Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Food Wars (Part I)

To be perfectly honest, the topics of physical fitness and health are subjects I am passionate about. For this reason, I am not against all corporate or government intrusion to make us healthier, but they are going about it all wrong. I believe in personal responsibility and therefore, do not agree with liberal policies to force food manufacturers and restaurants to post nutritional facts about their meals and products. This merely drives up costs and will do nothing to combat unhealthy eating habits. I also believe any lawsuits against food manufacturers and restaurants are frivolous and have no merit. If we have become obese it is our fault, not the fault of McDonalds. But this does not mean I am against all intrusion into our lives. For starters, I am in favor of sin taxes, as long as they are levied equally, on groups of unhealthy foods. Just as high taxes on tobacco has worked to lower cigarette consumption, higher costs for junk food may be incentive to kick the habit (although I would only consider taxing unhealthy products at a very low rate – 1 to 2 percent at most). But the argument to tax food is not as strong as cigarettes after all, second hand food is not unhealthy like second hand smoke. Still, sin taxes are a better way to pay for healthcare reform than taxing healthcare providers and driving up costs. It is a fact that obesity is the leading reason that healthcare costs are going up. Diabetes, cancer, heart disease are all side effects of obesity and it drives up the demand (cost) for healthcare services. I would incentivize health insurance premiums – giving lower premiums to healthier people and provide rebates to people that become healthier. I would charge more for healthcare ailments and conditions that are self-inflicted (I understand this would be hard to define). But the bottom line when it comes to taxes, I prefer fair, flat, and sales taxes over income taxes any day of the week. This provides each American better control over their tax rates. And incentivized healthcare premiums places Americans in charge of their healthcare costs. Safeway CEO, Steve Burd has successfully implemented an incentivized healthcare system that is lowering costs. The only thing the Obama administration has done that makes a minute amount of sense, on healthcare reform, is Michelle’s “Move” program. The government has been way off base with its reforms to tackle obesity. First, it rewards bad behavior by providing tax write offs for weight loss dietary programs. Personally, I do not believe in diets, especially diets that do not include vigorous exercise. Moderation, healthy foods, and exercise are the best ways to combat obesity – diets are not needed. Where is my tax credit for being healthy? Secondly, the government has worked to increase the costs of the healthcare industry by setting ludicrous definitions for obesity. The standard obesity measurement is the Body Mass Index (BMI). Anyone with a BMI above 25 is overweight and above 30 is obese. In the past decade, these standards were lowered from 27 and 32 respectively, which classified millions more as overweight and obese. The government also changed the classification of obesity to be equivalent to a disease or sickness, similar to cancer or the flu. The result is that this has added billions of dollars to healthcare costs because doctors and insurance companies must cover procedures, surgeries, and measures to combat obesity. And what’s worse, BMI is a flawed measurement system. BMI equals a person’s weight (W) divided by a person’s height (H) squared times 703 (BMI = W [lbs.] / H² [in] x 703). Using this standard, healthy people are not only classified as overweight, but obese because muscle weighs more than fat. BMI also does not take into account age, sex, or conditions that may make someone obese, which is just absurd. And what’s even more troubling, BMI does not measure physical fitness! Let’s evaluate a simple example that illustrates some flaws with the BMI standard and how simple changes can improve the metric. For instance, the BMI metric could be enhanced simply by taking into account each person’s midsection measurement. A person that is 6 foot and weighs 185 lbs. has a BMI of 25. Let’s assume this person has a midsection (MS) measurement of 35 inches. I can normalize their BMI to 25 by modifying the BMI formula to: BMI = W / (H - MS)² x 185. Thus, if a 6 foot, 185 pound person had a waist size of 32, their BMI would drop to 21.4! The second person is obviously more fit, but the current BMI metric would classify them both with a BMI of 25. The revised BMI equation, that I proposed, would eliminate millions of fit people from being wrongly categorized as overweight and or obese. Thirdly, Obamacare does nothing to correct obesity or unhealthy eating habits. It does not reward good behavior, nor does it penalize bad behavior. If you are irresponsible and drive up the cost of healthcare – that is okay. There is nothing that holds the American people to be responsible and accountable for the health of their families in ObamaCare. My Book: Is America Dying? (, Barnes and Noble)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Obama's Plan to Pay for his Fiscal Blunders (With Your Money)

