If Obama Wins – Then What, Montana?

courtesy ConsumerBoomer.com

  • No fracking, drilling, or pipelines – guess what that does to our Montana and US economies – and our future?
  • No coal plants in the US – if we are allowed to mine coal at all, we will probably not be allowed to ship it to the coast by train to meet the huge demand for Asian coal.  Coal dust blows off the train cars, you see.
  • Energy prices will double within a year – (see above).  We will continue to subsidize wind and solar energy companies, electric car manufacturers, and other chosen “winners”, many of whom will not survive economically.
  • $8 per gallon gasoline within two years.  Remember, Energy Secretary Stephen Chu said he wants our gas price to be the same as Europe.
  • At least two more far-left Supreme Court Justices take the bench.
  • Severe restrictions on gun ownership and use (see above – Sotomayor says “the right to possess a gun is clearly not a fundamental right.”)  Hunting on government land is forbidden, and is severely restricted on private land.
  • Health care will be expensive and rare.
  • Government employee unions will rule with impugnity.
  • Inflation will skyrocket as national debt soars and the Fed continues to print funny money.
  • Conservative talk radio, free speech, free internet, and Fox News are toast.  The first amendment fades in our memories, like most Constitutional freedoms.
  • Our government will never again write a budget – as Harry Reid said, “There’s no need to have a Democratic budget in my opinion.”  Budget, schmudget.  They can always print more money and spend it however they want.
  • Obama and his administration will make life hell for everyone who opposed them.  Listen to Valerie Jarrett:

    …Valerie Jarrett is letting it be known that if Barack Obama secures election victory next week, there may be, quite literally, hell to pay for those who opposed him…

    …Jarrett told (staff members) ‘After we win this election, it’s our turn. Payback time.

    Everyone not with us is against us and they better be ready because we don’t forget. The ones who helped us will be rewarded, the ones who opposed us will get what they deserve.

    There is going to be hell to pay. Congress won’t be a problem for us this time. No election to worry about after this is over and we have two judges ready to go.’

    She was talking directly to about three of them. Sr. staff. And she wasn’t trying to be quiet about it at all. And they were all listening and shaking their heads and smiling while she said it…

Obama has promised revenge too. If you ever spoke out against the left, watch your back.

I could go on, but it’s more than I can bear on the night before the most important, and the closest, political race of the modern political era. There is so much at stake. We can only pray for God’s mercy at this point. It may be our last chance before prayer is outlawed.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

So let’s bow our heads and pray –
with the unbelievable ZZ TOP

Have Mercy – and – Jesus Has Left Chicago

The “Grown-Up In The Room” – Still Herman Cain

A few weeks ago I nominated Paul Ryan to the “Old Bean Counters” club, of which I am the founding member.  We “Old Bean Counters” believe in the sanctity of honest accounting.  We understand that careful budgeting and controls (fail to plan, plan to fail) results in success for businesses and for governments.  And we believe we could save the nation’s economy if we were allowed to move in and clean up the books.

Today another eloquent statement in support of fiscal sanity was written by our level-headed old friend Herman Cain.  I remain a huge Cain fan.  He gets my top grade for leadership, common sense, and patriotism.  Herman is still the “grown-up” in the room, and must be added to the “Bean Counters” club.

The War of Words: No One Wins
By Herman Cain

As someone who has spent a long career in the business world, confronting problems and solving them, I find that there’s something surreal about two weeks of political conventions in a nation that faces very big problems – and desperately needs effective solutions.

In the business world, when people are attacking each other, hurling accusations and leveling blame, the first thing a leader has to do is put a stop to that. In such an environment, it is extremely difficult to devise solutions, and it is almost impossible to implement them effectively.

Today’s political environment is exactly what I just described on a 24/7 basis. It is a never-ending war on words. And this is a war that no one wins.

