The last 10 days or so I was roaming the Scottish country side with 3 friends. We were basically hiking in open fields and on windy seaside hills, up and down the east coast of this ruggedly pretty land. To relieve some of the tedium that can occur during 5 hour hikes, we hired some people at each location to carry around light bags with steel "sticks" in them. We also purchased some tightly wound balls with white covers. Every 300-800 feet or so we would strike a ball with one of the sticks. This is called "golf". On 9/11 we were treated to some British pilots practicing for a September 12th air show over the North Sea in St Andrews. It was stunning.
The weekend after Labor Day puts the final punctuation on Summer. So "School" is officially back, and the political wars are also back in full swing. Here are 3 battles and skirmishes to watch.These are what the tea party people (about half of America) are also watching---and not liking it one bit.
This is the Big Kahuna. It is hard to believe anyone with economic training is happy with the Democrat's proposals. They call for more government intervention, mandates, regulations, panels, commissions, taxes, compelled behavior, etc.. This is exactly the opposite direction reform should take. Many have written on this, as have I--What Next: "Universal Food Insurance"? . The president is really off in the ozone on this. Liberal columnist Bob Herbert agrees the government cannot both increase the number of insured while not raising the deficit. But this is obvious. Why is Obama so set on pushing something this disliked and distrusted? Since all money/economic transfer payment policies are fundamentally designed to benefit some group at the expense of others, these health care proposals are a mystery to me. I have not yet figured out who benefits. But it is clear who the marks are. And when did 47 million "uninsured" become 30 million? Until last Wednesday, this 47 million number was a liberal mantra. Isn't this disturbing?
will be as nasty as we have seen in DC for some time. It will be a
three way war: Liberal Democrats vs Moderate Democrats and both vs Republicans. A
compromise by Republicans would be a disaster. The Democrats can
probably force this through if they are willing to get hosed in the
WHITE LIBERAL RACE HUCKSTERING
Now good ol' boy Jimmy Carter is jumping into the racism game. There is little in this world more phony than white liberals finding white racism under every bush. Mean Girl, Maureen Dowd, wishes she were 16 again, playing the lead role in her school play. I was in Scotland when I heard this guy "Joe Wilson"
said "you lie" about one of Obama's lies. I was thinking, "why would Joe Wilson do that"? But my Joe Wilsons were mixed up. It was South Carolina Republican Joe Wilson who created the hub bub during Obama's congressional speech, not Joe Wilson of Valerie Plame fame. Time really can reveal the absurdity of politics. The mind reading Dowd said "Carolina Joe" Wilson meant to add "boy" after he said "you lie".
Then there is Bill Maher. I thought his take-off on a Drudge headline was almost funny--Maher Charges Racism. I don't know if he really thought the headline was "racist", or if he was using it purely as a set up for his one minute skit. But in his Huffington Post blog he attributes the self promoting motor mouth Van Jones' firing to his being "the scary Negro of the week". "Scary Negro"? I don't think so. People like Maher, Dowd and Carter (and countless others) do not care about racism. They care about politicizing racism. Where were they when Ted Rall printed cartoons like this? Maher was writing the introduction to Rall's book, To Afghanistan and Back.
Not that President Obama is above the fray. When was it that Cambridge policeman James Crowley and Harvard Professor Henry Gates sat down with the
president and vice president "over beers"? It seems like 10 years ago.
I thought those beers closed that chapter on our national learning moment on race. But
apparently not. Did you see this? A national panel?
WALL STREET AND THE ECONOMY
What was Obama speaking about Monday? What a bunch of gobbledygook. We need to regulate better and
take only prudent risks. We cannot repeat the mistakes of the past. We
cannot think short
term. We cannot over leverage ourselves, bla bla. This "Lehman
Anniversary" stuff is ridiculous. Lehman still exists by the way,
except its called Barclays Capital.
Why is this never mentioned? It is never mentioned because it would
reveal that we should never have had to bail out any of these companies.
Washington Mutual also failed a year ago and was bought by J.P. Morgan.
Wachovia was bought by Wells Fargo a year ago. Purchasing AIG was they
key decision, not letting Lehman fail. But I "regress"--see Anatomy of a Bailout.
The most striking feature of Obama's speech to "Wall Street" was its
utter lack of irony. Every hectoring cliche aimed at the financial
industry applies 3-fold to the US Government, with Obama's policies
setting unthinkable records in fiscal absurdity. If there ever was a Fascist Paradigm,
it is the relationship between the federal government and Wall Street.
By replacing shareholder risk with taxpayer risk in the AIG bailout,
the world now understands with near certainty these institutions are
defacto agencies of the government. Take a look at this chart.
This is Goldman Sachs' one year price history. Their fiscal year end is November 30. This is when employee stock options are determined. The shares of most financial firms have risen in a similar fashion. Depending on assumptions, always made to favor employees, any pay received by Wall Streeters last year in "employee stock options" has risen approximately 8 fold. So $1 million is worth $8 million. Admittedly, this is not yet locked in, but they always get another shot at the apple. This is why LLoyd Blankfein was reprising Robert DeNiro's character in Goodfellas after the Luftansa heist when he told employees to Avoid Lavish Spending . Now that is funny. For the life of me, I cannot understand how investors let "their employees" get away with this, and this does not just apply to the financial industry. So while Rome burns and Obama bellows, the "Street" just keeps on keepin' on. Should government step in? No. They already have and nothing has changed. If you want discipline in markets, risk takers must pay the consequences for bad results. All else is futile nonsense.
But we do just the opposite. And we don't need blowhards like Obama, who create $800 billion crony slush funds (called "stimulus spending"), giving lectures on fiscal prudence.