Free Money

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.”
― Alexis de Tocqueville.

Hey Brother, Can You Spare Your Property?

Under capitalism, the proletariat, the working class or “the people,” own only their capacity to work; they have the ability only to sell their own labor. According to Marx a class is defined by the relations of its members to the means of production. He proclaimed that history is the chronology of class struggles, wars, and uprisings. Under capitalism, Marx continues, the workers, in order to support their families are paid a bare minimum wage or salary. The worker is alienated because he has no control over the labor or product which he produces. The capitalists sell the products produced by the workers at a proportional value as related to the labor involved. Surplus value is the difference between what the worker is paid and the price for which the product is sold. 

An increasing immiseration of the proletariat occurs as the result of economic recessions; these recessions result because the working class is unable to buy the full product of their labors and the ruling capitalists do not consume all of the surplus value. A proletariat or socialist revolution must occur, according to Marx, where the state (the means by which the ruling class forcibly maintains rule over the other classes) is a dictatorship of the proletariat. Communism evolves from socialism out of this progression: the socialist slogan is “From each according to his ability, to each according to his work.” The communist slogan varies thusly: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” 

The Educational Meltdown

This is what I see when I think about higher education in this country today:

Remember the housing meltdown ? Tough to forget isn’t it. The formula for the housing boom and bust was simple. A lot of easy money being lent to buyers who couldn’t afford the money they were borrowing. That money was then spent on homes with the expectation that the price of the home would go up and it could easily be flipped or refinanced at a profit.  Who cares if you couldn’t afford the loan. As long as prices kept on going up, everyone was happy. And prices kept on going up. And as long as pricing kept on going up real estate agents kept on selling homes and finding money for buyers.

Until the easy money stopped.  When easy money stopped, buyers couldn’t sell. They couldn’t refinance.  First sales slowed, then prices started falling and then the housing bubble burst. Housing prices crashed. We know the rest of the story. We are still mired in the consequences.

Can someone please explain to me how what is happening in higher education is any different ?

Its far too easy to borrow money for college.  Did you know that there is more outstanding debt for student loans than there is for Auto Loans or Credit Card loans ? That’s right. The 37million holders of student loans have more debt than the 175million or so credit card owners in this country and more than the all of the debt on cars in this country. While the average student loan debt is about 23k. The median is close to $12,500. And growing. Past 1 TRILLION DOLLARS.

We freak out about the Trillions of dollars in debt our country faces. What about the TRILLION DOLLARs plus in debt college kids are facing ?

The point of the numbers is that getting a student loan is easy. Too easy.

You know who knows that the money is easy better than anyone ? The schools that are taking that student loan money in tuition. Which is exactly why they have no problems raising costs for tuition each and every year.

Why wouldn’t they act in the same manner as real estate agents acted during the housing bubble? Raise prices and easy money will be there to pay your price. Good business, right ? Until its not.

The President has introduced programs that try to reward schools that don’t raise tuition and costs. They won’t work.  Right now there is a never ending supply of buyers. Students who can’t get jobs or who think that by going to college they enhance their chances to get a job. Its the collegiate equivalent of flipping houses. You borrow as much money as you can for the best school you can get into and afford and then you “flip” that education for the great job you are going to get when you graduate.

Except those great jobs aren’t always there. I don’t think any college kid took on tens of thousands of dollars in debt with the expectation they would get a job working for minimum wage against tips.

At some point potential students will realize that they can’t flip their student loans for a job in 4 years. In fact they will realize that college may be the option for fun and entertainment, but not for education. Prices for traditional higher education will skyrocket so high over the next several years that potential students will start to make their way to non accredited institutions.

While colleges and universities are building new buildings for the English , social sciences and business schools, new high end, un-accredited, BRANDED schools are popping up that will offer better educations for far, far less and create better job opportunities.

In the past, as a manager, I wanted the best prepared and qualified employees. I could care less if the source of their education was accredited by a bunch of old men and women who think they know what is best for the world. I want people who can do the job. I want the best and brightest. Not a piece of paper.

