April 2010

Who Inherited What?

by Bill O'Connell on April 25, 2010

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Although it is getting very tiresome and it is losing it’s bite, Democrats still are desperately clinging to “we inherited eight years of Bush policies, yada, yada, yada.”  Was it eight years?  If so, how did he get re-elected in 2004?  I will be among the first to say that Bush wandered off the conservative reservation with his spending, but Bush didn’t create Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac either.

What Have We Inherited?

Let’s take a look at everything else we have inherited.  Why stop at Bush?

  • With 20% of the federal budget locked in to Social Security and this also being essentially a very large ponzi scheme for which we have enormous unfunded liabilities, who did we inherit this from?  Franklin Delano Roosevelt – Democrat. 
  •  What about that other ticking time bomb, Medicare and Medicaid?  Thank you Lyndon Baines Johnson – Democrat.
  • Fannie Mae — Need I say more?  Franklin Delano Roosevelt – Democrat
  • Department of Agriculture – elevated to Cabinet level at a time when agricultural employment in this country was 70%-80% of the population.  In 2008 agricultural employment was about 2%-3% of the population.  Why do we still need it?  Thank you Grover Cleveland – Democrat
  • Department of Education – has spent $1 trillion since its founding and we all know how much it has improved education in this country.  Thank you Jimmy Carter – Democrat
  • Department of Energy – Remember the Synfuels project where we were going to convert coal to oil after the first Arab Oil Embargo?  It was a great idea as long as oil stayed above $40 per barrel at the time. Thank you Jimmy Carter – Democrat
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – think of all the wildly successful urban development projects over the years, warehousing our poor in drug infested, dangerous housing projects.  Let’s not forget HUD’s contribution to the current financial meltdown where they aggressively pushed greater lending for homes in poor rural and urban areas.  Thank you Lyndon Baines Johnson – Democrat
  • Community Reinvestment Act — another key to the housing bubble, Thank you Jimmy Carter – Democrat:

 Urged on by ACORN, congressional Democrats and the Clinton administration helped push tolerance for high-risk loans through every sector of the banking system — far beyond the sort of banks originally subject to the CRA. So it was the efforts of ACORN and its Democratic allies that first spread the subprime virus from the CRA to Fannie and Freddie and thence to the entire financial system. Soon, Democratic politicians and regulators actually began to take pride in lowered credit standards as a sign of ‘fairness’ — and the contagion spread.”

  • Department of Transportation – used to be part of the Department of Commerce. Split off to create another bureaucracy.  Thank you Lyndon Baines Johnson – Democrat

Gee, all of this we inherited from the pantheon of Democratic gods. It makes Bush sound like a piker. 

Will We Never Learn?

When this country was founded Congress created three departments:  Department of War, the Department of State, and the Department of the Treasury.  That pretty much fits what the founders intended.  A limited federal government that would deal with external issues and defend us from our enemies.  There are now fifteen federal cabinet level agencies.  Why is it that Democrats feel this need to create massive new bureaucracies?  Why don’t they ever go away when they have achieved their mission?  We are now facing crushing deficits brought about by decades of government growth brought about by the Democrats. 

It’s time to stop blaming Bush.  Mr. Obama, you wanted this job.  You won this job.  Now, do this job and stop bitching about what you inherited.  If anyone has something to bitch about it is we Americans, because you and your fellow travelers have built this house of cards and you think the only solution is to build it bigger, faster.  If the load is too heavy to carry, we don’t need vitamins (VAT tax) to get stronger, we need to lighten the load.  We have to shrink this beast down to a manageable size, NOW.

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For My Next Act…Immigration Reform!!!

by Bill O'Connell on April 24, 2010

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The situation down on the Arizona border has reached crisis proportion.  With no help from Washington in defending our borders, the state of Arizona has passed a law that will help it identify illegal immigrants.  This has sparked a controversy because protecting the border is a federal function.  Gee, imagine that, something that is actually in the Constitution that the Obama Administration is supposed to do, they don’t seem to have time for because they are too busy doing what they are prohibited by the Constitution from doing.

