San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Friday, November 16, 2012

Department Of Injustice Rapes BP

The US Department of Justice announced yesterday that it had obtained a settlement of unprecedented proportions from British Petroleum in regards to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  According to the Los Angeles Times, "Three employees of oil giant BP were indicted on criminal charges, including manslaughter and obstruction of Congress, on top of a record $4 billion fine that the company will pay the government for its role in the oil spill disaster...In addition, BP agreed to pay more than $525 million in civil penalties to satisfy complaints by the Securities and Exchange Commission.  That brings the total settlement cost to more than $4.5 billion--not including the billions the company has already paid to settle civil claims from residents, fishermen and businesses harmed by the spill."
There is no better word to describe what the Department of Injustice has done to BP than rape.  BP has been grossly violated by a government that has gone mad with power and greed.  The very things that the DOJ has accused BP of doing are precisely the things that the DOJ has done to BP.  It is an example of gross hypocrisy on the part of the branch of the Socialist Democracy of America that is most famous for prosecuting any profit seeking business that happens to be successful merely because it becomes successful.  The Department of Injustice spends most of its time persecuting businesses that become big enough to catch its attention.  When that happens, woe unto the poor business that finds itself in the DOJ's cross hairs.  BP is the latest casualty in the DOJ's war against the free market.
Let's recap what has happened in the British Petroleum case.  I know, I know....nobody cares.  BP is an oil company.  By definition an oil company is evil.  BP is a foreign oil company.  By definition a foreign company is evil.  BP is a profitable company.  By definition a profitable company is evil.  I understand all of these things.  The bureaucrats at the DOJ have done a very good job with their propaganda.  They have been successful in convincing envy filled citizens of the Socialist Democracy of America that profit seeking foreign oil companies are worse than Hitler.  But they are wrong.  It is the DOJ that is behaving immorally.  It is the members of the DOJ that will have to give an accounting for their immoral actions on the day of judgment.  Let's try and get past our envy for successful businessmen and examine what really happened, shall we?
In what was nothing more than an accident, albeit a very large one, the oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded in 2010.  BP did not want it to explode.  BP did not want several men on the rig to be killed.  BP did not want to spew oil into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.  But accidents happen.  Oil rigs are dangerous places to work.  Anybody who has ever worked on one knows that.  Nobody who worked on the rig, even those who were killed, did so against their will.  It was a nasty accident in which people were killed and oil was spilled.  Enter the government.  The feds saw an opportunity to exploit an oil company,  increase their own power over business and extort wealth from a profitable company.
The first thing the feds did was release a long list of rules "infractions" that BP was guilty of.  As anybody who has ever suffered (and I do mean suffered) under an OSHA exam is aware, the feds can find a long list of infractions at any work site at any time.  The rules that they write and enforce are nit-picky, random, unpredictable and generally irrelevant to actual workplace safety.  An OSHA inspector could go to your mother's home and find hundreds of rules violations.  Those violations could be released to the press and anybody strolling down the street by your mother's home would now have a legal basis to sue her into oblivion. That is essentially what happened to BP.
BP has already paid out $42 billion to deal with the consequences of the oil spill.  That is a large amount of money, even for BP.  BP's net income for 2011 was only $26 billion.  As of the end of the third quarter BP only had $17 billion cash on hand.  In other words, BP has paid out the equivalent of an entire year's profits and all of the cash it has in the bank to deal with the consequences of this single accident.  This is much more than a slap on the wrist.  It is a rape.  Why?  Because most of what it has paid out has been done so unjustly and immorally.
Immediately after the oil spill BP created a $20 billion trust fund that was exhausted paying the claims of all of those who were allegedly harmed by the spill.  The monies went to fishermen, coastal resorts and others who claimed their income was reduced due to the impact of the spill.  Assuming all of those people told the truth, a highly dubious assumption given the nature of greedy men, that should have been the end of the matter.  The DOJ itself admits that the payments from the trust fund were sufficient to cover all of the losses realized by all of the victims of the spill.  None of the money that the DOJ is collecting is going to any alleged victims.  No, the DOJ is keeping that money for itself.  Those funds will finance future attacks against profitable, but unpopular, companies. The fact that all of the victims had been compensated, however, did not prevent the DOJ from continuing to persecute the company.
