Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Before You Vote for Obama Learn What He's Going to Do to the Economy

If Bailout Plan Is Too Socialistic, Just Wait For Obama Leviathan


Election '08: Have Americans been so lulled by Barack Obama's smooth talk that they don't realize his plans would expand government into a massive socialist behemoth? His is a soft-spoken, hard-left agenda...
But the subprime crisis Washington is dealing with is the result of three decades of the federal government pressuring banks — via the regulatory demands of the Democrats' 1977 Community Reinvestment Act, which was expanded by Bill Clinton — to make tens of billions of dollars in bad loans to poor people with lousy credit ratings.

It was Democrats' regulatory and litigious assaults upon the mortgage market in pursuit of "social justice" that left our economy in its precarious position of today; indeed as an attorney, Obama himself in 1994 represented a client suing Citibank, accusing it of systematically denying mortgages to blacks.

But if the taxpayer rescue of Wall Street and Uncle Sam's taking over the banking system scares you, the broader socialism planned by the Democratic presidential nominee should leave you petrified.

Here are a few examples, with price tags provided by the National Taxpayers Union Foundation:

The 2008 Economic Crisis - Courtesy of the 1999 Clinton Administration

It's all documented in The New York Times. In September 30, 1999 Steven A. Holmes wrote a column in the New York Times describing how the Clinton Administration pressured Fannie Mae to ease up on the credit requirements for obtaining loans for the purchase of a home. This is the true source of all our current problems. Now, to believe that the government is going to cure this crisis of their own doing with throwing MORE of our money on top of this pyre is absurd and suicidal. We Americans must learn once and for all that Government SHOULD NOT BE meddling in the economy. STAY OUT and leave us alone.

Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending
By STEVEN A. HOLMES (September 30, 1999) New York Times
In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.

The action, which will begin as a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15 markets -- including the New York metropolitan region -- will encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify for conventional loans. Fannie Mae officials say they hope to make it a nationwide program by next spring.

Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.
In addition, banks, thrift institutions and mortgage companies have been pressing Fannie Mae to help them make more loans to so-called subprime borrowers. These borrowers whose incomes, credit ratings and savings are not good enough to qualify for conventional loans, can only get loans from finance companies that charge much higher interest rates -- anywhere from three to four percentage points higher than conventional loans.

''Fannie Mae has expanded home ownership for millions of families in the 1990's by reducing down payment requirements,'' said Franklin D. Raines, Fannie Mae's chairman and chief executive officer. ''Yet there remain too many borrowers whose credit is just a notch below what our underwriting has required who have been relegated to paying significantly higher mortgage rates in the so-called subprime market.''

Demographic information on these borrowers is sketchy. But at least one study indicates that 18 percent of the loans in the subprime market went to black borrowers, compared to 5 per cent of loans in the conventional loan market.

In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980's.

''From the perspective of many people, including me, this is another thrift industry growing up around us,'' said Peter Wallison a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. ''If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry.''

Under Fannie Mae's pilot program, consumers who qualify can secure a mortgage with an interest rate one percentage point above that of a conventional, 30-year fixed rate mortgage of less than $240,000 -- a rate that currently averages about 7.76 per cent. If the borrower makes his or her monthly payments on time for two years, the one percentage point premium is dropped.

Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, does not lend money directly to consumers. Instead, it purchases loans that banks make on what is called the secondary market. By expanding the type of loans that it will buy, Fannie Mae is hoping to spur banks to make more loans to people with less-than-stellar credit ratings.

Fannie Mae officials stress that the new mortgages will be extended to all potential borrowers who can qualify for a mortgage. But they add that the move is intended in part to increase the number of minority and low income home owners who tend to have worse credit ratings than non-Hispanic whites.

Home ownership has, in fact, exploded among minorities during the economic boom of the 1990's. The number of mortgages extended to Hispanic applicants jumped by 87.2 per cent from 1993 to 1998, according to Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies. During that same period the number of African Americans who got mortgages to buy a home increased by 71.9 per cent and the number of Asian Americans by 46.3 per cent.

In contrast, the number of non-Hispanic whites who received loans for homes increased by 31.2 per cent.

Despite these gains, home ownership rates for minorities continue to lag behind non-Hispanic whites, in part because blacks and Hispanics in particular tend to have on average worse credit ratings.

In July, the Department of Housing and Urban Development proposed that by the year 2001, 50 percent of Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's portfolio be made up of loans to low and moderate-income borrowers. Last year, 44 percent of the loans Fannie Mae purchased were from these groups...(READ).

