Quick Roundup 475

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

No (Proper) Purpose to Outlive

A long news article describes one way the Republicans are exploiting the ACORN scandal:

The 1977 Community Reinvestment Act was intended to end redlining, a practice in which banks in effect walled off many inner-city neighborhoods from mortgage loans. But some GOP lawmakers say it has outlived its purpose and is being used inappropriately by ACORN to shake down banks for money. They want to repeal the law, scale it back or at least block a Democratic proposal to expand it. [links dropped, bold added]
This one short paragraph accidentally speaks volumes about the root of the ACORN scandal: The inability or refusal of the Republicans to take a principled stand against state interference in the economy.

The "purpose" of the CRA can be put simply: To violate the property rights of lenders when they do not make loans to the same people government officials want them to. To concede that violating freedom ever has one shred of legitimacy is to lose whatever legitimacy one might have had as an advocate of economic freedom.

Or, to put it another way: Where were these calls to repeal the CRA before the unsurprising ACORN scandal broke? What difference does it make that the recipients of government-extorted money and favors are prostitutes rather than the poor? The bankers have already been robbed, depositors shorted of returns, and some borrowers shut out of loans they could have actually afforded. None -- unless you subscribe (or pay lip service) to a moral code that calls for you to police the sexual behavior of others one moment, and steal to provide for the poor the next.

The CRA did from the moment it was passed what ACORN merely glommed on to, and for the Republicans not do make a moral stand against the CRA regardless of ACORN's antics puts them, morally, in the same category of one family of gangsters unhappy that you're being robbed only because another gang is doing it.

Empty Mental Calories

I rarely eat donuts, but when I do, there is no substitute for Krispy Kreme, and I enjoyed the chain's temporary ubiquitousness while it lasted. Needless to say, I was intrigued by this article at Yahoo! Finance that purported to explain what went wrong with the chain.

Don't even bother. It told me only what I already knew: That the chain overreached and that McDonald's is doing pretty well. And yet, it's 740 words long. Reading this article was a little bit like ordering a Double Quarter Pounder at a McDonald's only to find a single, day-old donut in my bag after driving off. I wasn't expecting a gourmet meal, but I thought I'd get something a little more substantial...

Krauthammer on Decline

Dismuke tipped me off to a very long, but rather good piece by Charles Krauthammer about how the Obama Administration is sacrificing our nation on the world altar in to pass out loot at home. I particularly liked the following formulation, which he forms in analogy to a Clinton-era shibboleth: the retreat dividend.

The strongest point of the article is that it mentions that American decline, far from inevitable, is a consequence of political choices we are making. Its weakest point is related: the article fails to note that the conservatives share the blame, and that both sides are informed by altruism, the morality of human sacrifice.

America's national interests are, properly, aligned with the selfish interests of each of her citizens, but we will not see our government furthering either any time soon until more of us unashamedly and proudly stand up for our moral right to exist for our own sakes, rather than simply to serve others.


Here's an excerpt of an excerpt from Thrutch:
[Peter] Bernholz analyzes the 12 largest episodes of hyperinflations - all of which were caused by financing huge public budget deficits through money creation. His conclusion: the tipping point for hyperinflation occurs when the government's deficit exceed 40% of its expenditures.

"According to the current Office of Management and Budget (OMB) projections ... the US will run deficits equal to 43.3% and 39.9% of expenditures in 2009 and 2010, respectively. To put it simply, roughly 40% of what our government is spending has to be borrowed.
If there is a silver lining, at least statism seems poised to get the blame this time around, given who's running the show in Washington, if there is a financial catastrophe.

-- CAV


pilot said...

Hi Gus,

I'm not sure that statism will "get the blame this time around". Based on what we have seen regarding the entire financial crisis where capitalism is on trial, I'm not confident that after a few generations of government run schools, most people are able to properly place the blame.

On the other hand, perhaps the stirrings of protest show that there is at least some sizable mass of people that know what to blame - I certainly hope so but fear not.


Gus Van Horn said...


You make a good point. I should have said something like, "there is more hope now than in the past that statism will get the blame.


Andrew Dalton said...

At least this time, the chatterers like Paul Toohey ... er, Krugman ... and the NPR crowd will have to make some particularly unconvincing contortions to blame everything on laissez-faire. They'll try, though.

Gus Van Horn said...

Heh! Quite true!