Greatest Moment in Bush’s Presidency – Bailout Bill Fails House Vote

September 29, 2008

No hyperbole.  If the Bailout Bill ultimately fails to pass, it will be looked back upon as the single greatest thing to happen to America during George W. Bush’s presidency.

It’d take a few hours to properly explain how utterly stupid the Bailout Plan is – we’d have to get into the common misconceptions of Keynesian Economics (aka “Priming the Pump”), the discrepancies between today’s bill and the Iaccoca lead bailout of Chrysler in the early 80’s, how the dot com boom spawned irresponsible lending practices under Clinton and were further worsened by Bush and the Federal Reserve after 9/11, the difference between the Federal Reserve and the Department of Treasury, how our national debt is funded, as well as what a proposal like this would look like in the business world and why this bill is laughable in comparison.

You don’t have a few hours?  Neither do I.  Ignoring the trivial fact that no one to date has been able to quantify the short or long term benefits of this bailout – the best argument for the plan is “it’s our only option” or “not doing so will result in an economic crisis” (if this is really the case why has no one been able to explain how this will happen in concrete terms?) – how about answering one very simple little question: where is the bailout money coming from?

The taxpayers, right?  But we have a national debt of 10 Trillion dollars, so that’s not really true.  Our taxes don’t even cover the current budget, let alone an additional $700 billion – $1.2 trillion.

The Federal Reserve sells Securities (US Government backed IOU’s) every three months to finance America’s spending.  So the short answer is the +700 billion will come from the sale of government issued notes, bills, and bonds.  Now keep in mind we have no money to back them, but hey the United States is a big country and our word is pretty well respected (at least for now), so people buy Securities believing we’ll pay them back.

Anyway, the next question is who buys US Securities.  Really anyone can buy them but roughly half are owned by foreign governments and half are owned by the US Government.  Something sound kind of weird there?  Yes, we own approximately half of our own debt.  Where do we get the money to effectively buy our own debt?  Ever heard of the Social Security Fund, maybe the Federal Employees Retirement Fund?  Those are the two largest domestic holders of US Securities.  Some nice colorful graphs explaining all of this can be found here.

To recap (1) the US government has no money to use for a bailout (2) so, it would have to borrow money from American citizen’s retirement funds and foreign governments, but have no assets to back the loans (3) the amount borrowed would be equal to 10% of the existing national debt (that’s a lot)

What do you think will happen if a foreign government calls in their debt (admittedly doubtful) or the baby boomer generation reaches retirement (absolutely certain)?

(hint: a heck of a lot worse economic crisis than what we’re facing today)

Update: Congress ultimately passed an ammended version of the Bill described here.  It’s better than the original plan but still not in the best interest of our county’s long term future.

Christian Ministers – Try Understanding Politics BEFORE Preaching About It

September 26, 2008
Rev. Wiley Drake... the complexities of fundamental American politics escapes him but at least he knows how to operate a telephone

Rev. Wiley Drake... the complexities of fundamental American politics escape him but at least he knows how to operate a telephone

This Sunday, Christian ministers in 22 states will join in defying a federal ban by campaigning for and/or endorsing presidential candidates during their sermons.  The federal ban in question prohibits campaigning by nonprofit groups.

This ban is necessary for many very obvious reasons.  For example: private citizens can only donate up to $10,000 to a presidential campaign.  If nonprofit groups were allowed to campaign for a candidate they would receive tax exempt status, donors would be able to donate as much money as they choose, and “best” of all – donations would be 100% tax write offs.  A child could understand how this system would quickly lead to a small number of wealthy individuals or corporations controlling the American government.

Most importantly, however, this ban is in place to PROTECT the interests of non profit groups.  A presidential candidate or political party could quite easily threaten to revoke the non profit status of an organization if said organization did not support their cause.

Now let’s be clear on the issue.  The government does not prohibit ministers from preaching about politics or endorsing a presidential candidate.  Pastors are free to say what they want from their pulpit and enjoy the same First Amendment Rights as any other American.  They simply – like all other nonprofit organizations – cannot receive federal tax exempt status if they choose to campaign for a political party or candidate.

This “Pulpit Initiative” is championed by such brilliant political minds as Rev. Wiley Drake of First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park, “I’m going to talk about the un-biblical stands that Barak Obama takes.  Nobody who follows the Bible can vote for him… we may not be politically correct but we are going to be biblically correct.”  Genius… except lacking even an elementary understanding of the American political landscape (as an aside I’d love for good ol’ Wiles to send me a copy of the “bible” he’s reading) – and yes I would be saying exactly the same thing if Obama were swapped out for McCain.

In conclusion, I humbly request of your marvelously deluded Excellencies, please understand the issues you’re facing before going to battle… and while you’re at it, a small dose of tolerance wouldn’t hurt either.

OleOle in the News

September 25, 2008

(I manage business development for OleOle, the largest social media website for football – aka soccer)

This Makes Me Happy Part VIII

September 23, 2008

… amazing pictures for my desktop background – yes I know, simple pleasures for a simple mind. Some very cool shots, including what I’ve posted below, can be found here (check out the rest of the site too). If you know of any good sites or public Flickr accounts leave them in the comments

My 1964 Jeffries

September 22, 2008

I generally don’t write about my personal life here but in this case I’m making an exception.

Last week I bought a 35′ 1964 Jeffries (pictured below) and starting October 23 the boat will be my primary residence.  There isn’t much information available online about the process of buying and reconditioning boats so I’m going to post my experiences here; possibly to be used as reference by anyone trying to do the same in the future, but more realistically to serve as comedic relief for my friends and family…

Will Someone Please Create a Service That Logs Me Into All Of My Online Accounts With One Click??!!!!

September 17, 2008

Here’s what I want: One site where I store my login information for every online account I have – Yahoo Mail, Gmail, Facebook, Yahoo Messenger, Skype, Youtube, Wells Fargo, UCLA, Digg, Netvibes, Ultimate-Guitar, FriendFeed, WordPress, Blogger, OleOle, Fark, and Pownce.

This site would be my home page (preferably have a Google search box too) and as soon as I login it automatically logs me into every online account I have so when I visit the sites I’m already signed in. Not one click for each site, one click in total, and I’m signed in BEFORE I even visit a site.

Please, someone build this now

Funniest Thing You’ll See Today

September 17, 2008