JFK, FDR and Obama

September 10, 2010

I want to begin this week by reciting a couple of quotes about taxation…

Cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more
prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus.

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“Lower rates of taxation will stimulate economic activity and so raise the
levels of personal and corporate income as to yield within a few years an
increased – not a reduced – flow of revenues to the federal government.

Who do you think said those words…Ronald Reagan, when talking about supply side economics? Maybe George W. Bush when pitching his tax cuts…or was it the late conservative icon William F. Buckley…perhaps even…. Rush Limbaugh?

No… those words advocating cutting taxes to increase revenues were said nearly 50 years ago by the patron saint of the Democratic party, John F.
Kennedy…JFK’s beliefs and economic policies seem totally right wing in today’s spend and spend and tax and tax mentality that prevails in Washington.

Pretty simply math, really…if more people have more money, they spend more, businesses do better, they build more, they expand, they hire more people and all of those new businesses and employees collectively pay taxes to the government.

This week, President Obama is out of the campaign trail, which he does so very well, this time pitching his new economic plan to stimulate the economy…an economy which has seen about 2 trillion dollars thrown at it in stimulus spending and commitment to health care legislation…stimulus spending that most Americans can’t point to and health care legislation that most Americans didn’t want.

The administration once touted that the stimulus bill saved or created 2 million jobs, all the while unemployment kept going up and those two million jobs…supposedly saved or created…had a price tag of about $400,000 each.

This week, Obama borrowed from FDR when he should have borrowed from JFK. The WPA or Works Progress Administration was envisoned and implemented by FDR to put out of work Americans on the job again, building roads and public buildings. $7 billion was spent over three years doing just that.

This week, Obama proposed spending $50 billion on roads and infrastructure work in an effort to put people to work, but most economists, even those at ultra-liberal CNN, dismissed the proposal as too little, too late and very unlikely to pass Congress before the mid term elections in November.

Obama knows his majority on Capitol Hill is in serious trouble, if he loses
control of the House or the Senate…or perhaps both, the remaining two years in his administration would enter lame duck status. With no majority to fall back on to vote yes on his every whim and proposal, he would be left alone to
shoulder the storm of the economy…and voters almost always vote with their
wallets when it comes to choosing an American president.

Instead of cutting taxes across the board, as JFK would do, Obama wants to
increase spending yet again and then cherry pick who might get a tax break and who won’t. January 1st of 2011, will mark the beginning of the largest tax
increase in the history of our nation.

Americans are fed up, the administration is losing support from all sides, even the liberal media and the loss of support means the loss of votes.

For many, November 2nd cannot get here soon enough.

Iraq War Thoughts

September 1, 2010

This week, specifically Wednesday, August 31st, US combat operations in Iraq  were officially ended by President Obama, putting an end to nearly eight years of war there. Some 50,000 or so troops will remain behind in an advisory role, but power was officially transferred over to the Iraqi government this week.

The US paid a heavy price for what was accomplished there. About 4,300 American service personnel lost their lives, another 30,000 were wounded. From those numbers come countless additional lives which were affected….the families of those brave people, enduring grief, depression, financial devastation.

I won’t debate in this forum whether going to Iraq was the right or the wrong thing to do. I have always felt that war is a terrible way for mankind to attempt to solve its disputes, but the fact remains there are people and
governments out there who are intent on domination, destruction and terrorism. I don’t know of another way in which to deal with those kinds of people and it would appear the governments of the sane world do not either.

I didn’t go to war, I was too young for Vietnam, I was too old for the Gulf War. I didn’t personally know someone who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq, so I cannot speak for the immense grief that would be felt by losing a father, mother, son, daughter, husband, wife or fiance in war time.

Yes, US service women fought alongside service men in this war and many suffered casualties.

In World War 2, what is considered by many to be America’s greatest generation went to Europe and fought side by side with our Allies and freed a substantial part of the world from the tyranny of Hitler. War has been glorified in movies and on TV, in literature and in memoirs.

We don’t seem to have the same enthusiasm for war that our ancestors did, but war persists nonetheless.

The history of mankind is replete with war, will there ever be a time that it
will not. We can only hope.

Yes, the war in Iraq is officially over, but another continues in Afghanistan.

1500 years ago, the game of chess was invented, some historians say, as a way to alleviate the bloodshed of war…kings could play chess to solve their
disputes….it didn’t work.

