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


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wow! Are We Not Getting It!!

Let’s be more specific. The topic of today’s essay is: Obama, and most, if not all, politicians, just do not get it.

His airplane metaphor was so bad that even he couldn’t get it from the teleprompter to his brain and out his mouth without stumbling over the lines. His sputnik moment analogy does not work. Sputnik was a crude use of minimal satellite technology (it beeped; its batteries ran down in about three weeks) coupled with a successful display of rocket thrust science (several prior rocket launches failed.) In other words, the rocket finally stayed on course and left the pull of the earth’s gravity. Beyond that, it didn’t do much. If you think that is analogous to the economic power of Germany, China, India and South Korea and Brazil and Russia and the other new and strong “competitors” that are handing us our well padded collective fannies each day in the commercial, competitive marketplace; well, then we can well understand why you may buy into his “investment” plans.

This man did not and chose to not address the situation; the real status of the union. Why? The story is not pretty. The deficits are spectacular when compared with the revenues our nation is taking in. That is just a different way of saying that the economic power that produces the nation’s tax revenues are so desperately lagging behind the spending levels that we cannot discipline ourselves to rebuild a strong wealth creating, economic growth foundation for the future because we are addicted to a comfortable mythology about who and what we are. Our education system now lags behind at least 20 other vigorous, competitive nations. Our health care costs per citizen are double and in some cases triple the cost of our major competitors without anything to show for the higher costs. We have successfully built a culture of offering apparent legal protections for large groups or classes of our population and suggested that the benefits of those “protections” are a good substitute for jobs, wealth creation and strong economic growth. And, to placate all those powerful but needy groups of special interests, the lawyers and the teachers and the public employee unions and the American Bar Association and the American Medical Association and SEIU and AFSCME, we settle for his concept of “investments” which is just code for more government spending. By the way, why isn’t our sputnik moment the realization that we have sold our economic competitiveness to these greedy special interest basterds so that a few fat politicians can stay in power a few months longer? That would be a real sputnik moment!!

We are deceiving ourselves at the very highest leadership roles in the country. But are the leaders really clueless? Are we just kidding ourselves by saying that they don’t get it? What if they do get it and they are manipulating us with this mythological pablum and claptrap about our future prospects? Did you ever think that all they really care about is themselves? That they know darn well that our future is bleak? That they think that as long as they keep talking about our great and glorious past and pretending that we have a great and glorious future we will ignore that not a one of them, much less a gathering of them, has an ounce of the fortitude necessary to deliver the message that we had better retool ourselves at significant cost to our government spending; our silly and costly and nonproductive health care spending and education spending and our absolutely dopey catering to special interests like attorneys suing over claimed discrimination matters and claimed sticky accelerators and all the other nonsense that turns on the trial lawyers of this country. There is not one piece of competitive value in any of these activities. No jobs growth; no economic activity; no wealth creation. One of our supporters/readers has a one word description for these activities: parasites. Look up the word parasite: ‘ a person who receives support, advantage, or the like, from another or others without giving any useful or proper return, as one who lives on the hospitality of others.’ Source: http://www.dictionary.com/

Enough folks. It is truly depressing to witness such nonsense. What happened to sacrifice? What happened to “...ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” What happened to savings and frugality? What happened to doing without today to build for tomorrow? For decades now, we have not had a leader, nary a one, who will lead this country in a changing and challenging time. We have settled for politicians. Why don’t we want a leader?

235 years ago, a group of our own people decided that they needed to do something about their situation. They did not ask someone to do it for them. They knew that if the job was to be done they would have to do it. They knew that it would be risky and that they could lose all. But they did it. They chose the road of setting their own course. They chose to stand on their strengths and rely on their abilities to compete and survive. And, in closing their statement of their purpose, here is what they said, “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

No one is asking us to pledge our lives to this effort. Just a bit of our fat fanny comfort. Our fortunes are already declining. Should we wait until they have declined another 20 or 30% before we decide to do something? The way we’re borrowing and printing currency, ours will easily devalue by that amount in the next 5 or 10 years. As to honor, ask yourself what you value. What is your definition of honor? Is honor following a politician or a union leader or a greedy businessman? Or is honor saying I did without so that my children and my grandchildren can have an opportunity for “an opportunity.”

