Brains Not Included

Cracked Up, Whacked Out and Completely Out of Control

Winners and Losers Who Chooses

It’s taken me a couple of days to completely absorb the fact that a sitting president just reached into the board room of a major corporation and fired the CEO. Notice I didn’t say that the Board of Directors asked for the government’s assistance …they didn’t…

The news has been all over the place on this one, some say he needed to go. Others say the government shouldn’t have this kind of power. Even others justify the action ‘this one time’ because of all the money given to the company to keep it afloat.

As is usual with me, I have a completely different take on the situation and it is one that hasn’t dawned on many people yet. My question is not whether government should be in the business of firing CEO’s of private companies.

My questions is have we crossing some precipice? Some invisible line that takes into a dark abyss where government decides which companies succeed and which should fail.

I know many will argue that this has gone on for years visa vie tax policy and regulations and I would agree. However, when this economic mess started in earnest and we allowed the Treasury and the Feds to save some investment banks while allowing others (Lehman Bros., Bear Stearns, etc.) to fail, we started down a slippery slope.

Now we are in full slide! It’s not just which banks should be saved and which should be allowed to fail, now it’s giving one company 30 days to fix a problem and allowing another 60 days. It’s firing a CEO and putting in another by dictation rather than a vote by the Board.

When the Obama administration announced that the government would stand behind the warranty of GM’s cars, they took an even greater step towards choosing winners and losers in this economy.

I ask one simple question, how is Ford to compete with GM (Government Motors) when Government Motors has billions of our Tax dollars funding it?

I admire Ford for recognizing its problems many years ago and setting out on a goal to fix them. I admire Ford for eschewing government hand outs and showing the rugged individualism and toughness that is genuinely American.

I am genuinely worried that we are on a destructive path here. When ‘BIG’ Government gets to choose the businesses that will be winners and the ones that will be losers, the people are bound to suffer.

I need only point to one example. Take a look at the history of England. You will see that at one time the government controlled all the car companies. You will also find out that there were waiting lists months and months long to get a new car.

So get ready, if government gets to choose the winners in this economy, you could be standing in a long line for your new GM, your new ‘free’ health care and maybe even your block of government cheese very soon!

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Obama Lied; The Economy Died

Obama Lied; The Economy Died

The title of this article is one powerful statement and I was in shock when I read it. It’s the title of an article written by a conservative author, Tony Blankley.

Before you cry foul! Remember that liberal Democrats used the saying Bush Lied; People Died as the center piece of an entire campaign, not just an article in a newspaper …much more incendiary rhetoric I’d say.

Blankly, playing on this same theme makes some very good points in his op-ed piece in the Washington Post. He posits that Obama ran as one ‘thing’ but is really another.

Take the Preisdents message of ‘change’ as example #1. Obama ran on the promise of change in Washington. His stated goal was a more civil tone and more bipartisanship.

However, what we see happening is Obama and his Democratic cohorts ramming legislation down the throats of the Republican minority. His side is using tricks like only issuing legislation in printed format (not electronic) and expecting thousands of pages to be digested and voted on in just days of review.

When legislation is opposed, the President says; ‘We were elected, it’s our turn.’ And when the Republicans decide not to vote for legislation they haven’t had time to review the Obama team calls them obstructionist.

What change? Sounds like the same ole Washington to me!

There’s more, Obama professed to be for fiscal responsibility and no ear marks. Here again he has lied. We have only to look at the huge stimulus package which was one giant earmark made into law and had nothing to do with stimulating anything!

Other examples of Obama’s lies exist as well. The omnibus spending package with over 8,000 earmarks in the billions of dollars is being pushed for passage. The President says its last year’s business, BUT, if that’s true then why wasn’t it passed last year.

This is another example of the big lie. Obama claims to have inherited the Deficit and he did inherent some of the deficit but in the two months since he’s been in office, he’s tripled the size of the deficit.

The constant, persistent and now accelerated growth in spending and government regulations is killing the markets and slaying our economy. Obama ran to the center as a fiscally conservative Democrat in order to get elected, what he’s become is a Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi tax and spend style liberal!

Obama Lied; The Economy Died; how very apropos.

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Transparency Right?

Suffragette America: wham, bam, thank you mam’! Congratulations the recovery and reinvestment act is law!

