Archive for President

It’s the Spending, Stupid

Posted in Economics, Explanation, Government, In the News, Politics, Taxes, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 3, 2012 by Xajow

There is a lot of talk going on about the “fiscal cliff” and raising taxes. What few if any in the U.S. government seem to be willing to say is that this notion that Congress needs to take this so-called “balanced approach” to solving the problem of debt caused by Congress’s excessive spending, is a lot of nonsense. The government does not need more revenue. What it needs is to cut spending. And putting a lot of weight on the tax revenue side of things is not balanced at all. It is unbalanced, but it is also an attempt to misdirect the attention of the people. Continue reading

One More Thing from the Debate

Posted in First Amendment, Government, Libertarianism, Philosophy, Politics, Running for President with tags , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2012 by Xajow

At the end of President Obama’s opening statement at the debate on Wednesday night, the President said something that deserves ridicule should be further examined. Don’t worry. I will try to be brief. Continue reading

The Most Ridiculous Political Spin I Have Seen in a Long Time

Posted in Argumentation, Government, In the News, Libertarianism, Morality, Philosophy, Politics, Propaganda with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2012 by Xajow

And I still remember the whole “depends on what the definition of ‘is’ is” nonsense.

Anyway, here is the deal: President Obama, some days ago, said this: Continue reading

Don’t Encourage Them

Posted in Government, Morality, Philosophy, Politics, Running for President with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2012 by Xajow

I am starting to see and hear the “don’t vote for _____ because you’ll just help _____ win” nonsense once again. This happens every election cycle. Do not fall for this reasoning.

If you vote, then vote for the person you believe will be the best person for the job.

There is an argument to be made against voting. It is often summed up by a old joke about a woman who was asked if she voted, and she replied “No. It just encourages them.” Oh I know, arguing against voting is supposed to be horrible. “If you don’t vote,” I have been told, “then you have no right to complain.” That is hogwash. Wait, let me explain.

People who vote for this or that candidate because they do not want this or that candidate to win are the folks who have no right to complain. The people who vote for this or that candidate because so-and-so cannot win are the folks who have no right to complain. What do I mean? I mean that supporting the status quo that has gotten us into this mess means you’re part of the problem not part of the solution. The people trying to find a better way, the people who want to vote for the candidate who will change things, the people who believe that voting is just giving support to a broken system, those are the people with a right to complain.

I will never tell anyone to not vote. I say you have to decide for yourself. If the candidate you like is not the Repocrat or Demublican nominee, you are not wasting a vote to vote for the candidate you prefer. If all the people who say “I really like this guy, but he can’t win” would vote for the person they really like anyway, it would change the political landscape.

Some people tell me I am supposed to choose between the lesser of two evils. As has been pointed out many times, the lesser of two evils is still evil. Why would I want to vote for that? Why should I sacrifice my convictions and my morals to support something evil merely because someone else deems it a lesser evil? No. I refuse. To put this another way, if the person who takes the office is little different from the person who is voted out, nothing has truly changed. And that would mean I had wasted my vote.

So while I say “do not encourage them,” I am not saying do not vote. I am saying if you vote, do not pick an “evil” candidate. If you vote, then vote like you care about who your leader is, not just about getting/keeping that other guy out of office. I am saying if you vote, then vote as if your morals and your principles actually matter to you. If you do that, then you will never waste your vote. The people who tell you otherwise are generally the same people who voted over and over for the schmucks politicians who got us into this mess, so you probably should not be taking their political advice in the first place.

And while I am talking about elections, I want to say something about voting for Obama. If you genuinely believe he is the best candidate for the job, then vote for him. Please do not vote for him because of his skin color. If anything should ever be done without regard to the color of a person’s skin, voting for who holds public office is it. One of the things that made me nearly ill in 2008 was the notion that people were supposed to vote for Obama because of the color of his skin. Over and over I heard people talk about they had an obligation to vote for Obama because he would be the first black President. That was and is so very wrong.

Please, please, please, do not misunderstand me. I do not care what color a candidate’s skin might be. It could be indigo or plaid or lavender blue dilly dilly for all I care. Please, no matter what color your skin may be, and no matter what you may hear about voting for a black man, remember that the candidate’s skin is not the part of him (or her) making the decisions. What is in the candidate’s brain is what matters. The character and the philosophy and the ideas of the candidate are what matters. And that should be why you vote or not for a candidate.