Monday, January 24, 2011

Attention: Deficit Disorder

According to the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which is the bible for shrinks, attention deficit disorder (ADD) is characterized by some of the following symptoms or behaviors:

• Lack of close attention to details
• Difficulty maintaining attention on tasks
• May not listen when spoken to
• Does not finish workplace assignments
• Cannot persevere on long lasting tasks

You get the idea. A person who jumps around from topic to topic; task to task, without any evidence or follow through or completion.

Obviously no country could last very long if its leadership suffered from ADD. It would just take on too many tasks and activities; not focusing or prioritizing the important ones and the doable ones from the unnecessary and undoable. But it did get us to thinking about the last two years in America. And without doing any research other than to revisit the topics of our essays over the last two years, we put together the following list of activities and plans and programs and commissions that the current leader has started. Here they are:

• Spend hundreds of billions to save jobs
• Spend hundreds of billions to create jobs
• Pass voluminous legislation to “reduce health care costs”
• Make sure everyone has health care insurance coverage
• Offer financial incentives (billions) to get schools to perform
• Talk sense to Iran, N Korea , Cuba and Venezuela
• Cut government waste and eliminate unnecessary programs
• Double exports in five years
• Make banks and financial institutions play fair
• Make banks lend more to small and mid size businesses
• Get the troops out of Iraq
• Increase the troops in Afghanistan and then get them out also
• Spend hundreds of billions to avoid a worse recession
• Borrow and print currency to stimulate the economy
• Prop up and fix Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (what is going on with this one?)
• Replace carbon fuels with “green” energy sources
• Increase taxes on the high wage earners
• Lower taxes for middle and low wage earners
• Get a plan to lower deficits and debt
• Set up a commission to develop a plan to lower deficits and debt
• Implement plan to lower deficits and debt
• Reduce unneeded military spending

And now, the latest idea/plan/commission…
• Create jobs and boost American competitiveness** (we read that this is his newest menu item or as the French would say, “le soup du jour”)

When a person jumps from idea to idea; from plan to plan; from commission to commission; from speech to speech; from goal to goal but never sticks around to say, “Well, we did complete that one and we’re working on that one and that one probably was never all that good an idea anyway,” what can an observer conclude? What does that person with all the plans and ideas and commissions and speeches but with no follow through and no measurement and no track record of accomplishment tell us about their own behavior? Their modus operandi? Their attention span?

Tomorrow night you will have an opportunity to listen to the man who has presented all of the above plans and ideas and programs. He is going to be talking to you about the state of their accomplishment (we think; we hope.) You will be able to say to yourself, just how are those job saving and job creating programs working? And how are those troop withdrawals moving along? And how are we doing on the way to doubling exports? Are the added dollars being used to motivate education programs producing measurable results that can be documented showing the improved performance of American students? And what did he do with the cost cutting and revenue increasing proposals from the deficit and debt commission? And just how much have health costs per person in the country been reduced? And are new businesses being formed and financed and how many can we point to? After all, he has talked about many, many things and he has borrowed and spent more money in two years than any other leader - elected, appointed or divinely placed, in the history of the world.

Tomorrow he is going to report to you about these plans/ideas/commissions/government activities that all that money has been spent on. You are going to hear exactly, specifically, in detail just what you are getting for the three trillion dollars he has added to the national debt in just 24 months and the seven trillion dollars he has spent in those same two years. (Source: http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/117xx/doc11705/2010_08_19_SummaryforWeb.pdf  ) He gets to show you and everyone listening just how much attention he pays to his own plans and ideas. And you get to evaluate his attention span; his attention to results; his attention to details; his attention to being a good steward of your money.

