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February 25, 2009

It's Official: We've Elected a Feel-good President

Several hours after attempting to sit through the President's speech last night, I find myself not only stunned but wondering whether anyone is actually listening (let alone thinking critically) about what this man is telling us?

Obama didn't merely gloss over a few realities. His entire speech was an all-expense paid trip into an alternative reality where the bill never comes due and America can have all the ponies and ice cream it desires without having to deal with pesky things like consequences. Perhaps I've been drinking too much of the corporate water, but what reasonable person could possibly believe any of the nonsense he spouted last night?

Simply increasing the number of college graduates won't make America more competitive in the global economy. The problem is not an insufficiency of college graduates.

The problem is that American students have been raised in a culture of entitlement in which effort is more important than achievement. They honestly believe it's unfair for them to have to put in the hard work it takes to master difficult subjects. They think it's unfair for anyone to be smarter, more capable, or simply more disciplined and industrious than they are. Their heads have been filled with a frankly ludicrous vision of America as Lake Wobegon where (in complete defiance of the laws of nature and statistics) everyone is above average and social justice ensures equal outcomes for all:

Today’s New York Times has an article quoting several college professors talking about the problem of “academic entitlement” — where students think that by merely showing up in class they’re “above average” (meaning they think the default grade for their academic performance is “B” or even “A”). Most college professors know these students all too well. They come to you with big, pitiably wet eyes, uttering the dreaded words, “I tried.”

...On the one hand, we’re paid the big bucks to tell the truth about performance. On the other hand, the rise of “student-centered learning,” combined with the pressures of the outcomes-assessment movement, require professors to demonstrate that, at the end of the day, “Students will be able to [fill in the blank].” We’re not given the option to choose parsed conclusions (unless we want to be fired), where we would say, “The best students will be able to do this or that, even if a bunch of them can’t do anything.”

In an insidious, roundabout sort of way, student-centered learning and outcomes assessment both reinforce academic entitlement. By shifting the responsibility for learning from students to teachers, we’ve developed a model of students as passive “vessels” into which we pour “learning.” And if the vessels are leaky, well, get rid of the professors.

Never mind that American workers expect pay and benefits which are grossly out of line with what the rest of the world gets for performing the exact same jobs. Markets be damned! We don't need to compete - we're entitled to our standard of living! Never mind that companies who provide these benefits (or are forced to provide them by misguided laws passed by economically illiterate legislators) can't possibly price their products to compete in the global economy! Obama has the answer: he'll punish firms who try to remain competitive by reducing labor costs! And if that doesn't work, he'll tax those greedy corporate profits (because as we are constantly reminded, it's not only selfish but greedy for entrepreneurs, investors, and shareholders to expect a return on their investments). Profit, we're reminded, is not just bad, but wrong/bad.

In Obama's alternative universe, businessmen work hard all day in order to earn enough money to make life easier for Americans who are less industrious or less productive and it's unfair for the millions of Americans whose retirement fund balances are tied to corporate stocks to expect these companies to pay them dividends for the privilege of using their money.

I don't know a single person who works hard or takes risks in order to effect a massive wealth transfer to the less fortunate. People work to give their families security and a better standard of living. Telling America that letting taxpayers keep what they have earned represents a "transfer of wealth to the already wealthy" is not only flagrantly dishonest, but morally reprehensible to boot:

[W]e have lived through an era where too often, short-term gains were prized over long-term prosperity; where we failed to look beyond the next payment, the next quarter, or the next election. A surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy instead of an opportunity to invest in our future.

For most people in the top 2% of the tax bracket, "wealth" consisted of money they earned, and then re-invested in American corporations. The idea that confiscating this "wealth"; redirecting it from investments in American businesses to equalizing the take-home pay of people who are not only less efficient at making and holding onto money but lack the ability to provide jobs to their fellow Americans is just stunning. The idea that taking money away from American businesses will create jobs or repair the damage to our retirement and pension funds defines rational belief.

