Friday, February 20, 2009

The Glorious Cause

Read these words. Feel these words. Heed these words. And reflect on what our Founding Fathers experienced in the glorious cause for liberty and freedom for all mankind.

Folks, we need to get back to the basics to what made this country the greatest country in the free world. We need a grass roots revolution to take back OUR country from the corrupt government...We the people, for the people, and by the people -- us.

"Our own Country's Honor, all call upon us for a vigorous and manly exertion, and if we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the whole world. Let us therefore rely upon the goodness of the Cause, and the aid of the supreme Being, in whose hands Victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble Actions -- The Eyes of all our Countrymen are now upon us, and we shall have their blessings, and praises, if happily we are the instruments of saving them from the Tyranny mediated against them. Let us therefore animate and encourage each other, and show the whole world, that a free man contending for Liberty on his own ground is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth." -- George Washington, 1776

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it." -- Thomas Paine

"I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer." -- Ben Franklin, 1766

"[L]iberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood." -- John Adams, 1765

"Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Beside, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of Nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us." -- Patrick Henry

"Our properties within our own territories [should not] be taxed or regulated by any power on earth but our own." -- Thomas Jefferson, 1774

"These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their county; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny like hell is not easily conquered yet we have this consolation with us, the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value." -- Thomas Paine after the Declaration of Independence

"Patriotism is as much a virtue as justice, and is as necessary for the support of societies as natural affection is for the support of families." -- Benjamin Rush, 1773

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Behind door number one....voila! A bag of goods!!

So Congress (mainly the Democrats) slammed this 1,075 pg behemoth of a bill down our throats like a cheap bottle of tequila -- with probably the same effects. It appears as though this fake stimulus bill is going to be signed by Obama on Monday. I say fake because it is not a "real stimulus" and it is not using "real money" -- it's using money that we don't have. More specifically, it's money that we are going to have to print (monetize) because not even the Chinese want a piece of this. This is simply liberal policy dressed up in the name of stimulus through scare tactics to the American taxpayers.

I actually laughed during Obama's speech the other night when he said there is not one single earmark or "pork" in the bill. It's one huge earmark, mixed in with some tax cuts. It's payback time for the liberal groups who helped elect him and it's the Democrats wet dream coming to reality after not being in the majority for so long. It's not only disingenious, but is an outright "stretching of the truth" when they say this is going to creat or save 4 million jobs through the liberal spending programs that have been covertly snuck into this bill. We can debate on wether some of these liberal spending programs have some social merit and are good for the future of our children and this country. But to include these programs under the guise of stimulus spending that is required to avert catastrophe is sneaky and underhanded -- even for Congress. These programs should be debated through the normal appropriations process for the new budget -- not slipped in while no one is looking (and did not have the opportunity to look at it). And whatever happened to Obama's campaign promise of transparency and allowing the public 5 days to review any legislation before signing it into law??? Is this the change you promised? It seems like more of the same to me.

The economy is in crisis...the financial system is in shambles. Foreclosures are increasing every day. More people are losing their jobs. People have been living above their means for a long time and so has our government -- wonder which came first??? Something has to be done, right?! Or does it? There is some debate as to whether or not the economy will lift itself out of its malaise without any intervention. I tend to think it will as long as we let the failures, But let's consider that you believe some intervention is necessary by the government. We will agree to disagree.

The Obama administration and the Democrats in Congress have said from the beginning that this bill is about creating jobs. They predict it will create anywhere from 3.6 million jobs to 4.5 million jobs. I have not quite figured out how they got this number and frankly I am interested to see their formula -- but I digress. So let's get back to the issue of creating jobs. Small businesses are the backbone of the economy and there is much ado about nothing in this bill for small businesses. Here's a few things to consider....

Small Business:

Small businesses employ about half of U.S. workers. Of 116.3 million nonfarm private sector workers in 2005, small firms with fewer than 500 workers employed 58.6 million and large firms employed 57.7 million. Firms with fewer than 20 employees employed 21.3 million. While small firms create 60 to 80 percent of net new jobs, their share of employment remains steady since some firms grow into large firms as they create new jobs.

Of the 23 million nonfarm businesses in 2002, women owned 6.5 million businesses. These firms generated $940.8 billion in revenues, employed 7.1 million workers, and had $173.7 billion in payroll. In addition, another 2.7 million firms were owned equally by both women and men; these firms added another $731.4 billion in revenues and employed another 5.7 million workers.

