Saturday, December 12, 2009

Anatomy of a Train Wreck

I have spent months studying the causes of the economic mess we are in and I stumbled upon the following report from the Independent Institute, written by a renowned economics professor Stan J. Liebowitz, that pretty well summarizes all that I have found.

I have spent hours going through HUD reports from back in the 80’s to present, as well as going through every OFHEO (regulator for Fannie and Freddie) report since its inception in 1992 (the origianl OFHEO website is now defunct, but see I’ve studied all the different legislation that has impacted the mortgage and mortgage securities markets dating back to the mid- 1970s until now. I’ve watched hours of video, and read reams of records, from House and Senate Finance Committee hearings regarding safety and soundness and corruption issues at Fannie and Freddie from the mid 1990’s to present. After all that, I’ve come to the exact same conclusions as Mr. Liebowitz.

Please read this report carefully and then consider the video and other links below, especially the Sept 2003 House Financial Services Committee Hearing on tighter oversight of Fannie and Freddie (link below). Watch the whole thing and you tell me who blocked efforts to better oversee what had become a 2 to 3 trillion dollar ticking time bomb at Fannie and Freddie, and in the name of what poorly handled cause. The government has done more damage to those they were claiming to help than a truly free market with properly guided oversight could ever have done.

George Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.

Huh……I’m confused….

According to revisionist history as it is currently taught in public schools, our forefathers were Godless, and our nation was not born as a Christian nation at all. Indeed back in Washington’s day it would have been considered an outrage to even suggest that kids shouldn’t pray in school. I’ll bet if you open a public school history book on George Washington today you won’t find such right-wing religious wack-job drivel as is presented in his proclamation above. The respect for God, the acknowledgement that all that is good comes from God, and establishment of a national holiday to give thanks to God for all that he has bestowed upon the people of this country. You won’t find a modern leader that will humble himself in the manner of George Washington. Too bad our leaders today (government and corporate) aren’t as principled, and dare I say “religious”, as were those who founded this great country. If we study history at all in our schools any more, we should focus on reversing the forces that have driven us from those principles, as they are the root of the messes we face today.

Free Markets and Responsibility

In a recent AP news article it was reported that:

"DETROIT (AP) -- Workers at two more United Auto Workers locals overwhelmingly rejected changes to their contract with Ford Motor Co. on Thursday, casting further doubt on whether the deal will be approved.

Workers at a parts-making plant in Saline, Mich., west of Detroit, voted 75 percent against the deal, while research and engineering employees in Dearborn, Mich., voted roughly 90 percent against the deal, according to local union officials and tallies posted on a Web site.

An exact count of the votes so far was not available Thursday night, but at least eight UAW locals representing about 12,500 workers have voted down the deal, many overwhelmingly. Only about four locals with a total of 7,000 members have favored the pact.

Ford sought the deal to bring its labor costs in line with Detroit rivals Chrysler Group LLC and General Motors Co., both of which won concessions from the union as they headed into bankruptcy protection earlier this year. If it fails, the Dearborn-based automaker will have higher labor costs than competitors and therefore a tougher time consistently turning a profit.

Ford is the only Detroit-area automaker to avoid bankruptcy protection and not take aid from the U.S. government. But it has a far higher debt load than Chrysler and GM, and higher labor costs could hurt efforts to make a comeback."

This is just the tip of the iceburg folks. Now you see what happens when the government meddles in the free markets and panders to what they see as large voting blocks (not hard-working everyday people...but large voting blocks). They drag the healthy down with the weak, they reward failure and punish success, they invest in votes rather than hard work and self-sufficiency. You don't think that the Obama Administration and Congress knew EXACTLY what would happen to the one remaining self-sufficient American automobile company once they took over GM and Chrysler and handed large chunks of them over to the unions?  Now they are going to do the same to the healthcare industry and energy industries in short order. We need to wake up if we want to save free-market capitalism and that starts with EVERYBODY taking what freedoms we have left and not abusing them and giving the liberal politicians any more ammo to finish off the one thing that makes this country great. God gave us freedom and free will, but it is up to us to use them compassionately and wisely, or we lose them and everything this country once symbolized. Fighting greed and corruption with more greed and more corruption is not the answer.