The Challenge of Explaining the Critical Economic Mess To An Economically Ignorant Populous

Imagine that you live in a household that is neck-deep in debt.  Your credit is maxed out and the loan sharks are cracking their knuckles.  Then a supposed savior comes with the solution.  It involves putting a charge/expense on the usage of things that everyone uses in the household in order to generate more revenue to settle the debt.   Everyone using anything and everything from the fridge, the bed, or the automobiles had added fees ranging from 15 to 55 cents per usage.  Even the act of putting money away for a rainy day, retirement, or investing had an added fee in the top ranges.

To many this story sounds absurd and crazy.  And some may ask how can charging fees [taxes] on one’s most basic of activities and the very means of their production of income or wealth possibly be a way to bring in more wealth to get out of debt?  The answer is that it simply doesn’t.  But this is what is being proposed by both the political party leaders in the D.C. and Mr. Obama.  Rather than deal with the root issue of the maxing out of the credit card and spending way beyond its means, the government seeks just to squeeze more coins out of the house [the nation] that could possibly go towards producing more revenue to at least pay down the house’s debt and put it on the path to economic freedom and prosperity. It instead purchases more credit; thereby going into more debt to the loan sharks and the debt holders.

Sir Winston Churchill may have said it best when he said, “We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle”.  According to the government of the United States government brings in approx. $2,448,596,456,780.  But, it spends approx. $3,538,167,445,264.  One doesn’t have to be a mathematician to see that that’s economical hole more than a trillion dollars.  The federal government’s total debt is over $16 trillion – $5 trillion of which Mr. Obama added just in his first term alone.  I know that these numbers makes some peoples eyes go cross-ways, but to bring it closer to home the total U.S governments debt breaks down to over astoundingly $140 thousand per U.S Taxpayer.  There is no honest talk, if any at all, of cutting up the credit cards of the federal government and reducing it’s spending on all but the truest essentials, paying on the debt and interest, and or incentivizing more economic growth for the benefit of the nation’s posterity.

The analogy maybe simple, but the economic crisis that currently faces the nation, via the federal government, is no more complicated than the government spending more than in brings in and the American people not properly holding it accountable. The solutions being presented by Mr. Obama and the Republican House Speaker, whose party is supposed to be for limited government and low taxes, is to make revenue generating actions and activities cost more, and thus disincentivized those actions and activities from being engaged in, such as research and development by businesses, starting a new business, investing and savings by both individuals and businesses, and small business expansion and job creation, the actual things that can make us economically solvent again.  These such activities, or the lack thereof, do not occur in a vacuum, but have ripple effects that vibrates throughout the national economy.

But as egregious as the actions or inactions of the federal government are, what maybe even more unforgivable is the inability or unwillingness of the American people to hold the government and politicians accountable.  Too many Americans are oblivious regarding the dire straights the nation is in financially, and many others couldn’t care less.  Too many Americans have been conditioned to view political matters as something that can be left as someone else’s responsibility.  Too many taxpayers have no real idea how much in taxes they’re actually paying and where their money is going.  Too many Americans know more about the actions and activities of entertainers and sports athletes, who have no true affects on our lives, and have no idea who their congressional representative is or how their taxes will be effected through either the sequestration, the Bush Tax Cuts, Obamacare, or any of the  hundreds of laws that are annually passed in the Congress.  It truly doesn’t matter what the politicians do in D.C in the next couple of days if the majority of the populous have no real idea what they should be doing. The citizens of the United States and the American people have the representative government that we deserve and demand.  Jefferson warned us to be eternally vigilant to ensure that the government acts in our best interest.  If it doesn’t, and does so with impunity, we have only ourselves to blame.  And if the house’s finances are not put in order or at least be put on a path towards that end very soon led by a politically informed and engaged populous the nation will have no credit standings and the loan sharks will be doing more than cracking their knuckles.

The American People Are Being Served As Dinner By Both Parties Of The United States Government, Again!

Tell me if you have heard this one before. Two hunters invite a duck over for dinner.  The duck puts on his Sunday’s best for the occasion, for he feels honored that so much fuss is being made for his benefit.  Upon entering the home he notices that the stove has boiling pots of water on it and the oven is on when the two hunters comes to him with napkins around their necks and each with a knife and fork in hand. They ask the duck, guess what’s for dinner?

Today it is the American people who are playing the part of the duck, and the two main political parties are playing the part of the hunters in this so-call “Fiscal Cliff” production that is being preformed in the nation’s federal seat.  Both parties are doing an orchestrated rhino dance with no real intention to do what really needs to be done to strengthen America’s financial position and thus not cause each other any real injuries to their ultimate goal.

First let’s not be so distracted that we lose site of how we got to this “cliff” in the first place.  Two years ago the two parties supposedly at the very last minute saved the nation from imminent financial doom by coming to an agreement to increase the federal government’s borrowing limits; so it could go into more debt, just slower.  The main stipulation for the agreement was that both parties had to find a way to cut spending. But, if the two parties could not reach agreement on cuts then they agreed that cuts would be imposed automatically at end of 2012 on both party’s sacred calves, for the Republicans it was defense, and for the Democrats it was domestic spending.  The division came to $109.3 billion per year.  Basically, the “national defense” and all non-defense program cuts would come to just $54.7 billion per year for only 9 years, to total just a little over $1 trillion in debt reduction. That was the agreed upon deal by the best minds and negotiators from both parties. Right?

