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Cross-posted in The Wizard of Laws
Our governor, whom we affectionately refer to in these pages as Tinkerbell, is no orator. Her speeches sound like they were written for mediocre high school oratory contests, and they are delivered with all the gravitas of a cheerleader. The phrase "a mile wide and an inch deep" comes to mind when I hear her speak, but her speeches -- scripted and controlled -- show the governor at her best (which is none too good).
When she is off-script, however, watch out. You just never know what might come out of Tink's mouth. Like the other day, during a factory tour in Grandville, when she said that the delay in the Chrysler bankruptcy proceedings (due to a stay issued by the U.S. Supreme Court) was caused by "some greedy lawyers." (The stay has since been lifted and the Chrysler bankruptcy is humming along, shedding assets, jobs, and the future of the U.S. auto industry).
Tink did not identify the "greedy lawyers" by name, but presumably she meant the lawyers representing the Indiana State Police Pension Trust, the Indiana State Teachers Retirement Fund, and the Indiana Major Moves Construction Fund, who requested the stay in the first place.
Let's take a closer look at the greedy lawyers and their clients.
The police and teacher pension funds manage retirement assets for approximately 100,000 Indiana civil servants, including police officers, school teachers, and their families.
The construction fund finances infrastructure construction projects. (Aren't these supposed to be the saviors of our economy under The One's stimulus package?)
Chrysler owes the pension funds alone $100 million, secured by a first lien on all of Chrysler's assets. This is part of a total "first lien" debt of $6.9 billion.
So, police officers and school teachers have been putting away money into a retirement fund, which in turn lent $100 million to Chrysler, in exchange for what amounts to a first mortgage on Chrysler property. So, what did that first lien, that mortgage, get the Indiana retirees? How does "virtually nothing" sound?
The Indiana funds will get about 28 cents on the dollar, while all of Chrysler's unsecured trade obligations will be paid, all warranty and dealer obligations will be paid, and $10 billion in unsecured claims against Chrysler's VEBA (the Voluntary Employee Benefit Association, a UAW-run health care trust) will be paid by giving the UAW a $4.6 billion promissory note and a 68 percent share of the reorganized Chrysler. Based on testimony at the bankruptcy court hearing, the UAW stock is worth about $24 billion. Wealth distribution, anyone?
The lawyers for the Indiana funds were looking out for their clients, police and teacher retirees. In doing so, they argued for the law and against the massive distortion of the bankruptcy code orchestrated by the federal government and financed by our tax dollars. The Chrysler bankruptcy has turned the law on its head and will have substantial repercussions for all manufacturing entities in the future, because the current administration treats contracts and the law as irrelevant obstructions to be overcome on the way to its apparent goal of eliminating private enterprise and the right to make a buck.
Not to mention the Indiana retirees, who have seen 72 million dollars go up in smoke, in a fire lit and stoked by the U.S. Treasury.
Perhaps Governor Tinkerbell, who has always fed at the public trough and has never had to worry about running a business (as demonstrated time and again by her wretched handling of our state government), considers lawyers trying to protect 72 million pension dollars to be "greedy," but in doing so she has turned on police, teachers, union members, and lawyers, all of whom have supported her in varying degrees over the years. See what happens when you don't have a script in front of you?
And where is the outrage from teachers, police, and lawyers? Do they just chalk it up to rhetoric, knowing that at crunch time Tink will carry the water? That she won't touch teacher health care in Michigan, that she won't fool with defined benefit pensions, that she will appoint judges of dubious quality in thinly veiled payoffs to the trial lawyers?
By using the phrase, "greedy lawyers," Tink pandered to the lowest elements of our society, among which, apparently, her heart lies. These are the groups that substitute slogans for political thought, and consider bumper stickers to be a form of literature.
If advocating zealously on behalf of my clients and arguing for the rule of law makes me a "greedy lawyer," then I am proud to be one. What does destroying Michigan's economy, causing tens of thousands of families to go on public assistance, and driving tens of thousands of people out of our state make you, Governor?
(10 comments) Comments >>
When you think about it, she's the only potential nominee who even makes sense.
The Ivory Tower reports this morning that Michigan's very own Governor Jennifer Granholm has landed smack dab on the Obama administration's short list of potential nominees to fill outgoing Justice David Souter's seat on the United States Supreme Court.
