Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Move Your Money: A New Year's Resolution

Quote from a posting on The Huffington Post: "We simply can't count on Congress to fix things. We have to do it ourselves -- and the big banks are the core of the problem. We need to return to the stable, reliable, people-oriented approach of America's community banks."

Sounds like conservative thinking to me! In all industries, financial, retail or healthcare, If we start putting the responsibility on the customer, real change can happen. When we rely on political individuals (both corporate CEOs and politicians) and organizations (government and corporations), bad things can happen. Why? They are acting in their best interest, not yours! Yes, you can make change happen by acting responsibly as INDIVIDUALS!

Viva Capitalism!
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

How Does Changing One Word Change the Meaning of a Sentence

I was reading an AP report about the special deal Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson received in exchange for his vote for the Senate's version of the Health Care Bill. From the article:

"Under the Senate bill the federal government will pay the entire cost of an expansion of Medicaid in Nebraska, unlike other states, which will have to start picking up a portion of the tab themselves after several years."

When we read this, it seems unfair. Why should Nebraska get special treatment? But look at the wording closely, and just for fun, replace "federal government" with "US Taxpayer" and see how it sounds.

Under the Senate bill the US Taxpayer will pay the entire cost of an expansion of Medicaid in Nebraska, unlike other states, which will have to start picking up a portion of the tab themselves after several years.

For even a few more laughs, change the same words to "hard working father of two that lives in Texas."

Under the Senate bill the hard working father of two that lives in Texas will pay the entire cost of an expansion of Medicaid in Nebraska, unlike other states, which will have to start picking up a portion of the tab themselves after several years.

This has suddenly become very real.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

NAHB: Senate Health Care Bill Threatens Home Building Industry

NAHB: Senate Health Care Bill Threatens Home Building Industry

Mission Creep - They Can't Help Themselves!

Bribes in the Health Care Bill

From Nebraska's -

"In addition to Sen. Nelson's special deal, the (Mike) Johanns news release contained the following items as examples of special deals that have been struck in order to secure votes for the bill.

Eliminating or reducing the Medicaid unfunded mandate on Nebraska, Vermont, and Massachusetts (starting on page 96, line 9)

Exempting certain health insurance companies in Nebraska and Michigan from taxes and fees (starting on page 367, line 6)

Providing automatic Medicare coverage for anyone living in Libby, Montana (starting on page 194 – section 10323)

Earmarking $100 million for a “Health Care Facility” reportedly in Connecticut (starting on page 328)

Giving special treatment to Hawaii’s Disproportionate Share Hospitals (starting on page 101, line 6)

Boosting reimbursement rates for certain hospitals in Michigan and Connecticut (starting on page 174 – section 10317)

Mandating special treatment for hospitals in “Frontier” States like Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wyoming (starting on page 208 -- Sec 10324)"

Monday, December 21, 2009

Lesser Known Feature of the Health Care Debate

We have all heard about the debates regarding various features of the health care legislation that has monopolized the news during the last several months. However, did you know that the 5% tax on plastic surgery was removed, but a 10% tax on tanning salons was added. Take a guess as to who might have a stronger lobbying group, plastic surgeons or tanning salon owners.

Just another example of government arbitrarily (if being paid off is arbitrary) determining winners and losers.

Friday, November 13, 2009

I Love Cartoons!

Have you heard about the Fair Tax and wondered what it was all about? Do you think our current tax system is unnecessarily complicated and easily manupulated by special interests? If so, then you owe it to yourself to spend a few minutes to learn about a new method of taxation. Attend a "Webinar," or web-based seminar, on the FairTax.

WEBINAR: Understanding the FairTax

SPECIAL TOPIC: Why retail prices will remain relatively stable upon implementation of the FairTax

DATE: November 19th

TIME: 8 to 8:45pm Eastern Time; 7 to 7:45pm Central; 6 to 6:45 Mountain; 5 to 5:45 Pacific

LOCATION: Your home, your Personal Computer

WHY: To provide an interactive forum for people who cannot get to local meetings to learn about the FairTax and to present special topics that are frequently misunderstood or not generally discussed. Education is the weapon of the FairTax grassroots organizations and we are educating the Nation on the web.

Join Marc Manieri (ma-nair-ee),Americans for Taxation Community Coordinator in the Greater Orlando, Florida Area. Marc’s webinars are drawing national participation from seasoned FairTax supporters as well as those just getting started as a supporter. We help build the knowledge base of those on the front lines as well as those wanting to know what the FairTax is about.

To participate, it is necessary to pre-register at this web link

You will receive a confirmation email with instructions for signing in at the time of the Webinar. For additional information contact Marc Manieri, 407-719-5117.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Little Humor...Or Not, You Be The Judge!

It's a slow day in a little East Texas town. The sun is beating down,
and the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and
everybody lives on credit.....

On this particular day a rich tourist from back east is driving through
He stops at the motel and lays a $100 bill on the desk saying he wants to
inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night.

As soon as the man walks upstairs, the owner grabs the bill and runs
next door to pay his debt to the butcher.

The butcher takes the $100 and runs down the street to retire his debt
to the pig farmer.

The pig farmer takes the $100 and heads off to pay his bill at the
supplier of feed and fuel.

The guy at the Farmer's Co-op takes the $100 and runs to pay his debt
to the local prostitute, who has also been facing hard times and has had to
offer her "services" on credit.

The hooker rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill with the hotel

The hotel proprietor then places the $100 back on the counter so the
rich traveler will not suspect anything.

At that moment the traveler comes down the stairs, picks up the $100
bill, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money, and
leaves town.

No one produced anything. No one earned anything.

However, the whole town is now out of debt and now looks to the future
with a lot more optimism.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the United States Government is
conducting business today.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Blatant Example of Wealth Redistribution

Yesterday, President Obama decided to give everyone in the State of California $250. His reason, "Even as we seek to bring about recovery, we must act on behalf of those hardest hit by this recession."


