To B(ailout) or Not to B(ailout)?

You have all read about this, you are probably sick and tired of reading about this.  But this is something that I have become passionate enough about to call my Senators on.  I have even commented on them at Chris Cannon’s Blog.  I am still waiting for them to be posted.

Listening to President Bush’s explanation, I was struck with something.  This is all about credit.

Am I the only person here who believes that we can have economic stability without credit?  As I have mentioned before, I am Debt Free.  I have managed to get along quite well in my life without racking up much debt.  It’s actually quite refreshing that I have few financial obligations to another person.

Some might argue that it isn’t feasible to run a business without debt.  But the fact is I know of several organizations from small to big that have run debt free operations.  Some examples are Expeditors International, The Kid’s know it Network (h/t: Hiram), and the Jason for Congress Campaign.  I am sure there are others, but these are one’s that I have personal knowledge of.  Each of these have also run very successfully.

I have said it before, we are operating under a false economy.  And while I was too timid then to call it, I almost wanted to predict the failure of our economy when I wrote that.  However, I have felt for a long time that this was coming.

It’s just maddening that this whole bailout is about credit.  This makes me even more adement that we must not pass this bill.  So mad that I call my Senators.  Unfortunately, none of our congress men have made a decision on the issue.  You have got to be kidding me.  In a nation where a clear majority of the citizen are opposed to a bail out.  You can’t make a decision.  This is just another example of the elitism in D.C.  It must stop.

It appears from everything I can see that America is willing to take the lumps on this one.  We don’t care how much it hurts.  Let us pay the price and have our economy struggle for a while.  Better to pay the price now then to pay for it later.

It drives me crazy to think that this socialist concept is going to happen.  We need to do everything we can to stop with bail out.  Please write, call, email, scream at your Senators and Congressmen to put a stop to this.  If they don’t then, the simple action is to vote against them the next chance that you get.  I know that I will.

Macro and Micro Government Power

Michael Williams posted about his opinion on whether local governments should have the right to fine people for unkempt yards. And while, I think that a lot of these city ordinances are getting out of hand, I generally agree with him.

Simply put I like to divide the government into Macro- and Micro-level roles. The Macro-government is the federal government. The micro-government is typified by cities and towns.

the level of control they should be allowed to exert is directly related to the level at which they govern. The feds should be primarily worried about military, economy, and interstate relations. Their concern should be about the larger issues that truly effect our nation as a whole.

Cities can worry about such things as lawn length, dog licenses and neighbor relations. While I think that their should be some very significant checks on many of these ordinances, there is some room for them to consider such laws.

Another level that could be considered is Mid-level government. Counties and States have a concern for more mid-level laws like education and roads. Again we are looking at those items that fall between the federal government purview and the local government.

That is a very oversimplification of things. But I have been wanting to post about this for a while, so I appreciate the unintended encouragement from Michael Williams.

Utah Legislatures Oppose Immigration Act

I recently received this press release from Representative Carl Wimmer of District 52. He asked me to share it with my readers and to let you know that several other representatives have endorsed this release. So, I will post it here for your thoughts, and of course, I have to share some of my thoughts.

Key Utah Legislators oppose The Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2007

 

As Legislators in the Utah House of Representatives we stand together to call upon our Senate and Congressional delegation to oppose the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act which the senate will be hearing this week.

This so-called “Immigration Reform” highlights the failure of our federal government, to protect our sovereign rights as a country. Instead of enforcing the current laws passed by Congress and signed in 1996, the current Congress seems determined to vote on new laws that will most likely not be enforced. It is truly government at its worst.

Unfortunately Congress is too often willing to accept poor law simply because there are a few quality compromises within it. In this comprehensive and lengthy bill, Title’s I, II and III are outstanding pieces of legislation and completely worthy of support. These titles deal with the realities of the situation at hand and would increase the enforcement of our current laws. They would clearly create greater security for our country but unfortunately the bills up side end in Title III.

With the sole exceptions of the above three titles, the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act is nothing more than an all out blanket amnesty bill. The law is aimed at giving a complete, quick and lawful status to those who have broken our country’s law’s (sic), does (sic) the rule of law mean nothing anymore?

We reject such amnesty, as a reward for those who have lied, cheated and broken the rules to get into our country. Such a plan gives preference to those who have violated the law over those who have followed the law and patiently await legal entrance into the United States. The message we are sending is that if you break the law you will be rewarded.

