Obama to Abandon a Sound Idea

On page 42 of President-elect Obama’s Plan for Change, I found a piece that I actually agreed with.  This is his support for a PAYGO system (i.e., pay as you go).  The idea is that if Congress or the President wants to raise spending, say on Medicare for example, they must pay for that increase by either raising taxes sufficient to cover the cost or by cutting another program or agency, such as the Department of Education.  This way, the budget is supposed to be balanced.  I am all in favor of that, and would love to see it implemented.  After all, as Obama has pointed out, under President George W. Bush, the national debt has gone from $5,700,000,000,000 ($5.7 trillion) to $8,800,000,000,000 ($8.8 trillion).  And of course, that doesn’t even factor in the debt that isn’t listed in that particular set of government books nor does it include the $700 billion from the bail-out bill.  I know, everyone pick your jaws up off the floor; I actually agreed with Obama on something.  Before you sink too deeply into shock, don’t worry – he found a way to get around this particular plank in his plan.

Imagine my “surprise” when I saw the following Reuters headline: “Obama says aiding economy trumps budget deficit.”  Some quotes from the article from Obama:

The consensus is this, that we have to do whatever it takes to get this economy moving again, that we have to — we’re going to have to spend money now to stimulate the economy.

And (consensus is) that we shouldn’t worry about the deficit next year or even the year after; that short term, the most important thing is that we avoid a deepening recession.

I wonder if when he says “…do whatever it takes to get this economy moving again…”, he considers the possibility that what it might take is to get Washington politicians out of the way ?!?  Of course not.  To paraphrase the Bible, “The government giveth, and the government taketh away; blessed be the name of the government.”  And also, always be very afraid when politicians speak of “consensus.”  There is no such thing in most fields!  There isn’t consensus on whether humans cause global warming, there isn’t consensus on whether the federal government can do anything positive for the economy by throwing money at it, heck, there isn’t even consensus over whether Pluto should be classified as a planet!

Am I the only one that remembers the bail-out bill?  Treasury Secretary Paulson went before Congress and in essence told them he was out of tools to stabilize the housing crisis.  He begged, pleaded, and cajoled to get them to pass the bail-out bill without the normal debate.  Paulson’s original plan was only three pages long.  However, it was defeated in the House.  When the Senate ramrodded through a version of the proposal, it had swelled to over 450 pages in just three short days.  Paulson’s plan had been to buy distressed mortgages from banks.  The theory was that if the government bought them, they could do so at a discount, hold them to maturity, and then “turn a profit” when the loan was refinanced or paid off.  This would restore “liquidity” to the credit markets.

Does it surprise anyone that Secretary Paulson has not used one dime of the bailout maoney to purchase a single bad mortgage?  Instead, he decided, without any oversight (since Congress and the President have not moved to fill those roles), that he would buy shares in banks, thereby beginning the process of nationalizing our financial institutions.  Now there is talk of bailing out the “Big Three” automakers.

I had really hoped that the Obama administration was going to at least make an effort, however half-hearted, to balance the budget and end these government give-aways.  No such luck!  The PAYGO system is dead in the water for at least two years.  And with the way this presidential campaign played out, that will be just in time for Obama to trot it out again for the next campaign!

A friend sent me the following.  While fictional, it still has the ring of truth to it.

How a bailout plan works

Young Chuck, moved to Texas and bought a Donkey from a farmer for $100.00.
The farmer agreed to deliver the Donkey the next day. The next day he drove
up and said, ‘Sorry son, but I have some bad news, the donkey died.
Chuck replied, ‘Well, then just give me my money back.
The farmer said, ‘Can’t do that. I went and spent it already.
Chuck said, ‘Ok, then, just bring me the dead donkey.
The farmer asked, ‘What ya gonna do with him?
Chuck said, ‘I’m going to raffle him off.
The farmer said, You can’t raffle off a dead donkey!
Chuck said, ‘Sure I can, Watch me.. I just won’t tell anybody he’s dead.
A month later, the farmer met up with Chuck and asked, ‘What happened with that dead donkey?
Chuck said, ‘I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at two dollars a piece and made a profit of $898.00.
The farmer said, ‘Didn’t anyone complain?
Chuck said, ‘Just the guy who won. So I gave him his two dollars back.
Chuck now works for the government as a top advisor on the bailout Plan!

