Archive for the Economy Category

NPR: Wal-Mart Tragedy is… Wait For It… BUSH’s Fault!

Posted in Economy, News, politics, Stupid Media with tags , , on December 5, 2008 by Randy Streu

Are there actually people who think this way?

According to NPR’s “Poet on Call,” Andrei Codrescu, the trampling to death of a Wal-Mart employee has been a long time coming — well, at least since 9/11.

And it wasn’t because of our collective sense of entitlement, borne by years of political correctness and official excuse-making for criminals, or because of our society’s loss of value in human life.  Of course not.

No.  It’s because George W. Bush told Americans to go shopping — and Americans, who disapprove of Bush, according to the Press, in near-astronomical numbers, all rallied to the cause with such fervor that they simply didn’t notice they’d killed a man.  They were too busy “Following orders.”

I’m astounded beyond words that this idiot is given a microphone.  Freedom of speech is one thing, but do we really have to encourage the mind-bogglingly stupid by paying them to talk in public?

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The Obama Win: Come January

Posted in civil rights, Constitution, Economy, Elections, Energy, First Amendment, healthcare, John McCain, News, Obama, politics, taxes with tags , , on November 5, 2008 by Randy Streu

Congratulations to Barack Obama for a hard-won presidential election.  I won’t say it was well-played, because it was not — on either side.  But, the people have spoken and, sadly, it would appear they’ve grown weary of liberty, and have chosen instead to sacrifice it to the god of Financial Security.  History, it would seem, has not been as eloquent a teacher as Obama has been a communicator.  The irony is in how many of those voting for Obama were so very fond of paraphrasing Franklin: “those who would sacrifice liberty for security shall have none and deserve neither.”  And yet…

Does that sound bitter?  It isn’t.  I’m not even angry.  Just sad.

Democrat rhetoric during the last year or so has shown us, I think, the directions we’ll be looking as a nation, come January 2009.  In spite of the closeness of the election, there will be talk of “mandates,” and the Democrat win (aka the de facto ‘mandate of the people’) will be used as justification for more and more federal intrusion, higher taxes, and fewer freedoms.

People who sincerely love freedom, no matter who you voted for, I sincerely hope you watch this new administration closely.  I hope you watch for the erosion of our liberty — and I hope that, no matter who you voted for, you will fight to keep that freedom when the time comes.  This erosion is going to come in many small ways, from many directions.  It’s going to come as a gift — a trojan horse: in the form of healthcare, new entitlement benefits, new Social Security rules.  But these small intrusions will turn into larger ones.  These gifts will soon reveal their costs.  And, once the mistique wears off — once the thrill of making history has worn thin — we will perhaps begin, finally, to see what we have wrought.

Watch for a re-emergence of the so-called “fairness doctrine.”  The idea that freedom of speech only applies to private entities who willingly give up their podium to the opposition, in spite of the fact that the opposition controls the majority of the mass media, and suffers under no such requirement.  Make no mistake; this doctrine has nothing at all to do with fairness, and everything to do with silencing criticism of the establishment.  Congressional Democrats have long been vocal about their wishes in this matter, and Barack Obama will, given the chance, seek to abide by them.

Watch for unreasonable mandates to appear, with an aim toward crippling the energy industry as we know it.  And understand that, before those “evil” energy corporations go bankrupt, it will be you and I who first foot that bill.

Watch for “free healthcare” to become a mandate to business owners to pay beyond their means for employee benefits — benefits which were not negotiated between employer and employee, or even between employer and union, but instead introduced, coerced and enforced by federal government.  And watch the prices for simple goods and services skyrocket as business owners try to comply with federal law without going belly up.  And when the market finally ceases to be able to bear the burden, watch for the unemployment rate to acheive new highs.

Watch for the government to sieze control over your 401(k) as a means of alleviating the damage done by the collapsing economy, and place caps and limits on your retirement earning potential.

Will all of this happen under Barack Obama?  God willing, it will not.  But none of this is outside the realm of possibility, and, indeed, most of the policies listed are either direct interpretations of Obama’s own policies, or policy suggestions made within the Democrat Party.

