Tags: federal reserve | cass sunstein | henry figgie

Vote As If Your Children's Survival Depended On It

Monday, 11 October 2010 09:57 AM Current | Bio | Archive


How often have you heard our politicians and the professional investment industry claim that the bursting “bubble” was a complete surprise? We are supposed to just blindly accept the excuse that Congress, the president, the state legislatures and governors, along with all those bankers, money managers, and the Federal Reserve were all caught with their pants down.
It was all a surprise and, of course, no one is held — really held — accountable.
But Congress and the president have the answer. We are supposed to believe that the Dodd-Frank Act will save the American economy. After all, it passed with “bi-partisan” support in Congress, along with the blessings of both Wall Street and the unions.
I was thinking about this while I spoke at a financial conference last week. My topic was how financial planners can protect themselves in these turbulent times. 
Quite simply, the Dodd-Frank Act is the biggest paradigm shift in the history of the United States. The impact of this legislation is that the Washington bureaucracy, with the blessings of Congress, will legally control virtually every aspect of our lives. The Congress has virtually enacted the modern day feudal system.
The most insidious part of the legislation is that it is totally subject to regulations that will be promulgated by unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. And all those regulations, every last little detail, will be essentially dictated by one government agency — the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.
That means that the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs will be, literally it seems, the czar who controls the financial future of everyone in the United States and, consequently, the future direction of the American society and culture.
The administrator of this regulatory bureaucracy is Cass Sunstein. I read his recent book “Nudge.” Essentially it says that the government needs to “nudge” people into doing what government knows is good for them. Personally, after paying my taxes, I don’t think I can afford any more governmental nudges. I suggest you read the book for yourself.
It was his postscript that more than anything else in his book that shocked and frightened me.
What he said was this, “The world is facing the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression. It is fair to say that very few regulators and economists saw this crisis coming. Even the former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan admitted that he had erred in not anticipating the crisis, and found himself in a state of “shocked disbelief.”
Is Sunstein saying what I think he is saying? That our top financial brains in the United States, the people responsible for our public and private economic system involving trillions of dollars and the financial survival of 300 million Americans, didn’t have a clue that there was a crisis looming?  
Do you think this is a fair representation of the truth?
I know for sure it’s not. The number of articles and books that have for years predicted the economic crash of the United States is certainly not “very few.”   Let’s take but one example. How about a quite popular book written 18 years ago.
In 1992, Harry E. Figgie, Jr. wrote a book called “Bankruptcy 1995.” The foreward was written by Senator Warren Rudman. Mr. Figgie served on the “Grace Commission” which included 160 of the country’s top business leaders. In that year he ran a company that did $1.3 billion in sales.
While his academic credentials are extensive and impressive to say the least, Figgie was no university economist, law school professor, bureaucrat, or social scientist. He was the kind of man who used his knowledge and built businesses that provided jobs for thousands of people.
What he said in his book about the coming bankruptcy of the American economy is that America will enter an age of financial disaster that will dwarf the Great Depression and hail the end of the United States as we now know it.
Figgie tells us that there will be three warning signs “ . . . that would alert savvy investors in this country and overseas that U.S. securities are no longer rock-solid safe”:
--  The federal government can no longer collect enough tax revenue to service its debt.
-- The Federal Reserve begins to buy substantial amounts of the government’s debt.
--   Congress and the administration show complete unwillingness to address the deficit problem, and,
instead, exacerbate it.
Those three warning signs are the front-page headlines in today’s news sources.  So how credible is Mr. Sunstein? Or for that matter, the president, the Congress, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, our “to big to fail” bankers and Wall Street money managers?
Figgie tells us there are things we can do to change this. And we can see just what he suggested in 1992 now happening in the current midterm election campaigns.
Ordinary citizens are becoming involved. They are staging events and demonstrations. Asking the tough questions. Forcing the news media to report on the opinions of the citizens and not just favored or hyped political campaign sound bites.
The voters are challenging the “collective monarchy” which, up to now, has resulted in the United States being controlled by a political caste system.
Shocking as it is to the inside the Beltway establishment and its armies of hired strategists and news pundits, ordinary citizens are trying to regain control of their country.
This is a war by the citizens against the professional politicians, bureaucrats, and their supporting special interest groups — whether Wall Street or unions or the news reporters who depend on maintaining “access” to keep their paychecks rolling in. Figgie told us in 1992 that this is exactly what we need to do.
It’s not the voters that need to be “nudged,” but the Congress, the president and bureaucratic regulators. They must be held accountable for their actions. Not what they say or claim, but what they have in fact done.
Americans can only hold their elected representatives accountable by getting out and voting. This November, vote as if your children’s future depended on it.


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How often have you heard our politicians and the professional investment industry claim that the bursting bubble was a complete surprise? We are supposed to just blindly accept the excuse that Congress, the president, the state legislatures and governors, along with all...
federal reserve,cass sunstein,henry figgie
Monday, 11 October 2010 09:57 AM
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