Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
H/T: Spunky Homeschool
In fact, some of the most basic details, including the $700 billion figure Treasury would use to buy up bad debt, are fuzzy. "It's not based on any particular data point," a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com Tuesday. "We just wanted to choose a really large number."
What a surreal couple of days . . .
At this point who knows? But I will say that I'm proud of my congressman. He listened to us. That's kinda what they're supposed to do, isn't it?
I'm going to admit it: I'm glad that President Bush's terms are just about over. I really admire and respect the man personally but politically - not so much. No Child Left Behind, prescription drugs, immigration, massively ridiculous "bailout" that no one is even sure is going to work or what the final cost would be? No, thanks. (sigh)
Where, oh where, is the solid conservative (a la Ronald Reagan) LEADER that our country needs? (another sigh)
Edited to add: Mike Pence (R) sent this around this weekend. And:
Thomas Sowell called the bailout a "tragedy of tremendous magnitude".
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Also: McCain won the debate!
Friday, September 26, 2008
UPDATE: Here is an article explaining why these rules are good in the long run (found by Stephen). Not quite sure what the policy implications are either way . . .
Also, as Byron York points out, if Pelosi has a majority in the House, why do we not have a bill? She can't because she needs it to look like its not a Democrat hustle (which it is).
Conventional wisdom seems to say that a McCain seen as delaying the deal will be bad, politically. However, I believe just the opposite is true: House Republicans (and, I bet, many other members of Congress) are receiving numerous calls and emails demanding that they NOT do the Paulson Plan. McCain may benefit greatly if he is seen as stopping a reckless quick-fix deal, one that essentially nationalizes the mortgage industry and sets up more opportunities for seedy politicians and "private" government-appointed CEOs to soak up a little extra cash on the side (since this was, in fact, what got us in the mess to begin with--see Stephen's post for more details).
This analysis, of course, fails to touch the heart of the matter: what is the real solution? What deal should we be rooting for? My conservative instincts tell me that, whatever the solution, the government needs to keep its hands out of the free market. However, it seems that the government has already messed things up to such a high degree that nothing short of "limitless government money" (otherwise known as our money) can effect a turnaround. Paulson and Bush (and several other smart folks) are even saying it should be considered an investment that will one day pay us back and perhaps show a tidy profit . . . for the government. My fear is that we will be out the initial $700B and they will also keep (and spend) the profits, too (if they materialize).
Some have suggested that rolling back capital gains and corporate tax rates will help. Another idea is to repeal some of the more over-zealous post-Enron accounting rules. At the end of the day, Congress and the President will have to do something, seeing as how they have painted themselves into such a tight corner. I have been wondering whether or not I should contact my representatives, but, so far, I have been unable to figure out what I want them to do.
There is one thing I would like to have explained: Just what would happen if we do nothing. Bush says it will be 1929 all over again. I just don't buy that. I could see it being bad for some of the big dogs on Wall Street and in Congress, but how exactly will it be bad for me? Bear in mind, I know nothing about advanced banking policy or the intricacies of our complex economy. Maybe it would be that bad. Maybe I should have bought some of that gold they keep advertising on the radio. Or maybe it would pretty much be okay. As Rush said today, it all comes down to who you trust. It's easier if you ask, Who do you NOT trust? Unfortunately, most of the people on my "don't trust" list are the ones who will be finalizing the deal. Maybe we should just ask them to SLOW DOWN. Take some time to get it right, and give us the time to figure out what that looks like.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
"Some might say the current mess couldn't be foreseen, yet in 2005 Alan Greenspan told Congress how urgent it was for it to act in the clearest possible terms: If Fannie and Freddie ``continue to grow, continue to have the low capital that they have, continue to engage in the dynamic hedging of their portfolios, which they need to do for interest rate risk aversion, they potentially create ever-growing potential systemic risk down the road,'' he said. ``We are placing the total financial system of the future at a substantial risk.'' ...
What happened next was extraordinary. For the first time in history, a serious Fannie and Freddie reform bill was passed by the Senate Banking Committee. The bill gave a regulator power to crack down, and would have required the companies to eliminate their investments in risky assets ...
But the bill didn't become law, for a simple reason: Democrats opposed it on a party-line vote in the committee, signaling that this would be a partisan issue. Republicans, tied in knots by the tight Democratic opposition, couldn't even get the Senate to vote on the matter.
That such a reckless political stand could have been taken by the Democrats was obscene even then. Wallison wrote at the time: ``It is a classic case of socializing the risk while privatizing the profit. The Democrats and the few Republicans who oppose portfolio limitations could not possibly do so if their constituents understood what they were doing.''"
For more details, check out the AEI article by Peter J. Wallison that Hassett links to.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Whatever needs to be done, I think it has become obvious to all financial conservatives that a massive "bailout" (could be called a buyout?) forcing taxpayers to risk $700B on bad debt is NOT the answer. Bernanke and Paulson keep saying the alternative would be worse for "everybody." Just who is this everybody? I suspect it includes a lot of their banking pals. Meanwhile, Democrats are just stalling until they figure out 1.) how they can get money from this scheme, and 2.) how they can socialize our entire economy. Why can't we just sit back for a while and see what happens?
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
So far, the only solution being talked about is more of the same failed monetary policies that got us into this mess in the first place – more fake money, more debt, more usury. It is time to demand a return to ... the constitutional principle of sound money."
