Ideas To Make America A Better, Stronger And Safer Place
PROTECTION FROM "THE 51%"
You've heard about the 1% and the 99%. But have you ever considered
the dangerous power of the 51%?
This is an email I sent my friend in response to his critcism of the ideas expressed on this website. I was trying to warn him that if American law can be controlled by a simple majority vote, without the added protection of the U.S. Constitutional, then we are all doomed.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
You scoff at the concept that “the 51%” can take over America. The only thing stopping any class from controlling others is the Constitution. We are a Republic, not a Democracy. A Republic is a Constitutional Democracy which limits the power to vote. The majority cannot vote to stop you from exercising freedom of speech, freedom of the press or freedom of religion. Theoretically, the U.S. Government cannot take away your property to give to others. However, as the Constitution has been eroded by the 16th Amendment, installing the Federal Income Tax in 1913, which was supposed to be limited to 1%, so has our right to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness...and ownership of personal property. Who ever dreamed the national income tax could be as high as 91%. Yes, it was once 91%! It doesn’t matter if the rich found loopholes. The idea of being able to legally confiscate 91% of the income of an American citizen without due process and criminal activity is something the Founding Fathers never imagined possible. But King George did! We are just two steps away from the Wealth Tax. First, re-instate the Death Tax so you can pay taxes a second time on money you earned and already paid taxes on. Second, expand it to taxing (confiscating) the existing wealth of “the 1%.” Then the 2%. Then the 49%!
If we are all equal, we should all have the same amount of money. Thomas Edison and Joe Blow should both have the same wealth. It's only fair, right?
I see you corrected my mis-statement that the poor and middle class do not have the right to vote. I meant illegal immigrants do not have the right to vote (yet). But since you bring it up, the poorest Americans are the least likely to vote. (Less than 50% vote.) Why is that? Answer: Because Al Sharpton and Elizabeth Warren have not yet convinced them that they can rule America. Take my word for it. That day is coming. Even if they have to spend a couple of hours getting a photo ID. Which will probably be eliminated.
I see you did not comment on my statement that the poor and the middle class do nothing wrong. All of their financial and social problems are caused by the rich and the police. To this day, millions of people believe that Michael Brown was assassinated by a police officer while holding his hands up and surrendering. And why didn’t Trevon Martin run away when he had the chance? These were two innocent young men, trying their best to become model citizens, who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Most likely, Trevon Martin would have become President someday. And Michael Brown would have opened a chain of convenience stores.
I agree. Black people, Mexicans and Legal Immigrants can be as great and as successful to all Americans. But some of the 51% can be just as bad as some of the 1%. That’s something they can't vote to be un-true.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
FUNDING D.H.S. / HOMELAND SECURITY
BUT NOT A (POSSIBLY) ILLEGAL EXECUTIVE ORDER
TO HELP 5 MILLION ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS
The Department of Homeland Security Federal Building in Omaha, Neb. (Photo by Tom Kesser)
February 27, 2015
Once again, although they are right the Republicans are blowing a huge opportunity to prove to America that they (a) support the Constitution, but (b) don’t hate Latinos.
First, the Republicans are absolutely right that they should finance Homeland Security, which is essential to America’s security, and they are also right to oppose President Obama’s executive order giving amnesty to 5 million currently illegal aliens, mostly Mexicans. At the present time, Obama’s order is in dispute in the courts. It may eventually be upheld, and it may eventually be ruled Constitutional by the Supreme Court. But it may not be Constitutional. In which case Republicans have an obligation to suspend it by not financing it. There is no doubt that if Republicans added a provision to the DHS financing bill that Obama considered Unconstitutional (such as reversing the Birthright Citizenship procedure, which I believe is not being correctly interpreted and may require a new Constitutional Amendment to clarify the 14th Amendment, which was unquestionably intended only to help African Americans), Obama would absolutely refuse to sign the bill regardless of the consequences to national security, just as he is doing now. Or, if Obama added a provision to the bill such as no photo ID will ever be required to vote, the Republicans would refuse to sign the bill.
Despite the strong argument in favor of the President signing the current bill and later trying to prove that his executive order is legal, the Republicans are not explaining this to the public.
The Republicans should be spending millions of dollars on a radio and TV Public Service Announcement campaign giving the public all of the above facts…and explaining that it is Barack Obama who is holding up Homeland Security funding…Barack Obama who is willing to risk the lives of 300 million Americans while trying to help 5 million illegal aliens. In fact, it would cost very little for the Republicans to create a Facebook page, YouTube videos and a Twitter account to spread the word - in a very short message - just like Isis uses Social Media.
The basic PSA message should be:
“Why is President Barack Obama willing to risk the lives of 300 million Americans to protect his executive immigration order to help 5 million illegal aliens? Yes, we are a nation of immigrants. And yes, we cannot deport 12 million illegal aliens, including millions of wonderful, talented and patriotic children the President calls Dreamers, as well as their families. But while the President’s executive order is being resolved in court, make no mistake. The President is trying to make it look like the Republicans don’t care about Homeland Security and children and families who want to live in America. We do care. But the ball is in his court. If he doesn’t sign this bill, he is risking the life of you and your family, and all of us in this country. The President must first sign this bill. Then, after we are all safer, he can try to prove that his executive order is legal. It may be legal. We don’t think so, but that will be decided in court, possibly the Supreme Court. In the meanwhile, Republicans have the legal right, and the legal obligation, to fund Homeland Security without funding an executive order that may turn out to be illegal. If anything goes wrong with Homeland Security, it is Barack Obama who must be blamed, not the Republican Party. We love legal immigrants. Over 1 million legal immigrants come to America every year. And we love wonderful, talented and patriotic kids and families from other countries, including Mexico. But we love the United States and its laws even more, especially the U.S. Constitution. And our primary responsibility is to the safety and security of America, not illegal aliens who will eventually be treated fairly and respectfully under the law.”
