As dissatisfaction with the U.S. public school system grows, apparently so has the appeal of homeschooling. Educational researchers, in fact, are expecting a surge in the number of students educated at home by their parents over the next ten years, as more parents reject public schools.
A recentÂ reportÂ inÂ Education NewsÂ states that, since 1999, the number of children who are homeschooled has increased by 75%. Though homeschooled children represent only 4% of all school-age children nationwide, the number of children whose parents choose to educate them at home rather than a traditional academic setting is growing seven times faster than the number of children enrolling in grades K-12 every year.
As homeschooling has become increasingly popular, common myths that have long been associated with the practice of homeschooling have been debunked.
Any concerns about the quality of education children receive by their parents can be put to rest by the consistently high placement of homeschooled students on standardized assessment exams. Â […]
Similarly, the common myth that homeschoolers â€œmiss outâ€ on so-called â€œsocialization opportunities,â€ often thought to be a vital aspect of traditional academic settings, has proven to be without merit. According to the National Home Education Research Institute survey, homeschoolers tend to be more socially engaged than their peers and demonstrate â€œhealthy social, psychological, and emotional development, and success into adulthood.â€
My grandparents sacrificed and saved for years so they could have a comfortable retirement and still leave an inheritance for their children. Â They succeeded. Â They live comfortably independent well into their 80’s, and left a legacy to be proud of. Â We used to call this responsibility.
According to the Obama administration, however, people who make wise retirement choices need to be reigned in. Â The government should decide how much you can save, and how “comfortable” your retirement lifestyle is permitted to be (keep in mind that with today’s lifespan, an average person can live up to 20 or 30 years after they retire, which means they need to save MORE than previous generations, not less).
As far as the Left is concerned, there is no such thing as private property. Â There is only what the ruling class “allows” you to keep.
What President Barack Obama has planned in his upcoming budget, while not exactly a Cypriot-style, government-based raid on private savings accounts, comes too close for comfort. As widely reported Monday, the Obama budget document â€“ which is already a month late â€“ will include a new proposal to limit the total amount an individual can put aside in tax deferred retirement savings like 401Ks and IRAs to an amount sufficient to generate an annual income in the golden years of less than $250,000 per year.
Why do it? According to a senior administration official, The Hill reported, “wealthy taxpayers can currently ‘accumulate many millions of dollars in these accounts, substantially more than is needed to fund reasonable levels of retirement saving.'”
Who says? It is true that some people use retirement savings plans as a form of tax avoidance, but tax avoidance was, the last time anyone checked, still legal. Major corporations that have the imprimatur of approval from the Obama administration like General Electric and General Motors do it all the time.
What the White House may propose is not a matter of fairness, as the president and his allies are sure to cast it, but one that strikes at the heart of the right to keep for ourselves the product of our hard work.
To Obama, that idea that some may have saved more than others for their retirement is unfair, So is the idea, apparently, that some people make more than others. It’s class envy at its most ugly, designed to appeal to the more than 40 percent of Americans who pay no income tax and who voted for the president in 2012.
It is not a legitimate function of government to determine when a person has saved enough for retirement. “Enough” is a nebulous word just like “rich.” If a cap is in the offing in the near term, can confiscation, a la Cyprus, be far behind?
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has struck a deal with the European Union and International Monetary Fund that will seize up toÂ 40%Â of uninsured funds from wealthier depositors with over 100,000 euros and will not siphon funds from those below that amount.
The 10 billion euros ($13 billion) bailout plan calls for the Cyprus Popular Bank to be dissolved and all its viable assets transferred to the countryâ€™s biggest bank, Bank of Cyprus.
Presently, Cypriot banks have imposed a 100 euros ATM withdraw limit, and Cyprus border officials at air and sea ports have been ordered toÂ confiscateÂ the funds of any traveler attempting to leave with over 10,000 euros.
How dare they try to keep the money they worked so hard for and saved AFTER taxes were already paid on it? Â Don’t they know that private property is an illusion under Socialism? Â That the government is free to spend as irresponsibly as it wants, and can steal your money at will to pay the tab? Â That’s what they’ve been voting for all this time, right? Â Or didn’t they realize it?
Understandably, Cypriots are desperately trying to get their money out, but it’s too late:
The president of Cyprus assured his people a bailout deal he struck with the European Union was in their best interests, but banks will remain closed until Thursday – and even then subject to capital controls to prevent a run on deposits.
The ruling class insists that stealing money out of their bank accounts is “in their best interests.” Â Doesn’t that make them feel better? Â They’ll be patriotic and happy to “share the sacrifice” for the greater good, right? Â Of course not!
Despite the closed banks and a lock for payments in the past week,Â more money flowed out of Cyprus than in previous weeks, Frankfurter experts report for payments.Â Prior to the escalation of the crisis in Cyprus accruing on the payment system Target liabilities of Cypriot central bank to the European Central Bank (ECB) had increased daily at approximately 100 to 200 million euros. In recent days was after Parliament the stabilization program initially had to fail,Â the daily has risen to more than double.Â Just in the last week so could cash assets have been withdrawn from Cyprus in the billions, although the Cypriot central bank has actually issued a lock.
