Sunday, February 22, 2009


Personal responsibility continues its trip toward extinction. Run up huge credit card bills and the evil credit card company made me do it; take out a mortgage you never had a chance of paying and the evil bank made me do it; smoke 3 packs a day for thirty years and its an addiction; get drunk and drive over someone and it was the bartender’s fault. The truth is that the credit card company doesn’t force anyone to buy anything; the bank gives out stacks of disclosure statements about what the payment is that no one bothered to read; and millions of people have quit smoking and drinking. The airwaves are full of attorneys advertising that if anything ever happened for any reason to anyone, they should call and have a consultation about a law suit. No matter what happened, it must be someone else’s fault.
The result of all this is an increase in medical costs, insurance rates, unsafe roads, fewer doctors. All at the expense of people who are prudent with their purchases

To push this epidemic along the President has determined that anyone who has a mortgage that they can’t pay should get a do over. Regardless of how big the mortgage is, he will cap your payments at 31% of monthly salary. Of course, that is what the reasonableness test of a mortgage was for years. Obama’s plan means that regardless of income level, the home of dreams is within reach. A terrific plan: get a million dollar house and make $1,000 a month. The house payment is only $310 dollars per month. The criterion to get in on this is simple – just take out a loan that you never had a chance of paying back.

This is economic policy on a par with making the minimum wage $50 an hour so that everyone makes $100,000/ year and we have no problems. Ridiculous.

Meanwhile, the vast majority of people who pay their mortgage (and may be struggling to do so) get to foot the bill.


During the election, it was clearly that the overriding issue for the majority was the removal of George Bush. The idea that this would have happened anyway never occurred to most; the important thing was Change. As a result, the election was almost entirely devoid of issues.
Two things were made clear. First was that Obama was going to end the war faster than GWB. The pledge to pull the troops has been replaced by a vague policy of getting the troops out of Iraq in about 16 months – maybe.
The second thing that Obama made clear was that there would be a redistribution of income. Not much was made of it then but this was repeated often. The President is certainly delivering on that promise. He is giving $1,000 per child (more if there are more than 3) to people who don’t pay taxes, paying the mortgages of people who bought houses that they, and providing incentives to states to enroll more people on welfare. This is not economic stimulus.

Friday, February 20, 2009


Representative Pelosi, her husband and an entourage went to Italy at taxpayer expense. Her reason is that Italy is the United States strongest ally in NATO. (She apparently highly values the Italian Army.) Anyway, after castigating the Auto CEOs for wasting money, this pack went to museums, saw the Pope privately, got her grandmother’s birth certificate and otherwise fiddled while the US economy was in flames.
Taxpayers are also paying for another group’s trip to India to commemorate the 50th anniversary of MLK Jr. studying the ways of Mahatma Gandhi. This bunch included some Congressmen, MLK III and his wife, a jazz musician and others.
These are the people (all Democrats to be politically correct) that are telling us that these are tough times and everyone will have to make sacrifices.
They consider the tough times and sacrifices to be for everyone else. They are acting like a ruling class. These Emperors have no clothes.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Poster Boy

My local newspaper (Newsday) had a story today that praised President Obama's Foreclosure plan. The poster boy for the story was a guy who owned a house worth $240,000 6 years ago. He recently refinanced the house for $428,000. That would mean he received in the neighborhood of $188,000 in cash. His aim was to “do some work on the house” and “build up his business”. The story goes on to say that the work on the house never happened. There is no mention of what went into his business. He is a self employed magician who makes balloon animals. Perhaps he bought a few more rabbits and another hat to pull them out of but it seems unlikely that it went into any business plan. Regardless, his problem is that after the refinance he is no longer able to make the payments. The reporter is in full sympathetic mode and never asked what happened to the $188,000. (Quite an example of investigative reporting.) There seems to be no good reason why he should get any help other than food stamps yet he is held as the exemplar of the programs "needy".
Why should people who took out the cash at the high point get support and get to keep the money, while those who did not get nothing?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Under Water

