The Slippery Slope of the “Easy Way Out”

The GAO tells us today that on its current path Social Security and Medicare will be out of money within twenty years – maybe sooner. With Federal debt approaching $20 trillion, the government cannot bail out these programs even though the government helped itself to the Social Security and Medicare coffers.

What will life in America be like if that happens?

Imagine our great nation twenty years from now – people outliving their working years that no longer have that Social Security/ Medicare safety net, albeit small. We are not a strong family-centric society – Will you take your parents in? Would you like in your retirement years to live in your adult child’s house?

Is Working America saving for their own retirements? Remember – except for government employees and only a few of the large corporations, traditional pension plans are a thing of the past. The 401k is the prevalent retirement financing vehicle for today’s working people.

The median 401k balance as of 2015 is just $31,400. People begin doing their retirement planning –  looking ahead – in their 40’s. Per Vanguard Investments, the median 401k balance for those in the 35-44 age bracket is $27,400; the median balance in the 45-54 age bracket is $52,200.

But consider this – If you retire at age 65 with a 401k balance of $100,000 and you want to spend it down as you age, it will provide you with approximately $350 per month. Yep, that’s all. $200,000 in your 401k when you retire? $700 per month.

So when we see our elected officials dithering over Social Security and Medicare programs while they hemorrhage due to political gutlessness, think about your retirement years without those safety nets. Can you live through your retirement years only on your 401k?

For the well-being of our nation as a whole, the viability of Social Security and Medicare programs is essential.

Social Security and Medicare programs need to be tweaked in order to save them. The required contribution (payroll tax) needs to be increased. People live longer – eligibility age needs to be pushed back.

People who are eligible age-wise but have household incomes over $200K should be ineligible to draw from Social Security. They don’t need it – our nation as a whole needs it.

The annual cap on Social Security contributions needs to be eliminated – currently income above $117,000 is not subject to the SS tax. The tax should apply to all earned income – not just the first $117,000 per year. Again, the nation needs to keep these programs intact.

Believe me when I say this – people with money will not want to live in an America in which most people are broke. People with money will find themselves unsafe. Targets for crime and increasing violence.

Personally, I have had it with the elitist professional politician class. They go to Washington to “serve” us and they leave the Beltway as millionaires. They don’t have the guts to address these issues because it might threaten their reelection. Because they put themselves first …

It’s time … it’s time.

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Politically Correct “Terror”

I take issue with the broad use of the word “TERROR”. And by extension, I protest the government’s and the media’s use of the descriptor “TERRORIST” to those individuals and their ideology that, when it is boiled down to the lowest common denominator, are really soldiers of Islam.

The term “terrorist” has a secular ring to it. While gathering shock value in headlines or an anchor’s opening statement, it is nevertheless a term laden with political correctness. It absolves followers of Islam from addressing its problem from within. A mosque is where all Muslims commingle –  surely they must be suspicious of some of their brethren.

“Terror” is extreme fear, panic and anxiety to the level that its presence incapacitates normal people from rational behavior. “Terrorists”, we are told, are waging a “War of Terror” on America.

Is America incapacitated by fright?  We in America know we are not. But thanks to the media, to those who are plotting from some hovel in the Middle East, the notion that they are terrorizing America – bringing Americans to trembling knees – must be a source of great satisfaction. Even if it’s true only in the media. And it must be motivational for them. It probably helps recruitment to their cause.

So I implore the media and all the lip-flappers at their news desk microphones – STOP CALLING THEM TERRORISTS!

Call them “The Murderers for Muhammad”.

We are not sheep in America. Not only are we NOT shaking in fear. We are, in fact, armed and ready.

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MLK’s Unrealistic Mountain

I always want to ask Black leaders and community organizers: “What is the end game? What is it that will finally, once and for all time, satisfy you and the racial malcontents? What exactly will it take for you to drop the grievances so we can all live in harmony?”

It these leaders were honest they would say it is unachievable. There is no such mountain. For if there were such a mountain, they would be out of work. No more power, no more money and no more soapbox.

And so it goes. And it will go and go and go. Baltimore rioters – when told that their police department and city hall are run by fellow persons of color, say “It’s the system. The system!” And the Black Mulsims, Panthers, politicians are the ones spewing this baloney, claiming the rioters who are destroying their own community are the victims!

Yes, life is hard. True it is that there is inequality in how we start out in life. But that’s not “the system”. That’s just “Life”. Yes the rioters are being victimized – victimized by their own Black brethren who stir the pot and wear silk suits.

