Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Lest Anyone Think…

…that I do not realize that this is a significant moment in history, or that I somehow resent it, let me state what should be obvious.

I am thrilled that my daughters (now 2 and 5) will grow up in a world where a black man has been elected President. While that is a reason for celebration, a better reason for celebration would be that it’s non-news, and that no one cares whether the President is black or white or green with purple polka-dots. I don’t see that event coming anytime soon, much to my dismay.

Hopefully this does represent a milestone in race relations and a sign that one’s race is unimportant in America. I have my doubts, but will continue to have cautious optimism on that front.

And, since I realize that I never got around to it back in November, congratulations, President Barack Obama (D-USA). Your hard fought campaign and victory has earned my respect and admiration. Keeping them is up to you.

Good Luck, Mr. President

I was going to write a nice little post wishing President Barack Obama (D-USA) good luck for the next four years, but Ed Morrissey at HotAir has already said it much better than I could have.

People have asked me since the election how I will approach the Obama presidency, but it’s really not that much of a mystery.  I’m not going to be rooting for his failure, because I’m rooting for America. I believe most people feel the same way; Obama won the election and for better or worse, he’s our president.  But that doesn’t mean that any of us will sit quietly for the next four years or the next four days.

Best of luck, President Obama.  My prayers are with you, for support and wisdom as you assume the burden of this office and lead our country.  When you fail to provide that leadership or demonstrate wisdom, though, don’t expect me to be silent.  I’m rooting for America, not the coach.

I’ll finish the same way I finished my farewell to President George W. Bush (R-USA).

Good luck, Mr. President. God bless you, and God bless America.

2688

2688.

That’s the number of days since the last successful terrorist attack on American soil. Pardon me for repeating this earlier post, but it does bear repeating in my opinion.

Tell me you believed that possible on September 12, 2001.

President George W. Bush (R-USA) has not been my favorite President. I doubt he’s been anyone’s favorite President.

However, there’s that number. Look at it again, and remember how you felt on 9-12. There’s a lot to find fault for in our outgoing President. But his success in keeping our country safe from terrorism is undeniable. You may not like his methods, but it’s impossible to argue with the results. Try and I’ll respond by just repeating that number over and over.

2688.

I’ve avoided all of the Presidential “legacy” stuff over the last few weeks. I haven’t read a single post/article about it, nor have I written one. There’s no need.

faulkner

Everyone will remember George W. Bush in their own way. This is how I’ll remember him. This, and 2688 are his legacy. Every other point written about him is at best a distant second.

Did I disagree with him? Often. However, there’s no doubt that the man has shown outstanding character and courage over the last 8 years while dealing with an incredibly difficult job with impossible expectations. He has stuck to his core beliefs, and acted on them. I respect that, even though I disagree with many of his core beliefs. I respect it, because that’s what leadership is all about. Or at least the biggest part. The next biggest part is getting people who disagree with you to buy into your vision. He often failed there. Sometimes spectacularly.

But he fought Congress and the media and an increasingly antagonistic public to pursue terrorists his way, and won his battles with Congress on this issue every single time.

The result?

2688.

Thank you for that number, Mr. President. It’s time for you to retire back to Texas. You’ve earned the rest.

Good luck, Mr. President. God bless you, and God bless America.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Solving the Economic Crisis In One Easy Step

I’ve been meaning to write this for about a month. I waited long enough and the Wall Street Journal wrote it for me.

Those of you who have kept up with this blog know that I’m no fan of corporate taxes, so my solution should come as no surprise.

Immediately cut the corporate tax rate to zero. Do whatever steps necessary to attempt to guarantee that they won’t be raised again. Ever.

This is far better than any bailout or any “stimulus plan”.

The only thing that’s going to stimulate the economy and keep it moving forward is job growth. The only way to guarantee job growth is to guarantee more money in the pockets of employers. The simplest and most effective way to do this is to stop taxing them.

Then they can hire more people, stay in business, give raises, produce more widgets, cut prices on their widgets, and in general become more healthy.

The WSJ says it better:

The positive impact on corporate-credit markets, the stock market, the attractiveness of the U.S. to foreign investors, and the willingness to take business risk and create new jobs would be immediate. Capital-gains tax collections would rise. Capital flows would be in the hands of those who are driven to build businesses and permanent jobs efficiently instead of pushing that capital through a government pipeline with endless amounts of friction. If the U.S. is to lead the international economic community out of this crisis, this is the place to start.

