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So, What AM I For and Against Politically? Part 3

OK, we are whittling doen the list of issues at play in the current political environmemnt.  Please, for any of this to make sense, please at least read the part one of this series for a foundation.  In this module we’ll cover Gay Rights, dealing with the debt ands deficit, and education.  Once more, if you are starting here because of a search term or key word, please, in order to make sense of the topics covered here, please, please first go to part one and read it for the foundational data.

GAY RIGHTS

I believe everyone has the right to be light-hearted and of cheerful spirit.  After all that is what the word means.   I refuse to, in my own use, devolve it into something that most certainly does not seem to describe the individuals to whom it is modernly applied.  While I do believe that statistically those life-style choices are at variance from the norm, nevertheless, so long as they do no harm to themselves or each other, as individuals they should have every right to every protection the law provides for any of us.

Consequently, I believe the existing tort and criminal laws, if properly and uniformly applied and enforced, state that ALL individuals have certain legal protections against unlawful actions such as assault (or worse) and fraud, discrimination, etc. so specific wording to encompass specific groups is, to me, superfluous.

I do not think an already despicable action becomes even more so (or less so) depending on the rationale behind the intent to do harm.  I do not think , therefore, that attacking, much less murdering someone because they have done something to anger you is any less of a crime than murdering them because of their skin color or sexual orientations.  Murder is murder, assault and battery is assault and battery no matter who the victim and who the criminal perpetrator.

Regarding marriage between same sex couples, or plural marriages or, for that matter any union outside the definitions commonly accepted in our society, I am of two minds.  On one hand, I think happiness is in desperately short supply these days and that if two… or more… individuals find it, even if in some fashion not normal to the rest of us, then good for them.

If they form a loving, supportive relationship that just happens to lie outside the common definitions, then given that within the common definitions there certainly exist unions that are destructive and vile, I have no problem with them.  And further, I think that once committed to each other in a relationship that in every way other than the genders or number of the parties involved mirrors what we see as an ideal for “normal” marriage, they should be granted all of the legal status and benefits (and constraints) of any married couple.  If they are harming no others, or themselves, but are creating a productive and positive relationship, and, to paraphrase Jefferson, neither “picking my pocket nor breaking my legs” then I see no reason to oppose the union.

My problem is not, and never has been, with the activity, nor for that matter with having the same benefits that might flow to it under more socially acceptable circumstances.  It is with the semantics and the semantics alone that I take issue.  But from a practical standpoint, in some manner I think such unions need to be recognized, sanctioned, and protected at law.   Individuals who care for each other and want to spend their lives together will be involved in such unions, law or no.  But to force them to do so outside the law starts a potential negative, counter-productive chain.  This law is easy to break because of the emotional and personal needs involved.  And there are any number of other laws against which those forces and influences might also be arrayed.  Worse, with damaged inhibitions they’ll be much easier to break the next time.  Then there will be more and it will get easier each time.  And at some point, the acceptance of and reverence for the law will erode entirely.

Personally I do not think that inspiring law breaking by creating pointless laws of prohibition is a good thing especially when, in this particular case, the law itself, and by extension the law-abiding citizenry, have nothing to lose by altering their stand.  None of the other citizenry are harmed by changing the laws to accommodate these unions however all of them might someday be harmed if respect for the law erodes.  I would personally prefer that we use different labels for these different relationships because I am an old stickler for language, but by whatever name, I would insist that they all have the same complete rights and benefits.  And if that is not workable, then I’d rather live with a word I personally think is misapplied (marriage) but in a more peaceful and law respecting environment.

After all, I’ve almost learned to live with the misapplication of the term “gay.”

SOLVING THE DEBT/DEFICIT

Economics is one of those few disciplines in which a practitioner can attain high degrees and reach near celebrity status and yet never once been correct in their conclusions.  Depending upon which variables make it through their philosophical filters, the same data can lead to widely variable conclusions and assertions.  That has been true from the beginning and is still true as evidenced by the fact that well-credentialed economists come down solidly on very different points of view over our nation’s (and now the world’s) current economic woes.  Each party has their pet experts to trot out to try to persuade the citizenry of the merits of their own approaches to the detriment of other views.  So I do not think we can find any definitive answers in academia for this issue as each has their own agenda to support.

But I do think there are a few elements of common experience and increasingly rare common sense that can be brought to the table.  Forget economics and think, simply, about common issues in standard finance, accounting, and bookkeeping.  In those areas, and when applied to personal income a truism that is utterly inescapable emerges.  You cannot continually spend more than you receive or you start to go in the hole.

Ah, but, you say, “If I am out of “cash on hand” I can use my credit card” to get what I want… and that is true.  But in the real world most people know that assets purchased on credit are not really your own until actually paid for.  Think of your car.  If you took out a loan for the car you do not get the title from the loan holder until it is paid off: the lender actually owns the asset since it was their money that purchased it.  It is the same with your home.  And though there is normally no “title” involved for smaller purchases made daily on a credit card, it is obvious that the creditor has an asset in the amount loaned to you and you have a liability for it that must be paid off at some point.

If you continue to borrow more than you receive then sooner or later you reach a point of such heavy liabilities that you have no chance of so increasing your income to pay for them and you are bankrupt.  When the creditors call in their loans you are in trouble and likely to loose either the actual assets such as car or house, or the dollar value of the collection of smaller assets.

A nation with its own sovereign currency, unlike individual citizens and even, States, has one alternative to bankruptcy when they reach a point where the creditors will not continue to back them — and that is to print more money.  But they can only do that after disconnecting their currency from a commodity basis such as gold, and allowing it to float and be valued as what the government says it is, i.e. a “fiat” currency and not any inherent value based on a backing and securing by some commodity.

But the problem with that alternative solution is inflation and that has ALWAYS followed the printing of more money.  Actually it is inescapable.  The math is simple, when the amount of currency in play is its own limit on value, when the amount increases the value drops.  To help prove that point, take a look at the “value” of the commodity upon which our currency used to be based.  Value, remember, means what can be obtained for a certain amount of the commodity.  Personal value is however much of whatever you call your “life” you are willing to give up to obtain something.

What is noteworthy is that an ounce of gold will buy, with near precision, the same today that it has always bought.  A good suit in the 1930s was about $30-$40 when an ounce of gold was $32.50.  Now it is about the same price as an ounce of gold  which, removing sales fees and average market fluctuations and investment buying, is in the $1,600 – $1,700 range.  In the 1880s a Colt Single Action Army revolver was about $20.00, the value of an ounce of gold.  Today from the Colt Custom shop they are still about the price of an ounce of gold.  Things have NOT increased in value based on commodity currency, but the value of fiat currency has dropped as more and more is printed.  Inflation is a necessary by-product of a fiat based currency.

