Monday, October 27, 2008

Real Change vs. Radical Change: What Would Conservatives Change?

Change. During this election, we’ve heard that word so many times we’re ready to puke. Obviously this country needs something different from what we currently have, what with a presidential approval in the low 30’s and a congress with an absolutely dismal approval rating of 9 percent. But in these rough times, I would ask you to think very carefully about what kind of change you want. There’s a difference between radical change and real change. I think most of America’s frustrations stem from the fact that the people we send to Washington to run our country don’t reflect what we believe. Let me throw some numbers at you:
-57 to 27 percent of the country would prefer less government services and lower taxes
-72 percent of Americans think that people moving to this country should adopt our culture
-69 percent of Americans feel the income tax system is unfair in that it taxes earnings rather than spending
-62 percent of Americans feel the country is fair and decent compared to 27 percent feeling it is unfair and discriminatory
Looking at these polls (all done by Rasmussen), I don’t see anything in Barack Obama’s liberal agenda that falls in with what mainstream America believes. Conservatives and Republicans stand with the country on those issues. Here are some areas where we Republicans and conservatives feel change is desperately needed.
Some high schools will spend a week teaching you how to put a condom on (the directions are on the wrapper), but will barely give 2 weeks to fiscal responsibility—God forbid an entire YEAR—teaching students incredibly important real-world things like how to do your taxes, manage a personal budget, and use credit responsibly? And everyone wonders why we have a 10 trillion dollar national debt and we’re in the middle of a financial crisis. Nobody knows how to manage money responsibly! I guess that English class semester on Greek mythology was more important. Speaking of fiscal responsibility, maybe we should send our bills to Washington D.C? Ridiculous suggestion, but where do we draw the line on bailouts? Oh wait; there shouldn’t be a line, because there’s no place in the constitution that says it is government’s responsibility to give money to companies when they’re having trouble. That would be liberal, activist lawyers/judges who have milked the “general welfare” clause of the constitution for all it’s worth.
Why is a picture of Jesus in a flask of urine (“P*ss Christ” by Andres Serrano) award-winning art, yet a political cartoon of Muhammad with a bomb for a turban is completely taboo? Both are figureheads of widely followed religions, but with the liberal agenda Jesus degradation equals free speech. Muhammad degradation equals offensive and divisive.
Education is key in our country. America spends the most money in the world on education, but with mediocre results. Why? I’ve had some incredible professors, and I want their pay to reflect that. Keeping lax educators in the system (thanks to Obama-supporting teachers’ unions) just drags down pay and incentives for quality educators and robs students of the best instructors they could possibly get. When did teachers’ job security and tenure become more important than student success and quality education?
I agree, this country does need change, but I believe us conservatives reflect the attitudes of the country as a whole and offer real solutions and the right change to get this country heading the right way.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Is the Free Market Dead?

In times of economic turmoil, everybody's looking for somebody to blame. To Democrats, everything is of course George Bush's fault, and in this case they may be partially right. But they're screaming that the free market and capitalism are dead, and more regulation is needed. I beg to differ, and would argue that regulation caused this crisis in the first place. The President had a responsibility to point out shaky businesses and shady accounting to the public, and then let the free market take care of those businesses as they'd see their stock value fall, forcing them to clean up their act, lest they go out of business. In that way, President Bush failed to keep the public informed about companies who were not operating properly.
What all this economic crisis boils down to is people defaulting on their mortgages. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are companies that purchase debt (mortgages) from banks so the banks can have more cash on hand and can then make more loans. These big companies purchased a lot of that debt, and many individuals who owed money were unable to pay it. Like I said, it all boils down to individuals defaulting on their loans. This happened for two reasons:

1) People were living outside their means. When you bite off more than you can chew, you aren't able to pay everything you owe, so this is a lesson in only purchasing what you can afford.
2) Regulation created the possibility for people to purchase houses that really couldn't afford them. The big kicker was the Community Reinvestment Act passed in 1977, and especially the tweaks the Clinton administration added to it. His goals were to emphasize "performance over paperwork", by extending credit to inner city communities. The goal was to give credit to low-income people and raise them up; a reasonable goal of government, but good intentions can lead to problems. As Janet Reno of the Justice Department stated:

“Today’s actions demonstrate that we
will tackle lending discrimination wherever and
in whatever form it appears. No loan is exempt,
no bank is immune. For those who thumb their
nose at us, I promise vigorous enforcement.” (article here)

In other words, the Clinton administration was so hell-bent on preventing loan discrimination, they forgot that, statistically speaking, the groups that were "discriminated against" have statistically bad credit. So go ahead and force banks to loan to low-income, inner city minorities. There's a reason certain people were not granted loans, because they had bad credit. Just don't be surprised when these people that banks had to give loans to (because of Clinton's enforcement) default on their loans and can't make the payments. Big institutions were buying all this potentially bad debt, and here we sit at the financial crisis.

I'm not paying $700 billion in taxpayer funded bailout to help out people who lived outside their means and have to move into a smaller apartment, or to bailout companies who make profit by purchasing bad debt trying to turn a profit on it and cook their books to make it look like the debt isn't as bad as it seems. I'll take the hit in my IRA, because this sets a terrible precedent and sends the message that big companies (too big to fail?) don't have to worry about risk, because if things go bad the government will bail them out. They got too big and too risky, now they have to pay the consequences. Market corrections do that; businesses that were too risky in good times fail and smart ones succeed. We're doing the country a disservice by helping out the unwise ones. Even if we have to take a hit now, we'll all be better off in the long run.

1) Get rid of the bad regulations that extend l0ans to bad credit individuals/businesses.
2) More transparency in these large companies that deal in debt purchases.
3) We need more oversight, rather than regulation, so investors can see exactly what's going on and can make wise decisions and the government can inform us of potentially risky business and the free market will keep people from making those bad investments and likewise improve the companies in question.