How is it possible that cash is leaving the country even with a bank halt? It isn’t, unless of course, the banks aren’t really halted, and some outbound wire transfers, which are permitted, are more equal than other wire transfers which are stuck on the island. Of course, that would imply an “Europe Farm” type of arrangement, which in the bastion of fairness, equality and honesty which is Europe, would be absolutely impossible.
On the other hand, if indeed the drain of the Cypriot banking system has continued despite all the enacted halts during the past week, then it’s game over for Cyprus, which will soon have only the ECB to thank for providing liquidity, an arrangement that may not be the best long-term outcome for a nation whose economy has basically been gutted in the span of one week.
It also means game over for the bailout as envisioned, as the EUR17 billion is history, and much more cash will have to be injected to cover for the stealth outflows.
Savings accounts in Spain, Italy and other European countries will be raided if needed to preserve Europe’s single currency by propping up failing banks, a senior eurozone official has announced.
The new policy will alarm hundreds of thousands of British expatriates who live and have transferred their savings, proceeds from house sales and other assets to eurozone bank accounts in countries such as France, Spain and Italy.
The euro fell on global markets after Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch chairman of the eurozone, told theÂ FTÂ andÂ ReutersÂ that the heavy losses inflicted on depositors in Cyprus would be the template for future banking crises across Europe.
Translation: it now officially sucks to be an unsecured creditor in Europe. In other words:Â an uninsured depositor.
Why this ad hoc dramatic shift in the European approach to bank solvency, which if anything makes the link between bank and sovereign closer than ever, and crushes all that Draghi achieved in the summer of 2012?
Simple: because what Cyprus allowed was theÂ effective usurpation of democracyÂ – the only reason the Cypriot bailout “passed” (at least so far) is because it was structured as a bank restructuring, a financial system “resolution”, not a tax,and thus not in need of a parliamentary, democratic vote.Â Because as Cyprus also showed, votes to deprive depositors of cash, whether insured or uninsured, simply won’t fly.
Hence the shift.
However, there is a problem: it means that depositors are now fair game everywhere, and that the ESM or EFSF, with their unlimited scope but “democratic” impleention pathway, are on the backburner.
And now, the scramble to pull uninsured deposits out of banks everywhere begins. Thanks to the new Eurogroup head.
“You ask for miracles, Theo. I give you Diesel-BOOM”
And now, every European depositor is going to their local financial dictionary to look up the definition of General Unsecured Claims, only to see a picture of… themselves.
To anyone paying attention, reality is now painfully obvious. These bankrupt, insolvent governments have just about run out of fingers to plug the dikes. And history shows that, once this happens, governments fall back on a very limited playbook:
As Cyprus showed us, bankrupt governments are quite happy to plunder peopleâ€™s bank accounts, especially if itâ€™s a wealthy minority.
Aside from bank levies, though, this also includes things like seizing retirement accounts (Argentina), increases in civil asset forfeiture (United States), and gold criminalization.
Just another form of confiscation, taxation plunders the hard work and talent of the citizenry. But thanks to decades of brainwashing, itâ€™s more socially acceptable. Weâ€™ve come to regard taxes as a â€˜necessary evil,â€™ not realizing that the country existed for decades, even centuries, without an income tax.
Yet when bankrupt governments get desperate enough, they begin imposing new taxesâ€¦ primarily WEALTH taxes (Argentina) or windfall profits taxes (United States in the 1970s).
This is indirect confiscationâ€“ the slow, gradual plundering of peopleâ€™s savings. Again, governments have been quite successful at inculcating a belief that inflation is also a necessary evil. Theyâ€™re also adept at fooling people with phony inflation statistics.
Governments can, do, and will restrict the free-flow of capital across borders. Theyâ€™ll prevent you from moving your own money to a safer jurisdiction, forcing you to keep your hard earned savings at home where it can be plundered and devalued.
Weâ€™re seeing this everywhere in the developed worldâ€¦ from withdrawal limits in Europe to cash-sniffing dogs at border checkpoints. And it certainly doesnâ€™t help when everyone from the IMF to Nobel laureateÂ Paul Krugman argue in favor of Capital Controls.
Wage and Price controls
When even the lowest common denominator in society realizes that prices are getting higher, governments step in and â€˜fixâ€™ things by imposing price controls.
Occasionally this also includes wage controlsâ€¦ though wage increases tend to be vastly outpaced by price increases.
Of course, as any basic economics textbook can illustrate, price controls never work and typically lead to shortages and massive misallocations.
Wage and Price controlsâ€“ on STEROIDS
When the first round of price controls donâ€™t work, the next step is to impose severe penalties for not abiding by the terms.
In the days of Diocletianâ€™s Edict on Prices in the 4th century AD, any Roman caught violating the price controls was put to death.
In post-revolutionary France, shopkeepers who violated the â€œLaw of Maximumâ€ were fleeced of their private propertyâ€¦ and a national spy system was put into place to enforce the measures.
Despite being completely broke, governments will dramatically expand their ranks in a last desperate gasp to envelop the problem in sheer size.
In the early 1920s, for example, the number of bureaucratic officials in the Weimar Republic increased 242%, even though the country was flat broke from its Great War reparation payments and hyperinflation episode.
