How I see it...

Laying in my hammock, sipping an adult beverage, I contemplate the deeper issues and finer points of this world and my life. I reach well informed opinions and share them here. Being mostly Irish, I can argue either side of any issue; but you throw the Swede in there and I become a very stubborn, stoic, stick-to-my-values type of person.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Looking for a diamond in a manure pile

So, we've "officially" kicked off the 2012 Presidential Election Cycle. We've seen what the Iowan people have had to say about it and I'm not too surprised at the outcome, but I feel that the press is putting WAY too much emphasis on it. Perhaps because there is too little to talk about. Well, there was too little to talk about since our Beloved Present-dent has made some really goofy decisions on some appointments and his cuts to the military the past couple of days. Not to mention the new mortgage bailout fiasco he unleashed today. The man truly scares me.

As a conservative I tend to (mostly) align myself with the republican party.  I tend to label myself  as socially neutral, small government and fiscally conservative. There are no candidates in this race that I feel truly comfortable supporting.  Romney and Perry are both flip-floppy and therefore morally challenged. Gingrich also falls into this camp as his record indicates he's willing to compromise and support items that are, basically, untenable.  Santorum is a bit of a bright spot at the moment and his platform  is most in line with my personal beliefs, but his history in the Senate is wacky and doesn't support his current positions. Paul is too libertarian for my taste and I'm a small government guy. That says something. Huntsman is a dark horse who may surprise some people, but is too much of a dark horse to garner too much attention and Bachmann should have dropped out a long time ago.

Our country is in trouble as we all know. Our debt has now exceeded our GDP and we've lost our AAA+ rating. We owe everything to the Chinese and as our government keeps moving forward with quantitative easing (printing actual cash) and the dollar keeps falling we are facing an issue like none other that we've ever faced.

People keep talking about "supporting the 99%" and making things easier, then why are they (or we, since we voted these dopes into office) allowing prices to keep rising by the allowing the devaluation of the dollar?   We have to get this turned around and turned around soon. We have to bring manufacturing jobs back to the US and keep the unions out of the workplace.

Aside: As long as a company treats people fairly, then a union is null and void. I work for a wonderful, small company in chemical manufacturing and a union has NO chance of ever getting a foot in the door. The mines in our neck of the woods are non-union and the miners here all make better wages, benefits and safe workplaces that their compatriots in the union mines do not enjoy. Unions have tried to come into the local mines but failed miserably. Why? They could NOT guarantee a better wage, conditions or benefits.

We have a long, long road back from the brink, but we have to turn around and take that first step. The socialist-leaning democrats are not willing to take those steps. I don't know that any of the people currently vying for the republican nomination have the intestinal fortitude to get us turned, nor do most in the House or Senate have the will to do this. But it must be done.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


I'm usurping a famous acronym, WWJD, for my own nefariousness purposes.

I think I understand what is going on with the Occupy Wall Street movement. They want life to be more fair. They think that the unfairness of life and our current economic woes are the direct result of banks policy and the greedy, evil corporations on Wall Street. Hence the gatherings across the country to protest the profits of these evil companies and banks.

The vast majority of these protesters, however, cannot elucidate what it is that they want exactly; what it is they are trying to do, they simply want things to be fair. So, basically, the way that I'm reading their goals is they want the wealth to be redistributed evenly amongst the masses. They want to have a part of the earnings of others labors, they want something for nothing. I've heard other pundits define this as an attempt start a "Tea Party" like movement across the left. But where the Tea Party had a clear cut, well defined goal the Occupy crowd has no clue. PROTEST! It worked in Egypt, right?

A lot of our current economic woes can be traced directly to Carter Era Policy that was put in place to try and make things "more fair". I've actually heard the argument that "...if I couldn't afford it, the bank shouldn't have given me the loan..." Really? Really? No, you should be able to look at a loan and determine if you could pay it back or not. Was there predatory lending? Absolutely. Lending Acts passed by our government from 1968 to the present day kinda allowed this to happen. Shoot, the gov't even got into the predatory lending business themselves. But in the end it still comes back to the borrowers. Who applied for the loan? Who should have read the loan papers? Who signed the paperwork? The Borrower. And the Lenders (usually more than just "banks" per se) used gov't policy to justify what was happening.

So, now it's come back to bite us in the butt and the 99% are in the streets demanding their fair share.

So, let me as them this question: WWJD? Jesus? No, Jobs. What Would Jobs Do?

