Conservative Logic

An economic guide to politics, designed for post-Baby Boomers

Predictable: Obama’s Housing Loan Effort Makes Thing Worse

Posted by A Hamilton on January 3, 2010

Here’s a shocker. A government program (with good intentions, of course) goes awry and actually makes things worse.

The Obama administration’s $75 billion program to protect homeowners from foreclosure has been widely pronounced a disappointment, and some economists and real estate experts now contend it has done more harm than good.

Since President Obama announced the program in February, it has lowered mortgage payments on a trial basis for hundreds of thousands of people but has largely failed to provide permanent relief. Critics increasingly argue that the program, Making Home Affordable, has raised false hopes among people who simply cannot afford their homes.

As a result, desperate homeowners have sent payments to banks in often-futile efforts to keep their homes, which some see as wasting dollars they could have saved in preparation for moving to cheaper rental residences. Some borrowers have seen their credit tarnished while falsely assuming that loan modifications involved no negative reports to credit agencies.

Really, it was completely predictable. The best the the government can do for the housing market right now is to let prices reach their equilibrium (lower) level as quickly as possible. That will bring buyers back into the market, get the construction industry rolling again, and generally help the economy. Of course, the Obama administration is doing the opposite, pursuing policies that distort the market and keep pricies artificially high.

(For those of you out there in your twenties, who don’t own homes, guess who it is who is most hurt by those still-artifically high prices. Yup, it’s you.)

Going forward, I’ll dedicate this blog to similar instances of government fail. Not a single week goes by where I don’t see multiple examples of failed programs, failed ideas, corruption, and incompetence in the government sphere. I’m tired of it. Americans have this idea these days that a benevolent government is going to come around and save their bacon. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, history tells us that the bigger and more pervasive that government gets, the more inefficient and bloated it becomes.

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Lowering America’s Guard Will Return To Haunt Obama

Posted by A Hamilton on April 29, 2009

In his first 100 days, President Obama has taken a series of steps that will significantly reduce the security of the United States.

Only a day after North Korea launched its longest range missile to date, Obama announced cuts in missile defense spending totalling $1.4 billion. North Korea’s launch failed, but it’s only a matter of time until they iron out the kinks. Obama’s cuts ensure that when they do, America won’t be ready. Our west coast will be directly in the line of fire — at risk if the North Korean regime is ever destabilized and faces an existential threat from within. Obama’s cuts will halt deployment of Alaskan interceptors, likely end Boeing’s development of airborne laser defense, and impact our ability to defend Europe and Israel from a similar Iranian threat.

Obama has also decided to phase out production of the F-22 by 2011. The F-22 is the most advanced fighter in the world — an aircraft designed and built to achieve total air superiority over the battlefield. Unlike the cheaper F-35 (JSF), the F-22 is so capable it has actually been banned from export.

F-22

Originally, the US expected to build 750 F-22s. The Obama cuts will leave the Air Force with just 180 jets. While the US airforce is currently completely dominant over all threats, that could change quickly. Within the next few years, Russia will start to deploy fifth generation fighters that will likely include stealth technology. While it is unlikely that these aircraft could rival the F-22,  they will compete effectively with the American F-35, and will be available for export. Obama’s decision puts American air dominance – and pilots lives — at risk.

Department of Defense is the only department in the Obama Administration that is being forced to cut back. While other departments wallow in stimulus cash, the military is cutting corners, delaying (or eliminating) programs, and running down inventory. These cuts also come at a time when existing military hardware is increasingly worn out and depreciated by the demands of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Obama has even called for cutting, and eventually eliminating, nuclear weapons. We can assume the latter is probably just rhetoric, rather than incredibly dangerous and destabilizing naivete.

To any good Keynesian, these dramatic military cuts seem seems somewhat counterintuitive. Generally, a Keynesian would increase military spending in times of recession in order to stimulate the economy. Obama clearly believes that increasing government spending is the right formula for the economy. But the easiest, fastest way to increase government spending isn’t “shovel ready” public works, but rather just ramping up military production. Now would ould seem like a perfect time to do so and rebuild  those weapons inventories depleted by Iraq and Afghanistan. But Obama’s reflexive dislike of anything military trumps Keynesian dogma, despite the fact that the job loss (according to his classic Keynesian doctrine) will have a negative effect on the economy, times some multiplier effect.

