March 25, 2009
I'm not here to rain on anyone's parade, but what if we're wrong?
What if all the spending, the bank rescuing — all of it — what if it's just wrong? And worse, just not needed?
What if the clear signs of improvement we're seeing in the economy now are all the proof we need that we don't need more government spending now?
That new home sales are picking up. Existing home sales are picking up. Mortgage applications are picking up. And just today, news that durable goods orders — that's big factory stuff — are picking up.
Smart folks say these are all anomalies. Well, they're getting to be a lot of anomalies, aren’t there?
So what if the smart folks are wrong? What if all this spending is wrong? What if all we've been betting our future on is wrong too?
What if the government is spending hundreds of billions of dollars pushing green technology and it turns out the folks whose dollars it's spending aren't all that keen on green technology?
Hybrid vehicle sales are down. Hybrid vehicle expansion plans are down too.
Now maybe that's just gas prices or maybe that's the government assuming the next big thing and coming up with a big zero.
Just like it assumed more than a century ago that the horse and buggy industry was a vital American staple, completely missing the auto boom that would become an even bigger one. Just like it missed the biotech rage in the 1980s and this thing called the Internet in the 1990s.
Sadly, the government doesn't decide the next big thing. We do.
And no matter how it coaxes and prods, pushes and dictates, it can never get us to do what it thinks we should do.
Free will, not government edict.
The government can choose to ignore reality, but we can't. Because it's our government. And you know what else? It's our money too.
Watch Neil Cavuto weekdays at 4 p.m. ET on "Your World with Cavuto" and send your comments to email@example.com
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 3/26/2009 11:34:00 AM
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
This week I asked Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), the head of the Republican Study Committee, two questions about criticisms of President Obama’s policies that get aired out on business shows. First, what benchmarks should people look at to see whether the stimulus package is working?
“The benchmarks to watch are those that show that it’s continuing to be more destructive,” said Price. “When they continue to throw money out there and inflation begins, then that’s a telltale sign that they’re even losing that battle. When the Fed puts out an auction of Treasury notes that they have to fill themselves, that in essence will be a moment of default. That’s something to watch. And that’s coming — that will happen, out of necessity, because you can’t continue to throw money out there.”
I also asked Price when this became the Democrats’ economy: In January 2007? In May 2008? On Inauguration Day?
“Jan. 20, for sure,” said Price. “They owned part of it from the election on, but I think it’s Jan. 20.”
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Tuesday, March 24, 2009 4:20 AM PT
Congress: The spectacle of the very same people responsible for one of the nation's great financial calamities angling to be given even more control to fix the problem would be funny if it weren't so tragic.
Read More: Economy
Rep. Barney Frank, the Democrat who sits atop Congress' efforts to deal with the financial crisis, has enough chutzpah for 100 politicians which is saying a lot.
In comments before testimony from both Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Fed chief Ben Bernanke Tuesday, Frank said he wants to regulate pay on Wall Street even for companies that aren't getting bailouts.
And he called retention bonuses a time-honored practice on Wall Street and elsewhere in America in which key employees are compensated for their enormous value "extortion" and "bribes."
Frank, one of the chief architects of the housing mess that's brought us so low, isn't satisfied merely with pretending he and his Democratic pals aren't to blame for all this. No, exploiting voter anger over the now-infamous AIG bonuses, he also wants to dictate to American capitalism what it can earn and what it can't.
This is the kind of thing that normally happens in Third World countries ruled by tinhorn dictators, or in fascist states, where the democratic rule of law has collapsed. Not the U.S.
Yet, that's where we find ourselves today, isn't it? Democrats in Congress, who steadfastly rejected virtually all efforts to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as they went on the wildest, most irresponsible lending binge in the history of finance, now pose themselves as the saviors of fallen capitalism.
The hypocrisy is nothing short of stunning.
Take Frank. As we've written before, he spearheaded congressional Democrats' efforts in 1992, 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2005 to block reform of Fannie and Freddie.
Those two "government-sponsored enterprises" were the nexus of this crisis, holding $5.4 trillion of the $12 trillion in U.S. mortgages, while originating or funding 90% of the subprime market.
