And The Fallout Begins…

August 7, 2011

This week in American econo-political history was significant for 3 reasons.

1)  The bailout deal actually coalesced.  The US did NOT default on any of its loans as Congress actually compromised and raised the debt ceiling.
2)  The Dow saw a 513 point drop as a general reaction to weeks of crappy economic news being ignored (see #1) and everyone realizing that the contagion has spread to Europe and its in Spain AND Italy.

3)  S&P downgraded US debt to AA+ status.  For the first time in history, one of the major ratings agencies has downgraded US debt.

With all that said, it all boils down to this.  #1 shows that politics and brinksmanship is more important than actually doing what is best for the country.  Everyone knows that the amount cut wasn’t nearly large enough and that you’re going to have to raise taxes to get the fiscal house in order – the whole is just too big.  Congress kicked the can down the road to buy time for the ‘super-Congress’ to try its hand.  Don’t hold your breath.  They didn’t address the underlying problems in entitlements now….they probably won’t do it then.  I applaud House Republicans for sticking to their guns, however pledges to Grover Norquist should not take priority of the oath you took to the country and your constituents.  Please realize that major corporations do not pay their fair share in taxes and that it is a fallacy to say that increasing taxes is a defacto job killer – the primary decision to hire employees is not based upon taxes you pay but ability to expand business and make more money in the market.

#2 Shows that we are not out of the woods.  This isn’t a muddle-through economy.  I believe this is an economy in recession that got a reprieve due to gov’t stimulus.  that stimulus has about run out at this point, so we will slip back into recession  The underlying problems in housing, banking, and the false economic expansion of the 2000’s due to those industries are still with us.  Until we address them and continue the deleveraging process, the economy will not recover.   Taking your eye off of the ball for months because of a distracting debt debate gives you a 513 single day decline because of these continuing underlying problems.

#3  The only AAA this country has left are surface to air missiles and the road-side assistance people.  We spend more than we make, we owe huge amounts of money to others, and we have no real plan of fixing things.  Pile a generally pathetic exercise in leadership from the politicians in DC and you get the crisis we’re in.

I recognize that its tough.  I see the merit in specific types of stimulus to help jump-start the economy.  The problem is, we didn’t do the right ones, everyone knew it, and now, there is rightly no appetite because the public doesn’t trust the federal government to spend that kind of money wisely.  They had their chance to enact good stimulus – i.e. really rebuild America’s infrastructure, or develop next generation energy sources.  Both would be long-term investments where your return was larger than the investment and created real jobs here at home.  Instead, they propped up failing institutions, bailed out banks and let them get bigger when they should have been broken up, and tried to stabilize housing prices when market forces are still telling us years after the peak that prices need to fall further.

Individually, the politicians in DC are palatable.  I really like my representative in Congress and I can accept my two Senators.  Collectively though, something very bad happens.  It’s a combination of group think, a culture that embraces gridlock as standard rather than compromise, and leaders who I do think are lousy (on both sides of the aisle) because they worry more about politics and the next election rather than doing what is right long-term for the country.  Toss in an entitled yet apathetic electorate that does not take their democracy seriously,  super PACs and special interests who do, a Federal Reserve that has been worrisome in policy for the past 20 to 30 years, and fraud waste and abuse from the red-tape that is known as the federal government and you have what we’ve got today.

I wish there was a reset button.

– G.S.


Solutions 1A) – National Debt via Healthcare

July 2, 2011

did you know - that snakes were an ancient sign of healing? Hence why they're in this symbol.

Tell me if I’m wrong, but as broken as government is, it is because of men, not because of the problems being insurmountable.  Yes, hard choices have to be made, but wasting months and months of time arguing over a debt ceiling that we all know is going to get raised is simply irresponsible.

Thus I am making a new segment for a while and offering you a battery of solutions (in brief – I could go much further into depth for each).  I always say, don’t give my problems, give me solutions.  Well here they are.  They would work if the charlatans would get out of the way.

National Debt

To tackle such a huge issue, you must have multiple prongs of attack.  I will address by its various parts that in total, add up to addressing the problem…which is turn also address other issues that need to be solved on a national level.