To make matters worse, Obama has also released classified “torture” documents. Setting aside the debate on whether or not the the three senior Al Qaeda detainees who were waterboarded shortly after 9/11 were, in fact, tortured, these newly released documents simply reveal too much. They teach the enemy our methods and practices, and they instruct the enemy on the limits to which we are willing to go. A savvy enemy (and there is no doubt that Al Qaeda is savvy) will use this information to train its operative in resistance. As a result, it’s unlikely we’ll obtain information this way ever again. Sadly, the information that was obtained from those three detainees proved to be — tremendously important — and actually prevented a 9/11-like attack on Los Angeles.

Moreover, Obama’s waffling on potential investigations of those Bush Administration officials who rationalized the so-called torture policies will have a chilling effect on American intelligence services. Career bureaucrats will be unwilling to put their careers on the line to aggressively pursue and develop sources of information, if a sudden change in political winds could lead to their career being ruined, or even possible criminal penalty.

US intelligence operations under Obama will also be hobbled by new policies, as the Administration reconsiders certain methods and practices of electronic intelligence that were in place even before the Bush Administration — potentially cutting off additional essential sources of information.

To make matters worse, the Obama administration has also released photos of terrorist detainees that are certain to further inflame Islamic fundamentalists.

The cumulative effect of these changes? President Obama has lowered America’s guard. The “War on Terror” is now, in the lexicon of Obama officials, simply a “global contingency operation”, reflective of this reduction in defensive posture.

These unprecedented policy changes place American lives at risk. They also put Obama in significant political jeapardy. God forbid that another attack occur on American soil. If it does, people will point fingers. Even if  such an attack were impossible to prevent, partisans will will inevitably point to Obama’s decisions as a contributing factor, kicking off an unproductive and divisive cycle of blame and recrimination. Naturally, the more we learn about the effectiveness of the intelligence methods Obama has chosen to stifle, the more outraged this criticism will be. Propelled by popular outcry, the policy pendulum would inevitably swing back in the other direction, and could potentially lead us down a reactionary path that seriously threatens our domestic civil liberties.

Hopefully, Americans won’t ever experience another terrorist attack. But we will inevitably feel the long term consequences of Obama’s other military cutbacks. This is a problem Obama is creating for his successors to deal with — but he won’t be able to avoid its tarnishing effects on his legacy. Russia will eventually deliver those 5th generation fighters. The United States will lose its current unprecedented military advantages; more American lives will be at risk. North Korea will eventually succeed with its missile technology — making the US west coast a target. Similarly, we’ll be unable to defend our allies in Europe from an unstable regime in Iran.

Obama will be known as the President who allowed America’s military-technological edge to fade. The consequences for his legacy will be inevitable. The consequences for US security — and by extension, the security of the free world — could be disasterous.

Posted in military, Obama, war on terror | 2 Comments »

What’s In Your Wallet? Uncle Sam.

Posted by A Hamilton on April 24, 2009

It’s looking like Obama is now supporting the idea of adding new regulations for credit card companies.

America’s economically ill-advised populist lurch continued today as Obama met with leaders from major credit card companies and lectured them on the evils of their industry, then threatened them with increased regulation and oversight by the Federal government. 100 days ago, such patronizing interference would have been an unprecedented act for a US President — but it is starting to become a recurring theme in the Obama Administration.

As the economy worsens and consumer credit risk increases, credit card companies have increased interest rates and fees on cardholders. This seems like a fairly logical business reaction to increasing unemployment rates and related nonpayment or default on revolving debt.

Obama wants to place limits on how high rates can go. He also wants to limit how credit card companies can impose and change fee structures for late payments — something he considers an area of abusive practice.

Perhaps Obama hasn’t considered the likely consequences of this move. It will certainly drive credit card companies to further reduce credit lines and become less willing to extend lenders new credit cards. The net effect will be to further reduce the amount of liquidity in the economy. The timing couldn’t be worse, as consumers and small businesses (another major constituency dependent on revolving credit from credit cards) already face significant challenges from banks that are reluctant to lend.

Or, perhaps Obama has considered the consequences of the move.

We’re all aware of the moral hazard created by the Community Reinvestment Act, which essentially drove mortgage lenders to extend credit to borrowers that might not have otherwise qualified for loans. The unintended consequence of this act contributed significantly to the economic havoc of the mortgage crisis.

