Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Don’t expect real bank reform from the Wall Street Democrats

"Now, the Senate Republican leader, he paid a visit to Wall Street a week or two ago,” said President Obama at a California fundraiser for Barbara Boxer in mid-April, putting on a mocking, homespun voice. “He took along the chairman of their campaign committee. He met with some of the movers and shakers up there. I don’t know exactly what was discussed. All I can tell you is when he came back, he promptly announced he would oppose the financial regulatory reform.”

To judge from the guffawing that followed, few in attendance realized that Obama is more dependent on “movers and shakers” in the financial sector than any president of our time, although the files of the Federal Election Commission make this clear as day. The movers at Goldman Sachs, whose top employees were grilled before the Senate Banking Committe last week, gave Obama’s party three times as much money in the last cycle ($4.5 million) as they gave to Mitch McConnell’s ($1.5 million). The shakers at Citicorp gave Democrats almost twice as much ($3.1 million) as they gave Republicans ($1.8 million).
Click here to find out more!

So every time the president accuses Republicans of trying to “block progress” or of defying “common sense,” as he did that night, he is executing a dangerous tightrope walk. His party’s electoral fortunes depend on his making forceful calls for reform of our banking laws. His party’s fundraising fortunes depend on his ensuring that no serious reform—of the kind that endangers the big banks’ size and power—ever happens. That may be why the Democrats’ strategy of painting the Republicans as obstructionists on finance reform has gained little traction. By the same token, if Republicans ever did get serious about reforming the banks—and even about breaking up an industry that has turned into a Democratic war chest—they would put Democrats in mortal peril.


The rest of the article argues that the big banks SHOULD be compulsorily broken up -- a very dubious proposition from an economics viewpoint. Australia has far more banking concentration than the USA and sailed through the GFC virtually unscathed.

Note that the Australian banking system has been sweepingly DEREGULATED. It is deregulation U.S. banks need, not more crony-led government intervention


Reid and Pelosi bear brunt of blame for economic woes

It is a classic mistake to compare economic data solely within the context of Presidential terms. After all, in our current economic climate, the decline coincided directly with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid’s ascendancy to the leadership posts in both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

In 2007, President George W. Bush was still our president, but Republicans no longer held the majority in Congress. In January of that year, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) took on her new role as Speaker of the House and Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) took his position as Senate Majority Leader.

As stated in the U.S. Constitution, “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” Meaning, Congress determines what gets done in the country, so who is in charge of Congress matters.

Therefore, when looking at the state of America and how it ended up where it is today, it is important to start at the beginning, in 2007, when the first changes to this current government took place. Changes like the first bailout, the minimum wage increase, changes in tax laws and new mandates on businesses all started in 2007.

Americans for Limited Government (ALG) has put together a report showing a comparison of economic conditions since Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi took over Congress. The report reflects comparisons of unemployment numbers and the federal budget since the Democratic Party won control. For example, The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the U.S. currently has a 9.7 percent unemployment rate. In 2007, the unemployment rate was 4.6 percent. Comparatively, the number of people unemployed today is 14.8 million; in 2007 it was 7 million.

“It is devastating to look at these facts and figures and see the negative impact the Democrat tenure has had on our country,” said Bill Wilson, President of ALG. “It is important to look back at these numbers and make these comparisons so we know what changes need to be made in policy—before it is too late.”

America’s youth has also been affected by the democratic tenure in Congress. As previously reported by ALG News, it is clear that as the minimum wage level climbs, it is now federally mandated to be $7.25 an hour, unemployment rates among teenagers have skyrocketed — especially in those states where minimum wage requirements are even higher. As the labor force becomes more expensive, those with less experience and knowledge pay the price.

“The numbers do not lie,” Wilson said, concluding, “The American people need to know what has been happening the past four years. It is clear there needs to be a change in the leadership in America away from the command-and-control economy that disincentives business expansion and job creation to one that can lift government’s grip from the throat of working Americans.”

The current path of the nation didn’t start when the Obama Administration took office; it started with the Democrat takeover of Congress.



