Americans Say Federal Gov’t Wastes Over Half of Every Dollar —

— according to a recent poll conducted by Gallup.

Americans Say Federal Gov’t Wastes Over Half of Every Dollar

Interestingly enough, even those who identify as Democrats believe the federal government wastes almost half of every dollar it gets. And people like Elizabeth Warren are demanding that we give the government more money? Ridiculous! Say you hire a contractor to fix up your kitchen. If you start to suspect that said contractor is ripping you off, should you keep paying him?

Every time the tax intake increases, government spending climbs to meet – and then exceed – the new revenues. The extra money is not used to pay down the debt; instead, it’s used to hire more bunny inspectors. Rather than feeding into this vicious cycle, we need to starve the beast.


The Unbelievably Stupid Elizabeth Warren

If you can stomach it, follow this link and watch the video. This is what passes for “brilliant” progressive thought. Have your eyes rolled out of their sockets yet?

Folks, what Warren is doing here is burning a straw man. I am unaware of any strain of mainstream conservative or libertarian thought that does not acknowledge that wealth depends upon the existence of stable, taxpayer-supported social institutions. To my knowledge, no prominent right-wing public figure has ever denied, full stop, the obligation to pay taxes to fund the necessary functions of the government.

No — the basis of the disagreement between right and left centers on the definition of the word “necessary.” In my experience, a leftist defines “necessary” as “something I like.” She never considers the possibility that she can get her desired public good via the private sector. A conservative, on the other hand, recognizes that the government doesn’t have to have its hands in every damned pot.

Notice, too, the unspoken assumption beneath Warren’s claim that the rich depend upon things that “we” paid for. What, are the rich not part of that “we”? Evidently, Warren lives in a world where the sky is green and the grass is blue. As the AP established yesterday, the rich are already paying into the system — and, with only a few exceptions, they are doing so at higher rates. And by the way, not only do the rich dutifully pay their taxes like responsible citizens, but they are also very generous with their money in other ways. Hasn’t Warren ever heard of the Carnegie Foundation? Or the Ford Foundation? Look up any major charitable organization and you’ll find rich backers.

Moreover, the vast majority of the rich became rich because they figured out how to sell a product or service that other people wanted. Do you like your iPod? Your laptop? Your flat screen television? You have those things because rich people invested in their development. And while they were at it, they created millions of jobs for middle class Americans. For their monumental contribution to our society, the rich deserve to be rewarded, not punished. Yet Warren and her ilk seek to confiscate more property from the rich as if the rest of us have an equal claim to it. We don’t. We may be the rich man’s employees. We may provide the goods and services that help the rich man in his labors. But we did not take on the financial risk of starting the rich man’s company, and we were not the ones with the intellectual wherewithal to take our physical and human resources and funnel them into something useful. The rich man is rich because of his organizational genius — and yes, the fruits of that genius do belong to him.

Stupid Marxists.

How Do You Know Obama’s Lying?

His lips are moving:

FACT CHECK: Are rich taxed less than secretaries?
@ The Associated Press

There may be individual millionaires who pay taxes at rates lower than middle-income workers. In 2009, 1,470 households filed tax returns with incomes above $1 million yet paid no federal income tax, according to the Internal Revenue Service. But that’s less than 1 percent of the nearly 237,000 returns with incomes above $1 million.

This year, households making more than $1 million will pay an average of 29.1 percent of their income in federal taxes, including income taxes, payroll taxes and other taxes, according to the Tax Policy Center, a Washington think tank.

Households making between $50,000 and $75,000 will pay an average of 15 percent of their income in federal taxes.

Lower-income households will pay less. For example, households making between $40,000 and $50,000 will pay an average of 12.5 percent of their income in federal taxes. Households making between $20,000 and $30,000 will pay 5.7 percent.

The latest IRS figures are a few years older — and limited to federal income taxes — but show much the same thing. In 2009, taxpayers who made $1 million or more paid on average 24.4 percent of their income in federal income taxes, according to the IRS.

Those making $100,000 to $125,000 paid on average 9.9 percent in federal income taxes. Those making $50,000 to $60,000 paid an average of 6.3 percent.

And yet Obama wants to base his tax policy on his best buddy’s anecdote. Boy, I really hope we can vote this guy out of office next year.