Now most interestingly, in order to work out a compromise neither party picked any moderates nor anyone who could pass as a fiscal hawk; someone who had a reputation of wanting to reduce government spending.  And they met primarily in secret, behind close doors.  So, surprise!  No compromise.

So here we again.  We have the same players doing a strangely similar dance only to a different track beat.  The nation faces another imminent financial catastrophe that only Democrat and Republican leaders coming together in Washington can save the nation from.   But yet again there’s no real talk of getting America truly financially solvent.  There is no talk about truly cutting spending or even getting close to a balance budget.  Here are some interesting points to keep in mind:  Just in Mr. Obama’s first term he has piled over $5 Trillion to the government’s debt, more than all of the previous Presidents COMBINED!  Yet, he has only talked about reducing the debt by $4 trillion of 10 years; Mr. O seems to be fixated on taxing the “rich”.  But, according to a recent Forbes article, the federal gov’t would have to collect at least $8 trillion in taxes per year just to not go further in the hole – which is more than the average yearly accrued liabilities of just the two largest entitlement programs-Social Security and Medicare.  But if you take the total adjusted gross income of every taxpayer earning even more than $66,000 a year it would only come to just $5.1 trillion. And the income from those “evil” corporations is only $1.6 trillion.  If the government was to take all of this, it still wouldn’t be enough to even pay the annual increases. And keep in mind that the gov’t can only take this money once.  Once it’s gone, it’s gone. And as for the Republicans, the party who’s supposed to champion smaller government and limited spending, their leaders seem to be unable, or unwilling, to vociferously make the case that the government is financially insolvent and the monstrous debt that it is piling up will be bared by future generations by dramatically lower standard of living and diminished world economic standing.

What hasn’t been explained to the American people is what exactly the so-called Fiscal Cliff is.  It is made up of three main components, the agreed upon resolution in the Budget Control Act of 2011 of across-the-board spending cuts –sequestration; the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, which would bring taxes back to pre-tax cut rates, thus causing the highest tax increase in U.S history; and also the New taxes to be imposed by the Affordable Care Act, i.e., Obamacare, that brings $500 billion to $1 trillion-plus in tax hikes over the next 10 years starting in January.  Interestingly, very little, if anything is being mentioned of the taxes of Obamacare that are to negatively affect every U.S taxpayer and American, thus further stymie an already depressed economy. Every thing is being focused by the Establishment Media on the totally reneging on the 2011 agreement, which was to cut cost and reduce the government’s crushing debt, and the extension of the Bush tax cuts for all but the high producers and tax-brackets – none of which would lower the government’s debt, reduce government spending, or spurs the nation’s economic growth.  In fact these issues aren’t even mention honestly in the debate from either side.  And Mr. O even admitted during an interview with ABC News reporter Charles Gibson that raising taxes on the rich has nothing to do with better economics or the betterment of the nation fiscal position, but “fairness”.  Fact is that the federal government does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem.  It is spending more than $1 trillion more than what it brings in annually.

What the government is engaged in is a masterful production of double-speak and verbal word contortion to deliberately disguise, distort, or reverse the meaning of words and its true intent and motives.  Lumping all of the three main issues into one presentation to the people of American in a highly-charged emotional crisis is to further govern by fear and crisis.  Jefferson prophetically said that “Fear can only prevail when victims are ignorant of the facts.” And John Adams said of government, “fear is the foundation of most governments.”  Since September 11, 2001 a very good argument can be made that the government of the United States has governed the American people not with optimistic aspirations to lead towards America’s freedom and prosperity, but it has chosen to lead with perpetual states of crisis and fear to lead the nation towards governmental dependency and economic impoverishment.   We get so caught up in what is being said by political leaders, and not enough on what is not being said.

The Party leaders are fighting not to free the people of America from its treacherous economic mis-management, but seemingly fighting to leave its taxpayers and America unknowingly liable and holding the bag and saddling America’s posterity with unsustainable financial debt and second-class world citizenship.  It is evident by their actions.  They should be fighting for the common ground of what will make the nation prosperous.  They should be discussing ways to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, putting more money in the people’s pockets, while reducing it’s spending till it is more in line to it’s revenues, and reducing any and all economically repugnant portions of any legislation, including Obamacare.  Why aren’t the parties discussing anything along these lines?  Why is Mr. Obama stubbornly pushing an ideology and policy that he himself has stated will not lead the nation to economic prosperity nor lower the debt of the government? And why is the Establishment Media not seeking to educate or truly inform the American people of the intent and motivations of the government and its policies and possible effects they may have on us and the nation?  Let the truth be known, though troubling to believe, they are performing their roles purposely to perfection.  The question we should be asking is why?

