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Under The Radar: 10th Amendment Movement Picks Up Steam

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Editor

Originally posted 2009-07-20 21:25:08. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

by Nancy Morgan
RightBias.com
July 19, 2009

Millions of Americans watch with horror as the Obama administration continues to implement its own version of ‘change.’ Change that involves an unprecedented and systematic devolution of power to the federal government, in direct contravention of the Constitution.

From the pending takeover of 17% of economy under the auspices of health care reform, to the government takeover and subsequent ownership of automobile companies, to the unconstitutional interference in the formerly private market under the rubric of stimulating the economy. Not to mention the proposed cap and trade legislation which would give the federal government unlimited powers of taxation and regulation under the guise of saving the planet.

Totally ignored by elected officials of both parties is the tenth amendment of the Constitution, which states very clearly, “The power not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Many Americans don’t agree with the left’s idea of a ‘living constitution’, arguing that the intent of the founders should govern the interpretation and application of the Constitution, not the whimsical and politically motivated present day politicians. And, largely unreported by the media, they are starting to stand up to the federal government.

To date, 37 states have introduced sovereignty resolutions, asserting their state’s sovereign rights under the tenth amendment.

Earlier this month, Louisiana became the seventh state, joining Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Idaho and Tennessee to officially adopt a resolution affirming their sovereignty. These states are putting the federal government on notice that politicians in Washington do not have the right, under the Constitution, to continue to impose their increasingly onerous federal mandates on sovereign states.

Some states, with Arizona leading the way, are going a step further.

Under Arizona’s Health Care Freedom Act, which was passed by the Arizona state legislature this month, a voting initiative will be placed on the 2010 ballot that, if passed, will allow Arizona to opt out of any federal health care plan.

Following Arizona’s lead, five other states — Indiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota and Wyoming — are considering similar initiatives to opt out of federal health care for their 2010 ballots This, even before Congress has created the program.

Arizona is also preparing for the misnamed ‘climate’ bill, that passed the House this month. (With eight Republican votes.) The Arizona state Senate voted 19-10 to approve a bill banning the Department of Environmental Quality from enacting or enforcing measures with language pertaining to climate change.

Other states are stepping up to the plate and asserting their state’s sovereign right under the second amendment – a right that guarantees the right of the people to keep and bear arms.

On July 6, Florida introduced the Firearms Freedom Act which seeks to provide “that specified firearms, firearm accessories, and ammunition for personal use manufactured in state are not subject to federal law or regulation” in the State of Florida.

Increasingly, the representatives ‘we the people’ have elected to preserve and protect our rights, are ignoring the clear, unequivocal language of the Constitution. Our politicians seem unaware of the fact that the Constitution does not include congressional power to override state laws.

In fact, the power our representatives are now accruing to the federal government was expressly voted down, not once, but several times.

During the Constitutional ratification process, James Madison drafted the ‘Virginia Plan’ which advocated a strong federal government. It proposed, among other things, giving Congress legislative authority, and a veto over state laws. Each of Madison’s proposals was soundly defeated. Our founders clear intent was vesting all powers in the states, with but a few, listed exceptions.

Ever since 1938, when FDR used the occasion of the great depression to drastically expand the scope of federal government (Wickard vs Filburn) using an absurd reading of the Commerce Clause, this unconstitutional taking of power by the central government has gone virtually unchallenged. Until now.

Though the media has ignored these efforts, ‘we the people’ are starting to fight back, via our state and local representatives.

Politicians need to be reminded that our Constitution is still in effect. And Americans need to be reminded that just because some believe the trendy notion that our Constitution is a ‘living, breathing’ document, doesn’t make it so.

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Nancy Morgan is a columnist and news editor for RightBias.com
She lives in South Carolina

Article has been published with permission


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How To Undermine the Economy

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Editor

Originally posted 2009-08-07 15:37:30. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

by NotYourDaddyno_trespassing
GovernmentIsNotYourDaddy

August 1, 2009

If you wanted to come up with a plan to undermine the economy of the most prosperous and successful nation on earth, how would you go about it?

The first thing you’d have to do would be to debase the underlying value system that provides the foundation for prosperity. That is, the value system to which the founders of this nation, and many generations of immigrants who came here seeking opportunity, subscribed. The core of that value system is the belief that you do not deserve anything you have not earned.

