Rise Up and Take a Stand


Bookmark/Rate this post: Digg it Stumble It! add to del.icio.us
Advertisements

Freedom is Not a Pendulum

The periodic swings from one party to the other in control of our government often give rise to the analogy of a pendulum. A pendulum swings from one side to the other, always passing through the equilibrium position at its center. This flawed analogy leads to the illusion that our country’s political swings from left to right also pass through a stable center that is fixed and permanent.

History belies that illusion. Throughout the history of civilization, there has never been a government that did not eventually come to an end, either through defeat in war or corrosion from within. The Roman Republic lasted 500 years before it gave way to the Roman Empire, and that too collapsed after a few hundred more years. Ancient history? Yes, indeed. But the rate of social, political, industrial, technological, and cultural changes on the global scale have accelerated, not decelerated, from ancient to modern times. Change happens much more rapidly than it used to.

We think of our government, and our nation, as permanent and impervious to destruction from without or within. That is a comfortable, but naive and historically insupportable, perspective. This country has only existed for a couple of hundred years. It will not exist forever. It too, like all other governments and nations, will someday decline or be overthrown by an enemy. Most of us cannot conceive of the demise of our country and the way of life we’ve taken for granted from birth, so we don’t believe such a thing could happen, — at least not in our lifetimes. But nobody ever realizes they’re living in a historically significant period until it reaches the tipping point and cataclysmic change is suddenly thrust upon them.

In spite of the dire, and oft-repeated, warnings of our founding fathers, the size and scope of our government has continually increased from the founding of our nation until now. For the first hundred and fifty years, the expansion was slow and gradual, with each incremental transfer of power to centralized authority a result of prolonged deliberation and strenuous debate. In the last half century, government expansion has accelerated dramatically, and continues to accelerate at an unprecedented rate. The president and Congress now sign bills into law without even bothering to read them!

Along with the increasing momentum of government expansion, we’ve also seen a pronounced trend toward more and more socialist programs and policies. By that, I mean state control of production and distribution, and increasing regulation of industry and of individual rights. The “pendulum” may still swing to one side or the other, but the center point is moving, and it’s moving ever more rapidly. We are straying further and further from the principles on which our founding fathers established this nation. When government takes power away from the people to determine what’s in their best interests, that power does not swing back to the people, like a pendulum. The balance of power is permanently shifted from the people to the government, making it easier for government to usurp even more power in the future.

History informs us that the decline and fall of our nation will eventually come to pass. But history doesn’t tell us when or how. We are on a trajectory toward the termination of the greatest and most successful experiment in freedom the world has ever known. We could stand back and idly watch it slip away and, afterward, wonder where it went. Or we could wake up and start waking up our friends and neighbors, and impress upon them what is at stake.

In his farewell address on March 4, 1837, Andrew Jackson said:

But you must remember, my fellow-citizens, that eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing. It behooves you, therefore, to be watchful in your States as well as in the Federal Government.

We, the people, may have it within our power to stave off the inevitable expiration of our nation by exchanging complacency for vigilance, and apathy for involvement. How long we can maintain it is unknown. But it rests with us to at least pass it on to the next generation. What happens after that is up to them.


Bookmark/Rate this post: Digg it Stumble It! add to del.icio.us

Tea Party Sign Ideas

  • Remember, Patriots VOTE!
  • The Revolution Starts HERE
  • Get Your Hand Out of My Pocket & Leave Me Alone!
  • STOP the Borrowing
  • STOP the Spending
  • STOP the Taxing
  • Stop the $$$ Presses!
  • Stop Porking America!
  • I Can Spend My $$ Better Than You Can
  • It’s Time to Clean House — And Senate!
  • I Want My National Sovereignty Back!
  • What Have We Got to Lose? (Besides our Country?)
  • Free Markets. Free People.
  • This is Only the Beginning…
  • Government is Not Your Daddy

Bookmark/Rate this post: Digg it Stumble It! add to del.icio.us

Taxpayer Tea Parties All Across the Nation

Have you had enough taxation, regulation, over-spending, over-borrowing, bailouts, stimulus packages, and redistribution of wealth?

