About Me

In writing the "About Me" portion of this blog I thought about the purpose of the blog - namely, preventing the growth of Socialism & stopping the Death Of Democracy in the American Republic & returning her to the "liberty to abundance" stage of our history. One word descriptions of people's philosophies or purposes are quite often inadequate. I feel that I am "liberal" meaning that I am broad minded, independent, generous, hospitable, & magnanimous. Under these terms "liberal" is a perfectly good word that has been corrupted over the years to mean the person is a left-winger or as Mark Levin more accurately wrote in his book "Liberty & Tyranny" a "statist" - someone looking for government or state control of society. I am certainly not that & have dedicated the blog to fighting this. I believe that I find what I am when I consider whether or not I am a "conservative" & specifically when I ask what is it that I am trying to conserve? It is the libertarian principles that America was founded upon & originally followed. That is the Return To Excellence that this blog is named for & is all about.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Boehner Bill Does Not Gain The Support Of 22 House Republicans

House Speaker John Boehner finally got the Budget Control Act of 2011 through the House on Friday night – the legislative vote shows how little the Freshmen Tea Party House Republicans elected in 2010 stuck to their guns once they arrived in Washington.  Only a small handful of Freshmen Republicans voted against the Bill (22 Republicans in all) which immediately raises the debt ceiling by $900 billion & calls for $756 billion in unspecified spending cuts over ten years with $72 billion of these unspecified cuts coming in the next two years with the rest obviously having no chance of being realized.  The 87 Tea Party House Freshman Republicans had campaigned in 2010 on cutting $100 billion from the FY 2011 spending plan.  They have had two bites @ the apple with the CR & now the debt ceiling vote – all but a few have gone the Washington establishment way both times.  Most disappointing among the Freshmen are Rob Woodall (GA), James Lankford (OK), Kristi Noem (SD), & Jon Runyan (NJ) all of whom have consistently voted with the establishment old guard Republicans their first seven months in office.  Tim Scott (SC) has been true to his word after one initial slip.  Check out your own Congressman below.

The Boehner Bill is just another plan that adds to the national debt over the next ten years – there are no real spending cuts of any significance in any of the years.  Some call the meager unspecified cuts a starting point or a turning point in Washington but the Dems are way too cagey to fall for this.  In fact the Boehner Bill has very little chance to pass the Senate &/or survive BO's veto so it really means that supporters of the Bill are looking for backing from the Republican Party in the future as business continues in Washington as usual – @ our detriment & expense.

The Senate is planning to stall & pass something themselves @ the last minute sending the hot potato back to Boehner who will be left standing in the game of musical chairs when the music stops on & after the August 2 debt ceiling drop dead date thereby taking all of the blame from the disinterested public for whatever ails the country then.

Below are the results of the Boehner Bill vote.  People like Michele Bachmann, Steve King, Freshman Tim Huelskamp, & Freshman Trey Gowdy all voted against the Boehner Bill because of the principles they consistently espouse.  Gowdy said "I did not come here to curry favor.  I did not come here for committee assignments & threatening me with not coming back will hold no weight."  I don't believe the "ayes" on the list below can say the same.

(Republicans in roman; Democrats in italic; Independents underlined)

S 627 RECORDED VOTE 29-Jul-2011 6:25 PM
QUESTION: On Passage
BILL TITLE: Budget Control Act of 2011

Ayes Noes PRES NV
Republican 218 22
Democratic 188 5
TOTALS 218 210 5

---- AYES 218 ---

Barton (TX)
Bass (NH)
Bishop (UT)
Bono Mack
Brady (TX)
Burton (IN)
Coffman (CO)
Davis (KY)
Duncan (TN)
Franks (AZ)
Gingrey (GA)
Graves (MO)
Griffin (AR)
Griffith (VA)
Hastings (WA)
Herrera Beutler
Huizenga (MI)
Johnson (OH)
Johnson, Sam
King (NY)
Kinzinger (IL)
Lewis (CA)
Lungren, Daniel E.
McCarthy (CA)
McMorris Rodgers
Miller (FL)
Miller (MI)
Miller, Gary
Murphy (PA)
Poe (TX)
Price (GA)
Roe (TN)
Rogers (AL)
Rogers (KY)
Rogers (MI)
Ross (FL)
Ryan (WI)
Scott, Austin
Smith (NE)
Smith (NJ)
Smith (TX)
Thompson (PA)
Young (AK)
Young (FL)
Young (IN)

