Are You Better Off?

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Are you better off than you were two years ago? Do you know anyone that is better off now than they were a couple years ago? For me, it’s pretty clear that everyone is worse off. Many are much worse off.

The local cigar shop has a small, makeshift sitting area for guys to sit down and enjoy a cigar. Yes, in Indiana we are still allowed to smoke in some places… for now. So, this week I sat down with the six or seven fellows and lit up a Padron 3000 maduro. The discussion was candid and depressing.

Of the seven of us sitting there: three were unemployed and looking for jobs, one feels underemployed and is looking for a better job, and two of us own businesses which are fighting for every dollar. To top that off, gas went up over $3.50 per gallon and a cart full of groceries costs about $20 more… tough times for all.

As the discussion continued, it occurred to me that these older, wiser, experienced guys are seeing something different this time. In the past, these guys had roughed it through by tapping into savings or skipping expensive vacations. One business owner had lessened his margins just to get jobs and keep his guys working. Though we are taking these measures now, there is not much promising news after more than two years of this.

Personally, I believe things are about to get worse. Consider the state of things across the U.S. and around the world:

  • Middle East is ON FIRE and it is spreading
  • Japan is devastated
  • Europe is crashing
  • China is capitalizing and nefariously manipulating it’s currency
  • Total U.S. Employment is the lowest in DECADES
Now, combine all that turmoil with the confusing fact that U.S. Markets (Stocks) are performing pretty well…??? What does this mean? See, our economy and our markets are NOT one in the same. While the economy struggles to recover, businesses don’t necessarily suffer the same fate.
Consider this example: A corporation reduces a department staff through attrition by 10%. Though employees fuss, the work still gets done. After further attrition, another 15% are gone, but the work is still getting done… hmm. Granted, the environment is not good for employees to fuss or threaten to leave – there are NO jobs for them to move into!
So, the end result of this exercise is that businesses get their necessary work done with less employees. Less expense means more net income, which, in turn means better performance and higher equity valuations. That’s the business perspective – more profitability, more efficiency, and higher share value.
The flip side of this sad story… in our example 25% of the department’s workforce was under performing and expendable. The employees that remain could have been working harder and many were getting paid for showing up. That is the sad truth, and the reason for the strange circumstances of a strong market with a crushed economy.
As for our Administration, we are about to experience the crippling effects of deficit spending and enormous budget growth. Pressure to raise taxes and cut benefits is coming. The irony is that the answer is cutting taxes, reducing Government and regulation, and empowering people to invest in themselves.
As I smoked that cigar, I felt thankful for all that I’ve got. I felt thankful for the incredible standard of living we enjoy, even during the toughest of times. Additionally, I feel hopeful that we will endure the next couple years of turmoil and ultimately reject the Liberal agenda of modern Government (including many GOP – moderates will also be rejected next election!). America’s future depends on Conservatives acting – NOW!
POTUS, his agenda, his direction, and his Liberal Congress are all being rejected by America. The simple truths are that things are much worse for most Americans. Now, we understand why it’s happening, which we haven’t realized in years and elections past.

Tax Rates vs. Tax Revenue

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Tax Rates vs. Tax Revenue

Frankly, I’ve heard enough of this tax debate. ‘Tax the rich’ or ‘only the top 1%’ are spouted off from the mouths of progressives and liberals while others seem to be happy with the way things are. Simply studying history will reveal that this experiment has been going on for a hundred years. Every generation tries to raise taxes or punish the rich – IT HAS FAILED TO INCREASE REVENUE in each and every case! Don’t believe me, read this:

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2003/08/the-historical-lessons-of-lower-tax-rates

This article sheds light on the consequences of lowering tax rates. What ends up happening is, simply put, prosperity. Here’s the rub, tax rates effect revenue but the relationship is inverse. In other words, if you lower one then the other goes up and vice versa. Every time we have lowered tax rates, Government revenue has gone through the roof. Every time we have raised tax rates, the U.S. economy has slowed.

Do you see the ultimate irony here? Liberals want to provide more services and entitlements, all of which cost lots of money. They also want to raise tax rates, which ‘THEORETICALLY’ will increase revenue (only in theory as history gives proof) but now we know will LOWER GOVERNMENT REVENUES. If liberals lowered tax rates they would have money piled up to the ceiling to spend on whatever they wanted! Funny, isn’t it. This makes me wonder, are they really looking out for ‘the people’ or ‘middle class’?

