13 September 2011

Five Reasons the Government Shouldn't Spend Money

We all know it's true, government, especially the Federal Government wastes a ton of cash.  There's stories all over the media about how the government spends 3 to 5 times what the private sector spends to create equivalent Jobs, and how they overpay for... well EVERYTHING!
With all this evidence of government excess though, even the good folks at Fox News say that in a downturn, when no one else is spending, the government should step in and fill the gap, so to speak.
Here are 5 reasons why those voices are mistaken, and should not be listened to:
  • Number One:  Taxation reduces available Capital.
This is probably the most obvious.  If a small business needs to pay the bare minimum 35%, not counting State taxes, it not only reduces capital available for expansion, but additionally neccesitates higher prices to the consumer, reducing available spending power of the consumer, thereby also reduces jobs in that there are less opportunities for the consumer to buy other products either from the same company, or any other company.  As an example, before elected, when Reagan was asked what he would do to reduce rampant inflation back in the late 70's, he said he believed that reducing taxation would stimulate economic development and lower prices. He believed that ordinary people, free to pursue their own goals without undue interference, would creatively shape a booming economy and he was right.
  • Number Two:  Corporations Prefer Government Debt in uncertain times.
There's so much talk about corporations "sitting" on nearly 2 Trillion in cash.  They're not that dumb.  They're not going to sit on Cash, they're going to sit on tax free T-Bills.  Again, if that option wasn't available because the government wasn't spending so much and taking on so much debt, they might be more apt to move that cash back into growing their business or at least investing in something that creates jobs.
  • Number Three:  Banks prefer government debt.
Why take a risk when you can go with tax free government guaranteed profit?  Again, why bother investing in the private Sector when the Government hands you all the tax free guaranteed profits you need?  There are THOUSANDS of small businesses around the country starved for credit, because the banks don't want to give them even a short term loan, required to buy some inventory.  Many of these businesses could readily increase sales and profitability with decent inventory levels, but credit is hard to come by.  Reduced government spending will have Banks actually LOOKING for business again, instead of lazily sitting back and pressing a couple of buttons to buy all the T-Bills they could possibly ever want to gobble up.
  • Number Four:  Printing money depreciates savings.
The value of the Dollar, has been reduced by over 30%, just in the past 7 years.  Gasoline alone, costs over 30% more than a year ago.  The same can be said for basic food items, like Corn.  If the value of our money is devalued, then once again, it reduces what we're able to buy.  We then have less to spend at the corner store, the movies, vacations, cars and so on.  We have to keep things longer before replacing them.  This reduced spending on items causes companies like HP, to shut down whole divisions and lay off thousands.  This malaise spreads across the nation causing untold misery.  To put it bluntly, Printing money like they did in QE1 and QE2, is akin to stealing money from each and every one of us.

  • Number Five:  Currency Manipulations causes Job Losses.
The President talks a lot about how China keeps manipulating their currency to keep Chinese currency on par with U.S. currency, right at their current levels.  What he never mentions is how they manage to pull this off.  Normally when a country's exports are greater than another country, the exporting country's currency rises to reflect the stronger economic position of that country.  It's what happened to the U.S. after World War One and Two.  We continued to exports massive amounts of products to the Europeans and so our currency rose dramatically.  Later, when the Japanese started their export machine, the U.S. Dollar lost ground to the Japanese, and their products became so expensive to export, that they moved many of their manufacturing plants here, thereby providing Jobs to U.S. Workers (who were the ones buying their products anyway).  The reason this hasn't worked out with the Chinese, is because as our money flowed to the Chinese State Run companies, their government ordered those companies to buy U.S. Bonds, thereby sending the cash right back to the U.S.  This allowed them to "get rid" of their U.S. reserves, which in turn kept the Chinese Dollar from rising vs the U.S. Dollar.  The Chinese Government then turned around and issued low cost loans back to these same companies, deflating the value of their money and keeping the standard of living of the average Chinese very low.  Unlike in Japan, where the average family saw real gains in their standard of living.  The average Chinese citizen barely see's their standard of living rise.  The U.S. thereby is not only subsidizing the destruction of manufacturing jobs here in the U.S.  They're also subsidizing the destruction of any sort of advancement opportunity for the standard of living of the average Chinese citizen.
If the U.S were to stop issuing new debt, it would rob the corrupt Chinese Government's ability to continue to so easily manipulate their currency as effectively as they have.  Sure they could resort to printing even more money, but not without the risk of hyper inflation  A risk the Chinese Government would not be willing to take.  Instead they would do as Japanese companies did back when their currency began to rise, they started buying U.S. companies and investing in the U.S.  The difference is that at least the latter created jobs for U.S. Workers.

