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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

20. Proud to Be

There are many differences between conservatives and liberals but the one I find, by far, to be the most interesting is how those on the left and right respond to being labeled by their political beliefs. Say to someone on the right, “You are a conservative!” and they will most likely respond in the affirmative and smile. But say to someone on the left, “You are a liberal” and they recoil in anger.

In a recent conversation, I referred to Obama as a socialist. The reaction from the liberals to whom I was speaking was as if I had just referred to Mother Teresa as a child molester. The look on their faces was a mix of horror and rage. They immediately responded with attacks on Bush. Clearly they were upset about the label and yet I cannot think of a label which more accurately describes Obama’s political leanings. He has clearly stated on many occasions that he wants to take money away from oil companies and from those making over $250,000 at year (or was it $200,000, or was it $150,000?) and give it to those who earn less. He has also proposed a host of government programs, including government run health care, as a solution for what he sees as social ills and problems in the US. That is socialism. It certainly isn’t capitalism or libertarianism. Redistribution of wealth – the taking from those who earn money and giving it to those who have not, even under the guise of “those who need” – is socialism. What is the mantra of socialism/Marxism? “From each according to ability to each according to need.“ That is from Karl Marx as in Marxism – as in socialism.

Yet the left is appalled by anyone attaching a label to them that so clearly defines their beliefs. Why?

In observing my liberal acquaintances, I can only surmise that they themselves know that liberalism/socialism is a doomed and misguided ideal. In fact, that is all that it is – an ideal. We’ve see the results in the U.S.S.R., Cuba, North Korea and East Germany and none of these countries under the rule of socialism have caused throngs of immigrants to come knocking at their doors for economic salvation. Most liberals I know live a lifestyle of conservatism yet preach liberalism. It is as if they want to believe in their hearts that the earth is flat (for some reason) yet have seen the pictures from Apollo 11 and know in their minds that it is an illusion.

The next aspect of liberals which I find so fascinating is that to them, their belief system, as it applies to the world, is all or nothing. Everyone MUST follow and be under the control of liberalism, or as they like to say, politically correct thinking. At this point in our history, I would very much like to see the United States fracture into two countries. One being conservative/capitalist, the next being liberal/socialist. When I mention this idea to conservatives, they seem to feel it might not be a bad solution. Although they feel it would be sad to break apart our country, they also feel that those who strongly embrace a socialist ideal should be able to live under their belief system and those who embrace conservatism should also be able to live in peace under their ideal. But, when I mention this to liberals, once again they seem to fly into some sort of rage. They don’t want anyone living in a conservative/capitalist society, even if it is by their choice!!

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by their response, after all, isn’t it only socialist/communist countries that have erected walls and fences to keep people from fleeing their utopia? Conservative/capitalist countries, on the other hand, have had to consider ways to stop the flow of people, even those risking their own lives, who want to emigrate.

In spite of the empirical data showing economic ruin and elimination of personal freedom, many Americans still see salvation only through socialism and only if all people are forced under that one system.

Hmm… I thought the democrat party is the party which believes in freedom of choice!

Monday, December 1, 2008

19. Hawk v. Dove

    The leftist appeasers are celebrating that their new “messiah” is about to occupy the White House. They are reveling in a euphoria of “hope,” that the world will once again join hands and sing Kumbaya and peace will prevail among all people. War, they say, is an outdated paradigm, one from which we have “evolved.” Intellectuals see Hawks as backward hicks from the “flyover states.” They are “unenlightened” and “non-progressive.” Ah – those silly, ignorant fools who don’t believe that “negotiation” can solve any problem. How distressed and saddened these leftists have been over each solder killed in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as over this “senseless” war. The messiah, like his enlightened predecessors, Clinton and Carter, will surely lead us into a new era of peace and harmony. Hallelujah and Amen!

    Hmm…. let’s have a quick look at the record of appeasement under those two presidents before we anoint anyone.

    After taking office, Jimmy Carter announced that one of his top concerns was human rights and one of his targets was the Shah of Iran. He threatened to withdraw all US support of the Shah unless human rights violations ceased. Carter’s anti-Shah speeches blared from public address systems in downtown Tehran by those wanting to overthrow the Shah’s regime. Interestingly enough, once the Ayatollah Khomeini took power, he executed more people in his first year than the Shah’s SAVAK (secret police) had allegedly killed in the previous 25 years. No doubt that was “progress” of which Mr. Carter is still quite proud.

    The fall of the Shah was followed by the storming of our embassy in Tehran and the holding of our fifty-two American hostages for 444 days. Carter kept “negotiating” or, “showing weakness,” as such regimes see appeasement, and Khomeini just kept smiling and holding our citizens. Only when Ronald Reagan was sworn into office after almost two months of declaring he would immediately begin bombing Iran should the hostages not be released were they finally set free.