This is probably the last thing that Obama wanted.  If he agrees with Arizona he essentially has abdicated his federal responsibility to that state as well as shown he cannot carry out his duties.  If he disagrees with Arizona, he seems to be saying he doesn’t care if Arizona is being overrun by illegals, he wants them here.  So true to form, he punts.  He said he wants the Congress to take up comprehensive immigration reform right away.  What happens in Arizona in the mean time?

Whatever Happened to the Fence?

I have seen a number of estimates on the cost to build the fence along the Mexican border.  Michael Chertoff, former head of the Department of Homeland Security, estimated that a 2,000 mile “state of the art” fence would cost between $4 and $8 billion.  Other estimates range as high as $50 billion.  Didn’t we just squander $787 billion in stimulus money that did nothing?  Why didn’t we take that money and finish the fence?  A real fence like the Israelis put up?  Isn’t there a large amount of the so-called stimulus money unspent?  This is a national security issue.  Why doesn’t this administration get on it?

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ObamaCare, the Health Care Titanic

by Bill O'Connell on April 24, 2010

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The other day we read reports of Democratic Senators scrambling to create an oversight panel to prevent health care providers from dramatically increasing premiums over the next four years because, shockingly, costs are supposed to go down not up.

Yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services released a report analyzing the effects of ObamaCare:

The sobering assessment by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services concludes what Republicans had warned about during heated debate — that the double-counting of Medicare spending — as both savings and as a means to shore up the debt-ridden government fund for seniors’ health care — means the cost is unrealistic.

The analysis also found that the law falls short of the president’s twin goal of controlling runaway costs, raising projected spending by about 1 percent over 10 years, or $311 billion, up from the $222 billion previous estimated.

Excuse me, captain, but was that an iceberg we just hit?  We all know the Titanic sank on her maiden voyage, and it looks like ObamaCare is taking on water only weeks after being launched.  As Congressman John Boehner said:

“According to his own administration’s analysis, the health care law the president signed one month ago today would violate his pledge to ‘bend the cost curve’ and force millions of seniors off their current Medicare coverage. This is in addition to what we already know about how this new law is squeezing employers with job-killing tax hikes and leaving middle-class families to brace for higher premiums,” he said. 

When talk turns to repealing this law is Obama still smugly saying, “Bring it on”?

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Financial Reform — NOT

by Bill O'Connell on April 24, 2010

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It was like the movie Rocky the Democrats (Rocky) were getting pounded left and right over their heavy handed tactics.  They crammed through a health care bill that an overwhelming majority of the country opposed.  They moved on to financial reform and they still couldn’t get any traction.  Their poll numbers continued to drop and it was looking like a dismal election coming up in the fall. 

 And then, just like in the movie Rocky swings from his heels and connects knocking the champ to the canvas.  In this case it was the SEC charging Goldman Sachs with fraud.  Now they could fire a full fusillade of class warfare at the Republicans and either get Republicans to help pass the financial reform bill or be tarred as the party of the evil bankers and greedy Wall Street robber barons.  But unlike the movie, right after knocking the opponent down, when the referee sends Rocky back to a neutral corner he slips in his own sweat, flips on his back and knocks himself out.  By that I mean the news came out that employees of the SEC spent an inordinate amount of their time watching porn instead of the financial markets.  How do you expand the role of government on the heels of that disclosure?

 Trying to Make Up for Bernie Madoff?

When Bernie Madoff’s ponzi scheme was in full swing, Harry Markopolos brought the scam to the SEC practically tied in a bow.  The SEC did not respond.  Perhaps they were too busy…, well never mind.

With the Democrats trusty weapon, class warfare, holstered it’s time to delve more deeply into this financial reform legislation.

