“Change” or More of the Same?




Senators Obama and McCain have completed a series of “debates” and the election is fast approaching.

The buzzword of the campaigns has been “change”. Obama wants to enact change to help the middle class, McCain wants to change the Republican party back into what it once was, and both candidates vow to change the greed and excess on Wall Street and in Washington.

It’s troubling that McCain now supports a lot of socialistic policies, such as spending $300b of the $700b bailout package on rescuing homeowners, thus giving a reward for a horrible decision. But what about the topics neither candidate has addressed? What about the policies and programs that won’t be touched under either campaign? Such as…

The Federal Reserve. A growing number of voters are starting to recognize the perils of allowing the Fed to manipulate our currency. But there’s still a lot of work to make everyone aware of the dangers the Fed poses to our country.

There is a real threat to our very dollar as inflation continues to eat away at the average American’s purchasing power. Let’s let the market decide when it comes to money. If people want to trade in gold, we must allow them to. We need to take back the power of the people in this country.

Allowing the Fed to increase the money supply just saps more and more power from the millions of Americans who make our country what it is. We need a real debate on whether the Fed is necessary (it isn’t), and how its actions directly relate to our current economic crisis. (More on that here.)

War on Drugs. No one even mentions this anymore, it’s pretty much a given that your tax dollars are going to be spent housing “criminals” who get caught using and/or selling drugs, sometimes in laughably small quantities that are less dangerous than a pack of cigarettes.

Education. Competition is what drives people to do great things. It gives incentives to produce and go above and beyond the basics. Right now our broken system simply feeds more money to schools and teachers unions, many of which are underperforming. Let’s cut them out and become more efficient, which is what the market demands.

That’s just a partial list. We could also go in depth about restrictions on gambling, foreign policy, the IRS, and many other topics. The bottom line is that instead of looking at the differences between the candidates, we should be examining the similarities. It’s counterintuitive, but effective. By recognizing these similarities, we can get a clearer picture of where we are headed as a country: the status quo will remain intact and citizens will continue to see their choices and freedoms erode.

The bailout is another great example of how Americans don’t really have a choice in the upcoming election. No matter who gets elected, they both supported the bailout. So it’s now a given that we will simply save companies that make risky, bad decisions? Where does it all end? Do we bail out homeless people with government sponsored food? What about the precedent we are setting?

Unemployment is a topic that many Americans have misconceptions about. In most people’s minds, jobs going overseas is a horrible tragedy. Never mind the fact that most economists agree that jobs don’t belong to the employee but rather to the employer, who by cutting his costs will save his company, and ultimately society as a whole, valuable resources. There are always new jobs and opportunities.

In the 1800s, most Americans were employed simply to bring food to the tables of the country. With improved farming technology, that number is down to something close to 3/100 people. What did the other 60/100 people do when faced with a job loss? They now work maintaining websites, trading stocks, researching medicine, designing new fashions, testing video games, and on and on. So there is both a cost (lost job here in America) and a benefit (frees up valuable resources and saves money) to this situation. But both candidates only want to focus on the cost side, which is troubling.

A “reliance on foreign oil” is also discussed by both candidates. Don’t they realize that people are choosing to spend their income on this oil? The oil only flows here because there are dollars waiting for it, in other words, people are voting with their money that yes, they want oil. And it doesn’t matter where the oil comes from. People are demanding it, they want to power their cars and SUVs with oil and don’t mind sending money overseas if that’s what has to happen. There is no difference between a barrel of oil from Canada and one from Russia.

If we want to reduce the amount of money we send to these other countries (some of whom, apparently, “do not like us” which is just buttering us up for the next great American war), we should develop our own energy technologies and/or drill here. But the people (who comprise the market) have decided they will risk the energy efficiency and environmentalism for something more convenient.

And that’s fine. Eventually there’s a point where preferences will shift. If oil hits $250/barrel, people will shift to something else. We already saw it earlier this year when gasoline was around $4/gallon. Miles driven plummeted. People switched to less bulky vehicles, etc. So the market is the best way to get us “on” or “off” of oil (foreign and domestic oil are both the same product, a fact that escaped McCain in the last debate when he said oil from Canada was “fine” but foreign oil wasn’t. Tell that to someone who wants to fill up his tank but can’t because we restricted “foreign” oil).

Taxes are a hot topic that both candidates will go into. Unfortunately, neither is in favor of fixing the broken system. We might lower taxes on one group of people, but raise them on corporations (I always wanted to ask Obama who runs these “evil corporations” and if he thinks robots are in charge or do real live people benefit when corporations get tax cuts? CEOs are people, too. And they spread their capital around very efficiently. That’s how they got to the top, by making smart choices.)

But neither candidate wants to simplify our tax code. No one knows their true tax rate. It’s basically impossible to figure out how much of your salary you actually get to spend how you see fit, without the government reaching its hands into it. Gas taxes, “sin” taxes, income taxes, and the list is basically endless. Let’s look into something simpler that encourages people to make choices with their money.



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16 Comments:

  1. Keep posting and I’ll keep coming back, thanks

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  2. I have just hopped on the Ron Paul bandwagon. Not since JFK have I been able to catch a glimpse of something in a potential president that resembles honesty and a sincere concern for the people. I see that in Ron Paul and hope he will run in the next election. For the first time in my life, I will offer my services, whether in my own community or outside of it, for the purposes of seeing this man elected to the presidency. Ron Paul might be one against many at the political level, but he has an invisible army behind him who’ve had a fire lit under them as a result of the atrocities committed by the Bush Administration.

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  3. MarkL,

    Gin got it right.

    –ChrisP

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  4. All the comments about people wanting to vote for Ron Paul but he’s not on the ballot. You can write someone in. I’ve already done this.

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  5. MarkL…Chris P says in his message that only the amount ABOVE $75/$150K would get taxed. So if they make $76K, only that last $1K would be taxed, so they would pay all of $400 in tax, on a $76K salary.

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  6. It was Union’s that built this country. Most Union members who are in a trade do follow a creed of a higher expectation from there employer and know that all they have themselves to offer is there honest day of labor for an honest day of pay. In the construction world I have seen non-union companies take shortcuts to see a job come thru in the end with a higher profit for the company. They do this by allowing shortcuts, hiring non-legal employees and not having any safety standards in place to protect their employees.
    Union construction employees take pride in their craftsmanship and are more professional in their craft.
    Now when you talk of Unions hurting individual employees you must understand that it is the people running the Union and not the actual Union ( same as the folks running this country).
    If not for my Union job my wife would not be able to stay at home with our children.if I was doing my profession outside of my Union and I was to quit I would not be able to find a job in my same profession here in my area. Jobs are not a dime a dozen. I am not for of you occupation, but you should not be so judgmental when you have never been in a Union.
    PS It was a Union that united this country in our civil war.

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  7. Geno:

    I’m not really “against” unions, people should be free to assemble as they see fit. But everyone who rushes to support unions needs to check the facts. Such as:

    Fact- Teacher’s unions discourage innovation in the education sector. The teacher’s union actually has the effect of making it so difficult to get a teacher fired that they can get away with things they would never get away with if there was competition. A lot of teachers don’t care if their students learn, don’t work as hard as they should, or just do what they need to in order to not get fired.

    Fact- If you don’t think you are getting a “good day’s pay for a good day’s work” then you are free to quit and go somewhere else to pursue a “good day’s pay.” There is no one forcing you to work for min wage or $50k a year, if you can make more somewhere else then go do it. If you can’t find a “good day’s pay for a good day’s work” then you are in the wrong field because there are lots of people lining up to take your job.

    Fact- You do have the “ability to work in a safe environment” because I work in one and I’m not in a union. Working conditions are safe, especially for teachers. If you think they aren’t, you have plenty of methods of recourse, including lawsuits, strikes, etc. Again, no one is forcing you to do some slave-type labor for bread and water only. If you think the job isn’t safe then leave, eventually (if others agree) the company/industry will disappear.

    Fact- Whenever you enter a voluntary agreement there can never be a claim of “worker slavery” because slavery implied an involuntary agreement. Misunderstanding the agreement AFTER you enter into it is not slavery. If you agree to work for $5/hr and assume you are getting health care but you really aren’t, is that slavery? You can always quit your job. Slaves can’t quit.

    As far as your comments about Hitler, they really make no sense to me. Hitler banned unions because his agenda was to keep people apart so they couldn’t organize against his wishes. You don’t need a union to do that today, all you have to do is tell your boss “I quit” and he can’t execute you.

    Basically unions hurt employees more than they help. There’s no need to have a union to avoid being in danger of dying at work, if anyone can name one place that employs “slaves” I’ll join a union right now.

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  8. ChrisP, I’m not sure I understand you correctly – are you saying that only Americans making more than $75k (per person) should be taxed at 40%, and that would balance the budget? If not, just stop reading right here. :)

    If you DO think that this idea will work, let me ask what the incentive is for someone to make $76k? If I make $74,999, I keep all of it – if I make just $2 more, I have to give $30k to the fed, and keep $35k for myself? All you’re asking for there is for people to use write-offs and other means off legal tax evasion to buck the system.

    And for those who make so much more than $75k that they couldn’t possibly write it off to be under the line, they’re the ones who own businesses, and will raise prices on everything they sell – they pass their losses on to the consumer, of course…and this equivalates to increased cost of living on EVERYONE, not just those under the $75k cap – including the already impoverished.

    A better idea would be a low rate, flat tax on EVERYONE, say 18%-22%, with no variations or allowances based on income. EVERYONE paying the same pecentage tax is just like all the kids wearing uniforms to school – no one is better or worse than the next, and real solutions could come from it….

