We must vote for those candidates of any party that reflect these values: hard work, self-determination, smaller government, fiscal responsibility and honesty. Look to the character of anyone you chose to support. Their past does matter if they haven't learned from it. Their personal life is as relevant as their public one. We must be able to trust those who will be advising and leading us on what our country must do next. -Glenn Beck

Monday, December 31, 2012

Going Over the Fiscal Cliff

As the rest of us prepare to bring in the New Year tonight, our elected representatives are working on avoiding taking the country over the "Fiscal Cliff".  What that really means is that they are busy politically posturing.

This is an example of politics at its worst.  Pres. Obama has repeatedly blamed the Republicans.  He has given one major speech and is apparently planning on another today.  The gist of these speeches is, "We're doing everything we can, but the big, bad Republicans won't let us fix this."  He talks about how far they have come to meet the Republicans in the middle, but how the Republicans are squabbling over $100,000.  He makes it all sound so petty.

Let me ask you this, Pres. Obama:  What is it exactly you have compromised on?  

The major sticking point is that Pres. Obama wants to raise taxes on any households making more than $250,000.

Republicans understand that people making over $250,000 are the individuals that create small business and invest in business and keep the economy running.  For anyone who is reading this, how much money have you invested in a company and/or the stock market?  In other words, if the economy was dependent on you, what would be happening with your money?

I know that whenever I receive a large chunk of money, I do one of two things:  1)  I put it into savings, or 2)  I pay off debt.  Putting money into savings is one of the worst things for the economy, because you have now pulled those dollars out of circulation.  They aren't buying anything.  They aren't growing any business.  If you pay off debt, you are paying off something that has already been purchased, and it also has little impact to help the economy.  What keeps the economy going is money circulating.  By pulling money from those who actually do invest and start businesses and buy large quantities of stuff, you slow the economy.

Think of it this way.  I'm going to see a movie this afternoon.  What if everybody decided they couldn't afford to see anymore movies and that they would put that money into savings instead.  How long would it take for the movie theaters to go out of business?  One month?  Two?

Republicans are fighting on principal, that raising taxes on those who keep the economy moving and growing is the worst possible thing you can do in a slow economy.  They want instead to keep the same tax rates or even lower them to encourage growth in the economy.  What about the problem of the deficit and the national debt?  Republicans want to fix it by reducing spending -- By living within the government's means.

Keynesian economists (who are all liberal) argue that, when money is pulled from those making $250,000 or more, that the government spends it.  So it's still going into the economy.  And, in fact, they argue that it actually goes further, because there is no tax on the money like there would be in a corporation.  It's called the Government Spending Multiplier Effect.

This might be true if the government ran anything efficiently, but unfortunately they do not.  Let's say the government raises $1 trillion through the new tax increases, and then they buy a $1 trillion candy bar from a factory that employs one person, and you eat it.  The individual that sold them the candy bar makes a lot of money, but it goes to that one individuals.  The individual will likely invest it and some will get distributed back into the economy.  But how much money went to waste in that exchange by overpaying for goods?  What happens when you give $535 million to Solyndra to manufacture green products and they go out of business?  What happens when you bail out GM and then push them to emphasize green vehicles like the Chevy Volt that there is no demand for, and the product fails?

The biggest flaw in Keynesian economics is that there is no consideration for what happens to productivity when you hand people money rather than make them work for it.  No consideration for what happens in the market when you don't let the natural laws of supply and demand dictate what is produced.

If you look at all the money that was wasted in the stimulus and all the money that is going to be wasted in Obamacare, it is a significant amount.  That money would simply be better served in the hands of an entrepreneur or an investor (WHOSE MONEY IT IS IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!  THEY EARNED IT!!!)

So Republicans made a major compromise from "Absolutely no new taxes" to "Okay, we will meet you halfway and allow a tax increase on those making more than $1 million."  But that's not good enough.  Pres. Obama pushed for $250,000 still and said he would not negotiate on that.  He will "not put more of the burden on middle income families."  (Ummmmm... How about a decrease in spending then?  That would be a much more effective solution.  Reduce the amount that everybody has to pay!)

So Democrats finally said, "Okay... We'll meet you halfway and go from $250,000 to $450,000."  (Since when is $450,000 halfway between $250,000 and $1,000,000?)  So that is their big sacrifice they are making, and they can't see how Republicans could be against that.

So now they are debating between raising taxes on incomes $450,000 or $550,000, which is the $100,000 they are describing.

Why not compromise to save the economy?  Here is the dirty little secret:  Pres. Obama wants to go over the cliff.