But we're in ObamaLand now: a magical place where human beings ignore rational incentives and stunning non-sequiturs are greeted with swooning and thunderous applause:

A friend of mine was gleefully keeping count of all the times Obama said “inherited.” ... AP and WPost both note that Obama was a little coy about who is actually bequeathed this mess. I’d say he has repeatedly lied outright by blaming the Bush administration while omitting mention of overt Democratic acts of commission. Politico helpfully translates from the original Obamish.

Given the popular reception, much like that of his other wretched speeches, I guess you have to say the American electorate once again has gotten what the American electorate deserves. A smooth-talking bullshit artist. At least with Clinton you could tell he didn’t actually believe anything he was saying. I’m not sure that’s true with this guy. I’m not convinced he entirely understands what he is saying.

This is the kind of dishonest and dangerous mindset the Obamas have cultivated: they conjure up a world where it is your husband's boss's responsibility to find you child care; where it's unreasonable to expect borrowers to repay loans financed with the savings of their fellow Americans; where you have a "right" to own a home you can't afford and it's never your fault for failing to make sure you actually have enough money to pay for things before you buy them:

...this sort of acts like borrowers shouldn't have any obligation to repay money on an asset that has fallen in value--as if there were some sort of moral right to take highly leveraged bets on housing and pass off any losses to someone else. The borrowers ought to have known that they couldn't be repaid, because of course the natural and right thing to do, in the event that an item you have purchased on credit falls in value, is to default on your loan.

On the other hand if we assume as a matter of public policy that people who have signed a loan contract are actually obligated to pay back the money they borrowed even if their house is not rapidly appreciating, then the primary risk is not a fall in house prices; it is that borrowers will not be able to repay the loan.

Who knows more about your future income prospects: you, or a bank? Who knows more about your budgeting skills: you, or a bank? Who knows more about your health, personal habits, and home maintenance skills? Who knows better whether you're likely to move two years after buying for a boyfriend or an employer? Are bankers somehow more aware than ordinary Americans that recessions happen, companies fold, people lose their jobs?
Of course, falling house prices make things harder because you can't sell or refinance your way to stability. But unless you just suddenly lost your job--in which case, you probably can't be helped by a workout, because you don't have any income--then it's not reasonable to say that all the information was on the banking side. People knew a lot. They just chose not to think about it.

Damn straight. In 2001, my husband and I chose to buy a home well below what we qualify for precisely because we wanted to ensure that no matter what happened with the economy we could repay our loan.

Even without my income.

Even if he was unable to find ANY EMPLOYMENT AT ALL after retiring from the Marine Corps. So don't ask me to bail out people who borrowed money that wasn't theirs to pay for an asset they can't afford and are only NOW stopping to think about what might go wrong. The money in banks comes from other Americans. You have no "right" to anything in life that you can't pay for. There's a word for people who take what doesn't belong to them.


Stuart Varney: You are not telling the truth…

Bertha Lewis: Here’s the thing…

Stuart Varney: Your telling me these homeowners have paid their bills and they have not…

Bertha Lewis: We cannot force anybody to do anything….here’s the thing, you know who are the thugs? The thugs are the banks, the thugs are the mortgage brokers who bilk people so they are delinquent and they deserve to be helped just like big banks and institutions are we intend to stay.

Stuart Varney: And they have not paid their mortgage bills and they have no right to those houses…that is my last word. Bertha Lewis….

Bertha Lewis: Housing is a right.

Stuart Varney: It is not a right.

Bertha Lewis: Yes it is

Stuart Varney: I’ve read the Bill of Rights, I’ve read the Constitution, no where does it say that housing is a right.

Bertha Lewis: Yes it is.

Stuart Varney: Can you show me? Which page? Which line?

Bertha Lewis: Well we have the right to the pursuit of happiness.

