Paying it forward…

30 09 2011

“I hear all this, “You know, well, this is class warfare. This is whatever.” No! There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody! You built a factory out there? Good for you! But I want to be clear: You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You, uh, were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory and hire someone to protect against this because of the work the rest of us did.
Now, look: You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea, God bless! Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.” — Elizabeth Warren

Warren gives a false and misleading narrative by interjecting infrastructure into the equation. “Focusing on infrastructure as the crucial support of entrepreneurial activity is like crediting the guy who built young Bill Gates’ garage with the start of Microsoft. Yes, Gates needed a roof over his head, and garages are useful. But it was Gates who had the ambition to do more in his garage than store his car and lawn-care products.” — Rich Lowry, National Review

In truth it was that factory owner, and others like him, that built that road in the first place, not the “rest of us”. These “rich” that she rails against pay by far the largest portion of the taxes in America, with the middle class picking up just a fraction of the rest. A whole 50% of our country pays no tax whatsoever, with many getting money back via tax credits they never paid in in the first place.

It’s people like Warren, those that cry for a share something unearned from those that earned it, which have caused the majority of the grief this country is suffering right now. Programs meant to help have actually done more harm. The “affordable home loan” program is a perfect example of that. The very idea that somehow making unqualified people eligible for home loans was flawed from the very beginning as it did nothing to help people that couldn’t afford those homes in the first place pay for them. All it did was give them hope while setting them up for failure and heartbreak. And we were warned for years that what happened would happen.

Seriously, and in all actuality, ALL taxes are paid by the end user. Taxes on “the rich” are only added costs passed on to the consumer. Raising taxes only serves to raise prices that the poor can ill afford to pay. They don’t really want you to know that part of it, that taxing the rich is really just adding hurt to those that can least afford it – the poor.

Warren and her ilk have pushed the false narrative that Bush’s tax cut are what increased the deficit. This popular meme gets a lot of political play, but its far from true. After those tax cuts unemployment fell from over 6% to just over 4%. Revenue to the treasury INCREASED 44%. The increase in the deficit came from the aftermath and response to 9/11, fighting 2 wars, and the massive amounts spent on the recovery from hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Somehow all that is forgotten. If not for those tax cuts and the resulting stimulus it gave to the economy the small (and decreasing) deficit Bush left would be much larger.

Fact is that the projected (and feared) costs associated with the Healthcare changes along with the crash of our economy caused by a ill conceived meddling in the home loan industry, two programs championed by Warren and her crowd, have caused massive unemployment and hardship for the very people they pretend to support. Now, by going after the very people that can pull us out of this mess they created, will only delay and degrade any recovery for our economy and our people. The Soviet Union fell victim to the socialist idea that the masses could ride the backs of the producer to prosperity. It didn’t happen for them, and it won’t happen for us.

We need to grow our economy to provide jobs for people. Jobs are what spreads wealth, not handouts. To grow jobs you must have incentives to invest in the future. The “wealthy” don’t hide their money in mattresses, nor do they bury it in jars in the backyard, they invest it. They take their profits, put them out into the community to grow and make more profits. To grow those profits it takes investment, expansion, new construction, and people. Taxes take away from that.

To build a new factory not only provides jobs for those that will work at that factory, but jobs for builders of the materials that go into that factory, jobs for people that transport that material to and from, jobs for construction workers, jobs for people to feed and clothe those people, to house those people, and to service that new factory, the gas stations, grocery stores, etc. etc. That’s paying it forward. That’s how you get things done for the people, not stifling and taking away the means.

John F. Kennedy once said, “Don’t ask what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Seems some in that crowd don’t understand what he meant by that.

-Al





Reasonable Doubt…

22 09 2011

Forensics? There was little to none. No blood. No DNA. No fingerprints on shell casings. Not even a murder weapon found. Davis was implicated in the murder do to another case which even the victim came to doubt Davis was the shooter. The person that pointed the finger first at Davis was known to own a weapon of the type that was used in the murder (and shooting) and others have said that he, not Davis, was the real shooter. No motive was ever established for Davis to have committed either act. He didn’t know either victim.

Whether or not Davis was the killer I can’t say, but I do think that reasonable doubt was raised, which leaves me to wonder what happens to “reasonable doubt” once the trial is over, but new issues raised?

One appeals court ruled 3/2 – that speaks to reasonable doubt. The supreme court had at least 3 dissenters – that speaks to reasonable doubt. A former official with the justice department said the case was worthy of further investigation and that he had reasonable doubt. The former head of the FBI said that there were questions which leads me to believe he had reasonable doubt.

There were nine eyewitnesses to the crime. Seven recanted. Not one or two but SEVEN out of the nine eye witnesses against him say now that he didn’t do it. That’s pretty unique in itself, even to have ONE witness recant. Seven out of nine – doesn’t that speak to reasonable doubt?

Even several of the jurors that heard the case now believe him innocent – does that not somehow speak to reasonable doubt. And if there is that much reasonable doubt wouldn’t it to have wise to have at least commuted his sentence to life, instead of death. To err on the side of caution.

