Tuesday, June 21, 2011

You Think You're Free?

You think you're free? I know we in the United States are far and away the most free of any citizens of the world. Yeah, yeah... I know there is this freedom index and that freedom index that place us second or fifth or thirteenth. Bull! I don't buy those for a minute because freedom cannot be quantified by stats and averages.

Have a look at the big picture. Human nature is to seek freedom. In other words, the heart of every human wants to be free. Governments create a much different perspective as to 'free from what?'. For example, women in the Middle East might desire to be free to drive a car or remove a mask. Us Americans may desire to be free from our 9-5 or free from our commitment to mow the grass at church. There's a big difference, but we want what we know is out there... don't we.

As far as 'freedom index', these indices are simply propaganda. If Denmark or wherever is more free, why are people not sneaking in there? Why are immigrants not flocking there? The frank truth is that people want to be here - right here in the United States. We have the only true civil society and celebrate the most personal freedom of any country. This freedom exists today despite the efforts of Progressives to exchange our freedoms for safety, the safety of a centralized State.

Something Mark Levin (whom I feel provides very intelligent commentary and analysis, despite his abrasive personality) said a couple weeks ago has been burned into my thoughts. He asked, "You think you're free? Just try to build something innocuous in your own damn yard like a playground or something... "

He is exactly right. Even our own personal property is not ours to do as we please. We've got neighborhood associations, local ordinances, this rule, that rule... Can't do this, can't do that. Nope, can't plant a tree. Nope, can't build a fence. Nope, can't put up a tall sign for your business. We are merely free to play within the guidelines created for us over the decades. Though still mostly free, this creates some perspective.

Progressives have succeeded in building an over-legislated society over the last hundred years. Do we really need hundreds of laws passed every year, from both a federal Congress and State Assemblies? Why don't we spend a decade or so repealing and reducing the legislative monstrosity of regulation already in place? Maybe every law written and passed should have a sunset of 50 years... Let the next generation decide if it worked out or is still necessary. What do you think?

Enjoy your weekend!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Are You Better Off?

Are you better off than you were two years ago? Do you know anyone that is better off now than they were a couple years ago? For me, it's pretty clear that everyone is worse off. Many are much worse off.

The local cigar shop has a small, makeshift sitting area for guys to sit down and enjoy a cigar. Yes, in Indiana we are still allowed to smoke in some places... for now. So, this week I sat down with the six or seven fellows and lit up a Padron 3000 maduro. The discussion was candid and depressing.

Of the seven of us sitting there: three were unemployed and looking for jobs, one feels underemployed and is looking for a better job, and two of us own businesses which are fighting for every dollar. To top that off, gas went up over $3.50 per gallon and a cart full of groceries costs about $20 more... tough times for all.

As the discussion continued, it occurred to me that these older, wiser, experienced guys are seeing something different this time. In the past, these guys had roughed it through by tapping into savings or skipping expensive vacations. One business owner had lessened his margins just to get jobs and keep his guys working. Though we are taking these measures now, there is not much promising news after more than two years of this.

Personally, I believe things are about to get worse. Consider the state of things across the U.S. and around the world:
  • Middle East is ON FIRE and it is spreading
  • Japan is devastated
  • Europe is crashing 
  • China is capitalizing and nefariously manipulating it's currency
  • Total U.S. Employment is the lowest in DECADES
Now, combine all that turmoil with the confusing fact that U.S. Markets (Stocks) are performing pretty well...??? What does this mean? See, our economy and our markets are NOT one in the same. While the economy struggles to recover, businesses don't necessarily suffer the same fate.

Consider this example: A corporation reduces a department staff through attrition by 10%. Though employees fuss, the work still gets done. After further attrition, another 15% are gone, but the work is still getting done... hmm. Granted, the environment is not good for employees to fuss or threaten to leave - there are NO jobs for them to move into! 

So, the end result of this exercise is that businesses get their necessary work done with less employees. Less expense means more net income, which, in turn means better performance and higher equity valuations. That's the business perspective - more profitability, more efficiency, and higher share value.

The flip side of this sad story... in our example 25% of the department's workforce was under performing and expendable. The employees that remain could have been working harder and many were getting paid for showing up. That is the sad truth, and the reason for the strange circumstances of a strong market with a crushed economy. 

