Tag Archives: economics

News you may have missed 1/13

As it is an election year, it is more important than usual to focus on the news so that we can all be better prepared to counter any liberal lie that may come our way…but if you can’t speed read who has time for that?  Thus, I’m going to try going back to something I used to do and every week have a highlight of articles you may have missed in paying attention to only the top stories or just didn’t have time for at all.  Obviously, if you have time you shouldn’t use just me, but hopefully I’ll turn up one or two pieces that you missed and will enjoy.

Israel and Peace: A current analysis of the problems presented by Palestinian refusal to accept anything the resembles peace.

10 Surprising Government Programs That Are Costing You $10.2 Billion  Just a brief highlight of a few of the programs wasting your money.

6 KEY STATES TO WATCH IN 2014 ELECTIONS  Just so you know where to keep your eyes (and perhaps efforts on if your state is securely red in all categories)

Proposed IRS Rules Would Stifle Free Speech

choosewisely

Choose Graphics Wisely

Some needed advice on how to go about making political arguments on the internet.

 

 

 

 

 

Obama’s war on the poor

Real Unemployment Rate Of 11.5%

Don’t believe the whitewashing by the White House, this is not a recovery.

 

Ted Cruz Still Half Canadian

Gee, Ted, it’s not that hard to get rid of…one might think that you’ll all show and not even a little substance (and be honest here, to call this substance is reaching).

 

ANALYSIS: Obama’s 2014 strategy — my economy sucks

Thanks to Obama, Islamist militants will be the ultimate victors in Iraq and Afghanistan

6 Lies Millennials Must Reject

Who’d a-thunk it? States that vote Republican have higher volunteer rates than states leaning left

 

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Movies that understand economics #20 and 21: Atlas Shrugged & The Fountainhead

Review of Atlas Shrugged Part ISomehow I would be remiss not to mention the movies based on Ayn Rand’s novels when discussing movies about economics. The problem here is that while the movies, like Rand herself, have a solid understanding of the broad strokes of economics (liberty, limited government, low taxes and regulation lead to innovation, adaptation and prosperity), they don’t seem to actually get why this actually works. Rand’s understanding of economics is a lot like most people’s understanding of how the CPU of a computer works (“uh…uh…there’s some ones and zeroes and, and, and it translates into ons and offs and…um…uh…it just works. Why do I need to know why it works it just works.”) And, granted, that could make Rand seem really ignorant…but keep in mind that there are people who don’t even get that it works. How stupid do they have to be? (Krugman, I mean you and your mentally challenged drivel.)
But for all of her flaws she does have some correct ideas.
Probably because they seem to be having one problem after another with Atlas Shrugged (I am holding out zero hopes for part three, so I hope I won’t be disappointed…) it might be best to turn to The Fountainhead. Where, though somewhat shorter than in the book, the case for intellectual property is made in very clear terms. (It’s particularly interesting that some modern libertarians seem to be against the very necessary protection of intellectual property rights.)

Howard Roark: Thousands of years ago the first man discovered how to make fire. He was probably burned at the stake he had taught his brothers to light, but he left them a gift they had not conceived of, and he lifted darkness off the earth. Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision. The great creators, the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors, stood alone against the men of their time. Every new thought was opposed. Every new invention was denounced. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered, and they paid – but they won.
No creator was prompted by a desire to please his brothers. His brothers hated the gift he offered. His truth was his only motive. His work was his only goal. His work, not those who used it, his creation, not the benefits others derived from it. The creation which gave form to his truth. He held his truth above all things, and against all men. He went ahead whether others agreed with him or not. With his integrity as his only banner. He served nothing, and no one. He lived for himself. And only by living for himself was he able to achieve the things which are the glory of mankind. Such is the nature of achievement.
Man cannot survive except through his mind. He comes on earth unarmed. His brain is his only weapon. Howard RoarkBut the mind is an attribute of the individual, there is no such thing as a collective brain. The man who thinks must think and act on his own. The reasoning mind cannot work under any form of compulsion. It cannot not be subordinated to the needs, opinions, or wishes of others. It is not an object of sacrifice.
The creator stands on his own judgment. The parasite follows the opinions of others. The creator thinks, the parasite copies. The creator produces, the parasite loots. The creator’s concern is the conquest of nature – the parasite’s concern is the conquest of men. The creator requires independence, he neither serves nor rules. He deals with men by free exchange and voluntary choice. The parasite seeks power, he wants to bind all men together in common action and common slavery. He claims that man is only a tool for the use of others. That he must think as they think, act as they act, and live is selfless, joyless servitude to any need but his own. Look at history. Everything thing we have, every great achievement has come from the independent work of some independent mind. Every horror and destruction came from attempts to force men into a herd of brainless, soulless robots. Without personal rights, without personal ambition, without will, hope, or dignity. It is an ancient conflict. It has another name: the individual against the collective.
Our country, the noblest country in the history of men, was based on the principle of individualism. The principle of man’s inalienable rights. It was a country where a man was free to seek his own happiness, to gain and produce, not to give up and renounce. To prosper, not to starve. To achieve, not to plunder. To hold as his highest possession a sense of his personal value. And as his highest virtue, his self respect. Look at the results. That is what the collectivists are now asking you to destroy, as much of the earth has been destroyed.
I am an architect. I know what is to come by the principle on which it is built. We are approaching a world in which I cannot permit myself to live. My ideas are my property. They were taken from me by force, by breach of contract. No appeal was left to me. It was believed that my work belonged to others, to do with as they pleased. They had a claim upon me without my consent. That it was my duty to serve them without choice or reward. Now you know why I dynamited Cortlandt. I designed Cortlandt, I made it possible, I destroyed it. I agreed to design it for the purpose of seeing it built as I wished. That was the price I set for my work. I was not paid. My building was disfigured at the whim of others who took all the benefits of my work and gave me nothing in return. I came here to say that I do not recognize anyone’s right to one minute of my life. Nor to any part of my energy, nor to any achievement of mine. No matter who makes the claim. It had to be said. The world is perishing from an orgy of self-sacrificing. I came here to be heard. In the name of every man of independence still left in the world. I wanted to state my terms. I do not care to work or live on any others. My terms are a man’s right to exist for his own sake.

As I said she gets the broad strokes. That liberty, limited government and the human mind should be valued. But anything more detailed than:

My name is John Galt. I live in a place we call Atlantis, and I think you’d fit in there. It’s a place where heroes live; where those who want to be heroes live. The government we have there respects each of us as individuals and as producers. Actually, beyond a few courthouses there isn’t much government at all. Bottom line, Mr. Wyatt; if you’re weary of a government that refuses to limit its power over you, if you’re ready at this moment to claim the moral right to your own life, then we should leave, and I’ll take you there. I’ll take you to Atlantis.

And you’re really pushing it. She understood capitalism and individualism worked and any form of collectivism and socialism didn’t. And if you’re looking for a moral pick me up, her quotes can work quite well…if you’re looking for a technical answer as to why they work…you might want to dig into other economists and movies.

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Movies that understand economics #17, 18 and 19: A few movies with only a couple lines of understanding

 

 

Okay so there are a few movies with a brief glimmer of understanding about economics that I wanted to cover.  It’s not that the rest of the movie doesn’t understand economics…it’s that it really isn’t an issue so it felt better to just lump them all together.

 

 

#17 The Count of Monte Cristo

Count of Monte Cristo Cavill CavizelWhile digging out of the Chateau Dif Edmund Dantes is taught among other things, economics, which results in this little bit of banter:

 

Abbe Faria: Define Economics.

Edmond: Economics is a science that deals with the production, distribution, and consumption of commodities.

Abbe Faria: Translation?

Edmond: Dig first, money later.

 

It’s not a lot, but it has both the technical and the pragmatic side of economics, and most importantly, that nothing is free…so dig.

 

 

#18 The Dark Knight Rises

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The Dark Knight Rises, in fact the whole series, has some wonderful things to say about ethics, politics, sociology, and human nature…but it doesn’t often deal explicitly with economics, except in this one place, right after Bane has taken over the Gotham Stock Exchange.

 

Exchange Security Chief: You’ve gotta get in there!

Foley: This is a hostage situation.

Exchange Security Chief: No! No! No! This is a robbery! They have direct access to the online trading desk.

Foley: I’m not risking my men for your money.

Exchange Security Chief: It’s not our money, it’s everybody’s!

Police Officer: Really? Mine’s in my mattress.

Exchange Security Chief: You don’t put these guys down, that stuffing in your mattress might be worth a whole hell of a lot less.

 

It wonderfully takes on the idiocy of the mentality that economics isn’t a massive single thing.  That what happens in one place doesn’t happen elsewhere and that what affects one sector is completely unrelated to others.  Economics is a single mass where everything is connected, and to think that isolationism or just hiding your money in your mattress (both equally stupid) are going to protect you is absolutely foolish.*

 

#19 Casablanca

Casablanca Rick's Cafe

Again a great movie more for politics than for economics, but which in one brilliant moment understands economics than most of Washington D.C.

 

Woman Selling Her Diamonds:  But can’t you make it just a little more…?

Buyer:  Sorry, madame, but diamonds are a drag on the market:  everyone sells diamonds; there are diamonds everywhere …Two thousand four hundred.

Woman Selling Her Diamonds:  All right…

 

I love this scene because it shows something very realistic.  Nothing has intrinsic value.  Diamonds are only as valuable as they are rare (and that is only because the cartels keep the supply very fixed).  But if the market is suddenly flooded the price of diamonds, or gold or silver or anything valuable, drops. One only has to look at the massive inflation in Spain during the days the Conquistadors where they were shipping gold back by the ship-full to know this.

 

And if one were very intelligent they would know that this is why just basing currency off precious metals or stones would be foolish.  Any new discovery of a large mine could cause massive inflation, any industrial need for that metal could cause a massive shortage that would in turn result in massive deflation (which can often be worse than inflation).  Anyone who has read Friedman and Schwartz’s A Monetary History of the United States 1867-1960 knows that the gold standard was no guarantee against inflation or deflation (and often the cause of it) and thus anyone who argues returning to such practices knows nothing about basic facts of monetary policy.

