Sunday, January 25, 2015

Dependency vs. Entitlement

This generation of youth has been described by many as entitled.  Growing up with participation trophies, given government subsidies to pay for college and constantly inundated with political correct talk about the importance of protecting everyone's feelings has softened this generation of young minds and contributed to what has been called their "entitlement" attitude.  But, something that has recently been brought to our attention that is potentially more serious than an entitlement culture, is one of "dependency".  The difference is that entitlement may be a bad case of the flu, but dependency may be an incurable cancer. 

The difference here is that an entitled attitude can be fixed with some real world experience and tough love, but dependency stems from an inability, not necessarily unwillingness, of an individual to be independent of the government.  With dependency, the problem is a deep seated suffering of those who have grown dependent on the government for a living.

If dependency is truly the issue, then how can a generation who does not know liberty, having never experienced its gifts, strive to obtain it?  Let the discussion begin.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Class vs. Class

President Barak Obama’s State of the Union address (Tuesday, January 20th) praised a rising economy and the ability of the union to surmount the shadow of crisis.  But are we truly rising out of the darkness or driving further in to it?  Among the many economical topics discussed during the President’s hour-long speech, one of the boldest statements was to advocate the need to assist middle class economics by taking more from the wealthy to “give” to the middle-class.  In his speech, Obama stated “That’s what middle-class economics is: the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, everyone plays by the same set of rules. We don’t just want everyone to share in America’s success; we want everyone to contribute to our success” and further proclaimed it is the “fair and the right thing to do!”  But we must implore, Mr. President, how is increasing taxes for the upper-class to re-distribute to the middle-class constitutional?  If we examine the first paragraph of Article 1, Section 8 of the constitution: The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.  The keywords to consider is that all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.  "Uniform", by definition, means to remain the same in all cases and at all times.  So how then is increasing taxes strictly for the upper-class for the financial benefaction of the middle-class maintaining uniformity?  Clearly there is no consistency with the terms of Constitution.  What's worse is that the government plays on the emotional strings of the middle-class to justify the actions of essentially taking from the wealthy to give to those with less.  But the bottom line is that, in doing this, there is clear breech of said article.

As we write in the book Vigilance: The Price of Liberty:

“As has been said, government is the lesser of two evils. We need government to control our vices that would harm our fellow man but government is run by man, and without vigilance, it can overrun us and our Liberty. Government creates classes that pit one against the other. These distinctions are used as a wedge to pry money from one class to give to another with the government comfortably in the middle. The tool of compassion has been at the forefront of twenty-first century political thought. However, to take from one to redistribute to another is by its definition tyranny.”

Without vigilance we are enabling the government to control the welfare of social classes – to dictate who gets what, how much of your earnings you can keep, what you can get, and how you can live.  The American dream of your freedom to make and choose your tomorrow will be replaced by the government’s determination of the standard of living you will have.  This is Obama’s War on the American dream.  Unless we are Vigilant today, American’s liberty to choose what they deem to be the “American dream” will be a distant memory of what could have been.
#bevigilant #stayvigilant

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Don't Promis Me College, Promise Me Freedom

In the article, Obama's free community college plan, published on on January 9, 2015, Judah Bellin discusses the President’s idea to provide two years of free community college to students.  Never mind the issues in the article that include, but are not limited to, the financial burden this puts on taxpayers or the meager qualification to participate in this proposed program; this should be a non-issue as the federal government has NO POWER to do such.  Neither the President, nor Congress has been allotted the constitutional power to implement such a program.  If this is deemed a worthy use of taxpayer money it should be done so by the people at the state and local level where the democratic power of the people reigns.

In our book, Vigilance: The Price of Liberty, we discuss the various failed educational programs implemented by the federal government.  The blatant disregard for study and project outcomes by the government is appalling as they are wasting taxpayer money.  Why not follow the framework put forth by our governing document, the Constitution, and allow for the localities to decide where their money will be spent and thus, get the biggest bang for their buck.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Political Compromise or Financial Demise?

William A. Galston in his opinion article in the Wall Street Journal, “Common Ground for the New Congress”, January 7, 2015, takes the familiar Democratic path, once the Democrats are removed from power, to remind Republicans that they need to be inclusive of and compromising with Democratic positions.  It seems that there was no effort on the left to seek compromise when the tables were turned.  In fact, if the Republicans disagreed with Democrats they were either branded racists or obstructionists.

Galston proposes a compromise solution for congressional Democrats and Republicans where corporate taxes are lowered to encourage corporations to repatriate the $2 trillion of off-shore capital in return for spending part of the money on government infrastructure projects with the balance of the tax windfall spent on other areas.  Great, a compromise that requires government to take more taxes to spend with no regard to the massive waste already in government.  As we observe in Vigilance from findings of the Congressional Budget Office:

[p.115]… “the 2011 federal budget was about $3.6 trillion, but revenue from all taxes the government collects was about $2.3 trillion. Thus, the simple arithmetic yields a $1.3 trillion deficit that the government covers through borrowing. Like a credit card, the federal government is only paying the interest on the debt and not reducing the principal balance.”

