‘Twas the Night Before Christmas #2

December 14, 2013

G’Day!

Time for some humor–again with apologies to Clement Moore & Democrats.

 

 ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas!

1    ‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ my house,

2   Not a creature was resting, not even a mouse;

3   The Stockings were hung by the Chimney with hope,

4   That in 2014, we’d be able to cope;

5   Sebelius was panicked, and feared for her job,

6   While Obamacare problems, stirred up the mob,

7   With no health insurance, or work through the land,

8   We added our assets, to see how much on hand.

9   When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

10   I sprang from depression to see what was the matter.

11  Away to the window I flew like a flash,

12  Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.

13  The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,

14  Gave the lustre of mid-day to deficits below;

15  When, what to my desperate eyes should appear,

16  But a government golf cart, and eight progressive Reindeer,

17  With the President driving, so lively and quick,

18  I knew in a moment it must be a trick.

19  More rapid than eagles his supporters they came,

20 And he whistled, and shouted, and call’d them by name:

21    “Now Media! Now Wall Street! now Unions! and Wa’ Post!

22   “On Holder! on Carney! on Jarrett! and ‘Spend Most’!

23   “To the top of the Debt! To the top of the wall!

24   “Now Tax it all! Tax it all! Tax away all!”

25    As vague promises before the wild subsidies fly,

26    When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;

27    So up to the heavens, the deficits they flew,

28    With the cart full of Regulations – and Executive Orders too:

29    And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

30   The laughing and gnashing of each little tooth.

31    As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

32   Down came Obama with a bag and a bound:

33   He was dress’d all in debts, from his head to his foot,

34   And his promises were stained with ‘misstatements’ and soot;

35    A bundle of taxes were hung on his back,

36    And he look’d like a peddler just opening his pack:

37    His promises – how many! His failures – how crippling,

38    His cheeks were like roses, his fingers were gripling;

39    His droll mouth was drawn up in a grin,

40    As he planned to build, bigger government again;

41     The bill for Obamacare he held tight in his teeth,

42    And joy encircled his head like a wreath.

43    He had a big smile, and blamed everyone else,

44    For all his disasters, all but himself:

45    He was happy and laughing, a right socialist old elf,

46    And I cringed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

47    A smile on his lips, and a twist of his ear,

48    Soon gave me to know, I had something to fear.

49    He spoke not a word, for him a big task,

50    And took all of value; then took off his mask,

51    And laying his golf club aside of his nose,

52    And taking my assets, up the chimney he rose.

53    He sprang to his golf cart, to his team gave a toot,

54    And away they all flew, after taking the loot:

55    And I heard him proclaim, as he drove by my eye;

56    Thanks for your help, kiss your healthcare and free markets goodbye!

 

Seriously, Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to everyone! Hopefully, 2014 will be better!

The Old Guy PhD


It’s the Entitlements, Stupid!

November 29, 2012

G’Day!

With apologies to President Clinton for modifying his famous phrase, this time “It’s the Entitlements, Stupid!” Virtually everyone with a functioning brain knows that our exploding National Debt and $1 trillion annual Federal Deficits are unsustainable. Without a solution to this government-imposed national crisis, the American economy will continue to stagnate, unemployment will be high, job opportunities low, and the country may ultimately decline into bankruptcy. Also, anyone with a functioning brain knows that the solution to this problem must involve compromise and agreement among the three (3) fundamental contributors to the problem; “Entitlements,” “Discretionary Spending,” and “Tax Revenues.” By listening to the Media, President Obama, and the Democrats, you would conclude that the sole cause of our country’s fiscal and debt crisis is insufficient “Taxes on Rich.” Nothing could be further from the truth. This is like trying to stand on a 3-legged stool with two of the legs removed.

Let’s analyze President Obama’s only publicly proposed solution, “Tax the Rich.” Our annual federal deficit is currently $1.3 trillion. Obama’s proposal with possible outcomes is presented below:

Obama “Tax the Rich” Proposal

Possible Annual Revenue (billions)

% Deficit Solved

Raise top 2 rates on Incomes above $200-250,000 from 33 to 35% & 36 to 39.6%

$44.2

3.7%

Raise Dividend tax from 15% to Ordinary Income Rate

$20.6

1.7%

Raise Capital Gains tax fro 15% to 20%

$3.6

0.3%

Reinstate the Pease limit on Itemized Deduction

$12.3

1.0%

Reinstate the Personal Exemption Phase-out (PEP)

$4.2

0.4%

Subtotal Tax increase for Upper-income

$84.9

7.1%

Restore Estate & Gift Tax to 2009 levels

$11.9

1.0%

Total Government Tax Revenue

$96.8

8.1%

 

The above result is a static analysis and assumes no income or behavioral change by taxpayers (highly unlikely). In total, Obama’s “Tax the Rich” solution would potentially generate $96.8 billion per year and solve a mere 8.1% of our annual fiscal deficit problem. Since neither Obama nor the Democrat leaders have publicly suggested any change in either “Discretionary Spending” or “Entitlements,” this would leave a continuing federal deficit of approximately $1 trillion per year or 92% of the fiscal problem unresolved. (Interestingly, a $1 trillion annual deficit is the amount in Obama’s currently proposed budget for the next four (4) years.) This is blind insanity and “Ostrich Management.”

“Entitlement” reform for Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security combined with growth oriented “Tax Reform” and “Discretionary Spending” cuts are the only ways we can avoid the trap that Greece and other European socialist countries have created for themselves. By insisting ONLY on “Taxing the Rich” with no consideration for “Discretionary Spending” cuts or “Entitlement” reform, Obama appears to be more interested in political ideology than in solving our nation’s economic problems. Without correction, we will create a European slow growth dependent society for America and potentially financial collapse. We must demand a better and more comprehensive performance from our government. I believe the Republicans are correct in demanding that any agreement on additional tax revenues must be accompanied by significant cuts in federal spending.