BP paid out an additional $8 billion to lawyers representing people who had previously not accepted funds from the trust fund because they thought they could get more money via the litigation lottery.  Whether those folks won the lottery or not, I don't know.  Regardless, with the payment of those funds there were no "victims" left to be compensated for damages.  The books should have been closed at that point.  Enter the DOJ.  Reopen the book.  The DOJ claimed that BP had behaved criminally in regards to the accident.  How what everybody admitted was an accident could also be a criminal event was not described.  There was absolutely no basis to the claim that BP's behavior had been criminal.  Yes, people died on the rig; but it was an accident and sometimes people die in accidents.  Yes, people interviewed by government officials were reticent to talk about the hundreds of ticky-tacky rules violations they were guilty of and thus became guilty of "obstruction  of Congress".  Anytime you see that charge you know that the DOJ has nothing of substance to prosecute for.  Rather than go before envy filled judges and juries, BP decided to settle and paid a $4 billion extortion fee to the DOJ.  I bet the chief bureaucrats at the DOJ all get nice Christmas bonuses this year.
The DOJ assault on BP was not just a rape, it was a gang rape.  Somehow the Securities and Exchange Commission (the branch of government commissioned to regulate investment securities transactions) determined that it had been offended and it managed to extort another half a billion dollars from BP.  I would love to hear the legal theory behind that settlement.  How in the world does a bureau charged with regulating stock exchanges become the victim of an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico?  How did a bunch of regulators, who typically deal with insider trading rules, determine that an oil rig accident somehow came under their jurisdiction?  How did the SEC come to believe that it had the authority to charge BP with criminal charges?  Is it not abundantly clear that the SEC simply saw an opportunity to piggy-back on the DOJ and increase its coffers as well? 
To top it all off, the DOJ has informed its rape victim that it will be coming back for more. In an outrageous statement that should have been sufficient to cost the man his job, Attorney General Erick Holder announced that the DOJ was now going to seek a civil penalty against BP.  According to Holder, the DOJ was going to charge BP with "gross negligence".  The mere fact that BP is going to be charged civilly means it will have to cough up at least another $4 billion to settle.  If the DOJ is successful in convincing a judge that BP was negligent the civil fine would rise to $20 billion.   Could you imagine the outrage that would come from the citizens of the SDA if a rape victim was informed by her rapist that he would be coming back to rape her again and that there was nothing she could do to prevent it?  Could you imagine the outrage if that same rapist blamed the victim for his return visit?  Yet when the DOJ does the exact same thing to a profit seeking company the public applauds its efforts.  The DOJ stated that "BP's culture of profit" is to blame for the rapes.  Just like the rapist on the street, the DOJ claims that the victim is to blame for its attack.  If BP just didn't make money, it would not have been fined.  If BP just wasn't an oil company, it would not have been charged.  If BP just didn't operate in a system of free market capitalism, it would have been ignored.
Every single member of the SDA should be embarrassed and ashamed by the behavior of the DOJ.  Every member of the SDA should be calling for the heads of the leaders of the DOJ on a platter.  This gross miscarriage of justice will be ignored because BP is an oil company, is profitable and is foreign.  Meanwhile a company has been raped and several employees of that company are likely to serve prison time for what was nothing more than a terrible accident.

[I updated "There Is No Fiscal Cliff", November 9, 2012 today.  If you are interested, take a look at it.]

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Jury Duty Is A Joke

The Denver Post reported yesterday that a lady by the name of Susan Cole had been convinced by the legal authorities that it would be in her best interest to plead guilty to a felony charge and and a misdemeanor charge because she "faked a mental illness to get out of jury duty."  Ms. Cole found herself charged with attempting to influence a public servant (the felony charge) and second degree perjury (the misdemeanor charge).  In exchange for her guilty pleas she was sentenced to "a two year deferred judgment on the felony charge and two years of probation on the misdemeanor count", plus 40 hours of community service.  I find several items in her case to be interesting.
