Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Online Majority - The movement will work!

Congress is .0000004% of all registered American voters.  Those members of congress are elected by a majority vote of American voters in their respective states, and those voters can vote a member of congress out of office.  What is wrong with that process?

There is nothing wrong with the process if you are satisfied with accepting the damage done by members of congress before you have the opportunity to vote them out of office.  The real question should be; what can we do to improve the process and protect Americans from members of congress who ignore their campaign promises, putting their own agendas before the will of the people who elected them?

One twitter follower and I have been exchanging ideas.  I would like to thank him for his thoughts and ideas.  One of his ideas involves term limits in congress.  I wholeheartedly agree that term limits is an option we should consider.  However, let's take that to the extreme and assume a member of congress can only serve one term.  That member, once he/she is elected can choose to ignore campaign promises and promote an agenda that is not good for the people he/she is in Washington to serve.

In fact, if a member of congress is term limited it removes one reason for that person to be concerned about keeping campaign promises.  He/she will not be concerned about earning the trust required for re-election, which makes him/her more vulnerable to lobbyists and the personal gains lobbyists offer to members of congress.  Term limits could be an incentive for a member of congress to ignore campaign promises and support bills that hurt their constituents, for personal gain offered by the lobbyists.

I support term limits in congress, because I believe we need the fresh new ideas in congress we will have as members rotate in and out when their term limits expire.  That said, term limits are not a check and balance on congress while its members are serving.  We must have a check and balance on members of congress while they are in congress.  We can have that check and balance on congress and take away the pressures lobbyists now exert on members of congress.

You are currently using the tool that will give us checks and balances; the internet.  Think about everything you now do online.  You are reading this blog.  You can do your banking online.  You can communicate with others in seconds, using chat various forums.  You can shop online and have merchandise and food delivered without leaving your home.  You can find a mate online if you choose to join one of the online dating sites.  You can even file your tax return online; a definite interaction with the federal government.

Consider for a minute everything members of congress do online, besides the things I have already mentioned.  Most of them tweet on a daily basis, promoting their agendas.  Nearly all of them have websites, complete with a "donate to my campaign" button.  Members of congress definitely rely on the internet as much as other Americans have come to rely on it.

So, why has no member of congress ever proposed a Constitutional Amendment to allow all American voters the opportunity to vote on legislation before it is enacted?  Why has the subject of online voting never been a topic of discussion in congress?  Simply stated, online voting would take power away from members of congress and give it to all American voters, where it belongs.  Members of congress feel threatened by online voting, and they should be endorsing it.  Their jobs would still be important.

Online Majority does not want to do away with congress.  We need congress to pass legislation, but we also need the check and balance of giving all American voters the opportunity to approve that legislation before it is enacted.  There is no good reason for .0000004% of all American voters (congress) to be the final word on legislation before it is enacted.  A simple majority vote, allowing all registered voters the opportunity to approve legislation before enactment should be the law of the land.

Some say it will not work, because the government is corrupt and the online voting process will be corrupted.  Think about the absurdity of argument.  It starts with the premise that government is corrupt, which is all the more reason to install all of the checks and balances we can install, to fight corruption.

Some say the system will be to complicated to install.  It could be designed, written, debugged and installed within six months.  There is ample brainpower in America to do the work, and run it smoothly.

Some say it is unconstitutional.  Yes, it is right now, but a Constitutional Amendment will make it constitutional.  Constitutional Amendments are not unconstitutional.  If you are a woman, you have not always had the right to vote.  A Constitutional Amendment gave you that right.  The same is true for black Americans. Constitutional Amendments have played a major role in reforming American politics and we have an opportunity to continue reforming it for the better.

Would the founding fathers have given us the right to vote online?  I have to believe they would have if the technology had been available at the time the Constitution was written.  They had the foresight to realize times would change the needs of Americans and the Constitution would need to change from time to time.  The Constitution is the document that established our rights as Americans and the Amendments to it have strengthened it.  It's time to strengthen it again.

Join the movement and let your voice be one of the voices that approves legislation, before it is forced on you as the law of the land. Americans must have the final voice over the agendas of politicians before those agendas damage the lives of all who live in this great land.

More will be coming soon on how you can join the movement.  Prepare to claim the power you should have.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Want To Defund Obamacare - Just Refuse To Raise The Debt Ceiling

Congress is starting to debate the issue of the debt ceiling, which now stands at $16.8 Trillion.  The current debt ceiling will be reached by September 30, 2013.  What should congress do about it?  What will happen if congress does not increase the debt ceiling?

