On Why Governments Are In Such Debt

Here is a great quote from Walter Williams on why the governments in Europe and America are in such debt:

"What’s the common thread between Europe’s financial mess, particularly among the PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain), and the financial mess in the U.S.? That question could be more easily answered if we asked instead: What’s necessary to cure the financial mess in Europe and the U.S.? If European governments and the U.S. Congress ceased the practice of giving people what they have not earned, budgets would be more than balanced. For government to guarantee a person a right to goods and services he has not earned, it must diminish someone else's right to what he has earned, simply because governments have no resources of their very own."  ("The Financial Mess in the US and Europe," 9/28/11)

It's so simple.  But politicians don't get votes unless they can promise to get people out of a mess that they (the politicians) created in the first place.  And that nearly always involves giving away somebody else's money.  And if somebody is incurably lazy, has no conscience about taking what another person has earned, or is too dumb to see through the "entitlement" demagoguery, then their vote can be bought. 

And countries end up in insoluable debt.

Current Events Ramblings, Sept. 28

We started classes last week and it has been extremely busy; the first couple of weeks always are.  I made a mistake right after I got here.  Nice guy that I am, when Liaoning Normal University asked me if I would help them out by teaching a history class for them, I said I would, but because I already had five courses scheduled, I wanted a smaller class of no more than 25 to 30 students.  Well, I walked into that class for the first time last week and there are over 75 students in there, which means I have over 230 students this semester in six classes.  The normal load for a community college is five classes, and frankly, that's too many.  The college is paying me a little extra for the sixth class, but not enough to justify 75 extra students.  They won't do that to me next term.

Otherwise, things are well.  We actually have a holiday already coming up next week; some kind of national holiday, I never have found out what it is.  I'll get caught up on some work, some reading, some sleeping, and some writing, and not necessarily in that order.

I haven't been able to follow current events too closely for the past couple of weeks, except to determine that Herman Cain and Rick Santorum appear to be the purest conservatives in the Republican field.  Cain, surprisingly, won a straw poll in Florida this past weekend.  I don't think he's got much chance of winning the nomination, but the Tea Party likes him and may swing behind him.  The good money for the nomination is on Romney, and while he would certainly be light years better than Obama, he isn't the best of the Republican field.  Unfortunately for Rick Perry, he isn't a silver-tongued orator, and so the media is starting to portray him as a stupid oaf, and the other candidates have jumped on his case for a couple of boners he pulled as governor of Texas.  Ron Paul would normally be my favorite candidate, but I don't like his "get out of Iraq and Afghanistan immediately" position.  Goals need to be set in both countries (something that frankly wasn't, and hasn't been, done) and once those goals are accomplished, then you get out.  Otherwise, it looks like the country is just turning tail and running before it finishes the job, and that's just an open invitation for thugs around the world to believe America will wimp out again in the future.  Do what needs to be done in Iraq and Afghanistan, and get out.  And, at the same time, bring the troops home from Korea, Japan, Europe, and every place else in the world they are camped.  And put them on the border with Mexico.

Anyway, nobody knows yet who is going to get the Republican nomination, but the Republican "establishment" (i.e., the John McCain losers) want Romney.  Obama has been such a disaster the Republican might win by default.

A Sign That Intelligent Life Forms Do Actually Exist in California

From the Los Angeles Times, of all places:

"Frankly, I don't know what it is about California, but we seem to have a strange urge to elect really obnoxious women to high office. I'm not bragging, you understand, but no other state, including Maine, even comes close. When it comes to sending left-wing dingbats to Washington, we're number one. There's no getting around the fact that the last time anyone saw the likes of Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, Maxine Waters, and Nancy Pelosi, they were stirring a cauldron when the curtain went up on 'Macbeth'. The four of them are like jackasses who happen to possess the gift of blab. You don't know if you should condemn them for their stupidity or simply marvel at their ability to form words." 

-- columnist Burt Prelutsky, Los Angeles Times

However, no evidence yet exists that such intelligent life forms exist in Washington, D. C.

More Class Warfare

I'm not sure what's in this for Warren Buffet, but he's lying, and he knows he is.  Of course, he's a Democrat (most Wall Street moguls are), so that may have something to do with it.  Perhaps he's playing politics and trying to cover for the mistake he knows he made in voting for Barack Obama.

Obama:  "It is wrong that in the United States of America, a teacher or a nurse or a construction worker who earns $50,000 should pay higher tax rates than somebody pulling in $50 million."  It may be "wrong," but it's also not happening.