“Reasonable Doubt” somehow no longer mattered in this case. It all became “relevant” and technicalities and absolutes.

No one may ever prove Troy Davis innocent of either of these crimes, but to Troy Davis it will no longer matter if they do, he’s dead. Of that, there is no doubt.

-Al





9.11.01 I remember…

11 09 2011

Tonight, I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray they will be comforted by a power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages in Psalm 23: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.” –President George W. Bush September 11, 2001

I had been out tending to who knows what and walked into the front office on the way back to my office in the back. The television was on, but the sound wasn’t. Smoke coming from one of the towers caught my eye and I told everyone to look, that the world trade center was on fire. Before we could bring up the sound I saw a second plane come into the picture and strike the second building.

My first thought was that a news airplane circling the area had accidentally hit the other tower… but it wasn’t to be. Most of the rest of that day was a blur. A blur of emotions and reactions.

I remember discussions about our locality and our vulnerabilities. What was next? How deep would this go?

I remember seeing a friend of mine in his crop duster flying back and forth overhead long after we had heard all planes were grounded, and I remember the thought going through my head that he might be shot down… strange as it seems now. I remember the awkward pride I felt that the President had come into Barksdale, as if our state offered some shelter from the storm. I remember the pride that rose up over our country over the next few days and weeks. How proud we were to be American. The unity. The flags.
I remember also the innuendo a few months later that those few moments our President sat in that classroom with those children was somehow supposedly showing himself to be indecisive. I’m still mad about that. Mad that there are snakes in the grass. Mad that our enemies don’t always come from abroad.

Today is a day to remember the people. The loss. The heroism and the heartache. We should never forget. Like Valley Forge, or Pearl Harbor, this day is part of the fire that forges the metal that is America. 9/11 shall ever be a part of who we are. A call and rallying cry.

For the generation that wasn’t yet born, or not old enough to know, this will be an event to study and learn about. Learn it. It’s important, for it’s a doorway into our countries soul.

For those that lived it, it will be a milestone in our lives. Part of our life experience. We were all changed, even if only in some small way. It was that large.

For those that died, they become a cherished memory. Hero’s large and small. Hallowed, sacred memories of innocents taken from our midst.

For those that lived through it, words cannot describe our praise, and our condolences. We cannot know what you know. Our eyes cannot see what yours saw. Joy and heartbreak. The fear and the emotion… and the pain.

In times of trouble I’m glad that some choose not to run away, but are selfless and willing to sacrifice. Those that will walk boldly thru a doorway, knowing all too well it can all fall down around you.

 -Al





Not. His. Fault.

6 09 2011

With the announcement of late that the government plans on suing many of the big banks and mortgage companies that lost so much in the housing market crash do to their deep involvement with risky loans, and with the seeming prevalent view among some that the fault also points back to the Bush administration, I think the truth needs to out here.

Quite frankly a lot of people made a lot of money during the housing boom. Average people… even some that would have been viewed as ‘poor’ made money and moved up the economic ladder by buying and selling as property values increased. The banks weren’t all that much at risk, for if a loan defaulted and property went into foreclosure the seemingly ever increasing value of property mitigated most of, sometimes even all of that loss. Besides, if you found yourself in the position that you couldn’t make those payments you could fairly quickly put your house on the market and unload it. Often making some money in the process… that is as long as those property values were going up.

Nothing is forever. We’ve all heard the old saw “What goes up must come down.”

This program of pushing loans for people that didn’t really qualify for them didn’t start under the Bush administration. It all started beforehand with groups advocating for the poor and disadvantaged working to end what many viewed as discrimination in the marketplace. A noble enough cause one would think, but flawed from the outset.

Many banks easily saw the fly in the ointment with giving loans to people that couldn’t really afford those loans, but under cries of racism and threat of extremely costly litigation many of those banks and mortgage companies caved and began making those loans. Even our current President Obama was a party to lawsuits forcing the industry to make these loans… loans anyone should have been able to see would do those poor and disadvantaged more harm than good.

To mitigate the risks these institutions did face they bundled many of them together in ‘packages’ and sold them to other institutions willing to take those risks. After all, property values were increasing. It seemed to be a good investment… as long as property values kept going up.

Now those same poor and disadvantaged those groups thought they were helping are finding themselves on the losing end of the high risk loan debacle. They were set up to fail, for getting a loan doesn’t automatically make one able to make the payment. Many will find themselves far worse off than they were in the beginning, thanks to this “affordable housing” scheme.

As I was saying in the beginning a lot of people want to place the blame for the current problems we face on George Bush and the republicans. I was reading through the comments on one of the articles on the plan of the government to sue and noticed many seem to think that the Bush administration failed to seek or somehow blocked regulation of the loan industry and didn’t give good oversight to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and somehow just blindly allowed the system to fail. Not so. Not by a longshot.

[The following information comes from an article a couple of years ago I believe was in The American Thinker. If you don’t believe it you can always look it up for yourself. In light of the pointed fingers I present it here again.]

