  America recently closed the world's second largest particle accelerator, because the government claimed it couldn't find $100M USD out of the $3.4T USD budget to pay for the accelerator's annual operating costs.  The AIG funding could have paid for over 1,000 years of operation.  The Solyndra funds could have extended the life of the accelerator 5 years.

One thing's for sure when it comes to Solyndra, though -- President Obama isn't going to say sorry for what happened.

Source: ABC News

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At least he's honest for once...
By quiksilvr on 10/4/2011 8:24:40 AM , Rating: 1
He easily could have pointed blame at others and could have thrown in some business mumbo jumbo stating things like bounce back predictions or decreased solar costs with more production.

But instead, he pretty much stated the truth. That the government took a $500M gamble and lost. It isn't good, but at least he didn't bullsh|t.

By BZDTemp on 10/4/2011 8:34:50 AM , Rating: 1
Exactly. I'm thinking he could have added something about the relationship between omelets and eggs.

RE: At least he's honest for once...
By therealnickdanger on 10/4/2011 8:48:31 AM , Rating: 3
The simple truth is that he doesn't regret it because it wasn't HIS money that got wasted. He's wasting the money of the taxpayers while he and his cronies exploit every tax loophole possible to avoid paying in their "fair share" - to quote the Messiah himself. I'm glad he has such a clear conscious about it. Makes it a lot easier to vote him out of office in 2012.

RE: At least he's honest for once...
By Targon on 10/4/11, Rating: 0
RE: At least he's honest for once...
By Reclaimer77 on 10/4/11, Rating: 0
By lelias2k on 10/5/2011 5:26:52 AM , Rating: 2
It is also the government's duty to provide education and health services, but look where we are.

securing our borders and protecting our citizens

Yeah, that's the kool aid they all tell you to drink so they can keep pouring trillions into "defense."

As for the investment, my opinion is that the government should invest in technologies of the future, especially when the rest of the world is kicking our asses when it comes to those technologies.

RE: At least he's honest for once...
By Natch on 10/5/2011 1:43:09 PM , Rating: 2
I was wondering if you could please tell me where this occurs?

Does a basic file clerk really deserve $80,000/year plus a pension?

I just checked the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM's) page on the present-day GS pay scales, and a GS-04 (which would be your "basic file clerk" is NOT making $80,000 a year.

In fact, in most places, they start out at $30,000 a year, and after ~20 years of service , have skyrocketed all the way up to (are you ready for this?) $40,000 a year!! The highest GS scale I saw was for the San Francisco Bay area (Nancy Pelosi country), where they go from $33K to $43K in range.

Yeah...believe it or not, but the whole "government employees make too much money" is nothing more than a BS political talking point. OPM has set the value of a government employee's benefits as ~29% of their salary, so even multiplying that GS-04's salary by 1.293, they're only coming in at $42,669 to $55,599 in value. So unless you can somehow tell us where the other $25,000 to $35,000 in imaginary wages are coming from, I'd have to say your point was a bit of an exageration.

By lelias2k on 10/5/2011 5:21:15 AM , Rating: 4
Take a look at the US income tax history and let's see if Obama is really the one who created the problem...

Don't get me wrong, I'm pissed with a lot of thing this government has done, but the tax problem is not one of them.

By cruisin3style on 10/5/2011 3:40:04 PM , Rating: 2
the simple truth is if he had apologized and said he regretted it, people like you would say America needs a leader that doesn't compromise or apologize.

Just make sure you make a conscience decision to vote Republican

RE: At least he's honest for once...
By web2dot0 on 10/6/2011 10:15:17 PM , Rating: 2
You gotta look at the big picture. Not every gov't investment is going to work out. Obviously, this didn't work out. But $500M is not $1T. That's the scope of the problem. Don't make it bigger than it is.

The gov't spends many Billions investing in these types of things. Let's evaluate based on the overall performance, not a single point of failure. You are bound to lose battles in a war, we just need to make sure we win the war.

If you are such a fiscal hawk, where were you when the gov't bailed out WallStreet? Shouldn't you be against the Republican Party that got us into this mess? The Trillion Dollar mess ....

You need to bring it from a 10 to a 2. Breath now ...

By therealnickdanger on 10/7/2011 11:12:40 AM , Rating: 1
Congress was controlled solidly by democrats when the Wallstreet bailout of 2008 occurred... and the much larger 2009 bailouts... and 2010... You can't paint Republicans into a mess that they didn't cause.

RE: At least he's honest for once...
By phantom505 on 10/4/2011 8:49:34 AM , Rating: 2
That's what happens when you have public-private investment. You're going to lose sometimes. It's not really a big deal. My guess is that they have finance guys that calculated the risk and most of the risk is probably going to get soaked into the interest of the successful companies.

