Archive for the ‘wealth’ Category

45 percent of world’s wealth destroyed: Blackstone CEO

March 12, 2009

Private equity company Blackstone Group LP (BX.N) CEO Stephen Schwarzman said on Tuesday that up to 45 percent of the world’s wealth has been destroyed by the global credit crisis.

“Between 40 and 45 percent of the world’s wealth has been destroyed in little less than a year and a half,” Schwarzman told an audience at the Japan Society. “This is absolutely unprecedented in our lifetime.”

$50 Trillion in Global Assets “Lost” in 2008

By Megan Davies and Walden Siew
Reuters

 

But the U.S. government is committed to the preservation of financial institutions, he said, and will do whatever it takes to restart the economy.

 

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner plans to unfreeze credit markets through a new program that will combine public and private capital in a fund that would buy bank toxic assets of up to $1 trillion.

 

“In all likelihood, that will have the private sector buy troubled assets to clean the banks out in terms of providing leverage … so that we can get more money back into the banking system,” Schwarzman said.

 

He expects the private sector to end up making “some good money doing that,” but added there were complex issues on how to price toxic assets.

 

He put part of the blame for the financial crisis to credit rating agencies.

 

“What’s pretty clear is that, if you were looking for one culprit out of the many, many, many culprits, you have to point your finger at the rating agencies,” he said.

Read the rest:
http://www.reuters.com/article/wtUSI
nvestingNews/idUSTRE52966Z20090310

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Obama Doesn’t Understand What Many Americans Are Thinking

March 8, 2009

“First of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.”

Words from Barack Obama?  Hardly.  Those are words from Franklin Roosevelt’s first inaugural address.

See:
http://historymatters.gmu.e
du/d/5057/

I am disappointed in my president, our president.

He has changed some really great rhetoric like FDR’s “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” into this:

“I don’t think that people should be fearful about our future.  I don’t think that people should suddenly mistrust all of our financial institutions.”

“I don’t think” indicates an Obama-centric view of the financial turmoil of Americans — not a “people centric” view.

And by guessing at what Americans really do fear, “financial institution,” Obama is saying it is these evil “financial institutions” that many of us do fear.

Well, maybe in Obama World and Obama’s White House, people fear financial institutions because they have no understanding of capitalism, business, the stock market and the American dream.

I am afraid that President Obama has no clue….That’s my fear.  And I resent Him telling me what I think.

I believe generally that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” and I also believe in JFK’s famous challenge: “Ask not, what your country can do for you.  Ask what you can do for your country.”

I also believe in Ronald Reagan’s exoration: “Government is not the solution.  Government is the problem.”

I am afraid now because President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and a lot of other well meaning folks think the government is the solution.

America’s founders wrote down the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the other parts of our national fabric because they were living in fear of a far off all knowing and uncaring English Government.

And their spirit lives today in the saying, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”  Many of us fear such naive, ignorant hubris.

I am starting to fear Washington.  Obama’s Washington.  A far off, all knowing and uncaring government about five miles from my house, which is surrounded by other foreclosed houses.

I really do fear that Obama and many Democrat’s don’t get it.

Just last week, on Tuesday, President Obama, while speaking about the economy and the stock market, mentioned the “profit to earnings ratio.”

And I thought he went to Harvard.  There is no “profit earnings ratio.”  There is a “price to earnings ratio” or PE.  Investors care more about their return on the dollar, reflected in the price they paid and the earnings that resulted.

Tom Petruno wrote in the Los Angeles Times on March 7, “He didn’t get the lingo right, assuming he meant to say ‘price-to-earnings ratios,’ a measure of stock prices relative to earnings per share. That flub caused snickering among market pros.”

See:
Obama, Socialism, Fear, Lack of Confidence: Tanking Stocks, Skyrocketing Debt, Recovery Doomed This Year

I was even more disappointed when the president repeated this ignorant flub in a New York Times interview late in the week.  That meant to me that nobody in the White House was smart enough to straighten out the president by holding a little school call on him.  Or maybe they just don’t know; and don’t read.  They certainly don’t listen.

But they’re thinking about curing all my education and health care problems, undoutedly….

So Obama’s lack of stock market lingo doesn’t mean to me that he slept through high school: it means he has no idea what drives capitalism because he was reading socialist doctrine instead of paying attention to America, as he himself indicates in his books.  Maybe he never invested in anything but himself.

*****

What is wrong with America?  Everything, in Obama World:

“Look, I wish I had the luxury of just dealing with a modest recession or just dealing with health care or just dealing with energy or just dealing with Iraq or just dealing with Afghanistan,” Obama said. “I don’t have that luxury, and I don’t think the American people do, either.”

