Morning Bell: The Dodd-Frank Assault on Economic Recovery

Morning Bell: The Dodd-Frank Assault on Economic Recovery

Posted By Conn Carroll On June 29, 2010 @ 9:16 am In Enterprise and Free Markets | No Comments

Following the release of the 2,000-page Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill last Friday, fixed-income portfolio manager Christine McConnell told Businessweek [1]: “Clarity is good. [Once financial institutions] understand the rules of the road they’ll be able to accommodate their business models.” There is only one problem: passage of the Dodd-Frank bill doesn’t provide any clarity. In fact, it does the exact opposite. The New York Times [2] explains: “The bill, completed early Friday and expected to come up for a final vote this week, is basically a 2,000-page missive to federal agencies, instructing regulators to address subjects ranging from derivatives trading to document retention. But it is notably short on specifics, giving regulators significant power to determine its impact.”

In other words, this law is going to be continually rewritten by federal bureaucrats for years to come. And the continued uncertainty it will create is just the beginning of its faults [3]:

Permanent Bailout Authority: The Dodd-Frank bill creates an “orderly liquidation” process by which regulators are empowered to seize financial institutions that they believe are in danger of failing and liquidate them. While the lack of a broadly accepted process for closing down large financial institutions helped lead to the massive bailouts of 2008 and 2009, this liquidation process is problematic. Federal regulators are granted broad powers to seize private firms they feel are in danger of default, and these powers are subject to insufficient judicial review. Such governmental discretion to seize private property is constitutionally troubling.

Trusting the Same Regulators that Failed Last Time: The legislation establishes a new 10-member Financial Stability Oversight Council composed of regulators that would be responsible for monitoring and addressing system-wide risks to the financial system. This council would also have nearly unlimited powers to draft financial firms into the regulatory system and even force them to sell off or close pieces of themselves. Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to detect systemic risk before a crisis has occurred, and the council would serve mainly as a group to blame for failing at an almost impossible task. On the other hand, its huge powers are much more likely to destabilize the financial system by stifling innovative products while failing to detect dangers posed by existing ones.

Brand New Innovation Killing Regulators: The bill also creates a new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection with broad powers to regulate the financial products and services that can be offered to consumers. The new agency would nominally be part of the Federal Reserve System, but it would have extraordinary autonomy. This autonomy would impede the efforts of existing regulators to ensure the safety and soundness of financial firms, as rules imposed by the new agency would conflict with that goal. For many consumers, this would make credit more expensive and harder to get.

Micromanaging the Market: The conference committee also added a form of the “Volcker rule” which would largely prohibit any bank or other institution with FDIC-insured deposits from undertaking proprietary trading or from owning or sponsoring hedge funds or private equity funds. While the legislation does reject the near-total ban on such investments, the difference between legitimate and traditional activities and those the Volcker rule seeks to ban would be difficult, if not impossible, to determine. Attempting to do so would require an intrusive, expensive regulatory compliance system that by its nature would micromanage day-to-day activities.

Fannie and Freddie Forever: Despite much rhetoric about ending bailouts, the bill does nothing to address Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two of the largest recipients of federal bailout money. These two government-sponsored enterprises, now in federal receivership, helped fuel the housing bubble. When it popped, taxpayers found themselves on the hook for some $150 billion in bailout money. The failure to address their future is a serious error and shows just how hollow are claims that this agreement will prevent future crises.

These are just some of the major flaws in a bill that is just one House and Senate vote away from President Barack Obama’s desk (a fuller list can be found here [3]). But final passage is not as sure today as it looked Friday. The passing of Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) [4] leaves the majority one vote short of the 60 needed to move for a final vote. In addition, the insertion of an estimated $20 billion in new taxes [5] has Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) reconsidering his original vote in favor of the measure. Scott released a statement [6] explaining: “My fear is that these costs would be passed onto consumers in the form of higher bank, ATM and credit card fees and put a strain on lending at the worst possible time for our economy. I’ve said repeatedly that I cannot support any bill that raises taxes.”

Explaining that the Dodd-Frank bill would force banks to either take on more risk to recoup earnings diminished by reform or behave too conservatively in order to avoid losses, financial analyst Chris Mutascio summarized [1] the ultimate effect of the legislation: “Pick your poison—neither tastes good to us and we believe neither is particularly good for the economy and job growth.”

