Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Progressives Not So Progressive

Gary Shapiro, writing in the Huffington Post, comments that when Progressives -- for whatever reason -- gave up on free trade, they have turned their backs on the third world.

Of course. By giving up on free trade, part of what capitalism is all about, and which progressives are trying to destroy, the third world hurts first.

(By the way: I only use "progressive" because Shapiro does. I don't believe for one minute that liberals are "progressive." They are not.)

As Shapiro points out:

In the 1960s, President Kennedy outlined a global vision based on the premise that a "rising tide lifts all boats." And lift it did. In the last 15 years alone, global trade has helped to lift 400 million people out of poverty around the world. Yet, when it comes to boosting living standards in places like Colombia and Panama, we hear hardly a peep from progressives. These stalled trade deals would improve economic and humanitarian conditions in those countries while helping U.S. companies, including many consumer electronics and technology companies, access new markets. The last 15 years are proof of that.

Spreading the wealth -- taking from the rich and giving to the poor -- does not improve the conditions of the world. How many socialist nations on this planet have done as well, or better, than a capitalistic democracy in improving the conditions of its people, overall?

If you can answer that, I'll convert today.

But I'm not worried.

Friday, March 27, 2009

On Being Liberal, Even in Oklahoma

I've had an e-mail newsletter exchange with the editor of a local small-town (just over the river in Oklahoma) shopper newspaper (circ 3,400). I wanted to respond to some statements he made about how he wanted to provide balanced, factual articles for his readers. I knew he was a liberal before I was finished with the first paragraph, but he is so typical of the liberal (he prefers progressive) mind-set that I wanted to share some of his ideas.

To this gentleman, bias means a right-wing slant, and he invited fact-based commentary, which didn't mean conservatives, but he back-tracked on that a bit.

I prefer to be thought of as a Progressive. I am just a pundit with a long and varied life of studies and interesting experiences. I research, paraphrase and quote from a variety of valid sources. Yes, it is my intention to persuade people to my views. I believe well-meaning people who label themselves Right Wing Conservative have been misled into supporting disastrous governmental policy that has negatively impacted the world. As I have stated in each issue… I welcome opposing points of view. You are welcome to express your views in The Texoman.

I asked him what he used for sources for his opinions.

I do read Harper’s, The Washington Spectator, The Hightower Lowdown, Mother Jones, The Nation and an assortment of online publications and research sites. Except for The Herald Democrat, KTEN and KXII, I do not read any other right wing publications. Most of what I do hear from the Right comes from the likes of Limbaugh, Gingrich, Perry, Hall, Colter, Paul and of course, Steve Taylor. And I only need listen to the conservatives in Washington to conclude, ‘we ain’t in Kansas anymore Dorothy.’ I feel wisdom, understanding and direction are as important as allegedly unbiased journalism.

On taxes, he's typically liberal: The wealthy don't pay their fair share, taxes redistributed downward will create jobs and stimulate the workplace, etc...and he's very anti-corporate. Those evil corporations, you know.

He's still convinced, like most liberals, that FDR had it right, and to this day he doesn't even realize what caused our current recession:

FDR enacted regulations on the financial markets and taxes on the rich that while thought by some to weaken the economy were necessary to redistribute revenue downward and rebuild a financial system founded on the broader base of the majority. Regulations and much of 1930’s taxation if left in place by subsequent administrations would have prevented our current economic problems. The gutting of the Glass Steagall financial regulations act by the Reagan administration and Phil Graham and tax cuts by anyone seeking re-election and needing big money laid the ground work for our current recession.

I asked him to view the video at http://www.bornagainamerican.org, but alas, no luck here either:

My warm fuzzy proud to be an American feelings died in Viet Nam along with several of my childhood friends and the senseless murder of countless men, women and children I could not help and all the wealthy American industrial corporate executives I did.

But this guy, at least, welcomes opposing opinions (unlike so much of his liberal friends).

It has never been my intention to make The Texoman the exclusive property of the Left. I encourage everyone of every persuasion to address the issues of the day here. You don’t even have to be polite, well-read or logical. You only need to write.

