Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hating Wall Street.

There is a lot of hate over at the Huffington Post, but Arianna complains about President Obama's lack of leadership where Timothy Geithner is concerned. It seems Geithner is to be the scapegoat for the president for forcing Sen. Dodd (D-Pluto) to add the AIG bonuses to their bailout. There are 50 pages of comments at Huffington Post as I type this. One contributor actually hates Wall Street, and he refers to them as "Wall Street masters" and "idiots on the Street".

It seems there are many, many more with the same attitude at the Daily Kos, within the Democratic Party and around the country. In fact some nice folks learned (I wonder how) where some AIG executives lived, got on some buses and picketed their homes with signs shouting "Damn you AIG" (with dripping blood), "AIG Bailout CROOKS", "Money for the needy, not for the greedy!" and "Capitalism is organized crime". Hating Wall Street is very cool, so to speak.

The Obama/DNC/congressional/MSM/legacy media blame campaign seems to be working. The people are blaming and hating Wall Street executives for the hard times brought on by the US Congress and the presidents who enabled them. Democrats want voters to look elsewhere to blame our current troubles on, so they actively promote hating the achievers in America. They use class envy to encourage average Americans to despise achievement and they actively demonize anyone (read: Republicans) who support business. They do this even though they need corporate donors (see "Democrats Bid Business Adieu", WSJ) and the American people need them to provide jobs. Good old Barney Frank, sounding much like those McCarthy hearings in the 1950s, tops it off as he demands the names of the AIG executives who received bonuses (video).

We've known for years that the American left hates and fears anyone who is successful in business, professing that they must be cheating and stealing from "the little guys". Unless, of course, that rich guy funds their issues (think "I'm having a very good crisis" - George Soros). Then they simply fail to mention them.

Of course, Senator Chuck Schumer's had to get in on the act of scolding AIG,
If you don’t return it on your own, we will do it for you.
This hate serves at least two purposes:

1. It gives them an enemy to defeat that is not you and me so they (congress & the president) can swoop in and save us from the evil doers. They just need our vote and our money.
2. It allows them to divert blame from themselves (explained above). No one would elect a mouthy buffoon to congress or the presidency. Would they? Really, would they?

So, did congress enable the "crisis"? Some people think so.

Testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in Washington, Franklin Raines, former Fannie Mae Chief Executive Officer, blames housing and regulators for it.
It is remarkable that during the period that Fannie Mae substantially increased its exposure to credit risk its regulator made no visible effort to enforce any limits,” from "Raines Faults Regulators for Fannie, Freddie Missteps", Dec. 9, 08,
Fannie Mae Execs Daniel Mudd, and former Freddie Mac CEOs Richard Syron and Leland Brendsel testifies as well...
The executives said Congress pressured the companies to finance lower-income borrowers while regulators did little to curb the increasing risk that ultimately led to a government takeover that wiped out most shareholders and potentially saddles taxpayers with a $200 billion tab. James Lockhart, the companies’ regulator, said in September that exerting greater control over Fannie and Freddie was impeded by “their lobbying
Why would that happen? I believe the explanation is clear.

Congresspersons who received campaign contributions from these financial institutions, including then Senator Barack Obama ($110,332.00 from AIG) and Senate Banking committee Chair Christopher Dodd ($281,038.00 from AIG), blocked any attempts to tighten them up. When the mortgage payments stopped coming in, the house of cards toppled. Among federal candidates in the 2008 Cycle a total of $644,218 was donated from AIG. Around 70% went to Democrat candidates. Senator Schumer has received $111,875.00 from AIG as well. ( Over the past 20 years AIG has "has contributed more than $9 million to federal candidates and parties through PAC and individual contributions." ( Our representatives in congress also receive millions from the unions. Unions that were bailed out by them as well. President Bush doesn't get a pass either as he had received $200,000.00 from AIG.