Maybe, here in the 21st century, we could try a video game?

A Letter to Knott’s Berry Farm

August 30, 2010

I had not been to Knott’s Berry Farm in some time, I admit.
My daughter went there on a school field trip last Spring and wanted to
go again with the family, so we went yesterday.

Let me start with the two things we found good.

Ray at the General Store was helpful, friendly and delightful. Joan in
the Mystery Lodge store is an absolute gem!

Now, on to the rest of the day.

Your security personnel at the front gate is apparently trained in
Gestapo tactics when it comes to the search for “contraband food”. I was
mortified. While we did not attempt to bring food and drink into the
park ourselves, we saw the manner in which your people treated your
paying patrons as they entered the turnstiles. They were rude, gruff,
insensitive and insulting. They obviously hate their jobs. More on that
later.

We soon discovered why the park is so committed to keeping “contraband
food” from entering the gate. My daughter was hungry soon after we
entered, so we stopped by Sutter’s. Hot dog, bag of Lay’s and bottle of
water, $15.75. Amazing.

These exorbitant prices were accompanied by the rudest food service
people I have ever encountered. I obviously had interrupted their
employee social time by being the only customer they had to wait upon.
They too, apparently hate their jobs. My daughter’s $9.75 hot dog was a
greasy and poor example of the American classic.

We could not help but notice how dirty and unkempt the overall park is.
At 11:45 AM on a Summer Sunday, we could not find a clean picnic table,
leftover food debris obviously still there from the night before. We
boarded the train ride and were presented with sights of trash,
unmanicured landscaping, abandoned service and maintenance vehicles and
their spare parts strewn along the route, simply appalling. One would
never encounter this at Disneyland.

The woman working at the Turquoise Jewelry kiosk next to the General
Store will have no idea how much revenue she lost yesterday after she so
rudely snapped at my 9-year old daughter. My little girl only asked her
if the buffalo head on the wall was a real buffalo. “No!”, she snapped,
startling her. “Is there anything you want to look at?”, she snarled to
me. We simply walked away. She must also hate her job.

At the ice cream counter, I thought I had given the woman five $1 bills,
when in fact I had given only four. “I’m sorry”, I said, “I thought I
gave you five”. “Sure you did”, she snapped back. Why do so many people
at your park hate their jobs?

With the exception of the woman at the Turquoise Jewelry kiosk, my
daughter was thankfully oblivious to the many unsatisfactory things I
have pointed out in this email. Because of that, when my wife asked me
to rate the experience on a scale on one to ten, I gave it a “four”, but
three of that four came from the fact my daughter enjoyed her day.

Your maintenance crew needs to go on an emergency program of cleanup,
sprucing, painting and landscaping. It was quite sad to see such an
institution as Knott’s, presented in such a sorry state.

Sincerely;

Donald Baillargeon

The Last Word on Ground Zero Mosque

August 18, 2010

The first line of the first amendment to the US Constitution reads as follows:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
That’s it.
Our founding fathers were reacting to the practice in Old England of attempting  to have an official religion that everyone was required to follow; therefore, we have freedom of religion in the USA.

For the last couple of weeks, the US Constitution has been treated like a day old  NY Times copy used to wrap fish or line a canary cage. Everyone has been interpreting it for their own purpose and really just making a mess of the whole thing.

Of course, all the hubbub is about the proposed Islamic Community Center or  Muslim Mosque that is supposedly going to be built within sight of the former World Trade Center, devastated so tragically on September 11, 2001, killing thousands of people and forever changing the security landscape of our country.

Supporters of building the Islamic Center or Muslim Mosque near what is known as Ground Zero, point to the US being built upon freedom of religion.

Opponents of the effort point to the fact that building an Islamic Center or
Muslim Mosque in that area is insensitive to the city of New York, the families of the dead and to the country overall, because it was Islamic or Muslim extremists who plotted and carried out the horrific events of 9/11.

We must look like idiots to the rest of the world right now. Even our President came off sounding “John Kerry-ish” this week, being vigorously for it before he was somewhat against it.

When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, there was a similar outpouring of grief among Americans and many people harbored ill feelings towards the Japanese people.
It took several generations to get over that, the Japanese are our great friends and allies now, we buy billions of dollars of Japanese products every year, but I am sure you can still find some people in their late 70s and 80s who still feel the sting of pain and resentment.

