We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are

Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

Saturday, April 20, 2013

But at Least I'm Trying!!!

So I'm in the locker room with retired teacher talking about the foot of snow they got up in Minnesota and how the people who originally settled up there must've shown up in the summertime because there's nobody who would go to Minnesota in the wintertime and want to live there.  I mentioned same thing about California.   I've been to California several times for the Rose Bowl and it's a very, very beautiful place.  But when you start paying attention to the traffic jams, the cost of living, the taxes and other nonsense around there, you quickly realize it's a nice place to visit but not a great place to live, unless of course you're a multi-millionaire or in the government (same thing?).

My friend then explained to me that the the people in California are trying to create a Utopia and then  blurted out "that's why I love Obama because at least he's trying".

So in response to that I smiled and said "let me ask you something.... suppose five years ago you hired me to manage your investments and every year not only did I lose money, but I convinced you to borrow more money against your credit cards, your home equity, etc. and put it in the trading account, promising you that this year we would turn it all around. Now after five years not only have I not turned it around, but you are now so deep in debt that based on your current level of income there's no way you're ever going to be able to pay that debt back and you will eventually face bankruptcy.  Would you still keep me as your investment advisor?"

He replied to me of course not.  He would have likely not let it go on that long. To which I replied..."but what if I told you that I really cared about your money and at least I was trying?" 

He paused for a moment, smiled shook his head and said "have a nice weekend!"

We've had five years of "a bold new plan to jumpstart the economy" and after five years we now have 90 million able-bodied people that have left the workforce, we have 48 million people on food stamps and we've now accumulated so much that if we taxed every working American 100%, we still couldn't pay it all off, and; the President just handed us a budget telling us we need to borrow more so that he continues doing what he's been doing for five years. 

It's amazing to me how people won't put up with poor performance in their everyday lives, demand their money back for poor service are shoddy products and yet they don't understand that our tax dollars like our investment dollars should not be managed so incompetently that it risks not only ruining the lives of our children and grandchildren who are going to have to someday inherit that debt, but has now reached a crisis point where we ourselves may no longer be able to enjoy the kind of growth and prosperity that we got used to back when we had a little more common sense........

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Defending the Wrong Argument

Saturday night I attended the wedding of my child's teacher. The wedding was held in a small church and attended by many friends and family including several families of his students. This was the first wedding that my child ever attended and it was also the first wedding held at that church involving members of the same sex.

Sitting there watching the ceremony; listening to the Scripture readings and the vows proclaimed, I had a much more settled feeling than I did after a week of news broadcasts, opinion pieces and arguments concerning the two cases taken up by the Supreme Court this past week. It appears that once again Americans are being drawn into an unnecessary conflict by the same useless bureaucrats who seem to constantly draw us into all the useless wars we seem to be endlessly fighting.

While not friends, I have become very familiar with my child's teacher (J) and I can state without hesitation that he is a good man. He is a passionate teacher, a caring individual and I would not hesitate for a second to trust him with my child's care and education. However when it comes to the issue of his marriage, I do not agree with the premise that shapes his perceived solution to the problem. J wants the government to allow he and his partner to obtain a marriage license just like I did, those in opposition to J’s desire seek to have the government refuse his request and maintain a “legal” marriage as between a man and a woman.

In my opinion, this debate is nothing but a distraction from a more practical question which is (and pardon my language), who the f*$%k is any bureaucrat to tell me or anyone else that we need a license to get married? No matter what side of the argument you fall on, it is simply wrong-headed to bestow upon any bureaucrat the authority and control over something they should have nothing to do with.

The idea of marriage transcends the United States Government, it transcends all governments legitimate or otherwise, it transcends dictators and empires and has for thousands of years and will for thousand more. Marriage has historically been a religious institution and while it may be treated differently by different religions, the First Amendment ensures that so long as they are not infringing on the rights of others, any church or religious organization is free to define marriage as they see fit for the benefit of their constituents. It also ensures that we as Americans have the right to follow the religion of our choosing or to choose to not follow any religion at all, but ….. we do not have the right to dictate the principles that a church or religious institution must adhere to. In the case of the wedding Saturday night, the church and its ministry had decided that based on the intentions of the two individuals involved, they would sanctify the ceremony is a marriage between these two very, very fine people.

The only dominion any government in the United States has is the legal system, broadly characterized as either contract law or the criminal code. In that regard the only aspect of marriage that would fall under either of these categories is the civil union, that which is dissolved in court during divorce proceedings. Now in the spirit of equal protection under the law, a civil union is a civil union and should therefore be recognized uniformly across the country regardless of who it is entering into one. Any attempt to qualify, categorize or distinguish one type of civil union over another is discrimination pure and simple and violates the idea of equal protection. In fact to a great extent, the DOMA case is exactly about this kind of discrimination.

The DOMA case before SCOTUS concerns the IRS claim that a woman who had been married to another woman, owed back taxes on her partner's estate she was left everything in the estate after her partner’s passing. So to my point, while the argument before the Supreme Court is in regard to the “legal” recognition of a same-sex marriage, I believe the real issue is the legitimacy of the estate tax. The estate tax is an affront to everything that once made America great. At one time, the idea of America was that no matter what economic class you were born into or came from, if you worked hard, saved and invested wisely in a legal endeavor you could attain great financial success, and; eventually pass the reward of your life's work to whomever you saw fit giving you the opportunity to then carry on the legacy in which other people's lives.

Unfortunately today at the hour of your death the government rushes him like Pilate’s Roman soldiers, casting lots for your belongings and dividing them up among themselves. Oh sure, the government will let you keep some of what you made but we are constantly reminded that it is their decision as to what they will allow us to keep and that our property is not really our own.

Take away the abomination that is the Estate Tax, along with the ridiculous notion that any government has the right and authority to grant you a license to marry and neither Prop 8 nor the Defense of Marriage Act even happens, and; all American citizens are treated equally and fairly under civil law regardless of race, color, religious or sexual orientation. This is the battle I would like to see, not how a governing body decides to define marriage, but denial of their perceived authority to have anything to do with marriage at all.