As for our Administration, we are about to experience the crippling effects of deficit spending and enormous budget growth. Pressure to raise taxes and cut benefits is coming. The irony is that the answer is cutting taxes, reducing Government and regulation, and empowering people to invest in themselves. 

As I smoked that cigar, I felt thankful for all that I've got. I felt thankful for the incredible standard of living we enjoy, even during the toughest of times. Additionally, I feel hopeful that we will endure the next couple years of turmoil and ultimately reject the Liberal agenda of modern Government (including many GOP - moderates will also be rejected next election!). America's future depends on Conservatives acting - NOW!

POTUS, his agenda, his direction, and his Liberal Congress are all being rejected by America. The simple truths are that things are much worse for most Americans. Now, we understand why it's happening, which we haven't realized in years and elections past. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tax Rates vs. Tax Revenue

Tax Rates vs. Tax Revenue

Frankly, I've heard enough of this tax debate. 'Tax the rich' or 'only the top 1%' are spouted off from the mouths of progressives and liberals while others seem to be happy with the way things are. Simply studying history will reveal that this experiment has been going on for a hundred years. Every generation tries to raise taxes or punish the rich - IT HAS FAILED TO INCREASE REVENUE in each and every case! Don't believe me, read this:


This article sheds light on the consequences of lowering tax rates. What ends up happening is, simply put, prosperity. Here's the rub, tax rates effect revenue but the relationship is inverse. In other words, if you lower one then the other goes up and vice versa. Every time we have lowered tax rates, Government revenue has gone through the roof. Every time we have raised tax rates, the U.S. economy has slowed.

Do you see the ultimate irony here? Liberals want to provide more services and entitlements, all of which cost lots of money. They also want to raise tax rates, which 'THEORETICALLY' will increase revenue (only in theory as history gives proof) but now we know will LOWER GOVERNMENT REVENUES. If liberals lowered tax rates they would have money piled up to the ceiling to spend on whatever they wanted! Funny, isn't it. This makes me wonder, are they really looking out for 'the people' or 'middle class'?

We Conservatives want to lower tax rates, both individual and corporate, because of the certain prosperity that would ensue. America would return to work, companies would invest and grow exponentially, and the $14 Trillion deficit would begin shrinking. See, this action would generate more revenue for the Federal Government. Now, how to spend all the extra money sounds like a nice problem for a future Congress to have.

So, why don't liberals study history and get on board? It's my opinion that they are simple ideologues, hungry for power. Maybe they just want to oppose Conservative Republicans... it's clear the current group of lib Democrats despise Ronald Reagan and resent his success. Their pursuit of these dysfunctional policies is a mystery to me, but in the end their experiment will fail. Conservatives will be there to pick up the pieces and get the ship on the right course... again.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Who Wants to 'Punish' the Rich?

Do we really 'hate' the rich? Liberals have created this aura or perception, but is it based on any public will or feeling? I don't believe it for a minute. In fact, I believe that most Americans have an admiration and curious interest with the rich. That's because I believe that most Americans hope to become rich!

As a teenager, I took a job as a caddy at Broadmoor Country Club in Indianapolis. It was a great job for two reasons. First, the job introduced me to golf, which is the greatest game and can be played throughout life. Secondly, I had first hand access to successful, rich people for hours at a time.

As I observed the members of the club, I began to notice a number of fascinating details about their lives. Most impressive to a teenage boy was the fact that they drove nice cars, had new golf clubs, and wore nice branded clothes. Simple envy or respect for the lifestyle made me (the teenager) want to be like these folks.

As it turns out, the more subtle characteristics of the rich are the most important aspects of their success. Most of the successful people I caddied for were in fact Entrepreneurs, that is, small business owners. There were some trust fund - family money members, there were also a handful of Corporate members and big business execs (now referred to as 'fat cats' or 'fat cat bankers'), but not that many. The majority of the members were simply entrepreneurs, owning and running smaller business or working for themselves.

Another characteristic that was revealed during their rounds of golf - strong and competitive nature. Most of them hated to lose, even if it was a $10 nassau with their buddies on a Saturday morning. They were hungry, competitive people with an expectation for winning. From my view, they were winning in life.