So the next time you hear the politicians talk about "Investments" or any other spending, deficit or otherwise, you'll understand that by supporting any spending whatsoever, they are killing jobs one way or another.  This is the reason why the Government MUST remain small, and must only spend where it's absolutely necessary.

17 July 2011

How the Socialists Ruined Tron

I was watching Tron Legacy the other day and it just struck me the absurdity of the things they're proposing in the Movie.  They talk about how the Operating System discussed in the movie was "designed to be free", and how all information should be free.
Obviously, the ridiculousness of this preposition doesn't ring true with the actors, the extras, the writers, the producers or the distributors of this film, otherwise the Movie itself would be free and they would have all worked for free to get it produced and distributed.  I wonder how many Caterers, Truck Drivers, Security Guards and others they would have been able to convince to work "for free"?
This is the inherit problem with the "Liberal Progressive" way of thinking is that these lofty rules they want to create would apply to everyone but themselves.
Can you imagine if say, Microsoft decided that it would no longer seek to make a profit on their Operating system?  They currently employ 40,000 people JUST in the Seattle Washington area alone.  Jobs at Microsoft are some of the highest paying jobs out there with some of the best benefits you can get from practically any company.  The economy for Programmers and Software support personnel would be absolutely devastated.  Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of small to large businesses that depend on Microsoft for new ways of improving their productivity.  This of course, doesn't even begin to take into effect what would happen to the Real Estate Agents, the Car sales and maintainance people, Pizza Delivery guys and every other business in the area that are supported by the fantastic income generated by all those "greedy" folks at Microsoft.
The Socialists used to point to things like the Huffington Post as a Model for a "free exchange" of information, yet as Arianna Huffington has shown, she was more interested in making money off the backs of her free labor supporters.
What these people don't realize is that the ones who will be hurt the most with giveaways of anything free, are the people at the lowest end of the totem pole, who can afford it the least.  I find it interesting that for all her talks of "Social Justice" Arianna made no effort to pay out any of the money that she got for the Huffington Post to ANY of the contributors to her Online Magazine, and in fact has built the entire business model on free labor, which she has exploited to her benefit, previously in Ad revenue and now with the AOL deal. The saddest part about this is the fact that Journalists are one of the lowest paid professions in the U.S. and their profession suffers as a whole when exploiters like her promise exposure, while she's making the cold hard cash.  But I digress, getting back to Tron...

The Lunacy about the Socialist Engineering that they grafted into the story, is the fact that it actually has absolutely nothing to do with the story.  The Power Struggle in the rest of the film has to do with the fight between good and evil and is a story of redemption.  How a father did what he could to save his son and atone for his sins.  The entire drama shown with the software being given away for free has zero impact on the rest of the story and in my opinion is an unnecessary distraction from the story.  Think about it.  Beta's and even full versions of Microsoft's Operating system are available for free on the Internet all the time.  People don't want it though, because first of all most people use the O/S that came with their computer, and second of all you still need a valid activation code for it to work properly.  To top it off, there is no support for a pirated operating system, yet in the story they acted as if, "Oh Well that's it! It's available for free on the Internet, so we can't make a dime on it".  I guess in order to watch this film you would have to suspend any reasoning and logic.

15 July 2011

Obama Still Has No Real Budget Plan

Mr. West was speaking to Laura Ingraham today about how Obama keeps giving speech after speech, yet still provides no leadership when it comes to the Budget.
Today is the one year anniversary of the so called "Summer of Recovery" and yet job growth is still anemic, there's barely any economic growth and unemployment keeps rising.
Unfortunately the President is the victim of believing in the biggest economic fallacy of all time, that you can get something for nothing.  That you can spend money without it taking away from the economy.  It's like believing you can take water out of one side of the pool and increase the level of water at the other side of the pool.  Not only does it not work, but the transfer process itself will cause "water" to be spilled along the way, becoming extremely wasteful.  In the end the water will only be lowered in the pool.  Just as in the end, all this Keynesian spending on the Economy has produced no real gains.
The worst part of the President's demagoguery is the fact that certain things he's raling against, like the Tax Breaks for Private Jets, is something that he himself signed into law!
There's something bigger here though that many feel is completely lost in all this.  While Obama complains about the Bush Tax Cuts (which he supported), and the fact that he inherited a "Mess".  Instead of reversing the direction that Bush was going on, which was the out of control spending, he instead accelerated it!  Obama increased spending by more than any president before in history.  He has the Biggest deficits in history, he's increased spending by well over 1 Trillion dollars per year, yet now, he's talking about 1 trillion in cuts over a ten year period.  Now that's Audacity!

