Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Conservative Party MP Pierre Poilievre explains how Canada escaped the recession

Conservative M.P. Pierre Poilevre (Nepean-Carleton), a member of the majority government in Canada, explains how Canada embraced the free entreprise system that America has rejected, and the results they got.

Here is the speech that went viral on Youtube:

And here is his article in the liberal Huffington Post.

Excerpt:

In a few days the “fiscal cliff” deadline will arrive and potentially bring massive automatic spending cuts and tax increases. Even if Congress and the President agree to avoid the cliff, the next crisis awaits. Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, wrote the Senate this week to report that the “statutory debt limit will be reached on December 31, 2012,” which will require extraordinary measures to prevent a mass default. These measures will give the government 60 days before it runs out of money and Uncle Sam’s head smashes into the so-called “debt ceiling.”

It has long been said that when the U.S. sneezes, Canada catches a cold. So why have these debt-related ailments in the U.S. not afflicted the Canadian government?

The answer is that Canada has been practicing what the U.S. always preached: free markets, low taxes and minimal state interference. And it is working.

For example, Canada avoided the interventionist policies that led the U.S. to the sub-prime crisis.

In an attempt to expand home ownership, administrations from Carter to Bush Jr. forced banks to offer mortgages to people who would otherwise not qualify for them. Washington then ordered government-sponsored enterprises such as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to insure these “sub-prime” mortgages.

According to a 2010 Report on the U.S. Financial Crisis by the World Bank’s Development Research Group, Freddie and Fannie bought an estimated 47 per cent of these toxic mortgages. Harvard financial historian Niall Ferguson indicates that the amount of mortgage debt backed by these government-sponsored enterprises grew from $200-million in 1980 to $4-trillion in 2007.(1) The government pumped so much air into the housing bubble that it burst in 2008. The resulting financial crisis led to government bailouts of the banking sector.

Big government caused the economic crisis. So we are told the solution is more big government. Funny how the problem becomes the solution.

Because the Canadian government did not impose sub-prime mortgages on the country’s charter banks, we avoided the crisis and did not bailout a single financial institution. To keep it that way, Canada’s Finance Minister has ended all government-backed insurance of low-down payment and long-amortization mortgages. In other words, if you want to take on risky debt, taxpayers will not insure you.

Governments must lead by example when managing their own debt and spending. Low debt is the result of low spending. Federal government spending as a share of the overall economy is 15 per cent in Canada (2) and 24 per cent in the U.S. (3). The numbers are not merely the result of prodigious U.S. military spending, though that is certainly a factor. Non-military federal government spending is 14 per cent of Canada’s economy (4), and 18 per cent of America’s (5).

Take a look at some of these graphs from earlier in the year about the Canadian 2012 budget. (This is straight from their government’s web site – they have new transparency/anti=corruption measures now, so the citizens know everything that government does). When comparing the deficit and debt of Canada to the United States, always multiply the Canadian number by 10 to get a benchmark to compare. For example, Canadian GDP is 1.7 trillion, and the US GDP is 15 trillion.

Canada’s budget deficit is around 30 billion, but ours is 1.2 trillion:

Canada Federal Budget Deficit / Surplus 2012

Canada Federal Budget Deficit / Surplus 2012

If we were doing as well as Canada, our deficit would be about $300 billion. But we have run up about 6 trillion in debt over 4 years! Not only that, but Canada’s national debt is only $600 billion. If we multiple that by 10, we would expect ours about $6 trillion. And it was that – during the Bush Presidency. But then the Democrats took over the House and Senate in 2007 and everything went wrong and we packed trillions and trillions onto the debt, including about $6 trillion during Obama’s first term.

Canada’s Debt to GDP ratio is 34%:

Canada vs US Debt to GDP

Canada vs US Debt to GDP

But things are even worse for the United States, now. The current United States Debt to GDP is 105%, according to official U.S. government figures. We are due for yet another credit downgrade, and should see Greece-like levels of Debt to GDP during Obama’s second term. We are spending too much, and we aren’t going to be able to make up trillion dollar deficits even if we confiscate every penny that rich people earn. (And they won’t be daft enough to keep working as hard if we did that – they would move, and probably to Canada)

What is happening to us here in the United States is self-inflicted. We are – and have been – voting to impoverish ourselves and generations of children born and unborn, by punishing those who work hard and play by the rules, and rewarding those who don’t work and don’t play by the rules. It didn’t have to be this way. We could have elected a President who actually knew something about business and economics. Knowledge matters. We can’t just choose a President who gives us the “tingles” and then expect him to perform the actual duties of being President. Competence is more important than confidence. Substance is more important than style.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Moody’s downgrades credit rating of 26 Italian banks, Spain is next

European Debt to GDP and Credit Rating

European Debt to GDP and Credit Rating

From Yahoo News.

