Great observation about the similarities to "Atlas Shrugged". There are hundreds of thousands of John Galts and Dagny Taggarts - they are just too busy trying to be at their productive best.
But they are all going to be forced into coming out in the open in the political arena - this could happen right around the time the twin terrors of Social Security and Medicare underfunding explode in the collective face of the people in this country.
Atlas'es may shrug in the next 15 to 20 years - just give them time.Comment Posted By Nagarajan Sivakumar On 10.02.2009 @ 21:04
Thanks for posting the link that attempts to answer the question that I had about whether banks are going to value their assets.
I could not understand most of it but what i could get is that financial institutions are hopelessly stuck in trying to figure out how much their assets are "truly" worth. Given the fact that the Government is going to throw atleast another 700 billion, they are probably waiting to see if they could get the Govt to buy their assets at the highest price possible.
When they finally realize that they are not going to get the Govt to buy the toxic assets at the value they want, they may begin to act on their own.Comment Posted By Nagarajan Sivakumar On 8.02.2009 @ 17:47
I was looking forward to the conclusion of your essays on the future of conservatism - so, how should conservatives deal with the current problem that the banks have, given the way the country has changed as you tried to describe it in your previous posts ?
I would say that the more banks try to avoid the pain of actually figuring out what their losses are, what their assets are truly worth (which i think they know but wont acknowledge) the more they are digging themselves into a very inflexible situation.
I dont quite understand/know this - How much of these bank bad assets affect the average bank customer's deposits/holdings ? (i.e. assuming that the FDIC actually works)
My guess is that banks have restrictions/regulations on how much of their account holders money they can use to make investments - So the bad assets of the banks should not hurt the average customer a whole lot but mostly the bank's profit margin. Is this true ?
If it is true, then the banks have to take the hit. If it isnt and customer deposits are seriously endangered then nationalization is inevitable.
So, the question is - what approach should conservatives take to this problem other than the idealogical one of taking responsibility for personal mistakes ( this attitude is so out of fashion now)Comment Posted By Nagarajan Sivakumar On 8.02.2009 @ 13:25
I get it now - so there are many organizations that are essentially doing the same thing and dont have a whole lot of differences between them. You ideally would like to support all of them but wouldnt be able to give each of them financial support.
I have never done political grassroots related work- it is hard work, I suppose. But i will add my 2C.
I think you should choose one or two organizations to give to - before you dontate to them, you also need to do how they use your money.
Ideally it should be the RNC that takes the lead role in co-ordinating the activities between these groups. But if they dont do that, it is up to you to decide who most deserves your financial support - who does a better job of political organizing/ fighting the fight at the local level,supporting a reasonably conservative candidate in local/state elections etc
I also believe that volunteering with organizations that you cannot donate to would also be appreciated. Although i could be wrong about this.Comment Posted By Nagarajan Sivakumar On 8.02.2009 @ 17:22
Sara in VA,
I believe that the CPAC has become some kind of a refuge for conservatives. I am not sure i understand your point about them being bloated - they are not funded by taxpayer money, are they ? i am assuming that conservatives dontate to these conferences/meetings etc out of their own interest/free will.
It is almost like people go to the CPAC to get away from the real world where most people dont care about government's role in our lives and the only ones who do "care" want to do the "caring" for every one else too.
McCain won in the last election season because conservatives did not have much to hang their hat on, other than national defense/surge in Iraq - and since he was the most senior Republican candidate who had legitimate national security credentials and bet on the surge, he seemed to get the votes.
I am not sure if any candidate could have won on the GOP ticket - there were'nt any true conservatives (Romney's health insurance plan in MA and his tepid support for the surge, not to mention his sudden change of heart on abortion did nt help him.)
I have heard some good things about Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor etc. May be they could be the new leaders of the conservatives in this country ?
Jindal is still a little too young. And I dont know if Sarah Palin would want to put herself and her family through the kind of outright hatred/loathing from the left.
