Until Midterm Elections...

Scott versus Scott

Welcome to our blog. Here we will debate the days most serious topics and allow users the chance to discuss the topics as well. The range of topics will vary, but one thing will remain certain, the debate will rage on. Scott Lesinski is a proud conservative and Scott Jones is a proud liberal. However, the roles will switch on some topics. Stay tuned.

Scott Lesinski is currently an actuarial associate for a large human resources and insurance consulting firm in Saint Louis. He is also an avid student of US history and enjoys following current events, with an eye to their contextual relationship to the past. He is also, in fact, a former student of Mr. Scott Jones. Scott is working toward his FSA credentials, which is akin to earning a PHD in Actuarial Science.

Scott Jones is currently a high school social studies teacher at a high school in suburban St. Louis, MO. He teaches World History, AP American Government and Senior American Foreign Policy. He has a BS. Ed. (Secondary Social Studies) from the University of Missouri - Columbia and a M.A. (History) from Southeast Missouri State University. He is currently working on a dissertation in character education to earn a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Budget, Global Warming, and the Olympics

Allow me to begin by first apologizing for the lengthy delay in my posting. In the Retirement Benefits consulting business of which I am a member, the spring is a very busy time.

Now then, what to discuss? So much has transpired since I last penned an article for this blog that I am torn regarding the topic about which I should write. Therefore, I’m going to stir the pot a bit on several issues and hopefully get some robust debate going.

Obama’s Budget



The important takeaway from this story is $1,600,000,000,000 in spending for which we are not projected to have tax revenue. That is the deficit for the first year of Obama’s proposed budget, and bear in mind that this budget does not account for the blank check Congress recently wrote for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, so $1.6T is likely to be much higher if this budget passes without some major cutbacks.

I recently attend a St. Louis Actuaries Club luncheon (I know, doesn’t sound all too rousing right?) where the guest speaker was from the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank. The outlook he painted for the future of our economy, both short term and long term, was pretty dire. First, he pointed out that we may be facing either a “jobless recovery” (not sure how that one works) OR a “double dip recession” (I think I understand that one pretty well, and it doesn’t sound too promising).

The most frightening economic moment of the day came during the Q&A. Someone asked about the possibility of Moody’s dropping the credit rating of the USA government from Aaa to Aa, essentially lowering the credit worthiness of our government (I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that China may not be too excited about that prospect). The speaker from the FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF SAINT LOUIS looked around the room and softly asked, “There’s no media here, right?”

He then said that he believes our government’s credit worthiness is already as bad as most developing nations. ALREADY as bad as developing nations.

The spending cuts have to happen NOW. Our budget has grown from 2.5T in 2007 to over 3.8T in Obama’s proposal in 3 years. You can’t tell me all that is necessary. I know some of the growth is due to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, but I feel much of that to be necessary to promoting our national security. Obama has some serious choices ahead.

I asked the Federal Reserve banker about the growing debt and he told me that it is “unsustainable and we are heading for a train wreck.” Direct quote, from our beloved Fed.

On a related note, Social Security will be in the red THIS YEAR, 7 or 8 years earlier than previously expected due to the radical spending and economic recession.

Democrats went nuts when Bush tried to reform Social Security, and his plan was a good one, but they demagogued it, including Obama, and now we are just facing the same huge snowball rolling down the cliff heading right for us. The spending that is killing us is the extraneous entitlement spending and we must get a handle on it.

Chris Christie in New Jersey is catching hell from the liberals up there for freezing all spending…but he has to. That is what WE need to do on a national scale, or at least draw back much of it. Unemployment benefits need to stop when they are scheduled, not be increased for 99 weeks. You may it is not compassionate to take away unemployment. I argue it is not compassionate to provide it, at least beyond a short time period (those of us who pay taxes pay into this “unemployment fund” even though no such fund really exists, so technically, for a short period you are just reaping the benefit of your own forced savings).

The Hoax of Man-Made Global Climate Change

A news article came out from the UK Daily Mail which reported on an interview with now disgraced “Climate Scientist” Phil Jones, former head of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Great Britain. In the interview, he admitted to “losing” all of the relevant temperature data upon which the Michael Mann-made hockey stick graph was based. He also admitted that there has been no statistically significant warming since 1995.

Bear in mind that HIS work was largely the basis for the 2007 IPCC report on Global Warming, for which the IPCC and Algore won a Nobel Peace Prize.

It’s a freaking hoax! Man made global warming is a lie designed by the worldwide left to garner ever greater government control in our lives. Several people stand to fleece hundreds of billions, if not trillions, of dollars from citizens of the developed world; Al Gore is chief among them. Follow the money and you will most often find the answer.

