Sunday, August 31, 2008

Section 8 has got to go...

More to come but this program is a rip off

Friday, August 29, 2008

Why Sarah Palin is the best pick

Several years ago, out of complete frustration, I held a press conference announcing I was "forming an exploratory committee" to challenge Senator Daschle and ran some advertisements questioning his double talk.  After the Thune election, I stayed on the periphery of politics in order to concentrate on my business.

Over the last 4 years, I have been discouraged by Republicans. Frankly, I felt like the levies in New Orleans were more effective at preventing flooding than Republicans were at preventing the flood of spending programs in Washington.  

But I want you to know, over the course of this campaign, I have become reenergized, not necessarily by Senator McCain, but by the same Daschle double talk of Barrack Obama.  

Today, Sarah Palin, who has a story I admire, made a believer out of me again.  I know the experience factor is very important, but I want you to consider something.  Americans love an underdog.  They love movies like 'Rudy' and 'Remember the Titans.'  I was routing for Sarah to do well today.   America is going to want to route for her as an underdog.  They want her to succeed.  I think she will.  

Sarah and Todd are the All American family.  As Sarah will prove herself over the next two months, I think Todd is the secret weapon.  He is an All American guy who clearly looks more comfortable on a fishing boat, with a shotgun, or on an oil rig, than he does with all the plastic politicians with their slicked back hair and London Row suits.  This is a huge advantage for John McCain.  Barrack and Michelle may have a truly American story, but it is Todd and Sarah who will be elected Homecoming King and Queen.  

This is the story of this election.  I hope you agree. 

Sarah Palin--Fire and Nice

A citizen government.   It may be refreshing to have common people fighting for small town values.  Maybe she doesn't know Washington.  Maybe she doesn't have the experience.  But she has heart. She has common sense. She gets it.

Sarah and her family entered public life without wanting to get into national public life.  Her story is about challenging the way things have always been done.  She represents the best of public service, not someone who enters public life to change the world.  One can tell very quickly, she has the innate common sense of average Americans and not the uncommon sense learned in textbooks in an elite Ivy League school.  How refreshing.

If you hear her story about her youngest child, how she discovered that she was carrying a downs syndrome baby, and her decision to fight for that child, it will bring tears to your eyes because it is a story of love and faith and selfless conviction.  Contrast that with others who look at that little child as a decision to be made.  This is a woman with heart.

I am amazed at how Barrack Obama is so intelligent, was the top of the class at Harvard Law School, a powerful speaker, how he has overcome so much, but how little he understands human nature, business, and the economy.  Contrast that with Sarah Palin. She gets it.  You can tell she understands the average family, and business big and small.  Proud of having a son serving their country.  A devoted mother of five.  Fighter of corruption.  Anti establishment. Anti lobbyist. And she is a conservative vision of the future.

From first impressions, Sarah Palin is one of us.  She looks for good government, not government as usual.  

Government of the people, by the people, and for the people.  This is the story of Sarah Palin.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hollywood and Politics

It must be weird for multi-millionaire Hollywood actors to be mingling among all the common people.

As I watched the Democrat Convention, I was struck by the number of Hollywood millionaires applauding to raise their own taxes in order to take care of the working class.  I think it must be the guilt of making so much money that makes them want to have the government give them more money.

But I think it is more than that.  So many Hollywood people hate where they are from.  They hate the so called small town mentality that they left behind.  They love the self centered life in Hollywood.  To make it there, they must feel guilty about how they made it, and so many people didn't.  It was a matter of luck that they were able to win there, and that is how they look at America.  

But it is more than that.  They think where they came from, the people were ignorant, small minded people.  To be in Hollywood, they have discovered a place where people weren't "judgmental" about what is right and wrong.  In Hollywood, they found comfort in being around people who are open minded, as long as they agree that being open minded is the only option that is right.

Hollywood values is about not having values, and that is what they hate about small town America.  

Obama Promises Change...Let us pray

While President Kennedy inspired a nation when he said, "ask not what the country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country," Barrack Obama asks, "what is in your wallet?  I am your brothers keeper."

Oh my.  Pardon me while I say a little prayer.

Please, Lord, tell me the people of this country don't buy into these promises that will further bankrupt our country.  Please tell me that people will not fall for promises that sound so good but have no chance of coming true.  And Lord, please help Barrack sleep at night as he knowingly gives false hope to millions of Americans just to get elected. 

With all of these promises and Barrack proposes to still cut the taxes of 95% of the working families.  I'm single and I don't think I am included in this group.  Are you?

So lets recap the promises (and pandering), let's remember, in the words of Barrack Obama, "I am my brothers keeper. That is the change we need right now." 

Provide every child a world class education. 

Invest in early child education

Recruit an army of new teachers

Pay them higher salaries

if you serve your community or your country, provide affordable college education for all

affordable health care for every single American

if you have health care, my plan will lower your premium

If you don't, you will have the same health care as members of Congress

Government will fight insurance companies to help sick people in time of need

Help families with paid sick days and better family leave

Protect Social Security for future generations

Energy...I have been worried about the amount of money to study alternative energy.  The starting point of his program is $150 billion over 10 years.  

and we are going to invade Pakistan to hunt down Osama bin Laden.

Hold on to your hat's people, we are going for a wild ride.  I think Barrack Obama is going to win this election.  Even though he doesn't have any experience, I can't remember a time in my life that is more set up for a Democrat title wave election. 

Once elected, Democrats will misinterpret the mood of the country as a time to grow the size of government and start talking to terrorist and dictators around the world.  

A President Barrack Obama will make every Democrat in a red state vulnerable in 2010 because Democrats just can't help themselves.  He is going to tax themselves into the minority in two short years because as much as people want to hear the grand promises, they don't like to see the higher taxes that result from all of these promises.

Barrack, you may be my brothers keeper, but I don't think that role was outlined in the Federal Government in the United States Constitution.  I think you were reading that in the Communist Manifesto.

Barrack, in Berlin you proclaimed that you were a fellow citizen of the world.   Today, you want to be your brothers keeper and proposed to help them with all of their problems.  

Why should only Americans have all that you promise?  Why would you stop at our nations border and provide health care and job security just for Americans?  In your faith (and your guilt), you must also want to take care of all of the people of the world and provide them with a better standard of living, guaranteed health care, and a better way of life.  After all, they are our brothers too...

The Problem with Politicians

Politicians know more about how to raise money and get elected than about passing sound, prudent legislation.

Have you ever noticed that every time there is a problem that bubbles up in our economy, the politicians are at their best pointing fingers at who is to blame?

For example, Stephanie Herseth held a press conference two years ago trying to get to the bottom of high gas prices at the pump.  It turns out that gas prices went even higher and the only thing I can gather is that the oil companies are unfairly profiting from the high prices.  But does she really know what caused the high prices in the first place?  I don't think there is any consensus on that as of today.

Why is it that government is always reactionary instead of proactive? Could it be that politicians simply spend too much time getting elected than understanding and explaining complex problems?

Just as major corporations who focus on the next quarter's profits instead of long term investments, our politicians focus on the next election.  The primary goal of every politician is survival, which we remember Maslow ranks just behind the needs of food, clothing and shelter. I would think survival would be placed before those items for politicians except Maslow places sex ahead of survival, and as shown by so many politicians, sex sure has prevented the survival of many politicians.

Back to survival. I used to think politicians told people what they want to hear because it was just the easiest way to get elected.  Democrats promised to spend more money, and Republicans vowed to lower taxes. 

When politics is reduced to 30 second sound bites, the debate turns to "protecting Social Security" and "fighting for teachers" without any details.

