Another Bad Idea From Capitol Hill

I admit, I am no Soviet Union historian, but I do know this: The old Soviet economy was based principally upon the idea of central government control over all aspects of the economy. Most notably, the Soviet Union’s Politburo and central government apparatus determined how much energy (read oil and natural gas) would be used by what consumers and when. So how is the Soviet Union doing with their economy now? Oh, yeah–they collapsed. But Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) thinks nationalizing American oil refineries might be a good idea.

Admittedly, there were many reasons for the demise of the Soviet Union, but the country’s economic policies certainly played a large part in their collapse. Simply put, there are too many variables in the mass market for major needs like food and most notably energy and oil consumption to be controlled by the central government. There are environmental factors–like a colder winter that drives up consumption of energy, or a series of floods that greatly reduces the food supply for a nation. These can be “planned for” but in reality, the central government is reactionary at best. So what was not so good for the Soviet Union 30 years ago has suddenly become fashionable for Capitol Hill Democrats.

Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) actually suggested that perhaps America’s aging oil refineries (which a new one has not been built in this country since the Soviet Union existed) should be owned by the U.S. Government. That’s right, folks, lets nationalize oil refineries, so that Maurice Hinchey and his buddies can determine who gets how much oil and gasoline. Does anyone on Capitol Hill read history any more? The Soviet Union employed the smartest people in their country to help run the economy and they couldn’t do it. Does Maurice Hinchey believe that America is so much smarter than the Soviets that doing it now makes sense when history shows us clearly that it does not make sense to nationalize anything?

The solution to the oil price and gas price crunch will come in two forms, perhaps simultaneously. First, we do need more oil production. It is simple economics, the price of something will come down as the supply of that thing goes up. So increase supply of oil, decrease the price of oil. How do you do that, start allowing drilling on the outer continental shelf. Right now China, India, and a host of other nations are starting or planning to start drilling 51 miles off the coast of Florida–in international waters. We could do the same both in international waters and in our own national waters that are less than 50 miles from shore.

The second part of the solution is to stop using so much oil and gas. This is the other side of simple economics. Decrease the demand, decrease the price. The sale of hybrid vehicles is on the increase and the sale of gas guzzling SUVs is on the decrease. The market is reacting just as it should.

I am not saying anything profound here, it is basic economics. But Congress also needs a primer not only on basic economics, but also on history. Central control of anything leads to unforseen shortages and black markets, neither of which are helpful to America’s needs. Maurice Hinchey is an idiot if he things nationalizing any industry, particularly just the oil refinery, is going to solve our energy problems. Simple basic economics will solve the problem–eventually.

Posted by Matt Johnston at June 19, 2008 9:51 AM
Comments
Comment #256012

The Dems in Congress made fools out of themselves. They just didn’t know the facts. That Maurice guy is just stupid, however. Even his fellow Dems winced at his ignorance.

Posted by: Jack at June 19, 2008 1:48 PM
Comment #256021

Matt -

1 - The following Republicans claim there’ drilling by China off the coast of Cuba:
Vice President Dick Cheney
Representative Michele Bachmann (MN-06)
Candidate Brian Davis (MN-01)
Candidate John Gard (WI-08)
Representative Sam Graves (MO-06)
Candidate Melissa Hart (PA-04)
Candidate Luke Puckett (IN-02)
Representative Jean Schmidt (OH-02)
Representative Tim Walberg (MI-07)

BUT is NO drilling by China off the coast of Cuba, but onshore IN Cuba, as even a Florida Republican admits:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/06/12/politics/politico/thecrypt/main4177282.shtml
http://www.politico.com/blogs/thecrypt/0608/Report_Chinese_arent_drilling_near_Cuba.html
http://www.democrats.org/a/2008/06/gop_senator_cub.php

Check your sources, please, before you unintentionally promulgate falsehoods.