Our government exists to serve the People. We do not exist to serve the government. How well is your government serving you?

  • Our elected representatives are gutting our economy with irresponsible borrowing and spending for Toxic Asset Relief Programs, bailouts, and stimulus packages that benefit their major campaign contributors at your expense.

  • They’re diluting all of our savings, income, and retirement funds by printing up trillions of dollars of toilet-paper currency, leading to hyper-inflation and the devaluation of every dollar you own or earn.

  • They’re mortgaging our nation to China and other foreign powers, and indenturing our children and grandchildren to pay off the astronomical debt they’re incurring in our name.

  • They’re driving the industries that sustain our economy off-shore through prohibitively expensive and increasingly restrictive regulation, ostensibly to protect “the environment” and prevent “climate change.”

  • They’re establishing a whole new elite class of government employees who don’t produce anything, but are compensated more highly than the private sector can afford to match, — and are paid at the expense of the taxpayers.

  • They created this economic crisis by trying to implement social engineering as economic policy, and now they’re pretending they can get us out of this mess the same way they got us into it — by loosening up credit, promoting risk-free mortgages for those who still can’t afford to buy homes, and investing our money in the same toxic assets that are threatening to bring down the world economy!

On top of that, they plan to expand entitlement programs, under the misguided assumption that it’s the government’s role to provide for everybody who can’t or won’t provide for themselves — at the expense of those who do. They believe they need to pass even more laws to protect us from ourselves. States are drafting new regulations to determine how we can and can’t use our private property. And, at every level, they’re absolutely convinced that they know how to spend our money better than we do.

If the founding fathers could have even imagined the plethora of laws, regulations, ordinances, taxes, licenses, permits, fees, etc. that we are subject to today, and which are constantly increasing, they would roll over in their graves. Yet our current administration, and Congress, seem to believe we do not have enough government. They want to see government expanded at an even greater rate than it’s already expanding. One has to wonder what these people think the ultimate role of government should be. — It’s certainly a far cry from what our founding fathers intended.

If you’ve had enough, and you’re ready to stand up and send a message to your legislators that their days in office are numbered unless they STOP THE SPENDING, STOP THE BORROWING, STOP THE TAXING, STOP THE PORKING, and STOP REGULATING OUR ECONOMY INTO INSOLVENCY, find your nearest Taxpayer Tea Party and join us in protest on April 15.

It’s time to take a stand against overtaxation and overregulation. Please join me, and millions of others, in telling our government Get Your Hand Out of My Pocket and Leave Me Alone!

To find the Taxpayer Tea Party nearest you, visit http://TaxDayTeaParty.com.


Bookmark/Rate this post: Digg it Stumble It! add to del.icio.us

Economics Lessons for Liberals: Inflation

This past week, the Federal Reserve announced that it’s going to buy $300 billion worth of long-term Treasury bills over the next six months, and $750 billion of mortgage-backed securities, to try to loosen up credit and lower mortgage rates. It was also announced that they’re not going to raise taxes to come up with this additional trillion-plus dollars (on top of the recent bailouts and stimulus bill). Instead, they would just crank up the printing presses and print up the money.

How many things can you find wrong with this picture?

Wasn’t it loose credit that created the current financial crisis they’re purportedly trying to get us out of? Aren’t mortgage-backed securities the “toxic assets” that precipitated the collapse of all those banks and financial institutions that we’re already bailing out with our tax dollars? These are the very building blocks of the biggest Ponzi scheme in economic history, but the Fed, in its infinite wisdom, sees fit to gamble 3/4 of a trillion dollars of our money on the most discredited and dangerous financial instrument ever concocted to dupe unsuspecting investors. Only, at this point, they can hardly be said to be unsuspecting.

We’re supposed to be placated by the fact that, this time, they’re not using our tax dollars, but are printing up the money on their little printing presses. So, therefore, it doesn’t cost us anything, right? That would seem to be what they expect us to believe.

Economics for Liberals, Lesson #4.* When the Fed prints new money, it devalues all the money that’s currently in circulation. Printing more money literally dilutes the value of everybody’s savings, investments, salaries, and retirement funds.

