Thursday, July 23, 2009

Punishing consumers to 'protect' them

Democrats have a control issue. They passed a national energy tax to help control what types of cars we can drive. Democrats announced a plan that allows the government to control what doctors we can see and when we can see them. Now, Democrats want to create a new government bureaucracy to control which -- if any -- credit cards, mortgages and consumer loans we are allowed to receive. Yes, there's a troubling trend.

Conservatives, however, are poised to fight for consumer protection and to ensure that decisions that belong in the hands of America's families and small businesses are not dictated instead by Washington.

HR 3126 would create a new bureaucracy run by five unelected individuals appointed by the president. The ironically named Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) would have the power to strip from consumers their freedom of choice and restrict their credit opportunities in the midst of a financial recession -- all in the name of "consumer protection." Positively Orwellian.

Representing one of the great assaults on consumer rights (not to mention transfers of power from Congress to the executive branch), this agency would possess sweeping powers to ban or modify any home mortgage, credit card, personal loan or other "consumer financial product" it subjectively deems to be "unfair" or "abusive." If the mortgage that would allow you to be a homeowner is deemed "unfair," you'd better find another one. If the credit card you choose for your family is "abusive," you might find yourself paying cash.

Proponents say this agency will work like the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which they credit for ensuring our toasters don't blow up. The parallel doesn't work. No one wants a toaster that blows up, and whether it does is largely out of our control. Many Americans, however, may want an adjustable rate mortgage because they could not otherwise become homeowners. If we act responsibly, whether the mortgage blows up on us is largely within our control.

The CFPA will further harm consumers by stifling innovation. It is doubtful how many financial firms will choose to invest in research, development and consumer testing on new products, only to discover later the CFPA deems them to be "unfair" and thus unlawful. Had the CFPA existed 25 years ago, we would probably have no ATMs, frequent-flyer miles or debit cards. Functionally, a new federal bureaucracy will now be in charge of research, development and product approval for almost all new consumer-financial products.

Another byproduct will be less competitive markets. Smaller and regional firms cannot afford the legal and regulatory burden of CFPA. Contraction in community financial institutions will accelerate when they lose their ability to customize their products and compete with the large financial institutions.

Small businesses, the job engine of America, will be hurt by this proposal, too. Although the plan proposes to restrict only "consumer financial products," according to the Federal Reserve, 77 percent of all small businesses use credit cards to help finance their businesses. An erosion of risk-based pricing and CFPA credit customization will naturally exacerbate a credit contraction already under way and kill jobs....

Let's protect consumers from force and fraud, let's empower them with effective and factual disclosure, and let's give them opportunities to enjoy the benefits of product innovations like automated teller machines and online banking. But let's not constrict - under the guise of safety - their credit opportunities at a time when they need that the most.



Outmaneuvering Obama: Russia's Crafty Weapons "Cuts"

In chess, a player will sometimes sacrifice some pawns as part of a grand strategy to compromise an opponent’s defenses. Pawns are relatively unimportant pieces, so it’s a good way to get something for virtually nothing. Russia’s leaders are, apparently, skilled chess players.

Earlier this month, President Barack Obama visited Moscow and signed a preliminary agreement aimed at getting both countries to reduce their nuclear and conventional weapons systems. But the Russians are playing a clever game. The “cuts” they propose wouldn’t actually affect their defenses at all.

Obama has promised that the U.S. will reduce its number of strategic force launchers --the systems that deliver both nuclear and conventional weapons -- to between 500 and 1,100 (the U.S. is permitted 1,600 launchers under a current treaty). Moscow matched that commitment, but that’s not saying much, since the number of Russian weapons is going to plummet with or without a treaty.

“By 2017-2018 Russia will likely have fewer than half of the approximately 680 operational launchers it has today,” arms control expert Keith Payne recently testified before Congress. “With a gross domestic product less than that of California, Russia is confronting the dilemma of how to maintain parity with the U.S. while retiring its many aged strategic forces.” One way, of course, is to sacrifice some pawns -- the non-existent or inoperable weapons -- to take out vital American weapons. In short, the Russians agreed to “cut” weapons they were going to have to retire anyway.



Arnie enforces spending cuts

No signs of a cutback to the bureaucracy, though

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Governor of California, struck an eleventh-hour deal with political leaders yesterday that saved the Golden State from bankruptcy — but the budget he announced contained some of the most painful and swingeing cuts in its history. After weeks of negotiations, in which the state of California had been issuing IOUs to thousands of contractors and small businesses, Mr Schwarzenegger emerged with legislative leaders to say that a deal had been reached to close the state’s $26 billion (£15 billion) shortfall.

Cuts to services and the reduction in the size of California’s government were profound. The higher education system, including the University of California, will be hit by nearly $3 billion in cuts. The state-run school system, already burdened by large class sizes, loses $6 billion and thousands of teachers and staff. Thousands of pensioners and children lose access to healthcare.

