Audio Clips

30 December 2009

Regulatory Harmonization

The firm I work for has been encouraging us for months to contact our congressmen and encourage them to enact industry standards that would harmonize across all the states. They want to have one standard with which to comply as a firm instead of 50 state-defined standards. While I sympathize with their hypothesis, that one standard would be more cost-effective than 50, I oppose giving the federal government more control over regulatory standards. The initial beauty of the federalist system was that there would be 13 social "laboratories" in the 13 original states. We should now have 50 laboratories going.

Imagine if North Dakota had developed an education system that was the envy of the country. The other states would have the freedom to adopt it or try to come up with something even more remarkable. What if Arizona had found a way to balance salaries and retirements for their state employees that did not endanger the state budget? What if Minnesota had come up with an idea to encourage private investment into mass transit? What if Nevada came up with a popular solution to water conservation concerns? What if Louisiana figured out the best way to provide power to a population? Every other state would have the opportunity to look at 49 other solutions and say "Wow! Mississippi has an ingenious plan for that problem."

As it stands now, we instead receive a one-size-fits-all solution from the federal government for education, power, financial regulation, taxation, public welfare, and thousands of other areas of common concern. That is why I oppose regulatory harmonization. It discourages the independent discovery of better forms of government, regulation, and community service. If you want to read a great article on the dangers of regulatory harmonization you can find Robert Higgs' well-articulated opposition here.

17 November 2009

This Can't Be a Healthy Attitude for the Republic

The SEIU is complaining that a Boy Scout's Eagle project was voluntary and as such no union employee was paid. They insist that no one should be clearing the pathways, planting flowers or any other activity because then someone isn't getting paid. Do we really want to live in a society where volunteers are intimidated by unions from volunteering?

01 September 2009

Oversight? What's that?

I was an auditor for several years and so when I watched this video it made me ill. No one seems to be minding the store at the Fed. I suppose there's plenty of room for debate about whether the lack of oversight is intentional or unintentional, but whatever the answer, it's not comforting.

The Government Can!

A very good friend of mine pointed this video out to me. It will make you laugh and cry at the same time.

21 August 2009

Lockerbie Tragedy Offends Again

Wow. What is there to say about a judge who releases a mass-murderer on "compassionate" grounds to go home and die with his loved ones around him. The families of the victims, understandably, are outraged. I find it unbelievable that this man would be allowed to go free when he should have been executed to begin with. He didn't have the compassion to let the 270 people aboard Pan Am 103 go home and live out their lives. He ripped them from their loved ones. What compassion has he earned? He sacrificed his right to live in civilized society when he murdered 270 people. Dying in jail alone with cancer seems like cosmic justice in this case.

15 August 2009

Pelosi: I Love Disruptors!

I want to be clear and say that I think that the disruptive town hall meetings are completely unproductive. It doesn't change any minds. It probably feels good to vent but it doesn't advance their agenda. However, I find it hilarious to watch the Democrats call the agitators Un-American. When the same kind of tactics were used during the Bush administration the Democrats found them patriotic. As soon as those same tactics are used against them suddenly they are Un-American. The Irony Police have gone home because the work-load is overwhelming. (For those who think I'm some die-hard Republican Bush-supporter, there's just no helping you. I didn't like Bush and I thought the same tactics were fruitless and unproductive when Code Pink and their allies were doing it.)

07 August 2009

Health Care Meeting

I thought I would post some videos of health care meetings that are going on around the country. It's astounding to me that the politicians don't stop to wonder why so many people are against government health care. There is some rough language for a couple of seconds in this video.

04 July 2009

Independence Day Parade

During the Independence Day Parade today there was a float selling "Wieners for Peace". I decided to open a hot dog booth in competition with them and sold "Dogs of War". ;-)

24 June 2009

Obama: Liar or Ignorant?

The Hill is reporting today on Obama's press conference yesterday in which he was asked repeatedly to explain why having a public health insurance system would be a benefit when compared to the current private options. His response is enlightening.

