Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Washington DC is broken!

In the "if I said it once..." column...

This is a great article on how Washington actually "works" [sic]. Lobbyists (and staffers) have way too much power, and politicians have way too little understanding of what is going on...

Islamic Terrorists vs. Wasting money

This is not a picture of "invasion of privacy" and has nothing to do with "innocent until proven guilty." Right.


It is, however, an invasion of privacy to simply recognize the terrorist threat is brought to us courtesy of Islamic terrorists from Saudi Arabia, Yemen and other Muslim nations with names such as Mohummed, Akmed, and Muhommed. 

We are spending $8 billion per year, much of it in a misguided attempt to take the clothes off of innocent people, while bending over backwards to appeal to the constitutional rights of people hell bent to blow themselves up to kill us...

This is war, and it is time to take the gloves off, not our pants!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

US is broke and China knows it

I suppose every former superpower thought they were the richest country in the world long after they weren't. I suppose they kept spending money like they actually had it to spend. 

We have heard how Reagan and America outspent the Soviets and won the cold war by bankrupting their controlled economic system. Capitalism was declared the victor over communism and invincibility was instilled in a generation of Americans. 

Unfortunately, the fabric of capitalism began to wear and become unravelled. The modern threads of unbridled consumerism and radical progressive change became separated from the old, time honored conservative threads of family, work ethic and thrift. 

So it makes sense that America will lose it's freedom during a time when so many believed we were being led by the Messiah, President Obama. Just one day after President unveiled a plan to spend $100 billion per year to solve global climate issues, the Chinese government warned that your American dollars don't have any value, and as your banker (or read slave owner), we think you should control your spending.

Imagine getting lessons on spending and economic theory from the Communist Chinese. So this is how are story begins to end. Our politicians will continue to spend money we don't have, but our creditors will reign us back in. Who would have thought that Communists would have the last word?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Quick Poll

If government takes money from me, and gives it to another person, would it be appropriate to ask the person receiving the gift to refrain from gambling, smoking, drinking, or any other activity that gets in the way of working a couple extra hours per week to not take my money?

Here are my list of expenses I would cut before I went without health care insurance...

1. Eating out/Going out
2. Cable tv
3. Cell phone
4. Movies
5. Any new clothes or accessories
6. Any subscriptions
7. Any travel

Further, I would lower these expenses...

1. Sell my home, or take in renters
2. Sell my car, and buy a cheaper one
3. Tear up my credit cards

Finally, I would take on extra work, look to move to a cheaper location or better job opportunity and/or lower my pride and work until I had things under control. Only then would I go without health insurance.

The reason I go through this little exercise is that I am tired of paying for people with different priorities. If I prioritize my life to work harder, longer and save more, invest in my future, I am not opposed to help other people, but I am not interested in paying for people who skate by and are "hangin ten." You dig?

So if you don't fit into this category, don't get all bent out of shape. But if you do, I am coming after you...You are not a victim. You are an indolent, dependent slug. 

I want to make it illegal to receive money from the government and then waste money. If you make a decision to become a ward of the state, the state then has the right to control your life...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Recession is over!!

It is true. The economy grew by 3.5% in the third quarter of this year. And I am not the only one who doesn't think you should buy that bottle of bubbly just yet.

See the real truth behind a sham GDP number here...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Democrat Strategy

I usually don't like to clog this space with Democrat drivel, but this was an interesting strategy piece from Obama's Organizing America website. Any Republican candidate should understand the magnitude of organization from the left..

Uniting the middle class is key. Dems will win much bigger in a progressive than in a liberal/conservative dialectic.

Dems need a strong progressive platform--and must prevent the GOP from driving lib/con wedges to divide and splinter it. It can do this be keeping up a relentless focus on economic and security issues.


1. TERRORISM DEFENSE PLAN. Iraq was a lie from the start, designed to benefit the war, oil and gas industries at the expense of the American middle class. It has done nothing to protect us from terror. Neither has the spike in non-Iraq conventional military spending at home.

While it is true that we do have a moral responsibility not to make conditions in Iraq any worse, we also have a moral responsibility to acknowledge that the President has seriously and immorally abused his office by lying to Congress and the American People to lead us into an unnecessary war for reasons that boil down to the avarice of the few; and in so doing has destroyed respect for our nation abroad, weakened our diplomatic credibility, undermined international law, damaged the UN, increased terror threats worldwide, volatilized world energy markets, weakened our ability to respond militarily to real and necessary global crises, weakened our ability to respond to terror and natural disasters at home by putting our National Guard and its equipment in Iraq, subjected our troops to unnecessary attacks, and pushed Islamic states towards more extremist regimes (as in Iran and Palestine).

We need to withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible in an orderly manner, seriously considering Senator Biden's Partition Plan as an appropriate and realistic solution for a Balkanized Iraq.

We need to abandon "neocon" policies of unilateral action, preemptive strikes, lying to the UN, abusing human rights and scoffing at international law by authorizing torture, the holding of prisoners without charge, the imprisoning of people without evidence, and denying due process of law.

We need to reaffirm our former policy of cooperative and diplomatic engagement of other nations, including promoting--rather than obstructing--important international treaties such as Kyoto that are necessary to secure the peace and prosperity of the community of nations and the evironmental integrity of the planet.

And finally, we need put into place real protection against terror at home. That means better policing our borders; securing our nuclear facilities, transportation infrastructure, government targets, and other high-profile targets; and adopting an approach that recognizes that terror is not war but international crime, and that it cannot be defeated by conventional military spending or "war".

That includes supporting and promoting religious tolerance through the encouragement and fostering of secular governments that recognize a policy of division of church and state.

It also includes subsidization of tolerance-teaching public education programs in nations with terror problems--and favored trade status and other incentives for nations that develop such programs and foster such policies.

It further includes programs to spur economic development in communities that are now hotbeds of new terror recruits.

Think Marshall Plan, not Iraq II.

2. A single-payer national health insurance program (HIP) with comprehensive coverage and freedom of choice as to provider.

HIP would save hundreds of billions of dollars in costs and restore market efficiency to the health care industry by eliminating zero-value-added private insurers whose every dollar in expenses or profit is a dollar taken away from healthcare Americans need; by eliminating the redundant bureaucracies of Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA; by leveraging single-payer status to negotiate fair prices with drug companies; by cutting providers' overhead costs (billing and float); and by regulating excessive awards to lower malpractice rates.

HIP would represent a huge economic benefit to consumers--46 million workers and children would be insured, and would not have to pay for healthcare out-of-pocket; millions more would be freed of burdensome co-pays and deductibles and paying dental and/or eyecare out of pocket.

Employers would see substantial, and possibly even total reductions in their health benefits costs. In one version, employers could be required to pay into the national Health Insurance Fund at a modest rate for each employye-hour worked (without regard to F/T or P/T status); in the other, employer-subsidized insurance could be eliminated entirely.

Either choice means a huge shot in the arm to businesses' bottom lines, and a big help to industries struggling to compete in the global market. HIP would therefore help reduce outsourcing, while creating great new jobs as providers expand to administer care to more Americans than ever before.

HIP is a huge economic issue--one could pass it on market efficiency alone, without even getting to the right to health insurance.