We do this with student loans all the time. No story here.

RE: At least he's honest for once...
By VahnTitrio on 10/4/2011 10:18:29 AM , Rating: 2
Correct. Private banks don't hit homeruns with every loan they issue. Although whether the risk is absorbed in interest remains to be seen. Wasn't that part of the housing market collapse, interest too low on high risk mortgages?

RE: At least he's honest for once...
By Iaiken on 10/4/2011 11:18:22 AM , Rating: 2
No, the problem with the mortgage crisis was the sheer volume of mortgages that had little equity and no insurance was greater than the reserves held in the banks.

The government absorbed the risk and propped up the banks long enough to allow them to undertake in the single largest transfer of real world assets into the hands of financial institutions ever. The money is mostly all still there, it's just tied up in physical assets for the time being.

That's the thing about banking, if the government is on your side, you can't lose. The government could have just as easily stopped the first domino from falling (Lehman Brothers), but deliberately chose not to as it was a powerful signal to the remaining banks that they had no choice but to co-operate.

By Master Kenobi on 10/4/2011 11:18:38 AM , Rating: 2
Interest was artificially low, when the rates started to rise nobody could pay them. But that is purely a case for poor loan criteria. It generally isn't a good idea to loan someone the money for a 400k dollar house when they only make a measley 35k. The general premise was a "get rich quick" scheme. If you bought the house and made just 1-2 payments and then proceeded to flip it (sell it to someone else for 10-15% more than you paid) then overall you could make a tidy profit. The problem is the people who did this for 2-3 years and go out while it was still good made out like bandits. All the idiots who jumped on that band wagon later on and kept at it like crack addicts still held homes they couldn't pay for when everything imploded. General rule of thumb, if "everyone is starting to do it" then the jig is up and it is time to run like hell in the opposite direction. I remember my co-workers getting their realtor licenses in droves just to speed the process up and cut out middlemen so they could flip more homes quicker. To my amusement they all got burned when shit hit the fan.

RE: At least he's honest for once...
By Reclaimer77 on 10/4/11, Rating: -1
RE: At least he's honest for once...
By phantom505 on 10/4/2011 2:25:12 PM , Rating: 2
If there is a failing of the US in modern times it is the fact we don't take risk and we don't let risky ventures fail. Why? Because "We the People" back the lion's share of every loan created through a bank via FDIC. If a bank fails who gets the tab? We do.

We set up systems to privatize profit, and publicize debt. That is one of the many dangers of getting rid of something like social security and turning it over to Wall St. Then Wall St won't be able to fail because everyone's retirements are tied to it.

What is asinine is that fact you look everything on a micro scale and fail to see the bigger picture then whine about it. Then you talk about how great something else would be that would lead to even bigger necessary bailouts. Let's just tell everyone that invests in anything that they'll certainly make money... like a real Ponzi scheme.

RE: At least he's honest for once...
By mkrech on 10/4/2011 4:43:15 PM , Rating: 4
privatize profit, and publicize debt

The government is publicizing the debt. In this case, a little over $500,000,000 of debt. Then the government privatizes the profits, but only to those that are chosen by the political tyrants.

It is indeed a terrible system that MUST be stopped for our country to survive this tyranny.

Laissez Faire capitalism supported by a return to federalism will cure this system. But the longer we wait to take action the more difficult it will be to kick the bad habits.

By Ringold on 10/4/2011 1:44:27 PM , Rating: 2
My guess is that they have finance guys that calculated the risk and most of the risk is probably going to get soaked into the interest of the successful companies. We do this with student loans all the time. No story here.

Sorry, what?

You're right, they did have finance guys that calculated the risk, and they wanted more time for review, smelling a bad investment. They were ignored.

Student loans are also pretty much risk-free, as they're damn near impossible to ever get away from. They're the only loans I'm aware of, off hand, that one can't shake in bankruptcy. That puts them in a radically different category.

Pure denial to ignore all the failures, extending all the way to the top of the government, that occurred here. My only sympathies are for those 'finance guys' who were doing their job apparently and got rode hard and put up wet.

RE: At least he's honest for once...
By bug77 on 10/4/2011 8:56:40 AM , Rating: 4
It wasn't even a gamble, when the writing on the wall were already pointing out that the company would go under by September 2011.
So yes, he did bullsh|t.

RE: At least he's honest for once...
By FITCamaro on 10/4/2011 9:08:52 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. From the evidence everyone knew the company was going to fail. But they rushed the loan anyway. Some think as a payoff to Democrats in California which wouldn't surprise me at all. From what I've heard/read, several high ranking Democrats were invested heavily in Solyndra. So they probably made a killing off it pulling out before it failed.

That's the whole reason for much of the green movement. Democrats padding their portfolios with tax payer money to artificially inflate stock prices so their investments make money.