Ms. Cole is guilty of "attempting to influence a public servant"?  Talk about having a sword that only cuts one way.  Our public servants (politicians) do everything within their power to influence our thoughts and behaviors every single day, with total legal immunity.  Then, when we do one tiny thing to them we are looking at a two year prison sentence?  Amazing.
Let's admit it.  The only people who actually want to serve on a jury are pathetic single males who are on the government dole and bored housewives looking for an excuse to get out of the house and away from the kids.  For those two groups the opportunity to sit on a jury for a couple of weeks provides a welcome relief from the drudgery of their daily lives as well as an opportunity to feel important and gossip about the lives of their neighbors who have run afoul of the law.  The rest of us, who have to work for a living, do everything we can to avoid jury duty.  The mere receipt of a jury duty summons is enough to ruin our day.  It is with great admiration that I report the ruse used by Ms. Cole to avoid jury duty.
Ms. Cole appeared in the jury selection room wearing "heavy makeup smeared on her face while her hair hung askew in curlers, with shoes and reindeer socks mismatched."  When asked about her fitness to serve on a jury she responded, "I broke out of domestic violence in the military.  And I have a lot of repercussions.  One is post traumatic stress disorder."  She was quickly dismissed by the judge presiding over jury selection.  Several months later Ms. Cole found herself on a local radio program (I do not know the particulars of how that came about).  During the course of the show she mentioned how she had managed to avoid jury duty.  Unfortunately for her, the judge who had dismissed her was listening to the show.
We are told by the folks who rule over us that jury duty, like voting, is one of our most sacred duties.  We are told that it is an honor and a privilege to be selected to determine the legal fate of our neighbors.  We are told that we should happily sacrifice our time and our money to serve on a jury.  Nonsense.
For those who do not know how the concept of being judged by a jury of our peers evolved, take note.  It came, at least in this country,  from the period prior to the Revolutionary War.  Numerous patriots were getting themselves arrested for violations of the rules enforced by the British crown.  Since the law was the law, it was a foregone conclusion that when one of these rebel patriots was hauled before the British tribunal he would be found guilty and sentenced according to the penalties of the time.  As you would expect, the lawbreakers did not agree with their convictions.  From their perspective they were being good patriots when they violated British law.  They saw no reason why they should be convicted of a crime for doing what they thought was right.  As thoughts of revolution began to fill the minds of more and more residents of the land the idea of a jury trial became more popular.  When a patriot was hauled before a jury of his peers he was essentially guaranteed to be found not guilty, even though he had clearly broken the law.  The right to a jury trial became the official law of the land years later when the Constitution enshrined it as one of the rights of the citizens of the new country.  The framers of the Constitution enacted trial by jury for the exact same reason the rebel patriots did---to prevent the enforcement of immoral laws by the state against its citizens.
Of course, we are a long way from the original intent of the founding fathers in regards to a trial by jury.  Publicity seeking lawyers long ago learned how to exploit the system of trial by jury for their own ends.  The entire process of selecting jurors has become a science in which only those most likely to cough up the desired verdict are selected.  The emphasis is upon having people filled with lots of empty space between their ears since that makes them the most susceptible to the influence of the lawyers.  Truth, justice and morally proper legal verdicts are not the concern of the lawyers, judges or the judicial system itself.  It is really nothing more than a silly game played for the financial and political benefits of the lawyers and judges.  The poor souls who are on trial as well as the poor souls in the jury box are just pawns in the game.