OK, the President didn't really say he wanted to give everyone in the State of California $250, but he might as well have. Yesterday President Obama said he wants Congress to approve the distribution of $250 to 57 million senior citizens, disabled people and military veterans. He talked about these groups' tough financial struggle with the reduction in value of stock portfolios and real estate. The $250 is supposed to help ease the pain of their Social Security payments not increasing do to negative inflation.

Here's the problem I have with this. The failing Social Security program has a rule that says payments MAY be increased based on cost of living increases. There is no cost of living increase this year, so there is no increase in Social Security payments this year. But for our President and his "obey without questioning anything" Congress, this is an opportunity to distribute some of the TAXPAYERS MONEY to a select group of individuals. We should all be screaming right now!

What if the first line of this post was true? What if Obama wanted to distribute TAXPAYER MONEY to Californians, children under 18, Hispanic females between the ages of 45-50 or people whose middle initial is "K." Isn't it philosophically wrong that our government distribute TAXPAYER MONEY to anyone on a whim? And why stop with senior citizens, veterans and the disabled. Are they the only ones who have been hurt by falling valuations of stocks and real estate, or 1 million other things?

Our government should not have the power to take money from some groups and so easily redistribute the funds to other groups, period.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Future Prospects for Economic Liberty

I read the transcript of a lecture given in August of 2009 by Walter Williams, Professor of Economics at George Mason University. I thought it was dead on, and wanted to spread the word however I could. This transcript is reprinted by permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College.

Future Prospects for Economic Liberty

One of the justifications for the massive growth of government in the 20th and now the 21st centuries, far beyond the narrow limits envisioned by the founders of our nation, is the need to promote what the government defines as fair and just. But this begs the prior and more fundamental question: What is the legitimate role of government in a free society? To understand how America's Founders answered this question, we have only to look at the rule book they gave us-the Constitution. Most of what they understood as legitimate powers of the federal government are enumerated in Article 1, Section 8. Congress is authorized there to do 21 things, and as much as three-quarters of what Congress taxes us and spends our money for today is nowhere to be found on that list. To cite just a few examples, there is no constitutional authority for Congress to subsidize farms, bail out banks, or manage car companies. In this sense, I think we can safely say that America has departed from the constitutional principle of limited government that made us great and prosperous.

On the other side of the coin from limited government is individual liberty. The Founders understood private property as the bulwark of freedom for all Americans, rich and poor alike. But following a series of successful attacks on private property and free enterprise—beginning in the early 20th century and picking up steam during the New Deal, the Great Society, and then again recently—the government designed by our Founders and outlined in the Constitution has all but disappeared. Thomas Jefferson anticipated this when he said, "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground."

To see the extent to which liberty is yielding and government is gaining ground, one need simply look at what has happened to taxes and spending. A tax, of course, represents a government claim on private property. Every tax confiscates private property that could otherwise be freely spent or freely invested. At the same time, every additional dollar of government spending demands another tax dollar, whether now or in the future. With this in mind, consider that the average American now works from January 1 until May 5 to pay the federal, state, and local taxes required for current government spending levels. Thus the fruits of more than one third of our labor are used in ways decided upon by others. The Founders favored the free market because it maximizes the freedom of all citizens and teaches respect for the rights of others. Expansive government, by contrast, contracts individual freedom and teaches disrespect for the rights of others. Thus clearly we are on what Friedrich Hayek called the road to serfdom, or what I prefer to call the road to tyranny.

As I said, the Constitution restricts the federal government to certain functions. What are they? The most fundamental one is the protection of citizens' lives. Therefore, the first legitimate function of the government is to provide for national defense against foreign enemies and for protection against criminals here at home. These and other legitimate public goods (as we economists call them) obviously require that each citizen pay his share in taxes. But along with people's lives, it is a vital function of the government to protect people's liberty as well—including economic liberty or property rights. So while I am not saying that we should pay no taxes, I am saying that they should be much lower—as they would be, if the government abided by the Constitution and allowed the free market system to flourish.

And it is important to remember what makes the free market work. Is it a desire we all have to do good for others? Do people in New York enjoy fresh steak for dinner at their favorite restaurant because cattle ranchers in Texas love to make New Yorkers happy? Of course not. It is in the interest of Texas ranchers to provide the steak. They benefit themselves and their families by doing so. This is the kind of enlightened self-interest discussed by Adam Smith in his Wealth of Nations, in which he argues that the social good is best served by pursuing private interests. The same principle explains why I take better care of my property than the government would. It explains as well why a large transfer or estate tax weakens the incentive a property owner has to care for his property and pass it along to his children in the best possible condition. It explains, in general, why free enterprise leads to prosperity.

Ironically, the free market system is threatened today not because of its failure, but because of its success. Capitalism has done so well in eliminating the traditional problems of mankind—disease, pestilence, gross hunger, and poverty—that other human problems seem to us unacceptable. So in the name of equalizing income, achieving sex and race balance, guaranteeing housing and medical care, protecting consumers, and conserving energy—just to name a few prominent causes of liberal government these days—individual liberty has become of secondary or tertiary concern.

Imagine what would happen if I wrote a letter to Congress and informed its members that, because I am fully capable of taking care of my own retirement needs, I respectfully request that they stop taking money out of my paycheck for Social Security. Such a letter would be greeted with contempt. But is there any difference between being forced to save for retirement and being forced to save for housing or for my child's education or for any other perceived good? None whatsoever. Yet for government to force us to do such things is to treat us as children rather than as rational citizens in possession of equal and inalienable natural rights.

We do not yet live under a tyranny, of course. Nor is one imminent. But a series of steps, whether small or large, tending toward a certain destination will eventually take us there. The philosopher David Hume observed that liberty is seldom lost all at once, but rather bit by bit. Or as my late colleague Leonard Read used to put it, taking liberty from Americans is like cooking a frog: It can't be done quickly because the frog will feel the heat and escape. But put a frog in cold water and heat it slowly, and by the time the frog grasps the danger, it's too late.

