Archive for the ‘economy’ Category

I find it both hilarious and severely disconcerting how the same people who harangued George Bush about his foreign policy and civil liberties records are giving Obama a free pass, even though he exceeds anything Bush did. Now everything’s about the economy, where they offer tenuous evidence at best of how Obama lowered the deficit.

That’s a pretty good misdirection, but there should be an important distinction. Even if he’s lowered the deficit (which is impossible for him to do without the assistance of congress, more importantly the House, where all budgetary matters originate), economic freedom has declined, small businesses have been stifled due to an overburden of regulations that big businesses approve of because they scare off competition, and taxes on the majority of citizens have increased.That’s his economic legacy, along with Bush.

His foreign policy is abysmal. Drone strikes in countries we’re allied with. War or the threat of war with countries who pose no threat to us. Indefinite detention of enemy combatants (a term loosely defined by the administration). Sound familiar?

His domestic policy doesn’t fare any better. Illegal wiretapping of citizens. Illegal GPS surveillance. Indefinite detention of citizens without due process. Raiding legal medical marijuana dispensaries. Deporting more immigrants than Bush ever dreamed of.

And now, thanks to a Glenn Beck tweet, there’s a controversy over the casting of Mendhi Ouazanni as Satan in the Bible miniseries because he bears a passing resemblance to Obama. You know, if he was older, darker, Moroccan, and looked like Emperor Palpatine.

But hey, the economy’s getting better.

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On Twitter today, white house press secretary Robert Gibbs (@PressSec) answered some questions from the twitterverse. One question was raised about the recent Bush-era tax cut extension congress recently passed. The question: “Why does your admin continue to lie that tax cuts cost $$$? You can’t spend money you don’t have.”

The tax cut extension recently passed by congress, which also contained an extension of unemployment benefits, is expected to add over $800 billion to the deficit, which is what Secretary Gibbs refers to in his reply: “Regardless of your views, you have to admit extending tax cuts above $250k adds to the deficit”.

Actually extending cuts above $250k is only a small piece of the $800+B pie. And, Mr. Secretary, if the government wouldn’t spend more than it takes in, the cuts wouldn’t add one red cent to the deficit. 

Consider your household budget. When planning your budget for the next month, do you plan to spend more than you earn? Or, if you see that you’re on track to do just that, do you cut unnecessary spending? Well, from personal experience, I cut unnecessary spending.

So what could government stop/cut funding for in order to “pay” for these tax cuts? First, stop funding the war on drugs. Criminalizing an activity that harms only the user puts all the power in the hands of gangs & drug lords. Am I saying it’s ok to do drugs? Of course not. But I do believe each individual should be allowed to decide what to put into his/her own body.

We could also close many of the military bases we have in over 160 countries. Why do we task ourselves with the responsibility of defending nations that can defend themselves? Countries like Japan, South Korea, Germany, just to name a few. 

There are many other cuts that could be made, but you get my drift. The fact is, thanks to the tax cut extension, there will be over $800B that will be able to be spent/invested/saved which will better help to jump start the economy more than the ill-advised trio of stimuli (which started with Bush 43).

Any questions? Class dismissed.

Isn’t funny how people can figure out what kind of person you are, how you grew up, etc just from one political comment? It’s uncanny how accurate they are!

For example: during the 2008 presidential campaign I made a comment on a blog on Myspace that I didn’t support Obama because I don’t agree with his stance on several issues (for the record I supported Ron Paul. When he didn’t get the nomination, I voted McCain *ugh*). Well this one reader of the blog took it upon herself to call me out. And rightfully so. I never would have seen the light if not for her.

Turns out it wasn’t because I believed in a different political/economic ideology because of all the research I had done up to that point. No, it was because I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth, I’m rich, have had everything handed to me on a silver platter, and I don’t care about the little people or those that are suffering.

How very accurate! At that point, I dropped to my knees & prayed for the Lord to forgive me for my sins!

Ok, if you’re not getting the sarcasm by now, seek help. Also, read on to learn about my childhood.

I was born in 1979. If I remember the story correctly, I was 2 or 3 weeks premature (got my picture taken with Miss Tennessee, though, so it was worth it). I spent a couple weeks in an incubator because my lungs were underdeveloped & I would forget to breathe.