2 - INSUFFICIENT oversight is at least as bad as too much oversight. In 2003, the attorneys general from ALL FIFTY STATES tried to tell the Bush administration that legislation was urgently needed to stop predatory lending practices - and the Bush administration enacted a Civil War-era law that not only prevented ANY such legislation but also NEGATED all measures states had already taken to do so.

And what kind of shape is our economy in now, mainly due to subprime mortgage mess?
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/13/AR2008021302783.html

3 - Should the we have government-run Universal Health Care? Hm. Did you know we are FORTY-FIFTH on the life-expectancy list, and EVERY nation on the list above us (except for Bosnia and Jordan, 42nd and 40th place, respectively) DOES have universal health care in one form or another, and this includes ALL of the free industrialized nations of Western Europe except for Ireland.

AND is that bad for the economy? Japan, near the top of the list, pays per capita for their Universal Health Care about HALF of what we ALREADY do for our NON-Universal Health Care. How do they do this, even though their people see the doctor on average three times more often than we do? Instead of people having to wait until their health problems get really bad (and hideously expensive), they take care of it AHEAD of time - MUCH cheaper that way.

ON TOP OF THAT, every business can then pass the savings of NOT having to pay for health care on to the consumer. Can you imagine how Detroit would be if our cars all cost $2000 less? That’s about how much company health care adds to the cost of the product.

And I, an American citizen, ALREADY have ‘socialized health care’ - it’s called TriCare…and you get it when you retire from military service. Imagine that - all the conservative retired military who rail against Universal Health Care by calling it ‘socialized’…but they’ve ALREADY got it! Gotta love the irony….

So…Matt - please check your facts first.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at June 19, 2008 2:44 PM
Comment #256023

Matt -

1 - The following Republicans claim there’s drilling by China off the coast of Cuba:
Vice President Dick Cheney
Representative Michele Bachmann (MN-06)
Candidate Brian Davis (MN-01)
Candidate John Gard (WI-08)
Representative Sam Graves (MO-06)
Candidate Melissa Hart (PA-04)
Candidate Luke Puckett (IN-02)
Representative Jean Schmidt (OH-02)
Representative Tim Walberg (MI-07)

BUT is NO drilling by China off the coast of Cuba, but onshore IN Cuba, as even a Florida Republican admits.

Check around in the internet and you’ll see what I mean.

2 - INSUFFICIENT oversight is at least as bad as too much oversight. In 2003, the attorneys general from ALL FIFTY STATES tried to tell the Bush administration that legislation was urgently needed to stop predatory lending practices - and the Bush administration enacted a Civil War-era law that not only prevented ANY such legislation but also NEGATED all measures states had already taken to do so.

And what kind of shape is our economy in now, mainly due to subprime mortgage mess?

3 - Should the we have government-run Universal Health Care? Hm. Did you know we are FORTY-FIFTH on the life-expectancy list, and EVERY nation on the list above us (except for Bosnia and Jordan, 42nd and 40th place, respectively) DOES have universal health care in one form or another, and this includes ALL of the free industrialized nations of Western Europe except for Ireland.

AND is that bad for the economy? Japan, near the top of the list, pays per capita for their Universal Health Care about HALF of what we ALREADY do for our NON-Universal Health Care. How do they do this, even though their people see the doctor on average three times more often than we do? Instead of people having to wait until their health problems get really bad (and hideously expensive), they take care of it AHEAD of time - MUCH cheaper that way.

ON TOP OF THAT, every business can then pass the savings of NOT having to pay for health care on to the consumer. Can you imagine how Detroit would be if our cars all cost $2000 less? That’s about how much company health care adds to the cost of the product.

And I, an American citizen, ALREADY have ‘socialized health care’ - it’s called TriCare…and you get it when you retire from military service. Imagine that - all the conservative retired military who rail against Universal Health Care by calling it ‘socialized’…but they’ve ALREADY got it! Gotta love the irony….

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at June 19, 2008 2:51 PM
Comment #256025

You’ve convinced me. I’m voting Republican.


