The Magical Minimum Wage

Over the hubbub of the minimum wage hike racket, I’ve heard a lot of people shouting about different sides of the debate. Yesterday, someone shared this picture on Facebook:

minimum.wage.1

I’m getting tired of hearing the debate. Here’s the real facts.

Raising minimum wage to $15 an hour will be disastrous. You want inflation? Double the minimum wage then stand back and watch the fallout. I can’t believe nobody is wondering why gas prices more than doubled after Obama took office. I will tell you why: federal minimum wage was kicked up from $4.75 an hour to $7.25 an hour. Businesses do not eat those losses; they pass them on to the consumer. When a business that pays minimum wage for new workers suddenly has to pay twice what they were paying, they’re not going to sit there and say, “oh, well – we’re not gonna make as much money!” No. They’re going to raise the price of everything they sell. Everything is going to cost more, from a loaf of bread to a gallon of gasoline to a crappy McDonald’s hamburger. It’s going to go way up in cost, so it’ll go way up in price.

The more a business has to pay to make a product, the more it costs for the consumer to enjoy it. My girlfriend’s 22-inch tube TV cost about $100 when she bought it. My 55-inch flat-screen cost about $600 when my dad got it for me for Christmas a year ago. The technology of both of these items is very different; a tube TV (which they no longer make) is simple to build and the parts are cheap. A large flat-screen requires more expensive parts, more time, and more labor to build. Compare two different restaurants: McDonald’s and Smashburger. A quarter pounder at McDonald’s costs about $4 (depending on where in the country you are). A “small” hamburger at Smashburger costs about $6. Why? Because Smashburger pays more for better ingredients and they pay their employees slightly more than minimum wage.

The concept is the same for workers. The more a business pays its workers, the more the consumer will pay for the products being assembled and sold by those workers. My iPhone cost me about $200 (I had to sign a new contract with my cell carrier to get it that low, but hey…). My iPhone was also assembled at a factory in China. Had my phone been assembled at a plant in the US, it would have been exorbitantly expensive and I wouldn’t be able to afford it. Why? Because workers in the US cost that much more.

The principle will not change if minimum wage is doubled. These people keep thinking, “oh, if I only made more money…” Yet they refuse to face the fact that if they make the government force their employer to pay them more, things are going to go downhill fast. Their employer will raise the price of the food they’re making, driving some consumers away. The poor people who tend to eat at places like McDonald’s won’t be able to afford it anymore. The cost of basic necessities will shoot up. Suddenly, making more money means nothing because the problems just followed them right into their new predicament. These people don’t think about the consequences of their demands.

What I’m going to say next is going to really piss off a few people, but it needs to be said.

If you want a better life, you have to make it yourself.

I used to work for JP Morgan Chase. After that, I worked for American Express. I hated working in an office setting and having to kiss ass everywhere I went. I really, truly, genuinely hated my job. I made a lot of money, but I hated where I was and felt like I was in a dead end profession. I would prove my abilities beyond everyone else, but would always lose out on promotions to new departments because my boss needed me where I was. I was tired of it. So, I took a pay cut to go work as an EMT full-time. I’m actually making more money now because I love my job and I’m willing to work a lot of overtime. I can take my EMT certification back to my home state and make even more money there. Emergency medical and rescue are always in demand, and since I am capable of dealing with people who are bleeding and throwing up, it works for me. I wanted to make a change in my life and be happy, so I went out and found something that would facilitate that for me.

If you are going to screw around in high school, refuse to attend college, and spend all your time and money trying to have fun, then the consequence is that you’ll never be worth more than minimum wage. You’ll never have marketable skills. Thus you will never have a better job.

Oh, and this whole thing about having kids and working minimum wage? Oh, please. If you hadn’t hopped in bed, you wouldn’t have a kid. If you couldn’t afford a kid, you should have thought about that before jumping in the backseat of that car. Yay, you had sex! I’m glad it was fun! Now, here’s the consequence – a responsibility to take care of a tiny little person who will be completely dependent on you for the next eighteen years (likely longer, considering how poorly you’ll teach basic principles of responsibility). Just like you’re not thinking now about how your demand for more money will affect the future, you didn’t think about how that twenty minutes of fun might affect your personal future. Whose fault is that? I didn’t benefit from you having sex. Why should I have to pay for it?

Cry me a damn river.

Find a trade school – yeah, the ones that your beloved President makes fun of when he tells you to go get an education – and learn an in-demand skill. Learn how to weld. Learn how to fix a car. Learn to be a plumber, an electrician, or a licensed contractor. Go learn medical coding and billing. All of those professions make a lot more money than fast food does (and don’t require mopping up after a patient who misses the emesis bag). And, bonus, you won’t have other minimum-wage earners yelling at you for screwing up their orders and throwing food at you.

You want more money? Go find a way to earn it honestly rather than twisting people’s arms with some emotional appeal that will only make things worse. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, stop expecting everyone else to pay your way for you, and make your own life better. Nobody is responsible for you and your spawn except YOU. Forcing the minimum wage up with not magically solve your problems, nor will yelling at me that you slaved over a hot stove for that cheap chicken sandwich that I just bought to get my blood sugar back up again. I tell you what…do that for 24 hours at a stretch and I’ll be impressed.

It’s The Economy, Stupid! (Part II)

John Schnatter began working in pizza parlors as soon as he was old enough to work. He went to college and worked at getting a good education. At age 22, he sold his 1972 Camaro Z28 to buy out the partner at his father’s pub, Mick’s Lounge, and turn it into the first-ever Papa John’s Pizza place. Today, he commands a chain of some four thousand franchisees and has a net worth of $600 million.

Schnatter worked hard for everything he has. Now the government is requiring him to add nearly $10 million a year to his operating costs, taking another 10% bite out of his profits. You see, while the company brought in $1.218 billion last year, it shelled out $1.131 billion in operating costs – a gross profit of $87 million. That’s before taxes. Schnatter himself has spoken out against the Obamacare mandate. Now that Obama has been re-elected, he’s said that he’ll have to cut some employee hours to avoid losing profits.

Liberals are calling for a boycott of Papa John’s now. Their beef? “He’s worth $600 million! He can afford it!” When he said he’d have to raise the price of his pizzas by 10-14 cents a pie, the left mocked him. “Oh, ten cents a pizza! That’ll really drive business away!”

And the left wonders why I’m so derisive when I talk about economic issues.

A large business that makes tens of millions of dollars can’t necessarily afford to lose more of their profits; $87 million wouldn’t even keep the company afloat for two months if things went bad. Schnatter’s own fortune wouldn’t even keep the company afloat for six months – a fair-sized portion of his net worth resides completely in the 6.1 million shares he owns in his own company. If they were to go under, his net worth would all but evaporate. Not to mention the losses he’d incur just trying to salvage what was left. The price of his pizzas would go up by about 10-14 cents per pizza on average; that doesn’t break down the rise in price for everything on the menu, because the price of some items would rise more than others. While Forbes talks about the cost only rising by a certain amount based purely on the health insurance costs, what their writer didn’t take into account are the other companies that Papa John’s buys from – particularly food and packaging companies, all of which must also offer health insurance to employees who weren’t eligible or didn’t sign up before. That adds to his cost because those companies raise their prices as well. They, like all other companies, have to find a way to recoup lost profits. Too much of a hit and the company is no longer as profitable for investors – they start selling off and take their business elsewhere.

You see, there’s more to this than simply a guy who is supposed to be worth $600 million. If any of the liberals who are boycotting Papa John’s (among other restaurants) right now had taken at least one economics class to supplement their studies in underwater basket weaving, they might have been able to deduce that there’s more to it than what they see on the surface.

In the last post, I talked about the higher cost that I, as an individual, am paying for my health insurance. I have a deductible that I didn’t have before. I pay more than twice per paycheck what I was paying five years ago. Liberals say that their goal with Obamacare is to provide preventative healthcare to those who supposedly wait until they have a medical emergency so that their costs don’t get passed on to us – the cost, however, is still getting passed on to us, and it’s more expensive than it was before.

Their way of doing this is to force employers to pay for health insurance for employees who don’t actually work full-time. Remember, for decades now full-time has been considered 40 hours per week. Anything over 40, and companies are required by labor laws to pay overtime. In one fell swoop, the Democrat supermajority in Congress and the White House managed to raise the federal minimum wage by two dollars an hour (from $5.25/hr to $7.25/hr) and require all companies to offer healthcare to all employees who work 30 hours a week or more along with the same law that requires every single person to buy health insurance and hamstrings a private industry by taking away their ability to determine who they want to risk covering. (Oh, and let’s not forget – part of the law requires 80-85 cents of every premium dollar to be spent on coverage itself, because the liberals can’t handle the idea of anything in healthcare turning a profit.)

What could possibly go wrong?

It all comes down to personal rights. The government made an incredible power grab when Obamacare was passed. They took power they did not have to force something radically unpopular on everyone. Our rights as a society took a massive hit when this legislation passed, and the consequences are becoming more clear as some of the deadlines in the bill race towards us. It’s all done in the name of altruism, the idea that everyone should sacrifice something to help and those who have more should sacrifice more. This kind of high-level socialism can only be very detrimental to a free-market economy. The Robin Hood mindset among liberals is doing damage that we may never recover from, and it’s all because the have-nots are angry with the haves.

Basing laws on what one side considers fair has never been a good idea.

Next up: the estate tax, and what it will really do if left unchecked.

It’s The Economy, Stupid! (Part I)

We all remember when Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign came out with that ridiculous line, but liberals are having some serious issues grasping rudimentary economic principles these days. Economics can grow into a complex subject, for sure, but there are some rules that remain very simple. The simplest of them all:

People go into business to turn a good profit.

I’m not talking pennies-on-the-dollar kind of profit. The type of person who goes into business for themselves spends a lot of time, money and effort on their education. They put substantial investments into their companies. Every entrepreneur takes a huge risk by starting a business, because they stand to lose quite a bit in the process. Most business owners do experience some failure before they become successful. Some owners lose everything and never find success. Those who do create jobs and pump money into the economy.

With that in mind, I’m struggling to understand how liberals are coming to the conclusion that major restaurant chains are cutting employee hours and other big businesses are starting mass layoffs solely to get revenge on Barack Obama.

I’m reading so many opinions about this thing that I’ve gotten lost in the madness. There are a wide range of expressions, ranging from the well-intentioned (“I can’t spend money with a company that would cut back on employee hours to avoid paying more”) to the breathtakingly stupid (“he’d only have to pay 14 cents per employee for their health insurance!”). I’m afraid I’m all out of patience for the misinformed.

What on Earth did any of you expect? You just had to pass that healthcare monstrosity. It was the most important thing in the world to you. Did you stop to think before pushing and then passing that legislation that there may be consequences? Did you not think that by forcing businesses to provide health insurance to all employees working 30 hours or more per week you might be increasing their cost of operating and, in turn, force them to find savings somewhere? It really is a simple concept, and you not only miss it, you assign blame to the most whimsical thing you can come up with.

I have the exact same health policy that I had in 2005. It’s the best policy my employer offers. In 2005, though, it literally cost me less than half what it costs now. As much as it costs me, my employer pays three times what I do for the policy – that’s on top of my salary. I used to pay $19 a paycheck. NOW I pay $52 a paycheck after three years of steep hikes. The health insurance bill you insisted must be foisted upon all of us is the reason.

Liberals had decided that health care costs were out of control and that something had to be done. Their brilliant idea was to force everyone to get health insurance, force insurers to cover all kinds of things that weren’t required before, eliminate annual spending caps and offer the Jersey salute to anyone even breathing the words “tort reform”. How is this supposed to help us? I still haven’t figured it out.

You said it was unfair for insurers to deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions, so now the law bars all of them from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. The college kids who studied underwater basket weaving and couldn’t find decent jobs, along with the ones who didn’t go to college at all (particularly those who didn’t even finish high school), wanted to be able to stay on their parents’ insurance until at least age 26. Now the law requires that all insurers offer coverage to “dependents” up to that age, even if they don’t live with their parents. The hippies wanted their insurance to cover alternative therapies, including spiritual healing and acupuncture – things we’ve paid for out of our own pocket for eons. The feminists wanted their birth control for free because they forget to take the pill half the time, so they insisted on forcing coverage for much riskier forms of birth control (ever hear of pulmonary embolism?). And just to make sure we’re all being responsible citizens, you’ve banned insurers from charging co-pays for services that fall under the “preventive care” category.

You weren’t willing to enact tort reform to dramatically scale back the constant abuses on medical malpractice suits, but you just had to have all this other crap in the bill. The federal government is supposed to subsidize some 30-odd million people getting health insurance now, too – and it’s supposed to be paid for by massive cuts to medicare (that aren’t supposed to exist) and higher taxes on the very same business owners we’re forcing new costs on in the first place.

It’s no wonder our costs have gone up. Ostensibly, this was dreamed up for two reasons: first, making sure health care coverage is affordable. Because you insisted on forcing insurers to cover everything but a trip to the moon, fat chance of it ever being affordable again. Second, you wanted to control the price of healthcare due to those who are uninsured. The uninsured go to the ER for everything under the sun, from hangnails to the sniffles (thereby negating the purpose of an EMERGENCY Room), and when they stiff the hospital on the bill the costs supposedly get passed on to patients who ARE insured, right? So this new bill is supposed to cure that – the problem is that it drives up the cost of my premiums and gives more incentive for my employer to tweak my plan to include deductibles (meaning I pay more out-of-pocket – I didn’t have a deductible back in 2005). I’m now paying a lot more than I was paying before.

Anyone who really thought this would not be the end result of enacting the steaming pile of excrement that is the health insurance bill was either lied to or willfully ignorant. The worst part about the whole thing is that they did it “because it’s the right thing to do”, implying a moral need – the very same thing they castigate conservatives for.

Next, in Part II – how it all affects businesses

The Amazing Disappearing Middle Class

America is the only country on the planet where the poor have cars and cable TV. If you’re listening to the so-called “99%”, better known as Occupy Wall Street, the middle class in America no longer exists. They say it was decimated by the financial crisis. If the middle class is truly no more, though, then I’m about to have a serious identity crisis.

I’m pretty sure I’m not poor. I’ve seen what poor is and it ain’t me. I have two good jobs, I make decent money, and I have a great little apartment where my only complaint is my noisy neighbors. I have uninterrupted electricity, clean running water, a washer and dryer, a refrigerator, and air conditioning in the middle of the desert. I have a nice little Ford pickup truck that I can take up to Sedona or Crown King when the mood strikes me. I have a big TV, a PS3, a sizable movie and game collection, a custom computer, high-speed internet access and three guitars – including my dream guitar, a Taylor. I have a cat who only gets Iams or Science Diet. I’m a TAM (Tammy Army Member) and I make donations to the ASPCA, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, the 100 Club, and the Anthony Holly Foundation. I’m certainly not hurting.

On the flip side, I wouldn’t consider myself wealthy, either. I can treat myself once in a while to a good steak, but it isn’t at Donovan’s. I don’t wear designer clothing (unless you count Black Helmet and RangerUp). I have a Taylor (top-of-the-line, hand-made guitars built right here in America by a fantastic capitalist named Bob Taylor), but it’s not made of solid koa and I can’t afford one of those in the near future. I’d love to have a fully restored ’67 Shelby GT Mustang and a Harley-Davidson VRSCDX Night Rod Special, but both are a pipe dream. I can’t just blow money on whatever my heart desires no matter how much I drool over these things.

So we’ve established that I’m neither poor nor rich, not by any stretch of the imagination. I’m not alone; the majority of my friends and relatives don’t fit into either category. If I’m not middle class, then what am I?

I’ve said many times that the liberals in this country are masters of misinformation. 9/11 happens and patriotism ends up being warped into Islamophobia. After eight years of tacit refusal to obey the terms of his 1991 surrender, we go take out Saddam Hussein and we’re called murderous warmongers who need to give peace a chance. An economic crash brings us to our virtual knees and it’s all the fault of the president who warned that it was coming – and the career politicians who blew him off are swooping in to rescue us. A Tea Party movement finally stirs to combat all of these lies and they’re pegged as racist, hatemongering bigots who goose-step to a capitalist beat – never mind that the REAL Nazis were actually cut from the same socialist cloth that today’s liberals are (hence the Nazi party name, in English: National Socialist German Workers’ Party).

The Occupiers are typical emotional Americans who have no idea what “poor” really is. Even when I was making half what I make now, pinching every penny to make ends meet and find some way to save something, I wouldn’t have called myself poor. Not being able to go to the movies, have a smartphone, carry a Coach purse or get your nails and hair done does not classify as poor. Go to Mexico, Jamaica, or Haiti, where you have to know someone or have money to get a job – qualifications be damned. Nobody earns anything on merit in those countries; if you’re not connected or greasing a few palms, you’re doomed to a life without plumbing or electricity. Basic education is spotty at best. College? Yeah, right.

The reality is that this movement isn’t about “the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer”. It’s not even about equality of opportunity. It’s a group of people who feel they’ve been cheated out of an equal outcome with those who are wealthy. It’s being funded and supported by avowed communists and union thugs – and like the Bolsheviks and Nazis before them, many are getting paid to make this statement. Buy a revolution and lie enough to the right people and eventually the truth is lost.

The middle class is, believe it or not, thriving. Don’t buy the hype. I am among the last of a dying breed, but that breed ain’t the middle class, and I can be proud enough to say that I have earned what I have and didn’t take it from anyone else.

Oh, The Possibilities

Most folks who are not in my line of work don’t realize how a capitalist society helps me thrive in my job. EMS is more difficult than it sounds; I once had a liberal chastise me in an argument about education, saying, “why should I listen to you, an EMT, when probably all you have is a certificate from a vocational school?” When I pointed out that I had quite a bit more than that (and pointed out that I could actually pronounce ‘nuclear’ properly, which he couldn’t) he found something else to turn into a personal attack.

These are the people who have lately been screaming for federal aid for “teachers and first responders”.

Anyhow…injuries frequently sideline people I know and respect. Several companies work hard to produce clothing and equipment that make our job easier and put less strain on our bodies. Back injuries are common, as are pulled/strained muscles, sprains, and broken bones. It’s not just treating a patient that can be dangerous – lifting and lowering them is actually even more so.

Stryker is a company that has produced some of the best equipment I’ve ever used in the field. I promise that companies like this would not exist were it not for capitalism. A universal health care system run by the government would not hold up the kind of research and innovation that is helping me do a better job…and come back to do it again on my next scheduled shift.

So click on that link and take a look at some of the things that they have built in the past two decades. The next time you see an ambulance roll by, you should wonder how much time both of the medics driving that tank have had to take off because of injuries that could have been avoided with better gear.

Breaking News: This Ain’t The First Time

Ann Coulter brought up an important part of history I had forgotten. The Occupy Wall Street protests are going a month strong now, and the same press that called Tea Partiers names that ought not be repeated in a professional office (and certainly not on TV) are comparing the communist uprising of this generation to the Tea Party. Here and I thought the Tea Party was so evil it could not have a link to the hippies.

They can’t figure out what the hell they want. I’ve heard them answer the “what do you want” question with all manner of responses, including everything from an investigation into 9/11 to an end to greed to “hang[ing] and shoot[ing] the Bush administration”. No joke. We’ve seen protesters defecating on police cars. We’ve seen signs that make no sense. We’ve heard calls for greedy businessmen to go to jail. And we’ve seen the owners of Zucotti Park – a privately-owned park on Wall Street with archaic rules such as “no pitching tents” – tuck their shafts between their cheeks and run away when asked if they’ll ever pitch the occupiers out of the park.

(You’ll pardon the crude humor, but I DO spend a lot of time with cops, firefighters and soldiers. If you thought we were all innocent…)

Major unions have paid people to go protest. Union heads have screamed for the blood of wealthy businessmen. They’re upset about outsourcing, foreclosures, problems with the stock market, having to move back in with mom and dad, not having a degree…they’re just mad as hell, and nobody will ever stop them from using their voice, dammit! There’s just one problem with this whole thing. The bible makes a very good point: “Is there anything of which it may be said, ‘see, is this new?’ It has already been in ancient times before us. There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come by those who will come after.” (Ecclesiastes 1:10-11)

What these anti-capitalist occupiers don’t realize is that this isn’t the first time a movement has risen in America out of anger with lenders and other businessmen, including those who foreclose on mortgages. They would have known that if they’d paid attention in history class when Shays’ Rebellion was taught (of course, that’s assuming that schools still see fit to tell kids that it happened in the first place).

In 1783, America took a leap toward her legitimate revolution becoming the bloody travesty that was the French Revolution. Daniel Shays, a veteran of the Revolutionary War, left the Army without being paid only to get home and find himself on the verge of having his home in Massachusetts foreclosed on by the mortgage holder. He also faced time in debtors’ prison. Over a span of years, Shays recruited friends and relatives – many of them fellow veterans of the war – for a massive protest. First they began by petitioning the state legislature and the courts to stop foreclosures; a large number of veterans were facing the same fate. Part of the problem was that they hadn’t been paid much for their service in the war; a large part, however, was that many of the lenders, most of them French, demanded payment in gold and silver – things that they didn’t have much of in the Republic at the time. It simply wasn’t possible to repay the debts in silver and gold.

In the middle of the protesting, one member of the uprising, Plough Jogger, said, “The great men are going to get all we have and I think it is time for us to rise and put a stop to it, and have no more courts, nor sheriffs, nor collectors nor lawyers.” Replace “the great men” with “the rich” and what have you got?

It was in August 1786 that things turned really violent. The occupations that had been intended to peacefully shut down courthouses in Massachusetts to stop judges from handing down the very rulings that would order foreclosures and evictions became a violent uprising. Shays led his rabble to seize the armory in Springfield only to be met by the state militia; the general of the militia fired directly into the protesters, killing a handful and wounding about two dozen. The rebels scurried away without firing a shot. Daniel Shays himself had been sentenced to death but was pardoned by governor James Bowdoin. After spending more than four years of his life blaming everyone else and screaming for the government to do something about it, Shays died in relative obscurity in New York and was buried in a potter’s field.

Shays actually had a serious grievance. Back in those days, we didn’t have a federal government in place to regulate lenders. He came home from helping to free his country and was told that he no longer had a home. How fair is that? His response, however, was what got him into trouble. It was that very rebellion that pushed our founding fathers to create a centralized federal government with the power to regulate the financial industry, particularly lending. Thomas Jefferson was just about the only one who objected. It was at the height of Shays’ Rebellion that he penned the famous words, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”

Nowadays, we have a government big enough to take care of entire swaths of citizens. We don’t have soldiers coming home from war and not getting paid for their service. Banks don’t demand payment in precious metals. We don’t have debtor’s prison anymore. We even have courts that may side with a debtor and order a bank to cease and desist in the midst of foreclosure proceedings. Public opinion has become so fierce in recent years that JP Morgan Chase, one of the three biggest banks in the nation, has backed off of several foreclosures, particularly on mortgages owed by military families. Yet despite there being many ways to find relief, we still have hordes of people occupying Wall Street to decry capitalism as evil. The one thing that I find absolutely hilarious is that celebrities are coming out in their designer clothes and protesters are using the very devices of those evil, greedy corporations to social network their way into the history books as the most ridiculous display in US history.

Ecclesiastes said something else that I believe applies to this movement. “As I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task that God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised. I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.” (Ecc. 1:13-14)

Business As Usual

Despite being punch-drunk in love for the past two weeks in a whirlwind of a new relationship, I have still managed to catch all the news about the deficit flap. Republicans come up with a plan, Democrats shoot it down, Republicans ask Democrats for a plan, Democrats simply sneer. After eight-hundred-odd days of not having a solution to the debt crisis, talking heads claimed we were nearing a default on our debt. Republicans and Democrats alike scrambled to find something they could sign so they could all say, “see? We really are doing our jobs!”

Oh, gag me.

Rather than trying to get spending under control, the only thing either side has managed to do is make a bigger mess of things. While some of the finer points may be complicated, the general idea is still quite simple: you and I, John and Jane Q. Taxpayer, have to live within our means. We have to live on a budget. We write it all out usually, starting with the bills we owe, subtracting them from the amount of money we’ve earned, and delegating the remainder to different categories, usually simple things such as groceries, savings, and extra spending money. We know that if we don’t save up we may end up in the midst of a crisis with little to no money to help ourselves. When that happens, we may take out a loan or credit card to cover the crisis and pay it back over time as we can. When I landed in the hospital a few months ago in need of emergency surgery, my insurance covered all but $1800; if I’d had no savings, I would still be in debt.

Some folks don’t know how to manage their budget and end up with tens of thousands of dollars in debt on top of a mortgage that easily tops $200,000. They end up spending the rest of their lives treading financial water, trying to pay off credit cards and loans that they didn’t consider the affordability of when they took them out. Many end up declaring bankruptcy at least once, some of them multiple times (former MCSO chief deputy Dave Hendershott famously declared bankruptcy three times in his personal finances while nearly tanking MCSO’s budget). All of these people end up in serious legal trouble with creditors and government agencies alike. They don’t know how to live within their means, much less plan for the possibility of a crisis that can be costly.

The federal government lost the ability to live within its means right around the time George Bush Sr. took office.

The deal that was struck was not an argument about debt reduction – it was about deficit reduction. There’s a distinct difference. Debt is the amount you owe. Deficit is the damage done when you’re operating in the red; in other words, how much money you’re losing in a given year because you’re spending more than you’re getting. When Bill Clinton took office, his famous tagline was “it’s the economy, stupid.” Yet Clinton still managed to raise spending during his tenure by more than $520 million over Bush Sr.’s spending.

Bush Jr. was far worse – he raised spending by $1.6 trillion over Clinton, though it took him eight years to do it. Thus far, Obama has raised spending by a whopping $4.3 trillion over Bush’s spending in a mere three years. That means federal spending has gone up by nearly six trillion dollars since the days of Bill Clinton. There has been plenty of anger here at gayconservative.org over Bush’s terrible fiscal policies, but liberals have far outdone Bush in less than half the time. The only thing they’ve offered is a cheap one-liner: “they drove the car into the ditch, now they want the keys back!”

Again…gag me.

If the government is pulling in $175 billion in revenue from taxes alone every month, that gives them $2.1 trillion annually (estimated). That’s just in taxes from you and I. Where is the money going? The government has a few essentials: immediate infrastructure (such as Congress), military, federal-level law enforcement and corrections, and federally-kept interstate highways. What else are we paying for? Medicare, social security, and a host of government-sponsored programs, most of which have a plurality (particularly education). We send billions to other countries annually, including to Brazil to do the offshore drilling that Obama doesn’t want going on near America’s shores.

Why are we spending so much money on non-essential programs? Well, that depends on who you ask. There’s not a liberal alive who is willing to call any government program expendable unless it has to do with the military. To a liberal, it is unthinkable to get rid of entitlements. Of course, we’re talking about liberals, many of whom have put Republicans to shame in the era of earmarks (which is saying something, because there are some Republicans who have managed some pretty silly earmarks). Why should the federal government fund a Woodstock museum? Damned if I know, but Hillary Clinton wrangled an earmark for it.

(As an aside, you can get a liberal to agree to an earmark for the Woodstock museum, but they’ll scream bloody murder if you start suggesting that the government pay for a few hundred kids to attend private religious schools. Not that I think the government should pay for that, but hey, at least those religious schools don’t churn out illiterate thugs the way government-run schools do.)

I’m an EMT-I currently going to paramedic school. I was told back in 2005 when I started my original EMT classes that it wasn’t a matter of if I’d get sued, but when. Eventually, no matter how good you are, you’ll get sued by someone who didn’t get the outcome they wanted. Did you c-spine a patient correctly while they still ended up paralyzed? Did you go to a child drowning and bring that child back to life only for them to be declared brain-dead at the hospital? You’ll still get sued, they told me, and I’ve seen friends who did everything right end up in court defending themselves from money-hungry lawyers and their clients who are simply looking for their lottery payment. That comes from the idea that the government has endless pockets. People really, honestly believe that the government has an endless supply of money that they can hand out at will, all they have to do is get in line. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The government can’t keep shelling out money like candy any more than you or I can.

Why in the name of Thomas Jefferson are we talking about reducing the deficit and raising the debt ceiling rather than going beyond that and reducing our debt? Both sides are being complete idiots here. There are tax-exempt organizations fronting as quasi-political organizations for both sides (i.e. the Heritage Foundation, Media Matters) that should have their tax-exempt status revoked. That status was created for charities, not for front groups who funnel money from elitists to certain political groups. As incentive, we should enact term limits and stop people from holding seats for entire lifetimes. The government should get out of the charity business and leave the charity to those who wish to offer it. Unemployment should not be unending. While we’re at it, I think those who accept government handouts should not be allowed to vote. Liberals need to stop labeling all conservatives as terrorists for simply wanting some commonsense rules to be applied to the Beltway.

