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Contemplations of a United States Constitution loving, big-government hating right-wing extremist whacko-bird

alpipkin.com - Contemplations of a United States Constitution loving, big-government hating right-wing extremist whacko-bird

A Difference Without a Distinction

Rick Perry was pilloried the other day by the MSM for calling Social Security a giant Ponzi scheme. What could possibly be found wrong with that statement? The comparison was first made in the 1940s, and an internet search uncovers stories using the same comparison ever since. The latest iteration of Ponzi was reproduced by Bernie Madoff, the Wall Street wizard who brought his clients returns of 30 percent for a long period of time before being exposed by his son for being a fraud.

Then what is the difference between Social Security and what Bernie Madoff did? What Bernie Madoff did was illegal and he ultimately went to jail for breaking the law. In the Social Security scheme, it is those who fund the scheme that go the jail for NOT participating, not those who run the scheme!

If only Marco Chris Ryan Palin would run!

This year’s GOP presidential primary is one of, if not the, most interesting primaries ever. The runner-up of the 2008 campaign, Mitt Romney, held the lead in Republican polls for several months, but that lead wasn’t as domineering as one would have expected. Traditional GOP politics presume that the second place finisher from the last campaign is the automatic choice of the party in the new election. Had that custom prevailed, Mitt would already have the nomination sewn up.

However, no candidate has yet jelled the party faithful or even gotten the bulk of the GOP leadership beginning to spout how this or that candidate is the only logical person capable of beating Barack Obama. Actually, I think the Washing Post said that about Huntsman, but I really don’t think that counts. GOP powers-that-be selected our last candidate, and that turned out to be disastrous on many levels. So, with no one sweeping voters off their electoral feet … this frankly is a good thing!

But there is another interesting phenomenon going on that I find fascinating … and that is the continual bleat for some particular individual to step up and run “for the good of the country.”

“If only Chris Christi would throw his hat into the ring, we’d finally have a candidate all Republicans could get behind!”

“Paul Ryan’s leadership on the budget is just what the country needs to get us out of the financial mess we’re in right now!”

“Marco Rubio so eloquent he … and he alone can unite both the hard-line GOP and the tea party members into a winning coalition that can beat Obama.”

“Sarah Palin is the most vetted candidate in US history. The media has nothing left by which to damage her and she is the only one that could survive the upcoming campaign unscathed.”

Do any of the above sound bites ring remotely familiar? Why is it that so many need another choice of candidates beyond the declared field? I don’t profess to know the answer; I just find it interesting that such a large portion of the conservative/tea party/GOP right-leaning electorate don’t find solace with those already running.

In my estimation, the four, uh … mmmm … non-candidates??? mentioned all have just as many foibles as those actually running, so no advantage there. Is this nothing more than a case of “the grass is always greener” syndrome at work?

Don’t know … but it sure it interesting!!!!!

Governor Moonbeam Awakens? Not!

Joel Fox, Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee, posted an article today on his site discussing government plans to bring jobs back to California. Pleas read Joel’s entire article at the link:

The powers that be in Sacramento are focusing on the job dilemma in California with pronouncements this week from both Governor Jerry Brown and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. This follows the focus put on economic policy by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom a couple of weeks ago.

Attention is being put where it belongs to help California reduce its staggering unemployment rate and stifling business climate.

The question is: Will there be follow through to make positive changes?

While some wonder if there is anything state government can do while the country is in the grips of a national recession, other states have managed to keep unemployment away from the sky-high figures with which California suffers. Positive steps can be taken at the state level.

This is laughable on it’s surface, but even more so because of a “fact-finding study” made by some ten or so top legislators last January where they traveled to Texas to learn what it was Texas was doing to create so many jobs. I mean heaven forbid California legislators realize those new Texas jobs are coming from where? … maybe California?

Fox continues:

The governor appointed former Bank of America executive Michael Rossi as a jobs czar. His mission is to advise the governor on ways to make job creation less difficult through regulatory reform or legislative actions. He will also try to create a cooperative atmosphere between business and labor working toward the goal of increased business and job creation.

In February, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said the legislature would take on regulatory reform as he displayed 28,000 pages on regulations at a press conference. The effort to pass reform went nowhere, partly stalled by the intense budget negotiations.

But, Steinberg announced the remainder of this year’s legislative session should concentrate on getting the reforms through the legislature. He told Capitol Alert, “I want to focus these three weeks on what we can do to increase the tax base by putting people back to work.”