Okay, so that’s the first mistake the Republicans are making. Not issuing a simple, easy to understand message and promoting the hell out of it on TV, radio and the internet. Instead, they engage in hundreds of separate discussions which are confusing and which will all be forgotten.
Second, the Republicans could chose a different tactic. Modify the president’s executive order. Such as, funding $100 Billion to improve border security with a specific plan to build a 1,000 mile border that is really secure. Or, re-write the entire executive order to legalize the Dreamers and their families under specific terms and conditions that the Republicans agree to and the President and the Democrats should accept. If, after all this time, the Republicans still do not have an Immigration Plan and a compromise that both parties can agree to, then it’s time for them to throw in the towel and let the President handle it. Hey, I like the Republicans. But if they don’t have one real Immigration Plan (not 100 different ideas) then they are just a bunch of incompetents, and they should step aside and let the President try to fix the problem.
However, right now, they need to make a short, simple statement like the one above, explaining their position to the public and putting full responsibility on the President to fund the Department of Homeland Security, with or without his immigration executive order which is still in legal dispute.
Third, the Republicans should take the advice of Mark Levin and start to pass Constitutional Amendments through 2/3 of the State Legislatures as provided by the Constitution. Most people don’t even know that the Constitution allows the States to over-ride Congress and the President through a Constitutional Convention. And more than 2/3 of the state legislatures are Republican.
Hey, listen up Republicans. If you can’t do your job, don’t expect to win the 2016 Presidential Election! So let’s start with the PSA announcement. If you can’t convince 51% of the population that you are right, game over.
and All Conservative and Liberal Journalists And Politicians:
Let's start talking about LEGAL IMMIGRANTS (1 million people a year!)
It's been a while since I commented on all of the crazy stuff happening in the world, so here are some of my latest thoughts.
LEGAL AND ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION
FIRST, with respect to the unresolved issue of immigration, and the estimated 60,000 children from Central and South America currently in limbo along the Southwest border of the United States, as well as the estimated 10 or 20 million "illegal immigrants" or "undocumented workers" or whatever politically correct term you choose, here's what I think.
I think we should all start talking about the 1,000,000 LEGAL IMMIGRANTS who have entered the United States every year for the past 20 years --- throughout the administrations of Bill Clinton, George Bush and Barack Obama! How come no one - including the voraciously opinionated Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin and all of the know-it-alls on CNN and MSNBC like Wolf Blitzer, Chris Matthews, Al Sharpton, Rachel Maddow, etc. spends more than a few minutes (if that) mentioning America's legal immigants? Hmmm?
Republicans and Conservatives have been branded as uncaring, cruel, mean anti-Hispanic people who would love to see all "foreigners" turned away at the border and deported back to their home country presumably so we don't have to take care of them at public expense. But also so we don't have to worry about some of these "invaders" being drug dealers, murderers, terrorists or other types of dangerous criminals. While there may be some truth to this irrational fear, the fact is that America has always been the most welcoming and generous nation on earth in terms of allowing citizens of other countries to have the chance to become legal American citizens and to join the ranks of the 330 million people who live in the United States with the most freedom and opportunity.
Why then don't BILL O'REILLY and all the rest of these commentators (and politicians) tell the American public exactly what's been happening with legal immigrants? I've never heard a Republican, Democatic, Conservative or Liberal journalist, Senator, Congressman, Governor, Mayor, Military General, Adminstration Spokesperson or Law Enforcement Officer say, "Hey, let's stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States. And while we're at it, let's also stop the flow of legal immigrants, too!" Well, actually, I think a couple of Conservatives (maybe Anne Coulter, Michelle Bachmann or Ted Cruz?) said if were going to allow a million illegal immigrants to enter the U.S. every year, maybe we should halt or slow down the number of legal immigrants. The truth is that there are only so many people we can accommodate at a time. Be honest. It would be nice to rescue all of the sick, poor kids on earth. But could we actually help a billion kids in 2014? I don't think so.
So let's start with Bill O'Reilly, who had the guts a few months ago to stick his neck out and tell the public that fatherless, broken families among the poor and among minorities are a significant reason why America's "economically challenged" population is not getting a good education and better jobs, and why they are more likely to get involved with drugs, gangs and crime than if they had a strong father figure (and a strong mother) guiding them the way middle and upper class families do.
Come on, Bill! Let's start telling people exactly what happens in the process of children and adults from other countries being allowed to enter the country with a Green Card which will hopefully lead to their becoming American Citizens within 5 years or so. I tried to find this information on Google, but like every other complicated political or sociological issue, the "answer" can only be found by reading and analyzing hundreds and hundreds of websites, which no one has the time to do. What I did learn, if this is accurate, is that about 50% of the 1,000,000 annual legal immigrants (500,000) who come to the U.S. are Mexican, Central and South American, with another 25% (250,000) being Asian. That alone is something I've never heard on TV or radio (I mean, I'm sure someone said it, I just never heard it because it's not repeated like Nancy Pelosi's "We have to pass Obamacare to know what it is.") But this is very important - because, it shows that America is not "anti-Immigrant" - and it would give Republicans and Conservatives, who I generally support, the chance to come out and say that they are really happy we are allowing fresh blood to enter the country instead of being viewed as heartless anti-Hispanic lunatics who would like to pile dozens of underfed, sick kids onto a bus and drive them as far south as possible. I don't think Republicans feel this way at all, but that is how they are portrayed. (Of course, Democrats don't feel this way either but they love it that Republicans have that reputation.