;-)

Posted by: Max at June 19, 2008 2:56 PM
Comment #256031
And what kind of shape is our economy in now, mainly due to subprime mortgage mess?

The subprime mortgage issue is not good, but it is not tanking our economy nearly as much as doubling of fuel prices. The mortgage issue affects a small percentage of people. The fuel crunch affects EVERYONE.

Also, most of the problems were due to breaking existing laws, not having laws or oversight retracted. The people committing fraud should be put in jail for their crimes, but overreacting and putting in draconian regulations that could potentially block millions of people from being able to own homes is not the answer.

But, that’s just my 2 cents.

ON TOP OF THAT, every business can then pass the savings of NOT having to pay for health care on to the consumer. Can you imagine how Detroit would be if our cars all cost $2000 less? That’s about how much company health care adds to the cost of the product.

LOL. It would be great if they cost 2000 less, except I’ll be taking home even less than that every year to pay for it…

Posted by: Rhinehold at June 19, 2008 3:08 PM
Comment #256033

Rhinehold -

Didja miss the part about how Japan - whose go to the doctor three times as much as we do - pays about half of what we do per capita?

Which means they pay about HALF as much in taxes for health care per capita as we ALREADY do…in other words, if we did things as Japan does, we’d pay HALF as much in taxes for Universal Health Care as we ALREADY do for our present system of health care of the moneyed, for the moneyed, by the moneyed.

In fact, a majority of nurses AND doctors (even though doctors know they would make less) AND Americans want Universal Health Care. Who DOESN’T want Universal Health Care? Conservatives (a minority in America), HMO’s, major pharmaceuticals, and health insurance companies.

And who really has your health care in their best interest? Health insurance companies? Or nurses and doctors?

So your point about the $2000 less is not what you believe it to be. Furthermore, think about how much more attractive our exports would be…particularly in our biggest export: aircraft.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at June 19, 2008 3:20 PM
Comment #256034
The people committing fraud should be put in jail for their crimes

Ooo, looks like it is starting to happen already too.

http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/bear-stearns-managers-indicted-emails/story.aspx?guid=%7B95F4E850-189C-4350-86D0-070E278F5C03%7D&dist=hplatest

Posted by: Rhinehold at June 19, 2008 3:24 PM
Comment #256036

Rhinehold -

One more thing - who knows more about what led to the subprime mortgage mess? You? Or the attorneys general of ALL FIFTY STATES, Democrat AND Republican?

And maybe you didn’t read the part about the Civil War-era law that Bush used to prevent ANY laws - state OR federal - from regulating the banking and lending industries?

It wasn’t that the lenders were breaking existing laws - it’s just that ALL regulatory oversight was removed…sorta like Iraq, come to think of it….

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at June 19, 2008 3:25 PM
Comment #256037

Glenn,

You are looking at this in a very simplistic view and assigning reasons why things are the way they are which may not be correct or, at the very least, are more complex than you give them credit to be.

Japan pays less per capita, yes. But why do we pay more? Because the government isn’t paying for it? No. Once you can answer that question can you start to resolve the issue.

Posted by: Rhinehold at June 19, 2008 3:26 PM
Comment #256038
It wasn’t that the lenders were breaking existing laws

Actually, they were. It was called fraud… maybe you’ve heard about it?

Posted by: Rhinehold at June 19, 2008 3:29 PM
Comment #256039

Rhinehold -

What you’re referring to is different from what really led to the subprime mess, so here’s a little something to help you out. Seems like every time I post a link, the forum kicks it back and disallows the post, so I pasted the entire story from the Washington Post below:

Several years ago, state attorneys general and others involved in consumer protection began to notice a marked increase in a range of predatory lending practices by mortgage lenders. Some were misrepresenting the terms of loans, making loans without regard to consumers’ ability to repay, making loans with deceptive “teaser” rates that later ballooned astronomically, packing loans with undisclosed charges and fees, or even paying illegal kickbacks. These and other practices, we noticed, were having a devastating effect on home buyers. In addition, the widespread nature of these practices, if left unchecked, threatened our financial markets.

