“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker



Friday, November 18, 2011

Regarding Newt Gingrich's Freddie Mac Consulting

I caught Newt on Greta Van Sustern's Fox News program last night defending his consulting firm's $1.6MM from Freddie Mac. According to Gingrich, he didn't lobby members of Congress. Rather, he and his firm allegedly 'provided ideas and solutions' to problems posed by Freddie's management. Elsewhere, I believe in the Wall Street Journal, it was reported that one of those 'problems' was how to posture Fannie to conservatives in order to curry favor with them and avoid constraints, if not wholesale destruction.

My problem with Newt's consulting in this matter was that it's inconceivable that he would have needed all the billable hours required to amount to $1.6MM to tell Freddie's management they were pissing up a rope, and that there was no way of doing what they envisioned.

That conservatives would never see a benefit from a poorly-regulated, vote- and protection-buying bonus machine which crowded out saner, more explicitly risk-priced alternatives for securitizing US residential mortgages.

Sadly, in response to Greta, Newt began to place great emphasis on the pricing levels of his consultancy work, insisting they were below-average to average among other competitors.

But that's hardly the point. The point is a conservative of Gingrich's stripe should never have had that much to offer Freddie. And Newt should have had the good sense, as a former Speaker of the House, to understand how it would look, in retrospect, when someone discovered how much his firm earned from essentially consorting with the enemy.

This is more about a serious lapse in political judgement, which seems to be Newt's salient liability as a candidate.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Destroying Jobs One Energy Sector At A Time

You have to wonder if the First Rookie really is schizophrenic. Or perhaps his campaign manager and staff simply have such a low opinion of the American electorate that they don't believe anyone has noticed how anti-growth, anti-jobs Wonderboy truly is.

The Keystone XL pipeline is the latest example. Using the excuse that the State Department thinks there are irregularities in some of the permit applications already accepted, and that the Nebraska sandhills and aquifer are at risk, although existing pipelines seem fine, is completely transparent.

The result? About 20,000 lost high-value, truly skilled construction jobs. Alienating Canada's PM Harper and handing the Chinese a nice new energy supply for nothing.

How can a president speak out of one side of his mouth about needing to reduce reliance on overseas oil supplies, then shut down our own offshore oil production and stop a heaven-sent pipeline from Canada?

Isn't that the sort of extreme liberal shift that created the Reagan Democrats of 1980, in the wake of the Democrats' shift leftward with McGovern's campaign and Carter's governance?

No matter what David Plouffle may believe, these moves, in addition to the 'lazy companies' remark, are going to be featured video clips in the GOP presidential campaign come late next year.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lazy, Soft US Companies

You can't make this stuff up.

Wonderboy has recently castigated US companies for being 'soft' and 'lazy' in competing for global trade. See the first few minutes of this video for the footage.

video

This from a guy with absolutely no business experience whatsoever.

Does he even realize how the EPA is purposely working to raise the price of electricity by forcing the shuttering of coal-fired power plants? That his administration has said 'no' to our own offshore drilling, while welcoming Brazil and other countries to do it, instead?

That his nearly trillion dollar stimulus crowded out private investment, while his crony capitalism of rescuing GM and giving a large chunk of it to his UAW backers prevented capital from flowing to new businesses?

His constant demonizing of banks, bankers and large corporations hardly seems of a piece with the remarks in the first minutes of that video, does it?

I don't think Wonderboy actually understands how schizophrenic and scatterbrained he appears with these various messages.

One thing is sure. He had no sense whatsoever that over-regulation and government intrusion into business retards investment, which leads to slower job growth.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Supreme Court's Review of ObamaCare

Yesterday's unsurprising announcement that the Supreme Court will review ObamaCare next June brought out a tidal wave of punditry.

I heard everything from predictions that the law, or at least the mandatory health insurance purchase component, will be rejected on a 5-4 vote, to Uwe Reinhardt, Princeton's health care so-called expert, claiming that it won't even matter what happens to the mandate. Reinhardt's comments were especially odd, since so much effort was expended by Democrats to use the mandate to fulfill Congressional attempts, amid a lot of outright falsehoods, to have the CBO score the bill, which will add 30 million people to the insured roles, as actually reducing US health care expenses.

On a general note, it feels as if one is living through a court decision like Dred Scott, Brown, Roe, or Marbury. One thing on which everyone can agree is that this is likely the acid, final test for our nation of the unfortunately vaguely-worded commerce clause.