In a letter to Senate majority leader Harry Reid and minority leader Mitch McConnell, luminaries including former SEC Chief Accountant Lynn Turner, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, hedge fund owner Jim Chanos, former Lehman Brothers Vice Chair Peter Solomon, former S&L investigator Bill Black, former Senate Banking Committee Chief Economist Rob Johnson, economists Dean Baker, Barry Eichengreen and others pointed out that Dodd’s proposed financial reform legislation wouldn’t have prevented the current crisis … and won’t prevent the next crisis.

So tell me again why we are doing this?  It’s all about more government control and more power in Washington, not about fixing any real problem.  Where are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in this bill?  They were at the very core of the financial meltdown.  In other words it’s all politics and it’s all straight out of the Saul Alinsky tome Rules for Radicals:

 Rule No. 13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.  In conflict tactics there are certain rules that [should be regarded] as universalities. One is that the opposition must be singled out as the target and ‘frozen.’…

     “…any target can always say, ‘Why do you center on me when there are others to blame as well?’ When your ‘freeze the target,’ you disregard these [rational but distracting] arguments…. Then, as you zero in and freeze your target and carry out your attack, all the ‘others’ come out of the woodwork very soon. They become visible by their support of the target…’

     “One acts decisively only in the conviction that all the angels are on one side and all the devils on the other.” (pps.127-134)

The target in this case, is Wall Street and the Banks.  Demonize them.  When the “others”, meaning the Republicans, come out to challenge the ineffectiveness of the bill, then they can be attacked as being for the fat cats and against the little guys; class warfare at its ugliest.

 Follow the Money

But who is really in bed with the fat cats?  The Political Action Committees (PACs), employees, families of employees and other associates of Goldman Sachs gave almost $1 million in campaign contributions to Obama.  In this legislation, the concept of too big to fail remains untouched.  There will be a $50 billion fund created with money from the top banks to standby if needed for a bailout, but this also gives the impression that the largest banks are now safer because of this fund and therefore can get a lower interest rate on their borrowings compared to smaller banks.

 Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman said:

 “The Dodd bill has unlimited executive bailout authority. That’s something Wall Street desperately wants but doesn’t dare ask for. The bill contains permanent, unlimited bailout authority.”

 Why ask for it when the Obama administration will give it to you.  All you have to do is let them smack you around a bit to prime the class warfare pump, and you’re all set.

If you are backstopped by unlimited executive bailout, go ahead, take bigger and bigger risks.  The government will step in if you fail.  So here we have yet another fat cat (Wall Street/Big Banks) wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing (the little guy; Main Street). 

 If you want real financial reform, then in the name of capitalism, the big banks and Wall Street have to learn to play with their own money. If they hit a home run, good for them.  If they strikeout, they should lose their own money and if they don’t have enough to cover their losses, goodbye.   They should not be allowed to take huge risks and if they pay off, everybody there gets a new mansion in the Hamptons, but if they go bust, hand the bill to us.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, we were told were private entities, not part of the government, but wink, wink, nudge, nudge, everyone knew the federal government was standing behind them and would not let them go bust.  So they too, got the kind of interest rates, half a point lower than their competitors, based on this implied backing not based on the strength of their balance sheet.

We have to fight this one too.  This is just more smoke and mirrors from the Obama administration.  Another power grab without any substantive benefit to the American people.

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Hard Luck Stories – Reading Between the Lines

by Bill O'Connell on April 22, 2010

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You don’t have to go too far to find a story about people suffering in these tough economic times, and your heart goes out to them.  Some have lost houses, are living in cars, really tough stuff.  But there is another story under the surface that reflects common attitudes developed growing up in the nanny state kicked into high gear by Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

In the midst of these tough economic times, instead of getting out of the way by cutting taxes and red tape, the Obama administration is focused on piling on more government programs.  Worthless stimulus packages, health care reform, and efforts to push cap and trade have not moved the unemployment needle a whit.  They extend unemployment benefits and keep whistling past the graveyard hoping they won’t get swallowed up.

