Do You Have Money to Burn?

If you do not have money to save, you do not have money to burn.

Saving vs. spending and the health of the economy was the topic of my conversation with @sethsimonds today.

I punctuating this pondering by watching Ron Paul at today’s Financial Services Hearing, where he essentially accuses Goldman Sachs of fraud. (Remember my pre-election / bailout post at Nolan Chart, Bad Assets and Band Aids?) :

Just finished reading Paul’s book, “End the Fed”. A review is on my to-do list!

One of the things I miss about living in the US is helping with the nitty-gritty of grassroots politics. Being a precinct leader for Paul’s 2008 campaign and then attending his rally in Philadelphia with my husband, our children, and over 5,000 other supporters, is one of my fondest memories.

Photo Credit: Piggy Bank by Alesa Dam via Flickr

Getting Rid of Your Social Security Number

Take a moment to click through the buildfreedom link and read the article, there are step-by-step procedures, including a form letter, along with about a half-page of legal helps, to get rid of one’s SS#.

Follow the steps and see what happens. There isn’t going to be a sweet, gentle, cushy, painless way to do it. You’re probably going to get quite a fight, and probably be under surveillance of some sort, for the rest of your life. This is a choice you’ll have to make.

I would also recommend joining , where you can network with like-minded individuals.

FWIW, I’m not ready for this fight and still have my SS#.

(Originally Posted 3/6/2008)

I’m wondering what it takes to get rid of one’s social security number, and the implications of not having one.

From “Secrets of the Social Security”.

This document covers:

* Individual Free-Market Economic Power.
* General information on Social Security.
* The Social Security Act.
* “Comment Upon Voluntary Nature of Social Security” – legal brief by Attorney Larry Becraft.
* Three kinds of TG #s: SSN (Social Security Number); EIN (Employer Identification Number); TIN (Taxpayer Identification Number).
* The structure of the SS# – significance of first three digits – ranges assigned to each state – ranges not used – significance of digits four and five – significance of last four digits.
* How to legally change your SS# – copy of relevant TG policy and procedures.
* How to get a new TIN from the IRS – sample SS-4 form – how to use your TIN number for credit applications.
* How Credit Bureaus identify you.
* How to establish a new credit file.
* The common law name principle.
* The Anthony Hargis method to terminate your SS#.
* Other organizations that help you terminate your SS#.
* General advice on operating without a SS#.
* Several ways to open a bank account without a SS#.
* Bibliography on SS# and identities.

This video from also quite informative. It’s more about taxes than the SSN, so it’s a little off-topic for this post, but I found it during my SSN search and the testimony from juror Marcy Brooks made me want to include this clip. She’s my hero. Taxes and Social Security Numbers go hand in hand.

Ron Paul’s Reaction on the FAILED Bailout Vote

-Silence on the floor after the vote “shook up a lot of people” “a serious vote”
-Emails/contacting Representatives made the difference
-We do not need to regulate the market
-Blame should not be on free market; this is cronyism, interventionism, corporatism

Ron Paul : Bailouts Will Lead to Rough Economic Ride

Commentary: Bailouts will lead to rough economic ride
by Ron Paul

(CNN) — Many Americans today are asking themselves how the economy got to be in such a bad spot.

For years they thought the economy was booming, growth was up, job numbers and productivity were increasing. Yet now we find ourselves in what is shaping up to be one of the most severe economic downturns since the Great Depression.

Unfortunately, the government’s preferred solution to the crisis is the very thing that got us into this mess in the first place: government intervention.

Ever since the 1930s, the federal government has involved itself deeply in housing policy and developed numerous programs to encourage homebuilding and homeownership.

Government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were able to obtain a monopoly position in the mortgage market, especially the mortgage-backed securities market, because of the advantages bestowed upon them by the federal government.

Laws passed by Congress such as the Community Reinvestment Act required banks to make loans to previously underserved segments of their communities, thus forcing banks to lend to people who normally would be rejected as bad credit risks.

These governmental measures, combined with the Federal Reserve’s loose monetary policy, led to an unsustainable housing boom. The key measure by which the Fed caused this boom was through the manipulation of interest rates, and the open market operations that accompany this lowering.