RE: At least he's honest for once...
By Spuke on 10/4/2011 9:57:02 AM , Rating: 1
From what I've heard/read, several high ranking Democrats were invested heavily in Solyndra. So they probably made a killing off it pulling out before it failed.
Doubt it. The company never made any money. Well, at least someone will get a manufacturing facility on the cheap.

RE: At least he's honest for once...
By Iaiken on 10/4/2011 11:21:51 AM , Rating: 2
At least someone will get a manufacturing facility on the cheap.

This is actually a really good point, any facilities and equipment are not simply lost, they can wind up in the hands of other (more successful) companies for bargain pricing.

By theapparition on 10/4/2011 11:54:49 AM , Rating: 2
Or they sit unattended, with no property tax revenue, and become delapidated, causing property values in the area to plumet.

Take a look at all the manufacturing facilities in Michigan for sale.

RE: At least he's honest for once...
By Ringold on 10/4/2011 1:46:58 PM , Rating: 2
From what I've read, the facilities aren't worth a ton and the equipment is heavily specialized to the type of solar panel technology they were making -- which just wasn't profitable, even with government subsidies. Govt might recoup some money, but lenders will take a heavy hit.

RE: At least he's honest for once...
By Cerin218 on 10/4/2011 11:50:07 PM , Rating: 2
We are talking about Ethanol right?...

RE: At least he's honest for once...
By ekv on 10/5/2011 4:25:39 AM , Rating: 2
and not Kool-Aid.

By MrBlastman on 10/4/2011 12:23:11 PM , Rating: 2
Doubt it you might but it happens all the time.

You see, Solyndra never had to make any money for their initial liberal investors (so the theory holds) to make out with profits. Instead, what happens often is a business starts up and they look for seed money.

This money often comes from people that like the cause the business is behind or are promised to make out from their investment. Oftentimes, the individuals running the company aren't exactly ethical in their handling of the books and manytimes do not value the company properly, thus, their private stock price.

So what happens is those running the show keep telling everyone things are going great. They especially tell their seed money providers this lie. They then reach out for additional loans and investors--in this case, the United States Government and in return, to keep their private shareholders happy, pay out part of this invested money to these initial holders through redemptions--yes, they let them redeem their shares (some of them are probably getting tired of not receiving a dividend check) at a higher price than they paid them for.

But wait, how is this possible? It is possible due to the shady accounting practices. See, publicly traded stock is regulated by the SEC who routinely requires filings to be made disclosing certain bits of information. The SEC can randomly audit any of these businesses at any times to see whether they are true or not. Private businesses do not have this requirement at all. They can essentially value their shares for whatever they like and those investing in the company, have to accept it as word.

Of course, a private investor can ask to see the books--but, the books are only as truthful as those who prepare them. Oftentimes these businesses will keep two sets of books. The "real" books that they show investors and then the REAL books that only those internally can see (which really show the poor health of the company). These "real" (fake) books show growth or other appealing things that would make people want to invest in the firm and also justify an appreciating share price. Sometimes they'll even show a profit, othertimes not.

So through additional equity being invested (or loaned) in the company, they then capitalize these redemptions to the initial holders to keep them happy--and thus they pass the word on to others that the company made them money, thus perpetuating the whole scheme for a time. Eventually these things fold, just ask Charles Ponzi all about it... or Worldcom's ex leaders... or Enron's...

*PS: Just because the SEC regulates public entities doesn't mean they are completely truthful either. As we've seen in the last few years, the SEC has been asleep at the wheel and let a lot of things slip by.*

By Cerin218 on 10/4/2011 11:46:21 PM , Rating: 2
It's already been proven that politicians profit more than normal investors for their stocks. When you have inside information and it isn't illegal, not tough to make a profit.

RE: At least he's honest for once...
By theapparition on 10/4/2011 12:09:31 PM , Rating: 4
Politicians padding their portfolios with tax payer money to artificially inflate stock prices so their investments make money.

Fixed that for you.

I've no love for liberals, but plenty of conservatives play the same games.

By FITCamaro on 10/4/2011 2:30:32 PM , Rating: 2
Fair enough.

RE: At least he's honest for once...
By bubbastrangelove on 10/4/2011 12:03:19 PM , Rating: 3
I'm sure he'll get a good laugh about it like he did when he threw away billions on the shovel ready jobs that weren't shovel ready.

The best and saddest part is he's confused why no one (well anyone with common sense) doesn't want to give him more money for the jobs bill. He's clueless.

Our president isn't fit to run a lemonade stand let alone a country.