 

And it’s all shown in that little moment where diamonds are not worth as much as they were a few years before.

 

*Okay what this movie does with Wayne’s stock trades makes no sense, but I’ll forgive it because it was something required to move the plot forward.

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Movies that understand economics #15: Dune

Arrakis. Dune. Wasteland of the Empire, and the most valuable planet in the Universe. Because it is here and only here, where spice is found. Without the spice, there is no commerce in the empire, no civilization. Arrakis. Dune. Home of the Spice, most valuable treasure in the universe. And he who controls it, controls our destiny.

DuneNow before we begin I’ll fully admit that a lot of this discussion will be shaded by a knowledge of the book that it is based off of.  I will also be confining my comments to the 2000 sci-if channel miniseries and not pulling anything from the 1980’s film…why?  Because pulling from a miniseries with some questionable production values but where the writers have actually read the book is far better than pulling from a movie that comes off as a bad acid trip that not only makes you wonder if the writers ever read the book, but if they even speak any of the languages the book has ever been translated into.  Also the movie doesn’t seem to understand any of the economic implications of the plot whereas the mini-series did.

For those of you not familiar with the story, shame on you, this is one of the greatest novels of the last century, go read it. But fine, I will give a brief summary of the events of the story.  Over 10,000 years in the future human beings have spread across the galaxy.   A galactic empire is maintained through commerce and the emperor’s elite personal military. Society has regressed into a form of feudalism with noble houses having control of whole planets. And all of this is maintained by faster than light travel made possible through the use of a chemical known as the Melange, or simply referred to as Spice. Without Spice faster than light travel becomes almost impossible, the empire will fall apart and humanity will fall into a new dark age. And Spice can only be found on one planet in the whole galaxy, the desert world of Arrakis. Better known as Dune. And this inhospitable world is populated only by the people who mine the Spice and a group of religious fanatics who live in the deep desert, the Fremen.  (Unless you’ve read the book you have no idea how much I’m leaving out just so I can focus on the economics.)

The fact that the entire universe is dependent on this one planet and its resources make it a contention point for every feudal house to desire control over Arrakis, for as the movie and book make quite clear, he who controls the Spice controls the universe.

So just to recap the entire universe is dependent on a single resource only found in a desert surrounded by religious fanatics. So for all the complicated sci-fi elements it’s just a metaphor for oil, and the stranglehold it has on our economy.  The Spice allows the economy of the future to run, just as our economy is based on cheap energy.  Without either the economy falls apart.

Now one should keep in mind that when this was written in the 1960’s a far greater portion of the world’s oil came from the OPEC cartel when they had the power to act almost as if they were a monopoly. And this is one of the things dealt with time and time again in Dune, the problems of monopolies.  There are lots of monopolies in Dune.  The emperor’s monopoly on military power, the Spacing Guild’s monopoly on interstellar travel, the Arrakis monopoly on Spice.  Lots and lots of monopolies throughout the universe.  And the problem is that when you have monopolies on essential items and services the entire system becomes very unstable. So unstable that one genius and/or lunatic with the power and will to destroy one of these could demand complete obedience from all the other parts—such is the hero of Dune.  But these downsides to monopolies are the ones you learned in high school, the ones designed to make you think the government was supposed to break up monopolies.

Of course what Dune makes clear, that your high school economics class did not, is that monopolies can’t exist without the presence of government power helping to sustain those monopolies and keeping competition down. That there are relatively few natural and permanent monopolies, and even they need government to sustain them.  All that is needed to break monopolies are the pressures that are usually provided by a functioning free market.    In reality most monopolies only come into existence with government help and are only sustained by government intervention.  The railroad of the 1800 are often touted as monopolies that needed to be broken up, but they were heavily subsidized and protected by the government in the early day.  Had the government not been involved at all no monopoly would have formed and no justification for government intervention would ever have been present. Even then you don’t need government to break up monopolies, the market will do that for you.  Just look at AT&T.  In the 1980’s it was broken up because it was one those terrible monopolies…the silly point about this is that as we now knew cellphones were just around the corner and would have destroyed the telephone monopoly on their own. OPEC exists only because a group of tyrannies and a few nations they bully hold a large portion of a needed resource…guess what, they over played their hand so much that we developed an efficient way to get at shale and now the US is the world’s largest producer of oil (sorry Saudi Arabia, but you’re still in the running for leading producer of fanatics…).

The fact is that for all the problems they create, monopolies are easily defeated by an unfettered free market. Even in Dune (if you read far enough) it is competition, not government mandates and regulations, that create alternatives to Arrakis, the Spice, and the Spacing Guild.   (In fact the universe is shown to do much better when there is no central empire but rather just free planets dealing with each other on a free market.)* If a market is so desirable that someone would want a monopoly, then by nature I will show you a field where there are multiple competitors who will prevent that very thing from happening. You show me a monopoly and I will show you a string of government acts and interventions that helped to create it.

The movie Dune, and more so the books, show among many basic economic principles** that not only are monopolies terrible things that cause problems but that they are due to the lack of free markets which create competition not because of them.

*Okay yes, the books also make it clear that organization is key when facing large scale evil, like an all encompassing evil empire bent on universal tyranny…but no sane person said the military wasn’t a just function of any government.

**There are at present 17 volumes in the Dune series with at least 4 more expected.   You could probably write volumes on any one of them about what they can show about politics, economics, ethics, psychology, sociology and a slew of other fields.

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Movies that understand economics #8: Million Dollar Baby

Million Dollar Baby

Characters who take risks.

No it’s not the title that has anything to do with economics. While all of Clint Eastwood’s films have a strain of conservatism running through them, this tale of a father-daughter relationship in boxing understands two key concepts in economics: Risk and Incentive.

The issues of risk comes into play with Eastwood’s character Frankie Dunn shows both the sides of risk. Early in the film he is afraid to take risks. He holds back fighters from title fights, fearing that they might get hurt, that they aren’t ready, that if something goes wrong they will lose their one chance for success. Because of this refusal to take risks he loses one fighter after another for his whole career. And he had failure time and time again. Economics tells us that real economic growth only comes from taking risks…anything else will just lead to hundreds of year of stagnation. Of course while growth and success can only be accomplished by risk…the film also shows that risk, comes, with, well, risk. In this case tragedy when Frankie’s fighter Maggie Fitzgerald Hillary Swank is paralyzed and ultimately dies.

Frankie Dunn: It wasn’t fault. I was wrong to say that.
Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris: You damn right. I found you a fighter. You made her the best fighter she could be.
Frankie: I killed her.
Eddie: Don’t say that. Maggie walked through that door with nothing buts guts. No chance in the world of being what she needed to be. It was because of you that she was fighting the championship of the world. You did that. People die everyday, Frankie – mopping floors, washing dishes and you know what their last thought is? I never got my shot. Because of you Maggie got her shot. If she dies today you know what her last thought would be? I think I did all right.

But the movie makes it quite clear that risk and the tragedy that may come of it, are better than stagnation.

How does it really drive this point home? Through a look at Maggie’s family. The embodiment of welfare trash.

Maggie: Not anymore. It’s all yours, Mama. For you and Mardell and the kids.
Earline (Mother): Mary M., you bought this for me?
Maggie: Yeah, all yours, free and clear. Darling….
Mardell (Sister): There’s no fridge. No stove neither.
Maggie: They’ll be here before you move in.
Earline: How much money did this cost you?
Maggie: Never mind that.
Earline: You shouldn’t have done this.
Maggie: You need a decent place.
Earline: You shouldn’t have done it. You should’ve asked me first. Government’s gonna find out about this, they’re gonna stop my welfare.
Maggie: Mama, no, they ain’t.
Earline: They are. You’re fine, you’re workin…but I can’t live without my welfare.
Maggie: Mama, I’ll send you money.
Earline: What about my medicine? Medicaid gonna cut me off. How am I supposed to get my medicine?
Maggie: I’ll send you more money.
Mardell: I hope you don’t expect J.D. to move in with us. He’s getting out, you know.
Why didn’t you just give me the money. Why’d you have to buy me a house?
Maggie: I didn’t have to Momma, but it’s yours. You want the money, sell it.
[…]
Earline: Find a man Mary M. Live proper. People hear about what you’re doin’ and they laugh. Hurts me to tell you, but they laugh at you. [Laughs]

Her family has no aspirations, has no drive, no goals, no virtue, and no redeeming characteristics. I would like to say they are merely a bad caricature of welfare dependency…sadly they are a far too accurate depiction of a far too common truth. When you have no incentive to do better because welfare and Medicaid and a dozen other programs can get you up to the income of about $45,000 a year, why would you even bother starting minimum wage job only on the hope (the risk, if you will) that through hard work, personal sacrifice, and long hours you’ll get something better. When people have no incentive to do better (and no one is going to pay you $45,000 out the door) it’s only human nature to not want to work that hard.

Even then, it is only that Maggie has a different incentive other than money that drives her to push herself, self respect and happiness. It is the incentives for these things that push her, making her not an exception to the idea that incentives are what drive people, but rather stark proof of this economic fact.

Maggie: Momma, you take Mardell and JD and get home ‘fore I tell that lawyer there that you were so worried about your welfare you never signed those house papers like you were supposed to. So anytime I feel like it I can sell that house from under your fat, lazy, hillbilly ass. And if you ever come back, that’s exactly what I’ll do.

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Movies that understand economics: #7 Morning Glory

Morning Glory

“Daybreak needs what I need, someone who believes that it can succeed. Trust me, I know you don’t have any reason to believe in me, but I work harder than anyone else. I’m in first, I’m out last. I know a shitload more about the news than someone whose daddy paid them to smoke bongs and talk semiotics at Harvard and I devote myself completely to my job. It’s what I do. It’s all I am. I… You can ask anyone.”

