Friday, November 11, 2005
Monday, November 07, 2005
Friday, October 28, 2005
Monday, October 17, 2005
Friday, October 14, 2005
In the Bible, Jesus said to give your coat to someone less fortunate than you. He did not say "Hand the coat to thirty nine bureaucrats from fourteen different local, state and federal
agencies only to have them rip off the sleeves, tear out the lining, cut off all the buttons, then and only then, hand the tattered rag to the needy." H. L. Stephenson
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Friday, October 07, 2005
It's all Bush's fault. The recent rise in gasoline prices are all Bush's fault. His father is an oil man. He is acquainted with oil people like V.P. Cheney. He is friends with Saudi oil barrons.
It's all Bush's fault. The handling of the hurricane relief was three or four days slow. Three or four days earlier action would have saved much heartache and pain of survivors who did not leave New Orleans.
It's all Bush's fault. The econony is the worst it has been in ages.
It's all Bush's fault. There was an invention of a carburator that would allow SUV's to get over 60 miles to the gallon. As a result of collusion between big oil and the auto industry it was taken off the market so we humans would have to purchase fuel at higher prices.
These are all statements made by people so blinded by their hatred of George Bush, that they do not want any facts to get in the way of their diatribes. Let's examine the facts.
What executive order, unknown and uncontested by Congress or the Courts, did Bush enact to cause oil prices to rise from Dollar Thirty a gallon to over three dollars a gallon? If there was no executive order, how by stealth, was he able to accomplish this? How did this act become policy under the radar of the attacking, ever vigilent press? Could it be that hurricane Katrina exposed to us Americans, flaws in the the way government does business? Could it be that forty years of allowing radical environmentalists and their lobbyists in collusion with the government to dictate energy policy helped cause the rise in gas prices? Factual Evidence shows not one refinery has been built in the United States since the seventies, in spite of the fact that the demand for gasoline consumption has been growing. Factual evidence reveals we Americans do not like gas sipping economy cars; we like cars that will keep our families safe, that will allow us to merge onto the interstate at sixty miles per hour. We like leather seats, whistles and bells. We have convinced ourselves that when it snows that one time per year here in the South, we need a four-wheel drive (with an extra thousand pounds of weight for drive train we must haul around the remaining 363 days of the year) . Could it be that we want one dollar gasoline, but yet we do not want oil rigs forty miles off the coast of North Carolina? Could it be that we want cheap electricity, but we do not want windmills obstructing our view of the sea in Massachusetts or of the desert in Arizona. We then try to explain the rising prices prices to George Bush and the "corporate greed" of the oil/energy industry. To exacerbate the problems, the radical environmentalist have convinced, no cowed our cowards in crime, Congress into forcing oil companies, while restricting refining capacity, to produce a bevy of blended gasolines for various markets in spite of the fact that cars have been become cleaner burning. In view of the fact that it takes time to switch production from one blended fuel to another, and that refineries are operating at near capacity, any natural event like an earthquake, hurricane or tornado can easily cause disruption of service and prices to rise. All we have to do is to cap prices and control the greed of the oil companies and their stockholders you say? We tried that several times before. During WWII Franklin Roosevelt and Congress placed price controls on everything including gasoline, to prevent "price gouging". Nixon in order to curb rampant inflation he had inherited from years of poor fiscal monetary policy, gave us Americans what we wanted, a stop to rising prices. What we wanted and received was cheap gas, but what we also received in both "price control" instances were gas shortages. As many of us remember, we burned much of the four or five gallons of gas we were able to purchase, standing in line to purchase the next four or five gallons of gas.
In addition to the radical environmentalists dictating portions of our enironmental policy, members of Congress (both Democrat and Republican) have failed to produce a coherent environmental policy that would satisfy environmentalists and consumer's of energy desire to maintain or improve their lives. Government has pretty much been absent as far as coherent, workable energy policy. Radical environmentalists want us to return to the stone age, each of us returning to the natural state of stepping in and breathing fumes of horse and cow poop. Most Americans want their labor saving can openers, microwave ovens, and yes, the most highly treasured possession and status symbol their car. Members of Congress are:
1. afraid to stand up to the environmentalists
2. are unwilling to give up the money lobbyists throw at them to get them reelected.
Basically, government has been AWOL. Again, what things does government do well? Unfortunately, those who would do what is best for America rather than what is good for political careers, statesmen, died one hundred and eighty years ago.
