Sunday, December 21, 2008
Hoover from 1928 to 1932 oversaw the crash, depression, and largest destruction of wealth in American history. Historians don't ponder the details of Hoover's actions very much. Many believed Hoover to be one who did little but stand by and watch the building burn down. But quite the opposite occurred.
Thomas Dilorenzo in "How Capitalism Saved America", illuminates the detailed programs, massive government spending, and intervention that Hoover implemented to stablize the economy. Hoover "orchestrated massive interventions-high-wage policies, tax and spending increases, protectionism, government credit rationing...his hyperinterventinism destroyed the economy's prospects for the kinds of adjustments that needed to take place."
What was the result? "He turned a recession turned into The Great Depression." (Dilorenzo, Thomas p. 178)
Hoover doesn't get the blame for the banks that lacked the imaginative course of making more capital available. Perhaps this ranks has the single greatest error of the age that tossed thousands of banks into bankruptcy. But Hoover's hyperinterventionism and his signing of the Smoot Hawley Tariff Act of 1930 eviscerated 83% of foreign trade and destroyed the American economic engine.
How does President Bush's term compare to the Hoover years? Deroy Murdock of National Review Online describes "comrade Bush" as a centralized planner who destroyed limited-government policies.
"Bush’s eight-year-long spending spree, his signature on at least 69,341 earmarks, his barely touched veto pen, his $783 billion Medicare drug entitlement, and his massive financial bailout (so far: $3.35 trillion in actual outlays and $13.35 trillion in total guarantees and commitments) apparently are not enough."
Strewn acorss the yard of American economics in 2008 are the bones of Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and AIG. The $700 billion TARP, Paulson's purchase of bank preferred stock, purchase of non-performing mortgages, and moratorium on home foreclosures have been Bush's answer to stock market declines of 40%. City, county, and state officials booked their tickets for one-on-one POW WOW sessions with Senators, Congressmen, and the President pandering for fedreal dollars. Now the Big 3, facing bankruptcy, have trotted up to Washington with hands out pleading bailout money. President Bush has responded with 17 billion dollars.
Does this sound like government invervention similar to Hoover's? FDR's backers gleefully proclaimed how wonderful Hoover's administration set forth the agenda for governmet solutions as FDR was taking office. More of the same was expected. FDR was going to "do something" and not sit back. Hoover, the "golden boy", who engineered the feeding of Bolsheviks in their times of distress during Harding's Presidency, was bent on re-organizing and socially engineering capital and labor to his own likings as President. He did it.
The early 1970's saw President Nixon with Hoover & FDR type policies. He froze wages prices on a huge number of goods. He eliminated the gold standard. Nixon was free to spend America's surpluses into deficits to get re-elected. New social programs were Nixon's ideas to get re-elected. Hoover would have loved Nixon.
Did not President George Bush, who claims to be a free-market guy, not employ similar strategies? Bush gave Americans health care prescription, No Child Left behind, and forced trillions of dollars of bailout money down the throats of specified financial institutions. In addition, even when the Senate voted against funding the auto bailouts, President Bush handed the auto makers 17 billion dollars anyway.
President Bush can claim "I am not Herbert Hoover". But the facts speak a different story. Government intervention is what the Bush administration has been about. In Foreign policy and domestic policy American government has attempted to be the solution for the people under the Bush Presidency.
The "Golden Boy" of 1928 has been reincarnated in GW Bush. The only question remains: Will Obama Obama willingly play FDR?
Friday, November 07, 2008
Paul Begala described Emanuel as a cross between a hemroid and hurting tooth. Sounds lovely, right?
Known as Rahmbo for his tough non-diplomatic take-no-prisoner approach in politics, he is a partisan. And now he has been chosen Chief of Staff to President Elect Obama.
What does this mean? Anyone wanting to see the President will schedule through Mr. Emanuel. He has earned his stripes. He is tough. He has no love lost for Republicans.
The Obama campaign seemed to have a thin skin for opposition to his campaign. The Washington Post and Dallas Morning News were thrown off of his campaign plane for coming out formally and supporting Senator McCain. Free speech may not be so free around the Obama regime?
Will a Republican ever had chance to set foot in the White House for debate with Senator Obama? Probably not. Outside opinions may need to tread lightly if ever they hope to conference in the next four years with Washington's newest Messiah.
Rahm Emanuel has a long memory. He has a list of out-of-favor characters that are on it.
Trained in the Clinton White House, he has learned the lessons of cold-calculated decisions. He has learned to be black and white about friends and enemies. There is no in between.
Will Republicans see the inside of the White House? Only when they grovel pitifully to see the President. Will Hillary's people appear in the White House? Not unless Emmanuel sees the desperate need for that meeting to take place.
Senator Obama has promised to unify the nation. If Rahmbo Emmanuel is any indication, that promise will exempt all politicians that fought against "Change that we can believe in" during the primaries and general election.
The auto industry has its hand out for 50 billion dollars. GM and Ford may be going under. And President Obama said "no way". Too many jobs will be lost. Governor Granholm, who has precided over an emabarassing Michigan economy and was re-elected, was standing behind Obama. No doubt she was lobbying hard for money to float America's carmakers on the back's of American taxpayers.
Weren't state governments flush with cash 3 years ago. Instead of sending the money back to the people or paying down state debts, what did the bunches of states do? They expanded. They created. They sought more power. They hired bureacrats, secretaries, new department heads, new plannners, etc....Today these states are at the edge. Nearly unable to borrow money, they are begging President Bush and soon to be President Obama for a handout.
California is asking the federal government for a bailout. New Jersey has its hands out as well. President Elect Obama and Robert Reich appear sympathetic. And more states will be lining up at bar for drinks from the federal government.
The economy has lost 1.2 million jobs in 2008. About 240,000 jobs have been lost in the last 90 days. Unemployment is at a 14 year high at 6.5%. President Bush has failed the economic test of free markets. About 2 trillion dollars has been earmarked to tackle the credit crisis. AIG got 85 billion dollars. Their executives got spa treatments and kingly retreats with the money.
Stimulus packages in the amount of billions of dollars went to taxpayers. Home mortgage bailout I was procured in September of 2007. Home Bailout II is being considered by Sheila Bexar's FDIC and Treasury Secretary. And with $700 billion bailout package to buy preferrred stock of financial institutions and plug holes for companies teetering on bankruptcy, the economic crisis continues to worsen. And what about the Federal Reserve? The Federal Reserve guaranteed every money market account in existence.
Such is the unfair predicament President Elect Obama is thrust into. On this Friday, it was expected that President Elect Obama was going to appoint a Treasury Secretary. He didn't. He said he will be operating at a pace of deliberate haste with an emphaisis on both words.
Retail, autos, real estate, finance sectors, and state governments are suffering. Even New York City's finest police officers are having 1000 of their best being given their pink slips, while the city adds 200 extra meter readers for additional revenues to the city.
The cadre of finance genius' standing behind Obama are impressive. Volker, Summers, Reubin, etc...then you have Robert Reich, former labor secretary for President Clinton. These guys have been through the war of recession, Mexican bailouts, and 21% inflation before. You would think such characters surrounding Obama would give each American pause to not worry.
History probably will be no guide to these fellows. President Hoover expanded government's role from 1929 to 1932 to unprecedented levels after the stock market crash. FDR thanked him and said enough had not been done. Smoot-Hawley Tariff that destroyed 83% of global trade wasn't enough damage. FDR proceeded from 1933 to 1945 to New Deal America into an extended Depression with Tennesse Valley, WPA, AAA, and other over-arching regulation and unparalleled American government intervention in the private marketplace.