---- NOT VOTING 5 ---


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Responses - Debt Ceiling Problem - A Win-Win For BO

Last night's subject message certainly brought a lot of discussion including WRNJ radio calling me early this morning – within forty five minutes I was part of a program that will be aired re the interrelationship of the debt ceiling problem, the Tea Party, & the FairTax.  I will download the audio as soon as it is available & post it on this blog.  I congratulate WRNJ – they are a station working for the best interests of America.
All day long people called to discuss last night's posting & the overall feeling is that most are mad – we just need to find out with who.  One comment – "We felt that in his latest speech Obama presented himself as a victim in a political hassle. The good guy!" portrayed BO as he hopes to be seen as an innocent victim instead of the President with the most power of control.
The above graph shows the growth of the payments to individuals by the federal government from 1965 to 2010 – herein lies the problem that we cannot easily turn back without a very large mindset change.  The lead editorial in today's WSJ presented this graph along with the commentary – "This insistence on no reform reinforces the notion that our entitlement state is too big to afford but also too big to change politically.  According to the most recent government data, today some 50.5 million Americans are on Medicaid, 46.5 million are on Medicare, 52 million on Social Security, five million on SSI, 7.5 million on unemployment insurance, & 44.6 million on food stamps & other nutrition programs.  Some 24 million get the earned-income tax credit, a cash supplement.  By 2010 such payments to individuals were 66% of the federal budget, up from 28% in 1965."
A very wise, long term reader & contributor to these messages, provides the following commentary which describes the Death of Democracy that we see coming into focus more clearly every day.
"You hit the nail on the head when you said 70% of the population is for increased spending rather than reducing taxes. Most people ONLY read headlines. You have Obama telling people that Social Security checks might not be mailed in August because of the Republicans, and he gains 80% of retirees' votes for the next election.
Now you have people out of work - who will they vote for? Not the Republicans, but they will vote for people who PROMISE them jobs, even if it means spending on programs that do not work, creating impression of creating jobs. Who gets their vote?
Unless Republicans do a better job of communicating with the general population, they have a good chance of losing big in the next election.  Remember many people do not pay any income tax at all. They will vote for Democrats who promise them "the moon."
As for me, I will take a very long nap, lasting for years, unless someone comes up with smart plans that have a chance to work and that the general public believes will work."


Debt Ceiling Problem - A Win-Win For BO

Last April 14 I wrote re the 2010 campaign promise to reduce spending $100 billion their first year in office "...how discouraging it is to have elected 87 new House Members only to find that 66 of them have already abandoned ship." I went on "It doesn't give much hope for the deficit ceiling fight (I barely have the strength tonight to call it that) or the fight for trillions in the 2012 budget negotiations. It is looking pretty hopeless for America @ this point." See ReturnToExcellence.net posting of April 14, 2011 for complete write-up along with comments including one received earlier tonight from a statist, three & one half months after the posting, taking me to task for not wanting to compromise.

As the country wrestles with the tug of war between reducing the nation's deficit & raising the debt ceiling the polls are all over the map as to whether the majority wants to reduce government spending or raise taxes to solve this problem that will supposedly reach a head on August 2. My guess is that more people will be for increased government spending than reducing taxes for the simple fact that over 70% of the population receives a government check or benefit each month. Couple this with the anti-American hostile media being statists ensures a fate unbecoming to our founding principles.

BO is in the catbird seat re all of this – he has known for quite some time that the majority of the public will hold him harmless blaming the Republicans for any government shutdown or delay in the issuance of Social Security benefits & of course more importantly BO really gets what he wants in that people will become more dependent on government programs. For instance it was reported earlier today that the debt ceiling problem is having a detrimental impact on entrepreneurs access to capital resulting in a freeze on hiring & capital spending. Now who could blame BO for these problems with George W Bush still fresh in peoples' minds & the class(less) warfare never ending speeches of millionaires & billionaires who earn over $250,000 per year.