RE: At least he's honest for once...
By cooperaaaron on 10/5/2011 11:37:02 AM , Rating: 2
And I guess Bush was... spending MANY TRILLIONS on two unjust wars... yea... The current President has been spending the last 3 years preventing the country from going over the edge..... Guess you forgot about

By bubbastrangelove on 10/5/2011 5:00:19 PM , Rating: 2
Please point out where I said Bush was any more or less competent and I'll gladly answer your question. You guys are getting desperate huh!

The only thing I've ever said comparing Bush to Obama is the following: "remember we thought it couldn't get any worse?".

Settle down Francis.

RE: At least he's honest for once...
By tigz1218 on 10/4/11, Rating: 0
RE: At least he's honest for once...
By vapore0n on 10/4/2011 9:28:24 AM , Rating: 2
Yes. Lets equate wasting 500M dollars to killing millions of people.

By monitorjbl on 10/4/2011 11:32:55 AM , Rating: 2
Well, accounting for inflation, it's only equivalent to killing about 60,000 people. Which would make Hitler a slightly better person had he only wasted 500 million dollars.,8599,180...

Also, Godwin's law.

RE: At least he's honest for once...
By Master Kenobi on 10/4/2011 11:33:47 AM , Rating: 2
Depending on the number of people and their theoretical worth we might have a fair argument. I believe the current value of a person is listed at roughly 5 Million USD. This number changes between the government agencies with the EPA generally the high roller at about 9 Million. Likewise the low roller is the DoD which values a life at no more than 600 Thousand.

So 500 million would equal roughly 100 dead people.
I'll take a conservative estimate and say 11 Million dead by Hitlers orders. 11 Million * 5 Million = 55 Trillion. But that is with todays estimates, back then the value of a life might have been in the Thousands rather than Millions which would substantially reduce the total dollar figure into the low-mid Billions.

RE: At least he's honest for once...
By Steve1981 on 10/4/2011 12:34:16 PM , Rating: 2
I believe the current value of a person is listed at roughly 5 Million USD.

Is that MSRP? Do I get a discount for a Somali model?

By Ringold on 10/4/2011 1:50:54 PM , Rating: 2
If NewEgg has free shipping, I might bite.

RE: At least he's honest for once...
By DougF on 10/4/2011 3:55:00 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, yes. "Blood" money in the Middle East/Africa region is still around $100K for a life.

RE: At least he's honest for once...
By ekv on 10/5/2011 4:32:29 AM , Rating: 2
Iran is only coughing up $25k.

RE: At least he's honest for once...
By Reclaimer77 on 10/4/11, Rating: -1
RE: At least he's honest for once...
By phantom505 on 10/4/2011 9:13:42 AM , Rating: 3
Loosen the tin hat a bit, you might tear a hole in it.

RE: At least he's honest for once...
By Reclaimer77 on 10/4/2011 1:00:59 PM , Rating: 3
Your joking right? This is far from a conspiracy theory, just follow the money trail on this deal. Now, maybe I'm just cynical, but when I see the money ending up in the hands of George Kaiser, despite the man claiming he "had no knowledge" of it, I put 2 and 2 together. Oh and if you don't know who Kaiser is, you shouldn't even be discussing this issue and accusing others of being tin foil hat wearing lunes when you don't even know any facts.

Really? We had people who claimed Bush "started" wars to pay off Halliburton, but I'm crazy for pointing out that this was obviously a money laundering scheme from the start?

Between 2009 and 2011 Solyndra officials and investors were invited to the White House over 20 times. 20! And the government just so happens to choose them to "invest" in. Including 4 trips the very week before the "loan" was announced. Crony capitalism at it's finest.

If I'm so crazy then tell me something, why did the FBI raid the offices of Solyndra after they went belly up? Does the FBI always raid businesses when they go bankrupt? Is that standard practice now lol? Maybe they were looking for ohhh, I don't know, where $500 million went and why?

RE: At least he's honest for once...
By FITCamaro on 10/4/11, Rating: 0
RE: At least he's honest for once...
By mkrech on 10/4/2011 4:56:34 PM , Rating: 2
Don't be an a$$ FIT. There are constructive ways of offering criticism. Shooting into your own ranks is not productive. Unless your just trying to troll both sides for a rise. Which i doubt and sincerely hope is not the case.

RE: At least he's honest for once...
By mkrech on 10/4/2011 4:50:41 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, I have not read the link yet, but I don't think the FBI was trying to find out where the money went. That's pretty obvious. However, controlling the evidence of how it got there was probably an objective.

RE: At least he's honest for once...
By xti on 10/4/2011 10:21:51 AM , Rating: 2
omg...we must pad our basement and fill the closet with can food! stat!

RE: At least he's honest for once...
By MonkeyPaw on 10/4/2011 9:48:07 AM , Rating: 2
If losing half a billion dollars is a good bet, I hate to think where lots of the risky bet money went...

By lightfoot on 10/4/2011 1:02:01 PM , Rating: 2
The UAW and teacher's unions mostly.

