Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Getting bigger and bigger...

A video by The Cato Institute on reasons why the federal government needs downsizing: can anyone think of a good reason why taxpayers subsidize the sugar industry?

Thomas E. Woods on Predatory Pricing

Prof. Woods on Walmart, Herbert Dow and the theory of "predatory pricing."

HT: Liberty Pen

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas 2008!!!

Here's wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas! No posts until December 30th as I and the little family head out for holiday vacation.

Monday, December 22, 2008

And the rumba line just gets a little longer

Now commercial real estate developers are asking the government for financial assistance. The line for a taxpayer handout just keeps getting longer, folks. As predicted, a bad precedent was set when the Feds decided to bailout Wall Street.

Michael Crichton - Unpopular Truth

The late Michael Crichton on environmentalism as a religion, the myth of second hand smoke, and the tenuous science of global warming: You may have disagreed with him but Crichton was never a shill. He was simply an open minded and rational critic.

HT: Liberty Pen

Sunday, December 21, 2008

"Al Gore ruined Christmas!"

HT: Life, Liberty, and Property

Words that a modern day Progressive may utter…

"We are enemies, deadly enemies, of today's capitalist economic system with its exploitation of the economically weak, its unfair wage system, its immoral way of judging the worth of human beings in terms of their wealth and their money, instead of their responsibility and their performance, and we are determined to destroy this system whatever happens!" ---Nazi ideologist Gregor Strasser

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Congress is getting a pay raise? Why?

Yes folks, just when you thought that our current economic situation couldn't get any stranger. The political class will be quietly giving themselves a sweet pay raise in 2009. Oh well, why not? After all, Congress has done a real bang-up job with just about everything under the sun and under their perceived great scope. With an approval rating lower than George W. Bush, you would think that they should get a pay cut at least until the economy and the rest of the sucker-taxpayers like you and me had something to be cheerful about. This is yet another example of how trusting our country to these people is always a bad idea.; the taxpayer seems to not be a priority.

HT: Copious Dissent

Thanks for nothing , Mr. President

Bush approves $17.4 billion in aid to automakers.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Best posts I've read today

This Bobo Files post neatly sums up my rancor on the rampant big government corporatism that has become the lever of choice for the political elite in Washington.

Shaving Leviathan sums up the craziness at the Federal Reserve.

First Lady of Star Trek dies at 76

I'm a big science fiction fan and notably the entire Star Trek brand so this is sad news. God speed, Majel.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

No bailout for automakers!!

Don J. Boudreaux on the possible bailout of the big three:

So, far from solving this problem, any "bridge loans" from Uncle Sam to the Big Three will only delay the inevitable need to restructure. Bailout money would force taxpayers to foot the bill for Detroit's irresponsible past promises while it protects these firms from having to do the hard work of correcting this real source of their unprofitability. (Of course, bailout money would also protect overpaid and over-pensioned UAW members from having their pay and pensions scaled back to reasonable levels.)

With the symptoms of this serious ailment socialized for however long the bailout funds last -- that is, with nothing done to cure the ailment -- GM, Ford and Chrysler will be no better able to operate profitably after they run through the bailout funds than they're able to do now.

So if they're bailed out now, they'll inevitably be back in Washington in the near future to beg for another bailout.

My Comment: No one would have imagined a world without Pan Am or Woolworth's. I remember those big companies from my youth. After they were gone, the airline and retail industry continued merrily without them. Why do some people believe that if the big three go under it would be the end of the world? Yes, it would hurt to absorb those unemployed auto workers into our ailing economy but a bailout may simply prolong the inevitable. There is no guarantee that if given a bailout loan, the big three would make a triumphant comeback.

"I've abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system"

A no surprise statement from George W. Bush: Mr. Bush's "compassionate conservatism" was never much of a small government ideology to begin with (no matter what Progressives will tell you); the massive bailouts and the feckless stimulus packages have sealed the Bush administration as a big government administration.

Walter E. Williams - Capital & Wages

HT: Liberty Pen

Monday, December 15, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bailouts and Bankruptcy

Walter E. Williams on the auto bailouts:

Let's not allow Congress and members of the bailout parade panic us into allowing them to do things, as was done in the 1930s, that would convert a mild economic downturn into a true calamity. Right now the Big Three auto companies, and their unions, are asking Congress for a $25 billion bailout to avoid bankruptcy. Let's think about that a bit.

What happens when a company goes bankrupt? One thing that does not happen is their productive assets go poof and disappear into thin air. In other words, if GM goes bankrupt, the assembly lines, robots, buildings and other tools don't evaporate. What bankruptcy means is the title to those assets change. People who think they can manage those assets better purchase them.

Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, where the control of its business operations are subject to the oversight and jurisdiction of the court, gives companies a chance to reorganize. The court can permit complete or partial relief from the company's debts and its labor union contracts.

A large part of the problem is the Big Three's cozy relationship with the United Auto Workers union (UAW). GM has a $73 hourly wage cost including benefits and overtime. Toyota has five major assembly plants in the U.S. Its hourly wage cost plus benefits is $48. It doesn't take rocket science to figure out which company will be at a competitive disadvantage. Then there's the "jobs bank" feature of the UAW contract where workers who are laid off workers get 95 percent of their base pay and all their benefits. Right now there's a two-year limit but in the past workers could stay in the "jobs bank" forever unless they turned down two job offers within 50 miles of their factory. At one time job bank membership exceeded 7,000 "workers." GM, Ford and Chrysler face other problems that range from poor corporate management and marketing, not to mention costly government regulations.

Two vital marketplace signals are the profits that come with success and the losses that come with failure. When these two signals are not allowed to freely function, markets operate less efficiently. To be successful a business must take in enough revenue not only to cover wages, rents and interest but profits as well. In order to accomplish that feat executives must not only satisfy customers but they must do it in a manner that efficiently utilizes all of their resources. If they fail to cover costs, it means that resources are not being used efficiently and/or consumers don't value the good being produced relative to some other alternative. When a firm routinely fails to turn a profit, there are bankruptcy pressures. The firm's resources, workers, building and capital become available to someone else who might put them to better use. When government steps in with a bailout, it enables executives to continue mismanaging resources.

