Saturday, August 18, 2012

I know that I harp on the fact that those who refuse to learn history are doomed to repeat it but if it was not so true I would not keep saying it.  I believe that we can look back on history particularly the fall of Rome and see our history today and if we do not turn ourselves around and change things we will possibly go the way of Rome.  I believe that is very possibly the intend of our government now if they are not the pawns in the game some people are playing. 
If you read the third volume Caesar and Christ 1944 of an eleven book series by Will Durant called "The Story of Civilization" you can see the parallels between the Roman empire and its fall and the United States today.  At the end of this book Mr. Durant lists the major causes why this great civilization fell apart. 
First was biological and perhaps most important such as: the limitation of families, the deferment and avoidance of marriage, men and women refusing to bear the responsibilities of parenthood.  Sexual excesses were indulged in regularly both inside and outside of marriage, contraception and abortion were common with the result of reduced fertility.  Sex was rampant with moral decay the result. 
Second was the waste of natural resources in mining, deforestation, erosion, the neglect of irrigation canals and most important the failure to teach moral principles that are so necessary to build real and lasting character in the hearts of men. 
Third the rising costs of government because of armies, doles, public works, expanding bureaucracy, a parasitic court, depreciation of currency, absorption of investment capital by confiscatory taxation. 
Does any of this sound remotely familiar to the United States today?  Today many women are deferring marriage until later to finish college and start a career and when they do have children they are having fewer children.  These numbers of course do not include the women who would like to have children but struggle to do so.  And there are many women and couples who are choosing to have no children because they will not be able to live the lifestyle they wish to live if they have to care for and provide for children who are expensive.  The murals on the walls of Pompeii so stunningly preserved verify the sexual excesses that the Romans were indulging in and the fact that pornography and other aspects of society are such a lucrative business show where Americas focus is today. 
I believe that we are doing better in realizing that we need to use our natural resources better,  when I was young the paper mills would cut down trees with no thought to replacing them however now they replant trees that they cut down so that there will be more in the future, there are also hybrid cars, etc.  The one area where we are falling behind is in teaching our young to be people of character.  It used to be that a man's word was his bond and we expected to pay our debts now however we need lengthy contracts and lawyers to make sure we are not being ripped off.  If I can steal from you and not get caught then I am successful.  Ethics of the past are a thing no more.  We do not value the elderly and we most certainly do not love our neighbors as ourselves. 
I could probably write for pages on the third issue that fell Rome and I think that we can all see how these issues are affecting America today.  We are moving toward a socialistic society to the detriment of the country.   Rome had a policy of at first handing out grain to every citizen and then bread, these handouts were expensive which led to higher taxation.  According to  Bruce Bartlett in How Excessive Government Killed Ancient Rome this taxation was more than just a war on wealth but an effort to eradicate the Senatorial (or wealthy) class they did this by illegally confiscating or taxing away all wealth and once the wealthy could no longer pay the states bills the responsibility fell to the lower classes. "The heavier the pressure of the state on the upper classes, the more intolerable became the condition of the lower" (Rostovtzeff 1957: 430). With the collapse of the money economy, the normal system of taxation also broke down. This forced the state to directly appropriate whatever resources it needed wherever they could be found. Food and cattle, for example, were requisitioned directly from farmers. We have not reached this point yet but with fifty percent of Americans receiving some sort of assistance and the government wanting to hand out more and telling us that the rich need to pony  up more and more so that things can be fair are we far from it?
The Romans also devalued their currency. At one point the denarius was widely accepted around the known world because it was known that the silver content in the coin was consistent and fair, however when the revenues in Rome began to fall the government decided to reduce the amount of silver in the coin thus devaluing it. This reducing of silver in the coin led to people hoarding the older more valuable coins and paying taxes and purchasing items with the lesser valued coin which led to reduced revenues instead of increasing them as was hoped.   We can see here in America where the rich are hoarding their money instead of creating wealth or they are just outright putting it in offshore or out of country accounts.  I believe that the co-founder of  Facebook moved to an Asian country in order to keep his hard earned money because the government here wants to take it in the interests of fairness ie "you did not build that". 
I believe as Ezra Taft Benson who served as the Secretary of Agriculture does that if the founding fathers were here today they would see that we have allowed our freedoms to be abridged and that we the people have developed a tendency to call for help from the federal government instead of relying on ourselves when times are hard.  So what would the founders have asked themselves in these times?
First for any new program they would have asked could this program be done more effectively by the government or by ourselves?  Is it the government who should be feeding our poor and needy or should we on the local level take care of that?  They believed that government is best which govern least not most, that government seems to be inherently wasteful and inefficient. 
Second how will this program affect the morale and the character of the people?  The founders believed that character, not wealth or power or position is of prime importance. 
Third how will this program affect our free institutions, the church, the school, the home and our local governments?  So many of these programs and intuitions are being governed from Washington instead of at home where they should be. 
The founders would be searching for a way to stem the tide of moral decline, they would observe the tendency for men in high places to put political expediency ahead of principle, and would be very alarmed with the something for nothing mentality. We should be like our founding fathers and search for answers, teach our neighbors that this country was based on religious principles and will only retain its greatness if we return to the principles on which this country was founded.   
As President Lincoln stated
     We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven.  We have been preserved these many years, in the peace and prosperity.  We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown; but we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to God that made us.  It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness. 