When interest rates are lowered to below what the market rate would normally be, as the Federal Reserve has done numerous times throughout this decade, it becomes much cheaper to borrow money. Longer-term and more capital-intensive projects, projects that would be unprofitable at a high interest rate, suddenly become profitable.

Because the boom comes about from an increase in the supply of money and not from demand from consumers, the result is malinvestment, a misallocation of resources into sectors in which there is insufficient demand.

In this case, this manifested itself in overbuilding in real estate. When builders realize they have overbuilt and have too many houses to sell, too many apartments to rent, or too much commercial real estate to lease, they seek to recoup as much of their money as possible, even if it means lowering prices drastically.

This lowering of prices brings the economy back into balance, equalizing supply and demand. This economic adjustment means, however that there are some winners — in this case, those who can again find affordable housing without the need for creative mortgage products, and some losers — builders and other sectors connected to real estate that suffer setbacks.

The government doesn’t like this, however, and undertakes measures to keep prices artificially inflated. This was why the Great Depression was as long and drawn out in this country as it was.

I am afraid that policymakers today have not learned the lesson that prices must adjust to economic reality. The bailout of Fannie and Freddie, the purchase of AIG, and the latest multi-hundred billion dollar Treasury scheme all have one thing in common: They seek to prevent the liquidation of bad debt and worthless assets at market prices, and instead try to prop up those markets and keep those assets trading at prices far in excess of what any buyer would be willing to pay.

Additionally, the government’s actions encourage moral hazard of the worst sort. Now that the precedent has been set, the likelihood of financial institutions to engage in riskier investment schemes is increased, because they now know that an investment position so overextended as to threaten the stability of the financial system will result in a government bailout and purchase of worthless, illiquid assets.

Using trillions of dollars of taxpayer money to purchase illusory short-term security, the government is actually ensuring even greater instability in the financial system in the long term.

The solution to the problem is to end government meddling in the market. Government intervention leads to distortions in the market, and government reacts to each distortion by enacting new laws and regulations, which create their own distortions, and so on ad infinitum.

It is time this process is put to an end. But the government cannot just sit back idly and let the bust occur. It must actively roll back stifling laws and regulations that allowed the boom to form in the first place.

The government must divorce itself of the albatross of Fannie and Freddie, balance and drastically decrease the size of the federal budget, and reduce onerous regulations on banks and credit unions that lead to structural rigidity in the financial sector.

Until the big-government apologists realize the error of their ways, and until vocal free-market advocates act in a manner which buttresses their rhetoric, I am afraid we are headed for a rough ride.

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act

From Ron Paul’s Texas Straight Talk, a weekly column:

“Last month, the House amended the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to expand the government’s ability to monitor our private communications. This measure, if it becomes law, will result in more warrantless government surveillance of innocent American citizens.

Though some opponents claimed that the only controversial part of this legislation was its grant of immunity to telecommunications companies, there is much more to be wary of in the bill. In the House version, Title II, Section 801, extends immunity from prosecution of civil legal action to people and companies including any provider of an electronic communication service, any provider of a remote computing service, “any other communication service provider who has access to wire or electronic communications,” any “parent, subsidiary, affiliate, successor, or assignee” of such company, any “officer, employee, or agent” of any such company, and any “landlord, custodian, or other person who may be authorized or required to furnish assistance.” The Senate version goes even further by granting retroactive immunity to such entities that may have broken the law in the past.

The new FISA bill allows the federal government to compel many more types of companies and individuals to grant the government access to our communications without a warrant. The provisions in the legislation designed to protect Americans from warrantless surveillance are full of loopholes and ambiguities. There is no blanket prohibition against listening in on all American citizens without a warrant.
Continue reading “Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act”

RE: Are Women the Problem?

From the Daily Paul:

Are women the problem?
Posted January 12th, 2008 by FoolshGame

I know it is politically incorrect to say so… but, are men the only ones that care about liberty?

Who are the vast majority of women going to vote for in November 2008? They’re either going to vote for Hillary or Obama. And, in the Republican primaries, which will decide the nominee on the Republican side, those that do vote Republican (and, they’ll be a small minority compared to those that vote Democrat), they’ll either vote “evangelical” for the Huckster or “neo-con” for Rudy.

