Category Archives: National Debt

Thank You Captain Obvious – Do We Really Need A Deficit Panel?

This past weekend the Obama administration worked incredibly hard [sarcasm included] to establish a deficit panel.  If any American doesn’t realize that we have an unprecedented deficit, they must be living in a cave or a bunker for 60 years.

Obama has named a Republican from the Reagan era, Alan K. Simpson and a Democrat from the Clinton era, Erskine Bowles to lead this new commission established to curtail the deficits that may wind up paralyzing this nation. 

The commission that Mr. Obama plans would have 18 members, 10 Democrats and 8 Republicans. The president would name one other Republican and three additional Democrats, none of whom would be administration officials or lawmakers. For the remaining 12 members, the leaders of both parties in the House and Senate each would choose three lawmakers.

The commission would try to recommend by December — after the midterm elections — how to balance the budget by the fiscal year 2015, not counting interest payments on the debt; those are projected to be nearly 3 percent of the gross domestic product that year, a size that most economists say is the maximum acceptable. Also, Mr. Obama wants a commission to propose longer term changes in revenues and the entitlement programs to rein in a debt projected to be 77 percent of the economy’s output by 2020. A supermajority of 14 of the 18 members would have to concur to reach a deal.

We definitely need to resolve our debt crisis and stop building our deficits taht will enslave younger generations to the government and other foreign investors.  However, I find this interesting since Obama is requesting a commission but he is in fact the one president who has spent more than all others combined in his first year.  He is also creating unsustainable budgets that could create disasterous results in the long-run.  Again, as Michelle Malkin aptly calls it, this is kabuki theater.  This is probably another ploy to appear as if he is working to help, but really has no intention of turning from his ideological partisanship of big spending, high taxing, big government.  None of this surprises me in the least now that Politico is reporting that he is already working on his 2012 campaign.

So far only 3 leading Senate Democrats have been named to the panel and the rest have yet to be named.  This is supposed to be a bipartisan panel, but the Democrats, along with Bowles will have the upperhand with 11 members to 9 Republicans. 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has named Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus of Montana and Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois to the panel, which is charged with recommending spending cuts and possible revenue increases to bring the deficit to managable levels by 2015.

I trust the current crop of bureaucrats as far as I can throw them, and for a 5′ 0” tall female that’s a pretty short distance!  I’m not sure anybody in our congress knows how spending, business, or finances work from a real world perspective so this will be interesting to watch.

Who knows, maybe this is what Obama meant when he was talking about green shoots and new jobs (bigger government and more commissions that just add to the inefficiency and bureaucracy).

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Filed under Congress, Democrats, Government Spending, National Debt, Obama, Obama Administration, Republicans, Unemployment

1st Ever National Tea Party Convention

It’s been a week since I first made my journey south to Nashville, TN, to attend the first ever National Tea Party Convention put on by Tea Party Nation (TPN), and unfortunately, due to rescheduled flights and Snowmageddon, I haven’t had the opportunity to write about it before now — so here it goes:

I have to honestly say that the Tea Party has been characterized and painted in such a dishonest way by the media.  Everyone I met was incredibly excited to be involved in politics and their government.  There were people from all genders, age groups, and yes, there were minorities at the conference. The tea party represents a broad and expanding group of Americans who are simply “sick and tired of being sick and tired,” with their government and their representatives. {Only 600 tickets were sold to the event so this was just a small representation}

It is accurate to say that many who are part of the tea party movement are not fond of Obama’s policies or his ideology, but it would be disingenuous to stop there.  Most tea partiers are trying to return this country to a republic rather than the oligarchy it is heading towards.  The constitution is the law of the land and should be adhered to and treated as such.  The members of this grassroots movement are average, everyday Americans; many of which have jobs or are retired.  They pay taxes, work hard, believe in personal responsibility, a hand up not a hand out, fiscal responsibility, small government, and strong national defense.

