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? 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fourteenth Amendment: Context Matters

Section One of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution states the following:

'All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.'

Now, most will admit that 'common knowledge' suggests that 'if you are born here, you are automatically a citizen of the U.S.' Is that an accurate interpretation of the Amendment? What exactly does 'and subject to the jurisdiction thereof' mean? The actual text paints a much different picture on what common knowledge suggests, casting a cloud over the assumed citizenship of tens of thousands born here 'without jurisdiction'.

Jurisdiction is defined by Webster as 'the power, right, or authority to apply the law' or 'the authority of a sovereign power to govern or legislate'. Taken a step further, subject or the phrase 'subject to' is defined as; 'living in the territory of, enjoying the protection of, and owing allegiance to a sovereign power or state'.  Do illegal immigrants subject themselves to the laws of the U.S. or pay allegiance to America? The mere fact that by stepping across the border, their first act was in defiance of the laws of the land, tells us that answer is 'no'.

It is my opinion that those persons present within the United States without legal status, AND thus  the children born here to such families, are not 'subject to the jurisdiction thereof' and therefore not entitled to automatic citizenship. Now, this is just the meager opinion of an individual living in the Heartland. However, isn't it fair to introduce this concept for some open debate? Is it reasonable to give the Supreme Court the chance to weigh in on this topic, since there has not been such a decision to date? 

I believe it is very important, especially considering the present hotbed of immigration issues and problems, to carefully interpret and adhere to the Constitution. The Fourteenth Amendment was adopted in 1868. Though it's provisions helped to protect the rights of newly freed slaves - who were now HOLDING JURISDICTION within the United States after Emancipation in 1863 - the Amendment was pointed at overruling the Dred Scott decision. Does anyone really believe it was intended to create 'anchor babies' or a 'back-door' trick for gaining citizenship?

United States citizenship is both valuable and desirable. Let's clear up these issues with new debate and perhaps a modern day Supreme Court ruling on the interpretation of the Amendment. Let us also define our sovereignty by closing and protecting and defending our borders and citizens. The Constitution is clear about this singular role of the Federal Government. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Why Judge Appointments Cannot Be Taken Lightly...

The activist ruling today on the components of the Arizona 'Immigration' Law is evidence that judgeships should not be appointed without heavy consideration. Over a decade ago, Clinton appointed Judge Bolton, which was seemingly inconsequential. Turns out, she would play an ENORMOUS role in today's political landscape. As the Administration tries to create chaos and tension, she just drove a divisive wedge between two aggravated groups on a collision course with conflict.

Conservative talk radio commented today that the legal argument for an injunction must be very, very strong. Consider that the people of Arizona elected the legislators, who in turn are governing with the clear consent of the people. The Federal Government should take note of this, as about 60% of the people of America support this law. It carries even stronger support in Arizona, which has become dangerous as a result of the lack of enforcement and resources by Federal Border Agents.

There are two giant problems with this issue and this Judge as well as the Administration are on the wrong side of both. First, the Federal Government is failing to enforce the existing immigration laws and protect our Southern border. The second problem is that the States have every right, frankly an obligation to it's citizens, to protect the residents.

While the Judge will be touted and enjoy her fifteen minutes of fame, the Democrats will claim a victory here. Nonetheless, the righteous citizens of Arizona and the rest of the country realize that the 'war' in November will be won. This battle was lost because Liberals bought a trump card many years ago when Billy Clinton appointed this judge.

This brings us back to the point - Judge appointments matter. Supreme Court appointments are very significant as they endure for life. Activist or politically strategic appointments are simply a trump card to be played at a later date. What might come before the court over the next decade? It is my opinion that every piece of destructive legislation this President and Congress have passed against our will should end up before the highest Court.

Will judges like Kagan interpret laws and defend the Constitution? I'm afraid that the answer is not certainly 'yes', which means that she and other radical political allies should be voted down. The day will come when the toils of the Nation fall into the lap of one key person, one moment in time when a single vote matters.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Why Don't We Fight to Win?

Believe me, I'm far from anti-war. I am, however, against the pathetic version of modern 'international conflict' or whatever we call WAR these days. My understanding of war has always been simple - Destroy the enemy. Once the mission is accomplished, get the boys home and move on. When war is waged in this manner, the outcome is certain. The more determined, technologically advanced, more powerful force will win. Without a doubt, the U.S. Armed Forces has been that power for the last one hundred years.

