Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Philosophy of Liberty

Whether or not you watched the previously posted video, I think you'll find this one is both educational and enlightening. It does a fantastic job of presenting the reality of life. I caution you, watching this is not a passive endeavor. It's not a cartoon, it's an education. Ponder it. Mull it over. Let it sink in.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Me is Mine, You is Yours

What I think is so significant about this song is that it makes it clear that we're really no different now then when mankind first "signed" the social contract. This being the case, why in the world have we allowed ourselves to drift so far away from it?

My thanks to Purely Politics for making me aware of this video.

There is Only Zul

I recently have been shopping online for a breakfast nook. One of the websites I visited offered live online chat with one of their representatives. I had a few questions, so I figured I'd give it a try. But I was also feeling a bit frisky and wondered just how much I might get away with. Here is the transcript of the conversation.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The World of Financial Make-Believe

Last week while listening to NPR on my car radio was the first time I heard the word "deflation" used in conversation regarding our current economy. I was completely flabbergasted by the very notion of it. Since then, I've heard the word used several times in various media sources. According to these sources, deflation is a very real concern of the present administration and of many economists.

A simple, cursory analysis of this idea by the casual observer clearly demonstrates a fundamental problem: That is, just how completely out of touch our government and economic minds truly are with the people they are supposed to be serving.

Deflation? Are you kidding me? I find this assessment utterly repugnant. If they can really claim that the prices of goods and services are falling, then I've got to ask what reality they're living in, because it's clearly not mine. All across the board, my family's cost of living has skyrocketed. Here are just a few examples.

  • I posted here some time ago that the Bank of America credit card I've had for over 15 years lerched up from a reasonable 6.9% interest rate to over 13% for no other reason than to help BoA attempt to recoup money lost on other people who had defaulted on their credit debt. (See my post, "An Open Letter Sent to Bank of Amerika", April 2009.)

  • My health insurance jumped $70 per month in the middle of the of the contract year. Each year, when your company renegotiates health insurance costs, they invariably go up. However, this time, even after the annual increase, the insurance company increased our premiums by $70 right in the middle of the contract!

  • Food prices have skyrocketed. This spring, watermellons, a big favorite at the manor, were selling for as high as $9 a piece. (Not pesos, dollars.) Even now that they are in season, they are still seen for over $5 each.

  • The Commonwealth of Massachusetts increased its sales tax from 5% to 6.5% on virtually everything.

  • Gasoline prices, though stable lately, saw an enormous surge in prices since the beginning of this recession. Gasoline prices, when adjusted for inflation and in 2010 dollars are 21% higher than the historical average of $2.39 a gallon. Essentially, gas prices are 50 cents per gallon higher than what one would historically expect.

This last one is the one that angers me more than most. Gasoline is the prime mover in our economy. Nothing gets to stores without having been moved by trucks. Food. Clothes. Building materials. Everything you've purchased from a store in the last week was delivered to that store by truck. That means every increase in gasoline prices not only costs you at the pump, it is passed along to you in every item you buy in the form of increased prices.

Do the "experts" know what they're talking about when they say that deflation is a very real risk facing the country? I'm sure they think they do. I'm sure they did their math correctly when they punched in all those little numbers and counted all those little beans. But where they fail is that they don't live in reality. They live in "an economy."

You and I don't live in an economy. We live in our homes. Homes we have to pay to heat (and cool). Homes in which we have to feed and cloth our families. Forgive my provincial attitude, but I don't give a damn about the global economy. I care about what what problems come up my driveway. That's where reality begins and ends.

No doubt you're now thinking that I don't have a clear grasp on the interconnectedness of things. Of job markets and trade deficits. Of supply and demand. Please be assured that I do. But countries and governments and, yes, economies, are made up of individual building blocks. Those building blocks are called families. And it is there where the health and well-being of our country is made or broken.

There is a voice out there coming from the Left that says Americans pay too little for gasoline. That Europeans pay far more for gasoline and that in order to bring societal policies about that they prefer, that to "change the American people", we need to dramatically increase the price of gasoline.

Let me explain to you right now that anyone who advocates that sort of foolishness is no friend of the American people. This is going to be a surprise to many on the far Left, but this country wasn't founded as a service to those in power. This country, and my family, are not some sort social experiment for public administrators, politicians, and policy wonks. It was founded for those of us who work hard and who want to live without the constant intervention of the government. Nor do I exist as simply a link in a chain that connects large corporation to their profits.

If by scaling back my spending, by making due, and by doing my best to drive down the prices of goods and services I negatively impact the government and our financial infrastructure, then tough. I don't exist for their benefit. And I'm not asking them to exist for mine. Me and my family come first, and I expect you and yours do as well.