Let's examine Bush's role in the Katrina aftermath. Government, state, local and federal do a very few things well. Responding to emergencies is not one of them. The mayor of New Orleans failed to implement any kind of plan to evacuate the poor, and uneducated, in spite of the fact he could have killed two birds with one stone; saved all of the school buses and public transit buses and in the process hauled many to safety. This was all Bush's fault? The chief of police and 1/3 of his officers left town, leaving the town open to preditors. This is all Bush's fault?The Governor of Louisiana, commander of the National Guard failed to call out the troops, once the storm was over, to stop marauders from looting and vandalizing. This was Bush's fault?Who went into hard hit areas first with relief? Caring individuals (has anyone heard of the most widely discriminated against group in America today-church people?) Volunteers from the Red Cross, Chruches, Salvation Army were there with water, food clothes, generators, while Congress, the President, the Governors, the Mayors the town coucils were still trying to figure out what to do and arguing about how to do it. I heard of owners of moving companies volunteering their drivers and trucks to haul food, and water to those in need. The did not ask if the victims were black, or white or red or yellow. They went. Thank God for loving, caring Americans. I love it when the private sector says "Get out of the way Govco, we will get things done and do so efficiently."
Let's examine the statement that Bush is to blame for the state of the economy. Was the inflation rate ever higher than three percent? Was the unemployment rate ever worse than six per cent? How about during the 1970's? How about during the 1960's? How about during the 1930's? Let's examine the facts. Here in North Carolina we have one of the higher unemployment rates in the South. It has been in the 5.7% range, which is not awful but it could be better. Why is North Carolina trailing many other Southern states? Governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford had it pegged when asked to what do you attribute South Carolina's vibrant economy, he said (paraphrase) Thank God for North Carolina. Governor Easley and our state legislature have been increasing spending a billion dollars each year. We now have a record breaking (and as far as the taxpayer is concerned-backbreaking) 17 Billion Dollar Budget. To support the tax and spenders' addiction, they just passed a bill that approved a lottery. In additon we in N.C. pay 27.1 cents per gallon for gasoline in addition to the federal tax, making gasoline in N.C. among the very highest in the country. The sad thing is that our cowardly legislators, rather than having to vote each time to increase the gas tax, they pegged the tax rate to gas price. In a few months, unless the legislature changes the law, gas taxes and therefore gas prices will be on the march onward and upward. Trying to deflect criticism, the liberal Raleigh crowd are justifying this unreasonable tax rate by saying that we North Carolinians have a choice, either good roads or a tax cut. What they fail to tell us, is that highway money is used not just for highways, but is being used for light rail boondoggles in the Triangle area and in Charlotte. How about asking the correct question instead of the spinning one, "Taxpayers, do you want to spend millions upon millions on light rail that very few in the state of N.C. will ever ride, or do you want a tax cut?
To add insult to injury N.C. now has one of the hightest income tax rates in the country. Add the Seven-seven or seven and one half percent (depending upon the county one makes his purchase) sales tax burden to the consumer and now you have a serious drain on the citizens of North Carolina. The sales tax in N. C. has been inching up since the early eighties. It was four per cent when I first went into business in the eighties in NC. Yet that is not the the total story (or nightmare) for taxpayers. The legislature and "Tax Hike Mike" Easley abscounded monies that were earmarked under state law to be returned to local governments "to balance the budget" ie. to inject the tax narcotic into the veins of the tax and spend addicts. This in turn forced many local governments (controlled by either Republicans and Democrats) to increase property taxes and fees. If the the N.C. sales tax rate had been left alone, N. C. would still have more money as the prices of goods have risen over the last twenty five years. The sales tax has almost doubled. Taxes are stifling the N.C economy and our rulers, I mean governor and legislators, are oppressing us.
If we study our nation's history, can we find any examples of similar situations in America, where taxes become oppressive, and business either leave a state, or goes out of business, or new businesses refuse to come to that state? Does anyone remember the term "the rust belt." If you will recall, many businesses in the North left there because of onerous tax policies. Where did they move? Many of these businesses moved South, away from oppression. My wife worked for one of those companies who moved to Stanley N.C. from Buffalo N.Y. Did you know America's textile industry was once centered in the Northeast, while cotten was being raised in the South. Part of the reason the textile industry moved South was it proved more efficient to have the textile plants nearer the source of raw material, labor was cheaper, but as importantly, taxes were typically lower in the South. If you want less of something, tax it. If you want more prosperity, reduce taxes. If you want less prosperity, increase taxes. The members of the legislature and "Tax Hike Mike" need to take a course in basic economics. They could stand to read "Free to Choose" by Milton Friedman. They have not figured out yet why NC is not faring as well economically as many other states. Easley' s claim to fame is that he "bribed" Dell Computer into coming to N.C. All of the other businesses and you and I as taxpayers in the state will be paying for the subsidies and special treatment Dell receives. How many employees will Dell have to hire to offset all of the employees lost as small businesses leaving N.C. to rid thesmselves of onerous taxes? How many employees will Dell have to hire to offset all of the employees not hired, as a result of small businesses that could have located in N.C. except for high income, gasoline, sales, and property taxes, drove them away? How many employees will Dell have to hire to offset the small businesses who are taxed out of existence? After all of the freebies and preferential treatments are over will Dell pack its P.C. and move on to another state? If I were a betting man, I'd say not. Once Michael Dell shows how many North Carolinians he can hire and the support/infrastructure that is built, just the threat of leaving will cause knashing of teeth, wailing and tears. I see the scenario of Michael Dell sqeezing and twisting the next Easley's nose for even greater concessions.
