Hat Tip: BB
By: Benjamin Weingarten
Massachusetts political roots aside, you might think that the comparison of Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former governor and failed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is absurd.
Warren, the progressive populist who in both rhetoric and regulation has sought to shackle “predatory” financial institutions as a means of supposedly protecting “the little guy,” and Romney, the patrician and wealthy denizen of the financial establishment of 47 percent infamy, would appear to be polar opposites.
Elizabeth Warren delivers her famous “You didn’t build that” speech.
(Image Source: YouTube screengrab)
But alas, as is so often is the case in politics, Warren’s public face is contradicted by her private actions – actions that we will soon see are similar in nature to those that made Romney a millionaire.
Warren, like Romney, profited by buying assets at low prices and through either improving said assets or waiting for the market to strengthen, selling them at higher prices.
As Jillian Kay Melchior and Eliana Johnson lay out in a recent National Review exposé, Warren “bought and sold at least five [residential] properties for profit,” generating at least $240,500 before accounting for remodeling costs.
Several of the homes Warren purchased and then flipped had been foreclosed upon.
The focus of the piece is the rank hypocrisy that Warren would execute such profit-seeking transactions, given that she has called the idea of buying and selling properties quickly for profit a “myth” that contributed to our economic woes, and decried the banks that foreclosed on the homes of working class Americans.
Rightfully, the column closes with the following flourish:
In her 2014 autobiography, Warren wrote of the events that precipitated the financial crisis that “everyone seemed to have a story about someone they knew who was getting rich by flipping houses.”
She omitted a crucial one.
But it ought to be pointed out that not only were Warren’s actions counter to her stated principles – they mimicked those of the private equity companies and other financial institutions that she has spent her entire public life railing against.
What private equity professionals like Mitt Romney, and investors in general seek to do is “buy low and sell high.”
Firms like Romney’s Bain Capital scour the market for businesses they believe are undervalued and/or have significant growth potential. They seek to buy these businesses at a low price, and grow them while making them more profitable and efficient by cutting costs, closing non-core operations while strengthening core ones and implementing new and improved strategies and practices to better their business models.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
By improving the companies in which they invest, the end goal is to sell them for many times the price at which they were bought.
What Romney did at the macro level in investing in businesses worth hundreds of millions or billions of dollars, Warren did at the micro level in investing in homes worth thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The difference however is that Romney’s investing in many cases led to the creation of ever-better goods and services at ever-lower prices, with the benefits accruing to not only Romney, Bain’s investors, and the employees of the strengthened companies, but all consumers – that is, you and me.
Certainly Warren’s investments in home remodeling may have created work for construction companies and home suppliers, but those benefits pale in size and scope to the benefits to the public of successful private equity investments.
Too, many progressives are queasy about the idea of gentrification, which they argue prices poorer people out of their neighborhoods, replacing them with the more “privileged,” all supposedly to the detriment of the character of said communities. Warren supported this process by improving several of the homes she purchased that had been in disrepair, and selling them at a significant premium.
No one should begrudge Elizabeth Warren for her apparent investing acumen.
And one suspects that no one on the left will begrudge her for her home-flipping hypocrisy, given that the truly ill-gotten riches of the Clintons who partnered with all manner of tinpot dictators and civil rights squelchers do not seem to offend the left’s sensibilities.
But all should recognize that the very business for which Romney was castigated by large swaths of the public is in essence the same business in which Warren was an active participant, only at a smaller scale and with far more modest benefits.
This is not an indictment, but a compliment, even if Warren herself would not like to hear it.
More broadly, we should be celebrating those who create wealth, and crucifying those who destroy it — namely government bureaucrats whose resources only exist because they bilk the individuals and businesses that did build that.
Just so you can keep ’em all straight. Summarized and sanitized for your protection!
• New Hillary Emails Confirm She Received Classified Info on Private Email
• Hillary Was Pushing For Tax Breaks To Benefit Clinton Library Donors
• Clinton Foundation Had $26M In Contributions It ‘Forgot’ To Disclose
• Stop me if you’ve heard this one; Hillary took money from more companies seeking influence
• ‘Clinton Cash’ author: George Stephanopoulos guilty of ‘hidden-hand journalism’
• ‘Clinton Cash’ Author Reveals Other Ties Stephanopoulos DIDN’T Admit or Apologize For
• ABC, Stephanopoulos Clinton Foundation Hypocrisy Staggering
• Hillary Clinton personally took money from companies that sought to influence her
• Clintons Earned $30 Million in 16 Months, Report Shows
• Former Obama CIA Chief: Hillary’s Emails Compromised By Our Enemies
• Guess Who Delayed Response to Stephanopoulos Scoop So Politico Could Publish First?
