Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Model For Failed Liberal Policies: Newark NJ

Newark, New Jersey is in fight with Detroit, Michigan to be the worst city in the United States. Both cities face high unemployment, decaying infrastructures, corruption, and high crime. Newark, like Detroit, used to be a thriving city that was home to many industries. After all, Newark is only 10 miles from the United States’ largest port and economic strong point – New York City. At its peak, Newark had a population of nearly a half a million people. Today, the city has a little more than a quarter of a million residents with only one supermarket and movie theater.

What happened? The liberal interpretation of the Civil Rights Act (CRA) in 1964 was the start of the demise of the both Newark and Detroit. The progressive view of the CRA was to design social equality polices that overcompensated minorities for years of oppression. Unfortunately, this made minorities dependent on the federal government without any personal responsibilities and accountability. The federal government decided Newark was a good place to build massive housing projects. This led to an influx of minorities, especially Puerto Ricans and African Americans. This was the beginning of the overcompensated liberal social policies that made not only poor minorities, but poor whites dependent on the federal government for their daily existence. At the same time poor minorities moved into housing projects, whites and affluent minorities began to flee the city. This also meant that jobs left the city as small and large businesses fled Newark. This left the city with a shrinking tax base to support infrastructure, education, and other necessities. By 1967, Newark was in complete chaos. Riots that year killed 26 and resulted in massive infrastructure damages to homes and businesses that were torched. From this point, Newark was in a steady decline. Newark’s city government has been predominately run by liberal minorities over the past several decades. However, they too have failed their people because many city leaders became corrupt and did little to solve Newark’s crime, drug, infrastructure, educational, unemployment, and poverty issues.

It is ironic that the decline of Newark started at the same time as the passing of the Civil Rights Act that was supposed to improve living conditions for minorities. The result of the passing of the Civil Rights Act lead directly to social equality policies such as welfare, low income housing, food stamps, Medicaid, and other progressive entitlement programs including affirmative action and quotas that has doomed the city of Newark and its citizens. Are the minority citizens of Newark better off today than they were 40 years ago? Absolutely not! They are segregated in ghettos facing addictions, crime, a poor education, and wretched living conditions. Today, there are more people living in poverty, per capita, than 40 years ago in Newark. Face it; social programs led directly to individuals becoming less accountable and responsible for themselves and their families. Hence, the family unit as well as moral values has virtually disappeared.

Is there any hope for Newark? There may be some hope. Newark’s new mayor Cory Booker may be able to stop the decline. Booker’s first objective has been to reduce crime and he has had some success. Under Booker’s watch homicides are down 28% and shootings are down 46%, while overall crime is down 21%. Booker understands to attract new home owners and businesses; he must first make the city safe again. Booker and Newark have a long way to go, but it is a good start.

My Book: Is America Dying? (Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Afghan Blunder

There are some issues that cannot be politicized, and war is one of them. The consequences are just too dire because it puts our brave men and women in harm’s way. But Obama’s recent decision to withdraw the 33,000 troop surge, which he ordered just 18 months prior to this decision, is strictly a political decision. In my mind, Obama had one of two decisions he could have made about the war in Afghanistan. One, he could have opted to add as many troops as necessary to win the war (remember, he did not give the generals the number of troops they requested for the surge initially) or two, he could admit defeat and completely withdraw all troops. To be honest, I would have been okay with either decision for a number of reasons. Let’s face facts; Afghanistan is an extremely difficult place to win a war, especially without 100% support from our President and Congress. Afghanistan’s terrain is tough; the enemy blends in with civilians; it has a corrupt government; our enemies and allies are supporting the terrorists; it is a drug haven; and so many other reasons makes Afghanistan a tough place to wage a war.

Obama’s troop reduction decision is once again the use of half measures and not a full commitment to the conflict. This will ultimately not only lead to defeat, but the useless loss of American life. There is no doubt the Obama decision to scale back forces needlessly puts more Americans in harm’s way, not less. Let’s all understand the potential consequences of Obama’s decision to scale back forces because it comes during the “fighting season” (when it is warm), he is ignoring the advice of his generals, and less troops means less forces to protect each other.

The bottom line is we all know the true motive behind Obama’s decision. First, he is trying to please both the right and left at the same time (typical Obama - sitting on the fence). Secondly, his decision to end the surge by September 2012 is conveniently two months before the 2012 election (the time when campaigns and debates are in overdrive). In other words, Obama believes this is his best hope to win reelection. Thus, his decision to scale back the surge in Afghanistan is solely to help his prospects of being reelected. Make no bones about it; the Obama decision in Afghanistan is purely political and our brave men and women will have to pay for his selfish decision.

I am a true believer in Laissez Faire politics - meaning to stay out of foreign disputes unless it directly affects the safety of Americans. Our leaders felt the terroristic threats from Afghanistan were a direct threat to our national security. If that is true, then we should finish the effort since I doubt the threat to our national security has improved over the course of the war. Individuals, companies, and our government should not start a project or task without fully intending to meet the goals and objectives. We should not start something without fully intending to finish it. Obama started the surge strategy then he should have the conviction to see that strategy to its conclusion. It is that simple. After all, if the goal was to rid Afghanistan of terrorists 10 years ago, then that should be the goal today. Obama has once again showed his true colors as being an extremely weak leader who is more interested with his political career than doing what is right and necessary – regardless of the political backlash. If Bush succumbed to politic pressure then we would have lost in Iraq. But Bush had the fortitude to win when everyone else wanted to retreat and claim defeat. That is leadership, doing what is right even if it means committing political suicide.

The Political Double Standard

In the wake of the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal, many liberals are on record stating: Since progressives do not hold family values as a top priority (as conservatives do), it is okay for Weiner to 1) exhibit questionable behavior and 2) to keep his job. I think this is a bunch of nonsense for numerous reasons – even if Weiner did not break the law. If Weiner’s own family can no longer trust him, then why should his constituents. Weiner lied, and once he did that – his reputation has been tainted and he cannot be trusted (Thus, he did the right thing by resigning). And, in my opinion, family values may be the biggest problem facing our nation. Study after study indicates that children who come from a strong family unit are more likely to succeed. For this reason, political leaders need to lead by example. However, if liberals want to play this game of “double standards” and insist that Republicans who violate their own moral values should step down, then why aren’t Democrats held to the same standard when they violate their own moral and ethical values?

For instance, Democratic moral values (as they claim) are to protect the poor and the environment. So why aren’t Democrats held to the same double standards as Republicans when dealing with these issues? Democrats may push legislation and laws, which they feel will protect the environment and help the poor, but do they live up to the same set of standards? Of course not! Progressives want the wealthy to pay more in taxes, but they are less likely to give their hard earned money to charities. After all, nobody is stopping our wealthy liberal politicians from giving more to charities or even to pay a higher sum in taxes (they do not have to claim all their deductions). When Democrats passed ObamaCare to provide health insurance to all poor Americans, they also voted against having to purchase the same healthcare policies that they are forcing on the masses. Aren’t these moral and ethical violations of the liberal ideology? Liberals expect their next door neighbors to do their job in cutting carbon emissions; meanwhile they are splurging on energy. Let’s evaluate the Al Gore double standard. Gore travels on his own plane and his mansion home can be seen illuminating energy from satellite images. But liberals proclaim this is okay because Al Gore buys carbon offsets. So it is acceptable for Al Gore to be a hypocrite because he happens to be wealthy enough to offset his wasteful polluting ways? Let’s say for argument that Gore is successful at offsetting his carbon emissions by purchasing offsets. But what about other pollutants, such as nitrogen oxide or sulfur dioxide, aren’t these emissions dangerous to our environment as well? These pollutants are just as dangerous and our liberal EPA is writing laws to limit the emission of these particles. Therefore, it begs to reason that Gore’s actions are a violation of the progressive moral view of protecting the environment. But the media and ignorant liberals are not going to hold him accountable the same way they will hold (and rightfully so) Governor Mark Sanford or Senator Larry Craig for their morally hypocritical and lewd behavior. Why is it morally okay for the President to keep his office at 80 degrees when he tells the rest of us to conserve energy? Why is it okay for government office buildings in Washington to cost the taxpayers tens of millions of dollars monthly on electric bills? Why is it okay for Pelosi to fly a private jet back and forth between DC and her home in California? It’s because they are not held to the same moral double standards as conservatives. After all, they are certainly not practicing what they preach.

The fact of the matter is liberals expect others to contribute to their moral and ethical ideology, and if people disagree with their ideology then they must be forced to conform through higher taxes and environmental laws and regulations. At the same time, these same progressive politicians fail to live up to their moral obligations time and time again. So the next time a Democrat politician is demonizing a conservative colleague for violating his family value core beliefs, consider if this same liberal politician has violated their own moral values of protecting the poor and the planet. People who are in positions of authority are the first group of individuals that feel they are entitled to break their own set of moral and ethical values. That is the bottom line and both parties are guilty of this practice.

Progressive Harmonization

What can be done to stop federal government monopolies and their continual need for power that is infringing on the rights of American citizens and corporations? The answer is that states need to fight any federal government attempts to increase power. Many conservative states have low tax rates and pro-business laws. States such as Texas, Florida, and Wyoming have no state income taxes. Twenty-Two states have “right-to-work” laws which protect corporations and employees who do not wish to be unionized. Many of these same states have other pro business laws which eliminate the influence of government and special interests from interfering into their day to day activities.

