Friday, August 31, 2012

The GOP Establishment Is Toxic To Independents and Libertarians

The GOP Establishment Is Toxic To Independents and LibertariansThe MSM and the conservative media said little about it, but the Republican establishment changed RNC rules at the 11th hour so Ron Paul's delegates would be disenfranchised and the convention would play out as a scripted coronation of their candidate, Mitt Romney. As far back as the beginning of the primary process the establishment has ensured that everything about their candidate has been scripted. They barred Romney from speaking live on conservative talk radio (the campaign offered surrogates instead), and they even disallowed media access to several key campaign events. The Republican establishment controls candidate Romney, and they would control a President Romney, whose cabinet would "operate like a board of directors".

The establishment wants everything that scares independents and libertarians away from the GOP. They want the police power of government to control what people do with--and put into--their bodies. They want military adventurism and the big defense spending that enables it. They want erosion of civil liberties in the name of national security. The establishment is banking on independents and libertarians holding their noses and voting for their candidate for the simple fact that he's not Obama. But independents and libertarians are so turned off by what the establishment supports that Romney trails in most polls to an incumbent who has presided over the worst economy since the Great Depression.

The Karl Rove strategy for the GOP is a zero sum game. The gains the party has made with evangelicals and neoconservatives is negated by the loss of independents and libertarians. And, as the older evangelicals and neoconservatives die off, the strategy will become a losing one. The 2010 elections were an anomaly based upon knee-jerk reaction to the nascent Obama presidency and the ├╝ber-liberal 111th Congress. The Republican establishment will never repeat that success.

I'm thoroughly convinced that the United States will always have a two party system, and independents and libertarians must influence the Republican party in order to rise to prominence. The Republican establishment's obstinacy is frustrating and will cost the party more and more elections as the political disparity between the establishment and the average American grows. Unfortunately, all we independents and libertarians can do is continue running as Republicans and let nature take care of the evangelicals and neoconservatives. It's just a matter of time.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dodd-Frank: Bank Employee Fired Over Cardboard Dime From 1963

Dodd-Frank: Bank Employee Fired Over Cardboard Dime From 1963It's clear that the ghosts of Barney Frank and Chris Dodd will haunt us long after the diabolical pair's political careers are put to rest. Not only did Frank and Dodd help crash the economy, not only did they walk away unscathed from the economic disaster they helped create, but they created the most intrusive set of financial regulations this country has ever seen in Frank-Dodd. The legislation is so intrusive, in fact, that the House Financial Services Committee has estimated that financial companies will have to hire 10,000 full-time employees just to ensure their companies are complying with the onerous new rules.

How onerous are the rules? Well, in order to comply with Dodd-Frank, Wells Fargo was recently forced to terminate a long-time, loyal employee because he tried to stick a cardboard dime into a washing machine in 1963, when he was a teenager. As per Dodd-Frank, no financial institution can have on its payroll anyone convicted of a financial-oriented crime, regardless of how petty or how old the conviction.

Prepare Yourselves For Spike In Food Prices

Prepare Yourselves For Spike In Food Prices
With gas prices setting a record for the 3rd week of August and the heartland experiencing its worse drought since 1956, food and energy bills are going to be steep this winter. While the weekly gas record foreshadows the pain we'll feel at the pump during the invernal months, we've not yet had a taste of the high prices we'll pay for food as a result of the historic drought. As you can see from the following chart, food prices have actually leveled off after having risen steadily in the wake of the Fed's QE programs and Operation Twist.

Prepare Yourselves For Spike In Food Prices - CPI Food Chart

But the stabilization of food prices will only be temporary. As a result of the drought, supplies of two stapes of the American diet, corn and soybeans, are down more than 50% from last year. Starchy foods and all foods containing corn syrup will be the first to rise, then meat--especially beef (.pdf)--as feed corn supplies run low in the winter. (Too bad cotton isn't edible.)

Prepare Yourselves For Spike In Food Prices - Crop Conditions Chart

Heavy rains in the heartland from remnants of Hurricane Isaac won't help one bit. Or any other weather system for that matter. It's too late to save corn and soybean crops. Prepare yourselves.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Appellate Court: Nanny State Cigarette Warnings Unconstitutional

A small victory against the nanny state. Last Friday a federal appeals court ruled that the FDA's new graphic cigarette labels violate the First Amendment. The court concluded that the labels, which would occupy half of each cigarette pack's front and back panels as well as 1/5 of each cigarette ad, surpass the "purely factual and uncontroversial" disclosures that the Supreme Court has said the government may require to prevent "deception of consumers."

If you haven't seen the labels, prepare to be shocked. They're so over-the-top they'd make a Nazi propaganda artist blush. It's unsettling to think they were approved for use and it took an appeals court ruling to prevent them from hitting stores.

Nanny State Cigarette Warnings Unconstitutional

CNBC *And* Dallas Fed Tell Truth About Fed Liquidity Pumping

CNBC *And* Dallas Fed Tell Truth About Liquidity Pumping
Today I found not one, but two, arguments against Fed liquidity pumping in the most unlikely of places: AND--gasp--the Dallas Fed's website!

First, from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, a direct benefactor of the Fed's pumping, CNBC's Rick Santelli made the case that the Fed is politicized, and its historic (and unwise) money printing has been a function of political expedience:


Second, the Dallas Fed published Bank for International Settlements economist William White's white paper about the unintended consequences of liquidity pumping (.pdf). In the paper, Dr. White made the connection between liquidity pumping and bubbles and crashes, inflation, malinvestment, and zombie companies.

Wow. Let's hope the truth tellers are allowed to continue telling the truth!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Decline Of Middle Class Has Accelerated

Decline Of Middle Class Has Accelerated
The AP reported the obvious today: with the economic depression hitting households in the $39,000-118,000 range harder than any other income group, the decline of the middle class has accelerated. According to the Pew Research Center, who compiled the data cited in the AP article, 85 percent of middle class Americans say it's more difficult now than a decade ago to maintain their standard of living.

With scant employment opportunities outside of dead end McJobs and chronic unemployment derailing many middle class Americans' careers, "upward mobility" is quickly becoming a term of the past. Indeed, the middle class holds the majority of the more than $1 trillion in outstanding student debt (the next bubble to burst), but is not advancing through higher education. As Bernie Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot, has pointed out, Washington has made it nearly impossible for a middle class American to replicate his American Dream story.