Unbridled Government Spending

I liked this notion from Margaret Thatcher:

The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money. 

And from the Wall Street Journal:

The problem with resisting socialism is that until the money runs out free-spending progressive politics are remarkably seductive. 

In other words, we love to spend what appears as “free” government money–more and more entitlements, bigger and bigger government…basically, we can’t resist the candy in the candy store.

But the problem is that the money eventually runs out and by then we have gone too far and are left eating our own flesh. 

 Why can’t we spend our precious money and scarce resources prudently and also save wisely for a rainy day–why do we have to act like pigs in the poke?

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Pennies From Heaven

So I ran into this lady in downtown Washington, D.C.


She posed for the picture and made sure to line up the top and the bottom posters to get it just right


It says:

“Not One Penny In Tax Cuts For The Rich”


Makes intuitive sense doesn’t it: the rich already are blessed with…riches!


Any more pennies in their war chest is sort of a drop in the billionaire bucket. 


With tax reform is on the table now…we need tax relief for the middle class and to grow the economy. 


The rich really do not need to get any richer.


Especially with a national debt over $20 trillion already–and not including future entitlement obligations that exceed projected revenue for social security and medicare, which bring the debt in excess of $70 trillion!). 


The gamble with this whole tax reform plan is that the $1.5 trillion or so in proposed tax cuts over 10 years translates into a much bigger economic expansion that makes up for that revenue loss to the government and more. 


If not, well then Uncle Sam bet wrong and our annual deficit gets bigger and bigger (already $666 billion in FY 2017).


Tax cuts for the rich today and estate tax cuts to pass wealth between generations–when they impact the top 1% are ridiculously targeted to those who really don’t need it, and many of the decent ones, like Warren Buffetdon’t even want it


Let’s have a heart and help the people that really need the help–let’s narrow the growing divide between the haves and the have nots, and move to eliminate the class system that elevates one child of G-d over another. 


– While some live in McMansions, others are homeless.


– While some eat steak and drink expensive bottles of wine every night, others go hungry and thirsty.


– While some wear fancy designer clothes, expensive jewelry, and different outfits every day, others don’t have a clean shirt on their back. 


It’s nice to think that some “deserve it” more than others, but we also have to think who really needs it more. 


And if the pennies do ultimately come from Heaven (as all blessings do), then let us distribute these with compassion and lovingkindness as we know our Creator would want us to. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

We Didn’t Make History

Space
A sincere congratulations to the European Union for the epic landing of a probe from the Rosetta spacecraft–the first such landing on a comet.


They did this with a landing area of just 550 yards in diameter and away from deep crevices, large boulders, and sharp peaks–it is amazing!



Their European space scientists are exclaiming and rightfully so, “We made history today.”



The problem for us is that we–the U.S.of A.–didn’t!



Yes, we landed the first man on the moon in 1969 and we haven’t done it again since 1972.



I remember in grade school, with great pride and wonder, watching the first space shuttle taking flight–that was in 1981.



Since then, we had the horrific Space Shuttle Columbia disaster (2003), followed by the retirement of the shuttles altogether (2011).



Now, we rely on Russian rockets to bring supplies to the International Space Station and for our military and national security satellites.



Then, just a few weeks ago, we had the explosion of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceshipTwo (2014) that is said to have been plagued with problems from inadequate rocket thrust, flight control system issues, and deficiencies in basic structural integrity. 



In the meantime, the Indians have made it to Mars on a dime. 



Where are we as a nation looking to advance into space–where resources and our very survival may someday soon depend?



Just think where those multi trillions of dollars spent (some would say squandered) in Iraq and Afghanistan (now being overrun by ISIS or threatened by the Taliban) as well as for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (uh, what did we really accomplish for all that money spent?).


Where we once led, and as children we stood in awe, now we stand in bewilderment and leave our children marveling at the victories and accomplishments of others. 



We can not/must not become complacent or stop investing strategically in our future–we need to act with urgency and commitment again for our nation to succeed.



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

No Way To Fight The Good Fight

See No Evil
Unfortuantely, like many things we do…we do it only halfway. 


While there is certainly a place for vetting issues, moderation, and compromise, often we are overly worried about the ramifications of going too far and thus don’t go far enough to accomplish strategic goals.



Similarly, in a pendulum swinging out of control way, we may fluctuate and treat friends as enemies and pretend our enemies are our friends.



Whether in fighting terrorism and nation state enemies, ebola and other horrific diseases, and even righting the national economy…we don’t lead, we hesitate or as many commentators have said, we lead from behind. 



