Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Nation in Need of Repentance

Lest you think this is another "bash America" diatribe from the Left, hold tight. It is nothing of the sort.

A number of years back, I briefly substitute taught at the Christian school my children had attended. One day when I was filling in for the third grade teacher I was asked to administer a science test. I scanned the tests as they came in. A fill in the blank test on the subject of electric charges. One entry caught my eye and made me grin. In answer to the question "opposite charges attract and like charges ________" one student filled in the word: repent instead of repel. Like charges-- repent. Only at a Christian school, I thought. When in doubt? Repent.

Then I considered the meaning of the word. Repent, in essence, means to turn and go in another direction. My third grader wasn't so far off the mark after all. Like charges do indeed...repent.

And that brings me to America. If ever a nation needed to turn and go in another direction it is us and it is now. We elected a President and a Congress that does not have the wishes of the people and the limitations of the Constitution in their cross hairs. We have elected a yee-haw group of political elites hell-bent on wresting control of every aspect of our lives away from us and under the scrutiny and control of the government they head. They speak platitudes and engage in thievery. Of our liberties. One by one.

We need to repent. We need to go in another direction this next election. If you are in doubt, if your memory is fuzzy (as mine is) because you are busy living your life, raising your family, making a living, just trying to get by, well then get a copy of David Limbaugh's new book, Crimes Against Liberty. In the first 50 pages there are a hundred reminders of the audacious lies and power grabs we have witnessed these past few years. So many they will make your head spin.

So many, you will want to will become energized to make sure you do all you can to ensure this nation turns and goes in another direction. And quick.

November is closer than you think.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Answering the Wrong Question

The Democrats and their profligate spending indicate clearly that they are motivated by the question: How much money can we spend?

Not how many jobs can we create.

And their spending, rather than slowing, is gaining momentum like a snowball rolling down a hill. Faster, more furious, unstoppable. Trillion after trillion after billions zoom by to the point of eyes glazing, minds numbing. A giant blur of dollar signs. Expansive, exploding, multiplying like a deadly virus, unreal in its magnitude and potential for calamity.

Yet despite the spending, the unemployed remain so, in fact their numbers have ballooned. The job creators are punished by irresponsible, class-warfare rhetoric of this Administration and the looming threat of higher taxes in 2011. Still, the worse things get, the more they spend. Despite the breathtaking ignorance of the current ruling class, they are unrepentant and unresponsive to the will of the people. Their Keynsian model only prolonged the suffering during the Great Depression but that doesn't stop them, in fact, it seems to embolden them. Today's spending, is a puffed up version of FDR's, like a cream puff on steroids.

In today's Wall Street Journal we read that for the 22nd straight month the government spent more than they took in. A deficit of $165 billion. The second highest monthly deficit since last July. Another historic achievement for President Obama--the two highest deficits in the history of our country. Impressively historic. Don't you think?

The cumulative deficit is even grimmer. Again from the WSJ, "For all of fiscal 2009, the U.S. ran a record $1.42 trillion deficit. Fiscal 2010 might run a little higher—the Obama administration sees $1.47 trillion. " And this is before health care is funded.

Yet they spend more. At almost breakneck speed. Nancy Pelosi hauled the House members back to DC to pass ever more spending this week; wearing her ignorance like a crown. Christina Romer, of the stimulus bill fame told us that by spending we would keep unemployment from rising above 8%. Bye bye Ms. Romer. Adios to $787 billion in "stimulus"spending. And hello to almost 10% unemployment and another 7% of out of work Americans who have simply given up looking.

The democrats think if the $787 billion didn't do the trick it is because we didn't spend enough. Follow their logic. If one or two Vicodin don't halt the pain, three or four, five or six, seven even, just might.

Or they just might kill you.

The hope and change we were promised didn't materialize. Instead we got more of the same. Much more and much worse. Unprecedented corruption has infected this White House and Congress. Leadership is no where to be found and the Constitution has been shredded in the interest of self-interest and brazen power grabs unlike any we have seen in our history. I still believe in the ingenuity and the determination of the American people to succeed "in spite of." But we will be digging ourselves out from under this Everest of debt for generations.

Frankly, I won't be happy until those who voted for these failed and damaging policies apologize to all of us. Publicly and sincerely.

But that's just me.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Problem--In a Nutshell

You'd have to be nuts to think that we, that is--us, that is--the United States of America, can continue along this path: public employee retirees that collect north of $100,000 per year in pension benefits. In perpetuity.

Indulge me for just a moment: In the small little county in which I live we have an exclusive club. It is a rather small club at the moment--535 members. Though it is growing rapidly, adding over 100 new members in the last year alone. That's almost 25% growth. In a sluggish, no growth economy. This particular club doesn't actually DO anything. Rather, it is a club where the members are rewarded just because.

Because they are part of the cabal that makes all the rules.

The club of which I speak is a subset of the Contra Costa County Employees Retirement Association (CCCERA) and includes those public employees who have retired with pension benefits in excess of $100,000.00 per year. $100K! Guaranteed. No matter what.

I don't know a business that provides a defined benefit plan any longer. That is not to say they don't exist. But, it is to say they are rare. Because defined benefit plans are expensive and businesses (you know, the entities that must match revenues with expenses, that can only spend what they take in, based on the value they provide to their clients rather than government which holds the arbitrary ability to increase revenues via tax increases totally disconnected from any value added and not in the least voluntarily paid by those who provide the revenue ) must manage their affairs responsibly. They will not be around for long if they continually spend more than they take in. That's just the way it is.

