The Republican Party has abandoned Capitalism

After a bit of analysis and review, I have concluded the majority of the Republican Party has abandoned the idea of capitalism, free markets, and limited government. This is a damn shame and the only to fix this situation is to either resurrect capitalism within the GOP or start a new political party that make into national elections.

 

Why I think the GOP has abandoned capitalism:

  • Many are unwilling to repeal Obamacare and let free markets handle healthcare services and insurance.
  • Members are supporting maintaining or increasing Medicaid spending even though it is a welfare program supported by taxpayer dollars.
  • They have not voted to eliminate all subsidies and government support of private businesses.
  • They have not focused on passing a flat tax or consumption tax reform system that would make taxes truly equitable and likely increase revenues.
  • Almost no one in the party has introduced bills and voted on cutting spending massively and privatizing government assets to pay off debt.
  • The GOP has not repealed job crushing regulation such as Dodd-Frank, the Clean Power Plan, and ObamaCare.
  • They haven’t eliminated ridiculous government departments like Education, Energy , HUD, Commerce, EPA, etc.
  • They have not been for eliminating almost all general regulations and legislation introduced without cost and benefits analysis.

The GOP is now the party of socially conservative, fiscally liberal politicians. Let that sink in for a moment. Something needs to be done, this is no longer the party of Reagan.

 

This is Saint Reagan signing off

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Can President Trump lead?

This question has been going around my head for a while and I’m really starting to worry about it. Whatever he is, President Donald Trump is a preferable alternative to President Hillary Clinton. But can he be an effective leader as he claimed during the campaign and as many of his ardent supporters claimed? I have not seen any evidence to suggest that Donald Trump has been an effective leader or will become one in the future.

 

He contradicts members of his staff and cabinet publicly and embarrasses them, he makes vague and sometimes inaccurate statements, he makes claims that are ostensibly true but doesn’t provide evidence, and he blames everybody in the world but himself for his travails. Additionally, just like every other politician he has started to renege or loosen his campaign promises.

To my knowledge he has done, or rather not done the following:

  • Not yet moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem
  • Has not confirmed that the full border wall he promised will actually get built or be paid for by Mexico
  • Repeal Dodd-Frank
  • “Tear up” the Iran Nuclear Agreement
  • Repeal Obamacare (this is the GOP Congresses fault but they should’ve received hands-on leadership from him)
  • Reform taxes for everyone by August (doubt this will get done by then)
  • Lean out the size of government by much
  • Cut a lot of spending as he suggested

 

He has been nothing but a storm of tweets. The left hates him and the right dislikes him, how is this guy supposed to get anything done? He did not lead his party to victory as Barack Obama did during the push for Obamacare. President Trump didn’t ensure victory for himself and the country. He is very light on policy details and is ready to sign anything without looking at the fine print first and he is not able to coerce or persuade members of his party to go along with his policies. This man leading by tweets strategy must go, he should tweet materially important things in an official tone rather than blasting out like an angry 15 year old every time he is frustrated. Donald Trump may be an important culture warrior in the fight against political correctness and the pussification of America but thus far he has been a useless political leader and may go down as one of the worst Presidents in history if he doesn’t get his act together. Hiring Marine General John Kelly as his White House Chief of Staff was probably a good idea to foster a professional and collegial operating environment and to put the White House on a path to order and success, but this is all contingent on President Trump heeding General Kelly’s advice and growing up. For the sake of the country, I hope he grows up and starts getting through some of his pro-growth campaign promises such reforming the tax code and eliminating Obamacare and Dodd-Frank.

 

This is Saint Reagan signing off

New White House Tax Policy?

In interviews with The Wall Street Journal and other media outlets President Trump has been insinuating that he is changing his views on personal tax policy. He is apparently looking at “cutting taxes on the middle class” and “raising taxes on the rich”. Is that Barack Obama, Chuck Schumer, or Bernie Sanders talking? Nope, it is Donald Trump (“Republican”). Apparently his Chief Political Strategist Steve Bannon: former head honcho at Breitbart News seems to have similar ideas. They call this “economic nationalism”, I don’t agree with it and I think it is a joke. This is nothing but wealth redistribution under a Republican umbrella and it sounds horrible. It looks as if they want to raise the top tax rate to around 44% from the current 39.6% so that they can cut taxes for the “middle class”. You, me, or Donald Trump do not have the right to confiscate someone else’s money to satisfy constituents or compensate those who have not financially succeeded in life. A fantastic quote comes to mind “I have never understood why it is greed to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else’s money. – Thomas Sowell” The financially successful people such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Ray Dalio, Walton Family, etc. are not greedy so much as they are successful financially. You do not have the right to take their money because you are a loser. Lets say you are “middle class” and are earning $150k and have a decent house a nice little nest egg. That is a lot of money for someone making $25k and living paycheck to paycheck, why don’t they vote for a policy that confiscates the majority of your income and takes away your accumulated wealth and everything you have built? Don’t like that idea much do you? That is not equality at play, that is theft. Taxation is another word for theft. But the hard truth is some form of government revenues are necessary to fund a strong military, emergency services, and enforce the rule of law and contracts. If Carl Icahn grew up as a poor boy in Queens and made it to the top with a net worth of $17B, you do not have a right to steal his income and redistribute to those who are too lazy or do not have the will to support themselves.

