Thursday, April 26, 2012

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume IV, Issue XVII

The Last Days of Obama & Biden

This week the 'other' Weekly News Magazine [click to read] features 'The Last Days of Osama Bin Laden.' We must remember the havoc wrought by Bin Laden and his minions on Septmber 11, 2001 and the brave and good people who led us in response. Today we face another threat to America in the policies of the current administration. Record debt and investment in growing government threaten to undermine the America that has taken Centuries to build. "Hope and change" are not thought out policies, they are slogans. How did we end up with a President and others in government who think so radically differently about America than most of her people?

As the next election approaches, it becomes clear that those who are paid to inform us want us to be unduly obsessesed with how the Romneys spend their money and ignore how those already in power spend ours! Clearly the Wednesday night partys at the White house deserve more scrutiny in this regard that what Mrs. Romney chooses to drive. Obama's cadillac way outprices anything the Romneys own (yes, I know it is bulletproof), but did you know that the Secret Service had to build a bigger car wash for it after they ordered it?

I spoke with a young person who is about to head off to the university who told me "it's all so complicated... I can't understand the politics." My response was: "No it's not, and it is a need-to-know situation." Clearly there are those who benefit greatly from relegating essential information to the "experts," but a little homework can make for a very enlightened electorate.

I was watching television this week. A documentary on the derivatives market in mortgages came on. I was fascinated so I watched as the show began with the Wunderkind at J.P. Morgan who came up with using derivatives to spread risks and free capital in their corporate lending. It was intended to add security to a marketplace where a company like Exxon Mobil would borrow a huge amount from J.P. Morgan and then J.P. Morgan would be required to hold a lot of funds in reserve. By 'selling the risk' the bank was able to free up its own capital to lend to others.

So far so good. Now the show sped into a discussion of bundled mortgages... predatory lending and the great meltdown we have just experienced. Conspicuously absent from the presentation was any discussion of the role of the Fair Housing Act. On paper this was a noble piece of legislation. Everybody should be able to have opportunity, but the result was unsustainable mortgages that the banks were compelled to issue.

Also absent was any discussion of how Senator John McCain had tried to stop the runaway train in 2005, but the Congressional leadership ignored him. "Beware," I told my young friend, "of any narrative where the good guys are all from one party and the bad guys are all from the other." As the show descended into a replay of the "Main Street vs Wall Street" narrative, I shuddered. If this is what passes for "news," Operation Educate for 2012 is really needed.

Bundled mortages were a disaster. Here was risk that no one could measure, being sold in a market that has very little oversight. A bank might bundle its bad mortgages and sell them as an investment only to find that another division of the same bank had bought them back as an "investment." The transaction might have literally travelled around the world. The effect was just the opposite of that of spreading out corporate debt. By 2008 the web was unvavelled.

Universal Health Care sounds wonderful until you consider countries who already have it in place. Costs do not go down and rationing of care is soon to follow. As much as there is to complain about in our present system, there is precious little discussion of how insurance reform and market forces could do far more to improve it. In order to affoord insurance at all, I have a very high deductable. That means we ask what things cost up front, often finding a natural alternative to the expensive perscription. I have drawn a portrait of the doctors' office so someone in my family could have a procedure. Also we have found that many practices will look at your income and bill on a scale. Not only that, there are many who will set up a payment plan for you (often without interest)! None of this will happen in a single-payer system.

Augusta Health writes off about 20 million dollars in services annually. These include bad debts, indigent patients receiving care and reduced fees for services. The fact remains that most people DO have medical insurance or an alternative sharing plan. The uninsured could be covered with far less expense and with far less disruption by addressing simpler solutions. The point that must be made is that the present medical system provides more care than government run healthcare actually will. You need to see more than the slogans to learn this though.

Energy Policies that depend on untested 'alternative' sources and prohibit exploiting our own proven resources are foolhardy from both an economic and national security standpoint. Energy Secretary Steven Chu states a desire to raise our gas prices to the level of those in Europe. That,in my mind, gives the administration no credibility when they claim to feel our pain at the pump.

President Obama was speaking to college students in Colorado. They're starting to feel concerned. Jobs aren't out there. Students graduate now with a year's salary in student loan debt. Costs are rising, opportunities are shrinking. The President said to them that after they graduate, they should: "go out and start a business." Enterpreneurship, according to the President, would save the day for them.


The President, unfortunately, has never started a business (I have, my muraling assistant, still in college, has two), and the first thing you learn is that it takes a lot of time and energy before you actually make money. When you actually make money you need a really good accountant because the government is looking to take a huge chuck of it. Taxation and regulation create huge hurdles for the serious enterpreneur.

When you are a small shop serving the design and construction industry and bad policies have decimated that industry, you go back and get a second job like you had when you were launching your business in the first place. It's not exactly like 'Community Organizing,' Mr. President.

Meanwhile, Mr. Romney is wasting no time framing the upcoming election according to The Washington Examiner [click to read].

"Romney made it clear he does not intend to allow Obama to own the very concept of fairness."

"I’ll tell you about how much I love this country, where someone like my dad, who grew up poor and never graduated from college, could pursue his dreams and work his way up to running a great car company. Only in America could a man like my dad become governor of the state in which he once sold paint from the trunk of his car." -- Mitt Romney


"Time for America's Grand Comeback"
By George Allen Richmond Times-Dispatch Thursday, April 26, 2012

America has always been energized by the power of ideas, the decency of its people, and the unifying passion of a purpose in our lives and blessed country. Although we've faced many challenges, we have always risen to overcome them. As a result, America is known throughout the world for its extraordinary courage: To come together. To stand in harm's way. To speak out. To reach for new heights. And to never, ever give up.

With millions unemployed and an economy sputtering, many people today have seen their dreams diminished. Parents don't know if their children will enjoy the same opportunities they had growing up. And entrepreneurs are worried Washington will make it impossible for their business to survive or be passed on to their children. These stories are being told all across Virginia and the nation. And though they're very real stories of our present, they don't have to be prevalent stories in our future. The power of our nation's purpose remains as strong as ever and that fight for America's future is ours to win.

We need people in Washington who share America's vision for the three ideals most of us still want our nation to be: free, strong, and a beacon. In many ways, this election is about the freedom that made America great and prosperous. Freedom to start and grow a small business. Freedom to choose the doctors and medical care we want. Freedom to practice our religion and uphold our moral traditions. Freedom to use our plentiful energy resources to control our destiny for job growth and more affordable fuel, food and electricity. Freedom to make local decisions. Freedom from a bloated, debt-ridden intrusive government that not even the richest country on Earth can afford.

We are currently on a dangerous path for our nation and our families. With every new tax, regulation and mandate our country grows less free and less prosperous. America's citizens — not a distant, unaccountable government — are most capable of making the decisions for ourselves and our families. Washington powers are wrong — and this November, we must stand together to tell them so. … Read More [click to read] ht/Lynn



Lynn R. Mitchell said...

Well thought out, Bob ... and I love the quote about Mitt Romney's dad. I learned something new today ... Romney the dad didn't graduate from college but pursued his dreams and became governor. Who says America isn't great?!

Bob K. said...

From the Swamp Fox:

Obama Caught Misquoting Rep. [click to read]

In spite of a threatened veto, House Republicans narrowly passed a bill to prevent student loan rates from doubling. Taking funds from the money being set aside to impliment the takeover of healthcare, the bill drew loud criticism from Nancy Pelosi and others who purport to be concerned about this.