Bill Frezza’s complete column is reproduced here – but, please visit his site.

How can the American people be so stupid….indeed.

The Dawn of a New Age In the United States

By Bill Frezza

Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, after a tumultuous year of political theater, the Age of Obama has dawned.

With legislative success however tarnished by rancor and dissent, the hopes and dreams of generations of Progressives have been fulfilled. The trifecta of Social Security, Medicare, and the first installment of Universal Healthcare are now the law of the land.

Based on a common set of financial principals and an unshakable faith in the wisdom of government the productive power of the young, the healthy, the successful, and generations yet unborn are now fully lashed to the yoke of redistribution. The poor, the old, the infirm, the government employee, the union worker, the dropout, and the slothful have cause to rejoice as their party has delivered the goods.

Or so they think. Let’s take a quick look at the numbers.

According to the most recent Social Security and Medicare trustees report, the unfunded liabilities of these New Deal and Great Society programs exceed $100 trillion dollars. Add the unfunded Medicaid mandates imposed on the states along with the pension liabilities of millions of federal, state, and local government employees and the total becomes almost impossible to comprehend.

Try this on for size. If you confiscated the entire Gross Domestic Product of the US for ten years you couldn’t cover all these liabilities.

Confiscate the GDP? That’s Communism! OK, how about confiscating half the GDP? Too late, that money is already spoken for.

Combined Federal, State, and Local government spending is now at 37.5% of GDP and heading north. The European Union, our Progressive model, has already passed the 50% mark.

Note that these confiscatory levels of taxation can’t even cover this year’s spending. None of the money already being diverted from the economy is being used to shore up the aforementioned liabilities. These not only remain but are swelled by annual deficits.

Get the picture? Obama just handed the American people an empty gift box. Good luck collecting.

FDR promised that Social Security would never lead to runaway spending. LBJ promised the same for Medicare and Medicaid. President Obama is promising that his Universal Healthcare program will not only pay for itself but will generate savings that can be used to reduce the deficit.

The American people cannot possibly be so stupid as to take these political promises at face value. Somehow supporters must imagine that all these bills can be paid for by “the rich” while 95% of Americans enjoy tax cuts and subsidies. As citizens are invited to stick their hands ever deeper into their neighbors’ pockets, a majority of voters must believe they are going to get more than they have to give.

And why shouldn’t they? It’s worked so far hasn’t it? Our progressive income tax system has reached the point where half the population pays no income tax at all. What do they care if tax rates have to go up? And today’s retirees, like Bernie Madoff’s early clients, have already collected many times more than they paid in to Social Security and Medicare. Their thanks? A parting gift of consuming 30% of the nation’s healthcare budget in their final year of life.

FDR and LBJ died before anyone had to deliver on the promises they made. The problem for Obama is that his predecessor’s bills are coming due just as he is piling on more.

Social security recently passed its high water mark. The program now and forevermore will be paying out more than it takes in. In order to write these checks, the Social Security Administration has to redeem the vast mountain of IOUs it received when former Congressmen plundered every last penny of the so called “trust fund.” There is only one place today’s Congress can go to redeem these IOUs, and that is to the general taxpayer.

Kill the rich and eat them, there are too few to cover all these bills. The Age of Obama will certainly bring us equality. We will all be equally broke.

Meanwhile one form of inequality continues to grow unchecked, unnoticed as the media devotes all its energy to chasing banker bonuses. Studies show that government workers now get $1.45 in pay and benefits for every $1 received by comparable workers in the private sector. This should come as no surprise. While private sector unions have largely bankrupted their employers, save those like General Motors that have been nationalized, public sector unions have no such limitations. Representing a solidly Progressive voting bloc, the swelling ranks of public employees can be counted on to pass their bills along to the rest of us as they demand ever larger chunks of a shrinking pie.

This tragedy of abject profligacy can end only one way. Watch the drama unfolding in the land where democracy was born. German charity might allow the Greeks to enjoy their Progressive lifestyles a bit longer but eventually the disease of runaway social democracy will bankrupt the rest of Europe too.