All of the plans presented to date actually add to the national debt over the next ten years including the so-called fiscally responsible Ryan Plan that will lower the national debt from current policies but will still result in the government spending $5 trillion more over the next decade than it brings in. What a charade when you consider that all of these plans talk up fiscal responsibility – what a shame that enough people to keep BO in power fall for this or worse yet have no idea what this is all about or could not care less & will vote for him.

Now if Paul Ryan is the most fiscally responsible Member of Congress allowed to present a plan to lead us out of our current fiscal problems it is definitely news to Jeff Dyberg who let us know back in April that Rep. Ryan voted for TARP, felt the free market had failed when he chose to replace it with bureaucratic central planning (against competition) by supporting the taxpayer bailout of GM & Chrysler, voted for the 2008 Bush Stimulus bill, supported ethanol subsidies agreeing with the December 2010 tax deal with BO, & has also voted to support the confiscatory tax on AIG bonuses. Mr. Dyberg questions whether or not Paul Ryan is fiscally responsible enough to be the leading advocate of the free market – & yet this is all we have. We know "who is John Galt?" - we need to know where he is.

Now I am someone who participated in Dick Zimmer's deficit reduction workshops in the early 1990s & I can attest that some of these types of decisions are not easy. The Bipartisan Policy Center determined that between August 3rd & 31st that $172.4 billion of estimated receipts would come in to the federal government. They also estimated that the following cash out flows (in billion of dollars) would be required for the same 28 day period:

Interest – $29.0

Social Security – 49.2

Medicare/Medicaid – 50.0

Defenses Vendor – 31.7

Unemployment – 12.8

Military Pay – 2.9

Veterans Affairs – 2.9

IRS Refunds – 3.9

Food Stamps – 14.2

Federal Salaries – 14.2

Miscellaneous – 100.8

What would you cut? Are you willing to see your Social Security or Medicare payments cut? Are you using the Constitution to determine what to cut? Please consider that welfare payments very well can be considered insurance payments that will keep the lower class poor out of burglarizing homes in "better neighborhoods." Without these welfare payments would you be living with steel bars & guards around your house?

Our SC businessman recently presented BO's quote from March 2006 re BO's hypocrisy concerning Bushes' perceived failure of leadership concerning the debt ceiling that so many of you responded to. Our thanks to him once again for presenting this link of Harry Reid showing exactly how disingenuous the Democrats are regarding this debt ceiling fiscal issue or anything else that will help our country.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Who Will Fill The Jobs America Needs?

Earlier this month the DOL reported that for each job opening in May there were 4.7 people looking for work in America – how pitiful, although this was down from well over 6 in mid 2009. When I graduated from college there was one chemical engineer graduating nationally for every two Chem E job openings meaning all of us in my class throughout the country that year got good jobs based on our education.

Now I have written about the importance of higher education many times before on this blog – in fact, along with the FairTax, higher education is the other passion for America that Carol & I have. The account herein is illustrative of the failure of our universities to produce graduates that can do the work that contributes to increases in our standard of living.

Disappointingly I have recently received the two (certainly) unsolicited inquiries below re my availability for job positions in the chemical process industry. Although both of the ones below are from search firms I also receive many inquiries each year from principals directly.

Now while we are worried about jobs being created (by whomever) we should also wonder what type of jobs are available. One of the most patriotic subscribers to ReturnToExcellence.net quite often has things published like "Jobs having us serve burgers or sell Chinese made products to one another certainly is not the answer." He often asks if a husband paying a wife to cook or a wife paying a husband to cut the lawn is the type of economy that can be sustained? This may very well be the type of economy America is heading for. BO is stifling innovation & the resulting wealth-job creation (on purpose) so we have far too many jobs still existing in America that rightly should have been moved to developing nations long ago. The type of jobs that are needed to sustain our economy are hard to find & where they do exist we do not have enough people educated or trained to perform the work – & entrepreneurs know this.

Please read the two job inquiries below, that I have no intention of answering or even encouraging receiving more of. Ask yourself if you know anyone personally that could fill either position or better yet ask yourself if you know anyone who even understands what they are looking for.


