Thursday, January 29, 2009

More Obama musings

I generally loathe political commentary, but no matter who was elected president last November, I wouldn't be able to keep my mouth shut about just how sad it is when people blindly tow party lines instead of worrying about what's really wrong with this country.

I was trying to tune it all out by listening to Dennis & Callahan out of Boston on WEEI this morning - sports radio, for those of you not in the know - when I realized, "Wait, D&C? Really? I'm trying to tune out politics by listening to these two bozos?" For those who don't know, half the time from 6am-10am each day is filled with political commentary, and if you're lucky they'll dabble in some sports talk. Hey, this is the slowest sports month of the year.

But today's show was particularly enlightening. They were talking about the new Obama stimulus package and there were some good points made. Here were some of the points being discussed re: the new stimulus plan:

  • $4billion potentially going to corrupt political organization ACORN
  • $50million potentially going to National Endowment for the Arts
  • Cut income taxes for three months and you'd get a better result than a multi-billion stimulus plan could ever hope to achieve

First thing's first: the government really doesn't have any right to simply print money and give it all away to whoever they choose. There's nothing empowering them to do this: they're simply asking the Fed to do it and of course the Fed is going to print the money since our creditors don't want anything to do with us unless it's to pay back our debts. Our creditors are also cringing at any stimulus bill because they know we're devaluing the dollar in order to do it. The US is also devaluing OTHER countries' respective currencies since we owe most developed nations so much money, by devaluing our own and therefore devaluing an account receivable (a huge one) on the books of countries like China, Canada, the UK, etc. Forget about that trade deficit; we're going to PRINT our way out of this mess! Woo hoo!

So these foreign nations are getting the big middle finger stuck in their faces one way or the other: with Bush, it was with foreign policy; with Obama, it was with stimulus bills that seem by their very design to dilute our currency.

Back to the radio show, the Obama yahoos are already calling in, trying to do an about face on the stimulus bill. The producer of the radio show even chimed in, and here's how that conversation went (paraphrasing):

Iggy (producer): You just don't get it - the bill is going to help everyone - if ACORN wins the bid they'll have to spend the money the right way

Callahan: 'win the bid'? What are we talking about here? How is this going to help the economy?

Iggy: You don't understand...I don't know EXACTLY how the money is going to be used, but--

Callahan: So you don't know. You don't know how the money is going to be used, but it's going to help? Why not cut the income tax for three months and let people spend that money?

Iggy: Are you saying cutting the income taxes is better than this stimulus bill?

Callahan: I'm saying that you're more likely to stimulate the economy via a federal income tax relief, yes.

Now, for all his faults, Callahan is actually correct on his last point: you're more likely to create economic stimulus via tax relief than additional tax burden (and stimulus bills ARE an additional tax burden, ask any economist). The problem is, no one wants to spend right now. You cut income taxes, and they should stay cut - forever. People will still save in the short term because they don't want to spend - look at the mortgage rates of 4.8% or so right now; even market conditions can't force people to spend money they don't have. What Callahan didn't understand is that whether you cut taxes or provide a stimulus bill, neither is going to help the economy in the short term: if you cut taxes, people will save in the short term and the economy will continue to contract; if you provide a false stimulus, a few people might get jobs but in the long term, who does that really help? No one. Cut taxes, forget the stimulus bill, and wait a couple years for things to turn around.

Then another yahoo called in, and here's how that conversation went:

Jay: You know Gerry [aka Callahan], Obama knows what's best for this country, why do you have to hate on him? Do you even know what the National Endowment for the Arts does? Do you like going to museums?

Callahan: Well, some...but no, enlighten me; how is this going to create jobs?

Dennis: Whoa, before you answer, remember the context: tell us how giving $50million to the National Endowment for the Arts is actually going to help stimulate the economy? How does that provide stimulus? Remember, this is a stimulus bill.

Jay: [silence]

Dennis: Second hour of D&C, coming up after the break!

Yet another symbolic moment: people know that millions, if not billions, of dollars are being wrapped into this stimulus bill, yet they don't even know what the explanation is from on high as to why the money is being given away.

One theory, per above, is that it's being done intentionally to water down currencies worldwide. If we're all in the shitter together over the US' horrible fiscal policy - wars, printing money out of nowhere to "stimulate" the economy which everyone knows doesn't work, borrowing like crazy for no good reason, chasing our own industries out to foreign countries for the sake of growing the services sector - then the only consequence is those in power remain powerful, economically speaking, and the poor and middle class pay the toll via consumption and taxes. Look at food prices and swings in gas prices recently: do you really think we're not paying for all of this horrible fiscal policy? If we aren't, who is?

Ultimately, it's sad that people buy into any new president as the next great hope. Time and time again over the past 100 years or so, presidents give us much in the way of hope and little in the way of substance. Obama, as intelligent as he might be, is still just an empty suit who's going to do the bidding of his advisers, as well as sparring with the House and Senate in the greatest puppet show of all time. It's time to scrap the ideas we have on government and build anew, starting with local, more autonomous communities. If we fail to do that while we still have some semblance of power as citizens, even if voting is an outright joke these days, our future is bleak as increased centralized power will pave the way for worldwide dictatorship. If you think it can't happen, take a look at the new and "progressive" ideas of worldwide currencies and globalization of nearly every industry.

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