So, what have they done to cause this recession? Democrats in congress have been pushing loans to people who barely could afford them and demonize anyone who would prevent those loans. (Republicans in congress do not want to be demonized as mean and hateful for opposing this lunacy, so they only make little squeaks about it from time to time.)

The congress and federal regulators made the rules that allowed the "securities derivatives” markets that allowed the "toxic assets" to be created.

For as far back as I can remember our American style politics, the Democratic Party has been the party of 'There is a problem for working Americans and we're going to fix it. Because we care Those Republicans don't care. They are mean'. This has always been followed by them either doing nothing, which allows them to use the same issues and crisis's to campaign on, or they do something, anything, and make it worse. In the area of housing, they used their third grade vision of what is "fair" and created the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) under Jimmy Carter in 1977. This, along with the rumored pressuring the FTC to back off sub-prime loans, and some choice regulations (most likely authored by lobbyists), is the underlying issue that caused our economic dilemma.

But really, should we blame Wall Street for acting in character? Or should we blame those who rely on feelings and self-serving rhetoric to further their own goals? The fact is that with very few exceptions, exceptions that end up in jail, Wall Street plays by the rules given to it by the US Congress and enforced through federal regulators.

Didn't Secretaries Paulson and Geithner, Presidents Bush and Obama, and the entire US Congress not recognize businessmen and business contracts when they decided to give them 700 Billion Hope Dollars? They knew who they were dealing with. They have been dealing with them for decades. And the Wall Street folks did what comes naturally: They made money, and lots of it. Then, they passed out bonuses. Translation:

The federal government did not bail out the banking system. Congress bailed out the people who run these companies.

When AIG received billions of Hope Dollars, they were able to honor their contracts. It's what business people do. No Problemo.

Of course the US congress does not understand this train of thought. Contracts? Honor? (I can see Barney Frank's eyes rolling in wonderment now)

Since congress gave the Hope Dollars to Wall Streeters and Big Auto, but did not give any Hope Dollars to help the people that were losing their homes (as originally stated by congress, the Fed and President Bush) it seems as if the congress represents only those who are able to ante up the big bucks instead of you and me. (If your representative is not representing you, you should replace him/her and keep replacing them until you find one that does represent you." Moreover, even though I vote Republican, this challenge goes to GOPers as well.)

Our government's only proper response should be to allow those companies to find their own way. Ordering CEO's to be fired, demanding they build cars that only a few can afford, or want, and picking who wins and who loses, is not within the limited powers of this Constitutional Republic. These are the consequences of taking money from the federal government (They cannot tell you how to run your business if you don't take their money).

The free market system, capitalism, cannot work when there are third parties (Dodd, Franks, Reid, Pelosi, Obama, Bush) picking winners (AIG, GM, etc.) and losers (Lehman Bros.). Chapter 11 protection would allow these companies to reorganize using the system that (mostly) works. Try to keep in mind that the named underlying collateral, real estate, is still there and still valuable. That $300,000.00 home may now be marketable at $200,000.00, but it is not zero. Those "toxic assets" to be dealt with in the normal manner and the collateral, homes and properties, would bear their current, more reasonable, market value. The only people who would lose are the executives that allowed the extreme risk and those who were duped into investing in them. The average Americans who are covered by the FDIC may lose some, but not all and certainly not two or three trillion dollars worth.

Sure, the economy would be tough for a while, but the recession would not be as long as it's going to take to payoff the President's and congress's irresponsible spending. Spending of dollars they do not have and will not have: Hope dollars.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Why Close GITMO?

Because the mushbrains said to. Or, it could be another calculated risk by the Democrat leadership to cause another crisis for the purposes of "fixing" it for their next reelection campaign.

Really, there is no genuinely good reason to close the US Naval Base, Guantanamo Bay (GITMO), while there are many reasons to keep it. Our politicians who have pledged to close the detention facility are doing so at the direction of leftists who cannot fathom the necessity for this type of installation. These people have no real world expertise or common sense when it comes to anything they perceive as issues that the left doesn't care for. Then there is the President, who does not understand much of anything other than self promotion and he no doubt believes he needs to appease the vocal leftists that harp on this.