So listen up, Bill. Instead of just casually mentioning that "we like legal immigrants," how about we start focusing on the details of the Legal Immigration process? Where do Mexicans go who want to emigrate to the U.S.? What forms do they have to fill out? Are the forms easy or hard? Are they in English or Spanish? Please, Bill, get those FoxNews cameras down to Mexico and show us people who are participating in the legal immigration process! Interview them (with interpreters if necessary) instead of just sending that goofy Jesse Waters around trying to prove that Americans are imbeciles because they don't know the name of the second President of The United States, or what color eyes Vladmir Putin has or whatever. Americans need to know everything about LEGAL IMMIGRATION! Instead, we are constantly deluged with the problem of how to deal with illegal immigration. Oh, for Pete's sake, how difficult can it be to build a wall or otherwise stop people from walking, running, swimming, tunneling or climbing across the U.S. border in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California. I'm sure it can be done. None of the past five Presidents wanted to do it. That's all. Sure, it will cost a ton of money but so what? If we can't take care of millions of additional people, over and above the 1,000,000 new people we WANT to come here every year, it has to be cheaper to protect the border.
SO LET'S HEAR ABOUT THE LEGAL IMMIGRATION OF 20 MILLION NEW AMERICANS SINCE 1994!!! Attention Bill O'Reilly, and all the rest of you. Tell us what we need to know, not a bunch of bullshit we've heard a thousand times before!
And what are all these legal immigrants doing after we allow them a path to citizenship? After 10 years, how many have actually gone to college or become doctors? Or are they all picking fruit, flipping burgers and cleaning toilets? I'd really like to know!
The Republicans say most new citizens will vote Democratic, not to mention all of the children of both legal and illegal immigrants who are born in the U.S. (a crazy policy, in my opinion.) This is probably true, as long as they believe Republicans hate them! And if Republicans don't start talking about how much they love all of the new LEGAL IMMIGRANTS, why wouldn't they believe the Republicans hate them. omg, it's so simple and logical. Let's just do it!
ISRAEL, PALESTINE AND HAMAS
This is a very controversial subject. As I write these words to express my opinion, some 1,500 people have died in the latest Israel-Palestine conflict. They say 80% of the Palestinians who died were civilians including many women and children. This is very sad, and I wish the Israel-Palestine war would come to an end and peace would prevail. The first thing that comes to mind when I make that statement is: Why didn't Yasser Arafat accept Bill Clinton's Peace Agreement in 1995? From what I read, Arafat actually accepted Clinton's deal and then changed his mind. Apparently, there was something about the deal that Arafat could not accept. Or, perhaps, the only thing "wrong" with the deal is that it would end a war that Arafat wanted to end with the destruction of Israel. Hey, if I were offered a chance to have my own country, why wouldn't I accept it and later try to make the deal better? It doesn't make any sense to turn down a deal offering you what you really want just because it isn't perfect. Now, 19 years later, both sides have paid a steep price for the lack of a 2-state solution agreement.
The next question is: Will Hamas, or whoever leads the Palestinian people, ever make the following public statement: "We do not like Israel. We never did. However, as long as they leave us alone, we will leave them alone. We no longer want to destroy Israel. We don't care what they do as long as we can live in peace. They have different beliefs than we do, but so what? The Palestinian People can take care of themselves without Israel, and vice versa."
Israel makes this statement all the time. Why can't the Palestinians? Actually, I don't recall Israel ever saying they hate the Palestian people. Except when they vote for a terrorist group like Hamas that plans to attack Israel with rockets and tunnels.
For a while I thought the issue was complicated. But it's actually very simple. If the leaders of the Palestinian people ever hope to develop Palestine (Gaza and the West Bank) into a thriving, economically sound, prosperous nation, they cannot continue to hate Israel and believe that eventually they will destroy Israel. As long as they believe this is the solution, it is not a 2-state solution. It's a 1-state solution where Israel is gone and there is only Palestine. If the Palestinians believe this makes sense, then war will continue until one side or the other is destroyed. Or, war will simply continue. After all, the history of human civilization is the history of two things: Progress, and War.
Do I think that Israel is perfect? No, I do not. But Israel is the only Democracy in the Middle East. It's the only nation that gives women equal rights. And they've done an amazing, unbelievable job of developing a totally modern, irrigated and independent country in the middle of the desert. That's pretty good.
In the current conflict, my only real criticism of Israel is that they are not revealing to the world exactly why they are bombing civilian targets like apartment houses, schools and hospitals. Israel repeatedly says that Hamas has embedded civilian areas with military bases and armed soldiers, and that they have no choice but to bomb those bases. The U.S. and the U.N. agree that Hamas does not have a right to do this and that Israel has a right to defend itself. But where are the videos and technological proof that that Hamas is firing rockets from civilian areas? It is not enough for Israel to make the claim. They need to prove it beyond any doubt if they want the world to accept them as being humanitarian. Personally, I believe Israel. But I still want to see the proof. A CNN reporter recently said he did not see any evidence that Hamas had embedded military equipment and soldiers in civilian locations. It should not be hard to prove. Why doesn't Israel do it? But if it's true, this is no different than if your next door neighbor was firing a bazooka at your house from his living room window. Even if he had 50 women and children in the house, you would still have to defend yourself. And what happened in World War II when Germany, England and the United States bombed cities to destroy military targets? Didn't they kill thousands of citizens in the process? War sucks, but I've never heard anyone talk about killing civilians as "collateral damage" except in Israel, Iraq and Afghanistan.
So the bottom line is: Will the Israel-Palestinian conflict ever be resolved? This is a horrible thing to say, but I'm not sure that it will. And it certainly won't until the Palestinian people agree that having their own country is the most important thing. And that they are willing to disarm. Yes, I know, if the Palestinians disarm and Israel doesn't, Israel could destroy Palestine. But if that's what Israel wanted to do they could have done it a long time ago. Israel has always been infinitely more powerful than Palestine. It's clear that Israel would like to co-exist with Palestine, either as a divided country or as two separate countries.
As to the question of history, and who has a right to the land, that's pretty simple too. Israel was a nation for more than 1,000 years before the Islamic people took over the area that is now known as Israel or Israel-Palestine. But so what? Why does it matter who was there first, or if the Palestinian people ever lived in "a country named Palestine" until the 20th century? (Actually, the Romans re-named the area "Palestina" around 200 AD to make the Jews feel subservient because Palestina was named after the Philistines. But again, so what?)
