Posts Tagged ‘financial regulation’

I Can’t Think Up A Witty Title.

September 3, 2010 1 comment

Well, it’s September.  I haven’t posted in a while because there’s been nothing going on.  August was hot.  Congress wasn’t in session.  The Tigers’ season has been over for a while now.  And I’ve been waiting for football to start.

But NOW, we’re officially into football and election season.  WOO-HOO!  While I could talk about football forever, this is not a football blog, and I’m not starting one now.  This is primarily a political blog, and it’s a political time of year.  And I can’t remember an election cycle that has been potentially more important than this one.  Let’s review:

The economy still sucks.  In fact, it’s worse then it was the last time I posted.  Unemployment is up to 9.6%; we’ve lost another 54,000 jobs; and Christina Romer, one of Barry’s chief economic “experts” who is leaving the administration, has recently let all of us know that they’ve had absolutely no idea what they’ve been doing re: the economy.

She had no idea how bad the economic collapse would be. She still doesn’t understand exactly why it was so bad. The response to the collapse was inadequate. And she doesn’t have much of an idea about how to fix things.

That’s disheartening…and also completely obvious.  Labor Secretary Hilda Solis has taken to authoring op-eds in the USA Today to try and convince America that the Democrat’s handling of the economy doesn’t resemble a monkey with a rubic’s cube. 

The Recovery Act saved millions of American jobs — keeping health care providers in hospitals, teachers in classrooms, and police and firefighters on the beat. But the benefits weren’t just in the public sector. During the past eight months, the economy has averaged 95,000 new private sector jobs.

While I’d love to see her support for that last sentence, it doesn’t really matter.  Unemployment will continue to go up until new jobs exceed 120,000/month (population increase).  More importantly, there is no doubt that the economy is slowly getting worse.  

The “summer of recovery” is followed by the “autumn of reality.”  Let’s face it: if the Dems had any idea what to do about the economy, they would have done it by now.

B.O. has recently begun getting rid of the “drove it into a ditch” meme, and replaced it with “it’s taken us 10 years to get into this mess, so it’s unreasonable to think we could get out of the mess in 18 months” nonsense.  Did it take us 10 years to get into this?  I don’t know.  I suppose one could reasonably argue it took one year, or even thirty-three years (the Community Reinvestment Act, which gave birth to the housing boom and bust, was enacted in 1977).  I also don’t care how long it took us to get here.  What I do care about is what is the current Administration doing about it?  Well, it’s been 18 months and the answer is: spent a lot of money for nothing.  Things haven’t improved, and the Dems are out of ideas.

So what should be done?  Well, first and foremost, vote against the Dems in November.  I know, I know…you don’t like the republicans either!  O.k.  Then go vote for the Green Party and pat yourself on the back for being “principled.”  After that you can have your juice box and sandwich with the crusts cut off and take a nap.  For the rest of us adults, we’ll choose a candidate with a chance of winning. 

Simply put, there is job-creating capital out there waiting to be invested.  It’s not being invested because no one has any idea what’s coming from this administration.  For example, if you were a business owner with money, would you be spending it to reinvest or hire new employees if you thought your taxes were going to go up in January?  Of course not.  Doing something as simple as throwing the Dems out of the House would improve the fragile psyche of the economy.

But simply voting Republican isn’t enough.  Pressure needs to be applied to those we vote for to do things like extending the Bush tax cuts for everyone.  Other taxes need to be cut…payroll and capital gains, for example.  Enact legislation which gives people the option to opt out of the slush fund that is Social Security.  Limit Medicare to those that need it; not simply those that are old enough to get it.  Significantly amend Obamacare and gut Fannie and Freddie. 

Until we get the economy back on-track, nothing else matters.  And there’s a lot going on that needs to be addressed beyond the economy…like why we’re ignoring Iran’s getting all nuclear and stuff.

It’s September…the kids are back in school, I get to drink new seasonal beer, and I get to watch football.  More important, however, is the election coming up.  We need to vote the Dems out…and then get ready for 2012, when we can vote out the guy who looks silly riding his bike.  And don’t worry…I’ll be posting a lot more than I did in August in an effort to get you through these tough times.


First time unemployment up…again.

August 19, 2010 Leave a comment
Barry (while riding his unicorn):
‘But here’s what I can tell you: After 18 months, I have never been more confident that our nation is headed in the right direction.’

New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly climbed to a nine-month high last week, yet another setback to the frail economic recovery.

Sigh.  I’ve come to the rather grim conclusion that the economy won’t improve until we rid ourselves of this charlatan.  Why?  Contrary to B.O.’s assertions, it isn’t because of how deep the ditch was.  It’s because no one with a business has any confidence in any of his decisions on the economy.  The same goes for Nancy Pelosi, Tim Geithner, Harry Reid, etc. 