Dear Engineers, Scientists and Potential Job-Seekers,

Our client is the world leader in integrated power plants for the production of electricity and air quality control systems. They have solutions for all energy sources including coal, gas, nuclear, fuel-oil, hydropower and wind and are a leader in innovative technologies for the protection of the environment (reduction of CO2 emissions; elimination of pollutant emissions). They have a presence in nearly 100 countries throughout the world and currently have over 93,000 employees. We have been retained on this exclusive search to identify a Manager of Quality and Process Improvement.


For Hiring Managers, Engineers and Scientists:

In today's competitive marketplace a recruiter needs to provide a value-added service for clients in order to distinguish himself. My "value-add" includes the technical knowledge I bring to the table with a Chemical Engineering degree, twenty-two years of experience in the Executive Search industry, and "prior life" experience as a graduate of Princeton University's Philosophy department. The combination of such diverse sets of experience has sharpened my problem-solving and research skills, giving me a unique view of the most efficient and successful methods of conducting searches for rare, hard-to-find talent.

Last week, in a CBS News report, the CEO of Dow Corporation stated that there are over a million technology/science/engineering jobs currently open in the United States, with only 200,000 graduates available to fill them. In such times, despite the "soft" economy, the help of a skilled and experienced recruiter can be vital.

Please call me if you have a challenging recruiting need which requires a creative and insightful approach, as well as a work-ethic based on complete thoroughness. My goal is to bring you satisfaction in every aspect of our work.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

More WW II Responses - BO Follows FDR's Winning Electoral Ways

Below are two more responses re how WW II ended the Great Depression. What appears to be a complicated matter really becomes quite simple when all of the economic facts are known – & we are getting there. For instance, in 1930 government spending was 3% of GDP meaning there was not much taxation needed to cover this spending. After FDR's presidencies in the 1930s this figure increased to 13% – still quite modest by today's 25%. Keynes was writing from this standpoint when he called for government spending – namely, a modest deficit in recession for a short time that will be repaid in good times being OK, which is exactly what happened in WW II as documented especially in #2 below. In Keynes day 97% of the federal budget was discretionary. Today it is 78% mandatory (defined as interest & entitlements) meaning there is no latitude for the Keynesian model. These are the big differences between the 1930s & today – of course BO makes no distinction in erroneously following the Keynesian model. In fact, if Lord Keynes was alive today he would be the first person to object to BO's use of Keynesian economics.

---Response #1---

Doug - Just a quick comment on the WW II subject. As for our recovery after WWII let's not forget that much of the industrialized world was left in shambles. America's war machine was in good shape and ready to supply the world to fulfill that pent-up demand. As, I have said many times, money must come in from outside of your economic sphere for an economy to grow and sustain. The recovery after WWII proves that. Without the world-wide demand for American goods, Americans would not have had money to fill their demand.

---Response #2---

Doug - Let me add my perspective on the WW II matter. I was a teen during the war years and I can definitely relate to the "pent-up demand" of the people when the war was over. With rationing on food and other items for the war years, it was no surprise that people were eager for consumer goods. Because so many worked for the war effort building planes, ships, guns, bullets, bombs etc. they found themselves with money to spend. Car companies that converted to making vehicles for the army went back to making cars for consumers. The same with other companies such as GE that went back to making refrigerators and washing machines and dryers and people bought them. Supermarkets started springing up offering foods you couldn't get during the war years. Everyone was tired of austerity, they had the money and wanted the goods, and business began to boom. The free market took over and did very well, thank you. Proof, once more that the free market is the answer to prosperity.

Monday, July 18, 2011

WW II Response - BO Follows FDR's Winning Electoral Ways

I was hoping that someone would pick up on the Historian's comment that "What helped FDR - World War II. That is when everybody worked for the war effort." Well a subscriber to ReturnToExcellence.net did just that when he wrote "Doug - while WWII did lead to the end of the Depression, I don't believe it's the way most people think. Liberals point out that WWII was very big government spending...what ended the Depression however wasn't abundant dollars, as much as pent up demand, and the private sector production of goods after the war."

There are many people who say the Depression was ended by World War II but offer no reasons why. There can be no question that World War II put many people to work – but what happened when the war effort was over & none of those jobs supporting Defense existed any longer? People feared that unemployment would sky rocket again to Depression levels.