Will this be the blueprint for President Elect Obama's plan? When asked if he was going to hike taxes on those earning 250K in 2009, he evaded the question. He stated that "we are going to grow the economy bottom up by creating new jobs."
President Bush's team focused on relieving the credit crisis. Obama is focusing directly on creating jobs and growing the economy "bottom up" by government hands. It will be government that creates the jobs; not the private sector.
Did we get specifics on his plans? No. But reading between the lines tells us a few things:
- the rich will pay higher taxes
- the federal government will go on a hiring spree with infrastructure projects
- money will be handed to average and poor Americans from the federal government
- states will receive relief from the federal government
- more stimulus packages...and more...and more until the economy is fixed
Meynard Keynes, the economist, would be proud. Spend as much as you can creating deficits until the citizens feel free to spend money themselves. So re-arming the American consumer is goal number one. Friedman would choke. Von Hayek would suggest a reading of his "Road To Serfdom" once again.
But history can help only when leaders listen. What President Elect Obama has inherited is a $10 trillion bowl of pits from an unwise President and Congress. Over-spending and over-borrowing by all has been the problem. And apparently more of the same is supposed to strengthen America.
Let's hope it doesn't take 12 years of depression and a world war to get America back to her days of prosperity?
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
On this occasion, Senator Biden decided to honor Senator Clinton. It was a campaign stump speech. Microphone in hand much like a hand grenade, does much damage if held too long. Enter Joe Biden. The proverbial know-it-all whose loquacious ramblings are his marqee signature, did it again.
A day after telling reporters that voting Governor Palin into office would be a step back for women in America, Senator Biden frantically re-assessed his statements. He over-compensated telling Obama supporters, the following day, that Hillary Clinton is exceedingly qualified to be President, Vice President, or anything else Washington has to offer. "
In fact, she is probably "more qualified than me," continued Senator Biden.
One wonders at what point Senator Biden began to sweat and lose confidence about his position on Senator Obama's ticket. Rudy Juliani called it, days before at the Republican Convention, rivetting America with a penetrating line about Senator Biden:
"Senator Biden better make sure he gets his Vice Presidential appointment in writing."
The crowd roared. Yet, the world listened. And apparently, Senator Biden listened all too well.
Days later, the Senator is amazingly at a rally flogging himself in contrast to the Hillary factor that could have elevated the Obama ticket.
Facts don't go unnoticed. The Obama-Biden ticket has been getting shellacked by "Hurricane" Sarah Palin for thirteen unrelenting days. Gallup, Fox, and Rasmussen polls have pivoted from Obama being up 3 to 5 points to McCain being up 3 to 5 points since the Palin choice. And the normally pugnacious and feisty Joe Biden is at a loss for words.
Except that he admits Hillary is more qualified that him to be Barak Obama's partner to take the White House.
So why is Senator Joe Biden cathartically confessing on national TV his lack of confidence before all of America sixty days before the election?
He's a liberal. Liberals can't help themselves. That's the short answer. Liberals have to find a way to project blame as times get difficult for themselves. Preparing for defeat instead of gearing up for victory is vintage American liberalism.
In addition, Super Nova Sarah has single-handedly sucked the emotions and energy from the high-flying Obama campaign. Senator Biden, even before Sarah Palin entered the race, saw the cracks in Obama-Biden. Biden's first clue had to be the national polls. Embarassingly, Biden handed Obama the "Biden dip" of two points instead of the traditionally expected "Biden bump" when Senator Biden was chosen to be Obama's running mate. Politicians, the caliber of Biden's, are aware of their polling numbers for sure.
Obama's judicious plan to amalgamate experience with his fresh-face charisma, at first exhibited a chimerra of safety. But with 9,000 vote tally toward his own anemic presidential campaign, Senator Biden, the sage, began to feel the heat in the kitchen. First, how was he to explain the dumping of Hillary and her 18 million voters for himself?
Secondly, how was Senator Biden going to eclipse Alaska's shooting star, Sarah Palin? Neither Senator Biden nor his sagacious advisers, have a clue as how to handle Sarah Palin. Nor can the Biden or Obama camp state with a straight face that the dumping of Hillary overboard with her 18 million energized voters was highly intelligent.
Out of his league, Senator Biden, apparently recognizes what Americans have known already. The Senator should not have been Senator Obama's choice for Vice President. The lady with 18 million votes was far more attractive a partner.
The Obama race has turned a bit night-marish. And Biden is now forced to concoct excuses, explanations, and reasons for the difficulties the campaign faces. Joe Biden is certainly a first rate liberal. Look at how Biden responds to adversity. He conjures up excuses instead of fighting through failure.
Don't blame me. I didn't choose myself for this position. Senator Obama's judgment, not mine, should be questioned. Hillary unequivocally is the better candidate. She would have been my choice for sure. If anything, I should be her Vice President and Obama should wait until his turn.
How propitious a moment that Senator Biden prop his imaginary feet upon America's imaginary couch confessing to us all of his own redoubt as a central cast player in Senator Obama's bid for power. Is there any dog in America that has the ability to roll over and play dead as easily as Biden?
The scandal here is not that Senator Biden thinks he is not the most qualified individual for the job of vice president. Hillary knows he is not. Democrats are not motivated by Biden. And Joe Biden isn't sure either about the choice. But the real foopah is Senator Biden's cogent apology for being the dud candidate forced to acquire the mantle of VP. Rule #1 or #23 in high stake politics is don't let them see you sweat.
Obama must be wondering how he will win in November with "foot in mouth" Biden. Maybe Juliani is right. Biden ought to get his VP nomination in writing. Even Biden believes Hillary would make a better VP than himself.
Could that be the reason that Senator Obama entreated Senator Hillary Clinton this past week to a two hour lunch?
Monday, September 08, 2008
New fever in town...Sarah Fever...neither the Obama campaign, the media, nor the American public can quite get enough of this Alaskan Governor.
The upswept hair, designer glasses, and straight-talking sports-loving, PTA mother of five turned Governor is overshadowing the pretentiously pitiful Hollywood elite stories of Spears, Lohan, Hilton, Timberlake, and O.J. And this time...
This time its a real hero...for real Americans. Enter Sarah Palin. It begins with a small-town story in the far reaches of American empire.
Little girl who hunts, fishes, and fears nothing becomes beauty queen contestant, sportscaster, wife, and mother of five. In her spare time, she runs for City Council, Mayor, and is appointed to the Alaskan Commission on Oil & Gas for ethics reform. Gun-toting and hockey-playing mother then blows the whistle on the entire Republican hierarchy in Alaska. She resigns her post. Sarah loses a race for Lieutenant Governor in 2002. Then she overruns Governor Murkowski in a Republican primary and wins the general election race in 2006.
She says "No" to the "Bridge to Nowhere". Slashes budgets, fires personnel, and gives Alaskans back the surplus that accrues in Junea.
Guns, babies, and Jesus--this is chic? Hollywood missed it. But heartland Americans see the glamor. And they see the girl next door. She is both-isn't she?
The moment Senator McCain chose Governor Palin, cultural life was re-affirmed for millions of Americans. It came out of nowhere. Consider the effects of this visceral connection Sarah Palin has with the American people:
- Those glasses she wears-they will be the rage
- Upswept hair of Sarah's will be insatiable as husbands and boyfriends tell their better half how much she reminds them of Sarah
- Alaska's tourism will explode--more upstart hunters, fishermen, wild gamesmen will join the hunt for the real American up there
- Sarah's hometown, Wacilla, will get royal treatment. Princess Di is popular. Wacillians will wonder what on earth the lower 48 are doing flying to their hometown in some weird mystical journey.
