TCS Daily


Washington to Wall Street Mishmash

By Larry Kudlow - March 4, 2010 12:00 AM

The Bunning Blockade: Sen. Jim Bunning was right all along. He was just trying to get the Senate to enforce its own pay-go budget rule and actually find $10 billion of spending cuts out of a $3.5 trillion budget to pay for extended unemployment benefits and other items in a catch-all spending bill.

For this, an act of integrity, everyone in Washington and the media piled on him. So I'll defend him. Bunning actually favors unemployment benefits, but he wants Congress to find $10 billion in a $3.5 trillion budget to pay for it.

Look, it was only a month ago that Congress passed a new pay-as-you-go bill. And now they're going to break it. That's insane. That's one of the many reasons why voters are furious with Congress. It's called hypocrisy.

Bunning's objection to a unanimous consent was not a filibuster. It just says vote on it. Go on the record. Show how hypocritical you really are when it comes to spending taxpayer dollars.

By the way, do we really need two years of unemployment benefits? That's more than Europe pays! Isn't 18 months enough? We are subsidizing unemployment. As a result, we'll just get more and more unemployment if we keep this up.

Jim Bunning is just exposing Washington hypocrisy.

Hats Off to Ford: On a more optimistic note, bravo to Ford Motor Company, which beat GM in monthly car sales in February for the first time since 1998. Ford deliveries jumped 43 percent to 142,285 cars compared to 141,951 for GM.

Remember this: Ford didn't take a single nickel of TARP bailout-nation money. Not one nickle. And its brilliant CEO Alan Mulally has downsized, simplified, and cost-cut to make Ford a profitable winner. Ford stock has absolutely soared from a little over $1 at the end of 2008 to well over $12 bucks today.

And get this: Using the discipline of the free market, rather than a government bailout, Mulally has reduced Ford wages and benefits to about $50 an hour compared to $75 an hour just a few years ago. That's a terrific achievement that makes Ford competitive with Toyota and Honda.

Unfortunately, overall car sales were 10.4 million at an annual rate in February. A bit slower than January's 10.8 million.

Stocks & Bonds: The stock market is edging higher yet again this morning. Stocks have recouped roughly three-quarters of the correction that dates back to mid-January. Money may be flowing in from Europe, in flight from the bankruptcy of the European entitlement state and the slump in the currency which has boosted King Dollar by about 10 percent.

The Treasury yield curve is still steeply positive. That's a bullish signal. And corporate credit risk spreads, especially the high-yield junk spread compared to 10-year Treasuries, have narrowed enough to indicate confidence in future profits and the possibility that stocks have at least one more big upward move in front of them.

Real Housewives at the Fed: There are currently three open seats at the Fed, following news of vice chairman Donald Kohn's resignation come June. What we need is a real housewife, someone who actually shops for food and gasoline, to go on the Federal Reserve Board. We need a real, commonsense, cost-conscious U.S. housewife. Not another Princeton PhD academic. Anyone who targets the so-called core-inflation rate excluding food and energy should be constitutionally barred from serving at the central bank.


This article first appeared on Kudlow's Money Politic$.
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99 Comments

"Wouldn't it be nice if...
...the government paid for world peace. And the Air Force had to hold a bake sale to build a bomber."

You used to see that bumper sticker around a lot. And I think it applies here.

All the time Mr Bush was busily doubling the nation's debt on projects involving National Security, we didn't hear a word from any Republican about how such spending without compensatory taxation might be seen as irresponsible. And actions taken and not taken during his administration led us into a spiraling financial tailspin and crash that required a VERY expensive bailout.

On that, wise heads from both parties agree. But as soon as Mr Obama takes the helm, we hear a different story. Now it's all been the fault of the profligate Democrats, and their reckless need to try spending a bit of money, for a change, on the American People.

That, by the way, is the same public from which the funds have been raised in the first place.

Oh it's all so damned irresponsible. This spending and spending, to cure the mistakes made by whoever was in charge last year. Best if we just teach them a lesson, and make them all go to bed without their dinners.

'Visualize Whirled Peas'
'Peace Through Strength'
'Let Peace Rain on our Enemies' http://www.zazzle.com/b_52_peace_sign_sticker-217800348427075226

Roy's Red Herrings
This isn't about bake sales or the Air Force or Bush.

It's about the PAYGO rules the DEMS in control of Congress ENACTED and simply asking that they actually live under them.

But you can't resist the temptation to just blame Bush, can you?

Different strokes
This is absolutely about the kinds of people who play politics when the health of the nation is at stake.

There are really only two instances when it's advisable to spend first and pay off the debt later. The first is when the safety of the republic is at stake, and powerful foreign enemies are planning to attack us. Most certainly, that's not the case now.

The other is when our financial wizards have run us off the cliff, and the economy contracts so suddenly that millions get thrown out of work and out of their homes. In such times it's obvious we have to spend for emergency work, and pay it back later. This is analogous to having a serious illness and no health insurance. You have to take out a second mortgage to pay the bills, you don't have time to work for a few years first.

So our current crop of Republicans suddenly gets fiscally responsible, and says they stand on the high principle of paying all one's bills down before spending anything on emergency relief. Whereas just a couple of years ago they were slashing taxes in the face of rapidly mounting deficits, which they said (and I will quote D. Cheney) "don't matter".

They were spending like drunken sailors on ridiculous pork barrel projects labelled "homeland security" which turned out not to even provide an early warning for a guy whose own father reported him as dangerous.

