Government Spending

Just How Stupid Does Elizabeth Warren (& Barack Obama) Think You Are?

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Last Friday, President Barack Obama named Harvard's Elizabeth Warren to head up the design and implementation of the new government agency whose creation she had spent years lobbying for. The Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) is supposed to be the watchdog over "policies and programs that are designed to protect the financial interests of middle-class families," says the president. And the CFPA will have broad powers, not quite clear yet, to regulate credit card terms, mortgages, and the like.

For an agency dedicated to openness and transparency, the ways in which Warren has come to power are disturbing. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Bruce Ackerman notes that Warren will function in a role that traditionally would require approval by the Senate. "Since Ms. Warren will be a key executive in Treasury, earning the salary of an undersecretary, shouldn't she be treated as an undersecretary and be required to run the gauntlet of Senate approval?" he asks. Far from sounding the cavalry for the little guy mired in debt, Ackerman concludes that the way in which she has come to power "is another milestone down the path toward an imperial presidency. During America's first 150 years, Ms. Warren's appointment as a special adviser to the White House would have been unthinkable. Today, it's par for the course." (Read Gene Healy's June 2008 cover story to fully understand the rise of such a baleful development.) 

Here's a taste of what to expect from the CFPA:

"The new consumer bureau is based on a pretty simple idea: People ought to be able to read their credit card and mortgage contracts and know the deal," Warren wrote on the White House's blog Friday.

"The new law creates a chance to put a tough cop on the beat and provide real accountability and oversight of the consumer credit market," she wrote. "The time for hiding tricks and traps in the fine print is over."

The agency is the centerpiece of the recently enacted financial reform law. An independent entity to be housed under the Federal Reserve, the agency will take over responsibility for writing rules — such as those governing disclosure forms — to protect consumers who are seeking mortgages, credit cards, pay-day loans and other financial products.

"Never again will folks be confused or misled by the pages of barely understandable fine print that you find in agreements for credit cards or mortgages or student loans," Obama said.

More here.

Earlier today, Warren was on Morning Joe and stressed that she's going up against big moneyed interests who prey on jes' plain folks who apparently didn't "know the deal" when they signed away their future on a jumbo mortgage with 0 percent down; elsewhere, she's talked about how no credit card or mortgage contract should be longer than two pages and should be comprehensible to average Americans within a few minutes' glance. 

In the comments above from both Warren and Obama, you get a sense of where they are coming from: People only take on potentially ruinous debt because they don't understand what they're getting into. Hence the patronizing tone and flight from reality in their words.

I know a lot of people who experienced buyer's, borrower's, and debtor's remorse once their house price tanked or that college wasn't what they expected, but I know absolutely no one who didn't know exactly how much they were borrowing and at what rate. I just recently bought a new car (about my fifth or so new car purchase in my life, so I know the routine pretty well) and was amazed at the painstaking clarity of the dealer (a group not known for being straight-up about anything). The walk-through of the invoice and the financing (arranged via the dealer) was extremely thorough and totally easy to understand. And it didn't take very long, either. I've had similar experiences with house purchases, rental agreements, and credit card squabbles (of all my transactions, those tend to be the most frustrating because these motherfuckers actually charge late fees).

I realize that despite weak math skills, I've got a good salary and a basic understanding of these things. However, I've yet to meet anyone, including friends and family who haven't attended any college or make very little money, who entered into a mortgage (including relatively complex interest-only, ARMs, etc.) that didn't know exactly what they were getting into in. The same goes for car purchases and signing up for new credit cards. Nobody walks out of a car dealer not knowing what his monthly payment is. I do know people who have lied and exaggerated on varioius applications, sometimes at the lender's encouragement, or have literally bet their finances on idiotic scenarios (such as, housing prices can only go up). But these people are not confused about the terms they're entering into; they're indulging in magical thinking that has been totally abetted by the very government that now seeks to protect them.

The reason banks and other lenders have gone along with less-rigorous assessment of applicants is because they know they can off-load the downside of their risks, either by selling mortgages and bad loans to (ultimately) government-backed entities or getting bailed out when things go south. As for tricks and teaser rates when it comes to credit cards, these are not so much hidden as ignored by consumers. Warren and Obama act like Visa's and Mastercard's terms are written by Satan looking to steal souls by hook and crook. The reality is far more basic and consists of two parts: Financial institutions are insulated from their actions and, increasingly in an age of federal mortgage supports and other bailout programs to protect easily duped "folks," so are borrowers (and official policy to keep interest rates historically low or to push refinancing constantly does the same thing).

Certainly once it's up and running, the result of the CFPA will be fewer options for those "folks" who use credit and debt wisely and smartly to build their future. For insight into Warren's mental map, I recommend checking out this interview she gave to Guernica earlier this year. From the intro:

"Families with children are tightening the belt one more notch," she says, "are working extra hours, are sending both people into the workforce, to try to get into the best possible school district for their children." But she adds one key, and very humane, caveat: "Families are in financial trouble, not because they're irresponsible but because they're too responsible."

Precisely how that caveat is key or humane is lost to me. Even with a recession squeezing most people, responsible adults have generally squirreled away money to get through rough patches or live well within their means in anticipation of the periodic downturns that happens to families (regardless of the larger economy). And the suggestion that "both people" are entering the workforce because they have to—as opposed to they want to—is pretty stunning. The second earner in most two-parent households is still a woman, and female participation in the workforce is generally due to a) women wanting to work because they find it interesting and fulfilling and b) because people want more stuff. If contemporary families were happy with the working-class standard of living that Warren grew up with in Oklahoma, they could easily afford that on one salary. The plain fact is that the horizon of desire at all levels is much vaster and greater than it once was. And judging by the amount of cars, TVs, computers, clothes, education, and more that Americans generally enjoy now than 50 or more years ago, it's also still more within reach than it used to be.

Which helps explain this April 2008 Pew study on middle-class attitudes. Among the key findings:

Americans feel stuck in their tracks. A majority of survey respondents say that in the past five years, they either haven't moved forward in life (25%) or have fallen backward (31%). This is the most downbeat short-term assessment of personal progress in nearly half a century of polling by the Pew Research Center and the Gallup organization.

When asked to measure their progress over a longer time frame, Americans are more upbeat. Nearly two-thirds say they have a higher standard of living than their parents had when their parents were their age.