3. ENERGY SECURITY: this includes not just "energy independence" (domestic production of most of our energy needs) but also "economic security". We are currently experiencing persistent, energy (oil&gas)-fueled inflation and chronic interest rate increases. This drag on our economy will not stop as long as we remain open to gaming and gouging by foreign oil producers and disruptive acts of war. If we don't change course, we'll send the American middle class into serious recession.

We need to set the most aggressive clean and renewable energy standards, fuel efficiency standards, green building standards, appliance and electrical efficiency standards, and green government standards in the world.

This is partly economic self defense. We need to be ahead of the curve in clean tech, which is the future--we need to be selling this stuff overseas. It is also as part of a desperately-needed NATURAL DISASTER AND GLOBAL WARMING DEFENSE PLAN. Permitting global warming and pollution to threaten our agriculture, our cities and our coastlines spells economic disaster.

Energy security is an economic issue of staggering importance.

4. A Natural Disaster and Global Warming Defense Plan includes CUTTING SUBSIDIES FOR OIL and natural gas and coal, and putting the money into R&D for clean and renewable energy. WE have to be proactive. Global warming is real, and threatens our physical and economic security.

5. Completely PUBLICLY-FUNDED ELECTIONS and a NATIONAL TELEVISION STATION (NTV) allowing ample and equal time to all candidates, national and local, to present their positions and participate in debates.

Our current system of rampant corporate lobbying has resulted in the above-mentioned energy-fueled chronic inflation and interest-rate hikes and probable recession; it has put impossible burdens on American business and consumers by artificially driving up health benefits and healthcare costs; it has permitted the war industry and military contractors in combination with the energy industry to conspire to mislead America into war in Iraq--with devastating impact on our debt burden, creating a squeeze on social spending now, threatening to choke Social Security in the future.

These anti-middle-class, anti-consumer policies are just a few of those brought about by government by and for the rich. They constitute a drag on our economy by forcing consumers to submit to cash grabs by the supply-side plutocratic ascendancy.

Publicly-funded elections might be the single most important economic issue facing America.

6. Saving Social Security.

7. We need to BALANCE THE BUDGET to prevent the squeezing of social programs, and to stop supply-side sowing of Debt to choke Social Security in the future.

8. Balancing the budget entails progressive tax reform reversing tax cuts for the rich and eliminating loopholes and dodges.

That means creating a simple, progressive, consumer-friendly federal income tax code. One in in which the federal government does not act as a drag on consumption in a regressive system in which 31% of our revenues are raised through payroll taxes and 35% in federal income tax.

The poor should not pay federal income tax at all; the middle class should pay less; and the rich should pay their fair share. The rich should also be taxed progressively, like the rest of the populace. That means additional tax brackets.

9. Balancing the budget also entails cutting war pork. That means no more preemptive wars and no-bid contracts. It means getting out of Iraq as soon as possible, possibly through a partitioned Iraq stabilized with UN forces.

It also means erasing the GOP's absurd non-Iraq increases in conventional military spending that do nothing to protect us against terror. We need a smarter, smaller, more efficient army. It's not our job to permanently occupy nations. It was bad business for the British in their day, and it's still bad business now.

All of the above ought to be planks in a progressive platform designed to unite the middle class.


The following issues are divisive WEDGES that splinter the middle class and should NOT be emphasized in democratic campaigns. That does not mean that candidates shouldn't say where they stand on these issues. It means they should say it quickly, say it's an issue the American People have to decide, and then get back immediately to the unifying, progressive issue they were talking about.

1. Abortion. Big divider, big wedge. State your position and quickly get back on the progressive platform. If dems as a party run nationwide as progressives and they'll win big and find themselves able to appoint liberal judges. If they run as liberals on wedge issues nation-wide, just watch what happens.

2. STEM CELLS are part of the abortion wedge. State your position and move on.

3. Gay marriage. State your position--point out that an anti-gay-marriage amendment is essentially silly--and move on.


A national platform that embraces Economic and Security Issues and minimizes wedge differences will get farther in our Utahs and win more elections than a platform that deliberately focuses attention on wedge issues.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fear of Global Warming

Probably the most disingenuous thing Pres. Barrack Obama has done was claimed people opposed to him use fear to sell their message. 

This is worth watching.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Morality Deficit is Even Higher than Budget Deficit

In the previous post, I mentioned that we are adding $1.89 trillion to the national debt this year. 

I don't know how to actually track the morality deficit in numbers or dollars, but this video from Frontline shows the painful and costly tale of popular culture. If this doesn't break your heart, you really don't have a heart.

Budget Deficit and National Debt

I wish there would be some stories about why these numbers are so different...

Reported 2009 budget deficit (fiscal year ended September 30, 2009) = $1.4 trillion

National Debt as of Sept 30, 2008 = $10.024 trillion
National Debt as of  September 30, 2009 = $11.909 trillion

Actual Budget Deficit for 2009 fiscal year = $1. 885 trillion

There are two things you should be aware of with these numbers...

First, you should ask why the government's "official" budget deficit is nearly $500 billion less than the amount added to the national debt.

Second, you should know the government must sell treasury bills to finance the $1.885 trillion. Currently, only $900 billion have been bought by American people, and foreign people and foreign governments. Who do you think bought the rest?

The Federal Reserve. How can that happen? The government can't pay the bills so the Central Bank buys the debt. Hmm. I wonder if this concerns Tim Johnson or Stephanie Herseth--or anyone in government. It seems like when you look at those numbers, you wonder why we are even debating a health care program to add another trillion of debt that we can not afford...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Government Control Run Amuck

Government is broken. We hear about it all the time. But this story about government shutting down a neighbor helping a neighbor should shock you. 

For those of you that don't understand freedom and liberty and getting government out of our lives, you must read this article.

The state government in Michigan actually threatened a mom from watching kids waiting for the bus in the morning.  This must stop.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Social Security Insolvent: $150 billion added to federal deficit

Today, the Social Security program became insolvent.

Since its inception, Social Security was running a surplus, and promises of "lock boxes" and "trust funds" were made by politicians claiming that the program was flush with money and that we have many years of solvency.

We all knew this was bogus, of course, as I laid it out here last year. But now the Social Security program no longer will artificially lower our federal deficit, it will add to it. From today on, we will have to "borrow" money from the trust fund that we already spent.

Last year, when the federal deficit was around $480 billion, we added $1 trillion to the national debt. How was that possible? First, there was $350 billion of "off budget" spending such as emergency spending on the wars and economic bailouts. But more importantly, the surpluses of the Social Security trust fund was lent to the general budget (and not counted against the federal deficit).

This year, however, we will miss the opportunity to spend the $150 billion that was added to the general fund. Now we are forced to print more money to pay for Social Security.

Washington is broken and needs an honest analysis and serious belt tightening...

But here is the link to this groundbreaking story that no one will really cover...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Pop Culture Icon Offers Great Advice

Simon Cowell, of American Idol fame, is sitting at the top of the mountain. Fame, success and riches.

The take away? 

1. Don't worry so much from day to day...
2. Don't buy something to impress others
3. Don't do debt
4. Work hard and believe in yourself..

Friday, September 25, 2009

Inflation at 18%?

If China and Japan do not buy additional debt, the cost for the US government to borrow money will go up (interest rates will rise). 

It should be STRONGLY noted that Japan is only buying SHORT TERM DEBT. America is not able to keep borrowing long term. It is simple as that. 