The Fed implies it is helping things by printing additional money with which to buy our own bonds and thereby keeping interest rates down.  This economic slight of hand called “quantitative easing” works out on paper and most accept it since it serves their purposes.  But it is the drop in value of the increments of currency that are the real interest rates anyway.  When something costs you a dollar today but three dollars next year due to inflation, a drop in already very small interest rates does not make up for the loss in value.

I fear that to help mask the realities of our actual economic condition the Fed will soon engage in another round of such “quantitative easing” and that such a move risks pushing us over the tipping point into hyper inflation so virulent it could literally be the push that sends us off the fiscal cliff.

So addressing the debt and deficit has to be something tackled on multiple fronts, all of them now carried to a point far, far beyond the painless point.  No ox is going to remain ungored in any workable solution since we let it go so far out of control.  So all sides need to accept that, accept also that the debt/deficit issue is one not just of economy but of national security, and agree to some very disagreeable compromises at least in the short term of, say, the next 20-30 years at which point painful solutions can be sunsetted and reviewed.

All – ALL — of the steps below will need to be taken even though each is hateful to some or all of the people effected.  Our country has spent like drunken teenagers to boost our collection of goodies and demand our collection of free things from the government which of course actually means from those willing to work to earn the money to provide it which means the government must remove from the workers money and incentives in order to give it to those others who have not earned it.  There is an inverse relationship between free goods and freedom that is inescapable.  There are no historical exceptions so why would we expect to be different in outcome?

Cutting Costs.  A critical step is to cut costs, i.e. government spending even when it is called by the euphemism of government investment.  Not by cutting the programs equally across the board, but by prioritizing them in a sort of economic triage based on the needs of the country to remain strong and viable.  Personally I think providing for the common defense, as noted in the Constitution, and helping provide education are the two most important things a government can do for its people and should receive the lion’s share of apportionment.

Each specific spending area also needs to be triaged to see what is working within its control and where the money is being distributed to make sure efficiency and reward for success is the criteria for distribution.  Next in priority after education and defense, should be national infrastructure to help in commerce such as the federal highway system.  Only if there is anything left should we then look at entitlements and free goods from the government, and then only if the potential recipients are truly physically, medically, or psychologically unable to be productive on their own based not on what they would like to do but on what is available to do.  And only if there is anything left after that should we ever look at sending money abroad especially to nation states that hate us or simply use us to facilitate their own corruption.  It is time to realize we cannot solve the world’s problems if we cannot solve our own.

Increasing Taxes.  We have let this economy get so far mired in crisis there is no way we can avoid also having to look at taxes to help increase revenues.  This is analogous to a family in trouble.  The first thing to do, even while trying to find ways to increase income, is to first cut costs.  Then, as it becomes possible, also increase revenue.  An individual can try to get promoted or take a better job.  But what can a government do?  It can do two things: promote policies that increase productivity and, as a last resort, raise taxes knowing that move comes with risks of backfiring.

I do believe getting government out of the way of small businesses and entrepreneurs as well as big businesses will ultimately result in more tax revenues as their productivity and ability to hire tax paying employees goes up.  But in the short term, of, say 10 years, that is probably not going to be sufficient so some taxes will have to be raised as risky as that move will be.  As noted several times, we are beyond pain free and also beyond risk free to solve the mess we are in.

Often liberals point out to the tax rates of the 1950s as models but forget the inflationary math noted above.  The highest tax rate in 1950 was 84% for those with an adjusted income of over $400,000.  That 1950’s $400K is the equivalent of about $1.3 million in today’s currency – not a bad take-home amount.  $250,000 was, in 1950 dollars, not that big a deal, a little over $70,000.  So I would make the people making over $1 million in adjusted income pay a higher tax rate for ten years, perhaps 60-65% of the income over the target amount.  And nobody with an annual adjusted income of $25,000.00 or more would pay zero taxes for the same ten years, being taxed at a rate of at least 10%.  However, if we reached a balanced budget state in less time, then that would automatically sunset this tax increase and trigger a balanced budget amendment to be in force from that point on.

But it is important that you understand this suggestion is about solving a problem; it is not about resolving some imagined inequity.  The nasty top 5% of taxpayers now pay just short of 60% of ALL federal tax collected.  Nearly 50% on the bottom pay nothing in federal taxes.  I do believe that some are not paying their fair share but it is not the top 5%.  But making things truly equitable with a flat tax, something that, done right, I might support, is still not going to solve the incredible hole we are in for any reasonable length of time.  The temporary increase I suggest here will help but without the other steps as well, will never be enough.  In fact, if 100% of American taxpayers paid 100% of their income in taxes, it would not erase the deficit.  So get real all you “fair sharers” and do the math.  We ALL must get involved but in such a way so as not to drive the golden goose to other venues in our incredibly mobile world.

Revaluing Currency.  The Fed needs to be audited and the use of fiat currency, created in secret and passed without a national vote even though it is in violation of the Constitution which pegs value to gold and silver, needs to be seriously re-examined with the return to commodity based currency as a viable potential unless the efforts to reign in our printing of more money is serious and inescapable.  By halting inflation based on the supply of fiat currency the loss of value of personal income and saved wealth increases and then stabilizes which is a boon to every one other than bankers and stock brokers.

This would, of course, create a massive shock wave in Wall Street and the banking industry, but so do the above measures create one in normal businesses and in middle and low income individuals.  All have shared in the profligate spending and debauchery of the currency that have brought us to this point and unfortunately, I think we will all have to share in the pain of the measures needed for recovery.

Wall street and the bankers got their bailouts and many squandered or hid theirs.  The common citizen got nothing even though the amounts of the bailouts to the financial and auto worlds would have paid off the mortgages of virtually all home-owning citizens, certainly those in the middle class.  With no mortgage payments to undermine income the economy might have soared on its own but we will never know now.  But it is way past time to look at measures that will allow the citizens and not just the financial world to stabilize their economic situations so they can again comfortably rejoin the world of the consumers we depend on for our economy.

EDUCATION

Education, as noted above, commands the future of our country, our culture, and our society.  No single activity has such a direct impact on our future other than a nuclear attack.  It should be the primary priority of the federal government, following directly after national defense, to help achieve the goal of an educated and informed citizenry.  And maybe it should precede it in importance because if it fails us there will be nothing to defend worth the cost.

Yet our governor, here in California, stated that as budgets decline education will be the first cut, the first to feel the pain.  What?  Governor are you nuts?  It should be the LAST thing cut and the first thing funded by a State who does not have to worry about a defense budget.  If ever there was a proper place for governmental “investment” it is in the realm of education.

But we should not fall for every hare-brained scheme, such as the NCLB plan of Kennedy and Bush.  Additionally, it needs to carefully control and audit the distribution of money to the system.  Our problem is not a paucity of money going into the educational system; it is a paucity of that money making it into the classroom without being skimmed off by a top heavy and overpaid bureaucracy in the school systems and districts.