Currency has no intrinsic value; it’s merely symbolic of the value of goods and services that can be exchanged. The only way to increase the total value in a system is to increase the production of goods and services that somebody wants to consume. The sum total of the currency in a system represents the sum total of the real value in the system (goods and services produced). The value that each unit of currency represents is the ratio of the total units of currency to the total actual value in the system. When the actual value (goods and services produced) remains stable, but the total units of currency are increased, each unit of currency represents less of the total actual value and, consequently, has less purchasing power. That’s what’s known as inflation.

Inflation is simply another type of taxation. Instead of taxing you on each incremental unit of value you produce, the Fed simply dilutes the value of everything you currently have, as well as every dollar you will earn in the future. It’s an invisible tax, because you don’t see the government taking it away from you. You see higher prices for everything you buy, and you blame the producers. But the producers are paying higher prices for everything they have to purchase to produce what they sell to you.

So everybody’s stuck paying higher prices for everything, but they don’t have any more money. So everybody’s purchasing power is reduced, making everybody, in real terms, poorer than they were before the currency was diluted. That’s because the money that was printed up by the government was not distributed to the people whose currency lost its value, but rather was used to buy whatever the Fed buys with it. — In this case, toxic assets that they know are overvalued.

How do I know with such certainty they are overvalued? Because, if they were not overvalued, they’d be able to be sold on the free market. The very fact that government has to buy them up indicates they’re not worth the price at which the government is buying them.

Economics for Liberals, Lesson #5. The value of an investment is based on the ratio of risk to potential reward. If the risk is greater than the potential rewards, the investment is overvalued and nobody will buy it unless the risk is reduced or the reward potential is increased. In many investments, the risk is simply the risk of losing what you invested, so the risk can be reduced by lowering the price. When a balance is reached between risk and potential, buyers can be found on the free market who are willing to assume the risk.

But, when the government assumes the risk, the people making the decisions aren’t risking their own money. They’re risking the taxpayers’ money, either directly (through taxation) or indirectly (through inflation). In this case, the Fed is cranking up the printing presses and diluting all of our savings, investments, salaries, and retirement funds to purchase investments that are known to be bad before they buy them. If any corporate CFO were to behave that way, knowing what we all know today, they would be fired.

And, to add insult to injury, they think we’re stupid enough to believe it isn’t costing us anything because they aren’t raising our taxes — yet. But the biggest irony of all is that the purpose used to justify this devious machination is to perpetuate the very circumstances (loose credit and easy availability of mortgages) that got us into this economic crisis in the first place.

Just how stupid do they think we are? Just how stupid are we?

*Lessons #1-3 are posted in Economics Lessons for Liberals: Minimum Wage.


Bookmark/Rate this post: Digg it Stumble It! add to del.icio.us

Looting the Economy

Even in the midst of the deepest and most far-reaching economic crisis since the Great Depression, Americans are still pretty comfortable. The poorest of the poor in this country would be considered wealthy by the standards of most of the world’s population, taking for granted “luxuries” like plumbing, elecricity, and medical care.

The reason we’re so comparatively wealthy in this country, even during this worldwide economic crisis, is because this country has had a historically strong economy, built up over decades of productivity, of leading the world in industrial and technological innovation that has not only generated wealth for the entrepreneurs and investors who made it possible, but has created abundant opportunities for people who were willing to learn a marketable skill, and work hard at it, to earn their way out of poverty and into the middle class.

People like to go on about the “shrinking middle class,” but neglect to consider that the “poor” in this country today have, on average, a higher standard of living than the “middle class” had a couple of generations ago. It isn’t that there’s more actual poverty today, it’s that the bar keeps being raised on what we consider “poor.”

A rising tide lifts all boats, and that has been the case with our economy, up until recently. The standard of living bar has been continuously raised for everybody, generation after generation. This is not because the government provides for us all, but because the productive members of society generate not just money, but value, not just wealth, but opportunity, providing goods and services that continually improve the quality of life for all, while creating jobs and providing the foundation for a sound and healthy economy.

