Thursday, December 6, 2012

My View

Random ruminations from your resident curmudgeon...

The intent, kibble staring dog that has graced the weekly View column will soon be entering retirement. he has served us well, and now it is time to find another pup that will be our 2013 mascot. If you have one that you want me to consider, let me know by sending a link in the comments section.

Did you enjoy your bowl of Corn Flakes this morning? Or some other Kellogg brand cereal? Know this: the Kellogg Foundation, founded by cereal magnate Will Keith Kellogg in 1930, joined the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in fighting voter I.D. laws in the past presidential election as well as other elections. The Kellogg Foundation committed $5.2 million to the Applied Research Center (ARC) between 2010 and 2012. This funding, along with $200,000 from the SEIU was used exclusively to fight voter I.D. laws primarily by filing legal action that claimed asking for proper I.D. at a polling place was racially discriminatory. While it has long been known that unions and Democrats have a sycophantic relationship, disclosure laws are revealing the extent to which companies are getting involved with elections and attempting to influence the outcome of the voting process. And it happens on both sides. If we want to have fair and honest elections, let's allow anyone or any corporate entity to contribute as much money to the process as they want. Just have full and immediate disclosure. Have a proper process to identify voters (and no, voter ID is NOT discriminatory as the left would make it out to be). Rather than hide behind shadow organizations and a convoluted contribution process, bring it all out into the open. Oh, and tomorrow for breakfast, you can be certain that there will be no Kellogg's cereal in my house.

As I have said before, never repeat yourself.

The federal debt has now grown to $16 trillion dollars. But that is not the full story. Washington has promised future generations that they will receive benefits under the various entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare. Unlike most businesses, the federal government does not account for future liabilities on its balance sheet, but if it did, the numbers would be shocking. Conservative estimates are that the unfunded liabilities of our federal government are $87 trillion. Let that sink in... the future commitments of our government are $87 TRILLION dollars! Let's put that in perspective. To account for our current expenditures and the accrued expenses of our entitlement programs- not pay off the debt- the tax collections would need to be $8 TRILLION per year. Here is a little more perspective: if the IRS confiscated the total income of everyone in the U.S. that makes more than $66,000, they would have $5.1 trillion. Add in the total corporate profit of every company in the U.S., and you would get another $1.6 trillion. You see where this is heading, don't you? You can take all the income and still not be able to service the total growth in our entitlement liabilities. A final bit of perspective. The President is adamant about taxing "the rich" and getting the pound of flesh out of those that make more than $250,000. Remember what I said last week? That will yield $84 billion, just 3 days of government spending. See how petty and futile that is? Our nation needs real leadership and honest dialogue about our financial situation, and more importantly, legitimate solutions. Unfortunately, this current administration is providing none of that.

No sense in being a pessimist. it doesn't work anyway.

One of life's truisms is that eventually, economics trumps politics. When the economic realities set in and become so weighty, the political charades stop, oftentimes painfully. We are seeing one of those charades begin to grind to a halt. Congress finally agreed to end the $6 billion in annual tax breaks to the ethanol industry. Now, you are a reasonable individual (you are reading this blog, after all), and you might say that the ethanol industry needed those subsidies to get up and running, and now should be able to stand on its own without those breaks. Well, you would be reasonable, but the ethanol industry isn't. They are clamoring for a reinstatement of those subsidies, even though ethanol has been shown to damage automobile engines and decrease fuel efficiency. And by diverting food stock (corn) into the energy stream (ethanol is derived from corn), you and I paid higher prices for many foods. So now that artificial price supports and subsidies have disappeared, the ethanol industry is in dire financial shape. Once again, economic reality cuts through the charade of a politically sought end result. Only after we managed to waste millions of dollars.

My wife is like nature. She abhors a vacuum.

And that, my friends, is my view.

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