Quick Hits:

  • This morning, the Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Army soldiers of the 6th Air Defense Artillery Brigade successfully conducted a successful intercept test [7] for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense element of the nation’s Ballistic Missile Defense System.
  • Shallow water drillers tell CNN that President Obama’s deep water oil drilling ban has become a stealth ban on all Gulf drilling [8] forcing hundreds of layoffs with many more on the way.
  • House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) is trying to insert a provision into the war supplemental funding bill [9] that would compel volunteer firefighters to join unions, threatening the survival of America’s nearly 26,000 volunteer fire departments.
  • The lead attorney in the victorious Chicago Second Amendment case promises [10]: “There will be future cases, I will be bringing cases in the days and weeks to come.”
  • President Obama’s political director Patrick Gaspard failed to disclose [11] that he was slated to receive a nearly $40,000 payout from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) while he was working in the White House.

Obama’s Wonderland Is No Fairy Tale

Obama’s Wonderland Is No Fairy Tale

By Eileen F. Toplansky

As we continue to tumble down the road to economic ruin, security vulnerability, and reduced health care benefits, things become “curiouser and curiouser.” While President Obama speedily demands that General McChrystal zoom home to be dismissed from his post, the frustrated Gulf residents still cannot get all the equipment and assistance that they need to hold back the oil that is wrecking their homes and their livelihoods. Thus, one wonders as Alice in Wonderland did, “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” 
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat. And herein is the American people’s conundrum. Where do we want to go as this president continues to severely damage our country and her interests?
Even Europe understands the economic catastrophe that is upon us and wonders if “we’re all mad here” as Obama and team continue to obfuscate the truth. Actor Jon Voight has publicly stated that Obama is lying to the American people. But of course, when Obama speaks, “it means just what [he] chooses it to mean — neither more nor less.” 
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” 
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master — that’s all.” 
And so, in the new Patients’ Bill of Rights, Obama, “speaking ominously,” has warned the health care insurance providers that the government will “be watching [them] closely.”  Ultimately, our soft tyrannical government will be the sole arbiter of our health needs and costs. Though Obama promised otherwise, it is becoming patently obvious that eventually Americans won’t be able to keep their own insurance, since Obama has created a no-win situation for the private health insurance sector, which cannot remain financially solvent. Queues and denial of health care benefits are around the corner. Furthermore, the latest massive bill about financial reform is being pushed through Congress; Senator Dodd has said that it “is about as important as it gets, because it deals with every single aspect of our lives.” Uh-oh!
Furthermore, infatuated with himself, Obama, believed by many to be the messiah, has hurt the very people who pinned such high hopes on him. Already, accounts reveal that minorities and women — those very groups who were part of the affirmative action programs imposed by the federal government — are being adversely affected. Obama promised them pie in the sky but neglected to tell them that a house built upon financially shaky foundations will eventually fold. Moreover, Barney Frank blocks Republicans from offering amendments to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — the source of so much of the current economic downfall — and so the charade continues, with American taxpayers propping up a defunct system. Obama pointedly dislikes the exceptional nature of America and seeks to destroy it, but are all the congressional Democrats so hateful of the country they swore to serve?
People are slowly allowing themselves to be psychologically enslaved as one group is pitted against the other. When questioned by senators about the massive expansion in hate crimes enforcement, Attorney General Holder responded that hate crimes legislation “would not necessarily cover” instances where whites, Christians, or military members were assaulted. Preferential treatment for blacks at the expense of whites and Asians was part of Obama’s tenure during his time as senator. Double standards and obvious favoritism now reign supreme. Most egregious is Holder’s dismissal of the case where New Black Panther Party members intimidated white voters. Does this portend things to come in November?
