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Team America

October 10, 2013

Jon Bell19 hours ago

@J. Kelley 

Can you juxtapose your ‘if you don’t work, you don’t eat’ statement with the phrase ‘promote the general welfare’? You’ll find the ‘general welfare’ phrase in the preamble to your Constitution. Any of those approving your post are welcome to respond.



Jeff Miller9 hours ago

@Jon Bell “promote the general welfare” does not mean giving welfare to the lazy except to liberal progressives. It means general policies that enable those who work to succeed to whatever level their talents, skills and work ethic enable them to achieve. When they do succeed they are then perfectly entitled, and indeed encouraged, to share their success with those less fortunate but only as they see fit. That will in fact “promote the general welfare” which is the desire for a positive outcome for the overall population. When you re-define the clause, “promote the general welfare” to the contemporary definition of “welfare” your are at best, Orwellian and clearly disingenuous. 


Jon Bell9 hours ago

@Jeff Miller

‘Welfare’ in ‘promote the general welfare’ does not refer to welfare in the contemporary sense.  True.

That’s not the issue. The issue remains. Does the ‘if you don’t work, you don’t eat’ sentiment lie within the ‘promote the general welfare’ principle? If so, in what manner? If not, why?



Jeff Miller8 hours ago

@Jon Bell @Jeff Miller the phrase, “promote the general welfare” refers to promoting the nation as a whole not any individual or group. I would also ask that you explain why “don’t work, free eats” does in fact align with the general welfare of the nation as a whole.

It is my belief that the general welfare of the nation as a whole is in fact promoted when there is the expectation that able bodied (fully or partly) individuals are held to be responsible for their own individual welfare – e.g., “don’t work, don’t eat”. 

To do otherwise – and again we are purposely excluding those unable to do so – requires that those of us who do fulfill our own responsibility are also required to support those who by their own choices and decisions do not. That is a prescription that diminishes the “general welfare” of the nation as the weight of those who avoid personal responsibility drags down those who do fulfill their responsibility. Human nature being what it is, that weight will increase to such a point that the nation as a whole is damaged, potentially fatally. No dominant civilization has yet been able to survive when the weight of the unwilling overcomes the power of the self-reliant. 


Jon Bell3 hours ago

@Jeff Miller

No disagreement here re the entirety of your post, though some comment is in order.

Re your request for explanation:  While a particular frame of reference is required, I offer America is a team, where all members, regardless of industry, intellect, etc. are of value.  As such, when the team does not aid and assist the weaker members, the team is diminished, notwithstanding some members’ positions are improved.

Here’s is a test of the America is a team thesis:  If the statements ‘America is great’ and ‘God bless America’ have any meaning, so does the team thesis.  If not, then there is no America.  There’s just a bunch of semi-civilized folks living in North America each competing not only with each other but each of the other organized nation-state economic engines in the world.  (For an objective measure of what I describe as your ‘every man for himself’ strategy, which has since about the 1980’s been a significant, though latent, theme in America, compare USA to all other nation-states.  You’re not at the top, save for your Congressional-military-industrial complex expenditures.)

Re your ‘by their own choices and decisions’ position:  People occupy every range of industry, intellect, etc.  Using the theory x and theory y distinctions for convenience, there are uber x’s and uber y’s and many degradation in between.  And, yes, you have your x’s just like every other society, current and past.  Just because other societies may have failed to solve the x issue, doesn’t mean you can’t.  In fact, you must.  The fate of your society, and the fate of all future societies are dependent on that answer.  This is because x’s will always be with us and are not going away.  (‘Don’t work – don’t eat’ will not work in a Darwinian context.)  Solve this issue and there will be, at the minimum, a Nobel in it for you.  Don’t, and ‘don’t work – don’t eat’ is no solution, and America will, in time, meet the fate of the civilizations/societies referred to as ancient.



Jeff Miller 1 hours ago

@Jon Bell @Jeff Miller I appreciate the cogent writing and serious thought.