On a related note, the United States will have to borrow $2.5 trillion this year alone. In addition, the Obama Administration wants to push universal health care at a cost of $1 trillion over 10 years. Additionally, a cap and trade bill will cost Americans trillions of dollars in increased energy costs and inflation for EVERY product requiring transportation.

Now how do we expect to solve this problem with Washington living in a parallel alternative universe? The answer? We can't. We need some tough love for our elected leaders. The questions is, who will be the recipients of tough love, the producers or non producers?

Friday, September 4, 2009

American Debt Crisis

I have had many conversations with people in powerful positions in Sioux Falls over the last week. When asked what is the condition of America, all responded that we are somewhere between a 5 and 6 on a scale of 10. (10 being absolute destruction).

I maintain we are approaching a 9--in medical terms, it would be referred to as "approaching room temperature." Why do I have such a grim outlook when others seem fearful, yet confident we will recover? 

As person after person explained to me, there have been terrible times throughout our nations history. During WWII, imagine facing a world war. After the Korean War, but especially after the Vietnam War, our country faced mutually assured destruction. One individual says his mother truly thought during the Bay of Pigs that nuclear war was imminent. Finally another reminded me of the days of 18% interest rates and 10% inflation of the middle and late 1970's. America has always rebounded and come around.

But as I explained to them, we have never seen a time in our country where government promises and the government's ability to pay for them have been so far apart. We are adding $2.5 trillion to the national debt in a single year. We have $65 trillion of toxic assets that are bubbling right below the economic surface. 

And then this article explains the biggest problem of all. Record government spending over the next 30 years that will eventually bleed the taxpayers dry.

Don't miss it. This will make you reconsider the frightening future of America.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Economists Love Deficit Spending

When you hear someone tell you that we should encourage deficit spending, the hair in your ears become just a little more sensitive--as if to say, did I hear you correctly?

Paul Krugman, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and liberal Keynesian journalist for the New York Times suggests in his most recent New York Times column America has just the right amount of debt, maybe not enough.

To put things into perspective, America will take in $2.3 trillion in taxes and fees this year. We will spend $5 billion. Now it doesn't take a Nobel Prize to realize is unsustainable.

What Krugman fails to realize is the ongoing transition from a capitalist, free market economy to a centralized command and control economy where profits are the property of the state, not the people.

In the new world order, a large portion of our GDP is generated by government spending, not from private industry. If we continue to have a growing population base, with even a stable or worse yet, declining GDP, we are in fact dying as a nation. It will not take long for the percentages Krugman talks about to turn on a dime. 

My point is this. If I have a stable, production oriented economy, with a stable, healthy population, it is reasonable to have a higher percentage of debt. However, if you have a declining, consumer oriented economy with a growing, graying population, it is not reasonable to have a higher percentage of debt.

To further illustrate my point. Medicare, at one time had 6 workers for every one retiree. Today, we have 3 workers for every one worker. In twenty years, we will have one worker for every retiree. If our GDP is designed from consumption, but all of our income in taken in taxation to pay for Medicare, a high level of debt will crush our country.

Tomorrow, I will create a more lucent, coherent thought on this subject. Just know for now that if it sounds crazy, it generally is. Paul Krugman's theory is crazy.

The Real Unemployment Rate Just Isn't Discussed Much

It is a rare public official that talks about the real economy and realistic numbers. Public officials understand that confidence in the system is "created" by putting a positive spin on the every story. Unfortunately, this positive spin sometimes masquerades as outright lies and deception.

This story talks about the real number of unemployed. The actual number, he claims is closer to 16%, not the public number of 9%.

No wonder people have a hard time believing politicians.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Thoughts on Senator Kennedy Passing

I want to extend my sympathies to the friends and family of Senator Kennedy at this difficult moment in their lives.

It is in their honor, that I will not talk about the absolute destruction the most liberal member of the Senate has brought to this country. Further, I will not mention my utter disgust with the notion that a career politician should be honored for devoting his entire life to "public service." The phrase, "public service," makes it sound like people in government are public stewards of the future of America. Unfortunately, career politicians too often look to protect their own electability with the notion that government can make the lives of some of it's citizens better by taking from the efforts of another.

Senator Kennedy should be honored appropriately as passing away at a time when the Federal Government is completely broken and facing bankruptcy. We should honor Senator Kennedy by making him a symbol of the failure of career politicians to adequately balance the desires of people wanting more government and people's ability to pay for it. We should hold Senator Kennedy up as a symbol of spending $2.5 trillion more than we take in.

Finally, I will hold my tongue about the idea of passing a bad health care bill to honor Senator Kennedy. It is ironic that a career politician--Senator Kennedy has been a US Senator his entire adult life--has passed away while the nation debates a health care bill that will push our country further into bankruptcy.

May Senator Kennedy rest in peace.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Green Jobs Campaign Began as Radical Communist Program

For those of you who think going green is a pro-American movement, you need to watch this video about the new Green Czar appointed by President Obama.

We have a lot of things to worry about in this country, but stop and think for just a moment about who is behind the radical change going on in our country. It almost feels like there is a revolution going on this country. 

There is. And we don't even know it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Obamacare Based on Broken Maine Health Care Model

It never ceases to amaze me how people believe government can give thousands or millions of people free stuff and think government can do it without raising taxes. Even richer is the idea that government can do all this more efficiently than any other organization. 

Here is an article about the failure of the Maine Health Care system. Maine tried to provide universal health care and now their system is out of money and on the brink of failure. Ironically, the Obama health care plan is based on the Maine model.

Why do Democrats think government is always the answer? I suppose people just don't realize the hierarchy of inefficiency. Based on Maslow's hierarchy of needs, here is Neal's hierarchy of efficiencies-from highest efficiency to lowest efficiency.

1. The individual. 
2. A collection of individuals
3. A small business owner to provide services directly to individuals
4. A local government with limited responsibilities
5. A medium sized privately held business with less than 3 layers from owner to consumer of goods
6. A large privately held business with less than 5 layers from owner to consumers
7. A state government with limited responsibilities
8. A local government with unlimited responsibilities
9. A large publicly held business with more than 5 layers from shareholders to consumers
9. A state government with unlimited responsibilities
10. A federal government with limited responsibilities
11. Any organization with a strong union that pays people not to work
12. A federal government with unlimited responsibilities

Why would someone even want to compile a list like this? Competition runs the world. Every individual must work in a competitive environment to be the most efficient. The more people in an organization working in a non-competitive environment, the more inefficient the organization will be.

Everyone must understand that individuals must work under risk and reward, cause and effect decision making. An individual is best suited to know exactly what he or she needs. They have the most likely ability to change their situation through hard work and perseverance. Individuals, acting and weighing decisions in a thoughtful way can enjoy the most amount of freedom, but must act within a prism of responsibility. If an individual knows a decision is risky, and they determine they can survive by taking that risk, they are able to proceed. In this, they are acting responsibility. 

The more complex the organization, the less responsibility each person in the organization has. It is for this reason, a small business can change faster than a big business. While big business has more ability to raise capital and reach more consumers, change happens more slowly in a big business because too many people have to be involved in the decision to change. The investors of a publicly traded company is less aware of the entire organization, and it is easier to lose control of the individuals working in that corporation.

A large federal government is the least efficient system of all, because there is no incentive to change or modernize. The individual workers are a part of a monolith system that discourages risk as decisions are made out of fear of risk, not a desire to improve. The money that is received through the budgeting process does not come from the consumers voluntarily by a good or service that is purchased, but rather by a free service that is rendered to everyone equally. Consumers don't bear the true cost of the service provided in any government program.