Gee … who’d-a thunk we need fewer regulations in California to improve the business climate? Sacramento has spent 20 long hard years getting us to this environmental paradise we find ourselves … why start undoing all this fine work just to save California’s economy?

However, Mr. Fox has a suggestion for those hard working lawmakers:

So, the signs are good that the government leaders are focusing on the right priorities. Although they must be careful not to bite at any proposal because they believe it will create jobs but, in reality, hurt the taxpayers.

Yes, Governor Brown, I’m talking about your recent “green light” for the High Speed Rail project.

Fox is so very correct in addressing Gov Brown’s love of the High-Speed Rail project. Current cost estimates for this major boondoggle put final costs in the range of $80 Billion, and the organization charged with building this haven’t even gotten approval to build the first segment … which is in the least populated region along the entire planned length. Were this project to ultimately get completed, sometime after 2050, at four time the current cost estimate … we have got to kill this noose around our collective necks!

I responded to Fox’s article:

I hope you had your tongue firmly planted in your cheek when you wrote this article, because if you’re going to hold your breath for a solution to California’s economic woes, we had best call the paramedics now to come revive you. Any businessman or woman you stop on any street in California can tell you that state government is the problem.

Governor Brown and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg are incapable of solving the unemployment problem because they and their brethren believe government can provide solutions. If they really wanted to start slowing the loss of businesses and the jobs they take with them, never mind beginning to add jobs, they would first repeal AB32. The minuscule amount of CO2 reduction that results from its implementation will be overshadowed by the massive growth in China and India, both eager to expand their economies (not to mention the businesses that left the state for more friendly environs).

Even Europe has begun to realize the Global Warming franchise represented by the University of East Anglia and NASA’s James Hanson is on its last legs as more and more serious scientists conclude there is little link between atmospheric warming and increases in atmospheric CO2.

Further, the High-Speed Rail project isn’t the answer either. California’s prodigious growth from the 1940’s through the 1980’s was driven by private industry flocking to our state after the war for its resources, climate and business friendly environment. Government infrastructure projects supported and enhanced the state as a good place to grow one’s business. Those infrastructure projects were not the reason we had such a good economy … we had a great economy that allowed those infrastructure projects we still enjoy today.

Building the High-Speed Rail project will not add jobs for many years, unless you’re a lawyer or environmental consultant, because the project is going to be strangled by litigation and environmental impact reports for years. Even were that not the case, spending government taxes taken from the economy does not add to the economy. Only private capital can add to the economy. Expecting tax spending to grow an economy is the same as trying to raise the level of a lake by pumping water from it’s depths to the surface.

Albert Einstein one said “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Asking the politicians who created the mess we’re in will get us right back to the mess we’re already in!

Does California slip into an economy rivaling that of some third-world country before its population realize life isn’t free and elections have consequences?

Paul Ryan … POTUS?

I was asked what I thought about the rumors that Rep Paul Ryan (R-WI), Chairman of the House Budget Committee, may be putting his hat into the Republican Presidential Primary ring. First, I’ve admired Paul Ryan since, in the terms of the “leaders,” he had the temerity to produce and publish his Road Map for America, the first truly serious attempt to get control of spending in Washington DC. He did that at the point the GOP had absolutely no power in DC (shortly after he published, the GOP gained a 41st seat in the Senate, enough to put up a very wobbly filibuster).

Ryan is not just a very intelligent man, he is one of the best communicators in the House. He far exceeds the rest of the GOP Leadership in that quality, and he needed that ability to sell a very complex subject in order to get his plan turned into a budget that was ultimately passed by the full House.

Do I think he’ll run? My guess is just as good (or bad) an anyone’s and I say he won’t run. He was very clear a few months ago he didn’t want to put his young family through 18 months of campaign hell. I also don’t think he is such an egomaniac that he believes he is the only candidate that can save the world from Obama. Lastly, with Rick Perry now a candidate, I doubt Ryan would think he could run against such experience. Romney … ehh, maybe, but Perry is another story.

Now … the question I wasn’t asked. Would I support him were he to run? As much as I admire him … no I wouldn’t support his candidacy. We have been living the last three years with a president who needs training wheels but refuses to allow any for fear he’ll be seen as the incompetent that he is. I’m not ready to experiment again with someone who will require OJT (on the job training).

Executives are rarely born that way. One can stand right beside a highly successful executive and watch what he does for years and still not be in a position to assume an executive spot. Until you are actually held responsible for an organization’s bottom line, however that bottom line is defined, you won’t be ready. And that OJT is done in increasingly more responsible positions. I admire Marco Rubio specifically because he knows this and will work to gain the needed skills before putting himself forward as a candidate.