Related:
From CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITIC
S/03/07/obama.interview/index.html

Related:
 NYT Interviews Obama; No Economic Recovery This Year
.
NYT: After March 6 Economic News, “2009 is Probably a Lost Cause”

Related:
Obama: Crisis is time of ‘great opportunity’

 President Pelosi?

 Obama, Socialism, Fear, Lack of Confidence: Tanking Stocks, Skyrocketing Debt, Recovery Doomed This Year
.
Can Democracy Fail With Obama’s Socialist Help?

*****

It seems to us that the attacks on Rush Limbaugh fromTeam Obama are an effort to tell Americans what to think and what not to think.  This kind of arrogance often manifests itself in unusal ways: Limbaugh’s radio show ratings doubled.

So I really do fear that President Obama and his guys don’t get it….

Democratic Attacks On Limbaugh Boost His Ratings — But He’s Not The Problem

********

I fear that the president doesn’t understand that many of us don’t want to pay more taxes, however they are hidden or veiled and whatever thay are for, many of us DO MIND paying for por, even though Chick Schumer thinks we don’t, and many of DO want to further understanding of the good news/bad news behind such huge spending on health care and other Obama projects.  And I certainly DO WANT to understand how all this government debt will degrade American growth and quality of life in the future.  I don’t like sending money for oil to Saudi Arabia and I don’t like sending debt/interst payments to China eaither….

****************

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama offered his domestic-policy proposals as a “break from a troubled past.” But the economic outlook now is more troubled than it was even in January, despite Obama’s bold rhetoric and commitment of more trillions of dollars.

And while his personal popularity remains high, some economists and lawmakers are beginning to question whether Obama’s agenda of increased government activism is helping, or hurting, by sowing uncertainty among businesses, investors and consumers that could prolong the recession.

Although the administration likes to say it “inherited” the recession and trillion-dollar deficits, the economic wreckage has worsened on Obama’s still-young watch.

Every day, the economy is becoming more and more an Obama economy.

More than 4 million jobs have been lost since the recession began in December 2007 — roughly half in the past three months.

Stocks have tumbled to levels not seen since 1997. They are down more than 50 percent from their 2007 highs and 20 percent since Obama’s inauguration.

The president’s suggestion that it was a good time for investors with “a long-term perspective” to buy stocks may have been intended to help lift battered markets. But a big sell-off followed.

Presidents usually don’t talk about the stock market. But the dynamics are different now.

A higher percentage of people have more direct exposure to stocks — including through 401(k) and other retirement plans — than ever.

So a tumbling stock market is adding to the national angst as households see the value of their investments and homes plunge as job losses keep rising.

Some once mighty companies such as General Motors and Citigroup are little more than penny stocks.

Many health care stocks are down because of fears of new government restrictions and mandates as part a health care overhaul. Private student loan providers were pounded because of the increased government lending role proposed by Obama. Industries that use oil and other carbon-based fuels are being shunned, apparently in part because of Obama’s proposal for fees on greenhouse-gas polluters.

Makers of heavy road-building and other construction equipment have taken a hit, partly because of expectations of fewer public works jobs here and globally than first anticipated.

“We’ve got a lot of scared investors and business people. I think the uncertainty is a real killer here,” said Chris Edwards, director of fiscal policy for the libertarian Cato Institute.

Some Democrats, worried over where Obama is headed, are suggesting he has yet to match his call for “bold action and big ideas” with deeds.

In particular, they point to bumpy efforts to fix the financial system under Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Obama may have contributed to the national anxiety by first warning of “catastrophe” if his stimulus plan was not passed and in setting high expectations for Geithner. Instead, Geithner’s public performance has been halting and he’s been challenged by lawmakers of both parties.

Republicans and even some top Democrats, including Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, have questioned the wisdom of Obama’s proposal to limit tax deductions for higher-income people on mortgage interest and charitable contributions.

Charities have strongly protested, saying times already are tough enough for them. The administration suggests it might back off that one.

Even White House claims that its policies will “create” or “save” 3.5 million jobs have been questioned by Democratic supporters.

“You created a situation where you cannot be wrong,” the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Montana Democrat Max Baucus, told Geithner last week.

“If the economy loses 2 million jobs over the next few years, you can say yes, but it would’ve lost 5.5 million jobs. If we create a million jobs, you can say, well, it would have lost 2.5 million jobs,” Baucus said. “You’ve given yourself complete leverage where you cannot be wrong, because you can take any scenario and make yourself look correct.”

