Big Brother Loves You

Miss a Payment? Good Luck Moving That Car

The thermometer showed a 103.5-degree fever, and her 10-year-old’s asthma was flaring up. Mary Bolender, who lives in Las Vegas, needed to get her daughter to an emergency room, but her 2005 Chrysler van would not start.

The cause was not a mechanical problem — it was her lender.

Ms. Bolender was three days behind on her monthly car payment. Her lender, C.A.G. Acceptance of Mesa, Ariz., remotely activated a device in her car’s dashboard that prevented her car from starting. Before she could get back on the road, she had to pay more than $389, money she did not have that morning in March.

“I felt absolutely helpless,” said Ms. Bolender, a single mother who stopped working to care for her daughter. It was not the only time this happened: Her car was shut down that March, once in April and again in June.

This new technology is bringing auto loans — and Wall Street’s version of Big Brother — into the lives of people with credit scores battered by the financial downturn.

Maybe now they’ll get the idea even more Big Brother (government or companies) is not a good thing. I wonder when ObamaCare will adopt this? Or Maybe your Electric Company? or even Momma Obama and her Food Police?

I know! If you use too much gas and don’t have a required level of “carbon footprint” you’re tech shuts down until you learn to be a better citizen of the planet! 🙂

Naw, they’ll just expect government to “save” them from the big, bad corporations, after all this was in the The New York Times. I’m sure this was a “big bad corporate” story and I read more into it that the normal idiot on the street worried about “Dancing With The Stars”. After all, personal responsibility has no place in 21st Century America and the answer to everything is government intervention…

But Obama makes the economy, and keeps it, bad and people vote for him. So you made your bed…

Auto loans to borrowers considered subprime, those with credit scores at or below 640, have spiked in the last five years. The jump has been driven in large part by the demand among investors for securities backed by the loans, which offer high returns at a time of low interest rates. Roughly 25 percent of all new auto loans made last year were subprime, and the volume of subprime auto loans reached more than $145 billion in the first three months of this year.

Just like the housing market. Boy, when this subprime crashes, it could really CRASH

But before they can drive off the lot, many subprime borrowers like Ms. Bolender must have their car outfitted with a so-called starter interrupt device, which allows lenders to remotely disable the ignition. Using the GPS technology on the devices, the lenders can also track the cars’ location and movements.

Big Brother is watching you. But ObamaCare is ok… 🙂

The devices, which have been installed in about two million vehicles, are helping feed the subprime boom by enabling more high-risk borrowers to get loans. But there is a big catch. By simply clicking a mouse or tapping a smartphone, lenders retain the ultimate control. Borrowers must stay current with their payments, or lose access to their vehicle.

Sound like the Housing crash, 10 years prior to the crash? 🙂

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Credit

“I have disabled a car while I was shopping at Walmart,” said Lionel M. Vead Jr., the head of collections at First Castle Federal Credit Union in Covington, La. Roughly 30 percent of customers with an auto loan at the credit union have starter interrupt devices.

Now used in about one-quarter of subprime auto loans nationwide, the devices are reshaping the dynamics of auto lending by making timely payments as vital to driving a car as gasoline.

Seizing on such technological advances, lenders are reaching deeper and deeper into the ranks of Americans on the financial margins, with interest rates on some of the loans exceeding 29 percent. Concerns raised by regulators and some rating firms about loose lending standards have disturbing echoes of the subprime-mortgage crisis.

ECHO ECHO ECHO!!! Now pinch hitting for Pedro Borbone…Manny Mota! 🙂

When in Debt, Spend even more! The Obama Mantra!

As the ignition devices proliferate, so have complaints from troubled borrowers, many of whom are finding that credit comes at a steep price to their privacy and, at times, their dignity, according to interviews with state and federal regulators, borrowers and consumer lawyers.

Welcome to Big Brother land. The land where your overseers are everywhere and know everything at all times. But not to worry, The IRS and The NSA are there to save you… 🙂

Some borrowers say their cars were disabled when they were only a few days behind on their payments, leaving them stranded in dangerous neighborhoods. Others said their cars were shut down while idling at stoplights. Some described how they could not take their children to school or to doctor’s appointments. One woman in Nevada said her car was shut down while she was driving on the freeway.