I have done my own study of this & agree with the subscriber above that after more than a decade of Depression & the rationing during the war that there was certainly "pent up demand" in the economy – but according to Professor Jason Taylor of Central Michigan University pent up demand was "not nearly large enough to have meaningfully offset the declines in government spending." Professor Taylor "attributes the post-stimulus economic miracle to the power of the free market to adjust after nearly 15 years of poor government policies by Hoover & FDR." Amity Shlaes, who some of you met @ the recent ISI seminar on Calvin Coolidge @ Princeton, writes that government's "truce with business played an important role" in the return to full employment after the war ended in defiance of Keynesian economic principles. BO continues his war against business.

You also cannot underestimate the American "can do" spirit that resulted from the winning war effort where everyone was united against several common enemies. This included people of high salaries who became low paid military men. As a boy collecting baseball cards in the 1950s I looked @ the stats of players like Ted Williams & Stan Musial & read the words "In Military Service" substituted for stats for several years in these player's primes. That inspiring example of some of my early heroes has only grown in significance to me over the years.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Responses - BO Follows FDR's Winning Electoral Ways

Below are three responses to the subject message that add to the discussion. I provide some answers & comments to the questions or points raised in #s 1 & 3.

---Response #1---

Hi Doug - For me, the census map left more questions than answers. If I am reading the map correctly, the "white flight" being experienced in the country's heartland, particularly, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas is very troubling. The big question is, where are the white people going?

Answer – Although the more progressive white people have their exit plans & have already implemented them, not waiting for BO to confiscate their life savings, the majority of white people have not gone anywhere – their numbers have just been overwhelmed by the growth of minorities as indicated on the census map. The map indicates the changes in % so if the increase in the number of white people is less than the increase in minority population growth the result will show higher % increases for minorities.

The above graph shows an example of the demographics involved. For a much more detailed analysis I encourage everyone to go to the archives of ReturnToExcellence.net to the May 30, 2009 posting entitled "Free World Challenges – From Soviet Russia's Communism To Muslim Demographics."

In summary, more than 80% of U.S. population growth through 2050 will come from immigrants & their children, mostly Hispanics. The trend is led by Hispanics of Mexican origin – women in this group are likely to be younger than other women in the U.S. & have higher fertility Jose & Angel were among the top five names for boys born in Texas in 2010. Source – Miriam Jordan of the WSJ.

---Response #2 From The Historian---

What you say is true - Hispanics are the fastest growing group in U.S. and they vote for Democrats because Democrats will create programs to give them money for various "so called projects."

Where does that money come from - you know, the printing press. Government can print money whereas states cannot.

My memory is hazy, but FDR's plan was to create jobs by government having work programs like CCC. They would build roads, highways, etc. Other programs built Post Offices, etc. all to create jobs.

This worked for a while, but sometime down the road someone has to pay the "bill."

What helped FDR - World War 2. That is when everybody worked for the war effort.

---Response #3---

Hi Doug - Although your outlook about the upcoming 2012 election is gloomy, I will be willing to suspect that at least some of those independents and youth ages 18-24 thought they were voting for "Hope in Change" in Washington (tired of Bush etc.).... not America. And after seeing the "fundamental transformation of this country" will decide in the voting booth that they want something else.

Comment: I do not want to count on having enough of the youth vote, after they were just brainwashed in college in statist indoctrination, or someone who can only identify himself as an "Independent" to make the difference for me or our country. My messages are not intended to be gloomy – so many readers tell me time & again that they are realistic & that they appreciate the truthfulness – they bring our enemy into sharp focus. The point is to count on no one but yourself - work your body to the bone with all of your might so that you can never blame yourself if BO wins reelection.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

BO Follows FDR's Winning Electoral Ways

I am starting to lose track of how many people have recently told me that BO will be a one term president because of the poor economy. Before you rest assured of this conclusion please consider the points in this message.

Currently BO is positioning the Republicans to take the fall for whatever problems result from the current debt ceiling danger. BO constantly appears on TV acting as though he has nothing to do with the debt problem & that he is the only one willing to compromise to solve it. In fact, just the opposite is true but the perception of the majority of the electorate may very well side with BO.