However, the premise of America as a team is false construct. There are teams, baseball, basketball, football, soccer, hockey, etc. where your premise has value. Other teams such as in industry operate differently. When a “team member” fails to fulfill their responsibility they are not aided but removed from the team. That is, if a co-worker doesn’t do their job they are fired. Certainly there may be some intervention between the two acts but the end result is the same: don’t work, don’t eat.

 As for your “x’s” yes they will always be with us. But I also believe firm application of the “don’t work, don’t eat” will trim their ranks if only for their own survival. After all, this is how nature works and I believe humans are part of nature and as such the “don’t work, don’t eat” is precisely Darwinian. And it does work (no pun intended).

 The statements “America is great” and “God bless America” have meaning but that meaning differs depending on the speaker and listener. The team thesis has no relation to either statement. One can believe “America is great” and simultaneously offer up other individual Americans to die in a war. Indeed it may be precisely because one believes America is great that one is even willing to offer oneself up for war. I have. Clearly, offering oneself and others up for war hardly fits the team thesis much less helping those who are weaker.

 I completely disagree that America must follow your “Team” construct or else! I also disagree with the “semi-civilized” label as it suggests a “my policy is the only true path everything else is wrong” philosophy. If that’s the attitude then no further argument is of interest. 

For my part I happily believe that America is composed of a wide variety of individuals each working towards their own self-interest within a system of rules (laws & regulations). In so doing we each provide value to the whole. We work for ourselves and benefit all. This is the America that was originally founded with respect to individuals – not just your 1980’s Reagan implication. 

For a team analogy it is perhaps more like a golf team (Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup, etc.) where individuals compete and the group benefits. But if a team member fails they aren’t carried by the others they are dropped from the team (at least in the following year).

 It is a long standing and truly false analogy to point to various other nation-states – typically the European social-welfare states – and claim how much better life is there than here. Each and every one is benefiting by the U.S. military-industrial complex. It is what enables them to spend more tax money on social-welfare instead of self-defense. You may find me a compatible spirit if the discussion pivots to whether that is appropriate.

But it is reality. And the other reality is that America in particular and the Western world in general do have enemies and those enemies would like very much to destroy us. If America adopts the European social-welfare status – and the current administration would like that very much – then who will protect us? Not China nor Russia. There is no one. So adopting your desired social-welfare scheme , which in essence is the thrust of your argument, will rather quickly result in the demise of Western democracy and over some time America itself. Along with our friends, neighbors and allies of course.

Nice chatting with you. I will post this thread on my blog: You may contact me their if you’d like.



The Obama Recovery

February 20, 2013

The “Obama Recovery”

The two charts shown below show “Real Domestic Gross Product” on a quarterly basis. The first chart is January 1947 through October 2012 while the second is from January 1990 through October 2012. All data has been obtained from the St. Louis Federal Reserve “FRED” data base.

What is most disturbing is that beginning in fourth quarter 2007 GDP began to diverge from the historical, exponential trendline and has not reverted to the mean since. That is, Chart #1 (1947-2012) shows many quarters of GDP growth below the trendline and many above. That means GDP “reverts” to the mean (in this case the exponential trendline) when it gets too far above or below. Of course it is also a function of the trendline itself being fitted to the data after the fact.

GDP 1947-2012 Chart1

However, starting in 4th Quarter 2007 GDP moved away from the trendline and has been on a different path ever since. This shows up in both charts but is more pronounced in Chart #2 (1990-2012)

GDP 1990-2012 Chart2

As the “R2” figure indicates the trendline “explains” some 99% of the data. For the last 5 years to diverge as significantly suggests the US economy has in fact entered a new stage. And not a welcome one at that.

The divergence from historical trend is even more pronounced when viewed in Chart #2. Even worse is the flattening of real GDP in the last quarter of 2012. Although that data will likely be revised upwards the prospect of a reversion to the trendline seems bleak indeed without major changes in federal domestic policy. The likelihood of which is dim, at least for the next four years. By that time the US economy may be on another track but millions of Americans will be left behind forever.