    Is the idea of having a single, flat rate tax for ALL citizens really so hard to implement? I dont see why the highest bracket typically falls on the middle-class…and I really REALLY dont see how you think taxing ONLY the upper-class could possibly be a solution to our economic ruins….

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  9. In my early twenties I belonged to a union for 7 years. I paid my dues and have a small pension to show for it when I retire. I had a working wage, was able to buy a home with the help of my spouse. I had excellent medical, vision and dental benefits and if I worked on a Sunday, I was compensated.
    I am now 44 years old and by choice switched jobs for various reasons several times over the years.
    I have very limited health care which I partially pay for in premiums and co-pays. I have no vision coverage, and most disturbingly to me, no dental care. Dental care is extravagantly expensive. My employer would love to do right by his employees but cannot keep up with the cost of insurance. My husband also works for a small business owner who cannot offer any health care. This just isn’t a concern for union members who enjoy better wages and benefits in the form of health care and pensions/401k contributions.
    Yes, I am definitely in favor of unions and anywhere there is a union, it does bring up the wage level for other companies.

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  10. Let me talk about taxes. Using 2006 IRS data and Excel, I determined that if you have ZERO deductions (no mortgage deduction, no child deduction, no deductions at all), you could eliminate federal taxes on ALL single Americans making under $75,000 and eliminate taxes on ALL married Americans making under $150,000 year – IF you put a flat 40% tax on all income ABOVE those two levels and BALANCE the BUDGET! And yes that’s a ZERO tax rate on Corporations – which would create a HUGE boom to employment in this country.

    Now remember, that budget is a bloated nightmare, so the flat tax could come down a long way through budget cuts.

    That said, my idea does NOT drop the Soc. Sec. or Medicare tax.

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  11. Geno wrote “im wondering what you have against the teachers union?”

    Ron Paul has nothing against unions. If people want to organize they are welcome to. The specific issue with the Teachers Union, is that it is a monopoly. If people could take their $19,000 per child and shop around for a school, then the Teachers Union would be OK. The sad truth is that many private schools have shown they can teach children for under $9,000/year – the other $10,000 goes to poorly run schools with outrageously high pension/benefit costs.

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  12. #1 Oil is Capital not income.

    No Natural resource should be treated as income or a product of a particular industry. Oil, wood, and precious metals are truly scarce resources and should be treated as such. We will never adhere to a sustainable economic policy unless we understand this concept.

    #2 Mediums of exchange (money) must be attached to assets.

    Only assets, those things which engage production have value. Any medium of exchange must be attached to something of value beyond a government’s promise of value.

    #3 Debt must never equal 1/10th of the total value of an economy or business.

    Debt is the foundation of all that we have created since the Fed has accosted our country. It is an illusion. We must work to reduce our debt levels until we have 10x the amount of money to pay off our debts both national and private, including consumer debt.

    #4 We must regain a truthful understanding of freedom.

    No government will ever produce more freedom with more legislation. This includes business and civil rights. Legislation and freedom have an inverse relationship. “That government is best which governs least.” -Thomas Paine

    #5 International intervention is dangerous.

    “Commerce with all, alliance with none!” -Thomas Jefferson

    #6 I’m writing in Ron Paul this November.

    We have to start somewhere lets begin with the constitution and end with FREEDOM

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  13. I believe our dollar is rising against other currencies because our economy is not the only one that is failing at the moment. We are also artificially holding the dollar up with measures such as the bailout. I think it is only a matter of time before those gains start to reverse. I will not feel safe until we erase this major defecit that our government has built for us.

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  14. ok…ive read the above story “change or more of the same”….and im wondering what you have against the teachers union?…unions are an important tool in the fight against worker slavery! and whether you like to believe it or not most of the good working wages in this country are a benefit of unions! the two main reasons for unions are this: 1. collective bargaining….i.e. to get a good days pay for a good days work!….2. working conditions…..the ability to work in a safe workplace!……one only needs to read the book “the jungle” by upton sinclair to really understand the need for unions…..iirc, hitler was also against unions and banned them all as soon as he came to power!…..i dont think you or anyone else from this site (including ron paul) would be against unions if you gave it some thought….so please think about it before you speak against unions!……P.S. i would like to know what anyone else has to say about unions….thx, geno

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  15. Chris-
    I’m no expert in Politics either, but my guess is the value of the US dollar won’t be gaining much longer…just waiting for the you-know-what to hit the fan.

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  16. Hi guys, just to confirm, I am a Canadian, and I do follow the American politics quite a bit. Am i educated, sorta, not really, perhaps I should be following my own country’s business but here it goes…

    Despite all the billions and billions of dollars the government is pumping into the company, how is it that the Us dollar is gaining in value compared to all the other countries? You think this would devalue the US dollar. One time not too long ago, our dollars were almost right on par. Now a dollar Canadian is worth 80 Cents US.

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