Term Limits Might Help In Draining The Swamp

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article about the McCain Institute for International Leadership. Before I go any further, I need to say that I respect John McCain as a war hero–not because he was shot down, but because he chose to stay with his men when he had the opportunity to leave North Vietnam. However, some of his actions in the last twenty years or so are questionable at best. He has consistently aligned himself with those who oppose conservative values, and has made some really poor choices in recent years. The Daily Caller may have uncovered the reason for some of his recent behavior.

The article reports:

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain in 2012 turned over nearly $9 million in unspent funds from his failed 2008 presidential campaign to a new foundation bearing his name, the McCain Institute for International Leadership.

The institute is intended to serve as a “legacy” for McCain and “is dedicated to advancing human rights, dignity, democracy and freedom.” It is a tax-exempt non-profit foundation with assets valued at $8.1 million and associated with Arizona State University.

…Critics worry that the institute’s donors and McCain’s personal leadership in the organization’s exclusive “Sedona Forum” bear an uncanny resemblance to the glitzy Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) that annually co-mingled special interests and powerful political players in alleged pay-to-play schemes.

The institute has accepted contributions of as much as $100,000 from billionaire liberal activist-funder George Soros and from Teneo, a for-profit company co-founded by Doug Band, former President Bill Clinton’s “bag man.” Teneo has long helped enrich Clinton through lucrative speaking and business deals.

And Bloomberg reported in 2016 on a $1 million Saudi Arabian donation to the institute, a contribution the McCain group has refused to explain publicly.

The article goes on to remind us of some of the history of John McCain:

McCain and Soros reportedly became friends after the senator was exposed as a member of the “Keating Five” during the savings and loan (S&L) industry scandal during former President George H.W. Bush’s administration. As the S&L bank chairman, Charles Keating paid $1.3 million to bribe five members of Congress to interfere with government regulators on behalf of the savings bank.

The experience so scarred McCain that he became a vigorous advocate of campaign finance reform and in the process reportedly became friends with Soros.

McCain recently claimed no involvement with the institute, saying “I’m proud that the institute is named after me, but I have nothing to do with it.”

For whatever reason, many of the people the voters send to Washington to represent them forget why they are there. Many of our so-called representatives get entangled in the Washington political culture and forget the values they espoused during their campaign. Many of our representatives arrive in Washington as members of the middle class and leave thirty or forty years later as millionaires. That is simply not what our founding fathers intended. Representatives and Senators were supposed to serve one or two terms and go back and live under the laws they passed. Congress will never support term limits, but the voters should begin to vote out of office anyone who has been there too long and no longer represents the people who sent him there.

The Economy President Obama Is Leaving To President Trump

On Wednesday, The New York Post posted an article about the current state of the American economy. The article cites claims by the media that President Obama is handing Donald Trump a ‘booming’ economy. The article then asks the question, “If the economy is so all-fired ducky, how come Americans just tossed out the party that’s claiming credit for it?”

The article explains:

The truth is that the Obama years have been among America’s worst for the economy. His eight years will go down in history as the Great Recession, even though for much, even most, of the span, we weren’t technically in a recession.

It just felt that way. And no wonder. Obama’s is the only modern presidency that failed to show a single year of growth above 3 percent, a point Trump stressed during the campaign (and that was conceded even by the website Politifact).

Plus, the Obama economy failed to prosper even though the Federal Reserve had its pedal to the metal. Its quantitative easing, $2 trillion balance-sheet expansion and zero-interest-rate policy all produced zilch.

Except for pumping up Wall Street and producing what Trump calls a “false economy.” The recent declines in the unemployment rate are due less to the uptick in employed persons than to an increasing number of persons leaving the labor force.

In a “true economy,” what people would boast about would be the number of employed persons rising faster than the size of an expanding workforce. In reality, the job participation rate is the lowest in decades, as millions are too discouraged to seek a job.

And the recent record Dow Jones average? It’s pumped up by the Federal Reserve. It’s nowhere near a record if the Dow is calculated in the most traditional measure of value. The gold value of the Dow peaked way back in 1999.

President Obama took office in the midst of the bursting housing bubble. Just for the record, the bubble was not George W. Bush’s fault. The bubble had its roots in the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), passed by Congress in 1977. The CRA was revised in 1995 under President Clinton. The new provisions forced banks into making subprime loans to borrowers who might not be able to pay them back. The new provisions also allowed subprime mortgages to be traded with securities. Since many subprime loans were underwritten by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, agencies closely related to the government, the government eventually had to bail out the banks who made these loans. As the bubble formed, President Bush, and later Senator John McCain pushed legislation to curb the overenthusiastic housing market. In both cases they were stopped by Democrats who had either taken large campaign donations from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac or had received ‘sweetheart mortgage deals’ from mortgage companies closely associated with the subprime mortgage market. (How is it that Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac can legally make campaign donations?)

Congress and two Presidents caused the housing crisis. I am sure that President Carter and President Clinton meant well when passing or amending of the CRA. However, the housing bubble is a shining example of what happens when the government attempts to interfere with the free market. How many banks would have avoided the subprime mortgage market and held the housing bubble in check if they had not been forced to issue subprime mortgages? The free market works. Government interference in the free market does not work. Hopefully President Trump will allow the principles of the free market to bring the American economy into a growth cycle. A GDP of less than 3 percent is not acceptable.