Archive from January, 2010
29 Jan
2010
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Reflecting on a Nightmare

On Wednesday evening, our President, Barack Hussein Obama, delivered his first “State of the Union” address.  As the president reminded us with his opening lines, this duty of the presidency originates from the Constitution itself.  Wednesday’s was the first his presidency, and millions of Americans, worried about their own financial futures, terrorism, and two ongoing war tuned their television sets to see where their national leadership stood on these critical issues.  What they got was a political campaign screed that was so out-of-sync with the majority of the nation that one had to wonder if they had elected a delusional and cloistered egomaniac, whose true name very well may be Don Quixote.

So, really, we got exactly what we expected.

Despite hell freezing over, pigs falling from the sky, and the cow jumping over the moon [i.e., a Republican being elected to Ted Kennedy’s old Senate seat in Massachusetts in a special election the week prior], Mr. Obama continues to be the radical partisan ideologue, too lax on national security/war and too aggressive on domestic policy.  In order that the reader won’t begin snoring – or, alternatively, reach for the cyanide – I’ll try limit my criticism.

Mr. Obama began where he had to: the economy and jobs.  He claimed that jobs are his number one priority, and that the government’s actions so far have prevented a catastrophic meltdown of our financial system.  Said Obama: “Economists on the left and the right say this bill has helped save jobs and avert disaster.”  Well, what would this disaster have looked like?  Could it be as bad as the disaster we’re in now, with unemployment at an unofficial unemployment rate is over 20%, and headed higher with more planned layoffs (from the discount retailers, now)?

To remedy the problem, Mr. Obama proposed a tax break for small business, “one that will go to over one million small businesses who hire new workers or raise wages.  While we’re at it, let’s also eliminate all capital gains taxes on small business investment, and provide a tax incentive for all large businesses and all small businesses to invest in new plants and equipment.”

OK, first – eliminating capital gains taxes is an unqualified healthy thing.  The rest is somewhat ridiculous.  Businesses are SHORT ON CASH after years of cheap borrowing and debt accumulation – for the most part, they need to trim employees, save money, and hold wages steady to pay down their debt load.  This is a tax cut designed in such a way not to help businesses who need help the most, but who are already in a healthier financial position.  Therefore, it will do little to stop layoffs and closures.

The second, and completely predictable, proposed solution was an old trope – more public education.  Describing what might be the most backwards thing this president has ever proposed – no minor accomplishment given Obama’s rhetorical history – he said: “And let’s tell another one million students that when they graduate, they will be required to pay only 10 percent of their income on student loans, and all of their debt will be forgiven after 20 years –- and forgiven after 10 years if they choose a career in public service, because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they chose to go to college.”

Let’s try, painful as it is, to make sense of that sentence that claims to be related to job creation.  First, Mr. Obama wants to cap what students have to repay for students loans at 10% of their income.  Fine – but won’t expect more educational opportunities after you institute what amounts to a price control.  Second, Obama wants to forgive their debt completely in 10 years if they enter public service. Yes, to restore employment, our president is proposing putting more people on the payroll of taxpayers.  This, at a time when tax receipts are already collapsing and deficits are at an all time high.

Please, allow me a personal interjection here: I realize that most Americans do not have Ph.D.’s, but have we really reached a point where such an illogical, asinine, yet simply stated proposal can be said to the entire world, without someone important and connected to the President going – What are you talking about?!?!?!  Do you take your citizens for fools?

At any rate, it won’t help the economy.  We can be as sure of that as anything people speculate on politically and economically.  So what’s the motive?  Maybe this is going to fund that shadowy civilian army that Obama used to talk about?  Maybe he wants the government to declare bankruptcy?  Maybe he’s looking to force the monetization of debt, and the collapse of our dollar?  Perhaps we can allow the possibility that he’s just a simpleton who lacks even the most basic knowledge about economics, business, and budgeting?  Whichever the case, I am not reassured of our economic future, and I don’t think – for the sake of all that is Good and Right, I hope! - I’m alone on this one.