Stuart Varney: You have a right to a house? Where does it say that?

Bertha Lewis: If your a hard working American and you pay your taxes and you do the right thing you do have a right to protect your home.

Stuart Varney: I tell you what Bertha, we have a Constitutional lawyer in a few minutes, I’ll ask him if there is a line in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights that spells out a right to a house which you claim.

Bertha Lewis: That’s good….good.

Stuart Varney: But Bertha, we’ve run way over our allotted time..

Bertha Lewis: Have we, well you have to have me back and we will show you how many homes we have defended.

Stuart Varney: Defended? Invaded and stolen but that’s another story entirely.

What America needs right now is not a President who blithely glosses over the real world consequences of irresponsible actions and policies. Offering us dishonest pablum calculated to make us feel good about ourselves isn't going to put Americans back to work or fix the housing market, and smooth talking can't obscure the fact that the remedies he's proposing don't address the problems we face.

But for an ADD nation, perhaps it's enough that our leaders give the appearance of doing something - anything - so long as it stirs up class resentments in a hopeful and non-partisan manner. After all, if Mr. Obama's proposed remedies don't work, he can always blame the Bush administration.

Posted by Cassandra at February 25, 2009 08:17 AM

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A surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy instead of an opportunity to invest in our future.

"Transfer wealth to the wealthy" is LibSpeak for "steal less of their money by giving them the same tax break everybody else got."

That's the scary thing about Libs (okay, *one* of the scary things about Libs) -- they firmly believe all money emanates from the Government, hence, it should all *return* to the Government. And it should do so sooner, rather than later, but April 15th will suffice as the due date...

Posted by: BillT at February 25, 2009 02:28 PM

Shorter Obama: From each, according to his ability, to each according to his need.

Posted by: Cass at February 25, 2009 02:40 PM

Soak 'em all and let Gaither (and TurboTax®) sort it out.
Or Shorter still:
Gimme! NOW!

Posted by: bthun at February 25, 2009 02:48 PM

MM-MM dat sho is good Obam-aid! Favorite flavor: Cherry RED.

Posted by: Red AppleClover at February 25, 2009 03:02 PM

"Stuart Varney: I’ve read the Bill of Rights, I’ve read the Constitution, no where does it say that housing is a right.

Bertha Lewis: Yes it is."

Bertha Lewis is in sync with the mindset of the Obama Administration. Have no doubt about that.
That is what the whole program of refinancing delinquent mortgages is all about, that was announced last week. It is now a "positive" right, and a new entitlement. It will cost at least $75 billion USD a year.

We have crossed over a threshold, and I don't know where we are going to end up. Really, I don't.
For ongoing enlightenment and enterntainment, I would suggest checking Tigerhawk's blog from time to time. There is a semi-regular poster there named "Christopher Chambers", who was a friend of Tigerhawk's at Princeton. He is about the same age and mindset as President Obama, and reading his comments is a means of seeing inside the mind of Obama. In my humble opinion, of course.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at February 25, 2009 03:39 PM

Notice how no mention is made of the thieves who bought a house they couldn't afford with money they didn't have, with non-existent credit and then took out a second on the same mortgage they weren't making payments on.

Not only did they not make payments with the second mortgage money, they kept it while the house was foreclosed walking away with a cool profit for no work. They then lived in the house rent/mortage free until the bank finally evicted them out of the house stripped of everything not bolted down. Then their financial advisor, the local rabble rouser from ACORN breaks back into the house and gives it back to the now squatter.

The next chapter will be for us to give extorted money back to the foreclosed former squatter. The thief will pocket the money and move to either start the cycle over again or keep the ill-gotten gains and move back into the apartment where they lived when ACORN first contacted them.

No more ACORN. We will have NOSHAME - National Organization of Self Help And Maximum Extortion.

