Thursday, March 11, 2010



Patrick Petrie posted these photos on his Facebook Page. He has given me permission to share these impressions so that we can spread the message beyond the world of FB. 

First, a little background: "The Road To Serfdom" was published in 1944 by Friedrich Von Hayek. He was explaining how collectivism leads to tyranny. In his time, he used Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia as examples. In our time, we have the United Nations and our own leftist thinking political leaders as examples. In the lead photo, you'll see that it refers to "Obamaville" but make no mistake: Obama is not smart enough or capable enough to lead us down the road to serfdom. We willingly walk that path when we continue to elect leaders based upon what they will do for us, how they will milk the government on our behalf. Healthcare is on the front burner right now -- healthcare based upon the premise of "please take care of me because I don't want the responsibility." 

We, the people, spend billions on entertainment yet we, the people, expect someone else to take care of our health. Someone else should pick up the tab when we borrow too much. Someone else needs to take care of our aging parents. And government, being staffed by helpful bureaucrats, is more than happy to oblige. You see, we ALL want to feel needed so when someone gets elected to office, they love to find needs that they can take care of. We ALL like to shun responsibility so our government just naturally gravitates towards collectivism. But, as Margaret Thatcher said: The problem with socialism is that sooner or later they run out of other people's money. 

But don't take my word for it -- here's a synopsis of TRTS which was originally commissioned in Detroit and published in Life Magazine. After looking over these photos, ponder the road we're on. This tent city is merely a mile marker on our road to serfdom. 

This is actually the second banner, the first, as well as the second, were removed by an unseen Obamacrat. The maker of the sign claims the original was commissioned by an individual who donates frequently to orgs. that benefit the homeless. The second was made at no cost. This pic was taken from the website ofKRDO Newschannel13 (Colorado Springs, Southern Colorado)

They do their best to feel at home. People in the community have done what they can for these people, bringing them clothes, non-perishable foods, firewood and even a few prepaid cellphones. Being a liberal community, these people have been highly criticized, yet they keep their camp clean. 

Having nothing with which to build a safe shelter in the open, many resort to staying under this bridge, heavily traveled day and night.

Notice the billboard...yes, there are many children in these 3 camps. I also draw your attention to the American flag just to the right of the billboard.

Photos and captions from the album:
"Obamaville" by Patrick Petrie

Here's the punch line: If you look over these photos and find yourself saying "Somebody needs to do something about this" then congratulations. You're on the road to serfdom. "Somebody" usually means "Some government agency" which means more planning, more control, more erosion of freedom. 

Monday, February 15, 2010

Debra Medina - My Impressions

Briefly, so you'll understand where I'm coming from: Once upon a time, when I was a naive youngster, I voted for Jimmy Carter under the impression that it just made sense to have a God fearing man as president (it took nearly 30 years to elect a worse president ;o). I didn't get involved in politics until a few years later when we started home schooling our youngsters. At that time, I got on board with Ross Perot and United We Stand. After a month or two of that, I figured out that I was in the wrong place, found some activists working to reform the Republican party and dove in. To give you an idea where I stand on the "conservative scale," I was a delegate to the '96 Republican National Convention. Our delegation refused to elect our sitting governor, GW Bush, as president of our delegation because we felt that he wasn't conservative enough - more about big government power than reducing government. I figure we called that one rightly. 

While I was trying to figure out how to spell conservative, Debra Medina was already diving in (please give me a little latitude -- I was indoctrinated in government schools and didn't really start my education till we started home schooling our youngsters). Anyway, Debra was busy learning about how life really works because she was raised on a ranch. Apparently, her dad taught her a few things about honor. She's careful about what she says because she knows she has to own her words. Something that's sorely lacking in politics of any era. 

I first met Debra a couple of years ago at our state convention. Keep in mind that the power structure in our party was put in place by folks like me. We worked hard to get "good ole boys" out of the system. But guess what, I, and many of my fellow warriors, let our guards down once we "won" the battle. The next thing you know, the leaders we put in place began to like it there. They didn't want to step down (thank God we managed to place, then keep term limits on party officials!). Our conventions evolved into a showcase for the "good ole boy" system only now, our people were the good ole boys. The order of business was arranged so that it was next to impossible to unseat the incumbent power structure. Deborah, not knowing that the folks in power don't have to obey the rules, became our point person to try and overturn this lopsided structure. Of course, it wasn't just her, but she was the point person and led the charge all the way to the court house. In the court house, she discovered that the judge knew who buttered his bread (we elect judges in Texas so judges pander to whichever party it takes to get elected). Anyway, she lost that battle, we lost the election for chair, and the sitting Chairwoman, Tina Benkiser, did a little victory jig across the stage just to make sure everybody knew that she had mashed this little hayseed into the dirt. I won't forget that. 

