Not the time for profits?

Saturday, January 31, 2009 Comments

Yesterday, Obama said, "There will be time for them to make profits, and there will be time for them to get bonuses -- now is not that time." This was in reference to bank CEO's getting large bonuses after receiving bailout funds.

Now, personally I think that CEO's of failing banks should have been fired by their boards rather than bailed out by the government. That's what typically happens in any other company that is failing. No one is "too big to fail." In fact, success is often only possible with the lessons learned from failure.

Having said that though, I take issue with Obama's continual assaults on capitalism. Profits are not evil. Companies who make profits create jobs and create wealth for their shareholders, many of whom are average Americans who own shares through a 401(k).

Bonuses are not evil either, they offer incentive to meet and exceed performance goals, which in turn benefits the company. When companies do well, their employees, shareholders, and communities benefit.

Companies who are unprofitable will end up having to lay off employees and will eventually go out of business if they remain unprofitable. Our entire economy depends on having profitable businesses. So to say that "now is not the time for profits" makes absolutely no sense.

In fact, now more than ever we need businesses to find a way to make profits because that is the only way we can grow our economy and hope to pull out of this recession.

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Imagine the potential...

Friday, January 30, 2009 Comments

I love this ad, what a powerful and positive message.

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More on the economic "stimulus"

Tuesday, January 27, 2009 Comments

The 250+ page stimulus bill is now a revised 647 page stimulus bill.

There is a summary from the Committee on Appropriations posted here. Here are some highlights:

It starts off by repeating the line that this is a crisis not seen since the Great Depression. I respectfully disagree -- as bad as it is, it isn't yet as bad as the economy was during Carter's administration. Continual references to the Depression era are simply meant to scare us into giving the government carte blanche to do whatever they want. And what they want, is a new New Deal. Which is a bad idea, especially considering the first New Deal didn't work.

A little further down, it states, "This package is the first crucial step in a concerted effort..." Wait, hold on a minute. They're telling us that this $825 billion spending bill is just a "first step"?! Are they $%^&* kidding? Putting aside the fact that calling this a first step completely ignores the fact that we just passed a $700 billion spending bill a few short months ago, and we haven't even finished spending that yet. So if this bloated bill is just one step, what on earth do we have to look forward to? This bill alone is a black hole of spending with a ridiculous wish-list of things that have little or nothing to do with actually stimulating the economy, I can't even imagine what else they have in mind to follow this, or how many "steps" we are talking about here. I'm not sure I even want to know, but the question needs to be asked.

There is more in the commentary that I take issue with, but let's move on to what's actually in the bill.

Green energy and global warming initiatives are found throughout the bill. $54 billion in the section specifically labelled as energy-related, but there are additional amounts sprinkled throughout other sections that mention they are specifically for global warming / climate change (for example, $400 million to NASA for climate change research and $600 million to the Nat'l Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for climate sensors and modeling). I'm not sure how spending money to combat global warming, especially when there is increasing evidence that there is no global warming (actually appears to be the opposite), stimulates the economy. If anything, forcing manufacturers to meet global-warming-inspired regulations will have the opposite effect in that it will increase costs to manufacturers and therefore to consumers.

Expanding government healthcare is another recurring theme here. In fact, $600 million is specifically identified to "prepare our country for universal healthcare." I don't see how that helps the economy either. Again, it would seem to me that it will have the opposite effect.

Looks like a lot of state "bailouts" here also, and my issue with that is that it rewards states who have mismanaged their budgets and overspent, while essentially penalizing states that have made the tough decisions and managed their budgets appropriately (forcing taxpayers from those states to foot the bill for the irresponsible states). This only encourages more irresponsible spending at the state / local level in the future.

There is significant expansion of government programs here, most of which I just don't see how that stimulates the economy. Sounds more like a laundry list of what the Dems have wanted to spend money on for years that they think they can push through in an "economic stimulus" bill that they couldn't otherwise if each issue had to stand alone on its merits.

There is a fair amount of money in the bill devoted to assisting those who have lost jobs (expanding unemployment, COBRA, and medicaid) and at least this has some relationship to the current problem. However, it treats the symptoms and does nothing to help the underlying cause.

In fact, only $530 million of the $825 billion package, or 0.1%, actually appears to be directed specifically to small business, which is the backbone of the economy (there is nothing directed to large businesses). And interestingly, much of that appears to be in the form of loans whereas all of the government entities will receive cash that does not need to be paid back.

There is mention made of tax relief for "95%" of American workers (note here it says "workers" while on the campaign trail I'm pretty sure it was just "Americans") but no dollar amount is specified as to how much that is.

Interestingly enough, someone was vindictive enough to add that Governor Blagojevich may not direct the use of funds provided in the package. I'm not sure why that was necessary, if he remains governor then it would be his job to direct the use of funds that come to his state (although based on the wording it sounds like his state gets nothing if he is still governor), and if he is impeached and no longer governor, than it would go without saying that he would not be directing use of funds. So it seems rather childish and unnecessary to me.

This bill will be coming up for vote in the next day or so, so if you have some input, now is the time to contact your Senators & Representative. has some great analysis on this and what the implications are:

Stimulus 101
Commentary on the stimulus package
Nothing temporary about this spending
How the stimulus bill undercuts parental authority

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Thoughts on Pelosi's comments

Monday, January 26, 2009 Comments

Just when I thought I might be a little overly paranoid about what happens when the government has too much control over the healthcare system, I saw this on the news this morning. It's been played over and over throughout the day, and this evening I saw that this has actually been removed from the stimulus bill. That's great, but I think it's still worth looking closer at this in the context of the implications of socialized medicine (aka universal healthcare).

Here's the video clip:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hundreds of millions of dollars to expand family planning services. How is that stimulus?