This is History’s sad truth about handing over liberty for the sake of financial security: it doesn’t work.  It never has.  The most successful communist/socialist countries are either, like China, finding that they have to embrace some forms of Capitalism in order to stay afloat, or, like Cuba, are home to a vast population of the impoverished — but at least they have nice hospitals.   Most, however, either never make it out of third-world status or, like the USSR, finally kill off enough citizens to render itself unsustainable.

Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power.
-Benjamin Frankin, Poor Richard’s Almanac, 1738

One Day Left: A Constitutional Conservative Looks at the ’08 Election

Posted in civil rights, Constitution, Economy, Elections, national defense, Obama, politics, taxes on November 3, 2008 by Randy Streu

I can’t pretend I’m not going to be relieved when this circus of an election season is over.  As a Conservative, this cycle has been frustrating and exhausting — and, at times, exhilarating.  One of the most sobering realizations for a Conservative in these times is that the vote for a Third Party candidate is a wasted one.  And, this election, there have been times where that was exactly the direction I was heading.  Granted, in these times, their imminent slaughter is not the only reason I couldn’t in good conscience vote for a party that stands more closely to my own values (such as the Libertarian or Constitution parties), but my level of irritation at recent actions of certain Republicans has definitely made it an option worth considering.

Still, though my Republican-of-choice was not ultimately chosen as the GOP candidate (indeed, neither were my second or third options… in fact, McCain ranked pretty near the bottom, to be honest), I still determined early on that I would hold my nose and cast my vote. 

McCain has done much since that decision to secure my vote (and yes, for you naysayers, his selection of Palin as VP still ranks, for me, as one of his better decisions), and some to make me question it.  But over all, this election has, for most Conservatives I Know, never really been about John McCain.  It’s not been about George W. Bush.  This is not a year in which Conservatives, by and large, will be voting for a candidate, so much as against a set of ideals.

I’m not going to elaborate much on which ideals I’m against — a cursory glance through the various posts on this blog should provide plenty of insight into where I’m coming from.  But, for one thing, I’m against the idea that the Government has the moral authority to determine who deserves the money a man makes, for the simple reason that he happens to make more than some arbitrary amount.  Barack Obama is for this idea.

This alone, with no other considerations, is enough to make me vote against Obama.  As it turns out, there are other considerations.   Many others.  Abortion, gun control, Foreign policy, character, integrity… getting the idea?  But even without these other things, I could still not vote for Obama, because of the first.

A man, or a party, who has claimed moral authority over a man’s property or earnings has also claimed authority over that man’s liberty, because property and liberty are inseparable.  A governor who would make a man a slave to another in this way (because, really, this is the end result of wealth redistribution) is not a man of solid character.  He is untrustworthy as a leader — certainly as a leader of what was conceived as a nation of free men.

Barack Obama claims to know the Constitution.  Scripture says even the Devil knows the Bible.  The question, for me, is not whether Barack Obama knows the Constitution.  It is whether he honors it; whether he loves it — not just as a solid “political document,” but as the foundation of this country.  Does he understand the meanings of it, and the intent of the Founding Fathers — and does he agree to uphold those ideals?  Because if he does not — and indeed, recently uncovered interviews appear to suggest this very possibility — how can he take an oath swearing to do exactly that, and still hold himself an honest man?

Happy Halloween

Posted in Economy, Elections, Obama, politics, taxes with tags on October 30, 2008 by Randy Streu

Hey, I’m a busy guy, and the election is almost upon us.  Almost everything that needs to be said has been said.  People are either going to vote capitalism or socialism on Nov. 4, and I can now only pray the right choice is made.  I may or may not post again between now and then — hopefully time will permit.  In the meantime, this was sent to me, and I found it fitting.

Happy Halloween

Tracing the Market Melt Down

Posted in civil rights, Constitution, Economy, Elections, politics with tags , , , , , on October 6, 2008 by heapotrouble

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122298982558700341.html

 

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122290574391296381.html?mod=article-outset-box

 

Having read these articles, many others, and relying on memory that becomes less trust worthy with time, I think it is naïve, or politically contrived to pin the blame on any individual, administration, or party. There is plenty of blame and demonstrated incompetence to go around.