Let’s parse another sentence, this time relating to collapsing home prices: “That’s why we’re working to lift the value of a family’s single largest investment –- their home.  The steps we took last year to shore up the housing market have allowed millions of Americans to take out new loans and save an average of $1,500 on mortgage payments.”

I’ll be blunt – this is blatantly self contradictory.  Beyond providing basic civil services efficiently, government cannot raise home values without a subsidy.  The steps they’ve taken to prop up housing prices have not worked, or else the payments wouldn’t have gone down.  This is day one, in Finance 101.

There was a housing bubble, remember folks?  We’ve heard this, albeit reluctantly, from the same people who caused it – Congress and the Federal Reserve.  This means home prices were overprice relative to other economic goods. Taking the official government explanation seriously, arrive at the necessary conclusion that the falling prices of homes is a necessary step towards the “balancing” of asset values, and the return of economic stability.  (This explains the recent housing news.)  Remember, that home prices must fall is the government’s implied stance after admitting there was a housing bubble.  Obama cannot have it both ways: either people refinance and accept a lower home value, or the government subsidize home mortgages to hold prices artificially high, essentially creating another bubble.   Obama’s comments offer evidence of schizophrenic policy – or, at least, double speak.

The president’s remarks on healthcare were so completely disingenuous and disgusting, and I will not allow this corner of cyberspace to be polluted with such cant.  Suffice to say that the man has never taken any lead in the debate, outsourced all contention to Congress, almost assuredly has not read the proposed bills, and either does not understand or care that the American people resoundingly reject further statism in healthcare.  Mr. Obama is results oriented, and if he can advance the ball down the field another 25 yards, it’s just that much closer to a single payer system, which is what we all know he really wants.  No need to elaborate further – Obama’s aloofness, genuine or feigned, and Scott Brown’s victory in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, say it all.

[Interestingly, the president is also working to socialize public health in foreign nations.  Yes, it’s true – he said it.  “And we are launching a new initiative that will give us the capacity to respond faster and more effectively to bioterrorism or an infectious disease -– a plan that will counter threats at home and strengthen public health abroad.” (Emphasis added.)  Us Americans elected the President of the United States and the Red Cross!]

His remarks on the current deficits and frighteningly high debt levels were discouraging, and betray his insouciance when it comes to long term monetary and fiscal policy: “We will continue to go through the budget, line by line, page by page, to eliminate programs that we can’t afford and don’t work.  We’ve already identified $20 billion in savings for next year.  To help working families, we’ll extend our middle-class tax cuts.  But at a time of record deficits, we will not continue tax cuts for oil companies, for investment fund managers, and for those making over $250,000 a year.  We just can’t afford it.”

$20 billion?  Are we supposed to laugh or cry?  This is approximately 1.5% of the 2010 total deficit of $1.35 trillion.  Oh yeah, and after a record year of federal spending, a level which was supposed to be temporary to “kick start” the economy (whatever that means), the president talks of a budget freeze.  Let me repeat – he wants it frozen at an all time high, and still not until 2011; hence, we are NOT going to cut spending – we’re going to tax oil companies and “investment fund managers” (i.e., the people who allocate resources efficiently), in an effort to service our debt.  Sirens, red lights, and loud warning announcements should be going off by anyone who has a vested interest in the perpetuation of the United States Dollar.

Are you paying attention, reader?  You should be, assuming you’re not walking towards your bathtub, toaster in hand.  He wants to tax energy companies – the single most important sector of any economy – and the professional investors, who are rewarded on the basis of how well they meet the economic needs of consumers.  This is a recipe for disaster.

(Silly me, forgetting from one part of the speech to another… What do we need investment managers anymore, when all our new workers are being encouraged to enter “public service.”  They will receive their orders from a professional planning bureau, and we can finally abolish that perfidious profit/loss system of provided by financial accounting!  Sigh.  Moving on.)

