Posts Tagged ‘Politics’
In my world the American Dream is the ability to pursue whatever personal and financial aspirations I may have with limited interference from governments, protection by our judicial system against those who intend to defraud, harm or infringe on the freedoms we are all born with (including our own governments), and eventually create a better future for my family as well as future generations of Americans.
I wasn’t born into money. I spent the first 5 years of my life in a trailer park and my entire childhood living off Hamburger Helper, clipped coupons, and food stamps. I started working at a very young age. I helped my older brothers with their paper routes for the local paper when I was 8. I aspired to have my own paper route when I turned 13. I knew there was an expanding neighborhood development nearby (within bicycle distance), and I wanted to have that new route! I got that new route! It was honest work every single weekday. Eventually I ended up working with my brother for an L.A. Time distributor. We inserted local advertisements into the Sunday edition of the paper. Again, honest work.
All that work allowed me to buy my own lunches in high school, purchase my first motorcycle, and enjoy a movie here and there. It also inspired to know that if I really put everything into what I was doing, I would succeed. After failing to become a Harley Davidson mechanic, I took training from my older brother on computer programming. I read and studied as much as I could to comprehend enough to get a job with upstart Internet companies. I worked ridiculously long hours, helped businesses succeed, and made a good/honest wage.
I moved on to working for a public company that eventually saw most of it’s top brass arrested for defrauding investors. I changed career paths and got into marketing, taking an entry level job for a product development company. Within a year I was running its catalog and direct marketing division. I started my own marketing company a few years and then was tapped by the owner of the current company I work for to come back and become a managing partner of a brand I had turned into a success. The business had completely fallen apart and was collapsing. I’ve spent the last 3 1/2 years turning it around. Again, not easy work, but I’ve always known that if I put everything into it: I’ll make it work!
So, when Obama dropped his famous line about business owners not being responsible for their company’s success, that somebody else made that happen, I was a bit baffled. Certainly, no job that I’ve had have I been the only contributor to that business (even when I had my own marketing company). My paper route required the printing of the local newspaper for me to have papers to deliver. My LA Times job required the LA Times. The computer programming jobs required computers, the Internet, other businesses, etc. The current job requires employees, customers, manufacturers, shipping companies, and so much more. Along the way, I have had the need for our judicial system to settle disputes and enforce contracts. That’s what the judicial system is there for.
I listened to the full Obama speech and that’s not what he was talking about. He was echoing the speech made by Elizabeth Warren several months earlier. Hers is about “the rest of us”. Obama’s is about “somebody else made that happen”. People claimed Obama was taken out of context, but what was taken out of context? I felt the context actually made it worse because it showed that Obama doesn’t understand the role of local government in our lives vs. federal government.
I was having a conversation with a liberal friend about the topic and explained the problems I saw with the Warren-Obama rhetoric (local/state vs federal government account for all the services they refer to). So, I asked my liberal friend (a devote Democrat) what the logic was. She was very passionate about it!
My liberal friend started talking about the American Dream and how Warren and Obama were talking about the American Dream. She even threw in a comment that “I might be too young to appreciate the American Dream” (she has 9 years on me). I was a bit taken aback. I thought *I was* living the American Dream… I was born in a trailer park. I now own my own house. I was born to an unemployed mother and a father who lost his job when I was about 9 years old. I’m now the managing partner of a small business.
Then something dawned on me… For Warren, Obama, my liberal friends, and millions of Americans who support the Warren-Obama doctrine the American Dream really is embodied in the whole “rest of us speech”. I’m still at a loss for exactly what the American Dream is in that world, but it made one thing clear to me. The Warren-Obama doctrine supporters are just as passionate as I am about the American dream. Rather than it being my ability to pursue whatever personal and financial aspirations I have with limited interference from governments so that I can succeed and make our country better for future generations, it’s something that “the rest of us built” or that “somebody else made that happen”. It’s something outside me.
In their world the American Dream is something outside of ourselves. It’s something that comes from being in a democracy where you are required to pay taxes for programs and wars that you don’t support. It’s something that comes from somewhere outside you. It comes from something that we don’t have to be accountable for as individuals or as a government when we fail (government bailouts, bankrupt social programs, unjustified wars, unemployment, social inequality, etc.) but can thank our government when we succeed.