Beyond the ability to disable a vehicle, the devices have tracking capabilities that allow lenders and others to know the movements of borrowers, a major concern for privacy advocates. And the warnings the devices emit — beeps that become more persistent as the due date for the loan payment approaches — are seen by some borrowers as more degrading than helpful.

I wonder when there Air Conditioner/Heater in their house starts beeping because the EPA  doesn’t like you “wasting” energy will they get it?

Oh, that’s right, The EPA Hates fossil fuels to begin with. Problem solved! 🙂

“No middle-class person would ever be hounded for being a day late,” said Robert Swearingen, a lawyer with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, in St. Louis. “But for poor people, there is a debt collector right there in the car with them.”

So No Democrat has seized on this one yet? They love a good “corporate exploitation”
while they promote Government exploitation! 🙂

Lenders and manufacturers of the technology say borrowers consent to having these devices installed in their cars. And without them, they say, millions of Americans might not qualify for a car loan at all.

Just like the houses in the 1990s.

A Virtual Repo Man

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"I have disabled a car while I was shopping at Walmart," said Lionel M. Vead Jr., the head of collections at First Castle Credit Union in Covington, La., who said that starter interrupt devices and GPS tracking technology had made his job easier.
“I have disabled a car while I was shopping at Walmart,” said Lionel M. Vead Jr., the head of collections at First Castle Credit Union in Covington, La., who said that starter interrupt devices and GPS tracking technology had made his job easier.Credit Cheryl Gerber for The New York Times

From his office outside New Orleans, Mr. Vead can monitor the movements of about 880 subprime borrowers on a computerized map that shows the location of their cars with a red marker. Mr. Vead can spot drivers who have fallen behind on their payments and remotely disable their vehicles on his computer or mobile phone.

The devices are reshaping how people like Mr. Vead collect on debts. He can quickly locate the collateral without relying on a repo man to hunt down delinquent borrowers.

Gone are the days when Mr. Vead, a debt collector for nearly 20 years, had to hire someone to scour neighborhoods for cars belonging to delinquent borrowers. Sometimes locating one could take years. Now, within minutes of a car’s ignition being disabled, Mr. Vead said, the borrower calls him offering to pay.

“It gets their attention,” he said.

Mr. Vead, who has a coffee cup that reads “The GPS Man,” has been encouraging other credit unions to use the technology. And the devices — one version was first used to help pet owners keep track of their animals — are catching on with a range of subprime auto lenders, including companies backed by private equity firms and credit unions.

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Using his computer or cellphone, Mr. Vead can monitor the movements of about 880 subprime borrowers, and if they are late in making a payment, he can disable their vehicles.
Using his computer or cellphone, Mr. Vead can monitor the movements of about 880 subprime borrowers, and if they are late in making a payment, he can disable their vehicles.Credit Cheryl Gerber for The New York Times

Mr. Vead says that first, he tries reaching a delinquent borrower on the phone or in person. Then, only after at least 30 days of missed payments, he typically shuts down cars when they are parked at the borrower’s house or workplace. If there is an emergency, he says, he will turn a car back on.

None of the borrowers or consumer lawyers interviewed by The New York Times raised concerns about the way Mr. Vead’s credit union uses the devices. But other lenders, they said, were not as considerate, marooning drivers in far-flung places and often giving no advance notice of a shut-off. Lenders say that they exercise caution when disabling vehicles and that the devices enable them to extend more credit.

Without the use of such devices, said John Pena, general manager of C.A.G. Acceptance, “we would be unable to extend loans because of the high-risk nature of the loans.”

But then their new cash cow would dry up, just like the housing market…

The growth in the subprime market has been good for the devices’ manufacturers. At Lender Systems of Temecula, Calif., which sells a range of starter interrupt devices, revenue has more than doubled so far this year, buoyed by an influx of new credit union customers, said David Sailors, the company’s executive vice president.

Mr. Sailors noted that GPS tracking on his company’s devices could be turned on only when borrowers were in default — a policy, he said, that has cost it business.

The devices, manufacturers say, are selling well because they are proving effective in coaxing payments from even the most troubled borrowers.