We’re not headed in the right direction.  In fact, I’m not sure we’re headed in any direction.  What is the president/Congress doing to create jobs?  Can anyone tell me?  So far, we’ve had several different deficit-driving stimulus packages, which only propped up state governments, or hired more government employees, or paid some pension funds.  None of that did anything to improve the economy, and anyone with an eighth grade education knew that it wouldn’t before it was attempted. 

What else?  We’ve passed healthcare legislation which the government admits won’t control costs, and is directly responsible for current premiums going up.  The new financial regulation law will significantly increase the size of the federal government, and impact just about every financial transaction that anybody takes part in.  Oh, and it does nothing to deal with HUD, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac, all of which caused the housing bubble and started the domino effect of economic collapse.

Our economy isn’t in a malaise.  It isn’t stuck.  And there are no green shoots.  It’s simply waiting.  Waiting for the anti-business, anti-private property, pro-big government liberals to lose their control over the direction of this country.  Unfortunately, while it waits, more small businesses shut their doors, more big businesses downsize, and more people lose their jobs. 

Why Don’t We Just Give Everybody Money Then?

July 17, 2010 1 comment

Well, it seems, at least in a round about way, that our president has finally realized that the best way to improve the economy is to put more money into the hands of the people that actually spend it.

Obama said lawmakers’ obligation to extend benefits is both moral and practical, citing some economists who believe extending unemployment is one of the most cost-effective ways to jump-start the economy because it puts money in the pockets of people who are likely to spend it quickly.

B.O. is spot on here.  The best way to jump start the economy is to put money into the hands of consumers.  The only problem with the extended unemployment benefits he’s seeking:

The $34 billion needed to extend benefits would be borrowed, adding to the nation’s mounting debt.

Now, how could we put more money into the hands of more people without having to ask China for it?  That’s right: CUT TAXES ON EVERYTHING FOR EVERYBODY!  It isn’t rocket science.  In fact, it’s so simple, even our president gets it.

Obama also called on lawmakers to send him a package of tax breaks and credit extensions for small businesses.

This is a great idea (seriously).  But why not extend the package to all businesses?  Why limit it to small business?  How about we also cut other taxes, like income tax?  Of course, in addition to adding to the aforementioned tax breaks, Obama should request that Congress send him a bill consisting only of tax breaks, as opposed to attaching them to some God-awful budget or some other liberal piece of legislation that cancels out the benefit of the tax breaks.  If our president is truly serious about tax breaks, he should be willing to sign a bill that is both pro-business and doesn’t add to the debt.

Unemployment benefits are a symptom of a larger problem though.  No one (Dems or Repubs) has any interest in actually solving problems.  Example: healthcare.  Instead of tweaking the system that delivers the best healthcare in the world, which is all that was needed, we drop an ACME anvil on it.  Why?  Because no one gives a damn about actually fixing anything.  Same with the financial overhaul.

Since Barry has admitted that the best way to stimulate the economy is to put more money in people’s pockets, all he has to do now is pass a bill that allows people to keep more of their own money.  I, for one, am not holding my breath.

July 16, 2010: How are we doing?

July 16, 2010 2 comments

It’s been a long, hot week, and I’m a bit testy.  With that in mind, let’s discuss where we are.

Saying that our president is doing a bad job is like saying the citizens of Pompei experienced traffic congestion the morning Mount Vesuvius  blew.  It’s true, but it’s also an incredible understatement.  100% of Barry’s presidency has resided somewhere between doing nothing or making things worse.  Honestly, I’ll have a major award for anyone that can point to one good thing this man has done since he’s gotten into office.  We’re still sitting just shy of 10% national unemployment…and that doesn’t count the people who are no longer even looking for work.  Our debt and deficits literally make history ever single day, and all B.O. thinks we should do is spend more.  In fact, his own freakin’ debt commission stated the debt will destroy this country.  Not possible?  Look at Greece, or Spain, or Portugal.

His Department of Justice is choosing to sue Arizona for enforcing federal law, while refusing to prosecute sanctuary cities for explicitly violating federal law.  How about a lawsuit against Chicago for its new gun restrictions?  Don’t understand my point Mr. President?  How about we put the restrictions in terms you can understand.  It would be similar to Illinois telling a young pregnant girl she can have an abortion, but only after she pays $1,000.00 cash to watch a video of an abortion procedure, with her parents and grandparents, after which she takes a test consisting entirely of identifying still images from the video, and then, after the abortion, being forced to keep the dead baby in a jar under her pillow for nine months after the abortion.  Oh, and she’d need to go to Wisconsin to get the abortion.  Now, I bet a law like that would receive a lawsuit. Guns and abortion are both “fundamental rights” that are protected by the constitution, right?