How much congressional involvement do we want with the Big Three auto companies? I'd say none. Congressmen and federal bureaucrats, including those at the Federal Reserve Board, don't know anymore about the automobile business than they know about the banking and financial businesses that they've turned into a mess. Just look at the idiotic focus of congressmen when the three auto company chief executives appeared before them. They questioned whether the executives should have driven to Congress rather than flown in on corporate jets. They focused on executive pay, which is a tiny fraction of costs compared to $73 hourly compensation to 250,000 autoworkers. The belief that Congress poses the major threat to our liberty and well-being is why the founders gave them limited enumerated powers. To our detriment, today's Americans have given them unlimited powers.

HT: Jimmy Cardoza

Promises, promises you can't keep

It seems that some on the Left aren't too keen on Obama appointments and his backtracking on some campaign rhetoric.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's not easy being "Green."

For your consideration. From the U.S. Senate Committe on Enviroment and Public Works:

UN Blowback: More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims.

POZNAN, Poland - The UN global warming conference currently underway in Poland is about to face a serious challenge from over 650 dissenting scientists from around the globe who are criticizing the climate claims made by the UN IPCC and former Vice President Al Gore. Set for release this week, a newly updated U.S. Senate Minority Report features the dissenting voices of over 650 international scientists, many current and former UN IPCC scientists, who have now turned against the UN.

We need a "Car Czar" like we need bullets to our heads

Despite polls showing that most Americans have an unfavorable view of bailing out GM, Ford, and Chrysler, Democratic congressional leaders and White House officials "agreed in principle Tuesday on a $15 billion bailout of U.S. automakers that would give the government extraordinary power to restructure the failing industry." Perfect. While our political class is busy spending our tax dollars on bad businesses, maybe we can also have ourselves an "energy czar" to boot

Easing mortgages for homeowners falling behind payments not working as planned.

Bank data tells the sad tale that modifying loans for homeowners unable to stay current with their mortgage payment is simply pushing the inevitable to a later date. The reworking of these loans never made sense to me since a weak economy and plummenting home values would offset any home loan modification.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sunday, December 7, 2008

"Passing gas" tax for bovine

I saw this clip on MSNBC. Farmers may be taxed for the methane escaping out of their cows because it is detrimental to the environment. Take a guess on how this will affect dairy prices at the local supermarket? As if food prices weren't high enough already during a recession. I would feel a little bit sorrier for the dairy farmer in this clip if he and the rest of the farming industry didn't already receive a huge federal subsidy.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Obama Apparently Drops Windfall Profits Tax Proposal

Ronald Bailey over at Reason has reported that Obama has queitly dropped the windfall profits tax idea on his website. If this is true, then there are going to be some really pissed Progressives around the country. I went over to his website and I didn't see anything on windfall profits and I distinctly remember reading something about windfall profit taxes on oil companies on his website during the campaign. If he has dropped this proposal then this would be change we can believe in!

HT: Andrew Roth

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Unions are set for more power

The union bosses are ready to be paid back for their support during the recent election. The secret ballot is about to go "bye-bye."

'Twelve Days of Christmas' items would cost $86,609

Just having the five golden rings would be pricey enough these days. It would be nice to have eight maids a milking though. Always a nice sight. Ahem.

Best post I've read today...

Jeff Perren at Shaving Leviathan on rights and big government:

Ignorance is a great tool for such people. How many, after all, can afford the time (even if they had the inclination) to become an expert in law, science, and economics? Instead, just let the 'experts' tackle all the problems. Be sure to have those experts — since, it's argued, experts in the private sphere are 'tainted' by self-interest — be in government.

That hand off of power to a cadre of so-called experts has been tried in America before. Progressives from just after the turn of the 20th century through the end of the Roosevelt administration (with a respite during the Coolidge years 1923-1929) argued for government by the elite. Naturally, their view of 'elite' was a mixed bag of statist ideology and actual expertise.

We're seeing a similar phenomenon today as Paulson-Bernanke continue to wreck the economy and Obama selects his Cabinet and advisers. The results will be similar. All ignore the issue of rights. Observe that in all the bailout mania taking place everyone talks about whether it will work, not whether the Feds have the right to try in the first place. Like FDR to Bush's Hoover, Obama will try the same New Deal policies, this time on steroids. Those policies will fail and no one will ask whose rights were violated, only whether the experts got it right or wrong.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

OPEC gets tested

The latest example that the powers of OPEC are exaggerated--the drop of the price of a barrel of oil to below $60--that's a roughly 80-90 dollar drop since about July. As soon as oil gets as low as it is now, OPEC members start to reach for each other's throats. There are many lovely things about lower oil prices--one of them is the decreasing ability of political payoffs that most of the OPEC member states rely upon to keep their corrupt regimes afloat. And speaking of corrupt regimes, somewhere in Venezuela Hugo Chavez is sweating it big time--sweet.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thomas Sowell - On Diversity

HT: Liberty Pen

Obama picks his economic team

Robert Rubin protege's are poised to lead Barack Obama's economic team. Rubin, under President Clinton, was a free-trade, balanced budget, and financial deregulation kind of economist. Progressive dreams of massive public works programs very much like the New Deal may be fading away rather quickly and silently.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The line just gets longer, folks! Now its Citigroup's turn!

And now Citigroup gets to line up at the trough! Of course, Wall Street loved the crony-capitalism and had a great day. The taxpayer on the other hand gets screwed again.

Cartoon of the day

Film-makers taking on our 'global warming hysteria'

Can we finally get a documentary that counters some of the off the wall mania surrounding global warming created by Al Gore? There has been very little debate on the subject and since it seems that our political class have already started to make terrible decisions (for example, the expensive subsidy of corn ethanol) regarding "green" solutions, a counter to the emotionally satisfying shill of enviromentalists would be very welcome.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thomas E Woods - Principles of 1798

Professor Woods on Thomas Jefferson, the 1st amendment, nullification, and the Virginia and Kentucky resolution of 1798.

HT: Liberty Pen

Friday, November 21, 2008

Best post I've read today on Herbert Hoover and our financial woes

Jeff Perren over at Shaving Leviathan details Herbert Hoover's actions that led to the Great Depression. Sadly, our government seems to be following his footsteps.

