"The most significant threat to our national security is our debt," Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, August 27,2010


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

This Government is Lying

How do I lie to thee? Let me count the ways.
Well, I can outright lie or I can tell a partial truth
or a partial lie or I can just not say something
that I should say because it is too important to not say.

I can deceive, deflect and divert.
I can make you look away while I barely say something
I should be emphasizing.
I can tell you something in a way
that makes it appear to be exactly what it is not.
I can tell you something in such a way that you would need
to be Sherlock Holmes and Albert Einstein to get at the real facts.
I can draw your attention to other situations and downplay the really important ones.
Or I can just reveal something in the dark of night when all are asleep
and hope that no one bothers to examine it in the light of day.
How can I lie to thee? All of these ways and a thousand more.
Oh believe me am I good at it.

What am I? Who am I? Where am I?
I am everywhere.
I am your government.
I am your president.
I am your senator.
I am your congressman.
I am your bureaucrat.
I am everywhere. I am nowhere.
I am a liar.
And I am good at it.


The USTreasury Department announced on Christmas Eve, when normal people are wrapping gifts and making meal preparations for family and friends, that it would provide an open ended, unlimited amount of funding capability to FNMA and FHLMC, otherwise known as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These two entities are now wholly owned, entirely dependent borrowing/lending mortgage companies of your federal government. Without the Treasury support these entities would fail and bankruptcy would ensue. Without the federal support of these entities there would be virtually no home mortgage lending market in the United States. Just think of that situation. After hundreds of billions of dollars of wasted federal spending propping up everything from the aged senator from West Virginia to the welfare states of Michigan and California to two failed automobile companies (that statement is not quite true; the spending was mostly directed to the failed leadership of the United Automobile Workers) to bailing out the horrific Democratic Party leadership in the states of New York and Illinois and the indescribable meathead leadership of the body builder from Austria and his California public sector union loving Democratic Party apparatchiks, there is no independent residential home mortgage lending capability in the United States of America. Why is that you ask? Because the corruption of the leadership in the white house, federal reserve and the congress for the last 20 years coupled with the thievery of the boards of FNMA and FHLMC and the party apparatchiks they put in executive positions with salaries, bonuses and stock option at Wall Street levels, have destroyed the confidence of investors around the world in US home mortgages and related products. So, the USTreasury now is the American home lender. And, that situation is going to be with us for a long, long time. When was the last time that the boy president, (el presidente Niño for our Spanish readers) had a chat with us about this situation? By the way, what exactly is your house worth?

The prior issue could well bankrupt the country. Here is how you solve this issue going forward. A simple piece of legislation that requires all debt, all securities, all notes and claims, all liabilities issued by any entity, person, corporation or government agency/authority to carry, on every page of every document, at the very top and the very bottom, in bold face type at least twice the size of any font used elsewhere on the page, the following sentence, “This obligation is not and will not be guaranteed by the United States of America.” Then, of course, the people need to elect officials who can understand that simple sentence and will actually enforce it. In the meantime, hunker down for a long cold winter.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Vote

Here is the vote. The 60 YEAs have voted to force all US citizens to purchase, under penalty of law, health insurance. These same 60 have taken an oath to “support and defend the constitution of the United States.” Not one can cite any passage in the constitution granting them the power, directly or indirectly, to force such a position upon any US citizen. One Senator was asked if he thought the vote was constitutional.  His response, "I'm not a lawyer."  These same 60 people used bribes, coercion, closed door deals and outright corruption with their special interest groups to attain passage of this legislation. If this country had even one Judiciary official with one ounce of backbone, the 60 would be indicted for crimes and misdemeanors and prosecuted as any one of us would similarly expect prosecution for such violation of oath and law. The best we can hope for is that they are retired in due course by the American voter to enjoy the massive perquisites, benefits and retirement payments they have voted themselves. In a culture with fundamentals and values, these 60 would be shunned and shamed and dispensed to the dustbin of ignominy.



YEAs ---60

Akaka (D-HI)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bayh (D-IN)
Begich (D-AK)
Bennet (D-CO)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Burris (D-IL)
Byrd (D-WV)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Conrad (D-ND)
Dodd (D-CT)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Franken (D-MN)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Hagan (D-NC)
Harkin (D-IA)
Inouye (D-HI)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kaufman (D-DE)
Kerry (D-MA)
Kirk (D-MA)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Kohl (D-WI)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Lieberman (ID-CT)
Lincoln (D-AR)
McCaskill (D-MO)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Merkley (D-OR)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Pryor (D-AR)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schumer (D-NY)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Specter (D-PA)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Udall (D-CO)
Udall (D-NM)
Warner (D-VA)
Webb (D-VA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)



You can read the entire bill here:  http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c111:6:./temp/~c111QodK5L::

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

Dear Editor:

I am eight years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.

Papa says, "If you see it in The Sun, it's so." Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O'Hanlon
115 West 95th Street

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehended by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to our life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance, to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart a baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest men, nor the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory behind. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. No Santa Claus! Thank God he lives, and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.


At a time of incredible challenge to values and fundamentals, we turn to this editorial written by Francis Pharcellus Church that appeared in the New York Sun on September 21, 1897 and say, simply, to our Creator, Thank You for this boundless world filled with beauty and joy.  We pray that Your light will shine upon the little minds of the Santa skeptics.



Friday, December 25, 2009

Good News of a Great Joy

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirin'i-us was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!"

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child; and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Luke 2:1-20

Thursday, December 24, 2009

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

"'Twas the Night Before Christmas"

By Clement Clarke Moore

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter,
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!
On, COMET! on CUPID! on, DONDER and BLITZEN!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!



Friday, December 18, 2009

Global Warming?

Global warming is a touchy subject. Believers, perhaps, feel a sense of guilt and don't want the subject raised. By the way, here’s a challenge: What % of the atmosphere is carbon dioxide? 35/1000’s of a percent (.035%) will probably surprise you. Don’t feel bad – most people who think that governments should do “something now” don’t know. Carbon dioxide is considered a “greenhouse gas” along with water vapor. It is estimated that greenhouse gases cause the earth to be 60 degrees warmer than it would otherwise be, and that water vapor causes about 2/3rds of the effect. Also, remember that 50 years ago a lot of scientists where decrying “global cooling…, another ice age coming…”, and that government should do something about it “now !”.

But what about the skeptics? To hold that anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is a farce, you'd have to believe that governments around the world are colluding to extort a crippling tax on citizens and were in bed with those who might stand to pocket billions inventing and trading carbon credits. And you'd have to believe that an Academy Award winning Nobel Peace Prize recipient is either a mildly convincing actor...or a menace to humanity.

But that's not all. As of a couple of weeks ago, to suspect that AGW is a con, you must believe that private emails exchanged between climatologists responsible for providing the "consensus" data excluded dissenting viewpoints and manipulated evidence. In case you didn’t hear about the "Climategate" scandal, here's a very quick wrap: In late November, hackers broke into the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU) in England, one of the four official sources of global temperature data used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The exposed emails and files were then leaked to various media outlets and published on Al Gore's "Internet." The results were interesting... For example: "The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate." Professor Phil Jones, CRU director, has stepped aside from his post at the University, an independent investigation is underway there, and the Oscar-decorated Nobel Laureate mentioned above has canceled the lecture he planned to deliver at the crucial Copenhagen Climate Summit.

Estimates vary on how much a proposed "cap-and-trade" plan might cost. For the US this could be between $200-$350 billion, or roughly $1,750 - $3,000 per household. Remember this is on top of the costs for 2 dumb wars, TARP, bailouts, “cash for clunkers”, home-buyer incentives, ? trillion for an undefined bureaucratic national healthcare system, tax increases, a 1.4 trillion deficit, 14 trillion debt, and 104 trillion in unfunded liabilities, which you and your children must somehow pay.

President Obama himself said that energy costs were likely to "skyrocket" under his plan. Obama's transition team after last November's election, estimates that, "Economic costs will likely be on the order of 1 percent of GDP". (140 billion?) Critics, predictably, rebuke those figures, claiming that they are typically inflated and that their government would never spend that much money on a bogus scheme. (Remember Rumsfeld berating a journalist for saying our wars would cost $300 billion – he claimed that was ridiculously high.)