We Conservatives want to lower tax rates, both individual and corporate, because of the certain prosperity that would ensue. America would return to work, companies would invest and grow exponentially, and the $14 Trillion deficit would begin shrinking. See, this action would generate more revenue for the Federal Government. Now, how to spend all the extra money sounds like a nice problem for a future Congress to have.

So, why don’t liberals study history and get on board? It’s my opinion that they are simple ideologues, hungry for power. Maybe they just want to oppose Conservative Republicans… it’s clear the current group of lib Democrats despise Ronald Reagan and resent his success. Their pursuit of these dysfunctional policies is a mystery to me, but in the end their experiment will fail. Conservatives will be there to pick up the pieces and get the ship on the right course… again.

Who Wants to ‘Punish’ the Rich?

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Do we really ‘hate’ the rich? Liberals have created this aura or perception, but is it based on any public will or feeling? I don’t believe it for a minute. In fact, I believe that most Americans have an admiration and curious interest with the rich. That’s because I believe that most Americans hope to become rich!

As a teenager, I took a job as a caddy at Broadmoor Country Club in Indianapolis. It was a great job for two reasons. First, the job introduced me to golf, which is the greatest game and can be played throughout life. Secondly, I had first hand access to successful, rich people for hours at a time.

As I observed the members of the club, I began to notice a number of fascinating details about their lives. Most impressive to a teenage boy was the fact that they drove nice cars, had new golf clubs, and wore nice branded clothes. Simple envy or respect for the lifestyle made me (the teenager) want to be like these folks.

As it turns out, the more subtle characteristics of the rich are the most important aspects of their success. Most of the successful people I caddied for were in fact Entrepreneurs, that is, small business owners. There were some trust fund – family money members, there were also a handful of Corporate members and big business execs (now referred to as ‘fat cats’ or ‘fat cat bankers’), but not that many. The majority of the members were simply entrepreneurs, owning and running smaller business or working for themselves.

Another characteristic that was revealed during their rounds of golf – strong and competitive nature. Most of them hated to lose, even if it was a $10 nassau with their buddies on a Saturday morning. They were hungry, competitive people with an expectation for winning. From my view, they were winning in life.

To wrap up the story of my exposure to the ‘Rich’, it must be said that I never experienced any ill will or ‘hatred’ for the members of Broadmoor C.C. In fact, quite the opposite was true. I found myself admiring and studying these people, wanting to eventually be among them.

Perspective on ‘Punishing’ the Rich


As Liberals gear up for punishing the rich, I got to thinking about what should be done to them… What do everyday Americans think the ‘rich’ should be tasked with? What if we…:

  • Force the rich to pay DOUBLE the tax rate of average people
  • Establish deductions that are insignificant to rich, only helping middle income families significantly
  • Force extra taxes on the rich, such as employment taxes and high corporate tax rates
  • Regulate them and their businesses, making it difficult to engage in commerce
See, we ALREADY do all of these things to the alleged ‘rich’. What further action should we take to punish them? How much of their hard earned money would Liberals like the Government to take (I say STEAL).
My opinion is that anyone who wants to punish the ‘rich’ must have given up hope that they themselves will ever be ‘rich’. There’s simply no justification for further measures. Frankly, there isn’t justification for the status quo as the ‘rich’ are already treated quite differently, aren’t they?
Tomorrow, I’ve got a great addendum to this article regarding TAX RATES. Here’s the teaser question: Does the Government (both parties) want higher tax rates (percentages) or more tax revenue (dollars collected)? The two are mutually exclusive… more tomorrow.

Why Judge Appointments Cannot Be Taken Lightly…

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The activist ruling today on the components of the Arizona ‘Immigration’ Law is evidence that judgeships should not be appointed without heavy consideration. Over a decade ago, Clinton appointed Judge Bolton, which was seemingly inconsequential. Turns out, she would play an ENORMOUS role in today’s political landscape. As the Administration tries to create chaos and tension, she just drove a divisive wedge between two aggravated groups on a collision course with conflict.