Personal Responsibility

Since the Great Depression and the growth of the nanny state, more and more people have bought into the myth that the government can provide all, and our responsibility is to enjoy the ride.  An article in today’s New York Times writes about people benefitting from a government program to keep them in their houses if they face becoming homeless.  But there are some subtleties in the hard luck stories that give me pause.

There is the case of Antonio Moore who lost his job as a mortgage consultant that paid him $75,000 per year.  He lost his 3-bedroom house with a Jacuzzi and his Lexus sedan.  He is now faced with eviction from his apartment.  The article doesn’t go into details, but in most cases you don’t lose your house and car if they are all paid for.  Again, it doesn’t say if Mr. Moore bought his car new or used, but when I think of a car like a Lexus I usually don’t think that fitting in the budget of someone making $75,000 living in the San Francisco Bay area.  Had Mr. Moore purchased a Toyota Corolla instead of the Lexus would he be in better shape?  Again, I don’t know the details.  I am just wondering.

Then there is the case of Dawn Martin.

Ms. Martin is mortified to be asking for help. She grew up wealthy, with vacations spent on Caribbean cruises. “I had everything I ever wanted,” she says.

She and her husband have a painting business that until 2008 was grossing $100,000 per year, but in this tough economy it dropped to $38,000.  That’s hard.  But then here is the between the lines story:

Her father has money to help if it really comes down to it, she acknowledges.

“I don’t see him letting his grandkids land on the street,” she says, “but he’d hold it over our heads for a long time. That would lower me to a level that I wouldn’t want to go.”

So she is here, at Samaritan House, filling out the paperwork for the homeless prevention program.

So because of her pride, she turns to your family and mine, through higher taxes to fund a government program, to help her through her rough spot before she will turn to her own family.  But don’t worry.  When our money is gone, she will turn to Dad.  The painting business is picking up so Ms. Martin is confident they will be able to sustain themselves.  She is able to take our money to tide her over and still maintain her pride. 

But what did Ms. Martin learn about money when “growing up wealthy”?  Is Dad responsible for not teaching her or was she a rebellious child who ignored him and perhaps that is why he would hold it over her head for a long time.  Will she do something different this time around or hope for another government program?

Perhaps I was a little torqued before reading this story by another in the Wall Street Journal that wrote about the homes underlying the Goldman Sachs fraud case.  This article talks about a Ms. Onyeukwu, a 43-year old nursing home assistant with pre-tax income of $9,000 per month.  She is having trouble paying her $688,000 mortgage at $5,000 per month which is 56% of her pre-tax income.  Her solution?  Refinance it with a $786,250 mortgage.  But hey, the interest rate is lower so her payments of $5,000 per month will stay the same.  What is she thinking?  I could be way off base here but I’ll bet she could get a nice apartment for significantly less than $5,000 per month.  Sell the house, live within your means.

Government as Savior or Government as Pusher?

This is a tale of two government programs and personal responsibility.  We had or still have a massive government program that uses threats, goals, and sleight of hand to help millions achieve the American dream of home ownership.  This is not through thrift, like our parents did it, but by the government threatening banks with charges of racism (there’s the race card again) if the banks didn’t lower their lending standards.  As the housing market took off, the feeding frenzy intensified and everyone was trying to buy houses or finance them with less and less money down.  The Community Reinvestment Act, HUD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac were all players in this debacle, but don’t expect our elected officials to wade into that swamp to see what happened.  No, they will pile the blame on the banks and Wall Street, while they take Wall Street’s massive donations and do nothing but pass meaningless “reform legislation”.  Now we need new government programs to keep these people hanging on.  How similar is this to the drug pusher who gives you your first hit for free to get you hooked and dependent on them forever.

What About Personal Responsibility?

Unlike the people in the articles, I believe I have responsibility first and foremost for my actions.  If I need help beyond myself I turn to my family and then the charity of my church.  I believe many conservatives share my views, which is why on average conservatives give 30% more to charities than liberals.  It is why I gave the moniker “Buck a Day Biden” to Vice President Joe Biden because in his financial disclosure forms he reported give only about $300 a year to charity.  Here is a man who has been drawing six figure salaries from the taxpayers for years, is a millionaire, but will not reach very deep into his own pocket to help his fellow man, but has no problem reaching into your pocket and mine to create some government program to give your tax dollars to someone else.

