Bringing LIBERTY to Capitol Hill -- 2008
OZARKS VIRTUAL TOWN HALL
Saturday Morning, March 15, 2008, 10:30am
A Discussion of The President's Saturday Morning Radio Address
Click here to listen to a replay of the March 15, 2008 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Notes and Summary of the President's Address -- "Economic Stimulus Socialism"
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. On Friday, I traveled to New York City to talk about the state of our economy. This is a topic that has been a source of concern for families across America. In the long run, we can be confident that our economy will continue to grow, but in the short run, it is clear that growth has slowed.
Fortunately, we recognized this slowdown early, and took action to give our economy a shot in the arm. My Administration worked with Congress to pass a bipartisan economic growth package that includes tax relief for families and incentives for business investment.
How the President Differs from the American vision of "Liberty Under God":
- America's Founding Fathers created a nation they called "an experiment in Liberty"
- The Experiment in Liberty made America the most prosperous and admired nation in human history.
- During the 20th century, numerous nations experimented with government central planning.
- The experiments in government central planning resulted in poverty and mass death (USSR, Red China, etc.).
- The Free Market -- "capitalism" -- creates prosperity; the government inevitably creates recession, depression, poverty.
- In America, under the Constitution, the Federal Government only has the powers which "We the People" delegated to it in the Constitution.
- The Tenth Amendment in the Bill of Rights summarizes the philosophy of the Constitution:
- "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
- In Federalist 45, Madison described the relationship between the federal government and the states in these famous words:
The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State. [emphasis added]
- Tinkering with the economy through a "stimulus package" was never considered a function of the government, especially the federal government.
- The voluntary transactions entered into by Americans at home and at work, based on the combined knowledge of millions of investors, business owners, and managers of households, all of them accountable to the discipline of profit-and-loss, organizes the nation's economic activity better than a handful of politicians trying to please special interests and get re-elected.
- Everything the President proposes in his Saturday Morning Radio Address is unconstitutional, and represents a form of socialism rather than capitalism. Our problems are caused by political intervention in the economy, and further political intervention to "cure" past political intervention will only make the economy worse.
Saturday Morning Radio Address
"Liberty Under God"
|THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. On Friday, I traveled to New York City to talk about the state of our economy. This is a topic that has been a source of concern for families across America. In the long run, we can be confident that our economy will continue to grow, but in the short run, it is clear that growth has slowed.
||How does President Bush predict "the long run?"
Oh Yeah?: Herbert Hoover Predicts Prosperity
|Fortunately, we recognized this slowdown early, and took action to give our economy a shot in the arm. My Administration worked with Congress to pass a bipartisan economic growth package that includes tax relief for families and incentives for business investment. I signed this package into law last month -- and its provisions are just starting to kick in. My economic team, along with many outside experts, expects this stimulus package to have a positive effect on our economy in the second quarter. And they expect it to have even a stronger effect in the third quarter, when the full effects of the $152 billion in tax cuts are felt.
||How can the provisions of the bill just signed be "kicking in" when no checks have been cut?
|A root cause of the economic slowdown has been the downturn in the housing market. I believe the government can take sensible, focused action to help responsible homeowners weather this rough patch. But we must do so with clear purpose and great care, because government actions often have far-reaching and unintended consequences. If we were to pursue some of the sweeping government solutions that we hear about in Washington, we would make a complicated problem even worse -- and end up hurting far more homeowners than we help.
||But what is the root cause of "the downturn in the housing market?"
|For example, one proposal would give bankruptcy courts the authority to reduce mortgage debts by judicial decree. This would make it harder to afford a home in the future, because banks would charge higher interest rates to cover this risk.
|Some in Washington say the government should take action to artificially prop up home prices. It's important to understand that this would hurt millions of Americans. For example, many young couples trying to buy their first home have been priced out of the market because of inflated prices. The market now is in the process of correcting itself, and delaying that correction would only prolong the problem.
||Government has been propping up housing prices for decades, by creating mortgage money out of thin air.
|My Administration opposes these proposals. Instead, we are focused on helping a targeted group of homeowners -- those who have made responsible buying decisions and could avoid foreclosure with a little help. We've taken three key steps to help these homeowners.
||The Housing Market, Arnold Kling: Library of Economics and Liberty
|First, we launched a new program that gives the Federal Housing Administration greater flexibility to offer refinancing for struggling homeowners with otherwise good credit histories. Second, we helped bring together the Hope Now Alliance, which is streamlining the process for refinancing and modifying many mortgages. Third, the Federal Government is taking regulatory steps to make the housing market more transparent and fair in the long run.
||"Ironically, one reason we got into the current mess is that Washington spent the last few decades criticizing and fining mortgage lenders for not lending to low-income households with imperfect credit records - a practice called redlining. Now Obama plans to punish lenders in criminal and bankruptcy courts until they bring redlining back."
Alan Reynolds, Housing Horrors
|And now Congress must build on these efforts. Members need to pass legislation to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, modernize the Federal Housing Administration, and allow state housing agencies to issue tax-free bonds to help homeowners refinance their mortgages.
|Congress also needs to take other steps to help our economy through this period of uncertainty. Members need to make the tax relief we passed permanent, reduce wasteful spending, and open new markets for American goods, services, and investment.
||How long have we been hearing about the need to "reduce wasteful spending? But even government spending which is not deemed "wasteful" is still unconstitutional, and is being funded by inflating the currency.