PELOSI: Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children's health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those - one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So no apologies for that?

PELOSI: No apologies. No. we have to deal with the consequences of the downturn in our economy.

This is really disturbing to me. It sounds great on paper to talk about everyone having "free" healthcare, but the reality is that it would be a disaster not only from a medical care standpoint, but just from the perspective of allowing the government increasing levels of control over our lives.

Over the years we as a country have often complained about the risks of having insurance companies making decisions about what kind of medical care their customers can have access to. Now imagine a government bureaucrat with that power. Scary thought, IMO.

Aside from the usual worries about what it would mean for waiting times to receive treatment, quality of care, and accessibility vs. rationing of care, as a mother of special needs children, I am particularly concerned about what the implications of socialized medicine would be for those with special needs.

Once the entire country depends on the government for medical coverage, how long will it be before the government starts discriminating against those with disabilities with regard to decisions on medical care because the cost is deemed "too high"?

Worse still, if the Speaker of the House can sit there and say with a straight face that family planning equates to reducing cost and is therefore a good thing for the government to be focused on, then how long before someone in the government decides to start forcing "family planning" on American citizens?

It may sound crazy, but it already happens in other countries. China enforces a "one-child" law, and in Belgium, the government can and has forced the killing of children with disabilities up to one year old in their efforts to "build a better society." In our own country, children who are found during pregnancy to have disabilities are routinely aborted.

Is it really such a stretch to fear that, if given control over and responsibility for the healthcare of all Americans, the government may one day decide that they have a right to make life and death decisions in the name of the "greater good"?

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Obama = Bush 3?

Sunday, January 25, 2009 Comments

Obama basically ran his entire campaign against George W. Bush more so than against John McCain, accusing McCain of being "Bush III" and railing against the "failed policies of the past." While I don't agree with everything Bush did during his term in office, I would hardly say that everything he did was a "failed policy."

That being said, one policy that he pushed for, the $700B bailout (that ended up being upwards of $850B once all the pork was piled on) is one that I would categorize as a "failed policy." One that the Democrat-controlled Congress certainly shares responsibility for. Both Bush and Congress repeatedly appealed to a sense of urgency, insisting that something had to be done "before Friday" or there would be dire consequences.

Well, it wasn't done by that Friday, and no catastrophe ensued. Still, they insisted that disaster was imminent without immediate government action in the form of this ridiculously bloated spending bill, and it ultimately passed.

So here we are a few months later. The economy continues to falter, although it is by no means the "worst since the Depression," nor is it an "unprecedented crisis," as we've been led by the Chicken-Little's in the government and MSM to believe. The first $350B of last fall's stimulus bill has been spent with apparently no oversight, and no one can tell us where the money went, nor can they point to any noticeable impact on the economy to justify the spending. Despite this apparent failure, our new president and many in Congress tell us what we really need is to spend yet another $825B, possibly more.

Really? This is change? This is turning the page on the "failed policies of the past?" Because I have to say, it sure sounds a lot more like not only continuing failed economic policies, but taking them to unprecedented (there's that word again) levels that will burden our children, grandchildren, even great-grandchildren with a crushing national debt. And they're just getting started - some are already saying "this may not be enough." Unbelievable.

Here is a link to the full text of the proposed $825B stimulus bill as it stands now.

Over the next few days, time permitting, I plan to go through this and put together a list of what exactly makes up that $825B of spending. I've seen bits and pieces here and there, but I have yet to see a complete list. It's over 250 pages though, and I have a family in addition to working full-time, so please be patient! :)

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Saying farewell

Monday, January 19, 2009 Comments

The other day I watched the latter part of President Bush's farewell speech, and a few things struck me as I listened. Now, anyone who knows me, knows that I have been critical of Bush on a number of points over the years (the recent bailout fiasco for one). But at his core, George W. Bush is a good and decent man. I think that often gets lost in the shuffle amid all the Bush-bashing that's out there. Much is said about his approval rating in the 30's, little is said of Congress' approval rating in the teens.

Regardless of any policy decisions we may or may not agree with, I believe that President Bush has by and large done what he felt was right, whether or not it was popular or politically expedient. I hope that history remembers that about him. And to his credit, he has succeeded in preventing any terrorist attacks on our soil after 9/11. Who among us would have predicted that 7 years ago?

I was also struck by a deep appreciation for our founders and the system of government they established for us. The peaceful transition of power from one administration to the next is a blessing. America is a great nation, and I wish our incoming president the best as he takes the oath of office tomorrow. Although we face some serious immediate challenges, I have to believe that we will find a way to meet those challenges and emerge stronger for it.

UPDATE - Just got word that Bush has commuted the sentences of border patrol agents Ramos and Compean. I would have liked to see a full pardon, but I'm extremely happy to hear that these two men will be returning to their families soon.

Related links:
History will show that George W. Bush was right
Bush Exits

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Is it just me, or...

Monday, January 5, 2009 Comments

did anyone else wonder why BO's slogan sounded so familiar? I'm slow so ya'll probably made the connection long before I did, but it finally dawned on me a couple of weeks ago where I'd heard it before:

Yep, that would be Bob the Builder. "Can we fix it? Yes we can!" ROFL.

Next he'll be asking us to be "really useful engines" or accusing Congress of "causing confusion and delay" (ala Thomas the Tank Engine). Or punctuating his speeches with "fishpaste!" or "barnacles!" (ala Spongebob). Hehe, I think I'd prefer that to his "enough!" speech. Or maybe he'll replace that "office of the president-elect" sign with a big pawprint and invite us to play "Obama's Clues" to figure out how much his latest economic stimulus package is going to cost the American taxpayers. Get out your handy-dandy notebook...

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