Tag Archives: welfare

USA-Communism

We Defeated the Communists, and Then We Became Them!

My oh my!  Recently, there has been no shortage of world-wide events that have distracted our government from taking care of domestic issues.  There was hurricane Harvey, hurricane Irma, and now, once again tearing through the Caribbean, hurricane Maria.  These were catastrophic to the United States, and they totally destroyed some small Caribbean countries.   Last week, there was a ‘bucket bomb’ that exploded in a London subway.  And, much like an infant with a broken rattle, we can always count on Kim Jong-un to fire another missile anytime he thinks he is not getting enough attention on the world stage.

Because of these major events, not much attention has been given to our domestic problems. Obama Care has not been repealed or replaced.  The tax codes have not been revised.  And, have you recently heard any news referring to the federal budget?  This got me to wondering.  How is the federal government currently spending our money?  It is our money, isn’t it?  More importantly, how has the government spent our money in the past?  So, as a matter of personal interest, I have decided to compare our 2016 federal budget to the 50 year earlier, 1966 federal budget.  This was not an accidental choice, as I graduated from high school as a wet-behind-the-ears, know-it-all eighteen year old in 1966.  And, yes, I can still muster up enough memory to remember the era.  Let me set the stage.

1966

1966 was just over 20 years after the completion of WWII.  There were no shortage of veterans from that war.  They were our parents.  We fought an on-going war in Korea.  Because of what was called the ‘domino theory’ we sent military advisors to a country called South Viet Nam.  Eisenhower began this program, Kennedy expanded it, and Lyndon Johnson turned Saigon into the  twenty-third largest American city.  Little did we know in 1966 that Viet Nam would ultimately cost us over 57,000 American lives.

Our WWII ally, Russia, was now our dreaded enemy.  They became the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), which was comprised of Russia and all the countries it decided to keep in its ‘sphere of influence’ after WWII.  The majority joined unwillingly by the use of Russian military force. We had NATO, and the USSR had the Warsaw Pact.  They built the Berlin wall and shot anyone that tried to cross it.  Winston Churchill dubbed this policy of isolation as the ‘Iron Curtain.’

In 1962, we had a little dust-up in the Caribbean called the Cuban Missile Crisis.  The USSR wanted to install nuclear warheads and missiles in Cuba.  US versus USSR.  Kennedy versus Khruschev. Good versus evil.  Eagle versus the bear.  Democracy versus communism.  According to all historical accounts, it was the closest the world has come to a nuclear holocaust.

In 1963, Kennedy was assassinated.  (I was hoping I would find out who was responsible before I died, but time is running out!)

On the domestic front, the ‘baby boomers’ were entering the workforce.  As a high school graduate, there were three life choices available:  go to college, get a job, or get drafted.  That was pretty much it.  The economy was booming because there was a war to fuel it.  Just about anyone that wanted a job had a job.  As eighteen year olds, we could not wait to move away from home and become independent.  We never moved back home.

With these events as a background, how did our government spend our money?  Our GDP in 1966 was $4.12T.  The total government receipts were $689B.  Our total outlays were $708B.  (Yes!  We dealt in billions and not trillions!)  Our deficit that year was $19.5B.  Ah yes, don’t you long for the good old days now?  42% of all revenues came from individual income taxes.  Payroll taxes accounted for 20% and corporate taxes accounted for 23% of revenues.

On the spending side, 43% of all funds were spent on national defense.  But here is the biggie….medicare and general health spending was only 2% of the budget that year.  Spending on social security, unemployment and labor in 1966 was about 23% of all outlays.

In raw numbers, the Dept. of Defense got $298B, Health and Human Services got $30.1B, Social Security Administration got $109B, Treasury got $61.9B and NASA got $31.2B.  The Treasury received their money largely to pay the interest on our $1.74T national debt.  Of course there are other departments, but these are the largest and pertinent to this blog.

2016

Now we fast forward 50 years to 2016, the last year of the Obama budget.  There were only two budgets put forth by the Obama admistration in his eight years as POTUS.  Harry Reed, the senate majority leader, promised not to bring a budget to the senate floor and the ‘gatekeeper from hell’ kept his word.  In 2016, the government took in $2.99T in tax revenues.  (Yes, we got to the trillions!) 49% of these revenues came from individual income taxes.  Payroll taxes accounted for 33% and corporate taxes accounted for 9% of total revenues.  The national debt now exceeds $16.7T!

The sources of revenue did not change substantially in 50 years.  But how the revenues have been spent have significantly changed.  Remember that the defense department accounted for 43% of the 1966 budget?  Well, even with all the shenanigans going on with terrorism and wars, the 2016 budget only spent 15% on the defense department.  Wow!  Where did that money go?  The 2% of monies spent on medicare and general health spending in 1966 now consumes 28% of the spending.  Spending on social security is now 37% of the budget as compared to 22% in the past.   Entitlement programs now consume 65% of our national budget!