Even though predatory lending was becoming a national problem, the Bush administration looked the other way and did nothing to protect American homeowners. In fact, the government chose instead to align itself with the banks that were victimizing consumers.

Predatory lending was widely understood to present a looming national crisis. This threat was so clear that as New York attorney general, I joined with colleagues in the other 49 states in attempting to fill the void left by the federal government. Individually, and together, state attorneys general of both parties brought litigation or entered into settlements with many subprime lenders that were engaged in predatory lending practices. Several state legislatures, including New York’s, enacted laws aimed at curbing such practices.

What did the Bush administration do in response? Did it reverse course and decide to take action to halt this burgeoning scourge? As Americans are now painfully aware, with hundreds of thousands of homeowners facing foreclosure and our markets reeling, the answer is a resounding no.

Not only did the Bush administration do nothing to protect consumers, it embarked on an aggressive and unprecedented campaign to prevent states from protecting their residents from the very problems to which the federal government was turning a blind eye.

Let me explain: The administration accomplished this feat through an obscure federal agency called the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). The OCC has been in existence since the Civil War. Its mission is to ensure the fiscal soundness of national banks. For 140 years, the OCC examined the books of national banks to make sure they were balanced, an important but uncontroversial function. But a few years ago, for the first time in its history, the OCC was used as a tool against consumers.

In 2003, during the height of the predatory lending crisis, the OCC invoked a clause from the 1863 National Bank Act to issue formal opinions preempting all state predatory lending laws, thereby rendering them inoperative. The OCC also promulgated new rules that prevented states from enforcing any of their own consumer protection laws against national banks. The federal government’s actions were so egregious and so unprecedented that all 50 state attorneys general, and all 50 state banking superintendents, actively fought the new rules.

But the unanimous opposition of the 50 states did not deter, or even slow, the Bush administration in its goal of protecting the banks. In fact, when my office opened an investigation of possible discrimination in mortgage lending by a number of banks, the OCC filed a federal lawsuit to stop the investigation.

Throughout our battles with the OCC and the banks, the mantra of the banks and their defenders was that efforts to curb predatory lending would deny access to credit to the very consumers the states were trying to protect. But the curbs we sought on predatory and unfair lending would have in no way jeopardized access to the legitimate credit market for appropriately priced loans. Instead, they would have stopped the scourge of predatory lending practices that have resulted in countless thousands of consumers losing their homes and put our economy in a precarious position.

When history tells the story of the subprime lending crisis and recounts its devastating effects on the lives of so many innocent homeowners, the Bush administration will not be judged favorably. The tale is still unfolding, but when the dust settles, it will be judged as a willing accomplice to the lenders who went to any lengths in their quest for profits. So willing, in fact, that it used the power of the federal government in an unprecedented assault on state legislatures, as well as on state attorneys general and anyone else on the side of consumers.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at June 19, 2008 3:31 PM
Comment #256040

Rhinehold -

In case you’re not going to read the whole thing, here’s the pertinent clause:

“In 2003, during the height of the predatory lending crisis, the OCC [by direction of the Bush Administration] invoked a clause from the 1863 National Bank Act to issue formal opinions preempting all state predatory lending laws, thereby rendering them inoperative. The OCC also promulgated new rules that prevented states from enforcing any of their own consumer protection laws against national banks. The federal government’s actions were so egregious and so unprecedented that all 50 state attorneys general, and all 50 state banking superintendents, actively fought the new rules.”

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at June 19, 2008 3:35 PM
Comment #256041

Why in the world would the oil industry be interested in building new refineries? It is a low, sometimes no, margin part of the oil business, it has in recent years provided a minor bottleneck in bringing oil from under the ground up into gas tanks. Oil production is roughly matched, world-wide, to consumption, about 87 million barrels produced, about 87 million consumed.
So … What exactly would these new refineries be refining?