The laws of these conservative states which protect individuals and corporations from high taxes, special interests, and government bureaucracy are keeping those liberal states with anti-business laws in check. Liberal states with high individual and corporate taxes coupled with anti-business laws, such as being union friendly, are struggling during this current recession. California, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois are examples of states with anti-business laws. These states penalize hard working individuals and profitable businesses with high taxes to pay for their social entitlement programs. This has forced many businesses and individuals to reconsider their residence. Hence, many individuals and corporations are fleeing liberal states for more personal freedom that can be found in conservative states. This, in turn, has drastically reduced the tax revenue base in liberal states and the problem is being magnified during the current recession. Thus, these states are in dire financial trouble.

One could surmise that this predicament would force liberal states to rethink its tax rates and restructure its welfare programs. Yes, to certain extent it has. On the other hand, liberals are stubborn and really do not like reducing taxes on wealthy corporations and individuals at the expense of the poor. Hence, many liberal politicians are crying foul. They think it is unfair that conservative states have laws to protect residents and corporations while lacking social programs to help the needy. Thus, liberal politicians believe in a concept called “progressive harmonization”.

Progressive harmonization means that all states should be complying with similar tax rates, restrictions, mandates, and regulations for businesses and individuals. Of course, liberals believe the taxes and laws of conservative states should mimic liberal states and not vice versa. This is obviously absurd since each state should have the right to tax and regulate industry as it sees fit, right? The answer to this should be unequivocally yes. After all, why bother having states if all state laws must be uniform and consistent. All of that being stated, in this day and age, the federal government can force states to do just about anything. Think about it, the recent ObamaCare legislation is mandating citizens to buy healthcare insurance. So is it really that far fetch to think the federal government cannot force states to conform to tax and business laws? No, it isn’t!

How can the federal government force states to conform to tax and business laws? They can claim the “commerce clause” of the constitution is being violated. The commerce clause was originally drafted to prevent states from developing “protectionism” laws that may yield unfair advantages within interstate trade. Today, the commerce clause has such a broad view it has been used to control everything including intra state commerce. In fact, liberals’ broad interpretation of the commerce clause is their reasoning behind the legality of ObamaCare mandates.

So what is to stop the Supreme Court from ruling that conservative states have “unfair” taxes and laws that are violating the commerce clause since it is allowing individuals and business to move from liberal states? They can certainly argue this a form of “protectionism”. Besides, the federal government can enact state tax and business laws that each state will have to follow since federal laws are the “Supreme” law of the land.

If the federal government pulls off this coup d’ tat, it will be the end of any state rights to combat the spread of socialism and government monopolies. Yes, progressive harmonization is the ultimate goal of Obama and his posse of liberal elitists.

Obama's Pro Muslim Policies

Obama may not be a Muslim, but there is no question where his loyalties lie over the Middle East peace process. Let’s summarize Obama’s Middle East foreign policy.

First, Obama claims his foreign policy is not to dictate or interfere, but to listen to other nations (Laissez Faire). This policy seems to apply to all countries like Cuba, Venezuela, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and other rogue nations, but not Israel. That is right, Obama clearly sides with Palestine over Israel.

Obama has ties to Pro-Palestinian historian Rashid Khalidi and Obama’s Middle East policies mirror Khalidi’s radical ideology for the region.

Obama, as President, has visited and given speeches in several Muslim nations including Egypt and Turkey, but he has not stepped foot inside Israel. And what’s worse, Obama’s speeches are an apology for U.S. involvement to save persecuted Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Balkans.

Obama has pressured Israel to stop building settlements in disputed 1967 territories such as the West Bank, Golan Heights, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, their capital. What’s worse, Israel can’t build new settlements to accommodate for natural population growth. Israel is a very small nation, about 20,600km². When the disputed territories from 1967 are added, Israel is about 27,700km² or about 1/7th the size of New York State. Israel’s population (including disputed territories) is about 7.75 million people. Of which only 76% are Jews and about 16% are Muslims. Israel agreed and stopped building new settlements in all disputed territories with the exception of East Jerusalem, but this was not acceptable for Obama and obviously the Palestinians. Jewish population growth is very modest, under 2%, so why can’t they expand to meet this population growth? On the other hand, what concessions did Obama dictate from Palestine? Nothing! All concessions for Peace must come from Israel. Is this fair? Of course not! Imagine the outrage if Israel asked the Muslims that live within their borders to stop procreating and building new homes. In fact, Muslims that live in Israel are the biggest burden on its welfare system, but Israel is not trying to rid themselves of this burden – they know that would be wrong.

In a more recent speech, Obama not only wants Israel to stop building settlements, but he expects them to concede all the disputed territories from 1967 to Palestine. No President in U.S. history has ever echoed such an extreme Mideast foreign policy. Once again, what is Palestine going to concede in this compromise? Nothing! The only reason these disputed territories were formulated was because Israel needed a buffer zone to protect themselves from constant missile attack and invasion. Muslim aggression brought about these boundaries. Arab nations tried everything to wipe out Israel including cutting off their water supply.

Obama’s Middle East policy towards Muslim uprisings and revolutions across the region is even more confusing. The Arab spring, as predicted by many pundits, has come to fruition. Many Arabs want democracy, similar to the one created in Iraq, but many of the revolutionary groups have ties to radical Islam or terrorism. For instance, groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, has ties to Hamas, now have a voice in Egypt. Obama’s use of military force in Libya would be acceptable, if and only if, those people he is supporting will build a democracy. First of all, Obama is not seeing the Libya mission through, and second of all, we do not know what the revolutionists envision for the future of Libya. One thing is certain, were there is chaos, there are extreme Islamic groups trying to gain power amongst the masses. And these radical groups have one primary vision – to annihilate Israel and to terrorize the West. Where Obama and our intelligence agencies are failing to install democracies in these Arab nations, countries like Iran are succeeding at influencing protestors to implement their radical ideology in their new government. Obama has a great opportunity to influence the outcome of these protests, but his Libya strategy shows he is unwilling to see the conflict through to its conclusion. And implementing sanctions against a current government that is using force to end protests does not ensure a democracy will prevail. But what is most confusing is that as these uprisings occur, Obama is resonating a message that Israel (the only stable government in the region), not Muslims, need to make huge concessions and sacrifices to ensure peace in the region. Obama’s strategy seems to be one to sit back and see what happens with all the protests and uprisings. It does not seem to matter to Obama if more anti-Israel or anti-American governments take form in the Middle East. After all, Obama is practicing his Laissez Faire foreign policy in the region, except of course, with Israel.

Yes, the Obama Middle East policy is to turn its back on the only stable democratic state in the region and to support a plethora of archaic regimes. Regimes that fail to recognize the rights of women and homosexuals. Regimes that oppress their people while they live a lavish lifestyle gained from oil riches. Regimes that may soon be overrun by extremists with ties to radical Islam and terrorist organizations. Is this a sound foreign policy that will guarantee stability in the region?

Sure, Obama has stated that Palestine must recognize Israel’s right to exist. But at what cost? The cost of erasing 65 years of history! And do we really think that Muslims will agree to allow Israel to exist as a state even at the proposed pre-1967 borders? Absolutely not! Muslims cannot handle a racist cartoon let alone allowing their enemies the right to exist. So, if Muslims fail to agree to pre-1967 borders, what is the next step? Maybe the answer is to eliminate a few more years of history and dismantle Israel completely and forcibly remove 7 million Jews. And if that is not sufficient enough, maybe we can eliminate a few more years of history and deny the Holocaust ever happened. That may finally be a proposal acceptable to Palestinians, Muslims, and maybe even Obama. Obama can then claim another historical precedent – resolving the Middle East conflict.

Big Oil Vs. Big Government

We hear it all the time: “big oil companies are evil”! They charge a fortune for a gallon of gas and reap record profits. People are 30 times more likely to Google big oil profits than big oil taxes (97% to 3%). Why? This is the picture that the media, environmentalists, and progressives paint. Actually, I have absolutely no problem with these folks ganging up on oil companies so long as they live the way they preach. If people are living with a small carbon footprint (can calculate it at http://epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ind_calculator.html) and or are working on green technology, then please complain. My experience with so called righteous environmentalists is that they are hypocrites and are no better than “armchair quarterbacks”. In other words, they not only expect others to make sacrifices but they expect them to be the innovators to fix greenhouse emission problems. This is life, it is full of people that have strong opinions and who love to complain, but when push comes to shove they are no better than carbon emitting oxygen thieves. If your carbon footprint is lower than mine, then please complain (my wife and I combine to have footprint that is half that of the average American).

Let’s clarify a few things about big oil companies first. The oil and gas industry profit margins rank 60th overall at about 8.1 cents per dollar spent. The pharmaceutical industry rakes in about 19 cents profit for every dollar, banks about 18 cents per dollar, financial services about 13.5 cents per dollar, telecom about 9 cents per dollar, and food and beverage about 8.5 cents per dollar. The average U.S. industry averages about 7 cents profit for every dollar spent. In 2009, Exxon was Forbes “Green Company of the Year”. They spent billions in research and building algae farms to generate gas. And they finished a 30 billion dollar natural gas field that is expected to lower carbon emissions by a billion cubic tones per year. Heck, the CEO of Exxon has no problem with cap and trade and paying a higher share in taxes.