I wonder if Michelle Obama could get this for Grocery Carts or Cash Registers? Instead of nagging you not to buy that Cheesecake it simply won’t let you buy it!!

Imagine that as a way to make “fat” people do what Momma Obama Wants! 🙂

A leading device maker, PassTime of Littleton, Colo., says its technology has reduced late payments to roughly 7 percent from nearly 29 percent. Spireon, which offers a GPS device called the Talon, has a tool on its website where lenders can calculate their return on capital.

Fears of SurveillanceCredit

While the devices make life easier for lenders, their ability to track drivers’ movements has struck a nerve with a number of borrowers and some government authorities, who say they are a particularly troubling example of personal-data gathering and surveillance.

At its extreme, consumer lawyers say, such surveillance can compromise borrowers’ safety. In Austin, Tex., a large subprime lender used a device to track down and repossess the car of a woman who had fled to a shelter to escape her abusive husband, said her lawyer, Amy Clark Kleinpeter.

The move to the shelter violated a clause in her auto loan contract that restricted her from driving outside a four-county radius, and that prompted the lender to send a tow truck to take back the vehicle. If the lender could so easily locate the client, Ms. Kleinpeter said, what was stopping her husband?

BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU. Say is that a drone outside your window, or just the IRS?  🙂

“She was terrified her husband would be able to find out where she was from the tow truck company,” said Ms. Kleinpeter, a consumer lawyer in Austin, who said a growing number of her clients had the devices installed in their cars.

Lenders and manufacturers emphasize that they have strict guidelines in place to protect drivers’ information. The GPS devices, they say, are predominantly intended to help lenders and car dealerships locate a car if they need to repossess it, not to put borrowers under surveillance.

Spireon says it can help lenders identify signs of trouble by analyzing data on a borrower’s behavior. Lenders using Spireon’s software can create “geo-fences” that alert them if borrowers are no longer traveling to their regular place of employment — a development that could affect a person’s ability to repay the loan.

A Spireon spokeswoman said the company takes privacy seriously and works to ensure that it complies with all state regulations.

Corinne Kirkendall, vice president for compliance and public relations for PassTime, which has sold 1.5 million devices worldwide, says the company also calls lenders “if we see an excessive use” of the tracking device.

Even though the device made her squeamish, Michelle Fahy of Jacksonville, Fla., agreed to have one installed in her 2001 Dodge Ram because she needed the pickup truck for her job delivering pizza.

Shortly after picking up her four children from school one afternoon in January, Ms. Fahy, 42, said she pulled into a gas station to fill up. But when she tried to restart the truck, she was not able to do so.

Then she looked at her cellphone and noticed a string of missed calls from her lender. She called back and asked, “Did you just shut down my truck?” and the response was “Yes, I did.”

To get her truck restarted, Ms. Fahy had to agree to pay the $255.99 she owed. As she pleaded for more time, her children grew confused and worried. “They were in panic mode,” she said. Finally, she said she would pay, and within minutes she was able to start her engine.

Borrowers are typically provided with codes that are supposed to restart the vehicle for 24 hours in case of an emergency. But some drivers say the codes fail. Others say they are given only one code a month, even though their cars are shut down more often.

Some drivers take matters into their own hands. Homemade videos on the Internet teach borrowers how to disable their devices, and Spireon has started selling lenders a fake GPS device called the Decoy, which is meant to trick borrowers into thinking they have removed the actual tracking system, which is installed along with the Decoy.

The War Begins…

Oscar Fabela Jr., who said his 2007 Dodge Magnum was routinely shut down even when he was current on his $362 monthly car payment, discovered a way to circumvent the system.

That trick came in handy when he returned from seeing a movie with a date, only to find his car would not start and the payment reminder was screaming like a burglar alarm.

“It sounded like I was breaking into my own car,” said Mr. Fabela, 26, who works at a phone company in San Antonio.

While his date turned the ignition switch, Mr. Fabela used a screwdriver to rig the starter, allowing him to bypass the starter interruption device.

Mr. Fabela’s car eventually started, but it was their only date.

“It didn’t end well,” he said.