Will Durant: The Story of Civilization
Ezra Taft Benson: America-What of the Future

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Life Is Not Fair!
Lately I have noticed a trend in our society especially our government and that is that they all want things to be fair.  They want to make it so that money is distributed fairly i.e. take from the rich and give to the poor.  The problem with this attitude is that life is not fair and our constitution does not guarantee fairness to all people, if you read the Declaration of Independence  it states that
        "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
America provides an opportunity for all citizens to pursue happiness but it is not guaranteed or assured.  And if you do achieve success what right do I have to lay claim to any of it.  The amazing thing about America's capitalism is that anyone can attain that elusive 1% and make tons of money such as Bill Gates, Glenn Beck, and Mitt Romney.   These people had an idea and turned it into money and they should be allowed to keep that money.  I certainly love what I do but know that I will never become wealthy teaching high school History to kids in custody, unless I have an idea that rivals the Pet Rock,  and that is my choice.  However, society seems to feel that life should be fair and that I should pay for the man who went out and fathered 30 children or provide for those who chose to sleep through school or to not to attend school at all and now have no skills to with which to obtain a job. 
President Obama told Joe the Plumber, “I think when you spread the wealth around it’s good for everybody.” He is once again forgetting history and that taking from the rich to give to the poor might make a good Disney movie (Robin Hood) but it does not work in real life for the following reasons from Capitalist in Chief
  • Much of the money that goes to the government ends up being wasted, resulting in ineffective government programs, and less wealth for EVERYBODY.
  • Many are tempted to assume that money collected by the government goes to help the poor and downtrodden. However, much of that money ends up in the hands of the rich and politically connected, those who have the most resources and ability to lobby for it.
  • Socialism concentrates money and power in the hands of the government. When government grows, the greedy and corrupt don’t go away. Conversely, they now have a more powerful tool in their hands, the government itself
  • The richer you are, the easier it is for you to avoid increasing taxation and leave the bill to the middle class.
  • A soak-the-rich, high tax strategy inhibits the economy. And who is hurt the most by a slow economy? Not the rich!
  • The transfer of earned wealth that socialist policies mandate are a detriment to entrepreneurship and innovation. Entrepreneurship and innovation are driven by the potential for material rewards. If we take away or reduce the material rewards, we’ll have less innovation. Less innovation means less of all the cool, useful, and life-saving stuff we all love
  • High taxes and government regulations make it more difficult to start and grow a business, thereby leaving much greater opportunities for those who are already rich and have the resources to overcome those difficulties.
  • Social programs create more demand and need for those very programs in a self perpetuating cycle because given government handouts, people come to expect and rely on them. And therefore, you can never spend enough, because the more you do, the greater the need to do so becomes.
  • Social programs are a disincentive to work and act responsibly. After all, if some or all of your needs are taken care of, and if someone else picks up the tab whenever something goes wrong, why would you worry about such minor details as work ethic, productivity, financial responsibility and family obligations? Consequently, when productivity takes a downturn, leading to a shrinking economy, guess who suffers… everybody! Oh and as always, the rich suffer the least.
  • A combination of the above points causes a vicious cycle of decreasing revenues and increasing demand for social spending that results in a socialist government running out of money and having ‘no choice’ but to perpetuated tax increases to every level of society, rich and poor.
  • Socialism causes poverty because it slows economic growth and progress through government waste, taxation on productive economic activity, discouraging innovation and the creation of hurdles for business. In addition, socialism causes poverty because it creates a disincentive to work and act responsibly.
  • Socialism causes inequality because much of the money that goes to the government ends up in the hands of the rich and politically connected, it’s easier for wealthy individuals to avoid taxes, and it creates hurdles for business that the wealthy find easier to overcome. Socialism is a way for the rich to shut the door behind them, preventing those who are on their way up from reaching their destination.
  • Liberalism tends to liken inequality to injustice, therefore, just by using the standards set by liberal thinking, socialism causes injustice because of the inequality it promotes. But more directly, socialist policies (wealth redistribution, social programs, and regulation) necessitate a larger, more powerful, more meddling, government that becomes a powerful tool for the wealthy, politically connected, and bureaucrats on “power trips” to take advantage of the rest of society.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is capitalism which makes life better for everyone.  As Joseph Schumpeter put it in Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, capitalism "progressively raises the standard of life of the masses....One problem after another of the supply of commodities to the masses has been successfully solved by being brought within the reach of the methods of capitalist production." Think Steve Jobs and computers in every home.  He had an idea working from his garage he was able to build a company that changed the world as we know it.  Cell phones, cars, medical advances came about because of capitalism. 
I usually equate this issue to grades as that is how my students can relate.  If student A works hard, gives up on some social time to make sure that they have a straight A average and student B chooses to party all the time and to not study and gets C's and D's should we average out the grades to make things fair?  I am pretty sure that at least student A would not feel that it would be fair to do all the work so that student B can get good grades as well.  This analogy might not work for President Obama because he won't release his transcripts so we don't know what his grades are he might like this system as well. 
Here is another one that might help do you all remember the story of the "Little Red Hen"  she found some seeds and asked "who will help me plant these seeds" and everyone says "not I" so she plants the seeds this goes on with reaping the seeds, grinding the seeds, making the bread until we get to who will help me eat the bread and of course everyone wanted in on that one.  No one wanted to do any of the work but they certainly wanted to reap the rewards.  
President Obama I have news for you LIFE IS NOT FAIR! If it was you would not have gone to Harvard, married a beautiful woman, had two wonderful daughters, been given the orating skills that you have, and certainly would not have been able to  play 100 rounds of golf over the last 4 years at the taxpayers' expense.  Wake up and quit trying to destroy America.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