Obama finally released his plan to reduce the deficit and to pay for his latest spending proposal: The 447 billion dollar American Jobs Act (incidentally, I am glad Obama points out that his latest jobs plan is for the benefit of Americans and not for say Germans – Although the Chinese may be the true benefactor from the latest Obama jobs plan - if they continue to buy up more of our debt). By the end of the year, the Obama White House will have increased the federal deficit by 30% (in just 3 years on the job) mostly by passing ObamaCare and the Recovery Act (the 862 billion dollar stimulus). First, let’s consider the fact that Obama’s original budget proposal this year raised the deficit – it did nothing to reduce our national debt. Now, Obama, and Democrats want to reduce the deficit. What happened to the progressive belief that deficit spending is okay – aka the Paul Krugman economic model. Do not be fooled, this sudden change in progressive ideology is merely to give the impression of fiscal responsibility - it is a political hoax because the 2012 elections are around the corner. At the same time, Democrats posturing as fiscal hawks not only validates the concerns of a vast majority of Americans, but conservatives especially Tea Partiers. Secondly, this plan has no prayer of being passed. Democrats will not support cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and other entitlements; and Republicans will not support any tax hikes – especially in a recession. In fact, tax hikes on the wealthy will not pass the Senate (Even though Democrats outnumber Republicans 53 to 47). Blue Dog Senators such as Wyden, Lieberman, Conrad, Baucus and others will not go along with an Obama plan which includes tax hikes on any individual or corporation. Here’s a brief synopsis of the latest nightmarish proposal by Obama.

Entitlement Cuts – Let’s start with the good news: Obama has proposed cuts to Medicare and Medicaid as well as discretionary spending. However, this vindicates the Paul Ryan budget plan. Remember, Democrats were demonizing Paul Ryan and conservatives as “wanting to push grandma over a cliff” because Ryan proposed changes to Medicare. And let’s not forget that ObamaCare already cut 500 billion dollars in Medicare spending to pay for the healthcare legislation. Finally, Obama’s deficit reduction plan has one glaring omission by refusing to tackle social security, which is scheduled to run out of money in the next decade.

Corporate Tax Increases – Obama plans to cut tax loopholes for oil and gas energy companies. Since oil companies profit fewer than 5 cents per gallon, they will pass these tax increases onto the consumer. Yes, that is right; this will be a tax on all Americans. The government already receives 50 cents in tax revenue per gallon of gas. They may as well increase that tax to 60 or 70 cents per gallon because that is exactly what is going to happen. Gas prices will spike an additional 10 to 20 cents per gallon to pay for the Obama tax increases on oil and gas companies. Why doesn’t the President cut tax loopholes for ALL corporations including GE and Whirlpool who paid no income taxes this past year? And while the President is at it, why doesn’t he stop providing taxpayer funded loans to “green” companies with bad credit ratings such as Solyndra? Can we at least apply tax laws fairly and consistently for ALL corporations?

The Buffet Rule – The Buffet Rule is a proposed tax hike on wealthy Americans making over 250 thousand dollars per year. First, Warren Buffet is a hypocrite. If Buffet wants to pay higher taxes he does not have itemize all his deductions, and he certainly does not have to take advantage of all the tax loopholes which enabled him to shelter his fortune from the IRS. Secondly, if the government applied a 100% tax rate to every family earning over 250 thousand dollars per year, it would not account for 33% of the federal deficit this year. This means the only true way to reduce the deficit is by reining in out of control government spending. Thirdly, we must consider the Laffer Effect. The Laffer Effect states there is an ideal tax rate and any tax above this ideal rate would yield less government revenue, not more. What is the ideal tax rate – most studies indicate it is about 33%. Today, many Americans already pay more than 33% in taxes – including local, state, and federal taxes. After all, when tax rates are too high, it reduces the incentive for people to earn more money. I ran models to understand the effects of raising the tax rate on wealthy Americans from 35% to 39.6%. The results indicated that the federal government could collect additional revenues, around 100 to 200 billion dollars per year. But the models also indicated consumer spending would decrease by 700 to 800 billion dollars annually – equating to a 5% decline in GDP. These results are catastrophic and could lead to the reduction of 1 to 2 million jobs nationally.

Afghanistan War – It sounds like Obama is waiving the white flag and is going to surrender in Afghanistan. If intelligence suggests the terror threat from Afghanistan is a national threat to the U.S., then Obama should finish what he started. Why support a troop surge and increase drone attacks only to admit defeat? This simply does not make any sense. Besides, this year the U.S. has cut military spending dramatically in Iraq, but our nation still faces massive budget shortfalls.