Who wants to bet whether the Chinese will continue financing us long enough to be drawn down this rate hole of self-inflicted fiscal immolation?

Bill Frezza is a partner at Adams Capital Management, an early-stage venture capital firm. He can be reached at bill@vereverus.com. If you would like to subscribe to his weekly column, drop a note to publisher@vereverus.com.

Tech Ticker is very cynical on the Obama Administration.  So too is the American public – as evidenced by the recent poll numbers.  The excuse to spend until the world ends was that we need to avoid the end of the world.  So now we have a choice: end of the world? or…end of the world?

Here is the official summary of bill that has been put together by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee (emphasis added):

Authorizes a demonstration program to improve immunization coverage. Under this program, CDC will provide grants to states to improve immunization coverage of children, adolescents, and adults through the use of evidence-based interventions. States may use funds to implement interventions that are recommended by the Community Preventive Services Task Force, such as reminders or recalls for patients or providers, or home visits.

Upon further analysis of the committee’s draft, the bill lists eight specific ways that states may use federal grant money to carry out immunization-promoting “interventions.” Method “E” calls for “home visits” which can include “provision of immunizations”:

Funds received under a  grant under this subsection shall be used to implement interventions that are recommended by the Task Force on Community Preventive Services (as established by the secretary, acting through the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) or other evidence-based interventions, including—“(A) providing immunization reminders or recalls for target populations of clients, patients, and consumers; (B) educating targeted populations and health care providers concerning immunizations in combination with one or more other interventions; (C) reducing out-of-pocket costs for families for vaccines and their administration; (D) carrying out immunization-promoting strategies for participants or clients of public programs, including assessments of immunization status, referrals to health care providers, education, provision of on-site immunizations, or incentives for immunization;(E) providing for home visits that promote immunization through education, assessments of need, referrals, provision of immunizations, or other services; (F) providing reminders or recalls for immunization providers;(G) conducting assessments of, and providing feedback to, immunization providers; or (H) any combination of one or more interventions described in this paragraph.

Home interventions?! Requiring vaccines?! This all sounds really crazy, but this is exactly what is being rammed down our throats right now. Since when does the Government know best when it concerns you and your children’s health? Apparently since January 20, 2009.

Now, I am not one of those people that think all vaccines are bad. I think vaccines can play an important part in the health of a society. However, I do not think that the Government needs to be deciding which vaccines should be required and which shouldn’t.

This scenario written by CNSNews may be a reality in the no-so-distant future if we don’t wake up from our dreams of utopian society:

There is a knock at the front door. Peeking through the window, a mother sees a man and a woman, both in uniform. They are agents of health-care reform.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” says the man. “Our records show that your eleven-year-old daughter has not been immunized for genital warts.”

“And your four-year-old still needs the chicken-pox vaccine,” says the woman.

“He will not be allowed to start kindergarten unless he gets that shot, you know,” says the man—smiling from ear to ear.

“So, can we please come in?” asks the woman. “We have the vaccines right here,” she says, lifting up a black medical bag. “We can give your kids the shots right now.”

“We are from the government,” says the man, “and we’re here to help.”

Swamp Report usually focuses on the financial matters and trends particularly as related to government policy.  Building a larger welfare class may seem like a good way to build a base of dependent voters, but in the long run, the government debt needed to fund such vote buying is unsustainable and will backfire.  President Clinton knew this truth trumped any ideological goals, but sadly, the current administration does not.   Below, Howie Rich, Chairman of Americans for Limited Government:

The Restoration of Dependency

By Howie Rich

Multi-billion dollar bailouts. A new national energy tax. The return of socialized medicine.

Almost every day we’re seeing another big government offensive taking direct aim at the core ideals on which our nation was founded—and upon which rests our essential strength.

Yet of all the counter-capitalist pillars included in President Barack Obama’s new “Era of Obscenely Big Government,” the  is receiving a surprisingly small amount of ink.

