Open Chat... All Day, Every Day! Express Your Views, Debate, and Challenge the Views of Others!

In order to keep up with the nature of free, spirited debate, I wanted to place the chat feature at the top of the homepage. This ensures people can come here and share their views on anything they wish and not have it be related to any specific discussion. Here, people can share ideas, links, and views "unmoderated" and an their own pace. To me, this makes The Elephant in the Room blog truly a place for debate.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Attn: Washington. I Can Take Care of Myself, Thank You.

What a funny coincidence! I saw a quote earlier today. It was a comment someone made on, and the person who made it was speaking as if they were President Obama. They said, tongue-in-cheek, "I promise to take money away from those who won't vote for me and give it to those that will." HA! My response: check out the post on our blog titled "Progressive Taxes: The Ultimate Conflict of Interest." Since my response, viewership of that blog post has skyrocketed.

I then saw a few news articles that were about that very quote personified:     Fox News     The Hill     Huffington Post

Hmmm. First, let's get this out of the way. Social Security is NOT supposed to be a retirement plan. It was originally intended to be a basic insurance plan against the risks of, well, living... you know: old age, becoming handicapped, unemployment, a household losing the primary breadwinner, etc. It was not supposed to be this system where once you reach a certain age then BOOM! You're done! You can start licking those chops because here comes some of that juicy government money. Either way, that's another debate. It exists (ugh, another horribly run, inefficient government program), and as of right now, that's all there is to it.

Back to those articles. As always, let's keep this simple. Obama wants to extend the payroll tax holiday. For 2011, payroll taxes were reduced. That reduction is set to expire on 1/1/12. What does that mean? Well, in keeping with simplicity: everyone's taxes would go up slightly after the turn of the year. Okay, got it. Good.

Why is this such a big deal? Well, obviously, if the holiday were to be extended it would mean there would be a relative shortage in payroll tax revenue if no further action is taken. There are three ways of handling this issue:

1. The government can take a loan. There is no reason to over-complicate this. It's bad, and debt is the last thing we need.

2. The republican plan. Cut out spending from somewhere else in the budget. Preferably, take a look at some other wasteful, unnecessary government program and slash its budget. It doesn't take a genius to know that LME fully supports this plan.

3. Obama's plan. Can you predict it???? Yes! Make the filthy, stinking, evil rich pay for it!

From the Fox article: "As the deadline approaches, bipartisan political support is building for at least continuing the tax cut -- heading off a politically bruising tax hike. But Obama wants the cost of the payroll tax cut to be made up by an increase in taxes on taxpayers who earn more than $1 million, a trade-off that Republicans reject."

Do you like Obama's idea? Sure! Why not? You get to pay less money, and someone else gets to pay more. That's cool, right? As long as the government takes it from someone else, you're okay! Okay, okay, the facetiousness alarm is blasting right now.

Simply put: Obama's plan makes me sick. Not to get redundant here, but again, see the post "Progressive Taxes: The Ultimate Conflict of Interest." Without repeating that entire article, its premise is that the "poorer" population (in this case the ones receiving the tax break) is a lot larger than the "richer" population (the ones getting the tax hike). If you promise a much larger portion of the population a significant tax benefit while promising the smaller portion a tax hike, don't you think that will get you some votes? Duh... see that post. It's sickening because it is a complete perversion of democracy. Elected officials basically buying voters with sweet tax policies is absolutely disgusting. Okay, that's out of my system.

I don't like it for another reason. Here it is: I can fund my own damn retirement, thank you very much. I don't need my rich uncle's money. I don't need any wealthy person to pay more so I have to pay less. Does anyone find it stunningly embarrassing that every time we need something to be paid for in this country (and yes, it is clouded in the perverted democratic mantra "shared sacrifice") there is no sharing of the sacrifice at all. Democrats point the legislation cannon at the rich and say "pay up, buster!"  Theft by legislation is no different than theft with a gun. When does it stop?

Social security as a retirement plan is a terrible idea anyway. It kills financial discipline. Why would anyone run their daily, monthly, and yearly finances with retirement in mind? Why would they save anything? They know the government will be there when they get older so why would they try? I just had to get that out, but again, that's another argument.

Yes, I can run my own retirement. I live within my means, and yes, I do take retirement in mind with every purchase I make. I don't need social security. No one does, and I damn sure don't need the rich to pay for it. People behave in riskier ways now because they know Social Security is there. If that's the case, fine... just make everyone pay for it at an equal tax rate.

Bumper Stickers Make Great, Inexpensive Stocking Stuffers

Thanks to all those who have purchased so far! Get your LME bumper stickers here. They're a great gift for under $10.00:
Click the Image to Access the LME Cafepress Shop

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hey, Mainstream Media! Is Ron Paul Getting a Fair Shake?

First, let’s start by saying that LME endorses no GOP candidate. We feel, simply put, that any of the current GOP candidates would be a better option than Barack Obama. This article is neither an endorsement of nor a recommendation for Ron Paul. It is merely a look at the candidate and how the media is handling him.
With that, let’s cover some basic facts. Ron Paul is educated. He is a medical doctor and has practiced privately and for the military as a flight surgeon. Ron Paul is a family man. He has been married to his wife Carolyn for 54 years. He has five children, and he is routinely accompanied by his grandchildren. Ron Paul is a man of God. He has been a Christian his entire life. 