The fear mongers tell us government will shut down if the debt ceiling is not increased.  Government will not shut down, but not raising the debt ceiling will force spending cuts. Some of those spending cuts will hurt, other cuts will not even be noticed with respect to the things that matter to America.  With respect to cuts that will hurt, Americans have clearly stated they are willing to make some sacrifices.  They made that statement loudly, by sending members of congress to Washington who promised to cut spending, balance the budget and refuse to raise the debt ceiling.

If those members of congress do not keep their promises to cut spending, balance the budget, and they agree to raise the debt ceiling, they lied to Americans and should not be re-elected to congress.  To their credits, some of them are looking for spending cuts; sponsoring bills that will never pass both The House and The Senate.

Spending cuts that are the focus of futile legislation will be forced if the debt ceiling is not raised.  If members of congress who promised to not raise the debt ceiling keep that promise, they will also keep their promises to cut spending and force a balanced budget.

For example, there is a movement in congress to defund Obamacare.  Legislation to defund Obamacare will never pass in The Senate and there are not enough votes to override a presidential veto if The Senate managed to eek out enough votes.  Why not just refuse to increase the debt ceiling?  There will be no money to fund Obamacare.  If the debt ceiling is not raised, there will be no money to implement Obamacare and no money to launch a 2014 advertising campaign for Obamacare, costing $700 million dollars.

When the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was passed, we were told it would save money.  Now we are being told it will cost money.  It has not yet been implemented and it is already set to receive a $700 million bailout in the form of a promotion campaign.  The fact that it needs a promotional campaign is a clear indication that success of the Act is doomed.

We were initially told that much of the cost of Obamacare would be paid from savings that would be generated by ending fraud in Medicare and Medicaid.  We are approaching two years after that claim was made and there is no evidence that fraud is being eliminated in either of the aforementioned programs.  So, where does the cost of that unrecognized savings come from to pay for Obamacare?

The glaring question is; why should ending fraud in Medicare, Medicaid, or any other government program, be tied to paying for any other program?  If there is fraud in any government program, the perpetrators should be prosecuted.  Money saved from ending fraud in any government program should be used to effect a balanced budget and pay down the national debt.

By the way, a balanced budget is not the answer.  There must be a surplus generated by America to pay down the national debt.  America will have to generate more revenue than expenses to ever pay off the national debt.  After we do manage to pay off the national debt from surpluses, continue to generate those surpluses and pay for a healthcare program.  That actually makes sense.

It's time for congress to realize that they must run the government within the constraints of the money that is generated from revenues.  Borrowing money is not the answer.  The budget must be balanced now and we must find a way to generate surpluses in the future to pay off the $16.8 Trillion we now owe.

Republican Congressman Paul Ryan presented a budget that would be balanced about 18 years in the future.  At the time he presented that budget he was a running for Vice President of The United States.  Assume he had been elected to that office in 2012 and re-elected to it in 2016.  Then assume he were elected to the Presidency in 2020 and re-elected in 2024.

The budget he presented would not be balanced for a couple of years after his second term as President.  His administrations would still have generated deficit spending, under his own budget plan.  Paul Ryan was not even willing to hold his own feet to the fire with respect to government spending.

Of course, he did offer a budget that balances, somewhere in the future.  The Democrats have not presented a budget that balances at any time in the future.  In fact, the democrats have not presented a budget for the past three or four years and is offering nothing in the foreseeable future.

Congress is attempting to run the country on "continuing resolutions", a term that means, "we have no idea what to do".  Along with those continuing resolutions congress continues to raise the debt ceiling to pay for them.  There is no end in sight to this practice.  Congress shows no interest in addressing the issues that will eventually be addressed by bankruptcy of The United States.

We the people are being played for fools by every member of congress.  Of course, our votes to re-elect these people to congress shows that we are willing to be the fools.  It's time to end the foolishness.  Some argue that we have the final word at the ballot box when members of congress are up for re-election.  Those who believe that are living in fantasy land. 

Yes, we can vote members of congress out of office after they do damage to America.  We still have to live with their mistakes after they are voted out of office.  Hindsight may be 20/20 with respect to seeing mistakes made by congress, but the pain of that 20/20 hindsight is is felt long into the future.  Right now America has a $16.8 trillion debt and 20/20 hindsight as to what caused this debt.

Our children's grandchildren, and generations beyond will inherit that debt.  Do you really want to  make them pay?  Members of congress have no issue passing our current problems on to future generations.

Congress is .0000004% of the American vote.  It is time for a Constitutional Amendment that will give all voters the right to vote on legislation before it is enacted.  Online Majority is a movement to give us that right to the online vote.  We must have a way to protect ourselves and future generations of Americans with a majority vote on legislation.

Think of all you do online now.  Voting online is long overdue and having the final word on legislation before it is enacted is long overdue as well.  It is time we fight for the right to let a majority of Americans be the final word on legislation, before it is enacted.

Anthony Weiner's Political Res-erection

The political res-erection of Anthony Weiner has hit a few snags.  His poll numbers are dropping faster than he drops his pants for pictures and his campaign manager has resigned.  Bill and Hillary Clinton have even issued a statement that they do not approve of his behavior.  If Bill Clinton speaks out against bad sexual behavior, you know it is bad.

Weiner has given us nothing but comic relief over the past couple of weeks.  He doesn't seem to have a platform for his campaign... only bad name recognition.  His supporters are jumping ship faster than he can sext them, asking for their continued support.  Soon he will have to face the truth; his campaign for Mayor of New York City is not going to succeed, but he may stay in the race anyway.  I truly believe he, in his own sick way, enjoys the attention he is getting over the sexting scandal.

His wife, standing by her man, says she still supports him, believes in him and loves him.  If she loves him she needs to give him some tough love.  She needs to "just say no" to supporting his bid for a return to politics.  She may be the only one who can convince him to withdraw from the election and work on his marriage and his sexual misconduct issues, in therapy.  She is an intelligent woman. There is no way she believes he has the mental stability to be mayor of any city. She wants to believe he is stable, but that comes from denial of what she knows about him.

We know his sexting continued for at least a year after he resigned from congress.  He admits that, because he cannot deny it.  There is evidence that makes such denial impossible.  His wife knew he was sexting before he resigned.  She may have only found out about it when the rest of America found out about it.  However, when did she find out the sexting continued for at least a year after his resignation?  More importantly, how does she know he is not sexting today?  The truth is... she does not know

I have not heard anyone in the press ask if Weiner has sexted within the past day, week or month.  Would he answer the question honestly?  Probably not, but would his wife answer it honestly, if she knows about it.  Voters have to be wondering if he is still continuing the behavior that got forced his resignation from congress.  Huma Abedin has to be wondering too.

Weiner says his problems are behind him now.  Actually, his problem is hanging in front of him, where it has been all along.  He is addicted to showing off his penis. 

Anthony Weiner needs to forget politics and seek therapy.  He has lost the public trust and it is likely he will never regain that trust.  He needs to forget regaining the public trust and work on being truthful with himself and his family. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Detroit Bankruptcy - No Bailout?

There is no question that The City of Detroit is bankrupt.  Sadly, there may be many more cities making trips to the Federal Courts with the "we are broke" paperwork.  The ink is barely dry on Detroit's paperwork and many in congress are using more ink on a bailout bill.

Let's be clear, I do not favor a bailout program for Detroit.  Even if I did support a bailout, there is no question that members of congress should first determine how much is needed to bailout the city before they rush to pass a bill with a "fill in the blank" amount.  After all, the amount that will be filled in will add to the national debt.  Here we go again, rushing to spend money the country does not have.

That makes about as much sense as someone with a sexting problem entering the race for Mayor in New York City.  Thank God, that would never happen in America.  Silly me for mentioning that, but it is the only thing I could come up with that is as outlandishly crazy.

The federal bankruptcy laws need to apply to Detroit.  It is time for politicians to stop arguing for equality under the law, except when they do not want equality to apply.  Let the bankruptcy move through the court system and work within the law to do what is best for Detroit.  It will move the city further down a road to fiscal responsibility in the future.

Much of Detroit's problems relate to millions in unfunded pensions.  How did the city manage get by with failing to fund pension plans?  There needs to be a law in place that requires all municipalities to fund pension plans before it pays for any other goods and services.  This will force city officials to address problems before they reach the magnitude of the problems now facing Detroit.  It will force city leaders to look at places to cut expenses that will not effect employee pensions.

Will it force them to layoff some employees.  Possibly, but now they have to tell employees the time they spent working for the city leaves them with no retirement benefits for their years of service.  Perhaps it would have been better for some of those employees to have changed jobs years ago.  Would those people be better off now?  I am certain many of those people are now asking themselves that very question.

Remember, we taxpayers bailout the automakers.  Even President Obama claimed that move would bring prosperity to Detroit.  For some reason, it did not.  Now, the city needs another bailout?

Online Majority believes there is no valid reason to bailout Detroit with taxpayer dollars.  This is yet another reason why American voters must fight for the right to have online voting.  We must have a Constitutional Amendment that requires an online vote of the people approving congressional legislation before that legislation is enacted.  A majority of American voters must vote to bailout Detroit before it happens.