ISIS, Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbolah and more…all alive and still terrorizing.  



Russia, North Korea, Iran…not contained, and threats are growing, while questionable deals involving no less than WMD in some and territorial sovereignty in others loom on the horizon. 



Cancer, parkinson disease, and a dreaded endless list…killing our loved ones and research funding goes to political juggernauts. 



Our national deficit grows, social entitlements are skyrocketing and unpaid for, and we can’t seem to manage our way out of a pending breadline. 



There is something to be said for making a real decision based on morality and inner strength, going all in, and achieving the seeming impossible…decades ago, we did it when we put a man on the moon and defeated the Japanese in WWII. 



Now we seem to fight with one arm tied behind our backs (sometimes two) and our eyes covered with hands stained in the blood of social favoritism, stealth corruption, and defeatist attitudes, and at the end of the day with very little to show for it.



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Light Of Heaven

The Florida Sky
What a gorgeous sky is South Florida.



The wondrous sun shining through the beautiful clouds floating overhead.



May the light be a healing light and may the power of the L-rd above reign over us in mercy.



From ebola and other illnesses to a sick economy, gruesome terrorism, and general inaction all around, we need G-d more than ever to show us the way.



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Panic, Technology To The Rescue

Panic
Who us panic?

– ISIS is threatening the West with “dangerous new extremism

– Syria’s death toll tops 170,000 with more than 10,000 believed tortured to death. 

– Boko Haram is still abducting young girls (and boys).

– Iran says no deal on nukes

– Ebola is “out of control.”

– China is emergent as the U.S. pivots east and space becomes militarized with anti-satellite weapons. 

– Russia is resurgent (Crimea is history to Ukraine).

– The national deficit only hints at the true extent of our unfunded liabilities from entitelements.

– The economy is bubbling over the top again, warns Robert Shiller.

Racial and income inequality continues to divide America (case in point, Ferguson MO).

– Nearly 1 in 3 American adults has an arrest record.

– Almost half the world–3 billion people–live in poverty on less then $2.50 a day. 

Ah, if only technology could solve all our global problems–and this is a big list and not by any means comprehensive.

It’s a race of the “world is exploding all over” with technology trying to make it better with more and better information, innovation, productivity, security, and cures.

Almost like the war of good over evil–we may lose the battle, but hopefully (let’s pray) in the end, we will win the war. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Why We Expect Nothing

Why We Expect Nothing

I took this photo of a sign at the Metro station to the Reagan National Airport by Washington, D.C.

“Expect The Unexpected” is the warning.

Don’t be complacent–anything can happen–be vigilant–is the message.

It reminds me of a Seinfeld episode where Jerry jokes about people going to the beach and hiding their wallets in their shoes.

Like, a criminal would never think to check your shoe!

Oh, push the wallet all the way down to the toes, under the tongue, that way the bad guys will never be able to get to it.

Here, it’s more a case of of why don’t we expect the darn expected.

Everybody knows that people “hide” their valuables at the beach in their shoes!

In modern times, we seem blind though to any expectations at all.

– Arab Spring and civil war spreading into Syria and Iraq–after Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, and more–who would’ve thought?

– Russia taking over Crimea and agitating in Eastern Ukraine–after their little excursions into Georgia and Chechnya–who would expect that?

– Financial meltdowns and major recession after the dot com and housing bubbles–even my barber was talking about retiring and buying a mansion in the Caribbean–where are these coming from?

The question then is are we really unable to see past our noses or do we just hold steadfast to principle that ignorance is bliss?

Well let’s just test the “expect nothing doctrine” that we seem to all be living by these days and see how you feel about these:

  • North Korea–they would never invade the South again.
  • Iran–sure, they are going to give up their nuclear weapons and their greater Middle Eastern Caliphate ambitions.
  • China–Yeah, we’ll just pin them in the South China Sea and they’ll never get out.
  • The national deficit–it’s not and will never be too big for us to handle because we’re rich.
  • Terrorism in a major American city–not after 9/11 and all that Homeland Security.
  • Environmental catastrophe–we will build a big bubble over ourselves, so no problem.
  • Economic inequity–the top 1% deserves to control 43% of the Nation’s wealth and everyone else just sit down and shut up.
  • The Singularity–how could a machine ever be smarter than us; we’ve got all the technology fully under our control.

Well, if you are blind or dumb enough to believe these, just keep putting your money in your shoes at the beach, because there is no reason to expect that anyone would ever think to look for it there. 😉