One of the aims of the President’s Foreclosure solution is to provide help to people who have a home that is now worth less than the mortgage. He wants to change the mortgage to reflect the current value because the house was worth more last year than it is worth today. And if it is worth more in the future than it is now does the mortgage revert back to its current terms? Does anyone give any money back? Historically, housing values fluctuate over time; mostly they have increased but fluctuations happen.
It is instructive to look at the option of doing nothing in this situation. Two things are certain under this action: People who didn’t make a down payment will get money; people who did make a substantial down payment will get nothing. Once again, the government is subsidizing the wrong thing.


Our Secretary of State has visited the country where our President spent his formative years and announced that the image of the United States needs to be improved in Muslim countries. These are the countries that spawn suicide bombers, deny women’s rights, prohibit any religious beliefs except their own, seem incapable of any form government except dictatorship and theocracy, cut people’s hands off for minor offenses, and deny both the Holocaust and Israel’s right to exist. This wonderful record indicates to our Administration that it is the United States that needs to improve its image.
Certainly it would be good if the USA had a stellar history and image to portray to the world. But the price of improving this image is the real question. She pledged a new American openness to ideas from abroad, especially the Muslim world. Are the ideas we should be open to about suicide bombers, or women’s rights? She also announced that more development aid was on the way to these countries. With the US domestic economy in its current condition, it makes sense to the administration to send additional aid to an oil exporting country to improve our image. When the tsunami hit the first aid given was by the US; I missed all the Iranian aid to New Orleans.
The images I do remember are the pictures published shortly after 9/11. The pictures were of millions of people in the streets of various Muslim cities celebrating 9/11. Of course, this was before the media determined that Islam was the religion of peace. It was when every TV station was showing panel discussions which invariably included the imam saying: “it is very sad but you must remember that Israel…”
The image that most needs to be corrected is not that of the USA.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


It was just a few weeks ago when the Democratic Senators signed a pledge never to accept any Senator nominated by the disgraced Governor of Illinois. They very quickly reversed that pledge, had their hearings and accepted Burris. Mr. Burris more than likely lied under oath and certainly is guilty of withholding information. Such is apparently the norm in Chicago politics as shown by several governors and a few Representatives who have worn the orange jump suits. It is fortunate for us all that President Obama was able to succeed in this cesspool without being tainted. Ha!

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Senator Schumer claims that no one cares about a “little, tiny, yes, porky amendments”. This is just another positive proof of how out of touch he is. He and most of the rest of the professional politicians on both side of the aisle have no idea of the world where money is real and not just numbers on an amendment. These “tiny” bits of pork are each millions of dollars. Even he admits they are pork. The reason for them is not to assist economic recovery in any way. They are essentially bribes paid by the politicians to each other with our tax money. Everyone gets to go back home and brag about what they put in the package for the benefit of their financial supporters. This is about these people getting themselves re-elected – not economic policy.
His argument that Republicans were focusing on these things as a reason for not supporting the measure is an outrage. He wants everyone to support the bill and rejects any criticism that large portions are unnecessary. At the same time, he admits that they are unnecessary and have no place in the package. By his own statements, the bill would have the same economic impact without them but the waste involved should be condoned anyway. So, what are they there and why is he supporting this garbage?
Senator Schumer should be looking for another job.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Rushing to disaster

Rush has to change or go.
Radio is one of the few outlets that can get through the media censorship of any conservative opinion. Radio and a few commentators have brought many issues to the public that would others wise go unnoticed. Unfortunately, some of the commentators have lost their way. Leading the pack of those running in the wrong direction is Rush Limbaugh.