Lou Muno

TheFundamentals adds --  Thank you Lou for this essay on a timely topic.  We at TheFundamentals have a modest suggestion.  Let's make Washington DC a green town and ban all carbon emissions coupled with one of those famous "zero tolerance" government enforcement schemes..  Nancy P's jet would, of course, be grounded.  Who wouldn't like to see Nancy P stand in line and have her carryon baggage examined in full view of her fellow passengers?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Learning our ABC's

America has changed. The country has redefined itself and has redefined its fundamentals.

Today, America’s ABC’s are: Apparatchiks, Bureaucrats and Congress. Americans are now beholden to their representative democracy in ways never anticipated by the Founders. It is most interesting to read and reread the Declaration of Independence, written and adopted in 1776, a mere 233 years ago. The Declaration is a series of complaints and observations and anecdotal views of life as experienced by independent thinking citizen colonists. These folk worked hard to gain control over their lives. They wanted economic and personal freedoms, unencumbered by the kings men and those favored by the kings apparatchiks. They wanted to be able to engage in commerce without the interference and burdens imposed by the crowns bureaucrats. They wanted to be able to enjoy the privacy and security of their homes. They did not wish to be subject to the demands and vagaries of the armed kings men. Simply stated they sought life, liberty and property. These were the fundamentals that all men have sought. These are the fundamentals that fulfill men in their roles as fathers, husbands and providers and relieve the burdens of women in their roles as mothers, wives and providers. These are the necessities for all men and women who are independent in their thought and word and action. These are the rewards of hard work, discipline, frugality and sacrifice. These are the opportunities that are due educated, law abiding, God fearing citizens. This was the ABC’s of life for decades in the US of A.

Today, 22 million people are employed at various tasks at various levels of government across the US. 22 million people depend on the other Americans to earn enough money to provide for their compensation. Just think of that simple fact. The entire workforce in America, when working, is about 150 million people. Today it is quite a bit lower; approximately 135 million people. If you subtract the 22 million people who depend on others for their compensation, that means that 113 million people are working to provide food, shelter, clothing, health care, education and multiple levels of taxation for themselves and their families on their earnings. These very same people also pay for the food, shelter, clothing, health care, education and savings/pensions of the 22 million people who are employed at all levels of government. One in five feed at the public trough. Look around you. Do you know five people who do not work for any government? If yes, those five are supporting one government employee. In the old Soviet Union, many of these government types were called “apparatchiks.” They were engaged in the tasks of politics or bureaucracies or both. In the US we tend to call them presidential appointees, special interest personnel or bureaucrats. They are not known for their work ethic, their efficiency or their productivity. How can you identify them? They get more vacation, more days off, more paid holidays, more compensation, better health care and benefits and much more generous pension plans than the people who pay their compensation. That is an important point; let’s repeat it. They are better paid, better benefitted and better pensioned than the people who pay their compensation. Ponder that simple fact for a few minutes today.

Who figured out such a program? Well, the Founders did. They call it “representative democracy.” We call it Congress. Congress; the 50 mini congresses in the states and the many micro/mini political entities within the states pass the laws that create the jobs and the wages and the benefits and the pensions for 22 million.

So, that is today’s history lesson. The evolution of America’s ABC’s. A = apparatchik. B = bureaucrat. C = congress. The Congress just passed a bill funding America’s apparatchiks and bureaucrats in ten cabinet departments at a record high $1.1 trillion for one year. It is called HR 3288. Details and comments from Brian Riedl of the Heritage Foundation are available at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Budget/wm2728.cfm  Per USA Today, 19% of the federal employees will earn more than $100,000.00 per year. A record! The average federal employee makes $71,000.00 per year. The average private sector employee - $40,000.00 per year. These new ABC’s have an interesting reality. Every five earners get to support one government employee. And you and your fellow earners are, on average, paying that government employee more than you are making. A lot of people were attracted to the rhetoric of the organizer and his growing, costly government. TheFundamentals wonders how attractive these very same folk find this reality. Hopefully some will keep these facts in mind on November 2, 2010.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Pudgy Larry and the Walking Dead

In less than 60 minutes yesterday morning the Sunday talk shows, inadvertently of course, put on a display of America’s dearth of leadership. A good digital editor could do a five minute You Tube presentation and stick it in a time capsule to make life easy for future historians looking back and analyzing the mess that is now America.

First we had little Larry Summers looking fat, pudgy and disinterested. Barely containing his disdain for the ignorant questions being posed he avoided any form of direct response and regurgitated incoherent blatherings designed to say “We’re the good guys; the fools are to blame.” To wit: The Obama administration has inherited the eight trillion dollars of future debt that will occur. Huh? We all know by now that the Obama administration is a self designated garbage crew, on the scene to clean up messes created by their predecessor. Apparently this means they either did not understand the situation they asked to take over or they want to deflect any current or future responsibility for dealing with it. Neither case bodes well for those being lead. But the future messes are also not of their doing? The $787 billion of payments to labor unions and public sector employees across the land is the problem of the Bushies? The $1.1 trillion that the organizer is about to bestow upon a few hundred thousand bureaucrats and apparatchiks earning almost double the average American paycheck; many of them making more than $100,000.00 per year. That’s Bushies fault too? Huh? Remember that pudgy Larry was fired by the faculty of Harvard, a group that bears more than a small amount of responsibility for the messes in Washington DC and Wall Street USA. No honor among thieves in Cambridge.

Enough about pudgy Larry because the pudgette Romer showed up on another channel. We have to plead guilty to not having a clue about what she said. We don’t even know what she does. We are unable to watch her so we take a lesser plea of nolo contendere. Perhaps a more tolerant observer would care to step to her defense. But we have one simple observation: There is a great opportunity for a weight watchers franchise in Washington DC.

But the Sunday piece de resistance was the return from the dead of the vampire Greenspan. This one creature bears more responsibility for the messes with the possible exception of Bush II and Lon Cheney. Seated to the right of the undead was the charlatan cum perfomer known as Cramer. This is the fool who helps you lose, ‘er we mean invest, the few remaining dollars in your IRA and 401k. When we saw this lineup we promptly turned up the volume. Oh boy we thought this is gonna be good. Cramer has on occasion derided the undead for many mistakes and bad judgments and here they were, seated together in bright daylight. The undead was going to catch it now. Oh boy. Wait until Cramer starts in on him. This is gonna be good. And then….NOTHING. Not a word. NOTHING. NOTHING!!!!

And then, later in the day, who pops up but the great leader himself. Just a few years ago he was hustling favors in the Illinois legislature, a hotbed of fiscal responsibility and the development of great leaders. Now he's solving global warming, health care, military strategy issues and creating jobs.  What does he say?  He blames it on the bankers. What? He bailed them out didn’t he? Why didn’t he fire them? Why didn’t he break them up? Why didn’t he bring in new leaders, some of his cronies from Springfield Illinois perhaps? He’s ready to sign the bill giving pay raises to the apparatchiks and bureaucrats making hundreds of thousands of dollars. A pay raise?  Is that Bushies fault too? His jobs plan is a verbatim copy of the proposals from the AFL CIO. Ask a businessman if he goes to the AFL CIO for advice on how to compete and sell more products. Don’t jobs have something to do with competition and selling more products?

What image do these people see when they look in a mirror? Do they cast shadows? What are they doing up and about in daylight? Have you seen any of them in church recently?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Girlfriends and the Constitution

Todays subject is our weaknesses that make us human or, more likely, our humanity that makes us weak. What can we learn from the current reminder(s) of this situation?

There are two lessons that come to mind. One is that we are all sinners. And two is that we will be treated by people on the way down in a manner similar to how we treat people on the way up, unless mitigating circumstances mitigate.

Why do we elevate some as if they are different from the many? Is it because we are afraid to rely on ourselves? Why do we languish power and glory on a few even though they fail as do we all?   Who came up with this idea of representative democracy?  Does it still work as the founders intended?

