Who Actually Did Build It?

Posted by Frankly Francis on September 2, 2012 under In The News, Social Issues/Politics | Be the First to Comment

Here’s Some Orwellian 1984 Newspeak:

Candidate for Senate Elizabeth Warren Says:
“I hear all this, you know, ‘Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever. No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody.
You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory — and hire someone to protect against this — because of the work the rest of us did.

“Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless — keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

Frankly Francis Says:
After we each follow our natural compulsion to sing a verse of “Kumbaya,” let’s take a look at what is going on underneath those words.

To gender neutralize the common phrase – no one is an island. We all exist in society because of mutual cooperation. And I think even the dimmest of us knows, no matter what our circumstances, we all have had help along the way. But…

To Ms. Warren’s point, note that she repeatedly says “the rest of us paid for” throughout her argument. She never says “we all paid for” or “the rich along with all other Americans paid for.”   She, for some reason, excludes the rich as paying for anything that they utilized, while the rest of us subsidized their success.

Well then, who did pay for that?

Now considering that at least 46% of all Americans pay no federal income taxes at all, almost half of us paid for nothing she mentions but got the benefit of all that stuff.

According to the National Taxpayers Union, in 2009, the top 25% income earners paid 87.3% of all income taxes.

I think one might make a reasonable case that the rich that Ms. Warren castigates did indeed pay for almost all of what we collectively have. And they have already paid for the next kid who comes along too. Such inconvenient truths for Ms. Warren’s argument, I am almost sorry to mention it.

President Obama Says:
“There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.”

“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”

Frankly Francis Says:
First, I am pretty sure that Al Gore built the Internet, but regardless, and let us not re-write history here, it was built for the purpose of information sharing, not so that all the companies could make money off of the Internet. Entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to improve the market for consumers – they took significant financial risk and effort to provide that. Everyone has benefitted from the creation of new jobs, a more efficient economy, better processes and services for consumers, and that also includes the government receiving additional tax revenues.

President Obama says that there are a lot of smart people out there. I completely agree, but being smart, in and of itself, does not produce a successful business or riches. It requires much more than that.

And President Obama says that there are a lot of hard working people out there. Of course there are. Not to be callous, but if just hard work actually meant anything, I think you would find the rich furiously digging ditches with small hand shovels.

Success does involve hard work and smarts, but it also requires taking personal and financial risk, being innovative, being intensely committed to succeeding as a way of life, and being responsible to the people that you employ, amongst even more energy and time consuming things. A little old fashioned luck never hurts either as it is a highly competitive undertaking – 80% of small businesses fail within their first five years.

If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

Speaking of our public school system, there were a couple of teachers in my youth that were inspiring, but most were not. Most were just collecting their paychecks. And I am not saying that doing the job expected of you and being compensated is wrong, but that is not praise worthy either. Should we receive extra special attention for doing just what we are being paid to do?

You are right President Obama when you say “Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive,” – that somebody would be the Founding Fathers who risked their lives to publish the Declaration of Independence, the men and women in military service who gave their lives for our freedoms, and then to all of the working Americans who turned that into a reality through their efforts and drive, in spite of government’s corruption and its waste.

But hear this –

Matt Welch Says:
“Note here how all government spending is equated to roads, public education, and electrical power, which–despite massive spending increases–account for a very small fraction of federal spending. You could (and should!) lop the federal budget in half without touching these line items.”

“Note, too, how increased government spending has not noticeably improved the very areas of service Warren names. K-12 results are flat over 40 years despite more than doubling per-pupil spending. The electricity grid is inefficient, wasteful, and expensive. The latest federal transportation bill continues squandering money without building or maintaining anything near highway capacity, and is best described as “pathetic.” We are getting much less return on our “investment,” while being asked to pony up more.”

So the old axiom that when the government does it, “you pay twice as much to get half as much” may well in spirit apply here.

One might get the feeling from the foregoing that the government thinks it has been slighted for its efforts and deserves more credit…perhaps a lot more credit.

It seems that the government is really serious about this, and with the erosion of so many of our civil liberties, just to be personally safe, it might be wise to thank the government when you receive your Eagle Scout award, when you accept that Oscar at the Academy Awards, when you invent the next life changing advancement, when you graduate from an academic institution, when the government approves your marriage license…whenever you have the selfish notion that you actually did something.