"But Buffet's only paying 15% tax rate," is the demogoguery, "and his secretary pays a higher rate than that."  The deomoguery comes from the fact that the comparison is of income tax rates versus capital gains tax rates.  When Buffet invests his money in a stock or something, and then shows a profit on it, he pays 15% as a capital gains rate.  But the money he's investing is after-tax dollars.  In other words, he's already paid taxes on that money, and at a higher rate than his secretary is paying.  The idea that a secretary, making $40,000, is paying a higher income tax rate than Warren Buffet, who's making gazillions, is just flat false.

Does Obama know this?  I don't know.  If he doesn't, he should, he's supposed to be the leader of the Free World.  If he does know it, then he's being diningenuous at best, lying at worst.  But it's the same thing Democratic Marxists have been doing for generations now--playing class warfare, class envy, creating resentment, division, and hatred among Americans--and this from the man who was supposed to "unite" us.  And it's not going to help the poor.  How is taxing somebody else, the only people who can provide you the job you need to get out of poverty, ultimately going to help you?  It might make you feel better that the rich, greedy so-and-so's are getting it stuck to them, but that's not going to put food on your table.  And again, all it is doing is preying upon the dark, seedy side of man--envy and jealousy.  Is this really the way to bring the country together, to create more jobs, to reduce unemployment, to encourage the innovation and initiative necessary to produce wealth and build a strong economy?  This is horrible.  But, it's the Democratic Party, it's what they believe, and it doesn't matter that it never has worked, and that it cannot work, because it violates every economic law regarding wealth and job creation.  There is no excuse for anybody preaching this any more since there is an overabundance of evidence now in of its utter failure.  I now live in a country that is unequivocal proof of that.  I just moved from a country, the northern half of which continues to flounder in abysmal human misery because it hangs on to Obama's "the government can solve every problem if you'll just give us your money" doctrine.  Obama is basing his whole re-election hopes on ignorance--the ignorance of enough American people--and on a slimy news media that will do everything it can to cover up the truth and keep it from being widespread.

Why?  Why are they doing this?  I've written it many times before but I'll keep doing it.  It's about power and freedom.  Free people, people who can take care of themselves, don't need government, and freedom is the greatest enemy of those who love power.  And thus the people who have created wealth, the innovators, the achievers, those who have succeeded via their own ability, initiative, and the personal use of private property--these are the enemy.  They are the enemy because they don't need government--except to protect them from thieves, a great number of which go to work in government.  Our Founding Fathers well knew this and tried to create a system to protect the industrious from the thieves, outside and inside government.  Unfortunately, they didn't succeed, but that's much of what the fight is all about today.

One thing Obama DOES know, and that's that he's not going to get $1.5 trillion in new taxes.  He couldn't even get that when he had a dominant Democratic Congress, he certainly isn't going to get it when the Republicanss control the House of Representatives.  But that doesn't matter to him.  He doesn't care if he gets that tax increase or not, because he's not trying to help the country, he's trying to win re-election.  And he's already sounding his theme:  the Republicans favor the "rich" over "the little guy."  Have you ever heard that one before?

Hey, Obama, IF it's true (and it's not), but if it's true that Buffet's secretary is paying taxes at a higher rate than Buffet himelf, then the answer is to lower her tax rate, not raise his!  Actually, the best answer would be to completely abolish the Marxist progressive income tax, but that thought will have to wait for another day.

Addendum:  I just finished the above article and happened to run across something interesting.  I bash the media a lot, and make no apologies for it, but when they do something good, they deserve accolades.  An AP writer named Stephen Olemacher has just published a piece entitled "FACT CHECK:  Are Rich Taxed Less Than Secretaries?"  He runs some pretty good numbers.  Here's the URL if you'd like to read the article: 


I've noticed a couple of times recently that AP, normally so sycophantic towards Obama, has been getting on his case some, i.e., telling the truth.  Let's hope it continues, and I'll give credit where credit it due.

We need to abolish, completely abolish, the current tax code system to end the inequities that are indeed there--from the "looopholes" the "rich" can find to avoid paying taxes (I look for them, too), to the 46% of Americans who pay no federal income taxes.  It's obscene both ways.

