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“In God We Trust” – Well, at least we used to

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I think I will have a few regrets, but hopefully only a few, when I finally depart this earth.
Of the, if not THE, greatest will be that my generation destroyed a country by our lust for power. This lust led us not only to a great country ruined, but also to convince a great majority of the Rising Generation to believe Socialism is not only ok, but should be honored and glorified. A belief that replaces God with the government (since we apparently no longer have trust in God – interesting for a country with “In God We Trust” on its currency…).

By dictionary definition, Socialism is “a system of society or group living in which there is no private property” or “a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned or controlled by the state” or “a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done”. I think a careful read of the last part of that sentence is telling – key on the word “unequal”. Communism is “distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done”. Sound like anywhere you know? It seems we are attempting to achieve, if not already having achieved, what the U.S.S.R. never could. Regardless, under any definition, it is the stealing from one to give to another. Stealing? Yes, when taxes are used to redistribute wealth from one segment of the population to another, vice to pay for services needed by all, it is stealing.

“From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs…” was popularized by Marx and Engels in The Manifesto of the Communist Party. This will never of course be achieved in this country because so many are convinced the “from each according to his ability” part is unnecessary. Why waste to energy. The State will take care of me. However, it creates a state where those that ARE willing to do what they are able are robbed of the fruits of their labor to provide for those not willing – regardless of ability.

There are numerous ways to categorize people in. For the sake of this commentary I will use these five. The Power Hungry. The I Want to Work But Can’t Find A Job. The Why Work, the Government Will Take Care of Me. The Working. The Employer (aka, Rich).
Here’s how the five play out:
The Power Hungry say, “vote for me and I’ll take care of you”.
Some say, “OK” and become the Why Work, the Government Will Take Care of Me.

The Power Hungry steal more money (in the form of increasing various taxes) from the Employer and the Working to pay for the Why Work, the Government Will Take Care of Me.
The Employer lays off some of the Working because he can’t afford them due to the decreased sales (since, due to higher taxes, the Working don’t have as much money to spend) and increased taxes on the Employer thereby creating more I Want to Work But Can’t Find A Job.
The Power Hungry say to the new I Want to Work But Can’t Find A Job, “vote for me and I’ll take care of you”.
Some of the new I Want to Work But Can’t Find A Job give up for lack of jobs and become Why Work, the Government Will Take Care of Me.

The Power Hungry steal more money (in the form of increasing various taxes) from the Employer and the Working to pay for the Why Work, the Government Will Take Care of Me.
The Employer lays off more Working because he can’t afford them (see above) thereby creating more I Want to Work But Can’t Find A Job.
The Power Hungry say to the new I Want to Work But Can’t Find A Job, “vote for me and I’ll take care of you”.
Some of the new I Want to Work But Can’t Find A Job give up for lack of jobs and become Why Work, the Government Will Take Care of Me.
Etc. Etc. Etc.
And around and around we go.

In the end, the Power Hungry (aka, government) control all and the rest are slaves of the system. Welcome to the New Dark Ages.

Regrets and apologies (oops, sounding like BO) to the Rising Generation.
Now that you know, you CAN turn it around. Unless you are already one of the…

>>> The day is at a close, the night is drawing in and my cigar awaits – ’til next time…

The Tipping Point – a continuation…

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Progressivism (read, Liberalism/Socialism) in a nutshell (although not inclusive)::

Poverty vs welfare: They go hand in hand. What Socialists don’t see is that while welfare doesn’t create poverty, in its current state in our country, it does in fact perpetuate it. This has led to generational dependency and poverty. The way to lift our fellow man out of this perpetual state is to allow the private sector to provide jobs and limit the assistance (at either the State level or via private charity) to a minimal timeframe thereby creating the requirement to accept the work that private sector provides. Considering it is ALWAYS better than the poverty level subsistence provided by the Federal government, why would you NOT take it. Oh yeah, you’d actually have to GET A JOB!
I am not alone in this, the Manhattan Institute, came to this conclusion when it studied the notion of income inequality: “The central problem facing the economy is that income growth over the past few years has been modest to nonexistent, as a result of the financial crisis, the subsequent recession, and an extremely modest recovery. Moreover, policies that aim only to redistribute wealth—rather than generate real economic growth and opportunity—are unlikely to solve, or even meaningfully address, the slow growth trajectory for wages.”