- Sarah look-alike contests will pop-up
- "Palin Power" products will be licensed and sell all across the country
- Books describing Sarah of all kinds will find themselves on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, etc...flying off the shelves to top ten status
While liberals are waking up in cold sweats attempting to control the flood damage, Sarah Palin is cris-crossing the nation creating a brand name that may become unparalleled in crossover appeal from the good ole boy politics into the forrays of American iconic culture. Mothers, daughters, and a huge swath of Americans are seeing the American we love in the face of Sarah Palin. Millions will be devoted admirers, for years to come, of this strong woman who maintains her feminine qualities while "fighting the good fight."
The net effect: purchase, consume, distribute Palin product to all. Selling and purchasing is what we Americans do well when we celebrate. The writing is on the wall. A new hero has been born. The Governor looks to have staying power. Its time to brand and license the newest and growing American icon--
When John McCain was asked what his favorite song was:
"Bomb...Bomb....Bomb............Bomb...Bomb....Iran" responded the Senator in a jovial manner in parody of one of his favorite songs---Ba-Ba-Ba-Ba-Ba-Baran---courtesy of the Beach Boys.
Since Senator McCain has given us all renewed interest in the Beach Boys, surely the Beach Boys wouldn't mind returning the favor by minting a revised edition of California Girl" to include Alaska Girls, right?
Move over Barbie. You've had fifty years as America's girl. Its Sarah's turn.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Palin Power has been catapulted to the national stage. Governor Palin has thrust a stiletto drawing political blood from Senator Obama and Senator Biden's campaign. Out of nowhere, Senator McCain has been transformed from stranger to hero amongst conservatives.
Moderates are smitten by the girl from Alaska.
And what about liberals? They are running for the hills. Just as Ali's punishing defeat of Foreman in the 1973 "Thrilla' of Manilla", so to Senator Obama appears destined for the "Thrilla in Wasilla". The Mayor of only 6,000 people and 15 employees has responded forcefully to the Senator's lack of experience claim.
So what is so attractive about this Governor from Alaska?
She is tough. She can throw a punch. She can take one. She is us. Mother of five who loves life, loves her husband, and loves America. She embodies what we love about America. More opportunity, more hope, less government, less spending, less corruption, less waste...and then there's the guns, babies, & Jesus element that connects with average Americans.
Liberals and Democrats are elitist enough to consider these values rather arcane. Where Obama would tax; she would hand the money back to those who earned it. Where Obama wants more programs, Palin cuts waste, fraud, and corruption. Where Obama flies private jets, Palin sells jets on Ebay to give money back to the people. Where Senator Obama allows remains quiet while babies are born in hospitals and left to die, Governor Palin nurtures life in and outside the womb. Many Americans are re-thinking the race. Americans are captivated. It is not too descriptive to state that many Americans feel politically "born again" with hope for the country.
The parched trail of political irresponsibility that Republicans and Democrats have left Americans with since Gingrich's "Contract with America" has made Americans appreciate what little they see in the girl from Alaska. Only one question remains: will it be Sarah's America of reform or Obama's America of change that wins out in 60 days?
America is a good place. The people want smaller and more accountable government. Palin represents the values of both. How long has it been since we have seen a Republican embody both values?
Governor Palin's indictment of Senator Obama's sparse record resonated well.
Authentic beliefs are apparently important to middle class Americans. The gun-packing mother invaded the lives of average Americans. Politically "born again", American spirits across the nation were lifted from the parched wilderness of Republican land.
What are Americans seeing? Giddy moms saw mother of five, keeper of husband, and activist in community expound her ideas through "real talk".
Husbands watched a reflection of the best the female gender has to offer. Some saw the strength of their mother. Others, the tenacity of the sister. Other husbands saw glimpses of their wives asserting strength and feminism in a rhapsody of eloquent grace.
Senator McCain's record and character have teamed up with no-nonsense Sarah Palin. And as Governor Palin addressed the crowd with surgical precision, her words exposed the paltry experience and record of Senator Obama.
In a whirlwind of 5 days, conservatives have found a hero. Centrist women have found a life-long friend. Liberals have met their nemesis, and need pyschotherapy.
The Ronald Reagan revolution has been re-launched.
If liberals wanted a popularity contest, Senator McCain has countered. McCain is now the "coolest" guy in the race. Why? He has the babe as his VP. Palin is Reagan's political child. The reincaration of the venerable and dusty ideas are being resurrected.
Is it possible that for the first time in American history Americans will go to the voting booth because of a Vice Presidential choice?
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
How else to describe America's two major parties nominating Senator Obama and Senator McCain to their Presidential tickets? The juggernaut Clinton team vaunted and unbeatable faced South Side Chicago talent promoting "Change you Can Believe In". Obama's long shot bid ends on top. Change defeated Senator Clinton.
McCain, hardly the favorite of Republicans, in a strange turn of electoral primary politics found himself dashing to the nomination as Romney, Juliani, Thompson, and Huckabee traded blows until each ran out of money or votes. Left standing- the Maverick McCain. Out in the cold, all the wannabe conservatives that split the votes.
Democrats conquered the world with their post-racial candidate. Republicans promised to stay home and lose-until Sarah Palin showed up.
How do we handicap the race now? McCain stunningly bolts ahead of Obama in the polls by 2-3 points post DNC and RNC conventions with Sarah Palin added to the ticket. McCain leads bellwhether Ohio by 7 points. Florida is tied. And Pennsylvania is slightly Obama's to win.
Republicans are now promising to rally each other to the polls. Reagan's political legacy, Sarah Palin, has to be protected and nurtured for four years. Obama supporters are wringing their hands at the Biden VP choice knowing that 18 million Hillary supporters are as disenchanted as the Republicans were prior to Sarah Palin's arrival to the McCain ticket.
Obama, the outsider, promises change with the ultimate insider, Joe Biden. John McCain, the 28 year insider, promises reform with the ultimate outsider, Sarah Palin.
If Americans are not mesmerized enough yet by the multiplicity of ironies embodied by both campaigns, eight more weeks is plenty to conjure up more of the same.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Sarah Palin is the attractive, energetic, and graceful woman whose 'gun-totin', hockey-playing (Karl Rove), mother of five whose conservative convictions gave meteoric rise to the improbable political prominence is the stuff of legend:
Average hockey mom, turned PTA mom-elected city council representaive-elected Walicia Mayor---
Appointed to the Alaska commission of Oil & Gas, Sarah Palin found corruption and reported it to the Governor. The Governor did nothing. She resigned in protest-not a good career move. Then, the former Mayor of 9,000 people filed and ran for Lieutenant governor. She lost. She then filed and ran against the empowered governor of the Republican primary.
She took on the GOP party machine. She fought corruption, waste, and fraud. The people believed her. She ousted the Governor of her own party in a primary election. She then beat the Democratic nominee, assumed office, and created the legend that has only just begun to grow.
How proud would the conservative Coolidge, the unheralded hero of limited government be, to have the corruption-busting woman on his ticket?
What about our beloved "Ike" in 1952 who entered the presidency attempting to reel in federal spending? No doubt the war hero tried. But Washington's dazzling complexities and leaching bureacracies from Treasury, the Fed, the Senate, and Capitol Hill with the heresy of Keynsian economics in vogue overwhelmed the administration's good intentions. Would Sarah Palin have made a difference as Eisenhower's Vice President?
How about the much maligned Warren Harding? Was it not Harding who appointed Charles Dawes as special counsel reporting directly to the President about finding and shuting down waste, fraud, and corruption in the early 1920's? A billion dollars later in savings of the people's money compelled Coolidge in 1924 to appoint Dawes as Vice President. Wouldn't Harding have been impressed with the beauty queen known as Sarah the Barracuda's corruption-busting resume' from Alaska?