Predictably, Obama left terrorism and wars for the end of his speech, when the maximum number of viewers had switched channels (most likely to bow over their toilets out of sheer disgust or because they polished off their bottles of 86 proof Jim Beam after a mere 40 minutes of Obama).  Such are side issues that take a back seat to destroying the healthcare system and general welfare of his fellow citizens, and you can only talk so much of Hope and Change when you’re incinerating human flesh, terrorist and innocent, with Predator drones in Pakistan.  The “What the hell?” moment for me came when he said: “Now, even as we prosecute two wars…”  Prosecute two wars?  That’s an odd choice of words.  Is this like how we now prosecute mass-murdering terrorists in lower Manhattan, for a cost of $216 million, steps away from the scene of horror they orchestrated?  At that moment, I was confident that I wasn’t the only one pinching myself to wake up from the Orwellian spectacle.  It’s now plain to see that Obama sees himself as top police chief of the world, rather than Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. armed forces.  I mean, after all, the FBI is reading foreign terrorists their Miranda rights.

Our allies and trading partners were sparsely mentioned; the only endorsement of other nations came in the context of progress on international “climate change” legislation.  Obama was excited about this, because a global tax on energy (or CO2) would provide him with a new stream of income to waste on so-called social programs.   Sure, there was some talk about free trade agreements with Columbia and South Korea.  All fine and good, and I support that as much as I doubt his sincerity.  Ah, but then there was the ominous overtones of beginning a trade war with China: “But realizing those benefits also means enforcing those agreements so our trading partners play by the rules.”  This had nothing to do with human rights violations or p0litical persectution.  It was, instead, a thinly-veiled reference to China’s currency pegging.  Fine, fine Mr. President… if you think Americans are interested in blaming foreigners at the moment, test the politics of your hunch.  But China is buying all YOUR debt.  And it’s YOUR Fed that is recklessly printing dollars, making their investment income worth less and less.  So why don’t you drop the poor attempt at populism, and recognize that not even 1/4 of your spending would have been possible without those rule-breaking Chinese.

Closing remarks:

I hate to disappoint anyone who thought they saw a state of the union address.  This was an out of touch diatribe delivered by narcissist, on a different planet than the country he governs and growing increasingly tired of the democratic process.  Does that sound overblown?  Consider his closing remarks:

“We have finished a difficult year.  We have come through a difficult decade.  But a new year has come.  A new decade stretches before us.  We don’t quit.  I don’t quit.  Let’s seize this moment — to start anew, to carry the dream forward, and to strengthen our union once more.”  Damn the plebeian masses – full speed ahead!

Mr. President, some advice – you could not have had a worse year, and you could not have picked a worse set of priorities.  If our year as Americans was destined to be difficult, you made it much worse. This New Year, this New Decade, presents an excellent opportunity for you to quit - at least what you’re currently doing.  If you don’t, you’ll be a lame duck 2 years into your New Job.

29 Jan
2010
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The problem with Ben Bernanke

The Senate voted on Thursday 70-30 to reconfirm Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the Federal Reserve. It was the closest vote ever for a Fed chairman, and reflects a growing unease in the country about the state of our monetary affairs.

The concern makes a lot of sense. Somewhere deep in their bones, the American people know something is wrong. But they still can’t put their finger on the problem.

The basic crisis runs to the philosophy of the Fed and its monetary policy. Almost every economist or investor you can find will declare without question that low interest rates spur economic growth and that high interest rates slow the economy. Even beyond Wall Street, most Americans unthinkingly accept this notion. What most people don’t realize is that it runs contrary to both classic economic theory and recent examples in other countries.

Classic economic theory says that if a country wants to encourage investment, it needs high interest rates to attract capital. This doctrine was widely embraced in the 19th and early 20th centuries, during which several financial crises resulted from interest rates being too low in the U.S. relative to other countries. For instance, the Panic of 1907 partially resulted from the Bank of England raising interest rates, which drew gold away from New York and threatened to cause a run on the banks.