From 2003 to 2008 Exxon paid nearly 100 billion in income taxes – enough to pay for the budget of the Department of Education, Department of the Interior, Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Commerce in 2011. In fact, Exxon’s yearly tax contribution is equal to more than what the bottom 50% of Americans pay in taxes (160 million people). That statistic includes only Exxon and it does not include the likes of Chevron or Conoco. It is true, due to tax loopholes (that need to be closed), Exxon paid no income taxes in 2009. They paid about 15 billion in income taxes to foreign countries (but foreign income taxes can be written off in the U.S.). Overall, in 2009, their products resulted in nearly 80 billion dollars in tax revenues for the U.S. and foreign countries (an effective tax rate of 47% on their product – no other American industry has an effective tax rate near this high). Yes, this does include sales tax and I realize that people pay sales tax, but there is no denying that both foreign and U.S. governments are collecting massive tax revenues off oil products. It may surprise some, but depending on the year, the government (including local, state, and federal) collects anywhere from 3 to 6 times more in tax revenues than oil companies receive in profits.

While oil companies receive about 25 cents profit from a gallon of gas. The federal government collects 18.5 cents per gallon and states collect, on average, 29 cents per gallon for a total of 47.5 cents in sales taxes (15 to 20% sales tax rate!). Exxon is paying about 35 to 50 cents a gallon in federal income taxes (including foreign – remember their profits include what is generated globally – not just in the U.S.). Thus, governments are collecting nearly a dollar for a gallon of gas whereas, oil profits are much lower. Thus, it is government greed that is driving up the cost of gas, not oil companies whose profit margins are less than 10%.

I think liberal politicians love big oil! They may complain about them in public, but big oil companies are a cash cow that supports their liberal agenda. Besides, politicians are generally some of the biggest carbon emitters (look at the monthly electric bill of government buildings). Here is a question to ponder - Where will struggling state and federal governments recoup these tax dollars if we go green?

Obama the Executioner

First, it is important for me to point out that I completely agree 100% with Obama’s decision to ignore Pakistan’s sovereignty and kill Osama Bin Laden. I also believe this event will go down as Obama’s crowning achievement of his first (and hopefully last) administration. I have routinely characterized Obama as being weak and indecisive on issues of importance, but in this case Obama was strong and decisive.

With all that said, I am still wondering where is the liberal outrage over the Bin Laden assassination? Liberals have routinely chastised and bashed the Bush administration for the improper treatment of enemy combatants proclaiming he had violated their civil liberties. Of course, an argument has been made that without the use of enhanced interrogation techniques (torture if you are liberal) intelligence agencies would never have found Osama Bin Laden. In any event, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the raid on the Bin Laden compound in Pakistan was a “kill mission”. In other words, the Obama administration never intended to take Bin Laden or any of the male members in the compound alive. Obama decided he was going to put the complete judicial system in his hands and execute Bin Laden.

The Bin Laden compound was not heavily fortified with guards and ammunition because that would attract too much attention. Bin Laden himself was unarmed and many of those that died along side with him were not identified as civilians or terrorists. It is completely possible that Bin Laden was holding and hiding behind innocent civilians to enhance his cover – this is what terrorists do. Thus, it is probable that innocent civilians were also murdered on this mission.

Throughout the Bush administration a great deal of time and energy was not only placed on condemning enhanced interrogation methods, but also at the loss of innocent civilian lives. Scott Pelley went after Blackwater employees who had itchy trigger fingers and consequently killed over a dozen innocent civilians in Iraq. However, in combat, it is hard to decipher who is the enemy when they blend in society. And no one should ever question the actions of military personnel unless they too have experienced combat. It is solely up to the military to determine if the law had been broken, not liberals or progressives. Still, where are the media and ACLU pundits condemning the Bin Laden mission as violating the civil liberties of human beings? Eric Holder, Obama, and progressives alike want to give enemy combatants civilian rights and trials – but those in the Bin Laden compound will never get these privileges because they were executed. Where is the liberal outrage? Why aren’t Obama’s actions being scrutinized by the media and the Left the same way that Bush was?

This is not the only time Obama crossed the liberal civil rights line and has been given a pass by progressives and the media. Obama went to war in Libya without congressional consent. For the first time in American history Obama has placed a death warrant on an American born civilian - al-Qaeda terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki. And let’s not forget that Obama is continuing with Bush policy of holding enemy combatants indefinitely without a charge and is trying them in military tribunals. By liberal definitions all of these actions can be viewed as civil liberty violations (Conservatives rightfully do not view terrorists as prisoners of war). So where is all the outrage and negative publicity over these so called civil liberty violations? If a conservative president executed civilians or terrorists alike the progressive media would be pushing for war crime indictments. Once again, the left is being hypocritical by only seeing crimes when questionable actions (in eyes of liberals) are carried out by conservatives, but they conveniently look the other way when the left commits these crimes.

The Laffer Effect

With the federal debt at record levels, most people are anticipating higher taxes. Because of this, the Laffer Effect is once again part of the debate over what tax rate would maximize federal government revenues. The Laffer Effect theorizes that federal revenues collected from a 0% and 100% tax rate would be zero. Obviously, if the government does not tax the public, it will not collect any revenues. Likewise, if the government overtaxes its population, there is less incentive for people to earn money. Thus, extremely high taxes become counterproductive and decrease federal revenue. A higher tax rate also means individuals will try to find loopholes in tax laws such as finding offshore tax shelters and even fraudulent methods to avoid paying large sums of money to the federal government. A higher tax rate also means people will spend less money on charities to help the needy. In other words, higher tax rates create more uncertainty and strain economic variables more so than lower tax rates.

The Laffer effect is most often cited by conservatives, who advocate supply side economics, to keep both income and capital gain taxes low. This, in turn, will keep the size of the federal government small and therefore; reduce regulation in the private sector. This cultivates an economy with a greater supply of goods and services at lower prices. Meanwhile, progressives argue that the Laffer Effect is advantageous to the wealthy and therefore, neglects the poor. But liberals fail to point out that the United States pays more money, per capita, for education and entitlements for the poor than any other nation in the world. Liberals are also quick to point out that Russia had very high tax rates, but they still collected enough revenue to support armies and a space program.

Over the course of our history there have been plenty of studies and empirical data to support the Laffer Effect does truly exist in economics. One study indicated the specific tax rate that will maximize federal revenues is between 33 and 36%, but this study did not include local and state taxes. In 1924, Secretary of the Treasury, Andrew Mellon, worked to reduce the upper tax bracket from 73% to 24%. Federal government revenues grew nearly 300 million (30%) over the next 5 years prior to the Great Depression. The Kennedy tax cuts in the 1960s also resulted in greater federal revenue and economic growth. The Kemp-Roth tax act in 1981 reduced the upper tax bracket from 70% to 28%. This too led to increased federal government revenue because it resulted in tremendous economic growth over the next two decades. Some critics of the Laffer Effect point to a 2005 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study. The study suggests that a United States tax cut of 10%, across the board, would only make up 28% of the lost tax revenue in a 10 year period. However, conservatives quickly point out that the CBO study only assumes a modest 1% increase in the Gross National Product (GNP) from the tax cuts. Whereas, the other tax rate cuts cited above, saw GNP increases of several percentage points.

The result of lower tax rates was not only successful in the United States to generate higher revenues, but around the globe. Russia and the Baltic states instituted a 35% flat tax rate that resulted in economic growth and therefore, higher federal government revenues. Between 1979 and 2002 over 40 countries, mostly socialized Western European nations, decreased the top tax rates to stimulate economic growth.

There is little question, as suggested from global empirical data, that decreasing federal tax rates does more to stimulate and grow the economy and therefore; increases federal revenues. On the other hand, raising taxes to very high levels decreases incentives for the economy to grow and therefore, federal tax revenues stagnate and decrease. Remember the Joe the Plumber example from the 2008 election? He decided not to risk buying a business because he feared higher taxes. Hence, he concluded there was no monetary incentive to take the risk. This is why the Laffer Effect is an accurate economic theory.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It is Really Getting Old

Obama delivered another speech, this time about reducing our debt, and it was redundant like all his speeches. Obama hits on the same talking and fear mongering points in all his speeches. Obama is becoming very predictable.

First, Obama generally waits too long before he addresses a problem. The debt issue was no different. Obama finally came forward after the “Party of No” put forth a detailed plan, and after a budget compromise had already been met for the fiscal year of 2011. If Obama was serious about the debt, he should have had a detailed plan on the table prior to the 2011 budget deal.

If Obama was serious about tackling the debt, then why is his budget proposal for fiscal year 2011 (submitted a few months back) absent of the proposals he spoke about this past Wednesday? This is because he is not serious about the issue.

The Obama debt speech was loaded with “Obama speak” including the typical talking points of blaming Bush and demonizing opposition plans with fear mongering claims that they want the elderly, poor, and handicapped to “fend for themselves”.

As usual, the Obama plan to cut 4 trillion dollars over the next 12 years was vague and absent of any significant details to corroborate his budget numbers. For instance, Obama’s Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and corporate tax reform details in his budget plan were absent in his speech.

The Obama plan to cut spending includes spending increases in education, transportation, clean energy, and job training. Remember, the 862 billion dollar stimulus (Recovery Act) already poured hundreds of billions of dollars into these causes, but it failed to create jobs, save jobs, or fix our crumbling infrastructure. This is the flawed liberal philosophy suggesting we can spend our way out of debt and a recession. America already spends more money (per capita) in these areas than any other country in the world – we do not need more spending, we need to spend the money more wisely. The average U.S. classroom costs the American taxpayer over 250 thousand dollars a year and teachers receive less than 40% of that money (classroom teachers and special teachers [physical education, music, art, etc]). This means overhead and administration costs are over 60% of our education budget. And let’s not forget that school districts raise an additional 700 dollars per student through the sale of tickets to events, fund raising drives, concessions, and meal plans.

