Sunday, May 30, 2010

Europe May be Dying, but not Socialism

I keep hearing that the Euro, the currency of a dozen or more European countries is living on borrowed time. Many analysts are intimating that the European Union itself could collapse. They claim the message is clear: the welfare state is unsustainable. Well no kidding. You know it, I know it and the American people know it. But don't think that means they don't want a welfare state right here.

The demise of the European cradle to grave welfare system doesn't mean that socialism is wrong according to a huge number of everyday Americans. Burned by the excesses of a few poorly regulated mega corporations and their own out of control medical costs many Americans are convinced that a not-for-profit government controlled world is not only fair it's righteous.

I started off talking about Europe, but I'm afraid Europe is a lost cause. They may indeed welcome the end of the Euro and even the disintegration of the European Union, but not the welfare state, don't even think of taking away their "free" government benefits.

America still has a chance. We need leaders who will drag us away from government domination of the economy and allow the entrepreneurial, profit making spirit to whisk us away from bailouts and dependency. We have seen the inevitable result of the socialist model again and again - why are we running head long into the same fire? There's no sane reason to follow Europe to hell...


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Devil of Time: Winner Take All

Is World Wide Socialism Inevitable?

For years I have pondered the interesting question of generation spanning goals. It used to seem ridiculous to me that the next generation would further the goals of the previous generation when the final objective would benefit generations in some far off, nebulous future. Who cares; once we're gone, we're gone. As selfish as it is to say what happens to the world can be of no consequence to us if our life is already over. Why sacrifice our own health, wealth and happiness in the here and now for someone elses children's children?

Obviously having children of my own has helped bring some things into sharp focus. We are sacrificing our own health, wealth and happiness for the kids. Yet, even if we are going to bequeath to our children a storied family name with wealth and prestige or a spectacularly successful business why would we care about the politics and the sociology of a world we have already departed?

Clearly the founders of all the powerful and lasting institutions could not have had such an attitude. It was their challenge to train and teach (indoctrinate, if you will) the next generation to carry on their traditions and goals. Most of them sacrificed greatly with their own blood and treasure. They would probably all say it was done for the good of their children and their children’s children. Still, is that enough for us to toil endlessly and do without during our own time on Earth?

A thousand years from now no one will remember the minions who fought today's social battles any more than we remember the soldiers who fought off the Mongol hordes, or fought for King and country during the Hundred Years War. One difference being in those times the minions often had little choice but to fight and die for "the cause". For the last 150 years most free men have had a choice. But have we really? Is some hidden hand guiding humans through history and to what end?

Since the beginning of recorded history there has been a battle for the hearts and minds - and souls - of man. Some would say it is a battle between good and evil. Others among us would say the labels of good and evil are interchangeable and the battle is really self-interest pitted against everything else. It seems to me that there's a hole in that logic. What self-interest is there once you’re dead? The idea that self-interest could be driving generational goals makes as much sense as the supernatural forces of good and evil controlling the fate of humanity. Perhaps the labels of good and evil are interchangeable depending on your beliefs. The lines blur because mankind is of two natures, both exist inside each of us, not one of us is pure and free of guile. And so, the battle rages on.

Consider the socialist movement and their goals. These goals have been slowly realized over many generations for well over a century now. Today they sit at the edge of victory; all the pieces are in place. How did they get this far? Is global socialism inevitable? Do they work for the side of good or the side of evil?

To answer that we have to examine who they have been battling. Boiled down to its essence socialism is at war with the individual. It targets everything that aides humanity to rely on itself rather than the state or the collective. It is a war against self-interest. It is a war against free market capitalism. It is a war against family. It is most definitely a war against religion. Socialism’s defenders and advocates will always attempt to turn the tables by using the duality of these institutions to define their own intentions as perfectly honorable. Individualism and self-interest are selfishness. Capitalism is unfair. Family is cruelty. Religion is intolerance.