The raw numbers are staggering.  The Dept. of Defense now spends $515B.  The Dept. of Health and Human Services goes from $30.1B to a staggering $995B!  The Dept. of Treasury goes from $61.9B to $484B!  Much of this is to pay the interest on our growing, inflated national debt.  Not to be outdone, the Social Security Administration received a nice bump, going from $109B to $866B!  NASA, on the other hand, had its 1966 budget of $31.2B reduced to $17.2B in 2016.

I need to provide a small history lesson at this point.  Do you know what the original responsibities were of the federal government?  Why the federal government was founded?  It was founded for two reasons; national defense and international trade.  End of list.  It is astounding how the federal government got to its present size.  Back to the blog.

There are some logical explainations for these large differences in these federal budgets.  In 1966, the huge ‘baby boomer’ generation entered the work force.  They worked.  They paid taxes.  They paid into the social security fund.  In 2016, guess what?  The ‘baby boomers’ aged.  They retired and they began collecting the social security in which they paid for after about 50+ working years.

In 1966, there wasn’t any government provided health care program.  We never expected a federal health care program.  But now look at what is happening.  Obamacare happened, and it has pretty much been a mess ever since.  Everyone agrees it needs to change, but we can’t get two people in a room of 100 senators to agree on how it should change.  Personally, I think the federal government should get out of the health care business altogether, but the proverbial cat has been let out of the bag.  Unlike the old days of 1966 where we did not believe in such a thing as a free lunch, we have people perfectly capable of working that expect a free lunch.  In 1966 we were raised under the mantra that, ‘you ate what you killed.’  Now our national conscious is that everyone should eat, even if they haven’t done one thing to feed themselves.

As amazing as it is to see the differences in our budgets after 50 years, it appears this is outdone by our expectations as to what the government owes us in entitlements.  Most of these entitlements did not exist 50 years ago, and yet we survived.  This is borne out by a Health and Human Services budget that is over 30 times larger than in 1966.  (Think ‘welfare’)

During the Cold War, we spent trillions of dollars to defeat those socialistic Communists.  Russia has turned from its socialistic/communistic society.  You remember socialism/communism.  That is the economic and political theory that advocates the means of production, distribution and exchange should be regulated by the community (government) as a whole.  Our electorate has seen fit in the last 50 years to elect officials that institute welfare programs that we can’t afford,  with money we don’t have, for people who should not receive them.   We have given up our independence.  Now, with our dependence on our federal government, we have taken the place of the former USSR.   Have we become the New Socialists/Communists?

It gives a whole new context to the motto, ‘Land of the free……..’

Obama-Legacy2

How Far Will You Go to Protect a Legacy? (Even a Bad One?)

In eleven days, Donald J. Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States, thus ending the eight year tenure of Barack Hussein Obama.  It has become apparent that all thoughts and efforts, as of the November election, have turned to preserving the legacy of the outgoing 44th President.  Secondarily, it has become apparent that the Democratic party is also trying to preserve some kind of legacy.

What exactly is Barack Obama’s legacy going to be?

Obama Care?  (The Affordable Care Act that was not so affordable?)

Quadrupling the national debt to a staggering $20 trillion, plus or minus a few hundred billion?

Overseeing the military response to Benghazi?

The picture of American sailors on their knees after being captured by the Iranian navy?

The picture of him kissing the ring of the King of Saudi Arabia?

“If I had a son, he would be just like Trayvon Martin.”

Placing the most people in US history on welfare and food stamps?

Overseeing 19 million people leaving the US work force?

Help me out here!  I am trying to come up with something positive for POTUS 44 to hang his hat on, and I am coming up short.  He will be the first black President, but that is obvious and now I may be branded a racist for pointing out the obvious.  He may very well be the first Muslim President.  This has never been confirmed by the liberal-biased main stream media.  Of course, any media outlet that would have the cajoles to speculate about his religious preference would immediately be branded as ‘Islamophobic.’   Ah, but there is something that can be attributed to POTUS 44.  Political correctness!  We have now been inundated with people being black, gay, lesbian, illegal alien, transgender and a host of other things as not only being equal to the citizenry of the United States, but being special!  If you do not buy into that program, you are automatically branded as a racist, xenophobe, Islamophobic or any other of a myriad of phobias with negative connotations.  So, I, Grandpa T, hereby declare POTUS 44 as the President of Political Correctness.  Ta  da!  I knew I could come up with something positive.

