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Jeff Marshall

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    I am a recent enthusiast of the philosophy of Objectivism. I've searched for a philosophy that explains man's existence and potential. I have found that in the words of Ayn Rand.
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Novice (2/7)



  1. I found this to be a great article about the current administration's aggressive push to limit State's rights. I also recommend other articles relating to the disaster that is California's budget and the Federal Government's attempt at taking advantage of it via blackmail. Tincture of Lawlessness Obama's Overreaching Economic Policies By George F. Will Thursday, May 14, 2009 Anyone, said T.S. Eliot, could carve a goose, were it not for the bones. And anyone could govern as boldly as his whims decreed, were it not for the skeletal structure that keeps civil society civil -- the rule of law. The Obama administration is bold. It also is careless regarding constitutional values and is acquiring a tincture of lawlessness. In February, California's Democratic-controlled Legislature, faced with a $42 billion budget deficit, trimmed $74 million (1.4 percent) from one of the state's fastest-growing programs, which provides care for low-income and incapacitated elderly people and which cost the state $5.42 billion last year. The Los Angeles Times reports that "loose oversight and bureaucratic inertia have allowed fraud to fester." But the Service Employees International Union collects nearly $5 million a month from 223,000 caregivers who are members. And the Obama administration has told California that unless the $74 million in cuts are rescinded, it will deny the state $6.8 billion in stimulus money. Such a federal ukase (the word derives from czarist Russia; how appropriate) to a state legislature is a sign of the administration's dependency agenda -- maximizing the number of people and institutions dependent on the federal government. For the first time, neither sales nor property nor income taxes are the largest source of money for state and local governments. The federal government is. The SEIU says the cuts violate contracts negotiated with counties. California officials say the state required the contracts to contain clauses allowing pay to be reduced if state funding is. Anyway, the Obama administration, judging by its cavalier disregard of contracts between Chrysler and some of the lenders it sought money from, thinks contracts are written on water. The administration proposes that Chrysler's secured creditors get 28 cents per dollar on the $7 billion owed to them but that the United Auto Workers union get 43 cents per dollar on its $11 billion in claims -- and 55 percent of the company. This, even though the secured creditors' contracts supposedly guaranteed them better standing than the union. Among Chrysler's lenders, some servile banks that are now dependent on the administration for capital infusions tugged their forelocks and agreed. Some hedge funds among Chrysler's lenders that are not dependent were vilified by the president because they dared to resist his demand that they violate their fiduciary duties to their investors, who include individuals and institutional pension funds. The Economist says the administration has "ridden roughshod over [creditors'] legitimate claims over the [automobile companies'] assets. . . . Bankruptcies involve dividing a shrunken pie. But not all claims are equal: some lenders provide cheaper funds to firms in return for a more secure claim over the assets should things go wrong. They rank above other stakeholders, including shareholders and employees. This principle is now being trashed." Tom Lauria, a lawyer representing hedge fund people trashed by the president as the cause of Chrysler's bankruptcy, asked that his clients' names not be published for fear of violence threatened in e-mails to them. The Troubled Assets Relief Program, which has not yet been used for its supposed purpose (to purchase such assets from banks), has been the instrument of the administration's adventure in the automobile industry. TARP's $700 billion, like much of the supposed "stimulus" money, is a slush fund the executive branch can use as it pleases. This is as lawless as it would be for Congress to say to the IRS: We need $3.5 trillion to run the government next year, so raise it however you wish -- from whomever, at whatever rates you think suitable. Don't bother us with details. This is not gross, unambiguous lawlessness of the Nixonian sort -- burglaries, abuse of the IRS and FBI, etc. -- but it is uncomfortably close to an abuse of power that perhaps gave Nixon ideas: When in 1962 the steel industry raised prices, President John F. Kennedy had a tantrum and his administration leaked rumors that the IRS would conduct audits of steel executives, and sent FBI agents on predawn visits to the homes of journalists who covered the steel industry, ostensibly to further a legitimate investigation. The Obama administration's agenda of maximizing dependency involves political favoritism cloaked in the raiment of "economic planning" and "social justice" that somehow produce results superior to what markets produce when freedom allows merit to manifest itself, and incompetence to fail. The administration's central activity -- the political allocation of wealth and opportunity -- is not merely susceptible to corruption, it is corruption.