Monday, September 29, 2008

Our Hobgoblin - The Government

With all the bad news about our finances in the news and our politicians apparently making it worse it's nice to take a breath and read an article by Walter Williams (Capitalism Magazine) basically telling us to take a deep breath and not to panic. We are a wealthy nation with a very productive people. If the politicians would just shut up and stay out of the way we will make it through this "crisis" (of their own making in my opinion).
"There is a H.L. Mencken quotation that captures the essence of this year's politics: "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." The media, economic "experts" and both presidential candidates are making bad-talking our economy key features of their campaign messages. For politicians and their hangers-on, keeping the populace alarmed is a strategy to seize more control over our lives. It's so important that Senator John McCain took his economic adviser, former Senator Phil Gramm, to the woodshed for saying that America had "become a nation of whiners" and described the current slowdown as a "mental recession." Had Senator Gramm added that economically today's Americans are better off than at any time in our history, he might have lost his job altogether. Let's look at it."... (READ THE REST HERE)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

FREE TRADE is the Solution

"Removing trade and capital barriers during a financial meltdown is sound policy. Former Treasury official Fred Bergsten recently pointed out that, amid all the gloom on Wall Street, the economy has continued to grow, thanks largely to exports. "This export boom has saved us from recession over the past year and, despite the recent financial turmoil, is likely to continue doing so," he says. Let's hope the presidential candidates take note." (Wall Street Jr.)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

No Oil, No Coal, No Nothing = No Industry=Poverty

If you don't believe that the Democrats are out to ruin the United States economically then read this from the Wall Street Journal about an encounter between Joe Biden and a fan regarding "clean coal".

The classic definition of a gaffe is when a politician accidentally tells the truth, and specialists like Joe Biden can work wonders with the form. ..revealing volumes about liberal energy politics.

Working the rope line in Maumee, Ohio, the Senator was asked by an environmentalist why he and Mr. Obama support "clean coal." "We're not supporting clean coal," Mr. Biden responded. Then, riffing on China's breakneck construction of new coal plants, he continued, "No coal plants here in America. Build them, if they're going to build them, over there."

Coal happens to be the indispensable workhorse of the U.S. power system, providing about 50% of the country's electricity. Many Democrats nonetheless despise coal -- because of pollution before the era of scrubbers, but especially now because of carbon emissions. Al Gore favors an outright moratorium on coal-fired power in the name of climate change. Meanwhile, any scheme to tax and regulate carbon -- like the cap-and-trade program backed by Mr. Obama and John McCain -- would hit coal first and hardest, effectively banishing it from the U.S. energy mix.

Mr. Biden, then, only stated an obvious if politically unutterable truth. The real costs of green ambitions won't be paid by well-heeled coastal liberals, but will fall disproportionately on the Southern and Midwestern states that depend on coal for jobs and power. The blue-collar voters of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and so forth will get hurt most -- notwithstanding Mr. Biden's campaign reinvention as the scrapper from Scranton.

As for "clean coal," the Obama campaign actually supports it. But this too is a political bait-and-switch, perhaps explaining Mr. Biden's confusion. In theory, clean coal would require capturing greenhouse gas emissions, compressing them into liquid and then pumping it underneath the earth. Even if the technology were ready for commercial deployment tomorrow, to sequester just 25% of yearly U.S. CO2 emissions would mean moving volumes more than twice as large as the world's current oil pipeline system can handle. That will require an enormous amount of money, and generations to build.

That an eminence like Mr. Biden is clueless about coal suggests how little official Washington has thought through the consequences of its anticarbon agenda. His blunder is also notable because it exposed the realities that politicians prefer not to voice amid an election campaign. Coal-state voters should be watching what their politicians really have planned for them come January.

These people, even McCain, seem like a recipe for disaster for my beloved United States. What a shame. We can do better.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Obama or McCain - What Difference Does It Make?

Will we ever get a candidate that is truly a maverick? ....Someone that will change the face of government and bring us back to our Founders' ideal of limited government? Both McCain and Obama are altruists who call on Americans to sacrifice, sacrifice and more sacrifice. This is the mantra of 20th and 21st century politics. Instead of following the delimited role of government as described in the Constitution, our politicians make themselves out as our saviours. So while government has created all the financial messes we have had in the past 100 years government also tells us that they will save us if we also sacrifice. We the people must stop agreeing with them. We must tell them to do what they are supposed to do and to stop messing up our private lives. STAY OUT OF THE ECONOMY! McCain and Obama is no choice at all - it is more of the same old politics of messing up our lives.

