Friday, February 6, 2009

Sorry, this is mild-to-moderately (okay, very) political. I promise to write an article about dog poop and domestic bliss very, very soon!

Not that this is EXACTLY on the subject of what Mr. Mitt is talking about below, but there is a social issue I would like to address. President Obama has said that he believes that this country's wealth should be "spread around" meaning that rich people should receive higher taxation and then that money should be given to members of the lower and middle classes. Well, all I have to say to that is:

Obama's good friend Oprah had a homeless man on her show last year. This man was invited to be part of a documentary where he agreed to allow a camera crew follow him around and document the life of a homeless person. Well, little did he know, they had strategically planted a briefcase (filled with $100,000 in cold, hard cash) in an alley where he would be sure to find it, so they could see (and document on video) how it changed his life. And can you all guess how much his life changed? Well, minus a $32,000 dollar truck and A LOT of new debt, it didn't change for the better at all! In fact, he was back on the streets, homeless, hungry, and broke again in no time. You can read a short article about it here.

What does this tell us? Well, that stealing from the rich to give to the poor, is NOT the answer, for starters. ***And hello, I think I am in the perfect position to say such a thing...have you seen my car? I'm one of the "poor" ones people! (now, just to clarify, I don't think of myself as poor at all -I have an incredible husband, a beautiful son and more joy and blessings than any one person should ever enjoy in one lifetime, but technically, I would be on the receiving end of the "steal from the rich give to the poor" scenario***

But I don't think that it's the government's job to decide what to do with other people's money. (don't even get me started on 150 million dollar inauguration parties that are paid for by everyone who WASN'T on the guest list. ie: you. me.) And why are we punishing the brilliant, innovative, talented, and creative people that are the backbone of our country by taking away the money they have rightfully earned, and giving it to people who haven't done a single thing to deserve it? (myself included) Kyle and I have big plans for our lives. We are going to work our hardest to continue to create a good life for ourselves, but we are going to do it on our own terms-through our own labor, and our own means- NOT with money taken from the pocket of a brilliant man who was living the American dream right up until the government decided it should have a say over where a significant portion of his earnings should go.

Go ahead and research how many people have destroyed their lives after winning the lottery or receiving a large family inheritance. They self destruct because they haven't risen to the necessary mental/emotional/intellectual level to deal healthily with such a windfall.

And what is going to happen to the ingenious inventors, engineers, entrepreneurs, and doctors who are basically being punished for making a success of their lives? Will they be just as motivated to bring their ideas to fruition when they know that those fruits will shortly be harvested and given away? I doubt it. Sure, some rich people are selfish, greedy, and pretty much unlikeable in every way imaginable... but if their greed drives them to build gigantic companies that create hundreds or thousands of jobs for good, hardworking Americans, then so be it. - and I'm certainly not saying that we shouldn't help the poor. Of course we should! We should each do everything within our power to enhance and improve the lives of those in need. We should donate to children's hospitals, medical research, and humanitarian causes throughout the world. We should take action (immediately) to protect children, help neighbors, and make our communities stronger. But we should be allowed to do it on our own terms.

Bill Gates isn't greedily clinging to his billions, and I guarantee that the ginormous piles of money he has donated to worthy causes has been used more efficiently and effectively than ANY money being handled/distributed by the government. Besides, when you take 150 million dollar inauguration balls and 20/20 expose's on fraudulent/lavish/extravagant government spending into account... it makes me fairly (okay, extremely) certain that I don't want the government handling our "steal from the rich and give to the poor funds." Is that so crazy?

And I really agree with what Mr. Mitt has to say (in the article below) with regards to how this country's economic situation needs to be handled. Just as we can't get out of a hole by digging, the government is certainly not going to get out of debt through borrowing.

These are extraordinary times, and like a lot of Republicans I believe that a well-crafted stimulus plan is needed to put people back to work. But the Obama spending bill would stimulate the government, not the economy. (Lola interjection: and believe me, the last thing we need is a stimulated government. 'nuff said.)

