Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Detroit is Bankrupt

          How did this happen? From 1900 to 1930 Detroit was the second fastest growing city in the Country.  Los Angeles was first, but started much smaller.  Following World War II, Detroit was a leader of industry and commerce.  Detroit was the world leader in the manufacture of automobiles.  The population reached 1.9 million people.  In 1960 Detroit was the richest per capita of any city in America.  What happened?
        We dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima at the end of World War II devastating the city.  I would recommend watching this video Hiroshima and Detroit today.          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9P0-WBCSLkQ

Today Detroit is down to 710,000 people, is in total decay, and is bankrupt.  It’s not just buildings in decay; it’s a culture lost and people’s lives wasted.  60% of the children live in poverty and 50% of the population is functionally illiterate.  There is large unemployment due to the loss of almost half of all manufacturing jobs, mostly related to automobile manufacturing. 
The sad thing is we knew this was coming.  With the mistakes made in the past, it was inevitable, and we did nothing to change or stop it.  Auto plants closed in Detroit and new plants were opened in other states.  Every one of these automobile manufacturers would have preferred Detroit because Detroit had a trained labor force with a good work ethic (probably not true today), parts suppliers, and was a transportation hub for both land and water.  These plants were not located in Detroit because reasonable agreements could not be reached with the United Auto Workers and the City of Detroit.  Union claims that the quality production for vehicles produced in non-union plants would decline has not proven accurate.  In fact quality is up. 
I have some real horror stories of cars produced in the 70’s when I was a new car dealer.  Many of these were clearly intentional.  We once found a small tin pillbox with a few ball bearings tapped to the inside of the roof under the headliner.  When we finally found the source of the noise, an accompanying note said.  “I bet this one drove you crazy.”  Do you suppose it was intentional?
There were many other causes for Detroit’s decline.  I think one of the major causes was our welfare system, which has proven a total failure.  It has undermined the value of a good work ethic and the traditional family unit.  We now have three generations of people enslaved to welfare.  Detroit no longer offers the trained work force it once had.
There have been problems with city government for more than forty years.  Police and fire departments are in disarray and dysfunctional. Crime rates soared and arsons were commonplace.  There was corruption and cronyism in city government to the point of making it dysfunctional.  Top city government over the last decades has given Detroit no chance to thrive.  We must stop accepting that this is just the way government works.  That statement makes me crazy. 
There were problems with pension benefits that were unsustainable, and rising health care costs.  NAFTA0, OSHA, EPA, and the cost of energy also contributed to the problem. 
Detroit’s decay has many causes, but have you noticed a common denominator?  Growing government, and the self-serving interests of the political elite and union leaders always seem to be the root cause.  Sometimes these leaders are just plain criminals.  Several top Detroit officials have gone to prison.  
Some people think the federal government should bail out Detroit.  This would he a huge mistake.  We have probably fourteen other major cities on the verge of bankruptcy.   They are just waiting to see if they can count on the federal government to bail them out too.  A few of our states like Illinois and California are not in much better shape and looking to the federal government.
This is the Progressive movement at it’s best.  We need real change now so we don’t see Detroit’s problems repeated in other cities, states, or even a national basis.  We must reduce the size, spending, control, and debt of government before it is too late. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Founder's Key

        A friend recommended The Founder’s Key by Larry P. Arnn.  I would recommend this book.  Larry P. Arnn is the President of Hillsdale Collage and an influential conservative.  I know that sounds like an oxymoron in today’s educational system where a conservative professor is a rarity. 
        Our educational system has become so extremely Progressive that the University of Colorado Board of Regents is considering a resolution to prohibit discrimination based on “political affiliation or political philosophy.”  I think it is a sad day when a resolution is needed to prevent discrimination of conservative students, teachers, professors, and administrators in our universities.
        The Founder’s Key addresses what our founding fathers wanted to achieve.  Arnn covers the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  He shows how they are connected and how they are both relevant today.  He addresses how God, nature, and human rights played a role in the writing of the Declaration and Constitution.  He explains the difference between a republic and a democracy, and points out the advantages of the republic our founding fathers formed.
        The Founder’s Key discusses the origins of the Progressive movement and reveals how it can be a threat to our liberty.  President Woodrow Wilson probably was the first Progressive President.  Wilson felt the checks and balances imposed by the Constitution were too restrictive for modern society and hampered what he wanted to do.  FDR continued with the Progressive era.
        I received some feedback on my blog titled, “The Fourth Amendment” on June 18, 2013.  This person stated, “President Wilson, and other Progressives hold the notion very dear that enlightened bureaucrats – experts in their own field – should run things telling the rest of us how to best live our lives and enacting either laws or administrative rules (carrying the force of law) requiring us to live that way.”  This statement pretty much sums up the Progressive movement in my opinion.  Unfortunately, many people do not recognize this threat to our freedom until it affects them personally.  Of course the political elite love this philosophy.  Maybe so many educators are Progressives because they consider themselves to be “enlightened” and hope to be part of the political elite.