Frankly,

Francis

References:

You Didn’t Build That History:

http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/events/you-didnt-build-that

Hit and Run Blog –Matt Welch

http://reason.com/blog/2012/07/19/elizabeth-warren-again-nobody-got-rich-o

The Blaze – Tiffany Gabbay

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/elizabeth-warren-on-class-warfare-there-is-nobody-in-this-country-who-got-rich-on-his-own/

Who Pays Taxes:

http://ntu.org/tax-basics/who-pays-income-taxes.html

Who Does Not Pay Taxes:

http://blog.heritage.org/2012/02/19/chart-of-the-week-nearly-half-of-all-americans-dont-pay-income-taxes/

I, Libertarian

Posted by Frankly Francis on March 9, 2012 under Social Issues/Politics | Be the First to Comment

In the interest of full disclosure, and as a self diagnostic, I must start by saying that I am a pre-disposed individualist, never much of a joiner, always a rebel of the status quo, never politically correct, and always as true to myself as I can be.   And in spite of how my perspective may sound, I do not take myself too seriously.  Dear Reader, you would be well advised to not take me too seriously either.

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect” – Mark Twain

And I must also say that I enjoy freedom of thought and ideas.  I believe that diversity is the thing that makes us the strongest.  So while we may disagree in our beliefs, I welcome discussion that is contrary to my own values.  I am pretty sure that when we interact that way, we are all the better for it.

I was Once a Young Man

While the Vietnam War was going on, I began to suspect that the American ideal I had been trained to believe in was not being practiced.  I took particular interest studying the historical pathway of humanity in learning to live together.  I realized just how revolutionary the Declaration of Independence was.

What a lucky break for me to be born when and where I was!  But when I looked around at my fellow Americans, very few seemed to get it.  And “it” can be best described this way:

“There are those who would say that the liberation of humanity, the freedom of man and mind, is nothing but a dream. They are right.  It is the American dream“- Archibald McLeish

Such a powerful and wonderful thought.  How few of us that have ever revolved around the sun on this planet have had this opportunity?

Instead, I watched America reverting to a centrally controlled government with aspirations of ruling the world, while subjugating its own citizens.

“Don’t it always seem to go, they paved paradise and put up a parking lot” – Joni Mitchell

In the midst of this, I stumbled upon the Libertarian Party.

My first formal exposure occurred when I made an exploratory phone call to the office of the NYC Libertarian Party.  It started off this way:

Frankly Francis: “I’m interested in learning about the Libertarian Party.  What can you tell me about it?”

Libertarian Representative: “Basically, we want to do some good before we become corrupt.”

I appreciated the forthright honesty.

Actually, I was Intrigued

I learned that libertarians take the Constitution really seriously.  Seriously…really seriously.

“We may be tossed upon the ocean where we can see no land – nor, perhaps, the sun or stars.  But there is a chart and a compass for us to study, to consult, and to obey.  That chart is the Constitution” – Daniel Webster

The Libertarian Party motto is:

The Party of Principle: Minimum Government, Maximum Freedom

This suited me well.  Upon further study…

I Became a Libertarian

I remember back, over 25 years ago, when I spoke with people about my libertarian point of view, those little few who knew about libertarian philosophy laughed at me.  Those who didn’t laughed at me when I explained its tenets.

I was a real mirth maker back then, spreading joy to all of those around me.

And there is inherent off-beat humor in being of the libertarian persuasion – the Libertarian Party is an oxymoron.  As libertarians are, by their very core beliefs, individualists, I think that one of the biggest challenges libertarians face is being part of an organized group, even their own political party.

Some Libertarian Perspective:

If I were to apply Occam’s razor to libertarianism, I would describe it thusly:

“My right to throw a punch ends at your nose”

First and foremost, my life is mine to do with as I please, provided that my actions do not infringe upon anyone else’s rights.  Like most of our Founding Fathers, I believe that everyone is better off when the individual is valued over the group.

Government is a Necessary Evil

Libertarians are not as naïve as some claim – I know that there are no utopian solutions, but when government’s purpose is limited to protecting the rights and property of the individual, I believe that humanity will have made the next great leap forward.

“What’s so funny about peace, love, and understanding?” – Elvis Costello

I confess to being an idealist who would rather be considered a resident of planet Earth than an American.  But until such time as that is practical, I believe that our military should be so strong that no one would be stupid enough to attack us on our own soil.

“Let my actions speak so loudly that no one can hear my words” – Marv Levy

I don’t think that we need to evangelize ourselves to the world.  If we have a compelling way of life, our example will be enough for others to want to adopt it.  I suspect that this is where organized religions get it wrong; they spend too much time selling their product rather than living it.

We just need to be what we say we are.

The American Government is the Best Government…That Money Can Buy

We would be so much better off with a free market economy fairly regulated by government.  Don’t be deceived however; America has nothing resembling a free market economy.  And don’t be further deceived, the government does not fairly regulate the economy – it plays within it and gets bribed by big business.

I Love Competition

An even playing field of fair competition brings out the best in each of us and for each of us.  And as a consumer, I love competition because I get the best value for the least price.  It leads to new life improving developments…who isn’t in favor of new life improving developments?

Capitalism is the natural by-product of liberty that allows each of us to be whatever  we choose to be.

Live and Let Live

And we need to grow-up a bit.  While I do not advocate drugs, prostitution or gambling, none of these are criminal acts.  Nor is government the authority over marriage or civil unions.  Let’s get over it.  Government has never been able to legislate morality, nor should it; we each need to do that for ourselves.

More Government?

In recent times, we have endured the “War on Poverty,” “The War on Drugs,” the government’s intervention into healthcare, the bail-outs of government’s good time business buddies, undeclared wars that clearly violate the Constitution, government openly stealing from us by devaluing the dollar, along with foreign policy actions that breed terrorism, enabling the government to strip us of our essential rights.

“I place economy among the first and most important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers to be feared.  To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt.  If we run into such debts, we must be taxed in our meat and drink, in our necessities and in our comforts, in our labor and in our amusements.  If we can prevent the government from wasting the labor of the people, under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy” – Thomas Jefferson

I confess that I am stupefied by the prevailing belief that more government is the solution, based on the actual results of government’s actions.

But We Digress…

Our founding was labeled “The Great American Experiment” and it did, for fact, produce the best standard of living in recorded history…until we somehow decided that the experiment was no longer worthwhile.   We chose the intoxication of other ideals.

We let our government take over the spirit and law of our Constitution.  That’s what governments do.  I am not saying that it is right; government can’t help it.  Like all other biological and social organisms, government lives to grow for its own purposes.  Its growth has become cancerous.

Using “The New Deal” of the 1930’s as a baseline, it has taken us about 80 years to clearly devolve from the intent of the Declaration of Independence.

If we could even possibly re-boot America, it might take even longer to dial back what has happened.

But I don’t think that is in the cards for America.  America has gone empire, and I am pretty sure that there is no coming back from that.  No empire ever has before.

Though humanity is becoming more humane, the pathway has not yet been linear.  And it has at times been downright ugly.  But if we do not socially evolve through America, I do believe that humanity will utilize American principles in some other place, in some other time in a better way.

But We Go Forward…

or

“You can say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one” – John Lennon

Unlike decades ago, hardly a day goes by when I don’t run into the word “libertarian” in the media.  There are now libertarians hosting national TV and radio talk shows.

Perhaps it’s not too little, too late.  In the past, due to the largess of my vanity, I have said that I look forward to saying that I was a libertarian before it was cool to be a libertarian.  Maybe I will get the chance.  It really doesn’t matter; vanity certainly never does.

So We Close…

But don’t kid yourself, there is a real battle going on right now:  Will we be a centralized corporatist state or the land of the free and the brave?  Will we continue on our empire course or will we be good neighbors to the rest of the planet?  Will the government continue its quest to control every aspect of our lives or will we reclaim our unalienable rights, among these, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance

Frankly,

Francis

 

Suggested Reference:

The Declaration of Independence

http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/

The Constitution of the United States of America

http://www.constitution.org/constit_.htm

Be careful of this – if you answer the 10 questions you might find out you are a libertarian too.  The World’s Smallest Political Quiz:

http://www.theadvocates.org/quiz

Libertarian Party website:

http://www.lp.org/

Suggested Reading:

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds – Charles Mackay

The March to Folly – Barbara W. Tuchman

For Good and Evil: The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization – Charles Adams