Banking deregulation reduces racial wage gap

A recent study by a group of Brown University academics found that one of the benefits of a deregulated banking industry is a reduced (but not eliminate) wage gap between blacks and whites. The theory is that when laws preventing banks from incorporating in other states (than they were already operating in) were eliminated, this eventually led to increased competition and it also created better access for entrepreneurs to start up businesses that would employ more people. The more people employed the more likely hood that racial bias would be reduced. The states with the highest racial wage gap before deregulation seemed to have benefited the most after deregulation. Big government advocates that want to punish the banking industry for the recent financial crisis would do well to look over this study carefully before over-reacting with regulatory schemes.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Herbert Hoover and the New Deal

Thomas DiLorenzo, Phd. in Economics at Loyola, lectures on Herbert Hoover and the myth that free-market capitalism was the cause of the Great Depression.

HT: Liberty Pen

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Magnificence of Disposable Diapers

Art Carden at the Mises Institute sums up the beauty of disposable diapers. As a father of a 11 month old, I can attest to the sheer convenience and time saving traits of the modern disposable diaper. It is another example of how the environmentalists get it all wrong.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The line just gets longer, folks!

If you didn't hear the latest news on the bailout fiasco, American Express recently got the green light to become a bank holding company. Of course, this move gives one of the largest credit card companies a juicy opportunity to lobby for government funding. Well, guess what?

AmEx received approval earlier this week from the Federal Reserve to become a bank holding company, which is a similar structure to traditional commercial banks. The credit card company now has access to financing from the Fed and the ability to grow a large deposit base.

The company is said to be asking the government for an investment, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal citing unnamed sources. A spokeswoman for AmEx declined to comment, and telephone calls to the Treasury Department, which is running the $700 billion financial bailout program, did not immediately return telephone calls.

The increased funding opportunities through government programs, including the potential $3.5 billion investment, could be a huge boost to American Express as one of its primary sources of funding has nearly disappeared amid the ongoing credit crisis.

American Express relied on packaging pools of credit card debt and selling them to investors in the securitization market. As investors have shied away from purchasing all but the safest forms of debt, the market for credit card-backed securities has dwindled.

American Express is also facing a slowdown in the broader economy, which has led to more customers missing payments and cutting back on spending, hurting the company's profitability.

I can see a congo line way off in the distance of well-dressed executives making their way to Washington, D.C.

Why Bankruptcy Is the Best Option for GM

From the WSJ: Chapter eleven is the most practical course for General Motors and for taxpayers:

GM has about 7,000 dealers. Toyota has fewer than 1,500. Honda has about 1,000. These fewer and larger dealers are better able to advertise, stock and service the cars they sell. GM knows it needs fewer brands and dealers, but the dealers are protected from termination by state laws. This makes eliminating them and the brands they sell very expensive. It would cost GM billions of dollars and many years to reduce the number of dealers it has to a number near Toyota's.

Foreign-owned manufacturers who build cars with American workers pay wages similar to GM's. But their expenses for benefits are a fraction of GM's. GM is contractually required to support thousands of workers in the UAW's "Jobs Bank" program, which guarantees nearly full wages and benefits for workers who lose their jobs due to automation or plant closure. It supports more retirees than current workers. It owns or leases enormous amounts of property for facilities it's not using and probably will never use again, and is obliged to support revenue bonds for municipalities that issued them to build these facilities. It has other contractual obligations such as health coverage for union retirees. All of these commitments drain its cash every month. Moreover, GM supports myriad suppliers and supports a huge infrastructure of firms and localities that depend on it. Many of them have contractual claims; they all have moral claims. They all want GM to be more or less what it is.

And therein lies the problem: The cost of terminating dealers is only a fraction of what it would cost to rebuild GM to become a company sized and marketed appropriately for its market share. Contracts would have to be bought out. The company would have to shed many of its fixed obligations. Some obligations will be impossible to cut by voluntary agreement. GM will run out of cash and out of time.

It also seems that bailout fever has caught on up in Canada too: An Ontario premier has been pushing prime minister Stephen Harper to provide assistance to the province's car industry

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Social Security Disability--Your Tax Dollars at Work

You just wait till Democrats start fattening up all of those entitlement programs they are so fond of in order to garner votes.

HT: Liberty Pen

Cartoon of the day

HT: Carpe Diem

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Compassionate conservatism hurts

I watched President Bush give this speech at the Manhattan Institute on Thursday. He praised capitalism quite a lot and it was very inspirational to some degree. Except that the size of government has ballooned greatly under his auspices as President. And the bailout frenzy is certainly an example of big government intervention and not free-markets. Lastly, I find it rather ironic and even amusing that liberals despise his economic policies yet Mr. Bush in many ways has behaved (even if you remove the costs of the Iraq war) like a liberal President--expanding the size of government.

"Compassionate"conservatism has been very expensive.

Friday, November 14, 2008

GM gets on line for some of our money

There was a time when automakers wanted protection from competition and they lobbied government hard for it. This time around they seem to want to protect themselves from risk and the bad decisions that have wrought havoc to their companies. The current national and global economic crisis has created a seemingly legitimate reason for a bailout package for the automakers and also for many other corporations. But taxpayers should not be lulled into believing that a bailout for Detroit is sound policy. The federal government is largely responsible for plenty of Detroit’s ills and much of the legislation currently discussed to be tied to a bailout is politically motivated and not really based on making the companies successful. I say let them file for chapter eleven and then they can restructure their operations just like many airlines have done over the years. And the argument I keep hearing from advocates of a bailout that claim that filing chapter eleven would not work for automakers because consumers would not buy cars of a bankrupt company--this is fallacious; Consumers willingly paid and walked onto planes of bankrupt airlines without a hitch. This madness of bailing out every company that asks must stop.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Camilie Paglia on Obama's election win

No one knows whether Obama will move to the center or veer hard left. Perhaps even he doesn't know. But I have great optimism about his political instincts and deftness. He wants to be president of all the people -- if that is possible in so divided a nation. His natural impulse seems to be toward reconciliation and concord. The big question will be how patient the Democratic left wing is in demanding drastic changes in social policy, particularly dicey with a teetering economy.