That way, he can raise taxes on everybody, and he can just blame the Republicans.  Middle income families will see a significant tax increase, but he doesn't have to be the bad guy.  He can have more money to spend on more government programs, and he can further increase his control over the American people.  His major compromise is not to raise taxes to the 70% rate it was under Jimmy Carter, which he would like to do!  He feels like he is giving up a lot, which is why he is probably dumbfounded with the Republicans.

Republicans are the sensible, thrifty group in the marriage, and the Democrats are the ones with 15 credit cards that are all maxed out, and they're asking if we wouldn't mind co-signing on another.  Then, when we say no, they throw a fit and blame us for their financial woes.

Unfortunately, Republicans are too soft-hearted, and they will likely say "Okay, just this one last time..." and compromise to once again save the people of the United States from the Democratic policies.  Raising taxes on those who keep the economy moving is an incredibly stupid thing to do in a bad economy, but it's even worse to raise taxes on everyone.

We've got about 10 hours left at the time I'm writing this.  It'll be interesting to see what happens by the time the ball drops in Times Square.  Hopefully Republicans can once again save this economy, despite the best efforts of Pres. Obama and the Democrats to destroy it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Conservative's View on Gun Control

What happened in Newtown, CT on Friday is absolutely horrific.  It is almost unimaginable that someone could do something like this to innocent children.  Even bad guys seem to have limits.  And this is one that hasn't often been crossed.  As a parent of a child of a 4 year-old child, it struck all too close to home.

My first reaction as a father is that Adam Lanza got off too easy.  He should have lived, because he needs to be made to pay for what he did.  But then I realize that he will yet face justice, and his punishment will be worse than any punishment that man could inflict.

As a great man once said, "Justice is mercy."  I believe that Adam Lanza will yet face the perfect justice of God, and the families of these victims will have mercy.

The next thought is naturally to search for a way to prevent these types of things from happening in the future.     My little boy is in pre-school and will soon be starting grammar school.  I don't want him to have to face what those children at Sandy Hook Elementary had to face.  I want my son and daughter and any future children that may come along to grow up in a world that is safe.

ONE CONSERVATIVE'S THOUGHTS

As a write down my thoughts in these posts, I try to be logical and to avoid inflammatory statements.  I try to respect individuals who may think differently than I do.  I don't speak on behalf of all conservatives obviously, but I am one conservative.  I do my best to explain my point of view, and to support it with logical arguments.  And I don't claim to be right -- It's simply my point of view.

I have always had a desire to be able to sit down with a liberal and have them explain to me why they think what they think.  There have been a few individuals in my life who have been able to express to me their opposing views, and it has always been enlightening.  But mostly it just upsets individuals to talk about politics, and it often escalates.  So on this blog, I simply try to provide a conservative's viewpoint for anybody who is interested. 

I would love to be able to find a comparative blog on the liberal side, but it seems like most liberal blogs resort to name calling and personal attacks.  The arguments are rarely based on logic, but rather on emotion.  But that is one major difference I have noted between conservatives and liberals:  Conservatives tend to focus more on logic, and liberals tend to let their emotions guide them.

GUN CONTROL

That seems to be the case whenever one of these mass shootings occur.  The left immediately pounces on the issue of gun control.  It always seems strange to me that there is no worry about using a tragedy for political expediency.  But then again, it was Pres. Obama's advisor Rahm Emmanuel who said that, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste."  I suppose this fits the bill, sad as it is.

When the right defends their right to bear arms as it faces the overpowering voice from the left, the left seems to almost be in disbelief that the right could defend the use of guns.  Does the left really think that we want our children to be killed by a gun-wielding maniac?  Obviously not!  That is ridiculous.  Yet that is the reaction I have seen.  Piers Morgan last night seemed almost dumbfounded that a guest on his show would defend gun rights at a time like this.

And yet I, as a conservative, sit here in disbelief that any level-headed person would think that gun control would have done anything to prevent this mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.

GUN FREE ZONE

Did you know that Sandy Hook Elementary is a "Gun Free Zone"?  That means that by law, it is illegal to have a gun there.  How then, is it possible that a shooting occured there?  Shouldn't the "Gun Free Zone" law have prevented this from happening?

The answer is obvious:  Adam Lanza simply disregarded the law, because he is an evil person.  Because of the law, all of the law-abiding citizens didn't have guns.  The only person roaming the halls with a gun at Sandy Hook Elementary that day was the murderer.  My guess is that every teacher at that school would have given anything in that moment to have had a gun as they frantically tried to protect their children.  But the only person with a gun was the person who had no regard for the law.

It is that simple.

The school had a buzzer system where guests are supposed to buzz in.  He reportedly broke through a window.