There is a man named Dave Ramsey, who was a millionaire in his mid-twenties but later lost it all and declared bankruptcy.  He now teaches others how to live without debt and take responsibility for their financial lives.  It is a lesson all of us should learn and if we do, I’ll have to find something else to write about that sets me off.  But in the mean time we have a lot of work to do.  First we have to stop the federal government’s runaway train.  Next, we have to shrink government.  Then we have to go back to being responsible for ourselves and wean ourselves off the government.

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This is from today’s New York Times:

“Fearing that health insurance premiums may shoot up in the next few years, Senate Democrats laid a foundation on Tuesday for federal regulation of rates, four weeks after President Obama signed a law intended to rein in soaring health costs.”

With the ink barely dry on ObamaCare, Democrats in Congress are scrambling to keep their masterpiece from unraveling.  As I have pointed out repeatedly, there is nothing in the ObamaCare plan that helps reduce the cost of delivering health care.  It is all about controlling what doctors, medical service providers, and insurance companies are paid.  All the underlying pressures on health costs (tort reform, 3rd party payer, etc.) are still in place.

“We Have to Pass the Bill to Know What’s In It”

Nancy Pelosi’s stunning but famous words are coming into play.  Let’s see what has the senators panicked.

  • To hoodwink the American people that this abomination is cost effective, ObamaCare warms up by hitting us with four years of taxes before the expensive benefits come into play.
  • Every American will be required to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty.  That penalty will initially be $95 per adult in 2014, rising to $695 per adult in 2016 and $2,085 for a family.  This money will be collected by the IRS, not by insurance companies
  • Americans cannot be denied coverage for an existing condition

So here’s the scenario.  If you compare the cost of the penalty of $2,085 for a family vs. the cost of insurance for a family of $10,000, coupled with the inability of insurance companies to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, healthy people will start dropping insurance coverage left and right.  Why not?  On the way to the hospital, you can call an insurance company and say you want to be covered for the pains in your chest and you cannot be denied.  So insurance companies will only have sick people as clients.  With only sick people that they constantly have to pay claims on, their only course of action if they want to stay in business is to raise premiums on all those sick people.  If they start doing it now, they may be able to raise them less than if they wait until 2016.

So the insurance companies are acting rationally to this mess the Democrats dragged across the finish line and now they are shocked, SHOCKED, that they should do this. 

Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute, a research center that advocates free-market health policies, said the Democrats’ proposal was unlikely to succeed in lowering insurance costs.

“Capping premiums without recognizing the forces that are driving up costs would be like tightening the lid on a pressure cooker while the heat is being turned up,” Mrs. Turner said.

The Democratic fix is to have a new bureaucracy that will provide a check on unjustified premiums.  I think you can look at this in one of two ways, both plausible.  The Democrats were stupid enough to believe, as they typically do, that Americans don’t act rationally to their government policies.  It’s also why they don’t understand that when they raise taxes they never collect as much money as they thought, and when taxes are cut they can’t believe how much money flows into the Treasury due to economic growth.  The second scenario is this new commission will cap premiums to the point of driving private insurance companies out of business and then the Democrats will say, “Geez, we didn’t want to do this, but I guess we have to put in place a public option that, by the way, will be the only option.”

Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the No. 3 Republican in the Senate, said: “Health insurance companies’ profits for one year equal about two days of health care spending in the United States. So even if we were to take away all the profits of the so-called greedy insurance companies, that would still leave 363 days a year when health care costs are expanding at a rate our country cannot afford.”

Now that I think about it, it is probably the second scenario that is more likely, that is, force the public option.  Your government is about to swallow up another big chunk of the economy if  we don’t turn them out in November.