Government Scrutiny

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"I felt like even though I made my payments and was never late under my contract, these people could do whatever they wanted," said T. Candice Smith, who testified before the Nevada Legislature that her car, which had a starter interrupt device installed, was shut down while she was driving on a Las Vegas freeway, nearly causing her to crash.
“I felt like even though I made my payments and was never late under my contract, these people could do whatever they wanted,” said T. Candice Smith, who testified before the Nevada Legislature that her car, which had a starter interrupt device installed, was shut down while she was driving on a Las Vegas freeway, nearly causing her to crash.Credit John Gurzinski for The New York Times

Across the country, state and federal authorities are grappling with how to regulate the new technology.

Consumer lawyers, including dozens whose clients’ cars have been shut down, argue that the devices amount to “electronic repossession” and their use should be governed by state laws, which outline how much time borrowers have before their cars can be seized.

State laws governing repossession typically prevent lenders from seizing cars until the borrowers are in default, which often means that they have not made their payments for at least 30 days.

The devices, lawyers for borrowers argue, violate those laws because they may effectively repossess the car only days after a missed payment. Payment records show that Ms. Bolender, the Las Vegas mother with the sick daughter, was not in default in any of the four instances her ignition was disabled this year.

PassTime and the other manufacturers say they ensure that their devices comply with state laws. C.A.G. declined to comment on Ms. Bolender’s experiences.

State regulators are also examining whether a defective device could endanger the borrowers or other drivers on the road, according to people with knowledge of the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Last year, Nevada’s Legislature heard testimony from T. Candice Smith, 31, who said she thought she was going to die when her car suddenly shut down, sending her careening across a three-lane Las Vegas highway.

“It was horrifying,” she recalled.

Ms. Smith said that her lender, C.A.G. Acceptance, had remotely activated her ignition interruption device.

“It’s a safety hazard for the driver and for all others on the road,” said her lawyer, Sophia A. Medina, with the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada.

Mr. Pena of C.A.G. Acceptance said, “It is impossible to cause a vehicle to shut off while it is operating,” He added, “We take extra precautions to try and work with and be professional with our customers.” While PassTime, the device’s maker, declined to comment on Ms. Smith’s case, the company emphasized that its products were designed to prevent a car from starting, not to shut it down while it was in operation.

“PassTime has no recognition of our devices shutting off a customer while driving,” Ms. Kirkendall of PassTime said.

In her testimony, Ms. Smith, who reached a confidential settlement with C.A.G., said the device made her feel helpless.

“I felt like even though I made my payments and was never late under my contract, these people could do whatever they wanted,” she testified, “and there was nothing I could do to stop them.”

But you want Big Brother,especially King Obama, to fix it!

Hilarious! 🙂

Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez
Political Cartoons by Dana Summers

How I Can Help YOU

Recommendations of Working Group III of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (whew!):

More regulation from “experts”, technocrats and bureaucrats at supranational organizations, such as the one whose initials begin with U and end with N
More taxpayer subsidies for expensive, inefficient renewable energy (but it make environmentalist and greenie-weenie liberals feel better that poor people are paying more for their energy so that’s why people who produce an income have to pay higher taxes to support that too!!)
More nuclear power (with shale gas used as a transitional fuel to replace coal) The last nuclear Plant built in this country? 1978.
The abandonment of fossil fuels (North Dakota, which has seen a boom on account of the oil and gas industry, had the lowest unemployment rate of 2.6 percent, which has been stable since January. But they are politically incorrect jobs so they don’t count, ignore them.
—Boo Hiss! That’s that “laser like focus” on Jobs the Democrats keep talking about…)

Less meat consumption (Are you now or have you ever been a meat eater! Boo Hiss!)
A single, globally-regulated price for carbon dioxide (hey, you want some black market CO2??) The Air Police!!!
More local-**government-enforced** walking, cycling and public transportation (But hey, who needs freedom after all. Government will control you for your own good!!)
More back-door wealth redistribution from the West to the developing world in the name of “sustainability” (otherwise you “hate poor people” you know!

Now doesn’t that just make your heart flutter and you cheeks flush with pride at how superior you are??

Then you’re not a Progressive Liberal, you planet-destroying, evil , greedy bastard! 🙂

Oh and…

But according to the FDA, we don’t pay attention to the calorie counts, and we eat things that are bad for us and regret it later.