The increase in both regulations and government officials criminalizes and/or controls almost every aspect of our existenceâ€¦ from what we can/cannot put in our bodies to how we are allowed to raise our own children.
War and National Emergency
When all else fails, just invade another country. Pick a fight. Keep people distracted by work them into a frenzy over men in cavesâ€¦ or some completely irrelevant island.
An 11th-hour deal with the EU, which has saved the Cypriot economy from the brink, will see investors with more than â‚¬100,000 in the nationâ€™s largest banks forfeit a large chunk of their deposits.
The punishing deal â€“ which has been approved by the eurozone finance ministers â€“ will allow the country to receive the â‚¬10bn (Â£8.5bn) bailout it needed before the European Central Bank pulled funding and sent the island on the path to bankruptcy and a possible exit from the single currency.
Under the new agreement, all bank deposits under â‚¬100,000 will be secured and guaranteed by the state. The country’s second-biggest bank, The Popular Bank of Cyprus â€“ known as Laiki â€“ will be wound down whilst holders of deposits of more than â‚¬100,000 face big losses.
The Cyprus central bank decided to keep the banks closed until next Tuesday. The panic is building. This will build it even more.
The British media say the government is looking for Plan B. There is no Plan B.
There will be no tax on bank accounts, says the parliament.
Will there still be a bailout? The European Central Bank has saidÂ it will remove the life support tube on Monday. The head of the EuroGroup, which is a no-name committee of the eurozoneâ€™s finance ministers, said this: â€œIâ€™m not sure that this package is completely gone and failed, because I donâ€™t see many alternatives.â€ In short, â€œthe Parliament had better reconsider.â€ Or else.
Or else what? Default? Cyprusâ€™ departure from the eurozone? Do the Eurocrats want that? Do they want to risk a poster child for the PIIGS to imitate?
Meanwhile, panic builds. When the banks open their doors next week, they will face a true bank run. People now know: they cannot get their money. They never thought this could happen.
The central bank is playing kick the can. It is buying time. Maybe there will be a Plan B. Problem: if there is a Plan B, maybe the parliament will reject it. Then what?
A nation shuts down economically if its banks shut down. The banks can shut down in two ways: because of bank runs or by decree from the central bank. Today, the banking system has been shut down by decree.
The central bank cannot kick the can much longer. The economy will collapse without banks.
The British media are covering the story.
â€œWe donâ€™t have days or weeks, we have only hours to save our country,â€ Averof Neophytou, deputy leader of the ruling Democratic Rally party, told reporters as crisis talks in Nicosia dragged on into the evening.
The countryâ€™s two main banks â€“ Laiki and the Bank of Cyprus â€“ face potential failure if a bailout is not secured. One official told the Associated Press that Europe and the IMF were pressing for the two banks to be wound down. The Cypriot government was said to be considering the possibility of imposing capital controls amid fears that money would flood out of the country once its banks were reopened.
But if depositors cannot send their digital money out of the country, they can still demand currency. The effect is the same: bankrupt banks.
The central bank cannot print euros. It can bail out the system only if Cyprus pulls out of the eurozone. If it does, this will send a message to the PIIGS: â€œGet out. We did. Save yourselves. We did.â€
The people of Cyprus care more about their life savings than propping up financial institutions that lost billions on poor investments in socialist governmentsâ€™ debts. The idea that somehow they, and not the banks that made those decisions, should bear the brunt of those losses was always disconnected from reality.
Yet that is precisely the presumption the establishment has made â€” that rather than banks raising substantially more capital to address systemic risk, you and I should pay for bank bailouts â€” in response to the ongoing financial crisis that began in 2007, and has actually become the basis for such proposals considered all over the world, including the U.S.
In 2009, the G20 asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to come up with ways the financial sector might supposedly contribute to its own bailouts.
Interestingly, what the IMF came up with as a suggestion had already been implemented a few months earlier by the U.S. Congress in passing the Dodd-Frank so-called financial reform legislation.
Under Dodd-Frank, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is allowed to charge assessments to about 60 bank-holding and insurance companies with $50 billion or more in assets to fund what is called an â€œorderly liquidation fund.â€ Really, itâ€™s just a bailout fund allowing the government to take over systemically risky institutions, recapitalize them, and allow them to reenter the market under new management.
[…] Â At least in Cyprus the peopleâ€™s representatives there actually had an opportunity to vote against such a levy. Whereas here, those fees are and will continue to be imposed by the banks with the blessing of government agencies â€” all without any vote in Congress.
It may happen sooner than anyone realizes. U.S. financial institutions are said to have as much $641 billion of exposure to financial institutions in Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain (PIIGS)Â according to the Congressional Research Service.
Should the Eurozone really break apart, and U.S. banks are caught in the crossfire, with the American people suddenly paying exorbitant fees for the â€œprivilegeâ€ of conducting business electronically, they can decide for themselves whether this was a good idea.
That is, for Congress to outsource and give unlimited grant of its taxing authority to faceless bureaucrats acting in concert with an international banking cartel with the goal of bailing itself out of its own foolishness.
In 1913, the 16th Amendment gave the federal government the power to tax American’s earnings for the very first time. Â Originally a 1% tax to pay for the war, it has ballooned into a confiscatory predator which continually siphons away your hard-earned money to feed the appetite of a government spending addiction that is never satisfied.
