Posts Tagged ‘Freedom’

Republican Debate – My Answers

June 15, 2011

Two nights ago was the New Hampshire Republican debate on CNN. While I am a big supporter of Ron Paul, I don’t think his message was simple enough for the mainstream voters to consume. He jumped over his simple talking points about the Federal Reserve, Austrian Economics, Sound Money and Blowback among others and went right into rants that were valid, but made him sound more like a fringe candidate than a serious one.

I’m not saying that the two “winners,” Mitt Romney or Michelle Bachmann said anything of substance, but their message was well packaged. If Congressman Paul could just stick to clear, concise points while still spreading his message of liberty and Constitutionalism, he would come out as a clear frontrunner.

I only watched the first part of the debate last night, but if I had to give a response to some of the questions that were asked, here are a few:

1. What is your plan to create manufacturing  jobs in the US?

Currently in the United States, we have a service based economy. We do not have a manufacturing/production based one like we had in the past. Most of the manufacturing of products we import is in China or other Asian countries. The only way we are going to start manufacturing here is that we need the capital and labor to compete with China. In “capital,” I mean machines and resources. We need to invest in these machines so we can be competitive. Even if labor and materials are cheaper in China, we still have to ship all those products across the Pacific Ocean. It’s not really as efficient as we think. There is opportunity for us to start producing products again.

First, we need to cut the corporate tax to zero. There is no need to tax corporate profits and then tax them again when they get distributed to employees as pay. Second, we need to encourage investment in American capital. The easiest way to do this is to get the Federal Government out of economic planning. Stop subsidizing certain industries. Let the market decide what industries and products we should develop. We could be throwing money down the drain because an industry we are supporting might not be able to exist without the subsidies. That makes no economic sense and would never exist in a market based economy.

Bottom line is that we need to make things again, and in order to do that we need to let the market work and the capital invested here at home to do that.

2. What are your feelings on “Right to Work”?

Personally, I believe that the Federal Government should not be involved in the hiring process of a private company. However, we have installed labor laws that call for a closed shop if half of the workers decide to unionize. So, “Right to Work” is a counter to these regulations, but it really doesn’t work. It would be easier to defund the National Labor Relations Board and repeal labor laws that interfere with hiring process of a private firm, union or not.

Let the company, workers, and the market decide what they want to do. If Company A wants to run a closed shop with union employees, let them. If Company B wants to use non-union labor, there’s nothing wrong with that either. The point is that the Federal Government should just stay out of it altogether.

3. How would you build consensus within the Republican Party, not just Tea Partiers?

I feel the message of freedom and liberty are what the Founding Fathers of our nation wanted. This should resonate with every American, not just Republicans or Democrats. To me, it should be easy to build consensus to get the government out of our lives, out of the private sector and out of foreign wars and entanglements.

Then you would be free to live your life the way you want. Businesses will be able to hire people and deliver new and innovative products to the market. We would stop spending hundreds of billions of dollars overseas and would be able to pass that savings along to the taxpayers.

We need to remember the reasons for the Constitution that the Framers had in mind at the time. We broke away from a too powerful and distant foreign central government. This country was founded on the principle of limited central government and if we remember that, building a consensus should not be too difficult.

As I watch more of the debate tonight, I’ll post more answers. Your comments are always welcome. Thanks for reading.

Typical Republicans in Orange County

April 28, 2009

On April 20th, the Orange County GOP Committee voted in favor of a resolution that gives a vote of “no confidence” to the new Sheriff and her concealed carry weapons (CCW) stance.  She wants to review and revoke CCW permits that were already issued.  You can read about the vote here on the RedCounty.com site.

The first steps in eliminating the freedom of the masses is to disarm them.  That is why the Founding Fathers wrote the Second Amendment.  We have the right to bear arms in order to keep a tyrannical government from taking over.  The point is that if the authorities are armed, the citizens should be as well.

