Sunday, November 29, 2009

Is our economy doomed?

Joseph Alois Schumpeter (8 February 1883 – 8 January 1950)was an economist and political scientist born in Moravia, then Austria-Hungary, now Czech Republic. He popularized the term "creative destruction" in economics - thank you Wikipedia.

Dr. Richard E. Hattwick referred to Schumpter saying, "Business ethics is an important subject. It is important to individuals acting in their economic roles because living up to one's ethical ideals is an important dimension of one's self image. It is important in terms of the survival potential of an economic system because, as Schumpeter suggested many years ago, an economic system that is perceived as morally wrong, is doomed to ultimate demise."

It's interesting to note here that Schumpter was a student of Austrian economics. Clearly, one of the few and possibly the only person in all of congress who has a grasp of what is going on with the economy is Dr. Ron Paul - who was also a student of Austrian economics. It's amusing now to see the media who once shunned Paul as a lunatic to consult with him on matters of the economy more than any other politician.

Dr. Paul also has an incredible record of integrity in Congress with consistent principle, reasoning and policy for almost all of his voting activities. As Dr. Paul has said many times over, the government's meddling into the economy, providing bailouts and desperate regulations at an almost incalculable cost, is interfering with what could be a much swifter recovery of the economy. And although Paul has noted that the government's actions are inequitable and wrong in principle, to the best of my knowledge, he's not yet made the leap back to Schumpter's conclusion above.

Today many people see the inequity and moral upset of one person who over spent and did not take their finances responsibly being rewarded by the new system of bail outs and hand holding the government has adopted of late. While, hard working, smart thinking and forward planning people are forced to slug through the mud of the current day situations with no relief or assistance. The perception is that our economy has become a lottery and skill, hard work or responsibility have little to do with success or... morally wrong.

Let's hope Schumpter was incorrect or overlooked a turnabout. One thing is for sure, a turnabout is exactly what we need. The people who drive this economy, the producers, creators, entrepreneurs and hard working people are having their spirit broken by this upside down math. 2010 is the time to change this. Politicians who support this upside down math are the destroyers. Make sure they're out in 2010.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Our Combat Troops: Use 'em, abuse 'em and put 'em on the list.

Our armed citizenry is ULTIMATELY what keeps us safe from invasion on our home soil (provided the second amendment is still around if it ever happens). But before that, it's our military that keeps us safe from the larger powers that could glaze our cities. I have the utmost respect for these people who risk their lives following orders whether legitimately or under the guise that they're protecting America. Who can fault that? These are our people who sacrifice and spill their blood for what they believe is the good of the country. They are the ones who deserve the very best treatment we can give them when they return, regardless of whether we supported the cause they fought in.

And yet, it's our government that disgraces the honor, courage and sacrifice they make. We've all heard the stories and seen the reports of how the troops are shorted of supplies and sometimes absolutely necessary war items. And yet, our government continues to allow budgets for less important things than protecting the lives of our soldiers. We've seen the reports and heard the stories of how long some have waited for medical care or received poor medical care. We've heard and seen the instances of fallen soldiers families who have lost benefits, not been recognized, or been left in the cold. We've seen how the military is used as a pawn to create distractions during political scandals and divert the public's attention from pressing matters at home that are politically unpopular. Finally, we all know how our government is now hiring mercenaries (i.e. Black Water) to carry out tasks that would be unbecoming of our military or without the same culpability.

Now I know there are the government's weather balloon explanations for everyone of these claims I've made which is why I didn't bother to find references and cite them. The simple fact is that for years, it has walked like a duck and quacked like a duck so I'm just going to call it a duck and expect it to continue acting like one. I hope the metaphor isn't lost on younger readers.

I have a dear friend who holds a high rank in our military and has served for several decades plus. He recently came back from yet another tour of Iraq. He was sent out under Bush and came back under Obama. He originally volunteered for the mission. However, after he volunteered, he was pushed way past his supposed date of return and subsequently lost some of his life's earnings here. Certainly, he is more fortunate than some who lost limb or life, but it's still not right.