America's Goliaths, Eisenhower and Reagan, have had their shot at eliminating fraud, waste, and corruption of federal government. Yet, even immortals such as these had an uncompliant Congress to contend with.
Indeed, even the 1824 Andrew Jackson who was the last president to eliminate America's national debt, just might have appreciated the company of Sarah Palin when dealing with those big-government Henry Clay and John Calhoun types.
So where are these common-sense conservatives today? They are few a far between. Peter, King, Jeff Flake, John Cornyn, etc...are drowned out by avarice officials placing their careers above country.
Dinasour conservatives such as Robert Taft, Barry Goldwater, and Ronald Reagan who promised more liberty and less government over the people, have found a beauty queen contestant to carry the fight for the people. In the image of 20th century conservative Republicanism, Sarah Palin, has arrived with resume' in hand:
First acts upon entering Alaska's Gubernatorial office:
- eliminate governor chauffer service telling employees that they can drive their own cars
- fire the governor's chef stating that "my children can make their own sandwiches"
- send $1200 of Alaskan surpluses to each resident of Alaska
- pursue and prosecute corrupt officials, including Ted Stevens, Republican Senator under investigation
- fight to dispense billions of dollars of oil to Americans paying $4.00 per gallon at the pumps
- veto spending bills equalling half a billion dollars as governor
- leading Alaska to a state budget surplus
Prosecuting life-long politicians in the Alaskan "good old boy network" is dangerous to life, limb, and reputation. This mother of 5 children employed the grit and tenacity to do what politicians tremble at doing. She embarked on a path to destroy the political lives of those stealing from the people of Alaska. Do what is right said she, and end bribery, corruption, and theft from the people of Alaska.
What is the meaning of Palin now who is catapulted onto the national stage?
Palin, as a beginning crusader in Washington, will not stop. She can't. Its embedded in her DNA. Her passion for right and the common good is much like the demands of well-respected RFK 40 years ago, who received a bullet in the head while on the hunt to destroy injustice and wrongdoing. To fellow conservatives like Peter King, Ron Paul, Jeff Flake, etc...Palin's appointment is a breath of fresh air. To the rest of Capitol Hill's legislators, look out!
If Sarah, the barracuda, will chase down and prosecute evil in her own "good old boy" Republican party in Alaska, will there be mercy for any Republican or Democrat in Washington? Knees are shaking in Washington, elephants and donkeys alike, as they should be.
Israel had her Deborah. In a time when "Everyone did what was rigth in their own eyes", Deborah stood risking life and limb for country. She stood where men feared to tread. She led a fight in her day that most would not. Today she is called "Hero". She is a marvel.
Perhaps a bit less astounding than Joan of Arc, the unsuspecting and inspiring liberator of France from the grip of English conquest in 1429. Nonetheless, Sarah Palin has stormed onto the American stage with a record of rewriting Alaskan ethics and politics.
Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and all the big-time earmark representatives will see business no longer as usual. In our making, a legend is sprouting. She's the all-American girl whose legend has just begun to grow. Reagan's political disciples on Capitol Hill have become silenced lambs since the glory days of "Contract with America".
While the people's representatives have looted the treasury like Wild Bill Hickock, Teddy Roosevelt's types are riding into town for a showdown. Its McCain and Palin. Teddy Roosevelt charged San Juan Hill leading the famed Rough Riders into war in 1898. Washington will soon be under siege with a new Roosevelt-type ticket that will fight earmark and pork spending.
History does not make great men. Great men make history. The Vice Presidential candidate for the Republican party with her counterpart may be the prelude to the stuff of legends.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Dr. King's message was a politics of love...peace....equality...where "men are judged by the content of their character; not the color of their skin."
As tears streamed down the faces of millions of onlooking Americans, Senator Obama fulfilled a partial dream. Senator Obama shared his "I have a dream" moment with all of us.
It was not merely politics that tugged hearts of those in the stadium and across our land. It was cultural change and acceptance. The campaign itself, is largely more about cultural awareness and a "personal discovery journey", than politics for many that will vote for the Senator. Senator Obama, now commands the full respect and allegiance of millions of Americans. He has been chosen to lead the Democratic Party in 2008.
In an evening rarely matched in American politics, the dichotomy of the evening oscillated between politics and historical transition into a new age of colorblind majority politics. White Americans trusting a black American for Commander-in-Chief surprises many, though it shouldn't. And there stood Senator Obama orating to the cheers of his followers.
Color matters less today. Ideas and content of character matters more. "A more perfect union today than yesterday" rings even more true today. Tomorrow's America will be more perfect than even today... Americans are excited. Americans are hopeful...and rightfully so.
Did the speech work?
It worked to the extent that politics is put aside. Senator Obama's improbable journey is summed up by Cicero's words to "Live as brave men; and if fortune is adverse, front its blows with brave hearts".
Successful or not in this campaign for the Presidency, Senator Obama has liberated millions of Americans to believe that this is their America and their dream as well. The Senator has fought to go where racial politics has prohibited entrance.
"Separate but equal" and the Jim Crow Laws are but dumped into American trash cans of history.
What Dr. King forty five years ago this night saw in his vision of America, is a promise fulfilled even more than many could imagine.
And the politics of the speech?
Promises littered the Senator's speech. Humphrey, Gore, and Kerry could have trotted out the same liberal mantra....Government must do more. Humphrey promised $1,000 free for every American. Gore promised lock boxes and tight Washington control over social security. Kerry promised tax hikes against the wealthy. And how is Senator Obama's policy proposals any different? Its not.
After all, the average workers need help. Roads need rebuilding. Infrastructure is crumbling. Incomes are falling. What the people can't do for themselves, government must do for them...more money for education...free college tuition...universal health care coverage...higher pay for teachers...
"Dire straights" might describe what the Senator's remarks feel like about the America we have all enjoyed.
In addition, didn't the Senator promise that Uncle Sam will play "we are our brother's keeper" role? The founding fathers wanted nothing of this role. King George III proved why. But, according to Senator Obama, Washington as "our brother's keeper" is the decent thing to do. Washington has the solutions to each American's dream. Hope is on the way?
Change that you can believe in embodies more government, more bureacracy, more policies, more money, etc... FDR and LBJ could have written the lines Senator Obama uses. The rich have had it good. Its the 95% of hard working Americans who must get the tax breaks. Corporate "fat cats" have lined their pockets enough. They need to have their taxes hiked.
Did the speech unify Democrats? No more than before the convention.
What mattered tonight was not politics. It was cultural progress. Republican and Democrat could celebrate, "One small step for an American; one giant leap for all Americans."
"The only thing that stands between a man and what he wants from life is often merely the will to try it and the faith to believe that it is possible," states Rich DeVoss, founder of Amway.
Barak Obama has tried. He has climbed the mountain. To the top yet, we do not know. But many little ones will now have giant shoulders upon which to stand to see the "union more perfect" than the yesterday.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Jim Cook of InvestmentRarities.com, who, in his essay, "Sweeping Towards Destruction", quotes George Washington warning in a letter, "Paper money will…ruin commerce, oppress the honest and open the door to every species of fraud and injustice."
According to Larry Beane in an essay "Dishonest Scales" found at LewRockwell.com, "From 1790-1913, the United States dollar was constant. It was tied to gold and/or silver. A dollar bought pretty much the same thing for Thomas Jefferson as it did for Teddy Roosevelt. A careful look at inflation rates from 1790-1913 shows some minor fluctuation, but for the most part, a 1913 dollar was the same as an 1850 dollar, and was the same as a 1790 dollar."
