Obama & Socialism: You Decide

Editor: Here is the third and final installment of Graham's bill of particulars on socialist attributes of President Obama's goals and methods. Here's Part 1. And here's Part 2. As he says at the close of Part 3, with all this evidence now spelled out, it's up to each of us to decide: Do we have an actual socialist in the Oval Office for the first time ever? Tom Graham, Part 3

Interference leading to control of finance is a hallmark of a move toward Communism. Healthy economies allow failing businesses to dissolve, although bankruptcy affords much protection and opportunity for salvage. The bailout program becomes more unpopular as publicity about non-productive loans and grants increases. Bonds issued by the government to prevent defaults are an equity acquisition, or nationalization. Now, an additional $1.9 trillion, along with increase of the national debt to $14.3 trillion, is being requested by Senate Democrats.

Timothy Geithner, appointed Secretary of the Treasury, under Obama, is under fire for questionable bailout decisions. Geithner was President of the Federal Reserve when $350 billion went to TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Program). Years earlier he had directed the Ford Foundation’s swing to the left. In December our Democrat Congressman Ed Perlmuter, with Obama’s encouragement, submitted a bill to assess a tax of up to a quarter percent on securities transactions. Many TARP recipients are borrowing money at 0.025% and paying off debts rather than lending to businesses. The mortgage market remains sluggish and job creation remains close to zero. After a year of taxpayer-funded economic stimulus, almost all new jobs created are in government or public education.

Here’s a typical local example of stimulus jobs: A $150,000 Westminster street project generated two full-time jobs. As money is taken out of the economy for government expansion, everyone recognizes the net loss of productive jobs. According to the Washington Examiner, after a few months of the stimulus, 90,489 of the reported stimulus-created jobs are fake, while unproductive pork runs rampant. The new Obama method of counting assigns an arbitrary number of new jobs if a company gets bailout money, whether or not there have actually been any. Investment banks, formerly separated because of potential conflicts of interest, are buying savings banks. TARP money was intended for the purchase of the assets but was used for bailouts and an all-purpose slush fund. Meanwhile the treasury bill business is abused. Stimulus funds have a distinct porcine odor and the next ineffective 12-digit stimulus package is coming. Obama hoped that TARP would nationalize banking, another cog in the takeover.

Obama demanded that the House Financial Services Committee seize financial firms large enough to harm the economy if they failed. The Federal Reserve then could dismantle firms that “had grown too large” Costs of such actions would be paid by taxing financial companies with more than $10 billion in assets. We learned that no one at the Fed knows who has received loans, how funds are used or what the total is. It appears to be about two trillion of our money. Always a target of the right, the Fed didn’t evoke confidence when also admitting they had no handle on a figure for purchase of assets.

The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act (CARD) relieves consumers of the need to make their own decisions regarding credit by having the government do it for them. In addition to the seven current consumer protection agencies, the House recently passed the Consumer Financial Protection Agency. This promises to control businesses that have little to do with consumer finance. It will restrict access to the much needed consumer credit and further stifle the economy. Other controls of individuals in the Marxist tradition are the minimum wage law, which harms the poorest, and executive maximum pay to be slashed by as much as 50%, as dictated by dictated by the executive pay czar.

Trillions must be borrowed or printed, and taxed, all of which grind down the economy. Who can visualize such figures? Business managers cannot expand with the fear of such taxes, and loss of their customers’ purchasing power in mind. Where is the short-term memory of the massive federal revenue increases resulting from the reduction of marginal tax rates by Presidents Reagan and Kennedy? Progressives obsessed with Bush-blame fail to mention that more money has been taken out of the economy during three years of Democrat control, and that almost all of the problem was caused by the Democrat-led sub-prime debacle.