Keep both lists in mind as you listen tomorrow. And revisit the characteristics of a person with attention deficit disorder. This man may or may not suffer from ADD. We don’t know. But there is a striking and long list of incomplete activities and unfinished business. The one thing we can state with certainty is that regardless of his attention to detail and completion, the real deficits, not the ADD stuff out of the manual, are ours and they are measured in the trillions of dollars. Even if he doesn’t have ADD, he sure as all heck has DD or deficit disorder. As a matter of fact, we all have DD now.

If he really wants America to be more competitive, the first thing he needs to do is get himself diagnosed. Two years of dead end plans, programs, commissions and costly government activities followed by another two years of the same are not going to make America more competitive but they sure will make our competitors more competitive.

** Competitiveness is a key component of our basic economic fundamentals of wealth creation, economic growth and jobs. Just as government cannot create jobs it also cannot create competitiveness. All it can do is get out of the way. As long as it stands in the way (read: promotes unions, laws, taxes, special interests, rules, litigation, regulations and every form of burden conceivable to the bureaucratic mind) it will suppress competition and destroy job creation. So, the only road to job growth and a competitive America is to rip up the platform of Mr. Obama’s political party. He does not need to appoint Jeffrey Immelt to accomplish that task. As a matter of fact, the very fact that he did so that tells you all you need to know about his true intentions. We will have much more on this topic later!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Season of Giving

Before we get too far removed from the Christmas season and the time of year for giving, and before we get too close to the April 15 tax payment deadline, when our stinginess may set in, let's take a look at this issue of the rich people who say they think they should be paying more in taxes.

Now we are talking about those folk with real money; lots of it.  The ones that show up on TV programs and talk about all their ideas and all the good they do.  These are the really, really rich (RRR) people and some of them have been speaking out about what they want other really, really rich people to do. You see their definition of giving is a bit different than the giving that many of us do. We might help a family in need or get some groceries to the food bank or walk a couple of miles in the local fund raiser. But the truly rich, the RRR, have a special form of giving. It’s actually giving right back to themselves and it’s called a “foundation.” You see if the rich set up a foundation and give their money to the foundation they don’t have to give that money to the feds or to the state. They do have to make sure that their relatives and RRR friends will be around to oversee the distribution of the money and they do have to make sure it is spent according to the rules but, and here is the part they tend not to talk about, they don’t have to send it or spend it in Washington DC. It doesn’t go for all the spending programs and the extension of unemployment benefits or the bailouts that saved their Wall Street firms or the military adventures or even all those millions of really nice people who work for the government. Nope, all they have to do is make sure that it gets spent on some approved charitable form of activity.

So, as well all know, the US government is running low on funds these days. Having to borrow, borrow, borrow and in the meantime the RRR are writing checks to their foundations and those foundations are building schools in Asia or fighting disease in Africa or constructing water wheels in central America or whatever they do. And, of course, the rest of us are paying the extended unemployment benefits and the bailouts and the military/industrial complex and so forth. Does that seem fair?

Of course not. Here is what we propose during this time of giving to make things fairer. There is a website at http://www.publicdebt.treas.gov/  and this is a fun place to go. It’s all about the debt of the country. You can go one place and see, to the penny, exactly how much we owe today and you can go to another place and see how much we owed on your birth date or when you met your spouse. You can go to another place and buy some debt. But there is one place where we didn’t know if you knew you could go. There is a link to go to a place where you can just send them some money and they will use it to pay down the debt. Just click here: https://www.pay.gov/paygov/forms/formInstance.html?agencyFormId=23779454  You get to fill out a form (of course) and they will tell you how to do it.  Use your credit card if you like.

So, during this season of giving and with all the hullabaloo coming from the RRR; we, at TheFundamentals, had this really, really great idea (RRGI). Why don’t we just redirect all that money going to the RRR foundations to the above website and pay down some of the debt? You know, kind of like a moratorium on foundation contributions for a few years or so. After all, a lot of the RRR made the money in the good old US of A and we know they like to blab about all the good they are doing so let’s do some good right here at home. Let’s pay down some US debt instead of the water wheels in Bangladesh and the micro breweries in Sudan and the public toilets in Guatemala. Let’s pay some of our bills here at home.