He didn't have registered guns and never went through a background check.  The guns he had were not his.  He stole them from his mom, who had gone through the background check and registered them legally.

Murder is against the law.  Yet, somehow the law didn't stop him.

I honestly have a hard time seeing how a rational person could believe that enacting more laws is going to stop people from Adam Lanza doing what they are going to do.

9/11

Gun control is simply an emotional response.  It cannot be based on logic.

Interesting fact:  Not one gun was used in the 9/11 attacks.  The terrorists used box cutters.  And they killed 2,296 people.  More than 100 times as many people as died in those attacks as did at Sandy Hook Elementary.

(By the way, one of the responses to those attacks was to put armed air marshalls on the planes, so that somebody besides the terrorists have a weapon in case of an attack.  More guns = More safety.)

Timothy McVeigh blew up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City and killed 168 (and injured 700 others.)  Not one gun was used.

Guns are currently the simplest solution for someone who wants to kill others.  If guns were taken away, we would simply see a shift to bombs or arson or poison.  Killers will find a way to kill.

I said it in a previous post, but sad as it is, I believe that guns actually limit the amount of people that can be killed, because there is a physical constraint on how many times a trigger can be pulled and is limited to the accuracy of the shooter, which gives individuals a chance to flee.  That is not true with a bomb.

THE SECOND AMENDMENT

The first amendment states:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Second only to the freedom of religion, free speech, and freedom of the press is the second amendment, which states:

"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Why did the Founding Fathers feel so strongly about the right to bear arms that they would make it the second amendment?  When put in the context of what it had just taken to free themselves from the oppression of Great Britain, it makes perfect sense.

Everything in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights is set up around a blatant distrust of government.  When men get into power, the power goes to their heads.  When individuals willingly give up arms, they give government more power over themselves.  If things go wrong, as it did with Great Britain, the people need to be able to form a militia and defend themselves.  With no arms, that is a very difficult proposition.

It may seem far-fetched, but we have seen in the last couple years the people of Libya and Egypt raise up against their government in order to fight for their rights.  It happens, even in our day.

The right of the people to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.  Could the Founding Fathers have stated it any clearer?  I'm being serious.  Is there any way that the Founding Fathers could have worded it any clearer?  I would like to hear any suggestions.

ASSAULT WEAPONS

I have heard people say, "Our arms are no match for the drones and fighters of today."  That is simply not true.  Maybe if everybody were to gather into one spot and wait to be killed, but that doesn't reflect reality.  There are not enough bombs available to kill all the people in the U.S., with as many people and as spread out as we are.  Nuclear bombs would come closest, but if we are to the point where our government would use nuclear weapons on its own people, we are in a lot of trouble.

The 2.5 million full-time or reserve military personnel would be no match for the 300+ million people that live in the U.S., but only if those people have some way to fight back.

The left always want to go back to the assault weapons ban.  The reason, as they often point out, is that the people should not have access to the same guns as the military.  They purposely want to relinquish control and give more power to the government to have control over its people.

How would gun registration have changed this attack?  How would a background check have changed this attack?  How would an assault weapons ban have changed this attack?  Some will try to argue that smaller clips will make for more reloading time.  I guess that makes sense if you are actually reloading, which takes a little more time.  But changing out clips can be done in a couple of seconds, and whether it's ten 15-round clips or fifteen 10-round clips, it's still 150 bullets.

GUNS DON'T KILL PEOPLE... PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE

But all of that is beside the point, because guns don't kill people.  It doesn't matter whether it is an assault weapon or not.  People kill people.

It has been reported that Adam Lanza had Asperger's Syndrome.  So why don't we ban individuals with Asperger's Syndrome?  That is obviously ridiculous, because there are many people who have Asperger's Syndrome who don't kill people.

It has been reported that Adam Lanza was a loner and may have suffered from depression.  So let's lock up everybody who is a loner and suffers from depression.  Ridiculous.  There are many people who are loners and who suffer from depression who don't kill people.

It has been reported that Adam Lanza played violent video games.  So let's lock up anybody who has ever played violent video games.  Ridiculous.  There are many people who play violent video games who don't kill people.

There are tens and hundreds of millions of people who own guns (which include assault weapons), and almost none of them kill people.  It has been estimated that there are 300,000,000 guns in the United States among an estimated 50,000,000 gun owners.  There were 14 "mass shootings" in 2012.  300,000,000 million guns, 50,000,000 gun owners, 14 mass shootings.  That means that 49,999,986 individuals that own guns (including assault weapons) did not go on a killing spree.  Yet, the left wants to take away guns from those individuals because one was used in killing others.  It makes as much sense as banning people with Asperger's or who are loners or who play video games.

