A poll that speaks for itself.

The following poll result was recently obtained by CNN. That organization, if it “oversampled” any group, did so in favor President Obama.

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 7.38.34 AM

Nine points is a huge margin. Sadly, although vindicated with regard to the last presidential ballot I cast, I can’t feel good about this. “Why is that,” ask you? “Because,” answer I, “it is still 904 days, 16 hours, 5 minutes, and 30 seconds, at the time of this posting, before Obama leaves office.”

Roy Filly

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Would a communist regime lie to its people?

I’m not an economist by any stretch of the imagination, but I do try to understand the implications of “central planning” on the economy. Not every “central plan” is bad – just most of them. Progressive/statist/altruists are devoted to the concept of “central planning.” However, central planning is the capstone of totalitarian communist regimes, and you can believe that they are neither progressive nor altruistic.

The economic concept I have been trying to understand of late is the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or, if you prefer, the Gross National Product (GNP):

Gross domestic product (GDP) is the market value of all officially recognized final goods and services produced within a country in a year, or over a given period of time.

Gross national product (GNP) is the market value of all the products and services produced in one year by labor and property supplied by the citizens of a country. Unlike GDP, which defines production based on the geographical location of production, GNP allocates production based on ownership.

OK. I don’t know if those definitions help you, but I am confident that every one of my readers believes that the GDP of a nation is important for their standing in the world. Ergo, the United States of America has the largest GDP in the world and is thus the world’s economic leader. China’s GDP is second and, like Avis, they are trying harder to pass us.

That part is easy enough to understand. The question for today is, “Would a nation falsify their GDP?” The “commies” in the USSR lied to their population right up to the moment they went bankrupt and plunged to Third World status. Do we really believe the Chinese communists are cut from a different cloth?

[Source: Chinese Recovery On Paper, New York Times]

The National Bureau of Statistics in Beijing announced on Wednesday that economic growth climbed 7.5 percent in the second quarter, compared with a year earlier. But independent surveys of businesses across China show that in sector after sector, sales and confidence are still deteriorating.

“All of them are pointing in the opposite direction from this supposed G.D.P. number,” said Leland Miller, the president of China Beige Book International, a New York data service that surveys 2,200 private businesses across China each quarter to gauge economic activity.

One of the biggest engines of Chinese economic growth in recent years — construction and other investment in the private sector — is sputtering (I have been showing you the Chinese Ghost Cities for more than a year now. Does that type of “construction” really bolster the GDP of a nation?)… Exports have only barely begun to recover from a weak winter and retail sales growth is leveling off. That leaves government investment and spending… which are being propelled by redoubled lending this spring by the state-controlled banking system to the national railroad system, local governments and state-owned enterprises. (It sounds like the Chinese have been reading Keynes instead of Hayek. Or possibly they hired the Obama “economic recovery” team – RF).

The result has been frenzied spending on the construction of railroad lines — up 32.1 percent in June from a year earlier — and subsidized housing. Steel output in China is setting records by tonnage as a result, even as the number of housing starts in the private sector is falling steeply.

Total lending has now risen faster than economic output, even before adjusting for inflation, in every quarter since late 2011. Lending accelerated further in June, according to figures released on Tuesday by the central bank, the People’s Bank of China. Yet Mr. Miller’s survey and others show that private businesses are becoming less and less interested in borrowing money because they see few opportunities to invest it profitably. (Does that sound like US businesses after the “trillion-dollar-Stimulus” the Democrats and Obama cooked up? We never hear about the “stimulus” anymore. I wonder why? The stimulus cost every man, woman and child in the USA more than $3000, and the result was “too few ‘shovel-ready’ projects” – RF).

My conclusion is that the Chinese GDP is a “over-cooked” number. Can we say the same about the US GDP? More on this in later posts.

Roy Filly

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Lies, Damn Lies, and Jonathan Gruber.

I am confident that my readers are aware of the recent Federal Court decision stating that only state-run ObamaCare Exchanges are eligible for federal subsidies and that federal-run exchanges are not. The case, Halbig v. Burwell, is one of the first major legal challenges that cuts to the heart of the Affordable Care Act by going after the legality of massive federal subsidies and those who benefit from them.