America already shells out more per student than anywhere else in the world and yet our system and the quality of its graduates has become a world class laughing stock.  It is therefore not about the money per se; it is about what happens to the money, or, more properly, what does NOT happen to it.  It is NOT the classroom teachers that are overpaid; it is the bloated educational administrative bureaucracy that is overpaid.

Having said that, however, the teachers’ unions seem to be dedicated to self-perpetuation and then protecting dead wood that needs to be cleaned out in order to create devoted and needy members desperate for their protection.  If we, as teachers, are not willing to clean our own house, we should not have the gall to ask for more money.  Good teachers are shamefully underpaid for the critical service they provide.  But there are enough bad ones, protected by the unions, that the entire collective has gotten a bad name.  That needs to be addressed openly and honestly.

Thomas Jefferson argued the need for an informed and educated public and therefore for the public school system.  But his argument was based on the need to improve the quality of the citizen, not to make them just more job-ready.  Schools are not parents though they are expected to take their place.  Schools are part of an industrial or information age system that includes parents and employers as part of the complete process of education.  Though being job-ready is not the main goal of a school’s work, turning out smart but unemployable students should never be an acceptable outcome either.  Morals, standards of behavior, future goals perspectives, ethics including work ethics are not the purview of schools to teach but graduating students who do not have them will be eaten alive in the market place of the real world.  Knowing the value of study and education must come from the modeling found at home.

Education is in the interests of everybody who wants to see this country strong, proud, and once again a world leader, not to mention improving the standard of living of our own people.  Harming it via budget cuts in concert with bad distribution of whatever funds are available and the allowance of marginal teacher quality is, right after debauching the currency, the surest way of destroying a nation.

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Posted by on September 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The State of the State’s Educational System

San Diego — Tomorrow the Spring Semester starts, and with it comes the onslaught of the issues and problems created for teachers and especially for students by the State’s budget crisis.  So this is perhaps a reasonable time to offer a somewhat jaundiced view of it all.

The underlying official California educational philosophy holds that education up to and including college/university ought to be free to all state citizens.  The concept is based on a truly benign and well intentioned perspective that holds, true enough, that it is through education and perhaps education alone that a society’s real future can be found and therefore, it is in that society’s interest to provide their citizens with a good education.

Most states agree that should include K-12 but California believes it really ought to include secondary education through undergraduate levels at least.   Unfortunately, within that desire lies a lot of places to go very much off the rails, not the least of which is in the definition de jour as to what constitutes a good education.  Whenever the propriety of a course of action – or course of study – can be determined by a political entity then the conclusion rapidly retreats from one based on practicality and even reality and becomes one based on political whims of the day.

Consequently I must openly disclaim that I oppose that idea on at least three grounds:

  1. People, including students understand that in this mercantile society you get what you pay for and when something is offered for free the price honestly tells you what it is likely worth.
  2. Education is not cheap to provide when done well and when the state is running low on money and education suffers, then the really good teachers are likely to go to the better paying schools resulting, sooner or later in the state schools being the poorer ones in terms of educational delivery by anyone’s definition of good.
  3. Since the goals are politically defined then the requirements tend to favor courses that help perpetuate the sponsoring political philosophies over any real world needs and the results are incredibly well educated people who have not a single real world skill and have no chance at employment except to re-enter the education system to perpetuate that which thy have been taught.

I cannot change those goals, they are what they are.  I can only try to reveal them and their results and do the best I can to prepare my own students for success in a real world even if it is not the world my academic colleagues wished existed.  You however, must understand that much of the current budget impasse flows directly from attempts to reach that goal and in the process, bankrupting the system.  This same sort of scenario where one group decides another group needs to carry them based on some idea of social good or justice is part and parcel of the problem.  But for now I want to concentrate on education since it is not only typical but it is the one I have to deal with daily.

A common mantra when viewing and trying to understand political theses and their results is to “follow the money.”  So let’s do that here and see where it goes.  At my school, part of one of the largest community college districts in the state, the actual average cost to the school to provide its educational services is a little north of $150.00 per credit.  But for years, the actual student fees were limited to $20.00 per credit with the rest subsidized by the state in a manner we will address in a moment.  The budget crisis has resulted in a couple of fee increases that, in Fall of 2012 will rise to $46.00 per credit.  You residents of other states can stop laughing or swearing any moment when you compare your own fees averaging nearly $100.00 per credit and often well over that amount.  Remember the state and most academics here really want it to be free.

The immediate problem is that even this new fee hike leaves a shortfall of about $100.00 per credit.  We have about 20,000 students for whom a full load is 12 credits.  To be conservative lets say that the average student load is only 8 credits.  That means the district and state is face with a real deficit of  $16,000,000 each semester.  That is not chump change and all of it must be made up from the state coffers.  So where does it come from?  States do not do anything to earn money, they get it by taking it from someone else… you.

Well most education money comes from property taxes.  The state also promised the taxpayers that if they allowed a lottery the money would be devoted to education to supplement property taxes… unless there was an emergency.  So, dutifully, every year at the opening of the state assembly, one of the very first orders of business by the state legislature is to declare an emergency that allows them to convert the lottery revenues into the general fund.  So with that account now raped, that just leaves the property taxes.

And who pays property taxes?  Well there is a portion that comes from business properties owned by large corporations.  But business regulation has become so restrictive, since Californians see corporations as per se evil, that they are, when possible, leaving the state.  Last year roughly 700 businesses left California for states like Texas and Florida or even Idaho to avoid the onerous restrictions and escalating taxes.  So the property taxes for them went away but with them went something perhaps even more important.

The major source of property taxes comes from homeowners.  And who are homeowners?  Well most of them are employees of corporations or businesses that are stable enough and have the income to get a mortgage.  Or they used to be…

Of course when the companies leave employees either go with them or remain and try to find some new employment somewhere, which today, is nearly always a lost cause because the State is true to its values, and make this a most business-hostile environment.  Those less productive individuals the state sees as vulnerable and to be supported and deserving of help on some level are certain to tug at the heart strings of most.  But by and large they contribute little or nothing to society and certainly do not create a demographic likely to hire people that can buy homes and pay taxes based on their employment.

Of course the CRA (Community Redevelopment Act) passed under Carter mandated that home ownership was a right and so forced lending institutions into accepting mortgage applications whether or not the lender believed them capable of repaying.  So in order to get out from under those toxic loans that were sure to fail they bundled and sold many of them to those fictional private lending entities that are really an arm of the government, Fannie and Freddie.  And now a huge proportion of those unqualified loans have done as predicted even in a stable economy, and failed, leaving the government holding the bag as house after house sits empty (meaning NO tax revenue) or under water and re-assessed for lower values meaning less tax revenue.

