8/03/2008

Republican Socialism

“When I picked up my newspaper yesterday, I thought I woke up in France. But no, it turns out socialism is alive and well in America. The Treasury Secretary is asking for a blank check to buy as much Fannie and Freddie debt or equity as he wants.”

Senator Jim Bunning (R-Ky.)



Fannie and Freddie are government-sponsored enterprises, or GSEs. They are stockholder-owned corporations that were chartered by the federal government to buy and package home loans and make loan guarantees. Fannie Mae was founded in 1938 as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and has since been converted into a private corporation.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson last week testified before Congress and requested swift legislative action to expand the Treasury’s ability to lend to these two troubled GSEs and to allow the department to buy stocks in them if necessary.


Read more on Republican Socialism.

5 comments:

Roadkill said...

Sunny,

Good post. And I am again impressed that you are delving into the right side of the blogosphere.

As to the content, my comment is that Senator Bunning is, like me, a frustrated conservative who wonders just where the Republican Party is headed. Voting for such measures is certainly not in line with the smaller government philosophy of conservative thought.
It's no wonder that the GOP has fallen into the minority.

Sunny said...

RK:

Does the GOP have an actual platform blank that states anything specifically about being for "small government?" I understand that concept from a conservative's perspective, but is it a specific plank in the GOP platform.

Are you actually a paid member of the GOP? Most people I know that complained about the Hillary v. Obama primary talked as they were paid up members of the party. If fact, most have never joined the Democratic Party, licked a stamp for a candidate, made a phone call or lifted a finger for the party. They might slap on a bumper sticker and vote Democrat on Election Day, but that doesn't mean they are members of the Democratic Party. It's more like they are Twins or Brewers fans who have never been to a game but think they know how the team should be run.

Being active in the party gets you some say in how things are run. Being very active gets you into areas where you can start to have some say in what the blanks are for the platform.

I think conservatives are conservatives and the GOP hovers around the ideals of conservatism and occasionally the stars align the true conservative feel as if they are part of the party.

On this bail out business, I've taken personal responsibility for my life and paid my fines and took my lashes for mistakes I have made. I'm left wondering why homeowners should be bailed out. Is it a national security thing? Likewise, why would companies like Bear-Stearns be bailed out? I think our nation has move to a place where failing isn't an option. When I went to school kids got F's and A's and all things in between.

But then again, loan companies borrowed money to people who had no barriers of entry to meet. Bad credit, no down payment, piss-poor job...no problem we can loan you money. Who bails out the start-up businessperson who fails? What is the major cause of failure for startups? Cash flow. They think their business will take off faster than reality and it doesn't. There's not enough cash to keep the business going. Many conservative, established companies dumped cash reserves in favor of expanding their operations with the cheap money of the last decade. They are running into cash flow problems and the end is near for many. Many employees are losing their jobs because of bad management strategies.

Although I politically hang out in the middle zone, my allegiances lean to the left because I don't trust the motives of management. More and more they cut by the numbers because of opportunist management gambles they made.

Roadkill said...

Sunny,

You seem intent on drawing me out, so O.K., I’ll bite.

No, the GOP platform has no “smaller government” plank. There are commitments to lower taxes, and nods to “reigning in government spending,” but nothing in general about limitations on government action, and certainly nothing specific in such regards.

I am most certainly not a paid member of the GOP. I admit that I am ideologically conservative, and while I find the GOP agenda – such as it is – far more in line with my thinking than that of the Democratic Party, it is far from my ideal vision for America. So too, if that agenda continues to drift away from me (as did the Democrat agenda vis-à-vis “Reagan Democrats”), I will not follow it, for party is secondary to ideology with me.

I do try and influence the GOP’s leftward drift, however, with letters and other communication to party leaders. For instance, I have told the GOP that I will not contribute to their 2008 campaigns unless and until they respond to my concerns about their abandonment of conservative principles, and simultaneously demonstrate a renewed commitment to such things as:

• Win the War on Terror. This is a life and death struggle that we must win.

• Secure the Borders. Enforce the laws that currently exist, support the Border Patrol, and establish additional, physical security to actually secure the borders.

• Drill here and Drill Now. We have the resources to supply much of our own energy demands, which will increase worldwide supply and drive down prices.

• Make English the official language of the US. This proposal has overwhelming support amongst all Americans, and for very good reasons.

• Control Government Spending. It is absolutely crucial that Republicans regain credibility in this area. Stop featherbedding your incumbencies!

• Make permanent the Bush Tax Cuts. One of the few clear-cut successes of the Bush Administration has been re-energizing of the economy through Tax Cuts.

• Enact Tort Reform. Get control of the glut of frivolous and expensive lawsuits.

• Restructure Social Security. Partial privatization is wildly popular with young people; Put this option back on the table and get it enacted.

• Enact Health Savings Accounts. Give people an incentive to save and pay for their own health care bills, and don’t put the government is charge of health care.