When you hamper or discourage productivity (or drive it offshore) through excessive regulations and punitive taxation, for the dubious benefit of the unproductive members of society, the economy as a whole must suffer. If a rising tide lifts all boats, what happens when the tide recedes? The overall standard of living goes down. We are standing at that inflection point today.

Years ago, we shifted from a production economy to a “credit economy.” Where our economy used to be based on goods delivered, now it’s based on promises, and many of those promises are turning out to be undeliverable. So what do we do now?

The solution is not to keep expanding our dependency on government, while sinking our nation ever deeper into debt, relying more and more on the government to provide what the producers no longer can because the government has tied their hands or driven them offshore. That course of action can only dig us deeper into the hole we’re in right now. The way to recover is to return to a production economy, where you only get rewards for what you produce. If you want something, you have to pay for it. To pay for it, you have to produce something for which somebody else is willing to pay you.

We need to restore productivity, not just have government hire more people and create more bureaucracies to employ them. We need to create value, not pump more money into the economy, which only serves to devalue the money already in circulation. We cannot borrow our way out of debt, nor spend our way into solvency. We need to return to the basic foundations on which this once-great nation was built: hard work, self-reliance, entrepreneurship, industry, and personal responsibility. It’s not rocket science. It’s common sense.

So why are our legislators doing just the opposite of what clearly needs to be done to regenerate our economy? Why are they jamming the accelerator to the floor as the economy heads over the cliff? Because the impending disaster that has been building up for years is now imminent, and they believe it to be inevitable. They’ve given up all hope of salvaging the economy, and figure they may as well grab what they can while there’s still something left to grab. They’re in a feeding frenzy of earmarks, stuffing every bill with as much pork as they can cram in. They are literally looting the economy, justifying their reckless plunder because they figure it’s all going down anyway.

So they pour more money into the economy, mortgaging our country to foreign interests, indenturing future generations of taxpayers, while they and their buddies rake theirs off the top. And the rest of us sit watching in dumb horror (or blind hope) as the value of the money in our bank accounts gets diluted by the flood of new dollars being pumped into the system, and the stock market plummets day after day.

And what happens when it all bottoms out and there’s nothing left to loot? In one scenario, we start over from scratch, the way our forefathers did, and struggle to rebuild a stable economy based once again on real productivity. In a more nefarious scenario, there’s somebody waiting in the wings with other plans for our nation…


Bookmark/Rate this post: Digg it Stumble It! add to del.icio.us

No Stimulus

If you are sane and rational, and have not been consuming mind-altering substances that convince you that the only way to get out of debt is to borrow more money, then I urge you to go to http://www.NoStimulus.com and sign the petition to stop the most monumentally expensive swindle ever perpetrated on an unwitting public.

The amount of money that’s already been spent, with no accountability to the American public, is mind boggling. But that’s not enough for the insatiable legislators who are sniffing out fat, juicy chunks of pork wrapped up in the trillions of dollars of debt with which they’re trying to saddle the American people.

We all know it will accomplish no good. It’s a last ditch, desperate effort to cash in as the economy goes down the tubes, and grab whatever they can for themselves and their favorite special interests while the grabbing is good, as they strip the economy of whatever viability is left. We are careening toward disaster of unprecedented proportions, and they are whipping up the horses in a frenzy of mass delusion that we can spend our way out of debt.

There must be something in the drinking water in Congress, because our legislators have all gone mad. Please!! Stop the presses! Stop the borrowing!! Wake up, America, and take responsibility for demanding an end to this mass hallucination. Call or write to your legislators today. If you don’t have time, or don’t know what to say, at least sign the petition at http://www.NoStimulus.com.

Make sure your elected representatives know they’re violating the will of the people as they pillage our economy and sacrifice our future prosperity. If you don’t tell them this is not what you want, they will feign ignorance and tell you they thought they were acting in your best interest when they come asking for your votes in the next election. Tell all your elected representatives today, if they vote for this, they will never be elected again. That’s the only language they can understand.

If You Live in Oregon, Check this Out

http://www.youtube.com/afpjoco

This YouTube channel will carry the monthly Americans for Prosperity show, broadcast on RVTV in Southern Oregon. The show focuses on issues of concern to Oregonians who believe in limited government and free markets. Each episode will be posted in three parts (YouTube has a 10-minute limit), but clicking “Play All” on a Playlist will play the entire program.