Their failures presaged the subsequent financial meltdown from which we're still trying to regain our economic footing.
Then there's Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, another posturing moralist in the flap over AIG bonuses. He turns out to have inserted the bonuses into the bailout legislation in the first place.
An innocent move? Please note Dodd was No. 1 on the list of recipients of AIG's political contributions. Also that his wife was a former director of IPC Holdings, a company controlled by AIG.
We wish all this tinkering with the private sector was limited to Congress. But it isn't. The Treasury wants what the Washington Post called Tuesday "unprecedented powers to initiate the seizure of non-bank financial companies, such as large insurers, investment firms and hedge funds, whose collapse would damage the broader economy."
Citing the AIG precedent, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs defended this radical move, saying on CNN, "We need resolution authority to go in and be able to change contracts, be able to change the business model, unwind what doesn't work."
Breathtaking. Coupled with the vast expansion of government spending over the next 10 years, this is socialism, pure and simple.
Yes, we know it's unfashionable to use the "S" word. But we're willing to be unhip in the service of the truth.
It's a frightening thing to see a once mighty, and free, capitalist economy placed under the heel of an incompetent government. But that's precisely what's happening now.
Executive pay, the focus of much public fury right now, is only the start. Your pay will be next, rest assured. So hold on to your wallets, sure, but also hold on even tighter to something even more precious that now seems at risk: your freedom.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 3/25/2009 05:52:00 PM
Monday, March 23, 2009
Taitz to FBI: Investigate 'tampering' at Supremes: '305 million Americans need to know if foreign national is usurping presidency' By Bob Unruh
March 21, 2009
A California attorney battling on a number of fronts to obtain documentation of Barack Obama's eligibility to be president is asking the FBI and U.S. Secret Service to investigate suspected "tampering" at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Orly Taitz, who is pursuing nearly half a dozen causes through her Defend Our Freedoms Foundation, says the issue of Obama's eligibility to meet the Constitution's demand for a "natural born" president has been before the Supreme Court at least four times.
But she wonders whether the justices actually were given the pleadings to review.
"I believe … that there was tampering with documents and records by employees of the Supreme Court and the justices never saw those briefs," she alleges in a letter to the FBI's Robert Mueller, the Secret Service's Mark Sullivan and Attorney General Eric Holder.
"Three hundred five million American citizens … need to know whether a foreign national is usurping the position of the president and the commander in chief," she wrote.
Taitz raises questions about "forgery of court records, tampering with court records, cyber crime, erasing of court records from the docket, fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud and other related crimes."
Specifically, she points to the handling of her own case, Lightfoot v. Bowen, which was submitted to the Supreme Court on an emergency basis. Although it was scheduled for a conference, no hearing ever was held.
Taitz notes that references to the case were erased from the docket of the Supreme Court on Jan. 21, shortly after Obama, the defendant, met with eight of the nine justices behind closed doors.
It happened just two days before her case was scheduled to be reviewed in conference.
Secondly, Taitz notes that in her conversation with Justice Antonin Scalia at a book-signing in Los Angeles several weeks ago, he appeared to have no knowledge of the cases that had been submitted.
She said she mentioned her case and those brought by Cort Wrotnowski, Philip Berg and Leo Donofrio.
"In the presence of several attorneys, law students and Secret Service agents Justice Scalia kept saying that he didn't know anything … even though all of the plaintiffs have received notification that all of those cases were reviewed by all nine justices," she said.
Taitz said she's also concerned that the Supreme Court docket was somehow modified.
"Did somebody from outside break and enter into the computer system of the Supreme Court or was it done by one of the overzealous employees who wanted to keep Obama in the White House?" she asked.
"I demand to see the printout of entries of both internal docket seen by justices and the external docket seen by the public to verify if those were identical at all times, particularly between January 20th and January 23rd," she said.
She also raised the possibility that justices' signatures may have been "stamped" on documentation.
U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts
Her allegations, she said, were part of what she submitted to Chief Justice John Roberts when she met him at the University of Idaho a week ago.
