Is It A Scary Time To Be A Woman?

September 21, 2012

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CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 05:  Attorney Sandra...

Sandra Fluke speaks at the convention

Two weeks ago the Democrats held their Convention. The focus seemed to be auto bailouts, pandering to Unions, making fun of Republicans and, of course, free birth control. Please.

The issues that they should be focusing on important ones…our debt that is spiraling out of control, the unemployed and underemployed…you know, the REALLY important things.

I watched the Princess of the Democrat party, Sandra Fluke, discussing how her birth control should be paid for. I really wish she wouldn’t have used the collective “we” when referring to women because she didn’t represent me or my values.

Living in Iowa, I’ve seen all of the ads. The most pathetic one of all starts out, “It’s a scary time to be a woman.” Really? Because no one can find work? Oh, wait, you mean because Mitt Romney doesn’t believe that our tax dollars should go to a private “women’s health” business.

Look, ladies. Let’s think about this. It’s not scary just because you may have to pay a $9 co-pay on your birth control. I know that now, compared to 4 years ago, I spend more than $9 a month on the same amount of gas that I’d put in my minivan. I know that my grocery bill has increased more than $9 each trip for the same items.

Maybe it is a scary time to be a woman. I’m scared that some women are actually buying into this. But what makes my head spin is hearing the women on the left scream “My body, my choice” and yet, we’re expected to subsidize it? You can’t have it both ways. Either it is your body and you take care of it yourself, or it is not and you get free stuff.

I don’t want “free stuff” from the Government, because it’s not really free. Someone has paid for it. And I’d rather not be indebted to the Government for anything.

I prefer FREEDOM over free stuff.

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The Worst Form of National Economics

January 12, 2012

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The Worst Form of National Economics, Except All the Others That Have Been Tried

Like Winston Churchill Said …

Let me get this out of the way, I’m not against capitalism. Winston Churchill once said of Democracy that it’s the worst form of government, except all the others that have been tried. Capitalism is the financial equivalent to that form of governance – it’s the worst form of national finance, except all the others that have been tried. I have no problems with capitalism. People should be free to make the money they want, as long as that money making doesn’t harm others. Well, that harming others is where I have a problem with the twisted brand of capitalism that so many modern corporations practice – Vulture Capitalism.

Back in the late 1800’s there was a term used for the leaders of companies so powerful that they were indeed “too big to fail” – Robber Barons. These men were known for using unethical practices to obtain their obscene wealth. They acquired personal wealth at the cost of anything, including in many cases people’s lives. The recession of 2008 also had its roots in corporate entities that were “too big to fail” and the results where a handful of individuals gaining wealth and the vast majority of the country either being stagnant or losing ground. Again, I have zero problem with people becoming rich. I have many problems with people becoming rich because the money elects the politicians and then the politicians make the rules and then the rules favor those with money.

Trickle Down is Now Upside Down

An article just out last week showed that not only is the idea of “Trickle Down” wealth false, things have been the opposite in recent times. Even before taxes of any kind are taken into effect, the rich are still getting richer and everyone else – 99.9% of the country – are either stagnant or losing wealth.

Think of it this way; you’re in a group of 100 people, and you and 98 others all drive mid 1990’s SUVs and make $10 an hour. The last guy drives a Prius and makes $100 an hour. The price of gas for you and the 98 is $3.50 a gallon, but because of the fact he drives a non-guzzler, the guy who drives the Prius only has to pay $2.00 for a gallon of government-subsidized gas. Not only does he have a lot more money to cover his basic expenses, you and the other 98 are at a disadvantage because of government loopholes – loopholes put there by a combination of his money, and money from Toyota and the gas companies. Back before the Prius was invented, and before he was making so much more things were even, but as time goes on the playing field becomes less and less level.

It’s like a very small deviation in a course, over a mile being 1 degree off course will only put you off your final destination by a few dozen feet, but if you extend that trip to a few hundred miles you will be dozens of miles off by the time you get to where you’re going – magnitudes of order. Think that’s bad? What exists between the .4% and the rest of the 99.6% now is many magnitudes of order.

Cheer Up, It Can Only Get Worse!

It will only get worse, too. Every senator and representative makes over twice as much as the average person, easily putting them in the top 2% Unless they specifically vote to freeze their own pay on an annual basis, they get about a 3% “cost of living” raise.  I’m a state government employee and because of “budgetary” reasons I haven’t gotten a cost of living raise in more than a few years. Combine that with the fact that my medical benefits have decreased and gotten more expensive (higher out-of-pocket, higher salary deduction), I’ve actually lost money, comparatively.

For the vast majority of congresspeople, the bulk of donations to their political campaigns come from the ultra-rich or corporations. Why wouldn’t a senator not vote for changes that help the rich? Not only are they helping themselves, they’re most likely helping their kin since inherited wealth is taxed at a much lower rate, sometimes not at all with loopholes and trust funds. Finally, once voted into office a congressperson gets lifetime health care and a retirement check. It’s a revolving door – rich corporations and the top .4% help get people into office, those people in turn pass laws and write loopholes that help the rich corporations get richer and top .4% keep more of their money, who in turn help who they want to be in office get there.

One of the biggest pieces of evidence of this is the Wall Street bailouts. Wall Street started voting in people who would deregulate finance laws, in turn Wall Street was allowed to take bigger gambles with collections of money – money at least in part made up of millions of retirement and savings accounts. Those risks failed, and in failing the richest of the super-rich made money because they hedged their bets. The companies they left sinking were then bailed out by the government, while the vast majority of people got nothing. The rich gambled with our money, lost it, made money themselves on that gamble, and then got the government to bail out the companies they shattered with that gamble.