Although I understand the historical impetus for trial by jury, I have long wondered why it exists in the first place.  A judge is called a "judge" for a reason.  A judge is expected to judge.  When a trial by jury is taking place the judge no longer acts as a judge. Rather the judge simply acts as an attorney.  According to our system of law today the judge is primarily responsible to advise the jury on its legal responsibilities and duties.  In other words, the judge is nothing more than an attorney for the jurors.  So we have three parties in a trial, the plaintiff and his lawyer, the defendant and his lawyer and the jurors and their lawyer.  The idea that the judge would actually assume responsibility to render a legal decision is verboten.
All of this raises a very interesting question.  Where do I, a citizen in the SDA, receive the authority to stand in judgement of my neighbor before the law?  Is that not what judges are for?  Is that not why we elect them?  Is that not why some judges are appointed by other courts with the authority to do so?  It seems to me as if judges very much appreciate sitting in on interesting trials, drawing large salaries, receiving the feigned respect of the participants to the trial and having a preferred parking spot at the courthouse all without ever actually having to do their job.  They could go their entire careers without ever actually rendering a judicial decision.  That allows them all of the benefits of the job with none of the responsibilities.  Meanwhile, the responsibility to determine the fate of the defendant is thrust upon some incompetent juror.  And we call this justice?
Even more amazing to me is the "judgment notwithstanding the verdict" privilege that all judges have.  Do you know that judges have the legal right to overrule jury verdicts?  More specifically, judges can overrule jury verdicts in all civil proceedings.  In addition they can overrule a guilty verdict in a criminal case.  The only thing then cannot directly overrule is a not guilty ruling in a criminal case.  Still, by the way they manage the courtroom, a judge can have a huge impact upon the final judicial decision.  All of this begs for an answer to the question, if judges can overrule a final decision why, oh why, do the jurors have to be there in the first place?  The judge sits there, chats up the bailiff, takes an occasional nap, issues instructions and then, when all is said and done, either agrees or disagrees with the jury's decision.  Since it is the judge's decision that will be final, why play the game with the jury at all?  Why ruin several weeks of the lives of citizens in the SDA for no reason whatsoever?  Why then add insult to injury by telling the jurors they have done a great deed that ensures the ongoing freedoms of citizens in the SDA?  The whole process of "justice" in the SDA is a farce and a sham. 
Ms. Cole made the mistake of bragging about how she got out of jury duty.  I do not want to make the same mistake.  Still, I am compelled to tell you of my experiences in the jury selection room.  Unlike Ms. Cole I do not have to pretend to be insane.  I am a Christian.  As far as the judge and lawyers present in the jury selection room are concerned, I am insane simply because I am a Christian.  When queried about my ability to render a fair and just decision according to the law of the land I always answer by affirming that I will render a fair and just decision according to the law of God found in the Bible. That belief and conviction on my part always results in an immediate dismissal.  What a strange state of affairs.  I am considered unfit for jury duty because I believe that God's opinion about morality is correct.  Those who move on to be jurors either believe God has no opinion about legal justice or His opinion about justice and morality is wrong.  And people still want to be judged by a jury made up of folks like that?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Government Is Playing Your For A Fool

The "fiscal cliff" crisis that we are supposedly in the midst of is nothing more than another example of the federal government playing the citizens of the Socialist Democracy of America for fools.  Just like the "debt ceiling" crisis of 2011 and the Great Recession of 2008-2009, this present crisis is nothing more than an opportunity for politicians to remain in the limelight, bask in public adulation and expand their power over the citizens of the SDA.  Politicians are all junkies.  They thrive on being in the public eye.  There is nothing worse for a politician than being irrelevant.  Any and every opportunity to scare the citizens of the land is seized upon by politicians as a means by which they can put themselves in front of a television camera and pontificate about how great they are and how they will now proceed to solve this next made for television crisis.  In short, the politicians who make up the government that rules over us are playing us all for silly fools.
There could be some basis for the behavior of our rulers if these crises were real.  It would be possible, at least theoretically, for a politician to actually do something that is good for the country and the economy if they were confronting a real political or economic problem.  That, however, is not the case.  Look at the last three examples with me.
