Posts Tagged ‘subsidies’

Dear Media

Less than half the country wants more government and more than half want less. This may be a good moment to inform the “mainstream media” enablers as to exactly why so many are so angry at so few.

Joe Klein of Time recently wrote that we are a “nation of dodos.” Bill Maher just told Larry King that  Americans are “not bright enough” to understand what is good for them. John Cassidy in The New Yorker impugns Tea Party types as possessing “self-identity that is historically inaccurate and potentially dangerous” along with implying that many are motivated by racism. Similar accusations have become common throughout news and commentary outlets over several months. Here is a reply from an independent voter and formal member of no political party or group:

Referring to us as racists, Neanderthals, dodos, misguided, dangerous, close minded, frightened, ignorant of history, or similar pejoratives does not make us so. It just demonstrates your inability to counter our beliefs with reasoned responses. The continuous laments on the major network Sunday shows, daily newscasts and liberal editorial pages are a pathetic deprecation of us who sincerely believe that our country is in dire need of a new direction. You have a right to your beliefs as do we. However this country is not, nor ever will become the dysfunctional utopian socialist mediocrity you so wish it to be. There are too many of us to let you make it happen.

You believe that rewarding failure by punishing success is compassion, and you are willing to sell the futures of our descendants down the river to fund such activity in the present time. You think that since most of us never attended some Ivy League university, that we are too uninformed to make our own choices in life. To assuage that shortcoming you wish to promote the imposition of layer upon layer of government control over us; eroding our birthright of freedom as a consequence. You support a public education bureaucracy that has been rotting for decades, cheating our young out of a quality K-12 education. You believe the federal government is the best operator of health care – 1/6 of our entire economy – when it has proven multiple times it cannot efficiently run the Postal Service, Indian Affairs, Park Service, Medicare, Social Security, or Amtrak.

It is obvious you are the ones who avoid the lessons of history, ignore the failures of socialism, and close your eyes to the looming entitlement catastrophe about to engulf those yet unborn. We however understand where this country came from, what principles were enshrined in its founding, and cherish those God given rights specified in the Declaration and the Constitution. We see the unsustainable growth of handouts, aid, loan guarantees, subsidies, entitlement programs, earmark spending, borrowing, and government in general and seek to reverse course before it is way too late. We feel the daily encroachment on our liberty as free men and women and strive to halt that erosion. We care deeply that our country not follow the path of failing states and default on its debts.

In the ‘60s many of you rose up in protest against our government at war in Viet Nam. Who are you to object when we band together, storm the Bastille of the ballot box, and broom your favorite leaches, hacks, and malfeasants, along with a few of our own mistakes, from office? We are every bit as concerned about the eventual ruination of our country through excessive government as you were about avoiding serving it in a hot war.

In any large group of like minded citizens, true beliefs and opinions vary along a bell curve. Our curve is centered on the right and yours; the left. In the far tails of each live the few very antisocial and disturbed members of each side. Your reporting and commenting always seeks out and embellishes the fringes of our movement purposely ignoring the center where the great bulk of the group resides. You had the Weather Underground while we have a few paranoid militia types. We have everything from Mensans to morons and so do you.

Your studios and newsrooms are populated with like minded people; products of similar journalism schools. You have spent your adult lives in the hothouse of diversity and political correctness while we meet, work, and exchange ideas with people of all races, religions, and on different sides of many issues. We are the folks you consider the great unwashed of flyover country. Your continuous disparagement of our intelligence and motives is nothing but the revelation of your fears of our strength. Your hatred of talk radio and FOX News only demonstrates your angst that your monopoly on communication is evaporating.

Rest your souls that we intend no physical harm to you or our government and its representatives. We will demonstrate in strength and leave the square tidy and untrashed. We won’t be tipping over cars and busses or burning tires in the streets. We will not be planting pipe bombs, igniting buildings, or smashing windows in Starbucks. We will organize, select candidates, and vote our way into power in a peaceful, legal transfer.

Once there, we will never impugn or restrict your rights to print, speak, or believe any way you wish. That’s a promise.

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The Seattle Way

The Seattle Way is a Brick Wall

Seattle and its surrounding environs have a rather odd method of doing things in government; locally nicknamed “The Seattle Way.”  In endless efforts to obtain a consensus by pleasing all, very few decisions get made in a timely manner. Many of the projects that actually get started often lead to loopy results instead of practical solutions. Below is but one glaring example:

Seattle’s two ancient roadways — a viaduct and a floating bridge — carry 225,000 vehicles per day, from Smart Cars to 53-ton truck combinations.  Both are ready to collapse in a good earthquake.  While these long known dangers imperil the entire local economy, billions of dollars have been sunk into 19th century technologies like commuter heavy rail, light rail, and streetcars serving in total less than 18,000 riders per day, each perhaps burdened with a sack lunch and a laptop.