Why isn't there a desire to change in government? Because the workers look at their job as permanent. There is no metrix that measures a good employee from a bad employee, except whether the person puts in the proper number of hours. There is no reward for taking risks or changing the system. The only incentive is to spend the entire budget so that next year they can ask for more money. There are no money saving incentives in government or by government employees. 

It is for this reason, a big government is the least effective and most inefficient organization every created by man.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Canadian Doctors Say Canadian System is Broken

As Obama tries to change the American Health Care system, it should be noted that Canadian doctors are on record of saying the Canadian system is unsustainable.

Here is an article that point out the error of the Canadian system.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Ascent of Money--Phenomenal

This is going to be a short post, because you are going to need 4 hours to watch this video about the history of money and the rise of the global financial system.

Every person who votes should be required to watch this PBS video entitled "The Ascent of Money" by Niall Ferguson, a Harvard Professor and financial historian.

This is an amazing show.

Whole Foods CEO Proposes Health Care Alternatives

Whole Foods provides fresh fruits and vegetables to a liberal clientele in major cities. The CEO of Whole Foods has angered some of his patrons with this amazing opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal against socialized health care. 

The reactions to his piece are found here as people are wanting to boycott his stores because of his opposition to the Obama health care plan.

I suspect that for the few liberals he loses with his public stance, he will gain followers like me, who see value in what he is saying.  We will see.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Four Months to Save The World

I really get a kick out of Barrack Obama talking about his opponents use of fear to beat his initiatives.

But he doesn't ever use fear to sell his whacky ideas. Here is an article that talks about the end of the world coming if we don't pass global climate change in...four months!!

I guess Obama doesn't think the fear of the end of the world compares to his critics charges that providing health care insurance to 46 million people will cost a lot of money, and will most certainly lead to budget deficits, and that when there is no money available, the government will have to try to contain costs by restricting services.

Whooheee! Free Money

"Free Money. Thank God for Obama." 

Really. That is the quote. Obama and his friends are giving away other peoples money for free. Now I am sure this is something that will make people in South Dakota happy. Yes, Mrs. Herseth Sandlin, are we going to get our "fair share?"

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Illegal Immigrants Counted In Census

As if the Democrats weren't doing  enough to turn their backs on average Americans, they have made sure illegal immigrants are counted in the census in order to gain Democrat seats in Congress. 

It is hard to imagine, after Cap and Trade, Forced Unionization, Universal Health Care, and all of the other economic foibles of hoisted on us by Obama and Pelosi, they would try to pull this. But they have. For America's sake, I wish it wasn't happening so fast, but Democrats just can't help themselves but to offend hard working, honest, taxpaying Americans.

Poor Herseth Sandlin--so many things to defend

Nancy Pelosi is a walking IED. Whoever crosses her path is bound to get blown up.

How can any member of Congress continue to defend these arrogant actions. Read this and you will see what I mean. Nancy Pelosi must go...

Friday, August 7, 2009

A Random Thought

Most love and marriages are built on popular culture values.

Pop culture, like fashion, is always and ever changing. What is in today is out tomorrow. What is popular today is unpopular tomorrow. In the world of popular culture and  fashion, the only thing reliable is change. How can anything last if it is built on change?

Government Reform #4: Education

Amazing technological advances are taking place in education. But not so much in unionized American Public Schools. 

Unions protect the past, not reinvent to meet the needs of the future. Here is a video highlighting the advances in Sweden, by no means a conservative mecca. They have adopted to encourage competition in schools and have had meaningful results.

But in America, the educational system has seen amazing changes. Unfortunately, those changes are not adopted by the public school system because it breaks the power structure of the unions.

Technology has been implemented by an unlikely subset of the educators in America. Turns out homeschooling parents are adopting technology faster their public school brethren. Studies show the average homeschooler attends 1/3 the number of hours of schooling per day and are several grade levels ahead of their peers.

Am I saying the future is homeschooling? Not necessarily. I still believe in school sports, socialization skills, etc., but the advancements in individual pace learning curriculum has allowed these students to learn 100% of the material before moving on to the next lesson plan, has allowed well-thought out and well-prepared lesson plans, and immediate testing and understanding of results. Many of these programs even require students to redo the questions they got wrong.

Some people think they don't want parents who don't have expertise to be teaching children, but with the advances of technology, students are learning from polished, professionals. Often times, these professionals are the best of the best in their area of expertise. Imagine if you were able to take classes from a Nobel Prize winning mathmetician instead of a fresh student right out of college? Imagine if the program was tested and perfected for presentation, and maximized for optimum results. These lesson plans become an advantage, not a disadvantage to the homeschool curriculum.

If people don't know what I am talking about, compare the 4 years of foreign language classes that are offered at public schools, and Rosetta Stone, a web or cd based learning system that is used by businesses and military personnel around the world. They claim you can be proficient in a foreign language in 6 months. That sure beats 4 years of sleeping through Mrs. Lundbergs lecture's.

Another area of reform that should be encouraged is to create schools where parents sign a petition to waive the right to file a lawsuit against the teachers. Teachers would then be encouraged to discipline the children to encourage the most effective learning environment. Eliminating the need for costly lawsuits, and ridding the system of victims claiming their rights were violated would increase the efficiency of the school system. 

Another area of reform I would like to pursue is the financial incentive of parent participation in their children's education. Parents who are involved in their children's education would receive a rebate check at the end of the year. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Stupidity of a Democrat Congressman

Read this article, then I will tell you why this Congressman is not very bright...

This Democrat Congressman doesn't have health insurance. I understand that he is making a point. While he makes a very good point that people should negotiate with their health care providers, his overall message is terrible for everyone with whom he comes in contact.

Two things come to mind that tells me that this guy isn't a good role model for anyone. First, he is letting his 28 year old nurse practitioner daughter in Miami go without health insurance. I believe it is the responsibility of family to take care of their family. Currently, the government or the hospital system picks up the tab for people like his daughter, even though she hails from a family of wealth and privilege. When government takes care of people, there is no incentive for family to take care of their own. This is a real problem. 

(On a related point--12 million illegal aliens are considered in the 46 million uninsured, but how many of these are sending cash back to their relatives in Mexico, instead of buying health insurance?)

Second, the point he is highlighting by going without health insurance, is actually showing millions of other people that it is possible to go without health insurance. Every day, millions of healthy people think health insurance is optional and makes a financial decision to spend their disposable income on cable tv, cell phones, and alcohol, instead of health insurance. This Congressman (and his daughter) are included in the 46 million uninsured number, pushed as a reason for health care reform.

(on a related note--24 million of the 46 million uninsured Americans are between 18-32, or make more than the poverty rate)

I don't know the situation of his daughter, but having insurance is just as important as having food, clothing and shelter. But millions of healthy Americans don't think about health insurance as their responsibility. Why?

The answer is simple. Millions of Americans (although a small minority of the larger population) have a perceived safety net called the United States Government and it's bankruptcy laws. The safety net creates the large number of uninsured as healthy people make a choice to buy a big screen television instead of a health care policy, of which they will not need unless they become unhealthy.

