Friday, October 7, 2011

Franklin and Jefferson knew Obama very well

I've never in my adult life paid more attention to our Founding Fathers than I have in the past three years. They were some of the most foresighted people in the history of....well, history.  So much of what they said has become distilled down to quips and quotes, but the thing is, they're all as relevant today as they were two hundred and thirty five years ago.

“Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition." - Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson was speaking of the labor unions, the zombified followers of and the hippie wannabe, patchouli smelling wastes-of-skin crowds protesting first on Wall Street and now across the nation.  These people all are fit tools for the designs of ambition.  The question is, whose ambition?

President Obama's, for one.  It's no coincidence that these protests sprang up while Obama is trying push through his jobs bill which would raise capital gains taxes on those very people at whom the protests are aimed.  When commenting on the law-breaking rabble, Obama gave implicit approval of their actions when he said the protestors “are giving voice to a more broad-based frustration about how our financial system works."  Mainly, the original protesters only seemed chagrined that the way our financial system works is "you get a job, you get paid."  One interviewee said that what they wanted was for the wealthy to give out their money so that "all of us can live in prosperity."  Indeed, that's the frustration with our financial system - that the people who work harder have more money, and they don't want to give it all to people who don't work hard.

“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” - Thomas Jefferson

A hedge fund manager often works 80 to 100 hour weeks. They work in the office. They work at home. They work while they're on vacation. They're motivated by money, every second they're trading is a second they're making money, and every second they're awake is a second they can be working. Some people consider them greedy. Some people envy them. Some people are jealous of their success. While some of these people are the ones protesting wall street, others are in the political realm (Obama being one of them). These are the people who preach 'redistributive justice.' What I never get is that people want the money of a hedge fund manager, but they don't want to put in the time and effort to earn it.

Are some hedge fund managers crooks? Sure, you bet. So are some mailmen (locally, tens of thousands dollars worth of DVDs in red Netflix envelopes were found in the house of a mail man). So are some union bosses. And so are some politicians. The point is, where there is opportunity, you will find weak willed individuals who will exploit the system. The system itself isn't to blame, these unscrupulous predators are.

In order to 'take care of' the poor who could not buy a house, the Community Reinvestment Act was created in 1977 to push lenders into making home loans to people who would not ordinarily qualify for a loan ('sub-prime' borrowers). These sub-prime borrowers were largely in urban areas and predominately minorities. In 1992 George HW Bush made reporting the race of loan applicants not just preferable, but mandatory. In 1993 Bill Clinton made the reports public, and Fannie Mae began withholding financial backing from lending institutions who didn't make certain percentages of these sub-prime loans to the right races and income levels. In 1999 Countrywide went to Fannie Mae to protest the risk of default from these increasing numbers of sub-prime loans. The response was simple; 'we'll give you more money if you go away.' All of this happened BEFORE George W Bush was president. Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines was eventually ousted over misstated earnings statements (to the tune of $300,000,000) but not before he got his multi-million dollar bonus based on these misstated earnings. You know the rest of this story - the bubble grew, collapsed, and Obama has spent the last three years blaming Bush for the whole thing. He said Thursday (Oct 6th) “I think part of people’s frustrations, part of my frustration, was a lot of [lending] practices that should not have been allowed weren’t necessarily against the law, but they had a huge destructive impact.” (emphasis mine)
Whether he meant to or not, he almost hit the nail on the head. It's not just that these practices weren't against the law, they were ENCOURAGED by the government. But since government is the solution to all problems, let's blame Wall Street. By the way, Franklin Raines, a man who holds as much responsibility for the housing meltdown as anyone in congress (or any president for that matter) was one of Obama's first economic advisers. But, no, really, Wall Street has all the crooks. Nothing to see in the White House, please move along....

