Thursday, December 3, 2009

From an email to my sister...

I'm actually a recent convert to Mr. Obama policies, if not his politics. The American people are like alcoholics and drug addicts, except they're addicted to government. You have to hit bottom before you realize you have to change your life, or in this case, your beliefs. And no one can convince you to change until you've hit bottom. I'm therefore embracing the policies of the left wholeheartedly. We'll find that bottom sooner rather than later, right about the time we run out of people to pay for all this government. We've been on a long slow spiral down the road to socialism. I say let's take the plunge. The only way the left will admit they're wrong is to let them prove it to themselves. It may take 30 or maybe 100 years or so. But perhaps when people get hungry enough they'll come to realize that they are really responsible for themselves and the classical ideals of liberalism will come back into vogue. And the cycle will begin again.

Who knows, maybe I'm wrong and getting someone else to pay for your life is an everlasting truth and utopia is around the corner. God, I hope so.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

President Obama and bowing

I gave President Obama a bit of a pass on the bow to the Saudi Prince. I can't be so forgiving regarding the Japanese Emperor. Coming from the culturally sensitive Democratic Party one MUST assume He knows the protocol regarding bowing in that culture; it denotes relative status. An inferior person must bow lower than the superior person. The greater the disparity between the bows the greater the difference in status.

So what to make of this significantly lower bow before the Emperor who is considered descendant from the sun goddess Amaterasu-o-mi-kami. Perhaps the President intended to communicate to the Japanese people and the world that He is NOT a Deity. Did He want to dispel any and all notions such as those promulgated by Evan Thomas that President Obama in an effort to rise above national parochialism ".... is sort of god...."?

Bringing the symbolism back from the realm of mysticism, this gesture also has the effect of communicating that He considers himself inferior to the Emperor. And as the representative of the United States, that it too, by extension, is inferior. I'm sure this is NOT a good idea but it is consistent with the philosophy of the left that eschews the concept of American Exceptionalism, which they are quickly discreating though their domestic and foreign policy prescriptions.

No one knows for sure where these policies will lead. But global politics like any body-politic abhors a vacuum. The result will not be world-wide egalitarianism but the ascendancy of some power or alliance of powers to replace us.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Boy Oh Boy, Maureen Dowd rebuttal

To the Editor:

It’s now official, Ms Dowd has spoken. All the protests against the policies of President Obama and the Democrats is racism. I reject this categorically.

I’ll admit there is an element that is racist. In the crowd on the Mall September 12, 2009 you could pretty much count them. They were carrying “The Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia”, a.k.a. the “Confederate” flag, which, by the way, it wasn’t. It is an over generalization to say they are all racist but for the argument let’s assume they are. I’m sure as a percentage of all flags carried that day it was a very small minority.

There is very legitimate political position in this country that is antithetical to the policy positions of this administration. Why would you not expect it to rise up when this country lurches to left in such a dramatic way? These protests are supported by Republicans, Libertarians, independents and perhaps a few Democrats.

But the problem is larger than policy differences. It more about process. An article by William Schambra in the September issue of National Affairs, “Obama and the Policy Approach”, illustrates the problem. This article reveals the core problem that brought 10’s of thousands to the Mall.

“Progressive reformers throughout the 20th century came to denigrate the wisdom and relevance of the American Constitution, which frustrated centralization and coordination by dispersing governing power across the states and over the branches of government. Once thought essential to American freedom, these institutions now came to be seen as impediments to coherent national governance.”

The problem is not racism. The problem is political hi-jacking of the Constitution. Ok, if you want to “fundamentally transform the country”, do it legally, by amendment to the constitution.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Majority Rule on Health Care Reform August 29, 2009

To the Editors,

The NY Times, as expected, endorses the use of the “nuclear option”, the arcane “budget reconciliation” parliamentary rule to push through legislation that will eventually take over 1/7th of the U.S. economy. You’re to be congratulated.

This effort will hopefully result in a revolt at the polls in 2010. I can only hope that the Libertarian Party will take advantage of this and provide a slate of candidates to run against both Democratic and Republican incumbents. Currently the Democrats pose the gravest threat to our Republic, but the last 8 years of Republican rule set the stage. The only way to preserve it is to vote in Libertarians, the only party that truly understands the values of our Founders and our Constitution.

If not, this bill and future bills yet to be passed will surely “transform” this county, as the President promised during the campaign. The people of the United States will then come to understand how bad life can be under leftist dogma. Perhaps then they’ll do something about it.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

An email to Kevin Baker

Thank you for writing your Harper's piece, "Barack Hoover Obama".