As the 2008 presidential election nears, and while John McCain and Barack Obama struggle to distinguish themselves from each other in terms of particular promises and goals, it is instructive to observe that these candidates are indistinguishable in terms of fundamentals.

On the domestic front, McCain promises to “take on” the drug companies, as if those who produce and market the medicines that improve and save human lives must be fought; he promises to ration energy by means of a cap-and-trade scheme, as if the government has a moral or constitutional right to dictate how much energy a company may purchase or use; he promises to “battle” big oil, as if those who produce and deliver the lifeblood of civilization need to be defeated; he promises to “reform” Wall Street, as if those who finance the businesses that produce the goods and services on which our lives depend are thereby degenerate; he seeks to uphold the ban on drilling in ANWR, as if the government has a moral or constitutional right to prevent Americans from reshaping nature to suit their needs; and so on.

Obama promises to socialize health care (under the tired euphemism of “universal health care”), as if insurance companies, doctors, and patients have no right to use or dispose of their property or to contract with one another according to their own judgment; he promises to increase the minimum wage, as if employers and employees lack those same rights; he promises to pour taxpayer money into “alternative energy,” as if the government has a moral or constitutional right to confiscate money from productive citizens in order to subsidize tilting windmills; he promises to force oil companies to fund government handouts to Americans, as if the owners of oil companies have no right to their property or profits; he promises to bail out homeowners who cannot pay their mortgages, as if the government has a moral or constitutional right to make some people pay for the financial mistakes or hardships of others; he promises to “incentivize” students to do “community service” by offering them taxpayer-funded college tuition, as if the government has a moral or constitutional right to do so; and so on.

In regard to foreign policy, McCain promises to “respect the collective will of our democratic allies,” as if America has no moral right to defend her citizens according to her own best judgment; and he promises to finish the “mission” of making Iraq “a functioning democracy” even if it takes “one hundred years,” as if the U.S. government has a moral or constitutional right to sacrifice American soldiers to spread democracy abroad.1

Obama promises to uphold the idea that “America’s larger purpose in the world is to promote the spread of freedom. . . . dignity, and opportunity,” as if we have a moral responsibility to minister to the uncivilized and the unfortunate across the globe; and he promises to negotiate with jihadists who chant “Death to America,” as if Americans will be safe from these lunatics when the lunatics give Obama their word.2

Looking past the particular programs of McCain and Obama, and viewing their goals in terms of the purpose of government presumed by these goals, we can see that both candidates hold that the purpose of government is to manage the economy, to regulate businesses, to redistribute wealth, to bring freedom or democracy to foreigners, and to defer to the will of others on matters of American security.

But this is not the proper purpose of government. Nor is it the purpose that America’s founders had in mind when they formed this great country...READ THE REST OF THIS IMPORTANT ARTICLE HERE.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

New Wave of Protectionism with an Obama Presidency

Mary Anastasia O'Grady discusses the dangers of trade barriers with Latin America. We have history with the US government (the Republicans) putting up trade barriers in the "Smoot-Hawley" Tariff Act just before the Great Depression. With this protectionism both the US and Latin America suffered. Ms O'Grady is of the opinion that with an Obama presidency he will most certainly stop liberalizing free trade and in fact go back to NAFTA.

Free trade makes us all better off by allowing the market place to rule and not politicians! It promotes friendship and cultural understanding. Our industries and products don't need to be "protected" - we need free trade with our Latin American friends.

The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act (sometimes known as the Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act)[1] was an act signed into law on June 17, 1930, that raised U.S. tariffs on over 20,000 imported goods to record levels. In the United States 1,028 economists signed a petition against this legislation, and after it was passed, many countries retaliated with their own increased tariffs on U.S. goods, and American exports and imports plunged by more than half. In the opinion of some economists, the Smoot-Hawley act was partially responsible for the severity of the Great Depression. (Wikopedia)

Listen to the video here: "The Perils of US Protectionism" and article: "Latin America Wants Free Trade".

Another description of what brought about the "Smoot-Hawley" act.
In the decade after the end of the First World War, the United States continued to embrace the high tariffs that had characterized its trade policy since the Civil War. These were enacted, in part, to appease domestic constituencies, but ultimately they served to hinder international economic cooperation and trade in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

