Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Little Engine That Couldn't

I recently received a link to the video below from a friend.  It clearly explains how it is currently impossible to balance the federal budget.  The consequences from failing to deal with the budget and the debt avalanche cannot be good, maybe catastrophic. 

I'm reminded of the story of the Little Engine that could.  A little engine takes on the task of pulling a long train over a hill.  He struggles, but ultimately succeeds in getting the train to its destination.  However, what if we added additional cars to the train.  At some point the little engine would fail and the train would fail to reach its destination.

The federal government is like a long train.  Over the years we have continued to add additional cars that add to the burden of the federal government (a little engine).  During the Great Depression, FDR added a number of cars (Social Security was the biggest long term program).  But somehow the little engine kept pulling its burden.  In the 1960s LBJ added Medicare and Medicaid.  And again, the little engine continued to struggle up the hill.  Since then, Congress and the President have added additional cars and the little engine is starting to sputter.  The American economy is struggling under the burden of too many cars and not enough engine power.  Since Obama took office he has added trillions more to the debt.  How much longer can the little engine keep going before it finally breaks down.  The engine can only pull so much weight.  We must make severe changes to federal spending  and the role of the federal government or the train will break down. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Summer before last I was running along one of the greenbelts near my home. I had my MP3 player on and was focused on a lecture. I was not fully concentrating on the trail ahead. As I came around a wooded corner a girl on her bicycle appeared and we had a collision. The girl fell and banged her elbows, but was otherwise OK. Her pedal collided with my ankle and scraped it up. Over the next few days the ankle became infected which caused a trip to the doctor and several days off from running. All the result of a distraction which caused me to lose focus on the trail ahead.

It seems that the Democrats are attempting to create distractions in this election that are causing Americans to lose focus on the key issues of the upcoming election: the economy, foreign policy, a failed presidency, and a shift towards socialism.

Earlier this year, George Stephanopoulos from ABC News raised a question at a Republican debate about contraception. Candidate Romney was befuddled as to why the question had even been brought up. In subsequent weeks there was more discussion over contraception, particularly after rules had been published regarding contraception requirements in Obamacare. I cannot remember if contraception has ever been a campaign issue, but the media seems to have brought it front and center, it seems in hope of causing the American public to lose focus on key issues.

This past week a Democratic operative made comments about Ann Romney never having worked a day in her life. The controversy over this topic, though important, again has caused the media to focus on something other than key issues. It would seem that the media/Democrats are attempting to create a false war on women to make Republicans look bad. A distraction.

We cannot lose focus caused by the noise in the media. We have a President who is waging a war on free enterprise, the American economy, and the stability of our nation. We need to remain focused. If we trip during this important race, then the left may surge ahead and win this vital election and we may never recover.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Rule of Law

We need laws in society. Why? Consider some of the reasons I found listed on a teaching website (Teachers on the Web) :
  • To maintain social cohesion – so we can live together with other people in groups and communities.
  • To resolve conflict – to allow people to settle disagreements.
  • To attempt to balance the needs of individuals against the needs of the majority.
What are the consequences when individuals or groups fail to abide by the rule of law?  The rights of other individuals and groups are violated. The structure of society can break down.  Chaos can result. I worked in downtown Seattle during the WTO riots in 1999.  My office was a few blocks from the protests, but I still felt less than secure in the downtown area.  Fellow workers attempting to return home had dangerous encounters.  The failure by the protesters to abide by the "rule of law" cost governments and businesses both time and money.  Life was unable to move forward in a normal manner for a several days.

Seattle WTO Riots

This brings us to the Trayvon Martin case.  I do not intend to judge the case in this blog, only to say that the death of this young man is a tragedy.  As of today, the shooter George Zimmerman has not been charged with a crime.  If Zimmerman is guilty of a crime he should be given a fair trial and receive the appropriate punishment if convicted.  However, there are individuals and groups that are convinced that Zimmerman is guilty and may take actions beyond the "rule of law."

MSNBC host Al Sharpton is demanding the arrest of George Zimmerman and calling for an escalation in civil disobedience if action isn't taken immediately.  The New Black Panther party has offered a reward for anyone who captures Zimmerman.  Spike Lee attempted to tweet the address for Zimmerman's parents, instead tweeting the incorrect address and causing trouble for the residents.  Roseann Barr tweeted the correct address for Zimmerman's parents (later pulling the tweet).  On another front, Occupiers throughout America have disregarded local regulations and, in some instances, have destroyed property.

