Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Enough already

Today I’m featuring a guest post written by none other than my dad. It should be noted that my dad and I do not see eye to eye when it comes to politics. And yet, what he’s written here is all about politics, and I couldn’t agree more.

I begin each morning with a perusal of a number of web sites to get my fix of the morning's news. This morning one of the site's headlines was “Obama planning to build Brits a new billion dollar embassy.” Another site read, "new home sales at an all time low." Still another site talked about the Republicans having a banner quarter in fundraising and were blowing millions of dollars on limos, private jets, lavish parties, etc.

We are in an economic mess that is getting worse with each passing day. A new survey gives congress only a ten percent approval rating. W's approval rating was in the toilet and Barack's is going down hill faster than a gold medal winning Olympic skier.

We were fortunate to have had two reasonably fiscally responsible presidents in Reagan and Clinton. We even had a surplus with Clinton.

George Bush was fiscally irresponsible and Barack Obama is W on steroids. I remember Mark getting so angry at Bush for his reckless spending. He must be going nuts with our current Washington crew. (He’s right—it is driving me nuts.)

I grew up a poor farm boy and was taught that if you don't have the money, you don't spend it. My father borrowed $30K to buy the family farm. That amount of money kept both my parents awake at night until they finally paid it off.

My economic education is as follows: Income equals money coming in, spending equals money going out, extra money goes into a savings account. Money going out should not exceed money coming in. We only borrow when we have to and never borrow more than we can make the payments on. Credit cards are not used as a savings account and must be paid back within the month they are used. (Sometimes the payback time can exceed a month but should never be out of reason.)

Our government's economic education is as follows: Tax the folks as much as possible to increase the money coming in. Use the money that comes in for entitlement programs and earmarks so that the folks will vote you back into office. If there is not enough money to do what you want, spend it anyway. No need to balance the budget because we can increase taxes if we need more money. If we still need more money we can borrow it from China or print it. We can solve every problem by spending more money even if we don't have it.

Where is FDR who celebrated his inauguration with a few turkey sandwiches for a small group of people because the government did not have the money for a lavish celebration? All of this money has to be paid back. It will be paid back by my children and grandchildren. The day will come when your taxes will be more than one half of your income.

Why are George W. Bush and Barack Obama the way they are? Bush grew up enjoying the fruits of capitalism. There was enough money for everything. If you worked hard enough and were smart enough, you could have all of the money you would ever need. You could even buy a baseball team. When you become president the same scenario continues. The rich boys and their taxes will keep everything afloat. No need to tighten the belt even during tough times.

Obama had a very different experience. He started out life with very little. He was unhappy that there were haves and have nots. That wasn't fair. The rich should share their wealth with the poor. The only medium for this to be done is the government.

The government has lots of money. You can get an Ivy League education on government money. You can become a community organizer and use government grants. You can get things done by using groups such as Acorn. You can use the government to become a powerful person. When you are a powerful person you can take the money from the rich and give to the poor. Even when things are tough you can use government trickery to spend more money. It doesn't matter that there is no money to spend. You can just increase taxes and make up the difference. If you get enough people dependent on you they will always vote for you and you will remain in power. When you are a powerful government person you are special and can spend money on yourself. You can use your jet for photo ops and trips to wherever you want to go. You can decorate the West Wing with many pictures of yourself.

What is happening now transcends political parties. Both parties are at fault. We have one hell of a mess on our hands and the lack of astute leadership is amazing.

Let us not be led by blind tradition. If the government was a corporation led by a board of directors, all of the current leaders, regardless of their political affiliation, would deserve employment termination.

This is my catharsis from reading the morning's headlines. Read it if you wish or not if you wish. It was written as therapy for me.

You’re not the only one who reads the news and feels like he needs therapy. In the immortal words of Donkey (from Shrek) “I just know, before this is over, I'm gonna need a whole lot of serious therapy. Look at my eye twitchin'.”

Thanks for sharing.


