Stanstamper’s Blog

February 20, 2009

Power correctly used…

Filed under: 1 — stanstamper @ 8:09 pm

In the old days when you heard someone say “feel the power,” you were probably talking about the motor on a good car, or perhaps a boat.
Now the term better suits discussions about who is in charge of state and national governments.
After all the talk about bipartisanship is made before each new session, the simple reality is that both of our political parties get enamored with themselves and begin to “feel the power.”
Time will tell, but I think President Obama missed a golden opportunity to demonstrate that he clearly stood for “change” in Washington, by not listening to national economists as the stimulus plan was being drafted. Some of the politicians and Vice-President Biden admitted they weren’t sure what they were doing.
The appearance was that the President let Pelosi and other veteran Democrats draft the plan with virtually no input from the opposition party or from the nation’s top economists.
That was a huge gamble. Now, if the plan works, he will realize the political gains that go with victory.
Should the plan fall short, he and the party will suffer the political consequences.
Also, true to bureaucratic history, all the bad stuff which is dug out of the bill will be attributed to Obama, Pelosi and company.
Though former President Bill Clinton rails at any accusations that either he or his administration should share any blame for today’s financial decline, it has been clearly shown that many of the NINJA housing loan programs and credit default swaps began with ol’ Bill.
It’s a tough pill for hard working Americans to swallow when they see their tax dollars rewarding corrupt mega-banks and poorly run insurance conglomerates. Equally tough to swallow is someone living in a $400,000 house getting financial help from the government.
Hopefully in the near future, President Obama will let the engines cool on Air Force One long enough to return to Washington and bring about some of the change he promised.
He will have to learn how to say “no” to bad ideas and consider his first veto when today’s political power-brokers promote bad ideas that reward failure, over ideas that reward hard work and financial responsibility.

February 11, 2009

Translation…States going belly up!

Filed under: 1 — stanstamper @ 9:23 pm

It’s a sad day for our country when the people we send to Washington aren’t truthful with the American citizen and taxpayer.
After the House passed an $800-plus billion dollar stimulus package and sent it over to the Senate, the bill was pumped up to nearly a trillion dollars, and then Senators put out the word that they had cut $100 billion from it.
Congress doesn’t think the American citizen can add or subtract. What the Senate won’t be honest about is that they cut $100 billion from a package that their members had already enlarged by several hundred billion.
Once again, the order of the day is “a frantic rush to pass something.”
Translation: California, New Jersey, New York and a handful of other states are in the early stages of going belly-up. Very soon, their paychecks won’t be any good. Firemen, highway patrol, and even the bureaucrats’ checks will not be issued because state coffers are empty. How would Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer explain that to their constituents?
Like a drug addict coming down off a high, failed bankers, who were bailed out a month ago by taxpayer-backed loans with virtually no strings attached, have gone through those life-saving funds with reckless abandon. Trips, bonuses, junkets, donating taxpayer money to get their names on huge sports complexes have been the order of the day.
They join states, which have demonstrated little ability to balance their revenues and expenditures in asking hard working Americans to bail them out of their mess, and Congress pushes the “urgent” button to try and escape having to explain their outrageous actions to hard working Americans.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has said most of the stimulus money won’t be spent until the third or fourth year. They say only 10 percent will be spent in the first year, and 30 percent in year two.
Another economist, has likened this stimulus package to pulling a bucket of water out of the deep end of a swimming pool, and pouring it into the shallow end, hoping to raise the water level.
Mitch McConnell said that if you started spending a million dollars each day since the day Jesus was born, you still wouldn’t have spent a trillion dollars.
So the biggest spending in America’s history is being put together in the shortest time ever, and President Obama has repeatedly said that “failure to act will turn a crisis into a catastrophy.”
Of course the present administration inherited most of this mess from the Bush administration, which wasn’t able to control government spending or regulate mega banks and wildly contrived investment vehicles.
As long as the American taxpayer keeps sending money to Washington and sitting idly on the couch, it appears these trends will continue.