I wasn’t going to argue with my liberal friend about this topic. This wasn’t a topic that either one of us were going to win. This wasn’t a topic that we were going to find legitimate common ground on at anytime in the near future. There is an abundant divide between these two ideas of the American Dream. The only thing connecting us is a commitment to bettering America for future generations. However, the means to the end differ so dramatically between mine of reliance on self and hard work and Warren-Obama or reliance on government and entitlement. It’s a divide of the American Dream as something that you dream for yourself or one that someone else dreams for you.
Warren Buffet said it. Nick Hanauer said it. The rich should pay more taxes.
I have great news for them any *anyone* who wants to pay more “taxes”!!! They can do it right now! At this very moment!
Purchase more US Treasury Notes. Here’s the link: US Treasury Notes.
Guys like Hanauer can easily afford the tax accountant to ensure that any additional tax deduction from the Treasury Notes can be offset by purchasing even more of the Treasury Notes. Best part is that you don’t have to wait for Congress to pass a bill. They can start today!
Video must be viewed first.
Now, I’ll agree with her a bit on the first part about how we piled up a portion of our mountainous debt…. The second part about “Fair Taxation”… On the surface, this is a very “common sense” speech she makes. Talk about misinformation! Let’s dissect!
“You moved your goods to market on the road the rest of us paid for” – Exactly who is “the rest of us”? Let’s really analyze this a bit. The Factory Guy (we’ll call him Fred) builds a business and theoretically has a fleet of vehicles to move his products. This fleet of vehicles requires registration fees to be paid, which is used by the state to administer transportation infrastructure. When the fleet of vehicles fills up at the gas station, they are purchasing gasoline and paying taxes (that’s $0.18/gallon + 6% state sales tax and 1.25% county, plus additional local sales taxes and 1.2 cents per gallon state UST fee).
While Warren gets a nice hurump with her analogy, it’s completely misleading. It’s like Fred (the Factory Guy) doesn’t pay the same taxes that everyone else does.
“You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate” – Again with the whole “rest of us” nonsense. I really would like to know who “the rest of us” actually refers to, especially about education. Since the vast majority of school districts receive their funding from property taxes, she can’t possibly be referring to folks who live in apartments and don’t own their own property. Of course, she doesn’t mention that, does she. It’s an ugly truth, but if you don’t own real property, your kids are getting a free ride!
So, who exactly, besides Fred (the Factory Guy) and other property owners are paying to educate the folks that Fred hires?
“… because the police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for” – More of “the rest of us” going on here. Again, Fred (the Factory Guy) must not have ever had to pay property taxes. Furthermore, when Fred applied for building permits and paid tens of thousands of dollars to the city where he built his factory, none of that money went to pay for city workers such police?
“You didn’t have to worry about marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory and hire someone to protect against this because of the work the rest of us did” – “the rest of us” do a whole lot and Fred (the Factory Guy) doesn’t do anything except for make widgets and hoard profits I guess. First, anyone who has a factory is going to have a security company that they hire to protect their business. Anyone who has ever owned a business and called the police about something suspicious knows that unless guns are blazing NOBODY is showing up at your business for at least 30 minutes. Businesses employ the services of companies that provide alarm services as well. So businesses do hire people to protect their business outside of “the rest of us”.
I’m really interested in knowing what “the rest of us” did to help Fred that Fred didn’t pay for.
What’s even more astonishing about this video are the responses that are showing up on YouTube and the people who are buying into this rhetoric. There is nothing accurate about her fair taxation speech. She either didn’t think things through to understand what the sources of revenue are, or she made a highly calculated choice to misinform and misguide her constituents to rouse the folks she was speaking to.
Obama is talking a talk that sounds great on the surface but can ultimately lead to a massive loss of jobs in America rather than creating jobs. Bernanke is helping to speed along this economically devastating Administrative policy with equally rash monetary policy. I understand where Obama is coming from. He wants to create jobs in America. The thinking by the Fed is that by the Fed devaluing the USD (US Dollar), American goods will become more affordable to China and other nations. Sounds great! On paper…
However, it is a clear indication that Obama and Bernanke don’t understand the United States’ position in the world economy. An import economy does create jobs, contrary to what the Obama Administration makes it sound like. Yes, manufacturing jobs have been lost in America. However, importing still creates jobs. A lot of jobs for that matter, and higher paying jobs! The major key to being a strong importing nation is having a strong currency. The stronger the USD, the greater the ability to import products from other countries.