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

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Preventing Another Solyndra

Solyndra is the now bankrupt solar company, which was the Obama administration’s poster company for green energy. What’s troubling is that Solyndra not only squandered 535 million dollars in taxpayer stimulus, but it was also learned that White House economic advisors urged Obama that Solyndra was a very risky company, analogous to a private investor buying a penny stock. Not only did the White House ignore its economic advisors and move forward with the Solyndra loan, they offered the loan at a 1% interest rate – this is unheard of especially for a company that only had a B+ rating. To make matters worse, when the administration learned that Solyndra would go belly up they rewrote the loan to guarantee the first 75 million dollars recovered in bankruptcy would go to their investors, not the taxpayers. And what was equally troubling was learning about the 50,000 dollar campaign contribution Obama received from Solyndra’s CEO in 2008. Solyndra is one of many troubling stories when the government gets involved in the private sector – the end result is a lot of fraud, waste, and corruption.

Liberals argue that Obama’s intervention into the auto industry saved a total collapse of that market. First, Bush started this program, which incidentally was a very bad decision. Secondly, the nearly 100 billion dollars in loans to both GM and Chrysler did not stop the inevitable – bankruptcy. Yes, it was ultimately bankruptcy that led to the restructuring of the failed business models that helped GM and Chrysler to rebound. The 100 billion dollars in loans merely delayed the inevitable. Hence, it was not government interference that saved the auto industry; it was a private sector tool - bankruptcy.

The same argument can be made about the Wall Street bailouts. Sure, the Toxic Asset Relief Program (TARP) may have saved a few banks, but many would have survived without government loans. And those companies that did fail would have faced any one of number of private sector options including declaring bankruptcy or being acquired by a more solvent competitor. The bottom line is that the financial market would have recovered without government interference. What was criminal were the government failures that led directly to the financial collapse and received no scrutiny or reform – Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the SEC, and the Federal Reserve.

But the real question is how can we prevent another Solyndra fiasco? Sure we can dwell on blame and fault, but at some point we must correct the mistakes that were made. The bottom line is that the government has no business meddling in the private sector. The end result of government interference leads to lawyers, lobbyists, and campaign finance based on quid pro quo transactions. And all of this ultimately leads to fraud, corruption, and waste.

Liberals are a big fan of Separation of Church and State. I am too (even though it is NOT part of our Constitution). The reason I support this is simple, if the government or even the private sector give or receive favors from one religion than other religions would rightfully expect the same cooperation. The same can be said of government interference into private industry or organizations. Why do some companies and organizations receive stimulus funding, bailouts, government contracts, and favorable regulations while others do not? It is politics – the corporations and organizations that are represented by expensive lawyers or lobbyists and or give the biggest campaign contributions reap the benefits of favorable legislation. If we want to reform Washington politics than federal government policy towards companies and organizations must be one of laissez faire.

I too am a fan of laissez faire towards global policy unless it is a matter of national security and there is an eminent threat against the people of the United States. Global policy towards nations and global organizations, such as the U.N., can also lead to waste, corruption, and fraud. Some say I am a hypocrite because they believe I favor Jews over Arabs in the Middle East and this violates my belief of laissez faire and separation of church and state. This is not true; I favor Israel (democracy) over Palestine (dictatorship), but believe we have no place to interfere in their affairs unless it is a threat to our national security.

One reason that GE and Whirlpool do not pay any U.S. corporate taxes is because they have been able to lobby for favorable legislation that provides them tax credits for making energy efficient products. Is this fair? Of course not since the same regulations do not even apply to other green companies. Why are some companies and organizations receiving waivers to certain provisions within Obamacare legislation and other are not? It is simple; those that are represented by expensive lawyers in DC do not have to follow the same set of laws that other, less wealthy, businesses or organizations have to.

The same concept is true for organizations as well as companies. As long as ACORN and the AFL-CIO continue to receive government funding, they will continue to use any means possible to get the candidates who support their causes elected into office. ACORN and AFL-CIO leaders have stooped to fraud and corruption to get the politicians of their choice elected into office and they too, employ expensive DC lawyers to lobby for favorable legislation – card check, the fairness doctrine, or lenient voter registration requirements.

