Archive for the taxes Category

The Obama Win: Come January

Posted in civil rights, Constitution, Economy, Elections, Energy, First Amendment, healthcare, John McCain, News, Obama, politics, taxes with tags , , on November 5, 2008 by Randy Streu

Congratulations to Barack Obama for a hard-won presidential election.  I won’t say it was well-played, because it was not — on either side.  But, the people have spoken and, sadly, it would appear they’ve grown weary of liberty, and have chosen instead to sacrifice it to the god of Financial Security.  History, it would seem, has not been as eloquent a teacher as Obama has been a communicator.  The irony is in how many of those voting for Obama were so very fond of paraphrasing Franklin: “those who would sacrifice liberty for security shall have none and deserve neither.”  And yet…

Does that sound bitter?  It isn’t.  I’m not even angry.  Just sad.

Democrat rhetoric during the last year or so has shown us, I think, the directions we’ll be looking as a nation, come January 2009.  In spite of the closeness of the election, there will be talk of “mandates,” and the Democrat win (aka the de facto ‘mandate of the people’) will be used as justification for more and more federal intrusion, higher taxes, and fewer freedoms.

People who sincerely love freedom, no matter who you voted for, I sincerely hope you watch this new administration closely.  I hope you watch for the erosion of our liberty — and I hope that, no matter who you voted for, you will fight to keep that freedom when the time comes.  This erosion is going to come in many small ways, from many directions.  It’s going to come as a gift — a trojan horse: in the form of healthcare, new entitlement benefits, new Social Security rules.  But these small intrusions will turn into larger ones.  These gifts will soon reveal their costs.  And, once the mistique wears off — once the thrill of making history has worn thin — we will perhaps begin, finally, to see what we have wrought.

Watch for a re-emergence of the so-called “fairness doctrine.”  The idea that freedom of speech only applies to private entities who willingly give up their podium to the opposition, in spite of the fact that the opposition controls the majority of the mass media, and suffers under no such requirement.  Make no mistake; this doctrine has nothing at all to do with fairness, and everything to do with silencing criticism of the establishment.  Congressional Democrats have long been vocal about their wishes in this matter, and Barack Obama will, given the chance, seek to abide by them.

Watch for unreasonable mandates to appear, with an aim toward crippling the energy industry as we know it.  And understand that, before those “evil” energy corporations go bankrupt, it will be you and I who first foot that bill.

Watch for “free healthcare” to become a mandate to business owners to pay beyond their means for employee benefits — benefits which were not negotiated between employer and employee, or even between employer and union, but instead introduced, coerced and enforced by federal government.  And watch the prices for simple goods and services skyrocket as business owners try to comply with federal law without going belly up.  And when the market finally ceases to be able to bear the burden, watch for the unemployment rate to acheive new highs.

Watch for the government to sieze control over your 401(k) as a means of alleviating the damage done by the collapsing economy, and place caps and limits on your retirement earning potential.

Will all of this happen under Barack Obama?  God willing, it will not.  But none of this is outside the realm of possibility, and, indeed, most of the policies listed are either direct interpretations of Obama’s own policies, or policy suggestions made within the Democrat Party.

This is History’s sad truth about handing over liberty for the sake of financial security: it doesn’t work.  It never has.  The most successful communist/socialist countries are either, like China, finding that they have to embrace some forms of Capitalism in order to stay afloat, or, like Cuba, are home to a vast population of the impoverished — but at least they have nice hospitals.   Most, however, either never make it out of third-world status or, like the USSR, finally kill off enough citizens to render itself unsustainable.

Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power.
-Benjamin Frankin, Poor Richard’s Almanac, 1738

One Day Left: A Constitutional Conservative Looks at the ’08 Election

Posted in civil rights, Constitution, Economy, Elections, national defense, Obama, politics, taxes on November 3, 2008 by Randy Streu

I can’t pretend I’m not going to be relieved when this circus of an election season is over.  As a Conservative, this cycle has been frustrating and exhausting — and, at times, exhilarating.  One of the most sobering realizations for a Conservative in these times is that the vote for a Third Party candidate is a wasted one.  And, this election, there have been times where that was exactly the direction I was heading.  Granted, in these times, their imminent slaughter is not the only reason I couldn’t in good conscience vote for a party that stands more closely to my own values (such as the Libertarian or Constitution parties), but my level of irritation at recent actions of certain Republicans has definitely made it an option worth considering.

Still, though my Republican-of-choice was not ultimately chosen as the GOP candidate (indeed, neither were my second or third options… in fact, McCain ranked pretty near the bottom, to be honest), I still determined early on that I would hold my nose and cast my vote. 

McCain has done much since that decision to secure my vote (and yes, for you naysayers, his selection of Palin as VP still ranks, for me, as one of his better decisions), and some to make me question it.  But over all, this election has, for most Conservatives I Know, never really been about John McCain.  It’s not been about George W. Bush.  This is not a year in which Conservatives, by and large, will be voting for a candidate, so much as against a set of ideals.