In a democracy power comes from and is given by the people. We all know that. Ask any Chicagoan and they will tell you that it is so. The people giveth; the people taketh. There is no such thing as embedded power. It can be removed at any time. It happens all the time. For example, Johnny Reid Edwards was the elected senator of North Carolina. He wanted more. He embraced the message of the poor and the downtrodden in order to get more. When he took his show on the road it went caput. Was this the result of the wisdom of the people? Or the failure of the man? Another fellow tapped his shoe in the toilet stall, supposedly, and he inherited the wind. He was discovered by the toilet stall police. One other fellow, well really quite a few, went around grabbing and groping and he/they found a similar result. But then another fellow discovered a pleasurable way to pass time in his egg shaped office with his pants around his ankles and he still prances around with great accolades as does his “stand by your man” woman. One fellow was out hiking; well he was hiking somewhere writing sweet nothings for later publication. Last week we discovered that another one of these fellows, when not engaged in promoting his voluminous health care plan, promoted his paramour for a major government assignment. What? She was qualified so he says. Oh. Well that sure makes it OK.

Have you noticed how silly they all look? Or is it the people who put them there that look silly?

What can we learn from these men with their feet of clay?  Why do we pay them to represent us and they use the power and position to act like high school Lotharios?  What can we do?

Perhaps nothing more than this: Term Limits.  The Term Limit amendment to the US Constitution should contain the following ingredients:
  • Limit on cumulative elected tenure in federal position; twelve years would make sense
  • Not eligible if you have ever received or intend to receive any form of payment from any form of special interest group
  • No pension accrual for any time in elected office.  Let's get the service concept back in "public service"
Girlfriends and the Constitution; strange bedfellows.  Great opportunity for real change.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Does the Constitution Empower Congress to Monetize the Mess?

If we could all just print money when we needed some. Paradise. Garden of Eden. Surely the Founders must have understood this simple concept.  So, why didn't they empower Congress to specifically do it?

America's treasury has been borrowing from anyone with investible funds. As of today the total borrowed is $12,086,172,114,368.23. The treasury separates the total into two categories – public and intragovernmental . The public amount is $7,709,786,826,316.90 and the intragovernmental amount is 4,376,385,288,051.33. The Debt Held by the Public is all federal debt held by individuals, corporations, state or local governments, foreign governments, and other entities outside the United States Government. Intragovernmental Holdings are Government Account Series securities held by Government trust funds, revolving funds, and special funds. The latter category is mostly monies involuntarily paid into social security by US workers for their retirement and then spent by the government on all their countless programs and plans. Don’t kid yourself. The government collects money for “social security” purposes and spends it on current programs, bureaucrats and their massive spending programs. When they spend this money for reasons for which is was not forced out of your and my paycheck, they issue a security and add it to this debt category. More recently the government has just taken to issuing securities and printing currency in order to avoid going into the public market and asking for more and more money from Americans, Chinese and others around the globe. This is what TheFundamentals calls “monetizing” the mess.  It is not an "enumerated power" granted in the US Constitution.

All economics are based on wealth creation. Money is worthless paper if not supported by wealth creation. Wealth creation is growing/extracting something from the earth and/or making something out of what is grown/extracted. When there is wealth creation; paper money has value. When paper money is created without underlying wealth creation there is a house of cards, a hall of mirrors. TheFundamentals calls this a “mess.”

Total debt of $12 trillion has now approached the actual annual total output of the nation’s goods and services. No one really knows when it becomes so much that the pile of debt collapses and no one will lend any more money and those who did lend want their money back (this is the usual collapse sequence in so-called Ponzi schemes.) Mr. Bernard Madoff, TheFundamentals choice for USTreasury Secretary, can and should write a book about the mechanics of his collapse and call it – “I told you so.” When it happens; it happens fast. This current government is thinking that they can always just print more currency to pay back the claims if it ever comes to this collapse situation. This viewpoint only means that they have selectively read history. The damage to a large country, with over 300 million non homogenous citizens, is going to be making some new news.

In comes the new administration with no wealth creation experience. They have no real life experience. They don’t even grasp the situation other than to blame the predecessors. Then they promptly rehire the gang that caused the mess and spend even more money they don’t have for their wars and entitlements and bureaucracies and employees and pensioners. Borrow/Print/Spend/No Debt Repayment. They say they must do this to prevent a collapse. So they pursue fiscal and monetary policies that are proven to produce a collapse with the rationale that they need to do it to avoid a collapse.

Follow the growing debt at http://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/BPDLogin?application=np  This is the official USTreasury debt website. They call it “the debt to the penny...” They should call it “Monetizing the Mess.”

TheFundamentals published its first posting on Wednesday, February 4, 2009. On that day, the total debt was $10,669,192,308,562.45. Since then, 309 days have passed and the debt has increased by $1,416,980,000,000.00. TheFundamentals asks YOU, the taxpayer, these simple questions – “What do YOU have to show for the $1.4 trillion in debt accumulated in 309 days that YOU have passed along to yourselves and your children and their children?” Would you be willing to forgo any of the things YOU identified above? Are you satisfied with the choice that YOU have made in selecting the government officials and the spending activities they enact? Are YOU willing to replace them with prudent individuals who will enact programs of sacrifice and frugality and start repaying the debt?  Can WE find these individuals who read and understand the Constitution and who will abide by its words and meanings?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Does the Constitution Empower Congress to Bankrupt the United States?

In previous essays and articles, TheFundamentals has cited the USConstitution with emphasis on Article I, Section 8 which specifies the Powers of Congress (please refer to TheFundamentals, June 8, 2009,”Enumerated Powers” for all eighteen powers.) The first sentence of this section gives Congress the power to….pay the Debts. Here is the entire wording of the first of eighteen powers given the US: The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States. “To pay debts.” The constitution leads with: to pay debts! The second sentence gives Congress the power to….borrow money on the credit of the United States. It is interesting that the order is first, pay the Debts and, second, borrow money. However, there is no mention of Congress having the power to accumulate debt and not repay it. Also, there is no mention of Congress being able to build debt to a level that would reasonably precipitate a bankruptcy. There is a requirement in the following Section 9 requiring that “…a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.” The founders knew that they had better require transparency even back then.

So, Congress has the power to borrow on the credit of the country (there is no other way to interpret this phrase; it assumes the responsibility of the congress to maintain the “credit” of the United States) and the power to pay Debts and a regular accounting of receipts and expenditures must be published. But, nothing about the power to bankrupt the country.

How about a simple Constitutional Amendment to clear up the issue? Could be worded as follows:

“All Debts of the United States must be repaid within 10 years of their creation and the total of all Debts owed by the United States to persons, entities or agencies, foreign and domestic, cannot exceed, in total, two times the current annual total tax receipts of the United States.”

Pay back the Debts, Congress. It is one of your limited powers and you need to become much more proficient at exercising it. You are not empowered to bankrupt the country. You are responsible for the credit of the country. Stop spending now; pay down the debts that you have created before you bankrupt the country.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Simple Truths and Jobs Czars and BBernanke

"Government has never increased the standard of living of one single human being in civilizations history.  For some reason, that simple truth has evaded everybody."  Steve Wynn, October 11, 2009, Fox News.

Go to:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZcMzL0Hx9M&feature=related  and listen to Mr. Wynn speak simple truths.  Then click on:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdrxfFFeMbc&feature=related and catch a bit more of his simple truths.

For these simple truths, TheFundamentals recommends that Mr. Obama designate Mr. Wynn, America's "JOBS" czar. 

For a simple truth teller, we suggest a visit to:  http://rumbunter.com/2009/12/03/why-we-love-jesper-parnevik-it-has-nothing-to-do-with-elins-twin/  The applicable expression is, "In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king."  Jesper Parnevik is TheFundamentals "one-eyed" man of the month; heck, make it the year inasmuch as we are almost through with 2009.  His brief comments about current events speak volumes.  A visit to this site will also produce one of the most creative explanations of all time for missing a putt.

Last comment (after all it is Friday and there are chores waiting to be done.)  One of Washington DC's premiere failed bureaucrats has been renominated for another four year term as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank.   This job is now the resting place for that very special type person who could not hold even an entry level job in a competitive environment.  Picture a bus going off a cliff and the driver jumping out at the last minute.  That driver is AGreenspan.  Now, picture the bus plummeting into the abyss and a passenger on the bus, gleefully grabbing the steering wheel, oblivious to the unfolding events around him.  That is BBernanke.

Two winners - both survivors in competitive environments - SWynn and JParnevik.

Two losers - ne'er-do-wells in the rabbit hole called Washington DC.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The 800# Gorilla in the Room

Today the organizer and over 100 of his really smart friends are going to engage in what sociologists call a “circle jerk” and discuss viewpoints on job creation. Yesterday, TheFundamentals modestly proposed the cancellation of this therapeutical nonsense but, alas, our voice was ignored. So, we boldly go forth with more about the organizers “jobs summit.”