Since the immoral premise that government has a right to confiscate your earnings has gone unchallenged for the last 100 years, they now claim the right to steal your assets as well – property that you’ve acquired and invested in with after-tax dollars, through your own hard work an initiative. Â Nowhere is this more apparent than the recently instituted 3.8% Obamacare tax on home sales.
Think what is happening in Cyprus can’t happen here? Â It already is.
Cypriot lawmakers on Tuesday rejected a critical draft bill that would have seized part of people’s bank deposits in order to qualify for a vital international bailout, with not a single vote in favor.
The rejection leaves Cyprus’s bailout in question. Without external funds, the country’s banks face collapse and the government could go bankrupt. Nicosia will now have to come up with an alternative plan to raise the money: the government could try to offer a compromise bill that would be more palatable to lawmakers.
The bill, which had been amended Tuesday morning to shield small deposit holders from the deposit tax, was rejected with 36 votes against and 19 abstentions. One deputy was absent.
Too late. Â The threat has already been made. Â They have officially declared that they believe that the hard-earned money in private citizens’ Â bank accounts are fair game for the taking, and property rights are easily dispensed with when governments overspend. Â I wouldn’t trust them as far as I could throw them, and neither will most Cypriots!
The smart people will get their money out before they have another chance to try a scheme like this.
In Nigel Farage’s first TV appearance since the Cypriot wealth tax was announced, the Englishman pulls no punches. In all his years and all his experience of the desperation of the European Union’s leadership “never did [he] think they would resort to stealing money from people’s savings accounts.” The simple fact is that they know they cannot let any country leave, no matter how small, for “once one country goes, the whole deck of cards will come tumbling down.” There is nowÂ “clear irreconcilable differences” between the North and the South of EuropeÂ and now that they have done this in one country, “they are quite capable of doing it in Italy, Spain and anywhere.” The message that sends to people isÂ “get your money out while you can.”Â As far as his British constituents, he strongly recommends George Osborne (UK Chancellor) urge ex-pats to remove all their money and do monthly transfers from home.Â “Do Not Invest In The Euro-Zone,” he concludes,“you have to be mad to do soÂ – as it is now run by people who do not respect democracy, the rule of law, or the basic principles upon which Western civilization is based.”
“They are propping up a Eurozone that, in the end, will collapse in disastrous failure and they are prepared to do anything to do so.”
As a reminder, the United States government has been eying and researching how Americans use their 401k plans for quite some time now. Recently we saw the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau suggest the government help “manage” retirement plans.
[…] Â Â In February, theÂ Washington TimesÂ went so far as to ask “is your 401k about to be nationalized?”
The $19.4 trillion sitting in personal retirement accounts like the 401K may be too tempting an apple for a government that is quite broke, both monetarily and morally.Â The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray recently mentioned these accounts in a recent interview, stating â€œThatâ€™s one of the things weâ€™ve been exploring and are interested in, in terms of whether and what authority we have.â€
This agency, created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank-Act, is very concerned about how safe your retirement savings are. They are apparently concerned that retiring baby boomers may become victims of financial scams.
If the government takes control of retirement accounts, it will not be called â€œnationalization.â€ There will most likely be an indecipherable document that provides an opt-out option (initially), but why would you want to do that? The US government only wants to ensure the safety of your retirement funds; they did after all create a new bureaucracy for that specific purpose.Â And what could be a safer investment than US bonds?
Karl Denninger…cites some reasons for being concerned that this express train intends to flatten the US in the coming years. HeÂ lays out whywe may need recourse to something like this.
In two years federal medical spending along with Social Security and interest will, on current paths, reach the total of all tax receipts. At the outside the market will realize that Congress will never address the underlying issue with medical care because they have steadfastly refused to do soâ€¦. There is about $20 trillion in US Retirement â€œassets.â€ A â€œsmallâ€ 10% â€œone timeâ€ tax levy on those assets would fund the US Deficit a couple of years from now, and I will go out on a limb now and predict that exactly that will be done. Of course the â€œone timeâ€ aspect will be a lie tooâ€¦
He goes on to explain how the test case for this has already been successful. And how the American People have already allowed the legal precedents to allow this to happen to be codified in case histories all the way up to the USSC.
the precedent has already been set, and you, the common American, sat for it.
You allowed the GM bailout to take place where the seniority of bondholders was ignored and they were screwed while the UAW was made whole. You allowed Obamacare to be passed with the Congress denoting it was a â€œfineâ€ rather than a Tax, because Congress knew that a direct, unapportioned tax was unconstitutional â€” and then you sat again when Judge Roberts of the USSC rewrote Obamacare to be that very same unconstitutional direct Tax.
Mark my words, Obamacare has very little to do with Health Insurance. This is why nobody in governmentÂ feels any particular concernÂ over the fact that itÂ screws health insurance upÂ so badly. If you are in government and you want the power to run things by fiat, this law just gave you the keys to a Barchetta with a full tank of petrol.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Not to worry Komerade Amerikan. There are apps for this as well.Â Kelo v. New LondonÂ is a landmark case that helps put the subjects in their proper place. As long as your bank account can be construed as conferring a public benefit through public use, this lovely piece of jurisprudence would justify its seizure down to the last penny.