Now that the non-political personal stuff is out of the way, let’s get down to Ron Paul as a presidential candidate. Love him or hate him, there is one indisputable fact that any friend or foe of Ron Paul can’t ignore: Ron Paul sticks by the Constitution. Period. This shouldn’t be news to anyone, and this obviously puts him at odds with those on the left that believe the Constitution is a “living,” ever-changing document. But make no mistake; Ron Paul uses the Constitution as the foundation of his political beliefs. Paul is such a believer in constitutional precedent that even though he is staunchly pro-life, he routinely cites the Ninth and Tenth Amendment in stating that maternal and fetal health is a states’ rights issue. His disdain for Roe v. Wade is not a pro-life vs. pro-choice matter; in Paul’s view, it’s about preserving the Constitution and its protection of states’ rights. His respect for Constitutional and legal precedent hasn’t always put him in a favorable light with republicans, either. He did not support the Patriot act and has been the voice of congressional authority of wartime conflicts. He has opposed U.S. involvement in armed conflicts in the Middle East and has repeated claimed that the proper way to wage a war is to have Congress declare it as stated in the Constitution. 

Economically, Ron Paul is a true student of the Adam Smith School of Economics. He firmly believes that the size of the federal government should be decreased drastically. He regularly votes against virtually any proposal he feels would be an unauthorized use of taxpayer money, and he believes that the federal government should be restricted to only congressionally authorized functions. Ron Paul vehemently opposes the Federal Reserve and, not surprisingly, states that the Constitution does not authorize it. 

I can go on about Ron Paul’s positions but I won’t. His positions shouldn’t be news to his freedom-loving supporters. I am simply stating some of his positions to make my original point crystal clear: Ron Paul sticks by the Constitution. Period. Any American should find Ron Paul’s adherence to the Constitution admirable regardless their political ideology. I feel that his use and interpretation of the Constitution is exactly what our forefathers envisioned. They sought to establish a basic rule of law from which all government acts would be derived, and Ron Paul has adhered to that perhaps better than any elected official in the past 100 years. 

So, why does it seem that Ron Paul doesn’t get a fair shake in the media? Let’s see if I understand this. 

Again, I must say: this blog does not formally endorse or discount any GOP candidate. But let’s see if I have this correct (I’m sure Paulites will correct my discrepancies):
  •  Ron Paul is a defender of the Constitution. He applies a Constitutionality check to everything he does in politics. Love him or hate him, how can someone dislike a politician that defends the Constitution as Ron Paul has? This should be any public official’s main premise. Ron Paul does it to a “T.”
  • Ron Paul has a strong following:
    • Youthful voters tend to love Ron Paul:
      •  He currently has 600k + Facebook followers. That’s more than Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain combined.
      • His Twitter page is followed almost as closely as Mitt Romney’s
  • Scandals, what scandals? Can someone name any?
  • He defends FREEDOM. He wants the government’s power minimized and personal freedoms maximized. How does this not strike a chord with any American?
  • He wants the government’s hand out of our wallets.
  • He is ridiculously smart.
  • Flip-flops? See: “Scandal, what scandals?” Ron Paul’s voting record speaks for itself.
  • He dislikes war.
  • Though he is Christian, he strongly opposes the government imposing religion on its citizens.
  • He routinely does well in local (mainly straw) polls.

So... what gives? Why no air time? Why no headlines? Why is it that during the GOP debates Ron Paul is way off to the left or right near Rick Santorum (no offense to Rick Santorum fans, but according to nearly every recent poll, he virtually has no support) even though recent Iowa polls show him near the top of the field? When was the last time you saw Paul’s name on or Yahoo? ABC? Anybody? Can someone even provide one link to an article about Ron Paul?

The generic media apathy for Ron Paul is disgusting. When Barack Obama began running for president, he was barely known. He barely had positions. He was in public office for hardly a year and the media grabbed him and made him an instant celebrity. Argh.

What is the media afraid of? Here is a Constitution defending, small government, low taxes, anti-war, squeaky clean, scandal free, well educated, highly experienced presidential candidate with a strong, freedom-loving following and he is getting virtually NO press time? In LME’s Welcome post, we state that one of the reasons our blog exists is to give people an opportunity to see “the liberal media and its ostentatious bias exposed.” This article is a prime example if that. I would LOVE to see the media’s response to this.

With all this, we post the question: Is this right? Fair? What can people do about it? LME has said that taking to the blogosphere (of course this is a plug for our blog :-) ) is one of the best ways to get around the mainstream media. If there is a traffic jam in front of you, you take an alternate route. LME is an example of that alternate route. What do you think?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Follow us on Twitter

Blog viewership is soaring! People are showing that they are tired of the mainstream media's powerful influence. The blogosphere is the best way to spread the word.

Twitter is a great avenue to keep up with LME posts, polls and comments. Follow us: @lmelephantblog

Please re-tweet if you like, and most importantly, tell a friend!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

LME Poll Results: Which of Obama's Broken Campaign Promises Bothers You The Most?