I still dont know how Bush got through the last 8 years.I know that he had a strong faith and loving family, but this guy took a lot of crap - with a lot of dignity.
It is going to be a loooooong whatever number of years :-(Comment Posted By Nagarajan Sivakumar On 8.02.2009 @ 12:19
. This is what separates us from liberals and I believe it the key to a conservative revival.
Rick, thanks for doing this exercise. I guess some one needed to do it.
As a non-citizen who is of a conservative persuasion, (I am on the evil and devious H1-B visa), I have been following American politics for the last 5 years (it began with the 2004 Democratic primaries). I started out left of center but over the last 3 years have become resolutely conservative. Some people take a life time to make this transition, but thankfully i did it before my 31st birthday.
My conversion to conservatism was borne out of my personal experience -things that happened to me, people whom I observed and learnt from, following political events at home and in the US etc. I have also tried to read as much American history as i possibly can. It has easily been one of the most interesting experiences that i have had in my life.
From my personal perspective, conservatism is meant to be anti-populist and sometimes steadfastly so. The philosophy itself seems to be a counter-weight to the populist impulses of society.i.e. even though it is a well thought out philosophy, for the most part it has stood in opposition to the events in society ( or as WFB would put it "athwart history")
So,it is at best an alternate political view - fewer people seem to ask the question " Why is there too much Government interference in life ?".
Today, I can easily find more people who start off by saying "Why SHOULDNT be there a stronger Government?" And here in lies the tragedy.
The American experiment in self government which rose against tyranny and tried to do everything possible in its Constitution to limit the power of a strong central Government has come full circle. Your Government has become what it always avoided to be - an all powerful one.
Of course, this has'nt happened overnight - it has taken the better part of the last 125 years to come to this point. But you have reached a destination from which you simply are'nt going back.
From Cafe Hayek, here is a gem of a statistic - About 37% of total income tax revenue for the IRS in 2004 came from the top 1% of earners.
In short, the money for all kinds of Government services which people expect (as you point out), does not come from them for the most part.The tax burden is disproptionately shouldered by the wealthy. No matter how much you demagogue the "rich people", if not for them this country would simply collapse.
Now why wouldnt a sane and a rational person not want things that would personally cost them little to almost free ?
But even more importantly most people here ARE NOT AWARE of how big and expansive their Federal Government is. Very few people would be able to tell you how many Departments are there, what they are for, what their individual budgets are etc.
In my view, there are two reasons for this.
a. They dont care. And they dont care because most of them are paying little to nothing for the functioning of these bureaucracies.
Even if they do care, they soon get lost in the soup alphabet of agencies that they throw up their hands in despair.
b.Most people believe that Governments are not only meant to be for the "common good" but THEY ARE inherently good to fulfill their needs - in contrast, people have more negative opinions of what a business can do.It has become very difficult to discuss this issue without people resorting to flat out demagoguery.
From my vantage point,you are headed as a nation to where Europe already is - a fully fledged welfare state and darned proud of being one.
If I seem to sound like some one who wants to rubbish any talk of a conservative revival, then you clearly understand me :-)
"Not “big government,” not “small government,” but a solid and rational conservative government that would reflect – as much as possible – the notion that the government that governs least governs best and that wherever possible, the independence and freedom of the citizen should be respected and fostered
Rick, that would be the utopian dream. You almost sound like Obama who in his inaugural speech said that the size of governments does not matter any more - of course, they are NEVER going to contract - so that means, it doesnt matter how big it is !
A "big" government can never "govern the least". It is meant to be big so that it can "govern" more. I know that conservatives can be such hard-assed purists on this point, but if you give this up,you are going down the slippery slope. Well, i think we have already travelled down that path, have'nt we ?
A majority of the people in this country HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO PROBLEM with the Government being involved in their retirement plans (Social Security), their health care plans when they get old (Medicare).