RE: At least he's honest for once...
By Jaybus on 10/4/2011 3:25:40 PM , Rating: 2
You surely don't think this was the only deal he thought was "good".

By cooperaaaron on 10/5/2011 11:38:43 AM , Rating: 2
Ask Bush where all of those trillions went for two wars ....... right !

By Jeffk464 on 10/4/2011 3:34:39 PM , Rating: 2
Of course not, is a blast to blow other people's money.

By Cerin218 on 10/4/2011 11:42:31 PM , Rating: 2
Is this the kind of thing that the Democrats don't believe that we are taxing the people of this country enough to do? Maybe Warren Buffet can put his money where his mouth is and write a 500 Million dollar check to cover this so that the rest of us poor slobs that have to work 60-80 hrs a week won't lose money for. But keep whining liberals, about how the government doesn't tax enough and we can't pay our bills. The pres gives his friend 500 million and they walk away laughing, just lie his union buddies.

Sure -
By Dr of crap on 10/4/2011 8:59:55 AM , Rating: 1
It's not his OWN money, it's your's and mine.

I could spend my money, and your's WAY better than that!

I love how politicians jsut spend tax moeny and can justify it, yet don't EVER say - I'm sorry I messed up and WASTED your money!

RE: Sure -
By phantom505 on 10/4/11, Rating: 0
RE: Sure -
By Dr of crap on 10/4/2011 10:37:40 AM , Rating: 2
What you're problem??

I NEVER said it was his money, I said it's easy to spend someone elses money- yours (maybe) and mine - from taxes. You must have heard of taxes in your world.

How you equate that to spending on police, and services we NEED to spending on a failing company I don't know.

You give money politicans don't you??
Also wasted money.

RE: Sure -
By Ringold on 10/4/2011 2:01:51 PM , Rating: 3
Even a lot of devout libertarians would admit to the need and efficiency of the government providing certain public goods.. Economic liberals (modern political conservatives) despite being small-government, believe in infrastructure and maintaining law and order.

There's a huge leap from making sure firms can get goods from the interior to ports on the coast, cities down burn down, and looking over national security to a belief the government should actively pick technological and corporate winners and losers.

Also read an article about the Bureau of Land Management maintaining a 'welfare ranch' of sorts with thousands of horses relocated from over-grazed government land. BLM shies away from selling them for slaughter. Yeah, thats what I "need," to be protected from feral horses, and then have those horses pampered. Is there any grey area in your world, or all government spending is simply good?

RE: Sure -
By sorry dog on 10/4/2011 9:29:32 AM , Rating: 2
It's not his OWN money, it's your's and mine.

to be fair... it's your money only if you paid taxes recently...which half of the country didn't do last year.

RE: Sure -
By iwanttobehef on 10/4/11, Rating: 0
RE: Sure -
By sorry dog on 10/4/2011 11:41:22 AM , Rating: 2
There's a federal sales tax (yet) unless you find isolated luxery tax examples and we're talking about federal money. Sales tax in my area go to the state, county, and municipality.

Anyway, a significant percentage of folks get their cut of the payroll taxes back, and the employer side has an indirect relationship.

I'll grant you when you count the other gotcha taxes the gov't gets then the percentage will be less than 50% but my point is that still a sizable percentage of people can't say that the Feds are spending their money.

RE: Sure -
By iwanttobehef on 10/4/2011 12:31:25 PM , Rating: 2
How do you get back the social security payroll tax? How do you get back the medicare payroll tax?

Where do I sign up?

The only way I know is to wait for retirement and hope the money is still there.

My point was that there are tons of taxes that nearly everyone pays. If your point is that half the country doesn't pay federal income taxes say that don't be sloppy and say they don't pay taxes.

RE: Sure -
By sorry dog on 10/4/2011 12:48:10 PM , Rating: 2
Where do I sign up?

The local Social Security office...don't forget to bring a few of your kids along and make sure you have a cash job like cleaning houses so your reported income is like 10k...and not only will the feds give you a few thousand for earned income credit, but they might start sending you a check every month for those kids...especially if one is disabled by something serious like ADHD or something.

RE: Sure -
By iwanttobehef on 10/4/2011 12:55:25 PM , Rating: 2
ROFL touche

RE: Sure -
By DougF on 10/4/2011 4:08:38 PM , Rating: 3
No, no, no, ADHD is so last decade. You have to use the new buzzwords: "learning disability" and "Autism". The former is generic enough for adults that it gets you Medicaid and Medicare combined, and yet people won't inquire too deeply into your condition. Use the latter for the kids, since that's that's the "in" thing to describe inept parenting.*

*Apologies to parents of kids who ARE autistic, but it really has been hijacked, much as ADHD was in the 90's.

