Friday, July 1, 2011

Great Country but... and Happy Birthday America!

I've always  made a distinction between our country and our government. We live in a great country, but we don't always have a great or even good government. 

And it's our government that really needs to take the heat for many of our current ills. Don't get me wrong, they do a lot of good. It just appears in the last several decades they've dropped the ball--much to often.

  • Paying off our obscene debt of over $14 trillion would require about $47 grand from every American or $1,500 over a period of 30 years.
  • Our largest foreign debt holder is China who owns about $1.1 trillion of U.S. Treasury Securities or 11% of our debt.
  • Some countries have improved their debt-to-GDP ratio by cutting spending, ie. Sweden (note they are a small country and have a very small military) . Our total debt to GDP is a whopping 92% (many countries are worse, Japan's is 220%, Italy 119%, Britain 77% and France is at 84%. Australia is the lowest at about 23%). All the Republicans and some Dems are asking our government to do is to CUT SPENDING!
  • Since when did people making over $200 grand considered "millionaires?" The Obama administration wants to impose a "millionaire and billionaire tax" on people making over $200k, families at $250k. Why do we allow these government leaches to define who they believe are millionaires? Most of the rich in America--earned it. Most of the rich in America employ millions of people. Most of the rich in America want to continue investing in America if only the government would not be such an obstacle to investing.
  • When you see the Greeks and Brits protesting cuts in their countries,  know this: Their public workers have benefited greatly over the years. In Greece, government employees get paid 14 months of salary for working only 12 months. They also receive handsome benefits and many actually retire in the 40's. Britain is also facing a multimillion deficit,  and Brits are protesting this week because the government has to cut civil service jobs and benefits.They also plan on raising retirement from 65 to 66 years of age. Otherwise, they too will be broke. And being broke--helps no one even those protesting in the streets.
  • What we are witnessing in many parts of the world, including the U.S., is the end of the welfare state as we know it. We just can't afford the generous salaries, benefits and pensions any longer. I don't blame public employees. They negotiated those salaries and benefits in good faith. It's the government administrators who knew this day would come, but refused to do anything about it---2 decades ago. The burden was placed on private employers with higher taxes and punishing employment regulations. These made hiring workers too expensive.
  • Regarding over-regulation, the Dodd-Frank {just a reminder Dodd and Barney Frank were partially responsible for the housing market collapse. You can look it up.} financial reform law will eventually create over 40,000 pages of regulations. Any wonder why many Wall Street firms are moving parts of their operations to places like Singapore and India? Any wonder why so many people are out of work? (Yes, even Goldman Sachs is planning on adding over 1000 employees abroad while it ponders cutbacks in staff in the U.S.).
  • And did you know that much of our money is in overseas banks? Why? Because they want to escape these stifling regulations.
  • Alan Greenspan, former Fed Head, admitted this week: the stimulus package of over $2 trillion didn't work. And this comes from the guy who was partially responsible for the mess we're in today. He admitted that himself  last year.
  • So we have yet to answer several  important questions: Why do we keep relying on these alleged "experts" in getting us out of this mess when they have a long track record of failure? Will our fiscal problems get worse?  Do we risk ending up like Greece, Spain, Italy and other failed governments?  We need answers now! We need solutions now! The last thing we need from our government representatives is bickering as Rome burns.
Who will tell our government elite--they've failed. And we need leadership from the Oval Office. Just a day after scolding Congress for planning on a holiday recess but not making any headway with the budget and debt-ceiling issue, Pres. Obama decides to go on vacation himself. That's not leadership during a crisis in both confidence (as every major poll now shows) and in government.

Returning to my initial statement, our country continues to be the greatest on earth. Even with all of these problems and more, we're an exceptional nation. That's why I like to turn to those who can express how I feel about our country better than I can:

"Don't let anyone tell you that America's best days are behind her--that the American spirit has been vanquished. We've seen it triumph too often in our lives to stop believing it now."---Ronald Reagan.

"America is a shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere."---Ronald Reagan.

"Sure I wave the American flag. Do you know a better flag to wave? Sure I love my country with all of her faults. I'm not ashamed of that, never have been, never will be."---John Wayne

"From that day on, I felt privileged to belong to a country which, for two centuries, has stood as a living symbol of all this is charitable and decent to victims of injustice everywhere--a country in which every person is entitled to dream of happiness, peace and liberty; where those who have are taught to give back...In America, compassion for the refugee and respect for the others still have biblical connotations"...Elie Wiesel on how he felt after he became an American citizen in his piece, "The America I Love." Elie is a Holocaust survivor and  and Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

"And I will always do my duty no matter what the price. I've counted up the cost, I know the sacrifice--
Oh, and I don't want to die for you, but if dyin's asked of me,
I'll bear that cross with honor, cause freedom don't come free--
I'm an American soldier, an American..."--Toby Keith

Like I said above--better than I can.

Have a great July 4th and God Bless America!!!


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