In the last three months BO has raised $86 million for his reelection campaign - far more than all of his opponents combined. This includes a quarter of a million people who never donated to BO before.

And of course before we count BO out please consider that FDR was elected president four times – on each occasion 1) vociferously spewing hate against business & 2) promising much more government - both points of which make up BO’s entire platform that has taken hold even today as over 9% of the labor force is unemployed & another 6 million discouraged people have stopped looking for work with virtually no chance to return to the kind of employment needed any time soon to increase Americans standard of living.

Readers of these messages know that BO used all of his community organization skills following the Alinsky Method to win the presidency in 2008. This included organizing minorities such as Blacks, Hispanics, young single mothers, college students, & people (mostly Independents) suffering from what Dr. Shelby Steele of the Hoover Institution @ Stanford calls white guilt to vote for him. We have no reason to believe that BO will not have these same organizational skills (& campaign funding) working in 2012 when he gets all of the foregoing people to once again vote for him as well as many others no matter how bad the economy is or how long these people have been out of work. This was the superfecta FDR pulled off – people followed their perceived good intentions of FDR's policies four times rather than the disastrous actual results.

Thanks to our SC businessman for presenting this very special census map showing the ethnic population statistics between 2000 & 2010 for every county in America & many of our cities. To add more exact meaning regarding the 2012 election you will have to do your own interpolation back to 2008 & then forward to November 2012. The census map shows some dramatic growth rates in the minorities who overwhelming voted for BO in 2008.

The 2010 mid-term election is representative of other mid-term elections in that about 41% of the 218,000,000 people eligible to vote actually voted. The 2008 presidential election had a voter turn-out of 57% - an increase of 5 million people from 2004, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This increase included about 2 million more black voters, 2 million more Hispanic voters, & about 600,000 more Asian voters. Other than Asian voters the other two groups overwhelmingly favor Democrats. Black & Hispanic participation in the 2012 presidential election may very well increase based on incumbent community organization skills.

Additionally, voters 18 to 24 were the only age group to show a statistically significant increase in turnout, reaching 49 percent in 2008 compared with 47 percent in 2004. Blacks had the highest turnout rate among 18- to 24-year-old voters -- 55 percent, an 8 percent increase from 2004.

"The 2008 presidential election saw a significant increase in voter turnout among young people, Blacks and Hispanics," said Thom File, a voting analyst with the Census Bureau's Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division.

Do your own analysis of Mr. File's comment - if the youth vote, Black, & Hispanic turnout all went up & the overall turnout was insignificantly unchanged then determine for yourself which groups went down & prepare yourself accordingly.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Flash Mob Celebrates America

Thanks to several members of our group for passing along the latest link of a flash mob – this one pertaining to the 4th of July birthday celebration of America. I'm like most of you – I love these things.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Responses - The Change In Mindset Choice

Below are two excellent comments that add to the subject message. The first presents other mindset points & is from our Financial VP who works in NYC on Wall Street & the second is from our SC businessman who presents words of wisdom, not meant for today, from the most unlikely source possible.

---Other Mindset Points---

Hi Doug - Great topic – mindset. I wanted to respond to your recent post directly on the blog but looks like I am blocked from work. Please add this below.

Doug's proposed measures will also impact a second critical mindset – one belonging to our primary job creators – entrepreneurs, investors, & private corporations.

At present, our corporations possess approximately $2 trillion in cash or quick liquid assets; this is near a 40 year high for ratio to GDP. Their current mindset is: Why invest in an extremely business hostile environment? We have to contend with Dodd Frank, ObamaCare, 40% increase in our debt last 2 ½ years, 12% US dollar decline, US support for Brazil oil drilling while disallowing ours in contempt of court, EPA implementation of Cap n Trade, and the most blatant – Government attempt, via NLRB, to mandate how and where our leading exporter (Boeing) can expand.

Two specific proposals – "cut, cap, & balance" and the FairTax, if implemented, will quickly change this mindset. The former will shift available resources from the wasteful public sector to the private. The latter's 0% federal corporate tax will position the U.S. immediately as a haven for global venture capitalists, all while being revenue neutral, & progressive via prebates to low income earners. Elimination of IRS and projected $430 billion annual savings to the economy, will also add finally again to a business friendly – I want to invest in the U.S. mindset.

