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Browsing Posts tagged Jeff Barnett

Worked the most Democrat precinct in Sterling again. Result should be telling. Results shortly …

862 total votes, representing 33 percent of eligible voters in precinct.

While machines are being unlocked, I can note that it felt like a strong Republican sentiment – for this neighborhood.

Stay tuned ….

UPDATE
From today’s vote:
Barnett 423
Wolf 420

45 absentee uncounted…

We won’t get absentee results till later, but Wolf this close in this precinct is a very good sign for him …

Oh almost forgot – Redpath 13.

Barack Obama and Jeff Barnett

Barack Obama and Jeff Barnett

Jeff Barnett, Democrat candidate for Congress in Virginia’s 10th District, is a strong supporter of President Barack Obama’s economic policies.

Jeff Barnett is glad that Congress passed health insurance reform this Spring because it expands coverage and will “get healthcare costs way down.”

Jeff Barnett supports borrowing hundreds of billions of dollars and giving the IOU to our grandchildren in order to create imaginary jobs – like the “1.4-3.3 million” created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – and funnel money to public employee unions and teacher unions.

Jeff Barnett wants to hit companies with massive new taxes, a “stick” to compel them to reduce their carbon footprints, eliminating jobs and increasing consumer costs in order to lower the amount of carbon dioxide in the air.

If you believe we need a Congress that will help President Barack Obama fundamentally reshape our nation, vote for Democrat Jeff Barnett.

Continuing our one-a-day series examining the issues of Jeff Barnett, the Democrat challenging Rep. Frank Wolf in Virginia’s 10th Congressional district, we look now at Re-regulate the Megabanks.

Under Republican leadership, our Nation tilted the economic playing field in favor of big banks – then took the referees off the field. Now we have the deepest recession in 75 years, mountains of debt, millions of lost jobs, and a housing crisis that is destroying tens of thousands of families.

This is typical of the left — “First, the Republicans did such-and-such, and then so-and-so happened.”  No causal connection is shown between the two — and they don’t care.  It’s guilt by implication.

BTW, do those big banks include Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?  They, and the expanded Community Reinvestment Act, set up the house of cards that started the recession.

Five megabanks still control 75% of all lending in America. They are still Too-Big-To-Fail.

Why is that?  What would be so terrible about the collapse of these banks?  If a large bank were, instead, a hundred smaller banks that all collapsed, what would be the difference?  If we have to bail out one big bank, would we not have to bail out the hundred smaller ones?

Don’t get me wrong, we still need big banks to serve global networks of huge corporations – but our concentration of trillion dollar banks places national financial security at risk.

Not to my way of thinking.  The global economy is a systemic risk.  Previous bank collapses occurred with banks both big and small.  A run on a hundred small banks is no different than a run on one huge one.  Being systemic risk, not local risk, spreading the risk does not reduce it.

We learned this lesson the hard way. To manage risk we need greater involvement by small banks.

Why?

We can help small banks compete with the megabanks by giving them an edge in the federal funds rate and the overnight discount rate. This will help the 8500 other banks in America serve a larger part of our economy.

Once again, when the government gives something to one group, it must take it from another.  Why do the large banks have a competitive advantage over the small ones, if they are both getting the same federal funds rate and overnight discount rate?  Because the large banks are more efficient.  They do not have a hundred presidents, but one who is paid a tenth of what those hundred would make.  And they get the best presidents, not a hundred middling ones.

So, naturally, the government solution will be to tax the big banks.  Who, ultimately, will pay the tax?  The customers.  That means you and me.

Today’s topic is Intelligence. Yes, I know, “military intelligence” is an oxymoron, but it is in fact critical to the safety of our military personnel.  So let’s see what candidate Barnett has to say on the subject:

Virginia’s 10th District is home to the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Reconnaissance Office. Our office parks include companies that support these agencies. Incredibly, there are no Virginians on the House intelligence committee (HPSCI). I will push to serve on this committee.

Now that certainly makes sense, but Rep. Wolf is on the Appropriations Committee, which is very important, and is the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies.  Wolf is a 10-term congressman, and certainly has more pull with committee assignments than a freshman would.