And for the record, yes, I do vote.

Lies My President Told Me (part one)

Posted in Argumentation, Deregulation, Economics, Fairness, Government, Morality, Philosophy, Politics, Taxes with tags , , , , , , , on April 15, 2012 by Xajow

In my previous post I mentioned the bit about the President claiming we pay money for tax cuts. That came from his April 14, 2012, weekly address. The video is available at Your Weekly Address, and the transcript is also available at “the press office”. So since this is my blog, let’s go over some of the other things I think are wrong with what the President had to say.

First up, the first sentence of the address.

One of the fundamental challenges of our time is building an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules.

So many things wrong just in that one sentence. The federal government cannot build such an economy. Only individuals working cooperatively and voluntarily something like that. There is nothing voluntary about government taxation. “[E]veryone does their fair share” according to whom? By people like Obama who know what is best for you is what he means. “[E]veryone plays by the same rules.” Except that Obama is not actually promoting that everyone play by the same rules. He is promoting one set of rules for these people, the poor, another set of rules for those people, the middle class, yet another set of rules for this other group, “the wealthy”, and still yet another set of rules for yet another group,“the wealthiest Americans”. And that is just with rules about income taxes. In no way, shape or fashion has he proposed anything resembling everyone playing by the same rules.


  1. being identical in amount, type and/or kind
  2. being identical to or being the thing mentioned
  3. unchanged in condition, nature or character
  4. very similar or identical manner

What about progressive tax rates and the “Buffet Rule” and things of that nature is everyone playing by the same rules? Answer: nothing.

And as many Americans rush to file their taxes this weekend, it’s worth pointing out that we’ve got a tax system that doesn’t always uphold the principle of everyone doing their part.

According to whom? Who is deciding what qualifies as someone doing his or her “part”? The top 50% of tax payers pay something like 98% of all money the IRS takes in. The bottom 50% of taxpayers pay something in the neighborhood of 2% of all the IRS takes in. Who is not doing their part?

Now, this is not just about fairness.  This is also about growth.  It’s about being able to make the investments we need to strengthen our economy and create jobs.  And it’s about whether we as a country are willing to pay for those investments.

No. This push the President is making is not about fairness at all. And it is not about “whether we as a country are willing to pay for those investments.” It is about deciding to forcibly take more money from some people because it will make Obama and people like him feel better. That is what they mean when they talk about fairness. They have decided on a subjective and probably arbitrary idea of what seems fair to them, and they want to force other people to conform to that idea. That is not fair, nor is it compassionate or moral or most of the other gussifications (words to gussy up) they want to hang on such ideas.

In a perfect world, of course, none of us would have to pay any taxes. We’d have no deficits to pay down.  And we’d have all the resources we needed to invest in things like schools and roads and a strong military and new sources of energy – investments that have always bolstered our economy and strengthened the middle class.

But we live in the real world, with real choices and real consequences. Right now, we’ve got significant deficits to close.  We’ve got serious investments to make to keep our economy growing.  And we can’t afford to keep spending more money on tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans who don’t need them and didn’t even ask for them.

What he means is, he believes the people in the federal government (who agree with him) are the ones who have to plan and shape the economy and society to keep them from breaking down, and some how getting at best about $100 billion (and then probably only in the short term) from wealthy people is somehow going to magically make a $15 trillion (with a ‘t’) debt crisis go away. Understand that 15 trillion is 15 thousand billion. One billion is this: 1,000,000,000. One trillion is one thousand of those. $100 billion is not going to make a $15 trillion debt managable. Let me put this in smaller terms. Zack gets himself in debt to Judy for $15,000. Zack then says, “I know. I will get $100 dollars from Steven, and that will take care of the debt.” Obviously, that is not enough. But that is pretty much what Obama is selling. Snake oil if ever I saw it.

Warren Buffett is one of the wealthiest men in the world.  But he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.  That’s just the way the system is set up.  In fact, one in four millionaires pays a lower tax rate than millions of hardworking middle-class households.

As Warren points out, that’s not fair and it doesn’t make sense.  It’s wrong that middle-class Americans pay a higher share of their income in taxes than some millionaires and billionaires.