Excerpt:

Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded the ratings on 26 Italian banks as they struggled with the effect of government austerity measures.

The rating agency said Monday that the banks are suffering because Italy is back in recession and government austerity measures are cutting demand for loans.

The banks are struggling with more loan losses, limited access to funding and weaker profits.

Moody’s noted that support of the European Central Bank lowered the default risk of many banks.

Its outlook for all 26 banks is negative.

From the Wall Street Journal.

Excerpt:

The ratings for Italian banks are now among the lowest within advanced European countries, reflecting these banks’ susceptibility to the adverse operating environments in Italy and Europe, Moody’s said in a statement. Two of the country’s largest institutions, UniCredit SpA (UCG.MI, UNCFF) and Intesa Sanpaolo SpA (ISP.MI, ISNPY), were included.

Moody’s move came hours after the firm raised an alarm on Spain, arguing the country’s banks remain vulnerable even after Madrid moved to increase the banks’ cushions against potential losses from real-estate loans.

[...]Italy, saddled with EUR1.9 trillion ($2.44 trillion) debt, has signed onto the EU’s fiscal compact that sets strict limits on the country’s deficit levels. In recent weeks, Mr. Monti has begun pressing Germany to give Italy more fiscal slack to stimulate its economy and create jobs. Mr. Monti has recently proposed that the EU create special exemptions to the budget rules when countries target their public spending on projects like broadband investments and infrastructure.

Moody’s downgrades come after the ratings firm in February placed various ratings of 114 financial institutions in 16 European countries on review for possible downgrade, highlighting the region’s banks’ vulnerability to the euro-zone sovereign debt crisis.

Moody’s is expected to follow the downgrade of Italian banks by cutting the ratings of Spanish banks. By the end of June, more than 100 European banks, as well as Wall Street giants like Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and Citigroup Inc. (C), are likely to have ratings that are at least one notch lower.

[...]Moody’s also alluded to J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.’s (JPM) recent disclosures of more than $2 billion in trading losses as a reminder of potential problems lurking at some European banks.

“Recent events highlight the risks for creditors from potential weaknesses in governance, controls and risk management, especially at some smaller, privately-held banks,” Moody’s said in its news release.

Moody’s says it will conclude its reviews by the end of June. In coming weeks, major U.S. financial institutions, Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are likely to face downgrades.

Banks in Austria and Sweden are expected to see downgrades after Spain.

Italy’s debt is $2.44 trillion, ours is nearly $16 trillion.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Banks foreclosing on churches in record numbers

From Reuters. (H/T Muddling)

Excerpt:

Banks are foreclosing on America’s churches in record numbers as lenders increasingly lose patience with religious facilities that have defaulted on their mortgages, according to new data.

The surge in church foreclosures represents a new wave of distressed property seizures triggered by the 2008 financial crash, analysts say, with many banks no longer willing to grant struggling religious organizations forbearance.

Since 2010, 270 churches have been sold after defaulting on their loans, with 90 percent of those sales coming after a lender-triggered foreclosure, according to the real estate information company CoStar Group.

In 2011, 138 churches were sold by banks, an annual record, with no sign that these religious foreclosures are abating, according to CoStar. That compares to just 24 sales in 2008 and only a handful in the decade before.

The church foreclosures have hit all denominations across America, black and white, but with small to medium size houses of worship the worst. Most of these institutions have ended up being purchased by other churches.

The highest percentage have occurred in some of the states hardest hit by the home foreclosure crisis: California, Georgia, Florida and Michigan.

Christianity requires a certain framework of laws and policies to practice, and churches need to make sure that their flocks vote intelligently in order to maintain an environment where churches can thrive. Part of that environment is economics.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , ,

Obama raised more money from rich bankers than any Republican candidate

From the liberal Washington Post.

Excerpt:

Despite frosty relations with the titans of Wall Street, President Obama has still managed to raise far more money this year from the financial and banking sector than Mitt Romney or any other Republican presidential candidate, according to new fundraising data.

Obama’s key advantage over the GOP field is the ability to collect bigger checks because he raises money for both his own campaign committee and for the Democratic National Committee, which will aid in his reelection effort.

As a result, Obama has brought in more money from employees of banks, hedge funds and other financial service companies than all the other GOP candidates combined, according to a Washington Post analysis of contribution data. The numbers show that Obama retains a persistent reservoir of support among Democratic financiers who have backed him since he was an underdog presidential candidate four years ago.

[...]One top banking executive who raises money for Obama and who requested anonymity to discuss fundraising efforts said reports of disaffection with the president “are exaggerated and overblown.” He said a strong contingent of financiers in New York, Chicago and California remain supportive of Obama and his economic policies, even as some have turned on him.

