Our first stop takes us to mises.org, where Ludwig von Mises Institute Chairman, Lew Rockwell, makes a connection between the strained attempts by our clueless government to address the financial crisis and the new Leonardo DiCaprio film, Inception:
Two years ago, the economy was seriously dragged down amidst an amazing banking crisis that spread throughout the world. The illusion created by loose credit — that housing could go up in price forever and we could enjoy permanent prosperity due to monetary expansion — was shattered by events. Reality had dawned. We found ourselves in the midst of an economic depression.
At that point in policy, we were at a fork in the road. The wise direction was to let the depression happen. Let the bad investments wash out of the system. Let housing prices fall. Let banks go broke. Let wages fall and permit the market to reallocate all resources from bubble projects to projects that make economic sense. That was the direction chosen by the Reagan administration in 1981, and by the Harding administration in 1921. The result in both cases was a short downturn followed by recovery.
The Bush administration, in a policy later followed by the Obama administration, instead attempted a tactic of dream incubation as portrayed in the recent film Inception. The idea was to inject artificial stimulus into the macroeconomic environment. There were random spending programs, massive buyouts of bad debt using phony money, gargantuan tax tricks, incentive programs for throwing good money after bad, and hiring strategies to weave illusions about how all is well.
In the movie, the goal of the dream incubation was to implant an idea into an unsuspecting subject's head that would cause him to act differently than he otherwise would have. In the real-life version of inception, the state tried to implant in all our heads the idea that there was no depression, no economic collapse, no housing crisis, no pushback on real-estate prices, and really no serious problem at all that the state cannot fix provided we are obedient subjects and do what we are told.
Continue reading 'The State's "Inception" Fails'
Next, and perhaps a sign that the wheels on the Liberal Express may be coming unhinged, NY Times columnist, Maureen Dowd, wonders why the president felt the need to redecorate the Oval Office in the midst of a lingering recession:
On the night we were reminded that George W. Bush ended up in the White House and heedlessly, needlessly started the war with Iraq, President Obama did his Mission Relinquished address from his redecorated man cave.
The Oval Office was done over by the chichi decorator Michael Smith, who was previously paid $800,000 for his part in refurnishing the lair of the former Merrill Lynch C.E.O. John Thain (a $1.2 million project featuring the notorious $35,000 antique cabinet, or commode).
The Oval Office, the classiest, most powerful place on earth, is now suffused with browns and beiges and leather and resembles an upscale hotel conference room or a ’70s conversation pit with a boxy coffee table that even some Obama aides find ugly.
It almost made me long for the Technicolor Belle Watling swagging and swathing style of the Clintons’ Little Rock decorator, Kaki Hockersmith.
The recession redo, paid for by the nonprofit White House Historical Association, was the latest tone-deaf move by a White House that was supposed to excel at connection and communication. Message: I care, but not enough to stop the fancy vacations and posh renovations.
As Obama himself said in February 2009 when he released his first budget: “There are times where you can afford to redecorate your house, and there are times where you need to focus on rebuilding the foundation.”
It might have been wise, given America’s slough of despond, to hark back to a time when presidents just went to work and took their office pretty much as they found it, without the need to make a personal statement.
Read 'Not-So-Magic Carpet Ride' in its entirety
On to Bloomberg, and an analysis of the president's Oval Office address about the official end of the Iraq war and how the economy is his top priority:
President Barack Obama, declaring the U.S. combat mission in Iraq over, used an Oval Office address to cast economic revival as his “central mission” after almost a decade fighting wars abroad that he said weakened prosperity at home.
The president, in a nationally televised speech last night, underscored that he’s focused on the economy at a time when voters are increasingly skeptical of his policies and congressional elections are a little more than two months away.
Read the rest of 'Obama Says Economy 'Central Mission' as Iraq Combat Ends'
'Skeptical' may be just a bit of an understatement. As reported in the Financial Times:
Barack Obama’s Democratic party faces a series of dramatic defeats at every level of government in Washington and beyond in the November midterm elections, according to leading analysts and opinion polls.
The University of Virginia’s widely monitored Crystal Ball will on Wednesday forecast sweeping setbacks on Capitol Hill and the loss of a clutch of state governorships on November 2.
It follows a Gallup poll that showed the Republicans with a 10 percentage point lead over the Democrats – the widest margin in 68 years. Separately, a University of Buffalo paper has predicted a 51-seat gain for Republicans in November.
The Democrats have a 39-seat majority in the House of Representatives. Many believe Democratic control of the Senate is also at risk.
“Voters are going to deliver a big fat message to President Obama, which he will not want to hear,” said Larry Sabato, who runs Crystal Ball. “The Republican base is at least 50 degrees further to the right than where it was when Newt Gingrich took control of the House in 1994, so we would be looking at two years of absolutely nothing getting done on Capitol Hill.”
The numbers, which threaten Mr Obama with a “wave election” similar to those of 1994 and 2006, when Democrats wrested back control of the House after 12 years, also extend to key states.
According to local polls, Democrats are on course to lose the governorships of traditionally left-leaning states such as Michigan and Pennsylvania and may be vulnerable in Illinois, long a party bastion.
Continue reading 'Democrats face midterm meltdown'
Okay, so this is not exactly a "random" sampling. But it is quite telling. For those of us who think the government is driving us over an economic cliff and President Obama's massive Keynesian gamble was just the wrong prescription, Austrian thinkers, upset liberals, presidential platitudes, and a "Throw the bums out!" mood among the electorate makes for some interesting summer reading.
Besides, it's almost Labor Day weekend! Let's hope Hurricane Earl has more compassion in store for us East Coasters than the coming political storm set to decimate the president's majority this November.