“quantitative easing,” and Operation Twist June 20, 2012

     The twist here is how the Feds are trying to twist our economy into  a terrible mess.  As George Santayana said "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." And our government cannot or will not remember history.  If you do not know today our Federal Reserve decided to stimulate the economy by printing "as much money as needed to revive the crippled banking system" (Edmond L. Andrews)
      As of today the "government has assumed at least $7 trillion in direct and indirect financial obligations in the form of Wall Street bailouts, emergency lending and government guarantees on bank deposits, inter-bank loans and home mortgages." (Andrews ) and they  the "Fed and the Treasury have stepped into finance consumer debt, from car loans and student loans to small business loans. The $200 billion program comes close to being a government bank" ( Andrews)  because they believe that they the government needs to step in to save us. 
The long-term risks are enormous and difficult to estimate. They begin with the danger of a new surge of inflation, at least after the economy comes out of its downturn. But they also include the hazards to taxpayers of taking responsibility for trillions of dollars in assets that may end up plunging in value. And they also raise unanswered questions about how the government will untangle itself from its new obligations, if it can indeed do so. (Andrews)
If the government would look to history to see that printing "as much money as they deem necessary to revive the banking system is seriously flawed and has only resulted in hyperinflation.  Hyperinflation occurs when a country experiences very high and usually accelerating inflation.  Hyperinflation results from a rapid and continuing increase in the supply of money, which occurs when a government prints money or creates credits in bank accounts this creates a vicious cycle.  Right now the Feds feel that they must print more money because banks are not loaning money and they feel that this money will stimulate the economy, however, history will prove that this is definitely not the case.  It will only result in a devaluing of the dollar and create more problems than it solves. 
     Both the Theories of Monetarism and Classical Economics maintain that Hyperinflation is born out of the irresponsibility of the financial authorities to borrow excess money and make payments of all its expenditures. Does this sound like our government today.  Their philosophy is that they can just borrow the money that they need to pay for all the money that they are printing.  At some point we the American people are going to have to pay the piper. 
     Hyperinflation effectively wipes out the purchasing power of private and public savings, distorts the economy in favor of the hoarding of real assets, causes the monetary base, whether specie or hard currency, to flee the country, and makes the afflicted area anathema to investment. This also sounds like America today. 
We can look to the past to see how printing excessive amounts of money has had a deleterious effect on economies such as the; Weimar Republic, Brazil, China and Argentina, even America in the past has succumb to the lure of printing exorbitant amounts of money as a means of easing financial woes with disastrous results. 
     America needs to wake up and learn from the past.  We cannot continue to spend ourselves into oblivion and then print money as if money grows on trees.  We need to become fiscally sound and our current administration does not seem to understand this concept. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

