Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I needed some more data . . .

This morning's "United States of France" post, I now realize, was too mild. Way too mild.

Considering the intent of his email, somehow I don't think Ron Paul will mind if I quote what he sent a few hours after I posted this morning:
Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Dear Friends,

Whenever a Great Bipartisan Consensus is announced, and a compliant media assures everyone that the wondrous actions of our wise leaders are being taken for our own good, you can know with absolute certainty that disaster is about to strike.

The events of the past week are no exception.

The bailout package that is about to be rammed down Congress' throat is not just economically foolish. It is downright sinister. It makes a mockery of our Constitution, which our leaders should never again bother pretending is still in effect. It promises the American people a never-ending nightmare of ever-greater debt liabilities they will have to shoulder. Two weeks ago, financial analyst Jim Rogers said the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac made America more communist than China! "This is welfare for the rich," he said. "This is socialism for the rich. It's bailing out the financiers, the banks, the Wall Streeters."

That describes the current bailout package to a T. And we're being told it's unavoidable.

The claim that the market caused all this is so staggeringly foolish that only politicians and the media could pretend to believe it. But that has become the conventional wisdom, with the desired result that those responsible for the credit bubble and its predictable consequences - predictable, that is, to those who understand sound, Austrian economics - are being let off the hook. The Federal Reserve System is actually positioning itself as the savior, rather than the culprit, in this mess!

• The Treasury Secretary is authorized to purchase up to $700 billion in mortgage-related assets at any one time. That means $700 billion is only the very beginning of what will hit us.

• Financial institutions are "designated as financial agents of the Government." This is the New Deal to end all New Deals.

• Then there's this: "Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency." Translation: the Secretary can buy up whatever junk debt he wants to, burden the American people with it, and be subject to no one in the process.

There goes your country.

Even some so-called free-market economists are calling all this "sadly necessary." Sad, yes. Necessary? Don't make me laugh.

Our one-party system is complicit in yet another crime against the American people. The two major party candidates for president themselves initially indicated their strong support for bailouts of this kind - another example of the big choice we're supposedly presented with this November: yes or yes. Now, with a backlash brewing, they're not quite sure what their views are. A sad display, really.

Although the present bailout package is almost certainly not the end of the political atrocities we'll witness in connection with the crisis, time is short. Congress may vote as soon as tomorrow. With a Rasmussen poll finding support for the bailout at an anemic seven percent, some members of Congress are afraid to vote for it. Call them! Let them hear from you! Tell them you will never vote for anyone who supports this atrocity.

The issue boils down to this: do we care about freedom? Do we care about responsibility and accountability? Do we care that our government and media have been bought and paid for? Do we care that average Americans are about to be looted in order to subsidize the fattest of cats on Wall Street and in government? Do we care?

When the chips are down, will we stand up and fight, even if it means standing up against every stripe of fashionable opinion in politics and the media?
Times like these have a way of telling us what kind of a people we are, and what kind of country we shall be.

In liberty,

Ron Paul
And then there is this from Gary North:
For months, high-level government officials assured us that America's financial markets were safe. They continued to assure us right up until Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson on September 18 said a $700 billion bailout is required to save the economy from a collapse comparable to the Great Depression.

Our leaders, including Paulson, did not have a clue as to what was going on. . . .

The assurances began in August 2007. They accelerated right through September 18.

It did not matter that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were nationalized without vote by Congress on a Sunday afternoon, September 7. The experts remained optimistic.

It did not matter that a week later, also on a Sunday, Merrill Lynch sold itself without a vote by its Board of Directors to Bank of America, which also did not ask for a vote by its Board of Directors.

It did not matter that on Monday, September 15, Lehman Brothers Holdings declared bankruptcy -- the largest bankruptcy by far in American history, dwarfing Enron and WorldCom combined.

We were assured on September 15 that everything was under control.

It was not just Paulson, Bernanke, and the President who assured us. It was also almost every talking head from the financial world who appeared on television. The main exception was Prof. Nouriel Roubini, whose grim forecasts have come true, one by one.

On Sunday, September 14, he said that no investment bank would survive. He said the model was fundamentally flawed. Two went bust within 24 hours: Merrill Lynch and Lehman. The other two were bailed out by a change in their legal structure on Friday, September 19. Both Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley surrendered their status as investment banks, switched to holding companies, thereby coming under Federal regulation, and immediately becoming eligible for bailout money.

We have seen a stream of ex-geniuses depart as multi-millionaires: Angelo Mozilo (Countywide Financial), Charles Prince (Citigroup), Stan O'Neal (Merrill Lunch), and Dick Fuld (Lehman). They join the legendary Franklin Raines (Fannie Mae), who had departed years earlier, and who today is an Obama advisor. Then there were the recent heads of Fannie and Freddie.

The head of AIG will be replaced soon.
How is this possible that we, the people of the United States, are supposed to pay these guys--and our elected officials--multi-hundreds of millions of dollars for the "privilege" of taking on the trillions of dollars of debt they have wracked up in our behalf?

I think it's time for us to get on the telephone, as Ron Paul urged!
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