I'm sure that more respondents feel worse about the current moment, but what is surprising is that even in a recession, two-thirds say they have a higher standard of living than their parents at the same age. Look for that proportion to grow the minute the recession starts to fade.

Which it will do, assuming that we don't double-down on "policies and programs that are designed to protect the financial interests of middle-class families."

A year ago, Reason.tv talked with George Mason Law School's Todd Zywicki about the CFPA, its mistaken assumptions, and its likely effect on consumer choice.

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  1. …An independent entity to be housed under the Federal Reserve,

    Isn’t that a contradiction, since the Federal Reserve is owned by the banks?

    You want a “tough cop”? Then get William K. Black as AG or head of the SEC. Fuck ’em.

  2. “policies and programs that are designed to protect the financial interests of middle-class families”

    What about us?

  3. Elizabeth Warren is pure, unadulterated poison. The only thing you can do with a mind that unwell is put it down. There’s no saving it.

    1. But she teaches at Harvard. She must be brilliant right?

      1. Ohhh, she one of those “White Shoe Boys”.

      2. That dumb bitch is always going on about “I have a contract law degree from Harvard and even I can’t understand these credit card contracts blah blah blah”

        Well Liz, I barely managed to get my high school diploma and have not taken a single college course and I understand every word of every contract I sign. Either you left Harvard dumber than I left high school or you’re LYING!

        BTW fine print is not MAGIC. Little itty-bitty words are still words. You just *read* them like big words or medium sized words. If you’re confused, use google. That’s all. That’s the whole trick.

  4. I remember in law school contracts we were reading the famous Walker versus Williams Thomas Furniture Company unconscionable interest case. That is a very famous contracts case where the very famous liberal jurist J. Skelly Wright ruled that some contracts were so one sided that they were unconscionable and thus unenforceable. The case involved poor people in Washington DC who had bought furniture at very high interest rates.

    To get to the point, the class was filled with outraged lefties who loved the decision. My contracts professor, a rare conservative in academia, made a great point in response. Ok what if the furniture company had just said “we don’t lend to poor people”? Would the poor people who couldn’t have bought anything have been any better off?

    Idiots like Warren never seem to have matured beyond the days of not understanding that your parents didn’t own the electric company. Yeah, lets make loans really hard to make. Lets totally skew the legal system against creditors. What could possibly go wrong?

    1. Just for reference, and not that you’ll be in any way surprised, but MNG loves that case.

      So, yeah…

    2. Oh that’s easy. See, in the future (present) those companies will be forced to loan money to those poor folks. At “reasonable” terms.

      And eat the losses. It’s for the common good.

      1. Winner!

        You can “redistribute wealth” without actually confiscating cash and sending out checks.

      2. Eat the losses my ass. They’ll be transferred to those who aren’t complete fiscal fuckups, and aren’t in “need” of the government’s financial “protections.” Or they’ll do the smart thing and not lend money to those who can’t afford it (a la health insurance companies simply dropping plans that don’t make financial sense under Obamacare).

        1. Didn’t you read what Id said? The lenders “will be forced to loanmoney to those poor folks.” That means they won’t be allowed to “not lend money to those who can’t afford it.”

    3. Dumb question: in a much more perfect world, with *much* more upward mobility from poor to middle class, wouldn’t charging poor people higher interest rates seem much less nefarious? I mean in terms of ability-to-pay, not likelyhood-of-default. Being dirt poor, wouldn’t they be poised to increase their wealth at a much higher rate than the interest rate? (Assuming they are borrowing to finance productive assets, not furniture) Isn’t this implicitly built into the very idea of interest rates? Why would a relatively wealthier person ever need to borrow money at a higher rate than a poorer person?

  5. Obama named her as a presidential assistant. She’ll be allowed to oversee the creation of the agency and help pick its first director. It’s unclear whether this means Warren is out of the running for that director position.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/…..1FFLOI.DTL

    1. For extra credit, see how many instances of lefty bias you can find in that article.

      1. That’s from the Chron, for Pete’s sake. Can I just count the letters and use that as an answer?

        1. Close. You can count every fifth word.

  6. Families with children are tightening the belt one more notch,” she says, “are working extra hours, are sending both people into the workforce,

    Funny, I thought people couldn’t find jobs, companies were cutting back on overtime, and all that.

    Families are in financial trouble, not because they’re irresponsible but because they’re too responsible.

    WTF kind of stupid faux-koan crap is this? Maybe at Harvard they’re impressed with this kind of bizarro thinking, but I’m not.

    And, to return to a sadly recurring theme, what kind of idiot pushes a program guaranteed to lock up the credit markets when locked up credit markets are on the very shortest of short lists of problems afflicting the economy?

    1. I thought people couldn’t find jobs, companies were cutting back on overtime, and all that.

      Excellent catch. What aggravates me the most is that Warren acts like “tightening the belt notch” and “working extra” are some kind of national tragedies. Jesus, Junior has to eat a ketchup sandwich once in a fucking while. Get the hell over it.

      1. I thought working harder and spending less was how you got out of debt?

        1. Symptomatic of the progressive mindset. In an effort to show they are not complete communists, they talk a good game about hardworking families and the like. But heaven forbid that hard work ever cause anybody a moment of discomfort or anything.

          1. That and we can never sacrifice for ourselves. Progressives are always screaming about how we need to sacrifice for the common good. But let anyone make a sacrifice for themselves and they get a case of the vapors. If people were eating beanie weenies every night to pay extra taxes for the common good, progressives would consider them patriots. Do the same to pay off their mortgage and they are exploited proletariat.

            1. And its stupid corollary that passing a law making people do something (like pay more taxes) is about sacrifice. You can’t MAKE other people sacrifice something, you can only take it from them (which is similar to making the other people the actual sacrifice).

      2. I fucking loved ketchup sandwiches as a kid.

    2. And after we just spent a couple of trillion dollars under the pretense of “keeping the credit markets from locking up”. I suppose it could be some dark plot to destroy the economy. But I honestly think these people mean well but are really that stupid.

      1. I honestly think these people mean well but are really that stupid.

        I realize now what Ayn Rand was talking about when she said she hates that phrase. It clicked to me when we were talking about recklessness and a extreme disregard for human life.

        These people can “mean well” all they like, but they have reached the standard of being extremely reckless, so they are just as guilty as someone with murder in their hearts.