I guess I have difficulty understanding how the media could paint citizens engaging in debate, in civics, in government, and expressing peaceful dissent, as being extremists, nationalists, and racists.  What is so wrong with expressing the principles you believe in?  Protesters were “in” when they were protesting the Iraq War and anything Bush; holding up swastikas, BusHitler signs, and even making a fake guillotine with a Bush head.  But now the media doesn’t like the dissent when it goes against the very principles they espouse.  There is something very wrong when the 4th column can’t remain objective.  I have no problem if you are liberal and in the media, but when you are ‘on duty’ act like it, then take your opinions and ideology home with you.

With that being said – there will always be people on both sides of the aisle that are considered extreme or fringe, which is normal.  The left and right both have their fair share to deal with when it comes to that, but nobody should categorically try to make an assumption of the whole based on its parts.

I personally hope that the tea party remains an independent entity and doesn’t fall into the trap of becoming an established political group.  What is so attractive to the movement is its appeal to all parties that share the same conservative principles.  Many would be surprised that many Democrats (i.e. JFK Democrats) are more conservative especially when it comes to fiscal policy.  Independents are also conservative in different aspects.  I, for one, have never been part of a registered party and have always considered myself unaffiliated because the establishment on both sides of the aisle needs reform.

All in all, I had a blast, and the entire convention surpassed my expectations.  I met a lot of great people, and had tons of fun – believe it or not, Conservatives definitely know how to have a good time! 🙂 There are lots of people working hard to put the right people into office so we the people can clean up our government.  It’s important to note that many involved are still very new to politics and grassroots activism so mistakes and missteps will be made along the way – but as long as we can remember Calvin Coolidge’s words referring to Persistence, the Tea Party can become a force to be reckoned with:

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
The slogan “Press On” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

Here are some photos of the event:

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Many people were excited to see Sarah Palin on Saturday – one of her fans taped her poster to his balcony!

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The Tea Party Presser where both Judson Phillips & Mark Skoda spoke – the MSM was there in droves

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The Presser was held at lunchtime on Friday – Angela McGlowan would speak later that evening and give a wonderful speech and also announce her candidacy as a Republican running in Mississippi. The other men next to her were part of a documentary crew that have already made one movie about the tea party.

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There were so many great people who attended and I was afforded the opportunity to have lunch and hang out with Adam Andrzejewski who unfortunately lost the Republican primary for Governor in IL, but I have a feeling there is more in store for him!

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The men who wore costumes from our founding era were awesome – many of them were in the Tea Party documentary and it made the event a lot of fun.

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Here is a very small portion of the line awaiting Sarah Palin and the tea party banquet on Saturday night (people were in line by 3:30/4pm when the doors weren’t evening opening until 6pm).

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Sarah Palin arrives to eat dinner at the banquet – We got some great seats that were about 50 feet away.

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We got to hear a new song for the movement, I believe it was called “American Heart” by Jon David.

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Sarah Palin begins her speech (I had to take these pictures with my blackberry so the lighting is very bad).

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The view from the jumbotron

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Top off the night by celebrating a successful convention with people like Andrew Breitbart, Glenn Reynolds (aka Instapundit), and so many others – Saturday night was a blast!

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Of course we had to end the night by signing the official flag for the Tea Party convention. {that’s my friend Burnsy BTW}

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Filed under Constitution, Economy, Establishment, Government Spending, Media, MSM, National Debt, National Security, Progressivism, Protests, RINO, Sarah Palin, Tea Party

While You Were Out: A $447B Omnibus Chock Full of Earmarks Passed

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Just when you thought the government couldn’t spend any more the House passes the second Omnibus of the year, full of 5,912 earmarks – for ‘jobs,’ I’m sure.

The omnibus is a little different from normal since it rolls 6 spending bills into 1 in order to pass this massive earmark legislation as quickly as possible. The House only passed the bill by a 221-202 vote with no Republican support and 28 Democrats who dissented.