It turns out that I was wrong, I now believe politicians are not experts in any of the issues they are supposed to govern, and they don't have the breadth of knowledge to debate about the intricacies of the issues in order to give more than just talking points provided to them by their staff.

So when you hear politicians claiming to have an plan to solve any issue, remember that the details are less important than the sound bite, and the politician simply has survival on the mind, and the other things that come before it in Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

Hedge Funds--Cause for Alarm?

Disgraced former Senator John Edwards (of two America's fame) moved from being a trial attorney to the US Senate before launching his bid for President (which climaxed prematurely).

Interestingly, before he was a Presidential candidate he was a hedge fund manager for Fortress Investment Group. This firm was actively involved in the sub prime mortgage mess. I didn't realize what a hedge fund was so I did some research at wikipedia here..

I wonder how many Senators and Congressman know what is going on in these hedge funds. Did you see the earnings from these hedge fund managers? Some hedge fund managers made $3 billion? Did you know that most of them are headquartered offshore in order to shelter profits from taxes? And did you know the returns are on average of 35% - 100%? And did you know that George Soros, uses public information campaigns to manipulate the market in order to take short term, (and grossly obscene) profits?

John Edwards is right. There is two Americas going on. He should know, he was a part of it.

John Edwards said their are two Americans.

He is right.  There are those who believe that a buck is a buck, and then there are those in Washington that think a billion dollars is a buck.

There are those in the world of high finance that manipulate media for profit, and there are the rest of us that work with our hands to produce a product.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What if what was good for South Dakota wasn't good for America

Today I spoke with a former South Dakotan who advised me that I am wasting my time researching the long term benefits of ethanol.  He said all a politician needs to know is that farmers want ethanol and a politician is there to support their voters.

Because of our farmers in South Dakota and other corn belt states, our Federal Government has in 2005, through mandate, created an industry with a guaranteed demand.  But it doesn't stop there.  It is the law of our country that 35 billion gallons per year of ethanol will be sold in 15 years.  Our government just created an $200 billion industry.

I don't know if ethanol is positive or negative for our country, but I know the next four years is going to be filled with alternative energy trade associations asking for government assistance. 

Here is just a small list of alternative energy choices to relieve ourselves from foreign oil requiring mandates, subsidies, tax credits or research grants...

1. Wind Turbines (transmission lines)
2. Solar (photovoltaics)
3. Hydrogen (burning or fuel cells)
4. Natural Gas (power plants and engines)
5. Lithium Battery Power (engines)
6. Hybrid Autos (engines)
7. Flex Fuel Vehicles with ethanol (engines)
8. 100% ethanol vehicles
9. Cellulosic Ethanol

The Federal Government is going to be in a rush to eliminate our dependence on foreign oil.  It scares me to think about how much money we are going to spend on one or all of these alternatives.  I want people to think about what will happen if the Federal Government picks the wrong one to support.  

For example, the Federal Government has bet on ethanol.  How can we use corn to produce ethanol efficiently over the long term.  Even the supporters of ethanol unknowingly recognize that cellulosic ethanol is the future because it is easier to grow and has more potential to produce more energy cheaply.  But the technology does not exist as of today and may never prove to be possible.  

According to Einstein, time travel is possible, but I don't think we should mandate 35 billion gallons of time travel by 2020.  

We need to be very reasonable in our approach to spending taxpayers money.  Choosing one technology over another treads on Communism and a state controlled economy.  It is important for our Government to support private investment of entrepreneurs and private business without choosing one over the other.

I truly hope that ethanol is one of the answers to alleviate our dependence on foreign oil, but mandates should scare every farmer in South Dakota, because as fast as the ethanol industry was created, it can be taken away if it isn't an economically viable alternative.  

If, for instance, the Chevrolet Volt turns out to be a major success, and the electric car becomes the form of transportation of the future, liquid petroleum will not be necessary.  As more cars use batteries, the problem with smog from automobiles will be a thing of the past, thus ending the reliance on ethanol for cleaner emissions.   Coal and natural gas will be required for additional electricity generation and additional usage for ethanol would be problematic.

Whatever we do in the transition from gasoline to alternative fuel is going to require federal guidance. This guidance should be governed by fairness and prudence, not politics.  The solution to energy independence will require setting aside state interests for the good of the country.  

I hope ethanol is the answer to foreign oil problems, but if it isn't, I hope our state will support the technology that is most prudent, regardless of our own self interests.  I pray our elected representatives will be knowledgeable and do the same.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ethanol Studies

Did you know...
Brazil produces ethanol which has an 8:1 return on energy investment while America uses corn which has a range of 1:0.7 -1.67?

Brazil uses sugar cane instead of corn for their ethanol production, which allows them to eliminate one step of the refining process.

When corn is used, the starch in corn must be broken down and converted to sugar.

The Brazilian climate is more conducive to growing sugar cane.

Corn production in the United states is primarily used as feed for livestock as 70% of the crop is fed to cattle, poultry and hogs.

The more expensive the corn, the more expensive the beef we eat.

see this article on ethanol ...

The Art of Compromise in Washington

I spoke with a voter this weekend who voted for Tim Johnson, Stephanie Herseth and John Thune.

When I pointed out they cancel each other's vote on nearly every major initiative, his response was he wanted them to compromise.

Well, here is how compromise works in Washington.  

The Democrats promise to spend more money.  Republicans promise to lower taxes.

When Republicans and Democrats compromise, they agree to spend more money and lower taxes.  

This should work for a while, right?


It should be noted President Bush has increased spending drastically.  Aside from the explosive costs of the War on Terror, President Bush has tried to coop Democrat issues and create a lasting Republican majority by proposing to spend more money, but less money than the Democrats would have if they were in charge of countless social programs.  

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ethanol Study needs to be completed

The USDA claims the net energy gain for ethanol is 67% more energy than is input.  I am curious how they arrived at this number.

In 2005, our Federal Government created a law mandating the usage of 5 billion gallons of ethanol.  This rises to 9 billion gallons in 2012 and is to reach 36 billion gallons in 2022. Before the government created an ethanol mandate insuring a market, a blending subsidy to big oil companies to insure delivery, and a tariff to eliminate ethanol imports, I think we should have had to prove the energy viability of the industry.

We should conduct a study in South Dakota asking the following questions.

1. If South Dakota was a closed system, meaning we only produced ethanol out of all the corn we grew, how much ethanol could we produce?

2. How many BTU's of energy would that equate to?

3. How much energy would it have taken to produce it?

It is easy to determine the answer to the first two questions.

South Dakota planted 4.5 million acres of corn in 2007 which averaged 121 bushels per acre. The total bushels harvested was 544.5 million bushels which would produce 1.415 billion gallons of ethanol. There are 76,000 BTU's for every gallon of ethanol creating a total of 41.382 trillion BTU's produced in South Dakota through energy.

What the USDA is saying is that to produce 41.382 trillion BTU's of energy, it took 24.78 trillion BTU's to produce that energy.  I think we should have a clear understanding of the exact number.  Here is the guidelines we should use in order to determine if that is accurate.

We should consider the following inputs for this study.