Obama and his people, although lacking qualifications, arrogantly believe that they have been granted the right to direct the lives of others. Nothing in the Constitution authorizes these government Socialist and Communist activities. Notwithstanding this, they consider the Constitution to be an archaic annoyance, subject to change to conform to the progressive dictates in vogue. Historians recall Woodrow Wilson’s advocacy of such, whereby a “living constitution” would not be constrained by protection of the individual. About 42% of US expenditures are expected to be financed by inflationary money creation this year. A figure of 40%, unavoidable with huge deficits, is considered by many economists to be the point of hyperinflation, along with the resulting fall in exchange rates.

Of course this must be accompanied by central control of the complete economy. In this behalf, we see the “The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act” emerge from the House despite unanimous Republican rejection. Provided for in its 1,500 pages are new controls over financial institutions, including banks and credit unions a federal insurance office, derivatives market control, and executive salary regulation. A Consumer Financial Protection Agency will oversee mortgages and small business loans. We don’t know if it’s in this bill, but Obama is having reimbursements withheld from mortgage companies that don’t modify loans for those who welch on repayment.

The Financial Services Oversight Council can take over firms determined by a bureaucrat to be large enough to undermine financial stability if experiencing difficulty. This is an assault on fundamental economic liberties of the citizen. A bill by our congressman Ed Perlmutter, self-avowed Keynsian economist, calls for every purchase of stocks, options, and futures to be taxed 0.25%. This would affect half of all Americans, for the establishment of a permanent $150 billion for bureaucrats to bail out favored private business at their discretion.

Congress is discussing ways to raise the national debt to $14.3 trillion. Some conservative Democrats are campaigning to hold it to a picayune $12.4 trillion, but what’s a few trillion among friends? According to the credible Peter G. Peterson Foundation, unfunded liabilities totaled $56.4 trillion at the end of fiscal 2008. Obama added to the burden with the $787 billion “stimulus,” of which most went to long-term pork projects, stimulating nothing, and as of recently, 78% was unspent.

The Obama progressive blitz will try to destroy the stability of the bond market, an escape route for investors, by having the Fed manipulate rates. $400 billion has been invested in the bond market in the last year, driving prices up including those of the U.S. Treasury. Instability in both Treasury and corporate bonds is anticipated to further the Obama agenda.

Spending last year was $3.5 trillion with a deficit of $1.42 trillion. The national debt is $12. 3 trillion and the Obama plan calls for it to reach $18.5 trillion by year 2020, with no way to retire it. Entitlements approaching $50 trillion are in unfunded notes. We owe about 30 times what we make each year. Can anybody visualize such amounts? It won’t take much more of Obama before we’re ready to default and declare capitalism dead.

“You never want to let a serious crisis go to waste.” This also refers to opportunity for some swindles to accompany socialization. When we heard of the closing of auto dealerships as part of the government takeover, we naturally thought that the prosperous ones would be awarded to big Democrat contributors at discounts. We weren’t far off. With Car Czar Steve Rattner in charge, the “Automotive Task Force” closed 788 Chrysler dealerships who had donated exclusively to the Republican Party. Only one closed business was a Democrat supporter, but their small donations were to Hillary’s and John Edwards’ campaigns. Rattner’s wife is former finance chair of the D.N.C. Ex-Bill Clinton Chief of Staff, Mack McClarty owns six Chrysler dealerships, all remaining in business. All eight competing Chrysler dealerships were closed. Rattner is under investigation for a multi-million dollar investment bank scandal. Sound familiar? Obama’s Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner says of Rattner, “I hope he takes another opportunity to bring his unique skills to government service in the future.”

More goodies moving us toward Obama’s Socialist or Communist state: A bill to tax on-line purchases, a move to outlaw loans for private education, attempts to renew the Fairness Doctrine, whereby radio stations would be required to broadcast leftist material to offset conservative radio, as determined by an appointed bureaucrat, provision for your computer to become government property if you access certain programs. Don’t forget Obama’s announcement of participation in a U.N. arms control treaty, which a congressman warns could be a “slippery slope to gun confiscation.” Is it paranoia to recall the history of such becoming a precursor to loss of sovereignty?