To wrap up the story of my exposure to the 'Rich', it must be said that I never experienced any ill will or 'hatred' for the members of Broadmoor C.C. In fact, quite the opposite was true. I found myself admiring and studying these people, wanting to eventually be among them.

Perspective on 'Punishing' the Rich

As Liberals gear up for punishing the rich, I got to thinking about what should be done to them... What do everyday Americans think the 'rich' should be tasked with? What if we...:

  • Force the rich to pay DOUBLE the tax rate of average people
  • Establish deductions that are insignificant to rich, only helping middle income families significantly
  • Force extra taxes on the rich, such as employment taxes and high corporate tax rates
  • Regulate them and their businesses, making it difficult to engage in commerce 
See, we ALREADY do all of these things to the alleged 'rich'. What further action should we take to punish them? How much of their hard earned money would Liberals like the Government to take (I say STEAL).

My opinion is that anyone who wants to punish the 'rich' must have given up hope that they themselves will ever be 'rich'. There's simply no justification for further measures. Frankly, there isn't justification for the status quo as the 'rich' are already treated quite differently, aren't they?

Tomorrow, I've got a great addendum to this article regarding TAX RATES. Here's the teaser question: Does the Government (both parties) want higher tax rates (percentages) or more tax revenue (dollars collected)? The two are mutually exclusive... more tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Liberty Lands a Left Hook!

Liberty Landed a Left Hook to the Health Care Bill yesterday, ruling it to be 'unconstitutional' with respect to the Commerce Clause. Many of us Conservatives have known this to be true, simply waiting for the rulings to come down the pike. Though we feel good today, basking in the victory, we should not rest easily. There is no telling what can happen with our Judicial systems. 

Ultimately, it is undoubtedly now on path for a Supreme Court decision within the next year or two. The sooner the better, for a number of reasons. First, the longer we wait to strike this monstrosity down the more damage is done. Additionally, the longer the business community is paralyzed and will continue to sit on it's cash. Secondly, as it stands we will likely enjoy a 5-4 victory in the Supreme Court on the Constitutionality of the 'Law'. By waiting, we simply jeopardize that outcome as accidents happen. As a side note, Kagan should recuse herself due to her involvement before this appointment. I don't expect that she will.

The Virginia decision was very well reasoned and explained in the 42 page document. Ultimately, this legislation would open the door to unlimited State power to control the populous. Though this mandate and penalty (tax) are not enormous, the precedent cannot be allowed.

What if next time the fine is $2,000 or $10,000 or more? What if the enforcement is clearly outlined that criminal punishment would fall on those that don't comply? What if the mandate was for using certain light bulbs or not eating celery with every meal? As you see, this door simply cannot be opened. That is the 
Road to Serfdom...

Again, this is a nice victory. Be clear, we have a long way to go. Even if the mandate is ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, what we have left is a law remaining in effect without one of it's 'crutches'. This will spell the doom of the private insurance industry, forcing a public option and flocking people toward the Government for help...

My biggest fear is that this is by design... that's right. Think about it... when the system fails (and it will unless a full repeal happens) won't it be convenient to say, 'well, the judicial crippled any chance for success by stripping our mandate...' Is anything that this Administration does not part of some spooky Alinsky-esque plan? This just seemed too easy and clear cut, how could they have expected the mandate to be held up?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Landslide... Now What?

Conservatives and other Republicans have won a landslide victory of historic proportions in 2010! The GOP has gained control of the House, made headway within the Senate, and gained full control of many State Assembly and Governorships. What does it all mean?

There have been a wide range of opinions and analysis of the epic defeat of Democrats throughout the U.S. though most are missing the plain and simple truth...

U.S. voters looked at ballots and voted for the MOST CONSERVATIVE CANDIDATE in each race. 

The exceptions to this result were Liberals and drones that were simply ushered to the polls and told how to vote (ie Union members, criminals, etc). Otherwise, it is my opinion that most of the voters did exactly that.

In any event, the GOP clearly has been given another opportunity to exact the will of the American people. What is our will? Stop the movement in Government toward Socialism! Restore our freedoms and liberties that have been encroached upon in the last couple years! Reduce spending, the size of Government, and our taxes! Be transparent and cast votes on laws that reflect our desires! That's all we want.... Nothing more or less than that.