But, with all the baloney aside, have you noticed the efforts on the part of Obama and the Democratic Party to save Obamacare?  Let me provide a little history for edification.  In 2009, immediately after being inaugurated, and with control of both the House of Representative and the Senate, the Affordable Care Act was rammed down the throats of the country.  It was not so much of an issue of being passed, but how it was passed.  It was passed without anyone knowing what was in it as it was almost 2000 pages long.  It was passed without any input by the Republican party, regardless if they had ideas that would have improved the bill or not.  It was passed by the Democratic Party without anyone  reading the bill.  Do you remember those infamous words of March 9, 2010 by the vaunted Nancy Pelosi?  “We will have to pass this bill to find out what is in it.”  Say what?  This is how government works?  Even at the time, I was shocked that so stupid a statement by Nancy Pelosi and so stupid an action by our Democratic controlled government took place.  Instead of ‘shoot first, and ask questions later,’ our Federal legislature decided to ‘enact first and work out details later.’  At the time of enactment, the Democratic Party basked in the glory of having taken total credit for the Affordable Care Act without interference or input from the opposing party.

Now comes the election of 2016 and with it comes the the victor, the future Non-Political Correctness POTUS 45, Donald J. Trump.  Donald, being a successful businessman by all measures, knows the Affordable Care Act is too costly for the users and it is just not working.  The promises made, such as lowering health care costs and being able to keep you present physician, turned out to be false.

So now we get to the legacy of what the current Democratic Party will have for now and in the future. That legacy will include being whiners, criers, divisive, counter-productive, poor losers and not being able to grasp reality.

Beginning with the Affordable Care Act, the Democrats are saying (even before Trump is inaugurated) that the Republicans do not have a plan. In reality, there are about 15 different plans floating around, and hopefully, there will be constructive discussion about what is the best and most affordable plan for America, utilizing the best from each plan including some parts of the original Affordable Care Act.  Of course, the Democrats do not want to replace the Affordable Care Act because they dubbed it Obamacare.  And, by totally repealing it as the Republicans have promised, would tarnish the largest part of the outgoing POTUS’s legacy.  I do not see the Republican controlled legislature replacing Obamacare without discussion and input from both sides….something the Democrats did not do in 2009.  But I would also like to point out that if the Democrats would have taken the time and effort to improve, read, and cooperate concerning the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, it would not have to be repealed today.  You screwed up…all to buy votes.

As poor losers, the Democratic party is going all out to purvey that Donald Trump’s presidency as not being legitimate.  They cannot believe, or get over the fact that their candidate is not being crowned ‘Queen Hillary the First’ in eleven days.  Never mind that she never campaigned in the formerly blue states because of over-confidence in winning them.  Never mind that her opponent made three times more speeches and campaign stops than she did.  Never mind that her campaign palaver was based on poor versus rich, common people versus large, evil corporations or that the common American could not survive without the interference and support of a bloated federal government.

But Hillary, here is where you lost the election.  95% of my and Grandma P’s friends and acquaintances are either college graduates or military veterans, or both.  90% of them supported Donald Trump.  And you, Hillary, from the view of your ivory tower, determined that you were omnipotent and were justified in calling us and our friends, deplorable and irredeemable, because we supported Trump. All of this from a woman whose husband was a draft dodger.  All of this from a woman that allowed four Americans to be murdered in Benghazi.  Who is deplorable now?

The Trump presidency will be considered illegitimate because Hillary won the popular vote.  Hillary did win the popular vote. (Thank God for the electoral college!)  But if you subtract the votes from one state, California, Trump wins 49 states and Hillary will be the ‘Queen of California!’  We need to take a closer look at California.  California has a Hispanic population of 14,990,000.  It has a Caucasian population of 14,920,000, 5,736,098 Asians, 2,552,858 blacks, and 648,172 American Indians.  This gives California a total population of 39,487,345.  But here is where it gets interesting.  34% of the United States population receiving welfare, live in California even though California accounts for only 12% of the total US population!  To simplify, there are 23,113,200 welfare recipients living in California…over half its population!  So, if you subtract the votes received from both candidates that were cast in California, Trump wins!  Now I am going to speculate and put myself out on the ‘xenophobic’ limb; how many illegal aliens do you suppose voted in California?  If the United States required voter ID’s to vote, such as the picture ID’s with thumb print and hologram as required in Mexico to vote, how do you think the vote total would change?  Hmmm. (California needs to re-think the idea of ‘sanctuary cities.’  Without federal aid, it would be bankrupt in seconds!)

I forgot.  The Russians are responsible for skewing the election to Donald Trump.  Even though the US intelligence community has said numerous times that the Russkies did not directly affect the vote total, that is not what the Democrats want to purvey.  Never mind that John Podesta’s email account password was, well, ‘password’.  Those darn Russkies released all kinds of unsavory things that skewered the election.  Unsavory Clinton foundation illegal foreign contributions?  Paid demonstrators to disrupt Trump rallies?  What were those Russkies thinking?

Did you know that there are efforts in five states to keep Trump off the ballot in 2020?  Yup. Maryland, California (no surprise there!), Maine, Massachusetts and New York are all trying to take his name off the ballot if he does not release his tax statements.  I never knew one’s tax statements were a condition of running for office.  Talk about sore losers!