This move toward the far left has the fingerprint of the Obama’s guru, Saul Alinsky, who instructs how to tear down local governments, then the U.S., from the inside. New York City’s 1970s disaster is an example. All of this headlong decline into third world status is made possible by contrived ignorance in public education. To quote another Hitlerism, “The broad masses are more amenable to rhetoric than any other force.”

You decide. Socialist, Communist? All Obama actions fit one or the other. After a few months of Obama, we have 17% real unemployment, a quarter of homeowners facing “underwater mortgages,” doubling of the national debt, tripling of the deficit. How’s hope and change working for you?

Socialist Obama: It Could Be

By Tom Graham - Part 2 (Editor: Graham continues his brief, begun here, for specific policy evidence of President Barack Obama's socialist ideals and intentions.) Another one-two level economic mainstay, the construction industry, especially housing, is also an Obama target. Control of housing is cleverly approached from different angles. The issue of increasing traffic congestion makes public transit projects popular. However, the moving of people without autos is only an incidental byproduct of “transit oriented development.” This features aggressive campaigning by advocates of very high-density, heavily-subsidized housing. Although this was around before the emergence of Obama, it was announced during the Democratic Convention that the attack would now be aggressively pursued. Various groups connected to the “Progressive” movement see this as a step in control and Socializing of housing.

Good to their word, the Obama administration announced in mid-January that priorities for transit project funding would be based on the level of development opportunity created. The criteria of reducing travel time would be rescinded. Can everyone out there spell “Socialized housing?”

Many real estate brokers will recall implement-ation of the Community Reinvestment Act, whereby they were urged, sometimes threatened, to direct minority buyers away from “ghetto” enclaves, ostensibly for the goal of integration. Radical activist Saul Alinsky campaigned for implementation of the Act with the hope that it would lead to the crippling of banks, overloading of welfare rolls, and disruption of local governments. This strategy was taught to ACORN volunteers by Obama. The policy required brokers to abandon the universal practice of qualifying buyers by verifying enough income to afford the expense of home ownership. Brokers were instructed to direct buyers to certain lenders who package risky “sub-prime” loans into incorporated instruments with phony high ratings. Brokers and bankers had lived through the sub-prime underwater loan fiasco of the 80s, and the incredible incompetence of Resolution Trust, which was organized to dispose of the millions of HUD-foreclosed properties.

Astute brokers and investors predicted that resurrection of sub-prime lending would flood the market with homes having more debt than value. Few realized it would total trillions and cause the current national financial disaster. This contrived “crisis opportunity” paves the way for Socialist takeover. People without adequate income, encouraged by liberal policies to purchase homes, will build little equity and lack pride of ownership. They become ripe for Socialized housing. We haven’t met anyone who doesn’t consider the sub-prime market to be the cause of the current recession. Nor are there many who don’t believe this crisis to be a forerunner to government interference with housing and the construction industry.

The debacle hasn’t discouraged more of the same. Lenders are scraping the bottom for unqualified buyers and aggressively advertising loans of 105%-110% of value. An example of the market: 65% of all Nevada households owe more than their home’s value, according to American CoreLogic. Three days after Christmas, Obama gave blank checks to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac without announcing any strategy, encouraging speculators to pour money in. Analysts consider it money down a rat-hole.

FHA guaranteed a quarter of all US home loans in ’09, having learned nothing from the 80s. For the first time in history cash reserves are below the Congressional stipulated minimum. The government has taken over 80% of Fannie and Freddie, and will take the remainder after the forthcoming complete failure, which in turn will lead to complete control of the housing industry, in contrived Communist style.

Obama has blamed loans that couldn’t be paid back for the crisis, although the architect of sub-primes and long-time Fannie Mae chief Franklin Raines, is one of his economics advisors. It should also be well noted that as general counsel for ACORN, Obama sued banks to force them to make loans to low income buyers.