Strikingly Unpresidential

President Barack Obama doesn't deserve the reputation he's had for his style and temperament and for being gracious, civil, bipartisan and post-racial. He is often ungracious, uncivil, hyper-partisan, race-oriented and vindictive. He mocks and ridicules almost for sport. More than any president in my memory, he often does not comport himself presidentially.

Why does this matter? Well -- if I even have to answer that -- he is the face of America. The left constantly talked about George W. Bush's swagger and his cowboy diplomacy and how that damaged our "image" in the world and our relations with other nations.

But George W. Bush was nothing if not circumspect, discreet and respectful in his dealings with foreign leaders and his dealings with his political opponents. He was exceedingly presidential, demonstrating an extremely high respect for the office he held and what it represented.

How the president presents himself does matter for all the obvious reasons, but I believe Obama's behavior and the public's perception of it are relevant for other equally important reasons. He came into office with a reputation for being sophisticated, gentlemanly, above the political fray and open-minded. But it was a facade, facilitated by good looks, a seemingly pleasant demeanor and an extraordinarily fawning -- and forgiving -- media. He has been getting a pass on his unseemly conduct for way too long, which partially explains the disconnect between his personal likability and the unpopularity of his socialist agenda.

I believe that if the public were fully attuned to how unpresidentially he has consistently behaved, it wouldn't be as approving of him personally, and in turn, politicians wouldn't be so afraid to call him out on his Machiavellian and brutish behavior, the exposure of which would have an electoral impact. If more people understood what I believe to be this man's actual character, they wouldn't -- in the face of his consistently highhanded tactics in pushing each and every one of his destructive agenda items -- reflexively assume he's such a nice guy who means well. Then, they might be more vigilant, and heaven knows we need megadoses of vigilance these days.

I have theories about why Obama is consistently getting a pass, beyond the media's corrupt liberalism and the allies he's created through his racial and class warfare, but that's another column. The point for now is that he is getting a pass, and his behavior is increasingly indefensible.

We talk about Obama as a graduate of Saul Alinsky's school of thuggish street agitation, but it is more than just a casual charge. He is Alinsky personified with a disarming smile. It's not just a matter of his having embraced a political strategy that involves hitting below the belt and abusing power to help his friends and hurt his enemies. His behavior is not just a tactic; it's part of who he is. It is apparent that he has been coddled so long that he simply has zero tolerance for any opposition.

Indeed, he is exactly the opposite of who he billed himself to be: "I will bring a new type of politics to Washington." As a committed liberal ideologue, he is neither a uniter nor one willing to consider both sides of an issue. But it's not just his extremist views that are divisive. He is also often personally divisive, petty and mean-spirited.

From the time he cavalierly dismissed Hillary Clinton during a presidential debate with "You're likable enough, Hillary," I knew some cold blood ran through his veins. As president, he has been gratuitously nasty with people who have dared oppose him, and he has affirmatively targeted and demonized entire industries to advance his agenda.

Consider: his command that "the folks who created the mess" not "do a lot of talking"; his endless scapegoating of George Bush; his rude treatment of foreign leaders, from Britain's Gordon Brown to France's Nicolas Sarkozy; his abominable treatment of Israel and its leader, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; his character assassination of inspector general Gerald Walpin for blowing the whistle on his friends; his demonization of surgeons and primary care physicians as dishonest mercenaries, Republicans as "liars," secured creditors as "speculators," tea partiers as "domestic terrorists," Arizonans as "irresponsible," rural Americans as bitter clingers and America itself as being "dismissive," "arrogant" and "derisive" and as having "a responsibility to act" because it is the only nation to have ever "used a nuclear weapon"; his vilification of Wall Street "fat cat" bankers, big pharma, big oil, insurance companies, big corporations, corporate executives, Cambridge policemen, conservative talk show hosts and Fox News; his snubbing even of the liberal press pool; his egomaniacal behavior at the health care summit; and his administration's flirtation with criminalizing Bush-era officials for their legal opinions.