But this is different, of course. We're being asked to spend money on mere citizens, the same people that paid their taxes loyally when they were still employed.

The Democrats, and in particular Mr Obama, don't get off the hook either. Always willing to compromise with people for whom the principle of compromise is unknown, they opened with the thought that ALL military spending is off the table. And that military spending should probably be increased. This, despite the fact that the USA already owns and operates nearly the entire world.

It's an extractive economy. The people are being milked like a herd of goats to provide the funding for a horrendously bloated military establishment. And if they ever need any of their money back, be it for unemployment relief (halted by Sen. Bunning) or extra blast shielding for the vehicles they ride in in our self created war zones, well, that's just an expense we can't see our way clear to as a nation.

So with me, it is all about peace. We could have saved ourselves a lot of money. And been in good fiscal shape when the storm came.

Jimmy Carter redux
Here we go again with the spend ourselves rich gobbledegook. Statist politicians love it. Its apologists are doing a really poor job of explaining it or selling it to our competitors. Won't be long till regime change happens and the spenders are replaced. Of course politicians like to believe they make the world work, so we will have to continue the pressure on the next group of them to find busy work that doesn't harm folks... and get the heck out of our way.

Isn't it strange
What truly amazes me about our present impasse is how we finally had spending under control, in the late 1990s, and we blew it without a second thought. Huge, imprudent tax cuts came along concurrent with two very expensive wars. We turned around sharply and headed for the ditch.

And everyone knew it at the time. It barely took two years to go from paying down our debt responsibly to running exploding deficits without end. And the only people who thought anything was wrong with THAT was a tiny sliver, the supposed lunatic fringe on the left. Libertarians were all silent as a mouse.

Now that the economy has crashed, all of a sudden it's REAL PEOPLE who are out of jobs and homes. And we need some money, fast. And everyone who was complacent and asleep during the previous eight years has suddenly come awake-- and all shouted "We need to stop all this spending, RIGHT NOW!"

How about you? What do you think of all this? Runaway spending on Iraq, a war that never should have been, was just fine? While relief spending for formerly middle class families now in a policy-caused distress is irresponsible?

I just don't get it. Please explain.

Amazing how our current collapse was caused by policies in the late 90s.
CRA driving ban mortgages and securitization of mortgages to spread the risk.
BTW, why did the stock market crash in the late nineties?

Almost forgot the ignored terrorist attacks.
Somalia, Al Kobar, two US Embassies, USS Cole.

Very strange.. Agreed.. you just don't get it. But hopefully next time we all will
You forgot the reason we are in a spend spend spend mode ... Obama believes in spending on government jobs and fixes to stimulate economies recovering from past misspent investment spending. You forgot about Clinton, Janet Reno and ACORN protest and legal pressures on banks to put prudence behind them in lending practices.
What I don't understand is why anybody believes in Keynesian spending as a palliative for spending hangovers.. recessions. Hair of the dog that bit you?

BHO belives is propping up govt unions.
That is where much 'stimulus' money is going. To keep state and municipal union employees on the dole.

Blame it all on Jimmy Carter
What exactly is a "CRA driving ban mortgage"? Your snappy comment fails to make any sense. When you explain, please also tell us how the CRA was passed in 1978-- yet worked just fine, as the numbers on bad loans illustrate, up until the early and mid 2000s.

What happened in this latest meltdown is just that there were no agencies regulating the lenders. So after they made all the legit loans they could, there were still a lot of bad loans they could bet on without getting caught.

And no one was watching while they bundled them up into fancy packages and sold them to unwitting investors, people who should have known better but obviously didn't.

Why not? Because they were all stamped Grade AAA by ratings agencies who also had no one looking into their activities. The culprit was deregulation, very obviously. Had there been good rules in place, and effective enforcement, all this never need have happened.

Back during the tech stock boom, it was a lot easier to explain. all that high tech, the internet, fancy etherware was the sound of the future knocking. And no one wanted to miss the train. So they all jumped on board, driving up the price of worthless stocks exactly like Holland's tulip mania, a couple of centuries before. Stocks, as I recall, that were based on nothing more than a bunch of whiz kids with bright ideas.

One or two of those bright ideas paid off big time. I'm sure if you'd known to put your money on Microsoft instead of the 500 companies that looked just like it, you'd be rich today. But most folks lost money when the lights came on, and you saw all the glitter was just brightly colored bits of paper.

The simple answer again
What a drean world you live in. These wierd and exotic beliefs are only possible with people who, as a matter of principle, never read the papers.

Spending money on government programs that directly put the out-of-work back to work is a proven tactic. It worked just fine back in the mid-1930s. A CCC program was just what we could have used this time around.

But note carefully: Obama has proposed nothing like that. Nothing. There's been a tiny bit of talk and no action.

So your explanation that "Obama believes in spending on government jobs and fixes to stimulate economies recovering from past misspent investment spending" is just worthless BS. He has spent no money on government jobs. And he has pledged to maintain or increase spending in the one area where we DO have runaway government spending on worthless programs-- our bloated military and Homeland Security.

Countless billions, and what do we have to show for it? Homeland Security's been in effect for what is it, eight years now? And they can't even manage to call the airlines when a guy books a flight whose OWN FATHER has turned him in? It's just total incompetence.

You will recall that George Bush had been in office for the better part of a year when the original 9/11 gang booked their flights. And despite the fact that various FBI offices had been tracking several of them while they attended flight training school, etc, no alarm was passed to the airlines?

You tell me. What, exactly, has changed? I don't see that anyone escapes the blame for this kind of monumental, and expensive, incompetence.