How many people are out there that fit into this category? I don't know, but every able bodied, uninsured person who has cable and a cell phone could reprioritize their life and purchase a catastrophic, high deductible policy. If his 28 year old daughter is working as a full time nurse practitioner and is having a hard time paying the bills, I would like to look into her spending habits. Does she smoke? Does she drink? Does she have a nice new car? Does she live alone in a nice apartment instead of with a roommate in a less posh neighborhood? Does she own a $200 pair of jeans?  

I find it hard to believe that his daughter "couldn't afford" health insurance. Instead, I believe she "chose" not have health insurance.

This is the message that our friend, the Democrat Congressman should be talking about, first to his daughter, then to his constituents.

And since he doesn't and choses to make a point by pandering to people and their bad decisions, I call his actions stupid...

By the way, the reason conservatives are frustrated about people that don't adequately plan for the future, is that we understand that life requires us to save for the future  requires huge amounts of sacrifice. We are tired of being asked to pay for people that make bad choices and don't sacrifice.

More Revolt: Steny Hoyer gets a dose of common sense

Probably the greatest line I have heard about the health care bill is in this clip.

An individual in the audience asks the question,"why would you want to shove down our throats a health care bill in 3 weeks when the President took six months to determine what kind of a dog to buy his kids?"

Here is a good article on Mike Ross (D, AR), a blue dog democrat. He is getting to hear from his constituents about Obama and Pelosi

The War of The World

People think I am crazy because I see the end of modern America ahead. I am really at peace with that, because crazy is simply the easy explanation of the ignorant and uninformed.

If that doesn't get your attention, nothing will.

Massive redistribution of wealth, zero economic growth , and environmental policies to eliminate the use of natural resources are the goals of the extreme left.

You make the call...

Government Reform #3: Health Care

Our whole system of government is broken and incapable of solving complex problems. Therefore, the system must be reformed before it can be capable of solving problems.

Our government is designed to make changes slowly and eliminate drastic, radical changes at one time. This is a good thing. 

The House and Senate is trying to radically change entire industries (energy, health care, etc.) at one time. This does not work in our current system. What ends up happening is that every possible solution is debated and thrown into a massive health care bill. The entire health care bill becomes so complex that it is bound to have terrible provisions within the bill. People understand this.

A more reasonable approach is to change the process in the House and Senate. Instead of having a massive bill, the Congress should look at passing, and signing into law, ideas that both parties could agree upon. Here are several issues we could agree on...

1. Making health care insurance portable (take it from state to state)
2. Creating incentives for every person to invest in individual health insurance policies
3. Creating efficiencies in electronic medical records
4. Creating incentives for people to control their usage of medical services
5. Creating incentives for healthy living
6. Controlling excessive litigious liability costs

Each of these categories is complex enough. To bunch them all together creates too complex of a bill. Further, people will actually be able to follow the discussion through a transparent discussion. Right now, everything is leaked out at a snails pace and nobody is able to understand the radically complex legislation. 

The current system is designed to create divisions and harsh political rhetoric. A more measured approach to simply address the issues we could agree on would eliminate the radical changes that destroy the decorum of political debate.

Government Reform #2: Earmarks

The biggest problems in government is that Senators and Congressmen buy votes by providing money for projects in their home state and district. This empowers lobbyists in Washington and an unfair advantage to incumbent Congressional leaders (they get reelected 96% of the time).

In order to eliminate this unfair power grab for lobbyists and incumbents, I propose a new system of allocating money.

1. The previous government reform rules apply
2. The state legislature will prioritize their list of demands and will submit it to their congressional delegation to bring it to Washington. This list must be made public, and all organizations on that list must show complete financial information, just like a bank loan.
3. All funding priorities should be included on this list including Medicaid funding, health care funding, roads and bridges, water projects, and all other projects.
4. Money will be fought for as a block, and that block money will come back to the state for allocation to the list by the legislature. The money is recommended to fund the highest priorities first, but it is up to the discretion of the state.
5. Voters will vote on the priorities list of their local and state elected officials, thereby bringing power back to the people and away from the power of the incumbent Congressional Delegation.

Government Reform Proposal #1

Any money given to Americans or organizations from other Americans should come with these strings attached...

1. Must publish complete income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement to the public...
2. Must prove that no money is spent on alcohol, drugs, nicotine, gambling, dining out, sporting events, airline travel, cable tv, cell phones and any other pursuits that is deemed excessive or destructive. No money donated or volunteering for Democrat Party (or Republican) activities in any form is allowed.
3. All welfare payments and direct payments will be considered loans. Any money that is given by the government will be considered a loan, not a gift, and this loan follows the estate until death. Money is returned to the government first before any other parties named in a will, etc.
4. Roads and Highways are considered a national investment. Swimming pools and water systems will be considered a local issue. The federal government shall remove all mandates on local issues and also stop paying for local projects.
5. The Federal Government is bankrupt and every dollar spent must meet these criteria. The Federal Government will no longer be used for social engineering and checks will no longer be written directly to individuals without meeting the above criteria
6. In the Federal Government does give money to individuals, they recognize they must provide 1 hour of service for every $7 of benefits to their local government by mowing, daycare, elderly care, hospital, road building, etc...There will no longer be unemployment benefits. Nobody is entitled to free money again. There will be a trade of services at minimum wage.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Community Organizing with the Local Mob Boss

A gangster government? Doesn't that sound extreme? It does for those of us in South Dakota, but it isn't so far from reality. In fact, it is already taking place.

Don't offend your local Democratic elected official if you want to keep your business. To them, it really isn't yours, you are just allowed to be the caretaker of it for a while. Your financial investment, your time commitment, your life savings, can be taken away in a flash.

...but if you have strong political connections, you too, can be protected. 

It sure does sound like the local party boss in Chicago or New York to me... For those of you who think this is hyperbole and inflated rhetoric, think again. You will be next...

Gitmo Problems Revealed

President Barrack Obama wants to prosecute enemy combatants in the US legal system. Let's look at this policy and see if you agree with their reasoning...

First, there are hundreds of millions of enemy combatants engaged in actions against the United States. 

Second, the average trial in the US costs hundreds of thousands of dollars for each defendant.

Third, a trial record is open to the public.

Fourth, in order to try these people, evidence must be collected and presented in an methodical, miranda rights driven trial.

Fifth, if procedure is not followed, the enemy combatant is released on the outside of the courthouse doors.

Sixth, the evidence might have been gathered using secretive, and sometimes unseemly means. These methodologies will be revealed to our enemy combatants.

Finally, we are not safer because of this program.

Health Care Protests: People are mad and Democrats are afraid

Just as I predicted many months ago, the Democrats overreached in their true desire to reengineer the entire economic system. 

The big difference between Democrats and conservatives is that Democrats believe they can create efficiencies in an economy by removing profit and risk-taking thereby creating a better, more efficient system. See, this is how Democrats really think; if only you didn't have multiple companies delivering health care, they could remove all of the spending on marketing, advertising, and duplicitous administrative costs. 

Further, they believe that they can create more effective services through a government program. They believe that a government organization can "manage" a $2.1 trillion health care system. They think the bigger the government control, the more they can control the costs of the health care system.

What they don't realize is that it takes people to implement their policies, and people are motivated by rewards. Government employees are motivated by collective bargaining and continually work for a shorter work week, more benefits and more time off. Any time spent in a government organization will show you that the biggest desire of a government employee is not to take risks, but to cover their own rear end. 