I have directly worked with leaders in CIA, DIA, NSA and military intelligence; that’s why I maintain a Top Secret security clearance.

Past work does not keep a security clearance.  Current work does.  I will assume that Mr. Barnett still works for the Toffler (as in Alvin) Associates “[advising] corporate and government leaders on how to lead their organizations in the information age.”

I can lead the next generation of intelligence investment in Congress – because I understand the professional perspectives of the thousands of Virginians who work in support of the United States Intelligence Community.

I would particularly like to hear Mr. Barnett’s take on the proposed closure of JFCOM in Suffolk.  Mr. Barnett is career military, and might have a valuable perspective on the use of JFCOM for intelligence.  (The Joint Intelligence Lab is at JFCOM, according to Signal Online.)

The bottom line is the same for anyone challenging a sitting congressman — you have to give a reason to ditch the existing one, because he does have seniority for the choice committee assignments, and you have to give voters a reason to vote for you.  I think Mr. Barnett has not done the former, but has done a fair job of the latter, although he could invoke more of his relevant military experience here.

This is the fifth (and I do like fifths) in our series devoted to deconstructing the issues page of Jeff Barnett, candidate for Congress in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District.  Today, we will look at End Our Wars.

Like many American families, today’s wars are more than just “issues” for my wife and me. Our youngest child is deployed to Afghanistan. Our eldest child is an Army doctor at Walter Reed. I know what it means to have loved ones in harm’s way. As your Congressman I will never let politics influence my votes on sending our sons and daughters to war.

That’s good to know, but is this a backhand accusation that Rep. Wolf did let politics influence his votes?

As your Congressman, I will bring a practical approach to foreign policy – and make sure we end our wars.

By quitting?  I’d rather win our wars.

The invasion of Iraq was a monumental mistake. Our incumbent Congressman voted for this war – a vote I opposed at the time. I support the current withdrawal schedule and will stay on top of its timeline.

Our Secretary of State voted for that war, too, as did most of the Democrats in Congress.  They had access to the intel reports.  Candidate Barnett did not.

When we let Al Qaeda escape into Pakistan, we created a new and serious threat. Pakistan has 175 million people – and nuclear weapons. It must not become a failed state – which is exactly what Al Qaeda wants. This is why I support our temporary surge in Afghanistan, even though our daughter is deployed there. We must work with Pakistan, Afghanistan and our allies to build an indigenous vise around the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11. I will be relentless in ensuring actions match specific and attainable goals, and I will make sure we stay on schedule for bringing our troops home.

Did we have timelines in WWI or WWII?  Did we say, “If Germany does not surrender in six months, we will”?  Did the Union have a timeline in “The War of Northern Aggression”?  Did they say, “If the South does not surrender by January, we will”?  No.  They focused on winning those wars, not on when they were going to quit.

As President Obama said in his Nobel Peace Prize speech, evil will always exist in our world.

And all that is necessary for it to be victorious is for us to do nothing.

America must sometimes fight when nonviolence fails to surmount “the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.” When decisions over war and peace face Congress, I will go the extra mile to emphasize peace. I understand war, from combat to peacekeeping. My father is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. My wife served for eight years in the military. Both our children serve on active duty. If our Nation must go to war, I will ensure there is no other option. I will ensure we have clear goals and the resources to attain those goals.

I thank you and your family for their service.  But understand this, we have the resources to win these wars.  We just refuse to use them.  Right now, we have about 1.5 million active duty military — about one half of one percent of our population.  In WWII, we had about 16 million people serving from a nation of 132.4 million — about 12% of our population.  Even 10% would give us an army 30 million strong.

How about we start acting like a nation at war, and actually try to win them?

Continuing with the series devoted to deconstructing the Issues page of Jeff Barnett (D), who is running for Congress against Rep. Frank Wolf (R) in VA’s 10th Congressional District, today we look at transportation.

We need to actually fix transportation gridlock. Traffic gets worse every year. Enough is enough.

Mr. Barnett, we have bad traffic in this area because we have good jobs. I do know some people who have decided not to move here because of the traffic. What that means is that, if we do improve the traffic situation, more people will move here because we would have good jobs and good traffic, and we would have bad traffic again.