Remember, folks, charity begins at home. It’s a fundamental!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Debt Limit Charade

One of our readers recently asked us, “What about debt limits? Why are you not writing about debt limits?”

Seems pretty reasonable given our fundamental formula: Deficits = Debt = Destruction. So where is TheFundamentals on this issue of debt limits and the need of the US increasing its total borrowing beyond the current "limit" of $14.3 trillion? By the way, this $14.3 limit was just set in February 2010 when it was increased by almost 2 trillion dollars. Two trillion gone in less than one year. Mind boggling isn’t it?

Let’s start by understanding why the congress must pass a law establishing just how much the United States can owe? Why is that? It’s not in the constitution, is it? We can’t find it. We have written at length about the powers of congress to pay debts and to borrow. So why must congress set the debt limit or else the treasury cannot issue the debt?

Here’s why ---

For many years, from the beginning of the new republic up to 1917, congress would approve each new bond issue coming out of the treasury department. This goes back to the constitution which authorized congress to borrow on behalf of the United States. But that same authority, as we have previously pointed out, congress is also authorized to repay debts. Funny how they seem to grasp one concept and ignore the other, huh? If the government needed $100 million a bond issue would be authorized by congress and then sold to buyers. Congress passed the second liberty bond act of 1917 and set a debt limit. Today it’s known as 31 USC 3101.

Read more: http://vlex.com/vid/sec-public-debt-limit-19220756#ixzz1AXiTbAbj

Ever since then, as congress borrows more and the debt goes up, up, up they go through this charade of raising the limit. Congress may be the only big time borrower in the history of the universe that sets its own debt limit. Who else do you know who gets to set the amount they can borrow?

Let’s consider debt limits in a more absolute sense. Like you and me; the neighborhood store; the car dealer; the steel mill; the manufacturer of refrigerators and the folk who grow corn, cattle and those who mine copper and iron ore. By the way, if you don’t recognize this quick list of activities, let us help remind you what/who they are. They are wealth creators engaging in wealth creating activities. They are the foundation, the very life blood of economic activity; economic growth and, therefore, job growth. Did you notice, no government activities listed? None. You will never read here that government creates wealth or economic growth or jobs. Why? Because they don’t. You do not read here that discrimination laws, or medical liability litigation or environmental protection or union promoting activities or lots of special deals for public employees are creating jobs and economic growth. None of these government activities create any wealth; they consume it. They do not create jobs; and, no, they do not add to the competitiveness of a country. Nope. All they do is subtract from it if they are not limited; not contained; not controlled very carefully by the powers of the states; by the powers of the people. When they are not contained you will find debt rising and you find the debt limits raised consistently by the politicians and their bureaucrat friends. If you doubt this statement of fact, just read about the state of the state of Illinois. Here is as good as any article to display what happens when the fox oversees the chicken house: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704415104576066233181194412.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEFTTopOpinion

Back to debt limits. Each of the examples of wealth creators specified above have debt limits. We all know about debt limits. All we have to do is look at our credit card statement and it will tell us exactly the limit on how much we can spend and owe on that credit card. We also know debt limits because we know how much someone will loan us to buy a house if we own a house. If we own a business, be it big or small, and we need to borrow from a bank or other lender we know how much they will lend us and what collateral they will demand in return. We know the exact amounts because we have to live under those conditions. We are obligated to perform under those conditions or we will be deemed to be in default and then a series of processes, legal and otherwise, will occur to make certain that we do perform or face the consequences. This is a long established tradition of credit/lending practices, debt limits and performance obligations that are the fundamentals of a good economic system. A system with rules and a system that provides benefits and consequences.

