Friday, December 2, 2016

Reality Check for the Left - Trump's and Pence's Carrier Deal

It's been fascinating seeing all of the various reactions by people over the deal that has been worked out between the incoming Trump presidential and current Pence gubernatorial (and incoming vice-president) administrations over keeping approximately 1,000 jobs in Indiana that Carrier had previously said would be moving to Mexico.  The howls from the left, whose political marketing and spin agents tried to use Carrier's plans as criticism of the Indiana Republican Gubernatorial administration (but somehow not the Federal government and Obama administration?) are now howling that some corporation is getting what they believe, because they don't know how things work*, "freebies" from taxpayers.  It's funny when the biggest proponents of "freebies" howl about somebody getting "freebies", but I digress.

There are some economic forces at work over the last 20 years that are affecting our economy overall, like how software, automation and centralization are eating big parts of the economy. But, we must also acknowledge that it is true that the economy is global now and we compete intensely with other countries for labor and manufacturing resources. In the future the biggest markets for products will no longer be the United States, but China and India who collectively have around eight times as money people. Those screaming the loudest about this deal (to keep roughly 1,000 people employed) fail to acknowledge a few things...
(a) capital flows where capital is treated best. Don't like people setting up their corporate HQ or stashing cash/profits in the Caymens? Don't threaten to take 30 or 50 percent of it!
(b) if you create and maintain an environment where capital is treated well and your workforce is competitive capital will stay or flow there [low taxes, low regulation, low barriers to market entry, protection of private property rights, educated population]
(c) the federal government controls the greater portion of regulations, mandates and tax levies
(d) states MAY be having to offer extraordinary incentives to offset Federal overreach, mandates and one of the highest corporate tax rates in the developed world.
**IF** you support confiscatory taxation, massive government imposed benefits, unreasonable or internationally uncompetitive regulations, outrageous wage demands, continue to oppose massive updating and reform in the education system and believe anyone with pooled capital that can be put to use in the economy is evil ... well, YOU might be the problem.
Companies are morally obligated to be competitive and earn a profit, to not do so jeopardizes EVERYONE's job at the company regardless of geography AND every cent of investors' money (which for publicly traded companies might include public sector pension funds, 401ks, IRAs, trusts, other institutional investors and individuals.
So, also remember, you can hate big public corporations all you want, sometimes they do absolutely deserve criticism, but a lot of those profits and capital gains end up being used to expand a company or update its capabilities. Some of those gains end in your neighborhood teacher's, firefighter's or even a co-workers retirement fund not just some CEO's pocket.


*ADDENDUM: Many of the incentives in these kinds of deals are not "freebies". They often come in the form of rebates on future tax liabilities in exchange for hiring or retaining a certain number of workers, training workers and other things.  I have been a close party to these kinds of economic incentive discussions before.  It generally isn't just a check written from taxpayers to a company, it is a deduction on their future taxes for investing long-term in the city or state they reside in.  I'm not necessarily addressing specifics of this deal and this is not necessarily an endorsement of these kinds of deals, but isn't like a lot of welfare programs where money is stolen from one taxpayer and just handed over to another who has not earned it.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Phrase "A Well Regulated Militia" Has No Impact On Your Rights

Those opposed to individual rights and who believe that a woman being raped is morally superior to her being able to defend herself against a (generally) larger and stronger male attacker like to look at the 2nd Amendment and try and argue that the clause "A Well Regulated Militia" at the beginning of it somehow limits the intent of the very plainly worded "The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms Shall Not Be Infringed."

It is important to note that it very plainly says, "The Right of the People."  It does not say The Right of the "Militia" or the "Army" or "Specially Trained Operational Units".   And it would be odd if sandwiched in the middle of a bunch of rights that the government is barred from taking from the people it were to throw in some specially privileged group.

So, let us be very clear that the phrase, "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state" means no more than if the 1st Amendment said, "Because some people think Purple is the best color and others just love Jesus, Congress shall make no law...."

And for those who think that those who wrote and approved of that document thought they must have meant only the muskets available at the time.  Let us remember that these were generally very smart people who knew technology would advance over time and who had just fought for their right to secede against the greatest military power on the planet.  They knew what they were doing and what they were protecting and it wasn't the right to hunt deer.