Let’s review some fundamental facts about our unsustainable National Debt and continuing Fiscal Deficits. The table below summarizes the major items in our national economy and Obama’s 2012 enacted budget.

Item

2012 Budget Amount (Billions)

Total Current National Debt

$16,200

Estimated Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

$15,797

Total Federal Government Receipts (Tax, etc.)

$2,469

Total Federal Government Outlays

$3,796

Annual Federal Surplus (Deficit)

($1,327)

Total Mandatory “Entitlement” Outlays

$2,252

Health (Medicaid, etc.)

$361

Medicare

$484

Social Security

$818

Income Security (Food Stamps, Unemployment, Housing, etc.)

$580

Net Interest on Debt

$225

Total “Discretionary” Outlays

$1338

National Defense

$702

Education

$79

 

Federal outlays in 2012 are expected to be $3.8 trillion (24% of GDP) with a $1.3 trillion deficit after government revenues of $2.5 trillion. Mandatory “Entitlements” total $2.3 trillion, (60% of federal outlays and approximately 15% of GDP), AND are growing at an alarming and unsustainable rate. Discretionary federal outlays (including National Defense) are $1.3 trillion. Simple math indicates that to balance the budget without “Entitlement” reform, the entire Federal Government “Discretionary Spending” (including National Defense) must be eliminated or tax revenues increased across-the-board by approximately 50% to eliminate the deficit. Neither of these alternatives individually or in combination is feasible or desirable. Currently the largest federal “Entitlement” outlays are: Health (Medicaid) & Medicare $845 billion, Social Security $818 billion, Income Security $580 billion, and Interest on Debt $225 billion. (Please note that “Interest on Debt” is unusually small based on an artificially low interest rate (approximately 1-1.5%) resulting from global economic problems and monetary support by the FRS. When interest rates return to normal levels the $225 billion could easily double or more in a very short period of time. Remember, interest rates were in the double digits in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Just look at the recent government borrowing rates in the troubled countries in Europe.)

While the mandatory “Entitlement” programs have good intent and are desirable, they are not sustainable and are inconsistent with economic growth policies. “Entitlements” are where the big federal outlays reside and must be part of a major solution to our fiscal and debt crisis. “Entitlement” reform is the most significant fiscal spending problem we face. Fortunately, we have excellent proposals from Conservatives and bipartisan groups available on how to fix “Entitlements” (see Bowles-Simpson, “The Moment of Truth,” Domenici-Rivlin, “Restoring America’s Future,” and The Heritage Foundation, “Saving the American Dream”). It would be helpful if Obama and the Democrats would acknowledge these or offer proposals of their own. It won’t be easy but as I said in the title, “It’s the Entitlements, Stupid!”

Let’s get to work and save our country!

The Old Guy PhD


Has American Decided Its Future?

November 7, 2012

G’Day!

No, there is still the opportunity to influence our future! While it is not possible for me to adequately describe my disappointment, disbelief, and initial unhappiness with the results in this election, a free people in a free society expressed their current desire for a popular President to continue to transform our country into a centrally controlled socialist welfare state. If this new nation evolves, our country will be very different from the America in which I have long lived, long enjoyed, and hoped to endow to my children. Fortunately, we live in a country where it is possible for an election as divisive is this one to take place peacefully and without violence and there will be another Congressional election in only two years. We now know (or should know) exactly what the next four years are likely to bring unless we strive to change it.

On its current track America faces a looming financial & economic collapse, unsustainable deficits & National Debt, higher taxes and healthcare costs, the ultimate failure of our important social safety nets, continued energy dependence on nations that do not like us, and a Foreign Policy of appeasement, apology, & withdrawal that has encouraged terrorists & enemies of the US and our allies. If Iran does create a nuclear weapon and the “Arab Spring” continues to deteriorate, it is unlikely that our best ally in the Middle East, Israel, will survive without resolute US support. Without a course correction, the America and freedoms I know and love are probably doomed. In my opinion, our only hope is that Obama reverses nearly all of his policies (unlikely) or the Republicans and Democrats in Congress can find a bipartisan way to resolve our country’s multiple crises quickly (possible). It is now time for all of us on both sides of the issues to work together to save our country. It can be done!

John F. Kennedy at his inauguration said, “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country!” This was not only inspirational but an accurate indication of our country’s culture of independence, freedom, and opportunity at the time. Since those words were spoken, our nation has experienced a gradual erosion of our freedoms, a huge increase in the size of our government, and increased welfare and dependency by citizens on government. We must regain our spirit of personal responsibility, mutual cooperation, and independence from a government that increasingly seems to believe (with apologies to JFK), “My fellow dependents, ask not what you can do for yourselves; ask what your government can do for you!” Let’s all endeavor to reestablish a culture of unity not divisiveness, compromise not partisanship, progress not gridlock, and independence not welfare. We are all Americans!

I believe the Republicans can and should take the lead in proposing new solutions to the major crisis of our time: the impending financial collapse of our federal government and our economy. My two principal suggestions for initial Congressional action are: 1) In the lame duck session extend the “Bush Tax Cuts” for 6-12 months to avoid the “Fiscal Cliff” and give Congress a reasonable opportunity to properly deal with the real reforms necessary and 2) As the first priority in 2013 pass the Bowles-Simpson proposal in the House with added entitlement reform as the appropriate framework for a permanent solution and submit this to the Senate for review and actual vote. (see “Bowles & Simpson Have it Right!” “Obama Ignores Bowles-Simpson Debt Reduction Commission-Again!” “Debt Reduction: Bowles & Simpson Have it Right-Redux!” “Debt Crisis-Whatever happened to Bowles-Simpson?”) Simply “Taxing the Rich” cannot work. If the “Rich” were taxed at 100% and paid it (unlikely), there is not enough tax revenue available to pay for and sustain our government for the future. What is required is renewing the growing private-sector economy necessary to create the jobs needed to move individuals from permanent dependency to employment and personal independence. In other words, “Save the American Dream!”