Of course, in true whiner, crier, divisive and counter-production form, the Democrats are already toting that they will fight against any supreme court justice nominee, and play devil’s advocate and fight most cabinet nominee appointments.  None of this was done by the Republican party in 2009 after Obama was inaugurated, but the Democrats, with their addled thinking, are justifying why they will do it now.

So what has the Democratic party become?  Do you remember any riots, protests, movie star bad-mouthing, politicians swearing non-cooperation when the incoming Obama was elected in 2008?  No?  That’s because there weren’t any!  Bad behavior, lack of respect, the use by celebrities to use their station in life to exacerbate lack of respect, the promise of non-cooperation by politicians now in the political minority are only traits of today’s Democratic party.  That is what the ‘ivory tower’ attitude, justified in their own minds, Democratic party has become.  With all of the Democratic machinations that have taken place since the election, Hillary really needs to reevaluate who the ‘deplorable and irredeemable’ really are.  It’s you.  And this will be the Barack Obama and Democratic party legacy.

donald-trump

An Open Letter to President-Elect Trump

Dear Mr. Trump,

Congratulations on your recent victory as the President-Elect of the United States of America.  I was one of your supporters from the minute you announced your candidacy.  Admittedly, I thought the winning ticket would be a Donald Trump/ Marco Rubio ticket.  I can see why, as a result of a very tumultuous and nasty debating season, you did not take Senator Rubio as your running mate.  I was not familiar with Mike Pence, but he is indeed the perfect person for the Vice President. Grounded, experienced, loyal and intelligent, he is everything a person could want as the Vice President.

I was your supporter from the beginning because I believe a businessman who could establish a successful financial empire is more qualified (and needed in this country!) than a slew of career politicians who seem hell-bent on destroying a perfectly good country and government.

You have had an excellent start on making America Great Again.  I agree with many of the efforts you have initiated and would like to add my two cents in hopes of making these positive changes for the good of our country.

Voter ID.  Could we please pass a law making it a requirement to present a valid photo ID to vote in a federal election?  In Canada, to be able to vote you must have: (1) A driver’s license, or, (2) A provincial or territorial ID card, or, (3)  Any other government card with your photo, name and current address.  But like the those shopping channels on television…..wait, there’s more!   To be able to vote in a federal election in Mexico, you must have:  (1) A government issued photo ID card with a thumbprint and an embossed hologram, and, (2)   All citizens are required to personally enroll and show proof of birth or citizenship, and, (3)  Applicants are required to personally return to collect their voting credentials.

Why do our neighbors have more practical, stringent and sensible federal voting requirements than our country, and yet at the suggestion of such requirements it is considered racist?  To not have ID requirements simply wholesales the value of our citizenship in comparison.  All those wars fought, all those battles won, and all those lives lost….all to protect our country, and yet, we allow people who do not share our values, who will never contribute to the well-being of this country, who are here to be takers and never contributors….to vote and sway our national elections.  A travesty by any measure.  Shame on us and our political leaders for allowing our democratic principles to be compromised and abused and degraded by the use of voter fraud.

Job Creation.  Keeping businesses in America, bringing new foreign businesses to America, and bringing off-shore American businesses back to America would create jobs for Americans.  Two things could be done to make this happen and to stimulate the economy.

First, cut the existing federal corporate tax rate in half.  The U.S. already has the highest corporate tax rate of the industrialized nations, and corporate taxes account for only 11% of all federal government tax receipts.  Individual income taxes are responsible for 47% of all federal government tax receipts, while payroll taxes contributed by employers and employees account for another 34%. Corporations are in the business of making money.  By allowing them to keep a larger share of their profits, they will purchase more raw materials, expand facilities and hire more employees….thereby increasing the amount of federal tax revenues from individual income tax payers because there will be more people working.  

I am sure you know that there are 112 million people working in the United States and 106 million receiving some form of government assistance?  Admittedly, some of the 106 million are social security recipients that have paid into, and are now collecting their benefits.  But, there are 90 million people capable of working that are not working, or at least they are not paying taxes.  That needs to change. Jobs need to be created, and the welfare system needs to be revamped.  You have made strides in that direction and I fully support those efforts.

Secondly, abolish the (Un)affordable Health Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare.  Before the true expense of this program was known, employers were estimating that the cost would be 20%-25% of their total payroll expenses.  What did the employers do?  They quit hiring, began firing, or reduced working hours for their employees to 32 hours or less to avoid the burden of the program. This was necessary for businesses to remain competitive in the international marketplace, or go out of business.  This program, more than any other, has inhibited job and wage growth for Americans.

This program needs to be replaced with something that is affordable and practical for both the insureds and the insuring.  The federal government needs to get out of the health care business and let the bulk of this program rest on the shoulders of a competitive, free-market economy of insurance companies and health care providers.