Read the following plan summary to be proposed today by a key meeting participant:

1. Extend the lifeline for jobless workers

2. Rebuild America’s schools, roads and energy systems

3. Increase aid to state and local governments to maintain vital services

4. Fund jobs in our communities

5. Put TARP funds to work for Main Street

Can you guess which special interest group is responsible for this plan? Tick – tock; tick – tock. Okay, time’s up. Here’s a clue. You can read the entire plan at: http://www.aflcio.org/issues/jobseconomy/jobs/americaneedsjobsnow.cfm

The AFL CIO thinks that the best way to create jobs in to keep paying people to not work (#1 above) and spend more money on those ever so productive municipal projects and bureaucrats (#’s 2-4 above) and then set up a bureaucracy to take applications from small and mid size businesses and establish a bunch of rules and employ lawyers to oversee their activities (#5 above.)

Is there anything in the AFL CIO five step plan to encourage competition? Is there anything in the five step plan to get people to leave areas where there are no jobs and move to areas where there are jobs? Is there anything in the plan to limit rules, laws, taxes and other forms of government interference with the small and mid size businesses that create jobs? Is there any mention of product and service quality? Product and service features? Distribution? Limits on lawsuits?

Today, the AFL CIO will present its five step plan. They are the 800# gorilla in the room. Their goofy ideas have already spawned the $787 billion giveaway stimulus spending plan that is paying people to not work and paying thousand of municipal and state bureaucrats to interfere with the natural inclination of free enterprisers to create jobs. The AFL CIO wants more of the same. More government spending and more bureaucrats messing up the jobs creation process. The money the AFL CIO needs to fund its five steps will add to the national debt. More debt will bring the country closer to bankruptcy. The closer the US gets to bankruptcy the fewer jobs will be available. What word(s) define those who wish to bankrupt the country? Foolish? Idiotic? Gorilla?

If Mr. Steve Wynn is not in attendance today, who will tell the AFL CIO to go home, lower their wages and benefits and get to work. Who will tell the organizer to stop government spending and reduce laws, regulations, taxes, lawyers and bureaucratic interference with real job creation? Who will tell the organizer that tax credits tied to new American jobs will produce jobs for a fraction of the cost of government spending programs? Who will speak truth to the gorillas and the fools and the idiots?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Jobs Summit

The US of A does not need a jobs summit; it needs an intervention.  It does not need a group therapy gathering of 100+ to blather about jobs; US free enterprisers are quite good at competing and creating jobs. The government of the US of A needs an intervention. Just as a chronic alcoholic needs an intervention to apply the two by four to the head as a wakeup call so does this government need to listen to US free enterprisers administer a four by eight to their political craniums about how destructive government behavior has destroyed the American competitive machine. And the man equipped to lead the free enterprisers is Steve Wynn. If Steve Wynn http://www.wynnlasvegas.com/ is not in attendance at tomorrows “jobs summit” forget about it. It’s a waste of time. No Wynn means more Obama obfuscation. Obama learned this ploy bowing at the altar of RDaley and Daley’s low IQ sycophants.

Let’s remind ourselves of a fundamental. Competition is the goose producing the golden egg. This is so fundamental that Mr. Obama needs to write it on the foreheads of all his minions so that every time he has a summit or a group therapy session or one of those picture opportunities where he gathers 100 people in a room, he can stay on message – If you want jobs encourage competition. How do you encourage competition? Simple. You control government spending, deficits, taxes, rules, laws, debt and those special interest groups that stifle competition such as unions, trade associations, lawyers and public payroll employees. Don’t like competition. Encourage government, lawyers, regulations, unions and bureaucrats. Pretty simple, huh?

Competition, Mr. Obama is the answer. It’s the solution. Summits, Mr. Obama are the problem. This is a tough one to grasp for a fellow with no real experience. We have terrific empathy Mr. Obama for your naiveté and your lack of basic understanding of competition. But you will not get the right answers from the Chicago people who surround you and no, Mr. Obama, you will not get good advice from the likes of HWaxman, BBernanke, CRangel and NPelosi. They, like you, have no real life experience. Remember Mr. O, TheFundamentals defines Real Life Experience (see TheFundamentals, July 29, 2009) as at least five years working in a competitive environment where you can get fired at any time for no reason. Try running a company – big or small and call on clients and prospects. You will learn fast what it is and how to compete. Or you’ll be fired.

You want real jobs? Jobs than pay taxes; not consume taxes? Just ask Mr. Steve Wynn. Frankly Mr. O, bag the summit. Just meet one on one with Mr. Wynn. Here is his toll free number (877) 321-WYNN. Tell him TheFundamentals recommended him. Make him your “JOBS” czar.

Competition = Jobs = Growth

It’s a fundamental.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Fight of our Lives

TheFundamentals received this email and, with the permission of its author, we are reprinting it in its entirety.  We are quite supportive of contacting our senators and representative on all topics.  To this end, we have published in the left margin the links to the Senate and House web pages to facilitate accessing the contact emails for all senators and representatives.  Please take out the time to let them know how you stand on all important issues.

"Dear friends and family. We all spend many hours a week reading and writing all sorts of e mail. Some funny, some serious.

NOW IS THE TIME TO GET SERIOUS!!!!!!!

The health care bill before the Senate, as I`m sure you are all aware, is not about health care but about Gov. control. If we can defeat Obama on this one I think his presidency is doomed but if we sit back and let the liberals push this through we as a nation are finished.

It`s time we did something more than just talk about freedom, it`s time to FIGHT for our freedom. Go to U.S. Sen. on the web and it will give you the e mail address of every Sen. Don`t bother with the hard core liberals as they are hopeless but send mail to the sensible ones to vote no on health care. If enough good Americans do this we can stop the madness.

Thanks Gomo

These are the ones I e mailed or called.

Even Bayh (D-Ind)

Joe Lieberman (I Conn)

Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark)

Ben Nelson (D-Neb)

Kent Conrad (D-N.D.)

Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.)

Jon Tester (D-Mont)

Max Baucus (D-Mont)

Tim Johnson (D-S.D.)

Kay Haygen (D-N.C.)"

Friday, November 27, 2009

Economic Fission or Fusion

Deficits = Debt = Destruction. This simple formula is to economics as E = mc² (see link below) is to physics.

We all know that the US of A just piled up its single largest one year deficit in spending more than it taxed – a cool $1.4 trillion. Brings the total debt of the US of A to $12 trillion. See how fast we leave the concept of deficits and focus on debt. There is no other way. Deficits don’t destroy. Debt does. Deficits are the bacteria that infects the lungs. Debt is the fluid that fills the lungs. Death (destruction) is the result when you don’t empty the lungs or repay the debt.

So, can the US of A keep piling up the debt (fluid in the lungs) and remain healthy? TheFundamentals can’t even write those words without a sneer of disdain forming. Of course we can’t. This fantasy only occurs in the world Of GWBush and BHObama. Only fools would engage in the experiment to see where such folly would take us. So whither goest this experiment?

What is the true total debt of the US of A? Perhaps it’s time to ask the two court jesters – Bernanke and Geithner to compile the numbers. The emperor is fiddling with his teleprompter and the jesters are engaging in sycophantic and nauseating motions with their claims of good news: The recession is over. Good times are nigh. Watch them dance in their colorful tights and dangly hats. You and I both know they do not believe what they say. Real leaders would say, “Frugality and sacrifice.” These fools say it’s getting better. Watch their noses elongate. Look closely. Watch their eyes move. See the beads of sweat.

Insist that the jesters provide the following numbers:

1. Total US of A debts owed to all others including government agencies

2. Total US of A unfunded commitments to pay (include everything)

3. Total of the 50 states debts owed to all others including government agencies

4. Total of the 50 states unfunded commitments to pay (include everything)

5. Total of US private debt and contingent liabilities

When you get the five numbers totaled up and eliminate the double counting you will have an idea of whither goest the experiment. Explode or implode?  Ask the jesters how we will repay the total debt and meet the commitments to pay? Ask them to provide a repayment program for the debt and a plan to meet the payments for the unfunded commitments. Obama says he needs to carefully examine the options for Afghanistan. So give him 90 days to make a debt plan. Debt is a much larger threat to the homeland.