How else could Arizona now be a pariah in the Obama administration? Hypocritically, he thinks he will obtain the Hispanic vote while he undermines the rule of law. If I were of Hispanic heritage, I would be incensed at the covert discrimination this represents. It implies that Hispanic people are unlawful and irresponsible! How could other states arrogantly dismiss the genuine legal concerns of Arizonans and start boycotting this besieged state? Government does not want to actually repair the holes in our immigration program. Furthermore, Obama offends those immigrants who have obeyed the law and are adding their talents to the American tapestry. Quite unbelievably, because Obama and Holder will file lawsuits against Arizona, our Mexican neighbors are coming on board and have formally joined a lawsuit challenging Arizona’s new immigration law! 
The Mexican government is merely taking its cue from the deliberate “reeling and writhing, of course, to begin with, and then the different branches of arithmetic — ambition, distraction, uglification, and derision” that Obama employs so well. First, there is his overweening ambition with no true leadership experience; then our 44th president constantly distracts with his pseudo-anger and coarse words. When that trick loses its appeal, he derides and humiliates the banks, the car companies, the BP executives, the people of Arizona, the country, the value system of America, and our allies. This is an autocrat who clearly echoes the Queen when she said, “Now I must give you fair warning: ‘either you or your head.’” There is a genuine fear in this country as people understand that to disagree with Obama and company is to invite “the boot” on their necks, so reminiscent of dictatorial governments as Obama and cronies doth “sentence first — verdict afterwards.” 
Surely, “it would be so nice if something made sense for a change,” said Alice, but in Obamaworld, if one wants to deliberately undermine this country, everything he does leans in that direction. As the Duchess exclaimed, “the moral of that is — the more there is of mine, the less there is of yours.” The next generation of Americans is already burdened with the financial debacle of a $15-trillion debt with no end in sight as the federal government becomes as bloated as Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Obama’s economic plan has not improved the country, but when “four times five is twelve, and four times six is thirteen,” math takes on a wholly new and original meaning as this president confiscates money without “due process of law.”
Knowing full well that his programs could do nothing but fail because they are not sustainable, Obama sets the stage for frustration and anger. He pits groups against each other rather than open up a truly free-market economy where people would have a chance to succeed. Rile up the crowd — distract them from the issues and engage in constant polemic. Sales on new homes in May plunged 33%, but all is well in Obama Wonderland!
Indeed, after forty years of federal entitlement, there are too many Americans who may have vaguely remembered ideals like responsibility and individual initiative, who used to “know who [they were] when [they] got up this morning, but … must have been changed several times since then.” Segments of Americans have lost their fundamental moorings or were never taught about the greatness of America and are now mesmerized by the empty slogans and the articulate nonsense of this president and the congress.
Jean-Francois Revel in his book How Democracies Perish wonders how “the citizens of democratic societies [will] find reasons to resist the enemy outside if they are persuaded from childhood that their civilization is merely an accumulation of failures and a monstrous imposture. … And that attack, which is being waged with unexampled vigor [and] scope … is catching the democracies in a state of intellectual impotence and political indolence” (10).
Our history books censure the dangers of totalitarianism and falsify and embellish history, and there is no reprobation. Obama stands by as America is demeaned, and all the while the adoring crowds still believe the emperor is wearing clothes. Their gullibility or lack of facts is mind-boggling. Thus, Obama has learned well the advice of the Queen: “Be what you would seem to be — [or] if you’d like it put more simply –’Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.’”
Will democracy “turn out to be have been a historical accident,” as Jean Francois Revel wrote?
 “Oh my ears and whiskers, how late it’s getting,” said Rabbit!
Active in the 1970s writing campaign to free Russian Jewish refuseniks, Eileen continues to speak out against tyranny. She can be reached at middlemarch18@gmail.com.

Obama’s plan to stay in power? Another Bailout.

Obama’s plan to stay in power? Another Bailout.

June 15th, 2010

Obama using Government Money to maintain control?

Today, Patrick Buchanan came out with a scathing attack on Obama’s most recent bailout proposal.

Obama calls it an “emergency” measure to prevent “massive layoffs of teachers, police and firefighters.” Yet, none of the 20 million state, county or municipal workers can lose their job unless an elected legislature and a chief executive agree that they should go.
Obama is calling for a taxpayer rescue of the political class to which he belongs, to spare it the painful duty tens of thousands of business executives have had to perform. Private employees — 25 million of whom are out of work, underemployed or have given up looking for jobs—may be expendable, but government workers are not.

