San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Friday, June 8, 2012

All Politicians Are Liars, Always

The two main political parties have chosen their candidates for president.  The congressional campaigns are beginning to warm up.  More and more television commercials are being aired telling us to vote for this or that candidate.  We are rapidly approaching another round of voting where we ostensibly choose those who will rule us for the next couple of years.  As we enter into this vicious cycle it is worth remembering some basic truths.  It is a good time to review what we know:
  1. No politician can create jobs.  Every politician who is running for office will tell you that he can create jobs, if you just vote for him.  No politician can do this.  The problem is not that they simply do not know how to create jobs.  The problem is that it is economically impossible.  Jobs are created by entrepreneurs and businesses that invest capital and produce goods and services that other people voluntarily pay for.  Politicians take money from one group and give it to another.  Although it is possible to move jobs from one place to another, less 20% for handling, it is impossible for a politician to create a new job.  If your man tells you he can create jobs he is either stupid or lying.
  2. The solution to problems created by government is not more government programs.  You will hear endless criticism of the other guy's government programs.  You will be told how the other guy's programs are wasteful and fruitless.  Then you will be told that your guy has an idea for a new program that will get it all right this time.  Don't be a fool.  Don't listen to him.  Don't believe him. The unintended consequences of any particular government program cannot be fixed by another government program.  An honest politician would tell you that he is going to solve the problems caused by government by dismantling government.  But, there are no honest politicians.  You will never hear that government needs to be dismantled.  Or, perhaps, you might hear some candidate tell you that government needs to be dismantled, but the moment he is elected he develops amnesia. 
  3. Politicians cannot create economic growth.  Every dimwit running for political office will tell you that he can create economic growth but he is either stupid or lying.  Government does not produce anything.  Only those who produce things can generate economic growth.  Government simply takes from one group and gives to another, less 20% for handling.  That is not economic growth.  It is theft.  If you are attending a political speech and the candidate tells you he will create economic growth, ask him who is he first going to steal from.  That should result in some interesting antics.
  4. Politicians cannot grant any group new rights.  You will be hearing, ad nauseum, how this or that candidate wants to grant this or that special interest group a particular right to something.  All political talk about rights misses the one essential fact that there are only three rights common to all mankind and none of them is granted by government.  You have the right to your life, your freedom and your property.  God gave you those rights and there is nothing anybody can do about that.  Any discussion about your right to an abortion, college education, health care, employment, or anything else a politician might promise you in order to purchase your vote, is nothing more than an confession from that politician that he wants to steal from one group to give to another, in exchange for your vote. 
  5. Adding money to the economy does not cause growth.  You will hear (indeed, we are presently hearing) a lot of senseless talk about how "quantitative easing" will cause the economy to grow.  Many otherwise reasonable human beings believe this nonsense.  Money is not wealth.  Money is not capital.  Money is a means by which wealth and capital can be valued and exchanged, and nothing more.  Adding (or subtracting) money to the economy does not increase the wealth of the participants in the economy.  Adding money to the economy simply reduces the value of the money already in circulation while, at the same time, increasing the price of the goods and services already in existence.  Adding money does not create wealth.  It never has and it never will.
  6. All politicians are liars.  I know, I know, your guy is a good guy.  Your guy is the only one who does not lie.  Stop and think about that for a moment.  I do not deny that good men have gone into politics but there is something about the system that immediately turns them into liars.  Good men should never go into politics.  It is the source of tremendous personal ruin.  It is impossible for a good man to enter an immoral system and not be tainted.  The entire political system in this country exists exclusively for the purpose of taking from one group in order to give to another.  That is theft.  There is no way around that truth.  All politicians are either accessories to theft or outright thieves themselves.  Then, to compound their immorality, they lie about what they have done.  Then, to double compound their immorality, they attempt to convince us that what they have done is good because it is for the "public health" or the "public interest" or the "public good".  All lies, all the time.