But I forgot, it's all the left's fault. No blame to the right. Ever. You just can't see what's in front of your nose.

There was never any need to deploy troops
Sure Clinton cut the defense budget. Without the Soviet Union, there was no longer any traditional enemy to defend against. We could have left all our military preparedness plans on a low idle, pending such a time as some real enemy reappeared.

You forget what shape we were in back in 1940. We hadn't an enemy in the world, and we had essentially no defense establishment. Yet we ramped up production in no time and won the war.

The important thing was that we then turned the volume back down and paid down the debt we had accrued. That's how you fight a real threat.

In comparison, Al Qaeda had no fleets of tanks, mighty air power or hundreds of thousands of troops. All they had was 19 guys with box cutters. Isn't it kind of obvious that filling the skies with strategic bombers wasn't going to be an effective counter move?

Afghanistan was a dumb war, and Iraq an even dumber one. Afghanistan was ready to hand Osama over to us, providing only that we were able to give them a decently worded writ of extradition. But that wasn't what we wanted. We had a new government run by people from the old defense-industrial establishment (Rumsfeld, Cheney and the rest) and they wanted to start some wars.

This has proven to be VERY expensive. Further, it runs against the country's best interests. We're now stuck in a war with no exit. We won't leave until they stop hating us, and they won't stop hating us until we leave. Very convenient-- for the people selling defense services.

Totally unfirgivable that Obama has bought into this line of thinking, and now pursues precisely the same policy his predecessor was sold.

"I don't know how many libertarians you hang around with, but there were quite a few who were not happy with the way things were going."

Honey, I was hanging around these people, right here at TCS. And I never heard a single complaint about all the exploding deficits, the unfunded mandates, the hopelessly hemorrhaging account balances. Not a thing. To them, this was all a GOOD thing, because they thought it might destroy Social Security.

Then when it didn't, we saw the stock market plummet. And once again, no one said a single thing about "Oh gee whiz, if we'd gotten what we wanted and been able to put all our SS funds into the stock market, we would've just bought into our personal savings accounts at the top of the market and then seen it all instantly crash".

You should be thanking me. I told you all it was a dumb idea, just invented by the investment bankers so they could get a piece of those trillions of our bucks. And had you been successful, you'd only have ended up with half of the amount that's STILL THERE, safe in the Social Security Trust Fund.

But... you won't be thanking me for having warned against that then, and you won't be acknowledging that runaway military spending has destroyed our budget, quite possibly this time forever.

It's a damn shame, the stupidity involved. We could've used that money for our old age, and for the health of the world our grandkids will have to live in.

Let's say your side wins
Okay, let's say you become king. And you wreck Social Security, so there's three or four trillion we don't have to pay back. And you wreck Medicare-Medicaid, so there are a few more trillion we don't have to spend on keeping the aged and infirm healthy. And you stop unemployment comp, and food stamps. And when we've all been cut off the lifeline, look at all the money we will be saving.

But you know and I know, the military will just look at that as a lot more money THEY can be spending. Only by then our tax base will be so much smaller that the government won't be getting any revenues to keep the spending up. So the USA will in time just fizzle and collapse. Inevitably.

We've been healthiest and most prosperous when we supported policies that created a strong middle class. More people working paid more taxes, and kept more programs afloat. They could afford not just to buy homes and raise families, back after WW Two. They also managed to pay down the immense national debt we had in 1945, fund Medicare, a War on Poverty, AFDC and food stamps, and have enough left over to fuel a consumer boom that hasn't even now quite collapsed.

You'd kill what was left of our prosperity. Sure, for a while the rich folks would make out like bandits. The major health insurors, for instance, would continue to pursue the policy they're executing now-- raising rates until they cut half their clients off the lifeline, then keeping the richer half as valued customers. But in time that strategy leaves the country with nothing-- millions of hungry and homeless people, and gated communities with tiny numbers of homes of the ruling class.

There will be fewer opportunities for you to make money in that new world. If you run a bank you'll have no more depositors. If you're a contractor you won't be able to build any more homes-- no buyers. And if you run a business you'll have trouble finding any more customers.

You really don't understand how the world works. We have to have a broadly based, mutual prosperity to run a place like America. If all we have is millions of poor families and a few very wealthy rulers with guards protecting them, all we'll be like is France before the Revolution.

Here is how it started, Oct 1997 "Unique Transaction To Benefit Underserved Housing Market "
"CHARLOTTE - First Union Capital Markets Corp. and Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. have priced a $384.6 million offering of securities backed by Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) loans - marking the industry's first public securitization of CRA loans.

The affordable mortgages were originated or acquired by First Union Corporation and subsidiaries. Customers will experience no impact - they will continue to make payments to and be serviced by First Union Mortgage Corp. CRA loans are loans targeted to low and moderate income borrowers and neighborhoods under the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977."
""The securitization of these affordable mortgages allows us to redeploy capital back into our communities and to expand our ability to provide credit to low and moderate income individuals," said Jane Henderson, managing director of First Union's Community Reinvestment and Fair Lending Programs. "First Union is committed to promoting home ownership in traditionally underserved markets through a comprehensive line of competitive and flexible affordable mortgage products. This transaction enables us to continue to aggressively serve those markets.""
"The $384.6 million in senior certificates are guaranteed by Freddie Mac and have an implied "AAA" rating. First Union Capital Markets Corp. is the investment banking subsidiary of First Union Corporation."
https://www.wachovia.com/foundation/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=dde12e3d3471f110VgnVCM200000627d6fa2RCRD&vgnextfmt=default&key_guid=52e84a86591eb110VgnVCM100000ca0d1872RCRD

1940: No enemy in the world?
Billy Mitchell predicted a Japanese aerial attack on the USA. He made that prediction in 1928.
No enemies in 1940?