Posted by: charles ross at June 19, 2008 3:36 PM
Comment #256042

Matt wrote: “The second part of the solution is to stop using so much oil and gas. This is the other side of simple economics. Decrease the demand, decrease the price. The sale of hybrid vehicles is on the increase and the sale of gas guzzling SUVs is on the decrease. The market is reacting just as it should.”

Interesting dilemma implied here. Prolong the agony of ever higher prices caused by a diminishing resource ever more costly to extract by reducing the price through conservation and absence of use. Or, invest in alternatives with revenues created by rising prices and profits, to hasten the day when oil is replaced for enough uses that its supply becomes abundant for its needed uses, again.

Nationalizing the whole of the American Oil Industry is a bad idea. But, nationalizing AN oil company that WILL drill where the private sector won’t, WOULD create competition which would motivate the private oligopoly to compete instead of acting like a monopoly or cartel. It is worth discussing and considering.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 19, 2008 3:40 PM
Comment #256044

Glenn,

You make some mistakes that I think need cleared up. Take it for what it’s worth…

1) It does not matter when the law was created that the Bush administration used, the Constitution is a colonial document, that doesn’t make it bad. I disagree with the clause, but it is the law of the land no matter when it was passed.

2) I never advocated FOR predatory practices. If you don’t mind, quit trying to erect straw men to debate and stick to what is stated.

3) What you list is only part of the bigger story. It was not ‘predatory’ practices alone that brought about the problem we are seeing. The real problem, as I pointed out years ago, was the lack of education and thinking on the part of the consumer when offered ADJUSTABLE RATE MORTGAGES, which they should never have agreed to, because they thought they were getting a good deal. This was the fault of both sides, those selling the loans without adequately telling the consumer what the down sides were and the consumer who couldn’t see the flaw in the logic of using them. The fact that those loans existed was not the problem, they serve a purpose. The fact that these people took out those loans were not the problem, the individual should know better what they need and don’t need than anyone else.

4) But *THAT* was only part of the problem as well. In order to get people loans that normally they couldn’t many lenders actually misrepresented the credit risk of those loans when getting them approved and again when reselling them. They committed outright fraud, in that the people they were selling the loans too were not accurately aware of the risk they were taking on. *THIS* is the real issue. Sure, people make idiotic mistakes and one friend of mine who I warned against getting an APR mortgage (and taking out all of the existing equity in his house so he could take his family to Disneyland) lost his house during this because he could not afford the new rates.

But it is the ouright fraud that caused lendors to not be able to determine the right levels of risk they were getting involved with and eventually lead to the collapse of creditors who should have had this problem, affecting everyone who did have good standing loans with these companies.

Now, you can ignore the big picture to focus on the part that Bush screwed up (and yes, he did screw up) but that does no good in resolving or preventing the issue in the future or putting in appropriate resolutions in the present. It is only useful in making politically partisan attacks.

Which, I imgagine, is what you are concerned about most.

Posted by: Rhinehold at June 19, 2008 3:53 PM
Comment #256045

Something people often forget when discussing the issue is that gasoline is only one product created out of oil. Increasing the cost of oil affects not just gasoline, but computers, plastics, creating of fuel for hydrogen-cell technology, etc. It also increases the cost of transportation which goes into increasing the cost to us for every product we acquire.

While some think that increasing the price of oil will spur alternatives, all it will really do is put a huge crunch on our economy to the point that no one will be able to afford investing or creating the technology to get us past it’s use.

Remember, the work that people like Konarka have done was during low oil prices. I doubt that with high oil prices causing a down market that they would have found as many investors as they did and would be hamstrung…

Posted by: Rhinehold at June 19, 2008 3:59 PM
Comment #256046
innocent homeowners

This short line is all that is needed to tell that what you posted is not ‘journalism’ but opinion, and a flawed one at that.

No one forced anyone to sign anything. That is what is positive about the private sector over the government, which only operates with the threat of force.