I can't believe that Secretary Of State, John Kerry, spent 6 or 9 months in the Middle East trying to broker a new Peace Agreement, and now we have this new mess. Thanks, John. Great job!
But seriously, there should be four people on the Israel-Palestine Peace Committee, one from Israel, one from Palestine, one from the United States and one from the United Nations. And they should lock these people in a room and not let them out until they work out a permanent peace agreement between the two groups. And if they can't make a deal within 2 years all four people should be put to death. I think they would probably make a deal. What do you think?
POVERTY AND INEQUALITY
Well, as long as I'm solving all of the world's problems (yeah, right) I might as well tell you what I think about poverty and inequality in the United States. Who's to blame? And how do we fix it?
Okay, for starters, I don't think things are so bad in the United States. Yes, I live in a nice upper middle class neighborhood so to some extent I am immune from the horrible lives that poor people have to live. But I drive, bike and walk through poor neighborhoods all the time. And I watch TV and read the news. I know there are are many people who can't find jobs, whose landlords are insensitive idiots and whose families are suffering.
But...and this is probably going to make me sound like an insensitive idiot but I don't care...there are many things poor people can do to improve their lives and their futures which do not depend upon the government or the generosity of rich people, many of whom do care about poor people and do try to help them.
Like what? What can poor people really do to change their lives if people like Mitt Romney won't give them all his money? (Which would not change anything permanently.)
Okay, ready? Number one, they can stop smoking! If someone smokes just one pack a day, did you know that it costs $2,920 a year to support this habit? (At $8 a pack.) Which means, someone who smokes will spend $29,200 in 10 years on a habit that will eventually harm their health while bankrupting them at the same time. In 30 years, that's $87,600! Holy shit. Almost $100,000 (double if you smoke 2 packs a day) to inhale poisonous fumes for 3 decades? Brilliant. Not that upper middle class and rich people don't do exactly the same thing. They do! Which makes them just as stupid, except that they can afford it.
Now, multiply that $100,000 by 1 million people and how much money is being wasted on smoking that could be put to use building apartment houses, shopping malls and other types of businesses (like factories) that could potentially be owned by poor people who would start getting wealthier? The answer is: $100 Billion! That's right! And if there are 10 million people smoking a pack a day, they're spending and wasting $1 TRILLION every 30 years!!!
Oh...my...god! And that's just the beginning! Do the math. How much money is being wasted on lottery tickets? Did you know that 92% of all the money taken in by lottery tickets gets spent on "administrative costs" and prizes? That's right. Only 8% goes to help schools. And since hardly anyone wins enough money to change their life, imagine how much lottery money could be used to help poor people. Then, add in the cost of liquor and drugs, credit card interest (for buying necessities but also lots of stuff that people don't need like fancy clothes and shoes to make yourself feel better.) Not to mention "extra children" who may be beautiful and wonderful but who are a huge financial strain on poor people and on the country until such time that everyone has enough money to take care of their kids properly? And why can't people wait until they're at least 25 to 30 years old to have kids? We'd all have a lot more money by waiting. With all of the demands for government financed birth control, why doesn't the government, and the media, and the social commentators, ask people to actually use the damn birth control? And not just poor people and minorities? We should all wait!
So why don't we see Al Sharpton, and Warren Buffet, and Bill O'Reilly and the self-proclaimed math and budget genius Paul Ryan explaining to the American public explaining this to the American public? And why isn't Barack Obama, and Al Sharpton, and community leaders all around the country, telling people to get together and buy out the supermarket chains? And all of the other businesses that are getting rich off of them?
Poor people have been led to believe that they are being cheated by rich people, who are stealing their money, paying them peanuts and otherwise taking advantage of them.
If this is true, where are the leaders calling for a new economic order in which the poor people become the new rich people (or at least rich-er) by doing business with themselves instead of letting the rich people control them? When it comes to protests, all I ever hear from those who claim they want to help the poor is: Protest against inequality. Higher minimum wages. Better working conditions. Stronger unions. More jobs.
How come America's poor people, and those who support them and believe in them, are never out in the street protesting: "Stop Smoking! Create $1 Trillion For Economic Development." "Stop Buying Lottery Tickets!" "Stop Drinking And Using Drugs!" "Build Your Own Walmarts." "Don't Buy Stuff From Big Corporations. Form Conglomerates." "Start Your Own Bank!"
And to make this proposal even more controversial, how about I would be in favor of taxing rich people exactly the same amount that poor people save by initiating these cost-cutting measures. That's right. If a group of poor people could get organized and save a TRILLION DOLLARS by not smoking, etc., let's tax rich people the same amount and DOUBLE the amount of money available to build a new economy for the poor. I'd call this new group "The New American Entrepreneurs." And I would gladly support them with matching funds.
It's time for poor people to stop believing that everything wrong with their lives is the fault of rich people. No doubt some of it is the fault of rich people. But a lot of it is personal responsibility. Hey, you can't stop smoking? Bullshit.
DAVE RAMSEY FOR PRESIDENT?
Click on Image to hear Dave Ramsey
December 27, 2012.
Hi. My name is Les Fox. I've been a coin dealer and art dealer for more than 35 years. I've also been an American for more than 65 years. I'm pretty smart and very logical. Based on these "credentials" I would like to throw my hat into the political arena as a commentator on what's happening in the world, what it all means, and what you and I can do to make things better. Let's start with the so-called "Financial Cliff" which is always just about to happen. First, in my opinion the United States went over the financial cliff a long time ago. Thanks to the National Debt, we owe ourselves $16.4 trillion and climbing. By the way, that breaks down to over $52,000 of debt per person for every single person in the United States. Hey, when you've borrowed that much money, you really can't claim you're only "approaching" the financial cliff. But what politicians really mean when they use the term "financial cliff" (a clever phrase) is the inability of the federal government to pay all of its legal obligations due to a lack of officially authorized funds, or rather additional credit, by Congress and the President.
