How to Solve All of Our Government’s Problems

Today I am not going to whine or point fingers. Instead, I am going to take my best shot at problem-solving. Stick with me.

Back in the early 1980s TQM (Total Quality Management) was all the rage in corporate America. The TQM movement started when the US Army hired Dr. Edwards Deming to take over economic development in post-war Japan. Deming applied quality improvement techniques that transformed Japan from a nation of shoddy third-world trinket-makers to a wealthy nation of world-class manufacturers. His astonishing success gave rise to the thought that maybe the world could be saved after all.

As a young executive, I was asked to select and implement one of many popular TQM programs to make sure that our company stayed at the leading competitive edge of our industry. After looking at the alternatives, I chose the Philip Crosby Theory because it just seemed so simple and common-sensible. The Crosby Theory is based on these principles and definitions and provides tools to achieve them:

  • Quality is defined as conformance to requirements
  • Quality defect prevention is preferable to quality inspection
  • Zero defects is the quality performance standard
  • Quality is measured in monetary terms – the price of non-conformance

A government, like a business, is a group of people trying to get something done together in their common interest. And in government, like in business, if there is no agreement on what the requirements are, or how to tell if we are meeting them, there is zero chance of success.

Read the list above again and imagine all the ways that our government could be improved if these principles were applied. How many problems would this solve!

By defining what the requirements are, we would stop wasting time, money and effort doing things that half of our citizens don’t want done. We are fortunate to have a constitution written by geniuses that clearly defines what our government is expected to do.

Another great way to avoid wasting time, money and effort is to prevent problems instead of dealing with them after they are discovered. This would indicate that the single most important thing to our nation’s future is the improvement of our education system. We could apply TQM to that, too.

A major problem with our system of government is there is no standard of performance. That’s why our growing budget deficits and debt seem insurmountable and inevitable. If we are going to survive, we have to have achievable expectations of our government officials and hold them totally accountable.

And how would we measure our success? The only known way to measure anything is numerical. “Niceness” is not a measurement that can be agreed upon. “Respect”. “Caring.” “Fairness”. “Equality”. None of these are objective measurements. Let’s face it, government is all about using our shared money to improve our standard of living. All adults strive to financially improve every day. And no matter how much they “care”, elected officials can do nothing other than spend – or not spend – our money. Measurement of our government’s success must be statistical, not emotional: GDP growth, per capita income, consumer financial security, etc. We want all the graphs to point upward.

Okay, I gave it my best shot. Surely government can’t be that simple. Or can it?

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Ain’t no need to complicate it, we both know that’s overrated
We’ve been there, its safe to say it ain’t our style, yeah
It’s like one, two, three
Just as easy as can be
Just the way you look at me
You make me smile

SIMPLE – Florida Georgia Line

Who Will Have the Next Revolution?

We see news of protests on a daily basis now, from every corner of the world.

photo by WireNewsFax

Hong Kong has erupted in street protests over the Chinese Communist Party’s aggressive push to strip the “autonomous” region of its freedoms guaranteed under the 1997 agreement when the UK gave clear title to the CCP.

Protestors continue to march in Venezuela, demanding the ouster of dictator Nicolas Maduro after suffering through years of economic devastation and loss of personal rights.

Ethnic attacks in Mali and DR Congo have inflamed citizens to the boiling point. In the Middle East civil unrest in several nations including Yemen, Syria and Libya have become a fact of daily life.

And in the US this week, riots have erupted in several cities over the police killing of a black man during an arrest in Minneapolis. This follows weeks of protests at state capitals by conservative activists who oppose the government’s coronavirus-inspired economic shutdowns. America is polarized, with every news development devolving into a red / blue showdown. There doesn’t seem to be even an inch of middle ground in our political turf-war. The very structure of our constitutional government is in play as lines of authority continue to break down. The separation of powers as defined in the constitution is taking a beating as rogue judges attempt to override executive and legislative authority, while corruption runs rampant and unpunished.

Tensions between the ruling class and the governed simmer all over the world. We know that civil unrest can lead to civil war or bloody revolution, and the results can lead to positive change or down the highway to hell.

The world is now averse to hot wars, but in the USA we openly hope for revolutions in Iran, Venezuela, Syria and China that lead to regime change. Do they wish the same for us? The US has shown a proclivity to get involved in foreign civil wars in the past, with less-than-stellar results. And we are seeing our adversaries brazenly meddling in our domestic affairs lately.

Could we be the first in line for civil war or revolution? Will we soon be watching bloodshed in Hong Kong or Tehran? Or will they be cheering while watching ours?

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

You say you want a revolution?
Well you know,
We all want to change the world.