We're on an economic tightrope. The package that passed the House is a huge increase in the amount of government borrowing. And we've borrowed so much already that if we add too much more debt, or spend foolishly, we could invite an even bigger crisis.
We could precipitate a worldwide crisis of confidence in America, leading to a run on the dollar or hyperinflation that wipes out family savings and devastates the middle class.
It's still early in the administration of President Obama. Like everyone who loves this country, I want him to adopt the correct course and then to succeed. He still has a chance to step in and insist on spending discipline among the members of his own party.
It's his job to set priorities. I hope for America's sake that he knows that a chief executive can't vote "present." He has to say yes to some things and no to a lot of others.
As someone who spent a career in the private sector, I'd like to see a stimulus package that respects the productivity and genius of the American people. And experience shows us what it should look like.
First, there are two ways you can put money into the economy, by spending more or by taxing
less. But if it's stimulus you want, taxing less works best. That's why permanent tax cuts should be the centerpiece of the economic stimulus. Watch Romney make argument for tax cuts »
How to boost the economy.

Mitt Romney talks about the stimulus plan on "American Morning."Friday 6 a.m. ET
see full schedule »
Second, any new spending must be strictly limited to projects that are essential. How do we define essential? Well, a good rule is that the projects we fund in a stimulus should be legitimate government priorities that would have been carried out in the future anyway, and are simply being moved up to create those jobs now.
As we take out nonessential projects, we should focus on funding the real needs of government that will have immediate impact. And what better place to begin than repairing and replacing military equipment that was damaged or destroyed in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan?
(Lola interjection: I actually have no idea as to why repairing and replacing military equipment is considered to be exceptionally beneficial or by any means an "essential" project worthy of governments funding at this specific moment ...but?)

Third, sending out rebate checks to citizens and businesses is not a tax cut. (Lola interjection: Thank you!)The media bought this line so far, but they've got it wrong. Checks in the mail are refunds, not tax cuts. We tried rebate checks in 2008 and they did virtually nothing to jump-start the economy. Disposable income went up, but consumption hardly moved.
Businesses aren't stupid. They're not going to invest in equipment and new hires for a one-time, short-term blip. What's needed are permanent rate cuts on individuals and businesses.
Fourth, if we're going to tax less and spend more to get the economy moving, then we have to make another commitment as well. As soon as this economy recovers, we have to regain control over the federal budget, and above all, over entitlement spending for programs such as Social Security and Medicare. This is more important than most people are willing to admit.
There is a real danger that with trillions of additional borrowing -- from the budget deficit and from the stimulus -- world investors will begin to fear that our dollars won't be worth much in the future. It is essential that we demonstrate our commitment to maintaining the value of the dollar. That means showing the world that we will put a stop to runaway spending and borrowing.
Fifth, we must begin to recover from the enormous losses in the capital investment pool. And the surest, most obvious way to get that done is to send a clear signal that there will be no tax increases on investment and capital gains. The 2001 and 2003 tax cuts should be extended permanently, or at least temporarily.
And finally, let's exercise restraint in the size of the stimulus package. Last year, with the economy already faltering, I proposed a stimulus of $233 billion. The Washington Post said: "Romney's plan is way too big." So what critique will the media have for the size of the Obama package?
In the final analysis, we know that only the private sector -- entrepreneurs and businesses large and small -- can create the millions of jobs our country needs. The invisible hand of the market always moves faster and better than the heavy hand of government.

Lola says: The bolded portion above hits the nail on the head! We are primarily relying on big businesses, small businesses, and entrepreneurs to provide the jobs that Americans desperately need. It sure is good to know that they'll be rewarded for it by have a huge percentage of their earnings taken from them when all is said and done. Where do I sign up?

I do not envy Obama. No. No I don't. (But I wish him all the wisdom, goodwill, and good luck in the world. He's going to need it. Any President presiding in this day and age certainly would.)


Janyece said...

Amen! I really like Mitt. Economically speaking, I definitely think he's one of the people Obama and congress should be listening to! We can hope! Thanks for posting! I do enjoy knowing that I'm not alone in my opinions!

Heather said...

I agree 100%! Hey, I tagged you on my blog, and mentioned you in another blog- and there is news about our move, also- in case you haven't checked for awhile!! Have a wonderful day! (John has been getting interviews in Springville a lot lately.... hmmm....)

Kristen said...

amen sista!
and sorry you're not prego... we can grieve together over cookies anytime! my kitchen door is always open! xoxo

p.s. i loved your lipstick!

Amara said...

Thank. You. It's stealing. I don't care how noble you think it is, when you take someone else's money that THEY earned, it's just plain wrong. The amount of money doesn't make a difference. But like you said, those people create jobs and wealth for hundreds and thousands of us. You should read Atlas Shrugged. Best book I ever read (next to the scriptures) and it's all about this stuff.

Ashley Koz said...