RE: Sure -
By Fost04mach on 10/4/2011 4:53:37 PM , Rating: 2
You are so out of touch! There's no such thing as mailing a check nowadays, look up EBT - electronic benefits transfer - basically direct deposit into a debit card style account... It's just too much work to go to Walmart to cash a check...

RE: Sure -
By sorry dog on 10/5/2011 11:55:42 AM , Rating: 2
You guys are appears I need to go a welfare continuing education class... maybe the local ACORN office gives that class.

Sad thing is that I actually do a child with Autism, or I should say Autism Spectrum Disorder. It's not a severe case and I could maybe get him on disability, but I'm usually too busy working to pay for his $500 month therapy to sit in line periodically for a year to get him on the gov't tit. He tests as not full blown autistic, but on the Autism spectrum, yet his diagnosis is "non-pervasive developmental disorder" whatever that is. That is apparently too vague automatically get you in the EBT club, but if you have asthma or ADHD then your in.

Must be nice
By KrayLoN on 10/4/2011 9:24:10 AM , Rating: 2
"President says high-risk loan was 'felt like... a good bet'..."

Thanks for betting with American tax dollars. Must be nice to bet with someone else's money.

Truth of the matter is that this happens all the time and we as tax continue to let it happen.

RE: Must be nice
By KrayLoN on 10/4/2011 9:30:34 AM , Rating: 3
tax "payers"

RE: Must be nice
By sorry dog on 10/4/2011 11:43:55 AM , Rating: 2
...and in Dec 2008 the POTUS said...

"We are not going to simply write a bunch of checks and let them be spent without some very clear criteria as to how this money is going to benefit the overall economy and put people back to work. We're not going to be making decisions on projects simply based on politics and - and lobbying."'s that working out Mr. President??

RE: Must be nice
By Reclaimer77 on 10/4/11, Rating: 0
RE: Must be nice
By cooperaaaron on 10/5/2011 11:44:31 AM , Rating: 2
The only prick here is you. Bush has done and is STILL doing harm to this country with his unjust wars. Anyone here who believes the current President is destroying this country is wrong. Look at your wanna-be-presidents, a group of people whom won't win in 2012. Noone likes them, not even your own party! After the Republicans are voted out for NOT CREATING ANY JOBS, the platform they ran on in 2010, we can get this country rolling again !

RE: Must be nice
By sorry dog on 10/5/2011 12:25:18 PM , Rating: 2
While agree with you that ramifications of Bush's decisions are still with is, I don't understand how that relates to Obama being bullsht merchant or either me or Reclaimer being pricks because we are giving examples of said BS sales.

It's really not even a matter of opinion that part of Obama's platform in the last election was to reduce or eliminate earmarks from the budget and create jobs. appears pork spending is alive and well and as for jobs I think if you go ask anybody oil exploration industry around the Gulf Coast about Obama and jobs you might get an earfull.

RE: Must be nice
By Nfarce on 10/5/2011 12:41:09 PM , Rating: 2
Wrong, libtard. You go back and look at the data and this nation started going to hell when the Pelosicrats and Reidocrats took over Congress after the 2006 mid-terms.

Everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING Obummer has laid his community organizing hands on has been a DISASTER. (And that can go for Democrats overall as well). For example...You want to know why your banking fees are going up? Thank Barney Frank and Chris Dodd for the Frank-Dodd legislation passed by Democrat-controlled Congress and signed by Barry.

And regarding jobs, mouth breather, we've seen just how well you Fascistocrat Statist liberals have spent $860 BILLION on a FAILED stimulus/jobs bill. And now your heroes want to pass another "jobs" bill that does nothing but raise taxes. Oh I'm sorry, that was right up to when Dirty Harry Reid said NOT VOTE when the GOP told him to bring the vote on!

My GOD you petulant libtards are so ignorant and delusional it's almost humorous. If it wasn't so disastrous for this nation.

RE: Must be nice
By Nfarce on 10/5/2011 12:47:28 PM , Rating: 2
And another thing: how'd that Fast & Furious gun sales to illegal Mexicans and drug lords work out for you Democrats? Kinda backfired didn't it? It was nothing but a ploy to make gun dealers look bad and increase gun regulations. Instead, we have DEAD Americans who were shot with said guns, 2/3 of which disappeared into Mexico permanently. GREAT JOB!!!!

The sooner your incompetent empty suit Hackocrats are thrown out of office next year, the sooner this nation gets back on track. And by the way: aren't you supposed to be dressed up as zombie and disrupting commerce in New York City with the rest of the neo-Marxist/Leninist libDem freaks?

RE: Must be nice
By Reclaimer77 on 10/5/2011 12:43:00 PM , Rating: 1
You're so stupid I cannot even put into words my hate for you.

