Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Resolution

I've been on this earth for 2 years now and I think I'm old enough to make and keep a new year's resolution. This year, I resolve to get the career politician out of office regardless of what party they are affiliated with. If we all join together, we can successfully do this. If they've been in their office for 2 terms or more, vote them out. Vote for the independent or libertarian if you can't bring yourself to vote for a republican or democrat. But let's get them out. The system is set up so we can fire politicians if we want to. So instead of blindly voting for the incumbent, get them out of there!!!

That is my New Year's Resolution. What's yours?

Happy New Year!!! May you all have a blessed and wonderful 2010!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas from the Halls of Congress!!!

Well tomorrow morning bright and early, before many of us are even awake, the Senate is going to pass their $871 Billion version of health care. While there is not public option in this version, how many of you want to go in the hole for an $871 Billion Christmas present?

Our only hope is that the House won't give in on not having a public option and that it ends up going no where. But I fear they are so desperate to pass something, that they'll come to a one sided agreement.

Never mind that a majority of us oppose this bill.

Never mind that they bought the 60th vote, and probably the 59th and 58th. I just haven't been paying as close attention to who 58 and 59 were and what they got for it.

We should all be ecstatic because after all, Christmas is about going further and further into debt right??? Remember to thank you Senators for their generous gift to you at your expense.

On a brighter note;

I Lola, do wish each and everyone of you a joyous Holidays with your families and friends. I hope you are all taking some extra vacation time over the next week and a half or so.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Doesn't Washington Have Better Things to Do?

If you haven't heard, Texas representative Joe Barton introduced legislation that passed a house subcommittee regarding a playoff system in college football rather than the current Bowl Series that he says is "unfair."
Let me take a quick side note to point out that LIFE ISN'T ALWAYS FAIR!!! Or Perfect!!! If it were, term limits would have been included in the Constitution. Though I might also add it was designed with the freedom to elect whomever you want in spite of your own ignorance.

Now back to the point of legislation about college football. Really!! They can't leave football alone. Though I shouldn't be surprised with all the interrogations of athletes in recent years.
They can't leave any aspect of our lives alone!

Never mind whether or not you agree or disagree with the notion of playoff system in college football. The idea of the government meddling in sports is preposterous. And while I should be glad that it distracts them from various legislation that is costing us more and more money everyday, I'm furious that they act as if they have the right to interfere whenever and wherever they want in our live. I'm even more furious that we let them or perhaps many of us want them too interfere.

I also think legislation like this is a smoke screen for Americans so they can get distracted in their support or fury of it, from such decisions that we should be furiously working to stop. For example;
There are billions of unused or paid back TARP funds. Which let me remind you the entire amount is debt to all of us. Rather than pay back the unused debt, the administration is considering using is to help aid the labor market. That is what the stimulus was supposed to do and rather than cut $700Billion in debt in half or close to it, they want to continue to spend that money. I know that makes sense to a lot of people who live their lives in debt, but let me remind you it's illogical, shameful, and immoral to send this country and its citizens into the debt they already have.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Optimal Method of Charity?

So the Christmas season is upon us and for many from thanksgiving through now is the only time of the year they are charitable since this seems to be the time of year that its ok to ask for donations to food banks and for donations to needy families that can't afford food much more a great Christmas. For others charitable giving is a year round habit and possibly increased around this time of the year.

This brings up an interesting point in the realm of politics, and I'm really curious to know what the general public thinks about this issue. Unfortunately this little blog doesn't get nearly the feed back to determine what the general public thinks. None-the-less, I'd like to know what those of you reading this think?

The government collects billions (or is it trillions now?) of tax dollars every year for programs that many likely view as charitable. Here's the problem. The government doesn't set up incentives to lower the cost of operations of various programs and supporting departments. They are given budgets, and if they don't spend it, they loose it the next year and have no hope of asking for a bigger budget either.

On the other hand one, must be ware of charities. Not all are as thrifty as they claim to be. Or they have overhead that's likely as heavy as the governments. Or they could be quasi-governmental in that they operate from government grants. Which adds a 2nd level of overhead to the money given to needy people. However if you research the charity, you'll find some great ones with relatively fixed and low overhead from year to year and the more money they collect, the more good they can do with it.

So I want to know, what's your preferred method of charity? To let the government handle it in spite of low efficiencies, or to do your research and find charities that give most if not all of their money towards the people, animals, or causes in need? I'm sure you can guess my preferred method.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Oh No!!!

Sorry about the title. It's my sarcastic way of adding to the hysteria over the Saturday night vote.
Check Spelling
Let me tell you why the sarcasm. That vote was just to continue debating or not about the bill. Yeah Yeah Republicans didn't have any input in the bill. Well if you refuse to debate about it, you certainly won't get your points across.

I agree I don't want the bill to pass either but debate is debate and you better start debating it! That's your job!! So stop whining and start debating.

What I find interesting is how the following NY Times article talks about the cost of the Senate bill at $800+Billion like it's a bargain over the $1.03 Trillion House bill.
Keep in mind that the federal government couldn't accurately estimate or even over estimate the cost of something like this. Trust me, it's well underestimated.

But who among us can actually imagine $800 billion? Let me break it down for you.
At the time of this post, the U.S. population is listed at 307,996,114. Keep in mind that number is not working adults only. It includes children, retirees, stay at home moms, the unemployed, etc etc. That comes out to more than $2,597 per person. So if your family has 2 people think $5,200 or for a family of 4 more than $10,400. That's on top of the taxes you currently pay for this that and the other government programs. But don't forget you have to pay for those people that aren't contributing tax dollars. So add some more money onto your family's total to cover their share.

I'm just saying $800 billion is NOT a bargain for health care that they say is only going to cover 31 million people as opposed to the Houses versions 36 million. So they expect me to believe that only about 11% of the population is going to need the governments help? What do they think I'm stupid? I guess they aren't concerned about me though, just about the masses.

On a related note, if you don't think senator's votes on specific pieces of legislation aren't bought.
Check this out how Senator Mary Landrieu's vote to support the health care bill was purchased.

Don't think your Senator can be bought on either side of the aisle? I'd like to remind you of TARP and the "Stimulus" bills.

Call your senators. Call other senators. Or Write them. Tell them what you think.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


I'll be the first to admit I'm no expert on Fascism. All I know is that Mussolini was a fascist, and I believe he was considered to be some sort of dictator. But I couldn't tell you what about his political policies made him a fascist. So I will be providing you with resources to study up on it as I will do as I put this post together.

From Websters:

1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
2 : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control

For more clarity on what fascism is, this is a very good in depth explanation of it. The whole article is worth reading.
"...Where socialism abolished all market relations outright, fascism left the appearance of market relations while planning all economic activities. Where socialism abolished money and prices, fascism controlled the monetary system and set all prices and wages politically. In doing all this, fascism denatured the marketplace. Entrepreneurship was abolished. State ministries, rather than consumers, determined what was produced and under what conditions."

People (I'm not sure who these "people" are) like to equate Socialism to far left and Fascism to far right ideology. Where I sense they are relatively the same thing with fascism being easier to accomplish as it pulls the wool over the eyes of the sheep blindly following the government that is selling it, as the sheep pump their fists and demand the government take care of their needs.

I don't know if we should technically be worried about our country headed for fascism or socialism. I don't think it matters which one since they are both trying to accomplish Utopian societies in the eyes of their supporters. I do think we shouldn't trust any group of people (politicians) that are motivated by power, that want to "provide for our needs"with our money and not theirs. Though they seem to think what's ours is theirs to do with as they please. Utopia on earth can't be accomplished while man is running the place.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Health Care Passed the House

Well if you were sleeping last night and didn't hear the news, the House passed their version of "health care reform."

From the article: "Nancy Pelosi compared the legislation to the passage of Social Security in 1935 and Medicare 30 years later."

I agree with that, just maybe not with the joy behind it that she most likely has. Two entitlement programs that are contributing to the bankruptcy of this country. If you essentially extend Medicare to the entire county, it will speed that up. I'd like to know how comfortable you all are with putting this burden on my generation and the generations to follow? They keep extending out the "retirement" age to receive social security and Medicare benefits. Robbing from the future to get what you want now.

Now that everyone has been depending on Social Security and Medicare for so long, you wouldn't get anyone to touch eliminating those entitlements on either side of the aisle. I'm guessing 80-90% of most Americans would be opposed to privatizing both since they've been paying in already they've learned to "trust" that the government will continue to send them a check every month and pay for their Medicare needs. What many of you may not realize about the "free" entitled part of Medicare. It only applies to in patient coverage. If you want Medicare out patient benefits, you have to buy into it, and yet it's still bankrupting us. Why do you think that is? Because there's no incentive to run it efficiently. If they are short on money, congress will just increase the budget for it.