Perhaps that’s because our sympathetic (if not sycophantic) mainstream media doesn’t want to throw a monkey wrench into the tired old “we’ve got to do something” refrain that has already seen $13 trillion spent, lent or pledged on “economic recovery” in the last year alone.

Or perhaps it’s because this “stealth” dismantling of welfare reform doesn’t fit neatly within the “Post hoc, ergo propter hoc” framework often used to justify so many of Obama’s policies.

After all, you can’t pin an “after Bush, therefore because of Bush” tail on this issue—which has its roots in the administration of President Bill Clinton.

Passed in 1996, the bipartisan “Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act” represented a fundamental shift in the way our nation approached welfare. Rather than incentivizing states to expand their welfare rolls, the new law sent money in block grants which offered incentives for taking people off of welfare—and encouraging them to find jobs.

Not surprisingly, when the federal government stopped rewarding the perpetuation of poverty, it stopped seeing so much of it.

Contrary to the doom and gloom, “death in the streets” pronouncements of government bureaucrats chained to the failed “War on Poverty” approach, the results of welfare reform (in conjunction with a reduction in capital gains taxes and other economy-empowering reforms) were nothing short of phenomenal.

Poverty rates plunged, welfare rolls were cut in half, unemployment fell and the government recorded its first annual surpluses in decades.

At the heart of this free enterprise success story was the fact that personal responsibility, not government dependency, had been incentivized—a fairly self-evident truth that nonetheless had been ignored for decades by Washington politicians.

“The advocates of (the old system) had no inkling that these good-hearted strategies would lead to enduring cycles of poverty and family disintegration that threatened to consume entire generations,” writes Dr. Hunter Baker, a professor at Houston Baptist University. “Wishing for good outcomes resulted in disaster. It was only when a more tough-minded view took hold (the idea that it is reasonable to expect productivity and initiative out of healthy, working age persons) that many managed to escape mere subsistence.”

Sadly, Obama’s plans represent a nothing short of a complete U-turn back to the days of dependency and subsistence. In fact, one of the little-publicized components of the massive “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” is the unfortunate “reinvestment” it makes in poverty and dependency.

The “bounty system” of paying cash-strapped states to expand their welfare rolls is back, only this time with an even higher incentive – a whopping $4 to $1 cash bonus for every new family that state bureaucrats are able to hook up to the government dole.

“The original goal of helping families move to employment and self-sufficiency and off long-term dependence on government assistance has instead been replaced with the perverse incentive of adding more families to the welfare rolls,” a recent report from the Heritage Foundation states.

This approach clearly benefits no one—well, except for government bureaucrats and Obama’s friends at ACORN, who rely on the perpetuation of poverty and dependence to keep their various scams up and running.

The sad, unavoidable reality is that the more one examines Obama’s position on welfare, the more obvious it becomes that his goal is not to help people who are poor, but rather to keep them dependent on his government to provide for their every need.

The author is chairman of Americans for Limited Government.

http://blog.getliberty.org/default.asp?Display=1297

Is there ANY group or groups who can collectively overcome the floor price on the S&P established by the big banks with financing from the FED? Is there ANY group with deep enough pockets to take control of the American economy away from them? Are you getting this Austan Goolsbee? These people need to be arrested!  Larceny you can believe in…  From Zero Hedge:

The house of Dimon doesn’t even care anymore that it SPY “micromanagement” looks like daylight rape and murder in central park. Can the Fed please just say what the FV for the S&P500 is so we can just fast forward to there?

NPR talks about the government’s crafting laws to encourage behavior it thinks is best for you. “Does the word paternalistic come up in this?”  You can listen in here.

From Tech Ticker (ht Rolfe Winkler)…

“…the whole concept of the economy finding its footing was “preposterous” to begin with, says Howard Davidowitz, chairman of Davidowitz & Associates.”
“We’re in a complete mess and the consumer is smart enough to know it,” says Davidowitz, whose firm does consulting for the retail industry. “If the consumer isn’t petrified, he or she is a damn fool.”

Davidowitz, who is nothing if not opinionated (and colorful), paints a very grim picture: “The worst is yet to come with consumers and banks,” he says. “This country is going into a 10-year decline. Living standards will never be the same.”