Just saying socialism is at war with these institutions is pointless without exploration. If we examine the strategy they’ve employed we find it has always been one of separation. Despite the fact that the “separation of Church and State" doesn't officially exist in any constitutional documents it has been used to separate society from its religions. Public schools have been used to separate children from their parents. Social programs have been stunningly successful at separating families from their fathers, grandparents and beneficial fraternal organizations. Government bureaucracy is used to separate us from our money and business from its autonomy. Individuals are targeted by tax policy in order to quell their own self-interest. Dependency on the state instead of on the individual is encouraged wherever possible. Specific examples of these assertions are too numerous to count. Yet, every one of these claims is countered with tearful or outrageous anecdotes and simplistic slogans. "The rich get richer and the poor get poorer" has been used to shame society into self-defeating action without any true examination of the consequences. It is always that way. There is a perceived injustice and a government solution is offered as the only cure regardless of any actual facts to the contrary. Once a foothold is gained it is never relinquished (willingly) despite clear demonstration of its folly. Welfare reform is passed or taxes are lowered but the underlying truth of the evidence is never acknowledged and the battle is taken up again when the socialists have the advantage again. Socialism is a relentless assault on individualism.

So what's so great about individualism? Defined as a social theory that advocates the liberty, rights, or independent action of the individual, individualism is a belief that all actions are determined by, or at least take place for, the benefit of the individual, not necessarily for society as a whole. The supposition that the goals of the individual played out by individual actions en masse create a benefit for society has been proven time and again. When group rights are elevated over the rights of an individual then true injustice has taken place. We are all individuals. We are born alone and we die alone - we are not simply a part of a collective organism. Rather, society is a collection of individuals. In an individualistic society common interests are agreed upon by individuals, not forced down by a group of elites.

It seems the ultimate goal of the socialist elites is the reduction of the number of people on this planet. Everything they attack or support is geared toward population reduction. They attack the family by advocating for abortion and so-called family planning. They attack marriage with the false promises of feminism, easy divorce and a relentless denigration and feminization of men. They vociferously attack the Church - specifically the Catholic Church - because of the Church's stance on abortion and procreation. They attack business and capitalism using social injustice and environmental arguments. They use the failings of these institutions as proof of their illegitimacy beyond a shadow of a doubt. Wherever socialism has taken root in modern industrial societies the number of deaths eclipses the number of babies born. Europe, Japan, Russia even Canada and Australia are close to or past the point of no return. They do not produce enough children to sustain their populations.

Despite socialism's horrendous record (or stupendous, depending on your point of view) over the past 150 years it is so close to victory. There is only one thing that stands between the socialists and world domination - the United States. Because of the inborn and ingrained sense of individualism in the American psyche it has never been easy for the socialists in this country. Yet, they have persevered and are perched on the cusp of total victory. Electing Barack Obama and an overwhelming majority of Democrats in Congress was essential to the cause. The set up was years, actually, decades in the making. Despite the dismissal by the media and pundits of those who question the background of Mr. Obama, concerns over his place of birth, his early education, his college transcripts, his meteoric rise from the ranks of community organizer though some nefarious associations, even how he got a Social Security number from the Connecticut pool instead of from Hawaii are all legitimate and deserve examination.

Just how the Democrats thought they could elevate such an unknown, unrevealed and inexperienced man to the highest office in the land was a mystery. Then George W. Bush handed them a gift - many gifts in fact. He offered the olive branch of education, campaign finance reform as well Medicare expansion to the Democrats who only hated him more for it. He overreached in his response to 9/11 and under reached in his response to Hurricane Katrina. He failed to adequately defend himself or his party. Despite numerous attempts he failed to convince anyone of the looming financial crisis that manifested itself in the eventual collapse of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Wall Street. Thus a silver platter was handed to the Democrats and their socialist masters.

Under President Obama they've wasted no time. Giant financial and major manufacturing businesses have been brought under the control of or have been taken over outright by the Federal government. Labor unions and their pensions have been saved from needed restructuring. The Student Loan system has been taken over. A beast called Health Care Reform that threatens to bankrupt the country was passed. When the bill comes due for this reform rationing will be implemented despite their protestations that it won't, there will be no choice. Crippling financial reform looms, reform that does nothing to prevent further financial catastrophes. Their every action increases the power of the state and reduces the power of the individual. They are doing all of this regardless of the concerns of the governed. They don't care. They never have.