        1. I don’t think they “mean well”. I think they’re far too narcissistic for that. They get off on feeling like they’re “doing good”, but since their main motivation is for themselves to feel good, it’s not really “meaning well” because in the end it’s for them, not for anyone they purport to help.

          Which is why it’s so destructive; since their end objective is for themselves to feel good, results of their actions are completely irrelevant.

          1. That is an apt description of it.

          2. The biggest issue here is that these people are so enamored with their own intelligence, so ensconced in their cozy ivy-league world of group-think and have been stewed for so long in a ideology that thinks that complex systems can be steered by the Best and the Brightest, that all they can do is wreak havoc on everything that they touch outside of the academic lab.

            Even then, they don’t have enough humility to accept the concept that their ideas are the problem and that they really have no fucking clue as to what they are doing.

          3. I got something to make that bitch feel good. Her and the other two Care Bair moms.

        2. Yes, Ayn Rand was more of a “road to hell is paved with good intentions” type of person.

          However, I am generally reluctant to endorse arguments that say that people are equally morally responsible for unintended consequences, even foreseeable ones. It can be used to perform all sorts of sophistry.

          For example, one could (and I did) argue that an inevitable response to banning waterboarding would be the US resorting to outsourcing the handling of those suspects, imprisoning the suspects in even-worse SuperMax prisons (and polluting the criminal justice system by mixing military captives with it and holding them there without a trial), and more killings instead of capturing, both in battle and targeted drone killings. Compared to those options, a very public POW camp is preferable. Are people who foolishly campaigned to close Gitmo “just as guilty” of encouraging targeted (and untargeted) killings, etc., simply because that was forseeable?

          1. Different cases. Politics is not really governable under laws; economics is.

        3. I don’t care whether you want to rule me as a favor to me because you care about me or you want to rule me because you despise me. That’s an insignificant detail. You’re equally evil either way!

      2. Thus the old saying ‘The road to Hell is paved with good intentions’.

    3. “Families with children are tightening the belt one more notch,” she says, “are working extra hours, are sending both people into the workforce,”

      Apparently Ms. Warren missed the sexual revolution of the 1970s, because families with both spouses have been trending towards more two-earner homes for quite some time.

      1. Maybe because of Jimmy Carter’s recession?

    4. And, to return to a sadly recurring theme, what kind of idiot pushes a program guaranteed to lock up the credit markets when locked up credit markets are on the very shortest of short lists of problems afflicting the economy?

      Indeed, I remember hearing that one of the main problems TARP was going to solve was freeing up the credit markets so that companies and individuals would feel they were able to spend.

    5. “tightening the belt one more notch” doesn’t apply to government, though. Pauly Krugnuts “proved” that in his anti-austerity screed last week.

      1. I, like Bill Hicks before me, will be perfectly happy to tighten my figurative belt, as long as I can tighten an actual belt around some politician’s fat neck.

    6. Maybe at Harvard they’re impressed with this kind of bizarro thinking, but I’m not.

      That’s why we’re dumber than they. Because we can’t take shit that make no fucking sense and interpret it as making absolute sense. White is black, war is peace and all that.

  7. Don’t you understand? These people want to help you.

    It’s for your own good.

  8. And the suggestion that “both people” are entering the workforce because they have to – as opposed to they want to – is pretty stunning … If contemporary families were happy with the working-class standard of living that Warren grew up with in Oklahoma, they could easily afford that on one salary.

    The differential between a ‘working class’ standard and a ‘middle class’ standard is often the difference between crappy public schools and decent public schools. On the margin, since one is competing with two income households for those neighborhoods with decent public schools, the second spouse *does* have to work to be able to afford it.

    So, not stunning at all.

    1. the second spouse *does* have to work to be able to afford it.

      What “it” are you referring to? I got lost in pronouns there. If the “it” is the working-class standard, didn’t you just say that the working-class standard is affordable on one salary? If “it” is the middle-class standard, Gillespie’s point still stands.

      Unless I am missing something here…

      1. ‘it’ specifically being a ‘middle class’ lifestyle – and more specifically decent public schools.

        To state more clearly – ‘working class’ back in the day generally meant one could still expect NYC public schools of the 50’s were considered some of the best in the world). This is no longer the case – so people aspire to a least a ‘middle class’ standard of living when it comes to education. This puts aside whether or not education should or not be provided by the state – it is, and will be for the forseeable future, and most people like it that way.

        Also, I’m no economist, but I think the inflation (if that’s the right term) caused by two 50,000 dollar salaries (or even one50K and one 40K one) being commonplace makes it tougher for a single 70K salary to maintain the same standard of living.

        This is of course not to say that women shouldn’t work outside the home, but that they do and it has both macro and micro economic consquences. Again nothing that should be too controversial or ‘stunning’

        1. Also, I’m no economist, but I think the inflation (if that’s the right term) caused by two 50,000 dollar salaries (or even one50K and one 40K one) being commonplace makes it tougher for a single 70K salary to maintain the same standard of living.

          Only if you commit the economic fallacy of being a beancounter, and assuming that simply because a homemaker isn’t paid in cash that she produces no value.

          Are you really arguing that a fulltime homemaker couldn’t produce $30,000 of value in a year– especially considering that it would be tax free?

          This is the type of thinking that explains that the economy is so much better off if I pay you $50 to cut my lawn while you pay me $50 to cut yours, simply because that adds to the GDP numbers. It’s teh multiplier!

          1. Actually, you just proved my point. Prices rose in housing for most of the 00’s because of lending to each other that goosed the GDP but utlimately produced no new value.

            A homemaker produces immense value that is not reflected in the GDP but neither is is reflected in the general price level of goods and services *because* no cash changes hand. Plus, when there are two income households, some of those services provided by a homemaker *will* have to be done, although likely not as well, and/or for cash into the broader economy.

            1. Johnny Homemaker stays home and does his own plumbing when the shitter overflows. Had JH been working full-time, he’d have called a plumber. Lower demand for services = lower prices = higher standard of living on the same $ income for all.

              1. Lower demand for services = lower prices = higher standard of living on the same $ income for all.

                This is a fundamental misunderstanding of economics. Rephrasing what you’ve said, that’s equivalent to saying:

                “Gains in efficient through specialization of labor = lower standard of living for all.”

