Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Right to work? Sounds great!

In Michigan yesterday, Governor signed two 'Right to Work' laws, which is the culmination of an intense debate about the future of union domination in the state.  Read about it here.  Detroit News Article

This is such an interesting story to me because of its location:  Automobile USA (at least at one time).  If a state like Michigan, that would not even support its native son, Mitt Romney, last month in the Presidential election, can become the 24th state to enact this type of legislation, I still see hope for the future of our economy and society.

For those unaware, the basic premise of the laws is to allow employees of an organization that is a 'union shop' to choose whether or not they want to join the union.  They will no longer be required to do so.  This workplace freedom will grant more power, not less, to employees.  They now can decide if the union dues are worth what they cost, and (at least in terms of the law) won't be forced to join if they do not wish to.  This is a big victory for freedom and a blow to the power of the UAW specifically.  Many union members have protested and decried this as a way to push down wages by employers.  Honestly, that could happen, and actually should, in many cases.  Let the free market determine wage value rather than setting artificial wage guarantees that can destroy a business's ability to turn a profit.  President Obama chose to bail out our largest auto makers a few years ago, and while he won't say it, this union wage establishment was a primary reason for why this happened.   

My favorite aspect of this is the view of liberals in Michigan that this will create a new wave of freeloaders.  From the article linked above:

Democrats said the law will create a class of "freeloader" workers who enjoy the pay and fringe benefits negotiated by unions without paying the costs of union representation.

"We expect everyone in an organization to pay their fair share. Let's call this legislation what it is-- the right to freeload," said state Rep. Bob Constan, D-Dearborn Heights.

So, Representative Constan is against freeloading?  That is hysterical.  This man's party has pushed through legislation that is the embodiment of freeloading.  How about ObamaCare?  Is he against food stamp and welfare programs?  I doubt it.  I guess its only ok to freeload through government programs in his worldview.

I would argue that this is not freeloading at all.  The workers will be paid a market-based wage that is competitive and based on the value of what they produce.  In most cases, the cost of business will be reduced, and prices will go down.  Additionally, more businesses will flock to Michigan because of this cost reduction, meaning MORE JOBS for a state whose unemployment rate is significantly higher than the national average (Michigan's unemployment rate is 9.1%, and Detroit's is 19%!!).  This is good news for the state's workers.

Seeing this happen here keeps me hopeful that we can turn things around across the country.  We have ample opportunity to do so.  This is one of many small steps on the road back to prosperity, and more importantly, real freedom.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Quid Pro Quo, Baby!!

This morning, I saw a news clip that blew my mind. Well, it blew my mind for about 2 seconds, until I realized the state of our culture here in the United States. Detroit is facing a disastrous fiscal situation right now, with a projected shortfall of $47 million deficit for this year. People have left the city in droves over the past few years, and city revenues have plummeted. This leads to the following clip, in which City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson called upon President Obama to provide a bailout for the city. She said, among other things,

"Our people in an overwhelming way supported the re-election of this president and there ought to be a quid pro quo and you ought to exercise leadership on that. Of course, not just that, but why not?"

Link to Video

Hmm, let me think about this one. First, who is 'our people'? Is that the city of Detroit? They did in fact vote over 75% to re-elect the President. So, should every city or county that voted for the President get preferential treatment and receive bailout money? And what does she mean by quid pro quo? Latin for 'this for that', I understand this to mean votes for bailout. Great idea JoAnn. How can we expect the average citizen to understand how to build an efficient culture and economy when our elected officials don't even get it? My favorite part of this, though, is her statement, 'why not?' Really JoAnn, why not. How about because it doesn't work. If Detroit were to receive a bailout like this, they would be asking for it again next year. Their economy is decimated right now and needs to be fixed from the ground up, through business investment and reduced public spending. With leaders like her, what viable business would want to invest millions and/or billions of dollars into establishing themselves in that jurisdiction?

The irony is, her request isn't much different than representatives and senators allocating federal funds for pork projects to take back home to benefit their core supporters and constituents. This is an attitude and expectation that runs across party lines, unfortunately. This is why I have such a problem with the current Republican party, because so much of our federal spending is on programs that should be managed and paid for at the state and local levels.