In the closing weeks of the election, however, I became increasingly disturbed by the mainstream media's avoidance of forthright dealing with several controversies that had been dogging Obama -- even as every flimsy rumor about Sarah Palin was being trumpeted as if it were engraved in stone on Mount Sinai. For example, I had thought for many months that the flap over Obama's birth certificate was a tempest in a teapot. But simple questions about the certificate were never resolved to my satisfaction. Thanks to their own blathering, fanatical overkill, of course, the right-wing challenges to the birth certificate never gained traction.

...And why has Obama not made his university records or thesis work widely available? The passivity of the press toward Bush administration propaganda about weapons of mass destruction led the nation into the costly blunder of the Iraq war. We don't need another presidency that finds it all too easy to rely on evasion or stonewalling. I deeply admire Obama, but as a voter I don't like feeling gamed or played.

Read the full piece here.

Step into the way-back machine

Can Reagan Be Elected?

Death and Taxes

A visual guide to where your tax dollars go

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Thomas Sowell - The Vision of the Anointed

Thomas Sowell on elitists in the media, politics, academia and affirmative action.

HT: Liberty Pen

Market in everything

Ladies and gentlemen, the grocery cart washer!

Less bang for your buck

Food companies have found a way to keep prices low --trimming packages or making containers smaller. Do you feel decieved?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Best post I've read today...

From Russell Roberts over at Cafe Hayek:

[T]he Great Depression wasn't caused by laissez-faire.

That doesn't mean that free markets are perfect. Or that you can't have bankruptcies or meltdowns or bubbles or busts. But to get a really spectacular meltdown like we're in the middle of now, for that you need government.

That doesn't answer all questions. I think most of us, like Alan Greenspan and others who have yet to say mea culpa, thought the system had more stability even with all the distortions. We have plenty of work to do understanding how the system collapsed so utterly. Just don't tell me that it's all caused by market forces run amok or unfettered markets.

The basic point that financial markets are actually highly regulated and that manipulating the housing market is one of government's favorite hobbies needs to be on t-shirts, lapel pins, and 3x5 cards for giving out to friends when they explain the Bush years as the last gasp of laissez-faire. A folk song would be nice, too.

Does anybody still think that the bailouts were a good idea?

As big businesses get in line for a hand out, the prospects for taxpayers that are footing the massive bill looks nasty.

Unintended consequences in lithium batteries

The electric-hybrid cars with lithium batteries that we are constantly told should be built and marketed to the public come with an environmental and social cost. Not only is lithium a finite resource, but the people of the communities in Bolivia where the world's largest reserves of lithium lie have great reservations of mining the resource due to environmental concerns and also simple resistance to having, as they say, industrialized countries exploit them for the lithium. In this case it seems that as the Western world tries to move away from oil, in some respects due to the hostility of the nations that have the largest reserves and due to climate change, it also falls into the same sort of trap it desperately wishes to leave behind. It's not easy being green.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Markets in all things

Mini nuclear plants to power 20,000 homes

AIG to get even more funds for bailout

It seems that the tax funds that were set aside for propping up AIG are not enough; the original $123 million package is set to be replaced by a $150 billion package. And then there is the bailout for the big three automakers sitting and waiting to be finalized too. When does the madness stop?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Do Republicans have a 'Yes, we can'?

From the Christian Science Monitor:

To regain traction, it must re-invent itself as a party of hope and of ideas relevant to a wider range of Americans. To do so, it must reject the partisan conservative media that peddles in political stereotypes and personal venom. It cannot fall into the trap of being only an opposition party whose primary focus is designing "wedge" issues, such as a call for more offshore oil drilling, in order simply to split Democrats.

Right now, a finger-pointing debate has started among Republicans about the mistakes that McCain made in his campaign and George W. Bush made as president. That backward-looking discussion can go only so far. A conservative movement needs forward momentum by employing fresh ideas.

The GOP brand has been reduced to one word – freedom – in the way that the Democrats were stuck with the one-dimensional brand of equality. But if there is one reason for Obama's victory, it is that he seeks to move his party, and the country, toward that classic American brand: opportunity.

If Republicans want a comeback, they could become the loyal opposition that debates Democrats on the best way to create more opportunities for Americans, allowing them to increase their social mobility through hard work and education.

The party can still be for limited government, but a government effective in providing tools to support innovation and entrepreneurship.

Change you can believe in?

The Economist's Cookbook on the Obama/Biden win.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Employee Free Choice Act - Politicians and Principle

Now that Democrats have cornered every branch of government, watch as Unions aggrandize as much power as possible--even if that means standing privacy in voting on it's head.

HT: Liberty Pen

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Democrats ready to reward unions

Congressional Democrats are already trying to move on some of their crony-capitalist ideals by announcing that they intend to double the aid to U.S. automakers. The aid would be included as part of a second stimulus package; the first stimulus package did very little to prop the ailing economy but maybe if they try it again, it might just work, right? Democrats are beholden to union members (a very small portion--7.5%--of private sector workers and responsible for spending $400 million on the election) for their support during this last election, so it is no surprise that such a tasty little aid plan ($50 billion in taxpayer funds) would be brought to the feet of the United Auto Workers and the fledgling car companies. Ask yourself, would Democrats do the same for other industries that didn't pass their ideological muster? A better question is should government be aiding any failed business at the expense of others? We have already seen what the $700 billion bailout has borne out, should our government be allowed to play favorites again?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Around the Horn...

Posts and comments of worth regarding yesterday's election:

Jeff Perren at Shaving Leviathan notes that Obama is a hard left liberal.

The Real World on the beauty of the American election.

Bobo at The Bobo Files weighs in on the election and he is not a happy clown.

From Copious Dissent: Ten Reasons to be happy about this election. Excellent!

And finally a pithy comment from Michael Tanner at the Cato Institute:

Yesterday's massive Democratic landslide cannot be seen as anything but a repudiation of George Bush and the current Republican congressional leadership. But to suggest that in electing Barack Obama and a Democratic congressional majority, voters were choosing big-government over small-government would imply that either the Bush administration, the current Republican congressional leadership, or, for that matter, John McCain actually supported smaller government. In reality, by almost every measure, government grew bigger, more expensive, and more intrusive under President Bush and the Republican Congress.

