Archives for September 2012

QE3: A Nice Kickback For Bankers

Merely two weeks after Ben Bernanke announced one more round of quantitative easing (QE3), the results are already becoming apparent. And once again, it shows how the culture of “too big to fail” is both immoral and economically devastating.

The immorality of QE3 can be summarized by this quote, from Businessweek: “It’s very good to be a mortgage originator right now,”

Gosh, I wonder why? Is it perhaps because QE3 is benefiting banks/bankers…to the detriment of everyone else? But I thought our president wanted the top 1% to “pay their fair share”! So how do bankers and loan originators end up cashing in on yet another bailout? Yes, I realize I shouldn’t be shocked by a politician saying one thing…and doing the opposite. But I am.

Since images often speak louder than words, here’s an illustration of why it’s “…very good to be a mortgage originator right now”.

This is what Bernanke imagines QE3 is doing:

And here is what is ACTUALLY happening:

I rest my case.

Seven Steps to Restore Prosperity

The good news about our economy is that it hasn’t been struck down by some mysterious act of God. Acts of Government plague our nation – and acts of Government are entirely within our power to change.

Today I will not recite the dismal statistics behind the failed economic policies of this administration, nor the reasons why these policies have failed. The current Presidential campaign has plenty of that, and the fact is that every single American already knows the answer to Ronald Reagan’s simple question: “Are you better off today than you were four years ago.”

Today, I would instead like to look ahead to what the 113th Congress and the 45th President of the United States must do if we are to restore prosperity to this country.

I’d like to outline seven measures that I believe are absolutely essential to repair our economy and restore America as the most prosperous and productive nation in the world.

FIRST AND FOREMOST – IT’S THE SPENDING, STUPID.

Unless and until we dramatically reduce federal spending and the accompanying tax and debt burden, government will continue crowding out private capital and destroying job creation.

Three numbers tell the story very nicely: 39, 32 and 82. Thirty-nine percent is the rate of inflation and population growth combined over the last ten years between 2002 and 2012. Thirty-two percent is the growth rate of revenue in the same period – despite the tax cuts and the recession. Not quite keeping up with inflation and population growth, but pretty close. Eighty-two percent is the figure that’s killing us. Eighty-two percent is the growth of federal spending.

President Evolving Positions, Warrantless Wiretap Edition

Cross-posted from Friction Tape.

Shot:

For one thing, under an Obama presidency, Americans will be able to leave behind the era of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and “wiretaps without warrants,” he said. (He was referring to the lingering legal fallout over reports that the National Security Agency scooped up Americans’ phone and Internet activities without court orders, ostensibly to monitor terrorist plots, in the years after the September 11 attacks.)

It’s hardly a new stance for Obama, who has made similar statements in previous campaign speeches, but mention of the issue in a stump speech, alongside more frequently discussed topics like Iraq and education, may give some clue to his priorities.

Chaser:

Politics Stinks, But We Can’t Ignore It

Doug Mataconis wrote this great post Tuesday. It’s a long post, but it is certainly worth your time reading. Doug really hit the nail on the head with some things I’ve been thinking about lately. That is, politics stinks.

Sure, It can be fun. You’ve got highly opinionated, often very extroverted people convinced that they are right and that the rest of the world is wrong. What’s not fun about that?

The line in that post that really pulled me in was:

[I]t just seems as though we’re either arguing over the same dumb things when the reality is that the two sides of the political debate in this country don’t really disagree with each other as much as they like to pretend.

There’s more making politics stink than just the fact that both major political parties aren’t really all that different, but that’s been my struggle lately.

When I look at the presidential race, I’m, quite honestly, discouraged. I know there are differences between Romney and Obama, and I don’t doubt that Romney would be a little less awful than Obama, but after 4 years of Obama madness, the best the GOP has to offer is a moderate (at best) Massachusetts Republican whose claim to fame is the biggest reason we’re supposed to hate Obama?

How is anyone supposed to get excited about that? Our nation won’t survive four more years of Obama, but everything’s going to be just fine with the Romneys in Washington? Come on.

This election has more to do with getting rid of Obama than it does about electing Romney, and any halfway-honest Republican will admit it.

