In the course of the past week, there have been ruminations from Washington D.C. and the liberal media establishment, following the political circus circuit. Rumors are, there is a Romney-Paul split ticket in the works. This would mean, Ron Paul as Vice President to Mitt Romney. Sources are weak and at this point, still very much unsubstantiated.
Whether Ron Paul would accept a Vice Presidential spot, at this point is unclear. He is Mitt Romney’s senior, both in intellect and age. Others report, and speak of, a Rand Paul Vice Presidency; however, at this point into the GOP retake of the vacant White House, Rand Paul (R-KY) is nowhere near the fire of the action.
It is quite obvious, that if Mitt Romney is going to sock Obama in November, he will have to square the Tea Party vote. Segments of which he has neglected, again and again; with big government “corporations are people” rhetoric. Steadily he holds the strongest conservative wing, but a wing does not fly without a body. If Ron Paul considers an Independent presidential run after all, Mitt Romney will feel luke-warm to libertarians, independents, cross-overs, undecideds.
Given Ron Paul’s consistent stance on positions: his remorseless scrutiny and straight-edge in terms of vascillation, it is highly unlikely he will takle a split-ticket such as this. If these comments continue, there will be the possibility that Ron Paul’s integrity is pu to the test. Is he really the stalwart, people say he is? Or, is he another politician who might use his stature, to win the GOP the election in November 2012?
We’ve heard for over a year now that the Republican Party is the “Obstructionist Party.” They have dithered, meaninglessly opposed, and just plain stopped anything the Democrats have done simply out of a kneejerk reaction and not because of any real concern.
Well, it now appears the shoe is on the other foot.
Timothy Geithner, appearing before Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) and the House Budget Committee, had an absolutely fantastic line that we should keep for the ages:
Allow me to focus on that last part by copying the blockquote from Guy Benson’s piece from Townhall:
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, speaking on behalf of the Obama White House, to Rep. Paul Ryan: “You are right to say we’re not coming before you today to say ‘we have a definitive solution to that long term problem.’ What we do know is, we don’t like yours.”
You hear that? They have no plan, but they don’t like “yours” (being the GOP’s.)
Where are the adults in the room right now? We have the Democrats who have failed to pass a budget in the Senate for over three years and an Administration that is not even pretending to take care of the problems the country faces and only says “We don’t like your plan.”
Now who is being the “obstructionist party?”
Deep within the bowels of CPAC, in a small conference room on the second floor of the Marriott Wardman hotel, dozens of people packed inside to listen to a blue ribbon panel—or perhaps I should say “gold standard” panel, for that was what John Mueller of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Jeffrey Bell of the American Principles Project, and James Grant—yes, that James Grant, author of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer and Ron Paul’s pick to head the Federal Reserve—were on hand to talk about and explain: a return to the gold standard. And yes, Grant—and many in the crowd—were wearing bowties.
Although I do wonder if the real reason people showed up were because of the Bavarian pretzels they were offering.
I have to admit, I came into the panel with a major question. I am totally for the abolition of fiat currency, the abolition of the Federal Reserve, and the restoration of a sound money policy. 2011 dollars are worth about 19 cents in 1971 dollars, the year when Nixon closed the gold window and took the country off the gold standard. It is, I argue, the necessary step before we can even look at getting rid of minimum wage, unemployment compensation, things that libertarians would want to remove, but we can’t because the money people are using isn’t worth anything. But is the gold standard really, well, the “gold standard” of monetary reform? Would going back to the sixties necessarily bring back prosperity? Were there any other alternatives?
There is only one term, which is (and has proven over ages) “Too Big To Fail.”
Everything else, can- and should- be allowed to fail in a free market. Capitalism is based on profit. On risk. On investment. What tends to be overlooked, especially in this volatile era, is that capitalism is a sentiment, it can not be shackled by government laws, nor “propped up” as some claim. It is hard, to run a presidential campaign on this message.
Governments have duties to individuals. We seem to have forgotten, this.
Mitt Romney, for all his verbal denunciation of Mr. Obama, was in support of the bailout packages in Congress! Along with his healthcare mandate in Massachusetts and government ID cards, these three implementations alone, make me doubt Mr. Romney’s republicanism. He is pliant, and will bend this nation to his insane will. He is an excellent impresario, when talking about jobs, capitalism, big government. He himself supports the same hinges, that this top-heavy US government swings on. In fact he’ll grease them, so to placate the GOP string-pullers.
Ronald Paul (R-Texas) voted against the US banking and housing bailouts.
He understood, that Fannie and Freddie were selling bonds directly to the People’s Bank of China (not reported on) in the aftermath! Without accountability of all the tax-based bailout money given Wall Street banks and Detroit, he knew; the same problems would persist. Happen again, and again, again. Ronald Paul favors corporations, capitalism, citizenry too. What he is against, is this: tax-increased government money-laundering, for purposes of spending, for entitlements (not in US constitution).
Government should spend little to nothing.
As Europe loses countries’ credit rating, we are left to wonder what the future will hold.
Money is no longer backed.
Libertarians’ aim is to maximize personal and inter-personal liberty. Nationally. Globally.
Freedom is the great coagulant- the way water molecules hold together drops of rain. Ironically, libertarianist philosophy is arguably the oldest of all American currents of thought: originating during the colonial Enlightenment Generation, when the old was still new enough to be considered current, but the United States was forming itself; becoming one in thought and deed.