"open new markets" sounds like Herbert Hoover, just before the crash of the Great Depression:
|By taking these steps and avoiding bad policy decisions, we will see our economy strengthen as the year progresses. As we take decisive action, we will keep this in mind: When you are steering a car in a rough patch, one of the worst things you can do is overcorrect. That often results in losing control and can end up with the car in a ditch. Steering through a rough patch requires a steady hand on the wheel and your eyes up on the horizon. And that's exactly what we're going to do.
||“The outlook of the world today is for the greatest era of commercial expansion in history. The rest of the world will become better customers.”
—Herbert Hoover, Speech at San Francisco, July 27, 1928
|Thank you for listening.
Kevin Craig's platform:
Resources from the January 26, 2008 Town Hall
- Cato-at-liberty » Stimulus: Kindergarten Keynesianism
- Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > Stimulant or Hallucinogen? [offensive language]
- An Economic Mistake
- The Austrian Economists: Steve Pejovich Knows How to Ask the Right Questions
- Cato-at-liberty » Stimulus Package Is Welfare, Not Tax Cuts
- Suppose there were a Democrat in the White House and she proposed $100 billion in cash hand-outs to families. She could structure it exactly the same way as Bush has, but call it a “Family Food and Health Care Supplement.” The minority GOP would probably denounce it strongly as wasteful welfare, which it would be.
In fact, the [Bush program] is simply extra spending; it is a giant one-time welfare program. To pay for it, the government will borrow an added $100 billion, which will impose $100 billion of higher taxes on future generations.
- Bush's Economic Surrender - WSJ.com
- FREE MONEY! - New York Post
- TCS Daily - A Very Stimulating Crisis
- In ordinary economics, goods and services are scarce, and leisure is preferable to work. From that perspective, saying "we need to create jobs" or "consumers aren't spending enough" would be as silly as saying that "we need to burn down our house" or "people aren't wasting enough gasoline."
- RSC Stimulus Proposal Would Be a Move in the Right Direction
- Opposing view: An economic mistake - Opinion - USATODAY.com
- Fiscal Follies
- An Unstimulating Idea
- NPR: Russell Roberts: Don't Jump the Gun on Stimulus Plans
- The Broken Window Fallacy Reapplied
- I ask you to consider the absurd discussion of a stimulus package designed to rescue the economy from recession. The idea is that the government will inject funds into private markets to stimulate them to the point that they will run on their own. Not once in this debate have I heard anyone ask the core question: where is this money going to come from?
It seems that Washington wants us to believe that they have some magic machine that can turn up $150 billion in new assets without anyone having to do anything to make these assets appear. One wonders, then, why we need to wait until a recession to stimulate the economy. Why not magically create hundreds of billions every day, and not just for this country but for the entire world? Why are we holding back?
- Political Stimulus
More Libertarian Resources
Neal Boortz has suggested attaching "The Boortz Addendum" to every appropriation bill offered in Congress. This addendum would read something like this:
Every sponsor or co-sponsor of this legislation hereby affirms his or her belief that the need for the federal government of the United States to spend taxpayer funds on the purposes outlined herein is of greater importance and urgency than any spending needs which the party or parties who actually earned these funds may have; such needs being, but not necessarily limited to, spending for medical care, child care, housing, food, clothing, transportation, education, insurance, savings and retirement planning, and religious tithes or conscientious charity.
It became common during the Clinton Administration to speak of government spending as an "investment." Congress might also therefore attach the following to each spending bill:
By voting for this legislation I hereby affirm my belief that the information and knowledge possessed by me and 434 other Congressman-"investors" is greater than the collective knowledge and information possessed by a Free Market of 150 million individual investors, pension fund managers, insurance company executives, mutual fund administrators, and brokers, all of whom do not have the luxury of obtaining investment funds by passing a law, but must earn their investment dollars.
Communicating with Government and Media
- Contact Congress -- this is from the JBS website, powered by "CapWiz," from Capitol Advantage. Lots of organizations use capwiz. If you don't want to go through the JBS, search for capwiz on Google and find another organization that uses it.
Notice that you can also contact media through this webpage.
- Action E-List
Sign up for the JBS Action E-List and be notified when you can make a critical difference on important issues.
John Adams once wrote that the American Revolution began in 1761, when Massachusetts attorney James Otis began legal challenges to the Writs of Assistance. He lost the case, but "American independence," Adams wrote, "was then and there born." Now do the math. That means it took 15 years to convince the rest of America to declare Independence (1776). Then another seven years of war was required before a Peace Treaty was signed (1783), and then six years before the Constitution was finally ratified (1789). That's almost 30 years. (And Jefferson
said we shouldn't go 20 years without another rebellion!) How can we hope to convince Americans to fight for principles they were never taught in government schools? We need to be in this battle for the long term. "Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty."
The Democrat Party Radio Address:
North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad delivered the Democratic Radio Address.
- "The Democrat Plan" to strengthen the economy.
- "Tax relief"
More government-funded projects.
- A "change of course"
Rebate checks. Business incentives. Tax Relief. Infrastructure projects. Food stamps. Shore up the foundation of our economy: energy, education, which have been underfunded by the Bush Administration. Make college more affordable.
Click here for a replay of this edition of the Ozarks Virtual Town Hall