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Putting the Champion of the Little Guys Myth to Rest

by Bill O'Connell on April 20, 2010

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The Democrats are currently trying to roll out that old war horse, “class warfare” in a desperate attempt to arrest their freefall in the polls.  The myth is that they are for the little guy when they are the party of big government.  Businesses, once they get big, are hardly fans of the free market as they would much prefer to settle into a profitable market niche and not have to keep battling against upstarts.

Show Me the Money

An organization known as OpenSecrets.org, has a website that has information on contributions to the 2008 presidential campaign.  The list of top contributors is not a list of contributions by corporations but by contributions from those company’s Political Action Committees, its individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals’ immediate families, but it does give you a sense of where the people who make up these companies see their bread buttered.

If you look at the top 20 donors to Obama compared to the top 20 donors to McCain, the 20th donor on Obama’s list gave 32% more to Obama than the top donor to McCain.  As with any large organization there will be individuals who support Republicans and individuals who support Democrats, as well as their PACs wanting hedge bets by giving to both.  But the amounts are telling.

What is particularly illuminating is with regard to Wall Street and the Banks.  The Democrats are latching onto the sound bite that they want more regulation to protect the little guy, while the Republicans want less regulation so that Wall Street and the banks can get rich at the expense of the little guy.

Who’s Dumber Wall Street or the Democrats?

Does anyone believe that the leaders of Wall Street would give money to a candidate or party without expecting their point of view to be heard?  Does anyone believe that the Democrats would take contributions and then turn around and burn those who contributed so generously, particularly before a very tough election?  Okay, now that we have that settled let’s look at the numbers.

The top Wall Street and Bank Contributors to Obama’s election were as follows:

  1. Goldman Sachs — $994,795
  2. Citigroup — $701,290
  3. JP Morgan Chase — $695,132
  4. UBS AG — $543,219
  5. Morgan Stanley — $514,881

The top Wall Street and Bank Contributors to McCain’s election were as follows:

  1. Merrill Lynch — $373, 595 (subsequently sold to Bank of America)
  2. Citigroup — $322,051
  3. Morgan Stanley — $273,452
  4. Goldman Sachs — $230,095
  5. JP Morgan Chase — $228,107
  6. Wachovia — $195,063 (acquired by Wells Fargo)
  7. UBS AG — $192,493
  8. Credit Suisse — $183,353
  9. Bank of America — $166,026
  10. Bear Stearns — $117,498 (subsequently sold to JP Morgan Chase in a fire sale)
  11. Lehman Brothers — $114,357 (Bankrupt)

It looks like four of the companies with people who gave to McCain didn’t survive the meltdown and either disappeared or were swallowed up by the winners.  If you look as people from companies that gave to both candidates, the amounts are significantly different:

  1. Goldman Sachs associates gave $764,700 more to Obama than McCain
  2. Citigroup associates gave $379,239 more to Obama than McCain
  3. JP Morgan associates gave $467,025 more to Obama than McCain
  4. UBS associates gave $350,726 more to Obama than McCain
  5. Morgan Stanley gave $241,429 more to Obama than McCain

I am not suggesting any quid pro quo for the contributions, but people do things for a reason.  Who do you think will be more sensitive to the needs of Wall Street, Obama or the Republicans? 

So look for a Financial Reform package that is a lot of smoke and mirrors that actually does nothing constructive.  Republicans will oppose it, and Democrats will try to flog them as being for Wall Street and the Banks and against the little guy, but facts are facts.  Remember, after passing ObamaCare Democrats tried to paint the picture that they stood up to the insurance companies, when they passed a law that will compel millions of Americans to become customers of those same insurance companies.  Do you think that is why the opposition from the insurance companies was muted?

It’s time to drive home the point that this Administration is allied with Wall Street, GE, health insurance companies against us.  It should not be hard to do.  People are listening closely like never before.

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If Regulations Aren’t Working, Add More Regulations

by Bill O'Connell on April 20, 2010

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Democrats think they have a winner.  They want to lather on some more financial regulations because regulators dropped the ball on enforcing what already exists.  So as conservatives point out that what they are proposing is unnecessary or won’t work, they can gleefully say, “Republicans are for the fat cats, while we’re for the little guy.”