The first episode, which is posted now, is about the recent Federal Court ruling that Measure 37 Waivers are Constitutionally protected contracts that cannot be legislated away by the passage of Measure 49.

The second episode is about an Oregon family’s 17-year battle to restore their property to its original zoning, after it was misclassified as exclusive forest land in the wake of SB 100.

There will be a new episode each month.

No! Don’t Do It!!

It’s like watching a horror movie. No! Don’t do it!! Don’t open the door! You cover your eyes because you don’t want to look. You can’t believe they’re going to do it. But you know they are. Even though it makes no sense, and it’s obvious to everybody watching that it’s the absolute worst thing they could possibly do. They’re going to do it anyway. Why? In a horror movie it’s because it’s in the script. And ultimately, it doesn’t really matter, because it’s all make believe.

But this isn’t a horror movie. It’s real. And it affects every one of us, but we’re powerless to stop it. All we can do is write our Congressmen and say No! Don’t do it!! Don’t give them the bailout money! And that does about as much good as shouting at the movie screen Don’t open the door! Because you know they’re going to do it anyway.

First they said they needed $700 billion to bail out troubled financial institutions. Letters to Congressmen ran 20-1 against the bailout and, last September, Congress voted against the bailout bill. But they kept sweetening the pot with a little pork here and a little pork there until everybody in Congress had enough pork in the bill to lure them into voting for the bailout, in massive disregard of the indignant outcries of the people who elected them.

Then Bernanke and Paulson turned around and said, You know what? We’re not going to use this bailout money the way we originally said we would, because that would have been a really stupid thing to do. (Really? When did you figure that out, Mr. Genius? That’s what all the people writing to their Congressmen were screaming all along.) But, even after acknowledging the plan was hopeless, instead of rescinding the bailout, they decided to spend it on something else. After all, they already had the money; you could hardly expect them to just give it back! — Not that they actually do have the money. But that’s never stopped them from spending it before. Why should it stop them now? — So they voted to spend all this money they don’t actually have, and then decided not to spend it for the purpose for which they swore they needed it. So now they’re going to spend it on something else. They haven’t yet told us what, exactly. Why not? Because they don’t know. They don’t have a plan. But spend it they will.

They’ve put out the word that there’s $700 billion of free money on the table, and they’re going to give it all away. To whom are they going to give it? The criterion to qualify seems to be incompetence. But not just any incompetence, only massive incompetence will do. To qualify for some of this free money, a corporation or institution has to prove they’ve mismanaged their finances on such an unprecedented scale that they’re billions of dollars in the hole and have absolutely no way out, short of a federal bailout.

The three automakers deserve to go out of business. GM and Toyota each sold 9.37 million vehicles last year. Toyota made $17.1 billion. GM lost $38.7 billion. What more needs to be said? But, instead of letting economic Darwinism take it’s course, the government wants to compel the taxpayers to throw our hard-earned money at them so they can flush our money down the drain after their own. This is madness. Just say No! Don’t do it!! Don’t open the door!

And, of course, now everybody else is lining up for bailouts as well. Even city and state governments are getting in line. The economy is bad. An awful lot of businesses are losing money or going bankrupt, and local governments are losing tax revenue because their tax base is losing their jobs. So why not just stick a hose directly into the pockets of all the taxpayers in the country, and siphon out more and more money until the well runs dry, to keep businesses afloat that are unable to make a profit on their own merits? Surely, every business deserves to make money, whether or not they provide good value to their customers and investors. Free market be damned! Move over Rover, let Government take over. It seems the government is determined to prove they can waste even more money faster than the failures they’re bailing out.