So, how do we solve this problem? Well, some people think we can't. An accountant has created a video (click on the fractured dollar bill below to watch it) in which he states that the Federal Government cannot balance the budget --- for the simple reason that entitlement expenditures alone are greater than the $2.5 trillion in revenue we take in from taxes each year.
As our accountant friend points out, it would be extremely painful for millions of people if we made serious cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and all of the other social help programs designed to keep Americans afloat financially until such time as we all get back on our feet. (Exactly how or when that is supposed to happen is vague.) During the 2012 election, Mitt Romney promised to create 12,000,000 new jobs, but he never said exactly how he would do it. I like Mitt Romney. I believe he is basically a good and honest person, despite concealing certain information about his finances (which probably would have been used against him, so he wasn't going to look good either way). I voted for Romney, despite the fact that he never put forward a specific plan to save America, because I believe we need a good businessman to run the country. On the other hand, I was critical of Romney for not having a plan that could be presented on a chart, the way Ross Perot used to show people the facts, and I believe that until someone tells the American people the truth, we're not going to solve our financial problems. President Barack Obama also promised to create jobs, but his claim that this would be accomplished "from the bottom up" instead of "from the top down" (meaning giving priority to the middle class rather than the rich) is just another clever political tactic. I don't think Barack Obama has the slightest idea what would happen if Republicans passed his Jobs Act "right away", and part of me wishes they did just so we could see what would really happen.
Paul Ryan was another big disappointment in 2011. Billed as a "math genius", I never heard Paul Ryan utter a single brilliant word about how he would actually balance the budget. Like Romney, he promised to stimulate business by keeping taxes low, which he said would result in more businesses and more jobs. On the surface, this makes sense, and I like it better than Barack Obama's strategy to suggest that if rich people would just pay their fair share of taxes, then we could improve America's education system, and suddenly there would be tons of new businesses and jobs. Hmmm. It sounds to me like these guys all have theories involving 300 million Americans that may or may not work. Again, I believe in the free enterprise system, so I favored Romney and Ryan. But to me they never clearly demonstrated how businesses would grow. In my opinion, tax rates are not high enough to discourage people from starting or running businesses. Yet we're in a huge mess. No thanks to Barack Obama. No thanks to George Bush either, who never told the American people what a mess Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were and how they could create an economic disaster, which they did. And possibly even no thanks to Bill Clinton, who might have been as lucky economically as he was personally in his role as U.S. President. The truth is, none of these guys are telling us the truth! And it's time to face the music. The U.S. Government is spending too much money, plain and simple, and everyone knows it. We just don't know exactly what to do to fix the problem.
Now, even though I voted for Mitt Romney, that doesn't mean I'm cruel and heartless and I do believe the government should be helping millions of Americans in need. Even though he did a lousy job of expressing himself (not to mention his idiotic 47% comment), I think Mitt Romney believes in helping people, and he should have spent more time clarifying that. But at the same time, there is a limit to how much we can help poor and middle class people, just as there is a limit to how much rich people should pay in taxes, as well as how some of them get away with not paying their fair share of taxes. So, what is the truth?
Click on Dave Ramsey (right) to hear America's smartest financial advisor
Click on Image to hear Dave Ramsey
The truth is, we need to look at all the facts and figures so that we can begin to understand them. That may not be easy, and we may not have the time to do it, but the truth is if we don't do it the United States of America is not just headed for one of these so-called Fiancial Cliffs that can be temporarily overcome with a vote to extend ourselves another trillion dollars of credit (or "fake money"). We're headed for a National Debt so large that it will destroy the greatest economy in the world. Think about it. As radio talk show commentator Dave Ramsey points out, spending $4 trillion a year when your income is $2.5 trillion is exactly the same as a family spending 60% more than their income. It's like a family spending $120,000 a year when their income is $75,000. How long do you think that family will remain solvent? In 10 years, they will spend $1,200,000 vs. earnings of $750,000. That's a $450,000 family debt. In 20 years, $2,400,000 vs. $1,500,000. That's a $900,000 family debt. It's no different just because a family might be only 4 people and the United States is 300 million people. It's exactly the same thing.
So when people say they don't have the time, or the interest, to understand the national budget, the truth is they don't have the time not to understand it.
I recently called the Dave Ramsey show, and suggested that Dave should spend one day a week talking about the U.S. budget, and how we can begin to balance it. On his show, Dave advises individuals on how to become debt-free, and he is currently America's spokesperson for people getting out of debt. If you listen to Dave's show, he is amazingly perceptive in explaining to people why they don't need three cars, or such expensive cars, or why they should work a second job for a year to pay down their mortgage, or why they shouldn't take an expensive vacation without realizing how badly it could impact their financial future. Dave is great at helping people understand their own budget, which is simply their personal revenue (like U.S. Taxes) vs. their personal expenses (like the U.S. National Expense Budget.) So when I called the Dave Ramsey Show to suggest that Dave is the guy to get this "truth ball" rolling, a very pleasant woman told me she would pass this along to Dave but that he didn't have time to fit it into the current program. I have no idea if Dave will ever address the National Budget in a serious, relentless way. But someone has to. So I guess I've elected myself (and Dave Ramsey) to start the truth ball rolling. I have a lot of ideas, which will presented here in an honest and non-partisan way because like they say, this is not a Democratic or Republican problem. This is an American problem. And since I am an American, if I'm not part of the solution, then I'm part of the problem!