1.  Pre Planting Expenses
a. the seeds to plant (from previous year at seed corn company)
i. should include all energy costs associated with breeding and creating the hybrid corn 
ii. energy costs to produce the machinery, fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides to produce the planted seed corn.
iii. energy costs of the irrigation, planting, tilling, harvesting of the seed corn
iv. energy costs of drying and transportation of the seed corn
vi. energy costs of delivery to farmers
b. the creation of the business of farming
i. personal usage of gasoline for all business related expenses for entire industry, including farmers, bankers, government officials, corn councils, etc, including trips to FSA offices, business trips to purchase new machinery, banks, meetings, etc.
c. machinery.
i.  production costs (number of farmers equals the number of tractors/combines/planters, etc.
ii. delivery (these would come from Illinois, in case of John Deere, and would require additional people to assemble at each dealership)
iii. middleman such as John Deere or Case IH--as well as all of their energy usage.
iv. repair and or depreciation of equipment from year to year (each of the industry workers including hedge traders, etc. for business mileage and energy usage)

2.  Planting Expenses--again, all of the above, plus
a. Diesel for all engines
b. Gasoline for all automobiles used in purpose of business
c.  electricity for all dryers, etc.
d. natural gas for all heat for shops and personal homes excluding personal vacations and/or usage

3.  Ethanol Plants-construction
a. Costs to construct
i. energy to produce concrete, steel and all associated materials
ii. usage for all associated laborers for business related to industry for all gasoline for laborers, and temporary housing including cost of air conditioning or heating.
iii. all energy costs for services below ground including piping and digging
iv. all energy costs to create infrastructure for rail/transportation

4. Ethanol Production
a.  Energy Costs to transport corn to ethanol plants
b.  all natural gas, diesel, gasoline for all aspects of production
i. include energy cost of water used and any depreciation of assets associated
ii. include energy cost for drying
iv. include cost of energy to produce all forms of carbon energy
c.  include energy consumption of laborers necessary to run all the plants and all people associated with this energy cycle

5.  Marketing, Sales and Government Relations
a.  all aspects of marketing including all trips to Washington to secure the funding for ethanol of all the lobbyists, all fundraising and event planning, etc.
b. All airline miles/energy usage and gasoline usage to sell 
c. all associated costs of housing/food preparation while on road

6.  Delivery
a. all costs with setting up delivery system including rail and rail cars, trucks and tankers
b. diesel for all delivery
c. maintenance of all systems associated

7. The cost of blending, including the creation and upkeep of additional storage tanks at blenders operations and portions of hauling/shipping to final destination

Once, we have a numerical number of BTU's to create ethanol, we would have to subtract out the associated costs of energy for the creation of ethanol byproducts.

If this is an accurate representation of the energy it would take to create ethanol, I would expect that for every 1 unit of energy put into the system, we would we be able to continually produce 1.67 units.

It seems like there is a lot of energy going into the system.  I look forward to finding out how much is coming out.  

My father sold seed corn to farmers and travelled 40,000 miles per year.  I would expect that all of the energy he consumed, in order to provide seed to plant, would be included in the total. For every person like my father, there would be hundreds of other salespeople that should be included, such as insurance man, implement dealers, etc. that would be calling on a farmer.  These, too should be included in the formula.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

"Five Government Programs to Cut"

Stephanie Herseth planted a question in the Dakota Fest Debate about the 5 places she would cut government.

The problem with Stephanie having a quick five answers about where to cut, is that her "plans" are to solve all kinds of additional problems that people face.

Her desire to have universal health care will end up costing taxpayers trillions.

Her desire to increase prescription drug benefits will cost trillions.

Her desire to give more money to college students will cost billions.

Her decision to bail out Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae will cost billions.

Her plans, when all added up, will cost this country our economic future.

The biggest thing we need to cut out of Washington is five words that politicians say way too much and cost even more.  When you hear a politician say, "I have a new plan," what she is saying is, "I think taxpayers should pay more."

Our Federal Government is bankrupt.  We don't have any money.  The only word our politicians should learn to say is the first word every human being ever learned.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Stephanie: Working for Real Change--who is to blame?

I am tired of politicians telling us what they are for.  Tell us who is preventing us from getting what we want.

In her latest "prepared, published and mailed at taxpayer expense" campaign flyer supporting increasing domestic production of oil and gas, Stephanie tells us she "supports increasing domestic production of oil and gas" as a way to "help make America more energy secure," even in the "Arctic National Wildlife Refuge."

So what.  We don't want to hear what you support.  We want to know how you are going to get it passed.

We want to know who is holding up this legislation.  Is it Republicans or Democrats?  Which lobbyist organizations doesn't want us to drill domestically?

Whoever is holding up this legislation, we don't want our Congessman supporting them--in any way, shape or form.

So who is it, Stephanie?  Why haven't we passed this legislation in the last 15 years since it has been proposed?  Have you taken any money from this group of people?  

The people of South Dakota need to know.  Or are the people of South Dakota naive about how Washington works...

Stephanie Herseth--shame on you

I want to know how much taxpayers spent on the new 4 page campaign flier put out by Stephanie Herseth regarding her "concern for the cost of energy."

Aside from the fact that she ran television campaign commercials two years ago about promising to "get to the bottom of high gas prices" (they have doubled in two short years), I am outraged that a candidate can get away with such brazen use of the Federal Government franking privileges.

This is such an unfair advantage, no wonder it is almost impossible to unseat a sitting incumbent Congressman. Lining their pockets with lobbyist money, spending tax dollars on projects around the state and taking credit for them just isn't enough of an advantage it seems for Stephanie Herseth.

Now she has to waste our money sending every voter in South Dakota a full color brochure with beautiful pictures of her smiling face in the guise of wanting to understand what people think. I am surprised that she didn't tell us about how she was selected as the most attractive Congressman in Washington by Capital Hill Magazine.

If you aren't offended at this, you should be. This is just one small illustration of how Washington works.

Washington is broken. In her debate two days ago, she told South Dakotans that Chris Lien is naive about how Washington works. I guess this just proves it. Stephanie knows how Washington works. It works by spending money by Congressman who waste taxpayers money.

Stephanie Herseth is part of the problem. The problem is a Congress that spends too much. Washington is a place where good people do bad things. It is for this reason Congress has a 9% approval rating.


After checking into the franking rules and regulations of Congress, it appears this mailing is bordering on the fringes of legality.  I received this mailing today, August 22, which is 73 days from election day.

Here are the rules of the House on sending out taxpayer funded mailings...

House Members are prohibited from sending mass mailings fewer 

than 90 days prior to any general or primary election in which they are a candidate,12

This is an absolute run on the law.  If Stephanie sent this out on the 90th day before an election, she may be within the law, but it would be clear her intent was to use this mailing to influence the election without spending her campaign money.  If she sent this piece out less than 90 days before the election, then she is in violation of the law.  

Either way, this is a total waste of taxpayer money and should be eliminated.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

If Stephanie Herseth was a role model

To high school and college students,

Many young high school students and college students—especially young women—look up to Stephanie Herseth as a role model.

Imagine, for a moment, if Stephanie seized her unique opportunity to truly make a difference in your lives. She could talk to you about the most important decisions you are making in your life—career, spouse, family and choice of friends, just to name a few. She could talk about alcohol and drugs. She could talk about sex, and she could talk to you about the connections of drugs and sex. She could talk about forming life-lasting relationships that will make you happy for the rest of your life. She could talk about love and why it is so important to give your love to one special person and why a relationship centered on God is so important—and that peer pressure is the biggest problem young women—and young men—face.

She could talk to you because she could relate to you. You would listen to her because you respect her. How many leaders have the opportunity to talk to people—to be a role model—about why pressure to have sex is so wrong; why love, a lasting love, is so important; that waiting to have sex should be encouraged, not discouraged; that marriage will work out best if God is at the center of that relationship, not keg parties or MTV at Spring Break; that many career women who have waited to get married to pursue a career have devalued sex—so that love no longer needs to be an ingredient to have sex.