Obama claims he will reduce spending by reforming the tax code. The Obama tax code reform, by his own admission, is to raise more tax revenue (not reduce spending) on the top 2% of American wealth earners. First, these are the people that create jobs. Secondly, I will post mathematical models that will show that raising taxes on the wealthy not only hurts the economy (reduces consumer spending), but the government does not use the increased revenue to pay down the debt. Instead, the government spends more on entitlements.

Obama is delusional to think that ObamaCare legislation will cut healthcare costs and it will cut the deficit by 1 trillion dollars over the next 12 years. There is a reason that the approval for the legislation is at its lowest level – healthcare premiums skyrocketed last year. ObamaCare will fail to cut healthcare costs because it does not hold all the players in the healthcare industry accountable to make sacrifices. ObamaCare merely attacks health insurance companies but does nothing to hold big pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, doctors, individuals, trial lawyers, or health industry providers accountable to lower costs.

Let’s face facts; Obama and his team of economic bureaucrats do not understand the first thing about simple math, money, how to create a job, or the economy in general. Most have not run a business and they are all prisoners to flawed progressive economic philosophies and special interest groups that want continued government spending to support their causes (ACORN, Planned Parenthood, environmental groups, etc.). No charity, business, group, or organization should receive any government compensation – they should raise their funding solely through private charitable contributions. If the cause is noble, people will donate to it.

Jumping on the Bandwagon

It is human nature to jump on the bandwagon. We are all guilty of doing it. In most cases, when we jump on the bandwagon, it is a knee jerk reaction. In other words, we react with emotions and feelings more than we do with reason and facts. Many times, jumping on the bandwagon, is synonymous with “keeping up with the Jones’”. For instance, if our neighbors get a new car or swimming pool, we too feel compelled to have these things. And what’s worse, is when we purchase these items at a time when we cannot afford them.

Jumping on the bandwagon most commonly occurs when we purchase a new popular item. For example, high tech items such as a big screen HDTVs, the Ipad, 4G phones, digital cameras, and other gadgets receive all the media’s buzz and craze when they first come out. Many of these products sell millions in the first weeks of their release. If human beings could control their desires and impulsive addictions, they could literally save thousands of dollars. I personally wait to buy a product once the next generation is available. Thus, when I purchase the old version of an item it generally costs anywhere from 50% to 70% less than when they were first introduced a mere year or two prior.

Jumping on the bandwagon is a common occurrence in the political world for either candidates or policies. Barack Obama is a prime example. Millions were quick to jump on the Obama bandwagon. They were mesmerized by substance lacking speeches calling for “hope and change”. They accepted the media’s view of Obama as being the messiah. The media convinced everyone to join in and make history to elect the first black president. Unfortunately, everyone, including the media, ignored Obama’s abysmal resume to be president. He never ran anything, he was never an executor, he never built anything, and as a legislator he never wrote any significant laws.

Obama, himself, jumped on his own elitist bandwagon. He ordered that the torture facility of Guantanamo to be closed. To his dismay, he is going to keep the prison camp open because he discovered the truth – Guantanamo treats it detainees respectfully and it is nicer than some Holiday Inns. Obama felt the American electorate gave him a referendum to enact any change he deemed necessary. Hence, Obama started the biggest federal government power grab in U.S. history. Obama policies included a government takeover of the healthcare industry, auto industry, and the financial industry. These policies have forced millions to rethink their support of Obama and his socialistic ideology. Now Americans are coming to their senses and are jumping off the Obama bandwagon.

The next time we feel compelled to act impulsively and jump on a product or political bandwagon, it makes sense to avoid the temptation and research the situation. Do not take what friends or the media claim as truth, fact check their statements. Look at both sides of an issue or problem. The more informed we become about a product or issue, the better we become at making rational decisions that are not only best for you, but best for our country.

The Man With a Plan

Finally, someone in Congress has the fortitude to stick their neck on the line and propose an unpopular financial plan. That man is Paul Ryan, the head of the House Budget Committee. The plan is politically risky because it affects most Americans in both the short and long term, but whether or not we think so, the plan is necessary. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) economic model crashes by the year 2037. This means, in 25 years our government and economy will not only be broke, but it will be beyond repair. The longer we wait to fix the problem, the harder the problem is to fix and the solution becomes more painful. Thus, it is necessary to act quickly.
The Ryan plan proposes to cut over 4 trillion of our 14 trillion dollars of debt over the next decade. This plan is bold because it cuts more spending than the unpopular plan proposed by the Debt Commission this past November. Democrats are already crying foul and have begun demonizing the proposal. Remember, Obama refused to incorporate any of the Debt Commission budget recommendations into his proposed budget plan for this year. Here is a summary of Ryan’s proposals:

•By 2021, the government will subsidize seniors to help pay for insurance premiums instead of enrolling them into the government run Medicare system. This change will only effect people that are younger than 55. The plan would also require the wealthiest seniors to pay more for health insurance premiums. This proposal will undoubtedly be unpopular to all Democrats who want a single payer healthcare system, especially since Ryan’s plan repeals ObamaCare. The Ryan plan also reforms Medicaid. Under Ryan’s plan the federal government will no longer cover half of the states’ Medicaid payments. States will get a flat payment based on persons enrolled in the program. This will force states to better manage the program and to implement cost saving ideas.
•The plan calls for dramatic cuts and slashing of discretionary spending to below 2008 levels. His plan also identifies and targets outdated and redundant federal programs.
•The plan calls for tax reform including lower tax rates across the board – but many popular exemptions will be eliminated. The upper individual and corporate tax rate will be decreased from 35% to 25%.
•The Ryan plan calls for 178 billion dollars in defense spending cuts identified by Secretary of the Defense Robert Gibbs.
•The plan calls for private sector realities for government civilian workers. This means no more outrageous salaries or job security.
•Surprisingly, the Ryan plan does not call for any significant changes to social security except that Congress and the President must ensure the program’s solvency. He probably thought it would be hard for Americans to accept the Medicare changes let alone more changes to another sacred entitlement - social security.
Obviously, the closer one is to 55 years old, the more this plan affects us. I am one of those of people, but this plan needs to be incorporated. Heck, I am willing to bet that retirement healthcare for those of us under 55 will be better than those enrolled in Medicare for a few simple reasons. First, there will be more doctor choice since doctors will not have a reason to opt out of seeing patients on Medicare. Secondly, there will be less bureaucracy to get claims identified and settled in a timely manner. Thirdly, there is a better chance we will have better coverage – in other words, we do not have to worry about insurance (ObamaCare) not covering certain procedures or preventative care.

Who Benefits From a Government Shutdown

The news has been talking about the government shutting down if Republicans and Democrats cannot agree upon a fiscal budget for the upcoming year. The last time the government shutdown was in 1994 and 1995 for about 3 weeks – the longest shutdown in modern history. The battle in 1994 was also over the budget. To keep the government running at deficit levels, it periodically requires Congress to raise the debt ceiling. But in 1994, and now in 2011, the Republicans are rightfully balking at raising the debt ceiling further, but instead want the federal government to rein in spending. Republicans have seen the Obama administrations budget proposal for this year and they understand it will lead to nearly 10 trillion dollars in increased debt over the next decade. Democrats are generally willing to make small cuts to discretionary spending, but would rather raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Most knowledgeable Americans understand even if (and this is a big if) increased taxes on the wealthy leads to more government revenue; it does not correlate to less debt. Defense spending is one area where Democrats would love to make massive cuts and I concur. Republicans, on the other hand, would like to lower taxes while making deep cuts in entitlement spending (the sacred cow) and discretionary spending. And when neither party is willing to compromise on their core fiscal beliefs – the government faces a potential shutdown.

In 1994, the government shutdown occurred on two separate occasions and led to thousands of government employees being furloughed. Clinton estimated it cost the taxpayers about 400 million dollars to make payments to furloughed workers. Off course Clinton and the Democrats blamed Republicans, in particular, Newt Gingrich for the shutdown. Although Clinton’s poll numbers decreased during the budget fight and the shutdown, his numbers improved dramatically once the shutdown ended and he was subsequently re-elected in 1996. The main reason for Clinton’s increased popularity was because Gingrich was caught on record saying he got into the financial fight with Clinton because he made him sit in the back of Air Force One on a trip. While Clinton’s poll numbers increased to their highest levels since he was elected into office, the Republicans and Gingrich’s image took a huge hit as Americans blamed them for the shutdown.

Sixteen years later we are having the same political fight. Many prominent Democrats (Schumer and Dean to name a few) are on record stating they would prefer a government shutdown and to politically blame Republicans, in particular, Tea Party influence, as the reason for the shutdown. Obama is on record of denouncing a shutdown claiming it would dramatically hurt the economic recovery. This is, in itself laughable, to think that government intervention is a necessary component to aide economic recovery. However, some economists claim a government shutdown leads to higher interest rates. Meanwhile, most prominent Republicans are on record stating a shutdown would be bad for everyone. It seems both Democrats and Republicans are aware of the 1995 outcome of the government shutdown – Democrats want for history to repeat itself and Republicans are afraid of history repeating. But, I do not see the 1995 and 2011 situations as being similar. Yes, both are over budget fights and both are over what to cut, but the economy in 2011 is in much worse shape than in 1995. Whereas Republicans are trying to reform spending and make the government solvent for years to come, the Democrats want to continue with the status quo of spending our way further into debt. For this reason, I cannot see a government shutdown working in the favor of the Democrats unless, of course, some leading Republican makes a dumb statement.

