John Ransom

True Liberal wrote: Maybe the best way to combat the growth of these big banks is to charge them a 10 point penalty that will fund any bank failures. Large banks would be charged this penalty and the smaller banks would not. There would be a disincentive to the too big to fail banks. - Cyprus by Other Means

Dear Comrade Liberal,

That’s what FDIC insurance is supposed to take care of.  Banks already pay into an insurance fund to guarantee depositors against bank failure. The problem is that if all the banks- or some of the biggest- went at the same time, there’d not be enough money in the fund to bailout depositors.

With money market funds, there really is no reason for depositors to have cash accounts over $250,000. 

The solutions for too big to fail are really pretty simple.

First, we have to get the banks out of the investment business and the investment business out of banks. That’s the way it worked since the Great Depression and while we had bank failures and market crashes, they were contained.

Next, we have to level the playing field and not give big banks an advantage over smaller community banks as far as capitalization. For the last twenty years big banks have been lobbying the federal government to gain a competitive advantage over smaller banks. One of the advantages big banks enjoy now is a legal guarantee that the federal government will bail them out next time they run into trouble. That allows them to raise money more cheaply than smaller banks. That needs to end.

Lastly, we should never, ever allow someone like Hank Paulson, Tim Geithner or Jack Lew –each with deep ties to the financial industry- to be secretary of the treasury. 

All of us should be greatly concerned about whether public policy over the last ten years has served the public or a narrow set of people in Washington and on Wall Street. 

DG Wrote: Perhaps we can coin a word: ....... It will be a verb, cyprus. We can say the government cyprussed investors of GM stocks and bonds when Government Motors bailed out the UAW at the expense of GM investors. ..... "To cyprus" means for government to confiscate or steal property from individuals. - Cyprus by Other Means

Dear DG,

Once again you are right on.

Another example: “The Patriots got cyprused by the New York Jets in the AFC title game.”

Rgama wrote: Fortunately, in 2010, we elected all those House Republicans that were going to be laser-focused on creating jobs. Oh...wait... - Obamacare: "Driving Up Unemployment and Insurance Costs Since 2010™"

Dear Comrade RG,

Yeah, ‘cause the 435 members of the House have so much to do with creating jobs.

Here’s a tip for your liberal friends. If you want to create jobs:

1)   Have Obama sign the order for the Keystone Pipeline.

2)   Get the Senate to vote, as the House did, to repeal a) Obamacare; b) MACT Act; c) Dodd-Frank.

3)   Get the Senate to pass these House-passed job bills: a) The Pathway to Job Creation through a Simpler, Fairer Tax Code Act of 2012; b) Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act of 2012; c) Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act of 2012; Congressional Replacement of President Obama''s Energy-Restricting and Job-Limiting Offshore Drilling; National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2012; The Domestic Energy and Jobs Act; Regulatory Accountability Act of 2011.

4)   Or check out any of the other House generated acts at The Plan for America’s Job Creators.

The GOP’s not perfect, but at least they have done some of the right things.

Tim R wrote: Europeans have paved the way for greedy governments to get their depositors money. but in Cyprus' case, it was NOT the Cyprus Government's idea to raid deposits. When Cypriots went to Brussels to negotiate, the Eurogroup and the IMF put a gun on their heads and forced them to raid their people's account, threatening that they would cut ELA (emergency liquidity assistance) to the Cypriot bank's the NEXT day (that would mean total chaos). It's very dangerous politics and they OPENED pandoras box. - Paul Krugman Wins Nobel: Best Supporting Liberal Playing Economist in Cyprus

Dear Tim,

That’s what’s so scary about this situation.

The guys who put together the Cyprus deal look pretty much like the guys running things on this side of the Atlantic.       

JasonQ wrote: Mr. Ransom writes: "raiding uninsured depositor accounts to meet the capital requirements of any bank, without the consent of the account holders, well, that’s theft." Theft which he blames on the government. However, the whole reason the bank is failing is that it lent out or invested far more than it could afford to lose. In effect, the bank had already stolen from its depositors - or at least behaved wrecklessly and irresponsibly, if you prefer. The government is simply trying to dispose of what capital is left fairly. You can certainly disgree with the details, but calling it theft is overlooking the responsibility of the people to whom the money was entrusted in the first place. - Paul Krugman Wins Nobel: Best Supporting Liberal Playing Economist in Cyprus

Dear Comrade Jason,

More correctly, I blame it on the European welfare state. It’s the collapse of the European welfare state that created the crisis to begin with. While it’s proper to lay blame on the banks, too, you’d have to indict ALL banks in that case.