At this point I’m pretty sure you think I’m losing my mind (or that I am really desperate to find movies with economic premises)*–how is a silly comedy (that has a romantic subplot, but not enough of one to call it a romantic comedy) going demonstrate economics? Just trust me that I do know what I’m talking about. For those that don’t know the film, Rachel McAdams plays Becky Fuller an inexperienced executive producer who has been given the very undesirable job of bringing the worst morning news show in history up in the ratings…and her genius idea is to bring a veteran hard news anchor, played by Harrison Ford, who doesn’t want to be there, on to the very light news morning show. Hilarity and infighting ensues. But buried in this pure entertainment story are a few economic truths.

innovation

On the left are industries that live under the rules of adapt or die. On the right are organizations that don’t live with that fact…see the difference.

The first is the most basic of all economic principles at the heart of capitalism: adapt or die. The entire central plot is about brining up a failing TV show in the ratings. And the only way this happens is by throwing out old rules and changing the format of the show. This includes more sensationalism, making deals with celebrities that no other show would ever make, having the anchors bicker on air because it brings in more ratings. Adapt or die. Every company on earth (when they’re not being bailed out by morons who don’t understand capitalism) faces this basic principle. And it’s a good thing. As shown in the movie it forces the people on the TV show to adapt, to innovate, to come up with new things that work. It forces the show and the people, people who had previously given up, to come up with new ways of doing things, to be better and create things that work. Adapt or die, it is what turns $50,000+ worth of equipment in 1985 taking up probably half a ton of mass, into your smart phone that cost you $300 and about a pound of mass.

And this ties to the last two movies and the idea of creative destruction. As most companies try to avoid being the victim of creative destruction they have the choice to grow and not die. Which the show in this movie does. It is what drives a healthy economy, the need to survive forces us to grow and produce better and cheaper products.

And tied to this is this principle of adapt or die is the idea of being a leader. No organization or person can grow without being willing to make decisions.

One of the best descriptions on leadership goes as follows:

The difference between a good administrator and a bad one is about five heartbeats. Good administrators make immediate choices … [that] usually can be made to work. A bad administrator, on the other hand, hesitates, diddles around, asks for committees, for research and reports. Eventually, he acts in ways which create serious problems … A bad administrator is more concerned with reports than with decisions. He wants the hard record which he can display as an excuse for his errors … [Good administrators] depend on verbal orders. They never lie about what they’ve done if their verbal orders cause problems, and they surround themselves with people able to act wisely on the basis of verbal orders. Often, the most important piece of information is that something has gone wrong. Bad administrators hide their mistakes until it’s too late to make corrections … One of the hardest things to find is people who actually make decisions.—Frank Herbert, God Emperor of Dune

jimmy carter sex offender

The movie covers the importance of reporting the truth when others won’t.

And the character of Becky Fuller displays this trait perfectly. Within minutes of taking her new job she is bombarded with not only a huge amount of choices but also a grossly inept employee…but rather than saying things like “I’ll get back to you” and consult others she makes choices right there based on her own judgment. And rather than deal with a clearly toxic and useless employee she just fires him because he is absolutely worthless. She makes judgment calls and works with the fallout rather than blaming others. No company, no organization, no individual can progress without this; making immediate choices and working with the fallout. No economy can survive or grow without such leaders. A shame we don’t have anything like that on Pennsylvania Avenue.

*both may be correct to one degree or another, but that doesn’t negate my point about this film.

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Movies that understand economics # 2 The Terminal

The Terminal

 

 

The Terminal.  Given the writers, director, or lead actor, it’s quite frankly a miracle that this movie understands even that money is used to buy things let alone the numerous economic principles it does seem to get.  I’m chalking this up to one of those monkeys at typewriters moments.

 

But one of the clearest moments that this movie demonstrates economics is with the concepts of incentives, opportunity costs and comparative advantage.  Yes I know your brain is probably already trying to run away…but stay with me for a second.  In the film Victor Narvoski is held in the terminal of JFK airport because of a snafu in regulations.  He has no money, but can’t leave. But he finds that there is a system in the airport whereby returning a cart for luggage to the dispensers where they originated will give a quarter for each cart.  The quarters are offered as incentives to perform this mildly annoying task (the same reason your salary is an incentive to do all the parts of your job, even the parts you don’t like).  However, to most of us, a quarter isn’t a big incentive, thus we have no reason to waste our time putting the thing back for just a quarter (this is opportunity cost, the idea we can use resources only once, in this case, time, and we will probably get more satisfaction out of reading, or sleeping or just resting than we will out of a quarter).  However, Victor has a huge incentive to get quarters, because quarters mean food.  Also, because he doesn’t have anything else to do, whereas most people in an airport do, he has a comparative advantage over them, he can spend time getting lots of carts and returning them, whereas other people do not.  Incentives drive everything, if you don’t have the incentive to do something, it won’t get done…which is probably why Welfare shouldn’t offer about 45,000K a year in benefits…because if you do offer that much in benefits no one has any incentive to work if they can’t make more than that.

One of the things that The Terminal implicitly understands is the incredibly harmful nature of government, bureaucrats and arbitrary rules. The movie literally begins with a group of Chinese immigrants with fake passports being captured (why were they running…probably because China is a despotic hellhole, what will happen when they’re sent back?  Well if they’re lucky, death. Real refugees are seldom so lucky from a nation that has actually crucified people in the last century.)  This is what governments do, they hurt people. (Let’s not even talk about how ICE’s primary function seems to be keeping refugees and qualified workers out of the country while ensuring that welfare seeking illegals and cartels can get through.)  Of course this whole movie is about one power hungry bureaucrat making a man’s life a living hell…because they can.  And if you think such a mentality just exists in movies, ask the millions of people who are now without health insurance because one brainless bureaucrat believes she doesn’t work for the American people. What does this have to do with economics?  Everything.  Governments are needed for  economies to maintain a civil and criminal court system; to catch, prosecute, and incarcerate criminals who violate the rights of others; to maintain contract laws; to ensure a bare minimum of regulation to ensure a functioning economy…but when bare minimum use of power needed to make the system work ceases to be the goal, and it switches to power for the sake of power (which is what every petty bureaucrat wants) then economies cease to work.  Case in point back to the quarters for carts things…the idiot in charge of the system would rather pay someone (at New York City union rates, which is probably more than anyone who reads this earns) rather then let a man earn money for food.

 

The film is filled with examples or stories of people’s lives being ruined by bureaucrats. And it should be noted the general sense of fear that everyone has towards them.  (Luckily there is also a scene that explains exactly what you should do to all bureaucrats.)
And this whole situation is caused by the fact that no one anywhere in this bureaucracy was willing to use common sense for an unusual situation.

 

One final point I would like to make about economics shown here is the seeming nature of chaos in an economy.  Most people look at economics, at the flow of money, of stocks, of property, goods and investments…and see chaos.  It’s much like the terminal of an airport.  It seems like pure chaos.  But the fact is everyone in that airport is going somewhere with a plan, a departure time, and a destination.  It has the appearance of chaos but there is a very well defined order, it’s just that the normal limits of the human mind can’t see it.  The same is true of economies…lots of people see economies and see only chaos and disorder and believe since it is so disordered there needs to be more control to make it run better.  Let me ask has DHS and the TSA made an airport better?  The same is true of economies—just because you can’t see the order doesn’t mean it is not there, and your attempting to control chaos that doesn’t exist will always, always, always backfire.

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Movies that understand economics #1 Bedazzled

Elliot Richards: “This doesn’t prove anything. I could have done this myself. I even had to pay for it.”
The Devil: “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

Now unfortunately the nature of Hollywood and the fact that it exists on a different plane of reality (one where the economy is run by unicorns and movies that make 50 million above cost somehow were losses) a lot of the economic facts of this series are going to be more accidental truths stumbled upon by the writers and directors than intentional bedazzledmoves to show us how real economics works. However, I might be able to say that director Harold Ramis, who brought us Groundhog Day with its clear understanding of the idea that all skills can be learned with time and effort or what is really valuable in life, and Ghostbusters with its very insightful moments that the EPA is populated by dickless idiots and correct observations like, “You’ve never worked in the private sector, they expect results.” But who knows, maybe I’m reading intent where there was none…regardless, the movie Bedazzled, the story of a hapless loser who sells his soul for seven wishes from the Devil, does offer us some excellent economic lessons.

1. TANSTAAFL
Anyone familiar with Robert Heinlein’s classic The Moon is a Harsh Mistress should find the acronym above very familiar. TANSTAAFL. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

It’s one of the most basic lessons of economics. EVERYTHING has a price. Even if you don’t pay for it now or even ever…someone will pay for everything.

Our clueless hero, Elliot Richards, in Bedazzled learns the hard way that just wishing for things doesn’t work (despite the Devil warning him very clearly that there is no such thing as a free lunch).

Everything you want comes with a cost. And whether it is time, effort, blood and sweat…or just your soul…every cost will be paid. And I think this movie is very clear about this.

Richards: I don’t want another wish. […] I really don’t want it.
The Devil: What do you mean you don’t want it, you get seven wishes.
Richards: Well there are things that I want but nothing you can give me.
The Devil: What is that supposed to mean?
Richards: Well um last night when I was lying in jail I was talking to this guy. I realized that wishing just doesn’t work. All my life I’ve wished to be better looking, to be richer successful, talented, whatever. And I always thought wouldn’t it be great if someone could just wave a magic wand and make that happen. Well, I realized that it just doesn’t work by magic.
The Devil: I think I’m going to be sick.
Richards: I’ve been starting to think it isn’t really how far we go in life anyway, it’s how we get there that really matters.

Everything comes with a cost. And any time you think that there is something without a cost that you are getting something for free…be very worried because that is where the costs are the highest. Because it is often either being paid for by someone else…or it is taking something away from you that is more valuable (but less tangible) than just money or property. And, in the long run, the soul pays all debts.

Even with charity. Someone gave you a hundred dollars out of charity…it still costs them a hundred dollars and the loss of the opportunity to spend it on something else…now they may get paid back in the psychological happiness that comes from personal charity, but they will get paid back. And you will pay the cost of feeling either indebted to that person or to be worthy of the act of charity. (It’s why a welfare state is so dangerous, it strips the act of charity of all the psychological benefits and costs and merely costs the middle class their money to pay people who will not work for a living.) and thus will never “earn” anything or appreciate it and they will in the end be the bigger looser.