What I cannot figure out using “well-intentioned logic” is why our president and his administration CONTINUE to go down the road of Cap and Trade legislation, regulating carbon dioxide emissions, etc. EVEN IF, as my colleague on this blog pointed out, Obama feels he is too committed to the lie to save face by renouncing it, THE IPCC, the UN, Rajendra Pachauri, Phil Jones, et. al are offering him a HUGE scapegoat: BLAME THE HOAXERS! My God, the man blames everything else on Bush, I thought it would be the natural, very first thing to do for him: renounce any responsibility. Claim that he too was hoaxed.

What I must conclude is that Obama wants the lie to be true so that the whole premise upon which the Left has built their Green Movement will be validated. He WANTS to impose ruinous CO2 emission caps because that will drastically raise taxes, hurt business, and drive more people out of work and onto the rolls of government welfare. He ignores the obvious fact that the entire hoax has crumbled like a house of cards and instead, charges right on, calling people like me, those that read the news and acknowledge the evidence that this myth has been busted, “global warming deniers”.

This leads me to an even bigger question: Why do people still believe Obama wants to do the right thing for America? Why would anyone trust him to make sound decisions regarding our economy, our healthcare delivery system, or national defense, when in the face of such an obvious hoax, he chooses to keep being hoaxed?

The Olympics

Shaun White – dude is just unbelievable.

Lindsay Vonn – I must admit when Lindsay nailed that run on Feb 17 for the Gold in Ladies Downhill, I felt such pride and respect for the kind of guts it takes to deliver when everyone expects it of you. She worked her tail off and won. I was actually a little insulted when the media guy sort of nonchalantly said that the bigger story might be Julia Mancuso because Vonn was expected to win…its like, well yeah, all the smart money was on her to win, but my God, she still is human. I don’t know, I just admire the determination.

Curling…huh?

Happy Black History Month everybody!

9 comments:

  1. So I was trying to think of something to get debate started so here it is...... If you and all the other doom talking conservatives want to convince me that Cap and Trade and universal health care are evil democrat power grabs, you need to explain to me what Barak Obama and Nancy Pelosi have to gain from more executive/legeslative power than they already have. It's not like their suddenly going to get paid more.

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  2. To understand the liberals in power in Washington, you have to understand ideology versus rational motive.

    Obama believes Capitalism is immoral. He believes that those who have become rich have done so on the backs of the poor and that they need to be gotten even with. He admitted his goal to "Joe the Plumber" when he said he wanted to spread the wealth around because its good for everybody, completely ignoring the fact that he has no right to "spread" anybody's wealth around without first confiscating that wealth.

    Its even more simple than this though. Liberals, the variety running Washington, are statists. They believe in the ultimate power and right of the State to run our lives; they do not see people as individuals but as "the masses" to be ruled. Erego, any legislation that puts more power in the hands of government bureaucrats is heralded as "change" or "reform", yet all we, the people, end up with is a lot less freedom.

    That's what it comes down to. When Obama told the Republicans he is not an ideologue, he was lying through his teeth. He is an avowed statist; just examine his own biographies

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  3. I wanted to post this quickly so forgive the rough edges.

    First of all you shouldn't suppose to know what a person thinks. Obama clearly has a different disposition than you do with regards to the value of some socialistic princibles but that doesn't me he thinks all Capitalism is immoral. He, just like I, probably finds value in both Socialism and Capitalism and at this point in time feels that progress is in a more socialist direction. But I am supposing to know what he thinks so I digress.

    Here is a beef of mine with a particular aspect of capitalism. These days CEO's have been making millions of dollars annually to make poor decisions. Why do they make millions of dollars, because IT IS NOT THE FRUITS OF THEIR LABOR? (They don't make a product worthy of that compensation) It is because that is the market value of a CEO. If they paid 20 intellegent middle-management people 1/20th what the CEO makes those 20 people would first have a greater capacity to make the correct business decision, and second you would be employing 20 people quite well instead of 1 person EXCESSIVELY well.

    If you don't see any truth to the notion that a CEO gets paid much greater than their production value than you might as well stop reading. So when the CEO of BANK A makes a bad decision and the free market's influence (which I do like, to be clear) shifts favor to BANK B, what does the CEO of BANK A do to respond to the loss in $500,000 revenue. Does he take that paycut because after all it was his bad decision, no because then he would not be making what a CEO makes, instead he lays off 10 to 15 bottom of the rung people.

    Millions of Americans live happy comfortable lives without making anywhere near what a CEO makes. No one needs to live that richly. And the system that keeps CEO's rich by laying of the COLLECTIVELY more productive group is a broken one. And there is nothing the influence of the free market can do to change it.

