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The Bigger the Better

Both sides love government. Herding cats -- to the right. uncle Sam buys you a car. Plus more.

11.12.08

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MO' GOVERNMENT, MO' PROBLEMS
Re: Ralph R. Reiland's The Failure of Big Government Conservatism:

When a conservative says he will cut spending, he means cutting the rate of spending growth.

When a liberal says he will cut spending, he means cutting talk of cutting spending.

In recent history, neither party has ever cut spending in absolute terms. It's just something politicians promise to pacify the peasants.
-- David Govett
Davis, California

Big Government always fails but the Republican Party has now become the party of big government. Those two morons, Bush and Rove, who believed they could outbid the Democrats for the votes of the Hispanic peasants who have come to this county illegally must have spent most of their lives on another planet. What they have accomplished is to throw their natural constituency (European Americans) under the bus for a fantasy. Republicans will never outbid Democrats when it comes to giveaways.

It’s a moot point now, the Republican Party is finished and I like many of my friends will be supporting Ron Paul and/or the Constitution party. This party will continue to grow and will attract people from both sides of the aisle who want to see a return to constitutional government, instead of government of the banks, for the banks, and by the banks. I am also supporting the abolition of the Fed and the income tax, both of which are actually illegal, a national sales tax, a triple layer fence on the border, no amnesty for illegal aliens, re-establishment of our industrial base, fair trade instead of free trade, a sharp reduction in legal immigration and reversal of the 1965 immigration act quotas so that most of our immigrants once again come from European countries with skills and cultural back grounds that are compatible with our society, instead of bringing legions of third world immigrants like the Burundians into the country. These people actually spent hours in a reception center intake room because none of them could figure out how to use the door knob.

I would like to point out that we have had the worst leadership in the world for the last 20years and I will be glad to see the end of the Bush presidency. I can only say that as bad as Obama may be, he will certainly be better then the likes of John McLame or any of the other Rockefeller Republicans that control the party. I would like to say as the Republican Party fades slowly into the sunset, “good riddance to bad rubbish.”
-- Paul Martell

CONSERVATISM WORTH FIGHTING FOR
Re: W. James Antle, III's Antisocial Conservatives:

Just a quick note to commend Mr. Antle for this excellent piece.

Keep up the great work.
-- KJ

Indiana Democrats are doing the “Snoopy” dance in the streets because this solidly Republican state finally went “left.” Obama won Indiana by a slim margin; but, no matter how you count it, a win’s a win. In a normal election year, he wouldn’t have had a prayer. But 2008 was not a normal year and Obama was not a typical campaigning Democrat.  Now, after only one election cycle, local pundits are waxing poetic about how Indiana is “maturing” and how it is finally becoming a modern (leftwing) state.

There is no use overlooking the strong appeal of Obama’s star-like quality for most Hoosiers; but there was another factor. Beginning in the early weeks before the Indiana primary, Obama political commercials kept a steady frequent presence on television and radio through the summer. Then the frequency of those commercials increased in the four to six weeks before November 4. One could scarcely turn on television without soon seeing Obama spouting about “change” and “tax cuts for 95% of all Americans.” You would leave to go to the kitchen to get a cool one and return only to find yet another Obama ad waiting for you. Along with these, we received at least two dozen mailings from the Obama campaign at our home.

Most Hoosier Republicans began to wonder when the Party was going to counter the Obama show machine with our own TV/radio/mail messages. “Not to worry,” we were told. Obama was just wasting his money arguing his case when no one was paying attention. “We” were keeping our powder dry for those critical weeks just before Election Day. As it turns out, apparently they meant 2012 or 2016 because it certainly wasn’t this year.

Forget all this trash about losing was the fault of social conservatives -- or just conservatives period. The Republican Party doesn’t fight. The motto of the Democrats is “attack, attack, attack anyday/everyday.” Our by word is not to do anything that would alienate the precious “middle.” Democrats will make toxic accusations against which we will say nothing and thus letting the accusations stand. We act like politics is a regal chess game; but for Democrats it is a blood sport. They are out for the kill.

There is no “middle” in American politics. There is no “middle” that can be softly led to vote for candidates who just happen to be Republican. There are only hearts and minds to be won. The Party must put its message forward in four or five lucid points. (May I suggest such items as “promote limited government,” “up hold low taxes,” “protect American sovereignty,” “advance personal liberty,” “protect innocent life,” or “maintain a strong military”?) And then the Party must fight because they are worth fighting for.