TheFundmentals makes this modest prediction. The jesters will use the 90 days to break out the top shelf whisky. The emperor will be naked. They will develop new antics and new words to flash across the teleprompter screen. None will speak the following truth: “We are busted. Broke. Caput. Fini. Good luck. Sayonara. zàijiàn. Hasta la vista.”

Impress your friends; read about the power of the atom at: http://www.worsleyschool.net/science/files/emc2/emc2.html

Thursday, November 26, 2009

We are grateful for....

Our friends who help others

Those who help us

The innocence and hope of our children

Our family members who care

Our strength and labor

The lessons and values and behaviors others taught us

Those who forgive our trespasses

The examples of others

Our economic freedoms and those who fought for them

Our independence of thought and deed

Our sacrificing and frugal ancestors

Our heroes and heroines

Those who need us

Those with whom we share joy and pain

Nature and Her abundance

And, the Provider of it all: God and His wonderful, inexplicable ways

Monday, November 23, 2009

Who Works for Whom?

There are two problems with public employees - too many of them getting paid too much.  If existing public employees will not accept lower wages and lower benefits and defined contribution pension plans, it is time to terminate them and hire and train qualified people who will work for lower wages and lower benefits and self fund their pensions. There are over 30 million people in the United States who want to work who do not have jobs. These people will work for reasonable wages and reasonable benefits and reasonable pensions. The hell with the people who think someone owes them wages, benefits and pensions that were determined in a different time under different circumstances and different conditions. Many people want unreasonable wages, benefits and pensions and insist that it is their “right” and they “earned it” and it’s tough that times have changed but, so what; WE have a contract and the hell with you. Send a reminder to the 22 million people employed by local, state and federal governments that 30 million replacements are ready, willing and able. Many of these jobs can be eliminated; the rest can be filled with replacements.  In 1981 President Ronald Reagan, terminated thousand of striking air traffic controllers and banned them from federal government employment.  The planes still flew.  If the planes can fly without the union employees then the local, state and federal governments can replace all their union workers and the country will survive.

Pensioners, retirees and others; take note. Many states have entered into unsustainable contracts with their public employees – teachers, police, administrators, firemen and others. These contracts have pension terms that are very generous. Terms that include retirements after 20 or 25 years “on the job.” Terms that include pension benefits 60, 70 and 80% of their average wages in the last five years of their employment. Many of these terms are forced upon local government entities – cities, villages, townships, counties and school districts. They are forced on them by state law. The payment for the wages, the benefits and the pensions are mandated by state law and the burden of payment of these wages, benefits and pensions is legally imposed upon the taxpayers of the states. This is nonsense. Where did any government determine that it can impose an open liability commitment on its taxpayers? This is greed uncontrolled. This is absolute foolishness. This is criminal. The purpose of law is not to enrich one group of people at the expense of another group of people. The purpose of law is to prevent the greedy enrichment of one group of people at the expense of another. What foolish mentality establishes this form of commitment? Where are the legislators to prevent greedy people who ask for this largesse? Where are the courts to step in and say “NO” to this greed? What is the purpose of elected and hired bureaucrats if they are lining their pockets at the expense of the very people who elect them and pay them? Time for a change. Replacements are ready.

TheFundamentals supports people who want to work and know for whom they work.  It does not support people who think they have are entitled to their jobs and their wages and their benefits and their pensions.

Knowing who you work for.  Hiring replacements. These are American fundamentals.  Let's get back to TheFundamentals.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day 2009

The Soldier: - By Charles M. Province

It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

If you can read this message thank a teacher, If you are reading it in English of your own free will THANK A SOLDIER!

It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

It is the soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves under the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag,who allows the protester to burn the flag.

To all the brave men and women who have dedicated or given their lives to protecting this country and it's freedoms: Thank you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Special Interests: Forces of Democracy??

TheFundamentals has compiled the following list of “special interest” organizations. We have displayed their stated membership numbers and, where available, websites and PAC’s. As you peruse the list, ask yourself:

1. Do I know how much the Favors presented to these Special Interest groups cost me every year?

2. Or, am I a beneficiary of the Favors provided to these Special Interest groups and I just don’t care what they cost other taxpayers?

3. Which of these groups lobbyies for the American taxpayer and the repayment of America's $12 trillion debt?

American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)

American Association of Retired People (AARP) 40,000,000 http://www.aarp.org/

American Bar Association (ABA) 400,000 http://www.abanet.org/

American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org/ ACS CAN

American Farm Bureau http://www.fb.org/ FBACT

American Hospital Association (AHA)

American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)  http://www.aipac.org/

American Medical Association (AMA) http://www.ama-assn.org/

American Trial Lawyers Association 5,000 http://www.theatla.com/

Amtrak

Corporations and Industries:

Airlines - Air Transport Association

Association of American Railroads

Banking - (ABA) http://www.aba.com/ BankPac

Building Materials - (NBDMA)

Insurance - (AIA) (AHIP) (NAIC)

Military/Industrial Complex - (NDIA) (AIA) National Association of Realtors - (NAR)

Oil - (IPAA) (API) (OGP) (AOPL) (PMAA)

Pharmaceutical - (PhRMA)

Securities - (NASD) (NAIBD)

Trucking - (ATA)

Waste Disposal - (EIA)


Dairy Farmers of America

Department of Homeland Security 167,000 http://www.dhs.gov/

Federal Government Employees 2,730,000 http://www.usa.gov/

Greenpeace 250,000 http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/

National Association for Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) http://www.naacp.org/

National Association of Manufacturers

NASA 18,500 http://www.nasa.gov/

National Institutes of Health (NIH) 18,000 http://www.nih.gov/

National Organization for Women (NOW) 500,000 http://www.now.org/

Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) http://www.opec.org/

People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) http://www.peta.org/

State and Local Government Employees 19,500,000

Unions:

American Association of University Professors (AAUP) http://www.aaup.org/aaup

American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) 11,500,000 http://www.aflcio.org/

American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) 600,000 http://www.afge.org/

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) 1,600,000 http://www.afscme.org/

American Federation of Teachers (AFT) 1,400,000 http://www.aft.org/

American Postal Workers Union 330,000 http://www.apwu.org/

International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) 1,900,000 http://www.teamster.org/

International Union of Police Associations (IUPA) http://www.iupa.org/

National Association of Postal Supervisors 35,000 http://www.naps.org/

National Education Association (NEA) 3,200,000 http://www.nea.org/

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 2,100,000 http://www.seiu.org/

United Automobile Workers (UAW) 1,088,000 http://www.uaw.org/


US Chamber of Commerce http://www.uschamber.com/

US Postal Service 768,000

Finally, TheFundamentals needs your help in compiling this list. Please add your names to the above list of Special Interests. Just click on the comments link below. Thank you.

Monday, November 9, 2009

American Association of Requiring People

Who are these 40 million AARP members? How on earth did 40 million of any group get together to throw their weight around? What could possibly motivate that many people to pay dues and embarrass themselves regularly by eating early to save $1.00 on the pork cutlet, $3.00 off their room overlooking the drainage ditch that keeps the interstate exit from flooding or clog the aisles in a discount store in motorized wheelchairs that are reminiscent of the dodge’em cars we loved as kids?

Could it have anything to do with handouts? Could it be related to buying into the “something for nothing” kool aid concept that has become the numero uno mantra of both political parties (PIP and POOP?) The very same concepts that they would never have embraced (we hope) when raising their children? Have they forgotten the fundamentals and values and good behaviors they were taught by their sacrificing, frugal parents? What is going on with the seniors?

TheFundamentals likes to capture the very words that are used by organizations to describe their activities based on the belief that people like to talk about themselves and are only too willing to blather endlessly about the good they can and will do for themselves with other people’s money. Here’s what AARP has to say at www.aarp.org

We believe...

All Americans should have access to affordable health care, including prescription drugs, and these costs should not burden future generations.

Our children and grandchildren should have an adequate quality of life when they retire. Social Security must be strengthened without burdening future generations.

Workers should be provided with financial incentives to save, should have access to effective retirement plans, and should be able to keep working and contributing to society regardless of age.