The Federal Reserve, under Bernanke, has weakened the USD significantly over the least several years. The Obama administration is trying to create more manufacturing jobs in America on the backs of the import industry. Yes, import jobs will be lost as the USD continues to decline, but the result isn’t going to be layoffs, it’s going to be import businesses going bankrupt.
Now, this isn’t a too big to fail claim about the import industry. This is a claim that America doesn’t have the ability to produce all the same products that China does. What has taken decades to build in China is not going to happen overnight in America. Additionally, the typical Chinese worker makes a fraction of what an American worker would make for the same product. So, either American’s are going to have to take lower paying jobs or the cost of products are going to skyrocket!
Some argue that China is manipulating the RMB (Renminbi/Yuan) so that it’s export business continues to thrive at the detriment of America. There may be some validity to the claim the claim of currency manipulation, but it isn’t much unlike Bernanke’s QE and QE2, which are just fancy terms for devaluing the dollar. That is what Bernanke has done. He was devalued the USD. You can call it Quantitative Easing all you want, but a rose by any other name…
There is a large trade deficit between America and China, but it’s not across the board. For instance, where are Chinese airliners getting their planes? Where are they getting their MRI equipment? The advanced technology comes from America. A weaker dollar will lead to lower real profits by Boeing, GE, and other leading American businesses. Here’s the reality of a weaker dollar. So what if your widget sells for $500 when that $500 is only the equivalent to $300 from just 10 years ago!
A weak currency policy is a terrible monetary policy for America. An Administrative policy supporting exports is a good one when the focus is on exports that those other countries can’t make. Is the US really going to compete with the Chinese with making knock off MP3 players and cell phones that get thrown away every 2 years? Those will only be high paying jobs because the value of the USD will have declined to much to make America competitive with China that we’ll have gotten to the status of a 3rd world economy.
I’m being dramatic for a reason. The world economy has been centered on a strong America and strong USD for decades. The result of a devalued USD and trade restrictions with countries we’ve been importing from for decades is not what anyone in America is going to want. Enormous amounts of wealth has made its way to other nations like China, Mexico, and others. Those countries are seeing improvements in their quality of life. The US should continue to lead the world economy with a strong USD position and strong import position. The whole idea behind imports and exports is that countries export what they do/make best and import what other countries do/make best. The US still does and makes many products, services, and technology better than any other country.
The Solution: The Obama Administration should focus on leading technology industries (instead of rehashing dying industries in America) and creating greater tax incentives to grow those industries (just like Clinton did with the Internet)! Congress should act as well to impeach Bernanke. It is fully within the power of Congress to do so. Further, the Obama Administration can take action in the Treasury Department by not selling bonds to The Federal Reserve. These actions would send a sound message to the world economy that the United States is standing for a strong USD, strong US consumption, and leading the world economy out of this depression with swift action. These actions would take about 9 months to catapult the US economy and world economy out of this depression. The message to the rest of the world is that America wants to continue to *lead* the global economy rather than play a reactive role in the global economy.
It’s that time again! Time to head to the polls and vote for Congress members, Senators, City Council, etc. And in California, we hit the polls for the largest exercise in democracy in the world: California Propositions! Here are my takes on each of the Propositions open for voting this Tuesday…
Proposition 19 – The weed ballot. They are even making this section of the ballot out of hemp paper! I’ve heard all kinds of stories from both sides on this. I even heard a commercial against proposition 19 that states that an employee could get stoned off his ass every day but a company couldn’t do anything about it unless they ran over someone with a forklift. Well, those weren’t the exact words, but it was pretty much along those lines.
The problem with the logic in most of the anti-19 campaigning is that it assumes that California will suddenly become 30 million potheads overnight and that this law would give weed smokers diplomatic immunity. Neither of those are going to take place, and I guarantee you that if someone shows up stoned to work, a company will have every right to reprimand (including fire) that employee just as if the employee showed up drunk! The valid argument is the lost federal funding that California will suffer *IF* the Federal government withholds grants, education funding etc. However, there is a very simple solution to that. Don’t give the federal government their share of the taxes they put on *OUR* gasoline we use in California. If they want the tax, they can come invade us and take it.
I’m not suggesting the above because I support proposition 19. However, I am most certainly supporting the free will of the states over our federal government. Certainly, we need a strong central government, but if the federal government wants to pick and choose who it gives funding too because a state’s population does something it doesn’t like, that’s nothing short of tyranny.