Thanks to all those who participated. The results are as follows:

1. Not removing lobbyists from Washington: 43%

2. Not maintaining transparency in his administration: 33% 

3. Failure to reduce the unemployment rate to < 8%: 19%

4. Failure to close Gitmo: 5%

What do these results say? LME is surprised that the failure to reduce the unemployment choice wasn't the most chosen option. But one thing does come to mind: with the top two choices being what they were, the results show that people are more upset at Obama and his running of the government rather than the results-based promises not coming true.

What do you think?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

LME will be out of town for the holidays. We wish everyone a happy thanksgiving and a safe journey if you're traveling.

Of course, we can't just leave without opening up a discussion. It's simple: what are you thankful for?

- We are thankful for our loved ones, families and friends. We are thankful for democracy and the desire to preserve it. We are thankful for the troops at home and abroad, and especially those that have chosen to put themselves in harm's way so that we can be here safe and sound.

Be sure to comment, and take care!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

CNN Debate: November 22nd, 2011

Comments, concerns? CNN bias? Wolf Blitzer? Got anything to say?

- Yes, that's Wolf Blitzer's real name.

A Democrat's Priorities

Our previous post titled "Progressive Taxes: The Ultimate Conflict of Interest" raised the issue that politicians use the promise of favorable tax treatment to woo voters and get elected. But once in office, the need to garner votes and sway public opinion doesn't disappear. After being elected, sexy promises become proposed legislation, and the left seems to be the champion of warm and fuzzy be-sure-to-vote-for-me bills.

How, you ask? Well, for starters, the left pushed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Republicans vehemently opposed it. Do you really think republicans are cold-hearted? Do you really believe they want Americans to be sick and hurting and dying without treatment? No. The GOP is just sensible and knows the PPACA is a finance and government oversight disaster. It believes there is a better way to provide affordable healthcare coverage to America's citizens. It recognizes that the PPACA was nothing more than a, here it is again, be-sure-to-vote-for-me political move that ensures a large group of voters will cast their ballots for democrats. Just think about it. With the glaring potential legal battles and the sure-shot financial mess (not to mention the overwhelming public dissent at the thought that our embarrassingly inefficient government could be stepping into the sector that comprises 18% of the U.S. GDP), the democrats pushed onward. Why? Well, we're not talking science here, but how many of the 46 million Americans currently living without health insurance will vote against Obama and the democrats? The phrase "don't bite the hand that feeds you" seems like a perfect fit. This post is not about healthcare, however.

While some issues like affordable healthcare are pertinent and should be resolved, others, like the one discussed below, seem to be another prime example of the left using legislation to sway public opinion.

Enter U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, D - LA. Until a new candidate for this title comes along, she shall be  deemed the Face of Waste.

With unemployment holding steady at 9%, the financial markets tanking, public education in ruins, and scandals like Fast and Furious and the Solyndra fiasco gaining stream, what does Mrs. Landrieu introduce? The Airline Passenger BASICS or Basic (yes, she uses the acronym as the first word) Airline Standards to Improve Customer Satisfaction Act. It's a bill that would require airlines to allow passengers to check one bag for free (in addition to one free carry-on item).

Gulp! See it here:

Oh come on! Seriously? First, this is a HUGE overstep by the government. Has Mrs. Landrieu heard of the free market? Without getting deep into Adam Smith's invisible hand theory, if a customer doesn't like an airline's bag fees, that customer has the freedom to choose another airline (cough, Southwest). With regards to bag fees, the market would naturally work itself out. Secondly, remember what happened when the government attempted to regulate various bank fees (like bounced check fees)? The banks simply found another way to collect the money. Airlines will follow suit.

But all that aside, we say "come on" because this is just plain stupid. This is nothing more than a pretentious facade by Mrs. Landrieu to act like she cares about people and their travelling concerns. This bill is a complete waste of time and money, and we believe travelers can make their own travel decisions without government assistance. They don't need the government regulating the airline industry, and they certainly don't need BASICS and the bureaucratic mess it would bring.

Shame on you, Mrs. Landrieu. We hope Americans see through this wasteful attempt to make everyone feel just a little more warm and fuzzy around the holidays.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Progressive Taxes: The Ultimate Conflict of Interest

So let's see if this is correct: We the people get to elect our representatives. We have the privilege of hand selecting who runs our government. The representatives we elect then get to choose how much money we must forfeit to that government..................... On the surface, does anyone see a problem here?

Perhaps this is just a huge case of "duh, that's obvious." Perhaps we choose to just ignore this. Perhaps everyone really knows what's going on and we just choose to to be apathetic. Was it meant to be this way? Are we being callous in badmouthing the democracy we live under by saying "um, hey... progressive taxes are nothing more than a way for the political elite to get and stay elected?" This isn't a revenue versus spending problem. It's an ethical problem. It's a perversion of representative democracy problem.

Scottish lawyer Alexander Tytler is credited with saying (yes, this has circled the internet many times), "a democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury." In short translation: our elected representatives do not directly give the electorate money, but, but promising to take less from them, they will win favor from that electorate and continue to get elected to that position. Tytler went on to say, "after that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then by a monarchy." This goes back to the "duh, that's obvious" quote. We might not be headed for a dictatorship per se, but democracy as it seemed to be intended, under a progressive tax rate system, does not truly exist.