All that’s missing is world peace and free sweat lodges for all. Affordable health care but paid for today. So, let’s do it. Pay as you go. If you can afford it, you get it. If you can’t you get an annual amount to spend as you see fit – here in the US of A, India, China, wherever you wish to seek your medical care. Social Security without burdening future generations. Only three ways to get there. Lower benefits, raise payroll deductions or a combo of both. Let’s do it. 50% lower benefits; 50% higher taxes. Financial incentives to save? We think they mean tax incentives to save. So, their membership can’t save without “incentives?” Peel away the fancy words and it comes down to gimmee, gimmee, gimmee and pretend to be concerned about "future generations." Everything we need but shouldn’t cost too much for others to pay. Welcome to AARP and the world of seniors and their endless “should haves.” Welcome to the world of 40 million entitled citizens. Add them to the 22 million government employees and millions more enjoying fat publically funded pensions and you’re on your way to getting an explanation for the mess our beloved organizer inherited and is working so hard to fix with the able assistance of the beloved Nancy and the beloved Harry.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Smokehouse Fables

"This Little Piggy Stayed Home"

Swineville is a quiet town with nice residents, for the most part. One of the local homebuilders, Porcine Construction (PC), entered into contracts to build homes for three residents of Swineville. The first contract was for a bungalow built of straw; the second was for a ranch built of sticks and the third contract was for a colonial built of bricks. The straw homeowner, Barney Frankfurter, did not have any money so he and his friend printed some and gave it to PC. The stick homeowner, Barry Hambone, was a union organizer and he did some favors for Mayor Hogg who got him a 10% down payment grant from a local government program run by the Nutty Acorn Group. He borrowed the rest from a government program called the Swineville Reinvestment Act. The brick homeowner, R. Paul O’Ribs, was a farmer and the owner of Lupus Control Inc. He was a frugal fellow who had saved up for many years so he put 50% down and got a loan for the balance from First National Piggy Bank.

Swineville did have some residents who struggled to get along with their neighbors. One of the peskier residents was Mr. B. B. Wolf. B.B. was a bit of a bully and tended to prey on others and, every once in a while, a resident would disappear. Sgt. Oinker of the Swineville Police Department baited some traps with bacon in an attempt to lure and capture the culprit but to no avail.

B.B. was following the construction projects closely. PC finished the straw house in one day; took two more days to build the stick house and twelve days for the brick house. B.B. showed up at Barney’s straw house the night he moved in and he howled, “Let me in or I’ll blow your house down.” Barney figured his new house was safe from B.B. so he said, “Not by the hair of my chiny, chin, chin (swine talk for “take a hike.”) B.B. took in a breath and blew the straw house down and ate Barney and Barney’s friend, Bruce. Moral: Doesn’t take much to destroy anything built on printed money.

Three days later, B.B. showed up at Barry’s new stick house. B.B. knocked on the door and curled, “Let me in or I’ll blow your house down.” Barry, was a community organizer, lawyer and a union man and he was not about to put up with B.B. threats. He grabbed the phone to call the union hall, but, in the meantime, B.B. drew in a bigger breath and blew the house down and ate Barry and his girlfriend, Hillary Porkchop. Moral: Better to recognize a threat and take a hike than count on government programs, community organizers and a porkchop girlfriend.

Two weeks later, B.B. showed up at R. Paul O’Ribs house and rang the doorbell. R. Paul, who occasionally appeared in supporting roles at the local community theatre, looked through the peephole and said, “B.B., I hope you're feelin lucky today.” B.B. exclaimed, “I’m going to blow your house down and eat you.” He took a big breath and blew and nothing happened. Well, something happened right after that. R. Paul opened the door and blasted B.B. with his shotgun. R. Paul’s wife, Sarah, was backing him up with her .30-06. Moral: you can count on government programs, printed and borrowed money and community and union organizers to create the appearance of security and safety. But TheFundamentals of a frugal life; a house built with at least some saved money; a loaded shotgun and a good partner watching your back are more reliable.

The Swineville Gazette has asked us to notify readers that it is working on these related stories:

Rev. Jesse Hotdog demands investigation of hate crime charges against R. Paul O’Ribs.

Congresswoman Nancy Piglosi introduces legislation to upgrade all stick and straw buildings. Swineville Gazette has just learned that her husband recently purchased the Porker Brick Company and a minority interest in Porcine Construction.

Mayor Richard Hogg encourages all citizens to voluntarily turn in their guns before a new city ordnance outlawing ownership of guns take effect. Sgt. Oinker will distribute whistles to citizens to blow for help.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Collapse

The following information and reporting is available at http://www.ft.com/

“India’s decision to exchange $6.7bn for gold equivalent to 8 per cent of world annual mine production sent the strongest signal yet that Asian countries were moving away from the US currency.

The purchase by New Delhi’s Reserve Bank from the International Monetary Fund pushed gold prices to a record $1,090.90 per troy ounce, up 2.6 per cent on the day, as traders bet that other central banks would also become buyers.

Pranab Mukherjee, India’s finance minister, said the acquisition reflected the power of an economy that laid claim to the fifth-largest global foreign reserves: “We have money to buy gold. We have enough foreign exchange reserves.”

He contrasted India’s strength with weakness elsewhere: “Europe collapsed and North America collapsed.”

“This is a landmark trade,” said Jonathan Spall a director at Barclays Capital and a gold ¬specialist. “Central banks are conservative institutions and India’s move is a sign for other central banks and sovereign wealth funds that were contemplating buying gold.”

New Delhi’s acquisition came months after China revealed it had almost doubled its gold reserves in the past six years.”

That is the end of the quote. We now move to comments from TheFundamentals.

It is highly unlikely that you will receive much data and analysis about the above occurrence from Messrs. Obama, Bernanke, Geithner or the American media. The things that are going on that are the consequences of the following formula adhered to closely by these men and their handmaidens in the media: Deficits = Debt = Destruction, are not being addressed, analyzed and distributed to the American population. Call it censorship, call it manipulation, call it tyranny.   Call it what you want.  India's key finance person calls it as he sees it.  You can count on the fact that others who are disciplined and competitive see it similarly.

Let’s just repeat India’s finance minister's observations and then let’s see when the great American leadership and the great declining American media think that these issues are worth the same level of attention as being directed to climate conditions, health care for all and whether an insolvent American town should host the Olympics.

“Europe collapsed and North America collapsed.”

We’re going to say it over and over again. The only solution for America’s financial promiscuity is sacrifice and frugality. Some say this is doomsday. It just isn’t. People are doing it individually. All that needs is for government and special interests to do the same. The foundation can be rebuilt on TheFundamentals. Let’s get going.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Selling Oneself Cheap

Pat Conroy is an American author who wrote about his youth and passages growing up on the coast of South Carolina. You will recognize his titles: The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline, The Prince of Tides and The Water is Wide. The latter was made into a movie and called, Conrack. The title is derived from the young black kids who so pronounced his name when he was teaching in their one room school house. TheFundamentals learned one of its key fundamentals when reading this wonderful story and it has to do with the title of today’s posting – selling out cheap.

Our recollection of an incident in the novel was one of Conroy’s students was a young black girl, leaving her childhood form and becoming a young woman. Conroy not only taught the three R’s, he opened the doors of the minds of these youngsters to an outside world. A world filled with uncertainty, conflict and the opportunity of challenge and growth. He wanted his kids to experience this not for his sake but for theirs. So he took them outside the one room schoolhouse, outside the short miles of their exposure, outside of the boundaries imposed on them. The aforementioned young girl did not show up for class one day. Finally, after not seeing her for a while, he went to her home and found her. She was spending time with an older man who offered her a life as a woman. Conroy said to her, don’t sell yourself so cheap. By the way, at the end the local bureaucrats disapproved of Conroy’s mind opening techniques. They fired him.  Pretty good lesson there too.

Don’t sell yourself cheap.

The responsibility for ourselves lies with us. There is always someone with a plan, an agenda, and a path that is being presented for someone else’s motives. It is our job to see through the motives and evaluate what is best for us. If we conclude we are worthless, then why not take the easy way out. Why not stand in lines for a small return while satisfying someone else’s agenda that is always wrapped in the beckoning cloth of a better life or an easier existence?

The city of Detroit voted in November 2008. 97% for Mr. Obama; 3% for Mr. McCain. The state of Michigan was 58 to 41. Mr. Obama is returning the favor and has turned the city of Detroit into a ward of the federal government. Much like the older man and the girl. Better life? Easier ways? Someone has been selling this snake oil for millennia.

