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…

Things (aka, “stuff”) we “need”

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What most these days call the “Christmas Season” is almost upon us.  It is actually the Advent Season, the season in which Christians prepare for the birth of Christ, and it begins 2 Dec.  Of course, for most it begins the day after Thanksgiving – Black Friday.  It is the season in which all men should celebrate and share God given time, talent and treasure.  Even if you don’t believe in the Western philosophy of God, at least a time when we should all look to each other and ask, what can we do to make our lives, the lives of others and this world better?  However, this is not a thought for this time of year only.  I would contend that each and every day of our lives could be devoted, if only in some small measure amidst the difficulties of life lived, to such an end.  Nonetheless, since few days are (or at least few by most), such thoughts and actions should dominate this time of year.

Yet this time of year seems more and more devoted to that ultimate goal.  The goal to die with the most toys…  We also need the most expensive toys.  We need what everyone else has.  We need it whether we need it or not (confusing isn’t it?).  It is almost impossible for many these days to differentiate between a need and a want.  Commercialism wins.  Not Capitalism mind you. Commercialism.  The art of convincing us that “wants” are “needs”.  Sometimes, often times, convincing us that things we didn’t even know we wanted, we need.  The art of devotion to the ultimate goal.  How depressing.  How miserable.  How distressing.

It is interesting that most people’s unhappiness comes from the desire for things they want but don’t have.  Notice I didn’t see “need” but don’t have.  I have traveled the world and met many that have far less than those in America we consider in poverty.  Interestingly enough, they are happy.  Maybe ignorance IS bliss.  If it means lack of knowledge of what we are persuaded we need, I am convinced.  Few Americans know what true poverty is.  I hear or read about many that are “so impoverished” due to lack of something the rest of the world gets along just fine without.  Mind you, many in America ARE hurting.  Have no doubt.  Not nearly though the number of which we are convinced.  And certainly not for the reasons we are oft times given.

I have many students that live below the federally established “poverty line”.  Two come to mind and have two very different perspectives on their situation (there are many others in both categories).  They are of pretty much the same financial status.  One is miserable.  Everyday he’s miserable.  His friends have this and his friends have that.  It affects his happiness.   It affects his attitude.  His attitude toward his school work (yes, he grades are below average in all classes).  His attitude toward extracurricular activity.  His attitude toward life.  His is owed!  And he is not getting his due!  The other, as you might imagine, is actually quite happy.  I am utterly amazed by his outlook on life.  He takes advantage of every opportunity and couldn’t care less if he lacks the toys or clothes or houses or what-have-you of so many of his friends.  He is getting good grades and participates in every extracurricular activity he can fit in his schedule.  If you believe I am writing fiction here you’d be wrong.  One is a senior, the other a sophomore.  One is happy, the other – not so much.  Both attitudes come from the same “concern”.  One is making the most of what little he is given.  The other is lamenting the fact that he doesn’t have more.  One will be going far in life and, as most parents wish for their children, will surpass his family status and make a better life for his kids (I’m making a presumption here – he doesn’t actually have kids yet).  I have little doubt we, as taxpaying Americans, will be taking care of the other.  One is happy with having his needs, and a very few of his wants, fulfilled.  The other is miserable because he doesn’t have what society (in the form of mass media and advertisers) tells him he should.