Our government is borrowing and this bill is so freaking huge, both colossuses’ of Memnon couldn’t prop the thing between them if they tried. It’s ridiculous! Throughout the history of mankind this type of unchecked spending has collapsed societies.
While I am on the topic of ancient civilizations that no longer exist can I just scream out Rome! Thank you but I am dumbfounded by all of this and not in a good way. I can’t believe the people that are think certain aspects of this bill are good.
“Like, yo dude, I found an extra twenty-five dollars a week in my paycheck! It just appeared magically! Cool!” These knot heads don’t get it! Somebody will pay …all of us will pay… and we’ll pay and pay and pay!

Maybe it has all gotten to me but I see all of this borrowing as being a little like we have this giant drill and we’re boring through the earth. In the end we will pop out the other side and be siphoned into some impoverished third world nation but nobody will notice because it’s been such a slow downward spiral.
For many we are just nibbling on the sweet illusion of socialism but not quite ready for the commitment. Some are excited, some are exasperated and I just may be resigned to what is happening. Trust me I don’t want that and I am almost confident in saying that you don’t want to see it happen either, what a nightmare!
Now I know I am being a little rough on the new bill and some say we need to give it time. All I can say in my defense is that we’ve seen this before and it hasn’t worked. But this time we have ‘transparency’ so everyone can see what’s going on. Right? That makes it all different…
The seductress is Lady Transparency. She’s all dressed up for us and promises the fulfillment of our wildest fantasy, a government that is for the people, by the people and keeps the people free. A government with no corruption and where we can spend all this money and do ‘good’ for ALL people.
But underneath the seductive trappings is a two-timing tramp that is telling lies and stealing from us. You need proof, then just look at the new government web site, recovery.gov. It’s one huge piece of Socialist propaganda. The so called transparency is fiction, read the fine print and the asterisk on the site. Transparency my a**!
Hold on America! I started this blog entry with a song so I’ll end with one. Back in the USSR, you don’t know how lucky you are boy, back in the, back in the, back in the USSR!

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Shut Up and Get Out of the Way!

There …I said it! The talking heads in the government need to just shut up and get out of the way. What gives me the right to be so pointed? Well I’ll tell you.

I have a unique perspective, being one of the few people in the mortgage industry that didn’t go gonzo and make loans to every breathing Jack that walked through my door. I didn’t get rich off the housing boom and I wasn’t part of the “problem.”

I sit everyday watching the stock markets, analyzing the bond market and reading about the mortgage backed securities market trying to give my clients some direction about where interest rates are headed. Right when I think I see a trend developing, BAM! something happens that causes huge volatility in the market!

That ‘something’ that causes volatility and turns good markets into bad is usually very simple to identify. It is a press conference. Not just any press conference, it’s usually a press conference by the President or one of his newly appointed minions.

Case in fact, on Tuesday, February 10, 2009, Sec. Tres. Geihtner has a press conference to announce how the Treasury plans to move forward to ‘fix’ the crisis, the markets tank and theirs huge volatility everywhere. It’s not directional, it’s just panic selling without solid trends. It’s mindless and crazy.

So what’s going on? Well the markets begin to settle and everyone is becoming comfortable. In many cases trends are forming and they are good trends, Whew! We can breath a sigh of relief right?

Wrong! Before a good trend has a chance to take hold and before the capitalism side of our capitalist economy can begin to do what it does, someone from the government announces some new spending, printing or borrowing plan that throws everything out of whack again.

The markets can fix themselves with some oversight and some slight tightening of regulations. But before a real fix can take hold two things have to happen!

One, the government has to Shut Up! Stop telling the markets what your going to do and start listening to what the markets are saying. Step two, is to supply the markets with what they say the need! THEN….. GET OUT OF THE WAY!

If the government officials would quit trying to get face time so they can claim credit for the fix then the fix would come a lot sooner. I for one am tired of seeing the people that got us in this mess claim that they have the fix to get us out.

And I dare you to tell me there’s a whole new crowd in charge now and they didn’t have anything to do with this mess, come on….I dare you… 😉

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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Finally we might get some movement on solving the bank and mortgage mess! It is about time. I’ve always said if the problem is really bad loans then get them out of the system and everything will be fine.

Now we here that’s exactly what might happen. New Tres. Sec., Timothy Gheithner has suggested the creation of a ‘bad bank’. This bank would be an aggregator used to accumulate the loans that are in default, essentially removing them from banks books and getting them out of the system.

This ‘bad bank’ would absorb all of the delinquent assets and turn our banks back into ‘good banks’ again! Stupendous. But wait, here’s the ugly part, there’s not enough money left in the TARP fund to buy all the bad loans.