    So government can just ignore the consequences of the CEO of BANK A, say "RICH McDickhead CEO of BANK A gets to keep all his money while the 15 people he layed of get absolutely no unemployment help from the government" because anything else would be socialism. Sounds fair to me. Especially considering those 15 people that got laid off had little to no influence over the business decision that lead to them getting laid off. I guess it would be wrong to take some of the CEO's money and give it the guys he laid off.

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  4. You are arguing something that is so full of strawmen and unproven assumptions that I cannot debate with you on a fair basis. One, you seem to have broken away from debating Obama's belief system or his motive for doing what he's doing and instead, superimposed your own hatred of the rich. Second, you are employing a very oft' used tactic Obama himself employs...making up these cases/examples that aren't grounded in reality.

    CEOs do not typically set their own salary or bonuses. The Board of Directors does that in order to prevent the exact conflict of interest you are highlighting. Also, in a world free of government influence, the salary of CEOs would actually be their fair market value...to retain top talent you have to pay top dollar. If the Board did not feel it was a prudent expense to pay such seemingly exhorbitant salaries, they would not...again, in a world free of government influence.

    I'd like to know what real-world example you are basing your outrage on. I'd be willing to be whatever example you cite is something caused by government action.

    As to the unemployment benefits, I have made very clear my belief that short-term (six months or less) unemployment benefits to help in transition should be available as we all pay into a general unemployment fund anyways. The problem comes when we begin extending these benefits indefinitely, because we subsized laziness at some point. We simply cannot afford to pay millions of people not to work for years and years. Maybe you think its heartless...I know that it is prudent. Besides, after 6 months, people need to be seeking real work and making some serious action to earn an income.

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  5. I should have been clearer, I was outlining the value in a socialist policy, with regards to the redistribution of wealth.

    Well I disagree with the notion that it is not grounded in reality. I for one have first hand knowledge of a company that laid off people or fought to deny them benifits in order to increase their margin because they have a 'commitment to their stock holders'. If you can't accept that a CEO and their BODs would rather fire people than take an equivalent paycut (and they do it under the basis that their position dictates that compensation) then I feel you have a flawed view of reality in this instance (No offense I mean only in this instance, and it is hard to find documentation that this is common practice but I do feel it is commonknowledge).

    But I think we can both agree the following are true:
    *One company makes a better product or provides a better service and as a function of the free market generates a greater revenue of which its competitors are denied.
    *Most employees salaries are determined on the basis of their position and the demonstrated fruits of their labor.
    *Humans error

    So to go back to my example, Company A and Company B provide the same product. Company A's CEO and their BODs make a poor decision that B does not. As a result Company A loses 500K in income due to the free market going with B's product. Company A must respond to the 500K in revenue they were expecting to have.(Still grounded in reality). The CEO and BODs could take a collective 500K cut in salaries and maintain the same work force or they could lay off 10 to 15 workers (a collective 500K in salary). With the unemployment rate I would say that laying off workers due to losses is revenue is a fairly evident practice. (Still grounded in reality). And I recall from a recent news story of a Banking Company who awarded their executives big salaries despite that fact they needed a bailout not to long ago, because that is the market value of their position, and if they weren't they might go else where. (While at the moment, I can't cite the example I recall the story on the news so still grounded in reality). So they continue to draw big salaries despite the fact that their decisions led to needing the government to bail them out. (still grounded in reality)

    The princible that we can both agree on (the free market influence results in salaries being determined on the basis of position and job performance) does not apply to the heads of companies the same way it does to the rest of us. And more importantly when THEY screw up it is the REST OF US who suffer.

    BUT IF YOU DISAGREE WITH THE REST OF THE PRECEDING PLEASE THINK ABOUT THIS; I would conclude that if you believe in short-term unemployment benifits then you believe that socialism has its value and its place. You believe that where capitalism fails to properly handle a situation a socialist policy takes its place. I believe that any well educated and rational person would draw the same conclusion, and debate focuses on whether a particular situation calls for a more socialist or capitalist policy. IF YOU DISAGREE WITH THIS GENERAL NOTION PLEASE TELL ME WHY.

    So I have issue with you suggesting that Obama feels Capitalism is immoral. Obama simply feels or suggests that capitalism has failed in particular instances such as healthcare and than more government influence is neccesary. But you shouldn't presume to believe something so audatious as Obama feels capitalism is immoral. And what my narrative from the last post is meant to demonstrate is a scenario where i felt the redistribution of wealth was more moral than not.

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  6. I still want to know what was the precise example of your company who screwed up and then got bailed out and then paid out bonuses. IF you are referring to AIG, which is the main company that has received the most media attention for bonuses, then your example is not based on pure capitalism.

    Obama believes that capitalism is immoral. I stand by this, based on his own statements.