Rush has become a legend in his own mind. His political and philosophical disagreements have become personal vendettas. What started out as a platform for conservative thought has become a daily episode to feed his ego and preach to the choir. Pointed satire has given way to snide comments and forced laughter that do nothing to promote his political position. The man is an embarrassment to anyone with a conservative thought. Rather than using his pulpit to promote alternative solutions, it has become a daily negative monologue that feeds the media a steady diet of his easily refuted rants.
The most recent example is his rant about the Florida woman at the Obama photo op. A tape is all over the Internet. It is decidedly not what Rush said it was. She simply did not say what Rush heard. Then there is his Operation Chaos debacle in the primary. The Stop Hillary Express was an exercise in personal dislike and ego gratification that did nothing other than to energize lots of Democrats that never would have voted. His audience of worshipers loves it, agrees and believes his every word. There is no real effort to convince the occasional undecided voter that might tune in.

This is not about compromising on principles. It is about presenting them in a manner which can actually have an impact. We have a minimum of 4 years of this President and 2 years of this Congressional majority. For any change to be made, positive alternatives have to be offered to the people undecided. The majority has proven to be influenced by rational discussion that is well presented (see Reagan/Obama). That two such different philosophies can win proves the point. Rush’s brand of faux-conservatism can never be the majority and he and his audience needs to figure that out.

What happened?

The President elect earned his victory. But the euphoria that still surrounds it has generated a cycle of analysis which has completely misinterpreted the results. His victory had many fathers:

The Republican Party ran the worst possible candidate they could. They ran the one man of all their initial candidates that could be most closely associated with incredibly unpopular George W. Bush. They created situation where the candidate had to run against to people, allowing Senator Obama to trumpet a “Change” that meant one thing: Change George W. Bush.

Senator Obama was a terrific candidate for television and a good speaker. Senator McCain’s ratings in these areas are positive only in comparison to Bob Dole.

Senator McCain, the worst available candidate, ran a horrid campaign. He had no real thrust; presented no reason for offering his candidacy and seldom stuck to an issue for long.

Senator Obama made the politically correct decision not to accept public funds. He did break his initial promise but it was the correct thing for him to do. It enabled him to outspend McCain about 4:1.

Senator Obama had overwhelming media support. Senator Obama was the least vetted candidate in since Jimmy Carter. His policy proposals were never analyzed for cost, he was allowed to skate on his past associations ,and the media went to great lengths to ridicule McCain's running mate.

The race factor was a significant benefit to Senator Obama and this was ably assisted by Limbaugh's "Stop Hillary Express"

Issues played almost no part in the election. War, Illegal immigration, fixing the tax structure, and correcting the health care and social security messes were all secondary to the issues above.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


While Congress fiddles with how to give away money, how much pork goes to where, and how much 3 GOP Senators get as a payoff, here a compromise suggestion that will save money:
For one year, collect no federal tax on anyone who is making less than $250,000 per year. People get about 25% more income each week to buy things, pay their mortgage, or save. The money is immediately added to the economy.
If people buy things, that’s good. It stimulates demand – like a stimulus package is supposed to. If people pay their mortgage, that’s good for housing prices and the value of mortgage securities. If people save it, that is good for the credit markets.
Congress gets to still tax people earning over $250,000 (one of their goals), but those people don’t pay anymore than they are paying now.
The only loser is Congress who does not get to waste the money the way it wants to.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


President Obama continues to his record of appointments. He has chosen a series of people who have chosen not to pay their income taxes until caught. Most recently, he announced his Economic Advisors. These appointments included Penny Pritzker.
Ms. Pritzker was the CEO of Superior Savings Bank. According to the FDIC report, Superior collapsed due to “the failure of Superior Bank was directly attributable to the Bank’s Board of Directors and executives ignoring sound risk management principles” and cost taxpayers hundreds of million. In addition to this experience, Ms. Pritzker has another qualification for this post. She was the National Finance Chair of 2008 Democratic Party presidential candidate Barack Obama’s campaign. Change we can believe in.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

What now?

