Krauthammer’s Take

by NRO Staff

From Wednesday’s Special Report All-Star Panel Appearance

On the recent disclosure that New Gingrich received $1.6 million to $1.8 million in consulting fees from Freddie Mac:

Well, of course now that he has run to front of the pack he is going to get the scrutiny. I don’t think it’s the media ganging up on him. It’s what happens when anybody becomes the front-runner.

I think it’s best because there are issues that most of us never heard of. And, as a Republican, conservative, you want it to come out now and see how they handle it, rather than being surprised, if he wins nomination and has this be used by the Democrats in the general election.

So I think it’s damaging. I’m not sure how damaging it is, but let’s remember, when he was asked about this in the debate, he said: Well, I was there as a historian. And said (of what Freddie Mac was doing): This is insane and impossible.

It turns out if that is what he said, he must have said it over and over again, because he got $25,000 a month for three years at one point and then two years later. If you wanted to deliver a message [that] it’s a bubble, you can do it in a minute, an hour, a day. But every month for five years?

So obviously he was involved in other stuff. And now he says: Yes, I was a consultant. Yes, I was showing them how to expand housing, which is always a good idea.

Then he says it wasn’t always as a historian. I am a Republican and I was speaker. That’s of course what it’s about. These rackets, Fannie and Freddie, were essentially Democratic rackets. Republicans were opposing it in Congress, trying to regulate it and to rein it in. And the people that ran agencies wanted Republicans on their side of the aisle to defend it or at least be visible as people who were associated with Fannie and Freddie. So I think it [his role] wasn’t only as a historian.

On the uproar over Fannie Mac and Freddie Mac executives receiving bonuses totaling $35 million over the last two years:

I can’t join the outrage and I can’t join the mob, even though I enjoy a mob as much as anybody.

These people — if they were paid on the federal scale — they would be getting about a tenth of what people in the private sector are getting. These people are not the ones who brought down the agencies. And these people are not the ones who decided it would be us, the American people, who would own these collapsed agencies that hold $5 trillion in loans.

If you hold all of that, you want the best people who are going to try to unwind it, while at the same time issuing huge numbers of news loans.

If these people aren’t doing a good job, fire them. But then hire people at the same pay scale, at the same level of skill as people in the private sector. After all, there is a huge amount of money which is ours, the American people’s, at stake, and you want the best people. It makes no sense to me to want to hire people who are mediocre . . . which is what you are going to get if you impose a low pay scale.

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