High tariffs were a means not only of protecting infant industries, but of generating revenue for the federal government. They were also a mainstay of the Republican Party, which dominated the Washington political scene after the Civil War. After the Democrats, who supported freer trade, captured Congress and the White House in the elections of 1910 and 1912, the stage was set for a change in tariff policy. With the 1913 Underwood-Simmons Tariff, the United States broke with its tradition of protectionism, enacting legislation that lowered tariffs (and also instituted an income tax). The reversion of Congress to Republican control during the First World War and the 1920 election of Republican Warren Harding to the presidency signaled an end to the experiment with lower tariffs. To provide protection for American farmers, whose wartime markets in Europe were disappearing with the recovery of European agricultural production, as well as U.S. industries that had been stimulated by the war, Congress passed the temporary Emergency Tariff Act in 1921, followed a year later by the Fordney-McCumber Tariff Act of 1922. The Fordney-McCumber Tariff Act raised tariffs above the level set in 1913; it also authorized the president to raise or lower a given tariff rate by 50% in order to even out foreign and domestic production costs. One unintended consequence of the Fordney-McCumber tariff was that it made it more difficult for European nations to export to the United States and so earn dollars to service their war debts.

Despite the Fordney-McCumber tariff, the plight of the American farmer continued. The wartime expansion of non-European agricultural production had led, with the recovery of European producers, to overproduction during the 1920s. This in turn had led to declining farm prices during the second half of the decade. During the 1928 election campaign, Republican presidential candidate Herbert Hoover pledged to help the beleaguered farmer by, among other things, raising tariff levels on agricultural products. But once the tariff schedule revision process got started, it proved impossible to stop. Calls for increased protection flooded in from industrial sector special interest groups and soon a bill meant to provide relief for farmers became a means to raise tariffs in all sectors of the economy. When the dust had settled, Congress had produced a piece of legislation, the Tariff Act of 1930, more commonly known as the Smoot-Hawley tariff, that entrenched the protectionism of the Fordney-McCumber tariff.

Scholars disagree over the extent of protection actually afforded by the Smoot-Hawley tariff; they also differ over the issue of whether the tariff provoked a wave of foreign retaliation that plunged the world deeper into the Great Depression. What is certain, however, is that Smoot-Hawley did nothing to foster cooperation among nations in either the economic or political realm during a perilous era in international relations. It quickly became a symbol of the “beggar-thy-neighbor” policies of the 1930s. Such policies, which were adopted by many countries during this time, contributed to a drastic contraction of international trade. For example, U.S. imports from Europe declined from a 1929 high of $1,334 million to just $390 million in 1932, while U.S. exports to Europe fell from $2,341 million in 1929 to $784 million in 1932. Overall, world trade declined by some 66% between 1929 and 1934.

Smoot-Hawley marked the end of the line for high tariffs in 20th century American trade policy. Thereafter, beginning with the 1934 Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act, the United States generally sought trade liberalization through bilateral or multilateral tariff reductions. To this day, the phrase “Smoot-Hawley” remains a watchword for the perils of protectionism. (READ)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Obama: Community Organizer With Our Tax Dollars

Talking about Al Gore, Obama comes to mind. Read this VERY interesting article about Obama and how he vaulted himself from community organizer (code for government funded programs for the poor) to Presidential candidate 2008 at CITY JOURNAL: "Organizer In Chief: Barack Obama could become our first community-activist president."

...As a young college graduate immersed in the world of tax-bankrolled activism, Obama adopted the big-government ethos that prevailed among neighborhood organizers who viewed attempts to reform poverty programs as attacks on the poor. Speaking to an alternative weekly on the eve of his 1995 run for state senate, Obama said—in language that his wife, Michelle, would echo years later—that “these are mean, cruel times, exemplified by a ‘lock ’em up, take no prisoners’ mentality that dominates the Republican-led Congress.” He derided the “old individualistic bootstrap myth” of American achievement that conservatives were touting. Self-help strategies “have become thinly veiled excuses for cutting back on social programs, which are anathema to a conservative agenda,” he wrote in a chapter that he contributed to a 1990 book, After Alinsky: Community Organizing in Illinois. (He also depicted leftist community organizing as a harder task than similar efforts by the Christian Right, telling a reporter in 1995 that “it’s always easier to organize around intolerance, narrow-mindedness and false nostalgia.”)

To maintain that society was fundamentally unjust, Obama had to deny the significance of the black advancement that surrounded him in Chicago. Looking out over the world of local politics in a city that until recently had been governed by a black mayor and had a number of prominent blacks in power, Obama saw only efforts to undermine African-American progress. In 1990, he admitted “black achievement in prominent city positions” but added that it had only “put us in the awkward position of administering underfunded systems neither equipped nor eager to address the needs of the urban poor.” Still, Obama opted to head into politics himself, justifying the move as a third way between the limitations of local organizing and the narrow careerism that, he claimed, characterized local black pols. He, by contrast, would become the politician as community organizer.

