Reason TV: Worst political decade ever

Posted by Jason | Posted in Video | Posted on 30-12-2009

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I’m not sure why I always get ReasonTV videos from Hot Air. I could just go to the source. Anyways, this is hilarious.

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Obama Pushes New Job Stimulus – WSJ.com

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 09-12-2009

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When will this nightmare called the Obama administration end? They never question that fact that they got it wrong. They always believe they just didn’t do enough yet. We have close to a 1$1.5 trillion deficit this year, and these idiots can’t stop thinking of ways to spend more money.

In a speech at the Brookings Institution, Mr. Obama avoided calling his jobs push a new stimulus plan. But White House officials acknowledged that the president was taking stimulus components that he believed worked best and extending or amplifying them.

Has anyone seen any part of the stimulus that worked and continues to work? Cash for Clunkers might have give a blip on the GDP chart, but it’s obvious it was not sustainable. Government stimulus in the form of spending never is.

These include putting an additional $50 billion toward infrastructure spending, ramping up Treasury Department lending to small businesses through the Troubled Asset Relief Program, extending tax credits for business investment and offering state and local governments a fresh lifeline.

Other ideas that weren’t in the February stimulus legislation include a tax credit that rewards companies for hiring workers and tax rebates for individuals who make their homes more energy efficient.

Additional wealth must be created in our country for hiring to take place. Infrastructure does not create wealth. Are you wealthier when you trade in an older car for a newer one? No, you still have a car, just like you did before.

Increased lending to small business isn’t going to help either if the economy remains in shambles. Who will want to borrow money when the future is so uncertain?

Tax credits don’t work in the long term. Only long term tax cuts work for ongoing growth. Are you going to change your long term habits for a one time handout? Neither is business. They will change habits if it’s a lasting change such as reduced taxes, just as you would change your habits with a pay increase.

Don’t even get me started on more state bailouts. It’s stealing money from responsible states and giving it to irresponsible states such as California. The responsible states have to pay for the over-the-top government benefits in other states. Would Texas please secede already.

Mr. Obama’s push comes as a partisan debate over the stimulus plan’s effectiveness heats up and Democrats grow increasingly worried about the political price of a stagnant job market. With a midterm election looming in 2010, Friday’s relatively hopeful employment reports didn’t much relieve the pressure, senior Democrats said.

And we wonder why our country is going bankrupt. Politicians try buying their re-elections. It’s all politics, and has nothing to do with what is best for the country.

Democratic aides expect two bills. The first would top $100 billion and would extend unemployment insurance, temporary food-stamp payment increases and subsidies for health-care purchases by the unemployed. That would likely be attached to a spending bill in coming weeks. The second, a jobs bill estimated at about $70 billion, would contain many of Mr. Obama’s initiatives and likely wouldn’t reach his desk until early next year.

Get ready for all the job creating from incentivizing unemployment. It seems like we extend unemployment almost every week now. What’s it up to, half your life?

The hiring tax credit may generate the most controversy. Mr. Obama campaigned on the idea last year, but Democrats abandoned it amid the stimulus debate. Employers, they worried, could fire workers and rehire them to claim the credit, or divide a full-time job into two part-time jobs, cut the wages and hours of one worker, then hire a new, part-time worker to claim the credit.

Ralph Braun, chief executive of Braun Corp. in Winamac, Ind., said a tax credit is meaningless for a producer like him. “If you’re just going out to hire someone just for a tax credit, what kind of job will you put them in that has any longevity to it?” said Mr. Braun, whose 730-employee company produces wheelchair lifts and other equipment. “You have to have a customer for that employee to serve — so I’m confused how a tax credit would stimulate anything.”

Still, there are executives who see merit to the idea. Ronald DeFeo, chief executive of Terex Corp. in Westport, Conn., would like to see such a credit targeted at recent college graduates. “If we had a tax incentive that paid for a third of [a recent college graduate's] wage for two years, then 10% for the next two years, it would be a way to encourage companies like mine to hire,” he said.

via Obama Pushes New Job Stimulus – WSJ.com.