As Utah legislators, we must continually deal with the complete and utter failure of the federal government to secure our borders and enforce our current laws. It is incomprehensible that Congress would propose another amnesty plan after the dismal failure of the 1986 amnesty that has helped lead us to this point.

A recent estimation in regards to the cost of amnesty and earned citizenship for just 7.9 million amnesty recipients would be $2.4 trillion, a cost that must be born by the American taxpayer. It is unconscionable that any legislator could vote for a measure of this magnitude without knowing and debating all the costs involved.

The Border Security and Immigration Reform Act has a few quality ideas which may help alleviate the current immigration problem, unfortunately most of the bill is corrupted with ideas such as amnesty and rewarding those who blatantly broke our laws. If this bill passes, we will never again be able to say to our children and grand-children that cheaters never win. It is our belief that no responsible elected official would consider voting for this fraud which is being offered as “comprehensive reform” in the U.S Senate.

Before I make comment, I must admit that I haven’t read the Act, and I probably won’t bother reading it. It has become apparent to me that for some reason the men and women in the U.S. Congress and the President want illegal aliens in this country. So, no amount of familiarizing myself with bogus legislation will help.

I have read some items that explain it and I have listened to several commentaries that are against the bill. From what I hear and have read, I think that this bill should not be voted for.

I don’t support amnesty and I strongly feel that a large portion of illegal aliens in this country need to be returned home. However, I do feel that there is a certain part of this country that would be devastated without the extra labor forces that are provided by illegal aliens. That being said, I don’t think that the Z-Visa is the answer.

I think that stricter punishments on employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens, and stricter punishments on illegal aliens who forge documents to get employment is needed. At this point enforcing such laws has become a near impossibility. So, we need to close the borders immediately and enforce the closure very strictly. Then we need to get a firm grip on the illegal aliens that are here.

The illegal aliens that are found need to have one of the following happen:

1) They need to be sent home. This is an absolute for those who are involved in any criminal activity, barring immigration related crimes, and who haven’t shown that they are contributing to our nation for the good.

2) They must serve some jail time. I would recommend at least a year, but whatever we have currently on the books that is more than a year would be acceptable. Upon their release they must pay a hefty fine (I think this Act calls for $5000, and that sound good). However, this should be reserved only for people who are contributing members to the society. This means that they have a job, they haven’t committed any crimes, and they aren’t on any welfare roles.

Again, I really don’t know much about the Act that is being argued against. I just know how I think the illegal immigration problem should be handled. And from what I hear, I agree with the conservative critics of this bill. It should not be voted into law.

Happy Holidays

I said it. “Happy Holidays.” There now all the Christian organizations can boycott this site. Well, they probably already have because it is a site with LDS discussion. But now that I have wished you all a Happy Holidays, I am sure that I have lost you all.

I just don’t get it. Sean Hannitty and Glenn Beck just need to drop it. If a store wants to have a Holiday Special, so what?! Are they trying to diminish the importance of Christmas? Maybe, but I hold to the idea that their “diminishing” of Christmas enhanced it. It takes away the commercialism, and helps us to remember to the real meaning of Christmas.

Okay, I do find the idea of a Holiday Tree somewhat wrong. It has always been a Christmas Tree and always will and should be. But that’s where my ire for commercial establishments not using the term “Christmas” ends.

My first entry on this site was on a similar subject. My non-Christian (non-Mormon) friends understands it better than the ACLU and the radical Christian right.

Christmas is a Christian Holiday, and they can wish me a merry one if they want. Or they can choose to ignore it. I won’t think any the less of them for doing either. It is their free right to do so. But I wouldn’t be offended if they choose to wish me a Happy Holidays. Perhaps, they do so, because they aren’t sure what the LDS tradition is with Christmas. Perhaps they are doing it because they are offended by Christmas. Either way, it is perfectly acceptable, and we Christ-fearing men and women, should live with it.

Most Commercial Outlets that are hawking their holiday ware as Holiday ware because it speaks to a larger audience. They mean no offense to Christians, and they mean to preferential treatment to non-Christians. They are just out to make a buck.

So, if you want to encourage Walmart in a direction that commercialized Christmas, than join in the boycott. If you want a less commercialize Christmas, than maybe the best thing to do would be to keep our mouths shut.