As long as the federal government continues to interfere into the business of private sector organizations and companies, there will be a vicious cycle of fraud, corruption, and waste that is part of the process. Decisions on legislation, policy, and regulation will be made based solely on which company or organization has the biggest pockets. Who are the losers from these actions? The common American citizen and small businesses are the big losers. This goes a long way to explain why there is a growing gap between rich and poor (the poor do not have lobbyists). Yes, class warfare is due to the greed of not only corporations, but the greed of government and private organizations.

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

Thursday, September 15, 2011


This is an easy topic to cover. Never make a promise you cannot keep. It is as simple as that. I have been promised many things throughout my life (mostly in my work career) that were never fulfilled. That is wrong, and it is a good way to lose trust and credibility with employees, friends, or family. I too fell into this trap when others perceived I was making a promise on a couple of occasions. This happened when employees that worked for me interpreted subtle suggestions that I made as a promise. Most of these failures in communications occurred with individuals that were from other nations, and they translated the English language differently. I have learned my lesson. That is why I am always clear when making statements or discussing hypothetical future possibilities with others. I always clarify whether it is a promise or not regardless of whom I am talking with.

Breaking a promise is a common mistake that corporate and national leaders do much too often. Worse yet, they break promises they never intended to keep. For example, how many promises do politicians actually keep when they get in office? A politician that keeps half of their campaign promises is actually doing pretty well. That is why the American public does not have a high opinion of politicians. When politicians do not keep campaign promises the public no longer trusts them. Unfortunately, playing politics is not limited to politicians. Corporate leaders and employees use politics to get ahead in the work place. Hence, they too make promises they cannot keep. People use politics and failed promises in almost every aspect of human life. Any time a person uses a promise that they have no intention of keeping to manipulate a situation or another person, is nothing more than a liar and is playing politics at its best. This type of conniving, manipulative, and malicious behavior is becoming the norm in our society. In fact, most business classes I took through my employer such as Dale Carnegie taught us how to use this repulsive behavior. They teach you how to manipulate others to get your way at any cost. They also taught me that I should never disagree with my supervisor for any reason. Our growing intolerance to work with people that have different opinions forces many to make false promises. This way they can manipulate or trick others into agreeing with their point of view.

In most cases politicians break promises because opposing political parties will not let them enact their points of view. This can be good, but it could also be bad. We should not dismiss another person’s promise or point of view without at least hearing them out. I moved to a small town in Colorado to get away from the hustle and tussle of big city politics. However, small towns are not immune to fights over politics. The city counsel and Mayor have had a few disagreements and now the counsel is trying to remove her from office. Regardless of where we live there is little tolerance for people with alternative view points. This is sad, especially when people use any type of deceitful and manipulative behavior, such as breaking promises to get their way. When we fail to listen to others with different view points or fail to speak our mind, it benefits no one. This is how we learn and educate ourselves to make good sound decisions. We should be encouraging different points of view instead of trying to cover them up and destroying the people who have them. Does this behavior sound familiar? Carrie Prejean and Sarah Palin are excellent examples of people that had different opinions so the media tried to destroy their image. America was not made great by adhering to the status quo. Our intolerance towards other view points is not only dividing this nation, but our plight to mediocrity is becoming apparent. The once mighty United States now falters as our auto and airline industries fail. We also continue to fail to gain energy independence. The United States lead others nations into the industrial revolution, now we are a follower behind other world powers. Not only are our inner cities and national infrastructure systems for energy and transportation decaying and crumbling, so too is our ability to think and innovate. All of this because we are intolerant and closed minded to different view points. What is even more concerning is the orders of magnitude we will go to stifle different view points instead of being open minded about different ideas, issues, or solutions to a problem. For example, the Democrats tackled health care reform and did not include Republicans in the debate.

My Book: Is America Dying? (Barnes and Noble,

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Social Security

The main issue with social security is that it may be bankrupt in the next twenty years or possibly sooner if we do not get out of this recession. As the baby boomers retire, they will begin to deplete social security at a fast rate. After 2025, Americans are not guaranteed social security once they reach sixty-two if the program is not fixed. When I planned for my own retirement, social security never entered into the equation. It simply is not a reliable source of income. The amount received from social security will be fairly finite when compared to an individual’s current salary. Social security is more at risk when the government is operating at a deficit as opposed to a surplus. When the government is operating at a deficit, social security funds may be used to curtail the deficit or pay for other programs. The bottom line is that the government does not have the money to pay social security benefits past 2025.

