I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers, and it was not there; in her fertile fields and boundless prairies, and it was not there; in her rich mines and her vast world commerce, and it was not there. Not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

- de Tocqueville 1831

Friday, May 29, 2009

We're All Socialists Now? How did that happen?

Does this seem to have happened overnight? Go to bed one evening a proud but poor American, wake up in the morning a proud American but part owner of some banks and a couple of car companies? Don't get too excited. I doubt that you'll be able to cash in on any profits. You will, however, get to share in their debt. Where have all the trillions of dollars that the government loaned in the last nine months gone? How does a government already seven trillion dollars in debt loan another three trillion dollars (that is just the debt that they show on the books)? How much is a trillion dollars? I remember when a billion was the huge number that people could not get there mind around. A trillion is nine hundred ninety-nine billion plus one billion. Another way to demonstrate how much a trillion is would be to lay thousand dollar bills one on top of another. In order to reach a trillion, the stack would be sixty-seven miles high. OK, we have a lot of people to spread that trillion around, so if we divide three hundred million into ten trillion you get...lets see...thirty-three thousand three hundred thirty-three dollars and thirty-three cents. That's not so bad (if some one wants to check my math I would be grateful). So what did you get for your thirty-three thousand? Bear in mind this does not include the unfunded liability (money that has not been spent but is already promised).

No one has ever spent their way out of debt. It just seems counter intuitive. How would you personally get out of debt? I try to work my way out of debt by tightening my purse strings (figuratively, I don't actually have a purse) and pay off my debt as soon as possible. And yet, we have in office people who tell us that we need to spend more. President Obama was asked the other day when the country would be out of money. His response was that we are already out of money. I nearly choked on my dinner when I heard that. What? We're out of money? Really? When did this happen? The truth is, we have been running huge deficits for years and as long as someone buys our debt, we are able to get by. Country's who have bought our debt for a long time are no longer buying as much (China, our biggest lender, is now only buying short term bonds). The Federal Reserve Bank is now buying our debt. I know that the Fed is supposed to be a private institution but its ties to the federal government are undeniable. An example of what is going on with the Fed buying our debt would be if you were to buy up your kid's Monopoly money and then go shopping. Monopoly is a great game but your grocer is not going to sell you Diet Dr. Pepper for Monopoly money.

Why do supposedly smart people put our country in this peril? The problem starts with the motivation of those in elected office. It is not that they don't listen to their constituents, it's that they listen to an uneducated constituency. A constituency that looks to the federal government to solve life's ills and inequalities. It is a belief system that is shared with the majority of the people in federal office in one form or another, including most of the remaining Republicans. This need to throw money at problems without trying to gage unintended consequences has been a problem since the founding of our country. It has been a balancing act since the days of Jefferson and Hamilton (the two of them had distinct differences on how to run our government ). When congress declares a crisis and rushes to get legislation passed, you can almost count on said legislation being bad, loaded with unintended consequences. Congress was designed to be a deliberative body who's function is more in line with preventing bad law then passing quick law.

There is the possibility that this race to spend so much money is a deliberate act to collapse the government so that a new governing body could arise from the ashes; one that would attempt to be a utopia and that would address so called "social injustices". This is a vision that I have heard was set forth by the founders of ACORN. President Barack Obama was a lawyer for ACORN. The Glenn Beck Show (radio and TV), as well as Bill O'Rielly have been investigating ACORN. It will be interesting to see where this investigation leads.

What is written above and in other posts on my blog are my take on current events, If the three of you out there who read this have differing opinions or something to add to mine, I would love to hear it.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Don't Hate Me Because I'm Political!

Over twenty years ago, I started my career as a truck driver. When you drive for ten plus hours a day you become good friends with your radio. I started with top twenty radio stations but soon tired of hearing the same songs over and over. My mind would start to wander and I would have difficulty focusing on my driving. I started listening to talk radio and found that I could keep better focus on the road and drive longer with fewer breaks.

Talk radio back then was really lame. At the time they had a law known as The Fairness Doctrine. Radio stations would avoid controversial topics rather than attempt to maintain a balance of opinion as required by this law. It was impossible to give all sides of an issue and interviewing one candidate running for office meant you had to interview all the candidates running for the same office. Can you imagine a sponsor paying for the air time that included Joe of the "Raise-the-Country-On-Rafts-to-Float-It-South-So-Minnisota-Wouldn't-Have-Such-A-Harsh-Winter-Party" (however, George Norrie, of late-night radio fame, would probably enjoy interviewing Joe).