• Confirm Strict-Constructionist Judges. Commit yourselves to the confirmation of jurists who espouse judicial restraint, and who leave policy to the legislatures.

These specifics are not exhaustive, of course, but suggest, I think, a philosophy of smaller, leaner government that leaves people in charge of their own lives.

As to bail-outs, conservatives like me could not agree with you more that the government has no business bailing out foolish homeowners or reckless lenders. Sure, some are going to lose those expensive homes that they should not have bought, and sure, some lenders are going to go under, but such is life. Let the market work, and in the future both borrowers and lenders will do business with more care and responsibility.

El Sunny said...

RK:

So your are less of a GOP foot soldier and more of an advisor and occasional candidate funder. Not knowing what Assembly district you are in, how is your feeling about the candidates locally? Do they then to better fit you conservative check list?

I track the workings of Kitty Rhoades, John Murtha, Ann Hraycheck and Shelia Harsorf. They all touch St. Croix County. I'm in Murtha's district. It's not that easy to follow these people, but time opens up more sources to get decent information on them.

Some of the points are you list involve legislation that pops up in the Wisconsin legislature.

Elaborate for me on a couple of your points, if you would.

1. Make English the official US language. Isn't it pretty much the language of choice in the US? Does that mean all the roofers working in New Richmond would have to speak English to roof? Or does that mean the government would only print signs and information in English?

Last Friday night a guy at the bar was telling me all the bad stuff about the Mexican roofers in town. He said they can even speak English. My wife couldn't speak English when she move here from Germany. My ancestors could speak English when they moved from Scandinavia. People learn as the get immersed in the culture. The guy thought I was joking when I told him I took a class at WITC called "SPanish For Dairy Farmers." The head herdsmen at the local corporate farms are sometimes the only English speakers in the barn.

2. Securing the border.

The same guy told me that we have to do that. He said all those Mexican roofers at illegals and are working for cash. Before they come to re-roof my house, I'm going to make the company prove to me that they are legal workers.

I told the guy that, if they are getting paid cash, the businessmen paying them are breaking the law. They should be taking out federal, state, SS, etc. taxes.

He said they are sucking up tax dollars through the welfare system. Really, I said. I see them spending money at Wal-Mart. They must pay rent somewhere. All these contribute to the local economy.

He said they are stealing our jobs. he also said they couldn't pay him enough to spend a 95 degree day on a roof. The canning factory has to import contract workers from eastern Europe, Jamica and South America. Hardly any locals work there anymore. He said they pay dirt cheap. They always have paid low wages, but local kids would rather work at Wal-Mart than pick sticks out of boiling beans.

One worker from Russia last summer told me he was working on his Masters In Economics at the University in Warsaw, Poland. He said three months at the canning facotry will earn he what he could earn over there in a year. Plus he was going to by a laptop way cheap over here to bring back.

New Richmond is becoming a very disverse culture in the summer. It's people like the guy at the bar that give it a bad name. It's not the people coming here to earn a living by the sweat of their brow.

You haven't really seen Bush pushing to close the border over the last 8 years. He's a Texan. They are used to it. McCain would have a similar perspective. US businessmen don't want the border closed. That will drive up the cost of labor. In fact, recent crackdowns on illegals and the downturn in the economy are sending people back home across the border. The Wall Street Journal had an interesting article on that last week.

I'm not implying that your position dovetails with the conversative I had at the bar. However -- and I frequently encounter people talking like the bar guy -- bullets points in your list get spouted off by many redneck idiots.

Another guy told me the roofers were stealing our jobs. Then he said Mexicans were all lazy. I don't think he liked it when I told him must be lazier than the Mexicans if they let lazy Mexicans steal the dirty work jobs.

Just a couple of thoughts...

Roadkill said...

Sunny,

This country was built by people like the ones your drinking buddy dislikes: Immigrants with ambition to travel, take risks, work hard, and build a better life for themselves. I had a passel of them up on my roof last fall, and the job is water-tight, looks great, and cost me a lot less than I thought it would. I have no problem at all with people looking for a better life here in this greatest country on earth; we want the poor, wretched masses yearning to breath free. It makes us stronger.

That said, government has a responsibility to ensure that immigration and citizenship is properly and responsibly managed. And up until 30 years ago, government did (for the most part) meet that responsibility. Reasonable estimates were made of how many immigrants would be allowed to enter, aliens were registered and/or naturalized, and these new Americans began the process of assimilation into the social fabric.

But beginning in the 1970’s, government’s commitment to immigration and border security lapsed, and the result was a flood of illegal immigration. Aided and abetted by aggressive interest groups fighting for legal rights and protections, bilingual education, and cultural enclaves for these foreigners, government soon all but abdicated its responsibilities in this area. So the flood continued to rise, unconstricted, while the disadvantages of illegal status diminished with each passing year and each new social welfare program. Politicians of both parties, anxious for new constituents, and government bureaucrats, hungry for larger programs and larger budgets, all turned a blind eye to the problem. Of course, these politicians and bureaucrats, fearful of public backlash, did not have the courage or the incentive to publicly acknowledge any of this, so all the immigration laws and regulations remain on the books, unenforced.

