It’s Time for a Rational Drug Policy

photo courtesy The Guardian

What are the top domestic problems in the USA? We can negotiate the order of importance, but I bet we agree on the list.

  • Rising Net Cost of Living
  • Border Enforcement
  • Availability and Cost of Health Care
  • Broken Families
  • Homelessness
  • Failing Schools
  • Increased Crime and Lax Law Enforcement

On his daily radio update, Bill O’Reilly offered a pretty simple and cost-effective solution to the problem list. Stop drug and alcohol addiction. It really made me think.

He listed the problems caused by addiction. The majority of homeless people, criminals, and child abusers are addicts. Half of unemployed men are addicted to opioids. The economic cost of accidents, mistakes and absenteeism attributable to addiction is gargantuan. Businesses can’t find workers. Medical facilities are overrun with sick addicts who can’t pay for their care. Kids with horrible home lives due to addicted parents have little chance to become successful adults. Street crime is way up and most of it is perpetrated by addicts. Families are destroyed by booze and drugs.

O’Reilly reported that ever since we started viewing drug use as a victimless crime, and addiction as an illness, our drug problem has worsened. Now with lax law enforcement and a wide-open border, it is out of control.

Clearly, many of our domestic problems would be solved, or at least greatly improved, if we had a way to stop addiction. But that’s impossible, isn’t it?

Not according to O’Reilly. He said after WWII when the Chinese communists made the use and sale of opium illegal and in some cases punishable by death, addiction was reduced from 25% to virtually zero. And he points out that Singapore’s zero-tolerance policies toward drugs has made that nation nearly drug-free. This proves that drug addiction is not an illness, but a problem that can be solved by policy and enforcement.

Many Americans blame our open border, the “supply”, for the drug epidemic. Obviously an open border along with no consequences for selling and using drugs is a recipe for disaster. But what if we were to attack the “demand” side of the equation?

O’Reilly calls for a law that requires apprehension and “confined rehabilitation” for illegal drug use in the US. The deterrence effect would be dramatic. With no drug cartels extorting wannabe immigrants and smuggling fentanyl and other nasty stuff into our country, the border would become pretty manageable. And with drug overdoses and other drug-related illnesses down, some medical facilities could be converted to rehab lockups. Reduced crime would have a lot of benefits. Whole departments, like the DEA, TSA, ATF and others could be eliminated or merged, largely replaced by a drug enforcement and rehab agency with some real teeth.

Hmmm, a healthier, safer, more productive country and (bonus) a leaner, more functional federal government – Bill O’Reilly, I think you are on to something.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

I caught you knockin’ at my cellar door
I love you baby, can I have some more?
Oh, the damage done
I hit the city and I lost my band
I watched the needle take another man
Gone, gone, the damage done

The Needle and the Damage Done – Neil Young

The Digital Dollar – Follow the Money

It was only a matter of time.

image courtesy of cryptonews.com

The late, great Rush Limbaugh taught us that whenever there is something really strange going on, especially with our government, just seal out the distractions and follow the money.

I became alarmed a month ago when our Federal Reserve Bank announced that they have developed technology that would enable them to convert our currency to a “digital dollar”. Cash and private banking could soon be a thing of the past.

My observations:

  • The big banks have been cozying up to the Feds for a long time now, squeezing out smaller and local banks. Only the biggest banks can afford to comply with the onerous federal regulations. Following the money, I’m guessing there is a piece of the government pie already cut for them in this digital dollar objective. The banks clearly have no problem sharing our privacy and our funds with the feds, who are now pushing to restrict unreported cash withdrawals to $600 or less.
  • The loss of small banks who can make loans and meet local transactional needs is crushing small business in our country. This dovetails with the woke left’s desire to hollow out the middle class. Follow the money.
  • Once our funds are under the control of the federal government, how long will it be before they establish “equity scores” with which to value our accounts? (Hmm, working white guy, your dollar is worth 35 cents. Unemployed minority migrant, your dollar is worth $2.75, automatically deposited to your account by the government.)
  • The next step would be controlling our behavior by withdrawing or withholding digital dollars from our accounts based on “social score” or inappropriate activity. This is happening already in China and Canada. (You went to a Trump rally? You contributed to the trucker protest? You posted “Let’s Go Brandon” on your Facebook page? Sorry, your funds are frozen! Your company sells pillows and contributes to voter integrity projects? Sorry, you can’t have bank accounts!)
  • With the national debt at $33 trillion and interest rates rising, we are about to become Argentina if taxes aren’t increased. But you won’t have to worry about writing a check to the IRS – they will just lift it from your digital dollar account.