Privatization is not necessarily a bad idea. With privatization, the government will still tax Americans for social security. But, instead of monies being controlled by the government, Americans will have control over their taxed money. The money will go into an account, and each American will be able to invest the money the same way as with a 401K plan. The government would decide on what the investment options would be, but the bottom line is that the money will be there when an individual retires. The same general rules would apply; the money could not be withdrawn until a person reaches at least sixty-two years of age. The government cannot go into your account and withdraw any money to pay for a war or to decrease the deficit. It is safe. Better yet, American’s can grow their account at a much faster rate than if it were under the government’s control. Hence, the amount in our social security accounts could be higher when we retire under a privatized plan as opposed to the current socialized plan. This is because Americans can invest their social security funds in riskier stock market investments. The government does not invest monies in the social security account into the stock market. Growth is dependent only on the national GNP growth. Even by investing in relatively safe mutual funds, these accounts should outperform the national GNP growth over the long haul. Besides, government bureaucracy and red tape to maintain the program neutralizes and even diminishes gains and growth. There is just way too much waste in government, and it costs Americans in the long run, especially for social security. For young people that are a long way to retirement, riskier investments over the long haul generally pay off. However, high-risk investments for those close to retirement would not be recommended because there is a better chance to lose money. That is one of the issues that Democrats have with the privatization of social security: they are afraid that Americans would make bad investment choices and lose money. That is ironic because the government has be negligent and mismanaged social security. Investment risk can be alleviated by allowing only a few of the top performing mutual funds for citizens to choose from.

The reason privatization is not a viable option is because Social Security is run like a Ponzi scheme. In other words, my social security taxes are being used to fund current retirees. When I reach 62 the government will pay for my social security from the taxes collected from younger citizens. Hence, the money is currently not available for the government to place social security in private accounts. This is a travesty and why the government has mismanaged social security and other social programs.

Instead, to keep social security alive the government will be forced to raise taxes. The social security cap can be raised from its current level of $97,500. Currently, if a person makes over $97,500, social security only taxes them up to the $97,500 cap. Thus, raising the cap to $120,000 may be a viable solution. This sounds reasonable, but remember businesses match social security taxes and by raising the cap, it will raise the taxes on corporations and small businesses. And higher taxes on corporations are not the way to keep the economy thriving.

Everything the government tries to manage, even with good intentions, turns into a fiscal fiasco. Social Security is a mess and it is not going to be easy to fix.

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

Friday, September 9, 2011


Two and a half years after the failed Recovery Act (the nearly 900 billion dollar stimulus), Obama addressed the nation and is now seeking an additional 447 billion dollars in government stimulus funding (and Obama proposed this stimulus with a straight face). This is once again another futile attempt to resurrect our sick economy. And to make matters worse, Obama plans on paying for the proposed stimulus partly by increasing government revenues (which generally means higher taxes for the wealthy, which Obama alluded to in his speech). In fact, Obama laid out no plan as to how he will pay for the massive stimulus. Hence, it cannot be scored by the CBO. Obama hinted at reforming social security, but Democrats will not let that happen.

I have outlined, in numerous blogs, as to why stimulus spending (especially deficit spending) does not work. Keynesian economics has failed time and time again during the 20th century. Government spending failed to turn around the U.S. economy when FDR and Jimmy Carter implemented spending programs during the 1930s and 1970s respectively. FDR’s socialized spending programs never returned unemployment to conventional levels – it was World War II that corrected the economy (although the war added billions in federal deficits). Keynesian economic theory states inflation and unemployment are inversely related. However, during the Carter years both unemployment and inflation were high. And the same thing is happening under Obama, not only have unemployment numbers remained at high levels for an inordinate amount of time, but inflation is also on the rise (food, energy, and healthcare costs have combined to go up over 20% this year). Still, Democrats and Obama want to make the same mistake over and over again.

