JR Dieckmann
October 1, 2008
Has America lost its mind, or just its Constitution?
By JR Dieckmann

Would you want to trust your life savings to a group of people who can't even manage their own budget? Would you trust your investments to a stock broker who has a record of consistent failure in the stock market and squandering the investors' money on his personal interests and himself?

That is exactly what is now happening in our government with this gang of congressional incompetents debating the $700 billion federal bailout of Fanny and Freddie. None of them are economic experts; they're just politicians who have been bankrupting the country and demonstrating their inability to grasp the basics of income versus outgo.

According to the latest Rasmussen polling, only 24% of the American people support this bailout. Why aren't our elected officials listening to the people they are supposed to be representing? I strongly suspect that the consequences of not doing this bailout have been grossly over hyped. But whether the bailout works or not is not nearly as important as the question of taking our country on this giant leap into socialism to fix a temporary problem. The Democrat leadership sees it as a great opportunity for them to advance their socialist cause. Is that really what we want?

How much longer must this go on before the taxpayers say enough is enough and take back control of their money from these incompetents in Washington? The Constitution gives Congress the power to levy enough taxes to pay for the basic functions of government as outlined in Article I, Section 8, and to support the other articles of the document. It does not give them the power to use our money in any way they may see fit.

Even if it was done by the government as a loan, it would be a bad loan and never be paid back. And profits from the resale of the sub-prime loans could pay back only a fraction of the investment of our money. No investor in his right mind would touch this deal.

At least one Senator gets it. On the floor of the Senate on Sept. 23, Sen. Tom Coburn made the following statement:

    There isn't a family out there who doesn't have to weekly or monthly make hard choices about how they spend their money. We, unfortunately, continue to make decisions on how we spend your children's money and your grandchildren's money on a parochial or political interest that benefits Members of Congress. That is what has to change.

    If there is a lesson in what has happened to us in terms of the loss of confidence in the financial system in this country, all I have to say is Congress earned it. We created it. We expend 100 times more effort trying to create new programs and new ways of spending than we do managing the very Government you send us here to put under control.

    I take the Constitution literally. It has a section in it called the enumerated powers. It is article I, section 8. It spells out exactly what the role of Congress is. If you look at how we got into this mess, every example of that goes back to the fact that Congress is violating what the Constitution says is our legitimate role, is doing something that is outside the legitimate role, and we rationalized it for the political benefits for either career politicians or party, one side of the aisle or the other. That is why Congress has a 9-percent approval rating, because we are more interested in us than we are the best interests of the country. And it shows.

This is only a portion of Sen. Coburn's lecture to the Senate on Constitutional responsibility and spending. His full statement is only a page long and can be read... HERE.

The more I hear and read about this bailout, the more I am opposed to it. No, there should be no bailout by the government. There are other ways to deal with it through private investors like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, to name a couple. The mortgage bundles now held by Fanny and Freddie could be broken up and divided into good loans and bad loans. The good loans would be bought up by investors. The bad loans could be foreclosed on, and those houses resold to qualified buyers. There is no need for the government to involve itself in this. But then this government has constantly felt the compulsion to involve itself in everything the private sector does lately, and without any constitutional authority.

Those involved in this debacle, including those sub-prime borrowers who took out mortgages they couldn't afford to pay back, and those who bought risky mortgages, should be made to pay the piper, not us the taxpayers. Everyone involved in crafting the policy that lead to this, and everyone who blocked attempts to reform that policy and profited from it including Bill Clinton, Fanny Mae CEO Franklin Raines, Jamie Gorelick, Rep. Barney Frank, Sen. Chris Dodd, Sen. Charles Schumer, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Harry Reid, lobbyists for ACORN, professional campaigner Barack Obama, and other Democrats in Congress who brought this on us, should be held liable and accountable. To be fair, Obama only TOOK money from Fanny and Freddie. He didn't participate in any viable legislation in the 143 days he actually spent on Capitol Hill.

