William Hamilton: Last week in review: Updates
October 5, 2011
Gibson Guitar update: The U.S. Government (USG) is still sending armed agents to hassle the Gibson Guitar Co. about 25 bundles of Indian wood that might not be “finished” enough to meet the requirements of Indian law.
Reminder: If you own a Gibson Guitar with a rosewood fret board, be prepared to prove you bought your guitar prior to 2008, the year the Lacey Act was amended to include protection for certain wood products. Side note: The CEO of the Gibson Guitar Co. is a big GOP donor. The Martin Guitar Co. is a big Democrat donor. Martin Guitar uses the same kind of imported woods. Martin Guitar has not been raided. Go figure.
Bill Clinton update: Last week, former President Bill Clinton gave a Rodney Dangerfield speech saying he doesn’t get enough respect for his efforts at welfare reform and for producing a balanced budget. History records that HillaryCare scared the voters so much they put the GOP in charge of Congress for the first time in 40 years, forcing Clinton’s hand toward welfare reform. Clinton also seems to forget his balanced budget was made possible by the end of the Cold War, which he used to justify cutting our armed forces and intelligence-gathering capabilities in half.
European Union (EU) debt crisis update: Simply put, some of the EU’s socialist, welfare states such as Greece have overspent themselves into bankruptcy. Also, near bankruptcy, in likely order of default, are: Portugal, Italy, Spain, and even France. The more wastrel members of the EU want the more financially stable EU members, such as Germany, to bail them out.
The problem with the EU is that it has no central-organizing feature. It is not a nation-state with a set of core vital interests it must defend and preserve. Each of its 27 members has a different agenda and only a few of its members have their economic house in order.
Last week, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Germany has already pledged 211 billion Euros to the 440 billion Euro ($590 billion) EU bail-out fund. “And that is it. Finished!” said Herr Schaeuble.
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Greece is pretty much without financial hope. Historically, Greek finances have depended upon: ship building, tourism, and geography. Due to labor unrest, the Greek ship-building industry sailed off to South Korea, Norway, Finland, and Red China. While Greece is deservedly a top tourism destination, no nation-state can survive solely on tourism.
In the 19th century, Greece’s geographic position along the Aegean Sea that connects the Mediterranean to the Black Sea caused Great Britain to prop up the Greek economy as a foil against the interests of the Turks and the Russians. In the 20th Century, the U.S. gave Greece and Turkey billions in aid as bulwarks against the Soviet Union.
But with the fall of the Soviet Union and the growing ascent of Turkey, Greece’s geographic location is no longer a magnet for foreign aid. But can the EU allow Greece to fail and set off a banking crisis that could provoke a chain reaction of defaults that could collapse all the banks in the Eurozone?
U.S. economy crisis update: Because Mr. Obama spent the original stimulus package on hiring more government workers, bailing out union pension funds, the U.S. auto industry, and Wall Street, the U.S. economy is still stuck on stupid.
The Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate won’t pass Mr. Obama’s so-called jobs bill. Hopefully, they realize that government, under either political party, is not going to “fix” things. The leaders of both parties need to get government over-regulation (which consumes 10 percent of our Gross Domestic Product), out of the way and let Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” point the way to restored American prosperity and world leadership.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.