The entire state workforce, except firefighters and the California Highway Patrol, have already been ordered to take three days off a month without pay — a 14 per cent wage cut. Some state buildings will be sold and some state parks will be closed.

Mr Schwarzenegger also succeeded with a proposal to expand oil drilling off the southern California coast, generating about $1.8 billion over time. The plan, opposed by environmentalists, would be California’s first new offshore oil project in more than 40 years.

His greatest victory was standing firm and warding off tax increases, something that Democrats had demanded. Another large chunk of the budget shortfall will be paid for by borrowing money from the state’s local governments — its counties and cities — which has enraged many local politicians.



Brookes News Update

Larry Summers and Obama are taking the US economy down the road of economic ruin: Larry Summers economic advice will cause great damage to the US economy. His economic thinking is justifying Obama's destructive spending and borrowing program as well as a massive increase in taxation. One can only wonder at how Summers acquired the reputation of being a brilliant economist
America's recession: learning the wrong lesson from the Great Depression: The arguments being used by the Obama administration to justify giganatic borrowing, spending and tax increases are based on fallacious economic thinking and a complete misreading of the Great Depression. But Obama's program is not really motivated by a desire to rescue the American economy but a fanatical desire to massively and permanently expand government no matter how much it will damage American living standards
Supermarkets are once again under attack by capitalist-hating leftists: Supermarkets are once again under attack by capitalist-hating leftists. These political parasites hate supermarkets because they have been successful in cutting costs and prices and in officering an unprecedented and ever-growing range of goods to the masses. For this reason they have to be destroyed
Israeli soldiers speak out against false allegations: Israeli soldiers speak out against leftwing propaganda that smears them as sadistic killers
No tears for them in Argentina: In the 1990s, a center-right Peronista, President Carlos Menem, attempted to reverse Peronismo with free-market reforms while still claiming Peron's mantle. Tragically, those reforms did not go far enough and were tainted by corruption, too much public spending and a rigid monetary system that collapsed in 2001. It is time to try again and to get it right once and for all
Welcome back, Jimmy Carter: Obama is using Carter's playbook. Defense is again being gutted with programs like the F-22 Raptor being tossed aside and Reagan's SDI missile shield being gutted. Allies are treated with contempt while America's enemies are given every consideration. Energy is going to be strangled and inflation is set to rocket along with more unemployment. The misery index is coming back with a vengeance
Congress, if you won't read Waxman-Markey (aka American Clean Energy and Security Act ) before voting, at least read this: Thirty-five crucial reasons not to vote for the Waxman-Markey bill on carbon taxes. This bill is a direct attack on American living standards. It is thoroughly dishonest and utterly corrupt. It is means a massive increase in taxation and the destruction of American capital which will savage real wages. It is Waxman and Markey who deserve to be executed — not their vicious bil



Obama popularity lower than Bush's: "President Barack Obama's tumbling poll numbers have dipped below those of his predecessor George W. Bush at the same point in his White House tenure, according to a national poll. Mr Obama's approval rating is 55 per cent six months into his presidency, a USA Today/Gallup poll found. But 56 per cent of those polled approved of the job done by George W. Bush after six months, the daily reported. Mr Obama's handling of the economy appears to be key in his fading popularity, as Americans become more pessimistic about how long it will take the economic downturn to end. "His ratings have certainly come back down to Earth in a very short time period," Republican pollster Whit Ayres told the daily. By 49 per cent to 47 per cent, respondents said they disapprove of Mr Obama's handling of the economy, while they disapprove of his health care policy by 50 per cent to 44 per cent."

I don't always believe Amnesty but I believe this: "Human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia have soared as a result of counter-terrorism measures introduced since the 2001 attacks in the United States, Amnesty International said. The London-based rights organisation warned in a new report that under the guise of national security, thousands of people had been arrested and detained in virtual secrecy and others had been killed in "uncertain circumstances". There have long been human rights problems in the kingdom but Amnesty said the number of people being held arbitrarily, including both Saudi nationals and foreigners, "has risen from hundreds to thousands since 2001". "These unjust anti-terrorism measures have made an already dire human rights situation worse," said Malcolm Smart, director of Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa program. Amnesty noted that in June 2007, the Saudi interior ministry reported that 9000 security suspects had been detained between 2003 and 2007 and that 3106 of these were still being held. Some of those held are prisoners of conscience, targeted for their criticism of Government policies, the report said. The majority are suspected of supporting Islamist groups that are opposed to Saudi Arabia's close links to the United States and have carried out a number of attacks targeting Westerners and others."

Democrats irked by Obama signing statement: “President Barack Obama has irked close allies in Congress by declaring he has the right to ignore legislation on constitutional grounds after having criticized George W. Bush for doing the same. Four senior House Democrats on Tuesday said they were ’surprised’ and ‘chagrined’ by Obama’s declaration in June that he doesn’t have to comply with provisions in a war spending bill that puts conditions on aid provided to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.”


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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