World War I changed everything because the U.S. accumulated so much gold from exporting war materiel that it was no longer needed foreign capital. As a result Americans have forgotten this basic principle of capital flows.

However, the rule still applied elsewhere: Asia’s emerging markets in the 1990s, for example, used high interest rates to attract large amounts of foreign capital in the 1990s. A similar pattern appeared in China as recently as 2007, when foreigners smuggled money into the mainland to earn higher rates of return. These so-called “hot money” flows increased the credit available in the Chinese economy and were considered a source of inflationary pressures. That’s right: High rates caused inflation.

Low rates can also have the opposite effect. Reacting to its own financial crisis in the early 1990s, Japan has maintained a policy of interest rates close to 0% for more than a decade. The Japanese citizenry has responded by shipping trillions of yen to countries such as Australia and New Zealand, where they could make more money. The result has been a completely stagnant domestic economy, worsening employment and all the related social problems, such as rising suicide rates and plunging fertility.

As I said, the U.S. stopped relying on foreign capital during WWI. That situation largely continued until the 1990s, when Asian countries starting earning billions of dollars exporting electronics, shoes and automobiles to the U.S. This left them flush with dollars, which they used first to buy first Treasury bonds, then Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac securities and finally corporate bonds and private-label mortgage-backed securities — also known as subprime debt.

The numbers speak for themselves: Foreign money accounted for less than 20% of U.S. borrowing every year between 1952 and 1986. It first broke above 30% in 1992, above 40% the next year and then spiked over 50% in 1996. By the 2000s, the U.S. was routinely getting about half its money from other countries. (All of these numbers are derived from Tables F.1 and F.107 of the Fed’s quarterly Flow of Funds report.)

While reality changed, economic theory stood still. The country has returned to financial system that more resembles the 19th century than the 20th century, yet most economists still cling to a paradigm that died more than a decade ago. There is perhaps no greater bastion of the old religion than the Federal Reserve under Ben Bernanke.

These numbers might sound abstract, but they have real-world consequences. The most important point is that capital is both mobile and dynamic. If it isn’t treated well in one country, it will leave or even die.

Imagine you had a brokerage account at a company like Charles Schwab or Merrill Lynch. Imagine they told you: You have to be invested in stocks all the time, and you will be charged 5% every time you hold cash in the safety of a money-market fund. Would you ever put any funds in brokerage account like that, knowing that you had to be invested all the time? Deprived of safety, most people wouldn’t risk investing at all.

Yet, this is precisely what the Fed’s, or the Bank of Japan’s, low interest rates are doing: causing capital flight and making money stream out of the country. That’s a big reason why countries like Brazil and China saw their stock markets soar 500-1000% last decade while the U.S. lost value. It’s also why companies have focused on overseas growth, and why everyone is buying gold. All of these developments show money is leaving the U.S. financial system, where it gets no respect.

Another way to think about it is to imagine a rabbit that lives underground, and emerges everyday to hunt for food. The rabbit can survive challenges like long periods of hunger and outrun predators. However, it still must return to the safety of its hole. Take away its secure place to rest, and the animal will soon die. Even worse, it will fail to raise its young and the species will go extinct.

Your bank account is like the rabbit’s hole in the ground. The best way to rebuild a base of capital is to raise interest rates, which encourages people to accumulate money. At a certain point, those savings will be put to use building businesses and driving investment, just as baby rabbits one day emerge after reaching the necessary size and strength underground.

Money, like nature, is dynamic. Unfortunately most economists and policymakers still embrace a zero-sum view of human behavior.

That’s why they doubted Reagan’s tax cuts. Despite all their degrees and textbooks, they didn’t understand that lower tax rates would stimulate economic activity and give the government even more money. The Gipper, along with advisers like Art Laffer and Larry Kudlow, understood that if the government punishes prosperity with high taxes, it will destroy wealth.

