David Reynolds | Buy war bonds

Over the years that I have written this column I have refrained from offering any financial advice. And I have tried not to be an alarmist. We lived in a normal world. But that was then. This is now. There is nothing normal about 2009.

Two reasons why today is different: (1) Our financial fate is in the hands of Washington, not New York; and (2) Washington is the capital of the most radical national government I have witnessed in my lifetime.

Normally, power in D.C. swings in a limited arc. It goes right and left, between more free capitalism and more government. These limited swings have popular support. As a result the USA had the look of the Rock of Gibraltar.

But no more. Our current government has knocked the old grandfather clock, pendulum and all, off the wall. One party is now in charge. It’s their show with a very likable guy at its head. He gives a good speech. But he also has a wicked agenda.

Jan. 20, 2009 produced a good national feeling. Now, 36 days later, it has vanished. That wonderful cold, sunny and historic day on the Mall is only a distant memory.

President Obama is attempting to change this nation in a way few of us ever thought was possible. This change has nothing to do with his skin color — it has everything to do with what is getting under my skin. And very likely yours.

Oh, so sad! What terrible timing! Two agendas clashing. A social agenda in conflict with an economic recovery. A collision that could have been avoided.

Sure, this old house needed improvement. That is why 53 percent of the American electorate voted for the man who said “change” most often. But radical change? I never heard that adjective. For good reason. Americans don’t vote for radicals.

Still there is hope. Not the audacity of hope, but that spirit that is ingrained in every true American. In the end, hope will save the day. Hope, plus what most Americans believe: This nation was built by individuals, one free one at a time; not collectively and then dividing into classes. That’s why we left the old country.

So pray for more moderate “Blue Dog” Democrats. Pray that their ranks will grow. For we can’t wait for the Republicans to get their act together. Virginians need to drop a note to their new senator. Tell Mark Warner that he has the opportunity of a political lifetime. Remind him of his claim to fame. And remind this former venture capitalist how his life changed.

Mark Warner can be the first Democratic senator whose dictionary is different than the president’s. Sorry Mr. President, spending is not a synonym for stimulus.

Of course, the past 36 days has had some unintended political consequences for Virginia. All the Republican candidate for governor has to do over the next eight months is remind voters how irresponsible Democrats are in handling your money. That is unfortunate because a good case can be made for Virginia to responsibly increase its investment in education, transportation and health and safety – a case being made by a Democrat, Sen. Creigh Deeds.

Nonetheless, don’t be fooled. The White House knows exactly what it is doing. Its West Wing knows that Washington is all about the redistribution of wealth and income. They are doing their job superbly well.

But at what cost? Not the measly three or four trillion dollars you hear about in the news. It is far greater. Add losses in economic growth and individual responsibility.

Yes, responsibility. And fairness. Two weeks ago the president asked you and I to pay for our neighbor’s mortgage – a request a neighbor would never make! Mr. Obama has stepped over the fairness line Americans understand quite well.

Back to bonds. Why buy them? Simple. Buying stocks makes sense only on those few days when there are no presidential pronouncements. Check it out. While bonds may not make you rich, you have a better chance of staying out of the poor house. That’s all we care about today because America is no longer about growth. Growth is a capitalistic concept.

By the way, unless you can control China and other big lenders, be sure your bonds are not from the U. S. Treasury, that place now floating paper to pay for your neighbor’s (not to mention our county board and local city councils) wish list. Or if you do, don’t give them to your children. For the first time in our history Uncle Sam may not be in a position to stand behind his I-Owe-You.

Far fetched? So was the effective nationalization of a megabank. And a Dow half of what it was just 16 months ago.

Not a pretty picture I know. It never is when government decides to wage class warfare.

Why am I writing such doom and gloom stuff? Because, as always, I consider my readers as adults. Your government in Washington considers you differently.

You and I know that America is about shared sacrifice. We know that health care, education reform and all that other good stuff, maybe even a cure for cancer, demands shared sacrifice. Tell others what you know.

 

Column by David Reynolds


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