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It has always been my practice to cast a long paragraph in a single mould, to try it by my ear, to deposit it in my memory, but to suspend the action of the pen till I had given the last polish to my work. -- Edward Gibbon
I'd offer a raised glass to Independence Day, except that America seems bent to be dependent on an unreliable government.
Each leg of the government ignored the call of freedom from its people. ObamaCare is not liked, and as it is implemented in 2013 and 2014, it will be less liked. Nonetheless, it was pushed forward at each step.
There are those who celebrate the law being upheld who oppose the encroachment on individual liberty by such laws as the Patriot Act. But that's just hypocrisy. Both are invasive. Both have the "public good" given as a justification, but frankly both are subversive to the end of freedom.
This is very simple. If you give away your sovereign right, as an individual, to determine the direction of your own life, that is your choice. I can't understand why you think a bureaucrat in Washington is better able to make decisions for you than you are for yourself, but that's your choice.
I don't want that for my life, and I don't want a tyranny of others to force me into that arrangement. I believe I am much better equipped to make decisions for my life than anyone else. For that reason, I'll need to consider the best place for me to enjoy as much independence as I can. That might be America. And it might not be.
I love my country as founded. Other countries followed the example of America and carved out laws that respected individual sovereignty. Looks more like a level playing field, these days. Time to do some research.
Let me be clear: All you people who were playing the have-you-no-decency card under Bush, but who aren't screaming just as loud now - which is pretty much all of you people who were playing the have-you-no-decency card under Bush - were and are miserable lying hacks. And I thank Obama for making that perfectly clear, at least.
I've come to learn that most of the left is bereft of principle. They only care about being included in a Democrat party that has control, which is to say that they just want to be followers of those in control, abdicating their personal liberty for the sake of receiving a meager government handout and a pat on the head for being useful to the ends of their leaders.
France's socialist government announced a big one-off increase in wealth taxes on Wednesday, by far the biggest single element in a €7.2bn package of new levies aimed at meeting this year's budget deficit target that also included surcharges on banks and energy companies.
An extra €2.3bn will be raised by an exceptional tax charge on all those with net wealth of more than €1.3m.
Henri de Castries, head of Axa, the insurer, is one of France's most respected business leaders. "I've listened to Mr Hollande. He wants to see more growth and lower employment. He wants to see business prospering. We want to see that, too," he says. "The question is how to achieve these goals? There is no example, in modern economic history, of a country that has succeeded in reducing its deficits by bringing taxes to a confiscatory level. On the contrary, it leads to a decline in activity, and an increase in the deficits."
The left hates history. It proves them wrong over and over again.
By the way, this new level of tax? 75%. No one would want to work when 3/4 of their earnings will be taken from them. That's just common sense. But the left ignores all comprehension of the elementary psychology that no one likes their stuff taken from them. Duh.
What happens when the rich don't work and earn what they earn? There are fewer jobs created, fewer donations given to non-profits, and a lesser economy all around.
One more time, let's let France lead the way and show us why socialism doesn't work. Ever.
When I was a teenager, my friend, Rik Schwinden, told me that I was like a guy running who would fall into holes and then bound out of them with a big smile on my face.
"Don't you get tired of the holes?" he asked.
Yes, I do. But I also know that the one skill I have is to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Over those areas of my life in which I have control, I don't give up. I persist...
Rik defined it in terms of "holes," but prior to his definition, I looked at it as occasional rubber bands stretched across the highway of life. Sometimes, you run free and clear, with no obstruction. And other times, you encounter resistance. The more you push, sometimes you break through easily. Other times, it's everything you have in you to push and push and drive forward. But if you put one foot in front of the other, you'll eventually break through.
I'll be damned if a stupid rubber band will get the best of me.
A long time ago, I had this concept I called Four Adjectives. If there were four adjectives to describe me, they would be:
At the times when life is hard, you have to remember who you are and push like crazy.