Most everybody in the world has heard by now that we lost another Great American yesterday. Mr Steve Jobs, the man who brought about the personal computer revolution, lost his battle to cancer. I offer my condolences to his family who are no doubt hurting and missing him today.

But, how would Mr. Jobs respond to this situation? The man was kicked out of the company that HE started! Did you hear him cry that it was unfair and pitch a fit in the street? Nope, he got involved in another project and helped get Pixar Animation off the ground. Then, when the idiots ran Apple into the ground he went back and TURNED IT INTO THE BIGGEST COMPANY IN THE WORLD! You never heard him cry and whine about life being unfair. He simply got over himself and refocused and carried on with life.

And if you truly don't like how a company or bank operates then don't use them! And let the companies that do business with them know that you won't be doing business with them either as long as the affiliation lasts. Be prepared to stick to your guns and do without "stuff" in your life as a result. You don't like KFC because they are mean to chickens?? Fine, boycott all Pepsi products. Do research and find out who all supplies stuff to KFC and stop buying their products. Get your friends and family involved, they get their friends and family involved and pretty soon KFC will either be out of business as they can't sell stuff or get supplied or you will get live, free range chickens in your order that you can do with as you please.

So, to my friends who are occupying Wall Street and protesting capitalism, either truly divest yourself of everything that the free-market system supplies in your life, move to a truly communist country (are there any?), or ask yourself how you can get a piece of the American Dream. What Would Jobs Do?

Rest in peace, Mr. Jobs. You will be ever remembered with the likes of Edison and Ford.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Increasing the tax rate

Obama talks fiscal reform at town hall-style meeting -

Our President wants to raise taxes back to the levels they were during the Clinton Presidency. I think he needs to put his money where his mouth is, personally. The upper tax rate is 35% and the Obama plan is for all "wealthy" people to "pay their fair share" of taxes.

Apparently this "fair share" is just under 27%. That is all our President and his wife paid in taxes this year. I am a firm believer in living and practicing what you preach. Why then, if the rich need to pay more, did they pay less than the full rate? Shouldn't he be setting an example? You would think so. That would take all the wind out of the sails of his detractors on this subject. Like me.

We are in dire straights, financially speaking, in this country and it is time we get the train back on the tracks and running true. We have really let things go to hell in a hand basket by letting our government get out of control. And we are going to have to pay a heavy toll to fix it.

And it doesn't' need to be all that complicated either. We need to do two things: the first being a balanced budget amendment, and the second being a flat tax. Our tax system is unbalanced in a huge way. The top 10% of earners are paying 73% of the taxes now and the bottom 40% of earners are not only NOT paying tax, but are getting back more than they paid in. It would be fair to call this wealth redistribution. It's not a new thing, either.

If everybody paid a simple, flat tax on income earned it would make "tax season" non-existent as well as virtually eliminate a HUGE arm of the government called the IRS. Along with this flat rate, I'd like to see the elimination of all "double" taxation. Many pay a state income tax (I am fortunate to live in a state that doesn't collect this), as well as sales taxes that go to the state, gas taxes ect. But that is a different conversation for a different time. So for now, everybody pays exactly the same percentage of their income in taxes.

One item that would needed to be taken into consideration is how businesses pay taxes. They DO need to pay taxes on their income, but at the same time they need this money to create jobs. I could see a tax credit being applied to all businesses that grow jobs and keep them for at least 10 years. A business could write off, say, 1/10 of a percent of their tax bill per job created that was a full time, benefits paid position for ten years. But at no time would it be more than 15% of their total tax liability. I would also make profit and loss calculations be done on a simple accounting method.

Then to help the flat tax out, we need to balance the budget. Spend no more than we take in. And for a while we need to spend WAY less than we are taking in and get our debt paid down and under control. This could be established by eliminating all government social programs (it would have to be phased out, realistically) and art programs. The elimination of all ear mark and pork barrel spending by making all bills in Congress be single item bills. No attaching money to study chocolate consumption by red heads in Mid-town to a military spending bill. And we need to create a volunteer citizen oversight to keep the government from spending $5000 for toothpicks and $500,000 for toilet seats. Companies caught grossly over billing for simple services will have to answer to the criminal justice system and their principals will serve the time.

Everybody pay their fair share and we don't spend more than we make. We commit to paying down the debt in time. We all tighten our belts and dig in. Businesses and entities all either make it or fail on their own merits (no public funds for businesses, arts, non-profits). If the public wants to use personal, discretionary funds to support these things, then so be it. The government simply pays for national defense, interstate commerce (highways and commerce laws) and limited international functions.