I’m not going to elaborate much on which ideals I’m against — a cursory glance through the various posts on this blog should provide plenty of insight into where I’m coming from.  But, for one thing, I’m against the idea that the Government has the moral authority to determine who deserves the money a man makes, for the simple reason that he happens to make more than some arbitrary amount.  Barack Obama is for this idea.

This alone, with no other considerations, is enough to make me vote against Obama.  As it turns out, there are other considerations.   Many others.  Abortion, gun control, Foreign policy, character, integrity… getting the idea?  But even without these other things, I could still not vote for Obama, because of the first.

A man, or a party, who has claimed moral authority over a man’s property or earnings has also claimed authority over that man’s liberty, because property and liberty are inseparable.  A governor who would make a man a slave to another in this way (because, really, this is the end result of wealth redistribution) is not a man of solid character.  He is untrustworthy as a leader — certainly as a leader of what was conceived as a nation of free men.

Barack Obama claims to know the Constitution.  Scripture says even the Devil knows the Bible.  The question, for me, is not whether Barack Obama knows the Constitution.  It is whether he honors it; whether he loves it — not just as a solid “political document,” but as the foundation of this country.  Does he understand the meanings of it, and the intent of the Founding Fathers — and does he agree to uphold those ideals?  Because if he does not — and indeed, recently uncovered interviews appear to suggest this very possibility — how can he take an oath swearing to do exactly that, and still hold himself an honest man?

Happy Halloween

Posted in Economy, Elections, Obama, politics, taxes with tags on October 30, 2008 by Randy Streu

Hey, I’m a busy guy, and the election is almost upon us.  Almost everything that needs to be said has been said.  People are either going to vote capitalism or socialism on Nov. 4, and I can now only pray the right choice is made.  I may or may not post again between now and then — hopefully time will permit.  In the meantime, this was sent to me, and I found it fitting.

Happy Halloween

Gov. Richardson: George W. Bush should have saved the economy from the Democrats — wait, what was the question?

Posted in Economy, Elections, News, Obama, politics, taxes with tags , on September 17, 2008 by Randy Streu

(cross-posted at RedState)

Bill Richardson was on Fox News this morning discussing Obama’s economic plan.  Not much to write home about, but if you had the stomach to sift through (or even *sit* through) the BS, there were a couple of gems worth noting.

 Fox: (after Richardson talks about CEOs and golden parachutes) isn’t it true, though, they were getting the golden parachutes during the Clinton years as well, while you were there?

Richardson:  Well, look, there’s no question about it: what we need is stronger oversight and transparency of these institutions, and my point is, Senator McCain was Chairman of the Commerce Committee that was supposed to regulate these entities.

Translation:  Um… er… ah… yeah, anyway, back to what I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted with fact…

Richardson: Look, I — I want to let businesses deal with their own market.  I think the AIG bailout, in my personal opinion, was the right thing to do, because you’ve got a hundred and 16 thousand employees… but we have an inconsistent policy…

I’m going to pause for a moment to just let that sink in… … …

And, we’re moving forward:

Fox: I know the — there’s the housing enterprise regulatory reform act of 2005, which he (McCain) sponsored, which Democrats killed… and in that reform act, Governor Richardson, he talked about his worry about the way real estate was going, the lack of — McCain — Senator John McCain, that is — and Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, specifically.
Richardson: Well, but, look: who was in the white house?  President Bush. Where was President Bush?  Look, you know, it doesn’t make sense just to assign blame.  I think what’s important is, where do we go from here.  At least Senator Obama has said, “these are the steps that I would take as President.”

Translation: You’re right, and President Bush should have saved the American economy from the disastrous fiscal policy of the Democrats — um, I mean, hey, you know, let’s not get into the finger-pointing.  You say it was the Democrats, I say the Democrats should have been stopped — but anyway, VOTE DEMOCRAT.

I think, to paraphrase Ronaldus Maximus, that it’s not that Governor Richardson is ignorant… he’s just not very bright.

Obama: Empty Suit, Empty Words, Empty Head

Posted in Elections, News, Obama, politics, taxes with tags on September 10, 2008 by Randy Streu

(via oo7angel, h/t Rod Patrick)

People can debate whether or not this falls under the definition of “plagiarism.”  But I find it interesting that some of Obama’s “Best” stuff is often other peoples’.

For example:

or:

and

(last three videos from Chrisoh7)

By the way, I note I’m using videos compiled by other people.  Ironic, no?  I’m also giving them credit for it.  Get the difference?

So, what’s my point?  Simple.  Obama is accused of mouthing Democrat talking points.  Of being more of the same.  Of not being the “uniter” he claims to be, because he pretty much just toes the Democrat party line.  These accusations call into question Obama’s intellect and integrity.  These videos don’t help him.