Stephanie, unfortunately, won’t talk about the importance of shying away from alcohol or drugs, or waiting to have sex, or of peer pressure. She may think it is wrong, but she doesn’t want to offend anyone by saying it is wrong. She wants to go along to get along. Of course, she will say it this way. “You can’t stop people from drugs or sex.” But leaders must set the standard high. She should stand up and say it is wrong, and there is a better way. Instead, she believes that peer pressure is just too great. For this reason, she believes that abortion should be legal, and many of her friends want to legalize drugs and bring the standard of marriage down to the level of “two people loving each other”.

She isn’t even honest with you. She says she doesn’t believe in abortion, but since others will make mistakes, it should be kept legal. She says that she wants to see less abortions, but she won’t tell you that it is best not to cave into peer pressure and not have sex, for fear of being moralistic. Her friends think you should have sex—and she doesn’t want to offend her friends.

But she will still say she cares about you. I care about you. You may not like what I am saying, but I do care about you. I know what it is like to face peer pressure. I know what it is like to want to fit in. I know what it is like to be left out, when you don’t go along with the crowd.

It is for this reason that I want the crowd to think a little more like me and a little less like Stephanie. I care about you and I want you make your choices a little easier.

Before you cast your vote, consider these facts. Fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce. Promiscuity among college students reaches 65%. Out of wedlock births reaches 80% in some social demographics. Welfare programs have skyrocketed in the last 30 years to pay for those “mistakes.” Meanwhile, the emphasis on sex is tremendous.

Women have a difficult time accepting themselves for who they are. They have been lead to believe that supermodel beauty is the only acceptable beauty. Many women can hardly look at themselves in the mirror and can not accept themselves because their looks are so intricately tied into who they are. They want implants, tummy tucks and botox injections just to feel liked or to ‘finally feel good about themselves”. The pressure to look sexy has huge long term ramifications.

Stephanie believes that a 10% increase in tuition assistance, or an increase in student loans are the biggest problems facing young people.

I respectfully disagree. Young people have a shortage of role models telling them that it is ‘ok’ to be who you are; that it is ‘ok’ to not fit into the group; that it is ‘ok’ not to have sex; that it is ‘ok’ to look just the way God created you.

All of us that have gone on before you have a responsibility to help make your life easier. It will be easier for you to graduate high school or college without the burdens of being a single mother or a father saddled with the responsibility of making child support payments for the next 18 years. It will be a lot easier to be comfortable with yourself, instead of continually living up to the Cosmopolitan standards of fashion and fitness.

You will be surprised, that when you are comfortable with who you are, and feel good about who you are, you will prioritize your life better, you will not eat to feel better, you will have more energy to help you look the best you can, without having to resort to surgical procedures to improve your appearance.

Your actions have consequences, so when you vote, take into consideration the fact that the people that really care about you are the ones that sometimes tell you things you don’t want to hear, not what you want to hear.


Neal Tapio

South Dakotans are very smart people

South Dakotans like that Democrats promise to bring back more money from Washington. We like that Republicans want to keep our taxes low.

Once we have done our work and voted you in, we just want you to go to Washington, get along with each other, and work it out. We don't want to know how it gets done. Just get it done.

What a practical people we are. When we send a Democrat to Washington, we want you to be very scared about voting for something that will raise our taxes. When we send a Republican to Washington, we want you to be very scared about voting against something that will promise us more money.

We don't expect much from our politicians. When our elected officials are back in South Dakota, we simply want them to tell us about all of the money they were able to bring back home while promising to lower taxes for the middle class (which includes all South Dakotans).

Now, if you want our political donations, we expect to hear that you will fight for more money for the water projects, the new city park, and the new school that we want to build. And the new library, the new road in front of our house, the new offramp by our new vocational school, the new grant program we want, the new fire truck, the new...

If you can't get more money and lower taxes at the same time, we don't want you in Washington.

Yes, we don't like that government has grown by 60% over the last 8 years. But we vote on how much federal money is going to come from Washington in order to solve our kitchen table issues.

What do we talk about at our kitchen tables?

We talk about the high cost to fill up our gas tank.
We talk about how much we have to spend on health care.
We talk about how difficult it is to live on small Social Security checks.
We talk about the high cost of college education.
We talk about the high cost of daycare.
We talk about how our job doesn't pay enough.
We talk about the vacation we can't afford.
We talk about the poor pay for teachers.
We talk about the need to have a park closer to our home.
We talk about our roof that needs to be replaced.
We talk about the house that we can no longer afford.
We talk about the potholes in our street.
We talk about our family budget that gets down to zero every month.
We talk about the house that is too small for the growing family.

And we talk about other people, too. But we like to talk about our problems, incessantly. Is it too much to ask of our elected politicians to give us what we want?

Oh, and lower our taxes. We talk about that, too.

Herseth Sandlin just doesn't get it

From the Argus Leader:

Herseth Sandlin, who has supported the proposal, said Lien's stance shows a lack of experience."Anyone who thinks you can focus on one issue doesn't understand how the process works," she said. "Major pieces of legislation tend to be comprehensive proposals because of the needs across the country."

Well, I don't think Stephanie gets it. Congress has a 9% approval rating. The people are tired of the current way of doing business in Washington.

We are tired of politicians going to Washington and doing the same thing year after year, blaming the problems on "the system." We need change, right?

Well, the energy issue is the first area where we need change. Let's provide a little background.

For the last 15 years, there have been proposals to increase the amount of drilling in the United States. A majority of Americans supported more drilling. Predictions were made that if we fail to drill, we are going to have a problem.

But our Congress has debated more drilling, and Democrats refuse to even allow a vote on more drilling. You want to know why? Because more drilling won't help "eliminate our problem now because it will take 10 years to see the benefits."

Unbelievable. Democrats have prevented more drilling for 15 years. Now, when we need more domestic oil, they say it is too late.

Yes, Stephanie, Chris Lien may not understand how Washington works, but it is not from ignorance. It is because Washington doesn't work--and he understands that. We need somebody who wants to change the system, not continue to support a system that is broken.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Federal Dollars thrown away in haste...again

When decisions are made quickly, the decisions are costly.

After September 11, the Federal Government was quick to pay off the families of those who died as a result of a the terrorist attack that entered us into a prolonged war on terror. The cost of the Victims fund ran $7 billion for a total of $2.08 million for each of the victims.

Just for the record, the family of a downed serviceman in combat is $500,000.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is estimated to cost $200 billion dollars to rebuild the lives and cities affected by the massive storm.

An interesting piece of information, $848 million dollars was spent on trailer houses that are left rotting in an Arkansas muddy bog. Of the 25,000 mobile homes purchased, 1200 of the homes were used.

We should not act in haste when it comes to spending money in a crisis.

But if you read the newspaper today, you will find another example of wasteful spending made in haste by our politicians used to spending billions of dollars with a voice vote and a stroke of the pen.

In the aftermath of the hanging chads in Florida, a fever swept through Washington and along with the fever, $3 billion was spent on computer voting machines. After two election cycles of headaches and hassles, nearly all of the voting machines have been "mothballed" because they were prone to errors--and the fact people didn't know how to use them.

Let this be a lesson when it comes to spending money over the 14 impending crisis affecting our nation in the next four years.

We need someone who knows how to say "no", not someone who knows how to bring more money back to their home state in order to get their "fair share."

Diplomatic Power of Barrack Obama

In his Harvard Law School Class, "How to talk to your enemy 404" (It was an upper class elective), Barrack Obama must have learned how to negotiate with Russian KGB agent Vladimir Putin.

I am thankful for Barrack Obama and his willingness to talk to our enemies because we definitely need change in this world. I wonder what type of diplomacy President Barrack would have conducted in order to prevent Russia from invading one of our allies (and former prisoner of the Iron Curtain), the Republic of Georgia.