I asked him, "what does your branch of the military think of O'Bama?" He answered, "I'm not permitted to speak about our commander in chief that way." He then went on to tell me something that just about made me vomit, "I will tell you something that has many of us very upset and myself included. They (government) are worried the returning Vets could become terrorists. They have a list of disgruntled vets who they are watching because they suspect they may become terrorists. With as many vets as are disgruntled right now, that would put over half on that list."

Wow. This LIST SHIT HAS GONE TOO FAR! The very men we train, ask for sacrifice, send away to suffer god knows what for causes that often can no longer be justified are, by the very virtue of their training, now on a terrorist watch list! It's disgusting, vile and from our own government. It's more "Minority Report" mentality again, from the Department of Homeland Securities Intelligence Analysts office. And our officials just don't know when to stop!

In all honesty, their analysis maybe correct. But, to destroy the honor of these fine people and make their lives any more difficult back at home because a few may crack is like putting all of us on the sex offenders list because a few of us may molest children! This IS INSANITY! I think it just goes to show that the people in high offices have long lost the ability to connect with the real world. They consider themselves a higher form of life when actually, they're lower.

Here's another distortion of equity. Rape victims receive special treatment and coddling. We're taught rape is a heinous crime, right up there with murder. Rape destroys the victim. They're plagued with nightmares and have a hard time functioning in society. Or so the worst of them do. It's these symptoms that we overflow with sympathy for. Do these symptoms sound familiar?

They do to me. They sound like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms. We recruit, train and deploy our 18 year old children and send them on missions that in many situations result in the equivalent fate for them as rape. Just try to reconcile that in your mind. If your daughter were raped, you would go insane with rage. Yet, you might let her join our military, train, go on a mission where she would see and experience killing, unspeakable brutality, maybe tortured and then suffer all the same mental torture for the rest of her life as if she had been raped! Yet, we have more compassion for rape victims here at home than the countless men and women of our military who have suffered worse in battlefields.

Like everything else in our culture lately, it's upside down, priorities have been inverted. When forced to chose between the life of a newborn and the life of an 18 year old, we choose to protect the life of newborn because it's innocent and cute. Yet, the 18 year old has had 18 years of parental blood, sweat and money invested in him, not to mention the investment of our community through support and education plus all the animals that gave their lives to feed him. Now at 18, finally fully prepared to start to realize the value of that investment, most mothers would still send that one off to war to protect the newborn. Because, the newborn could be the next Einstein? How about the next Hitler? It's ludicrous.

What's the solution here? First, we have to get our priorities right again. Second, we have to stop the paranoia and fear factories. We have to stop listening to the paranoia and fear factories. These include our media and now our government. Both enterprises cash in big on the fear pills they sell us plus the control it gives them over us. Right or left, if it's selling fear based on no formal statistics or histories, it needs to be really questioned as something actionable.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Watching the fiasco with bail outs, the stimulus package and now health care, it should be apparent to every American that our Legal system is grossly corrupted, inept and out of date.

When you talk to people about what the current legislation proposed for health care is, no one even knows. They don't know because 1. it's changeable in the process (a moving target), 2. they've not read it (lazy, incompetent or too laden with pork to get through and comprehend), 3. they never got a chance to read it (its been purposely guarded or cloaked in order to push through special interest riders).

The problem we have allowed to grow is that we don't look at the work of our politicians, rather, we find it easier to believe what they tell us. I think politicians should be required (by public expectations) to draft all the legislation they're going to supposedly propose when they get into office before they get elected. And, that alone is exposed to the masses to vote on. Not, what he looks like, how he speaks, how many kids he has or what church he attends. These are all things that can be made into props and frequently are.

But an even better solution would be if all Bills could be scrutinized by the public or.. even written! We have the technology to make everything sensible, simple, common, fair and OPEN! It's called... WIKI. That's right - how about drafting legislation through the Wiki process? No more problems with access, input, openness and so on. The public has already demonstrated it's ability draft a complete encyclopedia. Could congress do that and get it's facts right???

Well, although I did conceive this idea myself, others have as well. So maybe I'm not as crazy as you think - here are few more:
Wiki Legislation Builder
Extreme Democracy

Thursday, July 2, 2009

How your City or State can raise lots of money fast!