Why would it drive private insurance out of business? If private insurers say that the marketplace provides the best quality healthcare; if they tell us that they’re offering a good deal, then why is it that the government, which they say can’t run anything, suddenly is going to drive them out of business? That’s not logical.
Wow. Where to start? First off Mr. Obama, please show me a successful government agency. Secondly, the reason that the government is a threat to private industry that it competes with is that the private industry does not have the taxing power of the government standing behind it. Does anyone believe that the US Post Office would still be in business if it actually had to compete with UPS and FedEx and couldn't get subsidized by the Congress? Would Amtrak still be around if it didn't get subsidies from government?

The reason that a government-backed company can push out a company that provides better service is simply because they can undercut the private companies in price. The only reason they can do that is because they can receive subsidies from an all-powerful taxing force. That is an unfair advantage for any company. I certainly wouldn't want Blue Cross to be able to take money out of my paycheck to make up for losses incurred in its business model and yet this is exactly what will happen with a publicly-financed health insurance option.

This very same thing has happened repeatedly with the post office and the post office is asking for help again. Whenever they get in trouble they just go to Congress and ask them to "appropriate some money" (i.e. steal from taxpayer wallets) to help them out. Do you honestly believe that US Healthcare Inc. wouldn't do the exact same thing?

Either Mr. Obama is completely ignorant of economic facts (something that appears more and more likely) or he is lying to the American people simply to push a personal agenda. I would rather give him the benefit of the doubt and hope that he is not a liar.

29 April 2009

Life Without Lawyers: Liberating Americans from Too Much Law Life Without Lawyers: Liberating Americans from Too Much Law by Philip K. Howard


My review


rating: 4 of 5 stars
I mostly picked this book up because the title made me tingly all over. Okay, I actually picked it up because I had read a previous book by Mr. Howard called The Death of Common Sense and enjoyed it. In Life Without Lawyers he calls for some bold changes to our overly-regulated and legalistic system in order to return accountability to the people and eliminate the mindless rule-following that has damaged our way of life. Fascinating read. I checked it out from the library and now I'm going to have to buy it because I kept wanting to underline and write notes in it.


View all my reviews.

26 April 2009

Refreshing Honesty

Malcolm Gladwell, author of such books as Blink and The Tipping Point, gives his opinion on what is wrong with the U.S. educational system. I like his solution.

18 April 2009

Wow.

So a friend of mine told me that I needed to watch this video of jump-roping girls and I immediately thought "No thank you" but he emailed it to me anyway and WOW! He was right, you really need to watch this. I can't imagine the number of hours these girls put into this and I love the fact that they were dedicated enough to do it. So without further ado, here's the video.

17 April 2009

Great Video of Drunk Red Sox Fan

I watched this several times and just laughed harder every time. One more reason not to drink, kids.

05 April 2009

Just Because You Say You're Not Naive Doesn't Mean You're Not Naive

President Obama, in an address in Prague, announced plans to eliminate nuclear weapons completely. At first I thought this was some kind of hoax or a fake news story from The Onion. But no, it's real. I can't believe that there is any rational person out there who honestly thinks we can put that genie back in the bottle. The knowledge to make nuclear bombs is out. The will to make them exists. Those two things combined make it impossible to turn back that clock.

My favorite part of the story was when he announced that he was not naive:
“I'm not naive. This goal will not be reached quickly –- perhaps not in my lifetime. It will take patience and persistence,” he told an adoring crowd that waved miniature American and Czech flags. “But now we, too, must ignore the voices who tell us that the world cannot change. We have to insist, 'Yes, we can.'"
If you have to tell people you're not naive it makes you seem that you are aware of your naivete yet unwilling to give up your delusion. Who honestly believes that Russia, Israel, Great Britain and even the U.S. are going to give up their nuclear weapons? Why would they? They would all suspect that the others are keeping theirs and hiding them. Why is Obama even having this conversation? He can't possibly be that naive. He has to be pandering to the utopianists, right? I don't believe he is dumb enough to think that countries who are worried about others' ability to attack them are going to give up a weapon that provides a significant amount of deterrence. If he did believe the tripe he's spouting then I would be extremely concerned about his capacity as commander-in-chief.