To the gentleman on this mornings program who confronted you with the question of who was going to pay for all these programs you responded with a generalization about the widening gap between the rich and poor. I won't deny the accuracy of your statement. However, that doesn't detract from his point that SOMEONE has to pay for this. I did question the gentleman's statistics regarding the distribution of taxes across the various income levels and found the following. Included is the URL to the entire document.

"Taxpayers with an AGI of at least $388,806, the top 1 percent of taxpayers, accounted for 22.1 percent of AGI for 2006. This represents an increase in income share of 0.9 percentage points from the previous year. These taxpayers accounted for 39.9 percent of the total income tax reported, an increase from 39.4 percent in 2005. The top 5 percent of taxpayers accounted for 36.7 percent of AGI and 60.1 percent of total income tax. To be included in the top 5 percent, a taxpayer must have reported AGI of at least $153,542, whereas, in 2005, the cutoff for this group was $145,283."

While the gentlemen's statistics may have been off, his point was spot on. Someone has to pay for this and your support of progressive taxation, which on the surface appears moral, is in fact, immoral. I invite you to re-read "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand. I'm sure a man of your literary accomplishment has read it at least once. While the entire novel uses reductio ad absurdum throughout to make its point, it does make its point and explains the logical consequences of a morality based on need rather than on rational individual self-interest and free-market capitalism. In our current disconcerting economic and cultural environment, it appears prescient.

I agree with you that President Obama's policies will lead us to disaster. Your suggestion that he embrace "radically practical" policies will result in the realization of disaster even sooner. You'll be surprised to learn that I wish he would listen to you. Only economic disaster will force the people of this country to reassess its moral premises, reject the policies of the progressive left and embrace libertarian concepts of individual freedom, economic freedom and most importantly, individual responsibility. And if by some miracle a move to Obama engineered European style democratic-socialism results in a quasi-utopia, I'll be the first to admit I was wrong.
I may die thinking I was wrong. It may take decades of feasting off of the producers of society before utopia becomes hell when the doers slowly give up doing or perhaps when a John Galt like figure orchestrates a "strike" of the doers against their looters.
Best Regards,
Theirn Scott
"I have never encountered any actual evidence, convincing to an ordinary jury, that vox populi is actually vox Dei. The proofs, indeed, run the other way. The life of the inferior man is one long protest against the obstacles that God interposes to the attainment of his dreams, and democracy, if it is anything at all, is simply one way of getting 'round those obstacles." H.L. Mencken

Sunday, April 5, 2009

We Can't Afford it Anymore!!

The U.S. is the predominant economy in the world. As such, our primary responsibility to ourselves and by extension to the rest of the world is to maintain a strong economy. The U.S. dollar, even in its relatively weakened state is still the reserve currency (China’s desire to use the IMF’s SDR, notwithstanding), but is under significant pressure. Maintaining a relatively strong dollar and a strong U.S. economy is in the best interest of our selves and the world. But we can’t do it on our own and we may have to take radical decisions to bring our economic and physical security into equilibrium.

The U.S. economy is currently in recession with almost $11T of debt. It’s hard to keep up with the number; it changes so often. We will add another $1.3T in debt in the current fiscal year. It’s conceivable that a year from now our total debt could equal 90% of our GDP, which is currently about $14T, although it may not be that high a year from now. The CBO recently predicted that the national debt in 10 years will be close to $20T. This debt and the unfunded future obligations of social security and medicare (about $54T) are the biggest threats to the U.S. economy and therefore to the world economy. It is no wonder that President Obama sees his first priority to be the viability of our economy. His policy prescriptions, however, will probably not be helpful in alleviating these long-term problems.

The conventional wisdom is the continued viability of the U.S. economy takes a higher priority over its debt. And in the short-run (the only time span of a politician) this is an arguable, albeit wrong-headed, position. The long-run implications are not in doubt. Lots of fiscal stimulus combined with a significant expansion of the money supply is a recipe for one of two outcomes: significant, perhaps hyper-inflation with one or more bubbles or if we’re lucky a return to the stagflation of the 70’s. Representative Barney Frank (D, MA.) said on February 4, no problem. The Fed can deflate the money supply as quickly as it had inflated it. True, but I guarantee Congressman Frank will not like the economic consequence, another recession.