The competition from new forms of education is starting to appear. Particularly in the tech world. Online and physical classrooms are popping up everywhere. They respond to needs in the market. They work with local businesses to tailor the education to corporate needs. In essence assuring those who excel that they will get a job. All for far far less money than traditional schools.

The number of people being prepared for the work world in these educational environments is exploding.

You would think traditional university educators would take notice. Beyond allowing some of their classes to be offered online, they haven’t. They won’t. Its the ultimate Innovators Dilemma. They don’t believe they should change and they won’t. Until its too late. Just as CEOs push for that one more penny per share in EPS, University Presidents care about nothing but getting their endowments and revenues up. If it means saddling an entire generation with obscene amounts of school debt, they could care less. This is how they get their long term contracts and raises.

It’s just a matter o time until we see the same meltdown in traditional college education. Like the real estate industry, prices will rise until the market revolts. Then it will be too late. Students will stop taking out the loans traditional Universities expect them to. And when they do tuition will come down. And when prices come down Universities will have to cut costs beyond what they are able to. They will have so many legacy costs, from tenured professors to construction projects to research they will be saddled with legacy costs and debt in much the same way the newspaper industry was. Which will all lead to a de-levering and a de-stabilization of the University system as we know it.

And it can’t happen fast enough.

IMHO, the biggest problem the economy has is the enormous student debt new college grads and those leaving college find themselves with. In the past leaving college meant getting a job and getting a used car and/or an apartment with some friends. Yes there was student debt, but it wasn’t any where near your car payment. You could still afford the car and the apartment. Now its the exact opposite. Today, the minute you graduate college you face the challenge of debt against a college education whose value is immediately “underwater”

As a result spending habits have changed dramatically. Now when you leave school you move back home. You take public transportation or borrow your parents car. The only thing new you buy is the cheap work outfit you need. Savings ? Forgettaboutit. It’s not happening. Your entire focus is on hitting your monthly nut for school debt , credit card and maybe a car or apartment. The crush of college debt has taken an entire generation of graduates, current and future out of the economy. Which is exactly why the economy hasn’t grown and won’t grow beyond microscopic growth rates we have seen so far.

So until we get the meltdown in college education, don’t expect much improvement in the economy. Who gets elected won’t make a dang bit of difference.

Update: Let me add some clarification here based on some of the comments. I include the Online For Profit Mills that live off of the government delivering student loans as part of traditional education. Phoenix, Strayer, etc, they are not the new generation of Branded Education I am referring to. They are a big part of creating the bubble. i should have gone into more depth here. I will save it for another post.

As far as the purpose of college, I am a huge believer that you go to college to learn how to learn. However, if that gaol is subverted because traditional universities, public and private, charge so much to make that happen, I believe that system will collapse and there will be better alternatives created.

Online video classrooms with lively discussions don’t need a traditional campus to teach kids how to learn. Discussion groups built around Khan Academy like classes don’t require a traditional campus to teach kids how to learn. I’ve seen better discussions and interactions o
n twitter than in some of the traditional classrooms I have visited. The opportunities for online interactive video classrooms is going to grow quickly and will be far more cost effective than traditional universities.

Leave the for profit online schools that create more employment for debt collectors than their students out of the equation and we still have an enormous bubble in Higher Education that is having a horrible impact not just on the economic life of their students, but on the economy as a whole as well.

The Higher Education Industry is very analogous to the Newspaper industry. By the time they realize they need to change their business model it will be too late. Higher Education’s legacy infrastructure, employee costs /structures and debt costs will keep them from being able to re calibrate to a new generation of competitors.

~Salvum fac Republic

James “Jim” Pisano – An Introduction

As Liberty’s Torch gets off the ground, it came up in discussion that the contributors should take a few minutes to introduce themselves. Well, here goes.

My name is James Pisano, but I go by Jim. For some reason James never bridges the gap to Jim for a lot of people, so I figured I’d put it out at the forefront.

I’m a 14 year Active Duty Chief Electronics Technician in the United States Coast Guard. Nearly all of my adult life has been viewed through the eyes of a career military man, and many of my opinions have been formed through this lens. Speaking of opinions, I will most likely be posting my opinion more often than researched facts. One of the things that I’ve run into in my interactions is a demand for factual representation of my opinions, which I find to be a logically flawed thought. If I were writing about facts I’d make citations to where I found my facts. When I cite facts I’ll link to the source material, but most of the time the research is outside of my area of expertise unless it involves tech specs, schematics or engineering requirements.

