I remember about a month ago there was a lot of bruhaha about Pennsylvanian Republicans trying to change their contribution to the Electoral College by divvying up the votes based on Congressional districts, like Maine and Nebraska. Naturally, a lot of people got upset with that, with some (like Doug Mataconis and George Will) saying we should keep the Electoral College just like it is now, and many others saying that we should instead move to a National Popular Vote system. Now with Occupy Wall Street taking over our media senses, some of that talk has been pushed aside, with people instead focusing on Wall Street rather than Pennsylvania Avenue.
I would like to go back to the Avenue, however, for multiple reasons. First off, I actually think that a lack of serious political reforms is the reason for much of the discontent we’re seeing in Zucotti Park. Second, we have Congressional deadlock, as always—but in recent years, the vitriol and polarization we have seen has increased dramatically. Third, even with the 2010 GOP landslide in the House, we still have a very high incumbent reelection rate—although it was lower in previous elections, it still stood at 87%. Fourth, we have not seen any new ideas with regards to the major issues of the day: our debt crisis, our flagging economy, our eroding civil liberties, or our overburdening government.
Clearly, the emphasis is on the egg and not the noggin in the egg nog, here.
Very little can be done to change or institute major reform, even though we need it, badly. Part of that is by design. The Founders wanted a system where it would be difficult to radically change it, in order to preserve the liberty they had fought so hard for. In the modern era, that backfired. Instead of preserving liberty, the system is preserving the corrupt bog from which liberty is being drowned in.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke just announced Operation Twist, a new combat operation that will supposedly fix our market woes. Supposedly. (Hey, pass the vodka, will you? I need a drink before I listen to this guy.)
I am not a financial markets expert, and I have not heard that much on the actual details of Operation Twist, but, courtesy of CNN, here’s a brief explanation:
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The Federal Reserve announced “Operation Twist” Wednesday, a widely expected stimulus move reviving a policy from the 1960s.
The policy involves selling $400 billion in short-term Treasuries in exchange for the same amount of longer-term bonds, starting in October and ending in June 2012.
While the move does not mean the Fed will pump additional money into the economy, it is designed to lower yields on long-term bonds, while keeping short-term rates little changed.
The intent is to thereby push down interest rates on everything from mortgages to business loans, giving consumers and companies an additional incentive to borrow and spend money.
So basically, they’re selling bonds and buying bonds. Nothing exactly Earth shattering here. And definitely not anything that will get us out of this rut.
Interestingly, some members of the FOMC agree with my assessment, and one of them had a speech about it. Mr. Richard W. Fisher, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, had this to say about recent monetary policy, using a Nordic weather station as a metaphor:
Man, I looove me some fireworks. The bright flashes, the intense color, the wave of energy expanding across the room—
Oh, you thought I meant that stuff they light off at the Fourth of July. No, I was referring to the fireworks that occur in a debate. And what a debate we’re going to have!
The sparks started flying when Matt Yglesias, poster boy for the Center for Authoritarian Propaganda American Progress tweeted “David Boaz is dumb.” (Hmm, I wonder what he had to say about naughty rhetoric back in January…) Boaz then retorted that Yglesias had completely missed the point, which I guess is not surprising. Yglesias then decided to tackle Daniel J. Mitchell’s take on Paul Krugman’s…well, I’m not really sure what you could call it. Lunacy? Let’s be nice and just call it “absurdity.” Anyways, Yglesias basically stated that “money doesn’t matter” and that the broken window fallacy itself is broken. A very succint summary of modern progressive thought, I would imagine.
So why do I bring this all up?
Because tomorrow, Cato On Campus is hosting (at the Cato Institute, natch) a debate titled: “US Debt and the Millennials: Is Washington Creating a Lost Generation?” Attending will be Megan McArdle of The Atlantic, Matt Mitchell of Mercatus, and Matt Yglesias of Center for American Progress. Three guesses as to who will be moderating. Yes, Dan Mitchell of Cato.
