I somewhat agree. However, our government is a Republic and not guaranteed capitalism and libertarianism.
I have been fortunate to see both sides of the coin. I agree that entitlement programs are a burden, but for some they are a must. I believe it comes down to the core of the people. I believe we want this system, otherwise we would have something else.
"We are what we accept".
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You prove my point EXACTLY. Most people don't even know the difference between a Democracy and a Republic.
We are NOT a Democracy. A Democracy is a nation of people.
We are a Republic. A nation of laws.
We are a Republic. A confederation of individual states, all operating under the same banner and unified document (the Constitution).
PEOPLE do not elect the President of the United States. States do.
It's exactly the reason we're called "The United States of America" and not just "America."
If you REALLY want to research the issue further, read about strawman and how up until the turn of last century, there were very few "American Citizens." People were citizens of the states.
We were never intended to be governed from Washington DC. Washington and the Congress/High Court were always intended to be a unifying referee of the states.
By placing the operable level of government at the Federal level, we distance ourselves from those who govern us AND we systematically remove the unifying concept of "All for one."
In short, by having massive amounts of Federal money, we make our representatives "compete" and vote selfishly for money that should be collected, managed and distributed at the state level.
Some aspects of our Federal Government cannot avoid this issue. That's why every 4 years, the DOD issues the "Quadrennial Defense Review" which is basically a long term plan that outlines what DOD needs to accomplish it's specified mission (and also what it DOES NOT NEED). Congress, takes that document and throws it in the trash and then a bunch of bureacrats tell the DOD what they need, based off corruption, backhanded deals, jobs and contracts in their home states, etc, etc, etc.
This is exactly how you get a "rider" for removing the Gray Wolf from the endangered species list on a budget bill. They have nothing to do with one another, but it's a bone thrown to the elected representatives from Montana in order to help "buy" their votes as it helps their re-election efforts at home where the Gray Wolf has become a serious threat to livestock and agricultural revenue. So instead of the good representatives from Montana voting for what's best for the Nation, they're influenced by selfish motivations.
With the DOD and certain budgetary aspects, that's unavoidable. Now extend that concept into an entirely bloated and too large budget from the Federal Government and you end up with improper influence and politics as we know it. Lobbyists who convince the Feds to dangle the budget over states heads for everything from seat belt laws, traffic speed restrictions, drinking age limitations, cable television bundling, etc, etc, etc.
The BETTER level of governance, for just about everything is at the state level. Entitlements were NEVER intended to be handled at the Federal level.
It's only through scare tactics and doom/gloom that the Federal Government continues to "sell" us legislation that strips citizens and the states of our rights.
That's how we end up with Social Security (The Great Depression), The Patriot Act (War on Terror), The Federal Reserve System (WWI), Income Taxes (WWI and WWII), etc, etc, etc.
There's always some pending "doom" that the Federal Government uses to strip away our liberties. Usually, it's intended to be a temporary "fix" for specific challenges, but as we always see, it not only persists, but it morphs into greater and more far reaching reductions in our civil liberties.
Social Security for example, was originally intended to be voluntary. It was only supposed to be for income under a very small threshold. It was under DEMOCRATS that it's been basterdized into current form.
It was Johnson and Carter and Clinton that gave us everything from double taxation of social security disbursements (originally, social security contributions were tax deductible, the disbursements were tax deductible...no longer. Now you get taxed on both the contribution AND the payment). The original SS plan was a free standing, independent trust. It was DEMOCRATS that moved it to the general operating fund (where it's subsequently raided to pay for whatever whims politicians at the time).
I could go on and on and on.
Take Medicare for example. Originally, Medicare was "projected" to cost $6BN through 1990 or so. It's REAL cost to the taxpayer? $54BN. Nearly a 10 fold increase. And politicians wonder why we're skeptical of things like Obamacare and the CBO's "projections."
The plain fact is that government solutions are frought with fraud, waste, abuse, inefficiency and prone to manipulation and "scope creep." MOST challenges we face are better handled via the private solution, where we can inject enterprise, capitalist incentive, fear, greed, etc, to ensure we get the best product that our great minds can conceive.
IF, and ONLY IF, we must have a government solution to the problem, it should be at the lowest level possible. The Federal Government SHOULD NOT, be dictating to counties and states how to govern.
The constitution is there to protect us from this very thing. It's a travesty that we no longer use it.
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"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."
