Where the young will find themselves 0

 Our top favorite columnist (for being not only right but also funny) Mark Steyn writes:

This is the biggest generational transfer of wealth in the history of the world. If you’re an 18-year-old middle-class hopeychanger, look at the way your parents and grandparents live: It’s not going to be like that for you. You’re going to have a smaller house, and a smaller car – if not a basement flat and a bus ticket. You didn’t get us into this catastrophe. But you’re going to be stuck with the tab…

The Teleprompter Kid says not to worry: His budget numbers are based on projections that the economy will decline 1.2 percent this year and then grow 4 percent every year thereafter. Do you believe that? In fact, does he believe that? This is the guy who keeps telling us this is the worst economic crisis in 70 years, and it turns out it’s just a 1-percent decline for a couple more months, and then party time resumes? And, come to that, wasn’t there a (notably unprojected) 6.2 percent drop in GDP just in the last quarter of 2008?

Whatever. Growth may be lower than projected, but who’s to say all those new programs, agencies, entitlements and other boondoggles won’t also turn out to cost less than anticipated? Might as well be optimistic, right?…

We love the youthful sense of living in the moment, without a care, without the burdens of responsibility… But we also love the idealism of youth: We want to help the sick and heal the planet by voting for massive unsustainable government programs. Like the young, we’re still finding ourselves, but when we find ourselves stuck with a medical bill or a foreclosure notice it’s great to be able to call home and say, "Whoops, I got into a bit of a hole this month. Do you think you could advance me a couple of trillion just to tide me over?" And if there’s no one at home but a couple of second-graders, who cares? In supporting the political class in its present behavior, America has gone to the bank and given its kids a massive breach-of-trust fund.

I mentioned a few weeks ago the calamitous reality of the U.S. auto industry. General Motors has 96,000 employees but provides health benefits to over a million people. They can never sell enough cars to make that math add up. In fact, selling cars doesn’t help, as they lose money on each model. GM is a welfare project masquerading as economic activity. And, after the Obama transformation, America will be, too… 

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Sunday, March 15, 2009

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Debauching the currency of liberty 0

 Mark Steyn writes in the National Review, commenting on what he calls the ‘bailoutapalooza’: 

For six months now, Paulson, Geithner, and the gang have talked about it as a kind of technical correction, a recalibration that will re-inflate the credit bubble and get us back to “normal.” But it’s not about the arithmetic, it’s about restoring the concept of “moral hazard” that is vital to any functioning market but which the “socially liberal/fiscally conservative” circle-squarers have all but rendered extinct. No government can guarantee universal homeownership, or absurd returns on mediocre assets as a permanent feature of life. And to attempt to do so is to strip language of meaning. You’re debauching the currency — not in the “fiscal” exchange-rate nickel-’n’-dime sense, but something more profound: the very currency of liberty — property, contract, citizenship, responsibility.

(Read the whole column. It’s mostly about Arnie, the governor of ‘Collyvornya’, and it’s very funny.)

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, March 10, 2009

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Corruption as usual 0

 They’re doling it out to their friends. From Power Line:

Barack Obama says his administration represents the end of "business as usual" in Washington. So far that appears to be true. What’s happening these days is considerably worse than what has previously passed for standard practice. Currently, the politically powerful are lined up to receive billions in federal bailout funds.Glenn Reynolds best described what is going on in Obama’s Washington:

      This is not so much a stimulus, as a massive transfer of wealth from the politically unconnected to the politically connected.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Friday, January 23, 2009

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Buddy, can you spare some billions for Prince al-Waleed bin Talal? 1

 This from Canada Free Press:

Citigroup has become the principal beneficiary of the $350 million that has been spent under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The megabank, thus far, has received $45 billion from Uncle Sam – – $20 billion in November and $25 billion in October. And now the firm is crying out for an additional transfusion of billions more in order to become financially solvent.

Sure, it’s nice for Americans to help Americans and to take preventive measures against a full-scale depression.

But the $45 billion shelled out to Citigroup may do little to aid the plight of Main Street Americans.

The firm is not owned by U.S. bankers and businessmen but rather by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, a sovereign wealth consortium of oil-rich Middle Eastern countries, who gained control of the megabank in November 2007. Presently, the largest single shareholder is Prince al-Waleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, January 14, 2009

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AIG makes more ruinous decisions 2

 Risk Specialists Companies, Inc., a subsidiary of AIG Commercial Insurance – to save which from its own folly every tax-payer in America is suffering extortion by the government – is introducing Sharia-compliant products. 

The dangers of this are set out clearly here.

Thanks to our reader Pete Seeker.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Thursday, December 18, 2008

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Government’s plan could bring economic ruin 0

 At The Daily Beast, Arthur Laffer (‘Reagan’s economist’) writes

Why the proposed $700 billion stimulus plan could drive the country to economic ruin.

As you read this, our government is committing enormous sums of money above and beyond normal spending, solely to stimulate the economy and prop up failing companies and markets. These additional sums are huge by any reasonable measure, with estimates as high as $3 trillion in an economy with a GDP of about $15 trillion.

Here’s the bottom line: Instead of making things better, increased spending will only drive our economy further into the ground.

And there is still a lot more spending to come. First it was a $170 billion stimulus package in February of 2008, then material add-ons to both the housing and agricultural bills, followed by Federal Reserve asset swaps with Bear Stearns and a bailout of AIG (which, by the way, isn’t over yet) and then came the debt guarantees of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

There is no tooth fairy. Every dollar given to someone comes from someone else.