I wonder if commercial banking is going to be completely eliminated and/or merged into the Fed. Banks continue to shed jobs. Try calling your bank on the phone: “Your call is very important to us, your wait time is approximately 42 minutes . . .” And now the woke big banks are firing half of their employees because they refuse to get vaccinated with a chemical that has been proven to not work again the China virus, and (according to the CDC) has killed as many as 200,000. Following the money, maybe the big banks are working toward a merger with the Federal Reserve?

The USA became the economic engine of the world based on freedom, including the right to earn, keep, and spend our own money. But we, and the rest of the world, are now facing the “Great Reset”, which is predicated on sharing the wealth based on skin color and equity. (Follow that link to the World Economic Forum if you really want to get scared.) India, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE are lined up to go digital as well. The EU is looking at perhaps next year.

So how can we protect our assets? Gold? Cryptocurrency? Real estate? Any of these can be confiscated or controlled by over-reaching federal government. Prayer might be the only answer.

I’m afraid it will take a huge and sudden resistance (hopefully non-violent) by the masses to this aggressive radical transformation of our nation and world. The masses will have to be made aware and educated first, and there is precious little time left. The woke leftists must be defeated at every level at every opportunity, no matter how seemingly insignificant.

When you follow the money, nothing is insignificant.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Who’s watching?
I don’t know anymore!
Are the neighbours watching me? (Who’s watching)
Well is the mailman watching me? (Tell me who’s watching)
And I don’t feel safe anymore, oh what a mess
I wonder who’s watching me now
Who? The IRS?!

Somebody’s Watching Me – Rockwell

The USA: Back in the USSR!

We used to laugh at Boris and Natasha, never dreaming that the USA would someday replace the former USSR as the world’s most stupid, backwards, nonsensible socialist nation.

Did you feel sorry for Soviet moms waiting in line at the grocery store only to find empty shelves? That could never happen in the mighty USA, the world’s economic dynamo and home of free markets, right? Lately American shoppers are finding not only empty shelves and six-month lead times for ordinary products, but also Argentina-style price inflation.

The United States once had a vibrant free press that would investigate government corruption in a New York minute, while in the USSR, Pravda was the only news available to Russian citizens, and it was nothing more than propaganda straight from the totalitarian Soviet government. Hmmm, kind of sounds like CNN, MSNBC, and Facebook, right? Hunter who?

The USA, through applied technology and free enterprise, became energy independent and enjoyed the economic boost that abundant and affordable energy (oil and natural gas) can provide. But wait, our new administration is pushing alternative energy without considering the scientific realities: solar and wind can’t come close to the reliability, sustainability and low cost of petroleum energy.

See the source image

Cars from the USSR back in the day were almost useless. Check out our new $50,000 high-tech electric cars that require a 75 amp service for recharging when most homes only are wired for 100 amps, and our electric grid limits us to only three Teslas per block in most cities. Plus the puny 274 mile range of our best hybrids and 10-hour recharge cycle makes long distance travel impossible even if you can afford the cost of the electricity that is ten times the cost per mile of gasoline.

But we still have our freedom, right? At least we don’t have a KGB watching our every move and abusing our rights. No, we have the FBI tapping our phones and emails and instigating “insurgencies” to harass and arrest anyone who opposes our oppressive federal government.

Soviet elections were known world-wide to be manipulated. Now the USA sets the world standard in election fraud, making Vladimir Putin look like a piker.

But boy, the Soviets sure screwed up in Afghanistan, didn’t they?

What a bunch of losers! So glad that couldn’t happen to our vaunted American military – our foreign policy is so superior that we now have a transgendered four-star admiral in leadership. Thanks, Mr. President, for striking fear into the hearts of our adversaries.

Yeah, haha. The old Soviet Union sure was a joke.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

I’m back in the U.S.S.R.
You don’t know how lucky you are, boy
Back in the U.S.S.R.

Back in the USSR – the Beatles

The “China-fication” of America

(Color China Photo via AP, File)

Two months into the Democrat takeover of our nation, I am plenty worried. Not about myself and my wife. Not about our children. Our grandchildren? You bet.

As I recover from the shock of a stolen election followed by the unraveling of all the progress made over the last four years, my worldview has begun to clarify. I think I am finally beginning to understand what’s going on.

My son asked me today, “Do you really think we will never again have a fair election?” After some thought, I had to admit that the likelihood of a real election in our near future is pretty remote.