No wonder you are facing a 53 Trillion dollar deficit - and just about no conservative politician has the guts to level with people on this issue. (Bush cared more deeply about Iraq than social security reform). Only a conservative/libertarian pol can do this. Liberal politicians believe that Social Security is FDR's promise the eternal generations of Americans that can never be broken, no matter what the cost - of course it also helps every four years when it can be used to demagogue the Republicans/ heartless monster conservatives.
Another trillion dollars of money from thin air is going to be spent by the Government from the coming week. That should stimulate your economy, shouldnt it ?
Conservative revival is going to happen only people seriously start to think what their relationship with the Government should be - or what their founding fathers wanted it to be. How much Government does an individual need ? How much Government does a society want before it can stop calling itself "free".?
also it would help if the American people lost their naivete' on how bureaucrats in Government are tirelessly working for the common man's welfare.
May be you need another Boston tea party like tax revolt - an Atlas Shrugged like moment when the most productive members of American civil society throw up their hands and say " Its all yours now."
I dont see that happening. May be some time in the near future, Americans will learn why exactly their founding fathers experiment in self government is a timeless concept - the hard way.
If people are so angry at Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme, what happens when they realize that Social Security and Medicare are the biggest Ponzi schemes bar none?
If people were so angry that the Government was spending 10 billion dollars of money it didnt have every month on that worthless war called Iraq,
how angry are they going to be when millions of retirees on Social Security are going to be faced with cuts in Social security benefits - even though they loyally paid into this system with EVERY DAMNED PAYCHECK ? ( this does not apply to Geithner ofcourse)
Sometimes you need to burn your finger before you learn not to play with fire.Comment Posted By Nagarajan Sivakumar On 7.02.2009 @ 18:00
"For instance, do you really want to live in a country where businesses can pollute the air and water to their heart’s content? If not, you need an EPA to ride herd. Do you want a country where drugs are unsafe, products can kill you or your children, go back to the days of stock jobbers who cheated people on a regular basis, etc, etc, etc?"
Rick, If I didnt know that you are a self acknowledged conservative, I would have thought that this was an angry rant from some one on DailyKos.
The much hated Nixon was President when EPA was established. http://www.epa.gov/history/topics/epa/15c.htm
Any one who knows anything about Nixon also know that he liked business, dare I say BIG BUSINESS to be at the forefront of the American economy. I still cannot comprehend how Nixon allowed for the establishment of the EPA as his business buddies would have and did express opposition.
I think that we are well past the day when there were arguments about whether the EPA was necessary. You acknowledge that conservatives have come around to this fact as well.
"Of course not. Even most conservatives recognize the need for these agencies and departments. Now here’s the nuance – is there a way for conservatism to thrive, to be relevant in the context of what we now call “big government?” I think so and will explore that tomorrow."
I dont think you get it - no one seriously has taken on the concept of a massive government - no one has the balls to do so. And no there is "no thriving" of conservative principles/thought when you start creating layers and layers of bureaucracy.
The argument against more Government was and is the same - it will be inefficient at best and down right useless at worst. The money for these extra departments does not grow on trees ( although Paulson/Geithner and the entire Democratic party seem to think otherwise). And no department that opearates out of Washington D.C. will have sufficient knowledge to deal with matters that are best left to local/State governments.
If any one remembers how Ray Nagin and the Lousiana State Government handled the hurricane season this time around in New Orleans, they can contrast it to how Nagin and the State Government worked in 2005. They actually took charge. They had FEMA in a supportive role - not in the MAIN role. They took the warnings seriously. Of course the fact that levees were rebuilt helped a lot too. But ask yourself this question - why is it that NO State Govt/City Govt cared about re-building the levees until disaster struck in the form of Katrina ?
Tanenhaus is clearly the kind of person who has a shallow knowledge of conservative thought let alone the condervative movement of the 50's and 60's - If you truly want to be exposed to conservative thought, you are better off reading Goldwater - http://www.heritage.org/research/features/presidentsessay/presessay2004.pdf
Liberals have been always ready to distort movement conservatism as having been AGAINST policies instead of being FOR policies. Well, they never had the honesty to acknowledge that conservatives are for things that liberals just cannot stand - for e.g. take the idea of "tax cuts" - the basic principle behind conservative opposition to higher taxes is that it is an erosion of private property rights.