This is a concept that should be supported by every member of congress.  After all, they use the internet to campaign, raise money for campaigns and stay in touch with their constituents.  We live in an era that allows us to do most everything online.  Congress is .0000004% of all American voters.  Why not give 100% of American voters the opportunity to cast a vote on laws that affect their lives, before those laws are enacted?  Let the majority decide.

Perhaps a majority of voters would approve a bailout for Detroit, but the polls do not indicate it, and congress is not inclined to listen to a majority of the people who cast votes to re-elect them.  Voters can go to the polls and vote members of congress out of office at election time, but that is too late.  The damage is already done.  We are closing the barn door after the the horses are out.

It's Time For A Homeowner Bailout

Here is how we can give a bailout to homeowners, and it will also help the banks.

Assume Michael and Jan have a home mortgage owing the bank a principle of  $300,000.  The home has a market value of $200,000.  Bailout funds for the difference in the principle amount of the mortgage and market value, $100,000, can be paid to the bank, but the bank must re-finance the home for $200,000, at no re-finance costs to Michael and Jan, and at a fixed rate of 3.5% for the term of the original loan.

This will lower the monthly mortgage payment for Michael and Jan, considerably.  The money they save can be used for "frivolous" things, such as food, clothing, education, medical coverage and perhaps even a family vacation they have not been able to take for years.  They may even be able to put some money into savings to replace money they had to use to make mortgage payments over the past few years.

This kind of  "frivolous" spending will actually stimulate the economy, instead of lining the pockets of bank executives whose poor management lead to the need for a bailout.  Members of congress all agree there is a need to stimulate the economy.  What better way to stimulate the economy than to allow Americans to spend their money for the things they want and need?

Of course, no member of congress would think to help their constituents in this manner. The President is proposing more government guaranteed, thirty year home mortgages with a 5% down payment, which is exactly what got us into the mess we are in now, and it does nothing to help those who are now in foreclosure, or facing foreclosure. 

Does anyone wonder why no politician has proposed a bailout for homeowners, such as the one I propose in the preceding paragraphs?  Should you ask them why?

Yes, and when you ask them why, remind them that you will be at the polls, casting your vote for their re-elections.  Remind them that each bank executive who received millions in bonus pay after the last bailout casts only one vote.  The did so while foreclosing on millions of constituents.  Why do members of congress protect bank executives bonuses while they watch their constituents being evicted from their homes?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Reverse The Terms Of Bush And Obama

Imagine for a moment that President Barack Obama was elected to The Oval Office during the eight years President George Bush actually sat behind the desk.  Then imagine that President George Bush was into his second term, as President Barack Obama is today.  Where would we be now?

Today two unemployment percentages were posted on Twitter.  One was tweeted by a Democrat, the other was tweeted by a Republican.  The Democrat tweeted that the unemployment rate is down to 7.6%.  The Republican tweeted it is actually 14.3% if you include those who are under-employed.  There is no doubt in my mind; the percentages quoted by the Democrat and the Republican would be reversed if the chronological order of the Presidents were reversed. 

Keep the percentages in mind, we will come back to them.  First, let's examine that reverse in the order of the Bush and Obama administrations.  President Obama would have dealt with the terrorist attack of 9/11.  He would also have dealt with the Katrina disaster.  President Bush would have inherited the home loan mortgage mess, dealt with the a downturn in the economy and high unemployment.  He would also have been in office when Bin Laden was located and had the opportunity to take out a terrorist.

Would either of these men have handled the aforementioned events differently if there terms were reversed?  We don't really know. Democrats and Republicans alike all have their spins with respect to how their man in The Oval Office would have managed events that transpired during the other man's administration.  Sometimes, the spins are interesting to read, but those spins have the benefit of hindsight and literally no benefit with respect to resolving the issues we face today.

I'm sure you can imagine how each party would be spinning exactly opposite of the way they spin events now if the terms of Bush and Obama were reversed. That is a major issue with politics.  It's all about the spin.  Party leaders, strategists and talking heads do not care about the truth.  Sadly, politicians spend too much time pointing fingers and creating spin.  If they spent as much time actually doing the jobs they were elected to do, there would be no need for spin.

Now, let's revisit the aforementioned unemployment numbers.  It's obvious that unemployment can be calculated in many different ways and it is also obvious the aforementioned percentages were calculated using different sets of data.  Let's assume the basic math used to calculate both percentages is correct.  Using two different sets of data rendered two different percentages. 