It is truly mind boggling to see Obama criticizing John McCain for returning to Washington, to do his job for the country, and get involved in the bailout debate while Obama does nothing but continue his campaign and take every opportunity to get in front of the cameras, pretending to be some sort of spokesman for what is going on in Washington. Is anyone really buying this deception? Why should we listen to this spurious blabbermouth when he hasn't either the interest or patriotism to involve himself in the process?

Ever since 2004, Republicans in Congress and President Bush have repeatedly attempted to address this problem before it got out of hand, and every time they were blocked by Democrats in bed with Fanny and Freddie. Even John McCain tried to warn of the disastrous consequences of inaction as far back as 2005. Fanny and Freddy were on thin ice for many years with bad loans, cooking the books for big CEO bonuses and lying to Congress about it. Democrats refused to allow any congressional action and continued to sweep the evidence under the rug.

When Enron went down, it was quick and came without warning. Now those people are in jail. Congress has known about the problems with Fanny and Freddy for years and did nothing because the Democrats wouldn't allow it. This was their pet project for the benefit of ACORN and their low income and minority voters, and they didn't care how much damage it would do to the rest of the country.

And to add insult to injury, now Barack Obama and the Democrats want to use taxpayers' money from the $700 billion bailout to cover the mortgages of the low income, high risk borrowers who defaulted on their loans. They actually want us to pay off their mortgages. Those sub prime borrowers should be the first to go to move into apartments and those houses should be resold to qualified buyers. The borrower as well as the lender must share the blame and the consequences of the failure. The last thing we need is more welfare handouts to keep people in homes they could not afford in the first place.

This is outright socialism at it's best. Ms. Pelosi said she wants to raise taxes on oil company profits and return that money to "the taxpayers." Then in the same statement she said that money would then go to her own special interest alternative energy developers. The "taxpayers" would never see a dime of that money. Just remember that when Democrats refer to the "taxpayers," they mean the government. And when Barack Obama talks about "the middle class," he means the unions and union workers who vote Democrat.

But there's more. Democrats are insisting that 20% of any future profits from the now worthless paper they hope to purchase for $700 billion must go to the Housing Trust Fund or the Capital Magnet Fund up front before any money is applied to the national debt. These are the organizations that provide a slush fund for political action groups such as ACORN, an activist community organizer group wrought with voter fraud and corruption, and the National Council of La Raza. In other words, just your typical Democrat Party sponsored groups. Democrats have consistently put party interests ahead of what's best for the country.

There are no good solutions to this situation, so Congress is doing what they always do writing complicated legislation to throw money at the problem. Putting all this on the backs of the taxpayers is not the answer. If we do it this time again, as we did with Bear Sterns, a pattern of unconstitutional socialism will become an accepted pattern by the government, just as it has in so many other areas of government spending. Every issue that comes up in Congress results in a battle and compromise between capitalism and socialism because too many Americans have forgotten, or never learned that the United States is a capitalist country, and it is capitalism that built this country and made it the best and strongest country in the world. You can't get that with socialism.

Do we really want to turn the whole country over to socialism? Obama does. The Democrats in Congress do. Who's going to stop them? And who decides who gets bailed out and who doesn't? Lehman Bros. got passed over for bailout and was left out in the cold. Didn't anyone tell the Democrats that Lehman was holding Al Gore's global warming slush funds? I don't know how they missed that.

We keep hearing that there has to be more oversight by Congress. Who is going to provide that oversight? The same people who got us into this mess in the first place with the oversight they already had? A incompetent Congress that can't even manage its own budget is supposed to oversee Wall Street? Let's get real, please! This just one more example of the obscene arrogance of the Washington elites whose egos are considerably larger than their brains.

The government should not inject itself into this issue with a bailout of any kind. In the first place, there is no constitutional authorization for this. It would be constitutionally illegal. Even the very procedure they are using to try to get this money from the public treasury is illegal and unconstitutional.