Republicans assert that Obama’s proposals, including the “cap and trade” fees on polluters to combat global warming, would raise taxes during a recession that could touch everyone. “Herbert Hoover tried it, and we all know where that led,” says House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio.

The administration argues its tax increases for the households earning over $250,000 a year and fees on carbon polluters contained in its budget won’t kick in until 2011-2012, when it forecasts the economy will have fully recovered.

But even those assumptions are challenged as too rosy by many private forecasters and some Democratic lawmakers.

Many deficit hawks also worry that the trillions of federal dollars being doled out by the administration, Congress and the Federal Reserve could sow the seeds of inflation down the road, whether the measures succeed in taming the recession or not. The money includes Obama’s $3.6 trillion budget and the $837 billion stimulus package he signed last month.

Polls show that Obama’s personal approval ratings, generally holding in the high 60s, remain greater than support for his specific policies.

“He still has a fair amount of political capital, so the public is willing to cut him some slack and go along with him for a while,” said pollster Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center. “But the public will have to get some sense that the kinds of things he’s proposing are going to work, or are showing some signs that they are working.”

Allan Sinai, chief global economist for Decision Economics, a Boston-area consulting firm, said the complexity and enormity of the crisis make it hard to solve.

“There’s no way to get it all right, regardless of which president is making policy,” Sinai said. “The problem is the sickness got too far. The actions taken, medicine applied, were mainly the wrong actions. So it’s just worse, and it gets harder to deal with. At this stage, there is no easy answer, no easy way out. It’s a question of how we fumble through.”

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/07/tea-part
y-on-taxpayer-revolts-in-green-bay-lafayette-olat
he-and-harrisburg/

Can Democracy Fail With Obama’s Socialist Help?

March 7, 2009

We heard Mike Huckabee mention French philospher Jean-Francois Revel on TV recently.  Ravel believed that in a democracy, people could vote themselves so many benefits that the nation-state would collapse in debt.

We mention this as President Obama plans to borrow money and create debt to reform health care; bailout all homehowners with difficult mortgages; bailout AIG, Ford, GM, Citi, and a host of others; pay unemplyment insurance; reform our energy industry to eliminate oil, gas and coal, and more….And he has promised 98% of Americans a tax cut while proposing to increase taxes on those that create the most jobs (and wealth).

Whoopi doesn’t like getting taxed out the wazoo.  And neither does anyone else….

Well, maybe Oprah doesn’t mind more taxes for her pal Barack….

Oprah talks about President-elect Barack Obama.
Oprah won but I’m losing hope…

[Commentary]
Martin Kozlowski, WSJ

Ravel:

“… anarchy leads to despotism … despotism leads to anarchy …”

“Clearly, a civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself.”

“It is unlikely that we will ever be capable of building a world that is qualitatively better than we ourselves are.”

Democracy against Itself

“Strangely, it is always America that is described as degenerate and ‘fascist,’ while it is solely in Europe that actual dictatorships and totalitarian regimes spring up.” From Europe’s Anti-American Obsession. A similar statement can be found in his book Anti-Americanism, Encounter Books, 2004, p. 156 (paperback).

“A human group transforms itself into a crowd when it suddenly responds to a suggestion rather than to reasoning, to an image rather than to an idea, to an affirmation rather than to proof, to the repetition of a phrase rather than to arguments, to prestige rather than to competence”

**************

By Albert Mohler

“Democracy may, after all, turn out to have been a historical accident, a brief parenthesis that is closing before our eyes.” With those words, French philosopher Jean-Francois Revel sounded an alarm as the ramparts of democratic conviction were under attack by the political left. Revel, one of the most important conservative thinkers in France, saw European intellectuals and the political left in America undermining the very foundations of democracy.

“Democracy tends to ignore, even deny, threats to its existence because it loathes doing what is needed to counter them,” explained Revel. “It awakens only when the danger becomes deadly, imminent, evident. By then, either there is too little time left for it to save itself, or the price of survival has become crushingly high.”

To any insightful observer of the European scene in the early 1980s, Revel’s analysis was prophetic. Leftist intellectuals were pointing to the United States as the source of all oppression in the world, while praising the Soviet Union as the liberator of human kind. In How Democracies Perish, Revel aimed his sights at the self-destructive hypocrisies of liberal thought. As he knew, the very intellectuals who should have been supporting the United States were instead hoping for its downfall. “What we end up with in what is conventionally called Western society is a topsy-turvy situation in which those seeking to destroy democracy appear to be fighting for legitimate aims, while its defenders are pictured as repressive reactionaries.”

