Egypt in Chaos

Egypt in Chaos
by
Dave Speck

Egypt has been in the news a lot lately. Do you know what’s been missing from the news?

Many analysts say one of the driving causes is the tremendous disparity between the wealthy and the rest of the country. That has been the root of revolutions since the beginning of time.

Do you know what developed country has a greater disparity? America! Yes, we have let this country get more out of control than Egypt and we’re not even voting in great numbers yet. Will we take this country back from the greedy by vote or will we wait till our votes are worthless like Egypt’s before we revolt?

I hope we come to our senses soon and start voting because I would really hate to see revolution come to our country again.

Should America back the Egyptian people or their dictator?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Supply & Demand and the Cost of Health Care

Supply & Demand and the Cost of Health Care
by
David Schlecht

Imagine for a moment that everyone in America was college educated and everyone was a doctor. How much would it cost to go to the doctor?

Since there would be more doctors than were needed, the supply & demand would make the value of doctor services almost worthless.

In every non-American developed country, doctors make a reasonably good living but are not paid like gods. In America, supply & demand has been interfered with and there are fewer doctors than the demand. Therefore, doctors in America are prohibitively expensive.

Now, let’s imagine for a moment that America becomes a first-world country again and provided free education, all the way up to doctorates. Everyone who wanted to be a doctor and had the ability (not just the money) could be a doctor. What would happen to the cost of our medical care? That’s right, it would go way down.

So, why do you suppose America has this problem that the rest of the developed world doesn’t? What has been messing with our supply & demand?

There are two things that distort the supply & demand for medical care in America: 1) The American Medical Association and 2) America’s failure to provide free education to the gifted, not just the wealthy.

1) The American Medical Association actively limits the number of new doctors entering the field. This sort of interference with our free markets should be outlawed and people caught manipulating our markets for profit should go to jail. People are dying because our medical system is so broken and some people are making money off this broken system. Send them to jail. Murder is murder even if you don’t see the faces of the victims and their families.

2) Americans are saving a few dollars in their taxes by not providing better education for everyone but are then paying thousands of dollars more in medical expenses. Americans are smarter than that. Yet, we still hear the Tea Baggers and the Republicans say how we need to lower our taxes even further. Not too bright, now, huh?

The solution should now be quite obvious. We should join the rest of the developed world in the 21st century and extend free education through doctorate degrees. We should even include a small stipend to help students to pay their expenses while going to college. And, secondly, we should send to prison those people caught interfering with our supply of doctors.

Remember, when it comes to markets, the system of supply & demand explains a lot.

How Much Social Security Adds to the Budget

How Much Social Security Adds to the Budget – Updated
by
MatthewK

Ever wonder how much Social Security really adds to our nation’s budget?

You might not believe it but it doesn’t add a single cent. Not one red cent.

So, you must be asking yourself, well, why are the Republicans always saying we need to cut it or privatize it. The answer has nothing to do with the budget. Let me explain.

The trust fund for Social security is growing in the trillions of dollars. At first Social Security was paid as it was used. Each generation paid for it’s grandparents. But, as the baby-boomers hit the work force, it was obvious that something was necessary to have money for them when they retire as there would be fewer workers to pay for their generation.

That is why Reagan doubled the tax on the middle class. That’s another truth that you won’t find in the text books but it’s true. The Baby-boomer generation had to pay for their grandparents and for their own retirement. This doubling of your and my taxes has created a huge surplus in the Social Security trust fund. It’s over three trillion dollars today and is expected to be $4.7 trillion in ten years.

After that, the baby-boomers will be drawing down on the trust fund until they’re all gone and so is the trust fund. At that time, we can go back to each generation paying for their grandparents. In other words, we’ll go back to paying as we go.

The Republicans try to scare you by lying about how the trust fund is going broke so Social Security is going broke. It’s just a lie. Get used to them.

Our Social Security trust fund is invested in US government bonds to collect a guaranteed return. The Republicans want you to have to give that money to the bankers, you know, the ones who pay themselves billion dollar bonuses while the investments crash and burn. It doesn’t work so well for 401Ks now does it?

The Republican politicians don’t care if you starve to death after losing your privatized Social Security in the stock market, at least their big banker johns will continue to fund their elections.

Social Security is not going broke. It’s just a right-wing lie like so many others.

Update: Correction – at this date, the trust fund is just under three trillion dollars, not over.