That's how they are going to get this passed if it passes. They are going to call it an extension of Medicare to all which everyone is under the illusion it works so well for seniors while alienating the care to seniors by cutting the budget to them. I'm all for cutting that budget, but let's be real; we're just moving money from one group of people to another and then spending more on that new group of people. So where's the savings? Where's the money in my pocket? They keep taking it. And no one seems to care that any of us are pissed off about it. Because when it comes down to it, 90% or more of people may not want the government to spend money on this, but they certainly want them to spend money on their special interest, whatever that may be.

Whatever happened to the basics of infrastructure (roads, highways, bridges) and and army for defense? Whatever happened to the freedom to take care of ourselves as we see fit? When did it become appropriate to demand the government take care of our personal lives?

If you oppose this bill, you still have time to voice your opinion as it's not in the hands of the Senate. Call and write your senators and the senators of other states. Let them know their jobs depend on it. And then vote them out next time anyways. Let's impose term limits on all of them. They shouldn't be able to make a career out of spending our money.

On a bright note, apparently this version has no chance in the Senate.
Doesn't matter, keep hounding your sentators and others and then vote them out!! I'm not kidding about imposing term limits on them. That's our job!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Are You Happy With What is Going on in Washington?

The reason for the title is because I have two topics I'd like to discuss in this post. I just got back from a short vacation and had no time to discuss both points as they came up at the end of last week.

1st topic: Hate Crime Law and the Defense bill.

So in case you weren't paying attention last week homosexuality got added as a defined "hate crime." I'm not going to go into further details that crime done against anyone regardless of race, gender, beliefs, sexual preference, etc is hateful and so the term "Hate Crime" is somewhat redundant from my point of view or it should apply to all victims of crime, not just defined groups. My real point is to discuss how something like this gets tacked onto the defense bill, which is defined (by me) as the bill to outline the defense of our country. What does a qualifying group of people that get hate crime designation have to do with the defense of our our country?

I'm not opposed to discussing/proposing such a bill in legislation that is in the same category, such as crime. But this goes on all the time with various bills and what really offends me is when they tack on what was commonly referred to as "pork" during the last campaign, to a bill that will pass that has nothing to do with the "pork" item, just to get it through since it might not pass otherwise. This is part of the dirty deal making that happens in congress that must stop!!

I propose that bills must stay on topic. Perhaps they'd all be shorter. I doubt it, since they want to drone on long enough so that no one will bother to read them.

Topic 2: Cash For Clunkers, Success or Failure?

Not too long ago I posted on what defined the success or failure of the cash for clunkers program. On Thursday posted what I would consider to be my definition of success or failure of it.

If you haven't read the article, check it out.

Basically speaking, they determined that as of a result of the program 125,000 additional vehicles were sold as a result of the program. All other vehicles purchased during the program would have been purchased whether they got the rebate applied to their new purchase or not.
The program cost a total of $3 billion. That comes out to $24,000/additional car sold.

To be fair they did determine that some people that were going to purchase cars had no intentions of trading in an old car, but this isn't quantified, nor are the reasons stated for why they wouldn't have traded in that old car. So this may or may not provide evidence supporting environmental successes.

So what do you think now? Is spending $24,000 per additional car sold worth it to you? Have you changed your mind on the success or failure of the program? Do you find this indicative of how the government runs things? I do.

I would like to see the same analysis done on the new home rebate program. And yet they intend to extend this. (If they didn't already do it while I was gone.)

Do you really want them in charge of health care? Let me know what you think about all of this.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Death Penalty Controversy

There has been much controversy as of late in Texas. Do a search and you can find all sorts of information about it. Being from Texas I'm not immune to the reputation it has of being the leader in the country of executions. Over the last couple of years, DNA evidence has exonerated several death row inmates and now the state is paying restitution to them. This is costing the state ridiculous amounts of money on top of the money spent to try them and fight the numerous appeals they went through.

Here's what I think. I am not opposed to the death penalty, however it should only be eligible for criminals that are found guilty with DNA and/or conclusive video or witnessed evidence. If someone is found guilty without such evidence, then the death penalty should NOT be on the table for their sentence. If they do have such evidence that no appeals would result in overturning that conviction and they have been sentenced to death, then the sentence should be carried out swiftly.

What are your thoughts? Are you Anti-Death Penalty in all circumstances? Pro-Death Penalty? If so under what circumstances are you pro? Would you vote for or against a politician solely for his or her stance on the death penalty?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

What's More Peaceful than a Dog?

Apparently President Obama is, who might I add was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize before even taking office. Does anyone take these nominations/wins seriously? As Saturday Night Live so eloquently put it last night, he won for "not being Bush." Do you think he would have still won if he hadn't gotten elected? As a message to us that he is the one the Nobel Peace panel thinks should have been elected?

I'd also like to know how a global warming presentation, filled with some lies, is an effort at world peace.

I don't really care who wins the Nobel Peace Prize, it just seems to make a mockery when you give it out because of political ideals rather than peaceful actions. I don't think words are the same thing as actions. Especially since I don't see a drop in the efforts of terrorists around the world.

I do think my species is doing more for world peace than a bunch of speeches. What's more peaceful than a sweet dog? We open up the lines of communication. We soften the hearts of the hard. We bring comfort in pain and suffering. Break down barriers. I hope a dog wins next year.

Oh I also find it interesting that he's giving the prize money to charity. I agree with that decision and think it's the right thing to do in his position. But isn't he in the party that thinks government not charity is the answer to all your problems? Unless the charity he's giving it to turns out to be the government. At least be consistent. Personally I'd prefer to let charities rather than government hand out the majority of the assistance. The overhead is much greater when the government hands out the money.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Michael Moore - A Prosperous Hypocrite

I don't really know why I'm wasting a perfectly good post on this guy, but I think it's because I'm curious as to whether or not his hypocrisy is seen by all, or just some. Let's take his latest "documentary" for example "Capitalism: A Love Story." While I tend to agree with his hate of bail outs to AIG as shown in the previews, his overall theme of capitalism is evil, I take great exception to.

But the point of this post is not why I disagree with him. I've had plenty of posts that ought to cover that. If not, I'll be happy to write more. Most non-government workers can thank capitalism for their jobs. While government workers can thank regulation for theirs.

So if Michael Moore really hated capitalism, what should he do with all of the money he earns? Yes I said earn since he's producing a product that sells, even if only to a niche audience sometimes. He makes way more than I do. Shouldn't he hand it all over to the government to redistribute as they see appropriate? What should be done with it by his point of view?

I've got a thought. We have a large homeless population that panhandle to get enough money for their next fix here in Austin. Perhaps he should build a group home for them and single handedly support their laziness and their drug habits so they don't have to go to work like he does and they can stop panhandling from us. He can work for them. But if they get busted for panhandling, it's on him because he's agreeing (hypothetically) to provide their basic needs that they don't even seem motivated to provide for legitimately, which for them is food, shelter, and drugs or alcohol.

If he did this and lived in a modest middle class neighborhood, I wouldn't jump on him for his anti-capitalism rhetoric and point out his hypocrisy. I first read of his hypocrisy in the book "Do as I Say (Not as I do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy." It's actually very interesting and a recommended read. I'm not saying there's not conservative hypocrisy. We hear about it all the time the minute it happens. We don't always hear of the liberal hypocrisy. Though I think life time politicians on either side of the aisle are walking examples of hypocrisy regardless of what does or does not make the 6:00 news.

I'd like to know your thoughts. Do you plan to see his movie? Do you agree that capitalism does more harm than good? And if Michael Moore makes money from his own capitalistic ventures, what should be done with that money after his basic needs are met?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mandated Health Insureance a Tax Increase on the Middle Class?

You Decide

President Obama spoke with George Stephanopoulos. He claims the fact that George looked up the definition of tax in the dictionary is proof that's he's stretching that claim.

What do you think?

What I don't believe is that no matter how much he says it will be deficit neutral, there's no way in hell for that to happen. So I'd like to know how the president defines deficit neutral.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Government Waste and Abuse

I suppose pointing out and discussing waste and abuse of our tax dollars by our government is a bit cliche by now, but I find it my duty to point out things that never even make headline news or talk radio. If this did, I missed it. The likelihood is that very few if anyone knows about this, probably because the amount is small enough that it may not be worth discussing. But a bunch of amounts like this add up to a lot! We should all be furious and demand accountability from those responsible for these decisions.

