Sunday, August 31, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
see this article on ethanol ...
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
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.
House Members are prohibited from sending mass mailings fewer
Thursday, August 21, 2008
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.
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, 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
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."
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
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.
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.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.