Proposition 20 – A panel redistricts instead of politicians. Allowing politicians to redistrict themselves is like asking a class of kindergartners to define how much recess time they want instead of classroom time.
Proposition 21 – More taxes disguised as “helping the environment” and state park funding. My favorite part of this prop is that it will raise $500 million/year but will only bring another $250 million to the state parks. That’s because the other $250 million will be siphoned away from the state parks and wasted on something else. Here’s what I’d support: the tax with the state parks still receiving the same funding they receive right now. This way, our politicians would have to come up with some other way to scam money out of our pockets. What a shame this proposition is!
Proposition 22 – The Robbing Peter to Pay Paul Proposition. Local taxes and taxes we pay on gasoline have been stolen for years to pay for items other than what they are supposed to pay for. Of course, having done so for so long, there are so many organizations that live off these funds they weren’t supposed to be getting paid from in the first place. What this proposition boils down to is sealing the gap of a taxation windfall for our state government. They need more money? Easy! Just increase the gasoline tax… Can’t get a bill passed to increase taxes somewhere else? No problem! Just increase the gasoline tax… Well, this prop will hold tax spenders (let’s just call them what they are!) accountable for their taxes.
I’m willing to bet lunch at Tomato Joe’s Pizza that our gas taxes more than cover the amount of work we need on our roads! Ultimately, this prop could lead to lower gas prices because I’m willing to bet we are overpaying gas taxes because those funds are being used for so many other things that otherwise wouldn’t have funding to save their lives. Our current policies are like supporting the loser brother because he’s part of the trust fund. This proposition is the closest we’re going to get to “opt-out” taxes.
Proposition 23 – Someone’s blowing smoke up our asses… Is clean air regulation really costing California 1 million jobs? Would the recession suddenly end if these regulations no longer existed? Is anyone really stupid enough to believe that? I suppose we’ll find out when the votes are cast for this proposition…
Proposition 24 – This is a taxing pissing match. However, let’s just look at the latest business news that shows rising profits by several large businesses while unemployment remains high. That’s not to say that I don’t support business tax incentives. However, the ones we have in place clearly are not promoting job creation. I could write for ages on the types of business tax credits that will stimulate job creation, but that’s for another blog at another time…
Proposition 25 – The Fiscal Irresponsibility Proposition – This is the Congressional equivalent to cutting off your nose to spite your face. Having a 1/2 vote for the budget is dangerous. It means that whatever political party rules with a majority will have their way with our budget. I’m not a big fan of this. They cloak the dangers of this budgeting by keeping the 2/3 majority for increased taxes and the income penalty to members of the state Congress. However, taxing is only one side of the coin. The more important side of the coin is spending. A government can easily overspend! Just look at our current Federal government. A government can easily overtax as well, but the ramifications of overtaxes are far less dangerous than overspending.
Proposition 26 – Written Behind Closed Doors LOL ROFLMAO!!! The anti-26 campaign has just been hilarious! I can’t stop laughing when I hear the ads on the radio talking about how this prop was drafted to big-oil because they want us to pay for oil spills. I’m still trying to figure out how that was deciphered from the actual language of the proposition. This prop seems pretty straight forward. Taxation by any other name is still a taxation.
Proposition 27 – So funny that this is on the same ballot as Prop 20! This is like watching two guys argue in downtown… Hilarious!!!
My friend Jim brings up an excellent point about the redistribution of wealth and communism in his reply to my post about Flat Tax being communism. First, I’ll cover his question of why governments levy taxes. Then I’ll get back onto the topic of the flat tax and communism.
Jim is suggesting that income tax is communism but property tax is possibly justifiable if the purpose of government is the protect and to serve. There are a few problems with this, the most important being that the federal government should have absolutely nothing to do with property taxes. Second, the majority of Americans (and this hold true for most of the world) don’t own real property. Now, perhaps Jim is saying that you should pay taxes on all property you own so that you are paying your fair burden of the police and fire services in your area. Again, does this then mean that people who do not own a house are not deserving of police protection? They may be productive members of society that generate income, purchase cars, gasoline, clothing, rent an apartment from a property owner. They too are deserving of protection under the law.
Now, let’s get back to the purpose of government. There are several levels of government, but the purpose of all governments (at least in America) is the protection of life, liberty, and property. Jim is probably thinking to himself that I just proved his point about the property tax. However, life and liberty still come before property. The protection of these three equalities of all Americans takes place in several different ways via several different government agencies: Military, Police, Fire Departments, Department of Homeland Security, Commerce Department, Transportation Authority, FDA, EPA, FBI, CIA, etc.
All American’s are deserving of the services of all of the above, and all Americans should pay into those services. Now, there may be programs that an individual doesn’t support, but I’m not going to tackle that topic in this blog. Instead, I’m going to ask the next logical questions: Who stands to lose the most if our country in invaded, attacked, or bombed? Who stands to lose the most if there is a fire, earthquake, or other natural disaster? Who stands to lose the most if there is a severe disruption in the availability of natural resources, energy, or foreign services and labor? Not the guy making minimum wage, and not the guy paying 15% taxes (unless you implement a flat tax – communism).
The people who stand to lose the most in any of the above events are the business owners, investors, and wealthy Americans who utilize a great deal more of the protective and political power of or governments. Those who make more money stand to lose more money if something disastrous happens in this country. Therefore, they should pay a greater portion of the taxes. Some (like Jim) might say that wreaks of communism as it is a clear redistribution of wealth. Well, while there are certain programs that do redistribute wealth, most of them do not. Also, one need only look at history to know that a growing and increasingly upset lower-class is the demise of any ruling party.
Take any of the above departments and you will find a disproportionate amount of services being provided to those with greater wealth and income. Sure, there is some money redistributed to lower-income citizens, but again… History.
So this brings us back to the flat tax, which is ultimately the greatest form and supporter of capitalism. Yes, you read that right. A progressive taxation system is capitalism at its finest. How many of our Founding Fathers were in what we’d call the lower class? Was Washington? I think not. Jefferson? HA! Hamilton? Perhaps the closest. Franklin? You’ve got to be kidding me!
How many patent, copyright, and trademark lawsuits are there for the little guy? Barely any, but the giants are in the courtroom all the time. The wealthy utilize our legal system far more than the poor. The law, our government is supported and swayed by the wealthy far more than the the poor. Our governments have been created for the protection of all, but those who are wealthy have far more at stake and are easily responsible for a greater tax burden. In fact, it would be foolish to think otherwise because it would put at risk so much of what business owners and investors have works so hard to gain.
I figured out the solution to the Deepwater Horizon oil leak! Send Michael Steele (Mr. Drill Baby Drill) down there. Oh wait… but then we’d have to fly him first class. Nevermind.
It’s going to be 6-9 months before things start moving into recovery, and they are going to get much worse over the next 3 months. And that is a best case scenario. Why is this recession going to be so long and so severe? Simple, we denied it was happening for almost an entire year!
Remember, according to our government our economy was fundamentally strong just 3 months ago. That wasn’t the case then. That wasn’t even the case a year ago.
Recessions are fairly simple to recover from if they are dealt with responsibly. Ignoring it for 12 months just dug us a deeper hole. It would be like ignoring a broken leg for 12 months. Your leg would take longer to heal and would probably heal incorrectly (i.e. via $700 billion government bailout = $15 billion automobile industry bailout).
Here’s an idea for the government bailout program that the vast majority of Americans don’t support. Give us an opt out clause on our taxes for the next 10 years.
Now, I’m not talking about opting out of our taxes. Those of us who don’t support the bailout will still have to pay our taxes as usual. However, we can opt out of our tax dollars being used to fund this ridiculous scam.
If you limit the government’s availability of funds, they can’t be as spendthrift as they have been. If they want to come up with $700 billion to spend on some useless bailout, they will need to get it from some other source than the American taxpayer.
Years ago, this would not have been possible. However, with technology today, this is entirely possible. In fact, we could give taxpayers the ability to opt out of any irresponsible government spending. It would really make it simple for the government to determine how much they can waste on pointless bailouts like the automobile industry bailout. If 60% of Americans don’t support the automobile bailout then they will only have access to 40% of the taxpayer funds.
This would make budgeting for the government much easier! Taxpayers don’t support something, Congress can’t just go spend the money whenever and wherever they want. I suspect that we could balance the budget within 4-5 years and keep it balanced indefinitely with a bailout opt out clause. In fact, I suspect the government would end up with considerable surpluses as government waste would now have a true checks and balance system in place. The total tax dollars collected would be the same, but the ability for Congress to spend would drop considerably.
Now, some might argue that this would create serious problems with because the funding for the bailout is something that is “necessary” to avoid a greater economic downturn or because it is something the public doesn’t understand the importance of. I have two words December 2007.