There is no truth more self-evident that giving free-minded people truth and knowledge they will not have anything to fear and they will chose what is best.  The crime is that we the people are not giving that opportunity.  But, at the end of the day it is up to each free-minded person to take the responsibility to be educated on the motives and actions of those we place in governance, to hold them accountable for what they do and do not do.  Or alas it will be the carcass of the American people that future historians will discover on the doused embers of this great nation.

Loss of Moral Compass Is The Root of America’s Decline

I had a discussion with a friend the other day about the Presidential Election and how so many of her friends who are devout Democrats, but are not into the apparent growing entitlement mindset.  When I attempted to explain that people such as her friends who unabashedly embrace this new extreme political liberalism, and progressivism, would be shouted down as bleeding Communist and or un-American just 30 or 40 years ago and would have not dared to let such expressions be uttered publically.  This ever growing notion that everything bad that happens to someone is the fault of someone else, that if someone goes through life making bad decisions they can then look to take the wealth and benefits of those who have made good life decisions, and that the government, in particularly the federal government,  should do for someone which they chose to not do for themselves, i.e. provide them healthcare, retirement, or education, is relatively a new state of mind that has taken nearly 60 years. Since the “New Deal” and the “Great Society” enactments, governmental-paternalism and the relinquishment of all personal accountability and responsibility has now become generally accepted by a great number of Americans.

Today Americans actually view Socialism and Communism favorably; some preferably, to American Capitalism.  We have more Americans on Welfare and receiving some form of government assistance to meet basic living needs.  This would have been intellectually repugnant to Americans in my grandparent’s day.  But when one lives in a time when the notion of absolutes-that there are limits on one’s behavior and conduct- and traditional Americanism, such as a belief in God, love of this country, devotion to the family and union between a man and a woman, you have the right to what you earn, and respect for elders, is viewed as radical and cruel, what is there to stop the slide into the social moral abyss where everything and anything is acceptable?

As recently as last year a NY Times article by David Brooks stated  of an eminent Notre Dame sociologist’s  research of some  230 young adults from across America, “The default position, which most of them came back to again and again, is that moral choices are just a matter of individual taste. “It’s personal,” the respondents typically said. ‘It’s up to the individual. Who am I to say?’ I think that this type of attitude expressed sums up what a critical situation our nation is in morally.  This notion that one’s actions and behavior is strictly a matter of individual taste or choice is the genesis of this anti-judgment culture – where no one is allowed to judge someone else based on their actions.  Particularly if those actions result in negative consequences.  But, when those actions go astray, it is someone else who is the blame and who has to bear the cost of it.

What this mentality does is stifle and repress all critical discussions, constructive criticism, and any attempt for correction. The negative effects that may come from someone’s actions and the consequences thereof matters little when it comes to how it makes the individual feel.  If a woman wants to have 10 children, with no man in the home, no one else can judge because it’s a matter of her personal choice.  If an ethnic group chooses to wear their pants down below their rear ends and act in a perpetually angry and self-destructive manner, no one else can judge because it’s a matter of their personal choice.  If someone choses to only read romance novels and the sports pages, and only watch entertainment type productions on TV, therefore leaving them totally ignorant about issues that truly can affect  his or her life positively, no one else can judge because it’s a matter of their personal choice.   And if people chose not to prepare financially, spend more than they can themselves afford, and simply seeks to exist off of the labor, property, or benefit of others, no one else can judge because it’s a matter of their personal choice.  If our culture begins to simply be about the “Me” and now, not taking into account what the effects may be on the surrounding social environment today and in the future, no one else can judge because it’s a matter of their personal choice.  It’s all good.  Right?

Morality is defined as “the rightness or wrongness of something as judged by accepted moral standards.”  This great nation’s Christian foundation isn’t written in stone, no more than English being our official language.  It was presumed to be eternally self-evident through our actions and societal standards.  The very principle of taking from one American based on their wealth to give to another simply based on their lack thereof, by force via the government, used to be totally unacceptable in this nation.  Right and wrong behavior used to be more clearly identifiable as measured by our Biblical foundation.  And as a community of individuals we use to feel that it was our right to speak out on behaviors and actions that we thought to be out of line or inappropriate based on our foundation.

But those days seem to be going the way of the 8-Track Tape Player and the 18 year old virgin.  The people of the United States today have become a nation of no apparent standards, no absolutes. Where nearly anything and everything goes or can be excused.  Christianity is under constant assault in the nation and marginalized as to not offend other religions.  Ethics are on the decline amongst the young.  And Socialism is no long a four letter work culturally, as evident by the re-election of a man whom espouses nothing but a Marxist ideology of wealth redistribution and the dismantling of America’s fundamental base of individual responsibility and self-governance.  So with such a man as the face of America, his America appears to be the new norm.  One that is in decay and decline.

But, at the end of the day it comes down to what we as a nation of free-minded individuals are willing to accept morally.  What are we to accept as right and wrong, good and bad?  Does the question any longer matter?  Alexis de Tocqueville said once about America greatness, “America is great because America is good. If America ever ceases to be good it will cease to be great.”  It is up to us to choose.