Again, the primary justification for increasing the size and scale of government at the expense of liberty is that government can achieve what it perceives as good. But government has no resources of its own with which to do so. Congressmen and senators don't reach into their own pockets to pay for a government program. They reach into yours and mine. Absent Santa Claus or the tooth fairy, the only way government can give one American a dollar in the name of this or that good thing is by taking it from some other American by force. If a private person did the same thing, no matter how admirable the motive, he would be arrested and tried as a thief. That is why I like to call what Congress does, more often than not, "legal theft." The question we have to ask ourselves is whether there is a moral basis for forcibly taking the rightful property of one person and giving it to another to whom it does not belong. I cannot think of one. Charity is noble and good when it involves reaching into your own pocket. But reaching into someone else's pocket is wrong.

In a free society, we want the great majority, if not all, of our relationships to be voluntary. I like to explain a voluntary exchange as a kind of non-amorous seduction. Both parties to the exchange feel good in an economic sense. Economists call this a positive sum gain. For example, if I offer my local grocer three dollars for a gallon of milk, implicit in the offer is that we will both be winners. The grocer is better off because he values the three dollars more than the milk, and I am better off because I value the milk more than the three dollars. That is a positive sum gain. Involuntary exchange, by contrast, means that one party gains and the other loses. If I use a gun to steal a gallon of milk, I win and the grocer loses. Economists call this a zero sum gain. And we are like that grocer in most of what Congress does these days.

Some will respond that big government is what the majority of voters want, and that in a democracy the majority rules. But America's Founders didn't found a democracy, they founded a republic. The authors of The Federalist Papers, arguing for ratification of the Constitution, showed how pure democracy has led historically to tyranny. Instead, they set up a limited government, with checks and balances, to help ensure that the reason of the people, rather than the selfish passions of a majority, would hold sway. Unaware of the distinction between a democracy and a republic, many today believe that a majority consensus establishes morality. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Another common argument is that we need big government to protect the little guy from corporate giants. But a corporation can't pick a consumer's pocket. The consumer must voluntarily pay money for the corporation's product. It is big government, not corporations, that have the power to take our money by force. I should also point out that private business can force us to pay them by employing government. To see this happening, just look at the automobile industry or at most corporate farmers today. If General Motors or a corporate farm is having trouble, they can ask me for help, and I may or may not choose to help. But if they ask government to help and an IRS agent shows up at my door demanding money, I have no choice but to hand it over. It is big government that the little guy needs protection against, not big business. And the only protection available is in the Constitution and the ballot box.

Speaking of the ballot box, we can blame politicians to some extent for the trampling of our liberty. But the bulk of the blame lies with us voters, because politicians are often doing what we elect them to do. The sad truth is that we elect them for the specific purpose of taking the property of other Americans and giving it to us. Many manufacturers think that the government owes them a protective tariff to keep out foreign goods, resulting in artificially higher prices for consumers. Many farmers think the government owes them a crop subsidy, which raises the price of food. Organized labor thinks government should protect their jobs from non-union competition. And so on. We could even consider many college professors, who love to secure government grants to study poverty and then meet at hotels in Miami during the winter to talk about poor people. All of these—and hundreds of other similar demands on government that I could cite—represent involuntary exchanges and diminish our freedom.

This reminds me of a lunch I had a number of years ago with my friend Jesse Helms, the late Senator from North Carolina. He knew that I was critical of farm subsidies, and he said he agreed with me 100 percent. But he wondered how a Senator from North Carolina could possibly vote against them. If he did so, his fellow North Carolinians would dump him and elect somebody worse in his place. And I remember wondering at the time if it is reasonable to ask a politician to commit political suicide for the sake of principle. The fact is that it's unreasonable of us to expect even principled politicians to vote against things like crop subsidies and stand up for the Constitution. This presents us with a challenge. It's up to us to ensure that it's in our representatives' interest to stand up for constitutional government.

Americans have never done the wrong thing for a long time, but if we're not going to go down the tubes as a great nation, we must get about changing things while we still have the liberty to do so.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Real Life Example

I have written several posts about the wide reach of the IRS, and how I support the Fair Tax as a means for the government to collect revenue. I have several reasons for wanting the Fair Tax, or another type of simplified tax structure. Surprisingly to most, reducing the size of the government is not the reason I would like to see a simpler tax code. My main reasons are as follows. First, the cost of complying with our current tax system is ridiculous. Second, even if we honestly attempt to comply, the code is so convoluted and vague that we may inadvertently be doing something wrong, allowing the IRS to penalize us many times what our initial payment might have been. Let me give you a real life example.

I am attempting to find someone to sell my service as a commission only broker. This seemed simple enough until I looked at the IRS website describing how they differentiate a contractor vs. employee. From the IRS's own website, I find the following:

In determining whether the person providing service is an employee or an independent contractor, all information that provides evidence of the degree of control and independence must be considered.

Common Law Rules

Facts that provide evidence of the degree of control and independence fall into three categories:

Behavioral: Does the company control or have the right to control what the worker does and how the worker does his or her job?

Financial: Are the business aspects of the worker’s job controlled by the payer? (these include things like how worker is paid, whether expenses are reimbursed, who provides tools/supplies, etc.)

Type of Relationship: Are there written contracts or employee type benefits (i.e. pension plan, insurance, vacation pay, etc.)? Will the relationship continue and is the work performed a key aspect of the business?

Businesses must weigh all these factors when determining whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor. Some factors may indicate that the worker is an employee, while other factors indicate that the worker is an independent contractor. There is no “magic” or set number of factors that “makes” the worker an employee or an independent contractor, and no one factor stands alone in making this determination. Also, factors which are relevant in one situation may not be relevant in another.

The keys are to look at the entire relationship, consider the degree or extent of the right to direct and control, and finally, to document each of the factors used in coming up with the determination.

Is it clear now? Look again at the bolded text above. The IRS is admitting that the answer might not be clear. Have no fear, they offer a solution. Fill out form SS-8, send it to your regional IRS office, and you will have an answer back. But when? As a business owner, every day somebody is not selling is a day I'm losing money.