    The fall of the Shah and the establishment of the Islamic state set the stage for the Taliban, al-Qaida and the jihadists to follow. Khomeini then introduced the idea of suicide bombers to Hezbollah and funded their operations. Hezzbollah later killed 241 US Marines in their barracks in Beirut in 1982.

    Carter continued his effective and enlightened program of appeasement in 1994 when he flew to North Korea to once again “negotiate” an end to their nuclear program. Considering they were given oil, fuel and nuclear technology in return for stopping such a program, something I thought was called “extortion,” is it any surprise that North Korea never did stop their program and has continued until today to develop nuclear energy and weapons? Yet, leftists still pine for the days of Clinton and Carter and their “workable” policies.

    Let’s move forward to the next enlightened, intellectual, evolved, progressive and correct-thinking president – Mr. Bill Clinton. What happened under his dovish presidency?

    1. The 1993 World Trade Center bombing which killed 6 and injured 1,000
    2. The 1995 bombing in Saudi Arabia which killed 5 US military personnel
    3. The 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia which killed 19 and injured 200 US military personnel
    4. The 1998 bombing of the US Embassies in Africa which killed 224 and injured 5,000.
    5. The 2000 bombing of the USS Cole which killed 17 and injured 39 sailors..

    After each of these attacks, Mr. Clinton promised that those responsible would be hunted down and punished. Instead of attacking and killing those responsible and taking bin Laden when offered by Sudan, he appeased and he negotiated with the terrorists. After all, we aren’t animals are we? No, we are enlightened and evolved progressives! Instead, his inaction strengthened the resolve of bin Laden and his minions. They then planned 9/11 during his presidency and executed it in 2001. They killed an estimated 7,000 Americans in New York and Washington DC and injured thousands more. .

    The fact is that since Bush began his “war on terror,” American interests, both at home and abroad, have not been attacked. As much as those intellectuals warned us that we were “stirring up a hornet’s nest” and that “more attacks were eminent” history has instead shown that these Islamist were not as interested in standing before Allah as they would like us to believe. Force is necessary at certain times in history in dealing with certain people. Period.

    “The Messiah” is already putting out the message of appeasement and negotiation to the world. Bush’s “outmoded” paradigm of war is over. Is it really any surprise to anyone what just happened in India? The word is out, Obama is ending the War on Terror and so terrorists can now feel free to rise up and strike without being concerned about retribution. In fact, based on the Clinton and Carter models, they can probably expect future “appeasement” funding directly from the US of A.

    What I want is an “enlightened” intellectual to tell me how many Americans must die both at home and abroad under the Obama regime, before they acknowledge that sometimes war is the only solution. The left so desperately wanted the bodies and coffins of the dead soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan shown on television yet pushed to have all images of 9/11 banned from the media. In 2004 during the presidential race, they attacked Bush for re-playing such images in campaign ads. They wanted to believe it didn’t happen, that their policies of appeasement could never have led to such a tragedy. Of course, that is exactly where it led and it will lead there again under Messiah Obama.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

18. Jack Makes An Investment

On June 15th, Jack graduated from high school and also turned eighteen. For a graduation present, Jack’s uncle gave him a book on money and investing to help secure Jack’s financial future. Unsure of his career path and whether or not it included college, Jack decided to take advice from the book and immediately set up a long-term investment program.

Jack contacted two insurance/investment companies and asked them to present their retirement annuity and investment plans to him. Jack is very risk averse and told both companies he wanted only to invest in vehicles in which no principle could be lost and in which all funds were insured by the U.S. Government. Jack told each company he intended to invest $161.20 a month, starting immediately, a continue investing the same amount until retirement at age 65. At that time, Jack would need monthly income from the annuity or investment plan.

Not wanting to be influenced by any element of the two companies, Jack asked that their plans be submitted only as Company A and Company B.

Company A’s proposal projected a monthly retirement income of $380, but warned it could be less based on market fluctuations. Company B’s proposal projected a monthly retirement income of $2,400 but said it could be more, much more actually, and also depending on market fluctuations.

Jack was puzzled at the extreme difference in the two plans. So, he asked about other features and limitations of the programs.

Company A responded to Jack’s request stating that should Jack die at any point prior to retirement, all money in the account would be the property of the insurance company. After retirement, the monthly income would only continue until Jack’s death at which time any money remaining in the account would again be the property of the insurance company. There was one exception though, should Jack marry, his wife would receive some retirement income whether Jack died before or after age 65. No money would be available at any time to pass on to friends, family or charities.

Company B’s response was quite different. At any time during the life of the program, Jack could pass the balance of the account onto any designated heir, both before and after age 65, married or not.