Tax rate vs government income: Proven over and over again, lowering the tax rates creates more income for the government. Makes no sense on the surface (which is as far as the Socialists look because any further would not satisfy their plan of dependency and thereby ensuring its continued power base). However, the reason it works is simple. Less money taken from the private sector by the government allows more money to be spent by individuals and companies. Money spent creates jobs. More jobs equals more income. More income creates more income tax (yes, EVEN at lower tax rates). It is NOT rocket science.
This is not only a solution for our debt, it is a solution for unemployment. It is a solution for pulling anyone and everyone that takes advantage up in social status. As the old saying goes, a rising tide lifts ALL boats. As well, any job created by the government is a cost to all taxpayers, whether you want or need the product/service. Any job created by the private sector is a cost only to those that choose to spend money on that product or service. That said, since profit is the life or death of a company, job creation is required. Without employment, there is no profit. Therefore, the private sector is much better at creating and pricing jobs. Need proof, look at history.

Debt: See comments reference Greece in previous blog (07/05/2015 – The Tipping Point).

Morality: It is a good thing we have a Supreme Court (more on this next week) to dictate morality and create laws to ensure it. I suspect if we keep going down this path (which I see no indication we won’t) we will be able to get rid of Congress (and therefore the will of the people) and just have a dictator as president (later to be renamed monarch since it is more politically correct) and a court to rubber stamp his/her prescriptions. As well, by dictating away Judeo-Christian morals, on which this country was founded and most of our overriding laws (including the Constitution itself) are based, they can ensure their voting base and therefore their power. Keep in mind however that at some point voters will no longer be needed. Subjects on the other hand will be important.

Our national borders: While I fully understand from an individual perspective the desire to improve their standard of living, entering a sovereign nation without permission is not right. From the other side of the border, helping other countries improve the standards of their people is much preferable than taking on their poverty stricken citizens. And undoubtedly less costly in the long run. Not that I am advocating the US as the banker to the world anymore than the police force of the world (although we already supply significant portions of direct and indirect “lending” to nations throughout the world). Nor do I suggest that it is easy to go into a country and presuppose we know better than them how to provide for their people. However, it is without a doubt that we have proven our past philosophies are quite able to ensure a prosperous society. That said, allowing illegal immigration is not the solution to any country’s problems. When we allow the destitute with no means of support (thereby becoming an additional drain on a society already sucked dry), criminals and terrorists to cross into our country unabated, it can only lead to a further decline and eventual destruction of our ability to help ourselves, much less that rest of the world. And it is in direct conflict with the prime raison d’être of government, its reason for existence – to protect (not PROVIDE FOR) its people. Our current policies and level of enforcement is detrimental to our national existence.

Being forced to buy what we may not want (or already have in the form we want): Yes, SCOTUS Care (not interested in using our current POTUS’s name at any time – but aka The Affordable [what a joke] Care Act – as the current major example. The Oligarchy has spoken. The Federal government, or in this case, the Dictator in Chief and his cohorts in Congress, has/have no Constitutional authority to FORCE us to purchase not only something we don’t want, but exactly what and how much it will be. Apparently individual liberty (as in Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness) and the 1st Amendment no longer apply. A solution looking for a problem. Instead of allowing the private sector to solve the problem of the few, the Dictator in Chief has solved the “problem” even for those of us that didn’t have one. As well, we now have pretty much as many or more without coverage than the problem was to address and has shown no lowering in costs for those that are forced to get a new version of something they already had. The numbers for 2012 (prior to “Affordable” Care Act (ACA)) show an uninsured rate of 16.7% with an average family annual premium of $15,745. In 2013 the uninsured rate was 20.8%. Today the uninsured rate is approximately 15.5% with an average family annual premium of $16,800. These numbers are of course from the government that brought you the product you did not need. Honesty? – I don’t think so. In addition, other than forcing people to purchase something they may or may not want, from somewhere they may or may not want purchase it, what has it accomplished? Since, contrary to what was portrayed, there is no indication that the ACA was the cause of the minimal reduction (a theoretical 1.2%) in number of insured. All that said, and contrary to the ruling of the SCOTUS (now a political body vice the intended legal one), there is nothing Constitutionally allowing the Federal government to get involved in health care.