I bet Ralph Braun’s company is much better ran than Ronald Defeo’s. Ralph is completely right. If there is no customer to serve, then there is no need for a new position. Ronald on the other hand thinks it makes good sense for the public to pay 1/3rd of two years wages and 10% for the third and forth year for new hires. Is he smoking crack? This is what he thinks is good for our country? I know he gets to save money for himself, but meanwhile that money has to come from somewhere. If that position doesn’t warrant paying the employee, then the position should not be created. It’s a sham, and only results in a lower standard of living for everyone else, well except for Ronald Defeo.

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More Bad Ideas From The Job Summit

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics, Government | Posted on 05-12-2009

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In order to appear as if he’s doing something, Obama held the “Jobs Summit” at the White House. Here are some of the ideas that are supposed to help small business.

On Thursday, about 130 small-business owners, financial experts, union leaders, economists and CEOs from across the country convened at the White House to discuss their best ideas for stimulating job growth — and staving off another uptick in the unemployment rate, which climbed to 10.2% in October.

While many small-business owners and advocates welcome the attention being paid to boosting employment, there were plenty of skeptics in attendance. Some complained that sustained economic recovery — not new jobs bills — are needed to kick-start hiring. Others pointed out that job losses have already moderated in recent months, and called into question the necessity of any moves.

I wonder how quickly the guys who questioned the need for any government involvement were thrown out of the room. Maybe we’ll see them on TV today as the Job Summit Crashers.

Work-Share Tax Credit

A jobs-sharing initiative, which already exists in 17 states, has gained traction among several members of Congress. In August, Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (D., Conn.) introduced the Keep Americans Working Act, which would allow employers to reduce their employees’ hours in order to hire new workers to pick up the slack. Although employees’ hours would be reduced, their pay would remain the same, as the government would pay the balance. Notably, Paul Krugman, economist and Nobel prize winner, also backed the work-share idea.

They must be looking to Europe’s job market for this idea. Europe has instituted ideas like this in the past and made it illegal to have anyone work over a certain number of hours. This is supposed to spread the hours out among more workers. It’s a stupid idea. It does not take into account all the cost involved. For example, if I have a guy who has been working for several years, he knows how to do his job. I know what his productivity is. If I cut his hours back and hire a new person, that person needs trained, doesn’t know the job, and is less efficient. My company’s productivity will have declined. Not only that, I have to deal with a new person. I know my current employee and his work habits. I know if he’s late, takes days off, has family issues, etc. I have no clue what kind of person I may be bringing in that has to be able to produce as much as my current employee. I also have to deal with another person’s benefits, health-care, etc. Will this person cost me more in health care when government passes health care legislation? Will he drive up my unemployment, because I’m more likely to have to lay him off if the economy declines again? These are all concerns that this does not address.

What it does do is steal money from tax payers and give it to businesses so one person doesn’t have to work a normal work week. This is just crazy. You take money from people who work full-time to give it to another person who you are taking hours from in order to hire someone who is unproductive. Do they realize wealth is based on what is produced, not jobs.

Jobs Tax Credit

By contrast, jobs tax credits are largely welcomed by small-business advocates and economists. One plan from the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington-based research organization focused on labor issues, calls for the government to provide refundable tax credits of 10% to 15% against payroll taxes for each new hire over two years.

Isn’t social security and medicare already bankrupt? How does it help long term to take money away from them? I’m all for getting rid of them both, but that isn’t going to happen. Instead, this just leads to more government debt. Also, 15% of a new hire’s payroll tax is not that much incentive. You typically aren’t going to pay a new hire much money, and the company’s share of payroll taxes is 7.5% of their salary. How much incentive is 15% of 7.5% of their salary going to provide? I maybe reading this wrong, but that is how I read this proposal.

If I have this write, here is what it would look like. You hire a new employee and pay him $30,000 a year. You pay $2250 a year in payroll taxes on him. You get a tax credit back in the amount of 15% of his payroll tax, which is $337.50. Wow, let’s start hiring. Even if they are looking at the entire payroll tax, which is around 15%, it still doesn’t provide much incentive. The new hire seems pretty risky in today’s environment, and a few hundred dollars sure isn’t going to change that equation.

‘Cash for Caulkers’

Former President Bill Clinton and others have suggested a cash-for-clunkers style initiative that would task construction workers and contractors with weatherizing homes. By employing unspent stimulus funds, Clinton’s plan, popularly known as “cash for caulkers,” involves weatherizing houses and apartments, as well as commercial and industrial buildings. Depending on how many property owners take up the initiative, the plan could not only provide jobs to the hard-hit construction sector, it would limit carbon emissions and reduce owners’ energy costs.