I am a blogger in my spare time.  In real life, I am an accountant and have been for over forty years.  I can give you another ten or twelve more ways to calculate unemployment percentages, and ten or twelve different percentages.  The math is simple; divide one number by another number.  Even I cannot screw this up if I key the right numbers into a calculator.

Why not just compare the employed and under-employed percentage week to week without comparing those numbers to each other. Some members of congress who have no clue what to do about the issue may want to track those percentages, week to week and continue to spin their reasons for failing to fix the issues of unemployment and under-employment.  I would rather see members of congress implement action plans to reduce both numbers.  Just do the job and the numbers will take care of themselves.

To the members of congress who use the 7.6% and 14.3% numbers to support their respective spins regarding unemployment, I have only one question.  Does it matter which number you track to support your spin?  To those who are unemployed, and those who are under-employed your spins do not matter.  What matters to the unemployed and under-employed is that congress cannot find a way to work together to put the unemployed back to work and the under-employed into jobs for which they are are trained.

Members of Congress are masters at spinning their points of view.  Spinning their points of view got them elected to office.  All of them are still spinning points of view, hoping you and I will forget that they are not getting the job done.  If you forget they are not doing the job, maybe they will keep the job when you go to the polls to vote for their re-elections.

There is a great line in the movie, Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, that is fitting with respect to politicians and spin.  "I just got a brand new bullshit detector, and I can tell when someone is pissing on my boots and telling me it's a rainstorm".  My boots are wet and it's not raining.

Many who are unemployed and under-employed will go to the polls, in 2014 with their boots wet, and not from a rainstorm.  They will remember those who are up for re-election gave them wet boots, finger pointing and numerous ways to calculate unemployment percentages.  They will also know the candidates who are pleading for re-election did nothing to fix the problems they are facing.

The spin (bullshit) candidates used to get to congress should not keep them there. The unemployed and under-employed all have bullshit detectors, otherwise known as common sense.  Common sense tells everyone that members of congress are not doing the job.  Perhaps it is time for the current members of congress to update their resumes and join the ranks of the unemployed and underemployed. 

I truly believe this suggestion will help; no sarcasm intended.  I suggest that members of congress approach their jobs as if the terms of President Bush and President Obama were reversed.  It will cause them to reverse their spins and look at the other side of the argument.  After each member reverses his/her spin and realizes how easy it is to argue both sides of an issue, forget the spin, go to work and solve the problems.

Serving the people of America is a privilege that carries enormous responsibility.  There is actually work to do.  It is a real job, not a numbers game.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

$700 Million To Promote Obamacare?

The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is not yet implemented and we are already planning to give it a bailout.  The bailout is disguised as a promotion program, funded by federal money we do not have.  No problem, we will just charge it to the national debt.  It's only $16 trillion now...what's another $700 million.

This promotional program is not even a national program.  The promotion will focus on states that are key battleground states in the 2014 elections.  The promotion program could actually backfire.  Promoting Obamacare may turn voters away from candidates who support Obamacare.  Many who voted for the bill, were voted out of office in past elections.  Many more who are up for re-election in 2014 are distancing themselves from Obamacare.

The fact that the federal government is spending money to promote Obamacare should infuriate all Americans.  However, celebrities are lining up to participate in the promotional campaign.  I wonder if any of them will be covered by Obamacare.  It is more likely they will keep the healthcare insurance they now have, which will no doubt have better coverage than Obamacare will ever offer.

Polls indicate that 53% of Americans want to see Obamacare repealed.  That 53% have a very loud voice with respect to support for celebrities who join the promotional tour for Obamacare.  We support their standard of living when we spend money to see their movies, buy their CD"s and tune in to watch their television programs.

Speak loudly and boycott these celebrities work.  Boycotting their work is something they will understand.  After all, many of them have called for boycotts in the past.  Most recently, Stevie Wonder called for a boycott of Florida after the Zimmerman verdict did not go his way.  You may agree with him.  I agree with his right to call for the boycott as I agree with everyone's right to call for boycotts.

The politicians who voted for Obamacare told us it would save money.  If it is all it is hyped up to be, there is no reason to add $700 million to the national debt to promote it.  People should clearly see the benefits of Obamacare without spending money to promote it.  Perhaps the benefits are not really there?

Our children's  grandchildren  and generations beyond will inherit the national debt.  We do not need to add more debt for them to pay.  It is likely they will never see any benefit from Obamacare.  It's more likely healthcare in America will take a huge step backward in future generations, under Obamacare.

Let the celebrities and the rest of the 47% who want to keep Obamacare donate their money to promote it.  Better yet, give all American voters the online vote and let a majority decide the fate of Obamacare. Polls indicate 53% of American voters would vote to repeal it.  Now that is an online majority!