Do you believe Ryan would have made as good a Budget Committee Chairman his freshman year in Congress as he is in 2011? Of course not. He needed to be immersed in Congress for a few years to learn the ropes.

I do think he should be at the top of everyone’s list for Secretary of the Treasury. I would even like to see him as someone’s candidate to replace Bernanke as the Fed Chairman.

UPDATE 20110818 07:15AM PDT: After posting this piece I listened to the latest Ricochet podcast (available here) and Hillsdale College Professor Paul Rahe makes some pretty compelling arguments for a Ryan candidacy.  I wasn’t completely turned, but I will have to reconsider my position. John Podhoretz also weighed in, and as always was very informative and most entertaining. I highly recommend listening to the whole episode.

A Conservative Candidate for POTUS

Below is a video of a man announcing his candidacy for the office of President of the United States of American. In the video, he discusses the issues we face regarding the current lack leadership in Washington, the problems with overspending, and the interminable push to raise taxes on the American people for no reason but to give those same big spenders more fuel for their habit.

Watch it and let me know if this is the caliber of person we should send to the White House in 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The issues he discusses are uncannily similar to those we face today. Which of the current batch of Republican candidates best fits the potential fill this man’s back pocket, because no one can fill his shoes.

Another Nail in Our Economic Coffin

Last week the Obama administration issued new regulations, for the first time setting fuel efficiency standards for heavy trucks. Because our economy is so dependent on transportation provided in large measure by the trucking industry, any additional regulation will put another unnecessary burden on our economy. That’s all we needed … one more boot on the throat of the American economy.

Of all industries that have done more to reduce their use of energy, America’s trucking industry is a shining example. And their example has been driven by the very best of motives; a truck that is more economical to operate is better than one that is not.

I’ve never worked in the trucking industry per se, but having been around the efficiency industry for decades, I understand that trucks, like any other capital asset used to generate revenue, need to have characteristics that lend themselves to efficiency.

I need to make a small turn here and make sure you readers know what I’m talking about when I refer to efficiency. During the Carter administration the mantra was energy conservation. What most of the policy world meant by the term “conservation” was to use less … conserve. That is why the term ultimately came to mean “freeze in the dark,” because that was generally what happened.

Thermostats were turned down without regard to human comfort, and lighting levels were reduced without regard to whether anyone could see what they were doing, task-wise. Efficiency, on the other hand, addresses the results desired and designs the inputs to accomplish that result with the proper application of resources … all done at a competitive cost. More on costs and economics in a bit.

Following the 1973 and subsequent Arab oil embargoes, the trucking industry began looking for ways to increase the fuel efficiency of first the existing fleet, then for new designs. As is the case with most new endeavors, the results were sometimes clumsy, but they did make progress. Initially the focus was to reduce wind drag, resulting in the structures atop today’s tractors to deflect the wind over the close-coupled trailers. Ever-improving wind-resistivity designs have resulted in today’s modern 18-wheeler (I apologize to any who cringe at my clumsy attempts to use your proper terms).

Diesel engine design improvements probably account for most of the efficiency improvement. While I’ve read about some really super engineering feats with diesel engines (for automobiles as well), I’m not going to put my ignorance on full display here for all to see. Read the articles here, here, here and here for some of the exciting (well, for an engineer anyway) enhancements.

The bottom line is that it has been in the best interest of the entire trucking industry to put the most efficient fleet on the road as is economically feasible. That last sentence is where the government sticks its foot out to trip up the industry. That is the only way to increase the fuel efficiency in the heavy trucking industry; to force uneconomical changes to the way trucks are made and operated.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) produced a bogus study of how state residents were dying in greater numbers due to particulates emitted by dirty truck diesel engines, resulting legislation that is destroying California’s trucking industry. Many trucking firms have left California, opting to focus their business on states more interested growth as opposed to participating in self-induced environmental suicide.

Again, because our economy is so dependent on transportation provided by the trucking industry, any additional regulation will put another unnecessary burden on our economy. According to an article in the Journal of Commerce;

The standards, which will give truck makers a variety of options to meet fuel economy goals, are projected to reduce oil consumption by 530 million barrels. Carbon dioxide emissions will be cut by about 270 million metric tons.

The final rules also will almost certainly increase the cost of heavy and medium-duty trucks, which already have been raised by tighter emissions rules. The EPA, however, projects a one-year payback period for trucks equipped to meet the new standards, thanks to fuel savings that could increase if diesel costs rise.