The decision said the law “unambiguously restricts” the subsidies to insurance bought on state-run exchanges. The judges agreed with the appellants that the ACA unambiguously states, in a section describing premium assistance amounts, the aid will be granted to taxpayers enrolled “through an Exchange established by the State.” Judges must rule on the literal meaning of the words – not the intent. The Court ruled that ObamaCare “literally” is referring only to state-run exchanges. As that applies to 36 states, the implications are massive – about $36 billion in subsidies.

Why would the authors of the legislation do such a thing? On its face, it seems illogical. The appellants argued that the language was used to “incentivize” states to form exchanges. However, many states opted out of exchanges, preferring to let the federal government develop them. Some that did develop them failed so miserably that they had to go to the federal exchange to allow their citizens to purchase health insurance.

A second Federal Court made a decision that the wording – “through an Exchange established by the State – was ambiguous and thus the IRS could rule that federal subsidies were OK. I can’t see a whiff of ambiguity in the statement, but I am not a federal judge. The White House and a major architect of the legislation argued that the “sentence” was a simple “typo.” That architect was Jonathan Gruber who helped put together both RomneyCare and ObamaCare. Listen to Mr.Gruber earlier and decide if the sentence was a “typo” or if the intent was clear.

All politicians lie. But this one is pretty egregious. Not once, but twice, we have Mr. Gruber, in his own words, making the case as presented by the appellants and “unambiguously,” confirming that the “sentence” was meant to stand as the intent of the law. By the by, the lawyers are not allowed to present the above verbal statements as part of their appeal. But, even judges watch the news.

Roy Filly

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Paul Krugman is bragging. Should he?

Paul Krugman recently wrote that California proves that raising taxes is a “good thing.” OK, Paul, let’s look at a graph or two.

You have seen me use Daniel J. Mitchell as a source for my posts many times. I am a big fan of the Cato Institute where Mr. Mitchell works.  Mr. Mitchell predicted that California was committing a slow form of suicide by raising taxes, as Governor Brown recently did.

Below is a quote form Krugman’s article in the New York Times.

Gov. Jerry Brown was able to push through a modestly liberal agenda of higher taxes, spending increases and a rise in the minimum wage. California also moved enthusiastically to implement Obamacare. …Needless to say, conservatives predicted doom. …Daniel J. Mitchell of the Cato Institute declared that by voting for Proposition 30, which authorized those tax increases, “the looters and moochers of the Golden State” (yes, they really do think they’re living in an Ayn Rand novel) were committing “economic suicide.”

The problem with the Krugman article is that Mitchell didn’t predict a “bullet-to-the-head,” but the kind of slow suicide an emphysema victim implements as they smoke cigarettes through the tracheostomy opening in their neck. (Yes, some actually do this and I have seen it many times.)

Yes. California now has a small budget surplus. Of course, it isn’t hard to create a budget surplus when taxes are retroactive. But going forward, those who get nailed by the taxes “adjust.”

chart Taxpayers can move to other states. The flight of wealth from California is ultimately catastrophic. The above graph showed the progressive increase in the flight of wealth BEFORE THE NEW TAXES WERE IMPOSED.

Also, California experienced a slight uptick in employment. However, I’m not sure Governor Brown wants to brag about the unemployment rate in California – fourth worst in the nation. image

The suicide of this once great state is inevitable in my humble opinion. Just let the Democrat Party continue to run the state. I see the emphysema victim sucking that cigarette smoke through the tracheostomy opening in their neck trying to get just a little more nicotine (liberal tax agenda) into their bloodstream.

Roy Filly  

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Follow up: Entitlement costs will be skyrocketing soon.

As a follow on to Thursday’s post, there are a couple other statistics that will help us all understand that the cliff is directly in front of us.

Yesterday’s post documented the rapidly rising number of Medicare and Social Security recipients. There is, however, another important factor in the equation – cost per retiree compared to taxes contributed. Americans, particularly tax-paying, conservative Americans, often say that they already paid for their Social Security and Medicare benefits through payroll taxes. This is partly true but mostly false.