The city of Detroit has sold itself cheap. We’ll see about the state. We’ll see about the country. The easy way out is neither easy nor the way out.   That is a fundamental.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Too Big to Fail - who ya' crappin'

What a nonsensical cup of kool aid provided by a sinister cabal of managers, employees and union members of the “too big to fail” outfits and the bureaucrats who were supposed to oversee the activities of the “too big to fail” outfits and didn’t. So these groups go to their co-dependent enablers in DC and beg for handouts and loans and guarantees and stimulus payments and their political sycophants wring their hands and say oh woe unto me and the poor taxpayer and they huddle with their knees knocking, terrified that the excretion will hit the oscillator and they will be responsible so they say, “too big to fail”, oh woe, oh woe, and eureka, they write checks on other peoples accounts and then they run around saying we saved it, we saved it, oh how wonderful we are.

TheFundamentals has composed a historical list of organizations, individuals, entities and gatherings deemed to be “too big to fail.” Please add your own as we were limited by time and interest.

Ma Bell (1885 – 1984)

Roman Empire aka SPQR (27BC - AD476/1453)

Packard Motor Company (1899-1958)

Brooklyn Dodgers (1883-1957)

British Empire (1583-1945)

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (1922-1991)

Third Reich (1933-1945)

Edsel car (1957-1959)

Methuselah (969 years)

Noah (950 years)

Adam (930 years)

All gone; sun still rises.

Here are a few of Barry, Barney and Ben’s too big to fail outfits:  AIG, Bank of America, Bear Stearns, Citicorp, Chrysler, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, General Motors and Goldman Sachs

Here are a few of Barry, Barney and Ben's real too big to fail outfits that you will never hear them mention:  UAW, AFSCME, SEIU, AFT, NEA, ABA, AFL-CIO and the 22 million getting a government paycheck.  As da’ coach used to say, “Who ya’ crappin’?”

The collective cost of these bailouts is measured in the many hundreds of billions of dollars; borrowed and printed money; all future claims against Ameican productivity. The solution.  A very simple and time tested concept, a fundamental. It’s called an auction. Ben, Barry and Barney, “Call an auctioneer.” Cash out and go back to buying votes and riding around in limousines and get out of the business of business. Who ya’ crappin’?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Revolution of 2010 ??

Please read the following excerpts from yesterdays Chicago Tribune editorial entitled - The revolution of 2010.

“The current generation of state lawmakers also contemplates the abyss of debt Illinois has excavated for itself and . . . only digs deeper. State government progressively approaches the "financial implosion" famously predicted three years ago by the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago. For lack of stiff spines in Springfield, the unfunded liability of state pension funds alone now totals some $80 billion. State retiree health obligations? Another horrorfest. And every day these unmet obligations only grow. Republican and Democratic governors alike have approved budgets that don't bother to pay for many of today's costs -- chiefly pensions and other benefits for state employees -- with today's revenues. Short on cash? No need to live within Illinois' means, Springfield repeatedly has intoned. Let's just delay paying overdue bills. Or borrow billions. Or both!”

The editorial also includes a graphic depiction of the geography of the state with the caption, “state of corruption.” The above editorial can be viewed in its entirety at
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-1025edit1oct25,0,2682341.story

The editorial ends with the following, “The people of Illinois then will determine, come Feb. 2 and in the Nov. 2 general election, whether "The Revolution of 2010" is just a catchy phrase -- or an ode to the year energized voters change Illinois.”

Revolution is defined as a fundamental change in power and/or organizational structure within a short period of time. It can occur peacefully or otherwise. It the case of governments it does require a replacement by the people governed of the existing government structure and personnel.

Corruption is traditionally defined as abuse of power and personal gain by public officials and employees through illegal means such as bribery and extortion. Corruption is much more than that. TheFundamentals defines corruption as the forced excessive payment for comparable goods, services and labor than is either necessary or available and attained elsewhere by others for less.

For non Illinois readers, all that needs to be changed to make this editorial applicable to your state is the $$$ amount of unfunded state pension fund liability and the name of your state capitol. If you are skeptical, just click on the links at left under the captions “Feeding at the Public Trough” and “Within our Means.” The Tribune’s prediction of “financial implosion” has widespread applicability. Many places have already imploded and are being artificially inflated by the corrupt spending, borrowing and money printing policies in Washington DC.

The overwhelming financial problem in all government fiscal activities is the rising proportion of personnel costs as a percent of total revenues. There are absolute limits to how much government entities can tax. There must be statutory limits to how much they spend and the commitments they make to funding employee costs, benefits, pensions and support activities. Government budgets are overwhelmed by personnel costs for wages, benefits and pensions that now consume revenues needed for infrastructure (roads, bridges, tunnels, school repairs and constructions) and other necessities such as public transportation, health care, social services and other goods and services that can and should be purchased through competitive bids from private concerns. Public employment is at record levels indicating a massive anomaly to the productivity and efficiencies that are realized in the private sector. State and local employment is a record high 19.7 million. Federal government employment is a record high 2.7 million. Over 22 million (a) people are on government payrolls!!!! The payroll costs for all these employees, coupled with the needed buildings, offices, desks, automobiles, trucks, uniforms, weapons, training sessions, conferences, computers, managerial staff, vacations, health insurance and massive pension program benefits is overwhelming limited tax revenue sources at the very time the private sector is cutting back to realize increased productivity and efficiency. This situation cannot be cured through curtailment. It requires drastic cutbacks, drastic permanent layoffs and drastic changes to benefit and pension program terms and funding. It must start in November 2010.

(a) Interested readers can go to http://www.census.gov/govs/apes/index.html and examine the details of these numbers including state specific statistics.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fiscal Policy

Americans have witnessed exaggerated unintended consequences of fiscal policy and monetary policy gone berserk. Terrified of an economic correction in 2001 and a stock market correction, the economic masterminds of the universe deemed that a combination of increased government spending and lower taxes (fiscal policy) and ridiculously low short interest rates (monetary policy) would be appropriate government policy to avoid some small pain brought about these needed economic adjustments.


The result of these three acts – massive federal spending (joined freely and aggressively by most of the 50 states), lower marginal tax rates and short term borrowing rates coupled with a discipline-free credit evaluation process have now produced record levels of bad real and contingent assets – loans, bonds and future payment commitments for entitlement programs and public sector employees benefits and pensions, at levels that may not even be quantifiable. This process and its results have birthed their own bogeymen. The blame game identifies the bad guys as Wall Street greed merchants, sleepy regulatory agencies and, depending upon the issue and the proclaimer, insurance companies and other capitalist entities. The real bogeymen are 2.7 million federal employees; view them for yourselves at: http://www2.census.gov/govs/apes/07fedfun.pdf  and over 19 million state and local government employees – view them at: http://www2.census.gov/govs/apes/08stlus.txt . These numbers are truly numbing!

American fiscal policy is a complete failure. Everyone seems to know but the DC fools.  Moderate economic corrections are deemed to be politically unacceptable. This is absolute nonsense. What should be unacceptable is the dominance of special interests which prevent weak and corrupt politicians from cutting back on government spending when tax revenues encounter shrinkage due to economic slowdown or recession. These politicians are akin to a person not cutting back on caloric intake after an undisciplined holiday period with excessive eating and drinking. Look around you. Have you ever seen so many obese people? This mentality of no personal or communal discipline is now the norm in the US.

Special interests are so imbedded in America’s political power process that politicians think that saving a government job is a benefit to overall economic growth. It is exactly the opposite. The more government jobs that are funded the fewer wealth creating jobs will be formed. It is as simple as the logic of the fat person. Tomorrow things will be better. Nonsense. Tomorrow starts today and if you don’t cut back today you will never experience a better tomorrow. Sacrifice and frugality are fundamentals everywhere but in the fiscal and monetary policy of Washington DC and state capitols. And, an increasing plurality of American voters is buying into this fiscal policy nonsense!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

We Try Harder

Who is the biggest spending special interest group in the US of A?

US Chamber of Commerce. Here’s how they describe themselves at http://www.uschamber.com/

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations. More than 96% of U.S. Chamber members are small businesses with 100 employees or fewer.”

So, who’s number 2? American Medical Association. Check them out at: http://www.ama-assn.org/

Here’s how they describe their mission: “Mission: To promote the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health.”