The other thing that we need to do, as I've discussed in this forum before, is to get our jobs back to the US from foreign shores. US companies that outsource jobs and import their goods for sale in this country should pay a HUGE tax fee to do so and I mean 50% or more.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Coming soon to the country you live in

In each and every case of Hyper-inflation listed in the above slide show, the issue was caused by government mis-management, heavy overseas borrowing, printing money to alleviate a financial crisis and trade's being dissolved.

Does this sound familiar? No? Just listen to the news. Are you familiar with Quantitative Easing? It's real and it's happening. They are planning on screwing up our economy on top of the heavy borrowing, losing business and a grossly heavy handed government. That's right, the same thing that screwed up our economy and crashed all of us to some extent or another, buying debt, is being propagated by our own government. Except, instead of buying other peoples debt, they are printing money to buy their own debt. How is this ever seen as a good idea? Can you go out and buy your debt? People try by getting new credit cards to pay off the debt that is over due. That is just a car wreck waiting to happen.

We need to understand that there is not as much money in this country as there once was, a lot less. From early in the Twentieth Century until the mid to late Eighties, the United States was the worlds largest producer of consumer goods. That means that the world sent us their money to buy what we were producing. As the businesses and their leaders acquired massive amounts of wealth, a piece of that pie was demanded, and given to, the workers. As the wages went up, the cost of goods went up and the profit went down. As the profit went down the companies found that they could have the goods produced much cheaper by out sourcing the production of their goods.

And that started the long spiral downwards for our country. A person felt they should be making $100,000 a year or more to tighten a set of nuts on an assembly line - and they got it. In order to preserve the brand and conserve profits, companies started paying workers in other countries much less to do the same job. That means that money was starting to flow out of our country for goods that were being produced for our country, plus former workers could no longer afford to buy those goods. The very definition of an Ouroboros of there ever was one. As this struggle continued and companies were making less profit because there was a smaller buying public, they found it became smarter to sell the company to the highest paying bidder, in most cases these were foreign buyers. Now the profits are no longer staying in this country, but leaving it for the coffers of company in another country.

In almost each and ever case our industries or segments of those industries are being sold off and out sourced. The Unions and other socialists are demanding a larger and larger share of the pie. They seem to think that pie is as larger as or larger than it ever was and that is simply not the case. The pie is smaller. Rather than collecting taxes on profits of a company, the government are only collecting import fees and taxes. Yet we are spending more and more on bigger and bigger government as people think that they are owed something. They want a redistribution of the wealth in this country.

That is another slippery slope. The people in this country who know how to handle money already have it working for them and are creating the jobs for the rest of us. The rest of the general public have no idea how to handle and grow their money and it flows through their hands like sand in a wind storm as evidenced in the recent market crash. Greedy, self entitled, liberal fed people demanding gifts from the treasury and extending themselves beyond their means and expecting to be bailed out. It doesn't work that way.

The time has come to pay the piper. We must buckle down, pay off the debt, start living within our means, and bring our jobs back to our shores. Jobs paid at reasonable levels. The world is afraid of us doing this because we are one of the largest consumers of goods in the world! Other countries are manipulating their currency's value to keep us out of the race. If we don't do this then, in the very near future, the cost of the cup of coffee you are drinking is going to double by the time you finish drinking it. I predict that people will starve to death because they have no solid life skills. People have become so soft and used to being comfortable and having everything at hand that they are going to founder. The riots are coming.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

And so it goes...

Yup. The crying, whiny, mad, angry, disillusioned masses on all sides are waxing verbose on the ups and downs of this election.

It was expected and if it is a suprise to you then I recommend that you crawl back to whatever rock you were under and hide your head, because life is going to get even stranger.

We are at a cross-roads in this country. A massive, multi-option intersection that is commonly referred to in my industry as a "malfunction junction". We need to choose the right one before the next truck comes lumbering down the path and flattens us.

As I write this, the dollar is in a free fall, the Fed just pumped another $600,000,000,000 dollars into the "economy" in a Keynesian attempt to animate a dead thing in a manner that would make Shelley proud and we're on the verge of an economic implosion the likes of which the world has never seen.

This has got to stop. We need to get our stuff under control and pick the path that will take us out of the muck and back to the top.

"A democracy fails the moment the people realize they can write themselves gifts from the treasury."