And into that revenue void comes a world where inflation, due to the increasing fiat money supply, is making every dollar worth less, able to buy less, and along with it, creating a perfect storm for education: dwindling tax revenues and increasing costs.

Our re-treaded governor is now floating a plan to increase tax revenues by increasing marginal rates… on whom?  Businesses and people making as pre-tax income over a magic number that changes with the telling but lies somewhere between $200,000 and $1 million.  And who does that hit the hardest?  The answer is small and medium companies that are sole proprietorships and LLCs.  I had years as a photographer/industrial training videographer where my pre-tax income approached that amount but my business costs brought my actual take home down, often, to well under $100,000.00

To make matters worse the governor wants to increase the marginal tax rate.  Even though my gross tax rate might have been, let’s say, somewhere near 25-30 percent, once I had taken my deductions, my actual tax rate figured on adjusted income as compared to my gross made my tax rate closer to 12-13 percent of my gross.  The governor wants to increase those rates 2-3% according to his State of the Union address.  But going from 12% to 14% is, in actuality, over a 20% increase in my taxes.  That adds up to a big hit.

I don’t want to get off topic and into issues of what is fair or not here, although I am quite willing to debate the issue in another post.  All I am saying here is that the reality of what the governor is proposing is quite likely going to create a replay of what happened already in Maryland.  There, the state did a study that suggested if they do the same as is being proposed here, the tax revenues would increase by a rather huge amount.  But the year after the new law went into effect and the smoke cleared after tax time, it was revealed that the tax base itself dropped significantly and the actual revenues were down more from the previous base than the projections had shown an increase.

Why?  Because the targeted taxpayers simply left for less hostile territory and took their businesses and often their employees with them.

If that same result were to happen here the results for education would be catastrophic.  At my school we are already operating at a vastly reduced level after cutting classes every semester over a two-year period.  We have eliminated summer sessions and so many classes the few remaining are cutting seriously into our ability to offer our program towards either a degree or certificate.

Yes, tax revenues need to increase but they need to increase through growth in productivity not in growth of tax rates.  Yes schools need to get real with their student fees at least to the extent other states do.  And academia needs to do some housekeeping of its own.

If the avowed reason for education, that is to prepare students to enter the workforce and increase the tax base, is true then state schools need to re-appraise what classes are designed to do that and concentrate their efforts (and money) there and not in feel good “soft” topics that lead nowhere in terms of employment or in developing entrepreneurship.

And they need to get realistic about their faculty vis-à-vis who is providing quality education meeting those goals and who is not.

The rejoinder is that education should be about more than getting a job and therefore many of those feel good classes are important.  I would say that many soft subjects do indeed help prepare students for the real world but many do not and some that could are not taught from that perspective.  Learning to think critically, a very important skill, is not taught by historical revisionism or teaching students how to sing with the existing choir of the instructor and demeaning other perspectives.  I have no trouble with soft classes as electives, but when they become requirements then I think they need to be re-evaluated.

The solution to the budget crisis vis-à-vis the educational success in California schools has now gone way past the point of where it could be done easily and with minimal pain.  If – and I think it is obviously a HUGE IF – the politicians and the people truly believe that education is important even if only to help improve the tax base, then we are all going to have to deal with some pain.

The government needs to get serious about trimming waste and prioritizing its allocation of funds.  Surely education ought to be at the top or very near the top instead of being a poor stepchild to such things as prison guards and Delta Smelt. The governor promised to cut back on the size of government to demonstrate his commitment to dealing with that side of the problem.  The result, according to the State’s own figures, State Employees earning over $100,000 have been cut by 8-tenths of one percent.  Wow…

In addition to the government, the people need to understand that in the short term they too are going to have to give a little.  Perhaps the taxes may need a mild increase but the government needs to make sure that any taxes thus raised are absolutely and irrevocably dedicated to education, the law contains a sunset clause, and, while they are at it, give the lottery money back to education as well and pass laws to draw major companies that hire lots of people back into the state.  The political parties are worse than useless here, the people will have to do something I am normally opposed to and go around them to force the issues against both sides of the aisle.

And the schools have a part to play as well.  When sharpening the axe for cuts they need to look at priorities, a sort of ‘triage’ based on results, rather than trying to spread cuts evenly in the interests of “fairness.”  They need to prioritize costs toward classes and programs designed to prepare students to go out and earn a living and become productive in society and, until things turn around, be willing to axe some of the soft, feel good, politically correct programs that do not well serve those goals.  And they need to look seriously at quantitatively evaluating faculty along the same rules that courses are evaluated.

None of that is easy or painless.  But no less than a continuation of the terminal slide of the California education system is what is at stake.  It is, in my opinion, for each party to the problem and solution, the government, the citizenry, and academia itself to get real about solutions.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Adrift and Rudderless in a Keynesian Fog

San Diego – Only 8 weeks ago, wrapped in the sacred robes of Keynesian wisdom, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke asserted proudly that from that the country, following the application of the economic policies of that paragon of financial wisdom who, in the history of the world, though he is adored by socialist and liberal thinkers, has yet to once be correct, was now vindicated by the situation where we were seeing slow but steady progress out of our economic woes.  The sentiment was echoed by White House occupants and sycophants and their heralds in the media.  If you listened to network news or to the policy parrots of the administration at MSNBC, you would have every reason but one to think we were on our way to a splendid if slow recovery.

And that one reason not to think so?  It simply was not true.  Last week, according to the AP, Ben Bernanke admitted that it was not happening and he was clueless as to why not and worse, that the troubles could continue into next year.  Well, OK, to be fair, that is not precisely what he said.  What he actually said was,

“We don’t have a precise read on why this slower pace of growth is persisting. … the weak housing market and problems in the banking system might be ‘more persistent than we thought.’”

I want to remember that phrase for my own use: “We don’t have a precise read on…”  What an elegant phrase to admit you are simply stumped.  But the class of the annunciation does not ameliorate the underlying message.  They have tried what their guru told them and when it did not work, their blinders were so tightly aimed they had no way to analyze the results because they fell outside of the paradigm they had accepted totally.

Now bear in mind this is from the same group of briliant policy wonks that insist the way to help us out of a debt crisis is by raising our credit limit.  In talking about the Democrat’s position debate over raising the debt ceiling, Sen Harry Reid and other Democratic leaders said an agreement should include some spending increases for infrastructure, clean energy and other programs to boost the economy.

Don’t you get it?  There is only one reason to want the debt ceiling to be raised and that is so you can spend more?  If you truly don’t want to spend more money and wish to actually cut some spending, why raise the debt ceiling instead of simply starting to pay down the liabilities?  And don’t try the current red herring on me that if we don’t then we will start defaulting.  Bovine Excrement!!!  This is not about any default; the Congressional Budget office declared we take in more than enough in revenue (read, “Taxes”) to pay the interest on the current indebtedness plus basic essential government operations.