I care deeply about the safety and security of the citizenry of the United States of America. As a volunteer service member I recognize the special kind of people that make up the military. We may not all represent a Conservative mindset, but the fact that we volunteered for service, especially in the last decade, knowing what worldwide deployability at a moment’s notice means, tells me that to give of one’s life in this manner is the highest form of self sacrifice many people are able to decide to make. Every one of our Service Members is a treasure, and their legacy should be protected and promoted wherever and whenever possible.

I am these things, in this order: Guardian, Chief, Constitutional Conservative, Husband, Father, Technician. Many will note that I didn’t list religion as a part of who I am. I recognize the importance many people hold for religion in their lives. I personally do not practice any religious denominations, instead choosing to observe my spirituality privately in the confines of my own home and with my family. I grew up Catholic, having been Dedicated but not Baptized. Upon reaching an age where I was able to decide on my own what I would like to do concerning religion I choose my path absent influence, and I’ve been happy with my choice ever since.

I’m an advocate of responsible fiscal conservatism, Constitutional Conservatism, limited Federal Government, States Rights, and Pro-Life concerns. I do not believe the Federal Government, at present, is limiting itself to the constraints of the Constitution, and I believe that eventually the American people will realize, only too late it seems, that their liberties have been stripped, quietly, from their souls. Those who govern our Nation have failed to recognize the hobbles put in place over their power to govern, and I believe it is high time for the concerned citizenry they lord over to endeavor to remind them.

My contributions to Liberty’s Torch will consist mostly of reactions to current events, mostly political, and will revolve around the application of a Conservative viewpoint either for or against the topic being discussed. If you’re interested in a particular topic for me to write about please contact me via Google Plus and I’ll get to writing.

In closing, it is an honor to have been asked to be a contributor to Liberty’s Torch, and I look forward to seeing how far we can reach in our effort to educate and inform Americans about what is really going on with their Nation and its Government.

Post Election Thoughts – Reactions One Week Later

I wrote this on Wednesday, 07NOV12, the morning after waking to find out President Obama was going to have another four years in office. BOLD TEXT indicates my reflecting on my feelings nearly two weeks ago:

Here’s what I’m seeing from what happened last night:

1. The American people have spoken. Although I do not believe Conservatism is a minority mentality in America, what is exposed through the evidence from yesterday’s election is that Conservatives are not well represented, and thus will not be able to well represent Americans in its political endeavors  This needs to change if America is going to become a powerful leader on the world stage again, instead of a complicit follower.

2. Americans, as a whole, do not understand the damage that has been done to our ability to sustain ourselves as a Nation. We’ve forgotten what self reliance means, and have traded hard work and dignity in for revenge politics a la Valarie Jarrett, David Axelrod and President Obama. America, to our dismay, has shown that the sensationalism of the dirty political game is what makes them happy.

We continue to see this represented in what happened last week with the Hostess bankruptcy proceedings. Even in the midst of corporate failure the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union’s public euthanization of Hostess (their leadership knew that Hostess wouldn’t be able to meet their demands, and held firm anyway, regardless of the need to work for their employees) represents a failure of the Left to realize that corporations do not exist to provide work, benefits and pensions for employees. The private sector is about the creation of wealth, not the creation of jobs. One begets the other, but without the former the latter simply cannot exist. The BCTGM, in what they called “good faith” for their workers, intentionally destroyed a cornerstone of American culture for the last 82 years. Their disregard for the livelihoods of the families of the 18.5k employees that are now out of work due to their actions is appalling, and should shown as such by our media. Instead, Hostess is being vilified by the media and by those in Leftist circles. The news doesn’t indicate the truth of the matter. Instead this is being portrayed as a story of revenge made good. Hostess failed to properly care for its working class employees, instead giving lavish bonuses to its executives while the company was in the throws of bankruptcy. How else can anyone see this but as a story of the bourgeoisie getting over on the proletariat? Hostess was faced with unfunded liabilities that were going to crush it regardless of an agreement with the BCTGM. When the company reached an agreement with the Teamsters Union last week it was hopeful that the BCTGM would see there was a way to save the jobs of the employees if they  would simply allow for Hostess to work through bankruptcy in a way that would make the company profitable again. The BCTGM didn’t blink, calling bluff where none existed, and now 18,500 people are out of work, along with the entire support apparatus that existed to enable an 82 year old company to be viable. Entitlement. Business does not exist to create jobs, but to create wealth. The creation of wealth necessitates the creation of jobs because wealth creation requires labor. Hostess wasn’t cheating their workers. The company was bleeding money out of its union negotiated benefits and pension packages and needed a way out. The executives that sought bankruptcy were rewarded for their efforts to save the company, and would have been regardless of the union’s efforts to destroy the company in what seemed like their proving a point. I wonder if the 18,500 BCTGM employees out of work now understand what that point is?

