Monday, January 31, 2005

Doing the Math

After reading an article about our National Deficit for 2004, an old incident came to mind that I am so grateful only happened once in my life. What I did as a stupid 18 year old, I have watched our decision makers do year after year, only they know the account balance is zero!
Years ago I trusted an untrustworthy person to make a deposit in my checking account. I'm sure you have already figured out, when and how the label "untrustworty" occurred to me. That's right, I wrote several checks in a very short time on a very meager balance that had not been "fed." Now, I borrowed some money and got it resolved, which also included paying the loan back. But you know; the lender didn't tell me how frugal and wise I had been, to not spend a greater deficit, actually quite the opposite.
It took me 25 years to trust any other human being enough, for me to write a check when I didn't personally make the bank deposit. And that one incident was an error of judgment, not a situation of knowing the money wasn't there.
I guess what concerns me the most in this deficit business, is the lack of basic math and accountability. I see that our proposed deficit for 2004 was $521 Billion and that after tallying the annual expenses, we have a deficit of ONLY $412 Billion for one year, to be added to the already existing deficit. I dare say the fact that we are $109 Billion less in the hole than expected does not mean we saved money. This 2004 deficit was predicted, presented and accepted. Not that I think any politicians or policy makers are reading this, but if they do, here is a tried and tested way of handling American's hard earned money. Because you see, when the average American writes checks that cannot be covered, it's called fraud. When the average American's spending exceeds their income, all of America is eventually going to be affected. Actually these basics are the guidelines for any business, home, or bank account.
1. When you spend money you do not have, it is either credit or fraud.
2. When you loan borrowed money, well, that's just dumb!
3. When you invest with borrowed money, you haven't made the investment.
4. Eventually Credit and Loans must be paid or the Monopoly game has to start over!
5. If you cannot afford what you are spending now, you cannot afford to spend more.
6. If the simple math won't compute, it doesn't matter how many variables are added.
7. Unlike basic multiplication, when solving addition and subtraction problems, two negatives do not make a positive.
What is this term "shortfall?" In every one of the times it appeared in a sentence, it was used as a euphamism for some older less sophisticated terms that may be more recognizable; such as "in the hole" or "in the red." I don't want new words for an old problem, I want to see the problem resolved. I want to see the plan, I want to hear to the solution, not listen to the rhetoric. That is the one thing about our economy, unlike so much of the rest of the subjective areas of living free. Math is black and white, it can be put on paper. It isn't an ethereal vision or emotionally charged speech, it is simply an equation. It may be involved, it may be over many of our heads, but math is tangible. And those presenting and approving the American budget need to remember if you can't get the problems in Basic Math 101 solved, using the terms of Calculus just sounds like you know something.
So, I guess my question really is not to any political leader or policy maker, but simply an appeal to the logical intelligence of the American public.
If we continue to produce less, while we receive tax cuts and incentives, and the percentage of those in the work force continues to decline in relation to those receiving benefits, how does it ever balance? . . . Seriously, what is the formula?
Or has Washington adopted the same policy it has presented to the school system. "No Politician left behind Act?"
They don't have to solve the problem, after 8 years, it is automatic graduation.

. . . Behold, I have bought you this day and your land . . . And it shall come to pass at the harvest, that you shall give a fifth (20%) . . .

Friday, January 28, 2005

Feeling Free?

What is the definition of free? And just how many liberties shall we impede to preserve being free? Is there a difference between being free and feeling free? Who draws the line and defines the purpose of giving up personal liberties for the greater good of a free society?
I remember in one of the Presidential Debates, a gentleman told President Bush, he felt our intensified protection was coming at the price of our freedom. Our President stated to the effect that he didn't feel that was the case and that merely "resolved" the topic.
After taking a fairly extensive journey this past year into places we Americans are being told could be alarming, I discovered something. There was only one country out of six that I had to remove my shoes, and they were sandals . . . and be literally groped publicly by rather large women in charge. Now I had the option to be groped privately, but since "combative" appears to be a very subjective term, I felt safer with witnesses. As you are probably aware, the one country was America. Now if you are thinking . . . Well, we were attacked, we are at war, please let me share with you the names of the other countries. Israel at the time of a Holy Day, Greece preparing for the Olympics, England who is also in the same war America is, Turkey, I can't really say much as we were with a cruise tour, but I got to keep my shoes on while I showed them my passport and no one frisked me. Now France changed while we were there. The security did tighten when the President arrived for the commemoration of Normandy. France really appeared to intensify security to accommodate America's leader.
But I still have to ask. When standing in an airport, barefooted while some one "feels me" to determine my bra contains only underwires and me, is that feeling free or being free?

"And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Preserving what we export?

The radio alarm is set to come on at the morning news time. I was awakened to a very interesting term used in the story pertaining to the upcoming election in Iraq. The terminology used by the reporter made me sit up and pay attention. He said America was exporting democracy. Immediately I thought of 6th grade Social Studies and wondered how a term to describe commerce and trade became descriptive of establishing government, but it has. Somewhere between a Webster's Dictionary (c) 1977 and the internet, the word export, imported a broader defintion. I looked it up on WordWeb and sure enough, the second definition was "Cause to spread in another part of the world." ex: "The Russians exported Marxism to Africa." The first definition says there is an exchange: "sell or transfer abroad." One doesn't keep what one sells or transfers. Well, and now that I think about it . . . Russia doesn't have Marxism anymore, either.
I'm not ready to accept that a government of the people, for the people and by the people; is now seen as something that is merely manufactured or even more frightening, as a natural resource. I don't even want to think the beliefs and lives of people can be equated with mere products and commodities. Surely we are not ready to view our national ideology on the same level as . . . Wow, there isn't much made in America any more, is there?

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

When religion and politics unite . . .

We realize there have been many examples; horrific examples, throughout history of the disastrous union of religious devotion and political agenda, but one particularly stands out. When the political power of the day: Rome, conferred with the religious power of the time: the Sanhedrin; the Son of G~d was crucified. What if the politically incorrect and the religiously unacceptable are right? What if [and I believe it is] the Bible is absolutely perfect and without contradictory and the interpretations of man are fraught with error? Then the narrow road would not be 3-15% wider in the polls than the road to perdition. Therefore, according to Scripture, a true man of G~d could not possibly have the mandate of the people.

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