What Makes Ensign Tick

What Makes Ensign Tick
by
Dave Speck

In an interview before Obama’s State of the Union speech, Nevada’s John Ensign said:

We have the opportunity for neither party to get blamed for these tough political votes which are going to be necessary to cut spending,

You might want to reread that quote a few times and let it sink in.

Here is Nevada’s representative recommending that the president do the opposite of what he was elected to do because he can get away with it.

I’m not exaggerating! Read it again if you need to.

In poll after poll, the vast majority of American’s don’t want the government slashed and burned. The billionaires do. Less government means less government in their way. Smaller government means fewer restrictions to destroying peoples’ lives and the environment for big profit.

John thinks it’s okay to do the wrong thing as long as he doesn’t get caught. This is obvious from his almost getting expelled from Congress for sneaking and hiding his affair and then having his parents pay off the woman and her husband.

Yes through and through, John Ensign is a true Republican, caught in the same deception as so many other Republican politicians.

Hey, Republicans! When will you wake up? Hey Nevada! You know the question.

State of the Union Address

State of the Union Address
by
David Schlecht

So what were your thoughts on President Obama’s State of the Union Address tonight? Here are a few of my thoughts:

  • High Speed Rail! It’s about time. This is a good goal. Of course those against America will oppose it.
  • Investing in innovations like solar is a good step if you can make sure you’re stimulating OUR economy.
  • Electric cars. Yeah!
  • No messing with Social Security
  • Make the rich pay their fair share
  • No comment on bringing our jobs home. Just chatter about how if we’re better educated we’ll be better able to compete (with dollar a day Chinese slave labor?)
  • No comment about busting up the too-big-to-fail banks or cleaning up our media or enforcing anti-trust regulations.

All in all, it was a motivating speech that was a little short on specifics, but full of lots of grand ideas.

Nevada’s New Governor, Foolish as the Last

Nevada’s New Governor, Foolish as the Last
by
Dave Speck

I just got this in my email from Steven Horsford. It’s a reasonably sane interpretation of Nevada’s disaster of a Governor. Is Nevada flushing down the toilet any hope of saving Nevada from becoming a third-world state?

There are some aspects of the governor’s speech tonight with which I agree: We must work together to pass a balanced budget. We must focus on economic development and put Nevadans back to work.

But tonight Governor Sandoval offered a budget that would gut public education – and our kids’ futures as a result. It would cut our school budgets by more than 14 percent. It would slash colleges by nearly 30 percent.

  • This means laying off literally thousands of teachers and closing entire college campuses.  Worse yet, he proposes to cut our children’s teachers’ pay by more than 10 percent.  That’s just wrong.
  • It means putting our children in classes of 40 students.
  • It means eliminating sports and music, and ending gifted and talented programs.
  • It means we cannot afford real reform to our schools or come even close to a tolerable level of funding for higher education – the engine of a new economy.

In short, this budget would dismantle public education.

I will not accept a budget plan that extinguishes all hope for a new Nevada built on better schools.

I will be looking for the best ideas among my colleagues here at the Legislature – Republicans and Democrats – to produce a balanced budget that leads us forward, not backwards.

This process starts tomorrow morning at 8:30 when we begin our budget hearings. I URGE YOU TO GET INVOLVED BY CONTACTING THE GOVERNOR AND YOUR LEGISLATORS IN THE SENATE AND ASSEMBLY IMMEDIATELY.

The future of Nevada depends on you.

Thank you.

Steven

It’s looking pretty bleak, there, Nevada!

Source of Our National Debt

Source of Our National Debt
by
David Schlecht

Did you know that the president of the USA is the source of the country’s budget? Every president proposes a budget and congress takes that proposal and either passes it as is or tweaks it and passes it. Then, the president signs or vetoes the budget. I suppose most everyone reading this blog already knows this.

If congress doesn’t like the budget they can just scrap the whole thing and make their own and the president can veto it.

The budget belongs to the president. This is the opposite of what the constitution says in which it says the House of Representatives is where all budgetary bills originate.

Look at this graph of our nation’s debt over the past century. Tell me which political party is the party of drunk Animal House frat boys?

National debt as function of GDP

What’s of most interest here is how the Republican party is screaming and hollering about tax and spend Democrats when the facts, as always, shows them to be lying hypocrites. Why does anyone still believe the Republican party? Whey does anyone still vote for the party that is shipping our jobs overseas? Come on America, you’re smarter than that.

