Thursday, December 29, 2011

If I were the President - Tax Policy

Regardless of the fact that Congress writes the tax laws. Presidential Candidates get asked what they would do about taxes. In reality the President can only do what Congress is willing to pass on taxes. Or he can veto the tax measures.

But if I were President or running for President I would make these observations about taxes.

Tax as a carrot or stick is bad policy.

The government uses tax policy to encourage or discourage types of behavior. There is a high tax on cigarettes to discourage people from smoking. (Or to take advantage of their addiction.) There is a tax break for being in debt with a home mortgage.

Thus the government wants you to quit smoking and take out a massive home loan. Why, well for some reason getting into debt makes bankers happy, and builder happy, etc. While getting lung cancer doesn't even make tabaco execs happy.

But this is just wrong. Taxes should never be used as a way to implement a social agenda. This is not the government playing Robin Hood. (If you check, Prince John was the government, not the man in tights.) When congress cuts taxes is the only time it is playing the hero, refunds are not.

Taxing Money as it moves is a good idea.

Money that is moving is money that people have decided to use. Sales Tax is a great example. So is income tax. Property tax is not. Neither is inheritance tax. Having property or inheritance is not a test of ability to pay taxes. Earning an income is a test of the ability to pay taxes.

Use taxes also work. Licensing a car, hunting, fishing, building a home, opening a business and more are all things that the government can apply a regulation tax to as a legitimate way to earn revenue.

The most important reason that I like these methods of taxation is that they are avoidable. A person that earns no money, pays no tax. A person that raises their own food and makes their own clothing pays not tax on sales for these items. A person that doesn't hunt, fish, or drive pays none of these taxes.

And even if you have to buy food, you can buy cheaper food to pay less tax than your neighbor who buys some thick steaks. And this keep the government from going to far and trying to squeeze money out of people that don't have it. (Like Prince John in the afore mentioned tale.)

Taxes are a throttle on the economy.

This is a negative. Using the throttle definition of choking something. No matter what the government uses the tax money for, when they took it, they removed it from the economy. Even spending 100% of it back for good and services is a net loss to the economy, for the person that lost that money to the government takes an emotional hit and is less motivated to earn more.

So in an ideal system, the government would spread out the methods of taxation to be as small and wide as possible. Thus it will create the least amount of drag on the movement of the economy.

Flat tax is a good tax.

The progressive tax system has a major flaw in that it discourages and punishes hard work and success. If we replace the current system of all of the loop holes and forms, and just simply say, 10% of income goes to Uncle Sam, that would be 10% of what the business makes, then 10% of what each employee or share holder makes.

And it keep trickling down, 10% of the income from the companies the first company spent money with, and 10% of the money the employees of the first company spend on other goods and services in the form of income to those companies is taxed.

Everyone and every business is on a flat curve that allows them to get a benefit from what they earn and so the harder they work, the more they make. And this is how the economy grows.

But with our curent progressive system, this is not the case. People can quickly discover that they are working harder, but only making a few pennies more. Uncle same is taking more more of their money the more they make. And not a direct increase, but a teared one so that jumping from a 10% to a 20% bracket can actually make you take home less money.

Remember:
1. Taxes are a necessary evil that comes with Government. (Both necessary and evil.)
2. Taxes should only be used to fund the governments needs, not to be redistributed to those that did not earn it.
3. Taxes should never be used to encourage or discourage social behavior. We have churches for that.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

If I were the President - Abortion


Do you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation? Is the question that organizations like VoteSmart.org want politicians to answer. Its interesting that they pick out a question like this that is specifically designed to illicite a yes or no type of response on a topic that is really not yes or no. (they do the same thing with the defense of marriage legislation) This tactic is designed to cause trouble for candidates they don't like.

I should know. I took classes in college where they taught us to write survey questions. When you teach a person how to write questions, in an attempt to get statistical data, you are supposed to teach them to write the question so that it gets unbiased information.

But you are also teaching them how to get biased information.

But back to the topic. And to the question.

The answer is "No."

I don't support pro-life or pro-choice legislation.

What I do support is getting the federal government out of this discussion and focus of lawmaking. This should not be an issue of federal jurisdiction. It should be a states rights issue.