This tax policy is immoral as is the majority of all current policy and President Trump will hurt the nation economically if he continues on this path of politically popular trash. He should reform the tax code and cut taxes across the board for everyone. I am in favor of eliminating all income taxes and transitioning to a system of pure consumption taxes so the system is pretty much as equitable as it can be. But that is not likely to happen any time soon so the next best option is a flat income tax with no deductions and is a page or two long to fill out for taxpayers. All taxes are repealed on a federal, state, and local level. We would have something like a flat 17% income tax and it would be as simple as that. There are many studies that show this idea would work quite well and would be very pro economic growth.

Some further reading to check out:

 

This is Saint Reagan signing off.

The Republican Capitulation

I’ve talked a little bit in my posts about my political evolution. I generally consider myself a person with mixed political views that doesn’t fit into the standard left and right political spectrum, nor am I a centrist. I am out of the these chains with my own sets of ideas and views. If I had to use a label it might be Classically Liberal with a Hawkish Military view. Think of people like Milton Friedman, F.A. Hayek, Thomas Sowell, Ronald Reagan, etc. While, I greatly admire many Republicans, I dislike the state of the party and its members today.

The Republican party attempted to repeal the monstrosity that is the “Affordable Care” Act (Obamacare) and they failed due to betrayal from members of their own party. The majority of the betrayals came from those you would expect: the “moderates/centrists” of the GOP such as Senators John McCain (AZ), Susan Collins (ME), and Lisa Murkowksi (AK). This just proves that the Republicans are a joke of a party with feckless leadership and a mostly useless President. President Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan cannot even lead their party to concrete legislative victory after 7 years of repeal promises and getting all the power they requested from voters. They asked for the House of Representatives, they got it in 2010. They asked for the Senate, they got it in 2014. They asked for the White House, they got it in 2016. This time people thought they would actually get something done, big mistake!

The Republican party is filled with members who are “moderate” and do not have the political will to do what is necessary and what is right for the country. They know that Obamacare was the first step on the process to the abomination of socialized/single-payer healthcare that will ruin America. Free markets and free enterprise work, which is why America is the richest and most powerful country in the world. We have the most billionaires because free enterprise without government involvement generates brilliant results and lower costs, higher quality, innovation, and enhanced services and goods for consumers. The government does not have an obligation to provide the American people with anything other than: military defense of the nation, its allies, and its interests, safety and security, the rule of law and contractual enforcement, and limiting government involvement in the economy and society so as to create a situation conducive to personal success. The government does not guarantee happiness, our constitutional rights give you the right to do what you need to do (within legal limits) in order to achieve your dreams. The Republicans at one point believed in these principles and ideas and now they claim to still believe in those ideas but refuse to take the political action that is necessary to prove it.

 

Republicans in Congress and President Trump promised the repeal of Obamacare and members of their own party refuse to support the bill due to worries about people losing “insurance”. The Congressional Budget Office or CBO scores legislation to predict the impact it will have on the economy, the federal budget, key metrics, etc. and they predicted that anywhere from 20-33 million Americans will lose their “insurance.” The reason I put insurance in quotations marks is that a large number of Americans who have “insurance” don’t actually have it. People on Medicaid are on welfare and they are sucking taxpayer money, that is not insurance. People who have private insurance that covers basically nothing with massive premiums and deductibles is not real insurance. Many people do not want comprehensive insurance and some people don’t want it at all, but Obamacare forces them to buy it or pay a fine if they don’t, which many people choose to do. If the individual mandate requirement of everyone being insured is repealed, many people will drop their insurance which they deem as unnecessary and many people on Medicaid who are able bodied will be taken off the welfare rolls. That is the actual effect if the CBO’s prediction is even close to correct which it rarely ever is. Republicans have constituents on Medicaid and receive lots of money from the Insurance industry which conspired with the Obama Administration and the Democratic Congress to create a system which requires people buy insurance, AKA guaranteed insurance profits. It didn’t really work out for the insurance companies because people dropped their artificially expensive and mostly useless coverage and elected to just pay the fine. Medicaid is not insurance and it is immoral to suggest that people are entitled to other peoples money, ideas, or labor. Healthcare is a service not a right. Just like you aren’t guaranteed food, you will not be guaranteed healthcare. “Economics is the study of scarce resources with alternative uses” said the great Thomas Sowell. Government cannot solve problems, they can make trade offs just like any other economic decision in life. Healthcare services are scarce and cannot be just given to everyone, all other countries government run medical systems are abject failures. The U.K., Germany, and Australia are now jokes and sobering looks at nations that were once great.