I would bet Barrack first would have apologized. That is the common approach by people who don't believe in the power of freedom of individuals and the independence of nations who must live in close proximity to a powerful former Superpower, thirsty for world relevance.

Now, some may say I am being flippant. Let us not forget the KGB is alive and well. The Russians have little interest in having pro Western governments on their border. Witness the mysterious poisoning of the current President of the Ukraine, who dared take a pro-Democratic stand against Russia in 2006. Further evidence of Russian influence over pro Western governments is Russian financial and military support of Iranian madman Ahmadinejad. It has been discovered that Russia has recently provided valuable nuclear technology to Iran.

On a crash course with Israeli interests (and Western interests), Iranian nuclear programs create a significant risk to the entire Middle East. Israel has promised military action in order to prevent Iran from developing nuclear centrifuges, allowing for the enrichment of weapons grade uranium. This process is the last step in developing a full fledged nuclear bomb. The only thing left is having a delivery and guidance system capable of delivering the bomb to Israel. It is thought that Iran has the capability to reach Israel at the present time.

Iran has been an active participant in the extermination of Israel as they were the key supporters of Hamas, an organization in Palestine dedicated to "driving the Jews out of into the sea". In 2006, Hamas led an offensive against Israel which led to an Israeli offensive in Palestine. The conflict ended poorly and Hamas remains a sizable threat to this day. Israel is currently debating bombing Iranian nuclear manufacturing sites.

I can honestly say I don't know the answers to the problems presented in the Middle East, but I know the enemies of the West have become very wealthy since 2001 because of the quintupling of the price of oil. This has emboldened these tyrannical dictators, Putin included, to seize control and threaten force.

How our American president deals with these issues is a matter of life and death to our way of life.

I just hope Barrack Obama was listening well in his "negotiating with terrorists" class at Harvard.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Spending Government Money on Alternative Energy

Nothing makes politicians in Federal Government waste money like a crisis. With $4 gasoline and billions of oil dollars lining the pockets of tyrannical dictatorships, there is no doubt we have an energy crisis.

But if you think our Federal Government has wasted money in the past, you haven't seen nothing yet.

The Energy Crisis is going to produce all kinds of half-baked proposals, regulations, subsidies, research grants, tax credits and tax increases. The Federal Government will be asked to spend billions, check that, trillions of dollars on alternative energy.

Please don't take this wrong. I am entirely in favor of promoting alternative energy, but the government should not create mandates, direct subsidies to corporations, or make millionaires of people 'studying' how to solve the energy crisis.

Government should reward consumers who purchase economically viable technology in an effort to promote investment in multiple areas of technology rather than single areas of technology.  Research and development expenses are a tax deductible expense.  Investment in assets to produce such technology is depreciated.  To encourage development, we have always chosen to allow accelerated depreciation for these assets.

Showing favoritism for one industry over another is problematic.

Currently, there are too many alternative energy options for the Federal Government to choose just one or two to support. Nuclear, clean coal, natural gas, hydrogen, corn ethanol, switchgrass ethanol, hydrogen fuel cells, electric cars, crossover cars, parallel battery technology, series battery technology, wind, solar, and many other alternative energy are just a few of the new technologies we will be asked to support through our tax dollars through government research grants, mandates or tax credits..

Understanding Government Support for Ethanol will help us understand the difficulty of the coming government decisions on alternative energy

How does the ethanol industry survive?

I don't understand how we can produce ethanol out of corn and create 1.67% more energy than we put into it. Regardless of the studies that show this evidence, it is hard to believe.

I don't understand how the ethanol industry believes that increasing the amount of corn diverted to ethanol wouldn't increase the price for livestock feedstock and other corn based foodstuffs.

If the cost of energy is the reason the Corn Growers Association say other food costs are going up, what is the reason corn has gone up from $2.25 per bushel in 2006 when the mandate was passed to $7.00 just last month. This is a 300% increase in the price of corn. How can that not have a dramatic effect on food prices? Is it because of energy costs? During the same period, the price of Crude oil only increased in price from $70 to $130, which is less than 100%.

Or is it because of ethanol production?

How can ethanol companies make money in a high priced energy market? If there is such an energy gain in ethanol, shouldn't the higher gasoline goes, the more money ethanol companies make? You would think that the more petroleum costs, the more money there would be in ethanol.

It should be noted that investors in ethanol has created many millionaires due to the government mandated usage of ethanol. The corn ethanol lobby has used a guaranteed mandate and investors in this technology have become very wealthy because of it. I find this to be very disturbing.

USDA studies indicate ethanol generates an energy surplus of 67%. This seems very suspicious. I would like to know more about this. What they are saying is this...

One bushel of corn generates 2.7 gallons of ethanol
One gallon of ethanol = .67 gallons of gasoline
One bushel of corn generates (2.7 *.67) = 1.8 gallons of gasoline (equiv)

If gas is $2.50 per gallon, one bushel of processed corn would produce $4.50 worth of gasoline (equiv).

My first question is what price does a bushel of corn need to cost in order to make ethanol cost effective on the open market without subsidies (ethanol is not taxed at the same rate as petroleum to the consumer and large corporations are paid to blend ethanol.)

It may be cost effective to produce ethanol in Iowa where they average 180 bushels per acre, but is it worthwhile to produce ethanol in South Dakota?

South Dakota averages 104 bushels per acre
One acre of corn in South Dakota can produce 280 gallons of ethanol
One acre of corn in South Dakota can produce 187 gallons of gas equivalent
One acre of corn can make $672 of ethanol (as of today ethanol trades for $2.44/gallon)
One acre of corn sells on the open market (as of today corn trades for $5.84/bushel--down from a high of $7.25) for $607/acre as an unprocessed commodity.

How are ethanol companies making money???
How much does it cost to transport, produce and ship ethanol??
Is it less than $65 for every acre of corn or 280 gallons of ethanol?

I don't see how ethanol plants can make money in this environment because the higher price of corn, the less money they make.

How much would gasoline have to go up for ethanol be profitable? And how low does corn have to go for ethanol to be profitable?

These are the questions I have about ethanol. Now imagine the Federal Government trying to throw billions of dollars at a multitude of alternative energy programs. We will make millionaires out of people researching these alternatives. But how will politicians in Washington be able to choose which one to fund or support?

This is going to create a massive spending bill and will have catastrophic long term effects on the US economy.

Why we are losing the war on terror

Despite what our politicians are saying, we are losing the war on terror.

To understand how we are losing, it is important to understand how we won the Cold War.

In 1980, the East and West were at a stalemate. Small battles were won and lost along the way. The Korean War and the Vietnam War were small battles in a larger, global war. The USSR and the Eastern bloc countries on one side. The USA and the western bloc countries on the other. A large military budget(on both sides) was in the middle.

President Reagan understood an important component that others did not. He understood Communism was a poor economic model that lacked incentive and invention. Freedom, and empowering individuals, created incentive to produce.

President Reagan inspired people to produce, not just in America, but around the world. He inspired people to make the most of their lives and reach higher than they thought they could. To accomplish this, he told people the truth. He told the world that Communism was evil. Freedom was possible.

Then he unleashed the secret weapon. He set out to bankrupt the enemy. He invested in new technologies and weapons systems, which required the Soviets to spend money they didn't have in order to keep up. America outspent the Soviets and their economy suffered, creating great unrest among their people. The most vulnerable countries in the Eastern bloc started to crumble as people started to demand change.

Osama bin Laden, through the network of Al Queda, has unleashed the Reagan secret weapon. In the six years since September 11, 2001, he singlehandedly has pushed our country to the brink of bankruptcy. We have spent trillions on the war on terror and the whole Western economy is about to collapse under the weight of energy costs.