There is much more I could say about the political process but this is enough for today's review of economic and political truth.  Simply put, when a candidate for political office is speaking, he is trying to get something from you to advance his own career.  You may be tempted to vote for him because he will promise to make it legal for you to receive stolen goods from your neighbor.  It may be legal but it will never be moral.  Don't become a fence.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Mitt Romney And I Are Tight

I received a letter yesterday.  It was from my buddy Mitt Romney.  It was a long letter.  It went on for four pages.  He had a lot to tell me.  Apparently he is running for President of the United States. 
Evidently Mitt and I go back a long time.  He addresses me by my first name.  I don't mind the informality though.  What I do mind is the reason for the letter.  I have a net worth of a couple of hundred thousand dollars.  Mitt has a net worth of a couple of hundred million dollars.  Despite our widely different financial positions, he writes me to ask for money.  Can you imagine that?  Why would a fellow who has quantum leaps more money than I do write me a letter and ask for some of my money?  What is he thinking?  If he wants to run for president, shouldn't he spend his own money?
I have seen where the money goes when it is donated to candidates for political office.  Some of it goes to pay for signs that people who already plan on voting for the candidate put in their front yards.  Some of it goes to pay for bumper stickers that people who already plan on voting for the candidate put on their cars.  Some of it goes to pay for buttons that people who already plan on voting for the candidate put on their bodies.  All of that makes me wonder....why should any money be spent on people who already plan on voting for the candidate?  Has anybody in the history of the world ever really decided to vote for a candidate because they saw a yard sign, bumper sticker or button?  I sure hope not. 
More of the money donated to political campaigns goes to pay the expenses of the candidate as he jets from town to town, delivering speeches in front of adoring throngs who already plan on voting for him.  I watch the television.  I have never seen television news coverage of a candidate for political office deliberately seeking out and speaking to a hostile audience. Why not?  These are the folks he needs to convince to vote for him.  Why spend time preaching to the choir?  He already has those votes. Yet that seems to be what candidates do.  Those poor fellows with low self esteem, I guess they just need the ego-boost.  That is OK with me though, so long as my buddy Mitt does not ask me for money to pay for his ticket.  The way I figure it he can afford to pay his own bills.
The first sentence in my letter from my old friend Mitt goes like this, "I am running for President of the United States and because you are one of America's most notable Republicans, I want to personally let you know why."  Now that is an amazing thing to say to me.  I am one of the country's "most notable Republicans"!  I first registered to vote back in 1976.  I registered as a Republican for no particular philosophical or political reason.  I registered so I could vote in the November elections.  I voted for Jimmy Carter because he said he was a Christian.  He was running against Gerald Ford.  He won.  Later I wish he had lost.  I intended to continue voting by pulling the lever that allowed me to vote the party line.  Being a aspiring notable Republican, I intended to pull the lever that allowed me to vote for all the Republicans at once, but accidentally pulled the wrong lever and ended up voting for every Democrat on the machine.  I felt pretty bad about that.  My first experience in the voting booth was not a good one.  I was glad nobody saw me.  As far as I am aware, none of the Republicans I intended to vote for lost by one vote.  I guess there was no damage done by my stupidity.  Since then I have never voted as a Republican again.  I have been an Independent ever since.  How that makes me a "notable Republican" in the eyes of my pal Mitt is a mystery to me.
They tell me that the first and the last things written in a letter are the most important.  If that is true, I am a pretty important person.  Mitt begins by telling me how notable I am.  He then goes on, for four pages, telling me how great a guy he is and horrible a guy Obama is.  I don't necessarily disagree with his critique of Obama.  I am not quite sure I agree with his critique of himself though.  Anyway, he finally gets to the end of the letter and tells me, "You have a long and proud history of supporting conservative candidates and causes and I would be honored to earn your support today."  Wow!  That comes as a shock to me.  Unless I was under some sort of alien spell that made me do things I do not remember, I have no recollection of ever giving a single nickel to any political candidate.  How did my buddy Mitt come to the conclusion that I have a history of giving money to conservatives?  Is he deliberately lying?  If so, is he aware that lying is not a good thing?  If he does, how does he consider himself to be any better than Obama, whom he considers to be a liar?   It seems to me that there is a whole lot of lying going on from both sides here. 