"Due to the … great urgency of the matter in relation to the national security of the United States … I demand immediate investigation of this matter," Taitz wrote.
Taitz also is developing a Quo Warranto case that has been submitted to Holder.
Essentially, the case demands to know what authority Obama is using to act as president. An online constitutional resource says Quo Warranto "affords the only judicial remedy for violations of the Constitution by public officials and agents."
As WND reported, Taitz already has submitted a motion to the Supreme Court for re-hearing of Lightfoot v. Bowen, a case she is working on through Defend Our Freedoms alleging some of her documentation may have been withheld from the justices by a court clerk.
WND has reported on dozens of legal challenges to Obama's status as a "natural born citizen." The Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, states, "No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President."
Some of the lawsuits question whether he was actually born in Hawaii, as he insists. If he was born out of the country, Obama's American mother, some suits contend, was too young at the time of his birth to confer American citizenship to her son under the law at the time.
Other challenges have focused on Obama's citizenship through his father, a Kenyan subject to the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom at the time of his birth, thus making him a dual citizen. The cases contend the framers of the Constitution excluded dual citizens from qualifying as natural born.
Although Obama officials have told WND all such allegations are "garbage," here is a partial listing and status update for some of the cases over Obama's eligibility:
- New Jersey attorney Mario Apuzzo has filed a case on behalf of Charles Kerchner and others alleging Congress didn't properly ascertain that Obama is qualified to hold the office of president.
- Pennsylvania Democrat Philip Berg has three cases pending, including Berg vs. Obama in the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a separate Berg vs. Obama which is under seal at the U.S. District Court level and Hollister vs. Soetoro a/k/a Obama, (now dismissed) brought on behalf of a retired military member who could be facing recall to active duty by Obama.
- Leo Donofrio of New Jersey filed a lawsuit claiming Obama's dual citizenship disqualified him from serving as president. His case was considered in conference by the U.S. Supreme Court but denied a full hearing.
- Cort Wrotnowski filed suit against Connecticut's secretary of state, making a similar argument to Donofrio. His case was considered in conference by the U.S. Supreme Court, but was denied a full hearing.
- Former presidential candidate Alan Keyes headlines a list of people filing a suit in California, in a case handled by the United States Justice Foundation, that asks the secretary of state to refuse to allow the state's 55 Electoral College votes to be cast in the 2008 presidential election until Obama verifies his eligibility to hold the office. The case was dismissed by Judge Michael P. Kenny.
- Chicago attorney Andy Martin sought legal action requiring Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle to release Obama's vital statistics record. The case was dismissed by Hawaii Circuit Court Judge Bert Ayabe.
- Lt. Col. Donald Sullivan sought a temporary restraining order to stop the Electoral College vote in North Carolina until Barack Obama's eligibility could be confirmed, alleging doubt about Obama's citizenship. His case was denied.
- In Ohio, David M. Neal sued to force the secretary of state to request documents from the Federal Elections Commission, the Democratic National Committee, the Ohio Democratic Party and Obama to show the presidential candidate was born in Hawaii. The case was denied.
- Also in Ohio, there was the Greenberg v. Brunner case which ended when the judge threatened to assess all case costs against the plaintiff.
- In Washington state, Steven Marquis sued the secretary of state seeking a determination on Obama's citizenship. The case was denied.
- In Georgia, Rev. Tom Terry asked the state Supreme Court to authenticate Obama's birth certificate. His request for an injunction against Georgia's secretary of state was denied by Georgia Superior Court Judge Jerry W. Baxter.
- California attorney Orly Taitz has brought a case, Lightfoot vs. Bowen, on behalf of Gail Lightfoot, the vice presidential candidate on the ballot with Ron Paul, four electors and two registered voters.
In addition, other cases cited on the RightSideofLife blog as raising questions about Obama's eligibility include:
- In Texas, Darrel Hunter vs. Obama later was dismissed.
- In Ohio, Gordon Stamper vs. U.S. later was dismissed.
- In Texas, Brockhausen vs. Andrade.