In principle:

We are pushing too many things up to a federal level. Abortion laws are one of them. Lets push this back down to the states where it should be, and let 50 states deal with this independently. People can gather and vote or move away in disgust and so influence the various legislatures.

Forcing my view that abortion is killing a baby on other people is distasteful. I don't want to do that, even if I could. I want people to make good choices so that they will have a good experience when they are standing before their maker to be judged.

Remember:
1. Rights come from our creator to the people.
2. Then from the people to the states
3. Then from the states to the nation.
4. Men may be created equal, but states are not. What works for one, doesn't always work for the others.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

If I were the President - Guns


If I were president, I would have sworn an oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." In that constitution and its ammendments it states, "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

When you put these two things together you should have a President with a sworn obligation to protect and preserve the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Is there any question about what this means?

Well, in fact, there is.

So here is the principle:

The reason that the founders give in the second amendment for expounding the "right of the people to keep and bear arms" was that it is "necessary to the security of a free state" for them to do so. So if we want to maintain a free society, or state, then the people in that society need to hav the right to keep and bear arms.

I am not talking in a circle. But I am completing the circle.

What about that "Well regulated militia" thing?

Yes, it does say, "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state," but it does not go on to say, "the right of the militia to keep and bear arms..." it says the right of the PEOPLE.

Not the Army. Not the National Guard. Not the Police. Not private security firms. The people.

That is the principle. So in principle, people have the right to have guns.

So are you saying that there should be no restrictions on gun ownership?

Nope. I did not say that.

I think it is fairly reasonable to restrict some weapons. I don't have the need to keep and bear a nuclear missile. Keeping one would not enhance my freedom. And I think that we can probably be safe classifying some weapons as having no personal value.

But lets keep our eye on the ball. Bearing arms was not a right to hunt deer. It is a right to secure a free society. That means that people have weapons designed to shoot people. The burglar entering your house. The mob coming to lynch you or your neighbor. And the out of control government that is oppressing your community.

Did you catch that last one. The right to keep and bear arms is for the people to defend themselves from their greatest enemy, government.

So long as the government is not the only people that have guns, people are on equal footing person to person with those exercising the authority of the government.

This is an important right.

So everyone should be able to own a gun?

I didn't say that either.

It makes sense that some individuals and in some circumstances bearing arms is curtailed. Convicted criminals of violent crimes. People in treatment for some mental illnesses and so on, should have some restrictions that a legal justice system can impose.

But this should be held to a very high standard. Only an affermative danger to oneself or to others should allow us to restrict this right. Laws and policies that force people to prove they are not a threat are wrong and abusive. They tend toward the very oppression that destroys the free state that the right to bear arms is there to prevent.

Remember:

1. The founders had recently had to fight a war to win their freedom. They were acquainted with what it was like to have to defend themselves from an oppressive government. I am sure they were glad they were armed.
2. If guns are outlawed, only the outlaws will have guns. In spite of sounding like a bumpersticker it is also true.
3. Whenever the government feels it needs to limit the rights in the constitution and amendments it should be viewed with great suspicion and forced to constantly review and defend the position. Not the people defending why they need their rights.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Thrill Of Hope

Once there was a baby, tender and precious.
He came into the world
Full of purpose
Full of innocence
And with a thrill of hope

Once there was a mother, full of love
She bore the baby
Full of joy
Full of expectation
And with a thrill of hope.

Once there was a Father, full of care
He watched mother and child
Full of duty
Full of protection
And with a thrill of hope.

Once there was a family, everlasting.

Once there was a gift.
Once there was a star.
Once there was a king.
Once there was an angel's song.

Once…...



I don't always know where I am going when I start a poem. This poem is not just about the Christ child. It is an ode to all babies, mothers and fathers that embark on the grand adventure and contract with God that is bringing a child into the world.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

If I were the President - Immigration Reform


Another hot button on the road to the Whitehouse is Immigration. And so any serious discussion of a President or his qualifications is what is his stance on immigration and immigration reform.

There is a lot of baggage floating around on this one, so we have to start off by defining the argument.