  2. Simply out of curiousity, I submitted a question asking what his intentions were with the skit. I'll post it if I get a response. I suggest others do the same. It'd be nice to have a saved email response from Jimmy regarding his *hopefully positive* thoughts on AR if only to use it as blackmail once the media elite force his show to lean left.
  3. I'm starting to get extremely interested in economics and I'm slightly scared that if I get a hold of a bad book/author in my beginning stages of learning that it will screw me up for good. AR constantly mentions Mises and Austrian Economics. Should I start reading Austrian tilted books or are there better books with which to build my economic foundation on?
  4. I apologize, nice was meant in an extremely sarcastic fashion. However, after reading Jake's comment, he does make a great point. I was very confused about Religion until I happened upon Ayn Rand. Perhaps these conservative talk show hosts will unknowingly turn a couple religion "on the fencers" into atheists like myself. I've found from my own experience and from that of my friends that if your slightly religious, Rand's philosophy is enough to slam the door on any further interest. We just need to get people exposed to it!!!
  5. This entire article was read aloud on the Mike Gallagher show this morning. It's nice to hear the extreme religious conservatives plugging AS....
  6. Hi folks. I recently got into a shouting match at work with another free market supporter like myself. Our disagreement centered around who to blame for the current financial mess. I argued that government intervention is the sole culprit. The other guy argued that the blame falls on the borrowers first and foremost because they should have known what they could and could not afford. I've always been better at arguing when I type it out so below is my response to his opinion which I sent to his email. Could you expert Objectivists let me know if I'm off base here? 100% loans, reverse amortization loans, interest only loans, sub prime loans, etc. were all made possible by government legislation subsidizing the risks banks took when issuing these loans. Like Glenn (the guy I argued with) said, decades ago no bank would lend to anyone without a 20% down payment. They were obviously protecting their investment in the borrower and hedging their risk by forcing the borrower to have equity in the home. Do you think that's because borrowers "back in your day" were smarter? Absolutely not, it's because they didn't have the opportunity to put less money down, which they gladly would have. Under the cloak of "affordable housing", government over many years slowly lowered the risk to banks for lending their money to less financially acceptable borrowers. It soon become profitable for banks to lend to 100% borrowers because the federal government (Fannie & Freddie) took the additional risk, not the bank. This led to more risky homeowners and super-inflated home prices. I think we both agree on the cause of the problem. What we disagree on is how to fix it and whose to blame. You blame the homebuyers for obtaining a 100% loan but not the government for forcing/enticing the bank to make that loan. There are already financial repercussions to the borrowers for defaulting on loans; Credit score and bankruptcy. Under your thought process, you believe all borrowers should "do the right thing" and only borrow what they can afford. Well, as the bubble (home values) inflated due to Fannie, Freddie and the Community Reinvestment Act, they could afford it. Under normal circumstances (no government coercion), the bank would have never lent money to that borrower therefore avoiding the future foreclosure. That's why it is the lenders fiscal responsibility to lend to acceptable borrowers, and that process (underwriting) is destroyed when government is forcing them to do otherwise. Have fun blaming the borrowers, but that'll never solve the problem. The current foreclosure mess is not the fault of the borrowers. It is the fault of the government. If I asked you three years ago if a $800,000 appraised house would be short-sold for $350,000 three years later, you would have told me I was out of my mind. How can any borrower plan for something like that? How can any bank plan for something like that? The answer is they cant because under normal circumstances the home would have never been worth $800,000 and the bank would have never made the loan. The entire stock market couldn't plan for it either, which is evidenced by the fact that the stock market dropped 6000 points in 1 year. There is always going to be borrowers who default on their loans for whatever reason. Normally, that risk is priced into the interest rate and the down payment. A small percentage of the current defaulters deserve it, due to the size of this problem, most are in their position as a direct result of government interference. I do blame borrowers in trouble for credit card debt but that is hardly the same thing. Impulse buys on credit cards when you can't afford it should be punished, which they are. Banks close their cards and destroy their credit score. As far as I know, banks aren't currently forced to open credit cards for unacceptable applicants. Sure, the average borrower should assume that getting a 100% negative amortization loan is a bad idea. Your solution is for the average borrower to get smarter. My solution is for the government to get smaller. As sad as it sounds, I don't see the possibility of either one ever happening.
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