Likewise, Americans need to realize now that if the Fed punishes savings with low interest rates, it will destroy capital.

The example of Japan is staring us in the face like a red and yellow flashing neon sign, warning us that low interest rates spell economic atrophy and death. Will we heed the example, or will ignore reality, as the liberals do?

Yes, some people argue that high rates will hurt the banks. I’ll address that issue in another posting soon.

26 Jan
2010
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My Plan for Health Care Reform

As the election of Scott Brown to the late “Ted Kennedy’s seat” last week has temporarily muted the winds of socialized medicine, it is time for the Republican party to boldly proclaim their reasoned alternatives within the current health care debate. Despite the rhetoric regarding the “party of no”, alternatives to the Democrat’s disastrous plan have been proposed over the course of the past year. As the Heritage Foundation noted, three alternatives were brought to the floor:

  • The Patients Choice Act of 2009
  • The Improving Health Care for All Americans Act
  • The Empower Patients First Act

While the above proposals differ, the basic premise is rooted in reforming the tax inequalities of the current system. For example, there are an unlimited number of tax breaks that exist if you were to purchase insurance through your employer. This is not the case should you purchase insurance on your own. The Republican alternatives seek to create universal tax credits rather than further the inequalities of the current system.

It is my belief that any proposal must be rooted in the sound principles of limited government and the private market. In so doing, we only enhance our choices and maximize our benefits from a multitude of options without the restrictions that government naturally imposes on its citizens. The merits of these principles are evident from President Lincoln’s domestic agenda and how it relates to three successful pieces of legislation; the Homestead Act, the Land-Grant Colleges Act, and the Pacific Railway Act. As William J. Stuntz writes in the April 2009 pages of the Weekly Standard, these laws worked as:

Their success did not depend on complex judgments made by members of Congress or government regulators. The statutes in question were meant to confer opportunities, not to solve problems—yet they offer a terrific model for problem-solving government. Notice who did the hard work: not members of Congress, not Lincoln’s omnicompetent cabinet, and not the president himself. Rather, the necessary elbow grease was supplied by the private citizens whose prospects Lincoln aimed to improve.

Therefore, under the proven principles of limited government and private enterprise, and for the cause of the environmentally conscious (2 pages vs. 2074), I wish to propose my guideline plans for health care reform, as outlined below.

The first aspect of my plan would abolish Medicare and Medicaid and replace it with a Direct Insurance Purchase Program (DIPP). The benefits of Medicare and Medicaid do not warrant the amount of tax payer money wasted to keep them afloat. A more cost effective approach would be for the Federal government to directly purchase insurance from the private market for those who truly cannot afford to pay for their own health insurance. As the bills recently passed by both the House and Senate place the costs of “reform” over $1.2 trillion, a DIPP will cost roughly $230 billion per year (assuming the average annual premium for an individual is $5,000 and the number of uninsured is 46 million). Given the governments penchant for cost underestimation, DIPP costs fall well below current proposals, including the OMB’s 2010 estimated spend of $735 billion on both Medicare and Medicaid. It will also ensure limited government involvement, and allow the private sector to provide the product mix that best maximizes the benefits in relation to their costs.

The second aspect has already been given much print and must be a necessary component of any proposal. The ability of individuals to purchase insurance across state lines opens up the market to competition, provides more insurance purchase options, enhances the flexibility to alter one’s choices based on need, and most surely leads to a reduction of costs.