Conservative talk radio commented today that the legal argument for an injunction must be very, very strong. Consider that the people of Arizona elected the legislators, who in turn are governing with the clear consent of the people. The Federal Government should take note of this, as about 60% of the people of America support this law. It carries even stronger support in Arizona, which has become dangerous as a result of the lack of enforcement and resources by Federal Border Agents.

There are two giant problems with this issue and this Judge as well as the Administration are on the wrong side of both. First, the Federal Government is failing to enforce the existing immigration laws and protect our Southern border. The second problem is that the States have every right, frankly an obligation to it’s citizens, to protect the residents.

While the Judge will be touted and enjoy her fifteen minutes of fame, the Democrats will claim a victory here. Nonetheless, the righteous citizens of Arizona and the rest of the country realize that the ‘war’ in November will be won. This battle was lost because Liberals bought a trump card many years ago when Billy Clinton appointed this judge.

This brings us back to the point – Judge appointments matter. Supreme Court appointments are very significant as they endure for life. Activist or politically strategic appointments are simply a trump card to be played at a later date. What might come before the court over the next decade? It is my opinion that every piece of destructive legislation this President and Congress have passed against our will should end up before the highest Court.

Will judges like Kagan interpret laws and defend the Constitution? I’m afraid that the answer is not certainly ‘yes’, which means that she and other radical political allies should be voted down. The day will come when the toils of the Nation fall into the lap of one key person, one moment in time when a single vote matters.

Why Don’t We Fight to Win?

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Believe me, I’m far from anti-war. I am, however, against the pathetic version of modern ‘international conflict’ or whatever we call WAR these days. My understanding of war has always been simple – Destroy the enemy. Once the mission is accomplished, get the boys home and move on. When war is waged in this manner, the outcome is certain. The more determined, technologically advanced, more powerful force will win. Without a doubt, the U.S. Armed Forces has been that power for the last one hundred years.

So, what is the problem with Iraq and Afghanistan? There is no question we took down Saddam within weeks and had his army on their knees, controlling the landscape within the first few months. The same circumstances exist in Afghanistan, Al Queda was toppled quickly and could no longer organize there. Despite effectively ‘winning’, we are still maintaining an enormous presence in both countries. Why?

The canned answers are clear: rebuild them, install ‘friendly’ Governments, promote democracy… I get all that. Haven’t we done all that before with countries like Lebanon, Iran/Iraq, and even Afghanistan? If so, why do we need to do it again? The frank truth is that the people of these countries cannot govern themselves, they require a constant policing. I’m reminded of that goofy satirical marionette movie – Team America: World Police. Unfortunately, it’s no joke any more.

The sad truth is that the Islamic societies of the world either can not or choose not to rise up against radicalism within their communities. As long as those radical members have homes and families, who know full well of their brothers and sons involvement in such movements, but continue to shelter and support them – they have nothing to fear. These radicals can terrorize, keep the fight going, and at the end of the day hide with the women and children of their communal family lifestyle.

The fact is that our rules of engagement protect them. Americans carry with us a value for humanity unlike any other part of the world. It is this compassion for life and fellow mankind that both compels us to help and ruins our efforts to destroy the evil of the world. Americans also know that advanced societies are lands with laws, and those laws must be enforced.

Let me pose the question: If you have a family member that you know has robbed a bank, murdered a police officer, and is now knocking on your door… will you provide them asylum and protection? Only the most uncivilized and worst among us would consider helping this person, family or not.

This decision is more affected by principles than it is by fear, as we know even hardened criminals won’t turn their weapons on their own family. Further, we know and understand that by agreeing to provide protection we are also GUILTY of a crime and taking a risk.

It is my opinion that these terrorists (radical Muslims) must be made to live in fear of the long arm of the law. They can be safe nowhere, protected by no one. They must cower in caves and roam the streets, absconded by their own society that rejects their choices of action. Those that provide protection and asylum, they know who they are. These enablers should not be surprised when we knock down their door and enforce the law, and they won’t if we make it the rule.

Is it reasonable for us, Americans, to call on the supposed peaceful Islamic communities to begin policing their own? If people are truly for peace and don’t support radicalism or terrorism, they should take a stand against such behavior and help the cause. Without such action of the masses or changes of the rules of engagement, we will not be able to accomplish the mission and destroy the enemy completely.

With the cooperation and help of peace loving Muslims, we will rid the world of such terrible and destructive people. Either we wait for Islam to help or begin fighting to win, those are the choices.