03 April 2009

A Logical Bill

The Federal Reserve wields massive monetary power with almost no oversight. Ultimately, they are not responsible to open their books to the Congress and hence to the American people. As a former auditor I can't believe that such a power exists. That is an outrage. Ron Paul has introduced H.R. 1207, a bill that is only a couple paragraphs in length and would give Congress the power to audit the Federal Reserve. I would strongly recommend you contact your representative and ask them to support H.R. 1207.

That's It?

Two Pennsylvania state judges were sentenced to 7 years of prison because they took about $2.6 million in kickbacks from a private prison operator in exchange for teen convictions. More than 5,000 teenagers had their convictions vacated because of this.

Let me get this straight. Two men in positions of incredible legal power abused that power to the detriment of thousands of teenagers and they only get 7 years? Are you kidding me? It is an indescribable abuse of power. People like this need to be held to account.

By the way, are you curious how were discovered? They convicted a 17 year-old girl because she made a MySpace page to mock her assistant principle and the conviction seemed disproportionate to her parents so they asked the FBI to investigate. I wonder how many other kids got disproportionate sentences and didn't have parents who had enough influence to call it in to question. These two despots should spend longer than 7 years in prison for their abuses.

26 March 2009

How We Stop AIG

Really!? This is What the Senate Should Worry About?

For years now I have been bitterly disappointed by Senator Orrin Hatch. He wrote a prelude to one of my favorite books, The 5,000 Year Leap, and so I had expected him to be a constitutionalist. However, he continually proves himself to be someone who is willing to exercise government power in ludicrous fashion. This is no exception.

Senator Hatch now wants the Senate to introduce legislation to control how the college football champion is determined. Really!? We have border problems with Mexican cartels. Our military is in harm's way in Afghanistan and the situation is deteriorating. We have seemingly insurmountable social welfare obligations piling up in Medicare and Social Security. We have a trillion dollar deficit. This is just the beginning of an enormous laundry list of SERIOUS problems and Senator Hatch wants to take on the BCS?! We are off the rails. Unbelievable.

25 March 2009

Obama to Harm Charities?

Martin Feldstein, Harvard University Economics Professor and one of President Obama's economic advisors on his Economic Recovery Advisory Board has said that the idea to lower the deduction for charitable contributions would not go well for charities. He says:

In effect, the change would be a tax on the charities, reducing their receipts by a dollar for every dollar of extra revenue the government collects.
He goes on to explain how this would work in practice.
Suppose someone would give $10,000 to a university if that amount were deductible at 35 percent. That deduction would reduce the individual's tax bill by $3,500. Limiting the deduction to 28 percent would lower the individual's tax saving on a $10,000 gift to $2,800.

This is where things get interesting: If the 10 percent increase in the cost of giving caused the person to reduce his gift by 10 percent, to $9,000, his tax savings would be 28 percent of $9,000, or $2,520. The government's revenue loss would be reduced by $980 (from $3,500 to $2,520). The person's gift to the university would be reduced by $1,000, almost the same amount. Since this high-income person would pay $980 more in taxes but give away $1,000 less, he would end up with an extra $20 for personal consumption.

He estimates that if this rule had been in place in 2007 charitable contribution would have been $16.5 billion rather than the actual $23 billion. That's a big twinkie. (Obscure Ghostbusters reference)

Obama's Plan for Charities

President Obama has said that reducing the tax deduction for those who give to charities will not have an impact on charitable giving. He said to "look at the evidence", because according to him there is very little evidence that his proposal would hurt charitable giving. I'm not sure what evidence he is using so I can't speak to that but I think most people can intuitively sense that if there is less of a deduction for our donations to charity then it will be one less reason to give. So if the deduction was the thing that pushed you to donate then you will probably reconsider.

I found one of President Obama's arguments particularly faulty. He said that it wasn't fair that a person who donates $100 and is in the 28% bracket and a person who donates $100 and is in the 39% bracket get differing benefits. The first person gets about $28 off their taxes, the other gets about $39. According to President Obama that's "not fair". Putting aside the fact that this sounds like playground whining, the second person likely has more disposable income than the first so they may be the one more likely to give money to charity. Particularly if there is an incentive. It seems silly for us as a society to continue whining about incomes not being fair. The fact of the matter is that the person paying 39% is paying about 40% more in taxes than the person paying 28%. ($3,900 - $2,800 = $1,100. $1,100 / $2,800 = 39.2%). If they are paying more, then OF COURSE they get a larger benefit from their tax deductions. Why do we call that unfair? I would say that the fact that "Mr. 39%" having to pay 40% more in taxes is unfair.

