Dec 042012
 

Just about a month ago the worst President in the history of the United States was re-elected by the dumbest electorate in history.

It is official, the Looters and Moochers now outnumber the Makers and Creators. The question, then, becomes “What happens now?”

When the people find that
they can vote themselves money,
that will herald the end
of the republic.

~ Benjamin Franklin

I can tell you that I do not know for certain what will happen in the end, but I can predict some things:

  • The Federal deficit is going to continue to grow out of control. The entrenched bureaucracy will not let go of the purse-strings and the economy will crater. Some principle members of congress will oppose it, creating many opportunities for each party to blame the other for “obstructing” their plan to save the country. In truth, the Republicans have more to lose when things do go down the drain, because the Democrats and their allies in the media will be able to spin the news that the Democrat plan would have worked but the Republicans “broke it” somehow. The Republicans are just not smart enough to see that they need to get out of the way, to stand up and go on record saying, “I disagree with this Democrat plan, but I will not oppose it. You think you have the answer? Then prove it. Pass your legislation, put forward and enact your proposals, the economy belongs to you now.” Only by taking the “let it burn” approach can the Republicans prove to the low-information voters that the Democrats’ ideas are wrong.
  • President Peace Prize is going to get involved in more wars. And kill more people in undeclared war actions, like drone strikes, than that Cowboy George W. Bush ever did. Of course, we’ll see just as many anti-war protests in the next four years as we saw in the past four (that is to say, zero).
  • The rich will get richer, the poor will get poorer, and so will the middle class. If the middle class doesn’t disappear altogether. The coming economic disaster will hit the middle class hard, and they will only have one chance to save the old order – the 2016 elections – before the US becomes a nation of cronies lording it over the welfare class. Once all of the jobs are gone the unemployment rate will drop to historic lows, as no one will actually be looking for work. The Federal government will create more and more incentives for the unemployed to stay on the dole.
  • The best and brightest are going to take an economic sabbatical. The scorched-earth policy the Democrats call “paying their fair share” is a powerful incentive for those with money to reduce the government’s power to tax them. Until the government actually starts to go after wealth the “rich” will reduce their “income” and live on interest and savings until the storm passes or the bottom drops out. Since many in the middle class and most small businesses won’t be able to afford to do so, they will continue to struggle until all options are taken away. Then they will simply quit.

Those are my predictions. It is going to get worse before it gets better. A lot worse.

I do not want to sound as if I am hopeless about the future of America, far from it. It’s just that we have an important lesson to learn, and it looks like millions of Americans are going to have to learn it the hard way.

God bless us all.

Oct 142011
 

So watch this video and understand lack of facts and a focus on desires and dreams won’t work.

I understand this kid’s frustration and desire, but he’s not using facts. Most of the arguments are wishes and emotions. Let’s start using facts to get heard and understood.

Facts and Counterpoints You Should Use

  • The US DOES have the highest corporate tax rate or nearly the highest on the planet

Counter Point: Since the US has the highest tax rate, corporations are encourage to dodge taxes, use foreign tax shelters and move jobs to other countries to minimize impact to their bottom line.  #OCCUPY folks should agree and acknowledge corporations are there to generate profit for the investors, which many of them are through their 401K’s or other investment tools.  (I know many of you don’t have such, but many do, they just are as big as they used to be due to greed)

  • Education in the US is expensive and slipping in quality compared to other countries, except at the elite private schools.

Counter Point:  The standardized teaching models which are administered by the federal government are creating an environment and citizenry which is ill prepared to achieve success in many schoold districts, due to teaching to the test, rather than the needs of the students, the community or realities a given economic situation.  While K-12 teaching models are increasingly test based, even those who succeed in this model find it difficult to afford college.  To that end, the government should afford the opportunity to high performing students to have merit based access to higher education opportunities.