Welfare Reform.  The largest single item in the U.S. budget is welfare.  The federal budget provides 75% of the funding for welfare programs.  The states provide 25% of the funding but are tasked to supervise the welfare programs in their respective states.  Unfortunately, even though there were laws passed during the Clinton administration limiting welfare to a five year term, most states conveniently ignore this law.  Why?  Because with the federal government footing the bulk of the cost, the states view this as another form of income for their state.  I would propose that the federal government reduce the amount of welfare payments to the states to an equal amount, cutting their 75% contribution by 2/3.  This would assist our federal budget and cause the states to be more prudent in their dispersal of welfare. (See Welfare Cost – The Big Gorilla in the National Budget, published 2/21/2013)

It is appalling that so many people included in the 106 million receiving federal government assistance have lowered their lifestyles to live solely on government assistance.

Term Limits.  The life expectancy during the times of our founding fathers in the 18th century was 35 years old!  To be 50 years old was considered to be a very old man.  Many of the original members of Congress served out of duty and patriotism, while at the same time making huge personal sacrifices.  Many of these people lost their businesses and homes because they were away tending to the needs of a new nation.  Needless to say, they did not ever foresee the eventuality of career politicians.

We all are aware of the disadvantages of having long-term career politicians.  Too much influence, too much money, too much campaigning, and too many lobbyists and personal interests.   Their primary concern is to get reelected and not necessarily what is ‘right for America.’  (Thus, one reason for your stunning victory, Mr. Trump.)

May I suggest that in the future, say 2028, all members of Congress are limited to 12 years of service.  Senators get two, 6 year terms and representatives get six, 2 year terms.  I would also like to propose that the Supreme Court justices be retired at age 70 or 72.  Here again, our founding fathers could not have known that we would let people ‘fossilize’ in place while serving on the Supreme Court.

Mr. Trump, if you can get legislation passed imposing future term limits, I would believe you could walk across Lake Okeechobee without getting your feet wet or without getting eaten by an alligator. Good luck with that.

The Wall.  I would like to point out that in 2014, over 47,000 Americans died of drug overdoses and over 35,000 were killed in traffic accidents.  Who would have thought that there would be more drug overdose deaths than those of autos?  Some of these drug deaths were because of the improper and illegal use of prescription drugs (opiates) and some from illegal drugs.  Whatever the reason, the bulk of the flow of illegal drugs in this country is coming from our southern border.  If it takes a wall to stop that flow, then that wall should be built.

Of course, we need to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into our country.  If they are here with the best of intentions, then an application procedure needs to be established.  Because Mexicans require a photo ID with a thumbprint to vote, doing a background check should not be impossible.  It would not be surprising to learn that other Central/South American countries have similar ID’s. Unfortunately, many of the ‘border crossers,’ are here for nefarious reasons, or are unaccompanied minors.  Illegal immigrants involved with crime need to be sent back to their respective countries. If caught again, they need to be imprisoned.

Safety and Security.   Mr. Trump, the three classes of people that I hate the most are terrorists, murderers, and pedophiles.  I am personally not interested in ‘reforming or rehabilitating’ anyone accused of terrorism or murder.  I believe that capital punishment should come into play for these two crimes and the sentences should be carried out within a two year period.

I believe that anyone charged with killing a policeman, fireman, or medical rescuer should be given the death sentence.  I believe that any terrorist that kills an American should be given the death sentence.  I cannot think of a punishment cruel enough for a pedophile, but I suppose we would have to settle for incarceration.  After all, what kind of society have we become if we cannot protect our children.

The military needs to be expanded and updated to meet the challenges of our potential enemies. Whether we want to recognize the threat or not, both Russia and China have greatly expanded their military presence and have used them for expansionist purposes.  The goal of Russia is to put together the old USSR as much as possible beginning with the invasion of the Ukraine.  The Chinese are saber rattling and expanding by making strategic artificial islands in the South China sea.

Does anyone know for sure the real ambitions of Iran or North Korea?  Both have threatened with the use of missiles and nukes.

These are just a few of the problems to be faced with your upcoming administration.   There are many more.  So far, you have done an amazing job of cabinet selection.  Surrounding yourself with the best and the brightest should make your job easier and make for a better America.  I apologize for not writing sooner, but it took me a month to sober up from your victory party!

God Bless America.

Respectfully,

Grandpa T

 

 

 

Proud-American

Foreign Cruiser Opinions about the United States

I have been remiss about addressing the questions, concerns and opinions of our fellow, foreign cruisers about the good old United States of America.  Most of the people we have interfaced with have either been from the United Kingdom, Australia or Canada.  There are many people from other countries, but it appears we are drawn to the people from the English speaking countries.  Speaking of which, I perfectly understand the Canadians and Australians, but those people from the United Kingdom are difficult for me to understand.  Is that really English?  Do the people of Scotland really speak English?

Anyway,  here were some of the topics discussed during our recent cruises by our foreign friends.

Guns and Violence

Glen and Willene were a very pleasant couple from Canada.  They sat at the adjacent dinner table for about five weeks during our recent South America cruise.  Willene, being the strong minded and opinionated person that she is, was appalled by Americans owning so many guns and the gun violence in America.

