Category Archives: Bailoutpalooza

Confusing "Caring" with "Controlling".

The further our country moves to the Left, the more glaring some of the problems with Leftist ideology become. Somewhere along the line liberals confused the word “care” with “control”. Maybe we need to tell them that they are NOT the same thing?

Let’s put this in the context of socialized medicine. Of course, health care is a “right” according to President Obama. And he has announced recently that there will be a proposal by July 31st. Socialized medicine is in the near future… we will all have free health care! What’s the trade off? They’re already proposing taxes on everything under the sun to pay for it. Soda. Wine. Liquor. Beer. Anything else they decide is bad for us (which, by the way, we will be paying regardless of whether or not we decide to hang on to our current health care plan, like he has drilled into our head that we will be able to do). Because after all, they have our best interests at heart. It’s for the good of the country – for the children! Except for the part where I shouldn’t have to pay more for a regular Coke than a Diet Coke. And red wine has medical benefits. And these taxes will cost a whole lot of jobs in an industry that already paid $41 billion in taxes last year. And deliver a hard blow to the hospitality industry in general.

The committee believes these taxes would “nudge consumers away from products deemed likely to boost health costs, including alcohol and sugary sodas. The committee is considering a uniform excise tax of $16 per proof gallon for beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages. Another option would be to place a federal tax on drinks sweetened with sugar or high-fructose corn syrup”.

So basically, if they’re paying your medical bills, they’re going to try and figure out ways to keep you healthy and cut costs. Because they want to be our mommy. “Eat your veggies, kids!”

There’s also, of course, the way they swoop in and rescue poor, struggling industries. In the past, companies that have screwed up repeatedly have been allowed to fail. This time, we’ve deemed the banking industry and the Big Three too big to fail, so we handed them billions to hang on for just a little while longer in hopes that they would… what? Restructure, I guess. Super Congress here to save the day. But guess what. It didn’t work out so well for anyone. Chrysler is bankrupt. The banks are stuck picking up their tab, because, well, they can’t say no, because the government owns them.  So we have a banking industry that is entirely under the government’s thumb, and an auto industry that either accepts government assistance and is subject to their administrative whims (See: GM), or a company that toughs it out and puts itself at a financial disadvantage to their competitors. Lose/Lose. Seizing control of the auto and banking industry, instead of saving them, has just given the Feds the upper hand and cost everyone else money. We have not seen an auto industry recovery, nor a banking recovery. Oh wait, yes we have – from Ford, who refused extra bailout funds.

I’m sick of individuals and businesses playing poor helpless victim of the economy. This is not a fun game anymore. The government will never know what is best for you, or me, or your business. Government handouts are not random acts of kindness. They are not little welfare checks of love from Team Lightbringer. They are put on the tab of every taxpayer in this country by Congressmen, governors, and Presidents that have the power to spend as much money as they can get out of us. They are meant to buy votes, to give us a false sense of security, and – on rare occasion – out of a genuine bleeding heart that thinks it’s actually offering a “hand-up” by enslaving people to government support. Mandating things that are “in our best interests” is not “caring” as much as it is controlling”. The two are not one in the same.

I, for one, would rather they not “care” about me.

The Obama Administration? COERCION? Surely You Jest.

So we’ve been hearing about the Chrysler demise for weeks. Bankruptcy rumors. Ugly negotiations. 18 financial firms, including those that specialize in failing businesses, have rejected the ridiculous plan put forth by the Obama administration.

From the NY Times:

In a rare flash of anger, the president scolded the group Thursday as Chrysler, its options exhausted, filed for bankruptcy protection. “I don’t stand with those who held out when everyone else is making sacrifices,” Mr. Obama said.

Chastened, and under intense pressure from the White House, the investment firm run by Mr. Weinberg and Mr. Perella, Perella Weinberg Partners, abruptly reversed course. In a terse statement issued shortly before 6 p.m. Thursday, Perella Weinberg Partners announced it would accept the government’s terms.

Government + Private Industry = Red Flags. This is exactly why.

Later in the same article:

But now that Chrysler has tipped into bankruptcy, some industry executives worry the administration will try to turn this episode to its political advantage. Washington, these people contend, needed some political cover for the mess in Detroit — and Wall Street provided a handy scapegoat.

Wait, you’ve GOT to be kidding. I’m floored. They’re not just out to save the poor auto-industry from the struggling economy? You mean, there are ulterior motives? They’re going to use this to their POLITICAL ADVANTAGE?! The naivete is just unbelievable sometimes.