We can all reasonably agree/disagree on how much tax a government needs to collect from a person. But it is not our "patriotic duty" to pay taxes like Joe Biden and the liberals want you to believe.
Where does this "patriotism" lead us to ?? Every citizen has responsibilities to shoulder the cost of running a government that functions. But who shares how much of the burden ?
In 2004, when the Bush tax cuts were prevalent, the top 1% of income earners in this country shouldered 37% of the total income tax burden. http://www.cafehayek.com/hayek/2007/03/who_shoulders_t.html
You would'nt know this from the constant whining about how Bush favored the rich.
What we have currently is a system where in Government bureaucrats enrich themselves at the expense of ordinary tax payers. Any one who has been observing states like California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois will know this.
Your income is your private property - liberals want you to believe that Government is doing you a huge favor by letting you keep more of your own money. That is a laughable notion in itself. When you have 36% of the country not paying income taxes to the Federal Govt and the top 1% shouldering 36% of the total income tax burden.
So, you exist primarily to help the functioning of the Government according to liberals. which is exactly why you should feel patriotic for contributing your "fair share". As always liberals will decide what is "fair".
But if you ask them questions about this gross injustice, you are hater who is AGAINST things and NOT FOR things. Well, duh. I am for private property rights and keeping as much of my personal income as possible. The problem is liberals dont agree with that notion.
I would recommend to any one to read Goldwater again - you can clearly see what he is for and why he vehemently opposed liberalism.
By the way, when the baby boomers retire starting in the next 8 years and the biggest two Ponzi schemes known to man ( also known as Social Security and Medicare) finally come to their day of reckoning, I would LOVE to see what that GREAT PHILOSOPHY liberalism is going to do to deal with it.
No one would have the time to argue on whether conservatism is dead - we will ask ourselves - what did we do to get to these MASSIVELY underfunded entitlement programs ?
It is already starting with the states pensions programs in TATTERS. Folks at TNR are advised to look into this before writing post mortems about conservatism.Comment Posted By Nagarajan Sivakumar On 7.02.2009 @ 13:35
For those of you who think that we are "assuming" that Geithner is guilty, you are too trusting of our Government officials.
Tim Geithner is the same age as Obama - 47 years old. He started his career in 1985 with Kissinger and Associates. so he has been receiving a W2 for most of his career and paying payroll taxes for the same period of time. It was only in 2001 that he started working for the IMF.
So he suddenly now forgets to pay payoll taxes ? Or does'nt know that you have to pay these taxes as an American worker working for an International organization located in America ?
My best guess is that Geithner just didnt care. He knew that if the IRS came back to him later, he could always pay it back along with the penalty. If not, he could get away scot free.
In the mean time he now has 36,000$ that he can invest in the markets in and make a neat little profit - so even if he gets caught later and has to pay a penalty he could possibly more than cover for it. Of course it also means that he has to pay increased capital gains taxes, but what if he could atleast avoid payroll taxes to the tune of 36 Grand ?
Geithner also figured that even though this could be an embarrassment down the line, it would nt exactly be career threatening - not when people think that you are the protege of big shots like Larry Summers or Robert Rubin.
This guy can take risks or what ?Comment Posted By Nagarajan Sivakumar On 18.01.2009 @ 13:53
golfer1,Comment Posted By Nagarajan Sivakumar On 12.01.2009 @ 20:37
I believe you will be proven right over the course of the season.
I am totally against getting on the moral high horse about torture.I believe it is not a straight black and white issue.
I also happen to believe that there are a lot of honest and decent people in the intel services who do the "dirty jobs" that we can judge and wax eloquent about from a safe distance. People like the fictional Jack Bauer.
Rick, please continue with summarizing the episodes. And IComment Posted By Nagarajan Sivakumar On 10.01.2009 @ 15:59
hope you had fun watching the Vikings lose last weekend. I sure as hell did.