There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

2. Contract Law is Sacrosanct (and always read the contract)

deal with the devil

This is what a deal with the Devil looks like.

Modern society and economics is based on contract law. Be it anywhere from the social contract to your cell phone contract. And, all pun intended, the Devil is in the details.

The Devil: “Let’s look at your contract.”

It is part of the joke that the contract for Elliot’s soul is a 2,000+ page legal document printed in small font legalese. (Pro tip…anytime any kind of legal document is 2000+ pages it is the work of the Devil and should not be signed or passed).

Obamacare regs

This something worse than a deal with the Devil.

Contracts are so important that even the Devil has to abide by them, as there is an escape clause in Eliot’s contract, and as much as she hated it, she had to obey it. (Another pro tip: don’t trust anyone who fails to honor contracts; they will screw you any chance they can find.) That’s how important contract law is, even the Devil follows it. Modern economics are based on contract law and to all the anarchists out there who think you can run an economy without contract law necessary to enforce it, you’re beyond stupid. Anarchy at it’s best.

The other point here that the movie makes clear is that you should always read the contract. If you don’t read the contract and just wait to see what’s in it only after you have entered into it, you will always, always, always get burned….as Elliot finds out in how badly his wishes turn out…and as America is finding out right now.

3. Trade is only an exchange of value for value.

The Devil: Seven utterly fabulous wishes for one piddling, little soul?
Richards: […]“If it’s so useless then how come you want it so much?”

One thing to understand about modern economics is that in any legal, consensual exchange both people must receive what they consider an exchange of value for value (in fact an exchange only take place when both parties feel they are improving their situation). And if people want something, or are willing to give you something, then that means you are exchanging something of value.

True this is a variation on the free lunch principle, but it needs repeating.
If someone is willing to give you free phones or food or promises of healthcare you may want to ask why they’re giving you these things and what they want in return…and what the long term consequences of such an exchange are.

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Basic Math for Liberals

I am tired of arguing with idiots about unemployment numbers.  Stupid people (liberals) seem to think that so long as the unemployment numbers drop that this shows the economy is growing. Now I know those of you who know something about economics and statistics are about to have an aneurism over how stupid that is, but let me go over the basics of how we get unemployment numbers…and what you should really be looking at.

Minimum WageNow I’m going to try and use round numbers to help make this as simple as possible (and I’m going to gloss over a few complexities so we can get to the heart of the matter).

Let’s say you have a population of 200,000 people.

100,000 people want a job.  That means you have a job participation rate of 50%.

Now let’s say that 95,000 of those people looking for a job have a job, and 5,000 of those people don’t have a job.  That means your unemployment is 5%.  And let’s say of those 95,000 employed, 5,000 (5% of the those in the work force) of those are working at part time jobs but want full time jobs.  These people are called underemployed. The underemployment rate is the unemployment rate plus those who are underemployed.  (Under employment is usually calculated as the percent of underemployed plus the rate of unemployment, but to keep the numbers separate and simple we won’t add them together here).

Now, what idiots look at is the unemployment rate.  This is dumb, and let me explain why.

Let’s say the government does something monumentally stupid (so, status quo) like raise the minimum wage.  This will cause employers to pull back on hiring.  The first thing that will happen is that employers will either through firing the most inept or through simple attrition (when somebody leaves you don’t fill their position).  This will cause the unemployment numbers to go up.  Let’s say that there are now only 94,000 jobs, or an unemployment rate of 6%.  And idiots will be rightfully concerned…but not for long.

Why?  Because the first ones hit by minimum wage increases are young people who, without experience aren’t worth the higher wage the employer has to pay, and older people. Those who have a business are not willing to put in the money for training as it will not work as a long term investment.  And since these groups know they can’t get a job they will either continue living with mom and dad or go live with their kids and just stop looking for work.  Let’s say 2,000 people just give up looking for work. So that now means you have 98,000 looking for work, and 94,000 with a job.  Guess what unemployment is DOWN TO 4.1%  !!!! Isn’t that great! Raising the minimum wage lowered unemployment from 5% to 4.1%!!!  Of course since the participation rate dropped form 50% to 49%, that means that 1,000 fewer people are employed now, but the unemployment number dropped!

And then it gets worse. The rise in minimum wage causes inflation (as it always does) and that means companies that aren’t employing minimum wage positions will have to lay off employees or use attrition practices.  So they lay off 1,000 employees. Now we’re at 98,000 looking for work and 93,000 employed.  Back to 5.1% unemployment.  But don’t worry those 1,000 will soon find minimum wage jobs and kick out 1,000 other less qualified people from those jobs. So now you instead of 5,000 people underemployed, you now have 6,000. Underemployment has jumped from 5% to 8.8%!  But don’t worry because another 1,000 people are probably going to give up looking for work (probably more actually but let’s keep the numbers nice and round).  So now only 97,000 want to be employed.  Oh look unemployment back to 4.1% and underemployment is now only 6.1%.  It’s a miracle the unemployment numbers and underemployment numbers dropped.  Things must be doing great!

But no.  In this situation while the unemployment rate started at 5% and dropped to 4.1%, that masks the fact that there are 2,000 fewer jobs. And a 1,000 more people are earning less than they would like.  (And let’s ignore the inflation that’s going on and the fact that most of the other employed people probably aren’t getting raises – but their personal costs just went up.)

So we can see the unemployment rate is very misleading and what is important, first and foremost is the participation rate and followed by that the underemployment rate.

So when Obama touts the unemployment numbers are down keep in mind a few things.

The participation rate is at its lowest level since 1978! From a peak of just over 67% we are down to just over 63% (a 4% drop, keep in mind my example only included a 1% drop).  And this drop in participation does not seem to have come anywhere near to an end. 

 

Second keep in mind that underemployment (this is the calculation of both those underemployed and those unemployed) has gone from 7.0% in 2000 () to 17.4% (a 10% increase, and my example only had 1.1% increase).

So don’t tell me that the economy is doing well because the unemployment number is down. It’s not.  It’s doing terribly.

And it’s not just raising minimum wage that does this (and yes raising minimum wage always does this)…it’s regulations and taxes and oversight and red tape.  All government action increases the factors that make employers want to hire fewer employees. And this may be not so great for depriving people of income, hope, and jobs….but as we’ve seen it can be great for getting the unemployment numbers down. I mean if everyone would just give up looking for work, we could have 0% unemployment.

 

 

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Capitalism: The ONLY hope of Mankind

Capitalism is the only system that has been shown to raise people out of poverty. It is the only system that benefits the rich, the middle class, and the poor. It is the only system that can bring a nation out of destitution. It is the only system that works long term. It is the only system compatible with human nature. It is the only system of economics that is ethical. It is the only system of economics that is sustainable because only capitalism creates and encourages the innovation and imagination needs to deal with the constant slew of problems that life brings.

You can either be in favor of Capitalism or you can be an idiot who knows nothing about economics, history, psychology, philosophy, ethics, human nature, politics, reason, logic or facts.











Let me say again…You can either be in favor of Capitalism or you can be an idiot who knows nothing about economics, history, psychology, philosophy, ethics, human nature, politics, reason, logic or facts. That is all.

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No matter how destructive Obama is, I see no reason to give up on America

So it becomes very clear from the State of the Union either due to incredible arrogance and idiocy or just vile evil Obama and his ilk are out to destroy this nation.  Yeah let’s raise the minimum wage, that only ever lowers employment and hurts the economy.  Let’s spend more and tax more, because that always works.  Let’s pay only lip service to the problems abroad.  We’ve got problems in education let’s throw money at it, that always works.  Even his best example, the return on the Human Genome Project, has a bizarrely overblown number attached to it…and oh, that’s right, the private sector did better on spending and results in their concurrent research.  And gun control I’m sure that will make us all safer. Either intentionally or through idiocy, it really doesn’t matter,  Obama’s plans seem to be putting us on a one way course for economic ruin, the expansion of tyranny the world over, and the contraction of freedom and prosperity everywhere.

Flag of the United StatesSome people, clearly not the masses of idiotic liberals, but some rational people are worried about this. There is a lot of depression out there lately.  From the people who see a coming economic collapse (but the stock market is really high…yeah because a lot of long term investors just got out and this bubble is being fuelled by day traders and emotional buyers…you know just like it does before every crash…when you look at the fundamentals we’re in for some pretty bleak moments) to those who are seeing a revolution coming (not a desirable outcome by any stretch of the imagination but certainly one that will happen if this idiot were to actually make the move against private ownership of guns he seems to be suggesting).  Any honest look for the long term outlook of this nation is worrisome. And many are worried.

 

But I’m not.

I know liberals, and probably libertarians as well, have a problem with this, but there is something truly special about this nation.

This nation has been knocked down over and over again.  This nation has not just beat but defied odds, defied likelihood, defied certain destruction.  We have come so close to death so many times, and each time like a Phoenix risen from the mess we have created.

 “Some people believe that our Declaration and Constitution were written by very brilliant men, others believe that they were divinely inspired when they wrote it—I believe it was a bit of both.”

Go on name for me one other time there were as many great minds in one place?

Go on name for me one other time there were as many great minds in one place?

The documents were written by men, albeit brilliant men, but men nonetheless, who were capable of error and thus you could not claim absolute perfection in their documents…but also the beliefs and ideas in these documents represented an immeasurable leap forward in human society and that at some level the hand of God was present.  Name for me a time when you would have an Adams, a Jefferson, a Washington, a Franklin all in the same room together.  History provides few men of such insight, intelligence, and character (not that they were perfect, but they were certainly ahead of their time by massive steps); occasionally you get two of them together at the same time; at very special moments you get three together at once…at both the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention you had whole rooms of these men.  Please tell me of another time in history when you had such a grouping (and to see it happen twice in one generation).  To a group of men who believed in ideals of right and true being more important than their personal fortunes (a good portion of the signers of the Declaration went broke, many were tortured all of them suffered for signing that document…not one recanted their signature.)  How do you not see the hand of providence in that?