In the coming years, our country is going to see a real recession. Not the kind of recession that President Clinton, in 1991, claimed was "the worst in 50 years", but rather the worst we have seen in centuries. Nearly every industry in the West has been shaken to the foundation because of the war on terror; banking, transportation, housing, investments, real estate, travel and leisure, manufacturing and retail have all been hit hard. The value of the American dollar is nearing an all time low.

Oil, the life blood of western progress, has become our Achilles heal. Energy costs are draining our pockets and lining the pockets of tyrannical dictatorships around the world. Oil rich nations such as those in the Middle East, Venezuela, and Russia have become wealthy and are once again in a position to utilize the proceeds from oil to rebuild the East West Cold War. This is a war between the "have's" and "have not's".

And we are losing this war. We are addicted to what our enemy has for sale. Ironically, we finance their war against us. The more we need. The more we pay. The more they make. The more power they have.

This is a battle to protect our way of life. When we are dependent on another for our survival, we are no longer free. And Osama bin Laden sits in a cave somewhere knowing that a single attack has brought America to her knees and must laugh when Mrs. Grandma Anderson is getting patted down at the airport.

Welcome to the 21st Century War on Terror.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Why Seniors should vote Republican in South Dakota

South Dakota is the 7th oldest state in the nation. One quarter of the population is retired or will be retiring within 10 years.

South Dakotans born before 1950 have seen a lot of changes in our state, our country, and most importantly our culture over their lifetime. The promises the government has made to this group of people has nearly bankrupted our country. It is not the fault of the people, but of the political process.

Social Security began in 1935 as an effort to combat poverty of senior citizens during the Great Depression. In 1950, it grew into a program that provided coverage to all workers as an insurance program based on a whole life insurance policy. Basically, pay in for a certain number of years and upon retirement, remove the money paid in. However, the promises of an "insurance" policy was misguided as it included benefits of those that didn't pay into the system, yet qualified for benefits immediately.

But that was how it was sold to the American people by politicians. I pay into the system. I retire and I take what I put into the system.

The benefits were increased by 135% over the next 20 years and came to include health insurance benefits for retirees, and most recently prescription drug benefits in 2003.

There are many problems with the Social Security System, but the two largest are the mistruths this system is built on.

First, it is not an insurance program. It is a pay as you go system. The current workforce pays the benefits of the current retirees. The AMOUNT received is based on the payments made into the system.

Secondly, people are led to believe there is a Social Security Trust Fund. Al Gore even wanted to place that fund in a lock box. How it worked is a mistery, since the Federal Government is incapable of saving money.

Third, there is $145 billion excess payroll taxes collected each year in Social Security. That money is tossed into the the general fund and spent on all the other programs. In 2017, the imbalance begins going in the other direction and the Social Security program will either need to raise taxes or lower benefits.

These are the realities of the Social Security Program.

But how did we get here?

The life expectancy has grown 10 years since 1950, when the Social Security Program became the retirement program for American citizens.

The baby boomer generation consists of 55 million people placing untold stress on this social program.

The program benefits have been increased

Barrack Obama will Hurt Johnson

The Democrat Presidential Candidate Barrack Obama won't be welcome in South Dakota by the end of this election year.

Watch closely throughout this campaign as Senator Barrack Obama continues to make promises to spend more money. Here is a section of promises from his announcement speech. I have bolded those promises that will cost more money...

"Let us be the generation that reshapes our economy to compete in the digital age. Let's set high standards for our schools and give them the resources they need to succeed. Let's recruit a new army of teachers, and give them better pay and more support in exchange for more accountability. Let's make college more affordable, and let's invest in scientific research, and let's lay down broadband lines through the heart of inner cities and rural towns all across America.

And as our economy changes, let's be the generation that ensures our nation's workers are sharing in our prosperity. Let's protect the hard-earned benefits their companies have promised. Let's make it possible for hardworking Americans to save for retirement. And let's allow our unions and their organizers to lift up this country's middle class again.

Let's be the generation that ends poverty in America. Every single person willing to work should be able to get job training that leads to a job, and earn a living wage that can pay the bills, and afford child care so their kids have a safe place to go when they work. Let's do this.

Let's be the generation that finally tackles our health care crisis. We can control costs by focusing on prevention, by providing better treatment to the chronically ill, and using technology to cut the bureaucracy. Let's be the generation that says right here, right now, that we will have universal health care in America by the end of the next president's first term.

Let's be the generation that finally frees America from the tyranny of oil. We can harness homegrown, alternative fuels like ethanol and spur the production of more fuel-efficient cars. We can set up a system for capping greenhouse gases. We can turn this crisis of global warming into a moment of opportunity for innovation, and job creation, and an incentive for businesses that will serve as a model for the world. Let's be the generation that makes future generations proud of what we did here."

This may be inspirational, but if nothing else, Barrack Obama is efficient. In just four paragraphs, he highlighted 14 areas where he would like to spend more money.

I am sure Senator Johnson agrees with Barrack that we need to spend more money. Just how much is Johnson willing to spend? We will be keeping a close eye on those promises

How to win over Johnson Supporters

People don't really know Senator Tim Johnson.

Senator Tim Johnson had a stoke or something. He seems like he works hard. He is a moderate voice. No, I don't think he is as bad as the rest of Congress.

These are the comments I received when I asked people about what they knew of Senator Johnson.

I am not sure. Is Senator Johnson up for election this year. Joel who?

These are the comments I received when I asked people about the upcoming Senate election.

Some people think this is problem. I think this is an opportunity.

Senator Johnson is known by a lot of people, but many people don't know much about what is going on in Washington.

They are having troubles with gas prices, health care costs and making the budget balance at the end of the month. Politics, to them, is about back pocket issues. Their back pocket is hurting.

This election is about who is to blame. Who is responsible for getting our country to the brink of bankruptcy. Senator Johnson is running a campaign about all the money he has spent.

We must make the amount of money that spent in Washington, and how much President Obama is going to propose to spend the issue of this election. If we can make this the issue, we win on the economy.

How to Reign in Spending in Washington

Spending is out of control.

Here is my proposal to shine the light on government spending.

Every request for funding must go through a more open process. All requests must go through the governor of each state, added to a list, and published for the public to see. The list must be prioritized by the governor and state legislatures, and forwarded to the Congressional delegations.

All funding requests then must be accompanied by supporting needs statements including financial documents, tax returns and cost benefit analysis, all available to the public.

Politics must be removed from government spending.

Shining the light on government priorities will be the first step in reigning in the frivolous spending that has lowered the approval rating of Congress to 9% and forced our country to the brink of bankruptcy.

South Dakota's "Fair Share" and the "Powerful Appropriations Committe"

With amusement, I watched Sioux Falls Mayor Dave Munson become a major commercial star for Senator Tim Johnson. He seemed so natural beside a member of the "powerful Senate Appropriations Committee."

How could we live without Senator Tim Johnson?

Then I realized how symbolic it was for Mayor Munson to be thanking our master for taking care of us here in lowly South Dakota.

The subtle message is that you can't live without me because I give you money. So you better thank me. You need me. You won't have anything without me.

I thought about freedom and how quickly we can lose our independence. Mayor Munson has become dependent on others for his success. He can't do it without someone helping him. And he speaks for all people living in Sioux Falls. We can't live without Senator Johnson, either. We need the money.

So I began to think about how much money Senator Johnson has brought back to the state of South Dakota. Wouldn't it be nice if the press compiled a list of the money he brought back?

And shouldn't incumbent Senators declare the projects they fund as a campaign contribution from the taxpayers of this country?

