Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dismantling the Dream

 "We don't have a lot of time here. We've got a few weeks to get this thing done."
-          President Barack Obama, 11/28/12

What are the two unspoken words at the end of the second sentence? “My way.”

The president is not interested in spending cuts to increase revenue. His only intention is to drag down “the rich”—those households making $250,000 per year or more.

Does anyone really think that $250,000 per year is “rich” in this day and age?

Let’s take a hypothetical husband and wife. One is an accounting manager; one is a software engineer. This couple has put in years of post-graduate work in their chosen fields, years of learning their professions, years of putting in long hours, nights, and weekends, many sacrifices of family time, in order to achieve personal and material success through their own efforts and talents, on their own time and their own dime.

Once upon a time, that was called “the pursuit of happiness.”

This professional couple is finally, as a combined income household, making more than $250,000 dollars annually. Good for them. They’ve worked their butts off for it. They have a home in a decent neighborhood that they were able to buy with a healthy down payment of their own money. They drive nice cars, which they’ve paid for themselves. Let’s say they have a couple of college-aged children, and they’re paying tuition out of their own pockets, just as they do with everything they own or purchase. And they pay their taxes, every year.

What gives the federal government the right to tell them that they have too much money and should fork over more of it to subsidize wasteful government programs?

If the president is so keen on a “balanced approach,” why doesn’t he insist on taxing every American—including all of those receiving any form of government assistance--a nominal amount? That way, at least we’d all have skin in the game. But for all his talk of “fairness,” President Obama doesn’t want that. He wants to take high achievers down a peg or two, in atonement for the U.S.A.’s terrible sin of offering the most opportunities for the most people in the history of the planet. In his redistributionist mind, it’s America’s fault that not everyone is in the top tax bracket.

What we’re witnessing is a calculated attempt to deliberately dismantle the American dream. There will be no reason to strive for financial success if this attack on our way of life succeeds. If Congress doesn’t hold the line against this blatant assault on our values, we are in far more trouble than a mere election can resolve.

Monday, November 19, 2012


Sing praises on the harp to our God

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Gift of Learning

Today I finished the second course on the U.S. Constitution from Hillsdale College. If anyone is interested in America's founding and wonders how we as a nation devolved into our current bureaucratic mess, I recommend you visit Hillsdale's website, linked here, sign up, and start learning.

That's why I took the courses, which are presented as a series of online lectures. I kept wondering, how did the U.S. get to this point of gargantuan government? What would the Founding Fathers think of laws and regulations governing our choice of light bulbs, snacks foods, even trash containers? Hillsdale's Constitution 101 and 201 are gifts of education that will go a long way towards fostering better understanding of where we are as a country and, most importantly, how we got here.

There is no charge for the courses, although voluntary donations are of course welcomed.

If knowledge is power, education is the conduit. I can't think of a better holiday gift to give yourself than taking these courses. Who knows? If enough Americans learn the reasons why we're in the predicament we're in, perhaps "We the People" can start making positive changes.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Reflections in the Aftermath

"Liberty without learning is always in peril; learning without liberty is always in vain."~ John F. Kennedy

Just a few thoughts on why the presidential election turned out the way it did:

  • Divide and conquer is a winning strategy. When you pit blacks against whites, rich against poor, women against men, gays against straights, and citizens against aliens, enough disgruntled subgroups emerge to splinter support for your opposition. At some point, President Obama's relentlessly negative campaign had every voter mad at some segment of the population. The engineered angst worked to his advantage. It was cheap and dirty politics, but he won.
  • Education is lacking. How many graduates of our public school systems have been taught the value of our country's founding principles? How many college students have read the Declaration of Independence or the U.S. Constitution? Do they know which of those two documents starts with "We the People"? Do they know where the Bill of Rights fits in? For the most part, our public educational system has degenerated into touchy-feely political correctness virtually devoid of true learning, with students taking classes on global warming, cultural trends, and various minority groups. Poor education breeds ignorant voters. Ignorant voters elect bad candidates who pass stupid laws. So here we are.
  • The free ride feels good. We have reached a point where the takers are exceeding the makers. With the myriad forms of government assistance available for a variety of reasons to more and more Americans, there is less pressure for individuals to produce and provide for themselves. Why work and pay taxes when the government is so willing to help with the bills? This entitlement mindset is moving us farther away in spirit from the pioneers who built America with their own hard work, then handed off a better tomorrow to their children. It makes it more difficult to press the case for a strong economy and a growing job market. And reliance on government to solve our individual problems sets the stage for a descent into tyranny. 

Although he lost by a substantial margin in the electoral college, Mitt Romney lost the presidency by about only 3% of the popular vote. Abraham Lincoln famously stated that "a house divided against itself cannot stand." That's where we are, divided--or, in modern terms, "polarized."

Lincoln went on to say, "I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free." To adapt his statement for today's circumstances, I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half worker and half freeloader.

Half educated doesn't help, either.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Campaign Closer

Here's a link to "Monday Morning," a thoughtful piece by Peggy Noonan, well worth reading before we all head out to vote tomorrow.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

After the Storm

Hurricane Sandy has rained misery and destruction upon millions of Americans in 18 states and the District of Columbia. It's difficult to conceptualize the chaos and hardship people are enduring in the densely populated metropolitan areas of the Northeast. I can't begin to imagine it, and I grew up there.

Statue of the Blessed Mother - Breezy Point, Queens NY
Today is the Feast of All Saints on the Catholic calendar. The patron saint of the U.S.A. is the Immaculate Conception, better known as Mary, Mother of Jesus. I found it amazing that her image survived the raging inferno in Breezy Point, Queens. Her statue stands among the ashes of the neighborhood that burned to dust.

Is this a random coincidence, or a promise of hope? There is no way to know. But our neighbors who were devastated by the storm need more than human help. They need heaven's, too.

So I think a prayer is in order for those affected by Hurricane Sandy. In disastrous circumstances such as these, I favor the Memorare. The name is Latin for "remember." Appropriately enough, this prayer is addressed to Mary, the Blessed Mother:

REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
As Christians will recall from the gospel story of the Miracle at Cana, when Mary asks something of the Lord, he listens. It may take a long time on a rough and rugged road to arrive at the answer. But at some point after the storm, morning will come.