[Source: Rob Portman, Heading Off the Entitlement Meltdown]

Due to rising health care costs, the average couple retiring in 2015 will have paid $140,000 in Medicare payroll taxes, but will receive $430,000 in Medicare benefits. That is more than 300% greater benefits than taxes. Another way to think of it is that each retiring couple is the equivalent of three retiring couples when it comes to “money in the lock box.” Of course, the term “lock box” is a euphemism. The federal government long ago picked those “locks.”

Because the “lock box” contains only IOUs, the funding for current retiree Medicare benefits comes from current worker’s taxes. In 1960, when Medicare came into existence, five workers supported every retiree’s benefits. In 2030, only two workers will fund every retiree.

I used to state that the same was true for Social Security. Seniors got back much more from Social security than they paid in. But the recent past has changed that.

[Source: Social Security: Many pay more in taxes than they'll get back, by Tami Luhby]

Up until now, Social Security has been a windfall for many retirees: They collected far more in benefits than they shelled out in taxes. That’s changing. Many of those retiring will have paid more into the coveted entitlement program than they will get back. Here are the numbers:

130412121127-social-security-pay-620xa

A couple who each earned the average wage during their careers and retired in 1990 would have paid $316,000 in Social Security taxes, but collected $436,000 in benefits, according to data crunched by Eugene Steuerle, an economist at the Urban Institute.

Had that couple turned 65 in 2010, however, they would have paid $600,000 in taxes, but could expect to collect just $579,000. This is the first time in the program’s history that taxes outweighed benefits for this group, a couple with average earnings.

The imbalance will get more pronounced for future generations of retirees. Couples now in their early 40s will have forked over $808,000 in Social Security taxes by the time they retire, but get back only $703,000 in benefits.

So what has changed. For those of you who are old enough you will recall the big bruhaha of the 18980s. Congress was all in a dither that Social Security would founder. Under the guidance of a Republican President and a Democrat Congress the Social Security system was “strengthened” in 1983 – i.e., they increased the taxes. Therefore, those paying in since 1983 basically get screwed. I keep telling you that when Congress “picks a winner” someone else “becomes a loser.” Before 1983 the recipients of Social Security were the winners and payroll taxpayers were the losers. After 1990 the “winners” and “losers” simply reversed.

Don’t get me wrong. We still have plenty of recipients who will collect more than they’ll have paid. The “typical American couple” do not each earn the average wage during their careers since women often have lower incomes or take years off to raise children. In this scenario, the couple would receive more benefits than they pay in taxes because the wife’s checks often will be based on her husband’s earnings. Also, most lower-wage workers receive more in benefits than they pay in taxes.

[Source: 5 facts about Social Security, Pew Research Center, by Drew Desilver]

Here are the facts about Social Security:

Social Security pays money to more people than any other federal program. Some 57 million Americans receive retirement, disability or survivors’ benefits. In 2012 the system paid out $786 billion. There were only 161 million Americans who paid payroll taxes.

At its root Social Security is, and always has been, an inter-generational transfer of wealth. The taxes paid by today’s workers and their employers don’t  go into a dedicated individual account, nor do Social Security checks represent a return on invested capital. Rather, the benefits received by today’s retirees are funded by the taxes paid by today’s workers; when those workers retire, their benefits will be paid for by the next generation of workers’ taxes – if there are any.

For much of its history, Social Security was a strictly pay-as-you-go system, with current tax receipts funding current benefits. That changed in 1983, when Congress (as part of a comprehensive overhaul of the program) raised the payroll taxes that provide the bulk of Social Security’s revenue, to build up a cushion for the coming onslaught of Baby-Boomer retirees. For nearly three decades, the system took in far more revenue than it paid out in benefits; the surplus was “invested” in special non-tradable Treasury bonds, with interest credited to the system’s “trust fund.” As of Sept. 30, the trust funds together held more than $2.8 trillion in these Treasuries. (Some people, like me, characterize that as the government “borrowing from” or “raiding” Social Security. However you choose to look at it the dollars have been spent and we must borrow the money to meet the demand when the Treasuries are cashed by the Social Security Trustees, as the have been doing – see below.)