Does this sounds like money down the drain or what? I can just imagine the scamming that is going to take place by a group of people, that while many are the salt of the earth, many others are about as shady as you can get. Believe me. I’ve worked construction for my dad when I was in high school and when I got laid off in the tech bubble. This is going to lead to scamming old people, the government, and all of society in general. Then again, maybe I’ll start a fake caulking business and make some extra income.

Public Works Projects

Similarly, a range of economists and nonprofits support instituting some form of directed public jobs works programs. Similar to Depression-era New Deal jobs programs, the government could create jobs in targeted places that have high unemployment. The focus would be on rebuilding infrastructure for roads, clean-up or school repair, says Mark A. Price, a labor economist at the Keystone Research Center, a think tank in Harrisburg, Pa.

Can we just admit that the people who want public works all the time are communists. Let’s not act like it’s anything else. There has already been so much wasted money on road projects. They are tearing up and rebuilding roads that don’t even need it. All this does is destroy the wealth of our country by taking money that would otherwise be going into wealth creation and putting it into things that do not increase our wealth. If we have a road before this begins and a road after this begins, but we spent billions, we are not wealthier. While proponents will claim it creates jobs that will lead to personal consumption, they are overlooking that it is taking that money from other consumers. It’s not even a wash, because the government project isn’t as efficient and productive. Government projects never create wealth, unless you are one of the cronies who gets the project and line your pockets with tax payer money.

Payroll Tax Holiday

Leading up to the first stimulus package, small-business advocacy organizations such as the National Federation for Independent Business supported a six-month payroll tax holiday.

I’m all for tax cuts, but I’m getting tired of tax cuts without spending cuts. Also, are you going to hire people for a six-month payroll tax holiday? If you do, there is a chance again, as stated above, that you are going to have to lay the new hires off shortly in the future, leading to increased unemployment insurance. Also, if I’m a small business, I’m going to take savings on payroll taxes to increase my profits. If my clients aren’t demanding more of my goods or services, I’m not going to hire more employees. Also, what is a payroll tax holiday going to do when you have this health care monstrosity hanging over your head?

Capitalizing Community Banks

President Obama has already dispatched calls for giving small companies looking to expand — and, thus, create jobs — greater access to capital by way of community banks. Making it easier for community banks with less than $1 billion in assets to access funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, would give small businesses a greater chance of landing loans, says Obama.

via Small Business: The White House Works It – WSJ.com.

TARP should be called To Anyone Requesting Program. It was passed against the will of the public for a specific purpose, and then the government decided on its own that it will do whatever it pleases with it. One of the best things they could do is announce the end of TARP. That would signal that they believe the crisis is coming to an end. Of course they won’t because they love the power that they can exercise with all the TARP money. Look at the power they have exercised over banks, automotive, etc. Last thing I would want is my community bank being at the end of the government’s leash. We’ve already seen how they change the terms of the agreement after the fact.

While all of these would probably produce some jobs, they ignore the negative consequences of each one. They ignore the jobs that will be harmed now and in the long term. They also ignore the economic consequences for the future with more government debt. Worst of all they presume that the government can fix the economy, create wealth, and is needed for economic growth. This is disasterous for the long term psyche of our country. Ronald Reagan had it right when he said, “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” Apparently, this has been forgotten.

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Obama’s Malaise

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics | Posted on 20-11-2009

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In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal this morning, Republican reps Jeb Hensarling and Pau Ryan layout why economic expectations are so low.

Why all the pessimism? The source appears to be a growing fear that the federal government is retreating from the free-market economic principles of the last half-century, and in particular the strong growth policies that began under Ronald Reagan. A review of the economic policies instituted by President Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress lends credibility to this concern.

Exhibit A is the economic stimulus package signed into law by President Barack Obama in February. Even among previous stimulus efforts, the 2009 stimulus stands out for its ineffective targeting and sheer size. With interest, it is $1.1 trillion, double the size of Roosevelt’s New Deal spending as a percentage of GDP.

Exhibit B is tax policy going forward. It is a near certainty that Democratic-controlled Congress will allow most of the tax cuts of 2001-2003 to expire on Dec. 31, 2010.