What did the last ten years of the GOP bring us?

Economy Still Stumbling

Economy Still Stumbling [Updated]
by
David Schlecht

Unemployment in many states is still on the rise. We saw a short glimmer of hope over the holiday season but now we’re back to further and further declines in the economy.

The stock market is improving though, but so what? The stock market doesn’t provide jobs for Americans. In fact, it’s time we quit considering the stock market when remarking on the state of America’s economy. For Americans the things that mean anything when considering the country’s economy is jobs, pay, benefits, and pensions. Also included in evaluating the economy is the state of our social safety net, not the stock market.

All these things affect the economy of Americans. The stock market does not. I know, I know, there many people (one hundredth of of one percent of Americans) who actually make any reasonable money off the stock market but that in no way reflects the state of America’s economy.

This simple difference explains why we haven’t dug ourselves out of the Bush years yet. We’re putting our resources and attention in the wrong things. Did we learn nothing during the last Great Depression? The conservatives are telling us that it was the second world war that got us out of the last Great Depression. Well, now we’re in two and a half wars. Our economy should be the best it’s ever been, right? Well, no, not really. Wars don’t cure depressions. Job do. The stock market doesn’t cure depressions, jobs and benefits and pay do. So when are we going to start addressing these problems?

Want to fix the economy? Here’s how:

  1. Stop with the tax give-aways to the billionaires and multi-national corporations. Put taxes back where they were before Reagan began the destruction of our economy,
  2. Increase the minimum wage to a living wage and keep it there,
  3. Require all major corporations and all multi-national corporations provide substantial pensions to all workers, full time and part time,
  4. Stop the Social Security tax give-away for billionaires. Expect billionaires to pay the same percentage of tax for Social Security that you and I do,
  5. Temporarily create government jobs for Americans (no tax dollars spent on non-American incentives, you know, the bill the Republicans opposed), and
  6. Fix our broken trade policies, get out of NAFTA, GAT, WTO, and all the rest of the trade agreements that are destroying our manufacturing jobs. In other words, protect American jobs.

The nice thing is these don’t have to be done all at once but the more that we enact, the faster our economy will improve.

Now if you see these points brought up over and over in the blogisphere, they must not be rocket science, so why hasn’t our government thought of them? They have, but the big businesses controlling both parties are preventing us from stopping the rape and pillage of America’s economy. Remember, someone is making out like bandits while the rest of us suffer, and those bandits donate to make and break our politicians.

Get involved! Get active. Participate on our political process. Run for the local dog catcher or school board. That does make a difference.

[Update: ] Check out this post at Open Left for an good example of what the economy really means.

What Did 10 Years of GOP Bring Us?

What wonderful things did the Republican party bring America during the Bush years? Remember the Bush years when the GOP controlled all three branches of our government?

If you’re a Republican, I’m sure you’ve forgotten, so let me remind you.

Our country went down the toilet!

The rich took control of our government, our government went broke, the rich stole all the money from the middle class, the stock market crashed, the BP oil rig got permission to drill and destroy the gulf coast, the agencies we the people created to control out-of-control businesses were under funded and destroyed, the largest percentage of Americans dropped into poverty in American history since the great Republican Depression.

I admit, these are all bad things. So, let’s counter this with some good things they did, such as, well, let’s see, um, NOTHING!

Then, the Democrats get in office and what do the Republicans do for America? They obstruct everything the majority of America wants. Still, they provide nothing whatsoever to help America. But, they are still forcing tax breaks for their billionaire masters while America’s economy struggles to recover. Remember? The billionaire tax breaks that got us here? The Republicans want to continue the idiocy.

The Republicans have had control of the House of Representatives for almost a month now and what have they done for America? Repealed Health Care.

That’s what America needs, let’s go back to the way things were before the adults go in  power. Let’s repeal anything that might bring some good to America.

Think I’m being biased here? Take a look for yourselves. Watch to see what the GOP does for America while in control of the House. See for yourselves.

Gun Control, the Forbidden Discussion

Because of the violent and vitriolic response by the Right, it’s impossible to have a serious discussion about gun control. “OMG, we’re not going to talk about gun control are we?” “We need our second amend remedies!” “If we can’t win with ballots we’ll win with bullets.”

