Even as a guy who will forever look at Auburn, AL as home, I knew nothing of what The Wall Street Journal referred to as a “world-class think tank” anywhere near the Loveliest Village on the Plains. Now, not only is my interest piqued, but I have yet another book to read.
Hope you enjoy this piece by Rick as much as I did.
By Rick Saunders
If you buy and read no other book before the end of the month, your selection should be Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse. The author is Thomas E. Woods, Jr., a senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama. And, with a Ph.D. from Columbia, an economic neophyte he is not.
Meltdown provides in relatively easy, laymen’s terminology the intellectual antidotes for all of the Democrats’ and leftists’ venomous arguments that the economic maelstrom we now find ourselves in was caused exclusively or even primarily by greedy Wall Street brokers and bankers and Republican politicians’ calls for “deregulation.” While there are more colloquial, blunt terms to describe the leftists’ arguments, let us remain clinically polite here — the arguments are nonsense, plain and simple.
Long story short, the liberals and those who have peddled President Obama’s “economic stimulus bill” to the masses as being the cure for what ails us–especially Nancy “Partnership-not-Partisanship” Pelosi and Harry “Gotta-Have-that-Mag-lev-Bullet-Train-Between-LA-and Vegas” Reid–are simply not telling the truth. While not exactly lying to the public, they . . . oh, what the heck . . . yes, yes indeed, they have been lying and are continuing to lie to the public. And they have been lying for some time now.
Woods makes it clear, however, that everybody shares some degree of culpability for the hurricane, Democrats and Republicans alike, including former President George W. Bush, but in starkly differing degrees and contrary to what the liberal-biased, sycophantic mainstream media would have you believe. Translation: when Congressman Barney Frank told us that the Democrats were “totally blameless” regarding the causes of the economic Katrina we are now trying to weather, he was lying. And that practice continues. Daily. Hourly.
Woods chronicles, in painstaking and documented detail, the interplay between the original precipitating events for the current storm–starting with the chartering by Congress in 1968 of the Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”), continuing through 1970 with the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”), through Jimmy Carter’s simultaneously well-intentioned but hopelessly misguided “Community Reinvestment Act” in 1977, all the way to 2008’s horrific “Dubyah” TARP bailout–and the even more ominous economic clouds sulking on tomorrow’s horizon.
Sparing no one with his “Austrian school” economic daggers, he has especially harsh words for the Federal Reserve System, which he [persuasively] contends lies at the heart of the problem through its anti free-market, artificial manipulation of interest rates and its ability to create money “out of thin air” rather than from the laws of supply and demand.
Woods documents that some of the first, heaviest dominoes to fall did so as a direct result of the improvident and ultimately reckless “affirmative action” lending policies aggressively pushed by Congress through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and shielded from criticism, as always, by the Democrats. And, of course, aided and abetted by those helpful ACORN folks who would badger and intimidate banks and lending institutions which even dared to suggest that mortgages should be given only to people with the means and intent of making the payments.
Here’s a little known fact from the book, thanks to a somnambulant press: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, affectionately known in the industry as the “Democrats’ Piggy Banks,” were responsible for packaging fully three-quarters–75 percent–of all American mortgage loans. And their biggest client? Countrywide Mortgage Company. That’s right, Countrywide — home to among other things Sen. Chris Dodd’s sweetheart loan. Now there’s an accident waiting to happen. And when storm clouds began gathering and the Republicans started raising questions and seeking reforms, the Democrats trotted out the tried and true “racist” and “bigot” pejoratives designed to silence any opposition. Kinda like a PC preview of the coming hearings on resuscitating the so-called “Fairness Doctrine.”
Indeed, because Meltdown was written between last fall and this January, it doesn’t directly address yesterday’s monstrous “Gotta-Vote-‘Yes’-NOW-and-not-Just-‘Present’-or-the-Sky-Will-Fall-oh-Wait-I-Think-I-can-Take-a-Long-Weekend-Vacation” economic “stimulus” bill touted by the Guy from Chicago. Woods explains in clear detail why, as most principled economists now concede (economists not found, of course, in the current administration or heading up the Department of the Treasury), the $787 billion spending orgy–with interest, nearly $1.15 trillion–signed yesterday in Denver will only prolong the agony. Moreover, it will make matters much worse in the long run and ultimately could well lay the irreversible foundation for the metastasizing of the United States into a socialist landfill.
Such a landfill, of course, is exactly what the leftists have for decades prayed for–well, maybe not exactly “prayed” for–and yearned to impose here in the United States because their enemy is that evil, satanic creation known as capitalism. Ohhhhh . . . the stench . . . the bile . . . the . . . the . . . the highest standard of living for the most people ever experienced in mankind’s history.
The Democrats insist that we can’t possible have such a thing, that all must suffer equally until none suffer at all. As noted here yesterday at America’s Right by Ron Glenn, we are indeed becoming more like France, only without the oppressive cologne.
Meanwhile, that pesky barometer called the stock market speaks volumes about the fledgling Obama administration and its completely feckless effort to just “kick the can farther down the road” instead of enacting real change and creating conditions for real economic recovery. At the dawning of the Obama Millennium, November 4, 2008, the NYSE closed at 9,319 points. In the 105 days since then, which includes 28 days since the inauguration, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost an additional 1,766 points, or an average of nearly 17 points per day, including non-trading days. Not exactly the greatest proof of one’s ability to walk on water. Stated another way, the NYSE has lost nearly 20 percent–one-fifth of its Election Day value–since President Barack Hussein Obama was elected. And this is the “change” that the voters are expected to welcome?
To reiterate, if you care for your country and the futures of your children and grandchildren, after you finish reading this post, go read Meltdown. You’ll not regret it, but you will mourn for your country. The “stimulus” bill asks, in effect, “Can we borrow our way out of debt?” Apart from the tautological conundrum that proposition poses, liberals and Democrats will with straight faces fall back on quoting one of Obama’s campaign slogans: “Yes, we can.” Meltdown demonstrates, in spades, that the reality is precisely the opposite.
Oh, and remember, Virginia, this doesn’t even get into the census grab by the White House and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. More on that later.
Rick Saunders is a freelance writer who splits his time between endeavors in southern California and the American southwest. He began writing for America’s Right in December 2008.