Exhibit C is the administration’s intervention in the GM and Chrysler reorganizations. Upsetting decades of accepted bankruptcy law, the administration leveraged TARP funds to place unsecured and lower priority creditors like the United Auto Workers union in front of secured and higher priority creditors.

Health care, the administration’s signature issue, is Exhibit D. Disregarding its impact on quality and access, its plan will surely cost well over $1 trillion over the next decade. The House-passed version includes an 8% “pay or play” payroll tax and a half-trillion dollar surtax on incomes over $500,000, much of which will strike small business. Both taxes will tend to depress investment and the creation of new jobs.

If one substitutes the Blue Chip Economic Forecast’s interest-rate forecast for that of the administration, deficits will increase by an additional $1.2 trillion over the administration’s projected deficits. If the next decade’s interest rates climb to match those of the 1980s, then the deficit would increase another $5.3 trillion. If higher interest rates then slow economic growth, the impact on the deficit would be much worse.

via Jeb Hensarling and Paul Ryan: Why No One Expects a Strong Recovery – WSJ.com.

While I agree with all these, I think the reps believes that government is the solution, and the problem is their solution is not being implemented. This is what happens when you believe the government is the solution to our problems. Whoever lies the best and gets control of the government sets the policies. I’d love to see these guys calling for the government to quit tinkering with the economy.

The free market works, and will handle slow downs much better than politics. This recession would have hit us fast and moved on already without the tinkering. Can you imagine a doctor giving you a shot and saying I don’t want to inflict the pain, so let me put the needle in slowly? When you get a shot, you want it fast and quick. You know it’s going to hurt. Just get it over with. The economy is the same way. If we are going to go through some economic pain, take the brunt of it and get it over with. Instead we have these idiots trying to avoid any pain, and all they do is prolong it. The Fed caused the damn pain, and then says their role is minimize the pain and prevent it going forward. Really? Good job jackasses. Maybe we should try to control the weather so we don’t have any natural disasters.

If you want expectations to pick up, go back to the constitution. Quit tinkering. Tinkering only causes people to speculate on what the tinkering will be, and because our current tinkerers are bigger socialists than the previous tinkerers, they don’t feel good about the tinkering. Remove the tinkering ,and you remove the speculation and the negative expectations.

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Government Cannot Create Jobs

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics, Government | Posted on 18-11-2009

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Well, the scam is up, and the Democrats know it. TARP and stimulus have had no effect on creating jobs. So if government didn’t work the first time, I guess they just didn’t do enough.

The House of Representatives is pushing a bill aimed at boosting employment, a potentially risky move that underscores Democrats’ fears about the economy and jobs — including their own as they head into an election year.

Elements of such a bill could run the gamut from infrastructure spending to small-business lending to extra aid for states and the unemployed, lawmakers said. Democratic leaders haven’t determined any specifics — including the politically dicey question of how to pay for it.

The beauty of the free market is you don’t have to pay for it. Get the government the hell out of the economy, and jobs will be created. Oh, and we won’ t have to pay for it. This one line underscores the idiocy of the government. Infrastructure spending is not going to create long term jobs. It also does nothing but reduce wealth, just as all central planning of the economy does. Ask Russia. Lending to small business isn’t going to create jobs either. If the economy is a disaster thanks to government, why would small businesses borrow money. Who are they producing for? Of course the government’s solution to this disasterous credit bubble is to offer more credit. Lastly, what the hell is extra aid to states going to do for jobs. There was extra aid to states with the last stimulus bill. It did absolutely nothing. It’s just moving money from the Federal government to the state government, both of which are out of control.

Among ideas floated Tuesday by Democratic leaders were using bailout money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program and a tax on Wall Street firms’ financial transactions, such as derivatives trades.

“Hey, trust me.” says the government. We only lied to you about needing the $750 billion by the weekend to bailout Wall Street. Low and behold we have tons of the money still sitting around waiting for us to play God with.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, who runs the House Democrats’ campaign effort, said lawmakers were aiming for a six-year infrastructure bill that also could include energy-related investment.

Energy related investment? You mean a GE payoff? Energy companies will invest themselves if it makes economic sense. If it doesn’t make economic sense, and the government decides to do it, that means we’ve basically had our standard of living reduced. If solar power, for example, doesn’t produce a good ROI, it doesn’t matter who is paying for it. No matter what it’s not a good ROI and in this case, the tax payer is funding this bad investment.