Jews Turning Against Obama: "In a stunning turnaround, President Obama has lost roughly half of his support among Jewish voters. A poll by McLaughlin and Associates found that, while 78 percent of Jewish voters cast their ballots for Obama, only 42 percent of Jewish voters would vote to re-elect him. A plurality — 46 percent — would consider voting for anyone else. That compares with 21 percent who voted for John McCain. Ever since he learned of Obama’s ties to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, has been warning fellow Jews that Obama would be antithetical to Jewish interests, not only as they relate to Israel but also to issues that affect all Americans."

Blowhard Democrats: "A federal law may limit how much BP has to pay for damages such as lost wages and economic suffering in the Gulf Coast oil spill, despite President Barack Obama’s assurances that taxpayers will not be on the hook. A law passed in response to the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska makes BP responsible for cleanup costs. But the law sets a $75 million limit on other kinds of damages. Economic losses to the Gulf Coast are likely to exceed that. In response, several Democratic senators introduced legislation Monday to raise the liability limit to $10 billion, though it was not clear that it could be made to apply retroactively.” [Retroactive laws are specifically forbidden in the consitution: Article 1 Section 9, C.3 states: 'No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed,' and Section 10 says: 'No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law. . . .']

Egalitarian straitjackets: "In numerous areas of human life treating people in nearly exactly the same way may make sense. Thus, for example, when you go to your dentist, you are probably implored to floss — and so is everyone else who visits dentists. Other doctors, too, will prescribe practices one should adopt, such as eating nutritiously, exercising, getting regular sleep and so forth, which virtually all other patients are also told they will benefit from. … But once we got to such areas of human life as what kind of career suits us, what kind of significant other will promise greater happiness, where we will enjoy our vacations most, what sort of apparel is most attractive for us to wear, what it the kind of weather that suits us best — in these and innumerable other areas variety is the rule. No wonder they say it is the spice of life! So when one runs across those who have enormous faith in centralized planning and economic regulation, one is facing people who are, to borrow a term from the late Austrian economist and libertarian Murray N. Rothbard, in revolt against nature.”

“Fearmongers” were right about Obamacare: "The ink was barely dry on President Barack Obama’s signature before the RAND Corp. released a report concluding that, not only would the hard-won health care package fail to curb health insurance premium increases, but the bill itself would drive premiums for young people up as much as 17 percent. This should not have been a surprise: the Congressional Budget Office had already warned that the plan would do almost nothing to reduce premium hikes. And when New York implemented the same type of insurance reforms in the 1980s, it led to an increase of nearly $500 per year for young people. But somehow, the media didn’t pay much attention.”

Obamalaise: "An ocean of ink has been devoted to the surprising election results in Virginia, New Jersey, and especially Massachusetts. There is so much angst in the country that even the exceptionally obtuse Obama has become aware of it. To use a term rendered infamous by the feckless Jimmy Carter, we are experiencing a national malaise. But what Obama fails to comprehend is that at the root of the current national malaise is Obama himself. In this, as in many other ways, Obama uncannily resembles Carter, who projected his own defects of thought and action onto the nation, generating the anxiety and distrust he was purporting to heal. We can rightly call the national mood ‘Obamalaise,’ because it arises not just from Obama’s agenda but from his character.”

Free teenagers: Repeal the minimum wage: "In order to resolve the teen unemployment problem, all that would be needed would be a repeal of the minimum-wage law. Then, those teenagers whose labor is valued at less than the mandated minimum would be free to compete for jobs in the marketplace at less than the mandated minimum.”

The beauty of freedom: "As I was walking through Westminster earlier, I saw something really quite beautiful. A red Ferrari 599 was parked next to a silver Prius Hybrid (Pious Hybrid to those of you who watch South Park). Beautiful as the red car is, and no matter how great a demonstration it is of what a capitalist production system can achieve, this is nothing compared to what it represents next to the Prius. That is the fact that in a free, or free-ish society, Ferrari-owner and Prius-owner can happily coexist. This is something quite unique about liberty, which simply cannot be countered by those on the statist/socialist left wing.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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