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A “Sound” Economy?

by Thomas Sowell

(reposted from here.)

“The truest thing that Senator John McCain said during this election campaign is what got him into the most trouble: “The economy is sound.”

“Sound” does not mean bullet-proof. Nor does it mean that everything is going wonderfully at the moment or that nothing needs to be done.

You may be as sick as a dog from having eaten the wrong thing. But that does not mean that you need to have your arm amputated or to receive massive doses of morphine. In other words, your body may be perfectly sound– and radical medical treatment can do more lasting damage than your temporary suffering will.

The political left has always known how to exploit temporary economic problems to create lasting institutions reflecting their ideology. The “progressives” did that during the brief time that America was involved in the First World War, less than a year and a half.

In that brief time, they clamped on all kinds of economic controls and even restrictions on free speech that led to landmark Supreme Court cases.

When the Great Depression of the 1930s brought many of those same “progressives” back to power, led by one of the “progressives” from Woodrow Wilson’s administration, Franklin D. Roosevelt, they brought the same mindset to government again, calling themselves “liberals,” now that the label “progressives” had been discredited by their previous actions.

By the end of the 20th century, “liberals” had again discredited themselves, to the point where they went back to calling themselves “progressives” to escape their past, much as people do when they declare bankruptcy.

Wars, economic crises and other disruptions all provide opportunities for the left to seize on current problems to create enduring changes in the institutions of society. That is what we are witnessing today.

The media have hyped current economic problems to the point where you might think we were heading for a replay of the Great Depression of the 1930s. They have been dying to use the word “recession” but there is a clear definition of recession– two consecutive quarters of negative growth– and we have yet to reach that.

If the meaning of words can be changed to suit political convenience, then discussions become an exercise in futility.

Official data show that the output of the economy in the most recent quarter is down– by less than one-half of one percent– but at last the media have one of those two quarters required to qualify as a recession.

Whether they will get the other quarter that they need, in order to start using the word “recession” legitimately, is another story. In fact, the data-gathering process is by no means so precise that we can expect the one-half of one percent decline to hold up, since such statistics often get revised later.

It is not just a question of being able to put scare headlines on newspapers or alarmist rhetoric on television. Such things are just the prelude to massive political “change” in fundamentally sound institutions that have for more than two centuries made the American economy the envy of most of the world.

If the left succeeds, it will be like amputating your arm because of a stomach ache.

To add to the painful irony, many of those who are most eager to have a massive government intrusion into the market are among those whose previous intrusions into the market are largely responsible for the current financial crisis.

It was the left– the “liberals” or “progressives”– who led the charge to force lending institutions to lend to people whose credit history made them eligible only for “subprime” loans that were risky for both borrowers and lenders.

It started way back in the Carter administration, with the Community Reinvestment Act, and gained momentum over the years with legal threats from Attorney General Janet Reno and thuggery from ACORN, all to force lenders to lend where third parties wanted them to lend. Now we have a bad stomach ache– and now the left wants to start amputating the market.”

– reposted by Julian

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While walking down the street one day a US senator is tragically hit by a truck and dies.

His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

‘Welcome to heaven,’ says St. Peter. ‘Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem . We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we’re not sure what to do with you.’

‘No problem, just let me in,’ says the senator.

‘Well, I’d like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we’ll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity.’

‘Really, I’ve made up my mind. I want to be in heaven, ‘ says the senator.

‘I’m sorry, but we have our rules.’

And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.

Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people.

They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne.

Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go.

Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises .

The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him.

‘Now it’s time to visit heaven.’

So, 24 hours pass with the senator joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.

‘Well, then, you’ve spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity.’

The senator reflects for a minute, then answers: ‘Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell.’

So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.

Now the doors of the elevator open and he’s in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage.

He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above…

The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder. ‘I don’t understand,’ stammers the senator. ‘Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse , and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there’s just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?’

The devil looks at him, smiles and says “Yesterday we were campaigning. Today you voted.”

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Ego and Mouth

by Thomas Sowell

(reposted from here)

“After the big gamble on subprime mortgages that led to the current financial crisis, is there going to be an even bigger gamble, by putting the fate of a nation in the hands of a man whose only qualifications are ego and mouth?

Barack Obama has the kind of cocksure confidence that can only be achieved by not achieving anything else.

Anyone who has actually had to take responsibility for consequences by running any kind of enterprise– whether economic or academic, or even just managing a sports team– is likely at some point to be chastened by either the setbacks brought on by his own mistakes or by seeing his successes followed by negative consequences that he never anticipated.

The kind of self-righteous self-confidence that has become Obama’s trademark is usually found in sophomores in Ivy League colleges– very bright and articulate students, utterly untempered by experience in real world.