Mr. Van Hollen, a member of the Ways and Means Committee, said lawmakers also might consider a payroll-tax holiday — a short-term break on Social Security and Medicare taxes to boost private-sector hiring. He said that might be an alternative to an employer tax credit for new hires, an idea that critics say is fraught with enforcement problems.

Hahaha. So the solution to creating jobs is a payroll-tax holiday? Social security and medicare are both bankrupt, but taking money from them is a good idea. If it’s such a good idea, and this is what is hampering the job market, let’s ditch it for good. This is just stupid. While I would love to see these taxes go, a temporary holiday isn’t going to trick an intelligent business person into hiring. If that reduction in cost is temporary, so is the position.

The White House didn’t comment on the developments. President Barack Obama announced a jobs summit for early December and the administration is likely to weigh in with its own recommendations.

Please President Obama. Give us your wise recommendations. They have benefited us so much so far.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) said he hoped to bring the bill to the House floor by mid-December, giving rank-and-file lawmakers a chance to vote just before the start of the 2010 election season, when control of Congress will be up for grabs.

“Clearly, 10.2% unemployment is unacceptable and is causing great pain to literally millions of people around the country,” Mr. Hoyer said.

This is so important that we need to wait till the political season begins, so politicians can take complete advantage of the politics of it.

House lawmakers hope the Senate also will act before the end of the year. Senate leaders said late Tuesday, they planned to tackle the issue only after completing the health-care overhaul. Sparring over the jobs legislation could last for many weeks beyond that.

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka put pressure on Congress to act Tuesday when he rolled out a proposal putting heavy emphasis on government spending on infrastructure, including schools, as well as a new round of aid to states and local governments to forestall layoffs.

Let’s have a guy who never started a business and only loots business owners tell us how to create jobs. The only form of job creation the AFL-CIO knows is pummeling private businesses into the ground until they aren’t competitive, and then costing many jobs.

Rep. John Larson (D., Conn.), the House Democratic caucus chairman, said he believed House Democrats would have to offset the bill’s cost, at least in part, to answer concerns about the soaring federal budget deficit. The government is expected to run a $1.4 trillion deficit in fiscal 2010, which began on Oct. 1. Democrats are likely to delay the effective date of new taxes until the recession is over.

Another possible revenue source is taxes on Internet gaming.

Mr. Larson, who as the House Democratic caucus chairman pays close attention to rank-and-file members’ attitudes, said there was growing momentum for a tax on some Wall Street trading.

There you go. Tax Wall Street trading. That should boost the economy. Let’s tax capital that is used to fund business expansion and creation.

Leading Democrats in both chambers, including Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, have expressed reservations about a tax on financial transactions, out of concern it could drive trading offshore.

Wow, I actually can’t believe Barney Frank said this. So, he understands that this could drive trading offshore, and thus cost the government capital gains taxes, but for some reason he doesn’t see how massive business taxes and regulation drive businesses offshore.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D., N.D.) said he would support legislation that would further extend the jobless benefits program and boost infrastructure spending, including roads and bridges. The senator said such spending would not only create jobs but boost the efficiency of the U.S. economy. “We need to do much more, ” he said.

Hahaha, the government is going to boost the efficiency of the economy. Did I read that correctly? Also, extending jobless benefits even more. Now there is motivation to get off you butt and start working.

Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R., Va.), said any bill that added to the deficit wouldn’t work. “They tried that approach once and failed,” Mr. Dayspring said.

Among the ideas for unused TARP funds are direct lending to small businesses, and funding of an infrastructure bank that would provide seed money for projects.

via House Leaders Push for Jobs Bill – WSJ.com.

I guess ultimately we get what we deserve. We elect these moronic bums to represent us, so we have no one to blame but ourselves. Who cares if their ideas don’t make sense. Who cares if your family is struggling financially, you wouldn’t believe spending more and borrowing more is the fix. This is the government. It’s different.

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Obama’s Trickle Up Economics aka Too Big To Fail

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 17-11-2009

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The latest mile marker on our road to fascism is the regulation being crafted by the administration and Barney Frank and the alternative being crafted by Chris Dodd. The two people most responsible out of politicians for the mess we are in are now the ones claiming they are going to fix it.