I do not put his comments here to mock him, or make fun of his ideas. The purpose here is to point out how different our ideas are. To him, and his liberal friends, everything is logical, factual, and the only way to make things better.

It seems we both want things to be better. We just disagree on how to get there.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

He's Not Joe the Plumber

I'm actually talking about Joe Conason, a writer for the New York Observer. A recent editorial he wrote can be used as a case-study of how liberals view history. I'll point out some of his more obvious mis-statements, but I don't have the time or room here for a line-by-line blow, so don't accuse me of cherry-picking.

The only sentence in his piece that is factually true is the first one:

As Barack Obama's economic advisers confront choices that vary from bad to worse in their mission to revive the financial sector and the broader economy, it is worth remembering that those choices were in essence inherited by the president, who is still new to his office.
Choices that vary from bad to worse. Well, there are better choices, such as tax reform, fiscal constraint, a balanced budget, just not what Obama is actually doing. But he did inherit this mess, so these two statements are mostly true.


Listening to his critics, especially on the right, it would be easy to believe that the president is personally responsible for ballooning deficits, gigantic bailouts, ridiculous bonuses, nationalized institutions and careening markets.
But the president (along with Congress) is responsible for ballooning deficits, gigantic bailouts (even though started by Bush, but continued by this president), ridiculous bonuses (signed into law by Obama), nationalized institutions (taking over AIG; Geithner's expanded power request), and careening markets.

And of course,

Ever since Election Day 2008, the usual suspects have been hard at work, deflecting responsibility from the Bush administration (and the Republicans in Congress) for the catastrophic effects of conservative policy enacted during the past eight years.

But if you actually paid any attention, you'd know this is not really true. Of course, many Republicans are to blame as well, but it is the Democrats who are mostly responsible for this mess, starting with the Community Investment Act during Jimmy Carter's years, then strengthened during Bill Clinton's reign, with the continued pressure applied to financial institutions to lend, lend, lend...and when the Bush adminstration saw problems six years ago, they were blocked by the Democrats (Franks and Dodd) of any regulatory overall.

He goes on about how it's all a con game, how Republicans never get blamed for anything, how it's always Democrats who get blamed for economic woes, and on and on. Since when have Republicans never been blamed for everything. What world does Joe live in.

But here's one of my favorites, used by anyone on the left:

According to conservative theory, the mere announcement of massive tax cuts for the rich by a Republican president ought to have stimulated euphoria in the markets and rapid growth.

Tax cuts for the rich is not part of conservative theory. Obviously Mr. Conason has not bothered to study conservative theory. This is part of the kool-aid crowd's attempt to advance class warfare, so we know where he gets this theory. Yes, the last two tax cuts did cut taxes for the rich -- they cut taxes for everyone. I got one. I'm sure he got one.

Actual studies have shown that rebates and government spending are not stimulatory. But long-term tax relief for everyone -- including small business (which make around $250,000, or part of the "rich") are the real engines of growth, because growth is then put in the hands of people who create growth. Governments never create growth. This is a fact, based on economic history.

But I guess, for Mr. Conason, facts are truely an inconvenience.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ignoring the Constitution: Our Congress

People are still arguing over the "facts" of who got us into this mess. Most of the blame, at least by the left, has fallen on .... drum roll, please ... you got it: Bush.

But the facts, for those of you who are interested, paint a different picture, one based in reality. David Young, a Constitutional scholar, on his blog On Second Opinion, could not have summarized it better:

The current economic situation is largely the result of two separate problems. The first is government policy that has forced lending institutions to loan money for homes to those who cannot actually repay the loans. Due to the government's policy requiring unsound loans for housing, many people have purchased homes much more expensive than they would otherwise have bought. Others have purchased more than a home, they have engaged in extensive speculation in the housing market, buying up houses, especially in a few parts of the country, to make extensive profits.