Exit polls show that Republican losses were heaviest among upscale suburban voters who tend to be economically conservative but socially moderate. These formerly reliable Republican voters did not suddenly decide that they wanted a bigger, more expensive, and more intrusive government. But, faced with the big-government status quo or big-government "change," they opted for change.

Republicans now have two more years in the wilderness to decide whether or not they actually stand for limited government and individual liberty. One wonders, whether they will hear the message.

When the election turned

Gallup Poll Daily tracking through much of 2008 showed a tight race between Barack Obama and John McCain. Obama moved ahead at the height of the economic crisis and never trailed McCain after that, expanding his lead in the final month of the campaign.

Barack H. Obama---44th President of the U.S.A.

Well, it's finally over. Barack H. Obama is now the President-elect and on January 20. 2009, he will be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. Mr. Obama ran an effective campaign and is a very good and clever orator; John McCain simply could not counter Obama's carefully worded political spin, rhetoric, or the popular tide against Republican rule. Now comes the honeymoon period and I expect it to be quite a celebration. It is a historic moment in American History.

After the back slapping and accolades end, it will be back to business and it will be interesting to see how Obama attempts to deliver all his grandiose campaign promises. I doubt that he will and I hope that I am wrong but I have a strong feeling that the government will continue to grow by leaps and bounds at an even faster clip than under George W. Bush. All in all, I do hope that Obama turns out to be a good President for the sake of the country; I hope that he surprises me and doesn't make a hard(er) turn to the left (Jeff Perren comments that he's already there). Otherwise, all the celebrating will be forgotten rather quickly to harder times.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Oil Prices v Google Search Volume for "Speculators"

From Mark J. Perry at Carpe Diem. As gas prices fall, the irrational chorus of blaming speculators for gas prices has fallen off...well, until the next price spike.

The Rational Voter?

From Bryan Caplan's "The Myth of The Rational Voter:"

Aristotle says that "all men by nature desire to know," but that is not the whole story. It is also true that all men by nature desire not to know unpleasant facts.

Much of the time, both motives are at work. The human mind has mixed motives: people want to learn about the world without sacrificing their worldview. Investigating only the first motive yields a distorted picture of the way we use our heads.

And with that, we head off to the polls today. Happy voting, folks.

We are all Keynesians Now

A second stimulus package is gaining support in Congress even though the first one did little to spur the economy. Expect this same sort of Keynesianism to be at the fore of American economic politics for some time.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Dixville Notch has spoken: It's Obama in a landslide

The first results are in. The little hamlet of Dixville Notch has decided:

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama emerged victorious in the first election returns of the 2008 presidential race, winning 15 of 21 votes cast in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire. People in the isolated village in New Hampshire's northeast corner voted just after midnight Tuesday.

It was the first time since 1968 that the village leaned Democratic in an election.

Obama's rival, Republican John McCain, won 6 votes.

A full 100 percent of registered voters in the village cast ballots. And the votes didn't take long to tally.

The town, home to around 75 residents, has opened its polls shortly after midnight each election day since 1960, drawing national media attention for being the first place in the country to make its presidential preferences known.

Best post I've read today...

Jeff Perren over at Shaving Leviathan comments on Barack Obama and his derisive stance on the coal industry while shunning nuclear power as a viable alternative to meet our energy needs of the future:

Once again, the goal is to use the power of government to rush ahead of the market to create a 'clean' source of energy. The cover story for this is to usher in a new age of energy production with no alleged downside: solar, wind, biodiesel. The fact is, that all these have significant drawbacks both economically and environmentally.

Beyond that, they have one major drawback that no one knows how to overcome yet. They don't exist, not on anywhere near the scale that would be required to replace coal as an energy source. (Coal is used to power over 48% of all U.S. electricity production.

The only viable replacement for coal, and it's a superb one both from the standpoint of cost and pollution, is nuclear fission power plants. That technology is safe, cost-effective, and well-developed. There are also immediately deployable improvements that would make it lower cost, safer, and provide for long-term energy supply.

Milton Friedman on FDR and Social Security

HT: Liberty Pen

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Power of the Market--Individuals vs. Government

This is a excellent clip from Milton Friedman's "Free to Choose." There is a section on a small mailing company (before Federal Express or UPS) that attempts to fight and compete against the government backed U.S. postal service. Guess what happens?

HT: Liberty Pen

Friday, October 31, 2008

Conference call with API

Yesterday, I participated in a blogger conference call with the American Petroleum Institute. The conference was very informative. One of the issues that stood out in my mind was the issue of ethanol subsidies and the cost incurred by taxpayers particularly now since gasoline prices have plummeted quite a bit over the last several months. Right now the cost of producing ethanol and bringing it to market is simply not cost effective but because of congressional mandates, the American taxpayer basically props up an industry that can't compete with gasoline. The question that always sticks in my mind about ethanol is how long before this bad idea of subsidizing ethanol gets undone by our government? Once a government mandate starts, no matter how bad it is, it takes years to undo it--at a substantial cost to the taxpayer.

Jane Van Ryan, Senior Communications Manager, API

Lou Pugliaresi, President, Energy Policy Research Foundation
Rayola Dougher, Senior Economic Advisor, API
Ron Planting, Manager of Statistics, API

Listen to the conference call below:

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Markets in everything

Beautiful sidewalk artwork that simply boggles the mind. Some of the work is obviously advertising for a movie or some other product but the work is wonderful.

Judge rules Ohio homeless voters may list park benches as addresses

No, this is not a joke.

The power of big government

Milton Friedman on lobbyists, regulators, concentrated power, and special interests chasing our tax dollars to the detriment of our freedom.

HT: Liberty Pen

At the McCain Rally

Chef over at the Economist's Cookbook attended a McCain/Palin rally; interesting comments.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Where does the foreign oil come from, daddy?

Seems like our Canadian brethren supply us with quite a bit of black gold. When presidential candidates mouth off the usual populist cant against foreign oil, most people think of the middle east. I wonder if the Japanese, Chinese, or Germans put as much effort to demonizing foreign oil as much as we do?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Crude oil prices slammed by supply and demand

Oil continues to fall in global markets despite machinations by OPEC; The free-market works when it is allowed to. Since Democrats were howling several months ago that speculators and Big Oil were driving up costs at our expense, what about now? I'm sure they have a neat conspiracy theory to explain lower prices though. Lower gas prices will renew the call from the left for higher taxes to offset carbon emissions or for a government monstrosity like a carbon trading scheme. Stay tuned.

