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Monthly Archives: March 2013

American-Flag1On this Easter Sunday (3-31-2013) I got to watch Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation one more time before my busy season.  I will be working from 10 am to 5 pm on Sundays until at least the 4th of July for the peak of the patio furniture selling season.  He did the first half hour on religion in America and the last half hour on books written about Calvin Coolidge, Eisenhower and Nixon, Franklin Roosevelt and Lindbergh, and Winston Churchill.  I found something interesting in both halves that say a lot.

After a short interview with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Schieffer did a round table with a woman high priest in Boston, an Islamic leader known as an Imam from an American mosque, a rabbi, and a bishop.  The discussion was very civil and they discussed mostly the similarities and the desires for Americans to have God in their life in one form or another.  The focal point of Easter weekend for Christians and Christian scholars is the verification of the resurrection which would reveal to the world the relevance of the Christian faith.  I am not an expert on the many different religions in the world but I am wise enough to make one statement that is apparent to me as common ground for every religion in the world and that is: anyone looking for proof is not a true believer.  Accepting the unbelievable on total faith is the absolute requirement.  Unless you have the good fortune to either witness or perform a miracle in your lifetime, miracles of the past can only be historically accounted for by people accepting on total faith.  The vindication of this statement comes from the fact that even if scientific proof, possibly contradicting scripture were to surface, it can only serve to vindicate the physical world.  A true believer believes the physical world is not the end point, but the passing through point, and that one continues for eternity in one of two places.  As secular as America has become and continues to aspire to become, it is still the country that will play the most integral role in the relevancy of religion and the need for God to be part of our lives as well as the life span of the struggling nation.  This is because America states right in its constitution that freedom of religion is a fundamental, inalienable right of all its citizens.  The absolution of this freedom is the thing that puts America in the position of the being God’s ultimate distribution network though all religious channels because submission is not submission unless it is voluntary.  In a country like Iran, where Islam is an absolute mandate, not even the parishioner himself (or herself) can never verify whether or not her or she is a true believer.  Therefore in America, although over 20% may chose to not to affiliate with any religion or may not be committed to belief in God, all Americans who choose to believe are by default true believers because they carry with them the ultimate self-test 24/7.

The other half hour struck a chord with me on the one thing that may be the underlying cause as to why Washington D.C., and for that matter, the American people cannot accomplish its one and only no-brainer and that is to balance its budget—leadership.  Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, and Winston Churchill; you could not find four people in history more different than this cast of characters if you tried.  But they were all good leaders in their own way.  Calvin Coolidge always had America under budget.  Like Five Star General Dwight D. Eisenhower who realized he could not shoot the Democrat congress the way he could shoot the enemy in combat, Silent Cal also knew to get out of the way and let Americans self-govern.  Winston Churchill has impeccable insight on matters of the world such as the rise of Adolph Hitler into power and that the appeasement policies of his predecessor Neville Chamberlain would never work.  Though I believe F.D.R.s New Deal is doing us financial harm nowadays, we may still be in that great depression with a complete lack of leadership.  One big problem in Washington, D.C. today is the lack of leadership.  Politics notwithstanding, Barrack Obama is a nice guy and if it were a simple battle between liberal vs. conservative, Mr. Obama would not receive opposition from his own Democrat party.  But even they question whether he is the guy that can lead them to their liberal objectives.  Unfortunately for us Republican conservatives, Mitt Romney would not have been much better.  Ronald Reagan was the last great leader in America.  He had a minority in congress six out of eight years he served the nation’s highest office and did alright.  I am confident Rick Santorum would be a very similar leader to Ronald Reagan.  The point is we need a real leader in the executive branch.  Not a dictator, absolutely not!  But someone who leads by example and play the hand dealt, regardless if those cards represent his own party or the other.  I admit John Boehner behaves badly and wants to fight a war of words rather than debate and compromise, but bottom line, John Boehner is not the president—he is doing exactly what his constituents want him to do or he doesn’t get re-elected.  Alas, Barrack Obama (and Mitt Romney for that matter) is no Vince Lombardi and nothing gets done.