The Great Recession was caused by government policies encouraging home ownership and the extension of mortgages to people who would never be able to pay them back.  Those sub-prime mortgages were packaged together into securities that were then sold as high quality mortgage backed securities.  Government approved ratings agencies told potential investors they were high grade investments because they were backed by other government agencies like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  A real estate bubble was created by the policies of the federal government.  When the bubble burst it was inevitable that somebody would be forced to take the blame.  Government deftly shifted blame from itself to the evil bankers who allegedly created the entire mess because of their inherent greed and avarice.  The mortgage market collapsed, the housing market collapsed and the stock market dropped by 45% from 9-1-08 to 3-9-09, the low point for the market. To illustrate how absurd conditions had become, at the low point of the stock market it was the case that dozens of S & P 500 companies had market valuations that were less than their cash on hand.   Most of the drop in the stock market can be attributed to the fact that politicians (Bush, Obama, Pelosi, Boehner) worked together with bureaucrats (Geithner, Bernanke, Paulson) to convince the citizens of the SDA that without hundreds of billions of dollars of new money injected into the economy there would be a total cessation of all economic activity in a matter of days.  Of course they were wrong.  I also suspect they were lying.  At the very best there were some who were lying and others who were so brazenly ignorant of economics that they were incapable of perceiving the lies they were being told.  Nevertheless, we were all played for fools as the feds created $1.2 trillion in new money in a matter of months.  That money was spread around to favorite groups, in exchange for future votes.  We, of course, have been stuck with the bill.  We are now being told we need to make sacrifices in order to pick up the bill our leaders created for us.  Throughout the entire time period politicians were the center of attention, and they loved it.
The politicians learned that financial crises are great opportunities for publicity.  The debt crisis in the summer of 2011 is a case in point.  Congress has raised the debt ceiling dozens of times in the past several decades.  It was a routine congressional maneuver that allowed the federal government to operate within a fabricated budget.  Everybody knew that Congress could raise the debt ceiling at any time so nobody ever paid any attention to those instances when it was raised.  Once the politicians realized they could exploit fears breed by ignorance of their procedures in the minds of the citizens of the SDA, the previously perfunctory action of raising the debt ceiling suddenly became a crisis event.  The stock market dropped by 17% between July 21st and August 8th of 2011.  This drop can be entirely attributed to the scare tactics employed by career politicians as they sought to convince the citizens of the land that we were on the brink of economic collapse in the absence of immediate government action.  Nothing could have been further from the truth. The entire event was orchestrated by the politicians to make themselves look good.  The fact that it sent shivers of terror through the souls of hundreds of millions of SDA citizens was irrelevant to them.  Once again, we were played for fools.
The present fiscal cliff crisis is cut from the same cloth as the prior two crises.  As I write this the stock market is down 6.2% entirely due to fears related to the looming fiscal cliff.  The politicians are making speeches and telling us that we are all doomed if Congress and the President do not do something to save us and our economic souls.  The press is wholly complicit as it repeats the stories told by the politicians, thus reinforcing our fears.  Once again hundreds of millions of citizens in the SDA are being filled with fear over an event that is meaningless.  Once again all televisions are tuned to the news stations where we are continuously updated on how our fearless leaders are making progress towards slaying the dragon that is the fiscal cliff.  Once again, I predict, the politicians will "solve" the problem, praise themselves and tell all of us that were it not for their heroic actions we would all be living in caves and trading goods with one another by means of seashells and trinkets.
How long will we allow ourselves to be fooled?  I, for one, am sick and tired of being treated like I am a fool.  I, for one, am sick and tired of being told that I should be afraid, be very afraid!  I, for one, am sick and tired of being told that government is my savior, praised be its name.  Won't you join me?  With apologies to the Who, please join the group of those who will never be fooled again.