Democrats voted for those "unjust wars". Where was the vote to go into Libya, Obama? I guess it's Bush's fault that Obama not only extended every single policy of his, but started MORE wars?

After the Republicans are voted out for NOT CREATING ANY JOBS, the platform they ran on in 2010

Hey idiot, Government can't "create" jobs. Only the private sector can. The Republicans didn't run on directly creating jobs, they ran on stopping the Obama policies which are disastrous to private sector growth.

I don't care how many Republicans we vote in, the damage that the Stimulus and ObamaCare and everything else he's done isn't going to go away overnight. Have you seen our debt and deficits lately? Who's fault is that!?

Obama ran on stopping the wars and ending earmarks and corruption in Washington. He's STARTING wars and expanding corruption and pork barrel bills to record levels! Now what do you call that? That's called a liar and crook, that's what. And that's who Obama is. Nice guy? I don't give a shit. Good father? Fuc% you go home and play with your kids. You're the President!

RE: Must be nice
By Fost04mach on 10/6/2011 7:31:47 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Must be nice
By ClownPuncher on 10/4/2011 1:36:50 PM , Rating: 2
It happens on Wall St every day. Though, that isn't to say that it is the right thing to do.

You all are forgetting one thing
By klstay on 10/4/2011 10:47:23 AM , Rating: 3
The majority of the money flushed down the toilet here came from evil rich people. So, does it really matter what you waste it on as long as they do not get to have it?

According to the IRS (the latest available numbers are from 2008) the top 5 percent of income earners (those with the disgusting, appalling, nearly incomprehensible household AGI of $159,619) paid more income tax than the other 95% accounting for 58.7 percent of collections despite earning 34.7 percent of income.

RE: You all are forgetting one thing
By iwanttobehef on 10/4/2011 11:05:56 AM , Rating: 1
I would love to see your sources on this. I have looked into this in the past and come away with different numbers.

According to this site gathered without much time spent researching the top 5% earn 34.5% of total income and pay 37.1% of total federal income taxes. leaving the bottom 95% to pay 62.9% I am not sure if this is just a case of "liars figuring and figures lying" ie contorting the numbers to say what you want. But in my research the numbers aren't nearly as progressive as you claim they are.

RE: You all are forgetting one thing
By Solandri on 10/4/2011 3:04:17 PM , Rating: 3
Why go to some website with an obvious agenda when the IRS makes the raw numbers available?,...

For 2009, there were 140.5 million returns filed. 5% of that would be 7 million. There were 3.9 million returns of $200k or more, or 2.8% of the total.

Total income was $7.63 trillion. Total income of those making $200k or more was $1.96 trillion, or 25.8% of the total.

Total income tax collected was $865.95 billion. Income tax collected making $200k or more was $434.28 billion, or 50.2% of the total.

So the top 2.8% earned 25.8% of total income, and paid 50.2% of total federal income taxes. That is consistent with OP's statement.

Looking at the report you linked to more closely, it looks like they took percentages from all federal + state taxes (i.e. including corporate, property, sales taxes, etc) to dilute the percentage of income tax paid. The fine print also says they attributed the corporate FICA taxes to the employee, which is rather backwards since the whole point of making the company pay them is so that they're hidden from the employee.

Disclaimer: I actually do believe the income inequality in this country has grown to unhealthy levels. But it should be combated with solid, neutral numbers to guide policy. Not by massaged numbers.

By Ringold on 10/4/2011 3:28:05 PM , Rating: 2
I was just about to post the same thing:,...

One good thing about modern government and the internet: most relevant data is available, and in formats easy to import to whatever data analysis programs one prefers.

No need, like you said, to look to sources with obvious agendas. (Other good sources: FRED and the BLS)

Disclaimer: I actually do believe the income inequality in this country has grown to unhealthy levels. But it should be combated with solid, neutral numbers to guide policy. Not by massaged numbers.

I agree actually! And it not just about guiding policy with legitimate numbers, but intelligent options. The "Buffet Rule," in practice, sounds like it'll hurt investment, critical in a weak economy. Better ideas: a) raising dividend & capital gains, but dropping corp taxes to zero to compensate b) eliminating all deductions, private and corporate c) anything that broadens the tax base but lowers top-line rates d) huge overhaul, like FairTax plans.

Any of those would be more economically efficient and could raise revenue, but less satisfying to those guys quoting Marx in those Occupy Wall Street marches. Even if we want to soak the rich for even more, there's just far better, but less red-meat, ways to do it.

But, its an election year.

Oh.. wait..

By FITCamaro on 10/4/2011 11:04:45 PM , Rating: 1
Redistributing wealth will do absolutely nothing to make those who make less have more. It will only give them more to waste. Entitlements have grown by leaps and bounds since the 60s and 70s. Has poverty gotten any better as a result? No. The answer is not to encourage people to not provide for themselves by giving them money earned by others, but to encourage them to strive to be like those who earned more.

