Sunday, July 15, 2012

Crony Capitalism

The following is a direct quote from BARRON'S magazine, July 9, 2012:

Crony Capitalism
Countrywide Financial, now owned by Bank of America, gave discount loans to members of the U.S. Congress and Fannie Mae Executives while it lobbied to combat legislation that would have restricted its sales of subprime mortgages, according to a House committee report based on a three-year inquiry. 

Do we need to know more than that?  Our elected officials accepted preferred terms from an organization that was simultaneously lobbying them to vote against a law that would inhibit their ability to sell subprime mortgages.  The very segment of the market that was at the center of the financial meltdown in 2008.

Private sector employees go to jail for that kind of thing.  Where is the outrage?  Where is the remedy?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


After the British won the French and Indian War in 1763 they had a debt problem that needed a solution.  In Washington, a Life, Ron Chernow writes, "The national debt of Great Britain, inflated by military spending, had swollen to a stupendous 130 million pounds, with annual interest payments of 4.5 million pounds engrossing more than half the national budget."(136)

Sound familiar?

The British solution was to institute the highly unpopular Stamp Act which shifted the tax burden of the war to the colonists.  Without their agreement.

Sound familiar?

The only difference is that our deficit does not come entirely from defense spending.  Rather, entitlements are overwhelming federal spending.  Heritage reports--contrary to what the average media report suggests:  "Defense spending has declined significantly over time, even when the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are included, as spending on the three major entitlements—Social SecurityMedicare, and Medicaid—has more than tripled."  

Entitlements are snuffing the life out of our future. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Debt, According to George Washington

Ron Chernow's Washington, A Life is a rich history of the life and character of George Washington.  Dense but delightful, we see Washington in a light not explored in grade school history books.  That is too bad because Washington was a complex man whose character was a deliberate evolution of his desire to, above all, do the right thing. In every area of his life.

Consider Washington's advice to his nephew on the subject of debt:  "there is no practice more dangerous than that of borrowing money...for when money can be had in this way, repayment is seldom thought of in time...Exertions to raise it by dint of industry ceases. It comes easy and is spent freely and many things indulged in would never be thought of, if to be purchased by the sweat of the brow (emphasis mine).  In the mean time, the debt is accumulating like a snowball in rolling" (108). 

Those representing us in Washington should consider Washington's words.  As should each of us.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Multitude of Incompatible Desires

In 2010 Dr. Benjamin Wiker wrote a book entitle 10 Books Every Conservative Must Read.  The first book discussed is Aritstotle's The Politics, then G.K. Chersterton's Orthodoxy and eventually Wiker comes to C.S. Lewis' The Abolition of Man.  

Abolition is a compact erudite analysis of the Innovator and his impact on society through his devotion to Instinct.  When it suits.  In his introduction to Lewis, Wiker writes:  That is why the inherent drive of liberalism to remove all limits to the human will inevitably bring it to transform, stage by stage, a good form of government into its evil opposite, a republic into a mild democracy, a mild democracy into extreme democracy, and extreme democracy into tyranny. (emphasis mine) 

While it might, in the abstract, sound delightfully libertarian to allow everyone to "live as he wants to whatever end he happens to crave," the reality is that it leads not to a society of sturdy, self-reliant citizens (Aristotle would have been all in favor of that), but to a selfish, pleasure addicted populace pulling government in manifold and contradictory directions to satisfy a multitude of incompatible desires.

Wiker explains that the politicians make promises to fulfill the "multitude of incompatible desires."  To meet these promises, they print reams of money and borrow in epic proportions.  As the system becomes unstable and begins to collapse, the people call for a leader to "bring them out of the crisis."  The result is concentrating ever more power in government, which is how extreme democracy leads to tyranny. 

Healthcare for all.  Free Contraception. Abortion on Demand.  Taxpayer funded cell phones for the poor.  Government advertisements recruiting  Food Stamp recipients to refer their friends.  Porous borders to beef up liberal voting rolls.  Less military.  More entitlement.  Less salt and sugar. More pot.  A multitude of incompatible desires courtesy of an extraordinary liberal government.

Right out of the Progressive textbook.