If only we knew ahead of time and actually appreciated the impact that food might have on our waist, we’d make better decisions and walk away from the Cheetos that are begging us to buy.

It’s as if the government thinks we don’t already know that a bag of chips or a candy bar — or those really disgusting-but-oh-so-satisfying-frosting-coated cinnamon rolls — aren’t good for us.

Aye, and there’s the rub. We don’t do what bureaucrats and politicians in Washington, D.C., think we should.

That means, according to the FDA, the market has failed.

Yes, when consumers don’t want something and companies aren’t forcing it on us, that’s a market failure.

Funny, but I thought that meant the market was actually succeeding.

Not according to the FDA, which arrogantly thinks it can correct this market failure.

“Although many of the usual market failures that justify regulatory action … do not apply here, the primary support for regulatory intervention is that there are systematic biases in how consumers process information and weigh current benefits (from consuming higher calorie foods) against future costs (higher probability of obesity and its comorbidities). The bias is more directly related to the requirements of this proposed rule: Consumer demand for calorie information does not create incentives for the provision of calorie information at the vending machine. This market failure occurs because at the time of purchase, consumers do not value calorie information as much as they do later, when the effects of excess calorie consumption are evident.” (so we the government must save you from yourself!)

We don’t want to know how much that Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup is going to impact our experience with the weight scale the next morning, and we’re OK with eating it today.

That’s because we’re biased in how we act and government must counter us.

“…(S)tudies suggest that calorie information often lacks salience, or relevance, for consumers at the time of purchase and consumption, even though they may experience regret about their decisions at a later date. This tendency may explain why consumers have not generally demanded calorie and other nutrition information for food sold from vending machines before, or at, the point of purchase, even if they may, at a later point in time, value that information.”

Look at us!  We are so terrible.

Government must save us from ourselves! And liberals must save us all, it’s their holy mission. So they must control every aspect of our lives from birth to beyond death because we are just not competent enough to do it on our own and they are just so vastly superior in every aspect that they must rule over us for our own good!

Thankfully, the government is going to step in. They’re going to make that calorie information so obvious we can’t possibly ignore it. Then we’ll happily do what they want and forgo the barbecued kettle chips.

So what if you crave salt and fat, have some Tofu and soybean paste instead!

Yeah, right.

You’d think that was bad enough — until you read further and find out they don’t know if it will work.

According to the FDA, obesity is a problem and since many Americans get food and snacks from vending machines, putting calorie information on the machines will result in a “significant effect on calorie intake, the prevalence of obesity, and thus the cost of health care and lost productivity.”

But there’s a problem with that theory.

The proposed requirements mitigate the apparent market failure in information provision stemming from present-biased preferences, although not necessarily the tendency of consumers to underutilize that information.”

The FDA admits it “lacks data on how consumers will substitute among caloric sources.”

And doesn’t really care because this makes them feel superior and that “they did something” to fight the even fat merchants!

Getting people off their fat asses on the coach )collecting government welfare) and getting a job doesn’t occur to them, apparently.

That means the administration has no idea if you’ll see the calorie signs and go without your afternoon Snickers only to pig out on gelato after dinner to make up for it.

But at least they warned you! And when you ignore their stern warnings they will have to step it up and ban them next! 🙂

The FDA admits it doesn’t know if posting calorie counts will reduce obesity. It didn’t test its theory to see if posting the calories will actually cause people to choose differently. Plus, officials point out, only 5 percent of money spent outside the home goes to food in vending machines.

But it makes them feel better, and to a Liberal, that’s all that matters in life.

This isn’t the market — you — deciding what you want. This is nanny-state government deciding you’re not making the right decisions about the food you eat and imposing costly regulations with the hope maybe you’ll make their choice for you instead.

And what if you don’t? What if you continue to eat chips and candy from a vending machine? What regulation will they come up with next?

Well, that’s where The Food Police come in. 🙂

But hey, if the bureaucratic elitists can save just one person from becoming obese, isn’t it worth it? (Ohio watchdog.org)

And you can sit there and pay multiple times more for the energy to light and heat/cool that house of yours as you enjoy that over-price unhealthy snack and the Food Police, The Air Police, and The Health Care Police all come rushing to your door to stop you!

Congrats, Citizen., You’re in Orwell’s world now. Be Happy.