I'm just glad someone was brave (or dumb) enough to vocalize it the way she did, so that we can see what is going on with our government spending first-hand. Thanks JoAnn.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

One week away... some voting tips for the undecided

About this time next week, we will be watching the early returns coming in from the east coast states on every channel on the dial.  I will be sitting on the couch, hopefully ready to celebrate a critical victory on our country's path to fiscal responsibility and real economic growth.  For those of you who are undecided (and at this point, I have no comprehension of how that is possible), I decided to make a little checklist of some of the issues and my guidelines on how you should vote.

If you believe it is the role of the government to 'create' jobs (paid for by taxing others or increased borrowing, aka adding to the debt/deficit), vote for Obama.  If you believe that jobs are created by market forces like demand, and that private business will efficiently create jobs that add value to the economy, vote for Romney.

If the words 'debt' and 'deficit' don't make your skin crawl, stick with the current regime.  Otherwise, vote him out.

If you are not worried about how this debt will affect your kids and grandkids, Obama is your man.  And good luck with that when you are 80 and need their help, because they aren't going to have much disposable income to spend on you.

If you believe 'free' health care (and I use the quotes because NOTHING is free) is an inalienable right, vote for the sitting president.  If you believe it is the responsibility of the individual to take ownership of their health care and it is not a right like life and liberty, vote Romney.  For those of you on Obama's side here, just beware of what you want in his plan versus the reality of how it will impact the economy.  Nothing like having great health care that kills our way of life.

If you support appeasement of our enemies, and believe that our country's designed structure is no better than any other, by all means, support our president.  If you believe what Romney has said on the campaign trail and in the debates about the greatness of America and agree with his unapologetic toughness towards our enemies, vote Romney.

Lastly, if you don't think you can succeed on your own, vote for the incumbent.  I'm sure his second term will be chock-full of entitlements that we will never pay down.  It might be nice though, if he actually would tell us what his second term agenda  will be... seems kind of important to me.  If you want to blaze your own trail, and succeed OR fail by your own accord, vote Romney.

You have seven days left to decide.... good luck.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Mr. Obama, thank you

Just watched the DNC Convention headliner, our own Mr. President, Barack Obama... I sit here at almost midnight wondering what I just watched.  He spoke about hope and change, and sticking with him for four more years because he could not get done what he said he would.  Well, to be honest, he didn't apologize for not getting his promises done, he just asked us to give him more time.  So I ask, why should I?  What has he done in this term that would give me any belief that the next four would be better?

He gave a very compelling argument to the undecided about why we should trust him and believe in his presidency.  Republicans are negative, and only want to benefit the rich.  His opponent wants to take us backwards, not "Forward".  Blah blah blah.  Apparently you can say whatever you like during a speech with no immediate repercussions.

What Mr. Obama did not realize is that over the next two months, we will see through his lies and rhetoric to see the truth about what makes this country the greatest.  So to that, I say, Thank You Mr. Obama.  Your words will come back to bite you in the ass when the real truth comes out.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Take that, Constitution!!

Chief Justice John Roberts and President Obama
Today was a landmark day in this country, as our Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act (ACA, ObamaCare) is constitutional... Huh?  I, like most rational thinkers, was baffled when I heard the news this morning.  How could a conservative-leaning court make such a joke out of our founding documents?  Well, I decided I wanted to know.  I need to understand ACA and what it means to me.  So I started reading the bill.... and reading... and reading.  Then I realized it was 27x longer than the longest book I have ever read (Atlas Shrugged, by the way, at 1,100 pages and well worth the read).  So, I am going to take some time over the coming weeks to research the law, research the judicial decision-making that went in to SCOTUS's decision today, and provide my commentary on what it means to all of us "working people". 

For now, I am just dismayed.  But, for the first time in a long time, I felt a passion in me for this nation that has been dormant.  I got so jaded watching debates, listening to the pundits, and watching all of the candidates bash each other that my interest just fell by the wayside.  It was a cesspool into which I did want to wade.  But, we as a people have NO CHOICE BUT TO DO SO.  I am sick of the apathy, mine included, that has allowed us to be duped into giving away liberty after liberty without even blinking an eye.