So, Willene, this is for you.  When America gained its independence, they got it from Great Britain.  At the time, Great Britain was ruled by a dictatorial meanie named King George III.  After winning this war, (with the use of guns) the biggest concern was that we did not form a government that would allow a dictatorial meanie to rule the new America.  The Constitution was signed on September 17, 1789.  Federalists claimed that the new government would only have limited powers expressly delegated to it.  This wasn’t enough assurance for anti-federalists like George Mason.  These anti-federalists wanted explicit guarantees to certain rights in order to prevent any potential encroachment by the federal government on state or individual rights.  Mason wrote:  “A well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people trained to arms, is the proper, natural , and safe defense for a free State.”

The Second Amendment was specifically included in the Bill of Rights to prevent this.

Currently, the population of the United States is approximately 330 million.  It is estimated that there are about the same number of guns in America.  I personally believe that gun estimate is low.  Coming from a Midwestern state, hunting was popular.  Most hunters had a gun for every hunting occasion.  (It is the same principle as women having shoes!)

We introduce guns to our children at the earliest age.  After all, once a child is done with a pacifier, a sippy cup or a play pen, you can easily find these items in a garbage can.  But you will never find a Colt, a Glock, or a Smith & Wesson in a garbage can!  In the age of technology, a handgun is very much like using a computer mouse…..just point and click!

OK, now that I have your attention, I will admit that I don’t think anyone needs an assault weapon.  I have never seen anyone hunt with an assault weapon.  Police and military – si.  Everyone else – no.

Being a country of armed citizens does have its advantages.  Japan decided not to invade the United States during WWII because they realized the populace was well armed.  Most of the people serving during the two World Wars in the 20th century from the USA were not strangers to weaponry.  I believe this can be said about Canada at the time, also.  This weaponry knowledge contributed to the winning efforts.

America is the third most populated country on the planet.  There are more people in the state of California (38 million)  than there are in the entire country of Canada (35 million).  Whereas a Canadian would have to travel hundreds of miles to commit a homicide, we Americans do not have any such restrictions!  One more thing…..which state in the US has the most concealed handgun permits?   Texas?  (the most logical choice) Oklahoma?  Arizona?  The state with the most concealed handgun permits is………….Florida, with over 1 million permits representing over 5% of the population.  You may want to remember that before raising a ruckus at Disney World.  Mickey could be packing heat!  Don’t even think about pinching Snow White!  The United States does not even crack the top ten for homicides per capita.

Because of our vast American movie and TV industry, it really does appear that everyone is murdering everyone else on a regular basis in America.   Just think of the most popular shows on TV: NCIS, NCIS New Orleans, Blacklist, Castle plus many more.  These are some of our favorite programs and they all are murder mysteries.  And……….the only way to have a murder mystery is to begin with a murder!  Unfortunately, this is what we are exporting to our foreign friends on TV.  We no longer have the once popular comedies and variety shows of my formative years.  It is murder shows and reality shows, with just a few comedies worth watching.

Movies?  We are already at Fast and Furious 7.  Most of our movies?  Murder. Sex. Violence.  How many parents would drop their children off at a movie theater today without knowing which movies were playing?  None.  But, this is what my parents did while I was growing up as our theater would not show anything not appropriate for all ages.

So, Willene, we are not all really killing each other off here in America.  But my offer to you still stands.   If you ever feel unsafe in Canada, you can come to our house.  We’ll protect you.

National Debt

Robert is a production manager for a company in Australia.  He was one of my smart trivia teammates.   He asked me, “How can America have such a huge national debt?”  What he really meant was, ‘How can we have such a huge national debt and survive?’  ‘How can we pay it off?

I explained that this is the first year of the Obama administration, when the Republicans gained control of both Federal houses, we have had a budget.  Harry Reed, as the Democratic gatekeeper to hell, vowed to never allow a budget bill to be presented to the US Senate for a vote.  He kept his word.  Now that Harry is no longer Senate majority leader, we surprisingly have a budget!

The majority of our budget is spent on social-welfare programs.  Medicare, Medicaid, Social security, Food stamps, welfare a hundred ways………take up the vast majority of Federal Government expense.  The military, the usual first target for budget cuts, takes up approximately 22% of our budget.

We will have to eliminate/reduce many welfare programs, revamp social security and address many of these dubious federal departments and policies.  This is going to take a strong willed POTUS and a strong willed Congress that will be willing to tackle these huge issues and finally, finally do what is right for America and for the future of America.  Paying off the debt?  Not during my lifetime.  Maybe my grandkids will see it.

America at War!