In reality, the American public benefits from a government shutdown. In 1996, both parties finally agreed upon a budget that eventually led to a surplus. The same can happen in 2011, and this would be good for every American citizen. After all, if the government is shutdown, they are not around to muck things up.

The Art of Deception

Either Obama is a genius or a total idiot, but either way he has mastered the art of deception. There is no doubt Obama is a narcissistic ego maniac and he goes out of his way to sit on the fence. He avoids taking sides on issues because he does not want to hurt anyone’s feelings – especially his own. He did this in the Illinois state senate by voting “present” and he is now doing it as President. This behavior is evident in everything he does, even when picking his NCAA basketball brackets – he picks the highest seed to increase his chances of being correct. He is afraid to stick his neck on the line and pick some underdogs. The Libya conflict also illustrates Obama’s art of deception. Obama has been covering up U.S. involvement in Libya so he does not anger his base or his adversaries.

First, Obama bypassed congress and entered into a conflict without any approval. He did this when he was traveling and failed to speak about the U.S. involvement in Libya for 10 days. What President in U.S. history waited 10 days to discuss our military involvement in any conflict? None! At this point Obama claimed the U.S. was no longer leading the military exercise; it was now in the hands of NATO. Even this is being deceitful since the U.S. is responsible for a majority of NATO military involvement in any global conflict. The same week Obama secretly entered the U.S. into the Libyan conflict he received an award for transparency.

Secondly, Obama has been very vague about what he ultimately wants to achieve with U.S. military intervention in Libya. He claims the goal is to protect Libyan citizens, but the mission goal is not to remove Qaddafi from office. In other words, he has set the bar low so he is in a win-win situation. If Qaddafi remains in office and continues to brutalize his adversaries - Obama wins because the removal of Qaddafi from office was not the goal of the intervention. If, on the other hand, U.S. military intervention helps the rebels overthrow Qaddafi – Obama will certainly claim victory. If the new Libyan government supports global terrorism – Obama wins again since his goal was not set up a democracy in Libya.

Thirdly, Obama uses all the right rhetoric and talking points when addressing U.S. involvement in Libya. Obama said “Some nations may turn a blind eye to the atrocities in other countries”. He also claimed “When our interests and values are at stake we have the responsibility to act”. In other words, the U.S. acted for both national security and humanitarian reasons. Well, the situation in Libya is not a national security risk to the United States – this is more deceit by the Obama administration. But I can understand acting for humanitarian reasons, but what about the genocide and brutality going on in other nations – Iran, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, and the Ivory Coast? Why act in Libya and ignore the humanitarian crisis in other nations? The Obama administration claimed that both Qaddafi and Laurent Gbagbo (Ivory Coast) have both “lost legitimacy to rule” – so why has he failed to act in the Ivory Coast. Besides, Iran, Bahrain, Syria, and Yemen do pose a national security risk to the United States. Iran is building nuclear weaponry, the U.S. has a naval port in Bahrain, and both Syria and Yemen are home to some of the most dangerous terrorist organizations in the world – but Obama is not going to interfere.

Fourth, Obama chastised Bush and conservatives for overthrowing a genocidal leader (Saddam Husain) and setting up a democracy in Iraq. What makes Libya more of a humanitarian conflict than Iraq? Obama is being deceptive about Libya because he does not want to be compared to Bush and the Iraq conflict.

Fifth, Obama campaigned against war and for diplomacy. He pledged nuclear disarmament and to close Guantanamo. He pledged to fight our biggest battle – global warming. Obama was immediately given the Nobel Peace Prize – even though he accomplished nothing. But once in office reality hit. Obama has not been able to deliver on any of his promises and he now owns the record for firing the most missiles by a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Obama’s vagueness to outline clear and aggressive goals is done on purpose. His ego and the liberal base cannot handle any more failures by this administration. He is not living up to his Nobel Peace prize or his transparency awards – so he has begun to set the bar low so he can start to achieve some goals. So even if Qaddafi remains in office and continues to kill and torture his citizens – Obama achieved his goal.

Liberals Have Misguided Emotions

All humans have emotions, but what triggers our emotions is what makes us different as individuals. I truly believe that the brains of conservatives and liberals are wired much different. That is why it is hard for these opposing sides to see eye to eye on tough issues. I too am dumbfounded by what makes a liberal tick, especially when considering emotions such as compassion and empathy. It seems liberals show more compassion and empathy for criminals than victims. Every day there are news stories of pedophiles, murderers, rapists, drug dealers, and other violent criminals getting lenient sentences from liberal judges. While they are in prison, many go through rehabilitation programs and are paroled early if they show they are rehabilitated and have remorse. And many more violent criminals are released early for good behavior. Statistics indicate that 70% of the people released from prison are back behind bars within 3 years for committing a similar offense.

I do not know what I find more despicable, the judges or the criminals. Liberal judges and liberals in general believe in second, third, and even forth opportunities for criminals to be rehabilitated. The worse part about this is what happens to the victims of these violent crimes? Some receive counseling, but their lives are ruined and will never be the same. Criminals actually receive more tax dollars to pay for their miserable existence and to attempt to reform their criminal behavior than victims. The result, a large number of victims grow up with anger, hate, and distrust and they too may turn to a life of crime. None of this makes any sense.

Compassion and empathy have no place in our judicial system. Although this is the Obama litmus test for judges and Sonia Sotomayor is a good example. Judges that rule on empathy and side with a person because of the color of their skin, gender, or mental capacity are the reasons for the high number of frivolous lawsuits in this country. Criminals continue a life a crime because the penalty does not deter them. The first thing states facing budget shortfalls are cutting is prisons. States already do not have enough prison space to incarcerate our criminals, now they are closing prisons. The end result is that good American citizens will be terrorized by thousands of predators being released to roam our streets.

I view a person’s patience with activities or a subject is directly related to their level of compassion or empathy they have. Liberals must have patience with criminals to let them have a plethora of opportunities to be reformed. Liberals have patience and hence, empathy for the poor. I too have empathy for the poor, but I do not have the patience with entitlement and affirmative action policies that promote mediocrity. Oddly, what liberals do not have the patience for are things like reading bills, fetuses, corporations, the wealthy, small businesses, capitalism, and anything that makes America a great nation. The only reason to explain why liberals have so much compassion for criminals and the poor is they think it makes them a superior human being because they care for people that are less fortunate then most Americans. The problem with this argument is that liberal policies are not helping criminals or the poor, it is keeping them oppressed because there is no incentive or motivation to change their lives for the better.

Selfishness

One trait that dominates our narcissistic generation is selfishness. The bigger our egos the more selfish we become. Thus, it begs to reason that traits that are becoming non-existent in modern society are humility and modesty. We have become a nation of individuals whose personalities do not develop past childhood. Narcissism and selfishness create massive barriers that are impossible to bridge. Narcissism is why politicians do what is best for them and not their constituents. Many times politician’s thirst for power leads to extramarital affairs or crime. Politicians abuse their power because they believe they have a sense of entitlement to satisfy their lustful egos.

We need to look no further than Hollywood to see narcissism at its best. For some reason the media gives Hollywood stars a pedestal to voice and display their ignorance. How many Hollywood stars have remained married to one person without having an extramarital affair? It is a low percentage and the reason is their massive egos and selfishness. Actors and actresses that have money and fame will routinely throw it all away in their quest for more power.

But no one has bigger egos and displays more selfishness than sport superstars that are supposedly role models for our children.

Tiger Woods makes hundreds of millions dollars per year and has been rated as the world’s top golfer for several years running. However, that did not prevent him from attempting to throw it all away. Tiger had several extramarital affairs that ended his marriage and cost him millions in endorsements. But of course the real losers in all this are Tiger’s children. Tiger had everything, but it was enough to satisfy his ego and selfishness. Still, Tiger is greeted favorably when he is performing and is the crowd favorite. This is hard to explain, but everyone seems to like a front runner.

Was LeBron James egotistical to go on national TV to announce his decision as to which team he would sign with? Absolutely! The only good that came out of the LeBron TV show was that he donated the proceeds to the Boys and Girls club of America. However, that amount was less than a measly quarter of one percent then what his contract was worth. Besides that, LeBron said he had to do what is best for LeBron as he turned his back on the Cleveland Cavilers and 4 other cities. The TV show did nothing to help LeBron James’s image because he came off as an individual obsessed with winning and not doing what is morally correct.

What about Lance Armstrong? He may have the biggest ego in sports. He does not respect his competition. He goes through women faster than Hollywood stars. That’s what happens when a person conquers cancer and wins a record 7 Tour de Frances. Armstrong believes he is invincible and is entitled to more and more privilege. This explains why Armstrong came out of retirement at age 37. But his selfishness was best displayed during his final Tour. After he fell out of contention Lance did nothing to help teammate Levi Leipheimer to get on the podium (Top 3). No, instead Lance was conserving his energy for one last chance to win a stage at the Tour de France. Leipheimer worked relentlessly for years to keep Lance on top, but when the roles reversed Lance continued to look out for himself. Armstrong’s attitude not only cost Leipheimer, but his team (Radio Shack) from winning. It would not surprise me one bit if Lance is found guilty of using illegal drugs that helped him win his 7 Tours. He would then be in the same category as other sport greats that cheated: Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire, Roger Clemens, Floyd Landis, and Marion Jones to name a few.

