In December of 2001, Enron, an energy company that in 1993 had begun branching out into other businesses, including becoming a commodities brokerage, collapsed in what perhaps at the time was the largest corporate scandal in our nation’s history. From early in 1993 until December of 2001, roughly Eight and a half years, Enron was able to perpetrate a fraud on current investors, potential investors, and federal authorities, by moving suspect assets off of the balance sheet of Enron and hiding them on the balance sheets of shell companies, subsidiaries who’s balance sheet problems were allowed to be separated from the balance sheet of the parent company, a practice that coincidentally was illegal at the time, and is still illegal today. What caused the sudden collapse of Enron, besides their creativity in perpetuating a fraud? The election of George W. Bush which brought about a Justice Department that began upholding the law, a practice that differed from the look-the-other-way-halcyon-days of one William Jefferson Clinton.
(Another lesson was Enron’s public firing of Anderson Little, with the claim that the big Eight’s accounting practices were, “not creative enough to meet the dynamic needs of a company as innovative as ours, and not ready to meet the 21st century economy and its changing environment.” Arthur M. Anderson was hired to replace the previous firm, and now there is no Arthur M. Anderson, an accounting firm that apparently possessed those qualities sought by a corrupt management team at Enron. So, for those of you who may one day be fired, it is not always a bad thing. Had Anderson Little changed their practices to suit Enron, there would be no Anderson Little today.)
During the emotional wake of Enron, we passed a law which is referred to as Sarbanes Oxley. This law has prevented nothing. A really expensive to administrate law that makes the already illegal practice of perpetrating a fraud illegal, helps nothing. What it does do, is to force publicly traded companies to hire a second independent accounting firm to verify the work of a first independent accounting firm, the costs of which are passed along to any consumer who may wish to do business with the firm. Increased regulatory authority and compliance costs were the only results of the new law, passed by the way after enforcement of previous laws in existence had already helped to bring down those who acted irresponsibly. It was the avoidance of enforcing the law for the period of January 1993 until January of 2001 which created the problem, not the absence of increased regulatory activity. The results of the latter has been spread out across every product or service you consume, and will continue for the remainder of your life.
Fast forward to the Summer of 2008. A sudden spike in commodities prices highlighted a problem with our credit markets, more specifically the practice of taking speculative at best mortgage backed securities and selling them as investment grade debt instruments that paid the higher yields more commonly associated with junk bonds. The entire house of cards was created as the result to deal with bad government policy that forced the financial services industry to ignore the warnings of the compliance officers and risk committees, and grant mortgages to people who would have zero chance of being able to repay them. After the inevitable torrent of sudden defaults began to freeze our credit markets, the term predatory lending was created to describe the mortgage brokers who were forced into the practice by bad government policy to begin with.
The result of this crisis of course was enacted in 2009. Welcome to the Obamacare Law, and the phrase, “never let a good crisis go to waste,” uttered by Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff. We also got the Dodd Frank Law, which again took the extraordinary step of calling fraud illegal, and doubled current regulatory costs for any financial transactions, and did further damage besides. (Currently, with the Community Reinvestment Act not being altered in any way, it combines in such a way with Dodd Frank so that worthy loans can not be granted until a sufficient number of offsetting unworthy loans are approved by the same lender. The result of this are banks and mortgage companies sitting on worthy borrowers for extended periods of time, thereby constipating the credit markets and greatly slowing home sales. Notice that the unworthy loans are still being forced upon the lending institutions, which will have the effect of creating the exact same crisis at some point in the future.)
The other result of course to Obamacare’s passage has been a rash of outages in medications prescribed, services offered, doctors practicing, new patients accepted, and increase of insurance prices by double digit percentages, massive layoffs, hiring freezes, a loss of innovation in our drug research programs, increased costs for medical equipment used, and all of this because, a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. For those of you who are probably scratching your heads trying to figure out what on Earth health care could possibly have in common with the woes experienced during the height of our credit crisis, I sympathize with you, I truly do. Remember though, that the passage of this law was what Barack Obama and his party focused on during the entirety of 2009, while we were experiencing the worst post WWII recession. The Leaders of the party who held all of the political power at the time stated repeatedly that the Health Care Overhaul would transform our economy to a place of recovery. We are of course still waiting for that recovery today, some four years later.
That seems to be the hallmark of this Administration. Fly from one crisis to the next, use the whipped up emotional state of the citizens to enact some self destructing piece of policy, demonize those who wish to slow down and critically consider things first as evil classes of plutocrats who wish to harm children, old people, puppy dogs, and hope to be out of town before the consequences are noticed. I saw on facebook this morning that one of my friends was livid that anyone would fault Barack Obama for signing his 23 illegal executive orders while surrounding himself with children. How dare we express being offended with this? The problem of course is that it’s at best, a dishonest appeal to the very same fright, fight, or fright emotional state that has served us so poorly in the past.
Whether people like this or not, the right to private gun ownership in America is guaranteed under the Second Amendment to our Constitution. That particular Amendment says nothing about hunting, target shooting, home defense, or even how much force may be used to protect oneself or one’s family. The man who authored the Second Amendment, George Mason, made it abundantly clear that his intention was to guarantee that the citizens be able to fight back against the government being created, should private citizens ever feel as though that government were becoming too tyrannical. People who read my essays, (hi mom,) probably know where I stand on this particular issue. Without getting into the merits, let’s have the discussion out in the open.
If those who wish to see an end to private gun ownership wish to follow through on making their wish a reality, there are two methods that our founding fathers put into place for making changes to our founding document. This has happened 27 times in its 229 years of existence. That represents an average of Eight and one half years for each example of such change. I would still have a problem with a legal attempt to repeal the Second Amendment, done in the open and above board. I would oppose such an attempt, campaign against it, but at least I would respect the honesty. The piecemeal attempt to infringe upon the right to both keep and bear arms is as transparent as it is dishonest. Of course we know what the end game is. It is as plain as the fact that I really do not need a good reason, nor any reason at all as to why I would want a gun in my possession, other than it is my right as an American citizen to have one, or One Hundred, with as many rounds of ammunition as my heart desires.
At some point in the future, and I really do not know when, there will be another terrible shooting in yet another, “gun free zone,” where the shooter will kill him or herself the instant they face the slightest opposition to their murderous spree. The same wails of we must never allow this to happen again will be heard, and new legislation will be proposed to address everything but the actual problem that has created the dangerous circumstances that fomented the massacre in the first place. Of President Obama’s 23 executive orders signed this week, all of them violate our Constitution, none of them would have even slowed the Sandy Hook Shooter down by a half second or longer. Particularly offensive was the directive to have family pediatricians start the practice of snitching on the parents of their patients. Such is the world of governance by crisis, just another piece of our freedom gleefully surrendered to our Narcissist in Chief.
Special Note: As I wrote this essay today, Eric Holder announced yet another delay in his compliance with a contempt order to hand over the documents pertaining to Fast and Furious. This was the operation run by the Obama White House that illegally purchased large quantities of, “assault weapons,” and then handed them out as gifts to Mexican Drug Lords. At least two American Law Enforcement personnel lost their lives due to weapons gifted to criminals in this manner. If Barack Obama were at all serious about putting an end to gun violence, perhaps he should start and end his efforts with the person staring back at him from the mirror during his morning shave. It should also be noted that those famed stimulus funds were used for this operation.