On this Easter Sunday, we must pray for the resurrection of America as the great nation our Founding Fathers intended.  To do this, we require leadership.  A Calvin Coolidge, a Franklin Roosevelt, a Dwight Eisenhower, a Winston Churchill, a Ronald Reagan.

Republican ElephantIn case you missed it, welcome to sequestration.  So far most of us don’t feel any different than before sequestration became reality.  But sequestration is Romper Room compared to the potential government shutdown scheduled for 03-27-2013 about a week away unless Congress and the President agree on the debt ceiling.

First of all, as I mentioned before when I blogged on baseline budgeting, those draconian spending cuts resulting from sequestration do not reduce spending.  In fact, spending will be still be increased, the deficit will continue to grow; just the rate of growth will be reduced.  If you are $16 Trillion in debt, you cannot afford to buy a stick of gum.  The fact that sequestration does not reduce the deficit is a pretty good indicator that our federal government is involved in way to many things.  There is no easy solution for a compassionate, intelligent conservative.  But something has to go.

Second, if the government shutdown happens, it will be because the two parties will not be able to agree on whether or not to raise the debt ceiling (i.e. the rate of tolerable growth) and by how much.  Aren’t we trying to use Molotov Cocktails as fire extinguishers?  America has accrued insurmountable debt and now, not only does Washington not want to pay it off, but wants to raise the ceiling so we can spend more without consequence?  Try to get Citibank to raise your credit limit when your Visa is maxed out and you cannot afford minimum balance.  Yet, that is exactly what our government gets away with.  The catch-22 is if we don’t raise the debt ceiling, America is most-likely headed for Greek-style bankruptcy.  Now the question is can this be avoided?

This brings me back to the corollary to that Schoenhaus Theorem.  We must look at 1789 and calculate minimum government and determine if the cost to maintain a minimum government continues to accrue insurmountable debt.  If it does, America is beyond repair.  If not, there is still a window to fix America and return it to its lofty status as the greatest country in the world.  I am working on a calculating lemma to the corollary to the Schoenhaus Theorem which would include a dollar on the old-time gold standard.

I fully understand we cannot operate under 1789 rules in the twenty-first century.  But this is the model politicians and elected officials need to make their decisions.  We make a hypothetical model for what I refer to as minimum government.  Using current rates of inflation, but with a gold certificate dollar rather than a federal reserve note, we determine hopefully the amount of budget surplus America would have under minimum government.  Now instead of reducing government in real time by making uneasy spending cuts, we work the problem backwards and determine what we can add to this minimum government and still have a surplus, break even, and accrue debt, but not insurmountable debt.  We decide what is really important that cannot be privatized or can be privatized but not feasible to privatize at this point in time.  Once we have a model we can live with, our elected officials make only the spending cuts that reduce government to the model we built.  With fewer entitlements, the new goal will be to create as many opportunities as possible for the American people to live their American dream.  When the people have enough disposable income to afford to pay more taxes, it will be possible to increase taxes to offset the manageable debt accrued, but we will never take it all—we will guarantee all Americans have enough left to live their American Dreams, or the ability to make up the difference in a very short period of time.

I believe the 60:40 hybrid currency where our dollar is 60% federal reserve notes and 40% gold certificates must be incorporated in the new model—once we balance the budget, we begin a never-ending journey to make sure it stays balanced, or goes no deeper in the red than what is considered manageable and is rectified very quickly.

Let us drink from the fountain of wisdom inherited to us from our Founding Fathers, build this minimum government, and rebuild the model to determine how to cut spending down to this model.  America is the greatest nation God allowed to inhabit Earth.  Now let us glorify God by using our gifts of intelligence and compassion with the offering of this glorious gedanken.

FlagBaseballWith so little change on the political front since sequestration went through, and since I believe the last of the snow will melt by the weekend when the patio furniture company I work for is having their season opening sale, I would like to talk about baseball.

