Friday, April 4, 2014

The Variable that Liberals Try to Ignore

President Obama's obsession with "income inequality" seems to be spreading around the globe.  This ideology leads proponents to enact policies that take money from those who earn it and redistribute it to those who are less fortunate and/or less industrious.  I can't help noticing, however, that these ideologues don't seem to redistribute their own wealth. They only want to use other people's money.

It would be wonderful to have everyone making good money and having a high standard of living, but this is not likely to ever happen.  People are equal in the eyes of their Creator and should certainly have equal opportunity to become successful.  People, however, differ in their levels of intelligence, ambition and personal discipline.  For these reasons, equal opportunity can never assure equal outcomes.

Why don't wealth redistribution and socialistic policies work?  These are things that might be good in theory, but in reality have unintended consequences.  Throughout human history, there has been one thing that has remained constant and unchanged.  It's also the variable that liberals try to ignore:  human nature.  The human race has a certain number of "slackers", those who don't pull their own weight.  I'm not referring to those who can't work, I'm referring to those who won't work.  If the government is taking money from those who produce wealth and giving it to those who won't work, it essentially is giving the slackers a reason not to work.  Why work for money if you can just have it handed to you?!

On the other hand, the drive to work hard and earn a good living is dampened by the knowledge that the government is just going to take a huge chunk of it.  Thus, both earners and takers end up losing the incentive to become productive and in the end, wealth and power become concentrated in the hands of a few, while the great mass of people are poor and miserable, albeit equal.  

Human nature is not going to change.  It's normal for people to want to keep what they earn and, unfortunately, it's also a human weakness to want things to be easy.  The goal should be to provide ample opportunity to everyone and educate people to the fact that dependence on government will never provide financial security or true freedom.  

Monday, February 24, 2014

An Open Letter to Tom Steyer

Dear Mr. Steyer (and other environmentalists and anti-fossil fuel folks), 

So, you're against the Keystone pipeline, believe the propaganda about climate change and are against fossil fuels. Fine, you're entitled to your opinion and from everything I've read, you and your wife seem like decent, well-meaning people.  

I just wanted to throw a few things out here for your consideration.  First, no matter how you feel about fossil fuels, the reality is that we need them now and in the foreseeable future. That is a reality. You can dream all you want about wind and solar power, but that doesn't address our present-day needs.  

Second, have you given any thought to how many people are employed in the energy business?  I'm not just talking about those who work for oil and gas companies, but all the peripheral businesses that support the petroleum industry: oilfield service companies, pipe companies, pipefitters, welders, etc. If you succeed in doing away with fossil fuels (which I personally don't believe will happen in my lifetime), hundreds of thousands of people will be put out of work. Do you care about those people?

Third, I suspect most people either don't know about or give little thought to the myriad products that are petroleum-based.  In your own kitchen, your coffee pot, drinking cups and cooking utensils are probably made from petroleum products.  Refrigerator shelves, sponges, trash bags and nonstick pans are all derived from petroleum.  

In your car, the dashboard, upholstery, windshield wipers, visors and even your brake fluid are all derived from oil and gas products.  In offices, computers, calculators, cell phones, printers and copiers, and even the floors and counters in the building are most likely from petroleum-based products.  

Numerous medical products are also derived from petroleum: artificial hearts, prosthetic limbs and hearing aids are all representative of life-enhancing and life-saving products that were developed from oil and gas.  Even some medications are petroleum-based:  anesthetics and drugs to treat arthritis and allergies to name a few.  

There are many recreational pursuits in which you come in contact with petroleum products:  golf balls, footballs, tennis rackets, diving boards, swim goggles and bicycle tires would not exist as we know them without oil and gas. Even the soles of your sneakers are made from gas and oil products.  

I could go on and on, as the list is long and the products too numerous to mention here. I think you get the point though. Are you willing to give up all these products in your quest to end the use of fossil fuels? Have you come up with alternative materials to make these everyday tools we take for granted? If not, may I suggest you direct your efforts toward that end? I for one am not willing to forego my modern conveniences and I suspect you aren't either.  

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sorry State of the Union

As many people know, tonight is the annual State of the Union address, in which the president lays out his agenda for the coming year.  Although this is a long-held tradition, it often is an exercise in frustration and futility.  

According to the Wall Street Journal, the country is "increasingly worried" about the president's abilities and are fearful about America's future.  A Washington Post poll revealed that fully 63% of Americans have little or no faith that Mr. Obama will make the right decisions.  At the same time, the public seems to support many of the president's themes and policy ideas.  There seems to be some kind of disconnection here.

Mr. Obama and other Democrats have certain phrases that they use over and over, knowing that they resonate with people:  "income inequality", "war on women", "minimum wage", etc.  When it comes to income inequality, for example, who could possibly be against helping the poor improve their lot in life?  No one whom I know.  But pay close attention; what has Obama actually done to address these problems? His "solution" is to take money that the wealthy have earned and redistribute it to those less fortunate. Would it not be better to empower people to rise out of poverty through their own efforts, rather than simply taking from the wealthy? Our economy remains anemic, millions of people have simply given up on looking for work and the median household income has decreased during Mr. Obama's presidency, due to his failed policies.  We could all possibly end up poor and miserable, but, boy, we'd all be equal!  