  1. "We were fortunate to have had two reasonably fiscally responsible presidents in Reagan and Clinton. We even had a surplus with Clinton."

    to be clear, first term reagan and second term reagan were two very different people. second term reagan left us one of the biggest deficits in history.

  2. AMEN! Have you seen the movie, Dave starring Kevin Klein? Okay, so it is not cinematic splendor, but my favorite part is when he is going over the budget. He asks the guy why we are spending millions of dollars on a campaign to make people feel better about the car they already bought. Ugh. It makes no sense to the commen man or woman.

  3. I’m not sure the turkey sandwich story is an accurate reflection of FDR fiscal policy. FDR, at the urging of Keynes, basically invented modern deficit-stimulus spending. Throughout the 1930’s, deficits ran ~35-50% of the entire federal budget. And certainly he wasn’t one to shy away from new, large-scale, expensive government programs.

    I started to type more, seeing as I am one of those bleeding-heart, pro-science east-coast transplant liberals ruining it for all the fine tea-party-family-values-eagle-forum-things-were-better-when-people-had-values-and minorites-couldn't-vote folks here , but I didn't have it in me to go after your dad.

  4. Dug and Watcher: to me pointing out the historical inconsistencies in this essay is straining at gnats.

    The point (which I agree with) is that something should be done about the deficit. If we can't check spending, we need to increase revenue. And it needs to be a bipartisan effort. Evan Bayh's resignation and the reason for it speaks volumes about the toxic political climate in our country.

  5. Curious what sites your dad reads. Sounds like a smart guy.

    I'm a small business owner (dentist, 6 employees). Getting more and more nervous.

  6. While I agree with some of the statements, I like to look at the overall picture. This time last year, the nation teetered on going into a depression (remember early last year when the Big Board was tanking hundreds of points a day?) and, due in some part to the big spending, we have been pulled from the brink with layoffs slowing down and the Big Board recouping (but I get the feeling we are headed towards a double dip recession as commercial real estate is now starting to crumble).

    Anyway, my feeling is that during good years, the gov't should trim budgets and run surpluses (which is one reason (out of so many) Bush was so bad for the economy). And in bad years, the gov't should spend more heavily and run deficits, to help the economy back on its feet. This is the opposite of normal joe citizen's budget. Since Bush way, way, way overspent when the economy was pretty good instead of creating a surplus like his predecessor, it makes it harder to spend now when it is needed.

    Of course, politicians of both breeds love to spend as long it is for their home state (and for companies that donated to them). So, it is hard to get politicians to not spend during good times.

    I don't agree with how the gov't is spending all of the money but still think some type of stimulus money is still needed to keep the nation from collapsing. Considered in the world wide context, it is even more crucial since all economies are tied together. A ripple in the US creates panic worldwide, which in turn, flames our problems. OK, off my soapbox.

  7. "Dug and Watcher: to me pointing out the historical inconsistencies in this essay is straining at gnats. "

    well then, why have an essay? why not just say something should be done about the deficit and be done with it?

  8. Great post. We already lose more than half our income in taxes...just not in income taxes, yet.

  9. Dug: because my dad wrote it, not me. I wasn't going to doctor it so it would be from my perspective. I agree with his general sentiment, so I published what he wrote. Besides for him to say something positive about Clinton and something negative about W. is a huge step forward. I want to encourage that sort of thing.

  10. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

  11. Quote of the day...Then again if all presidents were say a bit more relaxed maybe we would not be in a stupid war in Iraq.

  12. I have a wacked-out hair-brained theory over why politicians insist on over-spending and how the deficit will stay until we quit electing politicians, but will save you.

    However, we have a joke at our house: You know Washington is on the dollar, Lincoln on the Five and Benjamin on the Hundred? George Bush should be on the credit card.

  13. Oh and dug's comment about first term Reagan and second term Reagan explains why term limits are necessary. (Assuming dug thought Reagan was worse the second time around - if not, well then that just blew my whole point.)

    Anyway, I think term limits are necessary for all elected officials.