It was disappointing to read Appellate Judge Silber's naive statement that the courts have to presume that Congress passes only Constitutional laws.

Is that not a basis for term limits on the federal bench, all by itself?

On Bret Baier's Fox News program, conservative pundit Charles Krauthammer described the four parts on which the Supreme Court will rule on the law:

- the Constitutionality of the mandate under the Commerce clause
- severability of the mandate from the remainder of the law
- standing of those bringing suit a priori to paying the tax for failing to purchase coverage
- Medicare funding related to the bill

Thus, several combinations of outcomes could occur from rulings on the various elements under consideration.

Justice Kagan is not recusing herself, although it is clear she was involved in support of the law as Solicitor General for the administration. However, one has to pragmatically ask if it would really do any good to have a 4-4 tie on these components. Or if the arm-wrestling over who would be a replacement ninth Justice would do the nation any good, either.

I'm a big proponent of things happening for a reason, and people receiving the justice they deserve. On that basis, if Kagan's participation results in the key rulings of the Commerce clause/mandate being upheld, and the it being severable anyway, so be it. Americans will reap what they sowed by electing the president and Congress that passed this monstrosity.

But, back to summer of 2012.

Some hold that if the mandate fails, and it isn't severable, so the law is unconstitutional, then Wonderboy can run away from the whole issue and claim no harm was done.

That's ridiculous on its face. As Krauthammer noted on Baier's program last night, Obama did nothing else of import for the past three years but pass ObamaCare and waste nearly a trillion dollars on useless 'stimulus' spending. Nobody's going to forget he spent so much time and capital on this law.

Will he, if so defeated by the court, then turn to run against the GOP House and the Supreme Court? Perhaps, but I don't think that will cut any ice with the independents who elected him.

The more interesting question is how a Supreme Court affirmation of the first two points will affect the November election. I suspect it will galvanize support for the COP presidential candidate and its Senate candidates, in hopes of overturning the whole mess.

The second-order issue then becomes how this plays out if Romney, the original architect of the ObamaCare approach in Massachusetts, is nominated by the GOP? Won't he appear hypocritical for railing against the Court and a plan he basically signed into law as a state governor?

However those mechanics play out, I think it's more instructive to see this as perhaps the final test of the Commerce clause as capable of completely gutting the Constitution which our Founders intended. If the Supreme Court greenlights this last firewall against Congress essentially being given the right to pass any law as Constitutional because the Commerce clause is omnipotent, we will wake up the next day to a different America. And the only way the prior one will be restored will be via a Constitutional amendment specifically altering the Commerce clause to remove its elasticity and overturn decades of bad law underpinning its misuse.

It could well be that we have to endure more liberal attacks on the Constitution, and perhaps another four or more years, in order to build sufficient support for a broadscale, Constitutionally-based roll back of what has been a 110 year battle to undermine the deliberately-minimal federal powers originally provided in the Constitution.

However, at this particular point in our nation's history, our economic position won't sustain the ramifications of  a liberal Democratic victory on ObamaCare by the Supreme Court.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Why The SuperCommittee May Not Matter

Despite the hand wringing of many media pundits and members of Congress concerning the fate of the work delegated to the 12-member Congressional supercommittee, there could be considerably less to the situation than they believe.

As we learned from FDR's NRA and much of Ronald Reagan's accomplishments, what one Congress does, a subsequent one may undo. Especially when one party controls both Houses and the White House.

When you read the presumed impacts of failure of the supercommittee to make the requisite cuts in the federal budget, they sound dire. Draconian cuts in defense and entitlements are mandated.

Yet, those cuts, while alleged to hit earlier than a successful supercommittee deal- which tells you something already about how effective such a plan would be- it still isn't until 2013.

Between then and now, of course, is next November's election. If the Republicans hold the House, regain control of the Senate, and, for good measure, the White House, all bets are off concerning the entire supercommittee deal. A new Congress and President could repeal the entire original deal which created the supercommittee and its attendant rules consequences as early as the afternoon of January 21st, 2013.

If such electoral results don't occur, the subsequent ongoing political gridlock will make the mandated cuts look minor by comparison with the fiscal problems which will likely be visited upon the US. And if the Democrats keep what they control now and somehow retake the House, well, the US will take its place behind Italy as the next large OECD economy to face a fiscal disaster.