Bottom line: The state can steal your property, your wealth and your sustinence at any time they get pissed off enough or desperate enough to do so. You have no recourse to the law against this. The law is pathetically bastardized. Remember how that Arch-Conservative Supreme Court was poised to heroically strike down The AACA? Forget it Jake, we are all Cypriots now.
People with bank accounts in Cyprus were shocked Saturday to learn that as part of an agreement reached with international creditors, the government has imposed a tax on all deposits to help bail out the nation and its banks.
While the island nation may be small, itâ€™s an international favorite for offshore bankingâ€“ particularly for wealthy Russians.Â The tax will range from 6.75% to 9.9%, depending on how much is in the account.
â€œThis is a clear-cut robbery,â€ Andreas Moyseos, a former electrician who is now a pensioner in Nicosia,Â told the New York Times. Iliana Andreadakis, a book critic, further added: â€œThis issue doesnâ€™t only affect the peopleâ€™s deposits, but also the prospect of the Cyprus economy. The E.U. has diminished its credibility.â€
And indeed, following the massive run on banks in Cyprus,Â many are concernedÂ that a minor panic could spread to the rest of the Eurozone.Â After all, it has just set a precedent for taxing private bank accounts atÂ exorbitant rates without warning.
The banks are closed until Tuesday, to prevent depositors from accessing their money. Â ATM’s have quickly run out of cash as desperate citizens line up to withdraw their money before it is confiscated:
In a move that could set off new fears of contagion across the eurozone, anxious depositors drained cash from ATMs in Cyprus on Saturday, hours after European officials in Brussels required that part of a new â‚¬10 billion ($12.6 billion) bailout must be paid for directly from the bank accounts of savers.
The move – a first in the three-year-old European financial crisis – raised questions over whether bank runs could be set off elsewhere.
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, president of the group of euro-area ministers, on Saturday declined to rule out taxes on depositors in countries beyond Cyprus, although he said such a measure was not currently being considered. Although banks placed withdrawal limits of â‚¬400 on ATMs, most of them had run out of cash by early evening. People around the country reacted with disbelief and anger.
Someone with â‚¬8,000 of life savings in the bank can ill afford to lose an arbitrary â‚¬540, but thatâ€™s exactly what is going to happen. The Cypriot parliament is probably not going to revolt this weekend, but any politician who votes for this bill is going to have a very, very hard time getting re-elected. This decision is important not only because of the precedent it sets with regard to bank depositors, but also because of the way in which it points up just how powerless all the Mediterranean countries (plus Ireland) have become. More than ever before, itâ€™s Germanyâ€™s Europe. Thatâ€™s bad for Cyprus â€” and itâ€™s not even particularly good for Germany.
It is difficult to describe the weekend bailout package to Cyprus in any other way. The confiscation of 6.75 percent of small depositors’ money and 9.9 percent of big depositors’ funds is without precedence that I can think of in a supposedly civilised and democratic society.Â But maybe the European Union (EU) is no longer a civilised democracy?
IÂ heard rumoursÂ about this when I visited Limassol last week, butÂ dismissed them as completely outlandish. And yet, here we are. The consequences are unpredictable, but we are clearly looking at a significant paradigm shift.
This is a breach of fundamental property rights, dictated to a small country by foreign powers and it must make every bank depositor in Europe shiver.Â Although the representatives at the bailout press conference tried to present this as a one-off, they were not willing to rule out similar measures elsewhere – not that it would have mattered much as the trust is gone anyway. It is now difficult to expect any kind of limitation to what measures the Troika and EU might take when the crisis really starts to bite.
If you can do this once, you can do it again.Â if you can confiscate 10 percent of a bank customer’s money, you can confiscate 25, 50 or even 100 percent. I now believe we will see worse as the panic increases, with politicians desperately trying to keep the EUR alive.
Depositors in other prospective bailout countries must be running scared – is it safe to keep money in an Italian, Spanish or Greek bank any more?Â I dont know, must be the answer. Is it prudent to take the risk? You decide. I fear this will lead to massive capital outflows from weak Eurozone countries, just about the last thing they need right now. Even from the EU as a whole, I suspect, as the banking union is in place in most countries already.
If initially Europe came out as utterly deranged in its Cyprus deposit-confiscation scheme, at least it was consistent. Now, it appears that Europe is desperate to appear not onlyÂ completely incompetentÂ but alsoÂ unable to even make a simple decision and stick with it,Â following news from both the WSJ and the FT that the original confiscation thresholds of 6.75% and 9.9% for deposits below and over â‚¬100,000 is about to be revised.
From the FT: “a revised deal being discussed in Nicosia,Â with the blessing of the European Commission,Â would shift more of the burden on to deposits larger than â‚¬100,000, according to officials involved in the talks. Under a controversial deal struck with international bailout lenders in the early hours on Saturday, a 6.75 per cent levy would be imposed on all deposits under â‚¬100,000 while accounts over that threshold would be hit with a 9.9 per cent levy. The depositor levy was demanded by a German-led group of creditor countries to bring down the bailoutâ€™s price tag from â‚¬17bn…. Officials involved in last nightâ€™s talks said the changes in the levyâ€™s rates were in flux, but they could see the higher rate increase to as much as 12.5 per cent while the smaller deposits could be about 3.5 per cent.”
