Bank bailouts deserve attention

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ Columnist

No witty intro necessary. Here are three matters I don’t think are getting enough attention:

– Hillary Clinton has very little chance of winning this Democratic nomination. Her own people have given the former First Lady less than a 10 percent chance of getting the 2,024 delegates needed.

By CNN’s estimates, Clinton has 1,485 delegates, and front-runner Barack Obama has 1,622. There are 922 delegates left to be won, and Clinton needs to get 539 of them against a candidate that has so far won the popular vote and is outraising her in campaign funds.

Clinton has two ways she can win this. First, she can hope she’s somehow in it when the convention comes around this summer, and she convinces the superdelegates to overturn the popular vote and give her the nomination. Second, she can hope some scandal out of nowhere takes Obama down, and the way he handled the fallout from his former pastor shows that’s not likely.

The reason the media won’t cover it this way is because they’re more interested in the “horse race,” the “civil war” between Democrats, than they are in actually getting down to the very likely McCain-Obama race that would unfold.

– Remember when the Democrats were trying to increase the State Children’s Health Insurance Program by $35 billion? Ah, the cries of a slippy slope into socialism. When families went public to talk about how S-CHIP helped their kids, partisan Internet users tripped over themselves finding every “luxury” item these families owned in lieu of insurance plans. The argument was these families should rely on their own finances, not the government, to deal with the costs of children they brought into this world.

Now, we get news that the federal bank just floated $30 billion – almost the same amount – to commercial banks that are in trouble due to customers defaulting on risky sub-prime loans.

I agree with many pundits that people who entered into sub-prime loans knew the risks and don’t deserve government bailouts. Neither do banks. Last I checked, a bank isn’t legally required to give a sub-prime loan, so banks entered into these risky agreements in an attempt to make money. Now that those risks aren’t paying off, it’s only fair that we take a look at how these banks spent their money before the federal government hands over billions. Banks should rely on their own finances, not the government, to deal with the fallout for loans they created.

– Let’s close it out with New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. He has been considering intervening in an Albuquerque judge’s decision to sentence Elton John Richard II to two years in jail for voluntary manslaughter. Richard was sentenced for the Dec. 30, 2004, shooting of Daniel Romero, who was attempting to steal Richard’s vehicle. Richard chased Romero to Paseo del Norte, a quarter-mile from his home, and fatally shot him.

While Richard could have received six years, he received two because he had no criminal record and served his country honorably in Operation Iraqi Freedom. That’s the rationale for commuting his sentence, plus the notion that Richard was protecting his family.

I’m all for supporting troops, but I see no logical extension to commuting sentences for crimes a jury saw fit to convict and a judge saw fit to sentence. They did not see a veteran acting in defense of his family, because Richard took away that scenario when he left his family behind and chased Romero more than four football fields before shooting him.

If an appeal shows this evidence isn’t as the prosecution presented it, that’s one thing. But if that’s how it happened, Richardson has other injustices to remedy – like why people care more about his beards and endorsements than they did about his presidential candidacy.

Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Freedom New Mexico. He can be contacted at 763-3431, ext. 313, or by e-mail: