I will Gladly Pay You in 2085 For Some Benefits Today

I have been researching this blog for a while. I looked at graphs that show our government’s debt, projected debt, current and projected cost of interest on that debt, solvency problems with Medicare and Social Security and the ticking time bomb of unfunded public employee pensions. I will include links at the bottom to some of the research that I looked at. Otherwise, this posting would be 27 pages long and have 13 graphs. So I am starting with the assumption that America is on a dangerous fiscal path. If you don’t agree with that premise, start with the links at the bottom.

America being so far in the red should be a concern for Americans across the political spectrum. I don’t care about assessing blame to Democrats or Republicans for the mess. There is plenty of blame to spread around. The overspending under Bush doesn’t excuse the current government’s irresponsible spending. Nor does the increase in spending under current leadership vindicate the unacceptable spending on Bush’s watch. Nearly every congress and administration in the last century has over spent. It is easier politically to add to the deficit than it is to raise taxes or cut services. That is why $0.40 of every dollar the federal government spends today is borrowed money.

Europe right now is providing us a glimpse into our future if we continue to kick this can down the road. If you think that drastic austerity measures and violent riots by students and organized labor sounds like a good time, then by all means, let’s keep spending. I don’t know anyone who agrees with all the recommendations just released by the president’s deficit panel, but I applaud the existence of such a commission for advancing the conversation. Just like any 12-step program, the first step is admitting that you have a problem.

I consider my own life to be a microcosm for what is wrong with our nation’s spending habits. Earlier in life my income did not cover what I wanted to spend money on. Unfortunately for me, I had dozens of credit cards and credit offers to enable me to spend beyond my means. Now, later in life and making more money, I am still paying for the overspending of my 20s. By the time I am done paying off my credit cards, I will have paid more than double the price tag of the items that I purchased on credit. I am personally paying for my past lack of restraint and prudence in spending. Because of that, it is a lesson now drilled into me. I no longer buy what I want; I buy what I can afford and what I need. Apparently that’s a lesson being learned by many Americans. U.S. Consumer debt is down 15.5% since 2008, even as public debt moves sharply in the other direction.

The primary differences in effects felt by private versus public debt are the reason federal spending per citizen has increased so drastically over the last 100 years: 

1. The government does not have its own money. Government spends taxpayers’ money. All exponential future costs will likewise be shouldered by the future taxpayer.

2. The consequences of public debt can be deferred to future generations while the benefits are enjoyed by the generation doing the spending

Sometimes it’s hard for the average American to relate to what the federal deficit means to them personally. Under current deficit projections by the Congressional Budget Office, by 2020 just the cost of interest on our debt will amount to over $1,800 per person, per year. Considering that half of American citizens and most illegal immigrants do not pay federal income tax, that number is more than doubled when laid at the feet of the taxpayer.

We are practicing generational theft. It is immoral to saddle our children and grandchildren with insurmountable debt and unsustainable, unfunded liabilities because we do not want to make tough cuts or difficult sacrifices. How is it fair that a child born today enters this world with a $1 million dollar share of America’s unfunded liabilities and public debt?

Our responsibility to future generations is to leave them a planet not trashed by greed or laziness. The same morality demands we not bequeath our children a deficit ballooned by selfishness or weakness.

At the risk of “founder thumping”, I leave you with three quotes from Thomas Jefferson. As with many of our nation’s problems, our founding principles contain the answers:

I place economy among the first and most important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers to be feared. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. If we run into such debts, we must be taxed in our meat and drink, in our necessities and in our comforts, in our labor and in our amusements. If we can prevent the government from wasting the labor of the people, under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy.

I hope a tax will be preferred [to a loan which threatens to saddle us with a perpetual debt], because it will awaken the attention of the people and make reformation and economy the principle of the next election. The frequent recurrence of this chastening operation can alone restrain the propensity of governments to enlarge expense beyond income.”
 (Notice he said that taxes are preferable to debt because citizens are more likely to take notice and do something about spending!)

“The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”

Some research worth reading:

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Waiting for Education Reform

My wife and I saw the very good documentary “Waiting for Superman” recently and agreed the film has a lot to say. She has worked in our local school district for nearly a decade as both a teacher and counselor, so I can appreciate her take on the different issues the film presented. And while the film is not perfect, and focuses primarily on inner city school challenges, one thing is certain: The filmmakers focus on the common ground Americans have behind education reform.

To start with, there are the obvious shared educational goals that we have that are no-brainers, such as improving literacy, raising academic standards, and improving the performance of our students. But this all starts with teachers and schools, and the need to have a better functioning system. That’s where there seems to be hundreds of different ideas. Still, I think most of us can agree on some key elements of education reform, such as:

1. We want the best teachers in our schools, and we want the ability to reward and encourage these great teachers.
2. We want high performing schools – not just one in our community, but all of them.
3. We believe control over schools should be done at the local level (at the district and state level) because that way we can better address specific community challenges.
4. We want school districts to have the ability to fairly evaluate our teachers and schools, and do what it takes to improve the performance of both.
5. We want the ability to get rid of poor, underperforming teachers.

The question, of course, is HOW to accomplish these objectives – but the dialog needs to start from the understanding that we really all want the same thing. From here the discussion needs to look at different approaches, and there are many. The “Waiting for Superman” website alone shows how many different paths are being taken in the name of their motto “Together We Can Fix Education.” But what is admirable about the dialog on their site is that it is not angry or accusatory – just insistent on taking action. Most of the action steps are credible individual suggestions we can take.

We need to let go of the rhetoric and focus on building bridges. As an example, let’s look at just one issue exposed in the documentary, the problem of getting rid of bad teachers. We all want to get rid of bad apples – I don’t know ONE teacher who wouldn’t agree the system needs to allow districts to dismiss lousy teachers – but I also don’t know one teacher who wouldn’t say that their union plays an important role in making sure their rights are protected. It’s a popular framing mechanism to “love the teachers” but “attack the unions,” as if those bad and nasty unions are in some way an outside third party. They’re an easy target, because it is the union contract agreements that have made it nearly impossible to get rid of poor instructors.

But here’s the thing: The teachers ARE the unions! They vote for their elected leadership, and like everything else in our democracy, their voted representatives act on their behalf in contract negotiations. So even though the vast majority of teachers would agree in “rewarding the good and getting rid of the bad,” they are NOT demanding this collectively at the bargaining table.

So when it comes to teacher evaluation, this is where we need to start. Obviously there must be pretty sensitive issues at stake when teachers talk about changing tenure and the ability to jettison unwanted faculty — no teacher wants to be part of a witch hunt if the school boards were given Absolute Power. They’ll want to know their protections; they’ll want to see how evaluations will play in both high and low performing schools; they’ll want to know that “testing” isn’t the magic answer to everything; etc. As the “Superman” website suggests, if this an important issue to you, then take it upon yourself to know your school board and find out what is being done on a local level about making sure we have great teachers. Like anything else in a democracy, if we want change, we have to be willing to roll up our sleeves and get involved.

This is not the space to play out the education discussion, but I do know that good ideas and solid proposals can be heard and calmly evaluated by those willing to find solutions. And we need to make darn sure that those we put into school boards AND union boards are the type of individuals who WILL listen and evaluate good proposals.

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Finding our Common Ground – More than Just a Nice Idea

First off, I want to sincerely thank my friend and Purple Ground blog host Jamie Rudolph for inviting me to join her page for periodic posts.  I so completely support her motivations for these discussions. Political discussion has become rigid and beyond partisan — no one is happy with a political system that is paralyzed by anger, fear and inflexible ideology.  Our country is built on the idea that a healthy discourse is crucial to a free democracy.

That’s why finding common ground in political discourse is so important. Jamie and I stand on opposite sides of the political divide.  We have significant philosophical differences on some issues, but we share the conviction that the best decisions for America will come from people willing to listen and understand each other‘s perspectives.  Working toward building consensus, agreement and compromise is how our founding fathers always intended these United States of America to be governed.

So right off the bat, here’s some common ground we can all agree on: Regardless of ideology, we all want our elected officials to govern the United States of America on our behalf.  The voice of the people through elected representation.

But to do this requires active interpersonal communication. Our electeds must do what the rest of us do every day: Figure out how to get along and live/work together! Most of us do a pretty good job of treating one another with courtesy and respect, and basically try to be good humans. You learn pretty quickly in life that it’s best to try and get along with one another.  In the world of our lawmakers, we hope that those we elect have this idea down as well.

So when dealing with contentious issues, it’s a good idea to take time to first appreciate what you can agree on. Take some time before jumping into debate to first acknowledge that you and your rival might have some core objectives in common. Why? Because it reminds you that we’re all in this together – it’s not “us” and “them.”

Look at sports. In those moments before the game when we’re singing the National Anthem, one of the reasons it feels so good is because we’re acknowledging our common ground.  No matter who we’re rooting for, we stand shoulder-to-shoulder as proud Americans, appreciating the thrill and beauty of the sport, the spectacle of entertainment, and the communal feeling of thousands of fans sharing an experience. A few minutes later, we will be carried away with the competition, cursing at the obnoxious fan in the next row, but during the Anthem, we are all in it together.

So if we expect our politicians to find room for intelligent discourse, we can start by showing them we can do it ourselves.  We can lower the intensity of the rhetoric a bit, take an edge off the angry partisanship, and even try to find the joy in what we have in common, what we share.  In the coming months, I look forward to discovering our Purple Ground.

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Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You: Giving in America

Those of us who think that government has grown too large and overstepped the role it was given in our Constitution believe that many things that the government does today were intended to be the role of private citizens, charities, communities, families and neighborhoods. If we want to reduce the size and power of the federal government, then we have to help make those services redundant.

Most people do not object to a “safety net” role for the government. Although I would argue that we should localize that safety net as much as possible because those closest to the need can best address that need. Part of the reason that our “safety net” is turning into a “nanny state” is because large, centralized bureaucracies are by their nature too far removed to discern the difference between those who can’t help themselves and those who won’t help themselves. (See my blog on “Alice”, the true story of a family that applied to rent an apartment that we own).

Most Americans understand that our social safety net has become bloated, inefficient and sometimes encourages dependence on government programs over self-sufficiency. Still, we all want help for those that need a hand.

ABC News did a story on who gives in America. The results may surprise you.

Some statistics on Charitable giving in the U.S. and worldwide:

From ABC News story on Who Gives in America:

  • Conservatives give about 30% more than Liberals (although they make slightly less money on average)
  • The poor and the rich give more (as a percentage of their income) than the middle class
  • Religious people give more to charity than the non-religious (beyond just giving to their church)

From the Johns Hopkins Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project

  • Americans give more to charity, per capita and as a percentage of gross domestic product, than the citizens of other nations
  • However, the U.S. comes in 3rd in Volunteerism behind Sweden and the Netherlands
  • Among developed nations, those with higher taxes and bigger social safety nets tend to have lower rates of giving. In charitable giving as a percentage of GDP, nations with cradle-to-grave welfare systems rank far down the who gives in the Johns Hopkins list; Sweden 18th, France 21st, Germany 32nd.
  • Those who give to charity and/or volunteer report being happier than those who do not give or volunteer

If we believe that individuals helping others is the best way to assist those in need, for both the giver and the receiver, we must take an individual role in fulfilling that responsibility. There are so many ways to give. The best ways are the ones that connect us to the person that we are helping. Although I donate to causes that I believe in, the most rewarding experiences I have had are the times that I gave face to face to a neighbor, or on a mission trip to Mexico. Seeing the impact of our time or money is a feeling that cannot be duplicated by writing a check to a charity. Nor can that connection be created by paying taxes that go to social programs.

The reality is that most of us are very busy. So charity plays an important role in enabling giving. I am not suggesting that we stop giving to charity. Indeed, we should do more charitable giving.  When we don’t have time or ability to take our used clothing to the homeless, a charity will come pick it up at our doorstep. We can’t all buy mosquito nets and fly them to a village in Africa to prevent Malaria, but we can donate to the charities that do that.

However, to understand the impact that giving has on ourselves and others, we all need to find ways to get that personal connection from our giving. Donating to the ASPCA via mail will not affect your heart the in the same way as taking an abused dog for a walk at your local animal shelter. That dog cannot lick your face in joy and gratitude though the mail.

If we look for opportunities around us to give directly to a neighbor or friend in need, the impact of that experience makes us more inclined to give in other ways. I challenge you (and myself) to proactively search out those opportunities. You will find that when you hand a poor child a new toy or help an out-of-work acquaintance work on their resume, you will get as much or more from the experience than the person that you are helping. That is the magic of giving: it usually begets more giving. Also, the joy that you get from giving is not dependent on your ability to give. The person that can donate a million dollars to build the new wing of hospital for children with cancer does not get 10,000 times the benefit of the person that who can only save their pocket change for a year to give $100 to their neighbor that quit her job to care for her cancer-stricken child.

More than any election, policy or government program, personal giving can restore this country because it changes the giver.

From one of my favorite movies (based on a true story), The Blind Side:

Friend: I think what you are doing is so great, to open up your home to him. Honey you are changing that boy’s life.
Leigh Anne Tuohy: No, he is changing my life.
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An Open Discussion – Participation Requested

So what do you think has made America so prosperous?

Why are we the country so many dream of migrating to?

Is it freedom? Do we think differently than other nations or cultures? If so, how?

How did one of the youngest nations on Earth become the most prosperous and most powerful so quickly and unequivocally?

If we can understand how the United States has created so much wealth, so many life-changing ideas and inventions, and so much freedom, we can make sure to protect those qualities going forward.

So I want to hear from you, what do you think has made this 250-year-old country so exceptional?

Free enterprise?

Limited government?

Natural resources?

Faith and divine providence?


Melting pot?

Something else?

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The Fed, QE2, Monopoly Money and the Price of Milk

If you are like me, phrases like “quantitative easing”, “monetizing the debt” and “inflationary policies” make my eyes glass over. I don’t have a degree in economics. I want to trust smarter, or at least more economically educated, people than I to handle those policies and strategies. But one thing I have learned over the last few years is that we common folk have to be at least marginally aware of what is going on in Washington and with our economic policies, because they can and do affect us.

I am not going to try to explain what the Fed’s announcement yesterday that they will print $600 billion dollars (and $200 bil. more later) to buy our debt from ourselves means to you. I will let the bigger brains at CNBC do that here.

I am concerned though that adding all this Monopoly money to our money supply will inevitably lead to inflation. In fact, it already has. This is the second time the Fed has done “quantitative easing”, which as far as I can tell is a fancy word for pumping money into the economy.

Here is a picture that shows US money supply in graph form:

So I’m not a revered  economist like John Maynard Keynes, but it seems to me that when you print more money, the money we have is worth less. They call that “inflation”. It’s like a hidden tax, because we pay more for basics like milk and tires and all the things that are not manufactured in the US or whose components aren’t manufactured in the US (re: almost everything). Our dollar is devalued. It is worth less than before. This is being done on purpose right now in an attempt to jump-start the economy. Do most Americans understand that is happening? They will notice soon.

I don’t know if the strategy will work. Like I said, there are smart people making these decisions. But as the CNBC article says it is a big gamble. We will immediately begin paying more, or, as George Soros called it, experience “a managed decline of the dollar”. He should know because “Soros has often drawn criticism for speculating heavily on the collapse of fragile currencies”. 

I know this is tedious to study and to try to understand. I am only getting started and I don’t want to do it either. However, this stuff matters. We have to try to get educated and pay attention because no one is infallible and the checks and balances of our democratic republic include the American people.

Here is the gist as I currently understand it:

1. The government intentionally inflates (devalues) the dollar by buying up our own bonds (debt) with printed money

2. We pay more for goods, foods, and products that we import because our dollar is worth less against foreign currencies

3. The powers that be hope that the influx of cash and liquidity is like a shock to the heart of the economy, creates growth and revives the economy, and therefore revenue

4. If they are right, we pull ourselves up into a strong recovery

5. If they are wrong… You almost don’t want to know. Trust me. It’s bad. China and Japan stop buying our debt, our dollar crashes… It has happened before to other countries. So we know what to expect and it’s a world of hurt.

The good news: if we can crank this economy up and get American business growing again, we can make it through this. I don’t know if I believe in the omniscience of the Fed, but I do believe in the power of the American people and American free enterprise.

If your eyes have not glassed over yet, take a look at the following talking heads on CNBC. It is hard to get through, but if you do, you will learn some things that I think are worth paying attention to (IMF acting as a global central bank?!). As always, I welcome discussion. In this particular case I am praying that someone shows me where I am getting it wrong.

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Welcome to Purple Ground – Where everyday red and blue people find common ground

A Citizen’s Blog

Purple Ground is based on the idea that red and blue Americans who love their country can find common ground on principles.

  • We love America
  • We know that Freedom is not free and we honor our troops
  • We do take responsibility for our own lives
  • We honestly care about those in need and do not want to abandon those who cannot help themselves
  • We agree that Americans have a personal responsibility to help others and “be our brother’s keeper”
  • We believe that people are better served by a hand up than a hand out (teach a man to fish…)
  • We believe that we must be vigilent in defending America and our freedoms against those who would do us harm
  • We believe in personal liberty, over our body, our mind, the fruits of our labor, our property, family and parenting, and our speech
  • We believe that all America’s laws apply to all its citizens equally and the law is blind to race, class, connections, and political status.
  • We believe that our government serves the citizens, not the other way around
  • We believe that Americans are generally good, hard-working, generous people
  • We believe that war should always be the second to last choice, only before putting our lives or our country in grave danger
  • We believe that we have a personal and corporate responsibility not to trash our planet
  • In God we trust

These principles are not Democrat or Republican. They are American. We disagree on the details, and there are differences in how we substantiate these ideals. First, we need to remember that most of us agree on so many values, we just need to start having straightforward discussions on the embodiment of them. Our Founders themselves disagreed amongst themselves, often passionately, sometimes vehemently. But they worked it out for the greater good of the country. They put their personal egos aside, had an honest debate, and reached consensus.

There are plenty of bloggers out there lambasting the other side.  The more time you spend on the internet the more you see there is way to much vile nastiness out there, on both sides. This forum will attempt to engage in debate, not diatribe. This forum will assume that you and I are not Nazis, racists, communists, Marxists, stupid, brainwashed, or un-American.

I will invite others I know, just regular people like you and I who don’t blog for living, to share their thoughts as well: a citizen’s blog. I will not just choose people who agree with me on issues.

I love feedback and I encourage comments. Before you submit a comment, ask yourself, are you speaking the way you would to a friend that disagrees with you? I will moderate comments in a way that treats us all as friends.

The partisanship today threatens to divide and conquer us. I believe that is not who Americans are. We can be better. Sincere people can agree on core American values and discuss and even disagree on how to live those principles. Let’s reaffirm those ideals that we all agree upon and start from there.

I am leaving a space for comments on this page. If you think there is anything on the above list that is not common or “purple ground” with you, let me know why. I am sure there are things that I am missing too, and I welcome suggestions. The list can grow.

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A Tale of Two Visions

There is a  shining example this week of the great divide between the accepted wisdom in Washington and truth that the American people know.

Yesterday Joe Biden told the audiance at a political rally that “Every single great idea that has marked the 21st century, the 20th century and the 19th century has required government vision and government incentive.”

Let that complete break with reality sink in. Edison invented the lightbulb because he was inspired by the government? Singer came up with the sewing machine because the government incentivized him? Otis and the elevator, Bill Gates and Microsoft, Steve Jobs and Apple, Henry Ford and the assembly line, all because of government vision?

This is not another gaffe by foot-in-mouth Biden, this is a glimpse into a world view that is up for a vote on November 2nd. Do we believe that government creates jobs? History has shown us that in times of economic hardship small business creates 80% of the jobs in a recovery.

In fact, government doesn’t just not create jobs, it often does a pretty good job at destroying jobs. Manufacturing and exports are the lost jobs. America no longer is the world’s bread basket either. In America today, 70% of our economy is based on our own consumption. Fifty percent of that is based on services.

If you look at industries and companies highly managed by government or subsidized by tax payers, the picture isn’t pretty. Amtrak and the Post office run at a loss while their private sector competitors FedEx and CSX turn a profit. Anyone want to compare GM and the “green jobs” created by the “electric” car (well, sort of) “the Volt” to Ford? Guess which company is posting a profit? The one who didn’t take a dime of bailout money.

This election is not about R versus D. Republicans and Democrats have both been for big government and growing their own power. This is an election about the fundamental principle in America of limited government, maximum individual liberty and  free enterprise.

You have a clear choice. Now, go vote. Grab 2 friends and get them to vote. If you agree with Joe Biden then vote for the candidates that he is endorsing. If you believe that America’s exceptionalism comes not from “government incentive” and “government vision” but from profit incentive and entrepreneurs’ vision, then vote for the candidate that stands up and says “put in me power so I can reduce my power”. If you can’t find that candidate, then keep looking.

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Fear and the American Dream are Incompatible.

If we understand what has made America the most prosperous nation on earth we can restore that prosperity anytime it is in jeopardy.  The answer to understanding America’s economic success is found in the idea of “The American Dream”.

Historian James Truslow Adams coined the phrase “American Dream” in his 1931 book Epic of America:

The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, also too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.

What struck me about this quote was the part where Adams says that the American Dream is not just a desire for nice cars or money, but rather the dream of a place where every person can reach his or her highest potential and be judged on their achievements regardless of their circumstances or station in life.

This dream is why millions have migrated to the United States. It is a dream that started with America’s freedom from the King to determine her own destiny. It is a dream that was not fully realized until Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made America face her hypocrisy in the face of a declaration that “all men are created equal”.

MLK wrote in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”:

“We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands. . . . when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters they were in reality standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the most sacred values in our Judeo-Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in their formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.” 

So what is it about the US that makes it a place where anyone can chase the American Dream? The answer is found in the declaration that all men are endowed by their creator with the unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is the economic and personal freedom to have a passion, work hard, take a risk and achieve the improbable. The American Dream is Chris Gardner and The Pursuit of Happyness. The American Dream is Rocky Balboa. The American Dream is my father, a guy who once lived out of his car while working at a tire store, building a successful business out of sweat equity and determination.

So what is it that makes America the “land of opportunity”? It is the same principle of limited government and maximum individual liberty that allowed America’s wealth to multiply 700 fold in the last 200 years. Thomas Jefferson understood that:

“A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned – this is the sum of good government.”

“Wise” and “frugal” aren’t words that I would associate with our government today. So I guess it’s no surprise that government increasingly regulates men’s pursuits for them and then takes the bread from their labor. Some argue that a company like Microsoft could not be born today out of a dreamer’s garage. If that’s true, then it is tragic, not just for the loss of innovation, and not just because of the billionaire philanthropist like Bill Gates who won’t be forged, but because of the tens of thousands who will not be employed at that company, nor the many thousands more not employed by that company’s vendors and partners.

There is no arguing against trickle-down economics. You can see it in America’s wealthy, who have offered a product or service that people want and created economic benefits to those who helped them do it.

The reason we face such stagnation in our economy is that business is not sure if it has friend or foe in the government. The burden of dealing with current taxes and regulation is only trumped by the fear of what may come in the future. Fear stifles the passion of the whiz kid in his dorm room ready to launch the next “Facebook” idea. Fear paralyzes the CEO of a Fortune 100 company deciding whether to acquire or expand. Fear keeps the local hardware store owner from taking out a loan to move into a larger facility and hire 5 new employees.

We must again unleash the entrepreneur, the business owner and the dreamer in America. We must trust that with the conditions of free enterprise the American people will do what they have always done best: invent the light bulb and design the first assembly line, create the next transformative technology and the means to share it with the world. America is not out of great ideas. We can be the nation that dreamers migrate to in order to share their passion and genius with the world. If the government would but get out of the way, the entrepreneurs will do the rest. Our founders knew that “when the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty.”  Fear and the American Dream are incompatible.  The good news is, we don’t need our government to fear violent revolution from the people, they need only fear us at the ballot box.

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Why Seniors Can Preserve America’s Greatness

Our seniors are our county’s greatest asset. The tragedy is that many young people do not see them for the treasure that they are.

Our older generation is the wisdom of our nation. They have worked, built business, immigrated from other lands, married, had kids, had grand kids and watched the world change around them. There is no greater earthly source of wisdom than experience.

To those who are in their retirement years, let me say: please speak up. We need the stories you tell and the lessons you learned. We need to know what you saw that worked, what did not work, and why. Please take the mantle of the responsibility of sharing your wisdom.

To those in their middle years, show your parents respect and your kids will respect them as well.

And to the younger generation (am I still in that group at 33?), you may think that you know, and your passion is essential for life, but make sure that you ask questions of those who have done it before you. They have learned more than a thing or two. If you don’t have a senior role model in your life, find one: an aunt or uncle, neighbor or friend of the family. We need their voice of experience.
Our seniors are so precious that I cringe at the idea of some on the far, far left that believe that lives have a monetary value, and seniors and babies are at the bottom of that list. Seniors often cost too much to keep alive and babies require many years of investment before they start producing in society. You can read all about the “Complete Lives System” here. It’s scary stuff. First of all, every human life is priceless. Second of all, the idea that a person’s value is based on their productivity is disgusting. But what happens, the authors argue, when there is a shortage of healthcare or funding for healthcare and care has to be rationed? Who do we pick to get the care?

I know, that’s just crazy “death panels” stuff, I am not saying that is what the Democrats want, only some loons.

What’s more disturbing is a college student that I saw interviewed during the education cuts protests here in Los Angeles. The student was asked what the government should cut to pay for education and he responded that the government should cut Medicare or Social Security because the seniors “had their turn” and it is the younger generation’s turn now.

Protect our seniors, they have the most to lose if the economy worsens and severe cuts must be made. We owe them the promises that were made. Younger generation, you may have to make some sacrifices to honor our commitments to our seniors. I am not counting on any of the $80,000 in SSI money I have paid over the years. I must take responsibility for my own retirement. But I can leave my children and my grandchildren a better, more free, more prosperous America, because that’s the sacrifice that the “greatest generation”, the WWII era, did for their kids and grandkids. That is a legacy: something that you leave on to future generations. Our seniors’ wisdom is their legacy. Let’s make sure we inherit it.

Posted in complete lives system, cuts, Medicare, seniors, Social Security, Wisdom | 11 Comments