There is a very simple explanation as to why the first stimulus and this second proposed stimulus will fail – the money is temporary. Stimulus spending is analogous to using a band aide to stop the bleeding of a severed artery or using duct tape to fix a leaking radiator. It ain’t going to work! Over 90% of stimulus money goes to funding something that is temporary. Stimulus funding to prevent home foreclosures works until the money runs out. Once the money runs out people are still forced to foreclose on homes they cannot afford. The same can be said to stimulus funding to build a bridge, extend unemployment, support green companies, or to save a teaching job – it works temporary until the money runs out. There is nothing innovative or strategic about this type of approach or policy. In fact, this is the solution of many liberal policies – throw money at the problem. This simply does not work because there are potentially thousands of variables which need to be addressed to fix any complex problem and money is just one variable. For instance, throwing money at a failing school district rarely works if the bad curriculum, administration, and teachers remain the same.

If you are in debt and cannot pay your bills what do you do? The last thing you should do is to spend more money and get further into debt. Individuals, corporations, and the federal government cannot spend their way out of debt and into prosperity. It simply does not work, but this is exactly the philosophy used by our federal government for the past century. Now our national debt is so high we are teetering on financial oblivion. Still, Obama is insisting on spending more money and raising taxes – these are both recipes for disaster during a recession.

Why are tax breaks a better solution to solve a recession? First, tax breaks are strategic (can last as long as needed) and secondly, the money goes directly to the consumer and corporations. The money does not have to be funneled through several government and union bureaucracies where less than 50% of the money goes to its intended cause – therefore, tax breaks eliminate waste, fraud, and bureaucracies. It is that simple.

Below are few Obamaisms from his speech that are just not true or certainly cannot be guaranteed:

• "Everything in this bill will be paid for. Everything." And "It will not add to the deficit." – Never in our history has a nearly half trillion dollar bill been paid for and did not add to the deficit. Besides, there is NO “Bill” – it is a fictitious document that only exists in the Obama imagination – there is nothing on paper.
• "Everything in here is the kind of proposal that's been supported by both Democrats and Republicans, including many who sit here tonight." – There is very little both Democrats and Republicans agree on, especially issues Obama raised such as entitlement reform and tax increases.
• "The American Jobs Act answers the urgent need to create jobs right away." – Not a chance, there is no such thing as shovel ready jobs nor does the government bureaucracy move quickly. It will not happen.

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

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Political Suicide

Political Suicide is the crux of the problem as to why the government will never use motivational, commonsense, or incentive based policies to resolve our issues. A good example of political suicide is this blog. If my intentions were to get elected to a public office, I would probably not win an election if potential voters read this blog. The over sensitive public would view this text as being discriminatory against the poor, minorities, obese people, ignorant people, and so on. That is why our government cannot stop social programs that benefit the economically disadvantaged because it is political suicide. They would lose the vote of any economically disadvantaged people if the government forced them to work for their welfare checks. They would also lose the vote of potentially one-third of the obese public if they penalized them with higher insurance premiums or taxed the food they desire. Political suicide is the dilemma that sits between our country and resolving our sensitive political issues.

One reason I failed to receive any managerial positions later in my career was because I committed political suicide. I was unconventional and went against conformity. I stated my beliefs and opinions that conflicted with organizational and corporate policies. I spoke out against concepts when I did not agree with them. Hence, I did not have many friends in high places in the company. However, I would not change my attitude or personality for any managerial job. I would not brown nose and conform for a job, nor would I lower my standards or scruples for corporate advancement. I could not live with myself for becoming a liar and an individual whom I despise. Unfortunately, these are the personalities and characteristics of many corporate and political leaders. That is the problem today. In order to prevent political suicide, politicians lie, cheat, sit on the fence, brown nose, and do whatever it takes to win an election. They do whatever it takes to avoid upsetting or offending anyone that could cost them votes. As long as we have politicians who lack the “balls” to say exactly what they believe, nothing is going to be resolved. This is another reason why term limits may be a good thing. During a politician’s final term, they may actually grow the “balls” to do the right thing. After all, it does not matter if they offend anyone because they are not going to be up for reelection.
There is one example that may give us a glimmer of hope to overcome political suicide and fix our national problems. The United States over the years has discriminated against tobacco use and smokers. Obama continues to meddle in this industry. We have been able to overcome the smoking stigma and drastically reduced the number of users by over fifty percent the past two decades. If our local, state, and national government can eliminate smoking in our restaurants, work places, and in most public areas, then why can’t we do the same thing to reform entitlements? Governments fought large tobacco firms such as Phillip Morris to reduce the number of smokers. The government used incentives such as taxing tobacco heavily to influence people not buy or use cigarettes. What makes the “cigarette example” so unique that our government will not follow suit to use a similar approach to reform entitlements? First, the demographics of those people that smoked cigarettes were fairly diverse, unlike many entitlements where minority groups and the elderly dominate the demographics of people using these programs. Secondly, smoking in public areas was proved to not only affect the health of those smoking, but second hand smoke was affecting the health of other non-smokers. The same cannot be said about people accepting handouts, but there is no question accepting handouts is contagious and growing out of control – like smoking cigarettes decades ago. For these reasons, today, most people are okay with the government sticking it to the cigarette companies. In other words, it is popular policy. In order to make changes to the entitlement programs we must overcome the stigma that corporations are evil and the government is good. I am not a fan of government interference in the private sector, but my point is if the government can take on tobacco companies they can take on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Republican representative Paul Ryan is the first politician in years to propose changes to these entitlement programs to make them solvent. But I am not holding my breath that Democrats will offer any solutions to the problem.
My Book: Is America Dying? (Barnes and Noble,

