June First, 2012: Congressman Henry Waxman was running for reelection in the new 33rd Congressional District, facing real competition for the first time in 38 years. CNN re-released a House Budget Committee hearing, with a tense exchange between Congressmen Henry Waxman and Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina. Congressman Henry Waxman made a fool of himself. Is Congressman Waxman a union supporter, a union stooge, or an opportunist who will take the side of whoever has the upper hand?
The exchange between them was both revealing and revolting (at least on Waxman's part):
Mulvaney: MR. WAXMAN, I'VE HEARD THE AUTO BAILOUTS MENTIONED SEVERAL TIMES. THEY WERE DESIGNED TO SOMEHOW STAVE AUTO INDUSTRY FROM BANKRUPTCY. OF COURSE YOU KNEW THAT CHRYSLER WENT BANKRUPT ANYWAY, RIGHT?
Waxman: I KNEW THAT --
Mulvaney: DID CHRYSLER GO BANKRUPT IN APRIL OF 2009?
Waxman: YES, THEY DID.
Mulvaney: DID GM GO BANKRUPT IN JUNE OF 2009?
Waxman: WELL, I DON'T KNOW. I'LL REFER THAT TO MR. RYAN.
"I don't know" -- one of Mr. Waxman's famous phrases.
Mulvaney: DID GM GO BANKRUPT AFTER THE AUTO BAILOUT?
Waxman: I DON'T KNOW.
Once again, Congressman Henry "I Don't Know -- I'm Sorry -- We're Not Broke" Waxman shows his true colors, an out-of-touch politician who supported massive subsidies to union-backed industries, yet does not acquaint himself with the basic facts of the bailouts.
Mulvaney: THEY DID. I CAN ASSURE YOU THEY DID. IT WAS THE SECOND LARGEST BANKRUPTCY IN THE HISTORY OF THE COUNTRY. I'M SURPRISED YOU DIDN'T HEAR ABOUT IT. ONLY ONE QUESTION.
Waxman attempts to defend himself, but the damage is done.
Mulvaney: I'LL ASK THE QUESTION, AND I APPRECIATE YOUR ANSWERS. WHEN -- WHEN CHRYSLER WENT BANKRUPT, IT DID SO IN AN EXTRAORDINARY
BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDING THAT DENIED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN A LONG TIME, IF NOT EVER, SECURED BONDHOLDERS OF THE RIGHTS TO WHICH THEY WERE ENTITLED. ONE OF THOSE SECURED BONDHOLDERS WAS THE INDIANA STATE TEACHERS RETIREMENT FUND. ANOTHER WAS THE INDIANA STATE POLICE PENSION FUND. TOGETHER THOSE TWO PENSION FUNDS OF PUBLIC EMPLOYEES -- TEACHERS AND POLICEMEN -- LOST SEVERAL MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF THEIR RETIREMENT MONEY. AND MY QUESTION TO YOU, IN SUPPORT OF THE AUTO BAILOUT, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO TELL THEM?
Secured bondholders cannot lose their investment, no matter what happens to the market or the economy. A legal statute from the early annals of common law, secured bondholders are supposed to get their funds, no matter what. Or do they?
Waxman: WELL, I'M NOT AN EXPERT IN THIS AREA, BUT I KNOW WHEN THE AIRLINE INDUSTRY GOES INTO BANKRUPTCY THEY TELL THEIR WORKERS YOU CAN'T CONTINUE THE PAY THAT YOU'VE ALREADY NEGOTIATED FROM US. THIS IS A WAY TO BREAK THE UNIONS AND TO TAKE AWAY BENEFITS FROM THEM. PEOPLE GET HURT. AND WHEN BUSINESSES GO BANKRUPT, THE STOCKHOLDERS GET HURT, THE BONDHOLDERS GET HURT, BUT IN THIS COUNTRY, THE CEOs ALL COME OUT ON TOP.
Congressman Waxman plays the "99%" card to justify his decision, yet one segment of "The 99%", public sector union employees in Indiana, lost millions of dollars to protect autoworkers in Michigan, an interest which supported President Obama. One theme of union power is "An injury one is an injury to all". Except of Obama supporters are in danger.
Mulvaney: MR. WAXMAN, DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SECURED BONDHOLDER AND A STOCK HOLDER?
Waxman: I DO.
Mulvaney: SO WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO TELL THE SECURED BOND HOLDERS, WHO WERE ENTITLED TO CERTAIN PROTECTIONS UNDER ORDINARY BANKRUPTCY LAW, WHO DIDN'T GET THEM IN THIS PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCE, AND SPECIFICALLY I'M SPEAKING OF THE RETIRED TEACHERS AND RETIRED POLICEMEN IN THE STATE OF INDIANA.
Waxman: TELL ME WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO TELL THE UNEMPLOYED AUTOWORKERS AND THE OIL INDUSTRIES IN THE MIDWEST THAT ARE DEPENDENT ON THEM IF WE LET THE AUTO INDUSTRY GO DOWN THE TUBES?
All of a sudden, Waxman champions the Oil industries. Five months prior, he wanted to subpoena the Koch Brothers because of their suspected interest in the XL Keystone Pipeline. For a legislator who cares more about the enviroment than about drilling for oil, why did Waxman suddenly stick up for Big Oil?
Mulvaney: I WILL ASK YOU AGAIN, MR. WAXMAN, DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE LEGAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SECURED BONDHOLDER, AN EMPLOYEE, A SECURED BONDHOLDER AND A SUPPLIER, OR A SECURED BONDHOLDER AND AN ORDINARY STOCK HOLDER?
Waxman: I DON'T WANT ANYBODY TO GET HURT. BUT THE FACT IS THAT PEOPLE DO GET HURT WHEN WE HAVE A MISMANAGEMENT OF THE ECONOMY SO THAT WE HAVE BANKS TAKING HUGE RISKS WITH OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY ON SECURITIES THAT DON'T MAKE SENSE AND THEN SLICE THEM AND DICE THEM AND SELL THEM ABROAD. AND THE WHOLE BUBBLE FELL. AND GOVERNMENT SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE TO STOP THAT FROM HAPPENING, AND GOVERNMENT WASN'T THERE.
President Obama has continued these same ruinous policies as President Bush, even hiring the former CEO of General Electric, who demanded a life line from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.
Mulvaney: AND INSTEAD WHAT GOVERNMENT WAS THERE TO DO, MR. CHAIRMAN, WAS TO STEAL MONEY FROM RETIRED TEACHERS AND POLICEMEN IN ORDER TO GIVE IT TO UNIONS. WITH THAT, I YIELD BACK THE BALANCE OF MY TIME. THANK YOU.
Congressman Waxman opposed Prop 32 because he supports union interests, yet from his own testimony, clearly some unions are "more equal" than others.
Henry Waxman: Union support, Union stooge, or just a stooge for the Obama Administration, and the joke is on the rest of us?