more reservations

There’s now a possibility that our Congress may pass a slightly modified version of Bush’s socialist bailout.  I guess we should be grateful that the House Republicans were allowed some input in the current draft, because it could be much worse than it is.  However, it’s not clear that the House Republicans got enough of what they wanted in this bill.  Mike Pence is still opposed to it, which prompts serious doubt in my mind that this is the best compromise we can come up with to “save” the economy.  Minority Leader Boehner calls this plan a “crap sandwich” but still plans to vote for it.  What awesome leadership by our minority leader.   Really inspires confidence in the folks we put in charge of the Washington Republicans.

Freedom Works has also weighed in with their opposition to the current bailout legislation (h/t: Michelle Malkin).  Here’s what they had to say:

Ten Reasons to Oppose the Wall Street Bailout

1. NO REFORM: The plan attempts to mask, rather than reform, imbalances in credit markets and in U.S. economic public policy. The plan props up reckless and failed banks by buying “troubled assets” instead of focusing on real reforms that go after government sponsored culprits Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and sustainable policies that will increase the availability of private capital and expanded economic growth.

2. TREASURY POWER GRAB: The plan raises Constitutional concerns by dramatically expanding the power of the current and future Treasury Secretaries, giving the government agency power to directly purchase assets from for-profit financial and non-financial firms.

3. STUNNING PRICE TAG: The $700 billion bailout figure is as much money as the combined annual budgets of the Departments of Defense, Education and Health and Human Services. It amounts to $2,300 for every man, woman, and child in America.

4. INCREASES NATIONAL DEBT: Instead of cutting spending elsewhere, Congress will borrow all $700 billion on global capital markets, and the bill raises the national debt ceiling to a staggering $11.3 trillion.

5. GLOBAL BAILOUT: The plan includes taxpayer purchases of distressed assets from foreign banks.

6. HURTS RESPONSIBLE AMERICAN BANKS: The plan punishes responsible U.S. banks by keeping reckless, insolvent investment banks in business. As BB&T CEO John Allison wrote in a letter to Congress on Sept. 23rd, “….this is primarily a bailout of poorly run financial institutions…. Corrections are not all bad. The market correction process eliminates irrational competitors.”

7. FLAWED PROCESS: Members of Congress and the public will have less than 24 hours and no hearings to discuss and understand the impact of this sweeping plan. This rush to pass a wildly unpopular plan without benefit of significant public debate and input will also undermine its legitimacy and effectiveness.

8. BY WALL STREET, FOR WALL STREET: Treasury Secretary Paulson, the architect of the plan, was formerly the head of Goldman Sachs, one of the firms responsible for the mess and a direct beneficiary of the bailout. Further, the advisers managing the bailout auctions and assets will be Wall Street firms and will likely receive billions of tax dollars in fees.

9. OTHER OPTIONS NOT EXHAUSTED: The idea that taxpayers will make money on the bailout is not credible. There are ready buyers for these “troubled assets” — Merrill Lynch sold its entire portfolio of mortgage backed securities in July– provided the price is low enough. If a profit was possible, private speculators would readily buy these troubled assets.

10. MORALLY OFFENSIVE: The plan violates basic principles of American capitalism and honest governance by creating a system of “private profits, socialized losses” that transfers money from taxpayers directly to Wall Street investment banks. Free market capitalism only functions if individuals and firms are held accountable and are allowed to both succeed and profit, and also to sustain losses and even fail.

I echo these sentiments.  This current bailout bill (pdf here) isn’t good enough.  Go back to the drawing board and fix some of these flaws before the vote if we absolutely must have a government intervention of this type.  I’m not convinced that we need something this massive.  We can do better than this, and we must.   Like the Freedom Works quote says, “Free market capitalism only functions if individuals and firms are held accountable and are allowed to both succeed and profit, and also to sustain losses and fail.”   The solutions we are seeing from this Congress don’t solve the problem and could add trillions to the national debt.  There’s nothing fiscally conservative about that.

