Category Archives: Business

Take Your Tea And Shove It

Economy stimulator extraordinaire Iowahawk tells the American Tea Party what to do with their bags:

Thanks to the new federal mortgage bailout bill, Americans like me are finally on track for housing security. Previously facing a $1.2 million debt from three mortgage on a home recently appraised at $43,500, less missing bathroom fixtures and windows, the President’s plan allowed me to renegotiate my payments down to a level that will keep me solvent until at least mid June-ish. Now that my family and various friends from Jimbo’s Tap Room no longer have to worry about having a stable crash pad, we are finally free to resume the spending that will lead America back to economic prosperity.

I wish I could take credit for it, but it took the collective effort of hundreds of thousands of us in the subprime community, working with the financial industry and public sector officials. Unfortunately, there is another group out there who is working to kill important financial bailout reforms just as they are sparking a renaissance in the American housing market. I’m speaking, of course, of the so-called “Tea Party” tax protesters.

I’m sure you’ve heard of them or read their emails: “Wah, I paid my mortgage.” “Wah, I didn’t use my house for an ATM.” “Wah, Dave I need that hundred back I lent you at Christmas.” Now, I’m as sympathetic to a good sob story as anybody, but these whiners have nobody to blame but themselves for their predicament. Anyone who kept track of the Gallup presidential polls last year should have known what was coming, so don’t blame me if you decided to waste your money paying your stupid mortgage. But, in the six-dimensional bizarro world of these noisy tax gripes, they expect me to give up my bailout to pay for their irresponsible lack of foresight! Helloooo?! Beam me up, Scotty!

Some people are just ingrates.

Ahhhhnuullld The Democrat

I’m listening to the evening news on my last night in LA, after the announcement that the state unemployment is in double digits, hearing the RINO Governator talking about how “creating jobs is his highest priority.”

Well, ignoring the issue of “creating jobs” (which can be done by simply handing out money stolen from the taxpayers or borrowed from future taxpayers to pay people to do various things of various and dubious value, often negative) as opposed to creating wealth and not making war on prosperity, here’s an idea, Arnie.

How about doing an analysis of previous California policy to figure out why the jobs were destroyed, and stop doing and start undoing those things? Or is that too hard?

That’s Not The John Maynard Keynes That I Knew

Apparently, President Obama and the Congressional Democrats have thrown Keynes under the bus, too, even though they don’t realize it:

…it is true that government direction of capital is something Keynes advocated. But the current direction of capital by government is being conducted in a manner that flies in the face of Keynes’s underlying justifications for such state involvement.

For example, the stimulation of investment has thus far been ad hoc. The Treasury and Federal Reserve have infused capital into some firms but not others. In the case of financial firms, the rationales have been to promote liquidity or prevent insolvency or both. The government has moved on to direct capital into the troubled automobile industry. The Federal Reserve and the Treasury are buying mortgage-backed securities, thereby making more credit available to the housing industry. The construction trades are expecting a huge infusion of capital under the rubric of “infrastructure” spending. And now an enormous list of other industries has been approved for temporary stimulation by the Obama administration.

It is difficult to imagine that Keynes would be enthusiastic about these temporary and discretionary policies given his diagnosis of the fundamental problem.

The historical record is helpful here. Keynes opposed immediate, short-term stimulus in 1937 when the British unemployment rate was 11 percent—much higher than we are experiencing today. Furthermore, he opposed temporary reductions in the short-term rates of interest because he believed that variability of interest rates sent the wrong long-term message. As he argued in “How to Avoid a Slump,” an article in the Times of London newspaper, “A low enough long-term rate of interest cannot be achieved if we allow it to be believed that better terms will be obtainable from time to time by those who keep their resources liquid.”

Of course, most of these people are far too economically illiterate to even understand Keynes. Instead, they simply adulate him as a god and use him as an excuse to do what they want to do anyway, regardless of whether or not it’s truly Keynesian.

[Update early evening]

More historical ignorance: Barack Obama versus Henry David Thoreau. Now, Thoreau was actually sort of a loon, and his “wisdom” is highly overrated, as P. J. O’Rourke has amusingly pointed out in the past, but the notion that the small-government philosopher would have approved of the “stimulus” plan is ludicrous.

Thoughts On COTS

…along with fixed-price versus cost-plus, appropriate payment milestones, and “skin in the game,” from Jon Goff.

We have to come up with much more innovative means of reducing the cost of access to orbit, something that Ares I doesn’t do at all. Charles Miller just became “Senior Advisor” on space commercialization with NASA’s Innovative Partnership Programs Office, so perhaps he will be able to help implement some of these kinds of ideas.

The Next Stage Of Wrecking The Economy

Get ready for the cram down:

Now, maybe higher interest rates on home loans would be a good thing. Home ownership is heavily subsidized in this country, and the reason bankruptcy law currently protects banks from losses on principal is so that they can keep mortgage-interest rates low. But is Congress really going to let mortgage-interest rates rise as a result of this new law? Liberal interest groups already think credit-card interest rates are a crime against humanity. Can you imagine the hue and cry whenever mortgage-interest rates start to tick up?

The more likely scenario is that Congress passes some new law that keeps mortgage-interest rates suppressed, even though the new bankruptcy law has exposed banks to greater risk. If your goal is to re-inflate the housing bubble and create another credit catastrophe, well, there you go.

It’s truly infuriating the way politicians muck with the market, then implement more mucking to deal with the unintended consequences of the first muck, and then blame laissez-faire capitalism for the problems. And the media let them get away with it, repeatedly.

The Man Who Talked Back

Jimmy Pethokoukis:

In 1937, there was a radio debate between Wendell Willkie— later to become the 1940 Republican presidential nominee—and Franklin Roosevelt administration official Robert Jackson—later a Supreme Court justice—about the proper economic role of government. (The event and its fallout are wonderfully described in the outstanding book “The Forgotten Man” by Amity Shlaes.)

By all accounts, Willkie won easily by arguing that FDR’s efforts at nationalizing the utilities industry, his dramatic tax increases, and his administration’s push for prosecutions of businessmen had frozen the private sector with fear and prevented the country from returning to prosperity. The Saturday Evening Post would later dub Willkie “The Man Who Talked Back” against the New Deal and Big Government. I would love to see a debate between Santelli and Obama spokesperson Robert Gibbs.

Yeah, I’d pay to see that, but they’d have to institute a mercy rule, I think, after the first ten minutes.

I hope that Santelli is ready for his upcoming IRS audit.