The first step would be to condition the populace to believe that prosperity is bad, that anybody who makes more than a modest income must be evil (or at least dishonest), and that nobody really deserves to be rich, no matter how much they contribute to the economy or how many opportunities they create for others. The rich, by definition, are always a minority, since the term itself implies someone who has substantially greater wealth than the average person. All that’s usually needed to turn the many against the few is a sense of grievance.

Fostering a sense of grievance can be accomplished by promoting the notion that everybody, by virtue of their very existence, is entitled to basic sustenance, such as health care, food, shelter, etc. This attitude can be cultivated by establishing a system of bureaucracies (paid for almost entirely by the rich) that provide free handouts to everybody else, while nurturing a sense of perpetual resentment among the people receiving the handouts toward those who provide the wherewithal to satisfy their ever-increasing expectations.

The many are not generally aware that nearly 90% of the income taxes that sustain our government, and all the services “it” provides, are collected from the top 20% of income earners. And, if the many were aware of that, do you think they’d feel like saying “Thank you”? Not likely. Because they’ve been conditioned to believe that the rich don’t deserve their wealth, and that they, the beneficiaries of all those taxes paid by the rich, deserve that money more than the people who earned it. What did the beneficiaries do to deserve it? Nothing. But they exist, and therefore they’re entitled to things they cannot afford, so the money should be taken from those who can afford it and redistributed to them.


Having undermined the cultural values that provide the basis for a prosperous economy, by fostering a culture of dependency on ever-expanding government services, you now have popular support for the next step, which is to penalize production. You do that by regulating industries to the point where the cost of doing business is too great to justify the returns, forcing businesses to either downsize, go bankrupt, or relocate offshore. That increases unemployment, creating an even greater dependency on government services. At the same time, it reduces production so there’s less wealth to tax, and less money coming into the system to support the ever-increasing demands.

At that point, you’ve got a self-perpetuating cycle, with ever-increasing demands on the system and ever-diminishing resources from which to draw to provide for them. To add fuel to the firestorm, you can use the increasing demands as an excuse to raise taxes on the remaining top producers even more, driving more employers out of business or offshore, creating an even larger non-productive class, and further accelerating the drain on the system…

But why stop there? At this point, the economy is so unstable, it can be toppled with ease. To finish it off in style, all that’s required is to spend like a drunken sailor. Get the nation so far in debt to hostile foreign powers that they won’t accept our IOUs any more. Print up fiat money and dilute our currency to the point that the whole world loses confidence in it and the G20 proposes a new international monetary standard. Then distract the citizens by holding contests in Congress to see who can spend money the fastest, and call it a “stimulus plan.”

At that point, the death spiral reaches critical mass. That’s where we are today. How did we get to this point? Well, it could just be a combination of entropy, ignorance, and well-intentioned idiots. Or it could be that there are those who actively seek to undermine our economy to bring our nation to its knees. For what purpose? That depends on who’s pulling the strings. I concede that this begins to sound a little paranoid from someone who usually dismisses conspiracy theories. On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine that anyone, especially the leaders of our nation, are stupid enough not to realize they’re doing the exact things required to accelerate the collapse of our already destabilized economy. And, if they’re not stupid, then they must have a reason for what they’re doing.

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NotYourDaddy is a conservative libertarian who believes in free will and the free market. NYD thinks the role of the government is to protect the rights and liberties of its citizens. Stop there.

NYD’s attitude toward ever-expanding government can best be summed up by snarling “Get your hand out of my pocket and leave me alone!” Visit NotYourDaddy’s blog at Government is Not Your Daddy.


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Delivering the Goods

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Editor

Originally posted 2009-09-15 21:12:40. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Marriner S. Eccles Federal Reserve Board Building
Image by cliff1066 via Flickr

by Margaret Goodwin
Government is Not Your Daddy
September 14, 2009

The United States rose up from a handful of rebellious colonies to become the richest and most powerful nation in the world. Why? Because we led the world in production. For 200 years, America delivered the goods.

But, in the 1970’s, all that suddenly changed. For the first time in history, the U.S. started having trade deficits. That means our net consumption exceeded our net production. And, every single year since 1975, our nation has consistently consumed more than it produced. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that’s not sustainable.