This is not going to be one of those columns where the writer tries to appear above the fray by blaming both sides equally, and pretends not to be taking sides. Get real. You know perfectly well that I support Mitt Romney and that I oppose Barack Obama. You’ve read my criticisms of Obama’s policies in this space and others. I am not decrying all criticism because a) it is a healthy part of our system of government; and b) I engage in it as much as anyone.

But there’s a difference between honest criticism and simply saying anything you have to say for the sake of your own power. This is the phenomenon that was on display at the Democrats’ convention in Charlotte, and it was astounding.

Consider the fact that the Democrats apparently have decided the word “voucher” can be used in a negative way to hang a political anvil around Republicans. Repeatedly, they attacked Republicans for wanting to replace Medicare with what they call “Vouchercare.” What made this so appalling was not the mere fact that there’s nothing wrong with a voucher, which is simply premium support that seniors can use to purchase their own insurance. No, what made this so appalling is the fact that, even as the Democrats were tossing this word around as if it were a euphemism for a concentration camp roundup, the Obama Administration itself was in the process of moving 2 million seniors into vouchers as a pilot program designed to improve Medicare.

In other words, they don’t even mean what they say. They simply say it because it’s tested well with focus groups or something. Attack vouchers and land blows against Republicans. You know it’s total BS, but it works.

Another example is their constant use of the phrase “middle class,” usually accompanied by a denunciation of “tax cuts for millionaires.” You’d think, to listen to these guys, that the middle class was doing great under them – since they warn darkly of its fate in the event of a Republican victory. In fact, middle class incomes have fallen by more than $4,000 per household since Obama took office. The people who constantly drone on about the middle class have nothing to offer the middle class. But the words sure sound good.

Republicans can be susceptible to the same thing. They spent a lot of time at their convention attacking out-of-control federal spending. And rightly so. But they did that in 1994, and were handed control of Congress by voters who agreed with them. The Republican Congresses of the 1990s did control spending for awhile, which is why we got the balanced budgets that Bill Clinton attributes to his own excellence in arithmetic. But by the time we hit the new millennium, congressional Republicans had discovered that they liked spending too – and pretty soon fiscal discipline was a thing of the past. Yet here they are in 2012, saying the same words. It might win them the election. And if it does – and they remain mere words – no one will have won.

It’s easy to blame this on political consultants who poll-test every theme and concept, and put it before focus groups to see how it will play. It’s easy to blame the shallow news media, which covers the horse race and the strategy of every campaign as if there’s no such thing as governing that comes after the election.

But ultimately, it’s the candidates who choose to follow these strategies, using these words to get elected knowing full well that they don’t mean what they’re saying.

This country is in big trouble. The national debt, now at $16 trillion, is more than our entire gross domestic product. Our unfunded entitlement obligations run into the hundreds of trillions. We have 15 percent of the population on food stamps. We have 15 percent of the population either unemployed or underemployed. And the federal government is spending a quarter of our GDP every year in a futile attempt to somehow fix all this. It is not working.

Under these circumstances, it is absolutely mandatory that the nation turn to leaders who are serious about solutions, serious about honest data and willing to give it to us straight about the nation’s situation. It is still possible to fix this mess, but it can’t be done by people who are unserious, dishonest and willing to say absolutely anything to remain in power.

In the business world, you need to understand facts, test your ideas and be honest about when solutions to problems are not working. Otherwise you will never make the necessary adjustments. People who do this are respected, because they are the ones who ultimately get results. Those who are out of ideas, and offer nothing more than the same ideas that have already failed, are fired. Sometimes, if they have integrity, they recognize that they are not the right people for the job and they step aside to make room for more competent leadership.

That’s why business leaders solve problems but the political class never does. And it’s ultimately the responsibility of the voters not to put up with this nonsense. If our only response to the very real problems facing this nation is a war of words, people need to understand that is a war that no one wins.

We still need ya, Herman.  Welcome to the Bean Counters club.  And keep reminding us it’s time to grow up.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Come back when you grow up, girl
You’re still livin’ in a paper-doll world
Livin’ ain’t easy, lovin’s twice as tough
So come back, baby, when you grow up

Come Back When You Grow Up – Bobby Vee

Tester / Baucus: Losers Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

A while back I blogged that we “Old Bean Counters” could fix the deficit in pretty short order.  I know, I know – things are VERY messed up and it may take more than a couple of weeks to straighten it out.