They are the Government and they are here to help you! 🙂

Political Cartoons by Steve Breen

Political Cartoons by Chip Bok

Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

 

Irksome

Political Cartoons by Eric Allie

John Stossel: Politicians care about poor people. I know because they always say that. But then why do they make it so hard for the poor to escape poverty?

Outside my office in New York City, I see yellow taxis. It’s intuitive to think that government should license taxis to make sure they’re safe and to limit their number. It’s intuitive to believe that if anyone could just start picking up passengers, we’d have chaos. So to operate a taxi in NYC, you have to buy a license, a “medallion,” from an existing cab company (or at a once-in-a-blue-moon auction). Medallions are so scarce, they now cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Licensing prices poor people out of the business.

“Compare New York City, where a license to own and operate a taxi is $603,000, to Washington, D.C.,” George Mason University economist Walter Williams told me. “There are not many black-owned taxis in New York City. But in Washington, most are owned by blacks.” Why? Because in Washington, “it takes $200 to get a license to own and operate one taxi. That makes the difference.”

Regulation hurts the people the politicians claim to help.

People once just went into business. But now, in the name of “consumer protection,” bureaucrats insist on licensing rules. Today, hundreds of occupations require expensive licenses. Tough luck for a poor person getting started.

Ask Jestina Clayton. Ten years ago, she moved from Africa to Utah. She assumed she could support her children with the hair-braiding skills she learned in Sierra Leone. For four years, she braided hair in her home. She made decent money. But then the government shut her down because she doesn’t have an expensive cosmetology license that requires 2,000 hours of classroom time — 50 weeks of useless instruction. The Institute for Justice (IJ), the public-interest law firm that fights such outrages, says “not one of those 2,000 hours teaches African hair-braiding.”

IJ lawyer Paul Avelar explained that “the state passed a really broad law and left it to the cosmetology board to interpret.”

Guess who sits on the cosmetology board. Right: cosmetologists. And they don’t like competition.

One day, Jestina received an email.

“The email threatened to report me to the licensing division if I continued to braid,” she told me.

This came as a shock because she had been told that what she was doing was legal.

“When I called (the commission) in 2005 on two separate occasions, they did tell me that, but then when I called (again) … the cosmetology lady told me that the situation had changed and that I needed to go to school now and get a license.”

No customers complained, but a competitor did.

One cosmetologist claimed that if she didn’t go to school she might make someone bald.

But this is nonsense — hair-braiding is just … braiding. If the braid is too tight, you can undo it.

The cosmetology board told Jestina that if she wanted to braid hair without paying $18,000 to get permission from the board, she should lobby the legislature. Good luck with that. Jestina actually tried, but no luck. How can poor people become entrepreneurs if they must get laws changed first?! Jestina stopped working because she can’t afford the fines.

“The first offense is $1,000,” she said. “The second offense and any subsequent offense is $2,000 each day.”

“It is not unique to Utah,” Avelar added. “There are about 10 states that explicitly require people to go get this expensive, useless license to braid hair.”

Fortunately, IJ’s efforts against such laws have succeeded in seven states. Now it’s in court fighting for Jestina, which, appropriately, means “justice” in her native language.

Once upon a time, one in 20 workers needed government permission to work in their occupation. Today, it’s one in three. We lose some freedom every day.

“Occupational licensing laws fall hardest on minorities, on poor, on elderly workers who want to start a new career or change careers,” Avelar said. “(Licensing laws) just help entrenched businesses keep out competition.”

This is not what America was supposed to be.

There are a lot of things, large and small, that irk me. One of them is our tendency to evaluate a presidential candidate based on his intelligence or academic credentials. When Obama threw his hat in the ring, people thought he was articulate and smart and hailed his intellectual credentials. Just recently, when Newt Gingrich announced his candidacy, people hailed his intellectual credentials and smartness as well.

By contrast, the intellectual elite and mainstream media people see Sarah Palin as stupid, a loose cannon and not to be trusted with our nuclear arsenal. There was another presidential candidate who was also held to be stupid and not to be trusted with our nuclear arsenal who ultimately became president — Ronald Reagan. I don’t put much stock into whether a political leader is smart or not because, as George Orwell explained, “Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them.”