Hmm...even rednecks love this guy

It looks like Alaska's largest newspaper has endorsed Obama. The quote that gets me is this one: "Of the two candidates, Sen. Obama better understands the mortgage meltdown's root causes and has the judgment and intelligence to shape a solution, as well as the leadership to rally the country behind it." All I have heard Obama say is that it all has to do with deregulation. Um, what about all the other causes?

Oh, you just wait till they control everything--SCARY!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Please, take all of our money and bailout big business

Hey, guess what? There's a line forming for bailout cash! Wow! What a surprise! We can thank our political elite for driving this whole scam. But hey, it had to be done or else the global economy and our economy would have crashed to smithereens. Right?

Here's one of my favorite quotes from AP News:

The bailout is now the hottest lobbying game in town.

Insurers, automakers and American subsidiaries of foreign banks all want the Treasury Department to cut them a piece of the largest government rescue in U.S. history.

The betting is that many with their hands out will be successful, especially with financial markets in a stomach-churning dive and predictions the economy is about to tumble into a deep recession.

These groups argue that the credit squeeze is so severe and the risks to the economy so dire that their industries need financial support as well.

The Treasury is considering requests from a variety of industries, but has not decided whether to expand the program, officials said Saturday.

Lobbying efforts are intensifying.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Our economy in the hands of politicians does not bode well

A great post from Jim Cardoza at Liberty Pen:

The inmates are definitely running the asylum these days. It seems if any business succeeds wildly, like Exxon, government quickly moves to punish them, using weapons like the windfall profit tax. Politicians cite fairness as their motive.

However, when a business fails miserably, like AIG, government is willing to give them boatloads of money---the former property of individual Americans. Politicians cite our best interest as the motive, arguing that they have brilliantly averted an even worse scenario.

Such an economic policy should be recognized as absurd on its face. The idea that the free market doesn't work, and that the better way to run the economy is to have a handful of all-knowing central planners at the helm, has been proven by history to be a surefire recipe for the destruction of liberty.

The problems with political interference in the everyday economic behavior of people pursuing their own interests are primarily twofold. First, by themselves making the rules, politicians have unlimited opportunity to dispense favors. Why does one business get bailed out and another not?

And secondly, the considerations that weigh most heavily to politicians, when making essential economic decisions, completely lack the component of restraint. In other words, why should a politician, whose vision routinely does not extend beyond the next election season, ever curb spending? After all, government can simply print money.

The ability of politicians to manipulate the markets has brought us to the economic mess of today. And yet, this situation has worked out well for those big government advocates. At great price to the American people, ownership of our nation's financial system has been transferred to the very politicians who destroyed the last one.

Ten times out of ten, the central planners responsible will blame the "lack of regulation" for their failures. The Great Depression was no different. But, how can the free market be responsible? The Federal Reserve was established in 1913. It has been 95 years since we have had one.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ron Paul on Greenspan

Since it seems Alan Greenspan has finally lost his marbles, Ron Paul comments:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Greenspan Concedes Error on Regulation

It looks like anti free-market Democrats in congress are getting the testimony they crave; Alan Greenspan spent some time being grilled and spewed forth this little nugget: “I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such as that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms.” Interestingly, Greenspan didn't mention having a hand at keeping the Fed funds rate too low for too long. What is most in salient in all this is that no one has mentioned that this whole crisis has the federal governments hand prints all over it.

Health care shouldn't be linked to employment

Jeff Jacoby writes succinctly on why healthcare should not depend on being employed; He explains McCain's $5,000 refundable tax credit better than McCain has during his entire campaign--which says a lot about McCain's inability to communicate his platform effectively. In essence, much of the problems we have with our healthcare system stems from the federal government tweaking the tax code to favor one group over another. The result over the last 60 years has been a lesson in unintended consequences.

Milton Friedman on opportunity

HT: Liberty Pen

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Victory of the Islamic revolution!

Besides Marxists and Democratic socialists, there are others that believe that capitalism has met its match and will crumble soon enough. Some like Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of that economic super power called Iran. It's a good thing that the world at least has an economic model to strive for when everything hits the fan. Sheesh.

Milton Friedman on the minimum wage

Safer than in a bank?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Politically Incorrect Guide to Politics

If you have missed John Stossel's excellent program "Politically Incorrect Guide to Politics," you can go over to The Economist's Cookbook and watch all six segments. Stossel does a good job of explaining "spontaneous order" and also dissecting the real causes, not just what the main media says, of the housing/financial crisis. It's worth your time.

As oil prices fall, so does a socialist lament

Under Hugo Chavez and bouyed by high crude oil prices, Venezuala has grown into a petro-welfare state with cash to spare for political patronage and regional clout. But, since oil prices have taken a nose dive as of late, Chavez and Venezuela will have a very difficult time funding massive social programs and political promises made to countries and politicians (some in the U.S.) friendly to Chavez' leftist rantings. There is a lesson to be learned from Venezuela's situation as noted by Ian Vasquez of the Cato Institute: "When you have an economic situation that depends on wealth distribution rather than wealth creation you expose yourself to being in a very precarious situation."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Where, oh where, have the speculators gone?

Remember all the ruckus a while back about how "speculators" were manipulating the crude oil market and how they had a cruel hand in driving up prices? Now that crude oil prices have dropped like a rock, does it mean that these same speculators have decided to let us have a break at their expense? Doubtful. If prices ever head up again expect the usual bromide of blaming Wall Street speculators and Oil companies.

Waiting for Godot

We have been hearing a lot about how the youth vote will make a difference in this coming election. The graph above (from pollster.com and politicalarithmetik.blogspot.com) trumps the pundits who believe that the youngsters are a voting force to be reckoned with. It's possible but not likely. As usual it's always the older folks that turn out in large numbers. Now how they will vote, Obama or McCain, remains to be seen.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

John Stossel on government promises

Politicians tell us what we want to hear and like wet lemmings we make our way to voting booths and pull levers accordingly. But the reality is that more depends and is accomplished on the spontaneous order of a free society than any government or politician.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

All Hail Obama!!