The third component of my plan is a hybrid between a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and an IRA. Today, our laws limit our tax exempt FSA contribution, by an individual, to $3,000 per year, to be spend on approved health related costs. Should we not exhaust all of the contributed amount, the Federal Government will take the balance for itself. My plan seeks to create a Health Spending Account (HSA) that (1) allows an annual tax exempt contribution of $10,000 per year for an individual, (2) allows year on year rollovers on any year end remaining balances, (3) allows for the investment of these funds in low risk instruments such as CD’s and money markets, (4) allows for supplemental retirement withdrawals above the age of 65 on a pre-defined amount, and (5) allows beneficiaries to rollover unused balances into their own HSA’s, tax exempt of course. This vehicle places the burden of health care on the individual, promotes freedom of choice, encourages savings for unexpected health bills, removes the current tax inequalities, and limits government intrusion.

It is expected that opposition to my plan will be planted in arguments of lost government revenuelost revenue that can only ensure that the people’s money is less inclined to be used for wasteful spending, an unnecessary bureaucracy, bribes, and fraud. Further, it places ownership of the people’s money in the hands of the people. Who, other than the people, are best suited to manage their own private property?

26 Jan
2010
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NYYRC Knicks vs Sacramento Kings Game

Title: NYYRC Knicks vs Sacramento Kings Game
Location: Madison Square Garden
Link out: Click here
Description: NYYRC Goes To A Knicks Game
Game Time 7:30pm
Special YR discounted tickets in our own YR group section.
NY Knicks vs Sacramento Kings
Tickets are only $30.00- PURCHASE NOW!

PURCHASE NOW, ONLY 15 SEATS AVAILABLE.
DON’T BE LEFT OUT!

Purchase Here: http://tinyurl.com/nyyrcnyk
Questions, E-mail: events@nyyrc.com

Start Time: 19:30
Date: 2010-02-09
End Time: 23:00

26 Jan
2010
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NYYRC February Social

Title: NYYRC February Social
Location: Banc: 431 3rd Avenue b/w 30th and 31st
Description: Drink Specials:
$6 Martinis and selected cocktails
$4 Bud Lite & Banc Ale Drafts
$3.50 Miller Lite Bottles

Cash Bar Happy Hour Specials till 10pm
Appetizers Served
Rsvp: rsvp@nyyrc.com

**Stop by for an NYYRC Tradition and Sign Valentine’s Day Cards for our Wounded Soldiers. Lend your heart this Valentine’s Day to the men and women who serve our country!**

Start Time: 19:00
Date: 2010-02-03
End Time: 23:00

25 Jan
2010
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Time to say bye-bye to Bernanke

The past three months have seen major upsets to the Left, including improbable Democratic losses in the New Jersey governor’s race and the Massachusetts Senate seat. This week, conservatives should also wish a similar fate upon Ben Bernanke, a man who has done more to grow the U.S. federal government than perhaps FDR and LBJ put together.

Yes, Bernanke was appointed chairman of the Federal Reserve by George W. Bush. And yes, he tended to fall more on “the right” when it came to issues such as self-regulation of the banks and supporting free trade. But he has also followed a socialist path of subsidizing failure at the expense of the general public, and used government fiat to distort prices in a way that would make Jimmy Carter blush. Just as Americans decided that four years of gas lines and limp-wristed foreign policy under Carter was enough, we should also hope that Senators on both side of the aisle find their senses and show Bernanke the door before he’s allowed to run roughshod over our economy and savings for another term.

The first problem with Helicopter Ben is that he’s followed an established tradition of subsidizing failure. Ever since the 1980s, regulators and central bankers have bent over backwards to shield the financial system from its own mistakes. As a result, institutions and doctrines that should have perished decades ago have survived unpunished, and in some cases come back stronger than ever to harm the system again and again.

The first instance was the Latin American debt crisis of the 1980s, which according to the FDIC could have sunk major lenders such as Citicorp and BankAmerica. Instead, the authorities allowed them to fudge their numbers to avert panic. They also pushed for the creation of the Brady Bond system, under whic the prestige and diplomatic power of the United States were used so that banks could magically remove toxic assets from their balance sheets. Most Americans don’t even know it happened.