Revolution – the Beatles

Blue States: Call the Suicide Hotline!

America’s Blue States continue to accelerate toward self-destruction, in total denial of the ugly fate that awaits them. The Blue States (run by Democrats) are always broke and looking for bailouts from the Red States (run by Republicans).

Suicide Net on Golden Gate Bridge

Blue State costs explode as they continue to invite illegal immigrants and unemployed homeless people by offering them medical care, welfare, food, tents, hotel rooms, rent subsidies and other benefits. They promise pensions and health care to retired government employees far beyond what they can afford or have budgeted. They spend taxpayer funds on ill-conceived projects, inflated salaries, corruption, and general incompetence.

Meanwhile, Blue State revenues steadily decline as their bad decisions and over-regulation chase companies and families away, usually to Red States. They can’t increase taxes fast enough to make up for the exodus of taxpayers and the declining net incomes of those who foolishly stay. The quality of life erodes daily in Blue States.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a classic example of Blue State attempted suicide. Because they hate Trump and want to hang the virus around his neck, the Blue States insist on keeping their businesses shut down, their churches and schools closed, and their citizens locked up. The result: decreased revenue, increased costs, and frustrated folks. Meanwhile, the Red States open up their economies and turn their consumers loose. Blue State border dwellers feel like they are looking over the Berlin Wall, and run to nearby Red States to spend their money and enjoy some freedom.

The only satisfaction Blue Staters receive from their sheepism is they get to call the Red Staters selfish meanies, which is a crap sandwich at best.

A few years ago California put “suicide nets” on the Golden Gate Bridge to prevent desperate San Francisco citizens from taking their own lives in total despair. Who knew that the entire state of California, and many other Blue States, would one day be driven to suicide by Trump Derangement Syndrome?

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

They got a name for the winners in the world
I want a name when I lose
They call Alabama the Crimson Tide
Call me Deacon Blues

Deacon Blues – Steely Dan

“Working Tirelessly”

Have you heard the phrase “working tirelessly” lately? I guarantee it came from a government official, referring to government employees.

Now let me start my rant by saying I don’t want to broad-brush any group of people. I know there are many hard-working, conscientious government employees who put themselves in harm’s way every day. They are patriotic, dedicated and responsible.

These are not the government employees I am referring to.

Too often (such as during our current COVID-19 crisis) we see government officials on camera, in front of the slobbering press and the ubiquitous deaf interpreters, literally breaking their arms patting themselves on the back taking credit for the government “saving us” from threats that they probably had a hand in creating.

They never give credit to the people – the truck drivers, waitresses, nurses aides, ranchers, line workers, managers, and yes, owners and executives – who really do work long, hard hours, especially when the chips are down, to pay the taxes that put these showboats in front of the cameras.

Truth be told, most government employees work fewer hours for higher pay and more benefits than their peers in the private sector. And they get paid and get raises and have eternal job security whether their department succeeds or not. They never have to meet a production quota on time or a budget or put their own money at risk. They don’t have to turn a profit for survival. In fact, many cities and states are broke because they have promised totally un-fundable retirement plans to their employees, and are now looking for bailouts.

Staying up all night and pulling calves in a blizzard – that’s working tirelessly. Taking enemy fire for days from all directions and dragging injured buddies from danger is working tirelessly. Climbing poles and repairing lines in the driving rain for days on end to restore electrical service destroyed by a tornado – that’s working tirelessly. Working two menial jobs and keeping a smile on for customers, just to earn a subsistence living. Burning the midnight oil to figure out how to operate well enough to keep good people employed and insured. Working tirelessly.

Bureaucrats who punch a computer in an air-conditioned office, making arbitrary decisions that as often as not make things worse instead of better, never working a 40-hour week or a weekend?

Not so much.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

I said hey, hey workin’ man, workin’ man like me
I ain’t never been on welfare and that’s one place I won’t be
I’ll be back workin’ – as long as my two hands are fit to use
Drink a little beer in the tavern, and sing a little bit of these workin’ man blues

Workin’ Man Blues – Merle Haggard

Nikki Haley – Simply Irresistible?

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Nikki Haley entered the conference hall of the Gateway Center in Richburg, SC and immediately sucked all of the oxygen out of the huge room. The overflow crowd at Congressman Ralph Norman’s campaign kickoff Monday night could not contain their enthusiasm – no, it was love – for the petite powerhouse who has been out of the spotlight since she stepped down as President Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations.

Introducing Haley, Norman’s son, Warren, asked her, “How should I address you? Ambassador Haley? Governor Haley? Next President of the United States Haley?”