Wells and Shaw implied kings, but they were super progressives ... Americans reject statistism howev
Kings are immune to voter revolts such as we are seeing now... Progressive and statists are Not.
I suspect Americans know the state will gobble everything up if allowed... leaving freedoms in a shambles and a government beurocrat in every pot.
There will be more opportunities in entrepeneurial America, not fewer. Same for Europe and Africa.. and India and China etc etc etc. Fear of freedom is all Liberal leftists have to fear.. and fear it they will. FDR was selling the same elixir. The world has discovered capitalism.. and that Jen cannot be put back in the bottle. Fear mongering may get a lot of people rilled up for a bit, but the truth generally comes out and exposes the boogeyman as a statist scare crow at best.

If it got started back in 1997...
...how come we didn't have a problem til around 2004? Those older loans didn't go bad at anything worse than the average delinquency rate.

The problem wasn't with CRA. That program began back in 1978-- and it worked fine for years. The first wave of foreclosures only showed up around 2004-05.

A pre-emptive strike against America
My point was that we had no standing army in 1940. Yet we were able to instantly ramp up wartime production and win a WW Two that otherwise would've been lost. It goes to my point that we don't need to spend more than a tiny fraction of what we currently spend on old-fashioned, mighty-enemy defense.

This kind of defense is inappropriate for the problems we now face-- tiny groups of clandestine, low-tech plotters. Instead we attack entire populations, and create insurgencies that we can't fight without incurring massive human rights violations. We're employing the wrong strategy at an unaffordable expense.

If we were to drop our defense budget by half a trillion we could pay down our national debt and take care of the population at the same time.

Interestingly, the fact you cite (Billy Mitchell's warning) led pretty directly to Pearl Harbor. I wasn't aware of the 1928 quote, but during the mid 1930s we did take steps that led to the creation of a modern air force by just such dire predictions. The generals did offer warnings that Japan was developing the capability to bomb our West Coast cities, and urged that we develop a counter strike capability.

Meanwhile Japan would've liked nothing more than to ignore us. Their interest was in capturing the defenseless markets of the East-- China, Indonesia and Indochina. But their intel found reports by what later became our Air Force senior command, detailing counterstrikes on Japanese cities. These reports recommended massive incendiary bombings, noting that Japan's cities were built of paper and glue, and would go up in huge firestorms.

THAT was why they determined they had to strike first, without warning. Interesting, eh?

Defending us against the Fabians
You're like a guy who has convinced himself flying saucers are real. Everything just goes to feed your delusion.

Out here in the world, no one's following Shaw or Wells. That's just not real. Why don't you take a spin around the web if you don't believe me. And I don't mean that tiny band that feeds your insanity. I mean the web at large, particularly the segment progressives read.

That "entrepreneurial America" you think will save us all is just the one we have now. It has been our dominant political current since 1981. And it has only brought us down to this point. I don't care to ride the roller coaster any further into the swamp-- but the fact is we have no progressive leadership in the Democratic Party. And no votes sufficient to found a new third party. So we'll just have to wait idly by, watching America destroy itself by first destroying its government. With your help.

So please, try this experiment. Google "fabian socialism" and see how many hits you get from contemporary political websites. You'll find it's a historical footnote entirely irrelevant to today's politics.

Low hanging fruit.
Good loans were first security. Then as market demand for those investments increased, more mortgages had to be created.
I rolled over a mortgage 3 times in 2 years from 2000-2002, lowering the interest rate each time.
Bubbles take time to inflate.
"Bob McTeer, president of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank from 1991 to 2004, said “There was a lot of pressure from Congress and generally everywhere to make homeownership affordable for poor and low-income people. Some mortgages were made that would not have ordinarily been made.” He also said “When a bank made a decision to purchase mortgaged-backed securities, they would somehow determine if some of them were in zip codes covered by the CRA, and therefore they could get CRA credit.”"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_Reinvestment_Act

Yes, we did have a standing Army in 1940.
There was no instantaneous ramp up.

So you approved of the rape of Nanjing and the millions of Chinese who were victims of the Japanese in the 30s?

And you advocate not being prepared to defend against an attack.

You're not far off
Bob McTeer would hardly have said this:

"We made all the good loans we could find. But we still had some cash left over. So we made a whole bunch of bad loans. And then sold them quickly as we could."

I understand Bob McTeer very well. I used to be in the business.

I will agree that federal agencies had to lie down on the job for all of this to happen. The FTC is a primary player in the entire meltdown... for sins of omission.

Fannie and Freddie also come in for more than their share of culpability. They were the ones who underwrote all those bad loans, giving them an implied AAA rating.

Your questions and comments
Take us through the steps where you came to this conclusion:

"So you approved of the rape of Nanjing and the millions of Chinese who were victims of the Japanese in the 30s?"

I'm looking over my comments, and don't see anything you could base this on.

Same thing with this:

"And you advocate not being prepared to defend against an attack."

According to my stated reasoning, any time we see the possibility of such an attack, we should take steps to defend against it. But today, any notion that we might be attacked by massive conventional forces is a fiction. Therefore we could, and should, save all the money associated with defending against them.