If the credit card companies react to increased regulation by tightening up on available credit, how long will it be before the government steps in and mandates extension of credit to risky borrowers — a Community Credit Card Act? Ultimately, we could very well be looking at federal guarantees of consumer credit card debt, or even a situation where the federal government itself starts issuing credit cards directly in order to maintain the flow of credit in the economy.

When given the opportunity, Obama has almost always chosen to extend the reach of government into the private sector. This could set him up with another excuse to do just that. We’re on a slippery slope. The idea of government-issued credit cards is a scary one. Setting aside the privacy implications of the government keeping tabs on every purchase you make, do you really want the IRS knocking on your door if you’re late with a payment or two?

These regulations are being introduced at exactly the wrong time. Short term, they will reduce liquidity and slow economic recovery. Longer term, they could lead to a situation where once again, the taxpayers are stuck bailing out the most financially irresponsible members of society. When that happens, it’s future generations that inevitably foot the bill.

Posted in Economy, Obama | 2 Comments »

Does Obama Understand Finance and Economics?

Posted by A Hamilton on April 1, 2009

I’m increasingly convinced that Obama doesn’t have a firm grasp on the basics of how our economy functions, how corporations do business, and how our banking system works.

Recently, Obama was speaking about the stock market and referred to the “profit and earnings ratio”, which doesn’t exist. Presumably, he was referring to the P/E, or price-to-earnings ratio, which measures relative stock value. It’s one of the first, most fundamental ratios any new investor learns about the stock market.

Obama has also commented on the strong dollar. But the dollar isn’t strong. True, it’s rallied recently, especially versus sick currencies like the GBP, but nobody even marginally familiar with this long term trend would think to call the dollar “strong”:

Weakening Dollar

Obama’s background and experience is politics and law. He’s never run a business, or even held an executive role in government. When he speaks on economic issues (particularly without his teleprompter), he looks about as comfortable as John McCain… In other words, not very comfortable.

It would be easy to assume that Obama was educated on finance and economics basics at Harvard Law School. But as a Harvard Law graduate myself, I know how easy it is to get through HLS without a working knowledge of business essentials. For every graduate who focuses study on contracts, corporations, and tax law, there are other grads (like Obama) who choose to focus on Constitutional law, criminal law, or human rights law. As a result, many Harvard Law alums would struggle to differentiate an income statement and a cash flow statement. I suspect Obama falls right in this category.

Why is this important? Surely Obama has advisors to guide him? Maybe. But at the end of the day, he’s the guy making decisions. He needs to be  able to listen to the self-serving statements of lobbyists, industry insiders, economists, and government bureaucrats, and separate the truth from the BS. Can he do it this effectively without the basic education he needs? Irrationally, he seems to think so. He’s decided to insert himself directly into American business (firing CEOs, setting bonus payouts, backing GM’s transmission quality with a government warranty). So now a guy who probably has a limited understanding of basic capital structure, the proper role of debt, equity, etc., and the functioning of credit markets is creating policy to recapitalize both the automotive and financial services industries!

Perhaps most importantly, I don’t get the feeling that Obama appreciates our corporate and financial institutions. Granted, our banking system is a disaster. And the economy is in bad shape. But a long term perspective is essential. And over the long term, the way that our capitalistic, market-driven system functions has created more good for more people than any other system in human history. Destroy the incentives that make the market work, insert government (aka political) influence into every nook and cranny of the economy, and you break that engine. The long term result is inevitably slower growth and less good for Americans. Does Obama understand that by breaking the American social contract, he ultimately ends up killing the goose that lays the golden eggs that (in turn) pay for the fat government he loves?

In the final analysis, if Obama doesn’t know the basics of economics, finance, and business, he can’t make good decisions when presented with alternative policy choices. He can’t anticipate the long term impact of his choices. He is liable to be susceptible to ideological or populist approaches (like big government bailouts), rather than relying on tried-and-true methods for resolving problems (such as bankruptcy proceedings). So far, this is exactly what has played out in terms of policy from the Obama Administration. Scary times for American capitalism, indeed.

Posted in Credit Crisis, Economy, Obama, Taxes | 1 Comment »

Getting at the Roots of the Mortgage Crisis

Posted by A Hamilton on March 31, 2009

This excellent, detailed article suggests a rational approach to addressing the mortgage crisis (and with it, helping to get the broader economy on track) in such a way that the American taxpayer isn’t left holding the bag.