The second instance was the Savings and Loan Crisis, when banks again faced major solvency problems. This time the Federal Reserve lowered short-term interest rates, allowing financial institutions borrow cheaply and make free money by investing in risk-free Treasury bonds. That allowed them to overcome big losses resulting from bad commercial-real estate loans across the country. This policy, which also forced millions of Americans to accept artificially low interest rates on their bank deposits, is being replicated today in spades.

Another kind of bailout occurred in 1998 after the collapse of Long Term Capital Management. This time instead of rescuing a single institution, the Fed saved bad ways of thinking: mathematical modeling and unscrupulous accounting. After all, LTCM used egg-headed academic theories to predict outcomes with an imagined certainty. The model would say, for instance, that  certain prices will always converge. Deluded by this imagined certainty, LTCM borrowed huge amounts of money and used more than $1 trillion of off-balance sheet instruments to finance its bets.

Yes, LTCM was allowed to perish. However, the doctrines of modeling and off-balance sheet financing came back with vengeance less than a decade later in the mortgage bubble.

In each case, the power of the Fed and other arms of the government were used to shelter corporations, their leaders and analysts from the consequences of their own actions. In so doing, they embraced the principles of big-government liberals who offer rent subsidies and food stamps. Just as welfare is immoral because it pays people to be unproductive and sends the message that it’s ok not to learn new skills, the Fed has taught the financial system that failure will not be punished.

That’s why no self-respecting conservative should support an official such as Bernanke, who has allegedly “averted crisis,” but in reality done little more than embrace the philosophy of the welfare state. Next column we’ll knock down the assumption that he’s even helped the country.

Just as voters in New Jersey and Massachusetts have sent a message to the Democratic establishment, our Senators should send a message to the financial establishment that we’ve been rewarding failure and incompetence for long enough. It’s time for Bernanke to go.

Next post: How Bernanke is hurting you

23 Jan
2010
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Ray Kelly Speaks to the NYYRC

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly spoke to a crowd of over 180 attendees at the January NYYRC meeting kicking off with the NYPD’s stellar record of pubic safety. New York City remains extremely safe given its current population of 9 million, with the murder rate having declined to 471 cases per year in 2009, a decline of over 79% since 1990 (theft was down by 82% and assault by 62% over that same period). This record of achievement has ensured that NYC remains a global tourist attraction and the “new Disney”.

Commissioner Kelly was first appointed in 1992 by Mayor Dinkins, where he served until 1994. Among his numerous accomplishments was the reduction of crime as well his leadership through the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 while Mayor Dinkins was in Asia. Reappointed in 2002, the Commissioner’s major accomplishment has been to remake the NYPD into a world class counter terrorism operation. The NYPD is the first police department in the world to hold a global view of public safety. With detectives stationed around the globe in cities such as London and Mumbai, the department is better suited to determine whether international activities are connected, or pose a treat, to the city. The NYPD continues to provide safety from foreign and domestic threats with the assistance of sophisticated cameras and radiation detectors positioned at all bridges and tunnels, and at major centers throughout the city.

One of the discussion points during the meeting related to the upcoming trials of Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and four other 9/11 conspirators in NYC. No public information has been disclosed as to when those trials will occur, however, law enforcement will be given a 45 day notice for final preparations. In response to a question, it was surprising to hear that the Justice Department’s decision for holding the trials was not made in consultation with the major stakeholders, such as Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly, nor were any prior discussions held to mitigate possible concerns. Rather, city leaders were informed on the morning of November 14th, 2009, the day this decision was made public. Nevertheless, it is evident that the NYPD is preparing for security and is more than capable of addressing any possible threats.

We thank the NYPD and Commissioner Kelly for their service. We could not be better protected.

23 Jan
2010
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Pontifications of the Public Advocate

Demagoguery has never been in short supply in politics, but as the economy tanks and budgets shrink, it’s on the uptick. Take Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who at a press conference two days ago slammed the Mayor for mishandling the City’s homeless population, particularly in Manhattan.