    To suggest the capitalism has failed the healthcare industry is to completely ignore the complete MESS that the government has made of the situation. We don't have a capitalistic healthcare delivery model in the US. Healthcare is paid for via middle-men, be it insurance or government, so there is no direct connection between the consumer of the service and the provider of the service. If we restored that relationship for all but the most catastrophic of healthcare needs (recognizing that we can't all afford to pay $100K out of pocket for extreme medical needs, but we really could afford the small expenses related to office visits, most medications, even most out-patient procedures if we actually had to make payment plans and pay the provider directly), you would see overall costs come way down, as a result of cutting out the middle man.

    Obama, like all statists, supports policies that screw up the private, capitalist system just enough so that these problems start to occur, then he blames the system for being immoral or having failed, when it was his policies from the get go that caused the inevitable failure. (I still don't believe that our healthcare system as currently constituted is all that terrible when compared to the rest of the world. If you need to be seen, you get to the ER and you are treated, period).

    This sort of government interference is precisely what I referenced in regards to your faux - bank example. AIG was heavily leveraged in mortgaged-backed securities. These securities' value were totally dependent on an ever increasing home value market, however, due to the crash in home values brought on by the sub-prime mortgage disaster, they became almost totally worthless once everyone discovered how vulnerable they were.

    SO, did AIG take too much risk? Yes, and they did make a mistake in that regard. Should they have been bailed out? I don't believe so, I don't believe anybody is "too big to fail" and if we, as a nation, prop up failures with these backstop measures, we will be inviting more reckless behavior. As my prime example, lets look at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. For some reason, we never hear about the million dollar bonuses top executives are paid at this government institution, even though they had more to do with causing the recent recession than most parties, except Bill Clinton, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, and other Democrats in Congress.

    This institution is going bankrupt, and Obama has promised them a blank check for bailout cash no matter how big they screw up. So they'll continue to lend to people who can't afford it and continue to run huge deficits and we, the taxpayers, will be on the hook for all their mischief. Do I hear liberals complaining about them? NOOOOO! I hear liberals continue to complain about the lack of affordable housing for poor families...I'm sorry, but economics are economics and if you work at McDonalds or some other low-wage job, YOU CAN"T AFFORD A HOUSE! That is a fact of life. Outcomes are not equal and trying to socially engineer equality leads us to these economic calamities that we've been recently experiencing.

    One other side comment - short term unemployment benefits are not perse redistribution of wealth. Technically, they are a forced savings program, which is why I believe they should end after a period of time, perhaps based upon the amount of time one has been employed.

    Regarding Obama's beliefs on capitalism one more time, if it is so audatious to believe that he abhors capitalism, give me ONE example where he favored allowing the free market to work unimpeded or without restrictions.

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  7. I don't see him placing additional restrictions on the food market.

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  8. http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Health/michelle-obama-childhood-obesity-initiative/story?id=9781473

    Just you wait.

    It began with banning coconut oil in movie theater popcorn. Then they went after trans-fats, forcing fast food restaurants to change their products. Now New York is looking to forcibly limit salt consumption. There have been recent stories mulling the possibility of levying taxes against "sugary drinks" like soda, koolaid, fruit juices, etc. Junk foods come under attack almost constantly from the "food nazis" out there. Long has there been a ban on DDT, which is used as a pesticide to keep crops safe, and which was "decided" as harmful by Rachel Carson.

    There are plenty of examples of government influence in the food industry, beyond the scope of the FDA.

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  9. I want to bring the focus back to the original point of this discussion - how can we trust Obama and those in power with him on something as vitally important as our healthcare when we KNOW he is intentionally living a lie in regards to the man-made global warming hoax?

    He campaigned on absolutely no experience, but claimed that he had the better judgment. HE CAN'T EVEN JUDGE FACTS VERSUS OBVIOUS B.S. Not just obvious B.S., but ADMITTED B.S.

    Furthermore, do you know that during the campaign, John McCain proposed making a bipartisan commission to discover ways to eliminate our deficit? Obama derided it as passing the buck.

    NOW Obama is putting Irksome Bowles and Alan Simpson in charge of an 18 member panel to figure out how to reduce the deficit!? WHAT A FREAKING HYPOCRITE!

    Let me tell you why. The entire design of Obama's radically increased spending has been to force massive new tax increases. Its his ideology. He wants to screw the rich, the middle class, all tax payers, so that he can redistribute that money to his voter base. He believes in big government, centralized power, control over our lives.

    BUT he knows that proposing tax increases is political suicide AND he ran on "not raising your taxes one dime" if you make under $250K. So clearly, he wants to wash his hands of the proposal of tax increases. So now, he has this wonderful blue ribbon commission to recommend tax increases as the solution to our deficit. Despicable. He doesn't even have the backbone to propose his true ideas. He knows the vast majority of America would never support him if he did, so he has to pass the buck.

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