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