The second problem involves some of the largest financial institutions that have engaged in what amounts to gambling or blatant speculation through the medium of credit default swaps, betting on the likelihood of various large
businesses failing. Because of the failure of Freddie and Fanny due to unsound loans caused by equally unsound public policy, the failure of various major financial institutions has become likely, and as a result of a possible string of failures, literally trillions of dollars may be owed to those speculating in credit default swaps.

The insanity of the whole affair is that the people who caused this -- both government and private -- are the ones who are attempting to fix the problem. Does this make sense to you?

Young writes: "Apparently it is simply the result of politicians ignoring the power actually given them in the U.S. Constitution and doing whatever they please whenever they want."

Victor Davis Hanson is also worth reading on these -- indeed, most -- issues. (In fact, if you're not a regular reader of his columns and books, you should become one now.)

We had a 9/11 Commission; we formed the Baker-Hamilton Commission on Iraq (never mind the utility of the conclusions). So let us try a bipartisan investigatory commission on the autumn financial meltdown. Thus far the mainstream media narrative is a reductive “Bush did it.” But let us examine past bundling of subprime mortgages, and derivatives, and who introduced more regulation of banks, who opposed it; who tried to restrain Freddie and Fannie, who fought that tooth and nail, what the SEC did and did not do — and why. Let us collate all the campaign contributions from the failed banks, Madoff, the entire open sewer of politics and high finance, and then let those of the commission, both Democrat and Republican, issue a white paper on when, why, and how it all went down.

In the meantime, let's just keep doing the same thing, and hope for different results.

This are truly insane times.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Reality: Reserved for Democrats

To so-called liberals, the only reality is what they tell you it is. As Katha Pollit wrote a few months ago (emphasis mine):

Only Democrats, it seems, reward their most loyal supporters -- feminists, gays, liberals, opponents of the war, members of the reality-based community -- by elbowing them aside to embrace their opponents instead.
While the article this appeared in was complaining of Obama's choice of Rick Warren for the inaugural invocation, what is interesting to me is the phrase: members of the reality-based community.

What the fuck does that mean?

I guess that means if I'm not a Democrat, my reality isn't real. Something I made up.

I'm sorry. I'm so tired of "liberal," "progressive," crap like this. I'm tired of being called all sorts of things because I believe in liberty, individual freedom and responsibility, instead of the fucking government getting in all my business, which means elitist (she teaches at Princeton, which she points out is an elite institution) folks like Katha, who are so special that they know best, want to control what I say, what I read and what I believe in. From before birth to after death. This is not liberal or progressive in any sense of the word, so don't you believe this claptrap shit at all, or else you'll be living soon in a nation modelled after Cuba or East Germany.

These are the same people who are so stupid that Geithner's plan for the banks is to do that same thing done in the United Kingdom, which failed. Or Japan tried for 10 years, and failed. Or the New Deal, which extended the depression (and actually created a second repression within the depression in 1937). So why will it work now? And we have a stupid, ignorant, tax-evader for our secretary of treasury, an Obama goonsquad character.

So Katha, this is a warning to you and your friends. Today, I'm not going to treat anyone who wants to destroy my country with any kind of tolerance or kindness. I can give as good as I have gotten.

The gloves are off.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Do You Regret Your Vote Yet, Part 2?

Headlines from this morning:

Obama Apologizes to Special Olympics for Bowling Joke
President Obama called the chairman of the Special Olympics, Tim Shriver, to say he was sorry for an offhand remark on the "The Tonight Show."

Sen. Dodd's Political Future Cloudy After AIG Bonus Controversy
As head of the banking panel, Sen. Christopher Dodd has become a convenient target for voter anger over the economic crisis.

U.S. Budget Deficit Forecast to Hit $1.8 Trillion This Year
The Congressional Budget Office says the deficit under President Obama's policies would never go below 4 percent of the size of the economy, figures that economists agree are unsustainable.

Iranian Leaders Ignore Obama's Outstretched Hand
Iran's supreme leader snubs President Obama in response to a warm video issued by the White House seeking a "new beginning" with Iran.

$1 trillion deficits seen for next 10 years
President Barack Obama's budget would generate deficits averaging almost $1 trillion a year over the next decade, according to the latest congressional estimates, significantly worse than predicted by the White House just last month.