I will agree with that. The tax rate for most people should be dropped considerably. But then there is also the something like 45% of the U.S. adult population which does not pay any taxes at all. For many of them, their tax rate should go up. I mean, we are talking about people doing their part, paying their fair share, right?

It’s simple:  If you make more than $1 million every year, you should pay at least the same percentage of your income in taxes as middle-class families do.  On the other hand, if you make less than $250,000 a year — like 98 percent of American families do — your taxes shouldn’t go up.

I have a better proposal. Close the loop holes and tax almost everyone with an income at a rate of no more than 10%. I think 8 or 9% would probably be enough. And, of course, every tax payer pays the same rate. You know, everyone playing by the same rules.

That’s all there is to it.  It’s pretty sensible.  Most Americans support this idea. One survey found that two-thirds of millionaires do, too.  So do nearly half of all Republicans.

This is what government should protect us from, not what it should be doing. Popularity does not make right.

I know they’ll say that this is all about wanting to raise people’s taxes.  They probably won’t tell you that if you belong to a middle-class family, then I’ve cut your taxes each year that I’ve been in office, and I’ve cut taxes for small business owners 17 times.

I wonder how much we “paid” for those tax cuts? Anyway, how is the “Buffet Rule” not about raising taxes?

But the thing is, for most Americans like me, tax rates are near their lowest point in 50 years. In 2001 and 2003, the wealthiest Americans received two huge new tax cuts.  We were told these tax cuts would lead to faster job growth. Instead, we got the slowest job growth in half a century, and the typical American family actually saw its income fall.

If I may use one of Obama’s favorite excuses, “It would have been worse if we hadn’t.” Maybe not, but I could not resist. Anyway, as I recall, in 2001 and 2003, almost everyone got a tax cut. My father did, and he is certainly not one of the wealthiest Americans. He is not a millionaire, and only makes a five digit salary. And slowest job growth in 50 years, eh? You mean like how the unemployment rate went up past 9% after the stimulus (spending) bill that was supposed to prevent that was passed? Oh wait, that happened on Obama’s watch. Which is to say, Obama’s record on job growth is not the high ground he would have you believe.

So what about job growth? Yep, it sucked under Bush and Obama. We also got massive increases in government spending and, despite what some will claim, a lot more regulation. This has a significant effect on job growth. Making operating a business more expensive is not going to help job creation growth.

On the flip side, when the most well-off Americans were asked to pay a little more in the 1990s, we were warned that it would kill jobs. Instead, tens of millions of jobs followed.

We were told the stimulus bill would keep unemployment below 9% too. Anyway, this is a severe over simplification. The 1990s also saw NAFTA passed, which was a tiny step in the right direction. Less protectionism helps job growth. Bush and Obama have done the opposite. The 1990s also saw an increase in a lot of businesses moving jobs overseas. Lots of things happened in the 1990s that had positive and negative effects on job growth. We also had economic bubbles, like the tech bubble that popped, which first lead to job growth and then to job losses when the bubbles popped. What I’m saying is, Obama is not giving you the whole story.

You know how “scientific” studies by tobacco companies that “proved” smoking cigarettes was not harmful are highly questionable? The President’s comments here are questionable for the same reason. He is only telling you the part that helps his case and ignoring anything else. And for about the same reason: self-serving bias.

So we’ve tried this trickle-down experiment before. It doesn’t work.

We’ve tried flying before. The flying machines all crashed. Flying doesn’t work. What I mean is this thing where government tries to control the trickle-down effect does not work because that is not how trickle-down actually works. Leave people alone, and it works just fine. If it did not work, no one would being buying boats and fancy cars and designer clothes. But people do buy those things. And the people who make those things buy other things. And so on. Yes, it does work. It is not speedy, neither is it a cure all, nor a get rich quick plan. But that does not mean it does not work. 

And middle class families have seen too much of their security erode over the past few decades for us to tell them they’re going to have to do more because the wealthiest Americans are going to do less.

Security eroded thanks in large part to a meddling government, who thinks propping up economic bubbles in definitely is somehow how capitalism is supposed to work; and who thinks massively spending the country in trillions of dollars of debt that the government promises it will eliminate in 30 years is some how a good plan for the economy of the nation; and who thinks that the government coercing banks into “affordable housing loans” (i.e. subprime lending) not working out is somehow all the fault of Goldman-Sachs; and who thinks the people who provide 98% of the federal government’s tax revenue are somehow doing less than those who pay 2% of the federal government’s tax revenue. Okay, I am starting to get a bit sarcastic, but hopefully you get my point. Obama’s comment is a bit like an alcoholic accountant with a gambling addiction saying, “I know I wasted most of the money you gave me before now, but this time, this time I’m really going to make things right.”