Yet he wasn’t above using the hardball tactics of Chicago politics to jump-start his career. In his first race, he employed knowledge of the electoral system that he had gained from heading up a voter-registration drive to challenge, on technical grounds, the nominating petitions of his Democratic primary opponents. His effort eventually forced all of them off the ballot, including the incumbent Alice Palmer, who had tabbed Obama as her successor until she decided to run again. Observing the irony of someone who once ran an effort designed to expand ballot access now pushing rivals off the ballot, one of Obama’s opponents asked: “Why say you’re for a new tomorrow, then do old-style Chicago politics to remove legitimate candidates?”... (READ)

Can You Imagine A President Al Gore?

Speaking of Presidential candidates! Can you imagine an Al Gore run? What kind of scare tactics and lies would he use to convince us that he is the best man for the job? I shudder to think of this. I found this article by George Landrith in Frontiers for Freedom called "Climate Change Hysteria and Al Gore’s “Chicken Little” Scare Tactics". It is only a small section of a much longer and well written article describing this man and his tactics of exaggeration (I'm being kind).

Al Gore’s Credibility

Let’s look specifically at Al Gore’s credibility – after all An Inconvenient Truth is his movie. Al Gore has exaggerated and prevaricated his way through his political career. There are many, many examples. His claim that “during [his] service in the United States Congress, [he] took the initiative in creating the Internet” is just one amusing example. Another humorous case in point was when Gore was campaigning for president in 2000 and told a union group that his parents sung him to sleep with lullabies like “Look for the Union Label” – a jingle that was written for a union advertisement in 1975, when Al Gore was 27 years old.

But perhaps the most illustrative example of Al Gore’s problem with truth is when he stood before the entire nation during the 1996 televised Democratic National Convention and emotionally told of how in 1984 he held his sister’s hand as she died of lung cancer due to smoking. With a lump in his throat and a hoarse voice, Al Gore explained that this emotional moment caused him to “pour [his] heart and soul into the [anti-tobacco] cause.” It was a moving moment and he won accolades for his speech.

Only one problem, the story was not true. For the next four years after his sister’s death, Al Gore and his family continued to grow tobacco on the family farm. For the next six years, Gore maintained political relationships with the tobacco industry and accepted their large political contributions. In 1988 (four years after his sister’s death), when Gore hoped to win the Democratic nomination for President, he campaigned in the South as a pro-tobacco candidate, saying, “Throughout most of my life, I’ve raised tobacco. I want you to know that with my own hands, all of my life, I put it in the plant beds and transferred it. I’ve hoed it. I’ve chopped it. I’ve shredded it, spiked it, put it in the barn and stripped it and sold it.”

It is clear that Al Gore doesn’t have a track record for candor or truthfulness.

When experts have questioned the basis for Al Gore’s dire climate predictions and scary stories and asked whether it is ethical to make such claims without sound evidence, Gore says that exaggerated claims are justified because this issue is so important. To Grist Magazine, Al Gore said, “I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience.” To “over-represent” is to exaggerate or embellish or misstate. To “open up the audience” is to scare them with misrepresented scenarios. That sums up the problem that Al Gore has – he is so emotionally committed to his pet theories, he believes he is justified to do just about anything to get you to accept his views – even misrepresent the facts.

One of Gore’s primary global warming allies, Dr. Steven Schneider, a climate researcher, shares Gore’s belief that it is okay to exaggerate some things and ignore inconvenient facts – an interesting theory for a scientist. Schneider said, “[Scientists] need to get broad-based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have.... Each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective and being honest.” Al Gore and his friends have chosen to be effective at the expense of honesty.

Incidentally, Dr. Schneider was once an advocate of the global cooling scare. In 1978, he warned of a coming Ice Age. In fact, the National Academy of Sciences adopted this view, “There is a finite possibility that a serious worldwide cooling could befall the Earth within the next 100 years.” My how times have changed. The bottom line is that global warming isn’t the first time we’ve been warned of a coming climate apocalypse, but it certainly is the most loudly proclaimed.

Al Gore’s ally at the U.S. Conservation Foundation, Richard Benedict, went so far as to say, “A global climate treaty must be implemented even if there is no scientific evidence to back the [enhanced] greenhouse effect.”

Yet, Gore tells us the science is certain, the debate is over, and all serious, reputable scientists agree with him. But Gore is not telling the truth. He didn’t create the Internet. He didn’t devote his life to defeating big tobacco in 1984. The science isn’t certain. The debate is far from over. And many serious and acclaimed scientists do not agree with Gore.