As Revel lamented, at times the democracies seemed to find strange comfort in calls for their own destruction. As he observed, “Democratic civilization is the first in history to blame itself because another is power is working to destroy it.” Were democracies doomed to self-destruct?

Jean-Francois Revel is well known as a shining light of reason in the French academy. Long a columnist, editor, and director of L’Express, Revel is also the author of a multi-volume history of philosophy. He sprang to Western attention with the publication of his controversial book, Without Marx or Jesus. Revel’s later volumes would include The Totalitarian Temptation and Democracy Against Itself.

Throughout his career, Revel has been known as a stalwart defender of democracy. He does not take this matter lightly, for he understands all too well that the basic structure of government determines the achievement or loss of human freedom within a society. In Democracy Against Itself, Revel argued that “every society which has worked more or less well, which achieved any sort of viability, and which produced civilizations men found tolerable, have been–or are–societies that in some sense are democratic.”

Of course, the alarm sounded by Revel in How Democracies Perish was overtaken by history with the fall of the Soviet Union and the remarkable events of 1989 and 1990. As Revel later reflected, the good news revealed in the fall of the Soviet Union was the fact that its internal weaknesses were even greater than the self-hatred of the secular left in Western democracies.

Now, twenty years after How Democracies Perish, Revel looks to the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorists attacks and asks the fundamental question: Why do so many Europeans hate America?

This is not a question of merely academic interest. Revel senses that something fundamental is revealed in the way the European Left has responded to America’s status as the world’s only super power.

Revel is blunt. The ascendancy of the United States, set over against the relative decline of Europe, has given birth to an intense hatred in some European corridors. Most particularly, Revel locates the root of this poisonous anti-Americanism in France. As he comments, “It is in France that this loss–real or imaginary–of great-power status engenders the most bitterness.”

The virulent anti-Americanism that erupted on the streets of Europe in the aftermath of America’s military action in Afghanistan and Iraq did not emerge from a vacuum. Revel’s interest in anti-Americanism is rooted in his own experience as an French intellectual who actually visited the United States. When Revel first visited America in 1969, he discovered a land very different from what he expected. Having planned to write a book on the problems of the United States, Revel instead wrote a treatise criticizing the irrational anti-Americanism of the European Left. Now, he has done it again–and this new book may be even more important.

In Anti-Americanism, just released by Encounter Books, Revel considers this toxic pattern of European hatred towards the United States. He identifies one core issue as a sense of European loss. Revel cites Hubert Vedrine, the French minister of foreign affairs, who rejected the word “superpower”, and instead substituted a term of his own invention: “hyperpower.”

As Revel notes, since the Greek prefix “hyper” has exactly the same meaning as the Latin “super,” Mr. Vedrine is merely seeking to score political capital in his own nation and in the larger European neighborhood. As Vedrine stated, “We cannot except a politically unipolar and culturally homogenized world, any more than the unilateralism of the single hyperpower.” Exactly what Mr. Vedrine meant by this, no one seems to know. Nevertheless, it is an example of French hyperventilation posing as foreign policy.

Revel sees the problem as much worse than hyperbole. If America is dominant, Revel asks, then why is this so? He will not allow Europeans off the hook. “Europeans in particular should force themselves to examine how they have contributed to that preponderance. It was they, after all, who made the twenty century the darkest in history; it was they who brought about the two unprecedented cataclysms of the World Wars; and it was they who invented and put into place the two most criminal regimes ever inflicted on the human race–pinnacles of evil and imbecility achieved in a space of less than thirty years.”

The United States is far from perfect, Revel acknowledges. Nevertheless, he suggests that any criticisms should be directed at real problems, and should not take the form of irrational rantings.

According to Revel, the European Left enjoys its fantasy of America as “the worst society that ever was.” According to this cartoon of reality, America is a society that is entirely under the control of money-grubbing plutocrats. Everything is for sale and the entire culture has been commodified. The problem is not just George W. Bush, for the European Left is convinced that every recent American president “has been in the pockets of the oil companies, the military-industrial complex, the agricultural lobby or the financial manipulators of Wall Street.” But, in the French view, George W. Bush is just the worst of the lot–at least as yet.

The European Left is also convinced that America is primarily marked by poverty. As Revel describes the Leftist fantasy: “Hordes of famished indigents are everywhere, while luxurious chauffeured limousines with darkened windows glide through the urban wilderness.” These same thinkers are convinced that violence reigns throughout the United States, and that gunshots commonly ring through even the most peaceable neighborhoods. As Revel acknowledges, European rants about America’s lax gun laws would have more credibility if the same weapons were not easily available for purchase through the black market in virtually every European city.