The Founders’ Key Part II: Fundamental Readings includes:
·       The Declaration of Independence
·       The Constitution of the United States of America
·       Amendments to the Constitution of The United States of America
·       Federalist No. 10: The Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection (Continued).
·       Federalist No. 39: The Conformity of the Plan to Republican Principles
·       Federalist No. 48: These Departments Should Not Be So Far Separated as to Have No Constitutional Control Over Each Other
·       Federalist No. 49: Method of Guarding Against the Encroachments of Any One Department of Government by Appealing to the People Through a Convention
·       Federalist No. 51: The Structure of the Government Must Furnish the Proper Checks and Balances Between the Different Departments
·       “Property” by James Madison

How long has it been since you read these?  I think I know the answer for most of us.  History has shown our founding fathers were very smart.  We should at least read what they said. It would be nice if this was taught in our schools, but I understand this part of history does not fit the Progressive agenda.  If it continues, the Progressive movement will eventually make this a socialist country and take away the freedoms that made it great.  Maybe that is what you want, but be aware what is happening. 
In my book Business Fits: How to find the right business for you, I address the dangers of reinventing the wheel.  This principle is also true in politics.  History shows the Constitution worked for generations and provides the tools for changing times.  Why do Progressives want to change and reinvent the wheel?  I understand why the political elite want this change, but why do the rest of us put up with it?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Little Shoppe of Horrors

        Most of us have seen The Little Shoppe of Horrors on stage or in the theater.  The basic story line is when a florist’s assistant named Seymour starts raising a hybrid plant that craves blood.  Seymour names the plant Audrey Jr. after a girl named Audrey that also works in the shop.    Audrey Jr. thrives and grows at an alarming rate.  The plant’s appetite for blood and flesh also continues to increase until Seymour is forced to murder and feed the bodies to Audrey Jr.  One of the most quoted lines from the play is the plant saying, “Feed me Seymour.”
The flesh eating plant with the unquenchable appetite kind of reminds me of our federal government.  It grows and grows, and as it grows its appetite for blood, I mean money grows and grows.  If we don’t stop this growth of government, it will eventually eat the free enterprise system and we will lose our freedoms.  
        President Bush and Obama have both expanded welfare at an ever-increasing rate.  Between 2008 and 2011 welfare payments have increase 32% and food stamps have increased 71%.  We are now spending $3.5 trillion on welfare.  Why?  I still think private individuals and charities, and not the federal government should handle welfare.  Jobs would be even better.  Consider the possibility that some elections are being bought with welfare and promises of free stuff.  That does make sense for the political elite. 
        Government continues to grow and the number of people working in government continues to grow.  Even government agencies and departments formed for a specific purpose and specific time period never go away.  President Obama has named 38 czars, and Congress did not approve 33 of these.  President George W. Bush was not much better naming 33 and Congress did not approve 28.  Each of these Czars has a department with hundreds of people.  It never ends.
        The Internal Revenue Service will need to hire an additional 16,500 agents and will require an additional $10 billion in funding to enforce Obama Care. This is just the tip of the iceberg for what Obama Care will cost.  I have huge problems with Obama Care and I am certainly not comfortable with the IRS being the policing arm of the law with their history.  
        These are just two areas that the size and cost of the federal government is growing out of control.  There are thousands and the debt continues to grow to a level that will collapse our economy.  
        We have a problem with maintaining freedom in this country.  It is natural for most people to vote for politicians, which they feel will best represent their personal interests.  This was not true with earlier generations up to World War II and to some extent the Vietnam generation, who put the good of the country and freedom ahead of personal interests. 
        The number of public sector jobs and the number of people on welfare are continually growing.  When this number becomes a majority of the voting population, they will vote for a socialist country.  It is in their best personal interests.  We are close to that situation. 
        If you prefer security to personal freedom, fine.  If you think some political bureaucrat is more qualified to make decisions for the lives of you and your family, fine.  This is great if you are part of the political elite, who will have power and live in luxury.  President Obama’s recent African trip cost over $100 million.  This is obviously not a good investment, but fun for the Obama family and generally accepted and justified by the political elite.  Why not?  They want the same for themselves.
        I would again like to quote Benjamin Franklin.  “They who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety.”  Personally, I feel if we give up liberty, we will eventually have neither.  History has proven how smart our founding fathers were.  I don’t know why we continue to ignore what history has taught us for short-term personal gain. 
The Little Shoppe of Horrors is pure fiction.  Unfortunately, the growth or government is not fiction and a very real problem.  I hope and pray this changes.  God bless America. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Limited Government