Down, But Not Out

There is no question that things do not look good at the moment for President Obama in his hopes for re-election.  Yesterday, the Republicans won a special House election in Brooklyn, a seat held by Democrats for the last 90+ years.  Obama's numbers are down, there are a a lot of disgruntled Democrats and "independents," and with the economy floundering, Republicans have a right to be optimistic about their chances of winning back the Presidency next year.  Barack Obama is an incredibly incompetent President, but why this should surprise anyone is beyond me.  He was, far and away, the least qualified candidate any major political party has put forth for the presidency in the history of this country.  There was absolutely nothing in his background that came anywhere close to preparing him for the highest office in the land, and it is utterly appalling that he became President of the United States.  I knew this in 2008 because I know history and I understand liberalism, and thus I am not in the least bit surprised at how incompetent and inept he has been.  I fully expected it.  If Apple were to offer me the job replacing Steve Jobs, then that company should anticipate being in the toilet in a very short time.  The people of the United States should in no way be surprised at the current malaise of their country, given the qualifications and experience of the man whom they gave charge of it.  Fortunately, the President is not all-powerful and there are still some checks and balances on what he can do.  But, given all the circumstances and hedges that do, more or less, surround the President, I don't know how any one man could have made things any worse since January, 2009, than Barack Obama has made them.  He has taken what should have been a very brief economic downtick and stretched it out to the unforeseen future.  Overseas, he has alienated and angered our friends and cuddled up to our enemies.  His one domestic "success"--Obamacare--has businesses scared stiff because they don't know the ultimate cost of it, and his one foreign "success"--the killing of Osama bin Laden--was because of groundwork laid by George Bush and would never have happened if Obama had stuck to his campaign promises on what he intended to do in the Middle East.  So his only real "victory" came as a result of a broken promise.  He simply has no clue about what to do as President of the United States, any more than I would as CEO of a major corporation like Apple.

And, yet, I'm telling you right now, he COULD be re-elected.

People are suggesting that the 9.1% unemployment rate could spell doom for Obama.  And it might.  It's very possible that unemployment figures will remain, next year, about what they are now, but they could improve if Obama and Congress do what they should--or at least, if they'll do nothing.  Businesses are concerned about new taxes, regulations, Obamacare--just the uncertainly of what Obama is going to do and his history of, so far, doing everything wrong.  But if there is some indication that government will be quiet and even leave things as they are now, there might be some temptation to invest--businesses do want to make money, of course, and they need to invest to do that.  Obama is talking more taxes and "stimulus," which is the wrong thing, of course, and if he continues along that path, he can indeed go down to a crushing defeat.  Let's hope so.

But he does have a bit of history on his side.  Franklin Roosevelt easily ranks as one of the two or three worst Presidents in American history--he is largely to blame for the economic mess the government is now in because it was he who began this massive welfare state.  Other Presidents have simply built onto it.  But...FDR was elected to the Presidency four times, and twice when the unemployment rate was far higher than it is now.  FDR, for all his economic stupidity, was a master politician.  Economic reality and political impressions are two widely different things.  Obama might lose because of the former.  But if he can read his teleprompter as effectively as he did in 2008, or--more appropriately--if enough people can be demogogued by his sycophantic liberal media, he could win again.  This is not a one man show here.  Obama's going to have the might of the Democratic Party machine--and that media--behind him.  They were able to sell him in 2008.  They might be able to do it again.  We're still 14 months away from the election, and that's plenty of time to give the Republicans an opportunity to do something really idiotic, too--like nominate another John McCain.  So it's far from over.

And there's one thing, above all, that Obama can pin his hopes upon and that scares me more than anything else...never, NEVER underestimate the stupidity of a democratic electorate.

Why Raising Taxes on the Rich Won't Work

In President Obama's "jobs bill" (which, as of this writing, no Democrat has introduced into Congress yet), the word "tax" is found over 230 times.  His plan, as it's always been, is to raise taxes on "the rich" to pay for more government spending. 

It won't work.  It never has.

Why?  For many reasons, but I mention only one in this post.  It won't work because the rich won't pay those taxes.  They'll just shove the money into bonds or other tax exempt securities and not have pay any tax.  Or, as likely and maybe even more desirable due to the ease of electronic transfers in a globalized economy, they'll just transfer the money to foreign countries, many of which are inviting them to do so in order to obtain the investment money to build their own economies.  Folks, the rich aren't stupid; they didn't get rich by giving their money to the government, and they know it.  And they also know that government spending is not the way to grow an economy.  Indeed, if government spending could produce economic growth, the United States would have a booming economy with more jobs than even the illegal aliens could fill.  The wealthiest people in America will be the ones least hurt by a tax increase; those who will suffer most are the lower and middle-class people who won't be able to find jobs because the investments aren't there, and they don't have an easy option of moving overseas to find employment.  Some of us have been able to do that--but it wasn't my first choice.  But small businesses like restaurants, shoes and clothing stores, computer shops--those entitities that create and provide most of the jobs in America--aren't easily able to transfer overseas and are most liable to be hit and hurt by Obama tax increases.  Any growth in income for these businesses, which should be reinvested to provide more employment and greater growth, will be gobbled up in Obama taxes.  So where's the incentive to work hard and provide more jobs, goods, and services?