                It is patently untrue that “lower demand for services = lower prices,” unless you’re really careful about spelling out how you’re using the often-abused word “demand.” Among other things, you’re making an assumption that the number of suppliers never changes. There are many, many situations where “lower demand for services == a smaller market for those services but offered at the same price (or higher, because of decreased competition.)”

                In the long run, prices are related to productivity. The short run issues are dealt with by firms entering and exiting the market, especially in a highly competitive field like plumbing or houses.

                Even so, that would primarily affect the market for plumbing services, except to the extent that the added value from working exceeded the cost of hiring someone else to do them plumbing. But the latter makes us all better off, not worse off. That’s how the free market works.

                It’s foolish to be a slave to GDP numbers and to not count the value of people doing things for themselves– but it’s also foolish to ignore that when people freely choose to work and hire someone else to perform a job, that still produces gains from trade and consumer and producer surplus. Simply because the GDP numbers overstate it is no reason to pretend that it isn’t there.

            2. Prices rose in housing for most of the 00’s because of lending to each other that goosed the GDP but utlimately produced no new value.

              A homemaker produces immense value that is not reflected in the GDP but neither is is reflected in the general price level of goods and services *because* no cash changes hand.

              No, you actually proved my point and conceded your own.

              If the homemaker produces over $20,000 worth of value, then the family has more money left over to spend on the home. If the two earner $90,000 family has to spend money on things that the homemaker would provide, then they have less left over to spend on the house. This keeps demand and, ultimately, house prices in check.

              House prices don’t go up just because GDP does, if that GDP increase was illusory. What goes up when GDP goes up is the size of the market for substitutes for homemaking work.

              The only way that working outside the home would raise home prices is if and when working outside the home produces more value than the unmeasured by GDP production of the homemaker, and to that extent.

              1. If the homemaker produces over $20,000 worth of value, then the family has more money left over to spend on the home.

                You assume a dichotomy between “homemaker doing it” or “hiring someone else,” but that’s not what happens with most stuff that a homemaker does. The overwhelming majority of it winds up either divided among the two working partners to be fit in when they can get to it, or just not done at all. In many if not most situations, the value that the homemaker adds is either still being produced or is being foregone willingly, meaning that the money isn’t being spent to offset the lack of the homemaker.

        2. If your complaint is that it’s difficult on a single $70,000 income to have one person stay at home and watch TV or play tennis or whatever all day and afford the same things as $90k or $100k dual incomes, then sure. But that was never the reality of most stay at home moms.

          1. Liberals have done a couple of things to make it really hard to have one income. First they raised the hell out of taxes. Second, they fucked up the schools. It used to be schools were pretty uniform. But that is not the case anymore. Now you have to pay a premium to live in the right school district.

            1. And the “right” school district still sucks.

              I find it funny that most Americans believe that the school system sucks, but the one in their district is somehow an anomaly and is “very good.”

              1. Can’t go around feeling you’re failed your kids, now.

                Especially if you have.

    2. The differential between a ‘working class’ standard and a ‘middle class’ standard is often the difference between crappy public schools and decent public schools.

      I reject the premise, so we’re going to have to start all over.

      And even if we stipulate your positions, the second spouse still doesn’t “have to” work.

      Choices, choices, choices…so many we make.

      1. Again
        1) the two income 90K household is always being going to outbid the single income 70K household for the housing (rental or purchase)
        2) Getting into a decent school system is far and away the number one concern of families with school age children.

        It’s the logical consequence of the margin (in the economic sense)

        1. Right, but every study of education shows that the attitude of the parents towards education is much more important to outcomes than the school district.

          So basically you are saying that people “are forced to” make stupid and uneconomic decisions about where to live, and that this then forces them to make employment choices that make them unhappy. In which case the easy solution is for these people to wake the fuck up.

          1. No one ever thinks of it being a self fulfilling prophecy. I live in one the “best school districts” in America. Maybe the teachers really are that good. Or maybe the student body being made up almost entirely of children of professionals (many of whom are scientists at NIH) has something to do with how well the students do on tests. It is not the school as much as it is the self selected group of students.

            1. Well, my beloved Rockville neighborhood saw its test scores improve when Chinese kids moved in. But don’t fergit, to show improvement in this year’s SAT scores, Montgomery County encouraged black and Latino kids to take the ACT instead.

              http://www.gazette.net/stories….._32535.php

              /I think only George Pelecanos is honest about this…

            2. I went to my son’s 5th grade open house night in Monkey County last week. To no one’s surprise, the race-obsessed school system had all these performance stats broken down by race.

              White kids, who are only about 5% of the school, aced both reading and math. Black kids scored the lowest in both, Hispanic kids did better than the black kids, but substantially lower than the white kids. The black and Hispanic kids split the school about 45% each.

              The kicker were the Asian kids, also about 5% of the population, who scored poorly on reading but beat the white kids in math.

              As you can guess, the white kids come from the few remaining middle-class families at the school, as do most of the Asian kids, though not all. The Hispanic kids are probably split the lower-middle and upper lower classes and the black kids are mostly from lower class homes.

              So yeah, what Fluffy said.

        2. 1) the two income 90K household is always being going to outbid the single income 70K household for the housing (rental or purchase)

          Not if the two income household has to spend $20K per year on replacing goods and services that the homemaker provides, no they’re not.

          In that case, the $70K one earner household would have more money to spend on housing, because of the money that they’re saving everywhere else.*

          *- OK, yes, you might be able to trick a stupid lender into giving you more money in this situation. But you certainly wouldn’t be able to *afford* any more house in a real sense, you just might be able to go deeper in debt.

    3. I also note in passing (and the last thing I’ll say on this digression) is that ‘working class’ women have *always* been in the workforce outside the home – the turn of the 20th c progressive movement was about getting women (and children) *out* of the industrial workforce, and the second half of the 20th c wrought *middle and upper* class women being in the (non nurse non schoolteacher) workforce in large numbers.

  9. People ought to be able to read their credit card and mortgage contracts and know the deal

    Ah yes. Another shining example of progressives enacting a “solution” to a problem(making laws so complicated most of the fine print in credit contracts is probably necessary) that later causes them expand government to again “correct” problem their last solution created.

    In the words of G.K. Chesterton, “”The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and
    Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being
    corrected.”

  10. Used to be if you made a bad deal buying your first car, it was a “life lesson”. And you did your homework and made a better deal next time.
    Now it’s a reason to seek “government protection” from stupid mistakes.
    Will the infantilization of Americans never cease?

