Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Expand or Reform Federal Government
        We have a national election in one week.  I am 68 years old and in my opinion this may be the most important election in my lifetime.  This election is about more than just Democrats and Republicans.  Here are some things to think about.

·       Do we want to continue to expand the federal government, increase government spending, increase government debt, and eventually taxes?

·       Do we want to return control to the states and the people as stated in the Constitution and the Tenth Amendment?

·       Do we want to restore the balance of power our Founding Fathers intended with the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government?

There are a lot of other issues, but these are the big ones in my opinion.  If we don’t address these issues, we may not have input on other issues in the future.  Give a lot of thought to your choices and vote.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Too Small To Succeed
        We hear a lot about “Too Big To Fail” with the federal government bailing out big banks and companies like General Motors.  I think the term used in the Dodd-Frank Act for large banks is “Systemically Significant”. 
I don’t think the federal government should pick winners or losers, big or small.  Let me tell you a story about a small business. 

I heard this story from a mutual friend that is a very reliable source.  We will call the owner of the business John Doe.  John Doe is an upstanding citizen that was seriously wounded in the Vietnam War.
John built his own business, which we will call the widget business.  Nationally, there were about 400 companies in the widget business.  The federal government recently passed significant legislation regulating the widget business.  These new regulations came from some appointed federal bureaucrat and/or an executive order.  None of these new regulations had the approval of congress. 
The cost for John’s widget business to comply with the new federal regulations was so significant that John considered shutting down his business.  John decided to spend the money to comply with the new regulations.  Maybe he is just a good American that did not want to put all his employees out of work. 
When John’s widget business had it’s final inspection for the new regulations, the federal inspector made an interesting comment.  He said, “Congratulations, we did not think you would be one of the survivors.”  John asked him what he meant.  The response was that the intent of the new regulations was to put 320 of the 400 widget companies out of business, because it is a lot easier for the federal government to control and regulate 80 companies in widget business than 400.
When I heard this, I was immediately mad.  I said John should have gone to the press.  My friend reminded me that if John had done that, he probably would have federal inspectors at his door on Monday morning and he would be out of business. 
This is a sad, but true story.  You now see why I referred to the owner as John Doe and called his business the widget business.

This is not an isolated incident in this country.  Some people are so naive that they don’t think this type of thing can happen in this country. 
Keep in mind this is happening when all political candidates are saying they are concerned with building the economy, reducing unemployment, and helping the middle class.  Actions do speak louder than words.
Historically, when government adds regulations or price controls, small business is hurt.  When small business is hurt, prices increase, unemployment increases, and the economy suffers.  This is not rocket science.  Check out history. 
These continually expanding federal government regulations may not have affected you personally except for higher prices, but they will at some point in time if we don’t make changes.  We better reduce the size and control of the federal government before it is too late.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Executive Orders

        I have mentioned my concern with executive orders several times in the past.  The head of a government issues an executive order.  This could be a mayor, governor, or our President.   I want to examine executive orders by our Presidents. 
        When our President issues an executive order it has the full force of law.  Congress has the responsibility of creating our laws and an executive order is creating legislation without the approval of Congress.  I question if this is even legal under our constitution.  The Constitution does not specifically give the President the authority to issue executive orders, but this has been circumvented with a vague definition of “Executive Power” which is granted in the Constitution.
        The President’s responsibility is to act as our Commander and Chief and enforce our laws and not make laws.  It is true that some legislation by the Congress specifically grants the President some degree of discretionary legislative power with regard to that specific legislation.  

        Has the use of executive orders gotten out of control?  Here are some facts.  You decide.

Executive orders issued by President:

        FDR                         11 in 16 years
        Truman                      5 in 7 years
        Eisenhower                2 in 8 years
        JFK                           4 in 3 years
        LBJ                           4 in 5 years
        Nixon                        1 in 6 years
        Ford                         3 in 2 years
        Carter                       3 in 4 years
        Reagan                    5 in 8 years
        Bush - 41                 3 in 4 years
        Clinton                   15 in 8 years
        Bush - 43               62 in 8 years
        Obama                 923 in 3 ½ years