Longer term Republicans need to properly and practically address with positive programs the issue of Latinos in America (+40% voting edge for Obama), Women’s issues (+11% voting edge for Obama), and the lack of under age 30 youth support (+20% voting edge for Obama). Without broadening the party’s appeal to these constituencies, it will become increasingly difficult for Republicans to win future elections.

The challenge facing our future is getting our government to work together to correct its self-inflicted path of fiscal insanity, unsupportable debt, unsustainable entitlements, and individual dependency on government by a combination of economic growth policies, major business and individual tax reform to increase tax revenues, cuts in unnecessary federal discretionary spending, and reforms required to make our social safety nets and entitlement programs sustainable for future generations. We can do this! Let’s get to work!

The Old Guy PhD


The Presidential Debates – Romney Wins Round One!

October 4, 2012

G’Day!

Finally the American people were able to see both the real Romney and the real Obama on the same stage, at the same time, unfiltered by spokespersons or the biased Liberal Media. The debate was informative and enlightening and a huge victory for Presidential Candidate Romney.

Romney was enthusiastic and passionate, decisive, well prepared, well organized, and armed with better specifics of both his own proposals and those of Obama. Romney was more confident and professional in his delivery, firm but friendly in responding to the questions of the moderator, Jim Lehrer, and those of Obama, and quick to stand up for his principles and to correct the misinformation presented by the President. Romney stood solidly in favor the basic tenets established by our Founding Fathers in The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and The Bill of Rights. The most significant of which is a government limited to protecting national security, individual freedoms, private property rights, free markets, and providing fair and impartial justice. In his debate remarks Romney laid out a five part path to future growth and prosperity: Energy Independence, Free Trade, a Balanced Budget, Improved Education, and Tax Reform. I’m in – are you?

On the other hand, Obama was not well prepared, poorly organized (even rambling at times), and appeared uncomfortable in the setting and especially with Romney’s challenges and corrections of his misinformation. He was lackluster, hesitant, and vague in his presentation, repeatedly relying on the familiar “bumper sticker” slogans used during his campaign – “fair shot, fair share, same rules”, “failed policies of the past”, “saved us from the biggest recession since the Great Depression”, etc. How many times do we have to listen to this misinformation? During the debate President Obama looked bored, did not seem to want to be there, and became increasingly uneasy. Obama has not been seriously challenged since the primary against Hillary Clinton and even then the Liberal Press “had his back” as they have persisted in doing since his election. When everyone around you, including most of the Press, fawns over your very presence and you win the Nobel Peace Prize for actually doing nothing other than being elected, it is difficult, especially without a “teleprompter” or agents to spin the issues on your behalf, to be publicly challenged by an opponent who is equally or better educated, has far more experience, and has high religious and moral standards. It makes you wonder just how capable Obama is in serious negotiations with other world leaders? Obama did make it clear again that he believes Big Government, higher taxes, more regulations, less personal freedoms, and more spending are the answer to our economic, fiscal, and debt problems. Do you?

As stated in my last article, “The November Election-A National Intelligence Test for America!”, this election IS the clearest choice between two different visions for America: sound fiscal policy vs. unsustainable fiscal policy, less government vs. more government, more individual and business freedom vs. less individual and business freedom, lower taxes vs. higher taxes, free market capitalism vs. centrally controlled neo-socialism, stronger national defense vs. weaker national defense, private doctor-based healthcare vs. central government mandated healthcare, strong foreign policy vs. weak and apologetic foreign policy, and, perhaps most importantly, more support for The Constitution vs. less support for The Constitution. These are the real issues from the debate and which we will be voting for or against in November. Do not make the mistake of letting Obama’s campaign rhetoric and a prejudiced Liberal Media systematically brainwash and deceive you into failing to think for yourself and to vote for what is right for our county.

As I have stated in previous articles, our nation was established on the fundamental principle that government is the servant of the people, not vice versa. It’s time to take back our country. Vote in November!

The Old Guy PhD


Obammunism – What is “Fair”?

July 13, 2012

G’Day!

Everyone believes in “Fairness” but what is it? Is “Fairness” equal opportunity to succeed based on your own efforts and decisions, free of government intervention? Or, is “Fairness” government dictated equal sharing of the success of others independent of personal effort and decisions? Consider this, who determines “Fair Share”? Under Capitalism, “Fair Share” is objectively determined by the choices of free people in a free market. Under “Obammunism”, political bureaucrats subjectively and arbitrarily determine “Fair Share” and impose it on the people. Regarding tax alone, what is to protect you from the “Bureaucratic Elite” changing the wealth threshold from $1 million, to $250,000, to $100,000, to $75,000 or lower? If you support Obama’s policies, nothing can protect you from the Government arbitrarily changing “Fair Share” to adversely penalize more and more successful people. If you work hard and succeed in improving yourself and your family, what is to prevent the government from penalizing you for becoming “Rich”? Under Obama, “Fair Share” cannot be satisfied until everyone is economically equal. This is not “The American Dream”.

To our Founding Fathers “Fairness” is our personal “Entitlement” to national security, individual freedom, and free market capitalism with limited fiscally-sound government based on equality of opportunities and private property rights. To President Obama and the Democrats it is “Obammunism”, which is based on the government’s “Entitlement” to regulate and control the American people and businesses to accomplish subjectively determined income and wealth equality. “Obammunism” is achieved through higher taxes, bigger government, forced income and wealth redistribution, expanded welfare dependency, and unfunded entitlements to an unnecessary and undeserved portion of the population. It further requires excessive environmental restrictions on the use of private property, regulations and controls over selected industries, and use of taxpayer funds in the arbitrary selection of industrial “winners & losers”. So far Obama’s big government approach to economic equality has resulted in slow economic growth, a net loss of approximately 4 million jobs, and an energy policy that has killed jobs and leaves American security more dependent on imports of foreign oil. “Obammunism” has also resulted in a 60% increase in our National Debt (from ~$10 trillion to ~$16 trillion) and a huge fiscally unsustainable federal deficit that has exceeded $1.3 trillion in every year of Obama’s Presidency. Erskine Bowles of the Bowles-Simpson Debt Reduction Commission stated earlier this month on the subject of our National Debt, “It is like a cancer. Over time it will destroy the country from within.” Alan Simpson simply referred to it as, “Madness”.