If we don’t come up with a more responsible solution to our economic problems, then President Bush becomes the new FDR.  Well-intentioned socialism is still socialism.  In the beginning, our president seemed to be supportive of free markets and capitalism, as well as those popular tax cuts, but we didn’t elect him because we thought he had a strong fiscally conservative record.  It was because of national security and judges.  That doesn’t keep me from being disappointed that he feels he needs to support something like this.  While I realize that many of the root causes of this current crisis lie with our friends on the other side of the aisle, a large chunk of the blame for the current mismanagement of it should be with Paulson and the Bush administration.

I’m not sure if there is anything we can do to stop the worst from happening if Minority Leader Boehner has already caved and is trying to convince others to go along with the Democrats on this bailout plan.  I just hope that when this process is over, there will have been enough Republicans with the guts to say —  if this is what we must do,  let’s get this right before voting on it.

re: remove all doubt

Interesting that my buddy Chris is willing to link to Fox News, since it’s such an unreliable source. 😉 I’m not sure why he wants to classify Fox News as part of the MSM, except that a lot more people watch FNC for their news than MSLSD or CNN.  But ok…Fox News is now part of the hypocritical double standard where the MSM doesn’t call Iraq and Afghanistan socialistic enterprises, but it criticizes Obama for wanting to spend US taxpayer dollars on solving global poverty.  One of these should be under the umbrella of necessary foreign policy, and one of them should not be.  We disagree on whether the US role in rebuilding Iraq is a good investment in a positive outcome for Iraq or whether it’s just government wasting our money on useless nation-building — and thus no more useful than Obama’s efforts to finance the end of world poverty.

I’m not missing any such point.  If the MSM sees a difference between our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan and what Obama is proposing with the Global Poverty Act,  it’s probably because there is one.  If your intention is to shoot a specific messenger, you might want to get a more accurate gun.  If Barack is being misrepresented, that’s not my fault.  That’s not the fault of the MSM or Fox News.  That’s his campaign’s fault.  But I’m getting off of the subject here…

I called the bailouts socialism, while acknowledging my lack of expertise on the subject of the financial markets.  You can choose to see this as a cop-out, or as an excuse for me not to be too hard on President Bush.  That’s your opinion, and you are welcome to it.  You can spin all you want to, but even you do not know what Barack Obama will do once he’s President.  He could decide to keep troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Thus the war funding would continue.  

But let’s say you’re right — that we suddenly have all the Iraq and Afghanistan money to play with.

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the ‘s’ word

Investor’s Business Daily is brave enough to go there — calling Barack Obama’s Global Poverty Act suspiciously similar to a government redistribution of US taxpayer wealth.  Well, technically they use the ‘s’ word.  Socialism. That’s a heavy charge, and it’s one that needs to be backed up with specific examples.  This op-ed makes a convincing case that the Global Poverty Act could qualify as a socialist proposal.

While I know that one example of bad policy wouldn’t brand someone like Barack with the socialist label, it’s troubling that this Global Poverty Act would redistribute our wealth to those in other countries.  We wouldn’t even benefit from all this increased spending, unless international good will can be bought with this high price.  That premise is highly questionable.  If the world’s affection can be bought with enough foreign aid money, we should have the receipt for it already.

Here’s how Investor’s Business Daily first described this bill:

Obama’s costly, dangerous and altogether bad bill (S. 2433), which could come up in the Senate any day, is called the Global Poverty Act. It would commit U.S. taxpayers to spend 0.7% of our gross domestic product on foreign handouts, which is at least $30 billion over and above the exorbitant and wasted sums we already give away overseas.

The bipartisan bill would require the president “to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to further the U.S. foreign policy objective of promoting the reduction of global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by one-half the proportion of people worldwide, between 1990 and 2015, who live on less than $1 per day.”

To say that the United States government has far exceeded its Consititutional mandate would be understating the case.  Charity shouldn’t (and doesn’t) begin and end with the federal government.  Americans are generous people.  Through non-profit charitable organizations and our own churches, we are reaching out to people here in this country and around the world, and it’s having an impact.  This shouldn’t be a role of the federal government.  That’s the flaw in this legislation — requiring United States taxpayers to subsidize some mandate thrown down by the U.N. and the international community.  The financial obligation of the federal government should be first and foremost to the citizens of the United States — not to the world community or the U.N.

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