If this picture of America is true, the pattern of immigration from Europe to the United States throughout the twentieth century was absolutely irrational. “If the picture of American society drawn everyday by the European press is accurate, then we must believe that those tens of millions of immigrants from all parts of the world, and especially those who came from Europe between 1850 and 1924, were all deluded fools. Otherwise, why did they insist on staying in the American capitalist jungle with all its evils and not return to the lands of peace, plenty, and liberty they came from? Lost in a hellish cultural wasteland, why at least didn’t they write to their families and relations basking in the paradises of Ukraine, Calabria and Greece warning them not to come to America?” Clearly, Revel does not mince words.

This virulent anti-Americanism is not a matter of mere sociological interest. As Revel understands, this explains why the United Nations Security Council has become so ineffectual and why the United States has been forced to act unilaterally. As he explains, “Europeans’ voluntary blindness with regard to these radical changes renders any American attempts at dialogue fruitless; as a result, America has no other option but to make unilateral decisions. How can you discuss a problem with people who deny its very existence?”

Jean-Francois Revel is a brave man who has lived through some of the most tumultuous decades of human history. Though a realist, he is not without hope. He has sounded the alarm more than once, only to have the Left ignore his cries. Anti-Americanism is Revel’s latest attempt to call the trendsetting intellectuals of Europe back to sanity. Good luck, Professor Revel. This is no easy task.

Revel’s prescient warning to the European Left should also serve to educate thoughtful Americans about the challenge we face in Europe, which may be as daunting a challenge as that posed by Islamic terrorism. Something sick lies at the heart of Western civilization. The democracies that will surely perish will be those who cannot tell the difference between good and evil, survival and ruin, freedom and tyranny. Or, perhaps more to the point, the greatest danger faced by democracy are those who deny that there is any real difference after all.

Ravel from Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-
Fran%C3%A7ois_Revel

Ravel’s book:
“How Democracies Perish”
http://www.amazon.com/How-Democracies-
Perish-Jean-Francois-Revel/dp/0060970111

.
That brings us to the first weeks of the Obama administration, set against the background of a scary and steadily deepening global economic crisis. Last month, in his first address to Congress, Obama warned the country that fixing the huge problems in the financial markets and housing and auto industries would require a historic effort. “None of this will come without cost, nor will it be easy,” he said. “But this is America. We don’t do what’s easy. We do what is necessary to move this country forward.”

Minutes later, Obama spelled out what he proposes this to mean for 98 percent of Americans: “You will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime. In fact, the recovery plan provides a tax cut . . . and these checks are on the way.”

So much for summoning the country to sacrifice. Obama has been no more willing to ask average Americans to pitch in, even once the recession is over, than Bush.

See:
George W. Obama?

Related:
 Venezuela’s Chavez Urges Obama, U.S. Down Socialist Path

Obama’s Radicalism Is Killing the Stock Market

NYT: After March 6 Economic News, “2009 is Probably a Lost Cause”

Obama’s First Weeks: Economic Disaster, Socialist Agenda, Congressional Pork, Limbaugh Attacked, and “We Won”

Michelle:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/0
3/06/the-going-galt-phenom-spreads/

Oprah’s Literary Liars Club: Who Is Responsible?

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/330
01_Chavez_to_Obama-_Ally_With_Us_on
_the_Path_to_Socialism

Malkin: “People that create American wealth are going on strike”

March 5, 2009

“People that create American wealth are going on strike,” conservative columnist Michelle Malkin told Neil Cavuto on the Fox News Channel on Thursday (4 PM Eastern hour).

Malkin says the “creators of American wealth” are hiring fewer people, planning only very limited future spending and drastically cutting investments.

She said that the “creators of wealth” now have a fear of those that are the middle-men like Congress.  The middle men are taxing the creators of wealth too much and spending tax dollars with little concern for future wealth, investment and debt.

The stock market was down again Thursday indicating that Ms. Malkin may be on to something….even as the White House gears up to spend even more on health care, the bank bailout and a foreclosure rescue plan…..

Related:
Obama Urged Investors to “Buy,” But Stocks Dive Again Thursday

NYT Urges Obama To “Bail Out” Third World Too

 Most Americans Now Say America Could Go Bankrupt

 Obama Can’t Revive Economy With Socialism

American Workers, Businesses Cut Back; Obama Launches Spending Spree

Presidency of Fear

Obama’s Brazen Deception: Why The Stock Market Won’t Recover Soon

 Senate Halts Obama Spending; At Least For The Week End

 Obama plan to prevent foreclosures won’t help many California homeowners

Michelle:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/05/finall
y-a-show-of-cojones-senate-gop-forces-delay-o
n-omni-pork-bill/

Obama’s Battle on Stimulus Shows Threats to His Agenda

February 12, 2009

 It is a quick, sweet victory for the new president, and potentially a historic one. The question now is whether the $789 billion economic stimulus plan agreed to by Congressional leaders on Wednesday is the opening act for a more ambitious domestic agenda from President Obama or a harbinger of reduced expectations.

