Republicans ARE the Party of “YES!”

February 15, 2014

G’Day!

Wake up American—regarding the future of our great country, Republicans ARE the real party of “YES!”

While not an official spokesperson for the Republican Party, I am a total supporter of the United States of America and know the difference between good and bad governmental policies. In my opinion, the principles below are good and are those for which the Republicans stand.

  • Yes, Republicans believe America is the most exceptional and unselfish nation on earth.
  • Yes, Republicans love our country, want to preserve our Constitution, and retain the balance of powers between the Administrative, Congressional, Judicial branches of government and the States.
  • Yes, Republicans believe in a constitutionally limited-power federal government providing national security, protection of our freedoms, an impartial legal system, and only essential and affordable government services for those citizens that are truly in need and unable to provide for themselves.
  • Yes, Republicans believe in a strong military to protect our country and preserve our freedoms.
  • Yes, Republicans believe in free and honest elections with proof of citizenship required at the voting stations.
  • Yes, Republicans believe in individual freedoms, especially freedom of choice, unrestricted by unnecessary government regulations and controls.
  • Yes, Republicans believe in sound fiscal and monetary policies to promote a solid financial foundation for growth and job creation in our economy.
  • Yes, Republicans believe the efficiency and effectiveness of free market capitalism and private property ownership produce superior economic growth and wealth for a nation. Government should get out of the way and let capitalism and entrepreneurship work.
  • Yes, Republicans believe our government has become too large, too expensive, and our unsustainable government spending supported by unrestricted debt will ultimately lead to a financial and economic crisis for our country.
  • Yes, Republicans believe in the dignity of all people, human rights, and freedom of choice and have repeatedly shown a willingness to unselfishly fight for these principles on behalf of other countries when these principles have been challenged by dictators and corrupt leaders.
  • Yes, Republicans believe in and want to preserve a financially sustainable Social Security System.
  • Yes, Republicans want to preserve America’s quality healthcare system that allows freedom of choice for all Americans at affordable costs.
  • Yes, Republicans believe in solving our illegal immigration problem through proper legislation without granting unilateral amnesty.
  • Yes, Republicans believe our federal tax system is broken, unnecessarily complicated, and needs major revision and simplification.
  • Yes, Republicans believe taking wealth from those who have achieved it and redistributing it to those who have not is a historically failed socialist policy that leads to economic and moral decline.
  • Yes, Republicans believe in equal rights and equal opportunities for all citizens, not just those selected by our government.
  • Yes, Republicans believe Presidents and their Administrations, especially the current Departments of Justice, Health & Human Services, Labor, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the IRS, should impartially administer the law and not arbitrarily pick and choose who wins and who loses in our society.
  • Yes, Republicans believe Presidents and their Administrations should be honest and transparent with American citizens, especially on major issues and crises effecting our country.
  • Yes, Republicans believe Presidents should put the needs of the American people above party politics.
  • Yes, Republicans believe our Presidents should uphold the oath they take at inauguration:  “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of the 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 our votes in the next two elections will be vitally important to the future of our country. If you want to preserve our Constitution, our personal freedoms, our economy, and maintain the balance of powers between the three branches of government, the time to act is now.

Republicans ARE the Party of “YES” and are dedicated to protecting and improving our great nation. It is up to us, the citizens of America, to recognize the current dangers and elect Republicans to the House and Senate in 2014 and 2016 and replace Obama with a Republican President in 2016. Let’s save our country from “Obammunism” before it is too late.

The Old Guy PhD


Decision Time in America – Which Future do You Want?

October 28, 2012

G’Day!

On November 6 we will face an election that will decide our nation’s course for many years. This election will be the most important election in our lives and will decide not only our immediate future but also the future for our children and grandchildren. After 3 ½ years of the Obama Administration, the Senate Democrats, and over a year of campaigning, our choices have never been more clear. At stake is the success or failure 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 future generations.

The key issue we must face is which Presidential Candidate and political party offers the best opportunity for economic & job growth, wealth creation, supportable social safety nets & entitlements, sustainable National Debt, and a higher standard of living for the American people. It is vital that each of us take the time and make the effort to understand the potential consequences for our culture, our freedoms, and the potential survival of our country from these two widely different visions of government’s role in our society and vote accordingly.