Free to Choose – Milton & Rose Friedman

How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World – Harry Browne

Libertarianism in One Lesson – David Bergland

Libertarianism: A Primer – David Boaz

The Revolution: A Manifesto – Ron Paul

It is Dangerous to be Right When the Government is Wrong – Judge Andrew P. Napolitano

Why Government Doesn’t Work – Harry Browne

What It Means to Be a Libertarian – Charles Murray

The Libertarian Reader – David Boaz

The Great Libertarian Offer – Harry Browne

Hey Wendy’s – About My Coffee…

Posted by Frankly Francis on April 26, 2010 under Personal | Be the First to Comment

Sometimes I can be a curmudgeon, and sometimes I am proud of that.

I’m waiting in the drive-thru lane, I’m still waiting, I can see myself aging, pigs are flying above my car, Hell is freezing over.  OK, I’m overplaying it, but it seems like an undue amount of time.  And all I want is a black coffee.

I’ve long maintained that the propensity to get “order screwed” in the drive-thru lane is the price that one pays for convenience, but I can’t even get up there to place my order.

Finally, I’m at the window.  The young lady rejects my money and hands me my coffee.  She says that it’s on the house for the wait.  I offer to pay again, but she insists that the manager insists.

Why Thank You, Wendy’s…I’ll be back again.

What a unique experience.  One that I’ve never had before at fast food: understanding of the customer and the desire to mitigate the delay.

Imagine that, it’s almost like they think my time might be valuable.  I’ve had that notion before, but it is affirming when others feel that way as well.

I’d like to think that I’m easy to please, that I’m as understanding and forgiving as the next guy, but I’ve seen the next guy in action on many occasions and it hasn’t been pretty.  And I have had my moments too.

I don’t mean to take my pleasant surprise over the top.  I know it was just a coffee, but it is a response worth noting nonetheless.

Frankly,

Francis

Energy Independence Uber Alles!

Posted by Frankly Francis on March 10, 2009 under Social Issues/Politics | 3 Comments to Read

Amongst Other Options...

Amongst Other Options...

There is no greater priority; Energy Independence is my Number One issue.  Actually, now that I think of it, Energy Abundance would be even better.  We could trade our surplus energy to a world in fast growing need of it.  Trade balances would quickly swing our way for a long overdue change.

And let me give you my point of view straight-up: Energy self-sufficiency is more important to me today than clean emissions.  I’m willing to gamble that if we can develop the technology to become energy independent, we will have no trouble developing the proper ecology cleansing technology as well.

Note also that I strongly believe that we should be a good neighbor on the planet that we inhabit.  I hope it won’t be too long before we all readily agree that throwing pollutants into the planet is just as dumb as throwing waste on the streets where we live.

Nietzsche said, “From chaos comes order,” which I consider a semi-no-brainer.  I would counter it with, “From chaos comes profit.”  One person’s waste may profitably be another person’s living.

Lack of geographical frontiers can be potentially deeply vexing to our species – this is really the first time in recorded history that there are no more readily available lands to explore and inhabit.  So we must change our focus to other frontiers.  This may be the most wonderful time in our history to be American.

T. Boone Pickens is sure behaving like an American!  And I’m glad that he is fundamentally a cowboy, whether he is right or wrong.  Let’s bring on more Yankee Ingenuity.

President Kennedy boldly asserted in the early 60’s that we would land a man on the moon before 1970 – a goal that was pretty far fetched at the time.  The nation became properly challenged and powerfully motivated.  We did it.

Lincoln asserted, “No man stands still, he either moves ahead or falls behind.”  I believe Honest Abe was correct in that observation.  So it is true with nations.

In conclusion, I do not suggest the foregoing to push for an isolationist future; I just think that we should not be dependent upon other earthlings.

Frankly,

Francis

John Stewart On CNBC & Financial Advice

Posted by Frankly Francis on March 9, 2009 under In The News | Read the First Comment

 

 

I’ve been suspicious about the sage financial advice provided by the media, especially from people that yell a lot.  The Daily Show’s segment (above) confirms my cynicism.

I am amazed that the media, and the government as well, can so easily get away with such abuse of fiduciary responsibility.  On the other hand, it doesn’t seem that the American people really care about it either…Could there be a connection?

Frankly,

Francis