    1. Now you can stay on Mommy and Daddy’s plan ’til you’re 26 and completely maxed out on federal student loans for that useless terminal degree in humanities!

  11. What’s all this about the road to the Imperial Presidency? Aren’t we already there?

  12. “Families are in financial trouble, not because they’re irresponsible but because they’re too responsible.”

    This literally is nonsense. I mean, it’s so dumb that it doesn’t even sound good as a sound bite. It is pure gibberish. And no one calls this idiot on it? How can being too responsible ever be a bad thing or get you in more trouble than being irresponsible? My head hurts now. Hey–by her logic, maybe if I go hit myself in the head with a hammer, it’ll hurt less, and I’ll understand her!

    1. This. All definitions for responsible involve meeting ones obligations and fulfilling agreements. There is no such thing as doing too much of this. It’s like talking about obsessive moderation, does not compute.

    2. You’re just not PoMo enough to get it. You and your fancy concrete thinking.

      I swear, they’re having a race between Orwell and Rand to see who will be considered the most prophetic.

    3. Something I see all the time playing cards:

      You called my gutshot with top trips, but then I hit a straight! Guess you made the wrong decision. Look what your responsibility got you!

      1. Lets see who loses more on those hands over a year’s worth of poker.

        1. That was my point. Those people actually think that irresponsibility pays. Often because they had a ‘feeling’ it was coming. It sucks when they get lucky but without them it’d be a lot harder to regularly come out ahead.

  13. “Never again will folks be confused or misled by the pages of barely understandable fine print that you find in agreements for credit cards or mortgages or student loans, say, new laws we’re passing, like the recent healthcare bill, or the “financial reform” bill that led to the unconstitutional appointment of Ms. Warren” Obama should have said.

    There, FIFY, Mr. President

  14. I’m applying for a mortgage right now. The lender is required to give you a Good Faith Estimate towards the start of the process. Certain terms (including things like taxes that the lender has no control over) are not allowed to increase at all, and others are not allowed to increase by more than 10% from the estimate. If they do, then the lender is on the hook for that increase. There is, naturally, no corresponding penalty if they overestimate (aside from possibly losing your business). I understand the reasoning for the problem– bait and switch would certainly be annoying to find out after a long closing process, and it’s not like people shop for these themselves that often.

    The result of this “consumer protection” is easy to predict. Certain terms, like the transfer taxes, the lender massively overestimated. Partially this is because counties vary, partially this is because by default the buyer and seller split them, but the contract could be written so that the buyer would pay all of it.

    So to avoid any chance of underestimating, they estimated the transfer taxes in the Good Faith Estimate at 5.0% instead of 1.0%, and then told me over the phone what the real value would be after I said that I knew that value was way too high.

    1. Why, there oughtta be a LAW!!!

  15. Not that anyone needs reminding but …

    I’d rather be governed by the first 2000 names in the Boston phonebook than the faculty of Harvard.

  16. Am I a bad person for sometimes hoping that the Federal Government all just collapses as a result of itself and people like this just disappear in the rubble?

    1. Not at all.

  17. One more thing:

    Her insistence that credit agreements be two pages long is a classic example of progressive narcissism and historical ignorance.

    Trust me, as someone who drafts contracts for a living. Contract boilerplate is sort of the institutional archive of the industry. Everything is in there because at some point in the past, there was a problem, and that contract clause was the solution.

    Airily waving away decades of hard-won experience and proven custom is a hallmark of progressive ignorance. Classic ivory tower narcissism – “I can’t think of a reason for all this stuff, so get rid of it.”

    1. Do you use the same logic for other categories of law?

      Or are contracts a special case where everything that happened in the past is prima facie good and necessary?

      Is it classic liberarian narcissism to say “I can’t think of a reason for all this stuff [laws I don’t like, policies or programs I don’t like, etc.], so get rid of it”?

      1. Contracts are specific to the two parties. Contract Law is something apart from contracts.

        Criminal Laws are punishments that apply to 310,000,000 because of the actions of a few.

        That’s a start in uncovering your deep confusion. Let me know if you need further elucidation on the concepts.

      2. You miss the point dipshit. People like Warren are the ones who made the contracts so damned long. It is a little rich now for them to come back and demand they be made short again.

        1. She appeared on American Morning on CNN and did actually say something to the effect that regulations actually are part of the problem on why the contracts are so long. And part of her job is to get rid of useless regulation. We’ll believe that when we see it.

          I only made it through the whole interview because it also featured Kiran Chetry’s legs.

      3. doomboy–

        Actually, yes, libertarians can suffer from that problem. You’ve rather hit upon the dividing line and point of criticism between, broadly speaking, the Right Libertarians and the Left Libertarians.

        For one introduction to this old, old argument, read Paine and Burke on the French Revolution, and understand why each ended up disappointed in the other.

      4. Do you use the same logic for other categories of law?

        Not sure what you’re getting at, but I do think the generations-long displacement of common law with statutory law is pretty much the same dynamic in action, and has overall not been to our benefit.

    2. Contract boilerplate is sort of the institutional archive of the industry. Everything is in there because at some point in the past, there was a problem, and that contract clause was the solution.

      This is a general principle. In an organization that is not too sick all the red tape is there for a reason. Each rule tells a story, and it is usually about how someone cheated before the rule was put in place.

      Trying to guess the scam that caused each rule is a black humor hobby of mine.

    3. The less you know about something, the easier it looks.

  18. Earlier today, Warren was on Morning Joe and stressed that she’s going up against big moneyed interests who prey on jes’ plain folks who apparently didn’t “know the deal” when they signed away their future on a jumbo mortgage with 0 percent down; elsewhere, she’s talked about how no credit card or mortgage contract should be longer than two pages and should be comprehensible to average Americans within a few minutes’ glance.

    Can someone please ducktape this bitch up and give her to Steve Smith?

    The shorter a contract is, the more open it is to abuse. That’s what this stupid bitch does not understand, and that’s what happens when you let people with no industry experience but with a “whole lot of carin'” get into positions of responsibility.

    Every word of the model Fannie Mae Note is necessary. Literally every word.