3. We, as a Nation, are in for a devaluation of the dollar as a world currency. The world, as we know it, will begin to stop trading commodities in our currency and we will begin to see a downward spiral into banana republic status as we continue to try to print our way out of the obligations Keynesian fiscal policies will create for our progeny, and theirs. America will see its credit rating dropped from the As and we will become the biggest Greece this world has ever known. The rest of the world will be forced to cut us off for fear of our failure taking us down with them.

4. Because the House remained in GOP control and the Senate did not change control we will see a perpetual Continuing Resolution built on a 2009 budget baseline that included over $1T in spending that was intended to be temporary. Instead of what President Obama promised in a reduction of our National Debt and reduction of our Deficit Spending we will see at least $5T more added to our debt with $1.3T/yr deficit spending per year until Obama leaves office.

President Obama has expressed confidence that Congress will give him the $1.6T tax increase over the next decade he feels he needs to reduce the deficit. This is a useless statement, however. The President first ran for office on a promise that he would reduce the deficit starting on day 1, but the Super Majority in Congress, held by Democrats until 2011, refused to pass a budget, instead passing continuing resolution after continuing resolution, every single one containing the full balance of the first stimulus package from 2009. This effectively ballooned the deficit to over $1.3T per year over the last budget passed by President Bush. Obama blamed Bush for the deficit, but has shown absolutely no interest whatsoever in pushing Congress in the direction of passing a budget that doesn’t include $1.3T more spending than our Nation is able to generate in tax revenue. His only plan to change this dynamic is to raise taxes. When asked about reducing spending he evades the question, talks about how he’s commissioned a committee or some such study to help identify waste in Government, and then ask for the next question. In every instance where waste in Government has been indicated as something that can be cut the conversation is evaded or Obama indicates that he takes the suggestions of his committees very seriously and will consider their input in due course. Little is said about the fact that the budget recommendations made by his commissions have been rejected by his Administration, and every single budget proposal he’s made has been rejected soundly. If the Obama Administration had any intention of decreasing the deficit the President would have vetoed the Bill authorizing the stimulus and requested Congress change the language to exclude this addition to 2009’s expenditures from 2010’s baseline budget. This simple change would have eliminated over $4T of the deficit, and debt, President Obama has racked up in four years.

5. There will be continued attacks on the non-governmental institutions that have helped define what it means to be an American. The Constitution will see attack after attack as Justice Ginsburg retires and two more lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court are appointed by President Obama and Harry Reid. These appointments will be divisive, have defined designs on their personal interpretations of the Constitution and what it means in terms of how the Government can control the individual and the individual entity. We will see an increased fervor from those already in our Government for Command and Control governance, where the regulatory state will determine your outcome regardless of the legal ramifications of your actions within your state of residency. If you wish to succeed it will be at the behest of the Government, not because of your desire to do so.