I agree totally! I'm glad you liked my beach house blog, actually when I was even thinking about taking those pics of the house down there to do that blog I thought "Laura would probably be the only one who would even appreciate/like a post like that"

Anonymous said...

Some responses:
1. The wealthy are taxed proportionate to the benefit they receive from government systems that are integral to the creation of their wealth. Namely the public education system that educates their employees and customers, the public infrastructure system that makes creation and conveyance of their goods possible, the banking system that gives them capital and allows others to invest in their business with confidence and the judicial system that also allows them to operate confidently.
2. The government spends more on the military industrial complex than it does on Medicare/caid and/or Social Security. The US military has gotten so large that it now influences public policy, i.e., it needs to "find conflict" in order to justify its existence. I think the US would be much better off weaning itself off its military than by cutting health care or the social security safety net. The US military should get out of where it has never belonged (Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.), and should maintain a much smaller permanent military. The draft should be reinstated, be it voluntary or not, so that war is disincentivized. When Nixon ended the draft, surprise! The Vietnam protests all but disappeared.
3. The government should provide direct stimulus to nascent industries, particularly green energy, not only to slow down global climate change, but to eradicate US dependence upon oil. This would make 99% of US interaction with the Middle East, Russia and Venezuela unnecessary. Big Oil has been subsidized by the US government for over 100 years, which needs to stop.
4. Clearly, the last year has demonstrated that pure capitalism does not work and that government regulation of the banking and financial system is necessary. Does this mean that those in finance won't be as highly compensated? Probably. However maybe it will also mean that 500,000 more Americans won't lose their jobs every month. Unfortunately, the government has to infuse the banking system with enough cash so that deleveraging can occur, and they can once again start loaning businesses and homeowners money. This just isn't going to happen with "tax cuts."

Celeste said...

um, I am a political retard, but the one thing I feel very strongly about is this: we need to do a better job of valuing the jobs that make a difference for good in our country. In my mind that means something along the lines of teachers and professional athletes trading salaries. I don't know how fair that is or if it would ever be possible, but in my little brain that seems right.

Anonymous said...

I can't get involved in politics anymore or else I'll have to go back on medication.
(Yes this is Lisa)

Lisa said...

And no I didn't write the other anonymous long winded comment 2 posts up

the Lola Letters said...

Anonymous -
I actually appreciate your intelligent, well spoken responses. Here are my responses to your responses:

1. Regardless of what hand the government claims to have had in the success of certain companies, it's hard to justify punishing people for building successful companies that provide thousands of jobs and strengthen our economy. Plus, I think it's safe to say that any high-quality skills that American workers have, in fact, developed were likely gained/learned IN-SPITE of the public education system! ha ha! Sorry, I could go on and on, but twe'll leave it at that.

2. I couldn't aggree with you more.

3. I couldn't agree with you more.

4. I'm a bit of a Social Darwinist in that I believe that the banks got greedy, behaved foolishly, and that their "species" should now be allowed to die out to make room for lenders that are perhaps more fit, intelligent, savvy,(what have you) to survive in the financial world. Seriously. Billionaires and Millionaires should totally be pooling money and creating their own banks.

I CERTAINLY don't think that the idiots who got us into this mess in the first place should be receiving ENORMOUS checks to put a bit fat bandaid on the Texas-sized boo-boo they've created for themselves. They should be fired and sent packing. They are weak. They clearly can't handle power responsibly, and we shouldn't nurture them or justify/encourage their behavior.

Technically, I know this would probably send us spiraling into another great depression.

I'm gratuitiously waxing way out there on the borders of philosophical rather than within the safe realm of financially logical, but hey, you don't see the NFL paying a crappy football player more money with the hopes that it will make him better. In fact, you don't even see them paying a crappy player THE SAME amount of money they'd been paying him in the past - You see them giving that player the boot! And that is exactly what I'm talking about here.
Weak/stupid/greedy - OUT.
Smart, ethical, Ghandi-ish - IN!

As I said before, I appreciate your (clearly intelligent) views. Thanks for commenting.

Celeste- AMEN!!!

Weesa- I love you. Feel free to avoid "all things political" like the plague. I usually do.

the Lola Letters said...

Wow! Typos for days people!!! Sorry about that! I would go back and change them, but alas, I am much too lazy.

Who am I kidding? At 2:00 a. m. when it is bothering me so much that I can't sleep, I'll be back on my laptop taking that extra "g" out of aggree and like, such as.

Katie--the amazing one, not your other friend named Katie. She's amazing, too, but not the same Katie as me-- said...