Also, Obama is basically arguing that letting you keep your money is not as good for you as the government taking it from you and spending it as the government sees fit. It’s more of that “government knows best” hubris.

We can’t stop investing in the things that will help grow our economy and create jobs – things like education, research, new sources of energy – just so folks like me can get another tax cut.

From my admittedly very libertarian position, those are not things in which the federal government should be investing. But beyond that, the very arrogance of Obama’s comment almost makes be nauseous. He says this as if only the federal government can invest in these things, which is, of course, not at all true. To be sure, America in general should not stop investing in these things. We should just stop trusting the federal government to do it for us.

So I hope you’ll ask your Member of Congress to step up and echo that call this week by voting for the Buffett Rule. Remind them that in America, prosperity has never just trickled down from a wealthy few.  Prosperity has always been built by a strong, thriving middle class.  That’s a principle worth reaffirming right now.

He is almost right. Prosperity has never just trickled down from a wealthy few. Much has been made by people working from the bottom up. Something that requires freedom, not hobbling. But the thing is, prosperity is made by many things working together in an unplanned order, arising organically and voluntarily as desires and necessities and whims direct. Of course it is never made just by the trickle-down effect. It is never made by any one thing alone. Which is why the government can never effectively control it.

This is a lesson made painfully and demonstrably obvious by history. Which is what makes the lies from the President so particularly execrable. He should know better. And I cannot help but wonder if he does. Or is he like the Richard Attenborough character in the movie “Jurrasic Park”? Believing that he can control life even to the point of thinking after each disaster the next time he can finally get control. Either way, he is entirely wrong.

John Hammond: You’re right, you’re absolutely right. Hiring Nedry was a mistake, that’s obvious. We’re over-dependent on automation, I can see that now. Now, the next time everything’s correctable. Creation is an act of sheer will. Next time it’ll be flawless.

Ellie Sattler: It’s still the flea circus. It’s all an illusion.

John Hammond: When we have control again—

Ellie Sattler: You never had control! That’s the illusion!

There is value in liberty. There is value in being free from the coercive control of others. There is value in recognizing the illusion of control does nothing to make us safer. There is value in voluntary cooperation with others. There is value in a free society. Those, Mr. President, are values worth recognizing and reaffirming right now.

Obama Is a Liar, part 2

Posted in Economics, Morality with tags , , on April 5, 2012 by Xajow

Back on April 3, the President Obama gave a speech at an Associated Press luncheon. There are some real obvious lies in the speech. For example, “So I believe deeply that the free market is the greatest force for economic progress in human history.” No he does not. I know he does not because his actions as POTUS are not those of someone who believes in the free market. For Obama to claim to believe in the free market is like Bill Clinton saying he believes in marital fidelity. His actions clearly and plainly do not line up with his words. And people act on what they believe. People who believe in the free market do not push for greater government control of the market, but that is exactly what Obama has done. Thus, he lied.

There were other lies in his speech, but possibly the most offensive lie was this:

This congressional Republican budget is something different altogether. It is a Trojan Horse. Disguised as deficit reduction plans, it is really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country. It is thinly veiled social Darwinism.

This is more of the arrogance of Obama revealing itself. It is really not that different from what Van Jones was saying the other day. What it comes down to is that as far as Obama and like-minded left-wing folks believe, if you don’t support the President’s ideas for controlling the country, then you’re a callous bastard who does not care about other people. “Social Darwinism” is a callous disregard for one’s fellow humans that stems from a “survival of the fittest” belief. That is exactly the accusation President Obama is trying to lay on Republicans and people who do not support him. And he gets a pass.

Let’s see, the Bowles-Simpson plan that Obama likes capped spending at 21% of the GDP and the Paul Ryan plan gets it down to about 20% by 2023. Which is still growing government spending!

And based on that, President Obama is accusing people of social Darwinism. And news outlets like the New York Times are praising him when they should be taking him to task for his lies and his deliberately insulting rhetoric.