I am sure the people at the Lewis and Clark Water Project are so thankful that we have an election year every two years. How difficult it was for Senator Johnson to get the money last year for the project, but coincidently, in the grand year of his election, the money just cruised through the Senate with ease.

Then I thought about how much every other Senator brings back to their state.

I thought about the process about how Senators must trade winks when they are trying to get money back to their state. If you have never driven through West Virginia, you should. They have the most beautiful bridges and highways in the world. Ironically, they are all named after Senator Robert Byrd, the leader of the "powerful Appropriations Committee."

Then I am reminded of the bridge that collapsed in Minneapolis, and the thousands of bridges in our nation in a state of disrepair. I am reminded that Senators don't get credit for fixing bridges that need to be repaired, they get credit for new bridges for which they can take credit.

Yes, we bow down to Senator Tim Johnson for his creation of a dependence society. And we will blame him for not standing up to Senator Byrd and other Senators who have so broken the federal government that they are at a 9% approval rating and our country is on the brink of bankruptcy.

Senator Johnson, if you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem. And Mayor Munson reminds us of the problem.

Democrat Energy Solution--Windfall Profits Tax will hurt America

Everyone now knows Exxon has made too much money. Exxon made $40.6 billion in 2007. The Democrats want to take a portion of their profits in the form of a windfall profits tax.

The dirty little secret is Exxon paid $30 billion in taxes. If you add in the capital gains taxes paid by stockholders on $10 billion of dividends, the total taxes is $32 billion.

The government is a large beneficiary to higher gas prices.

But the government must be very careful about losing all of this tax revenue over the next decade. Exxon Mobil is a global company. The majority of their supply of oil reserves are in places like Libya, Saudi Arabia and Khazakhastan. An ever increasing amount of their demand is from overseas such as China, India, and developing companies.

The risk of extreme losses and future write offs for companies like Exxon is very high. Along with higher rates paid for new oil leases caused by higher oil prices, the increased risk of doing business in totalitarian states is a serious threat to future profits of Exxon.

For example, last year, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez nationalized all oil production facilities and cut off oil shipments to Exxon. Tens of billions of dollars of investment and future oil revenues have been put at risk. Russia, China and the Middle East exposes Exxon to the same investment risk.

Because Exxon is a global concern, the day is soon approaching that Exxon will not have an advantage to be an American Energy Company.

Whether we like it or not, our government will force Exxon to make a decision that no one will like. Pay more in taxes or move out of the country. Singapore, Liberia, Panama and the Bahamas will be happy to have Exxon as a corporate citizen and in a free market society, these countries are willing to tax corporations less (or not at all) than we are willing to tax them.

An example of businesses leaving the United States is the shipping industry. There isn't a single shipping or cruise line that pays taxes in the United States. The cruise line industry no longer pays income taxes in the United States. In order to be competitive in the industry, every major cruise line has moved to smaller countries that do not tax income. Further regulation and labor requirements in the United States have pushed the corporations offshore, and they took their profits with them.

It is not in our benefit to demonize any industry in our country, whether it is Microsoft, Pharmaceutical Companies or any of the few industries in our country that are making money. Democrats will propose to arbitrarily say how much a company should make. Companies will arbitrarily move out of our country.

Business in a competitive industry requires investment and returns. A trip to Detroit will show you the results of a union labor/government program gone awry. When worker rights are more important than profits, the business will not be able to sustain itself. Attack American business profit and you can expect businesses to retreat to other countries that are more business friendly.

This will be the result of a windfall profits tax.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Barrack Obama

He can't help it. It is in his nature. Like all compassionate Democrats, Barrack Obama talks to people with problems and promises to help fix them.

Barrack Obama believes the a compassionate politician in Washington DC can solve people's problems by redirecting the priorities of the $2.65 trillion federal budget to the people that really need it.

To think that a single person could understand how to help tens of millions of people is quite arrogant, but thinking the Government would be able to provide enough money to change their lives is quite astonishing. But he believes he can do it.

A similar belief system is possessed by Representative Stephanie Herseth. She has a plan to solve everyone's problems. She listens, she hugs and she cries, and then sets about changing the laws of this country--albeit on a much smaller scale than Barrack Obama. Again, it is quite astonishing that someone believes the Federal Government can be used to solve individuals problems.

For example, it is difficult for seniors to live on Social Security payments. Set aside the fact that Social Security was not designed to be a retirement plan and imagine that Barrack Obama wanted to give each person $100. With 55 million retirees in 2014, the cost of that proposal would be $5.5 billion. Now $100 isn't going to change any of their lives, but $100 per month could really help right? The Democrat mind works by making a difference in millions of peoples lives at a tune of $66 billion.

Unfortunately, the realities of human nature always get in the way of government solutions. Whenever a government starts down the path of taking from one group to give to another, a disincentive to produce is created. If $1 is earned, but $1 is taken, the incentive to produce a dollar has been eliminated.

The role of government is to get encourage productivity, not punish it.

Barrack Obama doesn't understand this basic principle. He will propose spending a record amount of money and this will hurt Senator Tim Johnson--the same Tim Johnson that voted for the largest tax increase in history in 1993.

The Economic Challenges

I have compiled a list of all the issues facing our country in the next four years. As you will see, the problems are formidable. The costs are going to be outrageous.

1. The banking/mortgage/home owner bailout bill has recently been signed into law, yet the worst may be yet to come.

It appears the cost of this bill is unknown, however, the Congressional Budget Office estimates the bailout specific to sub prime lending will be $25 billion, which could increase to as much as $100 billion. This may only be the beginning, as the housing crisis looms large since new construction housing has been practically shut down nationwide. Home prices have seen 25% declines in many metropolitan areas. One in four homes are in foreclosure in Detroit. Homes in Las Vegas that were selling for $500,000 just a year ago are being sold for $350,000. The next wave of problems will come when the people that bought homes for $500,000 look to sell their homes now worth $350,000. An additional wave of bank foreclosures may occur when builders and developers who are sitting on land that is overpriced are forced to sell. Overdevelopment will add additional pressure on the banks as builders and developers are unable to keep up with financial obligations. Finally, analysts suggest the construction industry and related services make up over 20% of every local economy. With new construction failing, employees will begin to feel the pinch, increasing personal bad debt and added pressure on banks. In summary, the banking industry is in for a very difficult future, requiring additional federal bailouts in order to protect depositors money. The FDIC (and their solvency) will be very active in the next 2-4 years.

2. The energy crisis.

Affecting every consumer and business, the cost of energy is rapidly increasing the prices for everything from food to flying. Along with the obvious negative affect on the economy, the Federal Government will be asked to create very large investments in alternative energy. Barrack Obama recently proposed spending $100 billion on alternative energy and paying for the program with a windfall profits tax. An assault on carbon based energy will create pressure to participate in a world agreement to control global warming and global carbon credits costing American business and consumers billions of dollars.

3. The war on terror.

We are slowly recognizing the war on terror is unending and will be similar to the war on poverty. Just as there will always be poverty, we will always have a war on terror. To contain Islamic Fundamentalism, we will continually be faced with costly threats around the globe. With our military stretched to its limits, rogue nations and terror organizations will sense American weakness and become more brazen. Continual vigilance will be required to prepare for an ever increasing dangerous global climate.

The war in Iraq is an off budget item, yet Sen. Obama has proposed to use these funds for other spending programs as he draws down our forces. A battle will occur over where this money is spent, even though the $120 billion per year for the war in Iraq is in addition to the $400 billion deficit. Additionally, we are spending $40 billion per year in Afghanistan and both candidates are urging an increase in troop levels. The war against Islamic fundamentalism is an ongoing effort that will have drastic effects on our troubled economy.