13 Firms Receiving Federal Bailout Funds Owe $220M in Back Taxes
The House Ways and Means subcommittee on oversight discovered the delinquent taxes in a review of tax records from 23 of the firms.

House Kills Effort to Investigate Lobbyist-Lawmaker Ties
The proposal would have forced the House Ethics Committee to launch a probe into ties between the source and timing of campaign contributions by lobbyists and subsequent legislator requests for special projects or earmarks.

Did Tim Geithner lie about knowing of AIG bonuses?
Treasury Secretary may have known a lot more than he admits about the huge and controversial bonuses paid out by insurance giant AIG to its employees. The New York Times reports that Geithner admitted knowing about bonuses at AIG two weeks ago after claiming this week he only learned about them later.

Big labor ignores a basic freedom of Democracy
...union bosses, egged on by Democrats from Capitol Hill to the White House, display world-class hypocrisy, violate international labor standards, and contradict their own sales pitch as they desperately promote "card-check" legislation to drive secret ballots from union-authorization elections.

Headlines from just this morning, March 20, 2009, the first day of spring. I haven't been collecting them. This is after a little more than 2 years of a Democrat majority in the White House, and some 60 days of the Obmana administration.

Could it get any worse? Seems more like a long winter ahead of us.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What's Next?

And you think liberalism means more freedom?

The Obama administration is taking steps quietly to shut down the program that qualifies commercial airline pilots to carry firearms in jetliner cockpits in order to ward off another 9/11-type attack.

The administration recently diverted $2 million from a program to train and certify pilots to carry firearms safely while on duty. Instead, it is using the money to hire additional field inspectors to help discipline pilots who step out of line, according to a report in Tuesday’s Washington Times.

A Times editorial condemned the Obama administration's action, calling it "completely unnecessary harassment of the pilots."

Since Obama took office, the approval process for certifying pilots to carry firearms has ground to a halt, the newspaper reports. Pilots are afraid to speak out about the behind-the-scenes maneuverings, for fear of retaliation, according to the newspaper. No cases have been reported in which pilots have brandished a weapon inappropriately or otherwise abused their eligibility to carry firearms.

About 12,000 pilots have been authorized to carry handguns while flying aircraft as part of the Federal Flight Deck Officers Program. Congress authorized the program in a 310-to-113 vote following the 9/11 attacks to help prevent terrorists from turning jetliners into flying bombs that could be used to attack key sites like the White House, the Pentagon, or Capitol Hill.

Born Again American

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Queen Pelosi Decides Which Laws to Enforce

The other day, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated that we really didn't need any new gun laws; we should just enforce the laws we had.

Yet she tells illegal immigrants that enforcing our immigration laws is "Unamerican."

Go figure. I can't.

But when our own legislators are ignoring the very laws they have passed, we have crossed from democracy to tyranny.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Obama a Liar? It Seems So

I was holding judgement, trying to give the man the benefit of the doubt, but the evidence is now overwhelming.

Obama is a liar and can't be trusted. I have come to that conclusion. First it was on taxes, then on earmarks, now on veterans.

Just yesterday, I heard a part of his speach to a veterans groups, in which he promised that veterans today would get the same treatment from their government as his grandfather did after WWII.

The very next morning, the White House announces that private insurance companies "will pay their fair share" of veterans medical expenses, even service-related, I presume.

If that ain't lying, I don't know what is. He can't be trusted any more.

And the left called Bush a liar. I guess you're only a liar if you're a Republican.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Liberal Free Speech Ain't Freedom

It has been my observation over the years -- and it is confirmed for me almost daily -- that liberal free speech means free only if you agree with their liberal, anti-American, pro-diversity, open-border, multi-culturalism, pro-choice, cradle-to-grave nanny state agenda.

Let me further define these subjects, so that you don't think that conservatives are actually the racists hate-mongers liberals would have you believe.

Liberal is left-wing, which would take too long to explain here. It is not liberal in the classic sense, of which the country was founded. Convervatism is actually more closely aligned with classical liberalism, which believes in the individual over the state. Liberals believe in the power of the state first.