Despite all of the above, there is only one thing that really bothers me about getting this letter.  How did Mitt know where I live?  I never gave him a change of address form.  I didn't send him a Christmas card with my return address on it.  I moved last year and he should have had no way of knowing where I presently live.  How did he find out?  Furthermore, how did he find out I was registered as a Republican in 1976?  Even more, why did he not find out that I am no longer a Republican?  For a guy who knows me so well, he does not seem to know much about me.  Despite all of the nice things he says about me I don't think I will send him a return letter.  It just isn't worth the time.  Still, Mitt Romney and I are tight.  Maybe today I will get a letter from Barak.  I will let you know if I do.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Polar Bears Betray Global Warming Activists

The polar bear has become an iconic symbol for the proponents of global warming.  Those soft, fuzzy, cute creatures that wander around on ice flows with adorable cubs tagging along behind are so irresistible that they must be utilized to advance the various lies associated with global warming.  Surely, if global warming is true, the population of these innocent creatures must be on the decline.  Since the polar bear is supposed to be dependent upon a large polar ice cap and since the polar ice cap is allegedly shrinking, then the polar bear must be in decline.  We all have heard that mantra in recent years.  The question is, is it true? 
The following information comes from wattsupwiththat.com.  The article was posted on April 5, 2012 and is written by Anthony Watts.  Check out his website for additional information.  Here is what Mr. Watt says, "The debate about climate change and its impact on polar bears has intensified with the release of a survey that shows the bear population in a key part of northern Canada is far larger than many scientists thought, and might be growing. The number of bears along the western shore of Hudson Bay, believed to be among the most threatened bear subpopulations, stands at 1,013 and could be even higher, according to the results of an aerial survey released Wednesday by the Government of Nunavut. That’s 66 per cent higher than estimates by other researchers who forecasted the numbers would fall to as low as 610 because of warming temperatures that melt ice faster and ruin bears’ ability to hunt. The Hudson Bay region, which straddles Nunavut and Manitoba, is critical because it’s considered a bellwether for how polar bears are doing elsewhere in the Arctic."
Here is the link to the actual study:  http://env.gov.nu.ca/sites/default/files/foxe_basin_polar_bears_2012.pdf
If you are interested in this topic it is worth reading the study.  The researchers describe how they were continually being told by the native population in the area that polar bears were not on the decline.  Environmentalists, on the other hand, were consistently asserting that polar bear populations were on the decline.  The researchers decided to discover who was telling the truth.  Turns out the native population knew more about their area than the environmentalists did. 
Mr. Watt comments on the study when he says, "What I found most interesting is the clear message that polar bears are thriving in an environment where sea ice (NSIDC includes Hudson Bay as sea ice) seasonally disappears entirely."  Haven't we all been repeatedly told that the loss of arctic ice would inevitably result in the death of massive numbers of polar bears?  Now it looks like environmentalists simply assumed that would be the case.  The truth of the matter is that polar bear populations are apparently not dependent upon the amount of sea ice.  The polar bear seems to be able to thrive in conditions that include both an abundance and a dearth of arctic ice. 
Of particular interest to me is how this news item was generally buried by the media.  I only stumbled upon the article, and the website, by accident.  I read nothing of this important study in major newspaper and media outlets.  I saw no television reports on the study.  It seems to me that with the popular interest in polar bear survival a report of this importance should have been widely broadcast.  Such was not the case.  Could it be that presuppositions about what is actually true have managed to cloud the understanding of those who study polar bears and global warming?  Could it be that they deliberately decided to keep this report quiet because it contradicted their beloved presuppositions?  It sure looks like that to me.  That tells me a lot about the scientific objectivity of the global warming activists.  It does not exist.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Teenagers And Dignity (Or Lack Thereof)

The Bible says that young men are to be instructed to be "dignified".  Given the nature of most young men that I have witnessed over the years I have always considered that exhortation to be savagely comical.  The last term that I would be tempted to use to describe the average teenage male these days is 'dignified'.  Here are some reasons why.