Published in: on November 18, 2008 at 10:39 pm  Comments (5)  
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Obama’s Plan for the Economy (part 3)

Tonight, we look at the next phase of Obama’s plan for the economy.  This part deals with home ownership and the mortgage crisis that sparked the government’s bail-out efforts (I refuse to call it a “rescue plan”).  Without further ado, I give you…

Plan to Protect Home Ownership

  • Protect and Promote Home Ownership

There are two parts to this part of his plan.  I will lay out my comments on both parts, then summarize my views on them taken as a whole.

  • Create a universal mortgage credit.

OK, I have already (in previous posts) expressed my dislike for refundable tax credits.  However, of all the tax credits I have reviewed so far, this one bugs me the least.  I understand that one of the big “advantages” of purchasing a home vs. renting is being able to write off the interest paid.  I do love the language of this section, though.  Here are the parts that chap my hide:  “…most of whom earn under $50,000 per year…” and “…primarily wealthy Americans benefit [from the existing deduction]”.  Is he trying to define those who make $51,000 per year (and who itemize their deductions) as being “wealthy”?!?  OK, so overall, I am leaning towards this part of his plan being OK…until I look at the pricetag.  He estimates that this proposal would give 10 million Americans an average refund of $500.  Doing the math:  10,000,000 x $500 = $5,000,000,000 (five billion dollars).  OUCH!  And of course, that money will have to come from somewhere…now let me see, there is nothing in Obama’s plan about raising taxes, so…hmmm…where could it come from?  I also love how this part ends: “This tax cut will provide direct relief to many homeowners who are struggling to maintain their mortgage payments.”  OK, let’s get real here, is $500 over one year going to do diddly to help them make their mortgage payments?    Even if the homeowner were diligent enough to put that $500 in the back and only take out 1/12 each month, that would put less than $42 per month in his or her pockets.  Yeah, I am sure they are feeling so much better about making their mortgage payments now!

  • Close Bankruptcy Loophole for Mortgage Companies

OK, I admit it…I know nothing about bankruptcy laws.  I have been pretty poor my whole life, but I never seriously considered bankruptcy, so I never looked into it.  I will assume that Obama’s claims are accurate about multiple-home-owners being allowed to renegotiate their mortgages and single-home-owners not being allowed to.  Again, this seems to fall under my definition of unfair (see my last post).  I think people should be able to renegotiate bad mortgages in bankruptcy, especially if it is their primary residence.  I think it should be strictly monitored by the judge presiding over the bankruptcy hearings to insure the new mortgage is fair to both the homeowner and the lender.  The one thing I disagree with Obama on is his unwillingness to place any blame on the homeowners who signed bad loans: “…regardless of whether the loan was predatory or unfair.”  Did I miss something here?  Last time I checked, mortgage brokers did not bring a gun to the signing.  These people signed these STUPID “125% of value, no-money-down, no-need-to-prove-your-income, balloon-payment-due-after-4-years” loans of their own free will!  If the bankruptcy judge determines that there is no equitable solution for the lender (while still being as fair as possible to the borrower), then they should lose the home.  As cruel as this sounds, it does not come from a mean-spirited feeling.  The government (and yes, I mean government, not banks, although they played their part as well) took perfectly good renters and turned them into terrible homeowners.  I rent an apartment instead of buying a house for many reasons, but one of the biggest is because I know it would stretch my income to the limits.  If any little unforseen expense came up, I wouldn’t be able to pay the mortgage.  I am not foolish enough to take one of these scam mortgages just to get into a house I really can’t afford.  But even if I did, I WOULDN’T COME CRYING TO THE GOVERNMENT TO BAIL ME OUT IF I COULDN’T MAKE THE PAYMENT!!!

<Taking a deep breath now to calm down…>

OK, my views on how well these two points meet their stated goal of protecting and promoting home ownership…They don’t (on either count).  The only home ownership they even attempt to protect are those filing bankruptcy…a little late to help out, if you know what I mean.  And promoting home ownership?  Among who?  The people that are really looking forward to their extra $42 per month in tax credits?!?  Give me a break!