Here's the Audio of the show.

04 May 2011

Intelligence for Dummies: Keep Your Mouth SHUT

If these guys were really so smart they would have issued a press release as follows:

While we were hopeful of getting a large amount of intelligence, it looks like Osama was prepared for us. He was a smarter adversary than what we had anticipated. Apparently at the first sign of our invasion, they threw all the hard drives into battery backed up microwave ovens and burned entire cabinets worth of files and faxes. It looks like most of the intelligence we had hoped to have gained was wiped out.

Instead, we've given notice to every Member of Al Quaida, "Change your plans, move, retrench, regroup, because we have your number."


15 April 2011

How New Logic Sows Distrust

     We've all seen the reports, how it turns out that the supposedly 38 Billion in cuts is in all actuality only 352 Million in cuts.  When asked, they all shrug it off because as politicians, they've gotten used to using new math and new wording that is coached in political terms and quite frankly if used by any of us, would probably get us in a great deal of trouble.
     The way they see it is that they should have increased spending by an inflation adjusted 38 Billion, but instead cut the imaginary, never proposed, never passed into law, budget of 2011 by 352 Million.  To you and me, ordinary citizens, well that's a 352 Million dollar spending cut, to the politicians it's a 38 Billion dollar cut.  
     Once we find out the truth, does this lend more or less trust, not only in the Government, but also the Media itself that reports these "facts" without bothering to explain to the people what it really means.  Am I to believe that these reporters really don't know what's going on?  I'm a part time pundit and I know what's going on, these guys do this for a living!
     Now, Obama's new proposal is to "cut" 4 Trillion, not by cutting spending, but instead by cutting things like our ability to deduct the Mortgage Interest we're paying on our homes, (In other words, tax increases! - I'm sure this will do wonders for the Housing Market).  Even his plan of "cutting" 3 dollars for every 1 dollar in tax increases, doesn't quite add up, because the cuts are not really cuts, but instead the cuts are actually slowdowns in spending.  However, even with the slowdowns in spending, his budget calls for increases in Government spending from 25% of GDP today to well over 40% by 2050!  This represents another problem in the form of Hauser's Law, throughout the entire history of the IRS, the Federal Government has NEVER been able to collect more than 20.9% of GDP in Taxes!  Even when the top rates were 80%.  To top it off revenue usually averages under 19% of GDP.  Again, they don't know this stuff?    So they're lying to us, AGAIN.
     Even Ryan's Plan of "cutting" 6 Trillion, REALLY only cuts about 400 Billion the first year, by not implementing Obama Care and not renewing the failed Stimulus Plan.  Every year after that there's still growth, taking the budget from 3.5 Trillion to nearly 5 Trillion in 10 years, vs a Trillion dollars more in Obama's plan.  So where's the 6 Trillion in cuts?  It's the difference over 10 years between the Republicans Debt Ridden spending plan, vs Obama's INCREDIBLY debt ridden spending plan, NEITHER OF WHICH eliminates the deficit, though SUPPOSEDLY Ryan's plan will get us to a balanced budget in 10 years, but not before adding Trillions more to the National Debt.
     Is it any wonder that more and more Americans turn to the new Media like Glenn Beck, the Blaze, Rush and others?  How do we proceed with an "honest conversation" when the very words they use to describe what they're doing are in all actuality lies?  
     We need to demand HONESTY from our politicians and we need to stop the idiotic tendency that people have of saying that you "can't talk politics and religion" because we're afraid that someone will be offended.  What's the point of having the right to free speech if we can't and won't exercise it?  At the same time we need to grow up and stop getting angry at people because they disagree with us on one point or another.  We need to realise that everyone has a different point of view and no 2 people are EVER going to fully agree on everything.  Only once we start demanding HONEST and open dialogue with each other, will our politicians who are a reflection of us, will begin to have an honest and open dialogue with us in return.  In the meantime, when you hear that the "Republicans" want to starve people, and the "Democrats" want to bankrupt us, we need to do our own research and find out what the real truth is, because unfortunately, neither side will tell us the honest truth.