Well, Deborah still didn't know that she was supposed to sit down and do as she was told. What she knows is that power has to be tempered by truth and justice. You see, over the years, she had become a student of classic liberals (if you think "liberal" originally referred to Democrats then you have some educational gaps to fill). I'm talking about liberals like Thoreau, Locke, Mieses etc. True to her education, she is now standing on principles because they are right. She introduced me to the concept of how property taxes mean that we don't own our land (after doing my homework, I agree with Deborah). Deborah is brave enough to make the property tax issue a plank of her campaign -- which demonstrates another level of her character -- do what's right because it's right, not just because it's convenient. 

Deborah understands humility. She's in this race because it's a job that needs to be done, not because she wants power. She is responding to people who kicked, goaded, and begged her to take on the challenge. I think this is the sort of statesmanship that our founders assumed would exist: Do your tour of duty, then go home. 

Because of Deborah's foundation, we won't have to work so hard to keep her under control. Example: I was proud of our legislature when they nullified Gov. Perry's executive order for putting our young daughters on Guardisill. This is just plain off limits in Deborah's world view so it never would have happened. 

On the life issue, Deborah is a little bit to the right of the Pope. Instead of throwing in caveats about rape, incest, health or whatever she acknowledges that human life begins at inception and that life has the right to exist until its natural death. Her position is not just about saving babies and old people. A TRUE protector of life understands that it's not up to us to decide who lives or dies (except for capital punishment, which itself is in need of a makeover). When we understand that life comes from God, that should temper all our decisions related to fundamental rights. If the question of life is arbitrary, then EVERYTHING is arbitrary and that's the foundation (if you can call it that) of post modernism - another enemy of liberty. 

Probably the biggest reason that Deborah Medina is the best choice for Texas is we Texans. When she becomes governor, it will be because we Texans elected her. She won't have to mollycoddle big donors with deep pockets. When she's elected, the legislature will know that we Texans have spoken. The legislature will begin to respond to we Texans because we Texans will become the seat of power. I know this will take years and decades but she's getting the ball rolling. 

And one final note for now. . . Deborah Medina was living the 9-12 principles and values decades before Glenn Beck ever came along. She doesn't have to live up to his standards. He obviously has trouble living up to hers. Maybe she can school him a bit if he can keep his arrogance in check. Yet another reason why Medina is the best choice for Texas!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Rent & Taxes

One of Debra Medina's goals as governor is to eliminate property taxes. It seems that the conventional thinkers have a knee jerk, negative reaction to the idea but it's probably because they haven't thought it through. I haven't read much about the idea, pro or con, so I decided to do my own thinking and work through the concept just from what my personal impact might be. 

One argument I heard was that abolishing property taxes would adversely impact the working class. Let's look at that for a moment. First of all, everyone pays property taxes, working poor or not. Whether their income is from a welfare check, an unemployment check or a pay check, if a person shops at a merchant, any merchant, whether it's Wal-Mart or the local thrift store, they're paying property tax on the building and contents of that property. Every business has to pass along it's operating costs to its customers in order to survive. Usually, there will be a profit figured on top of the cost. In other words, a business makes money on property taxes and that money comes out of consumer's pockets. 

Here's another example: We own an inexpensive rent house, the sort that a $30,000 a year or so family might rent. $150 per month of our rent is what it takes to cover property taxes, without even figuring a profit or handling fee. That's $1,800 per year, or 6% of their income on property taxes. That's over 3 weeks pay just to cover the taxes on a property that they don't own. 