Broken Regulations

Harry Markopolos recognized within “minutes” that Bernie Madoff was a fraud.  He took his case to the SEC and was promptly ignored.  He took it to Forbes magazine…not interested.  Bernie Madoff himself was surprised how long it took to be found out. 

So what does the SEC do now?  It initiates a case against Goldman Sachs where professionals on both sides of a transaction knew what they were getting into.  One side bet on housing prices continuing to rise, the other betting the bubble would burst.  The decision on pursuing this was voted 3-2, with three Democrats voting in favor of pursuing the case, and two Republicans voting against.  It must be the Democrats looking out for the little guys and the Republicans looking out for evil Wall Street, right?

John Paulson is the investor who allegedly played unfairly by being able to choose the securities that went into the investment that Goldman Sachs allegedly didn’t disclose to the other party.  Mr. Paulson hasn’t been charged with anything.  Mr. Paulson also contributed $30,400 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee last June.  If you recall Jon Corzine, former Democratic Senator and Governor of New Jersey, used to be the chairman of Goldman Sachs.  The new head of the SEC enforcement division in the Obama Administration, Adam Storch, is a former Goldman Sachs Vice President.  So who’s in bed with Wall Street? 

Democrats Need a Diversion

With almost every measure of public opinion on government appointment sinking to all time lows, the Democrats need to ramp up the class warfare machine to find anything that will gain traction with the public.  They know they can’t fight on the facts so they have to start the fog machine.  Typical Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals stuff.

Conservatives must focus the debate on the issues and not shrink from the fight.  It is far too easy to show that Big Government (Obama) and Big Business (GE, et al) are really partners in dividing up the spoils amongst themselves and telling the rest of us how to live our lives.

Remembering Reagan

Ronald Reagan famously said that the statists believe:

“If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

There is currently no more telling example of this than Senator Chuck Schumer bloviating about Spirit Air Lines charging passengers for carry on baggage.  He wants to introduce legislation prohibiting this.  Hey, Chuck, if you don’t like Spirit charging you for your carryon bags, pick another airline!  That’s how markets work.  But the genius that is Washington is, NO we have to regulate that!  So the idiots would pass a law prohibiting charging for carryon bags and the airlines will respond by raising ALL ticket prices to compensate.  So instead of my having a choice of carrying a bag on board or saving the money, or choosing another airline altogether, the government will make everything equal and more expensive.

So, Chuck, how are you and your pals doing as far as growing the economy and getting the unemployment rate down?   Maybe you should spend some time on that, no?

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Comedian Lewis Black visited the Wall Street Journal and talked about the Tea Party and how he doesn’t understand them.  I couldn’t have made a stronger argument for the Tea Parties by pointing out how little the leftists and the statists don’t understand.

You Have To Pay For Stuff

I happen to enjoy watching Lewis Black entertain.  His hook is that of a very angry man sputtering about what is dumb and frustrating in the world and for me it really hits a chord.  It’s a pity he doesn’t see what is so dumb about his view of the Tea Parties.  In the WSJ interview he mentioned that he was poor at one time and the government actively pursued him for his last quarter.  That’s your first hint, Lewis.  He says now he is rich and when the government takes some of his money, guess what, he’s still rich.  Okay, good for you.  The Tea Party believes you are entitled to that and that is the American way.  But then he steps on his argument and says, you’ve got to pay for: policemen, firemen, educate our children and provide water.  I can’t argue with that, but what has that got to do with an out of control federal government?  That’s the problem.  Most members of the Tea Party aren’t protesting paying for police, firemen, education and water.  We don’t get those from Washington, we get them and pay for them locally.  We don’t believe there is a phenomenal brain trust in Washington that knows all and sees all and can tell us how to live our lives better than we can.