 

Insurance is a mechanism to protect against a future, possible unknown event or risk. Going to the doctor for a regular check up for example, ensures that you are in good health and are taking the medications or medical decisions necessary to protect against a future event such as getting diabetes or cirrhosis of the liver. You do not deserve healthcare even though you already committed many health mistakes and ruined your body, you will have to pay the extra costs to deal with your health mistakes or general bad luck. It is not the obligation of someone else to pay for it.

 

If Republicans do not make good on their promise, they will likely lose their Congressional majorities and President Trump may not be reelected. The country is burning because politicians do not have the will to do what is right. This country is burning because the American people are lazy, soft, entitled, weak, and are not willing to do what is necessary to save their country. This Great American Republic, the last place on earth that is worth a damn is burning and it is falling. Contact your Representatives and Senators and work to get answers, many of you want Obamacare gone. Demand it.

Save our country, no one else will.

 

This is Saint Reagan signing off

Thoughts on becoming great

Some of us, if not all of us would like to become great. Right? Everyone generally wants to be successful, wealthy, and even famous. We may want to be like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Beyonce, Margaret Thatcher, Marie Curie, Ronald Reagan, Oprah Winfrey or whoever we admire. You know what separates us and them?

 

Work ethic, mental attitude, and the most important thing which is their value system. Maybe you want to be the greatest quarterback of all time. You know what separates you and Peyton Manning? It is those 3 things I listed earlier. Let me elaborate on those things.

  1. Work ethic: You have a system in which you accomplish the things you need to get done on a regular basis. You don’t get distracted and waste valuable time on other non-productive activities and if you make a mistake you don’t waste days dwelling on it. You persevere and continue to get things done and improve everyday. You work hard and you work smart, every single day without fail. Hard work is painful especially at first because you aren’t used to it, but you have to fight through that with your efficient work ethic, mental attitude, and determination to succeed at all costs.
  2. Mental attitude: There are periods where all of us feel depressed, discouraged, lazy, and we just don’t want to go forward. But this is the time when we must inspire ourselves again and march forward to achieve our goals. We should always try to stay positive and optimistic, even in the most adverse situations. Having this kind of attitude will deter us from giving up and providing ourselves with excuses and justifications such as “it’s too hard”, “I’m not smart enough”, “I should’ve been born rich”, “I’ve already messed up too much”, and simply “I can’t” when it actually means “I won’t”.
  3. Value system: Everybody needs to have values to guide them in life, being a nihilist and person without a code of values and morals is not a realistic or healthy life option. You need to scour all the resources (books, articles, religious material, spiritual material, parents, relative, friends, etc.) you have at your disposal and determine what your values are and stick to those. If you develop strong values and stick to them no matter what, you will be successful. But you have to be uncompromising with yourself when it comes to complying with your values, if you make a mistake you must immediately get back on track or you risk dumping your whole system for success down the drain.

 

This is not about eliminating failure, this is about developing resilience. There are times where you may fail or not stick to your values. The point is to immediately get back on track without wasting time feeling guilty or just giving up the whole thing. Every single time you fail in life and get back up you are exercising your resilience and character.

 

For example: You are trying to lose a 100 lbs after years of neglect to your body. You may fail to stick to your diet and exercise requirements multiple times. Instead of wasting time and effort feeling guilty and weak or just giving up the whole thing, you immediately mark the failure and get back on track. You make note of the trigger that caused you to cheat and you keep that in mind next time you have a similar feeling.

 

You can succeed but you must know who you are and what you are. Who are you? What is your value system? What is your work ethic? What is your mental attitude, especially in the face of adversity? Once you figure out the answers to these questions and implement your ideas, you can start your march forward to personal success.

 

This is Saint Reagan signing off

An Imperative Skill: Public Speaking

In my last post I discussed the importance of developing interpersonal and communication skills. An important part of that is developing the skill to publicly speak. Public speaking is an absolutely imperative skill that is required for success in business and life. Many of us in this generation haven’t had that many opportunities to publicly speak and have depended on technological means of communication for the majority of their lives. Public speaking is the ability to spontaneously speak at any event on demand or deliver a well prepared speech to a large audience. You may have to make a toast after a social dinner, run a meeting at work, give a speech at a friends wedding, or give the keynote speech to introduce a new company product or service. The best way to improve these abilities is to learn about the best speaking techniques, watch and learn from great speakers, and practicing speeches in an environment where you can constantly get constructive criticism.

