Say what?!

President Obama once again has something that he’s never done in his life all figured out.  In this case, it’s business and entrepreneurship.  This past Friday in Virginia, the PotUS said the following:

There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back.  They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.  You didn’t get there on your own.  I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart.  There are a lot of smart people out there.  It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.  Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.  (Applause.)

     If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help.  There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.  Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive.  Somebody invested in roads and bridges.  If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen.  The Internet didn’t get invented on its own.  Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

     The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.  There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own.  I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service.  That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires. 

I mean, where do you start with this?  I guess only someone who has NEVER start or run a business would thing that there was nothing different to driving a business, then just having a job.  This is the largest bunch of crap I have seen this guy lay down.  It’s even more brazen socialistic rhetoric that lays the ground for expansion of government by saying it was the government, not individuals or businesses that created our greatness or the economy in this country.

Unfortunately for the president, anyone who has come up with an idea, figured out a way to put it in motion, taken the risks to finance it, and then killed themselves to make it happen knows that it was not their reliance on society, but their ability to be better than the general populace despite government tax and regulation.  We really can’t afford 4 more years of a man who if elected will not know what to do as he won’t have a previous administration to blame anymore to scare people into his arms.  It’s time for change again.

- End rant

So which is it Mr. Romney?

There seems to be a bit of a discrepancy between reports and campaign statements according to a Boston Globe report.  The Romney camp claims he left Bain Capital in 1999, but according to SEC filings, he was there in official capacity in 2002.   Why is this at all news?  Because the Romney campaign claims he left Bain in 1999 to run the SLC Olympics, and that much of the outsourcing he’s blamed for happened later.  The Obama campaign has targeted Romney as an outsourcer of jobs, and therefor is part of our economic problems.  So, is this dirty politics by the Obama camp, or deceipt by Romney’s?  The truth should play out in the next few days.

The problem here, is that someone is lying.  Whether we’ve become used to it or not from our elected officials and their surrogate, it’s still unacceptable.  These guys are applying for jobs, and potentially lying on their applications.  Can you really vote for a person who has knowingly falsified statements to mislead you into leaning towards them?

Full disclosure:  If I had to pick between two candidates — Romney or Obama — I would chose Romney.  Let me restate that:  If I HAD to pick between two candidates — Romney or Obama — I would chose Romney.  Thankfully, I don’t.  In the GOP lineup, I liked Ron Paul the best.  He had a simple track record, and was consistent.  He answered direct questions with direct answers.  I believed him.  It doesn’t appear he’s an option, so I’ll look at other options, as I’m not rewarding our two parties for bad behavior by giving them a vote.  But I digress…

What Romney should do, is be honest.  If he did, in fact, really leave in 1999, so be it.  If he actually left in 2002, he should go on the record and set it straight.  Furthermore, he should explain the outsourcing in plain terms.  The truth is all companies outsource.  Most people think that means sending jobs overseas, but it truly means hiring someone else to do something they can’t/won’t do or can’t do as affordably.  What Romney is blamed of is sending jobs overseas.  What he needs to explain is why this HAD to be done.  One of the Bain specialties was buying at-risk companies at low cost, and restructuring them.  Many of these companies would go out of business if companies like Bain did not act.  They come in, and assess the problems.  In many of these cases, the companies were not sustainable because they paid too much for services, or in most cases their labor.  They found to solution to be faster, simple, and more effective to just close a plant and set up overseas, rather than drag out union negotiations to get nothing but a strike.  What is sad is that off-shoring had to be an option for them.  While they may take some of the blame for figuring out a way to quickly slice jobs, blame should also be given to those who created the bloated cost structure of labor, whether it was the workers demands, the unions, the politicians, or our society.  Bottom line, this was the best option to get a company back to profitability.  This is what Romney needs to explain and pitch — that he’ll bring back American jobs because he’ll make it easier for businesses to hire Americans, and they’ll chose them over offshore options.

That is if he can be honest…

 

- End rant.

The President’s New Clothes

I wrote a blog about a year ago which pointed out that raising taxes has never helped an economy.  At that time, the President’s party was pushing to raise taxes.  They politicized it and tried to gain support by declaring class warfare on the rich.  The president had been hesitant to raise taxes on anyone because according to him, raising taxes would not help the economy.  His belief was accurate, but watching the polls, he has since changed his colors… or clothes.