If more divinely inspired words have been written, I do not know about them.

How do you not see it in:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness— That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Please tell me which passage of the Tanakh, the New Testament, the teaching of Buddha, the Gita, the Tao or any other holy book surpasses that passage in its understanding of the relationship between God and man (that we are given free will and liberty by our creator with the expectation that we will use them), that understands the teleology, the purpose, the end of life (to achieve Happiness), and how men should treat one another (not violating the rights of others, but setting up a society to protect them from those that do seek to violate those rights).  The heart of metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and politics answered correctly in one sentence.  And you don’t think God had anything to do with that?  Do you see the hand of God in anything?

And then you look at our history.  Time and time again, if Vegas odds makers had existed from the 1750’s to today, you would have bet against the survival of the U.S. over and over again.  Yet somehow we’re still here.  The history of America is often the history of convenient accidents.  Convenient in that reinforcements were mistakenly diverted from helping General Burgoyne at the Battle of Saratoga, letting the Americans win when they most needed a win.  Convenient that when Lee, a general of unquestionable skill, was a week’s march from capturing D.C. he has the 3 dumbest days of his life at a little town in Pennsylvania.  Convenient that all of our carriers were out of harbor on December 6.  Convenient that we found the Japanese Navy almost by chance at Midway.  To name a few, there are so many others.  In science, in economics, in politics, we have been blessed with having the right people in the right place in the right time over and over again.  You can believe in chance, I don’t.

I don’t believe in chance and I don’t believe we get all these lucky breaks just because…

We make mistakes, and dear God have we made some abhorrent ones.   Liberals love to point out all the evil things we have done, ignoring that at anytime in history, we didn’t even rank in anything but the top third of what the rest of the world was doing at that time.  Oh and I know pointing that out is wrong, because that’s their culture.  Oh that’s right anyone else does something worse than America and it’s racist to hold them to the same standard…but we have to hold America to the standard of perfection (which, ironically, shows that even liberals believe in American Exceptionalism, otherwise why hold it and it alone to such a standard).  We’re not perfect, no one is.  But we have always been the beacon that sings to the best in humanity, not the example that speaks to the worst.

We’re the nation that fought to create a republic where the haves and have nots gave equal measure.  We’re the nation that fought our own citizens to free slaves.  We’re the nation that pioneered capitalism and law that gave liberty and opportunity and progress to more people than any other country in history.  We’re the place where “tired, the poor, the huddled masses” come to be energetic, successful and stand on their own feet.  We’re the country that conquers whole nations so that others may be free then tries to rebuild them and then leaves without tribute or power.  If you don’t think we’re the “shinning city on the hill” you don’t know history, philosophy or human nature.  We’re not perfect, we’re not always right, but we are consistently the nation that calls for the best in humanity to put down the worst.

Too often I think people forget that this is a nation where people still regularly risk their life to get to.  America-or-die isn’t a slogan it’s a fact of existence.  Whether you were born here or came here you should take more than just a day out of every year to remember what a blessing this country is.  Of course there are some ignorant jackasses out there, who don’t seem to understand this blessing who say “I didn’t sign up for a country that’s the rest of the world’s police, I just happened to be born into it.”

And these ideas are important.  This is a nation founded on the purest, most noble ideas yet to grace the face of the Earth and even though we waver we always come back to them.  And that is why I think we see the hand of Providence, yeah I said it, in our history.  This country should have fallen by now, but it hasn’t and one or two times you could put it up to the American nature of not giving up and our ingenuity.  But time and time again everything has lined up just right for us, in ways I can’t see for any other nation in modern history.

For some reason we have been pulled back from the brink, and I believe it is because of the truth and righteousness of our ideals. And we haven’t lived up to them yet.  We haven’t spread them over the world.  We haven’t finished being the shinning city on the hill.  So I can’t see why we would have been pulled back all those other times and simply let go this time.

I have faith that some higher power has a purpose for America that has still yet to be completed, so I am not worried too much over the next few years.  Yes I know they will be terrible, but I know that something better is on the other side.  That what I fight for and strive for is not in vain and that I will not witness the end of this nation and its ideals, but rather see them rise again, stronger, brighter, more just and right than they ever have before.

And yes you can whine about how I’m believing in faith, and God, and something you don’t believe in.  But odds are you’re one of the people I’m fighting against, so I don’t really care for anything you have to say about my faith.

And for those of you who do have faith but are having a hard time to have hope…do you really believe that the ideal this nation stands for would be abandoned after all this time?  I doubt it.

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Ramblings of Conservative Cathy – Flip flopper/Pandering???

The Democrats and some “so called” Republicans like to say that the Republican nominee – Mitt Romney is a flip flopper and panders to those he speaks with. Well he just had a wonderful opportunity to prove this to his detractors but wait – it did not occur. I was shocked – really shocked that once again my nominee stood on principal and demonstrated true character. And if you actually wanted to do some real research instead of just listening and repeating what the talking heads say you would find out that this is how he has always been and I expect will always be!

Below is the transcript of Romney’s speech to the large Latino group of elected officials, NALEO.

Did he change anything he has said previously? NO! Did he pander to the crowd? NO!

If you have been paying attention then you know he said nothing new and he stayed on track and promoted a better economy. Stated as he always has that illegal immigration affects the economy and following the laws and correcting a broken immigration system will improve the economy and he wants to do that as the economy is his main premise for just about everything.

Now his detractors want to say he did not come down on either side of Obama’s election gift to illegal immigrants but I think this phrase says it all and does not side step the issue: “Some people have asked if I will let stand the president’s executive order. The answer is that I will put in place my own long- term solution that will replace and supersede the president’s temporary measure. As president, I won’t settle for stopgap measures. I will work with Republicans and Democrats to build a long-term solution. And I’ll prioritize measures –”
I think that says that he will actually fix the situation and follow what he promotes – legal immigration and securing our border – which he has been saying forever.

And as always you can not beat phrases like this: “Today, I’m asking you to join me, because while we may not agree on everything, we share the same goal, and the same vision. And the same belief in American greatness that draws so many people to our shores. Liberty’s torch can burn just as brightly for future generations of immigrant as it has burned for immigrants in the past.”

This is one of the reasons why Mitt Romney is my choice for President of the United States!

Except from CNN transcript (if there are any errors blame CNN):

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Appreciate the chance to be with you today and I’m delighted to be here to be invited here at your annual conference. It’s an honor to be among so many elected officials.
I come to you as a candidate of the United States of America. And I will govern from the principle that while this is a land of extraordinary diversity, there are so much more that unites us than there is that divides us.
(APPLAUSE)
ROMNEY: Each of us walks a different path in life, but we are united by one great overwhelming passion, we love the United States of America. We believe in America. We are one nation under God.
Today, we are united not only by our faith in America, we are also united by our concern for America. The country we love is in peril, and that’s why I’m running for president.
Almost four years ago, the American people did something that was very much the sort of thing that Americans like to do — we gave someone new a chance to lead, someone who we had not known very long who didn’t have much of a record, but promised to lead us to a better place.
At the time, we didn’t know what kind of president he’d be. It was a moment of crisis for our economy. And when Barack Obama became to office, America wished him well and hoped for the best.
Three-and-a-half years later, over 23 million Americans are out of work. Unemployed. Underemployed. Or simply quit looking for a job.
At a time when we should be gaining momentum in the economy, we are actually seeing us lose a little bit of it right now. Job growth slowed and this week we learned that the number of job openings has fallen yet again. And as you know, Hispanics have been hit disproportionately hard. While the national unemployment is still above 8 percent and has been for 40 straight months, Hispanic unemployment is at 11 percent.
The middle class under President Obama has been crushed. More Americans are living in poverty today than at any point in American history. Over 2 million more Hispanics are living in poverty today than the day when President Obama took office.
Home values have plunged, our national debt is at record levels and families are buried under higher prices for things like food and gasoline, and yet the president said that the private sector is doing fine.
This is more than a policy failure. It’s a moral failure. I know that the president will say that he inherited the economic crisis, and that’s true.
But we shouldn’t allow the challenges that he faced four years ago to divert our attention from another important fact. The president pursued policies that have made this the slowest recovery since the Great Depression, and he broke promises many people were counting on the build a brighter future. It did not have to be this way.
Just compare this president’s record with the first term of Ronald Reagan. President Reagan also faced an economic crisis. In fact, in 1982, the unemployment rate peaked at nearly 11 percent. But in the two years that followed, just two years, he delivered a true recovery, economic growth and job creation worth three times higher than in the Obama economy.
If President Obama had delivered a real recovery, a Reagan recovery, we would have 5 million more jobs today — 5 million more. And the unemployment rate would be 6 percent, and the economy would be at least 1 trillion larger.
Now, tomorrow President Obama will speak here, and of course, that is the first time he has spoken here since the last campaign. He may admit that he has not kept every promise, and he’ll probably say that even though you aren’t better off than you were four years ago, things could be worse.
He will imply that you don’t really have an alternative. I believe he’s taking your vote for granted.
I’d come here today with a very simple message, you do have an alternative. Your vote should be respected. And your voice is more important now than ever before.
This November, we are going to make a choice. We can continue along the path we are on. Or we can choose a better way. Instead of continuing on with the policies of the last three and a half years, we can revitalize our free enterprise economy, we can lead the world as we have in what we invent and build and create.
Let me make this very clear: this is the only way we can strengthen the middle-class. And this is the only way we can create sustained prosperity. Raising taxes to grow government does not grow the middle-class.
Today, I’m asking you the join me, because while we may not agree on everything, we share the same goal, and the same vision. And the same belief in American greatness that draws so many people to our shores. Liberty’s torch can burn just as brightly for future generations of immigrant as it has burned for immigrants in the past.
We know that the businesses can’t succeed and grow and hire more workers without a more competitive tax system. That’s why I am going to lower the corporate tax rate and reduce individual marginal tax rates by 20 percent across the board.
We also know that our businesses and families need affordable and reliable energy. Producing more of our own energy resources will create jobs in America, and generate greater revenues for the country.
It will also help bring manufacturing back to our shores. You are going to see a manufacturing resurgence if we get that policy right. We know that the economy cannot grow if we are mortgaging the future to pay for the big government programs of today.
Think about that. We can’t keep on borrowing massively more than we take in without putting the country in peril, and so as president, I will rein in spending, and I will get the budget balanced. And I will repeal Obamacare, because we cannot afford another $2 trillion entitlement.
(APPLAUSE)
ROMNEY: Everybody likes free stuff, but there is no free stuff when government has to the pay and it has to tax the American people or when it borrows from future generations. Obamacare is depressing job growth. If priority number one is jobs, you have to get Obamacare out of there.
In one study, 73 percent of a business owners said that Obamacare has made it harder for them to hire people. Think of that. Almost three quarters of small businesses saying Obamacare is making it less likely to hire people. If jobs are your priority, you got to get rid of Obamacare and put in place real reform that works.
Repealing Obamacare and replacing it will give businesses the kind of certainty they need to expand and to hire and to grow. Now, by the way, we can also jump start our economy by expanding trade in our hemisphere.
As you know, however, the president has not completed a single new trade agreement with a Latin American nation and he has failed to crack down on countries like China, who don’t live by the rules.
We know that our kids can’t succeed if they are trapped in failing schools, and that is why as president I will give the parents of every low income and special needs student the chance to choose where their child goes to school.
(APPLAUSE)
ROMNEY: When it comes to education, a choice for every parent means a chance for every child. An effective immigration system can also strengthen the economy as it has since the nation’s founding.
Unfortunately, despite his promises, President Obama has failed to address immigration reform. For two years this president had huge majorities in the House and Senate, he was free to pursue any policy he pleased, but he did nothing to advance a permanent fix for our broken immigration system. Nothing. Instead, he failed to act until facing a tough re-election, and trying to secure your vote.
Last week the president finally offered a temporary measure — he called it a stopgap measure — that he seems to think will be just enough to get him through the election.
After 3 1/2 years of putting every issue from loan guarantees to his donors to Cash for Clunkers, putting all of those things before immigration, now the president has been seized by an overwhelming need to do what he could have done on day one, but didn’t. I think you deserve better.
Some people have asked if I will let stand the president’s executive order. The answer is that I will put in place my own long- term solution that will replace and supersede the president’s temporary measure. As president, I won’t settle for stopgap measures. I will work with Republicans and Democrats to build a long-term solution. And I’ll prioritize measures —
(APPLAUSE)
ROMNEY: — and I want you to also know this, I will prioritize efforts that strengthen legal immigration and make it more transparent and easier. And I’m going to address the issue of illegal immigration in a civil and resolute manner. We may not always agree, but when I make a promise to you, I will keep it. Let me speak about some of the guidelines that I will use in putting together the policy. And as you have heard me say many times it is critical to redouble the efforts to secure the borders. That means both preventing illegal border crossings and making it harder to illegally overstay a visa.
We should field enough border patrol agents, complete a high-tech fence and implement an improved exit verification system. Our immigration system should help promote strong families as well, not keep them apart. Our nation benefits when moms and dads and their kids are all living together under the same roof.