George McGovern has opposed the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) because it it would eliminate secret ballots in union organizing elections and, he adds in this WSJ piece, because it requires compulsory arbitration:

“This feature would give the government the power to step into labor disputes where employers and labor leaders cannot reach an agreement and compel both sides to accept a contract.

A federally appointed arbitrator cannot be expected to understand the nuances specific to each business dispute, the competitive market position of the business, or the plethora of other factors unique to each case. Yet fundamental decisions on wages and benefit costs, rules for promotions, or even rules for exiting an unprofitable line of business could fall to federal arbitrators under EFCA.

When it comes to labor disputes, both parties should be guaranteed a real chance for compromise under the joint economic threat of contract breakdowns. George Meany, president of the AFL-CIO for nearly 30 years before retiring in 1979, had it right in condemning mandatory arbitration as “an abrogation of freedom.”

My party has well-deserved majorities in both houses of Congress, and I am thankful to have an exceptional president in Barack Obama. But while the Democratic majority in Washington confers the power to reward our loyal supporters, today’s problems require solutions that transcend party politics. Even when that means taking unpopular stands.”

The Democratic majority to which Senator McGovern refers can not only set rewards for supporters but punish with impunity those who do not support their  union friends.  The “unpopular stand” advocated by Mr. McGovern is simple voluntary restraint in the exercise of absolute power.  The power is no longer a result of majority votes – Almost over night, the political system of the United States has become a single party system which simply rubberstamps the actions of the executive branch.  The Obama administration controls the banks, the automotive industry and, soon the healthcare industry.  None of these entities dares to go against its wishes.  Particularly cooperative banks, such as Goldman Sachs, are rewarded with lucrative special favors and underenforcement by the SEC.  The incumbent government can now dictate how much it will receive in campaign contributions from each controlled entity and insist that opposition candidates NOT receive contributions.  The banks, car and part manufacturers, and soon, doctors and hospitals will have no choice but to comply.  The Obama campaign amassed a campaign war chest last time of almost $1 Billion.  Next time it will be 3 times that, maybe more.  George Washington walked away from a monarchy for the greater cause of freedom, but Mr McGovern should know by now that Obama is no Washington and the former president of the AFL_CIO, Mr. Meany’s “abrogation of freedom” is apparently in our future.


More from Bill Black criticizing the government’s bank bailout and cover-up…this time in a Barron’s interview:

“The scale of fraud is immense. This whole bank scandal makes Teapot Dome [of the 1920s] look like some kid’s doll set. Unless the current administration changes course pretty drastically, the scandal will destroy Barack Obama’s presidency. The Bush administration was even worse. But they are out of town. This will destroy Obama’s administration, both economically and in terms of integrity.

With most of America’s biggest banks insolvent, you have, in essence, a multitrillion dollar cover-up by publicly traded entities, which amounts to felony securities fraud on a massive scale.

These firms will ultimately have to be forced into receivership, the management and boards stripped of office, title, and compensation…

Obama, who is doing so well in so many other arenas, appears to be slipping because he trusts Democrats high in the party structure too much.

These Democrats want to maintain America’s pre-eminence in global financial capitalism at any cost.”

The conspiracy is far reaching: add to the actions of the PPT as documented by Zero Hedge to manipulate the stock market using Goldman Sachs and other loyal-to-the government traders in low volume situations,  the big bank’s clear attempt to manipulate their stock prices by making incomplete yet sensational “announcements” about recent profitaility.  There is indeed amble reason to think this scandal could bring down those now in power.

George Soros is quoted in an interview with Tick Ticker as supportive of President Obama’s policies generally but not of his need to reach a consensus which costs valuable time in dealing with the banks:

“Essentially, Soros believes we should be following the so-called Swedish solution but fears we are heading down the same policy path as Japan. “We’re effectively keeping zombie banks alive,” he says.”

But… the bank stress tests say there’s no Zombie banks – they must be a figment of Soros’ and Simon Johnson’s imagination.   Here’s the interview:

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