Thursday, June 11, 2020

Dereliction Of Duty

It's a failure of leadership.

Federal officials responsible for spending $660 billion in taxpayer-backed small-business assistance said Wednesday that they will not disclose amounts or recipients of subsidized loans, backtracking on an earlier commitment to release individual loan data.

The Small Business Administration has previously released detailed loan information dating to 1991 for the federal 7(a) program, a long-standing small-business loan program on which the larger Paycheck Protection Program is based.

The SBA initially intended to publish similar information for the new coronavirus-related loans. An SBA spokesman told The Washington Post in an April 16 email that the agency “intend[s] to post individual loan data in accordance with the information presently on the website after the loan process has been completed,” and it made a similar commitment in response to an April 17 open records request.

But the administration appeared to change course at a hearing Wednesday before the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza declined to discuss specific borrowers.

“As it relates to the names and amounts of specific PPP loans, we believe that that’s proprietary information, and in many cases for sole proprietors and small businesses, it is confidential information,” Mnuchin said in the hearing. “The reason why we’re not disclosing the names and amounts, unlike in the 7(a) program, is because of that issue.”

Obviously, the congressional arm of the Trump Party wouldn't want transparency. House Democrats, under the leadership of Nancy Pelosi, maybe should not have helped craft a bill- approved by unanimous consent- which left details to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. The man who in 2017 said of Donald Trump "he's got perfect genes" and who before entering government was widely known as the "Foreclosure King" has now double-crossed Democrats.

Shocking, I tell you! But it doesn't end there.  David Dayen explains that the Congressional Oversight Commission is not fully staffed, has no chairperson, has held no meetings, and is dependent upon the good intentions of the Senate Majority Leader. House leadership

designed a process that relied on cooperation from Mitch McConnell after an entire term in Congress marked by his lack of cooperation. The oversight provisions were a talking point, a useless chimera attached to a giveaway to the capital class and the largest corporations in America. It’s hard not to conclude that there was no desire to scrutinize the bailout, that it was easier and preferred for the Treasury and the Fed to accomplish their handouts in the dark.

Little attention will be given to that failure as Nancy Pelosi can spot an issue no Democrat can (publicly) disagree with. On Wednesday she

called for the removal of statues of Confederate soldiers and officials from the U.S. Capitol as reignited conversations about the nation's treatment of racial minorities have once again brought the monuments' history into question.

In an open letter to the Joint Committee on the Library, Pelosi asked Congress to "lead by example" and remove 11 Confederate statues from the Capitol.

It now has been over 17 months and over 520 days since Nancy Pelosi has regained the Speaker's gavel. And she has finally figured out that Confederate statues must not be inside or outside the United States Capitol. Finally

"The statues in the Capitol should embody our highest ideals as Americans, expressing who we are and who we aspire to be as a nation. Monuments to men who advocated cruelty and barbarism to achieve such a plainly racist end are a grotesque affront to these ideals. Their statues pay homage to hate, not heritage. They must be removed," Pelosi wrote in the letter addressed to committee Chair Roy Blunt and Vice Chair Zoe Lofgren.

It shouldn't be necessary to recognize the statues as monuments to cruelty and barbarism or racism and hate.  Most of all, they are monuments to treason.  These folks were civilian or military leaders of the Confederate States of America which, Pelosi might notice, is not the same as the "United States of America."

They were traitors. That isn't really difficult to understand. But Pelosi was content to allow them to stand until the groundswell of opposition to racially discriminatory policing threatened to gravitate to opposition to all manner of racial discrimination, misinterpreted as "racism."

Presumably, most of these Confederate leaders were partially motivated by racial bias. However, the motivation invariably varied at least in part from one to the other and they all had one thing in common: treason. Insofar as their attitudes were manifested in discriminatory private and/or public behavior, they should be dishonored.  However, we know only for certain that they participated in armed rebellion against the United States of America.

That should have been enough to take them off the grounds of the Capitol. Similarly, congressional Democrats already had more than three years of dealing with Steve Mnuchin, Donald Trump, and Mitch McConnell.  Whether fooled or a willing participant in the flim-flam of coronavirus relief, Speaker Pelosi has failed to provide critical leadership.

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