It’s fine that the Republicans in my county want to stand up for the rights of gun owners.  Supposedly, they also stand for small government, freedom, liberty and the Constitution.  Then how do you get to this statement?

Finally, we call for the elimination of waiting periods to purchase firearms and instead support complete implementation of instant background checks.

So, what the Orange County GOP is saying is that they believe in the Constitution, the Second Amendment, limited government, freedom, liberty and the right for the Federal Government, led by the FBI, to maintain a database with our names and any records that would deny us from purchasing a gun.  

How can you be for small government and freedom and liberty when you are relying on a central database maintained by the FBI?  This is exactly the kind of big government Republicans are supposed to be against.  

As a proponent of the Constitution, freedom, liberty and small government, I would sacrifice the “instant background check” for one that was performed by a third party that took a few days.  They would then destroy the records so that no one can use them for other purposes.  

Any power we grant the central government is abused.  By trying to appease the gun lobby, Republicans fall right back into the big government trap by letting the central government maintain a database of our personal information.  The GOP needs to start really standing for limited government and individual liberty, not just paying lip service to it.

The Police State Puzzle Taking Shape

April 16, 2009

There have been a number of police state measures recently that might look benign at first, but when you put them all together the picture becomes awfully scary.  While there might not be a coordinated effort or specific target group, there is enough momentum going that anyone who speaks out against the government could have their homes raided and be detained and jailed.

It started after 9/11, when we were outraged that the government could not protect us from coordinated terrorist attacks.  At the time, we wanted the government to be able to listen in on potential terrorists.  After all, the authorities said that if they were coordinated and were allowed to access information, they could have prevented the tragedy.

This led to the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security and their program of listening in on our phone conversations, checking our internet browsing history, and being able to detain suspected terrorists without charging them with a crime.  Of course, the government told us that they were only spying on suspected terrorists, so none of us thought twice about it.

Over time, the efforts of the DHS have made some arrests that have resulted in convictions.  Other efforts though, have detained foreigners and US citizens for years without any charges being filed.  The government alleges that some of these detainees were fighting for Al Qaeda and aiding the enemy.  If this were the case, why weren’t they leveling charges?  If their allegations cannot hold up in a court, they should let the “terrorist” go.

In a separate effort, the Federal Government, led by agents from the FBI and IRS have been raiding homes of high profile individuals under the guise of “tax charges.”  Just recently, twenty agents raided the home of Barry Bonds’s trainer, Greg Anderson’s mother-in-law.  While this was clearly an intimidation technique to try and get Anderson to testify against Bonds, it was completely legal in the government’s eyes because of “tax charges.”  If they sent 20 agents to her house, then hundreds must have surely shown up at Tim Geithner and Tom Daschle’s homes, right?

Another example of the Federal Government’s new authority to raid the homes of private citizens has been playing out in family or co-op farms in the Midwest.  In Ohio, a family was raided by federal agents from the Food and Drug Administration because they were selling organic produce without the proper permits.  The agents seized the food from the co-op and food that belonged to the family.  They also took the family’s computer and went through all of their belongings.  Couldn’t they have just issued them a letter or met with the family?  Was this force necessary?  The scary part is that the government believed they were acting within the law.

So, now we’ve established that the government can spy on you  and detain you indefinitely if they think you are a terrorist, and they can raid your home and seize your property on bogus charges.

This now takes us to a case in a town near me, Tustin, California, where a Muslim man was arrested by Federal Agents on immigration fraud charges.  However, the entire story revolves around this man and how he donated money to a charity that was sympathetic to Al Qaeda, how his brother-in-law at one point was an associate of Osama bin Laden, and how this man said on a wiretapped phone conversation that bin Laden was “an angel.”  The agents raided his home and went through and seized his belongings and financial statements.  All this for lying on his immigration papers? The real reason is because they are going after him for being a “terrorist” but they do not have enough evidence to convict him.