There certainly needs to be some serious reform of the tax code, but the solution is, and it always will be, government needs to cut spending!  If I'm personally spending more money than I'm taking in, then I need to readjust my budget and bring it into line with my income--not go out, put a gun to somebody's head, and steal their money.  Only government can do that and get away with it.

If Obama is really serious about "stimulating" the American economy, then, instead of trying to raise taxes on the wealthy Americans, he will lower them and encourage them to invest their money, not in securities or overseas ventures, but into business and jobs for the American people. 

Now whether Obama knows this or not, I don't know, but it's irrelevant.  The Democratic party bases its entire economic theory on Marxist class warfare, i.e., they are the "defenders" of the working people, protecting them from the greedy "rich."  It's great politics, but lousy economics.  It's also hypocritical because I guarantee you Democratic campaign coffers are not filled by millions of $5 donations from poor people.  But if political power comes by keeping people poor and dependent, then there are an awful, awful lot of politicians who are more than willing to play that game.  And you can start at the very top of the current American political food chain.

"Rising Poverty Rate Shows Holes in Safety Net"

A U.S. census report said that, currently, almost 1 in 6 Americans are "living in poverty." The title of this post is MSNBC’s headline informing us of that grim news. A few comments seem appropriate.

The government, of course, defines who is living in poverty, and that is determined by a certain level of income. That, in itself, is fallacious. People move above and below the "official" poverty line all the time; that movement is very fluid and a lot of crossover takes place. But I would also insist that not everybody below a certain income is living in "poverty." Back in 1994-95, I returned to graduate school full-time and we lived off what Debbie made. Officially, her income was "below" the poverty line, but I don’t recall us ever bemoaning the fact that we were "living in poverty." It was a choice we made, for the time being and for a certain cause. We aren’t the only people like that.

Of course, our situation doesn’t describe everybody whose income is "below" the poverty line, but I do think it’s fair to note that a lot of that current 15.1% might be there by their own choice and not because the government hasn’t provided them enough benefits. Debbie and I didn’t take one thin dime of government money when I was in graduate school. We didn’t even think about it. Neither of us considered it somebody else’s responsibility to support me while I went back to school. I didn’t think I was "entitled" to other people’s hard-earned money. But then, I’ve never considered myself a "victim" of anything, either.

But further, I find MSNBC’s headline a fascinating insight into liberal thinking. Rising poverty indicates that government isn’t doing enough—there are "holes" in the "safety net." Obviously, to the liberals at MSNBC (and that’s a redundancy), those "holes" must be filled by more government programs. I know this is liberal thinking because when I first saw that the "poverty rate" had risen, I didn’t think of the "safety net" at all; I thought of the two things God has provided mankind to lift us and keep us out of poverty—marriage and hard work. Liberalism is doing everything it can to destroy the former (unless the two wanting to be "married" are of the same sex), and can anybody tell me the last time you heard a liberal say, "If you want to get out of poverty, quit fornicating and having babies out of wedlock and go out and get a job"? Frankly, I’d like to hear a few more Republicans have the guts to stand up and say it.

It’s important to realize, however, that MSNBC is trying to set the stage for the coming debate. If MSNBC has its way, the debate over "ending poverty" in America won’t be couched in terms of marriage and hard work, but on the government not doing enough. As the election nears, liberals will trot out a ton of sad sack cases of people (mostly single mothers) who don’t have health care, who can’t find a job, who are about to lose their homes, etc. etc. etc., and the answer, of course, will be more government money. The hard-hearted Republicans, who care only about the rich, want to cut the programs that would help these poor, defenseless poverty-enslaved souls. Another four years for Obama is what’s needed (let’s ignore the fact that this high poverty rate is during his administration and after two years of solid Democratic control of Congress). Anyway, what MSNBC is doing is nothing new and to be totally expected, and many Americans are no longer fooled by it.