Look at it this way – the Democrats now have control of the three branches of federal government, the news media, the education system, the military, the judiciary including the Supreme Court, the FBI/DOJ/CIA/State Dept., the entire federal bureaucracy, most of corporate America, the internet, social media, pop culture, entertainment and sports. Their control is so complete that they are able to steal an election in front of God and everybody, get away with it and laugh about it, with virtually no opposition. They can presumably do that again, repeatedly. How in the hell could we traditional Christian conservative Americans expect to ever gain back even a tiny portion of control over our government or our destiny without a deadly civil war?

It appears that the United States (and perhaps the civilized world) has come to accept the Chinese model of government, culture, and morality as the new paradigm of success. After all, the communist leaders of China have maneuvered their huge nation from abject poverty and utter failure to world champion status in just a few decades. Yes, their model richly rewards the ruling elites while “genociding” or “disappearing” unwanted citizens. Yes, their air is unbreathable, their genome-bending diseases are unstoppable, and any disagreement with the CCP is brutally, even militarily, extinguished. But the billions of people in the great Chinese middle class have been elevated to a sustainable, somewhat comfortable standard of living. That is, as long as they do as they are told, maintain an acceptable social score under constant surveillance, and accept mediocrity for their entire lives.

We apparently want the same one-party control system that China has. No need for citizens to make decisions of any kind. No need for freedom of expression, religion, or truth. The government knows best, just shut up and live.

There’s only one problem here. China was able to build their system by using and abusing American knowledge, creativity and money. If America wants to emulate China, who will we look to as our “cash cow” to finance our growth and progress? Guatamala? Mexico? Using the wealth they pilfered from us, China has already taken over most of the third-world at breakneck pace.

With Democrats now controlling every aspect of American civilization, and promising (already delivering) the China model to our nation, those of us over age 40 who give a damn about our grandchildren don’t seem to have a lot of options.

But there is one last hope. And it is that individual states will re-affirm their sovereignty, rights and freedoms under the Constitution of our forefathers. If there is no room for the “Make America Great Again” spirit in our nation, I pray to God that there is room for it in our states. If we have hope to restore the USA to greatness, that hope lies in the flyover states, not the metropolitan coastal areas that are willing and happy to sell their pitiful, fearful souls to the federal government for promise of a crust of bread. May God bless the United STATES of America!





I stumble into town just like a sacred cow
Visions of swastikas in my head
And plans for everyone
It’s in the white of my eyes

China Girl – David Bowie

Things Have Changed

I haven’t written a blog post for two months. The stolen election and developments since then are so alarming that I have been unable to get my feet on solid ground – emotionally or intellectually.

The most difficult thing to deal with is that truth is no longer available to us. We have known for many years that we can no longer trust the mainstream news and social media. We now know that we can’t trust any political parties, institutions, or agencies. Only a very few elected and hired federal government officials are not corrupt. Corporations, educators, scientists, medical institutions, social organizations, sports/entertainment are all compromised.

My cynical worldview was once driven by the maxim “follow the money.” If things are not quite as they seem, it’s because behind the scenes are malevolent, unscrupulous people who are driven to personal profit at the expense of others.

That was before Americans (and, frankly, average folks all over the world) lost faith in capitalism and free enterprise. Now we know that governments can print as much money as they need to control events and individuals. At least temporarily. Debt is an obsolete concept in the twenty-first century.

The ultimate currency of exchange now is power. Control.

Oh, money is still part of the program. Those who have big money have control. And vice-versa. If the big reset continues on course, those on the outside will still have value, but will over time will become little more than a food source.

Last Sunday our pastor stridently preached the message in Luke 12: 29-31.

29 “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. 30 For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.

The first Sunday after the “riot” on Capitol Hill our pastor was admonishing us for all the time and money we spend worrying about politics and personal wants. I agree with him that we should not live our lives selfishly. If we are saved we can expect our individual needs to be met, now and forever.

But neither is this a time in history when we should acquiesce. Righteousness includes the duty to confront evil. Psalm 82 instructs us to

Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy.  Deliver the poor and needy; Free them from the hand of the wicked.

There seems to be only one place left to go for the truth. Things have changed.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

People are crazy and times are strange
I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range
I used to care, but things have changed

Things Have Changed – Bob Dylan

Why Are We Still Burning Corn In Our Cars?

The price of oil futures fell to negative territory last week and remains anemic at around $17 per barrel today. We have such an oil glut that there is no place to put it any more.