Remember the key to electing a leader:  Leaders lead.  That’s not what we’re getting with Obama.  And what’s really scary is, with Obama, we don’t actually know what we’re getting.  These videos raise the question of what Obama, himself, actually believes.  If the words aren’t his, what about the ideas they describe?

These words by Obama are, indeed, “just words.”  He isn’t a leader — he’s a reader.  He’s a mouthpiece for the party platform.  He’s a good-looking, charasmatic, articulate guy, basically being fed talking points and bamboozling people into believing in his leadership.  On some level, we all know that lofty speeches don’t make a great leader — that some times, great leaders don’t give great speeches.  Let’s hope our fellow countrymen remember this before we put this guy in office.

Nazis Had the Jews; Democrats Have “Big Oil”

Posted in civil rights, Constitution, Economy, Elections, John McCain, News, Obama, politics, taxes with tags , , , on June 18, 2008 by Randy Streu

Yahoo! News reports that 67% of Americans polled wisely believe we should drill domestically.  George W. Bush and John McCain, fortunately, agree.  That’s the good news.

The bad news, from a freedom perspective, is the number of people either seriously considering or already sold on the idea of “nationalizing” (read: socializing) the fuel industry.  When asked the question, “should the government nationalize all the oil companies and run them on a non-profit basis,” a mere 47% of those polled said, “no.”  Even more troubling, to me, is that when asked whether an oil company who discovers an alternative fuel sourceshould be allowed to keep the profit, only 52% said “yes.”  These are the main numbers I want to deal with.  You can view the entire Rasmussen Report here.

For some people, the above numbers will be read as a victory, of sorts, for the “common man.”  Most of those individuals will be voting for Obama.  And it is to those individuals I would like to address my rebuttal.

Gas prices are making people angry.  And, perhaps, rightly so.  Fingers of blame for these prices are pointed in every direction, but as usual, it is not the argument that makes the most sense, but that which is shouted the loudest, that seems to gain credibility.  As a result of the Democrat propaganda machine, the oil industry has been demonized and incorrectly turned into “enemies” of the American people.  I would submit that the poll results listed above reflect not a considered approach to economics, but a response made in anger — a smackdownof the Democrats’ official scapegoats.  The result?  There are now Americans who favor violating the Constitutional rights of those who have made investments into America’s fuel and energy sources.

Let’s focus on this point for a moment.  Let’s forget that, had Bill Clinton agreed to drill ANWR and off-shore when he was asked, we would not right now be dealing with a dependency-based supply-demand crisis.  Let’s forgetthat, thanks largely to Environmentalists and Congressional Democrats, we have not built a single new refinery (including to replace those which have been destroyed by natural disaster) in thirty years.  Let’s forget, in other words, that this is ultimately the government’s fault — that same government to whom people now advocate handing over the reins of oil production.  We’ll touch on the real culprits later. 

First, let’s deal with what’s being advocated by some Americans: the socialization of the oil industry.  History has shown repeatedly that socialization simply doesn’t work.  It creates a bureaucracy that is expensive to taxpayers, and time and time again has caused the necessity for rationing of needed product — which directly negatively impacts the liberty of all Americans.  There are those who suggest that such a necessary item should not be left in the hands of private individuals — that, since oil is so very important to our society, government is its right and proper controller.  Of course, food is also pretty important (more so than oil, even), but I doubt very many of these advocates for oil nationalization would be in favor of the government taking over America’s farms.  Or have we really forgotten that every socialist nation in the world has either failed outright, been relegated to third-world status, or embraced some forms of capitalism in order to stay afloat?

Then you have the simple fact that this approach run counter to the role of government established by our Constitution.  Of course, when it comes to “Big Oil,” the Constitution seems to some Democrats, and at least 29% of those polled by Rasmussen, not to apply.  Though everyone seems to agree that oil companies would do better if they invested in alternative energy (or, for some, that oil companies should do it regardless), only 52% of those polled believe companies should be allowed to keep profits from those discoveries — with 29% saying they should not(!).  What?  Not only is this a horribly naive approach to economics (crossing well past the border into stupidity, actually), but this runs so counter to Freedom and Liberty that these people must choke when they are forced to call themselves “Americans.”

First, nobody is going to invest time, energy or funds to explore alternative fuels without the potential of profit.  This simple fact ought to be a no-brainer.  But evidently those without brains disagree.  Either that, or they simply aren’t suggesting that people “volunteer.”  They are suggesting instead that either companies be forced to invest in alternative fuels without compensation (slavery), or that a government bureaucracy do it (socialism).  And of those who don’t believe outright that these are horrible, horrible ideas, half just aren’t sure.  It’s as if years of history have been either forgotten or ignored.