But that’s beside the point.

If you don’t understand the difference between a depositor losing money because the bank they used went under and the government coming in and confiscating a portion of the deposits so that some can be saved and others damned, then you don’t understand anything. 

Remember, first they tried to tax ALL depositors, including those who are insured anyway. 

And why the “government” of the EU should decide how to fairly apportion winners and losers in this instance is beyond me.  

Olewis wrote: I read Ransom for four reason. 1.Cool logic. B. Ethics. And lastly, (hee hee hee) the humor. Thanks John. If you people don't get it, try HuffPo, that should be more your speed. - Paul Krugman Wins Nobel: Best Supporting Liberal Playing Economist in Cyprus

Dear Comrade O,

Oh?

Leave the humor to the professionals.

Maury Joseph wrote: I get it, companies can't become "TOO LARGE" but a Gov't. never gets too big..........hmm - In the Race to be Cheap, Politics Wins

Dear Maury,

No, bigness is a virtue when it comes to government and Obama’s ego. 

Ehall wrote: What seems the obvious solution is to limit the size of companies controlled by any one person or family. The limit could be established by taxing any company gross profits exceeding an established limit (0.5% of US GNP?) at 100%. This would force overly large companies to divest or limit growth. Not popular with libertarians, but it is maybe an appropriate extension of Roosevelt's trust busting. - In the Race to be Cheap, Politics Wins

Dear Comrade E,

What seems obvious is that you are either taking too much or too little of some sort of medication with psychotropic qualities. And you’re a liberal. And you know nothing about economics. Or law. Or history.

Bad liberal; bad, bad liberal. 

Maybe we can keep some illegal aliens who love this country and send back some liberals in their place.     

GatoLuchador wrote: You know, I do lean conservative, but I can find justification for the confiscation: You get what you vote for. If Cypriots keep voting for tax-borrow-and-spend politicians, then they shouldn't complain when they force them to pay up. Pay up or shut up. In fact, the original plan -- where EVERYBODY got their money confiscated -- was better than the last. - EU Goes All Soviet on Rich Russians

Dear Comrade Gato,

I agree that taxing everyone was better than letting some skate and others lose all.

“If anything,” writes the Irish Independent, “the situation is more troubling than a week ago; with the bizarre idea that depositors in one bank should be levied more heavily than in others; that at least one bank would be wound up; and that there would be restrictions on the movement of money in what is supposed to be a monetary union.”

But the fundamental problem is that the Eurozone is unworkable, primarily because there really is no such thing as an economic “union”. It would be like claiming that Mexico, Canada and the United States were in sort of a “union” because of NAFTA.

All such confederacies have failed the test of history.

Michael160 wrote: Won't somebody stand up for the hard working Russian oligarchs! Those poor guys, they stole so much money from their country, paid no taxes on it, and then parked it in various tax havens/money laundries so it could grow at ridiculous perecentage points without in any way benefitting their home country. Paragons of capitalist virtue, in other words, another shining example of how capitalism floats all boats. What would Russia do without these great minds? It's good that the US right wing feels their pain. - EU Goes All Soviet on Rich Russians

Dear Comrade Mike,

Live it up now, Mikey.

This time you think it’s the Russian oligarchs that got theirs. And somehow you think by allowing governments to steal their money that it makes you freer or more prosperous.

Do you think it’s gonna be harder or easier now for governments to steal from ordinary people now that they know how to steal from the richest?

Theft is theft.

But you won’t object to it until it happens to you.

Writes Dr. Thomas Sowell in Can It Happen Here?:    

There are more sophisticated ways for governments to take what you have put aside for yourself and use it for whatever the politicians feel like using it for. If they do it slowly but steadily, they can take a big chunk of what you have sacrificed for years to save, before you are even aware, much less alarmed.

That is in fact already happening. When officials of the Federal Reserve System speak in vague and lofty terms about “quantitative easing,” what they are talking about is creating more money out of thin air, as the Federal Reserve is authorized to do — and has been doing in recent years, to the tune of tens of billions of dollars a month.

In doing so, it quietly erodes the value of your money.