Yes, I realize there are some problems with this. Everyone in the country would immediately attempt to incorporate themselves. You’d have to make rules on incorporation more stringent, and you might even have to put some kind of a temporary moratorium on new incorporations (I’d hope not). And this is a problem in itself. Who would it hurt most? People trying to start up new businesses. So, there’s definitely a fine line to be walked here.

As the WSJ points out though, it’s not just jobs. It would create foreign investment, and reduce the oversea capital drain.

The AP is reporting today that 83 of the U.S.’s top 100 corporations have oversea tax havens. Frankly, I’m surprised it’s not 100 out of 100. If these companies didn’t have a need to bury their capital overseas, they could reinvest it here locally. And how would they reinvest it? Again, jobs, higher production, lower end costs, more purchases from other companies, etc. All the things that a growing economy needs.

When Daimler-Benz and Chrysler merged, there was considerable debate as to whether the new company would be headquartered in Michigan or Germany. We know the end result. Daimler-Chrysler moved to Germany. The reason? The unbearable corporate tax burden in the United States. If not for that, the company would’ve been Chrysler-Daimler, and might still be a growing concern.

As the WSJ correctly notes above, the corporate tax rate in the U.S. is the highest in the world. This is why companies keep moving overseas. This is why companies don’t want to move here. We have to do whatever is necessary to make the U.S. attractive to businesses again not only to get out of the current economic crisis, but to continue to stay a world leader and to have a high standard of living.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

$1,200,000,000,000.00

That’s $1.2 trillion. The expected size of the deficit for 2009.

The mind boggles. I can’t even comprehend that many zeros.

What could you as an individual do with $1,200,000,000,000.00?

You could buy 600,000,000,000 gallons of gas at $2 per gallon. That’s too big to deal with too.

You could buy 240,000,000,000 McMeals at $5 each.

You could buy 30,000,000 cars at $40,000 each.

You could buy 6,000,000 houses at $200,000 each.

The most expensive car in the world is the Bugatti Veyron at $1,192,057. You could buy 1,006,663 of them.

You could buy 400,000 30-second Super Bowl XLIII spots at $3,000,000 each. Of course, that’s nearly 139 days worth of continuous ads, and the Super Bowl only lasts about 4 hours.

The purchase price for Alaska was $7,200,000 in 1867. You could have bought 166,667 Alaskas.

The purchase price for the Louisiana Territory was $15,000,000 in 1803. You could have bought 80,000 Louisianas.

The Hope Diamond has an estimated value of $300,000,000-$350,000,000. I’ll use $300,000,000 to simplify the math. At that price you could buy 4,000 Hope Diamonds.

The most valuable sports franchise in the United States is the Dallas Cowboys, worth an estimated $1,612,000,000. You could buy the Dallas Cowboys 744 times.

The B-2 bomber cost $2,100,000,000. The United States built 21 of them. You could build 571.

The U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier cost around $5,100,000,000. You could buy 235 of them.

If you won $1.2 trillion in the lottery and paid 40% taxes on it and had the payments spread out over 25 years, you’d get $28,800,000,000 every year.

Bill Gates net worth is in the $57,000,000,000 range. You’d be over 21 times richer than Bill Gates. Hey, that’s an idea. Seize all the assets of the Forbes 400. That’d pay off that deficit and then some. I’m kidding, of course.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Should Republicans Be Thinking about 2016?

While I think that 2010 has potential to be a very good year for Republicans, at least in the House, the White House seems likely to be out of reach until 2016. At this point, a 2-term Presidency for Mr. Barack Obama (D-USA) seems a near certainty.

How can I say that before he’s even taken his first oath of office?

It’s true that I don’t know what the future holds. His administration may be rife with scandal. He may be a foreign policy disaster. He may generate enough angst from the right that they’re able to rise up and defeat him. All of those things are possible.

Here’s what’s probable though.

What’s the #1 question in voter’s minds when they go to the polls to re-elect an incumbent or vote in a new President?

“Am I better or worse off now than I was 4 years ago?”