Business as usual cannot continue or the government will end up in the same predicament as those people who continually take out new credit cards when they run out of money: destitute.

It’s the economy, stupid.

Where Are The Jobs? (Left vs. Right)

In response to a voter’s question in August of 2009, President Obama said:

Normally, you don’t raise taxes in a recession, which is why we haven’t and why we’ve instead cut taxes. So I guess what I’d say to Scott is – his economics are right. You don’t raise taxes in a recession. We haven’t raised taxes in a recession.

Oddly enough, conservatives are still shying away from indignant liberal cries: “Where are the jobs?” when they attempt to underscore the success of the Bush Tax Cuts including raising revenue to the Treasury 785B by 2007, adding 8 million jobs to the economy, and increasing the median household wealth by more than $20K.

But what about the Lamestream Media who constantly allows the White House and Democrats in Congress to escape their drunken spending spree which took place in the last three years including the failed stimulus and the ObamaCare travesty?  “Where are the jobs?”  Trillions of dollars of feckless spending, unemployment did go above 8%, and revenues to the treasury are at historic lows.  Yet, Obama, Pelosi, and Reid are allowed to escape on their loose versions of a series of “what-ifs?”

Can you imagine what would have happened if we weren’t allowed to fecklessly spend trillions of dollars in historic amounts of time? If you thought unemployment was bad now, you wouldn’t believe what it would have been if we hadn’t printed billions of valueless paper and created a few temporary Census jobs!

Listening to the House today during the debt-ceiling debates made me ill.  After it being crystal clear, not only proven by President Bush but also by President Reagan, that tax cuts and deregulation creates millions of jobs, liberals are still allowed to deny the benefit of the doubt to tax cuts but get to hand it over no- questions-asked to excuse the most unbelievable spending ever in the history of our government.

This is common sense.  This is what we must continue to remember as our party heads into the 2012 battle for the White House and the Senate.

America is broke.  We need politicians who are going to respect Americans by being honest with them.  Clearly, the accounting tricks, gimmicks, and experiments of the left are not prepared to do that.

Do Democrats Hate Poor People?

All too often, the issues facing our country are discussed in purely political terms with partisan ideology at the center. This guarantees that opinions will be formed purely on emotion, and not the facts. If the issue is illegal immigration, Republicans hate Mexicans. If it’s education, Republicans hate children. If it’s welfare reform, Republicans hate poor people.

So on that note, let’s examine how Democrats fare under the same level of scrutiny, shall we?

 

Hating Mexicans

In America, we have immigration laws – like them or not. They are in place for a reason, mainly to ensure that we know who is coming here, and that we can accommodate the increase in local, state, and federal services their presence requires. Currently, we let roughly 1 million immigrants into America legally, almost 2,800 per day. Think about it: 2,800 people per day that need jobs, housing, food, education for themselves or their children, drivers licenses, social security cards, and many other necessities. Now add to that another 1 million who come in illegally, or overstay their visas. These are people we don’t know. They could be anyone from a hard-working farmer to an Al Qaeda terrorist – and anyone who tells you differently is wrong. If we don’t know who they are, then we don’t know how they aren’t. Now, while some people will say it’s racist to single out Mexicans in the illegal immigration discussion, let me explain why that is by showing you the country of origin of those living in the U.S. illegally, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

#1 – Mexico: 62%

#2 – El Salvador: 5%

#3 – Guatemala: 4%

#4 – Honduras: 3%

That’s quite a drop-off from #1 to #2, isn’t it? Also bear in mind that these 4 countries equate to 74% of our illegal immigration problem, and they all enter the U.S. through our border with Mexico. So it’s not racist to talk about our southern border, it’s REALITY.

So, don’t like the laws? Change them. But until then, the government’s job is to enforce them. And that’s what Republicans want. They want a secure border. They want legal immigration. They want those here illegally to be deported when caught, according to the law.

Now we can argue immigration reform all day, and I’m one Republican who thinks it is impossible to deport the 15-20 million people here illegally. However, until we actually pass immigration reform and discover a way to handle all of these issues, we have no choice but to enforce the laws.

But what about Democrats? Do they hate Mexicans too?

Many liberal Democrats argue against raiding businesses that hire illegals. Why? Because they will be deported, and working for $3 per hour in unsafe conditions is still better than Mexico.

Really?

If that’s the case, isn’t the problem Mexico? And if everyone with the motivation to work hard leaves Mexico, who will be left to fix it, other than the drug cartels?

So these liberals would rather have illegal immigrants working in unsafe conditions, unable to report accidents, earning slave wages – simply so they don’t have to return to their home country?

Appalling.