Both bills are intended to cover more than just companies that are engaged in financial activities. Following the administration’s lead, both provide that a company engaged in a financial activity “in whole or in part, directly or indirectly” could be subject to enhanced regulation and supervision.

The Frank bill seems intended to regulate all financial firms as though they are banks. Thus it requires financial activities to be transferred out of operating companies into a separate entity, which would then be regulated like a bank (even in its relations with its parent company).

The Dodd bill is a blunter instrument, proposing to regulate all companies that include financial activities “in whole or in part.” But almost all companies—retailers, manufacturers and service organizations—engage in some financial activities, if only to promote the sale of their products and services. If the administration’s health-care proposal has the potential to nationalize one-sixth of the economy, Messrs. Frank and Dodd are bidding to cover the rest.

“in whole or in part, directly or indirectly” and “in whole or in part” sure sound all encompassing. It would seem to me that every business is “engaged in financial activity” to a point. Add the control of government health care to this equation, and you pretty much have complete control of business.

The administration’s original legislation would give the Federal Reserve authority to regulate and supervise all large nonbank financial institutions and, if they are in danger of failing, take control of them and resolve their problems outside the bankruptcy system. The underlying notion is that the failure of one of these companies—which include bank holding companies, securities firms, insurance companies, finance companies, hedge funds and possibly others—could cause a systemic collapse.

Although the administration likes to give the impression that its proposal is limited to exceptional cases and the largest financial institutions, its draft legislation, and the Frank and Dodd bills, use very broad language to describe the triggering event for either enhanced supervision or a subsequent bailout.

Putting it bluntly, the administration’s proposal, and the House and Senate draft bills, would establish too big to fail as national policy. Whether the companies are regulated by the Fed or by a new agency, they will still have been marked as threats to economic well-being—and thus seen by creditors and investors as specially protected by the government. This will give them the same advantages enjoyed in the mortgage business by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, with the same result for competitors and taxpayers.

This sure sounds like welfare for the rich to me. Basically if you are lucky enough to have your business labeled “too big to fail” (I’m sure we’ll see more lobbyist pushing to have their business classified as such), then you basically do not have to worry about your actions. Take your profits while you can and things are good, and when things get bad, don’t worry about it. The American taxpayer will have to eat it. The investors and the executives reap the rewards and have all upside.

The Frank bill would explicitly authorize the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) to provide financing that would restore a failed company to health. The craftier Dodd bill implies that creditors will take a hit, but then authorizes the FDIC to pay off creditors in full if that would avoid “serious adverse effects to financial stability or the United States economy.”

Moreover, under the Dodd bill, after the government has settled with its creditors, a failed company can have a public offering of its shares and return to the competitive fray. That’s good news in one sense, of course, but not for everyone; under the Dodd plan, the government is authorized to recover what it spent by taxing all financial firms—that is, firms such as bank holding companies and others involved “in whole or in part” in financial activities—with total assets of more than $10 billion.

In effect, the legislation creates moral hazard by transferring the risks and losses of a failing company from its creditors to its competitors. The protection of taxpayers may be a mirage anyway, since the FDIC is authorized to put off these collections indefinitely to avoid an “adverse effect on the financial system or economic conditions.”

via Peter J. Wallison: The Permanent TARP – WSJ.com.

This regulation amounts to “there are no losers here” policies. It’s like all the kids participating in a sporting event getting a trophy, because they are all winners. Meanwhile, they lose their sense of competition and drive. There is no downside for a company once it’s classified as too big to fail. This is a scary proposition. If they have bad management, they don’t have to worry. The government will step in, usher them back to “health” with tax payer money, and then more bad management can come in and make profits until it falls apart again. Talk about wealth distribution. I didn’t know Obama meant this when he was talking to Joe the Plumber. I should have known when he said he was for “Trickle Up Economics” instead of Reagan’s “Trickle Down Economics”. Apparently with trickle up economics, the wealth that the poor and middle class have moves up to the rich that have political connections.

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Lessons from Honduras

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 16-11-2009

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While reading this article in the Wall Street Journal this morning, it struck me that we have some lessons we should learn ourselves.