They were so impressed with themselves and their slogans that never saw the backlash coming. It’s not as if they care, any setback now is temporary. The Tea Party movement is an authentic response to government overreach. It was not created in the backrooms of GOP headquarters. It may well be too late, but it is an indication that Americans will not roll over as easily as the Europeans did. Again, the socialists don't care, they never have. They have managed to maintain their goals over generations, a truly remarkable feat.

I asked the question earlier whether the socialists work for the side of good or evil (neither of which they acknowledge). If, as God has commanded for humanity to go forth and be fruitful and multiple, to take dominion over the Earth and its creatures is something the socialists reject then I'd say it's clear which side they are on...


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Meet Doc Zero

I'm adding a new site to my "blog roll". I found Doc Zero over on like so many others have. Not content to wait for one of his profound and well considered essays to pop up on HotAir's must reads I have been visiting his site directly for some time. He's just too good not to share.

Years ago I read a Sci Fi series by Orson Scott Card that became known as the Ender Series. Much of this series was written long before the Internet was a household word. Card depicted a world wide network that closely resembled what we call the world wide web today. One of the main characters wrote editorials under a pseudonym much like what we call blogs today. His blogs were so well presented and so widely read that they sparked debate from the water cooler to the halls of national governments. Long story short, when I first started reading Doctor Zero's blogs I could help but think of one of Orson Scott Card's main characters. Doc Zero should be required reading.

Have at it!


Friday, May 21, 2010

Who Do You Love?

I think, or I should say, I know I have said this before on these pages, but I don't think I can dislike President Obama any more. I'm pretty sure he does not like The United States of America, I know he has no love for for this great country. ( see how he respects our National Anthem)

The latest slap in the face Americans are forced to endure is our President standing by and allowing a corrupt little man from Mexico besmirch OUR LAWS and scold the law makers of one of our great states - namely Arizona. -READ - In joint press conference, Calderon calls Arizona law 'discriminatory'; Obama says it's 'misdirected'

Obviously President Obama doesn't believe in border security or the current Federal laws regarding illegal immigration, but as the chief executive of the land it is his job to uphold those laws - whether he likes them or not. Why was Arizona compelled to act the way it did? Because the Federal government is not doing the job, and it's clear they have no intention of doing it. The new Arizona laws merley empowers local and state agents of law enforcement to uphold current Federal law, no more no less.

The whole illegal immigration problem is far more complicated than just round 'em up and deport them all, but protecting the border and public safety is not complicated. That is all the new Arizona law sets out to do.

To see that pompous ass makes jokes about it at the Annual White House Corespondents Dinner a few weeks back made me ill. Does he think it's funny? The literal invasion of our country is funny? What is wrong with him?

There are serious and sticky issues about what to do about the problem, but controlling the southern border should not be in question. There are thousands of children and young adults who were brought to America by their parents by no choice of their own. The live in limbo having only known America and yet can't be Americans - they are not truly Mexicans either. These are real problems and they are not funny - they are tragic.

I can't wait to cast my vote against President Obama and his cohorts.


Sunday, May 09, 2010

Made In The U.S.A... Or Not

If this story doesn't get your blood boiling...

After everything that's gone on with "big" finance on Wall Street in the last decade not the least of which is buying off politicians of every stripe we find an attitude that is lining up the final nail in the coffin of the American worker.

Meet Yet-Ming Chiang. His company, A123 Systems, has devised safer and longer-lasting batteries than the conventional lithium-ion currently slated for most production hybrids/electric cars. A remarkable feat packing in excess of 600 cells into a case no larger than an airplane carry-on bag. The 52-year old MIT professor and inventor already has this technology in use in many of the worlds cordless power tools.

But Chiang and his company are having a devil of a time moving to full-scale commercial production and creating thousands of new American jobs? Why?

