Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Homeless in Sarasota

By Dean Kalahar

Back in the days of TV’s Andy Griffith, Otis Campbell, the town drunk, would put himself in jail so as not to bother anyone in Mayberry. The sensibilities back then were straight forward, show compassion to Otis’s humanity, but hold him accountable for his decisions and behavior while protecting private and public property.

Today this idea is anathema to many homeless advocates in Sarasota who favor more government support and protections. Others however, are concerned about the unintended consequences of allowing people to live at will on the streets. Let’s take a closer look.

According to The Heritage Foundation, homelessness is usually a transitional condition; with individuals who lose housing typically residing in an emergency shelter for a few weeks or months before re-entering permanent housing. In 2009 only one out of 180 poor persons was homeless in the literal sense of being on the street and without shelter. Studies also show that on a typical night shelters have an average vacancy rate of 10 percent so there are enough beds to meet the need.

Since more people become temporarily homeless over the course of a year than are homeless at any single point in time, most homeless people are one time victims. Trumped up homeless totals are actually describing different people at different times, not a monolithic group of downtrodden as reported.

As you can see “the homeless” is a poor description of the individuals the community is concerned about. A more accurate description would be: vagrants, bums, beggars, or pan handlers. Granted, some individuals are wandering the streets due to psychiatric or substance abuse problems and many avenues of help are offered in the community. No one is begrudging private charities, churches, and families that have historically took the lead in offering assistance and hope to those whose free will is broken.

But it is unacceptable to defend those who defecate in public, commit crime, and engage in behaviors that violate property rights. Advocates who demand loose non-judgmental public policies out of a sense of guilt, pity, and self promoting compassion only lead vagrants into dependence and despondence in lieu of personal responsibility and dignity.

The role of government is to protect people and their property so their responsibility in addressing the vagrant issue must defend a larger moral principle. Morality is based on the simple idea that anything that harms a person or his property is immoral. For example, murder, rape, theft, or vandalism is immoral and there are criminal laws against such acts. Even behaviors that cause property values to be diminished can be seen as immoral so consistent laws must also be applied to protect abuses that are seen and must be foreseen.

The private property of people, homeowners, and businesses have the right not to have their persons or property harmed, damaged, disrupted, and capital destroyed as a result of the free choice made by vagrants. Citing and arresting vagrants who cause property to be harmed by direct or indirect means is morally right and as such is lawful policy.

Likewise, public property also has a moral component attached. The government has the responsibility to regulate and protect public property so it can be used and enjoyed equally. Vagrants that behave in ways that negate this social contract should be cited and removed just like any other citizen who is violating the rule of law on public land.

In short, vagrants have the right to their persons and property under the rule of law, but they do not have the right to harm the property of others.

Soaring rhetoric to protect “the homeless” based on feelings of social justice violates the very rights and moral basis do-gooders claim they want to protect. Oxymoronic policies that create the incentives for more dependency and despondence epitomize what can only be called immoral compassion.

T.S. Eliot summed up the psychological reality of those who want government policy to embrace vagrants. “Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.”

Even Barney Fife understood these lessons.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The "pop" that will make the housing bubble seem like a snap.

The government is monetizing their debt under the cover of the FED who is creating a monetary bubble to prop up and profit their banks.

By Dean Kalahar

January 27, 2012

David Malpass in the Wall Street Journal zeros in on a very complex and troubling situation going on within the Federal Government and the Federal Reserve.

Near-zero interest rates penalize savers and channel artificially cheap capital to government, big corporations and foreign countries. One of the most fundamental principles of economics is that holding prices artificially low causes shortages. When something of value is free, it runs out fast and only the well-connected get any. Interest rates are the price for credit and shouldn't be controlled at zero. It causes cheap credit for those with special access but shortages for those without—primarily new and small businesses and those seeking private-sector mortgages.