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Compassionarte Conservatism

Until conservatives practice a “compassionate” form of their ideology, they will continue to be painted as racists that hate gays, immigrants, and the poor. This is far from the truth, but the media will not stop its attack on conservatives until we show more compassion. I personally have been labeled as a racist for my views on entitlements and diversity policies. This is not fair, but it is a reality. For instance, Rand Paul’s civil rights comments are a prime example of information being misconstrued by the media to paint conservatives, libertarians, and tea party members as evil racists.

Social issues include gay rights, immigration reform, abortion, and capital punishment to name a few. These social issues are, in my opinion, the easiest to compromise on and to show more compassion for opposing viewpoints. The only way to handle social issues, based on the Constitutions’ tenth amendment, is to have each individual state decide on the laws for abortion, gay rights, immigration reform, capital punishment, and so forth. Sure, I have an opinion on social issues, but this does not mean they should be solved at the federal level. Most conservatives claim to be constitutionalists, but at the same time most would love to have the Supreme Court rule against abortion and gay marriage even though they have absolutely no standing to do so. This is hypocrisy because most conservatives acknowledge the Supreme Court overstepped its authority when it ruled on Roe v Wade. The best way to compromise on these polarizing issues is to have each state designate their own set of laws. Some states will adapt conservative views on social issues while others will adapt liberal views. This gives American citizens the option to live in states that adapt laws that fit their ideology. Thus, conservatives should focus more on fiscal responsibility issues and smaller government than social issues. This is the easiest way to give others the impression that conservatives have some compassion over issues such as gay marriage. This would also help to lure independent voters and even minorities towards the GOP.

Most social issues should be private. I personally do not know the circumstances of women who are having an abortion. So who am I to say that a woman should not have an abortion if she was raped or may die giving birth? Rape and medical reasons may occur in less than 3% of all abortions, but the possibility exists. Yes, I think abortions are wrong, but it is easy to have some empathy and compassion for a woman that has been rapped.

Personally, there are many social issues I could support if individuals would only protest for their cause in a respectful manner. Proponents of gay marriage, for instance, would make more headway if they did not demonize adversaries as being evil (remember Carrie Prejean) and protest in a disrespectful way such as disrupting church services. The Constitution says that everyone is equal, thus I see no reason why two men or two women cannot be married. We should follow the golden rule to treat others the way we expect to be treated. I simply wish they would defend their cause in a respectful manner. I see the gay rights movement as being analogous to the women’s suffrage movement.

Compassionate conservatism does not ask people to change their social or moral views. It only asks that they pursue them as a state issue instead of as a national issue. It also asks that people try to empathize with the opposing viewpoint. What if for example, one of your children was gay or daughter was impregnated by a rapist? Would you still push for bans on abortion and gay marriage? Maybe your views would not change, but under these circumstances it is easier to have more compassion towards these views. That is by definition what compassion is: It is to put yourself in shoes of your adversaries.

Yes, in my opinion 97% of all abortions should be outlawed, but I am willing to compromise and let the individual states decide these issues. I do not understand homosexual behavior, but this is a private issue and since all Americans are equal everyone deserves the same freedoms including marriage. I have a conservative viewpoint when it comes to most social issues, but would like to think I have compassion for others that may be on the other side of the fence. Besides, fiscal issues such as entitlement budgets, health care, unemployment, and cap and trade should take priority over social views. After all, if America is in debt and going bankrupt, what good are gay marriage and abortion benefits if American citizens are struggling to survive?

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