It's just another chapter in the depressing history of manufacturing's decline in this country. Regardless of the clear advantage these batteries would give to American competitiveness and the add-on value of further technical development, many on Wall Street were incredulous when A123 asked for capital to build factories in America. Asia, yes. China, yes, of course, but Michigan, why?

Is it the American public who is really the one to blame here, and not Wall Street? The fact is Wall Street is not there to be altruistic. As hard as it is to swallow Wall Street bankers, investors and venture capitalists are only interested in the maximum return on any investment. That's their job. Guaranteeing Americans have jobs isn't. The question is: is the public willing to pay for American labor? The answer is clearly no they are not. People are still paying the same price they paid in 1975 for a whole host of products that are now made with Chinese labor at slave wages. People don't care, they want their their carts overflowing with cheap junk at Wal-mart. Unfortunately along with cheap, junky toys and sometimes poisonous everyday household goods our high tech gadgets are built in China too.

For too long there has been the view that the American economy could continue to prosper even when manufacturing moved to Asia, as long as Americans delivered the best ideas for new high-tech products - think Apple's iPod, iPhone. Unfortunately with the rules imposed by the Chinese government for intellectual property transfers it suggests that manufacturing devoted to thriving high tech industries acts as a magnet for research and development facilities too. It makes perfect sense. So, America loses twice.

Along with the American consumers appetite for cheap junk we also have negligent and out of touch labor unions and Stalinesque bureaucratic and environmental regulators. They make it so unattractive to set up shop in hometown U.S.A. that eager patriots go to China anyway so they can strike while the iron is hot! America loses three times.

When we can't move the means of production oversees, such as agriculture or construction we illegally import cheap Mexican labor. It is exceedingly clear that Americans won't pay the price for American workers. Wall Street doesn't see value to the bottom line using American labor when high tech communication and manufacturing systems as well as ample transportation make it more profitable to do the work elsewhere.

There may be no way of turning it around. America may never be a major manufacturing country again, if that's so America will stop being a powerful country eventually. What can be done? For one, when patriots like foreign born Yet-Ming Chiang want to build factories here we (collectively) should move heaven and Earth to assist him. Prove Wall Street wrong, prove me wrong, please.


Friday, May 07, 2010

Addicted to Debt

In the fall of 2008 when the debt crisis unfolded I freely admit that I didn't really understand what it meant. I was hearing that people weren't taking out loans and were busy paying off their debt. The fact that Americans were finally saving some money seemed like such a good thing. What could be wrong with that? These very things were in fact exactly what I was doing in my own life. So, what did a credit crisis mean to me? The language of Wall Street, CNBC and high finance gurus may as well have been Greek to me. I had no idea that one simple principle ruled our monetary system.

Money is debt. No debt, no money.

We had always been taught to believe that debt was a bad thing, a necessary evil. We certainly were never told that debt was the very life blood of our financial system. Yet there we were (and still are) in the midst of a debt crisis. I took it as a challenge to at least try to understand what the hell a debt crisis was.

Start with this notion: the creation of (new) money always involves the extension of credit by private commercial banks.

And this one: the money that one borrower uses to pay interest on a loan has been created somewhere else in the economy by another loan.

Or consider this: someone has to borrow every dollar we have in circulation, cash or credit. If the banks create ample synthetic money we prosper; if not, we starve...

These are quotes from financial gurus and Federal Reserve directors.

In other words our entire economy is debt based. It this good or bad? Whatever - it is what it is. New money is created by banks (and credit card issuers, if you will) when they extend credit. This money did not exist before. Yes, money is literally created out of thin air!

Think about it this way; when a bank takes in $10 in deposits it traditionally would leverage that money 10-1, thereby loaning out $100 with just $10 in the vault. Where did the $90 come from? It was created out of thin air. Is it real money? Well, the person who took out the loan can take that $100 down to Target and buy something with it, so yes, it's very real. This is how new money enters the economy, it is the only way new money enters the economy. The money is extinguished when the loan is repaid. As such "old money" is not liquid and can't be reused once its value has been tied up in assets such as property, cars, refrigerators, etc etc. Even if the asset is re-sold the buyer most likely had to take a loan in some form which is the action of brand new money entering the economy again.