Later in the interview Black actually says, “I can agree with the Tea Parties in the way it [money] is used some times.”  What does the Tea Parties really believe in?  Limited federal government.  Limited to the powers granted to it by the Constitution.  Everything else, such as police, firemen, education, and water, should be provided by the state and local government.  Lewis, it sounds like you actually agree more with the Tea Partiers than against them if you only took the time to understand what we stand for.  You might actually find some new material for your act, such as:

“The Department of Education… THE Department of EDUCATION!!..those morons need an education.  Ever since that nitwit Carter created the damn thing they spent a TRILLION F*%!&#G DOLLARS, and now no one graduates HIGH SCHOOL!!!  BRILLIANT!!!”

If Lewis Black watched any of the town hall meetings over the summer they looked like his act.  The only difference being there were 150 Lewis Blacks (the citizenry) and one member of the audience (Congressperson), except the Congressperson wasn’t visibly laughing.

So, Lewis, should I look for you at the next Tea Party?

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Tim Bishop Says We’re Better Off This Tax Day

by Bill O'Connell on April 16, 2010

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I received an e-mail from Congressman Tim Bishop to tell those on his mailing list that we are better off this tax day.  Having stood with thousands of fellow Tea Party protesters, a very polite crowd I might add, I don’t share his mirth.  So I penned him the following reply:

Dear Congressman Bishop,

 I received your e-mail today with the subject line, “Better Off This Tax Day”.  That is a statement I find both bold and curious.  It is a statement that you seem to share with President Obama who was surprised that the Tea Party gatherings were not organized to blow him a kiss and say “thank you.”  I would like to address some of the points in your e-mail.

You begin by saying, “There is bipartisan agreement that tax cuts help spur economic growth…”  Well, yes and no.  I agree as do many conservatives that less taxes are good for both our liberty and our economy.  But to be truly effective, the tax cuts have to give the individual the greatest freedom to use their money as they see fit, after all it is their money being given to the government and not the other way around.  Tax cuts are least effective when used to encourage people to engage in some specific activity the government wants them to do.  In other words, the tax cuts should go toward growing the economy, not getting politicians re-elected.

As you know, the unemployment rate stands at 9.7%.  A year ago President Obama told us, in the strongest of terms, that it was imperative that we pass a $787 billion stimulus package.  If we did not pass that package the unemployment rate would rise to 9%, whereas if it was passed the unemployment rate would peak at 8%.  That’s $787 billion to restrain the unemployment rate by 1%.  Conservatives disagreed that this would work.  It didn’t work.  Not only was the unemployment rate not capped at 8%, it went above the “do nothing” case of 9%.  Now we have $787 billion dollars that we have to pay back and it got us exactly nothing, other than the new Obama administration “metric” of “jobs saved” which no one outside of the administration or Democratic party knows how to measure.

Let me take a moment to address some of the specific tax breaks you are touting.

  • Making Work Pay tax credit – this works out to about $8 per week for a taxpayer.  Where I live in the district, this won’t buy a pizza.  If I team up with my wife, it may.  So pardon me if I don’t get too jazzed up about this.
  • The rest of the tax breaks are all great if you have income to take them against.  The problem is 9.7% unemployment and you and this administration seem to be working on anything but putting people back to work.

Tax cuts that actually spur the economy and create growth and jobs are tax cuts at the margins.  Cut the marginal tax rates for everyone, even the evil rich people who pay 70% of the total taxes.  Congressman as much as you hate to read this, when people in the upper income brackets get a tax cut, they do not put the money under their mattress.  They spend it or they invest it, both of which lead to job creation.  When jobs are created, people have income and they start spending and then maybe some of the tax cuts you are boasting about will be meaningful, but until then they are just brochureware that is something that looks nice in your campaign literature, but is otherwise meaningless.

Instead of doing what worked in the 1980s and 1990s, this administration insists on doing what didn’t work in the 1930s.  It’s time for this administration to propose something that might actually work and then you may see bipartisanship in support of that proposal instead of bipartisan opposition.

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