Fast-forward to today.  The president has indicated he wants to raise taxes on the rich.  That means families making in excess of $250k per year.  Again, he and his party have declared class warfare.  Why?  When you rob from Peter to pay Paul, you always have the support of Paul.  Under this ideal, and knowing that nearly half of the population doesn’t pay any net Federal tax, and nearly half of the population is receiving some form of government assistance, the president and his party are riding a bandwagon pushed by people who feel that others owe them just for being alive.

Frankly, this is frightening to me.  First, according to the president, I am one of the “rich”.  Even though I work a ton of hours, donate time and money to local charity and community efforts, and support one of my in-laws — much more than most Americans, the president doesn’t think I’m paying my “fair share”.  Despite my effective tax rate being double the average, and my income the same thus paying more than 4 times the tax of the average guy without receiving the same benefits as nearly half of the country, I somehow haven’t been paying my fair share.  I’d love for someone to try to show me some facts that can substantiate this.  I would love the President himself to convince me of this.   The closest I’ve had to this was a pro-big-government loon pitch their ideal, me respond with fact, and them shift to say “well, I really think this should apply to millionaires”.  When I responded that was my goal to be one in 5 years, and that his changes would again affect me, he dodged again by telling me that I had a long way to go… a road that would be a LOT longer if he had his way, no doubt.

Full disclosure, I’m a small business owner.  I employ people.  I’m a job-creator.  But I have bills like the next guy.  What the president and his crew have failed to realize is what happens when you take more money out of my pocket — I can’t hire.  I have only so much revenue that comes in.  Unlike the government, I can’t just raise prices.  So I’m given the option with reduced money:  Don’t hire, or don’t pay all of my bills.  Is this really a choice?  Not one presented by real leaders who understand anything about economics.  All the President and his party understand is divisive politics.  Target 2% of the population because they’ve figured they can’t possibly withstand the weight of the 98%.  Promise those receiving handouts that they are the only party that will continue these, and that they deserve to receive them because there are others out there not paying their “fair share”.

Bottom line:  I didn’t vote for the guy in 2008 because he had no experience and track record, and the only influences I saw upon him were ideologues and career politicians.  In 2012 I won’t vote for him because he’s divisive (not conducive in the UNITED States), incompetent and dishonest.  He has blamed other people for all that has gone wrong, but taken credit for the little that has gone right.  He remains the weakest president that I’ve seen in my lifetime, and that should be no surprise for a man elected based on hype without substance.

 

-End rant.

A great visual analysis of the Obama debt ride, even AFTER you remove the “Bush’s fault” argument.

From our friends at PoliticalMath.com

After watching this, do some research on what government debt does to the currency and long-term economic health.

Obama’s NOT running for President of the United States

The more I listen to President Obama, the more I confirm that I apparently grew up in a different United States of America than he did — I’ve been following him since he reached the US Senate.  Many on the right will shake their heads and say “I told you so”, but I don’t subscribe to their hyper-partisan rhetoric, unless it is grounded in pure fact.  Many who have read my posts here, and on my former blog, will say “you’ve been beating that drum since before his party nominated him to run for President.  Considering a I am liberal-minded (not politically left mind you) person, I’ve always tried to listen to arguments and thoughts with an open ear to the facts and logic that is presented.  Herein lies the problem…

Growing up, I believed that we, our parents, grandparents, or other relatives came to America for opportunity… a chance at the dream that you can make something of yourself.  In many cases this was not possible in other parts of the world.  Immigrants knew that they could land with no pot to piss in, work hard, and at the very minimum survive — which was better than they could expect at home.  They came because they heard of success stories of their countrymen making a modest and happy living.  They heard about some that were able to become shop owners, or inventors, or even some that struck it rich.  This was the American dream — to be able to have the freedom to take your own risks and fulfill your potential, and some of your goals.

All along, and including his most recent speech, Obama has tried to change this.  We have heard class warfare, and government handouts as the solution.  We have heard hyper-partisan (there’s that term again) rhetoric come from his mouth about others tearing apart America, and yet our president has, while spewing blame, succeeded in massive historic increases in government spending and controls (see “stimulus”, Obamacare, and regulatory bodies).  Recently, he’s told Americans that the government, not the people themselves, has the responsibility to bring them to the middle class, and that we need to stick the rich with the bill for this.