(APPLAUSE)
ROMNEY: But today, too many families are caught in a broken system that costs them time and money and entangles them in excessive red tape. For those seeking to come to America the right way, that kind of bureaucratic nightmare has to end. And we can do this with just a few common sense reforms.
As president, I’d reallocate green cards to those seeking to keep their families under one roof.
(APPLAUSE)
ROMNEY: And we will exempt from caps the spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents.
(APPLAUSE)
ROMNEY: And we will eliminate other forms of bureaucratic red tape that keep families from coming together. Immigration reform is not just a moral imperative, it is also an economic necessity. Immigrants with advanced degrees start companies, create jobs and they drive innovation at a very high rate.
Immigrants founded or co-founded nearly half of our top 50 venture-backed companies in this country — nearly half. They are nearly 30 percent more likely to start a business. And that kind of risk-taking is something we need more than ever, because new business startups in America are at a 30-year low.
I’ll work with states and employers to update our temporary worker visa program so that it meets our economic needs. And if you get an advanced degree here, we want you to stay here. So I’d staple a green card to the diploma of someone who gets an advanced degree in America.
(APPLAUSE)
ROMNEY: We want the best and brightest to enrich the nation through the jobs and technologies they are going to create. Now, we also have a strong tradition in this country of honoring immigrants who join our military and put their lives on the line to keep the country safe. Since September 11th of 2001, the United States has naturalized nearly 75,000 members of the Armed Forces. Too many of those patriots died on distant battlefields for our freedom before receiving full citizenship here in the country they called home. As president I will stand for a path to legal status for anyone who is willing to stand up and defend this great nation through military service.
(APPLAUSE)
ROMNEY: Those who have risked their lives in defense of America have earned the right to make their life in America. But improving access to legal immigration is only one part of the equation. We must also make legal immigration more attractive than illegal immigration, so that people are rewarded for waiting patiently in line.
That is why my administration will establish a strong employment verification system so that every business can know with confidence that the people it hires are legally eligible for employment. We can find common ground here, and we have got to.
We owe it to ourselves as Americans to ensure that our country remains the land of opportunity both for those who were born here and for those who share our values, respect our laws and want to come to our shores.

Now, throughout my campaign, I have often had the chance to speak about my dad and how proud I am of him. He was born, as Scotty said, to parents, American parents living in Mexico. When he was 5, they left everything behind and started over in the United States.
His dad, my grandfather, was a builder, and he went bust more than once. My grandfather didn’t make much money. There were times in my dad’s life when he lived in poverty. But my grandfather had big hopes for my dad and tried to help him as best he could.
My dad didn’t finish college. But he believed in the country where the circumstances of one’s birth were not a barrier to achievement. And he was not afraid of hard work. He held odd jobs, putting up plasterboard, selling paint. He was lucky enough to live in America where hard work can turn aspirations into realities.
After he became a man of the business world, he got the opportunity to lead a great car company, and ultimately, he became the governor of a great state, the state of Michigan.
This is my father’s story. But it could be the story of any American. Most of you here today are leaders in your community. Your are here because you have benefited from the land of opportunity, and you want to give back to this country, to fight for its people so they have the same chance to succeed.
We are truly one America. Everyone here has made this exceptional nation what it is today. This is an election about two people. This is not an election about being a Republican or a Democrat or and independent. This is an election about the future of America. I’d ask each of you to honestly look at the last 3 1/2 years and ask whether we can do better. Is the America of 11 percent Hispanic unemployment the America of our dreams? We can do better. We can prosper again with the powerful recovery we have all been waiting for, the good jobs that so many people need and, above all, the opportunities we owe to our children and our grandchildren.
I will do that. I will make that happen with your help and your support. Thank you so much. And God bless this great land. Thank you.

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Filed under American Exceptionalism, Conservative, Economics, Election 2012, Illegal Immagration, Illegal Immigration, Mitt Romney, Natural Rights, Patriotism, politics

Ramblings of ConservativeCathy—War on Women Part II

Continuing from yesterday let’s take a further look at how it’s not the Republicans who are waging a war on women…

 

The Wage Gap:

So let’s go to this one.  I am older and feel that I have worked within business during the period where it was changing for acceptance of women.  This allows me to have a personal perspective regarding this issue.  I have seen the charts demonstrating that women make anywhere from 75-88% of the wages a man makes for the same job ( I believe the current talking point is 77cents of the dollar compared to men).  I am not going to list sites here.  These are always something like cleaning industry or food preparation, contracting jobs, etc.  Since I work in the area of food service and cleaning as I am a consultant for hospitals in these areas and started out working in Restaurants as a waitress and then went into management and on with my career I think I can respond to these issues based on my own knowledge.

Most companies/corporations labor practices are run by human resource departments today and they all follow the labor laws.  They also provide equality in setting wages with all rates stated by job class and not by sex and pay raises set by inflation not by the whim of a manager.  This is factual, now some small businesses may do other things but I believe even they follow the laws and do not apply personal opinions.  Any actual good business never cares about sex or race as they are only concerned with the best person for the job.

Now as to the stats always distributed.  Let’s see, I saw one that said servers so I guess that means waiter/waitress.  Now the study did not state whether it considered tips but I am assuming that it did as I know that most restaurant companies follow the above procedures so no one makes money based on sex.  As far as tips go it has always been correct that men make more percentage wise on tips than women and as I have been a waitress in some top notch dinner houses I can tell you why that is.  Women offend women – don’t deny it – it is true.  Now the difference is that some women always play to men thinking that they will give them the tip without realizing exactly what control the women may have on that issue, also if the waitress is attractive then many women are jealous or insecure around them so they are not as comfortable or enjoying their meal so that will affect the tip, or some men are just stupid and flirt/tease with the waitress in front of wives and girlfriends thinking this is funny or good in some way.  Suffice it to say men do not seem to care about male servers one way or the other and only care about service.  Being as I am not a dummy this took me no time at all to figure out when I started waitressing.  So I always played to the women and if the man wanted to flirt then I would stand by the women and not insult the man but empathize with the women for having to put up with this type of nonsense.  My tips were fairly close to those of the male servers of equal quality where other women servers were much lower.

When I became a manager there were only 3 other female managers that I knew of in the whole company (nation wide and international also).  But I was paid the same as any other new manager but was given a harder time.  I am a strong believer in the concept that women often work harder/longer/better to be considered equal but I have never been paid any differently than a man.

When you group things like food preparation together that is improper as there are different categories within these positions.  I will tell you that line cooks get paid more then prep cooks.  I have encountered some great women line cooks but honestly it is mostly a job that men are in.  It is backbreaking (on your feet for 8 straight hours (except breaks) and moving around in a smaller space, stressful and you are working in a hot environment – often uncomfortable (meaning not very good air circulation or air conditioning).  Most women prefer the lower stress of prep work and the more comfortable work environment with others around to converse with.  So taking an average in combining all of the various categories involved in food prep is improper.  This also applies to cleaning work – there are several categories and one that receives a higher pay is working with heavy floor/carpet cleaning machinery.  Most of this work is done at night to even very late at night and along with the need to be physically capable of handling the equipment – I think you can see why more men are in these positions than women.  But I can assure you that if a woman wanted the job and was capable at the job then she would be paid exactly the same.  I think that construction jobs would follow along the same lines so combining these types of things are silly and unproductive.