The signs of Barack Obama’s self-centered immaturity are painfully obvious, though ignored by true believers who have poured their hopes into him, and by the media who just want the symbolism and the ideology that Obama represents.

The triumphal tour of world capitals and photo-op meetings with world leaders by someone who, after all, was still merely a candidate, is just one sign of this self-centered immaturity.

“This is our time!” he proclaimed. And “I will change the world.” But ultimately this election is not about him, but about the fate of this nation, at a time of both domestic and international peril, with a major financial crisis still unresolved and a nuclear Iran looming on the horizon.

For someone who has actually accomplished nothing to blithely talk about taking away what has been earned by those who have accomplished something, and give it to whomever he chooses in the name of “spreading the wealth,” is the kind of casual arrogance that has led to many economic catastrophes in many countries.

The equally casual ease with which Barack Obama has talked about appointing judges on the basis of their empathies with various segments of the population makes a mockery of the very concept of law.

After this man has wrecked the economy and destroyed constitutional law with his judicial appointments, what can he do for an encore? He can cripple the military and gamble America’s future on his ability to sit down with enemy nations and talk them out of causing trouble.

Senator Obama’s running mate, Senator Joe Biden, has for years shown the same easy-way-out mindset. Senator Biden has for decades opposed strengthening our military forces. In 1991, Biden urged relying on sanctions to get Saddam Hussein’s troops out of Kuwait, instead of military force, despite the demonstrated futility of sanctions as a means of undoing an invasion.

People who think Governor Sarah Palin didn’t handle some “gotcha” questions well in a couple of interviews show no interest in how she compares to the Democrats’ Vice Presidential candidate, Senator Biden.

Joe Biden is much more of the kind of politician the mainstream media like. Not only is he a liberal’s liberal, he answers questions far more glibly than Governor Palin– grossly inaccurately in many cases, but glibly.

Moreover, this is a long-standing pattern with Biden. When he was running for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination back in 1987, someone in the audience asked him what law school he attended and how well he did.

Flashing his special phony smile, Biden said, “I think I have a much higher IQ than you do.” He added, “I went to law school on a full academic scholarship” and “ended up in the top half” of the class.

But Biden did not have a full academic scholarship. Newsweek reported: “He went on a half scholarship based on need. He didn’t finish in the ‘top half’ of his class. He was 76th out of 85.”

Add to Obama and Biden House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and you have all the ingredients for a historic meltdown. Let us not forget that the Roman Empire did decline and fall, blighting the lives of millions for centuries.”

– reposted by Julian

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A Perfect Storm

by Thomas Sowell

(reposted from original source link here)

“Some elections are routine, some are important and some are historic. If Senator John McCain wins this election, it will probably go down in history as routine. But if Senator Barack Obama wins, it is more likely to be historic– and catastrophic.

Once the election is over, the glittering generalities of rhetoric and style will mean nothing. Everything will depend on performance in facing huge challenges, domestic and foreign.

Performance is where Barack Obama has nothing to show for his political career, either in Illinois or in Washington.

Policies that he proposes under the banner of “change” are almost all policies that have been tried repeatedly in other countries– and failed repeatedly in other countries.

Politicians telling businesses how to operate? That’s been tried in countries around the world, especially during the second half of the 20th century. It has failed so often and so badly that even socialist and communist governments were freeing up their markets by the end of the century.

The economies of China and India began their take-off into high rates of growth when they got rid of precisely the kinds of policies that Obama is advocating for the United States under the magic mantra of “change.”

Putting restrictions on international trade in order to save jobs at home? That was tried here with the Hawley-Smoot tariff during the Great Depression.

Unemployment was 9 percent when that tariff was passed to save jobs, but unemployment went up instead of down, and reached 25 percent before the decade was over.

Higher taxes to “spread the well around,” as Obama puts it? The idea of redistributing wealth has turned into the reality of redistributing poverty, in countries where wealth has fled and the production of new wealth has been stifled by a lack of incentives.

Economic disasters, however, may pale by comparison with the catastrophe of Iran with nuclear weapons. Glib rhetoric about Iran being “a small country,” as Obama called it, will be a bitter irony for Americans who will have to live in the shadow of a nuclear threat that cannot be deterred, as that of the Soviet Union could be, by the threat of a nuclear counter-attack.

Suicidal fanatics cannot be deterred. If they are willing to die and we are not, then we are at their mercy– and they have no mercy. Moreover, once they get nuclear weapons, that is a situation which cannot be reversed, either in this generation or in generations to come.

Is this the legacy we wish to leave our children and grandchildren, by voting on the basis of style and symbolism, rather than substance?