The founders of our great country also believed in equality, the equality of opportunity implemented through personal freedoms, private property rights, and free markets. They believed in minimal government and established a Constitution and subsequent Bill of Rights to guarantee and protect the individual liberties of all citizens from the oppressive policies of the foreign governments from which our ancestors fled in search of a better life. Is it moral or ethical or “Fair” for the government in a land of equal opportunity to engage in wealth redistribution from those who worked hard, made good decisions, and earned their success to those who did not? While nearly everyone believes and supports a reasonable social safety net for the truly needy, the trends since the Great Depression have increasingly been to increase welfare and entitlements far beyond reasonableness and absolutely beyond sustainability.

So what do I believe is “Fair”? What “Entitlements” should we expect from our government? First and foremost, I believe that we are entitled to a President who actually believes and supports the oath of office he declared at his inauguration, which is: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

I believe that we are entitled to a limited government that is business friendly and supports and protects our individual freedoms, free markets, private property rights, sound fiscal & monetary policy, economic growth, and the security and defense of our great nation.

I believe that we are entitled to a limited federal government that regulates and enforces only those activities that cannot be controlled by citizens through either individual freedom of choice under free market capitalism or by State and local governments.

I believe that, except for essential government services, we are entitled to keep what we earn and that wealth redistribution for the goal of economic equality, excessive welfare, and unsustainable entitlements is “Unfair”, unethical, and destructive to economic growth. I further believe that tax reform is essential. (See “Fiscal & Debt Crises – Tax Reform Essential!”)

I believe that, as the Founding Fathers intended, we are entitled to a government that protects our right to use our private property as we wish as long as it does not endanger or encroach on the value of our neighbor’s property AND that we should have the right to use our private property free of unnecessary environmental control and regulation by administrators.

Finally, I believe we are entitled to a President that supports and protects the rights of ALL American citizens and does not promote policies intended to enhance reelection prospects by dividing the country by income, gender, ethnicity, religion, political party, sexual orientation, or race.

Under Obama, our exceptional nation is on the precipice of a fiscal catastrophe and terminal decline in the world. It is not yet too late to correct the Obama’s neo-socialist trend for more taxes, more spending, bigger government, slower economic growth, and eventual collapse under a mountain of unsustainable debt. Throughout history, no nation has been able to sustain excessive spending by taxing, borrowing or “printing money” as a way out of fiscal insanity. All have failed. It is time for America to wake up and realize where this “Amateur” President is taking our country. Study the issues and vote accordingly in November.

The Old Guy PhD


Election 2012 – America’s Choice Has Never Been More Clear!

January 13, 2012

G’Day!

Happy New Year! I hope your holiday season was enjoyable and successful and best wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2012!

This year we will face an election that will probably decide our nation’s course for many years to come. 2012 may be the most important election in our lives. Never have the choices been clearer than they are today: small government vs. big government – free market capitalism vs. centrally planned socialism – individual liberty vs. bureaucratic control of freedoms. At stake is the future of our economy, the relationship between our government and ourselves, federal fiscal and debt solvency, taxation levels, America’s role in the world, and the legacy we are endowing to our children. The key issue is which choice offers the best opportunity for economic & job growth, wealth creation, and a higher standard of living for the American people. It is critical that we each take the time and make the effort to understand the potential consequences for our culture, our opportunities, and our country from these two widely different visions of the role of government and vote accordingly.

Choice 1: Overall, the Republican Party generally supports small government, free market capitalism, and individual liberty. More specifically, they further believe in the Constitution as written by the Founding Fathers, individual & business freedoms, sound fiscal and monetary policies, tax reform for business and individuals, a government limited to protecting the legal rights of individuals, property, and the security of our nation, and equality of opportunities for all citizens. They believe that a reasonable but not unlimited social safety net is desirable for those truly in need. Republicans believe that prosperity and job growth is derived from entrepreneurial business activity free from excessive government interference and is promoted by minimizing regulations and maximizing freedoms and opportunities. Individual success is honored and rewarded. Free markets determine winners and losers and wealth is distributed based on objective “achievement”.

Choice 2: Overall, the Democrat Party supports big government, centrally planned European-style socialism, and bureaucratic control of freedoms. They support a “living” Constitution to be interpreted and modified by the judicial system as desired, regulated individual & business freedoms, unsustainable government spending and entitlements, higher taxes, and forced wealth transfer from the successful to the less successful. Democrats and especially the current President believe in regulated and even hostile control over businesses and the use of Administrative Executive Power as desired to accomplish this. They believe that economic and job growth is derived from government planning, controls, and subsidies to bureaucratically selected companies and industries. Individual success is envied and resented and should be corrected through wealth redistribution. The government determines winners and losers based on fiat and wealth is distributed based on an arbitrary determination of “fairness”.

For months we have heard impressive speeches from our President promising more “Hope and Change” supported by more government regulations, unsustainable entitlements, and higher taxes on the “Rich”. No doubt we will hear many more. But no volume of skillful oratory by the President or his eventual Republican contender can disguise the fact that the two fundamental choices above are the issues in the forthcoming election.

Do you believe that big government, centrally planned European-style socialism, and bureaucratic control of freedoms with increasing control over your lives and businesses are best for you? Do you believe that government administrators can make better decisions for us than we can make for ourselves? Do you believe that these bureaucratic decisions are the best approach to economic growth, job creation, and a higher standard of living? If you believe this, vote for Democrats.