Gamers – not just losers anymore!

I found this news story beyond cool and into whole new unexplored realms of bad-ass.

Gamers Solve AIDS Mystery

For a little background:

One of the reasons AIDS has been so difficult to defeat even in our age of rapidly advancing scientific progress is that the vital agent which delivers its genetic code into host cells has eluded proper scientific understanding for more than a decade since its discovery in 1999.  There is a retroviral protease ensyme (basically…a protein structure that enables the binding of retroviruses to host cells…the part of the process where the AIDS virus or any other similar retrovirus hijacks the RNA-making machinery of a cell to self-replicate) that has eluded proper understanding for over a decade, which, if its life cycle is properly mapped, could be destroyed before it does its damage, effectively starving the AIDS virus (amongst many others) of reproductive equipment, rendering them inert.  Scientists have never been ble to map the assembly of that structure – they have no idea how the protein building blocks come together – until now.

It seems that if you turn complex biological problems into logic puzzles with clear game-like goals and scoring, then tens of thousands of people with no understanding of biology can attack your problem for you using pure logic and strategy as if they were playing chess or jenga. – a site that should be commended for its’ insight into human psychology and revolutionary software – received a copy of the AIDS reotrovirus ensyme a short while ago…and gamers solved its’ life cycle in less than 10 days,  That’s right…biologists couldn’t solve it in ten years, but gamers can solve it in ten days.  Wow.

It goes to show you that if you make learning fun and drive it through the parts of our brains that are most keenly developed (those being our strategic and logical reasoning centers, generally, because those are the evolutionary advantages that allowed us to conquer Neanderthal and claim the Earth at the top of the food chain), you’ll solve problems much faster than you will reading scientific literature, which is the EXACT OPPOSITE of fun.

Notable Quotables: The "Oh, Snap!" Edition

“He went to Massachusetts to campaign against Scott Brown; Brown is now a senator. He went to New Jersey to campaign against Chris Christie, who’s now governor. He went to Virginia to campaign against Bob McDonnell, who’s now governor. He campaigned for the healthcare plan extensively, it became less popular. He campaigned in 2010 for the Democrats, they were shellacked. He began, in a sense, his presidency flying to Copenhagen to get Chicago the Olympics; Chicago was the first city eliminated. There is no evidence that the man has the rhetorical powers that he is relying on.” — Columnist George F. Will, speaking on ABC’s This Week.

Oooh. Feel the burn!

(Hat tip to NRO.)

Compassion Without Prudence Is Not Compassion

“Heartless? Yes, I am heartless when some urban punk with $10 grand of rims, amps and gadgets on his car pulls into a convenience store with a food stamp card, buys junk food, beer, lottery tickets and smokes. BECAUSE THAT DOES NOT LOOK LIKE POVERTY TO ME. And yes, I saw that daily, dozens of times, at the convenience store across the street from the house that got burgled.” – Michael Z. Williamson

Some years ago, Mom took a temporary job at the local housing office, and her experience of poverty in America is very similar to that described in the post linked above. She saw many people who genuinely needed public assistance. She also saw many mothers who had perfectly styled hair and elaborately painted nails — and children who were dressed in dirty, ragged t-shirts and jeans. As you might expect, Mom felt very little sympathy for the latter group. Instead of spending money on your perm and manicure, Mom often thought to herself, why not buy some decent clothes for your kids?

As far as most leftists are concerned, Mom is a cold, heartless, judgmental bitch for even daring to suggest that people with meager incomes should live frugally. This recent blog post, for example, illustrates that attitude very well. Because we conservatives believe that there are limits to what public assistance can realistically achieve, “profkeck” concludes that we are meanies who want rob her life of all fun. “They would think that I shouldn’t take pleasure in life by going to a theme park with my family or attending a rock concert in celebration of my wedding anniversary. Instead, I should use my monthly income to cover all my bills, purchase health insurance, buy gas and groceries, and if there’s anything left, I should save it,” she writes, as if it’s the general public’s responsibility to ensure that her life is pleasant and stress-free. Please, please give me a break, “profkeck”. It is not moral to legally compel perfect strangers to bankroll your family trip to the amusement park. If you want those things, you are going to have to save up the money in advance through couponing or other cost-cutting measures — or you’re going to have to ask your family, your friends, or a local charity (like a church) for assistance.