The cost to the trucking industry is estimated at $8 billion. The rules cover vehicles ranging from the largest pickup trucks and buses to Class 8 tractors.

By reducing the amount of fuel consumed by trucks, the standards will also squeeze the Highway Trust Fund, which is supported by the federal fuels tax. That puts more pressure on Congress to come with an alternative means of replenishing the trust fund, which supports highway and infrastructure projects.

The fuel economy standards, developed jointly by EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, will affect trucks built from 2014 through 2018. A new set of standards will be developed for post-2018 trucks, the agencies said.

So as I said earlier, the proposed regulations will just make trucks more expensive with what will ultimately turn out to be little return on that extra investment. When was the last time a government agency produced a program with costs coming in at even twice the initial estimates? What the EPA is doing is forcing “conservation” on the truckers.

The American public is going to have to start standing up against and shouting down these bureaucrats who have the idea that they alone are smarter than an entire industry, not to mention the collective wisdom of the most successful nation in the history of the world. The House Republicans are going to have to come up with some strategy to reign in the rogue EPA before it alone drives our economy into Obama’s proverbial ditch.

What’s next … trains??? planes??? ships??? Why not … the arrogant elitists in Washington already know everything about everything anyway!

 

Perry’s In!

Texas Governor Rick Perry adds his name to a crowded Republican presidential primary race today, or as John Podhoretz said … “the boogeyman is back.” From my perspective, this is a good thing. Mitt Romney has held the presumptive lead for weeks, but I believe this is as much because he’s the MSM favorite, right next to Jon Huntsman, as any other reason.

That’s not to take away anything from Romney’s ability to bring in boat loads of campaign cash, which he’s done. This is primarily due to his having a very seasoned campaign organization left over from his 2008 campaign. Yet he hasn’t polled higher than the low thirties, even amongst what most view (though not this writer) as a weak slate of candidates. In case you haven’t guessed yet, I’m not a big fan of Romney and never have been.

Back to Perry. I don’t know that much about Perry other than the boilerplate facts and figures available throughout the media for months. He was raised on a cotton farm in Texas and has served in both the State legislature and as Lt. Governor under then Governor George W. Bush. According to most sources, the two weren’t close. A magazine with a great online presences is Texas Monthly. In this month’s issue, there is an article titled “Dear Yankee; Eight things you ought to know before you start writing stories about Rick Perry. You’re welcome.” I encourage you to read the entire article, plus others on Perry in the same issue.

Paul Burka, the article’s  author, begins his list:

1. Perry is not George Bush. Don’t assume that because Bush and Perry served together in the Capitol, or because they’re both Republican Texans who wear boots, the two men have a lot in common. They don’t. As governor, Bush positioned himself as “a uniter, not a divider,” championing education as one of his main priorities. Perry has been the opposite kind of chief executive: dismissive of Democrats and fond of political maneuvers that put the heat on moderates within his own party. And in the legislative session that just wrapped up, he presided over a budget that cut $4 billion from public schools. The cultural differences are striking too. Perry, the son of a Big Country cotton farmer, is at ease with a populist tea party message; W., the scion of a political dynasty, always seemed more comfortable with the country club set. They have followed starkly different paths. …

On Perry’s past as a Democrat:

2. It’s not a big deal that Perry was once a Democrat. To suggest otherwise will make you look foolish. When Perry was elected to the statehouse, in 1985, conservative Democrats ran the Legislature. In 1989, realizing that a conservative had little future in the party, Perry switched to the GOP. He has been a rock-solid Republican ever since and has driven the state party further to the right. …

This article does note the two occasions when Perry moved into lib territory; one when he signed into law a bill requiring twelve-year-old girls be inoculated against cervical cancer, which was quickly overturned. A second was his promotion of a giant system of toll roads called the Trans-Texas Corridor, which stirred up significant opposition from many disparate contingencies. The entire project was formally canceled this year.