As for the size of our army in 1940, it had already begun to gear up toward war. Since about 1937 serious preparations were being made for war in the Pacific. And following the outbreak of the war in Europe (Sept. 1939) we instigated our first peacetime draft in 1940.

I think my point still holds. We were not in the habit of keeping a large peacetime army following demobilization, in 1919. Yet we were able to readily meet the challenge of WW Two.

But it is all the fault of free markets?
A MA bank was chastised by the FDIC for not making more risky CRA loans.
You have seen the story.
If the government hadn't interfered, the bubble would not have occurred.

let's say your.....
I'm not sure what his side is, but here are a few problems with your critique of it.

When you say 'wreck' for those programs that betrays your bias for them. Many would say; eliminate those dysfunctional socialistic programs which enfeeble people, and make them dependant on the nanny state; just where big government wants them.

Then you say that when all that money is saved, the military would just figure there's more for them to waste instead. But if those armed thugs in costume were also cut off, it would save a bunch more. By this time it's almost starting to add up to real money.

But it's not at all obvious that the US would inevitable fizzle and collapse". That's just another example of your argument from fear, and scare mongering.

I think that instead people would try to figure out how they could manage without a nanny state. Most people don't naturally jus sit there and whine, they usually go about working on improving life. It could be that YOU would just schrivel up, but not most.

I think it's the government that is killing the prosperity by its stupid programs instead. If they were not distorting the economy all those millions feeding off the public trough could easily find honest work. In a recent posting I myself mentioned my offer to take two or three of them in at my place.

All the things in life that people want in life can and are supplied by people without any help from repressive corrupt politicians. Indeed, to prove that point, even things which are DISALLOWED by our oppressors are still supplied, in spite of them; like drugs now, and booze during the prohibition.

This may seem incredible but I've even heard that in coutries where they outlaw prostitution, people still manage to engage in that sector. How could that be possible without govog help?

defending against Fabians
That's right not many people will openly call themselves Fabian socialists, nor even run of the mill socialists. So what they do is propose the very same programs, but call them by euphemisms like; 'common-sense'.

If fact we often see you doing that too. How many times have you told us you were not marxist, but then people like me and others have pointed out to you that those were indeed marxists notions.

So people like you try to disguise you true agendas and it often works too, politicians do it all the time as well and it's a great success for them, that's why they do it too.

libertarians
Yes, it's not so much what people call themselves, but the moves they suggest. If a guy proposes invading countries in order to free them, or its markets, then he's not really a libertarin, but more like an imperialist, or neo-con.
I'm one of the real libertarians around here, because unlike the left and right, I advocate actual freedom.

Who benefits?
Your comment shows an allegiance to doctrine and an incomprehension of how the world works.

Whether they are in government, in industry or in finance, these machinations are conducted by greedy people in search of an extortionate profit. That is, one well beyond that earned by honest industry. One that comes from the pockets of others, unearned.

Should some of them be inside government and others without, the whole thing becomes possible when a crime is enabled through poor or lacking legislation. I should not have to tell you that the financial industry is heged about by regulation, and that the regs they run by have largely been drafted by cronies of theirs. That is, elected official in either party.

What you're trying once agin to convince me of is that these humble bankers really, really wanted to be honest. But an evil government preyed upon them, by forcing them to make bogus loans on which they earned handsome profits-- by selling them through artful deception to an unwitting public.

Government organs colluded, of course. Fannie and Freddie don't look at all good. Nor does the FTC. But mostly, what happened was that somehow the financial cops had their backs turned the whole time this was happening. Their hands were tied, with invisible thread.

The crime being committed was theft by deception. And hardly any of the culprits have yet been charged, or ever will be. They profited from the crime. Yet to you, it was not their fingerprints on the deed.

Arguments like yours are hardly worth bothering with.

By your own logic
The problem, in all kindness to you, is that you see everything through a very simplistic lens.

I could say such things of you. Since you believe in FREEDOM, weak government and minimal rules constraining behavior, I could say you're just like the anarchists.

That would allow me to freely attribute to you, every tenet of anarchist philosophy, past, present and future. Anything any anarchist ever said, I could readily blame you for.

So then. This is you:

OFFICIAL PLATFORM STATEMENT
FROM THE OFFICIAL WEB PAGE

ARTICLE I: The purpose of the Utopian Anarchist Party is to eliminate the government of the United States and not replace it.

ARTICLE II: Specifically, the Utopian Anarchist Party focuses on: á Elimination of the police á Elimination of the schools á Elimination of the prisons á Elimination of the coercive juvenile psychiatric industry á Elimination of the military á Elimination of coercive government agencies by any means expedient.

ARTICLE III: The Utopian Anarchist Party does not exist and has no formal organizational structure.

http://www.warbaby.com/dh2k/html/p-utopiananarch.html

Why they take our money from us
You appear to live in a world where there is no want-- want of a job for those who need work, want of funds for the old, the sick and the infirm, who can't make their own way, and want of an education for those whose misfortune is just to be born among ignorant adults.

All I can say is that very little of our federal budget goes toward satisfying those needs. And they could all be well satisfied for tiny sums, relative to the amounts wasted by our military industrialists.

What we get for the investment is not the health or prosperity of our people-- or even security. As we've recently seen, Homeland Security is entirely incompetent to secure our safety. After years of fear being instilled in us, they still don't spend our money well.

It's our money. We have given it to a government we supposedly control, to spend wisely on items of importance to us. And I think you and I both agree that it's being spent unwisely. With me, I think we should invest it in our own welfare as a people. And in programs that are self-financing, like Social Security, we actually still do.