But common sense is left out of a big government system. If a doctor isn't driven by profits, there will be no desire to work 60-70 hours per week. Doctors will no longer be driven to go to school for 8-12 years, sacrificing large portions of their life in the pursuit of income. If a business isn't driven by profits, there will be no desire to invest large amounts of capital to create a newer drug, or better medical device.

Look at the Democrat way of looking at business. They believe that business is evil. Every industry is demonized. Big oil, big pharmaceutical, big auto, big everything. Democrats are out for the worker, but they don't understand that the worker must provide a product and service that must be sold for a profit, therefore, the cost to produce that product must be lower than the cost the product is sold.

This principle is not understood by big government bureaucrats.

Conservatives, by contrast, understand human nature and common sense. We understand there must be rewards for risk. We understand there must be penalties for safety. We understand that failure and losing is a significant part of a free market and competition based system. 

Conservatives also understand that if a government program gives a product away for free, their would be no desire to pay for it in the future. Further, other people that are paying for that same product, will be encouraged to qualify for the free government program.

The protesters in the following videos inherently understand what a bunch of bureaucratic policy wonks will never understand. Big government solutions are doomed to failure because they rely on the services of risk averse government bureaucrats instead of risk taking entrepreneurs...

The more the government provides the basic necessities of life, the sooner the government runs out of money...




Barrack Obama on record supporting single payer health care

He can deny it, he can say he doesn't want it, but here is a video of Obama vocally supporting the pathway to single payer health care...

You just can't hide your true colors for long...

Education: Teachers Unions Are the Problem

It pains me to say this, but with Democrats in universal power, we finally see their true colors showing through, and the seeds of hope for conservative values are finally showing distinct contrasts. As different as day from night, and black from white, the conservative, common sense values are in stark contrast to the big government, social engineering coming from Democrats.

Here is an article which perfectly highlights the values of teachers unions. 

Universal Health Care = Single Payer

Universal Health Care and a single payer system...

See the video that will end the political careers of many Democrats here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Eliminating Private Leverage with Public Leverage

We have all heard of the unbelievable leverage that flowed through the banking system that nearly brought the worlds economy to it's knees. Now comes a story that shows how America is leveraging up in order to leverage down private industry.

The article talks about the $22 trillion of "collateral" the United States has put up in order to protect the economy. 

When one sees how government/quasi-governmental agencies have bailed out the entire world economy, it is easy to see how taking over the health care system and lowering global temperatures by 1 degree seems entirely plausible.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Stephanie Herseth is Vulnerable

Fellow Republicans,  

I am certain Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin is vulnerable in the next election, but as I have talked to Republicans over the last several weeks, I fear they don't share my confidence.  

The biggest hurdle we must overcome is the mindset she is unbeatable. It reminds me of when I spoke with Republicans before John Thune entered the race against Sen. Daschle. EVERY person I talked to thought he should run again for the House, because Daschle was unbeatable. This upcoming election is setting up to be a watershed election with a classic "Washington is Broken" theme. By November 2010, people are going to feel that "it's time to throw them all out."  

Stephanie has never been challenged since she was first elected--an election she won by 1% of the vote. Since then she has not had a difficult race with a well-funded opponent (it takes $1.5-2 million to play on an equal footing). She hasn't had to face a hostile press. Many say she has voted right and hasn't made any mistakes. She is a good politician. Good politicians only make mistakes when they are backed into a corner. Nobody has ever held her accountable and put her on the defensive. That will change in this election.  

Please coordinate with all Republican legislators and spokespeople to use the following talking points when discussing Stephanie Herseth. If every Republican will repeat the following statements with whomever they speak, we can put doubt in the minds of the voters about her invincibility over the next 6 months.  

When asked about Stephanie respond with versions of the following... "I used to agree Stephanie Herseth was unbeatable, but... when the country adds $2.5 trillion to the national debt in a single year, when entire industries are taken over by the government, when Wall Street is bailed out by borrowing trillions from our nations grandchildren, when the Federal Reserve is the largest buyer of Treasury Bills, when unemployment reaches 12%, and with talk of another stimulus package, it seems to me common sense says we should just stop spending money.  

"Now there is a continuous flow of disastrous Democrat proposals; a cap and trade bill based on the failed mortgage backed security model that will increase our power rates in South Dakota by 50%, a union promotion bill when we have a right to work state, and many upcoming radical judicial nominations.  

"As if that wasn't enough, Democrats are pushing for a universal health care plan that creates a government insurance company to compete against the private sector. Doesn't the government have enough on their hands with ownership in auto companies, banks, AIG, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae? To take over 1/6th of the economy in this time of crisis?  

"With Social Security and Medicare already bankrupt, I think we need to take a breath before proposing any radical new policy initiatives.  

"I would hate to be Stephanie right now and have to defend the actions of Obama, Pelosi, Waxman and Frank, then turn around and vote against them because they will hurt the people of South Dakota. She is in an indefensible position, and if there is a well-financed Republican candidate, she will be in the race of her life.  

"Yes, I think Stephanie is vulnerable."  

Please forward this to other influential Republicans in order to build a cohesive message throughout the state.  

Thank you for your help.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Goldman Sachs Manipulates Markets

Rolling Stone has a great, great article about Goldman Sachs and their involvement, creation and manipulation of markets.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Barrack Obama

Conservatives will tell you what they think. 
Liberals will tell you what they think you want to hear.

Democrats accused Ronald Reagan of being simply a teflon president, who was able to deliver a line. They used to discount him for being a "B movie actor" and a "teflon" president.

Democrats accused George W. Bush of being a puppet of Dick Cheney. They thought he was a simpleton who had made it to Yale and Harvard on his Dad's coattails, and who couldn't string two syllables together without tying the string to his tongue. They criticized him for not being open to criticism, that he wouldn't admit when he was wrong. That he was controlled by neo-Cons who thought the the US could spread freedom around the world with military power.

But the people of America knew the heart and sole of these two men. They knew their ideology, their philosophy and they knew the people that surrounded them because they have been in government for generations. They were to be trusted.

While the Democrats made these claims about Republicans, they find themselves with a real empty suit of their own. The vacuous philosophical and political ideology of Barrack H. Obama has never been seen before in America. And we don't know about the people around them either because we never know what a Democrat thinks because they never tell you what they really believe. All politicians, but in particular, Democrat politicians, only tell you what they think you want to hear.

The people around Barrack Obama are changing America. They are doing it at breakneck speed. Barrack Obama is just going along for the ride but we know nothing about the people who are in charge of the changes. Just look at the major changes they are rushing through Congress in the next month.

Major Health Care Nationalization. They are not simply adding a government program to address health care for uninsured. They are changing the entire system into a single payer system. They are building a structure to destroy and rebuild an entire industry. By July? I might suggest this is a little bit of a stretch, considering we are spending $2.5 trillion more than we are taking in this year.

Major Global Climate Change Legislation. Having a carbon securitization system started from scratch in the entire world? Has anyone learned anything from the mortgage securitization system that just about collapsed the entire world economy? And to complete it by the first week of July? Really?

Major Banking Regulation Reform. I haven't heard a definitive report on the causes of the economic collapse. Last I heard Barney Frank and Chris Dodd haven't accepted one bit of responsibility. Before any reform happens, we should know who is to blame in government and industry and make sure they are in jail, not writing major banking reform.

No, just change we can believe in...and know nothing about.

Where does the future lead?

