Sunday, January 25, 2009

Corruption, Competence & Congress

The most defining moment of the last eight years in this country, with the exception of 9/11, occurred in January 2007, when the democrats took over Congress. Since the democrats took over both houses in 2007, the unemployment rate has soared from 4.6% to 7.2%, an increase of an astounding 57%, and millions of people have lost their homes largely because the Congress has totally ignored its oversight responsibilities. In addition, for that same reason, the country is trying to save itself from a banking crisis that has impacted everything from manufacturing to the individual buying of groceries.

The exclamation point was applied to this circumstance when democrat Obama took over the presidency last week, thus making his party directly responsible for correcting the current slide toward deeper recession, a slide over which it has presided for two years already, the main players being the chairmen of the finance committees, Representative Barney Frank and Senator Chris Dodd, the two best arguments possible against the good ol’ boy seniority system. If any sense is to be made of what Obama has laid out as a remedy, however, it is yet to be realized. His suggestion that at least others have said amounts to a cool trillion dollars that must be borrowed (or, actually, printed) just might turn things around is questionable at best, ludicrous at worst.

He’s claimed that this incomprehensible sum will create four million jobs, or $250,000 per job, though how this is broken down is unclear, at least to the layman. It seems terribly high, indeed beyond any consideration. In the meantime, the banks and other financial institutions have received $350 billion just in the last couple of months or so (though no one knows exactly where that money is or how it’s been used), with another $350 billion to be allocated soon, though the auto manufacturers might get a chunk of that instead of an outright “loan” of close to $50 billion.

The objective is to “jumpstart” the economy, making it possible for borrowers to borrow, lenders to lend, and manufacturers to make all the stuff the buyers will buy or governments will fix with the money they’ve borrowed or been given, respectively. Sounds great? Yeah. Is it working so far? Nah. Lenders are hoarding or padding their assets and paying bonuses to incompetent honchos, effectively taking the position that the citizens can “just eat cake.” Result: standstill!

Consider that cool trillion bucks (a 1 and 12 zeroes). There are about 300 million people in the country. If the cool trillion were divided among households, it could be computed at $3,333.33 per member of the family. For a family of four, that works out to some $13,333.33, or more than half the price of a mid-sized car or the total price of a two-year-old car that’s still under warranty or a big boost to the house-payment circumstance.

Perhaps a lot of smart folks would plow that money into savings, which would go a long way toward re-capitalizing the financial institutions, which could then start lending money again, taking into consideration that the totally inept Congress-people would by now start doing their job and regulating these institutions instead of drumming up gobs of greenbacks for the next election, translated as selling whatever they have to offer the contributors.

This would leave local entities to carry out the fix-the-infrastructure problem, thus cutting down – okay, hopefully – on the deep, deep corruption that accompanies every government (especially federal) giveaway that comes down the pike and turns the citizens into so many patsies for the crooks...guys like Tim Geithner, tax-cheat whom Obama has selected to be (gasp and three palpitations) the Treasury Secretary, supposedly the job requiring the most honest citizen in the country.

Geithner will oversee the IRS, the very agency from which he was committing theft until he got the nomination and was found out and had to ante up, though he coughed up only two years worth of his thefts, while he actually had been stealing for four years...tens of thousands of dollars. Whereas Bill Richardson threw in the towel for the Commerce job because of alleged PAC peccadilloes (funds used personally instead of politically), Geithner has chosen to brazen it out...disgusting for both him and Obama, who should have axed that nomination the minute Geithner was exposed. At least Richardson didn’t steal from his own government.

In any case, if the scenario above were considered, people would go back to work, pay taxes into a bankrupt government, and just maybe things would start turning around. That will never happen, of course, but it makes at least as much sense as doling out money to cesspools of corruption, another name for most governments, local and national, as well as many financial institutions.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

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