Libertarianism existed in the minds of our colonial forefathers even before the ideas of a nation were enumerated, before they were disclaimed. Despite regional differences, colonists belonged to a place, a town maybe or an intersection. No matter what, each first and foremost belonged to himself.
The Jeffersonian Democratic-Republican ‘party’ was afflicted by and proposed along the lines of British, French, German and colonial thinking. What resulted was libertarianism. A sense of freedom given to the individual, by each own’s God. Without mediation, without government, without boundaries. Unique unto each.
Three centuries into the newly formed United States, citizens vote on the basis of who will win elections. Examples of voting extend to such extremes, that we are left with no alternative than to chose between an awful and a terrible party. While many in media and political networks might well believe that third parties are superfluous, and dangerous philosophically, it is the true patriot; who must see through the distortions and blatant lies- three centuries in the making.
Hello! From the commission itself:
Washington, D.C., Dec. 16, 2011 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged six former top executives of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) with securities fraud, alleging they knew and approved of misleading statements claiming the companies had minimal holdings of higher-risk mortgage loans, including subprime loans.
- SEC complaint vs. Freddie Mac executives
- SEC complaint vs. Fannie Mae executives
- Non-Prosecution Agreement - Freddie Mac
- Non-Prosecution Agreement - Fannie Mae
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac each entered into a Non-Prosecution Agreement with the Commission in which each company agreed to accept responsibility for its conduct and not dispute, contest, or contradict the contents of an agreed-upon Statement of Facts without admitting nor denying liability. Each also agreed to cooperate with the Commission’s litigation against the former executives. In entering into these Agreements, the Commission considered the unique circumstances presented by the companies’ current status, including the financial support provided to the companies by the U.S. Treasury, the role of the Federal Housing Finance Agency as conservator of each company, and the costs that may be imposed on U.S. taxpayers.
In a modern example of Frederic Bastiat’s “The Seen and the Unseen,” in Seattle, school adiminstrators are finding out that their ban on junk food has actually hurt student activities:
The Seattle School Board is considering relaxing its ban on unhealthful food in high schools amid complaints from student governments that the policy has cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars in vending-machine profits over the past seven years.
The policy, approved in 2004 — before any state or federal regulations on school nutrition had been established — put Seattle on the cutting edge of the fight against childhood obesity.
But board members now acknowledge they probably went too far. The restrictions, which are more strict than the now-crafted state and federal nutrition guidelines, allow only products such as milk, natural fruit juice, baked chips and oat-based granola bars.
Perhaps not surprisingly, many students are not particularly interested in those items.
(I just want to insert a “Duh!” in here. Like, seriously?)
In 2001, before the junk-food ban was passed, high-school associated student body (ASB) governments across the city made $214,000 in profits from vending machines, according to district data. This year, they’ve made $17,000.
The district promised in 2006 to repay ASBs for the revenue they lost because of the policy. But it never did. So the ASB organizations — which subsidize athletic uniform and transportation costs, support student clubs, hold school dances and fund the yearbook and newspaper, among other expenses — have had to cancel programs and ask students to pay significantly more to participate on athletic teams and in school clubs.
Steven L. Taylor over at Outside the Beltway has a post up arguing that the Community Reinvestment Act, the law that ordered banks to make loans out to those who really couldn’t afford them, was not the reason for the housing bust, but rather greedy megabanks that were preying on naive homeowners. Mostly, he gets this from Barry Ritholtz. Here’s a summary of the arguments:
- The boom and bust was a global phenomenon, so the CRA couldn’t possibly have done all of this.
- What was done in the US mostly happened outside of CRA target zones, in the suburbs.
- “Nonbank mortgage underwriting exploded from 2001 to 2007, along with the private label securitization market, which eclipsed Fannie and Freddie during the boom.”
- Most of the lenders were private firms not subject to CRA regulations.
At any rate, the notion that the crisis in mortgage financing was caused by, as NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg put it, “It was not the banks that created the mortgage crisis. It was, plain and simple, Congress who forced everybody to go and give mortgages to people who were on the cusp,” is patently absurd.
It appears that many do not understand why college costs so much, even though it is relatively simple to explain. Some—who I will leave nameless—even go as far to say that the reason tuition is rising is because states are subsidizing less of it! Well, Holy Postnominal Letters, Batman, where did you get that idea?
In reality, the situation is a bit more complicated than that, though not by much. Here’s a simplified explanation:
- Federal government guarantees education money
- Pell Grants
- Stafford Loans (Both subsidized and non-)
- Backstopping all other education loans
- Private lenders lend wildly, as their loans are guaranteed by Uncle Sam
- Students take on loans to pay for their education
- Universities notice this, realize their customers are guaranteed to have money, and jack up prices
- Students suffer, while university presidents and lenders prance around in glee
Okay, so maybe the prancing part is a bit much.
Mish Shedlock, who I regard as one of the finer macroeconomists out there, has taken some stabs at this. You can read here. Or over here. Or yes, even more on this one. Mish also wrote, in response to Obama’s aide, David Plouffe, saying that they will “safeguard” student loans: “Bragging about safeguarding student loans is like bragging about safeguarding the plague.”