How does Seattle do it, one might ask? Below is a satirical announcement from a “Study Group” which closely resembles the reports we routinely see in the local press:

Group to Promote New Rapid Mass Transit Formed

Air Ships in New Innovative Novel Environments (ASININE) announced today that it is moving forward to create commuter dirigible service between Seattle, Tacoma, and Everett. ASININE is a coalition of grass roots activists formed to find ways to cut greenhouse gasses and promote eco-friendly transportation alternatives. Spokesperson Dilarine Lightpockets announced that ASININE was founded by feminist paralegals seeking inclusiveness and consensus in the process of system specific planning.

The group has a proactive “zero tolerance policy” on road construction and demands an immediate statewide moratorium on such plans. A coordinating task force chaired by Wilhelmina Broom-Wickersham will interface with a steering committee that will in turn organize workshops, panel discussions, and neighborhood roundtable groups. Rignalita Ramos-Hoogerwerf has been named to dialog with state, county, and city officials on diversity issues, and seek opportunity grant money to initialize the planning stages. Ramos-Hoogerwerf will also establish a resource sharing forum to provide outreach to various advocacy groups with common goals and author a manifesto/position paper based on their input and throughput. “The solidarity with other groups will lead to synergistic diversity, tolerance, and empowerment as ASININE evolves” according to Lightpockets.

Civil engineer Buskirk Brubacher studied alternative transportation and did his PHD thesis on airship design in Europe.  “The drawings of the Hindenburg are all in good condition and can easily be scanned into AutoCAD files. The US has the world’s largest supply of helium and a simple switch to that gas would make the airships safe for commuter transportation” he said.  Additionally, Brubacher mentions that this transportation mode can be adopted between large buildings thereby eliminating any use of roadways.  “The Empire State Building was built with a mooring mast and it is still in place. We can do the same with the Columbia Center here.”

Bids for planning, design, and construction of the airships will be sought from Asian and European firms. “Nearly all our present transit equipment from the monorail to hybrid busses were sourced outside the US” said Brubacher. “There is no reason to work with a Boeing or GM when we can purchase everything from abroad.”

Cartoon Credit:  Shiers, Jr., published in Bellevue Reporter Newspaper on February 24, 2010, page 4.

Piece by Piece, Bone by Bone

If the November elections sweep a principled changing of the guard into power in DC, we have a slim chance of seeing this present disastrous expansion of government reversed. The grass roots are rising across the land objecting to spending, deficits, and bloating bureaucracies. The stock market is flashing serious warning signs as Moody’s mentions potential downgrades for US debt. The present administration appears somewhere between terminally tone deaf, and hopelessly stuck on stupid. How can government growth, regulation, and waste be corralled and reduced?

Some valuable lessons were learned when the past administrations tried to eliminate programs and departments. Every handout, subsidy, boondoggle, or obsolete program has a constituency behind it. In the “I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine” atmosphere of Congress, the votes to eliminate anything are traded just as carefully as votes to initiate something. The only way to approach this is to build momentum from incremental moves. All these programs and departments were established one at a time. They will have to be cut apart piece by piece and bone by bone in chunks too small to affect any but a small number of beneficiaries.

The best suggestion is to start out with Mathew Lesko’s books and “Free Money Club” on line. House member’s staffers could cull the thousands of government giveaway programs and bills could be written to eliminate them one or only a few at a time. “Small potatoes” some will say, but when Congress wastes time on stupid resolutions like honoring some ball team, entertainer, or athlete, they could certainly take the time to vote on a couple wasteful programs each day. Since each bill would be eliminating very limited target, the possibility of a majority voting against it would be minimized.

The next step is earmark reform. The public is sick and tired of these blatant efforts by Congress to fund pet projects in return for votes and political contributions. The present bunch of incumbents is deaf to the outrage and they will pay the price in November. A crop of new representatives and senators with some momentum could use the tailwind of a landslide election and the expectations of their supporters to end the practice once and for all. Concrete rules have to be established that amendments must apply directly to whatever bill is under consideration.