Never mind that Granholm has zero days total experience sitting on any judicial bench- she makes up for her relatively amateurish legal credentials with the sort of resume line item that seems to grab President Obama by the throat and refuses to let go.
What Jennifer Granholm has that every other member of that esteemed list lacks (we assume) is the kind of personal history that the President's other early-term appointments indicate he values the most... serious personal tax problems.
The Detroit Free Press reported that an $800 lien was "placed against the Wayne County home of Granholm and her husband in 2006 for failing to file unemployment insurance reports on their nanny."
But that was only the start of the Governor's difficulties with the tax man. Last year the Internal Revenue Service came calling on Jennifer Granholm in an attempt to collect nearly $20,000 in taxes she'd failed to pay on an inaugural committee, dating all the way back to 2003. To show they were serious they brought a nearly $20,000 tax lien with them.
The lien was necessary, according to Lansing's WILX, because Granholm had ignored at least four previous attempts by the IRS to collect the back taxes. In other words, she isn't just a tax cheat... she is a chronic tax cheater.
The Obama administration has been embarrassed nearly a half-dozen times in the last three months by revelations that their nominees to various high ranking positions had personal histories of tax avoidance.
Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius was the most recent nominee to be tarnished by a tax scandal after she was tabbed to work as the Secretary of Health and Human Resources, a position for which Governor Granholm was also considered. The Washington Times:
The seemingly ever-growing list of nominees with tax issues also includes:
A Granholm nomination would represent the sixth Obama selection with serious personal tax issues, a rate of about two per month.
Most Americans pay their taxes and they pay them on time. Most politicians pay their taxes and pay them on time. Most Democrats, too. To not only find but to nominate SIX individuals with personal histories of chronic tax avoidance... someone looking in from the outside could get the idea that President Obama is actively searching for them.
Tax cheats Sebelius, Daschle, Geithner, Solis, Killefer...and now, potentially Granholm. That's an impressive list of scofflaws-turned-nominees.
Moreno, Kagan, Napolitano, Sotomayor, Wood and Comey clearly have no chance at an Obama nomination... not with their sparkling records of good citizenship and on-time tax payment. They might as well throw in the towel. Well, throw in the towel or immediately refuse to pay heir taxes. Either way.
(8 comments) Comments >>
External FeedsMetro/State News RSS from The Detroit News
+ Craig: Cushingberry tried twice to elude police, was given preferential treatment
+ Detroit police arrest man suspected of burning women with blowtorch
+ Fouts rips video as 'scurrilous,' defends Chicago trip with secretary
+ Wind, winter weather hammer state from Mackinac Bridge to southeast Mich.
+ Detroit Cass Tech QB Campbell expected to be released from custody Friday
+ New water rates range from -16% to +14%; see change by community
+ Detroit's bankruptcy gets controversial turn in new Honda ad
+ Royal Oak Twp., Highland Park in financial emergency, review panels find
+ Grosse Ile Twp. leads list of Michigan's 10 safest cities
+ Wayne Co. sex crimes backlog grows after funding feud idles Internet Crime Unit
+ Judge upholds 41-60 year sentence of man guilty in Detroit firefighter's death
+ Detroit man robbed, shot in alley on west side
+ Fire at Detroit motel forces evacuation of guests
+ Survivors recount Syrian war toll at Bloomfield Hills event
+ Blacks slain in Michigan at 3rd-highest rate in US
Politics RSS from The Detroit News
+ Apologetic Agema admits errors but won't resign
+ Snyder: Reform 'dumb' rules to allow more immigrants to work in Detroit
+ GOP leaders shorten presidential nominating season
+ Dems: Another 12,600 Michiganians lose extended jobless benefits
+ Mike Huckabee's comments on birth control gift for Dems
+ Granholm to co-chair pro-Clinton PAC for president
+ Republican panel approves tougher penalties for unauthorized early primary states
+ Michigan seeks visas to lure immigrants to Detroit
+ Peters raises $1M-plus for third straight quarter in Senate bid
+ Bill would let lawyers opt out of Michigan state bar
+ Michigan lawmakers launch more bills against sex trade
+ Balanced budget amendment initiative gets a jumpstart
+ Feds subpoena Christie's campaign, GOP
+ Poll: At Obama's 5-year point, few see a turnaround
+ Obama to release 2015 budget March 4
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