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The Perpetuation of the Racial Divide – It Will Never End

President Obama and outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder are leading the charge to alter policing methods that, as Holder states, will “help end racial profiling, once and for all. This new guidance will codify our commitment to the very highest standards of fair and effective policing.”

The implication, of course, among black leaders and the liberal media is that the Brown/Wilson encounter was 1.) Officer Wilson’s fault; 2.) due to Wilson’s alleged racial bias; and 3.) all police agencies have belief systems that devalue people of color.

That’s what they believe.

With skin color, there can be a knee jerk tendency to generalize. But there are so many layers to the human condition that there is a basic unfairness to such simplicity. I wonder, do most middle class blacks identify with Michael Brown? Do they identify with the inner city gangster culture? Are they proud or embarrassed by underwear displays or the “pimp roll” ambulation. Or are these negative stereotypes the albatross they can never shed.

I’m guessing these things cause consternation within middle class blacks and, in fact, causes them to assume that white folks and/or the police are unable to differentiate anything beyond skin color. Most people are more discerning that that. Personally, there is a differentiation in my wariness when in certain less secure situations I encounter a skinhead or a ghetto-garbed youth. That’s self-preservation, plain and simple. It’s instinctual.

Cutting through all the hyperbole of the Ferguson issue, it is the police profession that is getting abused by 1.) politicians who use this “us against them” meme to solidify the base; and 2.) the media, which sensationalizes these incidents and characterizes aggressors as underdogs.

Do middle class blacks fear the police? I’ll bet many do but not because of what is in the hearts and minds of police officers. There may be ingrained bias by blacks as to how the police in general view them. This may be at the heart of the lack of trust of the police.

Eric Holder likes to relate the story that years ago he was running in street clothes in D.C. and was stopped by a police officer. He claims it had to be racial. Years ago I was stopped twice by police for no apparent reason – once as a 16 year old driving my parents vehicle and a few years later while driving my van and having long hair. I am Italian/Irish & more (i.e. Caucasian). I took no offense … but I was a bit scared both times because I believed the police expected me to be perfect in every way and of course I’m not. And I knew it. To me, it was imperfection of my own character and nothing more that caused my trepidation.

What Holder misses is that when it comes to skin, it’s not the color – it’s the thickness.

From the bully pulpit occupied by Obama and Holder and the ‘Newspeak’ of the liberal media, more important is what is not said rather than what is said. And what is not said is this: Respect authority. Obey the law. Respect one another. But the hope to change the inner-city culture is daunting indeed. So it’s easier to just place the blame at the feet of the the newly coined “white privilege”. Guilty without any chance of proving innocence.

Cops do NOT want to shoot anyone! That’s the next to the last thing they want to happen. The last thing they want to happen is to not come home to their families.

This sense by many blacks (including the Obamas, Holder and the Black Congressional Caucus) that skin color is the primary defining characteristic in all human encounters may be the basis of the general racial grievance of blacks. And if that’s the case, THERE IS NO HOPE for humanity that racial friction will ever end. There will never be an end game – a sense of arrival that we are finally there – we are all equal in each others minds.

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It’s Not Fair! I Feel Your Pain! Vote For Me!

You’ve heard the phrase “All things being equal …”. Practically speaking, all things are never equal. Even the letter of the law, where it is written that all men are created equal, resolves cases based on the varying facts and circumstances of each situation.

The Left’s rally cry about income equality ignores one very basic but important fact: discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion or age is illegal. Remedies already exist through the U.S. Department of Labor and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. If you believe your employer is discriminating against you, file a claim with these agencies.

And if you think you are not being paid what you are worth, remember this: The brilliance of a free market economy is that you have the right to sell your labor wherever you want. That said, it is inevitable that some people will out-earn you. Maybe it’s because of experience. Or education. Or job knowledge. Or personality, attitude or who you know. Or just plain luck.

Granted, deep down it’s hard to swallow.

On a gut level, it’s easy to fall prey to the basic human unfairness that some there are some – very few, really – that have so much and so many – too many – that have so very little. That’s the essence of the victim mentality.

We are taught as children to say “That’s not fair” even before we understand the nuances of what is fair and what isn’t. If someone else’s ice cream cone had more sprinkles than mine, well “That’s not fair”.