Posted by: Rhinehold at June 19, 2008 4:01 PM
Comment #256047

BTW Glenn, just so I can be clear…

You are going on record defending State’s Rights?

Posted by: Rhinehold at June 19, 2008 4:09 PM
Comment #256048

Rhinehold -

I NEVER said you were FOR predatory lending practices. I SAID that the Bush Administration removed all state and federal regulatory oversight from the lenders.

And it seems that you believe that the attorneys general for ALL FIFTY STATES and the banking superintendents for ALL FIFTY STATES somehow missed the ‘big picture’, despite the fact that the majority were serving under REPUBLICAN state administrations.

Go back to what you were posting about the execs from Bear-Stearns. The FBI put the losses concerned at about ONE billion dollars…but the total losses from the predatory lending practices that the attorneys general and the banking superintendents of ALL FIFTY STATES were prevented from regulating could total ONE TRILLION dollars.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25251212/

So…which picture is bigger, indeed?

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at June 19, 2008 4:11 PM
Comment #256051

“no one is forced to sign anything”.

Yeah, so go tell that to the attorneys general and banking superintendents of ALL FIFTY STATES (under majority Republican administrations, remember) who wanted to regulate the lending industry. I guess you know better than they do.

No matter what rhetoric you post, no matter how much you call it ‘opinion’ vice ‘journalism’, the FACT is:

“the OCC [by direction of the Bush Administration] invoked a clause from the 1863 National Bank Act to issue formal opinions preempting all state predatory lending laws, thereby rendering them inoperative. The OCC also promulgated new rules that prevented states from enforcing any of their own consumer protection laws against national banks. The federal government’s actions were so egregious and so unprecedented that all 50 state attorneys general, and all 50 state banking superintendents, actively fought the new rules.””

Is that simply ‘opinion’? OR IS IT FACT?

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at June 19, 2008 4:23 PM
Comment #256053
But, nationalizing AN oil company that WILL drill where the private sector won’t, WOULD create competition which would motivate the private oligopoly to compete instead of acting like a monopoly or cartel. It is worth discussing and considering.

Where won’t private oil companies drill? And in your opinion, why not?

Posted by: Mr. Haney at June 19, 2008 4:41 PM
Comment #256054

Glenn,

Predatory lending practices are bad, but they do not absolve the individual for putting themselves in positions they get into. Unlike the articles states, they are not ‘innocent victims’.

They preyed upon their greed. No one was forced to sign anything.

That you are willing to give them a pass and hold the government responsible for their mistakes is telling.

As a result of the new policies, millions of people who could not get access to loans to purchase a home are now living in homes that they are paying and are not in default on. Apparently there is something wrong with that. We should kick those people out in order to protect the ones that made bad decisions and did default.

If I am not wearing my seatbelt in a car, the person who goes through the red light is wrong for hitting me, but am I absolved of the injury I sustained that a seat belt would have prevented because of that?

Posted by: Rhinehold at June 19, 2008 4:50 PM
Comment #256055

Mr Haney,

I think he answers those questions in the 3rd party/independents column article he just posted.

Posted by: Rhinehold at June 19, 2008 4:54 PM
Comment #256057

Rhinehold-
Greed for what? I could understand if you were criticizing those speculators who buy up properties just to flip them, but many of the people victimized by this were just folks looking to get a home who were victimized by people who understood more about the complexities of finance than they did.

Do you know what the main commonality of bankruptcy is? Being female and having kids. Folks indebt themselves to take care of their kinds, keep them housed, keep them healthy. Of course, we made bankruptcy much more difficult for those making less than fifty thousand, who we will assume without prior offense or crime to be freeloaders looking for free ride.

You can moralize about the people having these problems, or you can start recognizing that business that make a habit of encouraging this behavior for their own profit are corroding the foundation of our economy. The law of the jungle makes poor economic sense in times where each of us have a niche in an economic ecosystem sensitive to the secondary effects of other’s economic extinction. I know everybody dreams of a perfect market economy, where virtue is promoted through the pressures of competition, but competition doesn’t always bring out the best in people, and it is not a good idea to turn a blind eye to that.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 19, 2008 5:17 PM
Comment #256060
competition doesn’t always bring out the best in people, and it is not a good idea to turn a blind eye to that.

