- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 25, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Nobles: Security guards Ken Palmatier and Derrik Murphy, who heroically rescued eight people from a burning apartment building in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. On Tuesday night, Mr. Palmatier and Mr. Murphy had ended their shifts as security guards at a local hospital, and noticed that a nearby apartment building was on fire. The men rushed into the building, where they could hear the sounds of exploding pipes and bursting windows. Despite the obvious danger, they went into the house twice, pulling sleeping children from their beds and practically dragging an elderly man out of his bedroom. “We had to kind of, like, kick him out,” Mr. Palmatier told the Poughkeepsie Journal. “He wanted to get dressed and look for some personal items.” Many of the people appeared to be in shock as the two men shuttled them out of the burning building.

For their life-saving heroism, Ken Palmatier and Derrik Murphy are the Nobles of the Week.

Knave: Some large American corporations that received billions in taxpayer bailout dollars by claiming that they didn’t have money to lend to consumers, while simultaneously spending millions of dollars to lobby the federal government. Jennifer Haberkorn of The Washington Times reported on Friday that 18 of the top 20 recipients of funds from the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), the formal name of the $700 billion federal bailout plan enacted in October, lobbied the federal government during the fourth quarter of 2008.

For example, Citigroup Inc., which received $45 billion in TARP funds (making it the number one recipient of taxpayer assistance under TARP), spent $1.28 million lobbying the federal government during the fourth quarter. General Motors Corp., which received $10.4 billion, spent more than $3.3 million lobbying during the same period. Chrysler Holding LLC, which received $4 billion, spent more than $1.176 million on lobbying the federal government. GMAC LLC took $5 billion from taxpayers and spent $1.54 million lobbying; American Express Co. took $3.4 billion and spent more than $1 million in lobbying the federal government. To be sure, we understand that people do not forfeit all of their First Amendment rights because they receive money from the government. But the First Amendment goes both ways: It is objectionable to compel taxpayers to subsidize lobbying activities that they find repugnant: such as use of their money, which is fungible, by corporate-welfare recipients to lobby them for more corporate welfare. And the problem is compounded by the fact that the firms spending the government largesse on lobbying say they are unable to make loans to consumers. For in effect using taxpayer dollars to lobby for more public largesse, the 18 TARP recipients are Knaves of the week.

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