Since 2010 Social Security’s cash expenses have exceeded its cash receipts; negative cash flow last year was about $55 billion. While “credited interest” is enough to cover the deficit, that will only be true until 2020.(Of course, the “credited interest” has also been spent by the federal government. Thus, it is just another name for the same scam.) After that, Social Security will begin redeeming its hoard of Treasuries.

Social Security’s reserves will be fully depleted by one of two dates, depending upon whom you believe – 2031 or 2033. After that, while the system will still be receiving tax revenue, it will only be enough to pay about three-quarters of scheduled benefits.

Roy Filly

 

 

 

 

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Entitlement costs will be skyrocketing soon.

“Each day,10,000 baby boomers retire and begin receiving Medicare and Social Security benefits.”

Rob Portman, Senator

The above quote by Senator Portman is quite startling. Could such a huge figure possibly be true or is this just another politician trying to grab a headline?

If we look at current Social Security costs we find that 24 percent of the federal budget, or $814 billion, is paid to Social Security recipients. It currently pays monthly retirement benefits averaging $1,294 to 37.9 million retired workers in December 2013. Social Security also provided benefits to 2.9 million spouses and children of retired workers, 6.2 million surviving children and spouses of deceased workers, and 11 million disabled workers and their eligible dependents in December 2013. So we currently support approximately 58 million Americans with this program.

Medicare spending is a bit more difficult to tease out. However, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities calculates that $498 billion went to Medicare in 2013. Medicare provides health coverage to around 54 million people who are over the age of 65 or have disabilities.

[Source: Washington Post Fact Checker]

Generally speaking, if the Washington Post (Pravda on the Potomac) agrees with a Republican Senator you can bet the farm that the facts are accurate.

The Facts

Ten thousand people a day is certainly a big number. Over 365 days, that’s almost 4 million people. But then everything about the “Baby Boom” generation is pretty big.

There were 76 million people born between the years 1946 and 1964, the traditional window for the baby boom generation. That means that they will retire over a 19-year period. Simple math shows that 76 divided by 19 is 4 million, or almost 11,000 people a day.

While a certain percentage will die before they reach retirement age, analysts say that  immigrants will actually boost the number of potential baby-boomer retirees to nearly 80 million —and not everyone retires exactly at 65 or 66. Some baby boomers likely retired at 62. So let’s say it’s 80 million over 20 years—which still yields 4 million a year.

Thus, as a simple round figure, 10,000 a day is pretty close. In fact, that is a number used by the Social Security Administration in a 2012 report, which Portman spokeswoman Caitlin Conant said was a source used by the senator. She also cited a Pew Research Center report that used this figure.

Indeed, in a 2013 report, the Social Security Administration said that the wave of baby boom retirements was a significant problem for the agency itself: “By 2015, almost 33 percent of our workforce, including 48 percent of our supervisors, will be eligible to retire… We expect this trend to continue. During this same timeframe, the baby boomer retirement wave continues to have a significant effect on our workloads.”

The impact of baby boom retirements will certainly put pressure not only on the Social Security Administration, but on the Social Security and Medicare systems. So this is an appropriate figure to cite when discussing entitlement programs.

The Pinocchio Test

Portman is on solid ground with this number. He earns a coveted—and rare—Geppetto Checkmark.

So let’s do a quick calculation. Budget projections are typically made on a 10-year cycle. So let’s look at the next 10 years. At 4 million new retirees per year, that comes to a healthy 40 million new retirees on the dole (for the record, I am on “the dole”). Starting with a baseline of 58 million recipients this year, that equals a 70% growth in 10 years. It is even worse for Medicare. Ouch for the ever diminishing number of taxpayers!

If monthly payments stay the same – they never do, they always rise – then in 10 years we will need another $621 billion per year to support just the new retirees. That is a lot of billions when added to the $824 billion we currently spend – AND THAT’S JUST SOCIAL SECURITY, not Medicare.

Roy Filly

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Global warming alarmists are running out of excuses.