The main problem I have with this is that President Obama seems to feel that it is better that the government take the money and distribute it how they see fit rather than the millions of us making that decision. That is a fundamental difference in philosophy. Who is better at making good decisions with YOUR money: you or the government?



24 March 2009

Plenty of Blame to Go Around

I find it amusing that Barney Frank and Chris Dodd have been so busily trying to revise history over the past several months. Both of those men were active participants in the inflation of the housing bubble. There are many Republicans and Democrats at fault for this mess and if we are too busy pointing our finger at the other party saying that they are the bad guys we're going to miss the people in our own party who were equally at fault. The point is that there is more in common between our federal elected officials, regardless of party, than there is that differentiates them. They're all power-hungry and their primary goal is reelection. The good of the people is secondary to that goal.


Purpose of Marriage

I found this article very interesting. I agree with the author that we need to have open, frank and respectful dialogue as we make societal decisions regarding marriage. Too often we resort to name-calling and vilifying and paint the opposition as "evil" instead of talking and figuring out where the other person is coming from.



Privatizing Marriage is not the Answer to the Same-Sex Marriage Debate
by Jennifer Morse March 10, 2009

Far from settling the marriage debate, ‘getting the state out of marriage’ will reduce liberty, leave cultural questions simmering, and harm our nation’s children.

One proposed solution to the divisiveness of the same-sex marriage debate is to have the government get out of the marriage business altogether. This proposal is appealing because it seems to remove marriage from the realm of political contentiousness. We could mimic a market-type solution, in which individuals can make their own decisions about the meaning of marriage, and we need not make any collective decision. But these appearances are deceiving. We need to think through what it actually means to say that the government should “get out of the marriage business.”

What is the social function of marriage? We can answer this by taking the perspective of the child as a rights-bearing person and asking what it is owed. Unlike adults, the child does not need autonomy or independence. The child is entitled to a relationship with and care from both of the people who brought him into being. Therefore, the child has a legitimate interest in the stability of his parents’ union. No child, however, can defend these entitlements himself. Nor is it adequate to make restitution after these rights have been violated. The child’s rights to care and relationship must be supported pro-actively, before harm is done, if those rights are to be protected at all.

Marriage is adult society’s institutional structure for protecting the legitimate interests of children. Marriage attaches mothers—and especially fathers—to their children, and attaches mothers and fathers to one another. As a result, marriage is every society’s preferred context for sexual activity and child-rearing. The often-heard objection that some marriages don’t have children stands the rationale for marriage on its head. It views marriage strictly from the adult’s perspective.

This is why marriage is not simply a special case of the market, and family law is not simply a subset of property and contract law. Marriage exists to meet the social necessity of caring for children, who are not and cannot be contracting parties. They are protected parties. At the same time, marriage should protect the interests of both parents in pursuing their common project of rearing their children.

The genius of marriage as an institution is just this: by providing an extremely minimal legal structure, the state facilitates a huge amount of voluntary cooperation. The state doesn’t care about the details of particular couples’ arrangements. As long as they fulfill the basic requirements, the state has no further concern. Marriage is a largely self-regulating, voluntary system of long-term cooperation between parents. If we “get the state out of the marriage business,” though, this is the structure we need to replace.

But what would it even mean for the state to “get out of the marriage business?” Presumably any couple, gay or straight, could create any “contract” they like to govern their relationship. In effect, everyone would have civil unions, and no one would have the default contract now known as marriage. At the same time, presumably, a couple could have any house of worship bless their union, on any terms agreeable to the couple and to the house of worship. We could have a Muslim contract that mandates that the bride be a virgin, a Las Vegas drive-through wedding contract, and anything in between. Religious bodies could only impose religious penalties, such as banning offenders from the sacraments or temple worship.

Part of the appeal of this proposal is that the state appears to be neutral and even-handed. The state is not favoring any one religious group, or any particular form of relational contract. But this appearance is deceptive.