So, what is the problem with Iraq and Afghanistan? There is no question we took down Saddam within weeks and had his army on their knees, controlling the landscape within the first few months. The same circumstances exist in Afghanistan, Al Queda was toppled quickly and could no longer organize there. Despite effectively 'winning', we are still maintaining an enormous presence in both countries. Why?

The canned answers are clear: rebuild them, install 'friendly' Governments, promote democracy... I get all that. Haven't we done all that before with countries like Lebanon, Iran/Iraq, and even Afghanistan? If so, why do we need to do it again? The frank truth is that the people of these countries cannot govern themselves, they require a constant policing. I'm reminded of that goofy satirical marionette movie - Team America: World Police. Unfortunately, it's no joke any more.

The sad truth is that the Islamic societies of the world either can not or choose not to rise up against radicalism within their communities. As long as those radical members have homes and families, who know full well of their brothers and sons involvement in such movements, but continue to shelter and support them - they have nothing to fear. These radicals can terrorize, keep the fight going, and at the end of the day hide with the women and children of their communal family lifestyle.

The fact is that our rules of engagement protect them. Americans carry with us a value for humanity unlike any other part of the world. It is this compassion for life and fellow mankind that both compels us to help and ruins our efforts to destroy the evil of the world. Americans also know that advanced societies are lands with laws, and those laws must be enforced.

Let me pose the question: If you have a family member that you know has robbed a bank, murdered a police officer, and is now knocking on your door... will you provide them asylum and protection? Only the most uncivilized and worst among us would consider helping this person, family or not.

This decision is more affected by principles than it is by fear, as we know even hardened criminals won't turn their weapons on their own family. Further, we know and understand that by agreeing to provide protection we are also GUILTY of a crime and taking a risk.

It is my opinion that these terrorists (radical Muslims) must be made to live in fear of the long arm of the law. They can be safe nowhere, protected by no one. They must cower in caves and roam the streets, absconded by their own society that rejects their choices of action. Those that provide protection and asylum, they know who they are. These enablers should not be surprised when we knock down their door and enforce the law, and they won't if we make it the rule.

Is it reasonable for us, Americans, to call on the supposed peaceful Islamic communities to begin policing their own? If people are truly for peace and don't support radicalism or terrorism, they should take a stand against such behavior and help the cause. Without such action of the masses or changes of the rules of engagement, we will not be able to accomplish the mission and destroy the enemy completely.

With the cooperation and help of peace loving Muslims, we will rid the world of such terrible and destructive people. Either we wait for Islam to help or begin fighting to win, those are the choices.

Monday, July 19, 2010

America: How Do You like having a 'Boot on Your Neck'?

This Administration has bragged about keeping their 'boot on the throat' of BP while they ultimately deal with the tragic oil spill. The real story is that the White House and Congress have had their boots on the throat of the entire tax paying private sector since they gained control of the Government. With every piece of destructive legislation they force through the Congress they are leaning on and choking our economy, along with every American that works and pays taxes.

The private sector is the force behind our amazing growth over the last two centuries. They are shackled in fear and uncertainty - afraid to invest, hire, or do much of anything! This is not due to normal economic cycles, but directly a result of legislative risk and the enormous impact to come of laws already in place.

Take for instance the overall cost of hiring a single employee. Say you own a small business that makes boots. Now, with a growing government that needs heavy boots to deal folks that pay taxes, you are considering adding another sales person to increase your market share. Good and experienced boot sales persons will earn a salary of $40,000. 

Now, keep in mind that you (the employer) will be paying $2,400 in SS and Medicare taxes, around $1000 in unemployment insurance each year. Now you need to count on either paying around $12,000 in annual health care benefits for the new employee or pay thousands of $$$ in fines. What's that? You want to offer a low cost, high deductible plan with an HSA so you and employees save money... Sorry, can't do that any longer. You are going to have to offer a 'government approved' health plan (up until private insurance fails and we go to single payer) that covers what is mandated by those who know better than you.

Oh, while you gasp for air under that boot - keep in mind that those added expenses will apply to your existing employees too. They will probably demand more money since their taxes are going up in 2011. Your taxes will be going up too, and that applies to capital gains if you are incorporated. 

So, the bottom line is that adding a sales person is going to cost you more like $60,000 each year. Combine that with the added costs of doing business with your current staff and rising taxes... How do you feel about hiring now? In fact, if sales don't go up your net income will be going down... Hmm, now you feel the 'choking' effect of legislative risk. What's the result here? You struggle and employees work harder to keep their jobs by increasing production and a boot sales person has to keep looking for a job and remain on welfare - NO ONE WINS!