While I do not know what the outcome of the trial will be.  If he indeed lied on his papers, then he should be punished.  The actions of the government though, allowing them to spy on us and raid our homes for reasons completely unrelated to what we are being charged.  It’s like getting a speeding ticket and having the government come and raid your home and take your computer for it.  It might keep us safe a fraction of the time, but it encroaches on all of our civil rights the majority of it.

So far though, most of the spying was relegated to “terrorists.”  Just yesterday though, I read a new DHS report about “right wing extremists” and how they could be forming militias in response to the bailouts and the recession we’re in.  The DHS was warning local law enforcement to be on the lookout for them.  These extremists would recruit soldiers returning from Iraq and turn them against the government.  In order for the DHS to look unbiased, they also said that they are investigating left-wing groups as well.  So, as long as you’re spying on both groups, it’s okay?

The question now, and what all this has been building towards, is “at what point do these ‘extremists’ become ‘terrorists’ in the government’s eyes?”  If the government went after someone for calling Osama bin Laden an “angel” in a private conversation, will they go after Rush Limbaugh for wanting Obama to fail?  Will they raid supporters of Ron Paul who believe in the Constitution and small government?  Will anyone who disagrees with Washington a “terrorist”?

We are told they are there to keep us safe, but government will almost always abuse their powers and overstep their limits.  The Justice Department came out with a report today saying the DHS survelliance program has violated the law by going past the legal bounds.  How are we supposed trust the government to keep us safe when they can be listening to your phone conversations or monitoring your internet use right now?  We need to wake up and see these police state measures as the violations of our rights that they really are.

Good or Bad News?

April 10, 2009

Today, a source close to the Treasury Department said that no banks failed the government mandated “stress test” and would have to be shut down.  He went on to say that some banks would still need more capital injections.  The story is linked here.

While to the layperson, this looks like good news, to a supporter of the free markets, this is just more bad news.

First, the banks administered the stress tests themselves, and then submitted their results to the Treasury.  How are we to be certain they were being honest?  Of course, they would not want to show that they were going to fail, so why do we put any faith in this report?  If a bank came out and said, “we failed,” their stock would plummet and depositors would immediately withdraw their money.

Second, in the same statement, the source said some companies would still need more government aid.  So, doesn’t that mean these banks that need aid failed?  If they passed, they should not need any more propping up by the Federal Government.  If they still need more money, they can still fail, stress test or not.  That’s just common sense.

And finally, how can we be in the midst of one of the worst banking crises in the history of the US, and only a handful of firms have failed?  We have Lehman, Bear, Wachovia, and WaMu.  That’s it!  We need to weed out the bad apples, now.  We can’t keep propping up everyone.  The government is going about this all wrong, pre-emptively saving banks.  If the government should get involved, it should be after the banks fail, helping clean up the mess.  At least this way the rotten firms and bad assets would be liquidated, and we would be able to move on.

There is always more to the story than what the media and government reports.   Initially, the story might sound like good news, but if you read between the lines and put two and two together, you see that it is just a positive spin on more bad news.  The solution to our crisis is simple:  let the bad banks fail and liquidate the bad debts.  The sooner we allow this to happen, the sooner we will return to prosperity.

All in the Name of Financial Stability

March 24, 2009

So far, we’ve approved a $750 billion bailout package, a $800 billion stimulus package, and set aside $750 billion for more bailouts.  Also, the Federal Reserve has expanded its balance sheet by over a trillion dollars of printed money, and the FDIC has changed its rules to insure hundreds of billions more than before.

All of this has been done in the name of “Financial Stability,” but the economy has been anything but stable since the Federal Government started getting involved.  They keep talking about the disaster that will happen if they don’t intervene.  Do they not realize we are in the worst recession since the Great Depression?  Their constant meddling and half-baked plans have prolonged the recession and could lead to the demise of our economy.

Now, we have Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner announcing some new plan where the government will form a public/private partnership with investors to buy $1 trillion in bad debts from banks.  Supposedly, for every $100 in bad loans, the government will put in $7, a private investor will put in $7, and the FDIC will provide insurance or loans for the other $86.