Didn't the Flying Money of China, John Law's experiment in France, Wiemar Republic, etc...show unequivocally that no matter what century, what empire, or what race of people, the privilege of debauching currency is enjoyed by all.?
Today's gold bugs, doomsayers, and the hide-everything-under-a-mattress crowd are a kind of strange fraternity of "Who's Who?".
They have predicted the hyper-inflation, depression, and demise of America for decades. Of course, the reasons are plenty. Not the least of which include the creation of the 1913 Federal Reserve, FDR's outright theft of the people's gold in 1933, Nixon's abandonment of the gold standard in 1971, imbalanced budget deficits in 31 of the last 34 years, and a national debt measuring in unpayable trillions of dollars--this is all true and real.
The George Soros', Jim Rogers, Peter Shiffs', Ravi Batras', etc...have bet against America...and they yet, may be right, one day.
Fiat currency always has to slouch toward destruction-right? But the dollar in the 20th century does reveal another side to the coin--
Would any American trade the luxuries of 21st century living for a 1200 square foot home, no air-conditioning, few restaurants, and an outhouse for a restroom in the 1920's? 1930's? 1940's? 1950's? etc... I think not. Since WWI and Bretton Woods, the dollar has eroded in value. Yet, we are precariously better off materially than in days of old.
Many doomers pontificate about the impoverished and helpless state American citizens endure. Don't buy it. Consider the following about Americans:
Are not more Americans attending college than ever before? Are not more Americans at the lower end of the socioeconomic scale better off than ever before? Are not more Americans accumulating wealth than ever before? Employment is near record highs. Record numbers of new businesses, sole proprietorships, and corporations are being introduced each year in America. With 86% of all Americans having health insurance, and all Americans having state-of-the-art medicinal treatment at hospitals and clinics every day of the year, can any reasonable person argue that America of yesterday is better off than today? Do not record number of Americans travel and have leisure time like never before? Yet, the dollar is only worth 1/20th of what King Dollar was worth seventy years ago.
So as "King Dollar" slides to peasant status, wealth accumulation, record home ownership, near record employment rates, record entrepreneurial opportunities, unprecedented access to capital, hospitalization, health care, mobility, leisure time, etc...all point to Americans living more like kings, not peasants. Does such living speak of perfection for all citizens? No. Americans do appear to eat more, have more, and live longer than ever before. Wouldn't King George III of England would salivate to have had the standard of living average Americans enjoy today.
Today's poor Americans of all persuasions are living as well as the average American family did in the mid-1960's. Candidly speaking, the least affluent Americans live better than King George III because the dollar has been available for exchange, lending, and investing in a land where private property has allowed the masses of people to accumulate wealth.
So bash Rothschild, Morgan, and Goldman for creating the Fed. Curse Arthur Burns, Greenspan, and Ben Bernanke for the printing of money that thieves us all. Throw rocks at LBJ, liberals, and the wild spending Republicans of the last eight years have engaged in. They have unconscionably spent the next generation's money. You can give me a rock to throw also. But it doesn't change the facts that follow.
More than 97% of American homeowners are not behind on payments or in foreclosure. The bulk of homeowners still have positive equity in their homes. Most Americans believe that tomorrow will be better than today. Most Americans have a choice of careers and jobs that are the envy of the world. Most Americans have their choice of physicians...Steak & Ale or Chili's...Delta or American Airlines...twinkies or ding dongs.
Oh-by the way, did we mention all of this as the dollar is worth only a fraction of its value in previous decades?
Alas-it also should be noted that not a generation of Americans since the Great Depression is worse off than any previous generation, even though traveling to Europe is extremely expensive today. Then again, maybe its high time the Europeans to do their part and come here instead since they receive several weeks of government mandated holidays each year.
If anyone stores their dollar away in a bank vault, they deserve to have trouble years later. The lesson of currency is that paper money is not meant to be a "BFF" (best friends forever) locket that you tuck away holding warm and fuzzy feelings about it for some rainy day. Use it or lose it is the motto.
However, for those who embrace individual liberty, ingenuity, and discipline, which are the high traditions of American values, dollars are tools to be used today to create wealth. Americans use dollars to save, borrow, and invest in ventures of wealth creation even while the currency slouches toward debasement.
Will there be a Panic of 1837, Boom and Bust of 1873, Panic of 1907, Depression of 1929, Crash of 1987, Credit Debt Obligation Crisis of 2008 again? Absolutely. What can we expect with imperfect government officials priming the pump? In spite of the CDO crisis, housing crisis, and market jitters reverberating around the globe, Americans still work, eat, worship, and enjoy life like no Roman, Spaniard, Mongol, or Englishman ever had with dollar sinking and all.
But statistics reveal that Americans under King Dollar rule are by far better off today than in days of our parents or grandparents when speaking of standard of living.
Doomers and gloomers rarely give credit in the modern finance system for things that have gone right.
Had there been no fractional reserve system pumping out more dollars in loans than there was gold or silver toward new ideas, free enterprise, and toward the general engagement of commerce, then general productivity would have suffered. Progress would have stifled. Employments rates would be much higher (see Europe). Wealth creation for the masses wouldn't be available.
The falling dollar since Dexter White and Keynes at Bretton Woods in 1945, has produced the greatest standard of living ever known to mankind.
On the day that the dollar goes the way of the Sterling, we should all toast its greatness. Imperfect men have, indeed, engineered the most remarkable economic growth during the twentieth century ever seen. In centuries to come, the dollar, the Fed, and elected officials will be remembered involved in a time when Americans prospered, invented, and created mass wealth like no people ever before.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Then it was Putin's turn. Five-hundred Russian tanks, military jets, and and military personnel invaded President Mikheil Sakashvili's Georgian Republic. Georgian miltary forces were repelled out of their own cities; thousands of Georgian citizens in Tblisi, the capital, endured the bombing campaigns of Russian war planes. All of this during the Goodwill of the Olympics?
So what to make of Putin and the invasion? Seven years earlier George Bush stated: "I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straight forward and trustworthy and we had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul."
Since those famous words about Putin, he has jailed Karaspov and political opposition for power, shut down media outlets, nationalized Gazprom, and declared that democracy doesn't always have to be American style.
Senator McCain's recently commented, "I looked into Putin's eyes and saw 3 letters--KGB."
Who is closer to the truth-Bush or McCain?
Putin is rebuilding empire. With $120 oil, huge cash influx, and a new Russian spirit, Putin is reassembling empire beginning with the run-away republics of the 1990's. Putin has stated that the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century was the implosion of political and economic Soviet Russia. Putin intends to recticy such a disaster.
In addition, it is Putin's Russia that has felt the slap of a superior America since 1990 Soviet implosion. Consider the following since 1990:
With 14 former Soviet states breaking away since 1990, the Bush Administration unilaterally debunked the SALT Treaty of five American presidents and is deploying a missile defense shield in the Ukraine and Poland - rolling runways, F-16s, bombers, and soldiers up to the borders of Russia.
Is it any wonder that Putin has called Bush, "A wolf in sheep's clothing"? Putin's 65% popularity amongst Russians comes from standing up to the Americans, who have treated Russia as a second rate power.
Putin's blood, indeed, boiled when America and her western allies backed a Bosnian plan to separate from Serbia. These are Slavic affairs. The Bosnians separated. The United Nations recognized the move. It is to be remember that Russians went to war in 1914 for Serbia. The blood ties are no less today between Serbia and Russia.
Countries have honor, like individuals. As Putin's Russia was discarded by the world as a world power, the motherland has wallowed in an identity crisis since Gorbacev's "Glasnost".