Some great books on speech and communication are:

  1. How to Win Friends & Influence People (Dale Carnegie)
  2. The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking (Dale Carnegie)
  3. Public Speaking for Success: The Complete Program (Dale Carnegie)
  4. The Art of Public Speaking (Dale Carnegie)
  5. Cicero: On the Ideal Orator (Marcus Tullius Cicero)
  6. Rhetoric (Aristotle)
  7. On Speaking Well: How to Give a Speech With Style, Substance, and Clarity (Peggy Noonan)
  8. Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln: 21 Powerful Secret of History’s Greatest Speakers (James C. Humes)

 

Helpful videos (tips of public speaking and communication, great speeches):

 

The best way to practice speeches on a regular basis is to join a club or group of people working specifically to improve their speaking skills. One great option is joining your local Toastmasters International club. Toastmasters International is a non-profit organization that is in 142 countries and has over 345,000 members. The group is dedicated to improving public speaking and leadership skill among its members. They have a structured system to progressively improve the skills of their members.

 

This is Saint Reagan signing off

 

The Lost Art of Communication

Something I’ve noticed in recent years, especially among millennials is that they seem to have lost the ability to clearly and directly communicate with people, especially new people. We are surrounded with the technological means to communicate with our existing relations such as our family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances via texting, emails, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, etc. and we don’t really talk anymore. I’ve noticed that a lot of people who are 15-30 years old have difficulty in communicating with people because they have become somewhat desensitized to direct human interaction due to the pervasiveness of technological means of communication. Don’t mistake for being anti-technology or anything like that. I appreciate technology and all it has done for economic growth and the greatly increased standard of living in America and all over the world. But it is my feeling that we need to get back to our roots of communicating with our fellow man directly through our speech. For example: I went to a conference recently and I observed that the only people in the conference that were rather shy, reserved, and unwilling to interact with new people were in the younger age category versus the older folks who were actively mingling with different people and getting to know new people. I went over and spoke to the people in my age category and they were speaking very reservedly and it was difficult to hear what they were saying. After I persisted a bit more and hit something these people were interested in, I was able to have a good conversation with them. It turns out they were very into 90’s hip-hop music and I know quite a bit about this subject because I was a huge fan back in high school. I probably know too much useless information about Hip hop but at least it helped me make some headway with this group. This isn’t an isolated incident, I’ve been noticing this type of behavior in people almost everywhere I go. People are always on their phones and don’t really make the effort to meet new people which is essential to developing new relationships, improving communication and interpersonal skills, and keeping yourself from becoming asocial and going insane.

 

My view on why this happens:

In my view it is relatively easy to make friends and develop relationships with people when you are in school or college because of the access to a very large number of people in the same age category and with some similar interests and therefore people don’t really make an effort to make new friends or strengthen those existing relationships after they graduate and/or move on. Making friends in a new city, workplace, or whatever your situation may be can be difficult and people are afraid of being rejected for who they are and simply don’t make an effort. Making friends and developing relationships in high school and college seems effortless but it seems to be a bit more difficult in the real world.

 

What is the solution?

Work to develop your skills. What I mean to say is, work on your communication and interpersonal skills. Learn how to interact and communicate with people so you can develop strong friendships and get people interested in you. This may not be exactly intuitive or automatic because sometimes we don’t really look at communication or interpersonal skills as skills in the conventional sense. We consider them “soft skills” or simply skills that are natural to us or that we will naturally develop. This is not true, just like any other skills such as boxing, Microsoft Excel, or anything else we have to develop it over time. I recommend starting off by reading How to Win Friends and Influence People (Dale Carnegie), it is one of the most terrific books I have read in my life and I’m still working on developing my skills and I’ve experimented by applying these skills in real life and they have worked wonders with developing new relationships and strengthening old ones. This book can help you to strengthen your skills and evolve into a person who has the ability to effectively develop and strengthen relationships.

 

Why is this important?

Communication and interpersonal skills are important because we are people. And as people we have to deal with other people for the rest of our lives. Doesn’t it make sense to become adroit in dealing with other people? Some of the great figures of history such as Abraham Lincoln, Charles M. Schwab, Lee Iacocca, Ronald Reagan, Warren Buffett, Benjamin Franklin, Sam Walton, Henry Ford, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King Jr., Dwight D. Eisenhower, and George Patton were skilled communicators first and foremost and their ability to deal with and lead people changed the course of the world for the better.

 

This is Saint Reagan signing off