Friday, January 23, 2009

If I Were President: The Bailout

I'll begin by saying I don't support a bailout of any kind. But the Democrats must spend, so I just want them to spend the right way.

The source of this entire financial fiasco was the mortgage meltdown. If you want to bring the economy out of recession, you have to start by fixing the mortgage problem. And you don't fix the mortgage problem by throwing money at the problem loans that are going to go into foreclosure no matter how much help they receive. You also don't fix the problem by giving money to the banks without helping the people the banks have lent to.

I propose we take a couple hundred billion out of this upcoming stimulus bill and use it to pay down the balances of mortgages that are current and held by responsible people who can afford to continue paying the mortgage. With $200 Billion, you could pay down 4 million mortgages by $50,000. The mortgage holders not only receive a huge infusion of cash from these paydowns, but the American people would also benefit tremendously. This could pay off quite a few mortgages completely, freeing up a monthly sum of money that will be infused into the economy. The paydown would also help a large number of people who are upside down on their mortgages. These people would now be able to refinance their mortgages at the lower principal amount, if they so desired, reducing their monthly payments, which would also free up cash to be infused into the economy. It's a complete win-win, not only for the mortgage holders, but for millions of people who need help.

I'm sick of the banks receiving billions of dollars without helping a single person with that money. How much better off would we be if the first bailout had gone to pay down mortgages instead of just sitting in the vaults of these huge corporations who love hoarding money?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Banks Teeter

Read this for a discussion of the state of the financial system.

"The size of the problem is growing faster than the banks' ability to handle it," said Joe Battipaglia, market strategist at Stifel Nicolaus. "We're halfway through the bailout money, and the banks are in worse shape than they were six months ago."

Investors expect Obama's team to consider a range of options, including pumping more money into banks and creating a government entity to buy up bad bank assets so they'll start lending again.

What makes us think that throwing another few hundred billion is going to make things any better? Why do we want these large banks to stay afloat? Wouldn't we be better off letting them die, and let the smaller banks with better management grow stronger?

And what makes us think that the government could run the banking system any better than the current boards and CEOs? Politicians generally did not go to school to learn about business. Politicians generally don't have a business background. I wouldn't trust my money in a bank that is owned and operated by our government.

The most troubled banks are "going to definitely go down" without more government help, said Jonathan Macey, a law professor at Yale University who wrote a book about a bailout of Sweden's banking system during the 1990s.

"And they may go down with it," he added. "The pace of these bank losses is outrunning the infusions by the government."

The banks have had their chance. If there has to be a bailout (and what would Democrats do if they weren't spending money), it's time to bail out the people and NOT the companies. How about using bailout funds to pay down the mortgages of those of us who have been responsible homeowners? Paying down our mortgages would not only be beneficial to us as homeowners, but that money would be a huge cash infusion to the banks and holders of out mortgages anyway. It's a win-win. Why can't those in charge figure this out? Because they don't want to? Because they have another agenda?

If I Were President: The Economy

I believe in the constitutional provision for separation of church and state. I wish there were an additional separation of economy and state.

If I were president, I would do all I could to get government out of private business as much as possible.

I believe in less regulation.
I believe in lower taxes.
I believe in free trade, not only within the country, but also internationally as well.

What about all the problems with the current economy? I know it hurts, but it's part of the ebb and flow of a free market. For too long, we the people have been living beyond our means, and it's time that we face the consequences. The biggest problem I have with the current environment of bailing out every failing industry is that these industries created the problems themselves. We need to bring back accountability to the free market. They should have to face the consequences, up to and including failure and demise. The lesson they should learn is to be better prepared for swings in the economy. The lesson they ARE learning is that it's okay to play the risk game knowing that the government will bail you for your bad decisions.

What about job losses created by the failure of businesses? It's unfortunate that people who work for these companies lose their jobs, when they generally are innocent bystanders. There is little they can do to avoid this mess. But I firmly believe that new jobs will always be created by stronger, better managed companies. There are jobs for everyone if they are willing to do whatever it takes to land a job, even though it might mean working for less pay or in a new industry or profession.

The best thing for the economy right now is to lower taxes. This would mean more money in the pockets of those who are willing and able to spend it. Lower taxes would lead to the creation of new jobs. The other side of the equation would be a massive reduction in government spending. I am a proponent of getting the federal budget balanced. This is becoming harder and harder with each new bailout. Under my direction, the government spending would be slashed tremendously. No more earmarks. No more pet projects. No fluff. We'd get our debt back under control.

There will always be down times in a free economy. We just need to learn to prepare for these down times. It's a tough lesson to learn, but we the people can accomplish anything.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama is the Anti-Christ?

My good friend Verle, who is little bit of a Bible nut, sent the text below to me, with comments in (parenthesis). My own comments are in [brackets]. While Obama may yet prove to be evil, I just don't see this chapter in John as applying to him. Still, it's interesting to think about.


John sees fierce-looking beasts which represent degenerate earthly kingdoms controlled by Satan-The devil works miracles and deceives men.

1 I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.

(Obama was Born in Hawaii)
[Obama doesn't have seven heads or ten horns. What is the name of blasphemy?]

2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.

[That would make we the people of the US of A the dragon. I don't think so. I'm still more apt to believe the beast is a reference to the UN or the European Union or some similar agency...even OPEC would make more sense to me.]

3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.

(Possible assassination attempt?)

4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?

(the sickening display of the "Obama Worshippers" who say he is the great gift to the country)
[I haven't heard any rhetoric that would lead me to believe Obama's foreign policy will be strong enough to prevent anyone from making war against fact, quite the opposite.]

5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.

(Very influential speaker - Obama?)
[One of those 3 1/2 year periods that John was so fond of writing about]

6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.

7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

(the sickening display of the "Obama Worshippers" who say he is the great gift to the country)
[Just doesn't make sense to me]

8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

9 If any man have an ear, let him hear.

10 He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

(Military Rule)
[Who would this second beast be? I'm not saying this is what I believe, but it makes more sense that the second beast would be Obama. But probably another consortium of countries of some sort]

13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,

(Nuclear WAR?)
[I've always wondered if that's the way the Middle East would end up going]

14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

(Need for food Storage)
[or gold/other commodities usable for barter]

18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

[What would this have to do with Obama?]

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Question of Leadership

Can someone be a great leader if the direction he leads us is wrong?

I did not vote for Obama, nor do I agree with many of his positions. But I get a sense that people are getting behind him more so than in the recent past. I also get the feeling that at least for a little while, there will be great momentum towards getting a lot accomplished.

I've always been impressed by Obama's charisma. I've been impressed with his ability to garner support against great odds. He exudes confidence, and that confidence and hope seems to be contagious. These are traits of a great leader.

But is he really a great leader if the decisions he makes, while giving people hope in the short-run prove to be detrimental over the course of time? That's my greatest fear for his presidency.

People may be so blinded by this new hope that they overlook what Obama is actually accomplishing in office.