And the debt limits that are proscribed are not determined by the borrower; they are set by the lender; the creditor. They are based on a series of objective and subjective measurements that are all designed to determine the ability of the borrower to repay so that the lender will get their money back and all interest and other fees due them under the lending contract. This is the way in which real debt limits are set. They are set by the lender and the borrower must accept them or negotiate them. And that is why TheFundamentals is not very interested in the debt limits set by the US congress and signed by the US president. They are not debt limits at all. They are a political game manufactured in Washington DC by 536 people plus 2. The house of 435; the senate of 100; the president of 1 totaling 536. The other two – fed chairman Bernanke and treasury secretary Geithner.

Remember when the founders set about telling George III to take a hike, they sought the ability based on God given rights to set their own course and not be subject to the arbitrary power of others. Freedom and responsibility were their fundamentals. They did not see the need to capture and commemorate each aspect of responsibility in their words and in the documents they prepared. They did set up limited government powers and checks and balances because they knew and they had experienced the corrupting and abusive power applied by unfettered governmental figures. They never would have had occasion to even contemplate a government that would abuse the public treasury as is currently being experienced. They were not cut from the cloth of the current political leadership that values their own comfort and their own wealth and their own jobs over the good of the republic. If you doubt our analysis above, reread the closing words of the declaration of independence. You should know them by heart by now. They are among the finest words ever written by people of purpose: “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

The periodic charade of raising self imposed debt limits in an act of arrogance perpetrated by 536 plus 2 undisciplined and financially promiscuous individuals who need to read the Declaration of Independence and pray for even a small amount of the courage needed to right their course. They are engaged in the pure and simple financial destruction of a country. Do not, under any circumstances, support either their spending activities or their debt limit setting nonsense.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Illinois Chooses Self Destruction

When folks observe a person or an entity engaging in self destructive behavior, there usually is a resulting conversation which attempts to explain the otherwise inexplicable behavior. What follows is our attempt to explain, without any inside knowledge, the motivation for a large state to choose a mammoth tax increase over our recommended path of frugality and sacrifice. Here goes. Here is what we think may be going on behind the scenes.

Politicians usually are not inclined to propose ridiculously high increase in tax rates without some great fear of an ever more deadly outcome that is going on behind the scenes. The Illinois politicians are proposing a personal income tax increase to go from 3% to 5% and business rates to go from 4.8% to 7%. These massive increases are on top of spectacularly high sales tax rates; cigarette taxes; fees and property taxes. By the way, the governor just ran for reelection supporting an increase of 1%. Something is going on. Here is our take on what we think is going on.

We don’t know the true gap in the accumulated pension costs for this state and the funds which can reasonably be expected to be available to meet those costs. It is reasonable to expect that any financial statement independently audited can capture a good estimate of the future costs. After all, this exercise is a mathematical calculation based on past, current and future employment levels in various wage categories with some assumptions for cost of living increases. So, for the sake of this discussion, let’s assume that the accounting rules are producing a reasonable estimate of future funding needs to meet a spectacularly generous accumulation of many pension claims.

Now, how do accountants measure the funds available to meet the anticipated cost? Well, they look at contributions coming from various sources such as municipal and state employers as well as the employees if they are required to make a financial contribution and they also make an estimate of the rate at which the funds available will grow at in the future. Their anticipated investment return. Our readings and analysis tell us the funds being contributed have apparently been woefully short of what is needed to meet the current and future costs. And on top of that, we have also read that the assumptions made about the rate at which the invested funds will grow have been unusually aggressive. This latter just means that accounting rules say you can make an assumption about a reasonable rate of return. We believe that the state of Illinois has been aggressive in setting this assumption meaning they are actually assuming a return higher that has been experienced for some time now and higher than can be justified. And we think the referee is about to blow the whistle. Not only because the financial statements are inadequately reflecting the real deficit condition in pension obligations and funding but because there could be claims made against the auditors if the state defaults. Nothing motivates an auditor to be accurate more than the fear of being held accountable for something they could have and should have known.

The auditor is supposed to be the referee; making certain that the entity, in this case the state of Illinois, is presenting its financial condition accurately according to the accounting rules. Usually an independent auditor is required to examine the state’s financial statements and render an opinion on the accuracy of the statements. These statements, with the independent opinion of the auditor saying that they are OK, are then used by the state to borrow money.

