Monthly Archives: December 2012

Thoughts on the Fiscal Cliff

I’m concerned about our country.  We must cut federal expenditures as we promote growth in our economy with reforms in taxes, regulations, laws and entitlements.  Otherwise, the best we can hope for is slow growth domestically.

President Obama is out of touch with economic realities in his constant chant to “tax the rich,” which he defines as income of $200,000/year for a single person or $250,000/year as a married couple.  His tax policy plays on the very negative emotion of envy.

Democrats and Republicans must unite on a fiscal path that will address the huge deficit we have, as well as our $16 trillion debt and entitlement obligations.  To do otherwise invites a currency crisis, hyperinflation, slow or no growth and worldwide depression, or some combination of all of these.

The fiscal cliff—an arbitrary spending and tax measure—must be put aside with Democrats and Republicans doing what is best for the country.  Look on this as an opportunity to address the deep fiscal problems of our nation.  All in Washington, including staff, lobbyists, politicians—everyone, must put our country and the world first.  Courage is essential.  The politicians know what needs to be done.  So let’s do it!

The future is all we have ahead of us.  We must take care now to put reelection and negative values completely out of the compromise formula.  The negative values that I am referring to are hate, greed and envy.  The compromise must reflect wisdom, character and kindness.

The Truth About Our Economy

I want my website to tell my view of the truth and that is, in part, that the fruits of capitalism made our country what it is—the largest economy in the world, at least for now.  Right now our Republicans in the House and Senate are trying to fight for a nation that doesn’t allow the government to go bankrupt, dragging our country down with it.  It could happen with a currency crisis.  It may happen with a prolonged period of low or negative growth as in Japan.  But the consequences of not addressing government spending, entitlements, taxes, regulations and so forth in a pro-business, pro-growth fashion could very soon be a huge disaster.

My website comes down definitely on the side of capitalism tempered with democracy and free, fair trade.  Government should serve the people, not the reverse.  Self-discipline in government, including our politicians, should be the watchword of the day, every day.  We simply can’t afford to pay out anything for which we have to borrow 40ȼ on the dollar.

We must bring our federal expenditures under control.  It is difficult to see how we can do it with a president who is disengaged and basically incompetent, totally dependent on his advisors.  Our republic is at stake in many ways.

I hope, wish and pray that somehow we can come up with a united front of Democrats and Republicans to save our republic.  Because that is what is at stake.  A worldwide depression with a currency crisis in the United States would bring havoc to our present and future.

Unfortunately much is in the hands of President Obama and the Democrats who really don’t appreciate capitalism and individual effort.  It’s sort of like the book, Uncharitable, except that what’s at stake here is our entire nation that might go bankrupt.

Living Within Our Means – As Individuals and a Country

I am making a tight personal/business budget and I fully intend to live within it.  If my income exceeds what is expected I may do some of the things in my preliminary budget.  But I fully intend to live within my income.

Congress—Democrats and Republicans—ought to adopt sound growth and spending policies.  We simply can’t continue to have deficits that are over $1 trillion.  We must look at the future in a realistic manner, rather than through the smoke and mirrors used so often in the past.  Interest on the federal debt could skyrocket at any time.  We must look on the fiscal cliff as an opportunity.

Laying off federal workers in a sane, measured, wise way is part of the solution.  Bringing federal salaries in line with the private sector (considering pension and medical benefits) is another necessary action.  Democrats and Republicans must unite on this action and implement it in a kind way.

Delayed Gratification

I’ve had a four and a half hour session with Billy Duncan, an Ameriprise Financial Planner whom I’ve known about ten years.  My budget is difficult, partly because my covered call income is not highly predictable as is dividend or interest income.  Also, I have some personal expenses that I find it hard to cut, such as meals.

Financial literacy includes financial discipline, which is not easy, but is necessary.

My nature is to give in a generous fashion, and if good fortune through my writing, television or investing comes about, I will be able to continue to be generous.  But in the long run, both personally and nationally, if we don’t take stock financially in a serious way, a few years from now we won’t be able to do the things that need to be done then.

I certainly want to be there to help my daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren when they have a special need in the future.  Our nation and people will have needs in the future.  We may delay gratification personally and as a nation for our own needs and that of others.  We can and we must.  Day by day I will try to save money just as those in Washington should do with far more pervasive ramifications.