A – The Health Care Industry

Completely gut the program in a voluntary 4 state test ‘opt-in’ experimental program for 5 years.  Start it in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri or another block of a couple of contiguous states.

Take away all but the most basic framework regulations at a federal level while also making it so the states cannot interfere with the program to foul it up either.  The bottom line is to make as free a market as possible for all aspects of the industry so that true capitalism, not crony-capitalism rules.  Good business decisions and ethical behavior gets rewarded, and greed and graft fail as customers and the industry goes somewhere else.

Let all current healthcare providers sign up.  Existing insurance companies cannot participate unless they make fully transparent and separate entity spin-off businesses for this experimental market.  Entrepreneurial endeavors are welcomed as well and incentives will be provided to encourage their creation.

Loser pays, common-sense tort reform is enacted to decimate the lawsuit rate in healthcare in this experimental area for all but the most blatant offenses where the case is justified.  Force actuaries to adjust risk premiums for such a new environment for hospitals and doctors so that their malpractice insurance plummets.

Drug companies are allowed to go through an ultra-streamlined FDA approval process for the introduction of new drugs in this market at much quicker and reduced cost, with risks fully disclosed to the patients and the drug-maker being held fully accountable should patients get bad medicine.  At the same time, imports from Canada, generics, and other ways to lessen the cost of medicine is allowed.  The market decides what is best.

Indigent care that is non-emergency can be refused at the Emergency room upon quick, initial professional assessment by a registered nurse or doctor.  Repeat offenders can be fined.  A TV advertising campaign in the test area is conducted during the most popular TV shows – American Idol, Glee, NCIS, etc to advertise the program and the restrictions, like the emergency room refusal policy.  Public clinics should have lower costs with these programs, but they can get extra help in a streamlined fashion from the government when shown that the policy is working and they are seeing more patients.

Finally, any angle that I didn’t cover could be addressed with your input.  The bottom line is that there is enough need and money to go around for government to help be a part of the solution, not part of the problem.  A young doctor, just finished with their residency should want to open their own community practice back home because their small town needs a doctor.  This also would include things like changing how doctors are compensated…whatever works for both the doctor and the insurer.  Heck, if costs were low enough, doctors could charge customers directly without health insurance just like most other transactions.

The best legislation we can make is legislation that gets the legislation out of the way and lets the free market truly be free and let capitalism work.  We still need basic FDA protections and anti-trust protections, but give this program a try for 2 – 5 years.  I believe that it would be wildly successful and the healthcare industry in other states would CLAMOR to have this system adopted.

This system would give better care, be more profitable, and save tons and tons of money for all involved.  Government would spend less on red tape, make more money on taxation of businesses, and the care would be so much cheaper that not only could everyone now afford healthcare, they would have multiple options to choose from, people would WANT to opt-in without being forced to, and the cost of government providing healthcare via Medicare and Medicaid would plummet.

That greatly reduces the ballooning costs of the social contract our government has with its citizenry, especially the elderly.  However, the specifics of Medicare is my next segment.  Most costs associated with health-care come at the end of life, and there are ways to curb those expenditures as well within the system I just outlined here.

Thoughts, improvement, criticism?  I want it all because I know there is a solution but I surely haven’t covered all the angles.

– G.S.


Repent! The Day of Reckoning IS At Hand!

February 19, 2011

"Look at me...you think I'm joking when I say 'a modest proposal'?!?"

 .

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

 My roots are in Jersey.  It’s where my family is from, my wife’s father and his family is from – but we all call ourselves Virginians now because we left the insanity that is known as The Garden State.  I unapologetically call it The Armpit Of The Union.  High taxes, they generally hate your gun, filthy cities, liberal as Hell, and you can’t even pump your own gas (the ESL guy has to do it for you so he can have a job).  Jersey basically is pissed that NYC is right across the river and they take it out on its citizens.