Another long one. The wife hates that. But it needs to be said. And luckily I’m not the only one saying it. If you believe this country needs to get back to prosperity and the moral values upon which it was based, it is time to standup and in whatever way available to you (within the context of those values) do SOMETHING to turn it around.

Again, welcome to the New Dark Ages…

Maybe I’ll try some less depressing topics in the near future.

>>> The day is at a close, the night is drawing in and my cigar awaits – ’til next time…

Entitlements

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The definition of entitlement from the Encarta Dictionary: English (North America) “to give somebody the right to have or to do something” [emphasis mine].  Merriam-Webster defines it as “a government program providing benefits to members of a specified group; also: funds supporting or distributed by such a program” [again, emphasis mine].

What truly are entitlements as the term applies to our daily lives?  According to A Glossary of Political Economy Terms by Paul M. Johnson of the Department of Political Science, Auburn University – the most important examples of entitlement programs at the federal level in the United States would include Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, most Veterans’ Administration programs, federal employee and military retirement plans, unemployment compensation, food stamps, and agricultural price support programs. Based on the definition above, the activities should not be called entitlements.

I would though argue that benefits such as Veterans’ Administration programs, federal employee and military retirement plans should not be included at all.  These programs were earned through employment – as are any such programs in the private sector.  Although programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are paid for by the eventual receiver of the benefit they are unconstitutional activities of the Federal Government.

Oft cited as justification for Entitlement programs is the “general Welfare of the United States” parts of the United States Constitution.  The Constitution contains two references to “the General Welfare”, one occurring in the Preamble and the other in the Taxing and Spending Clause. The U.S. Supreme Court has held the mention of the clause in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution “has never been regarded as the source of any substantive power conferred on the Government of the United States or on any of its Departments.”  This leaves the Taxing and Spending Clause which reads, “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States…”.  However, while the “general Welfare” has been, and I agree should be, interpreted as many things, it says nothing of redistribution of wealth programs – exactly what these so called entitlements are.

Per the official Social Security website: “The constitutional issue about the taxing power had deep roots running all the way back to the founders and to a dispute between Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. Although both Hamilton and Madison were Federalists who believed in a strong federal government, they disagreed over the interpretation of the Constitution’s permission for the government to levy taxes and spend money to ‘provide for the general welfare.’ Hamilton thought this meant that government could levy new taxes and undertake new spending if doing so improved the general welfare in a broad sense. Madison thought the federal government could only expend money for purposes specifically enumerated in the Constitution.  The Madisonian view, also shared by Thomas Jefferson [an Anti-Federalist], came in time to be known as the strict construction doctrine while the Hamiltonian view is called the doctrine of implied powers.”  Obviously I completely agree with Madison and Jefferson.  When you throw the 10th Amendment into the mix it makes little sense for the general welfare to be interpreted as Hamilton did.  IF, as he suggests, “government could levy new taxes and undertake new spending if doing so improved the general welfare in a broad sense”, thereby opening the door to those “implied powers”, it could basically do whatever it wanted.  It would operate with complete impunity.  Can you say $16T debt?  Can you say 10th Amendment disregarded?  Keep in mind, the 10th Amendment not only covers the States but “we the people” as well.  Considering it is not only our rights being ignored but our money used to pay for these programs, it may be something with which you should concern yourself.  Just a thougth…

According to Paul M. Johnson, “The existence of entitlement programs is mainly significant from a political economy standpoint because of the very difficult problems they create for Congress’s efforts to control the exact size of the budget deficit or surplus through the annual appropriations process.”  As well, “Since the middle 1980s, entitlement programs have accounted for more than half of all federal spending. Taken together with such other almost uncontrollable (in the short run, that is) expenses as interest payments on the national debt and the payment obligations arising from long-term contracts already entered into by the government in past years, entitlement programs leave Congress with no more than about 25% of the annual budget to be scrutinized for possible cutbacks through the regular appropriations process.”  This of course presupposes that you can’t touch such programs.  I have a revelation!  How about we get rid of these programs?  How about if people “need” assistance we leave it to the States (should any individual State choose to have such programs), private charity or family/friends.  Wow, what a concept.  I cannot take credit for it though.  It was around for thousands of years prior to our Entitlement programs being implemented.