At recent campaign events in Pennsylvania, Virginia and again Monday in Ohio, Obama spoke to crowds in high school gymnasiums and at crowded outdoor events without his teleprompter, instead using written notes.
The difference is dramatic. Instead of turning in his characteristic manner from right to left and back again, reading from the two sloping, clear-plastic planes of his teleprompter, Obama has glanced down at pages in a binder on his podium.
Team Obama thinks the switch, or partial switch - the president is not giving up the teleprompter entirely - will help him better connect with voters.
"If you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own. ... I'm always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart," the president says, as the ad shows Gilchrist saying goodbye to his family and heading off to work. "If you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."
Yep. Way to go, champ. Way to connect, you marvelous communicator you.
For those who say that this is taken out of context, I give you these precious off-teleprompter tidbits as well.
I've written that things are a bit rough lately, and it's going to work itself out. In the course of all of this and some things that I'm doing for work, I'm reminded of something that we always hear:
Quality of life is everything.
And it's true.
The picture above was taken while out on a bike ride, which I'm doing with greater frequency lately. My knees are improving through the process, and I feel better. That, and my diet is mostly salads and juiced smoothies these days.
Physical health, emotional health, financial health... all of these factor into our quality of life, and quality of life is, in fact, everything. I'm working very hard to get to all three.
Culturally, somehow, we forgot something that was key.
Humanity builds on the successes of the past, but the contribution to that cumulative value by each individual was brought about by the motivation of that individual, by the effort of that individual, and that individual deserves to be rewarded for the value of their individual contribution.
So for the road builder... yes, we all use the roads - thank you very much. Did you get paid for your individual contribution to that? Yes? Great. Is your effort an investment worthy of taking part in the commerce of every entity using that road? No. Your reward is for the effort in building the road. You did not take part in building the businesses that use the road or in the assembly and delivery of the products of the businesses, so you do not get to share in the reward of the profits at those businesses.
Now it's easy for people to listen to the jerk in the White House and if they don't think this through, they might buy into his notion that we all have a hand in each other's successes, therefore it should all be shared.
But that silly concept falls apart at the first step: motivation. If you are forced to share the profits of your effort with those who had no hand in your business directly, then why would you do it? If you had to dilute your reward for your work by giving it to those who had no part in directly assisting your work, would you feel inclined to start the work in the first place?
Each person should be rewarded for the value of their direct contribution - aka, labor. The guy who built the road - he didn't raise the money himself, take the risk of not getting paid for his efforts, or respond to market demands after the road was built. He was paid - by the hour - to lay road, and he was paid with money that was raised by taxing those who work at businesses. He did it voluntarily and thought it a fair deal.
That Obama sees the road builder as some sort of investor in the commerce of every business that uses the road goes to show that a university degree is no guarantee of intelligence - he has no understanding of commerce, business, labor, or pay. How do you get to be an adult that graduates from high school without that understanding?
Further, his argument isn't for equality. His argument is for greater taxation so that the government can control more of society. He doesn't respect the labor of either the road builder or the entrepreneur. If he did, he would honor those efforts by allowing them to keep their earned rewards. Obama and Elizabeth Warren want what isn't theirs, and that's theft, and theft is no honest labor.
Value is cumulative, and each person who contributes gets paid for their part in assisting that accumulation. But a one-time contribution does not make each person an investor in the entire enterprise. Only the person who risked creating the enterprise in the first place is due that. Roads are not a venture of risk, which is obvious to anyone who gives it any thought.
Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States -- increased at an annual rate of 1.5 percent in the second quarter of 2012, (that is, from the first quarter to the second quarter), according to the "advance" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP increased 2.0 percent.
I have in my hands a letter from a prospective client. I quote:
"I will not make a decision until after the November election. Thank you for your proposal."
I called him back, and clearly he's holding onto his money, wanting to know whether the economy will continue as it is, in which case he should hold on to what he has, or whether the economy will loosen and grow under new management.
Don't think Barack Obama affects business? Yeah right. I live it daily.