The big problem is that we still have not set a price for these securities, and that will be a big factor in how this plays out.  If we they are bought at an inflated price, the government and the taxpayers will definitely be footing the bill.  Geithner has crafted this plan exactly how his Wall Street and hedge fund buddies want – no risk for them and unlimited risk for the taxpayer.

Today, Geithner also plans to ask Congress for new powers, allowing the Treasury to intervene in “troubled” businesses early on, restructure them and sell assets, all in the name of “financial stability.”  Who knows what “troubled” means?  Does it mean their favorite firms?  Does it mean letting their old competitors fail?  Will the books of every company be open to the Fed to review whenever they want?  This is a dangerous power grab by the Executive Branch, and Congress, led by blowhard airheads Pelosi and Reid, is sure to just roll over.

Geithner’s partner in crime, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is also calling for more regulation to prevent excessive bonuses and to prevent another recession, in the name of “financial stability.”  Why must we always place regulations after the fact?  Just like after the Enron debacle, we created Sarbanes-Oxley, which put an enormous burden on US companies, and made a few big software companies a ton of money.

There are already ways to discourage the kind of behavior that led to the crisis we’re in.  They’re called bankruptcy and fraud.  If we let firms fail, businesses in the future will know they cannot take excessive risks and invest in all sorts of complicated investments.  If we let them fail, then the government can get involved cleaning up the mess, not trying to prop up and save a sinking ship.  The bankruptcy system works!  It allows us to get rid of debt that will not be repaid and cleanses the system of all of these “toxic assets.”

Also, we need to charge all of these executives of big banks, ratings agencies, and hedge funds for fraud.  How did all of these subprime loans end up rated AAA?  How did all of these complex derivatives get sold and rated?  Because all of the players were in bed together.  We hear Obama talk all the time about how greed got us here, and that’s true.  Some of this greed was illegal, and we need to bring those to justice, not punish the taxpayers!

If we keep going about the bailouts the way we are now, we will keep throwing our money away.  We’ve already wasted trillions of dollars in the name of “financial stability” and it has made our economy worse.  We need to let firms fail and bring those who were responsible for this to justice.

If we do this, firms in the future will not make these bad decisions again.  Since we are just letting everyone get away with it, though, we are creating a moral hazard where those that made bad decisions get all the help.

The path we are going down will do anything but lead to “financial stability” and the unintended consequences are going to lead to more power for the executive branch and less freedom and liberty for the American people.

Thanks for Pointing out the Obvious Jon Stewart

March 13, 2009

This week Jon Stewart, the host of the Daily Show, has been making headlines for his ridicule and criticism of CNBC.  He even had Jim Cramer on yesterday and showed him clips of how wrong he was.  All Cramer could do was admit he was wrong.

Stewart even said he couldn’t find an analyst that predicted the downturn, but Peter Schiff was on CNBC many times and was dead right.  Stewart was probably too busy laughing like the rest of the people on CNBC to remember.

While Stewart is doing a good job of raising awareness that CNBC journalists, analysts, and companies do not always provide correct information, he is just restating the obvious.  Of course, it’s easy to show how wrong the people on CNBC were in the face of the worst stock market collapse in decades.  He’s just piling on harder than most people.

If Jon Stewart is so smart, where was he during the whole real estate boom?  Where was he telling us all that there was a commodities bubble when a barrel was at $140?  Why wasn’t he telling us that the stock market was going to crash?

If you want some advice from real economists you should visit www.mises.org, lewrockwell.com, campaignforliberty.com, and ronpaul.com.  Instead of some funny-man just criticizing CNBC and offering no solutions, you can learn about our economy, stock markets, and banking system and make decisions for yourself.