The legislation they are working on was submitted by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, a liberal Democrat cabinet member of the executive branch of government, former CEO of Goldman Sachs, and close friend of Chuck Schumer. It is mostly being modified in the Senate Banking Committee under the direction of Chris Dodd, with input from other Senators and Congressmen. The Constitution states that all appropriations of the public money must originate in the House of Representatives. This legislation did not originate in the House of Representatives, it originated in the executive branch of government and is being debated and rewritten in the Senate.

In the second place, as long as the investment and mortgage industries think they can get easy money from the government, there will be no incentive or attempts by them to resolve the problem through the free market, as should be done. They are content just to sit back and wait for the government to rescue them like New Orleans victims of Katrina. It is this mindset and dependence on government that will condemn this country to socialism under control of the Marxists in the Democrat Party.

In the third place, they took the risk and lost. They must pay the price for their actions, not the taxpayers, their children and their grandchildren. This same risk taking with other people's money will continue if there are no consequences to the risk takers for losing. When the company fails, the CEO, board of directors, and others who were responsible for the failure should lose everything they have instead of walking away with big bonuses. Their assets should become a part of the organization's assets and sold off. Maybe that would encourage CEOs to be more responsible with the money and companies that have been entrusted to them.

Will there be losses in the economy if a bailout does not happen? Sure there will, but it's not the end of the world, or even the country. There will be a "credit crunch" and a lot of people will not be able to borrow money for a while. This is as it should be. Credit will have to be limited to only those people and businesses who can show a willingness and ability to pay it back.

No more flaky loans and risky credit card handouts. No more home loans to people with insufficient income and securities. Creditors will have to require proof that the borrowed money can and will be paid back on time and on schedule. In the end, the country will return to a more frugal, responsible, and accountable system of credit as it was before the Clinton administration.

Why should we believe that anyone in Congress has the sense, education, or expertise to tell the economic professionals how to do their job? Everything I've seen and learned about the members of congress tells me that the average I.Q. in Congress cannot be much over 90, if that. Now we entrust these people to resolve the problem that they caused in the first place as a consequence of blatant ignorance combined with incompetence? Furthermore, how can we trust our entire economy to a group of people who can't even manage their own budget? If you're looking to Congress for responsible money management, you're looking in the wrong place.

The trouble with Congress is that they can't see the forest through the trees. They spend all of their time focused on each tree while the forest burns. They write legislation for this group and for that group which always involve spending more money and offending other groups, then they write more legislation to try to appease those groups, and the whole cycle begins all over again. The trouble is, they keep spending too much money, over-extending their powers, and never see the overall problem.

That problem is that the government is trying to do way too much, provide too many services, support too many people with entitlements, healthcare, housing, education, jobs, and buy votes with handouts to anyone who will vote for them. It is their very attempts to solve problems for certain sectors of society that are causing the problems for everyone. They have lost the concept of what the federal government is suppose to be and what it's suppose to do. They have turned their backs on the Constitution and replaced it with lobbyists demands.

The federal government has extended its powers so far beyond what the Constitution authorizes, that now it feels it has to trash what's left the Constitution to save the economy from collapse. They just make it up as they go along, when they should have abided by the Constitution from the start. If you're going to pick and choose which parts of the Constitution to adhere to, and ignore others, then the Constitution, as the supreme law of the land becomes useless and the nation becomes lawless and incoherent.

We now see what this country has finally come to because of liberal socialists in the government. The Constitution has become worthless since Democrat socialists, and some Republicans, have been using it for toilet paper.

Yes, perhaps America has lost it's collective mind when they allowed the likes of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to set the agenda for Congress. This bailout and government takeover of the free market would be just another opportunity for Democrats to take a huge leap toward the advance of socialism in America. Any agreement Washington may come to for bailing out Fanny Mae, Freddie Mac, and AIG, will be just as irresponsible and absurd as a rookie community organizer from Chicago with 143 working days in the Senate and no leadership experience becoming a leading candidate for president of the United States.

© JR Dieckmann


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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