By Richard Stevenson
The New York Times

Both the substance of his first big legislative accomplishment and the way he achieved it underscored the scale of the challenges facing the nation and how different a political climate this is from the early stages of recent administrations.

While it hammered home the reality of bigger, more activist government, the economic package was not the culmination of a hard-fought ideological drive, like Lyndon B. Johnson’s civil rights and Great Society programs, or Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts, but rather a necessary and hastily patched-together response to an immediate and increasingly dire situation. On the domestic issues Mr. Obama ran and won on — health care, education, climate change, rebalancing the distribution of wealth — the legislation does little more than promise there will be more to come.

In cobbling together a plan that could get through both the House and the Senate, Mr. Obama prevailed, but not in the way he had hoped. His inability to win over more than a handful of Republicans amounted to a loss of innocence, a reminder that his high-minded calls for change in the practice of governance had been ground up in a matter of weeks by entrenched forces of partisanship and deep, principled differences between left and right.

In the end, Congress did not come together to address what Mr. Obama has regularly suggested is a crisis that could rival the Great Depression. What consensus has been forged so far is likely to be tested in the months to come as he faces scrutiny over the effectiveness of the stimulus package and the likelihood that he will have to ask Congress for substantially more money to heal the fractures in the financial system.

So this was hardly a moment for cigars.

If this is the 21st-century version of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 100 Days, Mr. Obama seems to be pursuing it more as an urgent but imposed necessity than as a self-selected mission.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/12/us/
politics/12assess.html?_r=1&hp

Members of the House and the Senate working on the final version of the stimulus on Wednesday. The fragile consensus, and the president’s agenda, face many tests in coming months.  Photo: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times.

Obama’s Responsibility, Mandate To Make The American System and Economy Work

January 21, 2009

Everybody in the world knows we are in a global financial crisis like never before.

Many in the world are looking to America for strength and solutions.  And as of this morning people are looking to Barack Obama.

And the American people have given Barack Obama a mandate to solve the problem.

“That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood,” the President said during his Inaugural Day Address.

Former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell said, “The American people I think fundamentally bet on President Obama because of the economic situation we are in.”
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“The stock market dropped another 300 points on this glorious Inauguration Day and people are losing jobs, and that will be No. 1 for him,” Powell said.

America is inching each day closer to an economic stimulus that will give our children and grandchildren more than $2 Trillion in debt.

Yet no one is certain the stimulus will work.

If there is doubt that the American economy will recover as a result of the actions we are taking, we are either taking the wrong actions or we need to ask ourselves “what else should be done? What should we do differently?”

There will be no national security without a strong American economy.  No social security.  No health care.

A news story yesterday said the only segments of the California economy showing “growth” were in the sectors of government and  medical services.  That won’t produce “wealth” for future investment….

If we all believe in the American System of Government, and I sure do, why are we not tasking Congress to create solutions?  After the stimulus is passed, where is “Plan B”?  Why aren’t Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid being asked to shut down all the small talk and crap and hold hearings that will give the experts of the world a chance to give the Congress new ideas?

Yesterday the President told us, “America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we the people have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears, and true to our founding documents.”

Time to end politics as usual….

Experts around tables in the White House are great and we all applaud “Blue Ribbon” committees; but where is our use of our time-tested system?

Time to make it work for us….

“Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met.”

Time for action.  Enough with the foolishness and fal-de-ral…

President Obama renewed his call for a massive plan to stimulate economic growth.

Over Stimulated Already?

January 11, 2009

The current American gospel is “stimulus.” That is a new euphemism for printing more money. The latest round started with the financial meltdown in September, when the government decided to guarantee the solvency of banks and financial firms, and offer some loans to a troubled industry to jumpstart a stalled economy.

But in the last few months, the conventional wisdom has morphed into “Go big!” and provide trillions of dollars for “infrastructure investment,” more government programs, relief of consumer and mortgage debt, and aid to all sorts of weak industries.

By Victor Davis Hanson
The Washington Times
Sunday, January 11, 2009

Lost among the hysteria is the fact that all sorts of “stimuli” have already been in the works. The annual budget has been in red ink for years. Borrowing may approach $1 trillion this year. We already owe more than $13 trillion to overseas lenders, and have vastly run up the national debt.