Economics tells us to look at things in models of the simplest form. Here is an example of that (you might notice a little bit of facetiousness in this example, you might not). For this illustration, we quickly look at a model voting area (it could be a country, county, state, etc.). The only things we know about these data are the relative incomes of the voters and the positions of the two candidates campaigning to be this area's representative.


Click image

This looks pretty standard. Most citizens do not make over $100,000 annually, and the respective tax policy positions are in line. Now, without possessing a Ph.D. in political science, can you guess how this electorate would vote?

Click image

You guessed it! Why would it turn out any different? Sure, candidates have positions other than tax policy, but, as our current economic situation shows, citizens care more about economics and the tax policy that goes with it. With the power to determine the tax rates of the voters, a representative ultimately has a lot of control. He or she can easily sway the minds of voters (and poorer voters are much easily swayed by the dollar). Democrats argue that the wealthy should pay more in taxes because, according to the left, each dollar a wealthy person makes the less value it has to that person. The same can be said for the poorer voter. Each additional dollar a candidate promises to let the voter keep, the more value it has to that voter. Obviously, this post is not scientific by any stretch of the imagination, but it does highlight how under progressive taxes democracy is lost, and we become a country that is run by the biggest promise maker.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Funny Stuff Friday: Does Obama Like to Waltz?

Okay, it's Friday. We just blew past 1,000 visitors to the blog. Time for a break, right? No science, no economics, not citations. Just some fun (maybe snide) remarks.

As the title reads: does President Obama like to waltz?

Well, start the count with me now: "1 - 2 - 3, 1 - 2 - 3, 1 - 2- 3,..." Now that we have the beat going, let's see what we get:

"Yes we can!" "Hope and change!" "Pass this bill!" "We can't wait!"... "1 - 2 - 3, 1 - 2 - 3, 1 - 2- 3,..."

Hooray for our waltzer-in-chief! Don't worry about trying to keep up with the campaign promises you suckered Americans in to to grab their votes: reducing unemployment to below 8%, closing Gitmo, removing lobbyists from the federal government, increasing transparency... no, don't worry about those. Just keep up with the dance lessons. They are obviously helping!

Maybe we can come up with one of our own. "One more year!" :-)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What's The Definition of Insanity? Just Ask These Voters

I don't think we actually know who uttered these oft-repeated words: "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different outcome each time." Some say it was Einstein. Some say it was Benjamin Franklin. I've even seen claims online that say it was Winston Churchill. It's irrelevant, but the notion makes sense.

Where is this going? Well, right to the following charts. But first, let's get one thing clear. This assessment is not by any means a statistical representation of correlation nor causation. It merely brings into question two other C-words: coincidence and... crazy?

This chart shows the top-ten major cities (populations greater than 250,000 residents) in the United States and their respective percentage of individuals living below the poverty level.
Source: US Census Bureau American Community Survey Reports:
What does this have to do with anything? Well, check out the second chart. It shows these cities and the last time a republican mayor was elected in that city.
Source: Various Wikipedia articles
While it is nearly impossible to prove a correlation between the two (okay, okay, there is some sarcasm in there), LME has to say "oh, come on!" Conditions in these cities are getting worse year after year. Detroit has been at the top of the poverty list for decades and for some reason it repeatedly elects a democratic mayor. According to this article in the Detroit Free Press, the city's financial situation is reaching crisis levels. Genius mayor David Bing is asking city service employees to take a 10% pay cut while proposing a tax increase on corporations. Why?! Haven't the citizens of Detroit had enough? They haven't elected a republican mayor since 1949 and the city is the poorest in the country, but yet the citizens continue to repeat the same action over and over again. Bing proposes the same ineffective action (yes, increasing taxes on businesses will cause them to leave, which will reduce the number of available jobs, increasing unemployment and further pushing the city into poverty) that got this debt-stricken city into this situation in the first place. 

What gives? Is it pure coincidence? Perhaps. Are the citizens of these cities crazy? Who knows? But to quote another phrase: "if the bridge ain't broke, don't fix it." Well, the bridge has been broken for a long time, and the solution, according to these cities, is to just keep breaking it. Isn't it time to fix them? Isn't it time for some change? I doubt it would hurt, but you never know until you try.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey Preaches Economic Freedom

The phrase “preaching to the choir” couldn’t be a better fit. Mackey’s opinion piece, which appeared today in the Wall Street Journal, is about as dead on as dead on gets. It centers on one thing: freedom.

I was immediately drawn to the second paragraph. It reads: “America became the wealthiest country because for most of our history we have followed the basic principles of economic freedom: property rights, freedom to trade internationally, minimal governmental regulation of business, sound money, relatively low taxes, the rule of law, entrepreneurship, freedom to fail, and voluntary exchange.” I selected this paragraph for a reason; it should really make Americans think. LME poses these questions: to what extent do these principles of economic freedom hold true today? Has our government protected, promoted and maintained these fundamental tenets of economic and personal liberty, or has it slowly eroded them, causing the country to slip into the economic conditions we are experiencing today? In my opinion, it’s the latter rather than the former. 