But Putin has slowly and autocratically used democracy to manipulate events with oil passing $100 per barrel. Who else is responsible for stoking the flames of nationalism in South Ossetia, where a small segment want nothing with being Georgian? Could it be that the Kremlin has plotted to back separatists to break away from Georgia? Moscow has sent munitions and military training as well as funded nearly 60% of South Ossetia's provincial budget in the name of secession from Georgia.
Putin has determined that if the Russians can't have Georgia as a pliable neighbor, then they will strip Georgia of its vital importance to the Bush administration and the west.
Yes-oil flows from the Caspian through Georgia. But its honor that matters most to Putin and his citizens more so.
Wasn't it the Russians who wathched embarassingly, as Serbia lost Bosnia, and could only twiddle their thumbs? Serbia was worth starting WWI to the Russians. In 2008, neither Medvedev nor Putin are about to lose all of Georgia to the west.
Putin has laid the mousetrap. Georgia's, Mikhail Saakashvili's bit with an untenable gamble. The Russian Bear has swallowed South Ossetia for good. Will the Americans or Europeans start a shooting war with the Russians for land in the Caucus Mountains? Thus, Sakhavili's cry, "The Russians are coming!! The Russians are coming!!" will go the way of the Sudentland just before WWII.
Will JFK's great demands to "bear any burden and pay any price" to defend America's allies across the globe have limits?
The clock is ticking...
The Russians are digging in. Missiles will be deployed in South Ossetia. And the west will likely do little to alter the course of Russian aggression this time.
Americans, however, have already encircled Moscow post 9/11 with an unbelievable geostrategic military cooperation of Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazahkstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. Its amazing how well the "War on Terror" has worked out for the United States. That means boots on the ground, runways built, F-16's and bombers on alert each day eyeing Moscow and Beijing.
The Great Bear of Russia, though, is trying to rise from the ashes of humiliation and near bankruptcy in 1991, Russia's new found wealth and identity in the last 10 years has the country extracting oil in 11 time zones, beefing up its military, and attempting to reassert its role in the world.
Its the good old days again! The Cold War gave America an arch enemy to fight; its military a purpose for existence. And the bad boy Russians may be here to stay.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
The 3rd world China has slogged its way into the modernized, industrialized, technologically advanced, and civilized era of modernity. The country that bears 34 children every new minute, has its government officials pouring close to 100 billion dollars to erect 1st rate facilities while overhauling entire cities. In addition, the Communist political elites have promised to divert all rain with missile technology, eliminate polution for the games, and create a 1st world city for athletes and spectators alike.
The entire makeover is rather remarkable on the surface. It's the new promise of China. The old is gone; the new has arrived. Modern day history has little to say in flattering the Chinese. Maybe thats why many Chinese citizens would buy Thomas Jefferson's adage:
"I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past".
Jefferson's momento is exactly how the Chinese feel. Euphoria surround the country as the world gathers to to see the new and improved China. National pride swells in the streets. And the Olympics is the reflection of Chinese satisfaction. Satisfaction of what?
The great revolution of the 21st century is China's.
11% annual growth rates
millions of savers, investors, and capitalists going to work
large military buildup of naval vessels and army technology
space walks and moon landings in sight
2nd largest world economy
Such progress despite how little kindness modern history has been to the Chinese people. The subjugation of China by western imperial powers beginning with England that led to the humiliating Opium Wars of 1840 and 1856. These are not soon to be forgotten. Shoving opium down the throats of Chinese citizens only to have one-quarter of the male population addicted by 1905. The Quing Dynasty sought relief and signed the one-sided treaties including the Treaty of Nanking and Tianjin.
The net effect? Provisions included according to Wikkipedia "for the opening of additional ports to foreign trade, for fixed tariffs, the recognition of both countries as equal in correspondence, and the giving of Hong Kong to Britain. The British also gained extraterritorial rights."
Of course, Germany, Portugal, France, and the United States would have their turns opening up the land of China to western trade with additional ports. As India was the crown jewel of England, China became the harlot of Europe and the west. Humiliated, the Quing Dynasty signed agreements bringing about the Taiping Rebellion, Boxer Rebellion, and the downfall of the Quing Dynasty in 1912.
The 20th century brought bloodshed, chaos, and furthe pain to China. Japan's invasion and rape of Nanking in 1937, China's Civil War between Chang Kai Chek and Mao Tse Tung in the 1940's, and the economic disaster of collective communes in the 1950's, left China a nuclear power and a 3rd world nation.
The communists have ruled into the 21st century. But it was Mao Tse Tung who capitulated in the early 1970's seeing the disaster of collectivism. Thus, it was Chairman Mao who asserted, "what does it matter whether the mouse trap is blac or white as long as trap catches mice."
Politically silenced, but economically encouraged, the people were incentivized to create, develop, and earn money as the western capitalists did.
Entering the 21st century, the nation with a million man army that spends nearly 12% on its military budget, has an exploding economy that is the 2nd largest in the world.
Spain had its 16th century. France had its 18th century. England's empire where the sun did not set had its 19th century. America had its rule in the 20th century. Will the Asian Tiger rise to its place in our century, the 21st century?
Beijing's coming out party is but the beginning. And Jefferson's addage...."I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past" describes the mindset of 1.3 billion Chinese today.
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
The result? It was an economic dive-- into recession and "Hoover Hotels". Monday morning quarterbacks understand that strong-arm central planning has its place--but its not in America. the text books usually associate economic centralized planning with Bolshevik Russia and Mussolini's Italy. Yet, as Hoover's slogan and centralized planning schemes were implemented according to his will, trade was destroyed, capital dried up, and ingenuity was stifled. Jobs were lost, industries destroyed, and ________.
Surely the next president would understand the problem- right?
But it was FDR whose inner counsel glowed with reports from Mussolini's Italy and the Russian centralized planning apparatus. They have no rich...and therefore, no poor. Feeding the masses--this is what they do through government planning and distribution systems.
FDR's inner-circle was inspired. The Europeans and the Russians were going to teach Americans how not to starve and to make sure all comrades of the motherland could have their needs met----
The people have to be fed. They must be clothed. They must be cared for. The state must intervene against the exploiters, the robber barrons, and the capitalists who are to blame for the stock market crash and "Hoover Hotels".
With no chickens in pots and no cars in garages, FDR single-handedly turned a Hoover recession into an FDR Depression. More government control....more federal aid...more help from D.C....more strong-armed tactics against corporations....
What Hoover had engineered with large government programs and interventionsist federal policies between capital and labor, FDR doubled in eight years. Huge government programs, tariffs, and federal interventionist schemes, dislocated capital, stifled ingenuity, and destroyed labor produced 25% unemployment.
So what does this have to do with Senator Obama?
He promises to re-design America "to be more fair for all Americans".
He promises to transfer wealth from the wealthy to the poor
He promises to tax dividends and capital gains at higher rates than today
He promises to hike income taxes on the highest wage earning Americans today
He promises to hand out $1,000 to every American family from the profits of oil companies
He promises to review NAFTA and free trade
The Senator from Illinois is not alone in his promises. Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Ted Kennedy and the entire wealth transfer gang have been harping for such utopian change forever.
McGovern's 1972 presidential bid uncluded free money to poor people in America. Hillary Clinton just finished promising the NAACP crowd $5,000 for every new-born baby in America. Walter Mondale in 1980 promised to hike taxes. Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and John Kerry promised the same shenanigans for the American people.
"LBJ all the way" didn't just promise to end poverty. Kennedy's Vice-president took the bull by the horn and jammed down America's throat government housing projects, welfare checks, food stamps, entitlement galore, etc..."The Great Society" and the expirement to eliminate poverty, disease, and ignorance produced 1 trillion dollars of debt and a destruction of work ethic like nothing seen before.