The Daily Caller explains how Barack Obama has received the most money from Wall Street bankers of all politicians in the last 20 years. (H/T Neil Simpson)

Excerpt: (with links removed)

In fact, the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan watchdog group that tracks lobbyist spending and influence in both parties, found that President Obama has received more money from Bank of America than any other candidate dating back to 1991.An examination of the numbers shows that Obama took in $421,242 in campaign contributions in 2008 from Bank of America’s executives, PACs and employees, which exceeded its prior record contribution of $329,761 to President George W. Bush in 2004.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Wall Street firms also contributed more to Obama’s 2008 campaign than they gave to Republican nominee John McCain.

“The securities and investment industry is Obama’s second largest source of bundlers, after lawyers, at least 56 individuals have raised at least $8.9 million for his campaign,” Massie Ritsch wrote in a Sept. 18, 2008 entry on the Center for Responsive Politics’s OpenSecrets blog.

By the end of Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, executives and others connected with Wall Street firms, such as Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citigroup, UBS AG, JPMorgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley, poured nearly $15.8 million into his coffers.

[...]Wall Street’s generosity to Obama didn’t end with his 2008 campaign either. Wall Street donors contributed $4.8 million to underwrite Obama’s inauguration, according to a Jan. 15, 2009 Reuters report.So far Wall Street has raised $7.2 million in the current electoral cycle for President Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Obama’s 2012 Wall Street bundlers include people like Jon Corzine, former Goldman Sachs CEO and former New Jersey governor; Azita Raji, a former investment banker for JP Morgan; and Charles Myers, an executive with the investment bank Evercore Partners.

It should be no surprise to anyone that Barack Obama voted for the $700 billion Wall Street bailout in 2008. He also supported extending the bailout powers of the federal government in 2010. Those are the facts.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Which politician received the most money from Wall Street in the last 20 years?

The Daily Caller explains how Barack Obama has received the most money from Wall Street bankers of all politicians in the last 20 years. (H/T Neil Simpson)

Excerpt: (with links removed)

Despite his rhetorical attacks on Wall Street, a study by the Sunlight Foundation’s Influence Project shows that President Barack Obama has received more money from Wall Street than any other politician over the past 20 years, including former President George W. Bush.

In 2008, Wall Street’s largesse accounted for 20 percent of Obama’s total take, according to Reuters.

When asked by The Daily Caller to comment about President Obama’s credibility when it comes to criticizing Wall Street, the White House declined to reply.

[...]In fact, the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan watchdog group that tracks lobbyist spending and influence in both parties, found that President Obama has received more money from Bank of America than any other candidate dating back to 1991.

An examination of the numbers shows that Obama took in $421,242 in campaign contributions in 2008 from Bank of America’s executives, PACs and employees, which exceeded its prior record contribution of $329,761 to President George W. Bush in 2004.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Wall Street firms also contributed more to Obama’s 2008 campaign than they gave to Republican nominee John McCain.

“The securities and investment industry is Obama’s second largest source of bundlers, after lawyers, at least 56 individuals have raised at least $8.9 million for his campaign,” Massie Ritsch wrote in a Sept. 18, 2008 entry on the Center for Responsive Politics’s OpenSecrets blog.

By the end of Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, executives and others connected with Wall Street firms, such as Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citigroup, UBS AG, JPMorgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley, poured nearly $15.8 million into his coffers.

Goldman Sachs contributed slightly over $1 million to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, compared with a little over $394,600 to the 2004 Bush campaign. Citigroup gave $736,771 to Obama in 2008, compared with $320,820 to Bush in 2004. Executives and others connected with the Swiss bank UBS AG donated $539,424 to Obama’s 2008 campaign, compared with $416,950 to Bush in 2004. And JP Morgan Chase gave Obama’s campaign $808,799 in 2008, but did not show up among Bush’s top donors in 2004, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Obama’s close relationship with JP Morgan Chase was highlighted earlier this year when he tapped Bill Daley, a former top executive with the bank, to replace Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff.

Wall Street’s generosity to Obama didn’t end with his 2008 campaign either. Wall Street donors contributed $4.8 million to underwrite Obama’s inauguration, according to a Jan. 15, 2009 Reuters report.

So far Wall Street has raised $7.2 million in the current electoral cycle for President Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Obama’s 2012 Wall Street bundlers include people like Jon Corzine, former Goldman Sachs CEO and former New Jersey governor; Azita Raji, a former investment banker for JP Morgan; and Charles Myers, an executive with the investment bank Evercore Partners.

This ought to put to rest the myth that Wall Street is composed of greedy Republicans. But it will only work for people who care about the facts.

I blogged before about the Wall Street bailout that Obama pushed through – remember that? Do you think that maybe he was paying off the people that got him elected? Is that what “stimulus” spending really means? Is Solyndra just another example of “stimulus” spending to bail out the people who got him elected?

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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