— Dr. Adrian Rogers 1931
"Capitalism is the unequal distribution of wealth. Socialism, is the equal distribution of poverty." -- Winston Chruchill
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I think if you lived in 1820 USA then you may feel differently. I am not saying I prefer this government the way it is, but I do prefer it over where we have come from.
I personally do not believe that 'states' would have formed such an economic engine of prosperity, but maybe I am wrong. I do not believe individually we would have had the same 'progress'. I do realize all the 'bad' that has come with the good, but I have traveled the world over a couple times and boy, even with our screwed up budget and high debt etc. we live in a pretty good place.
I would sit down, pull out a pen and write down every 'social' program that has benefited you and your family since they were started. I think you will find that you have the education, social and emotional intelligence built on some of these programs that helped the poor become middle class and so on.
I am against social programs, however, as I understand more about people every year I am alive (not that I agree with them) that I understand that a great many would never have anything at all.
The world is full of resources and wealth. I believe it is better to share the wealth with all people to a certain degree then to give it only to those who want more more more. I have found that those always wanting more more more are typically the problem.
We as humans have been socialists for a very long time. It takes a village to do many great things, but I believe that a break down in our cultures that were formed over thousands of years is the biggest issue. Socialism will only work when everyone is under the same rules. Capitalism is the same way in my opinion.
I used to think a lot like you believe it or not. I was raised to think that way actually. Nobody is right or wrong, just different experiences and different belief systems. I am happy with the freedom I have and it has created an amazing world where I can raise a family in a beautiful place and yet do pretty much anything I want in a safe and friendly environment. Life is good.
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Our way of life is ending. We are seeing the beginning of the end...here's why.
The EU is a glimpse of our future. The problem with our liberal socialist policies is that they take it TOO FAR.
Like a confluence of social and civil "progress" that chokes our very way of life, here are some examples.
The death penalty for example...under our current stranglehold by organizations like the ACLU, it costs us MORE to kill someone than to simply incarcerate them for life. Soak that in for a minute. Take a look at what our "liberal" policies are doing in EVERY facet of government.
Immigration for example, would not be a problem, except for the fact that every liberal judge in this country has made it VERY expensive....illegals are granted the SAME rights as citizens, which would be fine, but the liberal version of "rights" means equal outcomes, not equal opportunity. Thus, you have illegals and immigrants enjoying the benefits of our social safety net, while never having paid a single dime into the system.
Collective Bargaining for example, is bankrupting our states. That is a whole other issue (as to why the Democrats at the Federal level won't support CB at the Federal level, but encourage it at the state level, because they know that Federal CB would strip them of their power).
The plain fact is that the quality of our citizenry is diluting quickly and when people who receive the vast amount of benefits from social safety programs and entitlements have figured out how to vote themselves MORE benefits and that trend will continue.
We'll see the next civil war in the next 2 generations, mark my words.
You can't dig a well, build a house, buy a house, buy a car, modify your home, drive a car, start a fire, operate a business, get married, have a child, activate a cell phone, give money, receive money, etc, etc, etc without the government's knowledge and/or permission.
Americans should have a choice and a right to choose if they want to participate in government controlled socialism. I do not want your social security. I do not want or need your medicaid or medicare. In fact, if the government would stay the hell out of my paycheck, I probably would NEVER need those things.
Our current state of social safety nets and entitlements becomes a tar pit to dependency, rather than a springboard to prosperity.
This trend will continue until our nation collapses OR we have the first attempt at a state secession. Mark my words. The uneducated, the lower class, the dependent, are greatly outnumbering the opposite and that trend is going to continue and politicians will ride those votes all the way into the fire.
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Thanks for your posts. Very informative. Do you ever feel that the problem becomes too big to be corrected? That's how I feel.
When you made the comments about the Gray Wolfe in Montana, that seems to be a micro example of the tactics that take place day in and day out. How do we ever get rid of that kind of behavior. It almost seems impossible to me because humans will always wheel and deal for what they want. Is there an answer?
I don't know about the specifics of Social Security and the like. How and why they were created etc., but I do know many people rely on it to survive and most of us have been paying into it for a long time. Do we just end it? It doesn't really matter to me who screwed up the system. I'm sure for every Dem that is to blame for something there is a Rep to blame for something as well. Seems like we need to get out of the blame game, but one side always wants to blame the other and never take any responsibility. If someone is wealthy or at least comfortable it's easy to say get rid of social services, but for the ones struggling to survive it could mean much more. If General Motors is too big to fail and the government steps in to save a company so the fat cats can make their millions, why should a system like social security be allowed to fail when so many rely on it? I don't have the answer.