The common man will do most anything to get the same fame and fortune as politicians, Hollywood stars, or sport stars. They will crash a White House party or even make false claims that their kid floated away in a helium balloon. It is a sad state of affairs we are at in our country when people will do almost anything for fame or fortune and will then do most anything to throw it all away by acting selfishly. Yes, narcissism leads to a massive ego and this in turn leads to unruly selfish behavior that is destroying our society. It is an epidemic of massive proportions and it has to stop because it is creating massive barriers that are needlessly giving our culture a black eye.

The Narcissistic Generation

San Diego State psychologist, Jean Twenge, has found that over one third of all college students display narcissistic personalities, which is up 100% from just 15 years earlier. She calls the current generation of college graduates, the generation of me, myself, and I. Yes, our future generation of workers and leaders will be spoiled, lazy, and expect government subsidies to survive. The days of personal responsibility and accountability are behind us.

Today, over 20% of all Americans count on entitlement programs for their daily survival. This number is alarming and the reason why social programs such as welfare, Medicaid, food stamps, and low income housing account for a large portion of the national budget and increasing daily. Within the next decade the number of government dependent individuals will account for 30% of our population. In fact, federal government subsidies account for 17.5% of all families incomes in the United States, and this is up a staggering 3.2% in just the past two years. This means better than 1 in 6 dollars ‘earned’ by the people of United States comes in form of government entitlements. The word ‘earned’ is used loosely since most people benefitting from entitlements do not have to make a single sacrifice for what essentially amounts to a government handout.

For better or worse there are three things that define a person’s persona during their lifetime:

•How do you deal with adversity? Every person will face adversity and it is how people deal with these difficult times that will define what type of human being they will become. Those that handle adversity in positive way and learn from the experience will be a stronger individual in the future.
•Are you working on becoming a better person? Individuals should be constantly working to improve themselves to be better people. We as a people should be constantly evolving by bettering our overall intellect, compassion, generosity, and so forth.
•How do you deal with increased authoritative powers? It is a shame, but a large number of people let their egos get the best of them when they are given positions of authority. We routinely see politicians marred in scandals because they abused their power. The same can be said for law officers, or the everyday boss that uses blackmail to manipulate subordinates.
Unfortunately, the narcissistic generation already has supersized egos even before they have received positions of increased authority. If we think our national polarity is bad today, it will get worse as this generation of “know it alls” comes into power. After all, how is possible for adversaries to compromise on controversial issues if both sides feel they are 100% correct? It is not possible, so expect more and more political partisanship and divisive behavior from this future generation.

If anyone doubts that Americans are becoming more narcissistic consider networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter that allow people to talk about themselves. Furthermore, Reality TV shows, YouTube, and media stunts such as the Octa-mom and Balloon Boy are other ways people try to garner attention to oneself.

The key to achieving successful results to the above three questions is to have a realistic ego. And the key to having a realistic ego is to be self aware of ones actions. This is the only way to best understand our strengths and faults to become better people who can cope with adversity and increased authority. And unfortunately, this is not going to happen with this new narcissistic generation of spoiled brats!

Where's the Outrage Over Libya

First, I would like to point out that both my domestic and foreign political ideology for government involvement is one of laissez faire. I do not believe we should get involved in foreign conflicts unless it directly affects the national security of American citizens. I do not see the terrorist threats and national security intelligence that President’s view daily – so I am assuming they had valid reasons to get involved in Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Libya (even if the intelligence was faulty). Here are Obama’s and Bush’s statements for our involvement in both Libya and Iraq respectively (8 years to the date).

March 19, 2011:

Obama: "Today we are part of a broad coalition. We are answering the calls of a threatened people. And we are acting in the interests of the United States and the world."

March 19, 2003

Bush: "American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger."

All of that said, I have heard the left protest and complain about the Bush Wars for 8 years. They have demonized his administration with harsh criticism. So where is the liberal opposition to our involvement in Libya and where are all those anti-war rallies? Some may argue that there is no comparison between the Iraq and Libyan Wars, but war is war. Besides, there are many similarities between the Iraq and Libyan conflicts.

First, both where / are conflicts for democracy - to overthrow genocidal tyrants. Both Iraq and Libya are primarily Muslim nations with high rates of poverty, famine, and disease. Secondly, both nations main source of income is oil – and stability in these regions leads to lower global energy prices.

The U.S. has been fighting for decades to free oppressed Muslims from tyranny, genocide, and poverty (Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and now Libya). What has the U.S. gotten in return for its efforts? Nothing, but it has sparked more terrorist attacks against Americans and Western civilization. Even Obama has apologized for our involvement in prior wars, but now he is doing the same thing. Muslims continually ask for our assistance (either humanitarian or military involvement to stop poverty and civil war bloodshed) and once we get involved, the tables are turned the first time an innocent civilian is killed by U.S. troops. Global media outlets will go out of their way to report on these tragic stories. These stories work to influence the Muslim world to hate both our military and every American citizen – painting us as the enemy. War is a terrible thing and innocent people are going to die from friendly fire. This should not work to demonize Americans for their involvement to free oppressed Muslims.

Some may argue that our involvement in Libya has been small and it has not put our troops in imminent danger. This is true; but you should never start something that you do not intend to finish. What happens if implementing the “no fly zone” plan fails to help the citizens overthrow Qaddafi and he continues to use ground troops and weaponry to annihilate its citizens? Do we stop and say “oh well, we tried”? Or do we finish the job? If Qaddafi is not removed from power he will certainly plot more terrorist attacks against the U.S. and Western coalition nations who attacked him. What if Qaddafi is replaced by worse leadership (for instance, an anti-American terrorist group) because we did not have a military presence on the ground to make sure a true democracy was formed, like in Iraq? We are now involved in Libya and we need to finish the job. The left remembers when Bush declared “mission accomplished” in Iraq and the war dragged on for years. Well, mission accomplished of the no fly zone in Libya does not mean the conflict is over by any stretch of our imagination. What is Obama’s plan to finish the job?

There are many troubling aspects of the Obama decision to enter into the Libyan conflict. First, he bypassed Congress approval. The Constitution states that only Congress can declare an act of war, the executive branch has no such power. Yes, no one will argue if the President acted under dire circumstances – national security risk – no time for Congress to act. Remember, Bush followed the Constitution and got congressional approval before moving into Iraq. The decision to bypass Congress would have made more sense if Obama acted sooner, when the rebels were close to overthrowing Qaddafi. Instead, Obama waited until the tide turned in favor of Qaddafi. What is even more disturbing is Obama’s plan to hand over control of the Libyan mission to European nations within the next few days. This move makes little sense because it takes our definition of a successful mission out of our hands. It also places our combat troops’ safety in the hands of foreign commanders, is that an ideal situation? Of course not! And if that is not bad enough, Obama has admitted that the goal of the combat mission is not to target and remove Qaddafi from office. Say what? That is correct, so why are we there? If Qaddafi is not removed from office and replaced by a democratic government, our mission will be a failure. If Qaddafi is not removed from office, we can expect retribution from him in the near future.

America invaded Iraq based on faulty intelligence that Husain was building weapons of mass destruction. If that was true, Iraq was certainly an eminent threat against the U.S. and other nations. It was later reported that the ties between Iraq and terrorist organizations was, at best, weak. What is the eminent threat from Libya against U.S. national security? Sure, they have ties to terrorism, but no more than Iraq. Libya reportedly has chemical weapons and even nuclear aspirations, but this has not been evident during this civil conflict. The last major terrorist attack carried out by Libyan terrorists was the downing of Pan Am flight 103 in 1989. Libya is certainly no more a danger to U.S. national security than Iraq. And why use military force in Libya and not in Bahrain and Yemen, which are more strategic? Bahrain is home to a U.S. naval base and Yemen is a haven for terrorists plotting against the U.S. So I will ask the question: where is the liberal outrage? Either you are for using military force to free oppressed people or against it. You cannot have it both ways. Personally, I think Obama is puppet and is using force in Libya only because France and Britain are leading the charge. Obama is a follower, not a leader.

We the Government

The Constitution may say “We the people”, but as the federal government takes more and more control over our daily lives it feels as if the Constitution should say “We the government”. Here are some things that the government expects from the people, but not from themselves:

•While people struggle in the private sector with high unemployment and reduced wages, government workers are receiving more opportunities and raises at the expense of the taxpayer.

•With the passing of ObamaCare the government is going to raise taxes on all individuals and corporations in the form of mandates on already struggling individuals and small businesses.

•The government expects the people to pay our taxes quarterly or face penalties and interest. On the other hand, the government does have to pay any fines for withholding our refunds.

•Anyone can call the IRS for help on their taxes, however if the IRS gives us wrong advice the people, not the government, are liable for fines.

•The government has created a new health care system that they deem suitable for the people; however government officials are exempt from having to settle for this healthcare system.

•There are 7 members of the Obama administration and the Democratic Caucus that have failed to pay their taxes and received no fines or retribution for breaking the law. Does anybody thing everyday Americans will be treated with such leniency from the IRS?