Here are the topics: Immigration Laws, Illegal Immigrants, Amnesty, Border Security

Immigration Laws:

We are a nation that has laws to protect us. They are important. And we should no more allow a group of people to avoid immigration laws or break them than we should allow a group of people to avoid laws against homicide just because they are only hanging colored folk. (This sounds harsh, and it is. So it the attitude that we should ignore laws and let hard working americans lose their property because US government won't stop foreigners from violating our borders and overrunning farms along those borders.)

Laws are laws. The government is in the business of enforcing laws. This protects its citizens. If the US Government stops doing this fundamental job, then we are laying the foundations for revolution. Checkout the Declaration of Independence and see why the founders had a problem with the King and the actions of his government. Look for words like, "exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without" and others relating to security.

Illegal Immigrants:

Lets just call a spade a spade. If a person is in the US with the intention to stay, and they are not here legally they are both an immigrant, and illegal. Classifying this person as an "Illegal Immigrant" is not racist, or any thing other than accurate.

As I mentioned above, we are a nation with laws. We should enforce these laws, or change them. Current laws require the US to find and deport all people that are not here legally and who do have not legitimate process for becoming legal. And the President is the Chief Enforcer.

If you don't like this and you are a citizen with the right to vote. Please let congress know. It is their job to make these laws, and they work for you.

If you don't like this and are not a citizen with the right to vote. Too bad. You either need to keep working on your citizenship, wait until you grow up, or return to your native country and participate in its government to make your nation a better place. People from other countries that are here to work or visit are welcome to do just that. We don't need to import political opinions from anywhere, we have plenty.

Amnesty:

No thank you.

Okay let be more detailed. If a person is here illegally, but they want to make up for that, and stay, we may be able to do something. Assuming that they fit the following criterion.

1. Other than violating immigration laws they have no other criminal background.
2. They have the skills and ability to be a contributing member of society.
3. They are willing to learn english.
4. The are willing to serve in the US military for the same number of years they have been here illegally, or some other minimum time, whichever is greater.
5. We don't have any other reason or agreement internationally that makes us want to deny citizenship.

Most of the time, and for most people, the answer will be, "No" if they are here illegally.

Border Security:

It is the Job of the Federal Government to protect the United States from foreign influences. It is the Job of the Federal Government to stop people from crossing its borders without permission. It is the Job of the Federal Government to make sure enemies that mean us harm do not enter the US.

There is not greater responsibility of the Federal Government nor of the President of the United States.

If we can't do this, then we are truly lost.

Maybe this is still unclear. The United States has the most powerful military in the world. We can stop people from entering if we want to. And I want to. I will still want to if I am President.

Is this unclear?

I think the biggest problem about immigration policy and discussion is that we are unclear in what we think and believe. I am trying to be completely clear. This is how I feel, and this is what I think we should do. But if I am unclear, or there is something left that you feel that I need to address, please let me kno.


Monday, December 12, 2011

If I were the President - Reducing the Size of Government


One of the things I would like to see is the reduction in the size of government. And I am not alone. Lots of people say this. Many people in washington say this. But what are they talking about? They are hardly ever, no I can safely say never, talking about their own part of government. But they just talk about that big government image of some huge groupe of 'fat cats' that are bilking the tax payer.

I have a very different perspective. My perspective is that almost every agency of the government that is not solely focused on national defense should be disbanded. And many agencies that are focused on national defense should be consolidated.

Its simple really, FDA, IRS, EPA, NEA, Dept of Ed, and all the other alphabet soup agencies that don't carry guns or gather intelligence should just close there doors. Or at least just be staffed by volunteers.

Next all of the department left. Homeland Security, DoD, and FBI, CIA, NSA, etc. Should have a massive merger. One where all of the excess managers are let go so that we have a lean mean agency that has all of the tools and responsibility to defend the US from enemies foreign and domestic.

Okay, that agency or department will still look pretty big, but it will be much smaller that the current proliferation of authority that we are currently seeing. And it will be cheaper.

Does this sound too good to be true? You may be asking if this is even possible. Does it pass the common sense and achievable test? Will it have a positive impact?

Lets look.

Common Sense and Achievability:

How to achieve this is the first part. My secret is not some consensus making magic spell to sway congress to do my will. This never works. Instead there is a very simple method. Don't sign or execute a budget that pays for these agencies. And stop paying their wages, expenses, rent, utilities and so forth.