(Also, “profkeck” betrays a distinct lack of awareness as to the reasons for her troubles. Gee, I wonder why people are struggling to pay for healthy food. Could it be because the government has interfered with the free market by subsidizing some food industries at the expense of others? That, my fellow blogger, is a bipartisan sin that many up-and-coming “tea-bagger” conservatives wish to correct.)

And I’m not saying all of this from a position of privilege, by the way. (Though I’m immensely thankful for what I do have and do not consider myself poor in any absolute sense.) From month to month, I pretty much live on the hairy edge of financial disaster. My credit rating is only okay thanks to some youthful indiscretions, and I am thousands of dollars in debt thanks to my student loans. I have what essentially amounts to a part-time job with no benefits. I also have a chronic medical condition, which means I pay sky-high premiums for my very basic, high-deductible individual health plan. God forbid I should come down with a serious infection or get into an accident. If that happened, I would be scrambling to cover the aforementioned deductible. And if my car should break down? A few months ago, my Toyota’s engine light blinked on, and for the next few days, I lived with the dread that I would be handed a car repair bill I wouldn’t be able to pay.

On the other hand, I do have a computer with internet access, a couple of e-readers, a respectable collection of books and DVD’s, and the means to go to Dragon*Con and CPAC every year. How am I able to indulge in such pleasures? Through the generosity of my parents, grandparents, and friends, mostly. (My parents, especially, have been a big help. I can never thank them enough.) For Dragon*Con in particular, I work on the volunteer staff so I don’t have to pay for my badge, and a good friend gives me a place to crash so I don’t have to pay for a hotel room. The upshot? At no point have I ever asked Joe Taxpayer in Kansas to foot the bill for my happiness. I suppose it would be nice, from the standpoint of naked self-interest, if richer tax-paying Americans covered my health care and student loan expenses, but I believe in looking past the end of my own nose and considering the likely unintended consequences of an expansive welfare state.

I do believe the government has a responsibility to establish a basic social safety net. And what does basic mean? It means that our tax dollars should in part be used to ensure that our citizens are not naked, starving, or homeless. It doesn’t mean that our tax dollars should be used to ensure that all of our citizens be spared the “stress” of patronizing Goodwill, the laundromat, or the discount store. No, it isn’t “fair” that some people have to budget extremely carefully in order to make room for something fun while others can remain blissfully unaware of how much everything costs, but “it isn’t faaaaaaair!” is the cry of a six year old, not a mature adult. A welfare program which promised, say, brand new clothes for all (and this is not a strawman example given the left’s overweening indignation over Bruce Caswell’s suggestion that Michigan’s annual clothing voucher be restricted to use at second-hand stores) would ultimately collapse in on itself and end up being a help to no one. Compassion without prudence is not compassion.

I understand all too well that the “extras” are part of what makes life worth living. No conservative, in fact, truly believes that a poor man’s existence should be entirely consumed by drudgery and toil. Come Christmas, I always try to scrape together a little money to buy a gift for my parish’s Giving Tree to help someone whose financial situation is even crappier than mine. I also put a few packets of sugar cookie mix into the food donation box. But this brings me to my final point: The federal government cannot competently handle the task of delivering said extras, but local community groups can. In fact, they do it all the time. How many churches out there have programs in place to deliver Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas gifts to the working poor? I’m guessing just about all of them. Once again, we need to remember that our government is actually a four-layered entity. The poor would be better served if we applied the principle of subsidiarity to our public policy. At the very least, they wouldn’t be treated like cogs in a giant impersonal welfare machine.

Not a Pivot; Just a Head-Fake

I’m Back

About a year ago I was in the hospital bedridden due to a severe cellulitis infection in my right foot. My brain was working however, so I had Stephanie set up a politics blog and started writing. After I got better, I had to go to work, so my blogging practically stopped (though my kids have taken up the slack).

I love my relatives, but some of them have an inability to see through the administration (and media) line. So below, I’ve written a blog on what I think is wrong with the Obama approach towards our economic problems and the need for job creation. I hope somebody will read it (besides Stephanie and Matthew).