I wish I could claim to be the anonymous commenter.

As a soon-to-be-educator likely to be employed in the public sector, I want to comment on your remark, but I'm not quite sure how to direct it. I am curious what you would say if allowed to go on and on. In anticipation, I will remind you that the word public, by definition, means general and accessible. In attempts to make public education accessible to the common man, it must be presented in a generic format. Depending on current purpose (based on current societal need), public education can serve as a means of mass producing laborers, preparing students for college (where specialized/advanced skills can be learned), developing active citizens, helping students become critical thinkers, and many other varied purposes (including providing non-educational social services to child and family). Even under ideal circumstances, achieving all these things simultaneously would require a lifetime (or more). Public education is a means of assisting parents in their role to provide children with enough skills to create their life and achieve great things.

Janyece said...

I love these political discussions! Yea! I love that we can have different opinions and talk about them without anyone calling anyone else stupid or not respecting/listening to what the other has to say. I'm glad Laura invited us to continue this discussion because there's something I've wanted to say, but since it's not my blog, I felt like I shouldn't be carrying it on. So here goes:

Anonymous: I agree with your points on #2 and #3 as well. I think we just differ on how to carry them out. What I absolutely do not agree on is that capitalism has failed and I'll tell you why.

1. We have never lived out "pure" capitalism. The government has been there regulating and creating laws. For starters, we pay taxes for public education, infrastructure, maintenance, etc. We have the FDA, FAA, medicare, CHIPS and many other government programs that prevent us from having pure capitalism. Thank goodness because pure capitalism really would be bad. If the government controlled everything though, it would be equally as bad. We'd have socialism. For religious people, we know that socialism and religion cannot co-exist.

"We may first observe that Communism and Socialism - which we shall hereafter group together and dub Statism – cannot live with Christianity nor with any religion that postulates a creator. The slaves of Statism must know no power, no authority, no source of blessing, no God, but the State." J. Rueben Clark, First Presidency, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

2. Capitalism hasn't failed because it's only a tool. Like a hammer can create or destroy, it depends on the hands that wield it. We must be held accountable.

My personal stance? Everyone, businesses, individuals and especially government (since it runs on tax payers dollars) needs to get out of debt! The slow solutions are never popular however.

Thanks for letting me throw in my two cents!

the Lola Letters said...

KATIE: If I were allowed to go on and on, then I would say, God bless you and good luck. Oh, and that I'm with my friend, Celeste in the belief that teachers are one of the most underpaid, underappreciated professions in existence. (although many have told me that the rewards on the level of "personal satisfaction" and "meaningful work" are off the charts, which, in the end, is really all that matters.) If I had my druthers, pro athletes would DEFINITELY be switching salaries with teachers!! I also believe that anything run by the government is run so incredibly slowly that it makes me nuts. Kortland attends a completely amazing public school right by our house, and even though it is REALLY well run (great principal, great teachers...etc) there have still been several problems that have come up and have taken WAAAYY too long to remedy, and I attribute that to the extensive rules and regulations of a government-run institution. Now, am I saying it could be better? Not really. The laws, rules, and statutes that gum up the process are in place to protect the children and serve the end in mind, and that equals decent education for all. Now, I have had teachers that were INCREDIBLE. I've had teachers that have literally shaped who I am today, and I believe that a great teacher can help compensate for pretty much ALL of the problems created by an educational system that has been designed to cater to the masses.

But, going back to the original argument, to say that a wealthy person should pay a higher percentage on their taxes because their workers had the benefit public education is ridiculous. That person's parents paid taxes to provide that education and they will pay taxes to provide that education for their own children. Providing public education doesn't entitle the government to reap a higher percentage of one particularly fruitful student's harvest. It just doesn't.

And I totally agree with everything you said about what we should expect from the public education system. It provides precisely what you stated above, and sometimes (in my experience with great teachers) even more. But that doesn't justify prejudice in the taxation of wealthy U.S. citizens.

JANYECE- Sheesh! I couldn't agree more! Well said. And I'm glad you said it because I am not quite so eloquent as you! Nice. (To be honest, I'm kind of a closet psycho-capitalist, but my better nature knows that the inherent greed of MOST would lead us down paths of destruction mighty quick if pure capitalism were allowed to run free and unchecked! ha ha!) I believe that we should all have the DESIRE to help, serve, and bless our fellowman to the point where the government didn't feel the need to force us to take care of one another. Ah, a perfect world. Keep dreaming, Laura... keep dreaming.