Bottom line:  this is a pure and simple redistribution of wealth which boils down to legalized (and unconstitutional) theft.  They are taking money from one to give to another.  The first receives no compensation or benefit from the “transaction”.  As well, per the Merriam-Webster definition of “a government program providing benefits to members of a specified group”, one can hardly argue that it is providing “for the … general Welfare of the United States”.  These programs are providing for specific groups of people that fit specific criteria.
That is NOT the general welfare of our country directly or indirectly!  For those that doubt, we will take a look at the Broken Window Theory at a future date.

I went through the Constitution (again!) to look for rationale above and beyond that normally claimed to support these programs.  I found none.  However, what I DID find were violations of MY rights (and yours).  Since those that come up with these ideas seem bent on interpreting the Constitution in any way they see fit, I am going to throw out these arguments as I see them (two can play at that game).

Taking my money to pay for unearned entitlements for others, and, in fact, specific groups such as the poor and farmers, violates my 4th Amendment rights.  That is, it violates my right to “be secure in [my] … effects, against unreasonable … seizures…”  In this case, taking my money to give to someone else is in effect seizing my “effects” (no pun intended).  It is unreasonable since I receive no benefit from the seizure and have no say in either how much is taken or to whom it is given.  In fact, I actually become less secure in my person and house since I have less money with which to secure family and myself.  In a similar vein, this would also violate my 5th Amendment rights.  These being “No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…”  In this case we are not even talking about “private property be[ing] taken for public use”.  The money (property) they are taking from me is designated for specific groups, not to be used for the public.  Due process of law means “a fundamental, constitutional guarantee that all legal proceedings will be fair and that one will be given notice of the proceedings and an opportunity to be heard before the government acts to take away one’s life, liberty, or property. Also, a constitutional guarantee that a law shall not be unreasonable, arbitrary, or capricious.”  This specifically applies to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States” (i.e., ME!) and, while specified in the 5th Amendment this applies to States as well per the 14th.

I am also going to claim my 8th Amendment rights have been violated.  My claim in this is that since this amendment does not claim to be specific to criminals (as may be presumed by its wording), it is applicable to every citizen.  Therefore, this theft of my funds is an “…excessive fines imposed…” which results in “…cruel and unusual punishments inflicted”.  I am being unduly punished by having my money taken, again with no benefit to me, and reducing my standard of living.

Additionally I am claiming a violation of my 10th Amendment rights.  This of course is the amendment that ensures “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  I am “the people”.  While I might agree that many of these programs could be enacted and implemented at the State level (should the people of that State so choose and it is done so in a manner so as not to violate my 14th Amendment rights), until then, and as long as it is the Federal government doing it, I am being denied my constitutional rights.  I have all those rights not enumerated in Article I, Section 8.

I am finally claiming my 13th Amendment rights are violated.  As I’m sure you will recall, this amendment states, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”  I am claiming that this theft of my funds amounts to involuntary servitude.  I work and do not receive the entire benefit of my labor.  The time I must work to earn that which is taken to redistribute is involuntary servitude.  I have committed no crime.  Why am I being punished?

On the other hand, since we technically live in a Representative Democracy, we may as well just scrap the Constitution (Articles I and II excepted since in order to be a Representative Democracy, you need representatives) and let our duly elected representatives (Congress and the President) enact any laws they wish.  If we don’t like it, we just elect new ones and have them change it.  Based on the treatment of the Constitution over the last 50-60 years (to a more limited extent even longer), we are effectively doing this anyway.  Why not save the money being paid to the Judicial Branch and just scrap it?  No Constitution, no need to interpret it, no need for a Supreme Court (and all the support structure that goes with it).  Per the United States Courts website, “the Judiciary as a whole would receive $6.76 billion” in fiscal year 2012.  More for those Entitlement programs!