With Bear Stearns bailed out, 400 billion dollar in bail out money for homeowners, and Bernanke's discount window for financial institutions to drink from with cheap money, what exacly have we learned? We have learned that Reagan's America, where individuals have freedom and responsibility to live as Americans, is being challenged once again.
Will it be bread for the people? Or will the people demand their freedom to fail and succeed on their own at the ballot box this November? The prosperity of the 1920's found an end. Re-engineering America out of capitalism and into "no can't lose or fail" was Hoover and FDR's undoing in the 1930's.
The fresh face Senator Obama promises "a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage" but shouldn't Americans remember the last time a President made such promises in 1928?
Senator Obama, in an energy initiative speech, promises all Americans $1,000 each extracted from the windfall profits of big oil companies.
In addition, the Senator is being egged on to hike taxes including on income, dividends, and capital gains. The Senator promises "to make America a more fair place for all Americans." In the heritage of George McGovern 1972 who promised free cash running for office, and Hillary Clinton promising a $5,000 baby bond for new babies born in America if elected, the Senator has learned well how to run for office as a populist democrat.
The informed Harvard Law Review professor is a fresh face making a big splash in America. A hero to some, the post-racial hope to others, and an eloquent mystery man to others, Senator Obama delivers his message. What exactly is his message?
"Change that you can believe in" won him the Democratic primary. A fresh face and big splash doesn't change the equation. Trotting out old liberal quasi-socialist policies of McGovern, LBJ, and FDR, are supposed to be positive steps this time.
Hoover's governmental intervention programs all but assured a recession in 1929. FDR's policy-making counsel lauded Hoover's team for taking control of the American economy. What did FDR's team do? It proceeded to turn a recession in 1932 into and produce 25% unemployment, destroy capital formation, and dislocate capital from labor. More government programs, handouts, and federal help became the mantra of FDR. It took a world war to deliver the citizens of America from the clutches of FDR's socialist policies. And Democrats hail FDR as the greatest of all 20th century presidents?
"LBJ all the way" gave us "The Great Society". LBJ's 1960's promises to erradicate poverty, ignorance, and hunger was not only liberal, but Messianic in nature. Welfare money at the mailbox for votes at the ballot box gave liberals the impoverished vote.
And how does any of this history have anything to do with Senator Obama?
The Senator promises to strong-arm Americans, capitalists, and the wealthy for sure. "The automobile industry needs a partner in the federal government...." says the Senator.
The oil companies have made too much money off the backs of Americans. Big pharma companies ought to be regulated even further. Tax-paying Americans socking money away must have their divends taxed and their capital gains taxed. Waving his finger at all Americans to inflate their tires and tune-up their cars, the Senator explains that how badly he feels that gas prices have risen so quickly.
Drilling for oil is bad...inflating our tires is good.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Enter Constititutional scholar and Harvard Law Review Editor and graduate, Senator Barack Obama:
"There are things you can do individually, though, to save energy," Obama said. "Making sure your tires are properly inflated - simple thing. But we could save all the oil that they're talking about getting off drilling - if everybody was just inflating their tires? And getting regular tune-ups? You'd actually save just as much!"
This is the wise judgment Senator Obama promises to have entering the White House as our President? With oil hovering at $125 per barrel, the Senator believes that Americans "can't drill their way out" of this crisis. Beside the thorny fact that very few cars require tune-ups anymore, what does inflating our tires do for Americans spending $4 per gallon filling up their gas tanks?
At best, its a 3% increase in gasoline efficiency.
According to Ken Sheperd, "Americans drive approximately 2,880 billion miles per year. If we average 24 mpg, we use around 120 billion gallons of gasoline in our vehicles. If, through perfect tire inflation, we improved our collective fuel efficiency by 1.5%, that would be 1.8 billion gallons. A barrel of oil produces around 20 gallons of gasoline, so the total savings available through tire inflation is approximately 90,000,000 barrels of oil annually."
In the same Missouri speech, Senator Obama reversed his drill for oil policy in seeking a compromise for "limited" drilling off of the continental shelf. In addition, the Senator promised each American citizen $1,000 derived from a windfall profit tax on Exxon Mobil record profits.
Inflate our tires solves our problem. Tune-up our cars. Tax Exxon Mobil. Unleash the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for of 90 billion barrels to reduce gas prices.
Apparently, drilling for oil is not a legitimate option. Tracking polls in California and Florida have recently shown a complete reversal. Citizens of these states have willingly stated a desire to see greater drilling in and around their respective states. Even a marginal politician would have common sense enough to grasp the "drill here - drill know - pay less" concept?
It is true that Senator McCain's design to have a "gas tax holiday" was cooky at best.
But is Senator Obama's "Air the Tires" doctrine any better?
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Did anyone realize that No Child Left Behind, and Prescription Health Care programs would be signed into law by this President? He cut taxes. He appointed the two most conservative judges to the Supreme Court. Yet, he vetoed nothing in six years, turned surpluses into gargantuan deficits, doubled the national debt to 9.5 trillion dollars, globally crusaded the world to reshape it for democracy. And these are supposed to be the policies of a conservative?
What would Russell Kirk, William Buckley, Robert Taft, or Ronald Reagan say?
"Et tu, Brute," Ceasar's last words to his best of friends, Brutus. Do not the same words dribble from the mouths of conservatives, soccer moms, local pro-lifers who fought, walked, and registered new voters in 2000 and 2004? President Bush ran as a conservative. He governed as a liberal, in so many ways.
As Republicans endure an existential crisis, questioning who they are, what exactly are we to say conservatives are to do? After all, if Bush #43 or John McCain's policies are the new policies of the Republican party, what are good conservatives to do with the party they have worked so dilligently shaping since the days of Goldwater, Reagan, and Gingrich?
Let us reaffirm the manifesto of conservativism-what is it exactly?
According to philosopher Dinesh D'Souzas, "Conservatives seek a social structure that helps to bring out the best in human nature and suppress man's lower or base impulses. Conservatives support capitalism as a way of steering our natural pursuit of self-interest toward the material betterment of society at large. Finally, conservatives support autonomy when it is attached to personal responsibility -- when people are held accountable for their actions. However, they also believe in the indispensability of moral incubators -- the family, the church, civic institutions such as the Boy Scouts and The American Legion -- that aim to foster civic virtue and show people how to use freedom well."In a broad sweeping statement from the intellectual 20th century founder and giant of American political conservativism, Russell Kirk says,
"Conservatives generally believe that there exists a transcendent moral order, to which we ought to try to conform the ways of society. Conservatives uphold the principle of social continuity. They prefer the devil they know to the devil they don't know. Order and justice and freedom, they believe, are the artificial products of a long and painful social experience, the results of centuries of trial and reflection and sacrifice. Conservatives are chastened by their principle of imperfectability. Human nature suffers irremediably from certain faults, the conservatives know. Man being imperfect, no perfect social order can ever be created," in The Conservative Mind.
A more concrete definition of a conservative can be found in the Harvard University Institute of Politics:
"Conservatives traditionally stand for low taxes, a strong military, traditional values, and little intervention by government in everyday life." -- Harvard University Institute of Politics
John Derbyshire's bullet points (3) describing conservatives is as follows:
1. a deep suspicion of the power of the state.
2. a preference for liberty over equality.
4. a belief in established institutions and hierarchies.
5. skepticism about the idea of progress.
Of course, no conservative dossier is complete without the bullet point lessons from the mastermind of the 20th century conservative movement, Russell Kirk. It is he, with his ten principles that articulated what would become the principles of Goldwater, Reagan, and Gingrich in the Republican Party in principle.