Prevent Future Crises in the Housing Market

Again, he has two subpoints under this part.

  • Mandate accurate loan disclosure.

He suggests creating some akin to the APR (annual percentage rate) so home buyers have a better way to compare mortgages so they can get the best deal.  I think it is a good idea (don’t fall off your chairs…I am trying to be fair here, but it has been very hard wading through this much Marxism).  However, I do have one concern with his idea.  Just as there are people who will finance cars at 14% interest because they have bad credit, you will still have people who have no business buying a house (because of bad credit) who will sign stupid mortgages even if they were mandated to have a flashing neon sign on them that said “You are getting ripped off!”  To quote Forest Gump, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

  • Combat mortgage fraud and subprime loans.

Mortgage fraud is a pretty serious charge, carrying a penalty of up to 30 years in prison.  However, when I looked up mortgage fraud on Wikipedia, most of the examples involved the borrower commiting fraud against the lender, not the other way around.  As the Wiki article points out, “Mortgage fraud is not to be confused with predatory mortgage lending, which occurs when a consumer is mislead or deceived by agents of the lender.”  Obama sponsored the STOP FRAUD act back on Valentines Day 2006, but it never made it out of Committee.  In fact, his speech introducing the bill is the only mention of it in the Congressional Record (he really faught hard for it, didn’t he?).  In addition, it didn’t deal with subprime loans at all.  As best I can tell, mortgage fraud did not cause the housing crisis.  What did, you ask?  Well, let me shed a little light on the subject for you…

The problem (which, you will notice from the first article’s language, was not perceived as a problem) started under the Clinton administration (don’t worry, I am going to bash Bush too in a minute).  Clinton’s HUD had raised the “target” for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to having 47% of their assets in loans to people making below the median (middle) income, or in other words, to the people in the lower half of the income scale.  President Bush didn’t do a whole lot to help either.  In 2003, helping Latinos become homeowners was all the rage.  I love a section from that story:

Some Latinos who are self-employed or accustomed to paying for goods and services in cash do not have established lines of credit or documented income, both significant requirements for being considered qualified to buy a home, group officials said.

To help people with nontraditional financial histories, the program has enlisted lending institutions that will look at other means of assessing an individual’s credit history.

Washington Mutual, which is part of the housing initiative’s advisory committee, is one of the lenders that has implemented a loan program that takes into account bills for utilities and mobile or home telephones as an indication of an individual’s financial track record, said Peter Villegas, a vice president with the company.

What a great idea!  Take people with no credit history but who have a home phone, and lend them $250,000.  Can they repay it?  Who knows…they don’t have to prove their income either!  In 2004, the Bush administration pushed the targets even higher.  The article claims they were trying to slow the growth of Fannie and Freddie by making it tougher for them to buy more loans.  Doesn’t seem like it worked too well.  Finally, in 2005, the problems started to become apparant.  John McCain and other Republicans introduced a bill to try to reign in Fannie and Freddie, but it never made it to a full vote.  So how did the mortgage giants respond to the rising targets?  Did it slow down their growth?  Of course not.  They just found a way to keep on lending.  And that, boys and girls, is how we ended up in the mess we are in.

Published in: on November 14, 2008 at 12:16 am  Comments (4)  
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Obama’s Plan for the Economy (part 2)

In this section of his economic plan, Obama lays out his tax cuts for working families.  The first thing I want to point out is the irony of claiming that people who earn the most money somehow are not “working families.”  THEN WHAT THE HECK ARE THEY?!?!?  Anyway, on to his policies…

Plan to Provide Middle Class Americans Tax Relief

  • Provide a tax cut for working families.

OK, his plan in this section hits one of my pet peeves.  He claims his plan, “…will restore fairness to the tax code…”  OK, I am still trying to get the concept of “fair” explained to my four-year-old son, so I will take the same approach here.  If the same thing happens to everyone, that is fair.  If one person has something bad happen to them while another has something good happen to them, that is unfair.

Our current tax system is UNFAIR.  The top marginal tax rate is currently 35%.  The lowest tax rate is 10%.  Millions of people in the lowest couple of tax brackets end up paying no tax whatsoever, and because of refundable credits, they actually are paid money by the government.  By contrast, the typical American family has to work from January 1st until April 23rd just to pay Uncle Sam.  This is known as Tax Freedom Day.

A “progressive tax” like the income tax penalizes success; the more you make, the more they take.  While progressive taxes may be viewed as “fair” by those who want to redistribute wealth to those that have not earned it, it nevertheless falls under the definition of unfair I gave to my son.

The opposite of a progressive tax is a “regressive tax.”  A regressive tax taxes people more who have less.  Liberals love to claim that sales taxes on food are regressive.  Now, if you and I each go to the store and buy the same amount of groceries, we pay the same amount in sales tax.  How is this regressive, you ask?  Well, if I make half as much as you, then each dollar of sales tax I pay represents twice the percentage of my income as it does relative to your income.  However, the definition of regressive tax does not make any reference to percentages of income.  If there were any regressive taxes in the U.S., these would also fall under my definition of unfair, but to the best of my knowledge, there aren’t any.

In between progressive and regressive taxes are “proportional taxes.”  These taxes are a fixed percentage, like the sales tax example given above.  If a proportional income tax were implemented, everyone would pay the same percentage of their income as everyone else.  In my book, this is the only kind of tax that does not penalize success.  This tax is also the only one that fits my definition of fair.

All of that is a long way of getting to why I don’t think Obama’s “Make Work Pay” tax credit is “fair.”  By his own admission, it would only cut taxes for a portion of “working families” and would result in no taxes being paid by an additional 10 million people.

Remind me later to tell you the Halloween analogy.

  • Create the American Opportunity Tax Credit.

Now Obama wants to provide a $4,000 refundable tax credit for college tuition.  I have two main problems with this:

  1. Refundable credits are paid to people meeting the criteria even if they do not have to pay any taxes. This means that for low-income people, this turns into taking money away from successful, hard-working families and giving it to those that have not earned it.  There is no mention in his proposal as to whether the recipients would have to actually pass their classes nor a cap on how long they could go on receiving this credit.
  2. The government owns you.  The requirement is that each person receiving this credit “…will be required to conduct 100 hours of public service a year, either during the school year or over the summer months.”  OK, in my case (I am an independent PhD student), this means that I would do some form of community service over the summer, when (in theory) I am not in school.  However, if I were an 18 year old freshman still being claimed on my parents tax return, does this mean that my mom or dad would have to work an extra hundred hours in free labor to pay for my tax credit?  And don’t drunk-driving offenders often get less community service than that?
  • Expand the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit

My main beef with this is that they want to make it refundable, but have it only pay up to 50% of the first $3,000 of care expenses.  Why not leave it non-refundable, and make it cover 100% of the first $3,000?

  • Simplify Tax Filings for Middle Class Americans

In theory, I have no problem with this, except make it simpler for ALL Americans; I loved Steve Forbes’ idea of a flat tax with a postcard-sized tax form.  However, in practice, this sounds like a nightmare.  His suggestion is to have the IRS prepare your taxes for you.  They would send you pre-filled-out forms for you to sign and pay.  “Experts estimate that the Obama proposal will save Americans up to 200 million total hours of work and aggravation and up to $2 billion in tax preparer fees.”  OK, but how many extra staff will the IRS have to employ to make sure the forms are filled out, stuffed in envelopes, and mailed to us?  How much will all those stamps cost?  How many hours will they have to work to customize approximately 150 million tax forms?  How will we know they are accurate or filled out in the way that results in the lowest legal tax burden to us?  How much will all of those extra government salaries cost us?  I am betting more than $2 billion.

  • Eliminate Income Taxes for Seniors Making Less than $50,000

Let the pandering begin!  Oh wait.  The wording on this one is confusing.  He claims that this plan will result in 7 million seniors not having to pay taxes.  But then, he states “…27 million American seniors will also not need to file an income tax return.”  Does this mean that 20 million seniors will owe taxes, but not have to file a return?  How would they know how much they owe?

Also, note that in his proposals, he has now estimated that 17-37 million more people will not be paying any taxes.  So who will be paying for all of these tax credits and new programs Obama is proposing?  Oh yeah, that is the part he left out of his tax plan: the tax increases on those already paying the most taxes!  The top 1% of income earners already pay 39.4% of the total tax bill, despite the fact that combined they only make 21.2% of the nation’s income.  In fact (if you care to pick one of the many numbers Obama threw out on the campaign trail), if he only raises the taxes of the top 5% of income earners (who currently pay nearly 60% of the taxes), he will have to raise those taxes significantly just to make up for all the tax cuts and credits he has proposed.

The Halloween Analogy

I know, you thought I forgot about this.  I wanted to save it til the end because it sums up my dislike for the “redistribution of wealth” aspect of Obama’s whole tax plan.

Imagine if you will that you are taking your kids (or grandkids) trick-or-treating on Halloween night.  As you approach a door, a teenager, who claims his costume is that of a teenager (i.e. no costume at all), approaches the same door.  As you wait for the homeowner to answer, you notice that the teenager doesn’t have any candy in his bag; by contrast, your kids have been at it for a couple of hours and have quite a bit of candy.  When the homeowner opens the door, he glances into everyones bag.  Without saying a word, he then reaches into your children’s bags, takes out 1/3 of their candy, and dumps it in the teenager’s bag.  He then smiles at you and tells you that your children could afford to give more to support those that don’t have enough.  Gut check time…how would you react?

This is precisely what the government is doing and what Obama plans to vastly expand.  I am not saying I don’t sympathize with the poor (heck, right now I am one of them), but this country was founded on equality: equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome.

I end with the creed of Dean Alfange:

I do not choose to be a common man.  It is my right to be uncommon.  I seek opportunity to develop whatever talents God gave me — not security.  I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me.  I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed.

This is the spirit of American free-enterprise, and something our government should not seek to stifle.

Published in: on November 12, 2008 at 1:35 am  Comments (1)  
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Obama’s Plan for the Economy (part 1)

The first plank in President-Elect Obama’s plan for America is his policy on the economy.  This is hardly surprising given that this was the foremost concern of most Americans going into the election.  Let’s take a look at his plan as found on pages 7-15 of his Blueprint for Change.  I will adress each point in a separate post.

Emergency Economic Plan

  • He proposes to impose a “windfall profits” tax on America’s oil companies in order to give every American family $1,000 to pay for the rising cost of their bills.

While getting $1,000 sounds good, let’s think about this for a minute.  My bills (and I am guessing it is the same for most Americans) come in every month.  A one-time check from the government is unlikely to get spent on my recurring bills, and will not be put in savings to offset the “rising bills” that will come in over the next several months.  Think about the “Economic Stimulus Check” you may have received under the Bush administration…did you use it to pay bills or to buy something you wanted but hadn’t been able to afford?

Now lets look at the source of his funding for these checks, the “evil” oil companies.  I swear that the only industry in America more villified than the oil companies are the tobacco companies!  In this country of supposed capitalism, oil companies are allowed to spend money exploring for oil (a risky investment to begin with) only to be told that Congress will not allow them to actually extract the oil they do find (which would have allowed them to recoup the cost of the exploration).  In addition, Congress will not allow new refineries to be built in the US, which means that oil that is produced here must be shipped overseas to be refined into gasoline, then shipped back to the US for consumption.  All of this drives up the cost of producing a gallon of gas.

In a June 2008 interview with CNN, John Hofmeister, the President of Shell Oil (the American arm of Royal Dutch Shell), pointed out the following fact:

Look at our revenues and our income for the last quarter. If we had made $7.8 million on $114 million of revenue, nobody would call that excessive, because that’s 7½ percent. We made $7.8 billion profit on $114 billion revenue — same 7½ percent. So to me that is not an excessive number when banks and pharmaceuticals and IT companies earn a whole lot more.

I am so tired of the notion that because a company or an individual is successful they must be punished with confiscatory taxes.  If we assume that gas was at a national average of $3.50 per gallon during the June interview, and if we assume that the average state and federal taxes imposed on consumers for each gallon of gas is $0.47 per gallon, that means that while Shell made $7.8 billion during that quarter, the governments (federal and state) took in $15.3 billion just in sales taxes (nearly $6 billion of which went to the federal government)!  For its profit, Shell had to pump the oil out of the ground, refine it, transport it, and sell it.  What did the government do to earn its share of that money?  NOT A DARN THING!  And that figure doesn’t even begin to include the amount of corporate income taxes, payroll taxes, environmental fees, lease payments to the Department of the Interior for any federal land they may be drilling on, import/export tariffs, etc that they have to pay to various governmental agencies.  But now the government wants to confiscate even more from successful businesses.  Oh, and let’s not forget that Shell has an obligation to continue to turn a profit for its shareholders and the economy in general (remember when the automakers reported their losses last week?  The Dow dropped by 10%).  So what will they end up doing if the government takes a bigger bite out of their profits?  You guessed it — increase the price of gas for us consumers.  This ends up being just another one of those “rising bills” the Obama administration was trying to help us with.  Oh well, just another vicious cycle of the government creating a problem, then making it worse by trying to solve it.

  • Provide $50 billion to turn the economy around and prevent 1 million people from losing their jobs.

First of all, there are no sources for his statistic that 1 million people may lose their jobs.  Second, the jobs he seems to be talking about are government jobs which, last time I checked, are notoriously hard to lose or cut.  Third, he is talking about subsidizing health, education, and housing (which the federal government has no constitutional authority to fund in the first place) as well as transportation (which it does have the authority to fund under the Interstate Commerce clause of the Constitution).  And finally, the United States has a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $14.3 trillion, so how is $50 billion (only 0.3% of the GDP) going to “turn the economy around”?!?  President Bush couldn’t do it with a $700 billion bailout.  There is also no mention of where the $50 billion would come from to pay for these programs.

Published in: on November 10, 2008 at 2:20 pm  Comments (2)  
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What happened to Obama’s plan?!?

I just went to Obama’s change.gov website because I was going to start going through his plan and analyzing it point-by-point. Here’s the problem: he removed his agenda from the site. There is still an “agenda” page with a vague generality:

President-Elect Obama and Vice President-Elect Biden have developed innovative approaches to challenge the status quo in Washington and to bring about the kind of change America needs.

The Obama Administration has a comprehensive and detailed agenda to carry out its policies. The principal priorities of the Obama Administration include: a plan to revive the economy, to fix our health care, education, and social security systems, to define a clear path to energy independence, to end the war in Iraq responsibly and finish our mission in Afghanistan, and to work with our allies to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, among many other domestic and foreign policy objectives.

However, all of his policy satements broken down by subject has been removed! So, I am left with one of two conclusions:

  1. He never really meant those plans to become reality and therefore he removed them so there wouldn’t be any proof when he didn’t do them, or
  2. He was taking too much flak for the things he said he was going to implement and decided to remove them.

Either way, not a very promising “change.”

Just an update – I did find a PDF of Obama’s plan on his old campaign website. The link is under the Useful Links section on the right. I also saved a copy, so if he pulls that down too, I will upload it here and make it available. After all, I don’t want to be accused of misquoting his plan as I go through it.

Published in: on November 9, 2008 at 6:42 pm  Comments (2)  
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John McCain vs. Barack Obama…or, why I left the Republican Party

When I turned 18 (oh so many years ago!), I was so excited to be able to vote. Ronald W. Regan was the President, and the backbone he had shown in standing up to America’s enemies (both foreign and domestic) and his conservative approach in most areas led me to feel that America was a truly great country.

After having voted in a few elections, I quickly discovered a disturbing trend. In the primary election, I always voted for the person I felt would be the best person to lead our country and the one who most closely matched my own beliefs. However, it became obvious that the truly conservative candidates rarely won the primary. In fact, the general election typically became an exercise in deciding to vote for the lesser of two evils.