    The entire problem with some credit card contracts is what they DON’T spell out. There is no independent mechanism for setting the customer’s rate. That means that the company can make the rate whatever it wants, whenever it wants. If you were to change that to make it more fair to the consumer, it would require additional verbiage giving a strict definition of the way the rate will be set. And that would [drumroll] make the contract longer.

    People this stupid should not hold any office, let alone one that they have been Princessed into without Senate confirmation.

    1. And consider this, why are credit contracts so much longer now? Because liberals lawyers made careers suing credit card companies and getting sympathetic judges to award money in class action suits. All that language didn’t just arise from no where. Every line in those contracts is in response to some case somewhere where a credit card company got fucked out of their debt. Now the very same people who made the contracts so long, scream that they are too long an incomprehensible.

      Even Steve Smith wouldn’t rape this bitch.

    2. I guess RC beat me to it.

  19. What’s the matter baby? You can’t read the big ol’ contract? You need your big brother to re-write it for you? Waaaaa.

    Baby!

    1. but I have a high school diploma, and if I can’t read it, there must be something wrong with the contract, right?
      Waaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

  20. What we really need is a Director of America’s Kitchen Table (AKT). That’s where all the important economic decisions are made.

    “How are we going to pay those tuition bills? We’ve been there also, as they sit around the kitchen table and try to figure it out.”
    -Sarah Palin, Oct. 2, 2008

    “I understand what it’s like to sit around the kitchen table with a father who says, ‘I’ve got to leave, champ, because there’s no jobs here.'”
    -Joe Biden, Oct. 2, 2008

    “I ran for this office because I believed it was time for a government that once again made possible the dreams of middle-class Americans…a government that understands the quiet struggles that you wrestle with at the kitchen table when you’re going through all the bills…”
    Barack Obama, Sept. 12, 2009

    So no one missed the point, Obama actually sat at the kitchen table with Joe and Rhonda Weithman and their two kids.
    Aug. 18, 2010

    1. We’re already on it, Citizen. Another recess is coming, another recess appointment is in the works.

    2. This is why I make my financial decisions in the head.

    3. We had an Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table, once, and we saw where that led, with his son.

    4. Libertarians sip gin and tonic at their massive mahogany desks while they dump their bills onto the backs of the poor.

    5. I know. The whole kitchen table thing is so Ward and June Cleaver.

      When Mrs. Dean and I need to talk about the family finances, she summons me to her underground lair. I wouldn’t mind, but it takes forever to get all that white cat hair off my suits.

  21. Damn the echo chamber is echo-ey here this morning.

    1. You’re tellin’ ME?

      Maybe you should ask your mom if she’ll let you out of your room if it’s echoing so much.

  22. The presumption of telling someone else what they can or cannot “afford” is not only insulting, but totally idiotic. How can anyone else know all of the unique workings of an individual household?

    When I was about 5 years old, I remember my dad firing a realtor because she tried to convince him he could “afford” more than he told her he would spend. Probably a pretty good thing for a little kid to witness: 1) my finances are my own damn business/responsibility, and 2) don’t spend more than what you decide you can afford.

    And that’s not even beginning to unpack the “wimminz be forced into the workforce” garbage. Whatever party that is coming from, it’s condescending, socially conservative crap.

    1. It’s probably coming from Team Blue.

  23. So how does this work that Warren was brought in by Barack to create the department that she would eventually be appointed to run?

    Is this right? Something just doesn’t sound legit here.

  24. If contemporary families were happy with the working-class standard of living that Warren grew up with in Oklahoma, they could easily afford that on one salary.

    I do not in any way disagree with your main point, Nick, but depending on where you live, that sentence is not actually true. Or maybe I should say: in many places, zoning laws make it illegal to live such a lifestyle. For example: if I want to buy a single-family house in my region, I effectively have only two choices: “A tiny house built before World War Two in what is now a bad neighborhood” or “a 4,000-square-foot McMansion.” Snob zoning laws make those the only two choices.

    It’s even worse for people who have kids. The old car my mother used to haul me and my brother around would never be allowed today, because under current law I would’ve had to sit in a goddamned child-safety seat until I was ten years old (as if I wasn’t already a big enough dweeb in fifth grade), and my little brother would’ve needed a safety seat too, which means not ONLY would my parents have had to shell out the money for those seats, they would’ve had to trade in their old car for a newer model able to accommodate them. (Actually we’d’ve needed a van or SUV, because sometimes, in addition to me and my brother, my mom would’ve hauled one of his friends or mine someplace. Under current safety-seat and seatbelt laws, you absolutely cannot have three kids sharing a single bench carseat, and if you try it you’ll be arrested for child endangerment or what have you.)

    Speaking of cars, I will probably need to replace my current car at some point in the next year or so, and will follow my standard routine “By a late-model used car still under warranty,” but thanks to Cash For Clunkers, whichever car I buy will be far more expensive than it would’ve been without the government retail-car subsidy.

    1. They have made children a luxury item. Laws like car seat laws and such were passed by do gooder yuppies who think that since they can afford it everyone can. Basically the only people who can afford children these days are rich yuppies and people so fucking poor they just don’t give a shit.

      1. My wife and I are being responsible and waiting and I’ve noticed this everywhere I turn.

      2. If you can’t be wealthy, you might as well be poor. That way, if you want to have kids, the government pretty much gives you all the money you need. If you are working or middle class you’re pretty much screwed.

    2. Right, Jennifer. We recently purchased a larger vehicle in order to accommodate two car seats. I recall sitting in the front seat of my mom’s old Nova when I was only 5 or 6 years old while my bro and sis rode in the back, but now I can’t put my oldest in the front seat until after she is 12 (not technically a law – yet – just a friendly “recommendation” by my local LEOs).

      Going the used-but-reliable route was our first choice, but we got better financing and overall lower monthly payments on a new car instead. I never consider how C4C affected the market.

      1. The only way to fight back is to calculate the increased carbon footprint required by carseat rules.

      2. My C4C experience is that I didn’t get anything out of it because I made the decision they wanted without their assistance. I went from a 20 mpg car to a 36 mpg about 6 months before they implemented the program. I got $500 for my old car.

  25. This crap on short credit card and mortgage contract comes from the same people who gave us the Internal Revenue Code and regulations. Why don’t they start by simplying their own damn documents before they start telling everyone else how to write theirs.

    1. You think this is somehow by accident or oversight?

      It is just as they designed it to be. Easy for the government to hide all its nasty sources of income while making private industry out to be some sort of bad guy who hides behind uber-complex financial systems.