---Quote Not Intended For Today---

"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Government can not pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that 'the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."

Senator Barack H. Obama, March 20, 2006

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Change In Mindset Choice

It was over 15 years ago that Professor Friedman said "We're more than 50% socialist. And I don't think we're getting our money's worth...is half of your satisfaction coming from what the government does for you?"

More recently John Barchilon wrote – "Many...who failed to heed the lessons from...the Founding Fathers are now learning from the Greeks that democracy leads to socialism, which in turn leads to bankruptcy. This is why the Founders went to a lot of trouble to create not a democracy, but a balanced republic." H.L. Mencken used this point to correctly worry that FDR had divided America into "those who work for a living & those who vote for a living." This is the Death Of Democracy that is @ our doorstep.

Even with the above pessimistic backdrop I see possibilities for a good start to a technical solution to America's economic problems that can easily be implemented if the American people can change from a "you deserve, you're entitled to" mindset to one of (even limited) personal responsibility – especially for Medicare & Social Security which are on track to overwhelm the federal budget in the not too distant future. These possibilities that I discuss below will contribute to solving the current debt ceiling problem that will most likely come to a head this month.

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan has introduced the idea of changing Medicare from being the largest & least efficient buyer of medical services in America to one of distantly resembling a form of personal involvement for its beneficiaries with his "premium support" plan in which the Medicare share as a % of the GDP actually decreases in the decades ahead under "premium support." If today's seniors over 55 will dare great enough to chance that something like the Ryan plan will not affect them & people under 55 will start to adapt to the new system we have a chance to solve the current seemingly intractable Medicare problem that by itself will doom America if nothing is done to correct it.

The fix for Social Security is even easier. Currently, the initial Social Security benefit – a person's monthly benefit when they start getting checks - is based on the average real wage growth of their earnings over their working lifetime. Real earnings growth is greater than inflation measures such as the Consumer Price Index (CPI) so in essence the government is guaranteeing a real positive return on Social Security tax withheld for the average person – a guarantee no other investor has. Just reducing this initial benefit so that it is calculated based on the CPI rate solves the Social Security problem – see Susan Lee column in the WSJ dated November 23, 2004 entitled All You Need To Know About Social Security.

To specifically combat the debt limit problem Ken Blackwell & others have proposed a "cut, cap, & balance" plan in which federal spending would be controlled so that projected borrowing is cut in half next year (not 10 years from now), spending would be capped @ 18% of GDP (it's 24% now & going higher under BO), & under a balanced-budget amendment the president would be required to submit a balanced budget within the foregoing guidelines that call for super congressional majorities to raise future debt limits or tax rates.

Admittedly the "cut, cap, & balance" plan has a more immediate impact than the Medicare & Social Security fixes & has more things that can go wrong (thanks to politicians) – but all three plans present some ideas for solving America's economic problems if we are serious. Seniors have to trust that they will not be thrown off the cliff & younger people will have plenty of time to adjust. The main problem is that all of these solutions – especially the Medicare & Social Security solutions - will take time & are therefore subject to change under socialist statist influence in which case we are gone anyway.

Virtually none of the above problems or solutions follows our founding principles – but they do describe the mess we are in. The most effective way (& to take politicians up on their constant claim to make tough decisions) to solve the debt ceiling problem is to decide who we won't pay based on any shortfalls in actual revenue collected versus promises made – the only legal obligation is interest on Treasury securities. Even Social Security benefits are not guaranteed – again see above Susan Lee column for Supreme Court decisions.

The best way to give the above programs a chance & to change the entitlement mindset is to enact the FairTax which allows people to keep their entire paychecks or pensions free of federal taxes – this point alone re the FairTax will start people realizing the government does not have first claim on their livelihoods. Our best current hope for passing the FairTax lies with presidential candidates Michele Bachmann & Herman Cain. Oh how I miss Mike Huckabee.

As the debt ceiling problem is reported in the hostile anti-American media please notice how none of the above programs are included in the discussions – they will be replaced by BO saying he wants to raise taxes on millionaires & billionaires – someone he defines as anyone earning over $200,000 per year.