How ’bout that financial overhaul bill that everyone on the left is so damn excited about?  While it doesn’t do anything about fixing what actually went wrong with the economy in the first place, Fannie Mae is out there offering first time home-buyers loans with a little as $1,000.00 down.  And now I get to go sit in traffic on the highway because the idiots hired by the state of Illinois, with federal funds I’m sure, decided to strike after tearing up the damn road.  They apparently didn’t get the memo that the economy sucks while health care costs and premiums are still going up, as a result of despite Obamacare.  And on January 1, 2011, those of us who actually pay income tax can look forward to it skyrocketing.

And what is our esteemed president’s response:

The president said in the interview he believes voters “are going to say the policies that got us into this mess, we can’t go back to.” He also said Washington “has spent an inordinate amount of time on politics — who’s up and who’s down — and not enough on what we’re doing for the American people.”

It’s official.  We didn’t elect a President.  We didn’t even elect a petty dictator.  We elected a buffoon.   And by “we” I mean somebody else because I didn’t vote for him.  The liberal policies that got us into this mess are still out there, alive and well.  “What we’re doing for the American people?”  Are you serious?  How about what you’re doing to the American people?  Here’s what Barry’s done to the American people since he’s become president: increased unemployment.  increased deficits and debt.  increased health care costs and premiums.  increased economic uncertainty.  increased claims of racism.  increased divisiveness.  increased entitlements. increased taxes.  Here’s what he’s done for the people of America: been a really active (and bad) golfer.

Financial Overhaul Passes. Now What?

July 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Law Remakes U.S. Financial Landscape

In what is being called the largest overhaul of the financial system since the Great Depression, both houses of Congress have agreed on a massive bank bill that, despite lots of news out there on it, apparently doesn’t have a name (at least one that I can find).  So, you may be asking “what does it mean?”  Well, as much as I can tell: no one’s really sure.  Here’s what we do know: We know that the bill will give unprecedented power to a small group of people at the Fed and Treasury Department.  You know, the same groups that have been accused, by both parties, of “failing” in their supervision of the financial system before its collapse.  Call me cynical, but why should I expect a different result next time?

We also know that the bill will allow the Fed and Treasury to regulate, well, practically everything.  While the bill’s proponents argue it will only affect the biggest financial institutions, many believe it will make it more difficult for smaller banks to exist.  In fact, even those who support the bill admit it will increase the costs of doing business, which will ultimately be passed onto the customer.  The bill also gives federal regulators the right to break up financial institutions that are “too big to fail.”  I can’t wait to see what actually constitutes being “too big to fail.”  It also creates a federal Consumer Protection Agency, which presumably requires the hiring of lots of bureaucrats to do that which was being done before.  I say this because, from what I’ve read, the new CPA will primarily fight predatory-lending practices, which have always been illegal.

The bottom line is this: the 2300 page bill provides the bones, while the details must still be fleshed out; and as we all know, the devil is in the details.  It will take months, or even years, for various government commissions and departments to draft the regulations that will make the bill function.

When it is signed into law by B.O., the bill will cause a significant increase in the size of the federal government; it will cost billions we don’t have to get it up and running; and it will make doing business more difficult for financial institutions, which can’t be a good thing in our economy.  At the same time, it doesn’t do anything about the primary causes of the economic collapse: Fannie, Freddie, and all the subprime loans given out to bad credit risks at the behest of the government.  Also, because the actual effects of the bill won’t be known until the regulations are actually written, economic activity will further decrease, because uncertainty breeds bad economies.  And finally no one,  other than the politicians that wrote the bill, has argued that it would have kept the collapse from happening in the first place.

A bill this big, involving this many moving parts, and relying on this many bureaucrats to get things done has the law of unintended consequences written all over it.  Should Congress have done nothing after the collapse?  No, but this is overkill (as Rep. Boehner said).  It adds hundreds of new financial regulations, some of which are not even relevant  to the collapse (like requiring lending to minority and female-owned businesses).  Plus, at the end of the day, Wall Street and the federal government will continue to drink from the same trough.  In other words, you can expect the main impact to be felt by us, while being avoided by Wall Street.

Senate filibuster reflects larger issue of Who We Are.

June 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Give ’em some credit here because this one took guts.  Senate Republicans filibustered a bill (for the third time) that would have extended unemployment benefits beyond 99 weeks.  Their reasoning is that at some point, the government faucet must be shut off.  Although a little late, they’re absolutely right.  The debt and deficits being run up by Democrats must stop before this country enters the death spiral that is making its way through Europe.  As the Democrats continue to cry about “hurting those most in need,” someone needed to be the adult, and the Republicans (finally) took the reins.