I just finished reading today's Denver Post.  It contained the type of story usually printed this time of year about the car full of teenage males that crashes just prior to their high school graduation ceremony.  In this particular case there was a group of five teenage males driving a car at an extremely high rate of speed.  Not surprisingly, given the relative inexperience and overconfidence of the driver, the car went out of control and four of the five were killed.  Also not unsurprisingly, given the relative inability of teenage males to accurately assess risk, several of them were ejected from the car because they were not wearing seat belts.  I looked for some place in the article where it was asserted that the driver was guilty of excessive speed.  I looked in vain. When a teenager dies due to excessive stupidity that fact is rarely pointed out.  It is as if teenage life is sacrosanct.
There is a highway not too far from where I live that has witnessed the deaths of two teenage male drivers.  The first accident was caused when the teenage male tried to push a left turn and ended up being struck and killed by the oncoming car.  Obviously his inexperience and overconfidence in his driving ability contributed to his demise.  The state highway department, which always considers teenage deaths to be "tragedies", immediately changed the traffic light at the intersection.  There is now a dedicated left turn arrow at that particular intersection.  The bad news is that there is no reason for a dedicated left turn arrow at that particular intersection.  A normal left turn on green is easy and safe to execute.  But, because a teenage male died there, everyone now has to wait for the dedicated arrow. That creates massive traffic jams during rush hour, but that is the price to pay for a teenage death.
A second accident took place on a corner of this highway.  A teenage male was driving with excessive speed around the corner and plowed into a car that was making a right turn on red.  If the teenage male had not been driving with excessive speed the accident would not have taken place.  He died.  The state highway department responded by reducing the speed limit on that stretch of the highway by 10 miles per hour.  The new speed limit is ridiculously slow and the entire section of highway has now become what is essentially a speed trap.  Everybody is now inconvenienced because of the foolishness of that teenage male driver.
I recently had the misfortune of attending a high school graduation.  It had been some time since I had attended a high school graduation and things had changed significantly.  When I graduated from high school (75) I was given instructions on the proper decorum for the ceremony.  Indeed, all of the graduates were informed that any breach of protocol would be severely punished.  If any of us were inclined towards acting with anything less than dignity (none of my friends were), we were convinced by the teacher who gave us the lecture to mind our manners.  The entire ceremony went off with nary a shout or air horn being blown.  There was polite clapping at the end of the ceremony and we were all on our way to the various graduation parties where shouting and high fives (or whatever we did back then....I can't remember) took place.
In contrast to my graduation experience, this high school graduation was immediately out of control.  The Master of Ceremonies began the ceremony by informing all of the guests in attendance (mostly parents) of the rules of decorum.  Nobody was to shout or blast an air horn.  Applause was to be reserved until the end of the ceremony.  I assumed the teenagers who were graduating had been previously instructed in dignified behavior as well.  The ceremony began and the first student was called to the stage.  Hooting, shouting, and air horns immediately came from the audience.  The students began to howl and cheer.  Everything was immediately out of control.  I was disgusted.  I didn't stay long.  Why should I sit there to honor those teenagers who were behaving in such an undignified manner?
Teenagers are in that interim period of life between childhood and adulthood.  Why is it too much to expect adult-like dignified behavior out of them?  Why do they seem incapable of producing it?  Why is it that childish behavior is common and adult-like behavior is rare?  Based upon my observations I am forced to the conclusion that many, if not most, teenagers are undignified primarily because their parents do not require dignified behavior from them.  In fact, the parents often seem to be leading the way into immature behavior.  It seems as if parents are more concerned with trying to be friends with their children than they are with demanding dignified behavior from them.  How sad.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Government Is The Lone Cause Of Slow Economic Growth

Amity Shlaes, columnist for Forbes magazine, had this to say in the April 9th issue of Forbes:
"Imagine a country that has decided it can't grow anymore.  At least not fast.  Experts tell its leaders that slow growth is structural, cultural, inimical to this land---they might as well try to change a person's height.  Sure, there are countries that grow at 7% or more a year, but they are on other continents. When it comes to the home country, only one expert plays the outlier:  He says 5% growth here is entirely feasible. Everyone ignores him....The country in that story isn't the U.S. in 2012.  It's India in 1955.  The dreamy economist who thought India could grow was Milton Friedman.  The second country, the one that was growing at 7%, was the US."