If you Google …..Memorial to Japan at Pearl Harbor……. you will get zero
results.

To be against the building of an Islamic Center or Muslim Mosque near Ground Zero, as I am, is not denying anyone freedom of religion. New York is a big city, there are many, many places that an Islamic Center or Muslim Mosque can be built. It doesn’t have to be in such close proximity to an area that is the cause of so much pain and suffering to Americans of all races, religions and creeds.

It’s only been nine years, the new World Trade Center is still under seemingly endless construction, Americans have not had time to heal yet.

If the people behind this project truly observe a religion that they say
represents peace and understanding, then they should put the land up for sale, take the money and go build their Islamic Center or Muslim Mosque someplace else in New York.

Is that really too much to ask?

Racial Profiling?

May 10, 2010

There has been a tremendous amount of debate in the last week over the new Arizona law having to do with illegal immigration.

The most controversial provision of the new law is the
requirement that people must prove they are legally in the U.S. when
asked by a police officer.  This is done merely by showing the officer a valid  federal, state or local government issued identification.

Why is this a problem? Arizona has been overrun with crime by illegal aliens, robberies, burglaries, kidnappings, murders, they certainly had to do something.

There are those who say it will lead to racial profiling, that police officers in Arizona will simply stop anyone of Latino descent and hassle them over their legal immigration status.

I actually had someone make the ridiculous argument to me that the
Arizona law is akin to what happened to the Jewish people during Nazi
Germany. I don’t think Arizona, or anyone for that matter, wants to commit genocide towards illegal aliens…they just want to find ways to keep them out

But let’s talk about racial profiling. This week Faisal Shazad, a Pakistani native who somehow became a US citizen, tried to blow up a car bomb in Times Square with the intention of killing many Americans. The police swept into action, finally arresting him on a plane bound for Pakistan as it was leaving the gate.

Somehow, I cannot imagine the NYPD started their investigation by looking through a suspect list of guys named Johnson or Smith….is it racial profiling to suspect young men of middle eastern descent of being terrorists? No, it isn’t racial profiling, it is experience!

Not all young middle eastern men are terrorists, but experience has told us that just about all terrorists are young middle eastern men.Using that experience saves lives.

When someone is kidnapped or murdered near the US Mexico border, the Arizona police department probably suspects illegal Mexican aliens involved in drug cartels…not because of racial profiling, because of experience!

Are all Mexicans illegally in Arizona members of drug cartels?…no…but experience has told us that members of Mexican drug cartels in Arizona are illegal Mexican aliens. Using that experience saves lives.

On New Year’s Eve, have you ever encountered a DUI stop, where they check all the cars…is that profiling you as a drunk driver….no, the cops know that a certain percentage of drivers that night should not be driving….not because of profiling, because of experience!

Using that experience saves lives.

Nuclear Iran?

May 10, 2010

Just as the world is beginning to show signs of pulling out of what will be remembered as the worst economic downturn anyone under the age of 70 can remember, we now have to turn our eyes, ears and worries away from money and finances and look over our shoulders at that proverbial wack job over in Iran…Ack Mah Dinna Jad.

We’ve been hearing about Iran’s “Peaceful” pursuit of nuclear energy, all the while listening to Ack Mah Dinna Boob insult our leaders, thumb his nose at the world and pretty much act like a drunk falling down into the cake at someone’s wedding.

Last week Defense Secretary Robert Gates acknowledged that while Iran likely doesn’t have nuclear weapon capability yet, that milestone may be only a few months to a year away. General David Petraeus, head of US Central Command said that the one thing that keeps him awake at night IS Iran…and this coming from a guy in charge of fighting a war in TWO countries!

Let me repeat that…Iran could have a working nuclear weapon in one year!

So what are WE doing about it? The nuclear summit was just held and everyone was kissy, huggy, feely friendly and disarmament agreements were signed with Russia and limits were put on how the US would use nukes to respond…but one thing was decidedly missing…that’s right, wacky doodle Ack Mah Dinna Jerk. Iran’s nuclear policies were not even on the agenda at the nuclear summit…did someone not get the email?…how does that NOT get on the agenda?

We’re talking about a nut case who won’t respond to diplomacy, thinks he can behave however he feels without the intervention of the civilized world…whenever someone puts a microphone to his mouth, he denies the holocaust ever happened….this guy actually seems to enjoy being an antagonizer, he LIKES seeing his face on CNN, he’s just having a wonderful time!

