Jul 25 2015

Good Politicians

An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought.

Simon Cameron

I like Simon, he has loyalty.

His corruption was so notorious that a Pennsylvania congressman, Thaddeus Stevens, when discussing Cameron’s honesty with Lincoln, told Lincoln that “I don’t think that he would steal a red hot stove.”When Cameron demanded Stevens retract this statement, Stevens told Lincoln “I believe I told you he would not steal a red-hot stove. I will now take that back.”

Banks revolt over plan to kill $17B Fed payout

By Peter Schroeder, The Hill

07/25/15 12:25 PM EDT

When banks join the Federal Reserve system, they are required to buy stock in the central bank equal to 6 percent of their assets. However, that stock does not gain value and cannot be traded or sold, so to entice banks to participate, the Fed pays out a 6 percent dividend payment.

The Senate proposal says it would slash that “overly generous” payout to 1.5 percent for all banks with more than $1 billion in assets. While the summary language outlining the proposal said that change would only impact “large banks,” industry advocates argued that banks most would identify as small community shops could easily have assets in excess of that amount.

While banking advocates make the policy argument, they also acknowledge they are facing a hard political reality – $17 billion is hard for members to pass up to help cover costs in a must-pass bill.

“It’s difficult to have a policy discussion when people are looking for a pay for,” said Ballentine. “That’s the issue we’ve been running into.”

The Senate bill is facing an uphill climb towards enactment, as House leaders from both parties have pushed the Senate to instead take up its short-term extension of highway funding and continue working on a longer-term proposal. But now that the Fed dividend has been identified as a way to raise billions of dollars, the industry now will be on high alert for it pop up elsewhere, when lawmakers are looking for a way to cover the costs of their preferred policies.

“That’s a genuine concern,” said Merski. “We’re going to remain actively opposed to this in any form.”

“Pay fors, they never die,” agreed Ballentine. “Perhaps we can take some of the spotlight off of this provision, which we think has served a good purpose.”


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