Gore dismisses those who don’t agree with him as “pawns of big oil.” This is both an unfair and inaccurate characterization. Many acclaimed scientists cast serious doubt on Gore’s theories and they have solid evidence on their side. What Gore doesn’t admit is that the scientists he relies upon have their own financial motivations to trump up scary “facts.” As Professor Petr Chylek explains, grant funding is a big motivator. Chylek, a professor of atmospheric science at Dalhousie University, says, “Scientists who want to attract attention to themselves, who want to attract great funding to themselves, have to [find a] way to scare the public ... and this you can achieve only by making things bigger and more dangerous than they really are.”

It is particularly disingenuous for Gore to pretend that climate scientists who agree with him have no financial incentives because the Clinton/Gore administration worked diligently to cut government funding to scientists who questioned Gore’s theories. I know of climate scientists who lost funding as the result of Gore’s efforts. I know of other scientists who kept a “low profile” because they feared Gore would cut their funding.

Yet, Gore says he is concerned that scientists who support his theories “were persecuted, ridiculed, deprived of income.” The exact opposite is what occurred – scientists who questioned Gore’s theories have been defamed and de-funded. Gore has been a major player in this smear campaign.

How can a man be trusted to tell the truth and fairly present the facts when he has admitted he believes he is justified in fabricating and exaggerating the facts?

Al Gore has no reservoir of trust to draw upon to tell us that we should simply trust him. Gore has proven over and over that he is more inclined to exaggerate and distort than tell the truth. The first thing to keep in mind when listening to Al Gore go on and on about global warming is that the truth doesn’t matter to him. (Read the whole article here).

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Get the Bums Out of Congress - NOW!

A summary of where we are as a nation - We, the people, have to rein in a runaway spending congress and that means getting rid of the Pelosi/Reid crowd. Let's all send emails to these people and demand that they be fiscally responsible with our money! It is time for change, not Obama's "change", but a change of guard - new people in congress: less spending, less corruption and no bailouts for any company that fails and that means Fannie and Freddie - sorry I have no sympathy - and certainly NOT GM! Sarah Palin seems like a breath of fresh air - maybe she will set a new standard of honesty and fiscal responsibility in Washington. (READ "The Spending Explosion" at Wall Street Jr.)

The real news in yesterday's Congressional Budget Office semiannual report is that federal expenditures on everything from roads to homeland security to health care will on present trends reach 21.5% of GDP next year. That's a larger share of national output than at anytime since 1992. If the cost of the federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac prove to be large and are taken into account, next year federal outlays could be higher as a share of the economy than at anytime since World War II. In this decade alone, federal spending has increased by almost $1.2 trillion, or 57%.

...We hope Congress and the Presidential candidates don't obsess over the deficit per se, because the real fiscal drag from government comes from how much it spends, not how much it borrows.

The Bush tax cuts also aren't the budget problem. Until this year federal tax collections have been surging. In the four years after the 2003 tax cuts become law, tax receipts exploded by $785 billion. ...

The real runaway train is what CBO calls a "substantial increase in spending" that is "on an unsustainable path." That's for sure. ... There's certainly no recession in Washington. The CBO says that, merely in the two years that Democrats have run Congress, federal expenditures are up $429 billion -- to $3.158 trillion.

The fiscal blowouts have included a record farm bill, notwithstanding record farm income; an aid bill for distressed homeowners, extended unemployment benefits, and more generous veterans benefits. Next up: votes on $50 billion for Detroit auto firms, an $80 billion energy bill, as much as $50 billion for spending masked as a "second stimulus," plus $100 billion or more for the Fannie and Freddie rescue. Rather than sort through priorities, Congress is spending more on just about everything.

Meanwhile, remember that "pay as you go" spending promise that Speaker Nancy Pelosi made in 2006? We called it a ruse at the time, and the last two years have proved it. Senator Judd Gregg (R., N.H.) has tallied up at least $398 billion in "paygo" violations so far. Earmarks were also supposed to be cut in half by this Congress. In 2008 there were some 11,000 at a cost of $17 billion, the second most ever, and far more than half the peak of 14,000 in 2006.

The point to keep in mind is that this big spending blitz is coming even before a new President and Congress arrive next year with far more spending promises in tow. As they contemplate their choice for President, voters might want to consider which of the candidates is likely to be a check on Congressional appetites, rather than a facilitator. (READ)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Americans Get Sucker Punched Again With Another Bailout

Why is our government bailing out Fannie and Freddie? Why do we have to foot the bill for a bunch of Washington cronies who besides making stupid decisions which caused these banks to fail are being paid huge sums of money to leave! (Read at Wall Street Journal).