Buchanan sees right to the heart of the issue, which is not about saving jobs but about saving those who support Obama the most.

Government workers enjoy far greater job security than private-sector workers. At the state and local level, their average pay and benefits, about $40 an hour, far exceed the $27 per hour in the private sector. The federal worker has it even better, receiving $30,000 a year more in pay and benefits than the average worker in the private sector.
Obama’s proposal is thus about taking care of his own and the Democratic Party’s political base.
Consider. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the American Federation of Teachers, the Transport Workers Union of America and other government unions in the AFL-CIO are all powerhouses of the Democratic Party.
Obama is proposing a $50 billion payoff for his own voters.

Read the Entire Story

Yesterday, the Daily Record reported that Obama handed out more than 400 million dollars to federal employees in 2009, 80 million more than 2008.

What does this all mean? It means Obama is getting scared about the upcoming election in November. He knows that many people are angry, and he is fighting back. If he can make sure that the millions of government employees throughout the country, local and federal, are dependent on him, then they will vote for him. This means that we are going to have to fight even harder to claim victory in November. Even though Obama might be scared, he has a lot of tricks up his sleeves, including using government money to achieve political control. We must remain vigilant and make sure that this November, his party and his policies gets the beating it deserves.

Mr. President, You’re Stuck on Stupid

Mr. President, You’re Stuck on Stupid

By Christopher Chantrill

It is true that liberalism is cruel, corrupt, wasteful, and unjust. But one should never forget its delusion. The delusion is a simple one. It is a belief that government can be made rational and efficient. This delusion leads our liberal friends into disaster after disaster.
Liberals were shocked that President Bush failed to get everyone tucked up in bed in a couple of days after Hurricane Katrina. They knew that a rational and efficient government, run by people like them who believed in government, could do better.
Now President Obama is busy proving them wrong.
Unfortunately, conservatives aren’t helping. In pointing out the serious lapses in the president’s leadership qualities, we conservatives are missing the point. We are encouraging liberals in their delusion. Instead, we should remind everyone that of course a bunch of corporate bureaucrats, combined with a bunch of government bureaucrats, are going to be a bit off the mark.
A bit of presidential leadership might have made a difference, we could have said, but not much. The president brings the talents and experience of twenty years in left-wing organizing to the presidency. In that school, the attitude, the gesture, is all-important. So obviously he’s not going to be much help in a crisis.
But leader or no leader, it takes time to plug a hole — especially a hole under five thousand feet of water.
The big problem for the president is that the Gulf oil spill is his fourth major presidential mistake. The first big mistake was the $787-billion stimulus package. The second was the appeasement of thug dictators, Islamist and leftist. The third mistake was ObamaCare. The fourth is the Gulf. 
(The bailouts of the auto industry I count as merely a crime, an assault and battery on the principle of private property and senior creditors, the very foundation of our freedom and prosperity.)
The horrifying thing is that we Americans can’t afford all these mistakes. We can’t afford a president stuck on stupid. 
We could afford it if the national debt weren’t hitting 90 percent of GDP. We could afford it if Europe weren’t in the middle of a sovereign debt crisis. We could afford it if the economy were clearly expanding strongly.
It was Adam Smith who said there is a great deal of ruin in a nation. But you have to keep the ruin within certain limits.
The reason we are in this mess is because liberals wouldn’t listen. They had a wake-up call in 1980, when an amiable dunce became president and fixed the economy with lower tax rates, hard money, and an end to economic meddling. But liberals stuck their hands over their ears and insisted that supply-side economics was trickle-down economics. 
Then, in 1994, liberals had another wake-up call when Republicans rocketed to control of Congress after President Clinton pushed a big tax increase and HillaryCare. This time liberals were insulted and determined not to concede their cultural and political hegemony to a bunch of right-wing Christians. They refused to consider any reform of the welfare state except in the summer of 1996, when the Republican Congress put a gun to President Clinton’s head.
That’s the way it is with religion. You cling to your faith, sometimes bitterly. Because in the end, that’s all you have.
For President Obama and the liberals, their religion is a secular religion, and their faith is a secular faith. Their faith is a faith in politics and government to right the wrongs of the world. Despite the collapse of their faith with the fall of the Soviet Union and the embrace of capitalism in India and China, these bitter clingers still worship the idols of government programs and their own ethical superiority.
How does a religion collapse? During the Christianization of northern Europe, the monks would topple the idols of the pagan gods. See, they said, our true God is more powerful than your gods.
Is that how liberalism will come to an end? When the Keynesian idols are finally toppled? Most likely the end will catch everyone by surprise, like the sudden collapse of the Soviet Union.
Could the election of 2010 be the decisive earthquake that tumbles the temple of liberalism? Certainly the British press, taking their cue from our mainstream media, are underwhelmed by last weeks’ primaries. The London Economist has a cover this week with Sarah Palin as Alice in Wonderland at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, featuring Rush Limbaugh as the March Hare.
Nobody knows when liberalism will end or when its politics of patronage and its culture of compulsion will destruct.
Is that discouraging? Not at all. The only thing to do is to think and write and organize and plan for a better America.
…An America no longer stuck on stupid.
Christopher Chantrill is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. See his roadtothemiddleclass.com and usgovernmentspending.com.  His Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.