Here is a better suggestion, lower taxes – on all – then tackle the half trillion dollars in government waste and fraud from which part of that money can be spent on infrastructure.  This combination does not require confiscating more money from taxpayers (corporate or individual) and will accelerate GDP growth from corporate investments and consumer spending.

As we write in Vigilance: The Price of Liberty, “…politicians enabled with the power to spend, tax, and borrow without limit threaten the republic. Excessive spending requires excessive taxes, but taxes are not politically popular. As such, politicians tax to a certain point, then borrow the balance.
But this shell-game must come to an end when debt accumulates to a point that no amount of taxation will be able to repay or finance the debt. By 2013, the nation has reached such a point, yet continues to accumulate more debt as it increases spending. America is now like the Titanic that has struck the iceberg. We have only a limited time to repair the damage or our empire will sink by the next generation.”

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Government Intervention Is Not the Solution

The article in the Wall Street Journal, Opinion section on January 9, 2015, “Still Room for Growth” highlights the improvements in the job market but concludes “All of which is to say that for all the economic momentum of the last nine months, there is still a long way to go to get back to the growth of the mid-2000s, much less of the previous two decades. Every policy in Congress and the states should still be measured by how much it adds to growth so more Americans can get a real pay raise.”  The conclusion that there is a long way to go is correct but the implication that government policies are the answer belies the problem that these policies are most often the cause.

The reduction in the unemployment rate to 5.8% uses the government’s U-3 value.  This shows unemployment in a more favorable light as it discounts people who no longer receive unemployment pay.  In other words, if you do not have a job and are not getting unemployment pay then you simply are not counted as part of the workforce.  As such, a smaller workforce translates to a lower unemployment rate. Alternatively, using the government’s U-6 value for unemployment that counts unemployed as unemployed reveals the unemployment rate about 11%.

This higher number is the “real” unemployment rate because, unlike the past, when the U-3 unemployment dropped workforce participation (the percent of the available workforce working) increased, but now when the unemployment U-3 rate drops the workforce participation essential remains unchanged.  Currently the workforce participation rate is the lowest since 1978. This means that the economy is barely creating enough jobs to cover the people entering the workforce let alone to pare down the backlog of folk unemployed.

With that said, the culprit is the government and its policies.  The collective assault of more taxes, regulations and welfare has created a perfect storm of lower business investment and individual dependency.  Currently almost half the population receives some form of government support.  Large corporations have some $2 trillion of cash off-shore because to repatriation would trigger a 35% tax.  As such, a solution would be a return to lower tax rates and free markets.  This environment existed in the 1980s and the GDP growth then was twice as it has been since 2009 when government intervention and welfare went on steroids.  True prosperity lies in the hands of people with the freedom to choose their futures from the dignity of earning a living and retaining the fruits of their labors.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Race for Political Victory – Liberty or Subjugation?

Whether you are of Democratic or Republican Party affiliation, the one objective both parties habitually seek to gain is the ultimate political prize: control of the House, Senate and Presidential branches of government.  It is the “Super Bowl” of political victory.  On January 6, 2015 the authority of the House of Representatives and Senate was formally clenched by the Republican Party.  Is this the forthcoming of consolidation of power within government? As American’s, whether Republican or Democrat, we must realize the imbalance of power that this creates and the inherit risk this poses to the Liberty of the people of this great country.

The Constitution was specifically designed with the House, Senate, President and Judiciary to be equal and with separate powers with the express purpose to prevent power from consolidating in one man or one branch.  Essentially a government managed by a singular political group is literally the forthcoming of a country operating in a totalitarian fashion.  A government that “needs” to be controlled by a singular political group enables the will of the party to supplant the will of the nation.  For example, the Affordable Care Act was just such legislation and its passage trampled on our liberty to make our own healthcare decisions.  

As we write in Vigilance: The Price of Liberty, “The great body of us instinctively knows that Liberty is about the freedom of choice, but what we do not realize is how our Liberty is eroded by the uncontrolled growth of government.  We do not understand that our prosperity and Liberty are intertwined; we do not comprehend that we cannot control our future unless we have Liberty.”  Power vested in a single party is a threat to liberty if one party retains that power for too long.
 #bevigilant #stayvigilant

Monday, January 5, 2015

The "Big Politics" Game

As 2015 begins, so do the 2016 presidential candidate announcements.  It has been said on various media outlets, another Bush Vs. Clinton run for the White House – only this time it’s a revamped run that would include a new Bush and Clinton on the ballot.  Is this the best America has to offer for a leader for the United States? Or are there smaller time candidates that just do not have the funds and backing to compete in the “Big Politics” arena? Has “Big Politics” become a restriction from entrance for suitable political leaders that just do not have the funds?

Just as politicians clamor about the “big business” that hurts the small business cause and have too much influence over the proceedings of our country via politics and the economy, those very mouth pieces ignore the same issue in the political game.  Campaigns and public office have been made into businesses themselves with investors of which these politicians are beholden to for financial support and backing.  Is this not an issue worth recognizing, let alone addressing as a problem that may inhibit potential candidates from entering public office? Let this be a point of discussion in your next conversation about potential 2016 presidential candidates and remember to stay vigilant.