Thanks to fracking, new oil exploration in other parts of the world, and OPEC’s erectile dysfunction, oil is no longer a scarce, expensive energy source. The world has enough oil to last for centuries.

Still, we have farmers planting, growing, and harvesting corn so we can add 10% ethanol to our gasoline. We turn our auto factories upside down and add thousands of dollars to the price of each car and truck to meet stricter EPA minimum gas mileage targets. We subsidize alternative “renewable” energy sources and devices despite having essentially solved carbon-based pollution.

Short-term, the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down the demand for oil. But that is temporary and doesn’t address the bigger issue. Let’s face it, oil is and will continue to be the best energy solution on earth for a long time to come.

So how does it make any sense to suppress the production and use of oil as an energy source? Two answers, the same ones that can be applied to every seemingly irrational political and cultural issue: money, and power.

Our kids still come home from school (when it is actually open) in tears from dire predictions about their world being destroyed by evil, smoke-belching big businesses and mom’s gas-guzzling SUV. Never mind that those end-of-the-world predictions never seems to come true.

Leftist politicians just can’t let go of the “global warming” hoax and the power it gives them over a frightened populace. They know their bubble could burst at any second. They have no choice but to continue promoting subsidies for windmills, solar panels, electric cars and so many other technologies that will NEVER be comparable to the common-sense fuel that God designed and made plentiful for our use: oil.

But back to corn. This week farm lobbyists are asking Congress and the Trump administration for billions of dollars in Coronavirus aid. Some of the request may be legitimate, as the ag sector has been harmed by government decisions such as the COVID-19 shutdown and foreign trade negotiations. But part of their justification is that demand for corn continues to fall because demand for gasoline is down.

Instead of letting the free market determine how our acres of productive land are used, such as growing the foods needed for people and livestock, we are actually considering paying farmers because they have to plant corn which is no longer needed in light of low demand for gasoline. What the hell kind of logic is that?

Let’s tell our leaders that it’s time to end the ethanol requirement, and subsidies that prop up dumb alternative energy industries and the corruption that inevitably goes with them.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ on the Right Side

Mobil station where I stand
This old gas pump in my hand
My boss don’t like me, got a face like a weasel
Oil on my hands and the smell of diesel

Fill Her Up – Sting

Can Anything Good Come From This Man-Made Crisis?

Ten years from now, what will Wikipedia say about the Coronavirus Crisis of 2020, when many of the most successful nations and their citizens will have been reduced, at least for a while, to second- or third-world status?

What will our grandchildren think of us, knowing that we chose to destroy our own companies, industries, family savings, careers – not to mention burying the kids in debt – in exchange for the possibility that a few already-medically-compromised senior citizens might extend their lives by another year or so? Will there be a chart comparing the lives actually saved from the virus to the lives destroyed by the imposition of martial law?

Probably not, because facts and numbers don’t matter any more. There was a time when issues were won by the person (or group or nation) who possessed the facts, or made the best case from a logical, numbers-based examination including historical honesty, instead of feelings and “nice-ness”. Now, group-think and political correctness rule. We no longer have to analyze facts, because the winner is always the one who gets the most “likes” from his friends.

Is there anything good that can come from this? My hope is that after this self-forced error has run its course, we will have learned a few things.

Maybe we will learn to be independent thinkers again, not so quick to trust the “experts”, the career politicians and the news media. We might even question the motives of decision-makers when they don’t seem to make common sense.

Maybe we will understand that in its current form our government reacts to any threat by throwing our money at it in a childish panic. After all, the only thing a government official can do is spend our money – unlike the private sector, which can actually create things of value and solve problems. Maybe we will be moved to change our government structure to prevent these harmful knee-jerk mistakes. Maybe we will be more pro-active and prepared for threats.

Certainly some marginal businesses and industries will perish. Certainly other new business opportunities will appear. Certainly some unscrupulous, powerful people will get richer (somebody please check out George Soros’ net worth before and after the man-made “crisis” of 2020). The businesses that survive will be leaner, stronger, and quicker than they were before.

We might finally realize that our education system is a shambles. Through the lock-down we proved that we can home-school our children, and they actually come out of school smarter than when they went in. We also showed that on-line learning is a more efficient model than exotic campuses full of imperious, overpaid, Marxist instructors.

And it’s possible, just possible, that the “one world” agenda of open borders and happy, smiling faces moving unfettered and unvetted across the globe will be proved inferior to smaller, self-governed and self-contained nations who defend their values and identity. And that there are considerations other than short-term profit in foreign trade and immigration decisions. We might learn to trust, but verify, the intentions of other nations.