I finally figured out how this WBC (World Baseball Classic) actually works; but if there is any validity to Murphy’s Laws, three years from now the format will change.  In the first round, the teams are divided into four pools each with four teams. A team of a particular country plays each team in their pool once for a total of three games.  Just like a regular season, each team plays three games even if they are 0-2 and mathematically eliminated.  After everyone has played their three game season; as it were, the teams that finish first place in each pool advance and six other teams are picked according to winning percentage, with complicated NFL-type tie-breakers that involve statistics, not playoff games, and two pools of four teams are created, each with at least two pool champions.  The teams are ranked and in the first round, 1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3.  Unlike the infamous brackets that are followed by college basketball buffs religiously, the round is double elimination like in our little league days.  This means the four teams are re-ranked based on who wins and who loses and déjà vu all over again.  Teams are not eliminated until they lose two games.  After the double elimination, the two teams that win their pools plus two wild cards determined by WBC percentage and tie-breakers implemented if necessary play final four style (single elimination).  Since the world-wide teams are pasted together and not determined by who wins a world series or some form of championship in their home country, since they do not play 162 game season to decide who will represent a respective country, I guess it is as good a format as any.  I just wish they could have gone with something easier to explain.

The intended purpose of the WBC is to promote the game of baseball across the globe.  While Japan, Latin American countries, and South American countries have been playing baseball for a long time, even Europe, which has been the soccer continent for ages, has a lot of representatives in this tourney.  I suppose they have as much right to play baseball as anyone else in the world.  It just seems as baseball is losing its identity as the American National Pastime.  In the twenty-first century, MLB has almost double (30) the number of teams it had in the first half of the twentieth century (16).  This results in what is called talent pool dilution which means players that back in the day would have been career minor leaguers at best play in the big leagues because thirty 25-man rosters have to be filled with somebody.  MLB’s answer is to incorporate talent pools of other nations of the world.  Many of these nations foster ballplayers that play baseball in America’s Major Leagues; others have little to no history.  MLB is attempting to seek out talent pools in countries that are traditionally either not baseball countries or do not have a reputation of sharing their talent players with us.  For many years, the United States and Japan, the second largest baseball nations both had leagues with reserve clauses that indentured players to one team unless traded or sold for cash, to one team.  Both countries agreed not to tamper which each other reserve clauses.  This is why Sadaharu Oh, the Babe Ruth of Japan who hit more home runs than Ruth, Aaron, or Bonds played his entire career in Japan even though George Steinbrenner was very interested in importing him to The Bronx when America’s reserve clause was broken.

I would like to see the re-Americanization of American baseball in America.  They can continue to play the WBC, but it is should be separate from MLB and other baseball leagues in America.  One bridge that has to be crossed eventually is a reduction in the number MLB teams, followed by a restructuring draft for a more concentrated talent pool.  Unfortunately, just about every team including the most financially troubled franchises got new ballparks during the post Camden Yards ballpark boom.  Major League ballparks are like buying a new car—they cost billions of dollars and MLB will face a major law suit by a city whose team is contracted leaving them with a multi-billion dollar white elephant.  The newest ballpark has to become at least twenty years old before contraction can be considered.  But it is a bridge that will inevitably have to be crossed.

1962 expansion did not have the talent dilution effect that more recent expansion did for two reasons; in fact it may have enhanced it.  The first was Jackie Robinson broke the color line in 1947 and the consolidation of the Negro Leagues throughout the 1950s gave the best of the African American talent pool jobs in the Majors.  The Hispanic talent pool would also follow suit.  In addition, the first of the baby-boomers born in 1946 where 2-3 years away from their early twenties increasing the talent pool mathematically; if one percent of the population has the born-ability to play professional baseball, the result of the baby-boom was one percent of a larger number.  In contrast, the final waive of expansion in 1998 saw the last of the baby-boom ballplayers retiring and in addition to two extra teams requiring 25-man rosters, Generation X (and subsequently Gen Y) are significantly smaller than the baby-boom generation resulting in one percent of a smaller number with the born-ability to play professional baseball.

It is the talent pool dilution factor that inspired MLB to explore talent pools outside the United States.  For the next twenty years or so, this is as good as it gets.  But in the meantime, there are a few things MLB can do to make baseball in America special again.  I have a few ideas.

One of the first things I would do is pull the plug on the season opening with two major league teams playing each other in some foreign country.  I understand they are not doing that this year.  The two Texas teams (Astros-Rangers) will play Sunday night, March 31st and everyone else the next day.  In the future, MLB is looking into restoring the tradition of always opening in Cincinnati, home of the first professional baseball team in 1869, the Red Stockings.  But I what I would really like to see, if not on opening day, is to bring the game to small town America.  The firm HOK, who is responsible for all those new ballparks from Camden Yards to Citi Field is pretty much done building ballparks.  But what they can do is build fields in small towns, say one a year with an asymmetric outfield indicative of those classic ballparks built before World War II that met their doom with the wrecking ball in the sixties and seventies.  HOK could build a V-Shaped grandstand that could be carried on a wide load flatbed truck and placed around the field from third to first base.  High school football bleachers could be brought in for cheap seats beyond the baselines.  Bucket trucks could house temporary lighting and every year, one MLB game is shifted to his rural small-town venue; perhaps on a Sunday night televised on ESPN.  This will give folks in these rural towns a chance to experience major league baseball.  After the game, the V-shaped grandstand is carted away to be used in another small town next year and the town has use of a world class baseball field for amateur baseball from that day forward.

2008 saw the last Hall of Fame game; the Monday after the Sunday of Hall of Fame inductions in Cooperstown, New York which was an exhibition game between on National League and one American League team.  I would like see regular season major league game played at Doubleday Field.

I would like to see baseball uniforms where the players show socks old school style, not these hip hop pant legs down to the shoes.  Players wore stirrups because they wanted to wear socks indicative of the team color (e.g. Boston Red Sox) and in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the colored dyes used in the fabrics were toxic if ingested by the pores when athletes perspired from playing hard.  So they wore a white sanitary sock and a stirrup in the team color over it.  Going back to stirrups may not be practical, but let the colored sock show so they look like traditional old-school ballplayers.  Put names on the backs of road uniforms only—keep the home uniforms as traditional as possible.

Once and for all, get rid of the designated hitter.  We have finally seen the last of artificial turf; just two remnants in Toronto and Tampa.  Now it is time to play baseball the way God intended baseball to be played where all nine players on the field including the pitcher must take their turn at bat.  National League baseball, which is still played that way, has a lot more strategy and much shorter games as not all pitching changes are made on the mound; the manager may have a reliever warming up in the bullpen while the team is still batting and pinch hit for the pitcher to drive in an extra run before the reliever comes in to start the next inning.

I may have some other good ideas later on.  I have no problem with a peaceful coexistence with the re-Americanization of American baseball and the WBC, I just want to see more focus on baseball as our national pastime.  The game is rooted here and the American baseball fans deserve it.

Republican ElephantWell, tomorrow (Monday, 3-4-2013) will be America’s first business day and stock market day under sequestration.  A sickly stomach malady will strike the man or woman appointed to ring the 9:30 bell at the NYSE tomorrow morning and water cooler talk at work in many places will be centered around Will I have a job tomorrow?  In my home state of Connecticut, Tweed New Haven Airport will most-likely shut down since only one commercial carrier (US Airways) now flys out there and the shortfall of air traffic controllers resulting in the actions of the boys on the hill 3-1-2013 11:59:59 PM.  Where is America going from here?

I heard economist Ben Stein do some commentary on a Sunday morning program where is blamed both parties for unwillingness to compromise.  Stein pointed out that American Democracy is not about belligerent support for your side and how to defeat those who oppose, but about compromise.  He quoted Lincoln with America is God’s last best hope for Earth.  For the most part, I agree with Mr. Stein.  Not necessarily the epitome of compromise, but government of the people, by the people, for the people.  Therefore, the representatives we elect are supposed vote according to the will of the people most of the time, and vote against the people if and only if it can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that a majority of the people support what will turn out to be a fatal mistake.  The sequestration happened.  Most Americans were sure the sequestration was a political ploy to get both sides of the aisle on board for a better solution and yet, they just left town and allowed sequestration to happen.