So, the American dream is to tell people that someone else is going to make them successful if you just vote for them?  Nope, never heard that one.  The American dream is to expand our government to be more like the Europeans?  Nope.  In fact, that’s a major reason why our government is so different from most of Europe’s.  The American dream is to focus on blaming others, rather than zero-in on creating your own successes?  Still haven’t heard that either.

Yet our president has asked you for 4 more years of heavy-handed politics, deception, maneuvering, and grandstanding.  I guess my question for you is:  Are you dumb enough to buy his BS?

Millionaires ask Congress to raise their taxes!

What a wonderful article I read in CNN Money!

They stormed the podium and made some announcements (excerpt from article)

“We want to pay more taxes,” said California millionaire Doug Edwards, a former marketing director for Google. “If you’re fortunate, and you make more than a million dollars a year, you ought to pay more taxes.”

The millionaires want Congress to allow the tax cuts passed during the George W. Bush administration to expire. Some want higher taxes generally.

These amazing selfless souls!  Right? I mean these “1%ers” step forward and selflessly demand that their kind be taxed at a higher rate.  What could they possibly have to gain from this?  Nothing, right?  Wrong.  They gain immunity from some of the current public anger toward their kind.  They gain a convenient distraction from the current debate over the ultra-complex tax code.  They gain political points from politicians that they can then sway to include loopholes and write-offs in the code yielding them little change in their taxable income.  Disgusting.  A cheap PR stunt.  Hmmm… millionaires getting free PR.  Where’s the Occupy movement on this?

If these were TRUE heroes, they would participate in a plan established in 1843 to accept donations to the federal government from people who wished to do so.  In 2010, this fund received $2,840,466.75.  This sum could have been easily contributed by Warren Buffett alone without changing his charities or way of life.   So why isn’t this done?  “Do as I say, not as I do”.  A prime example of America’s liberal elite wanting to use the government’s power to dictate their view of Utopia upon the rest.

Here’s a simple idea.  We can easily calculate governmental intake.  We can also calculate net taxes paid.  We can then easily calculate what the new rates could be if we flatten and simplify the laws and codes regarding taxes.  But if this does not change the revenues, what is the point of doing it?  Enforcement.  Enforcement will be easier, and it will take less effort to do so.  Some estimate these efforts to cost as much as $431billion per year.  Saving just half of this would yield over $200billion/year in deficit reduction.  That alone is a huge chunk of the pie.

But let’s get back to the millionaires.  As I alluded before, what happens when taxes go up?  So do loopholes.  The rich and large corporations hire teams of accountants to lower their tax burden through loopholes and deductions.  So after all is said and done, we have a huge debate, and smoke-and-mirrors moment and no results.

Don’t fall for this play from these glory hounds.  Look to the wealthy who donate without write-off, or donate their time, or other capabilities as the doers of the group.  Not these attention-getters.

Common Sense Solutions

Ever get a little vomit in your mouth when you hear a politician talk about “common sense solutions”?  Here’s some common sense that if you listen, and put it through a simple logic check is amazingly accurate.

 

 

When Has Raising Taxes Ever Boosted The Economy?

Never.  Period.  So why is this part of the Democrats’ plan to balance the deficit?  Balance the deficit while hurting the economy and reducing future income to the government is a good idea?  This is the headscratcher that most logical and intelligent people that are informed of the current situation face.

Any current deficit reduction bill should not include tax increases (no matter how you term it — closing loopholes, etc.) as it would damage the economy both short- and long-term.  These loopholes and other issues can be tackled at a later date.  For now, however, we have a terrible economy and a deficit crisis.  Raising taxes will only help one the two issues facing us currently, but it will not solve it.  However, by slowing an already sluggish economy, jobs will be lost and governmental intakes will be reduced.  Again, we find ourselves in this situation.  There’s got to be a better way, right?  We can greatly slow down deficit expansion right now by heavy cuts in governmental spending, without asking for one more dime from our taxpayers.

So, again, keeping the question in mind — When Has Raising Taxes Ever Boosted The Economy? — why won’t these purveyors of “common sense solutions” get this?

Clowns to the red of me, Jokers to the blue.

By now, most Americans have become numbed to the sheer horror that is the Debt Ceiling debacle.  Looming large is the possibility that the United States of America, the most powerful country in the history of the world, may not be able to pay its self-inflicted debt.  This IS truly alarming.  Our elected officials have sought to increase their credit limit to support their lavish and wasteful ways, without having any real personal accountability for this.  We Americans are in a catch-22 here — on one hand if you don’t raise this ceiling/limit, we run risk of having our credit downgraded, which will cause a tsunami across financial markets affecting everything from home mortgage rates to retirement plans.  On the other hand if we do raise this limit, congress and the president can repeat their destructive habits.