The Hill reports:

The spending bills in the package are the ones for: the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development departments; the Commerce and Justice departments and federal science funding; financial services and general government agencies; the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education departments; military construction and the Department of Veterans Affairs; and the State Department and foreign operations.

Congress has a Dec. 18 deadline to get the conference report signed into law to avoid a government shutdown. A continuing resolution, which allowed government to operate without approved funding after the Oct. 1 start of the fiscal year, expires on that date.

GOP members raised concerns that the bills will contribute to a 12 percent discretionary spending increase over last year.

Democrats contend that this bill will help the economy and create those much heralded and almost legendary ‘jobs’ they love to tout.

An example of delusion:

“The country is struggling to overcome the longest and deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.).

“The bill before us today is one of the key measures Congress will pass this year to help address those problems and provide relief for millions of hardworking Americans caught in a struggle for economic survival,” Obey added in a statement.

I am still trying to figure out how much spending needs to take place in order for the economy to revive itself – and more than that, I’m trying to understand how government can revive anything when they produce nothing and get a majority of their revenues through taxes – the same people they are trying to ‘help.’

Here is a list of some of the thousands of earmarks (it should be noted that this is chock full of Democrat and Republican goodies):

If you want to see what your lawmakers are up to, here is a list of the bills that will be included in this Omnibus, and a link that lets you check out what’s in each part. These are all pdf files.

* Transportation & Housing – http://bit.ly/7jSVIv

* Commerce, Justice, Science – http://bit.ly/7pAWlc

* Financial Services – http://bit.ly/5nq65O

* Labor, Health, Education – http://bit.ly/5RJ1rn

* Military Construction & Veterans – http://bit.ly/5vMLpu

* State Department & Foreign Aid – http://bit.ly/7oEYgX

Five of the six bills have earmarks (there are none in the foreign aid bill) and by my count, there are 5,912 in all, with Labor at 1810, Transportation at 1548 and Commerce at 1515.

If you want to search for earmarks in your state, here is a little trick to find them more quickly: search by using comma, space, and the two letter abbreviation for your state.

If you want to see some of the earmarks from the first omnibus you can look here.

As an FYI, this bill was immediately passed to the Senate today after it passed the House.  Reid is hoping to pass this bill before the weekend, however, there may be good news since it has been delayed by various Senators.  Melt the phones if you are concerned about the superfluous spending!

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Filed under Congress, Government Spending, National Debt

Irrational Economics

I have to tend to believe that when there are so many unknowns and people believing there is an unending crisis, they begin to lose their minds.  Politicians and those in control of passing laws, creating new approaches to resolve the economic crisis, and regulators from financial entities, begin to create things willy-nilly to find a solution as quickly as possible.  These approaches, however, can be rushed and wind up making situations worse or just completely dumbfound the public.

Two recent examples of the lunacy regarding our markets are 1. the new creation of McG’s [sic] for the mortgage-backed securities much like what the GSE’s, Fannie & Freddie, dealt with, and 2. the Chinese government admitting that the US and Chinese governments are creating more bubbles to resolve the original bubbles.

HUH!?

I thought the point of this financial ‘Crisis’ was to find the mistakes and learn from them – not repeat them!?  When people perceive a crisis they either pull through with flying colors and act valiantly in the face of pressure, or they crumble and act irrational.  I think we are seeing the latter of the two.

McG’s would act as a government backed regulator, that would take the place of Fannie and Freddie, but their debt will not be guaranteed by the government, another similarity of the GSEs. The reason Fannie and Freddie crashed was due to it’s over-leveraged position and no government guarantee on their debt/credit risk.  There are arguments that the leveraging itself did the damage and that the government can be usurped to avoid the risk in the future if caps are put on the amount of debt and risk a company can carry.  Some other notes about McG’s: Interest and Credit would be split between bond holders and the McG’s.  Private investors would make profit from these McG’s, but taxpayers, who would establish the McG’s would receive nothing in return.