And then of course, there’s the fact that all the financial institutions are under the thumb of the Feds now as a result of all the “assistance” they’ve received. The Treasury has offered to drop $2.25 billion to buy off senior lenders. That is, of course, under the condition that they forgive the majority of the debt. Lenders have argued that they would receive more than that under normal bankruptcy proceedings.

The Times points out:

But this is no ordinary bankruptcy. JPMorgan Chase and other large banks involved in the negotiations are, to greater and lesser degrees, beholden to Washington. Many have received billions of taxpayer dollars, as well as other generous subsidies. For the banks, defying the administration was never a serious option, according to people close to the talks with lenders, who asked not to be identified because they had signed confidentiality agreements.

Gee, who saw this one coming?

Control Of Production Much?

This, folks is what happens when the government hands you money. They get to make “suggestions” and “requests” regarding how you should run your company.

The Obama administration asked Rick Wagoner, the chairman and CEO of General Motors, to step down and he agreed, a White House official said.

On Monday, President Barack Obama is to unveil his plans for the auto industry, including a response to a request for additional funds by GM and Chrysler. The plan is based on recommendations from the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry, headed by the Treasury Department.

So essentially, what we’re seeing is the government seizing the auto industry. The government is officially exercising the influence it bought up with the multi billion dollar bailouts.

Obama: “And that’s gonna mean a set of sacrifices from all parties involved — management, labor, shareholders, creditors, suppliers, dealers. Everybody’s gonna have to come to the table and say it’s important for us to take serious restructuring steps now in order to preserve a brighter future down the road.”

Why is he referring to them as “us”? There should be no “us” in this, Mr. President. The auto industry is supposed to be a PRIVATE industry. YOU should have nothing to do with their restructuring. You should NOT have the power to request the resignation of their CEO. If you hadn’t bailed them out he’d be history by now anyway.

We’re seeing it in banking, we’ll see it in health care, and in every other industry the government is throwing money at. This money does NOT come without strings. The feds know that. Too bad businesses, state governments, and governors aren’t figuring that out.The feds are not doing this by accident.

THIS KIND OF CONTROL IS NOT OKAY. It’s not okay AT ALL. I don’t care how big the auto industry is – they are NOT too big to fail. We have competitors to pick up the slack. Competitors who are making better cars for the same prices, because they are unencumbered by the UAW. Americans will not be without automobiles. And jobs will be replaced by Nissan, Honda, and Toyota plants.

Will all of you who are so convinced this administration is NOT heading toward socialism please explain to me how this isn’t socialism? Anyone? Because I’m pretty positive that this is the government controlling production, buying up the private sector, etc. Which is the definition of socialism.

The Obama administration calls its task force “a cabinet-level group that includes the secretaries of Transportation, Commerce, Labor and Energy. It will also include the chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, the EPA administrator, and the director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change. The Task Force will be led by Treasury Secretary [Tim] Geithner and [National Economic Council] Director Larry Summers.”

What’s that? A “Task Force” headed up by Timmy G. and Larry Summers?! Well that restores ALL my confidence. CLEARLY they’ve got all the answers. I was just kidding about all that “this is not okay” stuff…….

Ugh.

When In Doubt, Raise Taxes!

Chris Dodd at his finest.

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Sen. Christopher Dodd on Monday suggested a tax provision to recoup the bonuses for executives of ailing insurance giant AIG.

The tax would apply only to those at AIG who have received bonuses. The provision would help the government get back the money in the form of tax revenue.

Or, you know, we could have just NOT have bailed them out in the first place and then the government wouldn’t be responsible for their situation. The beauty of capitalism is that someone doing a better job would quickly replace them after they imploded.

Obama pretends to be shocked by the AIG developments.

“This is a corporation that finds itself in financial distress due to recklessness and greed,” Obama told politicians and reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, where he and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner were unveiling a package to aid the nation’s small businesses.

Obama received support from fellow Democrats, including Dodd, who is the chairman of the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

“This is another outrageous example of executives — including those whose decisions were responsible for the problems that caused AIG’s collapse — enriching themselves at the expense of taxpayers,” Dodd said

Newsflash: this is what happens when corporations feel entitled to billions of dollars and are spared the consequences of their actions. AIG has not changed the way they operate. Companies have to be given the option to fail. Period. You gave them an $173 billion band aid, federal government, and fixed nothing. Who’s paying that bill again? Oh. Right. We are.

Thanks for that.

Update: Commenter Mark makes a great point:

Umm, don’t they read or teach Article 1, section 9 (”Limits on Congress”) anymore? I think a tax levied at a group of people only would constitute a “Bill of Attainder”, would it not?
http://www.usconstitution.net/glossary.html#ATTAINDER

I think it would be legal if they taxed everyone of job description X, but if the tax is “job description X, and you work at AIG, and you got a bonus”, then I think it’s a no-no.

