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October 07, 2010

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HarryCat challenge Part II Looking at your second challenge harrycat here is what I think in short:

Would I be willing to favor an increase in taxes, cuts in entitlements, and a cut it the military--whatever that shorthand means--to cut our deficit? The answer is that we must eliminate our deficits-- period. That is true of all our deficits: federal, state and local. The question is how do we do that? Basically all social questions can be addressed with how much can we afford to allocate to each problem we face just like we do as head of households. What we take in less what our expenses are less our debt service must be equal or positive. Otherwise we are going to go out of business. So what alternative is there?

The only way to do this at this point is to put everything on the table and get back to reality. What is prioity one and how much do we need to spend on it at a minimum? What is priority #2 and the minimum $ required? etc. This eventually will produce a basic budget and should not include anything we can do without until we know where we are. Things like support of the Arts, space exploration, unemployment insurance, welfare,etc are not mandatory no matter how interesting or humanitarian they are. This process should begin immediately at all levels of city, county, state and federal government. Back to basics for government is exactly what businesses do in times of economic crisis and the government should do it as well right now. Governor Christie is one step ahead of most.

If I were Obama with a mandate and a huge Congressional advantage then the first day I would have called in the 5-6 most influential (not necessarily appointed) leaders of each party and closed the doors--no commissions needed. I would have not emerged until I could go in front of the American people and told them that I had the signed agreement of these 10-12 leaders that we had agreed on the 5 most important issues facing America and a commitment to meet every day until we had an agreed upon plan for each one to present to Congress for voting--no amendments allowed. I would have reported the results of the meetings every week to the people and the progress being made. That would be the priority of the American Administration and the Congress until it was achieved. Both partys would share equally in the credit and the complaints of the public. No blame by committee members against each other would be allowed. members who refused to compromise would be replaced by another member of their party.

This country has a 13 trillion dollar economy. If you add up all the taxes levied on the American businesses and people I will guess it is close to $6 Trillion. That is far more money than needed to fund the basic needs of America without more taxes. And, there is never enough revenue in any noncriminal organization to fund every wish that we can think of. Until this process is actually done by a reasonably talented executive team there is no need to begin to speculate about cuts needed in entitlements. Changes to them are likely needed to reflect changing actuarial tables. But I'm not President, Governor, Mayor or county superintendent so I need not do it for them.

It matters not whether the National Republican party will do any of it. Or the Democrats. In the end it will be done. In a way everything comes about: this will be the second year in a row that Social Security recipients will not get an increase. (Under Obama by the way.) So if things get worse too fast it may be done under the watch of the US Supreme court in a series of local, state and a Federal bankruptcy workouts. I doubt it will get that far. Instead we will elect people who will demand it be done. Freedom, free enterprise and an informed electorate are very strong in that they have the ability to change things at the grass roots level, bottom up by taking away the jobs of the elitists they elect to lead them. And, they will--perhaps are. There you go Harrycat. I favor cutting everything and see if we miss it including taxes. If we don't it is gone. If we do then we'll see if we want to put it back.

Ok Harrycat here are my responses to your call for specifics. This may be long and my friend, Bill Bowen, does not like that but somehow we have agreed on most everything for the 48 years we've known each other including making our first joint bet that Cassius Clay would beat Sonny Liston at 10-1. So, we like the Republicans in this one.