This issue is so embedded into our ability to prosper as a nation that we need to understand its ramifications.  We as citizens need to know what it is going to cost us directly, and how it will impact our economy and therefore our way of life.  So, stay tuned for some statistics, commentary, informative links, and, of course, my opinion. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Who 'deserves' the HOPE Scholarship and Zell Miller Award

In last weekend's Atlanta Journal-Constitution online, a story was published regarding the HOPE Scholarship here in Georgia (Link to story), specifically about the 'full' scholarship called the Zell Miller Award.  This scholarship is awarded to students who perform at the top of their class.  According to the story, :

'Zell Miller scholars must graduate high school as the valedictorian or salutatorian, or with at least a 3.7 grade-point average and a 1200 on the SAT’s math and reading sections. While in college they must maintain a 3.3 GPA.'

To say the least, these students are the highest academic achievers in our state school systems.  The article goes on to question the legitimacy of the scholarship, due to the fact that the authors of the story believe that too many of the recipients are from affluent areas of Metro Atlanta.  Rather than debate the presented facts (which I believe are debatable... read the article and you may agree), I would rather debate the bigger story, which is, Why does it matter where the kids are from? 

The last time I checked, there were no guarantees that any parent, no matter how rich, was required to provide a college education for their children.  The education is for the student, NOT the parent.  So, are we to assume that just because a student's father or mother is successful, a student is entitled to their money and assets and therefore not worthy of a scholarship?  Just because a student's parents make a good living does not mean that this student is guaranteed success, let alone tuition payments.  It baffles me that we have become a culture that just inherently believes that all parents should pay for their children's educations... ever heard of student loans?  Or earning a scholarship? 

The AJC has a clear agenda in attempting to manipulate us, the people, into believing that the rich are getting richer, when the reality is that the students who work hard and earn their good grades are getting richer by getting the opportunity to graduate from college with zero to little debt... that sounds like capitalism at its finest to me.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

“Free” coverages… Thanks ObamaCare!!

My employer’s benefits programs renew and update every March 1st, so last Friday we sat down in a staff meeting to discuss the upcoming changes and enhancements to the program. During this meeting, we learned about healthy lifestyle choices, alternative ways to better use our benefits and insurance, and other riveting facts and figures. In attendance were representatives from our benefits broker agency as well as a representative from our carrier.
The representative from our carrier informed us of a new benefit we would be receiving. We now have the ability to go two times per year for ‘wellness’ visits. These visits will not even require a co-pay, she tells us! She is so excited about this feature that she actually personally thanked President Obama, and praised his “new healthcare initiative” (her words) as the reason for this change. My co-pay for an office visit ranges from $25-$60, depending on the type of doctor, reason for visit, and services rendered. So, at best, these two visits would save me $120 per year. On the surface, that is not a bad deal, and on the surface is where she left it.
Ten minutes later, our benefits broker stood up in front of his PowerPoint slides and explained to us that our rates were rising, and went through the variety of reasons that health care costs are rising. If my math is accurate, the increase in my premiums will be nearly $300 per year. Furthermore, my premium only represents a fraction of the total cost of my coverage, as my employer contributes a significant majority (75-80%) of the total cost. So, if my cost is going up $300, my employer’s cost for me is going up at least 3 times that much. Hmm, something is not right here… I now get up to $120 in wellness visits for free, but I am paying almost 3x as much in premiums.
I will not be so naive as to claim that this wellness visit option from ObamaCare pumped my premiums up that much. It is much more likely that the overweight, out-of-shape, always sick co-workers of mine had a significant impact as well, but that is a post for another day. But these “free” initiatives, such as the birth control mandate that has been front and center in the news this week, are NOT FREE. My favorite cliché from my years in college getting a business degree is, “There is no such thing as a free lunch”. Someone always pays. The politicians who pushed the health care bill through in 2010 will claim that this cost is going to be picked up by the insurers, and on paper it will. But any business that seeks to make a profit (is there a business that doesn’t??) will be forced to take action. They will find other ways to pass the cost on, as they should. Every business that operates is in the same industry... the industry of making a profit. Even if they get subsidies from the government to cover their increased costs, we as taxpayers will foot the bill.
I think what makes me most angry is the fact that this representative could sit there with a smile and pontificate about the “free” visits and then listen to the broker explain about our increased premiums. Does she think I am stupid? Or is she that stupid to believe what her own words? Either way I lose.