No, not Standard Operating Procedures.
Okay, any of you who have trouble with keeping promises, leave now. Ditto anyone who believes that pensions are ANYTHING but deferred compensation. Ditto anyone who thinks that pensions and pensioners are one sided, for those folks forget that those pensioners ALLOWED their employers to USE employees' money for at least a quarter-century in most cases, money that those employers either invested to their profit or spent on improvements.
Now, with all of the prejudiced people gone (or driven underground to lurk!), let me address all of those who had the discipline to stick to a job long enough to get vested in a defined-benefit pension, and lived long enough to start collecting it.
An audience of maybe enough to fill a bridge table in the old-folks' home?
I'll relate my case, because I'm a pensioner. My case is NOT typical, because I held down two careers, both offering defined-benefit pensions, and I completed both careers, so I am what is derisively known to many as a "double-dipper". Make that triple dipper, because I have lived and paid into Sociable Seguridad long enough to collect THAT as well.
(waits for the audible level of derision, apoplexy and just plain retching to subside)
First, let's look at my military pension: I am a retired USAF Reserve Major, and my pension is about $25K/year. While on Active Duty in the USAF, I fought in a foreign war, getting shot at in the unfriendly skies of Vietnam in I-Corps, the DMZ and on 20 occasions, over North Vietnam. I flew as a crew member in the ancient but honorable B-52D and later, the B-52H. Long days, physical danger, some hardship, but I stayed with my Reserve career and retired from it in 1995 with 22 years served, thereby earning a pension which I had to wait until 2003 to begin collecting.
Then there is my Public Service pension. Yes, I am one of those oft-reviled Oregon Public Employee Retirement System "hogs at the trough". We OPERS people seem to have targets on our backs, or so it would seem by the way our right to our defined-benefit pensions keeps getting eroded to pay for OTHER "hogs at the trough", namely the HUGE load that illegal aliens and their offspring put on our State, particularly our school systems (roughly 20% of the entire K-12 budget is provided for schooling the children of illegal immigrants who are not even legal to be in the country).
Following the rules set down as State Law in my employment as a Patrol Deputy Sheriff for 25 years, I earned and paid into the OPERS system enough to retire with around $50K/year in OPERS pension. My pension's base level is 50%, but pension accrues on overtime pay, and I worked a lot of overtime (12,500 hours or so over my career), so I retired with 89% of my base salary, also equal to 67% of my Final Average Salary.
With Sociable Seguridad, according to my final annual statement, I had worked 47 years of full-time credit, but I didn't get the maximum because I elected to take my payments at age 62 instead of waiting until 65. SSA gives me about $18.7K/year, so I total $93.7 in deferred compensation per annum.
That's me. The gudwife had to retire medically 20 years ago, and her SSA is far less than mine, but taking it all together, we're comfortable enough, WHICH IS WHAT I INTENDED TO HAPPEN ALL ALONG!
Yes, Sweetpea, I did my retirement planning back when I was still in my teens, pushed in that direction by my wise father and mother, didn't YOU? Oh, I'm sorry you didn't, here, let me educate you with one simple parable. It is known as the Fable of the Grasshopper and the Ant.
Into the present.
Nowadays, defined-benefit pensions are rare, most "pensions" amount to nothing more than savings accounts which your employer may or may not contribute to, but 55 years ago, when I started working, defined-benefit pensions were the rule, and anything past casual day labor earned a pension. My reading tells me that in the Nation's struggle to pull out of the bad recession of the late 70's (the Carter Recession or "stag-flation" or whatever you want to call it), most companies started to cut down on pension contributions. Those companies with strong Unions and the States with their strong public-employee unions were the last employers to begin to chop up their defined-benefit pension systems. This was done in most cases by phasing new employees onto the new, more thrifty systems, and who can argue with that? Perfectly legal, and even moral, that.
Where it gets dicey is when employers start to cut back payments to those already retired and on payments from the older defined-benefit systems. This brings on the legal issue of "what does that contract really say", and that will all have to be decided by the courts, which of course, are led by judges with lots of conflicting interests (Oregon Appellate Judges are in OPERS, just as I am). Just recently, military retirees were told that their COLA payments ("inflation-proofing"*) were being cut by 1%, or over half. We OPERS retirees also had our COLA payments cut this year.