The scariest part of all this is that Obama and his rubber stamp Congress is just getting started. They have done significant damage in less than two years! Now they have just passed 'Finance Reform' which brings a number of new industries under the boot. Is 'Cap and Trade' on the horizon, maybe during a Lame Duck session of Congress after they are voted out? What will the effects of increased supply and transportation costs do to your business?

Americans need to Reject this Administration and vote for conservative candidates this November!

Friday, May 28, 2010

2010 Election: Change and Hope

Now it's Change and Hope... That's right, this election is about fundamentally transforming the congress. We, the people of a free and enduring REPUBLIC, need to change out the existing leaders and replace them with conservatives. This does not mean elect republicans, but the most conservative candidates must be considered.

Once we seat them, we have to hope that they will carry the political will to serve us by changing the course of our wayward ship. Let me rephrase that, we must DEMAND that they take the drastic measures to right our finances and get our economy back into action. If newly elected officials won't take appropriate action - we need to replace them and repeat the process until it works.

So, that is the 'Change and Hope' we need for elections in 2010. Changing the leadership of Congress will only bring a halt to the radical agenda being pushed currently. We must have a conservative 'Super Majority' by 2012, otherwise the deep rooted and intentional damage to our economy and it's infrastructure will be tougher to overcome. This is the ONLY hope for maintaining the integrity of the United States we grew up knowing. If we do not act in the next two elections, the US will fall from glory as the 'Last Best Hope' for the world.

Here is the Manifesto for our 2010 or 2012 Conservative Congress:

  • Repeal Health Care Reform Bill, replace this with the sensible parts of the legislation that address rising costs 
  • Reform Medicare and Social Security IMMEDIATELY - each year we wait to do this we inch closer to catastrophe. The pain will be less substantial the sooner it is done - it must be done.
  • Massive reductions in federal spending and programs, including entitlements.
  • Reductions in corporate tax rates to attract investment and inspire private sector growth
  • Secure ALL borders and travel into the United States, followed by a debate and plan for addressing existing illegal immigrants already here.
  • Restore relations with allies around the world
  • Bring clarity and conclusion to our war with Radical Islamic Extremists across the globe - These factions should fear the 'Fists of Justice', not us living in fear of them. 
Thanks for reading, enjoy the Memorial Day weekend and remember those that helped preserve the freedoms of our citizens!

Collin Hedegard

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Don't We Already Redistribute Wealth?

Enough is enough... How clear can it be that we already redistribute wealth within the United States? Efforts to further the already unbalanced and detrimental system of taxation and entitlements is pushing the limits of most Americans. Even before the controversial and inexplicable passing of 'ObamaCare' the US has been redistributing wealth for decades. YES! It is very true, consider the following facts:

  • The top 1% of earners in the U.S. pay 40% of the Federal tax dollars collected
  • The bottom 50% of earners in the U.S. pay virtually 0 income taxes
  • Entitlements exist for food, housing, services, and health care
  • Health care entitlements existed prior to 2010 (Medicaid, Medicare, State services)
  • Lower income families can get more money back than they pay in taxes
As these facts are interpreted, it becomes clear that the top half of earners in the U.S. already 'take care' of the bottom half, right? In fact, the top 1% carries the bulk of the financial burden for achieving this redistribution. Despite this inequality, somehow the top half of the population still finds room in their hearts to be the most benevolent among us. 

So, what is the reason behind such a push for more? Though the situation progressives have already managed to put in place may not be sustainable, additional entitlements and even higher taxes will wreck the economy. Why would anyone want to do this? 

To add some further perspective, families living in poverty according to the U.S. Government live many fold better lives than the poor of the rest of the world. In fact, they live better and have access to incredible resources unlike any other place in the world. Unfortunately for all of us, the 'impoverished' included, the most beautiful and important entitlement provided by the U.S. is in real DANGER! What is it...

  • Start a business
  • Go back to school 
  • Get an additional job
Those of us that get off our ASS and do these things will experience success, happiness, and eventually wealth. Oh, and the achievers will always take care of their brothers and sisters under God and in need. 

We need to move the discussion from the argument of 'Status Quo vs. MORE' back to 'LESS vs Status Quo' and we need to do it NOW! All of our freedom and opportunity is at stake.

Collin Hedegard