Choice 1

Fundamentally, Romney/Ryan and the Republican Party support smaller government, free market capitalism, a strong national security, and individual liberty. They believe in the Constitution as written by the Founding Fathers, individual & business freedoms, private property rights, sound fiscal and monetary policies, lower taxes for business and individuals, a government limited to the powers granted in the Constitution, and equality of opportunities for all citizens.

Specifically in this election, Romney/Ryan and Republicans support overturning government run Obamacare, which significantly increases healthcare costs, adds central bureaucratic control over healthcare, and erodes our freedom of choice in the doctor/patient relationship. They support overturning the Dodd-Frank financial legislation, which has stagnated our financial industry and economic growth and adds layers of still to be written rules and regulations and additional costs over banking. As protection from mounting problems in the Middle East, Romney/Ryan and Republicans support the construction of the Keystone Pipeline and the opening of public lands and offshore exploration for expanding and achieving North American energy independence.

Republicans further believe in a clear and resolute Foreign Policy supported by a strong economy and military and free trade with other nations. They believe that a reasonable but not unlimited social safety net is desirable for those truly in need and welfare as a temporary situation with the objective of being a transition to independence. Romney/Ryan advocate major tax reform by lowering the rates and broadening the base for individuals and businesses in order to promote economic growth. They further advocate major entitlement reform to bring the Federal Budget into balance, while insuring that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will be sustainable for future generations.

Regarding the economy, Republicans believe that prosperity and job growth is derived from entrepreneurial business activity free from excessive government interference and is advanced by minimizing regulations, having lower taxes, and maximizing freedoms and opportunities. Individual and business success is praised, honored, and rewarded. Free markets determine winners and losers and wealth is distributed based on objective “achievement” through persistence, intelligence, and hard work.

Choice 2

Primarily, Obama/Biden and the Democrat Party support bigger (unlimited?) government, centrally planned European-style neo-socialism, reduced national defense, and bureaucratic control of individual and business freedoms. They believe in a “living” Constitution to be interpreted and modified by the judicial system as desired, control over private property use, and unsustainable fiscal policy and National Debt. They advocate open-ended entitlements, welfare, and government spending, higher taxes on businesses and individuals but especially the successful “rich”, and forced wealth transfer to achieve “fairness”. Opportunities for success (or failure) will be largely determined by central government administrators.

Specifically in this election, Obama/Biden and Democrats approve of and are committed to retaining government run Obamacare and Dodd-Frank financial legislation. They have no practical national energy plan and are against the Keystone Pipeline, offshore exploration, and expansion of fossil fuel development on public land. As is well documented, Obama currently favors “Green Energy” as the alternative to fossil fuels and, through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Energy (DOE), has used billions of taxpayer money to subsidize and support his belief. Through the EPA and DOE, The Obama Administration is waging a “War on Coal”, which is preventing the country from exploiting a cheap and plentiful fuel source and will result in the loss of thousands of jobs in the Coal Industry. All of this makes America weaker and more dependent on foreign energy from the troubled Middle East Area.

For nearly four years Obama has followed a Foreign Policy of appeasement, apology, and withdrawal emphasized by planned reductions in the military and controlled trade with other nations. Obama and Democrats believe in regulated and even hostile control over businesses and the use of Administrative Executive Power (especially EPA, DOE, Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), and Department of Labor (DOL)) as desired to accomplish this. They believe in and have encouraged entitlement expansion and welfare dependency supported by a $6 Trillion increase in the National Debt in four years.

Obama/Biden and Democrats believe that economic and job growth is derived from central government planning not free markets, high taxes on successful individuals & companies, and taxpayer funding through grants and subsidies to bureaucratically selected companies and industries. Individual and business success is envied, derided, and penalized through regulations and wealth transfer. The government determines winners and losers based on administrative subjectivity and wealth is redistributed based on an arbitrary determination of “fairness”.