• Clinton Foundation donors include dozens of media organizations, individuals
• Stephanopoulos Another Example Of Revolving Door Journalism
• Why Did a Nigerian Company Pay Bill Clinton $1.4MM for 2 Speeches?
• Clinton Crime Fund Reportedly Took Funds From Human Rights Violators
• Four Clinton Foundation Trustees Charged Or Convicted Of Financial Crimes
• The Clintons, a luxury jet and their $100 million donor from Canada
• Hillary Opposed Sending Nuke Tech to India… Until Huge Donations Flowed In
• Benghazi Committee Gets Some Subpoeaned Docs from State Dept.–Two Years Later
• Benghazi Committee Gets Some Subpoeaned Docs from State Dept.–Two Years Later
• Clinton Foundation spent more on office supplies than on charity gifts in 2013
• 181 Clinton Foundation donors who lobbied Hillary’s State Department
• The Fall of the House of Clinton
• Hillary’s Day of Wrath
• Clinton Foundation distributed useless drugs to AIDS patients
• For the Clinton Defense
• ABC & This Week With George Stephanopoulos owe their viewers an Apology
• Who is really drawing out the Benghazi investigation?
• ‘Hillary Thinks She Is Bigger Than God’
• Hillary now raising funds off of … evidence of her corrupt fundraising
• Muslim Brotherhood Payrolled By Clinton Foundation
• How long can this train wreck continue?
• Bill Clinton sold us to the ChiComs; Hillary sold us to the Russians
• White House Refuses to Comment on Shady Deal Hillary Made With Russia
• Many Clinton charity donors got State Dept. awards under Hillary
• Clintons Lied on Tax Forms, Claiming No Foreign Money to Foundation
• Oops: Clinton Foundation Re-Filing Five Years of Tax Returns Over ‘Errors’ •
• State Dept. Documents Reveal Concern about Bill Clinton’s Activities with ‘Saudi Entities’
• Did Clinton’s Backdoor Adviser Illegally Lobby for Putin Ally?
• The long, complicated story of Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi subpoena
• Obstruction of Justice – A Must For Hillary
• The Latest Bombshell from Mrs. Clinton’s Lawyer
• Clintons Received Money from ‘Front for the Government of Iran’
• Did Hillary Run Her Own Intelligence Operation?
• Lawsuit: Clintons are guilty of racketeering, influence peddling
• Business dealings of Hillary Clinton’s brother raise new questions
• Trey Gowdy: House may go to court to get Clinton email server
• On Benghazi, a timeline of State Department obstruction
• Hillary Clinton Lies… A Lot
• Clinton camp issues clarification on deleted emails, claims ‘every’ message was reviewed
• The Hillary Email Scandal: Who Profits?
• The Mendacious, Charmless, Painfully Mediocre And Unelectable Hillary Clinton
• Hillary’s Train Wreck Press Conference: Spin, Lies and Unanswered Questions
• Carefully scripted Hillary knocked out of comfort zone
• Internet Catches Hillary in Three Provable Email Falsehoods
• Hillary emerges from behind stonewall for tightly controlled press conference
• Mystery location of Clinton email server seen as ‘matter of national security’
• Hillary Tries To Quell Email Controversy, But Only Creates More Questions
• Trey Gowdy: Hillary’s Server Or Hillary’s Testimony
• Hillary’s brother got the gold mine, Haiti got the shaft
• ‘It will be a crime if she knowingly withholds documents pursuant to subpoena’
• Clinton e-mail scandal disqualifies her for president
• Hillary Clinton’s Possibly Fatal Email Mistake
• Cheryl Mills, Hillary Clinton: What We Musn’t Forget About Benghazi
• New FOIAs Probe Clinton Secret Email System, Lawsuits May Follow In 20 Days
• White House: Hillary And Obama Did Email Each Other
• Why Would Foreign Governments’ Donations to the Clinton Foundation Not Count as Bribes?