        This trend is scary.  We all should be very concerned with this trend.  I see why some people say the Congress is being made irrelevant. 
I am not in favor of the President ever having the power of issuing executive orders unless specifically granted by Congress, and I am defiantly concerned with the abusive use of executive orders starting with President Clinton and Bush 43.  Our founding fathers formed a republic with three branches of government.  The legislative branch, executive branch, and judicial branch where designed to be a check and balance to insure the freedom of the people.  Our founding fathers where pretty smart. 
If we don’t want of lose our individual freedoms, we must stop or control executive orders.  I fear many people are not even aware of this potential danger to our way of life.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Government and the Constitution

        I would like to start with a quote from The 5000 Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen:

        “Beginning with the era of the great depression, all three branches of the federal government used the climate of emergency to overstep their Constitutional authority and aggressively undertake to perform tasks not authorized by the Founders.  Extensive studies by Nobel Price-winning economist Milton Friedman have demonstrated that every one of these adventures in non-Constitutional activities proved counter-productive, some of them tragically so.”

        I find this quote by Milton Friedman funny, but true and sad when we think about: 
“If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand.”

        President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal was praised as the solution to the great depression.  Henry Monrgenthan, Jr. was FDR’s Secretary of the Treasury.  He did not agree. 
Monrgenthan believed in balanced budgets, a stable currency and the reduction of national debt.  He stated:
“We want to see private business expand…We believe that one of the most important ways of achieving these ends at this time is to continue progress toward a balance of the federal budget.”

The New Deal was the name for the stimulus of the time.  Nice name, but this is what Monrgenthan though of it:
“We have tried spending money.  We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work.  And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong….Somebody else can have my job.  I want to see this country prosperous.  I want to see people get a job.  I want to see people get enough to eat.  We have never made good on our promises. …  I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started.  … And an enormous debt to boot.”

What has happened to our government?  Our federal government continues to grow.  Spending increases.  Debt increases to a level it can’t be controlled.  The success of the recent stimulus is questionable at best, unless you are considering the success of paying off campaign donors. Worse yet, it increased the size of government and government debt. 
Our congress seems more concerned with more money and power for themselves than they are for the people.  For many years, our executive branch has exceeded its authority, and effectively creates legislation with executive orders.  Our Supreme Court sometimes creates legislation with their decisions instead of upholding the constitution. 

Our Founding Fathers knew the dangers of a big central government and tried to protect against it.  Henry Monrgenthan, Jr. and Milton Friedman also recognized the danger. 
Why do we continue to ignore history and advance the “Progressive” political practices of the last century?  Will we deal with the problem in time to insure future generations the same freedoms we enjoyed?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Partisan Politics

I have just about had it with partisan politics.  What is wrong with people?  Why do we put up with it?

I have heard people from both parties say they did not want to hear the facts because they were a Democrat or a Republican.  What?  Since when does being a member of either party take away a person’s right to think for himself or herself?

When an elected official from either party does something wrong, people from their party justify the action by saying the other party has done something worse.  Since when do two wrongs make a right?
Politicians from both parties are more concerned with getting reelected than they are concerned with serving their constituents.  They expand government to expand their power.  They don’t seem to care what damage expanding bureaucracy, spending, and debt does to the country. 

Campaign advertising is a joke.  Even if the ad is not an outright lie, the message it sends may not be accurate. 
I would like to give a non-political example of a deceptive ad.  You may have seen an ad for an energy drink that says they have surveyed 3,000 medical doctors.  The ad states that 73% of the doctors surveyed would recommend a low calorie energy drink to those healthy patients that used energy drinks.  This ad is very deceptive, as the first impression is that the doctors were endorsing the product, when in fact, all the doctors said was low calorie was better if they were going to use an energy drink.  They never actually recommended the product advertised or any energy drink.  It is a little scary that only 73% could say this, which was clearly not a positive endorsement.
Campaign advertising is not only deceptive; it is often so full of outright lies that little can be trusted.  I recently heard President Obama in an interview say that if campaign ads were not truthful it was OK because it was politics.  Really?  It’s not OK, and the fact Obama is doing it does not make it OK for Romney to do it.

I am sick of partisan politics from both parties.  Why do we put up with it?  What can we do to change it?  I think it has to come from grass roots movements and I don’t mean special interest groups.  We must find the facts, keep talking, and work for real change.