No, I’m not talking about gun control. I’m talking about how important it is that we have a national discussion about where we need to draw the line with gun control. But we can’t have a meaningful discussion as long as one party is so hysterical.

Let’s all take a breath, for some of us, let’s grow up a little, and let’s sit down together and come up with a reasonable approach to gun control.

It’s time Americans started acting responsible about protecting our citizens.

Do we really need weapons of mass destruction on our streets? Then, lets start talking about where we should draw the line.

Attacks on Our Government are All the Left’s Fault

by
Captain Jack

While looking into the American disease of hating each other and our government, I ran across countless blogs and articles explaining how it’s all the Left’s fault. This little doozy from Michael Eden best describes the way the Right is dealing with being called out on their attack against America:

This is hopefully turning into a nightmare for the unhinged left (or should I just dispense with the need for redundant adjectives and simply say ‘the left’?) following their despicable demonization of conservatives as they sought to exploit the tragedy in Tucson, Arizona.

This, like most of the articles from the conservatives, perfectly shows just how broken our country is. The two most common excuses reverberating from the unapologetic attackers of America (promoters of hate speech against America) are: 1) It’s really the Left that has a problem with hate speech and 2) We can’t censor free speech.

Let’s talk about number 2 first. The majority of the “unhinged left” as Eden refers to anyone on the left, do not want to censor speech. However, there are already laws outlawing inciting violence. What we on the unhinged Left want is for the Right to take responsibility for their mistakes and correct them. Quit blaming others for your mistakes. Do like the unhinged left and start condemning those who promote hate in your own party.

The first item, “the Democrats do it too,” is not an acceptable excuse for promoting and causing attacks against our government. The big difference is that the unhinged left condemn those, even on the left who promote violence and attacks against our country. On the right, they just defend them.

Furthermore, when is the last time you heard a Democratic Vice Presidential candidate telling the crazies to “reload”? When’s the last time you heard any of the leading orators on the left, similar to Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck on the right, inciting violence? Sure we on the Left hate to see fools destroying our country but are not inciting violence against our country and our country’s political parties.

Most importantly, if this argument held any water at all, you would see Republican congressmen being assassinated. But, no, almost all political attacks against our government have been against the Democrats or against the government in general such as the attack against the IRS or against liberals or Democrats. These two types of attacks are supported and encouraged by the average Republican spokesperson such as Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck and the rest of Fox, I’m not saying the unhinged Right, I’m saying the average conservative mouthpiece, sponsored by the average conservative.

So, in conclusion, when someone on the unhinged left spouts violence against a political party, conservatives, the government, or anything in general, the unhinged left condemns it. When the same happens on the right, the average conservative will defend it. Do you see any difference here?

Yes, Eden, this is indeed turning into a nightmare for America, just as you wished. When will YOU do something to fix it? When will you turn off the hate on YOUR radio and television? I can only say that I hope you will. I hope everyone will.

Stop With the Hate

Stop With the Hate
by
David Schlecht

As hard as it is to believe, it isn’t enough that Democratic politicians are being attacked (by the liberals if you believe the media), but, no the Republican Media (you know, fox, limbaugh, hannity…) says it’s not their fault. They didn’t pull the trigger. It doesn’t matter that violence against our government has gone up as the Republican Media have ramped up their hatred, but now they try one excuse after another about how it’s not their fault.

The Palin campaign referred to the gun sights on her website pointing to the congressmen as gun sights, only, today to be telling us, no, they’re surveyor marks. Really? Does anyone really vote for a party that attacks our country and our government?

It’s enough with the hate. We don’t want to censor the hate speech, we want all Americans to just turn off the channel. Turn off Fox and the hate speech. That’s the only way this violence against our country will stop.

Don’t be fooled. You will hear the paid shills for the Republican Media telling us how it’s really the Liberals who are the haters. Well, if that was true, wouldn’t there be nothing but attacks against Republicans? No, I guess it’s just another lie from the Republican Media.

Turn off any show, even your favorite, if it incites violence against our country. And, don’t hesitate to ask the businesses you go to to change the channel if they have The Hate on their TVs.

Do it now, before more innocent people get killed.

A Good Economy

A Good Economy
MatthewK

By now most people have realized that when the press reports that the economy is strong or getting better, it mean nothing to them. The working conditions or unemployment problems for the average American are not reflected in the reports on the economy. Why is this?