Anti-American. America has been bad, we've mistreated too many people, etc. It's always our fault when we're attacked. Conservatives actually believe that America is a great place; not perfect, a work in progress, but the best country in the world. Why else does everyone (almost) want to come here.

Pro-diversity. Actually favoring people based on skin color, which is anti-discrimination. This is more racist that actually believing in equal opportunity for everyone. Conservatives, mostly, are not racist and believe in equal opportunity, not equal results. To say you don't have prejudices is to lie to yourself. It's just the way we are. But it doesn't mean you have to act out on your imperfections.

Open-border. Everyone is legal. Come on over, we'll take care of you as long as you vote for us so we can stay in power. We don't care if you commit crimes, you poor victims of the hated conservatives. Liberals only care about our laws when it suits them. (Recently, Nancy Pelosi stated that we should enforce our gun laws, but she doesn't think we should enforce immigrantion laws.) Conservatism believes that you can come here, but you have to follow the law of the land.

Multi-culturalism. Every culture is equal. Even if they aren't. Conservatives believe there are many aspect of different cultures that are good, but some things we don't need to embrace. If you make the U.S. like Mexico, it won't be the U.S. any longer.

Pro-choice. It's a woman's right to kill her baby at any point before the actual birth. Men have no right to say anything about this. Conservatives want this to be limited and most conservatives don't want government mandating this area of policy at all.

Cradle-to-grave nanny state. We'll take care of you as long as you keep us in power. Conservatives: I can take care of myself a lot better than the government.

Disagree with them and they'll try to shut you up, or shut you down. If you don't believe this, you haven't been paying attention.

Part of their attempt to quiet any opposition is to discredit them. It's a tactic that can work, but only if you don't fight back.

This is one reason for the obsession (or even a hint of interest) in the Obama administration over Rush Limbaugh. This is the liberal mindset. If someone disagrees with you, go after them to discredit them.

Remember the Bush years? It must have been hard for him to ignore all the hate thrown at him, but he kept the Presidency above it. Obama can't.

Wake up before you lose the right (or ability) to disagree, to state your position, to stop the liberal, socialistic takeover of your country.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Texas Governor Says No Thanks

Rick Perry, governor of Texas, said no thanks to the federal government's proposed influx of $550 million for the state's unemployment fund.

According to the Dallas Morning News:

Gov. Rick Perry, joining a handful of his fellow Southern Republican leaders, said Thursday that he was rejecting $556 million in federal stimulus money for unemployed Texans because it had too many strings attached.
Texas is one of the few states in the country that has a balanced budget, as well as an unemployment rate lower than the national average: 6.4 percent vs 8.1 percent.

Perry said the federal provisions would require unprecedented changes in state rules on who is eligible for unemployment payments. He also argued that the funds – which Democrats say would update benefits so that more women, elderly and student workers could qualify – would place additional burdens on businesses, leaving them to pay the added costs when the federal money ran out.

Instead, businesses should be able to use the money to create jobs, Perry said.

"That is why I am so concerned about the belief that has gained a foothold in our national consciousness that the best and only way to solve our nation's problems is to drown them with taxpayer dollars," said Perry, announcing his decision at a Houston hardware store.
Democrats in the state legislature are going to try to over-ride the governor, but will need two-thirds votes to be successful.

I find it interesting that Texas, a republican-led state since the early 1990s, when compared to my home-state of Michigan, a democrat-led state, has a much lower unemployment rate and has a budget surplus. In January 2009, Michigan had an 11.6 percent unemployment rate, nearly twice that of Texas. (And yes, we even have car plants here too.)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Do You Regret Your Vote Yet?

If you voted for Obama, do you regret it yet? Are you over the Obamamania enough to wake up and see that you were lied to? That the change that is coming is less freedom -- both economically and politically?

These stimulus packages are scams. They are designs to kick in around 18 months or so from now, just before the next elections. These politians don't care about you. They only care about staying in office and in power.