Don’t forget the crash in gas prices that has given American consumers a collective nearly half-trillion-dollar annual uplift. And both those who defaulted on their mortgages and those now looking to buy homes have been given plenty through renegotiated debt and cheaper housing prices – ultimately subsidized in part by those with decimated 401(k)s, whose values have plummeted to cover the debts of others.

Near-zero interest on passbook saving accounts and little interest paid out on government bonds also translate into trillions of dollars in subsidies for our economy. Both those with cash in the bank and foreign holders of U.S. Treasury notes receive little return on their cash investments, thereby ensuring American consumers historically cheap rates on their debts.

In short, we are pushing the rock so hard up the slope that we are oblivious to the danger that it is just about to go over the crest and cascade down the other side – in the form of roaring inflation.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/200
9/jan/11/a-little-honesty-in-09/

Can The U.S. Pay Back This Huge Debt?

January 11, 2009

In its battle against the financial crisis, the U.S. government has extended its full faith and credit to an ever-growing swath of the private sector: first homeowners, then banks, now car companies. Soon, President-elect Barack Obama will put the government credit card to work with a massive fiscal boost for the economy. Necessary as these steps are, they raise a worry of their own: Can the United States pay the money back?

By Greg Ip
The Washington Post

The notion seems absurd: Banana republics default, not the world’s biggest, richest economy, right? The United States has unparalleled wealth, a stable legal tradition, responsible macroeconomic policies and a top-notch, triple-A credit rating. U.S. Treasury bonds are routinely called “risk-free,” and the United States has the unique privilege of borrowing in the currency that other countries like to hold as foreign-exchange reserves.

Yes, default is unlikely. But it is no longer unthinkable. Thanks to the advent of credit derivatives — financial contracts that allow investors to speculate on or protect against default — we can now observe how likely global markets think it is that Uncle Sam will renege on America’s mounting debts. Last week, markets pegged the probability of a U.S. default at 6 percent over the next 10 years, compared with just 1 percent a year ago. For technical reasons, this is not a precise reading of investors’ views. Nonetheless, the trend is real, and it is grounded in some pretty fundamental concerns.

Related:
 Europeans Deplore Huge Debts, Spending to Solve Current Economic Crisis
.
 China Losing Taste for Debt From the U.S.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/
2009/01/09/AR2009010902325.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Where is The Plan To Make Economy Bigger, Increase Wealth?

January 8, 2009

President-elect Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats are offering a debtifinanced give-away, not a real stimulus that will increase wealth, incentivize growth and provide long term jobs with lasting wealth, value and national benefit for decades, says Club for Growth President Pat Toomey.

Mr. Toomey appeared on the Fox News Channel during the 5 PM broadcast.

The Club for Growth is highly critical of Senator Harry Reid and his plans for the first legislative vote of the 111th Congress….

US dollar notes are checked at a bank. The dollar held firm ... 

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From The Club For Growth

After promises of fiscal responsibility and “change we can believe in” from the Democrats, Majority Leader Harry Reid is favoring business as usual. The Democratic Majority Leader plans to bring a pork-filled omnibus bill to the Senate floor next week as the first legislative vote of the 111th Congress.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The omnibus is a result of a months-long standoff between taxpayer hero Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) and the Majority Leader. Sen. Coburn has placed a hold on many of the projects contained in the omnibus, arguing that they are unnecessary, a waste of taxpayer dollars, and have not been subject to competitive review or debate. Some of these questionable projects include $5 million for the National Tropical Botanical Garden in Hawaii and Florida and $12 million for a greenhouse in Maryland. In an attempt to ram these projects through Congress, Senator Reid will dump these projects into a large omnibus bill and call for a vote in the coming week.

When Senator Reid assumed the position of Majority Leader in 2007, he promised fiscal responsibility, declaring: “The American people told us they expect us to work together for fiscal responsibility.” Reid’s determination to make earmarks the first order of business in the 111th Congress is a direct violation of that pledge.

“We urge all members of Congress to vote against this bill, and in the case of passage, we urge President-Elect Obama to veto it,” said Club for Growth President Pat Toomey. “Barack Obama has a unique opportunity to demonstrate that he is not beholden to the Democratic kingmakers in Congress, but is accountable, first and foremost, to the American taxpayers. After promising to reform the earmark process and keep the stimulus bill free of pork, he should inform Senator Reid that he fully intends to veto the omnibus if it reaches his desk.”