Rudy was from Canada, one of my trivia teammates, and totally against war.  The imposition was that America went to war.  Often!  Well, let me think.  Since 1900, we have only been in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, Afghanistan.  That’s not so bad for 115 years is it?  One war every 20 years.  That sounds about average.  Oh yeah, then there was occupation of Nicaragua (1912-1933), occupation of Haiti (1915-1934), occupation of Dominican Republic (1916-1924), Russian civil war (1917-1923), Bay of Pigs (1961), occupation of Dominican Republic II (1965-1966), Invasion of Granada (1983), Invasion of Panama ((1989-1990), Somali Civil War (1992-1994), Kosovo War (1999), Libyan civil war (2011), and military intervention against ISIS (2014-?).  Did I miss any wars, invasions or occupations?

What can I say?  Summer television reruns really suck and we need to keep our military in shape with practice.

Seriously, I agree with Rudy.  It would be a much more enjoyable world if there weren’t any more wars.   My sister-in-law joined some peace organization and asked me if I took offense to her membership, being that I was a retired military officer.  Here was my response.  “I absolutely support your efforts to achieve world peace.  I don’t know of one soldier that wanted to go to war to prove his manhood.  You have me convinced.  Now go convince our enemies.”  She was taken aback by my response.

So Rudy, you are correct about the United States becoming too involved in world affairs that result in military intervention.  But the world, in particular our allies, have thrust the mantle of world power on us, so we have become an easy target.

What concerns me more than the number of military interventions we have been in is this; who are our allies and who are our enemies?  Are we helping the dictator of Syria, Assad?  Who are the bad Muslim extremists?  Sunnis?  Shia?  Is Iraq our ally or are they going to do the guppy flop to Muslim extremism?  Nukes for Iran?  What is our stance concerning Israel?  I am totally confused as to what is our national policy and who are our enemies and friends.  In the meantime, we are still committing military resources all over the world.

So there you have it.  My thoughts and responses by three very intelligent people to three legitimate issues concerning our country.

Even though no one from the United Kingdom really expressed their opinions about the USA (I think they are still smarting from losing the Revolutionary War!), I very much admire them for one thing.  The political campaign season in the United Kingdom is 6 weeks long!  OMG!  Our next national election is still 18 months away and I am already suffering from sensory overload as to the potential bazillion candidates from each party.  Didn’t we learn anything from them?  There ought to be a law!

 

Political-Ads

Mudslinging and Misinformation – An American Political Art Form

Have you noticed the direction that political ads have taken?

Recently, Grandma P and I visited our former home state to attend a wedding.  In that state, the political races are a little closer than in our current home state.  The political ads ran 24/7!

The mudslinging!  The accusations!  The character “assassinations!’   Those were just the political commercials running on Cartoon Network!  Holy Crap!  If even 25% of the accusations are  true, all of these candidates should be in prison, not in Washington, D.C.  (Now that is a unique concept!)

I hate election season.  It wrecks my television viewing!  I miss my commercials for expensive cars, body lotions, perfumes, and soda drinks.  They don’t stand a chance against the venomous, biased ads run by political candidates.

What really gores my bull is the misinformation spewed during these commercials.

If you have read any of my blogs, you know that they have a conservative tone.  What really, really upsets me about most of the liberal candidate advertising is the continuation of the ‘class warfare’ element.  Being ‘rich’ is being pandered as being synonymous with being a ‘crook.’  It is being used as a 4 letter word by the Democratic party.  The inference is that if someone is ‘rich,’ those evil people got there by nefarious means, and no doubt on the backs of the poor!  Those ‘rich’ people obviously achieved everything they have by using the backs of the poor as their stepping stones to success.  (Interestingly enough, the Democratic candidates in our former home state are out-spending the Republicans approximately 3:2.  Apparently there is a lot of money available to ‘buy’ votes.)

As stupid as that last paragraph sounds, it is the underlying tone of much of the liberal advertising.  Never mind hard work, getting an education or taking chances in the business world – it is all for naught, because the government will take care of you.  You can have what those ‘rich’ scoundrels have without the effort.  You are entitled to what they have!  Why work for it?

The reason I find this upsetting is that this attitude contradicts the spirit in which this country was founded.  Independence – to do or achieve what you want without government intervention.  Freedom – to be all you can be.  Responsibility – to yourself and to your family to ensure the continuance of freedom and independence.  The liberal agenda seems to be to cast aside these founding principles and, instead, adopt the assurance that you can feed at the bountiful udder of the government teat.  That cow will eventually go dry!

Here are some examples of specific claims I saw in some of these advertisements.

“Candidate X wants to privatize social security.”  This was presented by a 30-something as if the world would end if Candidate X got reelected.  Have you polled anyone under 40 lately about the likelihood of them receiving social security?  I have.  I can assure you that everyone that I have talked to about this does not believe social security will be available once they reach retirement age.  The smart ones are preparing for that eventuality by saving and contributing into their retirement accounts.  Wow!  What a novel idea!  These people are taking responsibility for preparing for their own future retirement.  According to the liberals, these people need to be eradicated, or at least reprogrammed.  Of course, the liberals also like to scare the bejesus out of the elderly by convincing them that social security could be taken away tomorrow.  This will not happen.  That 30 something that was castigating candidate X should have been jumping up and down for joy, as should all the younger members of our society.  Privatization would mean that you could keep all your money and invest it as you see fit!  Again – individual responsibility.  It takes discipline to save.   Yes, it could be taxed to fund the existing social security system until its termination.  But, I believe, most of the younger generation would accept that as a tradeoff.