This is bad public policy for reasons of philosophy, practicality and precedent. And by the way, this is a dumb idea for the car companies too, simply in terms of their own self-interest.

Philosophically, if the Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae debacles teach us any lesson, it is that subsidizing private profits with public risk is a terrible idea. Implicit government backing has led the managements of these two companies to make reckless investments that have backfired badly. Now government backing has become explicit, and under the plan announced by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson yesterday, taxpayers likely will pay billions to keep Fannie and Freddie solvent -- with the exact amount uncertain.

The Detroit Three got into their current quandary by making decades of bad decisions, with some help from the United Auto Workers union. Yet despite the current crisis, General Motors is still paying dividends to shareholders, the car companies are paying bonuses to executives, and the private-equity billionaires at Cerberus who bought Chrysler are trying to reap enormous rewards from their risky investment. ...

Of course, we can all hope that shareholders do well, that executives reap handsome rewards for work well done, that the Cerberus billionaires make more billions on Chrysler, and that workers get paid on whatever terms the car companies agree. But we taxpayers shouldn't subsidize any of this.

The only reason we should bail out any private company is the risk that its demise would wreak havoc on the entire economy. Bear Stearns conceivably passed the test; its collapse could have threatened the U.S. financial system, and the government didn't make the mistake of bailing out shareholders or management.

But just what calamity are we trying to avoid by subsidizing loans to Detroit? That we'll all be sentenced to the indignities of driving Hondas, Mazdas or BMWs? Toyota and Honda, the current leaders in hybrids and alternative-fuel technology, did their research and development on their own dimes.

Even if Ford, GM and Chrysler were to go out of business -- and it's highly unlikely that all three will simply cease to exist -- there will be plenty of good cars for Americans to buy. And many will be made in America, even if they carry foreign nameplates. Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Hyundai and other foreign car companies have expanded greatly their U.S. manufacturing operations in recent years. They're doing so because Americans are buying their cars.

...And what about the precedent the government would set? If we bail out Detroit, where do we stop? The newspaper industry is in financial trouble because more readers and advertisers are turning to the Internet. Newspapers are good for democracy -- Thomas Jefferson said he would choose newspapers over government, after all -- so shouldn't they get low-interest government loans to help them adjust to the Internet? Of course not, and ditto for Detroit.

If Detroit's auto makers would apply more than knee-jerk analysis to what's being proposed, they would reject it quickly. No matter what their spin, including the patently absurd claim that government-guaranteed, below-market loans aren't a bailout, loan subsidies will paint them in the public mind as corporate welfare recipients that can't compete on their own. That can't be good for sales. (Detroit Blackmail Attempt is Beyond Shameless.)

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Foreign Policy "Experience" by Thomas Sowell

Summary: It all depends on what the definition of "experience" is. [CapMag.com]

Now that the Democrats have recovered from the shock of Governor Sarah Palin's nomination as the Republican's candidate for vice president, they have suddenly discovered that her lack of experience in general-- and foreign policy experience in particular-- is a terrible danger in someone just a heartbeat away from being President of the United States.

For those who are satisfied with talking points, there is no need to go any further. But, for those who still consider substance relevant, this is an incredible argument coming from those whose presidential candidate has even less experience in public office than Sarah Palin, and none in foreign policy.

Moreover, if Senator Barack Obama is elected, he will not be a heartbeat away from the presidency, his would be the heartbeat of the president-- and he would be the one making foreign policy.

But the big talking point is that the Democrats' vice-presidential nominee, Senator Joe Biden, has years of foreign policy experience as a member, and now chairman, of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
That all depends on what the definition of "experience" is.
Before getting into that, however, a plain fact should be noted: No governor ever had foreign policy experience before becoming president-- not Ronald Reagan, not Franklin D. Roosevelt, nor any other governor.

It is hard to know how many people could possibly have had foreign policy experience before reaching the White House besides a Secretary of State or a Secretary of Defense.
The last Secretary of War (the old title of Secretaries of Defense) to later become President of the United States was William Howard Taft, a hundred years ago. The last Secretary of State to become President of the United States was James Buchanan, a century and a half ago.

The first President Bush had been head of the C.I.A., which certainly gave him a lot of knowledge of what was happening around the world, though still not experience in making the country's foreign policy.

Senator Joe Biden's years of service on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is even further removed from foreign policy experience. He has had a front-row seat as an observer of foreign policy. But Senator Biden has never had any real experience of making foreign policy and taking the consequences of the results.