Some time within the first two years of my illustrious career, The Fairness Doctrine was repealed. I was driving for a company that was in the Chicago area and the local talk show hosts were becoming interesting to listen to. Unbeknownst to me, a talk show host was making a name for himself in the San Diego area and would, in a very short time, start this new format of being syndicated on radio stations across the nation. He was brash, self-assured, bombastic, entertaining and he would talk about things that most Americans could relate to. Rush Limbaugh would bring up items of news that main stream media would never report or they would do so reluctantly and with an obvious spin. I was hooked. Here was a form of media that was entertaining and informational; something that could keep my interest for hours.

In the intervening years, I have listened to numerous talk show hosts. I feel that I am one of the better informed people when it comes to issues of government. I do have my biases and I am not afraid to share my point of view to those who are willing to put up with me. The downside to this is that my poor wife ends up hearing my constant rants. This is why she has encouraged me to start a blog where I can rant away and others can choose to put up with it or not.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Disc Golf

What does Disc Golf have to do with politics or current affairs? Not much, but it's my blog and I'll cry if write what I want to. Disc golf is a game I began playing twenty years ago when my nephews introduced it to me. There are courses all across the country and most of them cost nothing to play. The object, like golf, is to put the disc in the basket in the fewest amount of throws. Most sports stores carry golf discs or you can buy them online . On your next day off when it's warm and beautiful out, why not give it a try?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Role of the Federal Government?

The preamble The Constitution of the United States of America:
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Few Americans would argue about the need for our government to provide for the common defense and there are standards of justice that need to be established by the U.S. Government. Promoting of the general welfare and securing the blessings of liberty is an area of dispute among those who see the government as either a necessary evil or the answer to all of America's problems.

There are those who believe that rights are derived from God and others who believe they are disseminated from the government. If they are given to us from the government, I would worry because of the quixotic nature demonstrated by even the most stable of governing bodies. I would not want anyone fallible deciding what is right for me to do or not do. And is not all mankind fallible? I believe that rights come from an infallible God and it is the government's role to protect those rights and "promote the general welfare" of individuals by insuring that their rights are not unjustly taken from them.

The Constitution and the Bill of Rights are there to guarantee all citizens the opportunity to pursue happiness, prosperity, and a full and successful life. It is the opportunity that is to be protected, not the outcome. You have the right to fail. It is not the government's role to save you from bad decisions or unseen circumstances. That is where faith in God and charity come into play.

No one should be protected from failure. In fact, the vast majority of people who are successful have failed several times and have learned from there failures. This current trend to save businesses from failure by government intervention is an attempt to turn our government into a socialist entity. This is dangerous and it will drag our country into an abyss from which we may not recover. There are several reasons that socialism does not work. One reason is the inefficiencies a government ensues partly because governments don't run on a profit motive. They don't have to make a profit to survive; they simply raise taxes or print more money. Raising taxes past a certain point diminishes returns and stunts growth in the private sector. The reason for this is human nature. People work for themselves and their families; businesses do not put money at risk just to have it taken from them by an ever greedy government. Printing too much money devalues the dollar and creates hyper-inflation.

Who is best at spending your money; you or the government? The next time you hear that something is too big to fail or that congress should spend our money to save someone, ask yourself if it is worth the price.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My Leap of Insanity

Okay, my first post. So many thoughts went screaming through my head when I imagined putting this blog together but now, in reality, all thoughts have abandoned ship and left me to drown.

Let me try to put together the reason why I want to write this blog. First and foremost I am concerned for this country. I wish to add my voice to the discussion of what I believe is important in the political arena of ideas. I want to inform those who may not be the political junky that I am. I am willing to engage with anyone who is willing to discuss current issues thoughtfully and respectfully.

With this blog, I want to go beyond the veneer of the instant words of political operatives and their immediate actions to explore future consequences as well as the motive and method involved.

I am an unabashed conservative. What this means is that I believe in the individual, that the government is a necessary evil and best when kept as small as possible. When President Obama stated that the government was the only thing that could bring us out of this economic crisis, I could not have disagreed with him more. In fact, it was the interference of government combined with the greed of a certain few that created this mess in the first place. I believed President Reagan when he stated emphatically that government is not the solution, government is the problem. This is one of the issues I will go into further detail on in later posts.