As a Republican loyalist, I know to expect many to ask me the question,  If your Republican Party is truly America’s savior, than why can’t Republicans compromise?  Why are Republicans just as guilty as the president for obstructing Democracy?  I don’t have a good answer for that, but I can tell you why the Republicans got it right.  Ronald Reagan was a great conservative and a great engine of compromise and pundits say he is spinning in his grave.  The difference between the Reagan era and today is The Great Ronald Reagan had the good fortune to be a bell weather president.  When he took the oath of office on 1-20-1981, he told us It’s morning in America.  The policies he got through Congress in his first term in office got sent the American economy into its largest boom of prosperity since before the Great Depression.  Compromise was the buzz word in both houses of congress and in the oval office.  That is not the case today; America is forced to live under economic martial law because it is $16 Trillion in debt and headed towards the point of no return.  Even the best of American Democracy, when Washington, D.C. was a [gentlemen’s] club and the art of compromise was the way things got done cannot sustain itself without proper funding.  If the New York Mets are to put a contending ball club on the field, they first have to rebuild financially.  They cannot sign key free agents if they cannot afford them.  And if they reach appoint where they cannot pay 25 minimum salaries and stay in the black, the owners have to sell the team.  Ideally, you search for the ultimate compromise between taxes and spending cuts.  But as I have said plenty, with 7% plus unemployment and outsourcing employment, you cannot raise taxes on the middle class because they just don’t have a spare penny.  You can raise taxes on the rich up to a point, but you have to allow them to stay rich or they will lose the wherewithal to hire and will be forced to lay off employees.  The Republican way of over 90% on spending cuts has its flaws and it would be kinder and gentler to wean America off entitlements gradually; but it has become a Hobson’s Choice.  The alternative is to go the way of Greece and declare national bankruptcy; if that is allowed to happen, not only America, but the world may never recover.

The corollary to the Schoenhaus Theorem states that if the calculated minimum government can accrue insurmountable debt, America is at the point of no return.  Though nobody including myself will be happy with the end results of sequestration, right now sequestration is the prettiest house on the ugliest block and will be that way until somebody in Washington builds a nicer house.  Doing nothing and that debt clock would continue to race; the sequestration will slow from a gallop to a canter albeit it is still moving forward.  We can consider new and increased taxes only when we can get unemployment under 4% and middle class wages to a workable level with the rate of inflation.  And if you want the rich to pay still more taxes, you have to allow them to make still more profits.  And why didn’t anyone in Congress propose the hybridization of our currency putting some of it back on the gold standard?  With gold trading at almost $2,000 an ounce, this should be a no-brainer.

The one thing that should not have been allowed to happen is the draconian cuts to the military.  A military defense is the one service the Federal Government has been constitutionally obligated to provide since its inception in 1789, so military defense cannot be removed from the calculation of minimum government to apply the Schoenhaus Corollary.  And no matter how we fare economically, we cannot afford to allow another 9-11 to happen.  The best we can hope for right now is to obey God’s principles and achieve his blessing in our recovery.  Remember, With God all things are possible.

 

Republican ElephantAs you know by now, I am a registered Republican and a conservative thinker.  I side with Republican conservatives on most issues, but not all Republicans and not all issues.  I couple of things led to me coming up with a theorem including knowledge of the so called Limbaugh Theorem explaining how Obama can get re-elected with a majority of the nation sold on conservative solutions.  The flaw in the Limbaugh Theorem is that is cannot be tested and was not properly tested in the 2012 election.  Mitt Romney told 47% of Americans he didn’t like them.  People like people who like people so many people including middle-class conservative thinkers either held their noses and voted for Obama or didn’t show up at the polls.

I remember in junior high when I was first exposed to the political continuum.  On the far left, there was the word radical; which usually referred to someone beyond liberal; since Soviet Communism was alive and well back then, this spot was usually reserved for communists.  Between radical and the center line was the word liberal.  With The 7 Train’s sophisticated audience, I consider that a self-defining term.  On the center line was the word moderate.  My father considered himself a moderate since he was a journalist for the Bridgeport Post before the takeover and strived to report everyone running for office equally.  Moderates are not value neutral and can still be agents of change.  To the right of center was the word conservative; and the way it was taught to me at the time was that a conservative is by definition one who wants to preserve the status quo.  This is where the conceptual anomaly begins because the world is always changing and the status quo is always being redesigned.  Then to the right of conservative was the word reactionary.  According to my eighth grade social studies teacher, a liberal wants to change things, a conservative wants to keep things the same, and a reactionary wants to go back to the past.  This is where the continuum breaks down.

Those of us who want to learn from the past; drink from that fountain of wisdom inherited to us by our Founding Fathers, and return America to the days when it was the land of opportunity and not entitlements call ourselves conservatives, not reactionaries.  This is how my theorem evolved.  While the 2012 election served as a wake-up call to the modern-day Republican party that it has to transform itself if it wants to elect presidents and majorities in congress, the consensus of Republicans registered with the party but not holding public office is they want a true conservative.  It got me thinking; is the party made up of mostly conservatives or reactionaries?  The word reactionary is not very marketable; it implies they react to the heat of the moment and panic.  Are they reactionaries that are marketing themselves as conservatives because it is a kinder, gentler term?  Remember, life insurance is death insurance; it pays your loved ones money when you die.  But nobody bought death insurance so they renamed it life insurance.  It became apparent to me that the fundamental definitions of conservative and reactionary have morphed since my eighth grade days.

To make a simple example, I am a conservative and yet I support indoor smoking bans 100%.  You may think that goes against the grain for my support for less government and more freedom of choice.  Conservatives like me did not induce this change; a piece of scientific evidence emerged redefining the health hazard associated with tobacco as public, not private.  And it is not unreasonable, even as a conservative to want to protect children, asthmatics, and others who are suffering by not their choice, but somebody else’s.  Every freedom is partnered with responsibility and it is not a responsible use of freedom to pursue life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness at the expense of someone else’s life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—I believe our Founding Fathers actually understood this.  A reactionary would not see it this way; a reactionary would stand against indoor smoking bans as they would consider it a simple infraction of their right to choose.

The basic statement of the Schoenhaus Theorem is as follows: a conservative is a knowledge-based right-sided political thinker, politician, or freedom-fighter; a reactionary is a knowledge-deficient right-sided political thinker, politician, or freedom fighter.  To apply the Theorem to developing the algorithm to revamp the Republican Party, the party must support conservatives, recruit conservatives and educate the public on conservative political philosophy, and weed-out the reactionaries.  It is the reactionaries, not the conservatives that are harming the party, the agenda, and the rebirth of the American Dream.  Ronald Reagan was a conservative, not a reactionary.  So was George W. Bush albeit negativity of starting the second war in Iraq will always stigmatize him.  And Rick Santorum is true conservative who probably will not be the next president.  Marco Rubio fits the bill and he may very well be our next president.

Since I live in a blue state (Connecticut) I need your help.  If you are represented by Republican senators or in the House in your district, try to make an intelligent determination as to whether your representative(s) is/are conservatives or reactionaries.  And make a point you want conservatives, not reactionaries, representing your party and your nation!

I support limited government because I am informed and I can do the math.   There are many millionaires and 371 billionaires in the world; no one in the history of mankind has ever became a trillionaire.  Yet, the United States of America has managed to create a $16 Trillion deficit.  This should make it clear to anyone of average intelligence or smarter that America cannot tax its way out of debt.  Limited government is the only affordable government at this time.  I am extremely sympathetic for those who depend on entitlements; it’s not their fault, they inherited the entitlements created by Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.  But if there is no way to fund the programs, they are going to disappear anyway.  It would make much more sense for the people we elect to represent us on The Hill to begin consolidation of the entitlements by (1) not abolishing, but privatizing anything that can be privatized; (2) investing in American manufacturing and energy resources; (3) creating and supporting small business-friendly policies; and (4) begin an educational process where those not yet entering the work-force learn how to both survive and prosper without entitlements to lean on.

The two things most problematic about this sequestration are (1) as I mentioned, the fact that spending is still being increased, and (2) it is non-selective; meaning everything is being cut equally across the board.  It is more sensible to eliminate entitlements and social programs that are either not needed and can be privatized than to underfund everything, resulting in higher taxes and increased spending to retain programs but stymie them so they are useless, and nobody benefits from them.  This is like instead of spending $50 to fix the clock, I will leave the clock broken, put the big hand on the 12, the little hand on the 5,and spend $20 for s sign to put under the clock reading It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere.  The result is I avoided a $50 expense, but still increased spending by $20 for something that does nothing.