•While our government servants live lavish lifestyles off citizen funded taxes and campaign contributions, commoners struggle in a recession. It costs the taxpayers 6 million yearly just to fly Nancy Pelosi home. It would save us millions if she flew commercially like the rest of us.

•The government will prosecute anyone that runs a Ponzi scheme financial system, however all of the government run social programs including social security, welfare, Medicaid, and Medicare are all Ponzi schemes.

•If you create a monopoly business the Department of Justice (DOJ) will prosecute you for violating the Sherman Antitrust Act. Incidentally, the DOJ is one of our federal government’s biggest monopolies.

•Local and State governments are not allowed to enforce some federal laws such as immigration laws. Meanwhile, some sanctuary states and cities lenient immigration laws are allowed. What’s even more confusing is that the federal government allows many groups and organizations to police federal laws. For instance, unions and groups such as ACORN are given lots of latitude to enforce federal laws.

•Federal employees enjoy a benefit contribution system whereas private sector employees merely enjoy a contribution retirement systems. In essence, federal employees can collect much more money than they contributed to their retirement system. On the other hand, private sector employees can only collect what they contributed to their plan plus any gains.

•Federal employees also enjoy a massive pay advantage over private sector workers. Including benefits the average federal employee makes 123 thousand dollars annually compared to just 61 thousand dollars for private sector workers. And many reports indicate that private sector workers work on average 15% more hours annually.

•Government employees can generally retire after 20 years of service (average 27 years), meanwhile public sector employees work an average of 40 years before retiring.

•Government employees do not have to contribute to social security. They generally contribute to more lucrative 403b retirement systems. Meanwhile, the government manages the social security system that is going bankrupt and currently has 40 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities over the next 50 years.

•The DOJ enforces laws amongst the people inconsistently. For instance, it is not illegal for minorities to use voter intimidation techniques against white voters. Another example is the White House has provided over 200 waivers to corporations and organizations who have lobbied against certain provisions in the new ObamaCare law. Meanwhile, small businesses who cannot afford lawyers and lobbyist are forced to adhere to all provisions within the law.

•The federal government has accumulated a debt of more than 40,000 dollars for every American citizen. Meanwhile, American citizens have accumulated a debt of less than 30,000 dollars per person (including home ownership).

The Age of Advanced Barriers

Today, there are more barriers placed between individuals, states, and nations than ever before. Barriers can be anything that divides or polarizes individuals, states, and nations. Part of the reason for this is because of the modern age of mass communications with 24/7 media coverage. Every news outlet spins current event stories to meet their ideology standards. This methodology has been effective in indoctrinating people. Media outlets bombard people with massive amounts of information until they are completely brainwashed. This obviously creates more division and polarization amongst different political, racial, or religious ideologies around the globe. One would think technological advancements that improve communications between individuals and nations would break down barriers because it brings everyone closer together. However, this is not the case, and the opposite is true. Improved communications has only worked to highlight the differences between different factions and therefore, has created larger barriers. Improved communications and 24/7 media coverage has also made it possible for terrorists who hide out in remote sections of the globe. It has made it easier to recruit people to join their cause and to spread their hateful ideology. Advancements in technology and internet information also make it possible for terrorists to build weaponry.
Today, tensions between Iran and Israel are high because Iran is developing nuclear weaponry. Terrorist attacks in India have increased tensions between Pakistan and India to their highest levels in decades. Islamic extremist attacks around the globe have increased tensions between Western nations and the Muslim world. Needless to say, global tensions are high and advancements in communications and technology are partly to blame.

Today, in the United States, our liberal run government has worked to further polarize conservatives and progressives. Things have gotten so bad even the state of Texas has issued threats that it wants to secede from the union. Also, several states are filing lawsuits against the federal government to fight mandates in the recently passed ObamaCare legislation. The Tea Party movement has been rapidly growing and gaining traction around the nation which is generating more political friction between the right and left. Unfortunately, the point is that barriers are abundant in our daily lives.

Another problem that is creating ideological barriers is the human ego. Every person believes they have above average intellect and therefore, they believe their ideological views are 100% correct while their adversaries views are 100% wrong. This leaves little wiggle room for individuals to compromise and to work together to solve problems. Americans, regardless as to their views on controversial issues, neither side sees any room for compromises on abortion, capital punishment, health care, unions, climate change, gay marriage, gun control, and so forth. In other words, huge egos make it impossible to tear down barriers.

Can anything be done to remove barriers? There is not much hope, but the first thing people can do to eliminate barriers is to rid them from their personal lives. Work barriers may consist of segregated office space or even the cloths we wear. For instance, bosses who sit in big offices with expensive three piece suits may be creating barriers since their employees may view them as being to important to approach. The same can be said of individuals who have homes that isolate them from their neighbors. Big fences and overly lavish d├ęcor are a few examples.

National barriers are much harder to remove since in many cases the animosity that has built the barriers has been present for generations. However, trade agreements between conflicting nations are the simplest way to eliminate barriers. This can open up travel between rival nations while at the same time bolstering their economies and creating jobs. After all, what nation wants to do harm to a rival that they rely on for important natural resources, food, or other commodities? Trade treaties may not end terrorism, but it may make it harder for terror cells to recruit foot soldiers. Remember, terrorists will recruit uneducated and poor people that can be easily manipulated with propaganda. For example, there is a lot of animosity between China and the United States, but in recent years both countries have become dependent on each other for economic purposes. Thus, economic ties are bringing the two nations closer together.

Having it Both Ways

Millions of people that were angry with the Bush administration are now angry with the Obama administration. Both presidents had their own set of problems and most people were and are justified to be disenfranchised by these administrations. However, there is one fundamental flaw with many people that speak out against these administrations; they like to have it both ways. Yes, this is the same flaw that plagues many politicians because they are afraid to make the tough decisions since they do not want to lose potential votes.

For instance, how many political or public global warming activists expect their neighbors to make sacrifices, but they refuse to take any responsibility for their cause. This is more common than not. Obama, Pelosi, Gore, and the fear mongering left expect us to make sacrifices while they are biggest carbon polluters on the planet.

It is annoying how Constitutionalists want to protect state rights from a federal government takeover, but at the same time they want to bypass the states and pass federal legislation to protect their social moral values. They want to take abortion, capital punishment, stem cell research, and gay marriage decisions out of the hands of the people in each state, and enact it as a federal law. The right did not like it when the Supreme Court overstepped its authority to rule on abortion, so what makes it right for the federal government to make decisions on any social issues. It does not!

A majority of the electorate is angry at Congress for running up a massive national debt. Yes, Americans should be angry at this irresponsible behavior because it will have negative consequences on our nation. But, at the same time a majority of Americans are irresponsible and live in debt. So what then gives these irresponsible folks the right to be angry at the government? It does not! Until they get their own house in order, they have no right to be hypocrites.

Scores of people are angry at the government for passing the wasteful 800 billion dollar stimulus because it failed to create jobs. Once again, people have every right to be angry at this wasteful spending. But, at the same time millions of Americans exploited or benefited from any one of a thousand stimulus programs. If any American is collecting extended unemployment benefits, took advantage of the cash for clunkers program, or received a government subsidy for being a first time home owner, they have no reason to be angry at wasteful government spending. People who took advantage of these programs are not part of the solution to our economic woes, but part of the problem. After all, how does it make sense for taxpayers to foot the bill so people can have a new car, home, or even an extension on unemployment?

Americans are angry at Wall Street and other corporations for their role in this economic mess. Yes, people have a right to be angry, but to think government regulation and mandates are the answer is absolutely insane. Remember, anyone taking advantage of government programs are not only being subsidized by fellow citizens, but by corporate America. Hence, if people hate carbon polluters, unhealthy food manufacturers, financial firms, and so forth, but benefit from government programs, then these people are living on the tax dollars from the companies they despise so much. Thus, without corporations subsidizing these hypocrites, they would die!

I am tired of not only political hypocrites, but all those Americans that contradict their actions and words because they want to have it both ways. If everyone only practiced what they preached, the United States would be a much better country.

The Plight of the Native American

After the United States won its independence, it was decided that the United States would recognize the sovereignty of Indian tribes, and all interaction between the two sides would be done by federally ratified treaties. By the 1820s Supreme Court rulings recognized Indian tribes as dependent nations with the United States responsible for their health and welfare. The courts also gave the United States’ government ultimate authority over policy with Indian Tribes, but trusted they will do so in a beneficial way towards Native Americans.

Despite having judicial backing, Native Americans suffered massive loss of life and land throughout the 1800s as white settlers moved west. By the 1850s most Eastern Native Americans were forced to resettle west of the Mississippi. By the 1870s the United States changed its policy towards Native Americans from recognizing them as sovereign nations to one where they must assimilate to European culture. The Bureau of Indian Affairs tried to educate and force Native Americans into becoming farmers. The plan failed miserably and by the 1930s the federal government changed its policy towards Native Americans back to recognizing tribal sovereignty. This was short lived because by the 1950s the federal government moved back towards what was called a termination policy. Termination policy once again attempted to get Native Americans to assimilate to the American lifestyle while diminishing the value tribal sovereignty. By 1970 the policy once again shifted back to the present day policy of recognizing tribal governance. Thus, the American policy towards Native Americans was at best confusing and contradictory shifting between self-reliance to forced assimilation. I have no problem with the government forcing immigrants to assimilate since it is their choice to come here. However, the government forcing people to assimilate that have lived here before European settlers arrived is a very debatable subject.