Jack, a prudent lad, chose Company B.


Would you think anyone in their right mind would ever choose Company A? I would think everyone would at least want Company A investigated for fraud. Yet a very large percentage of Americans not only believe in Company A, they will defend it as if it were a religion. Hillary Clinton even proclaimed Company A as one of America’s greatest success stories.

Company A is Social Security. Company B is any private investment or insurance company specifically investing in either government insured bonds or government insured certificates of deposit.

I chose $161.20 as the monthly investment because it is approximately 12% of the monthly income of someone working full time at minimum wage. The 12% is the 6% non-Medicare contribution of each the employee and the employer combined, the total amount currently paid into the system.

In spite of these numbers, leftists will defend Social Security and will attack any attempt to privatize the system. They scream that proponents of privatization want to let old people starve and die in the streets. Hmmm…. Which plan has old people starving? I think anyone can purchase much more food and comfort with $2,400 a month than $380 a month – don’t you?

There are other elements to Social Security such as income for dependent children until age eighteen, should one or both parents die. This could easily be included in Jack’s plan as well. For about $20 a month for 20 years, Jack could purchase a term life insurance policy of $500,000. Should Jack die the policy would provide Jack’s family with about $3,500 a month. This additional insurance would drop Jack’s retirement income from $2,400 to $2,200 a month. If Jack never marries, he never needs to worry about this additional insurance.

Considering that both investment approaches include only investments insured by the U.S. Government, this takes away the argument that people could lose everything in a private system, one investing in the stock market or other non-insured investments. Should the investments earn a higher rate of return, Company B could increase Jack’s monthly income by over $1,000 a month for every additional point increase in his average investment return.

Social Security is in trouble – big trouble. Promises made will soon be broken. The age of retirement will undoubtedly increase in the next few years and the likelihood of anyone under the age of 40 receiving any benefits is almost zero. Yet, the left continues to defend the system as a success and fights all efforts for American’s to retire in comfort, having full control of their retirement funds.

This is the same government that now wants to take control of our health care. I’m guessing under that system, we won’t have to worry about retirement income at all since none of us are likely to live long enough to need it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

17. It's Taught At Home?

If parents repeatedly tell their child he is stupid, the child will eventually put no effort into learning. If parents repeatedly accuse and punish their child for stealing, even though he hasn’t, the child will eventually steal. If parents repeatedly accuse and punish their child for drug use, even if the child has never done drugs, the child will eventually turn to drugs as an escape. Both children and adults will live up or down to the expectations set for them by their parents or by those who influence their lives. By setting the bar low, we humans will not only live down to the expectations set for us, we will also learn to hate our accusers.

So what has the media and the left taught me in my lifetime? For one, I am a racist. I’ve heard it over and over again for the last 49 years. It doesn’t matter what I do, how I treat people, how I live my life, all that matters is that I’m politically conservative. That alone makes me racist. Even those who are politically moderate to left-of-center have been accused of the same vicious label for disagreeing in any way with the politics of the extreme left. During the recent Democratic primarily, anyone voting for Hillary over Obama was also called a racist. Apparently alleged white-on-black racism trumps alleged misogyny.

If I disagree with the politics of the gay community, I’m a “homophobe.” If I disagree with the politics of the feminist community, I am a “misogynist.” There is no open discussion on any issue involving race, sexual orientation or gender. Any attempt to take a position different from the left is shouted down with name calling – names and labels which imply hate.

I will not be voting for Barack Obama in November, not because he is black, but because he is a Marxist/Socialist. I will not vote for anyone of that belief system regardless of their race, gender or sexual orientation. Yet I, and every American who opposes Mr. Obama’s politics – left, right, Republican or Democrat – are now called racists just as those who oppose Hillary are misogynists and those who oppose Barney Frank are homophobes.

Now members of the left, both black and white, are threatening riots throughout the US should Mr. Obama not be elected President. What does name calling and threats of violence say about those who take these positions? Should I embrace them and their ideals? Should I be threatened and insulted into voting for their candidate?

Will there be a backlash in white America against Obama simply because he is black? Will members of all political parties vote for McCain simply because he is white? It’s doubtful – it is issues and character that ultimately drive elections. But if race does come into play, who exactly was it that taught Americans to consider it an issue?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

16. Tax The Rich!!

At the recent debates in Iowa, the democrat candidates made their position clear – the nation’s ills can be cured by raising taxes on the rich and those greedy multi-national corporations. Apparently, redistribution of wealth has worked so well in other socialist countries, such as Cuba and what was once the USSR, that the Left wants more of it here.