Not only is that program effective in serving its public (workers have a dependable retirement waiting for them, funded by wage deductions they've put in over the years), it is efficient, administering itself at less than one percent of revenues. Further, it even invests its long term savings in government bonds, so it finances the other, profligate activities government engages in.

But the amount we actually devote to the public good is small, something like $40 billion on a federal level. And that tiny sum is pared back with every legislative session, while the war budget, no matter which party is in power, increases every year.

And war is not productive. You'll have noticed that the entire rationale given for entering Afghanistan was to capture Mr Evil, the wily Osama. Yet when we had him surrounded, we let him get away.

Why did we do it? I'm very surprised you haven't figured it out by now. It was because without Osama, we'd have had no more reason to spend federal money on the war machine. You can't convince the public indefinitely to donate all their savings to the maintenance of tools of domination, if they don't see some enemy put before them.

Just to make the point clear, every few years they appear to permit some fresh atrocity. Like the underwear guy. Otherwise they'd lose credibility.

It's a weird world. In any other business, if you didn't do a good job free market forces would force you out of business. But defense is non-competitive. The worse job you do, the more money a fearful public will give you.

So put all the ducks in a row. You're resentful that the govags are wasting your money. But you fail to understand that they're putting this money into maintaining the National Security State, not doing any favors for its suffering citizens.

Final comment. You ask why it is we spend all that money on enforcement, but we still have drugs available? It's because of the funding given to drug enforcement. If they ever were to eradicate drugs, we'd eliminate them (or at least reduce their budgets to a tiny fraction). But so long as drugs are prevalent and use and sales out of control, we give them all the funding they want.

Follow the money, if you want to understand anything.

Today's eco-fascists and yesterdays proto-fascists
I did try believing in flying saucers when I was a little tyke, but gradually became interested in how we establish belief, and gravitated to philosophy.. B. Russell first of all.. a fabian of course. His history of philosophy shows among a lot of other things how ideas develop and spread..
Perhaps then becoming movements. The progressive eugenics movement was one which has not run itself out of business. It has morphed into the population control and green movement along with communism.. ala Van Jones et al.
The president's science advisor seems to be an acolyte along with his co-author Paul Ehrlich. Their calls for statist controls over nearly every activity one can concieve is as near to the fascistic progressives Shaw and Wells as you can get. It was H.G. Wells who called for a strongarm "Liberal Fascism" in speeches and essays. We are now getting there. It is also what scares the heck out of people and galvanizes many into tea parties.
As for Nancy Pelosi and the leftists running the Dem party in congress into the ditch, you can run from the progressive label if you wish.. they run from Liberal and leftist labels all the time. Thats what progressives do when they get caught doing something with a historical trail they are trending toward.
Most people just don't like or trust statists.

It is the government that has the power.
Governments make and enforce the laws.
They have the final accountability since they have the authority.

by your own.....
Thanks for the funny site; never heard of that one.

Although they have a compelling case, since I don't believe in party-archy, I wouldn't have anything to do with this non-existent party.

But if you just say that I'm almost like an anarchist, I resemble that statement!

Who holds power over our government?
"Governments make and enforce the laws.
They have the final accountability since they have the authority."

True.

But governments consist of elected officials. And they are answerable to those who fund their campaign chests. Thus they write laws consistent with the interests of those with the deepest pockets.

Also true.

It has all been done with an eye toward maximizing profits. The bloated defense and homeland security industries, the mess with home mortgages, everything. People buy access-- and use it to get tailor made laws and enforcement.

taking our money
I agree with all your bashing of military-industrial complex, or National Securtiy State(which is pretty much like old fashioned National Socialism) and always speak against it.

After them, I feel the same way about all the other useless, expensive programs they force on us.
None of those shittyy govags have the discipline or accountability of a private business in a free market.

The ridiculous 'war on drugs' is just more evidence of such a state. It's a sort of make-work project, or disguised welfare program for; shyster lawyers, crooked politicians, useless burocrats, goonish thugs in the swat teams, etc.

defense....army
Analogies from history are not really too accurate about instances of countries not being prepared when they were attacked.
It has changed a lot now that there are atom bombs. If there is an attack by a know country, then it only takes a few atom bombs to destroy them, even the threat of immediate retaliation has been enough so far.

I can't remember the stats on it, or where I saw it, but there are some guys who have been working on this angle.
How much would it take, re cost, logistics, personell, etc. to maintain a number of nukes at the ready? I remember that their conclusion was that it was at very low cost to maintain such a deterent for those interested in such a defense posture. They claimed that there was no need at all for the the huge old fashioned style militaries we now still have. They are only necessary if you are interested in bullying and attacking other countries.
So they basically propose nuclear proliferation from this angle, that it will actually prevent attacks, and be quite cheap too.

It is done to maximize tax revenue.
That was the issue with Kelo. The city wanted to develop the property to bring in more taxes.
But it is the best interest of a government to have economic growth.

" The bloated defense and homeland security industries, the mess with home mortgages, everything. People buy access-- and use it to get tailor made laws and enforcement."
They can't buy what is not for sale.

Or if you don't want to kill civilians.
Robert Jastrow wrote a piece in Pop. Science that missiles could get so accurate that warheads could be smaller so a single house or room could be destroyed without hurting civilians.
'Boots' on the ground help minimize civilian casualties as well.