As they stop having power to their computers, heat and water in their offices, and don't get paid, the employees that make up agency will stop coming to work and will be forced to find real jobs in the private sector. Over a very short period of months, the agency that used to spend billions of dollar will be gone. Now the government call sell its assets, properties and materials to recoup some of the costs.

There is a very good reason to do this instead of firing the people that work there. There are laws that protect federal employees from getting fired by elected officials. Stupid laws, but they are there to keep new presidents from bringing in a bunch of supporters and employees as a reward for their support. So we can't just fire them. Regan discovered that. But we can do things that make their lives uncomfortable so that they quit. (Regan sent people to Alaskan listening posts.)

Positive Impact:

Disbanding an agency would save the money spent on salaries, supplies, heat/power/water/etc and benefits. This money saved would not have to be spent anywhere else if no other agency is created to take its place. Thus we would positively impact the budget issue by removing the expense from the budget. We would also remove the agency's intrusion on the American People.

Problems with this Plan:

This is your chance to let me know what you think is wrong with this plan. All comments are welcome, but I really want to know if you have a reason you think this won't work.

Friday, December 9, 2011

If I were the President - Announcing My Candidacy


I would like to take the time now to announce my Candidacy for the President of the United States of America.

Yes, I really would like to. But I am not going to. I don't think that I really want to have the job. And if you read my last post about qualifications, I don't even qualify for my own support.

But one thing I think is interesting is how Candidates for the Presidency do announce themselves. I have seen the following:

Press Conference:

Only really seems to work if you are already a celebrity. Trump can get the press to show up, but no one shows up for me.

Talk show:

Generally it helps to be a celebrity here as well. Call up the Tonight Show and see if you can get on as a guest? I bet you don't even get on the maybe list.

Blog or Website:

Anyone can do this. Websites are cheap or free and slapping up one to announce your candidacy can be done for no money on sites like Squidoo, Hub Pages, About.me, Facebook and many many others.

Having such an announcement is worth about what it costs. Nothing.

Party Selection:

This is the old school way to do it. You join a political party. You work for years running for positions like dog catcher, and then city council, then a state legislator, then governor. After serving in the party and if you are lucky enough to follow this path, you just might be lucky enough, and have made enough friends in the party to get nominated and selected to be a candidate.

Generally and historically this has been done as a way to weed out and prove the character of the individual. The party would support a person they knew about and trusted because they had served in other positions and proven themselves trustworthy to advance the party's goals.

Other Ways:

These are the ways that I have seen. I am not sure my list is comprehensive. (Sky Writing, Billboards, Sound Trucks, you name it.) And I am pretty sure there isn't one way that is better than all of the others. Some are probably worse that these.

But if you can truly come up with a way that is creative and enticing, I might just use it to announce my candidacy.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

If I were the President - Qualifications


As we are entering an election cycle, I feel like expounding on what I am looking for. I am currently in the market for a candidate.

This means that I don't have one. I like some of the people running, but I have not hitched my support to any of them yet. And I don't have to. I don't live in Iowa any more. So I have months before I have to make even a preliminary selection.

But when I do, the first two criterion, and the most important are these:

1) I want a President that is smarter than I am. (If they aren't smarter than me, I should be President.)

2) I want a President that is a leader of people. (Presidents that aren't leaders are generally poor Presidents.)

Smarts:

To find out if a candidate is smarter than me, I generally don't look at their resume. I don't look at the degrees that they have, or their smile. I don't really listen to them on the debates. (I read what they said so as not to be distracted by how they said it.) I look at the ideas that they propose to solve some issue or the other. I have ideas, but are their ideas better than mine.

Better and smarter are kind or subjective. So here are some areas that I think about. Or questions that I ask myself.

a. Is this idea or plan something that passes a common sense test?
b. Is this plan achievable?
c. Would this positively impact the problem?
d. What are some of the problems with this idea or plan?

After going over several of the ideas or proposals from a candidate, I start to get a sense of their intelligence. And I decide if they are smarter than me or not.