        The number one concern of our founding fathers was  our federal government getting too big without checks and balances.  The Constitution clearly defines what was the responsibility of states and what was the responsibility of the federal government, which we have ignored.  The Constitution also limits the power of our three braches of the federal government and we have let this get out of control with things like the use or abuse Executive Orders. 
        We need to limit government with term limits for our legislators.  Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to his fourth term as President.  It did not take long after his death to pass the 22nd Amendment to limit the Presidency to two terms or ten years.  It makes sense to do something similar with our elected members of Congress. 
        Another area I would like to propose limits is the size of any legislation Congress passes.  We complain that Congress does not read a bill before passing it, but with a 2,400 page bill like Obama Care, most legislatures will not read it. 
        I would like to see a fifty page maximum.  Think what this would achieve.  Legislators would actually be able read a bill before voting on it.  There would be very few earmarks as there would be no room.  Every piece of legislation would be a single issue voted on for it’s own merits.  There would be no bundling of unrelated issues.  No deals would be made for votes by adding earmarks or exceptions.  We cannot legislate every possible situation anyway, so there would have to be some common sense interpreting the bill.  I know some of you think advocating the use of common sense in government is an oxymoron, but we must try. 
        In the Creative Financing chapter or my book, Business Fits, I address the need to keep documents simple.  I mention an investor agreement that my attorney drafted that was fourteen legal pages long.  It was too long and too intimidating. I revised the agreement to one 8 ½ x 11 page document and gave it back to him.  He admitted the one page revision covered everything it needed to cover and approved it.  Remember the KISS principle.  Keep It Simple Stupid.
The proposed Fair Tax bill is only 150 pages long and I bet it could be condensed to 50 pages.  This bill would totally eliminate the 70,000 page tax code.  It would actually eliminate all other federal taxes and most of the Internal Revenue Service, and replace it with one consumption tax that would be fair. 
         On July 24, 2012 I posted a blog called “The Solutions To Affordable Health Care.”  In this blog I stated that we could reduce health care costs by 40% in the first year and 80% when fully implemented.  I have made the claim that this could be done with legislation covering six points in ten pages or less.  This is not rocket science, but we have to get the politics of government out of the solution.  
This is not some idle talk or claim.  It could be done, but we must first recognize that government intervention and first dollar health insurance are the major causes of increasing health care costs.  We must then recognize that we can’t solve these problems using the very things that caused the problem.  We must eliminate the cause of the problem. 
We must observe the Constitution and reduce the size of the federal government if we are to maintain our freedoms.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

I Have a Dream

        Last week marked fifty years since Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech in Detroit.  Dr. King was a great American and I applaud his non-violent work for integration.  His death was a tragedy. 
 I was fortunate enough to hear Dr. King give a speech two years before.  Dr. King was the keynote speaker for a national Luther League convention I attended in Miami Beach.  This was the summer of 1961 between my junior and senior years of high school.
Dr. King’s speech at the convention made me so mad that I walked out of the auditorium.  The point of his speech was that all white people were racists and discriminated against blacks.  He didn’t know me, and I did not think he had the right to call me a racist.  I did not consider myself a racist and I certainly did not think all white people were racist.  I considered labeling all whites as racists to be a racist statement by Dr. King and it made me so made I got up and left.  Unfortunately, the auditorium was so large that nobody noticed my protest except for a few of my friends.  Yes, I do think blacks can be racists too, but maybe they have a better excuse for their racism.  
This last year I watched a documentary about the freedom riders in the summer of 1961.  These people were riding buses to Mississippi in the name of equal rights. The way they were treated by some southern whites was hard to believe.  It was a dark time in our history.  Change can be very hard. 
Dr. King was present during the early days of the freedom rides, but left before people were actually jailed.  Some people criticized him for leaving, but no mention was made of where or why he had left except it was because of prior commitments.  I then put together the timing of events and realized that Dr. King had left Mississippi to come to Miami Beach and be the keynote speaker for our Luther League convention.  This gave me a different perspective on his speech.  When I considered what he had just witnessed in Mississippi, I could understand why he might feel all whites were racist.  We all need to be sympathetic for what other people have experienced.
I recognize some people are still racist for various reasons based on their past personal experiences.  I have to admit I have a prejudice based on past experiences.  This prejudice is based on a small personal sample that doesn’t happen to involve blacks, but it does influence me. 
I hope we are past discrimination based on race, religion or sex to the point we can eliminate quotas and treat all people as equal based on who they are and what they have to offer.  There was a time when affirmative action was warranted.  I hope we are past that time.