The depressing truth is America is no longer a world leader in production. We are trailing the pack. We are now a debtor nation, and our biggest creditor is China. — What the hell happened? And how will we ever recover? And, the more disturbing question is, what will happen to America if we don’t?

If we ever want to restore America to its proper place in the world, the first thing we need to understand is why we no longer have a productive economy. It’s pretty simple, really. — Because we no longer produce. Why not? – If we take a good hard look at the nature of production, maybe we can figure that out. The three key elements of production are capital, labor, and raw materials.

First, you need capital for research and development. To develop a new product that meets a real need in the marketplace takes a lot of research. It may take many years to develop. Research and development is extremely expensive, and there’s no guarantee of success. There has to be an enormous potential return on investment to justify that kind of risk.

That kind of return on investment is what our current administration refers to as “excessive profits.” And they have this notion that “excessive profits” should be punitively taxed. When government puts a lid on the potential for return on investment, what happens? The investors take their capital and invest it someplace else, — someplace that welcomes production, and wants to build up their economy and provide employment for their population. (Unlike the United States, it would seem.)

The second thing you need for production is raw materials. No matter what you want to produce, you need some combination of raw materials to produce it, whether wood, paper, metal, glass, fiber, or petroleum products. All raw materials come from the earth; they don’t come out of the air, or some genius’ imagination, or the printing presses at the Federal Reserve. They all come out of the ground, either through timber, mining, or agriculture.

Here, in Southern Oregon, we live in one of the richest areas in the country, in terms of natural resources. We’re rich in timber. We’re rich in minerals. But, if this part of the country is so rich, why is it so poor? Why is unemployment so high? Because we’re not allowed to use the natural resources with which we’re abundantly blessed. Overregulation, and the endless environmental litigation it has spawned, has all but curtailed the timber and mining industries, — the very industries that provide raw materials for every sort of production on which our economy relies. And the overregulation doesn’t stop there. It’s hobbling the manufacturing industries, too.

The third thing required for production is labor. We’ve actually got a surplus of that. Look at our unemployment numbers, nationwide. Private sector jobs are steadily declining because our industries are stymied by excessive regulation and punitive taxation. So how does our government address that issue? It tries to replace the jobs lost due to declining production by creating new jobs in the public sector.

The trouble is those jobs do nothing to restore our national productivity. Public sector jobs and service jobs don’t create any new wealth. They just swirl money around in the economy. And, as that money swirls around, more and more of it leaks out to other countries, as we buy foreign-made products because we can’t or don’t produce enough at home.

As the real wealth leaks out of our economy, the Fed prints up more and more new money, which only dilutes the value of the money we already have in circulation, leading to higher and higher inflation. As long as we consume more than we produce, there is no way to add real value back into our economy, and our currency will continue to lose whatever value it has. We must restore production to have a sustainable economy.

This country was founded on the sacred principles of liberty and freedom. Not just individual freedom, but economic freedom. America became a world leader because America delivered the goods. That’s what it’s all about. That’s what it’s always been about. We have to stay solvent to preserve our liberty. If our economy fails, we’ll lose our freedom. Stifling production smothers the economy. And that’s what our government is doing.

Contact your Congressmen and Senators and tell them we want our economy back. Government can’t solve the problem. Government is the problem. Give us back our economy, and get government out of the way!

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Margaret Goodwin writes for the Government is Not Your Daddy blog.

Article published with the author’s permission.

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What Socialism Is

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Editor

Originally posted 2009-09-04 12:04:20. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Errors-of-socialism 1by Nancy Morgan
RightBias.com
September 4, 2009

When a word comes too close to actually identifying an inconvenient reality, secular progressives spring into action. The offending word is either redefined or reduced its first letter, thereby signifying that polite society will no longer accept it. You’ve heard of the N word, the B word (think Hillary) and now comes the S word.

By its abbreviation, the S word, formerly known as socialism, infers a negative connotation. A negative connotation richly deserved due to the incontrovertible fact that socialism has failed every where it has been tried.

In a nutshell, socialism is an economic system where property is held in common, not individually, and its ideal is a centrally directed economy. Socialism entails the substitution of group decision making for individual choice. In this case, the ‘group’ making the decisions are the 32 (and counting) unelected and unaccountable czars Obama is anointing.