Shortly after that, the administration anted up $700 billion in a bailout package, and now Obama, Reid, Pelosi and Bernanke want another stimulus package of $300 billion. Just this week the powers that be are debating bailouts for Michigan’s auto industry. With the slowdown in the economy, tax receipts are now projected to fall sharply. The logic here is totally upside down, and each new measure, far from helping the economy, does enormous damage.

It is true, as the proponents of these stimulus packages argue, that recipients of government checks will spend more than they otherwise would have spent. And, that increased spending will have a multiplier effect increasing spending even further. But this is only part of the story.

The government can only transfer resources; it can’t create resources. There is no tooth fairy. Every dollar given to someone comes from someone else. The government can’t bail some people out of trouble without putting other people into trouble, plus a hefty “toll for the troll.”

In the case of last February’s stimulus package, the government literally borrowed an extra $170 billion and at the same time sent out checks to the transfer recipients totaling $170 billion. The result was a $170 billion increase in the amount of bonds held by the public, accompanied by a $170 billion increase in the current value of future taxes to pay interest and principle on the additional debt.

From the standpoint of accounting, the government is $170 billion further in the red, and taxpayers are liable for an additional $170 billion worth of taxes. Therefore, for every dollar of transfer payment there’s at least an equivalent dollar of future tax liabilities. Those people with the increased tax liabilities will spend less, thereby dis-employing people who had been supplying them with goods they’ll no longer buy. And the reduction in spending of those with higher tax liabilities will lead to a multiplied reduction in total spending equal to and fully offsetting the increase in total spending from the recipients of government checks. There is no stimulus from the stimulus programs!

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, November 26, 2008

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The Fatal Conceit 0

 Michelle Malkin writes that Paulson ‘doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing’. Here’s part of her article (read the whole thing): 

Members of Congress who let themselves be bullied into switching their votes on the bailout should be experiencing the biggest case of buyers’ remorse in U.S. history. They fell for what Nobel Prize-winning economist F.A. Hayek called "the fatal conceit" – the disastrous idea that a federal bureaucrat has the knowledge to do a better job than the private market in organizing and directing an economy. They gave unchecked power to a single government official without a clue…

Wielding his enormous authority, Paulson is desperately throwing our money at banks in a futile attempt to convince them to lend. Instead, those banks are either hoarding the cash or acquiring more assets. In other words: Paulson is helping the banks that were "too big to fail" grow even bigger with taxpayer backing. Swell.

The White House says: "We’ll just trust our treasury secretary to implement the program." President Bush insists "government’s role will be limited and temporary." Meanwhile, Democratic Rep. Barney Frank is shrugging off the lack of bailout disclosure by both the Federal Reserve and Treasury. But as I reminded readers before this latest bait-and-switch admission, Hank Paulson is not to be trusted. I repeat:

This is the man who proclaimed the subprime crisis "largely contained" in April 2007; "near the bottom" in May 2007; and "largely contained" again in August 2007. This is the man who pledged that he had "no interest in bailing out lenders or property speculators" in October 2007 and couldn’t "think of any situation where the backdrop of the global economy was as healthy as it is today."

This is the man who patted himself on the back for refusing to "put taxpayer money on the line" to rescue Lehman Brothers on Sept. 15 – and then turned around the next day and engineered the $85 billion taxpayer-funded bailout of AIG. This is the man who vowed he had "no plans to insert money" into Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – and then turned around and committed $200 billion in capital and credit lines to those corrupt, bloated, crumbling institutions.

This is the man who declared that "the worst is likely to be behind us" in May 2008.

Emperor Paulson’s bipartisan courtiers in Congress berated anyone who dared challenge his wisdom. Minority Leader John Boehner sniffed: "This is no time for ideological purity." Well, ideological pollution begat this mess. It’s time for a fiscal-conservative counterinsurgency to disrobe and disarm the charlatans before they do more harm.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Friday, November 14, 2008

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For whom the bell tolls 0

Taxing ‘the rich’ means impoverishing everyone, as Thomas Sowell explains with characteristic clarity:

The idea that you can single out one segment of society to be taxed or mandated, for the benefit of the rest of society, is reminiscent of a San Francisco automobile dealer’s sign: "We cheat the other guy and pass the savings on to you." The economy is not a zero-sum game where someone gains what others lose. The whole economy can lose when ill-considered policies gain political popularity and stifle economic growth. People who do not own a single share of corporate stock can still lose big time when capital gains taxes are raised– not only because jobs can follow capital out of the country, but also because millions of working people’s pension plans own corporate stock, and those people’s retirement incomes will depend on the value of those stocks, which is reduced by capital gains taxes. One of the biggest taxes is one that is not even called a tax – inflation. When the government spends money that it creates, it is transferring part of the value of your money to themselves. It is quiet taxation but often heavy taxation, falling on everyone, no matter how low their incomes might be. By the end of the 20th century, a $100 bill would not buy as much as a $20 bill would buy in the middle of that century. For people who saved cash, inflation amounted to an 80 percent tax. For others, it was an 80 percent tax minus whatever cumulative interest or dividends they received on the money they invested. Given the staggering cost of the government’s financial bailouts, there is no way that Barack Obama’s grandiose spending plans can be carried out without inflation.

When politicians start talking about taxing "the rich," remember the old saying [from the poem by John Donne]: "Send not to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee." 

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, October 29, 2008

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