Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

November 10, 2012

Public Eye - Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012

By Scott Smith and Ken de la Bastide
KOKOMO TRIBUNE

A couple bailout facts

We give credit to an alert reader this week, who questioned one of our stories on Congressman Todd Rokita’s opposition to the auto bailouts.

In the story, we said taxpayers lost money on the auto bailouts. Our reader challenged that, saying it was his understanding that “ultimately, the bailout didn’t cost them a dime and even received interest on the loan and it was a win for everyone!”

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The government still holds a stake in GM, which currently amounts to an unrealized loss of about $27 billion. That’s why everyone should be rooting for GM’s stock to increase (and thereby improve the government’s position).

As for Chrysler, the government no longer owns any of the company. But the government also sold its shares to Fiat for less than what taxpayers invested, resulting in a $1.3 billion loss.

All of this information comes from the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism research group ProPublica, and is rock solid. For anyone interested in the bailouts and what they cost, projects.propublica.org/bailout/list is the best resource out there.

According to ProPublica, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act and the separate bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have resulted in a net $169.7 billion loss for taxpayers to date.

That figure changes, because companies are still repaying money and the government still owns a stake in some companies. Theoretically, the government might recoup its investment in GM (experts say it’s a longshot) while the Chrysler loss is already on the books.

Time to rethink it?

Remember back when Mitt Romney thought his toughest opponent was going to be Texas Gov. Rick Perry? Well, apparently a lot of Hispanic voters remember.

They also remember the main tactic Romney used to beat Perry — making Perry appear soft on immigration. Thursday in the online politics magazine The Hill, columnist Christian Heinze posited that the seeds of Romney’s defeat were sown when he pilloried Perry over Perry’s support for the DREAM Act.

Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer said the same thing, telling Fox News “Romney made a huge tactical error when he went to the right of Rick Perry during the primaries and took a fairly extreme position on immigration that he could not retreat from.”

Exit polls estimated Romney won about 27 percent of the Hispanic vote nationwide, Heinze noted. In 2008, John McCain won about 31 percent of the Hispanic vote. And in 2008, Hispanics comprised about 9 percent of the voting public. Today, that figure is 10 percent.

Not my fault

In his concession speech Tuesday, Richard Mourdock said that the main thing he will remember, through the weeks, months and years ahead, is that “I was attacked for standing for my principles.”

That statement drew a 30-second burst of sustained applause from his supporters.

Political pundits will remember that Mourdock and his opponent, Joe Donnelly, were deadlocked heading toward the general election until Mourdock made the following statement, during a televised gubernatorial debate: “I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, it’s something that God intended to happen.”

Mourdock later said he apologized “if in any way, people came away with the wrong meaning.” He also made it clear he stood by his words.

“For speaking from my heart, for speaking from the deepest level of my faith, I cannot apologize,” he said.

From his concession speech, it would appear Mourdock doesn’t think he bears any responsibility for the loss. We wonder if Republican leaders feel the same way.