One thing is already clear. The world is made up of “blamers” and “solvers”. God grant us the strength and smarts to choose wisely so we never have to go through this again.

Tom Balek- Rockin’ on the Right Side

Seems this world has got you down
Your feelin’ bad vibrations frown
Well, open your eyes girl, look at me
I’m gonna show you how it ought to be

We’re gonna’ have a good thing
Such a good thing baby

Good Thing – Paul Revere and the Raiders

Entitlements In the Neighborhood

So I’m surfing through the neighborhood social media, and yet another thread is filling up about a locally owned bar/restaurant that has failed shortly after opening.

It saddened me for a number of reasons. I have been a small business owner, and I know the financial risk and hard work that a family takes on when opening a new venture, and how heartbreaking it must be to fail. This club was one that employed local musicians, which also hits home with me. A small business closure impacts many people – employees, vendors, neighbors and customers.

The bar/restaurant business is a tough gig. If the owner (or an extraordinary manager) is not on the premises at all times, profit seems to bleed out of the windows and doors. Bartenders “take care” of their friends, or pocket cash before it gets to the till. Finding and training good servers and cooks takes a lot of time and effort. The bad ones either don’t show up or kill your business when they do, and too often the good ones are lured away by a competitor for a few more bucks.

Stick with me, I’ll get to the entitlement part in a minute.

Some business owners shouldn’t be. While they may have a great talent and passion for a particular product or service, if they don’t understand the important basics of business – accounting, cash flow, managing employees, marketing and market differentiation, inventory control – they are unlikely to survive. Making the best cheesesteak sandwich in the world is one thing; making a profit is another.

Every day in the neighborhood social media, which is a pretty good indicator of the attitudes of the proletariat, I see a lot of whining about businesses, especially restaurants. “Why doesn’t somebody open a [insert name] restaurant here?” “I went to the new local bar but I didn’t like their nachos.” “The new sushi place is too expensive.” “I have to drive to the city to get a gourmet dinner.” Many of the folks in my neighborhood seem to think life owes them a world-class restaurant, on the corner of their block, that charges McDonald’s prices, pays its employees $50 an hour, and contributes to their favorite local charity.

The ability for customers to review businesses online is empowering. And dangerous. It feeds the expanding sense of entitlement that we see every day, fueled by the “free everything” political platform of the Democrats.

It’s getting harder every day to operate a small business. It’s do-able, but not for the faint-of-heart or one lacking serious business chops. Because of social media, all it takes is a couple of one-time correctable flubs, a dishonest customer or competitor, or a disgruntled employee to do serious damage to a business. Add to that high taxes and insensitive government decisions such as lengthy street closings for repairs and arbitrary zoning decisions. As a result, locally-owned businesses disappear as we see signs for the same national brands popping up in every neighborhood.

All we Americans are entitled to is life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Despite the empty promises of Democrats, we are not entitled to total happiness and security. We are not entitled to free health care, free college, forgiveness of debt or guaranteed wages.

Supply and demand works. Many of my neighbors are all about demand, and never stop to consider how supply happens.

Stop whining, people.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

You made me promises promises
Knowing I’d believe
Promises promises
You knew you’d never keep

Promises Promises – Naked Eyes

The HR Dept. – How Socialism Kills Economic Progress

A common-sense principle of business is that managers must have the authority to hire and fire at will. After all, the very reason for a business to exist is to generate a profit for the owners and investors. So managers will compete for the best employees to maximize returns, just as they compete for customers by trying to provide the best product or service at the best price. The companies who hire and retain the best people will thrive, while the others will fade away.

HR (human resources) departments are poison to profit.

A product of the civil rights movement in 1965, the federal government created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to eliminate hiring discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color or national origin. Every company that does business with the federal government and has 50 or more employees must implement and document an “affirmative action program”.

The EEO/AAP was, and is, a typical big government solution to a problem that should be solved by free market supply and demand. It established rigid quotas based on race, which was then expanded to protect women and the disabled. Soon every minority group, including the evolving alphabet-soup of genders, was lawyering up.

Faced with a mountain of reporting requirements and legal complications, businesses responded by creating and staffing HR departments, a phenomenon that may have done more damage to the economy than any other factor since the depression.

While a manager or owner will make every effort to find the most talented, qualified, and industrious people to fill positions, and reward them well with promotions and compensation, HR departments exist only to meet “diversity” requirements. The result is companies are staffed with many unqualified, unmotivated, and sometimes underpaid minorities (often H1B visa holders) who know they can’t be fired. The “Peter Principle” (individuals are promoted beyond their level of competence) is rampant in many large organizations.