For many years the President Bush and his Administration not only warned of the systemic consequences of financial turmoil at a housing government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) but also put forward thoughtful plans to reduce the risk that either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac would encounter such difficulties.

We’ll start here in the year 2000, prior to the election of George W. Bush…

2000

March: Rep. Richard Baker (R-Louisiana) proposed a bill to reform Fannie and Freddie’s oversight in a House Subcommittee on Capital Markets.

Rep. [Barney] Frank (D-Massachusetts) dismissed the idea, saying concerns about the two were “overblown” and that there was “no federal liability there whatsoever.”

2001

April: The Administration’s FY02 budget declares that the size of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is “a potential problem,” because “financial trouble of a large GSE could cause strong repercussions in financial markets, affecting Federally insured entities and economic activity.”

2002

May: The President calls for the disclosure and corporate governance principles contained in his 10-point plan for corporate responsibility to apply to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (OMB Prompt Letter to OFHEO, 5/29/02)

2003

July: Sens. Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska), Elizabeth Dole (R-North Carolina) and John Sununu (R-New Hampshire) introduced legislation to address Regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The bill was blocked by Democrats.

September: In an interview with Ron Insana for CNN Money, Rep. Baker warned, “I have concerns that if appropriate resources aren’t allocated for internal risk management…if something doesn’t work out the way they predict, the American taxpayer could be called on to pay off the debt in some sort of bailout.”

The New York Times reports that the [Bush] Administration recommended “the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.”

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts): “I do not think we are facing any kind of a crisis. That is, in my view, the two government sponsored enterprises we are talking about here, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are not in a crisis. . . . I do not think at this point there is a problem with a threat to the Treasury. . . . I believe that we, as the Federal Government, have probably done too little rather than too much to push them to meet the goals of affordable housing and to set reasonable goals.

2004

February: The President’s FY05 Budget again highlights the risk posed by the explosive growth of the GSEs and their low levels of required capital, and called for creation of a new, world-class regulator: “The Administration has determined that the safety and soundness regulators of the housing GSEs lack sufficient power and stature to meet their responsibilities, and therefore…should be replaced with a new strengthened regulator.” (2005 Budget Analytic Perspectives, pg. 83)

June: Deputy Secretary of Treasury Samuel Bodman spotlights the risk posed by the GSEs and called for reform

October: Rep. Baker again warned about the coming crisis in the Wall Street Journal: “Then there’s the lesson of a company, Frankenstein-like, seemingly grown so powerful that it can intimidate and arrogantly flout all accountability to the very government that created it.”

In a subcommittee testimony, Democrats vehemently reject regulation of Fannie Mae in the face of dire warning of a Fannie Mae oversight report.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts): “Uh, I, this, you, you, you seem to me saying, ‘Well, these are in areas which could raise safety and soundness problems.’ I don’t see anything in your report that raises safety and soundness problems.” And “But I have seen nothing in here that suggests that the safety and soundness are at issue, and I think it serves us badly to raise safety and soundness as kind of a general shibboleth when it does not seem to me to be an issue.”

2005

April: Treasury Secretary John Snow repeats his call for GSE reform,

2006

May: After years of Democrats blocking the legislation, Sens. Hagel, Sununu, Dole and McCain write a letter to Majority Leader William Frist and Chairman Richard Shelby expressly demanding that GSE regulatory reform be “enacted this year” to avoid “the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the Housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.”
2007

April: In “A Nightmare Grows Darker,” the New York Times writes that the “democratization of credit” is “turning the American dream of homeownership into a nightmare for many borrowers.” The “newfangled mortgage loans” called “affordability loans” “represent 60 percent of foreclosures.”

August: President Bush emphatically calls on Congress to pass a reform package for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, saying “first things first when it comes to those two in situations. Congress needs to get them reformed, get them streamlined, get them focused, and then I will consider other options.” (President George W. Bush, Press Conference, The White House, 8/9/07)

December: President Bush again warns Congress of the need to pass legislation reforming GSEs, saying “These institutions provide liquidity in the mortgage market that benefits millions of homeowners, and it is vital they operate safely and operate soundly.

2008

February: Assistant Secretary David Nason reiterates the urgency of reforms, says “A new regulatory structure for the housing GSEs is essential if these entities are to continue to perform their public mission successfully.”

March: President Bush calls on Congress to take action and “move forward with reforms on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

April: President Bush urges Congress to pass the much needed legislation and “modernize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

May: President Bush issues several pleas to Congress to pass legislation reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac before the situation deteriorates further.

President Bush publicly called for GSE reform 17 times in 2008 alone before Congress acted. Unfortunately, these warnings went unheeded, as the President’s repeated attempts to reform the supervision of these entities were thwarted by the legislative maneuvering of those who emphatically denied there were problems.

As you can plainly see Bush tried to prevent all this turmoil and grief. All to no avail. Don’t believe it? Google it. The democrats pushed these troubles upon us, and even our current President was an advocate of these destined to fail loans which lie at the root of it all.

But not Bush.

Not. His. Fault.

Al