So, what is the solution of the two big parties?  Play political football.  The Republicans were sent to congress by people who thought they would downsize our bloated inefficient government.  The Democrats that were able to hang on to their seats were sent by people who believed that they would end wars, and make the ultra-rich start paying their fair share of the tax burden.  Both look to the next election cycle (2012) as an opportunity to thwart the other one and gain more power.  The Republicans have put forth some aggressive cost-cutting solutions, but refuse to accept revenue increases (i.e. more tax burdens) as part of their pitch.  The Democrats have sought some cuts, but also requested that their be closed loopholes in the tax codes to increase revenues.  This has the two sides at odds.

My major two issues?  1. Where are our “Common Sense Solutions” we’ve heard spoken about for the last 3 years?  2.  When will the American people stop being short-attention-spanned bobble heads and wake up that neither party is capable of solving anything as that’s not their reason for existence.

How many times have you heard about “Common Sense Solutions” from our politicians?  I’m betting you heard it so much, you probably blocked it out due to the trauma.  But in this case, common sense might be to treat the treasury, and not overspend your income… heck, maybe invest in the future.  According to a recent Government Accountability Office report, the US Government has dozens of duplicated and overlapping agencies.  By some estimates, cutting or consolidating these could save as much as $100 billion.  While these have been submitted to congress, why haven’t we heard more from them about making this as part of a measure?  They’re too busy proposing cuts to areas that the other side will most surely refuse in hopes of making this a campaign issue.  Why not bring in some independent consultants to focus on waste reduction / increased government efficiency (oxymoron, I know)?  Trimming just 10% cost across the government through efficiency improvements, consolidation, and other means would trim at least $3.6 trillion off the spending deficit over the next 10 years.  Couple this with eventual revenue increases through closed loophole (later, after the economy improves — not now) can further improve the bottom line.  No new wars, and a reduction in those associated costs, and we have a very balanced budget.  Amazingly simple right?  Why can’t either big party truly pitch something like this.  Is the government already efficient?

We the people are largely to blame for this.  “Not me” you say, but if you’ve ever voted for someone because of their party affiliation, or against them for the same reason, than you’ve omitted the critical thought it takes to vote on the issues… you’re part of the problem.  Ever voted for someone because they looked good saying it (we saw a lot of that in 2008)?  Then you’re part of the problem.  Ever voted for someone without looking at their track record, political position, or other notable information sources on them?  You guessed it.  Bottom line is, elections are not surprises.  Nowadays, we actually know when they are (hint:  November 2012).  From today, that’s about 16 months off.  Think you can find out a little more about who you’ll be choosing from in that time?  If you don’t you have no excuse, and should zip it when it comes to public performance.

Newsflash:  The two main parties are just collusive fundraising sources.  They want to beat the other party, but not so badly a real third party emerges as that would add complexity to their “vote for us, because we’re not them” platforms.  In today’s climate, we’ve seen the Tea Party emerge.  What’s happened?  The GOP has changed to try to woo them in.  Tea Party candidate slap on the GOP logo, why?  Because it means more money.  Problem for the GOP is that they have been a party of spending for years, and now, in order to not allow the Tea Partiers to unify under a new flag, they have had to champion the causes as much as they can stand.  We’ve seen the GOP try to claim the Libertarians (many of whom support Tea Party ideals) as well.  We’ve seen the same for the Democrats in the past.  Don’t think they’re collusive?  Just look at Majority/Minority Whips in congress?  They’re given extra pay for their job.  But wouldn’t it make sense if the Minority Whip actually represented the party with the minority (we currently have 2 senators that are not of either party)?  Not just the one of the large two who currently is less-represented?  The list can go on, but you should probably figure this out on your own.

I hope you do what I plan to do:  Oust the Democrats in 2012 (currently wield more power), and the Republicans in the following.  Focus on issue-based candidacy and voting, and seriously consider third parties.  We’d all be better off.

This is charisma? This is negotiation? No, this is our President

When we were “given” Obama, we were promised a post-partisan President.  One that would work across the aisle to come up with “common sense solutions”, etc., etc., etc.  Many country, and even the world were whipped into a frenzy about a man that would solve the world’s ills.  Heck, he even was voted to receive the Nobel Peace Prize after serving less than 2 weeks in office.  Now we see this:

Does this sound like a post-partisan president to you?  Or does it seem like a guy who says one thing and does the opposite?  Still selling snake oil.  Are you going to be tricked again in 2012?

