Why Roberts voted the way that he did…

The news and opinion media have it all wrong about Chief Justice John Roberts and his recent vote on the Supreme Court for the “lack-of-healthcare tax”. (Shh! Don’t call it a penalty.)

John Roberts did not “flip” from some Republican ideology to a Democrat one. He simply voted for Big Business.

Cry me a river about how he was a traitor to Republican ideals and I will tell you that he did what Big Republicans always do: he voted for Big Business. They never met an industry they did not like.

Imagine the boon for “Big Insurance” now: Everyone must have insurance. That is 30 million more Americans who will have it. Plus the prices can go up and you will have to contribute more out of your pocket and, gee, sorry, nobody expected this to happen. Cough. Plus Big Insurance can reduce their payments to hospitals and doctors because of the prophecy that some costs will go down.  I smell big profits for some companies as costs are shifted around.

How did Big Insurance carve out a program that allows them to be middlemen between the provider and the user for 30 million more Americans? That story will likely never be told. But I bet it is a good one. And in the meantime, America talks about something other than the outsourcing of federal and state patient care to insurance businesses for federal and state monies. Quite simply, “let’s add a middleman to the process and costs will go down” is a silly approach. But what industry would oppose any regulation that causes the tide to rise and float all boats?

Yes, I know there will be just  enough federal oversight to keep the lobbyists contributing to both the Republican and Democrat Party. There is some measure of relief in oversight but who needs it when there are other approaches?

I support a national healthcare plan that offers options to people. I don’t support forced healthcare insurance purchases as the only approach.

America tries all other possibilities before it tries the right one. Let’s hope we get to Phase 2 very quickly.

Supreme Court Expands Federal Authority Again!

They never saw an expansion of federal power they did not like: The Supreme Court of the United States.

Here is my version of the Supreme Court decision:  If you fail to buy a specific product (insurance) then you are required to pay a tax. You may call this the un-sales tax or the fail-to-purchase tax if you like. The federal government now has this authority because the Commerce Clause of the Constitution has more value to the Supreme Court than Common Sense.

Imagine if you made your own cheese and you failed to buy cheese at the grocery store. This is destructive to the cheese industry (stay with me)  so you must pay a tax. Why not? Isn’t this the same as health insurance? If you fail to eat cheese, starvation may result and then organ failure and death. But wait! Heaven forfend if you purchase cheese only when you are hungry. This is not helpful to the cheese industry.  You must pay for cheese whether or not you are hungry otherwise other people will have to pay more for their own cheese because you did not buy yours before you became hungry.  (snark!)

I can hardly wait for the day when my failure to buy Coca Cola, Charmin, or Listerine results in a tax.How about forcing me to pay a tax if I do not buy Depends every year? We all know that senior citizens will benefit from lower Depends prices so shouldn’t you and I be forced to buy them now to keep the price low for everyone else? You never know when you may need them. ‘Accidents’ happen, so they say.

This is why America must elect different politicians. The politicians for the past 60 years have mucked up the US Supreme Court to the point that you can be forced to pay a tax for what you do not buy whether you need it or not. How ridiculous is that?

The law is an ass because of the US Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is a mess because you and I keep electing Republicans and Democrats. If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got. Let’s learn a lesson from this.

President Obama no longer a Muslim?

…and a corollary “President Obama no longer foreign born?”

Seems like every week for three years, the Washington Times has published advertisements from organizations or individuals that harp about President Obama and his Muslim background. And every week there has been advertisements that tell readers how President Obama was born in Kenya or why he is not a born citizen of the United States. But things have changed at the right-wing polemic-publishing jag of journalism.

The advertisements now attack Obama for his biblically-hostile approach and for his war on freedom without being too clear on their meaning.

This is evidence that the campaign for President is well under way. Those pesky birthers who ginned up animosity towards Obama during the non-campaign season ( was there one?) may now be pulled from full page ads. What a relief!