The professional areas such as doctor or lawyer for example demonstrate the other stat that is never discussed.  I know some doctors and lawyers and the women I know are paid the same as men at the same level or quality.  The issue that is never really discussed is that these studies are based on averages.  Women more than men enter and leave their chosen field or job if they are having children or raising them.  This obviously will affect wages based on averages.  How often do you see a study based on beginning wages or after 10 years of experience for a particular field  – no I have not seen them myself (and I looked).  I believe that is because they would show that there is no real difference in wages.  Averages can like percentages throw facts off – always question these kinds of things.

I believe Democrats use these averages/studies to make people feel bad and also feel that they need a protector.  It’s very easy to be given a scapegoat to blame rather then looking to your own choices and responsibility in the whatever the problem is.  This has been used time and again in history to control the masses.  Republicans are also willing participants as I have stated they lack a backbone.

Romney wants to help people as he does so personally.  As President he wants to open up as many opportunities as he can and that will help the vast majority of people in the long run.  What people need to understand and accept as they are supposed to be adults not children and nothing happens right now with the economy but it takes time for both negative and positive results.  And with all things in life negative builds faster and larger then positive so be patient. So when the legislature and President Romney start making changes it will not show up immediately but given a couple of years I believe we will be able to see a beginning turn around in the economy, debt and opportunity in America and in the positive vision growing again in our country and the world as a whole.

Education:

Again I am confused at this being a women’s issue – seems to affect all Americans.  So here are the facts I found.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics women (all races) are the majority of the higher education degrees from Bachelor to Doctorates.  So I do not think that women are being discriminated here (maybe men are not receiving the attention they need??).  So let’s see what would the issues really be – children’s education, cost of education, availability for jobs after education …. I think that should be the main issues so let’s deal with them one at a time.

Education for children.  First item that I have seen listed is pre school education.  Statistics have proven that this is not financially feasible and provides little or no value (other then free baby-sitting).  But I think back to that parenting issue there is proof that working with your child before (and after entering school) is effective.  I am not going to quote stats for you here as there are too many conflicting issues for a definitive stat.  But I had children and was also involved with them in school and elected to the local school board so I believe I have some basis for my opinions.  First anyone who knows anything about children knows that they are all different and public schools are not real good at focusing on individual needs.  I know in working in my children’s classes and in speaking with parents while on the school board that most problem students do not have a close relationship with their parents – meaning no real involvement in their lives.  When parents expect schools to raise their children then you get exactly what is occurring.  I know from having two children (both brilliant) with one having “so-called” special education needs that if you are not involved and assertive that schools/teachers will try and intimidate and guide you as they see fit with no real regard to the actual child or their needs.  There will always be superior children that need no guidance and will achieve the top without pushing (I have one of those also) but the majority require parental guidance, caring and love.

Teachers – no matter how wonderful/caring they might be they are no replacement for parental involvement and encouragement in life.  If a person is not willing to look at raising children as a full time job (regardless of whether you also have one of those) then I would suggest that you forgo that pleasure in life.

I have met so many parents that thought they were only there to love and give children things but not be responsible for their conduct or education – they left that up to the government.  We get a large percentage of the population that expects everyone to value their feelings and make way for them due to that sort of parenting.  I could write pages on my opinion of public schools but let’s just leave it with I think standards should be high, no tolerance (but let’s not leave common sense out of this statement), enforced rules of conduct and high expectation.  Not all children will be superstars but they will or will have the best opportunity to reach their highest level with this attitude. And since I ventured into public schools from pre-school we will just skip that topic.

The cost of higher education is due to inflation (mostly caused by government).  When government gives money then costs go up, when government takes over ability to get loans and makes it more prevalent then costs go up, when unions get involved costs go up, when employees are not held to productive standards then costs go up and when class requirements for degrees include politically correct topics and unnecessary social issues then costs go up as the time involved goes up.  Suffice to say that I did not finish getting my degree but I have achieved as much or more then others with degrees.  I know as much or more then those with degrees.  I have in positions I have held had the privilege (yes that was sarcastic)/responsibility of teaching/training those that had just graduated from college.  Although I admire those who have achieved a degree and insisted that my children receive degrees I must state that I do not think that for most business areas students are taught much of value that is applicable in real life business salutations (with the exception of accounting classes).  I have often thought about going back and getting my degree but when I look at the classes I would be required to take and find out the syllabus I am sorry to say I cannot see what I would learn or be improved in other then achieving an additional certification/piece of paper.  I think that is sad in so many ways.  So with my bad attitude I avoid schools now and find it disgusting when I encounter people who feel that only those with degrees are of any value.

Democrats want to throw money at the situation and support unions.  I can assure you that no matter how many times you hear “it is for the children” – teachers unions do not care about your children!  Personal responsibility for students, families and schools are the only thing that will work.  Let me say (since one of my wonderful sons is a teacher) that teachers should and could be paid more if held to accountability standards and tenure is removed.  I have always been at a loss as to why teachers (when no other profession has this) achieve tenure.

Republicans seem to be wishy washy on this area also and always give in.  The best schools are not the ones with the most money!  Home schooling and Charter schools are achieving the best results – maybe because it involves parents who are actually concerned about their children more then the quality of schools but either way it should say something to all those out there.  There are good teachers in public schools and I am sure bad teachers in charter schools but without actual parent involvement and concern in the education process it will never change.  Keep in mind that although everyone in the country knows there is something wrong with the education system when asked parents usually exempt their personal school.  I think that demonstrates a total unawarness of what is really occurring.

Romney has stated that he believes in No Child Left Behind.  In reading his plans I think he means the standards is what he wants to follow through with.  He is working with a lot of educators and I think he is on the right track so I am willing to believe that he can affect this area.  Think about it  – what if public schools had the same requirements as private schools – do you think more of our kids would be getting better educations???  In the real world we are aware of the fact that not all people can or will achieve a high level but everyone can reach their own personal highest level with the right attitude.

Violence against Women:

Now finally a subject that I really think is a women’s issue.  I knew someone who was rapped, I knew someone who was beat up.  I am aware of many other cases.  I find it appalling that the law has not found some way to actually protect women from stalkers/ex’s when the woman has a restraining order but until something bad happens no one can help you.

You should not be surprised but I also found stats on men being beaten by women or men being beaten by male partners or women by women partners.  But again surprising these stats are small compared to that of women from men.

I find this type of violence just like pedophilia so vicious and cruel that I believe these people should not be given second chances in life and should be put away for life for the protection of the world.  I do not give them any leeway – no just “lost control of myself” or “could not control myself and if I take a anger management course life will be swell again”.  I believe that once someone crosses these lines there is no going back – some things in life should not be three strikes and you’re out but immediate punishment.  I really think if this type of attitude was adopted by society and the legal community you would see a real reduction in these types of crimes.  As everybody uses the issue of rehabilitation needs into account and defense of both of these – I personally am not willing to offer to these types of people and I believe that the stats demonstrate that these two types of crimes are majority of repeat offenders.  So stop trying to cover for them, protect them and stop trying to rehabilitate them – just protect society and put them away somewhere for the rest of their lives!

According to National Violence against Women 25% of women said they have raped or physically assaulted by a partner.  That is an outrageous percentage.  This does not include incidences outside of relationships – WOW!

Now that leads me to these so called religions that are currently politically correct and supposedly women’s groups want to protect.  When a woman is told what to wear, how to act and can be punished then there is something wrong with any society that does not call that out and on a regular basis.  There is no good to any group that sets any gender or race or any other discriminating issue apart and to be treated differently.

Female genital mutilation that is allowed around the world should be abolished and criminally punished (life sentences) for anyone involved in such a malicious act without any regard to the person the act is being performed on.

Ok I think that is enough of my anger for now.

I do not see these issues as party oriented but as legal and societal matters and if we can get around to getting over feeling sorry for perpetrators and no feelings for the victim.  Do what is right!

I found out from looking at NOW’s website that women need a specific statement in the constitution for equal rights.  I kind of thought that was in there but what do I know.  I think I have pointed out that equality is what you earn in work and it appears to exist in all the other general areas.

Now like with all things in life – people are not perfect (including women).  You will occasionally run into men that look down on women – don’t feel bad about it – I think they are very insecure and so are trying to make themselves bigger (in their own minds) by thinking that women are inferior.  Just show them up – actually generally easy to do and that is so much better then trying to correct them.

Having said the above I also think that women need to be realistic – standards for jobs should not be lowered just because you are a woman.  If a job has certain requirement then those are the requirements.  I am kind of a hard ass about these kind of things.  I think it is awful that people get old and cannot perform as well as when they were young but a business cannot function by continually making exceptions for people or groups.  Since it is obvious I deal with people in business all the time and I often work on labor projects.  I have to continually state that businesses must not consider a particular employee when determining the standards for a position/task but use the standard of the best they have ever seen for that position/task to be performed – that is the standard.  Does not mean that everyone will meet that standard everyday/every minute but if you are not achieving close to it 75/80% of the time then you cannot fulfill the job requirements.  Jobs are not made around employees/women but around the needs of the business.  Life is not fair – get over it.  Women generally (although I have encountered enough exceptions to not assume it is the rule) are not as able to perform physical requirements that men can perform (and yes there are exceptions to that so I also no that it is not a rule) so again standards must be realistic but if a few people have been able to perform them without issues then that should always be the goal.

If you assume you are a victim then you will be a victim but if you never look at yourself that way then the odds of your becoming one is less likely!

While I am on a rant let me also discuss something I have an issue with.  Harassment in the workplace.  The majority of people in the world are harmless and do not mean anything by anything they do or say.  But if you are offended by something then you need to speak up immediately.  But lets be real about this if you are the only person out of 100 people to be offended by something then I think you need to change employment or learn to suck it up.