The article goes on to discuss where Perry grew up, the fact he is a very canny politician, his alma mater (Texas A&M University), the fact that Perry’s hair isn’t at issue (think John Edwards, or for that matter Romney), and a discussion of the relative power of the governorship in Texas versus other states. But the last point the author made was about luck:

8. Don’t discount the luck factor. It is uncanny how often good fortune has been in ­Perry’s corner throughout his political career. His opponents self-destruct, as Jim High­­tower did in 1990, when Perry, a big underdog, won his first statewide race, for agriculture commissioner, and as Kay Bailey Hutchison did in 2010. In 2006, when he was at his most vulnerable, Hutchison opted not to challenge him. Perry got only 39 percent of the vote, but because there were four major candidates in the race, he won with a plurality. This spring, he lost two top aides to the Gingrich-for-president campaign, only to see Gingrich self-destruct and the aides return with national campaign experience. …

I’m not one to believe in one person having luck while another lacks equal luck, but I do subscribe to Samuel Goldwyn’s quote; “the harder I work, the luckier I get.” And Perry is a hard worker, but I’ll also admit he seems to have a sixth sense about politics. You don’t win three terms as governor of a state the size of Texas without great political sense.

There are some Perry rumors and innuendo about two conservative hot-button issues; lack of commitment on illegal immigration and support for crony capitalism. Are these rumors based on reality or are they nothing more than political story spinning by an opponent? I’ve looked into both and don’t believe either significant enough to cause him to lose many conservatives or tea party folks, and if he ends up winning the GOP nomination, I suspect most will end up pulling the lever for him.

Most of the kerfuffle over illegal immigration seems to be about Perry’s less-than aggressive pursuit of those citizens of Mexico who happen to find themselves on the wrong side of the border. Additionally, he is accused of allowing (supporting?) said same illegals access to Texas taxpayer supported programs. Not being in Texas since childhood, I can’t say how much truth versus political spin there is in these charges. Living in California, I know first hand what taxpayer support of illegals is like … in spades!

The Wall Street Journal published a story today outlining the issues surrounding the charges behind the crony capitalism. While disturbing and deserving of being addressed by Perry, I’m not so certain they rise to the level of disqualifying him for the job of POTUS. Anyone that has risen to as high an office as Perry has and held that position for as many years as Perry has will certainly make some boneheaded decisions.

While I am impressed with what Perry has accomplished over the last decade, I am not yet committed to him or any other candidate. I can say however, he will have to lay out his side of the story on the two issues mentioned and any others that will most certainly arise to the conservatives, tea party members, independents and other disenchanted voters, looking for a strong alternative to our current non-leader, Barack Obama.

Below is a video of Rick Perry’s announcement this afternoon in South Carolina.

Focusing on Real Change, 2012 Style

The Tea Party has several items on their 2013 agenda should they (in the guise of the Republican Party) take control of the White House and Senate and retain control of the House. First is the repeal of Obamacare, and we’ll discuss the follow-on steps to this later. Second, third and so-on (from this point forward the order isn’t set in stone) is:

  • the repeal of Dodd-Frank
  • implementing federal budgetary controls to reduce spending and begin tackling the debt
  • implementing revisions to entitlement programs (Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare)
  • put a halt to the out-of-control regulators such as the EPA, NLRB,  and the Department of Energy
  • begin to put our energy exploration and production industries back to work
  • stop the incessant erosion of our military
  • begin to address what America’s role should be in the United Nations
  • begin disconnecting the Federal government’s intervention into private enterprise
  • stop crony capitalism wherever it raises its ugly head
  • begin addressing tort reform on a national level
  • wrest control of sections of Departments, such as the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, from leftists
  • shrinking the size of the Federal government

We’ll be adding to this list as time goes by, but for now we’ll address each of these issues in greater depth. Rather than turning this into a tome (as is our wont on occasion), we’ll pick up on ideas to address the changes needed to allow our health care and health insurance industries in the next post.

If we are ever going to revitalize the American dream, become that Shining City on a hill, again be the beacon to those who hunger for the words “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” … we are going to have to tackle all of the issues listed and much more. The politicians we send to Washington are going to have to have the backbone to be honest with the voters. And the voters are going to have to wake up and realize the so-called “free lunch” we’ve been enjoying for the past two or three decades wasn’t free and is now over!

In the meanwhile, start chewing on your solutions to these challenges, because we are going to have to begin recovery in less than 18 months and need to be able to hit the ground running!

“Comprehensive” Uncertainty List

Over and over you see, read, hear and watch Democrats and Liberals (but I repeat myself) ask “why isn’t the economy growing” or “why doesn’t big business spend the money they’re hording to create jobs?” And just as often there is a business leader, small business owner or Tea Party member who replies “it’s because of the uncertainty created by the politicians and regulators.”

We haven’t seen a complete list of all the laws regulations and lawsuits either passed or proposed that help to drive the uncertainty and thought we’d have a go at creating such list. We use Comprehensive in the title in quotes as a paean to the propensity of Washington DC to refer to all they do as “comprehensive.” We’re certain that this list isn’t comprehensive! One caveat: the list is limited to Federal issues.