And by the way, true capitalism is not theft, as you assert. It’s the exact opposite of theft.  

From Capitalism.org: “Capitalism is a social system based on the principle of individual rights. Politically, it is the system of laissez-faire (freedom). Legally it is a system of objective laws (rule of law as opposed to rule of man). Economically, when such freedom is applied to the sphere of production its’ result is the free-market.”  

rbartlett wrote: I thought this was delicious, Russian kleptocrats getting screwed by European kleptocrat. - EU Goes All Soviet on Rich Russians

Dear Comrade R,

Dude or Dudette, or El Duderino, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing:  The word “delicious” as you used it stopped being used at the turn of the 20th Century. 

RGR4214 wrote: Another day, another mind-blowing fact about the staggering difference between the haves and the have-nots. Incomes for the bottom 90 percent of Americans only grew by $59 on average between 1966 and 2011 (when you adjust those incomes for inflation), according to an analysis by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston for Tax Analysts. During the same period, the average income for the top 10 percent of Americans rose by $116,071, Johnston found.- The Greatest Recession

Dear Comrade RGR,

So you’re saying that most people are doing about as well- but no worse- as they ever have income-wise? But the top ten percent are doing better? So to stop that, you’ll stop the top people from doing well, because then it will make you feel better about the other people who are doing about the same as they ever have?

As we have demonstrated before, income inequality, so-called, is mostly a product of changes in the composition of households not wages.  For example, there are more single-parent households, more women in the workforce, more demographical reasons for income by household to appear smaller compared to those at the top.

“In short, it's those social processes,” writes our contributor Political Calculations, “which have driven demographic changes within U.S. households, that are almost exclusively behind the observed increase in family and household income inequality observed in the U.S. since the 1960s.” 

Then there are two other factors to consider: Despite what liberals say, there is very little convincing me that life isn’t better for ordinary people than it was in the 1950s or 1960s or 1970s or 1980s.

Computers, cells phones, mass media, the rationalization of the written word, civil rights, biotechnology and a host of other factors make life less parochial, more mobile, and fairer than previously.

Also, the top 400 billionaires control around $4.2 trillion in wealth, or almost half of the wealth held by the 36,000 millionaires.

The last few decades have been ones of startling innovation and material progress. Great wealth has been created. Has that wealth disproportionally benefited a small group of people?

No. As I wrote previously:  Computers, cells phones, mass media, the rationalization of the written word, civil rights, biotechnology and a host of other factors make life less parochial, more mobile, and fairer than previously.

DagNabbit wrote: Ransom cracks me up: This is the same guy that screams "Burn more oil!" at the top of his lungs every week. You want to F the Saudis? Stop buying their oil. (PS: Now I'll make the Sunday edition where he goes on and on about how the Keystone pipeline will free us from the Saudi trap. Hint: It won't). - Red, White and Saudi Privilege

Dear Comrade DN,

I don’t scream, “Burn more oil!”

I scream: “Drill more oil.”

Comrade, it may come as a big surprise, but despite the wishes of liberals like you, our economy depends upon oil. That’s not a fact that’s likely not to change much in the next fifty years.

There are two ways to face this issue: 1) Use less oil; or 2) Find more oil.

I have no issue with using less oil if you can give me an economical alternative, but you can’t. Every policy that you and your liberal cadres want involves me opening up my checkbook and paying for energy schemes that don’t work, cost jobs and lead to higher prices.

And by the way, I don’t want to screw the Saudis, as you suggest I should. I was objecting to Saudi nationals being here who hate America. I also object to paying $95 per barrel of oil when the economy should be supporting prices closer to $55 per barrel. The $40 difference is mainly attributable to Obama and his nutty professors like Dr. Stephen Chu who thinks $5.00 a gallon gasoline would be a swell idea.   

But here’s the main point. We got a lot of oil here. Five years ago liberals teamed up with the “settled science” crowd to claim that we didn’t have enough oil and gas here in the United States to make a difference in our dependence on foreign sources of oil.    

But that’s not true, as even scientists now have to admit.

A new report from the UK research team at Price Waterhouse and Cooper confirms what we knew all along: We’re right and they’re wrong.

Really wrong; once-in-a-lifetime, disastrously wrong if grading on the scale the rest of us are subject to.

Grading on the liberal scale, however, it’s just normal, everyday, run of the mill errors in judgment, math, worldview, physics and fluid mechanics that liberals deal with all the time in an effort to “wish” the world to Utopia while their leaders are busy creating Dystopia for all but a select few.