This is not to say that we should not try to improve our roads. We should. But the end state is not better traffic, it is more good jobs.

First, we need to improve the efficiency of current roads, rail and bridges. We need better interchanges, additional lanes, metro extensions, and high-speed buses. These improvements will make life more bearable for our current population. They are necessary – but not enough. They won’t handle future growth.

As I said, it won’t make life more bearable, it will just encourage future growth. Build it, and they will come.

Our district has the most fiber-rich dirt on earth. We are the internet crossroads of the world. Dulles is the last major airport on the East Coast with expansion capacity. Our wealth will continue to attract floods of people. We need next-generation infrastructures to absorb them.

Well, Mr. Barnett has that right at least. It is a cycle — more jobs require more infrastructure which brings more jobs.  As for being “fiber-rich,” we need to encourage more telecommuting, especially in the federal government and its contractors.  This is an issue that Mr. Barnett could push as a congresscritter.  Telecommuting would improve the quality of life for the telecommuters and reduce traffic for those who still have to drive to work.  I also believe that it would reduce government costs, since the government would not have to pay for office space for those telecommuters.

Our parents showed us how to think ahead. They built I-66, I-81, the American Legion Bridge, the Beltway, and Metrorail. Since then, every solution to our traffic woes has been to widen or lengthen what we inherited. We can’t just “tweak” transportation infrastructures designed decades ago. Real growth requires next generation transportation. It requires renewed vision.

Now comes the rub. The problem is defined. Let us see what Mr. Barnett proposes.

I will lead a consensus towards that vision. The Congressman from the 10th District is uniquely positioned to bring people together. I can reach across state and party lines, across federal, state, and local agencies, across public and private sectors, to forge a new consensus that protects the environment, the economy and our quality of life.

Uh, OK. But how does that differ from Rep. Wolf?

This consensus will help us to identify and build the next generation of transportation across the 10th District and Northern Virginia. If we don’t act now, gridlock will get worse for everyone – and that’s no way to live.

Well, it seems that Mr. Barnett doesn’t have any answers, either.

I will say, though, that I think Mr. Barnett is barking up the wrong tree. The federal government really should not be involved in local transportation issues. This is a peculiar case, with DC in the middle of it. Only so far as Congress has the power “To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever….” regarding DC, would a Representative Barnett have any involvement in local transportation issues. I-66, for instance, is entirely within the State of Virginia. That said, through both the General Welfare of the States clause and the Common Defense of the States clause, we have the Interstate Highway System.

There is no question that the IHS, by facilitating the transportation of goods, has improved the General Welfare of the States. Nor can one deny that the IHS facilitates the transportation of men and materiel for the military. However, I believe a better way for the federal government to achieve these objective is through expanding and improving cargo rail.

We have all heard the ads on the radio saying how much more fuel efficient cargo rail is. Less well known is that, by reducing the numbers of long-haul trucks on the roads, cargo rail also reduces traffic fatalities. Finally, vehicles cause road damage proportional to the 4th power of their axle weight. A 10,000 lb. two-axle truck causes 625 times the road damage that a 2,000 lb. car does. A 50,000 lb. tractor-trailer, assuming that the weight is evenly distributed over all five axles, causes 1500 times the road damage that a 2000 lb. car does. (The maximum weight of a truck on the IHS is 80,000 lb.)

We need to bring our cargo rail system into the 21st Century, and get the long-haul trucks off the interstates.  The future and the past — the information superhighway and cargo rail — are the keys to alleviating our traffic woes.

Now, whenever Congress, or a candidate for Congress, talked about “fixing” something, the first thing that comes to my mind is, “like a cat.”  So let’s examine Mr. Barnett’s words on the topic, and see who’s going to lose their family jewels.

The bank-fueled housing bubble should never have happened in the first place — and must never happen again. Average people put the majority of our wealth into our homes. But government stood by while banks played roulette with our life savings. It will not happen again on my watch.

Tell us again, Mr. Barnett, which entities were underwriting those subprime mortgages.  That’s right — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, quasi-governmental agencies that The Banking Queen said did not need more Congressional oversight.  Now, most homeowners I know actually put most of their wealth into their mortgages, not their homes, and most of their mortgage payments goes to interest.