I will even claim that, if pressured enough, *every* competition will bring the worst in people. People can’t escape thousand centuries of survival instinct.

A good competitor know when it’s better to lost this time than do whatever-it-take to win. Unfortuntly, his stockholders won’t support to see one bit of short drop in the profit curve…

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at June 19, 2008 5:58 PM
Comment #256061

Mr. Haney, I answer your questions here.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 19, 2008 6:07 PM
Comment #256065

Rhinehold -

You still seem to be of the opinion that predatory lending practices should NOT be subject to federal regulation - “no one was forced to sign anything”.

As I’ve pointed out at least TWICE on this subject thread, the attorneys general and banking superintendents of ALL FIFTY STATES - which were majority REPUBLICAN, mind you - believe otherwise, and banded together to fight the Bush administration over the matter.

Are you going to go on record that you believe that ALL FIFTY attorneys general and ALL FIFTY banking superintendents of ALL FIFTY states were wrong?

BTW - you spoke of seat belts, so let’s look at that a different way. Washington state has a mandatory seat belt law - ‘thou shalt’, and so forth. Why is it MY business that Homeless Joe from Spokane wears HIS seat belt? Because if Homeless Joe is catastrophically injured or killed because he didn’t wear his seat belt, it’s ME and every other taxpayer in Washington that forks over more money to pay for Homeless Joe’s unpaid medical expenses.

So it goes with predatory lending. SURE, no one is forced to sign…but the nature of the practice WILL lead to more foreclosures and bankruptcies…and that DIRECTLY affects everything from the national economy to the crime rate…which makes it MY business and YOUR business.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at June 19, 2008 6:39 PM
Comment #256069

You’ve convinced me. I’m voting Republican.


;-)
Posted by: Max at June 19, 2008 02:56 PM

OMG! ME tooo!!!!!

I’m terrified that we would become independent on foreign oil if a Dem gets elected! I’m also scared to death that CEO’s on Wall Street wouldn’t be able to make 4700% of the average workers salary while they make decisions that lay all of their workers off!

Most importantly, I’m petrified that if John Bush McCain doesn’t get elected, that fags will marry and all the hetero marriages will be instantly invalidated causing society to crumble and the world to spontaneously explode into a giant interstellar dust ball. (But I don’t believe in outer space really, I’m just borrowing the interstellar thing from the Discovery channel).

SWEET HOLY JESUS GOD JEHOVAH who WORRIES ABOUT OUR EVERY MOVE…..

PLEASSSE… I BEG YOU! Let John BUSH McCain win, or at least steal Ohio and Florida again for the sake of the corporation and all things holy!!

Posted by: Taylor at June 19, 2008 8:51 PM
Comment #256071

Taylor, that was good for a genuine laugh. Well done!

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 19, 2008 10:36 PM
Comment #256079

Rhinehold,

While I agree with your premise that an individual should be held accountable for his actions, you seem to fail to see a pattern here.

Frontline did a story on the interference from the Feds on prosecution of predatory lenders. It was more than simple negligence. It was active interference at the behest of the industry.

If one builds a car with substandard brakes, and people die as a result, in court, the manufacturer is held accountable. Yes. a driver should know the limits of his car, but not every driver is an automotive safety expert. Neither is every person a financial Wiz.

You expose one of the reasons people mistrust Libertarians. They pretend to be pro freedom, but aver for pro monopolistic, one sided, corporate advantage.

Posted by: googlumpugus at June 20, 2008 12:54 AM
Comment #256082

David,

I am thinking along the same lines as you, as to the competition issue in refining and drilling onshore, but I have a lot of difficulty with nationalizing an oil company.