Ron Paul does not catch the imagination of women like he does with men; certainly, not in California… and, there are more than a few delegates to be had here in California, since they’ve gone to district-by-district delegate allocation.

We could send a lot of delegates to the Republican Convention, but we need women on board for the Revolution.

So far, they’re not. The next Ron Paul campaign TV ad should be directed at women. He should tell them why they should vote for him.

FoolshGame is right in the sense that many of the “undecided” women voting have said in exit polls that they, at the last minute, felt compelled to vote for other Republican candidates because they seemed to care more about women and family issues.

In reality, they don’t understand that “seeming to care” is not the same as “caring” . Neo-cons offer a platform that is actually harmful and undermining to families.

In Democratic races, some of the women who voted were quoted as saying that they voted for Hillary because they didn’t see much difference between the candidates so they chose Hillary based on gender (YouTube clip!).

A few thoughts –

1. Delegates. The straw poll results have been good – but participants are not the same people who are delegates. The RP campaign has been working on having delegates for each state – so far, does anyone know how many RP delegates were present at the caucuses? Is this “plan” working?

2. Motherhood. Many conservative women have children and taking time off from this 24/7 job to be a delegate or to go to a straw poll is difficult .

Maybe some of the husbands out there would volunteer to to take care of their children for a few days, or be willing to dip into the vacation fund and hire a babysitter. This way, their strong, conservative wives could help shape the image of the campaign and maybe even help convince the undecided women’s vote of the truth.

I know a number of moms who would be more active in the campaign except that they love their children and would not be likely to shirk their responsibilities at home in order to attend a campaign event. For moms with newborns who are nursing, it’s pretty much impossible to attend these events.

3. Need for practical application. While I’m reluctant to “soften the message” of the campaign, I would like to see Ron Paul’s wife and female family members speaking more often. It would definitely help!

I do think that conservative women understand Dr. Paul’s message perfectly – I think that there is still a need, and I have said this before, for the campaign to show in their ads the practical application of the liberty message.

This current generation only knows the Bush / Clinton empires and Dr. Paul’s message is like comparing apples to oranges.

Many voters, men and women, have no concept of the practical implications of freedom.

Their cages have become security blankets, and breaking free is scary. They’re used to having a welfare state who provides free shots, medical care, food, housing, education, etc. The idea of personal responsibility is scary because the current system does not reward personal responsibility.

I work hard, yet there are habitually unemployed people I know who get vouchers for their mortgage payments that cost more than what my husband pays for our mortgage payment.

Sharon Jasper is classic example of this, and forgive me for quoting Michelle Malkin – I can’t find another site with the original “slum” picture, complete with 60″ TV, in the story.

Even people who are not currently depending on welfare are comforted knowing they have a lifeline to welfare access if they fail financially.

Perhaps this is a rabbit trail, but look at the example of income taxes. How many people people do you know are comfortable with giving their money to the government each year as if it’s a bank? They otherwise would not have the discipline to put aside money. They see their tax return as an investment dividend! Think of all the feature articles during tax time with suggestions for whimsical ways to spend the tax return. You’d think they were talking about winning the lottery! The average person, groomed under current system, has no concept of being disciplined throughout the year to invest the same money to yield a greater return than they would if they let the government sit on it.

If the RP campaign wants the undecided vote, they need to show how this different (and to those who don’t study history or who have studied history with the current textbooks available, the Bush/Clinton way is the modern way vs. Ron Paul’s ideas which are the “old way”) way of doing things is beneficial to them.

Undecided voters are undecided because they don’t understand and can’t imagine the benefits of freedom. There is a fear of learning the hard way. The current system bails them out – like when they commit to stupid mortgage decisions that allow them to have their cake (house bigger than they need) and eat it too (government enforced deals from lenders to allow the idiots to refinance even if their credit is in shambles).

Freedom = responsibility.

4. Be encouraged!

  • Women4Ron Paul
  • Citizen Jane members for Ron Paul
  • GrannyWarriors
  • Ron Paul discussion at IVillage
  • Sarah Joy Albrecht
    (Mom to five children, ages six and under.. and I’d be a delegate in a heartbeat if I had a babysitter! ;-) )