WTO OKs $295 million in Brazilian sanctions on US

This was considered low to the $2.5 billion Brazil was seeking. The reason for the sanctions.

"Monday's ruling was the fifth major decision since the Brazilian government brought the case to the WTO in 2002, alleging that the U.S. was able to retain its place as the world's second-largest cotton producer by paying out some $3 billion to American farmers each year. China is the largest exporter of cotton, while Brazil is fifth."

So here's my point, $3billion of farm subsidies, which is a waste to those of us that aren't farmers is costing the U.S. another almost$300 million. $3.3billion down the drain or mismanaged by our "heroes" in Washington. If you can't make a living as a cotton farmer, then you should find a job that you can make money at. You don't want to get me started on my farm subsidies rant.

This is only one example of waste and abuse. I'll be there are hundreds of "small" examples like this that get swept under the rug because we don't care enough to hold them accountable because it would be a hassle or interference on our lives. I will share them with you as I find them.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Health Care Debate Continues

As time moves on, the health care debate does too. And all we see is the passionate debate for or against it, with no real discussion of what's broke about the system and what specific aspects that need fixing. It seems that there are 2 schools of thought; Government run health care or increase insurance competition without the government entering the business. HR 3400 is the Republican solution to health care which simply put, has tax credit provisions for maintaining health insurance, and allows for small businesses to pool into groups to purchase insurance for their employees at large group rates, and more blah blah blah about fraud waste and abuse and so on.

Let me tell you something, when you have a middle man administrating the care whether it's the government, in the case of Medicare and Medicaid, or the private sector in the case of all other insurance, rates are predetermined/negotiated. Which means the insurance company or the government tells the provider how much they will pay them for a certain service or procedure regardless of cost. A set up like this encourages fraud waste and abuse on so many levels. Meaning a doctor sees a patient and takes the opportunity to run all sorts of tests and procedures, ordinarily unnecessary but particularly if it is of no harm to the patient in order to increase their reimbursement. All they have to do is justify it medically, and when you are an expert in the game you can justify anything. This is especially easy to do and difficult to prove on older patients or if the patient makes any comment that could be construed to justify ordering this or that, which is another billable item.

What I am trying to say is that as long as there is a intermediary that must employ doctors, nurses and administrative personnel to administer payment on behalf of the patient, fraud waste and abuse will continue. Do you not find it fraudulent that insurance companies can deny coverage on the basis of a preexisting condition? But they can. This is the issue I think Americans can agree on and where we ought to start. That doesn't mean these patients might not have to pay higher premiums or higher deductibles or co-insurance.

Let's be honest, the fact that we pay premiums just means that insurance is just a payment plan for our routine medical care that is expected to even out over time. How else is an insurance company going to make money? For example. My parents were without health insurance when they first got married, by choice. They could have paid for it, but money was tight and it was a risk they chose to take since they are both very healthy. About a year later, dad went to the ER for kidney stones. They paid the discount they were offered to pay in full at the time of service. (All facilities offer this probably doctors too, some just make you ask for it) Calculated out, it cost about what insurance premiums and a deductible would have cost them for the time period of being uninsured. Had they put that money in savings every month, they would have had that money at the time of service instead of having to put it on a credit card.

I will say it again, if doctors and patients ban together to cut out the middle man, whether the government or insurance companies and take back personal responsibility for our health care, (dare I say live healthy lives?) I bet the cost of care would drop dramatically because doctors wouldn't have to employ staff or pay agencies to bill and collect from insurance companies. They could just collect the full amount up front at the time of service and I bet it would be lower than the "negotiated rates" they get from insurance companies or Medicare because Doctors and facilities would truly have to compete for your business. See my previous post about this issue on July 12. But I know 90% or you or more will likely disagree with me on this issue just like 90% of America is going to disagree with me about privatizing social security.

My point of this post is rather than each side insisting on their solution and their solution only, both of which only treats the symptoms, how about we think outside the box and treat the problem. At the very least, let's focus on 1 part of the system that we can all likely agree on (preexisting denial, or perhaps something else) and start there if the majority don't really want to treat the problem. As it is it just seems like a political power grab taking freedom from you and me the consumers.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Cash for Clunkers - What Do You Think?

No doubt many if not all of you have heard about the cash for clunkers program that is about to end after this weekend. Some of you may have even used the opportunity to get a new car. My question to you is, did you see it as a successful program?

The reason I ask is you have to consider what the point of the program was to decide it if was successful or not. Was it to improve the environment? Was it to filter more money to the auto companies? And if so, how much of that money have they gotten? Was the purpose something else?

My next question is how many, if any, of the new cars purchased do you think will be repossessed in the near future? If any are repossessed, does that change your opinion of whether or not it was a success or failure? Does it matter if the money went directly to the car companies or those that purchased the cars?

I don't quite know where the money came from. I just assume that since I didn't have a car to trade in, I'm somehow paying for it. Which I obviously don't care for. I can think of better ways to handle this, but again, it really depends what the point of the program was.

Just curious to hear other assessments of the program.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Swiss Banks Strike a Deal With the U.S. Government

I'm not sure how many of you know about this or even care about this, but basically speaking we all know that people have been able to move money to Swiss bank accounts in an effort to protect their assets from tax policies that would be levied against them by holding them here in America. Basically the deal involves Swiss banks revealing the records for 52,000 Americans suspected of nearly $15 Billion in assets be held in Swiss banks and not American banks. Obviously the plan is to penalize them by levying heavy fines or taxes or whatever against them to help raise money for the government and sticking it to the "evil rich" on behalf of us little people.

I have 2 points to make. First, what to you want to bet that certain politicians and/or the associates in their back pockets are NOT on that list?

Second, are we not concerned about the American economic policies that are causing these people to send $15 Billion overseas? So you fine them for "not paying taxes" or whatever, but do they have to bring that money back here? Wouldn't it be better if that $15 Billion had been in American banks this whole time stimulating the American economy? And is fining them going to make them want to bring their money back here? While I completely disagree with dodging taxes, we have tax policies that encourage finding loopholes. Here's an unoriginal thought, fix the economic and tax policies that cause them store their money elsewhere. Be the tax haven that they want to encourage them to invest in their own economy. That money staying over here will do more to stimulate this economy than bailing out corporations and banks.

The Fair Tax is one solution, but I'm sure there other solutions that would keep power in the hands of the politicians (insert sarcasm because decreased politician power is why the Fair Tax won't pass), while being a tax haven that encourages investment in the American economy.

What's your take?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

President Obama Just Made My Last Point

Without intending to, President Obama just made the same point of my last post. Check it out.

"As long as they have a good product and the government plan has to sustain itself through premiums and other non-tax revenue, private insurers should be able to compete with the government plan, Obama said."

"'They do it all the time,'" he said. "'UPS and FedEx are doing just fine. ... It's the Post Office that's always having problems.'"

Seriously, do you want the government running your health care?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Something the Government Has a Monopoly on is a Risk???

This has been going on for awhile now but I haven't seen much discussion about it in the blogosphere. The GAO (Government Accountability Office) released their report a few weeks ago putting the U.S. Post Office on its "high-risk" list. What does this mean?

"There are serious and significant structural financial challenges currently facing the Postal Service...."

"Mail volume fell by 9.5 billion pieces in fiscal year 2008 to a total of 203 billion pieces and is projected to fall by 28 billion pieces in fiscal year 2009 to a total of 175 billion pieces. USPS expects mail volume and revenue to continue declining next year, and flat or continued volume decline over the next 5 years. USPS projects a net loss of $7 billion this fiscal year, with outstanding debt increasing to over $10 billion, and a cash shortfall of about $1 billion. USPS also expects that its projected losses will continue in fiscal year 2010."

I don't know about you all, but 90% of our mail is junk mail that we may or may not look at. Even if those sending it don't define it as junk mail. That doesn't count bills. Bills fall in the 10% category for us, though many are foregoing bills sent in the mail so they can be notified by email, or have it automatically drafted from their checking account once a month. We pay as many of our bills by credit card to rack up the points as we are allowed to pay that way and make one payment to our credit card a month. This reduces our personal use of the USPS as well as many others we know. Between automatic bank drafts and consolidation of bill payment, and contacting each other by email when ever we feel like it, demand for the USPS has dropped.

So the USPS, which if you didn't know is run by the federal government, can't find a way to remain profitable. Is that a surprise to anyone? So let me ask you this, are you willing to pay more taxes so that the USPS can remain a viable business in spite of decreased demand and so that all those postal workers can keep their jobs?