There are enough stockpiled nuclear weapons to fry the earth eight times over, but the possibility of just that happening is what has kept the sane and civilized world from actually using the darned things…is that the best policy? Probably not, but for the time being it is what we have and it has worked for nearly 70 years…

Can you imagine Ack Mah Dinna Germ getting his hands on a nuclear weapon?…it would be like buying a fifteen year old kid a new Ferrari…there’s no way he just going to leave it in the garage!

Fixing a Broke L.A.- MoneyTV with Donald Baillargeon

April 10, 2010

In 1983, singer/songwriter Randy Newman had a hit with the song, “We Love L.A.”!

This song was bitter satire as it celebrated living the dream of La La Land while also paying attention to the scores that come here and fail to attain that dream. The names of some of L.A.’s most iconic streets like Century , Victory  and Santa Monica Boulevards are mentioned in the song, but driving on these streets from end to end will traverse you through some of the wealthiest and also through  some of the poorest
areas of the city.

Well, guess, what……..today, the entire city of Los Angeles is broke….flat broke and busted. L.A.’s Department of Water and Power’s decided to withhold its final annual transfer of $73.5 million to the city’s general fund and that has set off a panic in tinseltown as the city controller has asked the mayor and city council to immediately transfer $90 million from the city’s
reserve fund so she can continue to pay the city’s bills.

The Department of Water and Power is withholding the payment because the city council declined a recent request for a rate hike and now the DWP says it will not have enough of a surplus to meet all of this year’s promised $220 million transfer to the general fund.

…and there’s the key…the DWP promised $220 million and the city council spent all of it before they actually had it!

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said he is preparing to shut down large parts of city government for two days a week including
libraries, parks, the city clerk’s office and planning and public works.

L.A. is saddled with annual expenses like nearly $30 million to government employee retirement funds, $100 million on something called the Information Technology Agency, $ 4.3 million on another called the neighborhood empowerment commission, $25 million on the Bureau of Contract Administration, $17 million on the Zoo and $9.4 million on a department called cultural affairs.

Wouldn’t you just love to know how these various departments are actually spending that enormous amount of cash?

It’s typical government out of control with your money…governments don’t tax for the money they need, they find need for the money they get.

With elections looming and every incumbent in trouble, it’s going to be hard to sell tax increases to L.A. elected officials, let alone citizens, who already pay one of the highest sales tax rates…nine and three quarters percent…in the entire country.

But, I think I have the solution….L.A. attracts millions of visitors each year who travel here to pay homage to their favorite celebrities…I would suggest we just put up a sign…….

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Training to be on Welfare?- MoneyTV with Donald Baillargeon

April 10, 2010

How old were you when you finally decided to leave the nest and venture
out into the real world all by yourself? At what age, in the 21st century, are you considered to be a full fledged adult, able to stand on your own two feet?

Most people graduate from high school around age 18, those who go to college are usually finished with that
at around 22 or 23….and then you go out and find a job or start a
business and get your life going. About the time you get invited to
your 5th high school reunion, you should have some kind of plan in place, right?

Well, now the federal government has given people a kind of fountain of youth….the new health care reform act now allows people to remain on Mommy and Daddy’s health insurance policy until they are 26 years old!!

26 years old! What were you doing when you were 26 years old? Were you
still living with your parents? Did Mommy still do your laundry, did
Daddy still let you borrow the family car on Friday nights? Did you still have a curfew at 26?

I checked into a few facts and figures about people who are 26 years
old….according to a study by real estate giant Century 21, Today’s
Generation Y first-time homebuyers  average age..is 26…

When you bought your first home, didn’t you already have your own health insurance policy? Can you imagine being a homeowner and still relying on Mommy and Daddy’s insurance?

Even if you don’t own a home, shouldn’t you at least have a job by age 26, with your own health plan?

We talk about Wall Street a lot on this program…did you know what the average age of a Wall
Street fund manager is?…..that’s right, 26! Here in Hollywood,
producers, directors and talent agents had better have their career well underway by age 26 or there will be no career.

Many
people get married and have kids before they turn 26, many people start
businesses and companies by the age of 26, some of which become remarkably
successful, employing thousands of other people…and
providing health care coverage as part of their compensation.