Jason Whitlock, of the Kansas Star, put it so succinctly:

Politics, in my opinion, is a haven for dishonest people with no discernible skill other than smooth talking and deal-making.

Couldn't agree more. We need to throw the bums out, starting with the democrats, since they are the ones currently in power. Then we'll go on to Republicans who don't do our (meaning we the people) bidding.

Until then, as I've been saying for the last seveal months: Hang on to your wallet. The government is coming for you.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Stimulus Stimulates What?

Nancy Pelosi told reporters today that the Congress needs to keep an open door for more "stimulus" money, on top of the $1.7 trillion already in the pipeline.

Yet, as the Washington Post reported: "Several economists have said the stimulus package will not meet the administration's goal of saving or creating 3.5 million jobs by the end of next year because the final package was smaller than expected and contained several provisions that they say are unlikely to be particularly effective."

The "stimulus" bills are a cover for the left's agenda for a complete makeover of the country and its enonomy. Even Obama is now admitting that he wants to change capitalism.

Son, you don't change capitalism. It either is, or isn't. Socialism is what they want.

As foreign powers keep buying up our debt and assets, it won't be long before the United States of America of even last year won't exist.

But the liberals will be happy, because they hate America.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pelosi Wants More Ethanol In Gas

Nancy Pelosi is determined to have everything her way. Now she's back to ethanol, and how she wants to mandate higher percentages of ethanol in gasoline -- to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Won't work. Hasn't worked before, so why now. Besides, food should be used to feed people, not cars.

I've already written on this subject on how Ethanol lowers gas mileage.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Monday that she supported a higher ethanol-to-gasoline blend rate as a way to reduce reliance on petroleum imports.

"It seems to me we should be able to do that," Pelosi told reporters after speaking to the National Farmers Union convention.

At present, gasoline may contain up to 10 percent fuel ethanol, made mostly from corn (maize). An ethanol trade group asked the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday to allow blends of up to 15 percent ethanol in motor fuel.

I really don't have much more to say on the matter, except that is there anyone out there is as outraged as I am on the way our government is going in trying to control every last bit of our lives, from birth to death -- and even after?

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Continuing Kiss-Up to Illegal Aliens

Note: In case you can't read, let me repeat: ILLEGAL Aliens. OK? I don't want to debate the status of those here in this country legally, OK? So if you think everyone in the world should be here, go somewhere else with your stupid ideas.

Nancy Pelosi was in San Francisco over the weekend to help protest the deportation of illegal aliens, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined hundreds of families Saturday evening at a church in San Francisco's Mission District demanding an end to the immigration raids and deportations that separate parents from children across the United States.

But it gets better, and I'm not sure whether it's Pelosi or Kelly Zito, the author of the article:

Pelosi, who has said securing U.S. borders is a top priority, used the forum to call for a comprehensive immigration program that recognizes the broad contributions immigrants have made to the fabric of the country.

Of course immigrants have made great contributions. But remember, ICE doesn't deport legal immigrants, you twit. Then, of course, we find out how terrible it all is, from Illinios Congressman Luis Gutierrez, a Democrat (naturally), who is leading the five-week pro-illegal tour:

"No city in American (sic) has been spared the devastating effects of our broken system," said Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez, a Democrat who is leading the five-week tour. "We cannot wait any longer for fair and just immigration reform."

Nope. No city in America has been spared from an increase in crime, gangs, tremendous increase in the expense of providing services, and everything else that comes from having just anyone come across our borders.

Zito goes on (she really doesn't need Pelosi's help here):

Organizers of Saturday evening's event said raids and family separations -- often parents are taken away from their U.S.-born children -- run counter to a country where early Irish, Italian, Asian and African American families founded some of the country's most important institutions. In addition, they say, such measures have devastating impacts on the young children who are left behind, or
forced to move with their parents.

Ivan Torres, a 9-year-old boy from San Jose, said he lives in fear that his father, who earns a living cleaning offices, will be taken away: "If (my father) is deported, who will pay the bills? Who will take care of me and my two sisters? We need to keep families together."