The answer is simple. The media does not report on the state of labor in this country. The most you will see the press report on is the unemployment rate and doesn’t even care to investigate the real numbers.

So, why is the state of the economy so different than the state of labor? The GDP, or the amount of product produced, used to closely track the income levels. In other words, as we made more in America, both the workers and the rich got richer. Over the past 30 years this has changed. Now the workers pay goes down as the rich get richer.

That is why you will often see the stock market go up as the unemployment rates go up. The more they can squeeze the worker, the more the companies are worth, at least short term.

Of course, when the stock markets go down, wages usually go down as well, so the American worker never gets a break.

What’s the solution?

Germany has a wonderful solution. We should investigate it, but you will never hear about it in our news. In Germany, half of all board members in a corporation must be representatives of the workers. Sounds reasonable doesn’t it? After all, the corporation would be  nothing without the workers. Shouldn’t they have some say in how things are run?

The Party of Fiscal Responsibility

The Party of Fiscal Responsibility
Dave Speck

We’ve all heard the millions of dollars worth of lie-mercials on the TV, all about how the Republicans are the party of fiscal responsibility and it’s the liberals that want to tax and spend.

Let’s pretend that we’re really stupid enough to believe that. Wouldn’t we start to question it after seeing the Republicans rake up nine trillion dollars of the 13 trillion dollars in national debt in the past 30 years?

Okay, let’s pretend we’re so stupid that we still believe the lies. Well, the new Congress has just lied their pledge to uphold the constitution and the Republicans are already burying us in dept even further. They’re stocking up their congressional offices with industry lobbyists. They have taken the “Pay-go” policy that balanced the budget when Clinton was in office and completely ignored it during the Bush years. Now they have changed it to “cut-go”. In other words, we can cut taxes on the billionaires and add trillions of more debt to the American people but we have to cut services for the little people if we add any new services to the little people.

Why is anyone so stupid that they still believe this garbage? The party of lies and garbage.

Only Now You Get Angry

Only Now You Get Angry
by
David Schlecht

We’ve  posted before regarding the problem with compartmentalized thinking. This post makes such a fine example of the sickness and it’s symptoms. Check out the question about why you take till now to get mad.

You didn’t get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.

You didn’t get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy.

[DailyKos]

What are your thoughts?

The Correlation Between Taxes and Wages

The Correlation Between Taxes and Wages
by
David Schlecht

As you read in every blog and in ever newspaper, the middle class wages have gone down. In fact, there has never been such a stark disparity between the rich and the average American than we have today.

American wages are going down over the past 30 years.

What we need to ask ourselves is what has changed in the past 30 years. What?

Well, we’re paying less taxes. We’re the most un-unionized since the Great Depression.

What else has changed? Well, let’s see, corporations have gotten larger. All the major industries are controlled by a handful of monopolies.

Less money is spent on regulating industries. Pollution is increasing.

Does anyone suppose that these changes aren’t what is causing the problems? Really! Things are worse and these things have changed. It’s pretty obvious to realize things are worse because we’re letting these things happen.

The fix? Put taxes on the rich back up to 90%. Put more money into regulating greedy and poisonous industries, encourage more unions, provide more benefits for the average American, increase the power of our government to make a better life for We The People.

Or, we could just continue to shrink our government more and see if that fixes anything.

The Attack on America’s Workers

The Attack on America’s Workers
by
David Schlecht

Can someone please explain?

The Republican Party has gone hog wild attacking the average American. They have a full frontal attack on federal employees, states employees, local employees, the Post Office employees, Union workers, people with pensions, people with health care. It seems it’s the Republican Party vs America.

Sure, they’re all for big businesses, monopolies, the oil industry, international corporations, but they’re against everything American.

So, why does anyone but the billionaires vote for the party of American destruction?

When America first introduced income tax, it was almost 90% tax on the wealthiest 1% of Americans. Why? Because, like America’s founding fathers, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party knew it was bad for America to have aristocracies.

Today’s Republican Party is against America and for the aristocracies. My how times have changed.

When will the real Republicans take back their party?

Blog Link Roll

Are you a blog editor or administrator? Do yourself a favor. Don’t overlook the importance of linking to your favorite blogs. Most blog software lets you maintain a blogroll or link roll. Use it. Put your favorite blogs in there and give them some love. It’s new year.

While you’re at it, drop your URL here and we will link to any pertinent websites.

Happy New Year!