More of Obama's Appointees and Friends

Obama's Climate czar is Carol N. Browner who also served as the Environmental Protection Agency administrator during the Clinton administration and was Florida's Secretary of the Environment. She founded and continues to serve as a principal of the Albright Group a global strategy group. Ms. Browner is a Socialist activist who is a member of the Commission for a Sustainable World Society at Socialist International which is an umbrella group for 170 social democratic, socialist and labor parties in 55 companies. This group feels that capitalism is the cause of devastating crises, mass unemployment, imperialist expansion and colonial exploitation. They also contend that the developed world must reduce consumption and commit to binding and punitive limits on greenhouse gas emissions.
Once again by looking to his appointees and friends we can see who Obama is and what he really believes in. Obama believes in social justice and has stated several times that his salvation is dependent upon collective salvation or his saving all of us. This is contrary to what I believe. I believe that I am responsible for my own salvation, that I do not need big government to tell me how to live my life and I certainly do not what the money made here in America being taken from us and given to poorer countries as Obama's advisers have all stated that they want to do.

Please vote on November 2, 2010 and vote for the person who will bring out wonderful country back to where it should be.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The American Education Diet: Can U.S. Students Survive On Junk Food?

I was recently reading in my local paper how the students in my state were not doing much better than the states with a comparable demographic. Utah is a state that has a high ratio of college educated parents who seem to be concerned about the education of their children however Utah is one of the lowest in per student spending. Our governor and State Superintendent of Schools feel that we are so successful because we can do so much with so little. But if we are not really doing much better than other states who spend more how can we be successful? We are just getting by. We are not pushing ourselves to be the best. If we are going to compete globally in the coming years we need to be improving in all areas and making sure that our students have the education necessary to compete.
America tests in the middle of other countries
Percentage of U.S. eighth-graders testing at or above proficient in math:

• Massachusetts 51%
• Higher than any other state.
Countries that did better on a comparable test:
Singapore 73%

Hong Kong 66%

Korea 65%

Taiwan 61%

Japan 57%

• Mississippi
• Lower than any other state
• (Only the District of Columbia did worse 8%.)

We cannot continue to be mediocre we must strive for excellence and to be the best or we will lose our edge to those countries such as China and India who are willing to put in the effort to help their students succeed.

Below is a report on student education in America that is worth the time to read.

The American Education Diet: Can U.S. Students Survive On Junk Food?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

If you listen to the post below this women states that she would be the first to put a pillow over a suffering babies face and smother it to death because it would be the best thing to do. Another man Peter Singer wants to make it legal to "kill a baby up to 2 years old if the parents are dissatisfied with their child or if the child is disabled or weak.
I have worked with people with disabilities since I was ten years old. I have friends who have severely disabled children and do not know a single parent that would put a pillow over their child's face because it would save them some inconvenience. We know a family whose daughter was born with CHARGE syndrome and has struggled her whole life, but this beautiful girl is so amazing she makes all who are around her smile and happy. We love being around this lovely girl and could not imagine how anyone could consider having put a pillow over her face and snuff out her life.
What are these people thinking to believe that we want to snuff out the lives of those with disabilities or who are weaker than we are. Those with disabilities should be protected and loved.