How does such a thing happen?  Simple.  It’s pretty well-established that in order to succeed, liberals rely on dissatisfaction.  In order to get elected, Democrats need crisis, and they need somebody to blame for it.  They can’t very well point the fingers at themselves, so the National Socialist — oops — I mean, Democrat Party found a class of citizens to blame for society’s ills: the wealthy.  “Big Drug,” “Big Tobacco” and “Big Oil” are the perpetrators of crimes against society, while CEOs and other “Corporate Executives” are the Juden in the Democrats’ little historical pageant.  The creation and prosecution of a scapegoat is the most important element to the success of those who would limit freedom — a scapegoat recognized only by the hero on the white horse, who alone can combat him.  For Germany, it was Hitler.  For us it’s Obama and the Democrat Party.   I am not seeking here to minimalize the horrors visited on European Jews during the Nazi regime — nor to suggest that Obama et al have plans to torture, murder and burn corporate CEOs or oil execs.  Jail, over-tax and strip of basic property rights, sure… but murder is mean, and doesn’t in general get people re-elected.

Conservatism as Moral Imperative: Why am I Conservative?

Posted in abortion, civil rights, Constitution, First Amendment, national defense, politics, Second Amendment, taxes with tags on May 8, 2008 by Randy Streu

In July of 2003, a group of Berkely researchers for the American Psychological Association did a study on what makes a Conservative.  Rather unsurprisingly, after basing their “research” on the fairly specious definitions to be found in “fifty years of literature,” they basically decided that Conservatives are narrow-minded, bigoted fearmongers by nature or psychology.  That Conservatism, in other words, was a pathology rather than a set of values.

I’m not going to spend this post dispelling the moronic notions put forth in this five-year-old study; if I recall it was fairly deftly dispatched at the time.  But I did come upon this study again the other day, and it got me thinking:  why am I conservative?  What is it that makes being Conservative make so much sense to me?

It is that question I’ll try to answer.

I like to tell people I tried being a liberal once, while I was in college.  I found out I felt neither guilty for my own position in life, nor entitled to anyone else’s.  As glib as this is, there’s also a lot of truth to it — and it cuts to the heart of my position of Conservatism. 

In contrast to the mainstream (and incorrect) view of Conservatism, I am not judgemental or pessimistic.  I’m not wealthy by any financial standard.  I’m not distrusting of, nor biased against, those of other races or genders.  I’m also not a fan of NASCAR, just to eliminate all stereotypes.

Instead, I am something of an optimist.  Although I usually consider myself a realist, the fact is, I believe the best is always possible.  I’m quick to give my trust (though not as quick to give it back once I’ve been burned), and quick to believe in people.  True to stereotype, I am an Evangelical Christian, which goes a long way to explain my concern and, yes, compassion, for my fellow man.

All these things are why I am a Conservative. 

I believe Thomas Jefferson was right when he said, “A man is governed best who is governed least.”  I believe man — every human, regardless of race, creed or sex, is capable of providing for himself without help from a government entity.  Because of this, I believe every individual ought to be responsible for himself and his own family.  Indeed, I believe we function at our best when we are unfettered by government intervention.  I don’t believe a man ought to be given special dispensation because of race.  Being black is not a handicap, and anyone who thinks it is, is a racist.  The same goes for being female.  Or gay, for that matter.  I believe it is not compassionate to foster dependence upon others. 

Real compassion, I believe, is in allowing a person to make his own decisions with the same opportunity for reward and consequence as everybody else.  I don’t believe compassion is forcing others to provide for anyone — rather, when somebody needs help, compassion is providing for them yourself.

I am Conservative, because I believe it is the morally correct position.  I believe a man’s thoughts, beliefs and actions (so long as those actions don’t adversely and without permission impede another’s freedoms) are between him and God alone.  I don’t believe in telling somebody what they can and can’t do within their own persons or households — with exceptions only for that which would needlessly harm another human being.  I also don’t believe in forcing members of society to morally justify or accept those positions in others that they find distasteful or immoral.

I am a Conservative because my conscience demands it.  Slavery in any form — intellectual, moral, political or physical — is evil.  I believe the money a man makes is his money, and that when that money is taxed, it is to be for the purposes outlined in the Constitution — and not for anything else.  To do otherwise is to make that man a slave.

I am a Conservative because I believe life is precious, and must be protected.  I believe humanity is the highest life form on earth, and created after God’s own Image.  Therefore, at all costs, human life must be sustained.

Finally, I am conservative because I believe it is the job of government — the job we, the People, pay them for — to protect us from those who would do us harm.  This is the mandate from the people.  This is the only morality of government:  to keep the peoples’ trust.  To keep us safe. 

Conservatism is for me, a moral imperative.  I am Conservative because it is the way that makes the most sense — from an intellectual level, as well as spiritual.