All the evidence that I see is that academics and intellectuals have messed up the world. I challenge anyone to show me a major calamity that was engineered by a stupid, inarticulate person, but those caused by intelligent, articulate persons are too numerous to count, from the likes of Hitler, Stalin and Mao to Woodrow Wilson, FDR and Obama.

My vision of a good presidential candidate is a person with ordinary intelligence but great respect and love for our Constitution. Maybe Palin’s and Reagan’s respect and love for our Constitution qualified them as dumb in the eyes of the mainstream media, intellectuals and academics. (Walter E Williams)

Official motto of the White House economic team: Those who can, do. Those who can’t, fantasize in the classroom, fail in Washington and then return to the Ivy Tower to train the next generation of egghead economic saboteurs. Life is good for left-wing academics. Everyone else pays dearly.

Take Austan Goolsbee, please. President Obama’s “fresh-faced” University of Chicago econ professor arrived in Washington in December 2008 to fill two slots: chief economist/staff director of the president’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board and member of the Council of Economic Advisers. In September 2010, he replaced CEA head and fellow academic Christina Romer, who retreated to the University of California at Berkeley last August when unemployment hit 9.5 percent. (She infamously projected that the Obama stimulus would hold the jobless rate below 8 percent.)

Goolsbee’s primary task: translating all of the administration’s big-government theories for us dummies. As Goolsbee put it to his university’s student newspaper: “We’ve certainly seen in previous crises that it’s quite important to explain things to non-experts. The American people can confront any challenge if they’re comfortable with the approach.”

And what exactly was the nature of Goolsbee’s vaunted expertise? Making money as a business rescue-and-recovery expert without ever having had to meet a payroll.

Goolsbee, the 15th wealthiest member of the Obama administration, has raked in assets valued at between $1,146,000 and $2,715,000. He also pulled in a University of Chicago salary of $465,000 and additional wages and honoraria worth $93,000, according to Washingtonian magazine. As I’ve noted before, the government research fellow and Obama campaign adviser was a champion of extending credit to the un-creditworthy. In a 2007 op-ed for The New York Times, he derided those who called subprime mortgages “irresponsible.” He preferred to describe them as “innovations in the mortgage market” to expand the pool of homebuyers.

Goolsbee’s most recent “innovation”: the “White House White Board,” a weekly video lecture teaching everyone else how to hitch what remains of America’s free-market system to the wagon of the state and how much (or rather, how little) we should make doing it. He illustrated his grand interventionist strategy to pick and choose “Startup America” winners by drawing a trough of broken light bulbs (symbolizing entrepreneurial ideas) piling up in a “Valley of Death” because they lacked government support.

A comical choice of imagery given the Democrats’ enviro-nutty ban on incandescent bulbs. But I digress.

When Goolsbee joined Team Obama, the unemployment rate was at around 6 percent. When he announced his resignation on Monday, the jobless rate stood at 9.1 percent. Romer and Jared Bernstein (former chief economist to Vice President Joe Biden) had predicted unemployment would drop every single month after August 2009 due to the Obama stimulus. Bernstein bailed on the administration in April 2011 for the sanctuary of a liberal think-tank. He’ll also now ply his failed wares as a financial pundit.

These hapless command-and-control ideologues were preceded by Peter Orszag, who hung his “Mission Accomplished” banner over the White House budget office in June 2010 after fewer than two years on the job, and by former National Economic Council head and hedge fund manager Larry Summers, who was caught sleeping on the job — literally — more than once during his brief tenure. Summers packed his bags in September. He was followed by Princeton economics professor and former top Obama Treasury Department official Alan Krueger in October 2010.

White House aides have lamented that the economic team is “exhausted.” Apparently, Obama is tired of hearing from them, too. The Hill newspaper reports that he has stopped receiving daily economic briefings that were once treated with the same emergency status as national security briefings. So, the central planners continue to be paid to fail — while their boss looks the other way at the destruction, whistling into what he calls America’s temporary “head winds.”

Nice non-work if you can get it. (Michelle Malkin)

So is our Dear Leaders solution to economic headwinds?

Give money we don’t have to people who have even less– Greece! 🙂

‘Nuff Said!

Political Cartoons by Jerry Holbert