6. Iran and radical Islam will be emboldened by our inability to throw off the shackles of tyranny which bind us to our fate. Ahmadinejad and others will see this election as akin to what happened in 2009 in Tahrir Square through violence and unproductive demonst
ration against a totalitarian regime, and recognize our unfulfilled will to oust a dictatorial despot as further evidence that we do not possess the means to prevent him from developing a nuclear device. Iran will reach that goal or Israel will be forced to stop them, 
or Israel will be attacked from another aggressor, and they will have to protect themselves on their own. This will spark the powder keg that is the Middle East into what could very well become the catalyst to WW3. Under President Obama we will not be prepared to protect ourselves or our allies, and we will not be prepared to feed and power ourselves without the rest of the world’s resources available for our purchase because the Command and Control state will not allow for continued domestic energy and agricultural development.

Leading the world in a “Peace through Strength/Strength through Leadership” mentality is a foreign concept to this Administration. For the last four years we’ve done nothing but capitulate and appease our aggressors and the aggressors of our allies, to our detriment. Palestine has been attacking Israel for decades, but since the election we’ve seen a dramatic increase in these attacks. There isn’t anything this Nation, under its current leadership, is willing to do to stem the tide that is building against Israel. Our President has indicated that Israel has the right to defend itself, but has said nothing about whether or not he will stand with them in their defense. It has been discovered (surprisingly after nearly two weeks of shelling) that Hamas has been supplied with weapons from Iran. Egypt’s new Islamist regime has expressed solidarity with Hamas in their attacks on Israel. Our media has shown they’re also tied to Hamas in their reporting of the events as they unfold, calling Israel’s response to being brazenly attacked “assassinations” instead of retaliations. There have been political cartoons in newspapers across the United States trivializing the attacks from Hamas while at the same time implying that Israel’s responses have been overblown and uncalled for. World wide, news organizations have been showing images and video of grieving families crying over children that have been touched by the violence, conveniently leaving out the fact that the Palestinian children being shown were killed by poorly maintained Hamas munitions that detonated prior to deployment, or missed their mark entirely, while Hamas militants have hidden the evidence of a Hamas fired rocket or missile having caused the damage and the family crying out for the annihilation of Israel. Demonstrably, the mainstream media in the United States, and worldwide, has a bias against Israel.

7. Because the President and those in the Senate will see their continued status in power as a mandate from the people for them to lead us to their designs of what this Nation should be we will see massive increases in taxes for the wealthy and what is known as the upper middle class. Those who have means will leave this country for nations friendlier to their wealth, and those who do not have means will suffer at the hands of a Nation that does not value their productivity as much as it values punishing it through wealth redistributive measures. Those who are in the so-called middle class will find it harder to succeed, and those who are poor will become poorer still. There will be a rash of selling of stock and a retraction from the market by those who have capital but are unwilling to spend it in anticipation of the increased taxation that will come beginning in 2013 and continue with the implementation of ObamaCare.

Already there has been a shrinking away from capital markets as businesses with much to lose are preparing for their tax liabilities beginning in 2013. Many companies have begun to publicly indicate what their plans for 2013 will mean to their workforce, and the picture they’re painting isn’t very pretty. There will be a new 29.5 hour work week for non-salary employees (read: wage earners, mostly below the poverty line, and many below several multiples thereof). This change in many labor practices will be in direct response to the mandate in ObamaCare that businesses with over 50 employees SHALL supply every employee working over 30 hours in a single week (hence to be referred to as “full time”, a ludicrous thought process) with Government approved health insurance. Businesses with low profit margins, relying on shift labor to churn through volume consumption will increase headcount and reduce hours to make up the gap while at the same time dodge the requirement AND the tax/fine associated with not providing health insurance to their employee. Those working in low skill employment will find their hours cut from 8 hours a day/5 days a week to 4 hours a day/5 days a week, with no tolerance by the employer for over clocking, and no options for overtime. Hourly employers will hire twice the headcount, get the same amount of work out of two employees that they would have otherwise had one employee accomplish, and both employees will slide further into poverty as they’re forced to work three or four jobs in order to feed their families. Again, entitlement. Business exists to create wealth, not jobs. Obama and the Left has made the conversation about ObamaCare not about the impacts to the economy, but about the health care that everyone will have. They fail to mention that you’ll have to lose what health insurance you may have once had to obtain ObamaCare, and you may not be able to feed yourself while you’re waiting in line for your Government mandated minimal care at the hands of overworked, under staffed medical professionals who will be leaving their jobs in droves due to the increased burdens ObamaCare places on them in terms of patient to provider ratios. Simply put, you cannot add 39M patients to what will have been known as MediCare/MediCaid without adding doctors. The Administration has indicated they see a need, due to ObamaCare, for at least 52k more private practice doctors in the coming years to deal with the increased patient load ObamaCare will create. They haven’t really paid much attention to the fact that MediCare has reduced payments to doctors who take Medicare patients steadily over the years, so much so that it will eventually be impossible to make a profit as a private practice doctor in the United States. That’s alright, though. Everyone will have insurance, right?