• Wealthy at Scandal-Plagued HSBC Have Donated/Bribed $81 Million to Hillary’s Bribery Storefront
• Hillary fired US Ambassador to Kenya for using personal email account
• Server, Serve Her: Clinton Crumbling
• Hillary Clinton Still Doesn’t Get It
• Hillary’s Brother Gets Exclusive Mining Permit from Haiti After Taxpayers Sent Country Billions
• Emailgate May Be the Final Scandal to Sink Hillary Clinton
• Hacker Reveals Contents from Hillary’s Private E-Mails and Shows Who She Was Talking To
• Bigger Question: Did Hillary use unsecured email for Classified Info?
• Hillary Clinton leaked e-mail story to New York Times before tweet
• MSNBC: Hillary Personal Email Use at State ‘Staggering’, ‘Shocking’ and ‘Ridiculous’
By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
The New York Times is at it again. In a front page story in Tuesday’s print edition, the Times is dishonestly pushing an argument that they hope will result in a favorable Supreme Court decision for President Obama’s so called Affordable Care Act. The mantra repeated over and over again is this: those four words in the Obamacare law—“established by the state”—were actually an accident, a drafting error. And those words, according to the Times and all of the sources they chose to comment on it for the article, are being misinterpreted by some who want to, shall we say, “degrade and defeat” the law.
The plain language of the law is that subsidies were only meant for those who purchase their plans through exchanges set up by the individual states. But that’s not what the Times and their sources want you to believe. Even if the Times were to admit that is the plain meaning based on the language in the law, their argument is that it still wasn’t the intent of the lawmakers and staffers who composed and approved of the legislation.
So now comes the Times, a month before the Supreme Court is planning to announce its decision, with a front-page article that is dishonest on many levels. If you are doing a news story, as opposed to a not-so-carefully disguised editorial, you would seek opposing points of view. In reading this article, you find that there is not one person among those interviewed who even knew that there was an issue regarding subsidies as they related to state exchanges versus the federal exchange.
First, the Times posed the questions: “Who wrote [those four words], and why? Were they really intended, as the plaintiffs in King v. Burwell claim, to make the tax subsidies in the law available only in states that established their own health insurance marketplaces, and not in the three dozen states with federal exchanges?”
Then it states: “The answer, from interviews with more than two dozen Democrats and Republicans involved in writing the law, is that the words were a product of shifting politics and a sloppy merging of different versions. Some described the words as ‘inadvertent,’ ‘inartful’ or ‘a drafting error.’ But none supported the contention of the plaintiffs, who are from Virginia.”
If this were a real news story, and not a front-page editorial disguised as a news article, these reporters would have sought out the opinion of people who disagree with those “more than two dozen Democrats and Republicans involved in writing the law.”
I cited the evidence in a column last March when the King v. Burwell case was being argued, and the same narrative was being pushed at that time by the Times and other liberal news organizations. I linked to a National Public Radio (NPR) article that had actually practiced journalism by talking to one of the plaintiff’s lawyers in this case; he pointed out that regarding this supposed drafting error, “those words are in the bill 11 times.”
I also cited an article published in Politico, two months before the bill passed in 2010, that cited then-Senator Ben Nelson’s opposition to a federal exchange: “Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) said Monday that he would oppose any health care reform bill with a national insurance exchange, which he described as a dealbreaker.” If that isn’t clear enough, Politico added this: “Nelson could have deprived House Democrats from securing what they have increasingly viewed as a must-have—a national exchange rather than a series of state exchanges.”
My column cited an American Spectator piece that details Nelson’s position on this issue. And then there’s Jonathan Gruber. As I wrote at the time: “And don’t forget Jonathan Gruber. He was one of the architects of Obamacare, and a close adviser to President Obama. He received millions of taxpayer dollars, from various states and the federal government. Gruber is the person who said that passing Obamacare depended ‘on the stupidity of the American voter,’ and that it was ‘written in a tortured way’ in order to deceive the voters about all the taxes they would have to pay. Regarding the subsidies being paid only to state exchanges, Gruber said that was ‘to squeeze the states to do it [to set up exchanges].’”
So there you have it. After reading what Gruber said, what Politico wrote months before the bill became law, how NPR reported it, and what Sen. Nelson told Greta Van Susteren, it becomes clear that the Times is editorializing, and not reporting, in a front-page story intended to influence a Supreme Court decision.
I suppose it’s possible to read the Times article, and read the evidence cited in my article, and conclude that the Times is telling the truth, and respecting its readers’ ability to hear two sides of this story and decide for themselves. On the other hand, maybe not.
Trevor Loudon will be speaking to the Gresham Tea Party at the Mojave Grill on 77NE 4th Street, Gresham Oregon, Friday, May 29th, at 6:30 pm.
All welcome. See you there!!