The Government Bailouts Must End

Morning Bell: The Government Bailouts Must End

Posted By Conn Carroll On June 14, 2010 @ 9:37 am In Education, Entitlements, Health Care |

Late Saturday night President Barack Obama sent a letter [1] to the leadership of the House and Senate urging them to approve a tax and spending bill currently being debated in the Senate that already would add $80 billion to our nation’s budget deficit. But coming off of last year’s $862 billion stimulus, President Obama is not happy with just another $80 billion in debt for this year. He also requested another $50 billion in deficit spending [2] earmarked for bailing-out state and local governments. Without this “emergency” money, the President claims thousands of government union jobs would be lost. But even among his own party, the President faces an uphill climb. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told The Washington Post [2]: “I think there is spending fatigue.” “Bailout fatigue” is more like it. And the President’s envisioned spending spree is full of both.

The Government Union Bailout [3]: $23 billion of the President’s additional $50 billion in spending would supposedly go to keep teachers in the classroom. This new spending would be in addition to the nearly $100 billion appropriated to the Department of Education by the President’s $862 billion stimulus bill, of which $34.7 billion in education funds remains unspent. Meanwhile, over the past decade student enrollment has increased only 6% while the number of teachers in the classroom has risen 15.8%. But over this same period, studies found a correlation between reduced class sizes and student achievement. More federal funding is unlikely to increase student achievement and will not provide a long-term solution to states’ budget shortfalls. Another bailout from Washington could even exacerbate states’ fiscal problems by creating disincentives for states to tackle out-of-control spending and make real education reforms.

The Medicaid Bailout [4]: $25 billion of the President’s latest spending spree is set to bail-out state Medicaid programs. This would be the fourth time this decade that Congress has bailed-out state Medicaid programs. The cycle is all too familiar. Between 1990 and 2007, Medicaid spending more than quadrupled from $69 billion to $316 billion [5]. Because of these constant bailouts, states have avoided dealing with their mismanagement of the program. More money from Washington will guarantee one thing: states will continue to spend far in excess of what they can afford, and Congress will treat the federal taxpayers like an ATM machine to cover the shortfalls.

The Obamacare Bailout [6]: The President’s signature legislative accomplishment is just barely three months old, but it already is in need of a $400 billion bailout. In an interview with Politico [7] Sunday, the President said of Obamacare: “I strongly believe that the health care bill was the right thing to do … I think it’s going to help us bend the cost curve in ways that will actually help us deal with the deficit, not add to it.” But just one day earlier during his weekly radio address, the President pleaded with Congress [8] to pass a temporary fix in Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors: “Now, I realize that simply kicking these cuts down the road another year is not a long-term solution to this problem. I’m absolutely willing to take the difficult steps necessary to lower the cost of Medicare and put our budget on a more fiscally sustainable path. But I’m not willing to do that by punishing hard-working physicians or the millions of Americans who count on Medicare. That’s just wrong. And that’s why in the short-term, Congress must act to prevent this pay cut to doctors.” So which is it? Did Obamacare “bend the cost curve” in ways that will help the deficit, or is Medicare still on a fiscally unsustainable path? The reality is that Obamacare’s deficit reduction claims were always a complete fraud, and the President’s pitch for a doc fix exposes that fact.