The origins of socialist thought come directly from Aristotle. Aristotle believed that since only actions aiming at a perceived benefit to others were, to his mind, morally approved, then actions solely for personal gain (capitalism) must be bad.

This theory of Aristotle’s is the basic premise of the Obama administration. By claiming the ‘moral high ground’ of the ‘greater good’ Obama and his minions have free reign to radically alter both our system of government and the hundreds of years of tradition it represents.

Under the guise of altruism and the greater good, Obama has launched a full scale attack on capitalism. The very capitalism that has fed the world for decades. The capitalism that has produced the highest standard of living in the freest and most productive country in the world. But, according to the ruling elite, capitalism is bad, because it entails, gasp, ‘profit’. And every progressive worth his salt knows profit is only possible on the backs of less fortunate. Right?

Obama and the secular progressives who now determine policy in America pride themselves on being the intellectual representatives of modern thought and thus superior in knowledge, wisdom and moral virtue than those who hold traditional values (conservatives). They believe their duty is to offer new ideas to the public and deride whatever is conventional and/or traditional. Newness, not truth, is their main value.*

The fly in Obama’s ointment is the fact that the system of socialism isn’t very good at creating wealth. Only individuals do that. But hey, socialism is ‘ethically superior’ and that’s what counts. Right?

Obama was voted into office based on his skill at selling abstract ideas like equality and justice. Millions of Americans bought into his spiel. Most likely the very same Americans who buy lottery tickets. Against all reason, they were led to believe that the government can provide them a free lunch. And there will be no cost to them. And best of all, these moochers can also claim the moral high ground. After all, they are victims of rich capitalists. And that’s not fair! And its not their fault that they haven’t won life’s lottery.

The problem with their premise can be reduced to two words. Free will. God gave us free will – the ability to fail or succeed based on the choices we make. Obama proposes to do away with free will and vest those decisions in a central government.

Losers can now breathe a sigh of relief. Whew. Now, instead of losers, they’re much valued victims. And the new socialist society Obama and friends are in the process of implementing has a moral duty to shield them from the consequences of their bad choices. But best of all, socialism allows life’s losers the moral high ground as they systematically plunder the fruits of another man’s labor.

This is socialism. This is what President Obama wants America to be. But students of history insist on asking the question: How long can a society survive that rewards failure and punishes success? Unfortunately, America will get an answer to that question if Obama is allowed to continue transforming our country into his ‘new and improved’ idea of a socialist utopia.

* Hayek’s ‘The Errors of Socialism’

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Nancy Morgan is a columnist and news editor for RightBias.com
She lives in South Carolina

Article has been published with permission from the author

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The Financial Crisis – Part 2: The Rest of the Story

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Editor

Originally posted 2009-10-15 15:40:28. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

stockmarket460by Andrew Syrios
SwiftEconomics.com
June 2, 2009

In the first part of my series on the financial crisis, we discovered that by loosening regulations on the housing industry, while simultaneously continuing to federally back deposits and bailout banks in case anything went wrong, the government created an ample playground for massive speculation. In this second part, we will look at why that speculation was focused in real estate, and where the money to fund such speculation came from in the first place.

We’ll start with the question: “Why housing?” It starts with a redefinition of the American Dream. Whereas in years past, the American dream was best defined as prosperity can be found in liberty, it has become, in modern times, that home ownership is the key ingredient to achieving such a dream. As George Bush’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Alphonso Jackson put bluntly, “The American dream is to own a home.”

This paradigm dates back to the New Deal. Before the New Deal, owning a home was not as important as it is today, because housing prices were relatively stable and even declined over the years. However, during the Great Depression, political radicalism became common place. In 1928, the Communist and Socialist parties garnered a combined 300,000 votes. In 1932, they received almost a million. (1) In an effort to stabilize the mortgage industry, and hedge off political radicalism, FDR and his brain trust decided to push for home ownership in the United States. They believed a property-owning citizenry would have a greater stake in the Republic and be less prone to revolutionary ideas. This culminated in the creation of Fannie Mae (and later Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae). Fannie Mae works by buying mortgages directly from banks, thus freeing up capital for banks to make more home loans, thus creating more homeowners and fewer renters. And as a result, as economic historian Niall Ferguson puts it, the “property-owning democracy” was born.