For Chart #2 the starting point of 1990 was based on the fact that it is more contemporary data; it starts around the end of the 89-90 recessionary period; and the GDP chart shows it is relatively flat suggesting a good starting point. Even thought the “R2” data shows a diminution from 99% to 95% that is still a fairly strong representation. For reference the starting point of Chart #1 is that it is the earliest available data.

Mortgage Bailout or Voter Buyoff?

February 18, 2009

President Obama unveiled his latest bailout plan today. It is a $75 billion plan to give irresponsible homeowners a partial free ride on a home they could not afford.  This is done by burdening all responsible homeowners with ever increasing federal debt AND even worse, preventing the market from clearing the home inventory overhang. In fact, the aura of housing market price manipulation is perhaps the least appreciated flaw in this bailout scheme.

By and large we aren’t talking about homeowners who were laid off or who have suffered medical setbacks. They certainly exist and may, emphasize may, be deserving of some assistance. No this bailout is aimed directly at the reckless and the stupid who bought homes they could not afford with money they did not have.

The pro-bailout argument, heard repeatedly on CNBC and elsewhere is that if “we” don’t bail “them” out then homes in “our” neighborhood will be foreclosed and “we” will suffer a price decrease. It is hard to believe that people with a triple digit IQ making, well, lots of money can make that argument with a straight face. By that logic if my neighbor loses money in a mutual fund I need to bail him out in order to preserve the value of my mutual fund. If my neighbor is at risk of having his car repossessed I need to bail him out or my car will lose value. Apparrently no one anywhere should take any kind of loss ever for any reason whatsoever because it will lower the value of everything everywhere. Where does it end?

Asked another way, what reasonable person will now trust the manipulated “market value” of a home? The claim that a foreclosed home in my neighborhood will diminish my market value may or may not be true. If it was the buyer who bought what they could not afford and a new set of responsbile home buyers appears then I suffer little or no drop in value. If the home was overpriced as well then I deserve to lose some value since my home too is likely overvalued. Too bad for me.

But if homes that should have been foreclosed upon are left in the hands of reckless buyers in order to prevent a drop in value then the market value of all homes are being manipulated by the government. Why would a responsible person trust such a manipulated market value. Who will buy a home whose value is manipulated? What would be a fair price? How would anyone know? What will now happen to home prices? And if I want to sell will the government let me price my home lower than my neighbors? Won’t that also lower their value? Will we end up with a socialized housing market?

Frankly, I believe that all the bailout schemes are directed not at economic salvation but the salvation of the Democrat voter/donor base. Now to be honest I believe the Bush bank bailout was aimed at friends of Ben, principally the Goldman Sachs crowd that has run the treasury for multiple administrations. If you look closely at the Obama bank bailout it isn’t quite as friendly on the surface but underneath the noise the banks continue to get what they want. The car company bailout and the mortgage bailout, every bailout actually is aimed at protecting, preserving and rewarding the Democrat voter/donor base.

For me this Machiavellian outlook explains a great deal about the  design of the bailouts since Economics 101 is clearly not at work. If a bailout is not expressly aimed at the voter base, as in the UAW in the case of the car companies then step back and ask where’s the money? Goldman Sachs, all the former investment banks as well as most corporate executives are big time donors to the Democrats. Got to protect that voter/donor base. So, let’s buy their financial support and votes with taxpayer money and we’ll call it a bailout to protect the little guy. Nice.

Vote No on the Stimulus

February 6, 2009

To:                                                                             February 6, 2009

Rep. Mike McIntyre

Senator Richard Burr

Senator Kay Hagan

As one of your constituents I am asking you to vote no on the current stimulus bill working its way through congress. I firmly believe, as a small business owner, husband, father and grandfather that this bill will not provide the corrective action our economy currently needs. Even worse I believe this billl will make the situation considerably worse and will unduly burden our children for the rest of their lives. While I appreciate the politics of the current circumstances I am asking you to vote no on the stimulus bill.