Now, if only the WashTime would stop publishing the screeds decrying the downfall of America via President Obama. Malkin rips about cronyism and a gangster government, Murdock fumes about “Obama’s War on Bald Eagles”, and Keene exposes Obama’s secret plan to “crucify” his opponents. (Lovely word “crucify”(sarcasm)). I guess Keene had to use a Christian bow to wrap his message and Murdock had to invoke a threat to bald eagles to describe the dangers birds face from wind turbines.

The presidential campaign season may have just begun but the WashTimes has been campaigning against President Obama for many years.

The dirty little secret in all of this is that Washington is corrupted. The ‘image of Washington’ is marketed by both political parties to their advantage. They do this for one reason: to convince enough people to vote for them so they can drain the coffers of our country. First, those parties came for  legislative power, then they came for the National Treasury, and now those two political parties are organizing to take away America’s good name. Each in a different way. Some thieves take your money, other thieves take away your reputation. The two political parties are accomplishing both.

What will you do about it this year?

We need a new Washington, a new process, and different results.

What will you do about it this year?

We don’t want Republicans and Democrats working together to destroy America. Just look at the results over the past 50 years. Debt, Deficit, and Demagoguery.

What will you do about it this year?

I am doing something different by running for Congress.

What will you do about it this year?

Legislative Quality

Here is my latest letter to the editor-Dale

 

If Congress made sausages would you eat one?

Decades of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations ensures that Americans can safely eat sausage from the grocery store. From the farmer to the packager to the retailer, the FDA provides food safety for all Americans. But what regulation ensures that Congress produces good legislative sausage for America? I can’t think of any.

What can go wrong when making sausage? First, people may not know how to make good sausage. Second, the sausage product can be made with tainted ingredients. Third, it can be made without a recipe or else with the wrong ingredients. In the first case, teaching Congress how to make legislative sausage will help. In the second case, ensuring that only quality ingredients are in the sausage will improve it. In the third case, ensuring that those ol’ sausage makers follow a legislative recipe will bring consistent quality sausage for everyone. Judging by recent legislation, we need a legislative ‘FDA’ to ensure we have laws that don’t make us all sick to our stomachs.

If America can make quality sausages for you and I, why can’t it make quality legislation? We know that Republicans and Democrats have been making bad legislation for decades now. This time let’s try something different. Think differently and vote independently in 2012.

 

Walker and the Recall Election

Tuesday is the big day in Wisconsin. How will you vote?

It depends upon how you perceive what this election is about (unions, status quo, budget issues)  but to many people it is about the strength of the Republican Party versus the strength of the Democratic Party.

Each side is apparently mobilized to go to the polls. The outcome may be decisive on union busting but it will likely not be more than just a battle between the side with economic power and the side with ballot power.

 

Economic Stimulation

Why do we incent the rich by giving them tax breaks (more money in their pockets) and we incent the poor by taking government support away from them (less money in their pockets).

If you agree that consumers drive the American economy, would it not make more sense to give money to the poor to buy goods they do not already own?

If you agree that more businesses make for a stronger economy, wouldn’t it also make sense to reduce the money given to rich people to incent them to start more businesses in order to make up for the money they are losing?

To say this differently, why would a rich person -with new and increased wealth- start a business knowing that the middle class and the poor will have less buying power going forward?

If we increase money in the pockets of the poor and middle class this will cause them to spend money on goods and services. It also appears that if wealthy people value more money in their pockets, then they will create more businesses to obtain the new dollars in a poor person’s pocket. These two actions will create more production in goods and services  -which results in  more jobs- and will increase the number of businesses pursuing the income of the group with new jobs. (A rising tide floats all boats…)

How is that thinking wrong? Just asking the question…

 

Who really creates jobs in America?

Nick Hanauer, a venture capitalist from Seattle, whose speech at the TED University conference was deemed “too politically controversial to post on their web site” gave a speech about inequality. The speech is below and the slide show presentation can be found HERE.

If you are wise, you will read the speech below and then view the slide presentation at the above link.

Who creates jobs in America? Read the speech below.

It is astounding how significantly one idea can shape a society and its policies. Consider this one.

If taxes on the rich go up, job creation will go down.  

This idea is an article of faith for Republicans and seldom challenged by Democrats and has shaped much of today’s economic landscape.