But I’m just a peasant, what do I know?

Just When You Thought It Couldn't Get Any More Ridiculous…

… the porn industry begs for money. I’ll leave all the horrible porn puns for Twitter. No I’m not making this up, I’m not that funny. FIVE BILLION DOLLARS YA’LL! And no, they don’t need money, admit Larry Flynt and Joe Francis – internet traffic has grown, despite a slight slip in DVD sales. But I suppose they’re entitled – they’re liberals after all. Check this out: 

But the industry leaders said the issue is a nation in need. “People are too depressed to be sexually active,” Flynt said in the statement. “This is very unhealthy as a nation. Americans can do without cars and such but they cannot do without sex.”

“With all this economic misery and people losing all that money, sex is the farthest thing from their mind. It’s time for congress to rejuvenate the sexual appetite of America. The only way they can do this is by supporting the adult industry and doing it quickly.”

Good Lord. I want to write something snarky but I can’t even top that. I’m pretty sure people are still having sex. Sorry to burst your bubble there, guys. Anyone else slightly distraught that we’re relying on the likes of Franken and Murtha to laugh this out of Washington?

Let's Take A Poll…

… except not really because I think they’re cheesy. How many of you got into it with your liberal kinfolk this week? I’m happy to say that I didn’t – however, I did get unexpected phone calls and text messages – most notably from my father who called boast that he had a family member “on the ropes within two minutes” during a political argument. Here’s my take on the battle between conservatives and liberals… 

Liberals function on emotion. It’s what keeps them going – fuels their fire. Their sense of “fairness” and “equality” and other entirely subjective matters is what drives them. Every major liberal issue has an emotional sentiment at it’s core. Let me illustrate.

  • The hot topic this week is clearly gay marriage – an issue that is all about “equality”. When questioned, liberals – without fail – counter with “How would you FEEL if you couldn’t marry the person you loved?” or some such variation of the question. If you need an example, go read the comments here.

Oh, and as for supporting civil unions but not gay marriage, let me just ask you–would YOU be willing to accept a “civil union” in place of your present or future marriage? Would you be fine saying to your friends and family “I’m so excited, tomorrow I’m getting civilly conjugated to my partner!”?

Comment courtesy of “Anonymous”, naturally. I’m sorry, Anonymous, I was under the impression that we were discussing amendments to the constitution, not feelings.

  • Abortion. This one is an issue of women needing to feel in control – which sprung up during the women’s lib movement. This one is closely linked, in my mind anyway, to the death penalty issue. At it’s core, it’s about giving people the power to take a life… they have managed to turn it into a “rights” issue. Liberals rail against the death penalty, calling it inhumane – I fail to see the difference between taking a life in the beginning stages or later on. I suppose it’s okay to take a life early on, as long as it makes women feel better about having the option?
  • Health care. To hell with logic and reason and personal responsibility – liberals think that health care is a RIGHT. Sorry, not true. It isn’t the government’s job to provide you with free health care. Especially when we’re drowning in debt and in the midst of an economic collapse. I don’t care how nice it sounds to have every single person in the country provided with free prescriptions and doctor visits – it doesn’t work in real life.
  • Bailouts. It’s SO UNFAIR to let dying industries destroy themselves… think about all those poor people who will be jobless! We can’t let them fail! Well, hello, you’re only prolonging their death. You’re not helping anyone. The sooner you figure this out, the less damage you’ll do (*cough*harryreid&nancypelosi*cough*)

I could go on and on here, talking about social programs, etc. The point is that as pedantic and proud as the left is, they cannot seem to figure out that leading with your heart isn’t a good idea. Since when was it wise to make choices based on emotion? Wouldn’t rationality be the way to go?

Stop whining about made up “rights” being infringed upon and worry about the bigger issues – like, for instance, how we’re going to EXIST in 4 years with a weakened military and growing debt to the rest of the world. 

This is why it is so easy to win battles with lefties. When you tell them you don’t care about feelings, you care about facts they don’t have a leg to stand on and they get all messed up, and then attempt to recover by calling you heartless and cruel.

Feelings are temporary. Facts are not. I like my government to function based on the latter.