The United States, although weakened, is still a strong country, but we will likely not recover fully under this president.  Mr. Obama seems to confuse rhetoric with action, and there is a dichotomy between what he says and what he actually does.   We would do well to follow the example of Andrew Carnegie, who said "As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say.  I just watch what they do." 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Letter from a Dying Senior Citizen

I received an email from a friend today that is simple, yet eloquent, and expresses perfectly what many Americans are feeling these days.  The email contained a letter to the two senators from Washington state and I've reprinted it below.  Please feel free to pass it along to all who might be interested.

"April 3, 2013 
Senator Patty Murray
Senator Maria Cantwell
Washington, DC , 20510  
Dear Senator:              
        I have tried to live by the rules my entire life. My father was a Command Sergeant Major, U.S. Army, who died of combat related stresses shortly after his retirement. It was he who instilled in me those virtues he felt important - honesty, duty, patriotism and obeying the laws of God and of our various governments. I have served my country, paid my taxes, worked hard, volunteered and donated my fair share of money, time and artifacts.        
        Today, as I approach my 79th birthday, I am heart-broken when I look at my country and my government. I shall only point out a very few things abysmally wrong which you can multiply by a thousand fold. I have calculated that all the money I have paid in income taxes my entire life cannot even keep the Senate barbershop open for one year! Only Heaven and a few tight-lipped actuarial types know what the Senate dining room costs the taxpayers. So please, enjoy your haircuts and meals on us.
        Last year, the president spent an estimated 1.4 $billion on himself and his family. The vice president spends $millions on hotels. They have had 8 vacations so far this year! And our House of Representatives and Senate have become America 's answer to the Saudi royal family. You have become the "perfumed princes and princesses" of our country.
        In the middle of the night, you voted in the Affordable Health Care Act, a.k.a. "Obama Care," a bill which no more than a handful of senators or representatives read more than several paragraphs, crammed it down our throats, and then promptly exempted yourselves from it substituting your own taxpayer-subsidized golden health care insurance.
        You live exceedingly well, eat and drink as well as the "one percenter's," consistently vote yourselves perks and pay raises while making 3.5 times the average U.S. individual income, and give up nothing while you (as well as the president and veep) ask us to sacrifice due to sequestration (for which, of course, you plan to blame the Republicans, anyway).
        You understand very well the only two rules you need to know - (1) How
        to get elected, and (2) How to get re-elected. And you do this with the aid of an eagerly willing and partisan press, speeches permeated with a certain economy of truth, and by buying the votes of the greedy, the ill-informed and under-educated citizens (and non-citizens, too, many of whom do vote ) who are looking for a handout rather than a job. Your so-called "safety net" has become a hammock for the lazy. And, what is it now, about 49 or 50 million on food stamps - pretty much all Democrat voters - and the program is absolutely rife with fraud with absolutely no congressional oversight?        
        I would offer that you are not entirely to blame. What changed you is the seductive environment of power in which you have immersed yourselves. It is the nature of both houses of Congress which requires you to subordinate your virtue in order to get anything done until you have achieved a leadership role. To paraphrase President Reagan, it appears that the second oldest profession (politics), bears a remarkably strong resemblance to the oldest.        
        As the hirsute first Baron John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton (1834 - 1902), English historian and moralist, so aptly and accurately stated, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." I'm only guessing that this applies to the female sex as well. Tell me, is there a more corrupt entity in this country than Congress?        
        While we middle class people continue to struggle, our government becomes less and less transparent, more and more bureaucratic, and ever so much more dictatorial, using Czars and Secretaries to tell us (just to mention a very few) what kind of light bulbs we must purchase, how much soda or hamburgers we can eat, what cars we can drive, gasoline to use, and what health care we must buy. Countless thousands of pages of regulations strangle our businesses costing the consumer more and more every day.
        As I face my final year, or so, with cancer, my president and my government tell me "You'll just have to take a pill," while you, Senator, your colleagues, the president, and other exulted government officials and their families will get the best possible health care on our tax dollars until you are called home by your Creator while also enjoying a retirement beyond my wildest dreams, which of course, you voted for yourselves and we pay for.
        The chances of you reading this letter are practically zero as your staff will not pass it on, but with a little luck, a form letter response might be generated by them with an auto signature applied, hoping we will believe that you, our senator or representative, has heard us and actually cares. This letter will, however, go on line where many others will have the chance to read one person's opinion, rightly or wrongly, about this government, its administration and its senators and representatives.
        I only hope that occasionally you might quietly thank the taxpayer for all the generous entitlements which you have voted yourselves, for which, by law, we must pay, unless, of course, it just goes on the $17 trillion national debt for which your children and ours, and your grandchildren and ours, ad infinitum, must eventually try to pick up the tab.
        My final thoughts are that it must take a person who has either lost his or her soul, or conscience, or both, to seek re-election and continue to destroy this country I deeply love and put it so far in debt that we will never pay it off while your lot improves by the minute, because of your power. For you, Senator, will never stand up to the rascals in your House who constantly deceive the American people. And that, my dear Senator, is how power has corrupted you and the entire Congress. The only answer to clean up this cesspool is term limits. This, of course, will kill the goose that lays your golden eggs. And woe be to him (or her) who would dare to bring it up. "
        Bill Schoonover
        3096 Angela Lane
        Oak Harbor , WA 98277   