   For whatever reason, the state was blessed with Chris Christie however, and possibly just in time to save it from itself.  For all the semi unfair bile I just regurgitated against the state, it’s still America and I am a fan of its governor.  He sees the trainwreck his state is moments before its going to happen (but still far ahead of everyone else) and he has the balls to try and throw the brake before its too late.  Sure, there’s wailing and gnashing of teeth in Trenton – and for good reason.  He’s probably going to have to raise taxes.  I’m not a fan, and neither is he – but he realizes that to save this patient, there is going to have to be more pain…but he also recognizes that he doesn’t have a revenue problem…he’s got a spending problem.  Hence the spending freezes, the program cuts, and most famously – his head on fight with the public sector union and their entitlement programs…and his isn’t the only state.  You see the drama unfolding in Wisconsin as we speak.  The same story can be repeated across this country and generally the more populous the state and liberal your legislature is, the bigger the problem you have – hence why Christie and NJ are the canaries in the coal mine.

  Almost 2 months to the day, 60 Minutes did a story on this brewing crisis…and that is what this is, this thing is brewing as it’s just the beginning.

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7166293n&tag=cbsnewsMainColumnArea.10

  What do you think is going to happen to all of those whining public sector unions when the state goes tits up on it and declares bankruptcy?  I don’t have a pension as management at a small, manufacturing plant even though I am a manufacturer whose business actually creates high paying jobs and pays taxes to the government.  The best I can do is having a matching 401K and not get raked over the coals on my health insurance as a young person with a kid on my plan.  Thank God my wife has her own plan at her work – things really jump up for a family plan.  But I don’t complain – that is the reality of working in America today.  The other side of the reality is that the taxes FROM the my workplace go to pay for a state employee who is probably living a bit too high on the hog with a pension and life-time health-care benefits because they got a good deal from the state because of their collective bargaining when things were better.  They work for an inefficient bureaucracy that we give too much money to for too little result – and they want to have life-time retirement plans for being a part of a business like that!  That my friends, is the problem with more government – its easy to spend SOMEONE ELSE’s money – to paraphrase Margaret Thatcher.  God forbid that government go back to the state unions with their sweetheart deals and say ‘the times have changed, we’ve made too many promises to too many people and created too much inefficient bureaucracy – something has to give because we simply don’t have the money anymore’.

  What the unions don’t get is that they can bitch and moan and try to squeeze every last dime out of the government, but it will drive the government to insolvency and then they could get nothing and it certainly will be less than any deal struck to try and head off the mess; because once you’re insolvent, all the cards are on the table then whether you want them or not.  Between these 50 states that make this great country, there is an estimated 1 TRILLION+ dollar shortfall (that’s from Pew Research) and that is what they can see before you actually get into the cooked books.  You and I both know that if citizens or businesses ran their personal budgets like the state and federal government does, then we’d be both bankrupt and in jail.

  If we don’t get more Chris Christies then some states will have to declare themselves insolvent.  I bet a lot already are, they just won’t admit it.   The states just don’t have the money and the obvious sin of the past that is coming back to haunt them are the juicy public sector entitlements because its easy to pass the buck on to future generations.  Well, they’ve been doing it via bad deals for over 50 years and now the day of reckoning is at hand.  No more high property taxes to leverage against and paper over the mess – the tide has receeded and the state governments have been found to be naked!

Yes, there has been talk about a federal bailout.   ANOTHER expenditure of money we don’t have that doesn’t even get to root of the problem – so you could have similar problems in future years.   That’s going to go over as well as a turd in the punchbowl in DC and the reality of the matter is that the The House of Representatives will never pass it, and that is because of who the citizenry has elected there for the time being.   You want to talk about people in the streets?  How do you think I’ll feel because myself and my kids (and grandkids) have to pay for those bailouts because New Yorkers, Californians, and Wisconsinites think they are entitled to their dinosauric yet juicy public sector programs? 

 It’s another form of a redistribution of wealth and socialism at its worst.  Your states made the bed they lie in, don’t pass the buck the to rest of the country.  Let your states and pensions fail, then you’ll wish you would have worked with the Chris Christies out there.  I’m telling you, repent before its too late…

– G.S.


The New Manhattan Project – Part II

December 30, 2010

 

…continued from Part I, here.