 

I read one article that traced the roots of the current crisis to the Johnson administration. The author made the case that in order to get Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac off the federal books to support spending for the war in Vietnam, Johnson privatized both of these organizations. Because it was politically expedient to obfuscate the true relationship between the federal government and these mortgage corporations, the implication was let stand that they operated with the full backing of the Federal Reserve. While this was not true, the stock price of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac soared on initial public offering because of the implied safety. This swelled the corporate coffers and entrenched a culture of inordinate risk and cavalier risk assessment.

 

Another article I read cited the Community Redevelopment Act of 1977 and the Carter administration as “ground zero” in the current fiasco. By law, these lending institutions were required to meet quotas on minority lending to borrowers that would not normally qualify. Again, it was implied that the Federal Government would cover any losses due to loan default. The program expanded to include not just minorities but all borrowers who would not ordinarily qualify for mortgage loans.  

 

Yet another article blamed the Reagan administration for “deregulating” the mortgage industry. However, it does point out that this deregulation began during the Carter years. It goes on to say that the problem wasn’t that the industry was under-regulated, but that it was poorly regulated. Laws were enacted to meet political needs of elected officials of both parties that did not serve the public in the long run, but did serve the immediate political needs of the representatives.

 

More recently, I think you will remember two incidents that seem to have escaped wide publication. The first was the lost opportunity to mobilize the nation in the wake of 9/11 when President Bush advised the public that the best way to beat Al Quida was to “keep shopping.” That put the consumer credit lenders on notice to open the flood gates. The second was during a State of the Union Address. I can not remember exactly which one, but it was early in the Bush administration. The President voiced his goal that “all Americans should reap the benefits of home ownership.” Once again the signal was received loud and clear, not only by mortgage lenders, but by enabling politicians whose near term political goals coincided with the President’s vision, and once again we were off to the races.

 

I think all these instances can be grouped into two broad categories. The first is where the motivation is noble, but the logic is tragically flawed. The politician truly desires to better the lot of the electorate, but doesn’t understand the root issue. Home ownership is a sign of prosperity. If it becomes easier to obtain credit to buy a home, the owner becomes prosperous with the purchase of a house. Continuing that logic, if the government were to buy everyone a Lexus, Mercedes, or BMW, we’d all be considered “rich” and could afford higher taxes. This group proves once again the old axiom; “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

 

The second broad group is as dangerous as the first, but much more pernicious. They are the ones that see the Treasury as an extension of their campaign funds. They use the power of the pen to enact legislation that will direct common resources to benefit their constituency, and support their re-election. In effect, they buy your vote with my money, and visa-versa. This, unfortunately, has become the Washington way of doing business. The McCain-Feingold Act attempts to address this issue, but while trampling the Constitution under heel, misses the point. Because the bill did not address the root cause; there is so much money in politics because there is so much money in government, it serves as the “incumbent protection act” and does more harm than good. Once again, the road to hell…

 

The unfortunate part is that come January, none of this will change. McCain, while he preaches systemic change, is too impulsive to look beyond the surface and address root causes. He is a bull in a china shop, and he doesn’t mind bringing his own china shop. Obama sees change as implementing expanded policy and legislation, delivering more power into the hands of the very people who have brought us to this crisis, either through benign incompetence or malevolent self promotion.

 

In either case, I fear we will get the change promised. But we will find out that disaster is also a form of change.

Revenge!: Piping hot.

Posted in Economy, News, politics with tags , , , , on October 2, 2008 by heapotrouble

 For months, if not years now, both current nominees for President have ascribed to populist sentiments to advance their cause. According to John McCain, Congress is a ravenous, greedy beast residing in a cesspool of self serving corruption. Only he has the requisite virtue to defend your fiscal honor and cast out the demons from, and rebuild, a fallen Jerusalem.

 

Barack Obama, on the other hand, cast the ubiquitous and shadowy “rich” as the nemesis of government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”  Only he can bring forth to this continent the necessary policies that will enable the healing hands of benevolent government to force these effete, “fat cat” bloodsuckers off the backs of the noble working man.. Pay no attention that his proscription of “change” is the platform of policies the Democratic party has been trotting out for years.