“In these challenging economic times, the last thing Congress should be doing is ramming a pork-filled omnibus bill through the legislature. The American people want change, but it must be more than words and pledges. It must be action.”

Read the rest:
http://www.clubforgrowth.org/

Related:
Europeans Deplore Huge Debts, Spending to Solve Current Economic Crisis
.
Obama Stimulus, Economy Speech: Congress Needs to Act Swiftly, Boldly
.
Pelosi, Committee Told, “America becoming the nation of the unemployed,” — Congress to Blame?

China: Redefining “Superpower” to Mean Economic and Military Strength Without Human Rights

January 2, 2009

Human rights abuses, kangaroo courts, poor safety standards and a seeminingly callous disregard for human life in China means that this great nation is redefining the word “superpower.”

The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s religious leader, pointed this out in Europe early in December 2008, but few paid much attention.

China lacks the moral authority, including over the question of Tibet, to be a true superpower, the Dalai Lama said. 

“Because of its very poor record on human rights and religious freedom and freedom of expression and freedom of the press — too much censorship — the image of China in the field of moral authority is very, very poor,” he said.

“The sensible Chinese realize China should now pay more attention in this field in order to get more respect from the rest of the world,” the Nobel peace laureate said.

Ever wonder why so many schoolchildren were killed in last year’s earthquakes in China?  The schools were built poorly, so poorly that they collapsed upon the first quake.  Many were poorly built because of goernment corruption: the builders paid communist officials to ignore poor building practices and shoddy materials.

Why does China have such a high number of deaths in mining?  Because mine safety standard are very weak and regulation and inspection is worse — where they exist at all.

So how does China hope to gain this superpower status?  By emulating the actions of a superpower, of course.

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Chinese ... 
In this photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President Hu Jintao, center, Premier Wen Jiabao, 4th left, and other Chinese top leaders attend a New Year tea party hosted by the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Beijing on Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009. From left are, Zhou Yongkang, Li Keqiang, Li Changchun, Wen, Hu, , Wu Bangguo, Jia Qinglin, Xi Jinping and He Guoqiang.(AP Photo/Xinhua, Liu Weibing)

China is expanding its military and has grown to own much of the U.S. in terms of property and wealth and American debt.

File photo shows Chinese amphibious tanks and marines storming ...
China proving here it is a superpower and master of Taiwan.  File photo shows Chinese amphibious tanks and marines storming a beachhead in an amphibious assault drill in China’s Shandong Peninsula. (AFP/Xinhua/File)But some of those “human rights” and “moral authority” issues discussed by the Dalai Lama are foreign and indecernable to the Chinese.

China’s recent poisoned milk scandal and the subsequent trial of  Tian Wenhua, chairwoman of the now-bankrupt Sanlu Group, are good examples.

Melamine is poisonous.  Sanlu put melamine into milk.  For the Chinese government, case closed.

Except in China, workers put melamine into all kinds of food products for years.

Melamine, which is poisonous to humans in great enough concentrations, had been routinely mixed into food products in China for years — and other similar tainted substances for decades. 

“Many companies buy melamine scrap to make animal feed, such as fish feed,” said Ji Denghui, general manager of the Fujian Sanming Dinghui Chemical Company, which sells melamine. “I don’t know if there’s a regulation on it. Probably not. No law or regulation says ‘don’t do it,’ so everyone’s doing it. The laws in China are like that, aren’t they? If there’s no accident, there won’t be any regulation.”

Ji Denghui made that statement in 2007 to New York Times reporters  David Barboza and Alexei Barrionuevo.

China is able to get away with this kind of callous disregard for truth, honesty and its own citizens because the government controls the media, the legal system, and everything else.  The people only “vote” for representatives selected by the communist government which works tirelessly to stay in power by keeping order — not by obeying the kinds of basic laws and rules for human dignity most Westerners would expect — and take for granted.

John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Soldiers of Chinese navy special force attend an anti-piracy ... 
Soldiers of Chinese navy special force attend an anti-piracy drill on the deck of DDG-171 Haikou destroyer in Sanya, Hainan province December 25, 2008 in this photo released by China’s official Xinhua News Agency. The fleet – two destroyers and a supply ship – would have about 800 crew, including 70 special operations troops and will join in the multi-national patrolling of the Gulf of Aden and waters off the coast of Somalia, the official Xinhua news agency said. Picture taken December 25, 2008. REUTERS/Xinhua/Cha Chunming

100-yuan notes are counted at a bank in Shanghai. The US Treasury ...

Related:
http://www.hrichina.org/public/index

 China Poisoned Food, Children Died; “Show Trials,” Punishment for Innocent Next?