On the other hand, do you believe in small government, free market capitalism, and individual liberty with the freedom to make our own decisions about our lives and businesses? Do you believe that we can make better decisions for ourselves than the government? Do you believe that individual decisions under free markets are the best approach to economic growth, wealth creation, and a higher standard of living? If you believe this, vote for Republicans.

President Obama’s position on the above choices is precisely clear and soon we will have a Republican Presidential Candidate to compare. Please take the time to study the choices, the potential outcomes from each on your lives, consider what is at stake for our nation and our children, and vote accordingly. The choice will be yours in November.

The Old Guy PhD


Capitalism is the Answer – Socialism is the Problem!

December 15, 2011

G’Day!

Yes, Free Market Capitalism IS the answer to our economic malaise. America is the country of equal opportunity (not equal income) and self-improvement through economic and social mobility, not stagnation, stratification, and redistribution of other people’s money. Capitalism is founded on growth, innovation, unlimited production, and decentralized decision-making through free market pricing. Capitalism properly allocates our economic resources as citizens’ wish (not the government), rewards creativity, and expands the wealth “Pie” for all to share based on effort and contribution. Socialism is founded on personal immobility, government control of production through central planning, and price controls. Socialism predetermines and distorts proper allocation of goods and services as the government wishes (not the citizens), restricts innovation, and redistributes the existing wealth “Pie” based on arbitrary administrative decisions of the government “elite”.

While no system is perfect in all respects, history has proven that Free Market Capitalism works best for maximizing economic growth and prosperity and improving living standards. History has also shown that Socialism does not work and over time retards economic growth and prosperity, and produces a lower standard of living. The demise of communist Russia, China under Mao, and the current European Union fiscal and debt crises are recent examples of the failures of Socialism and central planning. Our government should realize that it cannot tax and spend America into prosperity. Only growth in the private sector can create long-term prosperity and new jobs for our nation. The government should get out of the way, reduce regulations, shrink spending and entitlements, reform personal and business taxes, and let the innovative forces of Free Market Capitalism work.

Our current socialist-oriented, anti-business government has assaulted and discouraged innovative opportunities by enacting legislation and imposing regulations that restrict our ability to engage domestically in creative and profitable endeavors. These policies, including taxation, have stifled domestic investment, encouraged companies to create new jobs offshore, and suppressed the economic growth for which our nation is famous. If Obama’s policies continue and he is reelected, the “Middle Class” will suffer most from the continuing consequences of our economic stagnation. The current “Middle Class” will increasingly join America’s “Dependent Class” who rely on government handouts that sustain and maintain lower living standards. Is this the future you want for our nation and your children?

The factors that have made our country great and the envy of the world are the equal opportunities to improve ourselves through personal hard work, innovation, risk-taking, and thrift. To grow and prosper as our nation has historically done, we need to return to our foundations and encourage entrepreneurial opportunities for wealth creation based on individual freedoms, free markets, private property ownership, and limited government. We don’t need a handout; we want a hand up. Without government support and encouragement for vibrant and profitable financial and business sectors, our economy will continue to underperform. This will result in less, if any, economic growth; less, if any, wealth to redistribute; and fewer, if any, new jobs. Wealth is not created by attacking the institutions and individuals who create it. The choice for the future of our country will be ours at the 2012 election. Vote wisely.

The Old Guy PhD


Debt Reduction: Bowles & Simpson Have it Right – Redux!

July 22, 2011

G’Day!

On April 1, I posted the article, “Bowles & Simpson Have it Right!”, suggesting that the Bowles-Simpson Debt Reduction Commission’s proposal was a good solution to our country’s deficit and debt crises. Subsequent articles have repeatedly referred to this proposal as a reasonable bipartisan way to address our federal fiscal problems, especially long-term debt, (see “Obama Ignores Bowles-Simpson Debt Reduction Commission – AGAIN!”, “Is Obama Really Serious about Debt Reduction?”, “Fiscal and Debt Crises – Tax Reform Essential!”). Approximately eight months after publishing the Commission’s preliminary report and 5 months after formal submission to President Obama, the “Gang of Six” in the Senate finally appears to be considering it. Perhaps there is some intelligent life in Washington after all. I hope so.

To resolve our unsustainable deficit and debt crises, we need significant comprehensive changes to improve revenues through comprehensive tax reform, to reduce discretionary spending including defense, and reduction/reform in entitlement programs for Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. All of these reforms: taxation, government spending, and entitlements, are essential to a comprehensive solution for our country’s problems and ALL must be addressed if we are to succeed.

Bowles-Simpson, which is still an appropriate bipartisan starting point, addresses all of these issues and was approved by 61% of the commission members. I hope it now gets the attention it deserves. The “Gang of Six” and Bowles-Simpson have identified nearly $4 Trillion in deficit reductions over ten years with an immediate reduction of $500 Billion. Both plans rely on government spending cuts and tax reform to lower tax rates, broaden the tax base, and increase tax revenues. These are all good initial actions and I would also suggest the addition of the House “Cut, Cap, and Balance Act, which specifically “Caps” government spending relative to GDP and includes a “Balanced Budget Amendment” provision to insure that our government performs its future fiscal requirements in a responsible way. Currently, polls indicate that over two-thirds of the American people want a “Balanced Budget Amendment” and do not want a further increase in our National Debt. Now is an appropriate time to deal with these issues to insure not only our own future but also more importantly, the future of our children.

If Congress and the President had seriously considered Bowles-Simpson earlier in the year, the debt crisis could already be resolved. We must bring responsibility to the country back into our government and significantly reduce its size.

The Old Guy PhD

Note: The original Bowles-Simpson article with “links” is repeated below for those who missed it.

Bowles & Simpson Have it Right!

In my previous posts, “Big Government IS Our Problem” and “Is Our Government Broken”, I laid out the current and projected fiscal and debt problems facing our nation and argued that significant contraction in government spending is immediately essential. Also essential is tax reform. Our taxes MUST be simplified, the tax base broadened, and tax rates reduced (especially business taxes), if we are to be able to compete in a global economy.