Let’s take a quick look at some of these to see how they exist in today’s economic environment: 

Minimal Governmental Regulation of Business: This one can be applied in numerous ways. I’ll focus on one: healthcare reform legislation and what it forces businesses to do. Prior to the government overstepping its bounds, if you were looking for a job, you marketed your skills and negotiated a full compensation package with your potential employer. If you didn’t like the salary and benefits they offered, you had the right to look for another employer that best fits your wants and needs. This was freedom. 

How did the government mess this up? The new healthcare reform legislation imposes a $2,000 per employee tax penalty on employers with more than 50 employees who do not offer health insurance to their full-time workers. Prior to this, if employers had a difficult time attracting skilled workers, they would either increase wages, benefits, or both. It’s how the suppliers of labor and the demanders for labor meet to create the overall price (compensation) of labor. Now, the government forces employers to pay a cost for workers they employ that potentially exceeds the benefit they receive from those workers. For example, assume a large manufacturing plant has 300 employees and 30 of them are janitors. Say the average market wage for a janitor is $7.50 per hour with no additional benefits. Under the new law, if the plant is forced to provide medical insurance for these 30 employees, the plant will be paying much more in total compensation (wage plus health insurance would be say, $10.00 per hour) than it should. Why should a private company be forced to pay $10.00 per hour for something that normally costs $7.50 per hour? How is this freedom, and how does anyone expect this plant to survive, let alone compete? Obviously this is a simplified example, but the underlying theory holds true. 

Relatively Low Taxes: Oh boy. Here we go. Taxes. Let’s focus on corporate taxes. The top marginal corporate tax rate in the U.S. is 35% for companies making more than $18,333,333 per year. This income level includes the majority of large companies and encompasses most employers with a significant number of employees. Add these tax rates to state taxes and many corporations’ tax burdens exceed 40%. How does help companies compete on a global stage? Does it surprise anyone that many American companies relocate overseas? And freedom? How can freedom exist when individuals and corporations must forfeit so much of what they earn to an oversized government?

Freedom to Fail – HA! This will be quick. One word: Bailouts. See the previous post “Too Big to Fail.”

There is another key aspect Mackey brings up that any reader of LME would realize is fully supported in this blog: flat rate taxes. He states “Many Eastern European countries implemented low flat tax rates in the past decade, including Russia in 2001 (13%) and Ukraine in 2004 (15%), and experienced strong economic growth and increased tax revenues.” He left out Estonia, but we will forgive him. But did you notice something in Mackey’s comment? Maybe you whizzed by it: “many Eastern European countries… experienced strong economic growth and increased tax revenues.” Maybe Western European powerhouses like, oh, I don’t know… Italy? France? Portugal? Spain? Ireland? etc. will realize their socialist, discriminative, highly progressive tax system has killed incentive and nationwide production so much that it has caused these countries to fall into the economic holes they are in. 

All in all, this article is well written, and its points are clear. In order to get our country out of this rut we need to: restore economic freedom by reducing taxes, cutting government spending overall, and getting the government out of the business of over-regulating American companies. Unfortunately, and according to most recent polls Americans feel this way as well, the country is in decline and will continue to do so. 


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

OWS: Destruction, Not Democracy

What does this solve?

What does this teach people? Our kids? What I think it teaches: If you disagree with someone, it's appropriate to act like spoiled, destructive children. Again, what does this solve?

Rights? Right?! RIGHTS!!!

Since the NYPD crackdown and eviction of the Occupy Wall Street Movement overnight (Twitter), the web has been blowing up with Tweets and Facebook posts about Mayor Bloomberg, the NYPD, etc. etc. etc. One of the common themes in these posts is the First Amendment. Interesting... OWS protesters claim they have a right to take over someone's private property.

The First Amendment reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." That's it. Where in the First Amendment does it say that trespassing on private property is legal?

I guess that brings up another point. What is Zuccotti Park? It's time to settle this. Zuccotti Park is privately owned. That needs to be known above all things. It is owned by a company called Brookfield Office Properties. Honestly, who cares who it's owned by? It is private. Through the various twisting of laws and regulations it is a open to the public and is not subject to the citywide curfew on city-owned parks. 

According to an article in the New York Times: 
"Brookfield Office Properties, the owner of Zuccotti Park, recently posted new rules against camping, lying on the ground or benches, and using sleeping bags, but up until now those rules have not been enforced.

Enforcement would fall to the building’s management company, Professor Kayden said, but if park users refuse to comply, the management may call on the Police Department for help, as it has in an effort to clean out the park."

Yes, as LME has posted on Twitter: it is private. As with any private property, the owner can do with it as he/she sees fit. If I don't want someone in my front yard I can call the police to have them removed. If Brookfield Office Properties does not want protesters in its spaces, and these protesters do not comply with the property owner's regulations, Brookfield Office Properties can utilize the police to remove the protesters. I doubt OWS protesters would stand for people taking over their living rooms, front yards, etc., so why do they think they have the "right" to do the same to someone else's private property? Any thoughts?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Checks and Balances... But Not on the Media

Herman Cain. Educated. Successful. Businessman. Cancer survivor. CEO. Womanizer?