Last week Gallup reported [9] that “Federal government debt” was the issue that most threatened the future well-being of the United States. Our nation’s record deficits are largely driven by the record spending increases of the last decade and the last year in particular. There is a way out of this deficit nightmare: stop spending [10]. If the federal government managed to return to the per-household spending level of the Reagan administration, the budget would be balanced by 2012 without any tax hikes. Or just returning to the per-household spending levels that existed before the current recession would balance the budget by 2019. But first we must stop the bleeding: the government bailouts must end.

Quick Hits:

Economic Cluelessness

Economic Cluelessness

Posted By Larry Elder On June 11, 2010 @ 12:20 am In FrontPage | 14 Comments

While in high school, I was standing at a bus stop next to a gas station. A kid tossed a candy wrapper on the station lot. Somebody yelled, “Hey, pick that up.” The kid, with a straight face, defended himself. He said, “I just created a job.” Someone would be hired, he explained, to pick up the trash, and this would be good for the economy.

Don’t laugh. The kid probably works for the Obama administration.

Congress is now considering yet another “stimulus” package. But did the administration’s previous one work? Of the $787 billion stimulus package, President Obama said it would “save or create” 3.5 million new jobs. Has it?

The National Association for Business Economics polled 68 private-sector members. Seventy-three percent said the employment at their companies was neither higher nor lower as a result of the stimulus package.

What about the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office? A February 2009 Washington Times article said:

“President Obama’s economic recovery package will actually hurt the economy more in the long run than if he were to do nothing, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.

“CBO, the official scorekeepers for legislation, said the House and Senate bills will help in the short term but result in so much government debt that within a few years they would crowd out private investment, actually leading to a lower Gross Domestic Product over the next 10 years than if the government had done nothing.”

What do normal, regular, real-world people think? In December 2009, a Rasmussen poll asked likely voters whether the “stimulus” helped, hurt or did nothing.

They agreed with the private-sector economists and the CBO — the stimulus did not work. And more felt it did damage than thought it helped: “A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 30 percent of voters nationwide believe the $787-billion economic stimulus plan has helped the economy. However, 38 percent believe that the stimulus plan has hurt the economy. This is the first time since the legislation passed that a plurality has held a negative view of its impact.”

Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and commentator Ed we-need-health-care-reform-and-I-don’t-care-how-much-it-costs Schultz think one way. Believers in the free market and limited government think another. As between these two camps, which one better understands how the real world works?

Zogby International asked questions about economics of nearly 5,000 people. George Mason University economist Dan Klein co-authored a report on the responses given to eight basic economic questions.

(Correct answers and “not sure” responses were ignored — only flatly incorrect responses were counted.) Do housing restrictions increase the price of housing? The answer is yes. Whether the restrictions are good or bad is a separate issue. But restrictions on any good increase the price of that good — whether houses or horseshoes. Do minimum wages increase unemployment? The answer is yes. Whether one accepts this as a worthy trade-off is a separate question. Is our standard of living higher than it was 30 years ago? It is. Whether we are “addicted” to oil or facing cataclysmic “global warming” is a separate issue. The other questions involved licensing, rent control, the definition of a monopoly, the definition of exploitation, and whether free trade leads to unemployment.

Respondents self-identified as progressive/very liberal, liberal, moderate, conservative, very conservative, or libertarian. Who did better?

“On every question,” wrote Klein, “the left did much worse. On the monopoly question, the portion of progressive/very liberals answering incorrectly (31 percent) was more than twice that of conservatives (13 percent) and more than four times that of libertarians (7 percent). On the question about living standards, the portion of progressive/very liberals answering incorrectly (61 percent) was more than four times that of conservatives (13 percent) and almost three times that of libertarians (21 percent).”

Maybe those with more education performed better? No, the report said. “We work with three levels of schooling: (1) high school or less; (2) some college (but not a degree); (3) a college degree or more. In our data, economic enlightenment is not correlated with going to college.”