Follow the power and control mongers and the money
Following the money gets you a list of names of major players in politics on both sides of most issues. Following the control and power mongers and their ideologies will get you further.
Those who hunger for control over the lives and money are one and the same type and mostly one group. I call them control freaks... nowadays they are mostly of one progressive mindset too. Big government is a special interest as both an ideological and a money movement and will need to be taken down sooner rather than later.
Public disaprobation is my favorite means of doing these guys in. Results will show at the ballot box first, then in a lessening of the government burden... then a return to Constitutional duties and reasoning. Guns will not be banned by these orginalists, which then assures Americans thereafter their kids, their property and their money will not be lusted after successfully and appropriated or wasted willy nilly soon again. (Guns meerly keep the statists humble in their imaginings.. It won't keep them from re-grouping after a breather.)

It's ALL for sale
Your remark, "They can't buy what is not for sale" is cryptic. Everything, today, is for sale.

Under our system, the candidate who buys the most television coverage normally wins. That's because the leisure time activity most Americans excel in is watching the boob tube. This basic fact has not been lost on the lawmakers.

So every so often we have some feeble stab at campaign reform. But no one ever takes the step of making bribery illegal. Our nation is run on the basic principle that money is speech. So that those with more money have louder voices.

It's far more explicit than it was in Jefferson and Hamilton's time, when the vote was restricted to white males with property. Back then they only had one vote, while a white male with no property had zero votes. But nowadays you can have millions of votes-- just by papering over the airwaves with messages to the impressionable idiot portion of the voting public.

"But it is the best interest of a government to have economic growth."

It is in everyone's interest to have economic growth. But under our system, where rich people count for more, there are distortions. We're happy as a nation when millions of people are left off the bus, in the cold, and the remainder are fat and happy-- so long as every quarter they grow a little bit happier. Their party drowns out the groans heard back at the bus stop, where so many are just waiting around for things to get better.

Here's an example. The HC insurors are adopting a model involving massive increases in premiums. They have calculated that they will shed more sick people at the bottom, who can't afford the insurance any more, and get better profits from the few who can afford increases of any size. And they're right. THAT is the road to even greater profits.

Under free market philosophy, that's the right and proper way to go. And there should be no public option, which would 'distort' the market by allowing those who can't afford to stay healthy any more to also have insurance.

Is that right and proper? Tell me again.

Readiness
Colonel-- it's just not the case that suddenly tomorrow, a powerful army comparable to ours is going to appear and attack us. It take several years to complete an arms buildup. And during those years you can hear the alarm whistles blowing on the diplomatic front.

So we have plenty of time. Right now our army is as large as that of every other nation on earth combined. So IMO we could ramp down this waste of money far enough to at least give the citizens some relief.

It may be that you view citizens with scorn. But back when you were active we DID pay your way. And at this point we need some of our money for our own purposes. We're drowning out here.

Let's suppose Iran finally builds a bomb. Do you think it would have anything but a defensive purpose? On one side they have Russia, on the next they have China, on the third they have Pakistan and on the fourth they have the US. All are nuclear, potentially belligerent states. One, if Iraq allows us to use their turf as a landing stage, is not just a potential but a very active threat. And pulling our strings is Israel.

So let's say they've finally built and tested a bomb. And it goes boom, out on the desert. Should Los Angeles be worried?

If they ever deployed a bomb on hostile territory, say on Tel Aviv or New York, they know their entire country would be toast in the following 48 hours. I don't see that as being a possibility.

We really don't have an existential threat today. The only thing we've got is tiny numbers of wack jobs, with stuff like underwear bombs. A serious public safety issue, for sure. But nothing to maintain a massive state of nuclear over-readiness for.

If you don't think we maintain this state of readiness because someone's getting rich, look at nuclear disarmament talks. The last time George Bush and Putin got together, they were slapping each other on the back in a show of chumminess, laughing for the cameras. Then they told us they'd decided to INCREASE the number of nukes.

You should have figured it out then. War's a very profitable business. And it's bleeding the cash contributors white.

Taking them down?
From both your comment here and thecolonel's, above, it appears that we've reached a point of agreement. And I suggest we should build on it. After we've brought down the government there's always time to argue over what comes next. :)

At some point you should probably tone down comments like "Big government is a special interest as both an ideological and a money movement and will need to be taken down sooner rather than later." Once you get on their radar these utterances can come back to haunt you. I always like to act as though the Smith Act is still in effect-- and advocating the violent overthrow of the USA is a punishable offense.

Whatever. We know they won't go quietly. And that leaves an implicit violence you should probably publicly abjure. Instead we should work toward basic change. And the obvious start would be to take the money out of campaign politics.

I'm reading a good book now (probably long out of print) on how this mess got started. It's The Warfare State (1962) by Fred Cook. Amazon says it's unavailable, and libraries probably discarded the last copy back in 1970. But we went to a war economy back during WW Two, when Roosevelt invited the industrialists in to help decide national policy. The money quote was from Charles E Wilson, the simultaneous head of General Electric and the War Production Board, later Defense Mobilization Director and Secretary of Defense.

Wilson said at the close of WW Two that we should move toward creating a "permanent war economy". And that "industry must not be hampered by political witch-hunts, or thrown to the fanatical isolationist fringe tagged with a 'merchants of death' label."

He was effective. Since 1945 we've been on a permament wartime basis. And 'fanatical isolationists' like me have been severely marginalized in our political effectiveness. We are cast in the popular mind as a handful of radical leftists, for not wanting to continue carrying such a heavy load for them.

Don't fancy that by standing up and protesting you're giving the defense establishment a hard time, or "keeping the statists humble in their imaginings". They know they're firmly in the seat of power, and can deflect your movement to most any direction they choose. We tried protesting-- and it didn't work.