A recent CNN/ORC poll shows that support for Herman Cain has dropped significantly. The poll, which indicates only 14% now support Cain, makes the claim that this is due to the sexual harassment allegations made recently against the former CEO.

Page 13 (question 25) is as follows:

50% of respondents do NOT believe Herman Cain?! How? What is this based on? Four women came forth and made allegations. That's it. This posting has nothing to do with supporting or not supporting Herman Cain. This has everything to do with the fact that the media can publish anything it wants, and regardless of truth or evidence or anything of the sort, if the headline gets read enough times, people start to believe it.

Where are the checks and balances on this? What in the world happened to innocent until proven guilty? 

Let's get some things straight. There have been no lawsuits against Herman Cain. He hasn't been arrested. In fact, the accusations Sharon Bialek made were so atrocious, so heinous, and showed such an abuse of power, do you know how many police reports she filed? Do you know how many media outlets and high-profile celebrity attorneys she contacted at the time she claims these events happened? Zero. In spite of these claims, do you know how much physical evidence has come forth? None. But for some reason, one in two surveyed do not believe Herman Cain. It appears he has been taken right to the guillotine without proof or evidence or anything that shows the allegations are more than just an attempt to quickly eliminate a popular GOP contender. People seem to fail in finding out the truth. They read a headline and take it as fact. They disregard the fact that no actual evidence has been presented. The media knows this; it's their best tool.

What message does this send? This tells people that if they don't like someone, whether it be a presidential candidate, a manager at your workplace, a neighbor, or someone you just disagree with, that they can round up a handful of their female friends and claim sexual harassment against the person with whom you disagree. This poll indicates that this tactic succeeds. It also shows that the key part of this plan is the power of numbers. If only one or two accusers are involved, the plan might not work. Going from one or two to four or five all of a sudden makes accusations fact. It removes judge and jury and marches the target straight towards execution.

The media will win. Major news outlets are now publishing headlines showing Cain's drop (which, is all it takes) and the game will probably be over soon for Cain. Some have called this a character assassination, and the murder weapon is a headline.

Supreme Court Will Take Up Health Care Reform Law

This is all over the news:



Conservatives are surely rejoicing. Any predictions about the outcome?

LME predicts AND hopes that this legislation is found to be unconstitutional by a count of 5-4. It would be best for our country, and it would get the all-too-powerful government out of healthcare and peoples lives.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The GOP's Report: The Big Fail

Available here:

The numbers pertaining to the national debt are staggering. Obama trumpeted lots of rhetoric about deficits and the national debt during his 2008 campaign but when you look at his record, he really doesn't practice what he preaches.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Saturday Night Fight? Republican Debate

Winners and losers? Who did what? Who should drop out now? How has the greatest chance of winning?

Proof... It's what's for dinner: Part 2

Okay. So a Facebook user happened to see a link to LoudMouthElephant. He apparently read through the blog and took objection to the post "Proof... It's what's for dinner. Or is it?" He was too cowardly (or maybe just didn't know what he was talking about) to intelligently debate his position on the blog. I invited him to post (trust me, I want to see debate here), but he hasn't said anything yet. Since I encourage debate, I have posted what he said below. I'll start by saying I think he is the precise OWS supporter I see all over the mainstream media. I'll write my opinion after:  

"hilarious! the entry on the banks *not* robbing people especially. a perfect real-world example from the data that showed FOX viewers were the most misinformed, and that the more FOX they watched the worse it was.
since you seemed sincere about not knowing of any examples, i would point you first to Cassano at AIG and the CDS fiasco. then look at how those were honored. might be a little over your head if you haven't already educated yourself enough to know the difference between a collateralized debt obligation and a credit default swap. then again, if you don't, why would you be posting a blog about that subject? just to embarrass yourself maybe?
politics is not sports. if you just like rooting for or against a team, go watch football and let the grownups worry about the grownup stuff. your noise isn't helping.

Let me start by saying that the whole purpose of the original post was that I wanted proof that the banks rob people. That's all. I took a poster I saw that accused banks of being thieves, and I challenged anyone (especially those that take this position) to actually be able to back this up. 

With that, the first thing this Rhodes Scholar does is mention some non-cited study or data that claims that Fox News viewers are the most misinformed. Okay Mr. Ph.D candidate, "a perfect real-world example from the data" is not a perfect, real-world example of anything. Just because you can say something doesn't mean it's true. Citing something as "the data" is pure garbage, and it gets thrown out entirely. In my original post, I never mentioned Fox News, and I never said that news websites had anything to do with the misinformed public. It seems that a great strategy for clueless liberals is to divert away from the real issue while claiming your opponent watches Fox News (of course, he gives no cited reasons why this would be a bad thing if it were the case).

His second paragraph starts with a few name-dropping quips. He mentions Joe Cassano of AIG and credit-default swaps (which I'm sure he picked up by quickly reading Cassano's page on Wikipedia). I don't know if this genius can read or not, because if he could he would have realized two things. One, the sale of credit-default swaps was perfectly legal, and two, the legislation that made these financial instruments legal (because of deregulation) was signed by Bill Clinton. Yes... Bill Clinton (Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000). Additionally, if he would have read further on Cassano's Wikipedia, he would have seen that Cassano has contributed to the campaigns of Chris Dodd and Barack Obama. Lesson: don't talk about things when you have no clue what you're talking about. 