Scale this up by magnitudes and you have the basis of the modern monetary system. Without debt our economy suffers, people suffer. As crazy as seems debt is absolutely essential to prosperity. Private commercial banks are allowed by the government to "create" money in this way. Of course there are limits and banks are/were traditionally the most regulated business in the land. The overall money supply is managed by the central bank. In the U.S. it is the Federal Reserve of course, which is also a private bank. It is also given its power by the government. Obviously the system is far more complicated than this simple primer, but this is in general the way money is created in America. It sounds crazy, and it probably is, but this is the system we have.

Whatever the ultimate cause of the crisis, a subject that is still a hot topic among pundits and economists, the credit shock stifled private sector business as well as ordinary consumers as fear gripped the land. Everyone pulled back simultaneously. No one was incurring any new debt. Since all money is created on the books of private banks to be injected into the economy when there is no debt, there is no money. Unfortunately it's not getting better. New debt creation in the U.S is contracting at a rate never seen before. What this means is there isn't the money to buy goods and services, so people get laid off and factories and car dealerships shut down thus contributing to a vicious cycle of economic doldrums and eventually, quite possibly, a depression. The only way reverse the cycle is for credit to be restored... When the banks can't do it, the government will have to. Can you say government stimulus?

The problem with Obama's stimulus was that it wasn't designed to restore wealth. A key point: money does not equal wealth... Instead Obama's stimulus was largely used for political payoffs. What is the point of pumping new money into the economy if it isn't intended to create wealth? Wealth is a dirty word to this administration. There is absolutely nothing wrong with government priming the pump when the private sector isn't doing it as long increasing wealth is the goal. Because of Obama/Pelosi/Reid's irresponsible spending there is no appetite for the government to prime the pump because of the fear of massive "government debt". But it is the myth long perpetrated by the financial elites in this country - that allowing the government to increase the money supply will lead to hyper-inflation. As little as I knew about finance way back in the late 80's and 90's I argued that government debt was not a problem as long as prosperity and wealth were the goal. We have not seen significant inflation outside the energy sector in decades, and we have certainly not seen hyper-inflation.

Unfortunately the current government is not interested in wealth creation for the United States. That's why this new pile of government debt is different. The goal of Obama and company is wealth transfer not wealth creation. Instead of injecting the liquidity the nation needs because the banks aren't doing it we hear rumblings of an austerity movement. This would be devastating. The problem with the current clowns in charge is that the austerity will be ours, yours and mine, not theirs. The government will continue to grow and spend and we will be asked to do with less.

The Tea Party Movement, God bless it, is wrong about government debt as a flash point. Public debt isn't like private debt. There's a big difference, we need to be aware of that and separate our personal fears about over extending ourselves and the fear that government debt is a ticking time bomb. The act of the of the government increasing the money supply is not inflationary if the money is used to increase actual goods and services and not just transfer payments. We get inflation when demand (money) exceeds supply (goods and services). When supply and demand increase in concert, prices basically remain stable.

So why, if the government gives commercial banks the power to "create" money, does it then turn around and borrow money from banks for which it has to tax its citizens to pay interest on the debt. It makes no sense - unless you are a politician in league with the giant banks. The only thing this serves is reelection committees and giant banks. We need to create wealth for everyone not just the few giant Wall Street banks. Wealth creation involves only three things. It happens through combination of our labor with our natural resources and our great ideas. When wealth is created there is no debt. Debt and is not in any way, shape, or form, an evidence of wealth. So, if new money is needed to grease the gears of wealth creation then why can't government grant to itself the very power they give to banks and create new money for real stimulus projects (infrastructure) and real private sector job creation

If I am hard on Obama and company over this issue it is because it is richly deserved, since either they are ignorant about how the monetary system works or they are calculating our demise. But unfortunately most Republicans are as stupid as the Democrats are dangerous. Where are the leaders who can articulate that increasing wealth should be the goal?