Therefore the only way we would default on our debt is for our dear leader to decide to default on the interest in favor of spending elsewhere.  In other words, an abject failure of proper prioritizing.  It is perfectly analogous to the decision by a person facing bankruptcy who decides, instead of paying off existing debt with his income and cutting his spending, to spend all his money buying a new TV and then buys a new car on the credit card before it collapses.  That is exactly what King Barrack, Baron Bernanke, and Lord Geitner are telling you is the best plan for the country.

And how has it worked out so far, do you think?  Has the investments we were assured would stop the recession and put us on the road to recovery worked?  Have they worked even a little bit?  Has unemployment dropped as promised?  Has national productivity started a noticeable climb?  Have housing costs adjusted properly?  No, no, no, and no.

The argument is we need to do MORE “investment” (spending) to boost the economy.  But that is exactly the plan Greece adopted and we all know how that is working out for them,  Ditto Portugal, Ireland, Spain… and we would be different why?

Every word this gang utters about wanting to get spending under control is a bald faced lie or exhibits galactic level stupidity.  The way to get spending under control is to stop spending.  Period.  There is no other.  The way to control debt is to cut up the credit cards not to increase the limits on the ones you have or, worse, get some more.  This is about priorities in a rational spending budget.  Period.  To get us out of this via taxes would require, using CBO, IRS, Census bureau, and Government figures, about $47,000.00 (that is $47 thousand dollars) from every individual in the country including those not now paying any taxes.

The math is, again as i’ve pointed out over and over, incredibly simple.  The only way to not “get it” is to not WANT to get it and be blind to it.  And how about those rich folks including the truly rich plus those owning small business as sole proprietorships whose income is listed at over $200,000.00 (and note the missing item you are not told is that people who want this figure as a criterion do not mention this is “Before Tax” income)?  Well then since it is a smaller number, each of them would have to cough up $3.5 million in taxes.

Sure there are some that could pay it out of pocket change but the majority of people in that income bracket are small business owners and do you seriously believe it would not have a detrimental effect on the same small businesses that are the major employers in this country?  I honestly do not have a problem closing true tax loopholes, but anyone who thinks that will solve the debt problem and let our profligate  spending continue unabated is either hopelessly stupid or sim[ply does not want to face or acknowledge the reality involved.  I’m in favor of the fair flat tax approach but it will not get us out of this mess.  As noted in another post using 100% of our tax revenues will not get us out of this.

So we remain adrift.  Or… as I have suggested before, we are not adrift at all but in the hands of a Captain Ahab, purposefully setting sail after the white whale of democracy and capitalism following the compass of Keynesian/socialist ideals and willing to take us all down with the ship for his ideology which he believes will, in the end be better for us after the ship sinks and he rebuilds us a better boat from the flotsam.  And who is to stop him except us voters?

I just was sent a “civics” test from an inter-collegial studies course.  The friend who sent it to me scored an 87% and I scored a paltry 86%.  But here comes the really frightening statistic.  Of the college professors who took it, the average score was 55% and the overall score of general citizens was 49%. It terrifies me to think our education is in such hands as those professors and worse, that our future is int he hands of those average citizens.   You can take it for yourself at this URL:

http://www.isi.org/quiz.aspx?q=FE5C3B47-9675-41E0-9CF3-072BB31E2692>

Good luck to the rest of you who, along with me, is drifting on the ship of state we need to rename the Pequod!

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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A Good Week for the Prez…The Economy looks Bad.

(DATA ON THE BRISTLECONE PINES PHOTO TRIP IS ONE POST DOWN OR CLICK ON IT IN THE RIGHT HAND “RECENT POSTS” COLUMN)

San Diego — Last week was a GREAT week for the Prez, King Barrack I, all merciful and bountiful, hallowed be his name.  Moody’s is threatening to reduce our national credit rating, and the already under reported unemployment numbers went back up over 9%.  Even party loyalists are quietly uttering the forbidden thought of a “double dip” recession that was long forecast by those doom and gloom folks on the other side.  Ignoring all past rhetoric to the contrary, he told the employees at a Chrysler plant that we had to expect it to get worse before it got better because of “bumps” in the road that would stop even the famous Jeep Wrangler which that plant was building.

Some tried to paper over the remark by claiming it was simply a lame joke.  I don’t think it was a joke at all but a slip of the truth, a “Freudian” error.  It was fascinating he should choose that venue, itself sort of a shell game economically.  The company and the administration made much of the fact that they had paid back their bail out money… they did not mention that they did it with low interest government loans meaning that in terms of their liability to the government it was a wash and they owe the same as they did before the swap in books.

But that is a side show to the economic main attraction.  What I believe are the true bellwether sheep in the mix, gas and food and housing, all continued a negative slide.  Gas went slightly down then back, housing continued down, and food costs continued up while unemployment was up.  All while His Majesty told us how much better things were getting, all while catastrophe was being declared if we were not allowed to borrow even more money instead of facing reality and cutting back on our entitlement spending.

I just have a single question for those advocating this debt ceiling increase.  Would you advise a family member or close friend, someone who was in trouble due to over extending their credit cards, that a workable solution could only be found if they got another credit card and borrowed some more?  How well would you expect that to work out?  Well, that is precisely what the administration is telling us needs to happen.  And they won’t even consider trying to offset that with some spending cuts.

i even just read the comments of one partisan that claimed we were looking at it all wrong and as any banker knows liabilities are actually assets.  He was serious…  and he ignored that it was the banks which had been doing precisely that with a boatload of toxic loans that should never have been granted that was one of the critical nails in the economy’s coffin.

One of the MSNBC pundits, Rachel Maddow, asserted categorically that if we stopped the funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan then we could solve the budget crisis without having to cut other programs.  Whatever she is smoking, i have some old hippie friends that would love to get their hands on some of it. Let’s do the math.

According to the Governments own figures, total defense spending requested for FY 2012 was $881 Billion.  That number included spending on the military, Homeland Security, the Veterans Association, The Nuclear Adminsitration and several State Department Programs.  But to the point, funding for the Iraq and Afghanistan action is requested at $118 Billion, down from $159 Billion last Year.  But the national debt is now over $14 Trillion.  The money for the Iraq and Afghanistan operations won’t even pay the debt service which is $275 Billion for May through October of 2011.  In 2010 interest on our debt was $413.9 Billion and the total for 2011 will be higher.

The other common suggestion from the left is that we should raise taxes on the very wealthy and that would solve it.  OK, let’s do the math again.