But still, it ain’t rocket science.  It’s just Dollars In, Dollars Out.  In business, in government, and in family life, you can’t spend more money than you take in – at least not for very long.  So you need to make sure that what you do spend is not wasted, and you need to help the guys who bring the dollars in.  From all indications, our current Congress has it backwards – they can’t get their spending under control, and they go out of their way to stifle success in the private sector.

Here’s another simple platitude we Old Bean Counters used to throw out regularly:  Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail.

In business, planning is everything.  Successful companies analyze their markets, create an operating plan that shows how profit will be made, and then execute the plan.  Those who take it “one day at a time” and try to react to events as they occur nearly always fail.   It’s survival of the fittest, and the fittest are careful planners.

Our US Senate, including Montana’s own Max Baucus and Jon Tester, are not exactly “the fittest”.  They, their leader Harry Reid, and the rest of the Senate, have not passed a budget since April 29, 2009.  In fact Reid said, “There’s no need to have a Democratic budget, in my opinion.

This year President Obama submitted his budget proposal in February, as is his responsibility.   It failed to receive a single vote in either the House or the Senate, but hey – he did his job.

Soon after that, the House passed their own budget proposal.  It went to the Senate, where it languishes today just like every bill the House sends over.  The House continues to work on budget and spending bills, knowing there is no hope of success, but doing the work anyway.

Meanwhile, the Senate has been busy doing . . . well, nothing.  Senate Democrats have the ball, and if they can’t play their game, they are going home and taking the ball with them.  Senate Republicans – in keeping with recent tradition – threaten to filibuster any bill the other guys put up.  So the Dems just don’t bother.

So we spend, and spend, and spend – without a budget.  We make no attempt to improve the business climate (and government revenues) by reforming tax and regulation policies.  We just take it one day at a time, and let policy decisions be made according to political doctrine, without regard to economic viability.

We have failed to plan for over three years now.

The result is clear.  We have failed.  We are losers.  And Mssrs. Baucus and Tester share the blame.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Enjoy one of the best Beatle songs ever –

What have I done to deserve such a fate
I realize I have left it too late
And so it’s true, pride comes before a fall
I’m telling you so that you won’t lose all

I’m A Loser – the Beatles

Old Bean Counters, Revolt!

I spent most of my career as a “Bean Counter” –  that’s what the other managers of a company call their CFO or controller.   We Bean Counters take a lot of ribbing about how dull our lives must be, buried in numbers and surrounded by computers.  But successful managers know that good businesses are run by the numbers, and with careful planning, analysis, and execution, the company will create consistent and predictable profit for owners or stockholders, rewarding jobs for employees, and many benefits for the community at large.

These days we Old Bean Counters are frustrated.  We believe success in a free market democracy should be a slam dunk –  predictable, manageable, with steady growth and improvement in the standard of living for everyone.

In our “Adam Smith” world, the free market economic formula works flawlessly.  Businesses prove it every day, and our nation became the envy of the free world relying on the economic principles of supply and demand, lowest cost production, improved technology and efficiency, personal responsibility, and charity of free will.

So what happened?  Our predictable, successful “controller’s” world has been turned upside down.  We are buried in debt, jobs are scarce, and the only solution offered is more taxation and government spending..

The free market is no longer free, as our government at every level tears away layers of personal freedoms, and chokes businesses with red tape and unnecessary costs at every turn.  Personal responsibility has become “old school”, as our government rewards bad behavior and punishes good behavior in every conceivable way.   And charity, once a rewarding personal choice, has become a grating mandatory redistribution of wealth.

Even some of the young Bean Counters have gone astray, having sold their ethics on Wall Street along with some bundled mortgages.