However, the full story on the notion of McG’s is best explained through a video clip from CNBC.  It’s a shame that more people don’t watch CNBC, but I assume a person has to have the stomach to watch markets, numbers, and finance.  Personally, getting my masters in Finance has been enough when it comes to listening to financial topics for hours on end.

There have been other concerns raised regarding this new idea from the MBA as well as some suggestions from Market Ticker:

This is idiotic. Let’s count the ways:

-A “strong regulator” eh? You mean like the FHFA? Fannie and Freddie had a so-called “strong regulator” that nonetheless allowed them to lever up at 80:1 (or 200:1 depending on how you looked at their books) which was clearly outrageous on its face and led to their demise.
-That same “strong regulatory framework” had Fannie and Freddie buying other-than-actual-prime paper. It detonated. Any questions?
-Fannie and Freddie turned into revolving-door agencies with the government, winding up as political tools on both sides of the aisle.

Simply put, credit risk is controlled by imposing leverage limits on buyers. This is done by requiring down payments. A 20% down payment requirement limits leverage to 5:1, and unlike a political process it requires no regulation – you simply make it unlawful to give out mortgage money without 20% in cash on the barrel. Presto: credit risk problem solved.

The 100-year-old set of standards:

-20% down payments, in cash, are required
-28% “front end” (all housing expenses) maximum ratio
-36% “back end” (all debt service including housing) maximum ratio

China has also confirmed what many of us have believed for quite some time. Our government and many others are creating more bubbles to try and fix the old ones.

In a phenomenal demonstration of frankness and true economic assessment, the head of the China Investment Council, Lou Jiwei, who controls China’s $298 billion sovereign wealth fund, admits the ponzi nature of today’s markets:

Both China and America are addressing bubbles by creating more bubbles and we’re just taking advantage of that. So we can’t lose.

Indeed, they can’t lose thanks to the criminal silence on behalf of Mr. Jiwei’s US financial counterparties. It doesn’t get any simpler than that folks. Keep in mind Madoff was thrown in jail for a few hundred years for much less: what’s $55 billion when you are dealing with a $20 trillion+ global equity market Ponzi scheme. And yet both China and the US continue their struggle to perpetuate a Ponzi, with the full implicit backing of all financial, regulatory and legal authorities. The system is now officially broken, even ignoring the conspiratorial ramblings of fringe bloggers.

Haven’t our financial markets been set-up much like ponzi schemes for a while now? The government intervention and involvement in our economy has made it ‘fake’ for some time now, and the actions of our current administration is certainly making it much worse.

This is just a simple lesson in irrational economics. Then again, we couldn’t expect much else from the far left – people like Krugman who believe a third stimulus is needed (yea that’s the ticket!) or Van Jones who believes that a new green economy should take the place of our current capitalist structure for social justice purposes. Care to take a lesson in some basic supply and demand equations?

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Filed under Economy, Government Spending, National Debt, Obama Administration

An Inconvenient Health Care Truth For Media Conveniently Afraid Of Statistics

The media during Bush’s 8 years certainly was not afraid to pull out any statistics that would discredit Republicans or the administration.  One of their favorite statistics was the number of deaths during the Iraq War. 

However, now that there are wars still being fought in Afghanistan and Iraq, the media has conveniently left that tiny issue to the way-side.  The only individual who still has her principles is Cindy Sheehan.  I may not agree with Ms. Sheehan’s politics, but I can at least commend her for her consistency. (via the Examiner): 

After receiving the email, I asked Sheehan to give me a call, so I could verify that the note in fact came from her.  She did, and we discussed her plans to protest next week in Martha’s Vineyard, where President Obama will be vacationing.  “I think people are starting to wake up to the fact that even if they supported Obama, he doesn’t represent much change,” Sheehan said.  “There are people still out here who oppose the war and Obama’spolicies, but it seems like the big organizations with the big lists aren’t here.”