Step 1: Publish a 10-Page Annual Report for all U.S. Citizens
Hey, Dave, Barack, John and Harry, what do you think of this idea? When people buy shares of stock, they get an annual report, right? Okay, so why don't the American people get an annual report? Not just taxpayers. But all U.S. citizens. And instead of the confusing 100-page, or 1,000-page, or 10,000-page annual reports like the ones produced by the government which are available on various websites (and which don't always agree with each other), wouldn't it be nice if the President, the Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House personally reviewed and signed their names to the official "U.S. Citizens Annual Report Of The United States" which showed, in simple terms and easy-to-understand graphics (like those neat looking pie charts) the most important facts that Americans need to know, like: (1) How many taxpayers are there, and how much are they paying based on income categories? (2) How much money did we take in from taxes last year? and (3) How much money did we spend? Plus - and here is the really Big Apple - why are we not making any progress toward a balanced budget, and what will we do differently next year to start to make that happen?
Don't tell me this can't be done with all of the millions of people working for the U.S. Government. Don't tell me it can't be simple and undertandable to everyone. It can be. And don't tell me it can't be condensed into 10 pages. Yes it can! If eBay, Amazon, G.E. and all of the other public companies can create people-friendly annual reports, so can the United States!
In my opinion, this is the starting point. Looking at these facts and figures will open a new dialogue among Americans, the majority of whom want to know why we're in such a mess and how we can get out of it. Even people who get large financial "entitlements" from the government should want to know how to fix America's budget crisis - or one of these days they may stop getting anything if the United States declares bankruptcy. Remember that family who earns $75,000 and spends $120,000. America is that family. Giving all Americans an annual budget to look at, and to compare to last year's and the years before, will begin to shed light on the problem. It's the beginning of the answer. The truth may hurt. But not knowing the truth is worse!
DO WE REALLY KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT THE U.S. BUDGET?
Or do we just think we know everything? After all, what else do we really need to know except that revenue is $2.5 trillion and expenses are $4 trillion and little can be done to change the $1.5 trillion shortage (or whatever the actual number is) except to make rich folks pay more taxes, cut military spending and maybe take away benefits from millions of seniors, poor folks, students and sick people?
Well, for starters, how much do we really know about any of these things? For example, how many rich folks are there and how much more money could we get them to pay in taxes? Liberals say rich people aren't paying their fair share. Conservatives say they're paying too much. I read that there are 1.4 million Americans who earn over $1 million a year in taxable income, and that their average "effective tax rate" is either 24% or 20.4%. According to Warren Buffet, rich folks pay a lower tax rate than their secretaries, but that does not seem to be the case. It would be nice to see all of these statistics in one place, and correctly stated. Including how many Americans don't pay any taxes, and how much middle class Americans pay.
I'd like to know the truth about military spending. According to my research, there are 2.5 million men and women in uniform (army, navy, air force and marines) most of whom who get paid salaries of $15,000 to $35,000 per year. Yet the military budget breaks down to $450,000 per person. It certainly seems like we could save a little money here, but not necessarily by cutting salaries. However, I'd also like to know what all these people are doing, where they're stationed, and what would happen if we only had 2 million people on active duty. I'm not saying we should have only 2 million people. I'm just asking what the difference would be so we can have a meaningful discussion of this significant portion of the national budget. Oh, by the way, there's like another $550 billion in "discretionary spending" that goes to the defense budget, but is technically not categorized as "Defense Spending." That makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?
Next, there's the issue of how many people get entitlements. Seniors on Social Security, poor folks on Food Stamps, Welfare and Unemployment, students getting cash benefits from the Federal Government (do they?) and sick people getting Medicare and Medicaid. The truth is, I don't have the slightest idea who all these people are (like the 50 million people getting $200 billion a year in Food Stamps) or exactly who qualifies for all this stuff. I'm sure there are millions of people who legitimately need help. But what percentage could make it on their own, or with less help? And why don't all able-bodied or technically-skilled unemployed people work for the government on infrastructure projects, like Roosevelt's WPA Project? Since they are getting paid until they find work, it seems like they could help their country on the days they're not able to actively seek other employment. Am I being callous, or realistic? This should be part of the "national conversation", empowered by an enlightening Citizens Annual Report.
As to Medicare and Medicaid, again, who are all these people and exactly what medical procedures are being covered by the billions or trillions of healthcare dollars allocated to this national expense? It would be nice to see a list of how many people are being treated for cancer, heart disease and diabetes, and what all of the specific costs are. That's exactly what you'd ask if you had to pay for the healthcare needs of a number of people out of your own money. Well, guess what? This is your money! Yours, mine and everyone else's. So why shouldn't we know exactly where it's going? And does anyone yet know how Obamacare will actually work? I don't. I guess Nancy Pelosi was right. We'll find out what it is, and how much it costs, someday.
You get the idea. Please, Mr. President, and all you guys in Congress earning pretty good salaries and nice benefit and retirement packages. Humor us. Give us the actual numbers. We deserve to know how much we're spending on everything, and where the money is coming from, so we can figure out how to behave like a responsible family who realizes the need to balance its budget before we fall into a financial Black Hole. Thank you.
And here's the most amazing thing. In all of the zillions of debates, commentary and news reports on TV and radio about the looming Financial Cliff, what is the one thing no one discusses? (Not the Democrats, not the Republicans either.) The answer: The actual numbers. It drives me crazy, day after day, to hear all of the great journalists, the politicians, and the financial experts, all talking about how we should try to avoid the Financial Cliff. But none of them - no one - ever puts up a white poster board and starts using a magic marker to explain exactly why we're in a financial bind. "Okay, folks," says Wolf Blizter (in my dreams), "On today's show we have Paul Ryan, the former Republican Vice Presidential candidate, and Tim Geithner, America's Treasury Secretary. And today, they're going to show you exactly how we could attempt to balance the budget. They're not going to solve the whole problem. But they will explain to you precisely what the problem is. It's as simple as a family budget, and the same principles apply, but on a much larger scale. And we also have Dave Ramsey on the show to make some suggestions about which expeditures can be reduced or eliminated without destroying the country, as well as how we can increase our tax revenue without destroying the economy. Good evening, gentlemen."
Yeah, right. Or maybe: "Yeah! Right!"