The difference between being a spectator and being a participant, with responsibility for the consequences of what you say and do, is fundamental.
You can read books about crime or attend lectures by criminologists, but you have no real experience or expertise about crime unless you have been a criminal or a policeman.
Although I served in the Marine Corps, I have no military experience in any meaningful sense. The closest I ever came to combat was being assigned to photograph the maneuvers of the Second Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

That was photographic experience, not military experience. If someone gave me a policy-making job in the Pentagon, I wouldn't have a clue.

The fact that Senator Joe Biden has for years listened to all sorts of people testify on all sorts of foreign policy issues tells us nothing about how well he understood the issues.

Out of the four presidential and vice-presidential candidates this year, only Governor Palin has had to make executive decisions and live with the consequences.

As for Senator Obama, his various pronouncements on foreign policy have been as immature as they have been presumptuous.

He talked publicly about taking military action against Pakistan, one of our few Islamic allies and a nation with nuclear weapons.

Barack Obama's first response to the Russian invasion of Georgia was to urge "all sides" to negotiate a cease-fire and take their issues to the United Nations. That is standard liberal talk, which even Obama had second thoughts about, after Senator John McCain gave a more grown-up response.

We should all have second thoughts about what is, and is not, foreign policy "experience."

For more articles go to capmag.com (Capitalism Magazine)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Obama Is The Antithesis of What An American Is

Obama's lack of true blooded American values is becoming more obvious especially now that Governor Palin has been selected to be McCain's Vice President. The contrast between the two could not be more stark. Following is more analysis of Obama and what his presidency would mean for America at the Wall Street Journal (Why Obama Can't Close The Sale by Al Hubbard and Noam Neusner).

"Yet Americans have not committed to Mr. Obama. Why?"

"Clearly, Mr. Obama's weakness on foreign policy is a factor. He has a knee-jerk preference for diplomacy with China, Europe and Russia over the security of the American people and our closest allies. He hasn't explained his shifting positions on Iraq and Iran, among other hot spots. And he felt compelled to make up for his experience gap with Mr. McCain by picking Sen. Joe Biden to be his running mate.

"But here's the thing: It's not that Mr. Obama hasn't been specific enough in his governing plans. To the contrary, he has been very specific about his tax policy, health-care and energy proposals. It's that voters are paying attention and appear not to like what Candidate Obama is saying.

"Mr. Obama has proposed a massive tax increase on investors, business owners, and the "wealthy." At a time when the American people rate the economy as the central issue of the campaign, a tax hike doesn't make a lot of political sense. Voters know that a tax hike won't help the economy.

"Moreover, Mr. Obama's tax plans would directly or indirectly harm U.S. investors by raising the capital gains and dividend taxes. More than half of U.S. households are equity owners, so Mr. Obama's proposal risks alienating half the population.

"Mr. Obama claims to offer a tax cut to moderate-income families, but a significant portion of Mr. Obama's tax plan is a welfare giveaway costing more than $648 billion over 10 years, according to the Tax Policy Center.

"How so? He would authorize a hodgepodge of refundable tax credits covering everything from education, mortgage payments, child care and other items for people who do not pay income taxes now.

"About 38% of U.S. households pay no income tax today. Under a President Obama (whose policies would shave 15.3 million households off the tax rolls) that share would grow to nearly half of all American households.

"We have been repeatedly told that everyone should pay their fair share. So this sounds grossly unfair and like a return of tax-and-spend liberal economics. No wonder there is a lot of doubt about the wisdom of the junior senator from Illinois.

"...Americans have heard the refrain for government-provided health care before and know an expensive government giveaway when they see it.

"Mr. Obama's energy policy is to drill less, consume less, tax more, and spend more. With barely a nod to nuclear energy -- the only meaningfully large, carbon-free source of domestic energy -- he is promising a massive increase in domestic, noncarbon-based energy from sources that produce only a fraction of our energy now.

"He has also proposed massive tax increases on U.S. oil and gas companies while continuing to cut off vast swaths of U.S. territory to drilling.

"Again, Americans are wiser than they are given credit. They know that if you restrict supply and tax production, prices go up.

"The economic wisdom of Americans should not be doubted. They can see through Mr. Obama's proposals. They know that they will have to pick up the bill if Mr. Obama sends checks to people who already don't pay taxes; they know a centralized government-controlled health-care system will be more expensive, less efficient, and less friendly to patients and doctors. They know that the most effective way to bring down energy prices is by keeping all our energy options open, including more drilling in the U.S.

"...Mr. Obama is wondering why he can't shake Mr. McCain. His problem isn't his plans for the campaign. It's his plans for governing the country. Americans just aren't buying into them.