Now we conjecture there has been a meeting or two between the auditors and the politicians and the bureaucrats and we think those meetings had all the subtlety of a two by four to the head. If the auditor decides to issue a report with an unfavorable opinion stating something along the lines that the future costs are not adequately being reflected or along the lines that the investment return rate is too high or that the gap between anticipated costs and available funds is too great to maintain financial viability or any combination of these or other dire circumstance, the ability of Illinois to borrow future monies to meet maturing debt obligations could either disappear or the interest cost and terms of such future borrowing could skyrocket. We don’t know if that is what is going on.

Someone should ask.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Freedom of Speech, Rhetoric and Opportunism

TheFundamentals is a forum that is almost entirely based on the God given and constitutionally protected ability of law abiding, taxpaying, responsible citizens to voice their strong opinions about matters of import and consequence or even lesser matters. However, we do temper our statements due to a concern for safety, ours and others, or an awareness of “political correctness” mantras that now prevent real conversation; real dialogue and real truth about matters economic, financial, political and governmental.

Let us give an example. We recently had occasion to drive four or five miles of Detroit’s surface streets. All we saw was despair and destruction. Even those of us who had previously experienced and witnessed the destruction of this town were shocked at its continued deterioration and dismalness. Is Detroit the natural consequence of years of union, minority, Democratic Party leadership? Is this America’s future? It is now a town with no apparent hope or direction. Those who live by time tested fundamentals have left. Those with us who saw it for the first time were quiet; one could only bring herself to say, “It is grim.” We thought back to the nonsensical comment coming from the kid play acting as the American attorney general and his oblivious remark about Americans being afraid to dialogue on racial matters. What utter nonsense. Who is going to comment on Detroit? And take the risk of being deemed a “racist” or some other quick phrase turned by one of the aforementioned parties who must bear some responsibility for Detroit. Many Americans just move beyond their fear of Detroit’s occurring elsewhere. They leave it alone; try not to think about it; get on with their lives but in the back of their mind is the gnawing concern and fear that Detroit could happen elsewhere. But remember, political correctness says Detroit is not the result of years of union, minority, Democratic Party leadership.

Let’s move on. Let’s say you support change and voice that support. Is that rhetoric that could lead to violence? The answer appears to depend on whether or not your definition of change is “politically correct.” Apparently not if the change gets you in the “politically correct” category as defined by one side of the political spectrum and supported by the sycophantic press that depends greatly upon that political group for its life’s blood. Where would the news departments of NBC, ABC, CNN, PBS and CBS be without the Democratic Party? Without daily news briefings from the white house? Without racial incidents or homophobic incidents or discrimination incidents or right wing violence incidents or some other trumped up, politically correct, three day lasting news opportunity?

Change has been occurring in the US for some time now. The politically correct or mainstream media accepted forms of change started on some matters mentioned above. Discrimination, racial and otherwise, which expanded to other groups who sought protection for their members and these groups now include so many it is almost impossible to not be included: seniors; females; handicapped; obese; farmers; students; uninsured’s; animals; overfished fish; children toys; mothers against drunk drivers; war on poverty; any person who wants to control some other person’s use of their property; environmentalists; no more nuclear plants and on and on into tomorrow. All politically correct.

If you want to succeed in America and you are not in a special interest group with powerful lobbyists looking out for you (think bankers, insurance companies, government employees, unions, teachers, doctors and our favorite: lawyers, lawyers, lawyers) you had darn well better get into as many protected classes as possible and then you might get some of that change that the change people are spreading around. At least that is what lots of people believe. Many people vote based on that belief. Is it permissible to believe differently? Is it permissible to voice such differences? Or is there only one acceptable route? The politically correct route?