But it fits with the theme of the left -- Turn everything over to the government, and those benevolent people in power will take care of everything for its people.

DISRESPECT

Guns have been around for a long time, and in the 50's and 60's when there were no background checks or gun free zones, there were also almost no mass shootings.  If the gun laws were more relaxed then, how is that it possible that there weren't more shootings?  What has changed?

This people in the United States have turned away from a belief in God.  One person in a school of hundreds or even thousands can stop the Pledge of Allegiance from being read because it uses the phrase "One Nation, Under God", which offends them.  We have to say "Happy Holidays" so that we won't offend anyone.  Don't even think about putting on a Christmas play at school.

I was at graduation for our University on Friday, the day the shootings took place.  I have been to at least 10 of these graduations in my time as a teacher at the University.  For the first time in all of the graduations I've been to, I watched at least half and maybe closer to two-thirds of the graduates and their families get up and walk out before the graduation ceremony was completed.

Graduation has changed since I got my first degree back in 2003.  The majority of graduates and guests don't dress up anymore.  They are loud and disrespectful and bring air horns to blast when their graduates' names are read.  And when they get bored and want to leave, they just get up and leave in the middle of the ceremony.

It seems like a simple thing, but it is indicative to me of what has happened in society.  Anything goes.  Whatever you do is right.  Have everything handed to you in life.  It seems as though there is no respect for anything in this up and coming generation.

I read a great quote over the weekend:

"In the days of uncertainty, when men are running to and fro seeking for some new plan by which peace may be brought into the world, know this: that the only way to peace for this world is the pathway of the Gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord.  There is no other."

THE SOLUTION

But that will offend our friends on the left.  They do not want to hear about God.  They would have him banned from all public aspects of life.

So without a turn to God, is there an alternate solution?

In the debates, Mitt Romney was asked about gun control, and he was ridiculed by the left because he talked about the importance of children growing up in a family with a Mom and a Dad.  He was dead on in his comments.  The solution comes from children learning and being nurtured inside the home.  By being taught by good parents what is right and what is wrong, and by having standards to live by and to be held accountable to.  It all starts in the home.  Respect starts in the home.

But parents don't raise children anymore.  The day care and the television do.  More and more, parents hand their kids everything they want.  Discipline is a thing of the past.  I just picked up my son from his pre-school class, and it is very apparent which kids hear the word "no" at home and which don't.

But we obviously cannot control what happens in other people's homes.  This problem will only get worse.  So what is another solution?

It is simple.  We obviously cannot (and should not) arrest individuals who are loners or are depressed or who play violent video games or who have Asperger's syndrome.  Taking away guns will only shift the method of killing.  So what can we do?

What we need is not less guns; It is more guns.  More education and training with guns.  What if the principal, Dawn Hochsprung, had a gun locked away in a safe place in her office when the shooting first began?  What if Victoria Soto had locked her students in a closet and then gone to retrieve her firearm and hid herself in a corner with the gun pointed at the door?  What if every teacher in that school who wanted to had been armed that day?  But no, it was a "Gun Free Zone".

What if a dozen people in the theater in Aurora who had concealed weapons permits had been armed when the gunman opened fire?  How many lives could have been saved?  No, the theater was a "Gun Free Zone". Those with regard for the law didn't have any weapons.

One of my best friends was on a construction site when a man across the street came out of his house, yelling and waving a gun.  My friend, who has a concealed weapon permit, calmly walked out to his truck, where he pulled out his weapon, and then he went back inside the house and sat and waited and watched.  The police were called, and there was a standoff where the man was eventually arrested and no harm was done.  But I have been hunting with my friend, and I know that the shooting wouldn't have gone on for long had the gunman decided to open fire on anyone.

CONCLUSION

We can continue gun registration and background checks.  We can continue to try to identify people who are a threat.  We need to continue educating individuals on using and respecting guns.  But if we are not as a nation going to address the heart of the problem, then we simply need to be able to defend ourselves against these maniacs when they decide to strike.

Would Adam Lanza have even entered that school that day had it been known that every teacher was armed?  I heard a proponent of gun control on Piers Morgan's show admit that "Burglars wait until nobody is home to break into a house in Texas."  I believe that is true.

Gun control will only stop those who have respect for the law.  And then the criminals who disregard the law will be the only ones that are armed.  Would-be killers will only be more tempted knowing that the innocent people gathered together have no guns.  And the number of mass shootings would only increase.

From the mind of (what I hope to be) a level-headed conservative, gun control has to be the the most illogical solution to this epidemic that I can think of.  But it sure would make those emotionally driven people on the left feel good, because they had done something about it.