Oh well, the Judges will sort it all out. We're a Nation of Laws, right?
The thing that gravels my butt and motivated me to spend a couple of hours writing this morning was the moral issue here. What does it mean when our leaders can't keep their promises?
What it means is that if they can't keep their promises to pensioners, they will not keep them to their Nation insofar as the Constitution requires them to in other cases. The same mindset that trashes the pensioners trashes the entire Constitution, and then what do we have?
None dare call it Liberty anymore.
Note: In Part Two, we will look at the only thing that will save the present older generation, which the Dear Leaders and the youth seem hell-bent on tossing into the dustbin. That thing is civic activism, and it can be brought into action in time to affect next year's elections, and those of 2016 as well.
* today's COLA does little in the way of "inflation-proofing". The actual rate of inflation, with all goods and services included, is between 5% & 9%, depending on how honest the economist is. The present method of calculating inflation, disregarding the "volatile" elements of the economy as it does, is simply lying with statistics, nothing more.
David Stockman, President Reagan's Budget Director:
"Wall Street is a casino inhabited by day traders and robots who are on the drug the Fed is feeding."
The only thing I would say different is to add the word "fool's" in front of "casino".
I've been saying these words myself for years.
Context: It was on Neil Cavuto's pm Fox News program yesterday, and the two were discussing the unreal frenzy surrounding the Twitter IPO. At the time, Twitter was selling at an unworldly P/E ratio of 50:1.
Yep, and the Dow set several records on different trading days this week.
Now, add in the sobering fact that almost a million people left the US labor force in October, and the current labor participation rate is as low as it was during the despair and malaise of President Carter's presidency.
The picture of the US economy which emerges is very ugly. Very deliberately, the current masters of that economy have built a house of cards which they are calling a fortress. The slightest puff of an ill wind brings it all down.
What do I invest in?
Beans and bullets.
The short answer, no.
There is some movement on the Right to try to apply some "fix" for Obamacare that the Left will approve of, then after passing the "fix", both sides return to their hustings and campaign happily for more of the same bad Government.
Justice delayed is Justice denied.
What we have seen so far in the past 5 weeks of the Obamacare rollout is that:
By now, you have seen just how badly the roll-out has gone. Far more health insurance customers with existing plans have been cut off from them than have new health insurance customers been enrolled in new plans. The idea behind the failed scheme was that new enrollees would pay the freight for both the 'po folks AND the new insurance entitlements, e.g., all women get childbirth coverage, everyone gets portability, pre-existing conditions are ignored, etc. This basic assumption, that creating a new class of insured would pay for all the changes to the overall pool of insurance, was fatally flawed from the start, and is now proven to be a failure.
The failure of the economic model in Obamacare means that the whole system will now fail, and nothing can be done to prevent that, but some will try, and those mistaken legislators will be from both sides of the aisle. The Left, of course, desperately wants to hide the failures as Election 14 approaches, and the Right thinks that putting a patch on the program to kick it down the road past Election 14 will somehow make up for their bullheaded and hurtful action to shut down the Government over the Left's refusal to accept repeal of the whole misbegotten program.
Both the Left and Right are wrong.
What is really happening now is that the Health Care Insurance magnates' evil contribution to Obamacare is coming to light. When Obama went on TeeVee the other night and said, (paraphrase) "I never said that you could keep your old plan, I meant that you could keep it if it met current standard", he was being technically correct, sort of an "it all depends on what the definition of is, is" statement that Billy Clinton made as his Oval Office pecadilloes were exposed.
The problem is, NO current plan meets the new "standard" of Obamacare, and the insurance companies should have been warning their policy-holders about that for the past year. Insurance policies are VERY specifically written, and Obamacare rules demand so many new changes to support the new "reforms", that EVERY plan will have to be new. The new plans will give one more opportunity to the insurance companies to rake in obscene profits, and they are already showing us how big those profits will be.
No one gets to keep their "old" plan.
Get that? I'll repeat it: No one gets to keep their "old plan".
