Wednesday, January 13, 2010

2010 - A date that will live in...?

I for one am glad to see 2009 fade away in the rear view mirror. In many ways it might have been the worst year of my entire life Not just because it's been tough on my family and friends, but rather that I have never seen the kind of governance we've had to endure. I honestly could not have conceived that my beloved country could fall so far, so fast, and shove the American people into a corner with such unbelievable arrogance and blatant disregard for the Constitution. But happen it did, and now it's time to look forward to the most crucial year since our founding. That's right, more critical than the Civil War, the Great Depression, or World War I or II. This is the year that our country makes a drastic course correction, or, as Ronald Reagan said:

“If virtue goes, the government fails. Are we choosing paths that are politically expedient and morally questionable? Are we in truth losing our virtue? . . . If so, we may be nearer the dustbin of history than we realize.”

That's it - either the sunlight of a new morning in America or life at the bottom of the socialist Dumpster. So what's it going to be?

As dark as it is now, there are some reasons for optimism (and JGL is always trying to look on the bright side!). Even though I come from a politically active extended family, I have never seen ordinary Americans as involved and motivated as they are now. They're telling their “masters” in Washington that they are watching, and they don't like what they see. Even more astounding, they're not just talking, but taking to the streets – Tea Party Protests, Town Halls and marches on Washington DC! That alone might be the most astonishing thing – nobody but unemployed student radicals and paid union flunkies ever show up to protest anything! And no, it has not stopped there. Local groups are still organizing, meeting, seeking out and funding true Constitutional candidates for elections at all levels. Just look at what happened in Massachusetts – a previously unknown (to everyone outside of the Bay State) Scott Brown, raised $1.3 Million in a one day online “money bomb” effort. While Brown isn't my ideal candidate, he's a solid, no-nonsense fiscal conservative in the most Democratic state in the country. Whether he ultimately succeeds or not, the point has been made – patriots across the country will rally with their time and money to support anyone who will stop the insanity. This gives me great hope that maybe, just maybe, enough Americans have awakened from their dumbed down public school education and American Idol attention span to take back their country starting in November. In the interim, there is much work to be done, and America needs every available hand to step up. But don't forget the most important thing – the thing that our Founders thought most important – prayer. This country didn't just sprout up from human effort – it took the hand of God Almighty to make it reality. Even Ben Franklin, hardly the most devout of the Fathers, reflected:

“All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth-that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the Ground without his Notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid?"

So keep the faith fellow patriots, and keep your powder dry!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Back to the Future

As the incomparable Ronald Reagan once said, “We must not look to government to solve our problems. Government is the problem.” With Congress and the Administration scrambling madly in all directions to “solve” the critical problems of the day, it's easy to forget how those problems arose in the first place, and the most elemental solution to them. Since government is the problem; it should be obvious that radically less government is the answer! Of course those involved in wielding the powers of the state will never criticize or limit themselves. They will not even volunteer basic statistics that might inform the average American about the size, scope, and growth of government. Fortunately, with a little diligent research, that information can be unearthed. An excellent primer is this analysis by the Heritage Foundation - that explores the relationship between the size of government and its effect on economic growth. It is readily apparent that we have long passed the optimal point where government spending starts to stifle growth, and in light of the trajectory of the last several years, is about to flatten growth to near zero levels. In real dollar terms, the St. Louis Federal Reserve in 2006, notes in the first paragraph that per capita spending, in real dollars, has grown from $129 dollars in 1910 to an astounding $7,100 per person in 2004! I can tell you with absolute certainty that it has probably doubled since then, and is currently on an unsustainable upward path with no end in sight,

So what do we do? Simply, as William F. Buckley said, “ A Conservative is a fellow who is standing athwart history yelling 'STOP'! We have to kick and yell and scream at the top of our lungs that government must stop! Stop spending – period – and immediately freeze expenditures right now. Stop increasing regulatory interference, which is nothing more than a hidden cost of government. Start looking at reality, and do what every businessman must do – a simple cost/benefit analysis of every existing agency, panel, commission, program, rule and regulation. While some level of government is absolutely necessary to provide for the common defense, maintain basic infrastructure, and provide for the administration of justice, most everything else is counter-productive and should, as the founders intended, be left to states and communities to provide for themselves. The time is long past when we can afford to indulge our every compassionate impulse and Utopian vision. Fairy tales are nice, but you can't live in dream castles. We're going to have to replace a whole lot of our benevolent, wise and noble politicians with hard-hearted, stone cold realists. In short, we can continue to rush headlong like lemmings off the cliff, or we can start a return to our original vision as a country. It is a travesty that we no longer study our founding documents, or the men who crafted them. I'll leave you with an excerpt from one of those “old dead white guys”, James Madison, who wrote this in Federalist Paper #62, discussing the need for cautious and reasoned legislation.

It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is today, can guess what it will be tomorrow. ...Every new regulation...presents a new harvest to those who watch the change, and can trace its consequences; a harvest reared not by themselves, but by the toils and cares of the great body of their fellow citizens....But the most deplorable effect of all is that diminution of attachment and reverence which steals into the hearts of the people towards a political system which betrays so many marks of infirmity, and disappoints so many of their flattering hopes. No government, any more than an individual, will long be respected without possessing a certain portion of order and stability.

It's back to the future, where the choice is still the same as it was 250 years ago – Live Free or Die!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Am I Crazy, or What?

JGL was a Pyschology major long ago, and even though I was also an honors math student, I won't pretend to have even a journeyman's grasp of economics. One thing I do have, none the less, is a pretty firm grasp of logic, and the ability to study and analyze factual information. So here are some basic economic facts:

Unfunded liabilities (from Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid alone) are approaching the One Hundred Trillion Dollar Level

The national debt is rapidly closing in on a level equal to our GDP

Current deficit is $1.4+ Trillion dollars, and is projected to continue in that range for years to come.

Unemployment is 10% (though unofficially closer to 20% if you count discouraged workers, part-timers wanting full-time, and people working reduced hours or furloughs)

The Federal Reserve has more than doubled the money supply in the last year, and still printing, and has committed hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars in guarantees to entities unknown.

The Dow Jones and markets have rebounded to around 10,000 from an earlier low in March.

The GDP rose at a 3.5% rate in the 3rd quarter!! (unless you take out the Cash for Clunkers, $8,000 Homebuyer credit and massive government spending) Oh, and a minimal inventory rebound from an abysmal 2nd quarter devoid of consumer spending.

Real disposable income dropped in the last quarter, and nobody is expecting a bonanza of spending for the holiday season.

Note I'm not even including the falling dollar, looming hyperinflation, or the twin train wrecks that are Cap & Trade and Government Healthcare.

So. I'm asking. Can someone, anyone, please point me to an alternative set of facts, or innovative new theory or model that might explain how this economy will magically rebound, and investment, jobs and prosperity return? And no hell no, I don't want to hear any more from you, Ben Bernanke, Timmy Geitner or anyone else that even knows how to spell Goldman Sachs. .....Yeah, that's what I thought- there isn't one that doesn't involve a lot more pain for everyone west of Wall Street. The only possible solution is for all those productive citizens in the unemployment line to trade places with 15 million government employees. Only a bloody evisceration of the Godzilla that is Washington DC, with equivalent reductions in spending and regulation can put us back on the road to the American Dream. This will be at best a long, slow process, and I believe there will be a lot more misery (maybe a necessary precursor) along the way. I will continue to fight like hell to make that a reality, but in the meantime I think I'll avoid the stock market and invest in precious metals- gold, silver and lead!