  26. For anyone interested, Megan McCardle has been destroying Ms. Warren in a regular basis for the last couple of years. Here’s one of her pieces about Ms. Warren- Considering Elizabeth Warren, the Scholar

    1. Good. Mrs. Suderman regularly shows symptoms of Chronic Beltwayitis, which is too bad. Glad to see it hasn’t advanced to the terminal stage yet.

      1. McCardle’s takedowns of Warren are just devastating. If Warren had to go through a confirmation process they should read from McCardle in order to show how unqualified she is for the position.

      2. I think it is Ms McArdle and Mr. McArdle.

  27. Nick, Columnists who rely on anecdotal “I don’t know anyone like this” evidence damn themselves to pitfalls. Just because you don’t know anyone who doesn’t understand “too good to be true” deals does not mean they don’t exist, in large numbers, and aren’t exploited by lenders as a matter of practice. They are everywhere Nick (I would use that tired phrase “get out of the Beltway” but you don’t need to. Go hang out in SE sometime.) Sure, people have gone for “too good to be true” deals knowing better, but just saying to them “Hey, that’s your tough luck, see you on the streets” contributes to a potential social disruption I doubt anyone would stomach.
    It seems to me–AT LEAST ON THE SURFACE–that financial documentation being held to at least the same standards as food products is a reasonable governmental practice under the rubric of “provide for the common welfare.” Small W. Shouldn’t even cause a great disruption of business to fair lenders.
    Can one object to practices and processes at the same time and expect anything to be resolved?

    1. Mr. Gladstone, try paying attention. All of that language that is in the contracts nowadays is as a direct result of a lawsuit that reasonable people at the time thought would never arise. That language is there for the protection of the consumer and the lender, not to somehow befuddle the masses into taking out more than they can afford. You seem to think that businesses thrive on displeasing and fooling their customers.

    2. “Sure, people have gone for “too good to be true” deals knowing better, but just saying to them “Hey, that’s your tough luck, see you on the streets” contributes to a potential social disruption I doubt anyone would stomach.”

      I could stomach it – no problem.

    3. A quick riposte: As I noted above, if lenders were actually on the hook for bad loans (as opposed to either selling off immediately to GSEs or getting bailed out), they would in fact hold borrowers to economically meaningful limits. Current recession notwithstanding, credit card debt is usually one of the most paid-off debts around, suggesting that people can afford what they borrow.

    4. Sure, people have gone for “too good to be true” deals knowing better, but just saying to them “Hey, that’s your tough luck, see you on the streets” contributes to a potential social disruption I doubt anyone would stomach.

      Actually, telling them “tough luck” would be really damn good incentive for future buyers to read their damn contracts and quit robbing us to pay for their stupidity.

  28. financial documentation being held to at least the same standards as food products is a reasonable governmental practice under the rubric of “provide for the common welfare.”

    It doesn’t say “provide for the common welfare”, and it doesn’t for say this for a very good reason. It says “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    The government shouldn’t be in the business of making sure people are protected from their own stupidity.

    1. That is an excellent point that I never picked up.

  29. “she’s going up against big moneyed interests who prey on jes’ plain folks who apparently didn’t “know the deal” when they signed away their future on a jumbo mortgage with 0 percent down; elsewhere, she’s talked about how no credit card or mortgage contract should be longer than two pages and should be comprehensible to average Americans within a few minutes’ glance.”

    Isn’t our fabulous public education system supposed to help people do this type of due diligence, umm, themselves?

    Since we have agencies and panels and boards and committees everywhere to save us from everything, why bother learning anything at all, least of all how to read and understand a contract?

    I’m not great at math – I sometimes think the fact that I could not pass calculus in college qualifies me for idiot status here at H&R – but the terms of contract in credit card statements are spelled out pretty neatly in a nice little chart that details interest rates, APY, annual fees, over limit and late payment fees, rules about grace periods and negative credit reporting. I’m looking at one of my Visa agreements right now – all of this info is on page 2 of a 3 page agreement.

    But what do I expect. We have education leaders advocating that fractions no longer be taught and that “skimming” for facts is better than reading for detail.

    1. I didn’t even take calculus and wouldn’t even recognize some math as math (as my GRE proved), and I understand the terms of my financial obligations just fine.

      1. Thank Dog I’m not the only one.

  30. Credit card agreements are pretty freakin’ simply. Anyone who can’t understand one shouldn’t be allowed to live on their own. Mortgages are a bit tougher.

  31. Today I learned that businesses thrive on displeasing and fooling their customers and Warren is going to stop them.

  32. Yeah, Elizabeth Warren is an idiot, but why’d you have to throw the, “women don’t really have to work” bullshit in there?

    I can only speak for myself, but as someone who makes the same amount as her husband…yeah, if we want to have kids one day, both of us are going to have to keep working.

    And it has nothing to do with some stupid “Feminine Mystique” crap and everything to do with not letting some unexpected illness, accident, whatever cost us our house and leave us living in the trailer park with the welfare queens and illegal immigrants, eating Top Ramen every night, and getting our kids use to their exciting future careers as fry cooks at Burger King.

    And when that stupid health care bill finally goes into effect in 2014, it’s going to be even worse, because in the unlucky event I did decide to bite the bullet to stay home with the kids, there is no way in hell my husband could afford to put me and the kids on his health care plan. By that point, I’ll be forced to work just to keep a health care plan through my employer so the IRS won’t have a reason to steal even more of our money.

    Sorry…guess I’m one of the 31%…

  33. Yeah, Elizabeth Warren is an idiot, but why’d you have to throw the, “women don’t really have to work” bullshit in there?

    I can only speak for myself, but as someone who makes the same amount as her husband…yeah, if we want to have kids one day, both of us are going to have to keep working.

    And it has nothing to do with some stupid “Feminine Mystique” crap and everything to do with not letting some unexpected illness, accident, whatever cost us our house and leave us living in the trailer park with the welfare queens and illegal immigrants, eating Top Ramen every night, and getting our kids use to their exciting future careers as fry cooks at Burger King.

    And when that stupid health care bill finally goes into effect in 2014, it’s going to be even worse, because in the unlucky event I did decide to bite the bullet to stay home with the kids, there is no way in hell my husband could afford to put me and the kids on his health care plan. By that point, I’ll be forced to work just to keep a health care plan through my employer so the IRS won’t have a reason to steal even more of our money.