I am writing on “Black Friday”.  What a bizarre day of greed, insatiability, and self-indulgence.  It is bad enough that people wait in line for days for things neither they nor the others for who they may be buying truly even need.  But the stories of pushing and shoving, fights, arguments, etc that take place show the true nature of many indulging in such activity.  Stories abound but some of the most grievous include “a Massachusetts man [that] left his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son in a car while he went shopping for Black Friday bargains, then went home with his new 51-inch flat screen television and left the toddler behind” (apparently the TV wouldn’t fit in the car so he called a friend for a lift home and forgot about the child) and “a man who tried skipping line outside a Sears store in Texas punched a fellow shopper and that man responded by pulling a gun”.  Doors busted down by shoppers who “couldn’t” wait for the store to open, a customer actually run over in a store parking lot, shots fired, “gang” fights, actual battles over merchandise.  These are all true stories of this year’s Black Friday.  This is a typical year.  Seriously people.  We see this every year.  We are appalled every year.  We continue every year.  Also interesting is that it supposedly revolves around the Christmas holiday.  Who is this Christ?  Why does He matter?  What is His message?  Why are we celebrating His birth?  Who has time to consider such silliness?  “Get the best deal on Christmas gifts for the whole family!” is the cry of the retailer.  “Save, Save, Save” on SO MANY things nobody actually needs.  This is neither the Capitalism nor the values upon which our country was founded.  It is the Commercialism contributing to its fall.

Don’t get me wrong.  I have no problem with people living a comfortable life within their means.  The concern is threefold.  The extent to which they will go to get what they think will make them happy, the debt they will incur for the same reason and those that feel they need to emulate them (not their fault of course, but a concern in the big picture). Every day we are told that material things will not make you happy.  For the most part this is true.  We obviously need SOME material things.  The Physiological Level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs dictates that.  We truly need food, water, shelter, etc.  However, we don’t need lobster and filet mignon, we don’t need Perrier, and we don’t need a McMansion in a gated community.  If you are truly able to afford such things (this means without getting into debt you are unable to repay as a practical portion of your income) I am all for living a good life.  I am a big proponent of the ultra-rich.  Many people are employed by those that build, maintain, and supply yachts (as a single example).  Many are employed in numerous industries that provide products and services for those able to afford great luxury.  Do not condemn those that have the means and spend well above most of our capabilities.  They are providing jobs and therefore income to many of us.  However, if you are NOT one of them, it is within you to be happy in whatever state of life you live.  Strive for more if you wish.  It is the drive of man to want to be and have better.  Just strive to be BETTER and to make your community, country and the world better.  Not for more “stuff” for the sake of more “stuff”.

Live and let live.  This doesn’t mean don’t get involved or allow others in society to just do what they please.  I do not advocate anarchy.  What it means is leave others to their own material goods.  Consider only that which is necessary to YOUR happiness.  And “what makes YOU happy” should be actually well thought-out.  No, being “convinced” by that cool advertisement on TV is not a considered choice.  Is that new video game bringing happiness?  Is that new pair of shoes bringing happiness?  Just because someone else has it doesn’t mean it belongs in your life.  Live your life.  Live your goals.  Notice I didn’t say “dreams”.  Dreams are nice ideas.  Goals are dreams to which you apply action.  Many have dreams.  Few turn them into goals.  Consider what would actually make you happy.  Turn that thought into a goal.  Live your goals.  Let others live through commercialism if they must.

As well, consider on occasion that using some of what you have to help those that ARE truly in need might actually provide you with more fulfillment than acquiring more “stuff”.  Having lived through some level of this in my young adult years I can assure you that it is not worth it.  The sleepless nights, paycheck-to-paycheck living due to acquisition of unnecessary things, constant worry about how to pay for not only the true necessities but those unnecessary things acquired is more headache than it is worth.  Ensuring “needs” are reasonable and limiting consumption of “wants” will allow for time and treasure to be devoted to something besides yourself.  Maybe a favorite charity looking for a cure for a disease or medical condition about which you are concerned.  Or helping those in areas of our country or abroad that truly need more to eat or fresh water to drink.  Even if you have no extra money, your time is also of great value.  Many of my students have little of their own.  However, visiting the elderly in retirement homes or helping younger student at elementary schools doesn’t cost them a thing yet sure seems to bring far more happiness and fulfillment to them than I see in the kid that just received the newest video game.

I could go on and on about this topic.  So much greed – so little time.  So many examples of those that are sad they don’t have more and others so happy because they understand what they don’t need.  Do you need most “stuff”?  My departing counsel – consider what is truly important in your life.  Consider what is driving your attitude.  Are they balanced?  Are you happy?

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