The economic logic of the piece is unassailable. It’s approach also carries merit because it remains consistent with traditional principles of corporate finance and governance. Sadly, our government’s plan takes a different, riskier, more expensive approach.

For all our sakes, let’s hope the Geithner plan works. But I am not optimistic. It fundamentally misdiagnoses the problem as a liquidity issues, rather than a capitalization issue. Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz agrees.

Posted in Economy, Housing, Mortgage Crisis | Leave a Comment »

The Information You Must Understand

Posted by A Hamilton on March 29, 2009

This excellent slide show captures the essential information that every citizen needs to undertstand about our government. It is based on official Congressional Budget Office (CBO) information. It reveals a number of scary and appalling trends in our nation’s finance.

Here’s a little preview. The chart shows historical and CBO prohections of the federal government budget deficit as a percentage of GDP:

Budget Deficit

More on the implications of this later…. As well as an urgent policy recommendation from yours truly. Suffice to say, if the trend holds, future generations of Americans will suffer tremedously. Our current path simply is not sustainable.

Posted in Economy, Social Security, Taxes | Leave a Comment »

Even Krugman Thinks Geithner Is Wrong

Posted by A Hamilton on March 22, 2009

Geither’s plan to address the mortgage crisis has been unveiled. And it’s (unsurprisingly) a disaster. The plan misdiagnoses the roots of the crisis, and proposes a plan that not only creates a tremendous moral hazard for potential investors in toxic mortgage assets, but also put the US taxpayer on the line as the backer of an open-ended government guarantee that will likely cost us trillions.

And who benefits? Hedge funds. They’ll swoop in, gamble on the toxic assets, make a killing if they are lucky, and if they aren’t the taxpayers foot the bill. A nice little payoff to certain major Democratic campaign supporters.

You know it’s bad when even liberal lapdog economists like Paul Krugman and and pseudo-economist hacks like James Galbraith weigh in against it.

Wall Street reaction won’t be kind, either. The Obama Administration needs to get this one straight. Meanwhile, a Congressional Sword of Damocles hangs over us all. With the AIG bonus debacle, this Congress has shown that it has no compunction about passing retroactive legislation, and is likely to want its own say in the resolution of the mortgage crisis. As long as government’s position remains unclear, markets will continue to remain paralyzed, and the broader economy will continue to suffer.

Posted in Economy | 1 Comment »

Disaster

Posted by A Hamilton on March 22, 2009

I’m back.

It’s been almost a year since my last post. A lot has changed, personally and politically.

I have a new wife and a new mortgage. And my political philosophy — as documented on this blog — remains unchanged.

These things are good.

Obama is President. He has used the current economic downturn to grow government in historic and unprecedented ways, imposing policies that will inevitably result in greater burdens for the younger generation, and ultimately directly threaten the Amrican dream. I never thought it would get so bad so fast.

These things are bad.

In just over two months, between the TARP, the automotive bailout, the “stimulus” bill, and the bloated federal budget itself, Obama has increased the size of government spending by more than 30%. That’s more than George W. Bush spent in over eight years fighting the war in Iraq.

And there’s more. In addition to spending more, the government has printed money at an unprecedented rate. Here’s a quick look:

 

Money Supply

 

What does it mean? In short, it means that much, much more money is chasing a fixed quantity of goods and services.

Now, add this to the fact that the “stimulus” bill (plus, stimulus bill #2, coming soon!) — really a pork barrel of incredible proportions — will primarily start to impact the economy in 2010-2011, and we’re in for some serious problems. By that time, the economy will be on the upswing. The impact of additional government spending is likely to overheat the economy. Couple that to the money supply growth and we’re looking at the potential for extraordinary inflation, like we haven’t seen since the 1970s.

Welcome back, Carter years.

And by the way –guess who is paying for all this extra spending?

Not your parents. Not your grandparents. Not the 30%+ of the country that doesn’t pay taxes.

Yes — you guessed it. You are. Specifically, younger Americans. Because right now, we’re borrowing the money for all this government growth (primarily from the Chinese). Eventually, we’re going to have to pay it back. This won’t happen for years…. And by that time, the political leadership and the generation that incurred the debt will be comfortably retired, paying minimal taxes (actually, paying ZERO taxes, if Obama fulfills his campaign promises). The burden will fall on you. And it’s going to be crushing.