Real Debate Over Spending is Needed

March 11, 2009

Today, President Obama signed the $410 billion “Omnibus Spending Bill” which will fund our government for the rest of 2009.  In case you didn’t know (I didn’t until I looked it up) omnibus means that it is multiple budgets and programs all rolled into one big bill.  So, rather than medicare going in as its own item, it is tied with social security, education, and all other government programs.

The big debate today was about the 8,000 or so earmarks that totaled around $8 billion.  Earmarks get a bad rap because they go directly to wasteful pet projects of our representatives.  This money though, had already been allocated and was going to be spent anyway.  The only difference is who was going to spend it – Congressmen or government bureaucrats.

These earmarks are a symptom of the wasteful government spending, not the beginning and end of it.  We need to look at the real problem, which is massive government spending in first place.  We need to be debating the other $402 billion, and the record $1.45 trillion budget deficit for 2009 alone!  Everyone wants to reform earmarks.  Why not get rid of them altogether?

We need to realize that government (not just ours but any) has no source of income.  They need to create it, which comes in the forms of taxes, fees, and tariffs.  These massive budget deficits will either be paid for by raising taxes on us, or on our children and grandchildren.

We need to open up the debate and stop bickering about 2% of the spending of the entire government.  What happened to Obama’s “line by line” speech about the budget?  Do you think he read the 1,100 page spending bill line for line?  In a time when we need to start to save and practice sound economic principles, our leaders are throwing around billions of dollars like it’s nothing.  We’ve become so desensitized to huge, hundred billion dollar figures that we don’t even look at it twice.

We need to start over.   Just scrap the every government program and eliminate all taxes and start from scratch.  Only fund what is truly necessary and efficient, and then tax to only make up that amount.  We would all have more money and better run programs.  We can’t keep reforming and patching up broken government departments.  It’s beyond repair.

We need real debate and new ideas.  We need to open up the arguments that are off-limits in the media.  The debate right now is too narrow and they have us all focused on $8 billion, instead of on the other $402 billion.

The Fallacy of Obama’s Foreclosure Plan

February 23, 2009

I am adamantly against President Obama’s new $275 billion foreclosure prevention plan.  The idea of helping people stay in their homes is a noble one, however government is ill-equipped to take on such a task.

The main argument I’ve heard is that foreclosures are bad for everyone because they lower the value of homes in your neighborhood.  Therefore, we have to help people avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes.

My question to anyone who supports this plan is simple:  How will helping a person across the country avoid foreclosure help my property value?

If we wanted to help our neighborhood home values so much, why wouldn’t we all pool our money together and get $10 from each household to go to a fund to help pay our neighbor’s mortgage?  That would do more good than Obama’s massive spending plan.  Wouldn’t we, as a neighborhood know who to help and who to let fail?  Wouldn’t we be able to see what homes are worth saving?  How is a government bureaucracy going to know better?

The amount of faith we are placing in the Federal Government baffles me more and more every day.  We continue to think that politicians in Washington who have never been to your neighborhood are smarter than experts that work there every day.  If I really wanted to pay for my neighbor’s mortgage, I would.  What I really don’t want to have is my tax dollars used to pay off someone all the way across the country.  The program makes absolutely no sense.

It is the constant meddling of government in the markets that is dragging our economy into a deeper hole.  Until we let the market work, we are going to keep delaying the inevitable.  Even if the government reduced the interest rate to ZERO on 40% of the homes facing foreclosure, the people still wouldn’t be able to make the payments.  Why waste our tax dollars on supporting something that is bound to fail?

Staving off foreclosures sounds like a great idea, but in reality, Obama’s plan is just spreading the wealth all over the country, taking your tax dollars and giving to someone across the country who made bad decisions.

More Government Equals More Recession

February 22, 2009

The latest headlines have the government taking a larger stake in Citi, upping it’s share to 40%.  This is just going to stretch out the recession we’re in even longer.  If they are going to take a stake in the failing bank, the Feds need to stop taking baby steps and flat out nationalize already.

