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Lessons from Europe

Lessons from Europe: Unless you have been hiding in Attorney General Eric Holder’s “Fast and Furious” documents file, you know that trouble is brewing in Europe. Big trouble. Real big trouble. None of us know where it will go from here. But, I can see no good outcome. The experiment of monetary union without fiscal or political union has failed. Most of the solutions they are now discussing will simply delay the inevitable. Using debt that you have no plan to repay in order to pay other debts that you can’t repay doesn’t work with mortgages and will not work with governments. And, it is hard to even describe the political challenges they have over there. Look at the gridlock we have here with one country, one culture and 2 political parties. Now, imagine having 17 countries, dozens of cultures and a hundred political parties. I think you get the point.

Whenever the European crisis hits and however it is manifested, the US will be affected. It could affect us in a small way or a big way. That is impossible to predict at this point. It is also not possible to predict when it will hit, as doing so involves the collective… Read More

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“Fix It” Episode IX: The Final Chapter

The final chapter….sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? I’m just taking my cue from Desperate Housewives and House and such to draw you in. Maybe this will be as big as the last episode of M*A*S*H?!

Except that I’m not going to be satisfied with cable channel reruns like those shows. No, you will continue to hear from me about a variety of matters. But, it is time to wrap up our series on how we can fix our economy.

In the previous VIII Episodes, I have talked about strategies to address the too big to fail problem, repair our deficits, and set housing, energy, health care, education, infrastructure, and manufacturing all on a path to prosperity. Most of these strategies are built upon tenets that could elicit bipartisan support. And, every single problem I’ve addressed can be successfully resolved in the United States regardless of what happens in Europe or China or anywhere else. But, before I sign off from this series, there are 3 more points I would like to make:

Absolutism Will not Work: There are some of my colleagues on the right who believe that tax cuts can cure anything. There are some on the left who believe that… Read More

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“Fix It” Episode VIII: Too Big To Fail & California

Too Big to Fail: There is a lot of talk these days about the $3 billion loss at JP Morgan Chase. There is a lot of hand-wringing, concern, and investigation into what happened. We are asked about it on Capitol Hill, we have an opinion, and we all care about it. And, that is the problem. We shouldn’t have to care.

The only reason we are all in a tizzy over this is because JP Morgan is too big to fail. If Apple announced it lost $3 billion tomorrow, the shareholders, Wall Street and some trial lawyers would care, but it wouldn’t be any of Washington’s concern. That’s the way it should work with private companies. They take risks to make money. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.

Dodd-Frank did not fix this problem for the banks. Arguably, a provision in Dodd-Frank was part of the cause of the JP Morgan loss. Dodd-Frank requires disclosure of trading that was previously private. Hedge funds saw JP Morgan taking big positions (which just a few years ago would not have been made public) and decided to play the other side of the trade. The hedge funds won and JP Morgan lost. However, in this case, we all lost. That’s why… Read More

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Fix It: Episode V

Episode V – Housing: For those of you who perhaps are new “subscribers” to this “Report from my Laptop to Yours”, I have been writing a series on the things I think we need to do in order to bring about a new, extended period of substantial growth that offers prosperity to our people, refreshes our culture and preserves and extends our hegemony in world affairs. This is Episode V. (You see how I cleverly use roman numerals in order to add a degree of erudition to these writings. My close proximity to the ways of Hollywood has not been completely without influence.) If you missed the first four Episodes, you can find them on my website HERE.

Now on to Episode 5…..I mean V. Regular readers of this missive will know that restoring growth to the housing market is one of my major priorities in Congress. This is not because I’m a housing guy. I’m not really. I’m a car guy. But, the fact is that the car business and the housing business have some similarities. Both are high… Read More

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Fix It: Episode IV

Health Care is an important topic. Not just because of the obvious fact that we all need it and it directly relates to the continuity and quality of human life. But, also because it represents a major segment of our economy. And, the economic impact doesn’t just extend to medical care providers. It also affects employers, through whom most Americans obtain their health insurance if they are under 65 years of age, and the economy at large.

It will be no surprise to readers of this missive that I think ObamaCare is an unmitigated disaster. But, even if you think it was a good thing, the problems surrounding its implementation have injected even more government-created uncertainty into a major element of the economy. Uncertainty retards growth because it freezes capital, labor and decision makers. The uncertainty here is not just a result of the pending Supreme Court decision. It began long before that as it quickly became apparent that major elements of ObamaCare just don’t work. Even the White House has admitted this. Even more problematic, the provisions that the White House has already agreed not to implement have now put other parts of the law in question… Read More

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Fix It: Episode III

Fix It: Episode III – The episodic thing makes me feel like I am writing the next Harry Potter or something. OK, enough fantasizing. On to the real stuff.

Energy: The “fix” for our energy problems is actually one of the simpler ones. And, the reason it is simple is not because of any action of Congress or the President. It is not even because of our founding fathers. It comes from God.

This country is blessed with enormous natural resources. We have more coal than any other country on earth. We can make electricity from coal. We also have enough natural gas, by some estimates, to last us for a century. We make electricity from natural gas. We have a number of nuclear plants that generate electricity and we can build more. And, we have rivers to create hydroelectric power which can be harnessed to create more power should we need it. I have just described four sources that currently create more than 90% of all the electricity in this country. And, we can expand them all if we want or need to without importing anything from any other country.

But, you say, you haven’t mentioned anything about our… Read More

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No More Political Gimmicks, Let’s Fix the Deficit Problem

It’s budget week here in Washington.

That means we are debating the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. There are proposals and amendments and such.

I’ve linked a 5 minute video clip of a response I gave to another (sigh) proposal to “tax the rich more” to this post. I received a number of accolades on this speech, including many from Democrats. I hope you enjoy it.

By the way, the amendment was defeated.

Click HERE to watch my Budget Committee remarks.… Read More

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Fix It, Episode II

In the second “episode” of our saga on fixing our problems and bringing America a new period of growth and optimism, I will address an issue that none of you will be surprised to see me tackle – the debt and deficit. Since I was first elected to the California State Assembly in 2000, trying to get government to tax, spend and waste less has been a major priority for me. As such, you have heard a lot from me on this issue. So, I will not repeat much of what I have said incessantly for years so that I don’t become electronic Ambien for you.

Instead, let me put this problem/opportunity in the context of the larger issue we are talking about. Implementing a plan to gradually fix our deficits and reduce our debt is a necessary but not sufficient condition for growth. Fixing the deficit will not in and of itself free the economy for sustained prosperity. There are other things we have to do that I will write about in future episodes. Suffice it to say, fixing the deficit is not a sufficient condition. But, it is a necessary one. If we don’t do it, we will certainly bring on a crisis which will plunge us into a long and… Read More

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