Want to fix the nation? We can't (us, the common men and women). Well, not directly. We've pushed power so far away from us for so many years now that it's too far and too big for any of us independently to have an effect on. But, we do have power locally. And, if we change how we manage things locally, eventually that philosophy will spread and may ultimately affect the rest of the country.

Question: Which counted more? Your vote in the presidential election or your vote in your state's congressional district? Your vote in your state's congressional district or your vote in your county? Your vote in your county or your vote in your city? It's funny, in politics, we seem to worry the most about what we can affect the least. Most busy people take a little time to study national politics but know almost nothing about their local politics. Yet, it's their local politics they can affect the most. If we start paying attention to our local politics and issues and getting involved there first, we can make a difference.

Since I live in Nevada, let's talk about Nevada for a moment. The city of Las Vegas has NOTHING to offer except a couple of simple things. One - it allows gaming. Two - it's in a state which has no income taxes. Other than that, compared with other states, you have mostly nothing but sand and heat. Las Vegas was a city that had almost no growth until gangsters got hold of it and established a "anything goes" reputation and lifestyle. As a get away for people who needed an adult scale break, Las Vegas grew and grew and grew. Las Vegas has now gone from a gaming mecca to an adult Disneyland on steroids. But the city is now much more now than just a destination. Businesses lured by low taxes, less regulations, simple business requirements and fair employment rules have flocked to Nevada's major cities at an almost choking pace.

With this influx of people and businesses, which primarily came from California, came their laws and ideas about how to run a state (run it into the ground). Nevada is now seriously considering enacting a payroll tax. Our governor, Jim Gibbons, who is one of the few governors with enough balls to say NO to all the ignorant state agency crybabies screaming for more money, has been beat down by the equally ignorant media for doing the right thing. Then to further his plight, steamrolled by our newly liberal legislature which has now pushed through an encyclopedia set like volume of new laws and money grubbing regulations despite his vetoes.

I originally titled this piece, "Taxes + more regulations + loss of freedoms = 0". But I thought this idea may actually inspire some cities that are close to death so I changed it in hopes that it might catch the eye of someone in power. Fact, all humans want to live where life is easy. Businesses are no different. What things can change in Nevada's policies to make life easier and business easier? Let's face it, if life is easy and business is easy, compared to everywhere else, it would be like a gold rush here. Think about this for a moment.

Do higher taxes make lives easier or business easier? Does more regulation make life easier or business easier? Do more laws make life easier or business easier? If a dieing town wanted to raise money to make improvements, what would happen if, instead of raising taxes (eating itself) it did something completely out-of-the box. If it auctioned off a city block that had a 10 year contract permitting any type of legal business operating on that block to be taxed at a lower rate (or none) and guaranteed less or no interference from inspectors, etc. and no licensing or reporting requirements? Of course, the town can only limit taxes and regulations for that block that are within it's control. It can not reduce state or federal taxes, etc. But, how much would that city block be worth compared to any other city block without this contract if it were auctioned off? And, what if a city block could be actually free if from local, state and federal taxes? Freed from local, state and federal regulations? How much would it be worth then? The final auction price would be astronomical! This parcel could be in the crappiest part of town - it wouldn't matter. It doesn't even need to be land - it can be just the contract, to be assigned to land. A contract of non-intervention.

Of course there are the arguments that crime would run rampant, safety would be nonexistent and the site would probably be toxic and have a 5000 year radioactive half-life. Those are the fear mongering arguments. Those arguments could actually be applied to places like Mexico, Brazil and China. Yet, millions of tourists visit those countries every year without any such realizations. Tthere was a time not too long ago here in Nevada when Casino security was trusted as much as the city police. Thus, the city police force did not need to be as large, as costly or as overbearing.

I don't think that anyone would argue that this mythical city block would be bought by a business - if anything because they have the most money to bid. If the business wanted to realize the value of the proposition, it knows that people will have to go there, be it employees and possibly customers. Thus it must be attractive to those groups. To make money, it has to do business with the outside world so it has to at least be civil with it's neighbors or it won't receive vital services like phone, data, water and power. What would that city block be.. worth....? How many more city blocks could you sell like that one before the value started to come down due to an abundance of the opportunity?