The Simpsons had a "Treehouse of Horror" episode (their annual Halloween episode) in which all of the large mascots for various businesses around Springfield suddenly came to life and began terrorizing the town.  The "lard lad" was walking around eating citizens as if they were doughnuts.  Lisa realized that the only way to stop the rampage was for all of the people in Springfield to stop paying attention to the mascots.  She brought in Paul Anka who quickly wrote a little ditty in which the main line exhorted the people of Springfield to "just don't look".  The disaster was stopped the moment all of the citizens of Springfield, including Homer who had a very hard time taking his eyes off the "lard lad", simply stopped paying attention to their tormentors.  That episode contains a lesson for all of the citizens in the SDA.  Just don't look at the politicians.  Maybe they will stop tormenting us and go away.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I Am Not Willing To Sacrifice For The SDA

I was listening to a fellow on CNBC yesterday.  He identified himself as one of the "one percenters".  He made an impassioned plea to his fellow one percenters.  He asked them to do their patriotic duty and make sacrifices for their country.  He asked them to be ready, willing and able to pay more in taxes in the vain hope that somehow the extra revenue could be used to balance the federal budget.  However, as Peter Schiff wrote at today ("Don't Be Snookered"), "Fresh from his victory, the President took time today to let the nation know how he proposes to avoid the cliff: to raise taxes on those Americans who make more than $250,000 per year. He made clear than no one making less than that will be asked to pay any more. The two percent of taxpayers that the President is targeting earn 24.1% of all income and pay 43.6% (as of 2008) of all personal federal income taxes. Sounds like a fair share to me. But the four or five percent tax increases on those earners that are being proposed would only yield around $30 to $40 billion per year in added revenue, a drop in the federal bucket. Even if they were to double the amount that they pay our deficit would only be cut by about one third." It appears very unlikely that simply raising revenues on the nation's top earners will have much of an impact.  It appears that everyone else will eventually be asked to make some sort of sacrifice for the Socialist Democracy of America (SDA).  You and I are going to be asked to make sacrificies.  I don't know about you but I am not willing to make a single additional sacrifice on behalf of the SDA.  I have had enough and I quit.
The concept of sacrificial behavior on behalf of one's country is very common.  The basic idea behind it is that all citizens of a particular geo-political zone have some natural indebtedness to the politicians who rule over that piece of land.  Where that indebtedness comes from is never described.  That belief is grounded upon the presupposition that politicians are our superiors and everything they do is in our best interest, all the time.  When they run into troubles it is never because of anything they have done since, by definition, everything they have done is for the good of the country.  No, when they run into troubles it is because we have done things that they did not foresee.  After we mess things up by running around seeking profits, the inevitable consequences of our foolish or immoral behavior need to be cleaned up by them.  To do so requires money.  So we find ourselves needing to make sacrifices on behalf of the country to allow our rulers to make things right again.
Our present situation is a case in point.  Our rulers tell us that evil, immoral, greedy bankers caused the financial crisis of 2008-2009.  We are told that the Great Recession was the direct result of unregulated citizens within the SDA running around doing harmful things to each other, all in search of immoral profits.   As soon as they realized what was going on, our beneficent rulers came to the rescue with billions of dollars and thousands of new federal regulations designed to control our profligate behavior.  Now, however, somebody has to pay for their rescue efforts.  Since we were the cause of the Great Recession we are responsible for paying for it.  It is time for all of us to be willing to make sacrifices on behalf of the politicians who saved our financial lives, if not our souls.
The problem with the above scenario is that it simply is not true.   The politicians and federal regulators were responsible for the Great Recession.  The politicians and federal regulators are responsible for the fiscal mess we find ourselves in today.  Indeed, the politicians and the various branches of the federal government are completely and entirely responsible for our present fiscal and regulatory mess.  Yet they refuse to accept responsibility for their actions and shift the blame from themselves to the citizens of the SDA.  Many citizens in the SDA have already made huge sacrifices on behalf of the politicians and federal regulators and all they have received in return is blame for the problems they did not create.  It is time for the politicians and federal regulators to start making sacrifices and leave us, the taxpaying citizens of the SDA, alone.