If knowledge is power, the lack of knowledge must be helplessness. Helplessness and being a victim are synonyms offered by radical, liberal, and socialist ideology. 

I have shied away from partisanship because I have generally found a vicious cycle of vote buying from politicians of both parties. But the recent actions of the federal government under Barrack Obama has accelerated the growth of government to a point which I simply do not recognize the country in which I live.

But as bad as it seems, I am more certain than ever that this rapid growth of government will change people in very important ways. We all will understand conservative economics before this recession/depression is over. We are watching it every day. 

State after state are cutting back the size of their government to control spending because they have spent more than they should have spent. More importantly, state after state is considering raising taxes on the wealthy in order to pay for previously bloated government spending. 

My prediction is very simple. People are going to learn that they have to live within their means, save for a rainy day, and rely on their own efforts instead of some government program coming from Washington.

Oh, we may try to experiment with larger government. We may even try to create nationalized health care. We can try to punish business and enterprise to be more fair. But as we watch capital, innovation and productivity move overseas, we will have example after example of the effects of excessive taxation and intrusive government.

But the future is about knowledge. And as we discover the important principles of conservative economic principles, we will soon have the collective knowledge to begin turning back the feel good liberal policies that are simply unsustainable.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Garn-St. Germain Depository Institutions Act

Paul Krugman, an avowed liberal economist with the New York Times, writes a definitive piece about the Garn-St. Germain Depository Institutions Act as the cause of the todays economic crisis. He blames Reagan deregulation for the demise of lending standards and points to events set in place in 1982 for the savings and loan crisis in 1988 and the housing bubble today.

But as I have learned over the last several months, nothing is ever simple, rarely definitive, and one has to look closely for an agenda in every written word. Krugman makes a simple correlation to a policy pushed by Reagan (with overwhelming bipartisan support) to 1. address different lending practices of savings and loans and traditional banks, 2. create new accounting standards for capital investment in savings and loans, and 3. to address failing savings and loans due to extreme volatility and transitions from high interest rates to lower interest rates.

One of the minor changes in a complex law allowed savings and loans to alter the debt to income ratio lending standards, a move designed to free up and encourage capital investment through tinkering with the availability of the money supply.

Krugman boldly and singularly blames this last effort for causing the 1988 savings and loan bailout (Reagan's fault) and the housing bubble last year.

Reagan's policy may have some relevance to today's economic crisis, but Krugman's tome is a purely partisan attack, for several reasons. First, an obvious and very relevant cause of the real estate failure in the late eighties was due to a Democrat effort to close loopholes for real estate investments in the 1986 tax bill. For several years, there was an incentive to invest in real estate written in the tax code. One can debate the validity of this tax incentive, but the removal of the tax incentives immediately dried up investments in real estate and billions of dollars of investment became worthless. This was a large contributing factor to the failure of savings and loans, which was completely ignored in Krugman's definitive case against Reagan.

You can read a fair analysis of the savings and loan crisis here.

More interesting, and pertinent to todays discussion are the following topics.

First, many of our legislators today failed to learn from the savings and loan crisis. If Krugman is correct that lowered lending standards caused the savings and loan crisis, you would think Washington politicians would have been opposed and appalled at the creation of artificially low interest rates (Federal Reserve), lowered lending standards to encourage home ownership (President Clinton, President Bush, Congress, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac), and the securitization of debt (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Wall Street).

Second, you would think voters would start to second guess the economic estimates from our politicians as to the severity of our economic crisis. If you read the fair analysis of the crisis, you will be intrigued by the terrible estimates of the severity of the problem. Initial estimates of the savings and loan crisis began at $30-50 billion. In the end, the cost of the crisis approached $200 billion.

The real lesson is this. Government intervention always has unintended consequences and government predictions are always wrong. Today, the Obama Administration is predicting 3.5% annual growth for this year. My previous posts have clearly discredited that number. Just 3 months ago, White House projections said the worst case scenario for unemployment was 9.5% (the basis for the banking stress tests). Today, we are already at that number. Finally, losses due to the economic crisis are estimated to be $1.2 trillion. If history is our guide, each of these estimates will be significantly low. My previous posts indicate unemployment may reach 12-15%, and total projected losses due to the real estate bubble will be around $3 trillion.

For Krugman to offer a fair analysis, he should admit the economic problems can not be attributed to any political party, but to the entire Washington political culture. As long as politicians and the Federal Reserve believe the economy can be managed through monetary and tax policy, there will be uncontrolled bubbles because there is never political will to put the brakes on credit, and a recognition that government can not change common sense economic principles because the laws of unintended consequences are always present.

The actual reason for the economic bubble is a Keynesian theory that government can manage an economy--the very heart of Krugmans liberal ideology.

May Ronald Reagan rest in peace.

Update. It looks like I am not the only one pointing out Krugman's bias. Here is a link to an MSNBC economic report that has a different take on the same Krugman column.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Universal Health Care = GM Solution

Mark these words.

General Motors will be owned by the Federal Government (no suprise)

Universal Health Care will be the solution government offers to create a profitable General Motors!

Monday, May 25, 2009

How to Save the Republican Party

There seems to be some debate on how to save the Republican Party. Some say we need to be more inclusive, move to the center and be more moderate. Others say we need to get back to conservative message of smaller government, lower taxes and a strong military. 

I say we need to rally around common sense. Simply do what is right based on simple principles.

Where is the common sense? Where are the people in government that are offended by the corruption of government? There are so many conflicts of interest by government officials that it is impossible to know where to begin saving our system.

When I hear a politician say, "our state needs to get our fair share of the federal largesse," I think, where are the statesmen? We sit in Sioux Falls, SD and watch as the whole nation is in the process of burning down in a firestorm of debt and destruction, and we fight for more of our nations unfunded bounty. If we don't begin to speak out, who will?

When I hear a politician say, "I sit on the powerful Appropriations Committee," I ask, where have you been as the country has spent trillions of dollars of future generations debt? Where were you when you watched Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lower lending standards to an unreasonable level? Where were you when Wall Street was making trillions of dollars on ponzi schemes such as credit default swaps? 

You were creating your own Ponzi Scheme called Medicare and Social Security, and you didn't send one press release predicting the financial crisis. I read about press releases about all the money that is brought back to the state, but never read about how you thought the Federal Government is going bankrupt.

When I hear a politician say, "America is the richest country in the world" in order to justify the need for another government program, I look around and ask, where were you in the years leading up to the greatest economic destruction of a nation in the history of the world? Where were you calling for constraints on spending to protect posterity and the future of America?

It has been easy to be a compassionate politician the last twenty years. America has turned into a country that learned how to create an economy by taxing the labor of generations of Americans not yet born. What started with a 90 days same as cash, has turned into an infinite debt obligation with no realistic ability to pay off our debt. This has been the reason for our success. On paper, America was the richest country in the world. In reality, we are the most indebted country the world has ever seen.

Common sense tells us this isn't sustainable. But yet you still have government telling us that we need to spend more to get us out of the economic depression we are entering. 

I am not sure if the Republican Party can ever rebound, but if it has a chance, the message to adopt is simple.

America is broke and overweight. Some may suggest the way out is to eat and spend more. Common sense tells us that it is better to control our spending and eat less.

Government is controlled by people that need to get elected. Republicans have always gotten elected by promising people a chance to keep more of their own money. Democrats have always gotten elected by promising government will spend more money.