Students of economics know that the budget is always in balance from an accounting standpoint – there is no such thing as a federal budget deficit. The staggering numbers of the so-called deficits & national debt really mean that there is a less robust economy for future generations – exactly what BO plans.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fourth Of July Celebration In Arizona

Received the note below from a subscriber to ReturnToExcellence.net who is spending the summer in Arizona. She is a champion for liberty, America, & of course the FairTax. Hope you enjoy her July 4th experience in Arizona as much as Carol & I did.

---Note From Arizona---

Hi Doug and Carol: Thursday night we went to the Rodeo here in Prescott which is billed at the oldest Rodeo in the Country. It is held every year to coincide with July 4th as part of the Frontier Days Festival. The whole Rodeo was fun and exciting but the opening pageantry was the most patriotic and moving thing I have ever seen. The colors were presented on horseback - American and Arizona state flag side by side followed by all of the rodeo participants. I had expected them to say the Pledge. Instead, as the American Flag was ridden around the arena, the poem , "The Ragged Old Flag" was recited by the MC. As the poem progressed, the horse with the flag went faster and faster around the area. Then we were asked to raise our voices in "The Star Spangled Banner." There was not a person in that arena dry eyed by the time the song was done. I have not seen such a public display of loyalty in a very long time.

Yesterday, they held the Annual Frontier Day Parade. There were about 150 groups in the parade. Almost every business and organization in town had either a float or marchers and of course lots and lots of horses. It was so different from every parade I have ever seen. The parade route was lined with people that had staked out their places during the night. Luckily my daughter works in a store that is almost directly across from the courthouse square where the reviewing stand was set up.. She also has reserved parking at the back entrance of the store so we didn't have to worry about getting there early or where to park. It was a great experience to see how those in other parts of our country celebrate. I really enjoyed it. Have a great 4th.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Responses - Red Skelton's High Stakes Drama

Thanks to all (not just) Fourth of July patriots who responded to the subject message re Red Skelton's interpretation in January 1969 of the meaning of the Pledge Of Allegiance. I am somewhat surprised that Red still has this many fans – although I shouldn't be when I consider the quality of the subscribers & readership of this blog. Hope you all remember that Red closed his shows by saying "And May God Bless" in such a sincere & simple way. These were the words that drew me to Mr. Skelton to begin with.

---Response #1---

Thanks, Doug....what an appropriate time to share Red's heart rendering presentation of the Pledge of Allegiance! Happy 4th to you and Carol!

---Response #2---

Thanks for sending it. Red Skelton was a real comedian. Too bad the country today is in such a mess.

---Response #3---

Doug, I love his version of the pledge & my wife is a big fan of Red Skelton. Have a great 4th of July.

---Response #4---

Thank you for this. He was one of my favorite comics. I wish we had some like him today!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Red Skelton's High Stakes Drama

On our nation's 235 birthday I thank our great Mid-west member for sending along this link of Red Skelton's Pledge Of Allegiance from 1969 . Mr. Skelton was one of my favorite comedians long before 1969 but even as a young boy I recognized his patriotism. The quality of Mr. Skelton's high stakes drama in the video is playing out today.

I provide below the words of the lesson of the great actor's Pledge to America.

"I----meaning me, an individual, a committee of one.

Pledge----dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self pity.

Allegiance----my love and my devotion.

To the Flag----our standard, Old Glory, a symbol of freedom. Wherever she waves, there is respect because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts freedom is everybody's job.

Of the United----that means that we have all come together.

States----individual communities that have united into 48 great states. 48 individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose, all divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common cause, and that's love of country.

Of America.

And to the Republic----a republic, a state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chosen by the people to govern. And government is the people and it's from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.

For which it stands!

One nation----meaning, so blessed by God.

Indivisible----incapable of being divided.

With Liberty----which is freedom and the right of power to live one's life without threats or fear or any sort of retaliation.

And justice----The principle and quality of dealing fairly with others.

For all.----which means, boys and girls, it's as much your country as it is mine.

Since I was a small boy, two states have been added to our nation, and two words have been added to the Pledge of Allegiance 'under God.' Wouldn't it be a pity if someone said, 'That's a prayer' and that would be eliminated from schools, too?"