Statism
There's apparently no way I can convince you of how impossibly marginal your concerns are. Eco-fascists? You don't understand that's a tiny sliver of humanity, and they average 0-5 incidents per decade? They're nothing.

And the followers of Shaw and Wells? There are none. It's a dead philosophy, as eugenics is a dead movement. Since 1945 we've had no believers in such fascist ideas-- although back in the teens and twenties they were fashionable in Britain.

You're going to be of no use to any movement if your big fantasy is the threat of a mighty Van Jones deciding how many kids you have. Even the Tea Party's going to think of you as a useless kook.

Instead please try to understand how we've had continuity in government for your entire lifetime. Look at those policies that stay the same no matter which party is in power. And understand how they all, Rs and Ds alike, have grown fat spending our money on instruments of control. First and foremost, by arming the world.

Did you know we're now nearly the world's sole source for weaponry? We encourage every nation in the developing world to oppress its own people by favoring within them an autocratic government addicted to our weapons and high-tech gadgetry. Colombia is a prime example. We actively maintain a very strong STATE presence there, because it suits the purpose of our own very strong central State.

Those are real current problems. Don't waste your time chasing shadowy ghosts from a vanished century. Real statists are in charge right now. And they're known as Democrats and Republicans.

There's not a single basic national policy that's changed from Bush to Obama. Not one. What you're looking at is the matador's cape work.

Cold War rump...
Colonel,

You said "no need at all for the the huge old fashioned style militaries we now still have. They are only necessary if you are interested in bullying and attacking other countries."

We do need to maintain enough of a military to bully and potentially to attack other countries but we also need a few other big players out there to be strong enough to balance the US so that our particular "schmuck genes" will not engage. This is the only way the Pax Americana might endure. However, we need not maintain our current level of overkill in order to accomplish that objective.

The alternative to America passively ruling the world would be a return to the savagery of military imperialism. However, we have quite enough killing going on out there already with the various civil wars and the many (brutal) weak central governments we have not yet learned how to live comfortably with.

The global contest with traction today is economic. If our practice of capitalism is inferior to those of our competitors...that is: they are able to expand their economies rapidly while we sit here in deflationary stasis into perpetuity like the Japanese then those people will catch up to us and they might not be so dogmatic that they will not evolve their economies into something even better while we continue to think that is quite impossible. So we won't even try. We are currently defaulting into socialism instead of summarily figuring out how to grow our way out of this trouble.

Those who stuck to their "the Earth is flat" dogma and "we have already invented everything we need"...so let's not explore or invent anything new...were doomed to be dominated by those without any such self-limiting assumptions.

And just so shall we be beaten. If we sit on our lead and let them catch up to us.

War economies are another government control.. fascist/socialist misnomer
War economies were greatly admired by the socialists of the past as a means of gaining control over nearly every function in the market. Socialists admire them for this reason especially since its a blank check idea they get to write upon willy nilly. Socialists and their ilk always seek more power and control over the marketplace but claim the difference from the hated "war" excuse is their intentions. They claim they will not build bombs, but whip up lots of butter and such.
The fact is they are on a historical roll. WWl gave us the income tax and lots of government intrusions and they have noticed and abused that ever since. 'A good crisis must never go to waste' is their mantra and game. Most people seem to be aware of this.. making them look especially base and greedy for control in peoples minds.

all for sale
You falsely state that "under free market philosophy, that's the right and proper way to go" referring to the current HC system.

But many of us have shown that it is NOT a free market in HC at all.
The main reason is that competition is not allowed by government fiat, plus it's highly overrregulated and interferred with in many ways.

You are making use again of the tactic of saying that the the free market was tried, and didn't work, therefore we need an authoritarian big government nanny-state. Didn't work all the other times you've used it, and doesn't work this time either.

readiness
I agree with your line that war/military is not so much a practical matter of self-defense, but rather an ongoing military-industrial complex situation whereby it perpetuates itself in spite of real military threats.

Why would you say I view citizens with scorn? I continually advocate for more freedom for them, less taxes wastes of military imperialism, etc.

I also take the line that there is no existential threat at all, and that most of america's problems with other countries stems from it's continually interference, bullying, invading, etc.

cold war rump
You say that "we do need to maintain enough of a military to bully and potentially to attack other countries". Of course this is what all imperialist and militarists say, including Hitler, Stalin, Ghenghis Khan, etc.

But if you do NOT want to be a rapacious war-monger, then it's not necessary at all.

Even to say that it's the "only way the Pax Americana might endure", is an imperialistic sentiment; and very immoral. It was immoral when the Vikings went overseas raping and pillaging, and the Naazziis, and the Incas, and the soviets, and the americans.

Your argument is also false when you say either America must be such a vicious bully, or else there will be a return to 'the savagry of military imperialism", but that's exactly what the US is engaging in right now, and why it has so many enemies.

We see that other countries to rationalize imperialism like that, yet they have farily decent countries with high standards of living.

Sure New Zealand and Denmark find it hard to compete with other countries, but in order to do so they don't go invading, say Belgium, or the Fiji, to compete. I don't notice where Brazil is lusting after waring against Columbia or Peru. Bulgaria doesn't need to make war against Romania.

I think a better way to compete with foreigners is to have a freer economy and society, rather than the more authoritarian national socialist style one you seem to advocate.

Even regarding defense, as I mentioned above, it's very cheap to just maintaing a few nukes, just in case any one else in other countries have the same notions as you do.

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