RE: You all are forgetting one thing
By Jaybus on 10/4/2011 3:23:43 PM , Rating: 3
The "Income,Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage" report for 2010 is freely available from the US Census Bureau at

The Tax Foundation has many, but the "Summary of Latest Income Tax Data" at is pertinent. The top 5% earned 34.73% of the AGI and paid 58.72% of the taxes. More telling is that the top 25% earned 67.38% of the AGI and paid 86.34% of the taxes. The bottom 75% earned 32.62% of the AGI and paid 13.66% of the taxes. Clearly, the lowest 75% are already paying less than half of their "fair share", and the top 25% are paying much more than their "fair share". The President's "fat cat" has already been shaken down. It's time to cut spending and stop throwing money away gambling on stock scams.

Whoa there Mick... bailout != investment
By sorry dog on 10/4/2011 9:24:42 AM , Rating: 2
To be fair, as bad as the Solyndra loss looks, the previous Bush administration spent many times that essentially paying off the losses of the American International Group (AIG)

I don't see how either of these cases are even closely related except for the government spent an assload of money for no direct return.

The difference here is the admin ignored cooler heads and was willing to take extra risks to further their "green" agenda and hope it all works out...But they could have or should have chosen not to spend that money

The AIG debacle was more or less public knowledge before the money was spent, so there was some public debate on the bailout. Right or wrong the Bush admin sold it as a necessary evil to prevent further economic damage.

By Jaybus on 10/4/2011 3:31:02 PM , Rating: 2
They have something else in common. In both cases, it is dereliction of duty.

By Zoomer on 10/4/2011 10:20:16 PM , Rating: 2
What's the relation between this and the so called bank bailouts? Seems like it's making a connection for the sake of making one.

The only problem I see here that, if the quote is correct, that he "felt" that it was a good bet. Loans should be backed by cool calculation, not just by gut feeling.

Its his money too !!!
By Orchunter on 10/4/2011 10:10:47 AM , Rating: 2
"President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, paid $453,770 in federal income taxes in 2010 on $1.7 million in income, according to tax returns the White House released on Monday to coincide with the national income-tax filing deadline. "-WSJ

So it is his money too. I agree that it was a bad bet and that this could have been avoided.But, lets not pretend that he is some alien being who is just playing with someone else's money . He also incurred some loss here- finacially, politically and other wise.

RE: Its his money too !!!
By gglenn on 10/6/2011 9:28:04 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder, what does he think his own "fair share" should be?

By Radiomachine on 10/4/2011 7:40:17 PM , Rating: 3
If I had the luxury of entering into highly speculative options plays with other people's money, I wouldnt regret losing it either

come on!
By wiz220 on 10/4/2011 10:18:12 AM , Rating: 2
Jesus Jason, think you could have been just a bit more biased or slanted with that headline?

Obama says .... ...
By Ramtech on 10/4/2011 11:36:59 AM , Rating: 2
Become an American president and you can bet with taxpayer money too

Welcome to the American Dream

By Beenthere on 10/4/2011 2:02:24 PM , Rating: 2 friggin money NOT his! He has no conscience and is a bum IMO.

Of course he doesnt
By shin0bi272 on 10/5/2011 7:24:57 AM , Rating: 2
A) he's spending other people's money

B) he's a marxist who believes in spreading the wealth

C) Any chance a politician gets to give money to some company that he or his party believes is going to help them politically, they are all over it.

D) The photo op of the liberal president riding in to hand money to a company that the previous half assed republican president said was too risky of an investment was just too much to resist for the left.

E) remember a politicians first job is to get re-elected. They do that by promising everyone everything they want (see: hope and change), and buying votes by throwing money at you or your state or business.

By bernardl on 10/4/2011 7:00:48 PM , Rating: 1
How different is it to loan money to a start up vs subsidizing Boeing research through various "military programs"?

It has been proven very clearly that this "military" money is used also to develop technologies used in commercial planes generating profit for Boeing shareholders but none to the general public besides the jobs being generated.

I am not even speaking about the money given to the same banks now making more cash thanks to the reduced rating of the US economy and increased cost of money.

This story is nothing but another step in a vast campain against Obama. How can American people not see that most of the issues (debt) Obama is now facing were mostly created by Republican administrations before him?...


Jason Mick loves these hack jobs
By highlander2107 on 10/5/11, Rating: 0
RE: Jason Mick loves these hack jobs
By Nfarce on 10/5/2011 12:00:29 PM , Rating: 1
Don't worry clown - Obama only has about 15 months left in office to continuing running, and spending, this nation right into the toilet before America fires his incompetent ass.

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