I asked Sheehanabout the fact that the press seems to have lost interest in her and her cause.  “It’s strange to me that you mention it,” she said.  “I haven’t stopped working.  I’ve been protesting every time I can, and it’s not covered.  But the one time I did get a lot of coverage was when I protested in front of George Bush’s house in Dallas in June.  I don’t know what to make of it.  Is the press having a honeymoon with Obama?  I know the Left is.”

I have more appreciation for those who stay true to their beliefs no matter what those beliefs are, rather than changing them based on whichever way the political wind is blowing, especially when your guy won the biggest office in the land. 

So I sit here scratching my head wondering why the media hasn’t reported the latest news coming out of Canada and their health care system?  The new president of the Canadian Medical Association states that Canada’s health care is imploding.  Canada has also encouraged its citizens to buy and use private insurance to ween them off of government-run health care. 

The former president of the Canadian Medical Association was on O’Reilly last night and confirmed the same thing.  Although O’Reilly, as usual, wasn’t letting him get his statements in completely, he intimated that there are not enough doctors able to cover the volume of people covered under their system.  This leads to rationing of care and increased costs to attempt to fund everyone.  Rationing is the only way to say you are covering everyone, and try to cut costs at the same time.

France also reported that it’s health care system is going bankrupt, nearly two weeks ago.  No mention of their single-payer system and the nightmare it created for the citizens of that country by the MSM.

The English system also has horrible statistics.  Their rate of survival for any cancer or serious illness is significantly worse than it is in the States.  The National Center for Policy Analysisalso conducted a study and concluded the NHS was putting the patient last.  If NHS was a business it would fail miserably based on its standard operating procedures and business practices that it chooses to implement.

The CBC has just released new statistics that show Americans’ life expentency is on the rise while deaths are not.  But I thought American health care was ranked last?  It’s amusing to hear liberals use the common argument that the US ranks 37th out of 37 countries when comparing their health care systems.  However, when you ask for the context of those statistics, since stats can be masterfully manipulated based on outside factors/variables used to conduct studies, it’s no wonder that the CATO Institute was able to debunk that ranking. 

Those who cite the WHO rankings typically present them as an objective measure of the relative performance of national health care systems. They are not. The WHO rankings depend crucially on a number of underlying assumptions–some of them logically incoherent, some characterized by substantial uncertainty, and some rooted in ideological beliefs and values that not everyone shares. Changes in those underlying assumptions can radically alter the rankings.

[…]while the United States ranks 37th, there is no ranking for which both claims are true. Using OP, the United States does rank 37th. But while France is number 1 on OP, Canada is 30. Using OA, the United States ranks 15th, while France and Canada rank 6th and 7th, respectively. In neither ranking is the United States at 37 while France and Canada are in the top 10.

Which ranking is preferable? WHO presents the OP ranking as its bottom line on health system performance, on the grounds that OP represents the efficiency of each country’s health system. But for reasons to be discussed below, the OP ranking is even more misleading than the OA ranking. This paper focuses mainly on the OAranking; however, the main objections apply to both OP and OA.

But, as Newsbusters reports, the media has conveniently overlooked the story regarding Canadian health care, especially when early proponents of Universal health care, like Hillary touted the system as a model the US should use. 

One would think that the media would want to get all facts out to the public, and unfortunately, if some of those facts get in the way of what they idealistically felt was the answer, then so be it.  The people will be better off knowing the truth and making their decisions on health care from there.  It may also help certain representatives who are on the fence.  It’s scary to know that the media is willing to throw the country down the toilet and inevitably bankrupt the nation in order to reach their liberal ‘Utopia.’ 

Facts just seem to get in their way.

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Filed under Congress, Double Standards, Economy, Government Spending, Health Care, Hypocrisy, Media, MSM, National Debt, Obama, ObamaCare, Progressivism

Another Obama Double-Cross, Media Cover-up: No Additional Social Security Money Until 2012

Par for the course I guess, but this is becoming quite a pattern with the Obama administration and the news media.  Obama has this strange habit of promising everybody the world, but once in power, takes it all back and simply does whatever he wants. 