On January 8th of this year, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was one of nineteen people shot, six fatally, by crazed gunman Jared Loughner. For nearly a week the national press and Democrats excoriated the TEA Party in general, and Sarah Palin in particular, for creating the environment that nurtured this horrifying act of political terrorism. President Obama, apparently in another example of leading from behind, eventually called for “more civility in our public discourse”, and admonished us to refrain from “lay[ing] the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who happened to think differently than we do”.
Democrats finally heeded their leader’s advice, although it is uncertain whether that resulted from an epiphany that such inflammatory rhetoric was producing more of the division they claimed to deplore, or because they’d lost the moral high ground when it was discovered that the shooter, supposedly driven to his murderous rampage by seeing target symbols on a map of political districts, was actually a liberal, anti-Christian pot-smoker who hated George Bush.
The civility truce was short-lived however, and soon liberal Democrats went right back to ascribing the worst possible motives to their political enemies, simply for holding opposing policy positions. This last week or so, though, has seen liberal vitriol march back into full attack mode. The TEA Party and conservative Republicans have been repeatedly called “terrorists” by the mainstream press and prominent Democrats.
What if the Federal Reserve dollar falls – hard? How is the globalist blueprint known as Sustainable Development Agenda 21 designed to make humans into livestock? Why liberty must be understood by this generation of Americans lest it be lost for a very long time.
More Americans, an accelerating percentage of ordinary citizens, have come to understand the nature of “fiat” monetary system – that is money created out of thin air. The contemporary fiat system came to the United States in 1913 with the congressional creation of the privately owned United States Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve legislation violated Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution by the issuance of legal tender and brought once again the influence/control of the globalist banking cartel to the U.S.
Today’s global monetary system was originally authorized by the British Parliament. Its purpose was to form the central bank of England as the Bank of England, which is the equivalent to our Federal Reserve, to control a nation’s money.
“Issuing money” means controlling fiat (phony) money creation through the operation of a printing press or computer entry. This results in the regular increase in the money supply which ultimately expresses itself as price inflation.
Newly issued money is infused into the money supply via the creation of debt. Much of this debt is held by the federal government. More money equals more debt. ‘The harder I work’, says the average American, ‘the deeper in debt the nation becomes.’
Growing debt cedes the ultimate exercise of control to the creditor, particularly as the system breaks down under its own largesse. A “new” system is being designed by the same forces who designed today’s fiat system and who now have America close to the brink of dollar destruction. It is the replacement system that we must be wary of if we are to exercise a wise defense and restoration of freedom.
I am an addict. A junkie. For years I’ve maintained an air of respectability in public, while behind closed doors I’m always looking for my next fix. With every year that passes it takes more and more for me to satiate my need. I will tell any lie, distort any claim, and do whatever I need to do to maintain my habit. I used to be embarrassed about it, covered it up, but no longer. I am who I am and everybody can just deal with it. I used to be able to shuffle the finances around to fund my habit, hide it so that no one would notice. Now, my habit is so bad that I can’t cover the cost with what I earn. I had to find a way to pay for it.
I took out a second mortgage on my house, telling myself that my habit was not so bad, that I could quit whenever I wanted; that this was only a short term solution and I’d pay it back quickly. That is what I told myself anyway. But days turned to weeks, weeks turned to months and months turned to years, and I’m more addicted than ever, with no way to pay for my fix. I’ve maxed out my credit cards, emptied my savings account, borrowed from family and friends. I’ve emptied the trust funds that were supposed to be for my kids. I’ve stolen anything I could get my hands on that I could sell. I’ve gone to loan sharks.
If a deal hasn’t been reached by the time this is posted (the agreement reached by congressional leaders and the White House over the weekend is pending caucus approval), then tomorrow will be a day of infamy. According to public consensus, our credit rating will be downgraded, our borrowing rates will skyrocket, Social Security checks won’t go out, we’ll have to lay off millions of government workers (oh hyperbole), China will get mad, and our cost of living will sharply increase while the quality of living decreases dramatically. The sky will fall, the world economy will collapse, unemployment will make what we have now look like a cakewalk. It will be Disaster;.