This will get Obama elected in 2012!

For years, many Americans have felt that President Obama was soft on terrorism.  Many felt he turned a blind eye to it.  That all changed yesterday when most of the US woke up and found Osama (Usama, or whatever) Bin Laden had been taken down in a strike directly authorized by the president.

Now the American public will see a different president.  They will cease viewing a president with a leftist agenda that rammed through the largest piece of legislation in history through a maneuver called “reconciliation” that while touted as a cost-saver, has been shown to be a cost-factor filled with all sorts of hidden pork and attached regulation.  They will forget the president who promised that if we didn’t create this massive Stimulus (spending) package, we would see 8% unemployment, and then we saw more than 8%.  They will forget the president who blamed everything on the previous one, even two years into his term.  They will forget the “beer summit” that resulted from his overreaction to his friend’s arrest by a police officer despite not knowing the full details.

Now they can focus on Obama the Terrorist Slayer right?  Let’s hope they have a brain!  Obama now being tough on terror is like going to someone for financial advice because they just won the lottery.  Personally, I’d like to see some consistency and see Obama blame Bush for the killing of OBL.

Where were you when all of this was happening?

For many Americans — especially for those of us that don’t remember Pearl Harbor, or the Kennedy Assassination — the events that took place on 9/11/2001 were game-changers.  Our lives, no matter how much we wanted to deny it, were forever changed.  For almost all adults, the comfort of being American wore off in an instant.

For me, I was working from home that day.  I was doing mostly administrative tasks, when my wife yelled down the stairs to me “Honey, come quick!  A plane just hit the World Trade Center in New York!”.  She’s not one to really go nuts over these things, so I jumped up and ran upstairs.  While coming up the stairs — the clock said 8:45 (it was a minute slow I guess) — I started to explain how planes do strike buildings, including how one hit the Empire State Building decades ago.  She said “Do you think it was terrorists?”.  Right as I was saying “No.  It was probably just a …”, the second plane came blasting through the second tower.  I looked at my wife, and with a horse voice, said “We are now at war”.

What’s your story?  Where were you?  How has your world changed?

What IS my fair share?

Full disclosure:  I am a “one-percenter”.  According to most data sources, that means that I have a family income in excess of $250k/year.  I believe that number is lower than the actual top 1%, but that also is in-line with what politicians use as the benchmark for delineating “the rich” from the rest.

So OK, someone thinks I’m rich, and therefor, according to many in politics and many parrots out there, I don’t pay my fair share.  Being a good civic-minded person, a patriot, and someone who generally cares for and helps others, I wanted to make sure that I was not guilty of this accusation, or if I was, that I could remedy it.  I looked at the simple federal data out there from the IRS, who I believe most people can say would be the least biased in terms of THIS kind of data.  According to the IRS’ most recent data, the average American tax return payed an effective rate of roughly 13% (12.6% to be exact), which amounted to about $5k ($4,929.00).   This was now my bench-mark.

My next step was to compare this to my data:  My tax return showed an effective rate of about 28% which was about $140k in federal tax.  According to this comparison, my rate was more than double, and I paid 28 times what the average return did.  28 times.  Twenty eight times what the average person did.  I really didn’t need to take one step further in order to figure out that my “fair share” is not a real number, nor will it ever be enough according to some.  No matter how much I donate in money and time to charitable efforts, will these people be satisfied.  I think deep down, they wouldn’t care if my effective rate was 100% or that I paid 100 times the amount of the average person without earning anymore money.

So here’s my point:  I work harder than most people (I work about 10 hours per day according an the average of 7.3) and also donate time to my community, which while I have no data to support my claim, I’ll wager is a larger contribution than most people as well.  Why should I be asked to give even more to people who don’t work as hard, contribute as much or help as many?  I’m guessing some on the American left will whisper “because you can”.  But my point is, when you take away my ability to support myself or family but unfairly burdening me with penalties for my hard work, who will then support those who won’t support themselves?

Basically, I have to call “bullshit” on anyone who says “the rich” or “the 1%” don’t pay their fair share as I don’t use services, am denied deductions, and carry the load of 28 average Americans.  They can find another sucker.

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