Diary

Pelosi Seeks Bailout of SF Chronicle

I’ve just been over at the Telegraph of London and read this peice by Simon Heffer

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/simonheffer/5007962/President-Barack-Obama-Perhaps-he-cant-fix-it.-.-..html

Mr Obama has shown little evidence that he has connected with the tens of millions in his country for whom hardship is not theoretical. Six hundred thousand people a month in America are going on the dole. Much of the $275 billion – perhaps as much as $200 billion – earmarked for the mortgage industry will go to shore up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac rather than provide direct support to those whose homes are being repossessed. The pawn shops, the half-finished and overgrown housing developments on the edges of towns, the roads to nowhere and the new proliferation of beggars and down-and-outs on the streets of New York (I have not seen so many here since the 1980s) are a growing testament to the President’s challenge. He has yet to prove he is equal to it.

Instead he has been trying, on a broad front, to fulfil the reformist ideal that informed his election campaign. Rather like a would-be government in Britain that talked of “sharing the proceeds of growth”, the candidate who wanted to redistribute wealth now, as President, has no wealth to redistribute. A $3.6 trillion budget showed little sign of addressing the problem of stimulating demand. Both big corporations and small businesses feel overtaxed, their competitiveness hampered, and incapable of creating jobs at a time when they are desperately needed. Mr Obama’s green agenda, which was also a significant part of his election promises, entailed higher taxation that will retard the economy just when it needs to grow. His greatest ambition – of starting a national health service – seems impossible in the present climate. As he seeks to move forward on this broad front Warren Buffett himself has attacked him, saying that his first three priorities should all be the economy. Paralysed by inexperience and a Blairish desire to be liked, and hampered by inadequate senior staff, he is now finding that even some of his own party in Congress feel he has gone too far in the socialist experiment. Mrs Pelosi admitted at the weekend that a second stimulus package – which leftist Democrats are calling for, to the horror of much of the rest of America – was not yet on the cards.

There is a rising consciousness here that money is being wasted, that Mr Obama is simply spraying it around, and that America is at risk of bankruptcy. Unlike in Britain – and this is the most refreshing aspect of coming here at this moment of crisis – there is a real, animated, exciting public debate about policy. It extends far beyond the normal political class. Instant books about the alleged failure of Obamanomics are flying off the shelves. Even more astounding, the doorstep-sized novel Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, the objectivist philosopher, published in 1957, is in huge demand. It tells the story of an America destroyed by high taxes and the dictatorship of welfarism, and which can be restored only by the triumph of capitalists and capitalism. The capitalists bring America to its knees by withdrawing their labour and their enterprise; in the end the socialists who have provoked this catastrophe beg them to re-engage. It was only a matter of time before educated opinion here would associate Rand’s fantasy with what is happening today.

Just read the whole thing. I’m just thinking that BO can’t fix it. And then these this that I’ve seen nowhere else

Only yesterday Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, asked for a change in funding rules to save the San Francisco Chronicle, an ailing newspaper in her own home town that has, by coincidence, loyally supported her