But those Irish, Italian, Asian and African-American immigrants were legal, and what about British, Scottish, Germans, etc. And instead of deporting just parents, we should deport the children as well, if the Constitution allowed it. What a friggin' mess our government and its leaders have created by not enforcing the same laws they passed.

But what is most interesting are the comments from readers. I expected the usual liberal crap about how we mistreat illegals, but I guess the winds are changing, because of the 56 comments, not one was in favor of granting illegals any kind of benefit, let alone amnesty.

I guess there is hope for us after all. As soon as we get rid of Pelosi and Reid, and all the other bleeding-heart liberals who are ruining this country.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Was the New Deal a Success?

Unemployment was 3.14 percent in 1929. In 1939, it still stood at more than 17 percent. On that basis, you could conclude that the New Deal was not successful. But as all things in life, it's not that simple.

It has been pointed out by some that unemployment during that decade (around 1936) actually dipped below 15 percent. This is because the "official" statistics -- based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor -- did not count work-relief programs. From what I've seen, if the commentator is a conservative, the "official" statistics will be used. Liberal commentators tend to use the figures which include the work-relief, or the lower unemployment percentage.

Whether unemployment is 18 percent or 15 percent is a moot point. In either case, a lot of the labor force was unemployed. At the peak of the depression, the unemployment rate was around 25 percent, and then FDR pushed through his New Deal programs.

So one could conclude that the New Deal helped. Somewhat. But unemployment was still high.

Currently, unemployment is at 8.1 percent. So that doesn't sound too bad. Yet, if you take the number of unemployed who are no longer in the job market because they have not been able to find suitable work, the number is higher.

So the facts are murky, because the government doesn't count the unemployed as it did 80 years ago, so it's difficult to make a rational decision about what is going on. Kind of like comparing apples to oranges. But when you take these into consideration, the New Deal was only able to lower an astronomical unemployment rate from about 25 percent to a range of 15 percent to 18 percent.

To me, the only choice left is whether you want government to provide jobs, or you want the private sector to provide jobs.

We're now at a point where the government will be providing most the new employment, instead of the private sector. Big government is not going to get us back to the boom days of the 1920s, 1960s, 1980s, etc. During these periods, government got out of the way, lowered tax rates, and helped the private sector create jobs.

This is what I'd prefer. What about you?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Destruction of Small Business

This is how America works. I received it in an e-mail (not my current employer) that is being sent around. But I work for a small business, owned by two brothers, who are in the same position.

To All My Valued Employees,

There have been some rumblings around the office about the future of this company, and more specifically, your job. As you know, the economy has changed for the worse and presents many challenges. However, the good news is this: The economy doesn't pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is the changing political landscape in this country.

However, let me tell you some little tidbits of fact which might help you decide what is in your best interests. First, while it is easy to spew rhetoric that casts employers against employees, you have to understand that for every business owner there is a Back Story. This back story is often neglected and overshadowed by what you see and hear. Sure, you see me park my Mercedes outside. You've seen my home at last year's Christmas party. I'm sure; all these flashy icons of luxury conjure up some idealized thoughts about my life.

However, what you don't see is the BACK STORY : I started this company 28 years ago. At that time, I lived in a 300 square foot studio apartment for 3 years. My entire living apartment was converted into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you. My diet consisted of Ramen Pride noodles because every dollar I spent went back into this company. I drove a rusty Toyota Corolla with a defective transmission. I didn't have time to date.

Often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying. In fact, I was married to my business -- hard work, discipline, and sacrifice. Meanwhile, my friends got jobs. They worked 40 hours a week and made a modest $50K a year and spent every dime they earned. They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes. Instead of hitting the Nordstrom's for the latest hot fashion item, I was trolling through the discount store extracting any clothing item that didn't look like it was birthed in the 70's.