There has to be a recovery for inflation to manifest itself. With the amount of stimulus in the recently passed bill, it’s very plausible that we will have a recovery. Once a recovery begins the Fed, typically, will be vigilant to keep inflation in check. It will do this by artificially increasing interest rates. Parenthetically, it is by artificially reducing interest rates that the Fed has contributed to the bubbles that created the current problems. But the concern now is a slight recovery will ignite significant inflation due to the amount of money that had been pumped into the economy. If the Fed is incapable of accomplishing this in a nuanced way it will have to increase rates to the point of driving the economy into another recession as Paul Voelker did in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. I don’t envy Mr. Bernake. His job will be all the harder when our ability to borrow becomes impossible due to a lack of lenders. At that point the political pressure to “print money” may be irresistible. This would lead to a significant debasing of the U.S. dollar with extremely deleterious affects to the world economy the worse being severe world-wide inflation.

Debt is at the root of most of our problems. There is simply too much debt, but then the entire world financial system is based on debt. No debt, no money; literally. But such is what the world-wide financial system has evolved into. How we establish economic equilibrium in a debt-ridden, fiat money based world economy is the question to be resolved. At one time we had a gold standard, which was found to be too restricting. It was gradually replaced with a debt standard beginning in 1933 but culminating with the closing of the gold window by Richard Nixon in 1971. It was at that point that the inconvertibility of foreign reserves to gold established a world-wide “fiat” monetary system which is backed by the strength of the various economies and nothing else.

The world needs to be engaged in saving the world economy and the key is to insure we save the most magnificent economic engine in human history, the United States. We are about 25% of the world GDP, while we are only about 4.5% of its population. Is it good for the U.S. to be disproportionately that much richer than the rest of the world? This is not a moral question. It is not immoral for the U.S. to be so rich and it didn’t happen by accident. It happened because the U.S. is, relatively, freer than the rest of the world. It therefore grew disproportionately and thereby became a world power both economically and militarily. But we became, in the language of psychologists, an enabler of bad habits in the rest of the world. The West and others in the world became dependent on us for security. It now has to end because we simply can’t afford it anymore. We can’t afford to consume conspicuously and we can’t afford to be engaged in the world except economically. Militarily we need to disengage.

This is a radical position to take. But, the fact of the matter is, in additional to our fiscal distress, there is little stomach in the U.S or Europe to engage our enemies aggressively. The way we’re fighting we’re bound to lose eventually, anyway. And in the meantime we’ll waste billons of dollars in the effort.

The U.S. has been the protector of the world for 70 years. As the only surviving economy after WWII, it was logical that the U.S. should take the lead protecting the West from Communism. But we are in a new situation. Traditional Communism has been defeated. Our profligate spending, both governmentally and personally, have brought us to the precipice. We must step back. Others must step forward.

Our enemies will get much solace from our withdrawal and we will put ourselves and Europe at risk. But a significant number of people believe the U.S. is the source of all evil in the world. By withdrawing, with the caveat that if attacked we will respond in like kind without concern for “collateral damage”, we give our enemies the opportunity to act on their often pronounced rhetoric that if the U.S. would withdraw they would have no reason to fight us.

Personally, I’m not at all sure that they would not proceed with an effort to acquire a nuclear weapon and explode it in a major European or American city. If they don’t the world may usher in an era of peaceful, economically based relations. If they continue their belligerence and explode a nuclear device 100,000 people or more could be killed. As someone who lives near a major American city, it’s a risk I’m willing to take.

Should they do so, any action we take will clearly be in self-defense and we’ll have the sympathy and support of the world and perhaps the backbone to eliminate our enemies once and for all.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The End of the Financial World as We Know It January 3, 2009

To the Editor:

I was intrigued by the title of this op-ed as I've become convinced that our financial system has a significant fundamental problem. Messrs. Lewis and Einhorn seemed to identify the disease when they opined that our handling of money is "madness". They should have written "money supply".

There is a body of economic thought that predicted the Great Depression and the "boom, bust" cycles of the last couple of decades. It is known as the "Austrian School". Unlike Classical or Keynesian Economics it has a demonstrable explanation of the business cycle, the heart of which is interest rates, its manipulation and the affect that has on production and investment. Interest rates should be governed by the free-market; kept artificially low they will inevitably produce market "bubbles".

We found the limitations of the gold standard in the early 30's and may have now found the limitations the "debt" standard. Our debt based fiat monetary system needs to be re-thought. Breton Woods I was disbanded in the early 70's. The system we have now is obviously badly broken. We need a Breton Woods II, NOW.