It is also my opinion that the only thing that matters going forward is to introduce laws and vote to support a Constitutional Conservative agenda of limited Government, private property rights, and liberty. We, as an electorate, must reject any other action by continuing to vote out those that refuse to comply with this fundamental mandate.

Forget the days of earmarks and bringing home the bacon - THOSE DAYS ARE OVER! This frivolous spending as well as rewarding special interests and constituent donors will be exposed and punished. Please utilize the new majority to pass votes for things like:

  • Repeal of Obama's 'Health Care Reform Bill'
  • Repeal of Obama's 'Financial Reform Bill'
  • Eliminate earmarks
  • Immediate and significant reductions in Government spending - Across the BOARD!
  • Settle the tax increase concern issue - Lame duck can extend and the new Congress can make permanent
  • Protect the border or support border States to achieve a defined and safe Southern border
The new congress also needs to be ready to keep the Lame Duck session in check. I'm not sure how they do this - threatening repeals or de-funding measures in the event this radical Congress gets frisky during their exit.

By proactively sending legislation to the Senate to be passed or obstructed, the GOP accomplishes two very important things:
  1. Submit legislation that reflects the will of the American people (in other words, 'do the right thing')
  2. Get opponents of these legislative priorities on record (this includes POTUS if he vetoes bills)
After this, we'll see if so called 'Blue Dog Democrats' are willing to step up against their own party. We'll also see who the real 'obstructionists' are. Also, just by a longshot, there is a chance we can get the U.S. back on the right track this year rather than waiting until 2013... Time will tell. I won't hold my breath...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Technically Speaking...

Wasn't this a fantastic week? We all learned that the 'Recession' ended during the Summer of 2009! See... technically speaking a recession ends when there are two consecutive quarters of positive growth in GDP. Well, the G (Government Spending) was heavily subsidized by stimulus spending which pushed us over the 'zero' mark and into positive territory - thus, recession over. Got it?

To borrow from a popular SNL Weekend Update line... 'REALLY? REALLY?' Whatever is technically correct, most of America is not feeling like we've entered any sort of recovery. Unemployment is at 9.7% and new records are reached every month for poverty and other negative indicators. What's worse is that there is no hope for improvement. The Administration and Congressional leaders are telling us to get used to it, it's the 'new norm'. Should we accept this attitude, this defeatist attitude?

What we don't hear is the usual spin from the Administration, bragging about ending the recession. Despite being 'technically' correct, they recognize the utter failure of the Recovery Summer campaign. See, Americans are beginning to see through the loopholes and wordsmithing of this academic conglomerate.

Let's examine some other examples of the Administration being 'technically correct':

  • 'I've given tax breaks to business owners...' - Well, business owners can claim a $5,000 tax credit if they hire (not rehire) a new employee and employ them for a year. Though that sounds good on the surface, but consider the investment, costs, and implications of hiring a full time employee. To begin, a successful business owner will need to realize product demand for the addition. Second, an average salary of $40,000 will also require @$4,000 in employment taxes, $10,000 in benefits. To summarize, spend $54,000 per year and we'll give you $5,000 this year. How's that sound, even if there was growing demand for products and services?
  • 'Tax breaks for working Americans...' - Many middle class employees got something like $13 per payday for a period of time. Don't spend it all in one place! Again, technically true. However, is it substantial help for families? 
  • 'We've increased border security...' - Again, technically true. 1,200 National Guardsmen have been deployed for technical support to Border Patrol Agencies. Side note, they cannot participate in CAPTURING BAD GUYS! Is the goal here to truly protect and defend our southern border? 
Doesn't this sound like someone covering their bases? When asked about their positions, these have been their answers. When dealing with these academic, elite folks - we need to ask the right questions and follow up with more specific questions. This will not be accomplished by the national media, so we are going to have to do it ourselves in Town Hall meetings and letters to Congress persons. 

Here is the most disconcerting and subtle technically correct answer of them all... 'Are you a Socialist?' - POTUS, 'No, I am not a Socialist.'

See, technically speaking Obama is a MARXIST. Socialist understates his agenda. We need to ask the right questions with this guy. Got it?