So here those people are, happily (and gratefully) working at jobs that don’t exist in Mexico, getting paid much better than any such job that might exist in Mexico, and enjoying innumerable social services that are not available in Mexico. Who can blame them for being here?

By the way, that whole argument about illegal aliens working at jobs Americans are unwilling to do is bogus. Americans would certainly do those jobs, if the pay was right. But smart businessmen, looking to lower costs and prices, will hire the least expensive labor willing to do the work.
Illegal aliens, who find $7.00 per hour great pay, will work hard for it; Americans, who think they need $20.00 to do the same thing, won’t.

So progressives like you, Sunny, should be complaining loud and hard about the wage-depressing impact of illegal immigration, and get government back on the task of enforcing immigration law.

And while I’m on the subject, let’s also dispel this idea that businessmen should become ex-officio agents of the INS. The fact is, its the government’s job to control the borders and to enforce the law. To the extent that the government is not doing so (and that’s a large extent), its sending a big signal to businesses that government does not care about illegal aliens in the workforce. A few random (albeit high-profile) business raids, such as the ones in Wilmar and Worthington, do not make the case that government is serious; its more like bureaucrats covering their asses with an increasingly irate public. If government was serious about doing its job and enforcing the law, it could surely figure out who is employing illegal aliens and who is not paying payroll taxes, and prosecute accordingly. But again, government is not doing this because the politicians, the bureaucrats, and the interest group advocates are all working in concert to nullify the immigration law as it currently exists.

Now moving on to English as the official language – a subject that closely dovetails with the foregoing issue.

By official language, I mean the language of government. That is, I don’t care if my roofers are communicating in English, Spanish, or Outer Mongolian, but I do care if my government is communicating with its citizenry in foreign languages. Here are the reasons:

1. All US citizens should be expected to know English. Native born Americans are so educated in the public schools, and our newer citizens through the naturalization process. In fact, Title 8, US Code, Subsection 1423 states: “No person except as otherwise provided in this subchapter, shall hereafter be naturalized as a citizen of the United States upon his own application who cannot demonstrate an understanding of the English language, including an ability to read, write, and speak words in ordinary usage in the English language.” Surprising clear language, there.

2. We are wasting time and money printing up ballots, instructions, brochures, and other information in foreign languages. For instance, the Minnesota Secretary of State prints up voter information in at least 6 languages (English, Hmong, Russian, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese). Why, if one must be a citizen to vote, and all citizens are able to “read and write...English,” are we printing up voter information in foreign languages?

3. The commonality of language does a great deal to advance the assimilation of new citizens. The sooner these new citizens master English, the sooner they can improve their condition and achieve their American dream. So too, language barriers inhibit communication and neighborliness and everyday intercourse. Having government dis-incentivize the learning of English via the printing of documents (or use of phone trees) in foreign languages will only prolong the assimilation process, and lead to misunderstanding and distrust of new citizens by the majority of the citizenry.

Here’s an example: One of my fellow employees married an Hispanic man from Chicago; she says that although he was born in Chicago, he grew up “in the barrio” and didn’t learn to speak English until he was a teenager. Accordingly, his education is stunted and he will probably work manual labor his entire life – unequipped, due to language difficulties, for improving his station in life.

As a counter example, we can look at the assimilation of the great wave of western European immigrants from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The first generation of those immigrants were forced to learn at least a rudimentary form of English, but they made sure their children went to school and learned the language of their new country. Yes, the “Old Country Tongue” was probably spoken in the home, but English was spoken in public. By the third generation, the old language was not spoken at all, and those kids were able to reach as high as they wanted.

4. Government accommodation of foreign language speakers not only leads to social disjointedness, it also leads to a form of balkanization and enclavization by non-english speakers. The “Youth Riots” of Paris of a few years ago provide a great example of this phenomena and what it can lead to: anger and despair and violence. London, too, has such enclaves: Muslim “no-go” neighborhoods, where even the Police are wary of entering, are a law unto themselves. Thankfully, we have not seen such things in the US as yet, but as the number of foreign borne residents increases, the likelihood of such things increases. Strong government incentives to make these people learn English will go a long way toward staving off such social unrest in this country.

So to wrap up this long reply, let me say that controlling our borders, naturalizing our immigrants, and making sure our new citizens learn our government, culture, values, and language will be better for them and better for America. We are one nation, and despite the misguided efforts of the multi-culturalists and diversifiles to sort and divide us, we must forge some common touchstones to keep us strong and undivided. Effective immigration programs and a common language are indispensible elements in that effort.

p.s. Your drinking buddy sounds like some of those conservative talk radio guys like Limbaugh and Hannity: they seem to be on the right side (no pun intended) of the arguments, but their reasoning (or lack thereof) is far from what I would consider persuasive.