Water, water, everywhere. Nor any drop to drink.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

(Global warming alarmists) must be big enough to admit (their) mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.

John C. Maxwell

The global warming alarmists have been trying to deal with the failure of Earth’s temperature to rise in more than 17 years despite increasing concentrations of CO2. Their current favorite theory is that the oceans are absorbing the heat. Well, there is no question but that huge bodies of water can provide a heat sink.

One of the leading climate scientists, Kevin Trenberth, and his colleague, John Fassulo, have postulated that the massive El Nino Pacific Ocean warming event that occurred in 1997 and 1998 triggered the pause. They say that the El Nino caused a large loss of heat from the deep ocean to the sea surface that resulted in a cooling of the oceans. Since then the deep ocean has been absorbing heat back from the upper ocean and so cooling the atmosphere.

There are several problems with that theory. There have been many El Nino events since global warming alarmists have been documenting rising earth temperatures and trying to blame it on the anthropomorphic burning of fossil fuels. Events occurred in 1957-58, 1965-66, with a very strong El Nino event in 1972-73. Another El Nino occurred in 1977-78, and again, a very strong El Nino event in 1982-83. There was an El Nino in 1987-88 and yet another very strong El Nino in 1991-92. We experienced another El Nino in 1994-95. These all preceded the event that Trenberth and Fassulo are saying caused “the pause.” However, during these events there was no “pause” – even with 3 strong El Nino events recorded in the 40 years that preceded the El Nino Trenberth and Fassulo claim was responsible for oceanic heat absorption. I don’t know about you but that strikes me as odd – and worse, an unambiguous flaw in their explanation.

But, as they say, “the proof is  in the poof!” And here’s the “poof.” For us to believe the Trenberth and Fassulo hypothesis the oceans should have been warming at deeper levels. Oops! Ouch! As it turns out, the deep oceans ARE COOLING!

[Source: Deep Oceans Are Cooling. Amidst A Sea of Modeling Uncertainty: New Research on Ocean Heat Content, by Jim Steele]

Mr Steele isn’t a blogger like myself. He is Director emeritus the Sierra Nevada Field Campus of the San Francisco State University and author of Landscapes & Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism.

Two of the world’s premiere ocean scientists from Harvard and MIT, Carl Wunsch and Patrick Heimbach, have addressed the data limitations that currently prevent the oceanographic community from resolving the differences among various estimates of changing ocean heat content. Their analysis: 1) determined the deepest oceans are cooling, 2) estimated a much slower rate of ocean warming, 3) highlighted where the greatest uncertainties existed due to the ever changing locations of heating and cooling, and 4) specified concerns with previous methods used to construct changes in ocean heat content, such as Trenberth’s analysis.

Their results (Figure below) suggest a flattening or slight cooling in the upper 100 meters since 2004 which is in agreement with the results reported by Lyman (2014). The deep layers contain twice as much heat as the upper 100 meters, and overall exhibit a clear cooling trend for the past 2 decades. If Trenberth’s model is correct deep ocean warming would have been observed. The detected cooling of the deepest oceans is quite remarkable given that geothermal warming in the abyssal ocean from Earth’s molten core would generate the converse effect.

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 7.59.32 PM

So, once again, the observed data conflict with the global warming paradigm. The predictions from their models fail to explain the lack of global warming. Mirabili dictu. It seems to me they should heed the admonition of John C. Maxwell in the quote at the beginning of this post.

And thanks to HP for forwarding this to me.

Roy Filly

 

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Are we sorry yet?

Here is my take on the following. Our current President is supremely confident about himself, but almost invariably wrong. Romney called the global situation perfectly.

And thanks to ALF for forwarding this to me.

Roy Filly

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The looming doctor shortage.

A friend and reader sent me the following New Your Times article for evaluation. It is entitled, “Bottlenecks in training doctors.” It warns of a looming doctor shortage and has the temerity to suggest that the Republicans in Congress are somehow to blame.