So here are the ugly facts of the CCCERA Club from an article written by Bill Gram-Reefer on Halfway to Concord:

  • The club represents 7.3% of all county retirees but they receive 23.8% of the benefits.
  • The Club costs the public $5,766,927 each and every month. Guaranteed. No matter what.
  • The number one position in the club is held by a retiree who receives an annual retirement benefit of $291,000. And, it should be noted, despite the budget shortfalls in our county and our state and our country, his benefits rose last year.
It should not be lost on any of us that while the rest of the population suffers (i.e., the private sector) the public sector is thriving. Since the private sector funds the public sector through the production of goods and services--that people actually want--there is something terribly wrong with this equation. The public sector cannot continue to grow while the private sector shrinks.

And that's the problem. In a nutshell.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Let Them Eat Cake Regime

I can’t help it.

I think about taxes all the time. Income, sales, and property taxes. Energy. Excise. And estate. The social security tax, disability insurance tax--an alphabet soup of taxes--FICA, SDA SSI--and somewhere in the mix, a tax for Medicare. Escrow tax when I sell real estate. Food and liquor and cigarette taxes.

A myriad of government fees. The security fee when I fly, the registration fee for my car, license fee for my dog, building permit fee for a remodel, park usage fee when I want to hike, a driver’s license fee; the telephone usage fees for my home and cell phones. Hunting license fees. Fishing, too. Fees to register a new business. Fees for tanning. A permit fee to dig a well in my own backyard.

Not to mention bridge and road tolls. And a whopper of a fee for speeding down a (almost) deserted road.

When I am not thinking about taxes, I am talking about them. To my family, friends, to myself. And when I’ve exhausted my listeners, I write about the evils of, the history of, the effects of. Taxes.

We hear from the ruling aristocracy that we must pay our fair share. We are told there are needs government must meet and to do so government needs more revenue, which means higher taxes. We are asked to suspend our good judgment and believe that government is as good a steward with our money as we are, or at the very least, as good as our favorite charity. And yet...

In the midst of the "worst economic crisis since the Great Depression," Michelle Obama rents 60 rooms at a five star resort in Spain for yet another vacation, at who knows what expense to the American people. Mrs. Obama's office has refused to release the cost of the trip to the media according to the Los Angeles Times, but room rates at the resort range from $400-$6,500 per night and initial estimates (so far) are upwards of $250,000. The good news? CBS assures us that Mrs. Obama's many guests will be picking up their own expenses for incidentals, like "shopping in boutiques." Finally, according to the UK Mail Online the First Lady "will have enjoyed eight holidays by the end of the summer."

(Read the whole article:

And then there is Senator John Kerry, who according to the Boston Herald has "repeatedly voted to increase taxes for Americans," berthed his new 76 foot, New Zealand built $7 million yacht in Newport Rhode Island, effectively avoiding $435,700 in Massachusetts sales tax and $70,000 in annual excise taxes.

There is a pattern here. Do as we say. Not as we do. It is the kind of ruling class, let them eat cake mentality that has sparked revolutions, not to mention good, old-fashioned anger.

Quietly, out of the limelight we learn that it is possible to govern responsibly. We can see from the example set by Republican Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia and Republican Governor, Chris Christie of New Jersey that budget deficits can be eliminated while cutting taxes. But to do may require less spending. I don't know about you, but I am GOOD with that.

From an editorial written by Karl Rove in The Wall Street Journal: "Already, the GOP victors in last year's gubernatorial contests are providing powerful contrasts to Mr. Obama's policies. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell erased his state's nearly $2 billion deficit without raising taxes. Facing a $13 billion shortfall, a hostile Democratic legislature and more than $7 million in negative ads launched against him by labor unions, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie nonetheless balanced the budget while cutting taxes."

With courage and determination, responsible leaders can correct the disastrous mistakes facing us. Without reaching further into our pockets with fingers sticky with cake frosting.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Yes. We Can Do It

During the Second World War, in the midst of the ongoing economic fallout of the Great Depression and the horror of tyranny spreading across Europe, women returned to work in record numbers. Rosie the Riveter became the symbol of American feminine ingenuity. Over six million women helped build necessary war machines like planes, bombs, tanks and other weapons. Others drove streetcars and operated heavy machinery or worked in lumber mills and steel mills. Some even unloaded freight. No job too big. Or too tough.

So it is in the spirit of Rosie, in the midst of what the President has called the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, I have decided it is time to knuckle down and get to work. A number of months ago, we cancelled our last remaining luxury--the gardeners. And since both of our kids are away at school, I took over the responsibility for the lawns and the weeding and helping my husband with the pruning.

And I love it.

Despite the warnings of the pundits that illegal immigrants are needed to fill the jobs no one else will do, I found taking responsibility for my garden and the cleaning of my home to be... well, a liberating experience. I enjoy my yard and my home in ways I never did before. I understand my decision is not for everyone. During my thirties when the kids were little and I was red-eyeing to New York each week, I had twice weekly cleaning, a cook and gardeners. I couldn't find my way around my own kitchen, let alone the linen closet or the laundry room. I had no choice but to have help. There was not enough time in the day.

But now my kids are gone. I am a college professor and a writer. Though I am still short on time, I have more than I used to and I love the feel of the dirt, the smell of the grass, the exertion of weeding and mowing, the satisfaction of surveying my work. But mostly I love the knowledge that I can do what needs to be done. That I am independent and somewhat self sufficient. That I am not hostage to a myth.

Yes, I can do it. And when the kids come home for the summer and Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, I make sure they help in the yard and split and stack the wood and have the supreme pleasure of accomplishment and the sweet satisfaction of knowing that they can do anything they put their minds to.

Just like Rosie. And the millions of Americans who have made this the greatest country in history through sweat and determination and plain, old-fashioned hard work.