Leadership:

This is not something that a candidate can demonstrate when they are running for President. (However they can demonstrate its lack at that time.) This is something that I do look at a candidates resume. I look at what they have done, not in politics, that shows leadership. There is a short list of things I look for.

a. Has the candidate served in the military? (This is a big one for me. I can support a President that has not, but it is a much longer and harder road to winning my support without this.)
b. Has the candidate had leadership experience in private sector employment? (Business owners are something we need more of in government.)
c. Has the candidate had positions of leadership or been advocates for causes? And if so which ones and when? (The which cause has more to do with intelligence but it is still a good question.)
d. Have he been leaders in other ways? (I will tell you now, that any leadership outside of a school board in politics is discarded and not qualified as a leadership role here. I am not interested in anything anyone did in congress or state or federal elected offices. They don't count. Get a real job and show real people that can fire you that you are a leader.) (And Lawyers and Law firms also don't count.) (Neither does academia. Again if you have tenure, partner or some other safety net to keep you from being fired for bad decisions, your leadership is a sham.)

After these two things, Intelligence and Leadership, comes one other thing. Principle.

Principle:

I am not listing a set of principles here. That would be exhausting. But looking for this does lead me to say two things about it.

Does the candidate have principles?

Too many times we have people that want to govern, and are willing to compromise everything to do so. I am not interested in these people. Even if I disagree with some of a candidates principles, I need to know that they have them. And that they won't change them just because some people like me don't agree.

What are those principles?

Assuming that the candidate does have principles, they need to be articulatable. If you can't tell me what a candidate stands for, then we have a problem. I said above, that I can support a candidate that has some principles that I don't share or agree with. Religion is one. I need them to have a religion, but it doesn't have to be mine. However if they don't believe in the rule of law, or won't say the pledge of allegiance then we have a problem.

And that is it. I don't have a long list. But I have a list.

Having a list like this allows me to think critically about candidates for the nations highest office. And that is something that we should all be doning.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

If I were the President - Balance Budgetting.


Have you ever played the game where you and some friends talk about what you would do if you, (had a million dollars, were king of the world, were President of the US). Really? Me too.

I have decided that I want to play that game with you. Right here. Online. For everyone to see.

I am not actually announcing my candidacy. Lets just say, I'm taking that under advisement. :)

So here it goes. I think the government is too big. Its why it needs all of the money that it takes in taxes. There are really only a couple of ways to make government smaller.

1. Have congress terminate programs and departments like EPA, Department of Education, FDA, IRS, etc.
2. Stop paying the people that work there until they all leave.

So the first option is really hard to do. There are lots of members of congress. And getting them all to agree on anything is really hard. Furthermore, getting them all to agree to eliminate a department like these without putting in hundreds of unrelated provisions is virtually impossible.
The second option may see illegal, and immoral, and cruel. But lets take a look at this option.

First, the government stops paying its workers all of the time. Whenever there is a "budget Crisis" and congress can't get their one really job together and pass a budget, the government "shuts down" ie, non-essential workers are sent home without pay.

So lets just do that for a couple of years. Yep, stop paying for any of our non-essential services. If it is legal to do it when the budget runs out of money, then it should be legal at other times. But we can probably force the issue. If we I am President, how about we just don't ever sign a budget.

Then we just authorize spending on essential services with executive orders.

Sure, that means the President is usurping the power of the purse from congress. But its only fair. Congress has been usurping the power of Commander and Chief from the President since forever. Just check out the War Powers Resolution of 1973.

At this point you may be wondering how long this can go on. Well, there is only one way to find out. And that way is to try it out. After a few months of not getting any money, many government employees will have to start looking for real jobs. And that will be great.

It will be great for the economy to have all that pent up productivity put back into the private sector to grow the GDP and stimulate the economy.

And when those people have new jobs, they won't still be there when the bureaucracy they worked for opens their doors again. The longer the funding cut off lasts the better. More and more people will move back to the economy and stop trying to hold out for the government.

Anyway, that is just one thing that I would like to do if I were President to both balance our budget, shrink government and solve the need for immigrant workers. All at the same time.

Do you have a better idea? Think there is a problem with this one? Well speak up. You can't do a worse job that the current man we have in office. Nor, probably, than the next one we will elect. So really there is nothing to fear.