Slavery was wrong in the 19th century, and it’s wrong today. But you don’t hear anyone saying that liberals hate Mexicans, do you?

 

Hating Children

Education is a hot button issue that is frequently distorted into an ideological war of emotions, when in fact there is nothing emotional about it. Schools exist to educate. Period. And on that measure, they are failing.

Since 1970, our education system has flat-lined on achievement in reading and math. Despite that, we’ve increased funding exponentially with zero results. Zero. Absolutely no movement of the needle. So the answer is more money?

“Since 1971, educational spending in the United states has more than doubled, from $4,300 per student to more than $9,000 per student, adjusted for inflation.” – “Waiting for ‘Superman’”

So if money is the answer, why has money not been the answer? And does wanting the correct answer constitute hating children? Of course not. Does putting your own selfish agenda ahead of the success of our children, and our nation, constitute hating children? Judge for yourself.

Many of the obstacles to fixing our education system reside with those controlling it: Teachers’ unions.

Do not confuse teachers’ unions with other unions, or you will fall into the same trap of thinking with emotions. Unions were created to help workers negotiate for better pay and working conditions, against giants of industry who were profit-driven. Education is a non-profit endeavor, paid for by tax payers, and therefore there is no evil CEO to demonize.

There are many things that will help toward improving our education system, including the use of technology to lower the cost of educating our children as a whole, rewarding the best teachers while coaching or removing the underperformers, adequately preparing middle school children for high school, and high school children for college, and making school districts accountable to parents and tax payers.

Unfortunately, teachers’ unions do not want technology to lower the cost of education our children, because it will result in a need for less teachers – even though our school districts are wildly under-staffed as it is.

Teachers’ unions also do not want teachers to be treated differently, in any way. So rewarding great teachers, and firing bad ones, is completely off the table.

Furthermore, these unions resent standardized tests, as they do not believe the performance of students has any bearing on how qualified a teacher is. After all, they can’t make the kids learn.

In fact, according to “Waiting for ‘Superman’,” the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers (the two most organized unions) spent $55 million on federal campaigns over the past 20 years, and 90% of it went to Democrats. So, if teachers’ unions are in the way of improving education, and they donate almost entirely to Democrats, do Democrats hate children?

Let’s pretend you own your own business. Would you want to keep your good employees, and get rid of the bad ones? Would you want to reward your best people with incentives to perform well? Would you expect a return on your investment? Well none of that applies to education, mainly because of teachers’ unions.

Apparently, if you support school choice, merit pay for teachers, and accountability to parents and taxpayers, you hate children. But if you want to give those controlling our education system more money, after a 40-year track record of failure, well… you’re a kid’s best friend. (Read: nightmare)

 

Hating Poor People

Almost a full 50% of Americans pay no income tax. Now just to clarify, most do pay it in their paychecks, but they get it all back on their tax returns. And while they do contribute to Medicare and Social Security like all Americans do, this 50% of Americans are far more likely to need Medicare and Social Security than those who do pay income tax.

With that said, the answer to everything these days seems to be: “Tax the rich – or you hate poor people.” I guess it is perfectly okay to hate rich people. After all, rich people are the ones hiring the rest of us. But it’s not all rich people that are evil blood-sucking greed-mongers. What about actors? Hollywood is gluttonously wealthy, yet you don’t hear liberals screaming for them to hang, do you? Nobody blames the ills of society on Johnny Depp and Ben Stiller, do they? Yet from June 2009 – June 2010, they were the two highest paid actors in Hollywood, earning $75 million and $53 million respectively.

“But it’s different,” they’ll say, because people pay to go see Johnny Depp and Ben Stiller, which justifies their huge salaries. Of course that argument doesn’t seem to work for the rich guy who created Wal-Mart, an outlet in which millions of Americans pay to buy things – justifying his huge salary.

You see, it’s all about emotion. The guy who runs the business must be exploiting workers, while Johnny Depp makes people smile. Of course if Wal-Mart went out of business tomorrow, we’d see how many people would be smiling when all of their employees were out of a job, and the public could no longer buy a pair of jeans for $8 or an entertainment center for $69.

If you wanted to raise taxes on soda and bottled water, would that be good for poor people whose grocery bills would go up? Well, that’s what Democrats in New York and Nevada want to do.

Does it help or hurt poor people when gas is $4/gallon? Wouldn’t drilling for oil inside the U.S. help bring those prices down? Many Democrats are against drilling in America, even though they love beating up Republicans for going to war for oil in the Middle East. If we had more drilling here, Democrats would have one less thing to blame on Republicans – so obviously that’s out of the question.

 

Conclusion

There are many things to dislike in our country, and even some things to hate. There are a lot of things to love about American too, but most people take those for granted.

To think that Republicans hate Mexicans, children, and poor people, simply because of their political views is just plain ignorant.

I don’t think Democrats hate Mexicans, children, and poor people either. But they do hate Republicans – and that’s really what all their bitching is about.