Which brings us back to the horror movie. Everybody in the audience can see that disaster lurks behind that door. But the protagonist is about to open it. We’re all sitting on the edge of our seats, gripping the handrests, holding our breaths, and whispering through gritted teeth – No! He hesitates with his hand on the knob. Don’t do it!! (But we know he will.) He twists the knob. Don’t open the door! And then he does ———————–


Bookmark/Rate this post: Digg it Stumble It! add to del.icio.us

Depression-Era Values and a New New Deal

There’s not a lot of nostalgia for the Great Depression but, if we’d retained some of the values from that era, we might not be careening toward another one now. The Great Depression followed hard on the Roaring Twenties. The economy went from boom to bust. We look back on the twenties as a frivolous period of flappers and speakeasies, exuberant spending, loose moral standards, and widespread disregard for the law. There were those who condemned the gleeful irresponsibility that became emblematic of that era, but the young and “young at heart” scorned their dourness and ridiculed their dire predictions.

Then came the crash, followed by acute economic contraction. Exuberant spending was replaced by extruding the maximum value from every penny surrendered, cutting back to the essentials, and then learning that not all “essentials” were essential. Every tiny luxury, like a bar of soap or a candy bar, was appreciated more than the most extravagant bauble of the preceding era.

Instead of flinging away money for a night on the town, people found ways to entertain themselves that cost nothing, like huddling around the woodstove telling stories or playing games. People spent more time with their families, even if it wasn’t by choice. But the hardships they endured together forged strong familial bonds. Neighbors rallied to support one another, because nobody knew when they might be the one in need. Those who could get work worked hard, knowing they had to provide superior value to keep their job in a time when jobs were scarce. And they took pride in that fact, and honed their skills to ensure continued employment.

I’m not romanticizing the Great Depression. It was a miserable time. Many who would have been glad to work couldn’t get jobs. Many suffered tremendous losses through no fault of their own. Some even died from their hardships. But the vast majority managed to survive and became stronger, wiser, and more resilient, not in spite of, but because of, the adversities they endured.

Some say the New Deal was instrumental in ending the Great Depression, with its social welfare programs, agricultural subsidies that paid farmers not to grow crops, and the replacement of the gold standard with a fiat currency that has no intrinsic value. But there’s widespread disagreement among economists as to whether the New Deal helped or prolonged the Depression. The only thing we can say for certain is that it took World War II to end it.

WWII bolstered the economy, creating employment for everybody from soldiers to factory workers, and the surge in patriotism helped revive the spirit of the nation. Luxuries were still rare, but people felt they were sacrificing for a reason, and that gave them a sense of purpose and pride. After the war, the lessons instilled by years of austerity laid the foundation for a new era of prosperity.

The programs instituted by FDR as part of the New Deal were intended to be short-term recovery programs. Unfortunately, once a bureaucracy is established, it takes on a life of its own. It’s nearly impossible to dismantle government programs once they get entrenched. Many people were deeply ashamed to go on the dole, and the habits they acquired of continual striving to rise above that humiliation often led to great success later on. For the most part, they passed that fierce sense of self-reliance on to their children.

But others, too exhausted for the struggle, found it easier to sink into the trough that was offered them and accept government handouts as their lot in life. The social programs were seen to be a particular boon to the disadvantaged, but those are the ones for whom it proved most detrimental in the end. Those who would have had to work even harder to overcome the greater obstacles before them had less incentive to undertake that Herculean task when given the option to just accept what the government offered as compensation for their disadvantaged circumstances. And many of them passed that embittered sense of perpetual entitlement on to their children. To this day, that sad legacy of the New Deal has kept generation after generation mired in government-subsidized poverty.

Ironically, the descendants of those who achieved success in the post war boom, after only a couple of generations, were reduced to complacency by the very affluence their parents and grandparents struggled so hard to provide for them. The baby boomers had it easy, compared to their parents’ generation, and the generation that followed was spoiled by the expectation that everything in life should come easily. If they couldn’t afford something they wanted, they simply said “Charge it,” and it was theirs. They developed their own sense of entitlement; only instead of feeling entitled to mere subsistence, they felt entitled to a big house and a constant stream of little luxuries to gratify their every whim.

Now, the good times are over. A new depression may well be on the way. Maybe it will bring back some of those old-fashioned Depression-era values that served our parents and grandparents so well. Unfortunately, with our new president-elect, I foresee another New Deal on the horizon as well, even bigger and “better” than the last one…


Bookmark/Rate this post: Digg it Stumble It! add to del.icio.us