Unsurprisingly enough, credit card defaults are on the rise. This industry is marked by less oversight and more shadiness than the mortgage industry, which is saying something. Now American Express is asking for a government handout, since AMEX depends on banks’ buying securities backed by credit card debt in order to make money. Banks, of course, are trying not to choke on the credit cards debts they already have without incurring more, which leaves AMEX begging Uncle Sam for money.
But let’s see here: if Uncle Sam helps out AMEX, it allows AMEX to float more credit card debt. Is this what our economy needs? Maybe credit card debt should dry up a little bit, especially since Americans abuse cards so badly. Sure, an illiquid credit securities market may make it harder for some Americans to refinance or consolidate some credit cards, but that is still no substitute for paying the bloody cards off and not incurring more debt, and ready access to new credits cards will probably just make it easier to avoid making the hard decisions.
In short, having the federal government go with more deficit spending so that Americans can get into more credit card debt sounds like a perfect recipe for destabilizing our currency and economy even more. No doubt it will be wildly popular on Capitol Hill for that reason.
“The issues that have provided conservatives with victories in the past — particularly welfare and crime — have been rendered irrelevant by success,” Michael Gerson, the Bush speechwriter turned columnist, wrote last week. “The issues of the moment — income stagnation, climate disruption, massive demographic shifts and health care access — seem strange, unexplored land for many in the movement.”
In fact these “issues of the moment” have been with us for years now, decades in some instances, but until recently they were either ignored by conservatives or dismissed as the hobby-horses of alarmist liberals or entrenched “special interests.”
Dear Mr. Obama: You were talking the other day about how important the youth vote is to you. I wanted to point out to you that abortion on demand, which you so enthusiastically support, has taken the lives of 25 million plus potential voters who would be between the ages of 18 and 35 today.
Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center, a conservative group, called it a “top order of business” to determine Ms. Palin’s future role. “Conservatives have been looking for leadership, and she has proven that she can electrify the grass roots like few people have in the last 20 years,” Mr. Bozell said. “No matter what she decides to do, there will be a small mother lode of financial support behind her.”
Adam often comments on the Opinion Talk blog run by our local newspaper, The Fresno Bee. Recently, one of the editors posted a request that people who participate there refrain from using personal attacks in their discussions. This prompted a comment from someone named Brian Murray, who wrote, “Sounds like suppression of free speech,” and thus precipitated a lengthy conversation in the comments on the post about free speech and the proper methods of argumentation, among other, subsidiary topics. Not all of the comments were friendly, but Adam correctly points out that he stayed civil and rational where others failed.
After reading that conversation, I had some thoughts, which I posted as a comment on Adam’s blog. But they were so lengthy and substantial that I decided to share them here, too. Without further ado: