Tag Archives: budget resolution

Now

It’s a Shake and Bake Society, Baby!

During my lifetime, I have experienced, and seen, technological revolutions that can only be described as miraculous.  These technological advancements have made life easier and faster.

Let me provide a few examples of some great technological advancements, both big and small.

Do you know when the first TV dinner was created?  Do you remember who created it and what that dinner contained?  The first TV dinner was created in 1953 by the Swanson Company, thus the Swanson TV dinner which is still available today.  That first dinner was designed for a Thanksgiving meal.  It contained turkey, cornbread dressing, frozen peas and sweet potatoes.  It was packaged in the aluminum tray that was used by airline companies to serve food on their airplanes.   The cooking directions called for 25 minutes in the oven at 425 degrees.  That first meal cost 98 cents, and they sold a whopping 5000 dinners that first year!

What an advancement!  Up until that time, in our house, either Mom or Grandma had to make everything from scratch.  Because we lived on a Midwestern farm, we had animals and a huge garden.  Our Thanksgiving turkey took 7-8 hours to cook.  Oftentimes the bird was stuffed the night before Thanksgiving, placed in the refrigerator, and then someone had to get out of bed by 5:00 AM to place it in the oven in time for dinner.  All rolls and bread were baked from scratch as were the pies. Grandma’s pies were to die for!  All the crusts were made from scratch as was the filling.  No pumpkin pie filling, cherry filling or blueberry filling came from a can.  The pumpkin pie filling came from pumpkins grown in our garden.  The cherries were purchased and pitted.  The blueberries were picked in the summer and frozen until used.  I know all about blueberry picking as my grandmother made me go with her.  For the uninitiated, blueberries grow in low-lying areas and ripen about the same time as the bumper mosquito crop matures.  We had to wear nets over our heads and wear long sleeve shirts even in the summer, so as not to get bitten hundreds of times.  Unfortunately, because of the small size of the blueberries, we could not wear gloves.  Our hands became the ultimate mosquito target and we would spend almost 2 hours picking and swatting, picking and swatting to get enough berries for 3-4 pies.  It was not uncommon for a Thanksgiving feast to take three days of preparation.  Whew! What a difference from 25 minutes at 425 degrees!  (Honestly, our meals were bigger and much better.)

But the food industry was not done.  In 1969, the first TV breakfast meal was made available.  That was followed in 1973 by the Hungry Man Meal.  Do you remember who the first spokesman was for the Hungry Man Meal?  It was Pittsburgh Steeler footballer, Mean Joe Green.

But wait….there’s more!  In 1986, the first microwavable TV dinner was made available because 25% of the American homes had microwave ovens.  Microwave ovens were the next great technological leap for food preparation.  My parents bought me a microwave oven as a Christmas gift in the early 1980s.  It cost almost $500, and it took two men and a boy to lift it from the trunk of a car to my counter top.  After its usefulness as a microwave, it could have been easily converted to a boat anchor!   A BIG boat anchor!

Do you know how many years it was between the first airplane flight and landing the first person on the moon?  The first flight by the Wright brothers was in 1903.  The moon landing?  1969.  Sixty six years between airplane invention and an almost unbelievable space travel accomplishment!

During my lifetime, communication in our house went from having no phone to having a party line phone.  Yes, you could actually pick up the phone and hear your neighbors conversation.  And yes, they could hear your conversations.  Next came the invention of mobile phones.  Those first mobile phones were the size of a brick and weighed about the same as a brick.  Then we went to light-weight small pocket sized phones and now you can have a phone on your wrist!  A wrist phone just like the one Dick Tracy used in the 1930s comic books!  (Okay.  Dick Tracy had a wrist radio.)

When I was in high school and college, we were never allowed to use calculators.  That is because the first pocket calculators cost $250, and not everyone could afford them.  Remember….the minimum wage was $1.00 an hour!  While in high school, we could use slide rules.  Right now, no one under the age of 50 has the slightest idea of what I am talking about.  A slide rule was one step up from an ancient abacus, but multiplication and division could be done on a slide rule.  To show the real advancement of technology, my first pocket calculator cost $250.  When it finally broke, the exact replacement cost $59.99.  When that pocket calculator broke, the exact replacement cost $19.95.

The first computer that I bought in 1991 was a butt-kicking 40 megabytes!  I say it was a butt-kicking computer because all my competitors had 25 megabyte computers.  I was king of the hill.  That computer, monitor and daisy-wheel printer cost me $2200.  I now write this blog on an 8 gigabyte computer that cost me $600 six years ago.  The monitor and printer were extra.  My printer not only prints, but it is capable of scanning, copying, and faxing….if I knew how to set it all up.  The printer cost me less than $150.  In the late 1980s, my old boss bought a fax machine for $2500.  He was bragging about what a great deal he got because he got a free case of fax paper with the machine. Do they even sell fax only machines today?

These are just some of the marvelous technological improvements I have observed during my lifetime.  Just think of all the improvements in the medical field.  Look at the new devices that are a standard feature on an automobile that were unheard of during the 1950s.  GPS?  Back-up cameras?  Alarms?  Many of the new advancements have been for safety, but many of our advancements are popular because they either save time, eliminate work, or provide instantaneous information or instantaneous gratification.  (Who researches using encyclopedias when google and Wikipedia are available.)

But the one thing I have noticed over my lifetime is that people and society have become less patient and tolerant.  People today want instantaneous results.  They want things to happen fast.  They want things to happen faster than getting their food in a short line at a ‘fast food’ restaurant. (What a great belt-busting invention fast food has become!)  I am convinced that some people believe that Rome was built in a day.  The mantra seems to have become, ‘I want it and I want it now.’

Unfortunately, the attitude and mantra of ‘wanting it and wanting it now’ has permeated our expectations as to how our federal government should operate.  I am glad that the ‘First 100 days of the Trump presidency’ have finally passed.  How many times did you hear this:  “Donald Trump’s presidency will be considered a failure if he doesn’t (fill in the blank) within his first 100 days.”   Here were the most popular ‘fill in the blank’ items:  1.  Replace the Affordable Care Act,  2, Have a budget,  3.  Build the wall, and, 4. Provide a tax reform system.  I heard each one of these items, attached to a 100 day timeline, being touted as signifying a failed presidency if not accomplished.  Of course, these notions were mostly advanced by liberal politicians on liberal-leaning media sources. There were more ‘fill in the blank’ items, but these were the biggies.

So here is my advice…..”GET A GRIP AMERICA!”  Rome was not built in a day.  Do you really believe that these major issues, some of them decades old, could be reasonably alleviated in 100 days?  I am glad that the repeal of the Affordable Care Act was defeated early in the Trump presidency. Why?  Because, unlike the original ACA passage that was shoved down the throats of all Americans by the Democratic party without Republican input, this repeal will have the input of both parties.  I would much rather have a ‘good’ bill than a ‘fast’ bill.  But if you want to believe the media hogwash, we wanted a fast bill.

It amazes me that any Democrat would have the cajoles to fault this administration for not having a budget (it was passed recently) when Harry Reid, the Senate Majority leader for 6 years, promised to not have a budget reach the Senate floor as long as he was Senate Majority leader.  The ‘gatekeeper from hell’ kept his word.  Our government ran for 6 years without passing a budget.  (The next time you see a street corner hot dog stand, remember, he probably has a budget!  Our federal government did not.)

I am sure that with a little time, there will be tax reform for both corporations and individuals.  No one seems as concerned about building the big, beautiful wall now that illegal aliens attempting to enter this country has been reduced by over 70%.

But here is where the rubber meets the road; our society seems to have a disconnect between reality and expectation.  Because of our faster than lightning technological advancements and our fast paced society, we begin to believe that all things should be fast.  That may be true in some instances, but certainly not all.  When it comes to governing, I would much prefer ‘slower and better’ than ‘faster and crappy.’

After all, it took my grandmother over 3 hours to make one of her delicious pies from scratch.  She enjoyed making them and we really enjoyed eating them.  Sara Lee would have been easier, but my grandmother would not let us have any of that.  You were the perfect example of ‘slower and better.’   I love you grandma!  You always took care of us.

Happy Mother’s Day.

focus

Pole Vaulting Over Mouse Turds!

Donald Trump presidency…….D + 46

There were many times during my military and business careers when some individuals would become bogged down in minutia.  This was not necessarily a bad thing if there were no time constraints and the minutia being provided stayed focused on the end product or mission.  That was usually not the case, however.

Let me use the military as an example.  Whether the planning involved training or war plans, there were always time constraints.  Yet, some staff wienie would always want to use precious time to delve into the most insignificant of details that were only of concern to him, and not to the group or geared to the mission.  The same situations occur during business planning meetings.  It seems you always have one or two individuals that want to demonstrate their intelligence or elevate their importance by monopolizing time that just was not available.  When asked a question, oftentimes these individuals would provide an answer in an overabundance of detail that was just not necessary.  As a shortcut to brevity, I would chide these people with the phrase, “When I ask you what time it is, don’t tell me how to build a clock.”  This phrase would usually get the ‘minutia minded’ back on track.

Most people have heard the phrase, ‘making a mountain out of a mole hill.’  Cute.  I found that the phrase, ‘You are pole vaulting over mouse turds’ was much more effective in keeping a staff in line and focused based on our time constraints and mission.

So, with the ‘pole vaulting over mouse turd’ concept in mind; could it be applied to what is currently happening in Washington, D.C.?  Unfortunately, I believe it fits all too nicely.

Donald Trump has been POTUS for 46 days.  Here are some of the items that the liberal biased media and the Democratic party have brought to the forefront since the Trump inauguration.  One of the initial biggies was that some female members of the Democratic party called for a boycott of the Ivanka Trump clothing line.  You would think with all these ‘women’s marches,’ like the one occurring today as I am writing this, that these women would be ecstatic that a member of the fair sex is successful in business.  Not the case!  So, in defense, Kellyanne Conway mentioned on a Sunday morning news show that people should buy clothing from the Ivanka Trump collection.  The response?  The shouting began!  “Kellyanne Conway needs to be replaced!”  “Kellyanne Conway needs to be severely disciplined.”  “Kellyanne needs to be prosecuted.”  (As an aside, the Ivanka collection is having unprecedented high sales after the Democrat women called for boycott!)

Poor Kellyanne could not catch a break after someone posted a picture of her sitting on her feet on a sofa in the oval office.  Again, the shouting began from the left.  Disrespectful!  (Followed by the three comments in bold in the previous paragraph.)  Apparently, the liberals have forgotten about the picture of Obama with his feet up on the historical Resolute desk in the oval office.  This desk was a gift from Queen Victoria of England.  Or, about Bill Clinton having an intern under the desk.

Combined

Any disrespect there?

Other media consuming biggies is that Donald Trump uses ketchup on his steak.  Earth shattering!  And, recently, Ben Carson referred to slaves as immigrants.  Again, earth shattering.  Would you say the four mentioned situations are all important, or would you classify them as ‘pole vaulting over mouse turds.’  I am a believer that we could use toothpicks to vault over those turds.

Here are some items that I believe the media and our politicians from both parties should be focusing upon.

Earlier this week, North Korea fired four ballistic missiles in the direction of Japan.  We have 50,000 service people stationed in Japan.  Today, the North Koreans have said that they were trying to hit Japan, even though the missiles fell short by 150 miles.  After the firing, we sent additional anti-missile defense weapons to South Korea.  Now the Chinese are claiming we are being aggressive and spoiling for a war.  I would say this is a biggie.  Especially in light of the fact that the Chinese are constructing artificial islands in the South China Sea and fortifying them as naval bases.  And…they are claiming the surrounding oceans as Chinese territorial waters.

China’s banks are financing much of the aggression that is being shown by not only the North Koreans, but by the Iranians.  They are lending money for the purchase of all types of weapons to whoever wants to borrow and purchase, including nations that sponsor terrorism.  Its nice that we continue to purchase Chinese made items so that their banking system can afford to finance the terrorists of the world.

Have you noticed how many times our ships have been buzzed by Iranian patrol boats in the Persian Gulf?  It seems to be happening more and more as the Iranians become more belligerent.  In the very near future, either they will fire on us or we will fire on them.  Then what?

Not to be outdone, those pesky Russians are buzzing our ships with their airplanes.   Much of this is to test the resolve of our new president.  Nothing happened to any of these nations over the last eight years and they are attempting to determine if they can continue their aggression unfettered.  After all, what decisive action did we take against Putin during his invasion of the Ukraine?

On the national front……………….

Have you seen anything of late about the national debt?  Apparently, our politicians and media are not concerned about a $20 trillion debt.  Maybe this debt sounds smaller if it is expressed as 20,000 billion dollars.  The ‘b’ sound is apparently less menacing than the ‘t’ sound.

Did you realize that after 46 days in office, President Trump is still missing four key individuals from his cabinet?  He is missing the Director of National Intelligence, the Secretaries of Labor and Agriculture and the U.S. Trade Representative.  It appears that with the Liberals fighting every step of the way, it will take longer for him to get his cabinet.  In comparison, Obama had 7 cabinet members confirmed on his inauguration day.  Then there is the Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.  Have you seen this guy’s credentials?  If he and Jesus had a contest to see who would get the least wet while walking across water….I think it would be close to a tie!  His confirmation should be a slam dunk, but will no doubt be contested.

Of course the biggest item in Washington today is the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.  The Republican roll out is now available for scrutiny and there is no shortage of scrutiny.  At least it is one-tenth the length of the original act at 200+ pages versus 2,000+ pages.  With that in mind, it will be read before being passed into law.  Also, it is open to correction and amendment.  This was something not available for the original bill when the it was rammed down the throats of the American public.  I want to point out that health care is an entitlement and not a right.  Entitlements can be taken away.  This particular entitlement comes with a very expensive price tag.

So readers, I want you to scrutinize as to what is important and what is political and media grandstanding.  What is important for the country versus what is important to a politician to get reelected.  Those interests are not the same.  Be discriminating about national and world events. What is more important?  The way Kellyanne Conway sits on a couch or the fact that the North Koreans have fired four missiles at Japan?  Don’t fall into the shenanigans of the media and some politicians by ‘pole vaulting over mouse turds.’

campaign_promises

Common Sense Applied to Campaign Promises. Are We On the Same Planet?

In the twentieth century, campaign slogans and campaign promises were much more simple than those of today.  In the 1900 presidential election, William McKinley used the slogan, ‘Four more years of the full dinner pail.’  How many millennials would even know what a dinner pail is?

In 1916, Woodrow Wilson’s big slogan was, ‘War in the east, peace in the west, thank God for Woodrow Wilson.’  Well, this slogan is interesting for two reasons: firstly, the US got involved with WWI one year later, and secondly, who today would include God in their campaign slogan?

The most famous campaign promise/slogan was used by Herbert Hoover in his 1928 election.  His famous slogan?  ‘A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.’  Now common sense would easily indicate that the Federal Government was not going to buy everyone a chicken and a car.  The gist of that slogan was that America would be so prosperous that everyone would be able to afford food and a car. It was still an era of self-sufficiency and independence in the US.   Well, like Wilson entering WWI, Hoover got thrown for a loop because of the stock market crash of 1929, less than a year after he took the oath of office.

Hoover lost the election to Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1932.  FDR’s biggest campaign promise was to provide a ‘New Deal.’  FDR quickly turned on another one of his campaign promises….balancing the budget.   According to one historian, FDR issued in a government that created a ‘firm desire on the part of the American people to use the government as an agency of human welfare.’  FDR determined that balancing the federal budget was outweighed by what he termed, ‘government activism.’

Now we get to some of the more recent campaign issues and promises.

Have you seen the Hillary Clinton TV ad stating that she would tax corporations and wealthy individuals, as it is time for them to pay their fair share of taxes?  I have seen this ad too many times already.  But be that as it may, one thing has become evident, no one from her staff knows how to use a computer for research, … only for sending classified emails.  Here are the most current statistics, easily found by anyone who is familiar with using google.  The United States pays the highest federal corporate taxes of the 34 industrial nations of the world. The maximum federal corporate tax rate is 39%.  In the worldly picture, the US is tied with Puerto Rico, and only behind the United Arab Emirates (55%) and Chad (40%).  The US federal tax rate is 16 percentage points higher that the worldwide average of 22.8%.  (For my info junkies, the federal tax rate in Mexico is 30%)

But, just like the TV commercial, there is more.  There are also state corporate taxes.  Would you like to guess which state has the highest corporate tax rate?  New York?  California?  New Jersey?  All good guesses but the state with the highest corporate tax rate at 12% is……………..Iowa!  Yup, those Hawkeyes finally got to be #1 at something.  Four states levy a maximum state corporate tax rate higher than 9%.  Those states are Pennsylvania (9.99%), District of Columbia (9.4%), Minnesota (9.84%) and Alaska (9.4%)  Ohio, Texas and Washington forego state corporate taxes but instead impose gross receipt taxes on businesses.  Nevada, South Dakota and Wyoming levy neither corporate income nor gross receipts taxes.  All the other states have a maximum corporate tax rate.

Here is an example of why US corporations are moving their headquarters and facilities out of the US.  Medtronic is located in Minnesota.  They make sophisticated medical devices.  Let us imagine that Medtronic makes $100 million profit in a year.  According to our present taxing structure, they would pay $39 million to the federal government and almost $10 to the state of Minnesota.  In round numbers, they pay $49 million in taxes and get to keep $51 million of their profit.  But wait….Medtronic is moving their entire operation to Ireland.  Why?  The new corporate tax rate is going to be 18%, with no state corporate taxes.  Under this scenario, they pay $18 million in taxes to Ireland and get to keep $82 million of their $100 million profit.

And Hillary Clinton wants to tax corporations more?

Let us take this one step further.  Do you know what percentage of federal tax receipts are attributable to corporations and what percentage are attributable to individual income taxes?  Here is a simplified breakdown of where the federal government gets its money:  Social insurance (payroll) taxes are 33.9%, excise taxes are 3.1%, Miscellaneous taxes account for 6.3%, corporate income taxes account for 10.6%, and individual income taxes account for a whooping 46.2% of federal tax revenue.   Would it be common sense to lower corporate tax rates to keep more companies within the United States, thereby creating more jobs?  If we would cut the corporate tax rate in half, would we not create more jobs?  Jobs that would provide more federal income to make up and exceed the difference in lost corporate taxes?

But wait, what are we going to do with all those high income tax payers that are not paying their fair share of taxes?  Well, here again, all those computers at Hillary’s campaign headquarters must be on the blink.  Did you know that the top 1% of the top wage earners in the United States, those people having an adjusted gross income (AGI) higher than $428,713, contribute 37.8% of the personal income taxes paid to the federal government.  The top 5%, those with an AGI greater than $179,760, pay 58.55% of the personal income taxes paid to the federal government.  The top 50% of the US wage earners, with an AGI greater than $36,841 contribute 97.22% of all federal personal income taxes.  Those 50% that are below $36,841 contribute 2.78% to federal personal income taxes. That’s right, 50% of the US population only pays 2.78% of the total federal income tax revenues.  So who pays their fair share of taxes????  There may be tax loopholes that need to be addressed, but if Hillary wants the higher wage earners to contribute more is she advocating a flat tax for everyone?  I doubt that.  That would be too much common sense for today’s political climate. (Remember Mitt Romney being castigated by mentioning that 47% of the population does not pay taxes?  All true.)

How about that campaign promise of free college for everyone.  OK all you college bound students, who will ultimately pay for your education?  That would be all of us, even though there are other ways to pay for school.  I know this is out of vogue, but you could begin working part-time jobs and start saving money.  I had one year of college paid for before I started.  There are scholarships and grants.  There are, heaven forbid, jobs to do while in college.  I did that as well and graduated without a college debt.  You could go into the military and gain use of the GI bill.  Viet Nam prompted my generation to make early life decisions, but until you know what you exactly want to do, why waste your money and flounder in college.  A little maturity goes a long way when it comes to life decisions.

In 2013, the average cost of tuition and fees in private colleges was $32,405.  In state resident public schools, tuition and fees averaged $9,410.  For out of state residents attending a public college, the tuition and fees averaged $23,893.  None of these costs include living expenses.  This year, there will be 21 million students attending college.  If the government were to pick up the tab at an average of $20,000 per student, that would cost, if my math is correct, $420 billion a year.  That would be almost 15% of our $3 trillion annual budget.  It would match our defense budget.   Oh, don’t forget, our federal deficit is almost $20 trillion and we are expecting a $600 billion shortfall for the 2016 budget.  So, do you members of the ‘give me a trophy for participating’ generation and the ‘I can’t work, I’m going on spring break’ generation really think the government should pay for your school?

We will build a wall.  How many times have we heard that recently?  I am neither a proponent or an opponent of this particular campaign promise.  But, having said that I would like to ask a question, “Would you get on an airplane without seeing everyone going through security?”   Not in today’s environment.  The same procedures apply if you want to board a cruise ship.  Your bags are taken and examined as well as your carry-on baggage.  So if we would not board a plane or a ship without going through stringent security, why would we oppose stopping illegal aliens and drugs from entering this country.  I have no problem with work permits or temporary visas, but everyone needs to be vetted.  I would hope some smart people could come up with a quick efficient way of granting work permits and temporary visas.

There are many more campaign promises and slogans circulating during this election year.  I just selected some of the juicier ones for review in this blog.  The next time a candidate comes up with something that smells a little fishy, all in the hopes of buying votes, do a little research.  I am sure your computers work just fine.

New Political Party

GRUMPY – The Party that Dwarfs all Others!

Sound the trumpets!  Hang the banners!  Unfurl the flags!  It is time to unleash a new political party in the United States.  Move over Democrats.  Tremble with fear Republicans.  The newest and greatest political party to appear in the history of the United States of America is making its debut!

The name?  Our new party is called  ‘Government Revisions Utilizing Many Practical Years’  party.  If you are having a difficult time remembering the name, it is perfectly acceptable to refer to the ‘party’ by its acronym.  We are the ‘GRUMPY’ party!

In lieu of having a donkey or an elephant as a mascot, we will use Grumpy from the fairy tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as our mascot.  Why?  First of all, Grumpy is a person, not an ass or a mammoth.  Secondly, Grumpy looks a lot like me and most of my readers, both in appearance and temperament!

Our party is founded on the basis and belief of ‘common sense.’  As the party chair, I make a motion that we accept the definition of common sense as follows:  Common sense is knowing the difference between right, wrong and stupid!  All in favor of accepting this definition signify by saying aye?  Opposed?  Motion carried unanimously!  (Could it get any easier?)

The GRUMPY party will now establish the party plank.  The following items have been submitted for the GRUMPY party plank.

Balance the budget,

Term limits,

Uphold the constitution

Support our military and law enforcement officials,

Stop illegal immigration,

Reduce corporate taxes,

Birth control,

Attack terrorism wherever it rears its ugly head,

Balancing the Federal Budget

Balancing the budget will never be an easy task, but it will always be a necessary one.  No other item poses as much of a threat to the US, or our way of life, than our mounting national debt.  We may think that external enemies are our largest threat, when in fact, it is our internal fiscal policies that will eventually have a greater and more devastating effect.

Social/welfare programs take up the largest share of our budget.  There are 79 welfare programs managed by the federal government!  These programs, in fiscal year 2011 cost America $717 billion!  Social security cost us $785 billion.  Medicare costs totaled $574 billion.  That accounts for $2.1 trillion of our $3.7 trillion total budget!  How can we afford this?  The short answer is that we can’t, so the government continues to borrow.  The current interest on this debt is about $260 billion every year.  This is the  interest cost during a time when the interest rates are historically low.  It is anticipated that, when the fiscal 2013 figures are released, all of these expenses will increase.

There was a ‘talking head’ on television yesterday that forewarned that at our current rate of government borrowing, and with interest rates expected to rise to a modest 6%, that by the year 2022, the interest rate costs on our growing debt will exceed $1 trillion!  That is only 8 years away!

Social Security, Medicare and the other welfare programs need to scrutinized and revamped or eliminated altogether.

Currently, the federal government pays 75% of the welfare costs, with the state governments paying 25% for the 79 programs that exclude Social Security and Medicare. The states provide the administration for these programs.  During the Clinton administration, there was a bill passed that put the limit for receipt of welfare to a 5-year term.  Do you think that is being enforced at the state level? Probably not, with the ‘big brother’ federal government footing 75% of the cost.  Our party plank proposes that the federal government cuts their welfare contribution for the 79 programs to $210 billion, which matches the states’ contribution.  That would save over $500 billion.  You can rest assured the state governments would become much more ‘efficient’ out of necessity.

Here are some suggestions for further reduction of government spending. We could eliminate most, if not all, of the czars.  We currently have 38 czars drawing salaries and employing their own staffs.  We could eliminate the Asian carp czar, bird flu czar, climate czar and the Great Lakes czar without much governmental degradation!  (Yes, these are real czars!) We could eliminate the Department of Education and the Department of Energy.  They are both unnecessary and were not a part of the administration until Jimmy Carter became POTUS. The country survived before their presence.

Term Limits

The GRUMPY party recognizes that balancing an inflated budget requires smart people with a sense of what is right for America.  Most of the people currently representing our electorate are more concerned with getting re-elected than with doing what is right for our country.  Thus the term limits.

During the early 90s, there was a groundswell movement to place term limits on our federal officials.  It was popular with the majority of the people in the United States, but it never became a law. Why?  Because the Supreme Court, that group of legal adventurers that do not have any term limits, determined that it was unconstitutional.

Grandpa T’s Rule Number 1:  Politicians are more concerned about getting re-elected than they are about doing what is good for the country.

We need to raise that groundswell again.  Additionally, we should put term limits on the Supreme Court.  They should not be allowed to fossilize while sitting on the bench!

Uphold the Constitution

Our forefathers agonized and debated over what would be in our Constitution.  They masterminded a document that has not only been a model for this country, but for other democratic countries that followed us.

So does it not appear that more effort is being placed on circumventing the constitution than on enforcing it?

Obamacare?  How exactly was that determined to be constitutional by the fossils, oops, I mean the Justices of the Supreme Court?  Politics!   You can imagine the pressure placed on these Justices to further this program because it would garner votes for the Democratic party.  It was another ‘feel good’ program that was not affordable and now appears to be unmanageable.  Remember, the Republicans have been strongly criticized for opposing this program.

The Constitution and the Bill of Rights have insured individual freedoms.  Yet, we have people continuously attempting to chip away at both in the hope of converting this country from a democratic nation to a socialistic nation.

The GRUMPY party position?  Defend and enforce the Constitution!

Support our Military and Law Enforcement Officials

The GRUMPY party supports our Military and Law Enforcement officials for all of the sacrifices that they have made to protect our country and to ensure our safety.

We, oftentimes, overlook the dangers that law enforcement faces.  I have known many people that were in the military but were also cops.  I have often said that I would rather be in the military, because you normally knew who the enemy was.  When you are a cop, the enemy looks just like anyone and could strike at any time without warning.  A routine traffic stop can turn into a policeman’s fatality.

If you don’t support these people, then imagine yourself in the position to replace them and do the job yourself.  You would appreciate their service all the more!

I find it interesting that our current POTUS has taken it upon himself to criticize the law enforcement community on numerous occasions.  Trayvon Martin and the current situation in Ferguson comes to mind. Aren’t the Secret Service basically policemen?  Isn’t their mission to protect and to serve? What would the POTUS do if they walked off the job?  Hmmmm.

Stop Illegal Immigraton

There are ways to become a legal US citizen.  It takes time and effort to become a legalized US citizen.

Allowing 10,000 illegals to cross the border every day is not the way to develop a stronger America.  Our southern border is so porous that it has been used by terrorists.  Many of these people are illiterate, diseased and of questionable character.  Yet, the POTUS has deemed “mean” the Republicans  that want to strengthen our southern border.

A policy that allows temporary work permits needs to be put in place.  The borders need to be regulated.

The GRUMPY party position is that we do not want people in this country whose first act was to commit a crime by entering it illegally.  There are laws and we need people to have the guts to enforce them.

Reduce Corporate Taxes

We exist in a global economy and yet we expect our corporations to compete globally  while paying the highest corporate taxes in the world.

The real way to strengthen our country, increase employment and expand our economy is through private businesses and corporations, not by increasing the size of government.   Corporate taxes represent about 16% of the federal taxes received.  That means that 84% come from working, tax-paying individuals.  Reduce corporate taxes and we will really stimulate the economy, not artificially stimulating the economy as the Federal Reserve has been doing.  Reagan did it.  Even JFK reduced corporate taxes to stimulate the economy.

Grandpa T’s Rule Number 2:  Corporations and businesses are in business to make a profit.

The GRUMPY party  supports cutting corporate taxes in conjunction with cutting government spending.

Birth Control

Here is the GRUMPY party’s most controversial position concerning birth control and abortion.  The GRUMPY party has decided not to have any position!

Yup.  As a man, I have never understood how something as personal as birth control and abortion have made it to the national arena.  Isn’t this a very personal item?

I have my opinions, but I also firmly believe this issue should be at the state governmental level or lower.  I would be perfectly content with allowing any woman to choose her own option concerning this matter.  As mentioned, I have difficulty understanding how this has been elevated to a national issue.

Terrorism

ISIS is a well funded, well organized terrorist group that has already killed Americans and is holding other Americans hostage.  Where did they get their money?  Which countries are giving them military and financial support?

Whether you call them ISIS, Hamas, Al Qaida or any of a number of other names, it all boils down to the same thing – they are all terrorists. They will kill innocent people without mercy.  They particularly relish nabbing and killing Christians or people of any religion that differs from their fanatical teachings.  They especially enjoy capturing American Christians, which equates to being a ‘terrorist twofer.’

The GRUMPY party position?  Kill and engage any terrorist organization that rears its ugly head. (I would like us to go to the sponsors of these terrorists, but I would sound like a warmonger if I were to say that Iran and Saudi Arabia would be prime suspects.  Saudi Arabia, you ask?  Remember, most of the 7/11 terrorists were Saudis.  Yet the POTUS knelt to kiss their king’s hand.)

There you have it.  We have launched a new political party and have established a party plank.  This is much more of an accomplishment than what has been done in Washington during the month of August.   I can hear the groundswell for GRUMPY party support gaining momentum as my fingers fly over the keyboard.  And just like the Russians invading the Ukraine, we launched our party during the Congressional summer recess and while the POTUS was golfing.

Sometimes, it is just too easy.

walter-williams

Poverty, Fostered by the Cocaine of Dependency

Grandma P and I have been fortunate in that we have done extensive traveling and have visited over fifty countries.  Many, but not all, of these visits were done from the comfort of a cruise ship.  In many instances, a one-day visit was more than enough.

The one thing that Grandma P and I agree on during these travels is the definition of poverty, of being poor.  We both agree that most Americans have not seen what real poverty looks like.  How many people live in the United States in houses that lack both windows and doors and have dirt floors?  Not too many.  Yet, we have seen it many times in countries in the Caribbean and in both Central or South America.

Many people have to grow the food they eat.  We saw this on a recent trip to the South Pacific.  Did you know there are two Samoas?  Yup.  One Samoa is Western Samoa which is directly north of New Zealand and is also an independent country.  It is beautiful!  What was memorable about Western Samoa was that everyone, regardless of their meager homes, had beautiful gardens that provided fruit and vegetables.  Many raised animals.  Everyone was busy making a living in whatever manner was available.  Everyone was outwardly happy and appeared to be productive.  There are no welfare programs in Western Samoa.  It gets back to that age-old principle of, ‘you eat what you kill.’

The next day we went to Eastern Samoa, more commonly known as America Samoa.  It is the only US protectorate of the four US protectorates in the southern hemisphere.  It was also beautiful.   As we were touring America Samoa, the gardens were not as prevalent.  Many yards did not have gardens.  The homes and yards were not as well kept as we had seen at Western Samoa.   I noticed this and could not figure out the reason for the big differences between the two islands.  This was especially perplexing as many of the people on both of the islands are related.  The airplane shuttle service between the islands is always busy.  As we were at the end of the tour and heading back to our ship, the answer became evident.  As we were passing one of the biggest groceries on the island, there it was – the answer– in big letters prominently displayed in the window – ‘We Accept Food Stamps.’

Who knew?  Did you know that our protectorates receive welfare?  Want to guess who is paying for this?  Oh yeah, the American taxpayer.  We are also paying for Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

I digress.  One of the most poverty stricken cities we have visited is Cairo, Egypt.  Pretty much everything is filthy and dust covered.  The Cairo system of garbage removal is to push all garbage into the Nile river.  When the spring floods come, it all gets washed north to the Mediterranean.  If Egypt did not have the pyramids or the sphinx, tourists would never go there.  Talk about poverty!

Now I am going to do something that I have not done in over a year of writing this blog.  I am going to republish an article that appeared in my local newspaper this week in its entirety.  I am doing this for three reasons.  Firstly, the winter Olympics are on, and I am an Olympic junky.  I have been since 1960.  Secondly, I have four brothers-in-law and four sisters-in-law coming to stay at our house this week.  I need to store up my limited amount of ‘niceness, best behavior and tolerance.’  Lastly, Walter Williams has punched this poverty/dependency issue squarely in the face and has done an excellant job of writing about it.  Walter’s columns are syndicated, but obviously do not appear in many newspapers.  I never knew who he was, or saw his columns until I moved to the South from the Midwest.   Why?  He is black, and he is conservative.  That does not bode well in the blue states or in the liberal media.  He is a professor of economics at George Mason University.  His article:

America’s problem isn’t poverty, it’s dependency ( by Walter Williams)

“There is no material poverty in the United States.  Here are a few facts about people whom the Census Bureau labels as poor.  Dr. Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield, in their study “Understanding Poverty in the United States: Surprising Facts About America’s Poor,” report that 80 percent of poor households have air conditioning, nearly three-quarters have a car or truck and 31 percent have two or more.  Two-thirds have cable or satellite TV.  Half have one or more computers.  Forty-two percent own their homes.  Poor Americans have more living space than the typical non-poor person in Sweden, France or the United Kingdom.

What we have in our nation are dependency and poverty of the spirit, with people making unwise choices and leading pathological lives aided and abetted by the welfare state.

The Census Bureau pegs the poverty rate among blacks at 35 percent and among whites at 13 percent.  The illegitimacy rate among blacks is 72 percent and among whites it’s 30 percent.  A statistic that one doesn’t hear much about is that the poverty rate among black married families has been in the single digits for more than two decades; it’s currently at 8 percent.  For married white families, it’s 5 percent.

Now the politically incorrect questions:  Whose fault is it to have children without the benefit of marriage and risk a life of dependency?  Do people have free will, or are they governed by instincts?

There may be some pinhead sociologists who blame the weak black family structure on racial discrimination.  But why was the black illegitimacy rate only 14 percent in 1940, and why, as Dr. Thomas Sowell reports, do we find that census data “going back a hundred years, when blacks were just one generation out of slavery…. showed that a slightly higher percentage of black adults had married than white adults.  This fact remained true in every census from 1890 to 1940.”

Is anyone willing to advance the argument that the reason the illegitimacy rate among blacks was lower and marriage rates higher in earlier periods was there was less racial discrimination and greater opportunity?

No one can blame a person if he starts out in life poor, because how one starts out is not his fault.  If he stays poor, he is to blame because it is his fault.

Avoiding long-term poverty is not rocket science.  First, graduate from high school.  Second, get married before you have children, and stay married.  Third, work at any kind of job, even one that starts out paying the minimum wage.  And finally, avoid engaging in criminal behavior.

It turns out that a married couple, each earing the minimum wage, would earn an annual combined income of $30,000.  The Census Bureau poverty line for a family of two is $15,500, and for a family of four it’s $23,000.  By the way, no adult who starts out earning the minimum wage does so for very long.

Since President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty, the nation has spent about $18 trillion at the federal, state and local levels of government on programs justified by the “need” to deal with some aspect of poverty.  In a column of mine in 1995, I pointed out that at that time, the nation had spent $5.4 trillion on the War on Poverty, and with that princely sum, “you could purchase every US factory, all manufacturing equipment, and every office building.  With what’s left over, one could buy every airline, trucking company and our commercial maritime fleet.  If you’re still in the shopping mood, you could also buy every television, radio and power company, plus every retail and wholesale store in the entire nation.”

Today’s total of $18 trillion spent on poverty means you could purchase everything produced in our country each year and then some.

There’s very little guts in the political arena to address the basic causes of poverty.  To do so risks being labeled as racist, sexist, uncaring and insensible.  That means today’s dependency is likely to become permanent.”  (the end)

Whew!  I could not have said any of this better than Walter Williams himself did in his article.  If you are not familiar with any of Walter’s articles, you should acquaint yourself – right after you read mine.  His perspective is both astute and refreshing.

My heart rate has just jumped!  Olympic curling is back on the TV.  You must be familiar with curling.  It is the only Olympic sport where a fat man with a beer gut can realistically fantasize about being an Olympic medal winner!  Those other sports are too physical and would actually require me to move off the couch and train!  Pass the pretzels.