Jeff Neal for C.U.R.E. - Certain Unalienable Rights Endowment

Archive for April, 2011|Monthly archive page

Big Oil and Amazon’s Kindle

In Opinion on April 29, 2011 at 11:50 pm

In much of the debate about global warming and alternative energy, the companies that produce much of our energy – the energy that runs the engines that feed and house us – are demonized. They are spoken of in ugly terms, especially when their profits are part of the topic. They should, we’re told, be investing those profits into next generation technology to replace the internal combustion engine.

HMMM. I wonder this: Why is it Exxon’s responsibility to create the new technology that would enable us to cap their oil wells and shut down their refineries? A cynic might even ask, why do its critics think Exxon should give a damn about the earth our great-grea­t-great-gr­eat-grand children will inhabit when, at the same time, most of the same people will tell a woman she can kill the child in her womb if that’s more convenient than giving birth and raising it? I guess they’re only worried about those kids who are not yet conceived.

More to the point, much of the commentary is full of admonition and protestation about ‘big oil’s’ profits and behavior. There is a constant demand for action, orders to do something about the problem. Well, (A) I don’t see the problem, so I’m not going to do anything; (B) Exxon’s business is selling oil, not providing energy or making energy available to everyone, and (C) the people who do see a problem ought to start working to fix it instead of insisting that Exxon and I fix it for them. It’s not Exxon’s job/duty/responsibility to solve Al Gore’s problems and SEE (A)! After all, was it Borders Books’ job to invent the Kindle and the iPad?
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Dems get dizzy arguing with themselves

In Opinion on April 29, 2011 at 11:21 pm

They don’t like the rules, but they’ll play by them if they must.

I listened to the Democrats debate what they think about a couple White House politicos leaving their post to start a couple of campaign fundraising machines.  (See HuffingtonPost piece that analyzes their moral dilemma)

Ponder this:

It seems that the Democrats and their media cheerleaders are highly critical of Republican­s who vote in a way that might seem to be consistent with their donors’ views and interests.  We all know the Dems do the same thing, but that’s not my point.  Answer this question and then decide how you feel about this campaign finance business:

If the Republican­s took a bunch of money from, say, the AFL-CIO or SEIU and then started voting the way Richard Trumpka would like, would the Democrats be happier?  OR, if the GOP asks SEIU for money and SEIU says “NO, because we don’t like the way you vote” is that a scandal?  And, if it were to happen, would the Republican­s be expected to shut down – surrender and run no campaigns since they’d have no money?

Look, I don’t like Republicans being beholden to donors any more than I like Democrats kowtowing to unions.  That is why small government is the solution to everyone’s concerns about campaign finance and the influence of money on government policy.  A government that is not in the habit of confiscating money from Peter to pay Paul would make controllin­g politician­s much less desirable for donors of all stripes; it would make for many fewer people trying to be Paul.  All that money could be invested in productive ways rather than paying a lawyer to draft arcane language to be buried in the tax code to let someone escape the net of government taxation.

Campaign to win or govern?

In Opinion on April 26, 2011 at 10:14 pm

South Carolina governor Haley told the truth today about the Republican candidates (including all the wanna-bes) who are parading through her state.  They are all playing the wrong game.  They are obsessed with winning the presidency – they apparently have no idea about how to govern the country IF they do win – sounds like the strategy of the current occupant of the White House.

(See Here for a report on Gov. Haley’s comments)

The governor is exactly right.  She, like most Americans, wants the candidates to tell us what they believe.  We do not want to hear what their campaign strategy will be, since that is tantamount to telling us how you’ll divide the country into voting blocks and, then, divide and conquer. That is what Barack Obama did – and continues to do.  THAT is exactly what both parties are doing, and it is destroying the country.

Politics is too important, therefore too nasty – too much is at stake because the government is too big by a factor of, say 3X.  Let people live their lives without government intrusion, and they won’t fight each other over spending cuts to their favorite program – they’ll figure out how to get their ‘program’ funded the old fasioned way – by convincing others to contribute or invest of their own volition, not compelled by the IRS to pay up or go to jail.  What a peaceful country that would produce.  That’s the country where I thought I was going to raise two sons.