The Debt Reduction Commission’s “Co-Chair’s Proposal” released in December 2010 by the Co-Chairs, Democrat Erskine Bowles and Republican Alan Simpson and submitted to the President in February 2011, is an excellent and understandable overview of the recommendations, which, with minor modification, were approved by 11 of the 18 bipartisan members (61% approval) in December 2010. Unfortunately, the final vote fell short of the 14 votes necessary for the “Supermajority” needed to directly submit the recommendations to Congress. While the Co-Chair’s Draft Proposal differs slightly from the final report submitted to the President, it is worth reviewing for its importance, focus, clarity, and brevity. They have done an excellent job and their proposal deserves the immediate attention of the President and Congress. While no one will be fully happy with all of the commission’s proposals, rational behavior combined with cooperation and compromise by our elected government is necessary if we are to remain a solvent and great nation. The time for government to act is NOW!

The bipartisan Debt Reduction Commission worked from April – December 2010 to develop and present overall comprehensive recommendations to solve our country’s short and long term fiscal and debt crises. They have done their work well. The report addresses all the necessary areas required to resolve the issues including setting out ten (10) objectives, “Guiding Principles and Values”, beginning with “#1-We have a patriotic duty to come together on a plan that will make America better off tomorrow than it is today”; and “#2-The Problem is REAL – the Solution is Painful – There’s no Easy Way Out – Everything Must Be On the Table – and Washington Must Lead”. The other 8 can be read by clicking the link in paragraph above. After establishing the Guiding Principles, the following comprehensive “Five Part Plan” is recommended:

1.Enact tough discretionary spending caps and provide $200 billion in illustrative domestic and defense savings in 2015.

  1. Pass tax reform that dramatically reduces rates, simplifies the code, broadens the base, and reduces the deficit.
  2. Address the “Doc Fix” not through deficit spending but through savings from payment reforms, cost-sharing, and malpractice reform, and long-term measures to control health care cost growth.
  3. Achieve mandatory savings from farm subsidies, military and civil service retirement.
  4. Ensure Social Security solvency for the next 75 years while reducing poverty among seniors.

Implementation of the comprehensive Five Part Plan is projected to achieve nearly $4 trillion in deficit reduction through 2020, in addition to other specific improvements in debt and budget reductions summarized below:

  • Achieves nearly $4 trillion in deficit reduction through 2020: 50+ specific ways to cut outdated programs and strengthen competitiveness by making Washington cut and invest, not borrow and spend.
  • Reduces the deficit to 2.2% of GDP by 2015, exceeding President’s goal of primary balance (about 3% of GDP).
  • Reduces tax rates, abolishes the AMT, and cuts backdoor spending in the tax code.
  • Caps revenue at or below 21% of GDP and gets spending down to 22% and eventually to 21%.
  • Stabilizes debt by 2014 and reduces debt to 60% of GDP by 2024 and 40% by 2037.
  • Ensures lasting Social Security solvency, prevents projected 22% cuts in 2037, reduces elderly poverty, and distributes burden fairly.

 

The proposal outlines how to achieve the above results through specific recommended actions to improve revenues through “Comprehensive Tax Reform” alternatives, to reduce spending through “Discretionary Budget Options” including Defense cuts, reductions for entitlement programs through “Mandatory Budget Options” for healthcare and “Reforming Social Security”. All of these reforms: taxation, government spending, entitlements for healthcare and social security, are essential to a comprehensive solution for our country’s problems and all must be addressed if we are to succeed.

The Co-Chair’s Proposal is controversial but responsible, realistic, and deserves the serious consideration of the President and Congress, who are currently engaged in irrelevant political bickering over trivial spending cuts instead of the substantive fiscal and debt problems we face. Congress and the President should get together, agree on or revise as appropriate the “Guiding Principles and Values” above, and start to work for the American people and our country. Political posturing for re-election is NOT a valid course of action.

Currently, neither the Congress nor the President is addressing our fiscal and debt crises with any sense of urgency. The President and the Democrats are not only totally ignoring the problem but are fighting to avoid even minimal reductions from the inflated budget spending of the last 2-3 years. Federal Budget inflation nearly tripled our federal deficit from $0.459 trillion in 2008 to $1.3 trillion in 2010 and is expected to increase again to $1.7 trillion this fiscal year. Obama’s recent budget proposal for 2012 continues spending at $3.7 trillion and the deficit at $1.6 trillion. Additionally, Obama’s new budget projects a further cumulative deficit of $7.2 trillion for the next ten years – bringing our debt to approximately $22 trillion! This is not leadership; it is madness! Only the Republicans are even attempting to address the issue and, to date, their proposals are woefully inadequate. To be fair, the House Republicans through Representative Paul Ryan are promising to present a comprehensive budget in April that does address the looming long-term catastrophe we face. I hope they deliver.

Given the magnitude of our fiscal and debt problems, the current congressional squabbling is an inappropriate distraction from solving the overall crises facing our nation! Without an agreement on debt limits and/or spending cuts by April 8, our government may shut down. As noted in “Is Our Government Broken”, except for national security and some essential services, shutting down might actually be a good thing. Our government is too big, too irresponsible, and too self-centered. Can’t our Congress or Administration do math?

Where is President Obama’s leadership in all of this? Actually, at the time of this writing he’s currently travelling again and making speeches at a Democratic Party Fundraiser – big surprise. As usual, when leadership and responsibility for our country are required, Obama is absent. Last week with a national debt deadline imminent, Congress took a week off rather than stay in session to attempt to resolve the current national debt limit issue. Brilliant! Our elected representatives need to make financial solvency and economic growth a priority and get to work NOW!