Except it will be none of these things.
August 2nd, if a deal is not reached, will not spell the end of the world. Even if S&P and Moody’s try and downgrade the United States. Why? Three reasons: One, if the markets thought we were going to be screwed, they would have done it before. Second, the credit rating agencies are utterly superfluous and worthless when it come to US debt. Third, even if we hit the debt ceiling, Turbo Tax Geithner will be permitted to prioritize interest payments on the debt and send out Social Security checks, meaning we won’t have a default (and Grandma can still buy the ingredients for her damned fruitcake.)
Taken together, these three things illustrate a picture where August 2nd isn’t the end of the world, and that we should really slow down, take a deep breath, and then have a shot of whiskey. Preferably rye, but that’s just me.
As August 2nd approaches, stipulated by Treasury Secretary and tax cheat Timothy Geithner as the date when the U.S. will reach its statutory debt limit, our illustrious president, Barack Obama, becomes more and more unhinged. From highly partisan, contemptuous and fact-challenged press conferences, to his angry and petulant exit from a meeting with Republicans on the issue, it is clear that Obama is feeling the pressure. This is compounded by the fact that the historically weak-willed Republicans seem shockingly willing to be proven vertebrates, and actually refuse to back down on principle (Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s recent suggestion to completely abdicate constitutional duty and give all power to the president notwithstanding).
From class warfare rhetoric about tax breaks for corporate jet owners (signed into law by Obama in the 2009 stimulus bill, and less than a rounding error on the federal budget) to fear mongering the elderly to think Social Security checks will not go out, nothing is beneath this integrity-challenged president in his quest for power. He tirelessly repeats his Marxist mantra of needing to get “millionaires and billionaires” to “pay their fair share” and be a part of the “shared sacrifice”, despite the fact that the top 1% of all income earners (a group starting at $380,354/year and including millions of small businesses that file taxes under personal returns…hardly millionaires and billionaires) paid 38% of total tax revenue, while the bottom 50% paid only 2.7%. The top 5% starts at $159,619 and accounts for 58.7% of taxes paid.
As the debt debate continues with no end in sight (not even Aug. 2nd) some people are getting understandably upset. They want to know who to blame, and if anything that’s come up so far will actually fix the problem. Well, I have good news and bad news.
The good news is that the Cato Institute has come out with another outstanding video on the situation. The bad news is that you have to blame everybody, and no, there isn’t really a good solution coming out yet:
Again, there will be no dismantling of unconstitutional (or just flat out bad) programs and departments, just “trimming” around the edges, which won’t be good for the long term as they’ll a piece of cake to overcome. The “Cut Cap Balance” idea is a good start, but the Democrats will never go for it, and it’s only that—a start.
“Of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants.” - Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist No. 1
During my lifetime, in virtually every election in my recollection the party out of power has banged the drum of urgency and declared that “This may be the most important election in our lifetimes”. The rallying cry is meant to instill a sense of foreboding into the partisan faithful, to energize the base so that they will be willing financial contributors and foot-soldiers for the party leadership. For those that follow politics closely and study history, at some point there comes a bit of “Boy Who Cried Wolf” apathy to the process. Sometimes our team wins, and sometimes we lose. Win we win, we are always disappointed that we are not able to get more of our agenda through. When we lose, it may be bad, but usually not nearly as dire as the prophets of doom predicted.
In 2008 a young, charismatic black man stunned the political old-timers by defeating the vaunted Clinton machine for the presidential nomination for the Democrat Party. In Barack Obama, black Americans saw the fulfillment, or at least a gigantic leap towards it, of Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream. Obama, riding a wave of optimism with his oft-repeated mantra of “Hope and Change”, garnered the vote of 96% of black voters, and nearly half of the white vote. This was a stunning success considering that a large percentage of the white vote would not have voted for a Democrat regardless of skin color.