My dad, albeit jokingly (I hope), has credited my hospital stay as part of the reason my parents filed bankruptcy (also, the economy sucked back then, too). I vaguely remember living in a trailer in the middle of town, briefly. When I was 4, we (me, Mom, Dad, & my brother) moved in with my grandparents, who lived in a very, very small house. 

There was a living room, kitchen, (I think) 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom…for 6 people (was used for several more when Dad was raised there. Big family). I didn’t care how big it was or the condition it was in (the uneven floor made roller skating, in one room, easy). 

I didn’t realize it at the time, but Mom & Dad took out loans for a Christmas or two, just so me & my brother would enjoy it (I miss my little yellow 4-wheeler). We never wanted for anything. We had clothes, a roof, loving parents, food…but we were far from well-off.

I made friends at school & little league. I fought with my brother. Got in trouble. Blah blah blah.

Am I leaving some stuff out? Yeah. But you won’t get my life story here.

My point is: don’t think you know someone from one comment they make about anything. I have friends who make racist jokes. Are they racist? No. Insensitive, maybe, but not racist. I have friends/family who are Democrats. Are they facist, socialist, commie pigs? Of course not. Though we disagree politically (which makes for great conversations), we know we are both good people. We’ve just had different life experiences that led to different conclusions.

So obviously I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Things aren’t handed to me on a silver platter. I’m most definitely not rich (I’ve been unemployed for 11 months now). I do care about the poor, which I am, and those that are suffering. I just believe a truly free market is the way to promote income mobility & alleviate suffering. Will there be assholes who take advantage of the disadvantaged in a free economy? Of course. But the market, IMO, would deal with them. 

Yes, Ayn Rand is the source of my main belief that “Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.” (from The Ayn Rand Institute). This belief fuels my other beliefs.

In conclusion: I am not a Godless heathen who cares only about himself. I am a God-fearing man who believes rational selfishness and adherance to the truth benefits everyone, not just the one. For future personal attacks on me, please refer to this post before being an anonymous hit-and-run commenter.Haters

When did it become wrong to believe in individual people and right to believe in collectivist governments?

I know many people don’t like Ayn Rand or her philosophy (which was partly too difficult for even her to live by), but she had the right idea: keep governments out of private business. That’s the way the country was run for a long time.

Cut to today. Now we have big corporations (not all, but some), lobbyists, & special interests that have politicians in their back pockets. Case in point: the NRA. They recently pledged support for a campaign finance reform bill after being awarded exemption from the new rules through a provision they authored (see my previous post: Special Interest & The Government).

Google & Verizon recently published what they believe should be the guidelines for regulating the internet…rules that would hinder their competitors. Even the FCC, which is in favor of internet regulation, came out against these guidelines, as did a huge swath of the internet community.

This may seem like a rant against business, but it’s not. It’s a rant against government & businesses getting too cozy. When the government picks the winners, the populace loses. Look at the current “Summer of Recovery”: 9.5% unemployment, 131,000 net jobs lost last month (though the private sector has decreasingly added jobs every month this year), GDP growth that gets revised downward more often than not, etc. And this is after the trillions of taxpayer dollars that were pumped into certain companies, banks, and government departments to stop the downward economic spiral.

So where’s the recovery? Most major downturns are followed by quick recoveries. Look at the depression of 1920-1921: tax cuts, spending cuts, and some other noninterventionist policies paved the way for the roaring 20s. By contrast, the Great Depression lasted over a decade despite (because of) government interference, and unemployment didn’t see a sharp decline until America got into WWII & the draft was instituted.

Empirical evidence shows the less government interferes, the faster & more sustainable the recovery. Governments picking winners & losers means everybody loses.

Got off on a tangent there. You’ll see that happens a lot. Anyway, my point is that anybody that believes in giving power to the individual to do what he wants, with the caveat that he harms no one other than himself, is now considered an extremist.

Belief that we are free to live our lives our way, again- harming no one other than ourselves, instead of the government proclaiming how we should live is a crackpot. Not giving us control over our own bodies, what goes in our bodies, what happens in our bedroom, who we take to our bedroom (consensually and both being of legal age), how we spend our money, what we buy…these are a few examples of how government interferes with our lives. And we’re crazy because we want to take responsibility for our own lives & not have that responsibility taken away by government?

Then call me crazy.