It is all the fault of Bush and his oil producing cronies that the rights to a carburator that would allow an SUV to get 60 miles per gallon. Believe it or not, a supposedly bright attorney made that statement to me (in fact he made all four statements about Bush to me). He said he knew someone who knew someone who had an SUV that was getting sixty mpg, he took it into the dealership for service. The dealership's employee told him he had the wrong carburator on the vehicle. The dealer changed it for free. When the vehicle was returned to the owner, it would only get fifteen m.p.g. This canard, this urban myth about the carburator that would allow cars to sixty miles to the gallon, I heard forty years ago, when I was sixteen. Did the automakers not realize they had squeezed all of the mpg from carburator technology and abandon it for fuel injection technology? Is there an SUV being made that uses a carburator instead of the more efficient fuel injection technology? If big corporate auto makers are as greedy as they are accused of being, if GM, Ford, Chrysler, Honda, Toyota, Mitsubishi, or Nissan could develop a carburator that would improve gas mileage four hundred-fold and they could gain this great a competative advantage, do you not think they use it to try to gain all the market share they could over their competitors? Could they not sell SUV's at a premium price, therefore with higher profit margins than their competition? We all know if they could, they would.
What did these four claims blaming Bush made by my lawyer friend teach me? When one becomes a slave to the spin/talking points of a political party, an otherwise intelligent person's IQ drops to four points above that of a head of cabbage. Blinded by vitriol, that person could not see the Terex earth mover about to run them over.
Our founding fathers warned us of: government does most things poorly, government becomes intrusive in its citizens' lives, government naturally grows, and in doing so, it taxes its populace into slavery, government eventually loses its mission of dispensing justice. The founders warned us that political parties create dissension. The founders feared people discovering that they can vote themselves the largess from the treasury at the expense of their fellow citizens. Are not all of these evils coming to pass just as the warned us? Each of these expose themselves each time there is a disaster, natural or man-made. We must ask ourselves in light of government's inability to react to most crises, what should government's role in society be? Should it be creating rules and law to benefit lawyers and large corporations at the expense of the small entrepreneur? Should it be creating a welfare state that enlsaves the poor to a system rather than helping them lift themselves as our current welfare sytem does? Should it pay welfare benfefits to McDonald's to open markets overseas? or to farmers to not grow crops? or to sugar refiners to create artificially high prices on anything that contains sugar at the expense of the consumer? Should it be for government to take property from its citizenry and have it handed over to developers in the name of "urban development"? (See Kelo vs New London Supreme Court Decision) Is is up to the courts to legislate by perverting our Constitution? Or, should our governments' jobs be protecting us from each other, protecting our borders, protecting us from tyranny both domestic and abroad, protecting property rights, protecting religious freedom, and treating each citizen equally under the law.
It is difficult, if a citizen works for a living and tries to do an adequate job in taking care of his or her family, to stay abreast of all of the ways government are encroaching on our freedoms. Thank goodness there are organizations like the John Locke Foundation here in North Carolina, nationally the Cato Institute and the Hoover Institute. As Washington and other early leaders warned, we must be vigilent. Our founding fathers spelled out clearly in the Constitution and our Bill of Rights what the role of our government should be. Remember, the principles upon which our goverment was founded: all men were created equal, governments role is to protect us from outside invasion. Those in government, left to their own devices will grow government and increase taxes and squander the proceeds making all the citizenry poorer for it. The founders bequeathed us a republic with three branches to make it very difficult to enact law and to oppress American's taxpaying citizenry.
Although after reading this, you probably think I am a Bush fan. Although I did hold my nose and vote for him rather than "Farther than left than Teddy Kennedy" John Kerry, or even worse "I did not know that Communist Chinese agents could not make campaign contributions" and "I invented the internet" Al Gore, I did not vote for Bush in the primary. I believed then as now that he is far too liberal. I am not enamoured with either major party now. They have both become tax and spenders. The Socialist Democrat party has become a meal of beans and rice and the Republicans a meal of rice and beans. The end result of both meals is suffocating hot air. H. L Stephenson