What appears to be happening is that there is one really big and growing group of working, law abiding, taxpaying, non special interest group joining, non protected class participating people in the middle and they are just plain fed up with the place we have become as all these changes have become the accepted “political correct” place to be. So, we ask that change group these simple questions: Just what are You going to do when that big group in the middle gets fed up and decides enough is enough? What are You going to do when they say, “Let's get back to the fundamentals?” What are You going to do when their fear of becoming another Detroit starts coming out of the closet? Call them names? Blame them irresponsibly for others acts?

Who is the “You” mentioned in the previous paragraph? Well one big group is those who belong to all the special interest groups; particularly the high paid; high benefited; high pensioned elected officials and government employees at all levels of government – local, state and federal . They are now starting to see; starting to detect; starting to feel; starting to worry about the possibility that change is going to come their way and derail their gravy train. They don’t like this kind of change. They only like the change that benefits them.

Watch carefully the rhetoric that is now flowing from the politically correct group. Is it about their change agenda and its failure? Or is it one more form of challenge to anyone who would challenge their politically correct mantras? What is their solution to the malaise that is now America and the destruction that is now Detroit? More of the same? Tomorrow will be better?

Remember that big group in the middle is also seeking change. It just may not be Your change or it just may not adhere to Your politically correct definition. That group is going to be heard also. It’s not just about you, “You.”

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Why the Truth Matters

Here is the quote that caught our eye the other day:

"But I'm pretty confident that they're going to recognize that our job is to govern and make sure that we are delivering jobs for the American people," he added. "My hope is that John Boehner and Mitch McConnell will realize that there will be plenty of time to campaign for 2012 in 2012."

Source of the quote: the 44th president of the United States, BHObama II.

Here is how our brain works when we at TheFundamentals read/see this type of statement coming from someone who claims to be a leader.

First we look at it factually. Is it factually correct? It is not. The statement that “our job is to…make sure we are delivering jobs…” is a misstatement of facts and responsibility. The job of elected officials, if they wish to “deliver jobs,” is to minimize interference in the private commerce sector and thereby maximize the opportunity for wealth creation; the environment for private sector job creation. Anything they do to promote wealth creation will also promote economic growth which will promote “delivering jobs.” Anything they do to burden wealth creation will suppress economic growth and both stop new job creation and destroy existing jobs. Now that is just the truth. But why don’t they grasp the truth?

Well, here are the jobs numbers under the two year regime of the source of the above quote.

Assumed office in January 2009. Total employment (# of people at work in the US) at that time was 143,400,000. Percent unemployment in December 2008 was 7.1% and rising. Most recent reported employment was 139,400,000 and percent unemployment in November 2010 was 9.3% and had reached as high as 10.6% earlier in the year.
Source: http://www.bls.gov/

What is going on? If you choose to politicize everything you say and do, at sometime, you will begin to believe in what you say; it will become your mantra; your philosophy; your guiding light or principle and then you will find yourself not only saying things that are untrue but you will actually engage in activities based on these untruths. And that is one more example of how mythology, inaccurate statements and just downright untruths, become accepted as a form of belief system; they become valued as a real concept; a truth. If you pay attention, as hard as it may be, to the words and belief system that now dominate the communications of American politicians and their sycophantic media mouthpieces representing 80 or 90% of the written and spoken word to the American public, be it private media such as NBC, ABC, CNN and CBS or so called public media such as PBS and NPR, the results are the same: Look to government for an answer; for jobs; for fairness; for help; for darn near anything. And because they are now fully engaged in presenting misstatements and untruths as facts or truths it is now very difficult, and for many impossible, to even know what are basic truths; what are basic values; what are fundamentals.

And that brings us to the latter part of Mr. Obama’s quote. Had Mr. Obama been not been doing what he attributed to his political opponents in the latter part of the above quote, which is campaigning, his statement would have read as follows:

“I need help. We have failed at stopping the destruction of jobs; much less the creation of jobs. For two years now we have stated that our efforts have prevented a worse situation from occurring but that can no longer be our position if we are going to promote job creation in the United States. We must focus on changing the environment for private job creation. In that regard, I welcome the ideas and proposals of all. It will mean some real change for those who depend too much on government because that dependency is obviously costing America its competitive position and new wealth creation opportunities and real economic growth. This new approach must begin now; it must be long term in view and it will require sacrifice and frugality. I welcome the full participation of Mr. Boehner and Mr. McConnell in that process.”