Energy Independence

Fusion power has so much potential that we could have so much energy that  there would be no strain on the system’s supply to have electric car docking stations at every person’s house and place of work   They’re already paid for with the stimulus money ‘free’ of cost to the tax-payer.  How many people could you put to work over the coures of 10 years with that project in a country as large and developed as ours?  Gas stations would be paired (and eventually replaced) with rapid battery swap shops that take your cars standardized old battery that is drained and give you a freshly charged one.  Going back to the shah in Oman…100% of the money in your pocket is paying for your power from American sources because we invented the economy that the money all goes to. 

     100% of the money also means we are not dependent upon the shah for his oil anymore.  We don’t need him – we can run our economy on our own energy sources.   American sources mean dollars back into your community.  By not having to worry about a supply of oil, we are free to let the Middle East fight itself instead of us once again.  No more wars of foreign involvement.  Our soldiers aren’t there spilling their blood, we aren’t spending our treasure on waging war, and the radicals there get what they want by not having the US in their lands.  I say let them descend into a 9th century level of barbarism again.  Tell them we don’t need their oil and so they get what they want – the US to leave…and we would.  It’s not that easy though, I’m not naive liberal.  Realistically, that wouldn’t be good enough for the jihadists; they would still blame us for our past involvement and try to send more terrorists our way.  That is a solvable problem though, but not for today.  

  Carbon Reducing Green Energy

Lastly, we can reinvent our country all while being green.  Fusion power doesn’t emit hydrocarbons – like fission reactors, you’re not burning anything.  Fusion power emissions are energy and water.  That’s it.  There is no radioactive waste with a half-life of 20,000  years that you have to dispose of.  Guess where you get the fuel for nuclear power reactors?  Salt water.  Yes, the fuel deuterium comes from ‘heavy water’ commonly found in sea water.  You mix that with tritium (which is merely a hydrogen atom with two protons in it) and a whole lot of energy and the two atoms ‘fuse’ together to make even more energy, a helium atom, and a neutron.  That’s it.

The Problem and Reality
  The only reason that fusion is so hard is that like the sun, the process is extremely hot.  So hot that the plasma produced can melt anything.  The only way to contain it is to basically make an electromagnetic shield of energy around the reaction.  It’s similar to shields in Star Trek, but instead of keeping energy from a  weapon out, it keeps energy from the reaction in and thus prevents the plasma from melting the reactor chamber.

   Our current reactors take more energy to power up and run than the process makes.  Improving the technology takes research and eureka moments.  You get that with the best minds working together, being excited about their work and pulling long hours over the concentrated effort of 5-10 years, not the snail’s pace of 100 years like the current proposed rate of progress.  Talk about a pathetic, flacid approach.  Real research with the best of minds means that the money has to be there to spend. 

 My Vision

Unlike a devalued dollar and papered-over banking problems, fusion power is a solution for the ages.  What is a half a trillion dollars to the hundreds of trillions of dollars that near limitless energy is worth?  The world is not running out of sea water anytime soon and with limitless energy, things are far more possible.  First, we stop heating up the planet.  Global warming is real.  It may come from a hotter sun too, but throwing an extra wool blanket around the plant from more carbon dioxide than plants can take in doesn’t help.  Secondly, energy intensive processes like reverse osmosis water purification can desalinate and purify salt water or poisoned water.  So much of the world’s suffering comes from having a poor water supply.  You could now do grandiose civil engineering projects like fueling california’s agriculture industry from reverse-osmosed sea water that is pumped to the farmland.  The energy from fusion power could drive the massive pumps and purifiers that you would need.  You could even take the idea a step further and slowly terraform deserts and make them arable again – combating their slow spread.  Other things even more grandiose are possible.    Remember how hydrogen is the key ingredient, well it is also the most abundant element in the universe and floats freely around the vacuum of space.  Space ships, space travel, space colonies, and asteroid mining and the inherent resources there, are all far more possible because you have now have an efficient engine to power your spacecraft and a ready source of fuel to power it.

Yes, my ideas for the future may be grandiose, but with near limitless energy, it is possible.  All it takes is leadership and vision.  I wish we had more of it.

The Bottom Line

You can’t do something like this on the cheap.  Its going to cost hundreds of billions to do it on the scale and pace of breakthrough I’m talking about, both in infrastructure development and technology.  Politicians can spend the same amount of money bailing out banks, printing fiat currency, and generally kicking the can of economic collapse down the road, but they can’t do what I propose.  Its all because special interests in DC and Congress’ general lack of vision prevents it from actually being the body politic it needs to be.  There are too  many politicians and not enough statesmen; we need less power grubbing and more visionary leadership.   

