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Excerpt: "During a morning appearance on Fox News, Mitt Romney said Newt Gingrich should return the $1.6 million in payments he received from mortgage financial giant Freddy Mac. ... What's Gingrich's response? He said this morning 'if Governor Romney would like to give back all the money he's earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years at Bain than I would be glad to then listen to him.'"

Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)
Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)



Mitt and Newt Latent Progressives?

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

13 December 11

 

wo important reforms are stopping the revolving door between Washington and the nation's financial giants, and preventing financiers from flipping companies(making short-term profits by borrowing big sums to buy them, then squeezing payrolls and firing employees, and reselling the stripped-down companies at a profit - unless the debt-laden firms fall into bankruptcy first).

Remarkably, the frontrunners for the Republican nomination for president seem to agree. At least, that's the clear implication from what they've said today.

During a morning appearance on Fox News, Mitt Romney said Newt Gingrich should return the $1.6 million in payments he received from mortgage financial giant Freddy Mac.

Gingrich has tried to defend himself by saying Freddy paid him as a "historian," but anyone with half a brain knows Freddy wasn't interested in history. It coughed up the money because they wanted Newt to influence his former House colleagues, so they wouldn't take steps to reduce Freddy's financial risk or reach.

In effect, Romney is taking a swipe not only at Gingrich but at the well-oiled revolving door linking financial giants to former congressional leaders, Treasury officials, and their staffs. That revolving door is one of the reasons the Street and its auxiliaries (like Fannie and Freddie) took the risks that caused the financial crisis, and have still never paid the price.

What's Gingrich's response? He said this morning "if Governor Romney would like to give back all the money he's earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years at Bain than I would be glad to then listen to him."

Newt is criticizing not only Romney but also the pump and dump practices of Wall Street that have caused hundreds of thousands of Americans to lose their jobs, put countless companies in jeopardy, and earned a fortune for private-equity managers and others.

If this goes on much longer, the Mitt and Newt Show will get a slot on MSNBC.


Robert Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written thirteen books, including "The Work of Nations," "Locked in the Cabinet," "Supercapitalism" and his latest book, "AFTERSHOCK: The Next Economy and America's Future." His 'Marketplace' commentaries can be found on publicradio.com and iTunes.

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+45 # fredboy 2011-12-13 10:38
These creeps will decry practices they will then turn around and support. Desperate hypocrites.
 
 
+34 # PhilO 2011-12-13 10:43
At present the tax structure encourages business owners to PULL OUT their profits since the top marginal tax rate was so low. The net effect of this short-term decision is bad for the long-term health of the business as the usual investments in infrastructure and employee hiring/developm ent don't occur. If the top marginal tax rate were higher, business owners would do better to reinvest in their businesses since business expenses (salaries, capital improvements, etc.) are 100% tax deductible [any CPAs who read this, PLEASE correct me if I misunderstand tax law]. Thus, by lowering the tax rate the net effect is weakening of businesses... thus, raising taxes would HELP businesses, even if the IRS didn't collect an extra dollar.

And, yes, raising the top marginal tax rate would encourage people to donate to charity, i.e., invest in the communities.

IMHO, the lowering of the highest marginal tax rates undermines businesses and it undermines communities... it undermines America!
 
 
+2 # freeportguy 2011-12-13 23:32
Absolutely! There needs to be INCENTIVES to NOT sit on your money!
 
 
+27 # Klanders 2011-12-13 10:49
Totally agree with Mr. Reich!!! Once again he has succinctly boiled down the issue to the basics. Thanks
 
 
+21 # bugbuster 2011-12-13 11:07
It is refreshing to hear of these obfuscaters speaking simple truths, even if they don't mean it.
 
 
+32 # Bill Clements 2011-12-13 11:38
All kidding aside, this is just Republican one-upmanship; neither of these two candidates have any intention of giving back the money they've "earned." What's laughable is that they both seem to be capable of employing a moral compass on the other guy and are happy to do so if it advances their own position. But does anyone seriously think that they would employ that same compass on their own actions?

Bottomline: this is just the same old mud-slinging that politicians competing against each other feel compelled to do in order to gain an advantage. Neither one of these candidates have had nor are likely to have a moral epiphany in the future.
 
 
+4 # economicminor 2011-12-13 12:10
It really is a sad state of affairs. The only candidate the Republicans have that isn't morally corrupted is Ron Paul and they don't want him. What does that say about their ethics.

I just wish there was any candidate I could vote for. I voted for Obama on his hope and promises but he has totally disappointed me. He started of wrong putting Geithner is as Treasury Sec. And Holder appears to be just that, only a holder of a spot and not guts or ?? integrity or moral compass?
 
 
+9 # Todd Williams 2011-12-13 15:58
Is that the same Ron Paul who said something about letting a sick person die because of lack of insurance. Naw, I must be thinking of some other Ron Paul. Ron or Rand, you get the same deal with either. Both are pigs!
 
 
+6 # jwb110 2011-12-13 12:23
Sort of a pot calling a kettle black, isn't it?
 
 
+6 # amye 2011-12-13 12:29
They are all doublespeak criminals!! We are in Orwellian times! Big brother in the form of the Cloud will make government spying easier than ever!
 
 
+6 # hwatt 2011-12-13 12:33
Put it on Fox- the Mitt and Newt Show- No Point, No Counter-Point- like playground kids doing "Yer mamma is so..." jokes. Back and forth.
The Donald could moderate.
It would be a winner.
 
 
+8 # wolflady52 2011-12-13 13:08
Comparing "greedmanship" is really a sad commentary on what the GOP is all about.
 
 
+10 # Feral Dogz 2011-12-13 13:08
Looks like Newt and Willard are grasping at some 99% OWS coat tails. Yuh gotta laugh at these clowns.
 
 
+8 # wolflady52 2011-12-13 14:00
Quoting Feral Dogz:
Looks like Newt and Willard are grasping at some 99% OWS coat tails. Yuh gotta laugh at these clowns.

Yes....I say red noses on all the candidates at the next debate. Sort of puts it all in visual context.
 
 
+3 # Todd Williams 2011-12-13 16:00
Emmet Kelly would be rolling in his grave! Stop it now, I really loved Bozo!
 
 
+6 # pernsey 2011-12-13 14:34
Its laughable, two scumbags calling each other out on Fox news, maybe its really a reality show no one is aware of? LOL...maybe we can learn alot about how things really work listening to these 2 trying to one up each other? You Newt will get down and dirty if confronted, and Mitt well hes in the thick of it too.

GOP stands for Greedy One Percent!

NEVER EVER VOTE REPUBLICAN!!
 
 
+4 # reiverpacific 2011-12-13 14:49
If I could stand to watch the normal drivel-served-u p-as-news-and-d ebate on "Fix" without getting really depressed, it might be entertaining but I'd rather watch my bread proving on a rack -at least there's some content.
You know that one about "Ocean-Front Property in Oklahoma"----?? ? Maybe we could get a discussion going on that -they'll be on one of the shopping channels next!
 
 
+5 # DPM 2011-12-13 15:20
It only proves that they know EXACTLY what they are doing and that it is ethically, if not legally, WRONG!
 
 
+7 # seeuingoa 2011-12-13 17:03
Humanity is lost.
As long as the gene of greed is
more pronounced than the gene of compassion, we will be a lost species.

Sorry! I know I will get a lot of thumbs
down! but you can´t hide the reality
and truth!

I, of all, wish this were not the truth.
 

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