After last night's debate and since McCain has failed to effectively make a real dent in this election campaign, we had better start learning the lyrics to this little ditty. We are on our way folks! A new tomorrow will dawn: A new America where the government has more control over your financial and economic life in order to make it all more "fair" and to "spread the wealth." For too long we have let the free-market run roughshod over the American people like a hungry lion devouring a helpless little lamb. Finally, the our government with the right selfless leaders in place will fix our country--provide healthcare for all Americans, put a turkey in every pot and install all the proper regulations that will keep us safe and sound while we sleep like baby's at night. Oh happy day. November forth can't get here fast enough.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Big Government continues to grow...

The U.S. government is set to take an even bigger role in our economy and there is nothing we can do about it:

To kick off Tuesday's expected announcement, the government is set to buy preferred equity stakes in Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. -- including the soon-to-be acquired Merrill Lynch -- Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co., Bank of New York Mellon and State Street Corp., according to people familiar with the matter.

Some of the big banks were unhappy about the government taking equity stakes, but acquiesced under pressure from Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in a meeting Monday. During the financial crisis, the government has steadily increased its involvement in financial markets, culminating with a move that rivals the breadth of the government's response to the Great Depression. It intertwines the banking sector with the federal government for years to come and gives taxpayers a direct stake in the future of American finance, including any possible losses.

The popular meme these days is that the free-market failed and that the events that have unfolded over the last several weeks is proof that capitalism is flawed, imperfect, and subject to the weakness of greed. And besides, socialism isn’t a bad word. Such is the trance of the general public that has been bludgeoned with high gasoline prices and higher consumer prices. There is a scramble for answers in the dark and we are getting easy answers with no real depth or foresight of unintentional consequences. The power of government grows and it will never be satisfied; More of our tax dollars to be steered by political appointees with little choice by us. Aside from the institutional bankers, is anyone happy about all of this?

Best post I've read on Warren Buffet...

Buffett is no doubt a genius at investing. No one makes $50 billion by luck and he didn't suck at the government teat to do it. But as a moral philosopher, he's an idiot. Who the hell is he to decide for others where they ought to spend their money? Worse, who is he to decide it's ok for the Feds to take it?

If Buffett feels compelled to give half his wealth to Bill Gates's wife so she can feel noble by providing diseased Africans with medicine to keep them alive three months longer, that's his right. He has no right to ask Congress to compel the rest of us to go along.

Read more at Shaving Leviathan

Monday, October 13, 2008

Best post on Paul Krugman recieving the Nobel prize for economics

By Russell Roberts at Cafe Hayek:

I've talked to a number of people who are depressed and angry at Krugman's prize.

For me, it is just another reminder that those of us who believe in liberty are in for a long time in the intellectual wilderness. Today's intellectual climate is a taste of what it must have been like to believe in liberty in 1933, or what it must have been like to be Milton Friedman in say, 1962.

When Al Gore received the Nobel Peace prize I knew that the Academy had tossed political objectivity and credibility out the window.

Some people should NOT vote

John Stossel on how some voters are simply melon heads.

Best post I've read today on a national health care plan...

From Cafe Hayek on the idea of having national health care because it will free businesses from an added expense:

Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, perhaps channeling Malcolm Gladwell, commits a truly bad economic mistake. Like all such mistakes, it's one that results when someone looks only at the surface, with no analytical penetration beyond what is most easily seen.

Here's Dionne:

"Few investments would help businesses more than offloading a share of their health-care costs to the government. It's social justice with an economic kick."

Rather than explain in detail the flaws that saturate this idea, I content myself now only to ask: If Dionne is correct that the efficiency of American businesses would generally be improved if government paid for all workers' health insurance - that is, if government paid part of firms' costs of employing workers - then is it also true that the efficiency of American businesses would be further improved if government paid firms' full wages bill?

Put differently, if the U.S. economy would get "an economic kick" from government paying part of firms' costs of employing workers, why would the economy not get an even bigger kick if government announces to all employers: 'From now on, government will pay all of the expenses you incur in hiring and maintaining employees. Government will pay not only one type of fringe benefit, as Mr. Dionne proposes, but all of your costs of employing workers.'

So no firm would any longer have to pay as much as a single cent to hire and maintain workers. Wages, salaries, and fringe benefits - all benefits from health-insurance premiums to office holiday parties - would be fully covered by government.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Gallup Poll still has Obama leading

Barack Obama continues to hold a lead over John McCain in Gallup Poll Daily tracking, 50% to 43%, among registered voters. Obama’s lead has narrowed slightly after being in double-digits several days last week. Two Gallup likely voter estimates show the race slightly closer. Gallup Poll

Cartoon of the day II

Cartoon of the day

HT: Carpe Diem

Funny but true...so true

HT: Liberty Pen

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Acorn and the seeds that it has sown

Democrats and the Left have constantly accused Republicans of voter fraud (with little real evidence) particularly over the last two presidential elections. Well, here's a real eye opener. ACORN is a radical liberal pet agency that has recently been nabbed for voter fraud in eleven states. But wait--there is more to Acorn than meets the eye-- ACORN also has a hand in the subprime debacle. It intimidated banks to lend to borrowers that would not have qualified for loans by using the Community Reinvestment Act as a legal bludgeon--threatening litigation if it didn't get its way.

HT: Liberty Pen

Cartoon of the day

HT: Liberty Pen

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Who are these people without health care insurance?

Here's another great video from Reason TV. This one focuses on the issue of health care insurance and who can really afford it.

Russell Roberts on the bailout

One of my favorite economists speaks on the bailout.

Say it isn't so, John

In the last presidential debate, John McCain threw out a populist bomb right out of Liberal Land--A mortgage rescue plan that calls for the government to pay full face value for troubled mortgages on properties that are now worth less than the loans. What!? When I first heard McCain utter his proposal I thought that I had misunderstood him but that is not the case. It seems that some liberal groups have actually praised McCain’s idea which has immediately raised the ire of fiscal conservatives everywhere.