Why won’t it happen?  Privatizing social security takes the money out of the hands of the people that covet it most – the government of the United States.  Yup, ever since the Johnson administration and the burdening cost of the Viet Nam war, all presidents have used social security funds to balance the federal budget.  This worked well when there were 20 workers for every retiree. We are now down to 3 workers per retiree with the skids greased to get to two workers per retiree.  What started out as a supplemental income became a permanent retirement plan, with most people convinced to not save because ‘Uncle Sam’ will take care of them.  It has become a Ponzi scheme that cannot be funded permanently.  So what do you think of candidate X now?

Here was another observed advertisement.  “Candidate Y accepted campaign monies from companies that outsource American jobs to foreign companies.”  On the surface, this would sound like another nefarious act on the part of Candidate Y.  Let’s string the unpatriotic bastard from the highest tree, just like they did to cattle rustlers in the old west!  But wait just a darn minute, buckaroo!  Before I slap my trusty steed, Old Blueballs on the butt and leave Candidate Y swinging in the breeze, let’s think about this for a second.  If you were to check the labels on the clothing you are now wearing, how much clothing would you be wearing if you only wore ‘American made’ clothing?  If you were to rid yourself of all computers and televisions in your home that are not  American made, how many would you have?  Here is my wild guess as to the answers to the two previous questions: You would be standing nude, looking at a blank wall!  Most of our goods are foreign made.  In the 80s, I bought a new Cadillac.  You can imagine my surprise when I found out it was assembled in Canada!  I was further surprised to learn that half the nuts and bolts on that car were ‘American’ sizes and half were metric.  I found that out when I had it serviced.  Most large American manufacturers have a foreign facility.  We are dependent on these foreign goods.  It is safe to say that  practically every candidate that accepts campaign funds from a large company is also accepting funds from a company that has outsourced labor to a foreign country.  Of course, we could always lower our world high corporate tax rate from 40% down to the world average 22%, but that would mean reducing federal spending.  This has been done previously, and it resulted in increased tax revenue because of the higher revenues received from a lower unemployment rate.  It stimulated the economy.   That would be a smart move on the part of Congress, so don’t expect to see it anytime soon.

The most venomous ad I observed went like this; “Candidate Z supports tax cuts for millionaires!”  There we go again.  Go get Old Blueballs out of the stable,  because we got another galoot to hang from a tall oak tree!  Those darn millionaires got there on the backs of the poor and they are not paying their fair share of taxes!  Get the rope!  Maybe we should delay that execution for just a moment.  In 2010, the top ten percent wage earners paid over 70% of the total amount collected in federal income taxes.  The remaining 90% bore just under 30% of the tax burden.  Forty-seven percent of all Americans paid hardly anything at all – a fact that got Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney into political hot water during the  2012 political campaign.  In 1986, the top ten percent wage earners paid 55% of the total federal taxes.  In 1986 there were just two tax rates – 15% and 28%.  (Ahhhh, the good old days!)  Now there are seven income tax brackets, ranging from 10% to nearly 40%. (So much for simplifying the tax codes!)   Now someone needs to educate me as to how the top ten percent wage earners, those people paying over 70% of the federal government taxes, are not paying their fair share?  Their tax burden has gone up 12% since 1986!  Maybe Candidate Z deserves not to be hanged today.  He probably understands that if we decrease government spending, maybe those darn millionaires do deserve a tax break, getting us back to the tax rates of the ‘good old days.’

Of course, no election campaign would be complete without referencing Obamacare.  I am against this plan simply because it was forced onto the American public by a Democratically controlled Congress that had not read the act or put any forethought into its administration.  It was a hair-brained Democrat scheme to purchase votes, once again trying to get the masses onto the seemingly endless government teat.  So far, Obamacare has appeared to do more harm than good.  Its overall administration has been a disaster.  It proves once again that private enterprise, not the federal government, is more efficient at administering large scale programs.

So there you have it.  Our upcoming midterm election – that time of year when television revenues are going through the roof because of political advertising, and ad agencies sink to an abyss of lost ethics by making their candidates’ opponents look like political derelicts and crooks.

What don’t we see in any of these ads?  Spending cuts.  Established sunsets on all welfare benefits.  Term limits.  Drug testing for present and future welfare recipients.  Corporate tax reductions.  Income tax reductions.  A flat income tax.   Social security/retirement revision.  Somehow, none of these very important items makes the final cut in any of these ads.

I can’t wait until the elections are over so I can get back to my favorite ads.

Go vote!  Or as the Bayou Mauler, editor at large, would say, “Geaux vote!”

“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics, is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”  Plato