So what have Native Americans gotten from our federal governments convoluted policies towards them? There are approximately 2.5 million Native Americans living in the United States. Approximately half live on or near reservations. Today, the federal government recognizes over 550 tribes varying in size from a few dozen to thousands of members. Over a third of all Native Americans live in poverty. They have an accident mortality rate that is 3 times higher than the U.S. population. Many of these deaths are because of alcohol abuse. They also have a diabetes rate that is also 3 times higher than the national average. Their life expectancy is much lower than the national average and part of that can be attributed to a very high infant mortality rate.

Even though the United States government recognizes Indian tribes as their own entity, they still feel they must intervene and provide social policies to undo their injustices. To correct the above problems with Native Americans, the government offers them the same social programs such as welfare, Medicaid, and housing as those offered to poverty stricken Americans. Native American Tribes already govern their reservations; we may as well let them take care of themselves without federal government interference. They would be better off because they could do a better job.

The American government is following the same destructive path when dealing with African-Americans. Many African-Americans also live in bounded communities in our decaying inner cities and they too suffer from massive poverty, addictions, and health issues. Worse yet, African-Americans do not have the right to govern themselves as Indian tribes do (unless inept mayors and city council members count). Hence, they must rely on mandatory failing social policies from the federal government that are making matter worse because they do not create jobs and improve living conditions, they only make citizens more dependent on the government.

Other People's Money

The golden rule states that people should treat others the same way they expect to be treated. This should include how local, state, and the federal government spend taxpayer money. It also should include how corporations spend the money invested by stock owners or how unions spend member dues. Most people want to be treated with respect and that includes how others spend their hard earned dollars. Investors and taxpayers expect corporations and the government to be responsible and trustworthy with their money. After all, it is always easier to spend someone else’s money.

In the corporate world there is plenty of fiscal irresponsibility going on. However, for the most part, this fiscal irresponsibility happens at high levels within the company. Most low level managers are “penny pinchers” because they are responsible for posting a profit. Penny pinching can also be bad, but it is certainly better than extravagant wasteful spending. In many cases, managers need to spend money to make money and penny pinching can prevent an organization from expanding and growing to maximize profits. Thus, to some degree, spending and risk taking is needed to be successful. On the other hand, most of the big money decisions within a corporation are left to a few high ranking officers. For this reason, they are often rewarded with outrageous salaries and benefits – even if they have been making bad decisions. My experience in the corporate world has shown that low level managers are forced to implement cost cutting measures to compensate for high level managers mistakes in spending. This business practice is disastrous because it prevents companies from expanding and growing their core business units and therefore, making it more difficult for the corporation to compete. But for some reason big corporations can be very resourceful, case in point my former employer was profitable despite its inept high level leadership.

Federal government spending is handled much differently than in the corporate world. The main and most glaring difference is that governments are free to deficit spend. Too much debt and deficit spending in the corporate world will lead directly to bankruptcy. Government’s can also go bankrupt when they are unable to pay off their debt, but this does not stop government officials from spending taxpayer money in an irresponsible manner.

The federal government’s annual budget is about 2.5 trillion dollars. The government overspends its budget by an average of 200 billion dollars annually. Think about it; 200 billion dollars is bigger than all but a handful of corporations. Some of the biggest companies, such as Wal-Mart, claim to waste about 4 - 6% annually in lost inventory and other poor management practices. This, by most accounts, is a very conservative estimate. On the other hand, small companies cannot afford to have that much waste. Small business waste is estimated to be around about 1 – 3%. Thus, it begs to reason - the larger the corporation, the larger the bureaucracy and potential waste and inefficiency. Thus, it is no surprise that the waste in the federal government is conservatively estimated to be around 15 – 20%. Local and state government waste is conservatively estimated at 10%. This is not hard to believe since government entities have no oversight, budgets are not strictly enforced, and business is conducted in a quid pro quo fashion. Thus, government agencies are free to mismanage their organizations and fraud and corruption goes undetected. What’s worse is that many think these waste estimates are too low because government workers make on average 20% higher salaries than their private sector counterparts, and this is not considered wasteful spending.

The bottom line, it is always easier to spend other people’s money. What’s worse, it is also easier to spend the money in an inefficient and wasteful manner when it is someone else’s money.

The German Economic Model

How is Germany doing it? How is there economy booming while the U.S. and other European Union economies remain stagnant during this recession? That is the question, but the answer is not that simple. Germany’s unemployment rate is decreasing and in 2010 was at 6.9%, much lower than the U.S. (9.6%) and other European countries whose unemployment figures are approaching 20%. Germany has also increased its exports by 22% over the past decade whereas, U.S. exports have remained flat and other European Union countries have seen exports drop by as much as 20% when compared to their national gross domestic product (GDP). In fact, German exports are growing at a rate faster than even China (15%)! These achievements were not a particularly easy task since Germany is tied to the same monetary unit – the Euro – as other flailing nations in the European Union. But there is no question a devalued euro has helped the German export machine.

While the U.S. and other European nations got caught up in extravagant short sighted spending (borrowing) over the past decade, the Germans were frugal and strategic. The Germans implemented many of the cost savings measures that the U.S. and other European countries are trying to accomplish now. For instance, the Germans raised their retirement age to save their retirement pension systems in 2007. When this occurred the German people did not protest, they understood it was necessary. Today, as France, Great Britain, Ireland, Greece, and the U.S. try to make changes in federal and union retirement systems, the people are protesting. The difference is that the German people and its work force understand it is more important to have a job that pays a little less than to not have a job at all. This is practical long term thinking as opposed to the short sightedness of U.S. union workers.

First, to improve exports and unemployment it is essential to keep manufacturing within national borders. To do so Germany changed its labor laws so companies can provide their best performing workers higher pay and fire those workers that are unproductive. In fact, middle class working Germans have seen an overall decrease in wages over the past decade. Instead of bargaining for higher wages, German workers are bargaining for job security. They are taking less pay for the guarantee they will have a job over the next decade (assuming they perform up to standards). This is a much different kind of thinking than the greedy short sightedness going on in the U.S. – were workers expect higher wages, benefits, and job security regardless of how well they perform. Still, German manufacturing costs are much higher than those in China. So it begs to question how are German companies successful at exporting more expensive products?

I worked for a global company that had an engineering facility in Germany. I was fortunate to have the experience to work with many German engineers and I can say with 100 percent certainty – the overall quality of the German engineer was better than the American engineer. After all, what is our perception if we see a product that is marked with “made in Germany”, “made in Italy”, “made in the U.S.”, or “made in China”? The perception is that the German made product is better – higher quality – which explains its higher costs. When a person splurges for a BMW, they know they are getting a high quality automobile that is safe. When a person buys a Ford – we are reminded that Ford stands for “Fix or Repair Daily”. It is all about perception and that perception is gained by making safe and high quality products. If U.S. companies can make similar changes: reward job performance, eliminate poor performers, and reward job security (not pay and benefits) they too can save manufacturing jobs while also increasing the quality and safety of their products. This is not rocket science. Some may claim this is class warfare but nothing increases poverty and welfare spending than high unemployment.

The bottom line is that Germany is redefining union powers and moving towards less socialistic policies such as lower corporate tax rates so industry can thrive. Sure, German corporations can move manufacturing overseas and make more profit, but they understand German workers are making huge sacrifices and they are rewarding that loyalty. All of Europe and the U.S. can learn from the unselfish German economic model where everyone is making sacrifices for the greater good.

FDR was Right!

I never thought I would ever utter the phrase that “Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was right”! But I did when I read what he said during his 1935 State of the Union Address: "The lessons of history ... show conclusively that continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit." We need to look no further than the protests going on at state capitols for evidence.

I have to admit, in the past I have blamed FDR for introducing social policies in America, but he should actually only receive a small portion of the blame. FDR merely expanded and built upon the social programs introduced by Herbert Hoover. And let’s not forget the impact that Woodrow Wilson policies had a few decades earlier. But the real blame for making the United States a nation dependent on government entitlements belongs to Lyndon Johnson’s (LBJ) Great Society. Yes, FDR started the first major entitlement – Social Security. However, Social Security is an entitlement program that most Americans earn by contributing into the plan during their working years. And it was future congressional government’s actions that have made Social Security less solvent and in danger of becoming extinct.

Under LBJ the wave of entitlement programs began: low income housing projects, food stamps, and Medicare all started under LBJ’s domestic policies he called The Great Society. LBJ created social programs where people can receive funding for doing absolutely nothing and contributing nothing positive towards society. And it is no coincidence that these programs started at the same time the Civil Rights Act was passed. The impact of government dependence has been monumental on African-Americas (according to Starr Parker’s Coalition of Urban Renewal):

60 percent of black children grow up in fatherless homes.
800,000 black men are in jail or prison.
70 percent of black babies are born to unwed mothers.
Over 300,000 black babies are aborted annually.
50 percent of new AIDS cases are in the black community.
Almost half of young black men in America's cities are neither working nor in school.

Today, over one in three people are dependent on government handouts or subsidies to survive daily and African-Americans are the most affected. The above statistics are mindboggling and it only proves that LBJ’s Great Society and his domestic policies were a huge failure and FDR was right. Millions of Americans are addicted to entitlements and the consequences have been cataclysmic. Entitlements are responsible for destroying families, personal responsibility, and the educational system. Entitlements remove any incentive for people to improve their lives or their surroundings. The end result is a growing poverty rate with the poor segregated to inner slums fighting disease and crime. This is not a pretty picture.