The New York Times is a little late to the party. I have been warning about this since 2011 – and that wasn’t the beginning of the problem. That was the point at which it became abundantly clear ObamaCare would seriously augment a problem already confronting US medicine.

http://theruggedindividualist.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/obamacare-a-predictable-disaster/

http://theruggedindividualist.wordpress.com/2011/11/16/just-one-of-the-problems-with-obamacare/

The following paragraphs are from the article: “Some experts, however, believe that the real problem is not an overall shortage of doctors but an imbalance in the use of existing resources. For example, there may be too many specialists and too few primary care doctors; too many professionals in cities and affluent areas, too few in rural or impoverished areas; too many doctors doing routine procedures that could be handled by advanced-practice nurses, physician assistants or pharmacists.

“In any case, there is a desperate need for accurate, up-to-date information. But congressional Republicans, who refuse to cooperate in any way with the Affordable Care Act, have blocked a commission that was supposed to sort it all out and make recommendations.

The above portions of the article were particularly vacuous. “Too many specialists and too few primary care doctors.” Perhaps they are unaware that the California Assembly (a bastion of statist/altruist regulation) mandated in the late nineties that the University of California system – consisting of 5 top notch medical schools – “had to train one primary care doctor for every specialist they trained.” It was an unmitigated disaster and had to be rescinded. Statist central planners always think that a simple mandate can solve complex problems. They can’t. And, by the by, the late nineties were a decade before ObamaCare. Ergo, the problem is far from new. Of course, pontificating from the editorial board room of the New York Times is easier if your mind is devoid of reality.

Next issue: “too many professionals in cities and affluent areas, too few in rural or impoverished areas.” Let’s see what reality looks like. You are a recent graduate of a residency in surgery – that was 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, 1 year of internship, and 4 – 8 years of surgical training. You are somewhere between 31 and 36 years of age. Your education debt is $300,000. That isn’t the true cost. The true cost is far worse than that. Conclusion: it’s time to head for “a rural or impoverished area.” Don’t take that fabulous job at a first rate hospital in New York City, or Chicago, or Dallas. Forget that the “affluent city” job will provide for your family and pay off your education debt! That wouldn’t be ALTRUISTIC!

But the best one is the old statist standby. They want a “commission… to sort it all out and make recommendations!” Yes. Commissions always solve everything! Statists are always “gathering information” before they “centrally plan” your life. Damn those Republicans for blocking our “commission” wail the statist/altruists.

These “solutions” are brought to you by the New York Times Editorial Board. We are ever so lucky!

Roy Filly

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The Rugged Individualist. Some stats and a remembrance.

The government cannot love you, and any politics that works on a different assumption is destined for no good.

Jonah Goldberg

Demagogue: One who preaches a doctrine he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.

H. L. Mencken

A human group transforms itself into a crowd when it suddenly responds to a suggestion rather than to reasoning… to an affirmation rather than to proof, to the repetition of a phrase rather than to arguments…

Jean-Francois Revel

In October 2010 during the run up to the November elections, one of my sons convinced me to start a blog site and write down my political beliefs. Once I decided to do it I was committed (see Footnote 1). Today marks my 700th post. My little website has seen more than 69,000 views, nearly 100 views per post. So, I’m not the Huff Post, the Drudge Report or Salon, but still I am proud of this accomplishment.

The internet is amazing. People from nearly every country on Planet Earth have visited my website (Footnote 2 and World Map below). For those countries that have not, either their government is too restrictive to allow their people to read a political blog from a western nation (or the nation is simply too poor to have internet connectivity or even electricity).

Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 3.29.21 PM

Those 700 posts have been dedicated to the proposition that our government is too big and too expensive. It consistently spends more money than it collects. By its very nature BIG GOVERNMENT IS BAD GOVERNMENT.

Government is not the solution to our problems. Government is the problem.

Ronald Reagan

Roy Filly

Footnote 1:

Who am I?

Posted October 15, 2010

I decided to write a blog at the suggestion of my son. I have developed a recent interest in politics. It is not that I ignored politics in the past. There has hardly been an election in which I did not vote over the past 45 years. What changed?