But sometimes the ideas that we know to be true are dead wrong. For thousands of years people were sure that earth was at the center of the universe. It’s not, and an astronomer who still believed that it was, would do some lousy astronomy.  

In the same way, a policy maker who believed that the rich and businesses are “job creators” and therefore should not be taxed, would make equally bad policy.  

I have started or helped start, dozens of businesses and initially hired lots of people. But if no one could have afforded to buy what we had to sell, my businesses would all have failed and all those jobs would have evaporated.

That’s why I can say with confidence that rich people don’t create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small. What does lead to more employment is a “circle of life” like feedback loop between customers and businesses. And only consumers can set in motion this virtuous cycle of increasing demand and hiring. In this sense, an ordinary middle-class consumer is far more of a job creator than a capitalist like me.

So when businesspeople take credit for creating jobs, it’s a little like squirrels taking credit for creating evolution. In fact, it’s the other way around.

Anyone who’s ever run a business knows that hiring more people is a capitalist’s course of last resort, something we do only when increasing customer demand requires it. In this sense, calling ourselves job creators isn’t just inaccurate, it’s disingenuous.

That’s why our current policies are so upside down. When you have a tax system in which most of the exemptions and the lowest rates benefit the richest, all in the name of job creation, all that happens is that the rich get richer.

Since 1980, the share of income for the richest Americans has more than tripled while effective tax rates have declined by close to 50%.  

If it were true that lower tax rates and more wealth for the wealthy would lead to more job creation, then today we would be drowning in jobs. And yet unemployment and under-employment is at record highs.

Another reason this idea is so wrong-headed is that there can never be enough super-rich Americans to power a great economy. The annual earnings of people like me are hundreds, if not thousands, of times greater than those of the median American, but we don’t buy hundreds or thousands of times more stuff. My family owns three cars, not 3,000. I buy a few pairs of pants and a few shirts a year, just like most American men. Like everyone else, we go out to eat with friends and family only occasionally.

I can’t buy enough of anything to make up for the fact that millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans can’t buy any new clothes or cars or enjoy any meals out. Or to make up for the decreasing consumption of the vast majority of American families that are barely squeaking by, buried by spiraling costs and trapped by stagnant or declining wages.

Here’s an incredible fact. If the typical American family still got today the same share of income they earned in 1980, they would earn about 25% more and have an astounding $13,000 more a year. Where would the economy be if that were the case?

Significant privileges have come to capitalists like me for being perceived as “job creators” at the center of the economic universe, and the language and metaphors we use to defend the fairness of the current social and economic arrangements is telling. For instance, it is a small step from “job creator” to “The Creator”. We did not accidentally choose this language. It is only honest to admit that calling oneself a “job creator” is both an assertion about how economics works and the a claim on status and privileges.

The extraordinary differential between a 15% tax rate on capital gains, dividends, and carried interest for capitalists, and the 35% top marginal rate on work for ordinary Americans is a privilege that is hard to justify without just a touch of deification.

We’ve had it backward for the last 30 years. Rich businesspeople like me don’t create jobs. Rather they are a consequence of an eco-systemic feedback loop animated by middle-class consumers, and when they thrive, businesses grow and hire, and owners profit. That’s why taxing the rich to pay for investments that benefit all is a great deal for both the middle class and the rich.

So here’s an idea worth spreading.  

In a capitalist economy, the true job creators are consumers, the middle class. And taxing the rich to make investments that grow the middle class, is the single smartest thing we can do for the middle class, the poor and the rich.

Thank you

The faintest of praise is fodder for campaigns

Those political advertisements about Governor Walker and job creation are compelling, aren’t they? One side triumphantly says ‘Governor Walker created 30,000 jobs since he took office’ (woohoo!) while  the other side says disparagingly ‘Under Governor Walker, Wisconsin placed last in job creation’ (OMG, the sky is falling!) And, as we suspect, both marketing ads are likely true but immaterial.

Did you know that Wisconsin possesses a total of ~2.8 million jobs? Those 30,000 jobs represent an increase of ~1% of the total jobs in Wisconsin.  Do I still hear a ‘woohoo’?