This is our silver bullet, but we’ve got to fire it or its of no use.

– G.S.


The New Manhattan Project

December 22, 2010

Worship Me! I Am The Solution To All of Your Woes.

  I have hinted at this post in the past and now it’s here.  This is my non-scientific stab at:

 – The Next ‘American Innovation’

–  American Reinvestment

– Effective Stimulus

– High-Paying, Sustainable Job Creation 

– Energy Independence

– National Security

–  and A Carbon Reducing, Green Energy Source

     The caption says it all.  Fusion power – the source of energy for the suns and thermonuclear weapons is the answer.  Name one thing, only one thing that can realistically accomplish all of the above bullet points and I’ll eat my hat.  Lets get started.  There may be overlap as some pertinent factors can be shared.

  The Next ‘American Innovation’

     This country has maintained its greatness because it has an edge.  The ideas and entrepreneurship that are part of our identity have given rise to our modern world and the standard of living that we so enjoy.  Since the industrial revolution and throughout the 20th Century, this country’s economy is generally propelled by some sort of new innovation.  It might be something great like Carnegie and his telegraph and steel empire, or it could be something as terrible and destructive as the First and Second World Wars.  All three examples drove American innovation forward and provided new technologies, industries, jobs, and money for this country’s citizens.  Why not use this technology and its benefits today – providing that next needed industry.  We could corner the market and benefit as we spread the technology to the world instead of dragging the development process out for the next 50 years.  I am serious.   The development of the most promising reactors take decades with further designs behind them.  The pace and the money are a pittance.  My one source said it was a total of about a billion dollars a year.  Yes, that is a lot of money, but not for a country that builds a plane that cost $1.2 billion back in the early 90’s and doesn’t blink to spend $20 billion on foreign aid a year and $787 billion to bail out Wall Street. 

American Reinvestment

    This technology would be an investment in America because we have to spend the money here to make the technology and integrate it into our economy and lives.   This case alone should be enough when I say that with a serious committment and expenditure of dollars, we can not only keep that money in our nation’s collective pocket, but spend more on power grids, power plants, turbines, electric cars, cement, and training.  This doesn’t even begin to account for all of the other supportive roles that put people to work while making something that is real and actually is a return on investment.  Real product you say?  Return on investment…that sounds like manufacturing!?! 

    Yes it is.  We used to be really good at it.  This is just manufacturing a new energy economy.  Why send over $400 billion a year overseas when we can keep that money here while also reinvesting in America?

Effective Stimulus

    This stimulus comes in two parts.  The first is the one we are all too familiar with;  the one from the government.  It means we spend money we generally don’t have on something in the hopes we get a greater return than what we put in.  These days, government stimulus is considered a ‘win’ when it gets back the  money it put in.  Now here is the hard part…stuff like this always involves Congress approving, creating, and managing a program that would be what I call ‘The New Manhattan Project’.  Instead of making fission bombs, we are making fusion energy.  The scale is debatable, but if we can spend hundreds of billions of dollars time and time again on terrible and perversely incentivized stimulus, why can’t the government pony up say $500 billion ($50 billion a year for 10 years) to invent fusion power that gives us more energy than it takes, and also completely revamping our nation’s energy grid in preparation for the technology and as a way to repair it.  Yeah, if you didn’t know, our energy grid is far from smart – its crumbling in a lot of places. 

     The reality is that this government and that of the whole EU might invest $40 billion over the next 50 years.  Might.  They’ve only put up about $10 billion to get where they have so far.  BP has a claims fund twice that size for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  That is a paltry sum for a slow process that doesn’t have enough impetus behind it to create leap-frog breakthroughs.

