April 30, 2011
Americans are afraid!
Americans by the thousands are fearful of their future. By itself this is nothing new. There have always people who say the end is just around the corner. Every event, every disaster, every bump on the road of life is just one more piece of evidence to them that we’re on the edge of impending collapse. As such, these people are usually ignored by the vast majority of people. Or at a minimum the brunt of jokes and parody.
But more and more Americans – decent, hardworking, middle and upper-middle class people – are perceiving that something is intrinsically wrong. And that frightens them.
Americans see what has happened to their cities and towns over the last 2-3 years.
Americans see what is happening to their jobs and the jobs of their friends and neighbors.
Americans see what is happening to their savings.
Americans see what is happening to their purchase power for food, fuel, clothes, entertainment, travel etc.
And now Americans see (and feel!) what is happening to the price of gasoline and heating oil.
At the same time Americans are hearing nothing but sun shine and Champaign reports from the news about “recovery” and “growth” yet don’t see it in their own lives. And they hear the same from their elected representatives up to and including the President.
When Americans call their elected officials to voice their concern they meet with condescending attitudes. When they send letters to their elected officials they receive no response; Not even a “Thank you for your opinion” notes.
When they attend town hall meetings and peacefully but with passion express their concerns they are labeled “extremists”, “radicals”, “hate mongers”, “racists”, and every other vile label you can imagine.
At the same time they see their elected representatives time and time again vote in favor of legislation they have emphatically expressed opposition to. But their opinions seem to fall on closed ears. Or worse, are ignored in favor of a “we know better” attitude.
So in this fertile environment the idea of a collapse of sorts (from currency to economic to Mad Max, take your pick what kind) finds a rich bed to grow. MasterPo isn’t referring to the usual suspects – the people who shave their heads and wear leather jackets, or, who carry shotguns in the back of their pickups painted like the rebel flag. The people today feeling more and more like this are the hardworking white collar as well as blue collar) professionals that are the engine of the country.
But even if none of these dire claims come anywhere near happening, the mere fact that soooooooooo many people are finding this line of thinking to more and more strike some cord of making sense is itself a symptom of the problem:
Americans less and less trust the official word from their elected leaders.
(And, moreover, more and more Americans are acting on that belief in terms of stock piling food, water, clothing and other supplies at a time when financial resources are too precious to squander on frivolous endeavors!)
It has been well written about having a healthy suspicion of politicians. That isn’t new. What is new is the breadth and depth of the suspicion across so many social-economic levels these days. And that does not bode well for America’s future.
When a crisis happens if people believe they cannot trust the “official” word from their government as to the nature of the crisis and what they should be doing about the crisis that feeds into a potential state of panic and chaos. And that’s not to mention the potential for their own health and security, as well as the health and security of the nation as a whole.
For example, in 2010 Swine Flu/H1N1 virus scare. Yes, it was a bad disease and some people did ultimately die from the infection. But quite a few people refused the H1N1 vaccine for themselves and their children. They did not accept the official government assurance the vaccine was safe but instead chose to side with the arguments that it has been rushed to development and (supposedly) missed many of the usual testing and QA reviews of the regular annual flu vaccine. In this case fortunately H1N1 didn’t become the great killer pandemic it might have been. But if it had been much worse than it was there still would have been great resistance to the official policy and that puts individuals and society as a whole in danger.
nation cannot survive, much less prosper, when the people do not trust their leaders.
Not blind trust.
Respectful and cautious trust.
April 26, 2011
MasterPo fears that very soon there will be yet another conflict between Israel and the Arabs. Probably involving various Arab terrorist groups as well as Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia (MasterPo thinks Egypt will sit this one out unless there is a sudden political change in the country like a coupe – it has happened before).
When this happens the world, most notably the U.S., will need to pick sides. Staying “neutral” isn’t an option. Sending in “peace keepers” won’t do it this time. And unfortunately President Obama has done an excellent job of adding fuel to the world fire against Israel.
Before you go off and spout about “occupation” and “human rights” take these points into account:
- Israel is the only true Democracy in the Middle East. Its government is based on the UK-style parliamentary system which is also what the American government system was originally modeled after.
- Israel’s #1 export is hi-tech! Nearly all the world’s best technology companies have significant R&D facilities in Israel: IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Texas Instruments, Intel, Microsoft, General Electric etc etc etc.
- Teva Pharmaceuticals (a publicly traded company by the way, symbol TEVA) is a major world researcher and producers of both brand name and generic drugs (look on the self behind your pharmacist next time you go and you’ll see boxes with the Teva name on them).
- The Weizmann Institute in Tel Aviv is a world leading research university in the fields of physics, mathematics, and computer science.
- Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem is a world leading hospital in researching cures for cancer and AIDS.
- The Israeli Phil Harmonic orchestras has played to packed audiences around the world. Many world famous musicians and conductors have been part of the group.
These are just some examples.
- ALL the surrounding Arab states are either monarchies, military dictatorships, or religious fanatic pseudo-republics. A few have parliaments but the leaders are under no obligation to follow the parliaments’ rulings.
- Most of the exports from Arab countries are minerals and other natural resources, some produce, and cheap-labor manufactured small items.
- When was the last time you heard of the great technology and development centers of say Syria or Lebanon?
- Public performances of orchestral music is banned in most Arab states as being against Islamic law.
The argument can go back and forth forever.
But the bottom line is the bottom line: When you compare side-by-side Israel and the Arab world it is clearly Israel that, in a mere 62 years, offers the world more productivity and benefits than has ever been produced (save for oil) by all the other Arab states in the same time.
Pick your side based on reality, not hyperbole.
April 21, 2011
April 17, 2011
April 13, 2011
Like everyone else they can vote, contribute to political parties and candidates they feel better represent their interests, write letters, make calls etc. But short of leaving the country (and many have already or are making plans to do such) they are stuck.
But while they can’t (or simply don’t) leave the country they can and often do send their money overseas.
And that is the problem.
The problem isn’t “the rich” aren’t taxed enough. It is what they have left after taxes - whether it be jobs, profits, or simply investment funds – is not kept in the U.S. but much is sent and kept overseas.
And why not?
“The rich” didn’t become wealthy by being stupid. They see there is a bulls-eye on their front and backs for years and years. They see the wealth they keep here in the U.S. is being targeted again and again for confiscatory taxation.
MasterPo doesn’t think [too] many of “the rich” would argue the need for some level of taxation. After all, even “the rich” benefit from public services like roads, police/fire, national defense, a legal system etc. And certainly their employees and associates benefit from the same and more. That’s not the issue.
The issue is the constant attack on what is left over after taxation. It just is getting less and less desirable to keep wealth in the U.S. Between taxation and legal challenges (e.g. easy law suits) accumulating and protecting wealth is becoming ever increasingly harder.
And that is the fault of the government at all levels.
Doesn’t matter who the President is or which party controls the Congress. They all have added bricks to this road.
Rather than encouraging and incentivizing positive reasons to make wealth and keep that wealth here like reasonable one-time taxations, asset protection, estate planning, etc. the policies and laws have made the U.S. very un-friendly to wealth. And that’s not good for the future health of the nation.
You can’t have a strong, healthy, prosperous economy without someone becoming “rich” and keeping it!