For months we have heard impressive speeches from our President promising more of the same “Hope and Change” supported by increasing government restrictions (Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, the EPA, the DOE, etc.), unsustainable entitlements, higher taxes on the “Rich”, and ballooning National Debt. But no volume of skillful oratory by the President can disguise the fact that Obama and the Democrats have no new ideas for the next four years and Romney/Ryan and the Republicans do. Romney has articulated clearly his 5-Point Plan to get America back on track to a prosperous growing economy with job opportunities for those who want to work: 1) Energy Independence, 2) Free Trade, 3) a Balanced Budget, 4) Improved Education, and 5) Tax Reform to support Small Businesses. While no one party or individual is perfect or will solve all problems we must select the alternative that provides our best opportunity to save our country from financial disaster and economic chaos that uncontrolled government deficits represent. The survival of our great nation depends on making the right choice.

OK, it’s decision time! Which future do you want? Please take the time and make the effort to study the alternatives, the potential outcomes from each, consider what is at stake for yourself, your children, and our great country, and vote wisely. The choice will be yours on November 6th.

The Old Guy PhD


Save America – Elect Romney & Ryan in November!

August 30, 2012

G’Day!

Romney and Ryan! Hooray! The Republicans have chosen intelligent, honest, dedicated, and responsible candidates for President and Vice President of our country. Unfortunately, Obama and Biden are currently still in office. They cannot be replaced fast enough for me. The longer Obama and the Democrats continue in power, the greater the decline of America. In my opinion, a vote for Obama and the Democrats is suicidal for our exceptional nation. I trust and believe that the American people are wise enough to see through the rhetoric of deception, division, and blame and recognize the true economic and social failures of Obama’s centrally planned socialism. In November we must vote Obama and enough Democrats out of office to save our country from financial collapse under a mountain of unsustainable debt, which in the next week will reach $16 Trillion or over $50,000 for every man, woman, and child in America. This is an increase of approximately 60% since Obama was elected and is absolutely intolerable!

The team of Romney and Ryan are real Americans who personally share and support the opportunities and values inherent in “The American Dream”. They believe in the values expressed in “The Declaration of Independence” of equal opportunity for all to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. They further believe in strong national defense, individual freedom, free market capitalism, sound fiscal and monetary policy, freedom of religion, and Constitutionally limited government. Unlike Obama, Romney actually has a business-friendly five point plan to correct our fiscal and debt crisis, create millions of new private-sector jobs, save Social Security & Medicare, and get America back on a path to prosperity. Fortune Magazine summarized the five key areas in the plan as follows: “(1) Aggressively promote domestic energy development, especially fossil fuels. (2) Expand the market for U.S. goods overseas by negotiating new trade agreements and standing up to China on intellectual-property and currency issues. (3) Improve workforce skills by transferring job-training programs to the states and going after teachers’ unions, which, he says, stand in the way of school choice and better instruction. (4) Attack the deficit through budget cuts, not tax increases. And (5), reshape the regulatory climate to “encourage and promote small business” rather than swamp it. That last item covers his most consistent and passionate campaign pledge, the repeal of the Affordable Care Act — “reshaping health care reform,” he says, “by replacing Obamacare with measures that will bring down the cost of health insurance rather than, as Obamacare does, increasing it.” This plan, combined with the Romney-Ryan Budget and a proposed “Cap” on Government Spending at 20% of GDP, is an excellent start.

On the other hand, Obama has America on a suicidal path to fiscal and economic failure with no serious plan to grow the economy, create private sector jobs, and reduce the national debt and deficit. Obama’s alternative is more of the same: more government spending, more government regulations, more government taxes, more government control, and less personal and business freedom. Obama doesn’t seem to care about our national security, the US Constitution, our allies abroad, personal liberty, private property rights, economic growth, free market capitalism, or traditional American values. Apparently, Obama cares more about wealth redistribution, bigger and bigger government, labor unions, and, most importantly, personal reelection. Unlike Obama, Romney and Ryan are telling us the truth about the economic crisis we face and have logical and reasonable plans to correct the Obama debacle over the next decade. Their plans are not radical but rational and should be supported by a majority of Americans who want our country to grow and prosper.