We are on unsustainable fiscal and debt crises that, if not corrected quickly, will lead to potential financial and economic disaster for our country. Our government is oppressive and out of control, its growth must be stopped, and its intrusion in our lives and businesses reversed. We MUST maintain the entrepreneurial spirit necessary for economic growth and global competitiveness. We need to bring back the constitutional freedoms and personal liberties that led us to become the greatest nation on earth. Our government should immediately take up the Bowles-Simpson Co-Chairs’ Proposal.

The Old Guy PhD


Bowles & Simpson Have it Right!

April 1, 2011

G’Day!

In my previous posts, “Big Government IS Our Problem” and “Is Our Government Broken”, I laid out the current and projected fiscal and debt problems facing our nation and argued that significant contraction in government spending is immediately essential. Also essential is tax reform. Our taxes MUST be simplified, the tax base broadened, and tax rates reduced (especially business taxes), if we are to be able to compete in a global economy.

The Debt Reduction Commission’s “Co-Chair’s Proposal” released in December 2010 by the Co-Chairs, Democrat Erskine Bowles and Republican Alan Simpson and submitted to the President in February 2011, is an excellent and understandable overview of the recommendations, which, with minor modification, were approved by 11 of the 18 bipartisan members (61% approval) in December 2010. Unfortunately, the final vote fell short of the 14 votes necessary for the “Supermajority” needed to directly submit the recommendations to Congress. While the Co-Chair’s Draft Proposal differs slightly from the final report submitted to the President, it is worth reviewing for its importance, focus, clarity, and brevity. They have done an excellent job and their proposal deserves the immediate attention of the President and Congress. While no one will be fully happy with all of the commission’s proposals, rational behavior combined with cooperation and compromise by our elected government is necessary if we are to remain a solvent and great nation. The time for government to act is NOW!

The bipartisan Debt Reduction Commission worked from April – December 2010 to develop and present overall comprehensive recommendations to solve our country’s short and long term fiscal and debt crises. They have done their work well. The report addresses all the necessary areas required to resolve the issues including setting out ten (10) objectives, “Guiding Principles and Values”, beginning with “#1-We have a patriotic duty to come together on a plan that will make America better off tomorrow than it is today”; and “#2-The Problem is REAL – the Solution is Painful – There’s no Easy Way Out – Everything Must Be On the Table – and Washington Must Lead”. The other 8 can be read by clicking the link in paragraph above. After establishing the Guiding Principles, the following comprehensive “Five Part Plan” is recommended:

  1. Enact tough discretionary spending caps and provide $200 billion in illustrative domestic and defense savings in 2015.
  2. Pass tax reform that dramatically reduces rates, simplifies the code, broadens the base, and reduces the deficit.
  3. Address the “Doc Fix” not through deficit spending but through savings from payment reforms, cost-sharing, and malpractice reform, and long-term measures to control health care cost growth.
  4. Achieve mandatory savings from farm subsidies, military and civil service retirement.
  5. Ensure Social Security solvency for the next 75 years while reducing poverty among seniors.

Implementation of the comprehensive Five Part Plan is projected to achieve nearly $4 trillion in deficit reduction through 2020, in addition to other specific improvements in debt and budget reductions summarized below:

  • Achieves nearly $4 trillion in deficit reduction through 2020: 50+ specific ways to cut outdated programs and strengthen competitiveness by making Washington cut and invest, not borrow and spend.
  • Reduces the deficit to 2.2% of GDP by 2015, exceeding President’s goal of primary balance (about 3% of GDP).
  • Reduces tax rates, abolishes the AMT, and cuts backdoor spending in the tax code.
  • Caps revenue at or below 21% of GDP and gets spending down to 22% and eventually to 21%.
  • Stabilizes debt by 2014 and reduces debt to 60% of GDP by 2024 and 40% by 2037.
  • Ensures lasting Social Security solvency, prevents projected 22% cuts in 2037, reduces elderly poverty, and distributes burden fairly.

The proposal outlines how to achieve the above results through specific recommended actions to improve revenues through “Comprehensive Tax Reform” alternatives, to reduce spending through “Discretionary Budget Options” including Defense cuts, reductions for entitlement programs through “Mandatory Budget Options” for healthcare and “Reforming Social Security”. All of these reforms: taxation, government spending, entitlements for healthcare and social security, are essential to a comprehensive solution for our country’s problems and all must be addressed if we are to succeed.

The Co-Chair’s Proposal is controversial but responsible, realistic, and deserves the serious consideration of the President and Congress, who are currently engaged in irrelevant political bickering over trivial spending cuts instead of the substantive fiscal and debt problems we face. Congress and the President should get together, agree on or revise as appropriate the “Guiding Principles and Values” above, and start to work for the American people and our country. Political posturing for re-election is NOT a valid course of action.

Currently, neither the Congress nor the President is addressing our fiscal and debt crises with any sense of urgency. The President and the Democrats are not only totally ignoring the problem but are fighting to avoid even minimal reductions from the inflated budget spending of the last 2-3 years. Federal Budget inflation nearly tripled our federal deficit from $0.459 trillion in 2008 to $1.3 trillion in 2010 and is expected to increase again to $1.7 trillion this fiscal year. Obama’s recent budget proposal for 2012 continues spending at $3.7 trillion and the deficit at $1.6 trillion. Additionally, Obama’s new budget projects a further cumulative deficit of $7.2 trillion for the next ten years – bringing our debt to approximately $22 trillion! This is not leadership; it is madness! Only the Republicans are even attempting to address the issue and, to date, their proposals are woefully inadequate. To be fair, the House Republicans through Representative Paul Ryan are promising to present a comprehensive budget in April that does address the looming long-term catastrophe we face. I hope they deliver.

Given the magnitude of our fiscal and debt problems, the current congressional squabbling is an inappropriate distraction from solving the overall crises facing our nation! Without an agreement on debt limits and/or spending cuts by April 8, our government may shut down. As noted in “Is Our Government Broken”, except for national security and some essential services, shutting down might actually be a good thing. Our government is too big, too irresponsible, and too self-centered. Can’t our Congress or Administration do math?