The answer might be to seek investment capital from the private sector. With enough government guarantees on returns, that money might come flowing in fast and furious. However, the real ugly part would be if the American tax payer were to be burdened further with those guarantees.

For now all we can do is take a wait and see stance on this. This is the most logical decision to be made by the Treasury since this whole thing started over two years ago.

Let’s hope Timothy ‘the dodger’ Geithner is right. I think he is, it’s what the economist I follow have been saying for a while ….and they are all conservatives so maybe they all got it right this time.

What? ‘the dodger’ comment above? What’s that all about? Sorry, it’s just my swipe at yet another Obama appointment where the appointee had a tax problem….but that’s a subject for another blog isn’t it.

Sorry, back to the subject at hand. If the Secretary of Tresury is correct on this one, the fix could be in and we might see our economy improve as early as the 4th quarter of this year.

But the recovery may still be blunted if the Democrats are successfully in Porking America again with this huge, over inflated, pork barrel, pig belly so called stimulus package. Again, we will all just have to wait and see…..zzzzz…..zzzzz….. Somebody wake me up when this nightmare is over please! 😉

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To One Sided

Okay, I just realized something. I’ve been to one sided. I’m bashing the so-called stimulus plan, referring to it as a huge chunk of pork. It really is nothing more than one giant ‘earmark’ written as a law.

But that’s not the point I want to make today. Along come the Republicans and they band together and not a single Republican votes for the bill. They rant about the pork and they rave about the lie Obama supposedly told about working with both parties.

The one thing they don’t do is offer any viable solutions themselves! Tax cuts is cannot be the end-all/be-all answer for the Republican Party every time their is an economic crisis. The answer must be radical change, but not in the way that the dems want. More spending is NOT the answer either!

These guys just don’t get it! We need real change! Change, real change, would be the elimination of the tax code as we know it. You want to talk change, let’s change our economy from a spending economy to a saving economy by installing the Fair Tax! That’s real change.

Change would be the elimination of Corporate Taxes. Everybody talks a good game about bringing manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. but nobody is doing anything about it! Imagine if corporations didn’t pay any tax at all! (well they don’t really, we pay the tax in the form of higher prices on goods and services)

All that money would be enough to make up for the extortion large manufacturers pay to the Unions. That’s CHANGE!

Nobody gets it. Obama hasn’t changed anything yet, he’s just changed who’s in charge. We still have the same old politics. The Republicans need to quit complaining and start offering us something real.

Just pinning the bad ideas on the Democrats so that they get full credit when these ideas fail …and believe me, they will fail… is not good for America. If Republicans want to be seen as more than obstructionist, then they need to propose real and radical change!

“Change we can believe in”, it’s what Americans thought we voted for, now can we get some please?!

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Porked Again!

While the President lectures America’s CEO’s about excessive pay and the Vice Pres plays buddy-buddy with Al Gore, the Democratically controlled Congress voted to hand $93,000 to each and every member!

So the earmarking will stop under the Obama administration, right? Of course that’s unless you take into consideration that the $800 billion stimulus is nothing but one HUGE earmark!

Now the Dems have found a new way around future earmarks, you need only look at their most recent actions. They just gave themselves $93,000 per congressman as pocket change.

It’s being sold to us as ‘a necessary increase to help out constituents’. Bull Sh%#! It’s an earmark without being an earmark!

It has been intimated by the Vice President that its patriotic to pay taxes. It has been suggested by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi that we all have to tighten our belts. So tell me something, why don’t the politicians have to tighten theirs?

I thought we were going to get some leadership out of the Obama administration. Turns out we’re all just getting Porked Again!

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Here Today but Tomorrow? Not so much!

So the stimulus package is here! Yeah! The Dems are here to save the day. They intend to dump $800 billion dollars into the economy! That should get things moving again!

What? What do you mean only 3% of that money will make it into the economy over the next 18 months. Huh? How come 25% of the money isn’t spent until 11 YEARS from now?

I’ll tell you why, because ramming this particular spending package (notice I didn’t call it a stimulus) through is nothing more than an attempt to create bigger government programs well into the future. This idea is as bad as the idea to stop charging payroll taxes on people making less than $50,000 per year.

You haven’t heard much about how the tax break works because its a really, really bad idea as well. We all know that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are underfunded and virtually insolvent. We also know that the ‘payroll’ tax is what supposedly funds them.