I am more concerned about saving our country than saving the Republican Party. 

The only way for America to survive is through adopting a national understanding. As Americans, we can not spend what we don't have. We must always save for a rainy day, even when it is raining. We can not expect others to pay for our own mistakes. 

Monday, May 18, 2009

An Automobile Parable

For seven years, I sold shop equipment to car dealerships. Over that span, I had an opportunity to meet hundreds, if not thousands of auto dealership owners.

Auto dealerships are quintessential American family small businesses. They often employ dozens to hundreds of employees, require millions of dollars of capital, experience ups and downs of the economy, and have witnessed severe competition over the last dozen years, not just from competitive brands, but from competing same brand dealerships. I witnessed the technological progress of the internet disrupt business models that worked for decades. I witnessed rapid growth of megadealerships, and I saw them fail.

In all of my experiences, the most interesting lesson one can learn from car dealerships is the laws of human nature in action and on display. Of particular interest is the differences in generational leadership and the amazing lessons in life discovered through understanding these differences.

As with any observation, there are limitations to extrapolation of the lessons to the larger group. But we shall begin.

To understand the plight of the auto dealerships, you have to understand that most, if not all of the auto dealerships are third or fourth generation owners, or, they are owned by people who went to business school to learn how to run a business based on financial statements, not on getting to know customers.

At the beginning of the auto industry, car dealerships were owned by real entrepreneurs. My working definition of an entrepreneur is a business owner who interacts directly with their customers on a daily basis. First generation owners were friends with their customers, and they worked hard to provide value to their customer, to get to know them, and to create a lifelong relationship with them. The most common characteristic of a first generation owner is they were people persons. They got along with their mechanics as well as their clients. All were considered family. They often worked incredibly long hours and their success came from hard work, perseverance and conservative investment strategies.

The children of first generation auto dealers had much different experiences. They were the owners son (occasionally daughter), but rarely did they work as hard as their father. Often, they were children of some privilege, not showy wealth, but wealth none the less. They most likely attended college, where they were removed from the auto business, but where they learned to manage a larger business. In essence, they were managers of the business, not entrepreneurs. They were members of the country club and these were their friends. They became more isolated from their workers, and although they still were pleasant to their employees, they were by no means friends to the mechanics. This dynamic changed the way the business was run. Numbers and bottoms line become more important than people and relationships. Although there would be nice Christmas parties, loyalty became less and less important.

The children of second generation owners lost all of the entrepreneurial instinct of their grandparents. These children were much more social than their parents, but not in a business way. They were really good at waterskiing and were more at home at the lake cabin, than understanding the increasing complexity of how a car actually worked. The privileges of life were the most important part of this persons existence. Unfortunately, the success of the business was dependent entirely on the managers that were hired, and often did not come from the owner. A quality private school education enabled them to understand how to leverage relationships with bankers in order to grow and to acquire additional dealerships, but contact with customers was not a priority and was often not possible in the leisure lifestyle of a large scale owner. All too often, the third generation led the dealership into the ground.

Why? The lesson is that for a business to be successful, you have to have the trust of everyone you come into contact. It was more likely third generation owners were more interested in selling death and disability insurance on an auto loan, than in selling the car itself. This was the way you could "earn" more money. These people talked themselves into believing these products were for the benefit of the customer. In reality, they were only in the best interest of the car dealership. In the end, one must treat people with respect, and do what is in their best interest, even when they don't know what that is. This is what makes a successful business.

The parable of the automobile industry applies to the problems facing America today. The traits that built America, hard work, perseverance, thrift, honesty and integrity, have been forgotten. Today, people look to take advantage of people first, make billions of dollars, and then donate some of their blood money to charities to help the very people they took advantage of. People look for short term gain, instead of planning for the long term. Today we punish people with the traits needed for success and reward people who don't possess them.

The structural problem with America is that too many industries are run by "third generation" leaders. People who have learned to manage a business at Wharton or Harvard, but don't know or wouldn't get along with their own customers. They vacation in places where they will not be bothered instead of at places that keeps them in touch with reality. When there are so many layers between them and the people that are buying their products, the system will ultimately fail.

And it has.

Housing Crisis-35% of all mortgages are upside down

Here are some housing statistics that every investor in banks should understand. 

Let's start with some facts.

There are roughly 77 million homes in the United States.
Of these, 55 million homes are mortgaged.
Between 16 to 20.4 million homeowners owe more money than their house is worth.
Roughly 21% of all homes in America have negative equity.
Roughly 35% of all homes with mortgages are in a negative equity position.

Banks that wrote these mortgages sold them to Wall Street or Fannie and Freddie to wrap up in mortgage backed securities. However, there is an incentive for homeowners to simply leave their homes and file bankruptcy. This has a definite impact on banks, particularly in the credit card portion of their business.

Also, everyone should realize that the Federal Government is absorbing all of these losses in order to prop up the banking sector. The total losses could equal $2-5 trillion. The economy for the last 5 years relied on consumers using their homes as cash machines. This is going to affect future growth (retraction) in the economy.

Here are some supporting articles about the state of the housing crisis here and here.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Rigging the system to protect banks

Wells Fargo posted a $3.8 billion profit in Q1 of 2009, despite needing $15 billion in TARP funds. Surprisingly, not a single major bank failed the vaunted stress tests by the Department of Treasury. 

You would think that the world has found order and peace once again.

You would be wrong.

Piecing together the Department of Treasury and Federal Reserve strategy to prevent the collapse of the financial system and protect the American taxpayer, it now seems clear the intentions of the Obama Administration. Talk up the strength of the banking system with positive news so banking stock prices will increase. As we have seen in the last month, every TARP receiving major bank saw their stock price double or triple. 

The positive news has allowed private banks to issue a total of $32 billion of common stock since the stress test results were released. 

Read here the $8.8 trillion Wells Fargo raised in it's common stock release.

It is my prediction that these fallacious earnings reports and stress tests will only create a bubble of higher stock prices, but earnings will fall by the end of the year when housing prices continue to fall and unemployment reaches double digits.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Confidence in What?

The Obama Administration has gone on a public relations tour to tout the positives in the economy. In toe, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner have been issuing positive news about the economy at a rapid pace. 

Today, the White House announced our economy is expected to grow by 3.5% by the end of the year. This, despite recent layoff announcements of 4.5 million jobs in the last 6 months and revised GDP declines by 6.6% for the last two quarters. This despite the fact that official unemployment has hit 8.5%. This despite millions of self employed construction workers are not counted in the national figures making the actual unemployment numbers around 12-15%. This despite $3 trillion dollars worth of expected losses in mortgaged value in real estate. This despite the revised government spending deficits raising to 1.89 trillion levels. This despite the fact that nearly $1 trillion of off budget spending. This despite the fact that the Federal Reserve is left buying government treasury bills because there are no other buyers for our debt.

Since the key to economic growth is confidence in the future, the Federal Government is creating confidence based on a media generated public relations campaign, not on underlying facts or supporting economic factors. The Obama Administration is fixing the problem by artificially creating confidence and spending trillions of deficit spending in the process. The Obama Administration is creating a confidence bubble that is bound to burst, just like the dot-com bubble, the housing bubble and the excessive leverage bubble.

But it won't work, and the target of this bubble is to encourage people to move the price of stocks up, so companies can issue new stock offerings in order to raise equity capital. This will not last and people should be aware.