psychpol

April 10, 2013

FUN WITH FACTS

Filed under: Psychology and Politics — psychpol @ 4:33 pm

If knowledge is power, then the more we know, the better. We are all influenced by what happens in our society, politically and culturally. Our choice is whether we get informed and participate or just get run over.

About 57.5% of us voted in the 2012 election, while 42.5% did not. Since this is a very emotional time characterized by the Blame Game, many of us are poorly informed as to what is really happening. Biased media, various political hustlers and slick politicians seem to deliberately confuse many of us.

As Twain said, “there’s good fishing in muddy waters.”

So this column presents facts from reliable sources and some commentary for readers to consider.  Some of these facts are mind-boggling, typically go unreported and make us wonder who makes these decisions and why this is happening.

So, here goes…

In 2012, the most looked up words on search engines were – Capitalism and Socialism. Economic models are apparently on the minds of many.

The most searched topics on Google were – Whitney Houston and Gangam Style. Here, entertainment seemed to rule.

If you are a newborn in the United States today, you already owe over $52,000 in Federal debt. If you are a family, you owe over $139,000.

There is an increasing debate about how much money government is spending. Since 2009, the Federal debt (overall amount that we owe), has gone from $9 trillion to over $16.5 trillion. Federal debt projections for 2016 are over $20 trillion unless something changes.

We recently heard about the “Fiscal Cliff.” This is a scary enough concept for most of us, even if we have tried to understand it. The “deal” reached in Washington to “resolve” this included the following data, according to the Tax Policy Center:

As of January 1, 2013, if you make $20 – 30 thousand as an individual or a couple that files joint taxes, you are now paying $1064 more in taxes per year. If you make $50 – 75 thousand, you now pay $2399 more in federal taxes per year. If you make $100 – 200 thousand, you now pay $6034 more in taxes per year.

Under this bipartisan “deal,” taxes have increased for all who work. The President had promised that there would be no tax increases for “the middle class.” But, the reinstatement of the 2% payroll tax has affected the paychecks of everyone who works.

For the almost 50% of our fellow citizens who do not pay Federal income tax, there is no increase. However, they may be affected by other state taxes such as a sales tax or state income tax increase (California is at 13.3% now).

The Federal government spends $11 billion per day. We pay $54 million in interest on the debt per day. Around $3 billion a day is spent on social programs through the Health and Human Services Department. And about $1.8 billion per day is spent by the Department of Defense.

About 67% of our budget involves mandatory entitlement programs, with the other 33% involving discretionary spending. The latter means that Congress gets to decide how our money is spent.

For every dollar collected in taxes, the Federal government must borrow an additional 42 cents to pay its bills.

Let’s see you run your personal budget that way.

Two new sanitized words (to make us feel better) used by the Federal government are:

Taxes = Revenue      and      Spending = Investment

In fact, with “green energy” companies, the Department of Energy within the Federal government has lost billions of our dollars “investing” in companies that failed. The only possible success we have put our tax dollars behind ($456 Million) is Tesla Motors, a maker of expensive electric cars. Some think they will be profitable, and others think they are cooking the books. We shall see.

Many believe that if an idea is worthwhile, then the capitalists will finance it. In this model, the government has no business picking “winners and losers,” although they seem to be good at the latter.

The new Obama budget, delivered 65-days late, proposes additional tax increases that will affect everyone. It proposes $3.7 trillion in spending against a background of $2.7 trillion collected in taxes. That is the most tax revenue we have ever collected in the US. Nonetheless, it would produce an annual deficit of $1 trillion.

Don’t try this budget math at home…

The Senate is required to produce a yearly budget. This Democratically controlled Senate did not do so for 4 years. They finally produced one last month that essentially calls for no spending cuts and increased taxes. It is said that this combination will “protect the middle class.”

Let’s see, if your work was 4 years late, how long would you keep your job? 

By the way, Congress worked 123 days last year. They really care. Honest.

A state may legally have right to work status (24 states), or mandatory union membership requirements (26 states). In the past 10 years, job growth in right to work states is 10.3%. Job growth in mandatory union states is 1.2%.

The percentage of private sector workers in unions is about 7%, a historical low. The percentage of public sector (government) workers is 35% and growing. Unions overwhelmingly support Democratic candidates, who in turn legislate policies favorable to unions.

In this case, the worker does not freely choose which candidates to endorse. Well-paid union management makes those decisions. And in over 90% of cases, it is Democratic candidates who are endorsed and receive campaign dollars in the form of membership dues.

In 2012, we re-elected 21 of 22 US Senators and 353 of 373 Representatives. As noted 57.5%, or roughly 126,000,000 of us, voted for incumbents at an overwhelming rate.

But Congress has a 9 – 14% approval rating!

So, why do we vote in the same people if we can’t stand them?

In the Senate, 61% of the members are lawyers. The figure is 37.2% in the House. 123 Democrats are lawyers, while this is true of 81 Republicans. Lawyers are the largest occupational group in Congress. What are they trained to do?  Answer – to argue.

Lawyers tend to reason inductively, That means that they have a conclusion to an argument in mind (for example, Obamacare will be good for everyone), and then will find the data that sounds true to support their preconceived idea.

Stephen Gaskin of The Farm commune in Tennessee once said that “today is the era of looting the ship. The lawyers are here to make sure it proceeds in an orderly fashion.”

By contrast, a scientist reasons deductively. That means they look at all the facts, analyze them and then reach a conclusion. The facts guide the conclusion, rather than the other way around.

In 2012, Congress passed fewer laws by one-half  than at any time since 1947. Some would regard this as good news.

There are 27,000 regulations that govern the distribution and sale of asparagus in the US.