Obama is the antithesis of nearly everything I believe about America & virtually everything that has made America exceptional. The centrally controlled “trickle up poverty” collectivist policies of dependency & unsustainable entitlements by Obama and the Democrats are not working in America, are creating crisis and potential disaster in Europe, and have failed historically. Obama has had his opportunity and he has failed as a leader. Perhaps his failure was inevitable given his serious lack of qualifications when he was elected. It is time to replace him and Vice President Biden with a truly qualified and experienced leadership team.

The growth of Western Civilization and especially the United States was fuelled by the expansion of individual liberties, private property rights, and a free market capitalist society. Our nation was established on the basic principle that government is the servant of the people, not that the people are the servants of government. It’s time to take back our country and return to the individual liberties, free markets, economic growth, and limited government we have long enjoyed. The United States of America is the greatest, most prosperous, most unselfish, and most exceptional country in history. There is still an opportunity to save The American Dream but time is rapidly running out. Vote for the real American “Hope & Change” offered by Romney and Ryan in November.

The Old Guy PhD


Debt Crisis – Whatever happened to Bowles-Simpson?

November 10, 2011

G’Day!

The bipartisan Debt Reduction Commission co-chaired by Democrat Erskine Bowles and Republican Alan Simpson completed and submitted to President Obama in February a rational and comprehensive approach to our country’s fiscal and debt crises. I posted articles praising the work of the co-chairs and the commission members on April 1, April 16, and July 22. (See “Bowles & Simpson Have it Right!”, “Obama Ignores Bowles-Simpson Debt Reduction Commission – Again!”, and “Debt Reduction: Bowles & Simpson Have it Right – Redux!”) To date, President Obama, the Democrats and the Republicans in the House and Senate have fundamentally ignored their proposal. Why their recommendations have been ignored by our government, and especially by the President, who established the commission, is a “puzzlement”?

The final Co-Chair’s proposal, “The Moment of Truth”, included both long and short-term government actions to resolve our fiscal and debt crises, contains nearly $4 trillion in debt reduction over 10 years, and was approved by eleven (61%) of the eighteen bipartisan members of the commission. As stated in Guiding Principle #2 of the draft report, “The Problem is REAL – the Solution is Painful – There’s no Easy Way Out – Everything Must Be On the Table – and Washington Must Lead”. Their proposal is comprehensive. It includes cuts and caps on discretionary spending and revenue enhancements through major tax reform to broaden the tax base, simplify the code, reduce tax rates, and cap revenue at 21% of GDP. It reduces spending for entitlements including healthcare and social security and eventually caps total spending at 21% of GDP. The proposed plan stabilizes the debt by 2014, reduces debt to 60% of GDP by 2024 and 40% by 2037. What’s not to like??

As noted above, it is a mystery to me why this proposal, developed and approved with bipartisan support, was shelved by Obama and ignored by Congress since it was formally delivered to the President nine months ago. While these are difficult and trying times, we should expect and demand that our President and Congress put partisan bickering and reelection concerns aside and act for the benefit of the American People. Time spent on campaign fundraising does not reduce our debt or improve job creation and economic growth. We deserve rational behavior from our elected representatives and should demand the compromise and cooperation necessary to correct our economic problems and return our great nation to a path of growth and prosperity. Admittedly, the Co-Chair’s proposal is controversial. It is also realistic, responsible, comprehensive, and should be receiving the immediate and serious attention of our President, Congress, and currently the “Super-Committee” (who are looking for a mere $1.2 trillion over ten years).

Every sensible citizen knows America has an unsustainable debt crisis that, if not corrected quickly, will lead to financial and economic disaster for our country. Socialism does not work. Greece is not a role model for government in America. Our current government is too large, too oppressive and is out of control. Economic growth is based on opportunities not restrictions and lower tax rates not higher regulations. Escalating government spending must be halted and its intrusion in our lives and businesses reversed. Tax reform to broaden the tax base, simplify the code, lower rates (especially corporate), and increase revenues is essential. Our government MUST be business friendly and promote 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 be the greatest nation on earth. The Bowles-Simpson proposal is a good start.

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 Our Government Broken?

March 16, 2011

G’Day!