Alas it is not to be. Regardless, it is our job at TheFundamentals to present the agenda for change that will again recognize the basic economic fundamental that all economic growth flows from wealth creation and that everything that promotes competition is the best long term environment for guaranteeing both economic and job growth and that everything that burdens competition is guaranteed to suppress economic growth and job creation.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

111th congress. Good Riddance.

TheFundamentals is about personal and financial responsibility and fiscal soundness. This is our purpose; our mission. We address the promiscuous ways of anyone but mostly governments, bureaucrats, lawyers, unions, special interests and protected classes who violate these fundamentals. We focus on these elements because the unparalleled growth of their cost and influence on Americans, particularly Americans who seek to engage in various forms of commerce, has weakened a great country to the point of non competitiveness with vigorously growing competitors. The one thing that you can count on is that there will always be someone present to devour a weakened competitor.

No group in America is more responsible for this economic malaise that now burdens all aspects of personal and commercial activities than is the congress of the United States. The congress is given the primary responsibility for financial and fiscal matters; not the president.

As you know the debt of the United States has skyrocketed over the past fourteen years. During this period we have had 7 congresses. Each is displayed below with the beginning and ending debt level and the resulting debt growth during the tenure of that congress. Here are the facts:

                                        Total US Debt                Debt Increase
112th congress
Jan 3, 2013                          ???
Jan 3, 2011                     $13.871 Trillion                     ???

111th congress
Jan 3, 2011                     $13.871
Jan 3, 2009                     $10.636                         $ 3.235 Trillion

110th congress
Jan 3, 2009                     $10.636
Jan 3, 2007                     $  8.677                         $ 1.959

109th congress
Jan 3, 2007                     $  8.677
Jan 3, 2005                     $  7.591                         $ 1.086

108th congress
Jan 3, 2005                      $ 7.591
Jan 3, 2003                      $ 6.383                         $ 1.208

107th congress
Jan 3, 2003                      $ 6.383
Jan 3, 2001                      $ 5.723                         $   .660

106th congress
Jan 3, 2001                      $ 5.723
Jan 3, 1999                      $ 5.607                         $   .116

105th congress
Jan 3, 1999                      $ 5.607
Jan 3, 1997                      $ 5.306                         $   .301

Source: http://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/BPDLogin?application=np

Never, in the history of the United States have so few, borrowed so much in such a short time to accomplish so little.

The 111th congress has spent a record amount of money – taken from taxpayers, borrowed on their credit against their will and, just printed with no accompanying commercial transaction which is the equivalent of stealing value from working taxpayers by diluting the value of the money they earn and save. While engaging in these despicable acts they have passed legislation consisting of thousands of unread pages of legal language and decrees and references that no one can explain or understand. And, while wasting the working taxpayers money and passing incomprehensible legislation, they have not done one thing; not taken one solitary step to make American business want to create wealth and jobs in this country. They have not cut back one bureaucracy or curtailed one protected class of all too ready litigators or stifled one group of special interests. They have not opened any labor markets to the free flow of employment; not stopped one unnecessary filing of one more specious law suit; not stopped the voracious gobbling of public funds by public employee unions or voted to bring either a balanced budget amendment to the states for approval or a term limits amendment to the states for approval. This record of abuse and self gratification, coupled with the promiscuity of Bernanke and the silly, inexperienced child play by the president, earn the 111th congress the designation of the worst congress in the history of America. We say, “Good riddance to the 111th congress.”

We have little hope for the 112th convening congress. The one question that needs to be answered is will it engage in promoting competitive commercial activities at the cost of its own political results? Will it grasp the simple concepts of frugality and sacrifice or will it continue the promiscuously piggish, self destructive behavior of its predecessor?