I am convinced that if all the Old Bean Counters from across the nation stormed the city, state, and federal government offices and took over, we could straighten out our country’s financial mess in no time.  We would run the government like a business!  Government employees, you will work a full 8-hour day, 50 weeks a year.   We will find every asset owned by the government and sell the ones we don’t need or use.  Every agency will justify its budget every year.  Disability is only for the disabled.   College is for serious students.   Corruption will be punished.   No more grants!  No more watching porn on government computers every day!  No more six-figure guaranteed pensions at age 50!  No more $800 hammers!

And most importantly, we would convince Americans once again that it is in their best interest to be a part of the production and success, rather than throwing rocks at those who are pulling the wagons.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

You say you got a real solution
Well, you know,
We’d all love to see the plan!

Revolution – the Beatles

Montana has too much money, let’s party!

Today there is a big headline in our small-town newspaper: “$200,000 Available in Special Event Grants”.  It was “submitted” by the Montana Department of Commerce.  I guess that would be an advertisement, right?  Our government is so desperate to give money away, they have to advertise in small town newspapers.

Anyway, they want us to have parties.  “Any Montana event is eligible to apply and the funds must be used to advertise and promote the event to target markets outside a 100-mile radius of the event site.”

I think I’ll have a beer kegger and invite the motorcycle dudes from Butte.  Those guys know how to party!

“Since its inception in 2002, the Special Event grant program has been able to provide $757,500 in grant money to 89 events across the state”, the article continues.   Gee, that is so generous of the program to give us all that money!  Oh wait, where did that money come from?

This “grant” thing has become an epidemic.  Taxpayers in Fargo pay for a party in Milwaukee, and Little Rock pays for a party in Phoenix, and Kansas City pays for a party in Missoula, and everybody thinks their parties are free.  Now multiply this by thousands and thousands of grants awarded in every city of the United States every day.   Grants for trails.  Grants for home improvements.  Grants for trees.  Grants for seminars on how to write grants.

There are people in Montana state offices (paid by your tax dollars) who think having community parties is a good thing.  Maybe it is, but then why shouldn’t the community pony up the money to advertise its own party?

Unfortunately, our dumbed-down citizenry thinks that grants really are free money.  They repeatedly hear mayors and city councils say, “No local money is being spent on this project – we received a grant.”  In my small hometown we have a lady who makes a nice living doing nothing but writing grant requests.  Local officials love them because it gives voters the impression that they are “doing something” without spending our hard-earned money.  How can anybody turn down free money?

It’s embarrassing how easy it has become to fleece the average American.

Well, I guess if the keepers-of-Montana-cash decide it should be spent on parties, so be it.  But I don’t want to hear any whining about how we “can’t afford teachers or firemen.”

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Money !  It’s a gas!
Grab that cash with both hands
and make a stash!

Money – Pink Floyd

“First Class” Travel? Or “Government Class?”

Just a few random ideas for cutting government spending . . .Image

  • Require all government employees to travel in coach with the rest of us.  There was an effort to clamp down on first-class and business-class travel by government employees several years ago, but it appears that this perk has quietly become acceptable again.  Next time you are herded with the other cattle back into those crowded coach seats, take a good look as you walk through the comfy first-class cabin.  There’s a good chance most of these passengers are there on the taxpayer’s dime.
  • Take a good look at the use of expensive “smart phones” by government employees.  Most government employees would be adequately served by inexpensive “dumb” cell phones, and in fact most employees already have, or would purchase, their own cell phones.  I’ll bet the cost of this item, including air time for web surfing, is shocking.
  • Stop paying government employees for all of their accumulated “sick pay” when they retire.  You should get sick pay when you are sick.  That’s why they call it “sick pay!”  Or maybe take sick pay out of the employee’s retirement account.  Some government employees receive six figure checks for accumulated sick pay at retirement in addition to a fat guaranteed pension plan.

This is just a start. The notion that government costs can not be reduced is ridiculous – give me a room full of retired, miserly old accountants and we could cut the budget by a third in no time, without reducing services.  And for crying out loud, could we please at least pass a budget?