February 2, 2009

If I Were President…

Filed under: 1 — stanstamper @ 10:39 pm
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Pardon my vanity on the matter, but I sure wish I could be President for a month.  Perhaps even a top Presidential advisor.

It appears that our new President has spent enough time inside the Beltway to have already contracted “Potomac Fever.” There are a number of cures, but the easiest is to live in the State of Oklahoma for a year. (Our laws require a balanced budget.) Of course all but the newest members of Congress have a heavy case of same. (Oklahoma Senators Jim Inhofe and Dr. Tom Coburn have a substantial immunity to this political disease.)

Were I to have such a wonderful opportunity, I would send a memo to Congress that any bill containing a single state earmark would be vetoed.  Then I would call leaders of both parties together and place on the table before them, 500 red chips. Each chip represents one billion dollars.

To the Democratic leader, I would count out 270 chips and to the Republicans, 230, to follow the way the American voters cast their ballots in November.  I would ask that they return in two weeks, with one or more of their chips attached to documents which represented a program to improve the American economy and the quality of life for all Americans.

If I, as President, had no substantial opposition to the proposal, I would agree to it. If they couldn’t convince me and my advisors it was an appropriate expenditure, I would give them a week to modify it or bring another program in its place, else they forfeit those funds to the other party, or altogether.

The entire process would have full transparency.  

Should such a final measure pass, I would give both parties ample time to recuperate from the act of having worked together. 

I would revel in the resurgence of the American Stock Market and other markets of the world, and in the resurrection of the American spirit.

Having only a few days left in my limited month of service before I, too, succumbed to certain perils of acquiring “Potomac Fever,” which causes the loss of one’s wits,  my  last action as President would be to give myself something that money can’t buy. A ride on the Space Shuttle. 

No matter how strongly the masses begged, I would decline their pleas to return to Washington and continue to make the simple changes that will be required to fix our country. However, I wouldn’t mind working on the problem occasionally or from my  home, where myself and millions of Americans have been able to balance our checkbooks and make some pretty decent decisions during our brief years on Earth.

Too bad we don’t have a modern day Will Rogers. He would have had a blast with this Congress.

There They Go Again!

Filed under: 1 — stanstamper @ 9:10 pm
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A local attorney told me last week that he was representing a Choctaw County family that had fallen behind on their home mortgage payment.
After being notified by the government that they were in default, they figured out a way to catch up their payments.
Guess what?
The government lending agency wouldn’t accept their payments! Notified them that they were going to continue with foreclosure actions and force them out of their home.

At a time when the government is gasping for financial air, one would think this would be one legal fight the government could pass up. Why not give the family another chance or assist them in obtaining a lower interest rate in some of the new funding vehicles being discussed to help homeowners?

Now we hear that the next round of TARP funds or government bail-out funds continues to swell with partisan pork projects. Congress just doesn’t seem to get it! Some say the latest package will swell to $800 billion and others say it will hit $1 trillion. The worst part is that it won’t be 60 days until another group of bad investors or large banks go back to the government trough for more bailout funds.

I am anxious to see how Oklahoma Representative Dan Boren will vote on this package. At one point it had $335,000,000 in it for educational programs for sexually transmitted diseases. What does that have to do with stimulating the economy?

Another thing that is down right tragic, is the fact that the American taxpayer is sitting here listening once again to political leaders (I use the term loosely) who say we must “hurry up and pass this bill quickly.”

What that means is we have to pass it without reading it or debating its merits so by the time taxpayers find out what’s in it—it will be too late to stop it.

This is where our new President comes in. Just recently (in Monday’s paper) we quoted the president as saying that he wouldn’t support business as usual by the Congress and irresponsible pork projects and earmarks in new legislation.

Now he is pushing the latest bill which even includes bailout funds for states which have overspent their means.

If all this passes as planned, President Obama’s approval rating may take its first big drop, and he’s been President for little more than a week.

Small businesses which are the backbone for a very large percentage of jobs in the country, some argue, will get virtually nothing, while funds are being considered to buy more toxic loans made by unscrupulous major banks.

On the other hand, the President’s approval rating could soar along with financial markets if he had the courage to say just one word—NO.

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