But de Blasio offered no real solutions, just demands for more services from a drowning city budget. He criticized the mayor’s proposal to move the men’s intake facility from Bellevue Hospital to Brooklyn because he says it is Manhattan that has the largest homeless problem. The Advocate should know that it takes more money to run anything in Manhattan than in the boroughs, just ask any business that has to operate within the constraints of the market and not in the make-believe world of the tax supported public advocate’s office.

It’s no accident that the homeless population tends to gravitate to Manhattan. The homeless know that’s where the money and the services are, so that relocating facilities to the boroughs as the Mayor proposed, is perfectly reasonable and budget conscious.

Despite his criticisms of the mayor, the public advocate nevertheless offered to work with the administration.  But unless Mr. de Blasio is willing to accept the constraints that the mayor has to work under—mainly that he can’t print money like the federal government—his carping and grandstanding will only perpetuate the useless finger-pointing of our political culture. He needs to accept solutions that are in accordance with current budget conditions, such closing facilities that cost too much to run and reopening them where they cost less to operate. He needs to accept that reductions in services are unavoidable at a time when the city’s taxpaying population is also tightening the belt.

“Although the City has fewer resources, government cannot renege on its promises to vulnerable New Yorkers,” says Mr. de Blasio. But the mayor cannot promise what he doesn’t have and reducing services when the money isn’t there is not reneging, it’s being responsible and making tough choices.

Public officials should tread lightly and think critically before spending valuable time and tax dollars issuing inflammatory sound bites simply to look like they are doing something or to get free face-time on TV and a blurb in tomorrow’s paper.

Edited by Mario Quirce

21 Jan
2010
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NYYRC JANUARY MONTHLY MEETING

Title: NYYRC JANUARY MONTHLY MEETING
Location: 3 W 51st Street b/w 5th/6th Avenues
Link out: Click here
Description: Guest Speaker: Commissioner Ray Kelly

Come join fellow YRs to listen to great speakers, find out about great events and get more involved in the oldest, largest and most active YR Club in the country…
Start Time: 19:00
Date: 2010-01-21

17 Jan
2010
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How Obama should? play the race card

Andrew Samuels, a Jungian psychoanalyst and professor, and a politically intellectual bigwig in some circles (per Wikipedia) has a provocative video post on his website (www.andrewsamuels.com ‘Is Barack Obama a good-enough leader). This was posted in June 2009 so my apologies if this stuff was posted or discussed here before.

Samuels tells us he is not at all surprised by the recent disappointment in Obama and his failure to maintain the wave of messianic approval that American voters seemingly handed him last year. Samuels accurately points out that the “fall” of Obama was inevitable given the lofty, manic-like ideals he inspired. Mania is generally followed by depression, a high followed by a low. Samuels wonders how it is that the intellectual elite of Obama supporters failed to realize this.

Obama himself realized the impossibility of achieving his fantastical agenda. Samuels notes that Obama has not adopted the sort of radical economic policies that apparently his true supporters had wanted. I guess what seems ‘radical’ to his opponents is not nearly what the true liberals were hoping to accomplish (a scary thought!). Samuels then suggests Obama take to heart and expand on what the Brazilian president concluded about the economic downfall-that it was caused by people with “white skin and blue eyes”. Samuels suggests  Obama, with his ‘Kenyan background’, is in the perfect position to point out the shortcomings and destructive results of ‘western cultures and values’. And that Obama should use his racial background and history to create a more ‘empathic’ stance toward ‘non-white countries’, rather than naively think he can be the president of all peoples and cultures, or “be the true father of the nation”. So Obama’s message of unity and creation of a universal world order was faulty and sophomoric from the start?  Samuels apparently believes Obama can better cement his place in history by embracing racial separation, division, and use this to promote an agenda that will benefit those apparently bamboozled by the ‘White culture’ all these years. So much for hope, change, peace, love, unity, and equality. Let the racial wars begin!