After this, he goes into personal insults. This is another completely expected move right from the liberal playbook. He assumes I don't have an education in finance (it's actually what my degree is in) and then claims that I'm not adult enough to handle what I'm blogging about. What a joke. I am by no means Milton Friedman, but I do know some things... just some. And the personal insults? Please. Nothing lowers you and your argument more than slinging dirt instead of facts.

In the end, I posed a major question. Can someone please tell me how banks are robbing people? To rob means: to take something from (someone) by unlawful force or threat of violence; steal from. And, news flash: robbing is illegal. Credit-default swaps are not. My advice: don't defend your position by citing things that are legal while hurling insults and providing no proof of anything illegal at all. To me, not only did he not refute my position while defending his, but he just made himself look upset at the wrong people. He is ticked at the writer of a conservative blog though the party of the President that passed the deregulating legislation making credit-default swaps legal was the democratic party. 

I'm only one set of eyes and ears and my opinions aren't the gold standard. I am wrong about this? Is my analysis of what this guy said off base?

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Too Big To Fail: A Dangerous Precedent

Is this not the biggest load of hogwash in the modern era? The phrase “too big to fail” should be blasphemy. Somehow it has now rooted itself as a national catchphrase. Has the country lost its mind? Or does the government think it can just defy fundamental economic principles based solely on the size of whatever entity it deems “too big to fail.” While we’re at it, why don’t we just ignore gravity, motion, speed, human nature, and all these other things that have set guiding notions and underlying rules? Invincibility is born neither on size nor stature.

Too big to fail comprises more than one singular problem:

First, nothing… let me restate that, nothing is too big to fail. The phrase, in and of itself, simply implies that once someone reaches a state grand magnitude (in a relative sense, in an absolute sense, who knows?) then <poof!> the risk of failure just vanishes?


At the beginning, TBTF was applied to corporations. In this past week it has been applied to the Italian debt crisis and the Penn State football program’s sex scandal. Just imagine, however, that TBTF made its way down to regular Joe status. I mean, heck, each person should be full of pride anyway. We should all think of ourselves as too big to fail. We cherish life and all the materialistic things that go with it. So imagine each American being too big to fail. I know this is a gross exaggeration, but, maybe the exaggeration itself is too big to fail :-)

A life with no risk of failure, huh? Isn’t that what TBTF implies? It sounds wonderful. How would each person handle it? Me? I would start buying all the toys I can’t afford. This would be done on credit, of course. Why? Because I’m invincible. I’m too big a person to fail. My house can’t be repossessed if I fall behind on my mortgage payments. I wouldn’t have to declare bankruptcy. My car and other possessions would be safe from the perils of grossly irresponsible behavior. I would have absolutely no reason to act as if anything I chose to do mattered. If my fellow Americans behaved like this it would be devastating.

My biggest question is: why should anyone receive this kind of special privilege? Seriously? Too big to fail? Why some and not others? Does the government realize the message this sends? TBTF tells companies (and potentially now, countries) that they don’t have to be on their best behavior. I don’t need to go through the rigors of supply and demand, but take a look at GM. They were on the verge of bankruptcy. The demand for their vehicles had been fading over time. This is because they weren’t putting forth products customers wanted at the prices GM charged. Not only did GM put forth undesired products, but it mismanaged the prices and related production costs of these products. Ideally, GM should have slowly been allowed to drift into bankruptcy (yes, that’s what this financial instrument exists for) if it did not make the proper decisions to right its own ship (making better products, and/or reducing prices). The same goes for the companies bailed out by TARP. Sure, many are now solvent, striving companies. Many have paid back their “gifts” with interest. But what’s the cost? Ultimately, the biggest, most hurtful cost is the destructive nature a bailout breeds. It teaches companies like GM and AIG that they don’t have to be on their toes. They can run their companies inefficiently while putting forth undesirable products, and instead of eroding to a level of insolvency like any company should do if it’s not run properly, big daddy government will come save the day. Bailouts like TARP ultimately hurt. They extinguish one fire while starting 3 others years down the road. A parallel exists between a corporate bailout and government-sponsored, incentive-to-work killing social programs. They both provide temporary relief, but the destructive notion of, “why the heck should I try to do my best” slowly erodes any healthy work ethic which will lead any company or person back a terrible situation where they need to get bailed out again. Too big to fail is bad business, and its destructive nature seems to be washed away in rants and memorable catch phrases.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tonight's Debate

Who won and why? How would you grade them? Which candidates are pachyderms through and through? Which are just a baby elephants, and which might as well be donkeys?

Progressive Rate Taxes: Part One of Many, A Simple Question of Fairness

The term "bane of my existence" would be hyperbolic, but I will admit, to me, our progressive rate tax system is the cause of many of our country's problems. I'm sure as this blog advances I will tackle the economic faults of this system, but for now I want to discuss the one major aspect I believe most Americans conveniently turn a carelessly apathetic cheek to: fairness.