This is not to suggest an endorsement of the status quo. Cardinal Rodríguez has plenty of criticism for a system that has left so many Hondurans mired in poverty while a small number live extravagantly. He denounces the lack of equality under the law which has damaged economic mobility. “In Latin America, when you have money, you can buy justice.” Such corruption is what led to “the implosion” of political parties in Venezuela,” he says. “And in the vacuum there was this messiah, Chávez, who came. This is the danger in all our nations.”

Yet the cardinal also recognizes progress since the birth of the constitutional democracy in 1982. “Now the army is respected, because they have dedicated themselves to the constitutional role of defending the law and the borders.” The trouble, he says, is that with the advent of democracy, “the political parties took politics as an industry for enrichment. We need to change that.”

Cardinal Rodríguez sees the rule of law as an important link to development. “The key is to assure justice,” he says, “because if you don’t have legal security, you are not going to invest. Investment is very important. With investments there are more jobs for our people.”

Speaking of investors, the cardinal says, “of course they are not all saints,” and human rights must be protected. “But what should we do without those jobs?” he asks. Then he adds, “Maquilas [assembly plants] are especially important for women, because their jobs have been a source of dignity. When they earn their own money they are no longer slaves to the macho man in their lives, who often is not even their husband.”

Honduras will hold a presidential election on Nov. 29, and many hope Mr. Zelaya will soon be a bad memory. Yet the struggle for liberty, and the social justice that comes from equality under the law, will continue. Cardinal Rodríguez says he hopes the political class has learned a lesson. Amen to that.

via Mary O’Grady: The Cardinal and the Constitution – WSJ.com.

Cardinal Rodríguez mentions that because of corruption in Venezula, the populace turned to “this messiah, Chavez”. Hmm, sounds familar. Because Americans were fed up with government manipulation by Wall Street and the excesses of bad monetary and fiscal policy, we fell for the very demagogic but vague messiah, Barack Obama. Americans, in wanting to corruption removed from Washington, turned to a corrupt politician to do it. Sadly, Obama is turning out to be the most corrupt. He’s in bed with Wall Street and the Fed.

The Cardinal then goes on to explain that investors aren’t angels, but they are the ones who create the opportunities for the rest of society to participate in the economy. This participation is what brings dignity, not the government.

Social justice is usually code for socialism, but I love how the Cardinal turns it, “the social justice that comes from equality under the law”. He is right, social justice comes from equality under the law. It does not come from government coercion of one group to the benefit of another. The very act of coercion is the destroyer of “social justice”.  Good call Cardinal, and Amen to that. Let’s just hope Americans wake up and realize that the government is not our messiah, and that we should not be looking to the government to impose “social justice”.

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The Criminalization of America

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 12-11-2009

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Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal had a front page article about those with arrest records are finding it increasingly difficult to find a job in the current economy.  It reminded me of a tweet I put out last week, that government’s role in society is to create criminals our of ordinary people.

Aren’t we supposed to be the most compassionate country on earth? How about a little forgive and forget for our fellow man? Let’s start with Wally Camis Jr.

One petitioner is Wally Camis Jr., who wanted to clear the air about the time he threatened two men with a hairbrush.

Mr. Camis was hungry for work amid a divorce last fall. The 41-year-old Air Force veteran, who had worked as a security guard and owned a restaurant, filled out an application for temporary employment in Eugene, Ore., checking a box saying he had never been arrested.

When he followed up a week later, the temp agency told him no thanks — they’d turned up a 1986 conviction. Stunned, Mr. Camis recalled the night the two men threatened him and he pulled a silver brush from his back pocket, saying it was a knife. He called the police, he says, and later pleaded guilty to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a misdemeanor. The judge entered a “no judgment” finding and ordered Mr. Camis to pay a $60 fine.

“I thought that was the end of it,” he says.

Instead, 22 years later, Mr. Camis found himself fighting to erase traces of the arrest, joining the growing ranks of Americans who hope that clearing their records of minor crimes will boost their odds in a tough job market. To help, entrepreneurs have set up record-clearing services and local governments have passed laws to speed the expungement process.

So, here is a veteran who served his country being punished because he threatened someone with a hair brush? Are you kidding me? This goes beyond ridiculous, and no one should have to go out of their way to expunge a dumbass ruling in the first place. Oh, how about this next mad man. Surely, he deserves what he has coming.

One Chicago 53-year-old, who has worked for an overnight delivery service and as a bricklayer, is nervous that his record’s sole smudge may come back to haunt him.