Bailoutpalooza: Auto Edition

The country has had a little bit of time to digest what an epic train wreck of an idea these bailouts are. They finally got one right: the auto bailout was shot down. Tennessee’s Bob Corker has been all over this morning. Here’s his 3 part plan:

  • It would have required the two firms closest to bankruptcy, General Motors and Chrysler, to reduce their debt by two-thirds. Bondholders would have “plenty of incentive to make sure that the debt is reduced by two-thirds” or risk losing even more if the firms go into Chapter 11, where their bonds might be further discounted, Corker said. “We’re going to force them into bankruptcy if they don’t do this,” he said bluntly.
  • He also would have required that the Voluntary Employee Benefit Association, the entity created by the car firms and the UAW to handle retiree health care benefits, accept stock in lieu of half the cash payments due. The carmakers had agreed to fund VEBA but can no longer afford to do so. “If a company goes bankrupt, these future payments are never going to happen anyway,” he said.
  • Finally, Corker’s bill would have forced the UAW to lower its members’ wages to the level of employees at Honda and the other foreign-owned car manufacturers operating in the United States.

The best part? He fought appointing a “car czar”. We’ve already talked about how much I hate that term.

At some point we’ve got to cut the bleeding. This particular bailout hits closer to home for a lot of people, as there are millions of jobs in the US that depend on this industry. Shouldn’t that be all the more reason to make sure that it’s functioning properly? For an industry as large and important as the auto industry is, shouldn’t it be IMPERITIVE that they function efficiently? As long as they are opertaing with a UAW handicap, they will struggle.

Harry Reid expressed his profound sadness for our nation. I know I’m not alone when I want to punch him in the face. (No, I don’t really want to punch him.)

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., called the bill’s collapse “a loss for the country,” adding: “I dread looking at Wall Street tomorrow. It’s not going to be a pleasant sight.”

And guess what. He’s right. Why? Because people value immediate security over a long term solution. Ugh. Why are American’s so short sighted?

Why Am I A Conservative?

This was brought up in the comments yesterday by someone, and it made me think. What does it mean to me to be a conservative? Why am I so passionate about it?

The short answer I gave was this:

In my mind, the most basic conservative principles are small government and accountability. There’s a little more too it than that, but stripping it down to it’s core, that’s what I feel is the most important. The government is there to protect us from each other – not ourselves.

I just want to expand a little more on that.  As a Christian, I know that my actions are subject to judgment from God, and only God. He allows us to make our own choices, and therefore, I will make my choices based on what I think He would want from me… which is where the accountability comes in. I am not accountable to the government, and I don’t want them all up in my business. I am accountable to God. I think the government’s job is to protect us from each other – and I mean that in a global sense – but they cannot protect us from ourselves.

How do we get the government to stay out of things? It’s pretty simple – limit their power. The smaller, the better. Don’t give them control over our health care. Don’t let them buy up all our debt – all that does is transfer our debt to the banks over to the government – now we pay them back instead. The government has already gotten its hands into things it shouldn’t (marriage being the prime example), and all it does is complicate things. The more they control, the less you control. It’s as simple as that.

The biggest problem in our country today is the loss of accountability. We are constantly given an easy way out, and the bailouts are the most glaring example of this. Mismanaged, failing companies are given a multi-billion dollar band-aid instead of being forced to file chapter 11 or sell. Get pregnant at 16? It’s okay, you can have an abortion and not tell your parents about it. Buy a house you can’t afford? It’s cool, the bank will foreclose and our tax dollars will pay for your mistake. The sense of entitlement, especially among my generation, is out of control.

Our government is run by imperfect people. People are greedy and they screw things up. Is this cynical? Maybe, but there’s no doubt that we’re imperfect. Why then should I put my faith in the imperfect? The current corruption in our leaders has created a nationwide distrust similar to that following Watergate. Yet still, we feel like we can hand over our health and finances to them. They’ve proven repeatedly that they’re not good with money – why are we giving them even more of our tax dollars? Want to stimulate the economy, federal government? Give the people their tax dollars back and let them spend it. Let them support the businesses that are failing, and you may not have to bail them out.

So, to summarize, leave me alone, federal government. Protect me from our enemies. Keep me safe. That is your job. Please do not try to spend my money or be my moral compass. When you put yourself in competition with my God, you will lose.

I opened up this question to Twitter and got an amazing response. Here are some of my favorites:

mclouthier @pinkelephantpun I’m conservative because I’m rational, love God, family and country, believe in small government and big freedom

b @pinkelephantpun because I believe in the existence of right & wrong, good & evil, & that things that are good & right should be defended.

flybabymoni @pinkelephantpun I believe in Life, Liberty and the “pursuit” of Happiness, not the guarantee of Happiness :)

madpoet @pinkelephantpun Principles and critical thinking.

JennyErikson @pinkelephantpun Im cons. bc I believe that big govt undermines the intelligence and integrity of Americans. No one owes you a favor!