As for me, I did most of my shopping at Wal-Mart. If we see you there this season, Happy Holidays, and a Merry Christmas.

Paper Money – Final Thought

Just one quick quote before I leave this book as a discussion topic.

“It is all the unfashionable Puritan virtues — work, saving, investment — that create the currency.” (p. 138, Paper Money, Adam Smith)

Paper Money – Debt

I was hoping to have the book with me as I wrote about this.  But I left it at home.  So, these thoughts and comments are coming from my memory.

I was really drawn into Paper Money by the first few chapters.  Essentially, “Adam Smith” argues that the problem with our economy today is debt.

Yes, the national debt is big, but Smith hits also on personal debt.  I don’t remember if it was this book or another source that pointed out that the national debt has set the example for consumer (personal) debt.

I guess people think, “What the heck? If the government can spend that which they don’t have so can I.”

Debt is one of my biggest personal pet peeves.  I actually was patting myself on the back all these years because I had no debt (except for my house).  At least I thought I did.  I had rationalized in my head that my student loans were okay, because they were for my education (which incidentally I don’t use in a professional capacity).

However, after having read Dave Ramsey‘s Total Money Makeover, I realized how wrong I was in thinking that nonsense.  I am very proud to say that I am chipping away at this debt, and I am over 3 years ahead of schedule in paying it off.  Actually, I hope to have this 20-year loan (now in the 5th year of paying it off) eliminated by the end of 2007.

Let’s get back to the point.  Smith argues that by increasing the amount of debt that we incur we hurt the strength of the dollar.  This was the first I had ever had my assumptions that we in America are operating under what I call a false economy.  It is my opinion that we think we have a strong economy because the consumer market is doing so well.  However, it is a false assumption because all of the consumer spending is done on debt.

As I understand it, the debt-based economy has three problems with it.  First, we are spending more for things that they are worth.  Because we are paying interest on the items we purchase, they are actually costing us more than the market value of the product.  Thus, money is wasted and the consumer gets less for her dollar.

The second problem with a debt-based economy is that things become more expensive.  If I recall correctly this concept actually came from Smith.  When people are paying for things in installments it is easier for the seller to increase the price, because after all it’s only $5 more per month (over 36 payments), not $200 more.  I think that the price of cars has gone up significantly because they are bought using debt.

The third problem with a debt-based economy is that we don’t have enough money to actually cover the total debt.  Most people owe more than they make.  Sure, there are credit agencies to monitor this, but it seems like every where to turn people are trying to sell you debt.

I wish that I could have used more information for Paper Money to discuss this subject, but I can’t.  I might come back and touch this up with some support.  Just understand that our debt, both the national debt and the consumer debt, is hurting us.  We need to put out this fire before it destroys us.

Paper Money – Oil Prices

Honestly, I really don’t know much about economics.  I find it very interesting, and I want to know more about it.

That’s why when I was at the local thrift store and I found a copy of Paper Money by “Adam Smith.”  I knew that Adam Smith is considered to be the founder of modern economics.  However, I was it little surprised to find out that this Adam Smith and the Adam Smith are different people.  However, my research showed that this Adam Smith was rather knowledgeable and an easy read.

While Paper Money is not considered to one of his best works (perhaps even is worst), I still am finding the read to be interesting.  I was particularly interested in some of his insights on oil.  While, his discussion of oil is long and I haven’t quite finished it,  I found something that I think is useful for today.

I found the answer to this simple question:  “Who benefits most from limited oil in the market?”

Smith discussed the purpose of OPEC and it’s drive to limit oil so that the price could go up.  Essentially, this was an anti-trust between the major oil producers in the Middle East to increase their profits.  And it worked for a time I guess.

Well, thinking about this in modern terms, I find it interesting who the Democrats want to limit American’s access to oil.  What is there motivation?  Is it really the environment?  Or is it because they are oil mongers trying to get the most for their money?

Specifically, I am thinking on ANWR.  But I am sure there are other American drilling projects that are being stopped by this.

Even the Republicans aren’t pushing very hard for ANWR.  And I think that it’s because they know that it will actually hurt the American oil industry more than help them.  So, they are just putting on a face to look like they are fighting.

Okay, I am speaking too much about what I know little. I just had these thoughts as I read this book, and I wanted to write about it.  As with all my posts, I am open to your insights on this matter.