So why keep it open?

The first reason is because it's being used for a good purpose. To prevent the prisoners from rejoining the battle, of course. The same reason armies take prisoners in all wars.

We are holding prisoners of war (PW) that were captured in and around the battlefield. That makes them PW's whether the previous administration wanted to call them that or not. The term "enemy combatant" amounts to the same thing with the exception that the term enemy combatant was not covered in the Geneva Conventions.

We already know that some PWs who have been released into the wild have come back to kill American troops and others.

Reasons for keeping it open and detaining PW's from the War on Terror there include:

1. It is a 'state of the art' facility. We've recently invested hundreds of millions of dollars to renovate GITMO. It is able to hold PW's and cater to their particular needs. Closing it would be more government waste.

2. Voter emotions will become worse if these PW's are released into the wild and then turn around and kill more Americans, as the terrorists have promised to do.

3. They cannot get a fair trial in US Courts, nor should they. They were rounded up either on or near the field of battle and are not read their rights, given habeas corpus, nor a phone call. Why? The same reason all prisoners of war throughout the history of the world have been held in prison camps and similar facilities. They are the enemy and have been trying to kill your people, your soldiers, Marines, sailors, airmen and women. These PW's show no remorse and routinely insult, spit on, hurl feces at, and try to injure or kill, their guards at every opportunity.

4. NIMBY. There is no community in the United States that want these animals in in their neighborhood, even if confined in a prison.

5. Other countries, their own homelands do not want them back there. These guys are crazy! Would you want them around? (see number 4)

6. If you really, really feel these wild eyed manics need to be protected from those who would harm them, such as the fathers and brothers of their victims, you cannot want to put them in prisons in Afghanistan or Iraq. If you believe GITMO is bad, you should see the facilities and the guards attitudes over there.

No. The best answer for this problem is to keep them confined where they are until the war on terror is over. Most practical, non-political, Americans know this.

Finally, I'm sorry to report that the war on terror will not end anytime soon.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Let's Debate Redistribution of Wealth, or Not

Liberals think it's time to discuss redistribution of wealth and so do I. In his Oped, E.J. Dionne Jr., writes: "Let debate begin over redistribution of wealth".
"The central issue in American politics now is whether the country should reverse a three-decade long trend of rising inequality in incomes and wealth."
"Do they believe that a fairer distribution of capitalism’s bounty is essential to repairing a sick economy? Everything else is a subsidiary issue."

At first, I thought his premise became hard to follow as he gets off topic immediately after this. But, as it turns out, this is primarily another hit piece on the Bush administration. Sort of making a subsidiary issue of the issue.

So let's skewer it a little. After setting up the discussion about wealth redistribution, he says:
"Some critics on the right have tried to change the subject by criticizing Obama for refusing to play the role of “a war president.”

He jumps from the redistribution issue to comparing so-called "war presidents", and claims that right wingers came up with this as a distraction from economic issues.

I have yet to hear of anyone demanding the President Obama be a "war president". If anything, he has been advised that it would be much better to actually win this war as opposed to the Party edict that has been offered, may I quote Sen. Harry Reid, "This war is lost". It should be noted at this point that the War in Iraq has already been won. Now is the time for a measured curtailment.

The comparison of Obama to Eisenhower is another distraction and a chance to refer to Bush as a war president (which, of course, is a horrible thing to radical leftists).

Then he claims that wealth inequity is related to what he calls "budget gimmicks" employed by Bush administration. More Bush bashing. I would think that President Obama has been bashing the previous administration enough for the entire party, as he does this daily. But they all like it too much to resist and we are in the "if it feels good, do it" generation.

These "gimmicks" he refers to are the appropriation of funds "off budget", such as the Iraq War funding. President Bush requested funding for the war in addition to the regular budget. What this has to do with wealth redistribution is unclear.

