Thursday, September 22, 2011

What Matters

I saw this morning that Obama’s strongly approve numbers from Rasmussen were at 21% and his somewhat approve was at 46%.  The President should probably note this on his calendar because I believe he has reached a turning point in his presidency.  He voiced some support for Israel at the UN yesterday, and we thank him for that.  Less worthy of praise has been his attitude toward the spreading unrest in the Middle East.  Contrary to what Obama, the media, and even many pundits and commentators on the right would have us believe, this is not a popular democratic uprising.  Demand for food staples, particularly rice, in the prospering nations of Asia and the Indian subcontinent drove up prices for the Egyptians and others.  The protests were an open door for elements such as the Muslim Brotherhood to get a piece of government control and turn what was a secular strong-man rule into Islamic republican rule.  As we have seen in Iran, this does not bode well for American or Israeli interests.   Obama is Carter II in more ways than one. 

Domestically, yesterday, the Federal Reserve punted.  A “small” move (everything is relative) of $400 billion from short to longer term bonds will have little impact – rather like moving the deck chairs toward the stern of the Titanic. Possibly this was done because the long-term bonds are not selling whereas there is more anticipated demand for two-year notes.  No one wants to get locked into a government bond for a government that may not be solvent in the long-term.  And the United States may not be.  Those who control the purse strings are still pouring money out like water out of a boot.  The only long-term solution is a drastic reduction in federal expenditures and specifically in federal entitlement spending.  No more welfare.  Restructure Social Security. Privatize Medicare via vouchers.  Do the same for Medicaid.  Open up the market for health insurance across state lines.  Encourage the formation of health insurance pools similar to credit unions to enhance competition.  If we do not move toward encouraging personal responsibility and ending government dependence, we are on our way to a fiscal Armageddon. 

In any case, the Fed announcement has crashed the markets which were already teetering on the European situation.  Allowing Greece to default and yet stay in the EU could destroy the Euro.  If I were a German, I would be demanding a return to a sovereign currency.  Let the PIIGS pay their own way.  Couple the Euro uncertainty with a shoot-down of any QE3 and the market just deflated, as have commodities, including gold and silver.  This is good.  Now if the Congress will simply reject the Obama jobs proposal and cut the budget – that is, real cuts rather than cuts in increases – we might have a chance to bottom out and begin to recover in a couple of years.

Meanwhile, those of us who have to live in the real world should maintain our resolve to get or stay stocked up on essentials, avoid the non-essentials, and remove ourselves as much as possible from interaction with and dependence upon any government entity.  By all means, stay informed about the world situation and politics, but do not obsess over it or lapse into fear and panic.  Your local church is a much more important entity than the Federal Reserve, the IMF, Wells Fargo, the New York Stock Exchange, or Congress.  For that matter, your local school board is more important than any of those other institutions.  I answer to God, to my family, my friends, and those who interact with me in the community. 

We sometimes speak of The Powers That Be – politicians, international bankers, military leaders, media moguls, opinion makers, etc. – as if they have power over us.  They have only the power that we give them.  Perhaps it has been a good idea at times in the past to surrender a certain amount of our responsibility and thinking to TPTB, but I doubt it.  If it ever was, it is not now a good idea.  We need to think for ourselves, educate ourselves, and equip ourselves for rising from the rubble of collapse.  If TPTB come to their senses and do the right things to avoid collapse, that is the best scenario.  If they continue on their present path, we will be able to handle it.

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