This latest discovery that we are right and they are wrong, shouldn’t shock us.

Here’s the frightening truth: “Shale oil (light tight oil) is rapidly emerging as a significant and relatively low cost new unconventional resource in the US,” writes PWC in its February, 2013 report Shale oil: the next energy revolution. “There is potential for shale oil production to spread globally over the next couple of decades. If it does, it would revolutionise global energy markets, providing greater long term energy security at lower cost for many countries.”

PWC estimates the GDP increase to be between 2-5 percent in the US. Using today’s GDP figures that’s between $300 billion and $750 billion, with my estimate being a nice midway point in the PWC estimate.

As I have pointed out all along, the Keystone pipeline issue isn’t about the safety of a pipeline. Obama and enviro-whacko friends know that if they allow Canadian tar sands oil to be developed via the Keystone pipeline, that the US will also start to develop their own tar-sands and shale oil. The US contains well over 600 years of known reserves and that would allow the US to be a net exporter of oil. If that happens, the “green” economy ruse that the left has sponsored, already reeling from bankruptcies and cronyism, would collapse.

It would show that there is no shortage of oil and “green” energy can not compete with fossil fuels.

And of course the Left cannot afford that kind of nonsense.  Jobs and economic growth? Peace and prosperity? Where does it all end?

I can tell you this much Comrade Dag: In the future, it’s going to suck to be a liberal like you. 

Janet355 wrote: John....This is a really serious question...and I'd like to hear your take on it. Its obvious to most folks paying attention, that Obama is a fraud and has committed crimes against the country . Why has no one in DC even talked about impeachment? I don't understand how this brat has not been thrown out on his ear. Thoughts? - Red, White and Saudi Privilege

Dear Sister Janet,

Hopefully you got the answer to your question in Saturday’s column on Benghazi:

It would be nice if the GOP in Congress did the job that they wouldn’t do on Fast and Furious, crony capitalism, Solyndra and several other violations of the law taken under the Obama administration. When people ask how Obama always gets away with it, the answer is easy: the GOP lets him.

We have a judicial system to deal with some of it, but we have a political system to deal with the rest. Too bad the GOP doesn't have the guts to use it.

JasonQ42 wrote: "Obama proposes tax increases on energy and financial products, which will ultimately end up charged to you at the pump, on your utility bill, or in your bank account." I thought it was worth pointing out that prices are determined by a variety of market mechanisms; sellers in general cannot simply pass on all costs to consumers at will. Additionally, when it comes to financial transactions, the whole point of the taxes is to, in fact, slow the whole market down . Given the reckless behavior of financial institutions in recent years, this does not seem like such a bad idea. -  A Tax Increase For Every Home

Dear ComradeQ-Ball,

Prices aren’t solely determined by costs, correct. But when every competitor faces the same costs, the consumer will pay for it.

Not just part of it…ALL of it.

You can wonk yourself out with denying it but you need only look at your utility bill to see what I’m talking about. Or take a look at your phone bill.

Here’s one below:

 

Now as to the idea that a financial transaction tax will “slow the market down,” yes it will, but only liberal would see that as a benefit not disadvantage.

The idea behind the transaction tax is to get banks and financial institutions to “pay for” the bailouts. The argument against is that it wouldn’t pay for the bailouts, but would only make financials markets less active.

If you want to make the markets more orderly, and fair, then there are tons of great ideas to do that like getting rid of high frequency trading.

But a financial tax is a wrong-headed, wonk-oriented, Obamapated policy that will be about as efficient as theGreat Stimulus Program of 2009

It will bring the dollar all the strengths of the Euro (insert joke here!) with none of the stability  (rim shot!). 

Please tip your waitress.  

David4 wrote: I agree with the direction of Ransom's article, but I wish for a rewrite, to get the descriptions right. For example, on capping charitable deductions, the rich will still give to the charities, but not so much, more from the heart and less with one eye on their wallet and the other on the taxman. Those eyeballs will be looking for other ways to avoid taxes (, which they may not find). Result is a bit less for charities, more attention to whether the contributor really likes the charity, and more FAIRNESS; generally an improvement over today's tax-results.  A Tax Increase For Every Home

Dear Comrade 4,

Suck... That’s Swedish for “Sigh.” Or American for Comrade 4.

