American Elephants

Still Undecided? Fred Thompson Makes the Choice Crystal Clear by The Elephant's Child
October 25, 2008, 9:18 pm
Filed under: Conservatism, Economy, Election 2008, Foreign Policy | Tags: , , ,

Fred Thompson has some important words for Americans.  Give him a few minutes:

The transcript of this video is here, should you want to keep it or share it. There is a button for emailing the video at the end.

It can’t happen here, can it? by The Elephant's Child

Argentine President Cristina Kirchner announced this week, the Wall Street Journal reports, that her government plans to nationalize the country’s private pension system.  If the Argentine Congress approves of this property confiscation, $30 billion in individually held retirement accounts (think 401(k)s) managed by private pension funds will become government property. This must strike Americans as appalling.  That the state cold seize the private savings of their citizens is outrageous, but it is because of the “crisis” of course.  Couldn’t happen here. We are Americans. If you have a 401(k), you have probably watched in dismay as your nest egg has grown smaller because of the current turmoil in the markets.  Democrats are now talking about eliminating the tax deductability of 401(k)s. Workforce Management reported on a hearing of the House Education and Labor Committee earlier this month:

A plan by Teresa Ghilarducci, professor of economic-policy analysis at the New School for Social Research in New York, contains elements that are being considered… Under Ghilarducci’s plan, all workers would receive a $600 annual inflation-adjusted subsidy from the U.S. government but would be required to invest 5 percent of their pay into a guaranteed retirement account administered by the Social Security Administration.  The money in turn would be invested in special government bonds that would pay 3 percent a year, adjusted for inflation. The current system of providing tax breaks on 401(k) contributions and earnings would be eliminated.

James Taranto goes on to explain: Ghilarducci outlined her plan last year in a paper for the left-liberal Economic Policy Institute, in which she acknowledges that her plan would amount to a tax increase on workers making more than $75,000 — considerably less than the $250,000 Barack Obama has said would be his tax-hike cutoff.  In addition, workers would be able to pass on only half of their account balances to their heirs; presumably the government would seize the remaining half. (Under current law, 401(k) balances are fully heritable, although they are subject to the income tax.

Well, yes, apparently it could happen here.  It is hardly certain that a President Obama or a Democrat Congress would be receptive to such a proposal, but I wouldn’t want to bet on it.  They are very serious about “spreading the wealth”. Which only becomes troubling if it is your hard-earned wealth that they are spreading.     (emphasis mine)

ADDENDUM: Democrats in Congress might want to take a hard look at what has happened in Argentina since the announcement.  Its stock market lost 23% of its value in two days, for a 57% loss since January.  The losses spread to other markets in Brazil, South Africa and Spain. Investors Business Daily goes on to explain:

Markets don’t like expropriation of private property — including savings.  And this takes away a key source of private capital.  Moreover, one quarter of private pension assets were by law invested in Argentine stocks, making up about a quarter of the bourse’s value.  So the seizure of pensions amounts to government ownership across the entire private sector. “It’s a stealth nationalization of every single business in the country,” explained Diana Mondino, an Argentinian economist at Universidad del CEMA in Buenos Aires. “Will (the government) influence those companies? I would think so — anyone who owns 25% of a company will have a lot to say about how it’s run.” Growth will suffer, and Moody’s already warns it “undermines the government’s already weak policy credibility.” Nationalization may pay the bills now, but it poisons prospects for growth. For that reason, Argentina’s sovereign bonds now trade at 25 cents to the dollar and yield 30%.

If the next President and the next Congress see private corporations as the class enemy, and Congress continues to see private assets as a public piggy bank, we’re in for trouble.

Why Hasn’t McCain Been Running Ads Like These? by American Elephant
October 25, 2008, 4:22 am
Filed under: Economy, Election 2008, Politics | Tags: , , , , ,

Two great new ads about the real Barack Obama from NeverFindOut.Org. Pretty devastating if you ask me. Just wish the McCain campaign were running more like them.

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