Government, even limited government, needs revenue so without property taxes, we would need to recapture some revenue. The number I hear is something like 14% or so. Currently, the state sales tax is around 6.25%  so we would be seeing an additional 7.75% on taxable purchases. I don't know if the current list of tax exempt purchases would be modified but I'm going to estimate that a $30,000 family might spend about 1/2 their income on taxable purchases. That's less than $1,200 so they've saved over $600 just on my property taxes (not to mention benefiting from lower prices at retailers who no longer have to pay tax on dirt). Not only that, if they're paying rent, the tax cost is the same regardless of how they manage their expenses. 

We would have to structure our government budgets so that it can retract with the economy since tough times would reduce sales tax revenues? Is that a bad thing? Wouldn't that be better than having a fixed property tax rate which causes property owners to lose their capital just because the economy is struggling?

This is as far as I'm going to go on this interesting installment. So far, sales tax is a win for the working class. 

Other ideas I want to explore:

Sans property taxes, would it be easier for businesses as well as private individuals to amass capital which would ultimately help moderate the economy's ups and downs?

Cities use property tax abatements in order to attract jobs creating businesses. Does this give us a clue about fostering a job creation environment?

When Texas capped property tax rates, taxing authorities began a rush to re-evaluate property values (just before the real estate bubble burst). Didn't they just create tax revenue out of thin air?

What if sales taxes were apportioned more to the cities generating them? Would that turn cities into consumers, rather than beggars?

What if there were sales taxes on property sales as well as tax increases on automobile sales and other capital investments?

Should we stop exempting churches and other philanthropic organizations from sales taxes?

I hope to explore these ideas and welcome your comments. 

Friday, January 15, 2010

Some pigs are more equal than others

Rationing exists in our current health care process and rationing will exist in any health care system operated by any government. This is a simple reality: When there is a limited supply, there will always be a method for rationing it. In a totally free market (our current system is nowhere close to fitting that definition) dollars take care of the rationing question. People with more dollars get more service. It sounds cold, perhaps even brutal, but that's the way it is. But a government operated system must also manage a limited supply. Instead of rationing based upon the dollars of patients, it's rationing will be based upon other economic factors. For example -- which makes more economic sense: Spend tens of thousands on a 10 week premature crack baby or spend tens of thousands of dollars on a kidney transplant for a 70 year old diabetic? Or, perhaps neither should get care and those dollars should be spent on a thousand healthy school aged children in order to assure they grow up to become productive members of society. Someone has to make a decision, someone is going to call that decision biased and unfair. Someone wins, someone loses. We can't have it all. 

As Democrat leaders scramble to push their system upon an unwilling body politic we get a glimpse of how the real rationing will take place. Observe the special deals made with various states in order to get a vote. Observe the special deals exempting union members from taxes on their free market insurance policies. Observe the penalties placed upon individuals who choose to have a better health plan, or no health plan at all. You see, dollars still rule the rationing process. Only now, it's dollars that are translated into political contributions and favors. Rationing will be decided by bribery. Rationing will be managed by a ruling class. 

You see, in the quest for equal treatment we will inevitably and irrevocably find that, just as George Orwell noted in "Animal Farm," some pigs are more equal than others. 

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Laissez-nous faire!

The following is an extended quotation followed by a few comments:

Since "economic growth" is today's great problem, and our present Administration is promising to "stimulate" it -- to achieve general prosperity by ever wider government controls, while spending an unproduced wealth -- I wonder how many people know the origin of the term laissez faire?

France, in the seventeenth century, was an absolute monarchy. Her system has been described as "absolutism limited by chaos." The king held total power over everyone's life, work and property -- and only the corruption of government officials gave people an unofficial margin of freedom.

Louis XIV was an archetypical despot: a pretentious mediocrity with grandiose ambitions. His reign is regarded as one of the brilliant periods of French history: He provided the country with a "national goal," in the form of long and successful wars; he established France as the leading power and cultural center of Europe. But national goals cost money. The fiscal policies of his government led to a chronic state of crisis, solved by the immemorial expedient of draining the country through ever-increasing taxation. 

Colbert, chief advisor of Louis XIV, was one of the early modern statists. He believed that government regulations can create national prosperity and that higher tax revenues can only be obtained from the country's "economic growth"; so he devoted himself to seeking a "general increase in wealth by the encouragement of industry." The encouragement consisted of imposing countless government controls  and minute regulations that choked business activity; the result was a dismal business failure. 

