Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Does The Jobs Plan Make Sense?

Extending unemployment benefits logically could make sense for people who are out of work due to no responsibility of their own.  That appears to be true for a great many people.

The suggestion that nobody should be paid for not being employed makes sense.  Benefits should only be paid to those who follow strict rules, with special requirements to attend education classes that improve their skills, run by private enterprise - which would, of course, create jobs but also create a more capable and employable workforce.

Pulling money into the present to pay for building a better infrastructure absolutely makes sense, as it will facilitate commerce and growth and also get rid of waste caused by delays in transportation.  There is no definite answer to the question of whether the funds should be taken from other places.

Although it could make sense as a  source of funds, raising taxes on the rich has, at the present time, a zero chance of being passed.  The Republicans appear to be taking a stand on spending and do not want to encourage more spending or facilitate it.  There are pros and cons on that, but there is no valid point in evilizing the Republicans for their sincere stand.

Whether we add a bit more to the deficit to pay for pulling in more moneys for infrastructure or we pay for it by other cuts in the future, we should do the infrastructure spending - we can't afford not to.  And we should do the extension of unemployment benefits, carefully screening out laggards but also requiring that they do something to improve their skills and to learn with vigor. 

That isn't the entire plan, but those are pieces that are definitely justified.

The President should give up demonizing the Republicans for their refusing to allow more taxes.  It diminishes him as a leader, because the only purpose logically can be politics - which are divisive and damaging. 

That part is sad.

The Republicans, in my opinion, based on simple economics, should approve the two items above - and if the financing has to come from reductions in the future (added to the Super Committees required total), so be it. 

What do you think? 

The Rational Non-Politician

What Is The Responsibility To Tell The Truth?

Chris Christie in his speech today indicated that one of the keys to progress in his state was that they educated the public of dire consequences

He did not say "Well, we kinda mentioned it as a problem and that we should address (sometime)."

The President needs to lead in this area and to tell the truth.

Also, he needs to lead by not having the executive branch wait for the others to come up with suggestions. 

The President will not have fulfilled his obligation to be an honest leader until:

1.  he acknowledges specifically the amount of the unfunded obligations of Social Security and Medicare and
2.  puts forward a set of specific suggestions on how to solve the problem.

Yes, there is a political risk but he must make a decision of being political or of being in integrity.

Whether someone agrees with all the specifics of the suggestions or not, Paul Ryan put together a comprehensive plan.  Yes, the opposition did make claims that he was destroying Medicare "as we know it" and that it would cost $6,000 more per person or household for insurance.  But they failed to address the whole picture, that the poor would be covered and that there would be benefits that would be means-tested - in other words those who could afford their own care would receive less benefits even though they paid into the "fund".  That is actually a tax increase for the wealthy, but it is one that would work. 

Will we have leaders that educate us with the truth and specifics about the dire consequences?  Will you support someone who doesn't meet this key test?

Will we have leaders who do not make specific suggestions on how to solve problems?  Will you support someone who doesn't meet this key test? 

Obama actually ignored any necessities when he submitted his budget, which the senate voted down 97-0.  There is a more significant statement there than has been emphasized.  Do we want a President who ignores or is not fully aware of the problems?  

There are too many questions...and, it seems, not very positive answers to them.  We need the President to represent the people's interests - all the people - with integrity. 

What do you think?

The Rational Non-Politician

Barack Obama's Distinct Prejudices

Barack Obama is very intelligent and capable, but his distinct prejudices (and the lack of knowledge that permits this to continue to exist) dramatically hurt his ability to make decisions that benefit the economy and certain aspects of society.

These prejudices are understandable in light of his experience as a community organizer - and that his frame of mind continues in that vein. This is a good, positive trait, in that it connotes empathy and caring and values toward the good of mankind.

However, that viewpoint is not continued out into a broader view of the world. 

If this is possibly political rhetoric, designed to appeal to the base, it reeks of inauthenticity compared to his stated goals of benefitting the nation.  If it is authentic prejudice, then it is equally damaging and out of place - and he needs an education.  Basically, he suffers from lack of awareness, which is an inevitable result of his limited experience. 

He speaks of:

"fat cats"
"punish our enemies" (when referring to fellow Americans)
"being held hostage" (as if he was a victim - which is not good for a President to be)

And a myriad of such demonizing or make wrong statements. 