Let’s find a presidential candidate who will give it back to us.

Are we spending too much or taxed too little?

In Economics, Opinion on April 25, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Is there any correlation between The Tea Party and Rational Thinking?

There seems to be some confusion about how the government can routinely run what is generally considered to be an ‘unsustainable’ deficit.  Most of the conversations seem to place the blame on one or both of (1) high government spending and (2) the “irresponsible and unpaid for Bush tax cuts.”

I need someone to explain to me how a tax cut, in and of itself, causes a deficit.  It stands to reason that, unless taxes are $0 or there are no non-essent­ial (i.e. unConstitu­tional) expenditur­es, a deficit is caused if, and only if, the government spends more than it collects in taxes, not because it taxed too little.

After all, isn’t it true that the same congress that writes the tax code also passes the annual budget.  To suggest that one hand of the government (the tax collector) has no responsibi­lity to coordinate its actions with the other hand (the spending machine) is misleading and, I suggest, is born of an intent to deceive or distract the voters from the facts.

Some of the voters who have opened their eyes to that deception are sometimes called Tea Partiers.  Others with similarly open eyes could be described as rational, thinking humans.  Uncovering the deception makes it easier to remember that money the government spends is taken from someone who earned it.  Furthermore, they realize that it’s time to stand up for lower taxes because – well, because it’s moral. Free men should not be compelled to spend their money in ways that Paul Ryan and Harry Reid think are best.  It’s not the politicians’ money.  Let’s take it back.  (see also “Ryan’s Plan – Deeply Flawed Compromise”)

Pink Ribbons, Health Care and Money

In Economics, Financial, Health Care Reform, Opinion on April 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Who can argue with wanting the most affordable, high-quality health care for the most people? An abundant supply of a good thing is a desire that is unassailable by any one who wants to be a welcome participant in the public discourse. So, our challenge is to discover the best means of maximizing the supply of the unarguably good thing, right? Read the rest of this entry »

Debt Ceiling – Did that alarm-thingy go off again?

In Economics, Financial, Opinion, Political Critique on April 21, 2011 at 4:32 pm

If you want to know how serious or knowledgable any of the politicians are about taxing and spending issues, just ask one of them “how large an increase in the debt ceiling do you recommend?”  If their answer is anything less than, say, $10 Trillion dollars (the amount the debt is expected to increase over the next 6-8 years) then that politician is merely pretending to be paying attention to the situation and actually has no sense of what is going on in the country they “govern” much less what are the consequences of his actions.

You’ll get an answer like “up to $17 Trillion” (up from $14.5T now) and you’ll know beyond doubt that they’re not serious, because that increase will last about a year, maybe two . . . and we’re right back where we started.

That’s really the point the Republicans are making (and not very well, by the way).  Unless we pair the increase to major reform in the budget process and serious spending cuts, we’re just kicking the can down the road and solving nothing – like pushing the snooze button on the alarm clock and rolling over for another few winks.

Wake up America – they’re toying with issues that can do irreparable harm to our country and the freedoms we seem to take for granted.  The politicians have no clue what they’re doing – seriously, they don’t – and the ‘media wing’ of the government is complicit, because they think the explosion might be good for ratings.

The Debt Limit and Cancer

In Opinion on April 19, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Neither the Republican­s nor the Democrats actually believe what they say about the national debt being “unsustain­able” and a “danger to our economic future.”

If they did, they’d actually do something serious about it.

Think of it this way – a surgeon cuts open a cancer patient and removes only a portion of the tumor.  He figures it would really, really hurt the patient if he takes all the cancer out, and that might make patient go to a different doctor next time he has cancer. . . so he removes only part of the tumor and closes up the incision.

That’s what both parties are doing – leaving the cancer to fester for longer.  It’s going to kill us, sure, but they decide to leave it in there anyway.