After John McCain and Barack Obama won their respective primaries, I felt dejected. John McCain, in my view, represented the very definition of RINO (Republican in name only). Every bill he chose to attach his name to, I had opposed. McCain-Feingold was his campaign finance reform legislation, which was touted as getting the money out of politics, while in reality it primarily stifled the freedom of speech of groups who might oppose one candidate or another. Oh, and Barack Obama just spent $700,000,000 on this campaign – so explain to me again how McCain-Feingold got the money out of politics?!? McCain-Kennedy was the supposedly “comprehensive” immigration reform…if you count not doing anything about illegal immigration and rewarding those who illegally entered our country as comprehensive reform. And finally, there was the pièce de résistance, in the form of McCain-Lieberman. This “cap and trade” approach to preventing global warming is a thinly veiled attempt at allowing the government far more control over private industry in the name of junk science. (I know that in some people’s minds, my denying that global warming is human-caused is tantamount to denying the holocaust, but that is the subject of another post.) Cap and trade is simply a shell game in which the government gets to impose enormous taxes on industry while pretending to be “doing something” about greenhouse gas emissions.

On what is supposedly the other end of the political spectrum, we have Barack Obama, the king of inexperience. I defy any Obama supporter to name for me one bill that Senator Obama sponsored during his four years in Congress. If he had this massive vision for change, why didn’t he propose any legislation to improve the country during his tenure in the Senate?!? In addition, the unconstitutional (and often contradictory) statements he made on the campaign trail were truly frightening (such as his comments on wealth redistribution to Joe the Plumber). It was reminiscent of Karl Marx, who said, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” And then there were his comments on what he plans to do to the coal industry, again through cap and trade, and that under his plan, electricity rates would “necessarily skyrocket” (especially since coal currently supplies 49% of the electricity to the United States).

So I was left facing the fact that both men were proposing socialist policies. As I contemplated my standard “vote for the lesser of two evils” policy, it became painfully clear that when you vote for the lesser of two evils, you still end up with evil! I could not, in good conscience, vote for either the Republican or the Democratic candidate. This was the point at which I knew I had to find a candidate (and a party) that would champion the Constitution, the conservative cause, and those principles I hold dear. I eventually found my way to the Constitution party and voted for their candidate, Chuck Baldwin.

Don’t get me wrong…Obama won the election, he is the American President (or soon will be), and I will support him as much as possible. However, I will not compromise my principles, so if I see him proposing policies I believe to be harmful to this country or our Constitution, I will oppose him. However, because I am an American, and because I believe in our system of government, he is still my president.

(Oh, and did I mention I am often long-winded?) 🙂

Published in: on November 7, 2008 at 10:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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I can’t take it anymore

This presidential election cycle has completely disgusted me. Let me start by saying that I had told several people in my life that I would never start a blog, because my private views are just that: private! However, my frustration with the current political state of America and the incredible lack of rational thought that the general public has invested into such a monumental decision has driven me to create this blog.

I will also be very up front that this will be a politically-centered blog. I am not a Republican (although I used to be), I am not a Democrat; I am first and foremost a Conservative, and I am a member of the Constitution party (http://www.constitutionparty.com/). I am also a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints(http://www.lds.org/ or http://www.mormon.org/).

I believe that the Founding Fathers of this country were inspired by God when they wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I believe that this country has moved so far from the original intent of our founding documents that we would be hard-pressed to define ourselves as a Constitutional Republic any more.

This blog will be my forum to rail against the unconstitutional activities of our government and elected representatives (of both parties), to applaud the rare victories of constitutional government over typical Washington politics, and to expound my view of the way our government should be run. Do not expect this blog to be filled with stories about how a politician “moved me to tears;” I am a scientist and will approach these topics with as much logic and factual information as I can bring to bear on the subjects.

I will also mention that all comments must be approved. I do not do this in an effort to deny anyone their First Ammendment right to free speech; I would be happy if people who disagree with me post their comments here. However, I do require that the discourse remain civil. No profanity will be allowed. This is a forum of ideas, not personal attacks. That doesn’t mean that you can’t slam a politician (or even me) for a horrible idea or piece of legislation, but no racist, sexist, religionist (yes, I often make up words), or any other -ist comments will be tolerated.

In the coming days, I will be going over my impressions of the election and its aftermath, as well as going through President-elect Obama’s plans from his new website, http://www.change.gov/. Please join me on the adventure.

Published in: on November 7, 2008 at 1:40 pm  Comments (4)  
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