Kirk's principles of conservativism:
1) there exists an enduring moral order
2) adherance to custom, convention, and continuity
3) adherance to the principle of prescription
4) guided by the principle of prudence
5) attention is given to the principle of variety
6) conservatives are chastened by their principle of imperfectibility
7) belief that freedom and property are closely linked
8) uphold voluntary community; oppose involuntary collectivism
9) need for prudent restraints upon power and human passions
10) permanence and change must be reconciled to a vigorous society
Being a liberal is so much easier. Promise your constituents everything they want to hear. Then rant and rave on the Congressional floor and on the air waves about how unfair a place America is.
Conservativism, on the other hand, requires intelligence and discipline. Explaining to your consituents that Washington shouldn't meddle in the lives of Americans is difficult enough. Coming home without any pork while every other district in the nation has Senators and Congressmen returning home with Christmas gifts of pork is even more diffiicult.
The post Gingrich revolution has seen Repubicans become just like the Democrats in their spending habits. Even Democrats are a bit dispappointed. Most Democrats were, I'm sure, secretly missing their stodgy grey-haired conservative colleagues standing at the edge of the financial cliff waving stop signs before Democrats conjured up financial Armageddon.
Americans remain moderately conservative, by enlarge. Republicans and Democrats even run conservative campaigns knowing that is how to get elected. Once elected, conservativism is turned into Goodwill like an old coat for the plush appointments to committees and chairmanships.
The nation has seen revolutionary days before. The 5,000 Patriots who gathered in Boston Harbor in 1773 tossed 45 tons of tea off British boats into the harbor. Reagan had a revolution that lasted 30 years changing the course of America. Gingrich brought one to town in the 1990's giving us balanced budgets and surpluses.
Since the politicians aren't listening much anymore, isn't time for conservatives to gather the pitchforks? It's time for a new crop of conservatives who value individual liberty more than collective security and creativity more than government spending.
A trillion dollars in write-offs from the sub-prime crisis, and more looming ahead?
" When sorrows come - they come not single spies- but in battalions " says Shakespeare's Hamlet.
Then comes well respected CEO of Merrill Lynch John Thaine, who had virtually guaranteed in April that Merrill would need no capital assistance. Thaine emphatically repeated that Merrill would take one write-down of 6 billion dollars and had no need to dilute shareholder wealth again. Shareholders were assured the big problems were over! They had a respectable man's word and an expert analyst at markets working on their behalf.
What happened next? End of July after the markets closed, Merrill Lynch decided to give a bath to Merrill shareholders. Thaine surprisingly announced the need to raise 8 billion dollars, sell assets, and deliver 30 billion dollars of mortgage debt to a Dallas-based company for 6.7 billion dollars. Its over. Merrill now for sure has no further need to write down assets, or raise capital- right?
Why such a lack of transparent honesty? Men of character and quality are supposed to march up the ladder of corporate success. They aren't supposed to be cheaters and liars. To lie and cheat all the way up will sooner than later disembowel your career, it would seem.
How did we get to where we are? Where little guys are looking at the Captain's of Industry and Finance trusting each word from there mouth with the little guy finding out that he has been sold swamp land?
Where is the Sunday School that used to teach us right from wrong? Where conscience, God, meaning, purpose, and destiny could be aroused and counted on to lead our children through adulthood.
Benjamin Franklin's admonition, "Sell no virtue to purchase wealth".
Seeing Bernanke, Greenspan, Thaine, etc...walk a tight rope of American global finance, we see that virtue in modern day 21st century America indeed does have a price. Greenspan writes a book absolving himself of the housing and credit crisis that began under his watch. Bernanke bails out Bear Stearns midnight on a Sunday and states that all is structurally sound nonetheless in American finance. Apparently, there is a a price at which virtue can be sold. The result of such complete breakdown of honesty in America?
The financial system is distrusted. With the dollar teetering at all time lows wanting to break down completely, an economy having a drunken man's hangover from the eight year party, CEO's are forced to make gutsy decisions that will mark them for life.
Will these men of power tell the board, shareholders, and CNBC what everyone wants to hear? Or will truth come from their mouths?
Donald Tomnitz, CEO of DR Horton Homebuilders, stated that 2007 would "suck", expressing the poor outlook for the industry and company. No excuses. No glossing over the facts. No silver lining to hoodwink the investing public. The integrity of a man whose walk with Christ matters was most refreshing.
On the other hand, the multi-millionaire type John Thaines, Richard Thulds of Lehman Brothers, and Jimmy Caynes of Bear Stearns surely have Dante infuriated that he had not the chance to write about them concerning the inferno of eternity? Hoping for government bailouts or a Hail Mary pass, these men have failed their companies, their shareholders, and have destroyed their integrity for many days to come. Instead of coming clean, they waited. Better news...bail out...better markets...better prices...etc...it doesn't matter. They waited!
Trust is built brick by brick thousands of days at a time, but is destroyed in a single day.
Billions of dollars can come and go quickly. Trust and transparency cannot come and go so quickly.
Fixing the credit markets is much more than pricing assets that can't move. Credit markets demand honesty and transparency that has been little forthcoming. When the heroes of capitalism are known for truth more than shading the truth, buyers and sellers will buy and sell again.
With the S&P down 21% since October 2007 and putting in the worst single month performance of 11% down in June since the Great Depression, maybe a little bit of Sunday School honesty could go a long way to improving confidence in the markets?
Cursed is the man who has no crisis from which to grow. In the end, it is not money that we will be remembered for making, but character that we employed in the living of life.
Monday, July 28, 2008
With the dollar having plummeted against other currencies, record foreclosures, the S&P down 21%, stagnant wages, federal deficits out of control, Senator Obama has answers to supply-siders and spenders in DC. Easy credit no longer easy to come by, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have received a discount window from the Treasury to back the untold trillion dollars of obligations held, the Senator has government sponsored solutions. Bear Stearns, Indy Mac, Lehman Brothers, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac are but examples of credit destruction and risk-reassessment.
The Senator's sparse record on Capitol Hill is one of gleeful spending. Far left of Kerry, Gore, Clinton, the Senator brings an "audacity of hope" to spend our way to fixing what President Bush has described "America's hangover".
Fixing America is Senator Obama's goal by "creating more fair economic opportunity" for all Americans.
Higher capital gains and dividend taxes on the rich, and no capital gains tax on the small business entrepreneur are part of his magic. From 35% to 39.6%, Senator Obama promises an income tax hike on the wealthiest of Americans.
The Senator's proposals seem modest, reasonable, and sensible, except that Washington already spends 2.9 trillion American dollars for the good of all Americans, right?
In addition, the supply-siders had their chance with President Bush. It is true that jobs have been created in his 7 1/2 year presidency. It is true that all Americans received tax cuts twice during the President's tenure. It is true that record numbers of Americans have created significant wealth through home ownership in the last 10 years. It is true that record numbers of Americans graduated from college, found better paying careers, and started more businesses than ever before.
Yet, Senator Obama promises to fix "the crisis" that impends upon Americans. After all, "the dream is slipping away" for most Americans according to the Senator.
Perhaps what is really slipping away is the truth about how Americans are doing across the United States.
Is it possible that Americans tire of elected officials promising to fix America? Yogi Berra once said, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". And America ain't broke! Americans fear one thing about their government. That any politician would actually be able to employ lots of government solutions to fixing the America we all know and love.
The charade is clear for politicians. Get elected by promising to fix what isn't broke. Once elected, tell the electorate that the problem was more difficult than first imagined, but you've been working hard to fix the problem that the people didn't know they had. You, in fact, need four more years to solve their problem they didn't know that they had.
Wow! If only we could employ this stunt in the real world where performance is measured and pink slips are offered for failure?