High-Paying Job Creation & Sustainment

     The second part of the stimulus is that it directly equates to American jobs and careers.  No, this is not seasonal or temporary work for minimum wage but high-tech jobs that pay well and will not go away.  Linemen, mechanics, power plant workers, engineers, professors, surveyors, the list goes on – these are jobs that can’t be exported because that are manufacturing something that can’t be exported.  The power lines and the power plants aren’t going anywhere.  This investment in the American worker and American infrastructure is money put back into our own pockets.  It is spent by you and your family and also by the company you work for in goods and services.  Some of that money ends up in the hands of the cement factory owner across town, who then has to get his cement trucks serviced by a local truck garage that your neighbor works at.  Like in this example, the same $1 goes a lot further went it is spent multiple times in a community instead of lining the pocket of a shah in Oman.  Why take 65 cents or so of every dollar and give it to people over in the Middle East who we shouldn’t trust because they really don’t like us that much…but they are all to glad to take our money? 

… Part II is now complete and is here.


The Road To Hell…

December 10, 2010
Where Is Our Modern Day Cerberus?

 

…is paved with the hopes of our unborn.  And mortared with the ground up then watered down dreams of our forefathers.  We run rough-shod and headlong over them with nary a thought of where we are going.  The age of the hero has drawn to a close, and the age of the charlatan has begun.

And you thought I’d say “with good intentions…”
    Well kids, you can take the above passage to the bank.   I wish I could say this rather apocolyptic bit is mere prose, but I honestly, truly, from the bottom of patriotic heart believe the rhetoric I throw at you today.  I could point to a number of troubling man-made issues that our great nation can’t solve – Chinese dominance, N. Korean sabre rattling, Iranian recalcitrance, general global recession, etc, etc. 
    I haven’t even talked about the ones we didin’t control or haven’t convinced everyone on yet (who would have thought that global warming hangs out with big foot, the moon landing, and Elvis’ death)
 
   The one I do want to point out to you and one we can control is this pathetic rabble we have in Congress.  Look at these thieves and then look at yourself.  Everyone is SO concerned about the debt just one month ago in the mid-term elections that the sides were tripping over each other on how they can spend smartly.  The reason Republicans won wasn’t from a mandate, but  from dissatisfied voters who wanted less government and LESS spending.  Its a message that is more believable from them.
   Instead, what we get is a masked stimulus package part III.  There is no way that the President and Republicans could have outright gotten away with a two year $990 BILLION increase in spending and cut in taxes paid for by borrowed Chinese dollars.  It had to be surreptitious; this result from Congress doesn’t surprise me at all. 
Any semblance of responsible leadership has long been edged out by power politics and special interests.
  Fool us once, shame on you.  Fool us twice, shame on US. 
    Americans ‘want’ their children’s future to be secure, but they are not willing to sacrifice in the present to give it up, no matter what the cost and no matter how bad the policy.  Past generations certainly have sacrified for you, but you can’t bring yourself to return the favor. 
  You America – yes you, you are who I lament about in this article.  Look at what our leaders are doing to ‘stimulate’ the economy when we know it won’t stimulate jack AND YOU JUST LET IT HAPPEN!  There is no free lunch.  Those tax cuts were MEANT to expire.  Those rates for estate taxes were MEANT to go up.  Your uninsurance claims WERE meant to go tits up after 99 weeks – so you’d finally be forced to get a job!
    Just like the temporary national budget and our doctor’s medicare payment gap, its really easy to say ‘in 2 years rates will revert to the higher rates’…but its much, much harder to actually get callow Congressmen voted in by fickle constituents to actually do it.  The charlatans in Washington aren’t willing to fall on their political sword to do the right thing and you’re dumb enough to think this facade of a parade will go on forever. 
      This ‘stiumulus’ might help us bump along the bottom and not ‘lose’ 2.2 million jobs…but Congress and the President are not smarter than the invisible hand of the market.  We are losing those jobs because we are not competitive as a nation and are doing all the wrong moves to get competitive.  They only forestall the inevitable when they borrow more of your children’s money.  We’re going to lose those jobs anyways if you don’t actually invest the money borrowed.  There I said it.  I’m not opposed to spending, but it has to be an investment, not a bridge loan to the Chinese! 
    Our leaders refuse to invest in things that give us returns – REAL infrastructre reivestment – not repaving of perfectly good roads; subsidizing the renewable energy industry – to get the leg up on China; or doing a Manhattan Project like crash program on nuclear fusion (want to solve your energy problems, national securty woes, global warming, and job problem in one fell blow? – more to come in another blog post).    Instead, those same leaders rely on the overly touted and calculated consumer spending (cuts in taxes) and rewarding indolent behavior (extending unemployment) to ‘stimulate’ things.  Honestly, who really can’t find a job in 99 weeks? – you can, but you just don’t want to flip burgers at McDonalds.  You get paid the same (or more for some while being on unemployment) for doing nothing with your 40 hours a week.  That may be ok for the first month or two, when you are looking for a job that pays better and utlizes your skills and maintains your way of life…but eventually reality sets in.  You’re near the end of your recorded Tivo shows and your very meager savings (I am after all, talking about the AVERAGE American) with all of that free time on your hands.   Go work at McDonalds and if you are half the worker you think you are, you can be a manager in 6 months making more than what you were on unemployment AND you now have career prospects.  Or, do the same thing at Wal-Mart. Or start you own business.  That’s the only leg up on China we’ve got – we are an industrious and creative society when we aren’t killing ourselves with consumerism. 
   This false sense of entitlement that is out there has to stop.  We are literally destroying our future and our nation because no one is willing to admit the ugly truth and take the pain inherent in the generally 30 years of poor policy choices our ELECTED officials have made.  Eventually the tab is going to come due.  The longer we forestall it, the more we have to borrow with interest to pay it back – if ever.  Hence, the worse it will be.  There is no such thing as a free lunch. 
   