MattKeough @pinkelephantpun because one day i just decided to deal with the world as it is, not how I wanted it to be

RobMartin Icon_red_lock @pinkelephantpun because it just makes sense

And my personal favorite:

seanhackbarth @pinkelephantpun Have you seen the women at GOP conventions?

Remarkably, only one person said it was because they hate poor people and minorities.

Another $800 Billion Band-Aid

So apparently, we just haven’t spent enough imaginary money yet, and Paulson needs us to spot him another $800 billion. What are these people doing? Are the Dems so power-drunk that they have completely lost control? Check this out, from the Times:

The Federal Reserve and the Treasury announced $800 billion in new lending programs on Tuesday, sending a message that they will print as much money as needed to revive the crippled banking system.

All told, the government has assumed at least $7 trillion in direct and indirect financial obligations in the form of Wall Street bailouts, emergency lending and government guarantees on bank deposits, inter-bank loans and home mortgages.

$7 trillion. I can’t even process that. Where do I send my student loans? You know, things just are tight right now, and I can’t really afford it… it would really just free up my cash flow… Vote on it. Throw in some earmarks. Certainly my 5 digit college debt would pass…

I’m going to go kick something.

Why Liberalism is Dangerous.

I understand why people are liberals. Who doesn’t want free stuff? “Equality”?  It sounds so pretty. Help the downtrodden. Make everyone equal. Everyone should be taken care of. The “rich” people don’t mind paying for your health care. Obama provides, after all. Bush single-handedly destroyed the world, and now Obamessiah will save us.

I already wrote about my take on socialism and why I don’t believe that works from a spiritual angle. Here’s the meat of it:

This may be politically incorrect, but here goes: The underlying premise of Christianity is NOT equality. It is salvation through Jesus. Period.

***

God gives to us according to what we can handle. He knows our hearts and our intentions… more will be given to those who use well what they are given.

Now, are liberals really socialists? My opinion is yes. You can call it redistribution, expanding social programs, taking care of the poor, whatever you want, the principles are the same: take money from the wealthy (via taxation in this case) and spread it to those who don’t have as much via social programs. Robin Hood style. I’m going to leave that alone. Work through it. Think about it. Discuss amongst yourselves.

Taking that to the next level, what should the government’s role be, then? Biblically first, and then Constitutionally, what should America’s government look like? I can’t possibly do that justice. My advice would be to read the Bible and work toward understanding truth, and then take a look at the Constitution and understand the foundation of our laws. However, here’s my take on things.

Romans 13:1-7:

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

That’s self explanitory, and should be the foundation for our response to government. We are to follow the laws – regardless of who sets them. Judges (17:6, 21:25) makes it pretty clear that any form of government is better than chaos. Even a liberal one.

I also want to be clear that the Bible doesn’t dictate a particular form of government. However, in America, we are set up as a representative democracy, and as Christians who live in this country, we are to submit.

Now, in the Constitution we are given a very sparse outline of government. I don’t think that’s an accident. I believe that the government is there to protect us from each other and keep us from chaos, but they need to stay small. Focus on things like defense. When the government gets its hands on too many things, there will be problems. There is too much subjectivity involved, which is why separation of church and state is in place. Where is the line? How far is too far for the government? I think that line has already been crossed.

So far we have given the government power over our education, our businesses, our health care, and just about every other aspect of our lives – and that scope of power is growing rapidly. The social programs that are in place in our country remove responsibility from the individual. Get pregnant? It’s okay, even if you’re 15 you can go to a clinic and get an abortion – you don’t even have to tell mommy and daddy. Can’t get a job, or just don’t want to work? It’s okay. Welfare and foodstamps and Section 8 have you covered. Screw up and get fired? Unemployment’s got your back.

While I think select programs are good in moderation, it’s this thinking has given birth to the bailoutpalooza we’ve been watching. You’re working in a struggling industry with a union that puts your industry at a ridiculous handicap in foreign markets, and can’t figure out how to make it work? It’s okay, you’ll still get a $25 billion check to put off your inevitable failure a few more years. Our society has become so lazy, entitled and irresponsible that we’re destroying ourselves at a ridiculoulsly fast rate. People have GOT to be accountable. This goes for individuals AND industries, and covers both fiscal and social aspects of government.

Quick Wrap-Up:

Fiscally: The government HAS TO STOP FUNDING EVERYTHING THEY’RE FUNDING. They’ve already effectively bankrupted themselves, and raising taxes will do nothing but throw us deeper into the pit of recession. Programs have to be cut. Taxes have to be cut so people can afford to put money back in to the economy. Socially: It helps no one to remove accountability. At all. The laziness, entitlement, and moral decay that results is sickening.

The bottom line is this: Leave us alone.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxhYampIl7A]