How do I know this?

You see, we’re racking up so much debt that even the “rich” won’t be able to cover the costs of paying it back. Right now, the top 5% of income earners in the US pay about 60% of all US income taxes. Even if we tax 100% of their income, at some point they can’t pay enough to fund the government. Then the tax man comes for you.

And by the way, taxing 100% of income over, say, $250,000 (Obama’s typical “rich” bogey) will basically shut down small business — and shut down the economy in turn. Why? Because most small businesses are set up as S-corps. If you raise individual income taxes, you effectively raise taxes on small business, which generates most of the growth (and employment) in our economy. Eliminate their profits, you eliminate their ability to invest in growing their businesses. Which effectively rips the heart out of our economy.

This is an epic economic disaster in the making, unfolding before our eyes.

Add to that Obama’s moves to increase protectionism, to add another effective tax on industry by imposing cap-and-trade (which incidentally, will also increase inflationary pressure), not to mention Congress’ apparent willingness to legislate bills of attainder to target high earners (bonus earners at companies that have accepted TARP money) and you have a situation where government is basically declaring war on business. Seriously.

But what about my “American Dream”?

Think about it for a second. Some day, you want to become rich, don’t you? But to grow your wealth, you’re going to need to make over $250,000 at some point. But how can you do this if the government is taxing away everything you earn above that level? Marginal taxes for people making north of $250,000 can already be well over 60% when factoring in state, local, city, federal, and other government taxes and fees. They’ll continue to rise as the need to repay the debt becomes more urgent, and as the size of government continues to swell as entitlement programs grow and metastasize.

What we’re looking at here is the end of the American dream. And above it all hovers the threat of inflation, which (if you’re not smart) will destroy what little wealth you’ve managed to create.

Tactical solutions

So, what can you do about it?

From a purely tactical standpoint, if you have any wealth or savings, don’t leave it exposed to inflation. Invest in assets that have constant real value if inflation hits.

It’s also a great time to borrow big, believe it or not. Interest rates are at an historic low. So now is a actually a good time to get a mortgage, assuming you’re in for the long term and can wait out any short term depreciation in property value. Borrowing at 5% when inflation is running rampant is a great trade if you can make it.

More later

More on all of these things later. There is a lot going on…. Too much for a single blog post. But keep one thing in mind:

Our government wants us to be afraid right now. That’s how they are selling their tonic of unprecedented govenment growth and intervention in the private sector. But if economic history tells us anything, it’s that recovery happens quickly after markets fail. That’s the entire economic history of the 19th century, and most of the 20th. Most economic collapses correct themselves within a year or two. That’s the dynamism of capitalism. The exception, of course, is the Great Depression — where government intervention prolonged the economic downturn.

Despite govenment policies that have the effect of undermining confidence in markets, creating uncertainty around the future role and burden of government on business, not to mention rewarding failure by sustaining business models that don’t work, I suspect we’ll be coming out of this economic downturn within twelve months. But we need to be concerned about what comes next.

Posted in Obama, Taxes | Leave a Comment »

Happy Belated 4th

Posted by A Hamilton on July 12, 2008

Yes, it’s rough out there. Fuel prices and a sluggish economy are hurting us all. But by any reasonable historical standard, Americans are doing okay right now. This 4th, we should keep in mind that the thing that makes America great — Americans themselves, their spirit, their hopes, dreams, optimism, inventiveness — is still intact. Together, I’m pretty sure there aren’t many problems we can’t solve.

In the meantime, we should continue to look to the future, stay positive, and try not to lose perspective about how fortunate we are.

On this troubled Fourth we still should remember this is not 1776 when New York was in British hands and Americans in retreat across the state. It is not 1814 when the British burned Washington and the entire system of national credit collapsed — or July 4, 1864 when Americans awoke to news that 8,000 Americans had just been killed at Gettysburg.

We are not in 1932 when unemployment was still over 20 percent of the work force, and industrial production was less than half of what it had been just three years earlier, or July, 1942, when tens of thousands of American were dying in convoys and B-17s, and on islands of the Pacific in an existential war against Germany, Japan, and Italy.