Quantum of Easing

With apologies to Ian Fleming, American Crossroads released a new web-ad today about President Barack Obama, economic supervillain:

Conor Friedersdorf explains why he’s not voting for Obama

If you don’t read anything else today, you need to check out Conor Friedersdorf’s explanation of why he refuses to vote for Barack Obama in November:

I find Obama likable when I see him on TV. He is a caring husband and father, a thoughtful speaker, and possessed of an inspirational biography. On stage, as he smiles into the camera, using words to evoke some of the best sentiments within us, it’s hard to believe certain facts about him:

Slow and Steady Progress on TSA Strip-Search Policy

Written by Jim Harper, Director of Information Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

Having pled before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals that doing a notice-and-comment rulemaking on its strip-search machine policy is difficult and expensive, the Transportation Security Administration is dropping a cool quarter-billion dollars on new strip-search machines. That’s quite a fixation the TSA has, putting spending on new gadgets ahead of following the law.

But the writing is on the wall for the practice of putting travelers through strip-search machines and prison-style pat-downs at the government checkpoints in American airports.

On Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit ruled against a petition to have the court force TSA to move forward with taking public comments as required by law. The language of the order signals the court’s expectation, though, that the TSA will get this done, quoting the TSA’s language and, well, saying as much.

ORDERED that the petition for writ of mandamus be denied in light of the Government’s representation that “the process of finalizing the AIT Rulemaking documents so that the NPRM may be published is expected to be complete by or before the end of February 2013.” Accordingly, we expect that the NPRM will be published before the end of March 2013.

Obama, the “working poor,” and the entitlement mentality

You mad, bro?

Last week, I brought up Barack Obama’s speech at Loyola University, where he said that he wanted to see government “pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution, because I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level to make sure that everbody’s got a shot.” I also noted his comments from a few years before, when he talked about making the United States a “democracy” (ie. mob rule) for the “common good.”

If you’ve followed Obama since he came on the national scene in 2004, none of this isn’t really surprising to you. But The Daily Caller has found more from the 1998 speech, comments that really highlight Obama’s commitment to government and belief in the mob mentality:

The full recording reveals that Obama saw welfare recipients and the working poor in Chicago as a “majority coalition” who could be leveraged politically.

“What I think will re-engage people in politics is if we’re doing significant, serious policy work around what I will label the ‘working poor,’” he said, “although my definition of the working poor is not simply folks making minimum wage, but it’s also families of four who are making $30,000 a year.”

Matt Damon forced to alter anti-fracking film

Matt Damon

Environmentalists are at it again. With sizable, untapped natural resources at the United States’ disposal to help lower gas and energy costs, they’re working hard to sway public opinion in their favor. The latest example is an anti-fracking movie, Promised Land, being written in part by Matt Damon, star of the Bourne series.

Fracking is the employed to extract shale oil from undergroud sources using significant quanities of water and small amounts of chemicals. As one might imagine, environmentalists hate the idea. But Damon is apparently running into problems with the script, reports Phelim McAleer at the New York Post:

I broke the news that “Promised Land” was about fracking and now I can reveal that the script’s seen some very hasty rewriting because of real-world evidence that anti-fracking activists may be the true villains.

In courtroom after courtroom, it has been proved that anti-fracking activists have been guilty of fraud or misrepresentation.

There was Dimock, Pa. — the likely inspiration for “Promised Land,” which is also set in Pennsylvania. Dimock featured in countless news reports, with Hollywood celebrities even bringing water to 11 families who claimed fracking had destroyed their water and their lives.

How to win libertarians to the GOP (and how not to)

As the election approaches, backers of both major candidates are doing their best to round up any potential uncommitted voters.  For the Republicans, one of these target blocs seems to be libertarians, many of whom are planning to not vote, or to support Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson (myself being the latter).   However, as Jason expressed earlier this week, these attempts are often counterproductive because conservatives, by and large, do not understand how libertarians think, and thus conversion efforts fall flat.

Now, for my purposes I don’t particularly care who wins this year, because both candidates are frankly awful. As I expressed in my post last week the GOP has in many ways become a joke, dominated by people who add nothing to the intellectual marketplace, and in fact often dumb it down and polarize the country for their own gain.  When Mitt Romney expressed his now infamous “47%” theory, he was regurgitating the sort of fact-free nonsense that is rampant on the right.  However, there are also those who believe the party has some hope, and offers the best chance for libertarian voices to be heard.  If that is the case, though, the party as a whole needs to understand some things about us crazy libertarians, and the current tactics used to convince us are in fact going to do the opposite.

 


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