12 April 2011

Why the United States Is Destroying Its Education System

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Posted on Apr 10, 2011
Photo illustration by PZS based on an image by Lin Pernille Photography
A nation that destroys its systems of education, degrades its public information, guts its public libraries and turns its airwaves into vehicles for cheap, mindless amusement becomes deaf, dumb and blind. It prizes test scores above critical thinking and literacy. It celebrates rote vocational training and the singular, amoral skill of making money. It churns out stunted human products, lacking the capacity and vocabulary to challenge the assumptions and structures of the corporate state. It funnels them into a caste system of drones and systems managers. It transforms a democratic state into a feudal system of corporate masters and serfs.
Teachers, their unions under attack, are becoming as replaceable as minimum-wage employees at Burger King. We spurn real teachers—those with the capacity to inspire children to think, those who help the young discover their gifts and potential—and replace them with instructors who teach to narrow, standardized tests. These instructors obey. They teach children to obey. And that is the point. The No Child Left Behind program, modeled on the “Texas Miracle,” is a fraud. It worked no better than our deregulated financial system. But when you shut out debate these dead ideas are self-perpetuating.
Passing bubble tests celebrates and rewards a peculiar form of analytical intelligence. This kind of intelligence is prized by money managers and corporations. They don’t want employees to ask uncomfortable questions or examine existing structures and assumptions. They want them to serve the system. These tests produce men and women who are just literate and numerate enough to perform basic functions and service jobs. The tests elevate those with the financial means to prepare for them. They reward those who obey the rules, memorize the formulas and pay deference to authority. Rebels, artists, independent thinkers, eccentrics and iconoclasts—those who march to the beat of their own drum—are weeded out.
“Imagine,” said a public school teacher in New York City, who asked that I not use his name, “going to work each day knowing a great deal of what you are doing is fraudulent, knowing in no way are you preparing your students for life in an ever more brutal world, knowing that if you don’t continue along your scripted test prep course and indeed get better at it you will be out of a job. Up until very recently, the principal of a school was something like the conductor of an orchestra: a person who had deep experience and knowledge of the part and place of every member and every instrument. In the past 10 years we’ve had the emergence of both [Mayor] Mike Bloomberg’s Leadership Academy and Eli Broad’s Superintendents Academy, both created exclusively to produce instant principals and superintendents who model themselves after CEOs. How is this kind of thing even legal? How are such ‘academies’ accredited? What quality of leader needs a ‘leadership academy’? What kind of society would allow such people to run their children’s schools? The high-stakes tests may be worthless as pedagogy but they are a brilliant mechanism for undermining the school systems, instilling fear and creating a rationale for corporate takeover. There is something grotesque about the fact the education reform is being led not by educators but by financers and speculators and billionaires.”
Teachers, under assault from every direction, are fleeing the profession. Even before the “reform” blitzkrieg we were losing half of all teachers within five years after they started work—and these were people who spent years in school and many thousands of dollars to become teachers. How does the country expect to retain dignified, trained professionals under the hostility of current conditions? I suspect that the hedge fund managers behind our charter schools system—whose primary concern is certainly not with education—are delighted to replace real teachers with nonunionized, poorly trained instructors. To truly teach is to instill the values and knowledge which promote the common good and protect a society from the folly of historical amnesia. The utilitarian, corporate ideology embraced by the system of standardized tests and leadership academies has no time for the nuances and moral ambiguities inherent in a liberal arts education. Corporatism is about the cult of the self. It is about personal enrichment and profit as the sole aim of human existence. And those who do not conform are pushed aside. 
“It is extremely dispiriting to realize that you are in effect lying to these kids by insinuating that this diet of corporate reading programs and standardized tests are preparing them for anything,” said this teacher, who feared he would suffer reprisals from school administrators if they knew he was speaking out. “It is even more dispiriting to know that your livelihood depends increasingly on maintaining this lie. You have to ask yourself why are hedge fund managers suddenly so interested in the education of the urban poor? The main purpose of the testing craze is not to grade the students but to grade the teacher.”
“I cannot say for certain—not with the certainty of a Bill Gates or a Mike Bloomberg who pontificate with utter certainty over a field in which they know absolutely nothing—but more and more I suspect that a major goal of the reform campaign is to make the work of a teacher so degrading and insulting that the dignified and the truly educated teachers will simply leave while they still retain a modicum of self-respect,” he added. “In less than a decade we been stripped of autonomy and are increasingly micromanaged. Students have been given the power to fire us by failing their tests. Teachers have been likened to pigs at a trough and blamed for the economic collapse of the United States. In New York, principals have been given every incentive, both financial and in terms of control, to replace experienced teachers with 22-year-old untenured rookies. They cost less. They know nothing. They are malleable and they are vulnerable to termination.”
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Why the United States Is Destroying Its Education System (Page2)