We’re in for a very rough four years, everyone. If you measure our Nation’s success in terms of the unemployment numbers and GDP, both are in store for a respective downturn as those who produce begin to find new markets to move their productive activities into. War will not become a thing of the past, and we will see many more instances where the controversy in Libya, and the failures of our Nation to adequately deal with the aftermath will become the norm.

We have been shown to be the moral minority. That doesn’t need to be our death knell, but at present it will be discouraging. Do not despair. When confronted with the truths about Conservatism in the face of the lies of Liberalism and outside of the echo chamber that is the mainstream media, the American People invariably choose the former over the latter. We have to find a way to cleanse the GOP of those less than upstanding examples of who and what we stand for, and better educate those who are willing to listen. Our message is clear, but the minds of those receptive to it are not, and the hearts of those who would co-opt our souls for avarice and power are all too common.

This is not the end, everyone. It is a beginning. Eventually Americans will realize what they’ve done to themselves. Once they do, we will be there to help guide them out of the dark and into the light that is Freedom, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Post Election Thoughts

Here’s what I’m seeing from what happened last night:

1. The American people have spoken. Although I do not believe Conservatism is a minority mentality in America, what is exposed through the evidence from yesterday’s election is that Conservatives are not well represented, and thus will not be able to well represent Americans in its political endeavors. This needs to change if America is going to become a powerful leader on the world stage again, instead of a complicit follower.

2. Americans, as a whole, do not understand the damage that has been done to our ability to sustain ourselves as a Nation. We’ve forgotten what self reliance means, and have traded hard work and dignity in for revenge politics a la Valarie Jarrett, David Axelrod and President Obama. America, to our dismay, has shown that the sensationalism of the dirty political game is what makes them happy.

3. We, as a Nation, are in for a devaluation of the dollar as a world currency. The world, as we know it, will begin to stop trading commodities in our currency and we will begin to see a downward spiral into banana republic status as we continue to try to print our way out of the obligations Keynesian fiscal policies will create for our progeny, and theirs. America will see its credit rating dropped from the As and we will become the biggest Greece this world has ever known. The rest of the world will be forced to cut us off for fear of our failure taking them down with us.

4. Because the House remained in GOP control and the Senate did not change control we will see a perpetual Continuing Resolution built on a 2009 budget baseline that included over $1T in spending that was intended to be temporary. Instead of what President Obama promised in a reduction of our National Debt and reduction of our Deficit Spending we will see at least $5T more added to our debt with $1.3T/yr deficit spending per year until Obama leaves office.

5. There will be continued attacks on the non-governmental institutions that have helped define what it means to be an American. The Constitution will see attack after attack as Justice Ginsburg retires and two more lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court are appointed by President Obama and Harry Reid. These appointments will be divisive, have defined designs on their personal interpretations of the Constitution and what it means in terms of how the Government can control the individual and the individual entity. We will see an increased fervor from those already in our Government for Command and Control governance, where the regulatory state will determine your outcome regardless of the legal ramifications of your actions within your state of residency. If you wish to succeed it will be at the behest of the Government, not because of your desire to do so.

6. Iran will be emboldened by our inability to throw off the shackles of tyranny which bind us to our fate. Ahmadinejad will see this election as akin to what happened in 2009 in Tahrir Square through violence and unproductive demonstration against a totalitarian regime, and recognize our unfulfilled will to oust a dictatorial despot as further evidence that we do not possess the means to prevent him from developing a nuclear device. Iran will reach that goal or Israel will be forced to stop them, and they will have to do so on their own. This will spark the powder keg that is the Middle East into what could very well become the catalyst to WW3. Under President Obama we will not be prepared to protect ourselves or our allies, and we will not be prepared to feed and power ourselves without the rest of the world’s resources available for our purchase because the Command and Control state will not allow for continued domestic energy and agricultural development.