However, as nice as owning your home sounds, it is a poor, long term investment financially speaking, unless one has other assets with which to compliment it. In general, buying real estate to use as rental properties is a good investment. On the other hand though, piling a large percentage of one’s income into a home that provides no return outside of appreciation, puts all of one’s proverbial eggs in one proverbial basket. If the local housing market depreciates, a major portion of one’s wealth is affected. Every finance professor stresses the importance of diversification. The idea is to hedge the risk of certain companies and industries against as many other companies and industries as possible. By spreading one’s nest egg so thinly, if one company fails or a particular industry has a rough year, the overall portfolio is relatively unaffected. This is why most unseasoned investors put their money in mutual funds, 401K’s and IRA’s. These instruments are designed specifically to hedge clients against risk by investing in a large number of stable companies across a vast array of industries.

fannie-mae

This concept was, unfortunately, completely forgotten with regards to housing. And as the trumpeters for home ownership grew louder and louder, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae jumped on every opportunity they could to increase the availability of credit to homeowners. Their primary method was a process called securitization. In short, these government supported entities (GSE’s) could slice and dice a whole array of mortgages into mortgage backed securities and sell them off in little chunks to other investors (these investors are all over the world, which is one of the main reasons this crisis, which originated in the United States, is being felt worldwide).

A few attempts were made to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but Congressional Democrats, lead by Barney Frank and Chris Dodd (who received more campaign funds from Fannie Mae than any other politician), would have none of it. As Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters, last seen on this blog trying to establish a Soviet Commissar to nationalize the entire oil industry, put it in a 2004 congressional hearing:

“[We’ve been] through nearly a dozen hearings, where frankly, we were trying to fix something that wasn’t broke. Mr. Chairman, we do not have a crisis at Freddie Mac, and particularly at Fannie Mae, under the outstanding leadership of Mr. Frank Raines.” (2)

Four years later the government had to nationalize both Freddie and Fannie. Good call Maxine. Regardless, as these GSE’s began slicing, dicing and selling mortgages off unimpeded, Wall Street decided to get their dirty hands in on the mess. With home prices rapidly increasing and an enormous influx of capital (to be discussed later), banks wanted to capitalize on this new financial instrument (the mortgage backed security). Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac started securitizing sub-prime and Alt-A mortgages in 1999, and major banks were particularly interested in going after this market as well. These borrowers usually had bad credit and little if anything to put down on a property. So Wall Street firms followed in Fannie Mae’s footsteps by piling large collections of these risky mortgages together and selling little pieces of them off to the general public. They thereby created a high yield investment vehicle that supposedly reduced risk by dividing the many mortgages up so thinly. Unfortunately, this only hedged against individual defaults or local downturns. It completely ignored the possibility that there was a systemic problem within the real estate market as a whole.

In the words of Peter Schiff, who saw the crisis coming as early as 2002: “By creating a conflict of interest between the real estate market and mortgage market, securitization has corrupted an industry in which the availability and cost of credit are of central economic importance.” (3) Furthermore, the incredible complexity of these instruments made them almost impossible to value properly. To paraphrase Niall Ferguson, “instead of risk being transferred to those best able to bare it, risk was transferred to those least able to understand it.”

Fannie, Freddie and Ginnie were not the only culprits, though. In the late 1990’s, the Clinton Administration put an extreme emphasis on increasing home ownership. Aside from giving the previously mentioned GSE’s more leeway, they also started vigorously enforcing everything they could find, or create, to increase home ownership. One of the most prominent was the Community Reinvestment Act, originally passed during the Carter Administration. The Community Reinvestment Act was originally passed with the intent to increase lending to minorities and end the discriminatory practice known as redlining (basically, banks wouldn’t lend to neighborhoods with large minority populations). Unfortunately, as these things often go, it went from one extreme to another, and the opposite of one crazy is still crazy. Instead of blacklisting minority applicants, in the 1990’s and 2000’s, banks were scared to death of lawsuits from declining mortgages to minorities or low-income folks, even if those particular people weren’t financially capable of meeting their mortgage obligations.