So what’s our solution to the problem? To have even less money come in to fund these programs? What?

We need a new program in America. We need to change this economy from a ‘spending’ economy to a ‘savings’ economy. We can’t do that if the government keeps spending, spending and spending some more.

Taking away the payroll tax for some and not all is not the right step. The right step is scrapping the entire income tax system all together. Change our system to a consumption tax.

With a consumption tax, like the Fair Tax, every time someone buys something the government gets paid. Think about all those illegal aliens that burden our hospitals and school systems.

They would not be under the ‘tax radar’ anymore. They buy food, they pay tax. They buy gas, they pay tax. Heck, they buy anything, they pay a tax!

Our poorer citizens, you know the real Americans ….the ones that were born here or did the right thing and did what was necessary to stay here legally… those people would get a card to rebate them for the tax they paid!

That would transform our economy from spenders to savers! What’s so wrong with that. There are many excuses why it can’t be done, but those excuses are mostly made by politicians that would lose power and be forced to come up with REAL solutions to REAL problems.

Let’s force the politicians to stop pitting us against each other based on whose wealthy and whose not and lets stop electing our politicians based on who will tax you less or who will rape the rich! It’s time for a paradigm shift in the way we operate. Stop spending and save!

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To Big To Fail

There is a huge problem right now and it’s about to cost the American economy even more money! It is the concept of ‘to big to fail.’

That’s what was said about Chrysler back in the late 80’s when they received their first bailout in the form of a loan from the federal tax payer. That’s what happened with the Savings & Loan bailout that created the Resolution Trust Corporation.

To big to fail? Didn’t we learn our lesson? Now we’re at it again. Banks that are to big to fail! The problem was the repeal Glass-Steagall Act and Clinton’s signing of Grahm, Leach, Bliley which deregulated the banks, securities and insurance companies allowing them to compete with each other and even combine operations.

Now CitiGroup is ‘un’grouping and Bank of America (who thought it would be a good idea to swallow up Countrywide Home Loans) is getting another infusion of capital from the Feds. We’re talking tens of billions of dollars of our money!

Well, as I think about it, I guess it isn’t our money yet. From what I understand the Feds have the printing press ramped up and ROLLING! The green stuffs flying off the presses faster than lemmings over a cliff! (excuse the obscure reference to a 1980’s arcade game, but you know, I’m olde! LOL)

The point here is that we keep buying into this to big to fail concept. Now we’re creating a situation where our debt is escalating from an already unfathomable high amount and the dilution of our currency may some day create hyper inflation!

It has to stop! Yes, there will be some pain. We have to remember that we have bankruptcy laws for a reason. It’s so businesses can restructure.

The bottom line is that we need to restructure our entire economy. We need to change from a spending economy to a savings economy and the only way to do that is to leave this ‘to big to fail’ concept in the trash heap and change our tax system from an income tax to an embedded consumption tax like the Fair Tax.

I mean, what are we thinking? Do we believe the World will look at America and decide that we are to big to fail? Doubtful, they’ll cheer while they watch our collapse. Time to wake up before we reach the point of no return. The we really do fail.

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Taxes Must Be Voluntary?

Timothy Geithner is approved or as the next Sec. Tres. Who is Geithner? If you believe what many senators and congressmen and women have said about him, he’s one of the most important appointees to be considered since the Carter Administration!

Geithner’s resume is long and distinguished and it’s true that he’s not dolt. You don’t get to be the President of the New York Region Federal Reserve without having some solid smarts!

But here’s my problem. Mr. Geithner has had some tax problems, as in, he didn’t pay them. That’s right, he ‘avoid’ paying some taxes through an accounting error.

When pressured about how he managed to miss calculate his tax liability to the tune of more the $40,000, Mr Geitner was more than disingenuous. He blamed the mistake on the fact that he uses Turbo Tax to calculate his return and ‘the program’ must have missed something.

Here’s the interesting thing, the mainstream media gave him a pass. His lofty stature and humongous brain are just to important to America in this critical time. So much for objectivity int he news media.

My problem with this entire situation is not that he miscalculated his tax burden by more money than many people make in a years time, my problem is with the nonchalance he displayed in dealing with the issue. I have a real problem with this ‘big brain’ not being able to figure out his taxes or at least being smart enough to understand that NONE of us can figure them out and that’s why we have to pay others to do it for us!

Let’s up their correct, let’s hope his ‘big brain’ can get us out of this economic mess and the country moving again!

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