Hey! Obama! Get Off Of My Cloud! (and out of my neighborhood)

Here we go again.  This month President Obama, through the Department of Housing and Urban Development, will enact the “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Act”, a mandate that will force communities and developers to mix section 8 welfare housing into more affluent neighborhoods.

“HUD is working with communities across the country to fulfill the promise of equal opportunity for all,” a HUD spokeswoman said. “The proposed policy seeks to break down barriers to access to opportunity in communities supported by HUD funds.” — the Hill 6/11/15

“The Fair Housing Act has two goals: to end housing discrimination and to promote diverse, inclusive communities. The second goal is referred to as Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH), and it embodies our strongly-held American values of fair access and equal opportunity.” — National Fair Housing Alliance

There are so many things wrong with these statements that I don’t even know where to start.

“Equal opportunity for all” is a noble goal – and it’s what made our country great.  All Americans should have the opportunity to work hard, earn, save, and succeed, and I believe that for the most part we still do.  But equal opportunity is not what this ruling is about.  Remember Joe the Plumber?  President Obama told him we need to “spread the wealth around.”

People who live in nice, expensive homes did not get there by accident.  They weren’t just lucky.  And it’s not “white privilege”, because there are plenty of minorities barbecuing in those big back yards and inviting their white neighbors over.

No, this is just one more blatant overreach by a President who believes in equal outcomes, but not equal effort.  He thinks in the interest of “fairness” it is not enough to take money from earners by force and give it to non-earners – now he wants to make them live together.

Yes, there is discrimination in housing.  People who study, work hard, make good decisions and save their money are able to buy nice homes and raise their families in clean, safe neighborhoods with nice streets and good schools.  Slackers and fools are neither entitled nor welcome there.

Economic discrimination has been in place since the dawn of civilization.  It’s normal.  It works.  It encourages people to be smart and industrious.  Is it fair?  Yes!  Allowing people to earn property, keep it, and use it as they wish is the epitome of fairness!

Fortunately most people are blessed with a sense of charity, and will voluntarily help care for those who are unable to support themselves due to physical or mental disability or disaster.  And taxpayers know that public services for all are necessary.  But there is nothing charitable or voluntary about the government forcing one to open his home, his neighborhood, or for that matter his nation’s borders to another only to “spread the wealth around.”

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) has proposed an amendment that would defund Obama’s executive action, but on different grounds.  He says implementation of the HUD rule is taking planning and zoning authority out of the hands of local officials, and he’s right.  But his amendment won’t pass (has Congress defunded anything lately?)  The federal government has had great success in recent years at pushing “social enlightenment” out to the communities through the promise of grants for “free money” that will be withheld if the local authorities don’t follow their mandates.

How sad is it that city “A” takes grants that are paid for by the citizens of city “B”, and vice versa, and both cities think the money is free?

Citizens will have to get involved in local government, educate local leaders to the dangers of taking grants with strings attached, and elect congressmen and executives who honor the fourth amendment.  We need to get the federal government back in its box and out of our back yards!

Rockin' On the Right SideHey, you, get off of my cloud!
Hey, you, get off of my cloud!
Hey, you, get off of my cloud!
Don’t hang around ’cause two’s a crowd
On my cloud, baby!

The Rolling Stones – Get Off of My Cloud

Hard to believe this music is fifty years old.  It still rocks!

 

Montana Employees ‘Most Engaged’ In the Nation

Gallup US Map Employee EngagementA Gallup poll was released this week with the headline:  Montana Ranks Highest in Employee Engagement in 2013 and 2014.

That Montana appears in a national news headline is, in itself, newsworthy.  The nation’s fourth-largest state geographically ranks only 44th in population, having just broken the 1 million mark.   With only seven people per square mile, this beautiful “fly over country” is generally pretty inconsequential to the national news media.

So when my beloved Big Sky State is granted a few inches of bold type, it gets my attention.  And as a retired business owner and manager – and an unabashed free-market capitalist – any discussion related to getting, keeping, and motivating employees is compelling to me.

Gallup’s poll asks employers to what extent their people are engaged and enthused about their work and workplace.  Are they passionate about their jobs?  Do they feel a “profound connection” to their company?

In Montana, apparently they do.  In New York, not so much.  What accounts for the difference?

The Gallup article concludes that employees in smaller businesses are more engaged than those lost in a sea of cubicles or a huge factory full of machines.  There are very few large businesses in Montana, so most employees work directly with the owners and managers of their companies.  They see and feel the connection between their own performance and the success of the business.  They rely more closely on each other and know that the success of the individual employee and the company are interwoven.

Another factor is geographic isolation.   Cattle outnumber people almost three to one in the Big Sky State.  My hometown, Lewistown, is the 16th largest city in Montana, with a population of almost 6,000.  Most Montanans live in or near very small communities, and the distance to most services that the rest of the country takes for granted is considerable.  It creates an uncommon level of self-sufficiency.  Montanans learn to weld so they can repair their own equipment.  They plow their own snow or else they would be stranded.  They voluntarily man the fire trucks and ambulances.   Waiting for government services is often just not an option.

And that just might be the difference between Montana and New York.

A few months ago when two feet of snow was predicted in New York, the government told residents to stay home.  And they did.  Two feet of snow in Montana just makes for better elk hunting.  Try telling Montana hunters to stay home after a fresh snow!  And a little snow certainly doesn’t keep those engaged Montana employees from going to work.

History teaches that dependence on government throttles personal ambition and motivation.   And excessive regulation and government control restricts economic growth and standards of living.  Montanans are currently waging what they consider to be an existential battle against federal encroachment, defending their water rights, their natural resources, and their land from a variety of federal programs that threaten seizure, severe regulation, or endless environmental litigation.   30% of Montana land is already “owned” by the federal government.

Montanans are engaged in preserving the sovereignty of their state and the ownership rights of their own property.  They are engaged in the safety, well-being and economic success of their families and communities.   Rather than wait for the federal government to determine their needs and provide for them, Montanans would just as soon the feds butt out.

It’s not hard to see why Montanans are more engaged in their employment than most other Americans.

see this article in its entirety at Watchdog Arena

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Together we’ll stand, divided we’ll fall
Come on now, people let’s get on the ball
And work together.
Come on, come on let’s work together
Because together we will stand
Every boy, every girl and man

Life In The Banana Republic

Back in the day we watched action adventure movies about Americans traveling in exotic far-flung countries.  It was so very foreign to our small-town Montana sensibilities – the drugs, the shady intrigue, the beautiful women.  There was poverty and danger around every corner, and it seemed that nothing could be accomplished in these mysterious places without paying off some government official.

We called them “banana republics” – countries where life was tough, the government was corrupt,  and only those with connections, wit, and maybe weapons avoided an unhappy fate.

We were enthralled with tense scenes from places where the government was all about secrets and raw, cold power; where ordinary citizens hid behind gray walls and doors, afraid of making some political “hit” list.  Everyone was poor – except those who worked for the government or had connections.  Personal success was just a distant dream, as winners and losers were chosen by the powerful.

It could never happen here.  We have checks and balances, and a president couldn’t just make laws, seize property and control businesses without the consent of the legislature.  This is America.  There’s no corruption here.  Our government leaders would never lie to us, or hide the truth.  Besides, our news people will always tell us what’s really going on, right?  And we have fair elections, where legal citizens get to choose how the government will affect their lives.

Drugs are illegal here.  Aren’t they?  I mean, I think they used to be.

And we don’t have to worry about people here being dirt poor, relying on scraps and handouts from the government.  Most of our people have jobs, and own their own homes, right?  We still manufacture stuff, and have plenty of our own cheap energy for our cars and houses, and everybody has a bright future here.  We still go to church on Sunday and take care of our neighbors and families.  Don’t we?

I’m sure glad we live in America, and not in one of those banana republics.  We have nothing to worry about here, let’s just party on.  Let’s have another joint.  Wanna dance?

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

They’re pickin’ up the prisoners
And puttin em in a pen
And all she wants to do is dance, dance
Rebels been rebels
Since I don’t know when
And all she wants to do is dance

All She Wants To Do Is Dance – Don Henley