Yes, our government is currently broken and it needs to GET TO WORK! The events taking place in our national government and some states do not represent the principles of elected representative government upon which America was founded. We elected our officials to serve the needs of the people, not the desires of their political party, big business, or unions.

President Obama, both Democrat and Republican Congressional Representatives and Senators (with minor exceptions) are not currently working for the long-term benefit of America. Nearly all are posturing and working for what they perceive as the good of their political party and personal reelection. Citizens have common sense and know that we have fiscal and debt crises that are too large and unsustainable. We must get our State and Federal Governments in order.

Our overall national debt is currently $14.2 trillion and growing. It is nearly the size of our annual GDP.  Disturbingly, over $1 trillion of this debt is held by China, not our most reliable or friendly partner. Our fiscal deficit in 2008 was $0.459 trillion, by 2010 it nearly tripled to $1.3 trillion, and the expected deficit in 2011 is $1.7 trillion. Additionally, we currently have unfunded “entitlement” liabilities for Social Security of $14.8 trillion, Prescription Drugs of $19.6 trillion, & Medicare of $78.1 trillion. This is a total current obligation for future generations of $112.5 trillion, nearly 8 times our total annual output and just over $1.0 MILLION per current taxpayer. This is madness and is crippling our economy and economic growth.

We actually have NO FEDERAL BUDGET for 2011! Obama’s unapproved 2011 “budget” is expected to reach $3.7 trillion this year. This amounts to $10.1 BILLION PER DAY. In the current congressional debate concerning raising the debt ceiling, Democrats have offered  “real” cuts for the remainder of the fiscal year of $10 billion (1 day’s spending) and the Republicans are offering approximately $60 billion (only 6 day’s spending). Neither proposal even remotely addresses the magnitude of our problem. If agreement can’t be reached in Congress, the Federal Government may be forced to shut down. Frankly, except for national security and some essential services, this might actually be a good thing. Our government is too big, too irresponsible, and too self-oriented. Can you imagine what the Founding Fathers would think of what is happening in our government today? A temporary shut down might force us to be more responsible and self-reliant, as the founders of our nation and our Constitution intended.

As noted, the magnitude of our nation’s financial problem is enormous, increasing, and untenable! So what is our government doing to correct the crisis? Last year, the Democrats, who controlled the Administration, the Senate, and the House of Representatives, failed to even pass a Federal Budget for fiscal 2011. They were, however, able to compound our future fiscal and debt problems by passing a massive and unpopular healthcare bill and a financial reform bill, both of which further increase the size of government, with more regulations and control over important sectors of our lives. This legislation further erodes our liberties and free-market economy. Do we really want to become a collectivist country with the government dictating our lives?

For his part, President Obama has virtually abdicated all leadership in this crisis by proposing a new budget for next year projecting spending of another $3.7 trillion and an addition to the deficit of $1.6 trillion. Over the next 10 years the new Obama budget proposal is expected to produce a further cumulative deficit of $7.2 trillion, bringing our overall national debt to approximately $22 trillion. President Obama is spending (pun intended) his time travelling, golfing, and giving political speeches; and his proposed budget is an embarrassment given the magnitude of our country’s ongoing financial problems.

In Congress only the Republicans are even attempting to deal with the fiscal and debt problem and so far they are dealing with trivial, not real spending or fiscal reform (although it is promised). The Democrats are essentially ignoring the problem and blocking even the inconsequential cuts proposed by Republicans for the remainder of this year (see above). When real leadership is essential, Obama and Congress have abdicated their responsibility to the nation and chosen posturing and rhetoric over work and accomplishment for the American people.

At the State level a few Governors are trying to deal with similar budget issues, but some Democrats have deserted their State Houses and fled their elected responsibilities (see “State Democrats Shun Democratic Process!”). Unions are sponsoring demonstrations in several states, which are disrupting our democratic processes and interfering with the ability of our democratically elected representatives (when present) to perform their legislative duties. This is a travesty and is not the way our democracy is intended to work.