He denigrates the "profit motive" and forgets that it is the engine that drives the economy, which then permits us to have enough money to take care of all of our citizens.  He imposes massive sets of regulations, which are an obvious damper to business. 

I can imagine, given all of his many good traits, the power he would have without those prejudices, where he could seek unbiased, unslanted advice and hear it better. 

But the prejudices and positions have been so strong that there is very little progress in enabling private enterprise to do its part, which would be if in a pro-growth stance toward them to drive us to prosperity instead of a web of entanglement that is disabling.  (He should take, as well as the members of congress, a basic course in capitalism, such as that mentioned on the site:  Capitalism.)

If he were to let go of the demonization and see that few businesses are headed by devils and that overall the business people are good people who want to create good, but are people who have a specific focus as to how they contribute, then he would have the possibility of being an effective President. 

I would hope for change, so that he can implement "hope and change".   I did vote for him, with the purpose of shaking things up, to run our country from more of an enlightened viewpoint - plus the judgment I made about McCain not being a very good source of hope plus his having a vice president that is too weak to be a President. 

But, alas, there is no case for his being an effective President, unless he chooses to authentically run this country for the benefit of all and to let go of the politically driven rhetoric and motives.

Will he change?  I would hope so.  I would hope for a miracle...but with very little belief that it will happen.

Sad.  Too bad...

The Rational Non-Politician

Thursday, September 22, 2011


It is no mystery why our society and prosperity is declining.  It's the loss of values and character.

The signs are clear.  We have stopped doing what works. 

An especially good overview is contained in The 6 Killer Apps Of Prosperity, a talk at TED.

Our work ethic is 1000 hours per year less than Korea.  Our math capabilities are dramatically lower than other countries. 

Yes, we need to fix certain things so that incentives are creating an ongoing opportunity for business.  Yes, we cannot continue to seek to suppress business in favor of the people in the mistaken idea that one is bad for the other - which might be a concept that Obama is holding onto, though he appears to be learning it is otherwise, but not quite there.  This suppression is like cutting off our noses to spite our faces or like killing the goose that lays the golden egg. 

But we will not truly prosper until more of us are engaged and being productive. 

It is not about education for skills only, as many will not learn if they are not so "inclined."  Accordingly, it is only logical that we must first teach values and character.  Ironically, we fail to see this.  Even the excellent Gates Foundation emphasizes skills over character education.  I would propose that they change the percentage allocated to teaching values, character, and reasoning to the mix, so that people can know how to run their lives.

What do you think? 

The Rational Non-Politician

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


As Tony Robbins chided Al Gore in the audience at TED, he would have been elected if he had more emotion behind his ideas and being.  See Video.

On Monday night at the CNNTeaParty sponsored Republican Presidential Debates, we were treated to a unique camera view of the candidates walking onto the stage.

Rick Perry walked in powerfully, appearing well-grounded and very strong, appearing to be a person who would stand strongly and not fold easily.

Mitt Romney walked in almost tippy-toed, as if he had ballet slippers on his feet, as if he was a good little boy, the All-American kid.  (He does have hugely high character, but he looks as if he is a people pleaser...)

Jon Huntsman walked in with softness and grace, disturbing nothing in his path, making no noise, almost appearing to be a "wimp" (which people do not vote for!). 

Perhaps Tony should coach the latter two - or even I could, but not as well, of course.  Do they not have people on their team who can coach in that way?

Mitt Romney has a "charisma deficit", so people are not very excited about him, despite the fact that he is one of the most qualified candidates in the last 50 years. 

Jon Huntsman is a sophisticated, kind-appearing, thoughtful appearing gentlemen who is of the highest character (as was his extraordinarily high-character father).   Although he has the best record of the governors, with a huge approval rating even when he left office, he is not noticed.  He must boldly proclaim, while still maintaining his excellent respectful behavior.

Both have put forth plans that are excellent, but they can't rely on people reading the plans and/or giving them much thought.  Few people nowadays do that very well.  They must emphasize the points and give illustrations, probably in a video format, educating but trying not to be as dry as Ross Perot (a great example of a businessman candidate, but without the other side that is necessary in terms of politics and charisma).  Huntsman Plan (good overview in it, should be featured more strongly on his site).  Romney Plan (this goes to free Amazon download; his website flashes between other items, so the plan is not always shown...)

