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Never Gonna Get It

Seventy years later, bad ideas are still bad. Abstaining from common sense. Chalk it up to marking it up. Plus more.

12.9.08

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TRY ALL YOU WANT
Re: Robert Stacy McCain's It Won't Work:

Here's the problem: the only people who will get that message are readers of this and other conservative blogs, or listeners to conservative talk radio (as long as it lasts). You sure as heck aren't going to be seeing or hearing it in any of the MSM outlets.
-- Keith Kunzler

Robert Stacy McCain is correct when he says the Democrats cannot fix the economy. Obama's new public works proposal is comprised almost entirely of digging new trenches for fiber optic lines and laying down more concrete and mortar for roads and schools and such. Where is the vision for the sciences and technology besides the --yawn -- proposed upgrades to digital health care databases, which just another tool for big-brother government control. He's trying 80-year-old solutions that will not work and not in the slightest way advance America in the technology sector. We will be lucky to sell enough new cars to travel on the new roads and fixed bridges.
-- Steve Cade
Portland, Oregon

LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR
Re: David N. Bass's Abstinence Phobia:

It should surprise no one that Democrats will end the funding of abstinence teaching in schools. If successful, the practice of abstinence will reduce the Democrats' core constituency: welfare recipients. As long as children drop out of school to raise babies they are not capable of turning into employable adults -- the Democrats will have their major voting constituency intact.

Remember they have only three major constituencies. For money it is the unions and Communist Chinese; for publicity it is the hollow headed Hollywood crowd; and for votes welfare folks (and some poor misguided radical leftists). 

Democrat constituencies are like your third grade class. Two people would be nominated to run for class President. One might try to discuss something serious such as more nutritional cafeteria food or longer recess for physical activity. The other would promise ice cream and candy for lunch. Care to guess who wins?
-- Jay Molyneaux

North CarolinaThe money spent on sex education is a secondary effect; the root problem lies in the expectations that someone besides the families of children are the ones tasked to teach family values. When the school was a local institution (paid for by local taxes) and families had close contact with each other, the school may have been yet another venue to instill family values; the local religious house being the secondary and the family being primary. It is exactly because these values were shared community values that the school could disseminate a clear moral vision. This shared vision has disappeared. School reflect their communities and both are too diverse to agree upon common values such as abstinence.

What is the government's compelling interest to promote sexuality or abstinence? What Conservative or Libertarian can find constitutional grounds for the Department of Education? Spending money on abstinence/sexual education is not a financial issue but a matter of principle, both Constitutional and moral.

The government, via the school system, is not the appropriate provider of morals, sexual or otherwise. The home is the appropriate place for teaching manners, etiquette and other matters of social behaviors. Schools can certainly reinforce these practices, but parents cannot reasonably abrogate their responsibilities and expect the schools to pick up the (broken) pieces.

Any two animals in heat of can produce progeny, but only true adults can properly raise children.
-- Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York

REGULATED TO DEATH
Re: Brian Wesbury and Robert Stein's Mark to Market Means Mayhem:

Wesbury and Stein make the same point that I have for some time: mark to market (MtM) accounting rules have exacerbated a normal credit cycle into the monumental mess we now have. MtM, in conjunction with Sarbanes-Oxley, have compelled banks to value assets at the low-ball offers that they received, forcing them to devastate their capital accounts.

FASB and the SEC have dug their heels in to maintain MtM rules in the face of the severe damage they are doing. They justify this position by saying that it allows the market to know the "true" value of the assets held. If that is the reason for doing so, then compel institutions to put in the footnotes to their financial statements the MtM valuations and explain why they differ, if they do, from the values on the balance sheet. Investors will have as much information but the credit and capital markets won't be held hostage.

I put true in quotes above. It is not at all clear that MtM is giving accurate assessments of value. Based on the writedowns of subprime debt the MtM analysis is implying that all $1 trillion of subprime debt will default AND that the underlying assets are totally worthless. Does any sentient adult seriously believe this? 

Admit the unintended consequences of MtM accounting and repeal it or at the least put it in the footnotes.
-- James M. Mulcahy
Grand Island, New York

BEDTIME READING FOR MR. JOSHPE
Re: Brett Joshpe's The Real Threat to Democracy:

Brett, try reading the Constitution again. Congress and only Congress may declare war, then the Commander-In-Chief executes that war. You seem to me to be another apologist for another RINO. As a Conservative I believe that the Constitution is the law of the land, and that what we have now is one party (Democrats) whose entire foundation is in opposition to the law of the land, and another which is 50/50 and even then I really don't hear many putting forward good Constitutionally based arguments. To rule apart from the Constitution is then to do so only by might, and this Tyranny.

Frankly, the Declaration of Independence was issued and the Revolution fought under less extreme circumstances than we have today -- either we start to have legitimate government or we may need another Revolution. By the way, just in case one might say I haven't read the legal arguments put forth concerning Presidential "War Powers," I have. And go back to the Constitution: only Congress. George Bush may have meant well but was in a way an enemy to the Constitution. Federal (we act in this country as if it's National) Government grew under him and he continued to use the presidential office far beyond the scope of what was laid out in the Constitution. Read the Constitutional Convention debates and see how the Founding Fathers feared what we are experiencing today.
-- Len Lieber

DEPRESSED AND RUNNING OUT OF MONEY
Re: Gretchen L. Chellson's letter (under "We'll All Live in Obamavilles") in Reader Mail's Fumbling Around and Harrell Huff's letter (under "Trick Question") in Reader Mail's Defending the State from Sec. of State:

Gretchen L. Chellson made the point that the Great Depression was ended by the spending on armaments for World War 2. Harrell Huff then made the counterpoint that if lavish government spending worked then, why can't it work now? There are two significant reasons why this is not the case now. The first is that up to 1941 the spending on armaments that got the economy moving again came from Britain and France -- American taxpayers got a free ride. Obamanomics does not have this advantage, it is reliant on taxpayers and overseas lenders for finance, not overseas purchasers of American products -- the British and French. This is a huge difference and Gretchen Chellson is correct in making her point. The second point is that during World War 2 and for decades after, America was a creditor economy that had a large financial surplus and savings pool that was available for investment elsewhere. This surplus funded the war effort from 1941, when the financial resources of Britain and France were finished and after the war it funded the Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Europe. There is no American savings pool now, America has been a major debtor for years, it is an economy heavily reliant on consumer spending funded by debt, with China and Japan being the major creditors.

There is a world of difference between the creditor, producer-based war and post-war economy of yesteryear compared to the debtor-, consumer-based economy of today. Obamanomics implicitly assumes that China and Japan will continue for some time yet to be the benevolent sugar daddies to American consumers living beyond their means. If this assumption turns out to be wrong, and it may well turn out that way, then no amount of government spending will be able to make up the difference. Soon or later, Americans will have to grow up and start saving rather than spending like there is no tomorrow. The party is over, the beer keg is empty and your credit is shot. Americans governments and American consumers both will have to balance their budgets and reduce their spending. Obamanomics has to recognize this point in the long term and at the moment, there is no sign that this will happen. Obamanomics is therefore fundamentally flawed; it is a house built on sand.
-- Christopher Holland
Canberra, Australia

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