Where are these warriors? Save for a select few (such as Indiana’s own Rep. Mike Pence), Republicans head for the tall grass once the shooting starts. If I were an “undecided,” I’d at least know the Democrats thought they had something important to say. The Grand Old Party...the Party of Lincoln is cursed with too many who lack conviction.
-- Mike Dooley

MAKING SACRIFICES
Re: Eric Peters's The Sweet Stench of Failure:

One thing lost in the last act of Iphigenea at Detroit: The doleful effects of selective protectionism and fuel economy standards. Let's start with protectionism. Tariffs on imported trucks are at 25% and cars 2.5%. This, of course builds in a 25% profit margin head-start for trucks and solid business reasons for deemphasizing passenger cars as a business focus.

Meanwhile, fuel economy standards, in particular the Corporate Average Fuel Economy set up, enabled the auto makers to spread fuel economy goals over their entire product lines. The result: they could safely abandon fuel economy as a design goal for trucks so long as they could make enough small cars to balance the books. This alone probably kept the domestic makers in the car business and maintained a vestigial competence in fuel economy-focused engineering, but at a high price. They would continue to make high-mileage vehicles, but these cars would be cheap, nasty and seemingly designed to convince consumers that they really needed to trade up to a cushy high-profit, low-mileage truck or SUV to maintain any sense of self respect. The brand message, now reinforced for forty years running, is that anything that isn't a truck from Chrysler, Ford, or GM is junk and marks the driver as either uninformed, an AARP member of 15+ years standing, or a rental car customer.

Now it's 2008 and suddenly no one wants to buy gas-thirsty trucks, and gave up on Detroit cars years ago. As a taxpayer, I will now bend over and prepare for another reaming, but after a trillion dollars to save banks, corrupt debt rating agencies, and deadbeat borrowers, what's an extra $50 Billion among friends? One additional insult to injury. Now that New Dealers are going to quasi-nationalize the car companies, they will want a say in design and production issues. Make way for the sensible shoes on four wheels of every car-haters pathetically earthbound dreams.
-- Otto Nordpol

Democrats, use Soviet sales tactics: Compel car-buyers to purchase an American car with every foreign car they buy. (Unions, please make the American cars 100% recyclable.)
-- David Govett
Davis, California

 

PRAYING FOR FAILURE
Re: Jeffrey Lord's The New Adventures of Wonderboy:

Jeffrey Lord writes: "In fact, the only president other than Jimmy Carter (hmm) to come from an engineering background was, as Coolidge well knew, a champion of the idea of government intervention."

I'll take an engineer over a community-organizing lawyer any day. At least there is a chance, with an engineer, that he will understand how things work. And if a system is complex enough, say, those forces that determine the level of the seas, most engineers will lack the hubris required to jeopardize that system.

"Once past the warm glow of Inauguration Day, busily implementing policies that have a notable historical record of failure, Obama faces the same problem as Herbert Hoover. Which is to say that a failure to act correctly courts a curt dismissal as yet another failed president." 

Pray God that this statement is true for Obama, as it was for Hoover. It certainly wasn't vis-a-vis FDR.
-- Dan Martin
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Mr. Lord has hit another homerun in tagging Barack Obama as the new Herbert Hoover with the worst inclinations of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He is also right on target in suggesting Republicans should demand an investigation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That includes investigating the Obama’s chief of staff and his dear friend Franklin Delano Raines (McCain should have used this to tarnish Obama’s “economic” advantage) the man who along with Democrats Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Chuck Schumer and Barack Obama helped undercut the booming Bush/Republican economy in less than 2 years.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Habbaniyah, Iraq


LIQUIDITY EVERYWHERE, BUT NOT A DROP TO LEND
Re: Joseph Lawler's A Deflating Era:

Thank you to the Spectator and Mr. Lawler for at least talking about monetary policy -- a most timely subject, and perhaps the most neglected item in the current debate, if one can call it that, over economic policy.

With respect, though, the review's conclusion that inflation is the relevant danger is symptomic of the heydey of Volckerism and the near disaster it wreaked on the Reagan presidency. (Please see my article for the Spectator way back in those days, Paul Volcker as Man of the Year.)