1. Why do I dislike Obama, specifically?
----I'm sure if I met the man I would be impressed with his intelligence, ambition and charm. But then I've met a lot of con men in my life and they too meet that criteria. So first, and speciically, I feel that Obama spent 2 years conning the public that he was something he wasn't: honest, a leader for all Americans, and looking forward to uniting us to solve problems that face the next generation of voters. Since taking office he has done nothing but implement a one sided liberal agenda of programs designed to level the playing field for the people he feels have truly been exploited by the upper class. Skipping ahead is he "not--just one of us?" No, not unless you spend your days conning people to believe you represent something you don't. This single factor is probably the reason honest, responsible Americans including the Academy graduates who frequent this site are disappointed in his performance. We cannot and do not trust him and most Americans truly feel he has betrayed us. And it has rubbed off on his associates. I just spent the past week with many of my friends from Nevada. We grew up with Harry Reid. Some are union workers. Some are blue collar workers. Some are small business owners. Only one will vote for him despite none of them being impressed with his opponent. Asked why? Because he implements Obama's programs. Simple enough.
2. ----Fiscal Programs. TARP was a Bush initiative. Did it save the financial world? Maybe. But, if it did it was not because of the money spent. It was because of the commitment the US showed the world that we would meet our commitments and it shored up our investments to other countries and banks. Nearly all the money was never allocated and held by the Fed as it is today. The money that did go out ($250B of $750B) has mostly been returned. Why doesn't Obama put the money back and reduce the Federal debt (possibly an accrual versus cash accounting transaction)? Because the TARP money makes it look like Bush's deficit was $500B larger than it actually was in his final year. Obama can then compare his $1.3 Trillion dollar deficit with Bush's expanded deficit. So his doesn't look so big. However, Biden and Obama have from time to time tried to claim credit for the TARP funds returned by the banks along with credit for the Iraq war outcome. This smoke and mirrors play has largely backfired and they have stopped using it.
The auto industry bailout was probably not necessary as Ford proved. The airline industry has been in that situation for nearly 20 years. You have the big union dominated carriers of United,US Air, American and Delta always on the brink of failure. While the upstarts like SW and Jet Blue making money. From time to time the big guys merge and try to make things more efficient but they are saddled with union contracts that make it difficult to eliminate jobs, cut benefits, etc. They look like the state governments and Federal government always being threatened by their unions. Obama did not need to buy GM --someone else would have bought them in whole or parts and negotiated new deals with the unions. All those jobs would not have been lost. That's the way business works. The strong eat the weak and the efficiencies, products and services improve. Despite 20 years of losses United, American and Delta are still in operation. Have you been to any major airport in America in 20 years that is not expanding gates? The market is there. The government has to get out of the way and let the businesses compete under fair rules. Ford is beating the hell out of GM despite the government's investment.
The real problem with America was Fannie and Freddie and Obama has done nothing about that. Barney Frank and Chris Dodd protected those two entities because they did what Carter, Clinton,Frank and Dodd wanted them to do: lower credit standards for home ownership and fuel a false real estate market that eventually drove prices higher than value and forced foreclosures on millions when the recession hit.
But Obama's real problems fiscally began when he encouraged Pelosi and Reid to spend money on anything they wanted and called it a stimulus program. He conned us by telling us that we were going to spend money on infrastructure and put millions of workers to work. We had in mind dams, nuclear reactors, bridges, new highway systems. In the end only 3% of this money went to infrastructure. Instead we got unemployment benefit extensions, social services, union pension bailouts, government worker expansions, a couple solar battery plants in Illinois and Arizona. This was quickly seen by the public as a $750B funding of Democratic pet projects. My county for example was given education money supposedly designed to save teacher's jobs. The county school board used it instead to save for a rainy day in case things got worse and reduced the number of teachers. So in the end the people feel duped and they were. Obama is either so ill advised or so naive that he decided that it really didn't matter what you spend money on to stimulate the economy so he just let the Dems pick their favorite projects and went with it. Kind of like Santa Claus
giving out toys and hoping the kids like them. The only difference with Santa and Obama is that Obama gives the bill to the kids. Santa asks the parents if they can afford it if not he registers them with the US Marines toys for tots.
He then followed with his healthcare program. This was the biggest smoke and mirrors game ever played on the public. Virtually every one wanted the healthcare system reformed. The insurance companies are regulated under state laws. Every state commission has different rules. It creates an unfair competative mess. The ability of employers to get competative bids depends on where your employees live. Your rates depend on the basis of how unlucky or lucky your employees are and their age. Since the nation has 8 million small businesses employing 75% of the population the insurance companies are allowed to charge them based on the health records of the few people they employ. It slowly created costs that would not work. So far no one has figured out that the country needs a national insurance pool of small businesses. The Federal Government has it for their employees. So in the short that was what the people of America wanted addressed. Instead Obama directed Congressional leaders to expand healthcare coverage. Beginning with an attempt to make us pay for everyone in universal healthcare the Dems began an assault on Congressional members who were skeptical. Behind closed doors they bribed and paid off reluctant memebers but despite this were unable to get universal coverage through. In the meantime Teddy Kennedy died and Brown, fueled by the Tea Party and Sarah Palin, was elected. Universal coverage was dead. But the Dems pushed through their modified plan while the alarmed and disgusted public watched backroom politics at it's worst. Most of us never believed anything Obama promised about it being a reform package designed to control costs. Most Americans know you cannot add 19 Million people to the system, expand benefits to include kids, remove lifetime limits and preexisiting conditions for no increase in costs or that insurance companies will not pass the new taxes along to us. And just a few months later we are being give 25-40% increases in renewal premiums. Got yours yet?