Yes, our government is currently broken and it’s time to get to work. What should they be doing? First, after quickly resolving the ridiculous political stalemate over the debt limit and budget for the rest of this year, they should NOT make the fiscal situation worse and the government’s out-of-control spending and inefficiencies should be eliminated as soon as possible. The GAO report “Opportunities to Reduce Potential Duplication in Government Programs, Save Tax Dollars, and Enhance Revenue” has already identified unnecessary duplication, overlap, or fragmentation existing across our Federal Government totaling BILLIONS of dollars in ANNUAL SAVINGS. This is a good place to start.

Second, they should employ proven strategic management techniques. Any basic management course indicates that solving problems and capturing opportunities requires: setting long-term goals, reviewing historical performance to identify strengths and weaknesses, identifying and prioritizing alternative “comprehensive” solutions, acting on the best “comprehensive” solutions, and measuring and correcting course to improve performance. Our government needs to follow this agenda. The Bowles-Simpson, Co-Chairs Draft Report, “National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility”, is a reasonable draft proposal for identifying and establishing these goals and actions (some painful) to resolve the long-term financial crisis we face as a nation. It addresses all areas of government including its size, spending, and revenues and suggests major reform in income taxation and entitlement programs. This is also a good place to start. To date, neither President Obama nor Congress appears to be seriously considering the information and recommendations in either report.

“Big Government is Our Problem”! Let’s fix it and put our country back on a solid foundation with individual freedom, free markets, sound fiscal and monetary policy, economic growth, and limited government!

The Old Guy PhD

 


Big Government IS Our Problem!

February 11, 2011

G’Day!

President Reagan was right! Big government IS our problem. Many of you are justified in your frustration with government for its increasing size, spending, regulation, and control over our lives. Left unchecked (pun intended), our individual freedoms, ability as a nation to innovate, and competitiveness in the global economy will continue to be eroded. If government would get out of the way, business would improve, jobs would be created, and the country would prosper. Reforming both personal and business income taxes is also required and would further stimulate growth and job creation. Taxes will be the subject of future posts on this site.

The magnitude of our nation’s financial problem is enormous and growing! We anticipate a fiscal deficit of $1.6 trillion in 2011 and President Obama’s budget proposal for 2012 projects a further deficit of $1.1 trillion. Over the next 10 years the new Obama budget proposal projects a cumulative deficit of $7.2 trillion. Additionally, we currently have an overall national debt in excess of $14 trillion, nearly the size of our annual GDP, and according to the National Debt Clock, have unfunded “entitlement” liabilities for Social Security of $14.8 trillion, Prescription Drugs of $19.6 trillion, & Medicare of $78.1 trillion. This is a current total obligation for future generations of $112.5 trillion, nearly 8 times our total annual output and just over $1.0 MILLION per current taxpayer. This is madness and is unsustainable for our economy.

President Obama has impressive rhetoric, but his new “centrist” oratory is unconvincing and inconsistent with the actions of his administration. He has a very different view for the future of our government than I. Obama’s actions indicate the socialist belief that BIG government is the answer to most, if not all, issues. He is converting our personal freedoms and free market economy into a European-style collectivist society with strong central governmental control over our lives and appears to believe that central government can make better decisions for individuals than individuals can make for themselves in a free society. This is a dangerous trend toward expanded central planning and is not the constitutional basis for liberty upon which the Founding Fathers established our great nation. Oddly enough, Obama’s action is taking place at a time when the major European nations are moving in the opposite direction toward American ideals. I believe it was Abraham Lincoln who said, “Government should only do for the people what the people cannot do for themselves.” I fully agree.

If the current administration is not stopped, America’s freedoms, spirit of entrepreneurship, & economic strength could be set back for years and probably permanently diminished. Much has already been initiated with the new legislation for healthcare and financial reform. Both of these new acts add too much central governmental control over crucial industries and need to be repealed or modified to conform to the principles of our free market economy. Future posts will also explore these two subjects in more detail.

America is on an unfavorable and unsustainable course, which must be changed or we face extremely serious consequences for our economy and our freedoms. Ronald Reagan was right (additional pun intended) when he said the 9 scariest words are, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” It is time for us to take back our country.

Big government IS the problem; freedom is the answer.

The Old Guy PhD