Elsewhere, according to the WSJ, the deposit “tax” would be under 5% for deposits under â‚¬100K, under 10% for deposits between â‚¬100 and â‚¬500K, and over 13% for deposits greater than half a million.
While this idiotic last minute revision will only infuriate Russian oligarchs even more, it will achieveÂ absolutely nothingÂ to streamline the passage of the bill through Cyprus parliament where it appears to have hung without enough support: the damage has already been done, and it is a virtual guarantee that Cyprus banks will suffer a full blown bank run the second banks reopen, which may be Tuesday, Wednesday, or never, at the current pace.Â That line around the block at your local neighborhood Nicosia ATM: that is not, and will not, be for people seeking to make aÂ deposit, that much we can guarantee, no matter what the final confiscation percentage is.
What is worse, however, is the painful demonstration of the absolutely and completely arbitrary decision-making process out of Europe. Sure: the ECB and the European Commission may decide to fully unwind the deposit confiscation scheme before all is said and done, but the genie is now out of the bottle, and it is very clear that in the European Disunion, a few unelected oligarchs will now determine until such time as the Eurozone finally implodes, just whose wealth and deposits are ripe for the taking. That not even Germany can make a decision and stick with it is just icing on the cake of the European Titanic.
This is the end result of the “Utopia” known as Democratic Socialism: large, powerful bureaucracies, out-of-control spending, runaway debt, forced redistribution, no respect for private property, and eventual collapse.
Europeans thought they could enjoy the unsustainable promises of Marxism without going full-blown communist. Â They chose a deceptive “third way” alternative, but it turns out the new boss is equally as destructive as the old one.
This is the path that Obama insists we follow, even as Europe’s warning signs glaringly flash “turn back now!”
Is your three-year-old preschooler chanting â€˜union powerâ€™ these days? She might, if author Innosanto Nagara has his way.
Nagara wrote â€œA is for Activist,â€ a book supposedly geared for the Â children of the â€œ99 percent.â€ In other words, a new vehicle has been developed for leftists to begin indoctrinating children.
â€œItâ€™s pretty awesome to hear a three-year-old saying â€˜union power,â€™â€ Nagara said in aÂ YES! magazineÂ interview.
But union power and student activism arenâ€™t the only goals. Consider these other letters and how they are applied in the book:
B is for banner, as in a protest banner hanging off a construction crane
L is for LGBTQ, as in Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgendered and Queer
T is for Trans, as in transgendered
Z is for Zapatistas, as in Mexican revolutionary leftists
Heady stuff for preschoolers, but the indoctrinators believe the tykes are old enough to learn the basics of revolutionary thought.
Nagaraâ€™s â€œA is for Activistâ€ has been heralded by the likes of Code Pinkâ€™s Medea Benjamin, whoÂ said, â€œMay a thousand young activists bloom!â€
I gotta be honest…I just didn’t have it in me to watch this year. Â My BS meter was already maxed out, and every preview of the speech’s content pretty much assured me that a root canal would be preferable to sitting through this.
When I read the transcript, I toyed with the idea of going through it as I have in the past, debunking and translating the double-speak point by point. Â But there’s nothing he said that hasn’t already been debunked and exposed multiple times before. Â He really doesn’t have any new ideas…just the same old, tired, recycled talking points.
So I’m going to let the CATO Institute break it down for you. Â I honestly can’t think of anyone better (apart from their apparent agreement with Obama that Al Qaeda is “on the run,” but that’s to be expected of Libertarians):
With President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and other national leaders in attendance, Dr. Carson spoke plainly about the great challenges America faces today: â€œmoral decay and fiscal irresponsibility.â€
â€œOne of our big problems right now is our deficit,â€ Dr. Carson states. â€œOur national debt, 16 and a half trillion dollarsâ€”you think thatâ€™s not a lot of money? Counting one number per second, you know how long it would take to count to one trillionâ€”507,000 years.â€
Dr. Carson continued:
I donâ€™t like to bring up problems without coming up with solutionsâ€¦ What about our taxation system? It is so complex, there is no one who can possibly comply with every jot and tittle. That doesnâ€™t make any sense.
What we need to do is come up with something thatâ€™s simple. The inherently fair principle is proportionality: you make 10 billion dollars, you put in a billion. You make 10 dollars, you put in one. Of course, you have to get rid of the loopholes.
Some people say, â€˜Thatâ€™s not fair! Itâ€™s doesnâ€™t hurt the guy who made 10 billion dollars.â€™ Where does it say you have to hurt that guy? He just put a billion dollars into the pot!
Growing up in dire poverty, Dr. Carson tells of taking responsibility for his own decisions thanks to â€œa mother who believed in me, who would never allow herself to be a victim no matter what happenedâ€”she never made excuses, and she never accepted excuses from us.â€
In the addressÂ itself, President Obama made the case that liberty is not timeless; that it must adjust to the times, and that “preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action”–not to defend those freedoms from infringement, but to give them “meaning” through government regulation and redistribution.