Of course, letting the banks fail and letting the free markets work is out of the question now.  The reason is that government intervention has eliminated failure as an option.  It’s a tangled mess that all went back to the original TARP plan, that in hindsight, looks like what we needed.

The entire problem with the system right now is that there is too much bad debt and malinvestment.  The original goal of the TARP was to eliminate this debt.  Instead, though, the Feds realized that if they actually determined the market value for these securities, a lot of banks would fail.  They then modified the TARP to give money directly to the banks, so they could offset their bad assets.  This failed because the assets were basically worthless and no amount of money could offset the malinvestment.

So, here we are, with the banks still in the same predicament, and the taxpayers on the hook for $300-$700 billion.  We don’t the exact number because the government lost count somewhere along the way.  Remember, as protection for the taxpayers, we got shares in the banks.  So if they fail or get nationalized, we lose all our money.  Everyone else gets away for free while the taxpayers are left holding the bag.

Everyone talks about how bad the failures of Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, and Washington Mutual were.  Honestly, though, they weren’t that bad compared to the Great Depression II Obama is trying to create.  Shareholders lost everything, the bond holders got 20 cents on the dollar and a lot of people got screwed, but the failure was pretty orderly.  The bankruptcy system and the method of failure works.  Sure, it’s painful, but at least we know what we’re getting and we can move on.

We’re in a situation now where no one wants to let the banks fail, and we will bankrupt the nation and the taxpayers in order to make it work.  We’ve already been screwed over enough, and a couple more months of pain from the failure of a few more banks isn’t going to kill us.  Just get it over with so we can move on.  Don’t keep stringing this charade out.

The more the government gets involved, the bigger the conflict of interest and the bigger the problem gets.  We need the liquidate the bad debt.  Plain and simple.  We need failure and we need the free markets to work.  Why are we going to prop up these banks that made the terrible decisions that got us here?  It’s absolute nonsense.

Obama’s Victory is America’s Loss

February 16, 2009

So, President Obama got his first “political victory” last week with the passage of his $700 billion stimulus package.  His win is now a loss for every taxpayer in America.

Is this what Obama’s “Hope” and “Change” has already come down to?  Political victories? What happened to reaching across the aisle and all the change he was supposed to bring?  So far, Obama’s policies and tactics look a lot like those of the last administration.

I understand the urge to help.  We all have our ideas on how to get this country going again.  I just don’t see how throwing a huge amount of money like a blanket on the nation is going to help anything.  How is building roads or filling potholes going to create lasting jobs?  This is just a huge patch job on a horribly broken system.

Also, this plan was so hastily put together that massive amounts of wasteful government spending has been packed into it.  How did the government come up with all the dollar amounts?  Was it calculated using all available data, or was it pulled out of some Senator’s butt? And how does $50 million towards the arts, $1 billion for ACORN, and tax breaks for golf carts and motorcycles help the economy?  It’s just “pork” under a new name.

And please don’t try to tell me about all the pork the trimmed from this stimulus package.  It was $850 billion and reduced to just over $700 billion.  We’re still talking about hundreds of billions of dollars!  If they really want to cut it, they should have cut it by about $800 billion.  This was all just eye-wash, making us think that our government is looking out for how they spend our money.

Instead of spending so much taxpayer money, Obama should be letting us keep more of our hard-earned money.  His “Make Work Pay” tax cut is downright laughable.  Thirteen bucks a week!  Hooray, now I can afford to pay off my mortgage and go out and buy a new car and plasma TV.

The Federal Government gets about $2.1 trillion each year in income tax receipts.  Instead of spending $700 billion, how about we cut all of our taxes by 33 percent?  Wouldn’t that benefit each and every one of us and stimulate our economy more than just handing out money to pet projects?

I know Obama is trying to help, but his “victory” is really a huge loss for America.  He had a chance to really help our economy, but instead is resorting to the printing presses just like the Bush Administration.  Government intervention and spending is what got us into the hole we’re in now, and more of it is not going to get us out.