I leave you with this; do you want the same government who couldn't keep the USPS a viable business running your health care? Making decisions about your life?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Beer Summit

Is it just me or does something called a "Beer Summit" actually dominating the news and talk shows the last week or so seem like a successful fraternity prank? Or a dream come true to the beer companies that were mentioned over and over as the beers of choice in countless articles and TV programs? What was the point?

I mean doesn't the president have more important things to do than to "mediate" a meeting of two people that probably didn't care to see each other ever again. One of whom by some accounts still expected an apology from someone doing his job responding to a call that was made by someone, who ironically was looking out for the best interest of a neighbor and trying to protect his property.

Oh, but you may say, "Lola, that's your skewed slant on the story." Is it?

Fact: the neighbor saw someone who appeared to be forcibly entering a home in her neighborhood rather than entering with ease as if he owned the place. I'm sure he wasn't looking around for her to see his face either.

Fact: She called the police as it's never recommended to confront a potential criminal yourself.

Fact: The police responded to a call about a suspected break in.

What happened from there I can't attest as a fact since I wasn't a witness. But do you or do you not want your neighbors to call the police when they suspect someone is breaking into your home? And do you or do you not want the police to do their job and protect your home when called? And should they not be reasonably suspicious if you don't have the keys to your own house? Or should that be the new standard? No keys, breaking into the house normal...Do you think being rude and belligerent or polite and respectful to a cop will get you what you want.

So the result of the "summit" according to the above article from Reuters;
"'I think what you had today was two gentlemen who agreed to disagree on a particular issue,' Crowley told reporters." Again I say, what was the point? Was the point to convince Gates that he overreacted? Or was the point to convince Crowley he was wrong? It's a shame that Gates and Obama made this about race. I don't believe most reasonable people believe it was about anything other than this cop doing his job as he was trained to do. That fact that it came down to agreeing to disagree seems to make the whole thing an exercise in futility to save face for Obama for stupidly making a statement without having the facts. "I have no comment until I have the facts" (more or less) should be a standard response when unaware of the facts. Maybe this was a lesson learned for him. What I don't know is if he understands the part he played in perpetuating the "race card" that so many people have been trying to squash for years, even after he was elected to the highest office in the country.

"'I have always believed that what brings us together is stronger than what pulls us apart,' Obama said in a statement after the meeting in a garden outside the Oval Office."

"I am confident that has happened here tonight, and I am hopeful that all of us are able to draw this positive lesson from this episode."

I'd like to know what everyone's lesson was from this episode, especially after Crowley's statement. Is agreeing to disagree a positive outcome of this meeting? Perhaps the follow-up "Beer Summit" should be with Bill Cosby.

What's your opinion?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

What's Texas Doing Right?

Is Texas doing something right that California and other states aren't?

I was sent an article from the national review but as I haven't figured out how to upload I file for you and the National Review requires you to pay to be a subscriber to their magazine, I went searching and found the article reprinted with permission on Rick Perry's website. I encourage you to read it.

It points out that while Texas is feeling the effects of the recession or the slow down of the economy, it's effects are minimal compared to the states that have been hit hardest. It points out that we still have manufacturing thriving while Detroit has been hit hard. It points out that there is a mass migration from California while their government workers are taking IOUs as they attempt to balance the budget. Texas went into this recession with a surplus to the budget which will help ease the pain of the recession.

Texas has no state income tax. We have sales tax. Texas essentially operates as an example of the way the fair tax is meant to, by taxing everyone that makes purchases here. Legal or illegal, resident or visiting. So these people using our programs, whether they should or shouldn't be, are still paying into our system some way shape or form even if they aren't paying their emergency room bills.

This article makes the much hated Rick Perry look like a genius. He's running for reelection in 2010 and if he wins will be the longest serving governor in Texas history. While he is despised, the much despised and loved (depending on who you talk to) Kay Bailey Hutchinson will be challenging him. I'm on the despising side since she voted for the first bailout before Bush left office. I wrote her and told her not to. She won't be getting my vote for governor. I'll likely vote for the libertarian running, though I've heard a 3rd republican has thrown her hat in the race that is supposedly endorsed by Ron Paul. I have yet to check her out. Maybe she will prove worthy of my vote. Rick Perry and Texas is your classic nanny state. They passed a steroid testing bill in 2007 for Texas high schools that cost several million dollars a year or so that has turned up few positive tests. Aren't there physical signs to steroid abuse that could be the trigger to test someone rather than random testing? Anyways there are many other nanny state bills that he hasn't vetoed that make him unpopular. The term country club republican applies to him and Kay Bailey.

That said while there are a economic positives, Texas has a high uninsured rate. Page 5 of this report shows the stats by poverty rate and by citizenship status. One thing that pops out to me is that 60% of non citizens are uninsured compared to 20.4% of natives and 32.9% of naturalized. You can see that 20% of natives is still a larger number than the other two groups. This is obviously a problem. But we have to start some where. I'm guessing there are laws that could be enforced for the 60% of non-citizens if they don't pay their bills when they go to the doctor or emergency room. They should be deported immediately. Maybe an expert out there knows if this is a currently enforceable law or not. If it's not, then this is one place to start.

What those stats don't address is the rates of delinquent health related bills by poverty group or citizenship status. Is one group offending more than another. It's one thing to be uninsured and not utilizing or paying cash for your health care, but it's quite another to be going to the ER once a week with no intention of ever paying your bill. What I do see is a lot of people choosing not to purchase health insurance 2.5 million people are making 200%+ of the poverty level and yet they are still uninsured. "More than 1.7 million uninsured Texans live in families with incomes above $50,000." I've stated before on here, from experience these people have cable or satellite and cell phones among other luxuries.

Some possible solutions to this problem:
-Debtors prison (work your debt off)
-Revoke visas or citizenship to non natives who allow a bill to become delinquent and deport them immediately
-See my previous post from July 12 for a move in the right direction
-Fair Tax - collects taxes from all offenders that spend any money - perhaps states could set up free clinics as a result and attract doctors by paying their medical school bills in exchange for lower salary and a 4 year commitment. That way people have a choice in free health care if they really want it. Or they can pay for it themselves.

Why can't we start with some of these ideas before allowing the government to take more and more of our hard earned money?

So is Texas an example for the rest of the country? Yes but it's not the only state. We just happen to be the 15th largest economy in the world (from the above referenced article from NR). So it stands out more than others. We have 6 of the 25 largest cities in this country, which is more than any other state has. Texas is growing while other states are shrinking. So while our unemployment rate may be increasing as a result of the recession, it's still one of the lowest in the country all while working with a migration from other states.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Do You Agree With the Polls?

Poll information from
Which I also found on Real Clear Politics Website which averages the various poll results.

RCP Poll
President Obama Job Approval
RCP Average: +18.2% Details
Approve 56.2%
Disapprove 38.0%

Congressional Job Approval
RCP Average: -25.3% Details
Approve 32.0%
Disapprove 57.3%

Direction of Country
RCP Average: -19.4% Details
Right Direction 36.2%
Wrong Track 55.6%

I can tell you where I stand on each of these. I highly disapprove of the congress job approval and direction of the country, which have been clearly directed and supported by the President.

Here's the problem, when anyone is in office, be it congress or the president, they feel they have the right and duty based on the fact that they won an election to make decisions they think are best for us and this country, even if it's not what we the people want. We do have an opportunity here people to judge their work. It's called voting them out of office at all cost. Listen. Not every democrat is bad and not every republican is bad, just like they aren't all good on either side. Perhaps another party will emerge, or perhaps "decent" politicians will continue to choose the existing two parties. But in order for "decent" candidates to be considered, we have to get out of our mindset of only supporting Democrats or Republicans and get into the mindset of supporting those candidates who will listen to us even if they don't always agree with us. Even if that decent candidate isn't backed by the 2 major parties.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Move in the Right Direction for Health Care

Health care is the big item on the White House agenda as of late. It's the hot topic we knew they were going to tackle ASAP and if they get their way, increases the power and influence of government in all of our lives. In my March 31, 2009 post I discussed a need for health care to move away from the current insurance system. This would take providers developing and alternative to working with insurance companies in much the same way Walmart has lead the way for low prices on generic drugs.

On Tuesday July 7, I found this article on Take some time to read it as it is a great example of where I think health care should go.

Basically it discusses a Seattle Clinic that was started by doctors tired of dealing with insurance companies. The attract new doctors by offering stock options. They offer care to patients from $39-$119 a month depending on age and level of insurance. No one is rejected for preexisting conditions. It also covers round the clock unrestricted care and 30-minute appointments

It doesn't cover catastrophic care, but the article reports that a 30 year old person could expect to pay $133 per month for such coverage. Obviously that goes up with age.