According to The  Monthly Treasury Report just put out by the Treasury Department, the total worth of American Billionaires is $1.3 Trillion.  Forget just taxing them, if we took their entire worth and chucked them on the street homeless and penniless we could not even cover this year’s deficit of $1.6 Trillion, never mind the debt. And then who do we hit up for the rest?  And what do we do next year? Throwing in all of the Millionaires entire wealth still does not come even close.

In fact, for those “We can tax our way out of this” crowd, if we added up the entire Federal Tax revenues from all sources (taxes, fees, Social Security, etc.) in 2011 it adds up to $4.46 Trillion.  Does the administration think we are so stupid that we cannot go on to the government’s own web site and get these numbers to poke holes in what they are trying to tell us?  For every dollar in funding commitments we take in less than 50 cents.  Could you run your personal finances like that, unless of course you were on the public dole yourself?  Of course not.

But, you respond, the government can do something you can’t; it can simply print more money.  Yes it can and that is precisely what it is doing.  But how many years of economic study does it take to understand that more money applied to the same number of pulls on it must necessarily result in that money being worth less per unit.  But if you are paid a fixed rate that is not adjusted for inflation, then it takes more of the money from your pocket to buy the same things.  So how is that working out for you at the gas pump and the grocery store?

That is all common knowledge so the answer to the question on the table apparently is, “Yes.”  We ARE that stupid.

There was a time when you might not have heard it since the main media never talked about it and the only ones trying to sound some alarm were those wackos on the opposite side.  But now, even NPR TV finally had one of its reporters admit that some major economists were not backing the administration’s story of economic recovery.  On a Radio Talk show this week even James Carvell, virulent liberal and hardly a pawn in the conservative camp, expressed the concern that Obama, his guy, did not seem to really understand the situation and he feared that we could start seeing some serious civil unrest over it.

So why would this be good news for the Prez?  Well to ask that you would have to be very new to this blog where I have pointed out event after event where, to me, the only logical explanations that connected all of the dots and provided a complete fit to the facts were that either he was rock stupid or was purposely trying to destroy our economy so that he could then ride to the rescue and rebuild it in his own favored European socialist model.  His comment that it has to get worse before it can get better is a revelation of the real plan.  For him to succeed then it MUST get a lot worse… to the point of collapse.

Both the “rock stupid” and the “Socialist Revolutionary” theses form viable working hypotheses. But the missing part of the “stupid” thesis is compassion for the human costs and concern for the country.  Even if he were too stupid, too ignorant, or simply too incompetent to know how to fix it but actually wanted to, a positive desire for the country and real compassion for the economic suffering of so many citizens would have seen an outreach for help and a game change to try to find something that did work even if it was the final humiliation of an admission that the government cannot fix an economy, especially by ramping up the spending policies that created the problems in the first place.  But there is no sign that is about to happen and that means the “stupid” hypothesis starts to fall apart.  That only leaves the one working hypothesis to examine.

Government can certainly can ruin the economy, but only production and private industry can fix it and maintain it.  Increased tax revenues flow from increased productivity.  Duh!  But that concept is not something possible to even contemplate, much less address in his world view.  It is, for him, a complete and willful blind spot.  I think rather that while he is an unqualified and incompetent president, he is not a stupid person.  And he is certainly not without a goal and a plan to reach it.  Instead I think, and with increasing conviction, that he is an ideologue with a plan for social revolution that he is implementing brilliantly.

The obvious next question then is to what possible ends could he be aiming?  Weren’t you listening?  He already told us but no one wanted to hear it and he knew full well that the sycophants hanging on his anointed robes would hear only what they wanted to hear and then try to ignore or spin the rest.  His previous close associates and mentors have already told us.  He himself was clear he wanted to transform America and he was also clear in his vision for what that might look like.  Couched in warm fuzzy rhetoric about caring for the poor, the needy, or, best and most heart-string tugging of all, the children, he wishes to oversee a government run and enforced redistribution of wealth from those who earn it to those who do not.  He knows that those who do not, who seek to continue feeding at the government trough, are a sufficient voting block to keep him in office essentially for life.

Oh I know there is that pesky amendment limiting Presidential terms but he has already shown a major disdain for that musty old document and would have no trouble overriding it as he has other Constitutional roadblocks to his plans.

I can see the eyes rolling now; I hear the whispers that ol’ David has finally lost what little grip on reality he might ever have had.  But I simply would ask you to revisit the history of countries who have gone from some more or less popularly elected for of government (prior to rigged elections that created “Presidents for Life”) and see what the mechanisms were that set the change to a de facto dictatorship in motion.  it has, nearly always and with very, very few exceptions, been the same sequence of effects and it has started with an economic crisis followed by, as Keynes himself described it, a debauching of the currency, that is the printing of more money to stave off an out of control inflation which is then enflamed by the increased amount of money in an economic death spiral.

As in the most famous example, the Weimar Republic in Germany, the value of money declines rapidly meaning the cost of good escalates rapidly until even basics are unaffordable, people panic and in the following chaos take to the streets in protest which, given the nature of mob psychology turns sooner or later to riots and the benevolent dictator in training now has to use strong-arm means for the good of the people to bring things under control.

None of that would be possible here except slowly and surely the drug of benefits has been doled out as if for free and now has become cripplingly addictive.  We were promised “change” and we certainly got it.  From January 2009 to May 2011 Gas prices have increased 84%, Corn has increased 78%, Sugar has increased 164%, Food Stamps have increased 35%, long term unemployed has increased 146%, the national debt has increased 32%.  All of that in a little over half of a Presidential term. The rate of increase in the National Debt is stunning. In the last two years we have accumulated national debt at a rate more than 27 times as fast as during the rest of our entire nation’s history. To put that in some perspective if you are driving in the right lane doing 65 MPH and a car rockets past you in the left lane going 27 times faster, it would be doing well over 7,000 MPH!  Is your income growing at that same rate?

No one could possibly believe that is sustainable and so the only possible explanation for the continuation, much less the acceleration of the policies that created that situation is that it is on purpose and it has as its goal the very end to which it has historically always led: an over throw of government and the institution of a de facto dictatorship “for the good of the people.”

I truly do not want to be correct in this. I keep waiting and searching for the evidence that will provide another working hypothesis to analyze but thus far i’ve not seen it.  That is why i endure the snarky administration apologists on MSNBC and read the claptrap from Huffington Post and other such sites hoping to hear the missing fact or piece of evidence to allow me to change that thinking.  I don’t have any kids so I do not worry about them and I also do not worry about the kids of those who have consistently voted to let this political monstrosity loose on the land.  If that truly reflects the values of the 21st Century American then they deserve what is coming.

What I don’t like is the closing speed which may bring about this collapse and change in my own lifetime.