Ronald Reagan said government reaction to business was “If it moves, tax it. If it continues to move, regulate it. If it stops moving, subsidize it.” Taxing and borrowing to subsidize failure is ludicrous. The government taxes successful individuals and businesses, borrows billions abroad, and funds pathetic economic black holes like wind farms and light rail. No sane person would buy a car that only worked 25% of the time, but wind farms do exactly that, which is why they are not being built by private enterprise without huge subsidies from the federal government.

Rails were invented because the motive power in the 1800s was too heavy to move about on roads. Cars and airplanes evolved to improve transportation, but we are stuck carrying Amtrack at huge losses because a few romantics think trains are still necessary. Heavy rail moves freight efficiently, but people need to move faster than freight. Worse, light rail which became obsolete with the invention of efficient busses is now being built at tremendous cost in cities where it will never be viable. The per passenger/ride subsidies create financial drains forever. Ethanol fuel consumes more energy in its production than it delivers when burned. Dumping corn in stills to make lousy motor fuel instead of feeding it to people and animals is a gross misallocation of resources. If light rail, wind farms, and ethanol can’t make a profit, the government has no business wasting hundreds of billions each year on them and other such economic losers.

The only way to eliminate some of these massive expenditures in dead ends is to introduce bills individually where urban representatives can vote against farm subsidies and rural representatives can help kill rail and other utopian foolishness. These will have to be broken down even farther perhaps; stopping Seattle light rail one month and chopping the Twin Cities another time. Ethanol could go in one bite, dairy products in another, and crop by crop, the rest of the farm support would be gone. Does anyone really think that American agriculture will stop producing if it were to operate as a self supporting industry?

De Tocqueville warned 180 years ago that the American Experiment would likely fail once the people realized they could vote themselves money. He was right, but the past few generations of politicians have been too busy buying votes instead of paying heed to his warnings. We stand on the edge of the abyss. For the love of our country and its future citizens, we must seize this moment and save their future before it turns to ashes.

Stealing is Wrong

Stealing is wrong; thieves go to jail for it. We condemn the schoolyard bully who beats up smaller kids for lunch money. Now let us look in the mirror and observe the protagonist in the greatest case if intergenerational theft in history. We baby boomers and our parents – the greatest generation – have stolen trillions from those yet unborn. Most of us will be long gone before our victims are old enough to recognize what we have done and confront us. It is the epitome of cowardice to rob the entire future from later generations and then use our deaths to escape responsibility.

A combination of unfunded entitlement programs, misguided subsidies to unsound businesses and discredited Keynesian economic deficit spending have created a disastrous level of debt.  If you have children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews you sincerely care about, you will be interested to learn the following facts:

If we were to add up the total unfunded liabilities of present “entitlement” programs (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) and add the current national debt as of today, we would get a general figure of $117 TRILLION DOLLARS which our government has promised to pay and has no visible means of support to do so. A $100 bill is 4/1000 of an inch thick. A stack one inch high amounts to $25,000. One foot would be $300,000. One mile would be One Billion, Five Hundred and Eighty Four Million Dollars. $117 TRILLION adds up to a stack of $100 bills 73,863 MILES HIGH. That is three times around the earth, or 336 stacks that would reach the International Space Station! On an individual basis, that works out to only a little over 15 inches par person alive in the US today. Each and every newborn enters this world with about $396,000 in accumulated debt and incurred liabilities. Do you think your little loved ones and their generational fellow travelers will earn enough to pay that off? Apparently Congress and Presidents over the past 75 years have assumed so.

Who EXACTLY is ever going to pay for this irresponsible fiscal lunacy? Well, let’s let the kids pay it off for the rest their lives long after we who spent the dough are gone. They won’t ever be able to remove our dead hands from their pocketbooks. Our children and grandchildren will be condemned to lives of serfdom.  We will be remembered as the ones who crippled our nation with debt, spent the dreams of our children, and sold them into financial servitude.

If you have young ones that you love as I do, and you have one scintilla of self respect and common decency, you will help reverse this disastrous course before it consumes our nation and its people. How do we begin? First we must realize that in nearly all cases, “something for nothing” from the government is just flat wrong. Second, we must elect representatives who will covert the Ponzi scheme nature of entitlement programs into self funded, sustainable entities – exactly as promised when they were first introduced. Third, stop subsidizing utopian failures like ethanol, wind farms, flood insurance, and light rail. Lastly, let’s dump Keynesian economics into the ash heap of history where it has belonged since its failure in the 1930s.

According to Albert Einstein, insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Rebooting the New Deal, subsidizing failure, taxing success, and exposing the general fund to liabilities of poorly planned entitlement programs is folly. We owe our descendants a huge course correction before their lives are ruined by our greed and foolishness.