Thank God it is not mid-summer 1950, when Seoul was overrun and arriving American troops were overwhelmed by Communist forces as they rushed in to save a crumbling South Korea. We are not in 1968 when the country was torn apart by the Tet Offensive, the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, and the riots at the Democratic convention in Chicago. And we are not even in the waning days of 1979, a year in which the American embassy was seized in Tehran and hostages taken, the Soviets were invading Afghanistan, thousands were still being murdered in Cambodia, Communism was on the march in Central America, and our president was blaming our near 6-percent unemployment, 8-percent inflation, 15-percent interest rates, and weakening international profile on our own collective “malaise.”

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Lightning Round II

Posted by A Hamilton on June 30, 2008

Smaller Government Delivers Better Results

This has, of course, been discussed before on this blog. But this article hits hard on the issue. In it, the author, Keith Marsden, summarizes the results of his landmark study comparing twenty similar nations — 10 low tax, small government states and 10 higher tax large government states over the past two decades. The conclusions are fascinating. Not only has economic performance been superior in small government states, but also:

“Slimmer-government countries also delivered more rapid social progress in some areas. They have, on average, higher annual employment growth rates (1.7% compared to 0.9% from 1995-2005). Their youth unemployment rates have been lower for both males and females since 2000. The discretionary income of households rose faster in the first group. This allowed their real consumption to increase by 4.1% annually from 2000-2005, up from 2.8% in 1990-2000. In the bigger-government group, the growth of household consumption has slowed to a 1.3% average annual rate, from 2.1% during the 1990-2000 period.

Faster economic growth in the first group also generated a more rapid increase in government revenue, despite (or rather, because of, supply-siders suggest) lower overall tax burdens.

Slimmer-government countries seem to have made better use of their smaller health resources. Total spending on health programs reached 9.5% of GDP in the bigger government group in 2004, 1.6 percentage points above the average in the slimmer-government group. Yet slimmer-government countries have raised their average life expectancy at birth at a faster pacer since 1990, reaching an average level of 78 years in 2005, just one year below the average for bigger spenders. Average life expectancy is now 80 years in Singapore, although government and private health programs combined cost only 3.7% of its GDP.

Finally, spending by bigger governments on social benefits (such as unemployment and disability benefits, housing allowances and state pensions) was higher (20.3% of GDP in 2006) than that of slimmer governments (9.6%). But these transfers do not appear to have resulted in greater equality in the distribution of income. The Gini index measuring income distribution is similar for both groups.”

More confirmation for a primary thesis of this blog – that the best way to address social issues is to grow the economic pie, not to increase taxes and burn money on social programs that have a poor track record of efficient results.

The Real Story Behind Iraq

Here is a very good summary history of the drivers behind the invasion of Iraq. The conventional wisdom, of course, is that the Bush Administration dragged the country into the war. This article reveals a more complex truth, including some interesting commentary from certain individuals along the way who now behave as if they opposed the war from the beginning:

“Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas, or biological weapons. . . . Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. With Saddam, there is one big difference: he has used them. Not once, but repeatedly. . . . I have no doubt today that, left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again.” – Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton of course also was the first to refer to Iraq as a member of an “unholy axis” of rogue nations…. Years before Bush issued his much ridiculed “axis of evil” characterization.

What did Al Gore think?

“You allow someone like Saddam Hussein to get nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, chemical weapons, biological weapons. How many people is he going to kill with such weapons? . . . We are not going to allow him to succeed.” – Al Gore

Or how about this gem from Hillary Clinton:

“Every nation has to be either for us, or against us. Those who harbor terrorists, or who finance them, are going to pay a price.” — Hillary Clinton

Again, despite the fact that Bush has been widely derided by the left for his supposedly simplistic absolutism, it looks like he was in pretty good company at the time.

WMDs, terrorist connections, international consensus…. This article does a good job assessing the political reality behind Iraq in the years before the war – before Iraq became a partisan issue. The article concludes:

“To judge by his unequivocal pronouncements pre-2003, and as improbable as it sounds now, that someone might well have been Al Gore, the erstwhile hawkish Vice President who had championed the Iraq Liberation Act, or indeed John Kerry, who back in 1998 told Scott Ritter that containment of Saddam was not working and that the time had come to use force. If Bush had failed to act, either one of these two men might have come to office in January 2005 publicly prepared to deal with the “gathering threat” that his predecessor had unaccountably allowed to grow larger and closer and ever more virulent.”

Next Up…. Oil!

My next post – oil and energy, and why partisan stupidity has prevented America from achieving energy independence.

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