If you think this is a completely impossible feat, then ask yourself, "how can we create deals like this for the Indians (reservations) and not ourselves?"

The next question is, what would the city then do with that money? :)

Monday, February 16, 2009

One simple law to fix the entire economy.

It couldn't be easier. This proves that government WANTS our economy to dive. If this one simple law were passed, it would fix the economy in less than a year. It would pass with ease as it would be very popular with government employees. Are you ready? Here it is: Pass a law adding 90 new government holidays to calendar. That would give the rest of us an additional 90 days of relief from their meddling and insane legislation. Imagine - 90 whole days of productivity added to the each calendar year! It maybe enough for the rest of us to catch up and fix this mess they've made. After all, legislatures don't work on government holidays. Most government agencies are closed on government holidays. The rest of us usually still work and carry on. Who wouldn't vote for that?

OK, that one's a serious solution but it may not seem to most like a serious answer to drive for. But you have to ask yourself this: almost everyone in America knows that small business employs about 70% of all Americans. Why, isn't there a major segment of the "stimulus plan" dedicated to stimulating small businesses? For example, a $25,000 start up grant. 0% loans? This is the absolute BEST place to stimulate the economy. But, you'll never see it happen. Again, ask yourself why. There's only two possible answers. 1. They don't really want it to happen or don't care. 2. They're just that stupid.

Are there any more possible reasons I'm missing?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My gift to Americans in a dull workplace.

My wife recently complained to me that a few people in her workplace filed or threatened to file harassment complaints for a few off hand comments made by her coworkers. Now, the once happy and verbal group sits guarded, droning through their days... I authored this document for her to begin a "grassroots" campaign in her workplace. It may divide the company. But maybe the company needs to be divided between those who work hard and want to have fun and those who want to live in a candy shell. If anyone else can make use of it in your place, please - USE IT! Special thanks to Rod for inspiring me to post this. This is the header of the roll. The actual .PDF form can be downloaded here. Shortly after sharing this with another friend who is famous for his timely frankness and succinctness, he rewrote it. If you prefer a shorter and more direct version without so much legalese, you can download that version here.

Good Spirits Association Membership Roll
In order to provide a working environment each of us can feel safe in and enjoy, we the members of the Good Spirits Association, recognize that certain laws have come to pass which are detrimental to a healthy and fun work environment. These laws specifically pertain to conduct in the workplace regarding spoken words of a age, health, sexual, racial or religious nature. We consider these laws to be far overreaching and thus a negative and detrimental force in our work environment by allowing individuals who may feel hurt, angry or vengeful at times to abuse these laws and cause each other and/or our employer undue stress and harm. We prefer to instead to handle these issues interpersonally and by discussion only. Therefore, we, the undersigned, each individually, under no persuasion or coercion freely desire and accept that we are members of the Good Spirits Association and thereby together and individually agree to and declare the following:
By signing this Roll, we each are a member of this Association. We acknowledge that The Good Spirits Association requires nothing and serves no purpose other than to recognize and collect those of us who by signing this roll, hereby publically waive all rights of protection granted to us under Federal, State, County and City laws and codes which allow us each to file claims or sue one another or our employer, through administrative or legal courses, for any verbal violations of conduct under any such scope of law whether the nature of those spoken words pertain to age, health, racial, sexual or religious subjects and be considered “harassing”. As adults, we recognize our common rights of choice to enjoy, endure, ignore or challenge such verbal comments among ourselves as sufficient means and thus a healthier choice for us each to enjoy each other and our workplace environment. Should any conversation lead to harmful physical action, the appropriate laws are already in place to address those physical actions and such laws are not waived by any member.

To join, a desiring member need merely sign the “Agreed” column with a member witness and date. Two non members may agree at the same time and be each other's witness. Each member may freely withdraw from this agreement at anytime by signing and dating in the “Withdraw” column in line with their originally signed “Agreed” column entry. This roll is to be placed in public view.

Printed Name