7. Because the President and those in the Senate will see their continued status in power as a mandate from the people for them to lead us to their designs of what this Nation should be we will see massive increases in taxes for the wealthy and what is known as the upper middle class. Those who have means will leave this country for nations friendlier to their wealth, and those who do not have means will suffer at the hands of a Nation that does not value their productivity as much as it values punishing it through wealth redistributive measures. Those who are in the so-called middle class will find it harder to succeed, and those who are poor will become poorer still. There will be a rash of selling of stock and a retraction from the market by those who have capital but are unwilling to spend it in anticipation of the increased taxation that will come beginning in 2013 and continue with the implementation of ObamaCare.

We’re in for a very rough four years, everyone. If you measure our Nation’s success in terms of the unemployment numbers and GDP, both are in store for a respective downturn as those who produce begin to find new markets to move their productive activities into. War will not become a thing of the past, and we will see many more instances where Libya’s failures will become the norm.

We have been shown to be the moral minority. That doesn’t need to be our death knell, but at present it will be discouraging. Do not despair. When confronted with the truths about Conservatism in the face of the lies of Liberalism and outside of the echo chamber that is the mainstream media, the American People invariably choose the former over the latter. We have to find a way to cleanse the GOP of those less than upstanding examples of who and what we stand for, and better educate those who are willing to listen. Our message is clear, but the minds of those receptive to it are not, and the hearts of those who would co-opt our souls for avarice and power are all too common.

This is not the end, everyone. It is a beginning. Conservatism is not dead. Eventually Americans will realize what they’ve done to themselves. Once they do we will be there to help guide them out of the dark and into the light that is Freedom, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Greed and Envy

How did we get to the point where we think we have a right to the fruits of someone else’s labors? What is it that makes us think it’s okay to take just a little more from “the rich,” as if that will solve all our problems? What is it that makes one person look at another and think, “You don’t deserve to have that”?

Greed and envy.

Merriam-Webster defines greed as

“a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed.”

That’s all well and good, as far as it goes, until you try to define what is “excessive” or “more…than is needed.” Many folks today have come to believe that if you have a lot of money–whether earned or inherited–and you want to keep it, that constitutes greed. Millionaires and billionaires, they tell us. They need to pay more! Never mind that the taxes that are supposedly targeted at said millionaires and billionaires actually start with people earning $250,000/year…there are people out there who have more money than they need, and they don’t want to give it up.

Our friends at Merriam-Webster also define envy for us:

“painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage.”

Those evil rich! They have too much! They’re greedy! They don’t deserve that money! That money should be shared with the less fortunate! And how do we go about possessing the advantages of others…”sharing the wealth,” if you will? We could steal it from them, but that would be wrong, and we don’t want to wind up in jail. The solution: We hire the government to do it for us through taxation. Taxation is legal, and we don’t get our own hands dirty. We’ll pump it into government services…you know, all the things that have worked so well for us up till now.

Where does that leave us? We have now decided that the “rich” are greedy, that they don’t deserve what they have, that we want it, and by golly we’re going to get it. There’s just one question left: How much do we take? Let’s ask Bill Whittle:

Oh.

The rise of Golden Dawn in Greece. A sign of things to come?

socialism

One of the great lessons one can learn is from their mistakes. Throughout the course of events in history, we have ample evidence to observe mistakes and not make them ourselves or not repeat them.

The recent elections in Greece saw the uprising of a political party “Golden Dawn” which in any other time in history would not be more than a few thousand people in total in a country of twelve million.

Golden Dawn is the Neo Nazi party.

In the recent elections held in Greece, Golden Dawn managed to get around 7% of the vote, securing 18 (out of 300) seats in the Greek parliament. Almost half a million people voted for them.

The question obviously is why? Why would the country that offered so much culture and innovation (in ancient times), the country that is considered to be the birthplace of Democracy, decide to vote for Golden Dawn. We all know very well the devastation that came with World War II and what the Nazis did to those that opposed them.