â€œThereâ€™s a moment of opportunity now thatâ€™s important,â€ Pfeiffer said. â€œWhatâ€™s frustrating is that we donâ€™t have a political system or an opposition party worthy of the opportunity.â€
Note the contempt in Pfeiffer’s words–not just for the political opposition, but for the political system itself–a system designed by the Framers to include checks and balances to hold government power firmly in check.
[…] Â A year ago, President ObamaÂ observed: “[I]t turns out our Founders designed a system that makes it more difficult to bring about change that I would like sometimes.” Back then, facing re-election, he promised to be patient. Today, he is impatient–with the opposition, and the system itself. He will destroy both, if necessary, to achieve his vision of America–one where “government alone” does not do everything, but rather dictates to individuals what they should do, and choose, and want, to serve its sweeping designs.
Throughout most of human history, transfers of power involved the coronation of a king or emperor, who’s only claim to power was either his birth or the conquest of his rival, whose reign was for life, and whose subjects were at his complete mercy.
Two centuries ago, our founders gave us a radically different system, where leaders were chosen from among the people to be public servants who wereÂ held accountable by the people, where no man (regardless of position) was above the law, where power was limited to prevent its abuse, where God alone was our King, and where government was prevented from taking that dictatorial role in people’s lives.
It is an awesome privilege to be the beneficiary of such a gift, and yet it carries a heavy responsibility of civic duty to hold our government and public servants accountable when they overstep their legitimate, constitutional authority.
Today was a day of inauguration, not coronation. We respect the results of the election, but we also remember that the constitutional limits of government power and the rule of law that protects our liberties are NEVER up for a vote.
Today, it was not just a president who is being inaugurated, but also We The People, who must shoulder our responsibility to uphold and defend the constitution against all threats, foreign and domestic. May we take that solemn charge faithfully and honorably, as our founders did.
Sounding the same themes of class warfare that propelled his re-election campaign, President Barack Obama devoted hisÂ second inaugural addressÂ to laying out his second term agenda: a struggle to undo the seeming injustices of America’s past, and to overcome the army of straw men that stand in opposition to progress.
In the process, President Obama attempted nothing less than an assault on the timeless notion of liberty itself:
Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone.
ButÂ we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.
After praising the “collective” and mocking the notion that America is a “nation of takers,” President Obama targeted the political opposition. He targeted those who “deny” climate change, attacked those who allegedly refused to reward the elderly for their contributions, and defied critics whom he said wanted “perpetual war.” He attacked the rich–as he has done so often over the past four years–and painted a caricature of an unjust nation: “…our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it….We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few.”
President Obama’s address failed to deliver on promises earlier in the day by senior political adviser David Axelrod that the speech would sound themes of national unity on a day of national “consecration.” Instead, the president sounded combative themes familiar from his divisive first term, albeit wrapped occasionally in the lofty rhetoric of “hope” and “tolerance,” and punctuated by the repeated refrain: “We, the People.”
[…] Â Throughout his address, the President maintained his voice in a near-shout. This was not an historic address, a reflection on a moment in history; it was an exhortation to political action, in contrast to the political reality of a divided Washington, in defiance of the profound economic challenges still facing the American people.
It was a declaration of political war on individual liberty. It was a wasted opportunity–and a warning.
Obama spelled out his true agenda: destroying founding principles about limited government to meet changing times. While paying lip service to â€œour skepticism of central authority,â€ Obama said that times have changed, and â€œso must weâ€: â€œfidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges â€¦ preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.â€ This was the sheerest form of rhetoric sophistry; equating freedom with government control is an perverse reversal of language. Of course, the Constitution was written based on the notion that human natureÂ does not changeÂ â€“ people are not angels, nor devils, but self-interested creatures capable of greatness or evil, who must be checked against each other. But Obama doesnâ€™t believe that. He believes that man can be made anew.
But only by government. And so Obama demonized limited government as anarchism, suggesting that meeting â€œthe demands of todayâ€™s world by acting aloneâ€ is like forcing American soldiers to meet â€œthe forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militiasâ€ â€“ a straw man argument so blatant it appeared Obama would wheel out Ray Bolger to present it. In pursuing his agenda, Obama made clear that he will ignore basic realities â€“ â€œwe reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future.â€ He made clear that he will create false histories â€“ â€œwe remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty, and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn.â€ He made clear that he will redefine taking and giving â€“ those who wish to save their money for their families and children are â€œtakers,â€ and those who wish to confiscate the wealth of others â€œstrengthen us.â€
In the end, Obamaâ€™s argument was a collectivist one. And it was an argument designed to irreparably tear this nation apart. Obama himself said it: â€œBeing true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life; it does not mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way â€¦â€
But this renders the Declaration of Independence Obama cited completely meaningless. The founders may have disagreed on many things, but they agreed on the meaning of liberty: the right to live as an individual, without centralized planning infringing basic property rights, economic opportunities, and religious freedoms. Obamaâ€™s fundamental redefinition of liberty to include communitarianism is not merely wrong, it spells the end of the political commonality that has held the fabric of the nation together. If we define liberty differently, then there is nothing to talk about: my liberty is your tyranny, and vice versa. Our goals can never be shared. That gap can never be bridged.