To make sure this never happens again, we need to stay ahead of financial manipulators in our hyper-speed, hyper-competitive world. I support Congress’ plan to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This agency shouldn’t add a single bureaucrat – it will only combine existing offices into a single agency focused ONLY on protecting consumer finances. We need constant financial watchdogs to help us protect our homes, savings, and pensions.

That is a new one, Jeff.  A new agency that won’t add a single bureaucrat?  Did I mention I have some land in Florida for sale?

Government rescued the banks that were “Too-Big-To-Fail” but told the middle class we are Too-Small-To-Save. That is wrong morally and short-sighted economically.

Well, we finally agree.  We should not be bailing out banks — not even Fannie and Freddie.

We must take positive steps to help people keep their homes.

Why?  The idea that everyone should own a house is ludicrous.  When your area of the country has an economic downturn, you don’t want to be stuck in a house you cannot sell.  You want to be able to give your landlord notice and go where the jobs are.

We must re-institute common sense regulations to prevent another bank-fueled housing bubble.

Common sense are Congress seem to be mutually exclusive.

With one of five mortgages “underwater,” tens of thousands of our neighbors live in constant fear of losing everything. They are one bad break — sickness, job loss — away from going bankrupt. They lose their home and their life savings.

About four out of five car loans are underwater.  What should the government do about that?  Nothing.  And again, if these people were renting, there would not be a problem.  Sickness?  Job loss?  Give your notice and move to a smaller pad, or move in with a relative.  But the government pushed and pushed and pushed these people to buy houses, to buy “the American Dream.”  Nevermind the fact that they could not afford to make the dream a reality.

I will champion three immediate steps to help homeowners:

  • Institutionalize the short-sale process so homeowners can force a short-sale when their bank refuses to modify an underwater mortgage.

Now, what about the people who were not so short-sighted, and actually saved their money, who perhaps put some in the bank? When the mortgages are not paid, won’t the ones who made good decisions get screwed? Oh, the banks have FDIC insurance on those deposits. That’s good. Who’s going to pay off the FDIC? The very same taxpayers who have their money in the bank. (Once again siphoning off some for the bureaucrats to administer the transfer the money from your left pocket to your right.)

  • Guarantee an FHA loan two years after the short sale – so homeowners with good credit can recover.

If they have good credit, why are they short-selling their houses?

  • Give homeowners the same bankruptcy protections we give big corporations.

And what protections would those be? Shall we simply ignore their lenders’ legal rights and take all of the assets, like 0bama did with GM?

None of these proposals should cost the federal government a penny.

And they won’t require a single new bureaucrat, either!

They won’t weaken the financial system – banks have already written off underwater mortgages. Our government must help middle class homeowners caught up in the housing bubble. We cannot forget the Too-Small-To-Save.

The banks have not “written off” underwater mortgages. In most cases, the banks don’t even know whether a particular mortgage is underwater. What they know is whether the payments are being made on time. If you cannot make your mortgage payments, you should not be in that house. If you cannot sell your house for what you owe, you made that choice, deal with it. Similarly, the banks made the loans. If the loans don’t get repaid, then the banks should have to deal with that, and should not be bailed out by the taxpayers.

The biggest problem with this country is the idea that the government should save you from every bad decision you make, and the burden of your bad decisions should be laid on those who make good decisions. We should not be bailing out banks that made bad loans, and we should not be bailing out people who took loans they could not afford. When stupidity and ignorance stop being a crushing burden, we get more stupidity and ignorance.

Now, while that paragraph would normally conclude this post, I would like to offer a suggested regulation that might prevent such a housing crisis in the future.  Long ago, the margin requirement was 10%.  So, by putting up $10 of one’s own money, borrowing $90 from the broker, one could buy $100 of stock.  Of course, if the stock price fell, one would have to sell some stock to keep the 10% margin requirement.  Well, stocks took a tumble, and people sold to cover the margin calls.  So stock prices went down more, and more people sold, and so it went into the 1929 stock market crash.  To prevent a repeat, the margin requirements were raised to 50%.  Perhaps that would not be such a bad idea for buying houses, too.