Why do you think that Obama/Pelosi gave his buddies, the Unions, all those "indulgences" so they would be exempt? Because he knew that he had been lying by telling everyone "if you like your old plan, you can keep your old plan". He knew it beforehand. Take that to the bank, O-believers, as you cash in your savings to pay for your "new" insurance plans. Take it to Craigslist as you put that boat and/or RV you can no longer afford out there for sale with millions of others to try to make room in your budget for a doubling of your premiums. Take it to Grocery Outlet for cheap foods as you can no longer afford to shop for organic stuff at Whole Foods. Take it to Wally World as you shop for clothing, because Nordy's or Macy's is definitely not in your price-range anymore.
Here's one example: Kaiser Permanente. I used to be insured by them, and I had their "C" plan. I was last on that plan in 2003, when I retired from the Sheriff's Office. It had $5 doctor-visit co-pays, $5 pharmacy co-pays, and everything else was fully-paid. Kaiser "C" will now have $30-40 office visit co-pays, $25-30 R/X co-pays, and a cap is introduced, somewhere in six figures. I think my old lifetime cap was $1.5M. That plan used cost the County about $600/month. Nowadays, the County splits the cost with workers, and the new "C" Plan split will be almost $800 for the County and the Deputy. Oh, one other thing: Kaiser now has a waiting list for surgeries. A good friend stayed on the program after retirement, and his wife needs a new hip. By the time she get the surgery, she will have been on the waiting list for 14 months. In the past, she wouldn't have waited a month for that hip replacement. She is in constant pain from her failed joint, and they throw a few pills at her, but don't fix the joint.
You might ask, "what do YOU have for insurance, Dawg?" I have Medicare, which has been severely cut to shift money to the fiscal sinkhole that is Obamacare. Because I retired from the Air Force after a full career of 22 years, I also have Tri-Care, the military system, which acts as a secondary payer to Medicare. I could also file for VA care, but haven't, for reasons of personal liberty you might have read about here.
In sum, the program can't be fixed, and you need to IMMEDIATELY suspect the motives of anyone who wants to "fix" Obamacare. The only "fix" you'll get is that the "fixers" will line their pockets with more insurance-company cash. Obama/Pelosi/Reid had plenty of Socialist models for healthcare to model Obamacare on that have at least had their major bugs worked out, but they ignored the mostly-successful Swiss system, the very-successful German system, and struck out on their own with the resulting mess that you see now.
Don't fix it, start over.
In this series, I hope to make an iuntellectual case for why this Nation can't just change political leadership flavors and revert to better, more Constitutional times.
The basic reason is that those leaders who have taken us down the leftward path have carefully planned it to be a path of no return. They did this in the simplest way possible, they bought off two generations (since WW2) with welfare of many kinds, and that welfare has become an integral part of of the fabric of this society. Individuals don't count anymore. Individual effort doesn't count anymore.
Even the "government shutdown", which was supposed to kick us in the ass to the tune of $24B, won't, and that's all because the welfare state runs on forever, without the need of it's attendants. Two-thirds of government spending is in the run-forever Entitlement class, and supposedly can't be cut.
This post is generally about the irreversible Leftward march of America, and particularly about the role of High Finance in this change.
The High Finance roles is devided into two factors, Corporate Welfare and Federal Regulation. Although these two evils share some facets, they were introduced separately, so I will treat them separately.
Some history of Corporate Welfare. It's been around forever in at least ONE form: when the Government needed to make expanding the USA it's goal in the nineteenth centruy and beyond, it gave charters to US capitalists to do the fiscal heavy lifting. It did NOT tax it's way into expanding the USA from sea to shining sea. Instead, it gave away a valuable commodity of which it had a great surplus: land. When railroads were needed, the Government simply gave away the land on which to build the lines and facilities, and "threw in" some extra land upon which to build towns, site farms, etc, all to be served by the railroads. No highways, because there was no motorized highway transport just yet. The Federal Government did the same thing when it wanted to sponsor higher education: it gave away land for Universities, which are still known today as "land grant colleges". These land giveaways were the first uses of Corporate Welfare, and if it had ended there, we'd be okay, but it didn't.
With the success of land-granting, the Feds saw that they could influence the direction and advancement of industry also, and so the Military-Industrial Complex was born. After Admiral Thayer McMahon wrote his great book about the role of a modern Navy in Manifest Destiny, we built a modern Navy to rule the seas where Britain's Royal Navy wasn't already ruling. The companies which built that Navy, built the armaments for the ships, built the naval facilities, all largely exist today, doing the same job. Bath Iron Works in Maine is an example. It's parent company, General Dynamics, is a modern holding company which builds military equipment of all sorts for all of the military's subdivisions.