President Barack Obamaâ€™s top political aide used an Inauguration Day interview to sketch out a provocative political strategy intended to split the Republican Party in time to impact the 2014 midterm elections.
â€œThe barrier to progress here in many respects, whether it is deficits, measures to help economy, immigration, gun safety legislation â€¦ is [that] there are factions here in Congress, Republicans in Congress, who are out of the mainstream,â€ White House advisor David Plouffe said on CNNâ€™s â€œState of the Union with Candy Crowley.â€
â€œWe need more Republicans in Congress to think like Republicans in the country who are seeking compromise, seeking balance,â€ he claimed.
Their public strategy is to try and divide Republicans on the issues of taxes, guns and immigration, where they believe the “moderates” will be willing to compromise and alienate their base.
Their hidden strategy will be the same Alinsky tactics they used during the campaign to smear the opposition: distracting voters Â and stoking division on social issues (“war on women,” contraception, rape, abortion, gay marriage, etc.). Â Which is kind of ironic, because social issues could really be used to split much of the socially conservative minority base (such as the black community) away from the Democrat party, if Republicans had the smarts to exploit it.
[I]f you want to know how Obama will actually govern in his second term, forget about these well-crafted speeches, and pay attention instead to what he said at his press conference a few days ago.
There he made it clear for anyone with ears to hear that his goal isn’t to achieve some kind of grand unity to tackle the nation’s toughest challenges.
No. Obama’s No. 1 goal in his second term is to do whatever it takes to destroy Republicans and win back Democratic control of the House in 2014, giving him two more years to enact his agenda without any GOP meddling.
Republicans, he said at that press conference, are holding “a gun at the head of the American people,” and are threatening either to “gut Medicare” or “wreck the entire economy.”
He said Republicans are “suspicious about government’s commitments to make sure that seniors have decent health care (and) have suspicions about whether government should make sure that kids in poverty are getting enough to eat.”
He described the GOP position on the debt ceiling as “either we get our way a hundred percent of the time or otherwise, you know, we are going to default on America’s obligations.”
You simply don’t bludgeon people you’re trying to work with.
Next, consider Obama’s actions since winning re-election.
Instead of living up to his campaign promise to focus on jobs, the economy and the national debt, he’s pushing hugely divisive issues â€” gun control, immigration, global warming â€” or in-your-face nominees like Chuck Hagel.
On gun control, Obama could have worked to reach consensus on reforms that might actually improve safety, but instead produced an aggressive gun-control plan guaranteed to force a nasty fight with the GOP.
Obama barely mentioned immigration reform during his campaign, but suddenly put it at the top of his agenda because he knows he can use it to hurt Republicans.
It’s almost like they’re holding the budget hostage for more ransom money from the “evil rich.”
The Constitution REQUIRES congress to pass a budget – no conditions, no excuses. Â Of course, they’ve been flaunting the law of the land for years, and Republicans won’t hold them accountable, so what do they care?
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the U.S. Senate will only fulfill itâ€™s legal obligation to pass a budget if the budget, which has not been passed since 2009, includes new tax increases.
â€œWe need a budget,â€ Schumer conceded on Meet the Press.Â â€œItâ€™s a great opportunity to get us some more revenues to help in part deal with sequestration and deal with the debt issue . . .Â Weâ€™re going to do a budget this year and itâ€™s going to have revenues in it and our Republican colleagues better get used to that fact.â€
Senate Democrats have refused to pass a budget since Obamacare was passed, prompting Republicans to accuse their counterparts of hiding the amount of spending they desire to avoid electoral rebuke.
Even some Democrats are willing to say that. â€œI think there would be just too much risk for the next election,â€ Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., suggested last year when asked why his party leadership wouldnâ€™t pass the budget. â€œThey donâ€™t want to risk the next election.â€
Why would a teacher’s association want anÂ unrepentantÂ domestic terroristÂ – who participated in three bombings and regretted that he didn’t do moreÂ – as their keynote speaker regarding educating America’s youth? Â This is theÂ equivalentÂ of inviting Timothy McVey to speak.
Is THIS the kind of person they admire, who’s advice on molding young minds they want to follow? Â Â Just imagine what they’re teaching their students if they have such little discretion and no moral compass!
The Association of Teacher Educators has recruited Chicago professor â€“ and former domestic terrorist â€“ William Ayers to speak at their theÂ 2013 Annual MeetingÂ in Atlanta, Georgia which will be held next month.
William Ayers, a co-founder of the radical Weather Underground domestic terror group, was a key figure during the 2008 presidential campaign due to his Chicago ties to then-Senator Obama.
The organizationâ€™s executive director, David Ritchey, confirmed that Ayers would be a keynote speaker at the conference although he admitted that he wasnâ€™t involved in the selection process.
Ritchey added that although Ayers was a controversial figure he had been invited due to his â€œwork in the education field, apart from all the other stuff.â€
TheÂ website biographyÂ makes no specific mention of Ayersâ€™ controversial background, describing him as the â€œformerly Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago.â€
The only “work” Ayers does in education is indoctrinating students with his radical ideas and training others how to do the same. Â Although this teachers’ association won’t publicly condone his actions, they don’t condemn them either, and they clearly agree with his radical leftist ideas, or else they wouldn’t have invited him to share them.