 
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Posted by on June 7, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Union Blinders, Border Blunders, and a Failed Educational System Whining for Handouts

San Diego – it was so nice to get back into photography topics for a moment, especially about such beautiful places as Yosemite.  But once again. against my better judgement, I read the weekly, sometimes daily political male bovine excrement from our AFT guy even though I keep promising myself to just delete it from the mailbox to keep my blood pressure in some sort of survivable range.  This time they want us to march on the local state senator to “send him a message” to extend tax increases and to add tax hikes on the wealthy.  At least here they are targeting those making over $500K and only asking for 1% increase which I could probably support.  Then they go on to talk about other taxes that need to be installled in the system.

The problem is simple math… I mean REALLY simple math.  The measures proposed would decrease (using the Union’s own figures) the state deficit by about $10 billion.  This is, of course, assuming there were no unintended consequences… like driving more businesses out of the state.  Last year wee lost over 600 good sized businesses to Texas, Florida and other states where they do not see business success as something somehow evil.  And with those businesses went the corporate jobs, the corporate taxes, the home ownership and property taxes, the sales taxes, the gas taxes, the othere state “fees,” etc.  We are already considered to tie New York as being the most hostile to business states.

But let’s assume for a moment that the additional taxes would not drive away any more businesses and end up losing any more state tribute…uh… revenue.  The math problem remains: we have a $25+ Billion deficit so these measures do not even address half of it.  And, there was not a single proposal coming from this bastion of Marxist economics to cut ANYthing, nor even to prioritize the spending.  And if suddenly we were only $15 Billion in the hole, how does that help education?  How typical.

In a previous post on “Scorn for Teachers” (you can use the search field in the right hand column to find it) I said we needed to clean our own house if the educational system were to be even WORTH saving, much less saved.  We have a top heavy system in which, at this college, over 99% of the budget (Yes, that is right, OVER 99%!) is for personnel.  The remaining less than 1% is for EVERYTHING else that goes into providing an educational experience for the students.  Meantime, new blood with new ideas and enthusiasm (which would be lower on the pay scale) is blocked from entree by a tenure system designed to protect the tired old dead wood from moving on or even having to perform well.

Don’t get me wrong.  I think good teachers should be protected and utilized until they are ready to retire or drop dead behind the podium.  It is not about the age, it is about the teaching skills.  Meantime, those that are not good teachers should be fired the next day whether they have been teaching ten days or ten years or a lifetime. Education is simply too important.  As a teacher, if I am not doing my job well then I need to be seeking another line of work rather than to continue to inflict my sorry rear on one more student.

So where does the educational community get the gall to ask for more money when we have so disastrously allocated what we have?  Without systemic changes, more money simply goes to perpetuate and facilitate the broken system.  And who suffers? Not the deadwood, but many of the adjuncts who, in direct contradiction to state rules, make up nearly 3/4 of the teaching force.  Many of these adjunct professors are enthusiastic, young exciting new teachers who are savaged by the cuts while those entrenched in their positions are secure and could not be dynamited out.  Until evaluations are based on objective measurements of merit and ability and not the good-old-boy network that will never be solved.

And the State has to get off of the equally Marxian ideal that higher education should be free.  Our State students pay the lowest tuition fees in the country by a huge margin.  That would be fine if the State had it or would prioritize education financially to match the rhetoric, but neither of those is true.  We protect the prison guards but not the educators; we protect the Snail Darters and Delta Smelt but not the students, we prohibit drilling or any resource gathering and by protecting the dead wood also inhibit education gathering by our population.  if the state prefers to spend its money on other things it should at least let the schools raise enough money to come closer to pulling their own weight or making up the difference between what the state has left over after protecting aliens and what it costs to run the schools.  That way they could at least stay open.  of course now with ridiculously low tuition and ridiculously low standings as schools go, one could argue that the students are getting what they are paying for.  And when you give something away for free, you have told everyone what its worth.

But in the liberal mind, “leveling the playing field” is done by bringing down the top rather than raising the bottom, so they would rather see schools cut classes or even close down, than to for all them to raise tuition so that at least the enthusiastic and interested had a shot.  My folks could not afford my tuition though my mom helped when she could.  So I worked as a mechanic and truck driver, and it was damned hard to juggle all of that but i knew first hand the value of that education and worked hard there too.  I earned my education and did not have it given to me and to be honest I think that is how it should be.  if you want it bad enough then you will find a way; if not, if you are not willing to sacrifice to get it then, in my opinion, you do not deserve it because you probably also will not be willing to put in the effort it takes to succeed at whatever it was you were studying.  I do not want class seats that should go to the serious dedicated students being warmed by the fannies of those using school as a financial aid revenue source or a baby sitter to keep them from the horrors of the real world.

Then, ss if the idiocy from the union were not enough for one day, we also just got a memo from the legal department reminding admin and faculty that we are mandated by “new federal regulations” to provide our services to any and all regardless of citizenship status.  Most also need financial aid so they not only go for free they pay virtually nothing back into the system or the economy in the form of buying educational needs or paying even the taxes on them.

One of the things i do know a bit about is the Constitution.  I studied it in Law School, chaired a  group who for some time studied and delved deeply into it, Have copies of it at home, in my office and on my PDA.  I can tell you categorically there is not one word or mention of a “Right” to education and there is sure as Hell no mention of a Right of foreign nationals to our educational system especially at the expense of citizens when competing for seats.  That is just wrong.  Here, you can sneak across the border and if you are here long enough to establish “residency” then you can go to our schools for in-state tuition.  What?

So where does the anointed one get the cojones to stand up in Texas and sarcastically mouth the words that he is protecting the border and American jobs as never before (you need to listen to the speech not just read it).  The words are right out of a conservative playbook but to hear it, to hear the inflections, tells you a very, very different story.  Plus it was mostly an outright lie… but we should expect little else at this point…

Meantime local Border Patrol officers are so disgruntled they are increasingly going public with their orders to not detain aliens but to “TBS” (Turn (them) Back South) or let them go in order to change the statistics to look like the administrations “efforts” are succeeding. It is astonishing that anyone is fooled by this but the disciples of the Messiah seem to be completely entranced and are buying it all.  And anyone who does not think that the immigration problem does not feed the economic problem is simply spending too much time at one of the new clinics smoking some newly legalized substance.

We have an incredibly huge problem, but we have let it go so far out of kilter that any workable remedy will have to be painful for many.  But it can never be solved in the environment that lets us continue to overspend.  Ask any addict what the odds are of slowly weaning yourself from the drug of choice and in the state and this country the drug of choice is money.  Rather the “treatment” ought to be prioritized so that it is more painful for those feeding off the public trough that do not contribute to the betterment of the society than for those who are critical to it.  When the government “shut down” was nearing there was talk of letting go all “non-essential” personnel.  I want to know why we, the taxpayers, should EVER pay for a single non-essential government employee!