FAIRNESS? You don’t even understand what fairness means. Or math. Or gravity. Or reality. Or even eyeballs, apparently.

You didn’t happen by chance to vote twice, did you?

Because if that’s the case, I have a new understanding of our problems as a country.

Ortheadnew wrote: A gas station near me sells E-Zero, which is gasoline with no alcohol. I tested the mileage with gasohol (gasoline with ten percent alcohol) versus E-Zero which contains no alcohol. With gasohol, I get 22.5 miles per gallon in my 1999 Chrysler. With E-Zero, I get 25 miles per gallon. I other words, the mileage difference shows me that the alcohol produces no power from the engine. Ten percent alcohol results in ten percent less mileage. They might as well be adding water.- At Least Fisker's Cars Didn't Spontaneously Catch Fire...Oh, Wait

Dear Ort,

Ethanol, methanol and alcohol each have less energy than gasoline does. Adding ethanol, for example, gallon for gallon, will produce less mileage than straight gasoline.

To figure the economics of it, you always have to add at least 15 percent to the cost of ethanol because of the differences in energy output versus gasoline.    

adendulk wrote: John the man who stand up against innovation he who would rather use the horse and buggie you go Johnny- At Least Fisker's Cars Didn't Spontaneously Catch Fire...Oh, Wait

Dear Comrade Dulk,

(This space intentionally left blank)

supercarp: I have not seen a lurch to the left. Obama by any intelligent measurement is a moderate. I am not a Republican or a Democrat because I have severe issues with both parties. One of the worst things that both parties do is what is demonstrated here: demonization and hyperbole with very little fact. Congress has done nothing but block the country's forward movement on nearly every front. The only bills they can pass are bills that forbid the passage of other bills. - Country Infected with Virus Democratus

Dear Comrade Devil Demon of the Lower Regions of Hell,

Is there a Moron Party then? Because you should either join it or form it.

You too can find instructions about forming your own political party by going here:http://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-Political-Party

Once done, report back to us, but, not too soon. Take a few years. 

About the only thing slimier than a liberal is a liberal who tries to hide it by pretending to be independent.

I know you find this hard to believe but the country can do quite a bit without an Act of Congress.

hal_incandeza wrote: Ransom writes "The word “signature” here is key. A signature—not a stamp or autopen—means that Clinton must have seen and signed the cable personally." He is totally wrong. As the Washington Post fact checker notes, Ransom has no idea of what a "signature" is in cables. WaPo goes on to say "At this point, Issa (Ransom) has no basis or evidence to show that Clinton had anything to do with this cable — any more than she personally approved a cable on proper e-mail etiquette. Four Pinocchios.

Dear Comrade Pinocchio,

I’m wrong because Glenn Kessler said so? The Washington Post fact-checker?

Ha!

Ok seriously. Totally.

I don’t have a problem with Kessler thinking that Issa could be wrong about the signature- although without revealing my sources and methods, I don’t think he is wrong- but he seems to be avoiding the very same standard that he himself wants Issa to adopt.  

Kessler wrote:

Issa would be on much stronger ground if he didn’t claim that Clinton signed it, but that it was fishy and he was seeking more information on who had crafted and approved the cable. The House GOP report also veers close to the edge with its phrasing about Clinton’s “signature.”

I’m assuming that Kessler then knows more about what the actual cable contains that Issa does. Or maybe I’m not, because Kessler himself is only guessing that Clinton didn’t see the cable in question. Kessler’s claim is that the word “signature” can be misinterpreted to mean Clinton saw the cable and approved it when she did no such thing, that we all shouldn’t jump to conclusions.

But isn’t Kessler doing the same thing by jumping to the conclusion that he- Kesseler- knows whether Clinton’s actual signature appears on the bottom of the cable. Shouldn’t he know the facts, first, if he demands Issa to declare the facts?

And here’s the main question: Did Clinton know of the request for more security and if not why not?

Because we can argue about signatures all we want but the real question is who would make a decision to deny extra security when the consulate on the ground asks for it- which they clearly did and the administration clearly tried to deny they did at first?

Let’s get the answer to that.  

In the meantime, for his answer, I award Mr. Kessler four Noble Prizes.

And may God have mercy on his soul.

That's it for this week,

V/r,

JR


John Ransom

John Ransom is the Finance Editor for Townhall Finance.