    For once, I agree with the rank and file Democrats, just not for the same reasons.  This libertarian says enough is enough.  I am willing to pay MORE than my fair share of taxes to secure my son’s future.  I certainly can afford it – and most people I know can too.  If you are so poor that you can’t, well the government helps you anyways and you aren’t paying taxes, so why do you care?  The problem is, no one else seems willing…and its all because they had no idea how to manage their finances personally or nationally.  How is that fair to future generations? 
 
   You think things are bad NOW?  Go ask some 90 year old how bad it was during the Great Depression.  It’ll be worse in the Second Great Depression when this game of musical chairs comes up one chair short for this nation.  Too much self-entitlement and not enough hard skills to go around.
The road to Hell indeed…
–   G.S.

Government of the Toothless and By the Apathetic

July 23, 2010
And You Thought Your Government Was Scary!

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

 So lets go over what your government has done for you this week….

 1) Passed financial reform that will supposedly prevent this kind of financial crisis.  You’re kidding, right?  With this set of politicians in special interests’ pockets?
 
2) Reinstated long-term unemployment benefits for the chronically unemployed, boosting the maximum benefit for those that have been out of work for 6 months or longer.
 
3) Is about to begin war-game/demonstrations of force with S. Korea in response to the sinking of the Cheonan way back in March.
  
   You don’t need a lot of my bully-pulpiting here, so I’m going to get right to the point.
 
  The financial reform bill is toothless. It would not have prevented this financial crisis and it will not prevent the next one.  Wall Street had plenty of time, money, and lobbyists to water the thing down.  Heck too-big-to-fail banks are now even bigger and their existence is now institutionalized in this new plan.
 
  Americans are hurting and many need the unemployment insurance.  However, this government can’t find any way to cut spending elsewhere to pay for it.  Pathetic, just keep adding to the deficit.  I don’t know about you guys, but if I hadn’t found a job and my unemployment insurance was running out, I’d put my MBA aside and start flipping burgers at McDonalds.  I’d be running the joint in 6 months if I hadn’t found a better job by then.
 
   It took us this long to do something about N. Korea sinking that ship and killing all of those sailors?  Isn’t that an act of war?  I’m not saying go to war with N. Korea, but obviously they are in the wrong.  We needed to have this demonstration of power far sooner instead of wrangling with the Chinese about how they felt about it.  Tell China to shut the hell up, we still carry the big stick T.R. gave us.  They are the ones defending North Korea’s sabre rattling.  That is an indefensible position.  
 
   These are all examples of weak government that can’t get its act straight.  Even worse, we are apathetic and just let them continue to pass imperfect laws and make bad policy decisions.  C’mon folks, wake up!
 
“The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment”.
– Robert Maynard Hutchins
 
– G.S.