We’ll begin with the MOAUL (mother of all uncertainty laws), Obamacare, aka The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). On a side note, this is an example of what we wrote about here regarding libs turning our language on it’s head. Also know that on this law and all other laws, but especially those described as “comprehensive,” it isn’t the law itself that creates the uncertainty but the unknowns that are bound up in yet-to-be written regulations.

Obamacare

Obamacare is such a change to our society that it may be impossible to list all the areas of uncertainty the law and accompanying regulations will ultimately cause (assuming it actually survives legal challenges and the threat of repeal). The known regulations that are prescribed in the law but not yet written include:

  • The cost of the final regulation has been debated since prior to its passage, but anyone with half a brain and any experience with how governments define costs know that the ultimate costs will exceed the 10 year, $900B described by the bills supporters. It is impossible to add 30M people to an existing system and lower the costs! I don’t intend on arguing over what the final costs will be as I fully expect the law will not see full daylight. Nevertheless, actual costs have been estimated somewhere between $1.75T and $3T the first full ten years of operation. It is doubtful the law as written would survive a second ten years as most of the remaining insurers would have closed shop and the government would be forced to a single-payer system; i.e. a national health care system like in Great Britain.
  • Regulations haven’t been completed as to the final requirements for businesses who provide health insurance benefits for employees. Any insurance plan will have to meet criteria developed by HHS (Health and Human Services, another misnomer), including coverage of preexisting conditions. We know that there will be a penalty for employers who don’t provide coverage and the penalty appears as it will be less that the cost of insurance, possibly significantly less. This will cause many businesses to opt for paying the penalty, causing their employees to have to move to a government sponsored plan, such a Medicaid. Additionally, many individuals will opt to pay the penalty rather than buy a qualified insurance plan.
  • Taxes will increase by at least $550B. Unknowns not yet defined will certainly grow that number. We could continue, but we have no intention to turn this into a harangue on Obamacare. There are huge numbers of resources on the internets about this monstrosity of a law should you be curious.

Dodd-Frank

We next tackle another “Comprehensive” law that is referred to (lovingly by some) as Dodd-Frank, or “An Act to promote the financial stability of the United States by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system, to end “too big to fail”, to protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts, to protect consumers from abusive financial services practices, and for other purposes.” Really! That’s the official name of this bill (another Newspeak phrase). This law causes even more uncertainty for businesses than Obamacare.

  • The very first thing is that not only doesn’t it end “to big to fail,” it makes it law. Big corporations are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States, leaving medium and small sized companies to fend for themselves in an unfriendly regulatory environment. According to Rep Sam Graves (R-MO), Chairman of the Small Business Committee in the House, “The stricter regulatory environment created by Dodd-Frank, and the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), combined with the uncertainty brought by many of the laws’ vague provisions, is slowing small business lending.” Additionally he says “Small lending institutions lack the capability of their larger counterparts to hire the additional manpower necessary to deal with the hundreds of additional regulations created by Dodd-Frank. The increase in costs associated with these new regulations will lead to a decrease in revenue and will reduce small banks’ ability to meet the credit requirements of their communities.”
  • New regulations on small banks, credit unions and others that use credit in the course of their business will add untold thousands of hours each year in order to meet compliance. Many will opt out of the loan business, leaving consumers with fewer choices as to where to go for credit. Now guess what will happen to the cost of credit?

Spending and Debt

The stock market has resoundingly spoken of its displeasure with the so-called resolution of the debt ceiling debate and reduction of spending by the federal government. I recently wrote about some of the causes of spending here. The drivers of this spending take resources from the marketplace, but the real uncertainty is caused by the borrowing.

Government is borrowing so much money from the world markets, it is crowding out other borrowers. Were it not for government-backed programs such as Fannie Mae, Freddy Mac, the student loan program, Small Business Administration, and other lesser known entities, the cost for a loan for private borrowers would be astronomical.

Oil Drilling Moratorium

The Gulf oil well disaster provided a huge opening for the Obama administration to to place its proverbial boot on the necks of the oil industry. Initially stopping all offshore drilling operations, lawsuits eventuality pushed the administration into beginning issuance of new drilling permits, though at less than a snails pace.

Companies in the drilling industry are not going to keep their capital setting idle waiting for some bureaucrat to move a permit from his desk to the desk of the next bureaucrat, in the never-ending slog through officialdom. The driller or supplier is going to find another country that is friendly to private enterprise and take his business there.