The motivation to form a contract of a particular kind or indeed any contract at all depends largely on the “default” alternative position. For instance, a strong social safety net decreases the mother’s economic need to form a stable parenting alliance with the father. The state may decline to enforce certain kinds of agreements if it perceives things like sexual exclusivity or permanence to be oppressive relics of a backward time. Through the combination of tax policy, parental leave policy, education, housing and many other policies, the state can show implicit favoritism toward parenting as a solo activity or as a partnered activity, without ever explicitly declaring a preference for one over the other.

This is why the idea of “getting the government out of marriage” is an illusion. The state can, by changing the terms of these and many other social parameters, greatly influence the types of contracts people form. We have simply moved the problem, and the conflict, back a step. Instead of fighting over marriage, we will still have to slug it out over these background conditions. “Government neutrality” sounds good on the chalkboard, but in fact, it is not possible.

In one sense, the government has already removed itself from the marriage business by ceasing to enforce the most basic features of the current “default” marriage contract: stability and sexual fidelity. The no-fault divorce revolution makes marriage less than an ordinary contract. In most contracts, the person who breaches must make some kind of compensation to those who relied on his performance of the contract. Only in marriage does the law permit people to dissolve the contract for any reason or no reason and never even offer an account of themselves.

Couples today are on their own when it comes to maintaining a relationship stable enough to rear their children to adulthood. They may obtain some support from their faith communities and social circles, but parents must make substantial investments of human and financial capital, over a long period of time, with minimal contractual protection.

Now we can see what “getting the state out of marriage” likely means in actual practice. It means eliminating the default marriage contract, with these background conditions. We know that the state has already shown itself to be uninterested in enforcing sexual exclusivity and permanence. Social pressures to form stable unions are almost non-existent. Yet the “social safety net” for unmarried mothers and their children will not go away, and in fact would probably be strengthened if the government didn't recognize marriage as such.

The most likely outcome, therefore, is that few people would even attempt to create a lifelong contract. The “prisoners’ dilemma” problem is at work here: it is publicly beneficial for society to have a norm of long-term marital stability, but it is in each couple’s private interests to write an escape clause for themselves into their own contract.

Would getting the state out of marriage make us freer? We can get a glimpse of the answer to this by looking at the impact of no-fault divorce. Presented to the public in the name of personal liberty, no-fault divorce has led to an increase in the power of the government over individual private lives. Family courts are one of the most intrusive institutions of the modern state, regulating how mothers and fathers spend their time and money. People under the jurisdiction of family courts can have virtually all of their private lives subject to its scrutiny. This is not an increase in freedom: it is an unprecedented insertion of the state into domestic matters.

Neither will an increase in “multi-partner fertility” (we won’t be able to call it “out-of-wedlock” childbearing any more) increase personal liberty. The state currently gets involved in regulating disputes between never-married parents, with all the same problems of intrusive family courts. Historically, the state’s attempts to make unmarried fathers to pay child support are much less successful than attempts to get divorced fathers to pay. And taxpayers will be on the hook for even greater expenditures for additional social services, since the outcomes for children are predictably dismal. Personal liberty will decrease, whether liberty is defined in terms of privacy or economics.

Some might say we should completely deregulate relationships between adults. The only interest the state should have is in the protection of children. The state shouldn’t care at all about the relationship between the adults, only whether the child’s needs are being met.

But this is essentially what we are already doing with the children of unmarried parents. The outcomes for these children are not the sort of thing we would want to expand to the entire population. These children have poorer life chances in virtually every dimension we can measure, even taking into account their parents’ lower incomes. The fact that the children of unmarried mothers so often end up in the child welfare system tells us that their needs are not being met. Besides, we would have to come to some consensus about what needs children have that warrant state protection.

In short, we cannot avoid the large, public questions involved in the definition of marriage, even if we want to. One way or another, every society does have preferences and beliefs about the proper context for sexual behavior and child rearing. One way or another, we have to answer the question of what is owed to children. We would be much better off having that discussion, honestly and openly. As things now stand, we are obsessing over fairness to adults while avoiding even talking about what is owed to children. “Getting the state out of the marriage business” is not a reasonable compromise but a complete abdication of our responsibility to face the important question of how we provide children with their just entitlements.


Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse is the Founder and President of the Ruth Institute, a nonprofit whose mission is to promote lifelong married love to the young by creating an intellectual and social climate favorable to marriage.

12 March 2009

06 March 2009

I Love Weekend Update

Weekend Update has always been one of my favorite SNL segments and I missed this one a few months ago but found it hilarious. Enjoy!

03 March 2009

Milton Friedman

A very good friend of mine runs a blog largely about the educational system that I think you would find of interest. He follows education closely and knows his stuff so I encourage you to check it out. In the meantime though I am embedding a video that he pointed out to me. It is a video of Milton Friedman, defender of the free enterprise system responding to questions about the "failures" of capitalism. It's an admirable defense and I thought you might like to see it. It's only about 2 1/2 minutes so enjoy.

28 February 2009

Today's "Weakest Argument Award" Goes To...

Mr. John Lovell, lobbyist for the law enforcement community! Congratulations, sir! You have just made one of the silliest arguments against legalizing marijuana. A little background will be needed here.

The New York Times has an article today discussing the efforts of states to find new revenue streams. One of the more interesting proposals is the taxation of marijuana. Now, regardless what your opinion is on this topic you would hope that the sides would come up with better arguments than this:
John Lovell, a lobbyist for several groups of California law enforcement officials, said the plan would create a large, illicit — and thus untaxed — black market...
Psst...Mr. Lovell. Lean over here for just a second. I want to make you aware of something that you seem not to have figured out. There's ALREADY a "large, illicit — and thus untaxed — black market" for marijuana out there. So you may want to come up with a more compelling argument for your side. That's all. You can go back to talking now.

Immorality of Government Charity

Recently, the Washington Times wrote an article discussing some of the tax changes that President Obama is proposing for charitable deductions. He is proposing reducing the deductibility of charitable donations. For those of us who make significant charitable donations over the course of the year, this is a disturbing development, but the loss of deductibility is only a minor inconvenience compared to a greater danger that this policy contains. Associated with the change in policy is a move toward further government immorality. Let me explain what I mean.

In the Washington Times article, Roberton Williams,senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, was quoted, saying:
This will lead people to give less to charities if they behave the way they've behaved in the past.
If we eliminate the deductibility then we may see a drop off in the amount of charitable contributions that occur and that is a serious concern, but frankly if the deduction were completely eliminated there would probably continue to be philanthropist leanings from the majority of the populace. The real danger is found in the next paragraph of the article.

Asked about that, Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag said Mr. Obama took care of that by giving charities government money to make up part of the difference.

This is where the immorality comes in. President Obama is not simply proposing reducing the deductibility of donations, he is proposing that the government tax the people and become the replacing donor to these charities. That is coercive and immoral and as a country we should be frightened of the implications of this continued slide toward government forcibly replacing our own better impulses.

Taken to its logical conclusion, this ideology would force us, at gunpoint, to give our money to a government that claims to know better than us how to take care of those in need and thus will make our charitable decisions for us. This is morally decaying and dangerous. If, as a society, we no longer sacrifice our time and money for the care of those in need because we feel morally compelled to do so then we will be on a path to a deserved destruction. The majority of Americans still feel the compulsion to give back to their neighbor in some way or another. It may be through donating time, food or money to the local food bank. It may be donating to the schools. It may be donating to libraries, children's funds, homeless shelters, medical services, prisons, infrastructure projects or any number of other worthy causes. We tend to seek out those things that speak to our own sense of mission in our lives.

If we allow our sense of mission to be usurped by the government then we will lose a connection with our fellow man that softens our worst impulses and creates a positive feedback loop that incites us to further service. That would be a tragedy of epic proportions and something that future historians would sadly shake their heads at. We CANNOT allow that to happen. For the sake of our childrens' liberty, we MUST NOT let it happen. We must communicate with our elected representatives the danger that that path leads to and work to avoid the immorality of government charity.