I have not seen a gathering so overpowered by a woman since I attended a Hillary Clinton event promoting HillaryCare back in the 1980s. But while I found the Hillary encounter completely frightening, Haley’s warm connection to her audience was a sharp contrast. She pointed out that she and her husband decided to stay in New York City to allow their son to graduate from his high school, but next year they will be moving back to South Carolina and he will attend Clemson, like his mom.

So what has Nikki Haley been doing lately? I mean, besides preparing to run for president in the 2024 election?

She wrote her second book, “With All Due Respect”, describing her experiences working in the Trump administration as ambassador to the United Nations. A sometimes-critic of Trump, Haley quit her governor post and accepted Trump’s invitation to the highly-visible ambassadorship, winning acclaim among conservatives for her fire-breathing speeches defending the USA and the Trump agenda before the UN delegates. During her tenure as ambassador there were latent questions about her loyalty to the president, but Monday night she made clear to Norman’s supporters that she joins the congressman in full support of Trump.

Last year Haley founded a conservative policy group “Stand for America” and cherry-picked Heritage Action president Tim Chapman for the lead role in that organization, an indication of her intention to run for president. Similarly, Marco Rubio snatched two Heritage Action top officials, Mike Needham and Dan Holler to anchor his 2024 campaign team.

As a South Carolina resident, I have followed Haley’s career with interest. I still see her as a very ambitious career politician and have lined up on the opposite side of her on some specific issues. Still, as a state representative and governor she was an outstanding administrator, a budget hawk, and her state government ran like a clock, famously answering every phone call with the chirpy greeting, “It’s a great day in South Carolina!”

My family band played for Norman’s Monday kickoff event, and we got to meet Haley for a brief visit backstage. I was surprised at how warm and down-to-earth she is. Especially after watching her bring a couple thousand very discerning conservatives to their knees. Nikki Haley is a force to be reckoned with in American politics. Maybe irresistible.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

She’s a craze you’d endorse, she’s a powerful force
You’re obliged to conform when there’s no other cause
She used to look good to me, but now I find her
Simply irresistible

Robert Palmer – Simply Irresistible

Don’t Be Distracted – There Actually is REAL NEWS Today!

November 19, 2019. What’s the big news today?

The corrupt news organizations, fed by the Democrat machine, are still gyrating their shiny object of the month, the “Impeach Trump” drama. “Look over here, you dumb hicks! Trump! Trump! Ukraine! Trump!” Completely under the radar is the REAL news.

No, don’t be distracted. There is important unreported news today. Despite having a State Dept. that fights him at every turn; despite getting little if any support from top military brass; and despite having a national security apparatus that has been proven to be the source of an outright coup attempt – despite all that AND the daily pounding he takes in the press – President Trump’s outsider instincts have just about finished the corrupt regime of Iran president Hassan Rouhani and Ayatollah Khamenei.

With stellar background support from wing-man Rudy Giuliani and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Trump’s economic sanctions and withdrawal from Obama’s loony nuclear deal have damaged Iran’s economy so drastically that citizens are taking to the streets, protesting the increase in gas prices, the crumbling Iranian currency, runaway inflation and high unemployment. The Iranian regime has already blown through the pallets of cash that Obama sent them, buying rockets and ammo for their terrorist friends and additional centrifuges to refine uranium.

Trump is taking down the world’s biggest supporter of terrorism without firing a shot. Did you hear about it on CNN? Not a single word today. On MSNBC? Nothing. CBS News? Nada. Fox News? Just a very thin article buried deep in their website (at least 1 dead in riots). ABC News? A mention at the bottom of their world news web page, reporting that over 100 protesters were killed, maybe 200.

We are being manipulated by the news industry and the anti-Trump forces within our government. We, the American voting public, are taken for fools, not intelligent enough to digest real news.

You won’t hear anything about the Obama scandals, the Biden Ukraine debacle, the Clinton crimes (including the death of Epstein) or any other real news that might upset the elitists’ status quo. Nope, just more meaningless “shiny objects” to distract us and whip us into a tribal lather.

Don’t be a fool!

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

But what a fool believes, he sees
No wise man has the power to reason away
What seems to be is always better than nothing

What A Fool Believes – Michael McDonald

The genius of Michael McDonald – enjoy!

Are We Conservatives “Uneducated Boobs”?

Last week I attended the Heritage Action for America regional Sentinel Summit, an annual gathering of top conservative activists, in Atlanta.

Heritage Action for America (HAFA) is the action arm of the Heritage Foundation, the preeminent right-wing think tank in the USA, and it engages almost 20,000 grassroots activists like me. We are charged with staying at the leading edge of conservative policy and holding our members of Congress accountable.