Here's the thing, my employer sponsored premium is $350/month. They cover that but I have to pay deductibles, co-insurance, and co-pays. Every time I go to the doctor I pay $20 or $30 for a specialist. Just think, if my employer didn't have to pay $350 for my insurance and instead gave me a $350 raise to go out and buy my own insurance, the least I could pay anywhere from $172 - $252 a month for coverage. This leaves me an extra $100/month plus any of my copays and coinsurance to cover any medication I might need on occasion, or lab work that I usually have only once a year, or anything else that might not be covered in the services offered by their clinic.

This is a link to the clinic's services that they offer.
And while they don't offer all specialty services, they do offer the basic preventative care and disease management which is what most people are needing. They are an example of how specialty care providers could get together and offer their specialty services refusing to work with insurance. Prenatal and maternity care come to mind. Although I know from a previous job that many doctors and providers already have reduced rates for those paying cash for these services. But people always think they need insurance. Radiology groups could refuse to deal with insurance which greatly reduces the staff they need to run the business office, which reduces the costs to you the patient. I'm sure if they put their heads together they could come up with even more ways to reduce your costs, and to encourage people to use their services every once in awhile to help reduce costs over time.

In reality, insurance is just a method of prepaying for services you will use. But we have become so accustomed to our employers providing us insurance or the government doing these things for us that we don't want the responsibility of saving that $200-$300/month just for health care expenses. Trust me people you don't want the government in charge of your health care. If you want health care bad enough, if it becomes a priority to you, you will pay for it. And if you will pay for it, a doctor will see you and treat you. It just hasn't become a priority for most people and they are spending the money elsewhere and are under the impression that they can't afford quality coverage. The reality is they don't want to pay for it so the next step is to demand the government find a solution so they don't have to pay for it. They are just going to take it out of your check each month before you get paid.

What do you all think of what this clinic is doing? They are saving money on the office staff it would required to bill insurance companies, that also have to employ people to process your claims. The providers and the insurance companies are in the business of making money so who do you think ultimately pays for these 2 sets of people to process your claims? They go into the cost of health care provided to you. You pay for it. Don't kid yourself and say your company pays for it or the government pays for it. You're salary is probably a lot less over time because your benefits fall into your compensation package, and you pay taxes to the government to pay for everyone on government insurance. Unless the government is supporting you.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

How's That Stimulus Working Out For You?

In case you haven't been paying attention to anything outside of Michael Jackson, USA Today reported yesterday that states aren't using funds as intended. Here's the link to the article.

"The report says that as of mid-June, states had received about $29 billion of the estimated $49 billion in stimulus funding they are scheduled to get before the federal budget year ends Sept. 30. More than 90% of the money given to the states so far is for Medicaid and a fund meant to prop up states' budgets for schools and other basic services such as public safety."

The report they are referring to is from the Government Accountability Office which has been tasked with tracking and monitoring the funds. Their report came out today according to the link I was sent. (I'm a nerd and am signed up on their e-mail list for updates). Here's the link if you're interested in the report.

And for the appendices or appendixes as they put it. Any grammar experts out there? Is the dog or the government correct?

For the purposes of this report 16 states and the District of Columbia are being required to report their spending of the stimulus money they receive. My state Texas is one of them. You can find the rest in one of those links if you care.

From the report link above page 3 of the pdf. "Overall, states reported using Recovery Act funds to stabilize state budgets and to cope with fiscal stresses. The funds helped them maintain staffing for existing programs and minimize or avoid tax increases as well as reductions in services."

p. 14 or 8 if you look on the numbering on the report;"From October 2007 to May 2009, overall Medicaid enrollment in the 16 states and the District increased by 7 percent. In addition, each of the states and the District experienced an enrollment increase during this period, with the highest number of programs experiencing an increase of 5 percent to 10 percent. However, the percentage increase in enrollment varied widely ranging from just under 3 percent in California to nearly 20 percent in Colorado." Figure 3 on the next page shows the increases state by state.

Are the increased Medicaid rolls really all that surprising with the unemployment rate rising and standing nationally at just shy of 10%?

Is it at all possible that those of us that wanted the government to do nothing and let the recession take its course were right? Doing something seems to have increased and perhaps prolonged the recession. This was a bipartisan effort to screw us all over. Do you still think it was a good idea? Do you think the government should do more?

This is not an original idea, Neal Boortz poses these questions all of the time on his radio show, but what would happen if instead of the government spending on programs and "federal aid," they declared some sort of tax holiday for the masses for several months? Meaning everyone of us would take home our full paycheck (minus our contributions to retirement and/or 401ks). That's several hundred dollars a month extra that people would take home and have to spend, pay of debt, and save. What if instead of trying to hunt and search American money in Swiss bank accounts or other foreign countries in an effort to penalize the American owners of this money, they declared amnesty for all Americans to bring their money back penalty and tax free? They could then start investing that money in their local communities in the form of new businesses, spending, donations, or sitting in American banks rather than sitting in foreign banks.

Do any of these things make any kind of sense to anyone? Or are we as a society trying to legislate "fairness" by taking from those who work hard for their money and giving to those who may not work as hard. Is that really fair? What happened to fair meaning everyone having the same opportunity to work hard and succeed in this country?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Don't Take Freedom for Granted

The 4th of July is the day we supposedly celebrate our freedom in this country. But do we ever stop to really think about what that means? Year after year our state and national representatives pass laws that are continually encroaching on our freedom and independence. And how to we repay them? We re-elect them to continue passing more and more laws that take away our freedoms. Some in ways that are so minor that we don't even notice or bother to care. But one day you wake up and you find yourself taking for granted that you are relying on the government for something.

Take Social Security for example. Look how many people rely on it for their retirement. Look how many people don't want to give it up because of how much they've already paid into it or because they are a few years away from getting it. I'd give it up right now if they'd quit taking it out of my check, but they won't do that because they have to take from me to give to those that aren't working anymore. Ponzi Scheme. And as a nation we seem to be ok with the government run ponzi scheme. We depend on it. We look forward to our return, even though they keep pushing back our eligibility for it, and cutting the benefit.

When is enough going to be enough? When are we going to take back our independence from our own government?

Have a safe and happy Independence Day!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Are Politics More Polarizing Now than 20-30 Years Ago?

I was watching a stand-up comedy routine from the early 80's and it was filmed in Washington D.C. So a brief comment was made about Reaganomics and the crowed booed. They didn't stay on it long but enough was said that the predominate feeling in the room was that Reaganomics was bad. Now I know Ronald Reagan wasn't a perfect president and no president is. However the conservative (not Republican) belief is that Reaganomics was really good for this country. His economic policies stimulated the economy that many say Carter and whoever sent spiraling downward.

I wasn't alive back then, so I don't know what the general political feeling was. Was it really all that different than today? Did people pick their side and no matter what the other side did, it was disastrous, or wrong, or sending the country to hell in a hand basket? All I hear from the other side, no matter who's in power, is doom and gloom. And you find yourself starting to buy into the hype of doom and gloom.

That said, there are some dangerous policies being discussed and voted on, i.e. cap and trade and government run health-care that disturb me greatly. But what disturbs me even more, is that either people are laissez-faire when it comes to voicing their opinion about politics and policies to their representatives, or that our representatives just aren't listening. I happen to think it's a combination of both. If everyone in this country took 10 minutes on each major issue to contemplate how it will affect them and their family, maybe more people would take another 10 minutes to call or email the government to let them know how they want their representative to vote on certain issues. Instead it seems like people can't be bothered with this as they are too busy enjoying their lives.

Reality Check!! The reason we have the freedom to enjoy our lives is because people stood up and voiced their opinions!! And fought for freedom. But slowly over the years, our freedoms have been encroached upon and we let it happen in the name of safety and compassion or charity (no matter how mismanaged), among other things. Before you know it the government will be telling all of you what you are allowed to buy to feed your family while taking 50-75% of your check each month. But you'll be so dependant upon their "free" health care, "free" food, and "free" housing, that you won't be able to see how much better quality lives you could have if only you could make your own decisions. They want everyone to become so dependant on them that we do their bidding. When the government is in charge, quality and efficiency are drastically reduced. But sheep don't know the difference. Sheep will be convinced it's wonderful because they have food to eat and a place to sleep.

Let's not become a mass of sheep being herded by wolves!! Fight back, get involve, voice your opinion!!! Don't become complacent. The more that happens the more powerful they get. Please care enough to not let this happen!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cap and Trade Is Bad for You and Your Family

Go read this article from the Wall Street Journal on the Cap and Trade legislation.