OK, fine. I'm OK with hiring somebody as an employee, but how do I do it so I can establish a commission based compensation package and still conform to minimum wage laws. No problem, I'll just search for "Minimum Wage" on the IRS website. First returned link titled, "Increase in Federal Minimum Wage Will Not Reduce 45B Credit." That is nice to know, but not at all relevant for what I am looking for. Next one "Credit for Portion of Employer Social Security Paid with Respect to Employee Cash Tips (IRC 45 B Credit)" is equally useless. In fact, there is nothing on the entire first page of search results that will even tell me what the minimum wage is, let alone whether it would apply to a commissioned sales employee.

I give up. Maybe I'll call my accountant or a tax attorney. Wait a minute. Is there a lobbying group for accountants and attorneys? What do they think of the Fair Tax, or Flat Tax, or anything else that would simplify the tax code? Maybe I should just give up my fight, both as a business owner and a tax reformist.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Word of the Day: Tranparency

While browsing the internet, I found two videos that both address the same issue, government transparency. The first is an MSNBC clip discussing the distribution of the TARP funds and our lack of a detailed understanding where the funds went.

This second video is an interview with Ron Paul. He is sponsoring a bill (H.R. 1207) in the U.S. House right now that would allow for FULL Federal Reserve audits. In other words, we would know exactly what the Fed is doing with the taxpayer's (our) money.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Get Behind the Fair Tax!!!

I am a supporter of The Fair Tax. It is simple and easy to understand. It would allow the individuals and companies that currently have to deal with a ridiculously complex and politically based tax code more efficient. For the Democrats, it would remove all of the tax loopholes for the rich they hate. For the Republicans, it would tax people who don't currently pay taxes, such as drug dealers and prostitutes. Finally, for the Libertarians, it would reduce the size of government by abolishing the IRS.

Want to Learn More about the FairTax? Attend a “Webinar”, a web-based seminar on the FairTax.

WHAT: Understanding the FairTax Webinar for September 24, 2009

Special Topic: Why does the FairTax tax services?

WHEN: September 24, 2009 (the Fourth Thursday each month)

TIME: 8:00 to 8:45pm Eastern Time, 7:00 to 7:45pm Central, 6:00 to 6:45 Mountain, 5:00 to 5:45 Pacific

WHERE: Your home, your Personal Computer

WHY: To provide an interactive forum for people who cannot get to local meetings to learn about the FairTax and to present special topics& that are frequently misunderstood or not generally discussed. Education is the weapon of the FairTax grassroots advocates and this activity is how to get such education on the web.

Join Marc Manieri, Americans For Fair Taxation Community Coordinator for the Greater Orlando Area in Florida. March's "Webinars" are drawing national participation from seasoned FairTax supporters as well as those just getting started as a supporter. He helps build the knowledge base of those on the front lines as well as those wanting to know what the FairTax is about.

To participate it is necessary to pre-register here:

You will receive a confirmation email with instructions for signing in at the time of the Webinar.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The ACORN debacle

OK, so everyone is going crazy about the undercover videos about ACORN, and rightfully so. But how surprised should we really be?

If you haven't seen the videos, I am posting one of them here. View the rest at

I am not going to talk about this issue like everyone else is, trying to tie Obama and ACORN together. If conservatives get their way, ACORN will die a quick death, and Obama's image will be tarnished by association. Fine, then what? I have a feeling a new organization would be created with the same mission and tactics, and receive funding from the taxpayers just like ACORN has.

Are we really surprised that a community organization has discovered a way to milk government funds to help them sustain themselves? I'm sure in their eyes, they are providing jobs to individuals that would otherwise be unemployed, while at the same time helping their "cause." And what is their cause? To lobby issues such as the minimum wage, affordable housing, and school funding. Whether one agrees with these issues or not, does anyone have a problem with the government supporting organizations that lobby for any issue? Let me put it another way. If I am a Senator that believes the minimum wage should be $20/hour, and ACORN will help me convince the people this should be so, wouldn't I vote for ACORN funding to help push my initiative forward? It seems very convoluted to me.

Another point that jumped out at me while watching these videos is how much the ACORN people were working the tax code. Anybody who knows me knows I am a proponent of the Fair Tax (a national consumption tax), a simplified method of taxation that would ELIMINATE this type of manipulation of the tax system. Think about it, even in the ficticious scenario presented in the videos, the prostitute, pimp, and illegal immigrants would be paying taxes. Now that is tax reform I can get behind!

In the interest of fairness, here is the link to ACORN's response to all this. A little flimsy if you ask me, but you be the judge.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Political Machine

I love videos, because then I don't have to type so much! Sure this is from Fox (Glenn Beck), which means that 99.9999% of Democrats have already dismissed it, but whether it is sensationalism or not, it is true, and it is happening with Republicans and Democrats.

Please watch this. The quote by the gentleman being interviewed, who is a democrat, "Corruption is killing this country" seems to fall on deaf ears in this country. How is it possible that we don't know about relationships like this in both parties? Shouldn't things like this be the headline every day? I would think it would sell papers like crazy!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Socialized Medicine

I have intentionally kept the discussion regarding the "America’s Affordable Health Choices Act" (nice name, right?) out of this blog. I feel there is so much ridiculous misinformation going on out there from both sides of the aisle, I was having trouble getting an objective view. I still am having trouble, by the way. Any objective help would be greatly appreciated.

So as I was driving into the office, I heard this familiar voice on the radio. It was Ronald Reagan from 1961. I found it pretty amazing what he was saying, so I wanted to post it here. Prepare to be amazed!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Are Americans Concerned About the Deficit?

Here is some hard data regarding the changing opinions of our fellow citizens. There is nothing here specifically referring to the size of the government, but if citizens can make the link between deficit and taxes, perhaps they can make the link between deficit, taxes and government size.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Raise Tax Revenues by Cutting Taxes?

I fell upon a great article about how lowering taxes can actually raise tax revenue. I was shocked it came from the Chicago Sun Times, because very few people I have talked to from that city have even considered criticizing what is going on in Washington right now.