Colbert was not an enemy of business; no more than is our present Administration. Colbert was eager to help fatten the sacrificial victims -- and on one historic occasion he asked a group of manufacturers what he could do for industry. A manufacturer named Legendre answered "laissez-nous faire!" ("Let us alone!"). 

Apparently, the French businessmen of the seventeenth century had more courage than their American counterparts of the twentieth, and a better understanding of economics. They knew that government "help" to business is just as disastrous as government persecution and that the only way a government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping it's hands off. 

Would you believe this is from an L.A. Times column? It was published in 1962, written by Ayn Rand. 

What was true in the seventeenth century was true in the 18th, 19th, 20th and remains true today. Whatever prosperity the U.S. of A. has achieved in its short lifespan has been in spite of the government, not because of it. Though there are myriad examples of "government help" I just want to mention one item to be watching for: The aftermath of the bailout/stimulus spending.

Over a trillion unproduced dollars have been created out of thin air in order to save institutions that are too big to fail. In conjunction with this "salvation," another trillion of "stimulus" has been created in order to keep the people working. The inevitable result of this action will be inflation and even though the Fed will attempt to forestall it, significant inflation will come. In fact, the first harbinger has already arrived and you can see it in the "good news" on Wall Street. 

Here's how it works: At the moment the bogus money is created out of thin air, it has the same purchasing power as the money that is already in circulation. This means that the biggest beneficiary of the phony money will be whomever gets to use it first. Wall Street and the bankers are very close to the top of the feeding chain so they'll get to take advantage of the funny money at full value, or near full value which means that the "fat cats" literally get the fattest prime cuts of the new money. But as this uncapitalized cash begins to trickle down through our economy, inflation begins to take its toll  because bad money (meaning money that is worth less) drives out the good money (capitalized money). 

And who gets stuck holding the worth-less money? You guessed it. . . we, the people. You don't have to believe me -- in fact, I want you to prove me wrong. Here's how to do it: Make some notes about pricing on a couple of dozen of your most commonly purchased items -- fuel, utilities, groceries, clothes -- whatever you think you need in life. Watch as the prices of these items climb. Your paycheck will increase too ( as will your taxes) but it will rise after your expenses rise, not before. In other words, we, the working people get caught with the worth-less money.  Compare your commodity notes in January 2011 and January 2012 and you'll see a significant erosion of the value of your dollar. Usually, this happens so slowly we don't even notice the robbery that's taking place but sometimes it's like an explosion. Either way, as the money inflates, the gap between the Wall Street "haves" and the Main street "have nots" will grow larger and larger. Count on it. As this government assistance progresses you can count on greedy capitalism getting the blame for "oppressing" the poor as the gap grows ever wider. Less prosperity, a bigger difference between the haves and have nots, and the government will say once again: "Hi, I'm here to help."  

That's just one reason why we should be collectively shouting: Leave us alone!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Now THAT is some serious job creation!

Well, it looks like I've been misguided in my disagreement with the socialist health care system that's being crammed down our throats. I should have thought of this before but I must have gotten caught up in the excitement that goes with having the IRS manage my health care (don't believe me? just read the bill and you'll see how much of the proposed health care system is actually managed by the IRS!). After regaining my composure, I've decided that I can live with that minor infringement because the collective health care system will create jobs. Lots of jobs. And we need jobs, right? Here's how it works:

According to the Adam Smith Institute, in the U.K., as of August 2009 the 6th largest employer in the world is the National Health Service - Great Britain's socialist health care provider. Their 1.3 million employees ranks them right up there with China's utility service (1.5 million), China's petroleum interests (1.6m) and China's army (1.6m).   1.3 million employees taking care of 62 million people. That's one health care worker for every 48 or so people. (Apparently it's still not enough since so many Brits choose to go out of country for health services). A similar ratio here in the U.S. of A. (or will we become the USSA?) works out to nearly 6.4 million jobs!  How could I have been so blind not to see the huge benefits for this socialized health care program? Why haven't Reid and Pelosi trumpeted this jobs bonanza? Don't they realize that with the stroke of a pen (along with some serious mangling of the constitution) they're creating over 3 times as many jobs as the world's biggest employer (Wal-Mart 2.1m).  

Just imagine . . . 6.4 million health care workers with the compassion of the IRS and the enthusiasm of the USPS.  It's time for my nightly gram of soma.