Romney and Huntsman, the most workable experienced qualified candidates, must adjust their style or they will go by the wayside, sadly.  And, if by chance one of them wins the nomination, the charm and boldness of Barack Obama may win over the non-thinking voters in the middle.  This leaves the voters leaning toward Rick Perry if they want a strong contender against Obama in terms of impression.

What do you think?

The Rational Non-Politician

Both Planning AND Experience

Those who are enamored with "good ideas" and "noble motives" are to be applauded for their high thinking.  We all want to create "good" for our fellow man, to varying degrees of course.

AND we need to bridge the gap when it comes to actually implementing what works, toward those higher objectives.

It appears that this President, plus some of the government staff, have allowed the noble ideas to rule ABOVE the practicality and probability of good results that effectively move us toward those objectives.  Or they just haven't done their homework, staying in a form of "fantasyland" and of "meaning well". 

The objective of benefitting mankind by saving the environment through the use of "green" technology is a good objective, of course.  But the benefits of what we actually can produce must be considered AND we must have a plan on how to do it, one that suggests a very good chance of success. 

Solyndra is a classic example, where we sought to support green technology by guaranteeing a loan of more than a half a billion dollars and touted it (with no less than televised attendance there by Biden and then by Obama).  Without going through the whole story, this quote tells the tale:  "But the company has since filed for bankruptcy and laid off 1,100 workers, saying it couldn't compete with foreign manufacturers of solar panels."   (Its total capitalization, including venture capital was a billion and a half. - alot to lose in about two years.)

This was an easily seeable fact (the great conditions for manufacturing in China).   It was an ill-considered business proposition.  It appeared to be amateurish, wishful thinking.

We must, instead, look at where we can get the most short and long term effect for the dollar and use thinking that would be expert-business-like, where we shoot for the good for the environment but are practical.  Bjorn Lomberg, "the skeptical environmentalist", provides a well-considered approach.  His website  and/or a video at TED (plus some on YouTube).

We need a leader who is able to think analytically in a practical context, which requires experience in forms of business and economic management - and with good values and character.  A trade-off that we must also consider is the ability of the leader to get results in the political arena, which suggests that the leader should have some governing experience.  Being only a politician is not sufficient as well as being only an experienced businessman not being suffient.  On this basis, Cain would be excluded (very likable, very capable fellow) as would Santorum and Bachmann.  Only two candidates meet those criteria.

This may have been the mistake that occurred with Obama, who has had to go through OJT (on the job training), which is not a good idea when there is such a short period plus not a good idea to have a low experience person thrust into one of the most difficult jobs.  No company would throw any inexperience person, no matter how smart, into a high level position - all of us have to go through the levels, building our knowledge and experience.  Obama is admirable in his motives for the good of the people, but he appears not able to garner sufficient wisdom to be effective in this job - I voted for him myself in order to "shake things up", knowing that he was the least experienced of the eight candidates at the time, plus the alternative choice was not logical at all.

When you are selecting a candidate to vote for, whether for President or other elected offices, you should use practical ability and comprehension about what works as an essential quality.

The Rational Non-Politician

See also the draft on the site called Rating The Politicians, where we are formulating specific criteria beyond promises, posturing, and rhetoric for selecting someone to vote for.  Rating The Politicians.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Is Social Security A Ponzi Scheme?

Perry, in the Republican debates tonight, stepped assertively forward, but might have left himself open to character assassination or at least to looking very undiplomatic and over the top.

But is his description accurate?

The definition: 

"An investment swindle in which high profits are promised from fictitious sources and early investors are paid off with funds raised from later ones."

Of course, the context of a "swindle" is not valid, but the vernacular is that it is something where people pay in money now and hope that they get paid back later by future social security contributors.  

Of course, the government guarantees the later payments, but the source of the government funds is tax payers - therefore future generations will be stuck with a greater tax burden.

The Social Security Trust Report itself says that we are behind (short) by $7 trillion (called unfunded liabilities already incurred).

Social security is, indeed, a set up where later contributors put in the money for current retirees, plus hopefully something for themselves. 

There is no actual money in the social security trust fund, which means that the federal government must pay social security from the moneys it receives (in payment for the bonds issued by the government so it could take the money and spend it).

So, other than the colorfulness for making his point very, very strongly, social security is a ponzi scheme. 
The Rational Non-Politician

See the discussion on Social Security .

Again, if any facts or reasoning are incorrect please correct them, as the objective of this site is to be fact-based and rational - with no labelling or irresponsible reactiveness.