Subsidiary issue: Mr. Dionne omits the fact the Mr. Obama is doing the exact same thing and he is using gimmicks even more than Mr. Bush. The Obama administration has put the $787 Billion stimulus package, $350 Billion TARP part II, and is suggesting another another TARP, all in addition to his regular budget ($409 Billion) in less than 5 weeks in office.

Dionne says that the rich got richer and the poor became poorer because of the off budget practice. Mr. Dionne cites Peter Orszag, Obama’s budget director for his wealth stats so it must be true. Uh huh.

He also says...
"Obama is being decidedly cautious about foreign policy."
Really? I don't see the caution part. Mr. Obama has been far more open than I would recommend. The statements that he will negotiate with Iran, Syria and Hamas are not cautious. It's stupid. He also says that Obama is not moving out of Iraq too quickly, not to ensure a stable Iraq, but to keep Iraq from becoming a distraction to his redistribution plans. We wouldn't want that, would we? But then, would that make him a war president?

This next Bush bash is interesting...
"He projects the budget outlook 10 years down the road, getting away from the Bush administration’s habit of cutting off our line of vision at five years."
Bush's habit? Uh hello, Mr. Dionne. You are touted as being somewhat intelligent. Is it possible that you do not know that the 5 year projection methodology has been used for many years before President Bush used it? Are you implying that the 5 year projection is inadequate? Then please explain why President Clinton used it?

Another questionable remark:
"Obama’s opponents need to admit that increasing government’s share of the economy by less than two percentage points is hardly a form of wild-eyed state socialism."
We do, Mr. Dionne?

The percentage of GDP spent by government is much less important than what it is spent on and how much debt it adds. Government's take over health care and education, nationalizing banks, insurance companies and car makers, and grabbing people's money to finance studies used to influence Americans on how we conduct our lives (e.g., climate change) is eminently socialist. Providing the means for the unemployed to stay unemployed and for the poor to comfortably stay poor is the very root of socialism.


"Obama has taken another issue off the table by promising tax cuts that begin to kick in for families earning less than about $200,000 per year."

"He is doing so partly to offset the indirect tax on carbon he is proposing."

I disagree. President Obama has not taken the tax issue off the table. He would create yet another tax with cap and trade (another unnecessary expense). It is one more hit on business and the economy. Does Mr. Dionne, or Mr. Obama for that matter, know anything about the market or capitalism. It's looking more and more like they don't.

So, does Mr. Dionne ever get around to wealth redistribution? Yep.

Answer: Higher taxes for the rich and tax cuts for the middle class and for people who pay no income taxes. Silly me, I thought they were going help Americans to be successful in life. It turns out they define wealth redistribution as taking more out the capitalist free market system and handing over what's left after they payoff their supporters to the non-job producing sector.
Here's the complaint:
“Over the past two or three decades, the top 1 percent of Americans have experienced a dramatic increase from 10 percent to more than 20 percent in the share of national income that’s accruing to them,” said Peter Orszag, Obama’s budget director.
Two things. One, Those at the top would not have earned so much without the help of congress creating an uneven playing field, and two, those at the bottom have little incentive to earn more.

That is not wealth redistribution. That is government punishing achievement and encouraging mediocrity to those they deem to be deserving. Under this plan, the majority party in congress and the president make a money grab to spend on bigger government, more power for themselves and more money to spread to their supporters, ensuring their grip on government.

If President Obama could make a decision without the influence of his handlers, and assuming he knew anything about the economic system that enabled the USA to become the great world power and last bastion of freedom, he would:

1. Recall the self-serving "stimulus package".

2. Stop handing over our grandchildren's earnings to Wall Street, ya fool.

3. Allow the bad players to go away. The assets are still there and some enterprising company will take care of it for us.

4. Slash taxes on the job creators instead of threatening to raise them.

5. Slash corporate taxes. The USA has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world and the truth is, the big, heartless, mean spirited, greedy, corporations do not pay those taxes. We do.