The musket argument is no different than suggesting that the 1st Amendment's protection of free speech was limited to the movable type and one page at a time printing presses available at that time since the framers could not possibly have imagined the telegraph, radio, high-speed printing presses, television or the Internet.  They fully expected that any individual would be able to arm themselves with firepower equal to any typical, regular soldier or officer of the military [note: before someone who lacks reading comprehension skills tries to say something about nuclear or biological weapons, read the statement again where it says "typical, regular soldier or officer of the military" - hint, they don't generally give just anybody the pass codes to "the football"].

Now that we have completely settled this debate, we can move on.  And anytime some anti-rights, pro-crime, anti-self defense, apoplectic, promoter of all things statist throws out "...well regulated militia..." in one of your spirited Facebook (or other) debates, you can just repost this article.  Because, that is what I'm going to do.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Is Economic Freedom in America on the Wane?

Great (and short) video discussing some chilling facts about the decline of economic freedom in the United States and the connection between economic freedom, economic growth and our standard of living.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

"The End of Liberty" Movie

This (slightly more than an) hour long video is excellent and well worth watching. It makes some excellent points and, fascinatingly to me, my home state of Indiana gets mentioned twice as being a place where laws are getting out of control. One mention regarded the requirement to show ID to buy alcohol no matter one's apparent age, the other mention was slightly more ominous.




Beauchamp

A self-centered person, usually male, who compensates for an inferiority complex by promoting an air of superiority in the belittlement and condemnation of others while employing an arrogant, showy peacock-like behavior that attempts to impress those around them with false bravado, pretentiousness and material possessions.
Uncomfortable with his less than impressive penis, the owner of the cab company became a real beauchamp treating his male and female love interests with arrogant condescension and laughable attempts at sophistication. Scott had money, however, it was not enough to keep his partners from seeking affection and sexual gratification in the arms of their other lovers.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tired of Being Told You "Blame America" ?

In a foreign policy discussion with some supposed Tea Party members where I engaged with lots of historical facts, information and philosophy I got one of those Hannity told them to say this responses like, "you just hate and want to blame America" and your only purpose is to "...tear down America."

I've written before on America's interventionist foreign policy missteps and ensuing blowback with "A Message For Pro-Interventionist Conservatives and Liberals" and at the beginning of "Ron Paul, CPAC and Loathing by the Ideologically Unprincipled and Intellectually Dishonest"

But, that "blame America" retort is just smarmy and usually thrown out by someone working their hardest to either be willfully ignorant of the facts or to ignore them in favor of endorsing the idea of being the world's bully. Of course, the people who argue these points will always be the first to tell you that government ruins nearly everything it touches (it does), can't do anything right, can't do anything cost effectively, etc. But, they somehow always exclude foreign policy or military activity from their laundry list. It is somehow, magically immune?

So, the next time this comes up with a so-called Conservative ... ask some simple questions. Maybe like this.

You suggest I blame (the) America(n government) for a lot of our trouble with overseas nations and people. So, let me ask you ...


Do you "blame America" for ... 
for high taxes?
for high regulation?
for ignoring its own Constitution?
for our sour economy?
for our jobs going overseas?
for stealing form taxpayers to bail out corporations like banks and auto companies?
for its $15 trillion debt? [January, 2013 update: Now $16.5 trillion]
for threatening your right to self-defense?
for crony capitalism?
for screwing up the healthcare system?
for dishonesty in government?
for electing idiots, socialists or worse?
for insecure borders?
for not drilling for oil?
for the welfare state?
for Fannie and Freddie?
for ignoring state's rights?
Do you "blame America" for any or lots of other things?

So, let me get this right ... you are upset with me and call me anti-American because I "blame America", and really just its politicians and misguided policy makers, for just one more thing than you do?



Monday, November 14, 2011

The Conservative Intellectual Dilemma Over Who Has Rights

In an all too frequent political discussion on Facebook, this time with Brian Gaddie, one of my unashamed far left liberal friends, he kindly pointed out that he appreciated Congressman Ron Paul's opposition to torture. This prompted a quick thought I've had about rights. And, really, a lot of this discussion must ultimately rest on the nature of our rights as sentient, self-aware beings who value life with each of us being the legitimate owners of our own selves who take positive action to support or enhance that life.

There is an excellent write up at The Objective Standard regarding the nature of rights that I highly recommend reading, especially since it offers up a theory that does not depend on the existence of God. This is important, because if God cannot be proven than your rights cannot be proven if you solely rest the existence of them on its existence.

