So much can go south when one goes missing for a week.
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Wednesday was no cup of tea in the markets either, as stocks plummeted almost 3% in the last 90 minutes of trading, erasing nearly another $700 billion in wealth, following rumors of liquidity problems at French bank Société Générale, with gold spiking up to over $1800 an ounce. (On Thursday, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange raised margins on gold futures. That combined with a moderately strong stock market knocked gold down about $50 from late Wednesday’s highs, but it remains well over $1700 suggesting investors remain extremely fearful of owning either dollars or euros… as they should.) And if all that rollercoaster wasn’t enough, the market then rallied more than 400 points, almost 4% in the Dow, on Thursday, even though it gave up 135 points in the last 15 minutes of trading.
Wednesday brought news of Republican appointees to the “Super Committee” designated to hash out an agreement on how to reduce America’s long-term debt. While the absence of Paul Ryan from the GOP appointees was noted by some, the Republican team looks solid while the Democrat senators (the Dems haven’t yet appointed their three from the House) look, well, like Democrat senators.
Really, what serious person would put Patty “PTA member” Murray, who is in charge of getting Democrats elected to the Senate and whose experience before politics was teaching preschool and being a left-wing activist, on a committee that has to deal with the real world’s biggest current problems? Not only is Murray on the committee, she is its co-chair, showing even before the committee’s work starts that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is all politics, all the time, even during some of the nation’s most dire financial turmoil. And John “I served in Vietnam” Kerry? Puhleeze… Twenty-seven years on the finance committee supporting higher taxes doesn’t make him anything but pompous and fiscally brain-dead. Max Baucus is the least bad of the three Democrat Senators on the committee. ‘Nuf said.
If the Democrats’ Senate picks are bad, Nancy Pelosi’s House selections for the committee are worse: James Clyburn (SC) is not an expert on economics, though he did secure a $3 million earmark for a kids’ golf program after the golf facility renamed itself the “James E. Clyburn Golf Center.” Putting him on the committee is like asking a bacon addict to become kosher.
Rep. Xavier Becerra (CA), Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus, is no wiser, as he demonstrated on a recent Sunday show holding up a dollar bill and a savings bond and saying they were essentially identical. Perhaps he doesn’t realize that to get the dollar to pay the bondholder, government has to tax somebody. And he’s going to try to sort out our national debt? This is a guy who says that the top 1% of earners should pay more than 40% of income taxes, and who believes that the Social Security Trust Fund actually has money in it. Just what sort of “compromise” can be had with a man who thinks that way? None at all.
And lastly, Chris Van Hollen, the far-left Maryland Democrat perhaps best noted for heading the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during the Democrats’ disastrous 2010 election performance. As far as I can tell, Van Hollen has spent his entire adult life in government. In other words, he has never created a job except for bureaucrats.
Meanwhile, with the possible exception of Rep. Fred Upton (MI), the Republican appointees look something like a fiscal all-star team, including former OMB director Senator Rob Portman (OH) and former Club for Growth president Senator Pat Toomey (PA). Against this crew, Democrats are punching outside their weight class, or at least they would be if their goal were really to come up with good policy. But it isn’t. The real work of the Committee’s Democrats will be to continue the politics of Mediscare as their party sees its Campaigner in Chief “becom(ing) Jimmy Carter right before our eyes.”
And finally, imagine my total lack of surprise to learn that while the financial world crumbles around him, President Obama is leaving next week for his third annual summer vacation in hoity-toity Martha’s Vineyard. When even USA Today describes the trip as “awkward” in the current environment, one knows that in a bit of reverse political alchemy Obama’s ear has transformed from gold to tin.
It’s been a truly remarkable week of news, the shock of which was, for me, magnified by having been blissfully ignorant of riots, ratings, and rates (while traveling with my family in the Zululand region of South Africa). Part of me wishes I still didn’t know that the world — other than perhaps Wisconsin — has become a poorer and more dangerous place in the last few weeks, and not only because Patty Murray is co-chairing the “Super Committee.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?