All of this only matters if you think that the Governor can create jobs or lose jobs in our state. We are all adults and we know that a rising tide floats all boats while an ebbing tide lowers them – whether or not a Republican or a Democrat is in charge. However, if the tide is rising and the jobs boat is sinking, the Governor should do something to save passengers and crew. (pay attention, ex- Governor Doyle.)

Political advertising does bear scrutiny. Touting a 30,000 jobs increase is faint praise indeed in 2.8 million jobs state. Perhaps this should be noted by the media.

Ballot Access Not Achieved

Unfortunately,  I will not make ballot access this year. This makes my challenge larger but not totally unexpected.

I sent my collected signatures to the GAB in Madison and will now wait for the final tally.

Some say that it didn’t matter if I sent them if I didn’t have enough signatures but I think that I owe the people who signed for me a bit of respect; an acknowledgement that I appreciate the time they took to listen to me and sign my forms. Officially filing those forms is a sign of respect.

It was interesting when people declined to sign. Some said “I don’t sign anything.” While others said “I can’t, I am a convicted felon”.  I enjoyed the couples that invited me into their homes and asked questions about why I am running for Congress and how I will vote. It was good to hear from them on their issues.

As you can imagine, the recall in Wisconsin was the topic at hand. Some were quite good at not divulging their position until I stated mine. Others adopted a tone like “You’re not a union supporter are you?” And still others were upset by Governor Walker’s actions and ‘wanted to throw the bum out’.

My position is clear. I oppose the annual union re-certification. Governor Walker went too far; however,  I also oppose the recall because Governor Walker’s actions were not significant enough to warrant recall.  He committed no crime and was not unethical in the process.  When June 5th rolls around,  I will vote in an independent manner.

My favorite signature rejection was by an older man who wanted to know why I was running as an independent. I began to explain how the two major parties had mismanaged government and the American Dream. I went on to explain how the federal government had passed a federal law prohibiting anyone from selling certain kinds of baby cribs in garage sales.  I said that it was not a responsibility of the federal government to make it illegal for you to sell cribs in a garage sale. I said that community standards was the best way to address this and perhaps a state could set these standards. He tersely said “Well, the states were probably not doing anything so the federal government had to step in. I like babies so I am not going to sign anything for you.” Then he turned his back and closed the door before I could reply.

And as strange as it may seem, this man is one of the reasons I want to become a congressman. I like babies, too, but federal laws are not about choosing what kinds of cribs are sold in garage sales.  Men like this need practical legislators who know what the limits of a federal government are and can create a solution to keep babies safe without making a federal law about it.

When all you have is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail. Federal laws are hammers and baby cribs now look like nails. Something is wrong in America when this happens.

While I won’t have ballot access this year, I will work toward increasing my vote tally in November. Babies and the rightful use of federal law require I continue.

Letter to the Editor (The Chetek Alert)

Dear Editor,

The US budget cannot be balanced even if the federal government is dissolved.

In looking at President Obama’s 2013 budget, the projected outlays are $3.8T. The projected income is $2.5 T which leaves a shortfall of $1.3T. That $1.3T shortfall exceeds the total amount of dollars spent for the entire federal government. More than the Executive, Judicial, and Legislative branches combined. We are spending too much money on our government, yes, but we are also spending too much money on debt interest payments and on entitlements. We can do better. We must do better.

Who works for America? Republicans and Democrats blame each other for this mess but the fact is that both political parties have sucked the wealth out of our national treasury in different ways. Who works for America? Not those who pander to lobbyists for campaign funds. Who works for America? Not those you and I voted for. They work for themselves and the glory of their particular political party while you and I foot the bill. To the victor go the spoils, they say. Both Republicans and Democrats have been victors for decades and America now has nothing to show for it except debt and gridlock.

Have you voted Republican all your life? Have you voted Democrat all your life? How is that working for America now?

If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got. Don’t vote Republican or Democrat this year. That approach no longer works for America. Think differently and vote independently. If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got. But who wants more of the same?