The Military-Industrial Complex was only the start for Corporate Welfare though, and like a fungus, this pernicious form of sloth invaded corporate boardrooms everywhere. There is virtually NO section of American industry which is not affected by corporate welfare. The recent surge of promoting all things "green", a Faustian bargain of actually saving the planet in the regard of Conservation, while pretending to save it in the regard of Global Warming, is the best current example of Corporate Welfare, and it's also a good example of Federal Regulation, the next topic I will address in this post.
Federal Regulation is the other half of the high-finance path the Left has taken to weaken the idea of an America by and for individuals.
With the expansion of Government has come the expansion of Federal regulation. It's a peas-in-a-pod relationship. As the Government expands, both in size and roles, it requires more defined control to cement it's leadership and power projection. More regulation is written, regulation begets power, and more power means more regulation. The Founders could NOT have imagined the growth of Government that has taken place, but there ARE hints that they meant the Federal Government to have a much smaller role, and the State governments to have a larger role, because those Founders knew that State governments would be closer to the people than the Federal government, and therefore more democratic.
It hasn't worked out that way, though. The Federal government assumes it is the big dog on the block, even when there is nothing in the Constitution to say that it should be. A good example is the Federal Reserve Bank, which was originated to supposedly guard the US currency, but has morphed from that role into the role of a Mark One, Mod Zero socialist-nation Central Bank, controlling all commercial banks as well as the Federal currency. The Federal Reserve Bank, shortened here to The Fed, has, at the direction of it's leftist leaders in the Executive Branch, declared that it's okay for the USA to be insolvent, to keep printing fiat money with nothing behind it but smoke and mirrors. This sham policy even has an official-sounding name, "quantitative easing". QE allows the Government to spend money it doesn't have, to support policy it shouldn't have, i.e. buying votes via entitlements wrapped in the false flag of "social safety net", but more accurately called by a simpler word, "welfare". Under the Left's version of welfare, no one need work to improve their lives anymore, they are guaranteed a middle-class lifestyle by the government removing money from those who have it, supposedly in surplus.
The Capitalist institutions such as the Equities Exchanges are not immune to this welfare idea either, as they have decided that any and all investors should not have to assume risk when capitalizing business and industry through stock offerings. Here's how that works: an investor buys shares of stock (frequently not paying the full cost, but putting part of the purchase on credit),. There's always risk in buying equity shares. A company might be badly managed, might suffer some sort of catastrophic loss, etc, etc. Since part of the cost of those shares is borne by lending institutions, those institutions have created a system of "laying off" (yes, that's a betting term) their risk by offering insurance in the form of "derivatives". What these derivatives do is pay money if the share of stock goes down or up, so the investor is covered either way, and bears little risk, only the cost of the derivatives themselves, upon which the banking institution makes money (hand over fist). Because there is no risk, there is little incentive for the investor to actually insist that the company perform, and many don't. Under-performing companies are shielded from their incompetence by another class of derivatives called Exchange Traded Funds ("ETFs" or "Spiders"), in which each company's shares are but a fraction of the whole fund, so one or even several under-performing companies won't bring down the whole fund.
The overall effect of Federal Regulations is that the entire investment climate is smothered by them to such a degree that smokescreens like ETFs are required so money can actually move around in the investment systems. Without the regulations, there would be some hanky-panky, but the stock markets always had ways of internally controlling bad investment schemes. Now the Government pretends to have that role, bad investment schemes have skyrocketed to the point where the average investor cannot do his own research and put his own money into a stock equity without the help of expensive investment advice, and what you are paying for when you buy that advice is NOT how to make more money with your money, it's how to stay out of the clutches of the Federal government and it's infernal Regulation.
This is a long post, so let's summarize it.
Looking at the idea of how to get burdensome Government off the backs of the VERY few individuals left who care about their individuality as citizens, we find that the Federal Government has grown into a giant conglomerate ruling many aspects of our individual lives, and it had done so under the control of both parties in our two-party system, although the worst excesses can be traced to the Left. Corporate welfare has inserted the Federal government into almost every national corporation's business activity, and Federal regulation has forever changed the use of money, or creation of wealth, in the Nation.