  • The rich 1% doesn’t pay their fair share!
Counterpoint:  #OCCUPY acknowledges that the current taxation system puts an unfair burden on many segments of the population, in fact the top 1% pay north of 40% of all taxes.  That being said, the current business climate, taxation model and federal administration overhead makes the distribution of these funds uneven and inequitable for many segments of the population.  A system which not only taxes income, but consumption taxes is needed to more fairly tax individuals, corporations which impacts all based on their impact on natural resources, use of infrastructure and the sourcing of goods which generate profit.
  • Debt growth is a choice that was assumed by the debtor, not the corporation which gave someone a loan.

Counterpoint: Federal programs, loose lending policies and lack of oversight created an environment where financial institutions preyed on individuals which extended their debt beyond their ability to pay in a time of hardship.  While this situation did involve the decision making of a individual, the market which was created by lack of oversight artificially increased price, based on the time proven supply and demand model of free markets.  Increased oversight and debt relief (not erasing debt, resetting debt at market values or changing terms of existing agreements) is needed to limit future foreclosures and a second iteration of the bubble most recently observed in financial markets which was created by this lack of oversight of marginal mortgages.

  • The quality of healthcare in the US is one of the highest on the planet, but access is a challenge for many.
Counterpoint: The currently modeled Obamacare has flaws, but healthcare is a right for all (that whole LIFE, liberty thing…).  While is it agreed that no one goes without emergency care, it is important that our country provide preventative care to avoid the costly care associated with late stage detection of an illness.  A healthy population increases the productivity of the nation, improves the quality of life and drives additional revenue for all constituents – the people, the country and corporations.
  • The current system of entitlements/support for the ill, elderly, unemployed and disabled is not working due to administrative overhead, fraud and consumption by non-citizens.
Counterpoint: Access to help and support is not focused on providing the necessary housing, welfare and skills to allow individuals and families to become self-sufficient.   A means based and contribution based model is needed which allows individuals to give back to the community and develop skills which provide value to the community in return for support.   Services and aid should be limited to citizens, have strict qualifications and require active participation in the community, should ones receipt of such entitlements be a long term/multi-year dependencies.  The system should be overhauled to use the most current technology to reduce costs, enforcement and administration to free up resources to better support the populous.
  • Increased government growth and more stimulus does not drive the same benefits that can be achieved in the open markets from a jobs perspective.  The average small business and corporation will create a new job for every $140,000-$180,000 in revenue, where as the US government is north of $220,000 per job
Counterpoint: The current economic stimulus model and leaning towards socialism has proven not to be effective in the US markets.  To drive job creation the US government should support the lending to small businesses and reduce tax rate to encourage the retention and creation of jobs in the US.  We are not promoting socialism, but economic growth and freedom from predatory corporate activities.
I’m sure there are other points which need to be stipulated to gain credibility and to get more air time on mainstream media.  The other thing which is impacting the credibility of the Occupy movement is word choice.  The words being used today surely are charged and create a level of camaraderie while on the ground and on the streets, but it just isn’t playing well with those of us which are doing our part – paying taxes, creating jobs and making sure the next generation/our children have the skills for succes and contribution to the country.  So here is a list of words you shouldn’t use and why.
  • Fat Cats: What exactly is a fat cat?  How about you use a term like wealth hoarders.
  • Evil Corporations: How about you just name corporations which did bad deeds and enumerate their deeds like Bank of America
  • “The Rich”: What exactly is rich?  I know plenty of people making over $500K and they are on the verge of losing their homes and have lost  much of their retirement just like YOU.
  • Millionaires/Billionaires: I’m sure you know this, but isn’t this the goal of the american dream? I’m also sure you know people like George Soros, Bill Gates, Ted Turner and many others have given much of their wealth to charities.
  • Greed: Maybe we should focus on criminals, not greed. I mean where does greed start and end? 10% profit? 100% profit?  People at farmers markets make 200-300% profit, the issue is scale right?  I think corruption and criminal actions should be the mantra.
  • Capitalism is Bad: I think you really mean theft and criminal actions is the issue.
Here is a better way to position the issues:

We should also put a plan in place for how to manage, address and improve the situation, not just complain.