I am sick and tired of being told by the experts that high rates of economic growth can no longer occur in this country.  That belief is utter nonsense.  Just like India in 1955, we are told that the US is too large to grow fast.  We are told that the US is too developed to grow fast.  We are told that, due to structural and cultural influences,  higher rates of economic growth are a part of our past, never to be seen again.  Hogwash.  There is one, and only one, reason why the present rate of economic growth is anemic.  That reason is government interference in the marketplace.  In the absence of government interference in the marketplace we would be seeing extraordinarily high rates of economic growth.  There is no such thing as "market failure."  What we have is a serious case of government failure.
US economic growth has slowed because government takes too much of our income via taxation.  The most productive among us (those terrible "rich" people we always hear about) have the largest part of their income extracted from them.  The net result is that those who are most able to fuel the engine of higher economic growth are most penalized by government for trying to do so.  According to usgovernmentrevenue.com, "The top one percent of income tax filers has seen its income increase from 6.4 percent to 14.3 percent of GDP in the period from 1986 to 2007. But the share of federal income tax paid has increased from 25.7 percent of all individual income taxes in 1986 to a 40.4 percent share of the total in 2007."  This type of tax policy makes higher rates of economic growth impossible.
US economic growth has slowed because government spends too much money.  According to the same website, total government spending in 2012 will be the equivalent of 40% of US GDP. When the money borrowed by government to fund deficit spending is added to this equation, the percentage nears 50% of GDP.   Every dollar spent by government distorts, in a negative fashion, the economy.  When government spends dollars at the rate of 40-50% of the entire production of the country it is inevitable that massive economic distortions will take place.  It is impossible for a country to grow at higher rates when government is the main player in the economic picture. 
US economic growth has slowed because of onerous government regulations.  According to the Center for Fiscal Accountability, "Every day, the hidden cost of government is expanding as federal regulators impose costly new rules and mandates on American taxpayers and businesses. Buried within the federal register are thousands of new rules which will require American employers to spend more time complying with federal regulations and less time running their business and providing for their families....While the costs associated with taxation are readily apparent, the insidious extension of the regulatory state imposes an equally onerous cost on citizens. Last year, the average American worked 74 days to pay off the cost of regulation."  Seventy four days of work just to cover the cost of government regulations?  Incredible.  Perhaps even more insidious is the fact that this cost is rarely perceived by the average citizen of the US.  Regulatory burdens on the economy are invisible destroyers, but they are quite real and highly effective at retarding economic growth.
Government taxation, spending and regulations are making it impossible for this country to grow at a high rate.  There is no reason that it needs to be this way except for the fact that the 51% want it to be this way.  The 51% of citizens in the Socialist Democracy of America determine our fate.  Proudly, I am not a member of the 51%.  I believe in low taxes, low spending, and practically no regulatory burdens placed upon business.  Sadly, as a member of the 49%, nothing that happens in this country is consistent with what I would like to see happen.  The simple fact is that the 51% are happy to eat the bread but they believe it is the moral duty of the 49% to bake it for them. (For those who have ears to hear, who is John Gault?)  As long as government panders to the sinful desires of the 51%, things will not change.  The lazy, greedy, envy filled, anti-capitalist 51% will continue to elect spineless career politicians who will then, in turn, oppress profit seeking businessmen with taxes and regulations.  Only when the 51% perceives that they are close to killing the golden goose does it become possible that they might release their strangle hold on the neck of the productive people of this land and allow the 49% to once again prosper.  Meanwhile, government operating at the behest of the 51% is the lone reason for our anemic rate of economic growth.