Forgotten in the entire discussion about making sacrifices on behalf of the SDA is the fact that every single citizen in the land is either a net taxpayer or net tax consumer.  Some citizens make regular sacrifices and some citizens make no sacrifices at all.  At any particular point in time you, as a citizen of the SDA, have either paid more in taxes than you have received in government services and transfer payments or you have paid less in taxes than you have received in government services and transfer payments.  In the first case you are a net taxpayer.  In the second you are a net tax consumer.  By the time each of us dies it is possible to calculate our precise tax status.  On the day of our death each one of us will be either a net taxpayer or a net tax consumer.   Net taxpayers will have made tremendous sacrifices on behalf of the SDA.  Net tax consumers will have been parasites upon the taxpayers, having spent their entire lives relying upon others to pay their bills and obligations.  
No doubt there are parts of my life where I am a tax consumer.  They are, however, notoriously difficult to calculate.  When I drive on a road owned by the government I am getting a government service.  Of course I have previously paid for that service via income and gasoline taxes.  I am unable to calculate if the value of my driving on government roads is less than or greater than the amount I have paid in taxes to build, maintain and enforce the rules of that road.   Before Al Gore invented the internet I used to go to the library.  The library was paid for with taxpayer dollars.  It may have been the case that I used more library services than I paid in library taxes.  In that case I was a net tax consumer of library services and a parasite upon taxpayers of library services.  Despite my inability to calculate my precise tax status in regards to government mandated services (Post Office, government schools, roads, etc), I have never purposefully received a penny of government transfer payments.  I have received no welfare, food stamps, student loans, unemployment benefits, social security benefits or any other government transfer payment.  As I have written previously (10-4-12), I am guaranteed a negative return if and when I start receiving social security transfer payments.  I believe it is fair to say that I am condemned to be a net taxpayer to the SDA.  In fact, I am a huge net taxpayer to the SDA.  Although I am not a one percenter, I am a twenty percenter and I have made more sacrifices on behalf of the SDA than 80% of the people in this land.  
Despite the fact that my entire adult life has been characterized by financial sacrifice on behalf of eighty percent of the citizens of the SDA, I am still blamed by politicians and those same eighty percent for all of the problems caused by their politicians.  Despite the fact that I have paid their medical bills, paid their retirement income, paid their school bills and paid for their abortions, I am cast as the evil person in this morality play simply because I do not think the system is fair.  Despite the fact that I receive no thanks for what I have done, I am still expected to continue to be happy to sacrifice on behalf of the tax consumers. 
There is nothing I can do to stop this immoral system of wealth transfer.  If I make the conscious decision to stop paying taxes I will be thrown into prison and become, at least for the term of my incarceration,  a net tax consumer.  The law is set up such that if I desire to be responsible for my own bills I will end up becoming responsible for the bills of all net tax consumers as well.  This is an unavoidable reality and still the tax consumers blame me, and other like me, for all of their problems.  We are still told that we are not doing our fair share.  We are still told that we need to sacrifice on behalf of the country.  Well I am fed up with such nonsense.  Although there is nothing I can do to prevent it, I am not willing to sacrifice another penny to the politicians and net tax consumers of the SDA.  Leave me alone.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Lies About Obama's Spending Habits

I was reading the newspaper this morning when I came across an op-ed piece in which the author (name already forgotten) said that Obama had increased government spending during his first four years more than any president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  I wondered about the veracity of that claim.  I know that the Republicans are really smarting over Obama's reelection.  I know that they are prone to allow the truth to fly out the window when it comes time to criticize Obama.  They are, like all politicians, consummate liars.  So I decided to check it out.  I went to the White House website and found information on total government spending per administration.  The information went back to 1900.  I am too lazy to process all of that information so I simply went back to the first time I voted for a presidential candidate.  There have been nine presidential administrations since Jimmy Carter was elected president in 1976.  I thought it might be a good idea to compare how much each administration increased federal spending.