"We have the greatest opportunity the world has ever seen, as long as we remain honest -- which will be as long as we can keep the attention of our people alive. If they once become inattentive to public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, judges and governors would all become wolves." -- Thomas Jefferson
I'm not going to pretend that Obama and his minions invented governmental grift. It's been happening for a long time. Financially, we've been screwed by Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson more than Obama, because they've set us up with an entitlement system that has over $115,000,000,000,000 ($115 trillion) in unfunded obligations. But while he didn't invent the grift, Obama has perfected it, right down to laundering money to line the pockets of his own re-election fund with our tax dollars. How does he do that? Well, he makes government loans to dubious 'green energy' companies. These companies then pay their employees and someone else work with the employees to bundle donations to Obama's campaign. It happened yesterday in St Louis at the residence of Tom Carnahan. Carnahan received a loan for his energy company, and then hosted a $25,000 per plate fundraiser. Your tax dollars at work.

“God bless their spontaneity,” - Nancy Pelosi referring to the Wall Street protesters.

Nancy Pelosi is a good example of a pure politician. She does nothing without an angle that will benefit her. She doesn't care what she says, how stupid or false the statement is, or what it might do to her image. With almost anything she says you can bet it's either nonsense (think "we have to pass it to know what's in it") or an outright lie (like the quote above.)

One example of how spontaneous these protests are is the Craigslist ad posted by the Working Families Party
 (see it here) offering to pay people to protest, and help shape New York politics "for the next 20 years." Yep, that's pretty spontaneous all right.

Another example is the sudden surge in participation from the public sector unions. Seeing people from the teacher's union holding up professionally printed signs literally SCREAMS spontaneous.

Further proof is the following, which comes from none other than the 'Green Jobs Czar" Van Jones. On September 27th he went on MSNBC, while the protests were still fairly small, and said this: "We are going to build a progressive counterbalance to the tea party...And you're going to see an American fall, an American autumn, just like we saw the Arab spring. You can see it right now with these young people on Wall Street. Hold onto your hats. We're going to have an October offensive to take back the American dream and to rescue America's middle class." And a week later, protests have sprung up (with spontaneous union support) in 147 cities.  Coincidence?  I think not.  I can only assume by 'counterbalance' to the Tea Party
he means 'polar opposite."  When the Tea Party marched on Washington with a half million people there were no arrests, there was no vandalism, no one got hurt and there was no trash left behind.  By comparison, in New York several people have gotten hurt, there have been hundreds of arrests and thousands of dollars in damage, and the show ain't over.  They're the Bizarro Tea Party.
I don't think that I can succinctly respond to the protests any better than Ben Franklin did over 200 years ago when he said "In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries that the more public provisions made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”
“When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” - Benjamin Franklin
Currently only about 47% of the population pays income tax. Obama and his cronies do not think that's enough. Not only does he not want them to pay income tax, he wants to get them out of paying the payroll tax too - at the expense of the rich. His beleaguered jobs bill, the one that these protests are supposed to help him pass, reduces the payroll tax and covers the cost by increasing taxes and fees on the wealthy. This class warfare is what the founders warned against. A vote for Obama is like voting for reducing your payroll taxes. This Robin Hood mentality plays well with the disaffected, spoiled youth who have the luxury of growing out their hair, letting it soil itself into dreadlocks, skipping showers and going out and protesting for days on end about how unfair it is that people who get up and work hard every day have all the money. But eventually these people are going to have to get jobs...and if they move up the ladder, they earn more and suddenly they're the ones paying for the hippie trash to lay around bitching about how they've done nothing all day and have nothing to show for it. It's not so groovy then. Churchill described it best when he said "If you're not liberal when you're 20 you have no heart. If you're not conservative when you're 40 you have no brain."

We're at a tipping point. I saw a sign one of the protesters was holding up that said "Turn Wall Street into Tahrir Square." Really? That's the goal? I have to laugh at that because I work with several people in Cairo who told me, during the uprising, that the protesters/rioters were mostly unemployed, undereducated people who had nothing better to do. Sound familiar? It's pretty clear that Obama and the Obamites know that 'leveling the playing field' doesn't mean lifting people up, it means tearing the successful down. They know that government, to paraphrase Von Mises, can't make anyone richer, but it CAN make people poorer.

Watch the people on Wall Street, watch the people across the country in the astroturfed events put on by unions and backed by Van Jones and This, folks, is what the end of the Republic looks like.

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