They just can’t seem to make up their minds. At first, the individual mandate in the new healthcare law wasn’t a tax. Now that they’re going to have to defend it in court, they say it falls under, not just their power to regulate interstate commerce, but also their power to tax.

First, let’s get something out of the way. The commerce clause and taxing power both cone from Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution. It says:

“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; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes;”

It goes on, but the last part is what we’re dealing with. “To regulate commerce…among the several States”. Lawyers at the DoJ say this gives them the power to force American citizens to purchase health insurance.

But if they can force us to buy health insurance in the guise of regulating interstate commerce, what’s to stop them from forcing us to buy other products or services?

Forcing us to buy health insurance has much broader implications than just buying insurance. Forcing us into formerly voluntary economic activity of any kind is unconstitutional. They will decide the minimum coverage we have to buy. They will decide if rate hikes can go through, taking that power away from the state regulatory boards. All we decide is which company we buy from, or if we pay the fine (tax)/ go to jail for voluntarily deciding not to engage in economic activity.

I know our system isn’t perfect, but this is definitely not the answer to fixing it. I don’t want bureaucrats making any health related decisions for me. Why not, you ask? Ask anyone in the military how they feel about the VA. They’ve done a piss poor job taking care of our vets, why should we expect a better outcome for the entire country?

Insanity- Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result

Forgot to add this earlier: Article 1, Section 9 states: “No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken”. This was changed by the Sixteenth Amendment, which states: “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, without regard to any census or enumeration”.

The DoJ is also counting on the Sixteenth Amendment to uphold the individual mandate. I’m not really sure how that would work. Maybe just to uphold the fine for those who don’t purchase insurance?

In any event, I don’t see the mandate as constitutional. The government doesn’t have plenary powers. There is no power granted to them by the Constitution to force citizens into any economic activity, save for paying taxes. The Constitution doesn’t allow them to force us to buy a good or service. They are limited by the Constitution in what they can do. This is made clear by the Ninth and Tenth Amendments: 9- “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people”, & 10- “The powers not delegated to the United Stated by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”.

In other words, we have rights not listed in the Constitution (the right to decide what products we purchase?), but the powers the government has are listed in the Constitution (no power to force us to buy a good or service). How is that not clear?

Federal law trumps state law when explicitly granted that authority under the constitution. What the feds ain’t granted, is granted to the state.

Do federal & state laws overlap? Yep. For example: the federal government set a minimum wage (which was recently raised). Several states also have minimum wage laws. But according to the Department of Labor, whichever of the two is higher is the one the state must abide by.

But here’s the caveat: nowhere in the Constitution does it say the federal govt has power over how much pay we receive. So under the 10th amendment, shouldn’t the state minimum wage trump the fed’s?

The same could be said for several federal laws (the recently passed healthcare law comes to mind), but we have to start small. End the federal minimum wage law.

If

Posted: June 3, 2010 in economy, politics, rants
Tags: ,

Saying “if we didn’t pass TARP & the stimulus, the economy would have been much worse” is like saying “if I didn’t do what the man with the gun said, he would have killed me”. Both statements are pure conjecture.

The fact is, we don’t know for sure if the gunman would have killed you if you didn’t do what he said. Maybe it was an empty, albeit convincing, threat. Same goes for the economy. Maybe it wouldn’t have been worse if TARP & the stimulus weren’t passed.

There’s actually evidence that taking a different approach would have been a better plan. There’s the depression of 1920-1921 (as bad from tip to trough as the Great Depression, but thanks to Harding’s mostly non-interventionist policies it didn’t last near as long) plus the depression that never was after WWII (economists predicted a depression because the govt cut spending, but it never happened). Those are just off the top of my head. Obviously, there are others.

But that’s neither here nor there because it’s become widely accepted that govt involvement in economic matters is a good thing. Why? Because they’ll make the numbers prove it. Want proof? Look at the stimulus numbers from CBO. They say the stimulus has created/saved over two million jobs. Their proof? An economic model that assumes for every stimulus dollar spent, it creates between $1.25 & $1.75, which translates into X amount of jobs. This is not based on facts or quantifiable evidence, only assumptions.

The fact is, over 450,000 people per month have filed new unemployment claims since the recession began. Over eight million people are still out of work. And we’re a long way past the 8% unemployment we weren’t supposed to exceed if the stimulus was passed. Still think you were right not to fight back against the man with the gun?