Cap and Trade is a hidden tax that will drive up the price of energy for you, me, and every other person out there. It's all done in the name of the environment, but in all actuality it just hurts the economy. The U.S. is not polluting this world near to the extent that China and India are. That doesn't mean we shouldn't do our part to keep our part of the world clean. But putting more stress on an already stressed economy does not clean up the earth. It just stresses the economy further which discourages people from updating their old junky car to something that doesn't pollute nearly as much and that's more fuel efficient as one example.

What can you do? Call and write your senators and representatives and tell then to vote against this. Let them know their job depends on it. Supposedly they may be voting on this as early as tomorrow, so don't wait. Call and write NOW!!! for your senators for your representatives

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Nationalized Health Care - Are You Sure That's What You Want?

The hot topic the last couple of weeks, other than the election in Iran, has been the push by the White House for rapid Health care reform. Rapid Reform. Am I the only one disturbed at the speed at which the federal government wants to move to develop reform? Did they not rush into the bailouts that many of us disapprove of? Do you really want them to rush into reform that essentially adds people to the Medicare and Medicaid rolls which are actually already in trouble and not actuarially sound? They are going to be behind soon and yet the grand idea is to increase their rolls? Does this sound logical to you? Because it certainly does not sound logical to me.

Not only are we bankrupting existing generations but future generations are in trouble. You want to encourage people to NOT have kids to add to the tax base, this is one way to do it.

Have we become such a complacent nation that we don't care whatever the government does with our money and we don't care how much of our money they take? Or are we just not paying attention and have no clue that the money is running out, and that sooner than later the only way to get it is to increase taxes on those of us who work for a living?

Write your senators and representatives. Let them know what you think!!! If they don't listen to you, vote them out of office!!! Or pretty soon we will all be working hard only to turn over most if not all of our money to the government who are about as efficient as....well government.

There are plenty of solutions to heath care that are better than essentially increasing the medicare and medicaid rolls. Tax deductibles for purchasing insurance for one. Allow for more free market purchasing for health insurance (ability to cross state lines to purchase health insurance which increases competition) for another. I'm sure many of you have other options that would be better than a government run insurance that would encourage people to switch to the government insurance. Trust me if you're paying the government insurance premium, no matter how low, you will also be paying increased taxes, waiting lines, at the expense of quality of care. Are you sure this is what you want?

Please I beg you, contact your politicians.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Time for A Second Revolution?

If you haven't seen this yet, it's worth a watch. It'll fire you up if you aren't already fired up. Send it to everyone you know!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Iranian Election...Legit or Sham?

The big news story as of late seems to be the Iranian election in which the incumbent, Holocaust denying, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was up for re-election. His biggest rival Mir Hossein Moussavi is considered to be a reformist in Iran, meaning they favor loosening social restrictions at home and improving Iran's ties with the West.

After the ballots were counted, Ahmadinejad received 62.63% of the votes and Moussavi 33.75%. Many believe it was fixed due to the high number of voters that turned out expressing support for Moussavi. Another factor contributing to this is that the median age in Iran is 27, meaning half of the population is 27 and older and half is 27 and younger. It is this younger population that has been so supportive of Moussavi, which makes such a blowout hard to believe.

I suppose it depends on your definition of a blow out election, but take a look at the US Presidential election results for some perspective. Not out of the realm of possibility, however if the results are true, then it suggests the county overwhelmingly supports Ahmadinejad's leadership and beliefs and only about 1/3 of the country supports reform in Iran and how it deals with the world.

CNN was reporting on Saturday that much of the communication had been shut down in Iran such as Facebook and other methods people use to express their views.

What do you think. Are the results legitimate or a complete sham? Are 1/3 of the population just out of luck? Or are they right that this has turned into a dictatorship? Do you care that he's still in power?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Corporate Greed...What's The Problem?

So for the last year or so we've been hearing that the economy is in such peril that we've just got to do something about health care, and this, that, and the other to fix all of our problems. Here's the fundamental problem I have. People (not everyone) site corporate greed as huge problem and the solution is to tax them out the wazoo to "teach them" or "punish them" for being so greedy. So to these people it seems illogical to lower the corporate tax rate to "fix things" because that teach corporations to stop being so greedy. The U.S. already has the 2nd highest corporate tax rate in the world and yet we are still in this mess. I know I've touched on this before, but I'm going to approach it from a different perspective hopefully.

Let's start with the recent news from Wal-Mart since they are one of the most popular demonized corporations outside of "big oil." Wal-mart is going to add 22,000 jobs domestically this year.
Before you guys bitch and moan saying they are crappy low paying jobs, "the retailer said the new hires will fill positions across its business units, including cashiers and sales associates, as well as pharmacists, human resource managers and customer service associates."

"The discounter said benefits, including health plans that offer customized health coverage options, will be offered to its full and part-time workers."

"Wal-Mart is the largest private-sector employer in the United States with a workforce of 1.45 million. Its total worldwide workforce is more than 2 million."

Like it or not, Wal-Mart is good for everyone in an economy like this. Not only are they providing all kinds of jobs, but they drive the competitive forces in that industry which keep prices low for all of us that are pinching our pennies in said economy that "is the worst since the great depression." Perspective people, we aren't standing in soup lines as a country. None-the-less, Wal-Mart is helping us stretch our dollars, even if you don't shop there. For that I am very thankful.

Onto the next point about corporations. Everyday people like you and me own these greedy corporations in the form of retirement portfolios, personal investment portfolios, etc. We want them to find ways to make more money because that drives up the stock price, which increases the value of our 401k which drives our ability to retire when we want to, along with the amount we save.

Not only does making more money lead to increased stock price, but it comes as a result of growth. What happens when a corporation grows? They add jobs to help keep up with demand for their product or service. So what if the founding and primary stock holder and possibly the CEO, is greedy. His or her greed ultimately leads to meeting the needs and desires of others in the form of increased stock value, or jobs. Does this make them evil? Does this warrant increasing the tax rate on a corporation?

Let's take a look at what happens when you raise the taxes on a corporation. In order to do this, we must ponder who pays these taxes? It's publicly owned. Say you own shares of stock. You pay taxes on any capital gains. Don't tell me you bought that stock with the intention of losing money. You wanted to make money. By logic being discussed, doesn't that make you greedy? So you pay taxes, but you aren't the only one. There are income taxes, but you probably don't think they count since we all have to pay income taxes as a reward for working!!! So I'll move on to payroll taxes as a result of employing people to pay for such things as social security and medicare, etc. Remember all employment costs get calculated into the cost of goods sold. So employing that knowledge, (don't believe me, ask a business owner) in order to make money, (which is the ultimate goal of any business, even nonprofits) they must account for income tax in the price of their goods. Now I know that the value of a good or service is what the market is willing to pay for it, but if they aren't making money after taxes, they aren't going to stay in business long because it won't be worth their time and effort. In all actuality the corporation is collecting taxes from you the consumer to pass along to the government. So you are the one getting taxed out the wazoo not the corporation. Corporation is a word, it's not a living breathing being able to make money and pay taxes. It is a word that is made up of people that have ownership interest in a group of people doing work for another group of people who pay for that work, and all 3 groups are the ones paying the taxes. So if you raise taxes on corporations you hurt all 3 groups of people.

So am I to assume that hurting people is the solution to the problem? Cutting spending sounds more logical to me.

On a side note, I'd like to see a copy of the cleared check to the IRS that person, who voted in my poll on the left, obviously must have sent to the IRS in addition to his/her current tax bill. Odd thing is, is that someone actually made that statement to me that they were willing to pay more taxes, and so I said fine you can pay ours.

Am I greedy? If wanting to keep my hard earned money to provide a reasonable life for my family without relying on the government to take care of me is greedy, then damn right I'm greedy!!! And I make no apologies for it. But I define greedy differently. I think greed is wanting what isn't yours for nothing. For example, if I want someone else's money, without providing them something in exchange for that money, that's greedy. It's also damn lazy. Business works by an owner paying his/her employees money in exchange for work they do for them. In corporations if you think the leadership is too greedy and not worth the money they are paid, then you have the right to vote at the annual shareholders meeting. So do it.

Who do I think is greedy? The government and the politicians sick with power running it. They take money from us all the time and provide us with practically nothing in return. They use our tax dollars to buy our votes. And we continue to let them. Why is this so difficult to understand for some people? I'm not saying that there shouldn't be a certain amount of taxes collected for infrastructure and military purposes. I'm even ok with some limited temporary assistance programs. But it's a way over-bloated system. With the Fair Tax, anyone receiving assistance is still paying taxes to help pay for these programs. I'm not going to go into the fair tax but look in my previous posts and you'll find a post on it if you're interested. Or just check out the website.

That's all for this rant. What do you think? Is corporate greed a problem?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Is Teaching Your Kids to Beg A Good Thing?

I live in the Austin, TX metropolitan area and it is common in the Austin city limits to see people walking along the line of traffic at stop lights asking for money. These are generally presumed to be homeless people or unemployed people. I generally have a problem with this as most of them could go to the nearest fast food restaurant and get a job. I do understand that some of these people likely have mental problems and would be best suited in a state facility. But I don't think that is the majority based on the culture of acceptance of such behavior here. If they put as much effort into finding and doing a job as they do into asking for handouts, they might be worth $10-$15 an hour. It is apparently more profitable for them to ask for money from passers by than to get a job, hence why you tend to see the same people at the same intersections day after day.

Well one thing that we've noticed on Saturday mornings is groups, such as various kids sports groups out in the medians with their parents holding signs asking for money to help them go to some tournament or some other outing with their group. I have a fundamental problem with the parents who are obviously behind this form of fundraising. Whatever happened to car washes, bake sales, and garage sales etc.? When did teaching kids that they don't really need to do anything to earn money become appropriate? I'm just as appalled at the people that give money to them for nothing. I'm more inclined to give money to a homeless person than a child growing up in a 2 income family with plenty of money to send their kid if they had to, but cheap enough to beg for it rather than pay for it themselves because they are too lazy to bake cookies for a bake sale, or wash cars in a car wash or some other activity that might require a little bit of planning and effort. Walking around with a sign is lazy and shameful. I'm willing to pay for my kid to play in this select sports group, but too cheap and/or lazy to pay or teach them to earn the money they need to go on a special trip for being on this select team. Newsflash!!! Select leagues are a way of getting more money from you and you put them in it for bragging rights. EVERYONE'S kid is in select league and there are plenty of kids not on a select team that are better than your kid. Just so you know.

Quit teaching your spoiled kids to also be lazy. Teach them the value of a dollar by making them work for it. And people wonder what's going wrong in this world. People are learning they don't need to work for anything because the government will take money from the rich and give it to them. That's what's wrong. Quit looking to the government or anyone else for a handout. It's lame and screwing up our world!!! Get off your lazy butt and do something useful!!!By doing so, you'll teach your kids about personal responsibility as opposed to depending on handouts.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Happy Memorial Day!!!

I'd like to say a big Thank You to the families of the many soldiers who have given their lives in service to this country defending the very freedom that we have and continue to fight for. Your sacrifice does not go unnoticed or unappreciated here. And thank you to all the soldiers who continue to fight.

Have a save and happy holiday weekend!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Is a Commencement Speech the Appropriate Time to Get Political?

The President gave the commencement speech at Notre Dame this weekend, and it's apparently very controversial because he chose this time to give a speech about abortion. When I was trying to figure out what to write about, (Pelosi's fiasco...everyone knows she's a nut-job liar, budget cuts...can you really brag about your cuts if the overall budget increases?) I was very hesitant to even discuss this as one of the two discussions to have about this story involves abortion, which I generally planned to stay away from. However, I decided to buck it up and have the two discussions. The first will be about the topic of abortion and what he said, and the second will be about the title of this post as that's what really drove me to discuss this, even though it's the shorter of the two discussions.

So the title of the referenced CNN article is "Obama calls for common ground on abortion at Notre Dame," and while I may agree with the sentiment, it's as idealistic as banning or outlawing abortion. This is because I think people are very passionate about this issue,which it's very black and white to most people; right or wrong. I am of the opinion that there are people that are so passionately for abortion rights that they get come across pro eugenics more than pro-choice. If you don't know what eugenics is, click on the link I've provided for a more in depth discussion on it. Basically it's the belief that the human species can or should be improved though the elimination of inferior members. I take great offense to this. I don't believe that all pro-choice people hold this belief, but I think it's a fine line some walk when they discuss reasons to have an abortion with someone who has simply proclaimed she wouldn't choose it for herself. Pro-choice should be as much about choosing not to have one as it is about choosing to have one.

Here are the comments Obama made in the speech that I agree with taken from the CNN article:

"He urged supporters and opponents of abortion rights to 'work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies, and making adoption more available, and providing care and support for women who do carry their child to term.'"

"He also endorsed the drafting of a 'sensible conscience clause' to 'honor the conscience' of doctors and other medical workers opposed to abortion."

I think we need to focus on working to reduce the number of people that make the choice by encouraging, perhaps even incentivizing adoptions. I'm sure private citizens that are looking to adopt would be willing take part in some incentive program for girls trying to make up their mind. And while I believe that health care workers shouldn't be forced to participate in abortions if they don't agree with it, they also shouldn't got seeking employment in abortion clinics and then refuse to do the job based on their beliefs. They should be made aware of the situation surrounding the impending abortion, whether it is essentially "elective" or "medically necessary" for the life of the mother and make their decision from there, and appropriate staff should be available.

I also believe there should be intensive counseling for elective abortions that lasts longer than 20 minutes where alternative options are discussed as well as the reasons for the decision. There should be at the very least a 48 hr waiting period that involve 2 8 hour days of counseling. I abhor abortion as a form a birth control and eugenics, but people will use it for these two purposes and the decision shouldn't be made lightly. They need to understand in both cases, there are people that want to adopt. There are people that will adopt special needs kids and these parents need to be made aware of this. I think the ultimate decision is between them and God. Our job is to encourage the right decision, not demonize the wrong one. (this does not include abortions that happen to save the life of the mother, there is no right decision there as a baby will either die or grow up without a mother. Anyone self-righteous enough to condemn either decision made in a case like this will also have to answer to God...We all have to answer to God in the end for our actions and words)

Now onto the point that really riled me up to write about this story, which is discussing a political agenda during a graduation ceremony. Isn't that a downer? Isn't the commencement speech supposed to be about the graduates' futures as they are about to step into the "real world?" How is bringing politics into the day accomplishing this? Not to mention it's offensive to some people whether they agree with his views or not. I would feel robbed of what should be a perfectly joyous moment in my life.

What do you think? Should politics be a "hands off" topic for giving a commencement speech?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

NASA - Should We Be Investing in Space Exploration?

In these economic stressful times, many of us want the President and congress to cut the budget. Obviously I can think of many places to make cuts that I've discussed before. The reality is that there are additions being made that I don't agree with related to welfare, health care, and hostile take overs infringing on capitalism.

One thing we haven't discussed is NASA. On this weekend of the release of Star Trek, a movie that epitomizes space exploration beyond our wildest imaginations. I have heard discussions on NASA and arguments for or against spending on it. Some people think we are wasting money exploring space, while others want the U.S. to remain the leaders in the world in space exploration.

Let me giving you some spending history budgeted for NASA going back to 1996.

2010 Proposed $18.7 Billion
2009 Estimate: $17.8 Billion
2008 Estimate: $17.2 Billion
2007 Actual: $15.8 Billion
2006 Actual: $15.1 Billion
2005 Actual: $15.6 Billion
2004 Actual: $15.1 Billion
2003 Actual: $14.5 Billion
2002 Actual: $14.9 Billion
2001 Actual: $14.2 Billion
2000 Actual: $6.8 Billion
1999 Actual: $9.4 Billion
1998 Actual: $9.8 Billion
1997 Actual: $9.3 Billion
1996 Actual: $8.0 Billion

The funds proposed for 2010 you can see is not a huge increase relatively speaking. If you break it down per family of 4, it comes to 1.2 cents more. However the total $18.7 billion comes to $62.33 per person or $250 per family of 4. Obviously it's redistributed based on the amount of taxes each person or family pays. The more money you make the more you pay towards this amount. And the converse is true as well.

Funding Highlights:
• Provides $18.7 billion for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Combined with
the $1 billion provided to the agency in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009,
this represents a total increase of more than $2.4 billion over the 2008 level.
• Funds a program of space-based research that supports the Administration’s commitment to
deploy a global climate change research and monitoring system.
• Funds a robust program of space exploration involving humans and robots. The National
Aeronautics and Space Administration will return humans to the Moon while also supporting a
vigorous program of robotic exploration of the solar system and universe.
• Funds the safe flight of the Space Shuttle through the vehicle’s retirement at the end of 2010.
An additional flight will be conducted if it can be completed safely before the end of 2010.
• Funds the development of new space flight systems for carrying American crews and supplies
to space.
• Funds continued use of the International Space Station to support the agency and other Federal,
commercial, and academic research and technology testing needs.
• Funds aeronautics research to address aviation safety, air traffic control, noise and emissions
reduction, and fuel efficiency.

So what do you think about spending on NASA? Is it something worthwhile or is it a waste of taxpayer dollars? I'd like to know what you think.

From my perspective, there are other places in the budget I would cut that would dwarf the spending in NASA. But I would also be hesitant to double or triple their budget anytime soon. I think the research they do feeds the imagination inside all of us. I would love the opportunity to travel to space in my lifetime. But perhaps that is a pipe dream we need to let go of.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

More Evidence People NEED the Government to Step In

That title is meant sarcastically. Read on.

Take a look at this story from across the ocean in Wales.

This story caught my attention because the Texas legislature, currently in session, is considering a bill that will make it illegal for anyone under 16 1/2 to tan in a tanning salon. Apparently currently if they are under 18, they have to have a permission slip. As if they can keep them from frying themselves outside in the sun. Before you know some genius will propose legislation making it illegal for anyone under the age of 14 to be out in the sun during the day.

My point of bringing up this discussion is to bring up the point of passing laws to make other people responsible where parents should be. Do we really need a law to prevent anyone under the age of 16 1/2 from tanning? Can't parents make those decisions for their kids? Should parents be responsible for teaching their kids and instilling common sense in them? I'm not saying tanning is bad, but I don't know a teenage girl that didn't learn the "don't get burned" lesson either from a tanning bed or from the sun several times while growing up.

You might be asking why 16 1/2 as opposed to 18. The cynical opinion here in my neck of the woods has to do with moms of cheerleaders not only supporting this bill, but wanting their cheerleader daughters to be able to tan in their last couple of years on the varsity squad. Also, they need to be able to tan before prom. Because these moms are living vicariously through their daughters. So they came up with the magical age of 16 1/2. I guess at 16, some other girls might become competition for their daughters???

In the above story the mom doesn't want to use this as a lesson teaching opportunity for her 10 year old daughter. She just wants someone to sue if it happens again. Just as something happened here in Texas I'm sure to prompt this legislation. Someone wants to be able to sue a tanning salon if they're daughter gets burned. You know what's funny is that on the fiscal note that I could find for HB 1310 they are claiming no fiscal impact to the state. I'm not sure this is the final version of the bill, nor could I find the associated senate version.
They say it can be absorbed into the existing budget. BS!!! If they are given an excuse to increase the budget, add an employee or two, they will use it. It may take some time, but they'll find a way to "justify" it. That's just the way government works. They will have to have someone take the phone calls, and investigate complaints. Gradually it will grow over time to start inspecting tanning salons and writing citations. That's just the way government works. So

I oppose laws like this. We have to take personal responsibility for the choices we make. What's your take?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What Is The Purpose of Fear Tactics?

Are you scared yet? Has the media got you all worked up and terrified? Are you running out buying up hand sanitizer and face masks yet? Are you calling in sick to work because you "think you might have swine flu?" Are you just afraid that you will catch it?

Ron Paul, Texas congressman and physician, put up a video providing some insight and perspective as a physician. Take a few minutes to watch it because he makes some very relevant points.

Many of you may have heard about the fly over New York City of Air Force One and a couple of F-16s for a photo op. It apparently scared the you know what out of some people causing them to evacuate buildings in a post 9/11 New York City. Check out the below link to a CBS affiliate story.

It indicates that the police, secret service, FBI, and mayor's office (though not the mayor himself) knew of the flight and were threatened with federal sanctions if word of the fly over got out.

Why would the federal government threaten sanctions on a state over word about a flight? Is that even constitutional? Are you ok with this kind of a threat? Are you ok with the impromptu and unknown "fire drill" so to speak? Are you ok with the resulting fear it caused people in New York?

Do you find it interesting that the government is allowing a message of fear to be spread twice in the same week over two different issues? Ok that's a bit far fetched but mass fear leads to chaos which leads to martial law. "The exercise of government and control by military authorities over the civilian population of a designated territory."

"Martial law on the national level may be declared by Congress or the president. Under Article I, Section 8, Clause 15, of the Constitution, Congress has the power "[t]o provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress insurrections and repel Invasions." Article II, Section 2, Clause 1, of the Constitution declares that "[t]he President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States." Neither constitutional provision includes a direct reference to martial law. However, the Supreme Court has interpreted both to allow the declaration of martial law by the president or Congress. On the state level, a governor may declare martial law within her or his own state. The power to do so usually is granted in the state constitution." (Click for source)

I'm not generally a conspiracy theorist, however I do believe that 99% of politicians thrive on power. And I believe the longer they are in power the more power they will seek and the more ways they will explore to achieve that power. Something to think of when you're voting to re-elect your representatives or not.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pimps and Unions; Aren’t They Really the Same?

This is actually a reprint of a post I made on another blog, but I believe it was before it was getting any regular traffic. I also thought it was appropriate in light of the continuous government decision (they don't ask us) to give GM billions of dollars just to make it a few more months. Whether you agree with trying to save the American car companies or not, I think we all have to agree that there's got to be a limit. And what point do we cut off the addict and say enough is enough?

The reason I'm reprinting this article is because from my perspective you can't place expectations on the car companies to succeed with the billions of dollars we are giving them, without giving them the freedom to restructure the way they do business. Being forced to deal with the union is what's hurting them and the employees that are getting let go. So here goes, I hope you like it...

So before I get to what I feel are the obvious similarities between Pimps and Labor Unions, I have a very important question that I know many of you have discussed or thought about and one time or another. How is it that Pimps talk themselves into a job in the first place? Do they go up to prostitutes on the street and say “I got a proposition for you. You go find work and give me 70% of your money, and I’ll beat the crap out of you when I feel like it.” Is that how the negotiation works? Because let me tell you, agents only get 10% if I’m correct, and they actually find you work. If I were that prostitute I’d slap that pimp upside the head and tell him “hell no. Why would I give you 70%, 50%, or even 10% when I can keep 100%?” That seems like the obvious response from all prostitutes to wanna-be pimps. But somehow, there’s still a profession of pimps out there. Makes no sense to me.

Now that we’ve established that Pimps will take your money and beat you senseless, let’s look at just exactly what labor unions do for people. So they tell you they that they will negotiate your salary and benefits on your behalf. But this is obviously not a free service. Rather than charging you a one-time finders fee, they charge you in the form of union dues. And this comes directly out of your pay check either every time you get paid or once a month. And correct me if I’m wrong, in most union run companies, you don’t get the opportunity to opt out of the union to handle your own negotiations. You’re either in or you’re unemployed. Correct?

Next comes the negotiations, so after they’ve been taking everyone’s money for so long they have to make it look like they are doing more than just collecting dues every month. They need to justify their existence. So they rile up the payers of the dues and convince them that they need more of this, that, or the other and if they don’t get it, it’s worth striking over. So the union leaders go to management and make generally unreasonable demands and insist on their way or the highway. This is all in spite of the fact that management is telling them they just can’t afford all of that. But the union leaders refuse to budge because they want to look like heroes in an effort to justify their existence. So they force a strike and all the dues paying workers are forced to walk the picket line, which means they are no longer earning a paycheck. Well most of these people can’t afford to go without a paycheck, but nonetheless, this is expected so strike they must.

What happens if you try to cross the picket line? Haven’t you all seen Hoffa? And isn’t that when they were actually doing the workers some good? They beat them senseless. But since they probably have media outlets and the cops on the payroll, it’s not a big story. The only story is that they are on strike and management is being unreasonable and the union won’t budge because it is only “fair.” I tell you this, is it fair for them to take your money and then force you to not take a paycheck for a while? Is it fair for them to bitch-slap you if you disagree with them?

So then they go back to the negotiating table after a few days, weeks, or months and concede some of their demands but miraculously strike a deal with management and they are heroes, who by the way weren’t technically on strike since they were working for the strikers. So their incomes didn’t take a hit. Had you not paid them one bit of dues and not gone without a check while on strike, you’d probably be better off financially than you are with their “help.”So let’s sum up the comparison between the two:

-Take money from the hard working Prostitutes
-Force Prostitutes to do as they say
-Beat them if they try to run away
-Provide nothing of value for Prostitutes

-Take money from the workers actually doing the work for the company
-Force union workers to follow union rules
-Beat workers who dare cross the picket line
-Provide nothing of value for workers

I think I’ve made my point.

This Day in History