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Mythology of Hillary

The next presidential election in 2016 is still three years away, which is an eternity in politics, but many people are already assuming that Hillary Clinton will be the Democrats' nominee.   Some felt certain she would get the nomination in 2008 before she was upset by newcomer Barack Obama, and they believe that the nomination in 2016 is her due.  

Quite frankly, her appeal has always been a mystery to me. The conventional wisdom among liberals is that she is one of the smartest women in the country and has a sterling resume.  But let's look at this objectively; what, exactly, are her accomplishments?

Let's go back to the 1970s, when Hillary worked on the Watergate investigation. Her boss, Jerry Zeifman, a life-long Democrat, fired her, saying she was a "liar" who had engaged in "unethical" behavior.  If Hillary was not trustworthy then, why should anyone believe she can be trusted now?

Hillary served as a Senator from New York for eight years, during which time she had no noteworthy accomplishments. There is no major legislation which bears her name and she missed 9.5% of roll call votes, while the median is 2% among lifetime Senators serving in 2009.  

Her next position, Secretary of State, is similarly lacking in significant achievements.  She traveled a lot, but what did she accomplish?  If someone can tell me, please do so. 

I see the same mythologizing going on with Clinton as happened with Barack Obama.  These two are supposedly among the best and brightest in the country, but what they really share are a lack of character and a dearth of accomplishments.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Do They Really Believe What They Say?

Robert Redford and Chris Noth, those noted political "experts" and has-been actors, have joined the chorus of what has now become a monotonous litany. That is, those of us who oppose President Obama on his agenda must, of course, be racist.  We couldn't possibly be against what he stands for and what he is doing to this country.  It's all because of his skin color.  

I have to wonder if these guys really believe the nonsense they spout or is it just sheep-like behavior, i.e., someone in the media says it and they just fall in line behind it.  What's really irksome is the authoritative way in which they pontificate, as if they really have any first-hand experience with or know any conservatives.  These elites live in a bubble and really have no idea what "normal" Americans believe.  

To quote Obama, "let me be clear":  no one I know has a problem with the color of Obama's skin.  We have a huge issue with the "content of his character", which is to say he has none.  He tells lies with impunity, while so-called "journalists" run interference for him.  His administration is riddled with scandals, but no one appears to pay a price for any misbehavior, and certainly no one takes any responsibility for their misdeeds.  He has made the United States a laughing stock on the world stage and has bowed to our enemies. That is unforgivable in a president.

People like Redford, Noth and others defending Obama are lost causes.  Facts apparently mean absolutely nothing to them.  They get their news from slanted sources and can't even see that there is any bias in the media. To make matters worse, they probably wouldn't dream of actually going into the heartland and personally meeting "the common folk".  These people, who accuse conservatives of being rigid, are the most close-minded bunch around. Even worse, they attempt at every turn to stifle those of us who dare to dissent, but I have a message for them:  we will never be silenced by the likes of you.  The future of our country depends on our voices.     

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Is the American Dream Dead?

A recent YouGov poll revealed that 41% of respondents believe the American dream is no longer possible, while 38% still believe it is achievable.  When broken down by party affiliation, the results were that 53% of Democrats don't believe in the American dream, while 55% of Republicans still do.  

What, exactly, is "the American dream"?   Originally, this term represented a state of mind, a sort of quest.  It meant that you could come from anywhere, belong to any socioeconomic level or class, and still be successful, whatever "success" might mean to you.  It meant freedom to be what you want to be, whether an entrepreneur, a teacher, doctor or whatever else you could aspire to.  It was a philosophy.

In recent times, I believe it has changed into something else, with a focus on materialism.  The dream for many is to have a big house, luxury cars, designer clothes, jewels and all the other trappings of wealth.  It's human nature to want to possess nice things, but with this emphasis on material "stuff", it's easy to see why so many people no longer believe they can achieve financial success.  Our economy is anemic, unemployment is at unacceptable levels and job growth is mainly in part-time jobs.  

Maybe we need to reconsider how we define success.  At one time, if you had a job with a reasonable salary, a stable family life and the respect of the community in which you lived, you were considered successful.  This seems pretty pathetic to many people now, but are people happier now that the emphasis is on how many "goodies" you can acquire?  I don't think so and our society seems much more unstable in many ways. 

The American dream is alive and well; we just need to rediscover it in its original form.  The time has come to adjust our attitudes and expectations and find contentment in simpler things.