We may not like current laws or their results.  However, to act outside of those rules destroys the fabric that holds society together.  We have processes in place to create change.  Sometimes it is slow, but we must work within the established framework to make change.  Though some would disagree, the Tea Party actions that led up to the 2010 elections are a good example.  Tea Party groups and their sympathizers gathered in peaceful groups and worked through the electoral system to cause historic change within Congress.  This is an appropriate way to evoke change as it does not infringe upon the rights of others within society. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Road Ahead

What road will we follow to the future.  One that continues the policies that are quickly bankrupting the nation or the one that leads to financial sanity?  Today Congressman Paul Ryan released the House plan for the 2013 budget which reduces the federal deficit and puts the nation back on a responsible course that ultimately leads to the elimination of federal debt.  Consider the chart below posted today at the Enterprise Blog.

Wow!  What a difference.  I will not post the details of the Ryan plan here. That can be found elsewhere.  He does chart a responsible course that continues, but alters a number of essential programs.  What is the alternative?  Irresponsible spending that will crush the American economy.

In a statement released today, Bill Wilson, president of American's For Limited Government stated:

“Obama has added more debt in a single term than any president in American history — indeed, any leader in world history. By the end of this calendar year, the Obama Administration, through its policies, will have added $4.925 trillion to the national debt. That includes $185 billion of 2009 ‘stimulus’ spending and when Obama’s first continuing resolution went into effect at the end of the 2009 fiscal year.

“By the time his fiscal year 2013 spending has fully gone into effect, Obama will have added a full $5.823 trillion to the debt.

Consider the road we have followed over recent years and project this same activity out and consider the consequences.  Please watch the following video (you may want to click on the YouTube link to watch it in full screen).

Now is the time for change.  We must take action and support the Ryan budget or a similar proposal that stops digging us deeper into a hole from which we may not recover.

Monday, March 19, 2012

America's Great Divide

I thought that it was about time to retrieve my blog from the mothballs.  There is too much going on that needs comment.  Some days I listen to the news and commentary and it is all I can do to keep from throwing things at my computer screen.  Thus, I have returned.
One of the thoughts that I have focused on for quite sometime is the great divide within America.  For a long time I felt that there were two main parties involved in this battle.  However, after further consideration, there is a third party passively involved, but critical in determining the outcome of our future.  The parties:
  • The political right: Conservatives, libertarians, and others who believe in a more literal interpretation of the United States Constitution.  These are they who believe in the freedom of the individual, property rights, and in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  These are they who believe that the government that governs least governs best.  These are they who believe that each individual American should have the right to pursue his dreams, but also be allowed to fail.  
  • The political left:  Liberals, progressives, socialists and others who may give lip service to the Constitution, but find it an impediment to achieving their aims.  The political left may give lip service to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but also believe that the government should provide for those who may be struggling at the expense of those who have been successful.  These are they who may speak of dreams, but regulate them out of existence.
  • The middle (not a political middle): This includes that huge group of Americans that have so little interest in the governance of their communities and the nation that they fail to vote or even fail to register to vote.  It also includes many who vote, but have no core political philosophy.  They are swayed by campaign retoric and media hype.  Unfortunately, it is this group that unwittingly determines the course of American politics. And, since many from this segment of the population have no core political philosophy, they are often swayed by the promises of politicians. 
Clearly, these three groups are more complex than stated above.  It is the political right and left that are seeking to chart the course of this nation.  As one who is conservative/libertarian in philosophy, it is my hope that politcians such as Marco Rubio, Jim DeMint, Rand Paul, Scott Walker, and Mike Lee prevail and their promises of limited government come to pass.  However, I have lived long enough to know that the progressive/liberal side of politics is relentless and has been incrementally successful over the past 100 years.  Since 1912, the United States has seen passage and implementation of the federal income tax, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, and now Obamacare.  Should conservatives prevail in 2012, there will not be any major rollback of these programs because progressives will continue to hold sufficient power in Congress and in the courts.

So, the question is this:  Is there any way to resolve this great political divide.  Continuing as we have done over the past 100 years will only take us deeper into socialism and lead us closer to the edge of bankruptcy.  Should the conservatives prevail, the progressives will not stop.  The Occupy Wall Street crowd, the unions, and other liberal organizations will continue their protests, maybe to new levels.  Unfortunately, it is my belief that only a collapse of the system as we know it will give us a chance to start anew.  I hope it doesn't come to that.

Last evening I watched an episode from the 1980s mini-series, the Winds of War.  In that episode, one of the German generals challenged Hitler about preparedness for opening the western front.  Hitler verbally tore this general apart.  Though a political extremist, at times Hitler was brilliant, but he led Germany into a hole that has left an eternal scar on that nation.  Hitler was the result of a vacuum that was created in a political system that failed.  Hopefully, American can turn away from failed policies before it meets such a tragic fate.  I believe that we can only bridge the "great divide" as we honestly seek the truth, learn from history, and be open to reasonable discourse.