What about corporations that move out of state or out of the country to cut cost or more accurately increase profit. Why has this happened? It seems that everyone wants to blame the blue collar worker or the lower level people. I don't understand why this happens, but from my own experience in working for companies, they will go to Costa Rica for manufacturing so they don't have to pay an assembler $15 an hour in the states. Is that $15 an hour job really the problem. I don't have the answer again. Does losing that $15 an hour job cause problems in our state/country?
I saw that one of the Execs for one of the oil companies made $14 million in 2010. Is this ok? Is $4.35/gal gas justified. I don't know. My brother used to own a Shell station. They used to push hard to get him to buy tires and cans of oil to sell to people. Shell didn't care whether or not if he could sell the products, they just wanted him to buy it. It wasn't their problem if he couldn't be competitive cost wise. Is this okay? This BS goes on at every level. I can only imagine the crap that goes on in the Federal Gov't. I seriously doubt that will change anytime soon.
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Just curious what you guys think of Trump...I would definitely support him, no more status quo bullcrap.
He's a hands on guy and gets things done, I don't see him as a liar and believe he would have a profound impact on the direction of this country and that's what is needed. If you keep voting for the same old guys you'll get the same results.
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Too much baggage to be electable...too many contradictory statements in the past. I expect he would hate being President since he would have limits on how he could "boss" people around. He is probably very autocratic in his management style and that would not go over real well....
It is a shame the way politics has turned into a personal assault game...it is grueling for anyone to throw their name into the hat since they will face questions about supposedly everything in their background, whether it is true or not. Hard on families also. And very expensive.
The most electable Rep candidate would probably be Gov Christie of NJ. He definitely breaks the mold. But he is not running. Probably the second best would be Mitch Daniels of Indiana, but questions will be asked about him smoking some wacky tobaccy back in the early 70s. Third is probably Tim Pawlenty of Mn. All that said, Romney is probably the favorite, but I am not sure how electable he is....seems kinda stiff and plastic plus he passed Romney-care in Ma and it is Obamacare lite..
Any way, my 2 cents....
My focus is on:
1. Avoid the opening chop.
2. Honor stops
3. Ensure reward > risk on all trades
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Like I said, we aren't supposed to be governed at the Federal level. Our constitution and our laws aren't setup that way. Senators and Congressmen are placed in a serious conflict of interest with respect to State interests and Federal interests. Like I also said, some of that is unavoidable....the DOD budget for example....but MUCH of it can be eliminated by placing the operable level of government BACK to the states.
Let states decide how to provide entitlement programs and social welfare programs. Let states decide how to budget for education.
Then and only then will we solve some of the problems of Congress being thousands of miles away and more interested in Lobbysts who take them on fishing trips to Costa Rica where they cheat on their wives. Then and only then will you have more transparency as to what your money is being collected and expended upon.
Some of the issues like campaign finance reform are simply complex and tough. How do you keep elections from becoming spending competitions? How do you tell an individual how much and when they can give their money to support a candidate of their choice?
Tort reform is another issue that's evident in just about everything these days. I truly feel that until we place the legal burden on the losing party that we will continue to see CYA policies in everything from healthcare to education to labor laws, etc. The only way to stop frivolous lawsuits is to make it risky for those that would create them. You do that by declaring the losing party responsible for the legal burden.
Our criminal justice system is broken and frought with liberal policies that have good intentions, but cost us dearly. We seriously need to take a long hard look at legalizing drugs. Think of the number of crimes (and violent crime) that are created out of the illicit drug industry. If you remove the black market, which put organized crime in power during prohibition, an entire continent of drug related crime falls to the wayside. That's not a liberal issue, but having inmates eligible for organ transplants and spending $M's on each inmate so they can live "humanely" is fiscal insanity. How much money does the state of California spend each year on violent criminals, many with MULTIPLE violent felonies? We have to decide as a society how much these liberal/progressive/civil advancements are worth. How do you put a pricetag on those things? I don't know, but we'd better figure it out, cause we're going bankrupt in the process.
When our nation was founded, we adopted the notion that it's better to let 10 guilty men go free than to wrongly imprison 1 innocent person. That worked for awhile. But what's worse as a citizen? To face the minute chance of being falsely imprisoned by an overzelous government, or to have your friends/family murdered/raped/kidnapped by a criminal who's set free by our justice system? Can you name an example of a violent crime that didn't involve a criminal who didn't already have a history in and out of the penal system? It's rare. It's akin to having an infestation of flies in your home and catching them, only to release them again.....it's a never ending cycle of insanity.