You know this is going to fall apart like a cheap suit. We need to rear up like trigger and say "ENOUGH". Is it just me or does Obamessiah sound like a smooth-talking frat brother engaging in verbal foreplay with the innocent heroine? I think he is trying to have his way us.

Posted by: vet66 at February 25, 2009 06:28 PM

Another piddlin' $410 Billion transferred from the private businesses/producers/workers to the public today.

Apologies if this has already been discussed somewhere in the tertiary links, but

"Toward the end of Monday’s meetings on fiscal responsibility at the White House, Senator Kent Conrad stood up and produced a little bolt of honesty. “Revenue is the thing almost nobody wants to talk about,” said Mr. Conrad, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. “But I think if we’re going to be honest with each other, we’ve got to recognize that is part of a solution as well.”

Mr. Conrad’s frankness was delivered in the cryptic language of budget experts, and many people might have missed the point. So allow me to translate:

Your taxes are going up.

They will probably go up in the coming decade, and the increase will be permanent.

For a half-century, federal taxes have remained fairly constant relative to the size of the American economy — equal to about 18 percent of gross domestic product. But the 18 percent era has to end soon."

The NYT piece can be seen here. You will have to login.

Posted by: bt_read-the-functionality-manual_hun at February 25, 2009 06:48 PM

Those CRIMINALS who are breaking into houses that they do not own need to be subdued, cuffed, and given special quarters with bars on the doors and windows.

Additionally, any person or organization who assists, supports or consipires to support or assist said person or persons needs to suffer the full penalty of the law as a co-conspiritor.

As long as cretins are allowed to flaunt the law, they will continue to do so in an ever escalating manner. And those of us who are law abiding citizens must wonder whats next. After breaking and entering, and STEALING a house, why not break into adjoining houses for food, furniture, clothing? Where would it stop?

It will stop when we are fed up with it. I am so very close right now, but as a law abiding citizen, I know I cannot take the law into my own hands except when my life or the life of my loved ones are threatened. Rest assured that I am prepared for that eventuality. Try to hurt my family members or even a fellow human being, and it could be the last thing they ever do on this earth. All I need is a clear shot.

Thats all I got to say about that.

Posted by: CW4 at February 25, 2009 09:09 PM

Why is it when someone thinks they have a right to a house, or a car, or whatever, they want the Hummer or Benz quality? If you do have a right, you have a right to the cheapest piece of crap on the market. Let those that pay your way have the good stuff.

Posted by: Hummer at February 25, 2009 10:30 PM

As long as cretins are allowed to flaunt the law, they will continue to do so in an ever escalating manner.

The cretins who remove the teeth from the law should be held accountable as well.

I remember when "Grand Theft, Auto" was a felony and not merely a video game -- now the offense is called "Carjacking" and treated as a misdemeanor in some venues.

If someone invades your home, you have to try to escape before you may confront him, and if you confront him with a weapon, you have to allow *him* the opportunity to escape, because if you injure the poor dear, he'll sue you and *he'll* wind up owning your home.

A state trooper once told me, "If someone breaks into your house and you shoot him, make sure he doesn't get out of the house -- if he dies outside, drag his body back inside. Dead men don't sue."

Posted by: BillT at February 26, 2009 12:34 AM

The ACORN person admitted to trespass and that what they were doing was illegal.

Isn't that what we call a confession?

Posted by: Cricket at February 26, 2009 08:13 AM

"Isn't that what we call a confession?"
It depends on which side of the looking glass you live.

Posted by: bt_read-the-functionality-manual_hun at February 26, 2009 08:28 AM

It's civil disobedience in the name of social justice. Just like the highest form of patriotism is dissent. It's all good and true noble beyond our poor reckoning.
It's all in the eye of the beholder. Or Eric Holder.
Take your pick.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at February 26, 2009 08:48 AM

"If someone invades your home, you have to try to escape before you may confront him, and if you confront him with a weapon, you have to allow *him* the opportunity to escape, because if you injure the poor dear, he'll sue you and *he'll* wind up owning your home."
The Castle Doctrine/Law covers self-defense in the home. Check with your state AG, to clarify the legal limits of your ability to defend you home and loved ones.