My friends refinanced their mortgages and lived a life of luxury. I, however, did not. I put my time, my money, and my life into a business with a vision that eventually, some day, I too, will be able to afford these luxuries my friends supposedly had. So, while you physically arrive at the office at 9am, mentally check in at about noon, and then leave at 5pm, I don't. There is no "off" button for me. When you leave the office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself. I unfortunately do not have the freedom. I eat, and breathe this company every minute of the day. There is no rest. There is no weekend. There is no happy hour. Every day this business is attached to my hip like a 1 year old special-needs child. You, of course, only see the fruits of that garden -- the nice house, the Mercedes, the vacations... you never realize the Back Story and the sacrifices I've made.

Now, the economy is falling apart and I, the guy that made all the right decisions and saved his money, have to bail-out all the people who didn't. The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed decades of my life for. Yes, business ownership has its benefits but the price I've paid is steep and not without wounds.

Unfortunately, the cost of running this business, and employing you, is starting to eclipse the threshold of marginal benefit and let me tell you why: I am being taxed to death and the government thinks I don't pay enough. I have state taxes. Federal taxes. Property taxes. Sales and use taxes. Payroll taxes. Workers compensation taxes. Unemployment taxes. Taxes on taxes. I have to hire a tax man to manage all these taxes and then guess what? I have to pay taxes for employing him. Government mandates and regulations and all the accounting that goes with it, now occupy most of my time.

On Oct 15th, I wrote a check to the US Treasury for $288,000 for quarterly taxes. You know what my "stimulus" check was? Zero. Nada. Zilch. The question I have is this: Who is stimulating the economy? Me, the guy who has provided 23 people good paying jobs and serves over 2,200,000 people per year with a flourishing business? Or, the single mother sitting at home pregnant with her fourth child waiting for her next welfare check? Obviously, government feels the latter is the economic stimulus of this country.

The fact is, if I deducted (Read: Stole) 50% of your paycheck you'd quit and you wouldn't work here. I mean, why should you? That's nuts. Who wants to get rewarded only 50% of their hard work? Well, I agree which is why your job is in jeopardy.

Here is what many of you don't understand ... to stimulate the economy you need to stimulate what runs the economy. Had suddenly government mandated to me that I didn't need to pay taxes, guess what?

Instead of depositing that $288,000 into the Washington black-hole, I would have spent it, hired more employees, and generated substantial economic growth. My employees would have enjoyed the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But you can forget it now. When you have a comatose man on the verge of death, you don't defibrillate and shock his thumb thinking that will bring him back to life, do you? Or, do you defibrillate his heart? Business is at the heart of America and always has been. To restart it, you must stimulate it, not kill it. Suddenly, the power brokers in Washington believe the poor of America are the essential drivers of the American economic engine. Nothing could be further from the truth and this is the type of change you can keep.

So where am I going with all this? It's quite simple. If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, my reaction will be swift and simple. I fire you. I fire your co-workers. You can then plead with the government to pay for your mortgage, your SUV, and your child's future. Frankly, it isn't my problem anymore.

Then, I will close this company down, move to another country, and retire. You see, I'm done. I'm done with a country that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, will be my citizenship. So, if you lose your job, it won't be at the hands of the economy; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country, steamrolled the constitution, and will have changed its landscape forever. If that happens, you can find me sitting on a beach, retired, and with no employees to worry about....

Signed, THE BOSS

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Senate Favors Illegals Over Veterans

I still don't have the down-and-dirty on this, but I received an e-mail today which encouraged me to sign a petition directed at the U.S Senate.

Seems the Senate wanted to cut Social Security benefits for disabled veterans, while allowing illegal aliens access to our social security system. I guess they changed their minds on our veterans, but it still remains to be seen how our new Democrat government will treat both veterans and illegals, and I am -- as a veteran -- very concerned.

Democrats seem to pander to groups who will vote for them. It's obvious in this context who could win here.

I spent more than 21 years in the military, and my annual pension of about $25,000 is just fine, but I am also expecting to collect from my Social Security when I'm eligible. I paid into the system while in the military and I'm still paying into the system in my civilian employment. But I'm worried that our government will try to save money by offsetting my social security because of my pension.

I've written my Senator (John Cornyn, R-TX) on this, but I already now as a Republican he is on my side. The others in Congress? I'm not so sure.