But life is not an ice cream cone. There is serendipity to life that begins at birth. Born in America or third world? Born into a good family environment or not? Wealthy family or not? Good looks, physical prowess, high IQ? You get the idea. It’s not fair. But that’s the way it is.

Income inequality and wealth redistribution as political issues are not about fairness. They’re about envy. And it’s not about income – it’s about spending.

Think about it – people who make or has inherit lots of money don’t sit around counting and recounting the stacks of bundled bills. They spend it and when they do, it is returned to the economy where it provides income to businesses, which in turn provide jobs in the economy. Or they invest it and when they do, that investment helps some businesses grow which creates jobs.

Redistribution & income equality are plain hooey. Wealth is not hoarded – it is spent back into the economy. Over and over. That’s the difference between an economy driven by big government v. one driven by the free market. Big government seeks to redistribute wealth by PRINTING more and more money. The free market recycles wealth. In both cases, government skims off the top.

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Global Warming, err, Climate Change – Have We Been Brainwashed?

OK, so I”m not a scientist … but hear me out.

President Obama said “The debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.” Like me, Obama is not a scientist. And lately, like me, he is not the leader of the free world. But I digress. I would not disagree with the assertion that climate does indeed change – how else would one explain the ice age? So what’s with “the debate”? There’s no debate about that. Pretty slick wordsmithing, Mr. Pres!

Recently Secretary of State John Kerry (another politician – also not a scientist) stated earlier this year that climate change is “the biggest challenge of all that we face right now.”


“When I think about the array of global climate – of global threats – think about this: terrorism, epidemics, poverty, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction – all challenges that know no borders – the reality is that climate change ranks right up there with every single one of them.” – John Kerry

 

With a statement like that it seems Kerry has lost his head .. but that brings forth images that are even more challenging, at least to me. But he explains as follows:


“Well, 97 percent of climate scientists have confirmed that climate change is happening and that human activity is responsible. These scientists agree on the causes of these changes and they agree on the potential effects. They agree that the emission of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide contributes heavily to climate change. They agree that the energy sources that we’ve relied on for decades to fuel our cars and to heat our homes or to air condition our homes, to – all the things that provide us electricity like oil and coal – that these are largely responsible for sending those greenhouse gases up into the atmosphere. And the scientists agree that emissions coming from deforestation and from agriculture can also send enormous quantities of carbon pollution into our atmosphere.” – John Kerry


Well, I’ll bet 97% of professional golfers agree that golf is the greatest game ever. And 97% of African-Americans believe that Barack Obama is the greatest president ever. The interesting think is that all three of these statements can be empirically proven by using polling – but not science. But since it is scientists that are drawing their conclusion, I challenge them to prove it using the SCIENTIFIC METHOD!

You know, the scientific method you learned in grade school:

  • Pose a question (Why is “global warming” “climate changing”?);
  • Construct hypothesis (Humans cause global warming climate change);
  • Perform observation (100 years of temperature data);
  • Analyze your hypothesis based on your observation (Humans use carbon-based fuels and temperature is increasing);
  • Draw your conclusion (Humans are the cause of global warming climate change!)

The conclusion is INVALID because the observation is inadequate: Earth is 4.5 BILLION YEARS OLD. Drawing a conclusion using just 100 years of data is the equivalent of drawing a conclusion of a full year of anything based on an observation of 7/10ths OF ONE SECOND.

So just because a climate scientist says it, it doesn’t mean it’s science. In this case it’s scientific speculation. Not science.

If I say there may be other explanations, would I be wrong? Since LIFE ITSELF IS CARBON BASED and COMBUSTION IS PART OF NATURE, would it not be reasonable to conclude that the production of CO2 is an integral part of nature and it is essential in the photosynthesis process in the production of oxygen. Perhaps Mother Earth is self-regulating. Nature is bigger than we are. Perhaps ebb & flow is a natural occurrence. Humanity may just be exceedingly arrogant to believe it can control mega-nature.

I don’t profess to have perfect knowledge of nature. But you are being fooled if you think that Barack Obama, John Kerry or Al Gore do.

Global warming, whoops, climate change is a politically useful issue, though. And it’s a convenient way to shovel government grant money to universities most of which lean far left. And it’s lucrative for climate scientists to perpetuate the foolishness. And it provides a distraction from the Obama administration’s crises.

But mostly global warming, whoops, “climate change” is akin to religious fanaticism – Warmists contend it’s heresy not to believe in what they believe. A free thinker, I am not fooled.

Please, there are other more urgent matters that require our attention.

 

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