Give this article a read. Hopefully the politicians in Washington will realize that maybe the ticket out of this mess is to make it more lucrative for us to make money?

Friday, July 10, 2009

10 Questions for the Rich Dad

When I first saw a Rich Dad, Poor Dad book a few years back, I thought they were just another set of investment books written to prey on the uneducated or "get rich quick" dreamers. However, after picking one up and reading it, I realized this was not so.

Robert Kiyosaki has since written many books. Most talk about how we have to get off our butts and work to get rich. Find cash flowing businesses, and your life will be great. Real Estate is a favorite investment of his, as are oil wells. OK, so what does all of this have to do with this blog?

Mr. Kiyosaki has a new book out called "The Conspiracy of the Rich," and if you hurry you can read it online for free at This book addresses many topics, but the one that is most relevant here is how the government's actions, whether through the educational system, tax policies or money printing, are keeping people poor.

I don't want to go into all the details. Read the book online for those, or view this short video.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Private Plane Hypocricy

I struggled with whether to post this video or not. In all honesty, it feels like one of those "60 Minutes" pieces that is trying to convince you that something is wrong versus simply stating the facts. Then I thought about how the Senators and the media jumped on the private plane story during the auto industry bailout, and thought it was fair game. Plus, it mentioned both a Republican (from Texas no less!) and a Democrat, so it reinforces my argument that the waste in our government is spread across both parties equally.

The arguments supporting the whole private plane thing typically revolve around two concepts. First, many times it may be the only way to be efficient with their time. And trust me, since I'm paying their salary, I want them to be efficient. The other line of reasoning is so they can get out and talk to everyone in their state, which I also understand. I'm guessing many of our government leaders tend to default towards the convenience of private air travel, even when unnecessary. You want to talk to the people? Hang out in the airport bar while you flight is delayed for the 3rd time. You will get to talk to many constituents.

View the video here.

Monday, June 15, 2009

You tax dollars at work

This is a few months old, but certainly indicates what can happen when egos and tax dollars meet. Watch this video about the (necessary?) John Murtha airport.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Something to thing about...

The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government - lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.

- Patrick Henry, American patriot and orator (1736-1799)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

It is the system, not the party.

I have written in several posts that the problem we have with our government is not a Republican or Democratic thing, but a systematic thing. Our government has no incentive to be efficient or cut costs. In fact, it can be said the government officials and employees are have negative incentives to do these things. If a department becomes more efficient and doesn't use their entire budget, their budget is slashed next year. However, if they meet or exceed their budget, they can ask for an increase next year.

Why is it like this? Because unlike private companies, the government doesn't sell anything. They don't have to convince people to buy their products to produce revenue, they take money from us through taxes. A private company has to produce something with value, then convince consumers to purchase. If a company not efficient, it will go out of business. If the government is not efficient, it will tax, borrow and print money to get to breakeven.

A great article discussing this in more detail can be found here.

Anybody remember the SNL parody of Ross Perot? Dana Carvey impersonated Ross Perot. In a satirical commercial, Perot (Carvey) stated that based on the performance of the country, Perot would receive a "bonus" of billions of dollars. At the time it was funny. In hindsight, maybe Carvey accidentally discovered something that would improve, not increase, our government.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Want to see what might happen? Look west!

I was browsing through many articles today trying to find something to post. It is not that there is a shortage of material, but the GM bankruptcy and Healthcare reform is what everybody is talking about. What new insight could I provide?

Then, there is was, a brilliant article about California's financial situation. Could California be providing us with a blatant example of what could happen if a government continues to grow and no longer has the revenues to sustain it? To quote, "The message everyone ought to take from this sad story is that high taxes, high spending and a large bureaucracy are a prescription for disaster. And we also had better take note of the similarity to what our federal government is doing." I couldn't agree more.

Read the article from the Bluefield Daily Telegraph here, and please post your comments.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Credit Card Legislation

Well, a new bill is blazing through Congress, ensuring the government's hands will interfere once again with the free market. The bill has several "protections" for individuals that have credit cards, including notices for rate increases, mandatory cosignors for young adults, and a mandatory lower interest rate if the cardholder pays on time for 6 months.

As I was reading a few articles about this legislation, I came across this passage in an Associated Press article:

"Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Dem., on Wednesday brushed aside talk that credit will be more scarce if Congress approves the bill...

...Dodd said any assertion that credit will be hard to get is absurd, "a little like Chicken Little.""

Go ahead and reread it again.

I am going to give a hypothetical example as to why Dodd's statement is absolutely riduculous. Let's say 2 friends wanted to borrow money from you. One friend has worked every day of his life, has paid off his house and car, and has always done what he said he would do for as long as you have known him. You agree to lend him the money at a 4% interest rate, because you are absolutely confident he will pay you back promptly and with no collection effort on your part.

Now let's say your other friend needs money as well. However, this friend has never held a job for more that 3 months in a row, and goes through several months of unemployement between jobs. He is late on his mortgage payments, and his car loan is twice the amount his car is worth. In the past when you lent him money, you had to send letters 3 times a month and call 6 times before a payment would show up. Would you lend him money? The answer should be, YES, as long as you are getting paid a sufficient amount for the risk you are taking. So you loan the money to him at a 50% interest rate.

Now let's say the government restricts the maximum amount that you can charge to 20%. How would your decisions change? Most likely, when your jobless friend asks you for a loan, you would have to tell him NO, because the government is restricting how much you can get paid for your effort. It simply is not worth it to you to take on the risk for a mere 20%.

Senator Dodd's statements that it won't be any harder to get credit is just flat wrong. If companies cannot make enough money to take risks, they won't take the risk.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Please charge more!!!