The left blames the financial collapse on “greed,” ignoring the role played by government involvement — Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae, the Federal Housing Administration, the Community Reinvestment Act and elsewhere. Leftists point to “insufficient regulation” on Wall Street for reckless behavior, rather than to the players’ assumption that too-big-to-fail would protect them.

On the BP Gulf oil spill, Obama wants to find “whose ass to kick.” He’s called for a moratorium on new offshore drilling. But why do we drill offshore for oil more than a mile deep? Is it that on-land and safer, shallow water areas are off-limits — thus pushing companies to extract oil from more dangerous places? Have the restrictions on clean nuclear power altered how and where we obtain energy?

Republicans, in the eight-question economics poll, averaged 1.61 incorrect answers. Democrats averaged 4.59 wrong answers. So in the President’s search for “ass to kick,” start here.

Larry Elder is a syndicated radio talk show host and best-selling author. His latest book, “What’s Race Got to Do with It?” is available now. To find out more about Larry Elder, visit his Web page at http://www.WeveGotACountryToSave.com.

But of Course: Deficit Reduction Commission Asks for More Funding

But of Course: Deficit Reduction Commission Asks for More Funding

By Doug Powers  •  June 5, 2010 11:52 AM

**Written by guest-blogger Doug Powers

From TaxProf by way of Instapundit, I’m scribbling this hunk of paradox and irony down in the script I’m working on for the movie Dr. Strangelove II or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Laugh at Hope & Change:

Saddled with a tight deadline and great expectations, members of President Obama’s deficit reduction commission say they may not have the resources necessary to meet their task.

The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, which the president created through an executive order in February, is charged with developing a plan by December 1 that would stabilize the budget deficit by 2015 and reduce the federal debt over the long term. The group is widely expected to consider a combination of tax reforms and spending cuts.

But despite the weighty demands, the panel has only a fraction of the staff and budget of standing congressional committees. The panel’s own cochairs and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., have criticized the meager resources and called for more support.

Reid on May 28 sent a letter to the White House asking for additional staff resources to aid the commission. In the letter, Reid said the commission’s cochairs, former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan K. Simpson, “expressed concern that the commission could use additional support to help it work more effectively.” Reid said Bowles and Simpson characterized their staff resources as “very limited.” Reid sent the letter following a May 26 meeting with Bowles and Simpson.

What are the odds that anybody on the Deficit Reduction Commission will recognize that they’re being derelict in their assigned duties if their first recommendation isn’t to eliminate the Deficit Reduction Commission? I didn’t think so.

**Written by guest-blogger Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

Federal Debt, Terrorism Considered Top Threats to U.S.

June 4, 2010

Federal Debt, Terrorism Considered Top Threats to U.S.

Republicans perceived as best party to deal with both

by Lydia Saad

PRINCETON, NJ — Terrorism and federal government debt tie as the most worrisome issues to Americans when they consider threats to the future wellbeing of the U.S. Four in 10 Americans call each an “extremely serious” threat, with healthcare costs ranking a close third.

Perceived Threats to U.S. Future Wellbeing

On a broader basis, a majority of Americans consider all but 1 of the 10 issues rated in the May 24-25 USA Today/Gallup poll as either “extremely serious” or “very serious” threats. Discrimination against minority groups is the sole exception, with 46% calling it extremely or very serious.

Partisans Rank Issues Differently

The overall scores for terrorism and the federal debt are boosted by the relatively high percentages of Republicans — 50% or more — who consider each of these extremely serious, putting these at the top of the Republicans’ list. The size and power of the federal government ranks third among Republicans. The top three issues for Democrats are healthcare costs, the environment/global warming, and terrorism. However, no more than 37% of Democrats call any of these issues “extremely serious.”

The federal budget deficit ranks as the top issue concern for independents — 42% call it extremely serious — thus aligning independents closer to Republicans than to Democrats on this issue. By contrast, independents’ 36% rating for terrorism is closer to Democrats’ than to Republicans’ rating.

Perceived Threats to U.S. Future Wellbeing, by Party ID (Percentage Rating Each as Extremely Serious)

The greatest gaps between Republicans and Democrats — exceeding 20 percentage points — are seen for the environment/global warming (about which Democrats are more concerned), and the federal debt and the size of government (issues for which the Republicans show greater concern).