The latest political promise, double-cross involves his base – a group that I would not want to upset.  Obama had promised to implement a payroll tax on those making over $250K/year, the people he calls millionaires and billionaires, to help pay for the ever depleting bucket of money in social security.  His base strongly approved of this pledge to uncap the taxing threshold – here is what he said:

Social Security is strong, but as more baby boomers retire, the long-term cash-flow needs to be addressed. We have to make sure Social Security is there for future generations…

Here’s where I would start. Right now, the Social Security payroll tax is capped. That means most middle-class families pay this tax on every dime they make, while millionaires and billionaires are only paying it on a very small percentage of their income. That’s why I think the best way forward is to first look to adjust the cap on the payroll tax so that people like me pay a little bit more and people in need are protected. That way we can extend the promise of Social Security without shifting the burden on to seniors. And we should exempt anyone making under $250,000 from this increase so that the change doesn’t burden middle-class Americans. This means that 97% of Americans will see absolutely no change in their taxes under my plan – 97%…

This promise, via the Collins Report, has been taken back by Obama, and due to that fact alone, Obama is now pushing the burden onto seniors to pay for this debacle (another government-run system).

Citing a 2008 third quarter cost of living decline, Congress has voted no cost of living increase in next year’s Social Security checks for the first time since 1973.

The Democrats are pointing to their own prediction of a “… [steady] decline in consumer prices through the first three quarters of this year…” Based on this they claim to foresee no need for raises until possibly 2012.

Democrats ignore Consumer Price Index: hide behind flat Inflation

Obama’s base will suffer the most. While 80% of our big cities voted for Obama it’s apparent the elderly, both White and minority, will be asked to “balance the budget” by themselves. There might not be any inflation but the Consumer Price Index (CPI) has risen steadily since January, and people are living by the CPI not the rate of inflation.

Numbers show ignoring the CPI will crush elderly and minorities.

A little history:

Back in the 80’s, Congress changed the way that the CPI was applied to the Social Security COLA, with the express intention of limiting the COLA increase.  That same year, they voted themselves a raise.  The resulting rage among seniors was palpable.  This time around things could get interesting!

There are those who are stating this is old news, but it still begs the question, why is nobody in the media bringing up the fact that he has incessantly lied to those who elected him and the American public?  Yes, all politicians lie, but I’m not sure I have ever seen it to this extent – I know, I know, I’m young, but still…

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Filed under Congress, Double Standards, Economy, Government Spending, Hypocrisy, Inflation, Media, MSM, National Debt, Obama, Obama Administration

Your Taxpayer Dollars Continue To Subsidize Chinese Owned US Assets

If you thought the government, couldn’t get any more insane, it has. The government is backing/funding China’s purchase of US assets. We are creating a PPIP for the Chinese, whereby, the US Treasury matches private purchases of US assets like bonds or property and credits/guarantees 6x as much as the total lump sum after the match.

The Chinese company, China Investment Corp (CIC) plans on purchasing $2B worth of AAA distressed US mortgages. The US Treasury would match that amount for a total of $4B and then credit up to $24B. In essence, since the US Treasury has no money of its own, we, as taxpayers, are funding the purchase of our country, not only via our debt, but our mortgages/property, by the Chinese.

It is being reported that China Investment Corp (CIC) intends to purchase $2 billion of AAA rated, distressed mortgages in the United States. The press reports are suggesting that CIC is presently interviewing 9 American money managers.

These managers have been approved by the Treasury to participate in the PPIP program as servicers. CIC will pick one or perhaps two to manage its investment program.

Has this been going on for a while in the US? Of course it has, but does that make it right and when does the insanity stop? The real losers in this mess are the American working public who do not make up the elite class and the Chinese people who are not part of the oligarchy. It begs the question of how far away from a Republic are we?

A serious question must also be presented that questions what type of property would be purchased as well. It could get very precarious if the property involved included farms, and other vital properties. Just food for thought!

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Filed under Economy, Government Spending, National Debt, Obama Administration