Far left groups like ACORN were particularly active in finding cases of alleged discrimination that they could turn into extraordinarily expensive lawsuits. In one particular case, a bank was forced to make $2.1 billion dollars available to low income borrowers who would not have otherwise qualified. Andrew Cuomo, Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Housing and Development, even admitted, “…[it] will be a higher risk. And I’m sure there will be a higher default rate on those mortgages than on the rest of the portfolio.” (4) Wow, how compassionate of Mr. Cuomo. To paraphrase, in my own, sarcastic words, “We’re going to set poor people, who should be trying to save, up to fail by forcing other people to lend them money.”

In the end, the common, “blame deregulation,” chants are rather ridiculous since just about every new policy enacted was to prop up housing, and almost explicitly NOT reign in the excesses throughout the industry. As economist, Tom Woods puts it:

“We are supposed to place our hopes in regulators who would have to be courageous enough to stand up to against the entire political, academic and media establishments? What regulator would have done anything differently, or dared to tell the regime something other than what it obviously wanted to hear?” (5)

So nearly every factor imaginable was pushing capital into the housing market. But where did all this money to put into real estate come from? Many haven’t even asked this question. The main reason, I believe, is that people do not properly understand real estate appreciation. Realtors and bankers often said during the run-up, “real estate prices always go up” and “think of your home as an investment.” In other words, think of a house like you would a stock. If the company becomes more profitable, the stock goes up in value. Real wealth has been created. No one will admit it, but the implied assumption was that when housing prices went up, wealth was being created. Somehow just about everyone, including myself, actually thought houses were becoming more “profitable” just by their mere existence.

Houses do not become more “profitable” just by sitting there, though. They may become more valuable because of factors relating to supply and demand, but as houses get older and more worn down, they should actually depreciate. Real estate appreciation is accurately defined as anything that increases the value of a house. This could be adding an addition, remodeling the bathroom, putting in a swimming pool, etc. These types of activities add real wealth. When housing prices started to dart up around the turn of the century, no new wealth was being created. No, what we saw was nothing more than plain, old inflation.

Inflation was thus misinterpreted as wealth, leading American consumers to borrow more and more, especially against their overvalued homes. Total mortgage debt in the United States is now around 12.5 trillion, up from $1.5 trillion in 1980! Total household debt was around 50% of GDP in 1980 and is over 100% today. (6) And the personal saving rate was around negative 1%, for most of the last decade. (7) Add this to the federal government’s enormous 10 trillion dollar debt and we discover that the United States was basically relying solely on debt to sustain its consumption; debt that could only be maintained through the equity American’s thought their homes had. U.S. citizens were literally refinancing their homes to buy consumer products. When those homes began to depreciate, the stage was set for a significant economic contraction.

consumerdebtoutstanding2 Source: PrudentBear.com 
householddebtgdp1 Source: PrudentBear.com 

 

So where did this inflation come from? Well, it came from the extremely foolish policy of Alan Greenspan and the Federal Reserve. Tom Woods explains their missteps as follows:

“The Fed… started the boom by increasing the money supply through the banking system with the aim and the effect of lowering interest rates in the wake of September 11, which came just over a year after the dot-com bust, then Fed chairman Alan Greenspan sought to re-ignitethe economy through a series of rate cuts, culminating in the extraordinary decision to lower the target federal funds rate (the rate at which banks lend to one another overnight, and which usually drives other interest rates) to 1 percent for a full year, from June 2003 until June 2004. In order to bring about this result, the supply of money was increased dramatically during those years, with more dollars being created between 2000 and 2007 than in the rest of the republic’s history.” (8)

The Fed does not directly control interest rates or the supply of money, but through what are called open market operations, the Fed can have a substantial effect on these things. The most common method it uses is to buy up bonds with money it simply create out of thin air. This adds money into the economy which, through a process called fractional reserve banking, the Fed’s initial capital injection will increase 10 fold.* The Fed can also lower the discount rate (rate at which they loan directly to banks), or decrease bank’s reserve requirements to increase the money supply.