Click on Photo to hear Dave Ramsey
MSNBC vs. FoxNews
December 29, 2012
I was just flipping back and forth between Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC and a panel of four business people on FoxNews / Saturday morning. Interesting contrast. Unlike many people, I watch all three of the major Cable TV News channels, MSNBC, who is ultra-liberal, CNN, who is semi-liberal, and FoxNews, who is ultra-conservative but who is certainly the most "fair and balanced" of the three news channels even though they have their moments of Right Wing Insanity. (Of course, MSNBC has even more moments of Left Wing Insanity, in my opinion.)
So, this morning, the day after President Obama "invited" Harry Reid and Mitch O'Connell to a special meeting at The White House to buy some time to prevent American from falling off the Fiscal Cliff (I've already expressed my opinion that we fell off trillions of dollars ago), here's what they were saying on MSNBC and on Fox. The Fox business people were focused on the $16 trillion National Debt and the $4 trillian annual budget deficit. No matter how you "resolved" the current Fiscal Cliff problem, they agreed, that only "kicks the can down the road" in terms of solving America's true financial crisis, which is over-spending and not balancing the budget. On MSNBC, the panelists were complaining that "as usual" the Republicans were gumming up the works by refusing to vote yes on any of Barack Obama's "reasonable" tax and spend proposals, which was going to hurt the country, and especially lower and middle class Americans when nothing happens by January 1st and everyone starts to get smaller paychecks thanks to the elimination of all of the Bush Tax Cuts, payroll taxes going up, etc. During the entire show, I never heard anyone on MSNBC express their opinion on the need to cut spending, reduce the National Debt or balance the budget. Just to raise taxes on the "elite" 1% or 2% of Americans earning $250,000, $400,000 or $1,000,000 per year and authorize whatever means are necessary to keep writing checks to everyone the government pays. Okay, here's the point. Even if you raise taxes on rich folks, and if that doesn't solve the financial crisis (which it doesn't), then what? No answer from the MSNBC group. But no real anwer from the FoxNews group either! On Fox, all they kept saying was we have to do something. Does that mean a 10% reduction in Social Security payments? (Works for me.) No one suggested that. A 10% reduction in all U.S. Federal Government spending? Or even a 5% or a 1% reduction just to see what happens when we try to spend less money? No one suggested that. Then what, FoxNews people and MSNBC news people?
It would be interesting, wouldn't it, to see what happens if we cut all U.S. Government expenses by let's say 1%? Which means if a 67 year old senior has been receiving $1,500 a month, now he or she would start getting $1,485 a month. (With a 5% cut, he'd get $1,525, and with a 10% pay cut he'd get $1,350.) Now, I'm not saying millions of people wouldn't be upset, and some would be hurt financially by a Social Security "pay cut" of $15, $75 or $150. But have you ever heard anyone - a Republican, a Democrat, a Liberal, A Conservative, or the President of the United States, even talk about exactly what we "could" do to reduce spending? The answer is no. So, in the words of the outspoken and Conservative talk show host Mark Levin, "There! I said it! Sue me!"
Well, not surprisingly, on FoxNews they were upset, specifically, with some of the new taxes that are apparently scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2013 (like taxes on medical equipment and increases in investment income taxes). And they were worried about all of the new taxes and rules that would start kicking in under Obamacare. One of the Fox guys did point out that millions of people would be helped by Obamacare if the new law allowed them to buy affordable health insurance, and that this was a good thing. But basically they were obsessed with the growing size and power of the U.S. government, and how all Americans, not just the business community, is being strangled by Uncle Sam's tentacles (yes, I spelled that correctly.)
Not a problem on MSNBC. Over there they were worried about the price of gallon of milk going up from $4 to $6 or $8 because we haven't fixed our national farm policy since 1949 or something. Melissa Perry Harris herself complained that she had "teen type people" in her house who drank a lot of milk, and that she wasn't the only one concerned with this potentially huge increase in milk prices, which we should fix once and for all. Hey, no offense, Melissa, but I don't think the price of milk is really going have a big effect on your life. Like most popular TV commentators, you probably earn a mid six-figure salary. Which means, even if your kids drink a gallon of milk a day, and milk doubles in price to $8, it will cost you $1,460 a year. No, that's not chicken feed, but you can probably afford it easily. And most likely your kids only drink a couple of gallons a week, so your extra expense is probably more like $416 a year. And I'm sure there are other things we can drink instead of milk that are just as healthy or healthier without sacrificing our daily calcium needs.
Melissa also complained that the current Congress, thanks mostly to the Republicans, has not proposed nearly as many bills or passed as many new laws as Congress usually does. She threw some numbers up on the screen, I think it was 400 new bills compared to the usual 1,300 new bills, proposed by Congress last year, or over the last 4 years, I'm not sure which. Oh my goodness. That's the problem with America! Not enough laws, right? Gee, if we had only passed 900 more laws in 2012 (or from 2008-2012), imagine what good shape we'd be in. Of course, Melissa didn't specify which laws would have really helped. I assume she meant the laws proposed by Democrats. If the Republicans had passed 400 to 1,300 new laws, obviously that would have further destroyed the fabric of America, crippled the already weak economy, and made it even more difficult for the poor to become middle class, and the middle class to become rich, while the rich just got richer and richer and bought more planes, boats, houses and jewelry like the Kardashians, Jay Zee and Beyonce, and all of the billionaires except for Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, who are just wonderful.
Speaking of billionaires, someone on TV this week (probably FoxNews) suggested that rich folks only get social praise for the money they donate to charity. Yet Bill Gates has probably helped many more people in all economic classes through the millions of computers sold thanks to Microsoft technology. Bill's profitable businesses have helped to create millions of jobs, and trillions of dollars in new business, and also improved the world's education and healthcare systems, business and government efficiency in general (we hope), and all aspects of human existence. In addition to computer sales, Microsoft (and Apple, HP, Samsung, Oracle, etc) have exploded business opportunities and employment in computer stores, computer supplements, cell phones, digital TV's and all of the other endless electronic products we now use daily.