It’s not just Republicans, on this one, either. After promising to change Washington in his election campaign, Barrack Obama turned around and filled his most important cabinet positions with ex-bankers, and ex-Wall Street types. I’m not sure which is worse, Obama failing like that and still decrying the evils of “Trickle-Down” or the Republicans still trying to get you to believe it works.

Plugging the River-sized Leak with Chewing Gum

Remember Citizens United vs. The Federal Election Commission? I’ve written about it before – it essentially removes limits to anonymous corporate spending in political campaigns. It’s just the latest in a long-line of laws that essentially give a corporation similar rights to that as a person. Even with the millions of people making political donations, corporations can still outspend us, even more so with the whole rich-getting-richer, poor-getting-poorer trend of the last few decades. We need to even the odds, we need to call in a few bulldozers to plug the leak that’s been growing larger since the 1980’s. If corporations have all the benefits of being a person, they need some of the drawbacks. When I see a corporation getting executed in Texas I’ll consider it a decent first step toward the playing field being level.

This is not about class warfare, this is about correcting a wrong that has been snowballing since the early part of last century and snowballing out of control since the 1980’s. That few degrees off course that accumulated under Reagan, Clinton, and the Bushes has us hundreds of miles from where we should be. Democrats are at least arguing that the problem exists, even if they are taking corporate money in one hand while placating you with the other. Republicans are arguing for less regulation, less restrictions on campaign finance, and calling the Democrats placation “class warfare.” It’s hard to have a class war when some 400 people have more resources than 40 million.

Capitalism is wonderful, but thanks to greed it needs oversight, especially when the people making the rules are put in place by the people with the money.

Take a Vacation or Not?

July 11, 2011

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This year, many people are choosing to not take a vacation. This decision is based on economic or perceived economic concerns. The price of gasoline is high, but no higher than last year. The job market is tight, but no tighter than last year. The cost of traveling, food, lodging and points of interest have not gone up appreciatively, so why the reluctance to go on vacation?

There are several reasons. Since the economy is stagnant, many people are more stressed. They feel that they cannot be away from a job they have without jeopardizing that job. This cycle is of course self inflicted pain. A vacation is exactly what you need when you are under a lot of stress. People are concerned that the economy will not start growing for a long time, so they want to save as much as possible. This may be true, but drastically changing your spending/saving habits just means when the economy does start growing again, you are going to spend yourself into a hole. As with anything in life, moderation is the best path. Then there are the people who feel guilty about taking a vacation. Either they know someone who is unemployed or think that you might know someone who is and should share the distress.

The biggest influences seem to be external. The continuous bombardment of news stories about how bad things are combined with the political advertisements blaming all of the woes of the world on various office holders provides a background of economic despair.

The dry truth is that the United States and most of the World are currently in a trough of economic stagnation. Economics is a cyclical beast with admittedly some influence from political decisions. We can only be sure that things will change, but we cannot be sure of what direction the change will take. When a large portion of a society drops into a “save at all costs” mode, we have seen that a prolonged period of slow growth results. When a society goes on a spending binge, we see dramatic fluctuations in the economy. That is about the extent of the “sure” things in economics.

So when considering vacation plans, be moderate in your decisions. If you situation requires that you do something different this year, then by all means make an adjustment. If you have an opportunity for momentary extravagance, then why not do it? Even if you just do something locally, to get away from you routine, the benefits will out weigh the costs. I recommend something, anything really, to break the stress and live life.

I Know That I Can’t Take It No More … It Ain’t No Lie

February 18, 2010

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Bye, Bye, Bayh. No, it’s not the N’Sync song I’m talking about. It’s Evan Bayh, the rarely buzzed about Senator from Indiana. Bayh announced on February 15 (coincidently just days before his filing deadline) that he wouldn’t be seeking reelection to the Senate. First, Kennedy in the House and now Bayh. Now, many people believe that this is due to the failing support of the Mighty and Powerful Oz…or Ob. Which is quite possible. Maybe he just decided he didn’t want “to be just another fool in this game for two so” he’s leaving them behind. Or could it be that now that healthcare reform is considered dead and the fact that his wife, Susan, is on many corporate boards, including health Insurance mogul Wellpoint, he knew that he would not stand a chance.

Many media outlets weren’t even saying he was a Democrat, which I find hysterical. I think it is “Tearing up their heart” that Democrats are bailing ship. “I wanted to see him out that door” even though I’ve heard him referred to as a conservative. HA! He’s a conservative just like a RINO would be conservative. He just didn’t “want to be the loser and I’ve had enough”. But the truth remains he’s “Gone”.

Speaking of being “Gone”, anyone seen Al Gore lately? Last week, a Senate hearing was postponed on “Global Warming” due to a record snowfall in D.C. That’s all I got on that. You can’t make this stuff up, folks.

I just wanted to add, Go Team USA!! Bring home the Gold! But don’t tell the Obama Administration that you did. They may want to melt it down for another stimulus. That being said, it’s been one year since the stimulus bill passed. Only 6% of Americans believe the stimulus created jobs. 7% of Americans believe Elvis Presley is still alive. Who knows, maybe the crazy cat lady down the street who visits Graceland every year is on to something. Or not.