  • In 2007, there were 27.2 million small businesses in the United States, according to Office of Advocacy estimates.
  • Represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms.
  • Employ about half of all private sector employees.
  • Pay nearly 45 percent of total U.S. private payroll.
  • Have generated 60 to 80 percent of net new jobs annually over the last decade.
  • Create more than half of nonfarm private gross domestic product (GDP).
  • Hire 40 percent of high tech workers (such as scientists, engineers, and computer workers).
  • Made up 97.3 percent of all identified exporters and produced 28.9 percent of the known export value in FY 2006.
  • Produce 13 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms; these patents are twice as likely as large firm patents to be among the one percent most cited.
So my point is and the question everyone should be pondering is if this spending bill is about creating jobs (their words, not mine), and small business is the backbone of our economy, then why is there nothing here for small business?! Why doesn't his economic stimulus bill include his own campaign proposal to eliminate the capital-gains tax for small businesses? Mr. Obama's original promise to cancel the capital gains tax for small enterprises was highlighted on his campaign Web site under "Small Business Emergency Rescue Plan." Oh well, it's just another campaign promise that Obama has broken --it must be a presidential record in this short amount of time. Moreover, there are absolute negatives in the mix for small and mid-size firms, such as higher COBRA costs, expanded prevailing wage regulations on stimulus projects, and sneaky protectionist requirements.

In the end, it pays to keep in mind what Senator Mitch McConnell said, as quoted in the February 11 USA Today: "This paints a picture of the Europeanization of America. I do think it's important to focus on the larger question of, ‘Where are we going to leave the country in two years if we take all of these steps?'"

This ain't the change I believe in!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Cafe Cubano: "What do you think a stimulus is?"

Cafe Cubano: "What do you think a stimulus is?"

"What do you think a stimulus is?"

Note to all Americans, re: Congress. Get rid of every single one of them--throw the bums out! Congratulations to the Senate for "reducing" the stimulus bill from the House version of $825 billion to a $780 Billion "compromise". That is just window dressing folks. Plain and simple -- smoke and mirrors. Don't get me wrong, times are tough -- real tough. I've never seen anything like this. Something has got to give no doubt. However, there is very little in either bill which provides stimulus. Throwing more money (which we don't have by the way) at the problem doesn't seem like the answer to me. I'm no Economist or an expert of finance, so I'll leave it up to those who are. The following are some things to consider before you start to say, "yeah but, the government needs to do something because...."

Taken from the WSJ:
"Mr. Obama is now endorsing a sort of reductionist Keynesianism that argues that any government spending is an economic stimulus. This is so manifestly false that we doubt Mr. Obama really believes it. He has to know that it matters what the government spends the money on, as well as how it is financed. A dollar doled out in jobless benefits may well be spent by the worker who receives it. That $1 of spending will count as economic activity and add to GDP.

But that same dollar can't be conjured out of thin air. The government has to take that dollar away from someone else -- either in higher taxes, or by issuing new debt in the form of a bond. The person who is taxed or buys the bond will have $1 less to spend. If the beneficiary of that $1 spends it on something less productive than the taxed American or the lender would have, then the net impact on growth will be negative.

Some Democrats claim these transfer payments are stimulating because they go mainly to poor people, who immediately spend the money. Tax cuts for business or for incomes across the board won't work, they add, because those tax cuts go disproportionately to "the rich," who will save the money. But a saved $1 doesn't vanish from the economy, unless it is stuffed into a mattress. It enters the financial system, where it is lent to others; or it is invested in the stock market as capital for businesses; or it is invested in entirely new businesses, which are the real drivers of job creation and prosperity."

More from the WSJ -- this is really eye-popping...

"To understand the problem with the stimulus bill, it helps to focus on specific parts. Take the $142 billion for schools, which is nearly double the total outlays of the Department of Education in 2007. Now consider that much of this cash would go to public-school systems that don't even need the money for its earmarked purposes.

The Milwaukee Public School system, for example, would receive $88.6 million over two years for new construction projects under the House version of the stimulus -- even though the district currently has 15 vacant school buildings and declining enrollment. Between 1990 and 2008, inflation-adjusted MPS spending rose by 35%, per-pupil spending increased by 36% and state aid grew by 58%. Over the same period, enrollment fell by a percentage point and is projected to continue falling, leaving the system with enough excess capacity for some 22,000 students.

The Milwaukee situation is instructive for another reason. The city is home to the country's oldest and largest school voucher program, which provides public funds for children to attend private schools. Families who participate in the means-tested voucher program receive $6,700 per pupil, while the city spends more than $13,000 per student. In addition to saving the taxpayers money, voucher students graduate at higher rates and outscore their counterparts on reading and math exams, which is one reason waiting lists for the program are common.

Yet language in the stimulus bill expressly prohibits any dollars from going toward financial assistance to students attending private schools. In other words, Milwaukee can use the money to build schools it doesn't need, but not to expand education programs that are producing better outcomes for disadvantaged kids. The Senate version excludes provisions in the House bill for teacher merit pay and charter schools now serving more than a million students, two more education reforms that are gaining popularity nationwide despite opposition from teachers unions and local school boards."

Unbelievable, isn't it??? This is a disgrace and we are supposed to be fine with this?! Congress is so out of touch. They are playing with our kids future and everyone should be yelling at them to stop this madness. This is our money, not theirs. This is our country, our government. We pay the bills through our taxes (unless you are one of Obama's Cabinet members)! Do something about this -- contact your representatives and tell them to go take a hike. Can anyone say term limits?