Now, of course, it is the other way around.  It is as if those legislators were the incapable-of-thinking products of the very educational system they are now working hard to destroy. Who else would think you can spend your way out of a debt crisis or solve it by borrowing more money?  Maybe that’s the answer… they are not TRYING to solve it.  Maybe they are so angry at the failed system they are willing to tear it down completely and they are learning from their Lord, King Barrack I, that before you can transform a system in your own image you must first tear it down pretty completely.  What other rationales make logical sense?

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Extremist & Draconian Math

San Diego – We all know about “New Math.”  That is the math that has left our kids without the ability to count change and depend on calculators.  But now we have Extremist Math.  Since good ol’ Chuck Shummer told his fellow Democrats to label anyone who wanted to cut spending as extremists and their ideas as Draconian that has been the obligatory label used for nearly anyone who disagrees with them.  “Draconian” is a fitting label for them to use since they also accused their opposition of coming to town to kill women and old folks.

I hear a deafening silence… “Draconian?” you ask.  Oh come on, all of you ever-so-educated and informed voters surely are so steeped in history you remember the Athenian Greek, Draco?  In 621 BC Draco was asked to codify all laws so that everyone would know them and not be able to claim ignorance or to break them unknowingly.  His code decreed death for virtually every offense.  He stated he believed death was appropriate for ANY crime and could not think of something more severe for the bigger crimes.

So lets put the Draconian objectors to the budget deal to the microscope.  it has become pretty well established that Americans. almost somewhat uniquely (and, in my opinion due in part to new math) cannot comprehend or deal with really big numbers.  A million is slightly out of grasp and a billion or more are just abstractions.  THe only way to make sense of what is really at play is to deal in percentages and bring down examples into the realm of the understandable.  That is what I tried to do when I showed that, following the math done by a friend, using the Democrats’ reasoning, my own $3,000 credit card debt could be properly dealt with by my cutting $.08 (that is eight cents) from my annual spending.

Well here is another example.  First the reality as described here in an article on the issue:

“Currently, the Federal debt amounts to $14.2 trillion. (Washington has) borrowed every penny the law allows. In fact, that’s the reason for the current war of words. If Congress won’t raise the debt ceiling, the government can’t borrow any more money. If it can’t borrow any more money, it can’t pay for all the boondoggles and giveaways that are already law. [DK: And that means that expenditures and liabilities were passed into law knowing full well they were above to so-called debt limit and now they need to hike the limit to pay for them. So much for any real debt ceiling: you just authorize the spending and then tell the people they will be devastated if they have to “cut” the programs.  Can we spell “fraud?”  Oh well, back to the quote… )

“The deficit is already scheduled to grow by $1.6 trillion this year. In other words, even if Congress can’t agree on spending one more dollar this year, we taxpayers are already on the hook for our government to fork over $1.6 trillion more than it collects in taxes.

“The deficit for February (the shortest month of the year!) was $223 billion. That was the largest single deficit of any month in our country’s history.  Let me put it another way: The same day that Republicans in the House voted to cut spending by $6 billion, our national debt jumped by $72 billion. That’s $72 billion in new deficits, every day of the week, every week of the year.”

So lets convert that all to pennies where one penny equals a trillion dollars (from an analogy first presented by Chip Wood). The debt is roughly 15,000 pennies or a pile of 300 of those red penny rolls. And the pile is growing by 72 pennies a day or about a roll and a half. (for those who have never been in business or saved their change, a penny roll/wrapper holds $.50.  Oh, I’m sorry, that is 50 pennies.

The nasty evil Draconian House wanted to cut 10 pennies from that pile of 15,000 pennies
but had to settle on less. The Dems were willing to cut 4.5 pennies and in the end settled on about 6 pennies or 1/16 of the amount of NEW debt being racked up that very day.  Draconian?  Extreme?  And in following our analogy how do the liberal folks tell the tale?  They say those nasty Draconians are trying to cut all of ten pennies at once (can you even imagine?) which will be disastrous because we only increased the deficit this month by 1.44 rolls. And the sychophants readily buy into that bit of verbal mis-direction.  The nasty conservatives want to cut 10 but only increased 1.44.  Uh, but wait a minute… the cut is 10 pennies but 1.44 rolls is 72 pennies… you have to not let them keep you from reading the fine print.

When it looked like they actually might lose the fight Dems accelerated the misdirection approach and added an old staple technique… they lied.  they lied by also started telling people that if the government shut down then soldiers in the field (“America’s flowering youth now in harm’s way”) would not be paid.  That is a lie.  The Law is clear that active duty military are considered essential personnel and exempt from furlough or layoff without pay.  And who else is excempt?   I know this will surprise you.  Congress and all of their staffs are also exempt.  Reality is not kind to the liberal position but they can happily (for them) rely on voter ignorance and short-term memory and their fear of nasty labels.

King Barrack loves telling the world he inherited a Trillion Dollar deficit, as if that somehow excuses boosting it to the current levels.  But it is a lie.  $800 billion of that deficit was the one time, never to be repeated TARP bailout.  But the new administration, instead of keeping it as a one time expenditure, rolled it into the base line for the continuing budget and then rolled their own additional “Stimulus” money of several more trillion into the base line.  In a truly bizarre and utterly ironic twist of events, the idiot Michael Moore was partially right: we are not as broke as it seems because the reality of one-time expenditures has been rolled forward on paper as if we should be spending that money EVERY year, and God knows King Barrack wants to do just that.

Anybody know of a small isolated island needing a Photo Professor where the national budget is counted in fish and coconuts and one cannot run a deficit because the exchange is based in tangible goods?  No one can say that a pound of fish is, today, worth 1.8 pounds of fish.

I want to declare a moratorium on the use of all labels and personalities used in place of national political debate.  I want to make it mandatory that only the facts be presented and let the voters decide based on facts, not on fear-based labels and emotional arguments.

P.S. – re local/State issues.  I do not support a tax increase; we are driving businesses out-of-state in record numbers and with them, losing the tax base on both corporate and employee levels.  But I do believe the voters have a right to decide for themselves and it should be put on the ballot. and if, according to law, 2/3 of them vote to increase specified taxes then that should be allowed.  Plato referred to pure Democracy as “the rule of fools” but the petition/referendum process in California has already totally subverted the 3-part government approach and created a third branch which is totally unaccountable and has consistently refused to pay for the schemes their petitions have put in place.  Now I think we should give them a choice to face reality.

On the budget ballot we should list the amount that needs to be raised to pay for all of the schemes and let them chose to pay for them with additional taxes or not.  Those that do not get the votes would be scrapped the day the votes are counted.  For those that do, taxes will be raised accordingly unless enough are dropped to make up the difference.

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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