    Sorry…guess I’m one of the 31%…

  34. I’m in banking, and the funny thing is the forms, rules and regs use to be short. but after every lawsuit in this country, the forms have to incorporate yet another CYA. So, yes they will be shortened, but lawyers will find the loopholes and after every lawsuit, a new addendum will be added

  35. “The new consumer bureau is based on a pretty simple idea: People ought to be able to read their credit card and mortgage contracts and know the deal,” Warren wrote on the White House’s blog Friday.

    “The new law creates a chance to put a tough cop on the beat and provide real accountability and oversight of the consumer credit market,” she wrote. “The time for hiding tricks and traps in the fine print is over.”

    Congress needs to lead by example. I’ve tried numerous times to read Federal statutes…its complete gobbledygook. Bills and Resolutions are even worse.

    By contrast, the statutes in Illinois law are for the most easy to read and likewise new bills are exceptionally easy.

  36. TO THE WEAK-KNEED REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRAT?..TO ALL THE COMMUNIST IN THE IG,FBI,CIA,AND U.S. Senators and the left wing media outlets////////07 Sept. 2008 11:48:04 EST, Televised “Meet the Press” THEN Senator //Mmslim Barack Hussein Obama, was asked about his stance on the
    American Flag.

    General Bill Ginn USAF (ret.) asked //Mmslim Barack Hussein Obama, to explain WHY he doesn’t follow protocol when the National Anthem is played. The General stated to Obama that according to the United States Code, Title 36, Chapter 10, Sec. 171 “?During rendition of the national anthem, when the flag is displayed, all present (except those in uniform) are expected to stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Or, at the very least, ‘Stand and Face It’.”

    NOW GET THIS!! ? – ? – –
    ‘Senator’ //Mmslim Barack Hussein Obama, replied:

    “As I’ve said about the flag pin, I don’t want to be perceived as taking sides”.
    “There are a lot of people in the world to whom the American flag is a symbol of oppression..”
    “The anthem itself conveys a war-like message. You know, the bombs bursting in air and all that sort of thing.”

    (ARE YOU READY FOR THIS???)

    //Mmslim Barack Hussein Obama, continued: “The National Anthem should be ‘swapped’ for something less parochial and less bellicose. I like the song ‘I’d Like To Teach the World To Sing’. If that were our anthem, then, I might salute it. In my opinion, we should consider reinventing our National Anthem as well as ‘redesign’ our Flag to better offer our enemies hope and love. It’s my intention, if elected, to disarm America to the level of acceptance to our Middle East Brethren. If we, as a Nation of warring people, conduct ourselves like the nations of Islam, where peace prevails ? – ? perhaps a state or period of mutual accord could exist between our governments.”

    “When I become President, I will seek a pact of agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity, and a freedom from disquieting oppressive thoughts. We as a Nation, have placed upon the nations of Islam, an unfair injustice which is WHY my wife disrespects the Flag and she and I have attended several flag burning ceremonies in the past”.

    “Of course now, I have found myself about to become the President of the United States and I have put my hatred aside. I will use my power to bring CHANGE to this Nation, and offer the people a new path? My wife and I look forward to becoming our Country’s First black Family. Indeed, CHANGE is about to overwhelm the United States of America “INPEACH OBAMA THE COMMUNIST ,GOD OPEN YOUR EYES.//////For us there are only two possiblities: either we remain american or we come under the thumb of the communist Mmslim Barack Hussein OBAMA. This latter must not occur.the commander
    REPOST THIS IF YOU AGREE

  37. TO THE WEAK-KNEED REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRAT?..TO ALL THE COMMUNIST IN THE IG,FBI,CIA,AND U.S. Senators and the left wing media outlets?..Wake up america!!!! This goverment is the most corrupt we have had in years. The good old boy network is very much in charge.Mr. obama and pelosi are the puppet masters.How many of their good friends benefited by the agreement ” what a farce. All of the u.sSenators voted for this. I am ashamed to say I voted for the these corupted self serving politicians.With good reason they picked an out of towner to be president.All u.s departments need an overhaul. We need to rid ourselves of the puppet masters and the dept heads that bow down to obama and pelosi.I am sick of the lip service I have been getting from these dummies over violations, their friends are getting away with.in the goverment . Barack Hussein Obama , threatens friends and bows to Mmslim.
    INPEACH OBAMA ,GOD OPEN YOUR EYES.///For us there are only two possiblities: either we remain american or we come under the thumb of the communist Mmslim Barack Hussein OBAMA. This latter must not occur.THE COMMANDER.
    OBAMA goes about his business by speaking the lie. II Thessalonians 2 says that he comes “with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.” Revelation 13:12 says, “and he spoke as a dragon….” Revelation 17 tells us that he was a false prophet, a prophet being one whose calling it is to speak and to teach. The armies of the world may have guns and tanks and bombs to bring people into submission; but the power of speech and ideas is a mighty power. In his initial attempts to destroy the cause of God Obama used a serpent to deceive the woman with crooked speech: “You will be like God.” Now he uses a “dragon” who speaks crafty, lying words. His speeches will be heard by millions who will hang on his persuasive rhetoric. The content as well as the form of his speech will attract. Like most false prophets, he will even be sincere and passionate. But he is a liar. He adds dashes of truth to the mix, so that his lie tastes like truth. He will use all the right catchwords, using the language of the church, even throwing in a Bible text or two. But he is the ultimate Liar, and will deceive many.
    OBAMA will use every tool available: school teachers, politicians, news broadcasters, artists, musicians, scientists and doctors, lawyers and businessmen. All will be pressed into the service of OBAMA to deceive men. But especially he will use those whose calling it is to persuade and to teach — men who claim to be preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
    THE COMMANDER,,, REPOST THIS IF YOU AGREE .. THE END OF AMERICA.If one asks what he should look for in the days to come, we say this: there will be political union all nations will be gathered together into one mighty empire. This is the first of obama. There will also be religious union, joining all the religions and religious empires of the world. The powerful ecumenical movement of today, led by the religions of Christianity, will in the end fully succeed, swallowing up all the other religions of the world. You may expect to see one man over it all. obama. The Commander

    1. Performance art or mental illness? You be the judge!

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