Republican Party Preferred on Top Issue Concerns

The Republican Party is preferred over the Democratic Party for handling the two top-ranking issues of public concern — terrorism and federal government debt. The Democratic Party is preferred by much wider margins for the environment and discrimination against minority groups — but these are among the least worrisome issues to Americans.

Party Preferred to Deal With Each Perceived Threat

Bottom Line

Of several potential threats to the future wellbeing of the United States, Americans seem most concerned about terrorism and several economic matters — the federal budget debt, healthcare costs, and unemployment.

Americans are far less likely to consider other domestic issues, including illegal immigration and the environment, as serious threats. Regarding the current immigration debate over balancing U.S. security concerns with fair treatment of illegals, however, many more Americans say illegal immigration is an extremely serious threat than say this about discrimination against minority groups.

Why Obama’s sinking in the polls

Why Obama’s sinking in the polls

June 2nd, 2010

By DICK MORRIS & EILEEN MCGANN, NY Post

 

Obama dropped to a new low of 42%

President Obama’s job-approval rating just hit an all-time low. And there’s a pattern behind the trifecta of issues that are driving the drop — the oil spill, the Arizona immigration-policing law and the fallout from the Greek crisis.

After four months of hovering between a low of 46 percent approval and a high of 49 percent, Obama just fell to 42 percent in the daily Rasmussen polls. What’s hurting him, and why?

The president originally seized on each of these issues to make populist political hay. But then the problem wouldn’t go away — and voters began to realize that Obama is, in fact, the president and (logically enough) started giving him much of the blame.

When oil started to spill into the Gulf of Mexio, Obama seized the opportunity for a partisan attack — blaming Republicans who had chanted, “Drill, baby, drill,” the whole summer of 2008 as high gasoline prices gave John McCain’s candidacy new steam.

Even though the president had himself, with lamentable timing, moved to allow expanded drilling a few weeks before the rig exploded, the impetus for drilling was clearly seen as Republican, and the disaster hurt Republican ratings. Obama couldn’t resist also piling populist scorn on British Petroleum, lambasting big oil for the spill.

Read More:

Government: Destroying Your Wealth a Trillion Dollars at a Time

Government: Destroying Your Wealth a Trillion Dollars at a Time

Posted By Thomas Del Beccaro On May 25, 2010 @ 5:39 am In Congress, Economics, Featured Story, Financial Services, Obama, Politics, Uncategorized | 20 Comments

Recent financial headlines provide a remarkable glimpse into America’s future if we stay on the same track we are now.  From Bloomberg news we learned:  “US Stocks fluctuate amid concerns European debt crisis hasn’t run course.”  Meanwhile, the IMF predicted that the “US national debt will soon reach 100% of GDP.”  Sadly, the World’s, the United States’ and California’s (16% of the US Economy and the 9th largest economy in the world) financial prospects are far worse than those headlines recognize.

The US economy is nearing $15 trillion in gross domestic product (GDP) per year.   The national debt it carries on the books is nearly that high and will certainly reach it, and far surpass it, within 2 years given the trillion dollar deficits that are predicted as far as the eye can see.  Of course, off the books, in accounting that would make Enron blush, the US government has $75 trillion or more in long term unfunded liabilities.  On a more short term basis consider this: the US Government revenues are running below $3 trillion dollars per year – yet its debt is over $13 trillion and growing.  In other words, the existing US debt is 4 to 5 times its current revenue.

Imagine if you will, if your credit card debt was 4 times your current income and the income you are likely to earn in each of the next 4 years.  There is not a bankruptcy attorney in the country that would not tell you that it is time to declare bankruptcy.  For its part, California is projected to have unfunded liabilities as high as $600 billion or 6 ½ times it current revenues.   Sadly for the US and California taxpayers, bankruptcy is simply not an option.

All of which brings us to the European debt crisis – which has anything but run its course.  Indeed, German Chancellor Merkel said this about the recent bailout of Greece: “We didn’t do more than buy time . . .” to get their collective government houses in order.  Meanwhile, USA Today, whose financial reporting is rather blunt at times, featured this headline: US “Investor fears ignite sell-off.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 56 other followers