I know this doesn't have anything to do with the federal government, but this story about the State of New York shows how government intervention can ruin a good thing. Please click here.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Scrap the Code

I found a pretty decent website regarding the major tax reform this country needs. In this article, it lists the top ten reasons why we should scrap the tax code. The list is:

1. The Code is Too Complex.
2. The Code is Beyond Comprehension.
3. The IRS is Too Big.
4. The Code Corrupts the Culture in Washington. DC.
5. The Code Taxes Some Income Two or More Times.
6. Congress Uses the Tax Code to Legislate Morality.
7. High Marginal Tax Rates Penalize Success.
8. Complying with the Code Costs Americans Billions.
9. The Code Drives Political Donations
10. Laws Should Rest on Principles of Justice.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

This is old new, but...

I know this is about a week late, but I had to get it out. Last week, our President asked his cabinet to find $100 million in cuts. I think most Americans hear the words "million, billion and trillion" but don't really pay attention. I always found that seeing the figure helps it hit home.

Thousand - $1,000
Million - $1,000,000
Billion - $1,000,000,000
Trillion - $1,000,000,000,000

Now, when our President asks for cuts amounting to $100,000,000, excuse me for thinking it is a political stunt when our government passed a $3,500,000,000,000 budget. Look at these numbers and decide for yourself.

Spending Spree

I watched this short "news" story, and something slapped me across my face. Did you know that today, each American's portion of the national debt is $35,000! That means that each American will have to generate $35,000 just for the US to be debt free. Of course, this assumes that we will not add on more debt, which seems impossible with the Federal spending and decreasing tax revenue. Also, a citizen must work to generate $35,000 in taxes, which increasing number of Americans are having difficulty doing. An amazing burden is being put on our citizens.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Is the Federal Government Too Big?

First of all, I am sorry I didn't post anything last week. Time has been getting away from me lately.

I came across this article in a Minnesota newspaper I thought hit the nail right on the head. Almost every point is based on one basic assumption - people can organize and solve problems much better than our government can. This is not to say our government is ineffective, but that most of what needs to be accomplished can be accomplished with little or no government assistance.

Please read this short article. Let me know what you think.

Friday, April 17, 2009

"It is not a left or right issue"

As a follow up to yesterday's post, watch this. Why can't people get past party affiliation. Matthews actually asks who Santelli voted for!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Democrats and Republicans

Every once in a while I have a revelation. Actually, that term might be a little strong, especially once you hear about what these revelations are. For example, while running one day, I realized that if I jogged slower I could run farther. Wow, brilliant stuff, right?

Well, recently I had another one. I discovered that Republicans don't like Democrats, and Democrats don't like Republicans. Of course this sounds obvious, but here is the amazing thing. Even a casual supporter of one party won't even listen to the other's ideas. Let me give an example.

A few months ago, I heard about The Fair Tax. The Fair Tax is a concept where citizens would pay taxes through a national consumption (sales) tax instead of the current system of taxing income. The Fair Tax is revenue neutral, meaning the government would receive the same amount of income under the current plan. The big benefit to citizens is that they would no longer have to spend countless hours complying and filing under a tax code that most don't understand (including our government "leaders"). No cuts in government departments or programs (other than the IRS), just a change in the way taxes are collected. I presented the thought to a politically knowledgeable friend of mine, who just happens to be a Democrat. After a quick Google search, they discovered that this idea was being pushed by Republican Senator John Linder, and conservative talk show host Neal Boortz. By association, the idea was discounted already.

To be fair, I fall into this all the time. I find myself having trouble listening to anything Ms. Pelosi, VP Biden or President Obama say without extreme prejudice. I analyze every sentence and start screaming about the Democratic agenda. But did I really hear what they said? Is everything they say really that different than what had been said in government for the last 20 years? Probably not.

The real problem in this country is that the citizens keep feeding money and energy into the two party system. We keep pumping each one up so they can battle each other. However, THEY ARE BOTH ON THE SAME SIDE! The problem isn't with Democrats or Republicans, but with the system of government we have in place. Both sides talk about reducing the deficit, slashing unnecessary spending, and balancing the budget, but their actions show otherwise. And no, this rant is not due to the bailout or stimulus packages approved over the past few years. This rant is due to the fact that government spending across the board has increased. In current year dollars, our government has increased spending from $1 trillion in 1990 to $2.1 trillion in 2005. Increases occurred when Democrats were in power AND when Republicans were in power. According to the latest figures, government spending will go to at least $3 trillion in 2011. Frightening, right?

So how do we get out of this cycle? A group of (mostly) conservatives are holding a "Tea Party" today across the country to express the growing sentiment of frustration with the government. They are staging a type of "revolution." But of course, these are Republicans, so the Democrats are discounting this as a publicity stunt. Protests on the Democratic side have calmed down because they are in power. Do we need a third party to break things up? Is that even realistic?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Happy Tax Day!

I will let this article speak for itself. There are some pretty scary trends going on here.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Economy Contracts, Government Expands

"Hurray, he is not talking about income taxes anymore!" No, today I'm taking the day off from that rant. Below is a link to a brief little commentary by Ron Paul and how our government has responded in this tough economy. Please notice - although he does commend the Republicans in the beginning, he criticizes them later.

Remember, the expansion of government is being caused by both parties, Democrats and Republicans.

Read the Ron Paul article.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Voluntary Tax System

I don't want this blog to be only about the US Tax System, but it is that time of year and I can't help myself.

Please watch this video. Like someone once said, if you can't dazzle them with brilliance, dazzle them with _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _. Enjoy!

Fair Tax Advertisement

Not much to say here, but here is a link to an advertisement put out by the supporters of The Fair Tax. Disclaimer, it is an advertisement, not an open discussion of the pros and cons of the idea.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

When Are Taxes Fair?

I have posted on this blog a few times about The Fair Tax, and my support of it as a means of reforming our tax code. More importantly, The Fair Tax would (hopefully) remove some of the frightening power the federal government has over its citizens.

However, there is a bigger question here. One small part of the problem in the US is with how taxes are taken from us. The larger issue is how much, in aggregate, the government should be taking. To put in different words, how much do we want our federal government to do?

The tenth amendment to The Constitution reads, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Does this sound like the structure of our country today?