The President views health insurance as a right, and as an egotistical personal goal, worth political risks. In all the thousands of incomprehensible pages of proposed legislation, there lurks the “public option.” Make no mistake about this, titled “affordable choice,” being the entire motivation behind the issue of health care reform.

First of all, this is a classic case of manufacturing a problem and selling a solution to the non-existent situation. The 47 million uninsured hype is a count of everyone who may be without a policy for as little as one day during a year. Subtract the young and healthy who can afford insurance but choose not to have it, and those in the country illegally, and the figure is 5 million. Of course the “pathway to citizenship” for illegal aliens makes them eligible for health care entitlement.

Accounting for one-sixth or one-fifth of the economy, depending on who does the calculation, it is an essential element of the Socialist movement. Little intelligence is needed to see that private health care providers and insurance firms cannot compete with subsidized government programs that have no bottom line commitments. Consumers rationally choose the cheaper. The public is told that creates competition that will drive costs down. At the same time, they oppose the ultimate competition of an interstate market, because that would stall Socialization.

A key element of the confusing legislative mess is a federal subsidy for most people’s insurance. The fine print reveals that this will not take effect until 2014. Legislation calls for mandatory purchase of specified insurance to force everyone out of their chosen policies. Willful failure can result in a $25,000 fine and a year in jail, or $250,000 plus five years in jail for felony evasion. People who want additional, more costly “Cadillac” plans will be taxed. Preferential deal-making by Obama provides exemption from the tax for union members, who constitute the majority of “Cadillac” plan holders, as well as an Obama voter base.

Obama’s press secretary advised us after Christmas that the administration’s goal was to stop plans where employees are given better than average insurance plans as part of their compensation. Those considered excessive by Obama czars would be eliminated. Articulating Obama’s position, Speaker Pelosi stated that health insurance companies are the problem, and there would be a crackdown, including a requirement that they spend 85% of their revenues on benefits.

A temporary back-off to mollify the skeptical popular majority, calls for the private companies to participate in “non-profit” plans. If there is foot-dragging, the public option will be triggered. The trigger is a foregone finality. This is one major segment of the economy that could start out as Communist with the intent to make it Socialist. A feature of all plans is the requirement that people cannot be denied membership because of pre-existing ailments. This would be like insuring your car after an accident. In other words, health insurance becomes a Socialist redistribution of wealth.

Of course with the possible loss of a filibuster–proof Senate, “Obamacare” it is not a done deal. The closed-door meetings, taking the place of traditional open bi-cameral conferences, have so-far failed to produce Congressional agreement. The administration may ignore political repercussions and fight for this ultimate command-and-control segment of government, while ignoring the lack of Constitutional provision for any of it.

A major element in soaring medical costs, frivolous lawsuits, could be corrected with tort reform. However, this has been carefully sidestepped at the direction of trial lawyers, who are the second largest contributors to the Democratic Party.

A big step toward Socialized medicine is the proposal to reduce Medicare age to 55 or lower. Where the money comes from is anybody’s guess. Taking $500 billion out of one Medicare pocket and putting it into the other pocket is the plan to help pay for it. The SCHIP “children’s program,” insuring people up to age 25, and as old as 37 in some cases, and covering many who are financially sound, is another inroad to Socialized medicine.

You have noticed the TV ads endorsing reform. These are part of a sweetheart deal with Obama, who promised favors to the drug industry in return for a $150 million ad campaign, paid for by pharmaceutical firms. With monumental hypocrisy the left demonizes the drug industry, while simultaneously taking their money.

Columnist and self-styled economist Paul Krugman has announced that Obamacare critics are the “lunatic fringe.” He added, “…now that (Republican) policies of tax cuts and deregulation have led us into an economic quagmire, their prescription for recovery is…tax cuts and deregulation.”