I wish McCain would just stick to fiscal conservative principles and just stop worming his way towards a populist center-left which is already occupied by Obama. There should be no doubt that we are experiencing a massive systemic change in America's financial and economic paradigm. This is the moment that Progressives have been waiting for--a moment of financial weakness to pounce on with leftist propaganda and to send us into even more crony-capitalism and corporatism. McCain should be the maverick that he claims to be and rage against the machine.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Destroying Liberty

Americans demand that Congress spend trillions of dollars on farm subsidies, business bailouts, education subsidies, Social Security, Medicare and prescription drugs and other elements of a welfare state. The problem is that Congress produces nothing. Whatever Congress wishes to give, it has to first take other people's money. Thus, at the root of the welfare state is the immorality of intimidation, threats and coercion backed up with the threat of violence by the agents of the U.S. Congress. In order for Congress to do what some Americans deem as good, it must first do evil. It must do that which if done privately would mean a jail sentence; namely, take the property of one American to give to another.

According to a Washington Post article (6/22/05), there were nearly 35,000 highly paid registered lobbyists in Washington in 2004 who spent $2.1 billion lobbying the White House, Congress and various agencies on behalf of various interest groups. Political action committees, private donors and companies give billions of dollars to political campaigns. My question to you: Do you think that these people are spending billions of dollars to assist presidents and congressmen to better perform their sworn oath of office to preserve, protect and defend the U.S. Constitution? If you do, you're a fine candidate for a straitjacket. For the most part, the money is being spent to get politicians and government officials to use their coercive power to create a favor or special privilege for one American at the expense of some other American.

If we Americans didn't give Washington such enormous control over our lives, I doubt whether there would be 10 percent of the money currently spent on lobbying and campaign contributions. This enormous control that Congress has over our lives also goes a long way toward explaining much of the government corruption that we see in Washington.

Read the entire article from Walter Williams

Monday, October 6, 2008

59% Would Vote to Replace Entire Congress

Wouldn't it be great to kick some of these bums out. It is very obvious that Congress is chock full of politicians that will sell this country down the river to salvage their interests.

McCain is still behind in polls

It's not looking good for McCain right now. His failure to properly attack Democrats and Obama on the true causes
of our financial crisis has made him seem part of the problem just by having an "R" next to his name.

Barack Obama leads John McCain among registered voters across the country by a 50% to 42% margin in Gallup Poll Daily tracking from Oct. 3-5, the tenth straight day in which Obama has held a statistically significant lead. More

Best post I've read today on our economic pickle...

From the Economist's Cookbook on Time magazines torpid reporting:

So TIME spends paragraphs talking about easy money. But they neglect to clearly state that the easy money is the fault of the Federal Reserve! It's asinine to blame all of this on the greed of wall street. Greed is a constant factor of life. It's like blaming gravity when a plane crashes.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Barney gets pounded by O'Reilly

I'll be the first to admit that Bill O'Reillly isn't my favorite talking head but I loved every minute of his eviseration of Barney Frank on the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Mr. Frank and his fellow Democrats protected Fannie and Freddie from any reform to the way they did business as long as the two secondary mortgage market giants served their political interests. Of course, this was at the expense of the American taxpayer.

With friends like these...

The difference between Liberals and Libertarians (like myself) is that Liberals really believe that government can be a vehicle for progress in that it can, by the dint of its scope and power, help people achieve economic prosperity, equality, and fairness. Conservatives and libertarians, on the other hand, are suspicious of concentrated power and view government as prologue to abuse of power. The latest escapade regarding the "bailout" bill is a prime example. Our government has written up a bill, now law, that would drive any fiscal conservative batty. There are so many bells and whistles in the "bailout" that temerity itself could not explain the boldness that it took to write it and then vote to pass it. Yet another example of how anything that is dealt by our government amounts to largesse, bureaucracy, and fickle solutions.

From National Review Online:

It is no coincidence that the Senate passed its economic bailout bill in a package containing unrelated legislation and special-interest tax breaks. This is an important lesson about how Washington works that is seldom mentioned in the debate over “earmarks,” if these tax provisions can be called that. For in addition to the common objections to earmarks — the wasteful nature of many of them, and the climate of disrespect for taxpayers that they create — it is also important to remember that earmarks grease the skids for bad or unpopular legislation.

“They’re trying to buy off members,” says conservative Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R., Minn.), who spoke to me on Thursday afternoon, ahead of the House’s expected Friday vote. “I think this sort of thing leads to cynicism on the part of the public. It demonstrates the crassness of Washington, the out-and-out vote-buying that happens when leadership feels a bill has to pass. It’s a bit troubling to think that someone would throw out the concept of free markets for the sake of wooden arrows.”

Friday, October 3, 2008

Congress OKs historic bailout bill by big margin

Cha-ching!! The taxpayers get hosed again. This bill looks like a Christmas tree— lit up with all sorts of pork. Both candidates for president supported this bill. Disgusting.

How Democrats protected Fannie and Freddie

Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass.): I worry, frankly, that there's a tension here. The more people, in my judgment, exaggerate a threat of safety and soundness, the more people conjure up the possibility of serious financial losses to the Treasury, which I do not see. I think we see entities that are fundamentally sound financially and withstand some of the disaster scenarios. . . .

Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.)
, speaking to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez:
Secretary Martinez, if it ain't broke, why do you want to fix it? Have the GSEs [government-sponsored enterprises] ever missed their housing goals?

House Financial Services Committee hearing, Sept. 25, 2003:
Rep. Frank: I do think I do not want the same kind of focus on safety and soundness that we have in OCC [Office of the Comptroller of the Currency] and OTS [Office of Thrift Supervision]. I want to roll the dice a little bit more in this situation towards subsidized housing. . . .

House Financial Services Committee hearing, Sept. 25, 2003:
Rep. Gregory Meeks, (D., N.Y.): . . . I am just pissed off at Ofheo [Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight] because if it wasn't for you I don't think that we would be here in the first place. And Freddie Mac, who on its own, you know, came out front and indicated it is wrong, and now the problem that we have and that we are faced with is maybe some individuals who wanted to do away with GSEs in the first place, you have given them an excuse to try to have this forum so that we can talk about it and maybe change the direction and the mission of what the GSEs had, which they have done a tremendous job. . .

Read more wonderful quotes from those that brought us financial crisis