I found an interesting article that discusses The Flat Tax and The Fair Tax. The revenue neutral nature of these tax plans do skip over what I perceive the real problem this country is having, which is the size, scope and control of the federal government.

Friday, March 27, 2009

State Rebellion?

Something weird happened to me last year in the months leading up to the election. You see, I have never been a political person. Sure, I paid attention to news stories, but I never really talked about it with friends or colleagues. Then something happened. I can't put my finger on it, but something within me definitely changed. I even made the comment to several people that I felt some sort of revolution coming on. As a country, we were extremely divided.

Well, it looks like some states are taking a step closer to rebelling. As this article discusses, the Constitution implies that "Washington is a creature of the states, not the other way around."

Give this a read and let me know your thoughts. Again, this happens to be posted on a Republican website, but I hope my Democratic friens can get past that and see the real focus of the article.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

F-22 and Our National Defense

There has been talk recently about the importance of continuing the F-22 program and how it is/isn't important for our national defense. This video quickly highlights some of the issues. Bottom line, do we need it or are we keeping it alive for the jobs it creates? Check out this video.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Using Taxes as a Weapon

Let me start out by saying this is not a Democrat vs. Republican thing. The ridiculous control the Federal government has over our lives can be blamed equally on both parties.

That said, I have two articles that really hit close to home. Disclaimer: Both articles are written with a negative slant against the Democrats. It doesn't matter, they just happened to be the ones in control right now. Ignore the party bashing and listen to the message.

The first one is titled, "Tax Code Escalates as Dems Tool."

The second article is by the author of the Fair Tax book, Neal Boortz, and is titled "Off With Their Heads."

Before you respond with, "You don't think the AIG guys should keep their bonuses, do you?" Of course my answer is "No." However, you would have thought the geniuses in D.C. would have thought of that ahead of time, right? I have this vision of a bunch of politicians mouthing the words "Oh Crap" when the story broke. Then they went into full defense mode.

What is frightening is the increased use of income taxes to penalize specific people! This is the direction our country has been heading for many years. We as citizens need to take our country back, and the tax code is as good a place to start as any.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Fair Tax

How would you feel if the IRS did not exist? How would the time you spend around April 15th change? Do you know how much you pay in taxes, or do you just know how much you owe on April 15th? Did you know that if you submitted 10 sets of information to 10 sets of IRS agents, you would get 10 different answers as to the taxes owed?

Let me ask you one question. Why is the tax code so complex? Was Tom Daschle a crook, or was he just unable to maneuver through the complicated tax code? Is it possible that the reason the tax code is so complex is to confuse the citizens as to how much they are giving the government?

I have been doing plenty of research on the concept of "The Fair Tax." Now, don't be confused by the name. Many things are not fair. Is it fair that if you sell your home for $499,999 over the amount you paid, you owe no tax, but if you happened to be fortunate enough to sell it for $500,001 over the purchase price, taxes are owed? Of course not, but this is the system we live under. Nothing in a country of 200+ million will be fair to everybody. All we can hope for is that it is fair to a majority of the citizens.

I will probably be writing a few posts about the fair tax over the past few weeks. Let me give you a few links to learn more about the concept.

On March 17th, a special order was presented in the US House of Representatives. You can view the video here. I would recommend skipping the first 4 minutes, as that part seems a little too political to me. Also, check out the website. I'm not saying you have to agree, just give it a chance.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Government to Encourage Banks to Lend to Small Businesses

Oh no, not again.

Does anybody remember a time when banks would make loans to individuals or companies because it made business sense? That seems to be a forgotten concept. Isn't one of the major reasons we are in this financial crisis in the first place because the government "urged" or rewarded banks (through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guarantees) to provide loans to low to moderate income borrowers. Weren't these the loans that financial institutions were buying on the secondary markets, passing the risk to investors, not the lenders approving the loans.

So imagine my surprise when this story came out.

If we have learned nothing else during the last year or so, it is that lending institutions must adhere to strict lending policies that make financial sense. Any encouragement to relax those policies just puts the banks, of which the US citizens are now proud owners, at risk for another series of loan defaults.

However, there is one significant difference. Home loans are guaranteed by real estate. Sure, the value of those homes has decreased significantly, but even if there was a 50% drop, the bank would still recoup 50-60% of its loan. In business lending, this is very rarely the case, as the write-offs for bad business loans are often even more significant.

"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

Friday, March 13, 2009

Tattoo Removal - Public Necessity or Frivolous Spending?

You be the judge. You don't have to search very far on the internet to find an article about excessive government spending or earmarks in the latest spending package. If you are open minded enough, or so loyal to your political party you can't deal with basic logic, you can create some ridiculous justification for what is going on. But when I ran across this article regarding tattoo removal being a part of the latest spending package, I went nuts.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Both Parties Love Big Government

Lest anyone think I am only bashing the existing administration or party in power, I wanted to link to the following story. It is hard to argue with the cold hard facts. Read it here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Stupid Spending Close to Home

So I sitting on my couch, minding my own business, watching the local news. A story comes on with the title, "Recession to Recovery," highlighting what "benefits" we are getting locally (central Texas) from our wonderful spending bill which should be signed by our president soon. The highlights:

* The San Marcos Airport (TX)will be receiving $2.85 Million. At least you could make the arguement the airport is used by planes from all over the country.

* LBJ Library (located in Austin) will be receiving $2 million. I don't know what to say here, other than I will try to find out what exactly this is for.

* Capital Metro, the regional mass transit authority, will be receiving $475,000. I'm sure Mr. Jones in Montana is happy to know his funds will be put to good Texas.