We
are living in a time where Little League baseball players now get
trophies for just being on the team, whether they win or lose. Our kids
are being taught in school that competition to try to be the best is
not nearly as important as just participating, we have government entitlement programs that make it so easy to get on…and stay on welfare…all but eliminating drive and determination.

Yes, it hurts to lose, it’s supposed to hurt, it’s that hurt that drives you to improve, get better and someday win!

Some
of you may think I am making too much of this, but the idea of someone
at age 26, being of sound mind and body, still relying upon Mommy and
Daddy for a basic necessity of life…and having that reliance now
becoming law in this country…..well….tell you what….success is not built upon dependence and mediocrity…success is derived from determination and extraordinary…and I personally oppose any law that rewards the former and ignores the latter.

Now That We’re All Rich…..

March 27, 2010

How does it feel to be rich? Didn’t you always want to be counted amongst the rich people of the country? C’mon, how does it feel…you made it….you are rich!

There is an annoying series of TV and radio commercials for a chain of mattress stores in California, where the owner promises if he can’t beat any deal on a new mattress, then your mattress is freeee!  Of course, the hidden lie is that he likely has never, nor will he ever, give away a mattress for free, as he only needs to beat the best deal by one penny.

Well, sweeping health care reform passed the House of Representatives this week and everyone in the majority is absolutely giddy about it…it is being touted as the biggest social reform in the last 40 years, a realization of a goal a century in the making.  It is a bill of massive proportions, nearly 1 trillion dollars…but don’t worry about the cost…as the President promised us…only the rich are going to have to pay for it.

So again, how does it feel to finally be rich?  The health care reform bill will create 16,500 jobs…only those 16,500 jobs will not be doctors, nurses or even medical administrative staff…oh, no….those 16,500 jobs will be new IRS agents…yes…the IRS…it will be their job to investigate the private health insurance policies of Americans to make sure they fall in line with the new government mandates.

But that’s OK, because only the rich are going to pay for it.  If you have a good health care policy at work, something you’ve worked hard for that is part of the reason you work where you do…you may discover that policy will fall under the Cadillac Health Care description and be subject to a 40% tax on the value of the policy…..you didn’t know you were rich, did you?

What if you are on Medicare? There are $500 billion in Medicare cuts coming your way….how many rich people do you know that depend on Medicare?

If you’re still drinking the koolaid, did you really buy into the notion that health care reform was going to mean free health care for everyone…did you really think only the rich were going to have to pay for it?  If you did believe that…and if you still do….I know where you might be able to get a free mattress!

Health Care Reform More About Politics Than Benefits

March 18, 2010

So, what is really going to happen with the health care reform act that won’t die?

So many opinions, so many lies on both sides of the fence, enormous pressure being put on a few straggling democrat house members as Nancy Pelosi struggles to get to 216 votes for the bill’s passage…

Dennis Kucinich all of a sudden “seeing the light” and changing his vote from no to yes…..which I found very interesting…as he received no concessions, no changes to the elements of the bill which he didn’t like…he simply and suddenly changed his mind!

This is all like …well, it’s like watching American Idol in
reverse…..instead of eliminating people every episode, the democrats
are trying to add people, adding votes where they didn’t exist a week
ago.

Talk show host Rush Limbaugh has created a firestorm of emails and phone calls on capitol Hill as citizens against the bill’s passage are burning the phones lines and email boxes of their Congressional representatives.

Tea Partiers are massing in Washington, protesting the bill’s possible passage.

President Obama says his health care overhaul will lower premiums by double digits…but according to industry experts, premiums are likely to keep going up even if the health care bill passes….who do you believe?

During a speech in Cleveland this week, the president told the crowd their employers would see premiums fall by as much
as 3,000 percent….3000 percent….? He even went so far as to say those savings would lead employers to begin giving pay raises….Wow! What a plan!

But…a White House press spokesperson later said the president misspoke; he had meant to say annual premiums would drop by $3,000….so let’s take the 3 grand, divide it by how many employees there are and there’s your big raise!

Further, an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office found that large employers would see premium savings of at most….. 3
percent ….compared with what their costs would have been without the
legislation. So that would be more like a few hundred dollars instead of
several thousand…..

remember now, we are talking about a bill with a price tag of nearly $1 trillion.

If this bill passes, we aren’t going to need a tea party to protest it….we’re going to need a keg party to help dull the pain it’s going to create!