Regardless of the methods the Fed used, what is clear is that the quantity of money rapidly increased throughout the ’90’s and into this decade. The Fed uses several indicators to track the total amount of money in the economy. One of these, known as M1, increased over 100% from 1990 to 2008. M3, a more accurate depiction of the money supply, which was discontinued in 2006 because of the difficulty measuring it, increased 150% from 1995 to 2005! (9)

M1_Max_630_378
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

 
M3_Max_630_378
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

 

The Federal Reserve went way overboard in an attempt to stave off a severe recession in 2001. We still had one, but it was brief and mild. In essence, they delayed much of the pain we should have faced then until now. It should also be noted, that the 2001 recession was the only recession on record in which housing starts did not decline. This should have been a sure fire sign that something was amiss in the housing market. As Peter Schiff so fittingly put it, “George Bush, in one of his speeches, said that Wall Street got drunk… But what he doesn’t point out is where did they get the alcohol? Obviously, Greenspan poured the alcohol…” (10)

To summarize, the Federal Reserve dramatically lowered interest rates, thereby increasing the quantity of money in the economy. That money had to go somewhere and due to a host of government policies and political pressure, this money primarily found its way into housing. The dangerous combination of loosened regulation and the moral hazard of deposit insurance, as well as an implicit bailout guarantee, made banks feel more and more comfortable making loans to less and less credit-worthy borrowers. With securitization, Fannie Mae, other GSE’s and banks were able to sell off their overvalued debt to unsuspecting investors, thereby infecting the entire economy. When adjustable rate mortgages began adjusting, the least credit-worthy borrowers began defaulting on their mortgages, causing home prices to fall. As home prices fell, homeowners lost their equity and could no longer refinance, thereby causing more foreclosures. As foreclosures spiked, investors and banks holding these mortgage backed securities, as well as insurance companies such as AIG who backed them, began taking massive losses. Massive losses on Wall Street meant firms had to lay-off workers. And without the ability to refinance, homeowners had less money to spend causing firms outside of finance to become less profitable and either go out of business or downsize. Thus, a mortgage meltdown turned into a financial crisis and culminated in a severe recession. Hopefully, we’ll learn the right lessons from the whole mess. Unfortunately, I kinda doubt it.

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*Fractional reserve banking is when a bank only has to keep a certain percentage of their deposits on hand and can loan out the rest. Typically, banks only have to keep 10% of deposits on hand and can lend out the other 90%. That 90% is then deposited in another bank, which loans out 90% of the original 90% and so on. Eventually, assuming a 10% reserve requirement, the initial deposit will increase by a multiple of 10. Mathematically it looks like this:

X = Initial Deposit
Y = Reserve Requirement

X/Y = Total Amount of money added to the economy

So for example, if you deposit $100 at a bank that has a 10% reserve requirement:
$100/0.1 = $1000 will be the total amount of money eventually created.
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(1) “United States presidential election 1928″ and “United States presidential elcction 1932,” Wikipeda.org, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_1928 and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_1932
(2) “Shocking Video Unearthed Democrats in their own words Covering up the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Scam that caused our Economic Crisis,” Retrieved May 31, 2008, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MGT_cSi7Rs
(3) Peter Schiff, Crash Proof, Pg. 126, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Copyright 2007
(4) “EVIDENCE FOUND!!! Clinton administration’s “BANK AFFIRMATIVE ACTION” They forced banks to make BAD LOANS and ACORN and OBama’s tie to all of it!!!,” Retrieved May 31, 2008, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivmL-lXNy64
(5) Thomas Woods, Meltdown, Pg. 29, Regnery Publishing, Inc., Copyright 2009
(6) “Consumer Debt Outstanding” and “Household Debt% of GDP,” PrudentBear.com, both uploaded 2/28/2009, http://www.prudentbear.com/index.php/consumer-debt and http://www.prudentbear.com/index.php/household-sector-debt-of-gdp
(7) “Our Savings Rate Is (Still) Negative: Should We Worry,” My Money Blog, 2/4/07, http://www.mymoneyblog.com/archives/2007/02/our-savings-rate-is-negative-should-we-worry.html
(8) Thomas Woods, Meltdown, Pg. 26, Regnery Publishing, Inc., Copyright 2009
(9) “Series: M1, M1 Money Stock” and “Series: M3, M3 Money Stock (DISCONTINUED SERIES),” Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/M1 and http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/M3
(10) Peter Schiff, “Why the Meltdown Should Have Surprised No One,” The 2009 Henry Hazlitt Memorial Lecture, Retrieved May 31, 2008, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgMclXX5msc

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Andrew Syrios writes for SwiftEconomics.com

This is Part 2 of his two part series addressing the effect of regulation/de-regulation on the state of the current economy. While these articles were originally published in May and June, their relevance continues to be strong today.

Articles have been published with the author’s permission.

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