This Nation became strong on the ideas and backs of individuals who worked far harder than they had to, but now the entire concept of working hard for a goal is considered evil, or at least unnecessary. Enterprise, once considered to be ONLY what an individual did to improve their lot in life, now means ONLY how well a person does by using someone else's resources to improve their lot in life.
So, to begin to answer my original question, "Can the Nation revert to it's original formula: individual effort by everyone brings benefits to all?", or is the individual aspect of citizenship so far in our past as to be not retrieveable?
It's not looking good for individual effort by and for the individual, but let's keep after this quest anyway.
I do conflict management. I did it professionally, in two careers, for a total of 47 years, and I do it as a hobby now that I'm retired.
Any good conflict manager studies the aftermath of great conflicts, to see where lessons may be learned, what mistakes were made, where conflict can be better managed.
I find that the biggest single mistake made in the two-week stalemate between the Left and the Right was the handling of the threat of "default".
Let's look at default. Default would have occurred if the United States Treasury (led currently by Jack Lew) had failed to pay interest/dividends on the various lending instruments it had issued. The monthly cost of that interest is currently $23 billion dollars. On average, Treasury takes in tax receipts of $230 billion per month. How then can it be said that the United States was ever in danger of being in "default"? The US had income of ten times the expense which had to be paid to avoid default!
The fact that "default" was ever an issue at all was because President Obama wanted to raise a boogeyman to threaten and cow the House of Representatives with. The President, along with his fawning media corps, managed to convey the lie that the United States was sure to default if the borrowing limit was not eased. The dumbed-down electorate, which should have been shouting "pants on fire" at the President ever since he began this Big Lie campaign, said nothing, never challenged the basic assumption, even when many, many economists and respected economic-evaluation institutions raised the bullshit flag on "default" several months ago.
President Obama appointed Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, and he was confirmed by the Senate. Article One, Section Three, last paragraph of our Constitution says,
Judgment in Cases of Impeachments for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives, shall not extend further than removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.
The Senate would not be involved in the Impeachment of Jack Lew.
What was Jack Lew's offense? When confirmed, he was charged with the absolute duty to protect the faith in, and credit of, the fiscal obligations of the United States. When forced by circumstances to put US Treasury operations on a cash-receipts basis, meaning that he would have to prioritize spending according the the importance to the credit of the US of his expenditures, he failed to do so. That is a deleliction of his duty, a complete dereliction of it.
Were I Speaker Boehner, I would immediatley direct the House Counsel to prepare those Articles of Impeachment, and summon Jack Lew before the House for his trial.
How would this action affect President Obama? There are a number of possibilities, but the first would be that the President would probably ask Jack Lew to resign, and he probably would. The President cannot afford to expend any political capital protecting his appointee. Speaker Boehner should then schedule a hearing in the Oversight Committee, or the Finance Committee, offer Jack Lew full immunity, and ask him under oath if he was ordered not to prioritize payments that Treasury had to make, so as to make it appear that "default" was a certainty on October 17th. If his answers provide ANY inkling that the President, or a trusted advisor such as Val Jarrett issued such an order, the Speaker should commend him for his honesty, and prepare to impeach President Obama.
In the meanwhile, Speaker Boehner needs to draw up a Federal Law requiring that the Treasurer of the United States have such a payment priority in case of such situations. That law should be passed and sent to the Senate, with pressure to have it heard in the Senate. It would be very interesting to see what "justification" would be rolled out to oppose such a common-sense law.
I sincerely hope that Speaker of the House John Boehner does two things this morning:
It's very specific, that Article, it says that the House shall originate all matters of fiscal importance.
On a point of order, one might also note that it is the duty of the Senate to consider all such legislation sent to them by the House, and by the Majority Leader, not the full Senate, rejecting every House-passed Act sent over in the past two weeks, they have abandoned that duty.
When Mr. Leader's Bill actually gets to the House, Speaker Boehner ought to immediately send this message to Leader Reid:
"Sir, this Legislation did not originate here, and therefore cannot be considered by this Body"
President Obama probably HAS read Art 1, Sect. 8, since he claims to be a Constitutional Scholar and teacher. Surely the President will not be too upset when Speaker Boehner does not even hold a vote on the Senate Bill, but sends it right back to the Senate.