There is a corollary to the Schoenhaus Theorem that involves when America reaches the point of no return; i.e., when America will have no choice but to go bankrupt.  The corollary works by determining the smallest possible government that can still effectively govern this nation.  While I profess limited government and that limited still implies a quantity greater than zero, we need to look at what I will term minimum government.  To calculate minimum government, reduce the Federal Government’s functionality to exactly what it was in 1789.  I believe the military was the only government service at the time, but do not go below the 1789 government; remember, the Articles of Confederation was an abysmal failure leading to The Federalist Papers and ultimately our current constitution; so 1789 is the baseline.  Then look at the House of Representatives, where the number of districts, and therefore the number of representatives is proportional to the population of the state.  It is not mandated by the constitution that there the House must be exactly 435 members wide; so we are not talking about reapportionment that occurs after every census-take, but contraction to the minimum number of congressional districts.  In order to make the model work, you cannot reduce every state down to one congressional districts, as this will give every state equal representation and the Constitution guarantees one house of congress to be population-based.  This will probably require studying the congressional map of the original thirteen colonies in 1789 and get an idea of the maximum number of constituents one congressman would basically represent.  With a reduction in size of the House of Representatives, less salaries will be paid in Washington, D.C.  Put the dollar on the gold standard and eliminate the Federal Reserve; this is purely a hypothetical model.  Then calculate how much money (in gold certificates) would be required to operate this minimum government.  Heads up!  It could still accrue debt; the cost of running a 1789-esque government is not what it was in 1789.  In 1804 an acre of land from the Louisiana Purchase sold for 3¢ an acre.  Today, a first class postage stamp is 46¢; how many 46¢ stamps does it take to fill an acre of land?  If the nation remains in insurmountable debt (my guess is $100 Million or more) operating on minimum government, then America has reached the point of no return.  If my calculations are correct, the window to fix America is still open if America acts now toward sensible spending cuts, limited government, and job creation.

Once the minimum government model is established, one can extrapolate the maximum affordable government and since even affordable government can infringe of fundamental freedoms, the optimal government will be somewhere in-between minimum government and maximum affordable government, setting the benchmark to proceed forward with the development of prosperous twenty-first century America.  Now let’s make it happen.

Republican ElephantIt’s pretty much a done deal.  Today is March 1st and sequestration is looking more and more like reality.  President Obama will sign the sequestration legislation into law at 11:59:59 PM tonight unless Congress gets on its horse and miraculously does something.

I still neither grandstand nor cheerlead for the sequestration, but as I said we have to do something and we cannot get the President and Congress on the same page—and this is not just about party lines anymore; Senate Democrats don’t seem to want to work with President Obama either.  If we leave things status quo, the deficit will reach a point of no return and American will go the way of Greece and be bankrupt.

One thing I want to point out is that even under sequestration, spending will continue to increase; only the rate of growth will be reduced in a draconian fashion.  It is by no means the final step and the next stop on this train to doomsday, as it were, is March 27th, when a decision on the deficit ceiling has to be made.  If the right decision is not made, this sequestration is going to be Romper Room compared to what is coming.

What do I mean by Baseline Budgeting?  Let’s say you decide to buy a new car.  Your car still running but getting up there in mileage and you decide to buy a new one.  You have to get one you can afford so you set what is called a baseline.  Based on your income, expenses, and other factors, you decide you can afford a maximum monthly payment of $500.  When shopping around, you come across a car you like that is a little less expensive than the cars you were focusing on and your monthly payments for this car are $300.  So this is the car you buy and because you are $200 below your baseline, you present yourself as saving $200 a month.  In reality, your monthly expenses just increased by $300; but because you were prepared to increase your monthly expenses by $500, your monthly expenses rate of growth is $200 less.

Under sequestration, the rate of growth is 0.6%.  Low, but still growth.  You are still draining the bathtub with the water running, but instead of the spigot opened at full force, you have it on slow-trickle.  The federal budget cannot be balanced with zero growth, since inflation will ultimately raise the cost of maintaining the status quo.  We did have to send a message for the need for spending cuts and the one thing nobody can deny, is it is a start.  But in the words of Robert Frost, we have miles to go before [we] sleep.