I certainly believe in helping the poor, those who are truly down on their luck and need a hand to get their lives back on track. But that’s not the government’s job and never has been, and the inability of government to do it is a matter of historical record. How many TRILLIONS of dollars have been spent on the "safety net" over the last generation—and the poverty rate is still in double digits, and has been rising in recent years. Just for comparison’s sake, in 1964, right before all of Lyndon Johnson’s "Great Society" "war on poverty" measures had been passed, the poverty rate was 19%. Forty-three years and countless trillions later, the poverty rate is 15.1%--trillions of dollars spent to lower the rate 4 percentage points (incidentally, the rate in 1959 was over 22%, so it had been dropping before the Great Society programs). This is one of the clearest examples of the utter, complete failure of liberal doctrine—economically AND morally, for it is certainly immoral to propagate ideas and programs that engender vice, "victimhood," and dependence, and to keep people under the thumb of an elite whose sole reason for existence is the power they get by creating classes of people dependent upon them.

The best answer to the "poverty" problem starts with virtue, not money.

Uh, Mitt, Social Security IS Unconstitutional

The Republicans had another debate last night; I didn't see it, of course, and basically all I know about it is what I've briefly read in the news.  Frankly, I'm not paying just a whole lot of attention; there's not much I can do about the nomination, and anybody the Republicans nominate will be better than Obama.  But I do have a comment or two based upon something that apparently came out of the debate last night.

From what I read, much of the heat was aimed at Rick Perry.  That's not surprising, since he's the current front-runner.  Mitt Romney again accused Mr. Perry of saying that Social Security is "unconstitutional" and a "Ponzi scheme."  Mr. Perry has said the latter (and he's right), but, as far as I've been able to determine, has not said that SS is "unconstitutional."  I wish he would.  I wish SOMEBODY would, because it's the truth and it would be a very healthy debate in the United States.

Of course Social Security is unconstitutional.  Any honest person who has read the Constitution and understands what it was intended to mean by the people who wrote it would have to admit that fact.  I challenge anybody, anywhere, to show me, in the Constitution, where Congress has been given the right to FORCE--or even provide--some kind of retirement insurance for the American people.  And don't say "But the Supreme Court..." blah blah blah.  I'm sorry, I can read, and I can think for myself, and no amount of legal gymnastics or political fraud or chicanery can produce Social Security out of the Constitution of the United States. 

But then, that could be said for about 99% of what Congress spends money on, other than the military, which it abuses, too. 

Now, if the people of the United States want the government to provide retirement benefits, that's their right.  That's not my gripe.  My gripe is, don't call it constitutional.  And don't call it "freedom" if a person who doesn't want it is forced to pay for it.  Mr. Perry has made it plain that, though he doesn't like the program, he would not try to take away the benefits from those who are currently enjoying them or who are on the cusp of getting them.  But he insists that changes must be implemented so that younger generations can be prepared for their retiring years, too.  No Republican of any stature has ever talked about abolishing Social Security.  But part of Democratic demogoguery is to convince as many people as possible that the Republicans want to do away with Social Security and Medicare and throw as many people out onto the streets to die as possible.  Democrats are much bigger liars than Republicans, though politicians of both parties are good at it.

But here again, we see one reason for the hopelessness of America.  Mitt Romney has a decent chance of being the next President of the United States, and appears to be the favorite of the Republican "establishment".  But, by implying that Social Security is constitutional, he's either ignorant, stupid, or dishonest, and we already have a President in office like that.  And as long as we keep electing such people, the country will continue on a direct, downward path to historical oblivion.

Incidentally, can anyone find for me, either in the Constitution of the United States, or the Holy Bible, where able-bodied people are supposed to "retire" from work?  Especially at somebody else's expense....I have no objection to people retiring, of course, I hope to some day myself.  But it's a privilege, an earned one, not a right, not an entitlement, and certainly not something to be provided by the government for people who can't afford it themselves.  Because that way, not only will I pay for MY retirement, I'll be paying for somebody else's, too.

But that's "social justice," isn't it.

The Kiss of Death

Borrowing here, basically from the Washington Times:

President Obama made a high-profile visit in May 2010 to Solyndra Inc., a solar-panel manufacturing plant in Fremont, Calif.  The company received $535 million in loans from the Energy Department and was a centerpiece of the Obama administration’s economic stimulus effort.  "Companies like Solyndra are leading the way toward a brighter and more prosperous future," Mr. Obama said.

On Wednesday, Solyndra closed its corporate headquarters, announced that it’s filing for bankruptcy and laying off 1,100 workers.