At the conference, HAFA president Tim Chapman and senior advisor for political affairs Nate Rogers presented the organization’s “2020 Polling Project” to the gathered Sentinels. They explained how HAFA will use the data they accumulated in 2019 to align voters with popular conservative values. For example, polling shows that American voters are strongly in favor of protecting unborn children, yet the Democrat House under Nancy Pelosi will not even bring a bill to the floor which would require doctors to save babies who survive abortion attempts. This issue, and many like it, can be used to convince habitual Democrat voters, and swing voters, that they should be looking at the conservative alternative.

At the end of Tim and Nate’s presentation, I asked Nate this data-related question. “We conservatives have been characterized in the media and by the Democrats as ‘uneducated boobs’. Meanwhile the Dems claim to own the poor, the immigrants, the oppressed minorities. Which is it? Who is better educated, them or us?”

I’m tired of being painted as a hillbilly, “clinging to my guns and religion”, as characterized by President Obama . But Nate’s answer hit me like a brick. “They are, pretty much,” he said. “The core Democrats are typically college-educated coastal elites; Republicans have won the working middle-class.”

Not the answer I was expecting, or wanted to hear. And I have been stinging ever since.

But on reflection, I am pleased to be part of the “uneducated” group of conservative Americans. Given the socialist dumpster fire that higher education has become, and the abject failure of colleges to provide real employment and life skills despite crushing student debt, it’s no wonder we follow President Trump and common-sense conservative policies. We reject the clueless history- and science-denial and self-serving political ideology of the Democrat leaders.

So yes, the other side has more college degrees than we do. But they can’t change a flat tire, or balance a checkbook, or hear an opposing opinion without hiding under their beds. They can’t intellectualize that killing unborn (and just-born) babies is murder, they would allow the entire third world to walk through our borders expecting us to feed them, they think throwing the F-bomb around and sexualizing everything makes them “cool kids.”

They are ready to throw away our world-envied health care system, our precious freedom of speech, and our proven-effective free market economic system, in exchange for the promise of “free stuff.”

We may be uneducated, but they are the “boobs.”

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

What drives you on
Can drive you mad
A million lies to sell yourself
Is all you ever had

Stupid Girl – Garbage

Time to Fix the Bus

Back down the road we Americans shared a “magic bus” with four tires – two left and two right. The wheels needed to be aligned every once in a while, but generally they all pulled in the same direction and took us to a place that was better than where we came from. If we ran into a rough road, we were able to pull together to get to the other side.

The conservative right side were the sensible ones, watching the checkbook, protecting us from those who would harm us. The liberal left side were the champions of the needy, the downtrodden, and the oppressed. They were thought to be the conscience of America.

But then somehow the left became mean and ugly, adopting a one-world, “America-is-evil”, big-government-over-individual-freedoms ideology. They are now consumed with killing babies, obsess over color of skin instead of content of character, and deny biological science.

Meanwhile the right took their eye off the road and when they had opportunities to do great things for the people, some of them were only interested in holding on to their comfy positions of power.

Now that the Democrats own Congress, they seem to have lost interest in serving the people.

  • “Nonsense” Pelosi could be dealing with the homeless crisis in her own backyard. Instead, we learn that three years after Los Angeles taxpayers put up $1.2 billion for homeless housing, not a single unit has been built. Cities all over the USA are dealing with record numbers of homeless, despite the best employment numbers in our history, and instead of working for solutions, Democrat leaders double down with policies that make things worse.
  • Democrats decry the state of education in our country, but instead of taking meaningful steps to improve the quality of our schools by stopping illegal immigration, implementing school choice including support for home schooling, and focusing on productive curricula, they emphasize social/sexual/political indoctrination.
  • Liberal leaders promote extreme socialism that would consume our annual GDP many times over, thrusting the proleteriat into abject poverty, without a shred of concern for quality of life as long as the ruling class is protected.

True conservatives would happily join forces with Democrats who sincerely want real solutions to humanitarian problems, preserving the best of our American way of life and standard of living. But the liberals are suddenly determined to go off-roading.

Our bus is broken. The wheels on the left side of the bus have fallen off, and the right rear tire is flat. Our president is driving to our future on a treacherous mountain road in a Godless vehicle with only one good tire.

We have to get our bus fixed before we run completely off the road and into a ditch we can’t get out of. Liberals must turn away from the blatant dishonesty of their “big wheel” leaders. Conservatives must get back to the business of serving all of their constituents, not just the ones that will get them re-elected.

All aboard.

Every day I get in the queue (Too much, Magic Bus)
To get on the bus that takes me to you (Too much, Magic Bus)
I’m so nervous, I just sit and smile (Too much, Magic Bus)
You house is only another mile (Too much, Magic Bus)

Magic Bus – the Who

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.