4. The Armed Forces are requiring additional investments.

Keeping morale high in a protracted war will require additional funding to attract new recruits and additional funding will be required to take care of veterans coming back from war. In addition, Vietnam veterans are approaching retirement and will add pressure on an already stressed VA Hospital system.

5. The health care issue is real to a lot of people.

The Democrats are going to push this issue for political purposes and again move for universal health care. Republicans will be made out to be cold and callous to the needs of those on fixed incomes and without insurance. As an example of how completely unrealistic government predictions are, the Medicare Prescription Drug Bill of 2003 was projected to cost $132 billion over a 10 year period. In 2005, the Bush Administration revised their estimates to $1.2 trillion. Today, Democrats are calling for "closing the gap" on the out of pocket expenses required for seniors. With estimates so unreliable, the cost of increasing benefits in an entitlement are outrageous and are not maintainable.

With the rapid technological advances in medicine, an increasing dependance on drugs over healthy lifestyles, an aging baby boomer generation more reliant the health care system, and a third party pay system, costs are getting out of control. A socialized universal health care program seems like a logical answer to the average person because "something must be done." However, since it will be difficult to predict all the costs of providing medical services, providing complete services in a timely fashion to patients who expect the government to pay the tab will lead to "negotiating" better rates with hospitals and service providers which in turn will lead to more government control and escalating costs. The Federal Government controlling the health care of individuals will change the economy in ways we can not even predict--except that it will always cost more than what was predicted and government provided services will always be underfunded.

6. Previously promised safety nets will be bursting at the seems.

An increasing number of unemployed and uninsured should be expected with layoffs and a slowing economy, adding to the pressure on the public health care system including Medicare and Medicaid and entitlement programs such as unemployment insurance and poverty reduction programs. Entitlement spending will skyrocket with a slowing economy. The burden of the heavy social spending by states and Big City Mayors in inner cities may fall to the Federal Government. People aren't talking about this, but regions such as Detroit and large cities are likely to face financial collapse requiring federal bailouts of their bondholders.

7. Social Security.

Despite what some politicians are saying, Social Security will be taking more out of the system than being put into it by 2017--just 9 years away. Democrats have suggested recently this isn't an impending problem, but the Social Security Trust Fund is an Enron-like accounting trick pulled off by our politicians. Excess money ($140 billion in 2008) is collected from Social Security taxes and is used for general fund expenses. An IOU in the form of a Treasury bill is written to the Trust Fund. Al Gore proposed a LOCK BOX--thinking that we would not use the funds, but rather just hold them. His credibility should have been shattered immediately for not realizing that it is impossible for the government to actually save money. The Social Security problem will create a double whammy for the future. First, we will have to raise taxes and/or lower benefits in order to meet obligations. Secondly, we will have to fill the void from losing the excess money collected on Social Security. The political response for politicians is to create a "Blue Ribbon Commission" to deliver the bad news to the consumer regarding the state of Social Security going to show that to be a politician, one must be an invertebrate.

8. The impending airline bailout.

The financial crisis in the airline industry and it's surrogate industries is brought on by a combination of high oil prices, increased costs associated with terror threats and a lower passenger load due to the increased security. It is in the nations interest to have multiple airlines and low costs. The sustainability of this industry is in question and the future of this industry may fall on the shoulders of the Federal Government.

9. The impending collapse and bailout of the auto industry.

General Motors has not produced a profit since 2004 and has lost a whopping $80 billion over the last five years. Ford is considering bankruptcy after recording a $8.5 billion loss this last quarter. International competition and demand for smaller fuel efficient vehicles in the auto industry is creating a low cost, low margin product line with entry level vehicles starting at $10,000. Adding to the complexity is the fact that $1525 of every vehicle sold by an American car company goes toward health care costs for their workers. There is more money spent on health care than steel in the average American car. Along with health care benefits, the outstanding pension obligations of millions of auto workers may become the responsibility of the Federal Government. It is estimated the unfunded portion of pension obligations for General Motors is $58 billion. Add that to the $350 billion of debt General Motors is carrying, the collapse of this company will have a major effect on the US economy. Some analysts predict Chrysler to be the first to collapse, but The Big Three Automakers are in serious jeopardy and may require significant Federal Government assistance.

Update: General Motors posted $14.4 billion in losses last quarter

10. Personal Bankruptcies.

The good news in America is that less than 50% of Americans carry a balance on credit cards. Unfortunately, those that are playing the debt game are in for a difficult time. Since credit cards are still a recent phenomenon (they didn't receive universal popularity until the late 1970's), individuals born before 1945 were not inclined to change their spending habits from a cash basis. However, the baby boom generation and those thereafter have slowly become acclimated to a new economic system which includes carrying large amounts of personal, unsecured debt. This reliance on financing by those under 45 years of age has created a debt heavy culture. As the economy turns south, this may be the first generation raised on credit to face a serious recession.

11. Illegal immigration.

It is estimated that between 10-20 million illegal immigrants are living in the United States. Some suggest between 500,000 to 4,000,000 illegal immigrants (mostly from Mexico) cross the border each year. The costs to control this problem is a controversial and costly problem. As the economy worsens, calls to eliminate this problem will become louder. The Federal Government will be asked to provide benefits to illegal immigrants ranging from health care costs to unemployment and anti poverty programs. In addition to providing benefits, the strains placed on local law enforcement agencies may make this a federal issue as they will require funds to handle the increased costs of these individuals. The additional costs of detainment, legal trials, and extradition has the potential to create a massive federal expenditure.

12. The loss of middle class manufacturing jobs.

Severe competitive pressures are requiring businesses to manufacture goods in cheaper labor markets. Most consumer goods are now being produced overseas in countries without labor unions, environmental regulations and extremely low labor rates. The inevitable loss of these domestic jobs creates an uneasiness in our economy and has deleterious affects on smaller communities as often the move of a major manufacturer has an enormous impact on the local economy. A shrinking tax base leads to lower home values, a declining property tax base, and a difficulty in maintaining the current services such as schools, road improvements, government employees and police. State and federal assistance for communities reeling from the loss of a job base is a growing need.

13. The American Dollar is falling against other currencies and may need to be propped up.

The value of our dollar is determined by the belief other countries have in our country and our economy. The dollar has depreciated 32% against the Euro since 2004 and the world economy and world trade is no longer tied to the American Dollar as it has been for the last 60 years. Some people estimate that over $1 trillion was printed out of whole cloth last year, further declining the real value of the dollar. America is spending nearly $500 billion more each year than it takes in (not counting off budget items such as the Iraq War). In order to keep people buying our Treasury bills, we will need to increase interest rates. This action has a further negative impact on our economy.

How to beat Senator Tim Johnson

It is very possible.

Many people don't believe that in 84 days it can be done. Done with an unknown candidate. Done without money. Done without a compelling reason to vote against an incumbent. Done against the sympathy vote. Done while losing a seat on the "Powerful Appropriations Committee." Done in a year so slanted against Republicans.

But it is very possible. This is how an unknown, unfunded Republican candidate can beat Senator Tim Johnson.

Go on the offensive and don't stop until election day.

Here are a list of vulnerabilities of Tim Johnson.

1. Barrack Obama
2. 9% approval rating of Congress
3. Health of Senator Johnson
4. Impending Collapse of US Economy
5. Entitlement Spending
5. War on Terror
6. A liberal Supreme Court

President Barrack Obama, in coordination with the Democrat controlled Congress, has a plan to fix all of our nations problems.

Two question tie these vulnerabilities together.

How much is it going to cost?

Who is going to pay for it?

The campaign can be won by creating a list of spending bills proposed by every Democrat running for federal office, adding them up, and asking the people of South Dakota if they are for those proposals.