Environmental Regulations

The EPA has become a super agency under the Obama administration. It has initiated regulation far beyond its congressional mandate and in the process inhibited business’s ability to function or stopped business in it’s track. We’re not going to go into detail as to why or how each of these regulations cause uncertainty; you’d be bored and we’d just get mad.

  • New air quality regulations will be closing coal-fired power plants or prohibiting new plants to open, causing coal mines to close or prohibit new mines from opening.
  • New water quality regulations
  • The EPA will now be regulating carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from businesses. These regulations will first affect the energy industry,  oil production and refining, and cement manufacturing.

DOJ Lawsuits

Arizona caught the brunt of a hostile Department of Justice covering for the Administration’s poor performance on controlling our Southern border. With laws passed by multiple states but unenforceable because of these harassment law suits. many businesses hang in limbo until these are resolved.

Consumer Protection and Product Liability

More small businesses have been closed as a result of so-called consumer protection and product liability regulation than from any other cause short of the high rate of new business failures inherent in beginning a new enterprise.If you’ve ever wondered why you see some of the ridicules warning labels on products, this is the reason.

Actually these laws and regulations should be clumped together and called The US Attorney’s Full Employment Act because these laws cause a very large proportion of the law suits every year. Businesses are always watching for changes in these regulations that could and do affect how business is done or products are brought to market. On occasion, these regulations become so stringent that entire industries are shuttered because the cost of compliance exceeds profitability.

Endangered Species Act

The Lord only knows which snail, owl or lizard will be the next species to bring the hammer of the Fish and Wildlife Service down upon the next unlucky enterprise. Currently a lizard is blocking oil exploration in several areas of Texas.

Free Trade Agreements

On occasion Obama mentions our free trade agreements as a source for new jobs (you remember that three letter word, J-O-B-S don’t you?). There are three free trade agreements on his desk awaiting signature and he hasn’t signed any since taking office. Those agreements mean jobs (four letters) if he really cared.

Farmers Required to have Commercial Drivers License

Proposed regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will require farmers across the country to obtain a commercial drivers license to operate any farm vehicles on public highways. This is far more invasive than it sounds on the surface. Read this article.

UPDATE 20110824:

Regulation of Goat Herder Workplace

The Department of Labor issued new regulations to assist foreign workers who fill goat herding positions in the U.S. , including employee-paid cell phones and comfy beds. These new special procedures must be followed by employers who want to hire temporary agricultural foreign workers to perform sheep herding or goat herding activities.  It describes strict rules for sleeping quarters, lighting, food storage, bathing, laundry, cooking and new rules for the counters where food is prepared.

We’ll end this for now, knowing there are many more laws and regulations hidden somewhere within the massive, 30-some thousand pages of the Federal Register.

Words and Meanings

Any given society depends on several precepts to allow for it to properly function. These precepts include a standardized method of counting, a common language to allow for coherent communication and an agreed upon definition of commonly used words and phrases. Without these core elements, society couldn’t function. In fact, there would be little reason for me to write these words in this blog as few could understand what I was saying.

Were I to say to the reading audience “Vanligtvis ska man förtjäna ett toppbetyg som AAA med fenomenal kreditvärdighet – nästintill omöjligt att ifrågasätta” – unless you were somewhat fluent in Swedish you’d probably have a tough time understanding the information I’m trying to convey. (BTW, the sentence above is the lead in a story in a Swedish newspaper about the US and the likelihood it will lose it’s AAA credit rating; translation “Usually you should earn a top score as AAA with phenomenal creditworthiness — almost impossible to challenge.”)

We depend on this commonality of language to guide us in our interactions with each other in business, social settings, education and political discourse. So what happens if someone purposely misuses a word or phrase in order to gain an advantage or mislead others? Most Americans look upon such devious behavior as unacceptable and anyone doing such as devious. So how is it that many of our so-called leaders in Washington DC use such underhandedness with impunity?

Let’s take the word investment. Dictionary.com provides this:

in·vest·ment

/?n?v?stm?nt/  Show Spelled [in-vest-muhnt] Show IPA

noun

1. the investing  of money or capital in order to gain profitable returns, as interest, income, or appreciation in value.
2. a particular instance or mode of investing.
3. a thing invested  in, as a business, a quantity of shares of stock, etc.
4. something that is invested;  sum invested.
5. the act or fact of investing  or state of being invested,  as with a garment.