The proper end of monetary policy, of course, is to avoid both inflation and deflation, in favor of a steady price level. But since monthly CPI, employment, housing prices, and the price of the mortgage-backed derivatives that are now the foundation of our whole banking system are, in large part, smoke coming out of the tailpipe, how do we judge which direction in which current monetary actions are pulling us?

While $2.30 a gallon gasoline and $700 gold may seem high, these levels are well below where they were when the stock market was near its peak and the economy was at full employment. A full employment price of gold would appear to be, empirically, above $1000.

These are also price levels that markets were (alas, incorrectly) anticipating before the collapse of the mortgage-backed securities market in late 2007. And with nearly a quarter of U.S. homeowners at or close to negative equity, and the entire U.S. and global banking system suffering from the perverse incentives to default which this brings, surely there are much greater dangers in the current monetary course.

Once we avoid that cliff, won't there be a danger of steering back too far in the inflationary direction? Of course. It is still better to pull back from the cliff.

Hence the proper course for the Fed is to substantially ease monetary policy, taking interest rates to close to zero and purchasing Treasuries across the board, until gold, and the housing market show signs of health -- which is to say, ending the current thirst for liquidity.

Then, as per Jacques Rueff, Will Clayton, and, indeed, Ronald Reagan, we will be in the right position to adopt a classical regime of price stability. This will mean setting a monetary standard, removing the power to inflate or deflate from the hands of an arrogant, self-promoting elite at the Fed and Treasury.

Namely, a gold standard. (Please see my Spectator article, circa 1984, on setting the right price of gold.)

Still, let's fight the war that is raging first. There is a global thirst for liquidity. The sooner policy-makers recognize this, the better.
-- Gregory Fossedal

GREAT EXPECTATIONS
Re: M. Delphia Block's letter (under "Proof's in the Pudding") in Reader Mail's Forget Family Values:

Wow! I owe a big thanks to Delphia Block for opening my eyes. And all this time I never knew that massive government spending was solely the Republicans fault and it was the Democrats who were actually the fiscally responsible ones. How misguided I was! Who would have thought the blame for all of the trillions wasted on Johnson's Great Society were secretly due to Republicans? I never realized it was the Republicans pandering to the teacher's unions that has created the pathetic -- and apparently massively under-funded -- public education system we are all stuck with.

So, now that the Democrats have the whole enchilada, we can finally provide Americans with a job, healthcare, an education (college too?) and most of all, HOPE. Whew!

But I do have one question for Ms. Block. If you need the government to provide you with all of the necessities of life, and you have no hope unless they do, what should your fellow Americans expect of you?
-- Garry Greenwood
Gearhart, Oregon

M. Delphia block quotes lefty NYT columnist Paul Krugman on lefty NPR's "Fresh Air," hosted by lefty Terry Gross. Krugman (a shrill, strident Bush critic) asserts that Freddie and Fannie weren't major players in the financial meltdown.  From there, she opines that the entire mess is of the GOP's doing.

This proves her either ignorant, stupid, mendacious, or a combination of those characteristics. It was the Congressional Democrats who threatened lenders with sanctions if they didn't lend money to those who couldn't service their loans. Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd were the primary culprits (aided and abetted by Maxine Waters). Jamie Gorelick (she of "The Wall" -- which was erected to prevent the intelligence folks from sharing incriminating info concerning Bill and Al's "funny money" escapades with the Red Chinese with the FBI's criminal sleuths) also had her hand in the till. Chris Dodd holds the record for "campaign contributions" from Mae/Mac ($134K, 1989 - 2008). Kerry ($111K) was second. In third place was Obama ($106K). It is worthy of note that Obama amassed that much pelf in only three years. Perhaps the lenders remembered his stints as an ACORN rabble-rouser/corporate counsel and figured that it was easier to just pay up.

Several times during the Bush administration, attempts were made to tighten the regulatory screws on sub-prime lending. Each time, Congressional Democrats fought --and blocked -- those efforts. Sorry, Ms. Block -- it is your DNC talking-points which merit the pooper-scooper treatment.
-- David Gonzalez
Wheeling, Illinois

GEORGE W. PATTON

George W. Bush is comparable to George Patton (bear with this); tough, religious, very flawed, and naturally distinct from the mugging George C. Scott portrayal. I voted for Gore and Kerry but refuse to second guess history and prefer Dubya to the egomaniacal LBJ. Not to mention George C. Scott.
-- Alan Brooks

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