6. Cut capital gains taxes to encourage investment. It worked for President Clinton. Have you heard about it?

7. Remove the "mark to market" rules. This was a major part congress's contribution to the recession.

8. Fire the regulators that did not keep an eye on the bad actors at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

9. Investigate congress to find out who was paid off to look the other way and encourage bad lending practices.

10. And stop talking down the economy to keep your crisis going. You've taken enough advantage of it. How about doing something for someone besides yourself.

Oh, and Mr. Dionne, try to concentrate on the substance of your editorials and not the subsidiary issues. It's very distracting.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Obama: Our Last President?

It looks as though some people really, really love President Obama. Or, maybe a congressperson, is trying to ensure his own reelection by keeping a popular president in office forever.

However, I tend to believe this is a severe case of "sucking up".

Listening to the Glenn Beck Radio Show, I caught part of a someone's informational call. He said a congressman had introduced a bill to remove term limits for the president. I didn't quite catch the congressman's name and his call ended abruptly. So I did some searching...

On January 6th, 2009 (the first day of this session), Representative Jose E. Serrano, introduced H.J. Res 5 . This bill would repeal the 22nd Amendment to the United States Constitution. The effect would be to remove term limits for presidents of the United States.

Listen, I like President Obama as a person, but do I want him to be the president for life?

Maybe not.

It's perfectly clear to me that this president's motivation is self aggrandizement. He will use his bully pulpit to push big government programs to secure his popularity and support. But I'm afraid those programs will only further homogenize and enslave Americans.

Thankfully, it would be a very unlikely that this thing would have any chance of passing. It has no co-sponsors (yet) and it would need 2/3rds of the US Congress to put it in the hands of the "several states". After that the US Congress and the legacy media would need to influence 3/4th of the state legislatures to vote for it. A real uphill battle.

Maybe instead of removing term limits, we should add term limits for our representatives and senators? This would mean a grass roots initiative as congress wouldn't dream of it.

Here is the information on this bill, followed by the relevant article from the U.S. Constitution. H.J. Res 5, is listed at the Library of Congress' Thomas website.

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the twenty-second article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as President.
Sponsor: Rep Serrano, Jose E. [D-NY-16] (introduced 1/6/2009) Cosponsors (None)
Latest Major Action: 2/9/2009 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties.


1st Session

H. J. RES. 5
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the twenty-second article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as President.


January 6, 2009

Mr. SERRANO introduced the following joint resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the twenty-second article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as President.

    Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years after the date of its submission for ratification:


    `The twenty-second article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.'.

Here is the relevant passage for amending the US Constitution:

Article. V.

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Spending Spree - Who is being helped?

Rahm Emanuel, President Obama's Chief of Staff, told the Wall Street Journal that, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste."

His remark tells me the current "crisis" is an opportunity for Democrats to further their agenda of party dominance in the US government, but little else. The major redistribution of wealth that is the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R. 1) is the opportunity that Democrats are not wasting. But some big questions come to mind:

Will it create jobs?
Will it jump start the economy?
Will this recession last as as long as Hoover/FDR's Great Depression lasted?

If not this, what will really help?

Creating jobs.

H.R. One commits $787,000,000,000.00 to "create" about 3,000,000 jobs according to President Obama's sales force. Doing the math, they would spend $275,000.00 for each job.

Who believes this is some sort of bargain? Or that it will help the economy?
I'll bet the private sector could do it for much much less.

You'd have to read all 647 pages of H.R. 1 to find out who is receiving it and you would still need an interpreter to figure it out. Here is a partial list from Fox News.