How do you set it up, so it doesn’t have unfair advantage? How do you select which company to nationalize?

It sounds good, and frankly, I don’t know how else you get a responsive oil industry, but the practicality of it seems far fetched.

Posted by: googlumpugus at June 20, 2008 1:00 AM
Comment #256083

edit{ I meant drilling on unused leases.

Posted by: googlumpugus at June 20, 2008 1:01 AM
Comment #256129

Nationalizing the refineries is a great idea! It will lower the supply of oil to the U.S. market, forcing the price even higher, and helping us get into alternative energy. In fact, it will be especially helpful in that regard, because if left private, more refineries might be built as companies see profitable opportunities. But the government doesn’t have to respond to consumers - just special interests - so it can keep a chokehold on supply by letting the refineries slowly rot.

In addition, nationalizing the refineries will help control the current account deficit: nobody will be willing to invest in America if they think we might steal their investment. Voila! No current account deficit.

It could even solve the budget deficit: if the U.S. government becomes a petulant socialist kleptocracy, nobody will lend the government money. A government that nobody will lend to can’t borrow, and has to balance its budget.

Brilliant, I tell you, brilliant!

Posted by: Chops at June 20, 2008 10:41 AM
Comment #256165

goo, one potential is for the government to buy out a small oil company which is about to fail or has fallen behind on its taxes, replace management, and designate that oil company’s mission and purpose as dedicated to maintaining the National Petroleum Reserve levels. This would give the government the ability to ‘negotiate’ the profit levels and salaries indirectly with private sector by regulating the flow of oil onto the market from the National Petro Reserve and refilling it as needed.

If the Oil Industry wants to play hard ball with the American public and economy, the government can simply release oil from the Reserve for military and other government uses instead of buying it from the private Oil Industry, and the Oil Corporates can accede to the government’s requests and needs for the economy and people, or not, as their bookkeepers dictate.

This would put the people and the government in the driver’s seat in negotiating with the Oil Execs instead of the other way around with the Oil Oligopoly. Hell, a president could even ask the Oil Industry to not contribute to ANY Congressional campaigns, and likely, the Oligopoly would split on whether to accede to such a request, and voila, the oligopoly is no more, on that issue. In its place is true competition amongst the oil companies, instead of a monopolistic position currently enjoyed.

The beauty is, no legislation would be required to prohibit the Oil Cartel from contributing to Congressional campaigns. Just an executive request, pretty please, backed by the government’s control of its own oil needs. Care, of course would be needed in selecting a president as to how they would use this government supplied oil resource, but, when has care in selecting a president based on the power of the office ever not been needed?

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 20, 2008 1:56 PM
Comment #256219

Oil companies have been cahooting, colluding and consorting for long enough. Maybe they should become a publicly owned utility.

Posted by: ohrealy at June 20, 2008 10:52 PM
Comment #256239

David,

I like the idea of a negotiation, ala Venezuela. Threatening to nationalize might do it. It would take some expertise in oil to do it right. Of course our oil experts in office seem to have negotiated things the other way. Gee, I wonder who Bush/Dick will make their first million dollar speeches to? I’m still not convinced a small oil company would provide the leverage necessary.

Posted by: googlumpugus at June 21, 2008 1:56 AM
Comment #256242

Goo said: “I’m still not convinced a small oil company would provide the leverage necessary. “

Me neither, but it’s a starting point. May be two would be needed to keep the Nat’l. Petro Reserve full, but, those are the details to be worked out in situ as needed. The concept I believe has real potential for saving both our Private Oil Industry from itself, and protecting American consumer and worker interests at the hands of the current oligopoly.

I just jotted down on my ToDo list to send this idea off to Obama. I sent him a previous one about giving preferential contractual treatment to non-profit health care delivery clinics, hospitals, and offices taking Medicare and Medicaid patients, as a means of getting control of health care costs, not just for the taxpayers, but eventually for private health insureds as well.

No response. Yet!

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 21, 2008 2:21 AM
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