Given the common definition, tell me how would the government go about “investing” in something? The phrase “investing in our future” is often heard from that big white house over on Pennsylvania Avenue. Please describe for me the expected return on “investing in our future.” An individual as not only capable of, but encouraged to “invest in his future,” or that of his family, but how does a society invest in a way to insure some reasonable prospect of a return? Before you go there, I don’t call building bridges and roads and airports investments. Those are capital projects that are expected by society from its government. The citizens will determine if a particular project was a wise use of their taxes … or not.

I normally wouldn’t have a problem with someone attempting to make statements that make some proposal sound a bit rosier; we all do it. But when the word “spending” is consistently replaced by the word “investing” it becomes problematic.

George Orwell, in his prophetic book “1984” introduced what he called Newspeak as the vocabulary of that abhorrent society. Terms such as doublethink, vaporized, unpersons and so on replaced “bad” words. For example, if you have the word “good” then you do not need another word, “bad” to express its opposite- “ungood” will do the job. And you don’t need words like Excellent or Splendid; instead you can say “plusgood” or “doubleplusgood”.

Our government and adherents on the Left are developing their own Newspeak, but using words that have a traditional meaning of long ancestry. However, the Newspeak version often , though not always, is the direct opposite that older meaning. I provide here an entry level list with the Newspeak word and the meaning it now carries from a Leftist or Liberal perspective:

  • Adult = anyone from my party and no one from the opposition
  • Balanced = a deal containing all the provisions my party demands and includes none of the opposition’s positions
  • Compromise = the opposition giving in to all of my demands
  • Earmarks = pork spending directed towards buying votes from constituents
  • Extremest = typical voter from the opposition party
  • Extortion = the opposition party’s request for a “compromise” that doesn’t adhere to your position
  • Fair = a euphemism for getting my way
  • Fees = taxes disguised as a cost for some service
  • Greedy = the preconcerted emotion attributed to anyone who thinks they pay to much in taxes
  • Investment = spending taxpayers money in furtherance of your agenda
  • Justice = a reason or justification for coercion when preceded by or used in conjunction with an adjective such as social, civil, economic, etc.
  • Militant = someone of the Muslim faith that carries out terror attacks against unarmed civilians (see Terrorist)
  • Primary Education = the organized state indoctrination of children
  • Racist = an epithet directed towards anyone that disagrees with your position
  • Revenue = new confiscatory taxes
  • Revenue expense = tax cut
  • Secondary Education = the organized state indoctrination of teenagers and young adults
  • Terrorist = an epithet directed towards Tea Party adherents (see Racist, see Militant)
  • Youths = Young Muslims marauding around Paris while burning Peugeots

I’m sure I’ve missed many words and terms that you’ve heard. Use the comments below or Twitter me at @alpipkin and let me know those I need to add. Maybe together we could create the New American Newspeak Dictionary so that we may all gain a better understanding of our society.

The Making of Gourmet Legislation (Sausage)

Any time NPR and WaPo tells me that I and other tea party participants have won, I know we’ve lost (I started writing a post about how we live our entire lives using “shorthand” such as this, but it got to long and I grew to bored). The whole idea that the so-called cuts will total over $900B is laughable.

There are many troubling aspects to the junk legislation hammered out over the weekend and signed by POTUS this afternoon. The most troublesome is the aptly named Super Congress. If I’m reading the legislation correctly, this presidium will have powers that our elected representatives will be unable to stop or overturn! Last time I looked, we were still a Constitutional Republic.

The CBO says that if the US were to do nothing more than literally freeze spending at it’s current (high) level, that would score as a $9.5T budget cut! The first thing that the Republican administration and Congress needs to do in 2013 (unfortunately there are many “first things” that need to be done!) is to revise the budgeting process from the current “baseline” system to a zero base budgeting system.

We need to stop all of this Enron style book-keeping and make it all open and simple. Between the “reductions” and built-in baseline increases, our deficit will increase by a minimum $7T ($7,000,000,000,000.00), totaling some $21-22T in 202 if we don’t make it a priority to stop Washington from committing suicide … on us!

There is some good news in all of this, though. Tea Party folks know we didn’t win anything from this bargain with the devil, regardless of the proclamations of the New York Times and the Puffington Host. Since last Friday, conservatives on Twitter have blasted the freshmen members of Congress who voted in favor of this deal’s passage. The “wait until 2012″ mantra has been front and center in tweet after tweet.

There is no doubt that Tea Party proponents will be even more motivated than they were during the 2010 elections, if that’s possible!