Down here in Bubbaville, Castle Law is a given. Matter of fact, here in the great state of Georgia, the Castle Doctrine legislation removes the duty to retreat if an individual is attacked in his or her home, vehicle, place of business or any other place he or she has a legal right to be. You are legally protected when defending yourself, your home or any other victim against intruders or criminal aggressors using anything from an iron skillet to a 12 ga. Defenders choice.

"A state trooper once told me, "If someone breaks into your house and you shoot him, make sure he doesn't get out of the house -- if he dies outside, drag his body back inside. Dead men don't sue.""
Nor will you have to adopt the poor injured victim of oppression by the Man, BIG OIL and an indifferent society if you adjust their thermostat to room temperature.

Posted by: bthun at February 26, 2009 08:58 AM

All that being said, it's only a matter of time before BO, Holder and the your defense shall be provided by THE STATE crew begin their assault on the right to self-defense as part of their never ending run at terminating the 2nd amendment, again.

Posted by: bthun at February 26, 2009 09:04 AM

Check with your state AG, to clarify the legal limits of your ability to defend you home and loved ones.

Let's just say I know a lawyer with a pistol *and* a CC permit who's moved *twice* solely so he wouldn't have to put a Jersey court's interpretation of Castle Doctrine to the test. NJ voters have consistently backed capital punishment for first degree murder, and NJ's Supremes have only upheld *one* death sentence in living memory, and it *wasn't* the guy who inflicted 110 hatchet wounds on his girlfriend in the process of dispatching her.

Posted by: BillT at February 26, 2009 09:25 AM

New Jersey! Sheesh... Come on down he-ah to the land of milk and honey.

Where the legal system does, for the most part, accurately differentiate between the criminals and the rest of society when dispensing justice.

Posted by: bt_hang-em-high_hun at February 26, 2009 09:41 AM


That didn't take long. Too bad it won't be *heard* by anyone that needs to hear it.

Posted by: DL Sly at February 26, 2009 11:04 AM

Calling Everyone! YOU WILL MAKE $100,000.00


Brand New Custom Estate Best View In Deluz Temecula, Ca.
Cross Creek Golf Course view in back, city lights from front.
Over 7,000sq.ft. home, 6 1/2 baths 2 separate toilets in master bath,
6 bedrooms All suites, Theater room, Loft or workout room, Game room with wet bar up,
also a wet bar down. Two laundry rooms one upstairs one down, Very custom cabinets
looks like furniture. Entry has duel spiral staircase's, marble, distressed walnut and travertine floors. Slab granite tops throughout the home. Two-- 2 drawer dishwashers, 72" Sub-Zero refrigerator/Freezer, 60" double oven Viking range also a separate Micro and Oven total three ovens, four fire place's one in backyard.Four car Garage. It is set up for Cameras at driveway & front door, cameras on the interior, home automation, lighting control, remote light control via cell phone, remote heat & air via cell phone, remote security via cell phone,
home audio in each room,All network compatible.
Five minutes to the 15 freeway, all this on five acres behind gate.
Also a playground down on lower level of property.
Expected price range $2.2M--$3.2M

Anyone that gives me a lead that sells this house for what I'm asking, I will give them $100,000.00.
Thank you,
John Cimmino

Posted by: John Cimmino at February 28, 2009 01:48 PM

Hey, Cass -- don't forget to ask for a finder's fee if one of the VC gets JC a lead.

Matter of fact, you might want to charge him for the want ad, too...

Posted by: BillT at February 28, 2009 02:14 PM

I would not be surprised to hear that the This is our house now: gang in California might express an interest in and take action to acquire such a nice home.

Posted by: bt_Have-Barter-Will-Travel_hun at February 28, 2009 02:23 PM