There are now over 15,000 pages of regulations involving Obamacare. Recently, the Secretary of HHS, Kathleen Sibelius, who heads the agency responsible for implementing Obamacare, remarked at how “surprised” she was that making this work was proving so complicated.

She of course blamed the states.

Over the last 20 years, government subsidies (taxpayer dollars) have been 18x more for wind energy than nuclear energy. Renewable energy has yet to prove itself in the US marketplace. Wind energy costs $56.1 dollars per kilowatt-hour of production. Fossil fuel power costs .63 cents per kilowatt-hour of production.

In the same vein, government subsidized solar energy companies like Solyndra and Abound Solar have gone bankrupt because of an inability to compete with Chinese manufacturers.

Did you know that the Chinese recently bought a battery company funded by the American taxpayer that was failing? We staked that company with our hard-earned tax dollars.

Since 2009, the Food Stamp program has increased from 26 million people to 47 million people. Unemployment is actually over 11%. Tens of millions of people are unable to find work.

In the overall economy, 102 million workers support 85 million people who do not work or pay Federal income taxes.

Whereas there were 7 workers supporting 1 Social Security recipient a few decades ago, there are now 2 workers doing so. Does anyone but the Democrats  think this will work over time as a way to protect our elderly?

The Bowles – Simpson Debt Commission, appointed by Obama, offered multiple suggestions for addressing entitlement excesses and our huge debt. Many on both sides of the aisle favored several ideas. Obama ignored them all. The conformist, leftist media did not bother to report this fact.

But creating the commission looked good, no? I mean, the President really cares, right?

The Democrat campaigns promised a “balanced approach” to the Federal debt and yearly deficit. Sounded great. The Republican campaigns promised a balanced budget over time via spending cuts, lower taxes and economic growth.

Of course, since we re-elect incumbents, many of the people responsible for the mess are still in office.

What works according to history? How do people achieve prosperity?

As Reagan famously said, the 9 most terrifying words in the English language are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” This is obviously an exaggerated statement, but it does contain elements of truth.

Over the last 4 years, spending for the Veterans Administration system has increased by 50%. Sounds good, right? However, in 2011, there were 331 suicides by vets, and 349 in 2012. Suicides. Lives forever lost.

Combat deaths in 2012 were at 245.

If you’re a vet making a claim for benefits, it takes an average of 9 months before you get a response from the VA. If you appeal the decision, it will take 4 – 6 years to have that resolved.

Thank you for your service.

Do you remember the president telling us during the campaign how much he cared about vets? All about his “commitment?” And the other side solemnly telling us how important vets are?

These tragic facts are an example of government’s inability to manage programs efficiently and in the interest of the citizens, in this case, those that have sacrificed for our freedoms. Lives have been ended or changed forever.

Why do we want to turn over one-sixth of our economy to Obamacare, a government program? We are not going to like how this turns out.

The fantasy that government is like a parent that will “take care” of you is absurd. They have a poor track record. Look at the plight of our veterans. Look at most anything that government does. Look at the cities going bankrupt in the US today.

Look at how they throw our money away and won’t tell us the truth about things such as Benghazi or taxes. Why are we so naive, year after year, to believe this garbage?

On the cultural front, did you know that 1 of 4 teens have attempted suicide? What is happening to us?  There are bizarre, violent crimes every day in our country. Where are the voices of moral leadership in America?

Is it morally right to burden a baby with huge debt at the moment of their birth?

Did you know that African-American babies are born without fathers in 72% of the cases? And that Hispanic babies are born without fathers in 50% of the cases? And Caucasian babies are born without fathers in 25% of the cases?

Of all babies born, 41% are without fathers. Real liberating to live in poverty, right? Where is the outrage from the “caring” left?

If you want to create a rage-filled society, fatherless kids is one way to do it. Where are the voices of the leadership condemning this? The voices in the media?

Hey, did you hear about the recent Memphis Soul party at the White House ? Lots of stars and celebrities. Did you get invited?  You paid for part of it ($435,000 out of $1,300,000).

So, let’s get out there to work today to pay for our share of that important event.

Finally, the White House tour program has been suspended. For years, kids, families and other interested individuals have gone on these tours. I went as a child and as a parent. It is the people’s house and a piece of our collective history.

The tour guides are voluntary and unpaid. Overall it costs $74 thousand a week to run the program, including a salary and benefits package for the Director of around $150 thousand per year.

Several conservative public figures said they would each pay for one week of the program. The White House declined their offer. No liberal public figures offered to pay for the program, including wealthy celebrities.

Why? Because they fundamentally despise the America that has made them wealthy. Go figure.

A recent golfing trip for Obama to Palm Beach, Florida cost the taxpayers (us) around $1 million. A Hawaii vacation for the Obama family required two separate jets and cost the taxpayers (us) $4 million.

If you can afford it, how much are you spending on your vacation this year?

When will we ever wake up to the phony promises and hypocritical actions of the people we elect?

If we inform ourselves, we may begin to wake up and become empowered.

It is our country. The political class and the bureaucrats do not own it, nor do they have the right to control us and steal our children’s future. They work for us. Today and everyday.

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1 Comment »

  1. Paul — WOW — quite a rant! But interesting info!! BUT— what do we do about all this?? Stop paying taxes (..IRS = fine or jail).
    Actually, i’M SERIOUSLY considering moving to Belize or Costa Rica. I’ve pretty much had it with the good old USA!!!
    Thanks for taking time to furnish all this info! Enjoyed reading!

    b

    Comment by Timothy Murphy (Ryken Kell-Murphy — April 15, 2013 @ 2:54 pm


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