To understand the why we need to look back in the early 80s and the political scene at the time.

At the time there were two and a half parties. There was the Communist party which would get at most 5-7% of the vote. And then there was the Socialist party (PASOK) and the Conservatives/Republicans (Nea Dimokratia). The balance of power was half and half.

When the socialists came into power in the early 80s with the promise of fair share and redistribution of wealth, they did just that. They created the largest entitlement program there was and as a result they got reelected. In 1987 the debt was through the roof and when the Conservatives came into power, tried to increase taxes and cut spending and reduce the debt. Naturally the people got used to handouts and that government did not live long. The Socialists came back into power and the same thing started over again.

In the late 90s you could not understand which party stood for what. They were both different sides of the same coin.

So with all that entitlement mentality came the time to pay for it. No jobs and no future for the young generation. To understand the situation, let’s look at a young man/woman that wants to become a Math teacher. Since all schools are state owned, once he/she graduates, he/she has to wait until he/she gets appointed. The problem is that there are not enough schools for Math teachers to teach on. As a result there is a waiting list i.e. he/she has to wait for someone to retire, so that the person ahead of them can get appointed, then another person retires and he/she gets appointed. In the early 90s there was no real reason to pursue becoming a Math teacher since the waiting time would be over 40 years, at which point would be the time to retire.

After 2000 things got worse. More debt, more corruption. People got used to hiding money from the Government so that they don’t get taxed an arm and a leg. The more you can hide the more you have for yourself (while of course Government officials and their peers enjoy lavish lives).

The biggest aspiration of Greek people is to kiss butt and get hired in the public sector. It is a steady job and you are set for life. In the meantime, you can see 35 year olds, still living with their parents because they cannot afford to move out. The tax code had been carefully structured in such a way, that there is no way for someone to be legit. One part of the code would contradict another, so even if one wants to be legitimate and follow the rules, they can’t. That of course results in corruption, tax evasion etc.

With the latest shamble regarding the monetary union and how they wanted to get rid of Greece from their organization (due to the debt), people had enough of the two parties. They are desperately trying to find someone who will end the corruption and put the ones responsible in jail and jump start the economy.

Here comes Golden Dawn.

Let’s forget for a moment (just for a very brief moment) where these guys are coming from (i.e. Nazism). Their message somewhat resonates with a lot of people even here in the US.

  • Everyone speaks Greek, nothing else
  • End corruption
  • Start enforcing laws
  • Prosecute thieves and make them return what they stole (see politicians)
  • Greece above all

It doesn’t seem that bad does it? Those are pretty legitimate messages that many people would agree should start happening here or in any other country.

People are willing to compromise on the Nazi part that Golden Dawn represents, for the reasons outlined above. This shows amply how desperate Greek people are. One only has to read history regarding Austria and how certain villages had huge unemployment numbers, no light at the end of the tunnel and going nowhere fast. Here came Hitler and despite the fact that he represented something vile, people accepted him willingly with open arms.

Unfortunately the same has been observed in the recent US elections. People know very well that President Obama doubled the debt. They know about the wasteful spending in green energy. They know about the unemployment of 14%, they know about the 23 million people unemployed. They know about the 40+ million people on food stamps. Yet they voted for him because his message was divide and conquer:

  • Mitt Romney is not one of us
  • Forget what happened, we are working for the future

In any other time, people would have not voted for President Obama at all. Yet here we are. People liked what they heard and they compromised on what they know. The accepted the unemployment and the tough times ahead and compromised for a message that resonated more with them. Simple as that.

Golden Dawn might be a radical group, but their message is strong and really appeals to a lot of people. Their scare tactics can be forgiven so long as they produce results. And with all that comes the fear of being beaten on the street because they don’t like you or the possibility of bringing Greece back in 1940.

Notable is the fact that Golden Dawn has distributed groceries to desperate Greeks (milk, bread etc.) on the streets in more than one occasion. Buying votes? What is 99 weeks of unemployment without the need to prove you are looking for a job, food stamps, free phones and free stuff in general, called then?

Take a close look. This is what socialism and corruption ends up becoming and unfortunately this is where we are heading to.