TheFundamentals is a big fan of doctors, particularly doctors who are bettering public health and the art and science of medicine. But, what about doctors who are bettering their own financial health? Where in the mission statement do they address “bettering our doctors financial health?” Let’s see if the AMA needs to revise their mission statement.

The AMA recently sent their boss, J. James Rohack, M.D. to Washington DC to support Senate Bill S. 1776 “to repeal the flawed Medicare payment formula.” So, Dr. Jim aligned himself and his big organization with one of the real successful powerhouses of the US Senate. He chose a senator who has been chosen by the people of one of the states with the highest unemployment in the US; one of the most troubled large cities in the US; a state that has become the poster child for begging for federal handouts; a state that avoids bankruptcy or receivership as the consequence of the 24/7 operations of the printing presses at the US Bureau of Engraving and its codependents at the US Treasury and Federal Reserve.

Why, on earth, one might ask would the head of the American Medical Association, a fairly prestigious outfit, align with a person with these credentials? What could possibly motivate such a partnership?

You get three guesses.

One. Promote the art of science and medicine? NO.

Two. Promote the betterment of public health? NO.

Three. Promote our members financial health? YES.

The estimated cost of S. 1776, that great piece of legislation being promoted by the senator from the state of Michigan and Dr. Jim is a modest ----- $247 BILLION over the next 10 years!! That should keep the fuel tanks on the yachts of a few hundred thousand physicians pretty much filled up. Or, if you prefer to stay on land, it should pay the dues at the prestigious country clubs, huh?

Also, in case you are interested. The AMA was joined in supporting this recently renamed piece of legislation - Doctors Financial Health Security Act of 2009, by that ever so present special interest group know as AARP. This outfit claims a modest 40,000,000 members. One thing you can always count on is the early bird specialists lining up for something else to put on their children and grandkids credit card. You just gotta love this combination: Senator from a completely busted state; head of an organization of pretty rich individuals and 40 million insatiably demanding wannabee antediluvians all groveling for another big payday for their members. You scratch my back; I’ll scratch yours.

The AMA. We try harder.

Monday, October 19, 2009

"kool aid"

“And good teachers aren't just critical for the success of our students. They are the key to the success of our economy.”

“And we need to treat teachers like the professionals they are by providing good salaries and high-quality professional development opportunities.”

“And we need government to support significant efforts to recruit and retain teachers and to reward high-performing teachers.”

Compelling arguments, huh?

Who do you think is the source* of these quotes? Mission statement of the American Federation of Teachers (1,400,000 members)? The National Education Association (3,200,000 members)?

Is there validity to these quotations? Teachers must be critical to the success of students? Teachers should be treated as professionals? And, government needs to support efforts to recruit and train teachers? Well, the first two are pretty basic but the third makes it seem as if the others are just designed to reach the conclusion and the conclusion is “we need government.”

But let’s go back to the first quote. “They are the key to the success of our economy.” True or False? Answer here: _____

If you say True you will buy into the rest of the posits and accept the conclusion (kool-aid) and the rest falls into place.

If you say False the whole argument collapses.

So, true or false?

Unfortunately the answer is false. The argument is quite convincing because it sounds good (kool aid) and if you accept it you will miss the key element that is missing from the conclusion. Third quote says, “…reward high-performing teachers.” Nothing about penalty for “low-performing teachers.” Nothing about low-performing teachers at all. Why not?

The entire argument collapses because it is a political statement, not an argument basic on fact and logic. It collapses because it is designed to communicate a message and sell an emotional position. TheFundamentals calls this “drinking the kool aid." Without rewards and penalties the economy will not be competitive. Without a constant focus on competition and competitiveness there will be no economic success.

Where do people develop competition and competitiveness? Lots of places. In the home, on the sports field, in the ‘hood, in good schools and in the military. Yes. In government? Absolutely not.

Competitiveness is not only a fundamental; it’s a fundamental most are born with. It is the key to economic success. GM and Chrysler are not in the dumpster just due to their high legacy costs and ridiculous union rules. They lost their competitiveness. Government bailed them out because they were not competitive. Government supports high legacy costs and ridiculous union rules and benefits which are non competitive (see: TheFundamentals, October 15, 2009). So, does the source of the above quotes.

People who sell kool aid do so for their own benefit. People drink kool aid because their emotions dominate their fundamentals. Stick with TheFundamentals.  Don't drink the "kool aid."

*Michelle Obama: US News and World Report, October 15, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Government to Government: STOP

There is a village about 30 miles northwest of Chicago that is communicating a warning and call to action about the problem with public employee pensions in Illinois. This village in this state is one of thousands of local communities across the country (view the links in the left margin entitled “Feeding at the Public Trough”) facing unheard of costs for pensions that have been manipulated through state legislatures at the behest of special interest unions with the complicity of weak and corrupt politicians. This is a very important message and we encourage you to read it in its entirety.   Here is the text of that call to action:

Q: What pensions are available to public employees?

As required by state law, municipal employees (police,
fire and non-public safety personnel) are covered by three
separate pension programs.

Police and firefighters are covered by local pension funds.
Decisions for these pension funds are made by a board
consisting of two active employees, one annuitant and
only two representatives of the municipality. Police and
firefighters receive a full pension (75% of their final pay)
after age 50 with 30 years of service and may receive a
50% pension at age 50 with 20 years of service. Police and
firefighters also are entitled to numerous other benefits.
All other eligible municipal employees are covered by
the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF), which is
a statewide program that consolidates multiple municipal
employers into a single fund. It is governed by a board
consisting of three current employees, one annuitant and
four representatives of employer local governments. IMRF
employees receive a full (75%) pension at age 60 after 40
years of service and may receive a 50% pension at age 55
with 31 years of service.

Q: Who determines the benefits and contributions for
pension programs?

By law, our Village is mandated to fund the pension benefits
of police, firefighters and other municipal employees. The
General Assembly determines the benefits and employee
contributions for pension programs, not your local elected
officials.

The Crisis:

The unprecedented economic downturn has impacted our
residents, businesses and municipal revenues. Despite the
fact that the Village of Barrington has made its actuarially
required pension contributions (and more) over the years,
losses in retirement fund values and escalating costs due
to pension sweeteners authorized by the Illinois General
Assembly have taken a toll on the funding of public
employee pensions. This funding comes from three
sources – employee contributions, employer contributions,
and investment returns. Since employee contributions are
capped by the General Assembly, the fiscal burden falls
upon the Village contributions (local taxpayers) to keep
these funds financially solvent. By law, Barrington is
mandated to fund the pension benefits of police, firefighters
and other municipal employees.

Unless the Illinois General Assembly takes action on October
14-16 and 28-30, a massive spike in police and fire pension
costs will have a significant impact on our Village’s budget in
2010. Funding these increased pension costs will contribute
to major cuts in other areas of our budget affecting Village
services and possibly more staff.

Recognizing the financial impact on taxpayers, the Illinois
Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) board took steps
to mitigate its investment loss and offered an option to
municipalities to cap their fund contribution for municipal
(except police and fire) employees to a 10% increase per
year. However, a similar cap on contributions to police
and firefighter funds will require legislative action by the
Illinois General Assembly. While a cap is only a stop gap
measure, it would help ease the immediate budget crisis for
municipalities.

Our community, through the Northwest Municipal
Conference (NWMC), sought such a legislative remedy this
year. Working with Senators Susan Garrett and Pam Althoff,
NWMC succeeded in getting Senate Bill 2011 approved by
the Illinois Senate. Opposition from the state police and
firefighter unions stalled Senate Bill 2011’s advancement in
the Illinois House.

Members of the General Assembly have one more opportunity
to provide relief from this substantial spike in public safety
pension costs during their fall veto session on October 14-16
and 28-30. Waiting until next year for legislative action will
be too late.

While the state Representatives and Senators representing
Barrington have been very helpful to our Village on this
issue, it is important for more of their colleagues to do the
same. To minimize the impact on current Village services
caused by escalating pension costs, please contact your State
Senators and Representatives, thank them for their past
support, and urge them to continue to support Senate Bill
2011 and ask them to encourage their colleagues to support
it, as well.

For a list of the Village’s State Senators and Representatives
and for additional information, please visit the Village’s
website at  http://www.barrington-il.gov/.