16 February 2009

Barron's Proposal for the Bailout Money

Ed Finn who is the Editor of Barron's magazine, a financial rag owned by Dow Jones has proposed that the federal government use $250 billion to reduce the principle amount owed by subprime borrowers on their homes. He insists that this is hard to advocate but must be done to move past this episode in our history. I ask, what lesson will those who get bailed out in this fashion learn? They will learn that they can make foolish financial decisions and not feel the consequences of them because the rest of America will pay for it. That is a moral hazard. I wrote to Mr. Finn and expressed my displeasure. Please consider doing the same. My letter is below.

Mr. Finn,

I am writing to express my extreme disappointment in your proposal for the bailout money. I sold my house 3 1/2 years ago to move back to California near my parents to be a support. The price of housing was outrageous when we moved back so we chose to rent because it seemed obvious that the prices were unsustainable. We are saving up for a down payment to buy a home for our family of (soon-to-be) 7. The fact that you propose to allow those who made foolish decisions with their money to be saved in their houses by taking money out of my family's pocket is appalling. Why should we and the other 32% of Americans who rent have to pay for the 5-10% of Americans who risk losing their homes. I ran into so many people in the last 5-7 years who refinanced to pull money out and add on to the house, go on vacation, buy toys and otherwise waste their principal that it is offensive to me that I should have to pay to keep them in their homes. This country was founded on the belief that people should have the freedom to succeed AND make mistakes. What education is there in failure if the government (the taxpayer) will always be there to bail you out? It is a moral hazard to have people come under the belief that their foolish decisions will be subsidized by the working families of this country. I am embarrassed by your plan and question whether my recent subscription to your paper is worthwhile or if I should seek for better journalism elsewhere. Please refrain from encouraging our politicians to punish 1/3 of Americans (the renters) to help a small percentage of Americans who were foolish. That is injustice of the most punitive kind.

Joshua Richardson

14 February 2009

New Budget Program

Saturday Night Live sometimes has an uncanny ability to see straight to the source of a problem. This is no exception.

Symptomatic of the Problem

Our legislators just can't seem to stop spending our money to benefit their own personal interest groups. They seem incapable of recognizing the depth of the problem we are facing and instead continue to seek their own reelection. The Associated Press is reporting today that 4 senators were able to convince the Senate leaders to add tax deductions for those buying motorhomes or motorcycles. (You will probably not be shocked to find out that they have motorcycle and RV manufacturers in their states.) Is that really the best use of your taxing power Mssrs. Casey, Bond, Feingold and Kohl? I would contend that it is abuse to steal money from taxpayers and give it to someone just so they can buy a motorcycle. As if the rest of us don't already have enough bills to pay, now we have to pay for some stupid schmuck who wants to buy a motorhome. If you aren't fuming mad then I don't know what it takes to get you there.

07 February 2009

The Rangel Rule

I don't know about you, but I am tired of the political and business elite getting different treatment than we do and now Congressman John Carter of Texas is presenting a plan that I can really get behind. Recently, Representative Charlie Rangel of New York admitted on the House floor that he has not paid taxes on some property he owns for years. He, of course, has since made the back payments but, as Representative Carter notes, he did not have to pay any interest or penalties. Even more recently, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner admitted to not paying back taxes. He also did not have to pay interest or penalties. Now, if this were you or I, we would have to pay more in interest and penalties than the taxes themselves. And yet, these two and other elites like them get preferential treatment as if they were some sort of aristocracy. It's an outrage.

Representative Carter is presenting a bill to allow what he calls the "Rangel Rule". Anyone who receives a past-due tax bill can pay it and write "Rangel Rule" on the bill and have all interest and penalties waived. This is a plan that I can support because everyone is treated equally. Plus, we would be able to stick it to the IRS. Who wouldn't want that?

Teen Abstinence Pledges

Several weeks ago all the major media outlets were reporting how a study just showed that teen abstinence pledges were ineffective at preventing teen sex. The problem is that that was a lie. Ignorant reporters gleefully spent the day telling the nation how stupid it was to assume that these abstinence pledges were effective. Just one more example of why it is crazy to believe everything you're being told by the media. It takes a lot of discernment to figure out what is accurate. Check out the A&G audio clip on "Abstinence Pledges" above.

05 February 2009

Here We Go Again

I'm sorry for being out of it for so long. I just got a functioning computer yesterday. I will be back to posting this week.

Josh