Where is President Obama’s leadership in all of this? Actually, at the time of this writing he’s currently travelling again and making speeches at a Democratic Party Fundraiser – big surprise. As usual, when leadership and responsibility for our country are required, Obama is absent. Last week with a national debt deadline imminent, Congress took a week off rather than stay in session to attempt to resolve the current national debt limit issue. Brilliant! Our elected representatives need to make financial solvency and economic growth a priority and get to work NOW!

We are on unsustainable fiscal and debt crises that, if not corrected quickly, will lead to potential financial and economic disaster for our country. Our government is oppressive and out of control, its growth must be stopped, and its intrusion in our lives and businesses reversed. We MUST maintain the entrepreneurial spirit necessary for economic growth and global competitiveness. We need to bring back the constitutional freedoms and personal liberties that led us to become the greatest nation on earth. Our government should immediately take up the Bowles-Simpson Co-Chairs’ Proposal.

The Old Guy PhD

 


Is Obama Our Worst President or Just the Weakest?

March 24, 2011

G’Day!

While I did not vote for Obama, I did have great hope for his presidency. Even though I believed him to be too inexperienced and unqualified to be President, his slogan, “Yes we can!” combined with his soaring rhetoric was inspiring and motivating. Unfortunately, my initial fears have been realized. Perhaps Anna Pukas said it best in her recent article, “Barack Obama: The Weakest President in History?” when she described him as “INEFFECTUAL, invisible, unable to honour pledges and now blamed for letting Gaddafi off the hook. Why Obama’s gone from ‘Yes we can’ to ‘Er, maybe we shouldn’t…” To Anna Pukas’ observations, I would add aloof, elitist, and indecisive.

It is actually too early to tell if the outcomes from the legislation of the Obama government will make him our worst President but current and future implications for the massive increase in big government socialism, continuing fiscal catastrophe, unsustainable levels of debt, and diminished international respect for the United States around the world, clearly make him a contender. More worrying is the apparent weakness and inability of President Obama to accept leadership and responsibility for the direction of our country. His ambivalence as a leader and his priority with the “perks” instead of the responsibilities of his office are unprecedented in our current time of crisis. In issue after issue he has withdrawn from the actual decision-making process and, during his first two years in office, deferred to Congress or leaders in other countries to set our government’s goals and priorities. Besides golf (60+ times since taking office, I’m retired and haven’t been able to play that much), political speeches, extensive travel, and a totally unearned Nobel Peace Prize, he has largely been an observer on domestic and international issues. Professor Peter Morici recently indicated on national television, Obama appears to be more interested in “Presidential Tourism” than in dealing with the critical issues facing our nation. Virtually all Presidents in at least the last century have been strong leaders. Some of their actions have been right and some have been wrong but they were willing to take responsibility and actually lead our country. Perhaps Harry Truman expressed it best when he said, “The Buck Stops Here!” With Obama, “The Buck Starts Here!”

We were warned by Hillary Clinton during the Democratic Primary Campaign that Obama, while in the Illinois legislature, declined to take a position on issues by voting “Present” (neither yes nor no) 129 times. While in his partial term in the US Senate, he missed roll call 314 times (24%). These should have been indications of his personal lack of commitment and inability to take a position on legislation. Since becoming President, Obama has essentially been a pitchman for the Democrats, notably the unions, and has punted important domestic decisions (Stimulus, Healthcare, Financial Reform, Federal Budgets, and National Debt) to the Democratically-controlled House and Senate and international decisions to the State Department and foreign leaders. With foreign leaders he has been persistently weak and apologetic concerning America’s historical role in fighting for and defending freedom, democracy and US international interests. He has consistently been indecisive and ambivalent in dealing with China, Russia, Iran, the Middle East, and now Libya.

In responding to the current Libyan crisis, he has dithered and deferred to the leadership of Britain, France, and the Arab League and has now bypassed Congress (perhaps illegally) and subordinated US national interests to the UN Security Council for the current military actions. All this while he and his entire family engaged in “Presidential Tourism” to South and Central America. At the time of this writing, our US policy on Libya is a confused mess. Obama has no clear long-term objectives and he has still not addressed the nation or properly communicated to Congress a coherent government plan. Astonishingly, Obama’s currently stated goal for Libya is to WITHDRAW US military authority over the actions in Libya, pass command to “somebody else”, and voluntarily abandon American leadership in a time of international crisis. He appears to be willing to give command and control over our military to unknown foreign powers “to be determined”! This is another example of Obama’s avoidance of responsibility and lack of strength. Unfortunately, his weakness as a leader and lack of belief in the greatness, strength, and historical contribution of America in the world, has undermined our international stature in the world and created a power vacuum that other nations are trying to fill. Even our long-time allies have been embarrassed by his deference and obeisance to the leaders of problem nations. Remember Obama “bowing” to the King of Saudi Arabia and cancelling President Bush’s Anti-ballistic-missile Defense Shield for Central Europe when challenged by Russia. These are not the actions of the President of the World’s greatest nation.

I don’t know if Obama will turn out to be our worst President but he doesn’t look good and the future of our country is in peril on many fronts, especially our fiscal and debt crises and our foreign policy. I do believe that what little political conviction he has is directed toward expanding socialist government, reducing personal freedoms, and exercising more control over our lives (see “Big Government IS Our Problem!”). This is not good! I am also very sorry to say that I believe that Obama IS our weakest President in at least the last century and has not demonstrated the personal strength to handle the conflicts and confrontations that are a necessary consequence of the domestic and international issues confronting America. This is very unfortunate given the variety of crises we face. Fortunately, the November elections gave control of the House of Representatives to the Republicans. This, at minimum, will halt the growth of collectivist government for the next two years.

Our nation was founded on constitutionally protected principles of individual freedoms, free markets, and limited government. Let’s stop the rot, get back to our roots, and reverse the trend as soon as possible.

The Old Guy PhD