My benchmark for comparison in this little study was the first administration of FDR.  I decided to ignore the huge increase in federal spending that was associated with the US entry into WWII.  I did that for several reasons.  First, most people believe the US entry into WWII to be the greatest moment in the history of the United States.  Most folks would have been willing to spend whatever it took to get us into that war.  Second, the amount spent on the the war was unique in our history.  The entire economy was refashioned into a war machine.  I do not think that allows for a good comparison with modern presidential administration spending.  For the record, FDR increased federal spending by 77% during his first term in office.  The 77% increase was almost entirely related to "new deal" programs designed to end the Great Depression.  Of course, his efforts ended up deepening and prolonging the Great Depression.  Such is the nature of government interference and intervention in the free market.  Compare Carter's 77% increase in federal spending with the spending increases created during the last nine presidential administrations:
  • Carter (1977-1980)---------------------+58%
  • Reagan I (1981-1984)------------------+44%
  • Reagan II (1985-1988)-----------------+26%
  • Bush Sr (1989-1992)-------------------+31%
  • Clinton I (1993-1996)------------------+12%
  • Clinton II (1997-2000)-----------------+16%
  • Bush I (2001-2004)---------------------+31%
  • Bush II (2005-2008)--------------------+31%
  • Obama I (2009-2012)------------------+31%
Although the author of the article I was reading happily spouted his opinion that Obama is the most profligate president since FDR, his assertion is simply not true.  In fact, he is not even close to the truth.  His political bias does not allow him to see reality as it truly is.  Having no political ax to grind (other than the one that is leveled against all politicians), I am able to see the truth.  And the truth is quite revealing, is it not?  Before proceeding however, let me point out one constitutional caveat.  Although historians and people with axes to grind love to blame the president for government spending, the fact still remains that it is Congress that is responsible for all federal government spending.  This is an important constitutional truth that practically everyone ignores.  I will ignore it as well in what follows.
Since I was unwilling to do the calculation for every presidential administration since 1900 I do not know if FDR was the biggest spender of all time.  I suspect he probably was so I will adopt the 77% increase during his first term as the record for the greatest four year increase in government spending at the federal level.  What is immediately apparent is that Obama is not responsible for the second biggest increase in government spending.  Despite the author's contentions, Obama is not even third on the list.  Look at the list above.  Over the past nine presidential administrations it was Jimmy Carter who increased government spending by the largest percentage.  He increased the amount spent by 58%, almost double the rate of increase found under Obama in his first four years.  How could the author of the op-ed piece have been so wrong about his facts?  Could his bias be showing?
Equally shocking is the fact that the last nine administrations show a definite trend towards Republicans being responsible for increasing government spending more than Democrats.  Notice how second place is assigned to the first administration of Ronald Reagan, when he increased federal spending by a whopping 44%, almost fifty percent more than Obama has increased spending during the last four years.  How did Reagan ever get the reputation as one of America's most thrifty presidents?  Unlike his spend-crazy predecessors, Bill Clinton brought us two presidential administrations where federal government spending increased at the relatively low rates of twelve and sixteen percent.  Ah, those were the good old days.  The economy was chugging along, government was growing very slowly and we were all entertained by tales of White House shenanigans involving Monika Lewinsky, cigars and the definition of "is".
It is eerie how often the number "31" shows up in the above list.  I double checked my figures to make sure they were correct.  With rounding I still ended up with a proliferation of 31s.  The last three presidential administrations have all increased federal government spending by the exact same amount....31%.  That number also corresponds to the rate of increase experienced under Bush Senior in 1989-1992.  So, it would seem to me that if anybody wants to criticize the rate of increase in federal spending under Obama, that person should first start with a serious rebuke directed towards the Bush dynasty, don't you think? 
Although each political party desperately attempts to cast itself as being pure as the driven snow and the other party as belonging to the devil, the fact of the matter is that both Republicans and Democrats belong to the devil.  They both lie, cheat and steal on a grand scale.  They both say whatever needs to be said to make their guy look good and the other guy look bad.  They have no integrity and they play loose and fast with the facts anytime the facts get in the way of a good story.  After all, that is what politicians do for a living, and they do it very well.  Note to self:  Don't believe anything political activists say or write.