How then does the current stalemate get resolved? Here's my suggestion:
First, Speaker Boehner calls upon the President and Leader Reid to read and heed Art 1, Sect. 8. Then Speaker Boehner needs to send over to leader Reid one Bill, duly debated and voted by the House, that contains a Federal Budget which funds all legal activities of the Federal Government, and contains such borrowing authority that would be found reasonable by both body's economists, say a limit of 5-7% past the income stream of the Government.
If the Senate again fails to consider a House-passed budget (this would be that so-called "clean resolution"), then the House ought to begin Impeachment proceedings against President Obama, for failure to do his Constitutional duty and actually run the country. Similar proceedings need to be begun against Leader Reid.
When the whole mess gets to the Supreme Court, one can only hope that THEY have read Article One, Section Eight.
BTW, if today goes past and there is no action to resolve the two stalemates, I recommend accumulating some cash reserves, quickly. Considering how President Obama abused his authority during the not-a-shutdown shutdown to cause pain and suffering amongst the Citizens, I think he will probably do the same with the Spending Limit question, and order a Bank Holiday, or at the least, a Federal Reserve Holiday. When that happens, every ATM in the Nation will go off-line. Credit cards will probably not be honored, either, since they, too require a process originating with the Federal Reserve.
Why would Obama deliberately tank the economy, you ask? Because he can, and because it's the only way he can show us that he has ultimate power over us. Right now, the House is showing him the Constitutional limit on that power, and Mister Obama doesn't like that, at all.
ObamaCare, a speeding, crowded express train rolling toward a washed-out bridge, is about to carry, at once, the entire medical care system AND likely the entire US economy into oblivion. This train is Bound for Hell.
There is only one group of people with the credentials to save both the medcial care system and the economy, and that's American Doctors.
To do it, they first have to stop the train. They need to get together through their professional organizations and tell President Obama to freeze the program, then they need to suggest the appropriate changes. They need to tell the President that THEY will end ObamaCare if he doesn't.
The changes to ObamaCare are where it will get tricky. Big Pharma will try to dip their oar in the water, and the doctors must give them the cold shoulder. The insurance companies will of course try to make THEIR changes, but the docs must remember that the insurance companies ran this train off the rails before ObamaCare, and then collaborated with Obama and the Left to re-rail the train and give it the highball without first fixing the brakes. The insurance companies will have to yield, on issues such as portability, pre-existing conditions and tort reform in malpractice. The insurance companies must realize that that they will face maybe a lean decade before the reforms stabilize the system. As much money as the insurance companies have made in recent years, they can afford to play their cards a little closer to the vest.
What to do with ObamaCare? Trim it down to size, and that size is small. It will become the "insurance" ONLY for those at or below the poverty line. It will NOT be mandatory. It WILL be charged off against other subsistence payments.
The Doctors have the smarts. Do they have the survival instinct to form a cohesive unit? Congress tried and failed, the People have spoken repeatedly, in the polling, that they don't like the program, but the Left is intent on crashing the medical care system and likely the economy anyway, just to get that increasing political power that will make them invincible.
The Left is willing to crash the train. The right doesn't know how to save it. This is a hell of a fix. The docs do these fixes, and I know because I was raised by one and I raised one myself.
...and why it's important for political reality to be at least understood by both sides.
First example, your blogger. I will no more refer to the two sides by their chosen (Party) names, only by their politically-REAL names, i.e., the Left and the Right. On occasion, I might even attach the reality of labels: such as "The Unconstitutional Party", the "Un-American Party", perhaps even the "Marxist party". Those would be for the Left. For the Right, I might use labels such as the "Collection of Idiots", or the tried-and-true "Stupid Party". If someone on the Right OR the Left actually deserves praise, I will simply call him or her an American, which OUGHT to be the highest praise a politician could want, anyway.
The political reality of the Left is that they operate with over-reach, all the time, and are more likely than the Right to forget the constraints of the Constitution. I agree with many of their ideas, such as giving the less-fortunate members of this society a hand up. That works for me, because when those less-fortunate are down and out, they are an expensive drag on the economy. I am also a Conservationist, and believe that the natural enviroment OUGHT to be put back the way it was found, after any extractive effort to support society at large such as mining. We haven't performed up to this standard, so clean-up at public expense is proper.