Oct 132011
 

Daily Kos wrote an Open Letter to the 53% Guy.  It is a fairly interesting piece – well thought out and fair.  That’s what we need fairness.

 

While appreciate the dedication and message this guy is putting forth, here is my list of things I know/believe:

  • I worked 20-40 hours a week to go through college
  • I worked for 15 years after college to pay off my loans
  • Worked 60-70 hours in the first phase of my career
  • I traveled and worked so much I missed my first two kids growing up  — now that’s an american dream!
  • I pay more in taxes than many US households makes a year and I’m willing to pay more
  • I believe a person with 6 kids on welfare is a travesty.  Almost criminal actually – so selfish.
  • I don’t believe competitive markets will provide enough guidance for good decision making by companies
  • I blame greed, not wall street, unfortunately, wall st is were it happened.
  • I lost $350,000 worth of wealth in the two economic bubbles and I’m more or less ok with that, but it can’t happen again.
  • I’ve never been in the armed forces, that doesn’t make me better or worse – we all make choices
  • I think a good bunch of these kids in OCCUPY are bad at math and doing research, it might be why they are unemployed
  • I have healthcare
  • I think college should be free to students who do well in school (think B+ average)
  • I think Neal Boortz makes some valid points
  • I think standardized test and class sizes are making people dumb.
  • I think house buyers got duped into buying homes at inflated prices and something needs to be done.
  • I pay more in child support a month than many families make – I don’t feel guilty, I feel blessed and proud of my work and effort
  • I think lack of responsibility by fathers contributing to the well being of their kids has fucked up a bunch of stuff.
  • I have a gaggle of kids who I want to have a similar opportunity I have, but the math isn’t working out
  • I think it is reasonable for new mothers to take a year off subsidized by  the government
  • I’m pretty sure the Jobs Bill is fucked – no way to manage, monitor or administer effectively.
  • I don’t believe anyone is a whiner if they have a point
  • I believe there are lazy people who want to feed off the government trough
  • I don’t believe a college degree entitles you to ANYTHING
  • I believe hard work, dedication and creativity can change anyone’s situation
  • I know there are people who need help, like the 53% guy
  • I don’t believe in free rides – give to get is real and should be enforced
  • I’m really disappointed in Obama
  • I think our right to privacy and assemble is non-existent
  • I believe our education system is broken
  • I believe our economic system is skewed
  • I believe I got lucky and I should help

Here is something I wanted to share from the Kos article:

I’m a liberal, so I probably dream bigger than you.  For instance, I want everybody to have healthcare.  I want lazy people to have healthcare.  I want stupid people to have healthcare.  I want drug addicts to have healthcare.  I want bums who refuse to work even when given the opportunity to have healthcare.  I’m willing to pay for that with my taxes, because I want to live in a society where it doesn’t matter how much of a loser you are, if you need medical care you can get it.  And not just by crowding up an emergency room that should be dedicated exclusively to helping people in emergencies.

Why wouldn’t we want this?   Why wouldn’t we want a system that balanced the contribution from the citizens and the corporations?  I mean the corporations in the US have  nearly $2 Trillion on their balance sheets.  Now that’s a lot of cash which isn’t being put to work to drive the economy.  I know all the economic uncertainty is why they are spending, but if they spent 20% of it a bunch of the uncertainty would disappear.

There needs to be social reform AND economic reform.  We need to respect individual rights, provide an environment where everyone contributes and provide services for people in need.

Quick numbers say we can quickly get out of this social inequity and financial injustice – we just have to do it.  While my math is rough –  here is one approach which might work.  We just need action and commitment to serving our citizens, which is something which I think has been lost along the way.

Maybe George Carlin said it best: