Daily Archives: January 17, 2010

More bad news for Democrats

American Thinker

Thomas Lifson

Another Democrat in Congress in trouble. Politico’s Scorecard points to an automated phone poll commissioned by liberal site Firedoglake, showing:

Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio), a freshman Democrat who represents the Cincinnati area, losing to former Republican congressman Steve Chabot, 56 to 39 percent.
Driehaus benefitted from Obama’s coat tails in 2008:
Driehaus ousted Chabot from office in the 2008 election, 52 to 47 percent, aided by very high African-American turnout in the district. But like in other competitive districts across the country, public dissatisfaction with President Obama and the Democrat has grown markedly in Ohio’s First District.
More proof that Obama’s coat tails have morphed into banana peels.

Obama is killing the economy

By THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Barack Obama has the worst budget record of any president in American history. White House budget office spokesman Tom Gavin claimed “a very strong beginning” for the president’s purported first-year attempts at controlling spending – for example, zeroing out a $17 million program for work incentive grants. But such paltry efforts are round-off numbers compared to the gush of red ink created by President Obama and congressional Democrats. This government is setting the United States on an inevitable path to permanent debtor status.

The White House entitled Mr. Obama’s first budget “A New Era of Responsibility,” which essayist Roger Kimball observed should have been called “Gone with the Wind.” Mr. Obama’s budget, coupled with the $787 billion stimulus slush fund, was the most irresponsible in history. The effects of his ruinous policies can already be measured. The 2009 budget deficit tripled over 2008. The deficit as a percentage of gross domestic product went from 3.1 percent in 2008 to 9.9 percent in 2009. The deficit for the first month of fiscal year 2010 was $176 billion, which was greater than the $161 billion deficit for the entire 2007 fiscal year.

The hits keep coming. Public debt as a percentage of GDP was an already-high 40.8 percent in 2008. The Congressional Budget Office – which is run by Democrats – estimates this figure would more than double to 81.7 percent by 2019. That’s a rate not seen since the end of World War II. This figure is likely to be revised upward; between June and August 2009, budget scorers had to raise their estimate for the fiscal 2011 deficit by 33 percent. CBO projects a softening but still brisk increase in future debt based on reduced growth in government spending, which is highly unrealistic, and a trillion dollars in new taxes, which is frighteningly likely.

Back in February 2009, at the beginning of the fiscal bloodletting, White House Budget Director Peter Orszag preached that “elevated budget deficits are beneficial.” But by November, Mr. Obama warned that, “if we keep on adding to the debt… people could lose confidence in the U.S. economy in a way that could actually lead to a double-dip recession.”

People certainly have lost confidence in the president. A CNN poll from the second week in January showed that 62 percent of the public disapproves of Mr. Obama’s handling of the budget deficit, and 54 percent disapprove of his economic policies in general. In a January Quinnpiac poll, 53 percent said Mr. Obama is fiscally irresponsible. A Bloomberg poll from the first week of December showed that 60 percent believe that chronically high deficits constitute a high threat to economic performance, and 57 percent disapprove of Mr. Obama’s handling of the issue. An October 2009 NBC News poll showed that 62 percent believed controlling the federal deficit was more important than boosting the economy.

The debt outlook is increasingly bleak. Congress shows no desire to rein in spending, and is debating a heath care bill that will add even more red ink. The amount of debt owned by foreign countries is increasing, confidence in the dollar is dropping, gold prices are soaring, energy costs are rising, the trade deficit is widening and Mr. Obama’s first year Gallup approval rating has fallen faster than any president since records have been kept. Connect the dots. The Obama administration is an unmitigated economic disaster for this country, and most Americans are worried about that.

Source:

Fannie, Freddie, Fraud

Whiskey & Gunpowder

Last week, new research from Edward Pinto, a former chief credit officer for Fannie Mae and a housing expert, began to penetrate the media fog. Pinto has documented that as far back as 1993, Fannie and Freddie were buying risky subprime and Alt-A loans, but routinely misrepresenting them as prime.

Let me drive this point home. Without Fannie and Freddie’s certification of millions of bad loans as safe, other banks both domestic and foreign wouldn’t have bought them. More importantly, world financial markets wouldn’t have relied on those packaged loans as collateral and collapsed when they went bad. Fannie and Freddie, both government-sponsored enterprises that are guaranteed and funded by U.S. taxpayers, committed fraud so massive it dwarfs the Enron scandal.

We Austrian economists saw this coming three decades ago. I warned in the 1980s that government involvement in the housing market would inevitably produce catastrophe. Even Republicans attacked me as an enemy of home ownership. The theory, held by many in both parties, was that owning a home made Americans stakeholders in the system and stabilized our economy. Others pushed the envelope further, using Fannie and Freddie as a way to give homes to low-income individuals. All very noble, of course, but it was always doomed. I hate to say I told you so but… well, actually, I don’t.

Our current administration is, of course, sticking to the story line that this “great recession” is a failure of capitalism. This won’t change because so many high-ranking administration officials profited from the mortgage fraud business.

The beginning of the Fannie and Freddie fraud that Pinto documents took place under the watch of Jim Johnson. You may know Johnson as the “trusted adviser” to the president who helped pick his running mate, Joe Biden.

While few know about Johnson’s role in the financial collapse, many know him for his legendary generosity with Fannie’s fake profits. As CEO of Fannie, he bestowed fortunes on his favorite causes, which made him one of the most popular people inside the beltway. Many of my colleagues spoke out against this laundering of the public’s money for personal and political purposes, but were ignored or attacked.

Rep. Barney Frank was the chief defender of Fannie and Freddie, accusing anyone who wanted more oversight of the out-of-control institutions of being heartless, racist or both. While I’m not a huge fan of the Bush administration, the truth is that it made multiple attempts to rein in Fannie and Freddie. Unfortunately, they were successfully parried by Frank.

Over the weekend, administration talking heads were sticking to the line that they have deterred financial disaster with bailouts and stimulus spending.

I was not as worried about the initial financial collapse and resultant recession as I was worried about the so-called fixes. I predicted then that those programs, along with efforts at massive restructuring of the economy, would not only fail to create the jobs and upturn we were promised. I told you they would slow the recovery. I include, incidentally, President Bush’s contribution to our debt and deficit as part of the problem.

Now you can read how this has actually come to pass in a great article by three University of Chicago economists, “Uncertainty and the Slow Recovery,” by Nobel laureate Gary Becker, Steven Davis and Kevin Murphy, in The Wall Street Journal online.

“In terms of U.S. output contractions, the so-called Great Recession was not much more severe than the recessions in 1973-75 and 1981-82.Yet recovery from the latest recession has started out much more slowly. For example, real GDP expanded by 7.7% in 1983 after unemployment peaked at 10.8% in December 1982, whereas GDP grew at an unimpressive annual rate of 2.2% in the third quarter of 2009. Although the fourth quarter is likely to show better numbers — probably much better — there are no signs of an explosive takeoff from the recession.

“We believe two factors are behind this rather tepid rebound. An obvious one is the severe financial crisis that precipitated this recession, with many major financial institutions receiving large bailouts from the federal government. The confidence of bankers and venture capitalists has been shattered, at least for a while, and it will take time for them to recover from the financial turmoil of the past couple of years. The household sector also faces a difficult period of financial retrenchment in the wake of a major collapse in home prices, overextended debt positions for many and high unemployment.

“The second factor is less obvious, but possibly also of great importance. Liberal Democrats won a major victory in the 2008 elections, winning the presidency and large majorities in both the House and Senate. They interpreted this as evidence that a large majority of Americans want major reforms in the economy, health care and many other areas. So in addition to continuing and extending the Bush-initiated bailout of banks, AIG, General Motors, Chrysler and other companies, Congress and President Obama signaled their intentions to introduce major changes in taxes, government spending and regulations — changes that could radically transform the American economy.”

Those changes, the Chicago Boyz say, have inspired hesitation, uncertainty and fear in employers and investors. As a result, they’ve waited on the sidelines to see how things play out. Not very cheering, is it? The result is that while the administration takes credit for “jobs saved,” actual unemployment figures in some areas are at Great Depression levels.

Yes, yes, yes, Obama inherited a mess. The problem with that thinking is that Congress makes policies, not presidents. When government is split, the most a president can do is use the veto, something Bush should have done regularly. For the last two years of his presidency, Democrats had the power of Congress. For two additional years, Congress was split. Democrats who now blame him for the totality of the financial failure are saying, implicitly, that he should have opposed Congress more vigorously, and I don’t think that’s their real message.

Anyway, I’m telling you that I was right about the all the ridiculous big-government solutions for a reason. I am fundamentally an optimist, and I am forecasting remarkable things in the not-so-distant future. I’m not, however, a blinkered Pollyanna like certain high-profile analysts whom we will not name.

My point is this: If someone doesn’t have a history of accurate predictions, he has no right to ask others to believe him when he makes forecasts. And I’m forecasting that the recovery, delayed as it is, will be historically unprecedented. And if you don’t want to believe me, believe Dr. Gary Becker, who has said to me, in both conversation and writing, the same thing. More importantly, he forecasts that the recovery will be driven by the breakthrough technological innovations that we are talking about and investing in now.

Source:

Did Next Commander-in-Chief Falsify Selective Service Registration? Never Actually Register? Obama’s Draft Registration Raises Serious Questions

By Debbie Schlussel
**** Copyright 2008, Must Cite Debbie Schlussel and link to DebbieSchlussel.com ****
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Did President-elect Barack Hussein Obama commit a federal crime in September of this year? Or did he never actually register and, instead, did friends of his in the Chicago federal records center, which maintains the official copy of his alleged Selective Service registration commit the crime for him?
It’s either one or the other, as indicated by the release of Barack Obama’s official Selective Service registration for the draft. A friend of mine, who is a retired federal agent, spent almost a year trying to obtain this document through a Freedom of Information Act request, and, after much stonewalling, finally received it and released it to me.
But the release of Obama’s draft registration and an accompanying document, posted below, raises more questions than it answers. And it shows many signs of fraud, not to mention putting the lie to Obama’s claim that he registered for the draft in June 1979, before it was required by law.

obamaselectiveserviceregist.jpg

Obamaselectiveserviceprinto.jpg
The official campaign for President may be over. But Barack Obama’s Selective Service registration card and accompanying documents show that questions about him are not only NOT over, but if the signature on the document is in fact his, our next Commander-in-Chief may have committed a federal crime in 2008, well within the statute of limitations on the matter. If it is not his, then it’s proof positive that our next Commander-in-Chief never registered with the Selective Service as required by law. By law, he was required to register and was legally able to do so until the age of 26.
But the Selective Service System registration (”SSS Form 1″) and accompanying computer print-out (”SSS Print-out), below, released by the Selective Service show the following oddities and irregularities, all of which indicate the document was created in 2008 and backdated:

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