If a man touches a woman inappropriately or makes an inappropriate statement to you then speak up to that man at the time.  I can assure that 99.9% of them will back off and change their demeanor immediately.  Let me give you an actual example – I have stated that when I was young I worked as a waitress.  I had a manager that felt the need to touch his women employees inappropriately and make proposals to them.  Most of the women felt intimidated but when he tried it with me I looked him in the eye and told him if he ever touched me again I would have his job and he would lose his wife and family when I was finished with him.  Although he did not like me after that he did not bother me either.  Now if he had been the one responsible for my being employed (as there were other managers and one higher then him) I still would have conducted myself in the same manner – I was looking for a job when I went there and knew I could get another somewhere else.  Again never choose victim status!  If all women conducted themselves in this manner then these businesses could not function with this type of individual and it would become apparent.

Anyway (and this might be a stretch) I think if presented rationally most of these issues should be agreeable to the majority of the people.  Let’s all get back to personal responsibility and not looking for a constant protector or everlasting parents to turn to .  For the record I am a woman but when it comes to issues I am an American!

And I am tired of hearing that Romney needs to present a plan for something – anything.  Go to his web site – being a businessman he has very detailed plans on a large variety of subjects along with all the names of people who are his advisors in these areas.  I don’t thing there has ever been a politician that has put out such detailed information on his ideas and beliefs.  So do your research and I know that you will find as much to support in Romney then any recent candidate that we have had!

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RAMBLINGS from ConservativeCathy: Real Conservative Values

I was compiling a list of numerous topics (SOPA, Economy, Defense, etc.) and listing what I could find as the most representative statements from both Romney and Santorum.  I was doing this as my research indicates that Romney is more conservative (fiscally, constitutionally) than Santorum.  But as I became more aware that it would be impossible for anyone to logically/rationally say that Santorum (or Gingrich for that matter) was more conservative than Romney (or conservative at all) a light bulb went off in my head.  This is not an issue of just putting facts in front of people it is a problem with word definition.  My son and I often have long debates over what is meant or interpreted by a phrase or word.

The actual definition will not help explain my beliefs so I am presenting my political party platform (would prefer if the Republicans adopted something like this) so when I say conservative you know exactly where I stand.

Below is what I would like to see as a conservative platform that I believe that most groups can get behind.  I would encourage an open rational discussion from others.

This country has direction and a guide in our country that must be followed – The Constitution and Declaration of Independence.  This should be taught in detail in public schools so that all grow up with an understanding of the original intent.  For me the ideal party platform is based on the belief that the Founders meant what they said and it was to be interpreted for areas that they had no knowledge of at the time but not that it is to be interpreted for all new laws people want to see.  That is what amendments are for.

That my party stops using the term “democratic” improperly as we are a democratically elected representative Republic and all should actually understand that concept and why that was chosen.

Once we accept the above premise then we go back to the 1st amendment and follow it where religion is concerned.  All religions are allowed and proper as long as they do no harm to others.  You cannot preach hate inciting violence just like you cannot yell FIRE in a crowded theater.  You can preach any other belief you want.  Let’s deal with the 2 particular issues the Republican Party has taken to heart (unfortunately).

ABORTION.  I do not want to discuss whether or why you support or do not support this.  I again refer you to the Constitution – The government has no right to be involved in this type of decision.  Row v. Wade and how it is being interpreted is not going to be overturned (even by the right wing appointed justices).  The federal government should not and has no authority to fund this type of service – period.  Regardless how I feel about 3rd trimester abortions the federal government does not have the authority to make laws regarding this.  Now I could make a suggestion that an amendment to the Constitution be made regarding how life is determined by scientifically stating when a fetus becomes viable – but I am sure that would cause others to start the debate again.  Back to the Constitution this is your only option as the federal government does not have the right to interfere in the doctor patient relationship and what occurs within that relationship – that would be a state issue.  Socially speaking if parents were actually doing their jobs this might actually affect this discussion.

Now the other big issue GAY PEOPLE.  This is a religious issue and can be discussed within the religion.   I do not consider believing that God is against gays as hate (stupid but not hate – I think Jesus promoted love and I think judgment is God’s purview) as long as your beliefs do not cause action against someone else.  Again this comes back to what I said previously you could believe anything you want as long as you do not harm to anyone else.  Now you can hold things like “Gay Parades” to the same decency standards that exist for other parades.  I think that sex should not be discussed in public schools until (I was going to say High School – my age showing here) Middle School.  This discussion should be biologically based only.  School is not the place to be making judgments one way or the other – except I think that scientifically and biologically schools can state that abstinence is the only 100% workable format.  Again I ask why are parents not doing their job?  I rather like Cris’ format for government only being involved in civil unions and marriage being a religious ceremony. But again this is a states right’s issue unless you all agree on an amendment to the Constitution.  Which I think needs to be done as it is becoming federal when crossing state lines which of course it will.  Maybe we can all agree on the civil union and work from there.

This is a rather long discussion but I also want reiterated here that all government buildings belong to the people so all religious displays should be legal as long as government is not paying for them.  This country is a majority of Christians and so we celebrate Christmas (it is a Federal Holiday), we do celebrate Easter, we also celebrate Halloween, Cinco de Mayo and St. Patrick’s Day.  So it is what it is.  These celebrations do not hurt someone who does not believe in them so get over it as long as your tax dollars are not being used to support any celebration (Chicago is exempt for St. Patrick’s day – such a long tradition).

We really need an amendment for a balanced budget along with an amendment for the budget to be capped.  I think that you can debate how to cap it but once we start following the Constitution the budget will not be as high except that we also need an amendment ensuring that federal deficit takes priority in budgeting plans (meaning it needs to be paid off ).  The only reason that we should ever allow debt again would be for war or maybe you can suggest something I can not think of but it should be pretty great.

We will not be in the business of assisting people as that is a state or local government’s place – except of course all of our military need to receive all of the care that is needed for them and I do mean the BEST of care possible. I really do not think this is the area where cuts are made except for inefficiencies/beauracracies.

Since I am a realist and do not see Social Security being overturned as unconstitutional (as it is) we need to come up with a plan that supports savings accounts/stocks etc.  Pick an age and make it 50 years and older or 45 – I do not care and everyone below will need to continue paying taxes to fulfill the current agreement for that age up to death. For everyone else it from now on it will be a choice – a savings account with your state government, a savings account that you can not access until you retire (whatever age but you can not work anymore – you can invest but not work) or invest in stock market/mutual funds that again are not accessible or any combination of the 3.  This will be totally tax free.  So now citizens are personally responsible for their own lives.

I think we need to actually clarify our economic system so that it cannot change with the wind and have an amendment to the Constitution stating that we are a capitalistic country and believe in unrestricted free trade.  That cronyism eliminated as far as is legally possible and that the rules of capitalism (contract law, property rights, laws against fraud and theft, be considered sacrosanct and inviolable).

We need an amendment to the Constitution stating that every citizen has the right to work and not be forced to join and pay a union.  Also added into that all government positions cannot be unionized.

We need to support minimum standards for all grade levels and have a national test for those standards.  All states can do their own thing with public schools as I propose the Department of Education is eliminated but all students must meet the standards we desire for our citizens.  Keep in mind that I believe that you do not lower standards but always raise them and eventually more people will achieve them.  We need an electorate that understands our government and Constitution, can read to a 12th grade level, do basic math (multiplication tables in their head to 12’s), know how to count money without a machine, understand basic English grammar and how to write at a 12th grade level, need to understand the actual history of our country and a general understanding of world history – particularly how it affects current events as with a little study you become aware of how things repeat themselves (might that be because no one ever learns or hears about the lesson?) and science.  Again religious beliefs have no place in the school except that you can believe what ever you want but need to understand what others in the scientific community are doing and why whether you accept that or not.  Our platform should be clear in stating that school is not for preaching anyone’s belief system – again that is what parents are for!   Also that our platform clarifies that government is not there to promote whatever the latest scientific trend is.  Oh and by the way I do not think that government should be concerned with nutrition pyramids or picking foods for us but I would support offering physical activity requirements in public schools – whatever happened to Kennedy’s physical program?

All insurance can go across state lines and federal standards will be set for insurance companies (based on protecting the consumer not giving them something)

A federal fund will be set up for states to borrow from for emergencies at the going interest rate.  The loan will be based on percentage of costs and will not fulfill all that is necessary as again citizens must accept personal responsibility for choice in life such as where to live.

The federal government stops funding anything not allotted to it in the Constitution (just about everything we are currently involved in).

We do not financially assist another country unless there is a real time return for that – can’t think of that occurring other than rebuilding after wining a war.

There is so much more but I think I make my point – social issues belong in the social market not the government.  Freedom is paramount as long as you hurt no one – or your rights extend to where they touch mine but not beyond.  Personal responsibility is the guide for all laws and regulations.

I think that any reasonable person would see that Romney would have no issues with agreeing on most of these points (if not all) and Santorum would have issues with most of them.  To me that clarifies the issue as to whom is conservative and whom is not.  Gingrich would also have issues as it would not allow him as President to have those BIG IDEAS as they have nothing to do with the Federal Government.

And while I am rambling I have a point to make regarding the Moon site that Gingrich and his followers want – am I the only person to remember that there is an international treaty that states that no country can do anything proprietary on the Moon?

So any of you who want to join and support my platform, add to it or clarify it let me know and those who have issues with it – let’s discuss it rationally.

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New Rankings from Economic Freedom of the World Reveal Dismal Impact of Bush-Obama Statism (via International Liberty)

There is something terribly, terribly wrong when Canada and the U.K. rank higher than the U.S. in terms of economic freedom.

New Rankings from Economic Freedom of the World Reveal Dismal Impact of Bush-Obama Statism The 2011 edition of Economic Freedom of the World, published by Canada's Fraser Institute (with help from groups like Cato), has been released. Covering data through 2009, the new report provides damning evidence of the negative impact of the Bush-Obama policies of bigger government and more intervention. Here's a relevant passage from the Executive Summary. The world’s largest economy, the United States, has suffered one of the largest declines … Read More

via International Liberty

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