------Then, just as I was getting a sliver of hope when Obama expanded the off shore drilling footprint the Gulf Oil spill occured and Obama once again used it to further his political agenda trying to play the smoke and mirrors game using an oil spill to punish BP with a $20B ransom, putting a moritorium on oil and gas drilling offshore costing Americans thousands of jobs and oil production and then spending his nongolfing/vacation time lobbying for his energy package. As of today the Gulf payouts are around $400M. So why $20B in escrow? Showmanship by Obama and Biden. California continues to pass their deficits on to Obama rather than open their oil fields. Last year Americans paid a 1.67% tax to bail out California.
3.------Social policy? Not sure what to address here but I know that it is not fair for Americans to favor union companies over nonunion companies for contracts when less tha 17% of Americans work in unions. It is not fair for Obama to bail out the union pension funds with tax funds from non union workers and companies leaving us to fund our own employee funds. All of us took the 50% hit in the stock market plunge--not just the private and public unions' pension funds.
I suppose immigration policy is social policy. Failure to secure the borders is irresponsible and authorizing illegal immigration which takes American jobs away. I'm tired of people telling me they are only taking the jobs Americans don't want. BS--mexicans have taken a high percentage of state and county jobs in maintenance, construction, road , sanitation areas. All high paying blue collar jobs that many of our out of work construction workers would love to have. Illegal immigrants, as Bill points out in California are now being proposed to be able to vote on school boards. Can you tell me they are not increasing the cost of schools, medicine, welfare, prisons, etc. Obama went so far as to tell the world that Arizona's attempt to control the illegal immigration problem was a form of abuse. What country is he really representing---Obama the President of the World? Socially Obama has managed to pit the blacks, illegal hispanics and far left liberals against white Americans and then point to the Tea Party and blame them.
You may be tired of hearing socialism but there is no doubt Obama is leading or should I really say pushing the country toward a government managed and controlled system and away from free enterprise. If he had his way we would have universal healthcare, national educational systems open longer hours and 12 months to provide free daycare services for the children parents forget to take care of, a government run energy system under the guise of a carbon credit market allowing the governemnt to isssue credits that would control all our energy production, consumption and pollution and on this short list is his desire to make all US company and government workers union members. He is already bypassing congress to use EPA to enforce his idea of fairness standards. He has no congressional budget this year.He ignored the court order to reopen the offshore drilling platforms and kept them closed. Nazi, UnAmerican are not terms I use but socialist is a mild version of his goals.
-----On the credits side I give him two: I do not believe he wants America the target of terrorists so I believe he will defend America as best he can. Biden is at least informed and his experience provides me hope.
For the first time his second speech to the school kids had some good words in it. He at least let down his shield long enough to tell them that he too had to suffer from the problems inherited from a dysfunctional family and mixed race. That was the best thing I have seen him do as President. He could do much to inspire the kids of America to overcome their problems and achieve their goals.
Anyone remember what GWB was doing when 911 happened? Anyone remember that Bush and Teddy Kennedy worked together to pass the Prescription drug program and no child left behind before 911? Anyone remember that Harry Reid voted to support both Iraq wars? How many attacks after 911 did America suffer under GWB? Who hired Gates as Sec of Defense? Who restructured the FBI and the CIA to make sure it could fight terror? Those many threats uncovered and aborted by the CIA and FBI are thanks in part to GWB. I am not so much in awe of GWB as I am disappointed at Obama and his arrogance, refusal to engage opposition, listen, cooperate, negotiate and compromise to fix the systems that need adjusting. Few things in America needs to be dismantled just fixed.
-------There is not a business person in the Country that will not tell you that in any organization large or small there is not a lot of waste. Recessions have a way of making America more competative. The weak fail and make the strong stronger as they assume more market share. New companies emerge as capital is invested. We all cut high percentages of waste out of our system. Unfortunately, some of the waste are poorly utilized employees. Technology replaces some as well. It is temporary. Experience tells me that in most recessions companies can cut 10-15% of expenses without much impact. So too can the federal government. So an immediate call for across the board budget cuts by all departments of 3% a year for 4 years will easily reduce the deficit and make government more efficient. Obama never thought of that becasue he has no one who has ever been in the real world. They all operate with those computer projections of 5% revenue increases a year. If they don't get them they raise taxes rather than cut costs.

So, Harrycat--there it is. The reason I am not an Omama for president fan. Many people could write a book on it so this is just a taste of all I could go into. But my confidence in Americans to "fix" their mistakes is rock solid and they will "fix" this one in stages perhaps. I don't know if you saw it but the Governor of Pennsylvania,Ed Randell, was on O'Reilly last night disussing the Tea Party. And O'Reilly asked him to name the biggest success of the Democrats in the past two years: His answer was that kids under the age of 26 can now be covered without preexisting conditions. Now I respectfully agree that is good but I find that to be a great example of how hard it is for Democrats to defend anything significant they have done. The Governor's disapproval rating is 56% in Pennsylvania. And I think he's a good one but he supports Obama.

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