- In Washington, L. Charles Cohen vs. Obama.
- In Hawaii, Keyes vs. Lingle, dismissed.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 3/23/2009 12:12:00 PM
Sunday, March 22, 2009
America's states are laboratories of democracy. They are both affected by, and relevant to, the larger national debate. What we've found in our own corner of the country is that carrying a substantial debt load limits our options when it comes to running government.
A recent report by the American Legislative Exchange Council ranked us 47th worst in the nation for annual debt service as a percentage of tax revenue. Our state dedicates nearly 11% of its annual tax revenue to paying debt. On top of that, South Carolina has another $20 billion in unfunded, long-term political promises for pensions and other liabilities. The state budget has already been cut four times in recent months as the national economic downturn has impacted South Carolina and driven down tax revenue.
President Barack Obama recently signed a "stimulus" bill that will spend about $2 billion through "programmatic means" in South Carolina. In other words, the federal government will put this money directly into existing funding formulas and programs such as Medicaid. But there is an additional $700 million that I as governor have influence over, and it is the disposition of this money that has drawn the national spotlight to South Carolina.
Here's the background: Before the stimulus bill passed, I asked for states not to be bailed out. After it was signed into law, I said that a state bailout would create more problems than it solved, and that we shouldn't spend money we don't have. That debate was lost, so I looked for a reasonable middle ground. I asked the president for his support in using the $700 million to pay down state debt.
If we're going to spend money we don't have at the federal level, it becomes all the more important that our state balance sheet is in good order -- particularly if this is a protracted downturn. But many people do not realize that the stimulus money runs out in 24 months -- at which point South Carolina will be forced to find a new source of funding to sustain the new level of spending, or to make sharp cuts. Sure, I could kick the can down the road; in two years, I'll be safely out of office. But it would be irresponsible.
If South Carolina could use stimulus money to pay down debt, in two years we will be able to spend, cut taxes or invest even if the federal government can no longer provide more money -- not a remote possibility. In fact, paying debt related to education would free up over $162 million in debt service in the first two years and save roughly $125 million in interest payments over the next 13 years -- just as paying off a family's mortgage early frees up money for other uses.
When you're in a hole, the first order of business is stop digging. South Carolina is in a hole, and it's not a shallow one. Spending stimulus money on ongoing programs would mean 10% of our entire state budget would be paid for with one-time federal funds -- the largest recorded level in state history.
Also, spending stimulus money will delay needed state restructuring. General Motors recently found itself in a similar spot. It needs to be restructured if it is to prosper, but a federal bailout enabled it to put off hard decisions. Likewise, taking federal stimulus money will only postpone changes essential to South Carolina's prosperity. Though well-intended, it forestalls hard choices we must make.
One of Mr. Obama's central campaign themes was his pledge to do away with politics of the past. In his inaugural address, he proclaimed "an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics."
This idea connected with millions of voters, myself included. I've always believed ideas should rise and fall on their merits. In fact, I saw such historical significance in his candidacy and the change he spoke of that I published an op-ed on it before South Carolina's presidential primary last year. It was not an endorsement, but it did note the historic nature of his candidacy and the potential positive change in tone it represented. That potential may now be disappearing.
Last week I reached out to the president, asking for a federal waiver from restrictions on stimulus money. I got a most unusual response. Before I even received an acknowledgment of the request from the White House, I got word that the Democratic National Committee was launching campaign-style TV attack-ads against me for making it.
Is this the new brand of politics we were promised? Instead of engaging with me and other governors on the merits of our dissent, I am to be attacked in television ads? In the end, I just don't believe a problem created by too much debt will be solved by piling on more debt. This doesn't strike me as an unreasonable or extremist position.
Nevertheless, the White House declined my request for a waiver yesterday afternoon. That's unfortunate. But in coming months we'll continue advancing the debate at the state level about the merits of debt repayment. The fact remains that while we'd all like to spend unlimited dollars on the very real needs that exist in our state, we must spend in the context of what is sustainable.
Mr. Sanford, a Republican, is the governor of South Carolina.