If Barack Obama thinks that such a catastrophe can be avoided by sitting down and talking with the leaders of Iran, then he is repeating a fallacy that helped bring on World War II.

In a nuclear age, one country does not have to send troops to occupy another country in order to conquer it. A country is conquered if another country can dictate who rules it, as the Mongols once did with Russia, and as Osama bin Laden tried to do when he threatened retaliation against places in the United States that voted for George W. Bush. But he didn’t have nuclear weapons to back up that threat– yet.

America has never been a conquered country, so it may be very hard for most Americans even to conceive what that can mean. After France was conquered in 1940, it was reduced to turning over some of its own innocent citizens to the Nazis to kill, just because those citizens were Jewish.

Do you think our leaders wouldn’t do that? Not even if the alternative was to see New York and Los Angeles go up in mushroom clouds? If I were Jewish, I wouldn’t bet my life on that.

What the Middle East fanatics want is not just our resources or even our lives, but our humiliation first, in whatever sadistic ways they can think of. Their lust for humiliation has already been repeatedly demonstrated in their videotaped beheadings that find such an eager market in the Middle East.

None of this can be prevented by glib talk, but only by character, courage and decisive actions– none of which Barack Obama has ever demonstrated.”

– reposted by Julian

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I got the following comment on the photo of Obama dressed as Che Guevara…

“I’m not even sure what this means. I’m guessing it’s a swipe at Obama by likening him to Saddam Hussein. Or likening him to a Cuban Communist? What I’m unclear about is why?

I appreciate that everyone is entitled to their opinion. And if you don’t like his policies, fine. But why go there of all places? Can’t you say I do not support a woman’s right to choose? Or I don’t believe in global warming? Or I support more deregulation of the banking industry? Or I don’t like raising taxes on the super wealthy? Or even I don’t think gays should be allowed to marry? Or I don’t support funding public education? Or how about I do not support health care for everyone?

Why is it people feel the need to go there? It reminds me of when Saxby Chambliss portrayed Max Cleland as unpatriotic.

Let go of the ignorance. Let go of inciting hate and fear. Promote your policies on their merit, unless you are afraid they have no merit.”

—-

Below was my answer to her…

Thank you for posting.

What I did is point out unfavorable policies by likening Obama to a historical figure who shared the same policies. It’s very effective cause it’s 1) humorous, and 2) able to show the direct effect of policies held by Obama.

Kinda like how Lefties love to say McCain is Bush.

But let me answer your questions, since you asked so nicely…

1) I don’t believe women have the right to choose. A baby is a separate human life. A baby in the womb is like a person in your house. You can kill the baby, but you can’t kill the person. Why? Because we like to confuse ourselves as to when a baby is “alive” out of convenience. Now, I know a woman’s life is sometimes made more difficult by pregnancy, which is why I would be open to some sort of 1-3 abortion limit per person. Above that, you don’t deserve a uterus.

2) I don’t believe in global warming being only caused by man. I believe it’s more of a cyclical occurrence that history proves quicker than man-made global warming. And when you ask developing countries in Africa to spend money on solar technology that is hundreds of times more expensive than fossil fuels at the moment… that’s just wrong.

3) I support appropriate deregulation in the banking industry. Remember… Fannie Mae collapsed because democrats like Clinton and Carter forced them to buy up bad loans. And when they couldn’t be repaid, they blamed the republicans for lack of regulation. What? Did the Democrats want the Republicans to regulate Fannie Mae and tell them what the Democrats were doing was wrong and destined to fail?

4) I don’t like raising taxes on the super wealthy. There is NO government/economic problem that can be fixed by taxing the wealthy more. That process digs us deeper into a hole… and fills the hole with water.

5) I think people in the gay community should be allowed to join legally in a union exactly like marriage. Just don’t call it marriage. Marriage is a religious word, with religious origins, and has nothing to do with government or policy. Gay people are just as deserving as straight people in every other respect.

6) I don’t support increasing funding the public education system that’s in place now… that was created by Democrats who have soley ruled public education in all major cities. And have done so to disastrous, miserable failures. I would much rather talk to teachers … who aren’t in unions… to find the solution on the education system. Democrats screwed up royally here.

7) I want everyone to have health care, but government funded universal health care is unattainable… and unsustainable. For example… medical technology in Canada is stuck in the 1970s… because their government can’t fund for advances in medicine like the free market can.

People go where I went all the time, Smartandfemale. I thank you for reading and commenting… but you have to be a little more light-hearted on this. Have a sense of humor. What i posted, and been done hundreds of times by Democrats. Obama himself incites fear in his ads. Don’t come to me with your righteousness.

You have no rule on morality.

Is this merit enough for you?

Please come back, since you’d like to debate on merit.

– Julian


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