It’s hard to see how most people will answer that as “worse”. I certainly hope that most people won’t. That would mean that we really are in a “depression” and not a “recession”. Because otherwise, because of or in spite of Mr. Obama, the economy should have recovered to some degree by then.

I already said that this blog is not going to be a cheerleader for every little negative thing that will hit the Obama administration. I’m certainly not going to root for the kind of economic downturn that would benefit a Republican Presidential candidate in 2012.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Indiana Senate Bill 5 – A Joke

I normally have a national view. Excuse me while I slip for just a bit into Indiana politics.

I stumbled across this post on Masson’s Blog. He points out a new bill being introduced in the General Assembly this session. I hope he will forgive me for quoting his post in its entirety. It’s not very long.

Senator Errington has introduced SB 5 which expands the permissible forms of voter identification.

Included among the permissible forms of identification are: 1) a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or another government document that shows the name and address of the individual; 2) A driver’s license or state identification card issued by a state other than Indiana; and 3) an affidavit executed by two precinct election officers who are members of different major political parties declaring that they have personal knowledge of the individual and that the individual is the individual whose name appears on the poll list.

Sounds reasonable. It won’t, however, see the light of day in the Republican controlled Senate.

Sounds reasonable? On what planet??? Just because I have a utility bill showing that person A lives at address B doesn’t show that I’m person A! In fact, it doesn’t give any new information at all. From the registration information, we already know that person A lives at address B. That’s why we registered the person there.

Hopefully he’s correct about the bill’s chances, but not because it’s a Republican controlled Senate, but because it’s a truly awful bill.

Saying Goodbye to 2008 and Mediocrity

I read GigaOM for the technology news. I’ve long since realized that my political views differ radically from most of the posters there.

However, this article is a rare gem. Om Malik gets straight to the heart of what we’ve done wrong the last few months: embraced mediocrity.

In offering money to bailout failed bankers who couldn’t bank, car makers who couldn’t make good cars and chipmakers who have seemingly no business acumen, we stood on the top of the roofs and said: Mediocrity is OK. In the meantime, not one person has been held accountable for bringing fiscal, moral and social Armageddon to our doorstep.

He also looks at it from a technology perspective:

Our acceptance of mediocrity is the reason why Apple’s iPhone hasn’t had a credible competitor. Today, RIM Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis, in a chat with CNET Asia, compared the BlackBerry Storm — an iPhone rival — to a netbook. I recently had a chance to use the touchscreen Storm and within an hour of using the device, it was more like a Touch Scream Storm. It is beyond bad! Any self-respecting company should think twice before putting that device into the market, but as I said, in 2008 we came to learn and reward mediocrity.

I disagree with Om on one thing, though. This embracing of mediocrity is hardly new with 2008. It just accelerated then. He is correct in his conclusion, though. If we continue to embrace mediocrity, we will never again make this country great.

Great Article on Bush by Byron York

If you read nothing else about President George W. Bush (R-USA), read this. It’s a view into the inner workings  of the White House and Bush the Man.

Here’s a sample:

But the president’s political fortunes haven’t affected the intense loyalty that those who know him best feel for him. The people who have worked with George W. Bush in the White House for many of these past eight years have seen a different man from the one reflected in so much negative press coverage. And as they prepare to leave on January 20, their feelings for him are, if anything, stronger than when they arrived.

 

Well worth a click.

Republicans and democrats – Faith and Trust

Republicans often have little trust in big government and instead put their faith in big corporations.

Democrats often have little trust in big corporations and instead put their faith in big government.

Both are somewhat correct. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

In this instance, I believe that there is a clear winner, but I admit my bias.

One could also argue that the misguided faith and misguided trust of these institutions has led to our current financial mess.

Republicans and Democrats – Point of View

Republicans tend to think that what is good for America will be good for Americans. This makes them support the a strong armed forces, low corporate taxes, things like FISA wiretaps, etc.

Democrats tend to think that what is good for Americans will be good for America. This makes them support the unions, national health care, the Department of Education, etc.

One could argue that neither viewpoint is a) completely right, b) completely ywrong, c) very healthy and d) very intelligent.

Happy New Year

I hope the coming year is good for you no matter your political persuasion. I also hope that it’s a great year for America and Americans and the world as a whole.

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Well, I really have missed doing my September 11 timeline. My daughters have asked about that, and I want them to understand it a little bet...

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