And friends, that is exactly what we've been doing. Our Government has been borrowing money that it is going to have trouble paying back. It has become so commonplace and put so many people out of touch with reality that they believed they could also borrow money beyond their means and be ok. We called it the "housing bubble". The mess that was started by our government, perpetuated by a bunch of greedy thieves and taken up whole-heartedly by the masses. Most people's credit is a mess and their finances are on the edge of total chaos. Most American's believe that they should have the best of everything. Biggest house, nicest car, full tank, stylish clothes and our system allows people to live that dream without honestly showing the reality of it.

We cannot maintain this.

So, what is the plan to fix it? Tax the rich. By golly, why not? They HAVE the money to pay off our debt and solve the country's problems. Right? Wrong. If you were to liquidate Mr. Soros' fortune today and give it to the government, it wouldn't even put a dent in what the Fed spent yesterday.

You've heard that the top percent of earners already pay the lions share of taxes anyway. Most don't buy that as you also hear, "They have accountants figuring out how to keep them from paying their taxes." And that is true to some extent. But, there is a larger majority that don't pay taxes at all! Are you one of them? Did you get back more than you paid in? Then you are part of the problem.

We've grown our government by demanding that they provide us with this, that and the other. We've allowed our government to grow by failing to watch what they are doing and holding them accountable. We have allowed ourselves the luxury of writing gifts to ourselves from our own treasury.

We need to do the following; right away:

  • Balanced budget amendment. This needs to restrict the spending to no more than the government takes in for the previous fiscal year.

  • Clarity in Legislation amendment Where all laws put forth for consideration are a single item issue. No tacking laws and funding onto the back of a seemingly innocuous bill. And all bills be written in such a manner that they are clear, concise and eliminate loopholes. I'm thinking that limiting bills to ten pages would do the trick.

  • Flat tax for everyone. Eliminate the tax refund and everybody pays their share. Flat - say five or six percent. You could even make this a sales tax rather than an income tax. This would eliminate the IRS in large part. Save a chuck of change right there. Simplifies life, too.

  • Shrink Government. We have a preponderance of bureaucratic nonsense in this country that is almost totally unnecessary. Most of them are not even Constitutionally legal! I do see the need for some commonality of laws that govern, say...interstate commerce. A truck driver shouldn't have to worry about what laws change as they cross from Pennsylvania into Ohio, or the necessity of the National Weather Service. But Education? Arts? No. these do not need funding. These should be left to the private sector and/or states exclusively.

  • Set a plan to pay off the debt. This may need to be an amendment as well to keep it on track! But, we need a plan to pay off our national debt in a given amount of time. It won't happen over night, either.

  • Charge an additional "non-employment" tax to those who ship jobs out of the country. One that can't be passed on to the consumer. We need our jobs back. We need to be protectionist of our country and her goods. There is a finite amount of money in the world and we've always had the lions share of it because we made the lions share of the worlds goods. Henry Ford started this whole mess because he wanted a faster, cheaper way to make goods. And he found it. BUT! the cost was finding automatons to do one simple job all day long. The only way was to up the pay. Then the unions got involved from a safety stand-point and slowly evolved to a profit venture. I don't like unions, personally, but if you take them back to their original intent (safety - primarily) then bring them on. BUT, make the US a Right to Work nation.

  • Last, we need to re-regulate banking, lending and credit agencies to help keep the common man within due bounds and living within his means. Not regulate investment banking per se where a man can go and propose an idea and get money to pursue it, but personal lending; housing, cars and the like. When people only spend what they can afford, then prices and expenses will fall into line. If item Y cost's $X.xx today, but people don't buy it, then the price will fall until people do, or the company goes under. Supply and demand at it's finest. It's a known fact that prices will go up when demand is high and supply is low. Gasoline, food, hotel rooms and the like. Yep. You ever read the "rack rate" on the back of the hotel door? That is there by law to prevent the hotelier from gouging you during a blizzard. But you see it all the time. Why does a room go from $70 one week to $259 the next? Demand. It's also a known fact that some prices go up during shortages (canned food) but don't come back down as the situation corrects itself. So, when Del Monte raises the price on string beans because Florida froze it's royal naynays off, but the crops come in ok, don't buy the Del Monte brand. The prices will come down.

These are going to be hard decisions to make. Things aren't going to correct themselves overnight. Many will tell me that they are all pipe dreams and maybe they are, but we are at the point where we have to make the hard choices. China owns us right now. We should be beholden to NO country. Not for anything. Money, goods, energy...anything! We have to take steps to correct what we've screwed up. We need to limit our gluttony or face the consequences. And those are too terrible to contemplate.