Delayed gratification is a concept that should be incorporated in self-discipline and government discipline.  It’s hard on either level, but the concept is the same.  In Washington right now our leaders must turn from everlasting deficits toward, not only a balanced budget, but a smaller one, eliminating duplication and waste in our federal government.

Entitlements must be reformed.  Regulations must be stripped to the bare minimum in order for capitalism and the free market to furnish both government and our people the fruit of higher productivity.  We can and we must.

Taxes ought to be completely reformed to a flat tax as in twenty-seven other countries.  We shouldn’t shoot ourselves in the foot with a tax system that no one understands.

If I’m willing to try cutting my budget, why shouldn’t Uncle Sam?  The implications one way or another of my personal budget are not important for our country or the world, but our nation’s financial state is crucial not only to our people, but to the future of our planet.

A United States that is weak militarily and economically spells disaster for our world.  President Reagan understood this and was able to effect tremendous change for good.  I believe if we achieve a world full of stable, robust, prosperous democracies, we can have a world of permanent peace.  We can and we must.

The motivation must be there, personally or nationally on the part of our elected leaders.  I can only hope, wish and pray that Democrats and Republicans will use this “fiscal cliff” as an opportunity put in place what informed people know ought to be done and don’t fall into a finger-pointing political game.

Let the hearts and minds of Democrats and Republicans somehow feel the Christmas spirit and do what needs to be done, and if they search their minds and hearts they will know what that will be.

Innovation and the Economy

We are in the Innovation Age and we must innovate in government toward lessgovernment.  Regulations and laws complicate life and inhibit the free market.  We need dynamic regulations that are market-based and don’t vary unless definitely warranted.

I am very worried about President Obama and the Democrats and their unyielding stance to defend the indefensible, leading us toward a worldwide depression.  At least Governor Romney and the Republicans understood the gravity of our situation and would have gone about actually enacting the solutions.

Both sides must work in a united way that adds up, for in many ways it’s a matter of arithmetic.  But, of course, political courage is needed by all to save America and the world from a global depression.  We can do it!  We must do it!  We must not fight for political advantage.  We must instead innovate.

President Obama must be engaged in a meaningful way, for the status quo will result in disaster for the United States and the world.  The arithmetic simply doesn’t work with the status quo.  Read Senator Tom Coburn’s fine book The Debt Bomb, which in the first half vividly describes the problems and in the second half presents solutions which most, if not all, in Washington know about.  What are needed, according to Senator Coburn and me, is courage and a united front so our people are convinced that these solutions are absolutely necessary.  Everything must be on the table.

Everything must be done very soon in a kind way, but with tough love to avoid much larger problems ahead.  This is not something that faces our children and grandchildren.  It is here and now pressing down, slowing our economy because of the great uncertainty.  High debt and high obligations can and do press down on individuals, economies and governments.  We must act!

And “we” is the right word, because both Democrats and Republicans must act.  Our political system requires this united front.  President Reagan was able to confront, quite successfully, the enormous economic turmoil he faced in 1981.  We can and must study his actions and apply them to our current situation.

 

Supporting charities

Support of one or more charities is a very important part of life for those who have time or money to share.  That role shouldn’t be the last thing on one’s list of responsibilities, but, rather, high on that list.  Dan Pallotta’s 2009 book Uncharitable shows that the public applies different criteria to charities and for-profit enterprises, primarily overhead or administrative and fundraising expenses.

The author explained how the greatest problems of the world—hunger, homelessness, AIDS, diseases of all kinds and on and on—deserve the best and the brightest.  Yet those individuals are definitely not attracted to nonprofits because of their reluctance to offer outstanding compensation for outstanding performance or to invest in advertising and long-term planning.

I believe capitalism has produced much for humankind because it incorporates human nature into its formula.  The author believes that this formula ought to be applied to nonprofits as well as for-profits.

Why should outstanding persons who work for nonprofits not get outstanding compensation?  After all, they are seeking the end of hunger, homelessness, AIDS and other ills, worthy goals all, not selling more widgets.

Federal spending must be cut

I’m worried about my own prediction, because I really believed all along that it was true that the reelection of President Obama would lead to a worldwide depression.  If the President listens to reason and is responsible about tackling all our fiscal problems, the things I said on this website about the debacle may be avoided.