But, back to the point. Certainly, nobody in the United States would support kidnapping someone off the street, failing to give them due process, failing to find them guilty in any kind of trial but instead just sticking them in a secret room and torturing them just in case they might know something useful. This would be such a vast violation of rights and the character of who are SUPPOSED to be as a nation.

But, it did prompt me to post my comment from Brian's thread on a broader topic of the nature of our rights and why I think the typical Conservative has an intellectual dilemma that they either must resolve by becoming more authoritarian and deciding that we only have the rights our respective governments grant to us OR that all human beings have rights that come about by way of our existence as sentient, self-aware beings.


Brian - regarding torture. Conservatives have an intellectual dilemma that they must resolve.


Most Conservatives would argue that our rights come from our creator (God, the creative force of the universe or whatever mechanism by which we are sentient, self-aware beings). This is clearly stated in the Declaration of Independence as a founding principle of our country. That we have rights (life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness) that nobody, not even government - except as compensation for a harm done to another - can take away.


BUT THEN, in the same breath, they would suggest that immigrants, accused terrorists or other people not born here don't have the same rights.


This is intellectually inconsistent. Either our rights come from the creator OR they come from government by nature of which borders we are unlucky enough to be born between.


They must decide. And I appreciate Ron Paul consistently showing intellectual honesty in all matters, including torture as I very much appreciate you pointing out.



Friday, August 12, 2011

National Debt After Each Administration - 1976 to present

(note: this article is periodically updated just to keep the data current)

The national debt, per capita after each Presidential administration [election year] from Ford (1976) to Obama (Present):

(figures are approximate)

1976 After Gerald Ford  - $2,844
1980 After Jimmy Carter  - $4,352
1988 After Ronald Reagan  - $12,000
1992 After George HW Bush  - $15,875
2000 After Bill Clinton  - $20,121
2008 After George W. Bush  - $31,600

2012 After Obama (1st term)  - $52,300 [and still counting]

2014 Obama 2nd mid-term (Dec) -  $57,067      [total of $18.039 Trillion and still counting]
2016 Obama (Sep 2016) - $61,442 [total of $19.5 trillion an still counting, $160,000 per family]

The debt debate is nothing new. It is not an Obama problem. It is not a Democrat or Republican problem. The two major political cults (parties) have held hands in the spirit of "compromise" for decades to send us over this cliff.

And "compromise" is a code word that a lot of people like but it really means that both sides will "compromise" the principles of those that elect them in order to say they accomplished something.

Dave Ramsey was recently quoted in a snippet that went viral on Facebook, "‎"If the US Government was a family, they would be making $58,000 a year, they spend $75,000 a year & have $327,000 in credit card debt. They are currently proposing BIG spending cuts to reduce their spending to $72,000 a year. These are the actual proportions of the federal budget & debt, reduced to a level that we can understand."

I think it is important to point out that Dave left out the $2,000,000 mortgage that this family has (we get this by looking at the additional $90 trillion in "future obligations" that our government already calculates it has committed to).



Interest on the Debt Consumes Almost HALF of Personal Income Taxes

I attended Congressman Dan Burton's (R-IN 5th) town hall in Carmel this past evening and was pleased to hear him reference some cooperative efforts he has with Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) but he said something very early on in his talk about U.S. fiscal matters that caught my attention.

He made a statement basically saying that interest on the debt consumed 46 cents out of every tax dollar and that they then had only around 54 cents to spend on everything else like the military, social security, etc... Immediately this struck me as untrue but I knew he likely didn't pull that number out of thin air. But, it did get me to thinking and I worked out the math on the back of one of his political flyers.

We are quickly approaching the point where annual debt service is around $500 billion (one half trillion dollars).

The Federal government budget is around $3.6 to $3.7 trillion.

Federal tax receipts are in the $2.15 trillion area.

Of that $2.2 trillion, a little less than $1 trillion is Personal Income Taxes.

So, interest payment on the debt, will likely run well over $450 billion for the current fiscal year.

$450 billion is:

...about 12% of the total Federal budget.

...about 21% of all expected 2011 Federal tax receipts.

...about 46% of all expected 2011 Federal PERSONAL INCOME taxes.


So, there you have it. Out of every dollar in PERSONAL INCOME TAXES almost half of it now goes solely to pay interest on the national debt. So, the only error the Congressman made was in not being specific enough in his language. He was, basically, correct in his statement. Anybody with two brain cells to rub together still need a wake up call?

The Federal Government is too big and it costs too much. Repeat until it sinks in.