Our justice system, believe it or not is antiquated. Our primary focus isn't justice...it's a fair process. We believe (or used to believe) that if the process of law was "fair" that the outcome would be just. That's not the case in a growing number/fraction of criminal procedings now.
As a society, we have to become educated enough to realize that our civility is costing us money. Mother Theresa and her associated organization attempted to refit a donated building to make a shelter out of it in NYC. But because of our ADA laws/requirements, in order to make it meet code, they had to add an elevator or ADA access to the upper floors. There was no way around it and they ended up scrapping the project because the costs were too high. So what began as a law to protect disabled people from descrimination, ends up costing ALL of us collectively. Do you know how much money we spend collectively in the US on ADA requirements for construction? It's staggering. I'm not saying ADA isn't important, I'm just saying that all of these liberal/progressive/civil laws have a price tag associated with them.
The same holds true for workman's compensation and liability insurance, etc, etc, etc. Those costs add up for employers...it's no wonder that jobs are going overseas where it's cheaper to hire people. I'm not advocating that we take an injured person and throw them out on their ear like other nations (and then hire their brother) but I am saying that we have to somehow quantify the effects of our liberal policies and their cost to us as a society.
Environmental considerations are no different. No one wants to destroy the environment. Some are more passionate than others about it. But if you asked your average American if they're willing to lose their job over it, the reality soon sets in that saving the environment is important, until you inform me that we're going to lose millions of jobs in the process because we're no longer as competitive as other nations who refuse to play by the same rules. Bush was lambasted over Kyoto, but the reality is that such treaties would cost us jobs. Just HOW important is saving the environment?
These all are tough, tough issues. But it takes leadership by people who are willing to do the right thing, rather than politicians who are simply interested in getting re-elected.
We have insanely talented business leaders and military leaders in this country....military members do it for God, Country and apple pie. Business leaders do it for ego and greed. Neither is present in an elected position, or even if it is, it's quickly squashed when they realize that doing the right thing isn't always popular or beneficial to them as an individual in the long run.
We need leaders who are going to be real and honest. Not politicians. Obama campaigned as the second coming of politicians, but then it took him several months to pick out what kind of damned dog he was going to choose for his family.....why? Because he was afraid of pissing off the wrong section of voters.
Why is immigration still not solved? Neither party wants to touch it...it's a dangerous, dangerous issue with respect to votes. Both sides know what needs to be done.
In the end, I think most of these issues will never be solved. I think our nation is already doomed and until a group of like minded invidividuals say "we've had enough, we're starting our own nation anew" it's going to be downhill from here and we're ultimately going to end up like the European Union, where people get 6 weeks of paid vacation and live like poor slaves, no innovation, a less pronounced prosperity gap, etc, etc, etc.
You have to ask yourself, is that where you want to be? Where 60% of your income goes to the collective, all the while you struggle to have any upward mobility in the food chain? Cause that's where we're heading, assuming we don't go bankrupt and the whole damned party comes crashing down on us first.
As far as Trump is concerned, although I welcome a leader with a business background to the White House, it's an exercise in fantasy. Trump will never get elected.
I'm not totally convinced his potential candidacy is some backdoor trick by the Democrats to keep Obama in office.
It was a big eared, eccentric businessman from Texas that put Clinton in office. Clinton won with 43% of the vote and it's VERY likely that had it not been for Perot, Bush Sr would have been re-elected.
My dream ticket for the Presidency would be Ron Paul and Paul Ryan. Or Romney sprinkled in there. There's problems with all three. RP is a libertarian at heart, which doesn't sit well with a good majority of either side and yet he can identify with a good majority of both sides as well, so it's a crap shoot. PR is a young, brilliant leader, but doesn't have the support of the RNC and his age would be a liability. Romney could reach across to the other side and has a tremendous business background, but he's Mormon, which doesn't sit well with fanatic whacko Christians.
I would also endorse a guy like C. Powell, but he turned out to be a racist bastard when he dumped his own party (and a fellow veteran) in favor of making history with the first black President. Not saying he didn't have decent reasons, having dealt with Bush and Rummy, but it was kinda disgusting to see 99% of black people vote for Obama because he's black. It's racist either way you look at it. Either black people voted for BO because he's black (which is racist) or you have to assume that all black people think alike (which is also racist).
I don't see any viable military leaders out there to challenge BO.
If Trump runs as an indy, you can bet BO will get re-elected. Count on it. He'll draw more votes away from the GOP than he will away from BO. It'll be 1992 all over again.