I feel very strongly that this country is headed in the wrong direction. By that I mean it is heading away from its founding principles. This has been happening for a long time but the acceleration in the wrong direction under Barack Obama has been breathtaking. It may sound trite, but I honestly think the votes that I cast on November 2, 2010 will be the most important of my citizenship.

This year is the first time in my adult life that I attended a political rally. I may be late to the game, but I have decided to play and I believe I have something to say. Once I begin to play, I will not quit. As Admiral Yamamoto declared following his country’s attack on Pearl Harbor, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant.” In this instance, however,  Obama has awakened a Lilliputian. But watch out! Gulliver learned that Lilliputians can bring you down!

It matters little to me whether anyone ever reads what I write, but the need within me to write about my perceptions is profound. An argument needs to be made. Every individual needs to speak out, if only to say “I disagree.”

So what perspective will you be reading? Where do my politics lie? It is not at all easy for me to state my political beliefs. Frankly, I hate it when someone defines themselves as a Republican or Democrat or as a liberal or conservative. I will state that I vote Republican, but only because I believe that the Republican party is our last best hope to turn America around. That may change if the Republican Party does not take this opportunity to return to American founding principles. What is certain is that I am not a “one-word” political definition. I have very strong beliefs on a variety of issues. Some are very conservative – fiscal and defense. Some a very liberal – I am a first amendment absolutist – even to the right to burn the American flag (of course, I would like to punch the lights out of any American that does such a despicable act, but I strongly support their right to do it). I am definitely NOT a centrist and feel sorry for anyone that is. Centrists make compromise their creed. When it comes to principles, one cannot compromise. You either believe in freedom of speech or you don’t. You can’t say some speech is out-of-bounds. Out of whose bounds? Judged against whose standard? Does the  “right” wing define the boundary or the “left” wing? The only time that I am a “centrist” is when I just don’t give a damn who wins!

There are many people who command my respect for their perspective on government. However, my personal gurus are Ayn Rand, Thomas Sowell, and Charles Krauthammer. It is not that I agree in every aspect with the thoughts and writings of these individuals. Indeed, they are all too intelligent, educated, and advanced for me to even consistently follow their train of thought. However, I believe I have the ability to perceive a convincing argument when I hear it (and, on the opposite side of that coin, to know when it is time to start shoveling)!

With regard to that, I do not know if Ayn Rand is the greatest philosopher of all time (she certainly didn’t think so and gave that title to Aristotle). However, as Leonard Piekoff, the legal heir to her estate and the person who works hardest to keep her words alive, likes to say, she is the greatest salesman of philosophy. Well, she sold me. So, I guess I am an Objectivist. At very least, I am an anti-statist, and anti-collectivist, and an unashamed laissez-faire capitalist. I plan to use her words and arguments liberally in this blog. If I, at times, accidentally plagiarise her words, I apologize in advance. May she somehow know that plagiarism is the highest form of compliment. Let me be clear. The battle is not a political one but a philosophical one. Politics will be important, but the true battle is for American founding principles, and, if you have read this far, I am sorry to tell you that American founding principles are losing the battle. I hope not the war.

Thomas Sowell is the most convincing economist of our day, in my extremely humble opinion. More importantly, his notions of equality and the plight of black americans are inspiring. Like nearly every American, I was very proud on the day that America elected its first black president. I didn’t vote for Obama, but let’s face it, a black American president. How wonderful was that! However, if God had been paying attention or , at least, not playing a practical joke, our first black president would have been Thomas Sowell.

As for Dr. Krauthammer, he is a voice of reason in a cacophony of political noise. His positions are well thought out and he is never condescending or vitriolic.

Now you know some of what I think, but not yet who I am. I intend to write with a nom de plume. I gave considerable thought to several names. I liked Cato, because that was the pseudonym that Hamilton, Monroe and John Jay employed when writing the Federalist papers. Although my respect for these men is great, they espoused strong central government – exactly the opposite of what I espouse. So, in honor of my heroine, Ayn Rand, I have chosen John Galt as my pseudonym.

John Galt (the pseudonym became unneeded, Roy Filly)

Footnote 2: Nations that have visited my website

Country
United States FlagUnited States
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