We simply can’t keep spending 40¢ on the dollar to borrow money.  We cannot have a “kicking-down-the-road” kind of solution.  The federal government must be examined from top to bottom to cut duplication and waste.  Salaries (taking pensions and medical benefits into consideration) ought to be lower than comparable private industry levels.  Employees who must be laid off must be treated kindly, with optional occupational interest tests, aptitude tests and outplacement services, including counseling in self-employment, with these services provided by private sector contractors.  I personally went through a reduction in force and found a job in another federal agency.  That avenue also would be open as a possibility for employees in the private sector who go through a reduction in force.

We must focus on the economy

I bought, wrote and decided how much money to put in each Christmas card.  I cut back fifty percent from what I had intended to give because I am not confident about my financial future or that of our nation and world.

We need leadership in Washington, and we also are in great need of a united effort to solve our very real and genuine fiscal problems.  The future is all we have ahead of us.  We must take care to assure it, not only for generations to come, but for the present wellbeing of all Americans and people around the world.  Time is running out to allow a genuinely united and worthwhile solution to our fiscal crisis.  President Obama can delegate, but he must not abdicate his responsibilities.  And those in Congress—both Democrats and Republicans—must do their part, too.

This is serious.  We must act and act now—no kicking the can down the road or putting  politics and reelection prospects first.  This time must be different, very different for all.

And if all participate with the fiscal sacrifices that must be made, I believe the people will understand.  We need courage.  Self-preservation is a powerful motivation.  It caused me to cut my cash Christmas gifts in half to both my family and non-family.  I don’t have confidence in the future in terms of investing, business, our economy or the world economy.

Those in Washington must unite in a bipartisan manner or else face a worldwide depression, and then they’ll really be blamed.  We need to innovate in our federal government.  My website presents a path to eventual prosperity.  All our politicians should rise up and be counted as status persons, aware that the poor and middle class will suffer the most in a worldwide depression.  Right now I see nothing that has changed my mind that that is the direction in which we are headed.

It’s not what is here and now.  The crisis occurs when we have a currency crisis, hyperinflation and all the poor reflections of businesses closings and such.  The time is now to prevent these calamities.  Time is short, but we must act in a bipartisan way with courage, honor, honesty, character, competence and wisdom.  Otherwise, many people will suffer.

The numbers are baffling, but we must be wise and competent in addressing them, and certainly not be focused on reelection consequences.  This must be a united approach for good, an honest search for truth.

Our country has prospered under capitalism tempered by democracy with free, fair trade.  We must do everything we can to prolong that market capitalism mechanism in order to motivate our must treasured asset—our people.  The role of government must be smaller, not bigger.  We can’t afford bigger.  It’s as simple as that.

I believe if Democrats and Republicans demonstrate real courage and leadership, good things will happen, not only in our government, Americans and the world, but to them personally.

Our government once, on a bipartisan basis, adjusted a sacred cow—Social Security.  We can do this again and much more, not on a confrontational, adversary basis, but in a caring, wise, and sincere manner.  We can and we must.

It’s a matter of self-discipline.  Instead of members of Congress focusing on reelection possibilities, they must concentrate on our people, our nation, and the pressing priorities of a dismal future without a united, positive and realistic approach to this Innovation Age.  We must innovate or we are lost, lost as members of Congress and as a people.

America is a force for good in the world.  That involves a strong economy and a global military presence.  Without prosperity, not only do we lose but the world loses.  I don’t mean that our road will be easy.  But many of the answers to our fiscal problems are simple.  Though the solutions are difficult to enact and solve, we can and we must take the steps.

The world is watching us as it was when we formed our experiment of democracy in a world of kings.  We must lead in a prudent way, in the way of capitalism tempered with democracy, not the failed way of collectivism.  We can and we must.

Self-discipline is a must on all levels, for individual, politicians, everyone.  It involves every aspect of our lives: diet, exercise, rest, sleep, good friends, and family, everything—a holistic approach to life, including a spiritual respect that helps guide one’s life in a kind and altruistic manner.  Our life is a gift from God, and we should treat it as such.

Let every member of Congress and the president give a Christmas gift to the American people and the world of a well-crafted economic and governmental plan.  We simply can’t afford a socialistic type of plan.