You may claim these arguments are silly, unrealistic or just plain ridiculous.  However, keep in mind, when we look at an application of our Constitution based on moving standards vice the original intent of the drafters and common sense, we can eventually make it say virtually anything we want.  Did I say “virtually”?  hmmmmmm

>>> The day is at a close, the night is drawing in and my cigar awaits – ’til next time…

Slaves and Citizens

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Here’s a thought: how about we stop worrying about the differences between the rich and the poor and just focus on helping the poor not be poor.  This cannot be achieved via redistribution of the wealth of those that earned it to pay for welfare, food stamps, government dictated medical care and other gifts to those that did not.    This creates slaves, not citizens.  Slaves ever in debt morally to the government and the people paying for those handouts.  It CAN be achieved by allowing the rich to use their resources to create employment for the poor. This allows people to get out of the cycle of slavery and enter the ranks of true citizens.  Citizens proud they are able to provide for themselves and those reliant on them.

Unfortunately our current state of Socialism won’t allow this.  It is more concerned with equality for everyone than prosperity for anyone.  Since it is pretty much impossible for all of us to be rich (I certainly am not – and barring winning the lottery, will never be), the Socialist’s solution is to take the money away from the rich and just give it to the poor (the distribution being controlled by the Socialist elite of course).  One thing the Socialists in power don’t seem to get, the rich eventually run out of money or leave the country with what they have while they still have it.  The result being that we all end up poor.  Who pays then?  What a country!

Probably more on this later…

>>> The day is at a close, the night is drawing in and my cigar awaits – ’til next time…

Taxing the Wealthy

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On November 18, 2012, Op-Ed Columnist Paul Krugman (NY Times) made the following comments: “Consider the question of tax rates on the wealthy. The modern American right [sic], and much of the alleged center, is obsessed with the notion that low tax rates at the top are essential to growth.”  Mr. Krugman is, as are most Liberal pontificators, wrong.  The “modern American right [sic]” IS obsessed with the notion of FAIR tax rates for all and constitutional use of the taxpayer’s money.  However, he uses the rationale that “…in the 1950s incomes in the top bracket faced a marginal tax rate of 91, that’s right, 91 percent”.  And that “[t]he best estimates suggest that circa 1960 the top 0.01 percent of Americans paid an effective federal tax rate of more than 70 percent, twice what they pay today”.  He, of course, provides no objectives (necessary or otherwise) for the government’s USE of the money.  Just that there is no reason the government shouldn’t take it.  He ended his diatribe suggesting how well the country prospered under such conditions.  So many of these clueless Libs fail to take into account two very important things.  First, what would have been different for the American worker had the tax rate actually been reasonable?  Would not the additional capital in the hands of the job creators led to even more prosperity?  Far more than the government waste or give-away schemes?  Second, how many other people would have been motivated to “get rich” via entrepreneurship or increase investments in established companies and increase even more the number of high-paying jobs in the workforce?  The considered answer is quite obvious to even the most casual of observers.  Sucking every penny from those that provide jobs is quite ill-advised – or, phrased a less eloquent way, just say plain stupid.  The Modern American Left on the other hand is obsessed with the complete redistribution of wealth regardless of the long term impact to debt, unemployment, wages, etc.  People exist; therefore they must have things.  Somebody else has to pay for it?  Sorry.  They don’t have to work for it?  Of course not.  The Libs’ misguided and imprudent programs cannot be afforded by the “wealthy” when one considers that even taking every dime they have would not be enough.  Hence, the crushing debt.  Not due to too low tax rates but to there not being enough money in the country to pay for it all.  The absurdity of the Left’s position on this is beyond rational.

There will of course be more on this topic in the future.  It is just too easy to explain how wrong they are.  It just baffles me how they can draw so many theoretically intelligent people into their way of thinking.

>>> The day is at a close, the night is drawing in and my cigar awaits – ’til next time…