Either they’re cruel or they’re lying and don’t really believe what they’re telling us.  Either way, we need a new staff of doctors.  We need a different brand of politician­.

Externalities or Pharoah Cures the Common Cold

In Humor, Opinion on April 19, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Professor Don Boudreaux of George Mason University writes (link here) on his blog about climate change (sort of).  He notes that politicians often fail to take into account “externalities” (i.e., the effects their decisions, made to advance their own personal agendas, have on third parties).  It brought to mind that many of my interlocutors on various blogs and in everyday conversations tend to make a similar “externality error” in reverse, so to speak.

“Oh, ok, so you want lower taxes – well then, who will pay for the government that invented the internet, makes laws so the air will be clean, the streets paved and water/food you drink/eat healthy?” they ask.  It must be taught in a rote memorization class – it never varies!

They seem to think that the government one day waved its magic wand and made the air clean and rid the streets of horse manure and flies, then fancy automobiles came along because the streets were cleaned up – thank you Professor B for the exact right counter-point.

In my next discussion, I’m going to ask one of those pro-government bloggers why that all-knowing and omnipotent government doesn’t simply pass a new law that outlaws global warming, per se.  It’ll be a law that is short and sweet:  “Earth, we command you to stop warming.”  If good things happen at the stroke of the POTUS’s pen, then, by golly, start writing some laws, would ya!?  Next on the list, we’ll outlaw, forever!, the common cold, skinned knees, body odor, heart-burn,  restless leg syndrome (also known as RLS on TV) and erectile dysfunction.  Who needs doctors and pills when we have legislators!

As Yul Brynner in The Ten Commandments would say: So let it be written, so let it be done.

War – Isn’t winning the ONLY rational objective?

In foreign policy, Opinion on April 18, 2011 at 1:39 pm

On the Huffington Post, there is a piece today (Link here) that suggests America(ns) are paying too much for the war in Afghanistan.

I posted a comment on the blog saying “I want to pay the amount it takes to WIN that war.”  The bloggers responded that I had not defined “win” and they were right – and neither has former President Bush, President Obama or any other politician that votes to send our troops to battle.

Here’s one definition – Bomb the hell out of the enemy until the enemy begs for peace.  Then, during the negotiations for peace, impose conditions on the reconstruction of the bombed country that assure a lasting peace and prosperity for its inhabitants.  Or . . . there is no “or.”  No other rationale exists for war except conquest, and America doesn’t conquer countries, right?

Pretty simple, no?  Not fun or glamorous, but very effective at winning and saving lives in the long run.  Need evidence?  See Germany and Japan, especially as compared to North Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia – not to mention Egypt and Lybia . . .

War – use American power to win or use it to lose.  I don’t see any gray area there, do you?  Fight to win or tell the soldiers, “nevermind guys, just come back home – sorry for the multiple deployments; we owe you one.”

I know where I stand – do you?

And, do you know where your senator, congressman or president stand on defining how to win a war?

Budget Cuts – Congress plans to ban charitable deeds!

In Economics, Opinion, Political Critique on April 18, 2011 at 11:24 am

Why do some people equate what our government does with what our country does?

This nation is comprised of individuals, men and women, all of whom have the freedom to act on their own beliefs – they may help the poor, feed the hungry, abort the babies of the unfortunat­ely pregnant, or subsidize the purchase of windmills for T. Boone Pickens.  I will not object to Harry Reid’s efforts to raise a fund to pay for any and all of those things, so long as he keeps the power of Congress and the IRS out of the process.

The question is, why does he, and his ilk, think those things are only possible if plann ed and done by the federal government­.  And why are they deemed worthy only after the IRS has forceably taken money from men who, maybe, wanted to invest those dollars in a new farming process that might double the output of corn per acre of farmland, thus making food more affordable for millions of children?

Reducing government spending does not vaporize money or ban good deeds – it simply lets the men and women who OWN that money choose for themselves how it should be deployed.  Who, other than a member of Congress and lobbyists, believes that 535 men/women in Congress know better what to do with YOUR money than you do?