But do you ever hear about the good things that business men and women do on MSNBC? No, they just give people like Bill Gates credit for providing free computers to Third World nations (which is a wonderful thing to do, and which will help the world) - as well as for supporting international health programs, which is also a wonderful thing to do. But where do you think Bill got the money to be able to do this wonderful humanitarian stuff? Yup, from creating and building the Microsoft brand. But you don't hear much about the good that comes from people building successful and profitable businesses on MSNBC. Just like you don't hear much on FoxNews about all of the wonderful things people do (including the government) to help the poor, the disabled, the unemployed (or at least some of the unemployed), seniors, sick people, minorities, students, teachers and other public and non-profit workers. True, the Fox people like to praise firemen, police officers and the armed forces. But Fox (and Republicans in general) need to say more nice things about average Americans, Americans in need and people who help American in need (including the government) to show that we're all on the same team. And MSNBC (and Democrats in general) need to say more nice things about business minded Americans. On MSNBC, they are far more likely to publicize an anti-Walmart story than a pro-Walmart story. In fact, we all need to say good things about all Americans.
I'd like to see a "Love Thy Neighbor Day" on FoxNews, MSNBC and CNN, on which everyone praises the other channels and the other political parties for trying to help the people of the United States. Democrats and Republicans, and Liberals and Conservatives, earn their living by criticizing "the other side". It's time to find more common ground. Republicans don't want to push granny off the cliff (another cliff?) and Democrats don't want millionaires to go broke. At least I hope not.
"Meet The New Republicans" - My Idea For An Ad Campaign
MEET THE NEW REPUBLICANS
We care about a balanced budget,
but we also care about the poor, the sick, the elderly and the unemployed.
We believe in the right to bear arms,
but we want to protect America's children and citizens from harm.
We support a strong military,
but we prefer to win hearts and minds through peaceful negotiation.
We love American Immigrants
but we believe in a legal acceptance process.
We think all U.S. citizens should pay fair taxes,
the rich, the poor and the middle class.
EVERYTHING YOU THINK YOU KNOW
ABOUT THE GRAND "OLD" PARTY (G.O.P.)
Except our commitment to the American People
And The United States Constitution.
THE NEW REPUBLICANS. Join Us.
Dear Fellow Taxpayers,
Here are some financial statistics that I need to "fact check" for inclusion in my U.S. Annual Report.
This comes from USA today. Interestingly, they report that the vast majority of millionaires pay a 30% tax rate compared to the average middle class tax rate of 15%. So Warren Buffet's claim that millionaires pay a lower tax rate than their secretaries appears to apply to a very small percentage of cases. In 99% of the cases, rich people currently pay twice the tax rate as middle class people! Which means that President Obama's case for the Buffet Rule (minimum 30% tax for rich people) is already in effect for 99% of rich people, and the Buffet rule might not generate a great deal of additional income compared to the current tax code.
According to U.S.A. Today, people earning $40-$50,000 a year pay a 12.5% tax rate, and people earning $20-$30,000 pay a 5.7% tax rate. Far less than the rich.
I am now looking into exactly how many taxpayers there are, and what rates they actually pay, and how much total revenue is generated.
Facts count, and are necessary to form meaningful opinions.
Rush Limbaugh, Sub-Prime Mortgages & National Taxpayers Union
January 13, 2013
I was listening to Rush Limbaugh the other day. Rush is brilliant, and he occasionally reveals or clarifies important issues on his radio show that other people (like Romney and Ryan) miss, or just don't want to tackle. Rush also says some pretty idiotic things, like joking that Sandra Fluke is a slut for supporting free birth control. Part of my message to Republicans is that constantly being (or sounding) unsympathetic and sarcastic does not impress most people or change their minds. Truthfully, I don't remember Rush Limbaugh (or Sean Hannity or Mark Levin) ever saying anything nice about Planned Parenthood, poor people, the social security system or anything else supported by Barack Obama, the Liberals and the Democrats, with the possible exception of the death of Osama Bin Laden. In any case, credit where credit is due. Rush recently explained how the Sub-Prime mortgage situation (initiated by Bill Clinton in 1998) led to the 2008 Debt Crisis, and he's absolutely right. There were certainly other factors, too, but encouraging millions of people to buy homes they couldn't afford, backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and forcing banks to participate in this scheme, played a key role in the mess that exploded during the last year of the Bush Administration, and into the Obama Presidency.
As Limbaugh explained in general detail (we need to analyze the exact facts and figures, which I will do), arranging for millions of people to borrow too much money to buy homes, so everyone in America could be a home-owner, was a recipe for disaster. As the loans started to go bad, the banks re-packaged them (again with U.S. Government backing) as "Mortgage Backed Securities" which were bought by unwary investors, and even foreign governements, who eventually got stuck with "bad paper" and had to write off billions or trillions of dollars. Undoubtedly, this is one of the major reasons why the United States is now in a recession and why the $16 trillion National Debt continues to increase.
Of course, Rush blames the Democrats for sabotaging Bush's attempts to curtail sub-prime lending, which may be somewhat true. But I don't remember George Bush going on TV and explaining to people how potentially dangerous this situation really was. If Bush had been more aggressive, maybe the Democrats (and Republicans) would have done something sooner, and the economic crisis we're in wouldn't be quite as bad as it is. I'm also curious as to why Romney and Ryan (the math genius) did not harp on this issue during the 2012 election. While they kept insisting that George Bush could not be blamed forever for Obama's decisions, and the bad economy, they failed to explain exactly why the 2008 financial crisis happened, and how it was related more to Clinton's decisions than Bush's.
PROGRESS ON ANNUAL REPORT TO U.S. CITIZENS
Coming Soon: Gay Marriage, Iran, Israel and Unions