The unemployment benefits reflect a larger issue that, I believe, is coming to a head: Who are we?  People can legitimately argue about things like whether this nation was founded on Christian principles or whether the writers of the Constitution would consider internet porn to be “protected speech.”  What cannot be legitimately argued, however, is the fact that this nation was founded on the principle of individual self-determination.  That is, the idea that we, as individuals, have the right to make our own breaks.  Self-determination does not mean we each have the right to have a car, or a house, or health insurance.  It simply means, at least in America, that we all get the inherently equal opportunity to seek those things, if we so choose.  If you win, great; if you lose, you can try again.  The government’s job is to set the boundaries and get out of the way.

At some point, largely due to the influence of liberalism, that all changed.  Now, we don’t argue about whether the government should be providing unemployment benefits, but how much and for how long.  We no longer discuss whether anyone actually “deserves” a house, but instead, how much government aid they should receive to get/stay in one.  Many of this nation’s citizens not only believe they’re entitled to food, clothing, and shelter, but also the latest cell phone, plasma t.v., and shiny car.  And if they can’t afford them, then the government should provide them (or take from those who have them).  After all, that’s “fair.”

There are entire classes of people in this country who are supported by the federal government from the cradle to the grave.  And I’m not talking about those who are disabled and literally can’t work.  I’m talking about able-bodied persons who can work, but don’t.  This is drastically different than only a few decades ago.  My grandparents, for example, realized that, if they didn’t work, they didn’t eat.  That wasn’t an opinion, it was a fact of life.  Today, working for food is closer to an option.

Barack Obama’s policies aren’t just childish, they’re drastically accelerating a change in what America fundamentally is.  Everyone now has a right to healthcare, whether they can afford it or not.  Executives who make too much money should have their salaries cut.  Those who got in over their head with the house they bought will be bailed out with what amounts to subsidies.  What used to be America has become a nanny state; and while this used to simply be annoying, it’s now becoming disastrous.

While many argue about the cause of the economic collapse, there is no questioning the fact that the liberal ideal of a house for every person who wants one started it.  Jimmy Carter’s Community Reinvestment Act, and its various amendments, which compelled banks to give loans to those who couldn’t afford to pay them back certainly had a hand in it.  Who gets the blame though?  Irresponsible home owners?  Of course not.  100% of the guilt was heaped upon Wall Street.

How about the cost of illegal immigration?  There is no question that one of the largest contributors to rising health care costs are the illegal immigrants who use emergency rooms as their primary care providers.  Should we hold them accountable for being here illegally?  Liberals don’t think so.  Instead they simply blame the greedy insurance companies for high costs, or farmers for employing the illegals.

Our economy is stuck, with unemployment remaining just south of 10%.  What does Obama do about it?  He “stimulates” the economy by spending money we don’t have, and sends the overwhelming majority of it to other government employees.  Does he cut taxes, which have a much better track record of stimulating growth?  Of course not.  To make matters worse, his spending will only lead to the eventual raising of taxes on practically everyone that pays them (which, as it turns out, isn’t all that many).

I’ve never been part of the “love it or leave it” crowd.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion.  But at some point, we need to make a choice.  America is one thing, and it is not another.  Despite its current appearance, this country has never been about taking money from person A and giving it to person B in the name of fairness.  It isn’t about bailing anyone or anything out as a result of bad choices.  And it isn’t about punishing success because some have only experienced failure.  If we, as a people, want to keep it that way, then a certain percentage of the population should be shown the door.

Financial Overhaul Worked Out

June 25, 2010 2 comments

It appears the House and Senate Democrats have worked out their differences on the far-reaching Financial Overhaul bill, which is supposed to keep the economic meltdown from happening again.  Call me cynical, and a bit frightened, but where have I heard this before?

“No one will know until this is actually in place how it works. But we believe we’ve done something that has been needed for a long time. It took a crisis to bring us to the point where we could actually get this job done.”

Awesome.  Another 2000 page monstrosity that no one actually knows what effect it may have until it’s in place.  This is the exact same thing we heard from Kathleen Sebelius about the health care bill; and so far, the reviews of that thing have been stellar.  Good Lord…these are the people we have elected into office!  They’ve had approximately two years to come up with something useful, and now that it’s done, they don’t even know what it will do.  They’re all jackasses.  Each and every last one of them.  And there’s more.

A new consumer protection bureau housed in the Federal Reserve would have independent funding, an independent leader and near-total autonomy to write and enforce rules. The government would have broad new powers to seize and wind down large, failing financial firms and to oversee the $600 trillion derivatives market. In addition, a council of regulators, headed by the Treasury secretary, would monitor the financial landscape for potential systemic risks.

Wow.  Granted, I’m one of those people who believes the government sticking its nose into private business is usually a bad idea.  But this is even worse, because what’s been created is essentially a rogue element of government that will have zero oversight by those we elect.  The rogue element will then be let loose to arbitrarily set rules and seize any private business it feels is “failing.”  This is what they used to do in the Soviet Union (except they were more honest about it).  In other words, this is bad.

Take heart though.  The bill still needs to be voted into law by both the House and Senate, so who knows what may still happen.

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