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Posted on Apr 10, 2011
Photo illustration by PZS based on an image by Lin Pernille Photography
(Page 2)
The demonizing of teachers is another public relations feint, a way for corporations to deflect attention from the theft of some $17 billion in wages, savings and earnings among American workers and a landscape where one in six workers is without employment. The speculators on Wall Street looted the U.S. Treasury. They stymied any kind of regulation. They have avoided criminal charges. They are stripping basic social services. And now they are demanding to run our schools and universities.
“Not only have the reformers removed poverty as a factor, they’ve removed students’ aptitude and motivation as factors,” said this teacher, who is in a teachers union. “They seem to believe that students are something like plants where you just add water and place them in the sun of your teaching and everything blooms. This is a fantasy that insults both student and teacher. The reformers have come up with a variety of insidious schemes pushed as steps to professionalize the profession of teaching. As they are all businessmen who know nothing of the field, it goes without saying that you do not do this by giving teachers autonomy and respect. They use merit pay in which teachers whose students do well on bubble tests will receive more money and teachers whose students do not do so well on bubble tests will receive less money. Of course, the only way this could conceivably be fair is to have an identical group of students in each class—an impossibility. The real purposes of merit pay are to divide teachers against themselves as they scramble for the brighter and more motivated students and to further institutionalize the idiot notion of standardized tests. There is a certain diabolical intelligence at work in both of these.”
“If the Bloomberg administration can be said to have succeeded in anything,” he said, “they have succeeded in turning schools into stress factories where teachers are running around wondering if it’s possible to please their principals and if their school will be open a year from now, if their union will still be there to offer some kind of protection, if they will still have jobs next year. This is not how you run a school system. It’s how you destroy one. The reformers and their friends in the media have created a Manichean world of bad teachers and effective teachers. In this alternative universe there are no other factors. Or, all other factors—poverty, depraved parents, mental illness and malnutrition—are all excuses of the Bad Teacher that can be overcome by hard work and the Effective Teacher.”
The truly educated become conscious. They become self-aware. They do not lie to themselves. They do not pretend that fraud is moral or that corporate greed is good. They do not claim that the demands of the marketplace can morally justify the hunger of children or denial of medical care to the sick. They do not throw 6 million families from their homes as the cost of doing business. Thought is a dialogue with one’s inner self. Those who think ask questions, questions those in authority do not want asked. They remember who we are, where we come from and where we should go. They remain eternally skeptical and distrustful of power. And they know that this moral independence is the only protection from the radical evil that results from collective unconsciousness. The capacity to think is the only bulwark against any centralized authority that seeks to impose mindless obedience. There is a huge difference, as Socrates understood, between teaching people what to think and teaching them how to think. Those who are endowed with a moral conscience refuse to commit crimes, even those sanctioned by the corporate state, because they do not in the end want to live with criminals—themselves.
“It is better to be at odds with the whole world than, being one, to be at odds with myself,” Socrates said.
Those who can ask the right questions are armed with the capacity to make a moral choice, to defend the good in the face of outside pressure. And this is why the philosopher Immanuel Kant puts the duties we have to ourselves before the duties we have to others. The standard for Kant is not the biblical idea of self-love—love thy neighbor as thyself, do unto others as you would have them do unto you—but self-respect. What brings us meaning and worth as human beings is our ability to stand up and pit ourselves against injustice and the vast, moral indifference of the universe. Once justice perishes, as Kant knew, life loses all meaning. Those who meekly obey laws and rules imposed from the outside—including religious laws—are not moral human beings. The fulfillment of an imposed law is morally neutral. The truly educated make their own wills serve the higher call of justice, empathy and reason. Socrates made the same argument when he said it is better to suffer wrong than to do wrong.
“The greatest evil perpetrated,” Hannah Arendt wrote, “is the evil committed by nobodies, that is, by human beings who refuse to be persons.”
As Arendt pointed out, we must trust only those who have this self-awareness. This self-awareness comes only through consciousness. It comes with the ability to look at a crime being committed and say “I can’t.” We must fear, Arendt warned, those whose moral system is built around the flimsy structure of blind obedience. We must fear those who cannot think. Unconscious civilizations become totalitarian wastelands.
“The greatest evildoers are those who don’t remember because they have never given thought to the matter, and, without remembrance, nothing can hold them back,” Arendt writes. “For human beings, thinking of past matters means moving in the dimension of depth, striking roots and thus stabilizing themselves, so as not to be swept away by whatever may occur—the Zeitgeist or History or simple temptation. The greatest evil is not radical, it has no roots, and because it has no roots it has no limitations, it can go to unthinkable extremes and sweep over the whole world.”

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