Managers who try to hire or promote talented non-minority employees are stymied by HR. Add the influence of union protection (i.e. government employees), and performance predictably suffers.

Despite 53 years of EEO/AAP and all kinds of other identity-driven programs, liberal politicians still pander for votes by screaming “RAAAAACIST!” at common-sense conservative opponents, who know that for-profit businesses will hire and promote the best people regardless of minority status, which encourages all workers to improve their performance (not their pigmentation or gender) and compete for the best jobs. And that propels the economy and raises standards of living for everybody.

You got me runnin’ goin’ out of my mind
You got me thinkin’ that I’m wastin’ my time
(Don’t bring me down, no no no no no)
I’ll tell you once more before I get off the floor
(Don’t bring me down)

Don’t Bring Me Down – Electric Light Orchestra

Economic Good Things

Yesterday Congress passed yet another drunken-sailor budget, which would suspend the debt ceiling for another two years and result in an additional $322 billion in spending, ballooning the deficit to $22 trillion dollars.

Not long ago my conservative friends and I took to the streets protesting the unfathomable $16 trillion debt that the federal government had foisted upon our children and grandchildren. Then we got steamrolled by Obama, not exactly a top-drawer economist. Even holding both houses was not enough to stop the spending tsunami, and before you could blink, the Democrat socialist revolution had overtaken Congress.

In an effort to extinguish my “hair on fire” I set out looking for some little rays of economic sunshine among the dark clouds. Here’s what I found:

  • DEREGULATION is driving the economy at an unexpectedly brisk pace. All around I see businesses starting and expanding, construction projects popping up like popcorn, opportunities for workers of all types at premium wage rates, and consumer spending and optimism going through the roof.
  • FOREIGN TRADE POLICIES, TARIFFS AND ALLIANCES – President Trump clearly understands the “art of the deal”, and his push-back against China is bringing positive change. Protests in Hong Kong might drive regime change, or at least policy change. And Trump’s outsized influence on Brexit, Iran, Russia and North Korea all have economic implications. While international trade is not a “zero sum” game, other nations are finally feeling the heat of dealing with an “A-team” on the economic playing field.
  • ENERGY INDEPENDENCE – For a very long time, the USA economy was like many American families – one paycheck away from bankruptcy. At any time a Middle Eastern mullah could shut off the supply of oil, plunging our economy into chaos. That threat is now extinguished.
  • AGENCY REORGANIZATION – Russ Vought and Mick Mulvaney of the OMB are tightening the noose on agency leadership, getting more bang for the taxpayer buck, down-sizing and decentralizing, and updating personnel and procurement procedures. Every day they are changing the government culture to more closely operate like private business.

When Mulvaney was my congressman, we had several discussions about federal spending, with me venting my frustration that the debt was exploding and nobody cares. Mulvaney, always the pragmatist, said, “We can’t fix the deficit and debt by reducing spending. It’s way too late for that. We will have to outgrow it.”

At the time, Mick’s message was not what I wanted to hear. And I still would like to see a more mixed approach: cut spending while the economy is healthy and growing. But the appetite for restraint is just not there. Not with the Democrats and many weak-kneed Republicans in Congress who win re-election by giving away free candy. Not with the president, who had to adopt the same stance to guarantee re-election and time to complete his mission. And frankly, not with the under-informed spoiled-brat public, most of whom pay no federal taxes and whose ranks are swelling every day with immigrants from nations who have never participated in a consumer-driven supply-and-demand economy.

Can our debt keep expanding without consequences? Probably not. But all you can do is all you can do.

I used to employ a business strategy that seemed to work pretty darn well. Every business is segmented into products, or markets, or divisions. Too many executives and managers put all of their energy and focus into the underperforming segments of their businesses, ignoring the segments that are smoking hot and growing. I always promoted the strategy of putting maximum effort and resources into what’s doing well instead of beating your head against the wall trying to fix the losers.

So yes, we had a bad budget deal. Boogers. But if we look closer, there are a lot of “good things” going on.

Seems this worlds got you down
Your feelin’ bad vibrations frown
Well, open your eyes girl, look at me 
I’m gonna show you how it ought to be
We’re gonna’ have a good thing
Such a good thing baby

Good Thing – Paul Revere and the Raiders

In memory of Paul Revere, one of the truly good guys in the history of rock and roll.