The economy's exit from Fed dominance of bond markets wouldn't be traumatic. The Fed has been fully sterilizing its asset purchases, meaning all the cash it has used to buy bonds is still contained at the Fed, not multiplied in the private sector. The Fed accomplishes this through bank regulation and by borrowing from banks at above-market interest rates—$1.5 trillion as of Jan. 18.

So the Federal Reserve (FED) is buying US government bonds and then they -as well as the administration, i.e. Dodd-Frank- are regulating member banks so as to keep the money that was used to buy the bonds from being lent to consumers.

The FED then borrows money from these same Federal Reserve banks and pays them interest greater than the rate set by the FED which is zero.

The FED thus soaks up the potential liquidity and the reserve banks make “no risk” money without having to lend dollars to consumers or cause inflation.

Since the member banks own the FED, the central bank also shares in the member banks profit. Dollars are thus not put into circulation but the banks become very profitable on the books/balance sheets which creates a multiplier effect in expanding the number of dollars without printing more dollars.

The result is tremendous hidden inflation as the purchasing power of each dollar declines as the number of dollars on paper goes up. As Malpass states, “the FED balance sheet is up 250% since 2008.”

The lack of transparency keeps the scheme all but hidden.

In the meantime, consumers/the market flock to gold as they feel their currency is being devalued by the Treasury Department and the FED.

At some point, as all schemes do, this will collapse and the inflation bomb will be unleashed.

In short the government is monetizing their debt under the cover of the FED who is creating a monetary bubble to prop up and profit their banks that upon its “pop” will make the housing bubble seem like a snap.

As Dennis Miller once said: “that is just exquisite bull s__t.”


Thursday, January 5, 2012

President Obama and the Magna Carta

By Dean Kalahar

The Magna Carta ended the idea that anyone, especially monarchs, are above the law.

Unfortunately. President Obama has appointed Richard Cordray to run the newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, part of the Dodd-Frank law passed to regulate Wall Street. Under this law, executive appointments must be approved by the Senate unless the senate is adjourned.

The problem is the so called “recess appointment” was made while the Senate is in pro forma session not recess. This is in direct violation of Article 2, section 2 of the Constitution. A pro forma session satisfies the constitutional obligation that neither chamber can adjourn for more than three days without the consent of the other.

Why would a supposed Constitutional scholar like President Obama even think to agree to such a process?

Because if anyone raises a concern to the illegal appointment, and the President has calculated a Republican running for President will object; he will turn it around and say those against the appointment are “against consumer protection.” He will go to say the GOP only want to protect “rich fat cats” on “wall street,” while he, of course, is fighting to protect the “little guy.” In short he will all but parrot the tired and hackneyed liberal rhetoric that evil Republicans want to hurt their fellow Americans.

This is in line with the class warfare tactics being used by the President to divide and conquer in hopes of being re-elected. The ends justify the means, even if the means ignore the Constitution and tear apart the country.

Opponents of Obama will probably say nothing and allow the abuse of power to go unchecked. Instead they should be clearly explaining the political game in simple terms, exposing Obama’s condescension toward Americas limited Constitutional governance, and holding the executive branch accountable to the rule of law. Supporters of the president who claim to defend the Constitution will be mute.

This may be exquisite Machiavellian politics on the part of an Imperial President who has acted as if he is above the law, but it is an unprecedented abuse of power. With the exception of Marbury v. Madison or the court packing of FDR, our nation has not encountered such willful disregard of the Constitution that all elected officials swear under oath to uphold.

When the rule of law that has been defended with American blood is held in such low regard and politicized for personal gain to increase the power to rule over the people, the Republic is on shaky grounds. The administrations clever use of politics has gone too far this time. Undermining the Constitution in order to gain additional power is tyranny in its purest form.

Government by the consent of the governed must not be manipulated. The appointments must be rescinded, thrown out by the courts, or the President must be Impeached by the House of Representatives in accordance with the Constitution.

The Great Charter, signed in 1215, has served us well up to this point. Principles must trump politics.