After I calmed down, the following story appeared:

The Austin Public School system needs more funds for school lunches. It seems that since people have been losing their jobs, more are requesting the government pay for their meal. If more funding doesn't come in soon, the kids won't be able to eat. Am I the only one that thinks that school lunches are a convenience, and not a necessity? I guess that is because my mother used to make my lunch - to save money! Last time I checked, it was cheaper to buy a loaf of bread and deli meat and have the kid bring the lunch to school. Plus, it is probably healthier.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Only $7.7 Billion in Earmarks in the Omnibus Spending Bill

The Office of Management and Budget, which is part of the Executive Branch of our government, defines earmarks as "funds provided by the Congress for projects or programs where the congressional direction (in bill or report language) circumvents Executive Branch merit-based or competitive allocation processes, or specifies the location or recipient, or otherwise curtails the ability of the Executive Branch to manage critical aspects of the funds allocation process." Wikipedia says, "Pork-barrel projects, or earmarks, are added to the federal budget by members of the appropriation committees of United States Congress. This allows delivery of federal funds to the local district or state of the appropriation committee member, often accommodating major campaign contributors. To a certain extent, a member of Congress is judged by their ability to deliver funds to their constituents."

As I see it, the major problem with earmarks is that it sends federal funds to projects that many of us see as a state responsibility. For example, one of the earmarks in the Omnibus spending bill currently being discussed in D.C. is $238,000 for the Polynesian Voyaging Society in Honolulu, HI, for educational programs. This is sponsored by Sen. Daniel Inouye. I have nothing against the Polynesian Voyaging Society, but should it really be receiving federal funding (using my tax dollars)?

The organization named The Taxpayers For Common Sense has compiled a database of earmarks that should frighten all of us. Please take the time to review the database here.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Federal government adding more jobs to its payroll

Fiscal responsibility or expanding government? On Friday, the IRS decided it could do a better job than private businesses at collecting taxes. The fact that the IRS, or the federal government, thinks it can do anything better than a for profit business is a joke. But, here we are again in the midst of an ever expanding government. Read the story here.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Fair Tax - One State Is Trying To Get It Done

The Fair Tax, which is a simple tax system that taxes people based on what they spend. The theory behind it is the more you make, the more you spend - AND NO LOOPHOLES! One wonderful side effect, reducing (or eliminating) the IRS! Not to mention the inefficiencies our current tax system places on us and our economy. How much unproductive time and money is spent preparing taxes or finding ways to avoid them? It looks like a few politicians are trying to get it passed in Missouri. Maybe that is what this tax needs, a place to "test" it before rolling it out nationally. Read the complete story here.

Transparency of the Fed

Remember back in September when Fed Chairman Bernanke and then Treasury Secretary Paulson said they would meet congressional demands for transparency in a $700 billion bailout of the banking system? Apparently, they were just kidding.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wow, my timing must be perfect!

I start this blog yesterday, and out of the blue a friend I haven't spoken to in many months sends me the following email. Apparently I am not alone. I'll probably send an herbal tea with senna.

Subject: New American Tea Party

Why not? Our Forefathers did it!!!!

There's a storm abrewin'. What happens when good, responsible people keep quiet? Washington has forgotten they work for us. We don't work for them. Throwing good money after bad is NOT the answer. I am sick of the midnight, closed door sessions to come up with a plan. I am sick of Congress raking CEO's over the coals while they, themselves, have defaulted on their taxes. I am sick of the bailed out companies having lavish vacations and retreats on my dollar. I am sick of being told it is MY responsibility to rescue people that, knowingly, bought more house than they could afford. I am sick of being made to feel it is my patriotic duty to pay MORE taxes. I, like all of you, am a responsible citizen. I pay my taxes. I live on a budget and I don't ask someone else to carry the burden for poor decisions I may make. I have emailed my congressmen and senators asking them to NOT vote for the stimulus package as it was written without reading it first. No one listened. They voted for it, pork and all.

O.K. folks, here it is. You may think you are just one voice and what you think won't make a difference. Well, yes it will and YES, WE CAN!! If you are disgusted and angry with the way Washington is handling our taxes. If you are fearful of the fallout from the wreckless spending of BILLIONS to bailout and "stimulate" without accountability and responsibility then we need to become ONE, LOUD VOICE THAT CAN BE HEARD FROM EVERY CITY, TOWN, SUBURB AND HOME IN AMERICA. There is a growing protest to demand that Congress, the President and his cabinet LISTEN to us, the American Citizens. What is being done in Washington is NOT the way to handle the economic free fall.

So, here's the plan. On April 1, 2009, all Ameicans are asked to send a TEABAG to Washinton , D.C. You do not have to enclose a note or any other information unless you so desire. Just a TEABAG. Many cities are organizing protests. If you simply search, "New American Tea Party", several sites will come up. If you aren't the 'protester' type, simply make your one voice heard with a TEABAG. Your one voice will become a roar when joined with millions of others that feel the same way. Yes, something needs to be done but the lack of confidence as shown by the steady decline in the stock market speaks volumes.

This was not my idea. I visited the sites of the 'New American Tea Pary' and an online survey showed over 90% of thousands said they would send the teabag on April 1. Why, April 1?? We want them to reach Washington by April 15. Will you do it? I will. Send it to; 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Washington , D.C. 20500 .

Forward this to everyone in your address book. Visit the website below for more information about the 'New American Tea Party'. I would encourage everyone to go ahead and get the envelope ready to mail, then just drop it in the mail April 1. Can't guarantee what the postage will be by then, it is going up as we speak, but have your envelope ready. What will this cost you? A little time and a 40 something cent stamp.
What could you receive in benefits? Maybe, just maybe, our elected officials will start to listen to the people. Take out the Pork. Tell us how the money is being spent. We want TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY. Remember, the money will be spent over the next 4-5 years. It is not too late.

We're the Government, and You're Not

A moderately funny video about Washinton works and effects our lives.

John McCain Fumes Over Earmarks

Remember Obama looking straight into the camera and saying he would go line for line to eliminate earmarks from bills in Washington. Turns out, he was lying. A politian lying? Shocking!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

One of the best speeches ever

Joe Biden, Oh my!

Joe Biden displayed his firm grasp of the stimulus package. Does anybody really believe anything he says. And to think that President Obama picked him for his experience! Parts of this are actually painful to watch.

Government too complex for its own good?

Our government, and tax code, is so complex, even the politicians have trouble filing their taxes properly. Read this.

Cramer Blames Obama for Wall Street Collapse