The Political reality of the Right is even stranger than that of the Left. Operating from a basic position which is closer than the Left's to Constitutional reality, the Right nonetheless manages to kick the Founders' rules and policies in the ass even harder than the Left does. Their forever example of Abortion as a Constitutional evil is the obvious example. The Constitution is perfectly neutral on the health of Americans, except that it's rules are preceded by advocacy for "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Seems hard to have any of those three if you want to force women to be mere chattel of a male-centric society, and you want to do that by bending science instead of establishing it. The Bible may have guided the personal lives of the Founders, but those Founders DELIBERATELY left it out of their written, Constitutional guidance on how to run this Republic. It needs to stay out. Real Americans may indeed still follow the Bible's guidance, but so may Real Americans follow the Torah, or the Qu'ran.
Now to the current political troubles.
The Left spends too much public money for their private, political gain. They started doing this back in Andy Jackson's time, and that policy has only gotten more extreme over time. Buying votes by publicly-funded support of lower classes has become THE standard play in the Left's playbook. This policy needs to be REVERSED, and it needs to be reversed with all the vigor the Constitution provides for. When the House of Representatives, currently under the control of the Right, attempted to exercise their Constitutionally-approved (Art. 1, Sec. 8) control over this practice of the Left, and targeted the Left's attempt to tax money from persons with wealth, and use it to pay for modern health-care of persons of little wealth, changes to that Act, which was previously approved under the hegemony of a Congress totally controlled by the Left, were proposed in the now-Rightist House. If the Nation were being run under proper Constitutional policy and control, using actual political reality, those changes to the aforesaid Act, sometimes known as "Obamacare", would have been peacefully made by re-writing that Act under the hegemony of the Rightist House, and funding it according to it's revision. The Leftist President said "no revisions", and the Leftist Senate went along with him, so the Rightist House was reduced to using it's Constitutional funding authority to stop providing money for that Act. During this time, the Government ran out of appropriations authority to fund itself, and the now-infamous "shutdown" began.
Shortly, a similar stalemate will result over the authority of the Leftist Administration to borrow money. This coming stalemate between the Left and the Right will cause REAL and SERIOUS damage to the US economy, should it not be resolved in the nine days remaing for resolution.
The Left and the Right may eventually decide to settle their differences by force of arms, or simply be forced to because, under political reality, they have exhausted all other options. The Left is unprepared to do that, because it has all these underclasses of people whose votes it bought to support, and it is DAMN DIFFICULT to do that support when you are in the middle of fighting a war that will almost-certainly target the logistics of necessary supply for the Left.
As easily as the Right brought the "shutdown" stalemate to the Left, and as easily as the Left booted their opportunity to run the Government for the benefit of it's citizens during that "shutdown" (the shutdown only affects 15% of the Government's workers, so the Government OUGHT to be able to run on the remaining 85%), the Right will bring the refusal to allow more Government borrowing, and the Left will, in return, bring the chaos of economic and REAL war to this Nation.
The biggest failure of the Left and the Right is that both FAIL to see the practical limits of political reality. Neither side recognizes the reality of of the onrushing political end of the Nation. When that end arrives, there will be no opportunity remaining to solve the problem with non-military means. Once that military conflict starts, it will only end according to the usual MILITARY rules of managing conflict, not the POLITICAL rules. Bullets have a way of cutting through the most cleverly-devised political smokescreens. Politics ends at the point of a gun.
Civil War Two, or the Second Revolution, is about on us, folks. Are YOU personally prepared to survive it?
...and the boneheaded equities markets still like that.
Neither do I. Neither will you when the inevitable denouement (a French word for surrender) happens.
What we REALLY neeed to look at, Congress, is a law for Truth in Equities Marketing. We need:
When the banks stop pretending betting proceeds are real investments, maybe the Fed will stop believing in the Tooth Fairy, and will quit printing fiat money.
* According to many of the market-watching investment advisors, the "smart" investor purchases options to sell along with the purchases of actual equity shares, thereby avoiding or at least cutting their downside risk. These "put" Options are nothing but legalized bets. Betting and investing don't mix, shouldn't be allowed. If you have decided to invest in the earning potential of a company, believe in your investment.