A recent metaphor likened the Socialist health insurance takeover struggle to the Greek myth, where Sisyphus is condemned to push a boulder up a hill for eternity. Although Obama may temporarily pull back after the Massachusetts message, we cannot envision abandonment of this capstone of his first year whether he is a Socialist or a Communist.

Socialist Obama: Could it be?

By Tom Graham - Part 1 During a recent “Meet the Press” the host, with feigned indignation, asked a Senator, “You’re not calling the President a socialist, are you?” Without waiting for a response, he repeated the question for emphasis. This performance highlights the hijacking of political semantics. “Socialist” was replaced by “Liberal” which, in turn, became a pejorative, and now “Progressive” is preferred, and used in titles of dozens of political and welfare advocacy groups. Constantly morphing ideas and permutations of definitions make it hard to compartmentalize politicians. An accepted basic view is that Socialism advocates state or collective ownership of the means of production and distribution of goods. That essential hallmark of freedom, private ownership of property, is prohibited. Note how the current abuses of eminent domain stretch the traditional definitions of public use.

Marx called Socialism a transition between capitalism and Communism. As any high school sophomore should be able to recite from Marx’s Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei, “To each according to his needs; from each according to his ability.” An advocate of these ideas is indeed a Socialist. To quote National Socialist German Workers’ Party leader, Adolph Hitler, “The needs of society come before the individual’s needs.”

Before labeling Obama and his inventory of actions, we must also note the academic definition of Communism. “All economic activity is controlled by the state, dominated by a single political party.” Further: “A system based on holding all property in common, with actual ownership by the state.” Differences between the categories, reduced to simplest form: Socialism actually takes ownership while Communism totally controls enterprise, which ostensibly could remain private. This administration’s actions overlap both, with the common goal of doing away with Capitalism. Degrees of success are temporarily limited by public resistance. Constitutional protections are rejected as archaic annoyances.

Obama, equipped with glibness and arrogance, was dismissed as a buffoon by serious economists. His experience was largely limited to preaching Alinsky to ACORN volunteers. Without apologies, he surrounded himself with cabinet and advisor appointees, and a cadre of czars with no accountability, most of whom have serious ethical, legal and moral taints. The czars have no Congressional approval. Uniformly visible in that group is the disturbing tendency to demonize the concepts of private property ownership and free markets. The last 18 presidents averaged 46% of their advisers from the private sector. Obama has 8%.

As perennial presidential candidate Norman Thomas, and others, famously said, “The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation without knowing how it happened.”

Fabianism (strategy of establishing Socialism by gradual means), used with patience by subversive movements world-wide, is not in vogue with this administration.

To some degree or another, The administration has addressed all the elements of the Socialist or Communist state, with varying degrees and a common thread of shrinking Capitalism with alarming speed. The advice of Obama mouthpiece Rahm Emanuel is, “Never miss an opportunity to take advantage of a crisis.” Tactics of Chicago-style patronage, populism and corruption, unabashedly taken to the national level, have caught many flat-footed.

To correct what he blames his predecessor for, “long years of drift,” Obama is moving to control major industries in Communist fashion. What better start than the showpiece of American industry for a century, automobile manufacture? The President has no desire to own the auto companies, merely to control them. Perhaps he has read of the disastrous Soviet attempts at controlling manufacture with bureaucrats making all decisions.

Obama wants control while allowing experienced management to take care of the details. Bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler certainly were never meant to be loans, but rather a grab of equity. The action instantly took 78.3% of General Motors by the government, followed by a gift of 17.5% to the auto workers union. Bond value was whittled down to maybe 10% of GM equity. Investors without rational recognition of Communist control strategy held out hope for a rebound.

A sidebar of the auto industry takeover was the “Cash for Clunkers” fiasco which, at taxpayer expense, amounted to a marginal cost per car of $24,000. It had an effect of about 32 thousandths-of-one-percent CO2 reduction. It stimulated car purchases at the expense of future business a few months down the road. For example, by the end the year, Colorado new car registrations were 29.8% less than last year.