In the last Presidential election, a very unpopular President, a weak and uninspiring candidate, and the overwhelming bias of the media resulted in the election of a Democrat as President and secured an overwhelming majority in Congress. This interrupted the steady national trend of the last 30 years towards conservatism and away from government dependency.
From Reagan through Gingrich there had been a meaning and a philosophy which was attractive to a majority of Americans. And, there was a spokesman; someone who could get past the media censorship and make a case for what was to be done.
Even the Clinton interruption was minor. His elections can be attributed to unpopular and uninspired candidates and a third party candidacy that split the conservative vote. But the country quickly elected a conservative Congress which governed while Clinton “fiddled”.

While most of the true believers of the mid-90’s kept their promise to return to private life, the remainder lost their way. Professional politicians were created; spending went off the charts; there was no spokesman or leadership. With no real aim, they quickly lost Congress and then the Presidency.

How does this get better?

First, whatever group still remains that believes in free markets and avoiding the dependencies of the redistributionist philosophy that is currently in power, needs to talk about what they stand for. This group also needs to find a leader - someone who can string a few words together (as opposed to the last 5 presidential elections).

Regardless of where this person is, everyone needs to speak with a reasonably consistent voice; do the talk shows, get out to the people – all the people – with their ideas. State simply what should be done and why. Don’t allow the media to portray the negatives – offer real alternatives. Have a positive plan. “Just say No” is not a political platform. How does a Contract sound?

This message needs to emphasis things that are important to everyday life - Job creation, Taxes, Schools, Medical Care. The basis of what needs to be done is Economics. The social agenda is very nice but does not appeal to the majority of voters. Gay marriage is just not a significant issue to people who are overtaxed, unemployed, have no medical insurance and kids who can’t read.

The media outlets that conservatives do are many radio voices. These guys are extremely popular but spend much of their efforts preaching to the choir. This incredible energy needs to be turned from self congratulation and argument into making a cogent presentation. Efforts such as the “Stop Hillary Express” do nothing to convince anyone of the correctness of a position but do turn people off – and it worked out so well.

Meanwhile, there is a Liberal President. The real differences should be presented as real differences, again with positive options to correct the many real problems. Even though the differences are great, this cannot be allowed to devolve into petty personal hatred (See the “Stop Hillary Express”). That will only lose the public relations war, again.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Tax Payers

The transparency of this Administration is quite obvious. It is clear that President Obama’s nominees believe that paying taxes is the job for the middle class. He has proposed a Treasury Secretary who doesn’t pay taxes until he is caught and he was approved. His nominee for H&HS Secretary doesn’t pay taxes until he is caught but he will be approved too. Incredibly, they are both taking credit for paying back taxes (after they were caught), like that makes it all better. These were not complicated misapplications of the convoluted tax code. These guys collected income and simply did not report it. This is pretty basic error and something that – for instance - the head of the IRS should be expected to know and would be laughed at if used as an excuse in Tax Court.

While both have admitted to their errors and the Democrats have been falling over themselves in the media trying to explain away these small oversights because “we really need these guys”. The reality is that the country needs people who pay their taxes even more than it needs people who illegally avoid them.


Congress and the President seem to be in a desperate rush to save everyone in foreclosure. However, there are several reasons for foreclosures and blindly giving everyone money will not help anything. While people have health issues or some other catastrophe that can severely impact income, there are other reasons.
One of the primary reasons for that the local foreclosure rate is the huge increase in value that occurred in Nassau and Suffolk . As a result, many people refinanced their mortgages in order to access this increase in equity. How many of the foreclosure are in this category? Why isn’t this reported? Where did the money go? Why should these people be helped unless that cash out is returned?
Another reason is that people bought homes they could not afford. When Fannie Mae changed the rules, any borrower could qualify for almost any amount. That does not mean that people had to buy the largest home they could find. For the largest purchase of a life time, some level of care or prudence should be exercised. Stupidity should have no claim on government funding.


A relatively unknown woman from up north has been appointed to the US Senate by Governor Patterson. Her qualifications include being able to see Buffalo from her house, being a hunter and liking the outdoors. Sounds pretty familiar. The skits on SNL are eagarly anticipated as is ridicule by the press. Or is that a one way street?