In 1974, he says, he was walking down a street near his Chicago home rolling a marijuana cigarette. He was arrested by an undercover police officer and convicted of possession. “That was back in the days when I had hair, and I just said, ‘Forget about it.’ I was like 17 or 18 years old — what did I care?”

His employers never learned of the conviction, he says, nor have his own children. But, hoping to coach high-school basketball when he retires in a few years, he’s working with a Chicago attorney to clear his record. “Nowadays they look for anything so I figured I better take care of this,” he says.

Wow, this guy smoked marijuana when he was 17 or 18. Who knows what he’s liable to do next. I know he’s 53 now, but you never know when those evil ways will return. How about these statistics.

These convictions are increasingly coming to employers’ attention. Background checks have become more commonplace in the years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and cheaper. More than 80% of companies performed such checks in 2006, compared with fewer than 50% in 1998, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, an association of HR professionals.

Millions of Americans are in a similar position. In 1967, 50% of American men had been arrested. Since then, arrests made in connection with domestic violence and illegal drugs have pushed the number to 60%, estimates Alfred Blumstein, a criminologist at Carnegie Mellon University. The annual number of arrests for possession of marijuana more than tripled to 1.8 million from 1980 to 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Holy sh!t. 60% of American men have been arrested, and then they have to worry about the arrest, which I’m guessing a large chunk are frivolous, coming back and preventing them from being productive and contributive members of society. What in the world are our politicians doing? Maybe we need to change our criminal laws to something similar to the points system used for automobiles. If you commit a “crime” (and crime is debatable in some of these instances), you get points. After a certain period of time, those points are erased off your record. Now, I’m not saying all criminals. There are crimes that we can all agree should not be removed. Most of those would be violent crimes, and I don’t mean threatening someone with a hair brush.

I have an even better idea. If you want to really get this worked out, how about anyone who has been arrested cannot serve in the government anywhere. With 60% of men having an arrest record, I’m guessing many of those are politicians, bureacrats, judgets, police, etc. Maybe seeing the stupidity of criminalizing our society, they will be a little more reasonable when branding someone for life as a criminal.

The house version of the healh care reform bill has fines and jail time for those who refuse to buy health care and pay the new fine. Wonder what that 60% of men will go up to?


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Health Care – The truth be told

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, Health Care | Posted on 10-11-2009

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The truth be told.

The typical argument for ObamaCare is that it will offer better medical care for everyone and cost less to do it, but occasionally a supporter lets the mask slip and reveals the real political motivation. So let’s give credit to John Cassidy, part of the left-wing stable at the New Yorker, who wrote last week on its Web site that “it’s important to be clear about what the reform amounts to.”

Mr. Cassidy is more honest than the politicians whose dishonesty he supports. “The U.S. government is making a costly and open-ended commitment,” he writes. “Let’s not pretend that it isn’t a big deal, or that it will be self-financing, or that it will work out exactly as planned. It won’t. What is really unfolding, I suspect, is the scenario that many conservatives feared. The Obama Administration . . . is creating a new entitlement program, which, once established, will be virtually impossible to rescind.”

Why are they doing it? Because, according to Mr. Cassidy, ObamaCare serves the twin goals of “making the United States a more equitable country” and furthering the Democrats’ “political calculus.” In other words, the purpose is to further redistribute income by putting health care further under government control, and in the process making the middle class more dependent on government. As the party of government, Democrats will benefit over the long run.

This explains why Nancy Pelosi is willing to risk the seats of so many Blue Dog Democrats by forcing such an unpopular bill through Congress on a narrow, partisan vote: You have to break a few eggs to make a permanent welfare state. As Mr. Cassidy concludes, “Putting on my amateur historian’s cap, I might even claim that some subterfuge is historically necessary to get great reforms enacted.”

No wonder many Americans are upset. They know they are being lied to about ObamaCare, and they know they are going to be stuck with the bill.

via John Cassidy on ObamaCare – WSJ.com.

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Your leaders are selling you into slavery

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics, Government, Video | Posted on 09-11-2009

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Bob Murphy had a great post,  Free Advice: “The Money That Is Sold Abroad Is You!”, that reiterates my post on selling our kids into slavery. This video is a lot more dramatic though. I’m jealous.

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