-- Chuck Baldwin, at the 2008 Conservative Leadership Conference
Supporting monetary reform is an issue by no means limited to social liberals. The Constitution Party's platform states:
"The Constitution Party recommends a substantive reform of the system of Federal taxation. In order for such reform to be effective, it is necessary that these United States:
- Return to the money system set forth in the Constitution;
- Repeal the Federal Reserve Act, and reform the current Federal Reserve banks to become clearing houses only; and
- Prohibit fractional reserve banking."
Update: Ron Paul endorsed Chuck Baldwin today.
Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.
Keep in mind that this bill proposes to give the Treasury Secretary unlimited (and largely unguided) authority to spend $700B on . . . something. Not very reassuring . . .
Newt Gingrich also weighs in.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
Bad Accounting Rules Helped Sink AIG
by Zachary Karabell at WSJ
"The current meltdown isn't the result of too much regulation or too little. The root cause is bad regulation ...
The collapse of Enron in 2002 triggered a wave of regulations, most notably Sarbanes-Oxley. Less noticed but ultimately more consequential for today were accounting rules that forced financial service companies to change the way they report the value of their assets (or liabilities) ...
Beginning last year, financial companies exposed to the mortgage market began to mark down their assets, quickly and steeply. That created a chain reaction, as losses that were reported on balance sheets led to declining stock prices and lower credit ratings, forcing these companies to put aside ever larger reserves (also dictated by banking regulations) to cover those losses."
I've read a few other articles suggesting that FAS 157 (the accounting change discussed above) is in part to blame for the crisis.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
Are Fannie and Freddie Too Big to Fail?
by Frank Shostak at Mises
"The key to FF operations is the buying of home loans from mortgage originators such as banks ...
Due to an implied government guarantee, the FF were able to raise funds relatively cheaply by selling their debt to investors. This in turn enabled them to pay higher prices to the originators of mortgages than potential competitors could pay ...
As a result, the FF have become the dominant force in the housing market."
Would Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have needed bailing out if the Federal Reserve hadn't always stood ready to guarantee their debts? There has never been an explicit guarantee, but the market has always believed that the Fed would never allow Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to fail.
Why is everyone shocked when the Fed bails out large corporations? That's what we gave it the power to do.
Of course, the answer is there shouldn't have been a Federal National Mortgage Association or a Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. There shouldn't be a Government National Mortgage Association or a Student Loan Marketing Association. There shouldn't be a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. There shouldn't be a Federal Reserve System. There shouldn't be fractional-reserve banking.
For more information about our nation's monetary system, watch Money, Banking and the Federal Reserve, a short video by the Ludwig von Mises Institute.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
(H/T: The Common Room)
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Barbara Curtis, especially here and here. Fair warning: Curtis is now a practicing Catholic. Doesn't bother me, might bother you. Curtis is the mother of twelve children (four with Down Syndrome - 1 biological, 3 adopted), author of multiple parenting books and teaching guides, and contributor to Focus on the Family.
Spunky, especially here, here, and here. Spunky is a homeschooling mom of six and her blog is always sharp, insightful, and a daily "must read" for me.
For the record, Spunky has not decided whether she'll vote for McCain-Palin. Barbara Curtis is supporting them wholeheartedly. Regardless of their view of the election, they both comment on the attacks of the far left (mainstream media) and the far right (Vision Forum). Anything that has Doug Phillips "holding hands" in unity with Gloria Steinem, as one of Spunky's commenters put it, is enough to give me pause.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
As you can see it was packed! But at least we could hear some of the words . . .
Then we passed through a gate, just as security personnel closed it off. We were only seconds away from being shut out at the back. Even this area filled quickly. Meanwhile, we shuffled through security. All umbrellas had to be abandoned at this point. We never saw ours again, but we left with one that looked very similar!
And so, we got into the rally! What a crowd!
The girls were pretty excited about it. I held them up for a (very little) bit of it, so they could see some of the speakers.
When we got there (about 10:00), Anthony Munoz was just finishing up his remarks. Personal Note: Karen and I ate at the Golden Lamb for one of our first anniversaries--very nice place, great service.
After a few campaign songs (they even dared to play "Barracuda"), the Straight Talk Express rolled up and out came our 2008 Republican ticket! We didn't get to see all that much of this part due to the frantic waving of signs and cheering. Gov. Palin spoke first, mostly repeating the high notes from her convention speech. But it was awesome to hear her say it live!
Here's my favorite picture: Mr. and Mrs. Palin and some guy in a light blue shirt. Actually, McCain was very warmly received and I find that he's really starting to grow on me. That will probably dissipate about the time he "mavericks" us all a few weeks after the election, but right now, I really like the guy. Regardless, Sarah was THE reason we made the trip, and I don't think we were alone.
We decided to leave just before McCain got finished (about 11:00). Here's a shot of the bus. We got to see it again as it was heading south on I-71 (which they blocked for the occasion). Then we grabbed a bite to eat and hit a few bookstores . . . our definition of a great day!
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Right...I hasten to add that I find those email forwards ("He's a Muslim! His middle name is Hussein! But he's Muslim! And his name is Barack Hussein Obama! Get it? OBAMA? OSAMA?") both annoying and disgusting. The truth is bad enough.
But at the least, this little clip demonstrates his speaking ability. I mean, wow, he's such a great speaker (/sarcasm).
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
BTW, all the other speeches were great, too. Steele, Romney, Giuliani and even Huckabee seemed to really hit the right notes tonight. Finally, I am excited about being a Republican again!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Monday, September 1, 2008
Edited: Ok, my beloved has already posted this. Guess I should've checked his links first...
H/T: The Anchoress