$25 million for new ATV trails
$400 million for the National Endowment for the Arts
$400 million for global warming research
$335 million for the Centers for Disease Control to combat sexually-transmitted diseases
$650 million coupons to subsidize TV viewers for digital television conversion

From eWeek:
$40 billion plus into areas that have been on the technology sector's wish list, including:
$6 billion for broadband build-outs
$20 billion for health IT initiatives
$11 billion to modernize the United States' electrical grid
$2 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy R&D

Many of these sound good, some are extremely bad (IMHO), and all have little to do with putting people back to work. Some of them are continuations of bad policy and wasteful government spending and interference. Most of them put people to work but only until that particular job is finished. The government cannot continue manufacturing short term make-work jobs. Eventually even the government will run out of credit and be unable to pay for more jobs. That's why it's best to let market forces and those with experience in creating jobs to do so unencumbered by government over-regulation and taxes.

The renewable energy (ethanol) spending is especially egregious. It uses tax dollars, taken from people who are working, to artificially manufacture ethanol which increases the cost of food, transporting virtually anything, and gasoline prices, while reducing a vehicle's actual mileage by 10-15%. Moreover, it does nothing, zero, to reduce the much feared atmospheric CO2. This amounts to paying extra to spend more while being lectured to save. Read about it.

Besides, $787 Billion in new "Hope dollars" or unfunded spending doesn't look like saving to me.

Jump Start?

For the
infrastructure spending, only $136,000,000,000.00 of the $335,000,000,000.00 they want to spend will be spent over the next 2 years. You know, I thought we had a crisis NOW. Well, so much for a "jump start".

H.R. 1 is the Democratic Party's attempt at a industry takeover. It will be corporate welfare on steroids and amounts to government dependency by so-called private industry. This seems to be the president's most likely goal.

Why would Democrats want to do that? The answer is easy. Too easy.

When tens of thousands of companies become dependent on the government's continued monetary largess, they will:

To ensure that Democrats get reelected. Everyone believes they know the Republicans would try and cut off the spigot. This is essentially the "Make the Republicans the Minority Party Forever Act". Democrats and their willing accomplices in the legacy media already have their supporters convinced that Republicans and conservatives are greedy, warmongering, controlling, uncaring, rich racists. Of course it is a total lie, but you cannot convince Democrats of this.

Be required to follow the edicts of government bureaucrats or loose the subsidies.This method has worked with local school districts for decades and is how the federal government was able to force local school districts into adopting the FCAT test requirements and other agenda driven ideas.. The new president has already required the capping of CEO salaries if they receive his hope dollars.

Republicans need to wise up and confront the legacy media and their "friends across the isle" with the truth of this nonsense.

Another Great Depression?

Hard to say with certainty, but Obama's tax and spend plan sure looks like deja vu all over again. The entire fiasco appears to be the second largest scam ever to be perpetrated on the American public. The first being the "New Deal" that accomplished the opposite of its intended purpose and actually prolonged the Great Depression. A quick check will show that the unemployment rates were steadily in double digits for FDR's entire reign.

Now President Obama wants us to buy stocks. I'll just bet he does. The market has lost another 15% since he took the oath and it doesn't look like it's going to improve anytime soon. Although that might help, who has the money to spare?

Real Help

If the President and his congress want to do really help Americans get back to work and jump start the economy, he only needs to cut taxes. Income taxes, corporate taxes and capital gains taxes, then make them permanent. It worked for Presidents Kennedy, Reagan and Bush.
This would do more than anything else to correct our economy and increase federal revenue in the long run.

So why wouldn't he? Well, it just seems that Democrats abhor tax cuts. Tax cuts translate to less influence to them.

He also should stop talking down the economy (for political leverage) and give up on the left's policy of class warfare. People who make over $250K are not the enemy.

"Ohhh, but the government will lose funding for programs that people need."

The president and congress have already decided that deficit spending is not a problem, so tax cuts that would initially reduce federal revenue is not a fiscal problem and won't affect their precious programs.

There you have it. This looks very much like a "crisis" orchestrated by congressional Democrats to squeeze as much out of the working class as possible. Then, of course, they stand up to "fix" it with unimagined spending while blaming it all on the the previous administration, deregulation and tax cuts. It appears that to their way of thinking this crisis is the path to Democratic domination of the US government for decades to come.