 

Add to these provocations of class warfare the current market debacle and House of Representatives rejection of the Wall Street “Rescue” plan and you have, as Reverend Wright so eloquently posed, the “chickens coming home to roost.” Is it any wonder that the population is close to pitchforks and torches on this issue when we have been programmed to believe that this is nothing more than a theft of treasure from the hard working common man, who can not get ahead because of inherent injustice in the system, by the corrupt, for the benefit of those who won’t pay their fair share.

 

As one would expect after failure of the bailout plan to pass in the House, the excuse matrixes of both parties are excruciatingly well defined. However, beyond Speaker Pelosi’s attack speech, or Republican pig headedness, there is ample anecdotal evidence to believe that the Representatives that voted against the bill did so based on strident and overwhelming feedback from their constituency. Imagine that; Representatives representing the wishes of their constituents.

 

I don’t believe I have ever seen the American people so riled. Not even after 9/11. In typical congressional fashion, a non sequitur codicil was added to the bill to assuage voter anger. They would limit compensation for the executives who took over the failing companies that would be propped up by tax payer financed crutch.

 

If you crash a car, you pay a price. If you crash a segment of the US economy, you walk away with millions. Suppose you dropped off your ’67 Camaro at a body shop. Next day when you return to get your car back, you are directed to a smoldering pile of wreckage. “That will be $700,000,000,000 please.” You won’t pay the original mechanic, but you will pay dearly to anyone who can put your car back together.

 

We really don’t care how much the next wave of executives get paid if they can pull a recovery off. However, after all the money lost through costs associated with another stellar example of Congressional over sight, the Sarbaines-Oxley Act, there should be arrest warrants for, and the seizure of assets of, the executives responsible for the current market melt down.

 

No recovery bill will have the support of the electorate until there is a long humiliating “perp walk” by many, many Wall Street “Masters of the Universe” and perhaps even government officials who’s incompetence has led us to the current market situation.  It is said that revenge is a dish best served cold. Right now the American people are demanding theirs piping hot.

It’s Time For the “Do Nothing” Congress to Do Nothing

Posted in Economy, Energy, politics with tags , , , on September 18, 2008 by nighttwister

Drill NOW. Drill EVERWHERE. THEN we’ll talk.

In thirteen days, the moratorium on exploration on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in the United States will be lifted. This will allow companies to begin to explore for our own resources, instead of relying on other countries, especially those that are using the money to further the interests of terrorism. We can produce our own oil right here. We can even become an exporting country, which can help our allies no longer be at the mercy of these nations that oppose freedom and democracy.

Those of you in congress had your chance this summer to do something about this. We begged you to do something meaningful before the end of the Spring session. You not only didn’t come up with a solution, you wouldn’t even discuss the situation. Instead, you took a paid five-week vacation, where you were lounging around on sandy beaches or attending $1,000-per-plate rubber chicken fund raising dinners.

That’s ok, we managed to deal with the crisis on our own. We Americans are a resilient bunch. We cut back demand which drove down the price of oil, but this did not come without a cost. Several companies had to lay off workers. People and businesses spent less to offset the cost of energy, which has contributed to a downturn in the economy. I know there are some of you in congress that actually wouldn’t mind seeing our economy have problems. You believe this will help you on election day. And you would be wrong. We see your game, and we aren’t playing this time.

The fact is, we’re mad as hell and we aren’t going to take it anymore. The people hurt most during and economic downturn are those with the least, which according to you are the minorities, single parents, and the children. So spare me the empty rhetoric that you actually care about them. We aren’t listening anymore.

So here’s what we’d like you to do. Nothing. By doing nothing, the problem will simply take care of itself. If you feel you must stay in Washington, go ahead and name some more Post Offices. You seem to be good at that. And if that doesn’t fill your day, go ahead and add some more meaningless non-binding legislation. If your single-digit approval rating for most of this year doesn’t give you a clue, let me spell it out for you in simple terms.

You suck at your job.

Here’s what I really like you do to though. As your boss, let me suggest that you simply,

Take the rest of the year off. With pay.

No, it’s ok. You don’t need to thank me.

Really.

Night Twister