As a “polarized” person on the conservative side of economics, I completely disagree. In fact, I want to see the entire system revamped and I’m certain I’m not alone. But, I don’t want to force my conservative, pseudo-Christian beliefs on anyone, I want each person to have a choice. So, here’s my modest proposal: Split the United States into two countries – one secular-progressive/socialist (SPS) and one conservative/capitalist (CC). The SPS States of America will increase taxes on the rich, on corporations and on inheritance as has already been proposed by most of the candidates on the left. The CC States of America will implement the plan proposed by Neal Boortz in The FairTax Book. Under Mr Boortz’s plan, there will be no income tax for any individual or corporation nor will there be an inheritance tax. The only tax will be a national sales tax on both goods and services. Mr. Boortz proposes a rate of 24% to continue to feed the current government’s voracious appetite. But I’m going to be more modest and propose a rate of only 12% because I would like to see an ocean of ineffective, bloated and unnecessary government agencies and services simply disappear. What also will disappear in the CC States is the high cost of tax preparation and compliance. According to the Tax Foundation (as referenced in Mr. Boortz’s book) cost of tax compliance in the US in 2002 was $194 billion. Once we add in opportunity costs, this number soars to over $500 billion a year. Also eliminated would be the IRS which costs taxpayers over $10 billion a year.

So let's review:
SPS States CC States
(current to hist. max)
Personal Income Tax39% to 90%0%
Corporate Tax34% to 53% 0%
Inheritance Tax 45% to 90% 0%
Cost of tax prep. unknown$0
National Sales Tax 0%12%

As the nation splits into two, both individuals and corporations will decide in which country they will live and conduct business. Profitable corporations and working individuals of all income brackets will look at the above numbers before making their decisions. Which do you think they will choose? Those that choose the CC States will not only eliminate the income taxes they would pay in the SPS States, they also eliminate the costs of CPAs and tax attorneys. Corporations would no longer need to spend billions of dollars on lobbying efforts seeking favorable tax breaks.

It won’t just be current US corporations that consider moving to the CC States, corporations across the globe will take a long, hard look at relocating their companies to this newly formed country and taking advantage of its simplistic and fiscally favorable tax structure.

As much as the Left loves to malign corporations and wealthy Americans as evil, nothing generates wealth other than business and no business comes into existence without venture capital. Where does the venture capital come from? Yep, from other corporations and those greedy, wealthy Americans the Left loves to punish with higher and higher taxes.

With such a favorable tax structure, investment money would also flow in from abroad as foreigners seek tax havens for their money. This money would “trickle down” into the economy creating new businesses and ventures. The reality is that money is already flowing out of our country to such tax havens as Switzerland, the Cayman Islands, Lichtenstein and Panama. These funds would quickly be repatriated into the economy of the CC States.

So who would remain in the SPS States of America? Those compassionate liberals of the current American economy? I doubt it. Already those in Hollywood who espouse such liberal principals as unions and higher taxes regularly produce movies in countries with lower, non-union wages and a more favorable tax status. What about liberal icon Ted Kennedy? Well, his family trust sits on the island of Fiji avoiding scrutiny of all kinds from the Federal government and the IRS. It would be interesting to discover just how much money from other prominent liberals resides in foreign accounts. Using the internet, electronic transfers are available to all working people trying to maximize their return and minimize their tax liability.

The rest of the world is already moving forward. Ireland, whose economy was in shambles decided in the mid-1990s to dramatically lower their corporate tax rate from 32% to 12.5%. Ireland went from being the poorest country in Western Europe to the richest per capita. Eleven countries in Eastern Europe have a flat corporate tax rate of 25%. Bulgaria has a rate of only 10%. Kuwait recently slashed its corporate rate from 55% to 15%.

The Left’s disdain of corporations and profits reminds me of a quote from “Gone With The Wind.” At the Twelve Oaks barbeque, Rhett Butler says to the southern gentlemen discussing war with the North, “I think it’s hard winning a war with words…I’m saying…All we’ve got is cotton and salves, and arrogance.” Just as a country cannot fight a war without artillery an economy cannot thrive and taxes cannot be collected without commerce. Yet we continue to give corporations reasons to do business elsewhere in the world rather than here within the USA.

If my modest proposal is actually implemented, how will the SPS States of America survive as corporations and money flow to the CC States? Anyone who believes it wouldn’t happen is deluded – it is already happening in our global economy. We need to decide if we want to be on the receiving end of corporate dollars – or the end which continues to be depleted. If arrogance and idealism fueled economies it would stand to reason that those under Lenin, Stalin and Castro would have risen to be the most powerful in the world. Instead, the altruistic dream of Lenin has already collapsed and Cuba hangs on a thread waiting for Castro to die. A similar fate awaits all nations that continue to attack wealth and commerce with progressively higher and higher taxes.