Not Really a Pivot, Just a Head-Fake

Obama promised in August to “pivot” to focus on jobs. Turns out he didn’t. A pivot is a change in direction (hopefully towards something NEW that works.) The pivot was a 360 degree pivot right back to the same old, tired policies that haven’t worked any of the previous times he tried it in the last 2.5 years.

To create long term, effective employment, you need to have people make something new and useful. The current administration isn’t interested in creating new jobs; instead, Obama is interested in paying off his loyal followers by subsidizing their jobs with federal money. If you are a public sector employee, your job will be protected. If you are a private sector employee, you will be taxed to finance the public sector. Real jobs don’t need direction or subsidies from the federal government.

Obama’s other ideas force choices against the best hires. You’ll get reimbursed (a little) if you hire a worker who has been out of work longer regardless if he is the best choice. It turns out that it is OK, according to the President, to hire the guys who have been waiting longer because the purpose of government expenditures in his mind, is to spread fairness.

Moreover the President intends to keep adding time available for unemployment payments, so if you have to get in the back of the line, he will cover you for almost 2years (now) – or even longer if he has his way. Paying long term unemployment insurance is a bad idea. This sounds harsh, but if you want more of something, you subsidize it.

Don’t Believe What He Says; Watch What He Does

Obama himself said that raising taxes during a depression is a bad idea, but now the way he wants to pay for the same failed, tired ideas is to RAISE TAXES. If we need to free up money, let’s cut some things that really aren’t necessary and are a waste of our spending. Additionally, if he reduced some of the regulations that strangle business initiative, more private money could go to pay people to MAKE THINGS. A colleague of mine has proposed reducing regulations by doubling the size of the limit to be exempted from any and all regulation. For example, if a particular report isn’t required if you company is less than 25 employees, let’s change that to 50.  We can apply this principal for all exemptions based on size of company or size of gross income.

Finally, the great prevaricator claims to want free-trade pacts with Korea, Columbia and others. But Obama hasn’t sent them forward for approval because he is demanding cash for favored friends (union workers). He took the credit for reaching an agreement with South Korea, but HE hasn’t finished the job and sent it to Congress for ratification.

I have several relatives and friends who hear what Obama says, but never look at what he does, and think he is doing great. Because I’m old and cynical, I think he is attempting to hide his true intentions behind rhetorical sleight of hand.

Politics or Leadership

A news/opinion feature I read today states that the whole American Jobs Act has been created so nothing will pass, thereby enabling Obama to demagogue the Republicans as cold hearted during the 2012 campaign. But in fact, it is Obama’s policies that are cold and cruel.  The real result of Obama’s economic and government policies is a decrease in income for most “working class” Americans (especially for minorities), an increase in poverty (especially for children), and MORE people without health care. This is despite (or perhaps because of) his $3 billion stimulus so far, which gave us nothing but crushing national debt.

He wants to take credit for anything good and nothing bad. He won’t lead, but he wants to pay off his sycophants and loyal followers for additional votes in 2012. I believe he is philosophically inimical to the “American” way of life, which values individual responsibility and vigor, and wants to increase the dependent state to add more people who are dependent on HIM and his liberal followers for the basic necessities of life. His only real goal is to ensure his continued power for another four years.

And PS: No, the Tea Party Audience Did NOT Cheer for the Death of the Uninsured

Take a look at the raw video posted here. There was no ovation. No widespread cheering. It was a couple of loudmouths who spoke without thinking.

And anyway, as I noted in my last post, the premise of Blitzer’s question was false. Everyone has access to care regardless of one’s ability to pay. If a young man totals his car and is brought to the nearest emergency room, he will be treated. That’s the law. The question of payment is broached much later — and often, the hospital will simply say, “Well, based on your financial situation, we’re going to forgive 75% of your expenses. As for the rest, let’s set up a payment plan you can afford.”

Again, this is an area in which the left’s penchant for blatant emotional manipulation really enrages me. I have been uninsured, and at no time during that period did any doctor turn me away. As a matter of fact, my rheumatologist charged me a discounted price for his services, a drug company gave me free medication, and after one hospital stay in 2006, the majority of my bills were covered by charity care. The medical community is not ghoulish. Most people go into medicine because they sincerely want to help people.