I saw this article today:

As you can read in the link, this would bother me. I think it should bother anyone. I wonder just how many people it does bother. The issue of "pro-fairness" Clinton champions is, well, a wonderful sounding phrase to get people to realize a simple truth: it's just not fair at all. Period.

I'd like to look at this in a simple way. Economics teaches us to look at things using simple models with most factors remaining constant. So, to go along with this, let's build a neighborhood in a progressive tax rate country.

There are two neighbors: Mr. Bigrate and Mr. Lowrate. They are the both 34 years old. They are both married, and they each have two kids. They both came from the same background. They both had an equal opportunity to make the choices they did to get where they were in life. Their parents were middle class, and in this example, they are about as similar as they get. They even live next door to each other. Mr. Bigrate is a patent attorney, and Mr. Lowrate is an electrical technician's assistant.

Marginal tax rates aside, Mr. Bigrate's overall tax rate works out to be about 30% in total. Mr. Lowrate's overall tax rate works out to be about 10%. My issue: how is this fair? America is a country that prides itself on equality. It's a country that fights tooth and nail to ensure the government maintains that equality. How is this form of tax discrimination fair? How is it fair for the government to look at Mr. Bigrate and make him pay 30% of his income while it looks at Mr. Lowrate and says he only has to pay 10%? How is this fair to Mr. Bigrate, that he knows he pays a much greater percent than Mr. Lowrate, especially when he knows he receives the same military and police protection, the same bridges, roads, etc?

Another way I look at this is with time. It's that simple. With the example above, for every hour Mr. Bigrate works 18 minutes goes to the government and he works 42 minutes for himself. Mr. Lowrate works 6 minutes for the government and 54 minutes for himself. Now again. How is that fair?

I have asked this question to numerous friends on the left. None seem to be able to answer. I would like to see how it is fair. I don't think it is, and I think it's one of the many disgusting aspects of this discriminatory, government-backed system.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Proof..... it's what's for dinner. Or is it?

I have found an interesting little hobby: reading through user comments about political articles found on mainstream news websites. My two favorite sites are and This yields a generous amount of comedic entertainment. But sadly, I take one serious thing away: many of these people have no idea what they're talking about. Well, maybe I should refine this statement: many of these people blindly follow something while proving no proof or backing behind what the heck they're saying. I digress: many people sound like idiots because they have no idea how to stand behind, well... anything. I sometimes write a comment to these people to challenge them on their position. Sure, I don't expect a 132-page dissertation with 10 perfectly cited sources, but it would be nice to see some evidence that shows they actually have a clue. It's disheartening, and sometimes, yes, I'll admit, it just wastes my time. Many of these comment-leaving dolts are what I refer to as MSNBC economists. They see one headline, or watch one pundit on a late night "news" show and all of a sudden they think they are Paul Krugman. But, who knows? Maybe it will provide for some intelligent debate in the blogosphere.

Case in point: The Occupy Wall Street Movement.

Here is a little, um, "poster" I found on Facebook. The user who posted it commented "support OWS" right under the posting:

Its message is as clear as it gets. But, I challenge: Examples? Proof? Recite one thing that is an example of how a bank robs a person. Please? Anybody? I would love to hear this.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Well, if you haven't figured it out yet, this is a pretty darn conservative blog. Why are you here? Perhaps you'd like to receive your daily dose of conservative rants. Or maybe you enjoy seeing the liberal media and its ostentatious bias exposed. Maybe you'd like to learn something... or you like to debate. Who knows? 

Let me tell you why I'm here:

1. I'm conservative. Okay, okay. Not totally. I'm very fiscally conservative. In fact, it's really the only thing I care about. I'm not religious, and my views on social issues are not based on any type of faith. Can my fellow conservatives handle that? With all that out of the way, my education is in economics. My interest is in economics. Sure, I'll post other interesting things. I'll even post sports info sometimes. But at the heart of my ardor is economics and how it ties into everything in our daily lives. Economics and politics make a wonderful mixed drink, and, to me, I enjoy the challenging commentary.

2. I like to debate, and hopefully you do too. When it comes to opposing positions, I believe a debate is a healthy apparatus for any intelligent person to exploit. But, as with many things, there is a good side and a bad side. To me, if people debate on a subject, the high scorers or winners or whatever you would call them are the ones that back their statements and subsequent conclusions with cold, hard facts. The losers are those that tend to have the logic of "George W. Bush is stupid because he is an idiot." Facts? Evidence? Cite something, please? Now, if that person were to say "George W. Bush is a fool because he believed faulty intelligence and sent our troops to war, and, by definition, because he believed in something that wasn't true, he was a fool," then, by golly, I might disagree with you, but you have a fact-based statement, and to me, that's respectable. This blog encourages debate. Please make them in the comment sections. Please keep it clean, and hopefully........ intelligent. 

3. I care! Yes, there is sarcasm in there. Do I actually care? Sure. But I can't do much about it. I can get on here once in a while and rant and complain and all that. It's my place and my blog. I want to share things, and I want people to debate. Most importantly, I care that people have fun. And who knows? If they can learn something (albeit, yes, it will be coming from my point of view), then it's worth it. 

Welcome. Stay tuned.